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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 11


Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0061

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-01-07

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

Inclosed is another Production of Porcupine, whose quils will Stick.1

“And Midas now neglected Stands

With Asses ears and dirty hands.[”]2

The President appears great in Randolphs Vindication throughout excepting that he wavered about Signing the Treaty which he ought not to have done one moment. Happy is the Country to be rid of Randolph: but where shall be found good Men and true to fill the offices of Government. There seems to be a Necessity of distributing the offices about the States in Some Proportion to their Numbers: but in the Southern Part of the Union false Politicks have Struck their roots so deep that it is very difficult to find Gentlemen who are willing to accept of public Trusts and at the same time capable of discharging them. The President offered the office of State to Seven Gentlemen who declined: to Mr Patterson, Mr King, Mr Henry of Virginia, Mr Charles Cotesworth Pinckney of S. C. and three others whose names I dont recollect.3 He has not been able to find any one to accept the War Office.4 The Expences of living at the Seat of Government are so exorbitant, so far beyond all Proportion to the salaries and the Sure Reward of Integrity in the discharge of public functions is such obloquy Contempt and Insult, that no Man of any feeling is willing to renounce his home, forsake his Property & Profession for the sake of removing to Philadelphia where he is almost sure of disgrace & Ruin. Where these Things will end I know not. In perfect Secrecy between you & me, I must tell you that I now believe the P. will retire. The Consequence to me is very Serious and I am not able as yet to see what my Duty will demand of me. I Shall take my Resolutions with cool deliberation, I shall watch the Course of Events with more critical Attention than I have done for sometime, and what Providence shall point out to be my Duty I shall pursue with Patience, and Decision. It is no light thing to resolve upon Retirement. My Country has claims—my Children have claims and my own Character have claims upon me. But all These Claims forbid me to serve the Public in disgrace. Whatever any one may think I love my Country too well to shrink from Danger in her service provided I have a reasonable prospect of being { 131 } able to serve her to her honour and Advantage. But if I have Reason to think that I have either a Want of Abilities or of public Confidence to such a degree as to be unable to support the Government in a higher Station, I ought to decline it— But in that Case, I ought not to serve in my present Place under another especially if that other should entertain sentiments so opposite to mine as to endanger the Peace of the Nation. It will be a dangerous Crisis in public affairs if the President and Vice President should be in opposite Boxes.
These Lumbrations must be confined to your own Bosom— But I think upon the whole the Probability is strong that I shall make a voluntary Retreat & spend the rest of my days in a very humble Style with you. of one Thing I am very sure— It would be to me the happiest Portion of my whole Life.
I am with unabatable Affection / Yours
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “Janry 7th / 1796.”
1. Peter Porcupine, A New-Year’s Gift to the Democrats; or, Observations on a Pamphlet, Entitled, “A Vindication of Mr. Randolph’s Resignation,” Phila., 1796, Evans, No. 30215.
2. Jonathan Swift, “The Fable of Midas,” lines 81–82. These lines appeared as part of an epigraph on the title page of Peter Porcupine’s A New-Year’s Gift.
3. In a late October 1795 letter to Alexander Hamilton, George Washington largely reiterated JA’s comments here: Washington had offered the post of secretary of state to William Paterson of New Jersey, Thomas Johnson of Maryland, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney of South Carolina, and Patrick Henry of Virginia, in that order, all of whom had declined. Subsequent correspondence with Hamilton indicates that Rufus King of New York was also approached but likewise declined. Although Hamilton made other suggestions for possible candidates, on 9 Dec. Washington submitted Timothy Pickering’s name to Congress to make his position as acting secretary of state permanent. The Senate gave its advice and consent to the appointment the following day.
Paterson (1745–1806), Princeton 1763, was Irish-born but raised in New Jersey. A lawyer, he held various posts in New Jersey government and served as one of that state’s delegates to the federal Constitutional Convention in 1787. In 1793 he became an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Pinckney (1745–1825), of the prominent Pinckney family of South Carolina, was educated in England at Oxford and the Middle Temple. He rose to the rank of brigadier general during the Revolutionary War and later was named a delegate to the Constitutional Convention. He held no other federal positions, however, until named U.S. minister to France in 1796 (Hamilton, Papers, 19:356–357, 395–397; U.S. Senate, Exec. Jour., 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 193; ANB).
4. James McHenry, for whom see vol. 1:338, was named the new secretary of war in January after three others turned down the position; he took the oath of office in February (ANB).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0062

Author: Peabody, Elizabeth Smith Shaw
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-01-09

Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Sister—

It is indeed several weeks since I have written to you—an eventful term to me—multiplied with cares, which have prevented me from { 132 } presenting my most cordial Thanks to my dear Sisters, for their kindness, & the maternal affection they have shewn my Daughter— I think I Justly estimated her genius & temper—& my expectations were raised, that, when under your fostering hand she would greatly improve; & I am happy to find that she does honour to herself, & I hope no dishonour to you—
You ask, why my marriage was not announced in the Paper? were this question asked of any one else but myself, I could say many things in the figurative way, but now shall only tell you, that my little Bark though built by a skillful hand, yet in its constituent parts, was very unfit for the rough billows upon which it was to be tossed in the voyage of Life, & had been so enfeebled, & battered by unforeseen, & sudden Storms as to be of too little consequence to be noticed by the world; which perhaps knew, that I had long ago, for many reasons, adopted the language of Mr Pope; & with much more sincerity (I believe) wished that I could “live, & die unseen, unknown, steal from the world, & not a stone tell where I lie—”1
It is a month my Sister since I quitted one State, I hope for a far better— Agreeable as Haverhill had been to me, yet as I had no part, nor inheritance there, I tarried till I really longed to be gone, that I might be at rest, & freed from a multiplicity of vexatious, unprofitable Cares— The events, & occurences which impeded my course, interupted that sweet serenity which I wished to maintain upon this solemn occasion, are too many for me to particularize Suffice it therefore to say, that everything took a contrary turn, all my plans were deranged—& that had I lived in ancient days, I should have stood agast, & believed that all the Gods & Goddess had conspired against me, & had engaged the elements upon their side—raging with more violence than that which dispersed the Grecian Fleet— What, or whether old Juno had any thing against me, I could not say— Whether she thought I had not asserted my rights in former times, or feared I should be now, more condescending than the dignity of her Sex, would admit, is hard for me to determine—
I believe I told you, poor Cousin Betsy had been languishing for several weeks with a distressing pain in her side, & stomach, which the medicine could not reach, & was increasing upon her every day— The evening before our appointed marriage she was taken with fainting fits, & I really feared she would die before morning— She rested some, was not faint, but appeared with all the symptoms of a fever, unable to set up but a little while at a time— my Neighbour’s Children sick with the Canker all round me, some really dead, { 133 } others dying— you know what a tender part a feeling heart takes upon such occasions— & my Abby I feared every day would share the fate of others— Mr Peabody had agreed to arange his affairs so as to come to Haverhill upon Tuesday—desired a Team to be ready at the house wednesday for the Furniture, & Thursday a number of respectable Gentlemen were to wait upon us to Atkinson whose wives had beged the favour of Mr Peabody to roast a few Turkeys at his house, for our comfortable reception— so nothing could be done, but proceed—
Perhaps you may remember the eighth of December was a dreadful stormy day— It was one of those Eras, which I hope I shall not wish to be blotted from my remembrance— The Storm increased with so much voilence that, circumstanced as I was, I really hoped Mr Peabody would be too superstitious to come, & be married in a Storm— It was late in the afternoon before he came— I told him I had been approbating his conduct, & supposed he had been too wise, or too whimsical to think of being married in a storm— I confess it was rather too cavalier treatment, cold, & wet as he was, but he looked up with so much good-humour & said “Is it posible you can be in earnest, what if it does storm, is it not often a prelude to a calm sunshine?—[] I was silent though at that moment, I thought I would have given the world not to have been the cheif actor, in this gloomy solemn scene— Betsy sick—house wet—neighbours disappointed, every thing wrong, & wearing a sad aspect— add to all this, just as we were standing up, a fire was cried, which proved to be our chimney— Good Lord (thought I,) what next?— this was not a vain ejaculation, I assure you—but as some minds always rise in proportion to their exegencies, I thought it best, to call up all the magnanimity of which I was capable, & attend with proper composure to the duties, & solemn Obligations in which I was engaging— I cannot say, what passes in the mind of Others, but few have a more quick succession of Ideas than I had, or a greater weight (I hope) upon their minds.
My own affairs as administratrix unsettled, notwithstanding my repeated solicitations to the Parish for the purpose, conduced not a little to depress my spirits; & the accumalating expences occasioned by the necessity of my families being devided & leaving my dear sick Neice, rendered me almost one of the most pitiable Objects in nature, & very unfit for the duties before me.— How I bid farewell to my worthy Friends—& to a place where I had very strong local attachments—to a house endeared to me by the birth of my { 134 } Children—& with what grace I received my new Parishoners, I must leave for others to say— But this I must acknowledge, that if I had not had one of the kindest of Friends, to have supported, & encouraged me, I must have sunk— And in Justice to his daughter, I must tell you, that she met me at the door with so much sweetness benevolence, & affectionate respect, as has left an indeliable impression upon my heart, that has bound me to her forever—
When I left cousin Betsy I feared she would never be able to reach Atkinson, her symtoms were so consumtive, but the Dr said not fixed, that was some encouragment to me that she might recover, if she would but take proper care— I left Lydia, & Nancy Harrod with her, Mr Tucker lodged in the house, & Betsy Quincy, & myself took turns to stay with her till she got well enough for Mr Tucker to bring her here, which he did in a fortnight after I first came— She is far from being well now—but here we all are, & my Friend looks supremely blest, in the power of making others happy—
I thank you my dear Sister, for your kind, invitation to my Children to spend some time with you— I believe William will accept it, & go to Boston, before the vacation is out, if you can get him from your house to Cambridge— I know not where they can be better instructed than by your example, & your Library— Sometimes I think I will send Betsy to you, till the spring, & then I wish to have her go into this accademy— I think it will be for her advantage—
I rejoice to hear that Mrs Tufts is on the recovery, I was destressed for her— I am sorry my Sister Cranchs family has been so sick, I would write if I had2 time—moving &cc, has been fatiguing— you will be kind enough to let her see this Letter, she will want to hear from Me, & be assured my dear Sisters, that no place, time, or change will ever obliterate from my heart, the Love & Gratitude I feel for you, which glows in the breast of your affectionate Sister
[signed] Elizabeth Peabo[dy]
RC (Adams Papers). Some loss of text due to a torn manuscript.
1. “Thus let me live, unseen, unknown, / Thus unlamented let me die; / Steal from the world, and not a stone, / Tell where I lie” (Alexander Pope, “Ode on Solitude,” lines 17–20).
2. The remainder of the letter is written vertically in the left margin.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0063

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-01-10

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

I received by the last post Your Letters of the following Dates 21 inclosing the post Note, 24 28 & 30th for all of which accept my { 135 } thanks;1 we have been so unfortunate I presume as to lose Letters by a Melancholy ship wreck the last week. a vessel belonging to mr Lamb on Board of which was a Brother of Mr Lambs by whom I wrote to our sons, in comeing in last week, was in one of our winter gales & snow-storms cast away near salem. the captain Macky a Dutch Gentleman & 2 others were drown’d. mr Lamb & one or two others were wash’d on shore a live, but vessel cargo intirely lost.2 our Neighbours are in great anxiety for their Eldest son Benjamin whom they heard had saild ten week ago from Hamburgh, bound to N York. a vessel which saild with him, has been in more than a Month.3
You observe in one of Your Letters that You wish to hear my observations upon Randolphs pamphlet. there does not appear to me any thing clear about it, or in it, but the Mans Duplicity weakness, Gullability and vanity. he represents the President as in leading strings, and between ourselves, I cannot but think, that he had gaind too great an assendency over the mind of the President, considering how very weak a Man he appears. You know my judgment of him in the very first Letter he wrote to Hammond after he was Secretary of State.4 You know my sintiments of his Predecessor and my Friendship for him, how loth I have been to see him a partizen of politicks I could not but abhor. Yet I think him incapable of betraying the honour interest and Dignity of the Government as this misirable Man has done. the President has been unfortunate in his States Men— I hope the office is more confidentially fill’d now with respect to mr R——s private Life I know nothing, but one general rule will hold good with respect to appointments to office, that a Man destitute of private virtue must want Principle, and the Man who wants principle cannot be actuated by pure Motives, nor can he possess so exalted an affection as a Rational and Disinterested Love of his Country. this has been so recently exemplified in the late Chief Justice, that no other instance need be quoted. the publick papers have mentiond almost every circumstance You related, and his insanity will sheild the Senate from, even Jacobinical censure. for his Friends I am sorry. it is a pitty that he was made so conspicuous in his Fall. As to the Virginians, they appear to be most of them Randolphs, and by their Numbers have too great a weight in the publick scale. I hope all culprits will be brought to punishment, and that our countrymen will know how to value and Appreciate the sterling coin, which has been Seven times tried, from the base Dross which only glitters without, but has no intrinsick value. Randell & { 136 } Wheaton will be throughly sifted I presume.5 I wish Genett Fauchet & his successors were equally ameniable to the same tribunal.
The complexion of the Senate is highly favourable. the House—will have time to shew themselves
The constitution in France appears to be organizing. Seyes wisely declind belonging to the executive why it should be a subject of speculation to the Parissians, must be oweing to their want of penetration. the Executive will soon be crumbld into insignificance. Seyes had rather be one than five—6
I hope they will keep together untill a general Peace takes place, but I am sure they cannot be held by a Rope of sand.
I thank Mrs Washington for her kind invitation as well as for her frequent remembrance of me the high esteem and regard which I entertain for her would render such a visit peculiarly agreable to me, were all other circumstances favourable to it, but I never expect to go further than to Visit my Children;
I shall go to no expence that I can avoid. I Daily know that expences, I cannot say increase, but the value of Money diminishes— I was presented last week with a Tax Bill of a hundred & 87 Dollors 50 cents for the Small Town of Quincy. I shall however take the Liberty to pay my doctors Bill, and other necessary expences before I attend to what my Neighbours do not discharge in a Year after us.7 last week our people compleated Carting Manure upon Quincys medow 60 Loads that is cart bodys full. the Ground was so soft it would not admit of loading deeper & it is all spread copland says as well as if you had been here. he wants half a dozen more load to cover the whole which he hopes to get by & by—
Mrs Brisler and Family were well yesterday She danced as nimbly as the youngest of them, the night before new year
Yours as ever
[signed] A Adams
P S I believe you have become a favorite at court—you dine so often.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. Jan. 10 / ansd 20. 1796.”
1. For JA’s two letters of 21 Dec. 1795, see JA to AA, 21 Dec., and note 2, above. JA also sent a short note to AA on 30 Dec. enclosing Jonathan Pindar’s “Salutatory Ode,” for which see AA to JA, 15 Jan. 1796, and note 6, below.
2. On 6 Jan. the ship Margaret wrecked off the coast of Salem. Four men—the captain, John Mackay; a Dutch passenger; a seaman; and the cabin boy—drowned. James Lamb (b. 1746), a Boston merchant and part owner of the ship, survived by jumping into the ocean and swimming to shore. The ship was also owned by James’ brother Thomas Lamb (1753–1813); they had established the mercantile firm of James & Thomas Lamb in 1781 (Boston Gazette, 11 Jan. 1796; Thwing Catalogue, MHi; Other Merchants and Sea Captains of Old Boston, Boston, 1919, p. 34–37).
{ 137 }
AA wrote to JA on 3 Feb., below, that the ship had been carrying letters for the Adamses from the Netherlands, but these have not been identified.
3. That is, Benjamin Beale III (1768–1826), Harvard 1787, who was a lawyer. He eventually settled in Normandy, France, following his marriage in 1806 (Sprague, Braintree Families).
4. Edmund Randolph’s letter to George Hammond of 21 Feb. 1794 concerned whether Hammond had yet received instructions from his government that would allow negotiations to resume regarding the final resolution of matters still pending from the Peace of Paris (Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 28 Feb.). But AA may be referring to later letters of Randolph that JA sent her in May 1794; see vol. 10:190, 191.
5. For Robert Randall, Charles Whitney, and the Detroit land speculation affair, see JA to CA, 31 Dec. 1795, and note 1, above.
6. Abbé Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès declined an appointment to serve in the new French Directory “on account of his want of sight, and chose to retain the character of deputy, to which he had been called by his fellow citizens.” Sieyès would again be elected in 1799 and would accept the appointment at that time (Boston Federal Orrery, 7 Jan. 1796; Cambridge Modern Hist., 8:667–668).
7. AA was not alone in feeling that the Adamses might have been overtaxed. In September JA noted in his Diary that he felt his assessment was “unjust, more than my Proportion.” Two years later, when the Adamses’ farm was assessed for the 1798 tax valuation, some discussion occurred whether it was acceptable for the home of JA—as president—to be valued at less than those of some of his neighbors. AA wrote to JA, “I sat a silent hearer upon all but one Subject, which was the apprizement of this House. the Major was loth that it should appear that the President had not the best House in Town. I laught at him and told him I should have no objection to owning the best House, but if the fact was otherways did the Law say, that the owner of the House was to be taken into consideration or the House prized according to what it would in his judgment sell for.” In the end, their home was assessed for less than that of Capt. Benjamin Beale Jr., their closest neighbor (JA, D&A, 3:246; AA to JA, 23 Dec. 1798, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0064

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-01-15

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

Thursday post did not bring me one Single Letter from you; tis true I had no reason to complain on the Score of inattention, as the week before I had four Letters but I suppose that I had Letters, and that the blundering Blockhead of a post, either left them in Town, or has carried them to Barnestable as he Did once before; We have got a new Post, one of your under bidders, who can not read the direction upon his papers: Such kind of people as want the Reigns of government. I had a Letter last week from Mrs smith informing me that her Children were sick with the Measels I hope to hear soon from her again. tis a very bad disorder—1
so poor Tom Paine is gone to See Whether there is any state besides the present. Heaven be praisd that he is gone there, instead of comeing to America.2

“If plagues and Earthquakes break not heavens design

Why then a Paine or Jacobine?”3

{ 138 }
he was an instrument of much Mischief. the Virginians are a very mad people. they will neither believe in the experience of those States which have been obliged to Change from a single Assembly, to a Balanced goverment, nor in the Host of departed Spirits who cry alloud to them from the Golgotha of their Allies. in every state they will find some as discontented and as Mischievous as themselves. I was told last week, that the reputed Cato of plimouth openly declares his dislike to the constitution, and Wants to have a Single assembly. when such Men as he, Men of experience, Men Who have borne a part in one revolution and Who call themselves Lovers of Liberty, profess pure and disinterested Principles, come forward & hold Such Sentiments what are we to think? can we suppose that they were ever Sincere? or shall we say with the Tenth Muse Guillotina

“These are the Men who fiercely burn

Your constitution to overturn

To blast the Sages of Your Choice

They weild the pen, and Ply the voice”4

The lines which describe the Plimouth Boys will never be forgiven. if their Malice was not impotent, they would raise a Rebellion. I feel both pity and contempt for them.5 as to Jonathan Pindars Dada Vice, I had a hearty laugh at it. The poor wretch, was at a misirable Shift, when he could find nothing to Ridicule but a poor cast Wig, which was a singularity in no other place than the Contracted Span of a few states whose climate is too Hot for the Heads of its inhabitants.6 I pray you would give Judge Cushing a Hint, for in the Minds of some of the Southern Gentry, his Wig will be a greater objection to his perferment, than all the Madness & folly, to say no worse, of a Rutledge7
we have had an other ship Wreck, in the last week. Captain Barns in the ship Industery from London was cast away upon cape Ann & every soul on Board perish’d.8 the captain chest & the Log Book was Wash’d on shore by which the loss was discoverd. the Gale of wind blew only a few hours. we have not had one severe Snow Storm, yet more losses upon our coast than usual. I believe Captains grow more ventersome & dairing. if there were any Letters from our Sons they are all gone. I know not where to write to them. I long to hear of & from them.
{ 139 }
Is the Treaty arrived as report says?9
our Govenour makes his speach on twesday next so that I cannot send by this post.10 I have not got any Letters from you this week. I do not Doubt you have written, but the post office, or post has not Done its Duty. I write once a week, but have so little to entertain you with, that I feel sick of my Letter when I have written it. your Mother was here yesterday and is well for her. she sends her Love to you My Health has been better than the last winter. I Saw Mrs Brisler yesterday She went to Boston. she and Family were well. poor Arnold has been sick of a Plurisy fever & his Life despaired of for near a week. Polly watchd with him last night. he is rather better. We have not had any meeting for two sabbeths. Baxter Who is one of the Comittee says we have no occasion for preaching in the Winter. I hope he Does not imbibe the sentiment from his Minister.11 Remember to all inquiring Friends your affectionate
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. Jan. 15. Ansd 29 / 1796.”
1. Not found.
2. A report that Thomas Paine had died “at the house of the American minister in Paris, of an abscess in his right side” was widely reprinted in newspapers throughout the United States, including in the Boston Federal Orrery, 11 January. By 4 Feb. the Orrery had retracted the information, noting, “The English account of his death … must therefore be premature.” Paine lived until 1809.
3. “If plagues or earthquakes break not Heav’n’s design, / Why then a Borgia or a Catiline?” (Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man, Epistle I, lines 155–156).
4. “Guillotina; or, The Annual Song of the Tenth Muse,” Connecticut Courant, 4 Jan. 1796, lines 229–232. The author was likely Lemuel Hopkins.
5. “At Plymouth too, a string of boys, / About the Treaty made a noise, / Headed by master Henry Warren, / Like crows around some new-found carrion” (“Guillotina,” lines 197–200). For the debate over the Jay Treaty in Plymouth, see AA to JA, 3 Jan., and note 7, above.
6. Jonathan Pindar, a pseudonym for St. George Tucker, published a “Salutatory Ode” in the Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 30 Dec. 1795, that included a comment on JA’s wig: “Or, cou’d my love so far be turn’d to hate, / As to attack our Daddy-vice, so big, / His brain my shafts could never penetrate, / Lost in the bushy bulwark of his wig.” The piece also noted, “Whether the venerable figure here alluded to is so well convinced of the strength of his pericranium, as to dispense with that bulwark at present; or whether he is at length so far convinced of the absurdity of singularity, as to relinquish that favourite ornament, it is certain he has lately laid aside his wig.” JA sent the piece to AA in his letter of 30 Dec. (Adams Papers).
7. Southerners might have been expected to object to William Cushing’s nomination to become chief justice of the Supreme Court on account of his staunch Federalist views, but the Senate unanimously confirmed his appointment on 27 Jan. 1796. He declined the position on account of poor health.
Some years before, when first nominated to the Supreme Court, Cushing’s choice of wig apparently caused a stir on the streets of New York City. Cushing arrived wearing the great wig customary to royal judges in pre-Revolutionary Massachusetts, which sparked a procession of young boys to follow him, wondering who this great personage might { 140 } be. It was not until a sailor commented, “My eyes, what a wig!” that Cushing understood the problem. He thereafter wore a smaller peruke, though he insisted on retaining a tricornered hat (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 13:33–34, 35–36).
8. The ship Industry, Capt. Miles Barnes, owned by Thomas Lewis of Boston, wrecked on 11 Jan. off of Cape Ann, having sailed from Portsmouth, England, on 4 Nov. 1795. The eleven crew members, including the captain, were all lost (Massachusetts Mercury, 15 Jan. 1796; Newburyport, Mass., Political Gazette, 19 Jan.).
9. The Boston Columbian Centinel, 13 Jan., reported that a packet believed to be carrying the ratified Jay Treaty had arrived in New York. In fact, the treaty was carried on the ship General Pinckney, which reached Charleston, S.C., in late January. The formal proclamation of the treaty by George Washington was published on 1 March, the same day the treaty was laid before the House of Representatives (Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 17 Feb., 2 March).
10. See AA to JA, 21 Jan., and note 3, below.
11. Possibly Thompson Baxter (1779–1837)Capt. Thompson Baxter (1734–1813), with whom Rev. Anthony Wibird boarded. Wibird remained the minister at the First Church of Quincy until his death in June 1800, but he was unable to preach regularly for several years before that owing to ill health. The committee was likely one formed to seek out a permanent assistant for Wibird. While different men were offered the church, none consented until Rev. Peter Whitney accepted a call in early 1800 (Pattee, Old Braintree, p. 223–224; Sprague, Braintree Families).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0065

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-01-15

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

We have floods of rain but no frost nor Snow and very little news. The Democrats continue to pelt as you will See by the inclosed Political Chess.1 We go on as We always have done, for the three first months of the Session, distributing Business into the hands of Committees, meeting and adjourning. The Gallery finds little Entertainment in our Debates. We have Seldom more than 30 or 40 in it sometimes 4 or 5 and sometimes none at all.
The Treaty is again unaccountably delayed— We are not well Served. These disappointments frequently force from me a vain glorious boast in my own breast, which however I never utter but to you “It was not thus in my Day.”—and what is much more dear to my heart—“It is not thus where my Son is”—
The British Government appears to be driven to hard Shifts. They are hazarding a dangerous Bill, to Suppress Clubbs.2 I wish it may not weaken rather than Strengthen their hands. But restless Democracy Struggling for Aristocracy, will destroy itself and introduce Despotism as I fear. an Awful Struggle must however intervene.
1. “Political Chess, A New Song,” appeared in the Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 15 Jan., likening George Washington to the king in a chess match, with Alexander Hamilton as his queen, and promising to break their monarchical rule: “Then let us in Chorus undauntedly sing, / With our pawns we will certainly check-mate your king.” The { 141 } poem also derides JA for his role in the Washington administration and its acceptance of the Jay Treaty, rhyming, “In Pitt and in Adams your castles display, / Tho’ on opposite sides, they both move the same way, / Both advocate pow’r at the people’s expence, / And are both to the King a strong tow’r of defence.”
2. News had reached Philadelphia of Britain’s debate over the Treasonable and Seditious Practices Act and the Seditious Meetings Act, for which see JQA to TBA, 18 Nov. 1795, and note 7, above. The Philadelphia Gazette, 11 Jan. 1796, for instance, reported on an 11 Nov. 1795 meeting of the Whig Club of England to oppose the two acts, while the Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 13 Jan. 1796, reprinted the 10 Nov. 1795 debates in Parliament.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0066

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-01-20

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

This is one of my red Letter Days. It is the Anniversary of the Signature of the Declaration of an Armistice between The U.S. and G. Britain, in 1783.—1 There are Several of these Days in my Calandar, which I recollect as they pass in review, but which nobody else remembers. And indeed it is no otherwise worth my while to remember them than to render an Ejaculation of Gratitude to Providence for the Blessing.
We are wasting our Time in the most insipid manner waiting for the Treaty. Nothing of any Consequence will be done, till that arrives and is mauled and abused and then acquiessed in. For the Antis must be more numerous than I believe them and made of Sterner Stuff than I conceive, if they dare hazard the Surrender of the Posts and the Payment for Spoliations, by any Resolution of the House that shall render precarious the Execution of the Treaty on our Part.
I am as you Say quite a favourite— I am to dine to day again.— I am Heir Apparent you know and a Succession is soon to take Place. But whatever may be the Wish or the Judgment of the present Occupant, the French and the Demagagues intend I presume to set aside the <succession> Descent. all these hints must be Secrets—it is not a subject of Conversation as yet— I have a pious and a philosophical Resignation to the Voice of the People in this Case which is the Voice of God. I have no very ardent desire to be the Butt of Party Malevolence. Having tasted of that Cup I found it bitter nauseous and unwholesome.
I hope Copland will find his Six Loads to compleat the Meadow— and take the first opportunity to cart or sled the Manure from the Yard at home up to the Top of stony field Hill. The first season that { 142 } happens fit for ploughing should be employed in cross ploughing the Ground at home over the Way.
The News of my Mothers Arm growing better, has given me great Pleasure— of the four Barrells of flour I have shipped to you, present one of them to my Mother from me with my Duty and Affection.
Tell my Brother I hope he has seen his Error and become a better friend of Peace and good Government, than he has been somewhat inclined to be since the Promulgation of the Treaty.
I am with Affections as ever / your
[signed] J. A
though I have alluded to your Letter of Jan. 10 I have not before expressly acknowledged the Rect of it.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “Jan’ry 20 1796.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0067

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-01-21

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

a Memorable Day in the Annals of France; God forgive them, I would say. yet upon recuring to My Heart, I had a Doubt whether the petition was sincere the Scripture tells us that we must pray for our Enemies, but it does not say that we must pray, that they may not be punished according to their Deserts.1
The post of this Day brought Me the Letters of two posts viz Yours of Jan’ry 2d 5th 7th 8th & 12th The transcript from our Sons Letter, as well as his Letter gave me Sincere pleasure2 I hope you communicated it to the President. if he needed any further proof to convince him of the corrupt System, & of the agents employd to abuse and calumniate him, this Letter is a key to him. every thing there predicted has taken place exactly as foretold.
Some communications in your Letters are a source of much anxiety to me. My Ambition leads me not to be first in Rome, and the Event You request me to contemplate is of so serious a Nature that it requires much reflection & deliberation to determine upon it. there is not a beam of Light, nor a shadow of comfort or pleasure in the contemplation of the object. if personal considerations alone were to weigh, I should immediatly say retire with the Principle. I can only say that circumstances must Govern You. in a matter of such Momentous concern, I dare not influence You. I must Pray { 143 } that you may have Superiour Direction. as to holding the office of V P, there I will give my opinion. Resign retire. I would be Second under no Man but Washington.
At Length you have the speach of a poor weak old Man, Superanuated indeed and fearing a shadow. the Virgina resolutions had been sent him, and it seems he was in favour of them as far as he dared to avow them, and declares in his speach, [“]that the Treaty is pregnant with evil that it controuls some of the powers specially vested in congress for the Security of the people, and he fears that it may restore to great Britain such an influence over the Government and people of this Country, as may not be consistant with the general Welfare.”3
How came the President of the united states and the 20 Senators not to make this discovery? Surely they would no more have ratified such a Treaty, than mr Jay have made it, if they had viewd it in this light.
I think he had better have left it, unnoticed than have come out in this manner, but it shews fully that the powers of his mind are unequal to enlarged views, and that he is under the influence of the Clubs— the Senate would not commit the Virginia Resolutions, and in the House 56 to 24 were against commiting them. I am told the house will be Fœderel.4
I hope you will write to our sons by every opportunity, and send them all the intelligence You can
we have had a fine fall of snow which will enable our people to compleat getting home wood if it last. I have not read peter yet, because I sit down to write you immediatly.5 My finger is recovering, and My Health as usual. I hope we shall Soon get more Letters from abroad. I have my Eye upon Sieyes. I believe I construed his refusal to be one of the five, right. when we See the intrigues the Ambition the Envy the Malice and ingratitude of the World, who would not rather, retire and live unnoticed in a country Village, than stand the Broad Mark for all those arrows to be shot at placed upon a pinicle
but I have Done. upon My pillow I shall reflect fear and tremble, and pray that the President of the united states may long long continue to hold the Reigns of Government, and that his Valuable Life may be prolongd for that purpose. I am most affectionatly / Your
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. Jan 21. ansd / Feb. 2. 1796.”
{ 144 }
1. The anniversary of the execution of Louis XVI; see vol. 9:xvi–xvii, 391.
2. JA’s letter of 8 Jan. to AA extracts a letter from JQA to Timothy Pickering dated 15 Oct. 1795 detailing JQA’s plans to go to London to complete the exchange of ratifications of the Jay Treaty. JA’s 12 Jan. 1796 letter largely repeats news JA had already sent to AA but also enclosed JQA’s letter of 31 Aug. 1795, for which see JA to JQA, 25 Aug., note 5, above (both Adams Papers).
3. Samuel Adams’ speech to the Mass. General Court on 19 Jan. 1796 included the usual thanks to Providence for prosperity and comment on agriculture and commerce. But Adams also questioned the mechanism the U.S. Constitution created for approving treaties. Before commenting directly on the treaty, in the quotation AA reproduces here, he opined, “I am far from being desirous that unnecessary alterations of our Constitution, should be proposed: But it is of great consequence to the liberties of a nation, to review its civil Constitution and compare the practice of its Administrators, with the essential principles upon which it is founded.” Both houses of the General Court responded by acknowledging positively most of the speech but reaffirming, “The business of making Treaties being expressly delegated to the federal Government, by the Constitution of the United States, we consider a respectful submission on the part of the People to the legal decisions of the constituted authorities, to be the surest means of enjoying and perpetuating the invaluable blessings of our free & representative Government” (Boston Columbian Centinel, 20 Jan.; Mass., Acts and Laws, 1794–1795, p. 513–516). The speech first appeared in the Philadelphia newspapers in the Philadelphia Gazette, 29 January.
4. The Boston Federal Orrery, 21 Jan., reported the same information about the Mass. General Court’s vote on the Virginia resolutions recommending constitutional amendments but gave the vote in the house of representatives as 24 in favor and 59 opposed.
5. That is, Peter Porcupine; see JA to AA, 7 Jan., and note 1, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0068

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Pitcairn, Joseph
Date: 1796-01-21

Thomas Boylston Adams to Joseph Pitcairn

[salute] Dear Sir.

Your favor from Paris of the 9th. Instant has been some days in hand.1 I thank you sincerely for the intelligence both public & private contained in it.
The florishing state of our American Commerce is a sufficient indication of our growing prosperity; it is if possible, perhaps too rapid for our benefit, though it might be difficult to inspire our Countrymen with such a belief.
Upon the subject of the disaster you speak of, I have heard only vague reports, & those through Channels which at least justified doubts as to their credibility. It would afford me satisfaction to be informed of the whole truth upon that affair, as it is of a nature particularly interesting.
The English Minister apparently holds the purse-strings of the Nation for the present. It is natural that the great Capitalists should seek some means of employment for their money in a time of War, when the ordinary sources of profitable speculation are obstructed, & perhaps a Loan to the Government is now the most eligible that { 145 } exists. Will they be equally ready after a peace to enable the Government to fulfill the engagements now, & heretofore contracted? I conceive the day of payment, as the only one to be dreaded by the English Nation. They are enriching themselves with the Conquests made of the fairest possessions of this Country in the East Indies; by the sale of Dutch Vessels detained in their ports, and these circumstances may strengthen the arguments of Ministry for a continuance of the War. Nevertheless a disposition for peace seems to be discoverable among the people, & the Government declares itself ready to hear terms of negotiation for that object. You can better judge than I can what degree of sincerity there is in such a declaration.
The only intelligence I can give you of this Country is, that a National Convention is shortly to assume the Government here. The Provinces however are yet divided in opinion with respect to the propriety of this change, & what number of them will form the Republic one & indivisible is not certainly known.
True, I think with you that my connections are in a fair way of becoming respectable in numbers at least; especially if the nuptial beds of the young should be productive in proportion to the fruitfulness of the old stock. I wish them all happiness & prosperity.
I shall be ready at all times to render any service in my power which may be required of me by Mr Beeldemaker or any other person, upon your acct: I need not add that an occasion of verifying the sincerity of this offer will make me happy.
The Box of Books forwarded by your obliging attention, was received some time since in good order. It preceded your letter, enclosing the Bill of lading, several weeks.2
Should I have occasion for your services at Paris, I shall solicit them with the same freedom with which they are tendered.
With much esteem I am Dear Sir / Your very humble sert
[signed] Thomas B Adams.
RC (OCHP:Joseph Pitcairn Letters, Mss qP682 RM, Box 1, item 1); addressed: “Mr: Joseph Pitcairn / Paris.”; endorsed: “Hague 21 Jany 1796 / Thos. B. Adams / Rd Paris 27 Jany 1796 / And. Paris 2 Feby 1796.”
1. The letter has not been found. Pitcairn, originally from New York, was at this time U.S. vice consul at Paris. In 1797 JA would appoint him the U.S. consul at Hamburg (U.S. Senate, Exec. Jour., 3d Cong., 2d sess., p. 164; 5th Cong., 2d sess., p. 253, 254).
2. TBA noted in his Diary that he had received a list of books from Paris on 24 Dec. 1795 (M/TBA/2, APM Reel 282).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0069

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-01-23

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

No 1 for the year 96

[salute] my Dear son

I came to Town yesterday, and find a vessel going to sail for England tomorrow, and I would not let the opportunity pass without writing You a few Lines.1 I have not received a line from You since the 31 of July. Your Father sent me by the last post from Philadelphia Your Letter no 12 dated the 30 of August which he received two Days before.2 that Letter further unfolds the Secreet Machinations of a party, who have been endeavouring to accomplish all that you have predicted. Randolphs detection has however baffeld their schemes, and laid open to the people the intrigues of a party, Which had gained too much influence even over Men of good minds and Hearts. it was not untill I read Randolphs Vindication, or as My Friend Mrs Powel of Philadelphia calls it, crimination; that I could give up the Man. I always supposed him weak & wavering, but I did not think him Treacherous. I send you his Book of which he has obtained a coppy Right. You will judge for yourself I send you Camillus as far as it is Printed in a pamphlet.3 if I was at home I could get the Newspapers containing the Numbers to 39 I think which I have not Sent you. by Scot you had to 24. Your Father, knowing how anxious I was to hear from you, made an extract from the last Dispatch of yours No 55 to the Secretary of State, Dated at the Hague october 15, in which you mention that it is Your intention to go to England between the 20 & 25th.4 I presume You are there at present, and if you are You will be happy in meeting Several of your old American Friend’s You will learn from some of them the state of Politicks here. the Heat & Warmth which had been excited against the Treaty, made every one suppose that Congress would come together in no very plesent humour. the speach of the President, which as usual, was an excellent one was answerd by the senate, with affection & confidence the House was pretty federel. as yet no great warmth has taken place in either House. Your Father writes me that the Senate are as firm as a Rock, and the new Member Mr Walton from Gorgia is an accession to their Strength. the Virtuous Ten as they are Dub’d hang together and you will see their Names in every antifederel motion. thus they were for erasing from the senate answer to the President Speach, that part, which expresst their undiminished confidence in him.
{ 147 }
The state of New hampshire Pensilvana & Maryland by their Legislatures have exprest their approbation of the Treaty, and their unshaken confidence in the President.5 This state is now in session and poor old Samuell has made a decripid Speach, quite antifederel. tis said that it will be his political Death for the senate & House are very Federel as you will see by their answers, and by their rejecting the Mad Virginna Resolutions for altering the constitution
Fauchett intercepted Letter has been the Means of great good, and the Country is now more united and Federel than at any period for the last three years.
our Friends here in Town all desire to be rememberd to you. We had to Day at mr smiths one of the old Family meetings, of mr storers & Dr Welchs Family. You I dare say can picture to yourself the happy circle and sigh for the enjoyment. your Frind now Dr Clark was here. I heard to day from Washington that mr Cranch has a son.6 I had Letters to day from your sister her Family have been sick with the Measles, but are all recovering.7 our Friends at Quincy are well. your Grand Mother desires me never to forget her Love and her blessing to you.
Captain Barnard who goes a passenger in this Vessel will deliver this to you, with some newspapers he used to Do me kind offices in this way when I was in England. you will notice him if you see him
I have been careless in omitting to Number my Letters, but I have written you many times since I received a Line from you
The Miniatures are my delight. no present could have been so acceptable to me, and they are pronounced good likenesses by every one who sees them. I will write to my Dear Son Thomas if the Vessel should be delayd. if I cannot, Do you convey my blessing to him. Charles was well and very happy when I heard from him. his buisness increasing. I hope he will Do well. I think sometimes whilst I have Bread enough, I fear my children may want. Famine is a scourge with which Americans have never been afflicted. God Grant they never may
Present me kindly to mr & mrs Copley, and be assured of the tenderest affection of / Your Mother
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “My Mother. / 23. Jany: 1796. Boston. / 14. March do: recd: / 21. Ansd:.” Tr (Adams Papers).
1. Possibly the brig Elizabeth, Capt. Samuel Foster (Massachusetts Mercury, 19 Jan.).
2. That is, JQA’s letter to AA of 30 July 1795, above; for his 31 Aug. letter to JA, see JA to JQA, 25 Aug., note 5, and AA to JA, 21 Jan. 1796, and note 2, both above.
3. Copies of both Edmund Randolph’s Vindication of Mr. Randolph’s Resignation and { 148 } Alexander Hamilton’s Defence of the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation are in JQA’s library at MQA.
4. See AA to JA, 21 Jan., and note 2, above.
5. The Penn. senate, in its 11 Dec. 1795 response to Gov. Thomas Mifflin’s address at the opening of the legislative session, particularly highlighted its “unshaken confidence in the wisdom, the integrity, the firmness, the moderation, and the patriotism, of the President of the United States.” In Feb. 1796 the Penn. senate would also take up consideration of Virginia’s proposed constitutional amendments, for which see JA to AA, 24 Dec. 1795, and note 3, above. Soundly rejecting Virginia’s resolutions, the senate argued that Virginia had failed to follow the procedures set out in the U.S. Constitution and suggested that “amidst the eminent advantages derived from the present system, and before any substantial inconveniences are felt therefrom, to make important alterations in the constitution, would be to relinquish principles established by experience, in order to follow opinions founded only in theory, and to expose the welfare of the people to hazard” (Journal of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Commencing on Tuesday, the First Day of December, in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-Five, Phila., 1796, p. 29, 102–103, Evans, No. 30980).
6. William Greenleaf Cranch, the first child of William and Anna Greenleaf Cranch, was born on 11 Jan. 1796 (Greenleaf, Greenleaf Family, p. 222). A letter from the Cranches to AA around this time has not been found.
7. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0070

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-01-23

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I have nothing to write you at this moment but Scandal, and that about one of our Connections and Acquaintances, in whose Character and Fortunes Several of our near Relations and kind Friends are deeply interested for which Reason I write in Confidence and pray that Calumny if it is such may not be propagated from me nor in my name.
It is reported here in Company of senators and others of Senatorial Dignity that Mr Greenleaf by Virtue of a Connecticut Divorce in Imitation of Captain Beal is about to marry Nancy Allen.1
It is also reported that Mr Greenleaf has taken Advantage of the Gullability of the Boston Speculators in whose Estimation Dollars seem of no more Value than Cents ought to be to make an enormous hall of fishes to the amount of half a Million of Dollars by a very Artful Sale of shares at a monstrous Price in a purchase he made of Mr Gun of Georgia Lands at a very trifling one.2
The House of Representatives will do no Business with any Spirit before the Treaty arrives. The disaffected are intriguing but accounts from all quarters are very discouraging to them. We have been very unfortunate in the Delays which have Attended the Dispatches of our Ambassadors.— Very Lucky Mr John Quincy Adams, that you are not liable to criticism upon this occasion! this Demurrage would have been charged doubly, both to your Account and that of your Father. It would have been a Scheme! a Trick a design a { 149 } Contrivance. From hatred to France, Attachment to England, monarchical Maneuvres and Aristocratical Cunning! Oh how eloquent they would have been.
The Southern Gentry are playing at present a very artful Game, which I may devellope to you in Confidence hereafter, under the Seal of Secrecy. Both in Conversation and in Letters they are representing the Vice President as a Man of Moderation. Although rather inclined to limited Monarchy and somewhat Attached to the English, he is much less so that Jay or Hamilton— For their Parts for the sake of Conciliation they should be very Willing he should be continued as Vice President, provided the Northern Gentlemen would consent that Jefferson should be President. I most humbly thank you for your kind Condescension, Messieurs Transcheasapeaks.
Witness my Hand
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A.”; endorsed: “Janry 23 1796.”
1. James Greenleaf did divorce his first wife, Antonia Cornelia Elbertine Scholten van Aschat, and eventually married Anne (Nancy) Penn Allen but not until April 1800. Capt. Benjamin Beale Sr. (1702–1793) had divorced his second wife, Hannah Baxter, in the 1760s after she allegedly eloped while he was serving in the army (Greenleaf, Greenleaf Family, p. 217; Sprague, Braintree Families). For more on James Greenleaf, see Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 10, above.
2. Greenleaf was heavily involved in Georgia land speculation, reputedly in close ties with Sen. James Gunn of Georgia. Gunn had helped to push a law through the Georgia legislature allowing for the purchase of vast tracts of Georgia lands, known as the Yazoo land grants, by four land companies. Of these land grants, Greenleaf purchased more than 13 million acres in Aug. 1795 and sold them again to Boston and New York speculators. In addition, in Feb. 1796, he sold the entire holdings of the Georgia Mississippi Company, one of the four land grant companies, to another group of northeastern speculators for more than a million dollars. Much of this land never actually existed—its boundaries were based on fraudulent surveys—and shortly after these sales, legal challenges led to the rescinding of the act authorizing the sale (Abernethy, The South in the New Nation, p. 136–152). See also AA to JA, 14 Feb., below.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0071

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1796-01-25

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My Dear Brother.

I believe there have been two or three opportunities of writing to the Hague since I received your favour of the 23d: ulto: which have escaped me. This circumstance is not to be attributed entirely to indolence or inattention on my part: in fact I have been very unwell, and for the last three weeks have scarcely taken a pen in hand. My previous correspondence from hence I think will bear no marks of laziness, Its quantity being equal to that of the busiest times when I had the benefit of your assistance.
My former letters will inform you that the articles in the { 150 } newspapers giving me a Commission to this Court were false. All the powers by virtue of which I acted here, are superseded by the return of Mr: Pinckney: but I have still to wait for a letter from America, which is hourly to be expected, and I hope to see you in a fortnight or three weeks from this time at furthest.1
In the mean time the affairs mentioned in your letters may remain in statu quo.— The protracted impediments to the payment of the bill on Dallarde and Swan, are very unpleasant, and strike me as a little singular; but they certainly did not arise from any fault of ours.
I have procured the articles mentioned in your list, and will send them by the first convenient opportunity that shall offer, or bring them myself.
You have some newspapers herewith conformably to your request. The present is a time of stagnation in political concerns. The armistice on the Rhine has revived the hopes of Peace, which are rather fostered and encouraged by the ministerial partizans.
Our Accounts from America to the 20th: of December, promise rather fairer from the Session of Congress than has been expected by many. God in Heaven grant, that they may finally harmonize in the support of our National honour and Justice, from which our National Peace and Prosperity are inseparable.
Remember me to all our friends and particularly to M. Bielfeld.
Your affectionate brother
[signed] John Q. Adams.
RC (MBU:Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Richards Manuscript Coll.); internal address: “T. B. Adams Esqr”; endorsed: “J Q Adams Esqr / 25 Jany 1796 / 9 Feby Recd: / 29 Answd.” FC-Pr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 131.
1. On 14 Jan. JQA had written to TBA to inform him that Thomas Pinckney had arrived back in England and that JQA, accordingly, “shall take the first opportunity to return to the Hague, and hope to see you in the course of a week or ten days” (FC-Pr, APM Reel 131).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0072

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-01-26

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Yesterday I came to Senate as usual on a monday morning pleasing my Imagination and my heart with the hope and Expectation of a Letter from—my dearest Friend. No Letter for The Vice President Says Mathers!1
All Day in bad humour—dirty Weather—wet walking—nothing good—nothing right.
{ 151 }
The poor Post Offices did not escape—it was some blunder—some carlessness of theirs—in Philadelphia—New York or Boston
Or Perhaps Mam is Sick—Oh dear! Rhumatisms—Oh dear! Fever & Ague! Thus peevishly fretfully and unphilosophically was Yesterday passed. Yet to devert it I read a Number of Books in Cowpers Homer and Smoaked I know not how many Segars.2
I have had the Agreable Society of Josiah Quincy & Martin Lincoln, to assist in consoling me a little of late.3
There is absolutely nothing to write public nor private but such as the above— Adieu
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs. A.”
1. James Mathers (1750–1811) was originally from Ireland. He served as the doorkeeper of the Continental Congress from 1788 to 1789 and of the U.S. Senate from 1789 until his death (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 5:239).
2. That is, William Cowper’s translation of The Iliad and Odyssey of Homer, 2 vols., London, 1791.
3. Martin Lincoln (1769–1837), son of Gen. Benjamin Lincoln, managed his father’s estates and, with his brother Theodore, built the Cape Cod Lighthouse under the direction of their father, who served as supervisor of lighthouses (History of Hingham, 3:12; David B. Mattern, Benjamin Lincoln and the American Revolution, Columbia, S.C., 1995, p. 188, 216).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0073

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-01-29

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

Yesterday which was Post Day from the Eastward I was disappointed again of a Letter and went pesting all the day long against the Post office. But this morning has produced me yours of the 15th which informs me that you meet with similar Dissappointments. There has not one Post parted from Philadelphia for Boston Since I have been here without a Letter from me to You. Wednesdays and Saturdays are the only ones when the Mail is made up for Boston & Quincy and I make a Point of never Suffering one of them to pass without a Letter. Your Letters are the greatest Pleasure of my Life here—but in your last not one Word about the Farm.
Mr Langworthy and Dr Bollman have called upon me this Week and are both intelligent Men1
I have read this Week Dr styles’s History of Whalley Goffe, Dixwell and Whale2 and Governor Adams’s Spech to the General Court and I find them both melancholly Examples of superannuation. In the Speech I see the fruit of old Spite against Washington Jay and Old England as well as weak Affectation of Popularity. Personal Malice against Men or Countries, has either no Existence in my { 152 } heart, or they are suppressed & overawed by a decisive sentiment of their Antichristian and Antiphilosophical and Antimoral Turpitude & Deformity. Yet I cannot answer for myself that my shaking hands and trembling Lips may not expose to the World Weakness, folly and Wickedness as gross as this, if I should live to advanced Age. Reflections like these determine me at all Events to retire from the public stage in good Season.
Pray are our Plymouth Friends become Frenchified as well as Antifederal. If they Avow such Opinions as you hear, although I shall never disturb their Repose, I shall never have any Confidence in them. But Doatage appears to me from every quarter among my Old Friends.—
Our Grand Children are all well thro the <small> Meazles as Col smith writes me and I hear from Travellers who have lately been entertained at that Hospitable House—3 May the Means as well as Disposition be long continued—
You have lost prescious Letters from the Hague and London I doubt not in the late shipwrecks— I have none since that of the 30 of septr which I inclosed to you.4
We shall have a flood of News at once, by and by from France Holland England and &c
I hope our Mass. House & senate will correct the old Doatard— if they dont they deserve the Confusion & every evil Work to which his impudent Speech directly tends— Yours affectionately as ever
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “Jan’ry 29th / 1796.”
1. William Langworthy (d. 1798), an Englishman, was the author of An Attempt to Promote the Commercial Interests of Great Britain, Bath, 1793. WSS described him to JA as “a Gent. of Science and abilities, who has been invited to this Country, as a proper theatre for the exercise of his talents” (21 Jan., Adams Papers). A copy of Langworthy’s book, apparently presented by the author and extensively annotated by JA, is at MH-H.
Justus Erich Bollman (or Bollmann, 1769–1821), a German physician from Hanover, was best known at the time for his participation in an attempt to liberate the Marquis de Lafayette from the Austrian fortress of Olmütz, where he had been imprisoned since May 1794. On 8 Nov. 1795, with the help of Bollman and Francis Kinloch Huger of South Carolina, Lafayette escaped but was injured in the effort and quickly recaptured. Bollman and Huger were also captured and served several months in prison for their actions. Bollman was released on condition he leave Austria, and in early 1796 he came to the United States, where he pursued various business ventures (DAB; Bayard Tuckerman, Life of General Lafayette, 2 vols., N.Y., 1889, 2:95, 98, 99–103).
2. Ezra Stiles, A History of Three of the Judges of King Charles I, Hartford, Conn., 1794, Evans, No. 27743. Stiles’ work is a history of Edward Whalley (d. 1675?), William Goffe (1605?–1679?), and John Dixwell (d. 1689), the judges who ordered the execution of King Charles I. They were forced to flee to America after the Restoration and lived out their lives in New England. The book also contains the story of Theophilius { 153 } Whale (ca. 1616 – ca. 1719), “of Narragansett, supposed to have been one of the judges.”
3. WSS wrote to JA on 21 Jan. primarily to introduce William Langworthy but also mentioning the good health of AA2 and their children. JA also wrote to AA2 on this date, forwarding a letter from AA, not found, and commenting on Samuel Adams’ recent speech to the Mass. General Court. The speech prompted JA to consider his own old age: “It is an awful reflection that every weakness, every folly, every resentful, vindictive, malignant passion of the heart, which, in the vigour of understanding, may be corrected or suppressed, must break out and show itself to the world and posterity, from the trembling lips and shaking hands of seventy or eighty years. May my farm and family only be witnesses of my dotages when they must arrive; may they forgive and veil them from public view” (Adams Papers; AA2, Jour. and Corr., 2:144–145).
4. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0074

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-01-31

Charles Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Mother

My Sister informs me that you have not lately heard from your sons in Holland and that you were anxious respecting them. I am happy to have it in my power to relieve your mind and to relate the cause of your not receiving intelligence from them. I have within these six weeks received a half a dozen letters from them some of a date as late as the 7th of October They are in good health and spirits. Some of my letters have come to hand eight months after date opened and with the Gentlemanly endorsment: “Of No importance.”1 Mr Rensalaer to whom I gave letters to my Brothers on his return from Holland was taken by The British and carried into Halifax he has explained to me the cause of my letters being opened. He brought with him many from my brothers they were all opened and kept except two one to Mrs Smith and one to me which by good fortune he had in his pocket book.2 He says The English let nothing pass that suits their convenience We have the happiness to see the spirit of good government once more prevail in our Legislature and that Hydra Democracy has received its last blow. Our State politics have changed with our Governor and we have a well grounded hope that they will remain permanent as by a late census the new Counties who are most Federal will be more equitably represented. Your kind present arrived after a long passage in good order You daughter joins with me in acknowledgments of your goodness. She intends writing soon I can say with truth that I have never repented of my choice and that my happiness with her equals all my expectations. I believe there are few people who after five month marriage can say as much.—
Your affectionate son
[signed] Charles Adams
{ 154 }
1. RC’s of JQA’s letters to CA from this time period have not been found. LbC’s of JQA’s letters of 6 July 1795 and 15 Sept., which also includes an internal dateline of 5 Oct., are printed above; a separate letter of 7 Oct. has not been found.
2. For two of the letters carried by Robert Van Rensselaer, see JQA to AA2, 15 April, and to CA, 16 April, vol. 10:408–414.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0075

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-01-31

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I have a secret to Communicate to Your Prudence. The Defence by Camillus was written in Concert between Hamilton King and Jay. The Writings on the first ten Articles of the Treaty were written by Hamilton The rest by King, till they came to the question of the Constitutionality of the Treaty, which was discussed by Hamilton— Jay was to have written a concluding Peroration: but being always a little lazy and perhaps concluding upon the whole that it might be most politick to keep his Name out of it, and perhaps finding that the Work was already well done he neglected it. This I have from Kings own mouth.— It is to pass however for Hamiltons. All three consulted together upon most if not all the Pieces.
Another Piece of History of a very different kind. You knew Dr Redman, the Manager of the Assembly. The smiling the genteel the well bred—the Gentleman like—the I dont know what—The Judge of some Court here— He went off this Morning in a stage in disgrace, to the southward— This he choose rather than open his Veins Pro more Roma novum.— Alass poor human nature! He has been slandered, with Imputations of something like what they call in London Ladys Pillage—of a very gross kind however—with so much success, that a voluntary Banishment is considered as a very humane & clement Punishment. I hate such subjects and therefore cannot and would not, if I could give you the details—1
I read forever, and am determined to sacrifice my Eyes like John Milton rather than give up the Amusement without which I should despair2
If I did not with you consider the Universe as all one Family, I would never stay another day here.
I have read four thick Octavo Volumes of Tacitus translated by Murphy,3 One thick Volume of Homers Iliad translated by Cowper, besides a multitude of Pamphlets & Newspapers, since I have been here. I dont write enough. The Habit of Writing should not be lost as I loose it—
{ 155 }
Peter Pindar has it right

Search We the Spot which mental power contains?

Go where Man gets his living by his Brains.4

If I had got my Living by my Brains for seven Years past I should have had more mental Power.— But Brains have not only been Useless but even hurtful and pernicious in my Course— Mine have been idle a long time—till they are rusty.—
Dr Bollman has given me an Account of his Intrigue to Liberate Fayette: for which I have heard a hint that he expects some office—Entre nous—But he will be disappointed— Fayettes disinterested unpaid services will cost Us very dear— Your son has already advanced to his Wife three hundred Guineas. Which I hope & suppose will be reimbursed to him.5
Mischief always and Villany often lurks under Pretensions and Professions of service without Pay.
With affections which No time nor / Space will abate
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “Janry 31 1796.”
1. Joseph Redman, an associate judge of the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, was also one of the managers of the City Dancing Assembly. Redman resigned his judgeship for unspecified reasons on 25 January. He may have later resided in Montgomery, Maryland (Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 21 Sept. 1795; Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 9 Nov.; Penna. Archives, 9th ser., 2:1062 [1931]; 1800 U.S. Census, Md., Montgomery, District 1, p. 216).
2. Although John Milton attributed his poor eyesight in part to excessive studying when younger, modern scholars have not settled on a definitive diagnosis. Suggested causes include glaucoma, retinal detachment, or an intracranial tumor. For a summary of these theories, see George B. Bartley, “The Blindness of John Milton,” Documenta Ophthalmologica, 89:22–23, 25–28 (1995).
3. Tacitus, Works, transl. Arthur Murphy, 4 vols., Dublin, 1794. A copy of the set is in JA’s library at MB (Catalogue of JA’s Library).
4. Peter Pindar, “Hair Powder; A Plaintive Epistle to Mr. Pitt,” lines 185–186.
5. Marie Adrienne Françoise de Noailles, Marquise de Lafayette, had requested 300 louis d’or ($1333.20) from JQA in a letter of 17 Jan. 1795. JQA supplied the money, ostensibly on behalf of the U.S. government, and had been trying to obtain reimbursement for it since the previous July. As of Aug. 1796, he was still seeking to recover the money (Adams Papers; JQA to Edmund Randolph, 3 July 1795, LbC, Reel 127; JQA to Thomas Pinkney, 12 Aug. 1796, LbC, APM Reel 129).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0076

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1796-01-31

John Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] Dear son

A fat Sleekheaded young Gentleman was here last Week or the Week before who told me he knew you, that you were well that you had a good share of Business: that your disposition was so amiable that People were fond of throwing Business into your hands &c— All { 156 } this was Musick in my Ears— I know not his name but am told he is a Limb of the Law in your City.
According to Peter Pindar Business is the best Life.

The Man to Titles and to Riches born

Amid the World of science how forlorn!

To Speak, to think, unable, mark his Air!

Heavens what an Ideot gape & Ideot stare!

Though Lord of millions, gilt with Titles o’er

A Statue in a Library!—no more!

Search We the Spot which mental Power contains!

Go where Man gets his living by his Brains.1

As you, my son are under the Necessity of getting your Living and the Support of your Family by your Brains, you are in the fairest Way to obtain Mental Power, according to Peter and according to Truth.
Our Country affords a thousand Objects by which Profits and fortunes may be made, by a Mind that is awake and looks about it, by an Industry that is constant and a Prudence that is never off its guard.
I have had innumerable Opportunities in the Course of my Life, which the public Circumstances of the Country and the Delicacy of my Engagements in them have induced me to forego. I am now too old— But there is no Reason that my Children should starve them Selves because I have fasted. I hope, that never departing from Honour Integrity or Humanity they will however attend more to their private Interests than I have done.
I send you a little Volume, for which I was solicited to be a subscriber2 and am with / Love to Mrs Adams / your Affectionate
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:Seymour Coll.); internal address: “Charles Adams Esq.”
1. Peter Pindar, “Hair Powder; A Plaintive Epistle to Mr. Pitt,” lines 171–176, 185–186.
2. Possibly Zephaniah Swift’s A System of the Laws of the State of Connecticut, 2 vols., Windham, Conn., 1795–1796, Evans, No. 31260. Another copy is in JA’s library at MB (Catalogue of JA’s Library).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0077

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-02-02

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I recd yesterday yours of 21. and 25 Jan.1 The Senate and House of Massachusetts without any flights or flashes in their Answer to the { 157 } Governors Spech have discovered a Gravity, Wisdom, Firmness and Dignity as much to their honour as it is to the Consolation of the Sober and impartial Part of the Community and the humiliation of all the corrupt and distracted.
I See daily So many affecting Proofs of the debilitating Power of Age, that I pity an old Man when he exposes himself. I had Yesterday a Scæne in my own Chamber, which moved the tender feelings of my heart for a Friend advanced in Years, not many however beyond my own. I feel bold and Strong myself, tho my hands shake but my Age admonishes me to have a Care.
It is devoutly to be wished that the Massachusetts had a Governor capable of diffusing his Thoughts over fifteen states and seeing their Dependences on each other as well as their Relations with foreign Nations. Mr Adams cannot. His Pride and Vanity are vastly more extensive than his Abilities. He always had a contracted Mind—tho a subtle and a bold one. He never was over honest nor over candid. He will lie a little for his own Vanity and more for his Party, and as much as a Spartan for his notions of the public good.
Judge Cushing declines the Place of Chief Justice on Account of his Age and declining Health.
Let not my Communications worry thee. I am unchangeably determined to serve Under no other than Washington. Telemachus Says to the Suitors. 1. Odyssey. 490 &c

I am not averse

From Kingly cares if Jove appoint me Such.2

I will not resist Jupiter— I will resign to his Will. If his Will is that that any other should be president I know his Will also is that I should be a Farmer—for he has given me an understanding and a heart, which ought not and cannot and will not bow under Jefferson nor Jay nor Hamilton. It would be wicked in me. It would be countenancing Tyranny Corruption & Villany in the People.
I am &c
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “Febry 2 1796.”
1. AA’s letter of 21 Jan. is above. On 25 Jan. she wrote JA a short note commenting on the Mass. General Court’s response to Samuel Adams’ speech and requesting that a payment be made to John Briesler (Adams Papers).
2. Homer, Odyssey, transl. William Cowper, Book I, lines 492–493.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0078

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-02-03

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

Yours of Jan’ry 20th reachd me the last post. there appears a universal pause. We do not get any thing from abroad, and the State Legislature are so federal that no warmth or altercation is to be heard or seen Congress are lying upon their oars, not hatching mischief I hope. the Chronical & Aurora join issue, and go on With their Mad rant, which is totally disregarded.1 the people have in general learnd how to estimate their contents
I believe a Subject which will excite all their feelings, is not thought of, or contemplated any more than if it could not happen. I Spent a week in Boston in the last Month, but did not hear a sugestion of the kind from any quarter but Knox; he came and sit down by me, and told me what you had before written me. I replied to him, that Such a report had prevaild the year before the last, & the last Year and I hoped it had as little foundation in Truth now as then. he said He believed nothing short of a storm which should Shake the constitution to its center, would alter the determination. I replied to him that it was a weighty and serious subject to the people, the concequences could not be foreseen, and I hoped the P——t had not taken his determination unalterably as this past in a kind of a whisper. I changd the Subject as soon as I could. I askd no questions, nor intimated that the Subject had reach’d me from any quarter, but as a former Rumour it is a subject which I tremble to think of. I am sure that it is a Momentous one, if Such is the determination. I should Suppose a suggestion of the kind would have been directly communicated to you.
the Government Stands firmer I believe for the shocks which it has received. the politicks of a foreign Nation are well understood in this State.
I had yesterday an application to me for the Quincy Farm, a son of Deacon Frenchs with his Brother in Law Bowditch.2 Your Brother Says they are both Smart Men. they proposed taking it jointly, if the terms were agreable. I told them as near as I could recollet and attended to some minuts you left. I have a person who talks of taking the Thayer Farm. they have it under consideration. Your directions to Copland will be attended to. We have Snow, and it is fine getting home the wood to what it is by carting. Copland & Joy are desirious of compleating that which they have nearly Done;
{ 159 }
We are all well. Your Mothers arm is growing better Daily
There have been some cracks in the Brittle Ware at Boston. two pr cent pr Month for large Sums of Money, will require great gains to hold up long.3
Mr Lamb as I Supposed had Letters from our sons which he put in his own trunk with a promise of delivering. they were all lost.
Remember me kindly to Mrs Washington & to Mrs Otis, and be assured / of the tenderest affection / of your
[signed] A Adams—
p s no mail to the Southard of N York this week so I Shall get no Letters. I suppose the ice in the north River the cause.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. Feb. 3. ansd 15 / 1796.”
1. Both the Boston Independent Chronicle and the Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser took stances strongly opposed to the Jay Treaty and the Washington administration and in favor of the French Revolution. They each occasionally reprinted items from the other’s pages; see, for instance, Independent Chronicle, 11, 21 Jan., and Aurora General Advertiser, 9, 26 January.
2. Moses French Jr. (1769–1842) and Jonathan Bowditch (ca. 1763–1847), a cordwainer, were married to Eunice and Rebecca Vinton, respectively (Sprague, Braintree Families).
3. Others agreed with AA’s assessment. The Boston Gazette, 25 Jan., noted even higher rates of return, complaining, “No trade in the world can sustain the enormous premiums of 1, 2 and 3 per Cent a week, that is now given for money, and it is a strong argument against all those fallacious and pompous accounts of the ‘happy state of the Country,’ and must soon in the winding up of things, prove embarrasment, distress and ruin.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0079

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-02-06

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

You Say you have no desire to be the first, and I cannot say that it is desirable: but according to all present appearances you will either be the first or among the last in another thirteen months. I would not distress myself to obtain the Priviledge of carrying an heavier Load than any of my fellow Labourers: but if the Fates destine one to attempt it it would be dastardly to Shrink if it were in ones Power. The Question ought to be whether the Forces of Nature are adequate at this age. They may possibly hold out one or two heats. I will not by any Pusillanimous Retreat throw this Country into the arms of a foreign Power, into a certain War and as certain Anarchy. If the People will do Such a Thing they shall have the undivided Glory of it.
Judge Cushing has been wavering, Sometimes he would and Sometimes he could not be C. J.— This will give the P. Some trouble. Mr Chace is a new Judge, but although a good 1774 Man his Character has a Mist about it of suspicion and Impunity which { 160 } gives occasion to the Enemy to censure. He has been a warm Party Man, and has made many Ennemies. His Corpulency, which has increased very much Since I saw him last in England, is against his riding Circuits very long.1
I find none of our old Men very popular. Whether it is that old Parties their Ennemies have made unfavourable Impressions or whether the Youth who are rising up are desirous of shoving them out of the Way: or whether they have too much Vanity and too many Prejudices and wrong Notions to see the public Good or whether all those Causes together have produced the Effect, I know not.
Mr Brisler says he has had but thirty Dollars since last May. You must write me how this account stands and I will pay him up in March.
No News from any Part of the World. All is stagnant Tranquility at present. I sent you a Porcupine by Mr Martin Lincoln. My Love & Duty as due
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “Febry 6 1796.”
1. Samuel Chase, who had served in the Continental Congress with JA and spent time in England in 1783–1784, was named associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in Jan. 1796. Chase did find attendance at the Circuit Courts difficult, owing to his obesity and frequent illnesses, as well as the usual problems of travel (Jane Shaffer Elsmere, Justice Samuel Chase, Muncie, Ind., 1980, p. 10–11, 24–26, 56, 73–74).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0080

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Smith, Abigail Adams
Date: 1796-02-06

John Adams to Abigail Adams Smith

[salute] Dear Mrs. Smith:

I have received your kind letter of the first of this month.1 Mr. Langworthy appears to me, as he does to you, a man of information and good sense: how much of the projector and adventurer may be in him, time will discover; I know not his resources nor his connections. Searchers and diggers for mines have generally been as unsuccessful as inquirers after the philosopher’s stone, a universal menstruum for converting all metals into gold. I have learned from him that Mr. John Cranch is a charming painter, but without much encouragement; which I always expected would be his destination.2 Dr. Bollman, too, has called on me, and with an extravagant character for knowledge and capacity, he appears to me to be an adventurer with still less judgment and solidity. A Franklin and a Bancroft sometimes succeed, after enterprises of a very wild and irregular kind; but an hundred fail and perish in their career, before they { 161 } { 162 } reach their object.3 I write these few free sentiments to you, confiding in your discretion, which I very well know.
Osgood, not the Milford parson, but the quandam member of Congress and the Navy Board, my old friend and correspondent, I am told is become a great student in the prophecies of Daniel and John, and that he has lately read Homer, (so have I,) and found out that it was written by King Solomon, and that under inspiration. He has written something and printed it; but whether he has published, or only keeps copies for his particular illuminated friends, I know not.4
The world, my dear child, I think with you, is running wild, and quitting the substance to seize on a shadow. It is endeavouring to shake itself loose from every divine and moral tie, every restraint of law and government, every salutary bias of genuine discipline and virtuous education. If they could succeed, they would either wholly depopulate the earth, or at least restore the reign of savage and brutal barbarity. Oh my soul! come not thou into their secret!5
There is a youth, I mean a young generation, coming up in America, which, I hope, will make good the ground of their predecessors. You, my dear daughter, will be responsible for a great share in the duty and opportunity of educating a rising family, from whom much will be expected.
I rejoice that my grandchildren are happily through the measles, and pray you to remember me to them, as well as to their father, and all friends.
I am, my dear child, / Affectionately your father,
[signed] John Adams.
MS not found. Printed from AA2, Jour. and Corr., 2:146–148; internal address: “To Mrs. Smith.”
1. Not found.
2. For the British painter John Cranch, a nephew of Richard Cranch’s, see Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 4, above. According to WSS, Langworthy “was the intimate friend and Companion of Mr. Cranch in England & I believe is some how related to the family” (WSS to JA, 21 Jan., Adams Papers).
3. Justus Erich Bollman went into business with his brother Ludwig, primarily importing Silesian linen and exporting West Indian goods to Hamburg. In the second decade of the nineteenth century, Bollman developed a process for creating malleable platinum suitable for industrial use on a large scale (John A. Chaldecott, “Justus Erich Bollman and His Platinum Enterprises: Activities in North America and Europe before the Year 1816,” Platinum Metals Review, 25:164–165 [1981]).
4. Possibly a reference to Samuel Osgood, Remarks on the Book of Daniel, and on the Revelations, N.Y., 1794, Evans, No. 26663. For Rev. David Osgood of Medford, see vol. 7:404.
5. Genesis, 49:6.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0081

Author: Peabody, Elizabeth Smith Shaw
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-02-06

Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Sister

The tender solicitude you have shewn for my health, demands the earliest return I can make—& it is greatly to my satisfaction that I can inform you of my recovery, so as to be about the house again— I tried all in my power, not to have my indisposition noticed—but I struggled in vain, for at last I was obliged to go to bed, & lie there for three days— I told William not to tell you how sick I was, but to say I had got coldhead-ach, & a cold you know are very accommodating, & will answer for any indisposition either of body, or mind— But I really did catch cold, last week, a thursday we had our wood brought, & I exerted myself a little too much at that time— I suppose I should have got along nicely if it had not been for my folly— “careless creature,” I hear you say, now do not blame too much, because somebody who thinks they have a right gently to reprove, will fancy his hands strengthened, & look very grave, & say, I am sure you need not have done so— very true Sir, but I am not the first who have been wise too late—
I received your two very kind letters the one to me, & the other to my Daughter last monday eve—1 Mr. Peabody found them at Mr. Duncan’s, where we enquire of Rogers, or [Kindal?] for them,2 they come by him in the way of bundle for 4d, & if they go into the office 8 cents a single letter, 16 for a double, or under cover, & so on— But do not trouble yourself to pay Rogers, your Letters are cordials to my heart, & last monday saved me at lest half an ounce of Bark— I thank you my dear Sister, for your kindness, & the maternal affection you shew my Children— may they be more, & more worthy of your notice— They have failings, but I hope are not incorrigable— I wish them not to be so decided, so preremtory—Youth should submit to years, & experience— It requires great discretion I find, to stand upon proper ground, & check the errors, the temerity of youth— I know of no persons better qualified for the purpose than my Sisters— The sweet Temper, & address with which some persons can reprove, would make an ingeneous mind doubly cautious, how they incurred, a second time their displeasure—
Mr Shaw was excellent in governing youth— they loved & they feared him— That there should be a quick, ready observance & compliance to reasonable commands, & injunctions, was one of the fixed principles of his government— a wise Preceptor, or Parent will { 164 } always study the best interest of the Child, & I never love to see them reluctant, or hesitate when they have every reason in the world to suppose that a Parent scarcely wishes to live but for them— I do n[ot] make those observations because my Children are [more] refractory than others—but I believe they are [ar]rived at the most critical age, & are as inexperienced as ever any were— They have got this great & important lesson to learn, that they know nothing know nothing how to estimate Characters; real worth nor what it is to live—
Cousin Betsy leaves me tomorrow to spend a week, or two in Haverhill, & then she means to go to Boston, & Quincy, &cc— Mr Peabody says I lay no embargo upon any one, visit, & return as you find it agreeable—suit yourself & be happy—but I really fear they have no Idea of the priviledge they enjoy— It was said, William would not come, no—I might depend upon it he was going to spend the whole vacation with you, but yet he was wise enough to come, & behaved with as much respect as it was possible, & has greatly endeared him3
RC (Adams Papers). Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Not found.
2. For James Duncan of Haverhill, see vol. 7:296. For Daniel Denison Rogers, see vol. 4:348.
3. The manuscript ends at this point and appears to be incomplete.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0082

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-02-07

Charles Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

Our Legislature have been some time occupied in debating upon what are called The Virginia resolutions which you have doubtless seen and which have been so industriously forwarded to the different States for their concurrence though our good Sister has not been treated quite so cavalierly by New York as she was by Massachusetts yet I beleive they both concur in thinking her a very whimsical Old maid.1 Among the other objects which occupy the attention of our Statesmen the reduction of our penal code to a spirit of more mildness is one the most interesting to humanity. The Senate have passed a bill to abolish the punishment of death in all cases murder treason and burglary excepted.2 The House have also had under consideraton a bill for the gradual abolition of Slavery but it does not meet with much encouragement. I am not certain but it will be best to let the evil work its own remedy. individuals are daily { 165 } liberating their Slaves but people do not like to be forced to be generous. The Quakers in this State formerly held slaves but they took it into their heads that it was wrong and set them universally at liberty. no sooner had they done this than they wanted to oblige their neighbours to do that by force which they had done voluntarily and the methods they take to attain their purpose are not always the most delicate.3 I have received several letters lately from Holland which have been opened and perused by The British. this is not very civil treatment but I have one consolation that they do not find many compliments paid them. Mrs Adams joins with me in the sentiments of respect with which I am your affectonate son
[signed] Charles Adams4
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Vice President of The United States / Philadelphia”; endorsed: “C. Adams. 7. Feb. / ansd 9. 1796.”
1. The N.Y. assembly began debating the Virginia resolutions on 29 Jan. following Gov. John Jay’s presentation of them to the legislature during the opening of the legislative session. After lengthy consideration and various proposed motions, the assembly resolved on 6 Feb. that “it does not appear to the Legislature expedient to concur in behalf of this state in the propositions contained in the resolutions of the state of Virginia” (N.Y. Assembly, Jour., 19th sess., 1796, p. 45–47, 56, 59, Evans, No. 47862).
2. Jay’s message of 6 Jan. to the New York legislature contained a request to consider “how far the severe penalties prescribed by our laws in particular cases admit of mitigation; and whether certain establishments for confining, employing and reforming criminals will not immediately become indispensible.” The following day a committee was appointed to consider the subject, and on 28 Jan. it reported two bills for consideration, which were eventually combined into a single “Act Making Alterations in the Criminal Law of This State and for Erecting State Prisons.” Debate over the bill continued until 19 Feb., when it passed the senate. The assembly concurred, after various adjustments, on 25 March. The act allowed for capital punishment in the case of murder and treason but, after debate, excluded burglary, arson, counterfeiting, and a variety of other crimes (N.Y. Senate, Jour., 19th sess., 1796, p. 6, 7, 22, 27–28, 29, 41, 44, 87, Evans, No. 30871).
3. The Society of Friends in New York had long formally opposed slavery, and in 1771 adopted a resolution requiring members to manumit their slaves or risk expulsion from the New York meeting. In 1785 the state legislature began to consider various means for implementing gradual emancipation of all slaves in the state. Although the assembly was nearly unanimous in its support for emancipation, the bill stalled over the question of suffrage for emancipated slaves. Thereafter, between 1792 and 1799, abolitionists routinely sought to introduce legislation for emancipation. In 1796 that legislation, although it was debated in committee, failed again to make progress, stumbling particularly over the issue of compensation for slaveholders. Finally, in 1799, the legislature reached an agreement that abolished slavery through gradual manumission (Edgar J. McManus, A History of Negro Slavery in New York, Syracuse, N.Y., 1966, p. 149–150, 162–165, 174–175; Patrick Rael, “The Long Death of Slavery,” in Slavery in New York, ed. Ira Berlin and Leslie M. Harris, N.Y., 2005, p. 124–125).
4. CA’s next letter to JA, on 28 Feb. 1796, following CA’s visit to Philadelphia (for which see JA to AA, 13 Feb., below), contained further comment on the New York legislature, which remained in session “and will remain so until the river opens which is always their rule whether they have any thing to do or not. It is a great pitty that these excressencies cannot be lopped off and that we cannot consent to be wholly under the direction of one general government.” CA also noted receiving JQA’s 29 Nov. 1795 letter, for { 166 } which see JQA to AA, 24 Nov., note 7, above. According to CA the 29 Nov. letter “relates to nothing but private affairs, but refers me to several letters of a date anterior which I have not received.” Finally, CA enclosed for JA a clipping from the New York American Minerva, 27 Feb. 1796, with an English translation of the preface to the 1792 French edition of JA’s Defence of the Const. (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0083

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-02-08

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

It is monday, the Time to expect the Eastern mail other Men have Letters— I have none— humiliated and mortified and at the Same time irritated, I feel sometimes a disposition to abuse the Post offices, sometimes to make a rash Vow never to Spend another Winter seperated from my Small Family that remains to me, but never once harbour a Suspicion that Madam may have omitted to write.
Upon the whole however my health and Spirits have been better this Winter, than at any time Since I had the Ague, a Blessing which I attribute to the free Use of my horse the last summer. Health and Spirits & Leisure have revived my old Passion for Reading to such a degree as diverting me from my usual Exercise of Walking when I cannot ride, allarms me for the Continuance of my Health.
A gloomy Prospect moreover of four Months longer attendance upon Congress, aggravated by the Recollection that a few days later than this, the last Year, on the 19 of February I got my Release & Liberty, makes a great defalcation from my Philosophical Serenity.
While We are informed that you have Plenty of snow and fine sledding and slaying, We have Weather as mild as April and streets as dirty as march.
No further News of the Treaty or any Thing else from Europe— Business in Congress as languid as gaping & yawning as if Morpheus had poured out all his soporifecks upon the two Houses.— The Voice of Faction even is Scarcely heard. I suppose however when the Treaty comes he will lift up his Notes like a Trumpet.
General Wayne has returned and enjoyed his Tryumph1 Judge Chace is here with the rest— Mr. Lee the Attorney General a Brother of our Friend the late Member of the House and of the late Governor of Virginia, married to a Daughter of Richard Henry Lee is arrived with his Family—so is Mr McHenry the Secretary at War.2 The offices are once more full.
But how differently filled, than when Jefferson Hamilton Jay &c were here— The present Incumbents not being much thought of or { 167 } at least talked of for President Vice President, or substitute for both, the Public may be less disposed to fight for them or against them.
The first situation is the great Object of Contention—the Center and main source of all Emulation as the learned Dr Adams teaches in all his Writings, and every Body believes him tho nobody will own it—
My Letters to You must never be seen by any Body else—and I ought here to caution you to be very careful and reserved in showing our sons Letters—for thousands are watching for his halting, as well as mine & yours.
Mrs Green with her two Daughters are here3 and mourns in pathetic Accents that her Friend Mrs Adams is not here—and so does
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “Febry 8.”
1. Gen. Anthony Wayne reached Philadelphia on 6 Feb., escorted by a military honor guard. Cannons were fired and bells rung in his honor, and thousands turned out to greet him. “In the evening,” the Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 8 Feb., reported, “a display of Fire-Works was exhibited, in celebration of the Peace lately concluded with the Western Indians, and the Algerines; and also, on account of the Peace concluded by France with several European Powers.”
2. Charles Lee (1758–1815), Princeton 1775, was a lawyer and had been the customs collector at Alexandria, Va., before being named attorney general in Nov. 1795. He was a member of the prominent Lee family of Virginia and brother to Gov. Henry (“Light-Horse Harry”) Lee and Richard Bland Lee (1761–1827), who had recently lost reelection as a Virginia member of Congress. Charles Lee’s wife, Anne Lucinda, was the daughter of Richard Henry Lee (Biog. Dir. Cong.; ANB, entry on Charles Lee).
3. Catharine Littlefield Greene, widow of Gen. Nathanael Greene, had two unmarried daughters, Cornelia Lott (b. 1778) and Louisa Catharine (1784–1831) (Greene, Papers, 13:144, 210, 704).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0084

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-02-09

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I suppose some obstruction of Ice in the North river, prevented the southern post from arriving last wednesday, which prevented me from getting any Letters from you, of a later Date than Janry 20th the receipt of Which I have already acknowledged. I hope to receive a large packet tomorrow. You will learn before this Letter reaches you I presume, the Fate of Jarvis & the Virginna resolutions. Jarvis last week got a motion made, which he Seconded to take up the resolutions. he was opposed by mr Tudor Sewall Eustice & others. the Dr got warm, & voilent his passion wrought up to an excess. the House adjournd for Dinner— Jarvis went home eat his dinner & fell into strong convulsion fits, from which he was with difficulty { 168 } recoverd he has not Since been able to attend the House. the news papers will give You the Dissolution of the resolves & the Motions which were made to prop them up by a small party.1
I have engaged the Braintree Farm to Burrel he is to have 8 cows & 8 Young cattle, to find the Team work himself, except the carting on the manure for the corn land which I shall have sleded up immediatly. the Farm here I consider as engaged to mr French & Bowditch who are Brother by marriage. I shall have the leases Drawn in three weeks from this time. if you think of any further directions than those You left You will write them to me. to Burrel I allow a cord & half of pine wood for the Dairy, to French the use of the Team to get his wood. wood has become so expensive an article that all who have been to me to engage the places, are very urgent upon that head. I have agreed to these terms, thinking it better to let Such persons as were known to us, have the places than strangers. Faxons has never applied, his wife is unable to take charge of the Dairy. I had a mr cook from Road Island last week to hire the Quincy Farm. I could not recollect whether you meant to let a Horse with the oxen, or whether the Tenant would be allowd to bring one. I Suppose you would prefer French, tho cook had good recommendations, had hired a Farm of 200 acres [for] 5 Years which Farm was now sold. he however insisted upon being found wood for the Dairy.
When these places are let, I shall feel my mind more at ease. I have agreed with them that they shall find all the Farm utensels except half the Dairy matters, and this as a sort of equivelent for the whole of the stock. I suppose they will be some articles which occasionally we must lend
You will send the Grass seed in Season— we have had very fine Snow & cold weather. I have not had My Health so well for Many Years as this winter. I hope you can say the Same of your own.
Mrs Brisler and Family are well
affectionatly Yours
[signed] A Adams—
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by Louisa Catharine Smith: “The Vice President of the United / States / Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mrs A. Feb. 9. 1796.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. A motion was made on 4 Feb. by James Fiske and seconded by Dr. Charles Jarvis to give further consideration to Virginia’s resolutions proposing amendments to the Constitution. The debate was delayed one day when, “after eating a very hearty dinner,” Jarvis “was taken with a faintness, which passed into violent convulsions, after which an asphixy took place. By the immediate application, however, of medical aid, he was soon considerably recovered. His illness was attributed to indigestion.” Jarvis eventually { 169 } returned to the legislature but not in time for the debate on the resolutions, which resumed the following day. During the debate Samuel Sewall of Marblehead observed that “he thought it improper to agitate the question at all at this time; the people found themselves happy under the federal government; and did not wish to have that tranquillity interrupted by any discussions which implied a distrust of that government.” Dr. William Eustis of Boston noted that he was uncomfortable grounding a discussion of the Constitution in the Virginia resolutions, while William Tudor hoped to avoid anything that might “cause an instability in the government of the United States.” In the end Fiske’s motion was defeated by a substantial majority (Boston Columbian Centinel, 6, 10 Feb.; Massachusetts Mercury, 5 Feb.; Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 16:382).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0085

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1796-02-09

John Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] Dear son

I recd this morning your favour of the 7th and am glad that your State have not too much Complaisance for the restless Projects of old Aunt Nell. The peevish fretful old Creature has got, to day, a worse Compliment from the senate of this State, than she recd even from the Massachusetts. They have not only rejected her vapoury humours but have proposed to her some other Amendments of the Constitution, which she will not relish. But as I have the Account of them only transiently from Mr Lewis, I will not attempt to give you an Account of them, but leave you to read them when they shall become public.1
I have attended to day in the Supream Court an argument by Mr Marshall and Mr Campbell, of a great Question concerning the British debts which were paid into the Treasury of the state of Virginia before the Peace. These are able Lawyers and good Speakers.2
Pray what are the Dates of your Letters from Holland? My latest from John is the 30 of septr.3 We shall next hear of him from England.
Is Col Hamilton growing rich by his Profession? Does he shine at the Bar? Is he in great request among the Clients?— Who does he associate with him in Business? Does he Speculate in Lands or stocks like all the rest of the World—or does he intend to drudge like me? and be a slave for forty Years for the honour of riding in Stage Coaches and living in noisy Taverns? while every Body about him is growing rich as well as riding in gay Coaches and building grand houses?4 Mr Neckar, in his Essay on the true Principles of Executive Power in great States. Vol. 1. p. 206 has a Passage which is worth quoting.
“A Man who, like myself, has been Some Years placed in the Center of public affairs, who has been, one of the Axes round which the { 170 } motions of personal Interest perform their Circuit, is best able to judge from his own Experience of the Activity of those Interests and to perceive in what manner the human heart is influenced, irritated and Soothed by hope. Full often are the thoughts of Men employed upon their own personal Views when they affect most carelessly to neglect or most generously to sacrifice them. I grant that Individuals have for their days of parade a pompous and wonderworking Language; but I affirm that in their daily habits and their Secret Confessions, We find them always occupied either with the fortune they are pursuing, or the Eminence to which they aspire.”5 Thus far Mr Neckar and I can add my Experience to his. There is a difference however— Some pursue their fortune and Elevation by fair and honourable Means, others by mean Craft, low Cunning wicked deceit, and vicious Courses of every sort.—
The Popes Bull Quando quidem bonus Populus vult decipi, decipiatur,6 is practised by many of the most pretending Protestants, with as much Ardour as if they believed in his Holinesses Infallibility. Be honest Charles but be not their Dupe. I am, most affectionatel / your
[signed] John Adams7
RC (MHi:Seymour Coll.); internal address: “Charles Adams Esq.”
1. The Penn. senate’s rejection of the Virginia amendments included the observation, “If it were proper, at this time, for this House to join in an application to Congress, for calling a Convention to alter the constitution of the United States, the amendments, to be proposed, should be such as would promote private justice, by rendering real property liable to the payment of just debts; and would establish the National Legislature on the true principles of representation, by enabling freemen, as well as freeholders, to vote; and, by apportioning the Representatives among the several States, according to the number of those freemen” (Journal of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Commencing on Tuesday, the First Day of December, in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-Five, Phila., 1796, p. 103, Evans, No. 30980). Report of Pennsylvania’s action appeared in the New York Argus, 13 February.
2. The U.S. Supreme Court was hearing arguments in the case of Ware v. Hylton, which was expected to settle the question of whether Virginia merchants were obligated to pay debts owed to the British from before the American Revolution. The case had been working its way through the courts (under various names) since 1790, finally reaching the Supreme Court in Feb. 1796. John Tyndale Ware, representing the British firm of Farell & Jones, was the plaintiff, while Daniel L. Hylton, a Richmond merchant, was the defendant. Both John Marshall and Alexander Campbell (d. 1796), the U.S. attorney for the district of Virginia, spoke on behalf of Hylton. On 7 March the justices ruled in favor of the plaintiff, finding that the promise to repay debts contained in the Treaty of Paris overruled local laws that annulled them and ordering Hylton to pay Ware the debts owed as well as legal costs (Doc. Hist. Supreme Court, 7:203–207, 215–222, 248).
3. Not found.
4. Upon resigning his position in the Treasury Department, Alexander Hamilton returned to his legal practice in New York City. He was hardly, however, “growing rich by his Profession.” He was routinely in debt and often had to rely on his father-in-law for financial assistance. In July 1795 Hamilton enumerated his debts to the prospective executor of his will—he was anticipating a duel with James Nicholson, a dispute subsequently settled without violence—and { 171 } indicated that he owed many thousands of dollars to various creditors. He also described receiving fees for prospective legal work but at a rate that would make clearing the debts difficult (Robert Hendrickson, Hamilton II (1789–1804), N.Y., 1976, p. 309–310; Hamilton, Papers, 18:503–507).
5. Jacques Necker, An Essay on the True Principles of Executive Power in Great States, 2 vols., London, 1792, 1:206–207. See also JA to AA, 10 Feb., note 3, below.
6. Since the good people wish to be deceived, let them be deceived. Usually attributed to Cardinal Caraffa, legate of Pope Paul IV, this quotation also appears in Necker’s Essay on the True Principles, 2:267.
7. The next day JA wrote again to CA to comment on the French constitution, particularly its plural executive of five directors. In his letter JA predicts that each member will strive to be considered first among equals and inevitably divide the executive into factions. Comparing the situation to the political tensions in the U.S. Congress, JA instructs CA, “Take into your Consideration next the Emulations Jealousies Rivalries between Leading Members of both Houses and the Leading Members of the Directory and say whether the French Constitution can last one Year or two one Month or two” (MHi:Seymour Coll.).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0086

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-02-10

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

The inclosed Slip from Benjamins Paper of this Morning will Shew you that the Electioneering Campaign is opened already. The “good Patriot, Statesman and Philosopher” is held up as the Successor.1 I am determined to be a Silent Spectator of the silly and the wicked Game and to enjoy it as a Comedy a Farce or a Gymnastic Exhibition at Sadlers Wells or Astleys Amphitheatre.2 I will laugh let them Say what they will, and I will laugh let it go as it will.— I know however how it will go as well as if it was already gone.
The P. looks to me worried and growing old faster than I could wish and his Lady complains of Infirmities of Age and lowness of Spirits for the first time. The Accursed Spirit which actuates a vast Body of People Partly Antifederalists, partly desperate Debtors and partly frenchified Tools, will murder all good Men among Us and destroy all the Wisdom & Virtue of the Country. Our <Years> Glasses are almost run out. they cannot rob Us of much Enjoyment for We have not much to enjoy. Certainly We shall have more in private than in public Life.3
1. The enclosure has not been found but was a squib from the Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 10 Feb., celebrating Thomas Jefferson’s recovery “from his late indisposition. May he long live, and in the moment of necessity re-appear and save his country from the unhappy effects to which it is exposed.”
2. Philip Astley (1742–1814), an equestrian performer, opened his Amphitheatre in London in the late 1760s to house the circus he had built around his horse-riding tricks. Although Astley initially faced considerable controversy regarding the legality of the enterprise, the Amphitheatre eventually became a British institution until its demolition in 1893 (DNB).
3. In another letter to AA written this same day, JA quotes at length from Jacques Necker’s { 172 } Essay on the True Principles of Executive Power in Great States, 2 vols., London, 1792, on the tendency of public officials to pursue their private interests. JA further observes that such realities hold true even in the United States but that he nonetheless wishes to continue in politics: “The various Elections of the United States, will soon call forth all these Personal Interests in all their Vigour, and all the Arts of Dissimulation to conceal them. I am weary of the Game. Yet I dont know how I could live out of it. I dont love Slight neglect, Contempt, disgrace nor Insult more than others. Yet I believe I have firmness of Mind enough to bear it like a Man, a Hero and a Philosopher. I might groan like Achilles and roll from Side to side, abed Sometimes at the Ignorance, Folly, Injustice & Ingratitude of the World. But I should be resigned and become more easy and chearful and enjoy my self & my Friends better than ever I did” (Adams Papers). See also JA to CA, 9 Feb. 1796, and note 5, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0087

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Peabody, Elizabeth Smith Shaw
Date: 1796-02-12

Abigail Adams to Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody

[salute] My Dear sister

I last Evening received your kind Letter of the 6th and was most sincerely rejoiced to find you able to write. I sent Cousin William to Boston yesterday; he was very anxious to find how you were, and I gave him leave to open your Letter, if he should find one for Me in Town. I was very happy in his company, and really feel his absence as a loss to me. he possesses a very inquisitive mind. I gave him a Set of his uncles Books, from which he may derive much information upon the subject of Government, and learn to value that; under which as much Liberty is enjoied, as is consistant with freedom, and the happiness of Man. I gave him an invitation to pass the April vacancy with me, with your leave, as it is short, and he can walk into Boston take the Milton Stage, and from thence it is but a short way to Quincy I should have been very Sorry if he had not like a dutifull Son gone Home and spent a part of the Time with You. I had a good deal of conversation with him when he was here on a visit, before. he felt as most affectionate Children do, Who have lost a kind & tender Parent. by experience I knew how to feel for him, and told him, Time would reconcile him to the Thought of seeing another in the Room of him whom he had lost, especially as there could be no objection to the person. He appeard on this visit much happier than when he was last here. he spoke of mr Peabody with respect and regard, of Miss Peabody, as a young Lady of an improved, and cultivated mind. He went to Weymouth one Day, and the Dr gave him money to pay his Bills. the Dr had mentiond to me that he had Some Money which he wanted to Send You. I know it was Mr Adams’s direction to the Dr, to continue to you another Year the Same Sum with the last. I told cousin William at any time when he wanted Mending or washing to Send his Things to Dr Welchs { 173 } with a Line to me, and they should be returnd to Him the same way. Young people Love society, and it is naturel they should. We old Folks who have Families find our enjoyment in them, and look not abroad for our principle happiness. I Love the company of Young people, and the society (but do not you betray me) of the Gentlemen more than the Ladies. I have mixt more with them, and I find their conversation more to my taste. I smiled at an observation of Louissas the other day, who tho a very little Talker, is an observing hearer. we had been together on a visit to Boston for a fort night, and being one Day in a large circle, Several of whom were young Ladies, I remarkd to her, that she was too reserved and unsocial
“I Do not know how to talk. I have not heard any thing worth remembring: nothing but insipid trifling She replied.” I have felt something of this kind formerly but I am now so loquatious, that I can be grave with the Grave and gay, with the Gay.
“Indulge in tales, news politics and Mirth,”1 as suits the society into which I fall. Yet I shall feel ever gratefull to the kind hand who formd My early Years to a Love of Letters Who inspired me with a taste for reading and put into my hands Books Suited to my capacity, and led me on step by step untill I was capable of judging for myself. at that period I became connected with a Lover of Literature, who confirmd my taste, and gave Me every indulgence that Books could afford. from these two Characters, Whom I am proud to call by the endearing names of Brother and Husband, I was taught at an early period of Life, that the true Female Character, consisted not in the Tincture of the Skin, or a fine set of Features, in the lilly’s white, or the Roses red, But in something still beyond the exterior form.

With Goodness fraught, with animation Warm,

To inspire our actions, dignify our mien

Gild every hour and beautify each scene

Tis those perfections of superiour kind

The Moral Beauties which adorn the mind

Tis those enchanting Sounds mellifuous hung

In words of Truth and kindness on our Tongues

Tis delicacy gives those Charms new Worth

And calls the Loveliness of Beauty forth,

Tis the mild influence beaming from the Eye

“Like vernal sun-beams round cerulean skies”

With minds embellish’d and with Hearts refin’d

{ 174 }

Tis ours to act, in still sequester’d life

The glorious parts of Parent, Friend and wife,

To soothe our partners, and divide their cares

Calm raging pain, delay the parting Breath,

“And light a smile on the Wan cheek of Death”2

thank the poet for this emanation of Female exelence. When I put a letter into the post office I always pay the postage, if it is not thus stampd [th]ere is knavery there, inform Your affectionate Sister
[signed] A Adams
RC (DLC:Shaw Family Papers); addressed by Louisa Catharine Smith: “Mrs Elizabeth Peabody / Atkinson”; endorsed: “Feby 12th 1796.” Some loss of text due to a torn manuscript.
1. David Humphreys, “A Poem on the Happiness of America,” line 226.
2. Same, lines 362–372, 410–416. AA omits line 413: “What nameless grace, what unknown charm is theirs.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0088

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-02-13

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I have only time to inform you that Monday and Thursday have passed away without bringing me a Letter from you. It is the first Week that has failed me in the whole, tho sometimes the Letters have not arrived on the proper day.
There is a Dr Somebody here from Connecticutt, who pretends, with an Instrument made of some kind of Metal or Composition of Metals by a sort of Mesmerian, rubbing or Stroking or Conjuration, to cure Rhumatisms Headacks Plurisies And I know not what.1 Elsworth will not say that he believes in it: but he states facts & tells stories— I expects the heads of all the old Women (Males I mean, you know) will be turned. They have got him into the Presidents House among Some of his servants. And Mrs Washington told me a story on Tuesday, before a Number of Gentlemen so ineffably ridiculous that I dare not repeat it in Writing. The venerable Lady laughed as immoderately as all the rest of Us did—
Charles is here in very fine health and very good Spirits. He goes to the supream Court A days and to Ricketts and the Theatre A Nights so that I have not so much of his Company as I could wish2
A Barrier is erected between Europe & America. It Seems as if no Vessell could get thro or over it.
I went with Charles last night to the Drawing Room— as the { 175 } Evening was fair and mild, there was a great Circle of Ladies and a greater of Gentlemen. General Wayne was there in Glory. This Mans Feelings must be worth a Guinea a Minute. The Pensilvanians claim him as theirs, and show him a marked respect.
We are now near the middle of feb. last Year I left this Place on the 19th. now I must stay thro the long months of March April & May. long! nothing is long! the time will be soon gone & We shall be surprized to know what is become of it— How soon Will my Sands be all run out of the Glass?— after sixty the Days & Hours have additional Wings which they waive & beat with increasing Rapidity.
Dr Priestly is here— I drank Tea with him at the Presidents on Thursday Ev.— He says he always maintained against Dr Price that Old Age was the pleasantest Part of Life and he finds it so—3 I think so too— One knows not what Infirmeties may come on—What Pains, Griefs, or sorrows?
I am determined to make, my small Remainder as easy as I can and enjoy the Hours as they pass: but do a little good as I have Opportunity.
You have not informed me whether you have let the Farms.
Duty & Love As Usual
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “Febry 13th 1796.”
1. Dr. Elisha Perkins (1741–1799) of Plainfield, Conn., developed a practice of stroking small metal pieces, which he called “metallic tractors,” against affected areas of the human body to cure illnesses. He received a warm reception during his visit to Philadelphia and used the opportunity to obtain a patent for his invention (DAB).
2. John Bill Ricketts, a Scottish equestrian, operated a popular circus in Philadelphia. He had recently opened a new amphitheater for the purpose at Sixth and Chestnut Streets (J. Thomas Scharf and Thompson Westcott, History of Philadelphia, 1609–1884, 1 vol. in 3, Phila., 1884, 2:952). For the purpose of CA’s visit to Philadelphia, see AA to JA, 22 Feb., and note 1, below.
3. Joseph Priestley had immigrated to the United States in June 1794 and settled with his family in Northumberland, Penn., where he spent the rest of his life. He and Richard Price had long been friends, even publishing an exchange of their correspondence in 1778 entitled A Free Discussion of the Doctrines of Materialism and Philosophical Necessity. Price was deeply involved in promoting social insurance for old age, assisting insurance societies in properly calculating annuities to insure full funding, and also advocating poor relief for the elderly (DNB).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0089

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-02-14

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

I received by the last mail the Letters of two, so that I fare as you do, and the Stormy Weather last post Day prevented my getting Letters to Boston tho I had one ready. I cannot think the loss very great, for I have very little either interesting, or amuseing to { 176 } entertain You with. yet you are pleasd to express so much pleasure at receiving them, Such as they are, that I ought not, and do not fail of being regular once, allways, and sometimes twice a week
I have to acknowledge Yours of the following Dates, Janry 23. 26 29 31 & 2d Febry for all of which accept my thanks. Some of them brought to my mind two lines translated from Juvenil I believe

“On Eagles Wings immortal Scandles fly,

Whilest Virtuous actions, are but born & Dye”1

Whether mr G. deserves the censure he receives on account of his seperation from his wife I know not. He may plead as Trusty does in fair Rossomond, that, she is ugly, and old, and a Vilainous Scold, but as he took her I presume, for better or worse, in our Country it would not be considerd as a Legal cause of Divorcement, however pleasing a one it might be.2 His Friends here say, that there is a cause, which he will not Divulge, out of respect to her Family, Who are all Friendly to him, and who lay no blame to him on her account. his child is left in the care of a Brother of hers, and as I have learnt the Divorce comes through the Hands of one of her Brothers either as Judge or advocate. I was informd that Judge Daws had received a Letters from a Brother of hers who spoke in terms of affection for Mr G. and who did not blame him for his conduct.3 Mr G. returnd all the property he had with her, and offerd to Make a Settlement upon her, which was refused. as to the Conneticut business, I fancy it has no foundation. must he not be liberated by the Laws of the same Country which bound him?
if he is as innocent as an Angle, he cannot rid himself of the Spot which in this Land will attend the <seperation from> Dissolution of the Bonds of Matrimony.
I was in Boston near a fortnight and tho I heard a good deal of conversation upon the Sale he had made of Lands, I never heard a Hint that he had taken or attempted to take any improper advantage of any one
I have askd the Question of those who knew, but were no ways connected with him, and I was assured that every thing was conducted openly and fairly by him, that he did not pretend to transfer any tittle but Such as he had received, and that no Deception of any kind was made use of by him. What his Agents might Do I cannot say. they made 50 thousand Dollors a peice out of their sale for G.— as mr Black informs me; Joseph & George Blake & H G Otis were { 177 } the Agents—4 they sold to mr T Russel Mr Joseph Barrel mr coolidge and other Nabobs,5 all of whom Were old enough to Judge for themselves, but after all these Speculations & rapid fortunes are an injury to the community at large, they create Envy, they Mortify the hard Labourer Who has Spent all his Day drudging on, and acquiring property by pence Shillings and pounds— they introduce Luxery and dissapation, and corrupt the Morals of the possesors, if he had any to corrupt, but as mr Black observed to me, a Man Who has acquired property Slowly, and has something to lose Will not risk, as he will, who has nothing to risk, or lose
The Southern Gentlemen think I believe that the Northern Gentleman are fools, but the Nothern know that they are so, if they can believe that Such bare faced Dupery will succeed, as that which you say is now practiseing Aut Ceasar aut Nullus, is my Motto tho I am not used to quote lattin or spell it.6
I have no desire for the first, whilst he whose Right it is ought to be Sovereign, but if the people are blind, they deserve a Jefferson, or some one not half as deserving. Yet I am sure it will be a most unpleasent Seat, full of Thorns Briars thistles, Murmuring fault finding calumny obliqui discrage for I ought I know & What not. But the Hand of Providence ought to be attended to and what is designd, Cherefully Submitted to. I am firm in the hope & belief that the true & plain path of Duty will not be hidden from us—
Yours affectionatly
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A Feb. 14 1796.”
1. Juvenal, Satires, Satire IX, lines 196–197.
2. In Joseph Addison’s Rosamond, an Opera, Act I, scene iii, lines 30–31, Sir Trusty says of Grideline, “Thou art ugly and old, / And a villanous Scold.”
3. The family of Antonia Cornelia Elbertine Scholten van Aschat was prominent in Dutch society; one of her brothers served on the Amsterdam council, another as pensionary at Delft, and a third as councillor of the high court. TBA and JQA socialized with them while in the Netherlands (D/JQA/20, 6 Feb. 1795, APM Reel 23).
4. Presumably brothers Joseph (1766–1802) and George Blake (1769–1841), for whom see vol. 9:296 and 10:45, respectively.
5. Joseph Coolidge (1747–1820), a Boston merchant (Genealogy of Some of the Descendants of John Coollidge, Boston, 1903, p. 22).
6. Either Caesar or nobody.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0090

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-02-15

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

This Morning I have your favour of the 3d which raised my Spirits again after the mortification of passing the whole of last Week without one.
{ 178 }
Benjamin has grown very dull—No Abuse—No lies no Terrors no Panicks no Rant—in comparison of what he used to have—
The Subject which you think will excite all their feelings is well known to every body in public Life, but is talked of by nobody: but in Confidence—
I could name you however as good Fœderalists and as good Men as any, who think and say that he will retire and that they would, if they were he. And who would not? I declare upon my honour I would. After 20 Years of such Service, with Such Success, and with no Obligation to any one, I would retire before my Constitution failed, before my Memory failed before my Judgment failed—before I should grow peevish & fretfull—irresolute—improvident— I would no longer put at hazard a Character so dearly earned at present so uncontaminated, but liable by the Weakness of Age to be impaired in a Moment.
He has in the most solemn manner Sworn, before many Witnesses at various times and on several occasions, and it is now by all who are in the Secret considered as irrevocable as the Laws of Meads & Persians.1 Your Comments to Knox were perfectly delicate and perfectly wise. You need not tremble to think of the subject.— In my Opinion there is no more danger in the Change than there would be in changing a Member of the senate and whoever lives to see it will own me to be a Prophet. If Jay or even Jefferson and one or the other it certainly will be, if the Succession should be passed over, should be the Man, the Government will go on as well as ever— Jefferson could not stir a step in any other system than that which is begun. Jay would not wish it. The Votes will run for three Persons—two I have mentioned The third being the Heir apparent will not probably be wholly overlook’d. If Jefferson & Jay are President & Vice President, as is not improbable, the other retires without Noise, or Cries or Tears to his farm— if either of those two are President and the other Vice President, he retires without Murmur or Complaint to his farm, forever.— if this other should be P. and Jefferson or Jay V. President, four Years more if Life lasts, of Residence in Philadelphia will be his and your Portion, after which We shall probably be desirous of imitating the Example of the present Pair: or if by reason of Strength and Fortitude Eight Years should be accomplished, that is the Utmost Limit of time that I will ever continue in public Life at any rate. Be of good Courage therefore and tremble not. I see nothing to appall me and I feel no ill forebodings or faint Misgivings. I have not the Smallest dread of private Life, { 179 } nor of public— if private Life is to be my Portion my farm and my Pen shall employ the rest of my days.
The Money of the Country the Paper Money is the most unpleasant object I see— This must have a Remedy—and I fear it will be reserved for me to stem the Torrent, a worse one than the Western Rebellion or the opposition to the Treaty.
This is all in Confidence and Affection
[signed] J. A2
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A.”; endorsed: “Febry 15 1796.”
1. That is, an unalterable law (Daniel, 6:15).
2. JA again wrote to AA, on 17 Feb., on the subject of George Washington’s retirement, reiterating, “I feel no Allarm however for the Public. I am fully persuaded it will receive no detriment.” JA likewise claimed that he too would be happy to retire if that was the will of the people (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0091

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-02-20

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

Yours of the 6 8th and 10th came to me by the last Post. I too sometimes get dissapointed but I always lay the Charge to the post where I know it ought to fall, but not usually writing untill after thursday post arrives here. I have not the advantage of the office here unless I wait for the next Week, and a storm will sometimes, as last week, prevent my getting my letters to Town, but my conscience acquits me of Sins of omission. in that respect, I can seldom find more to say than one Letter contains. upon some subjects I think much more than I write. I think what is Duty, to others and what is Duty to ourselves. I contemplate unpleasent concequences to our Country if Your decision should be the same with the P——s for as you observe, whatever may be the views and designs of Party, the chief of the Electors will do their Duty, or I know little of the Country in which I live. Shakspears says, [“]some are born great, some atchive greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them” You write me fully assured that the P is unalterably determind to retire. this is an event not yet contemplated by the people at large. We must be attentive to their feelings and to their voice. no Successor, can expect such support as the P. has had. the first Ministers have retired, and a Man without intrigue, without party Spirit, with an honest mind and a judicious Head, with an unspotted Character may be difficult to find as V P. this will still render the first Station more difficult. You know what is before You. the whips and Scorpions, the Thorns without Roses, the Dangers anxieties and weight of Empire.
{ 180 }

And for the Day of trial is at hand

With the whole fortunes of a Mighty land

Are stakd on thee, and all their weal or woe

Must from thy good, or thy misconduct flow;

Have You Familiar with Your Nature grown

And are You Fairly to yourself made known?

and can You acquire influence sufficent as the Poet further describes

[“]To still the voice of Discord in the land

To make weak Faction’s discontented band

Detected, weak and Crumbling to decay

With hunger pinch’d, on their own vitals prey;

Like brethren, in the self same intrests warm’d

Like diff’rent bodies, with one soul informd

To Make a Nation, Nobly raisd above

All meaner thoughts, grow up in common Love;

To give the Laws Due vigour, and to hold

That Sacred balance, temperate, Yet bold

With such an equal hand that those who fear

May yet approve, and own thy Justice clear;

To be a common Father, to Secure

The weak from voilence, from Pride the poor

To make fair plenty through the Land increase

Give Fame in War, and happiness in Peace”1

This is the bright and desireable light of the picture. this tho a hard and arduous Task, would be a flattering and a Glorious Reward, and Such a reward as all good Men will unite in giving to Washington, and such a Reward as I pray his Successor may Merrit and obtain. Should Providence allot the task to my Friend, but think not that I am alone anxious for the part he will be calld to act, tho by far the most important, I am anxious for the proper discharge of that Share which will devolve upon me. Whether I have patience prudence discretion sufficent to fill a station so unexceptionably as the Worthy Lady who now holds it, I fear I have not. as Second I have had the happiness of stearing clear of censure as far as I know. if the contemplation did not make me feel very Serious, I should say that I have been so used to a freedom of sentim[ent] that I know not how to place so many gaurds about me, as will be indispensable, { 181 } to look at every word before I utter it, and to impose a silence upon my self, when I long to talk. here in this retired Village, I live beloved by My Neighbours, and as I assume no state, and practise no pagentry, unenvy’d I sit calm and easy, mixing very little with the World.
You need not be apprehensive least I should shew your Letters or divulge what is committed to me. all rests within my own Breast. not the least lisp has escaped me to any one. for tho I love Sociabity, I never did or will betray a trust.
affectionatly Yours
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by Louisa Catharine Smith: “The Vice President of the / United States / Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mrs A. Feb. 20. Ansd March 1 / 1796.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Charles Churchill, “Gotham,” Book III, lines 47–50, 61–62, 67–80, 89–90.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0092

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-02-20

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Mother.

By the present opportunity, I send you a few pamphets which may give you some entertainment in the perusal, and newspapers from which you will collect the current intelligence.1 For my own part I have been here so long in idleness that I have almost entirely doff’d the world aside and bad it pass.— You will observe in the papers a pretended preliminary convention for a pacification between France and the Empire, and a subsequent acknowledgment that the paper was a mere forgery to affect the price of stocks, which purpose it answered very efficaciously.2 In truth all the real appearances at present indicate another campaign, though negotiations are certainly carrying on in secret. There is one symptom of a continuance to the war, which is more powerful than all the rest; it is that neither of the parties is yet totally disabled.
I shall send you some further articles by Scott, that is by some of my friends who are going with him who will furnish me with a safer opportunity for conveyance than the present.3
I have recently made a little excursion to Cambridge, for the purpose of seeing the Colleges, and was much entertained by my tour.4 I found it also useful to my health, which without being positively bad, has not been good for some weeks past.— The first month or six weeks after my arrival here was to me a period of considerable { 182 } anxiety and occupation. Since then it has been a time of almost total fainéantise: neither of these situations is particularly conducive to health.
Mrs: Hallowell as you are doubtless informed before this time is dead. Her Daughter is yet very amiable, though I have seen her but two or three times since I have been here.5
Mrs: Copley and her pretty daughters are well. Her Son went out to Boston in November: they have yet no account of his arrival, and are very anxious to hear from him.6
Mrs: Church intends to go out to America in the Spring. Her Husband is to follow her the next year, proposing to make their final settlement there. As he has only seven or eight thousand Sterling a year income, he says he cannot afford to live in England7
I hope to write you more largely by the next opportunity. But at present without having any thing to do, I find it extremely difficult to snatch so much as a quarter of an hour to write ever so short a Letter. Perhaps I may tell you the reason of this at a future day; or perhaps you may guess at it without being told.8 In the mean time I remain with unabated affection and duty, your Son.
[signed] John Q. Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs: A. Adams. Quincy.”; endorsed: “J Q A Febry 20 1796.” FC-Pr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 131.
1. Not found.
2. Many London newspapers printed both the false announcement of a proposed convention for a general peace between France and Prussia and subsequent items identifying it as a forgery. The erroneous news was apparently circulated to create an opportunity for stock speculation. See, for instance, Evening Mail, 10–12, 12–15 Feb., which observed, “The persons engaged in this infamous business were perfectly well acquainted with the management of such a concern; the Gazette was sent to most of the Cabinet Ministers at an early hour, and to some of the Morning Papers. … There is no doubt but several of the Jews in the City were connected with this man, who … is known to have lately formed an intimacy with some of these speculating gentry. … One Jew only is known to have sold half a million of Stock on speculation in the course of one hour on Friday morning; and the Jews were in general observed to be in the secret” (12–15 Feb.).
3. That is, by Nathan Frazier Jr. and John Gardner, both of whom arrived in Boston in the Minerva, Capt. James Scott, on 20 April (Massachusetts Mercury, 15, 22 April).
4. JQA traveled to Cambridge on 3 Feb. with his friends Thomas Crafts and John Gardner. They visited King’s Chapel, the library of Trinity College, and the Senate House, among other buildings, and walked around the town. JQA was particularly impressed by “an Egyptian mummy, in a state of greater perfection than any I had ever seen,” and he found “the rivers are beautiful but small, and in our Country would scarcely rise above the name of brooks.” The men returned to London on the 5th (D/JQA/24, 3–5 Feb., APM Reel 27).
5. Mary Boylston Hallowell died on 22 Nov. 1795 in London (Massachusetts Mercury, 15 March 1796).
6. John Singleton Copley Jr. (1772–1863), Trinity College, Cambridge 1794, was born in Boston but raised in England. He toured the United States in early 1796 to visit friends { 183 } and family and to attempt (unsuccessfully) to reclaim lost family land on Beacon Hill (DNB; Jules David Prown, John Singleton Copley, 1 vol. in 2, Cambridge, 1966, p. 341).
7. For John Barker and Angelica Schuyler Church, see vol. 6:10. The Churches and their children immigrated to New York in May 1797 (New York Daily Advertiser, 22 May).
8. This is the earliest reference to JQA’s growing romantic interest in LCA; see JQA to AA, 28 Feb. 1796, and note 3, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0093

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-02-21

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Deares Friend

I believe I must devote this page to the History of Farming. our people have carried up the Hill all the manure which they suppose will be necessary and which can be spaired from the corn ground. they have carried up Burrels quantity which will be necessary for the Land which is to be broke up upon pens Hill, and they are now getting Down the stones for the Wall on Quincys Medow. No crossing the mill pond this winter, nor has it been froze hard enough to get into a swamp. Captain Beals requests you would be So good as to send him 50 weight of clover seed with yours and Dr Tufts desires Brisler to get him one Hundred weight if it Does not exceed one shilling our currency pr pound.
My flower has arrived safe and Yesterday I got it, and Sent a Barrel to your Mother as you desired for which I know she will return you Many thanks tho I have not seen her since, I saw her Arm last week. there is not the appearence of a soar upon it. it is matter of surprize and proves the powerfull efficacy of carrots in such cases as the rose kind.1
Burrel has taken the Braintree Farm the other is not yet Setled. Captain Beals has let his Farm here to the halves— Billings might be hired I Suppose if you thought he would answer for us. I know I could have him, but Do not know at What lay. I should suppose one good hand with Copland, for I suppose I must keep him Would be sufficient for this place— write me what you think
I wrote mr Brisler a statement of the account as it stood upon My Book, and as it appeard by receits. I mistook as he supposed I had.
I am very sorry that Judge Cushing has refused his appointment. Chace is not a Man from all I have heard, Who will make mr Jays place good

“How can a judge enforce that Law gainst some poor Elf

Which conscience tells him, he hath broke himself”2

{ 184 }
the fountain of Justice should be as pure as Virgin innocence the Laws can neither be administerd or respected, if the Minister of them is not unspotted.—
Camillus always appeard to me to have more than one hand engaged. there is a difference very apparent in the Numbers. is Camillus thought of or talkd of for V. P.
but I am running again into politicks When I did not design a word upon the Subject. I must therefore conclude
affectionatly Yours—
[signed] Abigail Adams
1. Grated carrots moistened with water and made into a poultice were believed to be helpful in the healing of certain types of sores (William Buchan, Domestic Medicine; or, The Family Physician, 2d Amer. edn., Phila., 1774, p. 364, Evans, No. 13181).
2. “How can a king (yet on record we find / Such kings have been, such curses of mankind) / Enforce that law ’gainst some poor subject elf / Which conscience tells him he hath broke himself?” (Charles Churchill, “Gotham,” Book III, lines 195–198).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0094

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-02-22

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

Mr Quincy and Mr Copley made me a visit this afternoon. mr Copley arrived from England about 2 Months Since and is going to spend a year in America. he is the only son of our Friend. I believe you may recollect him. he talk of visiting Philadelphia. if he does I shall give him a Letter to you. mr Quincy seems much pleas’d with his Tour, and Speaks with much gratitude of the kindness and attention he experienced from you, whilst he was unwell in Philadelphia. I fear he will be a looser by the late failures.
I saw a paragraph in Russels centinel of Yesterday which is a very lose and blind one. “Summarhy of the Southern Mail arrived last Evening. Charles Adams esqr has arrived in Philadelphia, and is said to have been charged with the Treaty lately concluded with the Dey of Algiers, who has Sent as a present to the President of the united States an Elegant Gold Mounted Sword.” no date, no place arrived from, mentiond I do not know, nor ever heard of any Charls Adams a broad I can not Suppose it Thomas. I do not know how he could come by the Treaty. The only conjecture I can Make is that possibly Such an instrument may have arrived at N York to the care of the Govenour, and that he may have Deputed Charles as the Bearer of it to Philadelphia—1 It is also said that the Treaty with Spain had arrived, and was sent on from Boston.2 if so, the Senate { 185 } will awake from their Slumber, and buisness will begin to be more interesting. Captain Beals as usual when he returns from court, comes in to see me, and tell me as well as he knows how the News and politicks of the Week. his News of last Evening was that the President had determined to resign. I askd him where he learnt such News he said he had Dined with Mr T Russel and heard it at his Table. I asked him who the company were. he said a Number of country Representitives. the intelligence was from mr Russel
I did not chuse to ask him what Was said upon the occasion. I only remarkd to him that such a Rumour had formerly prevail’d;
I have written You several Letters the week past. I hope, as you appear to be so anxious about Letters, that you will get them in Due Season. I would not willingly dissapoint you. I have nothing very interesting to write. it can only be a solisitude to know that I am well for even the Farmers calender is at this Season comprised in a Line. I am sorry to inform you, that we have two Lambs—poor Rogues the Season is too cold for them yet. our Men begin to grow very covetous about their English Hay, and do not like that James’s Horses should spend so much of it. I suppose I shall be obliged to Buy some. Trask calld upon me for 8 Dollors which he said he was to have for clearing a swamp in Curtis’s pasture, & I Supposd it was right, and I pay’d him; no News yet from our Dear Sons. there is a vessel in from Roterdam which left it, Middle of December. she is at the Vineyard.3 no Letter or Paper from her yesterday. I do hope to hear.
Mr Quincy made Me very happy by telling me that you appeard to enjoy your Health very well this winter. I hope it may be continued to your / affectionate
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. Feb. 22 ansd / March 3. 1796.”
1. A treaty of peace and amity with Algiers was signed at Algiers in early Sept. 1795. The result of the United States’ agreeing to pay a tribute to the Barbary States of nearly $600,000 plus an additional $21,000 annually, the treaty promised free passage for American ships seeking to trade in the Mediterranean and the end of the capture of American sailors by Barbary pirates. The treaty arrived in New York on 7 Feb. 1796 and was carried by CA to Philadelphia, where George Washington submitted it to the Senate on 15 February. The Senate consented to it on 2 March, and it was formally proclaimed on 7 March (Miller, Treaties, 2:275–317; New York Argus, 9 Feb.). For the squib mentioned by AA, see Boston Columbian Centinel, 20 February.
2. Pinckney’s Treaty between the United States and Spain, signed at San Lorenzo el Real in late Oct. 1795, arrived in Boston on the Ruby, Capt. William Cole, on 15 Feb. 1796 and reached Philadelphia the following week. The Senate received it on 26 Feb. and consented to it on 3 March. Negotiated by Thomas Pinckney, the treaty clarified the borders between the United States and Spain’s colonial empire in the Americas and confirmed the right of U.S. ships to navigate freely on the Mississippi River (Miller, Treaties, 2:318–345; Boston Columbian Centinel, { 186 } 17 Feb.; Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 24 Feb.).
3. The Boston Columbian Centinel, 20 Feb., reported, “Capt. Clark, from Rotterdam, which he left the middle of December, has arrived at the Vineyard. She may speedily be expected round;—and intelligence from Rotterdam is direct, and always accurate.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0095

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-02-27

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I dined Yesterday with Mr Madison. Mrs Madison is a fine Woman and her two sisters are equally so: one of them is married to George Washington one of the two Nephews of the President who were sometimes at our House. Mr Washington came and civilly enquired after your Health. These Ladies, whose Names were Pain, are of a Quaker Family once of North Carolina.1
The Treaty with Spain is arrived and is according to our Wishes. The Algerine Treaty is horridly Costly. It is worse than the British: but will not be so fiercely opposed.
There is no Vessell here for Boston: I can not yet send any seeds.
The great Affair is as it was— I hear frequent Reflections which indicate that Jefferson, although in good hands he might do very well; yet in such hands as will hold him, he would endanger too much.— Some Persons of high Consequence have Spoken to me confidentially— But in general there is great delicacy on that head and I hold an entire reserve. The Question with me is between entire Ease and entire Disquietude. I will not fly from the latter nor will I court it. I can live as happily without a Carriage as Hamilton
Two great Political Questions have been agitated in the supream Court. one about Virginia Debts paid into the Treasury—the other the Constitutionality of the Carriage Tax. Hamilton argued this last for three hours with his usual Splendor of Talents & Eloquence as they say. In the Course of his argument he said no Man was obliged to pay the Tax. This he knew by Experiment: for after having enjoyed the Pleasure of riding in his Carriage for six years he had been obliged to lay it down and was happy.2
There is no hope of getting away till June. The House never went so slowly on.
I am
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “Febry 7th 1796.”
1. Dolley Payne (1768–1849) was born of Quaker parents in North Carolina but raised in Virginia and later Philadelphia. She married John Todd Jr. in 1790, but he died during the yellow fever epidemic in 1793. In 1794 she married James Madison. Her three sisters were Lucy Payne (1777?–1846), who had married George Steptoe Washington (ca. { 187 } 1773–1809) in 1793; Anna Payne (1779–1832), who married Richard Cutts in 1804; and Mary (Polly) Payne (1781–1808), who would marry John George Jackson. The other of George Washington’s nephews mentioned by JA was probably Lawrence Augustine Washington (1775–1824), George Steptoe’s brother. Both boys were educated at the University of Pennsylvania thanks to the support of their uncle (Notable Amer. Women; The Selected Letters of Dolley Payne Madison, ed. David B. Mattern and Holly C. Shulman, Charlottesville, Va., 2003, p. 398, 404, 409, 414; Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 1:12).
2. The case of Hylton v. United States challenged the legality of what became known as the Carriage Tax Law, a tax on carriages enacted in 1794 and designed to raise revenue to pay for defense. Alexander Hamilton was not directly connected to the proposal of this tax in Congress, though he likely had been consulted about it. The dispute centered on whether the tax was a direct or indirect one and thus its constitutionality. Initially heard in the Circuit Court in May 1795, the case came to the Supreme Court in early 1796, when the federal government retained Hamilton and Charles Lee to argue on its behalf. The court ruled on 8 March that the tax was not a direct one in the constitutional sense, and thus it was upheld (Alexander Hamilton, The Law Practice of Alexander Hamilton: Documents and Commentary, ed. Julius Goebel Jr. and others, 5 vols., N.Y., 1964–1981, 4:297–300, 303–304, 307, 314, 330–336). For Hamilton’s notes on the case—which may have provided the basis for his presentation before the court—see Law Practice, 4:342–355.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0096

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-02-28

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

Thursday is My Red Letter Day. then I usually get your favours, and a package of papers. the last thursday was particularly so. I received yours of the 10 13 15 & 17th of Febry, and two Letters from our Dear Sons one dated Helveotsluice Novbr 7th from the Minister, the other of the 9th from the Hague.1 the wind had been contrary for near three weeks, and he poor fellow cooped up in a paltry Inn, and cut off as he says from all humane communication almost as intirely as if he had changed worlds but this he ought not to regreet as it saved him from the Dangers of the perilious Nov’br Storm which proved fatal to so many poor Souls.2 a Letter from Thomas to J Quincy of a later Date 25 Novbr says he heard that his Brother arrived in London on the 10th.3 neither of their Letters are political, to avoid I presume the fate which Some others have met with, of being retaind when captured. possibly Letters may have gone on to you from mr Adams, for Thomas apology for writing only a short Letter, was, that his Brother for want of better Employment, had amused himself during his detention by writing and sending him to Coppy a great Number of Letters of no Moderate Length, which added to the buisness of a publick nature entrusted to his care, prevented him from writing to many of his Friend’s. I do not know Whether I ought to Send you Johns Letter. it is in answer to one you wrote him, or rather to that part of it, in which you mentiond to him { 188 } Charles Marriage & express a wish that at an early period “he might return home, and assume in like manner the cares and enjoy the felicities of a Family.” he observes that tis a Maxim of Rochefoucaults, that We sometimes pass from Love to Ambition, but that we never return from Ambition to Love. if this Maxim is true, he Says, what respite is to be expected by one who has past from Love, not indeed to ambition, but at least to its concerns. he proceeds and much more fully than he ever before did, lays open what had been the state of his Heart, “to Sacrifice the choice of the Heart, was all that prudene or Duty can require. it can not it will not receive from my own controul, or from any other, the imposition of a different choice. if it can choose again, its Election must be spontanious, without receiving any direction from the Will”4
I hope we shall Soon get Letters from him by way of England.
you will see by the Centinel that the Presidents Birth Day Was celebrated, with more than usual Festivity in Boston, and many other places. in the Toasts drank, they have for once done justice to the V P. it is a Toast that looks, I conceive to a future contemplated event.5
I am glad that your mind appears so Well Setled for what ever may take place, but who in their Senses could suppose that you would continue to serve in your present station with any other than Washington. who could wish or desire it must be destitute of your feelings or mine. to be the private citizen would not mortify me, but there remains not a Man in America, whose publick Services entitle him to the office, What ever his own opinion or that of his Friends may be.

“All envy power in others, and complain

of that which they would perish to obtain”6

I am happy to learn that You enjoy Your Health so well. the Season is approaching When colds are prevelent. You are so subject to them that I daily expect You to complain. every Body far and near are Suffering with them. I have my Share, but hope it will not lay me up—
ever your / affectionate
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. Feb. 28. ansd / March 9. 1796.”
1. For JA’s 17 Feb. letter, see JA to AA, 15 Feb., note 2, above. No letter from TBA to AA of 9 Nov. 1795 has been found.
2. A major hurricane struck Britain on 6 Nov. destroying numerous buildings and tearing up trees. At sea, several ships were torn from their anchors and some were tossed ashore (Salem Gazette, 2 Feb. 1796).
{ 189 }
3. Not found.
4. See JQA to AA, 7 Nov. 1795, and notes 4–7, above.
5. The Boston Columbian Centinel, 24 Feb. 1796, reported on the 22 Feb. celebrations of George Washington’s birthday. To mark the occasion, buildings were dressed with streamers, artillery was discharged, and a large dinner and entertainment took place at the Boston Concert Hall. Among the toasts given was one to JA: “May Americans never forget the blessings they owe to his firmness, nor the truths his talents have explored.” On 27 Feb. the Centinel noted that the birthday “has been more cordially celebrated this year, than it has within our memory.”
6. Charles Churchill, “Gotham,” Book III, lines 209–210.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0097

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-02-28

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

You left directions that Mr Pratt was to cut the Trees upon the plane for Timber to build a Barn this he has Done and our Teams have Drawn it, but upon inquiry I found that there would not be half enough for the Building. I inquired of Dr Tufts what conversation You had with him upon the subject, and of Pratt what You had Said to him. the Dr recollected that You talkd of building an addition to the Barn of the Same Size but that you did not conclude upon any thing. Pratt said he was not engaged to cut any more. the Season Would have past before I could have received any answer So I thought it best to proceed & get the remainder from the Woods. I accordingly Sent Pratt & his hands to cutt the rest, and our Teams to get it home. they did very well the first Day, but the second comes a Thaw & put a stop at present to their getting it home. it is ready for the first opportunity which I do not yet despare of—
The Manure upon the Hill which Was made last fall, I Suppose you mean for to be Spread upon the Grass ground where it lies. You propose to let all the Salt meddow except Penny ferry & seven or 10 acres which used to be brought here. Copeland requests that the Thatch bank may be let, but neither French or Bowditch seem to covet it joy complains sadly of his Hay, the Salt I mean, which he Says was not half made and is Rotten & Rusty. our people make a Similar complaint here at home, tho it is not so bad, but we are just upon Spring, tho there are three Months yet that the cattle want Hay. there is plenty but they Do not Eat it well.
If comfort consists in quietness I believe Dr Preistly may say that his old Age is the pleasentest part of his Life. if he come forward in America, and takes an active part, he May find that Malice Envy and Evil Speaking, are not confined to great Britain—
We hear no more of Debates in Senate than if the Gallery was shut.
{ 190 }
Tell Mrs Green that I know she will rejoice with me, that the fine Hair which she Solicited Genll Wane to leave her, was not as she prophesied Sacrificed to the Tome Hauk, but that it still remains to adorn the head of the Wearer now crowned with laurels.
present me kindly to mrs Washington and to all other Who express a regard for Your
[signed] A Adams
P S— Mrs Brisler lost her Sister Baxter on Saturday1
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. Feb. 28. 1796 / ansd March 9.”
1. Rhoda Field Baxter (1756–1796), an older sister of Esther Field Briesler, died on 27 February. She had married Edward Willard Baxter (1756–1823) in 1781 (Sprague, Braintree Families).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0098

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-02-28

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Mother.

The last Letter I wrote you should have gone by the Galen,1 but from being postponed to the last moment, the opportunity was lost, and it will now be delivered to you, together with this by my friend Mr: Gardner who goes with Scott. He has also the goodness to take charge of the cloaks for yourself and Louisa, for which you wrote to my brother Thomas. As he remained at the Hague, I undertook the commission myself, and hope you will think I have acquitted myself of it to your satisfaction. I must not however pride myself much upon the subject, for I have given full proof upon another commission which came at the same time, of satin for Mrs: Welsh, that I am not always to be trusted in this way. The Doctor sent a small strip for a pattern, and I am perfectly ashamed to say that I have lost it2
The cloaks were chosen by Mrs: Johnson, and by her second daughter, a very amiable young lady bearing the name of Louisa Catherine, which was one of my inducements for requesting her to select the cloak for her namesake.3 You will please to request of Louisa her acceptance of it as a token of my regard, and will permit me to present the other, as a mark of grateful affection to yourself.
I have received your letter by Mr: Coles, containing twenty coupons for which you wish to have new obligations taken.4 As I am in expectation of returning in a short time to the Hague I shall take them with me. I shall purchase you a watch agreeable to your request, but such an article requiring some time for trial before its merit can be ascertained I shall send it by some future opportunity.
From the newspapers which I send you will find that nothing very { 191 } material is now passing in Europe. The talk about negotiations for Peace continues, but it is too late in the season to expect an agreement without the trial of another campaign. Such at least is the probable appearance, though all the belligerent powers

“Howe’er they may affect the style of Gods”5

are exhausted beyond the possibility of much further endurance
The pamphlets of Louvet and Madame Roland. The life of Dumouriez and the apologetic account of Sieyes have been so long published, that possibly they may have reached you already.6 They contain many curious and interesting details upon the strange eventful history of the french Revolution, which has had so many desperate enemies, so many frantic friends, and so few impartial judges.
Every thing here is very quiet, although the scarcity of bread is constantly increasing. The winter has been mild beyond all example, which has been a great alleviation to those who would have suffered most from the scarcity, but apprehensions are entertained that its effect upon the following harvest, will be unfavourable.
Our latest Letters from America, give us upon the whole a more pleasing aspect of the state of affairs than we had apprehended. They encourage the hope that our Peace will yet be preserved, and this comprehends in itself the enjoyment of almost every blessing that a Nation can possess.
Mr: Randolph’s pamphlet has been republished here, and a very curious thing it is.7 Among the thousand proofs that I meet with every day of the influence that party spirit has upon the moral sense I have considered it as one of the strongest, that there are Americans who avow themselves of opinion that his conduct amounted only to an indiscretion, and that he has been harshly treated.
While I am writing I receive the Boston Centinels to the 27th: of January. The speech of the Governor at the opening of the Session is almost as strange to me as Randolph’s Vindication. Indeed the People of Massachusetts have great respect for persons, or they would hardly suffer a man depreciated to the delivery of such a speech to appear in the face of the World, as their chief Magistrate. The answers of the two Houses are a little more considerate, though the “most popular” branch as his Excellency has it, cannot help a trifle of trimming as usual.
My latest letters from my brother Thomas were of January 27.8 He { 192 } has had a touch of his old rheumatic complaint but had got better, and writes in good spirits. I hope to see him again soon, but how soon I am yet unable to say.
Your ever affectionate Son
[signed] John Q. Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs: Adams.”; endorsed: “J Q A Febry 28 1796.” FC-Pr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 131.
1. The ship Galen, Capt. Benjamin Eddy, departed from Gravesend on 22 Feb. (London Lloyd’s List, 23 Feb.; Boston Columbian Centinel, 16 April). Apparently JQA’s letter was not the only thing left behind. The Massachusetts Mercury, 15 April, reported upon its arrival that the Galen had “six passengers engaged; but punctuality as to the time of sailing occasioned their being left behind.”
2. Thomas Welsh made the request for satin for his wife in a letter to JQA of 10 Dec. 1795, not found. JQA wrote to Welsh on 21 March 1796 sheepishly confessing the loss and indicating he would consequently be unable to fulfill the commission (FC-Pr, APM Reel 131).
3. That is, Catherine Nuth Johnson, for whom see Descriptive List of Illustrations, Nos. 6 and 7, above, and her daughter Louisa Catherine Johnson (1775–1852, designated as LCA in The Adams Papers), who would marry JQA in 1797. LCA and JQA may have met for the first time while still children in Nantes, France, but were reintroduced during JQA’s time in London in the winter of 1795–1796. They spent considerable time together throughout the spring of 1796 and on 5 May became engaged. A few weeks later JQA returned to his duties at The Hague, leaving LCA behind until such time as he could afford to support her as his wife. His first letter to her is dated 2 June, and she wrote to him for the first time on 4 July, both below. In true Adams family style, they would continue to correspond regularly with one another whenever separated for the remainder of their lives. More than a year later—and after no small number of misunderstandings and disagreements, amply documented in their correspondence, below— JQA returned to London and married LCA on 26 July 1797 at the Church of All Hallows Barking (LCA, D&A, 1:xxii, 19).
4. See AA to JQA, 6 Dec. 1795, above.
5. Shakespeare, Much Ado about Nothing, Act V, scene i, line 37.
6. Jean Baptiste Louvet de Couvray’s Narrative of the Dangers to Which I Have Been Exposed, Marie Jeanne Roland’s An Appeal to Impartial Posterity, and Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès’ An Account of the Life of Sieyès were all published in London in 1795. Charles François Dumouriez’ Life of General Dumouriez, 3 vols., appeared in London in 1796; a copy is in JA’s library at MB (Catalogue of JA’s Library).
7. Edmund Randolph’s pamphlet was reprinted in London in 1796 under the title Interesting State Papers, from President Washington, M. Fauchet and M. Adet. Likewise Conferences with George Hammond … Quoted by Edmund Randolph, Late Secretary of State, and Included in a Defence of His Resignation of that Office.
8. TBA’s letter to JQA of 27 Jan., with a lengthy postscript dated 28 Jan., largely conveyed news of the matters TBA was handling at The Hague in JQA’s absence, including the ongoing debates with the Dutch bankers regarding U.S. loans (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0099

Author: Peabody, Elizabeth Smith Shaw
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-02-28

Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Sister

I am very sorry that I could not send Betsy Quincy with her Cousin,1 but my being unwell prevented my having her in readiness— Upon my own account I feel loth to part with her, but when I consider her advantage, & how much she improved in the last year, { 193 } I think I should be doing her injustice, if I were not solicitous to place her again in a situation, where having gained five talents, she might gain five more; wishing that she might have her mind impressed with the necessity of striving to excell in Every thing that is worthy of praise—in that kind of knowledge which may qualify her for useful life—cultivating that modest condescending, sweet disposition which is the ornament of our Sex, & the only mean of making ourselves, or others happy. Betsy Quincy has enjoyed very good health since she came home, has not been troubled with alarming head-ach’s— I suppose her ride home was of service to her—but I fear as the Spring comes on, she will be unstrung again— my Children’s fibres are all too relaxed— They partake too much of their Mothers feeble Constitution. When I think of my self, I am astonished that this feeble fabrick of mine should have continued to this day— I know not how it has been preserved—it seems as if much firmer tenements must have fallen— After severe shocks I recruit, & hope to be useful Yet in Life, & enjoy my full portion of happiness, by endeavouring to make those arround me pleased, accommodating myself not only to the Family I am in, but to the Parish, learning of you to rise with dignity, & fall with ease—with the grave to be serious, with the gay, to be cheerfull, kindly affectioned to all, evincing to the world a principle within, which like a pole Star guides & directs Every motion—
I thank you for all your kindness to William, I hope he will be preserved from evil, & those temptations which await an inexperienced youth—
I know you will be sorry to find Betsy still stoops downward. I have done everything in my power to persuade, & command, & flatter her, if possible into a more erect posture—but all in vain— her bones will be closely knit soon, & her shape will be ruined— I have had more hard words upon this account than I ever thought I should have with a child— She is always displeased when I tell her she can, & ought to stand better— I had some serious talk with her upon the subject, & have told her, I should not say more, she might take her course— She might see me look distressed by her leaning, & standing, but I would not speak unless I forgot— Still my Sister I am loth to give her up. I wish you if possible my Sisters to devise some method to get her up— I know she can stand as strait as you, or I, & it is nothing but a trick— It seems as if my Children, had more singularities than others— I intend to keep a close watch upon { 194 } Abby—& in Mr Peabody I have an attentive Partner, who is one of the warmest advocates for female education, & will I doubt not, assist me in the education of this little cheerful creature— he loves her very much already— He thinks Betsy Quincy capable of making a fine woman, when her Judgment is properly matured—that she still wants a steady hand, firm, & tender
You say you gave William leave to open my Letter, I believe we must be a little cautious— I forget particulars— I think it was not quite so bad as “whip the bearer”—though possibly he might find a check upon himself—2
I hope you will make Betsy useful to you, it will most assuredly give her pleasure, as well as to your affectionate / Sister
[signed] Elizabeth Peabody
RC (Adams Papers); docketed by Richard Cranch: “Mrs E Peabody to Mrs / Adams. Feb 28th 1796.”
1. Betsy Smith, William and Catharine Salmon Smith’s daughter.
2. That is, Elizabeth Peabody’s letter to AA of 6 Feb., which AA indicated William Shaw could open in her letter to Peabody of 12 Feb., both above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0100

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-02-29

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] my Dear son

Seven Months were nearly elapsed, from the Date of Your former Letter, to the receipt of yours on the 22 of this Month Which was of Nov’br 7th; from Helvoetsluice.1 You from experience can judge, how acceptable it was to me. the very sight of a Letter exilirates my Spirits, and I tread back ten years in an instant.
I felt all you described from your Situation, and could trace you into the Same appartments which I had occupied on a former occasion, experiencing the same impatience and Disgust, but on the Ill of Wight. tho a Much pleasenter Spot, all my patience was exhausted by a three weeks detention, without Work, without Books.2 I never knew before the force of that expression, Ennui, for which I believe we have not any English word, but the thing itself I felt in all its force. Those Scenes have all past as a Dream; and Many others have rapidly Succeeded. I have now been Stationary for three years. Whether I am to remain so, or Whether a different portion is allotted for me, remains to be unfolded of one thing I am certain, that if Envy owes Me a grudge, now is her time to covet my portion of felicity, whilst I am in the peacefull enjoyment of Domestick { 195 } quiet, free from the anxious cares & Solisitudes, Which are always attendant upon the Most elevated Stations

O Might Reflection, Folly’s place Supply

Would she one moment use her pierceing Eye

Then might she learn what woe from Ruling springs

And learn to pitty, not to Envy xxxxx—3

it was Naturel my Dear son for you, to make the reflections you Did upon your Fathers wish, and at the Same time learning that Your Brother was united to the choice of his Heart. I do not wonder that it awakened the Dorment feelings of Your soul, and uncoverd the fire, which tho Smotherd, gleamd up again, upon the recollection of the Sacrifice You had made.
“When Stern prudence quenchd the unwilling flame”4 only virtuous Souls are capable of true attachments, and Sincere Friendships are more generally form’d at an early age, when the Heart is tender Soft and unsuspicious, before we have been jostled by the tumults of Life, and put out of humour and conceit of the World or the paltry competitions of Ambition and avarice freeze up the generous current of the Soul, but it must be longer than I hope you will remain single, before you reach that frigid state. therefore Do not despair of one Day feeling a similar regard for a kindred soul Yet in reserve for You. That particular Providence which presides over all his creatures, had some demands upon You, and some call for the exercise of those tallents entrusted to you, which could be better performd in a single, than a Married state. a connection at that early period of your Life, would have embarressed You, and greatly frustrated your future usefulness. let the consciousness of having acted right console you. prehaps it Might be, encouraging a hope that prudence ought to surpress, if I was to Say that I believed the object of Your regard, will never connect herself whilst you remain Single. She may not appear to you in a few years with all those outward attractions which the Bloom of 18 gave her. Time will Dim the Lusture of the Eye, and wither the bloom of the face, tho it may perfect and mature those Mental attractions Which yeald a more permanant, and solid satisfaction, when the ardour of passion, setles into the more lasting union of Friendship or to express myself in the words, of the Lover, and the poet,

“The Damask roses blooming in her face

Alass too soon shall wither and decay,

{ 196 }

And Natures hand that gave the glowing Grace

that very hand shall take it soon away;

Yet while he plants the wrinkles on her Brow

And plucks the flowing Auburn from her Head

Superiour Beauties shall old Time bestow

And give the Virtues in the Graces stead”5

Your Brother Charles writes me that he is very happy in his connection.6 Sally is an amiable virtuous Girl, with every disposition to make him a good wife and it will be his fault, if he is not in future what he now is. when I was in NYork I had much conversation with her, and tho I advised them to continue longer single, I did not wish to Shake their determination, to be for none other.
as this Letter Seem to be appropriated to Love, I will not contammiate it with politicks but conclude it with the wish of Dulcinea that I would Speak a good word for her. I read to her that part of Your Letter in which You speak so Well of her Swain. it lighted up her countanance and brightned it into a smile and a blush; after standing a moment or two contemplating upon it, she said it was very refreshing to her. she wonderd when You would come home. I believe he has not received a Letter I inclosed to you for him. you do not acknowledg the recept of any dated in sep’br7
I received a Letter from Thomas of the same date with Yours, but one of the 25 to Mr Quincy gave me the agreable intellegence of your safe arrival in London8 You will get many Letters from Your Friends if they arrive safe
The last Letter from you to your Father was dated in october and No 12—9
we have been a long time Without intellegence from abroad. The Treaty with Algiers was brought to N York by col John Smith from Lisbon,10 & Charles went express with it, and the Sword and other Presents to the President on the 10th of this Month. neither the British or spanish Treaty had arrived on the 20th. I came very nigh breaking my word without reflecting upon my promise on the other page, to avoid further Temptation I subscribe your / ever affectionate Mother
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “my Mother. / 29. Feby: 1796. Quincy / 26. April. recd: London. / 5. May do: Answered.”
1. Prior to JQA’s letter to AA of 7 Nov. 1795, his next most recent letter had been of 30 July, both above.
2. AA and JA were forced to remain on the Isle of Wight from 6 to 20 April 1788 while waiting to embark on their ship home to the United States; see vol. 8:254–255; JA, D&A, 3:212–214.
{ 197 }
3. Charles Churchill, “Gotham,” Book III, lines 113–116. The final word of line 116 in the original is “kings.” At this point AA continued her letter on a separate sheet of paper, only returning to the reverse of her first sheet after filling both sides of the second.
4. “There stern religion quench’d th’ unwilling flame” (Alexander Pope, “Eloisa to Abelard,” line 39).
5. Ferdinand, “Upon Miranda’s Birth-Day,” lines 65–72, in The New-York Magazine, 2:174–175 (March 1791).
6. See CA to AA, 31 Jan. 1796, above.
7. See JQA to AA, 7 Nov. 1795, and note 8, above.
8. Not found.
9. Probably JQA to JA, 31 Oct. 1795, above, which is actually No. 14. For JQA’s letter No. 12, dated 31 Aug., see JA to JQA, 25 Aug., note 5, above.
10. AA had this news from JA in a letter dated 10 Feb. 1796 (Adams Papers); he, in turn, learned of it from CA.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0101

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-03-01

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

Yesterday the President sent his Carriage for me to go with the Family to the Theatre. The Rage and the Spoiled Child were the two Pieces.1 it rained and the House was not full. I thought I perceived a little Mortification. Mr George Washington & his fair Lady were with Us.
Yours of 21st gives me a Satisfactory Account of farming. I think I would engage Billings if I could— I must leave it to you to give him what you think fit.
There is no Vessell up for Boston and Seeds are very Scarce and uncommonly dear.
As to the Subject of yours of the 20th. I am quite at my Ease— I never felt less Aniety when any considerable Change lay before me. aut transit aut finit— I transmigrate or come to an End. The Question is between living at Phila. or at Quincy. between great Cares and Small Cares. I have looked into myself and See no meanness nor dishonesty there. I See Weakness enough. But no timidity. I have no concern on your Account but for your health. A Woman can be silent, when she will.
After all, Persuasion may overcome the Inclination of the Chief to retire— But if it should, it will Shorten his days I am convinced. His heart is set upon it, and the Turpitude of the Jacobins touches him more nearly than he owns in Words. All the Studied Efforts of the Fœds, to counterballance Abuses by Compliments dont answer the End. I Suspect, but dont know, that Patrick Henry, Mr Jefferson, Mr Jay and Mr Hamilton will all be voted for. I ask no questions: but questions are forced upon me— I have had Some Conversations purposely Sought, in order as I believe indeed as I know, to { 198 } convince me, that the Fœds had no thought of overleaping the Succession.
The only Question that labours in my Mind is whether I shall retire with my file Leader? I hate to live in Phila. in Summer and I hate still more to relinquish my farm— I hate Speeches, Messages Addresses & answers, Proclamations and such Affected, studied constrained Things— I hate Levees & Drawing Rooms— I hate to Speak to a 1000 People to whom I have nothing to Say— Yet all this I can do— But I am too old to continue more than one or at <least> most more than two heats, and that is scarcely time enough to form conduct & compleat any very useful system.
Electioneering enough We shall have—the enclosed Scraps will shew Specimens.2
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Ms A”; endorsed: “March 1 1796.”
1. Frederick Reynolds’ The Rage!, and The Spoil’d Child, attributed to various authors including Isaac Bickerstaff, were both performed at the New Theatre in Philadelphia on 29 Feb. (Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 27 Feb.).
2. The enclosures have not been found but possibly came from the Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 1 March, which included various jibes against Federalists, particularly about the Jay Treaty, including the following: “A marine correspondent observes, that shallops and pettiaugers must now be built, to carry on our much favoured trade, agreeably to treaty, with the British West India islands! and such small crafts as are, by the treaty, permitted to go to those islands, are in future to be registered, and called (neither sloops nor schooners, but) Jays; viz, the Jay Washington, the Jay Adams, the Jay Hamilton, the Jay Pickering, the Jay Wolcott, the Jay Knox, the Jay Lawrence, the Jay King, the Jay Willcocks; and, the Blue Jay, Harper Pink, &c. &c. &c.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0102

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-03-02

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

Our Little Town of Quincy is become so rich that they can vote a Thousand Dollors to Build a School House, Yet cannot pay a Tax to their Minister which has been Due for more than two years.1 Your proportion of the Tax for the present Year including your part of the 300 for the School house is 187 Dollors 30 cents. the Braintree Tax I have not yet seen. both the collector & the School committe want the Tax. I promised Baxter that he Should have 50 Dollors of it provided he would make an exertion to get the rest for mr Wibird as he said he was determined to do by March meeting. our Neighbour Joseph Baxter is the collector.2 Captain Beals has really made a fine story out to the Town & prevaild upon them to vote & Tax for this Thousand Dollors to Build the School House. I should have supposed 500 might have answerd as well. it is to be Set upon the { 199 } Green by the meeting house, built 2 Storey high. the School House to be divided, part for Girls & part for Boys, over the whole a large Room for the Town to Do buisness in, or to be let as an Assembly Room. Quincy is to Rival Hingham. we shall have an accademy, and being so much nearer Boston Gentlemen & Ladies will prefer sending their children here. it will bring into Town a Mint of Money, & raise the value of estates in Town Six pr cent, and all this I have Done for the Town. at this very œconomical time of Building I fancy the cash will come harder than the vote. the Timber is cut & Pratt has engaged to Build it.
Mr Wibird has not been out but once this winter, and then was not able to get in or out of the Carriage but with help. How can you says Yorick; captain shandy live comfortless and alone, without a Bosom to lean Your head upon—or trust Your cares to?3 next to that, is being seperated half a Year at a Time. no Man even if he is sixty Years of age ought to live more than three Months at a Time from his Family, and our Country is a very hard hearted tyrannical nigardly Country. it has committed more Robberies upon me, and obliged me to more Sacrifices than any other woman in the Country and this I will mantain, against any one who will venture to come forward and dispute it with me. as there never can be a compensation for me, I must sit down with this consolation that it might have been worse.
we have a Young Gentleman Preaching for us by the Name of Fisk. upon the whole I like him better than any other we have had. in the first place he has an Excellnt countanance, in the 2d he is very social & much of a Gentleman, and in the 3d he is a very good preacher I do not however expect that we shall ever be so fortunate as to get all these qualifications united in a minister for Quincy4
The Season is mild, the Snow is leaving us. I must think of attacking the canker worm—if any such I find. Grain is rising fast. I am thankfull I am so well supplied with flower. I have not been able to purchase Rye under 9 Shillings pr Bushel. corn has got to seven I hear. if our places are out I hope we shall not have occasion to Buy. I must soon have an other hand. mr Bass’s services are not worth much. the old Man has the Jaundice, and is weak and feeble. Copland has been so steady through the winter that I must keep him I presume provided he does not rise too high in his price. he knows so well every part of the Farm & the buisness, But with new hands I should be at a loss in your absence.
we have had for three Days last week a fog as thick as { 200 } Philadelphia, so it put me in mind of the old story, [Sprawls?] &c I hope to shake it of, for I am better of my cold, and the Bark I have had recourse to.
The last of Your Fathers sisters Dyed a fortnight since. I learnt it only from the Chronical for the Family never sent us any word, not even to your Mother who was here on saturday and desires to be rememberd to you With Parental affection.5 I bought the good Lady a winter Gown when I was in Town, with which she was much pleasd. it did me good to see how much, and I have it in Charge over & over again to thank You for the flower Sent. I think her Health better for the discharge she has had from her Arm—
I am with the Sincerest Regard / ever your
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. March 2. Ansd 11 / 1796.”
1. In April 1793 the recently incorporated town of Quincy voted to build a school. No further action was taken until 1 Oct. 1795 when another vote reaffirmed the plan and selected a committee to design the structure and estimate the costs involved. At the 16 Nov. town meeting a site on the town’s training field, near the current First Church, was approved. A wooden structure with two floors, the grammar school was housed on the bottom story and a winter “ciphering school” for advanced students was on the upper story, which also served as a town hall. It is unclear when classes began, but the town meeting first took place there on 8 Dec. 1796. The structure burned in 1815 (Pattee, Old Braintree, p. 91, 329–330).
2. Capt. Joseph Baxter (1740–1829) had previously served in a variety of town posts in Quincy (Sprague, Braintree Families).
3. Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, vol. 2, ch. 25.
4. Possibly John Fiske (1770–1855), Dartmouth 1791, the great-grandson of Rev. Moses Fiske who had served as minister of the church from 1672 to 1708. John Fiske was installed as the pastor of the First Church of New Braintree in Aug. 1796 (Albert A. Fiske, The Fiske Family: A History of the Family, Chicago, 1867, p. 189; Frederic A. Whitney, An Historical Sketch of the Old Church, Quincy, Mass., Albany, N.Y., 1864, p. 15, 16).
5. Bethiah (or Bethia) Adams Hunt Bicknell Hayward died on 3 Feb. (Sprague, Braintree Families). The news appeared in the Boston Independent Chronicle, 11 February.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0103

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-03-03

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I recd this morning your favour of Feb. 22.—the more agreable as it was not very confidently expected. I should be glad to see Mr Copley.
Charles brought the Treaty from Col. John Smith who brought it from Lisbon. I hope you will have Letters by the Vessell you mention from Rotterdam.
The Treaties with Spain & Algiers have been unanimously Sanctioned by senate and that with Britain is proclaimed. The House will try to make a little Noise.1
{ 201 }
Elsworth was this day nominated Chief Justice—2I see that at Boston & Cambridge &c the Birth Day was celebrated with great Splendor as it was here—3 The old song is verified as I always said it would be “The more he is envied the higher he’l rise.”4 Increase of abuse will produce an increase of Adulation.

What gave great Villiers to th’ Assassins Knife

And fix’d disease on Harleys closing Life?

What murder’s Wentworth and what exil’d Hyde

By Kings protected and to Kings ally’d?

What but their Wish indulged in Courts to shine

And Power too great to keep or to resign?5

The Power of the P. may be too great to keep or to resign. If it is, he may meet with the Fate of Harley.6
It is, Somehow, Strangely, the Opinion of many and among those are some of his best Friends that he ought to retire. No one, that I have heard, has presum’d to say he would not if he were in the P.s case.—
He has now settled all Disputes with foreign Nations and may retire with undiminish’d Glory.
I find the V. P. toasted at most of the Feasts and even Brown has announced Mr Adams’s appearance at the Theatre with Pleasure.7 All this is as I, conjecture Electioneering. The other side will probably begin soon. And I shall regard it all with as much Apathy, as is in my nature.— I feel collected and unmoved. The Principle of the Conclave goes a great Way in many Elections. All Parties will frequently concurr in the Choice of the oldest Cardinal, because he cannot hold the Papal Chair long.— I am so old that they all know they can make me miserable enough to be glad to get out of it as soon as Washington if not in half the time.
June is the earliest Month that gives a hope to release me. I Suppose you must buy hay— You have not told me whether I am to expect a Colt. Am glad our Men are frugal of their English Hay.
I am most affectionately and / ardently, notwithstanding I have been / so so long your
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “March 3. 1796.”
1. Democratic-Republicans, having failed to block the Jay Treaty in the Senate the previous June, now hoped to prevent its implementation in the House of Representatives. House Republicans pursued two strategies. For the first, a demand that George Washington turn over papers outlining the treaty’s negotiations for review by the House, see JA { 202 } to AA, 19 March, and note 1, below. The second involved attempting to defeat the resolution for the treaty’s appropriations. This effort generated considerable debate but failed narrowly when the House approved the implementation of the treaty by a vote of 51 to 48 on 30 April (Combs, Jay Treaty, p. 171, 175–176, 186–187).
2. After William Cushing declined to accept the appointment as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Washington nominated Oliver Ellsworth of Connecticut on 3 March. The next day the Senate approved his nomination by a vote of 21 to 1. Ellsworth resigned as U.S. senator to accept the new post (U.S. Senate, Exec. Jour., 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 203–204; DAB).
3. JA likely heard about the Boston and Cambridge birthday events from an early copy of the Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 4 March, which reported on both. At Cambridge, Harvard students illuminated the college in Washington’s honor, then retired early, “saying to each other it would be disgraceful to pretend to honor WASHINGTON with riot and disorder.” In Philadelphia, the occasion was marked by the ringing of bells and firing of cannon. A “splendid ball and supper” took place in the evening, where toasts were given to Washington himself, “United America,” and “the constituted Authorities of our Country” (Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 23 Feb.; Philadelphia Gazette, 25 Feb.).
4. “Then dare to be generous, dauntless, and gay; / Let’s merrily pass life’s remainder away: / Upheld by our friends, we our foes may despise; / For the more we are envied the higher we rise” (“With an Honest Old Friend,” lines 9–12, Calliope; or, The Musical Miscellany, London, 1788, p. 275–276).
5. Samuel Johnson, “The Vanity of Human Wishes,” lines 129–134.
6. Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford (1661–1724), had served as Speaker of the Commons and chancellor of the exchequer when he became lord treasurer in 1711; at the time he was the most powerful member of Parliament. Oxford was dismissed on 27 July 1714 by Queen Anne over a political dispute, and in 1715 he was committed to the Tower of London and faced impeachment charges for his role in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht (DNB).
7. Andrew Brown’s Philadelphia Gazette, 1 March 1796, noted in an article on the Philadelphia theater that “The pleasures of the entertainment were heightened by the presence of the beloved WASHINGTON, his Lady, and Mr. Adams, the Vice-President.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0104

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-03-05

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

Thursday post brought me Yours of the 20th 23 & 24.1 we have had a good Season for buisness and our Teams have Stood Still a very few Days the whole winter. they have carted Me home all the Wood cut by vesey. they have carried all the manure up pens Hill designd for the corn. they have Sledded Some stones and they have carried up 36 loads of manure upon the Stoney Feild Hill. they have Drawn all the Timber home from the plain and some from the Woods, and by the help of a little Snow again tho a Small quantity. they are going this Day to get home Some more. our cattle have not fed on corn oats or Barley. be sure Copland has given them their share of English Hay, but all agree that the cattle look much better than they did last Year. I ought to have enumerated the manure carted & spread upon Quincy meddow. that Ground I have retaind for this place. as Soon as the Season will permit the Hill before the Door { 203 } will be cross plowd our people say the turnings are so short, that it will take more Time and is worse to plow than when first Done. So much for Farming
The Electionering Toast, You sent me, I answer by one equally good, from Ipswich [“]3. John Adams. May his Virtues, Genius and knowledge long revolve, the first planet from our political Sun” poor Sam’ll got a Rap. “Sam’ll Adams. May not the errors of Dotage disgrace that Life whose manhood was usefull to his Country.[”] the Toast were all good and sentimental as were those of Newburry port. 2d was the V President and congress may the prosperity and happiness of the American people, still form their Eulogy. 8th. The Ancient Dominion—May the State that gave Birth to a Washington never tarnish her Lusture by disorganizing measures. 9th The late Self-created Societies—Peace to their manes. May no sacrilegious hand Disturb their ashes.2
I thank you for mr Harpers address. a Friend had sent me one before, of the 1 Edition. I cannot say that the thought did not occur to me, that the letter of mr Jays would be attributed to the Motive asscribed. I believe it to be a fair and honest statement of his sentiments, written in plain Simple stile.3
I yesterday received a Letter from Thomas of the 1 of December which I inclose to you. I think we may expect daily to hear from England I hope to get Letters from thence I shall send to Thomas by a vessel going to Amsterdam Peter P. & mr Harpers address.4 if you have all Camillus in a Pamphlet, be So good as to send Me one. We have only printed here 22 Numbers
I hope you will write our Dear Sons, particularly Thomas by any vessel going to Hamburgh or Holland as the communication is more difficult, to him than to England. return me his Letter when you have read it
I know Law. he will never See 45 again unless he lives to ninety. he will Do for a Virginna Girl, who would stand no chance, where Black are so plenty and Manners so licentious of Marrying one of her own States Men, without some progeny.5 I suppose they are not over Delicate in their feelings. I would not give up the Heavenly sinsations of a virtuous Love, even at this advanced period of Life, for all the wealth of all the Indias. my Children are much dearer to me than they could otherways have been, and much more deserving of my Regard. I do not like these Marriages of Jan’ry & May, particularly, when Jan’ry is batterd by passing inclement Seasons and { 204 } connected with profligate companions, even tho a Jointure was to be added in proportion to the Age of the Party, or the hundreds increased as the head was hoary, and the Frame enfeabled. there never can be with such a Disparity, a Durable union of Hearts. Age must blunt the fine feelings of the Soul, and the delicious harmony of according Hearts. Nature is opposed to it, or why has she placed at so great a Distance from each other the Torrid and the frigid Zones?
You must not tell the Good Lady all this Story. tell her that I hope the connextion will be productive of much Satisfaction to her, but that I say when I was young I liked a young Man much better for a companion than an old one. I cannot help feeling pained for my poor Lad who in his last Letter made so much of a confession of his past pangs and strugles; I think with Yorick, that [“]Love is not a misfortune from a persuasion that a Mans Heart is ever the better for it”6
I must bid you adieu. My paper warns me to close, and to assure you of the Sincerest attachment / of Your
[signed] A Adams—
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. March 5 / 1796.”
1. JA’s 20 Feb. letter reported that “Electioneering begins to open her Campaign” and that Thomas Jefferson and John Jay would compete for the vice presidency if George Washington were to continue as president. As for JA’s own situation, he told AA, “My Mind you know is made up and I am much at my Ease.— I am impatient and distressed while my Mind is in suspence— Once decided I have no longer any Uneasiness.” On the 24th, JA wrote again, commenting on the cold and snowy weather, the annual celebration of Washington’s birthday on 22 Feb., and the arrival of the treaty from Spain (both Adams Papers). For JA’s letter of 23 Feb., see note 5, below.
2. For the Newburyport and Ipswich toasts, see the Boston Federal Orrery, 29 Feb. and 3 March, respectively.
3. JA enclosed Robert Goodloe Harper’s pamphlet in his letter to AA of 20 Feb., for which see note 1, above. Harper originally published An Address from Robert Goodloe Harper, of South-Carolina, to His Constituents, Containing His Reasons for Approving of the Treaty of Amity, Commerce and Navigation, with Great-Britain, Phila., 1795, Evans, No. 28802, to justify his decision to vote in favor of the Jay Treaty. Later editions appended a letter from Jay to Harper dated 19 Jan.; see, for example, Evans, Nos. 30539 and 30540. Jay’s letter, which JA described to AA on 20 Feb. as “called by the southern Gentlemen an Electioneering Letter,” defended his neutrality regarding U.S. foreign policy. Jay wrote, “As it is my duty, so it is my inclination and resolution, never to be a partizan of any foreign court or nation; but to be and remain with those independent and genuine Americans, who think it unwise and improper to meddle in foreign politics.” Jay also sought to offer a more nuanced explanation of his support for the French Revolution than Harper had provided in his pamphlet.
4. See AA to TBA, 10 March, below.
5. Thomas Law, for whom see vol. 10:310 and LCA, D&A, 2:424, married Elizabeth Parke Custis on 21 March. He was 39 years old, and she was 19. In 1802 husband and wife were separated when Law went abroad, and this separation was formalized upon his return to the United States in 1804. In 1811 they legally divorced. JA wrote of the engagement to AA on 23 Feb. 1796, recounting that Martha Washington, Custis’ grandmother, “is as gay as a Girl and tells the story in a very humerous stile. Mr. Law says he is only 35 Years of Age and altho the Climate of India { 205 } has given him an older look Yet his Constitution is not impaired beyond his Years” (Allen C. Clark, Thomas Law: A Biographical Sketch, Washington, D.C., 1900, p. 11–12; Jefferson, Papers, Retirement Series, 3:209; Adams Papers).
6. Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, vol. 8, ch. 26.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0105

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-03-05

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I Yesterday recd the Letter inclosed from my Son and in the Evening the President told me he had Letters from him.1 You will perceive the Prudence of reserving to yourself the hint in his Letter to me, as every Thing of the Kind will be eagerly Seized and easily exaggerated.
The Treaties are all ratified by the Senate and Yesterday Mr Elsworths Nomination was consented to as Chief Justice, by which We loose the clearest head and most dilligent hand We had. It will give a Stability to the Government however, to place a Man of his Courage Constancy fortitude and Capacity in that situation. The Nomination of Mr Chase had given Occasion to uncharitable Reflections and Mr Wilsons ardent Speculations had given offence to some, and his too frequent affectation of Popularity to others.2 Though Elsworth has the Stiffness of Connecticutt: though His Air and Gait are not elegant; though He cannot enter a Room nor retire from it with the Ease and Grace of a Courtier: Yet his Understanding is as sound, his Information as good and his heart as Steady as any Man can boast.
The Newspapers inclosed in my sons Letter were no later than the date of it and contain nothing but what has been already detailed in our own Newspapers.
The Honours done to the President on his Birth Day have been very magnificent. at Boston and Cambridge very striking. Here it was all Dance and Glare. I Suppose the Remembrance of the V. P. on those occasions considering that for the most part they forget him is with a View to the Reelection approaching. Last Night a Gentleman at a Dinner interrogated another who is of an opposite Party to him, to know who they intended to propose or set up for V. P. instead of Clinton. The Answer was I dont know but I believe Mr Langdon.3
There is very little indeed nothing said in my Hearing concerning an illustrious Resignation. Nobody Speaks to me and I Speak to nobody of it. As it is easier to enter a Room with Ease, Confidence & Propriety than it is to go out of it and as it is easier to stand before { 206 } an Ennemy in your front than in your Rear, as it is easier to attack a fortress than it is to lie still and be attacked, Resignation, Retreat & Retirement will be found more difficult than Acceptance. To hold an office a Year with a full and known Resolution to resign, to adhere without wavering to that Resolution and then retire with Grace and Applause is the most difficult Part to act which he has ever under taken. A few Months will shew Us the fermentation that this Idea will Occasion and the Addresses which will be made to his Passions to change his Mind. It will be Amusing to observe these Things. Idolatry is as growing a Thing as ambition or Avarice. And the Prophanations which have lately been offered to the Shrine have increased the Devotion of the Worshippers.
Priestley preached last sunday a sermon on the Religious Rites of the Gentiles in which he exposed their Nakedness like an European to the Blushes and Mortification of American hearers of both sexes.4
I am my Dearest &c
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “March 5th / 1796.”
1. Possibly JQA to JA, 17 Nov. 1795, for which see JQA to JA, 21 Nov., note 1, above. JA acknowledged receipt of the 17 Nov. letter in his to JQA of 25 March 1796 (Adams Papers). JQA had also written to Timothy Pickering on 14 Nov. 1795 (LbC, APM Reel 130) and 15 Nov. (MHi:Pickering Papers), which may have been the letters received by the president.
2. James Wilson, an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, was mired in complicated and extensive land speculations and other business dealings that made his finances particularly precarious—a situation that may have influenced George Washington’s decision to pass over Wilson for the position of chief justice (Charles Page Smith, James Wilson: Founding Father 1742–1798, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1956, p. 373–377).
3. The Democratic-Republicans considered several individuals to stand for vice president alongside Thomas Jefferson in the 1796 election, including Robert R. Livingston, John Langdon, and Pierce Butler. In the end, however, Aaron Burr became the candidate (Wood, Empire of Liberty, p. 211–212).
4. Joseph Priestley presented a series of lectures on revealed religion at the Universalists’ church in Philadelphia throughout the spring. The sermon JA describes here may have been one entitled “A View of Heathen Worship,” in which Priestley discusses religion “in the heathen world, especially in the early ages of mankind, about the time of Moses. … Very few, I am persuaded, of the modern unbelievers have a just knowledge of this subject. If they had, it would, I hope, be impossible for them to treat the religion of the Hebrews with so much contempt.” Priestley eventually published the sermons together as Discourses Relating to the Evidences of Revealed Religion, Phila., 1796, Evans, No. 31051, dedicating the volume to JA, for which see AA to TBA, 8 Nov., and note 10, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0106

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-03-07

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I have made the necessary Inquiry concerning Seeds And have found the Price so extravagant that I have concluded it imprudent to purchase any for Captn Beal, Dr Welsh Mr Dexter Dr Tufts or { 207 } myself. And I desire you to purchase or request Dr Tufts to purchase for me one hundred and twenty Pounds of Clover Seed. The Second Crop of Clover, from which alone they thresh the Seeds in Pensilvania, fell short the last Season in Such a manner, that there is little at Market and none under a Price so exorbitant that it would be folly to purchase it—from 20 to 24 dollars a Bushell of about 60 pound Weight. The Traders have written to New England, and a great deal of trash will be imported here from thence: but We may as well purchase at home, as purchase our own seeds here and send them home.
My Health has been better this Winter than in any one since I had the Fever and Ague. This Happiness I attribute to the free Use of my Horse, the last Summer. But I begin to feel the Want of Exercise, and to fear that the Spring will incommode me. A dreary Prospect of three months more to be wasted here, in doing little or nothing, vexes me sore, but what cannot be cur’d must be endur’d.
I Sometimes think that I am labouring in vain and Spending my Life for nought, in a fruitless Endeavour to preserve a Union that being detested on both Sides cannot long last. But I shall persevere, as long as I can to do all I can to preserve a Compact which is useful and might be more so, if the Pride of Aristocracy, and its Malice against all Superiority did not Stand in its own Light as it always did and always will. Bodies of Gentlemen Act with as little Union and as little Wisdom as Bodies of Ladies or Bodies of Simplemen or Bodies of Mob. The Spark, whether it be in the flint or the Steel, never comes out but by Collision. indeed a Spark is a drop or Particle of melted, red hot iron. The Spark is in the Iron then but it can be Striken out only by the blows of the flynt. Let the Wisdom then be in the Gentlemen if you will—it will never fly out—it will never give light till it be Smitten by the flint, or the Mass. But why do I write Pedantical Lectures to you? because I have nothing else to say.
So farewell
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “March 7th 1796.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0107

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-03-09

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I recd on Monday your two favours of 28. Feb. I am very glad you employed Pratt to cutt the Timber, for it is high time I had a Barn to shelter my Hay that the Cattle may not complain of it so much, as { 208 } they do this Year, with Justice. I shall build only the shell this Year—Raise the Barn & Board & shingle it.
The limed Manure upon the Hill I mean to have Spread upon the Grass Ground where it lies.
I join Copland in his Request that the Thatch Bank may be let; to either French or Burrell.
Priestley preaches once on a Sunday to a crouded Congregation, on the Evidences of Religion and is much Admired.
I sent your Message to Mrs Green
Alass! Poor John! But his Father and his Mother too know what it is, to be cooped up in Taverns Waiting for Winds— Aye and the Boy too has had more Experience of it than a Million of old Men. Many a Week and many a Month as he been detained with me waiting for Winds & Waves & ships both political and Physical.— He has resources within to amuse and employ him.
I dont believe All the Points of Rochefaucaults Thought. Ambition and Love live together very well. a Man may be mad with both at once. Witness Cæsar & Anthony with Cleopatra & many others.
If the Young Man really loves, I will not thwart him— I have been anxious lest my sons by early and indiscreet connections should embarrass themselves and Companions in Poverty Distress & Misery from which it would not be in my Power to relieve them. I have Seen Instances enough to Ruin from early Marriage. Azariah Faxon & sam Quincy were two among many.1
The Birth Day has been celebrated very sufficiently. I have much doubt of the Propriety of these Celebrations. In Countries where Birth is respected and where Authority goes with it, there is congruity enough in such Feasts: But in Elective Governments the Question is more doubtful. Probably the Practice will not be continued after another Year.
In the Case you Suppose, Blair McClenican Swears with great Oaths before Giles and all of them that he will vote for no Jeffersons & no other Man, but his old Friend of 1775.2 But there is no Certainty of any Change more than there has been for six months. Every Body takes it for granted there will be— But my Opinion is it will kill the Resigner.—
Affectionately
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “March 9 1796.”
1. Presumably Azariah Faxon, who married Dorcas Penniman at the age of 22, and Samuel Quincy (1735–1789), who married Hannah Hill at age 26. Despite JA’s comments here, Faxon had a comfortable life as a farmer and schoolmaster in Braintree. Quincy, a { 209 } noted lawyer and friend of JA’s, became a loyalist and was separated from his wife for the latter years of their marriage due to their competing political beliefs. But he was professionally quite successful, and the couple had just reunited when Hannah Quincy died in 1782 (Sprague, Braintree Families; Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 13:229, 479–486).
2. Blair McClenachan may have supported JA for president, but McClenachan, who was a former president of the Democratic Society of Pennsylvania, was elected to Congress in 1796 as a staunch Democratic-Republican and opponent of the Jay Treaty (Harry Marlin Tinkcom, The Republicans and Federalists in Pennsylvania, 1790–1801, Harrisburg, Penn., 1950, p. 89, 159–161).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0108

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1796-03-10

Abigail Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] my Dear Thomas.

I never feel so great a propensity to write as when I have just received a Letter. Yours of Novbr 10th reach’d me on the 28th of Feb’y, and gave me a flow of Spirits which I have not experienced for a long time before.1 I had been mourning and sighing to hear, from my Dear sons in vain. The Letters by Mr Lamb were lost, together with the vessel captain, and all but one of his Hands and mr Lamb, who like the Messengers of Jobe, were alone left to relate the Dismall Catastrophe; the last Letters received from You prior to this came by Captain Gardner,2 and brought me the Miniatures and I can say with as much truth as the Lady of old, [“]Here are My Jewells”3 the likenesses are so strong, the Eceution so admirable, that they are invaluable to me. I have written to you often, but the communication is so obstructed Since the War, between England and Holland, that we do not hear half as often. our Letters too are liable to Capture so that the freedom of communication is much barred.
Your Letter of December the 1st has followd so soon after that of Nov’br that I had but just taken My pen to acknowledge the former, when the latter arrived.
You know how good and how Sweet it is to receive good tidings from a far Country, but you do not know the lively sensations, or the glow of pleasure which a Parent feels at hearing from a Dear and long absent child.
My last Letters to you, and to Your Brother were written the beginning of winter,4 and at a time when our publick affairs wore an unpleasent aspect. the ferment occasiond by the Ratification of the Treaty with great Britain, was at its height. The Jacobins, aided by foreign influence, and foreign Gold made a bold push, first attacked mr Jay, and then the President in a voilent, base low and virulent manner in Anonymous publications; but Atlas stood unmoved, not a { 210 } shaft but fell blunted to the ground. The people of our Country have a Characteristic trait. tho sometimes mislead and Deceived, they wish to know what is just and Right, and to conduct accordingly. in the 30 years of my Life, in which I have attentively observed them, I have always found them return to the Right path, as soon as they have had time to weigh consider and reflect.
The Legislatures of all the States from New Hampshire to Maryland, in their Severel Sessions have most of them declared their full & undiminished confidence in the President, and in the constituded Authoritys of our Goverment Seven stats explicitly avow it, three are silent, as supposing they ought not to meddle.5 The defection of Randolph not a little contributed to open the Eyes of the people. his vindacation, proved his crimination, and as Peter Porcupine expresses it,

“And Midas now neglected Stands

With Asses Ears, and Dirty Hands.[]

I send you Peter, the Vindication being a Coppy Right is out of Print, and one which I had I sent to your Brother. I send you an address of Mr Harper to his Constitunts I wish’d to have procured the best written performance upon the subject of the Treaty, which is Camillus, only a part of which is publishd yet in Boston.6
our Country flourishes beyond any former period Cannals Bridges Roads, and Buildings are daily increasing and improveing. there is one evil which calls loudly for a remedy I Mean the Multiplicity of Banks, which opperate very injuriously by raising the price of the necessaries of Life, which affects the most defencless part of the community, the Clergy, the widow and the orphan7 the Day Labourer does not feel it so much as he rises in proportion in his Labour, but whatever oppresses any part of the community is an evil.
I had Letters from your sister last week.8 she was well and her Family. Charles went on to Philadelphia to carry the Algerine Treaty, and the Sword which the Dey sent as a present to the President. Col John Smith brought it from Lisbon having put in there by stress of weather, on his Passage to America—
From Your Father I hear every week he was impatient to hear from Europe by his last Letters 24 Febry the Spanish Treaty was arrived, but the British tho exchanged in October, was not officially Receivd. we have received it in the English papers. Congress have been more than three Months in Sessions but no undue warmth, or very interesting Debates had occurd
{ 211 }
There is an Event in contemplation which will put this people to a trial. I am not at liberty to say what it is, as yet. I dare say you will conjecture, and in less than Six Months you will know.
our Family, and those with which we are connected are well. Your aged Grandmother desires to be rememberd to you. for her Years, she is as well this Winter as for several past Louiss thanks You for your mention of her, and request me to present her Love to you, as do both her sisters who are here on a visit.—
Polly H. says pray let mr T B A know that I remember his last words. She thinks Tilly ought to write to her if he means to return in due time. She has had some offers, which have been good, but she has rejected them, and I know on his account. Your Friend Quincy has made a Tour to Philadelphia this winter. he was highly delighted with the Ladies, particularly Miss Wescot. I told him she was a favorite of Yours. Mr sam’ll Breck married one of the Miss Ross’s9 Mr Law the East Indian Nabob, is going to marry Miss Betsy Custos, 45 to 18. I believe You know Law. he made large purchases in the city of washington Plutus may Join Hands, but the Loves and the Graces preside over Hearts.10 I have not yet attaind to the Years of Avarice, nor would I wish my Children to sacrifice to it.
a vessel belonging to mr Parsons is to take this Letter. she is going to Amsterdam.11 let me hear from You by her return. I am my Dear son with every Sentiment / of Love Your affectionate / Mother
[signed] Abigail Adams
[signed] March 12
by Letters from your Father of March 1 the British Treaty was that Day laid before Congress.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs: A Adams / 10. 12 March 1796 / 3d May recd: / 29 June And.”
1. Not found.
2. Probably TBA to AA, 5 Aug. 1795, above. For Capt. Gardner’s arrival, see JQA to AA, 30 July, and note 2, above.
3. A reference to the story of Cornelia, daughter of Scipio and mother of the Gracchi, who, when asked to display her jewels, presented her children, saying, “See here my ornaments, and my jewels” (Jean Rodolphe d’Arnay, The Private Life of the Romans, Edinburgh, 1761, p. 261–262).
4. AA’s most recent extant letter to TBA was dated 30 Nov., above. She had written to JQAon 23 Jan. and 29 Feb. 1796 but is likely referring to her letters to JQA of 29 Nov. and 5, 6 Dec. 1795, all above.
5. The Rhode Island assembly responded to attempts “to deprive the President of the well-earned Esteem and Affection of his Fellow-Citizens” by resolving to support the implementation of the Jay Treaty and to pronounce, “That we conceive it to be our Duty, as the Organ of the People of this State, to declare, that the President of the United States has not ceased to deserve well of his Country.” Likewise, in Delaware, both houses of the legislature agreed to a resolution stating “their entire approbation of the measures { 212 } adopted by the President of the United States in the administration of the General Government, and their undiminished confidence in his integrity, judgment, and patriotism” (February, 1796. At the General Assembly of the Governor and Company of the State of Rhode-Island, and Providence-Plantations, Warren, R.I., 1796, p. 24–25, Evans, No. 31089; Journal of the House of Representatives of the State of Delaware, at a Session Commenced at Dover, on Tuesday, the Fifth Day of January, in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-Six, Wilmington, Del., 1796, p. 47, Evans, No. 30327). Connecticut, New Jersey, and Vermont all chose not to debate the matter in their respective legislatures.
6. Not found.
7. Two factors contributed to a 72 percent rise in wholesale prices between 1791 and 1796: the issuing by the Bank of the United States of millions of dollars in paper money and $6.2 million in temporary loans to the government, and the creation of eighteen new commercial banks in America (Murray N. Rothbard, A History of Money and Banking in the United States: The Colonial Era to World War II, Auburn, Ala., 2002, p. 68–70).
8. Not found.
9. On 24 Dec. 1795 Samuel Breck Jr. married Jean Ross, daughter of Philadelphia merchant John Ross (Harold Donaldson Eberlein and Cortlandt Van Dyke Hubbard, Portrait of a Colonial City, Philadelphia, 1670–1838, Phila., 1939, p. 50, 486).
10. Plutus was the Greek personification of wealth (Oxford Classical Dicy.).
11. The brig Camilla, Capt. Thomas Dissmore, sailing for Amsterdam and Hamburg, was owned by Eben Parsons and his son Gorham. Eben Parsons (1746–1819), originally of Newbury, was a successful Boston merchant (Boston Price-Current, 7 March; Boston and Charlestown Ship Registers, p. 28; Susan E. P. Forbes, “Eben Parsons and Fatherland Farm,” NEHGR, 50:61, 63 [1896]).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0109

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-03-11

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

Why! this is very clever— Every Monday and every Thursday brings me regularly a Letter, which Softens the Tædium Vitæ The Ennui of Life, in this Wrangling disputacious Metropolis.
So! We are to have a Quincy Academy! With all my Heart—I am willing to pay my Quota of the Expence. But Something more than a School House will be wanting for so desirable a Purpose.
Oh that I had a Bosom to lean my Head upon! But how dare you hint or Lisp a Word about Sixty Years of Age If I were near, I would soon convince you that I am not above forty.— I allow in full, all your Claim to Merit Sufferings and Sacrifices, and if it would not be ridiculed would set up mine as high, and vow that no Man in America not even W. has Suffered half so much, or done more. Thus you and I have equal Vanity and Vanity is as good a Pretension as any that prevails. Why says Johnson should not Truth be believed by a Man concerning himself, since the Mind loves truth. He would call it conscious Dignity and self Esteem.1 Candid Minds who admit the Truth will make the Excuse. But greater Numbers will deny the Truth and make it not only a folly but a Crime— therefore Let Us hold our Tongues.
{ 213 }
The House of Representatives have fastened on the British Treaty with all their Teeth and all their Nails. Individuals will bite like savages, and tear like Lions. There will be a desperate Effort of a Party which seems to think and perhaps justly that their Power depends entirely on the Destruction of that Instrument.
The Business of the Country in many important Departments stands still and suffers for Want of attention, which is all Absorbed by the Debates on the Treaty and will continue to be so for several Weeks. Many Persons are very anxious, and forebode a Majority unfavourable, and the most pernicious and destructive Results. I cannot yet believe that they will be so desperate and unreasonable. If they should be, what is to come next I know not. it will be then evident that this Constitution cannot Stand.
I pray you to shew no Mercy to the Canker Worm. Engage another hand as soon as you please.
I hope you will take good Care of your Health, for the sake of your Husband your Children, your other Friends and I will add of your Country. there’s Gallantry for you. As to the Country however, if the H. of R.s condemn the Treaty and defeat its operation, I see nothing but a Dissolution of Government and immediate War. President senate and House all dissolve, and an old Congress revives Debts are all cancelled Paper Money issued and forced into Circulation by the Bayonette and in short Heaven and Earth set at Defyance. I envy the tranquil Lives of a Cranch & a Tufts and an Unkle Norton—yet I am merry enough. “Ise never lays any Thing to heart” Said my Whistleing shoe make in Hanover street with 9 Children in one Room.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “March 11th / 1796.”
1. “It is assuming a superiority, and it is particularly wrong to question a man concerning himself” (James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D., 2 vols., London, 1791, 2:41).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0110

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-03-12

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

Yours of Febry 27. March 1st came to hand on Thursday. I regreet that Congress are like to Sit so long, for tho my Neighbours are Some of them pleasd to flatter My Vanity, by asscribing to me a knowledge of Farming. I have really very little pretentions to their enconiums. I find myself embarresed in the terms of leasing the Farms. I have endeavourd to abide as near as I could by Your { 214 } directions. With Burrel I meet with no difficulty, except a trial to get Team work. French appears a fair open honorable Man. he had brought with him a Brother in Law, a mr Bowditch of who I had a good Character. I enterd into the terms with them, and after adjusting some matters supposed we were quite agreed, when all at once French appears very much disconcerted, and Mortified, and tells me that Bowditch was discouraged from comeing on & had given up the Idea, that if he was capable of going through the whole by himself he would, but the expence of hireing help would take away all his Profits, but if I would not engage it for a few Days he would see if he could find some other partner. at the Time Sit, he came and brought an other Brother in Law, a Mr Vinton. I know you will not like the Name any more than I did. I told Mr French, that altho I knew his Father, mr Vinton was a stranger to me, but I trusted for his own Sake he would not take with him any person of whose honour and honesty he was not well satisfied with, and that I should consider him as the Principle.1 I have since Seen and conversed with them Several Times. I cannot say that I like vinton as well as I do French, which make Me wish more that you were here to judge for yourself. they are not willing to have any thing to Do with the bogg Meddow. I do not recollect that you left any direction respecting that. they will not be obliged to take the medow bought of Penniman. they do not like to be restricted with regard to the Team unless you will engage to employ it at all times when they can use it. I shall bind them to this, to work for you when ever call’d upon, and for no other without your consent. the Steers which are to be broken they look upon as a trouble, particularly those which have neither been yoked or tied up. Deacon French says he has given the use of a pr. this Winter to get them broke—
I have consented that they bring on a Horse. when I considerd that we should both want the Farm Horse at the same time, that one of ours would be useless this Summer, I thought you would have none at times for yourself and that I had better consent to their bringing one, than that you Should have to purchase. I shall do the best I can, but I know and fear you will not be satisfied;
our people at both places make bitter complaints of their Hay and say the cattle will not eat it I must purchase immediatly for the Horses.
You sit up your carriage when you enterd into office. I shall make no difficulty at laying it Down when you become a private citizen. altho I see My Neighbours on both sides enjoying them, it would be { 215 } no enjoyment to me to continue an expence that I could not afford. I should wish

“To rise with Dignity, and fall with ease”2

and as I never placed my happiness in Equipage, I do not expect to have it greatly diminished by the want of it, any more than Col Hamilton whose ambition I dare say is not in the least diminished by the Sacrifice.
I inclosed you in my last a Letter from Thomas. I have just closed Letters to him by a vessel going to Amsterdam. I wrote to the Minister last week.3
are we to expect any heat as the Spring approaches? I am glad the Treaties are all met together. they may serve to keep each other in countanance
adieu / Yours as ever
[signed] Abigail Adams—
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. March 12 / ansd 23. 1796.”
1. Probably John Vinton (1765–1826), eldest son of Capt. John Vinton (1735–1803), both of Braintree. The younger Vinton had been surveyor of highways and eventually relocated to Braintree, Vt. (Sprague, Braintree Families). For Captain Vinton’s role in trying to unseat Braintree representative Ebenezer Thayer Jr. in a dispute over the Mass. General Court’s response to Shays’ Rebellion, see vol. 8:62–63, 65.
2. “And while the Muse now stoops, or now ascends, / To man’s low passions, or their glorious ends, / Teach me, like thee, in various nature wise, / To fall with dignity, with temper rise: / Form’d by thy converse, happily to steer / From grave to gay, from lively to severe; / Correct with spirit, eloquent with ease, / Intent to reason, or polite to please” (Alexander Pope, “Essay on Man,” Epistle IV, lines 375–382).
3. See AA to JA, 5 March, above. The letter to TBA is of 10 March, but the most recent letter from AA to JQA is of 29 Feb., both above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0111

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-03-12

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I dined Yesterday with Mr Burr, who lives here in Style. A Number of Members of the House The Speaker Mr Dayton among the Rest.1
It Seems to be the general Opinion that the House will express some Opinions unfavourable to the Treaty: but finally carry it into Effect. There is a good deal of Apprehension expressed for the Union, in Conversation. Some think and Say it cannot last. Such is the Repugnance between the East and the West.
The Death of my Aunt Hunt, for by that Name it is most natural for me to call her, is an Event that was every Day to be expected, and as her days of Usefullness and satisfaction were past can be no Cause of rational Grief to her nearest Relations: it has not however { 216 } failed to revive the Remembrance of the Scænes of my Youth, of my Father, my Unkles, my Aunts, and my Cousins many of whom were gone before her, and to affect me with many tender sentiments and serious Reflections.
Alass she was little more than thirty Years older than myself. I shall never see her Years. But why should I regret such a Prospect as that. Although I am convinced that human Life is an happy and agreable Scæne, a charming delightful state, upon the whole, and although my share of it has been checquered with Perplexities Difficulties Dangers and Distresses which fall to the Lott of but few, yet it has been Sweet and happy on the whole, and calls for Gratitude to my maker & Preserver; Yet every Year according to my opinions and Persuasions and Expectations brings me nearer to a State of Superiour Excellence and more unmixed Enjoyment, where I hope to meet all my Relations and other Friends who may have done their Duty in this. There my Dearest Friend may We meet and never be again seperated by any Necessities to go to Europe or Philadelphia or else where.
My Duty to my Mother and congratulate her on the Recovery of her Arm— I hope to see her again in June. But the H. of R. will keep me here as long as possible.
Your Emanuensis improves in her Hand Writing she superscribes your Letters elegantly. My Love to her. I am not sorry that John went to England. He will have Opportunities of Improvement and gaining Information there. I am
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs. A”; endorsed: “March 12 1796.”
1. Jonathan Dayton (1760–1824), Princeton 1776, represented New Jersey in the Continental Congress from 1787 to 1788 and in the federal Constitutional Convention. He served as a representative in Congress from 1791 to 1799, when he was elected senator. He was Speaker of the House for the 4th and 5th Congresses (Biog. Dir. Cong.).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0112

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-03-15

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

Your delicious Letter of the 5th. came to my hand Yesterday. Your beautiful and pathetic Reflections on the Match in our Presidential Family are such as I expected. It is to me, one of the most delightful Ideas that is treasured in my Mind, that my Children have no Brothers nor sisters of the half or quarter Blood. one such Consciousness would poison all the Happiness of my Life.— { 217 } “Remembered Follies, Sting,”1 and none could pierce my heart with such corrosive & deleterious Poison as this.
I am So disgusted with this kind of Life that I am Sometimes disposed to take rash Resolutions that I never will live another Winter out of my family. Pray what is become of your new Charriot? Is it possible to afford to have it built?
Is it not vexatious? have We not plagues enough? Must our own Friends conspire to torment Us? Is Imprudence and Turbulence so entailed upon Us, that Members of the wisest Bodies must conspire with their own Ennemies? Here is a Folly complained of in the House by Baldwin. The Georgia Speculation is in a fair Way to rid the World for what I know of some of the Hairbrains— But why should wise honest & independent Men run wild.?
Jackson has had a Rencontre, and Gun has sought one. The Bostonians have been the Dupes.2
Sobrius esto. Be Sober. Be calm, Oh my heart and let your Temperance and moderation be known to all Men. But it requires a great command of ones Passions to be Serene amidst Such Indiscretions and Irregularties of wise Men when We have so much Extravagance of the Unwise and so much Malice of the wicked to contend with at the Same time.
I believe I told you that Thomas was become quite a Negotiator at the Hague, and his Brother in London. The latter however will return, I suppose to Holland upon the Return of Mr Pinckney to England.
Mr Gore and Mr short I conjecture will be appointed Commissioners to estimate depredations & Damages and perhaps J. Q. A may be named one of the two who are to be by Lot converted into a 3d.3 But all this must be Secret. I am trying your Capacity to keep secrets, you see.
1. “Grief aids Disease, remember’d Folly stings, / And his last Sighs reproach the Faith of Kings” (Samuel Johnson, “The Vanity of Human Wishes: The Tenth Satire of Juvenal,” lines 119–120).
2. In January the Ga. house of representatives had appointed James Jackson to chair the committee investigating the Yazoo Act. The findings of the committee led the Georgia legislature to rescind the act on 13 Feb.; meanwhile, James Greenleaf continued to sell land to Boston investors. Jackson, who was known as the “prince of duelists,” fought at least four duels with Yazooists. On 2 March Abraham Baldwin gave a speech in the House of Representatives attacking land speculators, noting that “persons whom we have supposed worthy of our confidence and esteem” have been “publicly practising the meanest and most disgraceful arts and tricks of swindling.” James Gunn demanded to see the written proof Baldwin had against speculators, and when Baldwin refused to turn over his evidence, Gunn challenged him to a duel. They { 218 } never fought, and Gunn eventually apologized for his conduct (Abernethy, The South in the New Nation, p. 151, 152; James F. Cook, The Governors of Georgia, 1754–2004, Macon, Ga., 2005, p. 73–74; Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 402–403; George R. Lamplugh, Politics on the Periphery: Factions and Parties in Georgia, 1783–1806, Newark, Del., 1986, p. 135).
3. Christopher Gore did receive an appointment, but William Short and JQA did not. For the final composition of the commission, see Joshua Johnson to JQA, 30 Sept., and note 4, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0113

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-03-19

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

We have a Turn of Weather as cold as any We have had through the whole Winter. The Violence of the North West Wind which has thrown down Chimneys and blown off Roofs in this City, We suppose has prevented the Eastern Mail from crossing the North River and deprived me of my Thursdays Letter as yet. I hope it will come to day.
A Thousand and one Speeches have been made in the H. of Reps. upon the Motion for petitioning the P. for Papers. Twenty complete Demonstrations have been made of the Constitutionality of it, and twenty more of its Unconstitutionality. Ten of its Expediency and as many of its Inexpediency, five of its Utility and the same number of its Inutility. After all they will ask and receive—and then lash and maul a while and then do the needful.1 I dined on the 17th with the friendly sons of st. Patrick2 and to day I dine with Rush. Judge Cushing departs this Morning and Mrs Cushing will call upon you. Elsworth embarks in a day or two for S. C. & Georgia.3 We have a Party Business from Kentucky: a Strange Complaint as Mr Marshall—which oblige is Us to sit to day a saturday4 I regret this, because it is too exhausting to me to sit so constantly. My Task is pretty severe, especially in cold Weather.—
This Wind will delay Intelligence from Europe for ten days or a fortnight.
Liancourt is going with Elsworth and Tallerand talks of embarking for Hambourgh.5
Having no Horse and reading more & walking less than Usual I am solicitous about my health.—
The Birds in Numbers and Vanity began to sing and the grass to grow green before this last Gripe of Queen Mab. The poor Birds have hard times now.—
The two Miss Daltons have been here all Winter. I delivered Your Message to Mrs Green & General Wayne.
{ 219 }
I cannot see a ray of Hope, before June— If the House should be frenzical We must sit till next March and leave it to the People to decide by choosing a new President senate & House, who will harmoniously go all lengths, call George a Tyrant to his face the English Nation Pyrates break the Treaty enter into an alliance offensive with France & go to War, with spirit, Consistency & Dignity.
But I believe the House will adopt the Language which says that the Just keep their Promisiss though they have made them to [this trust?] and that they must make the best of a bad bargain and come off thus as well as they can by abusing Jay President & senate and Treaty without pretending to annul it.—
Hi! Ho! Oh Dear! I am most / tenderly
[signed] J. A.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “March 19 1796.”
1. On 2 March Edward Livingston presented a resolution to the House of Representatives “That the President of the United States be requested to lay before this House a copy of the instructions given to the Minister of the United States who negotiated the Treaty with Great Britain … together with the correspondence and other documents relative to the said Treaty.” Debate on the resolution began on 7 March with numerous members speaking at great length on the subject. On 24 March the House finally approved the resolution, and it was sent to George Washington the following day. On 30 March Washington presented a written response to the House arguing that such foreign negotiations required secrecy, and that “a just regard to the Constitution and to the duty of my office … forbid a compliance with your request.” The House began debating a response to Washington’s message on 6 April; the next day it approved a resolution reiterating its right “to deliberate on the expediency or inexpediency of carrying such Treaty into effect” (Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 400–401, 426, 759–762, 769, 771, 782–783). For the entirety of the debate, see Annals, p. 424–783.
2. The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick had been established in 1771 in Philadelphia but by the 1790s had begun to fade as an organization. It was gradually replaced by the Hibernian Society for the Relief of Emigrants from Ireland, founded in 1790. JA likely attended the anniversary dinner of this latter organization, which took place on 17 March 1796 at the Harp and Crown Tavern. The Sons of St. Patrick did have a small gathering on the same date at a private home, but no guests were recorded as having attended (John H. Campbell, History of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and of the Hibernian Society for the Relief of Emigrants from Ireland, Phila., 1892, p. 33, 60–61; Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 26 March).
3. Oliver Ellsworth was setting out to attend the southern circuit of the federal courts in his new position as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (William Garrott Brown, The Life of Oliver Ellsworth, N.Y., 1905, p. 238).
4. On 26 Feb. the Senate received material requesting that it investigate Sen. Humphrey Marshall of Kentucky for charges of perjury. A memorial printed in Kentucky in Feb. 1795 had made the original accusation against Marshall, but a case was never formally brought against him. The governor and representatives of Kentucky thus requested that the Senate pursue it. Marshall concurred in the request, presumably to allow for his name to be cleared of the accusation, which had circulated publicly but never been adjudicated. The matter, initially referred to a senatorial committee, was taken up by the whole Senate on 14 March 1796. Debate continued over several days, including Saturday, 19 March. On 22 March the Senate adopted a report arguing that in the absence of any formal charge, prosecutor, or evidence, and lacking jurisdiction, “any further inquiry by the Senate would be improper” (Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 47–49, 51–60).
5. François Alexandre Frédéric, Duc de La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt, was traveling { 220 } throughout the United States for his eventual publication, Travels through the United States of North America, 2 vols., London, 1799. He and Ellsworth took the same ship from Philadelphia to Charleston, leaving on 24 March and arriving six days later. The duke spent three weeks in South Carolina, then moved on to Georgia before returning to Charleston in early May (Travels, 1:552–553, 593, 618).
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord had decided to leave the United States for Hamburg by March but did not actually embark, on the Danish ship Den Nye Prove, until mid-June. He reached Hamburg at the end of July (David Lawday, Napoleon’s Master: A Life of Prince Talleyrand, London, 2006, p. 87; Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 13 June).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0114

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-03-20

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I received Your kind favours of March 3. 5 7 & 9th by the Thursday post. we have as great a famine here of News as their is of Bread in Europe. the chief Topick of conversation is the Georgia Lands. their Present Legislature have displayd state Sovereignty in its fullest extent; our wise Men were never before so Bubbled. our Wealthyest citizens are taken in to a vast amount, Mr Russel Barrel Craggy, in short by what I hear, every Man of any considerable property far and near.1 What redress they can obtain, I know not, nor do I know sufficient of the Merrits or demerrits of the Subject to decide upon it. I hope however it will produce one good effect in stoping that Rage for speculation, which like an influenza has pervaded all ages and degrees of persons.
I yesterday received a Letter from our son in England of 24 Nov’br by way N york. he foresaw his Letter would be opened, as it appeard by the total defaceing of the Initials of his Name, it had been. so he wrote no politicks of concequence. The whole Substance of European affairs amount only to this, [“]That they are very Much exhausted, and very hungry. Peace is the great object of their wishes on all Sides.”
The remainder of his Letters is taken up in relating to me the discovery lately made of some Manuscripts, being originals of the hand of Shakespear. amongst Several of trifling importance, there is a compleat fair coppy of King Lear, three or four Sheets, being part of an Hamlet, and an whole Tragedy heretofore unknown, intitled Vortigern & Rowena.
You know how passionately fond our Son has ever been of that great master of humane nature. he may truly be said to have inherited this from his parents.2 He observes that he had enough of the Catholic superstition about him to pay his Devotion to these { 221 } venerable relics. they were in possession of a private Gentleman by the Name of Ireland to whom he got introduced, and had an opportunity to see all, except the new play, which was purchased by the manager of Drurry lane Theater, Mr Sheridan for five hundred pounds, and is to appear upon that Stage the present Season. mr Ireland does not hessitate to affirm that the Vortigern will be rank’d among the very best plays of the Author. among the loose papers, are a short Letter from Queen Elizabeth, commanding him to play before her on a certain Day, a Coppy of a Letter from him to Lord Southampton and his answer, a Deed from him or rather a will to a Man by the Name of Ireland, giving him several of his plays and a Sum of Money, in consideration of his having saved his Life from Drowing in the Thames, a Love Letter to Anna Hatherrewaye, with a lock of Hair, together with some fugitive peices, and several designs Drawn with a pen. all these are to make their appearence within a few Days. You my Dear Mother have long known My partiality for the Swan of Avon, and will not be surprizd at the interest I take in all his productions.
I may as well quit here or go on to transcribe his whole Letter, not a syllable of which is uninteresting. he complains of the craveing void of solitude even in the city of London. I can easily enter into his sensations, and most readily believe him. Solitude is every where, when you feel not any particular interest in any one & no one has an interest in you. “I left he says, my Brother at the Hague, and I feel very sensibly the want of his company. while I had it, I could not consider myself as seperated from every object of my attachment.”
Poor fellow I know he feels like a banishd Man, condemnd in foreign climes to Roam. he will feel mortifid too, if he should fail in the object of his embassy.
I both rejoicd and mournd at the Appointment of Mr Elsworth as chief Justice, but what the Senate lose, the Bench will acquire. I rejoice that they have obtaind a Man of a fair Fame distinguishd abilities and integrity. Ceasars wife ought not to be suspected. this will apply equally to that office.
We have had this week the most voilent snow storm which we have experienced for these two years when I thought spring was opening, as the Singing of Birds was come a heavy Equinoxial gale came on accompanied by rain frost and then Snow & cold. for 48 hours, it was very voilent I had begun tarring the Trees, and Copeland was going to plow the Hill. we are all aback, but the remainder { 222 } of the Timber will be got home by tomorrow night. I must buy Hay as I wrote you but cannot get any under 5 pounds pr Ton. the snow prevented my having a load this week. the Dr tells me he could have bought Seed at a shilling Some time ago, but he finds it has risen very large orders having been received for the exportation of it. as soon as you conveniently can I should be glad you would Send me a post Note. the collector is very earnest to get his Rates the beginning of April. I Suppose the School house cannot go on there are so many Town orders that they cannot get any money into the treasury. in the Spring there are allways new arrangments to make, and we have not a whole Tool upon the place neither Spade Shovel hoe Sythe or any other thing but an ax
I hope We shall have no Sampsons this year.
I wish you would write Me of what Dimensions you mean to have the Barn & whether you would not make an L. of it. some advise to that as G. Gills Barn was if you recollect.3 they say it make a better yard. I shall make inquirys to find how I can get the Frame hued.
Yours as ever
[signed] A Adams—
Mrs Brislers Brother Baxter lost a Boy of 2 years old the week after his wife with the Throat Distemper which proves as mortal here as the yellow fever. we had 5 Deaths in a week.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. March 20. Ansd. 29 / 1796.”
1. For Dr. Andrew Craigie, see vol. 8:392.
2. AA’s fascination with this material led her to research the history behind Shakespeare’s alleged lost play. She wrote to JA on 15 April what she had learned of the story of Vortigern, concluding, “Shakespear has ample Scope for his imagination, and if the play is Genuine much pleasure and entertainment may be expected from the discovery to all Lovers of the Drama” (Adams Papers).
3. At the Princeton, Mass., farm of Lt. Gov. Moses Gill, a 6,400-square-foot barn was connected to a parallel carriage house by a 70-foot-long ell shed (Peter Whitney, The History of the County of Worcester, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Worcester, 1793, p. 235, Evans, No. 26481).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0115

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-03-20

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Mother

Your favour of January 23d. by Captain Barnard reached me two or three days ago. I am a little surprized that you had not at that date received any letters from me later than July. But indeed the intercourse between America and Holland is so precarious and interrupted that it is scarcely possible that a letter should pass from the one to the other in a shorter time than four or five months. The { 223 } case is very different here, and the opportunities are so frequent that it is scarcely possible to write by all of them. I believe however you will think I have been tolerably punctual since my arrival in England, as no vessel has sailed from hence to Boston without letters to you, but the Galen, for which my packet happened to be too late.— About ten days since I wrote you by my friend Gardner who went with Scott, and enclosed by him some newspapers and pamphlets, as well as the cloaks for yourself and Louisa, for which you had written to my brother.—1 I am now just informed that Mr: White goes for Boston to-morrow morning, and shall request him to take charge of this letter2
I return you many thanks for Mr: Randolph’s pamphlet, and that containing the first numbers of Camillus in defence of the Treaty; I had previously received the former from Philadelphia, and have expressed my opinion of it in my last Letter to you.3 I have since had an opportunity to read Porcupine’s observations upon it, which like the other publications of the same writer have some ingenuity, with much vulgarity and impudence.
It is possible that the detection of this Man, and the partial exposure of the party with which he was connected, may produce good effects in America, and God grant that it may; for I am sure it produces effects bad enough upon our national reputation in Europe.
“So! the pretended patriots have their prices in America too!—and such paltry prices! But a few thousand dollars for a Secretary of State, and a ——— and a ——— and others unknown— The tariff is indeed upon a very moderate scale— What an eulogium upon democracy and democratic principles! what an honour to Republican Governments! what a confirmation of the boasted American purity of principle! what a glorious encomium upon a Nation; to have such men in its most important offices.”4 This is the style of argument upon the subject here, and the attempt to reflect some of the infamy of the man, upon the Nation which had honoured him has but too much success.
Our national character in point of reputation is indeed rising throughout all Europe, with a rapidity which must give the most cordial delight to every person that has the feelings of real patriotism about him. It is rising at least in fair and equal proportion with the increase of our importance and power. The system of the American Government is compared by the people of the European Nations, with that which their own rulers have pursued. The systems { 224 } are compared not only in consideration of principles but of their effects; nothing in Nature can exhibit a more powerful contrast; and it is not surprizing if the European rulers seize with avidity every occurrence that can weaken the effect of such an example in the minds of their People.
The papers enclosed will give you the news, which have nothing interesting.— Mrs: Copley and her family are well. Perhaps you will hear of another family that has been still more attractive to me; but of this I may write more on a future occasion; remaining in the mean time, with my cordial regard and remembrance for all our friends at Quincy and Weymouth, your affectionate Son
[signed] John Q. Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “J Q A March 20 1796.” FC-Pr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 131.
1. See JQA to AA, 28 Feb., and AA to TBA, 30 Nov. 1795, both above.
2. James White left London on 21 March 1796 and arrived in Boston on 17 May aboard the ship Merchant (Massachusetts Mercury, 20 May).
3. JA’s letter to JQA enclosing Edmund Randolph’s pamphlet has not been found.
4. In his Vindication of Mr. Randolph’s Resignation, Randolph quotes Jean Antoine Joseph Fauchet’s dispatch: “Thus the consciences of the pretended patriots of America have already their prices” (p. 80).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0116

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-03-21

Charles Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

I am clearly of opinion with you that we stand in need of some magic equally powerful as the Lyre of Amphion to quell the rage of the political elements and yet I have my doubts whether the power of music or eloquence could instil sentiments of Justice or integrity into the minds of some of our Legislators. My dictionaire Historique tells me that Amphion was the son of Jupiter and Antiope that he played with such grace that the rocks followed him. that at the sound of his instrument the stones ranged themselves in perfect order and formed the walls of Thebes.1 Those who wish to give a reasonable interpretation to the absurdities of Paganism suppose he gained every heart by the power of his eloquence We have lately had occasion for this wonderful instrument to keep the people from revolting against themselves. We have seen a striking example of the rage to imitate Frenchmen We have been witnesses to an insult offered To our house of Assembly as gross as a Parisian mob could have given. I do not like these beginnings. It is true The Assembly { 225 } acted with some spirit on the occasion but such examp[les] are too catching and I know of no puni[shment] too severe for such conduct towards a legislat[ive] assembly.2
Mrs Adams and myself are well We keep ourselves very much at home as prudent people in our circumstances ought to do She is a good prudent affectionate wife. Mrs Smith and her family have been very much distressed. Mr de St Hilaire has turned out to be as errant a Chevalier D’industrie as France ever produced and after swindling as many people as he possibly could and his greatest benefactor the most he attempted to run off but was taken by some of his Creditors at Poughkeepsie and confined in jail Amen. Such is the imprudence and folly of trusting and being the dupes to the acts and flattery of Strangers. I have known the vilain from the fourth day after his marriage but had I had the Lyre of Amphion I could not have persuaded that family that he was capable of a meaness.
with sincere affection I am y[our] / son
[signed] Chas Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Vice President of The United States / Philadelphia”; endorsed: “C. A. March 21. / 1796.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. On 13 March JA had written to CA at length about JA’s need for the harp of Amphion, not only to build walls on his property but also to bring harmony to the contending European powers and to the factions within Congress. JA quoted from an alternate version of Alexander Pope’s “Ode on St. Cecilia’s Day”: “Amphion thus bade wild dissension cease, / And softened mortals learned the arts of peace. / Amphion taught contending kings / From varying discords to create, / The music of a well-tuned state.” He concluded the letter by asking CA to “write me your Discoveries about Amphion” (MHi:Seymour Coll.).
CA’s description of Amphion may have come from L. M. Chaudon, Nouveau dictionnaire historique, 4th edn., 6 vols., Paris, 1779, a copy of which is in JA’s library at MB.
2. In early Nov. 1795 two Irish immigrant ferrymen, Thomas Burk and Timothy Crady, insulted a Federalist alderman in New York City, for which they were put on trial, found guilty, and sentenced to two months in prison. William Keteltas, a journalist and Democratic-Republican lawyer, attended their trial, and when the two men escaped to Pennsylvania after one month of incarceration, Keteltas wrote an article on them for the New York Journal. He also petitioned the N.Y. assembly to impeach the magistrates who tried the case, and when his petition was dismissed he published a newspaper article attacking the assembly. The assembly responded with a resolution to censure Keteltas, who answered with another harassing article. At that point Keteltas was summoned before the assembly, and he appeared on 9 March 1796 accompanied by a crowd of almost 2,000 New Yorkers. When the assembly found him guilty of “contempt of the authority of this house,” he refused to ask for a pardon, and the crowd “gave three huzzas and made a great deal of clamor and noise, which for some time interrupted the business of the house.” Keteltas was ordered to jail, and while imprisoned he wrote five articles for the New York Journal defending his actions. When the assembly adjourned Keteltas’ friends obtained his release on a writ of habeas corpus. Three days later Democratic-Republican leaders nominated Keteltas for the N.Y. assembly, but he failed to win a seat (Young, Democratic Republicans, p. 476–477, 481–490; N.Y. Assembly, Jour., 19th sess., 1796, p. 123, Evans, No. 47862).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0117

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1796-03-24

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My Dear Brother.

Mr: Clagett has this moment delivered me your favour of the 29th: ulto: and informs me that he goes again for Holland to-morrow morning.1 I have therefore only time to tell you that I am still waiting for that permission to return which I have been more than two months in hourly expectation of receiving. My detention here is doubly mortifying from the consideration that as my presence is wanted at the Hague; it is totally without any object here; and accordingly I have been for some time past as idle as a Prince.— This situation you will readily judge does not entirely suit my reason or my sense of right; but I derive one source of consolation from it: the relaxation and exemption from continual cares, together with much time spent in exercise, and the charms of a most attractive Society have produced an essential improvement of my health which I think is better than it has been at any time since I have been in Europe: so that I flatter myself with the hope that I shall be better prepared for future exertion by my present repose from it.
I had apprehended from your former letter that your rheumatic attack was more serious than you mentioned, and was extremely anxious to hear from you again. Although your letter confirms my fears it has partly relieved me by the assurance that you had nearly recovered.2
I sent you about ten days ago the box of articles and the breeches which you had previously ordered.3 I now enclose you a few newspapers
My letters from Boston are as late as January 26.4 there are accounts here as late as Feby: 20. Our friends in general were well, and in pretty good Spirits. Political affairs had assumed a calmer and more rational aspect. Randolph by publishing what he calls a vindication of his resignation has heaped coals of fire upon his own head.
Crafts, Frazier and Gardner are all gone. The former to Charleston the two latter to Boston. There are yet a number of Americans here.
No news. The price of wheat is falling, and John is like to get off without absolutely starving this time.
Your affectionate brother
[signed] John Q. Adams.
FC-Pr (Adams Papers); internal address: “Thos: B. Adams Esqr”; APM Reel 131.
{ 227 }
1. The letter has not been found but was probably delivered by Horatio Clagett (1756–1815), an army officer during the American Revolution originally from Maryland who became a merchant in London after the war (Effie Gwynn Bowie, Across the Years in Prince George’s County: A Genealogical and Biographical History of Some Prince George’s County, Maryland and Allied Families, Baltimore, 1975, p. 126–127).
2. Not found.
3. On 13 March JQA wrote to TBA, “I send you by the present opportunity the articles of which you formerly enclosed to me a list, and a pair of Cassimere breeches. The bill for the pocket books &c amounts to £6:0:6.” JQA also apologized for his continued absence from the Netherlands (FC-Pr, APM Reel 131). TBA had originally requested the items in Dec. 1795, for which see TBA to JQA, 23 Dec., and note 7, above.
4. See AA to JQA, 23 Jan. 1796, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0118

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-03-25

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I was sadly dissapointed to Day when James returnd from the Post office without one Single Letter the Newspapers to the 14th but not a Line. Post office or Post or Roads share the blame; I am more unfortunate than you when dissapointed, for you have two chances in a week, but I must wait untill Thursday returns before I can get any Letters, tho Saturdays post should bring them. I see by the Papers the old Leven at work The President knows what is Right, and they will not get any thing else from him. it is a snare to entangle him if they can. he will not be taken by surprize for he must have foreseen this.1
The latest intelligence from France which is 26 of Jan’ry wears some appearence of Peace, and the British King has equal need of Peace. the cessation of Arms between the French and Austerians has the same appearence.2 I hope at a time when other Powers are thirsting after quiet and repose, We shall not be driven into Hostilities by the rash and firery Tember of our Jacobines and that at a Period when they appeard to be divested of their Power, tho not of their inclination to hurt.
The Weather has been very unpropitious for any kind of Buisness for these 8 Days past the Snow came in abundance. it Drifted into Banks, and for two Years past we have not had so much at once. we have tar’d but have not met with any canker worms. this Day the leases have been compleated and Sign’d Braintree Farm is leased to Burrell Quincy to French and Vinton and on fryday they take possession. I have setled with Joy & payd him and his wife their last quarters wages, about half of which remaind Due to them upon our Settlement. I have purchased two loads of hay. Cleopatra will have an increase. I am much affraid I shall be obliged to purchase what I do not remember we ever Did a Load or two of salt Hay; whilst we { 228 } have many Tons of Salt, and fresh so Rotten, that the cattle will not touch it, our people Say it was not sufficiently Made and that it was stackd Wet. I Scold and insist upon their feeding with it, but the concequence will be that they will consume all the English. we have Six calves already. When My new Tennants come, I shall hear what they Say. the Sheep have eat near all the clover Hay at the little Barn. Copeland will have enough here but he has not any to part with, he says. we have had here our four Horses an equal number of oxen & half the Young stock beside the Sheep. Clover Seed may be had at 20 cents pr pound which is the lowest. the Dr has been on the lookout ever since you wrote me, but you was not early enough with your intelligence Mr Bracket will spair a hundred & 20 weight at that price. the Dr advises me to secure it as, it will be higher immediatly
I Shall be obliged to borrow of the Dr 30 pounds till I receive some from you. the collectors Dun me as from the first of March they are obliged to pay interest upon a part of what is not collected. I pay’d 50 Dollors the beginning of March for mr Wibird.
adieu I am as ever most / affectionatly Your
[signed] Abigail Adams—
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs. A. March 25 / Ansd April 6. 1795.”
1. “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. … Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians, 5:7–8). AA presumably refers to the ongoing debates in Congress over the release of papers related to the Jay Treaty, which was heavily covered in the Philadelphia newspapers. See, for example, Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 14 March.
2. On 23 March the Boston Columbian Centinel reported a cessation of hostilities between France and Austria, though France stated that while it “is ready to consent to a peace worthy of her; but she is still equal to contend with their enemies, if they wish to prolong a disastrous war.” The same paper, which contained additional French news as late as 25 Jan., also reprinted George III’s 8 Dec. 1795 message to the House of Commons, in which he stated that he had “an earnest desire … to conclude a Treaty for General Peace whenever it can be effected on just and suitable terms for himself and his allies.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0119

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-03-25

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

on Wednesday I dined with Mr Russell the Friend of Dr Priestley1 and while We were at Table, in came large Packets of Letters and Newspapers from England. The Ladies at Table had Letters from their friends and the Scæne was so lively so much like what I had { 229 } often felt that it put me into very good humour. The News was what you will see in Fennos Paper.
Yesterday I dined at the Presidents with Ministers of State and their Ladies foreign and Domestic. After dinner the Gentlemen drew off after the Ladies and left me alone with the President in close Conversation. He detained me there till Nine o Clock and was never more frank and open upon Politicks. I find his Opinions and sentiments are more exactly like mine than I ever knew before, respecting England and France and our American Parties. He gave me Intimations enough that his Reign would be very short. He repeated it three times at least, that this and that was of no Consequence to him personally, as he had but a very litle while to Stay in his present situation. This must be a confidential secret. I have hinted it to no one here.
The P. told me he had that day recd three or four Letters from his new Minister in London, one of them as late as 29 of December. Mr Pickering informs me, that Mr Adams modestly declined a Presentation at Court but it was insisted on by Lord Grenville: and accordingly he was presented to the King and I think the Queen and made his Harrangues and recd his answers.2 By the Papers I find that Mr Pinkney appeared at Court on the 28th. of January:3 after which I presume Mr Adams had nothing to do but return to Holland.
The Appearances of Peace are as yet but faint.
The H. of R.s have applied for Papers and the P. has their Request under Consideration. He is not at all pleased with this. a Motion is now before the H. made by Mr Harper that it be resolved that Provision be made to carry into Execution all the Treaties yet published. How long this will be debated I know not.4 There is danger that the Delay on our Part will occasion delays on the Part of Britain. but I hope not. Three of our Reps, Lyman Dearborne and Varnum voted against all New England except one I believe in Vermont.5 The Loss of Mr Ames and Mr Dexter has been much lamented. Varnum and Lyman and Dearborne are as inveterate as Giles, by all that I hear.
I have not yet seen my sons public Letters.
There is such Rancour of Party that the Prospect of a Change in Administration quite cures me of all Desire to have a share in it.— Repose and Poverty I say.— Yet I am not intimidated. Renegadoes and Adventurers from foreign Countries acquire such an influence among the People although there is no Attachment in their Nature { 230 } to Us or our Country and there is every Reason to suspect the worst Influence over them: and sensible People are so fearful of provoking their Wrath and Impudence by exposing them that it is really disgusting to enter on any public stage. The People are so abused and deceived And there is so little Care or Pains taken to undeceive & disabuse them that the Consequences must be very disagreable.
I am with undiminished Attach / ment your Affectionate
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A.”; endorsed: “March 25th 1796.”
1. William Russell (1740–1818), a British merchant and reformer from Birmingham, became a close friend of Joseph Priestley’s after joining his church in 1780. Russell traveled to the United States in 1795 and remained in the country until 1801 (DNB).
2. For JQA’s dispatches from London, including his 15 Dec. 1795 letter to Timothy Pickering describing his 9 Dec. presentation to George III, see JA to AA, 9 April 1796, and note 2, below. JQA recorded a fuller, personal account of the meeting in his Diary: after presenting his credential letter, the king asked JQA “to which of the States I belonged, and on my answering Massachusetts, He turned to Lord Grenville, and said, ‘All the Adams’s belong to Massachusetts? to which Lord Grenville answered, they did. He enquired whether my father was now Governor of Massachusetts? I answered No Sir, he is Vice-President of the United States. Ay said he, and he cannot hold both offices at the same time?’ ‘No Sir.’— He asked where my father is now? At Philadelphia, Sir, I presume, the Congress being now in Session.” JQA also recounted in his Diary his presentation to Queen Charlotte on 17 Dec. 1795, who asked him if he “was any relation to the Mr. Adams that was here some years ago” (D/JQA/24, APM Reel 27).
3. See, for instance, Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 24 March 1796.
4. On 24 March, at the conclusion of the debate over the request for the papers on the Jay Treaty, Robert Goodloe Harper introduced a resolution as JA describes. Before the House took any action on it, however, Harper withdrew the resolution on 8 April in favor of one with somewhat different wording, which was tabled. Instead, on 13 April Theodore Sedgwick offered a similar resolution, which the House debated for two days. The discussion focused primarily on whether it was appropriate to combine consideration of appropriations for all of the treaties into a single debate or whether the treaties ought to be considered separately. On 14 April the House separately passed motions approving appropriations for the treaties with Spain, Algiers, and the Native American nations (Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 801, 886, 940–969).
5. In addition to the New England representatives named by JA, John S. Sherburne of New Hampshire and Israel Smith of Vermont voted with the House majority to request papers from Washington (U.S. House, Jour., 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 480–481).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0120

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1796-03-25

John Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My Dear son

Mr Hindman of Maryland has requested a Letter from me, for Mr Richard Cook of Anapolis, who will tell you our News.1
I have read your public Dispatches with great Pleasure.2 I find your Situation has led you to an Attentive Observation of the Events of the War and the Maneuvres of Politicks and your curious felicity of Expression enables you to represent both to great Advantage.
{ 231 }
Your Mother has had Letters from you but I have none for a long time. I fear I have not written to you as often as I ought: but my Mind and time are very much occupied. What is worse I dare not write freely upon Public Affairs foreign or domestic and to write in shackles is worse than not writing at all.
Notwithstanding our long deliberations & discussions I believe the Treaty will be executed and all will be well
You have not hinted your Intentions of remaining in Europe or returning home.— Your own Good, Happiness & Advantage are to be first consulted— To me it would be a great Pleasure to have you near me. It is very hard upon your Mother as well as me to be seperated as We are from all our Children but We hope it will not be always so. Yet our Family will always be scattered. Such is our Destiny and I must Submit, believing that all is for the best. I am my / Dear Child, with the tenderest Affection / your Father
[signed] John Adams
RC (NHi:AHMC—Adams, John); internal address: “Thomas Boylston Adams”; endorsed: “The Vice President / 25 March 1796 / 6 August Recd: / Do & 13 Answd:.”
1. For William Hindman, see vol. 8:269. Richard Cooke (1772–1853) took the last name of Tilghman in 1810 to comply with the will of his uncle, Richard Tilghman of the Hermitage in Queen Anne’s Co., Md., which Cooke inherited. JA also wrote to JQA on 25 March 1796 introducing Cooke and discussing the House debate over the Jay Treaty (Hagers-Town [Md.] Gazette, 15 Jan. 1811; Swepson Earle, ed., Maryland’s Colonial Eastern Shore: Historical Sketches of Counties and of Some Notable Structures, Baltimore, 1916, p. 117, 118; Adams Papers).
2. Possibly TBA’s 27 Dec. 1795 letter to Oliver Wolcott Jr., which is one of the few extant public dispatches by TBA; the copy, however, is almost completely illegible due to bleeding of the ink (CtHi:Wolcott Papers, vol. 41).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0121

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-03-28

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

Captain Beal was in Boston on Saturday and he prevaild on the post master to let him take up the Saturday Mail by which means I got those Letters which ought to have come on thursday Letters of the 11th 12th 13 15 & 16th. the greatest comfort which I derived from them, was hearing that you were well. the prospect of sitting till June is not a very agreable one, and the cause less so.1 What ever the Jacobinical party may think, if they should be so Head Strong & Wicked as to carry their measures; they will find a ten fold clamour excited against them. I have heard it said, that those of them who belong to this state, would be torn to peices. the Warmth excited by the debates is greater here, than I believe it is in congress. even your B. who you know never was reconciled to the Treaty, Says that { 232 } it should be complied with. there is not any circulation of the Debates in any paper printed in Boston, but the Chronical, and that You may be sure will hold up, but one side of the Question.2 I cannot suppose that there will be a Majority in Congress hardy enough to overturn the constitution, tho there is a party who dare what ever they think May Succeed.
My last Letter containd Some foreign intelligence which look’d like peace, but the last arrival brings us no News of the kind. all Breathe War and Hostility. the powers must be exhausted e’er long. I am no Friend to Club Law. yet I cannot but own that I have been gratified with the behaviour of our American Seamen, in repelling the Lawless insolence of British Tyranny. nor can the Britains be displeasd with a spirit and valour which proves the Legitimate descent of their opposers. the loss of so Many Seamen renders them more eager to Supply their place at any rate.3
I rejoice at the opportunity Thomas has of shewing that he is equal to the trust reposed in him. as Private Secretary he could only be a coppyest. I think we have great cause of pleasure and satisfaction in our Children. I hope You feel very proud of them; I do I assure You
The Georgia purchaser or rather the repurchasers are giving up all their Notes, and part with their Ideal gains with much composure. Serious concequences may however be experienced by some of the Hot Spurs of Gorgia from whose proximity to their Savage Neighbours, they appear to have derived a portion of their ferocity, and infidelity:
I have not yet engaged any Hand Billings has been at work for your Brother. I desired him to talk to him for me. he told me last Evening that he held himself very high & talkd quite wild about price, that he would not let himself but for a few Months at a Time. I cannot hear of any body yet. it is scarcly time of year. I expect Copeland to top himself as he has become a Teams Man he thinks. one hundred Dollors is like a Drop in the Bucket 33 for two loads Hay 25 for clover Seed 20 & 65 cents for Braintree Taxes, and 15 to Joy and his wife. Herds Grass Seed the Doctor has bought. We have Tard but do not find any Woorms or Millars yet.
those certainly get through the World best, who trouble themselves least, but a foresight prevents many evils & vexations.
as to the wall upon the Hill: Amphions harp Must be sit to a Golden cord before the Sound will compose the Walls of Pens Hill. I sent to the undertakers three weeks ago to request them to go { 233 } about it, but they say they were not engaged to compleat it untill the first of June. I do not know whether the Dr is like to get the other Done.4 I think it fortunate that we are like to get the places out. I am sure I know not where we could have procured help without paying three times the value of the produce. I shall be obliged to purchase Burrel a load of English Hay for His cows. I did not bring away all from there, tho more than I wish I had. I hope his Salt & fresh will answer for the young Stock, tho he says it is not good. I am Sure we never had so much English Hay as last year, but our salt was damaged, and the creek thatch they use only for to litter the horses with. the fresh, Tons of it, will go to make manure. I cannot answer for the use of it. the cattle they Say are in much better order than last year, and so indeed they ought to be for they have not workd half so hard, and have been fed with English Hay in lieu of corn. When I talk to Copeland, he says Sir likes to have his cattle look well, and So Does Mam, but not to have to purchase Hay for such a Stock— well why should I torment You. why because when one feels fretted, it is an ease to the mind when it has cast it of.
adieu adieu. When the wheels get in Motion I shall be in a better Humour, but chopping & changing makes a bustling world. I detest still life—and had rather be jostled, than inanimate. yours for aya
[signed] A Adams
Mr Brislers Letter received.5 shall send mr Quincy notice his cousin Frederick Hardwick lost his eldest child on Saturday. sick only 24 hours with the Throat Distemper.6 it is very mortal here
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. March 28 / Ansd April 9. 1796.”
1. For JA’s letter to AA of 13 March, see note 4, below. On 16 March JA again wrote to AA warning that Congress would likely sit until June debating the Jay Treaty, but that he hoped the “Speeches and Writings” to explain the constitutional issues would lead to a better understanding of the Constitution (Adams Papers).
2. The Boston Independent Chronicle, 24 March, noted that it had previously given abridged versions of speeches made by several members of the House on Edward Livingston’s motion regarding the Jay Treaty. While the Chronicle stated that it selected “from both sides, such speeches, as we conceive contain the most general observations,” the editors made a point of beginning that issue “with the remarks of the celebrated Madison.” The Independent Chronicle, 28 March, included most of Democratic-Republican William Branch Giles’ speech, portions of speeches by fellow Democratic-Republicans Abraham Baldwin and John Page, and parts of speeches by Federalists Nathaniel Freeman Jr. and Samuel Lyman. The editors ended the congressional news section with a “Political Summary” in which they argued that “the question is unfairly stated, when it is pretended, that the House is invading the President’s prerogative” and that the editors “are clearly of opinion … that if the treaty is carried into effect, the House will have no power left.”
3. The Boston Federal Orrery and Independent Chronicle, both 28 March, reported the seizure of U.S. ships and the impressment of American sailors by the British Navy in the Caribbean in late 1795. Impressment was a problem throughout the 1790s, as British sailors { 234 } deserted the navy for higher wages on American commercial vessels, thus leaving the British Navy constantly undermanned. This issue, however, was not addressed under the provisions of the Jay Treaty. On 18 Feb. 1796 Livingston introduced a resolution to protect American seaman; he presented a bill on 14 March, which passed the House on 28 March and was signed by George Washington on 28 May. The bill authorized port collectors to issue protection papers to American sailors and appointed two agents to reside abroad and report to the treasury secretary on the fate of impressed Americans (Cambridge Modern Hist., 7:238, 239; Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 344, 786, 820; U.S. Senate, Jour., 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 278). For more on British spoliations of American merchant vessels during this period, see TBA to JQA, 17 April, note 5, below.
4. In his letter of 13 March JA joked that if he had the harp of Amphion, he would be able to make the rocks of Penn’s Hill “dance after me, and reel into Walls. This would be to me a very pleasant and profitable private Amusement.” He also inquired whether Cotton Tufts had begun the work of building a wall to separate the Adams properties from their neighbors in order to protect the cornfields (Adams Papers).
5. Not found.
6. Frederick Hardwick (1766–1849) was a cordwainer in Quincy. His eldest child, George Mears Hardwick, had been baptized in Aug. 1795 (Sprague, Braintree Families).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0122

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-03-29

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

On Monday I recd your favour of the 20th Nothing will damp the Rage for Speculation but a Peace which may break a few hundreds or thousands of speculators.
The Georgia Business is Impudence of uncommon hardness. The Rage of Party is there unrestrained by Policy or Delicacy.
Our sons Account of shakespears Relicks Fenno has printed without Names.1
He must early learn to bear Mortifications. He will never have more to bear than his Father has borne. He is in a state of honourable Banishment. I wish he would come home, with leave, and have Courage enough to set down again in his office and go before Justices of the Peace & Quarter sessions in Defence of the Rights of Man, after marrying his Girl if she is still disengaged if he likes it.— Upon the whole however I think he had better stay another Year, which will make great Changes in this as well as other Countries.
The Appointment of the C. J. was a wise Measure.— My Mind is quite at ease on that subject—
Buy as much Hay as you please— I was afraid you would be obliged to give more than five Pounds a load.
The Barn is to be forty five feet long or rather exactly of the Dimensions of my Fathers— I think it must be in a line with that—if you make an Ell you cutt off all the Prospect. I shall only raise board & shingle it this year—merely for a shelter to the Hay.
{ 235 }
I send you a Post Note for 600 which I wish you to acknowledge by the first opportunity. My Expences are so enormous that I can send no more.
The House consume all their Time upon Party Politicks and all the Great Business of the Nation is suspended.
Mr Henry of Maryland exclaimed to me to day with great Pathos—“Pensilvania has passed a Law to appoint Electors by a general or state Ticket— The Point will lay with Pensilvania— they are a wrong and We shall be defeated.” Bingham answered “Oh No We shall have every Man”— I held my Tongue and understood not a Word they said.2
Henry poor Man had not taken laudanum enough to raise his spirits to the Key.—
The Heart is deceitful and I do believe as well as suspect that I know not mine: But I really and soberly feel as if I should be better pleased that Henry my sincere friend should be defeated than that he should tryumph.—
Torment and Philadelphia are in one scale—Quiet and Quincy in the other. that is all the Difference— I feel myself as fixed as fate. Our statesmen have Letters from John which I have not seen: but which please entertain and interest them.3 I am my dearest friend / poor or sick, great or small yours / everlastingly
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “March 29th 1796.”
1. The Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 29 March, printed a summary of part of JQA’s 24 Nov. 1795 letter to AA, above, regarding the alleged discovery of a new play by Shakespeare.
2. Between 21 and 31 March 1796 the Pennsylvania legislature debated and ultimately approved “An Act Directing the Manner, Time and Places, for Holding Elections for the Electors of a President and Vice-President of the United States.” The new law allowed Pennsylvania citizens to select electors through direct elections. Gov. Thomas Mifflin signed it on 1 April (Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Passed at a Session, Which Was Begun … the First Day of December, in the Year One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-Five, Phila., 1796, p. 46–47, Evans, No. 30976).
3. For a summary of JQA’s letters to Timothy Pickering during his time in London, see JA to AA, 9 April, note 2, below. During the same period JQA wrote only one letter to Oliver Wolcott Jr., 21 Dec. 1795, commenting on the delays in American interest payments to the Dutch bankers and suggesting that “some permanent system” be established in the United States to pay off the interest “or the credit of the nation for punctuality will materially suffer” (LbC, APM Reel 130).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0123

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-03-30

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother.

The opportunities for writing occur so frequently at this time, and there is so little to say that I am apprehensive some of them will { 236 } escape without carrying any letters to you; for one is ashamed to write a short letter; when it is to go so far; and like most correspondents I do not always remember that to write little is better than not to write at all.
I send you by the present opportunity Miss Williams’s last Letters from France, and an Answer to Paine’s theology by Bishop Watson. The first you have perhaps already seen, but as they concern the same subject with the other publications which I have lately sent to you and my father; you will perhaps be pleased to add them to the collection.— The Bishop’s “Apology for the Bible” has just been published and it is to be hoped will operate as oil upon Paine’s Arsenic.1
The Newspapers contain but little intelligence. There is much talk of Peace, but I think very little prospect of it. The military campaign has not yet been opened but the most formidable apparatus for the work of destruction has been collected on both sides, and will probably soon be brought into action.
The scarcity of subsistence has much diminished in France and here. Grain and flour have fallen considerably in their prices. The present complaint is of a scarcity of money.
I have no letters from my father later than December. 13. The last from you is of January 23.2 The vessels from Boston & Philadelphia are constantly arriving, and I wait for further letters with all the Patience that my philosophy can command. I find my health much improved by the relaxation (not to call it by an hard name,) that I have had for the last two months. I hope therefore that the Time has not been wholly lost.— My intelligence from my brother at the Hague is not later than the last of February; he had suffered a severe attack from his old rheumatic complaint, but he says he had in a great measure recovered from it. I am afraid he must have had a hard time of it, deprived of all the alleviations to his pain which he had in former instances; alone, in a strange country; though not altogether without friends; for he will find them wherever he goes. His last Letter however is written in apparent good spirits: he was preparing to attend at the ceremony of opening the National Convention, which took place on the day after the date of his letter.3
Please to remember me in duty and affection to my Grandmother, and to all our friends at Quincy, Weymouth and Boston. I am very happy to hear that my cousin W. Cranch has a son; though I cannot help considering it as a sort of reflection upon me; for a good example always contains a censure upon a bad practice.— I begin to think { 237 } very seriously of the duty incumbent upon all good citizens to have a family.— If you think this the language of a convert, perhaps you will enquire how he became so?— I am not yet prepared to answer that.
I remain your ever affectionate Son
[signed] John Q. Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs: Adams. Quincy.”; endorsed: “J Q A March 30 1796.” FC-Pr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 131.
1. Helen Maria Williams, Letters Containing a Sketch of the Politics of France, 2 vols., London, 1795, and Richard Watson, An Apology for the Bible: In a Series of Letters Addressed to Thomas Paine, London, 1796.
2. That is, JA to JQA, 12 Dec. 1795, above, JA wrote to TBA on 13 Dec., for which see JA to CA, 13 Dec., note 4, above.
3. TBA’s 29 Feb. 1796 letter to JQA has not been found, but see JQA to TBA, 24 March, above. At the end of 1795 the States General decided by majority vote to call for a National Assembly, and on 18 Feb. 1796 a unanimous vote was passed for the Assembly to convene on 1 March. Only 90 of the 126 representatives were present on that day, and those who refused to take the oath of loyalty were excluded. The meeting took place in the Binnenhof at The Hague, where the deputies elected Pieter Paulus as their president. TBA “went in full Diplomatic Dress to assist at the ceremony” and noted that he “enjoyed doubtless more than any Stranger present, this mockery of regeneration— I did feel glad on the occasion, for I know an opportunity to try their luck, in a new form of Govt cannot be for the publick a greater calamity than the continuance of the Old-régime” (I. Leonard Leeb, The Ideological Origins of the Batavian Republic, The Hague, 1973, p. 262; George Edmundson, History of Holland, Cambridge, Eng., 1922, p. 348–349; M/TBA/2, 1 March 1796, APM Reel 282).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0124

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-04-01

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

I yesterday received Yours of March 19 & 23d inclosing the Letter from our son, compareing Such events as have taken place in Europe, with the Spirit, and Temper of the Parties in America, and the evident disposition of foreign Powers towards the united States.1 I believe our Son will prove to be possesst of the Spirit, calld Prophesy which it has been said, was the property of his Father. in other Words, I believe from the observation which have occurd to me, that he Will be found to have made a just estimate of men and measures. I observe his prudent caution in not nameing those of his Countrymen who differ from him in opinion, but from Your reflection I presume it must be M. if not P. as to Sieyes I have long had my eye upon him as the Cromwell of France.2 How little do our Countrymen understand humane Nature, & what Superlative Ignorance Do they discover of History, and of the politicks of Nations, when they talk of a Republicks having no Secreets. it is really a pitty Such Ignoramuses should be Sent into a Legislative assembly. as { 238 } there are always two sides to a question, I hope light will brake out in full Day upon the combattants, and that Right, and justice will be established.
We May Soon expect to hear from abroad. Scott was to Sail in Feb’ry. I Suppose I must not ask how the 12 article is like to be Modified?3 or whether Success is probable?
I so frequently want advise, respecting our Home affairs that I wish you was here to Make Some of the arrangements, or that I had been more particular in attending to your plans. some of them must vary, oweing to the Letting the Farms. there are three Yoke of Young steers. two of them are quiet to the yoke, but one pr & the likelyest are wild never even been handled Dr Tufts wants a Yoke would you part with them? two more Yoke are comeing on to be made use of an other Year. is your plan to fat two Yoke this Year? I hope I shall be able to go on with some buisness which I would undertake, if I was sure I should have it Done right. I mean the Wall talkd of upon the Hill. I am weak very weak now. as soon as you enable me to be vallient I shall go on with spirit. I should live a short life upon credit.
Copland Says his time is out to Day for which he engaged to you; I say not till the 25th. Whether I shall hire him again is uncertain as I hear from your Brother that he talks of very high wages. I saw Billings to Day. he was engaged to Make a peice of Stone wall for capt Beal which he thinks will take him three weeks. he then says he will come if we can agree, but I could not find out what he intended to have. Your Brother Says our lands must lye without cultivation for Laboures are for having all the value of produe and money beside; I must keep Copeland for the present Month if he will stay. I shall have some talk with him in the course of the Week & see what his expectations are, but here are so few Labourers that we are obliged to give the highest price and not always for the first hands. shaw bears all the blame of Spoiling the Hay put into the Barns, by getting it in not Sufficiently Made—
our Tennants are moving. the Day is Spring like and the Birds Sing. our Worthy Brother Cranch is laid up for this fortnight with his old Lung complaint, which will some Day prove too hard for him I hope he is getting better. Mother has got through the Month of March without being confined, and is comfortable.
Yours in Love and affection
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A / 1. April. ansd 13. 1795.”
1. In his letter of 23 March to AA, JA deferred to her decisions regarding their tenants and mentioned JQA’s situation in Europe and the weather. He also enclosed a { 239 } 17 Nov. 1795 letter from JQA (both Adams Papers), for which see JQA to JA, 21 Nov., note 1, above.
2. That is, JQA’s fellow diplomats, James Monroe and Thomas Pinckney, who, according to JQA, believed “the final and unqualified triumph of the french Republic over all her enemies must be at hand.” JQA observed “with pain” that “Their accounts to their friends in America must differ essentially from mine, and time alone will discover whether their statements will be justified by the course of Events.” JQA considered the Abbé Sieyès to be “the main spring of the french external policy. I believe further that his policy as respects the United States, is of a tendency as pernicious to them, as if it had been invented in the councils of the Prince of Darkness” (JQA to JA, 17 Nov., Adams Papers).
3. For the Senate’s earlier debate and refusal to accept Art. 12 of the Jay Treaty, see vol. 10:451, 462, 466, 471. JQA informed Timothy Pickering on 14 Nov. that “The additional Article suspending the clause in the twelfth Article according to the ratification of the Senate was agreed to without difficulty” (LbC, APM Reel 130).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0125

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-04-01

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

The Newspapers will inform you of our interminable Delays. The House have asked for Papers and the President has refused them, with Reasons and the House are about to record in their Journals their Reasons— meanwhile the Business is in suspence: and I have no clear Prospect when I shall go home.
It is the general opinion of those I converse with that after they have passed the Resolutions which they think will justify them to their Constituents, seven or Eight of the Majority will vote for the appropriations necessary to carry the Treaties into Execution.1
Next Wednesday is assigned for the House to take the P.’s Message into Consideration— two Massachusetts Members Leonard & Freeman are gone home and three are among the most inveterate of the Opposition Dearborne Varnum & Lyman. Our People are almost as inconsistent in returning Such Men as the Pensilvanians are in Returning Adventurers from Geneva, Britain & Ireland2 if the Constitution is to give Way under these contending Parties We shall see it before long. If the House persevere in refusing to vote the appropriations We shall sit here till next March for what I know and wait for the People, to determine the Question for Us. One good Effect of a persevering Opposition in the House would be that We should preserve the President for another four Years: for I presume He will have sufficient Spiriti to hold the Helm till he has steered the ship through this storm, unless the People should remove him which most certainly they will not.
I will Not sit here in summer in all Events— I would sooner resign my Office. I will leave Philadelphia by the Sixth or seventh of June { 240 } at farthest. Other Gentlemen of the senate and House are frequently asking Leave of Absence: but my Attendance is perpetual and will if continued much longer disorder my Health, which hitherto has been very good. But I want my Horse my farm my long Wallks and more than all the Bosom of my friend—
Poor Lear has lost his second Wife.—3
I want to talk Politicks with my Brother and to know how his Patriotic Pulse beat in these times.
Next Monday is your Election when I suppose there will be a Stir. Many Letters express a clear opinion that there will be a Change. This would be the strongest Proof of Fœderalism which Mass has ever given; because I suppose it will be from fœderal Principles & Motives.4 But I expect no such Thing. I could fill a sheet with my Reasons but they would not be new to you.
The Weather is very pleasant but rather dry— I suppose you have Scarcely got rid of your snow.
I am anxious to hear whether the Throat Distemper has abated in Quincy— I thought the Physicians had become Masters of that Complaint. Duty to my Mother and / Love & Compts where due from your / ever Affectionate
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “April 1 1796.”
1. The political posturing over House appropriations for the Jay Treaty continued through April. With their speeches, Democratic-Republican legislators tried to undermine both the Jay Treaty and Federalist foreign policy and only secondarily used the issue to solidify party support in Congress. Federalists countered by inciting citizens to send petitions to Congress demanding the execution of the treaty. This public pressure helped sway the 30 April decision, at which time the House voted 51 to 48 to fund the treaty (Combs, Jay Treaty, p. 171–172, 178; Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 1291).
2. Pennsylvania elected two foreign-born members to the 4th Congress: William Findley from Ireland and Albert Gallatin from Geneva, Switzerland. In the 3rd Congress, along with Findley, four other foreign-born members represented the state: Robert Morris from Liverpool, England, and Thomas Fitzsimons, William Irvine, and John Smilie, all from Ireland (Biog. Dir. Cong.).
3. Tobias Lear’s second wife, Frances (Fanny) Bassett Washington Lear (b. 1767), whom he had married on 22 Aug. 1795, died in late March 1796. She was the daughter of Martha Washington’s sister and brother-in-law, Anna Marie Dandridge Bassett and Col. Burwell Bassett of Eltham in New Kent County, Va. Frances was the widow of George Augustine Washington, George Washington’s nephew, whom she had married in 1785 (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 1:93; ANB; Washington, Diaries, 6:252).
4. The Massachusetts election for governor and state senators was held on 4 April 1796. Although the incumbent governor, Samuel Adams, defeated the Federalist candidate, Increase Sumner, 15,195 votes to 10,184 votes, the Federalists gained seats in the senate. This new Federalist majority was reflected in the legislature’s decision to replace the Democratic-Republican Boston Independent Chronicle with the Federalist Massachusetts Mercury as the new state printer (Anson Ely Morse, The Federalist Party in Massachusetts to the Year 1800, Princeton, N.J., 1909, p. 160–161, 164; Massachusetts Mercury, 5 April, 3 June; Boston Independent Chronicle, 6 June).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0126

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-04-04

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

I see by the papers brought by last nights Mail that the Question on Livingstones Motion was carried by a great Magority. this May truly be calld a scramble after power. what is to come next? dare they touch the Treaty with unhallowd Hands? Giles seems all at once to have fallen in Love with Checks, and rings as many changes with them, as has been asscribed to the Author of the Defence. I have read his flimsy speach repleat with Sophistry, calculated to catch flies, but not a toil for Lions.1 I do not recollect being more pleasd with any speach than mr Bucks Simple, Manly, and convincing,2 “plain Truth Dear Murry, needs no flowers of speach”3 it is curious to see these Geniuss quoting as an Authority a Nation & Government, which on other occasions & from the opposite side, they would repobate in the severest terms. but what cannot Party Spirit effect. it can see single & Double, Proteus like assume all shapes, and forms. This said mr Giles, who appears to have some lose Ideas borrowd from a work which I presume he never studied, or he might have learnt from it, a true picture of himself and Party, and that the Love of power, like the Love of fame, how ever disguised by art, Glows more or less, and burns in every Heart that this tendency can never be eradicated, but ought to be so gaurded as not to prevail over the Laws, and in the Words of the Defence, [“]putting the Executive power into the Hands of the people is bribing them to their own destruction. putting it into the Hands of their Representitives is Still worse as it gives more opportunity to conceal the Knavery”4
Tomorrow is our Election Day, and after scolding and abuseing the Old Man some, their Hearts relent towards him, and I am very certain from what I have read and what I have heard, all of which will serve rather than injure his cause, he will again be Reelected and I belive by a large proportion of the state. in the first place he lives in the Town of Boston. that has its Weight with their Pride and Ambition in the next place, they recollect his former Services his Age, and his Virtues. those take hold of their gratitude, and they know not how to bring his grey Hairs with sorrow to the Grave. there they have some merrit. they know there is not any other Man held up sufficiently popular to unite the people. these are the considerations of the Patriots. the Antis Support him, because they { 242 } think him a spoke in their Wheel. I own for Myself, whilst I pitty his infirmities, I should have been sorry to have had him dropt. there will be many Votes for sumner, and his Election will not be so full as the last year.5
Tell mr Cabot that Mrs Cabot call’d on me on her return from Hingham, that she was well and in good spirits. We compared Notes and mournd the absence of our Mates, more particularly as the Spring approaches, that I sent My Love to him by her, and she sent her Respects to you, which means just the same thing.
I have had a confinement for several Days Something of the prevailing Lung complaint. I hope it will prove Slight, and that I shall be out again soon. our cold March east Winds have been the cause of it. You will escape their voilence I hope.
present me affectionately to all Friends / Your
[signed] A Adams
P s Mr Cranch is rather better.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Vice President of / The United States / Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mrs A. April 4. ansd. 16 / 1796.”
1. On 11 March William Branch Giles spoke in the House of Representatives on the Jay Treaty in general and specifically on the constitutional rights of the House in checking the treaty-making power of the executive branch. Giles noted that with the treaty, “never, I will venture to say, was there an instance of a more complete rout of so complete a system of checks, within the term of six years, in any Government on earth.” If the resolution requesting George Washington to hand over documents relating to the treaty negotiations was not carried out, Giles declared that “the triumph of evasion of checks is complete indeed, and little will be left hereafter to be evaded” (Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 500–514).
2. Daniel Buck (1753–1816), a lawyer, represented Vermont in the House from 1795 to 1797 and later served as the state’s attorney general. On 7 March 1796 Buck spoke against the resolution requesting the president to turn over documents relating to the Jay Treaty negotiation because he believed the documents would only “gratify feelings of resentment” in the nation. “Are we to explain the Treaty by private and confidential papers, or by anything extraneous to the instrument itself? I conclude not” (Biog. Dir. Cong.; Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 430–435).
3. Alexander Pope, “The Sixth Epistle of the First Book of Horace,” line 3.
5. For Increase Sumner, see vol. 1:154.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0127

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-04-05

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My Dear son

I have this morning received your favours of Jan. 7 and February the first with the Newspapers for which I thank you—1 I recd some days ago a Letter with the Review and some other Papers.2 I thank you for all these Marks of your kind Attention. a few Lines from you { 243 } are always acceptable as they are Information of your Health and Situation, but your long Letters are fraught with such Information and Such Wisdom as always afords me the highest Satisfaction. I have read your Public Dispatches and I know they have given great Satisfaction both to The Minister & President.
The House of Representatives have been making Difficulties about The Treaty: But they will probably in a few days do what is necessary to be done by them. I am not sorry that you are not a favourite at Court or with the People of England. I would never owe them Any Obligation and I hope my Children never will because I know that a cordial Kindness & Friendship will never exist in their Bosoms towards <my> our Country. Their Jealousy and Envy will eternally generate Hatred. Their Generals Admirals and Governers have no more discretion than peevish Boys in their Conversation concerning this Country and in their Behaviour towards our Citizens. I will never fail to do them Justice: but I know them full well.
Dont suffer their little Contemptible Passions and sordid Insolence to hurt your feelings.
our Family are all Well. I am my Dear son, with as much friendly Esteem and solid / Confidence as parental affection your / Father
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “J. Q Adams.”
1. For JQA to JA, 7 Jan., see JQA to AA, 6 Jan., note 7, above. In his letter of 1 Feb. to JA, JQA wrote that he was still in London awaiting orders to return to The Hague, noted the French-Austrian armistice and the return of the West Indian expedition, and forwarded some newspapers (Adams Papers).
2. In his letter to JA of 1 Jan., JQA enclosed some papers and noted the scarcity of news in England due to the weather and the French embargo (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0128

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1796-04-07

John Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My dear Son

It is a long time Since I have recd a Letter from you and it is too long Since I have written to you.
I have read your Dispatches as Chargé d’affaires at the Hague with much Satisfaction: But I find the Secretary of the Treasury is anxious to hear from You on the subject of Affairs in Holland which have more immediate Relation to his Office.
The House of Representatives of U.S. are engaged in Disputes about their Powers and Authorities which have already consumed { 244 } much time: but I hope they will now come to a Conclusion and resolve to do what depends upon them to carry the Treaty into Execution.
You have not lately given to me or your Mother any Intimation of your designs: whether you intend to remain in Europe or to return to America. Your Prospects in Europe are unknown to me: and while I should be very happy in your Company here I would not advise you to any Course against your Interest. if you see any Advantage in remaining where you are another that is a third year, greater than any to be expected from returning home I would not interfere in your Pursuits. Perhaps something may turn up in Europe or America in the Course of a few Months to make your Path more easy to see It is possible your Brother may be removed to some other situation, and in that Case you will of Course either be placed in his stead at the Hague or remain there as Charge Des Affairs or return home.
There may be some Changes in America which may make it proper for me to advise you before the End of another year to return home.
In America there are Opportunities opening constantly which a young Lawyer may take Advantage of provided he is attentive and industrious as I doubt not you are and would be.
Pray has “The Defence” ever been translated into Dutch or German? if it has send me a Copy—1 I wish too you would send me one Copy of The French Translation of it.—
The Dutch are trying over again after the French the Experiment of a Government of a single assembly. Nedham as great a Changling as he was, and as great a Villain, has had more honour done to his weak system than Sir Thomas More, Mr Harrington or even Plato.—2 It has cost many hundreds of thousands of Lives to cure France of their Idolatry to it. And I am afraid my good Friends the Dutch will have reason too to repent of it. Oh Franklin! Thy Rods will not in a thousand Years save half the Number of Lives that has been destroyed already in France by their inconsiderate Admiration of thy Attachment to Marchmont Nedhams Legislation.
The Rascall Nedham leading Franklin Turgot Condorcet and Rochefoucault by the Nose, and the French Nation blindly following them and the Dutch Nation bringing up the Rear is to be so astonishing a Picture, that no Miracle could have made me believe it, if I had not lived to see it.
our Family and Friends are all well. Adieu my Dear son— Go on in { 245 } the Ways of well doing and may the Blessing of Heaven follow you— so prays your / affectionate Father
[signed] John Adams
RC (DLC:Adams Family Papers); internal address: “Thomas B. Adams”; endorsed: “My Father The V. P. U. S. / 7 April 1796 / 21 June Recd / 24 Do Ansd:—”
1. No German or Dutch translation of JA’s Defence of the Const. has been found.
2. JA is contrasting the ideas espoused by Marchamont Nedham (Needham) in works such as A True State of the Case of the Commonwealth, London, 1654, which advocated a unicameral legislature, with the political systems proposed in Thomas More’s Utopia, James Harrington’s Oceana, and Plato’s Republic.JA derived many of his principal ideas on government from Harrington’s work, which proposed a government based on three orders: a senate that proposed laws, the citizens who voted on the laws, and the magistracy who executed the laws (DNB; Haraszti, Prophets, p. 34–35; JA, Papers, 4:78).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0129

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-04-09

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

The H. of R. have not yet determined— The Question is to be calld up on Monday— But the opposition who now call themselves the virtuous Majority, will endeavour Still to postpone it.
It is now avowed by Mr Bond, the British Chargé D’affaires that the Surrender of the Posts is suspended upon the determination of the H. of R. and who could expect it would be otherwise?1
I have read “The Ministers” dispatches from London. The King could not help discovering his old ill humour. The Mad Ideot will never recover. Blunderer by Nature, Accidents are all against him. Every Measure of his Reign has been wrong. It seems they dont like Pinkney— They think he is no Friend to that Country and too much of a French Jacobin. They wanted to work up some Idea or other of introducing another in his Place: but our young Politician Saw into them too deeply to be duped— At his last Visit to Court the K. passed him without Speaking to him, which you know will be remarked by Courtiers of all Nations. I am glad of it: for I would not have my son go so far as Mr Jay and affirm the friendly Disposition of that Country to this. I know better. I know their Jealousy Envy Hatred and Revenge covered under pretended Contempt.2
I am so fatigued and disgusted with the Insipidity of this dull Life that I am half a Mind to vow that if W. dont Resign I will. The Old Hero looks very grave of late.
However there is a high Probability that I am upon my last Year of public Life, for if there should not be a Choice by the People I will not suffer a Vote to be given for me in the H. of R. I will never Serve in that high and Responsible situation without Some { 246 } foundation of People to stand on. If I should be chosen V. P. only by a Plurality I will refuse. in short there are so many probable Cases in which I am determined to retire that the Probability of it is upon the whole very strong. indeed I feel myself to be a fool to serve here at all.
I am glad you can cast off the fret upon your Mind— You recd Some Post Note soon after the date of yours of 28 of March which enabled you to face your Creditors and gave you more Courage I hope.
The Walls in Curtis’s Pasture must be built, or Burrells Corn will not be safe—
Cleopatra ought not to be fed too high— she should have no Grain—only Hay.
I am
[signed] J A.3
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “April 9th 1796.”
1. On 25 March Lord Grenville informed Phineas Bond that the Treaty of Greenville, for which see JQA to CA, 30 Dec. 1795, and note 4, above, contradicted free trade provisions of the Jay Treaty. Bond delivered a memorial to the U.S. government stating that Great Britain would not evacuate its posts in the Northwest Territory until it was agreed that no subsequent treaties would impede free intercourse and commerce as established under the Jay Treaty. On 4 May 1796 Bond and Timothy Pickering signed an explanatory article to be included in the Jay Treaty. George Washington submitted the article to the Senate on 5 May, and it was approved by a vote of 19 to 5 on 9 May. On 1 June George Beckwith, adjutant-general of Upper and Lower Canada, sent a general order for commanders to evacuate the northwestern posts; by 11 Aug. all British posts in the Northwest had been presented to American forces (Joanne Loewe Neel, Phineas Bond: A Study in Anglo-American Relations, 1786–1812, Phila., 1968, p. 139–140; Amer. State Papers, Foreign Relations, 1:551–553; Miller, Treaties, 2:346–348; U.S. Senate, Exec. Jour., 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 207; Robert S. Allen, His Majesty’s Indian Allies: British Indian Policy in the Defence of Canada, 1774–1815, Toronto, 1992, p. 84).
2. The dispatches to Pickering in which JQA described his time in London were dated 14, 15, 27 Nov. 1795; 5, 15, 19, 22 Dec.; and 1, 20 Jan. 1796. There JQA described his audience with George III and Britain’s negative view of Thomas Pinckney, whom the English believed to be too pro-French, preferring to deal with JQA instead. JQA wrote that the British government and press consistently (and incorrectly) referred to him as the minister plenipotentiary to the Court of St. James. After he refused to acknowledge the new title, he noted his subsequent snub by the king at a levee (LbC’s, APM Reel 130; MHi:Pickering Papers, 20:96–97, 118–119).
3. JA had also written to AA on 7 April discussing the House of Representatives’ debate on the Jay Treaty, giving AA agricultural advice, and forwarding two letters from JQA, possibly those of 1 and 7 Jan. (all Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0130

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-04-10

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

It is with real Sorrow that I have to acquaint You with the Death of so valuable a Man as Hon’ble T Russel. The Town of Boston could not in the Death of any other of its citizens have Sustaind So { 247 } heavey a loss. considerd in every Character which he sustaind, and in every Relation in which he stood, his loss is greatly to be regreeted, and what to him was always a source of affliction, and to his family a Grief and mortification, he has no Son to Whom his Virtues have descended, or in whom his Father will live again;1
I received by the last post your favours of March 23 & 29th the latter inclosing the post Note,2 the Day after, the Presidents Message reach’d us in a Hand Bill.3 it is repleat with Wisdom, firmness and Dignity, and I presume the hardest strugle he will meet with. there will still remain in the House a party Enimical to the constitution, but I perceive in the last vote ten of their Majority were wanting, Whilst the Minority supports itself intire.4 with some the Presidents opinion will have great Weight, and the House will find themselves greatly condemnd abroad. I am anxious very anxious to learn the next movement. I rejoice to see the President steadily persueing his measures to carry the Treaty into Effeect. I know I feel very differently from what I Should do, were I more nearly connected with the administration of the Government, tho I should have no fears, for want of firmness or integrity, but my fears would arise from an apprehension that, there might not be so general a Support of any other person. May an over Ruling Providence direct all things for the best good of the Whole.
Our sage Bostonians in their Zeal for changeing their Govenour permitted themselfs to be Duped by the Smugling party, and that Misirable disgrace to freemen, that poor Spirited wretch Honestus mounted into Senate, to the exclusion of the best Member in Boston J Coffin Jones.5 the dispute in Congress, and the Doctrines there Broachd certainly had an influence in the Election of that Man. Boston is loosing her Men of concequence. I see none rising up to replace those characters whom we knew in former Days. concequently her counsels are unstable and her conduct Wavering; mr Adams as I expected is undoubtedly Elected, tho he lost many votes by his, I will not say conduct, but Want of Conduct.
I last Evening received a Letter from Mrs Smith, giving me a detail of the Mountabank Swindler St Hillair.6 I always Suspected him to be an imposture, and have been daily looking for some catasthrophy which would develope him the co’ll is injured by him, and that I fear essentially; Mrs Smiths account is, that in the course of his Mercantile transactions, he came possessd of a Note indorsed by the col. of five thousand Dollors. this Note in order to raise ready Money, he gave to a Banker, and orderd him to Sell it for a { 248 } thousand Dollors less than the face of the Note. it was offerd to a Friend of the col’s who immediatly informd him, but the Note had been handed about to others, and given Such a general allarm, as to occasion the col to put a stop to his buisness, & come to a settlement with his creditors. prehaps, this in the end may be no disservice to him. I Wish it might Serve as a check upon that too great propensity to extravagance in living, Which has given so much cause of apprehension to the col’s best Friends.7 the Family have a source of Mortification and Humiliation in the Silly and as I always thought Ridiculous connection of Peggys which they richly deserve, for their credulity and Want of common prudence, and discernment. a son to a Governour of Brest, a page in the Family of the Prince of Condi, a Cheveliar of the Order of St Louis, might have been known by some humane Being, nor is it probable that a homely old Maid without property could have Such Charms, as to engage a Handsome Young fellow merely for Love. No, No, those who know any thing of the World know better, especially of the Gallic World.
The Whole affair is a Romance. I Suppose you have had more particulars from Charles or mrs Smith, tho you have not written me on the Subject, and I did not chuse to write you the reports, because I knew not on what foundation they rested.
My Tennants are come upon the place. my confinement for the week past, has disconcerted some of my Movements. I have had one conversation with Copland. he Does not seem to like to stay or yet to go. he told Me Several persons had been a long in the course of the week past Who wanted to Let themselves (but he took care not to inform me of it), he says because he knew I would not give their price, which was from 16 to 18 Dollors pr Month. I told him I hoped You would grase all the land You had, or put the whole out upon some terms to halves before you would give that price. Corn is at the price of 8 shillings I am told. upon a settlement with Copland I find he has received 40 pounds in 14 Months. he says he Does not consider any thing Due, for it will not Make good the rise of Articles. I did not feel able to enter into a Discussion with him. he Says he told sir last April that he expected the highest wages he gave to any one. I told him he knew that his agreement with me from Janry 94, to 95 was at 8 Dollors pr Month. this he could not deny. I am determined to get other help if I can, but it is very difficult not to have a single person who knows any thing about the place. if I must give unreasonable wages, it Shall be to Billings, who with his faults, brings more to pass than any other Man.
{ 249 }
I have purchased four Ton of English Hay. I must get one Ton for Burrels Barn, and copeland Says he must have Some for the oxen here. this is so unexpected to me who thought from the Quantity cut last year that we certainly could not want unless it Might be for our Horses that I know not to what to asscribe it, unless it is an improper management of the Hay and Stock. our fatting cattle were all killd before you left Home. our oxen have not workd but half as hard this Year as the last, but now is not the Season to pinch, So I must submit to what is unavoidable. the cross plowing of the Hill in front is nearly compleated. we have Done it with our own Team, adding the Steers. Copeland Says it is as bad for the cattle as the breaking up was. he plows as Deep. the cattle can not Draw So firm.
What a Jumble are My Letters, Politicks Domestick occurrences, Farming annecdotes. pray light your Segars with them. leave them not to the inspection of futurity, for they will never have any other value than that of giving information for the present moment upon those subjects which interest You and / Your affectionate
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers): endorsed: “Mrs A. April 10 Ansd 21 / 1796.”
1. Boston merchant Thomas Russell died on 8 April (Massachusetts Mercury, 8 April).
2. For JA to AA, 23 March, see AA to JA, 1 April, note 1, above.
3. The handbill was a copy of George Washington’s 30 March message to the House of Representatives refusing the request to hand over materials relating to the Jay Treaty. It was printed in Boston by Benjamin Russell. In a letter to Theodore Sedgwick on 15 April, Peter Van Schaack noted that “The President’s Answer … was republished in hand-Bills … and circulated through the County” (Evans, No. 31416; MHi:Sedgwick Family Papers).
4. On 6 April Thomas Blount of North Carolina brought two resolutions before the House in response to the president’s refusal to turn over Jay Treaty documents. Blount’s first resolution supported the right of the president and Senate to make treaties but asserted that when a treaty had stipulations on which its execution depended but which encompassed powers reserved to the House, it was the right of the House “to deliberate on the expediency or inexpediency of carrying such Treaty into effect, and to determine and act thereon, as, in their judgment, may be most conducive to the public good.” The second resolution declared that when the House requested information from the president “which may relate to any Constitutional functions of the House,” it was not necessary for the House to specify “the purpose for which such information may be wanted, or to which the same may be applied.” On 7 April both resolutions passed in the House by a vote of 57 to 35. However, 6 “yeas” and 1 “nay” vote were absent that day, which would have made the total 63 to 36, only one vote different from the 24 March tallies on Edward Livingston’s resolution that passed 62 to 37 (Biog. Dir. Cong.; Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 759–760, 771–772, 781–783).
5. In the 4 April election for the Mass. senate, Benjamin F. Austin Jr. defeated the incumbent John Coffin Jones for one of the Boston seats by 1,544 to 949 votes (A Volume of Records Relating to the Early History of Boston: Containing Boston Town Records, 1784 to 1796, Boston, 1903, P. 427–428).
6. Not found.
7. AA believed WSS had been an innocent victim of Felix de St. Hilaire’s land speculation schemes, but she would learn that her son-in-law’s financial problems went far { 250 } beyond his difficulties with St. Hilaire. WSS had been worried about his financial prospects since 1794, yet throughout 1795 he continued to purchase land on loan in New York State. Deeply in debt by early 1796, WSS had to abandon construction on his New York City estate, Mount Vernon, and move back to Eastchester, N.Y. (Woody Holton, Abigail Adams, N.Y., 2009, p. 303; Princetonians, 2:425–437).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0131

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-04-13

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I dined on Monday at the Presidents with young La Fayette and his Preceptor, Tutor or Friend, whatever they call him, whose Name is Frestel.1 I asked Them with Mr Lear to breakfast with me this Morning and they agreed to come: but last Evening Mr Lear came with a Message from The President, to ask my Opinion whether it would be adviseable for the young Gentleman, in the present Circumstances of his Father and Mother and whole Family and considering his own tender Years, to accept Invitations and mingle in Society?— Whether it would not too much interrupt his studies? The Youth and his Friend had proposed these Questions to the P. and asked his Advice, and expressed their own opinion that Retirement would be more adviseable and more desirable.
I Agreed in opinion with the P. and his Guests and as I had been the first who had invited them, at the P’s request agreed to excuse them from accepting my Invitation that they might have it to say as a general Apology that they had accepted none.
There is a Resemblance of Father & Mother in the young Man— He is said to be Studious and discreet. I hope he will live to become as respectable and a more fortunate Man than his father.
You must have known him at five or six Years of Age as well as his sister Anastasia who is now with her Parents.2
The Majority of The H. of R. appear to be resolute to do Nothing. In fact they have done nothing and Mr Giles boasts that he has a Majority of ten determined to do nothing, concerning the Treaty with England. For my own Part, I see nothing better than a Crisis working up, which is to determine whether the Constitution is to be brought to its End this Year, or last a few longer.
Not The Tavern at Cowes not the Tavern at Harwich or at Helvoet not the Taverns at Nantes L’orient and Breast nor the Calms, Storms and contrary Winds of a long Voyage at sea, nothing but a Journey through Spain from Ferrol to Fonterrabbia is more tedious than the Operations of our Government under this Constitution.
I have recd yours of April 1.— You must get labour as reasonably as { 251 } you can— But I almost wish We had let our Homestead upon shares as well as the others.— Another Year I will—if I dont stay at home to take Care of it.
My love to Brother Cranch— It is not his old Ashtma that afflicts him I hope. The Secretary of the Treasury had Letters Yesterday from Thomas only upon Business.3 I am / affectionately
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “April 13. 1796.”
1. For Georges Washington Motier de Lafayette, see vol. 3:292. Lafayette and his tutor, Felix Frestel, arrived in the United States in 1795 and stayed for three years. They spent much of their time with George Washington in Philadelphia and at Mount Vernon (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale; Hamilton, Papers, 20:107).
2. For Anastasie Louise Pauline de Lafayette, see vol. 6:viii–ix and JQA, Diary, 1:225. Anastasie, her sister Virginie, and her mother Adrienne joined the Marquis de Lafayette in prison at Olmütz in 1795 and remained with him until his release in 1797 (Olivier Bernier, Lafayette: Hero of Two Worlds, N.Y., 1983, p. 255–257, 260).
3. Possibly TBA’s 6 Jan. 1796 letter to Oliver Wolcott Jr. informing the treasury secretary that the Dutch bankers required TBA to furnish 270,000 florins to pay the interest on the U.S. loan. TBA included fifteen enclosures with the letter: copies of correspondence from 11 Nov. to 29 Dec. 1795 between TBA and Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and Nicolaas Hubbard, and from 4 to 29 Dec. between TBA and James Monroe (CtHi:Wolcott Papers, vol. 41).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0132

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-04-16

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

The Doctor may have the Steers if he wishes to have them.
The People of the United States are about to be Stirred up in every quarter of the Union. The H. of R. are determined to go all Lengths. The Merchants of this City have had the most numerous Meeting that has been known for a long time and unanimously voted to Petition that The Faith The Honour and the Interest of the Nation may be preserved. They have appointed Committees to correspond with the Merchants in all the seaports.1 I expect that the Citizens will also be called together in the State House Yard and it is said that the Gentlemen will turn out: but the Event will be doubtfull.2 The State Parties will all be agitated and Party Spirit will be carried to the highest Pitch. It must be a national Determination, and if the nation solemnly determines upon War and Confusion they ought not to charge it to the Government. These critical Situations are familiar to me and I always feel calmest in the midst of them. A few Outlandish Men in the H. have taken the lead and Madison Giles and Baldwin are humble followers.
If the Voice of the Nation should be finally & decidedly in favour of the Treaty, there will be a mortified Party so bitter rancorous and { 252 } desperate, fomented by foreign Influence, in Opposition that the Government will be very much embarrassed, and the public service very uncomfortable.
When I take a Walk out of Town and see the young clover beautifully Starting I long to see my own— Pray how fares it?—
I have always thought it injudicious to make any Attempt against the Governor, knowing as I do the habitual Attachment to him, as well as the difficulty of uniting People in another. The Countenance he gives to a very profligate Party is very pernicious to the Public but he is stimulated to it in Part by the opposition to him, and he would not do less out of office. The Constitution of our Government is callculated to create, excite and Support perpetual Parties in the States, mixing & crossing alternately with Parties in the federal Govt.— It will be a perpetual Confusion of Parties.
I fear We do not deserve all the Blessings We have within our Reach and that our Country must be deformed with Divisions, Contests Dissentions and civil Wars as well as others.
As the People of Rome Scrambled for Power against their senate: as the People of Athens Scrambled for more Power than was reserved to them by the Laws of solon as the People of Carthage Scrambled for Power against their senate as the People of England Scrambled for Power against the K. & Lords and set up Oliver as the People of France Scrambled for Power against every Majority and set up Robespierre so the H. of R. of the U.S. will Scramble for Power against the P. & Senate. And the frequency of popular Elections will corrupt all before them. May God of his infinite Mercy grant that some Remedy may be found before it be too late in the good sense of this People.
Mr Cabot desires me “to present you his most profound Respects not daring to send by an Husband any more affectionate Regards”.—
I will venture to present you with my most affectionate Regards my earnest Wishes and longing desires to see you.
[signed] J. A.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “April 16. 1796.”
1. Philadelphia merchants met on 15 April and wrote a memorial to the House of Representatives “expressing their alarm at the delay of the necessary measures” for implementing the Jay Treaty. The merchants noted that “the faith, the honor and the interest of the nation, may be preserved by making the necessary provisions for carrying the treaty into fair and honorable effect.” The memorial, with more than 600 signatures, was presented in the House on 20 April (Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 16 April; Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 1114). For similar responses in other cities, especially Boston, see Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 5, above.
2. On 16 April “the citizens of Philadelphia” met and agreed to circulate a petition countering the memorial written by Philadelphia merchants the previous day, for which see { 253 } note 1, above. The citizens’ address, which garnered 1,500 signatures, stated that the treaty was “unequal in its stipulations, derogatory to our national character, injurious to our general interests,” and that it “must eventually lead to war.” The address was presented in the House on 20 April (Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 20 April; Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 1114).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0133

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-04-17

Thomas Boylston Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Brother.

Your favor of the 13 ult. came to hand the 31st: and that of the 24th: on the 3d: curt:1 I have to thank you kindly for your prompt execution of my Several Commissions, all the articles of which have been received. It is certainly an erroneous idea, which some of our American friends have expressed, that I am to be charged with a Commission rather than you. I have been long convinced of the contrary, & hereby renounce all pretension to such preference.
I have not written to you since the 29 Feby, but I enclosed a letter from the F. M, under cover to Mr: Johnson on the 12 ulto;2 Four days after I was seized with a billious remittant fever, which incapacitated me for nearly as many weeks from every kind of business. This, in addition to my previous attack from the Rheumatism, brought me very near my latter end. But I have conquered my enemy, and am now upon the mending hand. It is by no means a pleasant task to fill my letters with lamentations, and until I had the power to inform you of my convalescence, I would suffer no one to acquaint you with my illness. My greatest anxiety is now, to bring up, if possible, the time which has been thus lost by my repeated calamities, but I am so far distanced that I almost despair of effecting it.
I rejoice at the account given me of yourself. More than two months elapsed without my hearing a word of, or from, you, and during the heigth of my last disorder, nothing could persuade me, that you were not dead. I date the commencement of my recovery from the moment your letter of the 13th: came to hand. As a proof that I have not been without companions in misery, the physician who attended me, visited between 80 & 100 patients pr day for three successive weeks. Such is the history of the Hague taken from the Drslogbook.3
But tell me a little, who among this most attractive Society has most “charms” for you? Am I, or am I not to participate? This seems to be the question here. Resolve me it, I pray you, for I am partly curious to know. Shall I order the old house upon the Fleeweel { 254 } Burgwaal to be fitted up, or shall I take a better one upon the Voorhout? Make my best respects to the family in general, & to Miss ——— in particular.
I have letters from the Tr: Dept: as late as 17th. Feby giving notice of remittances to a very considerable amount & acknowledging the receipt of your letters to No 12. They contain nothing further.4
You have doubtless heard the fate of your dispatches, which went by the William Captn: Stoddard for Baltimore;— Only one letter for the State & one for the Tr. Dep. went by that conveyance, which is rather fortunate considering circumstances. A Bermudas Judge is governed & governs by his own laws.5
The National Assembly decreed some time since that a Medal should be struck in commemoration of the event of their Organization, and further that each of the Foreign Ministers who attended the ceremony should be presented with one of them. You know my situation in case the decree is enforced, and though I have no doubt as to my conduct upon such an occasion, I have some apprehension lest a wrong construction should be applied to it. Let me know your opinion upon this head if you please.6
Our Brother Charles sent us the Vindication accompanied with Peter Porcupine’s observations upon it. I send you the letter, which came with them.7 As I have forsaken my correspondents, they have retorted, and nobody appears to be concerned about me. I can’t help it.
One more Commission & I have done. Bring or send me a good tooth brush & two boxes of powder, whereby you will add to the numerous obligations already conferred upon your affectionate Brother
[signed] Thomas B Adams
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “J. Q. Adams Esqr:.”
1. For JQA to TBA, 13 March, see his letter to TBA of 24 March, and note 3, above.
2. TBA’s letter to JQA of 29 Feb. has not been found. François Noël (1755–1841), the French minister to The Haguethe Netherlands from 1795 to 1797, wrote two letters to JQA on 12 March 1796 (Adams Papers; private owner, 1991). In the letters Noël requested that JQA procure a small parcel of books and manuscripts for him, and he expressed his regrets for any inconvenience caused to JQA by the French takeover of Holland (Repertorium, 3:126).
3. Possibly Dr. Isaac Heijman (Heijmans). According to TBA’s Diary, he was attended by a “Dr. Heymans” during his illness at The Hague; the doctor had previously treated JQA as well (Hindle S. Hes, Jewish Physicians in the Netherlands, 1600–1940, Assen, Netherlands, 1980, p. 195; M/TBA/2, 15 Feb., APM Reel 282; “Letters of William Vans Murray to John Quincy Adams, 1797–1803,” ed. Worthington C. Ford, Amer. Hist. Assoc., Ann. Rpt. for 1912, p. 512).
4. Oliver Wolcott Jr. to JQA, 10 and 17 Feb. (both Adams Papers). In the 10 Feb. letter, Wolcott thanked JQA for his previous letters and informed him that a remittance of 355,000 guilders and three cargoes of West India produce were being sent to the Amsterdam bankers. In the 17 Feb. letter, Wolcott told JQA { 255 } that the U.S. Treasury was making a further remittance to the Amsterdam bankers of 130,000 guilders.
5. The brig William of Boston, Capt. Henry Stoddard, was captured by Bermuda privateers in late 1795 or early 1796 on its way from Amsterdam to Baltimore. The vice-admiralty court in Bermuda stipulated that the Dutch property on board the William would be detained, but that the neutral property could be restored to the claimant. Timothy Pickering appealed to the British to end the actions of the Bermuda privateers, but seizures continued into 1797. TBA’s worry about the fate of the letters was well-founded, as the seal of JQA’s letter to the secretary of state was “violated” while in Bermuda (Newburyport Political Gazette, 1 March 1796; Charleston, S.C., City Gazette and Daily Advertiser, 12 April; Gerard H. Clarfield, Timothy Pickering and American Diplomacy, 1795–1800, Columbia, Mo., 1969, p. 74–76; Federal Gazette and Baltimore Daily Advertiser, 11 Feb.). JQA’s dispatches were probably to Edmund Randolph of 18 or 28 Oct. 1795 and of 20 Oct. to Wolcott (LbC’s, APM Reel 129; CtHi:Wolcott Papers, vol. 41).
6. The medal to which TBA is referring commemorated the opening of the National Assembly at The Hague on 1 March 1796, the dies for which were cut by Barend Christiaan van Calker. The Dutch government commissioned 25 gold and 100 silver specimens of the medal and distributed them to the representatives of the Dutch Republic and to foreign ministers who attended the first meeting of the National Assembly. It is unclear whether TBA ever actually received one of the medals (Beschrijving van Nederlandsche historie-penningen, ten vervolge op-het werk van Mr. Gerard van Loon, 10 vols., Amsterdam, 1821–1869, 10:460).
7. CA to JQA, 6 Jan., above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0134

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-04-18

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

What you will say, or think, I know not at the Wages I am obliged to give. they are not higher than mr Black and others are obliged to give, for I was determind not to be deceived by report, and Made inquiry of him Myself Bass & Savile give the same which is no less than 14 Dollors pr Month. things can never go on at this rate. I hired a Man on the 15 for one Month. he did not incline to engage further untill he had tried, his place, and I was easy, for such wages must command help. he is from plimton & lived two years with judge Sever of Kingston.1 as to Copland I know not yet whether he will remain, nor Do I care, only that perfect Strangers render it difficult for me, as I can not mount on Horse back as you can and direct. the Stone Wall you wrote about and which you left in Charge to Dr Tufts, he cannot get Done for 2 Dollors pr Rod Billings who is with Captain Beals is to come to me in three Weeks, and will build the wall himself. I think I had better hire him for one two or three Months, as he is so good a hand at such buisness & get it Done in that way.
Your Brother came to inform me that mr Jonathan Marsh had the care of the Land belonging to the Heirs of Hayden who own the Land You improve, and that they are of Age & offer it at Seven pounds pr acre 13 acres they say if you do not purchase it is to be { 256 } sold at Auction. I shall get Dr Tufts to see mr Marsh, and wish to receive your orders about it. our season is rather cold and Dry our people are plowing upon the Hill in order to sew as soon as they can. the peice before the House for corn must be twice Harrowd, in order to break it to sufficiently. I shall go on as well as I can; you see the difficulties—
return our sons Letter.2 the Throat distemper has abated. I do not know any person sick with it. I forgot to tell you that after repeated Tarrings in various places, & at different times, not a Millir or Slug appears—
Yours as ever—
[signed] A Adams—
I am much better
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by Louisa Catharine Smith: “The Vice President of the / United States / Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mrs A. Ap. 18. Ansd 24 / 1796.”
1. William Sever (1729–1809), Harvard 1745, lived in Kingston, Mass., and was a judge on the Court of Common Pleas for over thirty years (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 11:575–578).
2. That is, JQA to AA, 6 Jan. 1796, above, which AA enclosed in her letter to JA of 15 April (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0135

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-04-18

Charles Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

Mr Van Persyn the bearer of this; is a Dutch gentleman the brother in law of Mr Jean Luzac by whom he has been recommended to me He proposes to settle in this Country and to lay out his Capital in a farm Mr Luzac and my brother Thomas have requested my advice and assistance for him. He has also letters for you.1
We are exceedingly anxious to know what will be the result of the disposition of The House of Representatives Our Merchants are alarmed at the present appearances business is at a stand There are to be meetings this evening of the Merchants and underwriters to consult for the Common good.2 Flour fell on Saturday from twenty five to twenty shillings such are the blessed effects of Southern dishonesty. What would be the consequence should The Representatives refuse to appropriate? An idea is entertained by some people here that The treaty may be carried into effect by individual subscription I beleive that idea is falacious Nor do I see how the difficulty is to be surmounted. Our Legislature adjourned last week to meet again in November to Chuse Electors and I dare say { 257 } everything will go on smoothly. The last session has been remarkably harmonious and the majority will be greater the next election.3
My last accounts from My brothers are not later than the 30th of December they were then in good health.
I am Sir your affectionate son
[signed] Chas Adams
1. Govert Jan van Persijn was probably carrying two 11 Dec. 1795 letters to JA, one from C. W. F. Dumas and one from Jean Luzac (both Adams Papers). Van Persijn spent a few days with JA in Philadelphia in late May or early June 1796, but it is unclear if he delivered any other letters to JA, who received this letter by post on 19 April.
2. The meeting of the merchants and traders of New York City took place on 19 April. The group resolved to present an address to the House of Representatives on the execution of the Jay Treaty and to correspond with other New York counties and American trading towns on the issue. According to the New York meeting, the treaty was “a point of the greatest consequence to this young and rising country—affording a prospect of durable peace; and of an uninterrupted progress … which will enable us to defy the enmity of foreign powers, without those immense sacrifices which war in our present situation, must inevitably produce.” In a 24 April letter to Rufus King, Alexander Hamilton noted that the address “went yesterday by express. It had more than 3200 signers. … Nothing can more clearly demonstrate our unanimity & I feel no doubt of equal or greater unanimity throughout the state” (New York Journal, 22 April; Hamilton, Papers, 20:136).
3. The New York legislative session ended on 11 April and would reconvene on 1 Nov. with a Federalist majority in both houses after substantial gains were made during the spring 1796 elections (N.Y. Senate, Jour., 19th sess., 1796, p. 110, Evans, No. 30871; 20th sess., 1796–1797, p. 3, Evans, No. 32554; Young, Democratic Republicans, p. 465–466). For the apportionment resulting from the 1795 state census, see vol. 10:474.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0136

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-04-19

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

The Sensations of Ap. 19. 1775 and those of this Morning have some Resemblance to each other. a Prospect of foreign War and civil War in conjunction is not very pleasant. We are a poor divided Nation in the midst of all our Prosperity. The H. of R. after debating 3 Weeks about asking for Papers are now beginning another Discussion which may last as long on the Merits and Demerits of the Treaty.1
If the H. refuse to make The Appropriations it is difficult to see how We can avoid War and it is not easier to find out, how We can preserve this Government from Dissolution. We must however coolly and patiently Study and Search for the Means and Resources which may be left to avoid War and support Government.
Mr Swift and Mr Goodhue have Spoken ably in favour of the Treaty: and Mr Ncholas and Mr Giles Spoke more moderately against it than was expected.2
{ 258 }
I had no Letter from you Yesterday— Brisler Says the Mail goes now 3 times a Week on Tuesdays thursdays & saturdays. I shall endeavour to write by each, tho it may be but a Line of Remembrance. I hope your Indisposition was not a grave one: but the omission of a Letter Yesterday gave me Some fears.
I cannot deny the Right of the H. to ask for Papers, nor to express their Opinions upon the Merits of a Treaty. My Ideas are very high of the Rights and Powers of the H. of R.— These Powers may be abused and in this instance there is great danger that they will be. Such a Combination of Party Motives as Debts, <Jacobism> Antifederalism & French Influence, seldom occurs to overaw the Members and lead them into Party Violence. But the Faith and Honour of the Nation are pledged, and tho the H. cannot approve they ought to feel themselves bound.
Some Persons still think the H. will comply— But there is an Inveteracy and Obstinacy on this occasion as I scarcely ever Saw.
The Pride of Madison, Giles, Baldwin, ill broking the Superiour Powers of the Senate, Emulating the Dignity and Lustre of Members of that Body, ardently Struggling to Rival an Elsworth a King &c These are feelings that our Lawgivers in framing our Constitution did not advert to.— The Elections of the two Houses by such different Bodies as the People & their Legislators, will always leave this difficulty in full force. The Leading Members of the House, such as Madison & Baldwin should have been e’er now senators.
But I must not Speculate. I must come to / something more pleasing, Assurances of the / perpetual Affection of
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A.”; endorsed: “April 19th / 1796.”
1. On 15 April the discussion in the House of Representatives moved from requesting papers from the president to debating the individual points of the Jay Treaty. James Madison began by giving his major speech against the treaty. The underlying issue during this new round of debate was whether rejection of the treaty would mean war with Great Britain; Democratic-Republicans alleged no, while Federalists argued that a refusal to execute the treaty would eventually lead America to declare war. This final round of debate on the treaty lasted until 29 April, when the House voted 50 to 49 “That it is expedient to make the necessary appropriations for carrying the Treaty with Great Britain into effect.” On 30 April two votes were taken in the House regarding the treaty. The first, which failed 49 to 50, wanted to add a preamble that the treaty was “highly objectionable” in the opinion of the House. The second and final treaty vote, which passed 51 to 48, called for carrying the Jay Treaty into effect (Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 976–987, 1280, 1282, 1289, 1291–1292; Combs, Jay Treaty, p. 181–182).
2. Zephaniah Swift (1759–1823), Yale 1778, served Connecticut in the House from 1793 to 1797, while John Nicholas (ca. 1757–1819) represented Virginia from 1793 to 1801. On 16 April 1796 Nicholas spoke against the Jay Treaty while Swift spoke in favor. Nicholas argued that the new treaty did not settle the disputes left from the 1783 Anglo-American peace treaty regarding confiscated slaves and { 259 } British posts in the West, and more recently the taking of U.S. ships in the West Indies. Swift refuted Nicholas’ claims concerning slaves and British posts, and argued that failure to sign the treaty would lead to a loss of British posts, a loss of compensation for spoliations in the West Indies, and possible war with Great Britain (Biog. Dir. Cong.; Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 1004–1024).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0137

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1796-04-20

John Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

I recd. yesterday your favour of the 18 by the Post Mr Van Persyn, whom you mention as the Bearer I have neither Seen nor heard of. My Conclusion is that he is not yet come on. I should be very glad to See him and receive the Letters he brought for me. My Friendship for Mr Luzac will be motive enough to do him all the Service in my Power.
The Disposition of The H. of R. is very firm not to say Obstinate— Yet there are hopes and favourable Symptoms. Few Members have yet committed themselves and many may retreat—but others may consistently enough Vote for the Appropriations who have voted for the call for Papers. But much, indeed all will depend upon the Exertions of the People out of Doors in Expressing their sense & Wishes.
Twenty nine Members, a Majority of the Majority are from two States Virginia & North Carolina, all moving as one Man, not a dissenting Voice among them, appearing as if all drawn by one Cord— Yet this is boasted of as expressing the sense of the People.
Some Persons think that a few will come over, a few take their Leave, and a Majority vote the Appropriations.
A Worthy Friend of mine from one of the States to the southward of this, who is better acquainted with the southern Members than I have the honour to be, tells me that many of them are ignorant illitterate and stupid to a great degree and led by Mr M. Mr G. and now by Mr Gal. &c
Bitterness against the Government seems to have been the Qualification chiefly sought for in the Candidates and Candour Talents and Integrity little regarded, in the last Elections.
Does your present Assembly meet in November or the newly elected one?
It is a Consolation that New York is coming to a better Temper and Way of thinking.
I had a Line with some Newspapers from your Brother in London of the 1. of Feb.1 My Love to Mrs Adams.
{ 260 }
I Sympathize with the Family in the unpleasant Fate but more in the unworthy Conduct of the one you mentioned to me— Pray wt is become of him. I am / affectionately your
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:Seymour Coll.); internal address: “Mr C. Adams.”
1. For JQA’s 1 Feb. letter to JA, see JA to JQA, 5 April, note 1, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0138

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-04-21

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

This Day seven Years I first took my seat in Senate and I hope I shall not sit there seven Years longer. The H. continues constant—some Conjecture that by one means or another they will comply after sometime: but I see no present appearance of it. I pray with you for the Prosperity of Zion but that is all I can do.
The Town of Boston is under a bad Influence in the Hands of unwise and I fear unupright Conductors.
The despicable story of st. Hillaire, I have learn’d from Charles but the Event upon Smith I had not heard, It is the Decree of Fate that I should be connected by two Branches with a weak Family and I must make the best of it. Nothing can happen from it worse than my fears and long Expectations. I am determined it shall not plague me.
As to Copeland He knows that my Contract with him was for 8 Dollars a Month for the Year and I told him expressly I would give him no more.
If you can have Billings, I dont desire any other.
You may let even the Corn field to the Halves if you will. I will let out the home Place for the future all but the House & Gardens.— I am determined to reduce my Family at Quincy, and do nothing at farming but occasionally.
I am glad the Hill is cross ploughed— I expected it would be worse in the Spring than it was in the fall.
You must buy Hay if it is wanted: but there must have been Waste.
I shall fat two Yoke of oxen upon the Island, I shant keep more than one Yoke at home & a Yoke of steers—perhaps.
You call your Letters a Jumble but they are my Delight and mine are not half as good as yours.
Our Constitution is coming to a Crisis— I calculated at its Commencement about ten years for its duration. The People will this summer have to determine whether it shall Survive its Eighth Year. { 261 } The H. of R. seem determined to dictate to the whole Govt and Virginia is equally desirous of dictating to the H. and thro the Ignorance, Weakness and Wickedness of Boston New York & Philadelphia she is but too successfull. I am / most tenderly yours
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “April 21 1796.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0139

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1796-04-22

John Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] My Dear Son

I believe I never have acknowledged the Rect of your favour of March 21.— In Dexter and Ames We lost the Lyre of Aphion in our H. of R. and Jaring Discords have led Mydas astray ever since.
The Rout before us is very thorny and very rugged and very Steep and what is worse than all the End of it is far behind the Hill, out of our sight, and may be more dangerous and impracticable than any Part of it that We see.
There are too many of the Members from N. York Mass. and especially Pensilvania bent on desperate Courses.
There is no Way of reconciling Parties. The Constitution ought to have provided against such Cases as these and have given the President Power to dissolve the House and call a new Election. As it is, the Country may be ruined before the People can interpose and decide.
What is become of St. Hilaire? What has happened to Mr shaw? What to Col. Smith?
I send you a Post Note for 100 dollars but I know not how I can make out to pay my own Expences to the next Quarter. Write me as often as you can if it be only a Line. Let me know wn you receive this.
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:Seymour Coll.); internal address: “C. Adams.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0140

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-04-23

Thomas Boylston Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] Dear Brother.

On the 19th: inst: the packets entrusted by you to the care of Erving, were handed me by Mr: Skinner. The letter for Messrs: Willink was sent them the day following, at which time I made application for a Bill in your favor as desired.1 The enclosed letter for Messrs: { 262 } John & Francis Baring & Co will be equally efficacious as a Bill; & the reason why this mode is prefered will readily strike you.2 I understand that the mere presentment of it will be sufficient, & I wish it may reach you seasonably.
In my last letter of the 17th: Currt: I acknowledged the receipt of all the Articles, which at different times you have had the goodness to procure for me. The Newspapers too, have, been a treat to some of my friends, & were chiefly valuable upon that account.
In case a fresh draft shall appear from Charles, I shall follow your directions respecting its acceptance. As your letter of authorisation to him is on board one of the vessels, which was so long detained, it is doubtful whether it has yet reached him. I enclosed you a letter from him by my last & I now forward a few lines which were recd: at the same time, but were not thought material.3 It is pleasing to hear of his success both from himself & others; some young men do better after marriage than before.
The letter, which you sent me from my Father, reminds me, that the second year of my absence from Country, friends & profession had commenced; it is now more than half expired, and as the original period of my residence in Europe was calculated in my own mind not to exceed two full years, it is a duty which I owe to you, to myself & our mutual friends, that my sentiments & determination upon the subject of my return to our native land, should be fully known. It has been long my wish to communicate them to you, and as it yet remains problematic, when you may be permitted to return here, I embrace this occasion of doing it, in preference to a longer delay for the sake of a personal interview.
The situation in which I have been placed for the last six months, must be regarded as entirely fortuitous; but during its continuance, which circumstances give me reason to expect may be longer than I shall be disposed to occupy it, I do not consider myself as the master of my own conduct, and unless you are directed to resume your station here, & thereby release me of course, I must necessarily ask it of the Government. Though the public letters received, seem to consider you as at present in this Country, the delay, which has already taken place in transmitting the orders for your return, added to other circumstances that might be named, may authorise a surmise, that particular reasons have caused this procrastination, and that a fresh requisition of your person & services may be in contemplation. In this idea I am not entirely singular, though it is confessed that the particular circumstances of the times have chiefly { 263 } contributed to inspire it. Should it be realized, and your mission to this Country either terminated, or your return protracted, it is very probable that a new Minister may in one case be appointed to succeed you, or in the other, that some new arrangement will commit the affairs of our Country to other hands than those in which they are at present, during your absence. This at least is my wish, for there surely can be no inducement for me to remain here, if you are removed. Independent of the considerations of a private & personal nature, a regard for the public interest would dictate my renunciation of a trust, which may materially suffer in my hands, either from want of experience or capacity to discharge the duties it may impose. With any one but yourself this language might seem like an affection of meekness & diffidence, but as you can best judge of its truth, you can best appreciate its sincerity.
Whatever advantages I may derive from a temporary residence in Europe, especially at this period, it is necessary also to consider those which are relinquished. I am anxious to fix the path of my future pursuits, from which no deviation will be admissible, and as it is my design to return to my profession, when I take leave of Europe, the next year will probably be more usefully employed in renewing my acquaintance with Cooke & Blackstone, than in reading Newspapers, and writing commentaries upon them. As to the benefit obtainable from any connections to be formed in this Country, if a period once existed when such a thing was successfully practised, I regard it as past, and the best Theatre for every species of enterprise, except the trade of an adventurer, seems to me to be our own Country. I know that the return to the Bar, if mine can justly be styled such, will be the commencement of an Ordeal by no means pleasant to encounter. I dread it, but will not shrink from it, both from a conviction of its necessity, & because I well know my Father’s partiality to the idea of having only Lawyers among his Sons. How to avoid its being a return to dependance is what concerns me most. I had rather be a Clerk for life, than subject myself again to that condition. With this sentiment I left home, and it must hereafter guide my conduct.
It was my intention to embark in the Autumn for America, had your return here been certain, but as this event becomes more dubious I must be determined in my movements by the orders you may receive, though after this explanation of my views, which respect myself merely, you will have no small share in fixing my resolution, by the advice & counsel which your fraternal affection shall { 264 } dictate upon a consideration of their propriety. That you will give it to me without reserve I am confident.
In my letter of the 17th: I mentioned my having enclosed you a letter from Mr: Noël, and as your’s of the 6th: currt does not acknowledge its receipt I am fearful of its having miscarried. In the cover I wrote “enclosed 12th: March.” I now forward one from Mr: D’Araujo; both contain nothing more I believe, than a request to bring with you some Books.4
Will you be good enough to purchase for me a pocket Geographical Dictionary—edition 1795. such are to be had doubtless.
I must finish as the post for Rotterdam will be off, without my Letter.
With unalterable affection, Your Brother
[signed] Thomas B. Adams5
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “J. Q. Adams Esqr.”; docketed by TBA: “T. B. Adams. the Hague / 23. April 1796 / 20 May do: recd: / No Answer but in person.”
1. For George William Erving, see LCA, D&A, 2:408. JQA met “Mr. Skinner” on 13 Sept. 1795 at The Hague and traveled with him to London on 9–10 Nov. (D/JQA/24, APM Reel 27). The packets contained newspapers, letters from JQA to TBA and JQA to Wilhem & Jan Willink, both of 6 April 1796 (FC-Pr’s, APM Reel 131), and a letter from JA to TBA, 13 Dec. 1795, for which see JA to CA, 13 Dec., note 4, above. JQA’s 6 April 1796 letter to TBA inquired after his health, mentioned the falling prices of food in England, and asked TBA to “apply to our bankers for a bill in my favour of two hundred guineas, upon some house here.” For more on the requested bill, see note 2, below. JQA’s 6 April letter to the Willinks enclosed 22 coupons of interest from America and requested that the proceeds be applied to the purchase of new obligations.
2. Siblings John (1730–1816) and Francis (1740–1810) Baring were founders of the Baring Brothers & Company financial house in London. The enclosed 22 April letter from the Willinks, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and Nicholas Hubbard to TBA stated, “As a British Act of Parliament, forbids the payment of Bills drawn or accepted by inhabitants of this Country, We inclose you an open letter to Messrs: John & Francis Baring & Co: of London, upon presentation of which by your Brother, they will instantly pay him the Two Hundred Guineas he desires.” JQA delivered the letter to Francis Baring’s London residence on 21 May (DNB; Ralph W. Hidy, The House of Baring in American Trade and Finance: English Merchant Bankers at Work 1763–1861, Cambridge, 1949, p. 6, 10; Adams Papers; D/JQA/24, 21 May, APM Reel 27). For JQA’s 6 April letter to TBA requesting the bill, see note 1, above.
3. CA’s note to JQA enclosed in the current letter has not been found. For JQA’s letter of authorization, see his second letter of 4 Nov. 1795, above.
4. Antonio de Araujo de Azevedo (1754–1817) was the Portuguese minister to The Haguethe Netherlands from 1790 to 1802. His letter to JQA has not been found. For the François Noël letter, see TBA to JQA, 17 April 1796, and note 2, above. JQA wrote to TBA on 24 April from London, commenting that he had not received any letters from TBA since February. JQA also informed TBA that the Jay Treaty had been ratified, that Oliver Ellsworth was now chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and that JQA would bring the books and papers for Noël (Repertorium, 3:318; Adams Papers).
5. On 3 May TBA wrote to JQA enclosing letters recently received from the United States and noting that their friends there were well (Adams Papers). JQA’s letter to TBA of 6 May stated that he was still unmarried and was { 265 } glad to hear from TBA after his illness. JQA also noted that he had not received the monies he had requested from TBA to pay for the return trip to The Hague, a complaint JQA similarly voiced in his letter of 15 May, where he requested TBA to resend the bill from the bankers (FC-Pr’s, APM Reel 131).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0141

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-04-24

Charles Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Brother

Your kind letters of Decr 30th from London and of Novr 4th from Helvoetsluys have been both received. that of the latest date reached me about six weeks before the other. I am balancing in my mind whether or not to draw bills they are now four pr Cent below par but objects of speculation are also low. six pr Cents at seventeen shillings and the rest of the funds in proportion. All kinds of property has been sacrificed for money. such has been and still is the want of money that three four and five pr Cent a month has been given. some crashing among our Speculators of course. You do not mention the receipt of my letter in which I gave you a particular account of the employment of your money. It is secured by a bond and mortgage on a very good lot in this City worth at least double the sum. It is also by These instruments stipulated that the principal shall be paid at any time giving to the Mortgagor a notice of sixty days.1
We are as you will find by the newspapers I send you, in a very critical situation. There is at present a considerable majority in the house of Representatives who appear determined to refuse to make appropriations for carrying into effect the treaty with Great Britain. I have some hopes however that some Members will come over Petitions are flowing in from all parts of the continent signed by most of the people of property urging them to make the appropriations. Our Merchants are exceedingly anxious any disturbance would be fatal to the stoughtest of them. They have at this moment more property afloat than they ever had at any former period. The British are exceedingly insolent at present but it is better to suffer evils which are partial than to hazard a war with them in our situation. If the house of Representatives should refuse their aid the next proposition I suppose will be sequestration embargoes and a system of mutual plunder.
Your letter of December 30th giving me a detail of the situation of European politics has been read with so many marks of approbation by several gentlemen to whom I have shown it and I have been so often requested to publish it that I could not deny it especially as I { 266 } { 267 } think at the present moment it will do much good2 Indeed my dear Brother I do not flatter you when I say The United States have never had a Minister abroad whose letters but especially whose official Letters have given more satisfaction than yours the mouths of all who have an opportunity of seeing them are opened in your praise. How would it rejoice my heart if so much virtue and genius and talent was not doomed to vegitate in a foreign <office> soil. To remove an American of eight and twenty years from his Country to pine on a pittance to be in a measure forgotten by his fellow citizens to deprive him of that domestic happiness for which at that time of life we so ardently sigh is a cruelty for which the honor of the appointment in my mind can scarcely compensate. These are my feelings they are feelings drawn forth by a contrast of our situations Settled with a wife whom I ardently love whose every endeavor is for my happiness able by my profession to support her with a cheering prospect of putting something by in my youth for the wintry blasts of age how can I but recollect that you are far distant without the bosom of your Country unconnected with the woman you most admire suported on a bare maintenance. Forgive me if I exhibit a wish too ardent for your return. Our father’s fortunes have been sacrificed to his Country’s call.
The interesting congratulations upon my marriage contained in your letter of Novr 4 drew tears from us both The approbation of so kind and so good a brother was a charm to the hearts we cannot express. May we ever prove worthy of such tender affection.
Our father has a most tedious session he cannot quit his post. In such a time as this he gives up his private concerns for the public weal It is impossible for me to tell you at present whether the President will decline serving again When I was in Philadelphia last February he had determined to retire you will see by the handbill enclosed that the idea is kept up.3 Yet I doubt. If the Country had been in a state of peace and likely to maintain it he would but at present I am doubtful He will not leave the helm while the vessel is in danger at least his former conduct warrants this opinion. Should he decline there is no doubt The Vice President will be his successor
There is an event still more immediately the consequence of a refusal on the part of the house of Representatives to comply with the treaty a Separation of the States How in the name of God can the States of Massachusetts New Hampshire Rhodeissland Connecticut N York N Jersey Delaware Pennsylvania consent to bear the burthen of another war with England to furnish men and money as { 268 } they did the last because the southern Nabobs will not pay their debts? I have no longer any doubts in this case We must separate and the negroeholders become our tributaries4 So let it be if they will not hear reason they may be cursed with Doctor Slops curses on Obediah.5 I look upon these prospects with an eye composed and whether the crisis arrives sooner or later you will loose nothing by being a Minister Resident— Our State of New York has undergone a wonderful Mytemsychosis6 Overflowing with her adopted sons the Yankees she now presents two to one of federal representatives. Her real interest is now represented.—
Mrs Adams joins me in the profession of esteem with which I am your affectionate brother
[signed] Charles Adams
1. Not found.
2. With the exception of the opening two paragraphs, JQA’s 30 Dec. 1795 letter to CA, above, was republished in full in several American newspapers, including the New York American Minerva, 26 April 1796; New York Herald, 27 April; Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 29 April; Newburyport Impartial Herald, 7 May; Charleston, S.C., City Gazette and Daily Advertiser, 16 May; and Portland, Maine, Eastern Herald, 23 May.
3. Not found.
4. On 18 April the Connecticut Courant printed an article on the Jay Treaty stating that southern congressmen opposed to the treaty wanted to “destroy the government of the United States” and lead the nation into war with Great Britain. “Before the Northern states will submit to be driven into a war, from which they have nothing to gain, but every thing to lose, they will call State Conventions, cause a division in the Union, and establish a government for themselves which shall not admit of Negro representatives.” The fight in the House of Representatives over the Jay Treaty was part of a larger sectional conflict in the early republic. Many southerners viewed the treaty as a Federalist plot to increase manufacturing interests in the United States at the expense of agrarian interests. This sectionalism played out in the vote over the treaty; the majority of representatives supporting the treaty were from New England and the Middle Atlantic states, and the majority who opposed it were from southern states (Elizabeth R. Varon, Disunion! The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789–1859, Chapel Hill, N.C., 2008, p. 33; James Roger Sharp, American Politics in the Early Republic: The New Nation in Crisis, New Haven, Conn., 1993, p. 133).
5. A reference to Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, vol. 3, ch. 7, where “Dr. Slop was stamping, and cursing and damning at Obadiah at a most dreadful rate.”
6. CA likely meant metempsychosis, the transmigration of the soul, or the passage of the soul from one body to another (OED).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0142

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1796-04-24

John Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] My Son

I have yours of the 22d.1 Mr Van Persyn I shall be glad to see whenever it Suits his convenience to come to Philadelphia.
I can Say little of favourable Symptoms. The Waggon is fast in the Mire, up to the Axletree and unable to move forwards or backwards. Whether the People will draw us out or not, and Whether { 269 } We shall advance or retreat I know not. The Passengers are unable to help themselves. The Cattle drawing up Hill are so exactly matched to the Load and those drawing down, that the Wheels stand still.— We are too suddenly and hastily proving what the World will reluctantly be convinced of, that Man kind in their most innocent Character and under the best Circumstances are unqualified to govern themselves.
There is throughout the World a popular Envy a vulgar malignity against all who are Superiour to them in Talents Virtues, Birth, Education, Wealth or any Thing else. To this Class of People <Thirty> Twenty Nine Reps. from V. and N. C. nine or ten of whom represent nothing but black Property are addressing themselves.2 They are joined by Renegadoes from Geneva, England, Ireland, by Debtors Antifederalists and French Tools—All together are able to clogg the Wheels of Government. Numbers in N. York as well as Philadelphia & Boston will be against Weight, and Reps will always regard Number more than Weight.
I thank you for your kind Invitation to your house. I shall make your House my Home when I come to N. York, but when that will be I am unable to Say. I fear not before June—and then I shall Stay but a night. My Affairs are Suffering at Quincy so much that I must be with them as soon as possible.
Let me know as soon as you can how your Elections go and whether Mr Burr is chosen into your Senate.3
I am my Dear sir your Affectionate / Father
[signed] John Adams4
RC (MHi:Seymour Coll.); internal address: “Charles Adams Esqr.”
1. Not found.
2. In early 1796 northern state legislatures and newspapers regularly emphasized the disproportionate voice of the southern states in the House of Representatives due to the three-fifths compromise. On 11 Feb. the Penn. senate responded to Virginia’s proposed constitutional amendments, stating that if there was “a Convention to alter the Constitution of the United States,” one of the amendments proposed should “establish the National Legislature on the true principles of representation, by enabling free men, as well as freeholders to vote; and, by apportioning the Representatives among the several States, according to the number of those free men” (Philadelphia Gazette, 13 Feb.). The Boston Columbian Centinel, 9 March, published its own response to the Virginia resolutions: “The Hint given by the Senate of Pennsylvania, to that of Virginia, on the subject of representation, was pointed and proper. In the southern States five slaves, who cannot vote themselves, are considered equal to three northern freemen!” On 18 April the Philadelphia Gazette reprinted an article from a New York newspaper, stating that a House vote against the Jay Treaty would lead to a division of the union and noting that the southern states were not currently satisfied even with “a fourth more representatives than they are justly entitled to.” According to the article, if the treaty was not executed, “the northern States will rid themselves of a weight that hangs like a millstone about the neck of our prosperity.” On 22 April the Philadelphia Gazette printed a southern response, arguing that New York “has actually in Congress at { 270 } this very hour a negro representative; for her white population would have entitled her to only nine representatives; whereas, by the addition of 21,324 slaves, she has ten!”
3. The spring 1796 New York state elections brought many Federalists into the state assembly, which in turn elected Gen. Philip Schuyler to the U.S. Senate in place of the Democratic-Republican Aaron Burr. In April 1797 Burr won a seat in the N.Y. assembly, where he served for one term (John S. Jenkins, History of Political Parties in the State of New York, Auburn, N.Y., 1846, p. 58, 61, 63; Biog. Dir. Cong.).
4. On this same date, CA wrote to JA discussing a petition and counter-petition from New York on the Jay Treaty that were presented to the House of Representatives (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0143

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-04-24

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother.

You will find by the papers that I send with this letter, what you will perhaps know before the receipt of it; that is that the negotiations for Peace have stumbled at the threshold, and that a trial of one more year of War is to be endured by the contending Nations. The Notes of Mr: Wickham & Mr: Barthelemi are considered as decisive upon this point.—1 The scarcity of provisions has suddenly disappeared both in France and in this Country. Wheat and flour have fallen from excessive to very moderate prices. There are complaints here of a great scarcity of money, but it will find its relief in a new loan for seven millions and an half which is already made.
I send you likewise some late reviews which may give you the literary news, more valuable because more durable than those of a political nature.—2 The famous Shakespeare manuscripts about which I wrote you soon after my arrival here, are now generally considered as mere forgeries. The play of Vortigern was once performed, and fairly laughed off the stage.
I had not an opportunity to judge of it myself as I could not attend on the Evening of its first and only performance, but the opinion of all those who heard it appears to be unanimous, that it is not only an imposture but a very awkward and clumsy one.— Volumes have been written & published on the subject, and men of all sorts take now a pride in girding at the poor proprietor of the manuscripts.
I have no letters from my father dated later than December. None from you later than January, none from any of my friends in America of a more recent date. Still I flatter myself I have not been forgotten. I write so much and so often that I seldom get a correspondent of equal punctuality with myself.— From other Americans however, I collect the information of that Country, as late as the { 271 } beginning of March.3 It looks fair and promising. But our political tides ebb and flow with such rapidity and violence that I place not the most thorough reliance on the permanency of any favourable prospect.
I beg to be remembered affectionately to all friends, and remain your invariably faithful Son
[signed] John Q. Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs: Adams. Quincy.”; endorsed: “J Q A April 24 1796.” FC-Pr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 131.
1. William Wickham (1761–1840) was a British politician and diplomat. In 1795 he became the British minister plenipotentiary to Switzerland. Wickham wrote to François Barthélemy, the French minister to Switzerland, on 8 March 1796 asking him to respond to three questions concerning the possibility of negotiating a peace with France via a congress or written communications with Wickham or some other means. Barthélemy replied on 26 March that although the Directory desired “a just, honourable, and solid peace,” it did not want to enter into a congress with Britain that would “render all negotiation endless.” A British note of observation, dated 10 April, concluded that at that time “nothing is left for the king but to prosecute a war equally just and necessary” (DNB; Parliamentary Hist., 32:1407–1409).
2. This enclosure has not been found but was possibly from one of the London newspapers that provided reviews of the first and only performance of Vortigern on 2 April at the Drury Lane Theatre; see, for example, London Times, 4 April, or London Lloyd’s Evening Post, 1–4 April.
3. Probably Oliver Wolcott Jr. to JQA, 10, 17, and 27 Feb.; and Timothy Pickering to JQA, 9 March (all Adams Papers). Wolcott’s letters discussed U.S. Treasury remittances being sent to Dutch bankers and his confidence that America would be able to pay all of the interest and installments on its loans through 1 June. Pickering’s 9 March letter expressed regret that the instructions for further negotiations between the British government and the United States did not reach England in time for JQA to participate in the exchange of ratifications for the Jay Treaty.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0144

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-04-25

Abigail Adams to John Adams

And why should I feel so anxious, so heavy at My Heart, and So depressed in My spirits? I cannot help it, aya, theres the Rub. if I could help the matter, seeing the subject in the light in which I view it, I would instantly comply, and vote the necessary measures for preserving the Plighted Faith, the honour reputation and the Peace of My Country. these were my Sleepless reflections, as I lay ruminating upon the contents of your Letters of the 9th and 13th. I wanted to write the next Day, but I could not take my pen. I could not Sit Down with a mind at ease. my reflections were painfull, and my anticipations gloomy. whilst I was in this state of mind mr Gardner arrived, and brought me Letters from our Dear son in England News papers and pamphlets. the pleasure of hearing directly from him, and seeing his particular Friend revived my spirits, and gave { 272 } me a temporary relief. the latest date is the 20 & 28 Febry. I have papers to the 11th of March. his Letters acknowledge the receipt of Letters by Scott. he writs but little politicks. he says every thing in England is very quiet, tho the Scarcity of Bread was constantly increasing, and that the Winter had been mild beyond all example, that mr Randolph vindication had been publishd there. he observes “Among the thousand proofs that I meet with every Day, of the influence that party spirit has upon the Moral Sense, I have considerd it as one of the strongest, that there are Americans, who avow themselves of opinion that his conduct amounted only to an indiscretion, and that he has been harshly treated. Whilst I am writing he adds I receive the Boston Centinels to the 27th of Jan’ry. the speach of the G——r at the opening of the Sessions is almost as strange to me, as Randolphs vindication. indeed the Massachusetts have great respect for persons or they would hardly suffer a Man, depreciated to the delivery of such a speach, to appear in the face of the World as their chief Magistrate”
He had been unwell, and found it necessary to take a journey, which he Did in company with his Friends Craffts & Gardner to Cambridge. the excursion was an agreable one and was of Service to him. Thomas too, had been visited in Jan’ry with his Rhumatick complaint, but was better. He Says that [“]his last Letters from America, after the meeting of congress gave him a more pleasing aspect of the State of our affairs and encouraged him to hope that our Peace would be yet preserved, and that comprehended in itself the enjoyment of almost every blessing that a Nation could possess.”1
I fear his and our hopes will be frustrated. last Evening I received yours of the 16 & 19th there is not much more encouragement in them, than in the former but the sensation is spreading far and wide; the allarm for the peace of the Country strikes forceably. you will see by the papers the Votes & resolves of Salem.2 the petition in Boston was yesterday fill’d by 15 hundred Subscriber, and opend only the Day before the Clergy as a Body are uniting in a similar petition;3 there <is> an attempt at calling a Town meeting, by the old Jacobin party as yet they have not succeeded. Commerce is obstructed Merchants are discharging their Sailors, underwriters refusing to insure the Mechanicks ask what does this mean? in an other fortnight the Damage will be more Severely felt, as the stagnation increases
Whilst the publick is thus threatned I can say nothing to induce { 273 } you to quit your ground, otherways I should wish you at home, and press for your return. the Season is uncommonly dry, more so than even the spring before the last. the Earth is like powder. our people yesterday finishd the sowing & Rooling the Hill. they next go to the potato ground Cleopatra has been turnd into the Green behind the Barn for this fortnight & has not had any Grain for some time. the Clover looks well. I have purchased six Tons of English Hay 4 for my Horses and one for Burrels Barn, and one for the other place one more I must have here. I was fortunate to get it as I did the price has risen to six & Seven pounds in a few Days—oweing to the prospect of a Drougth. What can not be remedy’d must be endured, but I am put to much of this expence, merely for want of useing the poorer Hay. in its proper season surely we had more English Hay by many Tons last year than we ever had before. I hope the present year we shall not Labour to such disadvantage as the last. to have to purchase a hundred and 20 Dollors worth of English Hay, is too, too bad— adieu adieu hopeing to hear more agreable intelligence I am most affectionatly / Your
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. April 25 / 1796 / Ansd 30th.
1. In both instances AA quotes from JQA’s 28 Feb. letter, above.
2. At a meeting on 22 April the “freeholders” of Salem voted to present a memorial to the House of Representatives “praying that they would make provision for carrying the TREATY with Great-Britain, into full and honorable effect” (Boston Columbian Centinel, 23 April).
3. On 22 April Boston residents met and prepared a memorial urging the House to execute the Jay Treaty, determining that signatures from “every class should be requested and admitted” for the memorial “that it might not appear the doings of a few partial individuals” and soliciting at least 1,300 signers. At a 25 April meeting 2,000 Boston residents heard a debate on the memorial, and when they were asked “Will the town agree with the sentiments contained in the Memorial?” it was reported that only 100 attendees were in opposition. In their roles as “the Ministers of PEACE” Massachusetts clergy who supported the Jay Treaty petitions asked their congregations to sign memorials at the conclusion of church services (same, 23, 30 April; Massachusetts Mercury, 26 April).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0145

Author: Smith, Abigail Adams
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-04-27

Abigail Adams Smith to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My Dear Brother

I had the pleasure yesterday to receive your kind letter of the 23d of Febuary from London—1 we supposed that you had returnd to the Hague ere that period— the communication is so much more regular from England to this Country that we should hear more frequently from you from there than from Holland—which is a sufficient inducement to me to desire that you should remain there—
you receive I presume through other chanells every political { 274 } information respecting our Country— I cannot however refrain from expressing my anxiety upon this subject— the present is a period in the affairs of our Country which must excite the apprehensions of every good Subject— the British Treaty is now under the Consideration of the House of representatives and there is a party and it is to be feared a Majority who have assumed to themselvs a Constitutional right of deciding upon its merits and adoption— there is an attempt to avoid making the necessary appropriations for carrying it into affect— at the Head of this Party is a Mr Edward Livingston of this City the Younger Brother of the Chancellor how it will terminate is as yet uncertain— it will prolong the session to a distant period— I fear we Shall have a turbulent year— the Ellections come on in the Spring and the parties will I expect run very high— the Democrats will use every indeavour to affect their purposes no exertion on their part will be omitted— what will be the result cannot as yet be conjectured— in this City we are like to experience much individual embarrassment from the extreme scarsity of money in Circulation—from an apprehension of War; or some local establishments now in agitation every person who possesses money hold it up from an idea that War is the inevitable consequence of not fullfilling the Treaty upon our part I do not pretend to understand the merits of the Cause but of this I am well assertained that the depredations of the British upon our Commerce has very much embarrassed those who have been so unfortunate as to fall into their Hands— Colln S—— has been particularly unfortunate his Ships have been taken his property detained merely from the Caprice or ill Humour of the Captors— but there is no use in enumerating evils which are irremidable the vicissitudes of Fortune have been a copious theme for Complaints since time has revolved— the greatest magnimnity Consists I beleive in submitting to them, without repining severe as the Conflict may be I shall indeavour to acquire this species of Philosophy
it is a pleasure to me to receive any proofs of the memembrace of friends I esteem— there are many persons in London—of whom I hear with much Sattisfaction— I have lately had an opportunity of renewing an acquaintance with the Son of Mr & Mrs Copley—who passed some time in New York on his Tour through the States he is an amiable pleasant young Man and has made many friends amongst us
I shall ever remember with gratitude the many kind attentions we { 275 } received from Mr and Mrs Johnson and their family they are very amiable— we have been expecting to see them in this Country—from the arangements they were making when we left them— I think they will find themselvs much at home in America2
Mr Gore from Boston dined with us yesterday he has received an appointment which if the Treaty is fullfilled will carry him to England— he proposes to embark in June with his family— you will I am sure meet him with pleasure—
our Brother is well as is our new Sister— they dined with us yesterday I hope that I shall hear from you more frequently than I have in times past it shall not be my fault Colln Smith and my Children desire to be rememberd to you beleive me that absence has not abated the sincere / affection of your Sister
[signed] A S
remember me to Thomas I intended writing to him but the Ship sails sooner than I expected
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by TBA: “Mrs: A Smith 27 April 1796. / 10 July Recd: / 31st: Ansd:.” Filmed at 27 April 1795.
1. In his 23 Feb. letter to AA2, JQA congratulated his sister on the birth of her daughter, noted that Susanna Clarke Copley and Catherine Nuth Johnson in London both remembered AA2 with much kindness, and wrote that he hoped to return to Holland soon (FC-Pr, APM Reel 131).
2. AA2 spent time with the Johnson family in 1792, when she and WSS briefly returned to England. She often passed her days with the Johnsons, and during the summer the two families shared a house in Brighton. Joshua Johnson decided to return to the United States in 1797, after 26 years abroad and 7 years as U.S. consul in London, because of the declining fortunes of the business partnership of Wallace, Johnson & Muir. The Johnson family sailed for America on 9 Sept. on the Holland, arriving at Georgetown, D.C., on 25 Nov. (LCA, D&A, 1:29–30; JA, DiaryD & A, 2:300; Papenfuse, Pursuit of Profit, p. 191, 228–229; D/JQA/24, 9 Sept., APM Reel 27; Alexandria Advertiser, 27 Nov.). For more on the family and Joshua Johnson’s financial situation, see LCA, D&A, 1:29–53. See also Descriptive List of Illustrations, Nos. 6 and 7, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0146

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-04-28

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

What ever the Majority of the House of Representitives may think of their conduct, and motives, the people, the Sovereign people will Support their constitution, and no stab has ever been more fatal to the Enemies of our Government than what they will now receive from the voice which cries from all New England. our Faith Shall be preserved, we will fullfill our engagements, we will not submit to an usurped authority, and it Must reach every state in the union. The Jacobins thought there Authority of Sufficient weight to { 276 } counteract, the merchants who were signing a petition to Congress. they insisted upon a Town meeting. they accordingly met at Funel Hall. they were two numerous, and adjournd to the old south. tis Said more than two thousand persons were collected. Jarvis made a motion that the President should be petitiond to deliver the papers. this was almost unanimously rejected. Jarvis Austin were the Speakers on one side Dr Warren1 coffin Jones & otis on the other. the Speah of the latter is much applauded, and is said to have been so pathetic as to Draw tears from the Audience.2 Dr Jarvis observed that personally this Subject concernd him very little as he found himself hastning to the World of Spirits. mr otis retorted upon him, that when he arrived there he hoped he would be Satisfied with the Government, of it when the Antis found how the pulse beat, they were for adjourning without taking the Question, “are you for petitioning that the Treaty may be carried into effect,[”] but the call for the Question was so loud and vehement, that it was taken, and the Majority was as a humdred to one. in Newburry port only three Dissenting voices in short the Spirit is Spreading far and wide, and the Country Towns are assembling.3 the Nakedness of the Majority <is pretty well understood, and> in the House of Representitives is discoverd, and their conduct with respect to this Treaty has taken of the Scales from Many an Eye.
Whilst I see the desire of equity order and good Government, rising up to oppose War Anarchy and confusion, I feel ready to make every personal sacrifice in aid of the cause. I shall not therefore say one word, of when will you return? that I wish for it, You cannot Doubt but I wish more that your Health may not be injured by so long and close application. I also wish that a just speedy and happy termination may be the issue of this contest, and that the Government may stand firmer and Surer for having been thus assaild.
The Thoat Distemper rages again in Boston. poor Genll Knox has lost two of his youngest children in one Day with it two more lye sick—4
I went yesterday and spent the Day with mrs Cabot, and Sweet communion we had, tho neither She or I ralishd the Idea of next March, but this matter must come speedily to a close.
ever yours
[signed] A A—
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. Ap. 28. 1796.”
1. For Dr. John Warren, see JA, Papers, 3:357. Along with his political activities, Warren served on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, where he was the first Hersey { 277 } Professor of Anatomy and Surgery from 1782 to 1815. He was also president of the Massachusetts Medical Society from 1804 to 1815 (Martin Kaufman, Stuart Galishoff, and Todd L. Savitt, eds., Dictionary of American Medical Biography, 2 vols., Westport, Conn., 1984).
2. Harrison Gray Otis spoke on the strength of Great Britain and the horrors of war that would occur if the Jay Treaty was not implemented. Otis concluded by contrasting George Washington with Albert Gallatin, the latter of whom Otis accused of leading the treaty opposition in Congress (Boston Independent Chronicle, 28 April 1796).
3. The Newburyport meeting occurred on 23 April, when reportedly only one person voted against petitioning Congress “to make provision for carrying the treaty with Great-Britain into execution,” and 400 residents signed the petition. Similar town meetings occurred at this time in Beverly, Marblehead, and Hingham (Boston Federal Orrery, 25 April; Leominster, Mass., Rural Repository, 28 April).
4. Two of Henry Knox’s children, Augusta Henrietta and Marcus Bingham, died on 23 April from diphtheria. Only one other child, George Washington Knox, was sick at this time, and he died in December (Mark Puls, Henry Knox: Visionary General of the American Revolution, N.Y., 2008, p. 229–230).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0147

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-04-28

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

Our Coach is Still immoveable. The Anarchical Warriours are beat out of all their Entrechments by the Arguments of the Friends of Peace and order. But Party Spirit is blind and deaf. totally destitute of Candour—unfeeling to every candid sentiment. The People are alarmed and Petitions are coming from all Quarters, mostly in favour of the Treaty. The Business will not be finished, if the first Vote should be against the Treaty in the House. The Senate must then take up the Subject and Send down a Bill for Appropriating Monies for the British Treaty which will occasion another Debate in the House.
I have no Letter from you this Week as yet.
Mr Madison looks worried to death. Pale, withered haggard— Livingston looks like Horror. They have brought themselves into great Embarrassments. Gallatin has been exposed and his Ignorance as well as his other Ridicules held up. It is intollerable that a Forreigner, Should act such a Part as he has done and yet go on. I am with, long habits of / Attachment your
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0148

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-04-30

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I am not surprized at your Anxiety expressed in your Letter of the 25th. which I recd Yesterday. The Conduct of certain Mules has been { 278 } so gloomy and obstinate for five Months past as to threaten the most dangerous Effects.
The Proceedings of Boston N. York & Philadelphia now compared with their intemperate folly last July or August is a curious Specimen of Negotians with foreign Courts & Nations by the People at large in Town Meetings. Those Cities have disgraced themselves & their Leaders.
The House Yesterday in Committee voted to make the Appropriations— But in the House they will disgrace themselves again by Party Maneuvres, to day and by factious Preamples or preparatory Resolutions. Our Varnum who is as cross a Goat as any from Virginia not excepting Rutherford was out of the Way—another Member Patten from Delaware was absent—both will vote to day against the Resolution:1 so that the Business is still in suspence: and the Anxiety and Vigilance of the People ought not to relax
Mr Ames, the day before Yesterday in his feeble State, Scarcely able to stand upon his Legs and with much difficulty finding Breath to utter his Periods, made one of the best Speeches he ever produced to the most crouded Audience ever assembled— He was attended to with a silence and Interest never before known and he made an Impression that terrified the hardiest and will never be forgotten.2 Judge Iredel and I happened to sit together—3 our feelings beat in Unison— My God! how great he is says Iredel? He is delightful Said I— presently gracious God! says Iredel [“]how great he has been”? He has been noble, said I.— after some time Iredel breaks out Bless my stars I never heard any thing so great since I was born! It is divine Said I— and thus We went on with our Interjections not to say Tears till the End— Tears enough were shed—not a dry Eye I believe in the House, except Some of the Scoundrels Jack Asses who had occasioned the Necessity of the oratory— These attempted to laugh—but their Vissages grinn’d horrible ghastly smiles— They smiled like Foulons son in Law when they made him kiss his Fathers dead and bleeding Head.4 Perhaps the Speech may not read as well— The situation of the Man excited Compassion and interested all Hearts in his favour. The Ladies wished his soul had a better Body.
We are told Harri. Otis excelled at Boston and displayed great oratorical Talents
I cannot give Encouragement nor entertain any hope of getting away before the fifth of June.— Unless the hard hearts should be softened.
{ 279 }
The Heart of Pharaoh was judicially hardened and so are those of ———
Mass. has 3 of the worst—two of whom are moral Characters, of a Levity altogether inconsistent with the Principles Practices Habits and Wishes of their Constituents I mean Lyman & Dearborne. Dissipation is their prevailing Virtue and all they have to boast. I wish their Constituents would institute an Inquiry into their Conduct. Varnum is an Obstinate fool. Entre nous all this.
I am, most tenderly
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “April 30 1796.”
1. Robert Rutherford (1728–1803) of Virginia served in the House of Representatives during the 3rd and 4th Congresses; John Patten (1746–1800) was a member from Delaware for the same period. On the 30 April vote to carry the Jay Treaty into effect, Rutherford voted against implementation; Patten was absent that day due to illness (Biog. Dir. Cong.; Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 1291–1292).
2. Fisher Ames was in poor health on 28 April, when he gave a speech before the House in favor of the Jay Treaty. Ames argued that the United States was strengthened, not weakened, by the treaty. He reiterated previous Federalist arguments that only through the treaty would spoliations claims be repaid, western posts turned over to the United States (and subsequently peace with Native Americans achieved), and war with Great Britain averted. Ames noted toward the end of his speech: “Let us not hesitate, then, to agree to the appropriation to carry it into faithful execution. Thus we shall save the faith of our nation, secure its peace, and diffuse the spirit of confidence and enterprise that will augment its prosperity.” After months of debate, Ames’ speech favorably impacted the final vote to execute the treaty (ANB; Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 1239–1263).
3. James Iredell (1751–1799) worked as a lawyer in North Carolina before being appointed associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by George Washington in 1790 (ANB).
4. Joseph François Foulon (1715–1789), a French financier and statesman, was one of the first casualties of the French Revolution. A Parisian mob seized Foulon on 22 July 1789, killed him, and placed his head on a pike. Louis Bénigne François Bertier de Sauvigny (1742–1789), intendant of Paris and son-in-law of Foulon, was captured by the same Parisian mob and forced to kiss the bloody head of his father-in-law before also being killed (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0149

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-05-01

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

I last Evening received Your favours of April 21, 23, 24 & 26th.1 I think an other week will discover the Sense of the people so fully, that the Representitives can no longer delay to perform their part. I have not on any occasion Seen so general and universal an allarm. The people have waited During a Months Debate with patience and temper, expecting that in the End, the House would comply, but as they see them grow hardned, and the period nearly at Hand, when Great Britain has stipulated to deliver the posts, a well grounded fear has pervaded throughout New England, which has roused the { 280 } Merchant the Mechanick, the Farmer. a large Majority of each will be formd to call upon the House of Representitives, and to warn them not to prostrate the Faith and Honour of the Nation. the circular Letter which You will See in the centinal of yesterday, the 30th, has been Sent here, and tomorrow is our May Meeting, when it will I Suppose be laid before the Town. Captain Beal, brought up those for Quincy for Weymouth Braintree Randolph Stoughton Sharon, all of which he rode to, in one Day and deliverd himself.2 I wish his knowledge was equal to his zeal, for that is to be commended. Deacon Webb, enterd but coldly into the buisness. the Letter is addrest to the Select Men. there was a proposal that the papers should be read after Meeting to night, and tomorrow be Sign’d. the Deacon thought that it would require a Month to inform the people, and he could not see what good it was to Do. he however said, that he would communicate the papers. he could not come to Meeting this forenoon. if he had he might have learnt his Duty from the pulpit. Defend thou the Walls of our Jeruselem, was the Subject, in discussing which Mr Flint took occasion to Draw a comparison between the Strong wall of a city, and the Government of a Nation, and the Duty of its inhabitants to defend and protect the one, as well as the other, particularly one so free so equal so just as that which was establishd over the happy people of America, where every Man was at perfect Liberty to worship his Maker agreable to the Dictates of his own conscience, and where the Laws equally protected the Lives Liberty and property of all, that it was the peculiar Duty of Such a people to Gaurd the Walls of their Jeruselem against foreign invasion, and Domestick Division, that it was not only a political, but a Religious Duty,3 it was a Duty which they owed to posterity, to transmit to them so fair an inheritence.
The people listned with great attention. what our popular Declaimers may Do tomorrow I know not, but I know they would generally do right, if there was one person capable of giving them proper information. mr Cranch is so feeble and unwell, that I do not think he will be able to attend, and then not being a native American he would not Speak upon this occasion, without some persons throwing out that he was an Englishman. mr Black tho meaning right, lies under a Similar difficulty. at this very critical period I wish to hear from You by every post. I do not like one thing which is thrown out as a Threat, I mean a Division of the States. We need only to turn to History to read our Fate should such an { 281 } event take place. “we must not forget the old Liberty Song, of Steady Boys, Steady, by uniting we Stand, by divideing we fall”4
I shall see Dr Tufts in the course of the week & report what You say. I have engaged Billings for four Months he comes tomorrow. I would longer but he did not incline. Copeland will Stick by because he knows that he can not Do so well. I told him to go & Do the best he could. I was willing. I would not complain, but if he Did Stay, he should not grumble. the Man I hired for one Month, I shall continue untill planting is over. this peice of Ground is very Hard to cultivate it has been harrowd, and now they will get on the manure, and Harrow it in some persons Say, that cross plowing was a Damage, but it is Done. the Season is exceeding Dry, as Dusty as Mid Summer, rather cold for this week past. if you think You shall not get Home till June, the 3d week in May, when the planting is compleated, I design to go & See my Sister a ride I believe will serve my Health. I shall be absent a week. My Sister is fearfull of comeing this way least She should be sick from the journey as she was last Year, and both mr Peabody and My sister request me earnestly to visit them. the clover Looks well, but wants rain.
I will pay mrs Brisler Ten Dollors. be so good as to tell Brisler he must not forget paper pens & wax, of which I have made liberal use this last five Months—
adieu Most affectionatly Yours
[signed] Abigail Adams
1. In his letters to AA of 23, 24, and 26 April (all Adams Papers), JA reflected bitterly on the delay by the House of Representatives in approving funds to implement the Jay Treaty. Most frustrating to JA was the “obstinacy” of the legislators: “Our Waggon is mired, to the Axletree in a Bog, and unable to advance or retreat. The People only can draw it out: but whether it will be backwards or forwards I know not” (24 April). Regarding household affairs, JA requested that AA give Esther Briesler ten dollars as instructed by her husband, John. JA also commented on the Adams farmhands and authorized AA to purchase land from the Hayden family, for which see AA to JA, 18 April, above.
2. For the circular letter urging the immediate funding and implementation of the Jay Treaty, see Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 5, above. For AA’s description of the Quincy and Weymouth meetings that were held to sign the petition, which attracted some 250 subscribers in those towns, see her letter to JA of 4 May, below.
3. For Rev. Jacob Flint, see JA, D&A, 3:239. Flint preached briefly at the First Congregational Church of Quincy during the spring but ultimately accepted a call from the First Parish Church of Cohasset, Mass., in early 1798 (E. Victor Bigelow, A Narrative History of the Town of Cohasset, Massachusetts, 2 vols., Cohasset, 1898, 1:367, 506; The Christian Examiner and General Review, 19:397–398 [1836]).
4. A paraphrase of John Dickinson, A New Song, to the Tune of Hearts of Oak, Phila., 1768, lines 6–7, 29–30, Evans, No. 10880: “Our Purses are ready, / Steady, Friends, Steady, / … Then join Hand in Hand brave AMERICANS all, / By uniting We stand, by dividing We fall.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0150

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-05-03

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

The Result of Saturdays Debate in the H. of R. removes all Anxiety for the Remainder of this session, and leaves me at Liberty to ask Leave to go home. The state of my own Health which requires Relaxation and the sickness in my Family and Neighbourhood, would have well justified me, if I had retired even before the great Question was decided. I shall ask Leave this Day, unless something unforeseen should happen to prevent me. If I should obtain Leave of Absence after Thursday next I shall be at New York on sunday. Whether I shall go by Water or Land from thence will depend upon Circumstances. sometime in the Course of the Week after next I hope to see you, but there are so many Circumstances of Wind and Weather as well as other Things which may intervene, that I cannot make any Disposition by which I can calculate to a day or a Week when I shall get home.1
It is a Mortifying Consideration that five Months have been wasted upon a Question whether National Faith is binding on a Nation. Nothing but the Ignorance And Inexperience of this People can excuse them. Really We have not a right sense of moral or national Obligations. We have no National Pride—No National sense of Honour.
I Suppose the Decision of The H. has determined The P.’s Resignation and Retirement. And The Question who shall Succeed him may occasion as much Controversy and Animosity as The Treaty with Great Britain, which was ultimately determined by no proper Considerations of Merit, but merely by fear of Constituents in many.
If My Plan should be altered in any respects I shall write you an Account of it. I must Spend a little time, with the Children At New York. I have been five Months, without once mounting a horse and without one long Walk so that altho I have walked every day more or less, I am under some fears of the Effects upon my Health of a Journey of an 100 miles a day in a stage.
The inclosed Letters please to file away carefully with the others. With the tenderest Affection I am
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “May 3d 1796.”
1. On 3 May JA asked and received the Senate’s permission to be excused for the remainder of the session. He began traveling on 6 May, pausing in New York for brief visits with AA2 and { 283 } CA, and arriving in Quincy by 14 May (U.S. Senate, Jour., 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 245; JA to AA, 5 May, Adams Papers; Boston Columbian Centinel, 14 May).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0151

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-05-04

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

The first sight which saluted my Eyes this Morning was a fine colt. the complexion however is More like the Father than the Mother. having wisht you Joy upon this happy event, I shall proceed from this Domestick occurence to an other less important, to viz, that Cosset likewise has three ospring of the Same age with Octavia. they date their Birth from a memorable event too, for the inhabitants of Quincy yesterday very generally Signd the Memorial. if the Select Men, the Fathers of the Town had first Signd, I believe there would not have been a Dissenting voice. Your Brother and Mr Black spoke in Town meeting, to explain the meaning and intent of the buisness. Webb, and Wilson Marsh were most in opposition, the latter of whom plead ignorance, & in his original way, Stammerd out, that he would not chuse to go even to heaven, in any bodys pocket, that he should chuse to See his way theither.1 Webb was Sure, that it would bring us again under the Dominion of great Britain, and he had frightned Several good people with that Idea. Some however told him that they must think for themselves. about 60 Signd the Memorial at the Meeting. it was moved to chuse a committe to assist the Select Men, who appeard a Dead weight. this was carried and Mr Black and Beal were chosen. every Select Man refused to Sign, because Webb would not. yesterday we had a training. captain Newcomb had some buisness with me in the morning. after it was finishd he askd me some questions pertinant enough. how it could happen that Such a Majority in the House should be opposed, to what others Said was so hurtfull to the Country, and whether I did not think it would Subject us to the power and Authority of great Britain? with regard to his first Question, I told him, in all large assemblies he was sensible there were some leading Members, and that in the House of Representitives those Members, some of whom were Foreigners, from various motives were antifeaderel, that with regard to his other question, he could have no reason, to think that President, & senate would do any thing, any more than the people to Subject the Country to a power, against which the President had fought, and so often risk’d his Life, to { 284 } obtain that independance which we now enjoy’d. I read him a passage from a Letter of Yours in which You say, that it must be a National Determination and, that if the Nation determind upon war & confusion, You hoped they would not Charge it upon the Government.2 he seemd to be struck with this, and Said he was not for War— he Did not consider it in that light before, and that he would sign the memorial, which he did in the afternoon, and many of his company, so that last Evening, Captain Beal told me he had near a Hundred Subscribers— I observed to Newcomb that if the Treaty with Spain or Algiers was opposed in the Same Manner, that the people ought equally to petition that the Faith & Honour of the country might be preserved by carrying them into effect, that it was not the Country with whom the treaty was made, but the Lawfull power and Authority which the people had delegated to the President & Senate, was incroachd upon, and that the Merrits of the Treaty was not the Subject before them, but the Support of their Government. this Seemd to remove the fears he entertaind with respect to G B—
at Weymouth, the Select Men requested mr Norton to read the papers after meeting, which he did, and the Dr explaind to them the design of the Memorial, upon which they Signd it without opposition. I have not heard from any other Towns. the people will generally be united. I avow a selfish motive, as well as a publick. I want to have the Buisness finishd, that My long absent Husband may / return to his ever affectionate
[signed] Abigail Adams—
1. Probably Wilson Marsh (1750–1828), who manufactured lace trim for carriages (Sprague, Braintree Families; Pattee, Old Braintree, p. 520).
2. See JA to AA, 16 April, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0152

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-05-05

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My Dear son

Mr Richard Cooke of Mary land will tell you all the News— I expect to sign the Bills this day which were all passed Yesterday for carrying into Exn. the Treaties with Great Britain Spain Algiers and the Indians—1 Yesterday seemed a Day of Universal and perpetual Peace foreign & domestic.
Tomorrow I go home— Congress will rise by the 20th. There is much Talk of the Resignation of the P. a Measure which I presume is resolved on. The Question it is said will lie bet. two Persons { 285 } whom you mentioned as the Competitors Six or seven Years ago. one of them will be wholly passive you may depend upon it and is very indifferent, really truly & sincerely not affectedly or hypocritically indifferent about the Result. He will not be frightened before nor after however the Decision may be.
our Friends are all well— Your Letters continue to give me great Pleasure— I thank you for the Books
your affectionate
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr J. Q. Adams.”
1. On 4 May the Senate agreed to the House appropriation bills funding the Jay Treaty, Pinckney’s Treaty, the treaty of peace and amity with Algiers, and the Treaty of Greenville (U.S. Senate, Jour., 4th Cong., 2d sess., p. 79–80).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0153

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1796-05-05

John Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My Dear Thomas

I am extreamly sorry to hear that you have been ill of your old Complaint: but was somewhat consoled at the same time by hearing you were better. Exercise of Walking or riding will be your Life in Holland.
Our Affairs are assuming a face of good Humour which is very pleasant after so long a storm. We shall have Peace and good Govt for some Years I hope—
I long to learn your Intentions about coming home or staying in Europe.
In a certain Event I might want you more than ever. I am yours / Affectionatly
[signed] John Adams
RC (private owner, 1988); internal address: “Mr T. B. Adams.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0154

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-05-05

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother

I received a few days ago your favour of Feby: 29. which was doubly grateful to me, as it was the first letter I had received from America, for many weeks.— Since then I have also received a letter from Philadelphia, which determines my immediate return to the Hague, from whence I hope that the next letter I shall write you will be dated.1
You will find in the papers enclosed all the news that are current. { 286 } A very important and decisive victory has been gained by the french army in Italy, the details of which have not however yet been received here.2 But the naval preponderancy of this Country becomes more aggravated and indisputable every day, and every french frigate that ventures to appear in the channel is sure of being immediately captured.
Mr: Paine has written another pamphlet to which he has as usual given an eccentric title. It is “the decline and fall of the English system of finance.”3 Like all the former writings of that political Harlequin, it contains some coarse wit, some shrewd remarks, some whimsical combinations, with a vanity still inflating, and which has already swolen him to such a size, that we are tempted to believe the experiment of the frog in the fable, may be sometimes successful.— I send one of this pamphlet by the present opportunity, and if you think it worth reading, it will amuse you.
Upon the whole I have pass’d a pleasant Winter here; the greatest objection that I can make against London is too much society. However I have had, and shall have again at the Hague as much of retirement as will serve as relief to the dissipation of this place, and I find that the last agrees best with my health.
If the voice of fame is as busy as it usually is upon such occasions you will perhaps expect to be informed that I return not unaccompanied to Holland, and that the matrimonial propensity has been irresistible to me, as well as to others. But my dear Madam, the Grace of consideration, has not entirely forsaken our family, and upon the maturest reflection I have, though I own very reluctantly concluded that I must not yet take upon me the incumbrance of a family. My present sentiments indeed would answer the question I made in my letter from Helvoetsluys in a different manner from what I should have then inclined to:4 my affections have taken their direction, and if those with which they have been return’d can stand the test of an absence which must be of indefinite duration, you may consider my choice as irrevocably fixed. I may further add that it is pledged, and for its final conclusion waits only upon the permission of Prudence.— She tells me that I must return to the Hague alone, and wait for more favourable or more permanent prospects; and although Passion has summoned many very plausible arguments to prove that the present is the only moment for decision, and that the delay will perhaps produce the loss of the object, it is all to no purpose. Prudence is inflexible, and I go from hence alone.
{ 287 }
I have a letter from my brother at the Hague as late as the 28th: of last month.5 He has had a very severe attack of Rheumatism, which was afterwards followed by a still more violent bilious remittent fever; but he tells me that he has recovered all but his strength, and is daily gathering that. His last letter appears to be written in very good spirits, and he assures me that I need not make myself anxious on his account. I repeat this assurance with much pleasure to you, because I believe it to be really the case, and you will be glad to hear that he is out of danger; but I shall feel still easier when I shall have joined him myself.
Our accounts from Boston are to the 8th: and from New-York to the 5th: of April. The intelligence both public and private is unpleasant though not unexpected. The increasing prospect of a contest between the Executive, and the popular branch in the Government of the United States, is a very alarming one to my mind. I have indeed no doubt where the right of the question lies, but that the wrong should appear in such strength is subject of serious reflection. I have yet great confidence in the sober discretion of the American People, and hope that when the crisis, which I fear is inevitable comes, their wisdom will settle it coolly according to their true interests.
As to the private circumstances that have occurred at New-York, painful as it has been to hear of them, you know how long they had been expected by me, as well as by yourself and my father.
With my affectionate remembrance to all friends, accept the assurance of invariable duty and attachment from your son
[signed] John Q. Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs: Adams. Quincy.”; endorsed: “J Q A— May 5th / 1796.” FC-Pr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 131.
1. On 26 April JQA received the secretary of state’s long-delayed instructions to return to The Hague (D/JQA/24, APM Reel 27; Timothy Pickering to JQA, 9 March, Adams Papers).
2. Napoleon Bonaparte took command of the French Army of Italy in March. By the end of April his troops had pushed into the Piedmont, forcing Sardinia to sign an armistice with France. The terms agreed to at Cherasco on 28 April guaranteed Sardinian neutrality, secured requisitions and several key forts for France, and spurred the French Army’s advance into Italy’s interior (Cambridge Modern Hist., 8:553, 566–568, 571). JQA’s enclosure has not been found.
3. Thomas Paine’s new pamphlet, The Decline and Fall of the English System of Finance, was first published in Paris and London in 1796. Warning that British warmongering had dangerously inflated its national debt, Paine advised reforming the Bank of England to resemble the French and American systems of credit and banking in order to save it from sudden collapse (Craig Nelson, Thomas Paine: Enlightenment, Revolution, and the Birth of Modern Nations, London, 2006, p. 4, 290–291).
4. See JQA to AA, 7 Nov. 1795, above.
5. TBA’s letter to JQA of 28 April 1796 has not been found but was received by JQA on 4 May (D/JQA/24, APM Reel 27).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0155

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1796-05-10

John Quincy Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] My dear Brother.

Your favour of January 6th: was received by our brother Thomas at the Hague, and by him forwarded a few days ago to me. He has been very ill during a great part of this last Winter; at first with an attack from his old Enemy the Rheumatism, and afterwards with a bilious intermittent fever, but by his last Letters he appears in a great measure to have recovered, and I hope by this time he has entirely so. I am in hopes of joining him again in the course of a few days, as I expect to take passage in the first neutral vessel that will go to Holland.
I do most fervently hope that the report of the President’s intention to resign at the expiration of the present term of his appointment, is without foundation: for independent of that great weight of personal popularity, which has been essential to the support of the Government, and which it most assuredly will very much want in future, it is I think of the utmost importance that the same man should continue to preside untill the neutral policy of the United States shall be established immovably as a precedent and example for future times; and that cannot be untill the present war between France and Britain shall be terminated
It is now ascertained beyond a reasonable doubt that this war will be continued at least another campaign. If it should extend to one or two more still there would be nothing in the circumstances surprizing to sober and reflecting men. The danger to the United States, of being involved in it is rather increasing than diminishing, and I confess that I consider our present chief magistrate, as the only person who in that capacity can controul the current which would impel us into the center of the whirlpool.
The body of the people you tell me begin to see through the turbulent hypocrisy of factious men, and scorn to be governed by french art, or british insolence.— It is certainly a very pleasant thing to pay compliments to the body of the people, but as long as the favourite objects of their choice in the house of Representatives persevere in such a system of conduct as they have pursued for the last three years, and by that system acquire daily more of their confiden[ce.] I shall never pay them the compliment to say or to think that they understand their interest or know their friends.
Randolph indeed has been abandoned by most of his { 289 } accomplices, and the friends of the Government seem to think it a mighty triumph to have detected, and exposed such a man as that. But his co-operators continue their career as if nothing had happened, and while the body of the people, are congratulating themselves upon their independent spirit which scorns to be directed by french art or british insolence, they may very possibly find themselves drawn into a ruinous and destructive War; and then they will look round and wonder how they got into it.
You think the successor of the chief magistrate will not hold a situation so very uncomfortable; but do you not see the inevitable tendency of things to an open breach between the house of Representatives and the other branches of Government? Do you not clearly perceive the propensity they have to swallow up the Senate and Executive in their own omnipotence, and are you not aware how much the character of the Constitution, and the temper of the body of the People favours that propensity? If you did not see it when you wrote me last, I believe you have reason, to know it before this, and I am very sure you will see enough of it before you are much older.
The news of Europe is not at this time very important. The campaign on the Rhine does not appear to have been opened as yet; but that in Italy has begun by a succession of splendid victories on the part of the French, which may terminate by a Peace with the king of Sardinia. The War has been for some time, not a War of Liberty or of Government, but a War of conquest for France and Britain. In that according to all appearances it will end. France will add more or less to its territory, and Britain to its colonies. France will become more preponderant than ever by land, and Britain by sea. The Nations as usual will have shed their blood and spent their treasures profusely, to extend the boundaries of one country and the commerce of another, and their posterity while they curse the follies and madness of these days, will bleed with equal prodigality for some other madness or folly of their own.
The extraordinary scarcity of provisions which was said to threaten all Europe with a famine, has every where suddenly disappeared, and all the articles of necessity are plentiful and cheap. The American speculations in flour and rice which have been carried to such immense extent in the course of the last Winter will occasion a violent concussion somewhere; for at this time the french will not pay and the English will not buy. I am afraid many of our merchants will suffer severely.1
{ 290 }
As to my private affairs I have not yet an answer from you, to my letter written at Helvoetsluys.2 I hope you did not draw while the Exchange was so very low as it has been in the winter.— I hope to write you before long from Holland, and in the mean time, with my best regards to your lady, remain your affectionate brother
[signed] John Q. Adams.3
FC-Pr (Adams Papers); internal address: “Charles Adams Esqr”; APM Reel 131. Some loss of text due to a torn manuscript.
1. Scarcity of grain in Europe between 1794 and 1796 led to a rapid rise in prices and increased demand for American exports. Believing that significant profits could be made by shipping grains to Europe, New England ship owners increasingly committed their vessels to this trade. But a collapse in the market for American grains in the spring of 1796, stemming from British government measures to prevent future grain shortages and the arrival of supplies from the East Indies, undermined the American trade (Walter M. Stern, “The Bread Crisis in Britain, 1795–96,” Economica, 31:168–169 [May 1964]; James B. Hedges, The Browns of Providence Plantations: The Nineteenth Century, Providence, R.I., 1968, p. 53–56).
2. See JQA to CA, 4 Nov. 1795, 2d letter, above.
3. Two days later, JQA also wrote to JA. He reported that with Parliament preparing to adjourn and Napoleon’s army advancing through Italy, he was still waiting for the “opportunity of a neutral conveyance” to make his return to The Hague (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0156

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Pitcairn, Joseph
Date: 1796-05-17

Thomas Boylston Adams to Joseph Pitcairn

[salute] Dear Sir.

Your favor of the 10th: currt: has just come to hand, and as I find a vacant moment, it cannot be better employed than in renewing my thanks for your kind attention to the Commission relative to my Books.1 I have requested Mr: Bourne to refund the Cash paid by you on my account, as the prospect of my seeing him before you, is perhaps greatest. In my letter of the 4th: instt: I gave you similar information, it has probably reached you ere this.2
I have heard of the demand made by the Representatives for the Instructions & other documents relative to the negociation with Great Britain, & I am not a little curious to hear the results of a refusal. It is certainly a delicate point, and must try the strength of our Executive; I am not sure however that the trial was not necessary. We have reached a period in our Government, when it becomes important to settle principles, & to define with minuteness the limits of power & prerogative which must be attributed to the several branches of Administration. The Constitution is our Charter, and every deviation from it, from whatever quarter it may come should be checked with firmness, or there must soon be an end of { 291 } freedom among us. The popular branch in every Government where it exists is apt to encroach upon the powers, which are delegated to the Executive; they have a kind of self sufficiency or as the french say esprit du Corps, which makes them impatient under the exercise of functions in which they have no share, & if their spirit of usurpation be indulged in a single instance, the progress towards the assumption of sovereignty becomes rapid. We have hitherto had but few instances of this kind in our Country, but our Constitution I apprehend has not yet undergone its severest trials.
All accounts from America represent the state of our Commerce and Agriculture as florishing beyond example; from the high price of provisions especially of Grain, it may be feared that many of our young adventurers in the Commercial world will suffer. The European market will not bear them out in their extensive anticipations, added to the enormity of Seamen’s wages. The comparative estimate of our exports, with those of Great Britain is certainly flattering, but it must be allowed that our 5 millions of inhabitants have ten times the extent of territory from whence to draw their supplies for the European market under its present circumstances. Our Imports too have generally kept pace with the exports pretty closely, so that the balance of clear gain may eventually be small.
My Brother may be expected over very soon, as he waits only the receipt of a letter from me. He has to be sure had the advantage of me, in his Winter excursion, but bad as Holland is in point of climate, I prefer a residence here before that of London. Sickness out of the scale & the loss of his Society, & I can say with truth I had no wish to be with him during his absence.
With sentiments of real esteem & friendship, I am Dr Sir / Your very humble servt:
[signed] Thomas B. Adams.
P. S. The Bearer Mr: David Dehone is a Countryman of ours from Charlston S. C. in whose favor I beg leave to solicit your civilities.3
RC (OCHP:Joseph Pitcairn Letters, Mss qP682 RM, Box 1, item 2); addressed: “Mr: Joseph Pitcairn / Paris.”; internal address: “Jos: Pitcairn. Esqr:”; endorsed: “Rd. 1 June” and “Hague 17 May 1796 / T. Adams / Rd Paris 1 June / Ans do. 2 June 1796”; notation: “favd: by / Mr: Dehon.”
1. This letter has not been found, but for TBA’s request for books, see his letter to Pitcairn of 21 Jan., and note 2, above.
2. TBA also wrote to Pitcairn on 4 May thanking Pitcairn for attending to his commission and for the invitation to visit Paris. TBA indicated that he hoped to make the trip shortly, to aid in recovering his health (NHi:Gilder Lehrman Coll., on deposit).
3. Possibly David Dehon, a South Carolina merchant (Amer. State Papers, 2:445).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0157

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-05-19

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My Dear Sir

After a tedious Session of Congress, rendered uncommonly disgusting by the obstinacy of a Party in the House of Representatives, I had an Opportunity of Signing a Bill for the appropriations necessary for the Treaties with Great Britain Spain Algiers and some Indians and then asked and obtained Leave of Absence— Here I am, so absorbed in the Embraces of my Family and my rural Amusements that I have already forgotten all the unpleasant Moments of the whole Winter.
I continue to receive from you, my dear son, all the Amusement and Information in your Letters and all the kind Presents of Newspapers and Pamphlets that the fondest Father can reasonably desire from a son. The Life of Dumourier and several other Things you have sent have obliged me very much and I wish you to continue to send me the most curious & important fresh Publications and charge the expence of their Purchase to my Account.
The Sense of the People in Boston N. York & Philadelphia has been ascertained in a very remarkable manner, upon the Treaty. Their Decisions this Spring are diametrically opposite to those of last Summer. Popular Inconsistency has had a Striking Illustration. Surely Newspapers are not the Vehicles, nor Townmeetings the Theatres of Negotiations between Nations.
I believe I have recd all your Letters to the Middle of February. I suspect by your last Letter to your Mamma that some Family or other afforded the means of making your Winter in London tollerable at least.1
Madam De Freiré the Portuguese Ambassadress at Philadelphia told me “Your son will form some Attachment or other in Europe”— I sighed and assented to the Probability of it— But I wished in my heart that it might have been in America— But I have not a Word to say You are now of an Age to judge for yourself.— And whether you return and choose here, or whether you choose elsewhere, Your deliberate Choice shall be mine.
It is a long time since I have any Letter from Thomas.
The News Papers will give you Politicks better than I can— Indeed I cannot bear to think on them enough to write about them.
Boston has got an amazing fœderal Representation.— Our { 293 } Elections come on this fall and I hope for a better House and as good a senate. Who will be President or V. P. I know not.—
I hope your Kindness in Writing to me will not be damped by my Negligence in return
I am with a tender Affection your Father
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “J. Q Adams / American Min. at The Hague.”; endorsed by TBA: “My Father / 19 May 1796 / 10 July Recd: / 21 Answd.” Tr (Adams Papers).
1. See JQA to AA, 20 March, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0158

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1796-05-19

John Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My Dear Thomas

It is a long time Since I have recd any Letter from you, and the Report that you have had a Return of your Rheumatism has allarmed me— We heard that you were better but should be glad to know the Particulars.
I am once more happy at home, and my Farm, by the help of a fine rainy season shines very bright.— I Should be glad to be informed, of your Plans and Views— Whether You mean to return or to stay in Europe.— I cannot Advise you because you know better than I the Prospects you have.—
America is the rising Country of the World and <Talents> Genius and Eloquence are breaking out with a Splendor that will soon rival the ancient & modern Europe— It is my opinion the best Theatre on the Globe for the formation of a Man is in this Country, at present.— But you may have means and Schemes that I am unacquainted with.
I know the Delicacy of your Situation, but I am anxious to know the operation of the new systems of Government in France as well as Holland.
Boston has gone through a Revolution as great as Either— They were mad last July— They are now sober— They have petitioned by a vast Majority for the Execution of the Treaty with great Britain and they have left out their Jacobinical Representatives and chosen Fœderal Men!
I am with a tender Affection / Your Father
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:Misc. Bound Coll.); internal address: “T. B. Adams / Chargé D’affairs at / The Hague.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0159

Author: Peabody, Elizabeth Smith Shaw
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-05-19

Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Sister—

I rejoice that the important question in Congress has terminated so happily, & that the Vice president has again returned in safety to his dear expecting Family. Warring passions often agitate the human mind. When Mr Peabody returned, last Tuesday Evening from Newbury & brought me the Papers, announceing the arrival of the Vice president at his seat,1 I participated in your happy meeting, & present Felicity, but sorrow would shade my brow, as I knew it would dissappoint us of the long desired visit, from my much loved Sisters. I wished I had not prevented your coming before, I wished (forgive me, my good Brother) that your happiness had been deferred, & your return had been one week later.— Self will prevail in these degenerate days— I claim not those almost angelic degrees of virtue patriotism, & disinterestedness to which he has arrived— I feel at an humble distance in everything— Yet we wish he would do us the honour of a visit, will he not be so good as to accompany you here— I know it is not so agreeable upon the account of company as at Haverhill— There is a mile of the road bad, but not half so rough as it is to weymouth— We go to each others houses, spend an afternoon, & return by dark— General Peabody lives half mile from us, I often wish he lived nearer— he is a sensible man—something singular—but very hospitable & generous— He seeks the real interest of the Town, but they are so jealous of him, that they will hardly accept of the lest benefit from him— He has founded an accademy here, but many will not send their Children, either through envy, or fear, lest there should be some lurking evil—2 The General esteems Mr Peabody, & has been vastly polite, & generous to us since I came here— Upon hearing I expected you, he presented us with a quarter of a march Lamb, weighing eight pound a quarter— we roasted it, but alas! fine as it was, it lost its flavour, by your not partaking of a part—
I did not send for Betsy Quincy before, because she w[as] (poor Girl) to stay till my Vendue was over— That was last week, & this I expected you— I should now be glad of her return, as soon as you can convenien[tly] send her— I can find no private conveyance, so she had better come in the Stage— There is a dancing School to be opened here in about a week, perhaps I shall think it best to send { 295 } her— Mr Du Cary, a very agreeable french Gentlemen will have a School here, & at Haverhill—keeping two days in a week— I dispair of making Betsy upright, yet I wish to give her every advantage of education that I can possibly obtain—
With ten thousand thanks for yours, & my Brothers kindness, I am your affectionate Sister
[signed] Elizabeth Peabody
Mr Peabody desires me to present his respects— Be so kind as to give my love to my Neices— I feel perfectly ashamed that I have not written to your Children— I have a thousand avocations This is a world of hurry, & bustle & perplexity, but I hope I shall get rid of some of my care—
I hope Cousin Betsys health is perfectly restored dear Girl, I love her exceedingly— I fear she will never be happy till she is well settled in a family way— I would have her come home to me, when ever she pleases—
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs Abigail Adams / Quincy”; docketed by Richard Cranch: “Mrs E Peabody May 19th / 1796.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. The Boston Columbian Centinel, 14 May, was the first newspaper to report that JA had “arrived at his seat in Braintree.”
2. Gen. Nathaniel Peabody (1741–1823), a physician and founding member of the New Hampshire Medical Society, had served in the Continental Congress and the New Hampshire legislature. Distantly related to Rev. Stephen Peabody, Nathaniel had a long-standing interest in education and helped to found the school that in 1791 formally became the Atkinson Academy. Opposition to the school stemmed from its decision to admit girls as well as boys and to allow girls to participate in public exhibitions (Harriet Webster Marr, Atkinson Academy: The Early Years, Springfield, Mass., 1940, p. 23–24, 26, 36–42).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0160

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-05-20

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] my Dear son

I have to acknowledge the receipt of Several Letters from You Since Your arrival in London, the first Novbr 24th Janry 6th Febry 23, and Yesterday I received Yours of March 20th, for all of which, accept my Thanks, and believe that they are to me a most Valuable Deposit.1 The desire You express, that no warmer encomium may be bestowed upon You; than a bare approbation, may restrain my pen, but cannot suppress my feelings.
Mr Gardner arrived after a short passage, and very kindly came the next Day after, and deliverd all the Letters papers and Books, which were committed to him. I was as much rejoiced to see him, { 296 } as the woman was, who saw the Man, who had seen the King. I felt an interest in him, because I knew him to be your particular Friend, and acquaintance.
The Cloaks came safe to Hand. mr Gardner paid particular attention to them. I am much pleasd with mine, and so is Louissa with hers, for which she requests You to accept her Thanks: the Young Lady who undertook the commission, shews that she inherits the taste of Elegance which her Mamma is conspicuous for. present my compliments to Both, and thank them for me, and tell them that mr T B Johnson was very well last week, when I received a very polite card from him, in reply to an invitation which I had sent him, to dine with me on a particular Day.2
The Cloak which You sent to Louissa as a present I shall not object to her receiving as a present, but I must request You to Charge the one you sent to me, to the account I directed. at the same time the intention of the Donor, is gratefully received. I will thank You for any Books particularly interesting. Those which You sent me of citizenes’s Roland contain many curious annecdotes. there is through the whole a display of vanity, perfectly Characteristick of her Nation. no other, but a French woman, could have written so. poor Roland stands in the back ground, however brilliant a woman tallents may be, she ought never to shine at the expence of her Husband.3 Government of States and Kingdoms, tho God knows badly enough managed, I am willing Should be solely administerd by the Lords of the Creation, nor would I object, that a salique Law should universally prevail. I shall only contend for Domestick Government, and think that best administerd by the Female.
I have not written to You since Feb’ry4 I have had such a surfeit of politicks, so contrary to My mind that it was painfull to detail them. the Majority in Congress assaild the Treaty with all the malice and Rancour of Party Spirit, and with a determined inveteracy strove to destroy it. 8 or 9 weeks were spent in this poor buisness untill the people took the allarm, and in the course of a few weeks the table of Congress was coverd with petitions from all parts of the union requesting them to make the necessary appropriations, to carry the Treaty into effect, that the Faith, and honour of the United States might be preserved. even those who did not like the Treaty, united in this wish considering the Faith of the Nation pledged. The triumph of the Friends of Government in Boston, was such as to astonish the Anarchists for a Town meeting was call’d by them, to { 297 } oppose a memorial from the Merchants in favour of the Treaty, when behold, they were outvoted by an hundred to one, altho with their utmost exertions, During the ferment last summer, they could get only a few Towns in the country to join them in opposition. now the people have with one voice call’d upon the Representives to fullfill the Treaty. on no occasion since the commencment of the Government has there been such an allarm. the voice was, we will support the Government, we will not have war. even the little village of Quincy presented more than an hundred petitioners.
Mr. Ames, tho in so low and weak a state, as not to have been able to speak once through the Session, was determined to devote his Life to the cause, and 2 Days before the vote was taken in Congress, rose and made, as is universally agreed, one of the ablest and most eloquent speaches ever deliverd in that House, to the most crouded Audience. scarcly able to support himself he interested all hearts in his favour, and left an impression waterd with the Tears of his audience, tho not washed out, for it sunk too Deep. Scarcly were they restraind by the Rules of the House, from bursting forth what their full Hearts felt. yet during the Time he was speaking near two Hours, Your Father who was present, and from whom I received the account, says that the most perfect Silence reignd the Buz of a fly, might have been heard, such was the attention given.
Dr Preistly too was present, and declared that tho he had heard a Chatham, and the first orators in G B, he never heard a speach which exceeded this or a superiour Orator. perhaps the Speach may not read with So much interest. the feelings of the people were wrought up to a crisiss, and eloquence then is irresistable. even Giles said, he forgot on which Side of the Question he was, and the Genevian,5 pronounced him the only Orator in the House. I will send You the speach it is to be printed in a pamphlet as soon as I can obtain it.6
From the close of Your Letter March 20th, I suspect that you were not so profound a proficient, in the Maxim of Horace and Pope, as you flatterd Yourself.7 Some Fair one has shewn You its sophistry, and taught you to admire! Youth and Beauty have penetrated through your fancied apathy, and You find yourself warmed by one and invigorated by the other; as you tell me that the enthusiasm of Youth has subsided, I will presume that reason and judgment have taken its place. I would hope for the Love I bear My Country, that the Syren, is at least half Blood. let me see, I think if I remember right, { 298 } she has classick Locks as Virgill stiles them,8 Heavenly blew Eyes and plays Musick delightfully—
is Maria? has she no claims?9
our Friends here are well. Your aged Grandmother is very infirm, but always sensible to warm and strong family attachments. she enters with me into the Joy and pleasure of hearing from her Grandsons. she bids me send you her blessing. Your Sister I had a Letter from last week.10 she was well. her little Amelia just getting well of the Small pox. Charles was well, and like soon to be a Father. I have not heard directly from Thomas Since December I regreet your leaving London on that account, that I shall so seldom hear from You. an other Year will make Changes in America, some perhaps the concequences of which are not foreseen. I allways hope they may not be unauspicious to the best interests of our Country they fill My Mind with much anxiety. You may not be at a loss to Devine the reason.
I am My Dear Son most tenderly / Your ever affectionate Mother
[signed] Abigail Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by TBA: “Mrs: A. Adams. 20 May 1796. / 10 July Recd: / 25 Do Ansd.” Tr (Adams Papers).
1. AA refers to JQA’s letter of 28 Feb. and possibly that of 20 Feb., both above. No letter to AA of 23 Feb. has been found.
2. Not found.
3. Marie Jeanne Roland (1754–1793), wife of former Girondist minister of the interior Jean Marie Roland de la Platière (1734–1793), was arrested and executed in 1793 for helping her husband spread “antirevolutionary” ideas. Roland spent three months in prison prior to her execution, during which time she composed what came to be known as Mémoires de Madame Roland (Brigitte Szymanek, “French Women’s Revolutionary Writings: Madame Roland or the Pleasure of the Mask,” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, 15:99–122 [1996]).
4. See AA to JQA, 29 Feb. 1796, above.
5. That is, Albert Gallatin.
6. Fisher Ames, The Speech of Mr. Ames … in Support of … the Treaty Lately Concluded between the United States and the King of Great-Britain, Boston, 1796, Evans, No. 29983.
7. That is, JQA had failed in his attempt to obey Alexander Pope’s satirical admonition “Not to admire” by falling in love with LCA; see JQA to AA, 24 Nov. 1795, and note 3, above.
8. An allusion to Venus’ revelation to Aeneas as portrayed in Virgil, Aeneid, Book I, lines 402–403: “She spake, and as she turned away, her roseate neck flashed bright. From her head her ambrosial tresses breathed celestial fragrance; down to her feet fell her raiment, and in her step she was revealed, a very goddess.”
9. For JQA’s reflections on his failed romance with Mary Frazier, see his letter to AA of 7 Nov., and note 6, above.
10. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0161

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-05-25

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] my Dear son

I came into Town Yesterday with your Father, and was surprizd to find mr Gore upon the point of Sailing for England. I had lookt for { 299 } him at Quincy before he went, but being himself Hurried and having but just returnd from Philadelphia, he had not Time to come out. Mrs Gore accompanies him.1 mr Tudor is also Passenger in the same vessel with many others from this place.
It will be needless to say any thing to you upon politicks as mr Gore can give You every information on that head, both as they Regard our National affairs, & of this particular State. Boston appears desirous of making ample attonement for its past folly and Rashness. the Representation of this Town you will learn is quite federal. Codman otis and your old Friend Cooper are of the Number.2
I wrote you a Day or two since by a vessel which saild last week. since the Date of that I have to acknowledge the Receit of yours March 30th
accept My thanks for the papers, and Books. O what a Tragedy!
by the repeated hints in Your Letters I am persuaded to believe … I will Speak out if you will not. it is one of the Miss Johnstones who has become Your Flame.3 have I not guest right? yet not a Lisp from any one but your self have I heard. You have Years sufficient to judge for yourself, and whom you call yours Shall be mine also. only weigh well. consider maturely of the most important action of Your Life.
our Friends in Town are all well. Your Father will write You soon. many vessels are up for England. I shall write to Thomas by a vessel going to Hamburgh. mr Gore will no Doubt hint to You, an event contemplated. Should it take place, and an other event also, You will have less reason to expect promotion than you now have. your reasons for being Satisfied with your situation at the Hague, and giving that mission a preference to others more elevated, are such as bespeak the man of Modesty, possesst of a high sense of what is Due to others.
My Love to Thomas. poor fellow how my Heart acks for his Sufferings. I hope he did not lose the use of his Limbs. I have not had a line from him since early in December4
your Brother & Sister were well when last I heard from them.
our Boston Friends desire to be rememberd to you. Mary Carter is married to a mr Cutts of Portsmouth, and Mary storer to a mr Johnstone of N York—5
I received a Letter from your Aunt Peabody. she writes in good Spirits, has a kind affectionate Husband, begs to be rememberd to you and your Brother, and thanks You most sincerely for your kindness to William. he conducts with much prudence and will get { 300 } through colledge with the kind assistance of his Friends, the Friends of his Mother. his Fathers relations have never concernd themselves about him. adieu Young Johnstone was well yesterday. I shall see him to Day yours affectionately
[signed] A A.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by TBA: “Mrs: A Adams / 25 May 1796. / 13 July Recd: / 25 Do Ansd.” Tr (Adams Papers).
1. For Christopher Gore’s assignment to the claims commission created by the Jay Treaty, see Joshua Johnson to JQA, 30 Sept., and note 4, below. He and his wife, Rebecca Payne Gore, for whom see vol. 6:377, sailed for London on the Minerva, Capt. Turner, on 25 May (New York Minerva, 28 May).
2. John Codman Jr., Harrison Gray Otis, and Samuel Cooper were all elected representatives to the Mass. General Court on 11 May (Massachusetts Mercury, 13 May).
3. Two of LCA’s sisters, Ann (Nancy, 1773–1810) and Carolina Virginia Marylanda (1777–1862), were also of marriageable age (LCA, D&A, 2:773).
4. Of 1 Dec. 1795, above.
5. Mary Carter (1766–1840), daughter of the wealthy Newburyport merchant Nathaniel Carter Sr., married Edward Cutts (1763–1824), a Portsmouth, N.H., merchant, on 17 April 1796. Four days later, Mary (Polly) Storer married Seth Johnson (1767–1802), partner in a New York mercantile house (JQA, Diary, 2:287–288; Cecil Hampden Cutts Howard, comp., Genealogy of the Cutts Family in America, Albany, N.Y., 1892, p. 79, 540; The Manifesto Church: Records of the Church in Brattle Square, Boston, 1902, p. 178; Alexander Hamilton, The Law Practice of Alexander Hamilton: Documents and Commentary, ed. Julius Goebel Jr. and others, 5 vols., N.Y., 1964–1981, 5:12).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0162

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Johnson, Joshua
Date: 1796-06-02

John Quincy Adams to Joshua Johnson

[salute] Dear Sir.

I arrived at Gravesend on Saturday, barely in time to get on board the vessel in which I had engaged my passage, and which was already under weigh. After a voyage of three days, I landed at Rotterdam, and came on here immediately. In the boat from Rotterdam I met Mr: Bourne, who was on his return from Paris, and who goes on this day to Amsterdam1
As I understand there is a vessel going to London in the course of a few days, I take the earliest opportunity to inform you of my arrival here, and to request you, and Mrs: Johnson, and all your amiable family once more to accept the assurance of my gratitude, for the numberless marks of kindness I have received from all during my stay in England. Upon this subject I shall not attempt to express what I feel. I am sure it would be in vain.
I find as yet nothing material as to news. The Armistice on the Rhine positively ceases though it is said the Austrians have proposed on the renewal of hostilities to spare the towns and villages on the { 301 } Rhine.—2 They appear here to wish for Peace, as much as in England, and to expect it rather more.
Mr: Bourne left Paris on the 26th: of last month; that is last Thursday. All the Americans recognized by Mr: Monroe, were allowed to remain there notwithstanding the late decree;3 every thing there was quiet. Mr: Bourne’s tour to America will not take place so soon as he expected. He will doubtless inform you of his intentions himself.
I hope to hear from you as frequently as will suit your convenience. I have requested Mr: Hall occasionally to forward me the papers, but he will be indebted to you for the knowledge of the opportunities that may occur.— I trust it is at this day unnecessary for me to make a tender of any services that it may ever be in my power to render you or any of your friends; you will always command them of course.
I wish to be remembered in terms of the most cordial regard and attachment to Mrs: Johnson and the young Ladies. I take the liberty of enclosing herewith a few lines for Miss Louisa, and remain, Dear Sir, ever your’s.
[signed] John Q. Adams
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “J. Johnson Esqr.”; endorsed: “John Q. Adams / Hague 2 June 1796 / Recived 27 ditto / Answrd 5 July.” and “Reced 27 June.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 128.
1. Sylvanus Bourne had been on a tour of France during the spring (John Jones Waldo to Sylvanus Bourne, 16 June, DLC:Sylvanus Bourne Papers, 3:8461–8462). For Bourne’s visit to the United States in the summer of 1797, see JQA to AA, 8 Feb., note 3, below.
2. On 21 May 1796 the Austrians renounced the armistice with France, and hostilities resumed on 1 June. The French strategy, devised by Lazare Nicolas Marguerite Carnot, planned to have the Sambre-Meuse Army advance along the Main and the Rhine-Moselle Army strike along the Danube, with both armies eventually moving toward Vienna. On 31 May the Sambre-Meuse Army crossed the Rhine and proceeded toward the Lahn, where the army of Archduke Charles of Austria eventually engaged it. Charles’ numerically superior army forced the French to retreat across the Rhine by mid-June. The French were also defeated at Uckerath on the 18th, although their weaker troops had initially repelled the Austrians in that battle (Biro, German Policy of Revolutionary France, 2:609–610; Lee W. Eysturlid, The Formative Influences, Theories, and Campaigns of the Archduke Carl of Austria, Westport, Conn., 2000, p. 71, 72; Ross, Quest for Victory, p. 94, 95).
3. The 10 May (An. IV, 21 floréal) decree by the Directory ordered all “strangers” to move at least ten leagues from Paris unless specifically exempted; the penalty for noncompliance was deportation. James Monroe asked Charles Delacroix, French minister of foreign affairs, that the 150 Americans residing in Paris be allowed to stay in that city as the majority of them were businessmen. Monroe planned to issue new passports to the Americans, sent the minister a list of the Americans he knew were living in Paris, and agreed to aid in detecting foreigners pretending to be American citizens (Michael Rapport, Nationality and Citizenship in Revolutionary France: The Treatment of Foreigners 1789–1799, Oxford, 2000, p. 269–270; Beverly W. Bond, The Monroe Mission to France, 1794–1796, Baltimore, 1907, p. 68).
{ 302 } { 303 }

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0163

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Date: 1796-06-02

John Quincy Adams to Louisa Catherine Johnson

You remember I was ordered peremptorily to be at Gravesend on Saturday morning by ten or eleven o’clock at the latest, though it was impossible for me to procure the necessary order to embark, and of course impossible for me to leave London before twelve. To reconcile the two circumstances was not within my competency, and indeed I think it might be given as no easy task to an abler man. I had besides left so many things undone by the common spirit of procrastination that upon the short notice I received, it would have required not simply the alertness but even the magical powers of an Harlequin to have expedited one quarter part of them so as to be perfectly punctual to the moment of my summons.— As I had however one very good reason to believe my Dutch Skipper would not willingly come away and leave me behind, I set myself about performing my indispensables in the morning so as to step into a Chaise the instant that my order from the Duke of Portland’s office should be delivered me.1 Among my indispensables I will own to you, was about an hour devoted to a last sitting to Mr: Hull. He has I think as good a likeness as has yet been taken of that original, and you I think will like it better than the large portrait because it is not so much flattered. As soon as it is finished, he will send or carry it to your Pappa, who will doubtless know that it is destined for you. Accept it as a token of an affection which will cease only with the last pulse of the heart of him whose image it is, and may it often meet your eye, with one half the delight which at this instant he derives from a look at the precious corresponding pledge of your regard, which now lies on the table before him.2
Upon a second call at the Duke’s Office, the order for permission to embark was ready, and within ten minutes after, I entered the Post Chaise, half anxious to arrive at Gravesend in time for my opportunity, and half fretting, at the consciousness of an involuntary wish that I might be too late. On arriving at Gravesend at four o’clock I found the vessel, after waiting for me three or four hours had just sailed, but as she was not far advanced, I took a boat immediately, and overtook her about seven miles below.— Our passage was boisterous but not unpleasant and on Tuesday at a similar hour to that on which I had embarked, I landed at Rotterdam.
{ 305 }
In this Country you know, one of the common modes of travelling is in boats drawn by horses upon the canals. These boats follow one another regularly every hour or two from each town to the next. I felt impatient on my arrival, to meet my brother as soon as possible, and therefore immediately took a place in the boat that was coming from Rotterdam.— I had been seated in it but a few minutes, when I was joined by Mr: Bourne, who was just returning from Paris, as I was returning from London, and who was quite surprized to meet me there, the circumstance being equally unexpected to me.
On the same evening we reached this place, and one of my first enquiries was whether there was any vessel going soon to England. I found there was one waiting only for a wind, and I take advantage of the opportunity to give you this history of my voyage.— You will perhaps think I might have spared myself the trouble, but if I can draw from my own feelings any inference of yours it will not be altogether devoid of interest. I am indeed desirous to hear from you, and I am sure a detail of the minutest and most trivial circumstances in which you have any concern would give me pleasure. Six days have elapsed since I last enjoyed the happiness of seeing you, and in every hour of the time there have been many days.— My Philosophy—I have called that very often to my aid, but it sometimes refuses to come at my call. The tediousness of absence in spite of every consolation will sometimes be irksome, but independent of that sensation, there is something pleasing and grateful in the remembrance of a distant friend.— On my return here I find myself in the midst of business enough, but it will take me some time before I shall be able to bend myself properly to it. My imagination cannot help flying from the flat realities around me to the scenes which have been recently familiar to me, which however highly prized while they were enjoyed, are still more valued now that they are past. I see you sitting on the Sopha with the table before you, working at a Vandyke, and Caroline at the other end with her silken network pinn’d before her, while Nancy calls the very soul of harmony from the forte-piano. I place myself between you, I run a file of spangles upon a needle; I urge you, though without success to produce the long-expected Harp, or to give the graces of your voice to the shepherds charming “pipe upon the mountain.”3 From thence we pass to the opposite room, where the humorous additions to the Dictionary from one Sister, and the unfill’d outlines of imprecation from another, delight and charm though they cannot inspire the { 306 } inflexible dulness of gravity, at your Mamma’s left hand; and at length when the hour of midnight sounded from the unrelenting monitor of the moments past, in spite of reluctance commands my departure, then is the moment for the illusion to vanish, and leave me to that solitude which the pencil of Fancy herself can no longer colour.
Since my return, I find myself confirmed in the determination to make the remainder of my stay here as short as possible, for I am more firmly convinced that my residence here in my present situation will become insupportable, and the change which alone could reconcile me to it, is still impracticable consistent with the prudential principles which however unpalatable, I must not abandon. I shall take the earliest opportunity of writing to my friends in America, and if I can procure any prospect that will enable me to indulge the wishes of my heart, I shall cheerfully resign a career of public life which can offer nothing satisfactory to Ambition, and which forbids the possession of that private happiness, the first object of my hopes and which you only can confer.
Remember me with respect and gratitude to your Mamma, and with kind attachment to all your lovely sisters. Tell Nancy that the Rosary and the new Sonatas yet vibrate upon the ears of Mr: Quiz, and Caroline, that he would with rapture hear once more her deep ton’d execrations for the sake of making up all again by a shake of her hand. To yourself, Louisa, say in his behalf every thing that can give you the most pleasing and unmingled gratification, and be assured that however warm and eloquent the language may be it will fall far, far short of the feelings which fill the breast of your ever faithful and affectionate friend
[signed] John Q. Adams
1. The “Dutch Skipper” was Capt. Heinke Garmers of the Verwagtend Fortuyn. Before rushing off to the ship, JQA visited the office of William Henry Cavendish Cavendish-Bentinck (1738–1809), 3d Duke of Portland and the British home secretary, in order to “procure an order to permit my embarkation” (D/JQA/24, 27, 28 May, APM Reel 27; DNB).
2. JQA is referring to a miniature painted by British artist Thomas H. Hull (d. 1800), who was active in London, exhibiting at the Royal Academy from 1775 to 1800, and had previously painted a miniature of Joshua Johnson. The miniature of LCA was painted by a Mr. Birch. In Nov. 1830 JQA shipped a trunk from Boston to Washington, D.C.; during transit the trunk’s lock was picked, and the miniatures and several other items were stolen (Oxford Art Online; Oliver, Portraits of JQA and LCA, p. 34–36).
3. “Sweet as the Shepherds Pipe upon the Mountains, / When all his little Flock’s at feed before him” (Thomas Otway, The Orphan; or, The Unhappy Marriage, Act 5, scene ii, lines 497–498).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0164

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-06-04

Charles Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

The canvass of the votes for Senators for this district and for Members of Assembly to Represent the City of New York was finished yesterday by the Statement I send you herewith you will perceive that the politics of this State have begun to run in a vigorous stream in the proper channel.1 Mr Burr is by this time pretty well convinced that his popularity is much less than he had fondly imagined. All is well. Those who are most acquainted with the sentiments of the people at large predict a federal Representation in both houses of six to one. We already see the benefit of our last census.—
I met Mr King yesterday he informs me that my brother was nominated by the President as Minister Plenipotentiary to Portugal.2 There is a report in circulation in this City that Genet is again appointed Minister from France to The United States and that he has instructions to demand ten thousand men to aid the French in the West Indies.3 such is the report a few days will determine the truth or falshood of it.
If true we are again plunged into a dilemma. The Minister cannot be received unless we chuse to be a mark for the finger of scorn to point at. There is at present no necessity to comment upon a circumstance as yet unveiled. You friends here are all in good health Mrs Adams joins me in the sentiments of respectful affection to my mother and your self with which I am your son
[signed] Charles Adams.
1. The enclosure has not been found but was possibly from the New York Herald, 4 June, which published the results of the canvassing of the first through seventh wards in New York City and noted a Federalist majority in many of the contests.
2. George Washington nominated JQA minister plenipotentiary to Portugal on 28 May, the Senate unanimously approved the nomination on 30 May, and JQA received news of the appointment on 6 August. Secretary of State Timothy Pickering, however, explained to JQA that the current minister, David Humphreys, was involved in treaty negotiations with Algiers, and as no one had yet been appointed the new minister to The Haguethe Netherlands, the transfer would be postponed until further notice. Eight months later Pickering wrote to JQA providing new instructions and enclosing copies of JQA’s commission and letter of credence to Portugal and his letter of recall from The Hague; JQA received the letter on 9 April 1797, but he never served. Instead, he was nominated minister to Prussia by JA (U.S. Senate, Exec. Jour., 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 212, 213; D/JQA/24, 6 Aug. 1796, 9 April 1797, APM Reel 27; Pickering to JQA, 11 June 1796, 17 Feb. 1797, both Adams Papers). An original and a Dupl of JQA’s commission, dated 30 May 1796, and an original and a Dupl of { 308 } JQA’s letter of credence, dated 17 Feb. 1797, all signed by Washington and Pickering, are in the Adams Papers.
3. The rumor was false; however, the current minister, Pierre Auguste Adet, had been meddling in American politics since April 1796 in an effort to incite popular demonstrations, promote Democratic-Republicans sympathetic to France, and effect the election of a pro-French president. Adet’s efforts culminated in published letters announcing new French policies regarding U.S. shipping and his resignation, for which see AA to JQA, 11 Nov., and note 3, below. Adet remained in the United States until May 1797 when he was replaced by Philippe André Joseph de Létombe (Michael F. Conlin, “The American Mission of Citizen Pierre-Auguste Adet: Revolutionary Chemistry and Diplomacy in the Early Republic,” PMHB, 124:507, 508 [Oct. 2000]; Repertorium, 3:144; Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 1:34–35).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0165

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1796-06-09

John Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My dear Thomas

It was no longer ago than Yesterday that I received your kind Letter of the 14. of December last, which arrived, after a long Passage, I Suppose, at Baltimore, and came from thence by the Post which carried them to Cape Cod and then returned them to Quincy. We have been anxious on your Account as We had recd no Letter except your Letter of Introduction to Mr De Persyn,1 and We heard you had been Sick, by a return of your Rhumatism.
Your Conduct in your new Situation will I doubt not do you honour. I have read Some of your Dispatches with Pleasure and have Reason to believe they have given Satisfaction at Head Quarters. If there is any Thing in which your Brothers Dispatches and yours have been deficient it is in not writting often enough to The Secretary of The Treasury on the Subject of the Loans of Money. This is the most important Branch of your Duties at the Hague, at present as many of the operations of Government may depend upon it.
Your Brother has had a long Residence in England, but We suppose is returned before this. His Conduct in England has been prudent and cautious, and has given no Uneasiness as I believe to his Employers. He has not been very miserable in London I Suspect: but I hope he has been wise.
The Treaty with G. B. has exhibited a Phænomenon—It has shewn an Example of Democratical Negotiation with foreign Nations. It has shewn that you may as well commit to Safety, Peace and Prosperity of a Nation to the Winds as to Town Meeting and Newspaper Negotiation, or in other Words to what is called the Public Voice and the public opinion. The Public Voice at last, however, having the President and Senate to guide it has decidedly declared in their favour and the mighty Nothing is no longer talked of.
{ 309 }
I agree with you, in all the Sentiments in your Letter, which discovers a degree of Information and a maturity of Judgment, as well as an Accuracy and Elegance of Style, which comforts a Fathers Heart and cherishes his most flattering Hopes. Even the Hand Writing is a kind of Model.
I thank you for the Pamphlet, which however is but a mercenary Production of some Rascal bribed to abuse Washington and America.
Mr De Persyn could not be persuaded to Stay but a day or two in Philadelphia. He had engaged to go into the Interiour of the State of N. York I suppose to look out for a Scæne of Action.
The Friendship of Professor Luzac, who is one of the most learned and ingenious of Men, as well as amiable virtuous and friendly in private Life, richly deserves your assiduous Cultivation.
I rejoice with Mr Dumas with all my Heart in his Tryumph. His Learning, Experience and Readiness in Languages may be Useful to you on many Occasions. But you will of Course be upon your Guard against his Prejudices. His Attachments to France and His Hatred to the Stadtholder and his friends are too ardent, to be always implicitly confided in by American Ministers.
Your Brother and You, I hope are not loosing your Time: but your Letters to me, published in our Newspapers in the form of Speeches in Congress or in a state Legislature would give you more fame than all your Diplomatic Labours. Foreign Embassies, however honourable, have a tendency to alienate a Man from his Country and his Country from him. Mr Otis and Mr Cooper have come forward in Elections, and have got the Start of your Brother who certainly stood before them in the public Opinion. However I believe either of them would be glad to change Places with him.
I am not acquainted with your Views, Prospects or Designs and cannot venture to advise you. But unless you can make some Advantage for yourself, by your Residence in Europe I cannot advise you to prolong it many Years. All I can Say with confidence is, that whenever you shall find it for your Interest or Convenience to return, you will be received with / Kindness and Joy by your affectionate Father
[signed] John Adams
Cujacius is arrived at N. York: but I have not seen it.2
RC (private owner, 1999); internal address: “Thomas Boylston Adams”; endorsed: “The Vice President / 9th: of June 1796 / 24 Novr: Recd: / 26 Do & 12 Decr: Answd:.”
1. Not found.
2. For JA’s request for an edition of Jacques Cujas’ works, see vol. 10:382, 383.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0166

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1796-06-09

John Quincy Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] My dear Brother

I returned here ten days ago from England and have this day received your letter of April 24.th: brought by Mr: Rutgers.1 He is at Amsterdam, and when he comes this way it will give me much pleasure to see him.
It gives me the most heartfelt satisfaction to be informed of the prosperous situation in which you are placed; of your present happiness, and future pleasing prospects, and you will not doubt of having my warmest wishes, that your fairest hopes may be realized and exceeded. The pointed contrast in which you have so forcibly and so justly stated my present situation, is felt with peculiar poignancy, at a moment when I have very recently been compelled to make a painful sacrifice of my personal wishes and feelings to the duties of my station and its indigence. I wish not to dwell upon this subject, for as long as it is within my option, to quit the office that I hold, I have no right to complain of any hardships or inconveniences annexed to its possession, I shall probably before long take my determination accordingly. My patriotism is not very deeply concerned in the case. The station of Minister Resident at the Hague may be held, and its functions performed by hundreds of others as well as by me, and in remaining here at the expence of my domestic comforts I have not even the consolation to think that my Country will reap any benefit from my privations. But as a Minister Resident and at the same time a married man, I cannot possibly support expences of absolute necessity upon my present allowance. I have therefore postponed an event, which I most anxiously wish, until I can get fairly rid of the burden of official rank.— In the course of another year I hope to make such arrangements, as will enable me to return home and follow your good example.
In retiring from the service of the public, I shall of course abandon the subsistence it affords, and must determine upon some particular exertion of my Industry to procure a substitute for it; and the object requires the greater attention as my views will not be confined simply to my own support, but must be extended to that of a family. I shall return in all probability to my old profession, and endeavor to wear off as soon as possible the rust of disuse. But whether I shall again fix myself at Boston or attempt a settlement in a Southern State, remains for my future consideration. I have some { 311 } reason for inclining at present towards the latter of these purposes, but as the occasion does not require precipitation, I shall come to my final conclusion at my liesure.
You have complimented me in very high terms upon the opinion entertained of my official correspondence, and I need not say that it gives me sincere pleasure to hear that it has met with approbation. In my opinion it is entitled to little more than the merit of good intentions, and my own conscience has invariably borne me ample testimony of them.
The apparent determination of the House of Representatives in Congress to refuse the execution of the British treaty, was known in England before my departure. It produced the effect intended by those who carried it through, that is, alienation, disgust and resentment among those people in England, who are the least unfriendly to us. It will produce doubtless another effect intended, and for which I believe the particular time was chosen for the Resolutions; I mean it will prevent the delivery of the forts. I am much mistaken if the measures that had taken place, just before the date of your letter, were not concerted expressly to answer this purpose.
That a dissolution of the Union would be the consequence of a war with Britain, I think is very probable, but the dissolution of the union is perhaps rather a subject of hope than of fear to those who are hurrying the Nation to its disgrace and calamity. If there be a frenchman who governs and conducts the party that now commands a majority, you may rest assured that neither he, nor those from whom he receives his impulse, have dispositions at all favourable to the American Union.
My sentiments I confess are widely different. All my hopes of national felicity and glory, have invariably been founded upon the continuance of the Union. I have cherished these hopes with so much fondness, they have so long been incorporated into my ideas of public concern, that I cannot abandon them without a pang, as keen as that of a dissolving soul and body. Much as I must disapprove of the general tenor of Southern politics, I would rather even yield to their unreasonable pretensions and suffer much for their wrongs, than break the chain that binds us alltogether. For there is no one article of my political creed more clearly demonstrated to my mind than this; that we shall proceed with gigantic strides to honour and consideration and National greatness, if the union is preserved, but that if it is once broken, we shall soon divide into a parcel of petty tribes at perpetual war with one another, swayed by rival European { 312 } powers, whose policy will agree perfectly in the system of keeping us at variance with one another, and who will at the same time govern and despise the party they may respectively protect.
The state of American politics is far from being pleasant, but in comparison with those of Europe they are still promising. The french have indeed performed an uncommonly splendid campaign in Italy, whose princes throughout its whole extent are prostrate at the feet of the Republican Directory. Never was success more complete and unqualified than has hitherto attended them, and the Armies on the Rhine it is said are impatient to imitate their example. The armistice, which has subsisted these five months terminated on the first of this month. The hostilities have already been renewed and some slight actions have occurred already, which may be considered as the prelude of more important struggles. The french are said to be in great force upon the Rhine, and the Austrians have lately been obliged to weaken themselves to recruit the shattered remains of the Imperial force in Italy.
The commanders in chief of the last campaign on both sides have been removed, and the future Battles will be fought by Generals, who have yet a reputation to make.
In this Country the people are waiting with as much patience as the National character can bestow, to see how they are eventually to be disposed of by the contending parties. A National Assembly has been in session these three months, the principal object of which is the formation of a new Constitution for the Batavian people. They will if I conjecture right produce a very close imitation of the French example. Federalism is very much out of favour with them; nothing but one and indivisible can suit them.2
In England the new parliament is to assemble in July.3 The Minister will have as large majorities to sanction his measures as he has had hitherto.4 He will probably not make peace even if the Emperor should. Proud in the sentiment of his superior naval force, he will set France at defiance, and contend the remainder of the day with her alone. The french on their part will point all their vengeance against Great Britain, and although far from being so terrible to an Island as to the powers on the continent acessible to the March of an Army, they will certainly be formidable foes even upon the Sea. The appearance of a speedy peace between the two Nations is far from being so probable as it was four months ago, though secret negotiations for the purpose may still be on foot.5
A conspiracy against the french Government and Constitution { 313 } with the famous Drouet, at its head, has been discovered and defeated within these few weeks. The fluctuation between Jacobins and royalists still continues, and all that can very distinctly be ascertained is, that the present Government will not be much longer lived than its predecessors.6
With my affectionate regards to Mrs: Adams, and our Sister Smith, I remain your brother.
P. S. I shall at any time be ready for your bill authorized by my letter of Novr. 4 last.7 I suppose that before this the course of exchange has risen above par. It is no wonder that bills were so low, for nearly 300,000 £ sterling have lately been protested in London, drawn by one company, upon a single speculation. When will our Countrymen learn to grasp at less, and embrace more?
I enclose you a short extract, which I think very curious from the uncommon force of its application to our own public affairs, at the present moment.8 I wish our political leaders would condescend to learn a little wisdom from the experience of others.9
LbC in TBA’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Charles Adams Esqr:”; APM Reel 128.
1. Henry Rutgers (1745–1830), King’s College 1766, was a wealthy landowner in New York City. Rutgers briefly visited with JQA on 25 July 1796 on his way to Rotterdam and then England, giving JQA New York newspapers from 15 June (DAB; D/JQA/24, APM Reel 27).
2. The National Assembly convened on 1 March at The Hague, where three loose factions—the unitarians, who favored a centralized, democratic government; the majority moderates; and the federalists, who preferred to return to the Netherland’s traditional confederacy with substantial powers reserved to the provinces—appointed a 21-member commission to draft a constitution. The first draft, known as the Regulation and presented to the National Assembly on 10 Nov., took a moderate approach: a central government democratically elected but with significant administrative and fiscal rights retained by the provinces. The Assembly approved the draft, but it was rejected in a national referendum, with unitarians spearheading the opposition. Subsequent proposals over the next sixteen months were also rejected. Finally, in March 1798 the Assembly approved a new constitution that did away with the old provinces and entrusted most power to a bicameral “central Representative Body” and five-person directorate (George Edmundson, History of Holland, Cambridge, Eng., 1922, p. 348–351).
3. Parliament would not reconvene until 27 Sept. 1796 (Parliamentary Hist., 32:1158).
4. TBA initially reversed the order of “had” and “hitherto,” then corrected himself by marking the numerals 1 and 2, respectively, beneath the words, indicating they should be transposed.
5. At the start of 1796 William Pitt attempted to initiate negotiations with France. He empowered Morton Eden, the British envoy-extraordinary at Vienna, to gauge Austrian interest in a general peace. With Austria’s tacit approval secured, Pitt approached France via the British minister to Switzerland, but in late March France rejected the proposal for negotiations and the war continued (DNB; Marcus R. P. Dorman, A History of the British Empire in the Nineteenth Century, 2 vols., London, 1902, 1:28–29).
6. Jean Baptiste Drouet (1763–1824) was famous for the role he played in spotting and arresting the escaping Louis XVI in 1791 at Varennes and also for having been captured by the Austrians in 1793 and then released in 1795 as part of the exchange of Austrian-held prisoners for Marie Thérèse Charlotte, Madame Royale. In May 1796 Drouet took part { 314 } in the conspiracy planned by François Noël Babeuf, a counterrevolutionary journalist and a member of the Paris Société des Égaux. The Directory had closed the Panthéon club, where the society usually gathered, but the members continued to meet and developed a plot to dissolve the existing French government and turn over all land to the state. They utilized several agents to recruit Parisian soldiers to their cause, one of whom revealed the conspiracy, leading to the arrest and imprisonment of Babeuf and Drouet, along with the other conspirators. Drouet escaped on 18 Aug. and immigrated to the Canary Islands; Babeuf was hanged on 27 May 1797 (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale;Cambridge Modern Hist., 8:503–505).
7. JQA also wrote to CA on 29 July 1796 noting that he had received CA’s letter of 24 June (not found) drawing a bill on JQA for 5,750 florins and requesting CA to send him an account at the close of each year of the money that CA was managing for him (LbC, APM Reel 128).
8. Not found.
9. JQA also wrote to JA on 6 June noting that he had returned to The Hague, discussing the British response to the 17 April resolution passed by the House of Representatives relative to the Jay Treaty, and mentioning Napoleon’s campaign in Italy and the meeting of the Batavian National Assembly (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0167

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1796-06-10

Abigail Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] my Dear Thomas

A Neighbour of ours Captain Richard Beal is going this week to sail for England, and I do not know a more direct conveyance to you.1 the Communication between America and Holland is not half so frequent, as with England.
The last Letter which I had the pleasure to receive from you, was dated the 1 of December. Your Father has received two from you of a latter Date, but none Since December. From England I have had Letters to the 30 of March one in which your Brother informs me, that you had been exorcised with a Rhumatick complaint.2 I hope it did not amount to so severe and painfull a sickness as you experienced in Philadelphia. What a pang does it give to the Heart of an affectionate Mother, who knows too, by frequent experience how distressing the disorder is, to think of a Dear child labouring with pain & Sickness in a foreign Country, destitute of that fostering care and Maternal Solisitute, which would strive to raise the Drooping Head, and lift the pained Limb, and by every kind attention alleviate the languid hour. I hope you found Friends, kind and tender Friends, and that you did not experience what I have felt for you. I hope You will have Some less painfull inheritance than this to recollect your Parentage by, for I sufferd much previous to your Birth from this complaint, communicated it to you, and that without being myself relieved from it. it will always remain with us. you must obtain the best advise, and Gaurd yourself as well as you can, by care and precaution.
{ 315 }
Our Friends here are all well. Quincy dinned with me on Sunday last, and kindly inquired after you. You will learn soon that mr King of the Senate is appointed Minister Plenipo to Saint James col Humphries to Spain,3 and mr C Gore of Boston commissoner on the part of the united states to adjust the claims on their part with Great Britain agreable to the Treaty. Mr Gore and Lady Saild a fortnight Since. mr Tudor is gone with them, in order to travell, an object he has long had at Heart. his curiosity will Doubtless lead him to visit Holland. if he should I am Sure both your Brother and you, will be disposed to shew him every attention not only as a Countryman, but from his own merrit, from Friendship and affection. I have ever entertaind a regard and attachment towards all those Gentlemen, who once formd a part of my Family, and who received their Education to the Law, from Your Father, but for none, who are now living, more than for mr Tudor.
The New Appointments will do honour to our Country, and what they lose in one Department they will gain in an other. these Gentleman are all personally known to you, but more so to your Brother. he will receive much pleasure and satisfaction from a free communication with them, and will find them bringing with them Sentiments more according with his own, and juster Ideas of Men & measures, than Some others of his Countrymen.
The Great Question respecting appropriations to carry the Treaty with Great Britain into Effect has finally been determined, after exciting the feelings and passions of the Nation, untill the people were about to rise “on Mass” quietly however, and constitutionally by petitioning their Representitives to make the appropriations, that the Faith and honour of their Country might not be stained. they were going from all parts of the union, not however from any partial Love or Affection for G Britain, but for our National honour
The Debates in Congress were long and the Majority whilst it continued so, discoverd a Rancour, and very unbecomeing bitterness. for a long time they flatterd themselves that the people were with them. You never have on any occasion seen so general an anxiety, during this warmth of the publick Mind. two Days before the vote was taken, Mr Ames whose Health has been so much on the Decline, as to oblige him to Silence During the whole session was finally compeld by the importance of the Subject, to hazard his Life: in a Manly Eloquent speach, which did honour both to his Head and his Heart, it was Heard with Silent attention, by a most crouded Audience. it flowed like a stream fed by an abundent { 316 } spring, and produced the effect which Lord Bolingbrooke says true Eloquence Does.4 it gives a Nobler superiority than power which every Dunce may use, or fraud that every Knave may employ. it contrasted with peculiar advantage with some of the Sophistical Harangues which Spouted forth like frothy water on some Gaudy Day, from some of the prateing Members of the opposition. Ames, like Lord Chatham in his last speach, by his particular situation interested all Hearts in his favour. they lookt upon him, as a Man Sacrificeing his last Breath, in support of the honour Faith and dignity of his Country.5 So great was the power of his plain and Manly eloquence & Pathos, that he melted his audience into Tears, and no American can read the speach without feeling the passions it was designd to move, and the Spirit it was designd to raise. “even Giles confessd, that whilst he was listning to it he forgot the Side he had espoused & the cause he had advocated”
I presume your Brother has returnd to the Hague. it is the Station he has appeard to be best pleasd with. I wish he may not have Staid too long in England, for the Peac of his Mind and the tranquility of his Heart. from some hints in his last Letters, Cupid has now bent his Bow, nor misd his aim.

But who is free from Love?

All space he actuates like Almighty Jove!

He haunts us waking, haunts us in our dreams

With vigorous flight bursts through the cottage window

If we seek Shelter from his persecution

in the remotest corner of a Forest

We there elude not his persuit, for there

“With Eagle wing he overtakes his Prey”6

I hope however my Dear Thomas you will be proof against his Shafts untill you return to your Native Land, and then chuse a wife whose habits tastes & sentiments are calculated for the Meridian of your own Country. may your choice be productive of happiness to yourself, and then it cannot fail to give pleasure to your ever affectionate / Mother
[signed] A. Adams7
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs: A Adams 10 June 1796 / 6 August Recd: / 27 Do Ansd.”
1. Richard Copeland Beale, son of AA and JA’s neighbor Capt. Benjamin Beale Jr., was captain of the Britannia (Sprague, Braintree Families;Boston and Charlestown Ship Registers, p. 27).
2. TBA to JA, 14 Dec. 1795; JQA mentioned { 317 } TBA’s recent illness in his letters to AA of 28 Feb. and 30 March 1796, all above.
3. On 19 May George Washington nominated Rufus King to be minister plenipotentiary to Great Britain and David Humphreys to be minister plenipotentiary to Spain; the Senate approved both nominations the next day (U.S. Senate, Exec. Jour., 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 209).
4. Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke, “On the Spirit of Patriotism,” The Miscellaneous Works of the Right Honourable Henry St. John, Lord Viscount Bolingbroke, 4 vols., Edinburgh, 1773, 4:191: “But eloquence must flow like a stream that is fed by an abundant spring, and not spout forth a little frothy water on some gaudy day, and remain dry the rest of the year.”
5. William Pitt the elder, 1st Earl of Chatham, gave his last speech in Parliament on 7 April 1778. Against his physician’s advice, wrapped in flannels and supported by crutches, Pitt protested the American policy of the Rockingham party. While rising for his second speech of the day, Pitt fell into a fit and after a brief recovery died on 11 May (DNB).
6. While this quotation is derived originally from different portions of Torquato Tasso, The Amyntas of Tasso, the words as AA quotes them appeared opposite the preface to vol. 1 of Jacques François Paul Aldonce de Sade, The Life of Petrarch: Collected from Memoires pour la Vie de Petrarch, transl. Susanna Dobson, 2 vols., London, 1775.
7. AA also wrote a brief letter to JQA of the same date owing that “a few Lines are better than none at all” but that her letter-writing efforts of the day had been focused on TBA (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0168

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Date: 1796-06-17

John Quincy Adams to Louisa Catherine Johnson

I have just received from my good friend Hall, a Letter of the 8th: instt: which is precious to me not only as it comes from him, but because it gives me the information that you were well. He delights in giving pleasure to his friends, and he knows very well how to do it; for his letter speaks of you, as you deserve, and that could not fail of giving the highest gratification to me.1
The violent storm that blew two days after that of my departure from London, had occasioned as he mentions some anxiety on my account.2 You had your share of it I readily believe, but I hope and trust you exercised and discovered the species of Fortitude, of which we have often conversed: not precisely what you mean by Philosophy, but a certain strength of mind, which improves and adorns even female sensibility without diminishing its force.
I know not to what philosophy I can reconcile, what I certainly cannot deny, an involuntary satisfaction which I felt upon being informed that my friends were anxious on my account. As I know that anxiety is an uneasy sentiment I ought to wish that it had not been felt by those I love, and especially that I had not been the cause; but it is a proof of regard, and a selfish feeling is gratified with the proof, without perhaps weighing sufficiently the uneasiness. I am { 318 } willing to believe too that the pleasure anticipated from the news of my safety, and the idea of your anxiety being relieved by it had a great share in forming my pleasant sensations, and I am sure that the greatest part of my pleasure arose from hearing that you, and all the family were so recently well.
I had in fact just got into a harbour where the vessel could lay safely at Anchor when that little hurricane came on; and although I could not get on shore, I could with the same degree of security hear the winds whistle and the tempests roar, as if I had been on the firmest ground. The rage of the winds had therefore no other operation upon me, than to keep me one day longer upon my voyage, and I hope that before this time you have received my letter announcing my arrival here three days after I left London.3
Mr: Hull told me that he would deliver the miniature, in a fortnight at latest after the time when I came away. If he has been as good as his word you have it ere now. I have a curiosity to know whether it meets your approbation. The likeness cannot I think be mistaken. Mr: Hull in his Execution wants a little assistance from the Graces, but in this instance, that deficiency, became a capital qualification.
I am at this moment looking at Mr: Birch’s young lady, and using all my little eloquence to sollicit a smile from her countenance. It has indeed become one of my favourite occupations. Hitherto she continues inexorable, and seems to tell me, that she knows her power and is sure to please me let her look how she will. So I shall resign the hope of a perpetual smile from the image, and comfort myself with the hope of an occasional one from the original.
Farewell. Remember me with respect and affection to your Pappa and Mamma, and to your Sisters.— I live yet in hope of hearing soon from you directly, and remain ever faithfully your’s
[signed] J. Q. Adams.
1. Joseph Hall wrote to JQA on 8 June noting that he was sending JQA books, reviews, and newspapers. Hall commented briefly on the actions of the House of Representatives and wrote at length on LCA, whom he described as “a charming woman” (Adams Papers).
2. A storm early on the morning of 30 May was described as “unusually violent … like the remains of a tropical wind” and as the strongest gale “within the memory of the oldest man here.” The storm damaged structures throughout London, and “several ships were driven from their moorings, and dashed with such violence against each other, as to occasion the sinking of some, and the very material injury of others” (London Telegraph, 31 May; London Sun, 3 June; London Oracle and Public Advertiser, 1 June).
3. See JQA to LCA, 2 June, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0169

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-06-24

Thomas Boylston Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dear Sir.

Upon my file of unacknowledged letters, I find three from you, the last of which is of the 7th: April and came to hand on the 21st: instt. The other two are of the 19 September and 13 December of the past year;1 and were received at a time when the state of my health rendered both mental and bodily exertion almost impossible to me. From the beginning of the last winter until very late in the Spring this painful situation continued, and excepting an intermission of two or three weeks, which proved to be only a transition from one violent disorder to another, I was rendered incapable of paying attention to every sort of business. My public correspondence was dropped and the casual business incident to my station was necessarily postponed, so that when I began to recover my health and to examine the calls upon my immediate attention, they were found too multiplied even to admit a thought of answering my private correspondents.
I had completed only a part of my labor, when the return of my Brother from England relieved me from my post. His dexterity in the dispatch of business has already made up my deficiency, and enables me to renew my private intercourse with my friends, from whom I fear so long negligence has too much estranged me.
It is to you Sir, and my Mother that I owe an apology, not dictated by formality but inspired by the most lively regret, that my calamity should be increased by the reflection, that the cause of my inattention towards you might bear an interpretation very different from the reality. I trust however that parental indulgence, however it may have been put to the test, will be satisfied with the assurance that my apparent apostacy from filial love and attachment, did not arise from voluntary omission.
Having paid this tribute to my feelings, with which my mind has labored for some time past, I shall only add a promise to repair by frequent communications in future the breach which so reproachingly stares me in the face.
I have accounted to the Secretary of State for the interruption of my correspondence with his Department. I know not that the public service has suffered in consequence of it, but the interesting period in this Country’s affairs, which occurred during my illness, made { 320 } me anxious to transmit the earliest intelligence of events preparatory and subsequent to the change of Government which was effecting here. To that point I bent my efforts, and my two letters towards the last of february, were written with a hand nearly unnerved by the Rheumatism, and very soon after I was obliged to cease writing altogether.2 I was able nevertheless to assist at the ceremony of the dissolution of the States General and the organization of the National Assembly. It was a spectacle in which I must confess I took no small share of interest, and the manner in which it was conducted gave me a very favorable opinion of Dutch decorum. The enthusiastic fervor, which has been so remarkable, for producing movements of violence & tumult, in french popular assemblies, is not an appendage of the Batavian character, and though on this occasion, a little excentricity might have been excusable, the consecration of the National Assembly was conducted with a solemnity equal to that which prevails in a new England Meeting house at the ordination of a Minister. A few sallies of applause, which were indulged by the attendant spectators, were checked at once by an open appeal to order, which has never since been infringed.
Your letter of April 7th: observes that you had read my dispatches as Chargé d’affaires, with much satisfaction. I appreciate this commendation, or as my Brother styles it, approval, at its true value, but without affectation I may be permitted to add a wish, that they had been more worthy of your perusal and of the Officer to whom they were addressed. If they have justified the opinion, which induced the Government to leave the charge of the affairs of the United States here, in my hands, during the absence of my brother, it is all that I can hope, and more than I had permitted myself to anticipate from them.
Previous to my illness, I had written only two letters to the Treasury Department; the vessels on board of which they were sent were delayed, nearly three months after their intended departure, by accidents, which happened to them after having put to Sea, & which obliged their return into port. The arrival of one of them is however announced in the American papers, but I presume it must have been after the date of your letter.3
The affairs of that Department were in such a train at the date of my last letter, as not to demand very frequent communications. I should nevertheless have continued to write, if I had been able, but I hope what I did write, will exculpate me from the charge of absolute neglect.
{ 321 }
Vessels going from this Country to the United States are so frequently captured by the British, that letters meet unusual delay in reaching their destination, if they are not actually retained as lawful prize. The contraband information however, contained in mine, will be found comparatively small. The Island itself furnishes the largest supply of materials for the manufacture of that article; and if I mistake not, no small portion of it has been thence exported.
Several of your last letters remind me, that the period of my absence, as originally fixed before my departure from America, is nearly expired. This circumstance has not escaped my attention, and an explanation of my future views would have been given you at an earlier day, had my resolution been finally taken upon the subject of my return: It is only since the return of my Brother from England, that I have come to a determination in this respect, and I shall communicate it to you with more confidence, as it has the sanction of his counsel and approbation.
While my brother was yet in London, and waiting for permission to return to this place, it occurred to me, that the delay which those orders experienced in reaching him, could not be altogether attributable to accident; Mr: Pinckney had arrived at London in January, and his return of course left my Brother without a further object for his stay; but as he did not feel himself at liberty to depart thence unless specially authorised to that effect, it was not an unnatural conclusion at the expiration of three months suspense, that the intention of the Government with respect to him was not to direct his return to the Hague. Some other path might also have been marked out for the employment of his services, in which case another person would have probably been appointed to the station he held here. In the interval, I might have been continued as Chargé d’affaires, to be released upon the arrival of a new Minister.
Under the impression that some such arrangement as this was in comtemplation, I wrote to my brother towards the last of April, and exposed to him fully the conduct, which I had resolved to pursue in case of its being realized.4 I could not but consider my appointment as Chargé d’affaires during his absence, as having been altogether fortuitous, and however flattering to myself the confidence, which conferred it upon me, I was persuaded that a proper regard to the public service would not suffer the Office of Minister to be long vacant; if however my brother had not returned, nor any person had been appointed in his stead, my resolution was already formed to ask my dismission as soon as possible, both upon motives of a { 322 } personal and private nature, as also upon a conviction, that I should thereby best acquit myself of a public responsibility, which I felt to be much above my powers.
The necessity of making this request is now done away by my brother’s return, and it may be unnecessary to add, that should he again be removed, within the term which I purpose to remain in Europe, that circumstances will of course determine me to abridge it. As I embarked with him upon his mission here, I shall consider the event which terminates that, as an effectual discharge of every obligation to continue here, and my inclination will certainly not frustrate my intention to return home.
It appears to be the design of my Brother to remain here one year longer, & then to adopt any course which he shall deem most expedient for his future pursuit. He thinks that this period may be profitably employed both by himself and me in our relative situations, and though the business of a Secretary is somewhat of a drudgery, it may not be altogether without its use. In this sentiment I concur, and having familiarized myself with its functions, it has become less irksome to me than it was at the commencement. The benefit of my Brother’s Society is not among the least to be derived from a continuance with him, and though in other respects there are very few inducements for residing here, I am willing to suspend my departure for some months longer, not however exceeding the space of another year.
Professional pursuits have necessisarily undergone an interruption, since my absence, greater than I could have wished, and of course it will take some time to renew my acquaintance after my return, so as to resume a station at the Bar. My purpose of doing this, has encountered no obstacles to its execution from any prospects that have hitherto presented themselves to my mind in Europe; indeed it has rather been confirmed by a conviction, that the chance of an improvement of that condition is not to be looked for here. When nearly half of the people of this Country are looking towards ours as a contemplated refuge from the oppression under which they are groaning, and the term of whose continuance is not readily foreseen, it may be well imagined that a native American is not in a situation to form projects of advantageous intercourse with any people so well as his own Countrymen. I shall return with this impression, not a littled strengthened, from having seen Europe at this time.
The critical period in American politics is not yet past, although { 323 } some of the means which our enemies, external & internal have employed to disturb our tranquility have proved hitherto unsuccessful. “A bloody and shameless democracy”5 is still at work among us, and its champions are wonderfully dextrous at expedient. I fear that their opponents in general have not sufficient foresight to contend successfully with them. It is some consolation to me that I have not been obliged to hear the roaring of the storm during its greatest violence; before my return I hope it will have in a degree subsided.
I am with unalterable respect & attachment, Dear Sir, / your Son
[signed] Thomas B Adams
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “The Vice President.”; endorsed: “T. B. A. / 24. June 1796.”
1. For a summary of JA to TBA, 19 Sept. 1795, see JA to JQA, 19 Sept., note 5, above; for a summary of the 13 Dec. letter, see JA to CA, 13 Dec., note 4, above.
2. Letters not found.
3. For TBA’s 27 Dec. 1795 and 6 Jan. 1796 letters to the Treasury Department, see JA to TBA, 25 March, note 2, and JA to AA, 13 April, note 3, respectively, both above.
4. See TBA to JQA, 23 April, above.
5. Edmund Burke, Substance of the Speech of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke in the Debate on the Army Estimates, London, 1790, p. 12.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0170

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-06-29

Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother.

Four precious letters from you have come to the hand of your apostate Son Thomas, without any other acknowledgment on his part, than silent gratitude. Such a return neither merits, nor I fear will it receive a repetition of your favors. The dates of those received are the 17. & 18. September 30 November and 12 March.1 I shall reply to them in their order so far as respects the several commissions contained in them.
You know that my Winter instead of being passed in England with my brother, was lingered out in Holland, and therefore deprived me the pleasure of executing your little orders there; my Brother however, who received the letters upon the spot, was good enough to attend to them himself. He purchased a watch for you, which is yet in his possession, and requested Mrs: Copley to procure and send you the Cloaks &ca:.
Upon receipt of your letter of Novr: 30, which mentions a deficiency in the number & quality of the table-cloths sent you last Summer by the Messrs: Willink, I wrote to those Gentlemen, informing them of the circumstance, and requesting them to make good the deficit and to send you the additional quantity ordered. { 324 } They express great surprize in their answer, that such an error should exist, & promise to enquire into & rectify it, as also to procure a fresh supply upon the new order from you and Dr: Welsh.2 Whether they have yet sent them I am not informed. Opportunities for Boston rarely occur, and it is possible that no favorable one has yet presented. You will receive them however in the course of the Summer.
Be so good as to inform Mrs: Welsh, that her command for a piece of silk to be purchased in London, has unluckily not been executed, the pattern or sample, which was enclosed in the Drs: letter to me, having accidentally been lost by Mr: J. Q. A.—who would otherwise have procured the article, and who very much regrets the misfortune that occasioned the failure. His reputation for executing Commissions was formerly inferior to mine, but I have had good reason to be convinced of his superior merit in this respect, since we have been in Europe.— So much for the article of Commissions &ca:
My last letter to you was dated in December.3 I am ashamed to avow it, for I could not have believed, that any circumstances however adverse to myself, could have restrained me from writing, during a period of nearly seven months to any of my private correspondents, much less to my Mother, whose claims upon me are of a very different nature from those of ordinary friendship & esteem. My apology for this negligence does not, even in my own mind, amount to a justification, though sickness has been the chief cause of it. I have paid to this villain climate, more than the customary tribute, which it exacts from Strangers in general, and though I happily survived the trial, it cost me a severity of suffering, greater than any former experience of my life. It was exactly such a combination of inflamatory Rheumatism & billious, intermittant fever, which brought you so low in your last illness at Philadelphia, aggravated however by a malignity of exciting causes, which abound so much in this Country. It seems to be my destiny, to encounter dreadful fits of sickness every five or six years of my life, and the last always seems more insupportable than the preceding. Deprived of all the alleviations, which on former occasions I had experienced from the tender cares of maternal solicitude, or the kind attentions of other relations, and separated from my Brother, it seemed to be a concurrence of calamity, as an experiment to prove what degree of it my Constitution would bear. My Physician however, though a Levite by Religion, was possessed of a very Christian temper, and afforded me every assistance, which, humanity or his profession, could { 325 } require of him. Among the number of friends, who interested themselves in my behalf, the amiable Madam Vierman was foremost. Her disposition so nearly resembles one which I have been accustomed from infancy to consider as a model of perfection, that I feel an intuitive attachment & love for the possessor. I am not the only one of our family, who think her a charming woman. The manner in which She always speaks of you is the surest avenue to my affections, and though she saw you but once, the opinion she formed in that interview, I can answer to be the same that the longest acquaintance must have confirmed.
I have in a great measure recovered my health since the return of the fine Season, though billious complaints still haunt me. Exercise will conquer them in time, and since my seasoning is over, I hope to escape any fresh attack during the period of another year’s residence here.— Poor Whitcomb has just begun the campaign with the Ague. He has already had several fits, which he thinks are much worse than Sea-sickness or Small pox. I hope e’re long to inform you of his recovery. My Brother yet escapes, though in constant apprehension of an attack.
I wish it were in my power to give you any pleasant sketches as a counterbalance to this hospital history. That portion of my time for six months past, which has not been devoted to business, has been diversified by no incidents that will bear relation. The best and almost the only Society of this place is among the few families that remain of the Court party. They are by no means social however, but from the little I have mixed with them, I have been able to discover that they would have liked me much better, if my political opinions had been more congenial with their own. Chagrin & mortification at the reverse of their prospects, make them shut their doors and their windows against every person, who does not come to gratify their spleen by berating the present administrators of power, or to solace their passions by the detail of some disaster, real or fictitious, which is said to have happened to the cause of their mortal enemies, the Republicans. The stately domes of the former Nobility & Gentry who resided here, are either entirely deserted by their proprietors, or if still inhabited, strike the eye of a stranger, more like Religious Cloisters, than as the dwellings of people connected with this world. One would imagine they were doing penance, thereby to recommend themselves more effectually to a supernatural interposition to restore them to the dear-loved dignity and power of which they have been robbed.
{ 326 }
The families and connections of the people now in power, as well as their adherents, have never been remarkable for gaiety or splendor: very few of them have a permanent residence here, and having a greater share of the characteristic manners of the Dutch than those of the Orange party, they rather avoid than seek familiar intercourse with foreigners.
Such are some of the traits in the character and temper of the people with whom I have resided nearly two years. You may readily conjecture, that the attractions of Society to be met with here, do not enter into the inducements I may have for remaining in Holland some few months longer. It was fully my intention to have taken leave of it the ensuing Autumn, if my brother had not returned. He may be removed else where e’re long, and then I shall have no occasion to think twice what rout to take. Other circumstances may concur to shorten the period of my stay in Europe, and should the “event” which you mention to be in contemplation in our own Country, be realized, its result will very probably determine me to return at all events, and as soon as possible. From the date of my brothers return here, another year of fixed residence will not I think, be exceded. It is my design however, if nothing occurs to divert it, to pass a short time in Paris in my way home—perhaps if peace continues between us and England, I may eventually embark thence. Time must shape all these plans & arrangements, which have nevertheless already occupied much of my reflections.
Whenever I arrive in my native land again, the former station will be resumed, though to say truth I do not like the people of Pennsylvania so well as those of New England. There is less original character, less purity of manners among all classes, except the Quakers, than is found in the neighborhood of my origin; but the State itself offers better prospects for a young man, and its politics, which will eventually be directed by the general interests of the Union, will suit me better, than a contracted spirit, which too partial a regard for local interests is very apt to produce. An American who has been only six weeks in any part of Europe, is disposed to consider even a Virginian, as a Countryman, and will necessarily have a degree of regard for him upon that principle. I put an extreme case, the better to illustrate the force of National sentiment. There are I believe many honest men, good citizens and excellent patriots, who originated in that State—every body knows there is one in whom all these qualities and many more are concentered. His single reputation, { 327 } like christian charity, hides and cancels a multitude of sins and follies, which some of his Countrymen seem well inclined to commit.
Remember me kindly to ever body, who still think of me, and if you should see my friend Quincy, let him know that I will pay all my debts to him in time, even should he give me a fresh credit. He is a young man after my own heart, and certainly writes the most valuable letters that we receive from the youths of our Country.4
Believe me always your dutiful Son
[signed] Thomas B Adams.
RC (private owner, 2008); internal address: “Mrs: A Adams.”; endorsed: “T B A 9 June / 1796.”
1. AA’s 18 Sept. 1795 letter to TBA has not been found. Her letter to him of 10 March 1796, above, includes a postscript dated 12 March.
2. For TBA’s further comments on the orders for linen, see his letter to AA of 5 Oct., and note 2, below.
3. TBA to AA, 1 Dec. 1795, above.
4. For the correspondence between Josiah Quincy III and TBA, see vol. 10:419, note 1.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0171

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-06-30

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

N: 21.

[salute] My dear Mother.

I begin again to number my letters to you; a practice which I neglected, in writing from England, but which I renew, that at least you may know whether any of them miscarry in the conveyance. I wrote you eight Letters from London: the last of them dated May 5th: and though you have been the most frequent and punctual american correspondent I have had, I have yet no acknowledgment of the receipt of any of them. In general however you have given me notice when my letters reach you. Most of my other correspondents leave me at a loss to know whether they ever get my epistles or not.
I left London on the 28th: of last month, and arrived here on the 31st: in a small Prussian vessel. You know the boisterous character of the sea round the british island. A gale of wind is not in general to be expected, upon the very borders of the summer solstice; but so it happened, that we just made out to reach the harbour of the Briel, when such a furious tempest came on, that I could not go on shore with a boat even in the river; and many vessels in the North-Sea, less fortunate than we, were lost.
I found my brother in very good health, though he had in the winter been brought very low by the rheumatism, and in the spring by an intermittent fever. He is perfectly recovered as he will doubtless { 328 } let you know under his own hand. But it seems as if no man could come to reside in Holland with impunity.— Since my return, Whitcomb has been attacked with the fever and ague, which he now has upon him, and I am in daily expectation of having a visit from the same troublesome companion.— At the same time, let me not alarm you prematurely. Hitherto I have had no symptoms of it at all.
I wrote you in my last Letter that from considerations of necessary Prudence, I should leave an highly valued friend behind. Albeit unused to the melting mood, I found the separation not a little painful. It is meant however that it shall only be temporary. It was impossible for me in the Station that I hold to live with a family upon the salary that I receive. It was equally impossible for me to place myself in a situation which would compel me to make my expence exceed my income, upon the contingent possibility of a future amelioration in my circumstances. My friend acquiesced in these sentiments, and we parted with the hopes of meeting again at a period as early as possible.
I propose to pass one year more in this Country, to complete the three years, which I had originally devoted to my present mission. In the mean time I shall endeavour to make arrangements which may supply me for the future with the means of subsistence. I shall always have it in my power to return to the Bar, but I shall give the preference to any other resource of equal advantage, that I can procure. Three years of total abandonment not only of the practice, but of the studies of the Law, and a pretty constant application of the same time to a pursuit so different from it, will deprive me of whatever fitness I had for that profession, which certainly offers no alluring prospect to a man who intends to dismiss his ambition of all public employment. There is some probability that I may be induced to make a settlement in one of the Southern States. My principal objection to it, is that it will remove me at so great a distance from my native spot, and more especially from you. This indeed is so great, that it will make me hesitate however advantageous the prospect may otherwise appear to me.
You will perhaps think that after the very flattering encouragement to continue in the career of public service, that has been given me, it will look like imprudence and folly, or at least like ingratitude or want of public spirit to retire from it. I shall certainly not be precipitate in taking the step, but I do not see that at present either the personal or the public motive ought to prevail in recommending to me a different resolution.
{ 329 }
I have just received information of the Resolution of the House of Representatives to provide for the execution of the Treaty with Britain. I wish it may meet with no further difficulties nor be the cause or pretext of any new ones.
The french have in a manner made the conquest of Italy since this season began. They have now no Enemies but the Emperor and Great-Britain, for Portugal is hardly to be reckoned in the number. The armies on the Rhine after an armistice of five months have again begun hostilities. The opening of the campaign was favourable to the french; but since that time they have had some disadvantage, and have now nothing but Dusseldorf beyond the Rhine.
The twenty-two coupons which you sent me last Winter have been received by the Messrs: Willink who have employed them according to your directions.1
Remember me to all my friends, and believe me to be with constant affection and gratitude, your Son.
[signed] John Q. Adams.2
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by TBA: “Mrs: A Adams / Quincy / near Boston”; internal address: “Mrs: A. Adams.”; endorsed: “J Q A June 30 1796.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 128.
1. AA to JQA, 6 Dec. 1795, and note 1, above; the letter from Wilhem & Jan Willink noting receipt of the coupons has not been found.
2. JQA also wrote to JA on 24 June 1796 noting that he had received JA’s letter of 5 April, above, discussing the British response to the Jay Treaty and mentioning Napoleon’s actions in Italy. JQA also revealed that both France and the Netherlands hoped to engage the United States in the conflict against England, and he speculated on what that might mean for the future of America (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0172

Author: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-07-04

Louisa Catherine Johnson to John Quincy Adams

So totally incapacitated do I feel myself for writing were it not through fear of giving you pain I certainly shou’d indulge my avowed aversion to it and decline the task but judging of your feelings by my own think it incumbent on me to avail myself of every opportunity of testifying my affectionate esteem for you I yesterday received yours of the 17 instant in which you desire my opinion of your Picture I approve the likeness tho’ the complexion is much too dark and the figure altogether too large I have lately been introduced to a Mr. & Mrs: Gore of Boston who say they shou’d never have known it but I cannot allow them to be such competent judges as myself who finds the original too deeply engraven on my heart to admit of a mistake in the likeness Oh Philosophy where art thou { 330 } now without thy aid my present sensations will carry me beyond myself and far exceed the limits of my Paper. I will therefore quit this subject.— I am told it is very probable your Father will be the next President shou’d that be the case I shall with sincere pleasure offer you my congratulations. You know my friend I am not ambitious of any thing but your affection and in that my wishes are unbounded
Mama and Sisters unite in best wishes for your health and happiness for my own I leave you to imagine—
[signed] Louisa Catherine Johnson

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0173

Author: Johnson, Joshua
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-07-05

Joshua Johnson to John Quincy Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

Your favor of the 2d of last Month never came to hand until the 27th. in course I could not but entertain fears that some accident had befallen you or that something was the cause of your silence, the receit of this removed those fears & give us much pleasure in finding you were safe & well— Since you left us Mr. Gore one of the Commissionrs for the adjustment of Captured property has arrived, from him I understand that the conduct of the Majority of Congress is highly approved by the People at large & that all opposition is now likely to dwindle away, altho I am not an advocate for giving the Executive two much Power yet a sufficiency should be placed in their hands to compel the refractory to adhear to the Laws of the Country— It is said here with confidence that the President retires in March, his successor is not determined on tho the choice will fall either on your Father or Mr. Jefferson— I have recved several Letters from Mr. Bourne since his return from Paris in which he expresses his doubts whether he shall be able to leave Europe this Year or not, if he finds so many difficulties in winding up his affairs what must mine be, it is true that I have bent my attention to that end for some Years back & thought that I had nearly accomplished my wishes, but do what I will their is eternally something or other turning up which prevents my departure,—
I will with pleasure inform Mr. Hall of all direct opportunities offering to Holland, he Supped with us last Night & I informed him of this & requested his Packetts in time
{ 331 }
I have taken a lodgeing at Clapham & the greater part of the Family is their,1 indeed I have only Mrs. Johnson, Nancy & Carolina at home, they were all very well last Night & Joined with those at home in Affections Compliments to you— Under cover you will find Seven letters for yourself & one for your Brother to whom you will deliver it with my Compliments—2 I am still tormentd with my Indian Chief she goes down I hope this Day,3 after She is away I shall have more leasure & you shall hear frequently from my. Dear Sir / Your assurd Friend
[signed] Joshua Johnson
1. For LCA’s stay in Clapham, see LCA, D&A, 1:46.
2. Among the letters forwarded to JQA were JA to JQA, 19 May; JA to TBA, 19 May; AA to JQA, 20 May; and LCA to JQA, 4 July, all above. While it has not been found, the packet likely also included a letter of 7 June from a friend in Boston, which JQA lamented for its lack of “politics, nor indeed a word relative to any public affairs” (JQA to JA, 21 July, Adams Papers).
3. Joshua Johnson’s merchant vessel the Indian Chief, Capt. Skinner, sailed from Gravesend on 10 July en route to Madeira (London Packet, 8–11 July; Christopher Robinson, Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the High Court of Admiralty, 6 vols., London, 1799–1808, 3:12–34).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0174

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Date: 1796-07-09

John Quincy Adams to Louisa Catherine Johnson

I have just received your letter of the 28th: of last month, and though I have not yet read it more than ten or fifteen times, I take the very first moment I have, to reply.1 I judge of your sentiments from my own, and conclude, that I shall run no risk of writing too often.— Perhaps in this I am mistaken. Perhaps with your aversion to writing, and the ILL-NATURE that the very thought of it inspires, the trouble of answering a letter is more than sufficient to counterbalance the pleasure of receiving it.— But the aversion, and the ill-nature are both things that deserve so little indulgence, that I shall not consult them at-all. On the contrary I shall continue to write as often as possible, and as out of mere civility you cannot avoid writing a particular answer to every letter, I hope you will soon totally conquer the aversion, forget altogether the ill nature, and on the contrary take a pleasure in writing to your friend, corresponding if not equal to that which he feels in writing to you.— It is possible indeed that for some time you will claim the privilege of making your letters short, and I shall have to comfort myself with the reflection that a little is better than none. But the disposition will not last { 332 } long, and when the habit of writing is once formed you will find it impossible to sit down and write without giving me at least the sheet-full. Instead of being compelled to write you will take a delight in it: instead of being dissatisfied with yourself and every body, you will find your spirits cheering at every line you commit to the paper, and after it is full, the strings of the Harp, will yield a softer sound, a clearer tone and nicer taste will warble from the voice, and every body around you will share a smile more than usually kind and cheerful.— If you think this description promises too much, only try the experiment with a determination to succeed, and I will warrant its final success.
I speak with the more confidence, because I am now more convinced than ever that your aversion is unreasonable.— Indeed aversion is not its proper name. The real cause is unquestionably …2 no. I will not say what it is. The mildest appellation that can be given to it would contain a censure, which my heart refuses to believe, and my pen to write. The only fault I can find with your letter is its shortness. Instead of wishing you had not answered me, I only wish you had answered three times as much; but even for what you did write I thank you over and over again. It is not destitute of elegance, but it has what is a thousand times more precious to me, the assurance of your constant affection.
You were afraid of looking at my picture, lest you should meet with a frown.— As I was obliged to leave it unfinished, I can hardly tell how it looks, but Mr: Hull promised me that it should be very pleasant; which I strongly recommended. If it partakes of the feelings of its original, I am sure it will be ashamed to frown upon you, or upon your sister Nancy. If it were to undertake to express my affection for you, or my regard for her, I readily believe indeed that in that case, it would find the sentiments altogether unspeakable. They are beyond the reach of any expression that can be given to the pencil the pen or the tongue.
The unpleasantness of my situation gives you satisfaction.— After having told you in my last Letter, that I had been pleased to hear that you had suffered anxiety on my account, I cannot with a good grace complain that there is more selfishness than kindness in your wishes that I may find it intolerable. It would be far from that if it did not necessarily separate me from you; and as long as this necessity continues, no situation whatever can be agreeable to me. No stimulus will be necessary to hasten our meeting, further than that of my own impatience, and as I can never be happy far from you, it { 333 } is a consolation to have the assurance that you partake the same sentiment.
You will not suppose that after the Society that I enjoyed while in London, I could take much delight in any that I could find here, even if it were more extensive and more brilliant than it is. I see very little of it accordingly. But I feel no other tediousness than that of being absent from you. I endeavour to make up in application to my proper business and the studies to which my situation directs me, for the pleasures of which I am deprived.— I have indeed, I speak it to my shame and confusion degenerated again to my old barbarism in the Article of dress.— I believe the taylor and the dancing-master must give me up, as a man of whom nothing can be made.3
While I was writing this last sentence, a packet was brought me, containing your letter of the 4th: instt:—your aversion to writing again!—but I will say no more on that subject.— This second letter is even more charming than the former one … I am sure if you will only have the resolution to practice a little, you will form a really elegant style. I am no friend to hereditary honours, but am a great partizan for hereditary virtues and talents. With such an example of epistolary writing as you have in your Mamma, it would be unpardonable altogether, in you not to write with elegance; and with your understanding, it would be entirely owing to yourself if you should not.
I am happy to hear you have been introduced to Mr: & Mrs: Gore, for whom I entertain a great friendship and respect.— Perhaps the reason of their not discovering a likeness in the Picture may be attributed to an alteration in my looks since they saw me. I believe your judgment on this article may be deemed rather more accurate than theirs.
You tell me you are not ambitious, but will offer me your congratulations, if my father should be placed at the head of the American Government. Indeed my friend that is an high station, but I have no Ambition to see him placed in it. For like all other high stations it is planted with thorns and surrounded with dangers. Besides, the more conspicuous he becomes in the world, the more incumbent it will be upon me to prove myself not unworthy to be his son: I have already an heavy burthen on that account to bear, and do not wish to see it encreased. For myself I am not ambitious of rank, but it is impossible to be indifferent on the point of reputation.
I must not be unworthy of my father or of my Country. That Country is not esteemed at its true value by the English People. But even there the qualities which are destined to make the American { 334 } Nation one of the first upon Earth, will produce their effect in time. I will never lose any of the character which will distinguish the Nation, and as far as may ever be in my power I will strive to promote it. I speak to you with entire confidence because whatever my conduct or my fate may be your interests, are now united to mine, to be separated only by Death.
I received under the same cover with your letter, one from my mother dated May 20th: from which the following is an extract. “The Cloaks came safe to hand. Mr: Gardner paid particular attention to them. I am much pleased with mine, and so is Louisa with hers. The young Lady who undertook the commission, shews that she inherits the taste of Elegance which her Mamma is conspicuous for. Present my compliments to both, and thank them for me, and tell them that Mr: T. B. Johnson was very well last week, when I received a very polite card from him, in reply to an invitation which I had sent him to dine with me on a particular day.”
You have no aversion to reading letters, I know, but perhaps the length of this will put your Patience to the test. I will only add my affectionate remembrance to your Mamma and Sisters, with every Sentiment of the tenderest attachment to yourself, from your ever faithful friend
[signed] John Q. Adams.
1. Not found.
2. Ellipses in MS here and below.
3. JQA’s attire left an unfavorable impression on LCA during their first meeting and would become a point of contention during their courtship (LCA, D&A, 1:37, 42).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0175

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-07-11

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My Dear Son

This is the Aniversary <of the Birth which> of that Day when as the poet expresses it,

[“]To Me a Son was given

Such as in fondness, Parents ask of Heaven.”1

We have in commemoration of it Drank the Health of the American Minister at the Hague nor did we forget to Breathe a fervent petition to Heaven for a perfect restoration of the Health of his equally beloved Brother. I am <Maternal Heart of is> pained & { 335 } distresst to hear of the repeated Sickness of my Dear Thomas. I long yet almost fear to receive a Letter. the climate I apprehend is unfavourable to his constitution. he must return Home. When You take to yourself this Lady, whom you still leave in the clouds to me You will not have occasion for your Brothers Society as you have Done you give Me Hints only. Yes you plainly tell Me in your Last letter May 12, that you are bethrothd, but you leave me to the wide Feild of conjecture, where to fix.2
My own imagination has carried Me to the Family of Mr Johnson. as I have before related to You, I approve of the Young Ladys discretition in sending You to the Hague without her. you should learn to accumulate some solid property before You take upon you the charge of a Family. You are certainly old enough. Your Father was marrid nine Days Younger than you now are, but the Scene before him was a very different one from that which presents itself to you. <the Drama opend> an arduous strugle at the Bar for the Support of a Family were all his expectations. as he rose soon to Eminence in that profession, I have not a Doubt that if he had continued it for half the term of years which Since have been solely devoted to the publick service, his Property would have been three times what it now is; but the commencement of the Revolution call’d him to the counsels of his Country. the drama opend, and the important parts in which he has been calld to act, are all known to You, but to no other Man of your Age. Military Services make a greater eclat in the world, but no citizen has deserved better of his Country <than he to whom>— She has given him her confidence she has given him her Honours, but she has not given him wealth believing perhaps with Petrarch, that [“]Virtue has not a greater Enemy than Wealth.”3 the inheritance of his Children must be his virtues of Much greater estimation to them than the mines of Mexico or peru without them.
You all My Dear Sons are placed in a conspicuous view, with minds and faculties capable of rising to Eminence. Virtuously Educated, well Principald, you must endeavour4
1. Homer, The Odyssey, transl. Alexander Pope, Book XVIII, lines 207–208.
2. AA likely conflated JQA’s letter to JA of 12 May (Adams Papers) with the letter JQA wrote to her on 5 May, above, in which he announced his engagement.
3. Jacques François Paul Aldonce de Sade, The Life of Petrarch: Collected from Memoires pour la Vie de Petrarch, transl. Susanna Dobson, 2 vols., London, 1775, 2:121.
4. The Dft abruptly ends at the bottom of the third manuscript page. The RC of the letter, while sent, does not appear to have been received by JQA (AA to JQA, 10 Aug., and JQA to AA, 14 Nov., both below).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0176

Author: Peabody, Elizabeth Smith Shaw
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-07-23

Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Sister—

Your kind invitations would have induced Mr Peabody to have visited you at Quincy had it not now been in the midst of making hay, & the expectation he has of finding his Son in Boston, & taking him home with him in the Chaise— He thinks it will be making a toil of what he should esteem a pleasure, for he could not get back with any comfort a commencement week— If I am well we hope to make you a visit in the Fall, our Boarders term will then be out, & several of them will leave us— It is not convenient, nor expedient to leave a very large Family you well know, I did not intend to have had one again—but they are so solicitous to come into this family that it is hard denying them— Mr Peabody is so much the patron of this accademy, that he will take boarders I fear to his prejudice— He has no house, nor maid extraordinary to hire, if he had he could not board them so low— When I feel tired of the work, I compose myself, with thinking we must all do something for a living, that we were not born for ourselves, that the accademy is of real utillity, & that my Family had all rather toil, than spin—though I think Betsy had better learn, & to cook, & do all kinds of business— Our knowledge of house hold affairs never injured us— I know it is pleasanter to set & sew, than to bustle in the cares of a family—but what would become of yours if you were not to rise out of your chair only at meal times—or what would become of our Children if they did not have our constant care, & attention—
We have got two very pretty young Ladies—from Exeter, Judge Peabody’s & Mr Deans daughter1—they are company for Betsy Quincy, They go to the accademy, & to dancing— William I fear will not be able to reap much advantage from a dancing master— He must endeavour to derive all he can from observation of those who are esteemed the easiest, & most polite in their manners— I have written to him respecting his hand writing. I think he is too careless It is a very necessary & useful accomplishment.— Youth should always covet the best gifts, & strive to excell—
I hope William will behave well—there are so many temptations to lead the thoughtless & unwary astray, that I tremble for him—many a lovely youth has been ruined— But all are not safe at maturer years— His Cousin J. S. conduct is too attrocious to admit of an { 337 } excuse.2 I do not wonder that milton says, when Sin was introduced, into the world, that all nature gave a groan— What havock does it make—

“O! Virtue peace is all thy own”3

I intended to have written to Sister Cranch & Cousin Betsy but I have not time— We have no boy, & I am obliged to keep about house. Lydia is not very strong & Miss Polly is gone a great deal, & Betsy must go to School, for I do not mean to cheat her of her learning— It discourages them if they are absent—
Betsy desires her uncle, & you would accept of her duty & most grateful acknowledgments for all your kindness— Full of the same sentiments of gratitude, I subscribe myself your affectionate / Sister
[signed] Elizabeth Peabody.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed by JA: “Mrs Peabody.”
1. Judge Oliver Peabody (1753–1831), Harvard 1773, who had been a probate judge for Rockingham County before becoming the New Hampshire state treasurer in 1794, had two daughters close to Betsy Quincy Shaw in age, Sarah Hazard (b. 1783) and Frances (b. 1784). The second student was possibly Elizabeth Dean (b. 1782), the second daughter of Ward Clark Dean (1747–1828), an Exeter merchant (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 18:275–283; Selim Hobart Peabody, comp., and Charles Henry Pope, ed., Peabody Genealogy, Boston, 1909, p. 68–69; John Ward Dean, “Descendants of Thomas Deane of Boston and Salisbury, Mass., and Hampton, N.H.,” NEHGR, 37:290, 291–292 [July 1883]).
2. Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody is likely referring to her nephew Josiah Crocker Shaw (1767–1847), Harvard 1789, who was the son of William Shaw, the brother of her first husband, John Shaw. Josiah Shaw had been ordained a minister at Cohasset, Mass., in Oct. 1792 but was dismissed in June 1796 over what may have been questionable personal behavior. Shaw had married Ruth Stockbridge Winslow in 1793, but both married other people, in 1798 and 1801, respectively (Nahum Mitchell, History of the Early Settlement of Bridgewater: in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, Including an Extensive Family Register, Boston, 1840, p. 291; D. Hamilton Hurd, History of Norfolk County, Massachusetts, with Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men, Phila., 1884, p. 233; Newport, R.I., Companion, 6 Oct. 1798; John H. Sheppard, “Genealogy of the Winslow Family,” NEHGR, 17:161 [April 1863]).
3. Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man, Epistle IV, line 82.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0177

Author: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-07-24

Louisa Catherine Johnson to John Quincy Adams

How shall I express my impatient anxiety at not hearing from you, five tedious weeks have elapsed without a line to say you are well or that I still retain a place in your remembrance— I learn continually the arrival of the Mails, consiquently am alarmed at your silence— Absence I have often heard is dangerous, were I to judge solely from { 338 } my own feelings I should say that little was to be feared, conscious that it strengthens rather than weakens real affection. Alas at this moment I feel an aching void which only a letter from you can remove— You have frequently endeavoured to teach me fortitude, I knew not then how much I should need it and find though I listened to the Teacher I lost the lessons— Would you were here now I think I should be more attentive, yet I sincerely hope never to see you again with a probability of parting I could now say much but must suppress my thoughts—
Pray let me hear from you as often as possible, in the interim and during life Believe me / Yours Affectionately
[signed] Louisa Catherine Johnson

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0178

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-07-25

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

22.

[salute] My dear Mother.

Your letters of May 20. and 25. have both reached me forwarded from London. The latter was brought by Mr: Gore, who sent me at the same time the speech of Mr: Ames which one of your letters mentions in terms of applause which I think it well deserves.
After the apprehensions and anxiety, which the preceding accounts from America had excited, I was not a little gratified at the intelligence of the Resolution past by the house of Representatives, for the execution of the Treaty with Britain. I was happy to find that after all there was a majority in that house (a feeble one, indeed) who could make a distinction between the right to ratify, or reject and the power to violate a solemn national engagement, and who did not think proper to construe the latter which they certainly possessed into the former, which the Constitution has explicitly placed in other hands.— I own I did not expect to find the name of Mr: Madison, among the negatives of that vote.
But enough of politics for the present at least. let us come to something about ourselves. You guessed right as to the object of the attachment which has been intimated to you in some of my former letters.— An attachment which has now become irrevocably fixed, and upon which much of my future destiny will depend. A sacrifice of Time has on this occasion been made at the dictate of worldly { 339 } Prudence, but it was made with reluctance on my part and will be abridged as much as may ever depend upon my power.
You enquire whether Maria has no claims?— She has none, but to my fervent and cordial good wishes for her welfare. I have often assured you that we had parted forever, and that no course of Events could ever again unite us. Upon that subject I have never had a moment of doubt, because our separation was not merely the result of necessity, or of an angry moment, it was a mutual dissolution of affection: the attractive principle was itself destroyed. the flame was not covered with ashes, it was extinguished with cold water.— You will perhaps think it whimsical, but the truth is that in my present choice I have satisfied the only claim to which Maria was entitled, and to which I was bound by a very express promise, made to her before we parted. It was that I never would marry a woman whose character or conduct should make her regret that she too had once made the same choice; or in other words that her successor in my affections should not be unworthy of a place which she had held.— She made me the same promise; and if she keeps her word as well and as faithfully as I have, I shall never have reason to blush that I once loved a woman whose final affections are shared with as good a man as myself.— I have performed the promise on my part. I hope, more for her sake than my own, that Maria, will perform it equally on hers
My father “wishes in his heart” that my attachment had been made in America.—1 I could have wished so too, and if upon this article I could have not only controuled but directed my affections, they never would have fixed upon any object out of it.— I was well aware of all the considerations which recommended to them to select a person not only by descent and family connections, but by birth and education wholly American. Nor was the anticipation that the departure from these requisites, would give less satisfaction to my Parents than a rigorous adherence to them, omitted. The objection itself was weighty; the sentiment as I knew it would rest on my father’s mind was weighty, and both were fully weighed. The destiny which is said to preside over these things did not suffer them to prevail, and I can only hope that neither my friends nor myself will ever have any other reason to regret my choice, or occasion to prove that the objection should have been insuperable.
If an event in contemplation when you wrote, and another also should take place you say, I shall have less reason to expect promotion than I then had. One of those Events has taken place much to { 340 } my satisfaction. As to the other—No—I have as little ambition of family as of person. Whatever of honour, of fame or of any benefit, which that station can bestow upon its next possessor will be counterbalanced by so many oppressive cares, by so many formidable dangers, by so much malevolence and envy, and by such boundless abuse and scurrility, that my filial affection really and sincerely dreads, what my love of my Country cannot but strongly desire.— I can therefore very readily conceive how much anxiety the prospects that approximate give you, participating forcibly in the same feelings myself. Heaven grant that all may be directed for the best!
With respect to my prospect of promotion upon the contingency alluded to, it must be altogether out of the Question, and I rejoyce to find from your letter that it will be so.— As to the general principle, which has hitherto been observed in the practice of that eminent station, it would perhaps not become me to say more than that it has my most cordial and decided approbation. …2 In the possible application of a similar principle to myself, I should, if my confidence in the wisdom and magnanimity of my father did not make me deem it entirely superfluous and unnecessary, most earnestly request, that the principle in its utmost rigour, be adopted and invariably pursued. Nay with all the veneration, which my duty commands and my heart faithfully renders, I should add that I never could assent to a departure from it, in one single particular.— If the chief magistracy should be allotted to other hands, I shall perhaps be punctilious upon the Article of my own promotion. I shall perhaps if the occasion should offer, be disposed to feel for myself, as I felt for others in my letter from Helvoetsluys.3 I shall not be insensible to any thing like a slight or a neglect, which however I do not anticipate. But my only ambition in the other case will be, to be always overlooked, always neglected, and excluded from promotion even in cases where any other person might be considered as entitled indisputably to it.
It is true that I shall also consider myself as at liberty to retire from the public service, if I should find it for the interest of my private affairs to do so.— I will never retire from an improper motive, nor from a disposition to prefer my own interest to that of my Country.— My present situation though not splendid, is comfortable. Though, not without leisure, I find every minute of my time precious; because I can employ it all to my own satisfaction. I lose very little of it indeed, and if life and health are continued to me, the { 341 } employment shall not eventually be to the loss of my Country.— But that sort of society which is to be found only in the intimacy of domestic and family connections has become a necessary of my life. I still find it in my brother, but if I continue here longer than another year, his intention is to return home; and severely as I shall feel his loss, I cannot advise him to spend more of his time in the drudgery of mechanical labour, and the subordinate station of a Secretary. If when he leaves me, I shall still think it impracticable upon my means to support the charges of a family in my present situation, I shall also determine to go home, to use my industry once more for my own concerns, and as far as the necessary regard to them will permit, to serve my Country in a private station.
I have still a little room left for the current news, if it was very interesting; but I suppose before this reaches you, all the newspapers you read will give you the details of the War and upon the Rhine and in Italy. By land, the french armies are every where successful, this season, as well against neutral, as belligerent powers. They are in all probability before this at Rome. They have made Peace with all the Italian Sovereigns but the Emperor and the Pope. The successor of St: Peter stands a great chance to lose his keys, and to exchange the tiara for the bonnet-rouge.4 The downfal of Anti-Christ by the hands of infidels! what a confusion worse confounded for the speculators in prophecy!— I long to hear the ingenious commentaries which I am persuaded my venerable uncle Cranch will make upon these Events. I beg to be remembered with respect and affection to him, and my aunt, as also to my Grandmother, and to all my kind friends and relations at Quincy and its environs, and am with unceasing duty and affection, your Son.
[signed] John Q. Adams.5
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs: A. Adams.”; endorsed: “J Q A july 25— / 1796.” LbC (Adams Papers), dated 26 July; APM Reel 128.
1. See JA to JQA, 19 May, above.
2. Ellipsis in MS.
3. See JQA to JA, 31 Oct. 1795, above.
4. Napoleon, under orders to drive the English from central Italy, turned his forces south during the spring and had pushed as far as Pistoia by June 1796. His increasing proximity to Rome was enough to force Pope Pius VI to purchase a truce, which was signed on 23 June at a cost of 21 million francs and 600 manuscripts and paintings. Acting without the authorization of the Directory, Napoleon had also previously negotiated similar armistices with several Italian potentates, including the dukes of Parma and Modena and the king of Naples (Cambridge Modern Hist., 8:570, 571–573).
5. On 21 July JQA wrote a long letter to JA that described the actions of the French government toward other neutral powers and voiced his concerns that the United States would yet be drawn into the European war (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0179

Author: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-07-25

Louisa Catherine Johnson to John Quincy Adams

Permit me to felicitate you on your appointment to the Court of Lisbon which pleasing intelligence I received since my last was written1 I learn from our friend Mr: Hall that it is probable you will return I think I need not tell you how much it will contribute to my happiness to see you yet should you not wish me to accompany you I must entreat you will take another route though I confess I see no obstacle which can prevent it but submit to your superior judgement believe me I felt our parting too acutely to risk another and could hear of your departure with less pain than I could witness it I flatter myself I need not repeat how much I am your sincere and affectionate friend
[signed] Louisa Catherine Johnson
1. LCA almost certainly learned of JQA’s appointment to Lisbon from Joseph Hall, who received the news upon Rufus King’s arrival in London on 23 July. Hall wrote to JQA on 24 July informing him of the appointment and offering his congratulations; he noted, “As a diplomatic advancement it gives me pleasure. As tending to enlarge the distance between us I regret it” (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0180

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Smith, Abigail Adams
Date: 1796-07-31

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams Smith

[salute] My dear Sister.

I received a few days ago your letter of April 27th: which was forwarded to me from London. My stay there was much longer than I had expected when I went from this place. I returned here about two months ago.
The time when you wrote was indeed a critical moment in the state of our political affairs. I was before I came from England witness to the effect produced there by the resolutions past in the House of Representatives in Congress, and which led to an expectation that a resolve to violate the treaty by a refusal to provide for its execution would soon follow; nor am I at all surprised that the general opinion in America was that such a resolve would have produced a war between the two Countries. I have no doubt myself but it would; not perhaps an immediate declaration; but the western posts would have been kept, no indemnity for past depredations would have been procured, and much greater and more extensive ones would have ensued; in the irritated state of the public mind in America, there is no doubt but that such circumstances would very soon have { 343 } produced a war, in which our commerce must have shared the fate experienced now by that of France and Holland, and in which we should not have had like France an opportunity to console ourselves for the total ruin and annihilation of our trade by the splendor of victory and conquest by land. We should have lost the blessings of peace, without being compensated by the trophies of war.
But soon after you wrote, the resolve of the house to make the necessary appropriations made a total alteration in the aspect of our affairs. It restored that confidence in the good faith of the United States, which had been very much suspended for a number of months past; it induced a general expectation that we should preserve our Neutral policy through the whole war, and revived the credit, which had in some degree been affected by the previous occurrences since the last summer.
I am very sorry to learn that Coll: Smith has suffered so much in his property as you mention by the depredations of the British. Their conduct has indeed been such in many instances as makes it difficult to restrain our resentment within the bounds of discretion. When we suffer injustice we can seldom prevail upon ourselves to reflect that the misfortune proceeded from the inevitable nature of things, and those who enjoy the benefits of Neutrality in a time of Maritime war, cannot be indemnified for the particular and individual losses, either by the general prosperity of the Country or by the consideration that partial depredations have universally been inseparable, from a state of things, which while it encreases and extends the pacific trade of neutrality, necessarily subjects it to the examination of the armed vessels of both parties.—I sincerely hope however, that you will have no vicissitude of fortune to regret; though I do not imagine that in your opinion the happiness of our lives depends upon splendid wealth, yet I am fully sensible that it is painful to reduce the scale of enjoyments to which we have been accustomed.
I had the pleasure of seeing frequently while I was in England your friend Mrs: Copley and her family. Her son has I suppose already returned or soon will from America. The whole family of Mr: Johnson always speak of you in the most friendly and affectionate terms. They have been these two or three years preparing to go to America, but have not yet been able to get away from England, they still expect to go this Summer or the next, but I am still doubtful whether they will not wait yet another year. The ladies are not so good sailors as you are.
{ 344 }
Our brother Thomas is well, though while I was absent, he had a very severe seasoning to the climate of this Country.
Remember me kindly to the Coll: and your children, and believe me to be with the sincerest affection your brother.
LbC in TBA’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs: A Smith.”; APM Reel 128.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0181

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Date: 1796-08-06

John Quincy Adams to Louisa Catherine Johnson

I have just received my lovely friend, your letters of the 24th: and 25th: of last month. I perceive by the former that my long letter of the 9th: had not reached you. I have hitherto written by vessels going directly from this Country to England, supposing that would be the shortest conveyance; but I believe after all the packet from Hamburg is the safest. I will in future write you by that way too. I readily believe your impatience to hear from me, for I have felt all the force of the same sentiment myself.— But never suffer an idea for a moment to enter your mind, that it is possible absence can erase your remembrance from my heart or weaken the affection it feels for you—No, my best friend; to you it is devoted; from you all its hopes of domestic happiness in this life are derived, and while it laments the absence to which we are at this moment condemned, it hopes it will not continue long, and rejoyces in the flattering anticipation that you will soon partake of all its pleasures, and alleviate all its cares.
I am persuaded it will give you pleasure to know, that your letter of the 25th: was the first to announce me the new appointment with which I am