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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 11


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).
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, 2017.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/