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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 11


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).
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/