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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 11


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 honoured by the Government of the United States. Among many which came together, from my father, from my mother, from the American Secretary of State, from several other friends, In short from all whom I most love and revere on Earth, yours was of course the first to draw my attention and perusal, so that the official Letter itself giving me notice of the appointment, only confirmed the information which your’s had given me already.1
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 honoured by the Government of the United States. Among many which came together, from my father, from my mother, from the American Secretary of State, from several other friends, in short from all whom I most love and revere on Earth, yours was of course the first to draw my attention and perusal, so that the official Letter itself giving me notice of the appointment, only confirmed the information which your’s had given me already.1
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I shall write you soon again, but in order to ensure the conveyance by which I send this letter, I have only time to tell you now, that with the notice of my new destination, I am ordered to remain here in my present character, untill I shall receive further advices. { 345 } Certain circumstances make it probable that I shall not be directed to proceed on the new mission for several months to come, and I know not what my orders may be as to the course I am to take. At present I know not of any thing that will prevent me from taking London in my way; and as little as I like that place, I shall anxiously wish to see it once more for the sake of taking you as the companion for the remainder of the Journey or Voyage, and of my life.— I shall inform you as soon as possible, if my Instructions permit me to come to you, as I most ardently hope, and am inclined to believe they will, though it is probable as I observed before that I shall be still detained here untill the Winter or perhaps the Spring ensuing.
I mention these circumstances to you in the most perfect and exclusive confidence.— Some People say the Ladies cannot keep secrets; but I am convinced the observation does not apply to you.— You will be sensible that when I communicate to you particulars of orders from my Government, I am justified only by the full conviction that it is for you alone that the information can be intended.
Farewell my ever dear and amiable friend. I shall soon write you more at length: in the mean time remember me affectionately to your Pappa and Mamma, and Sisters, and be assured of the unceasing and unabating attachment of your friend.
[signed] A.
1. In addition to Timothy Pickering’s letter of 11 June, JQA received at the same time letters from AA of 10 June; from JA of 25 March and 10 June (all Adams Papers) and 5 May, above; from Joseph Hall and Rufus King, both of 24 July (both Adams Papers); and from Joshua Johnson, also of 24 July, which has not been found but was acknowledged by JQA in his letter to Johnson of 6 Aug. (LbC, APM Reel 128).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0182

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-08-06

Thomas Boylston Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dear Sir.

Since the date of my last letter, (June 24th:) I am favored with your’s of May 19. which gives the comfortable assurance of your safe return to Quincy. After the fatigues, vexations and anxiety, which a lengthy session of Congress always produces, I easily conceive the luxury of your enjoyment upon returning to your farm. There you meet the reward of your labors, by the appearance of renovated vigor in the vegetation of your grounds, the productive faculties of which have increased under your care, and litterally grown out of your superintendance. It must be a source of satisfaction to you, { 346 } that the temper of the soil you cultivate is not so stubborn or ungrateful, that it will withold its tributary, return from the hand that nourishes it; that it possesses no passions which will not bend to well timed management, nor any interest but that of its owner. Whatever contrast there may be between this recompensing spirit which actuates inanimate matter, and the ungenial principles of party politicians, the first has nature for its parent and is faithful to her laws, the latter come from human invention and testify by their works a degraded origin. I doubt not but you have found a solace in your smiling meadows, towering woods and rugged stone walls for all the desagrémens of a tedious and turbulent Congressional campaign.
I am diverted from this strain by the receipt of your kind favors of March 25th. and May 5th: which call upon me for a renewal of my warmest acknowledgments and thanks for these new evidences of your fondness and affection. They were transmitted from London, where Mr: Cooke the bearer of one of them has arrived, and should he execute his purpose of visiting this Country during my stay here, it will give me pleasure to render him any attentions in my power. I have so poorly deserved the continuance of your correspondence that every letter I now receive from you, is of itself reproachful of my remissness. I trust however that you have e’re this received my letters of December last, which were accompanied with a pamphlet, and a letter from your aged friend Mr: Dumas, and wherein I promised to write a volume of attonement for former deficiencies.1 At that time I could not anticipate the loss of my health, which so shortly after ensued, and to which must be attributed the failure in performance. I should have enjoyed much pleasure in communicating to you particularly the progress of occurrences in the public concerns of this Country, because your acquaintance with the character and circumstances of the people, would have facilitated the deduction of inferences, which though they naturally resulted from the events themselves, could not so accurately be made by persons less familiar with the complexional cast of Dutch politics. In my public correspondence, which you have seen, and which you are pleased to approve, I did not venture to express an opinion as to the tendency of certain proceedings, relative to the expected change of Government here, and contented myself therefore with a simple relation of facts, which indicated to common observation, the hidden hand that operated and the secret power that controuled them all. The period is now past, when the language of caution is either dictated by delicacy or enjoined by prudence. It is no longer { 347 } necessary to cloath in mysterious paraphrase a description of that sort of submission, which knows no limits but the extent of command.
This Country is as effectually under the controul of a french civil and military direction as any department of France; no wonder then that the poor Zeelanders were exposed, hooted at and sacrificed with éclat for a proposal real or pretended to put themselves under the protection of the french Republic, rather than acceed to the plan of erecting a system of unity upon the ruins of union. Was it worth while for the french Government to take up with the vassalage of a single province of this Republic, when the real dependance of the whole confederacy was about to be so completely established, & so irrevocably fixed? Some small remains of the old Batavian pride, struggled for a time against gradual though perceptible encroachments, but neither the sturdy protestations of the persecuted & exiled Frisons nor the manly tone of calumniated Zeelanders, were able to resist the torrent;—the pretension to dominion was escorted by fife & Drum, with five and twenty thousand men in the rear, and what right of a disarmed and disunited people could bear up against this formidable array? Force, though not violence, prevailed, and the interposition of the friendly protectors was just sufficient to see that every thing was done with becoming decency. Such were the auspices, which ushered in the accession of two refractory provinces, to the plan of National Assembly in this Country.2 That measure was nevertheless powerfully advocated by five of the provinces, who were willing to have an experiment made upon the Constitution of the Republic, and with this view the National Assembly was convened; it succeded to the States General in all their functions with the addition of many others, which did not belong to that body. It now exercises the sovereign power with much moderation, and bears as near a resemblance to unassuming countroul as is necessary to satisfy the consciences of those, who hold the administration in their hands.
It is to be remarked that the great engine, which worked to accomplish the end of a popular assembly, (the Clubs) have shrunk away into oblivion, before the refulgence of the luminay, which was the workmanship of their own hands, and that too by the frowns of the infant though Gigantic offspring. A stranger to the Country might say that this was one of the evidences of an enlightened patriotism, which prompted the renunciation of power the moment it became useless; such has been the effect, but the stranger would be erroneous as to the cause. The fact is that the Clubs were { 348 } numerous, and were so many focusses of patriotism, which were dangerous in proportion as from time to time they might undertake to instruct the Representatives in the sense of their Constituents. The Club party in the Assembly has been outvoted in every great question hitherto, and will continue to be so, because the whole weight of french influence is with the other side. Under the actual circumstances of the Country, this superiority of the moderates is perhaps not to be regretted; but the best that can be said of it is, that it is a purchase of justice at the price of independence. But it is not worth while to knit ones brow with passion when writing upon this subject. The dependence of the feeble upon the stronger State, is the common course of experience and fact, and the history of this Country for a Century and more, does not make an exception to the rule. The question has never been between France & England with regard to Holland, shall that Republic be rendered totally dependent upon one of us, but it has uniformly been, which of us, shall have the protection of it. In a short excursion, which I lately made to the Province & City of Utrecht, I met with a Gentleman by the name of Scherenberg, whom you may probably see e’re long in America, as he is going out with Madam van Polanen the lady of the Dutch Minister. Mr: S—— has been formerly a member of the provincial Assembly of Utrecht, and is well acquainted with the politics of the Country.3 Conversing with him upon the subject of some late proceedings of the French civil and military agents, in opposition to a formal decree of the Provincial Assembly of Utrecht, which related to the domestic oeconomy of that province; I observed that the forms of independence had not been very scrupulously observed in that instance by the french General, who had appeared in the midst of the Assembly where the Decree was passed, attended with a customary escort, and informed that body of his being charged by his superiors to see that one of their recent decrees should not be executed, untill the intention of the Executive Directory with respect to it should be known, alledging at the same time, that the Decree militated with the capitulation accorded to that Province by the french Army at the time of their entry.—4 He agreed the fact, but observed that he was not one of those who valued the forms or the name of Independence, without the reality; that those who do esteem them something are often put to the blush, by the flagrancy of their violation; that he knew his Country must depend upon either France or England, and as a matter of choice between the two foreign powers, he preferred the dominion, or protection, or { 349 } assistance, (if you will) of the former. The frankness of this avowal did not shock me, but it put an end to debate upon independence.
After an interruption of several days, I resume my pen to finish my letter.
You express a curiosity to be informed, what is the operation of the new systems of Government in France and Holland. In France, the operation of what is called the regular or Constitutional Government, has been in every respect superior to that of any of its predecessors. Compared with antecedent experiments, it may even be styled a Government of laws. It has gradually weakened the formidable Jacobin influence, which threatened to crush the infant in its birth; it has gained many proselites to the faith of distinct branches & separate executive, but it has still to struggle against secret plots, dark & deep laid conspiracies, which are continually meditating its destruction. It is doubtless a blessing for the French nation, that order and subordination are once more established among them; as yet however there can be little solid dependence upon its duration. Jacobinism still lurks in secret places; it is immensely active, but is particularly cautious to be invisible in its operations. Now and then an explosion, serves but to indicate the spot which was most highly electrified, and the violence of the shock is sometimes terrifying if not destructive to every thing it encounters in its course. In proportion however as the present internal administration in France assumes a consistency & strength, their external policy becomes more inimical to the peace and power of all other nations. They have lately given a slight glimpse of their system, which is now in operation, or soon will be, wherever their Agents are admitted. It has already expanded just enough to designate the object, which seems to be no less than to produce a renunciation of Neutral policy by all the Governments, that have hitherto adopted and pursued it, in the course of the present war; or if this cannot be effected, to turn all the discontents and convert all the clamors which their injustice may create, into reproaches against those administrations, which cannot or will not be frightened from an inflexible adherence to that policy. The order of the French Government to their naval squadrons and Commanders of armed vessels, to treat neutral navigation in the same manner as the respective neutral Governments shall suffer the English to treat theirs, contains a pretty clear exposition of the motives, which produced it, { 350 } and developes a portion of the means which are put in requistion to obtain the result.5
The present French Minister in America, is said to be recalled, and his successor is already named, though not perhaps definitely appointed. Mangourit is his name, and he is no stranger among us, having officiated in the Consular department in the days of Genet at Charleston.6
The contemplated change in the chief magistracy of the United States, has become a very principal subject of speculation in more than one European Cabinet, and perhaps the appointment of a new agent by France, is timed for an experiment upon the dispositions of our new Executive, among other purposes. But I shall not enlarge upon this head, because I know that a budget of conjectures raisonnées is preparing for you by other hands.7
The present administration in this Country is merely provisional. It is to sign its own deathwarrant to give place to a Constitutional Government, whenever the compact is completed, discussed and adopted. It is not yet produced, notwithstanding the impatience of the French Directory to get at it. They have given repeated hints to the National Assembly that it is time to put an end to the revolutionary state, but with all the goading and spuring, the beast does not budge a bit faster, at least if the pace be quickened it is not yet perceptible. The fact is, I believe, that Constitutions do not vegitate so fast in this climate as in that of France, and ultimately this moderate growth may be more conducive to the health and vigor of the body; it may infuse vital stamina into the frame and thereby greatly contribute to longevity; but the hotbed of French impatience may yet render it an unseasonable production.8
The fundamental principle of the new association, will be unity and indivisibility, but under what forms of direction, whether simple or compound, I am unable to divine. It is even doubtful whether the french inclination upon this point, does not vibrate between a recommendation of their own example, and a penchant for a single assembly.
You have frequently enquired whether “the Defence” has been translated into Dutch or German? I do not find that it has;—but the french translation by La Croix has been in so great demand in this Country, that I have not been able to perform the Commission I received to procure a sett for you here. I have however sent to Paris for one, which shall be sent you, when received.
There are many circumstances which induce a belief, that the new { 351 } Constitution will prescribe a single branch Legislature; the Dutch are habitually addicted to that form, and a further adherence to it will be more satisfactory to their allies, than even an implicit adoption of that which now prevails in France. It may be assumed as a fact, by anticipation, that no Constitution will be accepted here, unless the french Government concur in the recommendation of it. A divorce of Church é vinculis9 with State, will be one of the articles of the bill of rights. The National Assembly have already settled this point, and the principle of universal toleration in religion is expected to result from it.10 The researches of the Constitutional Committee have, I believe, been extensive, both upon form and theory. The “History of Republics” has been in their hands, and if they were perfectly free to chuse between the “double balance” and no balance at all, they might adopt the former by preference.11
It is very difficult to judge what is the real opinion upon the article of Constitutions in this Country. I have in a former letter mentioned to you that there is no such thing as public discussion, which might serve as an index to the general sentiments.12 Every thing is left to the Committee of twenty one, and whenever they report their plan, they can only hope it will meet the approving sense of their Constituents.13
At the time the National Assembly commenced its career, several new periodical publications appeared. Two of them were printed in the french language, and the prospectus of each, promised that the future numbers should furnish regular details of the proceedings in the National Council, and even proclaimed themselves as the occasional vehicles of political disquisitions, adapted to the temper of the times. Energetic appeals to patriotism for patronage, which almost every number contained, soon discovered symptoms of abortion, and shortly after, the undertakers of these publications were obliged to declare in the bitterness & pangs of their labour, that such was the dearth of public spirit, it would not pay even the expences of the midwife.— For your amusement, I send you the first and last words of one of these papers; it commenced under the auspices of the French Minister here, and lived nearly seven weeks; another which bore the title of “Moniteur Batave” survived but a short time longer, and it is remarkable that both, just before their death, snarled horrible, at poor Luzac, because his paper still went on in the old style. This is a slight specimen of the public apathy and indifference about political discussions. An anecdote which proves something more, is the dismission of Mr: J Luzac from his { 352 } professorship in the University, and with a prohibition subjoined against his superintendance of the Leyden Gazette. The pretext for this harsh treatment was taken from some strictures which were inserted in that paper some time last winter, upon the conduct of the french Executive Directory in the affair of Carletti, the Tuscan Minister. Great offence was said to be taken on account of the motives, which were attributed to the Directory in that proceeding; and although the L. Gazette gave the piece, containing these animadversions, in a borrowed form, as an extract from a Paris paper, it was unrelentingly insisted upon as a crime, and the States of Holland were compelled to become the conductors to the flashes of resentment and indignation, which burst forth against the supposed Editor of that paper. To complete at once the work of mallice, they went so far as to reduce your old friend to the condition of a private citizen, in which capacity, it is to be hoped he will escape further persecution.14 Since that period he has published his “Oratio … De Socrate Cive,” which he has dedicated to you. This was what he alluded to in the extract of his letter to me, which I sent you, wherein he promises to give a public testimony of his respect and consideration. This discourse was delivered in February 1795. when the author took leave of the Rector’s chair; he has already sent a copy to my brother & me, and has one in reserve for you, which will probably be sent in the course of the fall.15
It will not surprize you to hear of the decease of your aged friend M. Dumas, which has taken place since I began this letter. It is an event which was anxiously hoped for by himself, long before it arrived. He had lost every relish of life, and looked upon death as the only welcome summons he could receive.16
Please to remember me kindly to all friends, and believe me with every sentiment of duty, and affection, Dear Sir, / your Son
[signed] Thomas B Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “The Vice President.”; endorsed: “T. B. A. / Aug. 6. 13. 1796.”
1. See TBA to JA, 14 Dec. 1795, and notes 2 and 5, above.
2. On 25 Nov. Friesland and Zeeland voted against the Patriots’ plan for a unified Batavian National Assembly. By Jan. 1796, however, increasing pressure from France coupled with rising popular support for unification led nine Friesland officials to reverse their decision, and on 27 Jan. Friesland changed its vote, with Zeeland quickly following suit (Schama, Patriots and Liberators, p. 238–243). See also JQA’s first letter to CA of 4 Nov. 1795, and note 3, above.
3. TBA visited Utrecht to attend the city’s fair, departing The Hague on 20 July 1796 and returning four days later. There he met Reinhard Scherenburg (1769–1809), who represented Utrecht in the States General between 17 Aug. 1795 and 1 March 1796. Helena Wilhelmina de Vos van Polanen (1762–1831) was { 353 } the wife of the new Dutch minister, Rogier Gerard van Polanen (1757–1833), who was received by the president on 30 Aug. (D/JQA/24, 20, 24 July, APM Reel 27; Repertorium van ambtsdragers en ambtenaren; J. J. Westendorp Boerma, “Briefwisseling van Mr R. G. van Polanen (1828–1832),” Verslag van de Algemene Vergadering van het Historisch Genootschap gehouden te Utrecht op … verenigd met bijdragen en mededelingen van het Historisch Genootschap, 68:111 [1952–1953]; Repertorium, 3:271; Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 31 Aug.).
4. In several letters to the secretary of state, JQA described the unfolding events in Utrecht, which began when the new provincial government, controlled by the “violent party” of moderates, issued a decree requiring that the “former Regencies” repay all salaries received since 1787. The French general Comte Pierre de Beurnonville, on orders of the French minister François Noël, prevented the passage of the decree because it contravened the province’s capitulation to French authority. Provincial representatives responded with a memorial presented on 10 June 1796 to the Batavian National Assembly complaining of Beurnonville’s actions. The National Assembly referred the issue to its foreign affairs committee for consultation with Noël. Ultimately the Directory supported the actions of its representatives but left the matter to the Batavian National Assembly, “trusting that they will give such reasons to the Assembly of Utrecht, as shall induce them to rescind their resolution” (JQA to Timothy Pickering, 16, 28 June, 2 Aug., LbC’s, APM Reel 129). See also Pieter Geyl, La révolution batave, 1783–1798, Paris, 1971, p. 288.
5. On 2 July in retaliation for the British interception of vessels destined for French ports, the Directory issued a decree stating that the navigation of neutral nations would be similarly treated, thereby subjecting to French seizure U.S. vessels en route to British ports (Jefferson, Papers, 29:215).
6. Michel Ange Bernard de Mangourit (1752–1829), who had been the French consul in Charleston, S.C., when Edmond Charles Genet arrived there in April 1793, was appointed chargé d’affaires to the United States, but the appointment was withdrawn after James Monroe objected (vol. 9:426; Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 14:483).
7. TBA is referring to JQA’s long letter to JA of 13 Aug. 1796, in which JQA voiced his concerns over French influence on the forthcoming U.S. presidential election and how it might impact a JA candidacy: “you will expect all the art and intrigue of France, and all its weight and influence concerted with the american adverse party, in formal array displayed against you.” JQA speculated that the possible appointment of Mangourit as the new minister to the United States resulted from the diplomat’s vocal opposition to the current American administration, “which by means of him and of other similar characters is so industriously spread among the Americans in Paris, as to make the french naturally conclude it must be the general public opinion in America.” The letter also described recent actions by the French, including peace negotiations with several German princes, the naval war in the Mediterranean, and France’s ongoing attempts to interrupt America’s policy of neutrality, and it relayed the news that Denmark would welcome diplomatic relations with the United States (Adams Papers).
8. The French, accustomed to swift and significant changes at home, were confounded by the slowness with which the Dutch went about establishing the new Batavian government. As the debates unfolded in 1795 and early 1796, the Directory instructed François Noël to avoid direct intervention but to remind his Batavian brethren that revolutionary chaos could be stabilized by the adoption of a constitution and a constituent assembly, modeled on that of France, and by respecting the will of the people. As the constitutional debates evolved beyond 1796, Noël would take more direct action by attempting to advance the process through public appeal (Schama, Patriots and Liberators, p. 235, 236, 241, 269).
9. From bondage.
10. Greater freedom of religious worship had been granted in March 1795, for which see vol. 10:433. A formal separation of church and state was made by edict on 5 Aug. 1796, although Jews faced continued discrimination (Schama, Patriots and Liberators, p. 261–263).
11. TBA is referring to JA’s argument in favor of bicameral legislatures in his Defence of the Const., 1:283.
12. See TBA to JA, 13 July 1795, above.
13. For the 21-member committee drafting the new Dutch constitution, see JQA to CA, 9 June 1796, and note 2, above.
14. In late Dec. 1795 the Gazette de Leyde { 354 } reported on the Carletti affair, for which see TBA to JQA, 23 Dec., and note 6, above. These reports became the final justification for action against Jean Luzac, whose critical views of the new French-influenced Batavian government had revived a family feud with his brother-in-law, Wybo Fijnje, and his cousin, Johan Valckenaer, both of whom held key positions in the new republican government. On 8 Jan. 1796 the country’s Committee of Public Safety, led by Fijnje, asked Etienne Luzac (1754–1827), Jean’s brother and coowner and printer of the newspaper, to find a new editor. This resulted in Jean Luzac’s resignation, although difficulty securing a replacement meant he continued to serve in the role until 1798. A second attack, again instigated by Fijnje and Valckenaer, occurred less than a month later when provincial officials suggested to the curators of Leyden University that Jean Luzac be removed from the faculty. As a result, Luzac’s duties were restricted. He continued to teach classical languages but was prohibited from teaching Dutch history. Luzac again responded by stepping down but soon entered into a public battle through the widespread publication of his views on the new radical government (Jeremy D. Popkin, News and Politics in the Age of Revolution: Jean Luzac’s Gazette de Leyde, Ithaca, N.Y., 1989, p. 232, 233, 235, 237–239, 240, 242).
15. Jean Luzac’s Oratio de Socrate cive … probationes & adnotationes de Socrate ac de Republica Attica, Leyden, 1796, was dedicated to JA “to whom along with a few others the blessed republic of the Americans owes both the sources of its defended and firmly established freedom and the current fortunate state of its affairs.” For the author’s plan to pay JA a public mark of respect, see TBA to JA, 14 Dec. 1795, and note 3, above. Luzac had sent copies of the book to JQA and TBA in June 1796, at which point he planned to forward an additional two copies, one for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and another for JA. JA’s library at MB has a copy in Latin, while JQA’s copy in the library at MQA is in Dutch (JQA to Jean Luzac, 18 June, LbC, APM Reel 128; Catalogue of JA’s Library; Catalog of the Stone Library).
16. C. W. F. Dumas died suddenly on 11 Aug., an event which prompted JQA to write in his Diary, “I once loved and respected this Man. Let me remember only that period when he was my friend and instructor. His last days were very wretched, and his misery proceeded from his own political opinions and their discordancy with those of others” (D/JQA/24, APM Reel 27).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0183

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-08-07

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My Dear Son

I have many favours in Letters, Newspapers, Pamphlets and Books to thank you for, the latest of which were dated about 20th of May—1 And I have many prosperous Events to congratulate you upon—your Promotion to Portugal and for what I know your Marriage by this time. I rejoice in every Thing that promotes your Honour and felicity— But whether you will relish Portugal, I know not. However bitter or Sweet you must drink the Cup. As to your Connections of a more tender kind, I wish you all the Happiness you can expect or desire. A Fathers Anxiety however, never fails upon these Occasions to suggest Apprehensions.
A Political Career in the Service of the United States is Subject to so many Uncertainties that it is a precarious Revennue for the support of a Family, and lays the Strongest Obligation on you to the Strictest and Severest Œconomy, that you may be able to maintain { 355 } your Independence and provide for Accidnets and Vicissitudes. A young Lady of fine Parts and Accomplishments, educated to drawing dancing and Music, however domestic and retired from the World she may have been in her Fathers House, when she comes to shine in a Court among the Families of Ambassadors and Ministers of state, if she has not more Discretion, Prudence and Philosophy than commonly belong to her sex, will be in danger of involving you in Expences far beyond your Appointments. I give you a hint and you must take it.— If your Accounts are not kept with the Utmost Correctness and your Resolution is not decisive you will be undone— You must live in a Style more retired & reserved than any Minister of your Rank or you will soon be exhausted.
I long to hear from your Brother— We have but a few Lines from him Since last fall and We are anxious on Account of his Health— We know not what is to be his Destiny nor whether he is to stay at the Hague, go with you to Lisbon or return to America.
I have recd Mr Teglaar’s Papers of Amsterdam and got them funded: but in this time of War, I have been afraid hitherto to ship them, waiting for some confidential hand to which I might entrust them. My Regards to him. The Papers are with me, subject to his orders, or I will send them by the first Person of Character that I shall know going to Holland.2
I can Say nothing of myself nor future Prospects but that I am and ever shall be your affectionate Father
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr J. Q. Adams.” Tr (Adams Papers).
1. JA is likely referring to JQA’s letter of 12 May (Adams Papers).
2. Amsterdam merchant Jan Gabriël Tegelaar had been an acquaintance of JA and JQA in the Netherlands during the 1780s. On 30 Aug. 1795 Tegelaar wrote to JA asking for his assistance with three outstanding loan certificates. While JA’s reply of 28 Oct. 1796 has not been found, his endorsement of Tegelaar’s letter and a letter to JQA of the same date, below, indicate he returned three refunded certificates valued at more than $4,000 (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0184

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-08-08

Charles Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother

This morning about one o’clock My Sally presented me with a charming daughter1 They are both remarkably well I must insist on your naming the Child which will perhaps be christened at Quincy
Yours with the sincerest affection
[signed] Chas. Adams
NB. My Respects to my father—
{ 356 }
RC (private owner, 1957); addressed: “Mrs A Adams / Quincy”; endorsed: “C Adams aug / 8th / 1796.”
1. Susanna Boylston Adams (1796–1884) was the first of two children born to CA and SSA, although after CA’s death in 1800 Susanna would spend much of her young life under JA’s and AA’s care. She was twice married, first in Aug. 1817 to naval officer Lt. Charles Thomas Clark, who died in 1819, and for the second time in April 1833 to New York law publisher William R. H. Treadway, who died three years later. Thereafter, she moved between family households, receiving financial support from the Adamses until her death.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0185

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-08-10

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My Dear son

Since the date of my last July 11th I have received an Authentic account of Your appointment as Minister Plenipo. to the Court of Portugal.1 it was the last nomination which the President made, before the rising of Congress, and took place after your Father came home, without its ever being hinted to him. the appointment was agreed to as mr otis informs me, unanimously by the Senate. this is an additional proof of the confidence which Your Country reposes in You; and of the approbation of the President, who has thus honourd, and promoted You.
You will feel it a new incentive to discharge with fidelity the important trusts committed to You and to continue to deserve well of Your Country. I suppose mr King carried out Your commission and instructions.
The engagements You made in London will lead You no Doubt to go theither, on Your Way to Portugal this new appointment my Dear Son has filld my Mind with a thousand anxieties on Your account. Will the Parents of the Young Lady think it adviseable for their Daughter, at so early an Age, without any knowledge or experience of the World, to be introduced into the Manners Luxeries dissapations and amusements of a foreign Court,? placed in an elevated Station, with examples before her Eyes of a Stile of living altogether incompatable with her future views and prospects in America? She has no Doubt been reard and Fosterd under the Eyes of kind and indulgent Parents, who have given her a Virtuous Education, taught her to Love the Domestic virtues, and at the Same time accomplishd her in Musick Dancing French &c I conceive the Young Lady to be accomplishd both in Mind and person not unfit to grace a Court, but the Question is thus accomplishd: is there not great Danger of her contracting such inclinations, and habits as to endanger her Youth and inexperience, as to unfit her for the discharge { 357 } of those Domestic Duties, which cement the union of Hearts, and give it its Sweetest pleasures.
You know upon what an unstable foundation all the honours and promotion, in our Country rests. You know how inaddequate the allowence to an American Minister is, when compared with those of other Countries, of the same Rank, and You know, what Your prospects are when you return to America. if you were to bring Me Home a Daughter, she would be comeing to the Land of her Fathers Nativity, and would probably form no higher expectations than you might find the means of gratifying. She would assimilate herself to our Manners to our customs and our habits, which she would find so similar to those in which it is probable she has been Educated, that the Change might not be painfull to her. but who can answer for her after having been introduced into the dissipations of a foreign Court?
You have seen sufficient of the world to think soberly of these things, and to say with Ulysses

In pomps or Joys, the palace or the Grot

My Countrys Image never was forgot

and o may you add

“My absent Parents rose before my sight

And distant lay Contentment and delight”2

What the Changes may be in this Country at the approaching Election is more than I am able say one thing I can say with certainty, that you can neither hope or expect to find at the Head of the Government any Man who will do so much to promote you, as the President of the United States has Done. I sometimes think that your early promotion is in Some measure oweing to that Idea, as well as a desire to reward those abilities which have distinguishd Your late Mission—
our Country appears all tranquility. Providence is loading the Earth with Bounties a more plentifull Season was never known. may our Hearts be filled with Gratitude. we have Health in our borders, and peace in our dwellings.
I inclose You a scrip of the last weeks Paper that you may see, the Treaty is like to be complied with by the British so far as respects the Evacuation of the Forts.3
I heard from N York a fortnight Since. they were all well. Charles expected Dayly to be a Father4
{ 358 }
Not a line of a later Date from my Dear Thomas than 1 of last December. my Heart sinks like a stone when I think of him, poor Dear soul, so sick, so far from Home. your last letter of May 12 informd me that you heard from him 28 April.5 this was a consolation to your anxious and ever affectionate / Mother
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by TBA: “Mrs: A Adams / 10 August 1796 / 9 Novr Recd: / 14 Do Answd:.” Tr (Adams Papers).
1. While CA had relayed to his parents the news of JQA’s nomination in his 4 June letter to JA, above, JA and AA received confirmation of the appointment from Samuel Allyne Otis, who dined with the Adamses at Quincy on 16 July (JA, D&A, 3:229).
2. Homer, The Odyssey, transl. Alexander Pope, Book IX, lines 35–38.
3. Enclosure not found, but on 6 Aug. the Boston Columbian Centinel reprinted an extract from the Albany Register of 1 Aug., in which a correspondent from Oswego, N.Y., reported that on 14 July the British peacefully evacuated Fort Oswego on the arrival of American troops.
4. Letter not found.
5. AA’s most recent letter from TBA was dated 1 Dec. 1795, above. JQA’s letter to AA of 5 May 1796, above, mentioned TBA’s letter of 28 April, which has not been found.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0186

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Date: 1796-08-13

John Quincy Adams to Louisa Catherine Johnson

I hope my amiable friend has before this received my letters of the 9th: of last month, and of the 6th of the present; and that all her doubts, if doubts she really had, whether she still retained all her Empire over my affections have vanished into thin air. Though there was a letter which must have reached her very shortly after the impatient anxiety which she expresses in her letter of July 24th: it is possible that I might have indulged yet more frequently than I have, the inclination which I always feel to converse with her, but for the repeated hints of her aversion to writing contained in her preceding letters.— Yes! let me freely own, that I have more than once sat myself down to my table, and taken up the pen to give you my sentiments “warm from the soul and faithful to its fires.”1 But the reflection has occurred, that you hated writing, and that even the assurance of my constant attachment might lose its charm in the painful sensation of an obligation to return an answer. So that I was consulting your pleasure even when I sacrificed that of writing to you. But indeed for my satisfaction the oftener we write the better for nothing can exceed the delight that a letter from you gives me, so long as we are absent from each other, and if it were really a painful task for me to write to others it would be an enjoyment to write to you.
I have mentioned to you in my last Letter that I expect to remain { 359 } here some months longer; perhaps till the next spring; but of all the sorts of gratification that I can derive from my new destination the most delicious is, that it gives me the hope of terminating sooner than I could otherwise have expected the vile embarassments which made our separation absolutely necessary.— It is the promise of decent support and Independence for us both that I value, and if you find it necessary to suppress some of the little attachments to splendor that lurk at your heart, perhaps imperceptibly to yourself, at least we can both console ourselves with the reflection that the deductions from present pomp will all be added to the securities of future comfort.
My orders to remove may possibly come suddenly, and earlier than I now expect them. I shall have no other inducement to take the way of England, but that of meeting you. I shall hope therefore that it will not require a long time for your preparations to bear me company. I must not stay an hour longer than will be necessary.
Let me again my dear friend recommend to you to fortify your mind for circumstances inevitably attached to our connection. The hardships of traveling, by sea or by land are formidable to you, in the delicate life to which you have always been accustomed. Yet you must be prepared to undergo them.— The modes of life, the manners and customs of the people where you may have occasion to reside, will be entirely different from those which you have been used to: perhaps many of them will appear unpleasant to you. For your own happiness, endeavour to acquire the faculty not merely of acquiescence, in unavoidable inconveniences, but even of a cheerful conformity to things which must be endured, and above all establish as an invariable rule for your conversation, to express no general or national reflections.— You will forgive me for this intimation. I have often experienced, and in many different countries that nothing is more natural, and nothing more offensive than reflections applying to nations or numerous classes of people; and I know your heart is so good that I would not have the misconception of any thing said by you ever give dissatisfaction to any one.
I understand that you have been during part of the Summer at Clapham, and I am persuaded, you have employed your time to advantage. It would give me pleasure to have from you a detail of every thing interesting to yourself in your situation.— Write to me with perfect confidence, as I have given you the example. Your progress upon the Harp I am persuaded is great, and as you are in the habit of reflecting, I have no doubt you will not be inattentive to the { 360 } qualities, the exercise of which will be necessary or useful in the prospects, which I ardently hope will soon be realized.
Do not think I am sitting myself up for a Mentor, but give me your advice and opinions with equal freedom in return. Remember me affectionately to all the family, and be assured of the invariable and inexpressible attachment of your friend.
[signed] A.
1. Alexander Pope, “Eloisa to Abelard,” line 54.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0187

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1796-08-16

Abigail Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] my Dear Thomas

There has been an interval of Eight Months Since I received a line from Your Hand. this Suspension of intercourse grows Daily more and more painfull to me as I learnt from your Brother that you had been sick first with a severe attack of the Rhumatism, and after ward with a Billious Remitting fever; I fear that the Climate of Holland is peculirly unfavourable to you, as your constitution is Heriditaryly disposed to those complaints. I have sufferd so severely from them myself, that beside a parentall solisitude for you, I have a sympathetic Suffering with You. at this distance I can render You no other aid than to pray for your restoration to Health, and to add my wishes that you would return to your Native Country
Your Brother has informd me that he has enterd into a connexion which he designs shall be permanant as soon as circumstances will admit.
I have supposed that he will go to England, & probably Marry before he goes to Portugal; if he should, there will not be that occasion for your continuance abroad, which there was whilst he was alone, without any one to tenderly care for him. a Young Man must have a companion, or Do worse. I hope all my Sons will avoid those snares which lead to destruction, and that you my Dear Thomas will hold Yourself free, for an American wife. I am not informd of your prospects, or designs. if you and your Brother should judge it most adviseable for You to go to Portugal, I will acquiese, tho I hope your Stay will not be long. I think You will have a better prospect of rising in your own Country, and becomeing more usefull, to it, here than abroad.
Your Friends here are all well. William Cranch is setled in the city of Washington, has a fine Boy of Eight Months old. Your sister and { 361 } Family were well when I last heard from them; the col. had sufferd in his affairs by the villany of a st Hillair who married Peggy. it has however had a happy effect, so far, that he has come to a settlement with all with whom he was concernd: and tho it has obliged him to dispose of some of his Lands to less advantage, than he would otherways and stoped him in perhaps too rapid a career; he has a handsome property remaining, as I am assured. he has stoped building a Much too large Country House; and I hope will curtail all unnecessary expence, and live a more quiet and retired Life which I am sure will be more for his happiness, and the benifit of his Family. it is the wish of your sister, who you know has ever been averse to all kinds of extravagence and dissipation
Charles goes on gradually, and I hope Successfully in Buisness. he has two Clerks, he lives moderately and will do well I hope. Sally makes him a prudent discreet wife I suppose my next letters will anounce the birth of a Grandson or Daughter. poor Woman, She was Sick with the Ague & fever when I heard from her a fortnight since, which makes me anxious for her.1
Your Aunt Shaw, that was, is Married to mr Peabody of Atkinson, and is very comfortably situated. William is getting on through his Education by the assistance of his Friends.
Dr Welch and Family are well Your Aged Grandmother is still living, and send you her Blessing William and Isaac Smith are setled in Buisness in North Carolina2 Mary is going to Washington to live with Your Cousin Cranch Eliza has been with me chiefly since Your Aunt left Haverhill3 Louissa is as a Daughter to me. she desires to be rememberd to you.
Your Father wrote you last week.4 he is as buisy as usual in attending to his Farm, which Seems his only recreation, & keeps his spirits in action, and gives him Health for his Winters confinement; indeed I belive he could not endure the one if he was not relieved by the other.
as to Politicks, it is a perfect Calm what mischief may be brewing in the Jacobinical Cawldron, time will discover. it will be composed of as venomous ingredients as Mackbeths Hell broth, but Heaven has yet graceously provided us with Antidotes for all their poison. if any Material alteration should take place at the approaching Election, there will be a new trial of their Skill.
adieu my Dear Son. Heaven Send you Health, and with it every other Blessing is the fervent prayer / of Your ever affectionate / Mother
[signed] Abigail Adams
{ 362 }
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs. Adams 16 August 1796 / 24 Novr Recd: / 21 Decr Ansd.”
1. Not found.
2. William and Isaac Smith, sons of William Smith Jr., evidently relocated to Fayetteville, N.C., and entered the mercantile trade. Little is known about Isaac, but William married and had a son prior to his death in Charleston, S.C., on 2 Sept. 1801. His wife, Sarah Jane Mallet, and infant son, also named William, died the same year (Boston Columbian Centinel, 27 Feb. 1799, 14 Nov. 1801; JA to P. Mallet, 10 Nov., Adams Papers).
3. On 25 April 1796 William Cranch wrote to his mother asking that his cousin Mary Smith come live with his family in Washington, D.C. Mary Smith Cranch’s reply has not been found, but Mary remained in Quincy at least through September (MHi:Christopher P. Cranch Papers; Jacob Norton Papers, Elizabeth Cranch Norton Diary, 28 Aug., 4, 30 Sept.).
4. JA wrote to TBA on 8 Aug. (private owner, 1966), asking about TBA’s future plans, voicing his belief that the forthcoming elections would garner a Federalist majority, and reporting that he had refunded Jan Gabriël Tegelaar’s loan obligations, for which see JA to JQA, 7 Aug., and note 2, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0188

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-08-16

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother:

I have still to thank you for a very few lines addressed to myself, and for about half of a long Letter to my brother dated June 10.—1 The quotation expressive of the universal power of Love was pleasant, and the recommendation to my brother to fix his choice upon a person of manners habits and sentiments such as are likely to be found only in our own Country is judicious.— I have already given you my sentiments and explained to you my conduct on this score. If upon the whole I have done wrong, I shall be the principal sufferer.— But I must say, that if I had accepted the designation of any judgment upon Earth, or of any Sentiment but my own, I am sure I should have been unhappy; and if I had waited until all the requisites, I will not say of my father’s, but even of my own opinion, could have been combined, I should have been certainly doomed to perpetual celibacy.— The matrimonial union you know is always professedly for better for worse, and to expect or require that the principle of making it altogether for better should be pursued inflexibly, would be not only to discover some deficiency of knowledge of human nature, but to mistake the essential character of the institution.— Prudence is a sorry match-maker.— She has been so rigorous in her councils to me, that I became quite weary of them, and would not allow even her claim of exercising a negative.— In discussing the question with me, she owned that upon the important articles of the person, the manners, the mind, and as far as she could discern, the heart, she had not a word of objection to make.— She muttered some question about the fortune, which I told her I { 363 } was unable to answer, and would not take the trouble to enquire.— But at the Country and the habits of life necessarily formed by it, she made her great stand.— The first was irremediable; but I had many things to say in mitigation of the second.— Prudence would not hear me, and I returned the compliment.— But the essential point being settled, she returned immediately and presided at the deliberation upon the point of time. She prescribed a temporary separation and was obeyed: she forbad even any express limitation of the time during which it was to continue, but said its termination must depend upon her alone.— We sighed, but we paid unqualified submission and parted.— Since then an Event has occurred upon which Prudence has suggested to me, that she proposes soon to remove her prohibition, and rather to recommend at once, what she could not prevent
To be poetical is a privilege of Lovers, and to be allegorical a privilege of Poetry. When the sordid iron of oeconomical arrangements, is mingled with the pure gold of a lover’s passion, the meanness of the mixture needs to be disguised in description by some ornament of language or of Fancy. You will understand what I mean to say, and I hope you will not disapprove my intentions.
Your letter observes that all was calm and tranquil at the time of its date. I very much doubt whether the case will be the same, when you shall receive this.

“Oh! place and greatness, millions of false eyes

Are fix’d upon thee! volumes of report

Run with their false and most contrarious quests

Upon thy doings! thousand ’scapes of wit

Make thee the father of their idle dream,

And rack thee in their fancies.”—2

But that is not all. In my opinion a time of severe trial is again approaching for our Country, and every example which even the American People have given within these few years of indulging their momentary Passions has led me to consider them as more and more dangerous to their permanent welfare. To be in the centre of the stream when the tornado rises in its greatest fury, may gratify some sensations; but to unambitious minds like mine, it is very far from being desirable.
In my father’s last Letter he observes that the fame of my friends Otis and Cooper, will spread faster than mine. That a Mission abroad is but an ostracism; but that I may enjoy it if I like it.—3 I do { 364 } rather imagine, though I speak it with proper deference, that when this was written, my father was altogether unacquainted, with a new destination, to which I was however then designated, and which has been notified to me in terms which it would not become me to repeat, but which have made a deep impression upon my heart and mind. The destination, I have accepted, and shall therefore be still continued some time longer in the diplomatic career.— My fame will not spread upon the bold and rapid wing on which my fathers inclination would guide its flight— The Ostracism will still discard my person and my reputation from the centre of all my Ambition, which is my Country; but it will not discard my services, which I may be permitted to hope will be [use]ful services.— “There is room enough in the world for both of us”— I was taught [this max]im, very early in life, and hope that I shall never abandon it either in my conduct [or in my feelin]gs.—4 But if the spreading fame of any man on Earth could give me a pang, which I think it cannot, it would assuredly not be that of my friends Cooper and Otis, whose weight and influence will contribute to the promotion of a good cause, and whom I am much more disposed to consider as fellow-labourers than as rivals. I suppose my father knows well the natural indolence of my disposition, and the unaspiring character of my temper. He thinks there is danger of its degenerating into absolute sloth and negligence, and proposes perhaps to stimulate my Industry, by instigating my emulation. I am ever grateful for these as for all the innumerable other proofs of his kindness and affection; if I have in my composition a spark of any valuable quality, I am indebted to his care for the breath that has kept it alive, and I hope to make such an use of it, as shall prove that it was not bestowed in vain; but I may express to you the sincere opinion that a career of fame, and yet more a career of ambition may commence with a progress too rapid in a Country where the latter has constitutional boundaries, which I never can be desirous to overpass or to see removed, and where the former is subject to so many variations and revolutions of popular opinion.
I have observed to you that from the internal evidence of my father’s last Letter, I conclude that he did not even suspect the new appointment which was already conferred upon me. You will not attribute it to any thing like filial ingratitude if I add that this idea gives me singular pleasure. I can support very well the thought of being indebted much for my advancement to his merits, but I could not bear that of attributing it to his agency.— Louis the 14th: was one { 365 } day expressing his astonishment, at the stupidity of a certain Ambassador at his Court—“Depend upon it, Sire,” said the Count de Grammont to him, “he must be the relation of some Minister.”—5 I have no desire to be the object of application for a similar reflection.
Our friend Mr: Luzac, who I am sorry to say is no longer Professor Luzac, is publishing a collection consisting of the Orations which he delivered on entering upon the functions of his Professorship, and on the expiration of his administration as Rector Magnificus, or Principal of the University at Leyden, together with some curious and scientific dissertations. He has dedicated the whole to my father in an elegant Latin Epistle which is to appear at the head of [the wor]k. This is the public mark of his respect which he has intimated in a lett[er to my father]. He has desired me to forward a copy of the book for my father and one for the American Academy, as soon as the collection shall be completed, which I shall accordingly do.
The news of the day may be comprized in the general information that the french armies in Italy and in Germany are universally triumphant and that a Peace between France and all Germany, unless perhaps it be the Emperor as head of the house of Austria, may be very soon expected.—6 They denounce nothing less than Death and Destruction against G. Britain, and are making tremendous preparations for a deadly conflict with her alone. All this apparatus however may be followed by something to be called Peace, before the next Summer. You will see in the papers there has been an attempt to dispatch the french pretender by assassination.— Who now would wish to be one of the Bourbons?7
My brother is well, and will doubtless write you soon himself.— Whitcomb is recovering from his fever and ague.— Love and duty to all friends, especially to my honoured Grand-Mother.— Continue to write me under cover to Mr: Johnson at London, or directly here.—
Your dutiful Son
[signed] J. Q. A.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “J Q Adams 16 August / 1796.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 128. Tr (Adams Papers). Text lost due to a torn manuscript has been supplied from the LbC.
1. For AA to JQA, 10 June, see her letter to TBA of the same date, and note 7, above.
2. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, Act IV, scene i, lines 60–65.
3. JA to JQA, 10 June, which in addition to JA’s comments on the challenges of a diplomatic career commended JQA on being no more popular at the Court of St. James than JA had been. JA also remarked on the Jay Treaty debate just finished in Congress and asked if JQA could find anything “worth sending” to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences or Harvard College (Adams Papers).
4. “This world surely is wide enough to hold { 366 } both thee and me” (Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, vol. 2, chap. 12).
5. The French courtier Comte Philibert de Gramont (1621–1707) is memorialized for his adventurous life and sharp wit in C. Antoine Hamilton’s Memoires du Comte de Grammont. The passage to which JQA refers appears to derive not from the memoir itself but from a collection of anecdotes attributed as “Extrait du Mémorial ou du Recueil d’Anecdotes de M. Duc … S. P. de l’A. F. & H de F.” and published in Pierre Antoine de La Place, Pièces intéressantes et peu connues, pour servir à l’histoire et à la littérature, 8 vols., Brussels, 1784–1790, 1:111 (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale; Catalog of the Stone Library).
6. France’s northern forces—the Sambre-Meuse Army under Gen. Jean Baptiste Jourdan and the Rhine-Moselle Army under the command of Gen. Jean Victor Moreau since the spring—had crossed the Rhine in early June and forced Austrian troops into retreat. Several of the affected southern German states, which had previously sought peace agreements with France and then unsuccessfully petitioned the emperor to make a general peace, now agreed to separate armistices. The duchy of Württemberg on 17 July and Baden and Swabia on 25 and 27 July, respectively, made armistices under terms that included the withdrawal of troops from the empire’s army, the free passage of French troops through the area, and access to local supplies and lodging (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale;Cambridge Modern Hist., 8:497; Biro, German Policy of Revolutionary France, 2:586–593).
7. On 19 July in the Bavarian town of Dillingen, a shot fired by an unknown assailant grazed the forehead of Louis Stanislaus Xavier, Comte de Provence (1755–1824), who was the brother of Louis XVI and would-be heir to the Bourbon succession. The description of events offered by the London Oracle and Public Advertiser on 4 Aug. would be reprinted in the Boston Federal Orrery on 3 Oct. (Bosher, French Rev., p. liv).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0189

Author: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-08-19

Louisa Catherine Johnson to John Quincy Adams

Sunday last brought to hand your invaluable letter of the 6th shall I confess I was nearly too much elated to know what I read having vainly flattered myself from the intelligence I previously received of your immediate return but alas how delusive is hope how was I disappointed to find you might not return till the Spring.
You ask my permission to come here Oh my best friend you already know too well the anxiety our seperation has caused me to doubt my complying with your request I sincerely wish you happiness and judging from myself am vain enough to believe it cannot be compleat whilst seperated from me—
You say it is possible we may meet in the Winter I cannot on this occasion admit my too futile favorite hope remember how long the American Government detained you before and reflect if I have not reason to fear In answer to that part of your letter relative to your Voyage I am above deception and will candidly own there is not any thing on earth can afford me equal happiness to accompanying you to whatever part of the Globe the Fates may destine you—
Your friend Mr: Hall has just been to enquire when you were { 367 } expected and was so polite as to beg my acceptance of a Toothpickcase jointly with my Sisters I felt somewhat reluctant at recieving it but not wishing to appear singular have taken it
Adieu and believe me with / unceasing affection your friend
[signed] Louisa C. Johnson.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0190

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-08-27

Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother.

In discharge of my promise to write you a letter, which has been given you in two covers enclosing letters from my brother, I commence before the expiration of a second month since the date of my last, by an acknowledgment of your favor of June 10th: which came to hand on the 6th: currt: together with several other’s for JQA.1
If to the countless instances of your affection and tenderness, another had been wanting to complete the measure of my gratitude, that other may be found in the more than sympathetic style with which you notice the report which had reached you of my illness. If any thing is calculated to stamp an indelible impression upon the memory and the heart, it is preeminently those services we receive from the hand of a parent a more remote relation or a friend, upon the bed of sickness. It has been my lot in life successively to appreciate the value of all these characters by the most painful experiments to myself, and the kind offices which are thus recorded in the tablets of my memory, were as honorable to the bestowers as they were grateful to the receiver. The infirmities which were ingrafted with my system previous to my birth, can never be reproached to the authors of my existence, and in the recollection of my parentage, if I can justly appropriate to myself the inheritance of but a small portion of their merit and their virtues, I shall esteem myself more than compensated by the possession of the latter, for all the painful hours which I have hitherto suffered or may hereafter experience from the former. From my last visitation I have perfectly recovered, and at this moment I am worth more in weight than I ever was at any former period; I am even growing corpulent, and am seriously threatened with the necessity of wearing a straight waistcoat, which would be a very heinous offence against fashion; but as in this climate I cannot count upon a permanence of my present habit, I shall save myself the expence & my taylor the mortification { 368 } of altering old cloaths, for the sake of more fashionable disproportions, out of all reasonable shape. Holland is a most convenient place, for getting rid of an old wardrobe. So says Tilly.
I am indebted to you my dear Mother, for several sketches of our domestic affairs which have given me alternate pleasure and pain; but which in my returns to you I have not particularly noticed. What a striking illustration of the absurd instability of popular opinion is exhibited in the progress of the six months opposition to the British Treaty, and the six weeks repentance by way of atonement for it! Can it be the love of contention for its own sake, which induces men to espouse a quarrel which is directed against the success of an object, that they really wish may succeed? Or is it a kind of torpid listlesness which makes men dumb as advocates of a good cause and inactive spectators of such as seek to ruin it; suffering opposition to assume a consistency & a shape which nearly baffles all attempts to defeat it when it has reached the very borders of success? Such in several instances has been the operation of momentous concerns, in which individuals and the public were alike interested. To what hair-breadth escapes, the existing peace, honor and prosperity of our Country, must be attributed! A majority in our Representative council well disposed to put them all at stake for the paltry pretext of an alledged usurpation of prerogative in the other branches of the Government. In the list of yea’s & nays upon the question of appropriations, I remark a strange inversion of names, in the two columns. For example, when I find the name of Gregg, a member of the Pennsylvania seat, upon the yea-side, my astonishment is great; but, that courage and independence enough should be found among the Virginia Representation, to produce one affirmative vote, exceeds all the extravagant examples that have ever been recorded as the effects of credulity. On the other hand, when the names of three Massachusetts men strike my eye on the Nayside, I lament their apostacy, at the same time that I sincerely rejoyce at the public record of their shameful subserviency. At a future day I believe it will be a useful instrument in the hands of a less dependent rival, and will operate as a positive pretention to the confidence of their Constituents. A Varnum in exchange for a Dexter!— I fain would hope that this rape upon public judgment will not be durable.2
The call for papers relative to the Negotiation, which was made by the house of Representatives, previous to the appropriation law, and the fact of the Presidents refusal to answer the call by a { 369 } compliance, were first communicated to me by Mr: Marshal the husband of my old flame Miss M——.3 Without waiting like a cautious politician, or a reserved Diplomate to sound the opinion of my informer, I very aristocratically exclaimed, perhaps presumptuously, “the President has done right.” “Let the House refuse the supplies if they please, the responsibility rests with them, for all consequences that may result from witholding them. I doubt whether they will have the courage to meet them.” The abruptness of this declaration, would hardly admit a subsequent recantation, even had I been disposed to make any. But I must own that for some time after, when the numbers were compared, of pro’s & cons, my conjectures as to the issue of that struggle for prerogative wavered between hope and apprehension. Happily victory has declared herself in favor of Constitutional privilege, as I pray she may always do, from whatever quarter the invasion may arise.
We have the Newyork Herald as late as the 25th: of June, and have searched them all over to find some account of the evacuation of the Posts, but scarcely a word is said upon the subject. This obstinate silence upon an event so considerable as that, is construed by us into favorable symptoms; it is at least productive of a negative confidence that no real obstruction has been thrown in the way of a seasonable delivery. The publication of several authentic letters, which we find in these papers, has served to elucidate many plots in the french system as it respects our Country, which before were but dimly seen, and that only through the fallacious and often erroneous medium of combining facts and occurrences which have no apparent affinity or connection.4 We perceive, that the share, which the Western Insurrection had in the vast plan of intrigue, hatched in the Committee of public safety at Paris in the days of Brissot, and exported in the vessel of which Genet was supercargo, landed in the southernmost extremity of our Continent, and there hawked about to obtain champions for an expedition against Florida under a french Commission, is at this day no mystery in the U. S.
We peceive that the negotiation for exchanging with Spain that portion of the Island of St Domingo, which was ceded by that power as the price of a peace with France, for Florida, is well known among you, and should that negotiation be successful, it is not difficult to discover what use will be made of a footing upon our territory. That there are secret agents and abettors of this scheme in different parts of Europe, who call themselves American citizens, there can be no doubt. Col Fulton lately came over from the seat of { 370 } Government with voluminous dispatches for the Minister of the United States at Paris, from private correspondents. For a result of all these things we must look to time.5
The french order to their Commanders of armed vessels, to capture neutral, alias, american vessels charged with enemy’s property, was issued it seems in the West Indies, long e’er it was made public in Europe. Why, if it be not expressly pointed against American navigation, was it first divulged in the West Indies, where all our commerce must pass & repass?6 I long to hear in what light the orders are viewed by our people.
In my last letter, I gave you some intimation of my intentions respecting my return home, and placed the probability of my remaining here, another year, upon the contingency of my Brothers permanence at this place. A destination more honorable to himself, better proportioned to his talents, if not more useful to the public service, is since assigned him. He is ordered however to hold his present station until further notice, and when the period of his removal shall be ascertained, we shall probably take leave of the Hague together, though in opposite directions. If my present plan meet no obstacles of a prudential or other nature, to its execution, I shall make a short excursion by way of winding up my European tour, and embark in one of the first Spring vessels for my native land, where I hope once more to embrace with ardor, proportioned to the affection I feel, all my friends, and first and foremost my beloved parents, whom I entreat to believe me with love and duty, their son.
[signed] Thomas B Adams.
RC (private owner, 2008); internal address: “Mrs: A Adams.”; endorsed: “T B A 27 august / 1796.”
1. TBA’s previous letter to AA was dated 29 June, above. For the letters JQA received on 6 Aug., see his letter to LCA of the same date, and note 1, above.
2. Andrew Gregg (1755–1835) represented Pennsylvania as a Democratic-Republican in the House of Representatives from 1791 to 1807 and then served in the Senate until 1813. George Hancock (1754–1820), a lawyer who served as a Federalist representative from 1793 to 1797, provided Virginia’s sole vote in favor of the treaty appropriations. The three negative votes from Massachusetts were supplied by Henry Dearborn, William Lyman, and Joseph Bradley Varnum (Biog. Dir. Cong.; Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 1291).
3. For James Markham Marshall’s marriage to Esther (Hetty) Morris, see vol. 10:426. In Oct. 1795 Marshall traveled to Europe to negotiate financing for the purchase of the Fairfax estates in Virginia. JQA socialized with Marshall several times in London but initially characterized him with “temper enough if his countenance does not belye him” and as a lackluster conversationalist. Marshall departed London for Holland on 7 May 1796 carrying with him a letter of introduction from JQA to TBA of 6 May (DAB; JQA, Diary, 13 Dec. 1795, 3, 7 May 1796; JQA to TBA, 6 May, private owner, 2007).
4. The New York Herald, 25 June, carried an article by “A Citizen,” who summarized news passed between two French correspondents, in which it was stated that { 371 } American vessels bound for British ports would be intercepted and would “undergo a severe examination,” with the cargo confiscated if found to be British. The letters also attacked “the hypocritical Washington” and professed American popular support for the “tri-coloured cockade.” Similarly on 15 June, the newspaper had printed another extract, which blamed the Jay Treaty for damaging Franco-American relations and which claimed that “the name of American is despised, more than that of any other nation.”
5. France’s desire to reclaim control of its former possessions in Spanish America led its ministers, most notably Edmond Charles Genet, to incite Native Americans and American frontier settlers to attack parts of Louisiana and Florida with the goal of establishing an independent colony subject to French governance, thereby breaking France’s dependence on American goods. By 1795 diplomatic negotiations between France and Spain and Spain and the United States complicated the situation but did not stop France from rallying support on the ground in America. Samuel Fulton (1770–1827?), a North Carolinian who moved throughout the Old Southwest in the 1790s, had been involved in Genet’s schemes and had been awarded a commission in the French cavalry. In 1795 he received a promotion to lieutenant colonel, traveled to Florida on behalf of French minister Pierre Auguste Adet to report on a group of American refugees who had been part of Genet’s scheme, and also lobbied Native Americans for the establishment of a colony in Florida. The following spring Fulton traveled to France carrying dispatches from Adet and “many private letters” for James Monroe. Although Samuel Fulton almost certainly visited JQA en route, it was a “Thomas” Fulton JQA records meeting (Frederick Jackson Turner, “The Policy of France toward the Mississippi Valley in the Period of Washington and Adams,” AHR, 10:249, 261–272 [Jan. 1905]; William C. Claiborne, Interim Appointment: W. C. C. Claiborne Letter Book, 1804–1805, ed. Jared William Bradley, Baton Rouge, La., 2002, p. 476–478; D/JQA/24, 9 July 1796, APM Reel 27).
6. Acting on their own authority but with information provided them in a 2 July letter from Adet regarding American violations of the policy of neutral navigation, France’s agents in the Windward Islands issued a decree on 1 Aug. stating that all vessels carrying contraband, regardless of their destination, would be captured and the cargo condemned (Amer. State Papers, 1:749, 759).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0191

Author: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-08-28

Louisa Catherine Johnson to John Quincy Adams

How shall I answer my dear friends last charming letter where find words adequate to the pleasure I experienced at reading it the idea of your returning almost compensates for the pain I felt at parting— Yet shall I confess fears arise which never presented themselves before. When I reflect upon the part in life I shall have to act with the little I have seen of the world my conscious deficiency appears manifest and I already think I see you blush for my awkwardness but I know the generosity of your disposition and am convinced you will forgive and encourage me by your kindness to mend—
You ask me how I spend my time I wish my friend you had touched on any other subject for I must candidly confess I have profited little by my retirement but it is yourself who are the cause by (shall I say it) intruding too often on my thoughts— Permit me to beg you will let me know some time previous to your departure as { 372 } Papa & Mama wish for all possible time to prepare themselves for the seperation and hope it will not be very sudden—1
Alas I feel this the only drawback to my felicity but I must not always expect cloudless skies I acknowledge my lot has been cast in a fair graine and on this ought to acquire a little of your philosophy that Heaven may hasten the time when we shall meet and propitious winds blow you safely to England where you will find a harbour is the sincere prayer of your unalterable friend
[signed] Louisa C. Johnson
1. JQA would not depart The Hague until 28 June 1797, arriving in London on 12 July (JQA to JA, 29 June, 22 July, both Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0192

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-09-11

Charles Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother

Your favor of the 6th instant came to hand yesterday.1 I can give you no certain information respecting Col Smiths affairs He has a vast property in his hands but is very much embarrased for want of money to make his regular payments as they become due Whether on the winding up he will have anything left is what I believe neither he or anyone else knows. He acted on a very large scale and whatever he may think you and I know he is not a Robert Morris.
Mrs Adams had a short return of the ague but is now very well the child also grows finely and is very healthy I have thought that it might be pleasing to my father and would be a tribute of respect to my venerable grandmother to name our little girl Susanah Boylston which shall be her name if you and my father concur with me in sentiment. It would give me great pleasure and would contribute much to the health and satisfaction of Mrs Adams to pass a few weeks with you but we shall be prevented by prudential reasons. Such is the State of affairs in this City at present European speculations have turned so little to the advantage of many engaged in them that Lawyers are in great demand An absence of one week might deprive me of more business than at another time I should get in three months and as the City is in general remarkably healthy We must postpone our visit this fall. I had letters from both my brothers last week dated the 10th of June2 Thomas has been very ill of a bilious fever which confined him near four months he has recovered and writes in high spirits The Minister seems also to be { 373 } indisposed though I am inclined to think his malady is not dangerous being seated about the region of the heart. He returned from England the latter end of May. I do not know what to make of a conversation I had with Mr King soon after his appointment to England. I met him in the Street He said he supposed I had heard of my brothers appointment I told him I had not, he then informed me that he was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to Portugal and remarked that though it was more out of the center of information yet he hoped as it was an honorable promotion he would accept it. Since this conversation I have heard nothing about the appointment. My father appears not to know of it and I am quit puzled I should think Mr King would not have made such a declaration unless he had very good ground for it and it appears strange if it is the case that nobody else seems to know anything about the business.
I forgot to mention to my father that I had his Cujacius in my posesion they are in ten volumes in folio I had to appraise them at the Custom House which I did at ten pounds supposing that to be about the original cost the duty on them I think amounted to about one guinea. Mrs Adams joins me in presenting our respects to my father and yourself.
Your affectionate son
[signed] Chas Adams
RC (private owner, 1957); addressed: “Mrs A Adams / Quincy”; endorsed: “Charles Adams Sepbr / 11. 1796.”
1. Not found.
2. TBA’s letter to CA has not been found; JQA’s letter is dated 9 June, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0193

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Date: 1796-09-12

John Quincy Adams to Louisa Catherine Johnson

I have received, my amiable friend, your letters of the 19th: and 28th: of last month, and am properly grateful for the readiness with which you consent to accompany my rambling destinies. The sacrifice which you will be obliged to make in quitting your paternal roof, is so great, that it gives me not a little anxiety. To give you a substitute for it, I cannot expect. That you should ever have reason to regret it is an idea of which even the possibility is painful.— Suffer me therefore to beg you once more not to place in too fair a light the prospects which present themselves to you. [Look a]t them often on their dark side. Be assured that they offer many aspects { 374 } which are [far fro]m being promising. I wish you to reflect thoroughly upon them all, because I think you will be better prepared for those evils and inconveniences some of which are inevitable, and all of which are possible.
The aukwardness of novelty which you dread in the new scene of life into which you are to enter is in my mind a very little object indeed.— But when you speak of my blushing for your aukwardness I think you must have meant to rally me a little. The parade of dignity annexed to rank, is a thing for which I have no sort of respect, and I need not tell you how far I am from possessing a particle of it myself.—
I confess that the station in which I have to move, is one of my greatest causes of regret.— You think me ambitious, and will therefore perhaps suspect the sincerity of this declaration— But it is perfectly true.— I never had a wish to be placed so high in the world at so early period of my life.— The station itself is temporary. I cannot if I would, hold it long. I would not if I could.— I must therefore always be ready at an hour’s warning, to return to that of private life and no fortune.— For that variety you too must be prepared in connecting yourself with me, and in order to be well prepared for it, consider rank itself as an object of no consequence since it must so soon be resigned.
I shall certainly inform you of my departure as soon as I shall be able to fix upon it myself. But at present I have very little hopes of meeting you before the Spring.— I do not apprehend being delayed longer than that; but I am not at my own disposal, and must wait with a Patience, which I find it very difficult on this occasion to command, for the pleasure of my Masters.— When I receive my orders it will take me some time to settle my affairs here before I can remove, especially as I expect then to part from my brother who proposes to return to America.
You have profited little you say in your retirement, but I believe yo[u do no]t give yourself so good a report as you deserve. I have no doubt but that y[ou will] every where rapidly improve, as you know so well the value of time.
Adieu my lovely friend, I remain with the most faithful affection, yours.
[signed] A.
RC (Adams Papers). FC-Pr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 131. Tr (Adams Papers). Text lost where the seal was removed has been supplied from the FC-Pr and Tr.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0194

Author: Cranch, William
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-09-16

William Cranch to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear friend

The want of opportunity, and leisure, has a long time prevented me from writing you. The ship <Mary> Peggy, from Georgetown for Amsterdam has moved down & now lies in the stream opposite my house, waiting for the wind & tide.1 I have tried for a fortnight past to get a moment’s leisure to write you, but Messrs. Morris & Nicholson are now here and their business together with the settlement & payment of the accounts for ten large brick houses which I have built for Mr. Morris since 25th. June last, has occupied every moment of my time.2 I never knew what full Employment was ’till I came to this City.—
I know nothing of Politics.— It is said & believed that the President will resign.— The two principal Candidates are the present Vice President & Mr. Jefferson.— It is thought that the district to which I belong will vote for the former, and I am led to hope that Virginia will also have a Majority in favr. of the same Candidate, notwithstanding his unpardonable Crime in repeating the odious word “Well-born” in his book upon Government.—3 I have often fell into Company where the Character of this Patriot has been the subject of Conversation, and the only aspertion which democratic violence could suggest was that he used the word “well-born.” The noise about the treaty has nearly subsided, and in the jacobin papers the only cant words are “British Amity,” & “exclusive Patriots.”—4
I had a letter from my Mother of the 7th. Inst. in which she says your father is well & your Mother (whose health has not been good for some time past) is getting better. Our other friends are well. My Brother Norton is like to be starved out of his parish, & will probably have to seek a living elsewhere.—5
This City is an object which undoubtedly attracts the attention of many People in Europe, and you may wish to know it’s present situation & future prospects.— It contains about 100 hansome brick houses the greatest part of which are yet unfinished & of course uninhabited. The price of Lots has been nearly stationary for 18 Months past—the average may be stated at 10 Cents per square foot by retail.— There are also about 100 decent wooden dwelling houses occupied by tradesmen.— These houses are scatter’d about over the whole face of the City and there is yet but little appearance of a { 376 } town.— The Congress has authorised a loan for the finishing the public buildings, of $300,000—on the Credit of which the Capitol has progressed considerably this season, and one wing of it (which is large enough to accommodate the Congress) will be cover’d by the end of 1797.—6 The Presidents house is nearly ready to receive the Roof.— The Navigation of the Patowmack is also in great forwardness, and the locks at the great falls will probably be completed in the Course of the next year.—7 The rise of the property here has been in some instances 2400 per Cent since 1793.—but in general it has not been so great. It is, however, clear in my opinion that any one who will purchase property here & can afford to keep it 4 or 5 years will make immense profit.— So much for City of Washington.—
My own time has been most completely occupied, but my health & that of all my family has been perfectly good ever since I have been here. We have not had one hour’s sickness.— I have in family Mr. Eliot & his sister Betsy—Doctr. May from Boston & four servants.—8 My Nancy is everything I could wish or hope for, as a Wife & friend.— We have not once had the least difference of sentiment, and neither satiety nor disgust have follow’d from 18 months enjoyment. We have a boy about 9 months old, who is perfect in his limbs & shape, who is as robust a child as I ever saw—is tight & fat, his joints well Knit, & is a full blooded Yankee, begotten on the Banks of Merrimack, in Nature’s fullest Glee. He has a Countenance full of jolly smiles—his mothers forehead & Eyes, a nose compounded of the two & a mouth a little resembling his father when he smiles.— He is often passionate but very seldom cries.— Excuse the father for saying so much of a […] in whom you can have no other Interest tha[n that h]e belongs to me.—
I intend to write a line to my dear friend your brother, but if I should not have time, please tell him I would have written. I have tried much to get some good tobacco for him, but altho’ we live in the midst of a tobacco Country, no one will take the pains to manufacture it.— I have requested a friend of mine to send to Petersburgh in Virginia, (where only the good tobacco can be had) for a Keg, but it has not arrived yet, & the ship is now sailing.9
With every wish for your happiness & that of / your amiable Brother, believe me most / sincerely & affectionately your friend
[signed] W. Cranch.10
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “John Quincy Adams Esqr. / Minister from the United states / of America, resident / at the / Hauge.”; endorsed by TBA: “William { 377 } { 378 } Cranch Esqr / 16 September 1796 / 27 Recd. Novr / 29 Do Answd:”; notation: “per ship Peggy.—” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. This was possibly the bark Peggy, Capt. Henry Lunt, which made multiple trips between Georgetown and Amsterdam between 1795 and 1797 (Philadelphia Finlay’s American Naval and Commercial Register, 1 Jan. 1796; Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 11 July; Baltimore Federal Gazette, 29 March 1797).
2. John Nicholson (d. 1800), the former comptroller general of Pennsylvania, was a principal investor in the Washington, D.C., land speculation firm Morris, Nicholson & Greenleaf, reconfigured as Morris & Nicholson after James Greenleaf’s exit from the venture in May 1796. In June the firm began construction of twenty two-story brick houses along the square on South Capitol Street between M and N Streets. William Cranch, whose services had been retained after Greenleaf’s departure, initially oversaw the construction, but both Nicholson and Robert Morris came to Washington in September to lend their weight to the project and to attend to their firm’s financial affairs in the capital (DAB; Clark, Greenleaf and Law, p. 71; Bryan, Hist. of the National Capital, 1:278–280).
3. JA uses the phrase “well-born” several times throughout his Defence of the Const., and the words would become part of the attacks against him leading up to the election. JA’s most cogent use of the term, however, is to argue against a unicameral government: “The rich, the well-born, and the able, acquire an influence among the people, that will soon be too much for simple honesty and plain sense, in a house of representatives. The most illustrious of them must therefore be separated from the mass, and placed by themselves in a senate: this is, to all honest and useful intents, an ostracism. A member of a senate, of immense wealth, the most respected birth, and transcendent abilities, has no influence in the nation, in comparison of what he would have in a single representative assembly” (JA, Defence of the Const., 1:xiii; Elizabethtown New-Jersey Journal, 2 Nov.; Halifax North-Carolina Journal, 7 Nov.).
4. On 29 March under the title “BRITISH AMITY!” the Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser offered an example of the depredations being committed against American shipping by British vessels. These “EVIDENCES OF BRITISH AMITY” became regular features across the Democratic-Republican press throughout the summer; see, for example, Elizabethtown New-Jersey Journal, 11 May; Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 28 June; and Boston Independent Chronicle, 12 September.
“Exclusive patriots” initially referred to populist groups in France that acted in opposition to the Directory during the spring of 1796. In the United States, the term became a pejorative adopted by the Federalist press to describe their Democratic-Republican opponents; see, for example, New York Herald, 25 June; Boston Columbian Centinel, 13 Aug.; and Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 5 September.
5. Jacob Norton was dissatisfied with his salary as minister of the First Church of Weymouth. On 11 Oct. he addressed a letter to his congregation stating that due to the “diminution of the value of money, for several years past” he had not been able to “furnish my-self and family with several of the comforts, and even of the necessaries of life.” His initial appeal appears to have been denied, but on 27 Feb. 1797 he submitted a similar letter to his congregation with better results. Elizabeth Cranch Norton recorded in that day’s diary entry that a parish meeting was held during which the congregation voted her husband “the use of the parsonage, while he remains their minister—& 15 Cords of wood a year free [of] all expence” (MHi: First Church [Weymouth, Mass.] Records, 1724–1839; Jacob Norton Papers, Elizabeth Cranch Norton Diary, 1796–1797).
6. The Residence Act of 1790 made no provision for public funding toward the establishment of the national capital, although Section 4 empowered the president to receive grants of money to defray the expenses of land and buildings. George Washington negotiated with landowners to receive free of charge the land necessary for streets, parks, and other public reservations, while land allocated for public buildings was conveyed at a price of £25 per acre. The remaining building lots were then apportioned equally between the landowners and the government, the latter of which sold its share to finance the public buildings. By the end of 1795 these avenues of funding had been exhausted or were impractical, and in Jan. 1796 Washington submitted to Congress a loan appeal on behalf of the district commissioners. The { 379 } resulting loan of $300,000 was approved by the House on 31 March and by the Senate on 4 May (First Fed. Cong., 6:1767–1768; Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 8:24; Bryan, Hist. of the National Capital, 1:264–270; Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 79, 825–840).
7. From the 1750s Washington had envisioned the Potomac River as a means of connecting eastern shipping to the western frontier, and in 1785 he was a driving force behind the organization of the Potomac Company, founded to improve the river’s navigation. The greatest impediment to continuous navigation of the river from Cumberland, Md., to the tidewater 184 miles downriver at Georgetown was Great Falls, 14 miles from Georgetown, where a 76-foot drop over one-half mile made the river impassible. Excavation of a skirting canal had begun in 1791 and preparatory work for the lift locks was under way by 1795, but challenges in design, funding, and labor delayed completion of the locks until 1802. By 1797, however, a system of inclined planes was in place whereby cargo could be lowered from vessels upriver of the falls to those downriver (Robert J. Kapsch, The Potomac Canal: George Washington and the Waterway West, Morgantown, W. Va., 2007, p. 10, 14, 17, 86–87, 90, 107). See also Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 8, above.
8. Samuel Eliot Jr. (1772–1822) and his sister Elizabeth (1774–1847) were the children of Boston merchant Samuel Eliot Sr. and Elizabeth Greenleaf and the nephew and niece of Nancy Greenleaf Cranch (Walter Graeme Eliot, A Sketch of the Eliot Family, N.Y., 1887, p. 43, 122–123; Greenleaf, Greenleaf Family, p. 73–74). For Dr. Frederick May (1773–1847), see CFA, Diary, 1:45.
9. For TBA’s 8 April 1795 letter to William Cranch requesting tobacco, see vol. 10:407.
10. JQA replied to this letter on 29 Nov. 1796 offering his congratulations on Cranch’s “felicity” and thanks for Cranch’s description of the capital’s development. JQA then gave a brief review of France’s recent military failures and its various peace negotiations, and he offered a mocking summary of the French influence on politics in the Batavian Republic (LbC, APM Reel 128).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0195

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Dalton, Ruth Hooper
Date: 1796-09-24

Abigail Adams to Ruth Hooper Dalton

[salute] my Dear Madam

I received Your kind Letter of Sepbr 5 and was very happy to learn from it, that You enjoyed So large a portion of Health.2 long may the blessing be continued to You and to Your Family. My own Health has been very infirm through the Summer, nor does it Seem much mended by the appraching fall.
<I thank you my Dear Madam for your kind wishes.> The <Event You notice> expected Event You mention in Your Letter has just been made publick here. there is but one more that could have caused a more uneversal mourning throughout America, I mean the Death of the Greatest Character that America ever produced and the closing Scene of this Great <Man’s> & Good Mans political Life adds a Dignity & Lusture to <his> all <Whole Li> his former actions, and will cover him with unfadeing Lawrels <no one can be so long as Time> untill Time shall be no more.3 whomsoever the people may call to succeed him will find no easy task to fill his place. should the Lot fall where You are pleased to hope it may, I can only say may the Mantle of Elijah rest upon Him.4 for my self—the declining State of my Health leads me much more to contemplate a residence in the World of { 380 } Spirits, than becomeing Successor to one of the most amiable innofensive and best of women, and to you my Dear Madam I may say, that the event would excite in My mind an anxiety greater <far> than I ever before experienced, and so far from being an object of my Ambition; that the consiousness of my inability <and the apprehension that I could not make good the> to discharge <So important> acceptably <So> the Duties of So important a station, would fill my mind with the most lively apprehensions of my own unworthyness. From very early Life, I have been innured to the Sacrifice of Personal happiness <to the> in the frequent Seperations I have experienced from my best Friend, not merly in times of tranquility but in those of great Danger & Hazard. I have ever considerd the calls of My Country as the first & foremost claim, my self & family but as Secondary objects, <to that I again submit whatever decision it makes it may please to make—>& tho retirement alltogether from publick Life as Years increase, and infirmities assail me, would be by far most Eligible to me, <if the Voice of my Country determine otherways, I shall consider myself but should it be otherways determined,> I shall endeavour cheerfully to accquiese in the allotment of Providence—
I pray you to present my Regards to mr Dalton & the young Ladies and to believe that I shall ever retain a greatfull Remebrance of the Sisterly care and kindness I experiencd from you in the long sickness I underwent in Philadelphia.5 I am glad to learn that Polly Tailor is so well situated as with you I wish she would be sensible that she never had So great an Enemy as herself, and learn from former experience that a placid Temper and complying disposition is the great Sweetner of Life. she has many Excellent qualities for which I Shall ever value and regard her— I shall request mr Brizler to execute her commission and will direct the Man whom she formerly employd to get her shoes made— Mr Brisler has been in great affliction having lost his Second Daughter with a putrid disorder6
Mr Adams and my Neice join me in an affectionate Remembrance to mr Dalton and the Young Ladies and request You Madam to be assured / of the sincere regards / of your Friend
[signed] A Adams
Dft (Adams Papers); notations by CFA: “Copy. Mrs Dalton.” and “1796.” Filmed at [1796].
1. The dating of this letter is based on the publication of George Washington’s Farewell Address in Boston, for which see note 3, below.
2. Not found.
3. On 24 Sept. the Boston Columbian { 381 } Centinel was the first Boston newspaper to reprint Washington’s Farewell Address, which originally appeared in the Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser on 19 September. The address was a composite, adapted and reworked by Washington from an earlier version composed at the close of his first term by James Madison and then emended and redrafted by Alexander Hamilton in 1796. The president used the address not only to announce his retirement but also to defend his administration and to articulate his vision for the future of the nation. He reaffirmed the need for American neutrality: “Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humour, or caprice?” He also emphasized the importance of domestic and political unity, cautioning, “The unity of Government which constitutes you one people, is also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize. But, as it is easy to forsee, that from different causes and from different quarters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth … it is of infinite moment, that you should properly estimate the immense value of your national Union, to your collective and individual happiness” (Hamilton, Papers, 20:169–170).
4. 2 Kings, 2:13–15.
5. For Dalton’s assistance to AA during her protracted illness in 1792, see vol. 9:271–272.
6. On 27 Aug. 1796 JA recorded in his Diary, “Brisler absent on Account of his sick Child.” That child was likely Abigail Briesler, the second of John and Esther Field Briesler’s children (JA, D&A, 3:244; Sprague, Braintree Families).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0196

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1796-09-25

Abigail Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] my Dear Thomas

Your Letter of June the 29th was as refreshing to me as cold water to a thirsty Soul. the very superscription gave a flow to my spirits which I had not experienced for many Months before. be assured not one unkind thought ever enterd my mind at not hearing from you. it was anxious Solisitude for Your Health, painfull suspence at what might be the cause of Your long silence. Your Brother had informd me from England, that you had been sick, and the Nature of your Complaints. Maternal affection felt the pains, heightned by the Idea of Distance, a foreign Land, destitute of Fraternal aid, and those alleviations which Soothe the Heart, and mitigate the Sufferings. Not a Bosom as Sterns Says to Uncle Toby, to rest Your Head upon, nor a Heart to repose Your Sorrows to.1 poor Fellow, if after commisiration and pity, could assuage even the pain of recollection, be assured You would find an ample fund, sufficient to allay them all, in the sympathetic Heart of Your Mother, who has herself experienced much ill Health through the Summer. I would recommend to You to try the Waters of Bath. they are said to be Soverign in those complaints to which you are Subject.2 Your Brothers New appointment will determine You to return Home next spring I presume. I should however recommend to you to visit France before that period.3 See for yourself a very extradonary People, whose { 382 } future Destiny no Eye can penetrate, nor am I sufficently versd in the Prophesys, with Pater West, to rejoice in this Revolution which has consignd so many Innocent Victims to the World of Spirits, immolated so many fellow Creatures, to Mad ambition, and a thirst of Domination and conquest which now mark every step of their progress.4 Heaven grant that we may not be Scorched by their Flames. even at this Distance we feel the Heat of them.
The die is cast! All America is or ought to be in mourning The President of the united states refuses again to be considerd as a canditate for that office. He has addrest the people of the united states. read and Judge for yourself. is it not repleat with profound wisdom? how enlarged and comprehensive his views? How wise and judicious his advise? and, his warnings? with a modesty, I could almost say, peculiar to himself, with a Heart and mind Duly imprest with Religious Sentiments and an affectionate attachment to his Countrymen, he resigns the important trusts Committed to him, coverd with Glory and Crownd with Laurels, which will place him in the Archives of Time with the first of Heroes and the greatest of Benefactors to Mankind.
The present period is to the people of America a solemn pause! an Epoch in their Annals Big with the Fate of America.
Heaven Guide and direct them.
Before your Letter of June reachd me I felt so anxious for you, that I requested your Father to write to the Secretary of state, and inquire of him if any Letter had reachd him of a later Date. he was kind enough to reply and make some extracts from them, and at the close of his Letter, he says “the intelligence with which the Letters of your Youngest Son have been written, shew that the affairs of the united States in the Netherlands might very well be intrusted to his direction,[] but he adds, I do not know what are the Presidents intentions.5
I quote this passage to shew you that your Letters have given satisfaction. the President has not left to a successor the promotion of Your Brother. I find by the Secretary of States Letter, that he was to remain in Holland untill further orders. when he receives them, I presume he will go to England and take his companion, who I hope will prove to him all he wants, and all he wishes, who will Do him good and not evil all the Days of her Life. I have felt a little anxious least I should have hurt his feelings in some sentiments exprest to him in a Letter, soon after I heard of his appointment, but he must { 383 } asscribe them to the real cause an anxious Solicitude for his welfare—6
adieu my Dear son. may you be safely returnd to Your Native land, and to the Arms of / your affectionate Mother
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs: A Adams TBA / 25 Septr: 1796 / 27 Jany 1797 Recd: / 7 April answd:.”
1. “How can you live comfortless, captain Shandy, and alone, without a bosom to lean your head on—or trust your cares to?” (Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, vol. 8, chap. 25).
2. For AA’s trip to Bath in Dec. 1786 and Jan. 1787, on which she was accompanied by AA2 and WSS, see vol. 7:410–411, 414–415, 445–448. JA and JQA had also made a brief visit to the town in Dec. 1783, for which see JA, D&A, 3:151–152, and JQA’s excellent account of the trip in his letter to Peter Jay Munro, 29 Dec. (NNMus). TBA did not take the waters at Bath during the three months he and JQA spent in London from July to Oct. 1797.
3. While TBA would not return to America until 1799, he did spend nearly a month in Paris during April and May 1797. For the best description of his visit, see his letter to AA of 24 July, in which he enumerates the sites “worth a travellers curiosity” that he visited in the capital and also the country estates near Paris that had been damaged during the revolution (Adams Papers).
4. AA is referring to Rev. Samuel West, for whom see vol. 7:176. West was well known for his belief in biblical prophesies and the predictions they held about modern events, especially those of the American Revolution, and for his opposition to the French Revolution (Sprague, Annals Amer. Pulpit, 8:40, 41, 43).
5. JA’s letter to Timothy Pickering requesting information about TBA has not been found but was dated 29 Aug. 1796. In his reply of 5 Sept., Pickering informed JA that he had recently received a letter from TBA dated 28 May, not found, in which TBA cited ill health as the cause of his interrupted correspondence (Adams Papers).
6. See AA to JQA, 10 Aug., above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0197

Author: Johnson, Joshua
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-09-30

Joshua Johnson to John Quincy Adams

[salute] Dear Sir.

Your favor of the 13th came to hand on the 26th. by which I find that you had not determined on the time of your departure or the Rout you should persue, tho you say you should prefer that by way of England if you are permitted & a Passage in a Neutral Vessell could be obtaind to carry you to your destination;1 I donot know the propriutory or Impropiutory of your comeing this way, therefore I will not venture an opinion on the case, but should you fix on this rout you need not be under any apprehentions of meeting with Neutral Vessells to convey you when you want to go as many are continually going back & forward. It is true, I do know the motive of your wishing to come this way & I should not act candid if I was not to tell you, that I wish it & that before the Month of March as I find it absolutely necessary for me to quit this for Amica either in that { 384 } Month or early in April! for unless I go to Amica soon I may loose every thing that I have been labouring for during my life & leave my Family unprovided for & even unprotected, on meeting I can explain more to you & you will also have an opportunity to confer & make such arrangements as may tend to your future happiness & relieve me from a doubt whether my Child is to go with me or not2
I had receved previous to your letter, an Official communication from Mr. King, that the Directory of France, had come to the determination not to molest our Flag, I wish this Country would act with the same moderation; but they cannot help every now & then takeing some of our Vessells.—
By the latest Accounts from Amica we find that the opinion of the People is altered. it is now generally beleived that the President will be reelected & that he will serve the Office,3 it will be productive of one good & which is the prevention of a struggle for the Seat.— Dr. Nichol & Mr. Anstic are the Commissions appointed on the part of this Governmt to Settle the claims for our Captured property, the Commissions have advrtized to meet on the 10th. of next Month to do business & they tell me that they have hopes of finishing the whole in Eighteen Months, I much wish they may but I have my doubts—4 I am now looking out for an opportunity to send you the Books Mr. Hall left with me and as soon as I can meet with one they shall be forwarded—5
Mr. Bourne had wrote me that he had determined on postponeing his Visit to Amrica this Year & informed me of his Intentions to carry on Business at Amsterdam, I have a very high respect for this Gentleman & when I get fixt in Amrica shall do my best endeavors to serve him—
It is with much pleasure that I can inform you that Mrs. Johnson & all the Ladies are well, they Join in Affectionate Compliments to you; with every Sentiment of regard I am / Dear Sir / Your Affecte. Freind
[signed] Joshua Johnson
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “John Q. Adams Esqr. / Minister Resident from the / U. S. A. / Hague”; endorsed by TBA: “Joshua Johnson Esqr. / 30 Septr: 1796 / 12 Octr Recd: / 14 Do Ansd:.”
1. In his letter to Johnson of 13 Sept., JQA reiterated that it was unlikely he would depart for Portugal until the following spring but that it was his desire to travel via London, if permitted. Because it would be impossible for him to take passage in a British vessel, he asked Johnson if American or other neutral vessels regularly traveled between England and Portugal and when they would depart. JQA also passed along the news that Sylvanus Bourne had delayed his tour of the United States (Adams Papers).
{ 385 }
2. For Johnson’s business dealings in London and subsequent financial failure, see LCA, D&A, 1:3, 36, 50–54, 86–87.
3. Johnson may have read the rumor of George Washington’s continued service in the London Bell’s Weekly Messenger, which on 11 Sept. reported, “A letter from Philadelphia, dated July 22, states the probability of General Washington continuing the Presidency of the United States, nothwithstanding his recent determination to the contrary, provided he is re-elected.”
4. Britons John Anstey and John Nicholl were appointed to the five-man commission established under Art. 7 of the Jay Treaty, which was to determine property damages that resulted from maritime seizures. The American representatives to the commission were Christopher Gore and William Pinkney. Col. John Trumbull was then chosen to be the fifth representative by the other four. The commission opened for public business on 10 Oct. and, after periods of interruption, finished on 24 Feb. 1804, having ruled on more than 500 claims that ultimately awarded $11,650,000 to American claimants and $143,430 to British claimants (John Bassett Moore, History and Digest of the International Arbitrations to Which the United States Has Been a Party, 6 vols., Washington, D.C., 1898, 1:316–322, 341–344).
5. On 12 July 1796 JQA had written to Joseph Hall requesting him to purchase Samuel Johnson’s Works of the English Poets, 75 vols., London, 1790. Further qualifying his request, JQA asked, “As this purchase is for one of my friends here, and not for myself, I wish the set may be very neat and handsome,” “handsomely bound, gilt, lettered &ca:” (LbC, APM Reel 128). In a letter of 2 Sept. Joshua Johnson informed JQA that Hall had delivered the books but that he would hold them until JQA’s return, to which JQA replied on 13 Sept. asking instead that the books be forwarded to him (both Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0198

Author: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-09-30

Louisa Catherine Johnson to John Quincy Adams

After waiting with extreme anxiety I recieved my friend your very short letter of the 12th Inst which afforded me both pleasure and pain: it has realized an apprehension I had lately entertained, I knew not why of your having erroneously supposed me dazzled with what you stile rank. Permit to say that having always been taught to consider domestic happiness alone permanent I am and sincerely hoped to have remained a stranger to pomp.
I have hitherto from a point of delicacy declined mentioning your public situation at least my opinion of it lest you might have considered it as offering the guidance of my weak judgement and next that you might not in any degree have been biassed through your much valued esteem for me. Yet have I frequently wished to persuade you to relinquish every station that detained you from your friends and Country.
True my Sex is esteemed fond of parade so that you may probably be inclined to doubt the truth of this assersion if such are your sentiments allow me however anxiously to await your return to America where I shall be happy to prove that you and not your rank engross my every wish.
{ 386 }
Now suffer me to offer you my most affectionate thanks for your candor in indulging me with an opportunity of an eclaicissement so requisite to our mutual happiness.
Respecting the dangers incident to my Voyage many of which you wish me to suppose inevitable, many more as possible you advise me to weigh well the matter which I am to do by contemplating the dark side (pleasing admonition) however I have availed myself of it and painted the scene gloomy as possible. but with you at the head find every idea of danger vanish.
Be assured I shall always be ready to return with you to private life and no fortune nor shall I need a previous preparation to induce me to consider rank itself an object of no consequence
Convinced of your affection and in the constant hope of soon hearing from you I with pleasure subscribe myself your tenderly attached
[signed] Louisa C. Johnson

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0199

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-10-05

Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother.

My last letter to you was dated the 27th: of August, and went by “the Genl Green” for Rhode Island.1 I hope ere this it has made more than half the passage. A direct opportunity offers for Boston from Rotterdam and another from the Capital, by the latter of which, I am informed, in a letter from Messrs: Willink just received, will be sent the table linnen &ca: which was ordered by you last fall. That which was directed to be purchased for Mrs: Welsh, will also take passage in the same vessel. In a letter, which a few days since I wrote to the Doctor, I undertook to presume that the articles had not only been sent long ago, but that they were safely landed in Boston. Upon enquiry however I find that my anticipations of Myn Heer’s punctuality and dispatch were much too favorable. Nine months taken to complete so trifling a commission, is surely an unreasonable time, but you know the nature of the annimal, and will account for the delay upon the score of his tardiness.
Upon the subject of the table cloths, which were deficient in the parcel you received last year, I shall give you an extract of Myn Heer’s letter above mentioned.
“We have made every enquiry about the missed table cloths, of { 387 } doubt but that the number of table cloths expressed in the account have actually been shipped.
“The person from whom we bought them, will if required make a declaration of his having packed up and delivered the number of table cloths charged in the account, and our porters who put them in the box are likewise willing to make a similar affidavit of there having been the same number put in the box and shipped. As these documents will be attended with some expence, we shall expect to learn whether you will have them made out.”
Now as Myn Heer not only avers, that the said table cloths were faithfully packed and shipped according to invoice, but affirms that his people are ready if required at a small expence to swear to the fact; it is my humble advice & opinion, that it is quite sufficient to be robbed, without paying more of ones property for the sake of having the first loss confirmed by the oath of any body. I do suppose then, that the loss must be pocketed, but if I knew any method of making the pocket of Myn Heer hold it, I would certainly put it in force. I am sure that Myn Heer will not refund if he can avoid it, though a few guilders, you will say could be no object to him; but therein you would be much deceived, for a few guilders taken from a few millions according to his calculation make as glaring a deficit as when taken from a few hundreds. I hope the commission which is now executing will eventually prove more satisfactory to you both in quantity and quality, than the first.2
The news of the times may be comprised in a small compass. The defeats again and again of the French armies upon the Rhine form the principal share of newspaper intelligence— The two armies upon a moderate estimate have lost between 50 & 60 thousand men; and one of them was very near being entirely cut off. So much for the ambition of Conquest. All this has taken place in the space of sixweeks.3 The french begin to talk of peace with the Emperor, upon such terms as he may expect at present—this is a sufficient indication that the times are pénible with them.
The English have not yet learnt entirely to respect our rights— they continue to capture our vessels; but the french threaten also to adopt the same practice, if the English persist in it. Oh impotence! Of how many wrongs art thou the Parent!
We are well— Tilly has got rid of the Ague, after a severe battle with it. We are looking for letters every day; alas! How little do I deserve any.
{ 388 }
Remember me to every body & believe me now & ever your dutiful Son.
[signed] Thomas B Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs: A Adams.”
1. TBA’s letter to AA of 27 Aug., above, was carried on the ship the General Greene, Capt. Charles Sheldon, which sailed from Amsterdam and arrived in Providence, R.I., from New York, on 3 Nov. (Ship Registers and Enrollments of Providence, Rhode Island, 1773–1939, Providence, 1941, p. 390–391; Providence Gazette, 5 Nov.; Providence United States Chronicle, 3 Nov.).
2. None of TBA’s correspondence with Jan & Wilhem Willink, Thomas Welsh, or the unidentified Dutch merchant regarding the commissions for table linen has been found, but both AA and Abigail Kent Welsh had received their orders by March 1797 (AA to JQA, 15 March, Adams Papers). For AA’s request for linen, see her letter to TBA of 30 Nov. 1795, above.
3. During its 1796 campaign, the goal of the French Army was a two-fronted attack of Austria, with Napoleon’s army advancing from the south through Italy and the armies of Gen. Jean Victor Moreau and Gen. Jean Baptiste Jourdan attacking from the north. Both fronts successfully advanced until late August, when the northern armies were halted by Archduke Charles, who led the Austrian Army in a series of attacks against Jourdan’s troops at Amberg on 24 Aug. and then at Würzburg, Aschaffenburg, and Altenkirchen between 2 and 19 September. Jourdan retreated across the Rhine, losing nearly half of his 45,000 troops. Unable to join forces with Jourdan, Moreau was unwilling to continue his advance and retreated to Strasbourg (Cambridge Modern Hist., 8:497).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0200

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Date: 1796-10-12

John Quincy Adams to Louisa Catherine Johnson

After reading your letter of the 30th: of last month which I received this morning, I looked at your picture, and methought it looked unusually cool.— I read the letter a second time, and upon again turning to the picture, it seemed to look severe— Upon a third reading, I dared not again consult the portrait; I feared to find it disdainful— Between us two, my lovely friend let there be Peace. In the intercourse of friends, of lovers, but more especially in the [te]nder and inseparable connection which I hope is destined for us, nothing bears so hard upon the ties of mutual kindness and affection as suspicion and distrust.— Between you and me may it never rise.
As to the subject of pomp, or parade, I will henceforth be totally silent upon it, and indeed there is no occasion for much to be said upon what will never be our concern. I most cordially wish that either duty or prudence would permit me from this moment to relinquish my present Station, and renounce every other that can detain me from my friends and my Country according to your advice; but there are inducements from both those sources, which forbid it for the present.— Whenever I shall be able consistently with my obligations to my Country, and with my anxious affection for you, I shall { 389 } eagerly seize the first opportunity that shall offer to restore me to private life and retirement. It is most suitable to my disposition, and I hope you will find it congenial with yours.
I must apologize for the use of the word rank, in my last Letter, which appears to have displeased you.1 Had I been an Englishman or a soldier possibly I might have been of opinion that it could not be applied to any thing but the british peerage, or to military gradation. A different Country and profession may have occasioned an error in my mind or an inaccuracy of expression. I certainly did not speak or think of speaking either as an English duke, or as corporal of a company. I pray my dear friend that the word and the thing may be forever forgotten between us.
The advice which I gave you to consider the dark and shady side of a prospect, which your imagination had painted to you in the brightest colours, was not acceptable.— “Pleasing contemplation”! you exclaim in the tone of irony which is a convenient covering for satirical wit. No, my gentle friend it is not a pleasing contemplation, nor should I have recommended it to one whom I love dearer than my life, had I not been convinced that pleasing contemplations are sometimes apt to terminate in disappointment: that they do not alone su[ffic]e for the happiness of any person’s life, and that the tenderest attachment may sometimes discover itself by pointing the attention of its beloved friend to useful reflection. I do most sincerely wish that you may never find from experience, that pleasing contemplations are summer friends, ready to fly from the first appearance of difficulty; but I am sure that you will often have occasion to know that reflection, and the habit of seeing by anticipation the inconveniences and evils inevitably annexed to every approaching prospect, is in reality a kind and benevolent adviser.— As I prefer suffering the mortification even of a sneer from you, rather than the future reproach of having excited false though pleasing contemplations, I readily renounce all pretensions to address in the art of pleasing, and hope you will find me throughout life rather a true and faithful than a complaisant friend.
As a test of your sincerity in the declaration that your affections are solely fixed on me, you propose to continue that separation which every hour renders more severe to me, untill I shall return to America. And could you then for a moment harbour the thought that there is any quarter of the world, or any situation in life which can diminish your worth in my estimation, or render your society less essential to my happiness?— No Louisa.— You are the delight and { 390 } pride of my life.—Humbly as I have reason to deem of my own merits, there is a sense within me that will neither allow me to doubt of your affection, nor admit the suspicion that it could be brought in competition with any foreign or unworthy object; and assuredly if there is any thing in your character that can deduct in my mind a particle from its general excellence, it is not the want of a laudable pride, or of a generous consciousness of your own dignity.
I am still detained here by positive orders from the American Government. I have reason to expect every day those which will release me from hence; but as I know not how long their arrival may be delayed, nor what the nature of them will be, it has hitherto been impossible for me to speak positively, whether they will allow me to take the course which my own inclination directs, or will prescribe another. If they leave me to my own option, (and I have no reason to apprehend that they will not) I shall certainly come to you without an instant of avoidable delay. The first moment after I receive my orders shall be employed to give you notice of them and my detention after receiving them cannot I imagine extend beyond three or four weeks. I have heard that Lovers <count> break not hours, unless it be to come before their time.— When I shall be able to fix my time, I hope to prove that I am not inclined to be behind it, but if the most ardent wishes of my heart could give me a conveyance, the wings of the wind would loiter in comparison with its rapidity.— I look again at the picture and it smiles.— May the powers of gentleness and Love beam with all their wonted influence on the countenance of my friend, when she reads the reiterated assurance of unvaried affection from her
[signed] A.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Miss Louisa C. Johnson. / London.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. See JQA to LCA, 12 Sept., above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0201

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1796-10-25

John Quincy Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] My dear Brother

I have received your letter of September 7th: with the account current, which as you observe, though not altogethe mercantile in point of form is fully intelligible and satisfactory.1
As I shall as soon as it is in my power authorise you to make another draught on my account, I shall remind you of two directions { 391 } contained in my former letters and from which it is my wish that you will in no case depart. It is to make no draught at a discount but rather to draw at times when an advantage may be made of your bills. The other is, on no account whatever to incur an illegal risk, or aim at an illegal profit in the employment of my money. As to the first point, where there is a great fluctuation in the course of Exchange, common prudence must dictate to those who are under no restraint of time to chose that which offers a fair and just benefit, and avoid that when the transaction must involve a loss. The other objection arising from a conscientious regard to the laws is obvious. I shall of course be the more gratified in proportion as my property is productive, and have no objection to any rational risk for a proportionable profit; but I prefer infinitely the small benefit of legal interest, if a choice must be made between that, and any gain whatever that is obnoxious to the laws.
I have also received your favour of August 11. by Captain Spring, and congratulate you upon the birth of your Daughter.2 I will not say that I envy your happiness, because I shall always rejoyce at your prosperity. But what a sorry figure politics and celibacy and the perpetual cold bath of a Dutch atmosphere, make in comparison with learned Council a wife and daughter, and new-York with real air to breath, instead of a rarefied Canal. As to warm weather, if any faith is to be placed in augury, I shall at no very distant period be favored with at least as much of it as you have. Whether I shall get into as warm a birth must be left for time to determine.
I am obliged to you for the papers which you still send us once in a while and for the short letters, which you do write me— As for the long letters, which you intend to write me, the file of which is already considerable, and accumulating every two or three months, I believe I may as well thank you for them too, for if I reserve my acknowledgements untill I receive them, I fear you will never be rewarded for them according to their merits.
We have seen the Presidents address to the people of the United States in a Boston Centinel of Septr: 24th: Its wisdom and spirit and parental solicitude, are worthy of his character; but I do most sincerely and deeply regret his determination to retire.
The newspapers, which are constantly sent you, will give you accurate intelligence from this part of the world. I suppose you generally receive them late, but the position of the Country makes it impossible to transmit them earlier. You will find that the French { 392 } armies began the campaign with prodigious force, and penetrated very far into Germany, but have been driven back to the Rhine for the present. They will perhaps renew the attempt the next year.
Lord Malmsbury has arrived at Paris as English Ambassador to negotiate a peace.3 The people both of France and England most ardently wish for peace. The Governments on one side or the other, probably on both think it not yet time. Projects of Conquest are indulged on both parties, and the adherence to them, will it is likely prevail more powerfully than the distress of nations groaning & bleeding under the burden of a war, for which conquest is now the only remaining pretext. Another year of contest is still expected. I trust our Country will have the wisdom to preserve its peace. The treaty with Britain has effectually given us the Posts; the Commission for settling the capture cases is now sitting in London and will have a probably advantageous and favourable termination. These are permanent, substantial, undeniable benefits. They will remain when the clamours and riots of faction shall only be remembered as a stain and become a reproach in the mouth of faction itself. I hope however these will not be forgotten. Let them serve as indications of designs, which were happily defeated, and the memorial of the past may operate as a guard against the preparations of the future.
Remember me affectionately to your lady, and be assured of the invariable sentiments of your brother.
LbC in TBA’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Charles Adams Esqr:”; APM Reel 128.
1. Not found.
2. Not found.
3. Sir James Harris, Earl of Malmesbury, for whom see vol. 7:304, had been sent to Paris to negotiate a general peace with the French. He had been instructed to demand the restoration of the Austrian Netherlands to the emperor, but the mission failed when France refused the condition. Malmesbury would try again, unsuccessfully, in 1797 in his final diplomatic mission (DNB).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0202

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-10-28

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My Dear son

I have this Morning, filed in order your Letters and have now in one bundle before me from No. 6 to No. 23 inclusively and will take care they shall not be again Seperated.1
The Western Posts are all delivered, and the Commissions in a good Way.— Mr King and Mr Gore in England and I hope Mr Pinkney in France, will be your Friends bothe Personally and Politically.
You are destined to Portugal and will take with you, I presume an { 393 } help meet, and may God grant you and her a double Portion of his choicest Blessings
I am Still delighted with your Facts, your Opinions, your Principles and your Feelings. I believe them just.
Electioneering goes on, with as little Bitterness as can be expected, but exactly as you would anticipate.
If the President should direct you to charge your Brother with our affairs, I hope he will Stay at the Hague till he hears farther from me.2
I do not approve of your Projects of quitting the Diplomatic Career at present; much less of your Thoughts of settling in the Southern States.
You need not be anxious about the Succession to The Presidency, for whoever shall be chosen I dare answer for it, he will not disgust you, either by promoting others over you, or by any other ill treatment. No Man who has been mentioned or thought of, but has a just Value for your Merits. Even if your Father should be the Person he will not so far affect a Disinterest as to injure you. If Jefferson if Henry if Jay, Hamilton or Pinckney, should be elected your Honour and Promotion will be in no hazard
But you know, I do not allow myself to write you upon Public Affairs at present. I hope to be a better Correspondent, e’er long,— I am always / with a tender Affection your
[signed] John Adams
I have sent by this ship a Packet for Mr Tegelaar of Amsterdam containing his new Certificates. I shall wish to know if he has recd them
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “J. Q. Adams.” Tr (Adams Papers); filmed at 7 Aug. 1796.
1. These letters span the period 12 Feb. 1795 to 21 July 1796 (all Adams Papers).
2. In a letter of 29 Aug., which has not been found, JA may have asked Timothy Pickering if TBA was being considered as a replacement for JQA at The Hague. In his reply of 5 Sept. (Adams Papers), Pickering expressed his confidence in TBA’s abilities, for which see the excerpt AA included in her letter to TBA of 25 Sept., and note 5, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0203

Author: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-11-01

Louisa Catherine Johnson to John Quincy Adams

How my much loved friend Shall I atone. for the uneasiness my last letter caused you— Could my picture at the moment I read those lines so descriptive of your affectionate pain have proved a true index of my soul it would I am persuaded in your gentle bosom { 394 } have procured my peace— Allow me to say I saw in yours, or thought I saw an inexpressible something that did not do justice to the sincerity of my affection, and anxious to eradicate every suspicion of being too much elated with your situation, induced me to be thus explicit, but a truce with explanations we are I trust equally convinced and I am certain mutually satisfied—
You have spoken peace and Oh may it prove our constant attendant— May distrust with all its baneful tribe be far, far from our hearts— At this moment look at my picture and if it expresses the feelings of the original, it greatly exceeds what my pen is capable of— You will ere this I flatter myself have recieved your dispatches, and may they be propitious to my happiness, for be assured my friend whatever declarations I make relative to our longer separation, though voluntary they are no less painful sacrifices, for be assured the world itself without you will ever be an aching void to your
[signed] L. C. Johnson

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0204

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1796-11-08

Abigail Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] my Dear son

I have just received Your Letter, sent by the Gen’ll Green, Captain Sheldon via RhoadeIsland, dated August 27th. I believe I have scarcly lost a Letter from You or Your Brother notwithstanding the many hazards and Chances to which they have been liable.1 accept My thanks for Your last Communications.
I rejoice at the return of your Health Strength and spirits, and most sincerely wish that your constitution may be mended by the ordeal you have past.
I have much upon my mind, which I could say to you.2 prudence forbids My committing it to writing, at this Eventfull period. I can judge of your solisitude to learn through a channel upon which you could depend, whatever affects the interests of our Country. In a Quotation from the Chronical You cannot expect Truth. Falsehood and Malevolence are its strongest features. it is the ospring of faction, and Nursed by Sedition, the adopted Bantling of Party. it has been Crying Monarchy and Aristocracy, and vociferating Anathemas against the Defence, as favoring Monarchy making quotations of detachd sentences, as the Atheist endeavourd to prove by the { 395 } Scripture that, “there is no God” omitting, “the Fool hath Said in his Heart”3
one writer asserts that [“]mr A has immortaliz’d himself as an advocate for hereditary Governments as much as mr J[]n has distinguishd himself, in and out of office as a true Republican. mr A[]s, has sons placed in high Offices, and are no Doubt understood to be, what he calls the Well Born4 and who following his own Principals, may as he hopes, one time become the Seigneurs or Lords of this Country. mr J[]n has Daughters only, and had He the wish, has no Male Successor.”5
By such false and glaring absurdities do these misirable Beings endeavour to deceive and delude the people into a distrust of their most disinterested Friends the Real Gaurdians of their Liberties, and defenders of their Priviledges.
The Chronical writers6 put up Gov’r Adams for an Elector & Mr Bowdoin Rep. in the Room of Mr Ames, who declined being again Elected. on the other side col Daws was put up for an Elector & H G Otis as Rep’ve the result of the votes you will find inclosed.7
I feel anxious for the Fate of My Country. if the Administration should get into Hands who would depart from the System under which we have enjoyed so great a share of Peace prosperity and happiness, we should soon be involved in the wars and calamities which have deluged other Nations in Blood, we should Soon become a devided and a misirable people.
I have been too long a Witness to the Scenes which have been acted for years past, and know full well what must be endured, to have any other sensations when I look to an Elevated Seat, than painfull Solisitude and anxiety, a Mark at which Envy Pride and Malevolence will shoot their envenomed arrows.
Joy dwells in these dear silent shades8 at Quincy and domestick pleasures in Peace and tranquility. if I should be calld to quit thee, with what regreet shall I part from thee.
I feel perhaps too keenly the abuse of Party. Washington endured it, but he had the Support of the people, and their undiminishd Confidence to the Hour of his Resignation and a Combination of circumstances which no other Man can look for. first a unanimous Choice, 2ly personally known to more people, by having commanded their Armies, than any other Man, 3ly possessd of a Large Landed Estate, 4ly refusing all Emoluments of office both in his Military & civil capacity. Take his Character all together, and we { 396 } Shall not look upon his like again, notwithstanding which he was reviled and abused, his administration perplex’d and his measures impeeded. What is the expected Lot of a Successor.? He must be armed as Washington was, by integrity, by firmness, by intrepidity. these must be his sheild, and his wall of Brass, and with Religion too, or he will never be able to stand Sure and steadfast.9 Dr Preistly in a dedication of some sermons which he deliverd last winter, and which he dedicated to the Vice President of the United States, observes to him “that Religion is of as much use to a statesman as to any individual whatever, for Christian Principles will best enable Men to Devote their Time, their lives, their talents, and what is often a greater sacrifice, their Characters to the publick Good, and in publick Life he observes this will often be in a great measure necessary. Let a Man attain to Eminence, of any kind, and by whatever means, even the most honorable he will be exposed to Envy and Jealousy, and of course, he must expect to meet with calumny and abuse. What principel can enable a Man to consult the real Good of his fellow citizens without being diverted from his generous purpose by a regard to their opinion concerning him, like those of the Christian, who can be satisfied with the Approbation of his own mind, and who tho not insensible to Due praise, can despise Calumny and steadily overlooking every thing which is intermediate, patiently wait for the Day of final retribution”10 Thus says the Poet.

[“]Fame for good Deeds is the reward of virtue

Thirst after Fame is giv’n Us by the Gods

Both to excite our minds to Noble acts

And give a proof of some immortal State

Where we shall know that Fame We leave behind”

“That highest blessing which the Gods bestow”11

As I consider it one of my chief Blessings to have Sons Worthy of the confidence of their Country So I hope in imitation of their Father they will serve it with honour and fidelity, and with consciences void of offence, and tho they may sometimes, meet with ingratitude, they will have,

“The souls calm Sunshine and the Heart felt Joy”12

adieu my Dear Son. I hope to See you in the course of an other year. Time which improves Youth every Year furrows the brow of Age.
{ 397 }

And thro Our years

As Life declines, speed rapidly away

And not a year but pilfers as he goes

Some Youthful grace that age would gladly keep

A tooth or auburn lock.13

Thus my son in the course of three years absence, You will find many depredations of Time upon those whom you left advanced in Life, and in none more perhaps than your Mother, whose frequent indispositions hasten the Strides of Time, and impair a frail fabrick but neither Time, absence or sickness have lessned the warmth of her affection for her Dear Children which will burn with undiminishd / fervour untill the Lamp of Life / extinguishes the Name of
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A Adams Novr 8th: 1796 / 27 Jany 1797 Recd: / 7 April Answd.” Dft (Adams Papers).
1. In the Dft, AA adds here: “I have been Surprizd that they have so regularly come to hand.”
2. In the Dft, AA adds here: “but which I fear to write to you. Yet I know at this Time You are all alive to every movement and transaction of your Native Country.
The present is no Doubt a momentous period to the people of the United States.”
3. Psalms, 14:1.
4. In the Dft, AA adds here: “(Hear, my Sons and Glory in the Testimony).”
5. Here AA paraphrases from the Boston Independent Chronicle, 31 Oct., in which “Safety” attacks JA for his “aristocratical principles” and anti-French sentiments, defends Thomas Jefferson’s candidacy, and lobbies for Aaron Burr as vice president.
6. In the Dft, AA uses “Jacobins” instead of “Chronical writers.”
7. On 27 Oct. the Boston Independent Chronicle recommended that the First Middle District of Massachusetts be represented in the forthcoming election by Gov. Samuel Adams, whose constant support of “those pure principles of Republicanism” and his personal familiarity with both JA and Jefferson made him an ideal candidate to serve as a presidential elector. To represent the district in Congress, the newspaper put forward James Bowdoin Jr., for whom see vol. 1:327, as a person whose “political sentiments are such, that every man who is governed by principle rather than party, will uniformly approve.” Both men were formally chosen to stand as candidates in a meeting of Democratic-Republicans held on 2 November. The Federalist candidates chosen were Harrison Gray Otis for Congress and as an elector, Col. Thomas Dawes (1731–1809), a successful mason and architect who had served in the Massachusetts militia. The enclosure has not been found but was likely from the Massachusetts Mercury, 8 Nov., which announced Dawes and Otis as the winners by significant margins (Boston Independent Chronicle, 3 Nov.; Boston Columbian Centinel, 2 Nov.; Doc. Hist. Ratif. Const., 5:918). For the process of selecting electors in Massachusetts and elsewhere, see CA to AA, 16 Nov., note 2, below.
8. In the Dft, AA extends the passage and places it within quotation marks: “Joy dwells in Silent Shades, and / private pleasures, in Peace and not in Pomp” (John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, The Tragedy of Julius Cæsar, Altered: With a Prologue and Chorus, London, 1722, Act III, scene i, lines 6–7).
9. In the Dft, AA adds here: “if I am not deceived in My Countrymen, their Suffrages will be given to Him whom next to Washington they consider as the supporter of their constitution and their Government.”
10. AA quotes the dedication to JA in Joseph Priestley’s Discourses Relating to the Evidences of Revealed Religion, in which Priestley wrote, “the favourable attention you gave to the following Discourses, when they were delivered, { 398 } and the wish you expressed that they might be published, induce me to take the liberty to dedicate them to you.” A copy of the volume is in JA’s library at MB (Catalogue of JA’s Library). See also JA to AA, 5 March, and note 4, above.
11. John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, The Tragedy of Marcus Brutus: With the Prologue and the Two Last Chorus’s, London, 1722, Act I, scene v, lines 30–35.
12. Alexander Pope, Essay on Man, Epistle IV, line 168.
13. William Cowper, “The Sofa,” The Task, Book I, lines 129–133.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0205

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

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] my Dear Son

I have to acknowledg the receipt of two kind Letters from You Since I wrote You last, No 21 from the Hague June 30. and No 22 July 25. for both of them accept my Cordial Thanks. Letters from either of my sons, give me a flow of spirits for a week, and a Durable gratification in the perusal of them, as they contain judicious reflections and observations which would do honour to the most experienced Statesmen, not only in the partial mind of a fond Parent, but are so esteemed by disinterested judges.
Before this reaches You, the Solemn News of the Presidents declaration to retire from the publick service together with his Excellent address to the people, will no Doubt be communicated to you by some earlier opportunity. Words cannot do justice to this last Legacy. Where shall we look What Page of History can shew us a Character like Washingtons

“Who has made fair Plenty through the Land increase

Given Fame in War, and happiness in Peace”

God Almighty bless him in this world and the next.
You quite mistook my meaning, when I observed to You, “That if two Events Should take place, You must not expect promotion.[]1 by the first I meant the Resignation of the President. the other was, that his successor might be one who would feel a Delicacy on account of your Personal Connection with him. but the President has not left this Subject to embarress his Successor, should he be the person contemplated, and whilst I consider it as the reward of Merrit I feel myself indebted to his Paternal care.

“If to me Sons are given

Such as in fondness, parents ask of Heaven”

{ 399 }
I rejoice that they are found worthy of the Confidence of their Country, and hope that they will ever prove Some of its firmest pillars and Supporters.
I wrote to you upon My first hearing of your appointment to Portugal, and in My Zeal for your Welfare, I fear I might mix more warmth of expression, than on maturer reflection I ought to have Done. What ever I wrote was well intended. my fear arose from the Youth and inexperience of the Lady with whom you was about to connect yourself, least she should contract Tastes and Sentiments altogether Anti American, least the Stile and Manners of a court Should make too Deep an impression upon a Youthfull Mind, to realish the Republican Manners of an American
Your experience will I hope gaurd you against those evils, and impress them upon her mind. I think you ought not to go to Portugal alone. Your Brother means to return to us. You whose chief delight is in Domestick Life, must feel yourself in a Desert without a companion. as you have fixd, and I trust wisely, I advise you to marry the Lady before you go to Portugal. Give my Love to her and tell her I consider her already as my Daughter, and as she made England delightfull to you, I hope she will, every other Country.
As your return to America will be postponed, I shall not say any thing upon the intimation you gave of setling at the Southard. The Lady it is who is to forsake Father and Mother, and follow the fortunes of her Husband, but this must be the Subject of a future Letter.
I inclose to you a News paper2 all the Arts of the Jacobins are in practise at the approaching Election, united with the Pride of the old Dominion and foreign influence. you will see in the paper which I have inclosed to Thomas, Adets Letter.3 You will mark the period at which it appears the people are not insensible to this movement. the News papers inform us that the most active measures are taking by the Democratic Societies to ensure success to their Candidate, by circulating Hand Bill containing libels on mr Adams. Gate post, Doors of Houses & posts are coverd through the Country, a right Gallic measure. Men are hired to ride through the Country with Bags of these Hand Bills. I do not however learn that they contain any thing but to represent him as attach’d to Monarchy to Tittles &c that he is Enemical to the Rights of the people, all of which these very engines of Mischief know to be false.4
they have Dropt all Candidates but the Vice President & mr { 400 } Jefferson, who on the other side has his Principles and pratises throughly Desected. inclosed is a paper which will give you some Idea of the subject, but who the writer is, is unknown both to your Father and to me.5
You will readily suppose that a fiery ordeal is prepareing.
Our Friends here are all well and desired to be affectionatly rememberd to you. I am my Dear Son your / Ever affectionate Mother
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by TBA: “Mrs: A Adams J Q A / Novr. 11— 1796 / Jany 27 1797 Recd: / Feby 8 Do Answd.” Tr (Adams Papers).
1. AA is paraphrasing from her letter to JQA of 25 May, above.
2. Not found.
3. On 27 Oct. Pierre Auguste Adet wrote to Timothy Pickering enclosing the Directory’s 2 July decree on neutral navigation, for which see TBA to JA, 6 Aug., and note 5, above. In his letter Adet justified the decree on the grounds that the U.S. failure to defend “the vexations imposed upon their commerce” by British encroachment disadvantaged France under the terms of the 1778 Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce, especially in light of the fact that the British assault on American shipping continued even after the Jay Treaty was completed. Adet ignited a public exchange with Pickering by publishing the letter in the Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 31 Oct. 1796; it was reprinted in the 8 Nov. Massachusetts Mercury, which AA likely enclosed with her letter to TBA of the same date, above. Pickering’s reply of 1 Nov. was first published in the Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 3 Nov., and appeared in the Massachusetts Mercury, 11 November. His letter countered that the Franco-American treaty confirmed the policy that “free ships should make free goods,” and thus that France had no right to seize neutral American vessels trading with the British. Pickering also noted that the British had issued no new orders regarding the seizure of American ships carrying French goods, but that such seizures were within the law of nations. Pickering concluded by chiding Adet for making his original note public, arguing that “it was properly addressed to its government, to which alone pertained the right of communicating it in such time and manner, as it should think fit to the citizens of the United States.” The public debate continued with a long second letter from Adet, dated 15 Nov., in which the minister suspended his functions in the United States, charging that America had surrendered its rights as a neutral to Great Britain and had violated its treaty agreements with France. While summaries appeared earlier, the entire letter was first published in a special issue of the Philadelphia Gazette, 21 Nov., and would appear in the Boston Columbian Centinel, 3 December.
4. A contributor to the New York Herald, 29 Oct., asked, “Whence this extraordinary exertion in favour of Mr. Jefferson? and why are so many handbills in circulation villifying Mr. Adams? … and what is the object of Mr. Jefferson and his partizans?” Handbills condemning JA’s Defence of the Const. as a “Eulogium of Monarchy and the British Constitution” and JA as an “avowed MONARCHIST” had appeared in Boston as early as 24 Sept. but were most virulent in Pennsylvania, where prior to the state’s 4 Nov. election of presidential electors, John Beckley, a Virginia politician working on behalf of Thomas Jefferson, arranged for the distribution of thousands of handbills and sample ballots encouraging residents to vote for Jefferson. This was the first use of such tactics in a U.S. presidential election. Most often these handbills cited brief excerpts from the Defence to demonstrate JA’s “royalist” leanings. One reprinted part of a letter by Thomas Paine in which he equated JA’s preference for hereditary government to treason: “John Adams is one of these men, who never contemplated the origin of government, or comprehended any thing of first principles. If he had, he must have seen that the right to set up and establish hereditary government, never did and never can exist” because doing so was “of the nature of treason” (Americanus, { 401 } Boston, 24th Sept. 1796. At This Important Crisis, Evans, No. 29982; Republican, Fellow Citizens! The First Concern of Freemen, Calls You Forth into Action, [Phila., 1796], Evans, No. 30411; Robert V. Friedenberg, Communication Consultants in Political Campaigns: Ballot Box Warriors, Westport, Conn., 1997, p. 4; Public Notice. Friday the Fourth Day of November Next … Extract of a Letter from Thomas Paine, [Phila., 1796], Evans, No. 30983).
5. The enclosure has not been found but was probably one of the Phocion articles, for which see JA to AA, 7 Dec., and note 2, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0206

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

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My Dear son John

I know not where to find you—Whether in Holland England or Portugal—Whether to address you as a married Man or a Single one. And I am equally at a Loss what to write to you. one thing I am at no loss to say that your Letters have continued up to No. 23. inclusively to delight and inform me, and that I beg you not to be discouraged from continuing your favours, by my Remissness in Writing
Our Continent is all in a lurry with Elections. The nine Days Wonder will Soon be over. Your Mamma will inclose you Gazettes in which you will see, that Party Spirit is busy but not fiery. All will go coolly enough. The Scribblers must have their itching, Scratched. Poor Jefferson is tortured as much as your better Acquaintance. If he feels as little, he will not mind it. The Jacobins in Boston were driven to the miserable shift of setting up my old Friend the Governor for an Elector. I wish he had been chosen. I should have been content that he should have voted for any body, for the sake of knowing Who he would vote for. They could not carry him. Dawes had it, two to one.
If I should be a private Gentleman next Year, I shall be a better Correspondent of yours than I ever have been, and my Farm will shine brighter than ever.
Adet has thrown Some Electioneering Nutts among the Apes. I Suspect they will have a contrary Effect, from what he intended.
If you become a southern Man, who shall I give my Hill to? I have given it the Name of Peacefield. Shall Charles or Thomas have Peacefield?
I will make one political Observation and conclude.
If you read The Chronicle, the Aurora and all the other Papers which Attack me, you will See a manifest insincerity in every Writer { 402 } and every Paragraph which relates to me. They seem to take no Pains to disguise themselves but betray grossly and evidently that they dont believe a Word they write. I am, my Dear, yours
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “J. Q. Adams.” Tr (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0207

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Date: 1796-11-12

John Quincy Adams to Louisa Catherine Johnson

I received by the last Post, two Letters from your Pappa, my amiable friend, and looked in vain for a line from you. Not a syllable even to tell me you were well. I found indeed from your Pappa’s Letters that you had not at their date received my last, and therefore upon the rigour of etiquette, you were not obliged to write.1 I shall not complain, and attribute your silence rather to your usual aversion to writing, than to any remains of the temper which I was sorry to observe in your last Letter.
This Circumstance however, painful in itself, was rendered still more so by its concurrence with the tenor of my letters from America received at the same time. They lengthen the prospect of my detention here, and deprive me almost entirely of the hopes I had so fondly indulged of meeting you before your Pappa’s return to America. The protraction of the time during which we must still be separated from each other, is a severe disappointment, and at present I have only to comfort myself with the hope that it will not be of long continuance. The residence of any part of Europe possesses very few attractions to my mind. A continual impulse directs my inclinations towards my own Country, and when you shall be there, it will be the center of all my affections; I shall therefore have the settled determination to shorten my continuance in Europe as much as possible, and upon the first moment when I shall be able consistently with my duty to my Country, to you and to my own affairs, I shall seize it with eagerness to share with you an humble but a contented lot.
When a course of Events occurs which disappoints our wishes, it is a consolation to consider the circumstances in our lot which tend to alleviate the pain of disappointment.— I endeavour therefore to comfort myself with the consideration that although we must still delay the moment of our destined union it will eventually be formed in a situation which will require no subsequent sacrifices. That it will not expose us to form habits of attachment to the empty { 403 } baubles of a life connected with Courts. That you will in the interval become acquainted with the manners and habits of the People among whom the residue of your life is to be past, and will habituate yourself to them in such a manner, as not to remember with regret the idle unsubstantial pageantry of Europe. You will therefore find it easier to acquiesce and make yourself happy under the unambitious and unpretending style of life, which will be necessarily the lot of the companion to a Man, not gifted by Fortune, and determined to live Independent.— This consolation of Reason cannot indeed satisfy the Heart, but it contributes to silence its complaints.
Without you, I am indeed fully sensible that all society will be insipid to me; I go but little into it here, and purposely avoid the public assemblies, balls and other parties where I should certainly find less satisfaction than I do alone with my books and the remembrance of you. To reading I have since my return here devoted more of time than ever. Indeed almost the whole that I have at my own disposal.— As my inclination leads me to believe that there is an heaviness of absence, to you too, I persuade myself that you also employ your leisure in acquiring the ornaments of an elegant mind, and I yet flatter myself with the hope that you will surmount altogether your aversion to writing, and prove by a frequent and interesting correspondence, that your own well adapted efforts have happily seconded the excellence of your natural understanding. Thus we shall both beguile in a great measure the tediousness of inevitable absence, by the consciousness of its rendering us continually more worthy of each other.
Adieu my lovely friend. I remain with invariable affection your / tenderest friend.
[signed] A.
1. In a letter to Joshua Johnson of 9 Nov., JQA acknowledged letters of 25 and 28 Oct., which have not been found. He thanked Johnson for forwarding letters from America but informed him that the news contained therein would delay his departure from The Hague until late spring or summer, thereby further delaying his marriage to LCA (Adams Papers). The forwarded letters were probably a copy of Timothy Pickering’s letter of 23 July and his letter of 3 Sept., both Adams Papers, neither of which offered JQA instructions about removing to Lisbon (JQA to Pickering, 16 Nov., LbC, APM Reel 129).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0208

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-11-13

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

I return my dear madam miss Williams letters with Lovuts memoirs—1 am much obliged & hope have not detained them too long—
{ 404 }
am sorry to hear by Your late short billet that You do not enjoy perfect health—2
was the stage driver under any mistake when he told me you Contemplated a passage to Plimouth in the stage ere long— I hope he was not: as such a Circumstance would be exceedingly gratifying to Your friends here—3
I did promise myself the pleasure of passing one evening at lest before the seting in of winter—but begin now to doubt whither it will be in my power—
Mr Warren unites in respectful Compliments to the vice president and to Yourself: with Your assured / frend & Humble servant
[signed] Mercy Warren
my daughter sets by and desires her most respectful regards as would the lovely little Marcia otis was she awake4
1. Helen Maria Williams, Letters on the French Revolution, Written in France, in the Summer of 1790, to a Friend in England, 2 vols., Boston, 1791–1792, Evans, Nos. 24003, 25039, and Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, Memoirs of the Life of Simon Lord Lovat, London, 1785.
2. Not found.
3. AA had visited Scituate and Plymouth in August, traveling with Mary Smith Gray Otis on 15 Aug. and returning to Quincy five days later, but she does not appear to have made a return visit after that date (JA, D&A, 3:241, 242).
4. Mary Winslow (b. 1771), daughter of Pelham and Joanna White Winslow, had married Henry Warren in 1791; their daughter Marcia Otis was born in 1792 (NEHGS, Memorial Biographies, 5:169; Jefferson, Papers, 38:314; Lee D. van Antwerp, comp., Vital Records of Plymouth, Massachusetts to the Year 1850, Camden, Maine, 1993, p. 199).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0209

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-11-14

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

No 24

[salute] My Dear Mother.

I received a few days ago, your favour of August 10th. it mentions a previous letter of July 11th. which has not yet reached me. The latest date from you before this last is of June 10. From my father I think I have none since May.—1 The appointment to the mission of Portugal, I find from your Letter was as I had before concluded, unknown to my father. I have already written you upon the subject, and I hope my ever dear and honoured mother that you are fully convinced from my Letters which you have before this received, that upon the contingency of my father’s being placed in the first magistracy, I shall never give him any trouble, by sollicitation for Office of any kind.— Your late Letters have repeated so many times { 405 } that I shall in that case have nothing to expect, that I am afraid you have imagined it possible that I might form expectations from such an Event. I had hoped that my mother knew me better. That she did me the Justice to believe that I have not been so totally regardless or forgetful of the Principles, which my education had instilled, nor so totally destitute of a personal sense of delicacy, as to be susceptible of a wish tending in that direction.— I have indeed long known that my father is far more ambitious for my advancement, far more sollicitous for the extension of my fame, than I ever have been, or ever shall be myself; but I have hitherto had the satisfaction to observe that the notice with which my Country and its Government have honoured me, and the confidence which they have been pleased repeatedly to repose in me have been without the smallest agency of my father, other than the recommendation which his services carried with them.
I am yet unable to say how long I am still to remain here. When I go from hence, I shall according to my engagements pass through London on my way, if I can do it consistently with my public duties. If not, my purposes of a family establishment will be postponed untill my return to America. The observations in your Letter relative to this matter are full of the tenderness as well as of the Prudence, which I have always found in your counsels.— My friend, is as you suppose, accomplished both in mind and person; her education has been such as you conjecture, and it is possible that the habits and manners to which she may become accustomed will afterwards make it painful to her to adopt those of our native Country.— But I think you need not apprehend any thing very fascinating in the connection which we shall form with Courts. I have had a glimpse at two of them, and judging of the rest from them, I will answer for it, you have nothing to dread from their allurements. Besides which, I have thought it my duty to be very explicit with the Lady, on the subject of my future prospects in America, which I have represented in their true and not in flattering colours.— My invariable attachment to my Country, and inflexible determination to make it the permanent residence of my life, my sentiments of Independence, which require the continual sacrifice of every propensity to habits of expence, have all been explained, understood and approved.— Besides all this, my friend has herself a delicate sense of propriety and a mildness of disposition, which will easily acquiesce in the dictates of discretion, and submit without reluctance to those of necessity.— Let me further hope, that she will have an opportunity to improve { 406 } by your advice, and to learn from your example how easily and how gracefully an amiable disposition and a virtuous mind can accommodate itself to the grot as well as occasionally enter a Palace.
But I entreat you above all to be persuaded, that the image of my Country never can be absent from my mind, and that I never can find contentment or delight at a distance from my Parents. What an heart should I have if it were capable of other sentiments. To love his Country and venerate his Parents is undoubtedly among the most imperious duties of Every Man; but I am bound to mine by more than ordinary ties; by the obligations of such tenderness, and indulgence, of such inestimable instruction and virtuous principles, of such gratuitous kindness and unmerited favours, that I should indeed disgrace the name and character of a Man, if I could dismiss the remembrance or the sense of them for a moment from my heart and mind.
I hope therefore that you will dismiss some part of your anxious apprehensions on my account. That you will believe it impossible for me to be forgetful of my duties to my Parents or my Country, and not impossible for me to descend with a philosophical indifference from my too early elevation, to a station more level with the humility of my pretensions and more conformable to my natural mediocrity. That I can relinquish without a sigh, the station in which I have been placed without a wish; and that if for the comfort of my future life, I must place some part of my trust in the continuance of the Bounties of Providence, I shall at least take care not to incur an incapacity for the continuance of my own exertions.
If you still take an interest in the Events which are occurring in this bloody quarter of the Earth, you will perhaps be glad to have some news. I suppose however it will be none to you, that both the french armies which began the campaign by an irruption into Germany, have been driven back to the Rhine, after inflicting and suffering Calamities, the mere relation of which ought to give pain to every hearer but which are told and heard with the utmost possible indifference.— The campaign is drawing towards a close, and the two parties are just where they were when it began, bating about an equal share of losses on both sides. The armies will soon go into Winter Quarters, and recruit for a new conflict of the same kind at the opening of the next Season—In Italy, the french are undertaking to establish a new Republic upon their conquests, probably for the sake of scaring the Emperor into a cession of the low Countries. Corsica is abandoned by the English,2 and Spain has joined in the { 407 } War against Great-Britain. There seems to be some impartiality at least in beginning a War on one side, and finishing it on the other. The Spanish declaration of War assigns as one of the grievances against Britain that in the Treaty with the United States of America, the British Government had sacrificed the rights of Spain which were well known to them. This is what in vulgar language is called, letting the cat out of the bag. Our magnanimous allies of France do not like the Spanish Declaration therefore, but think it a weak thing. This precious confession of Spain, is the best of all panegyrics upon Mr: Jay’s Treaty; it is the extorted eulogium of an adversary defeated.—3 Our town meeting negotiators I dare say will not understand it. They know how to vote a Treaty infamous, or to kick it to H——, or to throw stones at a man, who happens to be in his senses when they are mad, for opening his lips in its defence, but the address of dissolving a formidable secret combination, and of making both the conspiring parties abandon the pretensions upon which they had joined their forces to support each other, the influence of a settlement with one antagonist in procuring an advantageous bargain with another, the disconcerting of designs in a third Quarter, the more deeply hostile, because disguised under the mask of the most cordial friendship, these are things which the progress of time will unfold, which will prove how well qualified a townmeeting is to discuss and decide the political interests and foreign relations of the American Union, which will gloriously vindicate the policy of the Treaty with Britain, but which will not make a single town meeting orator or voter one particle the wiser or the better from his experience.
There is in this Country a National Assembly as you know, preparing a new Constitution. The Committee appointed to draw it up, after a labour of more than seven months made their report a few days since. It is not yet published.— It is a close imitation of the french Constitution, but alas! it is not sufficiently one and indivisible. Of course it must still undergo, great alterations.
Lord Malmesbury is at Paris endeavouring to negotiate a Peace. Nobody appears to expect that his mission will come to any thing. The french partizans say that the British Ministry only want a pretext to raise the supplies for the next year and do not intend sincerely to make Peace; the English partizans say that the french Directory are determined not to make Peace, because they are ambitious of Conquest, and hope to make more Revolutions: the charges may be true on both sides.— The french Directory have proposed a law to { 408 } restrain the licentiousness of the press; they complain bitterly against all their Journalists— You will see their moral and political sermon to the Legislature, upon the abuses of the press—4 An old Roman Poet says, that the Gracchi should not complain of sedition.5
My brother is well, and has written you lately.— Whitcomb has recovered from his fever and ague, and I have hitherto escaped it.— I understand that his sweetheart is tired of waiting, and has given him his congé. He thinks she was in the right.6
I am with the most dutiful affection, your Son
[signed] John Q. Adams.7
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs: A. Adams.”; docketed by Louisa Catharine Smith: “Nov 16. ’96. J Q A.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 128. Tr (Adams Papers).
1. For AA’s letter to JQA of 10 June, see her letter to TBA of the same date, and note 7, above. JA’s previous letters to JQA were dated 5 and 19 May, both above, and 10 June, for which see JQA to AA, 16 Aug., and note 3, above, all of which JQA had received by this time.
2. Corsica fell to the British in 1794, and although the British Navy successfully rebuffed French attempts to retake the island the following year, it was unable to establish its dominance of the Mediterranean. By Nov. 1796 the lack of reinforcements to supplement the fleet and the threat of an attack by the joint French and Spanish navies caused Britain to evacuate Corsica and withdraw its navy from the Mediterranean (Cambridge Modern Hist., 8:458–461, 857).
3. The Treaty of San Ildefonso, signed on 19 Aug., created a strategic alliance between Spain and France and resulted in Spain’s declaration of war against Great Britain on 5 Oct. (same, 8:460–461, 857).
4. In a letter to the secretary of state of 16 Nov., JQA further described the Directory’s attempts to silence the press: “The french Directory have in a long message to the Legislative Councils, proposed the necessity of restraining laws upon the liberty of the press. They declare that all the Journalists are continually slandering and vilifying the Government, and that all endeavours to punish them by prosecution only encourage them by triumphant acquittals to repeat and aggravate their offences. The press they are well aware is a powerful engine, and they wish to have its exclusive management in their hands” (LbC, APM Reel 129).
5. Juvenal, Satires, Satire II, line 24. The Gracchi were brothers Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus and Gaius Sempronius Gracchus, Roman tribunes who proposed radical agrarian reform in the second century B.C. Their plan to redistribute land among plebs was opposed by patricians and resulted in their assassinations (Oxford Classical Dicy.).
6. For the relationship between Tilly Whitcomb and Polly Doble Howard, see vol. 10:281 and AA to TBA, 10 March, above.
7. On 25 Nov. JQA also wrote to JA about his future plans, stating his desire to pursue a life of literary study rather than seeking further diplomatic posts or returning to the bar. He also relayed comments made by the French minister at The Hague regarding his dissatisfaction with the proposed Dutch constitution, which JQA believed “abandons in a great measure but without sacrificing entirely the federal principle” (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0210

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-11-16

Charles Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mama

I have received your two last letters that by Mr Bracket accompanied by the presents you were so kind to make us.1 The fruit though { 409 } it had a very long passage is very fine there not being more than thirty unsound pairs in the whole barrel the cheese is also remarkably good and I think would deceive the most experienced Englishman—
The anxiety respecting the event of the election is very great not that they suppose that Mr Jefferson will stand any chance for President but The Federal party are apprehensive that the Eastern States by voting unanimously for Pinckney; should South Carolina split between the two candidates for the Presidency, may give a majority when no one intended it should be had. such are the apprehensions which must be excited at every election while that unfortunate part of our Constitution remains.
The friends of Mr Jefferson deal much in declamation and extravagant calculations they count six votes East of New York towit four from Massachusetts two from New Hampshire one half from Maryland the whole from Virginia Kentucky Tenessee Pennsylvania North Carolina South Carolina and Georgia by which said hopeful calculation wants nothing but accuracy to secure them their object.2 Mr Gerry say they will certainly give his vote for Jefferson. He must be very much changed if he does not say I!3 They were highly delighted when they hear Govr Adams was candidate for Elector No one said they can stand against him they were rubbing their hands and counting his vote as sure when lo!! the Boston Centinel arrived yesterday and baffled all their hopes.4 I sent the letter of my Eldelst Brother to the Governor5 I shall probably hear his remarks on it as I dine there today This I will say of it that it contains more sense than all the logic of all the Jacobins in the world Heaven preserve us from French influence and the tender mercies of their fraternal embraces is the sincere prayer of your affectionate son
[signed] Chas Adams.
Mrs Adams and your little Susan are both very well
RC (private owner, 1957); addressed: “Mrs Abigail Adams. / Quincy.”; endorsed: “Charles Adams / Novbr 16—1796”; notation: “C. Adams to his / mother Abigail Adams.”
1. Letters not found.
2. The system of electing a president and vice president originally established by the U.S. Constitution authorized individual state legislatures to determine the means of selecting electors for the Electoral College (Art. II, sect. 1). Various states assumed different approaches to choosing their electors. Seven states—Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Vermont—had their state legislatures appoint electors. Maryland, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Virginia used district elections, while Pennsylvania and Tennessee held direct, popular elections. Massachusetts and New Hampshire used hybrid approaches, { 410 } combining a mix of elections and appointments. For a complete summary of the electoral process by state in the 1796 election, see Tadahisa Kuroda, The Origins of the Twelfth Amendment: The Electoral College in the Early Republic, 1787–1804, Westport, Conn., 1994, p. 66–69.
Once selected, electors cast votes for president and vice president without distinction, creating a situation in which someone ostensibly put forward as a possible vice president could be elected president and vice versa. Furthermore, because the Constitution did not anticipate the rise of political parties, the president and vice president were not elected as slates. Thus a president of one party could be paired with a vice president from another, as in fact happened in 1796.
The Federalists put forth JA and Thomas Pinckney of South Carolina as their presidential and vice presidential candidates, respectively, while the Democratic-Republicans supported Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. But due to the nature of the process, Republicans attempted to undermine JA’s election by casting votes for Pinckney, while Federalists did the same to Jefferson with votes for Burr. Likewise, both parties attempted to protect JA and Jefferson, respectively, as their top vote-getting candidate by “wasting” votes on secondary candidates.
JA won the first contested presidential election under the U.S. Constitution with 71 electoral votes—9 from Connecticut, 3 from Delaware, 7 from Maryland, 16 from Massachusetts, 6 from New Hampshire, 7 from New Jersey, 12 from New York, 1 from North Carolina, 1 from Pennsylvania, 4 from Rhode Island, 4 from Vermont, and 1 from Virginia. Jefferson received 68 votes, with 4 from Georgia, 4 from Kentucky, 4 from Maryland, 11 from North Carolina, 14 from Pennsylvania, 8 from South Carolina, 3 from Tennessee, and 20 from Virginia. Pinckney received 59 votes, while Burr earned 30. Various other candidates, including Samuel Adams, Oliver Ellsworth, George Clinton, and John Jay, also received votes, primarily in attempts to insure that the two vice presidential candidates, Pinckney and Burr, did not end up receiving more votes than those intended for the top position.
Voting had to take place by 7 December. The official results of the election would not be revealed until 8 Feb. 1797, when JA, as president of the Senate, had the ultimate if awkward responsibility of publicly counting the electoral votes and formally pronouncing his own election to the presidency. Still, rough vote totals were widely reported well before then, and by the third week in Dec. 1796, both JA and AA had accepted his election as a foregone conclusion (Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 2d sess., p. 2095–2098; Kuroda, Origins of the Twelfth Amendment, p. 63–72).
3. For Elbridge Gerry’s support of JA while serving as an elector, see AA to JA, 31 Dec., and note 3, below.
4. On 9 Nov. the Boston Columbian Centinel reported that Boston voters had chosen Thomas Dawes to be their elector with 1,428 votes to the 975 votes tallied by Gov. Samuel Adams. This news was first reprinted on 16 Nov. in the New York Daily Advertiser and Herald.
5. CA is possibly referring to JQA’s letter to JA of 13 Aug. (Adams Papers), which JA received in New York while visiting CA (JA to AA, 7 Dec., and note 1, below).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0211

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Date: 1796-11-21

John Quincy Adams to Louisa Catherine Johnson

The day after I had sent away my last Letter, I received yours of the 1st: instt: which relieved me from an anxious apprehension that you were unwell, or indisposed. The picture resumes whatever it can express of that mild and gentle disposition which is one of the greatest ornaments of the original, and which in my eyes is of more worth than graces or beauty, riches or honours.
You will find from my last Letters, that the tenor of my dispatches from America makes it probable that I shall be still detained here { 411 } several months longer, and that I have found it necessary to sacrifice the hopes of meeting you once more, before my return to America.— I have endeavoured to present motives of consolation to you, in a case where I can scarcely find any for myself. It is another call upon the fortitude which I have so often recommended, and for which every one has frequent occasion in the affairs of life
It will be my endeavour to shorten the term of our separation as much as possible. Europe has no charms for me, or will have none when you are no longer one of its inhabitants.— I hope this disappointment will eventually turn to the advantage of us both. It will at least save us one unpleasant change; that is of beginning our life together upon a scale from which we must soon afterwards greatly descend. You know my situation will be such as to require the sacrifice of every pretence to Splendor, and perhaps of many things which you consider as conveniences of course.— This will be much more easy in commencing our family, than it would be to begin with the incumbrance of a public station and its appendages to change them in two or three years time for the simplicity and meekness of an American citizen without either fortune or prospects.
“Pleasing admonition,”—methinks I hear you once more exclaim. I am indeed too solicitous to call your attention my best friend to the concerns of life. I consider already your destinies, as connected with mine. You are still at a period of life when reflection is not a welcome guest; when she is received without pleasure, and dismissed as soon as possible; when Prudence wears the complexion of Apathy, and Pleasure announces herself as the principal or sole object of pursuit. You have taste and elegance and every quality that can render you pleasing to others, and as your tenderest and most faithful friend, I am anxious also to see you possess the means of being happy or at least contented, yourself. It has long been clearly proved to me by experience that this kind of satisfaction is only to be obtained by the controul of our own wishes and passions. By the continual recurrence of reflection, and the habits of employment. I have therefore strongly and repeatedly inculcated these sentiments both in conversation, and since we parted in my Letters. And indeed Louisa, however it may have appeared to your mind, it has always been the language of a lover: of a faithful and anxious, though not a romantic lover.
You remember well the long continued conduct on my part, which bore an appearance so singular in your opinion untill it was { 412 } explained to you before I left England.— You have possibly been even since, inclined to tax with insensibility the determination upon which that conduct was formed and the perseverance or inflexibility with which it was pursued. Yet at this moment I can assure you that it would have been the most heedless thoughtlessness in me, to have indulged my wish to take you with me at that time. As long as we cannot command Events, we must necessarily learn to acquiesce in them, and the more carefully we prepare for them, the more easily we content ourselves under them.
At present, I had promised myself a more pleasing and satisfactory course of Events; I had hoped to possess the satisfaction of having you for the companion of my life, and although not disguising to myself the inconveniences and hazards to which we must both be subjected, and those which we must of course expect, I thought it would be best to take the chance of them, and hoped that we should mutually lighten them for each other. The necessity which will detain me here so much longer than I had reason to expect deprives me at present of this hope. I find it again necessary to acquiesce in a course of things far wide of my inclinations, and I look for consolation to the hopes of a more distant futurity. Let me recommend the same to you. Be always assured that however far and however long our separation may be, it will never impair my sentiments of affection for you, and hope with me for the time, when a permanent state of my affairs a dependence, upon something less frail and precarious than public service shall authorize more explicitly our destined Union.
Remember me affectionately to your Mamma and Sisters, and believe me with the truest tenderness, your friend
[signed] A.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0212

Author: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-11-25

Louisa Catherine Johnson to John Quincy Adams

I have within the last sad hour recieved your affectionate though painful letter of the 12 which caused me more uneasiness than I am capable of expressing; indeed I know not how I shall answer it— Ah my beloved friend how shall I acquire fortitude to bear my present disappointment— You have it is true kindly endeavoured to heal the wound so reluctantly given, but in vain each endearing line instead { 413 } of mitigating the anguish of my mind tends but to probe it more deeply— But why do I so cruelly add to your affliction; forgive me my friend, I will try to conquer unavailing sorrow, and if possible prevail on reason to usurp her right, which though unable fully to satisfy the heart will I trust contribute to silence its complaints—
Willingly would I acquiesce in every thing you recommend yet am I inclined to believe even you in this instance find theory easier than practice—
In a former letter you recommended me to be prepared for a sudden departure—with what pleasure did I immediately set about the delightful employment, and had completed it to the most minute article— But a truce with complaints—
Write me again soon and be assured that I have already surmounted every aversion to writing and hope to prove by a frequent and interested correspondence the invariable affection of,
[signed] Louisa C. Johnson—

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0213

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-11-26

Thomas Boylston Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dear Sir.

Two days since I had the pleasure to receive your kind favors of the 9th: June and 8th: of August, which came by the way of England with one of the 16th: August from my mother. I find by these, that my letter’s to you and my mother of the last of June, had not then been received, but they must have come to hand soon after, as I have an answer to a letter, which I wrote my brother at NewYork, and which went by the same vessel that carried yours.1 It seems to me, that a singular fatality attends the passage of my letters, for they are usually three of four months in reaching their destination, and the acknowledgments of them, nearly as long in return. It gives me pain that the solicitude of my parents on account of my health, should have been so long continued, because I am persuaded that their apprehensions must have increased and magnified in proportion to the length of time which elapsed after my illness was known until the assurance of my recovery was received. I will not undertake to express the gratitude I feel for their tender sympathy; it serves to enhance the value of such friends in my esteem, and if I know my own heart, the impression it has made can never be { 414 } effaced. Such affection can only be recompensed by the constant endeavors of the object upon whom it is bestowed to merit its continuance.
Your letters have a further claim to my thanks, by the style of partiality which prevails in them, when you notice my communications. I can only hope that the judgment which pronounces upon their merit may not inspire the author, with notions too favorable to his own productions. Without proper deductions however, this might possibly be the case; but my innate veneration for that judgment, suggests the share of allowance which must be made, when it is exercised in a cause to which myself am party.
It seldom happens that I can begin and finish a letter of my own at one sitting; official business often intervenes and supercedes of course all attention to private exercises. This will partly account for the interval which has elapsed since the first date of this letter, in addition to which I have passed nearly a week at Amsterdam with my Brother where his business called him, and where he still is.2
On our way to Amsterdam we spent a few hours with Mr: Luzac at Leyden, who received us with great kindness & hospitality. We found him occupied with his usual labor as Superintendant of the Gazette, which comes from the press of his Brother, and which amidst all the variety of changes & revolutions, that have agitated Europe for seven years past, still preserves its character for accuracy & authenticity, and maintains its rank as the most classical periodical production of the present century.— In a former letter I mentioned to you the harsh treatment, which Mr: L—— had received from the late States of Holland, at the instigation of the French Directory. It was true as I stated, that he was prohibited from having any share in the management of the Gazette, during the exercise of his Professorship in the University, but after that Office was taken from him, he was at liberty to resume the humbler, though perhaps not less useful task of an Editor.
The conversation, which we had with Mr: L—— was unrestrained, and to me it was instructive. I admired his fluency and the accuracy of his expression, which had it been employed in delivering a lecture to his pupils, could not have required a greater precision of style. He spoke much of America, enquired the state of our affairs, and seemed to take much interest in the details of our Government, which he has not hesitated to tell the public very lately, he considers { 415 } to be the best modeled & most wisely administred of all the establishments or civil associations known at this day. It will not be difficult for you to conceive, why this eulogium should appear at this particular conjuncture, nor will it surprise you to hear that to numbers in France and this Country such an encomium is peculiarly obnoxious. To such as esteem unity and indivisibility to be the first requisites of a prefect Government, a recommendation of the American system is little less than Treason, or at lowest an high misdemeanor contra maiestatem populi.3 To such however whose opinions of Federalism are not of the present day’s growth, who have not been terrified or disgusted at the name, notwithstanding the hard & opprobrious terms which have been lavished upon it, to such as are free to think and will think freely, the Constitution under which our Country is now governed, is still held in repute. This class of people is more numerous than is generally supposed, especially in this Country. It is not possible for men to renounce their habits of thought and action, with the same facility as they would put off an old garment, but the doctrine of Revolution and the Apostles who preach it are far from recognizing the existence of any such difficulty. To them every thing is possible that power & force can effect, and it imports them little, by what title such a power is held.
It may be noticed as a proof of the attachment, which still prevails in this Country towards a confederate Republic, that a majority of the Constitutional Committee, were in favor of retaining that form, in preference to that of unity, which is so powerfully recommended by their Allies the French, and the Constitution was thus reported. It was made a question during several days in the National Assembly, whether the plan reported was worthy of being deliberated upon, or discussed before that body. The members from the province of Holland were unanimously opposed to it, but their numbers did not equal the remainder, who voted in its favor, and accordingly it was decided to be a subject of deliberation. But a pretext was soon raised for appointing a new Committee of ten persons, to prepare a kind of Supplimentary plan, which is to make some arrangements with regard to the finances of the Country, which are said not to be sufficiently provided for in the first. But a short time is allowed to this Committee for the accomplishment of their labor, and the Constitution is to be held in advice until that shall be completed.
It affords the highest satisfaction to learn from your letters, that public affairs have assumed an appearance of durable tranquility { 416 } and a more rational complexion than they had previously borne. All eyes in Europe are turned upon the new-world; To most of the Governments on this side of the water, our’s is an object of equal admiration & envy. If to the wisdom and uprightness which have characterised the administration of our affairs hitherto, should be added an unshaken perseverance in the same system, we shall gradually confirm the operation of the former of these passions, but without diminishing the latter. Should we commit errors therefore, it is easy to predict the degree of satisfaction which numbers would derive from them.
The address of the President of the United States to the people of America has been read with avidity here. Many of its sentiments are [too] deeply founded in truth & too forcibly applicable in this Country to be relished; but it has made great impression upon the minds of many people, and will not be less celebrated wherever it is known than was the address of General Washington to the American Army.4 I enclose to you several of the last Leyden Gazettes, which contain the current news, and in which you will observe a faithful translation of the address; you will not be at a loss to conjecture, at whose instigation it is published. Several Paris papers have given a partial & mutilated sketch of it, which renders more important its appearance in a true shape.5 As I am in the habit of sending the Gazettes to my Brother at Newyork, I must beg that after you have done with them, you will take the trouble to transmit them to him.
Please Sir, to present me kindly to all my Philadelphia friends, and chiefest to my Master Ingersoll, and believe me to be with perfect attachment & respect / Your Son
[signed] Thomas B Adams.
RC (private owner, 2008); internal address: “The vice President”; docketed by AA: “T B. Adams Novbr / 26th / 1796.” Some loss of text due to an ink blot.
1. For TBA’s letter to CA of 10 June, which has not been found, see CA to AA, 11 Sept., above. TBA wrote to JA on 24 June and to AA on 29 June, both above. These letters were likely carried by the ship Rising Sun, Capt. Davidson, which departed Amsterdam on 14 July and arrived at New York on 8 Sept. (New York Daily Advertiser, 8 Sept.; Philadelphia, American Daily Advertiser, 10 Sept.). CA’s reply to TBA has not been found.
2. On 30 Nov. JQA and TBA departed The Hague, stopping overnight in Leyden before reaching Amsterdam on 1 December. There they visited the Dutch bankers, Sylvanus Bourne, and several visiting Americans, and they attended the theater a number of times before returning to The Hague on 6 Dec. (D/JQA/24, APM Reel 27).
3. Against the majesty of the people.
4. For George Washington’s circular letter on leaving the army, see vol. 5:205-206.
5. In a letter to Jean Luzac of 25 Nov., JQA commented on an erroneous report extracted from the London news and printed in the supplement to that day’s Gazette de Leyde that claimed “General Washington had been induced from disgust at the ingratitude with which his services have been recently paid to { 417 } retire from his eminent station.” JQA defended the president’s character and motives and asked Luzac to consider publishing a full-length translation of the address. The following day JQA forwarded a copy of the address to Luzac, who published the translation in installments on 2, 6, 9, 13, 20, 27 Dec. 1796 and 6 Jan. 1797. The Gazette prefaced the publication by noting that Washington ended his career “in a virtuous retirement and worthy of the true sage, after having contributed more than any other, as a warrior and as a legislator” and concluded by writing that the address solidified Washington’s position among “the greatest men of all ages” (LbC, APM Reel 128). See also JQA to AA, 8 Feb., below.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0214

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-11-27

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

Winter has caught you on the Road I presume, for a colder Day than this we seldom have in Jan’ry1 You will want to hear how the Farming goes on. the Letters inclosed which I received last evening have put it all out of my Head, and almost put out My Eyes to read. no other than the printed Duplicate has come to Hand. I send you both yours and mine, both of which are important at this time when the plots are unfolding.2 they are a clue to all the whole System of Electionering under foreign influence which in a greater or less degree pervades every state in the union. they will afford but Sorry comfort to You whether destined to publick or Private Life. if to Private, “O! Save my Country Heaven”3 if we are to receive a President from the French Nation, what is to be our Fate?. to accept the Presidency with Such an opposition, & to know that one is rushing upon the thick bosses of the Bucklar4 requires the firmest mind and the greatest intripidity. Heaven direct all for the best
you will See by the Centinal that poor samuel has no opinion of his own. the House and Senate have however been firm.5 inclosed is a curious extract from the Washington Gazzett taken from a paper calld the new world.6
I presume the Fate of America will be decided by the time I get a Letter from You. we are told here that under the Jeffersonian ticket the voters distinguishd themselves by wearing the National cockade. can they have become so openly Dairing and bold?7 I saw Burks paper calld the Star. it ought to be termd the Chronical Rival, a Hireling wretch, in French pay I Doubt not, a whineing & canting because the French Minister has suspended his functions8 Our sons Letter is a key to the whole buisness. I have worn out my Eyes to Day in coppying it;9
The Wall progresses, and the Barn yard has not been neglected. { 418 } the rails are all brought home and I am reflecting that there is no small probability that you may spend the next Summer at Home. I hope Peace Feild will not suffer a French invasion. I am not however terified. I say Gods will be Done, and hope we are not yet given up to destruction.
adieu let Me hear often from you. you know how anxious I am at the events passing before me. poor Johns pride was a little touchd that you should name cooper as a rival in Fame. where will you find a Man of his Age of his Prudence judgment discernment and abilities?10
My best my Sincerely affectionate Regards to the President and Mrs Washington if any people on earth are to be envyd they are the ones: not for what they have been in power and Authority, but for their transit.
once more adieu / ever ever yours
[signed] A Adams.
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. Nov. 27 / 1796.” For the enclosure, see note 6, below.
1. JA departed Quincy to return to Philadelphia on 23 Nov., arriving there on 2 Dec. after having spent a day each with AA2 in Eastchester, N.Y., and CA in New York City.
2. AA received JQA’s letter to her of 16 Aug., above, and the duplicate FC-Pr of JQA’s letter to JA of 13 Aug., for which see TBA to JA, 6 Aug., and note 7, above.
3. Alexander Pope, Moral Essays, Epistle I, line 265.
4. The protrusion at a shield’s center (OED).
5. In his brief address to the Mass. General Court on 17 Nov., Samuel Adams stated little besides the purpose of the session, which was to choose electors for the forthcoming presidential and vice presidential elections. Both houses of the General Court responded by affirming this central duty but further acknowledged George Washington’s retirement and commended the president for his years of service. The house, in perhaps a mild rebuke of the governor, offered, “We should be deficient in that gratitude which is the surest incentive and best reward of patriotic services, to withhold a public tribute of veneration and respect for the character and conduct of this distinguished friend to his Country” (Boston Columbian Centinel, 19 Nov.; Mass, Acts and Laws, 1796–1797, p. 254–255).
6. The enclosed newspaper extract, which appeared in the 5–9 Nov. issue of the Washington Gazette, offered to clarify “the minds of some persons” who “do not distinguish between John Adams, and Samuel Adams” and stated, among other things, that “John Adams was once a Republican; but it was while he was under the protection and influence of Samuel Adams.” The article’s original source was the Philadelphia New World, a shortlived Democratic-Republican newspaper published by Samuel Harrison Smith (Clarence S. Brigham, “Bibliography of American Newspapers, 1690–1820. Part XIII: Pennsylvania [Philadelphia],” Amer. Antiq. Soc., Procs., new ser., 32:150 [April 1922]).
7. AA may be referring to discussions related to a widely reprinted letter from Pierre Auguste Adet “to the French citizens who reside or travel in the United States” ordering them to put on the cockade, “the sacred symbol of liberty.” Furthermore, his letter continued, “The use of the French chanceries, the national protection will not be granted to any Frenchmen but those who, perfectly sensible of the dignity attached to the title of citizen, shall take a pride in wearing constantly the tri-colored cockade. The Executive Directory of the French Republic have pronounced thus” (Boston Polar Star, 17 Nov.).
8. John Daly Burk (ca. 1775–1808) was a recent emigrant from Ireland who initially settled in Boston, where in October he started the newspaper the Polar Star. On 23 Nov. the paper carried the news that the duties of the { 419 } French minister to the United States had been suspended as a result of deteriorating relations between the two countries (DAB). See also CA to JA, 4 June, and note 3, above.
9. The copy in AA’s hand of JQA to JA, 13 Aug., has not been found but appears to have been enclosed with her letter to Elbridge Gerry of 28 Nov., also not found. Gerry’s reply of 28 Dec., for which see AA to JA, 31 Dec., and note 3, below, acknowledges the receipt of both letters (Adams Papers).
10. See JQA to AA, 16 Aug., and note 3, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0215

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-11-27

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

We lodged at Monroe’s in Marlborough on Wednesday night, at Hithcocks in Brookfield Thursday night, at David Bulls in Hartford Fryday night and at Lovejoys in Stratford last night. I have been to hear Sound orthodox Calvinism from Mr Stebbins this morning.1
At Hartford I Saw Mr Adets Note in Folio to our Secretary of State, and I find it an Instrument well calculated to reconcile me to private Life.2 It will purify me from all Envy of Mr Jefferson or Mr Pinckney or Mr Burr or Mr Any Body who may be chosen P. or V. P.
Although, however, I think the moment a dangerous one, I am not Scared. Fear takes no hold of me, and makes no Approaches to me, that I perceive, and if my Country makes just Claims upon me, I will be as I ever have been prompt to shares Fates & Fortunes with her.
I dread not a War, with France or England, if either forces it upon Us, but will make no Aggression upon either, with my free Will, without just & necessary Cause and Provocation.
In all Events of Peace or War, I think Prices must fall considerably before Spring. Lands Labour Provisions and all.
We have had so cold a Journey that I fear our Stone Wall Stands still. If it does however I suppose Manure, or Ploughing or cutting and carting Wood will furnish Employment enough.
Nothing mortifies me more, than to think how the English will be gratified at this French Flight. John Bull will exult and Shrugg his shoulders like a Frenchman, and I fear show Us some cunning insidious, kind of Kindness upon the Occasion. I should dread his Kindness as much as French Severity. But will be the Dupe of neither.
If I have looked with any Accuracy into the Hearts of my Fellow Citizens, The French will find as the English have found, that Feelings may be Stirred which they never expected to find there, and that Perhaps the American People themselves are not Sensible are within them.
I shall write you from N. York. This cold Weather makes me { 420 } regret the Loss of my Bed, and Fireside, and especially the Companion and Delight of both.
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A.”
1. Possibly Abraham Munroe (ca. 1736–1828), who from the 1770s had operated an inn at Northborough, Mass., a town that had split off from Marlborough, Mass. David Hitchcock (ca. 1741–1814) kept an inn at Brookfield, Mass., for more than fifty years. David Bull (1723–1812) operated the Bunch of Grapes tavern at Hartford, Conn., and Ezekiel Lovejoy operated a stage coach service between New Haven, Conn., and New York City and in 1798 would build a new tavern in Stratford, Conn. Stephen Williams Stebbins (1758–1843), Yale 1781, was pastor of Stratford’s Congregational Church from 1784 until 1813 (Newburyport Herald, 3 June 1828; Charles Hudson, History of the Town of Marlborough … with a Brief Sketch of the Town of Northborough, Boston, 1862, p. 116; Mrs. Edward Hitchcock Sr., Genealogy of the Hitchcock Family Who Are Descended from Matthias Hitchcock of East Haven, Conn., and Luke Hitchcock of Wethersfield, Conn., Amherst, Mass., 1894, p. 422; Lucius Barnes Barbour, Families of Early Hartford, Connecticut, 1977, repr. Baltimore, 2001, p. 102; Samuel Orcutt, A History of the Old Town of Stratford and the City of Bridgeport, Connecticut, 2 vols., New Haven, 1886, 1:409, 413; 2:1241; William Howard Wilcoxson, History of Stratford, Connecticut, 1639–1939, Stratford, 1939, p. 553).
2. Several editions of the correspondence between Pierre Auguste Adet and Timothy Pickering were published in 1796, including one in November, The Gros Mousqueton Diplomatique; or, Diplomatic Blunderbus, Phila., Evans, No. 30208; a bilingual version, Notes adressées par le Citoyen Adet, ministre plénipotentiaire de la République Française près les États-Unis d’Amérique, au secrétaire d’etat des Etats-Unis, Phila., Evans, No. 30440; Official Notes, from the Minister of the French Republic, to the Secretary of State of the United States of America, Phila., Evans, No. 30442; and Translation of a Note from the Minister of the French Republic, to the Secretary of State of the United States, N.Y., Evans, No. 30441.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0216

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-11-28

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My Dear Son

William Shaw came from Boston last Evening to keep Sabbeth with me and brought me your Letter of August 16. 1796 which came by way of N York, and one for your Father of 13th. he Sat out for Philadelphia on the 23 of this Month. I forwarded it to him this morning. it was the Duplicate which first came to hand, and tho it almost put out my Eyes to read it, I did, and made a coppy of it before I Sent it on. the contents appeard of so much importance that I thought it might safely be communicated to some persons in confidence for most assuredly your intelligence is well founded. the baneful influence of French principles has infected every part of the union in a greater or less degree. As the Time approachd for the choice of Electors the opperations began. in the first instance a blind order of the Directory for seazing Neutral vessels & treating them as the English had Done was publishd, as a Vague report. then followd a Letter of mr Kings in which it was said that he applid to { 421 } mr Munroe upon the Subject and that he assurd him no such order had been issued1 the week before the choice of Electors came on and immediatly after Adets return to Philadelphia, his Letter appeard in the Paper Adet came on to Boston in the Month of october. Burr came about the same Time and was constantly closseted with Jarvis Honestus & Eustis and the plan was laid by Burr it is said of putting up G Adams as an Elector.2 the result you know doubt will learn before this reaches you Your Friend otis was chosen as Rep by a Great Majority, and col Daws as an Elector. not more than half the Electors were Chosen by the people, but to their honour be it told, no antifeaderal Man was even voted for by them except in the instance of Adams. you will see how misarable the old Man is led by the Party in his speach to the two Houses he just barely tells them that they were calld together for the purpose of Chusing Electors not a word of the Presidents Resignation not one solitary word of approbation upon the administration of that Great and good Man Both Houses in their answer are full in their approbation & in their expressions of Love and respect towards him. the House voted to have the Presidents address inserted in their journals so have N York.3 The Senate & House passt an act empowering the Electors, in case any one by Death or sickness should be prevented attending, then the Electors to ballot for an Elector. the Bill was sent to the G. he signd it, and it past into a Law, but some of his Prime Ministers I suppose told him he had Done wrong, and lost the last Chance he had of preventing a full vote of the State. he was prevaild upon to go and erase his Name from the act.4 every undue influence has been practised in this Election. The Bribes and intrigues of a Foreign Nation to gains an assendency over our Executive, have much earlier than your Father was aware of proved the truth of his assertions, when he observes in his Defence, That there is a natural and unchangeable inconvenience in all Popular Elections. There are always competitions, and the candidates have often Merrits nearly equal. The Virtuous and independent electors are often divided: this Naturally causes too much attention to the most Profligate and unprincipled, who will sell or give a way their votes for other considerations than Wisdom and Virtue, so that he who has deepest purse or the fewest Scruples about useing it will generally prevail.5 What would have been our Situation if we had been governd by a Single assembly? When Balanced as our Government is, the progress of corruption is gaining Such ground, that I fear America will never go { 422 } through an other Election without Blood shed. we have had a paper War for six weeks past, and if the Candidates had not themselves been intirely passive, Rage and Voilence would have thrown the whole Country into a Flame. you will see by the canvass for Electors in Pensilvana that the State have been nearly equally divided between two Candidates. before I close this Letter it is probable the result of Several of the States will be known. at no period has our National interest been in a more Dangerous, or difficult situation than the present. the Struggles of party and faction run very high. Your Letter to your Father discovers fully all the opperations which are daily unfolding, themselves, and they hold up Dangers and Terrors enough to appall any Man, who has not been accustomed to consider Life & property <& what is still Dearer Reputation & Character> a Sacrifice Due to His Country
“Fear takes no hold of me, and makes no approaches to Me that I perceive, and if my Country makes just claims upon me I will be, as I ever have been prompt to share Fates & Fortunes with her”
This is the language of Your Father, in a Letter of 27th just received, from him, after as he says the reading of Adets Note. if he adds, I have lookd with any accuracy into the Hearts of my Fellow Citizens, The French will find as the English have found That Feelings May be stirred which they never expected to find there. Since the Discovery of Fauchetts Letter and Randolphs treachery, the people are more on their Gaurd, and watchfull of the Agents of that Nation.
And now My Dear Son I quit the Feild of politicks to talk to you of your private Concerns. I am not So contracted in my sentiments as to imagine that you may not have found a kindred Soul out of your own Country. assimilate it to your own, borrow from it all those qualities of energy & activity which may require a stimulous in Your composition, and impart to hers firmness and fortitude which are qualities Youth is least likely to possess and which it is probable <her connection with you in the publick Character you sustain> she will have more than an ordinary call for, when we take into view her early Seperation from her Parents & country, in concequence of her connextion. tell her that Your Mother has for 30 years been tried worn and innured to Seperations which have torn every fiber of her Heart, under circumstances the most perilious to those She held most Dear. <She has been supported through them>
May you render each other mutually happy and after having Served Your Country with honour and Reputation a broad, may you be { 423 } rewarded with peace & tranquility on Your return to your Native Land and enjoy the confidence You have already merritted.
When your Father wrote you, the Letter of June 10th the circumstance of your appointment was altogether unknown to him, for he has ever Done by his Children as by himself.6 he never askd or solisited of any Man Vote or office for himself or them. What ever he has possessd of honours or offices have been the free will Gift of his Country
Your Friend otis is brought forward as a Representitive to Congress. he very deservedly shares the confidence of his constituents. his conduct on all those occasions wherein he has been calld to act, has been Manly firm & consistant. you justly observe that he may be considerd as a fellow Labourer with you in the Good cause. as to Cooper it is not very likly that he will ever rise higher than a Representitive of the Town of Boston I presume, the Meaning of your Father was, that the Services of a foreign Minister were very little known and attended to by the Country in general. those only in the administration of Government knew his Merrits or Demerrits, particularly in times of tranquility, and according to the old adage out of Sight, out of Mind. as it personaly respects You, Your Services have been Duly appreciated, and I rejoice much more in your promotion by the Father of His Country than if you had received it from any other Hand. it must however enhance the value, to know that the Senate were unanimous.
by a Letter this moment received from your Father at N york—He says mr Jay and I met last Evening on our anniversary 30th Novbr & were very happy together7
He observes The French Minister is fullfilling your Sons Predictions, with astonishing exactness but it appears to me that Adet has shewn the Cloven foot so fare that all Eyes must decern it. The Partizens and Ignorant Jacobins boldly say as a threat, if the vice President is made President France will go to War with us! Heavens shall any Nation thus dictate to independant America! What would they say should Britain hold this Language? Here I am again in the midst of politicks when I meant to have quitted them
Your Father writes that Your sister and Family were well. they are gone to live at West Chester. Charles increases in buisness and in reputation. His Sally makes him a prudent & good wife they have a Daughter whom out of respect to your venerable Grandmother they have calld Sussanna Boylstone. the Good old Lady always inquires most tenderly after you & Thomas and yesterday past the Day with { 424 } me & gave me in Charge to transmit her Blessing to you both and to tell you that She Sincerely wisht you & yours all Prosperity and happiness
I have one request to make you if this reaches you before you leave England. desire Louissa to Set for her Miniature. let it be of the same size with that which you sent me of yours, & send it me with her Hair upon the reverse. in return if I can find a good Artist I will send Her your Fathers and mine.8 present me respectfully to Mr & Mrs Johnson, and tell Louissa she must write to her and your affectionate Mother
[signed] A Adams
Dft (Adams Papers); notation by CFA: “Copy. J. Q. Adams.”
1. On 11 Aug. Rufus King wrote to James Monroe about a recent London news piece announcing France’s “intention to stop the Cargoes of all Neutral Vessels bound to the English Ports,” which was done in retaliation for a similar order by the British. King reported that on inquiry the British government denied issuing the order. Monroe’s reply of 28 Aug. informed King that the French likewise denied issuing such an order. King subsequently extracted this information in a letter to Joshua Johnson of 10 Sept., which was widely reprinted by the American press from 17 October. See, for example, New York Minerva, 17 Oct., Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 18 Oct., and Boston Columbian Centinel, 22 Oct. (The Papers of James Monroe, ed. Daniel Preston, Marlena C. DeLong, and Heidi C. Stello, 4 vols. to date, Westport., Conn., 2003–2011, 4:77, 84–85).
2. Aaron Burr, ambitious in his quest for political power, defied convention by actively campaigning for himself and the Democratic-Republican cause; in September he spent six weeks electioneering across New England (Young, Democratic Republicans, p. 548–549).
3. The N.Y. senate, on 10 Nov., unanimously resolved to insert into their journal the president’s retirement address, “as a perpetual testimony of our respect for the man, and our approbation of his sentiments.” The state’s assembly followed suit the following day, “as a memorial, to future ages, of their unabated affection to that illustrious Citizen.” On 23 Nov. the Mass. General Court similarly resolved that the “late important and interesting address” be inserted in that session’s acts and resolves. AA likely would have read about these legislative marks of respect in the Boston Columbian Centinel, 23, 26 Nov. (N.Y. Senate, Jour., 20th sess., 1796–1797, p. 14–22, Evans, No. 32554; N.Y. Assembly, Jour., 20th sess., 1796–1797, p. 22–30, Evans, No. 32553; Mass., Acts and Laws, 1796–1797, p. 261).
4. By a resolution passed on 22 Nov. and recorded the following day, the Mass. General Court called a meeting at the State House for 6 Dec. during which the “electors who may then and there be present” would vote to fill all the vacancies among the state’s presidential and vice presidential electors that had arisen “by reason of death or resignation.” Gov. Samuel Adams, after initially signing the resolve into law, subsequently reversed his support, and in two separate messages to the legislature he stated that electors being endowed with the ability “to fill up vacancies in their own number” “appears to be dangerous to the Liberties of the People, and ought not to form a precedent in a free government.” A joint committee subsequently voted to repeal the resolve, but this was voted down in both houses. The events were reported in the Massachusetts Mercury, 25 Nov. (Mass., Resolves of the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: Together with the Messages &c. of His Excellency the Governor, Boston, 1796, p. 36, 39, Evans, No. 30766; Boston Columbian Centinel, 26 Nov.).
6. For JA’s letter to JQA of 10 June, see JQA to AA, 16 Aug., and note 3, above.
7. See JA to AA, 1 Dec., and note 1, below.
8. While JQA does not appear to have received this letter, it is likely that a miniature of LCA was executed ca. 1796 and sent to AA and is possibly the extant portrait attributed to Samuel Shelley, for which see Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 9, above. There is no evidence to suggest that AA reciprocated with similar portraits of herself and JA (Oliver, Portraits of JQA and LCA, p. 31).
{ 425 }

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0217

Author: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-11-29

Louisa Catherine Johnson to John Quincy Adams

In my last I told you I believe how inadequate I found myself to the task of answering your very painful letter of the 12th— Indeed my beloved friend my heart had at that moment recieved so deep a wound I scarce know how I acquired resolution sufficient to acknowledge it— Days are elapsed and I have in vain implored the friendly aid of reason, but she like the world in the hour of trial is deaf to the voice of distress— To you whose stronger judg’ment enables you so happily to philosophize, my weakness must appear in an unfavorable light, but when you reflect how few have been the lessons I have derived from the school of disappointment you will I am persuaded be more inclined to pardon than blame—
Do not from this candid avowal imagine me supinely yielding to the tyranny of unavailing complaint— No my friend I shall I trust prove that I have not neglected your repeated lessons and be still more worthy your much valued affection—
Let me intreat you whatever may be our mutual uneasiness never to resign any situation on my account, for as it is not my lot to add to your fortune I should with pain consider myself a bar to your future welfare were I to cause you to act contrary to the wishes of your friends and family—
Excuse this liberty and apprehend nothing from my want of fortitude— The fates it is true seem to conspire against us, and have I fear destin’d us to a long seperation as my Father is obliged to quit Europe immediately— A feeble ray of hope however appears, and tells me it is possible we may yet previously meet once more— I will endevour to prevail on my Father to embark from Holland as I know he will shortly have a Vessel there— A painful expedient this it is true, but I have already experienced the pang of parting and think even this will tend greatly to strengthen my fortitude—
You mention the pain my silence on a former occasion afforded you, never my friend shall you again complain of similar neglect, but by a constant correspondence let us endeavour to shorten the lapse of slow receding time— depend on my writing unless prevented by indisposition every week, and I flatter myself you will do the same, thus we shall at least beguile reflection of her melancholy office—
You may probably attribute this to an interested motive and with { 427 } justice when I confess that perusing your letters and writing to you is the only consolation my wounded mind is capable of recieving.—
You say that without me society will be insipid, that you go but little into it and that you devote your time principally to books. Ah my dearest friend let me intreat you as you value my happiness to relinquish a habit that must ultimately prove so injurious to your health, by so doing instead of mitigating the evil you plant another thorn in the bosom of your Louisa—
Relative to the mental improvements so justly recommended I will if possible acquire them though my thoughts are too much occupied to pay the attention requisite to profitable Study.
Respecting the abovementioned hint of meeting you I must request you will consider it as a subject of the most implicit confidence as I have not yet consulted my parents—
Adieu may Heaven enable us patiently to await our destined union, is the sincere and fervent prayer of your affectionate
[signed] Louisa C. Johnson1
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “L. C. J. / 29. Novr: 1796. / 20. Decr: do: recd: / do: Ansd:.”
1. Joshua Johnson also wrote JQA a brief letter on 29 Nov. in which he announced his intention to defer his final travel plans until he had heard from his former business partners in the United States and to make JQA aware of his decision after that time (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0218

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-12-01

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I Spent a pleasant Day before Yesterday with Mrs Smith and her Children at East Chester where they now live. At night the Col & his two Brothers came home from hunting Patridges and Quails an Amusement which had engaged them two Days. Halcyon Days are over, at that house but Horses are still very plenty. Yesterday I came to Town and have been happy with My son and Daughter here. The Baby is pretty and has the small Pox very lightly. Miss Carloline Nabbys Baby is as fat & rozy and hearty as a Country Girl can be. Charles has a great deal of Business, and looks and dresses respectably: keeps good Company and minds his office.
Mr Jay and I met last Evening on our Anniversary 30 of Novr. and were very happy.1
I go on this afternoon for Philadelphia, tho threatened with a Snow Storm.
{ 428 }
I can tell you nothing about Elections, only that the Fed’s appear to be sanguine and the Antifeds too in reality or appearance. There is Some Anxiety lest Pinckney should be Smuggled in, unintentionally, to the first Place. I hope he will not come in to any. I wrote you from Stratford and shall write next from Philadelphia.
We have had a cold uncomfortable Journey. Prices risen Since May both of Travelling and Subsistence, and Publicans less Attentive and obliging.
The Federalists in Pensilvania prevailed in two of their Ticket the Antis in the rest. New York is Said to be unanimous.
The French Minister is fulfilling your Sons Predictions with astonishing Exactness but it is Said he has disgusted and alienated Friends from France. How this will appear in Congress, Time will discover. I Shall be mistaken in my Guesses, if Americans in general are very Servile.
I have as yet no Letter from you and am uninformed of the History of Agriculture. But I presume That Firewood and Stock have had the chief Attention Since I left you.
Duty to My Mother, Love to Brothers & sisters & Couzens, Compliments to Neighbours &c
[signed] J. A
Brisler is well.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A.”; endorsed: “December 1 1796.”
1. JA, John Jay, Benjamin Franklin, and Henry Laurens signed the preliminary peace treaty between the United States and Great Britain on 30 Nov. 1782 (JA, Papers, 14:103–109).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0219

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-12-04

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

The Weather has been & held so uncommonly cold ever since you left Me, that I had no expectation of getting a line from you untill you reachd N york, but that line I have not yet received, and by this Time I presume you have reachd the city of Sedition, the Hot bed of France; I wrote you this Day week, and inclosed to you our Sons Letters. Genll Lincoln & mrs Lincoln Dined with Me yesterday on their return from Boston & left me the papers—centinal Mercury & Chronical.1 all of them are nearly filld With Adets Note, and concequently leave little Room for Speculation. an extract of a Letter in the Chronical from Virginna however, tells us that mr Jefferson will have an unanimous vote there. the Majority of the Federal Ticket is { 429 } given by the Same paper in Pensilvana, by which I presume they have lost hopes of an alteration.2 Adets Note does not create any great allarm here the Chronical as might be expected, shakes it over us as the rod in pickle, as an event to have been looked for, after the audacious treaty we had the assurence to make with great Britain. “Where is the American who does not behold the Salvation of America, included in the protection the French republick, but as if Heaven intended to chastise the measures of our Government in not considering that the cause of France and of America was one indivisible, a Temporary disaffection had taken place between the two republicks, which had now left us but one moment to reflect upon our conduct, and to decide whether we will declare in favour of Monarchy, or Republicanism
The French Directory is the herald to anounce the Heavenly mission, and if we still adhere to our perfidious Friends the English, and disown our long experienced Friends the French, the concequences of our choice must rest on ourselves and Posterity;”3
This is pretty plainly acknowledging the Directory of France, the Directory of America.
What American but must Spurn the Wretch who thus insults us?
I cannot give You a satisfactory account of the opperations at Home. the Ground is so frozen that neither plowing or stone wall can go on. three Days Billing workd upon the Wall two in the Barn Yd with Vesey, since which Vesey has been in the woods. Billings employd some time in making part of a new wheel to the Waggon, and has been twice in the woods. the Rivers are frozen & the harbour below hangs Man Island.4 We are apprehensive of want of water for the cattle. Billings says when he cuts the Ice, the Stream Scarcly runs. no body so anxious as Billings. he comes for the News paper every Day & wants to know if I have heard. I laugh & tell him I am very easy.
whilst I am writing the Philidelphia paper of the 25 is sent me with Miflins Proclamation declaring the Antifed Electors chosen.5 I repeat I feel very easy, and shall consider it as it respects myself & Partner a Mercifull escape from Danger tho I would not shrink from what I considerd an honorable, call to the Service of My Country. I need not urge it upon you to refuse the station in which I presume you will be placed let no intreatys prevail with you. if our Country, or a part of it, is become so corrupt as already to bend their necks to foreign influence in so ignominious a Manner, they are fit for the shackles which are prepairing for them.
{ 430 }
Let me hear soon from you I anticipate that your absence will be short from your / ever affectionate
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. Decr. 4. 1796 / Ansd 12.”
1. That is, Gen. Benjamin Lincoln and his daughter-in-law, Mary Otis Lincoln.
2. The Boston Independent Chronicle, 28 Nov., reprinted a letter from Williamsburg, Va., of 8 Nov. reporting that “Mr. Jefferson will get a unanimous vote in Virginia, after every attempt to defeat him.” The same paper reprinted information from the Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 19 Nov., giving JA’s electors 11,984 votes to Thomas Jefferson’s 11,057.
3. AA quotes from an editorial in the Independent Chronicle, 28 November.
4. For Hangman’s Island, see JA, D&A, 1:141.
5. In compliance with Pennsylvania law, Gov. Thomas Mifflin issued a proclamation on 24 Nov. identifying the fifteen electors who received the most votes during the 4 Nov. election. The proclamation was published on 25 Nov. in the Philadelphia Gazette of the United States and the Philadelphia Gazette.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0220

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-12-04

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

After Spending a Day and a Night at East Chester with our Children there and another at Newyork with our Children there I came to this City on Fryday night after a cold ride of 80 miles from Elizabeth Town. There are great Complaints of Want of Water for grinding, for Cattle and for Families through the whole Country.
Yesterday I dined with the President in Company with John Watts the King of the Cherokees with a large Number of his Chiefs and their Wives—among the rest the Widow and Children of Hanging Maw a famous Friend of ours who was basely murdered by Some White People. The President dined four Setts of Indians on four several Days the last Week.1
The French Manoeuvres have gained the Votes of Pensilvania and how many others is unknown. The Election will be a meagre one and I shall not envy it.
I shewed the Letters of Mr J. Q. A. to the President who told me that Things appeared to him exactly as they did to his Minister. To Day he has Sent me a Letter to him from Mr T. Paine dated at Paris 20 of September 1795 which he Said was the most insulting Letter he ever recd.
Paine accuses the President of Connivance at his Imprisonment in France thinks he ought to have interposed in his behalf and reclaim’d him.
“I ought not to have Suspected you of Treachery, but I must continue to think you treacherous, till you give me cause to think otherwise. I am Sure you would have found yourself more at your Ease, { 431 } if you had acted by me as you ought, for whether your Desertion of me was intended to gratify the English Government, or to let me fall into Destruction in France, that you might exclaim the louder against the French Revolution, or whether you hoped by my Extinction to meet with less opposition in mounting up the American Government, either of these will involve you in Reproach you will not easily shake off.” These are his Words.2
I am told that Mr Pride of Virginia who had the Duel with Mr Carpenter in England went over to France and has return’d to America and brought Packetts and Letters for Mr Jefferson Mr Madison, Mr Giles & Mr Bache, as well as for the Sec. of State.3
Mr Paines long threatned Pamphlet against the President it is Supposed is Arrived and Mr Bache is to publish it, in the form of a Letter to George Washington. It is even Said that a Patent is to be obtained for the exclusive Priviledge of publishing it.4
Whether the French Directory have only been drawn in, to favour the Election of a Favourite, or whether in their Trances and Deliriums of Victory they think to terrify America, or whether in their Sallies they may not venture on Hostilities time will discover. Americans must, be cool and Steady if they can. Some of our People may be cured or their extravagant Love, and shaken in their unlimited Confidence. The French Character whether under Monarchical or Republican Government is not the most equitable, nor the least assuring of all Nations. The Fire, Impetuosity, and Vehemence of their Temperament is apt to be violent, immoderate and extravagant. The Passions are always outragious. A Frenchman in Love, must shoot himself or succeed— A Frenchman in Anger must shed the Blood of his Object, and so of the rest.
I hope We shall make two Houses tomorrow.5
My Duty to my Mother and Love to all
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “December 4th / 1796.”
1. John Watts (1752?–1802) and Hanging Maw (d. 1796) were both war leaders of the Cherokees, though Watts represented the Lower Cherokees, who took a more militant stance against the U.S. government, while Hanging Maw served the Upper Cherokees and favored negotiation with the United States. Watts came to Philadelphia in December in an attempt to get the government to enforce boundaries established by the 1785 Treaty of Hopewell.
Hanging Maw was not killed in an attack but had died, apparently peacefully, in April 1796. His wife, however, had been injured by white settlers in an earlier attack on their home in which several other “well disposed Indians” were killed. Hanging Maw’s widow petitioned Congress on 17 Jan. 1797 for compensation for this and other attacks. The committee that reviewed the petition determined that although it supported “small pecuniary interpositions” for Native Americans as a means of keeping the peace on the frontier, it was the responsibility of the executive { 432 } branch to handle the matter (ANB;Stewart Kentucky Herald, 11 Oct. 1796; Robert J. Conley, The Cherokee Nation: A History, Albuquerque, N.M., 2005, p. 73, 78–79; Amer. State Papers, 4:406, 621).
2. George Washington’s cover letter to JA, enclosing the letter from Thomas Paine to Washington of 20 Sept. 1795, has not been found. Paine’s letter was among those published in his Letter to George Washington, President of the United States of America, on Affairs Public and Private, Phila., 1796, p. 29–31, Evans, No. 30951. JA accurately summarizes the contents and quotes from the final paragraph of the letter.
3. John Pride and William Fountleroy Carpenter, both young men from Virginia, fought a duel in London’s Hyde Park on 21 Aug. 1796 after arguing about the character of William Branch Giles and the merits of the Jay Treaty. Carpenter died from his wounds on 22 Aug. (Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 12 Oct.; Gentleman’s Magazine, 66:709 [Aug. 1796]).
4. Benjamin Franklin Bache secured a copyright to publish Paine’s Letter to George Washington, a collection of letters accusing Washington of being “treacherous in private friendship” and “a hypocrite in public life” but also condemning JA as one of the “disguised traitors that call themselves federalists” (p. 11–12, 63; Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 12 Dec.).
5. The 2d session of the 4th Congress was held from 5 Dec. 1796 to 3 March 1797. The House achieved quorum on 5 Dec. 1796 while the Senate did so the following day (Biog. Dir. Cong.; Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 2d sess., p. 1518, 1590).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0221

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-12-05

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

As I came through New York, where I found your Sister and your Brother and their families in good health I recd your Letter No. 24. and upon my arrival here, presented it to The President together with the preceeding Numbers to 19 inclusively.1 I dined with him on Saturday when he returned me the Letters, with an Eulogium. He Said that “Things appeared to him exactly as they do to your son”
Your Intelligence is good, and your Prophesies ominous if not infallible. The Plott has opened here with a Note of a Volume from Mr Adet. I Shall make few Observations upon this. But I believe my Countrymen will assert and maintain their Independence. We are not generally intimidated, although it is said that a considerable Body of Quakers were Panick Struck at the Election and abandoned their Colours. The Laurells acquired by this System of Terror, are a Majority of from 20 to 100 Votes in favr of a certain Ticket, made up of the lowest dreggs of the Mob of Philadelphia and the Inhabitants of the Insurgent Western Counties of Pensilvania, against the almost unanimous suffrages of the great farming Counties of York & Lancaster.2 The Day after tomorrow is the great Election. I look upon the Event as the throw of a Die, a mere Chance, a miserable meagre Tryumph to either Party.
If Mr Jefferson is chosen he cannot depart from the system of Washington which is the system of all that is respectable in this { 433 } Country. I hope the Directory of France will not in a fit of Exultation & Temerity push matters to extremes. if they do they will excite Feelings in this People, which they suspect not. Mr Adets Note has proved an Antidote to the violence of their Passion to many of the most ardent Lovers of France. It will cool Us. it is a febrifuge. an AntiSeptick. it will arrest the rapid progress to Corruption in many.
It is our Sincere and universal desire to live on Terms of Harmony and Friendship with The French. If We do not it will not be our fault. But We are not afraid of France. All the Ships she can command or hire, cannot send an Army here that would not Soon decay. I dont love to think a moment of such a Case— But if they force Us to think of it, our Imaginations must range. Do you my son, reflect on the Consequences of a War forced upon Us by France. as it respects Spain, Portugal Holland Italy Germany All Europe, England her Commerce Navy &c. One Consequence I will mention— There will be Tories to fly to France, as there were Tories to fly to England— she will Scarcely compensate them at the Expence of Millions. French Tories will not be venerated in the World much more than the English Tories have been.
I shall answer my dear Thomas’s Letter as soon as I can.3
I am &c with great Esteem as well as / a tender Affection
[signed] John Adams4
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “J. Q. A.”; endorsed by TBA: “The Vice President JQA / 5 Decr: 1796 / 27 Jany Recd: 1797 / 3 Feby Answd:.” Tr (Adams Papers).
1. This is the RC of JQA to JA, 13 Aug., for which see TBA to JA, 6 Aug., and note 7, above. For AA’s receipt of the FC-Pr, see her letter to JA of 27 Nov., and note 2, above. JQA’s letters Nos. 19–23 to JA were dated 4, 14 April, 6, 24 June, 21 July (all Adams Papers).
2. JA won York and Lancaster counties, Penn., by some 4,500 votes but lost decisively to Thomas Jefferson by over 6,000 combined votes in Philadelphia and the rural western counties that had been at the center of the Whiskey Rebellion two years earlier (Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 12 Nov.).
3. Probably TBA to JA, 6 Aug., above.
4. JQA wrote to JA on 17, 24, and 30 Dec. reporting the European news, especially regarding the activities of the French government and French Army. On 17 Dec. JQA commented on the progress of negotiations between Britain and France and noted particularly the concern in Europe over the American presidential election: “There are many People here anxious to know the Event of the Presidential elections, in America, and who either feel or affect an alarm least under a change of administration the United States will become involved in a War with G. Britain. They tremble for the price of their American Stocks.” But JQA sought to assure Europeans “that however the elections may turn, there is not the least danger that the United States will deviate from their neutral system of policy, or engage in War with any European Power whatever.” His next letter, of 24 Dec., again emphasized the concerns over the presidential elections as well as the growing tensions between the United States and France in the wake of the Jay Treaty and Pierre Auguste Adet’s resignation. JQA’s 30 Dec. letter continued the theme, noting that an unofficial newspaper of the French { 434 } Directory was attempting “to influence the choice of President in the United States, and if it cannot turn the election to embarass the new Administration, and rally all its opponents under the standard of France. … The violation of the British Treaty, and a War with Britain therefore is what the French Government wish to provoke.— The house of Representatives, is the instrument which they intend to use, and … the fear of their displeasure the motive which they purpose to inspire.— We shall see how they will succeed” (all Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0222

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Date: 1796-12-05

John Quincy Adams to Louisa Catherine Johnson

I have just now received, my dearest friend, your letter of the 15th: of last month,1 since which I hope you have before now received two from me; and would to Heaven, they could have been such as would have been more conformable to our mutual inclinations, or that I could now give you tidings more agreeable for me to communicate or for you to receive.— Instead of which a Letter from America, which has this morning come to me, and dated on the 28th: of September, still enjoins upon me to remain [here and] makes it probable that I shall not remove, at least for several months to come.2 [. . . .]3 America, that I must hope for the completion of that union which we both [. . . .] wish, and I confidently hope that a greater distance and a longer time of separation, than we had contemplated, will have no more effect upon your affection, than I am sure it will upon mine.— Let us consider it as one of those counterchecks in the affairs of life, which happen to all, which all must endure whether they will or not, and in which acquiescence is at once a necessity and a consolation.— Be assured at the same time, my lovely friend, that no length of time nor of space, can have access to the heart of the man you love, to weaken his attachment to you.
I have hitherto given you with freedom and sincerity my sentiments, with regard to our common interests and concerns. I have never believed that you would take in ill part what was so well intended, and what I should be so happy to receive in return from you. Between you and me, Louisa, an intercourse of advice and reflection founded upon a mutual unsuspecting confidence is not merely proper; it is in my mind a reciprocal duty. Your assurance therefore that you value the observations I have made gives me the most heart-felt satisfaction, and be assured that I shall always highly value yours.
I have been absent about a week from the Hague, on a visit to this place, and expect to return to-morrow. Wherever I go, your { 435 } image keeps me constant company, and every where, I feel the same vacancy for want of the reality. I never was much delighted with what are called the pleasures of Society, but at present they have less attractions for me than ever: I participate in them therefore only so far as I find it absolutely necessary, and make myself as often as possible a solitude, to enjoy at least, undisturbed the remembrance of you.
I have lately seen here Mr: Calhoun, the Gentleman with the fine teeth, whom I met at your house last Winter, when your friend Mr: Maury was there.4 Mr: Calhoun has since then been to America, and has very lately returned. He is going in a few days to London, where he will no doubt have the happiness to see you.— It seems to me that every person with whom I have been in company when you were present, derives from thence a sort of merit, in my eyes when I meet him now. There is a kind of reflected cha[rm over ev]ery object that naturally brings your recollection to the mind. I remember still [. . . .]5 pleasure I saw two or three months ago, my old friend, Mr: Foster, on this account among [. . . .] suppose you have seen him since his return to England.—6 How is your good friend and mine, Coll: Trumbull?— I suppose you will smile at seeing his name here.— He would smile too if he knew how I once, as Yorick says thought him a Turk or a Jew—Curs’d him by my Gods—Wish’d him at the D—— innocent as he was of all I feared; but his Peace with me has long been made, and is in no danger of being ever interrupted again.7
The Weather is shivering cold, and the wind reminds me of the times when we used to walk round or across the park: this brings me to the remembrance of our rides there, and this again to Caroline. Why to her particularly, you say?— She will know, if her memory is as good as her Spirits. I am thinking of making up a little collection of fine large-sounding guttural Dutch adjurations for her use, to improve upon her English stock. I cannot promise so good a store of puns for Nancy.— Your Dutch language is good for nothing at a pun. Two senses to the same word would be a kind of prodigality, and if you should hear it talk’d you would think one is more than enough.
I finish my letter at the Hague, where I returned yesterday through a number of snow-storms. We have already had more Winter than there was in the whole course of the last Season.— Remember me { 436 } affectionately to your Mamma and Sisters, and believe me to be, invariably your’s
[signed] A.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Miss L. C. Johnson / London.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. On 15 Nov. LCA wrote JQA a hasty note saying it had been a month since his last letter to her. She also reassured JQA that the advice he offered her did not cause offence but rather was welcomed (Adams Papers).
2. Timothy Pickering to JQA, 28 Sept., in which Pickering asked that JQA begin laying the groundwork for a treaty between the United States and the Netherlands that the president could use to “propose to the Senate the appointment of a minister with full powers to complete the negociation, in case you should previously remove to Lisbon.” Pickering continued, “The reasons for suspending that removal, which I suggested in my letter which informed you of your appointment to that station, still exist” (Adams Papers). For Pickering’s earlier instructions to JQA, see CA to JA, 4 June, and note 2, above.
3. About three words missing.
4. James Maury (1746–1840), originally a merchant from Fredericksburg, Va., was serving as U.S. consul at Liverpool (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 3:345; 4:149).
5. About three words missing.
6. Bossenger Foster Jr. traveled in 1796 to Europe, where he spent several years representing his family’s speculation interests in Dutch property and British-owned land in the United States. JQA socialized with Foster several times in London between January and April and also received a visit from him at The Hague in September (Lauren B. Hewes, Portraits in the Collection of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass., 2004, p. 157–159; D/JQA/24, 14 Jan., 4 April, 7 Sept., APM Reel 27).
7. A reference to Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy. By Mr. Yorick, 2 vols., London, 1768, 1:41. For John Trumbull’s alleged interest in LCA and JQA’s jealousy thereof, see LCA, D&A, 1:33, 37, 40.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0223

Author: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-12-06

Louisa Catherine Johnson to John Quincy Adams

Agreable to my promise of the 29th of writing to my beloved friend once a week I now contrary to etiquette enter upon the pleasant occupation—
Surely you will acknowledge—when I tell you you are indebted to me four letters I have amply compensated for my former omission— I have vainly expected to hear from you but the winds are unfavorable in a word every thing seems to conspire— I will only say to teach me patience
There are I find two Mails due Oh may they prove auspicious to my wishes in bringing me letters—
I will not mention the subject which has caused our mutual uneasiness lest it give you pain— I have promised to exert fortitude and will endeavour to fulfill that promise reason tells me I shall at least acquire resignation if not happiness—
Never my beloved friend let my weakness lessen your affection for { 437 } me but write to me constantly and if possible teach my rebellious heart gently to acquiesce without murmering— Adieu think of me often and believe me with unalterable affection yours
[signed] Louisa C Johnson1
1. LCA still had not heard from JQA by the following week. In a letter dated 13 Dec., she again complained about this lapse and apologized for her letter-writing abilities (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0224

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-12-07

Abigail Adams to John Adams

“The Morning lours, the Dawns oer cast

And heavily in clouds brings on the Day

Big with the fate of Liberty, and Man”1

on the desicions of this Day, hangs perhaps the Destiny of America, and May those into whose hands the Sacred Deposit is committed be guided and directed by that Wisdom which is from above, and the result prove the prosperity Peace and happiness of our Country. this is My most fervent Wish & petition to Heaven, totally divested of every personal feeling and sentiment.
I have twice written to you previous to this Day Which compleats a fortnight since You left me, and in all which Time I have not heard a word from You. I hope tomorrows post will bring me a Letter. We have had one continued turn of cold and dry weather, untill last Evening when the wind blew a Gale from the Southard & brought on rain. to Day it is very Stormy with snow hail & rain.
I Sent on our sons Letters in My first Letter. I want to know who is meant by the Pennsilvana Speculator the Intimate Friend of Munroe.?2 Who was Secretary to the abolition Society in Philadelphia?3 be so good as to send me the Secretary answer to Adet as Soon as publishd, and every Pamphlet You meet with, worth communicating to your ever affectionate
[signed] A Adams—
1. “The dawn is overcast, the morning lowers, / And heavily in clouds brings on the day; / The great, the important day, big with the fate / Of Cato and of Rome” (Joseph Addison, Cato, Act I, scene i, lines 1–4).
2. Dr. Enoch Edwards (1751–1802), Benjamin Rush’s first medical student, was a Philadelphia physician. He served as a surgeon in the Revolutionary War and was an associate justice of the Penn. Court of Common Pleas. A { 438 } friend of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, Edwards became acquainted with James Monroe while in France during the winter of 1795–1796. JQA alluded to Edwards’ speculative activities in his 13 Aug. 1796 letter to JA, referring to “a man particularly from Pennsylvania, a deep speculator in the french revolutionary funds, and a confidential friend of Mr: Monroe” (Jefferson, Papers, 25:672; Harry Ammon, James Monroe: The Quest for National Identity, N.Y., 1971, p. 134; Adams Papers).
3. Benjamin Kite, a Quaker schoolteacher, was the secretary of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery (Joseph C. Martindale, A History of the Townships of Byberry and Moreland, Phila., 1867, p. 60, 68; Philadelphia Gazette, 30 Dec.).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0225

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-12-07

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I have recd your Letter of the cold Sunday on which I wrote you one from Stratford. In N. York Charles gave me the original Letter, the Duplicate of which you transmitted me.1 I communicated it to the P. with five preceeding Numbers. After reading them The P. was pleased to say that “Mr Adams’s Intelligence was very good, and his Penetration and foresight very great. At least Things appeared to him in Europe exactly as they did to himself here.” He communicated to me T. Paines impudent Letter.
This is the very Day the which.— I laugh at myself twenty times a Day, for my feelings, and meditations & Speculations in which I find myself engaged. Vanity Suffers. cold feelings of Unpopularity. Humble reflections. Mortifications—Humiliation.— Plans of future Life. Economy. retrenching of Expences. Farming. Return to the Bar. drawing Writs, arguing Causes. taking Clerks. Humiliations of my Country under foreign Bribes. Measures to counteract them. All this miserable Nonsense will come & go like evil into the Thoughts of Gods or Men, approved or unapproved.
Cousin Smith is Said to have written Phocian and Murray the Pieces from Maryland.2 The Election is a Lott at this hour and if my Reason were to dictate I should wish to be left out. A. P. with half the Continent upon his Back besides all France & England old Tories and all Jacobins to carry will have a devilish Load. He will be very apt to Stagger & stumble
If the Southern states are as unanimous as the Northern are supposed to be I shall be left out. But it is Said there will be 3 in Virginia & one in N. Carolina against Jefferson. In Pensilvania the Rebells in the West and the corupt Mob of Philadelphia aided by frightened Quakers gave a Majority of from 20 to 100, against the great Agricultural Counties of Lancaster York & Cuberland.
{ 439 }
It really Seems to me as if I wished to be left out. Let me See! do I know my own heart? I am not Sure. However all that I seem to dread, is a foolish, mortifying, humiliating, uncomfortable Residence here, for two tedious months after I shall be known to be Shimmed, as my Wallmen Speak.
I can pronounce Thomas Jefferson to be chosen P. of U. S. with firmness & a good grace. that I dont fear.— But here alone abed, by my fireside nobody to Speak to, poreing upon my Disgrace and future Prospects—this is Ugly. The 16 of Feb. will soon come and then I take my Leave, forever. Then for Frugality and Independence.— Poverty and Patriotism. Love and a Carrot bed.3
Duty to My Mother & Love to all
[signed] J. A
The Federalists are all very confident however of a small Majority. I say and believe that small Majority worse than none. & wish there could have been a large Majority any other Way.
dont show this stuff.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “December 7th 1796.”
1. See AA to JA, 27 Nov., and note 2, above.
2. Phocion, attributed to William Loughton Smith, appeared in 25 numbers over 26 issues of the Philadelphia Gazette of the United States between 14 Oct. and 24 November. Intended to refute another newspaper’s claim that Thomas Jefferson was best suited to be president, Phocion offered a point-by-point examination of the philosophical and political “pretensions of Thomas Jefferson” as represented in his written works (14 Oct.) and found “that the reputation he has acquired, has not been bottomed on solid merit; that his abilities have been more directed to the acquirement of literary fame, than to the substantial good of his country; that his philosophical opinions have been wavering and capricious, often warped by the most frivolous circumstances; that in his political conduct he has been timid, inconsistent and unsteady, favouring measures of a factious and disorganising tendency; always leaning to those which would establish his popularity, however destructive of our peace and tranquility … that his abhorrence of one foreign nation, and enthusiastic devotion to another, have extinguished in him every germ of real national character; and, in short, that his elevation to the Presidency, must eventuate either in the debasement of the American name, by a whimsical, inconsistent and feeble administration, or in the prostration of the United States at the feet of France, the subversion of our excellent constitution, and the consequent destruction of our present prosperity” (24 Nov.). The Phocion pieces were also published in pamphlet form as The Pretensions of Thomas Jefferson to the Presidency Examined; And the Charges against John Adams Refuted, 2 vols., [Phila.], 1796, Evans, Nos. 31212, 31213.
A “Short Vindication of Mr. Adams’s ‘Defence of American Constitutions’” was published by Union of “Eastern-Shore, Maryland,” and appeared in the Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 5 Nov., and also in vol. 2 of the Phocion pamphlet (p. 39–42). Attributed to William Vans Murray, the article opened, “There never was perhaps a literary work so much talked of, and so little known” in the southern states, and it exhorted men to “read the work” before condemning it and to consider the attacks on JA as “a continuation of that hostile spirit to the government, which has always distinguished the southern faction, & more particularly the state of Virginia.”
3. JA wrote both the phrase “Thomas Jefferson to be chosen” and the final sentence of this paragraph in significantly larger script.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0226

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-12-08

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

Inclosed are Some Signal Accomplishments of Prophecies.
Be cool and discreet in your Communications of them.
No Such Person as Jasper Dwight is known to either of the Senators of Vermont. The Signature is thought to be fictitious.1
I have no Letter from you later than the Sunday after my Departure.
Major Butler has indeed resign’d.2
They kept back Paines Letter Several Weeks, presuming no doubt that it would not promote their Election. It appeared for the first, this morning.
I think, of all Paines Productions it is the weakest and at the Sametime the most malicious.— The Man appears to me to be mad—not drunk— He has the Vanity of the Lunatick who believed himself to be Jupiter the Father of Gods & Men.
There is a Dr Edwards here—a Relation of Mr Burr & Pierpoint Edwards who has lately return’d from Paris.— Perhaps he may be the Pensilvanian of whom you read.3
I can Say nothing of Election. I have recd to Day the Votes of New Jersey but know not for whom they are, as they are under Seal.
I am
[signed] J. A.
The Feelings of Friendship excite a Curiosity to know how McKean will vote.4 By that I shall guess how Gov. Adams would have voted.
But I have Seen Friendships of S. Quincy Jona Sewall, Daniel Leonard—Gen. Brattle—Treasurer Grey and fifty others go away like a vapour before political Winds—and a constant Succession of Others go the same Way from that time to this, that I cannot depend upon any Judgment I can form from any Feelings of my own.5 No private Friendship would induce me to Spare a wrong Political Character. But McKean & Adams can never believe the Lies that are told. If they could vote against me it must be because they think I should not be Supple enough to the French.— I have known the Time when both of them would have been as Stiff as myself.
I feel myself in a very happy temper of Mind— Perfectly willing to be released from the Post of Danger but determined if call’d to it, to brave it, if its horrors were ten times thicker than they are. I have but few Years of Life left and they cannot be better bestowed, than { 441 } upon that Independence of my Country in Defence of which that Life has ever been in Jeopardy.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “December 8 1796.”
1. While the enclosures have not been found, AA’s reply of 23 Dec., below, indicates they were pamphlets by Thomas Paine, for which see JA to AA, 4 Dec., and note 4, above, and by Jasper Dwight of Vermont. Dwight was a pseudonym for William Duane (1760–1835), an American who became a political radical while living overseas. He described George Washington’s retirement speech as “fraught with incalculable evils to your country” and also criticized the president for the “deviation in the latter part of your administration from the spirit and tenor of your former professions, and the proper and true interests of your country” (Jeffrey L. Pasley, “The Tyranny of Printers”: Newspaper Politics in the Early American Republic, Charlottesville, Va., 2001, p. 176–178, 180; Jasper Dwight, A Letter to George Washington, President of the United States: Containing Strictures on His Address of the Seventeenth of September, 1796, Notifying His Relinquishment of the Presidential Office, Phila., 1796, p. 6, 42, Evans, No. 31315).
2. Frustrated with his inability to counter Federalist policymakers, Pierce Butler formally resigned his Senate seat on 25 Oct. (The Letters of Pierce Butler, 1790–1794: Nation Building and Enterprise in the New American Republic, ed. Terry W. Lipscomb, Columbia, S.C., 2007, p. xxxiv; Biog. Dir. Cong.).
3. Dr. Enoch Edwards was not, in fact, a close relative of Aaron Burr and Pierpont Edwards, both of whom descended from Congregationalist theologian Jonathan Edwards. Enoch was the son of Alexander Edwards, a wealthy Baptist from Pennsylvania (William H. Edwards, Edwards’ Genealogy: Timothy and Rhoda Ogden Edwards of Stockbridge, Mass., and Their Descendants, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1903, p. 6, 15, 16; DAB; Hywel M. Davies, Transatlantic Brethren: Rev. Samuel Jones (1735–1814) and His Friends: Baptists in Wales, Pennsylvania, and Beyond, Bethlehem, Penn., 1995, p. 92, 101–102).
4. Thomas McKean was elected as one of Pennsylvania’s Democratic-Republican electors and voted for Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr (Kurtz, Presidency of JA, p. 411, 413).
5. JA is referring to the political rifts created by the American Revolution. For Gen. William Brattle, Samuel Quincy, and Jonathan Sewall, see JA, Papers, 1:xv, 4, 30, 253; for Daniel Leonard, see same, 2:xi, 217. For Harrison Gray, see JA, D&A, 1:210–211, 212.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0227

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-12-09

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

Captain Beal who is always attentive to the post office for me in your absence, brought Me on the Evening of the Seventh your Letter written at Stratford Novbr 27th, which is the only line which has yet reachd me; I fear you sufferd from the cold on the journey, for it has been unusually so, for the Season. the continuence of it, has frozen the Ground very deep. I fear we shall not be able to have our Hill ploughd this Winter. our people get Seaweed and wood. Vesey will remain with me only untill the last of Feb’ry. mr Bass is gone to capt Beals for Six Months. very fortunately there was an opening for him there, Tim having left them.
I am of your mind, that prices must fall Genll Lincoln who dinned with Me with his Daughter Polly otis Lincoln last Saturday, on their return from Boston, told me he had not heard such a cry for money, { 442 } amongst the merchants for a long time, that he thought there must be some failures. He mentiond having lately made a purchase in Hingham accidently at a vendue, of a House Barns out houses &c said he had no thoughts of its being Struck off to him, but that it would prevent his building, which he was about to Do for his Daughter in Law who was with him— the House & place he purchased was the one next to that of Dr Herseys & was formerly own’d by the Drs Brother, a Double House lately put in good repair with two Barns one quite new & an excellent Garden full of fruit Trees with Eleven acres of Land for four Hundred & 50 pounds.1 he observed that he could not build the House for that Money.
The Electors all arrived in Boston the Day before the Election and met, in the Eve their great difficulty was respecting a Vice President. they could not agree untill near Evening on the 7th you will see they were unanimous for President, 13. for Princkny 2 for Gov Johnstone of N C, 1 for Mr Elsworth.2 I am very glad that they were all in season, as it removes one Source of clamour, & the G——r might as well have let his Name have stood, as recorded his own imbecility by erasing it. we are told that the votes of Vermont will not be legal. we had the Same report respecting Georgia.3 I cannot believe untill I see it that the old Chief Justice will give his vote against you.4 I yesterday had the Washington paper of Novbr 16th there is a peice in it, dated Virginna addrest to the Electors of that state. it is a recital of the services you have been rendering Your Country for 30 years back. it is written with a warmth a zeal and an affectionate remembrance of them, beyond any other publication which I have seen.5
Beals says that Adets Note Does not make any great impression in Boston, that it is considerd as a mere Electionering Scheme. there is however mischief enough in it. I believe this as critical a juncture as any our Country has seen. John Bull will have enough to Do, to take care of his own Calves. he may make Love to us, but we know what value to place upon it. we understand matchs of convenience as well as Adets Chrocodile tricks. with England the questions

To Be, or not to Be?

is a very Solemn one, and Parson West will be looking for the completition of the Prophesy according to his interpretation. If a very Serious allam, had not taken place, a Mission of so much pomp would never have been addrest to the Directory.
I have not yet, a Letter from N york. I hope you will give me some { 443 } infomation respecting mrs smith and Family as I have not had a line from her for a long time.
Mrs Brisler and Family were well yesterday.
Yours as ever
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. Decr 9. Ansd 18 / 1796.”
1. Dr. Ezekiel Hersey (1709–1770), Harvard 1728, a noted physician of Hingham, Mass., provided the original endowment for the Hersey professorships in medicine at Harvard. He had treated JA in the 1750s for general ill health, encouraging him to eat a diet of vegetables, bread, milk, and water with no meat or alcohol (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 8:432–436; JA, D&A, 3:269).
2. Samuel Johnston (1733–1816) was a member of the Continental Congress in 1780 and 1781. He was elected governor of North Carolina in 1787, serving two years before resigning to become a candidate for the U.S. Senate, in which he served between 1789 and 1793 (Biog. Dir. Cong.).
3. News circulated in Massachusetts that the votes in Vermont and Georgia would be declared illegal due to irregularities in each state’s voting procedures. The Vermont legislature, according to reports, had authorized electors via a resolution instead of a law and failed to act within the time frame required by the state’s constitution. In Georgia, the legislature had allegedly failed to obtain the sanction of the governor for the resolution providing for the choice of electors. Both stories proved false, and Vermont’s and Georgia’s electoral votes were duly counted (Boston Columbian Centinel, 7 Dec. 1796; Massachusetts Mercury, 29 Nov., 9 Dec.).
4. John Jay was not a presidential elector for New York State (Kurtz, Presidency of JA, p. 410).
5. The Washington Gazette of 16–19 Nov. reprinted an earlier article from the Virginia Gazette recommending JA for the presidency as “a strenuous advocate for the rigars of his country” and “one who regarded his wealth, his fame and life as the property of his country.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0228

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I have just recd your favr. of the 4th. I wrote you from stratford New York and from Philadelphia.
Adets Note has had some Effect Pensilvania and prov’d a Terror to some Quakers and that is all the ill Effect it has had. Even the southern States appear to resent it.
If Col Hamiltons personal Dislike of Jefferson does not obtain too much Influence with Massachusetts Electors, neither Jefferson will be President nor Pinckney V. P. of U.S.—
I am not enough of an Englishman nor little enough of a French Man for some People. These would be very willing that Pinckney should come in, Chief. But they will be disappointed.
The Letter you Sent me has been read by many and is admired by all. it is impossible it should be otherwise. Hichbourn held the Same Language here.1
I find nobody here intimidated. Those who wish to Say they are dare not. There is a grand Spirit in the Senate.
{ 444 }
Giles Says “the Point is settled.— The V. P. will be President. He is undoubtedly chosen. The old Man will make a good President too. (theres for you). But We shall have to check him a little now and then. that will be all.”
Thus Mr Giles.
I am just now come from pronouncing a most affectionate Address of the senate to the President in Answer to his Speech. I felt so much that I was afraid I should <cry> betray a Weakness. but I did not. I thought I was very firm & cool— But the senators say that I pronounced it in so affecting a manner that I made them cry.— The Tears did certainly trickle. The President himself was affected more tenderly than ever I saw him in my Life in pronouncing his Reply.2
The southern Gentlemen with whom I have conversed, have expressed more Affection for me than they ever did before since 1774. They certainly wish Adams elected rather than Pinckney. perhaps it is because Hamilton and Jay are said to be for Pinckney.
I had rather hazard my little Venture in the ship to the Pilotage of Jefferson, than that of Pinckney, or Burr.
My old Friend Mc.Kean, had so often expressed his Friendship and Confidence in me, that his Conduct is much censured and ridiculed.
Nothing affects me so much as to see McKean, Whitehill, Osgood and even Sam Adams and such Men sett up in opposition to me. It gives such a Specimen of Party Spirit as is very disgusting, very shocking.3
I am most tenderly yours
[signed] J. A
I remember the time, however, when the Friendship of Sam. Quincy, Jona. sewall Daniel Leonard, Col Brattle & Treasurer Gray and twenty others went away from me in Consequence of political systems & Party Spirit.
I remember too an hundred other Instances during the Revolution and Since of declared Friendships giving Way before Jealousy, Envy and Competition or Rather Rivalry that these Things do not shock me as they would have done when I had less Experience.
The Inveteracy of Party Spirit is however indeed alarming at present.
There have been Manœuvres and Combinations in this Election that would Surprize you. I may one day or other develope them to you.
There is an active Spirit, in the Union, who will fill it with his { 445 } Politicks wherever he is. He must be attended to and not Suffered to do too much.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “December 12 1796.”
1. In JQA’s letter to JA of 13 Aug., which AA had forwarded to JA on 27 Nov.,JQA commented particularly on the attacks on George Washington by the French government as an attempt to undermine the whole U.S. government. JQA reported, “The object will remain … to force us out of our neutrality; to deprive us at least of all connection with Britain, and to alter our Constitution to such a form, as shall give them a more certain and effectual influence over our national Executive.” JQA also noted that these same sentiments were being repeated by Americans in Paris, including Benjamin Hichborn, “whose conversation was of exactly the same complection more than a twelve-month ago.” Hichborn had returned to the United States earlier in 1796 after spending several years in Europe (Adams Papers; Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 17:42).
2. On 7 Dec. Washington addressed the new session of Congress, reviewing diplomatic progress made with Native Americans, Britain, Spain, and Algiers and noting improved protection of U.S. seamen. He encouraged further consideration of the creation of a navy and argued for better promotion of manufacturing. He also reiterated his desire for the creation of a national university and a military academy. Finally, he noted, “with much pain, and deep regret,” recent attacks on U.S. shipping in the West Indies by the French Navy and expressed his strong hope that “a spirit of justice, candor, and friendship” would allow the United States to resolve its growing tensions with France.
Five days later the Senate presented its response, which in large measure concurred with Washington’s agenda and congratulated Washington on his administration’s political and diplomatic success. The Senate concluded its remarks with a tribute to the president, acknowledging that the prosperity of the nation must in part be attributed “to the virtue, firmness, and talents, of your administration—which have been conspicuously displayed in the most trying times, and on the most critical occasions. … When we review the various scenes of your public life, so long and so successfully devoted to the most arduous services, civil and military; … we cannot look forward to your retirement without our warmest affections and most anxious regards accompanying you. … The most effectual consolation that can offer for the loss we are about to sustain, arises from the animating reflection that the influence of your example will extend to your successors, and the United States thus continue to enjoy an able, upright, and energetic administration.”
Washington thanked the Senate in his reply, adding, “When contemplating the period of my retirement, I saw virtuous and enlightened men, among whom I relied on the discernment and patriotism of my fellow-citizens to make the proper choice of a successor; men who would require no influential example to ensure to the United States ‘an able, upright, and energetic administration.’ To such men I shall cheerfully yield the palm of genius and talents to serve our common country; but, at the same time, I hope I may be indulged in expressing the consoling reflection, (which consciousness suggests,) and to bear it with me to my grave, that none can serve it with purer intentions than I have done, or with a more disinterested zeal” (U.S. Senate, Jour., 4th Cong., 2d sess., p. 296–299, 300–303).
3. Possibly John Whitehill (1729–1815), a judge in Lancaster County, Penn., who had recently been chosen as a Democratic-Republican elector (Biog. Dir. Cong.; Kurtz, Presidency of JA, p. 411).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0229

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-12-16

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I recd this morning your kind Letter of the 7th. and wonder you had not recd a Letter. I wrote from Stratford & Newyork and twice a Week since I have been here.
{ 446 }
your Anxiety for your Country is amiable and becomes your Character. Elevated Expectations of Grandeur and Glory as well as Prosperity have accompanied me through Life and been a great source of my Enjoyment. They are not diminished by the present Prospect.
It seems to be now certain, that Unless Mr Jefferson has Votes in N. Hampshire, Vermont or Rhode Island he cannot be President. But it is not improbable that Mr Pinckney may be.— unless N. C. should be of opinion with Virginia that J. A. had better be P. than Pinckney.
The Northern Members have kept their Promise better than the Southern. They have got a great Number for Pinckney, but the Southern have got none for A.
The English Party have outgeneraled the French and American both. That is the Construction I put upon it though others would make me beleive if they could that it is an insidious Maneuvre of Hamiltons individual Ambition. I care not whose Maneuvre it is; nor who is the Dupe, nor whether it is foreign Influence or private Ambitions, so long as I am not guilty of any sin of Omission or Commission in the Business. The whole system is utterly repugnant to my Judgment and Wishes. I wish Patrick Henry had 138 Votes and would Accept them. Pinckney has no Pretensions to any of them more than Dr Jarvis. If Chance and Tricks are to decide, it had better be decided by french Influence for aught I know or even by English, for either Jefferson or Hamilton had better Pretensions and would have made better Presidents than Pinckney.
I shall not suffer so much in retiring as the P. whose tender feelings are excited both by Kindness & Unkindness. I shall retire without much of either to harrow up my soul. It is rather a dull Prospect to see nothing but ones Ploughshare between one and the Grave but I am confident I can bear it as well as the P.— My Misery will all be over by the Ninth of Feb. if I am released— But that is too long.
yours most affectionately
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “December 16 1796.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0230

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-12-18

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I went Yesterday at 12 O Clock to the Presbyterian Meeting House in Market Street to hear Dr Rush pronounce an elegant and pathetic Elogium on Mr Rittenhouse the late President of the { 447 } Philosophical society. He made him out to be a good Man and a great Astronomer & Philosopher. This I agree and if he had not betrayed Jacobinical Weaknesses I should have liked him very well.1
Dr Euwing is Sick & melancholly. has lost his Wifes fortune by trusting Speculators and has had recourse to imprudent means to raise his Spirits as they Say. He has done preaching for the present at least.2
It is now Said, but I have not made the Calculations, to be made certain that neither Mr Pinckney nor Mr Jefferson can be President: consequently my Troubles are not far off. Strong in the Confidence of my own Honesty, and favoured by the Appearance of tolerable health and the feeling of Some Strength, I perceive no Consternation at the Prospect.
There have not been wanting Insinuations to make me believe that Hamilton and Jay have insidiously intrigued to give Pinckney a Sly slide over my head, and the southern Men Swear, if they had suspected this I should have had all their Votes. I do believe that both of them had rather Pinckney should come in P. than Jefferson be either P. or V. P.— one of them might believe he should have more Influence with Pinckney than with me— Both of them might think, that if I was out of the Way, one or other of them might have a better Chance to come in at next Election into one or the other Office. Both of them may have designs or desires of closer Connections with England than I should approve. But whatever cause for these Surmises may exist, they shall make no Impression on my Friendship for those Characters. I believe their Motives were what they recd for publick Good. Jay at least had probably no active share in the Business. H. certainly had.
But I think it is now evident that the Southern States have had all these Contingencies in Contemplation and that they preferred me, in either office to Pinckney or Burr, and I am more indebted to the southern states for this Election than to Massachusetts, thirteen of whose Votes were determined I presume by Hamiltons Letters to Higginson, if not to Cabot, and who certainly were willing to sacrifice me, rather than that Jefferson should come in V. P.3
The common Saying here is that it is an Interposition of Providence that has saved me, defeated Pinckney, and disappointed the English Party as well as the French. The French however are deceived,—I am more their Friend than they are aware of.—
I am much mistaken if I do not remove many Prejudices both at home & abroad before the fourth of March. There are manly Ways { 448 } of correcting Errors, that all Men dont perceive. These are confidential Communications from your ever affectionate
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “December 18 1796.”
1. David Rittenhouse, the noted astronomer and mathematician, had died on 26 June. Benjamin Rush eulogized him on 17 Dec. at the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia at an event attended by George Washington, JA, members of Congress, and foreign dignitaries, among others. Later published as An Eulogium, Intended to Perpetuate the Memory of David Rittenhouse, Rush’s eulogy described Rittenhouse as “the ingenious, the modest, and the wise … the friend of God and man. … His name gave a splendor to the American character, and the friends of humanity in distant parts of the world, unite with us in lamenting our common loss,—for he belonged to the whole human race” (Phila., 1797, p. 4, 5, Evans, No. 31143; ANB).
2. In the summer of 1796 John Ewing suffered from an attack of a “violent disorder” and never fully recovered; although he continued his public duties he could no longer walk without aid. Ewing also experienced financial losses after being swindled by an acquaintance. Hannah Sergeant Ewing (1739–1806), his wife, was the daughter of Jonathan Sergeant of Newark, N.J. (Lucy E. Lee Ewing, Dr. John Ewing and Some of His Noted Connections, Phila., 1924, p. 11, 16, 26).
3. Letters from Alexander Hamilton to Stephen Higginson or George Cabot have not been located, but one to the former was likely dated 28 Nov. and apparently encouraged Higginson to support Thomas Pinckney over JA in the presidential election in order to exclude Thomas Jefferson entirely (Hamilton, Papers, 20:376–377, 414–415, 437–438).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0231

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-12-19

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I have this morning yours of the 9th. Am glad you have mine from Stratford: you will receive others in Succession.
I am not much chagrined at the disappointment of ploughing the Hill. The Spring will do. The more Seaweed is procured the better. I need not exhort you to get Wood. I am Glad Mr Bass is provided for. I wish you to expend as little as possible in Labour except for Seaweed and Sledding Stones across the Mill Pond if there should be opportunity, and for a fence against Jona. Bass.1
The general Delusion of Speculation has involved the great Chiefs. McClenichan is in Trouble his son Stewart left nothing2 Mr Morris Mr Nicholson Mr Wilson Mr Greenleaf Mr Barclay & many others are talked of as in Such distress as to Spread a general Consternation among the Merchants.3 I can never enough deplore the Delerium of plunging into Schemes of such vast magnitude and complication, living in Such Pomp and Such Expence upon Property of others—giving Charities, making feasts, Signing Subscriptions, blazing away with Furniture Equipage &c and then discovering that all this is Credit, and that Multitudes of honest People must be involved in distress in Consequence of it. I saw enough at East Chester— But I had long expected it. Where is the moral Principle? { 449 } where is the Modesty? of rolling in Luxury upon the Property of others? I fear that Dishonesty will appear as well as Distress. That large Sums in Trust, will be found misapplied. Trusts violated and prostituted. Give me Poverty give me Death rather than the Sting of remorse for violated Confidence.
The Writers in the Chronicle, take great Pains to impute this Stagnation to the Government—But with great Injustice.— I fear it has arisen from a Defect of the Constitution, in not giving to Congress the exclusive Power of erecting and regulating Banks and limiting even their Power to a moderate sum: But I am cautious and fearful of explaining myself on this Subject.
The Bank of Pensilvania has Spread an Alarm. I hope that all others will take Warning.
I see that Hamilton is the Object of Chronicle wrath. But Hamilton did not establish the state Banks, and they have had their ful share in the Imprudence and the Mischief.
Mr Bloodworth of N. Carolina Said to me this morning he could now congratulate me on the Certainty of my Election as President:4 But I make no Calculations, as far as I see it is still possible that Pinckney may be P.— Jefferson I think cannot. The Vermont votes are Safe enough. They are not liable to the objection apprehended.
The Alarm which was Spread in Philadelphia & Pensilvania by Adets Note has Subsided. You will see that Congress is not intimidated. Though a Party in the H. is still too Strong. It is cruel that Mass. shd. increase this Party. Bill Lyman went all Lengths. Gen. Dearbourne & Coll Varnum Stop’d short.5
Mr A’s Letters are in high Reputation. I heard one of the Cabinet Say that Mr A’s Correspondence was the most Satisfactory of any of the Ministers abroad.— Many have read them and all admire them.
But the Scæne which appears to have been played at the House and in the Suite of a foreign Minister at Paris is a Serious Thing— If our Ambassadors are to harbour the Destroyers of Religion and Government, where are We?
If our Ambassadors abroad will not frown on Abuses of their Employers who will. Examples must and will be made.—
I am, my dearest Friend, your ever affectionate
[signed] J. A.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “December 19 1796.”
1. Probably Deacon Jonathan Bass (1763–1859), only son of the Adamses’ longtime neighbor Jonathan Bass (1729–1778) (Sprague, Braintree Families; vol. 3:66).
2. That is, Blair McClenachan’s son-in-law, Walter Stewart, who had died in June; see vol. 8:87.
3. December proved a traumatic month for { 450 } land speculators in Philadelphia. According to Benjamin Rush, some 150 businesses failed in six weeks, and 67 people went to jail for debt. John Barclay, then president of the Bank of Pennsylvania, was rumored to have invested money taken from the bank without accounting for it, while the value of Robert Morris and John Nicholson’s business dropped precipitously. In Rush’s words, “great distress pervaded our city from failures. … A spirit of speculation infected all ranks” (Rush, Autobiography, p. 236–237).
4. Timothy Bloodworth (1736–1814) represented North Carolina in the Continental Congress in 1786, served in the House of Representatives between 1790 and 1791, and held a Senate seat from 1795 until 1801 (Biog. Dir. Cong.).
5. Probably a reference to the final vote in the House of Representatives on its reply to George Washington’s annual address. Numerous efforts were made to remove portions of the reply that Democratic-Republicans considered too conciliatory toward and laudatory of Washington’s administration. In the end, on 15 Dec. 1796, a large majority of the House voted in favor of the reply as it was originally drafted, but twelve members, including William Lyman, went on record as opposing it (Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 2d sess., p. 1667–1668).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0232

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-12-20

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I Yesterday dined at Mr Binghams and Sitting next to Madam at Table, had Something like a political Conversation with her. She has more ideas of the Subject than I Suspected: and a correcter Judgment. She gave me the Characters of Several of the notable Foreigners, and I find has the Same Jealousies of them, which I have entertained. Talleyrand Liancourt, Volney, Caznove &c. Noailles is the only one, that She thinks has much Friendship for America. She Says that Noailles declares to them all that he has renounced France forever, that he never will return, in any change of affairs, unless as a Traveller or Visitor and that if France Should make War on America he would take Arms in her Defence. Talleyrand since his return to France has been very bitter against Us, she says. Liancourt has become very violent and is negotiating his return— Volney she Says professes Friendship & a good Opinion, but is so proud a Man and has such Principles that she can have no confidence. Caznove from a high Government Man has become an inveterate Democrat. She considers them all as Spies upon Us, and wishes them all away.1 This is confidential, and I would not be the Occasion of any Misunderstanding between her and these Gentlemen but I was highly pleased with her Attachment to her Country.
The President is cruelly treated, and I really entertain Serious Apprehensions for his Health. He must plunge into Agriculture and ride away his Reflections or he will see a Spectre, like Gill Blass’s Count Olivarez.2 I saw him and his Lady to Day and they both enquired after you.
{ 451 }
The Pensilvanian you enquire after is probably a certain Dr Edwards a Relation and Intimate of Mr Burr, who has been probably Speculating in France in Connection with him.
Mr Hitchbourne held the same Language here as We expected.
I am told that Blair McClenican, and Mr Barclay as well as McKean were very busy against me. The two first are now in a Predicament that would more than revenge me if I was Vindictive, which I never was and will not now begin to be.
The opposers of Government are rotten in heart and hollow in show of Property.
Greenleaf I fear will loose Character, Fortune Wife and all together. I wish I may be mistaken.
The Curses against Blair and Barclay are very loud and bitter.
All Confidence between Man and Man is suspended for a Time.
There is a devilish Spirit of Corruption and Wickedness in this City that exceeds all the Capitals in the Union.
I am forever yours
[signed] J. A.
It is Supposed to be certain that Mr Jefferson cannot be P. and a narrow Squeak it is as the Boys say, whether he or P. shall be Daddy Vice: a Character that I shall soon relinquish Whether I am or not the Person whom they now toast under the Title of “The President elect.[”] I have been Dady Vice long enough.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “December 20 1796.”
1. Théophile Cazenove (1740–1811) was a Dutch land agent who came to the United States in 1790 to manage the American financial operations of the four strongest Dutch banking firms; he also served as general agent of the Holland Land Company until he returned to Europe in 1799 (Théophile Cazenove, Cazenove Journal, 1794, ed. Rayner Wickersham Kelsey, Haverford, Penn., 1922, p. viii, ix, xii).
2. For a similar reference by JA to retirement and the Count d’Olivares, a character in Alain René Le Sage’s The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, see vol. 9:485.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0233

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Date: 1796-12-20

John Quincy Adams to Louisa Catherine Johnson

I have this morning received your two Letters of Novr: 29. and December 6. The pain which the prospect of an inevitable continuance to our separation has given you I readily believe, and I know too well from my own experience its force. At the same time I rejoyce in finding that you have the fortitude to support it; you have seldom as you say been taught in the school of disappointment: your firmness therefore is the more substantial proof of a character { 452 } formed to meet in a becoming manner those with which even the most fortunate lives are interspersed.
Your intention and proposal of writing every week gives me great pleasure, [and] I will assure you that you shall meet with no failure of punctuality on my part. And [let] us my lovely friend, let us I entreat you in this correspondence mutually discover that free open, and unlimited confidence in each other, which I have so often solicited of you, and which I still think it necessary to recommend
You speak of endeavouring to prevail on your Father to embark from Holland for America, for the purpose of giving us an opportunity to meet once more for a few days. Although it is one of the warmest wishes of my heart to see you, yet I should in this case enjoy that satisfaction for so short a time, the bitterness of a new separation would be so severely renewed, and the inconveniences of a double voyage to your father and family, a voyage to embark at an encreased distance and augmented perils upon the passage of the Atlantic, would be so great, that the pleasure of a short and transient meeting cannot even in a lover’s calculation be put in a balance against the obstacles to your design.
You remember that in your Letter of July 25. you requested me not to pass through London on my way to Lisbon unless you could accompany me from thence; you had felt our parting too acutely to risk another, and could hear of my departure with less pain than you could witness it.— At present you think that the pang of parting again will tend to strengthen your fortitude. I mention this variety of sentiment, not to charge my friend with any inconsistency but to warrant the opinion I have formed, that in the intention of urging your father to embark from Holland, you have contemplated that of remaining with me. I attribute it therefore not to any sentiment of suspicion or distrust, but to that delicacy, which is the glory of your sex, and your fairest ornament, that you have not plainly avowed this purpose, as the foundation upon which you imagine your father might be persuaded to come here before his return to America. I should feel myself, culpable of that very sort of suspicion which it has always been my endeavour to avert from your mind, if I affected to regard the hope which you express in any other light. It is therefore a [duty] incumbent upon me to be candid and explicit upon the subject, and if I have [been] mistaken; if you have no other purpose than merely that of our meeting during the [short] stay which your { 453 } father could make in this Country, let your candour and affection apologize for my having misunderstood you.
Upon this ground I find myself compelled to assure you that the completion of our Union here would be impossible. It would still be prevented by the same impediments which forced me so reluctantly to leave England without you.— They are of a nature which it is unpleasant even to explain and much more so to detail. My present situation is not improved in point of Fortune, it is more precarious in a political point of view than it was at that time. While I remain here in my present unsettled condition, without orders without authority, without power to remove, and exposed to dismission from the public Service by a revolution far from improbable in the administration of the American Government, to connect the fortunes of any amiable woman indissolubly with mine, would be an act of absurdity towards myself, and of cruelty towards her. How much would it be aggravated in your case whom I should take from the bosom of an excellent and happy family, where you have from your infancy scarcely formed a wish, but it was instantly supplied, and where the possession of fortune has accustomed you to the enjoyment of every indulgence. My sentiments on the occasion therefore cannot hesitate a moment. They are paramount to every other consideration, and fixed beyond the power of alteration.
I have indeed gone through a painful task in thus intimating to you what however it is indispensable that you should know. Painful because it rests upon the unavoidable necessity of arrangements which are extremely unpleasant to myself, and ungrateful to my own hopes and wishes: painful, because I know that it will be adverse to your inclinations, as tending to confirm a disappointment from which you have hoped to be relieved; and perhaps no less painful from an apprehension that even you may harbour an involuntary doubt or distrust of the purity and generosity of the motives upon which my determination is really founded. Yet while I am thoroughly convinced that your interest and satisfaction make it a duty incumbent upon me to be clear and explicit with you, I feel at least the consolation of having faithfully discharged that duty, and as it concerns myself can without reluctance leave it to the test of future time to convince you, if there be a need for any such conviction, that I am as incapable of betraying affection, or slighting engagements, as of varying from a purpose deliberately formed, and decidedly adopted.
{ 454 }
Remember me affectionately to all the family and still believe me your ever faithful and constant friend
[signed] A.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Miss L. C. Johnson / London.” FC-Pr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 131. Text lost where the seal was removed has been supplied from the FC-Pr.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0234

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-12-21

Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother.

Towards the close of last month I had the pleasure to receive your kind letter of August 16th:. I have been so much occupied since then, that it has been impossible for me to thank you sooner for the agreeable domestic intelligence it contains. I am led to suppose however that at the time it was written, your own health was considerably impaired, especially when you tell me, that at “this distance I have a sympathetic suffering with you.” in addition to which a letter of September 18 from our Cousin Cranch has confirmed that conjecture, at the same time he informed us that you were upon the recovery.1 All your letters to me since you heard of my illness, as well as those from my Father, are full of such tenderness and affection that I know not how to express my gratitude, or repay that kindness by words alone, which at this distance are the only means in my power to testify the feelings of my heart. But my parents, I trust, do not require a verbal assurance of my attachment; motives, stronger than duty or mere natural ties, bind me to them, and command every endearing sentiment of my mind. That I may meet them ere long in my native land, never ceases to be the most interesting anticipation which my fancy forms, and that health may attend the prolongation of their lives is the most fervent of my wishes.
With regard to myself it is with pleasure I assure you, that my health has been very good for the most part since my recovery. A few infirmities still lurk about me, but I am in hopes to keep them in due subjection by a careful attention to my cloathing and exercise. If I could afford to keep a horse, I certainly should from a persuasion that riding is the best adapted exercise for my habit, but my finances do not admit such an expence, and I endeavor to make my own legs serve me instead of those of another animal.
There is an English article of manufacture, which I believe is of recent date, called Fleecy-hosiery, which is strongly recommend to { 455 } people afflicted with Rheumatic complaints, and which from experience I can affirm to possess qualities of protection from this disorder superior to any thing of the kind yet known. It is manufactured in all the different pieces of underdress or overdress, from the night-cap for the head to socks for the feet. It is doubtless to be had at this time with you, and I would recommend an experiment of it to you, persuaded that you will be benefited by the use of it. The celebrated philanthropist Dr: Buchan, who is in such repute with the ladies especially, for making them the physicians of their families, was one of the first persons of the faculty to point out the excellence and utility of this manufacture and has written a scientific letter to the inventor in praise of it. It was his pamphlet which was put into my hands last winter while I was suffering severely from the rhumatism that first resolved me to try it, and I have not found that he overrates its merit.2
The desire which your letters and those of my father have so frequently expressed for my return home, it is my intention to gratify in the course of a few months. It seems probable, at present, that my brother will continue here through the Spring, and though in that case I must leave him before the expiration of his mission here I shall probably prolong my stay somewhat beyond the period which I had meditated for my departure hence. A person to succeed my Brother here will doubtless soon be appointed, and he will most likely arrive here before we quit. Who this successor will be I am unable to conjecture, but I sincerely hope it may be some man of respectable talents, but above all of a firm & decided character.3 To deal properly with these people, to maintain the harmony between the two Countries and at the same time to yield nothing to them but strict justice, the Minister of the United States at the Hague ought to possess those qualities. The mission is one of the most delicate that we have at present, and it becomes daily more & more so. I say delicate, because there is no knowing how soon the French Directory may order the Government of this Country to break of all communication with the United States until they shall redress the wrongs of which the French Republic has reason to complain. This mode of proceeding has of late become so fashionable, that it ought not to surprize the most friendly Nation of the Globe, to find itself without ceremony ranked among the number of those upon which the french Directory is disposed to cast a frown of disapprobation. Through what medium must the Executive of France judge of the character of the American people, if they imagine that incivility and { 456 } harsh treatment will gain their affections? Such a policy is surely not founded upon accurate knowledge of the human temper. But they expect to terrify us into a subserviency to their sovereign will. This being their object, I am not for my single self averse to an experiment of that nature, for I firmly believe that the success of it will be of a description to convince them of its rashness. But experience is evidently not the guide of the French Directory; had it been, they would have learnt a lesson of wisdom from the result of a similar trial upon Portugal4 and Sweden. A french opposition paper which I meet with some times, contained a few days ago a paragraph of which the following is a translation. “It is affirmed that the Directory seems little disposed to receive Mr: Pinckney the new Ambassador of the United States of America, and that, because his Government is connected in commerce with England. As whatever is too ridiculous does not merit belief, we contradict this news. None but fools require that their friends should be the enemies of their enemies— Moreover the whole world has not yet consented to divide itself between France and England.”5 The opinion expressed in this extract is very generally prevalent, but it appears not to be that of the Directory.
Our Anarchists have I presume already received their cue, and the whole doctrine of rewards & punishments has doubtless been rung in the ears of Government, with as much emphasis as it is chimed by the french Minister to the Batavian National Assembly. What a mercenary friendship is that of the french Government at this time!
You doubtless see the letters of my brother to my Father soon after they are received, and as he gives all the political intelligence of importance, it is unnecessary for me to repeat it to you.
I have lately received letters from my Brother at New York and from W Cranch in which the new married men most egregiously tantalise their single relations, by the flattering colors in which they draw the portrait of their family conditions.6 One would think that there was no ingredient but enjoyment in the cup of Matrimony, if their estimates are accurate. Bitter or sweet, our family hitherto seem well inclined to taste of it sooner or later. Suppose that I should resolve to perform a prodigy of self denial by shunning the chains of wedlock.7 It is a tremendous undertaking, but stranger things have happened. I make no promises however. I remember { 457 } copying a letter from the Minister to you, about this time last year, written at Helvoetsluys, wherein the said person very nearly abjures a family connection, and three months after what was the fate of that lamentation?8 This is not the first instance of a revolution, of which a female was the principal cause, and it will not be the last, if I have any skill in Augury. It is doubtful whether the final arrangement of the Ministers family matters will be made in Europe, but if not I think he will stay but a short time at the Court of her most faithful Majesty. But I am meddling with other people’s affairs too officiously; you have already a full account from the party concerned.
The present is a gay winter at the Hague—Balls—Concerts, Drawing rooms &ca: in abundance. People have thrown aside somewhat of their buckram, and seem to be convinced that melancholy is not the best remedy of itself.
Remember me affectionately to all friends round the Blue Hills, and at the expiration of the year 1796 let me express the unfeigned wish of my heart, that the new one may bring with it to one and all the fullest measure of felicity and content.
Believe me with love & duty, Your Son
[signed] Thomas B Adams.
I wrote to my Father but a few day since.9
RC (private owner, 2008); internal address: “Mrs: A Adams”; endorsed: “T B Adams Decbr / 21. 1796—”
1. Not found, although TBA is possibly referring to William Cranch’s letter to JQA of 16 Sept., above, in which Cranch passes along information of AA’s improving health.
2. William Buchan, A Letter to the Patentee, Concerning the Medical Properties of the Fleecy Hosiery, London, 1790. Directed to the manufacturer of fleecy hosiery, a type of wool cloth, Buchan’s letter notes that fleecy hosiery is “a remedy far superior to the best flannel” in the treatment of rheumatism. “The advantages of the Fleecy Hosiery over flannel will appear on the slightest inspection; but on trial it is still more obvious. I have often recommended it in rheumatic affections, and have never been disappointed in my expectations from it. In the chronic rheumatism, indeed, it requires time; yet even here it will be found to perform a cure sooner than any other remedy” (p. 5, 11–12).
3. William Vans Murray was nominated to replace JQA as U.S. minister resident to the Netherlands on 27 Feb. 1797; the Senate consented to his appointment on 2 March (U.S. Senate, Exec. Jour., 4th Cong., 2d sess., p. 228).
4. Portugal, which had been allied with Great Britain since 1793, felt compelled to assert its neutrality after Spain formed an alliance with France in Aug. 1796. The queen of Portugal formally declared the country’s neutrality, and negotiations for a peace treaty with France successfully concluded in Aug. 1797 (Hamilton, Papers, 21:116).
5. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney had succeeded James Monroe as minister to France in July 1796 and arrived with his family in Paris on 5 December. On 9 Dec. Pinckney had an audience with Charles Delacroix, French minister of foreign affairs, who accepted Pinckney’s letters of credence and promised to send permits that would protect him from arrest in Paris as a “stranger.” Three days later, however, the Directory refused to recognize any U.S. minister until America met the terms of a French list of grievances. On 15 Dec. Pinckney was verbally informed that { 458 } the Directory desired him to leave France, and on 26 Jan. 1797 he received a similar written order. The Pinckneys left Paris on 5 Feb. and arrived in Amsterdam on the 17th (Marvin R. Zahniser, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney: Founding Father, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1967, p. 132–133, 141–144, 148–149).
6. Letters not found.
7. TBA underlined “I” in this sentence three times.
8. See JQA to AA, 7 Nov. 1795, above, for which there is an LbC in TBA’s hand (LbC, APM Reel 128).
9. TBA to JA, 26 Nov. 1796, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0235

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-12-23

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

I received by the last post Your favours dated 7h 8th & 12 of the present Month together with Pains Letter & the counter part Jasper I tremble when I look forward to the scene opening before Me. My own reflections and Meditations are similar to yours, except that I do contemplate a return to the Bar. Retirement at Peace Feild I think would be a much more Eligible situation than to be fastned up Hand & foot & Tongue to be shot at as our Quincy Lads Do at the poor Geese and Turkies, and like the frog in the fable, sport to the Boys was Death to the frogs.1 Since I came to Town Some curious Annecdotes have to me. Judge Daws after the Election was over, went to visit the Govenour so said the G. To answer their own ends. I Say to answer their own ends Judge. they sit up Your Father and Me Electors in opposition to each other if I had been Elected, I should have Done something that should have cemented the Friendship of my kinsman or severd us for ever. I hope Sir it will make no breach between your Father and Me.2 our Friend Mrs Storer Says that the conduct of the Govenour in erasing his Name from the Law respecting Electors, put her in mind of some lines in a little Book of the Childrens.

There was a Man in Thessaly

and he was wondrous wise

He jump’d into a quickset hedge

and scratchd out both his Eyes

And when he saw his Eyes were out

With all his might & main

He jump’d into another hedge

and scratchd them in again

A Country Man this week who lives about 50 miles back was in Mr N Austins shop, and began to talk with him upon politicks3 why says he, they tell me that mr Adams, tho a Clever Man will not do { 459 } for President. they say he can’t talk. aya says mr Austin, he can’t talk Nonsence, but Do You or can You believe that a Gentleman who was many Years in the full practise of the Law cannot talk?
Very harmless was that report in comparison of a thousand others which I dare say have come to your Ears. Dr Walter call’d to See me a Day or two since. he Said there were many people in this Town who almost wisht You might not be Elected that they might have you for their Govenour next year.4 to this speach I could make no reply, but bow’d it is considerd here as a Matter Setled that you are Elected, yet no person speaks of it, but what seem to commisirate the station & to be fully sensible of its Dangers and perplexitys
I inclose to you an Aurelias, the reputed Author Young Gardner of Milton it is certain that he corrected the press, and does not deny the Peice. I cannot but suspect however that he has consented to Father it for some other person.5
Tell Mrs otis that her Friends here are well, but in affliction for the sudden Death of Mrs Robbins, Nabby Saltmars that was, who on one Sunday was Married & before a fortnight was a Corpse.6 “O Blindness to the future kindly given”7
Tomorrow I return to Quincy where I hope to hear often from my Dearest Friend to whom I am with the sincerest affection / His
[signed] A Adams8
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. Decr 23 1796 / ansd. Jan. 3. 1797.”
1. Aesop’s fable “The Boys and the Frogs.”
2. That is, Judge Thomas Dawes Jr. (1757–1825), for whom see CFA, Diary, 1:1. Dawes was the son of Col. Thomas Dawes, who had been selected as a Federalist presidential elector for Massachusetts.
3. Presumably Nathaniel Austin (1763–1807), a Charlestown pewtersmith and the husband of AA’s cousin Anna Kent Austin (vol. 7:3; 10:360).
4. Dr. Rev. William Walter (1737–1800), Harvard 1756, had been rector of Trinity Church, Boston, but left the city as a loyalist in 1776. While in London in 1784 making claims for losses during the war, he visited with AA. He returned to Boston in 1791 and served as rector of Christ Church, Boston, from 1792 until his death (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 14:111–121; vol. 5:372, 377, 384). JA had long been considered a possible future governor of Massachusetts; for a recent comment to that effect, see the Massachusetts Mercury, 1 Nov. 1796.
5. John Gardner was in fact the author of a series of articles appearing under the pseudonym Aurelius, which were published in the Boston Columbian Centinel, 15, 19, 22, 26 Oct., 2, 5 November. He would later compile them into the pamphlet A Brief Consideration of the Important Services … Which Recommend Mr. Adams for the Presidency.
6. Abigail Saltmarsh Robbins (b. 1740) died on 17 Dec., having married James Robbins on 4 Dec. (Boston Columbian Centinel, 7, 21 Dec.).
7. Alexander Pope, Essay on Man, Epistle I, line 85.
8. In a second letter of the same date, AA reported to JA that recent praise for him in the 14 Dec. Boston Columbian Centinel originated in Virginia. She also relayed rumors that Benjamin Hichborn had become a champion of James Monroe (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0236

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-12-25

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

Was it ever colder in this Country. the glasses have fallen much below 0, tho a bright sunshine on fryday and saturday. many people froze their feet hands and Ears. I really compasionate you that you must Sleep alone. not one Day here since the 23 of Novbr in which it has thaw’d so as to Drop from the houses. the snow is very level and near a foot deep. our people are getting wood home. Billings has made a New Sled, and if the weather holds we shall sled some stones. water very Scarce. we are threatned with a very hard and cold Winter. we have no preaching to Day. if we had the weather is too cold for Me to venture abroad. I have read G Mifflins Speach. it is more Complimentary than I expected to the President, and is not destitute of patriotick sentiments as it respects our Country. he probably thought an atonement necessary for the part Pennsilvanna had taken in the late Election.1 Abraham ventured not so far as to limit his Number to one Righteous Man, when he plead for the city.2 I would hope however that both Virginna & Pennssilvana have a much larger Number. the Hungry Patriots, we are informd have run beyond the bounds of their credit. I do not compasionate them. their fall will serve as Warnings to others, & eventually benifit the publick. the numerous Banks I hope will be diminishd, and a more rational system, than these immense speculations, these Phantom Nabobs, will Succeed to them, upon more solid and durable foundations. the President in his speach and the Senate in their reply notice the inadequate compensation of publick officers. I am informd that in the Houses answer, the first Draught of which was sent on last week as agreed to in committe, that no notice was taken of that part of the speach. it is an evil of no small Magnitude, and will in the event prove dishonorable to our Country as well as Dangerous.3

[“]Dovoid of decent show,

How soon does power to trampled Weakness grow?

How soon base minds the feeble judge deride

And beggar’d rulers quake at Wealthy Pride?”4

We have so many restless Spirits in the union that I am at a loss to know who in Particular you allude to. Pains pamphlet can do no { 461 } Hurt. I most sincerely wish it circulated it is so opposite to the Voice of the Nation, so low & Vilely abusive that neither he or Jaspir can do any other service, than open the Eyes of the Blind. I am at a loss for the politicks of Virginna, unless they intended that Burr should not be V P. I had no Idea but that those who voted for Jefferson, would vote also for Burr in that state. it was quite a surprize giving 14 to S A. their policy was however weak, and their judgments wholy warped by Faction our News papers declare the Election, and have hopes of an additional Number of votes.5 Yet no person mentions the station, but as a post of difficulty and Danger. I could sincerely Join with Dr Clark and say in the words of Moses, when looking to the Mount, If thou o Lord go not up with us, carry us not up theither.6
I have not any Letter from you of a later date than the 12th I should be glad of a post Note, at the New Year. My Blacksmith & Coach Mender &c call to settle for the Year. I should have been glad to have taken up Genll Lincolns Note, before he goes on to Philadelphia7
The minority in the House of Reps is small. they ought to Blush if they had any generous feelings they would. is there one of them all whose Character if Weighd by the hand of Justice, and Virtue honour & probity were put in the Scale, would not its opposite fly up & kick the Beam?
consistant in wrong measures, poor Reptiles, censure is Your Due, and that from the pen & Heart / of Your affectionate
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. 25. Decr 1796 / Ansd 5. Jan. 1797.”
1. Gov. Thomas Mifflin gave a lengthy address before the Pennsylvania legislature on 10 Dec. in which he highlighted recent achievements of the federal government and praised George Washington as “a Patriot, who has so meritoriously swayed the affections of his fellow citizens; and so successfully executed the councils of his country” that “the rich inheritance of his example and his fame, shall be the palladium and pride of our latest posterity!” While the speech does not appear to have been printed in Boston, an excerpt reprinted in the Worcester Massachusetts Spy, 21 Dec., was prefaced by comments similar to those expressed by AA: “Governour Mifflin, of Pennsylvania, has hitherto, by many, been considered as unfriendly to the present administration of our Federal Government, and to the measures which have been adopted for the preservation of our country in peace and prosperity. It is, therefore, with peculiar satisfaction, that we notice the following sentiments, extracted from his late lengthy address” (Journal of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Commencing on Tuesday, the Sixth Day of December, in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-Six, Phila., 1797, p. 10–19, Evans, No. 32653).
2. Genesis, 18:22–33.
3. In Washington’s address to Congress, he particularly noted the need for “legislative revision” regarding the compensation for governmental offices, especially “the most important stations.” He expressed concern that the need for “private wealth” would limit the { 462 } pool of candidates and that “it would be repugnant to the vital principles of our government, virtually to exclude, from public trusts, talents and virtue, unless accompanied by wealth.” The Senate concurred in its reply, but the House’s reply, approved on 15 Dec., made no mention of the subject (U.S. Senate, Jour., 4th Cong., 2d sess., p. 299, 301; U.S. House, Jour., 4th Cong., 2d sess., p. 618–619).
4. Timothy Dwight, The Conquest of Canäan: A Poem, in Eleven Books, Book I, lines 339–342. The first edition was published in Hartford, Conn., in 1785; JA’s library at MB includes a copy of the 1788 London edition (Catalogue of JA’s Library).
5. On 23 Dec. 1796 the Massachusetts Mercury reported, “We can now with safety declare, that JOHN ADAMS, of Massachusetts, is elected President of the United States of America.” The piece also noted that Thomas Jefferson would likely become vice president. The next day the Boston Columbian Centinel congratulated “the citizens of America, on the choice of his Excellency JOHN ADAMS to the distinguished office of President of the United States—an event which must give joy to every friend to the peace and prosperity of our country.”
6. Exodus, 33:15. AA may be referring to one of the many compilations of sermons published by British theologian Samuel Clarke, for whom see vol. 7:150.
7. JA had sent AA a post note for $600 on 22 Dec., asking her to use the money “as frugally as possible.” He also commented on his continuing uncertainty regarding the electoral count (Adams Papers). AA received the note on 4 Jan. 1797 (AA to JA, 7 Jan., Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0237

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-12-27

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I recd yours of the 14 on Fryday: but had no Letter on Monday.1
According to present appearances, Jefferson will be Daddy Vice, and between you and me I expect you will soon See a more ample Provision made for him, that he may live in Style—and not be obliged to lodge at Taverns and ride in Stage Coaches. I See plainly enough that when your Washingtons and Adams’s are Stowed away our dear Country will have a gay Government. I cannot help these injudicious Extreams into which People will run, nor these invidious Partialities.2
The Rumours of Peculation and Want of Probity as well as want of Fidelity to Trusts are allarming & afflicting. My Old Friends Mifflin, McKean Ewing, exhibit despicable and detestible Phenomena for Governors Judges & Heads of Colledges, as their Conduct is represented daily in public Companies. I know nothing more.— McKean indeed is only charged with a little too much Madeira and Infidelity to Friendship and political Principle.
Whatever the French may Say without stammering or with Swaggering, the American People will not be frightened by them.
Swan came to visit me, as well as Tenche Coxe. What a Puppy this last? He left his Card. I was at home when the other came and had a Conversation with him civilly enough.—
{ 463 }
The Prospect before me, opens many Questions and Inquiries concerning House, Furniture, Equipage, Servants and many other Things which will give me trouble and occupation enough and the more because you will not be here— Luckily for you— I should tremble for your health if you had all the Visits and Ceremonies to go through and all the Preparations to make.
71 is the Ne plus ultra—it is now certain that no Man can have more and but one so many— if no irregularity appears to set aside Votes 71 will carry the Point. I know of no irregularity. The suggested one of Vermont appears without foundation. I am affectionately
[signed] J. A.3
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “December 27 1796.”
1. In her letter to JA of 14 Dec. AA wrote that during a recent visit with Judge William and Hannah Phillips Cushing the latter expressed her belief that JA would receive all of Connecticut’s electoral votes. AA also informed JA that she had been forwarded a letter from TBA to Thomas Welsh of 30 Sept., not found, which provided a status update of France’s activities along the Rhine and the popular belief that the United States was under the thumb of Great Britain (Adams Papers).
2. Congress made no changes to the salaries for either the president or the vice president at this time (Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 2d sess., p. 2944).
3. In a second letter to AA of the same date, JA wrote that he had no news of JQA or TBA later than 30 Sept., and he included an extract of a letter he had seen that flattered JA with having talents superior to those of George Washington and that JA felt obligated to refute (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0238

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-12-28

Charles Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

Your kind letter of the last week I have received.1 Your ideas respecting a young man’s having a Record of a regular education in the Law I think are perfectly right with regard to my Young friend Malcom his age will not permit his taking an examination until near fifteen months after he leaves my office which will be in June next His uncle Mr Joshua Sands is his guardian and has since my first acquaintance with him been such a friend as is not to be ranked among the many2 It has been Mr Sands object to give my pupil as good an education as this State can afford knowing that the fortune left to him is such that he will not be obliged to toil through the drugery of the law for a maintainance he had proposed to send him for a year or two to Europe and if possible to procure him the place of Secretary to Mr King. I wish not to say too much of the merits of my eléve but it would be wrong to conceal the gratitude I owe not only to him as one of the most attentive students I ever knew but to { 464 } his family and connections who have invariably endeavored to promote my interest and wellfare
The multiplicity of Banks and unlimited Speculations have caused the most deplorable scarcity of money The calculation of money now due to our Merchants from England and France is enormous. The failure of payment of petty debts creates a distress that can hardly be conceived I can give you a specimen which I know is not singular I had the other day many outstanding debts in the way of my business to the amount of about two hundred and fifty dollars and those due from perhaps sixty different people I wanted to collect them and spent two days in the business and obtain[ed] but eight dollars. The complaint is universal [….] man whose word would pass for fifty thousand dollars tells you he cannot command twenty at the moment. Tom Paines pamphlet I have read I shall make no comments but give the Motto I think the American People will give to it

“Hic Jacet Thomas Paine”

My dear Mother has this day sent me a pamphlet containing a sett of papers under the signature of Aurelius,3 they are well intended though the author does not discover a knowlege of the minutia of business Infinitely more might have been said: Whatever confidence you may place in me shall be sacred and on this declaration I would inquire what if any has ever been the coolness between Hamilton and yourself. I have been informed and that by a person although he will lie could not have hoped to escape detection in this instance That Hamilton had declared in his presence in the Chancellors, Brockholst Livingstons, and Troups that his most earnest and sincere wish was that Pinkney might be elected President.4 If So “There’s something rotten in the State of Denmark” My dear Mrs Adams and her little one who if she could speak would join us send to you the compliments of the season and that my fathers conduct may during his life be admired by the virtuous is the ardent wish and the assured hope of his / Affectionate son
[signed] Chas Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The Vice President of The United States / Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Cha A. Decr 28. / Ansd 30. 1796.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Not found.
2. Joshua Sands (1757–1835) was a New York merchant and state senator. He later became collector of customs at the port of New York and represented the state in the U.S. Congress from 1803 to 1805 and again from 1825 to 1827 (Biog. Dir. Cong.).
3. Not found.
4. Brockholst Livingston (1757–1823), a New York lawyer and John Jay’s brother-in-law but { 465 } political opponent, was named a judge of the New York Supreme Court in 1802 and a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1806 (ANB).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0239

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1796-12-29

John Quincy Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] My dear Brother

It is a long time since I have had the pleasure to receive any letter from you. I suppose you spend so much time in dandling your offspring that you have none left to think of Collaterals. But what makes me most impatient is that you do not send us even the Newspapers until they are six months old. Here have arrived since the beginning of the Summer twenty or thirty vessels from New York direct & I have two or three lines from you just to tell me that you will soon write me more fully. Here are other people have New York papers to the last of October, and I have them to some time in August. So much for Scolding.
At present I enclose you a couple of letters, which I recommend to your particular care. I know not whether there is a regular Post from New York to Quebec, but if not I dare say you will easily find an opportunity to forward the letter destined there by a private and safe opportunity.
As to business I hope to hear from you soon.— If you should meet with a good opportunity to employ advantageously a couple of thousand dollars more for me, draw upon me for that sum. But remember I say advantageously. That is at something considerably beyond mere legal interest, without however any thing illegal, which I always understand to be expressly forbidden in the use of my money. Take an advantageous time for the course of exchange, but in this particular you may accommodate more or less according to the benefit with which you place the proceeds. Do not be in a hurry to draw, but do not let slip any good chance. The terms as between you and me are understood to be as heretofore. As it is possible that before you find occasion to draw, I may be removed from this place, you will direct the payee of your bills to apply to Messrs: W & J Willink at Amsterdam, in case of my absence, and they will take care to discharge your draft.
You will write me however without waiting to hear of my departure from hence, and do not forget a statement of accounts between you and me at the close of every year. If I were not afraid you would think me Mentorial, I should recommend to you to keep the accounts regular and in a mercantile manner, because between order { 466 } and confusion, caeteris paribus,1 the former is upon the whole preferable.
I could write you a letter a week long, upon the politics of America and Europe; but I believe it would not do much good; I remember you wrote me some time ago, that the People (or as the Boston Honestus always prints it, THE PEOPLE) of America scorned to be Governed by french art or british insolence, but as this is a time of Revolutions & variations, I am curious to see how they will conduct themselves between french insolence and british art. The experiment is making, and I hope our countrymen will prove under it that they are not to be frightened, any more than they are to be intrigued into political dependence upon any European power.
France and Britain will not make peace yet. France and Austria may, but it is not very probable they will. Another year of war threatens the world. Another year of wisdom, caution, perseverance and firmness, is necessary to keep our Country out of it. Heaven grant that they may be successfully exerted. For if we are once entangled in this war, we are irretrievably tacked to the destinies of Europe, and must be made the perpetual tools and victims of every struggle that avarice or ambition may stir up in this hemisphere. We must fight to give the Netherlands to France, or Gibraltar to Spain, to change a Popedom into a Republic or a federalism into an indivisibility. If we escape this time, we shall have an example and a precedent for futurity and the blessings of peace will be secured to us by the benefits of experience. There will probably never arise a quarrel in Europe upon a question calculated so strongly to interest our feelings as that with which the present war began, but there never can be one with which we have less concern, than that upon which it is now continued. It is no longer a contest between despotism and liberty, since France is in alliance offensive and defensive with Spain, and upon terms of close intimacy with Prussia. It is no longer a contest for the Conquest of France since a general peace is offered them for a mutual restoration of Conquests, and they continue the war for the sake of retaining them.
You will get the news from the papers. Remember me with affection to my Sisters and be assured of the invariable tenderness of / your Brother
LbC in TBA’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Charles Adams Esqr:”; APM Reel 128.
1. Other things being equal.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0240

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-12-30

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

The Prospect that opens upon me presents Troubles enough of every kind.— I have made Some Inquiry concerning Horses and Carriages, and find that a common Chariot of the plainest Sort cannot be had under Twelve hundred Dollars, and if you go to a little more ornament and Elegance you must give fifteen hundred. The President has a Pair of Horses to sell, one 9 the other 10 Years old for which he asks a thousand Dollars. And there is no Probability of procuring a decent Span for less than Six hundred dollars.
House Rent, another indispensable Article will be extravagantly high.— The Plenty of Paper, has unsettled every Thing. Nothing has a Price. Every one asks and every one cheats as much as he can, I think.
I wish I knew what would be asked for a Chariot in Boston.
The President Says he must sell Something to enable him to clear out. When a Man is about retiring from Public Life and sees nothing but a Ploughshare between him and the Grave, he naturally thinks most upon that. When Charles the fifth resigned his Empire and crown, he went to building his Coffin—1 When I contemplated a Retirement I meditated the Purchase of Mrs Veseys Farm and thought of building a Tomb on my own Ground adjoining to the burying Yard.2
The President is now engaged in his Speculations upon a Vault which he intends to build for himself, not to Sleep but to lie down in.3
So you See, my little head is made like two great heads and I have ambitiously placed myself between them.
Mrs Blodget, who I dare say is more desirous that you should be Presidante than that I should be Presidant, Says She is afraid President Washington will not live long. I should be afraid too, if I had not confidence in his Farm and his Horse.
He must be a fool, I think who dies of Chagrin, when he has a fine farm and a Narragansett Mare that Paces, trots and canters. but I dont know but all Men are such fools.
I think a Man had better wear than rust.
The Boyish Language of the Emissaries from Monroes Academy is not confined to Boston Market.— Captn. Barney is holding the Same Cant.4
{ 468 }
John Adams must be an intrepid to encounter the open Assaults of France and the Secret Plotts of England, in concert with all his treacherous Friends and open Enemies in his own Country. Yet I assure you he never felt more Serene in his Life. Yours most tenderly
[signed] J. A.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “December 30 1796.”
1. After Charles V abdicated his throne in 1556, he retired to the monastery of Yuste in Spain. Two years later he reputedly requested that a priest perform—and Charles himself participate in—a funeral mass for himself. Stories circulated, inaccurately, that Charles went so far as to lie in his intended coffin as part of the ritual (William Robertson, The History of the Reign of the Emperor Charles the Fifth, 3 vols., Phila., 1867, 3:332, 335, 469–472).
2. For JA’s purchase of the Veasey property in Feb. 1788, see vol. 7:144.
3. George Washington took no steps at this time to build a mausoleum. In his July 1799 will, however, Washington instructed his heirs to rebuild the existing family vault at Mount Vernon in a new location on the property. After Washington’s death, discussion arose about reinterring his remains in a crypt in the U.S. Capitol, but that never occurred. It was not until 1831 that the family complied with the terms of the will, reinterring the bodies of Washington, his wife, and various other family members in a new tomb at Mount Vernon (Washington, Papers, Retirement Series, 4:491, 511).
4. On 29 Dec. 1796 the Philadelphia Gazette of the United States reported that Capt. Joshua Barney, who was then in the service of the French Navy, had arrived in Annapolis, Md., and was awaiting the outcome of the presidential election before returning to France. The extract reported, “Barney says, should Adams be elected President, we shall certainly be engaged in a war with France in less than three months:—and he knows not how we could have avoided that misfortune, but by electing Mr. Jefferson our President, who stands much higher with the French nation than any other man in our country” (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0241

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1796-12-30

John Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] My Dear Son

I have received with great Pleasure your kind Letter of 28th.
I think Mr Sands’s Plan for the Education of his Nephew is judicious. But I Should not advise him to Send him to Europe, So very early. If he remains in America two or three Years, undergoes his Examination and is admitted to the Bar it will be early enough to go to Europe.
By your Representation Mr Joshua Sands has been your good Friend. I can only Say in the Language of shakespear “Whenever you have made a Friend, upon virtuous Principles grapple him to your Soul with hooks of Steel.”1
If Mr Sands’s Experience should resemble mine he will find his Reward— I never assisted a worthy young Man in his Entrance on the Stage of Life, without reaping an abundant Reward for it in the Contemplation of his Prosperity, and indeed in his Gratitude.
{ 469 }
When Money is too plenty it always appears to be Scarce. Prices rise a little faster than the Money increases.
The Sums due from France will not be paid. They cannot be paid at least for Sometime— There is nothing to pay them with. How our Merchants could trust Such Sums in Such Circumstances I know not. But there has been a mercantile Enthusiasm and a speculating Enthusiasm, inflamed to Madness by a Democratical Enthusiasm. It is to be hoped that a turn of Times and Affairs may cool the heat.
Aurelius and others have convinced me, that I am unknown in my own Country. The Friends of my Youth are all dead. Those of my riper Years are mostly gone, and with them the Memory of my Life and Adventures. Those, who know me know, who love me tell. But I find that Friendships are more brittle Things, than I expected. A McKean, A Rutledge &c &c Show what a Vapour is Friendship and Principle in Some Men, at least when Party Spirit attacks them.
You ask me, Whether there has ever been any Coolness between Hamilton and me. I answer you frankly there has never been any that I know of.— But at the Same time I must tell you there never has been any hotness between Us. Hamilton never had any extraordinary Attachment to me.
I have heard enough to convince me, that Hamilton hated Jefferson So much that he had rather Pinckney Should come in President than that Jefferson should be even Vice President. and this he carried so far as to push for Votes in New England for Pinckney which he knew must bring him in President. I think it probable enough, that he wish’d for Pinckney rather than me to be President. But he must have been a Blockhead to Say this to the Chancellor, Brockhurst & Troop.
If you recollect your Brothers Letter, which you gave me, he explains this Riddle perhaps.2 He tells me, that I may depend upon a Secret and malignant, tho perhaps in the first Instance, an inactive opposition from Great Britain.— If there is an English Party in America, I am not in their Secret nor possessed of their Confidence. There is a Tribe of Characters in America, who pretend to be Friends to me: but have always been very coolly and cautiously Such. They have Views of intimate Connections and Fraternizations with the English, which they have no reason to expect I should willingly promote. Perhaps an Alliance offensive and Defensive. I could name Friends in Boston, as well as N. York who would have not been sorry to have me thrown out of the Way though Pinckney had come in.
{ 470 }
I will Send you the Money to pay for the Herald in a few Days.
I Shall have Occasion for more Correspondence, than ever. I pray you to write me, whatever you may think Useful to me, and keep my Letters to you entirely in Confidence. My Letters must not be quoted by Partymen, to Support any of their Schemes. The whole Nation must be my Family for a time and I must be affectionate and impartial to all. And may God enable me to do my Duty.
It is to me astonishing, that the People of America should have been so Steady in their Esteem of me, considering the Pains that have been taken to belie me, and the Absolute neglect of them that I have observed, and the cold faint and ignorant Essays which Some who call themselves my friends have attempted in my Vindication. I shall conclude as you do with a Wish that my Conduct may be approved by Virtuous Men. Such Approbation I have preferred to Riches and to Fame. With Love to those you love the most, I am your affectionate Father
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:Seymour Coll.); internal address: “Charles Adams Esq.”
1. “Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried, / Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel” (Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I, scene iii, lines 62–63).
2. JQA to JA, 13 Aug., for which see TBA to JA, 6 Aug., and note 7, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0242

Author: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-12-30

Louisa Catherine Johnson to John Quincy Adams

I have recieved your letters which afforded me infinite pleasure as they assured me you were well and in good spirits—
You tell me you are to remain at the Hague, and that you hope a greater distance, and longer time of seperation than we had contemplated, will have no effect upon my affection— I am almost angry when I read that part of your letter, as it implies a sort of doubt which I am sure I cannot have merited. no my beloved friend e’re my affection ceases I shall cease to breathe—1
I will endeavor to answer yours of the 21st of Novb, which I confess did not please me, as it too plainly evinced how little credit you give to what I said upon the same subject in a former letter. I again repeat it. our seperation is fortunate, as it will be the means of preventing my forming any ambitious views and keeping me in the station to which I have been accustomed, indeed I am very fearful I should not have been sufficiently convinced of the honors acquired, { 471 } had our union taken place before you went to Portugal— Do not be offended, for I must write as I feel and I value too much your good opinion to risk the loosing of it. but had flattered myself I had fully satisfied you relative to my prefering domestic felicity to the alloy of ambition or parade
I am apprehensive upon reflection that all your fears proceed from my conduct before you quitted England— perhaps I appeared too anxious to go with you, but your Louisa was so little guided by reason, and so much by the impulse of the moment, that she thought not of impropriety untill too late. as it is I would give worlds to recall the past, but it cannot be and I must be more cautious—2
I am well convinced and was before you left us that you could not take me with you, therefore do not tax you with insensibility, but as I have very little natural philosophy I must copy yours, and say, “as long as we cannot command events, we must necessarily learn to acquiesce in them, and the more carefully we prepare for them, the more easily we content ourselves under them—[]
People tell me I am much altered, I believe I am and sometimes am inclined to think that when we meet you will cease to love me, as I really am not the Louisa you were acquainted with— I am so miserably dull, stupid, and cross, that I have gained the appellation of the Nun, yet I have ceased to repine, and find that though it may not be possible totally to eradicate the thorn of disappointment, prudence may nevertheless prevent its growing to any height—
I am sorry to understand from mr. Colhoun, that your Brother is soon to return to America. had you been enabled to leave Holland I should not have regreted it so much, as I would have endeavored by becoming your companion, to alleviate the regret occasioned by the loss of his society—3
Mr. C. on his arrival paid us a visit. he turned to Nancy and told her, he had seen her best friend, left him in very good health and supposed she had given up all idea of going to America. I could not help smiling at the mistake—4
Coll. Trumbull is a great man therefore we do not see him often— Poor Mr. Alexander is universally allowed to be quite insane—5 I have never ceased to lament my folly and ill nature, and really am ashamed to hear his name. I hope long before this you have destroyed those ridiculous lines, I am sure they do no credit to the writers heart— I have not seen Mr: Foster since his return—
Adieu my beloved friend that heaven may grant you every { 472 } blessing, is the sincere and constant prayer, of [your] / Truely affectio[nate]
[signed] Louisa C J[ohnson]
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “John Q. Adams Esqr. / Minister Resident / at The Hague”; endorsed: “L. C. J. / 30. Decr: 1796. / 22 January 1797. recd:.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Among the letters LCA had received was likely one from JQA of 13 Dec. in which he reiterated his frustration at the further delays caused by the uncertainty with his diplomatic post. JQA also wrote, “Be assured of this, my best friend; that though Alps rise between us and whole Ocean’s roll, my affection will be not the less steady, firm and constant. I believe the same of yours; that confidence which in one of my late Letters I so warmly recommended to you, I most fully place it in you, and am sure that it is safely placed” (Adams Papers).
2. Some thirty years later, LCA recounted in her memoir “Record of a Life” that she had begged JQA to allow them to be married while he was still in London in the spring of 1796. She was apparently fearful that others would question the legitimacy of the engagement and that she might be forced to return to the United States with her family, thus further delaying the wedding (LCA, D&A, 1:43–44).
3. TBA continued to write throughout the winter and early spring of 1797 of the possibility of returning home. By the end of April, however, he had consented to accompany JQA on his new posting, originally thought to be Lisbon and later changed to Berlin. TBA remained with JQA and LCA in Berlin until Sept. 1798, when he at last began his journey back to the United States (TBA to AA, 7 April 1797; JQA to JA, 30 April; JQA to AA, 29 July, all Adams Papers; LCA, D&A, 1:90).
4. The Johnson family, including LCA, initially thought JQA’s attentions were directed toward Ann (Nancy) Johnson (LCA, D&A, 1:37, 40, 41–42).
5. Lawson Alexander, whom LCA would later describe as an “old Beau … more than half crazy but still very good looking” (LCA, D&A, 1:260).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0243

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1796-12-31

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

I received by the last post, Your Letters of the 14th. 16th 18th & 19th.1 The frequent and repeated fires in the various capitals of Savanna Baltimore and N york are really shocking, but renderd vastly more allarming from the opinion that they are the effect of design, and not accident. I fear America will be the harbour and assilum of the Dissolute and abandoned of the Nations of Europe, unless more vigilence is adopted with respect to foreigners.2 I have had many congratulatory compliments in the Week past upon the supposed certainty of your Election. they have not however been unmixd with the alloy which every person sees the station is subject to. Some of the Jacobins in Boston I was told, declared they were glad you were Elected, for now they knew they should be governd by Principles, and not Names. they say H would be the President, and P. the puppet. with respect to mr Jay You know that I believe him an upright honest Man, not given to intrigue, and incapable of Deserting an { 473 } old and long tried Friend, a Man of Honour a Man of Principle a Man of Religion. You may recollect, that I have often said to you, H——n is a Man ambitious as Julius Ceasar, a subtle intriguer. his abilities would make him Dangerous if he was to espouse a wrong side. his thirst for Fame is insatiable. I have ever kept My Eye upon him. he has obtaind a great influence over some of the most worthy and amiable of our acquaintance whom I could name. He has allways busied himself in the Election of V P. as you well know.
I received a Letter from an old Friend and correspondent this week who writes thus,
“The Election of our friend I hope is sure the only adverse chance is that which favours Mr Pinckney, and if he has the North Carolina votes I think he will be Elected there being every reason to suppose that the other four southern and western states will give him their support. I was more apprehensive of Danger from this quarter than from any other, and before we proceeded to vote, the matter was fully discussed, so that if by her own votes Massachusetts should bring into the Chair a south Carolinian, of respectable Character it is true, but with little or no experience in the Domestic politicks of the union, and exclude a citizen of her own, whose experience station and qualifications, give him the highest pretensions to the office, she will have acted with her Eyes open, and must blame herself for her impolicy.
The fact is as I am informd from high Authority in N York, that a plan was there laid by a quondum secretary to bring in mr Pinkney, and that it was confidentially extended thro the continent. that Letter was put into the N york post office on the 30 Novbr, and was deliverd to me at our post office on the 14th instead of the 7th of when it was undoubtedly in Boston. had I then received it I should have enforced the Argument for reducing the votes for mr Pinckney, and explaind the motives of some of the Electors who were for giving him a full vote. one of these confessed that he had been conferring with a Senator, and some Members of the House of Rep’s of Congress from this state, through whose instrumantality, this plan was undoubtedly communicated. I confess the conduct of that elector was to me Enigmatical untill I received the Letter.” E. G.3
you may judge from the Statement here made, that the high Authority was aware of the snare, and exerted himself to ward of the blow. H. is as much suspected here as he is with you, and for the Reasons given by the Jacobins. they say H. [] knows you will { 474 } not be governd. I am ready to think that Enmity to Jefferson was the prevailing Motive. Jefferson I hope will succeed. I believe the Government would be more conciliated, and the bitterness of Party allayd the former Friendship which subsisted between you would tend to harmonize, and Moderation coolness and temperance would reconcile the present jaring interests to concord this is my hope, and I do not Despair of seeing it effected you know my Friendship for that Gentleman has lived through his faults and his errors, to which I have not been blind but most sincerely regreeted them. the whole Election has been a jugal, in which You have been an inactive Spectator. the Bostonians Pretend to be very Angry with the South Carolians. Massachusetts however seems to have been a Dupe.
my Letters are confidential. I wish you would burn those which might be injurious if by any accident exposed.
I inclose to you an extract of a Letter From Thomas to his Friend J Q, dated october 9th by a vessel from Amsterdam.4 I had not any Letters
Weather yet very cold adieu, and a good Night for it is Bed Time, so Dream / of your
[signed] A Adams—
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. Decr 31. 1796 / ansd Jan. 9. 1797.”
1. In his letter to AA of 14 Dec., JA commented on the “Conflagration” sweeping through speculators in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. He also asked if the rumors were true that James Winthrop of Cambridge was a writer for the Boston Independent Chronicle (Adams Papers).
2. Major fires took place in Savannah, Ga., on 26 Nov.; in Baltimore, Md., on 4 Dec.; and in New York City overnight on 9 December. The one in Savannah was especially damaging, destroying over 200 houses and an estimated three-fourths of the city. Two or three people were killed and losses were believed to exceed 1 million dollars. In Baltimore, some six buildings, including a Methodist meeting house and a cabinet manufactory, were destroyed in a blaze that was begun by “some boys, who set fire to some shavings in the back part of the house.” The New York fire occurred primarily near the waterfront, destroying an entire street “consisting mostly of large ware-houses, with some large and valuable dwelling-houses. … It would be imprudent at present to hazard a guess at the amount of property destroyed. It must be immense” (Boston Columbian Centinel, 17 Dec.; Boston Polar Star, 22 Dec.; Boston Price-Current, 16 Dec.).
While no reports linked the fires to foreigners, the Boston Columbian Centinel, 17 Dec., did comment, “We do not say, that the disasters we have now to lament, were occasioned by wicked designs, for the origin of the calamities is not yet ascertained; but from the various detected attempts to set this town, New-York, Philadelphia, Charlestown, and some other places on fire, it must be inferred, that there are an abandoned set, scattered throughout the union, determined on mischief.”
3. AA faithfully reproduced the substance of Elbridge Gerry’s letter to her of 28 December. Gerry also included a postscript on 29 Dec. indicating that having seen the electoral votes from North Carolina, he was now certain of JA’s election and congratulated him on the same. Gerry further hoped that if Thomas Jefferson should be elected vice president, “a coalition of parties will take place” (Adams Papers).
4. Neither the letter from TBA to Josiah Quincy III of 9 Oct. nor the extract AA enclosed with this letter have been found. The { 475 } most recent vessel to reach Boston from Amsterdam, however, was the ship Commerce, Capt. William Cowell, which arrived on 28 Dec. after a journey of sixty days (Boston Price-Current, 29 Dec.; Boston and Charlestown Ship Registers, p. 36).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0244

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1796-12-31

Abigail Adams to Elbridge Gerry

[salute] Dear Sir

Your obliging favour of December 28th, I received by the Hand of Dr. Welch. I thank you Sir, for your Congratulations, which receive their value from the Sincerity with which I believe them fraught.1 The elevated station in which the Suffrages of our Country have placed our Friend, is encompassed with so Many Dangers and difficulties, that it appears to Me a slipery Precipice, surrounded on all sides, with Rocks Shoals and quicksand.
There is not any Man, in whom again, can be united, such an assemblage of fortunate circumstances, to combine all Hearts in his favour, and every voice in unison, as has been the Singular Lot of the President of the United States. yet even he, with the full tide of favour, and affection, has tasted the bitter Cup of Calumny and abuse, an imported Cup, a foreign Mixture, a poison so subtle as to have infected even Native American. What must a successor expect who has near half the Country opposed to his Election? as well as all the Friends of the Rival Candidates mortified at their Defeat.
You Sir, have been too long conversant in publick Life, and full well know, “the pangs and Heart acks” to which it is subject, not personally to mix commisiration, with Your Congratulations
At my Time of Life, the desire and wish to shine in publick Life is wholy extinguishd.
Retirement to (Peace2 Feild, the Name which Mr. Adams has given to his Farm) is much more eligible to me, particularly as my Health has Severely Sufferd by my residence at Philadelphia. But personally I shall consider myself as the Small Dust of the balance, when compared to the interests of a Nation. To preserve Peace, to support order, and continue to the Country that system of Government under which it has become prosperous and happy, the sacrifice of an individual Life, important only to its near connextions, ought not to be taken into consideration.
I fully agree with you in sentiment as it respects the Election of Mr Jefferson. I have long known him, and entertain for him a personal Friendship, and tho I cannot accord with him in Some of his politicks, I do not believe him culpable to the extent he has been { 476 } represented. placed at the Head of the Senate, I trust his conduct will be wise and pruden[t, and] hope it will be a means of softning the animosity of Party, and of cementing & strengthining the bond of union.3
There never was any publick, or Private, animosity between Mr Adams & mr Jefferson. upon the subject of Pains Rights of Man, there was a dissagreement in sentiment. Mr Jefferson “does not look quite thro the Deeds of Men” Time has fully disclosed whose opinion was well founded.
The Gentleman you alluded to as an active Agent in the Election, has no Doubt his views and designs. there are some Characters, more supple, than others, more easily wrought upon, more accommodating, more complying Such a person might be considerd as the ostensible Engine which a Master Hand could work. To what other motive can be asscribed the Machiavelian policy of placeing at the Head of the Government a Gentleman not particularly distinguishd for any important Services to his Country, and scarcly heard of beyond the state which gave him Birth, untill sent upon a publick Embassy.

“Coruption wins not more than honesty”4

I feel Sir when addressing you the confidence of an old Friend, and that an apology is unnecessary for the freedom of communication.5
Be pleased to present My compliments to mrs Gerry. it would give Me pleasure to receive a Friendly visit from her and from you. I am Dear sir with sentiments / of Respect and Esteem / Your Friend and Humble Servant
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (private owner, 1964); endorsed: “Quincy Letter / Mrs Abigail Adams / 31 Decr 1796 / answr’d 7th Jany / 1797.” Dft (Adams Papers); filmed at [post 28 Dec. 1796]. Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. In the Dft, AA wrote then canceled, “and that is a Stamp I cannot place upon all that I receive. To a reflecting mind.”
2. Placement of open parenthesis as in Dft.
3. In the Dft, AA adds here: “more firmly than if mr Pinckney should be Elected whose pretentions as a publick Man certainly will not balance those of mr Jeffersons.”
4. Shakespeare, King Henry VIII, Act III, scene ii, line 444.
5. In the Dft, AA adds here: “The Arts and Manoevers which have been practised during the period of this Election opens to us a gloomy prospect in future and fully proves to us that their is no Special Providence for Americans and that their natures are the Same with others. as it has become fashionable to quote a Work much talkd of, but little read, I will transcribe a passage from it as it appears applicable to the occasion
“‘There is a natural and unchangeable inconvenience in all popular Elections, there are always competitions and the candidates have often merits nearly equal. the Virtuous & independant Electors are often divided. this naturally causes too much attention to { 477 } the most Proffligate & unprincipled, who will sell or give away their votes, for other considerations than wisdom & virtue So that he who has the Deepest purse, or the fewest Scruples about useing it, will generally prevail[]” (JA, Defence of the Const., 1:182).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0245

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Date: 1796-12-31

John Quincy Adams to Louisa Catherine Johnson

Since my Letter of the 20th: I have not enjoyed the pleasure of receiving any from my friend, but I do not forget the mutual engagement of writing every week, and I cannot close the year in a better or more agreeable manner than in conversing with her— There are some particulars in your Letters of Novr: 29. and Decr: 6. which require a reply from me, which time did not allow me to give in my last.— You request me not to resign any situation on your account contrary to the wishes of my friends and family.— But it is neither my intention nor the wish of my friends and family that I should hold for a permanency any situation whatever in Europe. America is my Country; there all my hopes and all my intentions centre, and I know not of any misfortune that could befal myself personally, which I should consider as more severe than that of being condemned to a constant residence in any part of Europe. The inclinations of my friends are perfectly coincident with my own, and they have more than once intimated to me a wish to have me return home as speedily as possible. This is my own settled determination which I shall effect whenever my duty to the public, and to your interest will permit it. Nor will I disguise to the friend of my heart, that one of the consolations which I derive from reflection upon the necessity we are under of postponing our union, is that a different Event might have contributed to reconcile me to a European residence, and to lengthen it beyond the period assigned by my own duties, my own interests as well as those of the public.
Your anxiety least the application which is at present my diversion and employment should affect my health deserves my gratitude, as I behold in it an unquestionable token of your affection.— It will make me more anxious than perhaps I might otherwise be, to preserve that kind of temperance the want of which is the most excusable.— Yes; I will often retire from my books to the other delight of my heart, to the remembrance of you, as the only compensation for abstaining from a pardonable excess.
I do not however apprehend that the health can be affected materially by any ordinary degree of application, and I must not discard { 478 } the remembrance that it is the labour to which my life is destined, and which I therefore must not relinquish; that to abandon myself to habits of indolence for the sake of a robuster health, would be to sacrifice a jewel for a pebble, and prove in the end equally degrading to my character and ruinous to my affairs.
You will perhaps think that I have become very suddenly so rigorous in the estimation of my time, and will remember the time when I was much more indulgent to myself. I readily confess it, but former negligence only increases the necessity for future attention.— For a long interval of idleness my reason accepts the apology of my heart, but at the same time points out the necessity of repairing by present and future industry the losses of that period.— Do not therefore my lovely friend discourage me from the continuance of those pursuits which are suitable to my character and confer upon it its only value; and make yourself perfectly easy with regard to my health, with the assurance that I shall be particularly cautious to avoid any degree of application that will be likely to affect it.
I mentioned in my last Letter the grounds upon which our union before my own return to America will be impossible, and my opinion that it would not be advisable to propose to your father to come to this Country, in order to embark from hence for America. You may be perfectly sure that your intimations to me on this subject will be held by me in that special confidence which you recommend. Indeed I consider everything that passes between you and me concerning our mutual views and interests, in this light of intimate and exclusive confidence. I write and read every thing of this nature with the idea constantly impressed upon my mind, and persuade myself that you do the same.
Farewell, my best Friend: I am in hourly Hopes of your Letters, and remain with / constant affection, ever your’s
[signed] A.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0246

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1797-01-01

Abigail Adams to John Adams

“O Blindness to the future kindly given

That each may fill the circle mark’d by Heaven[”]1

The new year opens upon us with new Scenes of Life before us. what are to be the trials the troubles and vexations of it, are wisely with held from our view.
{ 479 }

The universal cause

Acts not by partial, but by Gen’ral laws

who sees and follows that great Scheme the best

Best knows the blessing, and will most be blest2

To him who sits Supreem let us commit the hour the Day the Year, and fearless view the whole. there needs but thinking right, and meaning well, and may this ensure to you, the Souls calm sun shine, and the Heart felt Joy.
I seldom think twice of a Dreem but last Night I had one of so singular a nature that it has amused My mind to Day with various conjectures. I was riding in my Coach, where I know not, but all at once, I perceived flying in the Air a Number of large black Balls of the Size of a 24 pounder. they appeard to be all directed at me. all of them however burst and fell before they reach’d me, tho I continued going immediatly towards them. I saw them crumble all to Attoms, but During this Scene, two Guns were dischargd at My left Ear the flash of which I saw and heard the report. I still remaind unhurt, but proceedeed undaunted upon My course
How would the Sooth sayers interpret this Dream?
whom do you think has undertaken to read the Defence! but Deacon Webb, and declares himself well pleasd with the first volm. as cousin Boylstone informs me.
I fear the Deleware is frozen up So that Brisler will not be able to send me any flower—
Billings is just recovering from a visit to Stoughten which has lasted him a week, the Second he has made since you went away. from the first, as he went without the Root of all Evil, he returnd steady. the occasion of his going was the Sickness & Death of the Man who lived upon his place. I have been obliged at his request to purchase for him shirts & other Cloathing.
Your Mother desires to be rememberd affectionatly to you. one Day last week she walkt here, and spent the Day.
I am my Dearest Friend most / affectionatly Yours
[signed] A Adams.
1. Alexander Pope, Essay on Man, Epistle I, lines 85–86.
2. Same, Epistle IV, lines 35–36, 95–96.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0247

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-01-01

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I wish the new Year may be the happiest of your Life. Last Night I had a Visit from Dr Rush, whose Tongue ran for an hour.— So many Compliments, so many old Anecdotes. To be Sure, My Election he Said, he had vast pleasure in assuring me Since it had been made certain had given vast Satisfaction in this City and State. Even those who had voted for another had a great Affection for me. Mr Smilie himself had told him this very day that he had an affection for me. He met Mr Madison in the Street and ask’d him if he thought Mr Jefferson would accept the Vice Presidency. Mr Madison answered there was no doubt of that. Dr Rush replied that he had heard some of his Friends doubt it. Mr Madison took from his Pocket a Letter from Mr Jefferson himself and gave it to the Dr to read. In it he tells Mr Madison that he had been told there was a Possibility of a Tye between Mr Adams and himself. If this should happen says he, I beg of you, to Use all your Influence to procure for me the Second Place, for Mr Adams’s Services have been longer more constant and more important than mine, and Something more in the complimentary strain about Qualifications &c1
The Dr then ran on with his Compliments to me and Sarcasms upon W.— This Country would rise in the Estimation of the World and of all Europe, from the 4th. day of March next &c &c &c
It hurt me to hear this— But his old Griefs and Prejudices Still hang about him. He got disaffected to Washington during the War.2
He has conversed with Dr Edwards and Edwards has told him that Washingtons Character is wholly prostrate in France—that Mr Monroe has been very active and industrious in behalf of his Country. that when his Letters come to be published, they will do him great honour &c. I heard all this with perfect Composure— I only asked if Dr. Edwards had not been Speculating in french revolutionary funds? Oh no was his answer—he believed not. He confessed he had never read the Treaty with England nor one thing in favour of it or against it. he knew not whether it was a good or a bad one. He only disliked the Secrecy with which it was formed negotiated, and ratified—
All this Chaos, I heard in silence, lamenting to see that the Southern Politicians had got so fast hold of him, he knew not why.
With regard to my Election he had taken no Part. he had been { 481 } neutral— But he had made it a Rule, whenever either Jefferson or myself had been traduced in his Company to vindicate Us both.
Jefferson and I should go on affectionately together and all would be well— I should Settle all disputes with the French well enough.— These are confidential Communications.
I have recd no Letter from you the Week past. What Say you to coming along to Eastchester in February and joining me in March.? I cant live without you very well till next July.
I am most tenderly
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “Janry 1 1796.”
1. In a letter to James Madison of 17 Dec. 1796, Thomas Jefferson expressed his wish that Madison had been considered for the executive but that “on your declining it I wish any body rather than myself: and there is nothing I so anxiously hope as that my name may come out either second or third. These would be indifferent to me; as the last would leave me at home the whole year, and the other two thirds of it.” About the increasing possibility of a tie between JA and himself, Jefferson wrote, “I pray you and authorize you fully to sollicit on my behalf that Mr. Adams may be preferred. He has always been my senior from the commencement of our public life, and the expression of the public will being equal, this circumstance ought to give him the preference.” Jefferson’s letter does not appear to have been published in its entirety but was instead quietly circulated throughout the Philadelphia political community (Jefferson, Papers, 29:223–224).
2. For Benjamin Rush’s hostility to George Washington, see JA, Papers, 5:316–317.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0248

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-01-03

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I recd Yesterday your favour of 23. of Decr. from Boston.
The old Patrioch, has got a Name of Old Scrathum, or old Scratch or Some Such Oddity that will amuse the Blackguards for a time.1 Mrs Storers Verses are very shrewd
The Story of my Muteness, or Incapacity to talk, I almost wish were true.— On Some Occasions.
Dr Walters Politeness to be Sure is conspicuous. It is enough at present to think about Thorns under the Pillar of P. of U. S. at Philadelphia.
I wish you would find out whether Gardner did write Aurelius or not—and if not who did.
Those Reports which were so full of harm, which you Suppose came to my Ears, I know not.
I have never been able to get sight of one of the hand Bills which were distributed in this City & state in such Numbers and at such { 482 } an Expence. They carefully conceal them from me. All I have heard of, is one—which announced that [“]if Jefferson was chosen he would keep open House and Table for all jolly Irish Hearts: whereas if Adams should be chosen he would live as close as Washington.”
These continual Successions of Elections of P. Governors senators Representatives & every thing will get the whole People into an habit of Lying I fear.
Mr Jeffersons Letter to Mr Madison was Yesterday in the mouth of every one. It is considered as Evidence of his Determination to accept—of his Friendship for me—And of his Modesty and Moderation.
I had a Visit Yesterday from Mr De L’Etombe Which I consider as an intended beginning of Intercourse. He disclaimed all Authority. it was a Visit of a Man a Philosopher and an Acquaintance of Eighteen years. It was to assure & convince me that the Directory never had a thought of interfering in our Election, not a Wish to oppose me or impose any other &c. a long Conversation ensued, too long to relate now at length. I told him in Brief that I must Support the Constitution of the United states—and the system of impartial Neutrality bet. the belligerent Powers, untill it should be otherwise ordained by Congress—consistent with these Duties I should be allways friendly to the French. He went away professing to be well satisfied. Perhaps more of this may turn up.— I may give you a more particular detail of this Interview. Whether he was sent by others I know not.
affectionately
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “Janry 3d 1797.”
1. The Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 31 Dec. 1796, alluded to the fact that all fifteen of Samuel Adams’ electoral votes came from Virginia, which cast only one vote for Aaron Burr: “If a man sticks to his party like a Burr, even Virginia will sooner vote for old Scratch, than for him.” Adams was also referred to as “the scratching governor of Massachusetts … remarkable by the name, as well as the deed.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0249

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-01-05

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

Mrs Swan and her Daughters, conducted by Mrs Otis came into the Senate Chamber this morning to see the Room and Pictures. There I had Opportunities to see for the first time the fair young Ladies.1
I send you Guillotina, the most wanton Muse of the whole ten.— { 483 } dreadful Truths are told in jest— Dallas tho, innocent, Dallas is much injured.2
I have now recd Votes from Kentucky the last state: but these could make no Alteration in the Destiny. All was settled before.— More than a Month must intervene before the Declaration can be made. That will be on the 8. Feb.
Half the Town is out on the Delaware every Day as the whole Town of Amsterdam Used to be on the Amstell, when it was frozen over, Skaeting. I have not seen any Women however in skaets tho many are walking.
Mr Greenleaf called to see me— He has commenced Suits against Morris & Nicholson for five hundred thousand Dollars. What will be the Fate of all these men I know not nor guess—3 I hear nothing from smith— I wrote him but get no Answer.— Poor Nabby!
Charles seems to be very busy— I hope he will get his Bread.—
Ask Billings, after my Regards to him whether our noble Wall keeps off Captn. Baxters sheep or not.
My Duty to Mother & Love to all particularly to Louisa.— Ask her if she will come to Philadelphia next Winter?
[signed] J A4
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “Janry 5 1797.”
1. For Hepzibah Clark, who had married James Swan in 1776, see LCA, D&A, 1:168. The couple’s three daughters were Hepzibah Clark, Christiana Keadie, and Sarah Webb (same, 1:175; DAB).
2. The poem “Guillotina,” attributed to Lemuel Hopkins, was published on 1 Jan. 1797 and addressed to the readers of the Connecticut Courant. The work champions the Federalist Party and parodies several Democratic-Republicans, including John Swanwick, Albert Gallatin, and Thomas Jefferson, for their support of French minister Pierre Auguste Adet. The poem also alludes to the alcoholism of Pennsylvania governor Thomas Mifflin, who asks Alexander James Dallas, the de facto governor, to “hold me up” in the middle of a drunken speech. Dallas, described as “deeply vers’d in whiffling,” is also accused of aiding Mifflin in playing “many a Democratic prank / In fleecing Pennsylvania Bank” (lines 144, 158, 338–339, Evans, No. 31979; ANB).
3. James Greenleaf had been involved in two financial ventures with Robert Morris and John Nicholson: a Washington, D.C., land scheme, for which see William Cranch to JQA, 16 Sept. 1796, note 2, above, and the North American Land Company. On 28 May 1796 Greenleaf sold his third of the company to Morris and Nicholson; neither of his former partners could make the necessary payments, however, so Greenleaf brought suits against both men. Nicholson countersued, insisting that Greenleaf owed his former partners for overvaluing Washington property. All three men ended up in debtors’ prison, and the disputes were not settled until after Morris’ and Nicholson’s deaths (Shaw Livermore, Early American Land Companies: Their Influence on Corporate Development, N.Y., 1939, p. 168; Robert D. Arbuckle, Pennsylvania Speculator and Patriot: The Entrepreneurial John Nicholson, 1757–1800, University Park, Penn., 1975, p. 136, 137, 138, 183). See also Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 10, above.
4. In a second letter to AA of the same date, JA described dining with Benjamin Rush and the company in attendance and also passed along additional news about the election (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0250

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-01-07

Elbridge Gerry to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Madam

I am honored by yours of the 31st of december, & perfectly agree with you, respecting the difficulties to be encountered by our friend in executing the honorable office to which he is appointed. but difficult as it is, when we consider the abilities, integrity, & firmness of the patriot, I think, we have little reason to doubt that his administration will terminate to his honor— if he was weak, versatile, or subject to influence, his enemies, who will always endeavour to be nearest his person, will be the most officious with their information & council, & the most assiduous with their flattery, would soon make him conspicuously ridiculous: but having an opinion of his own, he will establish his principles of conduct, & excepting immaterial deviations which circumstances will sometimes require, he will abide by them, & test thereby the measures of his real & pretended friends.— as much as I respect & esteem Mr Adams, if these were not my sentiments, I could never have wished for his promotion to the presidential chair: because it would prove an ignis fatuus,1 which would lead him to destruction. but with the qualities which he possesses, like a ship ballasted with iron, he may meet with repeated & violent tempests none of which will be able to upsett him; should however the convulsion of the elements be too great for the best constructed barque, he may, like the best of mariners be overwhelmed, & every good man will lament his fate. this is an hazard, inevitable from the nature of things.
True it is, that “an assemblage of fortunate circumstances” to favor his administration, “has been the singular lot” of the predecessor in office, & he is in my opinion a very great & good character: but it is said nevertheless & if true to be lamented, that by the wiles of insidious & unprincipled men, he has nominated to offices foreign as well as domestic, some characters which would not bear the public test, & are a reproach to religion, morality, good government & even to decency. he is likewise charged with manifesting a disposition, of extending his power at the expence of the constitution; & notwithstanding the virulence of party has not confined itself merely to the attempt of depriving him of his wellearned laurels, but has attempted to transform his vertues into vices, yet perhaps candor will admit that in both these cases he has not used those { 486 } precautions which have marked his general administration. I must confess however, that wise & politic as it may be to mark the quicksands which have exposed to danger this skilful pilot, I have the highest respect for him; & think there are few <if any> characters who are his equals in history ancient or modern—
I have been long acquainted with Mr Jefferson, & conceiving that he & Mr Adams have ever had a mutual respect for each other; conceiving also that he is a gentleman of abilities, integrity, & altho not entirely free from a disposition to intrigue, yet in general a person of candor, & moderation, I think it is a fortunate circumstance, that he is Vice President & that great good is to be expected from the joint elections.
The insidious plan to bring a third person into the presidential chair, arose from a corrupt design of influencing his administration, as is generally conceived; Whether his want of experience will justify the expectation I will not pretend to say, but sure I am from good information, that the supporters of Mr Jefferson give Mr Adams a decided preference as well for his abilities as his independent spirit—
I am much obliged to you for your invitation to a friendly visit. Mrs Gerry’s health has of late been so impaired as to confine her during the inclement season: & mine, since an injury which I received two or three years ago in my ancle, has been very indifferent. I shall however embrace the earliest oppertunity for calling on you in the friendly manner you propose. Mrs G desires her respectful comps to you & be / assured Dear Madam I remain / with great esteem & / respect your sincere friend / & hum Serv
[signed] E Gerry
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Janry 7th 1797 / Mr Gerry—” and “Mr Gerry Janry.”
1. Literally, foolish fire; something deceptive or misleading.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0251

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-01-09

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I received to day, together, your Favours of the 31st December 1796 and 1. Jan. 1797
Our H. of R. boasts that We are the most enlightened People in the World: but We behave like the most ignorant Babies, in a thousand Instances. We have been destroying all Terror of Crimes and are becoming the Victims of them. We have been destroying all { 487 } Attachment and Obligation to Country and are Sold in Consequence by Traitors. We have been opening our Arms wide to all Foreigners and placing them on a footing with Natives: and Now foreigners are dictating to Us if not betraying Us.
Hamilton I know to be a proud Spirited, conceited, aspiring Mortal always pretending to Morality, with as debauched Morals as old Franklin who is more his Model than any one I know. As great an Hypocrite as any in the U. S. His Intrigues in the Election I despise. That he has Talents I admit. but I dread none of them. I shall take no notice of his Puppyhood but retain the same Opinion of him I always had and maintain the Same Conduct towards him I always did, that is keep him at a distance.
The Constancy and Fidelity of Mr Gerry contrasted with the Weathercockism of McKean & the Rutledges and the Hypocricy of others touches the inmost feelings of my Heart. I will not explain all I know till I see you.
Your black Balls and flashing Guns are proofs of an Anxiety that is very needless. I never felt easier in my Life— My Path is very plain, and if I am not supported I will resign—
The Defence has been read by many others as well as the Deacon. In an 100 years it would not have been so much read, as it has been during the late Election— A new Edition of it is coming out here with an immense subscription and I expect it will be got by Heart by All Americans who can read1
The Extract from T’s Letter is very clever.— I went on Saturday to see the Globe Mill of Mr Davenport.— Carding Spining & weaving are all performed at the same time by Water. It is in Some respects like the silk Machine which you saw with me at Utrecht.2
Alass poor Billings—Madness or Sotting I fear will be the End. reclaim him however if you can.
My Duty to my Mother & Love to Brothers & Compts to all
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “Janry 9th 1797.”
1. William Cobbett published the third edition of JA’s Defence of the Const., 3 vols., Phila., 1797, Evans, Nos. 31689–31691.
2. James Davenport (d. 1797) received the first U.S. patent for a textile machine on 14 Feb. 1794. He acquired the Globe Mills at the north end of Second Street in Philadelphia and erected water-powered machinery for spinning and weaving flax and hemp. After Davenport’s death his machinery was sold in April 1798 (William R. Bagnall, The Textile Industries of the United States: Including Sketches and Notices of Cotton, Woolen, Silk, and Linen Manufactures in the Colonial Period, Cambridge, 1893, p. 222, 226; J. Thomas Scharf and Thompson Westcott, History of Philadelphia, 1609–1884, 1 vol. in 3, Phila., 1884, 3:2310).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0252

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Johnson, Joshua
Date: 1797-01-09

John Quincy Adams to Joshua Johnson

[salute] Dear Sir.

I received some time since your favour of Novr: 29. and this morning that of Decr: 16.1 You mentioned in the former your intention to take measures if possible which might secure my wishes, but that you could not fix upon them without first receiving Letters from your partners in America.— Not having it in my power to conjecture what you contemplated, I had hitherto postponed an answer until I should further hear from you as you had the goodness to promise.
Your Letter of the 16th: ulto: mentions that you were still in expectation of [your] Letters, and intimates a purpose of seeing me at the Hague before you embark for America.— If the object for which you propose to undertake this Journey is to provide an opportunity to terminate my matrimonial union, I regret sincerely the impossibility which will prevent me from concurring in a measure so conformable to my wishes.— My own situation is at present so unsettled and precarious, that the assumption of a family and its necessary appendages would be an act of folly; it is so far from being advantageous in an oeconomical point of view, that I could not add to its indispensable charges without subjecting myself to dependence; a state to which it is my settled Resolution never to submit.— My removal from hence, the only circumstance that could possibly justify my indulgence of my inclinations, has become questionable, and the aspect of Public affairs in America is now such as by no means to encourage in me a dependence even upon a continuance in the public service.— It is an aukward task to unfold the state of ones personal concerns to any Man; but as I thought it not improper to lay open mine to you before my departure from England, as my justification for a determination from which I could not vary, so at the present moment I repeat the same discovery for the same purpose: as you did not disapprove my sincerity on the former occasion, I trust it will be alike satisfactory on the present, as the motives of my determination are the same, and it is taken with equal decision.
Your opinion upon the subject of Peace appears to have been well founded, at least as far as regards France and Great Britain. The french however have a strong expectation still of making Peace very speedily with the Emperor
{ 489 }
It gives me much concern to hear that the Commission for the settlement of American claims in London is like to terminate so unsuccessfully. I know not what the nature of the obstacles which have stopped their proceedings is.—
You doubtless know that the French Directory have refused to receive Mr: Pinckney, as Minister of the United States, and you have seen the speech of Mr: Monroe upon delivering his letters of recall and the answer of the french President.2
We have here no news from America later than October. What the issue of the Elections for President and Vice-President may be, it is probable we shall know before long. Those for the House of Representatives will in my opinion be of much greater importance.
With my affectionate respects and regards to Mrs: Johnson and the young Ladies, I remain, Dear Sir, most sincerely your’s
[signed] John Q. Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Joshua Johnson Esqr / Consul of the United States of America / London.”; internal address: “J. Johnson Esqr:”; endorsed: “John Q. Adams / Hague 9 Jany 1797 / Receved.” FC-Pr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 131. Text lost where the seal was removed has been supplied from the FC-Pr.
1. For Johnson’s 29 Nov. 1796 letter to JQA, see LCA to JQA, 29 Nov., note 1, above. In his letter to JQA of 16 Dec. (Adams Papers), Johnson provided news regarding the U.S. election, after which he believed JA would be president and Thomas Pinckney vice president. He mentioned the adjustment of American claims in England and noted the lack of recent communication due to the weather. He also enclosed a letter from LCA, possibly that of 13 Dec., for which see LCA to JQA, 6 Dec., note 1, above, and promised to write again “on the Receit of my expected Letters from America & after which I think it more than probable that I shall see you at the Hague.”
2. On 30 Dec. James Monroe delivered his letter of recall to the Directory. In his remarks Monroe noted that because he participated in the American Revolution, he “was deeply penetrated with its principles, which are the same with those of your Revolution.” Monroe commented on “the important services rendered us by France upon that occasion” and stated that “there is no object which I have always had more uniformly and sincerely at heart, than the continuance of a close union and perfect harmony between our two nations.” Paul Barras, president of the Directory, replied that “the French republic expects … that the successors of Columbus, Raleigh, and Penn, always proud of their liberty, will never forget that they owe it to France” and asked Monroe to assure Americans “that, like them, we adore liberty; that they will always possess our esteem, and find in the French people that republican generosity which knows how to grant peace, as well as to cause its sovereignty to be respected” (Amer. State Papers, Foreign Relations, 1:747).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0253

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Date: 1797-01-10

John Quincy Adams to Louisa Catherine Johnson

How painful it is to me, my amiable friend to feel the assurance that my Letters for which you wait with so much anxious { 490 } expectation, when they arrive, can bring to you none but unacceptable news, and that they can relieve you from suspense only by the confirmation of disappointment.
My Letters of November 19. December 5. 13. 20. and 31. are most probably before this time all in your hands.1 They will shew that the impediments to our immediate union, are insuperable; that nothing remains for us but resignation and acquiescence to what cannot be remedied, and I hope will at the same time convince you that you may rely as implicitly upon my affection, as you may be assured of my resolution.
The observations in my letter of December 20. are those which I felt the most reluctance in making, because being sensible how unpleasant their effect must be to you, I could not be sure of giving pain however necessary without sharing it myself, and because I dreaded lest the resolution which really sprung from necessity should in your eyes assume the appearance of unkindness.— I feel the same Sentiment in repeating the same assurance, and it is heightened by the effect of the sensibility expressed in your last Letter.— Indeed my friend, I feel all your regret at our disappointment, with the additional pangs of knowing that relief is impracticable.
Besides the other uncontroulable objections which I have heretofore intimated to you, against an intention which you have rather given me to understand than avowed, you will be sensible what an appearance in the eyes of the world, your coming here would have; an appearance consistent neither with your dignity, nor my delicacy. You yourself consider it as an extreme expedient in your Letter, and I should therefore not mention my opinion of it in this point of view, if I did not consider the perfect propriety and reserve of your conduct as no less interesting to me than to yourself.
You will perhaps enquire why I return to a subject which I know must be disagreeable, when I have already sufficiently explained my sentiments concerning it. The reason is, that I find from your fathers last Letter that he had at the time of writing it, the intention of coming to the Hague before he embarks for America.2 I conclude therefore that you had made him the proposal, and that his anxiety to promote the object of our wishes, and his affection for you prevailed upon him to determine upon this step. I have written to him that the purpose for which I presume he intended the journey is impracticable, as I have written the same to you.— I have not indeed mentioned to him my ideas of the appearance which this measure would have in the opinion of the world. To him, I have no right to { 491 } make such observations, because he is the best judge of personal propriety for his own conduct and that of his family. To you, I think myself bound in duty to notice it as I do in the most implicit and exclusive confidence.
Let us my lovely friend rather submit with cheerfulness to the laws of necessity than resort to unbecoming remedies for relief. Let us acquiesce with resignation in a postponement of our happiness which the course of Events has rendered unavoidable, and which in all probablity will prove ultimately for our own advantage, rather than abandon ourselves to childish weakness or idle lamentations.— We should be indeed unfit for the course of life in prospect before us if we indulged ourselves in dreams of finding all our way strewed with flowers or its borders lined with down. Let us remember that as a certain degree of sensibility to the crosses which we meet is not to be avoided it is not unbecoming; but that the tenderness to feel unless guarded by the Spirit to resist the evils of our lot, can only incapacitate us for exertions necessary to all, and throw us in helpless imbecility at the mercy of every caprice of Fortune.
Adieu, my dearly beloved friend. Let me know in return to this Letter that you have roused your Spirit and determined to bear with fortitude, what it is vain to lament: assure me of the continuance of your affection, and believe invariably in that of your friend.
[signed] A.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Miss Louisa. C. Johnson / London.” FC-Pr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 131.
1. JQA likely confused his letter to Joshua Johnson of 19 Nov. 1796 (Adams Papers) with that he wrote to LCA on 21 Nov., above. For JQA’s letter of 13 Dec., see LCA to JQA, 30 Dec., note 1, above.
2. Joshua Johnson to JQA, 16 Dec., for which see JQA to Joshua Johnson, 9 Jan. 1797, and note 1, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0254

Author: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1797-01-10

Louisa Catherine Johnson to John Quincy Adams

In my last I mentioned having recieved yours of the 13 December, which time our general regulator opposed my answering—1 Shall I my best friend acknowledge the confession you there make, affords me no small satisfaction. I know not if it is the result of vanity, but am pleased to find a mind energetic as yours, own the theory of fortitude to be easier than the practice—
I have frequently condemned myself, and been inclined to think I possessed a mind weaker than the weakest of my sex, but to find our { 492 } mutual disappointment causes mutual distress, is an alleviation to a heart tortured with self accusation not to be repulsed—
Permit me to observe your general practice of giving nothing as positive while any uncertainty remains, is an example truely worthy of yourself. Let us in future as much as possible act upon that principle. I am sure it will save us many disappointments— Our doom it appears is fixed— Let us not then repine, but rather by strengthening our minds, be prepared to meet whatever fickle fortune may throw in our way— Secure in your affection I think I am almost equal to any thing— True, reason and affection will have frequent and severe conflicts, yet I flatter myself reason will ultimately return victorious— I think my beloved friend I shall in time become an able philosopher— You say you are more fit to recieve than to give lessons of consolation— Alas I fear the discovery of my unpardonable weakness, has encreased your affection— Let me intreat you to adhere to the resolution you have formed and which I hope to join you in maintaining through life, that of checking and controuling every weakness—
Be assured my dearest friend, your firm and constant affection is reciprocal— I can experimentally declare, that seperation encreases rather than abates real affection, not but I would willingly have dispensed with its evidence— Your generous and much valued confidence is indeed safely placed, I feel too much interested in whatever relates to you independant of your warm recommendation, to act unworthy the sacred trust reposed in me—
Our friend Mr: Hall is just returned from Paris I told him what you said and he intends writing on Friday—
Mama desires to be affectionately remembered she now thinks herself authorized to offer her love. I perfectly agree with her—
Ah my friend if I could write all I feel—but that is impossible, yet I think if you were here, I could tell you how much how sincerely I love you— But I must conclude or I know not what will become of my boasted philosophy— Adieu love me as I do you, and believe me truely yours
[signed] L. C. Johnson—2
1. LCA wrote a brief letter to JQA on 6 Jan. informing him that she had been ill but was now recovered, conveying news from Boston, and asking him to purchase some small ornamental boxes for her younger sisters (Adams Papers).
2. In another brief letter to JQA on 13 Jan., LCA repeated that her health had returned and wrote that her father would send JQA his mail and several newspapers by the same boat that carried her letter (same).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0255

Author: Peabody, Elizabeth Smith Shaw
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-01-10

Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody to Abigail Adams

Day after day has slid off into the ocean of time, with the Yesterdays beyond the flood, replete with Intentions of writing to my dear, esteemed, much loved Sister. But Sickness, accumalation of family business, & the extreme coldness of the weather has prevented—
The time alloted for visiting my Friends was much too short, for my feeble constitution. I had been very unwell for three weeks, but as it was the only convenient opportunity we could have this season, I hoped it would not injure me, but I unfortunately found it otherways, for I was obliged to keep my bed, & room for five weeks, & the uncommon severe season has confined me, that I have not been out of the yard since— I was really reduced so low, that I believe, I could not lived a day longer had not the voilence of my disorder abated. Providence has been pleased to spare my life, I hope as a blessing to my Children, & I can scarcely regret my sufferings since it gave Mr Peabody an opportunity of being introduced to my worthy Brother Adams, & my other kind, good relations. Yet pleasing as this Journey was, it had its alloy, & the sensations which it occasioned, were not (perhaps) peculiar to myself—1
The solicitude & anxiety perceptable in the minds of almost every individual member of the community, has subsided, having the pleasing assurance that a real Patriot, a friend to virtuous liberty is the man, whom “his Country delighteth to honour”—2 I am not sufficiently acquainted with the Characters of Mr Jefferson, & Pinkey to know which, I ought to wish should bear the Palm, only that the one who will act from a principle of duty, steady to his trust, & obstinately good— I sincerely hope that the new elected Majestrates will be as happy in a coincidence of sentiment, as their Predecessors, for it is union which gives power, strength & energy to every kind of Government— But if with great abilities they oppose each other, their situation must be extremely dissagreeable, perplexing, & uncomfortable—
Whoever speaks of the new election, mentions the choice of Mr Adams with the highest satisfaction & I cannot but Join the general voice, as it evinces gratitude, & respect conffered on merit; & as it opens a wider Field, for greater usefullness, & beneficence for it is the regular, the temperate, & the virtuous who know how to enjoy { 494 } prosperity, & not be too much elated by its honours. yet when I consider, that with the laurel, is bound a weight of Cares I cannot but “rejoice with trembling”—3 with a joy rectified by a full conviction of the instability of human affairs— Should this new election make it necessary for you to remove to the Southward, & be the means of impairing your health, how soon might our Joy be turned into the deepest mourning—
But I will not dwell a moment upon an[…] so painful— Trusting that wherever duty may lead you, you will have a shield of inward peace accompanying you in the arduous Task, that will secure you from the slanders of an envious world— She who with a sweetness & complacency peculiar to herself, can enter the humble Cottage, & releive the wants of the sick & necessitous, “prevent the asking Eye,”4 & “cause the widows heart to sing for joy,”5 will not be immoderately elated with prosperity, but with gratitude, will look up to her almighty Benefactor & view the gracious hand, who in a progressive manner, has raised her up, & safely conducted her through the various steps of life, & crowned her with the most honourable distinctions— May this new year find my Sister happy, & may the great Phisician give her a more confirmed state of health, permiting her for many succeeding years, like the sweet Pliades to shed benign Influences up on every surrounding Object—
I have been very anxious for my Son. I feared his feet would freeze, for he cannot wear Boots, & he thought there was no need of Legings, what he has done in the Snow for them I cannot think— His time was so short here that I could not fix him with things as I wished to— I think I could not slept any, if I had not considered he was near to the kindest of Sisters who I knew would not let him suffer— I told him to ask you about his geting Cloth for Breeaches, to be sure have something strong, for there is no part of his dress that wears so fast as those, & Shoes— It is almost constant employ, & is like to be so as long as they will have them so small— Upon some account I am glad he has a School, upon others I am sorry—for I am very sure he could no where, be half so much improved & benefited, as in the Family of my Sisters—but though at present he has not that advantage, yet I am not the less thankful to you, for your kind offer— I hope my dear Sister you will not be sparing of your advice to him, nor reproofs if necessary— He will revere every admonition you are pleased to give him— he loves, & considers you as a very kind parent to him—& will (I hope) yield a ready obedience to all your commands—
{ 495 }
At present we have but three boarders— Miss Polly is at Exeter— Cousin Betsy is with us— I find she has not got well of the Stomack ake yet, but is better than when she first came— I believe she enjoys herself here better than she did last winter, got a little more weaned, from her beloved Haverhill—
I am in great haste, but must beg you to let me hear soon from you, for I believe it never was so long before, since you wrote to your / affectionate Sister
[signed] E Peabody
Mr Peabody, Cousin, & my Daughters all desire their best regards may be accepted— in the true language of a MOTHER, I must tell you Abby is the best disposed Child, you ever saw— there is innate goodness notwithstanding old Adam, & mother Eve—6
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs Abigail Adams / Quincy”; endorsed: “Mrs Shaw / Peabody.”; notation: “To be left at / Mr: Wm: Smith’s / Boston.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Stephen and Elizabeth Peabody visited her nieces Lucy Cranch Greenleaf and Elizabeth Cranch Norton in Boston on 3 Nov. 1796 in what was likely part of a broader visit to relatives in Boston and Quincy (MHi:Elizabeth Cranch Norton Diaries, 1781–1811).
2. “The king delighteth to honour” (Esther, 6:6–11).
3. Psalms, 2:11.
4. “Edward and Isabella,” Poems: Edward and Isabella; Elegy on the Death of a Child, London, 1776, line 23.
5. Job, 29:13.
6. The postscript was written vertically in the margin.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0256

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-01-11

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

on Tuesday when I waited as usual on Mrs W. after attending the Levee, She congratulated me very complaisantly and Affectionately on my Election and went farther and Said more than I expected. She Said it gave them great Pleasure to find that the Votes had turn’d in my favour. &c I doubted whether their Prudence would have ventured so far. I believe it Sincere.
Ket however the Stewart was very active and busy for Jefferson.1 This was from Jealousy of Brisler, no doubt. He expected that Jefferson would have taken him, I suppose.— and his Principle was as good as McKeans.
Gerry is Steady, while so many prove as Slippery as Eels.
Dined Yesterday with Major Jackson in Company with General Lincoln who lodges there—married to Miss Willing who is an agreable Woman and comfortably provided for by an office, he lives in a neat & elegant Taste: but I believe prudently.2
{ 496 }
Mr Ames and a few more, made a very Social set and We enjoyed Ourselves without Alloy—
The most unpleasant Part of the Prospect before me, is that of remaining here till June or July— I cant see my grass & Barley grow nor my Wall rise— I have however almost forgotten my Farm. it Appears very differently to me.— it seems as if I ought not to think about it—
The River is frozen so that nothing can get out— Besides flour is dearer here than at Boston by one third It has rained to day like a flood— But the Weather must be very warm and continue so many days before the River can open. There is no probability of it, for some time.
If it opens in Season I shall Send Some grass Seeds.
I will not Suffer the Bushes I have cut down to grow again: but I shall not Attend much to my Farm— My whole Time and Thoughts must be devoted to the Public. As long as Trask lives I shall have enough for him to do perhaps.
I hope Billings will come to himself and get your Wood.
I think of you & dream of you and long to be with you. But I Suppose this must not be yet.
My Duty & Love to all
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “Janry 11th / 1797.”
1. Frederick Kitt served as the steward of George Washington’s household in Philadelphia but did not retire with the family to Mount Vernon in March, instead taking a position at the Bank of the United States (Washington, Papers, Retirement Series, 1:83; 2:25).
2. For Major William and Elizabeth Willing Jackson, see LCA, D&A, 1:28.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0257

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-01-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

Mr Beale called upon me, a few Days ago and left your Letter of Decr. 23d.— Last Evening I presented him to the P. and Mrs W. together with Mr Howard, a son of Dr Howard of Boston.1
You Say Mr H. is very full of his Praises of Mr Monroe— So is Dr Edwards— He Says Mr Monroes Correspondence will do him infinite Honour when it comes to be published—and all that—
Monroes House has been a School for Scandal against his Country its Government and Governors—Mr Jay and his Treaty &c— Edwards Says, as Dr Rush told me that Washingtons Character was in { 497 } total Contempt in France— This I shall not believe till I have better Evidence than that of any or all these great Personages. nay, than all the Directory Ancients and five hundred.
Mr Madison is to retire—2 It Seems, the Mode of becoming great is to retire— Madison I Suppose after a Retirement of a few Years is to be President or V. P.— Mr Cabot I suppose, after Aggrandizing his Character in the shade, a few Years is to be some great Thing too— and Mr Ames—&c &c &c It is marvellous how political Plants grow in the shade.— continual Day light & sun shine, Show our Faults and record them. Our Persons Voices, Cloaths, Gate, Air, Sentiments, &c all become familiar to every Eye and Ear & Understanding and they diminish in Proportion, upon the same Principle that no Man is an Hero to his Wife or Valet de Chamber.
These Gentlemen are certainly in the right to run away and hide— tell Mr Cabot so, if you see him— His Countrymen will soon believe him to be a Giant in a Cave and will go in a Body and dig him out.— I wish, but dont tell Cabot so, that they would dig up Gerry—
I have bespoke a Chariot and am treating for Horses—
We read of a Vessell from Rotterdam arrived at salem or its Neighbourhood, by which I hope there may be Letters from our Young friends—as late as the middle of Novr3 My Anxiety for Letters from them increases every day. They have more accurate Views, and Intelligence, than any others.— and what is of more importance Still, more Application & Industry.
The Weather has moderated a little. I am, / with anxious desires to see you, which I fear / cannot be gratified before July, yours forever
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “Janry 14 1797.”
1. John Clarke Howard (1772–1810), son of Rev. Simeon Howard, graduated from Harvard in 1790 and became a physician in Boston (Heman Howard, The Howard Genealogy: Descendants of John Howard of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, from 1643 to 1903, Brockton, Mass., 1903, p. 84).
2. James Madison’s retirement from the House of Representatives was announced on 9 Dec. 1796, although he continued to serve until the adjournment of Congress on 3 March 1797 (Madison, Papers, Congressional Series, 16:xxviii).
3. The schooner Phenix, Capt. Samuel Gale, sailed from Rotterdam on 14 Nov. 1796 and arrived in Marblehead, Mass., after a voyage of 51 days. The Philadelphia Gazette of the United States published news of the vessel’s arrival on 13 Jan. 1797 (Massachusetts Mercury, 6 Jan.; Salem Gazette, 6 Jan.; Boston and Charlestown Ship Registers, p. 154).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0258

Author: Dalton, Ruth
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-01-14

Ruth Hooper Dalton to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Madam

Your kind letter should not have lain so long unanswered had I not impatiently waited for the event so much wished by me, an event which to myself and Family gives great pleasure, and I beg leave to congratulate you with the greatest Sincerity1
I am happy to find the Country have not forgot to be grateful to so good a Man, and firm Friend. I have no doubts but the place of our Worthy and great President will be well filled by him. With confidence I can say that had He had the appointment it would have fallen as it has
I joyn with you that the task will be an arduous one. I however feel so much confidence in the Abilities, and am so sure of his good intentions to do what is right, that I am quite easy.
That there will not be wanting many who will try to plant thorns in the way I am sure, but I pray they may meet their proper rewards. That your Health may be Adequate to your task is my sincere wish, and if that should be the case, I think there will not be any thing wanting in that part of the Administration.
I wish the time had been nearer that Congress is to come to this City, as I am sure you would regain your health in this Montpelier of America. I flatter myself I shall be so happy as to see you here soon as, I can assure you it will be expected from the President. It has been one reason given in this quarter against his Election that he would not be a Friend to the City, and that he would not Visit it: both of which I Ventured to affirm was false, and I hope there will be no occasion for my Veracity to be called in question, and that I may not be disapionted the pleasure, and if I may now hope, the Honor, of seeing you at my House, where you can not doubt of a sincear welcome2
It would give me great pleasure to be near to you. I wish it was like to be the case. I regret very much that your Health is not more firm, but hope by this time you find yourself relieved from the feverish complants that so have long affected you, and in the Spring quite recovered, and by haveing an healthy situation in Philadelphia you will be very happy, and meet the rewards of the many Sacrifices you have made for the good of your Country, which we are very sensible off.
Mr Dalton, and my dear Daughters, joyn me in sincear { 499 } Congratulations and best wishes for your Health and happiness. Love to Miss Smith.
Polly Tailor is with me, but not more happy than usual, says she will go to House keeping in the Spring, but since the late event has taken place She talks in her way of paying you a Visit in Philadelphia. I fear She never will acquire a placid Temper, and I am sure her present disposition can never make her Friends— She is I think very much to be pitied I often tell her so to very little effect. She begs me to present her thanks to you for your good wishes. if you will please to Say to Mrs Brisler She is very Sorry for her loss
It always gave me pleasure to be with you, and I never wished the happiness more than I do at this time, as the Vice President used to say we should have a great deal to talk about. I hope that time will soon arive till when and ever, / and affectionately.— / I am very truly, / Dear Madam / Your Friend
[signed] Ruth Dalton
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs Daltons / Letter Janry / 14 1797.”
1. AA to Dalton, [ca. 24 Sept. 1796], above.
2. Neither JA nor AA visited Washington, D.C., until 1800.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0259

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1797-01-15

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

The Cold has been more severe than I can ever before recollect. it has frozen the ink in My pen, and chilld the Blood in my veins, but not the Warmth of My affection for Him for whom my Heart Beats with unabated ardor through all the Changes and visisitudes of Life, in the still Calm of Peace Feild, and the Turbelent Scenes in which he is about to engage, the prospect of which excite, neither vanity, or Pride, but a mixture of anxiety and solisitude, which soften, but do not Swell the Heart.
By the last Post I receivd Yours of December 27th & 30. Janry 1 & 3d The extract from mr Madisons Letter I believe to be the genuine sentiments of Mr Jeffersons Heart. tho wrong in Politicks, tho formerly an advocate for Tom Pains Rights of Man, and tho frequently mistaken in Men & Measures, I do not think him an insincere or a corruptable Man. My Friendship for him has ever been unshaken. I have not a Doubt but all the Discords may be tuned to harmony, by the Hand of a skillfull Artist. I See by the paper of to Day that the extract is publishd in the Centinel, not through Eve, I assure you, for I have not disclosd it. it has gaind as Most storys Do, that mr J. { 500 } declares he would not have taken the Vice Pressidency under any other Man. the writer adds not unaptly, from shakspear,

“the Event we hope will

Unite the Roses Red and White together

That on one kind and Friendly Stalk, they both may flourish”1

My Authority for the Author of Aurelias, was William Shaw who going one Day into Nancreeds Book store saw a young Gentleman correctting the press. Nancreed introduced him to William as the Writer of Aurelias and gave him one of the Books; notwithstanding this, he may only, as he has on former occasions for our son be the Channel only, to convey & foster the ospring of an other.2
You ask me what I think of comeing on in Feb’ry? I answer that I had rather not if I may be excused. I have not for Many Years enjoyd so good Health as this Winter. I feel loth to put it to risk by passing a spring in Philadelphia. I know not what is to be Done. I think an inventory ought to be taken of what belongs to the United States a House ought to be provided and furnishd in such a Manner as they chuse, or a Committe appointed to Do it, if a sum Should be granted for the purpose. I desire to have nothing to Do with it. there are persons who know what is both necessary & proper. if this is Done I should not be against going to assist in the arrangement of the Household.
I will make the necessary inquiry respecting a Carriage and write you word as soon as I can obtain information. my old Chariot, I have purchased Runners and put it on. Dr Tufts Says it must never be hung again. it has long been too shaby for use. I was beholden to My Neighbours for a conveyance before I got them. it answers very well for that purpose. the Sleighing is remarkable fine and has been so for more than a Month. I have had one Succession of visiters & company, more than for any two years past. every Body who ever knew one comes to pay compliments & visit who would not have been so forward perhaps . . . .3 a little prematurely too, but it shews their good wishes.
I see no prospect of the fall of any article. Grain is as high as ever and all West India articles risen beyond bounds. Such Sugars as were purchased last Winter at 12 Dollors pr hundred are now 18. Loaf Sugar 2/6 pr pd. Tea Coffe Chocolat risen in proportion. at this rate we must be Starved if the House of Reps have not a sense of Justice before their Eyes.
{ 501 }
What is to be Done with our places? I have not advertized, nor have I seen Vinton or