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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 11


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.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/