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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 11

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0016

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1795-09-28

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My Dear son

Mr J Quincy calld upon me Yesterday to let me know that a vessel of mr Higginsons was going to Amsterdam. I wrote by Way of Hamburgh both to you and your Brother about ten Days since.2 I have not much to say at present, because I dare not say much least some characters which are now criminated might be injured, when we would wish to find them Innocent. Time must Develope. the sudden Resignation of mr Randolph his journey to see Fauchett at Rhoad Island & the stories circulating respecting seecret Service Money are all Subjects of conjecture. I inclose you mr Randolphs Letter to the President3 I can only Say that the clamour respecting the Treaty has greatly subsided since it has been told that F——tt had like Jove descended in many a Golden shower and that to a costly amount.4 mr Pickering former post master is Secretary of State Lee of Virginna Secretary at War & a mr Marshel of Virginia Attorney General. Mr Bradford died greatly lamented by all who knew him.5 Thomas who knew him will regreet his loss— a Fever similar to that which raged in Philadelphia has swept off great Numbers in N york. it still continues very Mortal, and a great proportion of the city have moved out. Your sister & Family have been out of Town all summer they were well last week when I had a Letter from her. Charles I presume has fled from the city with his wife. I have not heard from him since his Marriage. a much more extrodonary Marriage has taken place in the Family Peggy is Married to a Young French man Monsieur St Hillair from one of the Iselands a match Mrs smith writes me of which she had not the least Idea a fort night before it took place.6 Young enough for her son besure and a to property! or any means of getting a living! his relations were all sacrificed as <aristricrats—> O Woman Woman, thy prudence is folly some times.
{ 39 }
Dft (Adams Papers); notations by CFA: “1795.” and “Copy. J. Q. Adams.” Filmed at [Sept. 1795].
1. The dating of this letter is based on the Boston publication of Edmund Randolph’s letter to George Washington on 28 Sept., for which see note 3, below.
2. AA to JQA, 15 Sept., and to TBA, 17 Sept., both above.
3. Edmund Randolph was forced to resign in mid-August when a dispatch from Jean Antoine Joseph Fauchet to the French government came to light raising questions about Randolph’s loyalties and possible improprieties. Fauchet’s Dispatch No. 10, dated 31 Oct. 1794, was captured by the British, who eventually turned it over to the U.S. government in July 1795. While obscure in its language, it suggested that, at a minimum, Randolph had been improperly discussing internal U.S. governmental affairs with a representative of the French government. He may also have requested money from the French government, which he apparently planned to use to influence the outcome of the Whiskey Rebellion, though how this would have worked is not clear. When confronted with the letter by Washington on 19 Aug., Randolph asked for time to explain his actions but later that same day resigned his office.
In mid-September Randolph sent a letter to Washington, subsequently widely published in the newspapers at Randolph’s request, indicating he was still working on preparing an explanation of his activities. He claimed to have gone to Newport, R.I., to meet Fauchet to obtain information that would justify or at least clarify Randolph’s behavior. His letter noted that he had time for only a brief interview with Fauchet before the minister sailed for France. But Randolph also wrote, “I am in possession of such materials, not only from Mr. Fauchet, but also from other sources, as will convince every unprejudiced mind that my resignation was dictated by considerations, which ought not to have been resisted for a moment; and that every thing connected with it, stands upon a footing, perfectly honourable to myself.” The first Massachusetts printing of Randolph’s letter appeared in the Boston Gazette, 28 Sept., which was likely AA’s intended enclosure.
Randolph spent several months preparing his defense, which he published in December as A Vindication of Mr. Randolph’s Resignation, Phila., 1795, Evans, No. 29384. This work contains various documents purporting to justify Randolph’s actions, including extracts from other French dispatches and an affidavit from Fauchet. But it fails to explain adequately Randolph’s plans for the French money and ended up embarrassing Randolph and his supporters more than it vindicated him (Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitrick, The Age of Federalism: The Early American Republic, 1788–1800The Age of Federalism, N.Y., 1993, p. 425–431).
4. See Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book IV, line 609–610.
5. The source of AA’s information was the Boston Columbian Centinel, 16 September. The article was, however, only partially correct. Washington named Secretary of War Timothy Pickering to the position of acting secretary of state (eventually making the post permanent) upon Edmund Randolph’s resignation. Gov. Henry Lee of Virginia did not become the next secretary of war; James McHenry was finally appointed to the position in Jan. 1796. To replace Attorney General William Bradford, who died on 23 Aug. 1795, Washington eventually named Charles Lee, after John Marshall declined (ANB;DAB).
6. Margaret Smith married Felix Leblond de St. Hilaire, a merchant originally from France, on 29 Aug., at the same time that CA married SSA. St. Hilaire served as French vice consul for the port of Alexandria, Va., in 1779, and in 1797 he spied for Secretary of War James McHenry on the activities of French general Victor Collot, after Collot’s reconnaissance of the Mississippi Valley raised U.S. suspicions about France’s designs on western territory. Between 1797 and 1810, St. Hilaire appears to have used several versions of his name in advertising his services as an art and dance instructor in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and upstate New York (“Records of the First and Second Presbyterian Churches of the City of New York,” NYGBR, 13:87 [April 1882]; New York Argus, 18 Feb. 1796; JCC, 14:759; Richard H. Kohn, Eagle and Sword: The Federalists and the Creation of the Military Establishment in America, 1783–1802, N.Y., 1975, p. 207, 383; Alexandria [Va.] Times, 9 Oct. 1797; Carlisle [Penn.] Gazette, 27 Jan. 1802; Erasmus Wilson, ed., Standard History of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Chicago, 1898, p. 878; Hudson, N.Y., Bee, { 40 } 30 Dec. 1806; M. M. Bagg, The Pioneers of Utica, Utica, N.Y., 1877, p. 293). For St. Hilaire’s apparent imprisonment in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in 1796, see CA to JA, 21 March 1796, below. AA2’s letter to AA has not been found.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0017

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1795-10-04

Charles Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dear Father

Your kind letter of the 20th Ulto I received, and most cordially thank you for the parental wishes expressed for me and my amiable companion.1 In a season of joy your mark of affectionate regard added greatly to my happiness.
From a hint which Mr Jay dropped to you one day in conversation I supposed it probable that my brother would be sent to England upon important business. I have written to him and sent the writings of Camillus and Curtius which will no doubt be very acceptable.2 I am anxious to see the eclogue which excited the late tumult in Boston it is said to be well written and in a masterly style of satire if you can send it to me you will oblige me much.
The fever which for some time has prevailed in this City has silenced the writers against the treaty Camillus still continues to write perhaps he carries a conscience more void of offence than his opponents. I am fearful that the next session of Congress will be disagreable and that some questions may be raised in the lower that will produce violent debates. It is rumoured that Mr Burr has not been idle since the adjournment of the Senate where the inordinate ambition of this man will stop is not to be fortold.3
I have it in charge to make the compliments of Mrs Fitch and her family to you and my mother. The remarkable kindness with which I am treated by that good old Lady calls forth my gratitude and makes me regret that I had not before a better acquaintance with her
With every sentiment of duty and affection / I am your son
[signed] Charles Adams.
1. Not found.
2. Not found.
3. Aaron Burr, a strong opponent of the Jay Treaty, was on the verge of leaving New York for a mid-October “tour of the Southern States, on business of importance,” during which he visited Thomas Jefferson. No record of the discussion that took place has been found, but Federalists assumed that the two men were making plans for the next session of Congress and for the presidential election of 1796 (Milton Lomask, Aaron Burr: The Years from Princeton to Vice President, 1756–1805, N.Y., 1979, p. 183, 186–187; New York Journal, 31 Oct. 1795).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0018

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1795-10-08

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] my Dear son

I hear of a vessel going to Amsterdam, and tho I presume you are not in Holland, I shall write a few lines just to let you know that we are all well, and that your Letters by capt Trevett, who saild from Roterdam arrived safe and the Books, but the Bracelets you mention intending to send by it, I have not any tydings of.1 it would have been fortunate if you had given them to the Captain, as well as the Books. I regreet that my other matters were not put on Board. it is of very little concequence what port a vessel is Bound to, provided it is in the state. I would add to my former commission, and request that 2 Doz table cloths may be sent in stead of one, only that they should be a size larger.
Mr Dickinson and Family have arrived from London.2 I have not seen them yet, but I hear they bring allarming accounts of a scarcity of Bread in England
Before this reaches you, you will hear no Doubt of the Party opposition to the Treaty, and of Sercet Service Money circulating in America. that there are hireling Writers and printers, orators and Declamers, I have not the least Doubt. Bache paper and the noted Chronical have become the infamous vehicles of the most insolent & perfidious Defamation, Rancorous Knaves & Desperate incendiarys Skulk behind the press, and stab the fairest and best characters in the United States. Witness the present Writers, under the signature of Bellisarius, Vallerius Hancock & Cato, the three first Written at Philadelphia, the last at Nyork—in which the President and mr Jay, are treated like the Vilest Tyrants and greatest Trators of the Age.3 I doubt not many of these papers will reach you, but I cannot have a Hand, in transmitting such base calumny. You know what an Engine the press has been in France, in sewing the seads of sedition and, aiding all their Sanguinary Machinations. God forbid that Americans should become imitators of their examples—
every effort is made use of to Draw and to Drive the United states into a War, but if the Government of Great Britain is no seazd with the folly and Madness of individuals, the Party spirit will subside in America, when it is found that their toil is useless, and the great Bulk of America, the Yeomonary, and all the solid judicious Characters are against War, and willing to acquiese in the Treaty. I inclose { 42 } you part of a News paper in which you will see the late appointments, and a Letter which will cause you some speculation.4 all I can say is, our judgments must be suspended untill Congress come together—
N York is in a Distresst state. the Yellow fever has made great Havock. the consternation and distress is little less than that which took place at Philadelphia Happily your sister and Family have been out of Town ever since I left her in july.
My Love to Thomas. I wrote him two Letters under cover to you about a fortnight since I shall write again soon by a conveyance to England5
Yours most affectionatly
[signed] Abigail Adams
Louissa desires to be rememberd
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by TBA: “Mrs: A Adams to JQA / 8th: Octr: 1795 / 12 Novr: Recd:”; and by JQA: “21. Decr: recd. London. / 6. Jany: 1796. Answered.”
1. For JQA’s letter to AA of 29 June, carried by Capt. Samuel Russell Trevett, see vol. 10:468–470. JQA might have also sent his letter of 15 June to AA by the same route; see vol. 10:452–454. Neither letter mentions the books that were apparently enclosed. AA sent her letter by the Ann, Capt. Robert Lord; see TBA to AA, 1 Dec., and note 1, below.
2. Thomas Dickason Jr. and his family arrived in Boston from London aboard the America on 3 October. Dickason, a merchant, subsequently purchased a house at the corner of Milk and Oliver Streets in Boston (Boston Courier, 3 Oct.; Thwing Catalogue, MHi).
3. Belisarius was published in five pieces in the Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 11, 15, 22 Sept., 3, 14 October. The elevenpart essay by Valerius appeared in the Aurora, 22 Aug., 1, 9, 17, 25 Sept., 8, 21, 29 Oct., 11, 19 Nov., 1 December. Hancock wrote five pieces for the Aurora, 21, 27 Aug., 3, 8, 12, September. The essays by Cato, sixteen in all, appeared in the New York Argus, 15, 17, 22, 25, 31 July, 7, 11, 17, 22, 26, 29 Aug., 2, 10, 16, 23, 30 September. All four series argue against the Jay Treaty. For instance, after a lengthy article-by-article dissertation on what he perceives to be the failings of the treaty, Cato notes in his concluding piece, “The treaty has obtained no adequate compensation for the injuries we have suffered; that it has relinquished important claims that we had upon the British government. … That it is injurious to our commerce, and ruinous to our navigation. … That it counteracts the existing laws, and violates the federal constitution, and that it infringes the rights of individual States” (30 Sept.). Similarly Hancock compares the treaty to a volcano, which “contains within its bosom the materials of destruction” (21 Aug.). But these pieces also particularly criticize George Washington and John Jay, offering direct personal attacks, as well as chastising them for their roles in negotiating and implementing the treaty. Valerius, for example, describes Washington as a man who in youth was “unadorned by extraordinary features or uncommon capacity,” with “none of those sparks of genius, however irregular and inconstant, which mark the dawn of future eminence” (21 Oct.), and Jay as someone who had displayed “sentiments of hostility to liberty” and “incompetency” (19 Nov.).
4. The enclosure has not been found but was likely the Boston Columbian Centinel, 16 September. This issue contained speculation on new cabinet appointments, for which see AA to JQA, [ca. 28 Sept.], and note 5, above. It also contained a copy of George Washington’s 5 Sept. letter revoking Thomas William Moore’s exequatur, for which see AA to TBA, 17 Sept., and note 3, above.
5. One of these letters was of 17 Sept., above. The second, apparently of 18 Sept., for which see TBA to JQA, 23 Dec., and note 8, below, has not been found.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0019

Author: Smith, Abigail Adams
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1795-10-26

Abigail Adams Smith to John Quincy Adams

[salute] my Dear Brother

I am informed of a Vessell to sail for England soon and I have been too remiss already not to embrace this opportunity of writing to you—1 I had the pleasure to hear from you soon after your arrival— but since that time I have been indebted to our Parrents and Charles for information respecting you—2 but I am so conscious of my own deficiencies that I cannot complain of yours— nevertheless I should have derived great Sattesfaction from a frequent repetition of your letters— I presume that you receive through other Channells a general and sufficient information upon all Political Subjects; I Shall therefore confine myself to domestic information and in this perhaps I Shall only repeat what others have already communicated— it is not I dare say new to you that I have a Daughter at this time eight months old by the name of Caroline Amelia—but it is left for me to acquaint you that She is the finest Girl of her age ever seen—that she almost walks, talks, and is a most surprising Child. had I your tallent for description I might relate in verse her Beauties but I must content myself by telling you in simple Prose—that she is very fair, has blue Eyes, and Auburn Hair,— I will not raise your expectations too high respecting her, least when you see her, you may be disappointed—
when this reaches you it will I dare say be no news to you to be informed of Charles Marriage after all the Hair Breadth scrapes and iminent dangers he has run, He is at last Safe Landed—and I beleive is very happy— they are now with me waiting for an House to be finished which He has taken— they go into it the begining of November
you have I suppose been informed that an Epidemic fever has raged in New York this season—and with which Seven hundred persons have died— the City has been deserted by the greater part of its inhabitants who have fled into all parts of the Country for refuge and it has been a time of general distress and Calamity— yet the Phisicians will not allow it to have been the yellow fever it has not been so fatal in its consequences as the fever in Philadelphia was—nor has it been so contageous— out of the seven hundred it is supposed that not more than one hundred inhabitants have Suffered the rest have been foreigners lately emigrated to this Country—amongst whom I beleive it originated— I have been out of town the { 44 } whole Summer and all our family—and returned only on Monday last the Citizens in general have not yet returned and the City looks like Sunday every day— the fever has abated very much but is not intirely destroyed— but the dangerous season is supposed to have ceased
the Vessell Sails tomorrow and I am determined it Shall not go without my letter— I have some reason to Suppose that it will meet you in England I wish it may for the communication is so interrupted and so uncertain beteen this Country and Holland that it seems as if you were out of our knowledge— Colln Smith desires to be remembered to you he is so engaged with Business that it is impossible for him to write my Children are in health and desire to be remembered to you— Charles has gone to Housekeeping and says he was never so happy in His Life, he Lives in front Street—
Peggy Smith is Married to a Mr St Hilaire a young french Man—and James to Miss Ross—a Lady to whom he has been some time engaged—3 you will think them Matrimony Mad—I beleive—but such things are—
our good Mamma made me a visit the Last Spring when our father went to Philadelphia to ratify the Treaty— I expect him to be here again on his Way to Philadelphia—soon— I fear Congress will have a tumultuous session—
I pray you my Dear Brother to write me often and to inform me of your place of expected residence of the resignation of Mr Randolf the Secretary of State I presume you are informed; there is as yet no person appointed to fill his place adieu my Dear Brother and beleive / me affectionately your Sister
[signed] A S—4
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs: A. Smith. New York. / 26. October 1795. / 1. Feby: 1796. recd: / do: answered.”
1. AA2 eventually sent this letter in care of Joseph Hall, for whom see AA to JQA, 29 Nov., and note 7, below.
2. Presumably JQA to AA2, 20 Nov. 1794, though JQA had written to her more recently, on 15 April 1795; see vol. 10:267–268, 408–410.
3. James Smith, WSS’s brother, married Ann Ross in Flatbush, N.Y., on 7 Oct. (New York Argus, 12 Oct.).
4. JQA replied to this letter on 23 Feb. 1796, writing from London. He expressed his appreciation for the letter and the family news; in return, he reported on his own social activities in London, including visits with various people AA2 had known during her own trips to Europe (FC-Pr, APM Reel 131).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1795-10-27

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My dear brother,

I apprehend that your information respecting the time when we are to be ready to depart was not altogether accurate; for although the wind at present would serve us very well, and the weather is remarkably fine, the Pilot will not venture to carry us out, and two of the passengers, have just been dispatched to the Hague to procure passports.1 The Captain however is so very anxious to get away, that he consents to wait for them till tomorrow afternoon, in consideration of a pretty stout premium to be paid by them. It is probable that the Pilot will inexorably refuse to go out late in the afternoon, so that I can less than ever undertake to answer your question when we shall depart.
The only remedy against moral as well as physical will must very often be patience. At the obstinacy of the winds, which continued till this day, I have fretted not more than usual. I have indeed taken to myself some little consolation of vanity, from the idea that I have borne the vexation, with Philosophy more than common to me; and since I find that all the anxiety, with which my eyes have involutarily turned with constant iteration to all the vanes & weathercocks, in sight has been merely gratituous; that the kindness of a weather cock, would have given me no relief, and that all the stores of Lapland magic, would have been useless in my hands,2 I have been rather fortified than weakened in my resignation, and have only pitied those who can prevail upon themselves to practise impositions without necessity.
If I could procure the means of another conveyance without a longer delay than will probably attend that I have engaged, I should certainly take advantage of the opportunity, but as it is, I still think best to put up with what I have.
I very much regret that I have missed the chance of seeing my friends Frazier & Gardner, but hope the pleasure is only for a short time postponed.3
The enclosed letter is to be numbered, copied into the public book, and forwarded with a copy of the note which it mentions.4
My Latin correspondent, in the letter you enclose me, urges so strongly for an answer, that I must request you to send him one for me. His former letter; will inform you where to direct it. You can tell him that I am absent, and if you are as diffident of your Classical { 46 } language as I am of mine, you may write him in our own tongue. Perhaps Mr: Dumas would assist you with a Dutch translation, for three lines, which would be enough. You may if you please shew him the first Letter, and answer as you think proper to the substance of that. If I recollect right the Gentleman requires assistance to enable him to remove to America, which I have no authority to give. Whatever information he asks you can give as well as I—5
With my best regards to all friends, I remain affectionately / your Brother.
There is a talk of sailing this day— Nous verrons—
LbC in TBA’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “T B Adams Esqr:”; APM Reel 128.
1. TBA had written to JQA on 23 Oct., not found, presumably commenting on JQA’s travel plans. JQA responded on the 24th with instructions on various issues for TBA to handle in JQA’s absence (Adams Papers).
2. A popular European and American folk belief still prominent in the eighteenth century held that Lapland witches controlled storms and tempests, especially on the sea, and would sell winds to sailors willing to pay for them (Ernest J. Moyne, Raising the Wind: The Legend of Lapland and Finland Wizards in Literature, ed. Wayne R. King, Newark, Del., 1981, p. 5, 70).
3. Nathan Frazier Jr. (d. 1802), Harvard 1784, was a Boston merchant. John Gardner, also of Boston, would later write A Brief Consideration of the Important Services, and Distinguished Virtues and Talents, Which Recommend Mr. Adams for the Presidency of the United States, Boston, 1796, Evans, No. 30472 (Harvard Quinquennial Cat.; Thwing Catalogue, MHi; Massachusetts Mercury, 15 April 1796). Both men visited JQA at Hellevoetsluis on 8 Nov. 1795, for which see JQA to TBA, 18 Nov., and note 1, below, and frequently again in London prior to their departure for the United States in March 1796 (D/JQA/24, APM Reel 27).
4. JQA’s letter, dated 28 Oct. 1795, was to Edmund Randolph, relating JQA’s arranging to take leave from the Dutch States General and establishing TBA as chargé d’affaires in JQA’s absence. The correspondence, which TBA copied into Lb/JQA/5 and numbered 57, included a copy of JQA’s 19 Oct. letter to the president of the States General formally alerting him to the situation (DNA:RG 59, Despatches from United States Ministers to the Netherlands, 1794–1906, Microfilm, Reel 2, f. 256–257).
5. A letter in Latin from J. C. F. Brückner, a medical doctor, to JQA, 25 Oct., requesting assistance in seeking a job in the United States, is in the Adams Papers. No further correspondence to or from Brückner has been located.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1795-10-31

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

N. 14.

[salute] My Dear Sir

I have been detained about ten days in this place, waiting for a wind, and am very like to be detained as many more; the westerly { 47 } winds prevailing in the channel at this Season of the year almost without intermission.
Since my arrival here I have received your favour of August 25. transmitted to me by my Brother, who remains at the Hague, with the care of our affairs during my absence.— Independent of the pleasure which a letter from you must always afford me, I cannot express the happiness it gives me, to have the repeated testimonials of your approbation, and the assurance that my performance of my duties here has been acceptable. For the force of expressions, used especially in your last Letter I endeavour to make the allowance which I feel to be necessary. As evidence of your kindness and indulgence it is gratifying in the highest degree
But if the opinions which you mention as being entertained of my correspondence, have not received a very high colouring from parental affection, they are such as would give me still more anxiety than delight. Undeserved estimation is still more dangerous than flattery and may be much more pernicious because it must be the result of error: A baseless reputation is one of the things on earth that I should most fervently deprecate, and I hope you will not think it ridiculous, if I assure you, that to find myself so much over-rated, by judgment so respectable would be to me a subject of serious alarm. For your approbation, for that of the Executive Ministers with whom my correspondence is maintained, I can never cease to be solicitous, but I am equally desirous, that not only the expression of their opinions, but even the opinions themselves, may be confined to simple approbation; that the former may not extend to applause, nor the latter to admiration.
These observations, with which my mind has long laboured, but which I have not hitherto ventured to communicate even in the confidence of filial affection and gratitude, may perhaps be rendered more excusable at the present moment, when the orders in consequence of which I am now at this place have been most recently received. Although the business upon which I am now employed is doubtless, the simple execution of orders, in which there will be little or no discretion admissible, and although the circumstances of local proximity and convenience for expedition, afforded the preponderant inducements for commanding my services on this occasion, yet it naturally presents itself to my mind, as an indication not barely of a continued but even of an increased confidence; I will add, of a confidence more incommensurate with my talents or { 48 } merits, than was my original appointment to this Country. Under these circumstances, I think it becomes less improper to suggest my apprehensions to you, and to guard myself against the dangers, which may derive not only to myself but to my Country from a possible opinion, too favourable to me.
The service indeed upon which I am now ordered has nothing to please in prospect. To deal with a British Minister; to deal with him after Mr: Jay, and with the furious persecution that this Gentleman has suffered for this very transaction, fresh before my eyes, and yet rumbling in my ears, has nothing attractive to ambition, or flattering to hope. On one side the perspective is illiberal and captious negotiation, and probable failure, or such a success as will be not much better; on the other is virulent reproach and abuse to extend as usual, to my nearest friends, and lavished more on them than on me. That both these things will be combined for my endurance in the course of the business is highly probable. One or the other of them is inevitable; for the existence of the first in its utmost extent, will be the only possible protection against the certainty of the second.
These anticipations do not however in themselves form my principal concern. I know that success is seldom at human disposal, and that censure if unmerited is an evil, not intolerable. It is not therefore the responsibility of this agency that I dread, but it is the magnitude of the trust, and my own incompetency; the first being only my personal concern; but the last involving the most important interests, and the welfare of my Country
It is possible that the result of my present mission may ascertain the termination of my residence in Europe, independent of any act of my own will: or perhaps it will serve to give a direction to it. Your recommendation to me to return to America, at the close of a three years absence, unless removed to a different scene, and raised to an higher trust, will have as all advice from you will always have great weight in my mind. But I must assure you in the most unequivocal manner, that I have not the shadow of a wish for a more elevated rank than that in which I am now placed, and that, of the only two American Missions in Europe, where the higher character is employed, I consider the English as an object of aversion and the French of indifference.
As there is no present prospect of vacancy in either of those places, it will be unnecessary for me to give you the numerous reasons upon which my sentiments concerning them are formed. A { 49 } dislike both of the Government and National character, perhaps amounting even to a prejudice, is the principal ground of the first, and the unsettled revolutionary State of the Country, is at least a counterbalance to any predilection I might otherwise entertain in favour of the other.
Besides these considerations, if I had not collected a sufficient portion of the “Stoic Spirit,” to dull the edge of my ambition; if the vanity of rank, or the parade of representation had in my eyes such charms as could overpower my philosophy, I should at least teach my desires a subordination to the sentiments of Justice; at least command them to compare the merits of their claims with those of others, and be silent. If diplomatic promotion in this course of duty, be an advantage or a reward, and the occasion should occur, for bestowing it, The United States besides all their deserving Citizens at home, have other Servants in Europe in the same Station with me older in years, more versed in public affairs, entitled by long and faithful service to the notice of public recompense; and without a delirium of extravagance could I expect advancement while they remain stationary? without an arrogance of equal injustice and absurdity could I wish it?
The situation at the Hague therefore, insignificant as it is satisfies me with an employment, which without being tedious or painful is adequate to my talents, and leaves me leisure to pursue any course of studies that may be recommended by its amusement or utility. Indeed Sir, it is a situation, in itself much preferable to that of eternal expectation in a lawyer’s office, for business which when it comes is scarcely sufficient to give bread, and procures one more curses than thanks. I may be reduced once more to the necessity of going through that trial, but as long as any other honest resource is left me, the remembrance of that probation will suffice me, and I shall not be willing to go through it again.
As I have known from the beginning your attachment to the idea of my returning to the Bar, and as I have never disguised to you the reluctance with which I should do it, I think it necessary candidly to acknowledge, that my feelings on this subject, become daily more strongly confirmed. I shall therefore always consider the bar as a resource, but I shall certainly consider it as the last.— As to affronts from my Countrymen, I am unwilling to anticipate what I hope I shall never deserve. But if destined to this mortification, I hope to be prepared to sustain it, and shall endeavour to meet it with the Spirit not barely of a Stoic, but of a Christian; not only with the { 50 } fortitude to bear, but with the Charity to forgive. But situations like those here supposed require such efforts of extraordinary Virtue, that from diffidence of my own strength I hope not to be brought to the test. With respect to neglect, I do not fear it, because I am sure I shall never consider it as an evil. It has always been my opinion that the notice of the world is a thing to be commanded, but never solicited. The trifling portion of it that I have hitherto enjoyed, has come to me of its own accord, unexpected, and I can safely add undesired, though certainly received with pleasure. Upon this point, I think it in my power to speak with the more confidence, because I know perfectly well what it is to be neglected. I suffered it, for three long years, at my entrance into the world, when its effect was to leave even my subsistence dependent upon your kindness; and if I had not the magnanimity to endure it altogether without complaint, at least the idea never entered my head, of blaming the public for not giving me more confidence.
I am ashamed of perceiving what a letter I have here written upon the single subject of myself. It will not however be uninteresting to parental kindness. But as it could only bear the appearance of foolish or affected Vanity to any less indulgent reader, I request particularly that it may be seen only by my mother and yourself. I will therefore mingle nothing more worthy of other perusal with it, but conclude with the usual assurance of unalterable affection from your Son
[signed] John Q. Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “The Vice-President.”; endorsed: “N. 14. / J. Q. Adams / Helvoetsluys. Oct. 31. 1795”; docketed: “J Q A October / 28 to JA / 1795.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 128. Tr (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0022

Author: Shaw, Elizabeth Smith
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1795-10-31

Elizabeth Smith Shaw to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Sister

I have this moment heard Mr & Mrs Black is in town, & going out again immediately but I would not let slip this favourable opportunity of sending directly to you— I have omited writing before, as I wished to see Mr Peabody, & inquire of him if he knew of any place worth purchasing— I have [in]quired of Mr Tucker, & others but can find none, not any, but what will want constant repairs, & not so good as what I now have— You understood me right when I said, I wanted the interest for my own use, & Childrens, & the principal secured to them, when I am gone, & they stand in the greatest need { 51 } of it— Mr Peabody says he will sign any obligation which is reasonable & my friends think proper— If Mr Adams likes to purchase, I should feel willing to sell it, but not to any body else, because I think it might be an injury to you—
And if Dr Tufts & my sister should think it best to sell, I am willing, or if it is best to convert Hockley for the purpose of building, I submit entirely to the better judgments of my friends having confidence in Dr Tufts that he will do for me what he would for a Child— I suppose if it could be vested in publick securities it would neat more than it now does, & nothing but a re[vo]lution in Government could hurt me I think, but I leave the matter to Folks that know better than I— If it is sold, I chuse Capt Brooks to be a judge of the value— if you chuse one, let them two chuse another for the purpose— perhaps that will be a good way—1
I can truly say, if it was not for building I should rather let things remain as they are, than have so much upon my head heart, & hands now— but I know not how to spare the interest, or sink the principal—for my family will I am sensible, be a great addition to his, & if he gives us all food, I know he is not able to find us all raiment—without injury to his own family—which he loves as well as I do mine—2
I am sorry to hear you have not enjoyed your health so well as usual, may heaven restore it, & make you still a rich blessing to all arround you, prays / your affectionate Sister
[signed] Elizabeth Shaw
excuse this haste my love to all—
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs Abigail Adams / Quincy—”; docketed by Richard Cranch: “Mrs E Shaw October. / 1795.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. For recent discussions regarding the possible sale of the Medford property owned jointly by Shaw and AA, see vol. 10:264, 265, 281, 296, 316. The sisters ultimately decided to retain the farm and its buildings at this time.
2. Rev. Stephen Peabody had two children from his first marriage: Stephen (1773–1851) and Mary (1775–1856), who in 1798 married Stephen Peabody Webster of Haverhill, N.H. (Selim Hobart Peabody, comp., and Charles Henry Pope, ed., Peabody Genealogy, Boston, 1909, p. 38, 72).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1795-11-02

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My Dear Brother.

The letter from Charles enclosed in yours of yesterday, accompanies as he says the bills, which may therefore be expected { 52 } immediately for acceptance.1 As they are at thirty days sight, it will perhaps be necessary to pay the money before the close of the year.
The sum of f. 7,500. will just about absorb that for which I have a right to draw upon the bankers at Amsterdam, untill the last of December: I must therefore request you to economize with what money you have, so as not to draw for any more, on my account, untill the commencement of the new year.
A few days before Charles’s bills shall be payable, let the bankers know, that you shall have occasion for ƒ7,500 on my account, and request them, if they think that sum will exceed what they are authorized to pay me, by the orders of the Secretary of State, to inform you how much of it they will pay. Then for the amount of the difference between that, and the sum necessary to discharge the bills, sell one or more of my Dutch Obligations, as there may be occasion.
I would not call for a stuiver beyond my rigorous demand, because an accident may terminate my claim upon the United States for my salary, expences &c. and because the possibility of such an accident, deserves additional consideration, at a moment when I am in expectation of crossing the water.
I might indeed consider the last ƒ. 1000 I received, as a charge upon my present expedition, as most of it will really be, and that would entirely save the necessity of selling any of the Obligations; but in cases where public money is concerned, I hold it better, to stop certainly a mile short of the mark, than incur the chance of stepping an inch beyond it.
If you can however arrange the business so as that Charles’s bills shall be punctually paid without overdrawing on the bankers, and without selling any Obligations, it will best accomodate me.
Should an answer from the State Department to my letter of July 3d. be received and allow the charge which I therein requested permission to make, my right to draw on the bankers would in that case exceed considerably the ƒ. 7,500.— As it is, the deficiency will be so small, that I think it cannot necessitate the sale of more than one bond.2
Your transactions respecting Cowing’s affair are approved.3 You will find in my letter to your father sent you yesterday, my opinion that approbation is the highest reward due, or at least to be expressed, for the proper conduct of a young public servant, like you and me. My father’s last eulogium was really oppressive; and the more so because in him, I know it was sincere.4 Of his judgment, I { 53 } have the highest reverence, insomuch that when it regards myself I am afraid of forgetting that it is the judgment of a Parent.
I sent you a small packet from hence on the 28th: ulto: and another on the 29th: As the last contained Captain Barney’s letter and my advice upon Cowing’s business, your letter of yesterday implies the receipt of it. The former you do not mention.—5 Nor have you said any thing on the subject of enquiries whether I could obtain a flag to go from Scheveling, as Count Löwenhielm did some time since, to send.6 As I likewise wrote you yesterday, I hope to hear from you again to-morrow. I am not certain that I shall want the flag, but the difficulties to go from hence rather multiply than diminish. I am nearly determined not to go with Graham, but hope to have one other chance, before I decide upon returning to the Hague.7 At any rate, I wish you to answer this Letter. The Post-Master here will doubtless at my request send back to you, any Letter for me which may arrive subsequent to my departure.
You will find your personal convenience in my getting away; for I shall then not trouble you with so many Letters to copy into the books.— Here are now two more. That for my joint friends you will forward or deliver as you may have an opportunity.8
Ay! Charles has got the start of me, to be sure. I was not so restive under correction, and submitted to sacrifice my chance. God bless him, his wife, and all their posterity to come! If you should follow his example, and get into a snug corner of matrimonial enjoyment, while I continue to be buffeted about the world in solitary celibacy, you may be assured of having the same cordial good wishes of your / affectionate brother
[signed] John Q. Adams.
[signed] Novr: 3. 10. A.M.
Wind as fair as it can blow; but no prospect of sailing this day.9
RC (private owner, 1957); internal address: “T. B. Adams Esqr”; endorsed: “J Q Adams Esqr: / 2–3 Novr: 1795. / 4 Recd: / Do answd.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 128.
1. Neither letter has been found, but see JQA’s two letters to CA of 4 Nov., below, for JQA’s response.
2. JQA wrote to Edmund Randolph on 3 July to submit his accounts to the government. He particularly highlighted a credit owed him of over $1,300 due to an expense he had covered on behalf of the United States, for which see JA to AA, 31 Jan. 1796, and note 5, below (LbC, APM Reel 127).
A letter from TBA to the Amsterdam bankers on the subject of the 7,500 florins has not been found, nor has a report from TBA to JQA on the subject, but JQA’s 5 Nov. 1795 letter to TBA indicates that the bankers agreed to pay the amount (LbC, APM Reel 128).
JQA received a salary of $4,500 per year plus $4,500 for his outfit (vol. 10:192). Each year on or around 1 July, JQA submitted his accounts to the U.S. government. Copies of { 54 } those of 1 July 1795, 1 July 1796, and 1 July 1797 are in the Adams Papers at those dates.
3. Joshua Barney (1759–1818), a former U.S. naval officer now working with the French, had first written to JQA on 30 July 1795 regarding the case of Charles Cowing, an American sea captain arrested by the Dutch in Flushing, Zeeland, ostensibly for bringing British spies into the Netherlands. Cowing disputed the charges, and Barney was attempting to gain assistance for the imprisoned captain. JQA initially responded to Barney on 9 Aug. suggesting that the Dutch were justified in making the arrest owing to Cowing’s lack of appropriate papers. But a follow-up letter from Barney on 25 Oct. giving further details—including his assertion that he himself had examined Cowing’s papers and that the whole situation appeared to be an attempt to extort money from Cowing by the mayor of the town—convinced JQA to take action. In his 28 Oct. letter to TBA, he instructed TBA to present the contents of Barney’s letters to the Dutch government. “I have no doubt,” JQA wrote, “but that this will be sufficient to obtain either the liberation of the man, or the regular justice of the Country in his behalf.” Accordingly, TBA wrote to the States General on 2 Nov. informing them that Cowing was an American citizen unjustly detained and requesting that they insure either that Cowing’s case be properly examined or that he be released. TBA’s first request failed to yield results, so he wrote a second time on 6 Feb. 1796 again seeking assistance. On 20 Feb. TBA received word of Cowing’s release (DAB; Adams Papers; LbC’s, APM Reels 128, 129; Nationaal Archief, The Hague:Staten General, no. 7131, Part I, p. 62, 63; Part V, p. 462, 463; M/TBA/2, APM Reel 282).
4. See JQA to JA, 31 Oct. 1795, and JA to JQA, 25 Aug., both above.
5. In his letter to TBA of 28–29 Oct., JQA again complained about the delays he was encountering in crossing the English Channel. He also sent letters to TBA regarding Charles Cowing’s situation, for which see note 3, above, and requested TBA handle various other tasks in JQA’s absence (LbC, APM Reel 128).
6. Carl Axel Löwenhielm (1772–1861), the illegitimate son of King Charles XIII, later became a leading Swedish diplomat, serving as Swedish ambassador to St. Petersburg from 1812 to 1819 and as a representative to the Congress of Vienna in 1815 (T. K. Derry, A History of Scandinavia: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland, Minneapolis, 1979, p. 214; Repertorium, 3:411, 415).
7. JQA had originally planned to sail to England with a Capt. Graham but after numerous delays at Hellevoetsluis, switched his passage to the Aurora, Capt. Benjamin Fernald (D/JQA/24, 21, 27–29 Oct., 2, 9 Nov. 1795, APM Reel 27).
8. JQA’s joint letter to Nathan Frazier Jr. and John Gardner of 2 Nov. lamented that JQA had missed seeing his two friends at The Hague and hoped that they would find a way to meet up while all were still in Europe (private owner, 2002; LbC, APM Reel 128). The second letter was presumably JQA’s to TBA, which TBA copied into the Letterbook immediately preceding that to Frazier and Gardner.
9. Additionally, JQA wrote to TBA from Hellevoetsluis on 1 and 5 Nov. and two letters on 8 Nov., all while waiting for an opportunity to cross the English Channel. The letters intersperse a mix of business requests with expressions of frustration at the various delays and the lack of news available to him there (MHi:Adams Papers, All Generations; LbC, APM Reel 128; MBBs).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1795-11-04

John Quincy Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] My dear Brother.

I received at this place by your letter of September 3d: the pleasing intelligence of your marriage, and offer you my warmest congratulations, upon an event so important to your happiness, and thereby to that of your brother.1
{ 55 }
In requesting you to make the assurance of my fraternal affection acceptable to my new Sister, I depend upon your intercession for her permission to add that sentiment to those of respect & esteem, which I have long entertained for her. It is a sentiment the more precious to my heart, because it has hitherto been confined to one Sister, deserving of its utmost tenderness, & because it will henceforth, be shared with the second, without being impaired towards the first.
I have been detained in this little seaport, nearly a fortnight, by adverse winds & boisterous weather, being in expectation of passing some time in London. You will oblige me by taking every convenient opportunity, to write me at that place, and if I shall have returned from thence, before you letters can arrive, as is most likely, they can always in the course of a few days be forwarded to me, at the Hague.
It is not in my power to give you the most recent news, for I am here almost as remote from current intelligence, as I could be in a prison, so that for the last fortnight I have been altogether uninformed, you will however doubtless receive regularly the Gazettes from the Hague, but the situation of this Country is such, that no information can generally be sent from hence to arrive in America, until it has got to be an old story from else where.
The new Constitution of France, the decrees for reelecting two thirds of the Convention as members of the Legislature, the animosity of which that measure was the occasion or the pretext, between the Convention & the City of Paris; The bloody issue of that struggle, and the measures of the Assembly subsequent to their victory, will meet your attention as interesting objects of speculation. These dissentions are afflicting to humanity, but they will continue to be renewed, because the prevalent opinions in that Country, are yet such as naturally tend to produce them. It is often true in the affairs of individuals, but almost universally in those of Nations, that their misfortunes are attributable only to their errors.
The passage of the Rhine by the french armies of Sambre & Meuse and of Rhine & Moselle, followed by their rapid march into the heart of Germany, was known before my departure from the Hague. An obscure rumour has reached this place, that they have been defeated, and obliged at least to repass the Rhine, but the details of the story are wholly unknown to me.2
The state of this Country is in general tolerably quiet & { 56 } peaceable, excepting every now & then, a little irregular usurpation of Sovereignty by Clubs & popular assemblages; hitherto they have not been followed by any tragical event. The dissolution of the Confederation, and the consolidation of all the provinces into a single Republic, by the Convocation of a National Assembly, has been for many months an object of great solicitude, more especially because a difference of opinion has arisen in the different provinces, upon the propriety of the proposed alteration. The Province of Holland almost unanimously, and the popular Societies and Clubs in all the others, have pursued very tenaciously the point upon which they think the permanency of their Revolution will turn; but the majority of the people in most of the smaller Provinces, are strenuously averse to the change, and adhere tenaciously to their federal System. The parties have at length proceeded so far, that the provincial assembly of Holland, has taken a formal resolution, that in case the other Provinces do not unanimously agree, to call the National Assembly by the 25th: of this month, this Province will take the step alone, or together with those that will agree to join it, without waiting any longer for the assent of the remaining members.3
I have been amused, but not surprized, to observe with what zeal the most ardent patriots here, connect in argument, provincial sovereignty & aristocracy, after having seen so many patriots no less ardent in America, labouring with the same industry, to make the essence of Republicanism consist in State Sovereignty. I knew before this that the arguments of a party, are generally urged more for their operation than for their weight.
There has been a report here of a French squadron, having captured a considerable part of the English mediterranean fleet, together with three or four ships of war, that were convoying them. This circumstance if true, will be an encouragement to the French, who have hitherto been uniformly unfortunate at Sea during the present war, and the check may possibly abate a little of the English pretensions, which are very extravagant.4
Farewell! And accept once more the renewal of my fervent good wishes for your personal & domestic happiness & prosperity.
PS. Thomas sent you some time since from Amsterdam a couple of Shanslopers. You will do me the kindness to accept them from me.5
LbC in TBA’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Charles Adams Esqr:”; APM Reel 128.
{ 57 }
1. Not found.
2. Beginning in September Gen. Jean Baptiste Jourdan led the French Sambre-Meuse Army across the Rhine, successfully capturing Düsseldorf, while Gen. Charles Pichegru and the Rhine-Moselle Army captured Mannheim. The Austrians counterattacked against Pichegru’s forces, which failed to support Jourdan’s troops. Jourdan and his army were forced to retreat across the Rhine by mid-October, and Pichegru’s forces subsequently surrendered Mannheim on 21 Nov. and retreated further west. An armistice to end the fighting for the winter was agreed to on 15 Dec. and left the Austrians comfortably in control of much of the Rhineland (Ross, Quest for Victory, p. 91–93).
3. In the wake of the Batavian Revolution, the Dutch debated plans for their new government and especially the relative authority of individual provinces versus a popularly elected national legislative body. A number of proposals had been put forth giving varying amounts of power to a new National Assembly and either reducing the authority of or abandoning entirely the States General. A plan suggested on 14 Oct. called for the abolition of the States General upon the formation of a National Assembly, but it limited the new Assembly to legislative—not executive—authority. Executive powers would continue to reside with provincial assemblies. The provinces were given until 25 Nov. to decide to support the proposal, although Holland declared that any provinces failing to act by the deadline would simply be excluded from the new “Republic of the Netherlands.” Three provinces—Friesland, Groningen, and Zeeland—refused to capitulate to Holland’s pressure but were eventually persuaded to join in the new Assembly, which opened on 1 March 1796 (Schama, Patriots and Liberators, p. 237–240, 243, 245).
4. The French Navy had only a limited impact on the British, but a squadron coming out of Toulon did manage to capture some British ships in the Mediterranean in the fall of 1795 (Jonathan R. Dull, The Age of the Ship of the Line: The British & French Navies, 1650–1815, Lincoln, Nebr., 2009, p. 143).
5. A schansloper is a type of heavy coat. TBA noted in his Diary purchasing two for CA on 2 Oct. (M/TBA/2, APM Reel 282).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1795-11-04

John Quincy Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] My dear Brother

Your Letter of September 3d. advising your having drawn the preceding day, bills on me in favour of Daniel Ludlow & Co: for ƒ7,500. at thirty days sight, was received by our Brother Thomas at the Hague on the first of this month, and forwarded by him to me, at this place, where it reached me the next day.1 The bills though mentioned by you as accompanying the Letter, were not presented for acceptance with it. Should they be presented during my absence from the Hague, they will be accepted, and paid in my behalf by our brother.
You will find in a letter I have written you since that of May 17th: that besides the thousand Dollars of your own drawn for in these bills, and the other thousand for which you had previously drawn in favour of William Rogers, & which have been paid, I shall still remain accountable to you for one hundred dollars, being the amount of the interest paid last June upon your bonds then in my hands.2 For this sum you will perhaps not think it worth while to draw on me, and I wish you therefore to charge it to me in account. For you { 58 } will in future keep a regular account open with me, and let me know the state of it from time to time.
I shall be well satisfied if you conclude upon accepting the offer which you mention as having been made you for the employment of my property in your hands. It appears to me fully to comply with both the directions contained in my letter, and you doubtless ascertained the validity of the security.
You may if you please draw on me for five thousand florins more, subject to the same employment and directions, and to the same conditions for your agency. You will then have so much of my little all committed to your discretion, that I have no doubt you will be solicitous to take the best possible care of it.
For making the draft hereby authorized, I wish you to take the advantage of a favourable exchange, and if the occasion do not offer at the receipt of this letter, to wait untill it shall. The Security of clear and valuable real estate has in my mind the preference above all other as security; and I shall be content to have the whole amount in this, as in the former case, placed upon the terms, which your letter mentions. But I am particularly attached likewise to the condition of recalling the principal at pleasure, and should wish to have it secured in fact as well as in right. For the latter a stipulation is sufficient, but the former must always depend on the ability & integrity of the borrower. You cannot be responsable for these, but a prudent attention to the principle may frequently prevent delays & vexations.
The reason upon which I am desirous to retain a real command of the money, at any time is this. It often happens in America that transient opportunities occur to employ money with as much safety, and with an infinitely greater profit, than when placed at any interest, public or private; and my intention has been and is, that you should with my property take advantage of any such occasion in my behalf. For the first placing of the money, the legal interest was all I could expect or wish; but I meant to leave it in your power at any time to improve an opportunity for doing better. You will therefore consider my authority for the employment of the money as limited principally by your own discretion. Upon all the principal for which you draw on me by authority, you will take five per cent, and also five per cent upon whatever annual income you shall remit proceeding from it, for your agency. But I shall expect no other charges whatever the securities may be, or however often changed.
The only general instruction I can give you on the subject is, that { 59 } of course I do not mean any illegal risk should be incurred, nor any risk that can possibly involve me personally, or any other part of my property. For your commissions you may pay yourself as you go along, either by the advantage upon the exchange, which will perhaps alone suffise or by the interest when you shall receive it, or if you cannot conveniently wait for that, by drawing on me. You will as I formerly requested, remit to Dr: Welsh on my account, whatever interest may remain beyond the discharge of your own demands on me. If you should at any time have occasion for a power of attorney, you can either procure a substitution from Dr: Welsh, or write to me, and I will send you one.
Although I am persuaded you will give to the transaction of my affairs, all the attention, prudence & diligence that I could myself, it is not my intention to load you with a burden, that shall be altogether without benefit to yourself. If therefore at any time, your situation should become so advantageous, that my concerns would no longer on these terms be an object adequate to the trouble they may give you, I shall wait for notice from you to make such dispositions respecting them as then may be proper. In separating however the man of business from the Brother, I place the fullest confidence in the affection of the latter, as well as in the fidelity of the former.—3 With the most cordial return of that affection I remain / Your Brother
The bills were accepted by our Brother on the 2d: instt: and will be paid at the expiration of their term.4
LbC in TBA’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Charles Adams Esqr:; APM Reel 128.
1. Daniel Ludlow (1750–1813), a New York merchant, had trained with the Amsterdam banking firm of Daniel Crommelin & Son, to whom he was related. In the 1770s he established his first partnership in New York, and in 1790 went into business under the name of Daniel Ludlow & Co. (John Austin Stevens Jr., Colonial New York: Sketches Biographical and Historical 1768–1784, N.Y., 1867, p. 147).
2. JQA to CA, 6 July 1795, above. For JQA’s letter to CA of 17 May, see vol. 10:438–441.
3. CA’s letter outlining his plans for JQA’s money has not been found, but see CA to JQA, 24 April 1796, below. JQA’s faith in CA’s abilities would ultimately prove misplaced. On 29 Sept. 1798 JQA wrote to CA complaining that he had had no report from CA in the previous fifteen months and was therefore turning over all of his financial affairs to TBA (FC-Pr, APM Reel 131). To AA, JQA commented concerning the situation, “My brother Charles—I know not what to think of him and his conduct.— To the most urgent sollicitations for an account from him, I can obtain no answer.— All I know is, that he has acted contrary to my most precise instructions, and omitted prescribed payments to Dr: Welsh, long before you wrote to him not to make such payments.— I have required him to account with my brother Thomas, and deliver over to him my securities.” In { 60 } December of that year, AA reported to JQA that CA had confessed to her that he had used JQA’s money to cover one of WSS’s debts and save him from prison, but that CA had been unable to recover the money and was too embarrassed to inform JQA of the situation (8 Oct., 2 Dec. 1798, both Adams Papers).
4. TBA’s letter reporting this news has not been found, but on 5 Nov. 1795 JQA commented in a letter to TBA, “As the Bankers at Amsterdam have agreed to pay the bill for 7.500 florins it will not be necessary to do any thing further on that subject” (LbC, APM Reel 128).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1795-11-07

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Mother.

Your few lines of August 25th. were forwarded to me from the Hague by my brother, and though short, yet as the tokens of your remembrance, gave me the customary pleasure.1
A longer interval than I can fully justify to myself has elapsed since I wrote you last. But having written repeatedly to my father, I have always supposed myself writing at the same time to you.
As you have been a traveller in these Countries, the date of my letter will inform you, where I now purpose to go.2 It will not however as I imagine give you any news. My brother remains at the Hague during my absence which I expect and hope will not be long.
Did you ever know what it is to be cooped up a fortnight or three weeks, in a paltry little European Seaport, waiting for wind and weather; and cut off from all human communication, almost as entirely as if you had changed your world?— If you did, could you possibly speak, write or think of any thing else?— An answer to these questions will unfold to you the situation in which I now write.
I am therefore unable to give you any news, having lost the current of them myself. There are indeed rumours which have reached me here of Events not unimportant, and of apprehensions still more deserving remark, but I know not even upon what authority their credibility rests. They will however if true be known in America before this letter can reach you, and I hope soon to write you from a place where information more authentic may be obtained.
I have received here a Letter from my brother Charles, which announces his marriage, and wish him all the happiness that his new situation can bestow.3 The step was certainly not precipitate. I hope and trust that it was not taken too early. As he well knows the additional duties and obligations that it will impose, I doubt not but he is prepared to discharge them, and will find in the happiness of his union, new motives to stimulate his industry and to confirm and enlighten his prudence.
{ 61 }
My father in a Letter also received here, expresses his wish that his elder son should at an early period return home to assume in like manner the cares and enjoy the felicities of a family state; and as this article seems more particularly proper for discussion only with the Ladies, I shall take the Liberty of addressing to you its answer.4
It is one of those maxims which Rochefoucauld, by a sanction no less respectable, is said to have “drawn from Nature,” that “we sometimes pass from Love to Ambition, but that we never return from Ambition to Love.”5 If this observation be universally true, what respite from the sentence it contains is to be expected by one who has past from Love, not indeed to Ambition, but at least to its concerns?
Can a widowed heart: an heart which at the monition of parental solicitude and tenderess, has offered up at the shrine of worldly prudence the painful sacrifice of an ardent affection, and pronounced by mutual consent and acquiescence an irrevocable separation from the object of all its hopes and all its wishes; can such an heart readily submit to the controul of other bonds? When all the pleasing illusions which youth beauty and real merit have implanted in the breast, as necessary allurements to the purpose of Love; when they have been radically torn from the bosom by voluntary violence, can they again be placed there by other hands? If after such wounds have been healed; after all the impressions once so dearly cherished have been effaced except those “that last till life shall be no more,” the part be not for ever invulnerable to similar weapons, then let my conversion to the matrimonial faith not be despaired of as impossible.
Time and absence, the claims of interest, and the calls of duty, an altered scene and a different action have all contributed to confirm and reward an effort, the extent of which was never known but to myself. Peace and tranquility have long since returned, and though attended with the dulness of blunted sensations rather exempt from pain than conscious of pleasure, still they are guests too valuable easily to be dismissed again after having been once appreciated by their loss. But to sacrifice the choice of the Heart, is all that prudence or duty can require; it cannot, it will not receive from my own controul, or from any other the imposition of a different choice. It must henceforth pursue its own course; if it can choose again, its electron must be spontaneous, without receiving any direction from the will.6
{ 62 }
As to a marriage of convenience, it will be time enough to think of that at five and forty, should that age be attained.
I hope you will not think me romantic. The deliberate sacrifice of a strong passion to prudential and family considerations is indeed so widely distant from the orthodox doctrine of Romance, that there is not I believe a novel-writer of the age, who can get rid of such an incident without the help of a pistol or a bowl, a pendent willow or a purling stream.7 But the real lessons of life are seldom to be found in novels. I have lived through the operation, and never for an instant had an idea of doing otherwise. At the same time I must acknowledge, that my success was perhaps principally due to facilities in its execution which might have failed, and which were more serviceable to my intentions than flattering to my pride.
You have now the clear exposition of my sentiments and principles, on this subject. The inference as far as it is my personal concern, need not be here drawn, but may be left to your own judgment.
But if the knight has lost his Dulcinea, the Squire it appears by your Postscript is more fortunate. On receiving your billet I turned down the last lines, so important to Tilley, and gave him the paper, that he might read them himself. He said nothing: but I examined his countenance while he was reading, and envied him his feelings. He is indeed “true as the needle to the Pole,” and I wish he could improve for his sweetheart in my service, as much as she will for him in your’s.8 He has not yet got over the awkwardness of his new service; but his Master is in the same predicament and knows therefore how to be indulgent. But he has become very useful, performs very well all his necessary services, and is especially valuable for his Honesty, as well as for the goodness of his temper. He had just got well and easily through the small-pox, before I was called on my present expedition
I am with the utmost gratitude and affection your Son
[signed] John Q. Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs: A. Adams.”; endorsed: “J Q A Novbr 7 1795.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 128.
1. Not found, but the note was perhaps enclosed with JA’s letter to JQA of the same date, above.
2. Hellevoetsluis was a common embarkation point for crossing the English Channel. When AA and JA spent several weeks traveling in the Netherlands in 1786, they stopped in the town en route to The Hague and were honored with “the ringing of the bells, and a military guard to wait upon us” (vol. 7:315, 317).
3. Not found.
{ 63 }
4. See JA to JQA, 25 Aug. 1795, above.
5. François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld, Maxims, Maxim 37.
6. Presumably a reference to JQA’s decision to break off his relationship with Mary Frazier, for which see vol. 9:41–44.
7. “Darkling I sigh, and feed with dismal thoughts / My anxious mind, or sometimes mournful verse / Indite, and sing of groves and myrtle shades, / Or desp’rate lady near a purling stream, / Or lover pendent on a willow-tree” (John Philips, “The Splendid Shilling,” lines 101–105).
8. For Tilly Whitcomb’s relationship with Polly Doble Howard, see vol. 10:281.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0027

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1795-11-17

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

Since my last I have received your No. 11. dated 27. July with the Pamphlets which accompanied it.1 The Entertainment and Enjoyment I derive from these Communications as well as from all your Letters, is beyond all your Conception as well as my Expression. My greatest Satisfaction arises from the Proofs they carry with them that your Judgment and Constancy and Fortitude are not to be warped by any Seductions, Temptations or Illusions.
I cannot Say with you, however that most Heresies are eternal Truths: for Heresies as well as orthodoxies have been often Nonsence, Villany and Blasphemy: but I fully agree with you, it is not yet time to expect in Europe a Government which will be “at the Same time Strong to enforce the Law, and weak for any Abuse of its Power.[”]2
If Elections of Executives and Legislatives, are found by Experience to produce better Magistrates and Lawgivers, than hereditary Education, I should join in the Warfare against all Hereditaments (to use an Expression of our Law) as heartily as any Man— But as past Experience has not proved it, I must wait for future Experience to decide: and further to prove that Legislatives and Executives wholly elective can either make or execute any Laws at all.
In Europe most Writers at the present Day confound all Ideas of popular Esteem Affection Gratitude and Respect for particular Families with The Feudal Aristocracy. But these are different Things. Popular Families exist among African Negroes and American Indians as well as in any of the Feudal Kingdoms. Nor would the Cessation of all the Civilization in the World and the Restoration of the Savage Life over the whole Globe, prevent the hereditary descent of Popularity. if all public Men are elective, Birth will procure more Votes and have more Influence than ever. A few Families will more decidedly govern. This appears to me—time will show. The natural { 64 } Descent of Popularity in Governments perfectly elective will be found to be So certain and so general, that it will produce an Aristocratical Government every where, an exclusive Aristocratical Government, untill Laws and Regulations are introduced to prevent it, against the popular Inclination.
A Government of Sans Culottes cannot long endure— The poor People find themselves Starved with Cold and Hunger, in a very short time in Consequence of their own Rule, and soon cry “This will not do.” We must have somebody to give Us Bread and Cloaths as well as Circeuses. Hereditary Popularity, which no political Institutions can prevent, and which being unlimited & unconfined will always be mad or extravagant3 will be found more dangerous, pernicious & destructive than hereditary Prerogatives and Priviledges ascertained by Law and directed to the national Good
There is Heresy for You! enough to expose me to Persecution in any Country at this day: but

Nullius Addictus jurare in verba Magestri.—4

I cannot believe what I please: much less what is dictated by every Fool who pleases to think himself popular.
on the 30th. of this Month I shall set out for Philadelphia, and reach it in 9 days, where I fear I must reside till next June. A Stormy session We may have: but I presume We shall weather it.
If report says the Truth you will have as nice a Task as any of Us: but be of good Cheer. preserve your good humour as well as your Independence: and especially guard yourself against all Approaches of Presumption and Vanity.
I am with the kindest Affection / your Father
[signed] John Adams
Love to Thomas— I will write him soon.
and I too will write by capt Scott who is to sail soon. to both my dear Sons adieu5
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “John Quincy Adams Esqr”; endorsed: “My Father. / 17. November. 1795. Quincy. / 1. February 1796. recd: London. / 10. do: Ansd:.” Tr (Adams Papers).
1. For JQA’s letter of 27 July, see JQA to AA, 30 July, note 3, above. JQA concluded his letter, “By the present opportunity I send several new publications lately received from Paris: they discover in some degree the state of the public mind, and furnish materials for the History of a philosophical Revolution. The man that can read them and retain an ardor for Revolutions, must indeed possess more philosophy than humanity” (Adams Papers). The pamphlets cannot be definitively identified but were possibly François Antoine, Comte de Boissy d’Anglas, Discours préliminaire au projet de constitution pour la République Française, [Paris?], 1795; Calendrier républicain, Paris, 1795; and Konrad { 65 } Engelbert Oelsner, Notice sur la vie de Sieyes, Switzerland, 1795. All three are in JA’s library at MB (Catalogue of JA’s Library).
2. In discussing popular support for the Jacobins and royalists in France, JQA commented to JA in his letter of 27 July, “In short there is no Revolution whatever but may be expected in that Country except one that shall give them Peace and a regulated Liberty. If in the most favourable circumstances the perfection of human legislation is scarcely adequate to the construction of a Government which may be at the same time strong to enforce the law, and weak for any abuse of its power, it may without hesitation be pronounced impossible in France. I suppose this opinion is yet a political heresy, and like most other heresies it is an eternal truth” (Adams Papers).
3. The previous twelve words were interlined by JA.
4. “I am not bound over to swear as any master dictates” (Horace, Epistles, Book I, epistle i, line 14).
5. This paragraph is in AA’s hand. She sent a letter to JQA of 29 Nov. and to TBA of 30 Nov., both below, with Capt. James Scott, who sailed from Boston on the Minerva on 11 Dec. (Boston Courier, 12 Dec.). JA wrote a joint letter, which presumably traveled by the same conveyance, to the brothers on 29 Nov., confirming his travel plans for Philadelphia and commenting on the public and congressional response to the Jay Treaty (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1795-11-18

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My Dear Brother

You were doubtless informed by our friends who favoured me with a visit at Helvoet of my sailing from thence at last. I landed the next day at Margate, and the morning after reached the place from whence I now write you.1
I found nothing to do; or rather all done. But I still find my self detained here to wait for further orders which I expect daily to arrive2
Mr: Pinckney is expected back in the course of this month or the next.3 His arrival will release me, and if my tour here should prove only useless, it will be less unpleasant to myself than I had reason to suppose.
You will not fail however to write me by every opportunity until further notice, enclosing to Mr Johnson, except when you have opportunities of a private hand. You have heard of Mr: Randolph’s resignation. Its occasion did not arise from the affair of the Treaty, nor was it report be true, very honourable to himself. Mr Bradford the late Attorney General died about the same time.
A severe fever has prevailed in New-York, but at the date of the latest Letters (October 11.) had subsided. I have a Letter from Charles of Septr 27.4 The family were then all out of the City, and well. Peggy Smith I am told is married to a french Gentleman by the name of Darville.
{ 66 }
Mr: Bayard assures me he has no documents relative to the case of the Ship Penn. If you see Mr: Van Son perhaps he can supply you with some, or at least he can inform you of the facts. The owners employed him as their counsel, in their former application to the States General. As I may probably soon return, I do not think it will be necessary for you to present a memorial as yet.5
You may if you please write me the current news by private opportunities. The public here know nothing of what is going forward in your quarter.
Mrs: Turing’s answer to the note I wrote her, with the letter from Mlle: Lorenzi, is enclosed.6 If I should receive any further information from her, I shall be happy to forward it
The Government here is very busy against Sedition; and Sedition no less busy against the Government. Some prospect of a famine, but none of Peace.7
I miss your company as much at least as I expected, and that is saying a great deal. Those of our friends whom I have seen all enquire kindly after you.
Remember me respectfully at ——— I dare not write the word, so grating to tender ears, that Genet you know made its use an heinous crime in one of our former diplomatic characters. My best regards to all friends, and tell the Baron that I find nothing to compensate for the loss of our academic walks.8
Your affectionate brother
[signed] John Q. Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “T. B. Adams Esqr”; endorsed: “J, Q Adams Esqr: / 18 November 1795 / 4 Decr Recd: / 12 Answd:.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 130.
1. On 8 Nov. Nathan Frazier Jr., John Gardner, and James White visited JQA at Hellevoetsluis. The next day, he finally sailed for England, arriving on the 10th and reaching London on the 11th (D/JQA/24, APM Reel 27).
2. JQA was destined to be disappointed in his wait for new orders. On 15 Jan. 1796 Timothy Pickering finally wrote to JQA to explain that the instructions originally drawn up in Aug. 1795, which planned for additional negotiations with Britain, had been made obsolete by the speedy ratification and exchange of the Jay Treaty. Creation of a new set of instructions was hindered by the lack of a permanent secretary of state, though Pickering promised “they will be immediately attended to” (Adams Papers). This letter, received in March 1796, confirmed that JQA’s mission to London had been largely unnecessary.
3. The previous spring Thomas Pinckney, U.S. minister to Great Britain, had been named special commissioner and envoy extraordinary to negotiate a treaty with Spain. After successfully completing his mission with the signing of Pinckney’s Treaty on 27 Oct. 1795, he began his return trip to England, arriving in mid-Jan. 1796 (DAB; D/JQA/24, 15 Jan., APM Reel 27).
4. CA’s letter has not been found nor the source of JQA’s information, but the London Courier and Evening Gazette, 14 Nov. 1795, reported that “a bilious fever, highly malignant, and very near resembling the yellow fever of the West Indies,” had been prevalent { 67 } in New York City since July. But there was hope that “a considerable frost will undoubtedly put an end to it.” An item in the London Lloyd’s Evening Post, 18–20 Nov., informed readers, “A vessel arrived yesterday from New-York, by which we learn that the dreadful fever which has prevailed there so long, is very fast abating, and is now principally confined to the lower part of the city, near the docks.”
5. TBA had written to JQA on 7 Nov. regarding the case of the capture of the Penn as a French vessel by a Dutch privateer near the Cape of Good Hope. The captain of the vessel in London was protesting its capture, claiming it was an American vessel, and hoped to receive assistance from Samuel Bayard (1767–1840), an agent for the United States in London overseeing claims at British admiralty courts. Van Son was likely one of the partners in the Dutch mercantile firm of Coenraad & Hendrick van Son (Adams Papers; Washington, Papers, Retirement Series, 2:33; Joost Jonker and Keetie Sluyterman, At Home on the World Markets: Dutch International Trading Companies from the 16th Century until the Present, The Hague, 2000, p. 394, note 54).
6. Not found.
7. In early November William Pitt and Lord Grenville introduced into Parliament bills that would become the Treasonable and Seditious Practices Act and the Seditious Meetings Act, both in response to the attack on George III’s coach on 29 Oct., for which see TBA to AA, 1 Dec., and note 3, below, and to mass meetings held to demand political reform in increasingly radical terms. The first act was designed to clarify the definition of treason, adding any direct or indirect attempt to intimidate the king, all of which was punishable by death, and to restrict the right of radicals to petition the government. The second forbade meetings of more than fifty people without a license and gave magistrates broader scope to declare gatherings to be riots (Jennifer Mori, William Pitt and the French Revolution 1785–1795, Edinburgh, 1997, p. 252–256).
8. Baron von Bielfeld, the Prussian chargé d’affaires in the Netherlands, was a close friend of JQA and frequent walking companion, most recently on 2, 9, 16 Oct. (M/TBA/2, 16 Feb. 1795, APM Reel 282; D/JQA/24, APM Reel 27).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1795-11-21

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sir.

Since my last Letter (15.) nothing very material has occurred.1 The newspapers enclosed will shew you the degree of opposition that is made against the Convention bills as they are called.2 The City of London has instructed its members to vote against them. They will however pass.
I know not whether you have seen the review of the new Edition of your book, and therefore send the monthly Review that contains it.3 The writer seems to know a little more of it than Boissy d’Anglas
I am here in an unpleasant state of suspense and idleness. But I must not complain.
Your affectionate Son
[signed] John Q. Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “The Vice-President.”; endorsed: “J. Q. A. / Nov 21. 1795” and “Bet. N. 15. and 16.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 130.
1. JQA’s most recent letter to JA, of 17 Nov., provided a lengthy description of political activities in France, Great Britain, and the Netherlands. JQA outlined the current composition of the new French legislature, observing, “If the tone of the Directory can be anticipated by any consideration of the character of its members, it will not be { 68 } remarkable for stability or harmony. … The new Legislature did not assemble under the fairest auspices that could be wished. A civil war in the heart of Paris, but a few days before stifled in blood, a paper currency depreciated to the lowest extreme of sufferance; an expence of more than an hundred daily millions to support, and defeat, a word of which they had almost lost the use attending their armies.” Although the Dutch were outwardly celebrating their liberty under the French, JQA believed, “They are however at length seriously alarmed. They expect an attack from a corps under the hereditary prince of Orange; they are afraid of Prussia, afraid of England; afraid of their own people.” Likewise, Great Britain, too, JQA saw as divided: “The uneasiness and discontent which has been produced by the War has naturally mingled with the revolutionary principles and designs; but hitherto an occasion had been wanting to connect them closely with the pursuits of the opposition leaders. That occasion seems to be now furnished, and it gives a consistency to the party adverse to the Government, that is really formidable” (Adams Papers).
2. The enclosures have not been found, but the London newspapers contained extensive coverage of the debate over what would become the Treasonable and Seditious Practices Act and the Seditious Meetings Act, both still under discussion in Parliament, including reports of mass meetings in opposition to the bills. See, for example, London Tomahawk, 12 Nov., and London Courier and Evening Gazette, 16 November.
3. John Stockdale published a new edition of JA’s three-volume Defence of the Const. in London in 1794. The enclosure has not been found but was presumably the Monthly Review, 2d ser., 16:547–553 (Jan.–April 1795). The positive review indicates that “readers will derive much pleasure, and … instruction” from JA’s history of “republics democratical, aristocratical, monarchical, or regal and mixed.” The writer also uses the review as a call for reform of the British government, arguing, “With a constitution so admirably adapted as that of Great Britain is shewn to be for the preservation of liberty, such, in the general outline, with due allowance for antient institutions, ought to be the present picture of British freedom. If the fact be in any respect otherwise, the defect, not being in the machine, must be in the manner of working it. When the absurd and disgraceful antipathy, which has arisen in this country against reform, shall have subsided, we trust that such regulations will be adopted, as will effectually prove that the balancing system of government, so ably defended in this work, is practically, as well as theoretically, productive of every blessing which can be enjoyed in a free government.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1795-11-24

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

1. from hence.

[salute] My Dear Mother.

You will receive the letter I wrote you during my captivity at Helvoetsluys, where I was detained by opposite winds and violent weather almost three weeks. On the 11th: instt: I arrived here. How long I shall stay is yet unknown to myself, but I hope not long; there is something so dissipated and yet so solitary in the residence of a City like this, that I have never found in it either the pleasures of Society, or the profits of retirement. There is a continual flutter, an agitation of the Spirits excited by the multitude of objects that crowd upon the senses at once, that is not without its charm for a time, as it amuses the mind by employing it with a succession of novelty of long continuance; but when the period of Enchantment { 69 } is over, and it cannot last many days, there remains nothing but a listless uneasiness that allows neither application nor enjoyment.
The craving void of solitude is more forcibly felt by me now than it has hitherto been, because I left my brother at the Hague. I feel very sensibly the want of his Company; while I had it I could not consider myself as separated from every object of my attachment
There are always however in these great Cities subjects of curiosity, that become interesting to a transient traveller. Among those of the present day, are some manuscripts alledged to have been recently discovered, being originals from the hand of Shakespear. Among several others of trifling importance, there is a complete fair copy of the Tragedy of King Lear; three or four sheets being part of an Hamlet, and an whole Tragedy heretofore unknown entitled Vortigern and Rowena.
You will suppose that I have enough of the Catholic superstition about me, to pay my devotions to such relics as these. They are in the possession of a private Gentleman by the name of Ireland, and with the introduction of a friend I have had an opportunity to see them all, except the new play. That was not shewn us, whether owing to an interruption from company, or to some shyness in the proprietor, the play’s being still unacted and unpublished, I know not. It has however been purchased by the manager of Drury Lane Theatre, Mr: Sheridan, for five hundred pounds, and is to appear on that stage in the course of the present Season: it will soon be published likewise in print.
The reality of this discovery is however contested, and it may perhaps occasion a literary controversy, that will finally remain undecided like that which was raised by Chatterton.1 Among the numerous proofs of authenticity which accompany these papers, Mr: Ireland does not hesitate to affirm that the Vortigern will be ranked among the very best plays of the author, and Mr: Sheridan by adopting it on the Stage, seems in some degree to have pledg’d his great literary reputation on the point.
When I shall have seen or read the Vortigern, I shall feel myself better qualified to form an opinion upon this great question than I am at present. The internal marks of authenticity born by the papers are great and numerous. Mr Ireland told us indeed that no single person that had seen the papers entertained the smallest doubt of their being genuine, but this assurance did not entirely remove mine. The internal evidence is indeed so very strong in their favour that it becomes a little suspicious from its minuteness. For instance, { 70 } at the end of the Lear, is written “The end of my Tragedy of King Lear. William Shakspeare.” Does not such a minute look a little as if it was made on purpose to answer a question very natural now, but which the author probably never foresaw?— Yet at the time of this supposed discovery, other examples of the authors hand-writing were extant, and they compare perfectly well with these. The play differs in almost every line from the copies hitherto known in print, and improves upon them.
Among the loose papers are a short Letter from Queen Elizabeth to Shakespear, commanding him to play before her on a certain day: A copy of a letter from him to Lord Southampton, and his answer; a deed from him to a man by the name of Ireland, or rather a Will giving him several of his plays and a sum of money, in consideration of his having saved his life from drowning in the Thames: a love Letter to Anna Hatherrewaye, with a lock of hair: engagements with several of the players who performed at his Theatre, and receipts from them, with several designs drawn with a pen &c. All these are to be published, and will make their appearance within a few weeks.2
You have long known my partiality for the Swan of Avon, and will not be surprized to find me entering seriously into a question like this. Nor will you think it ridiculous. “Not to admire,” the maxim of Horace and of Pope, as procuring the only means of human happiness, has indeed more and more of my assent, the longer I live upon earth.3 I find the enthusiasm of youth rapidly subsiding, and scarce any thing new or old that now meets my observation, has the power to excite a strong sensation. I have not yet however lost my attachment to poetical beauty, and still recognize with delight the flashes of original genius. Shakespear therefore retains almost unimpaired his empire over my mind, and shares largely of that gratitude which I think due to the memory of every man whose labours contribute to enliven the dulness of human existence.
I have been to see two of his plays performed since my arrival here, and have been gratified with the performances of Mrs: Siddons in the part of Cordelia, of Kemble in that of Lear, and of Mrs: Jordan in that of Viola. You have doubtless seen the Lear as it is acted, with the injudicious introduction of an amorous plot for Cordelia which weakens the filial affection, the strong characteristic meant by the bard to be shewn in all its power, and with the alteration to a fortunate catastrophe, which excludes the most pathetic if not the most sublime scene in the play. The liberties which the modern { 71 } { 72 } managers have taken with Shakespear to adapt him to the taste of the day, may perhaps have been necessary for their interest, but certainly the effect that I perceive from it is, disappointment.
As this letter is almost wholly dramatic, I enclose with it the two last plays of Cumberland, which will amuse an idle hour or two.4 There is always something generous in his style of Sentiment, and though it has been said to be calculated to make “folly grow proud,” it may perhaps not be without use to look sometimes at the picture of “men as they ought to be.”5
Another Comedy of the same writer is said to be now in rehearsal at Drury Lane, and soon to be produced. Cumberland, Young Colman, and Reynolds, are the favourite dramatic authors of the present day.6 They seem indeed to share the stage among them, for scarce a new play can appear with any success, unless written by one of them.
The Politics of the day may be gathered from the newspapers I send. I have no Patience to dwell upon a subject which is of such extreme importance at this moment, and will be forgotten tomorrow. The whole substance of European affairs amounts only to this; That they are very much exhausted, and very hungry. Peace is the great object of their wishes on all sides. That is yet enjoyed by our Country, and that it may still be so is the fervent prayer of your affectionate Son
[signed] John Q. Adams.7
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs: A. Adams.”; endorsed: “JQA. Novbr 24 1795.” LbC (Adams Papers), dated 23 Nov.; APM Reel 130. Tr (Adams Papers).
1. Thomas Chatterton (1752–1770) grew up as an avid reader in Bristol, England, and began writing poetry around age twelve. He went on to produce a series of works—poetry, histories, heraldic sketches, correspondence, and more, often on vellum with illuminated illustrations—that he claimed had been written by a medieval monk named Thomas Rowley. While some recognized the Rowley works as forgeries during Chatterton’s lifetime, their provenance became the source of more widespread public debate after his death, apparently of accidental poisoning at the age of seventeen. Numerous books published in the 1770s and 1780s attempted to either defend or refute the legitimacy of the Rowley texts (DNB).
2. For William Henry Ireland’s forged Shakespeare materials, see Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 2, above.
3. “Not to admire, is all the art I know, / To make men happy, and to keep them so” (Alexander Pope, “The Sixth Epistle of the First Book of Horace,” lines 1–2).
4. Probably Richard Cumberland’s The Wheel of Fortune and First Love, both of which were performed in London in 1795. JQA attended a performance of First Love at the Drury Lane Theatre on 28 Nov. (Stanley Thomas Williams, Richard Cumberland: His Life and Dramatic Works, New Haven, Conn., 1917, p. 333; D/JQA/24, APM Reel 27).
5. “Here Cumberland lies having acted his parts, / The Terence of England, the mender of hearts; / A flattering painter, who made it his care / To draw men as they ought to be, not as they are. / His gallants are all faultless, his women divine, / And comedy wonders at being so fine; / Like a tragedy queen he has dizen’d her out, / Or rather like tragedy giving a rout. / His fools have their follies so left in a croud / Of virtues and feelings, { 73 } that folly grows proud, / And coxcombs alike in their failings alone, / Adopting his portraits are pleas’d with their own” (Oliver Goldsmith, “Retaliation: A Poem,” lines 61–72). Goldsmith borrowed from Aristotle’s Poetics, in which Aristotle wrote that Sophocles “depicted men as they ought to be, Euripides as they are” (ch. 25).
6. George Colman the younger (1762–1836) and Frederick Reynolds (1764–1841) were both successful London playwrights. In 1795 Colman also took over the running of the Haymarket Theatre upon the death of his father while continuing to write actively (DNB).
7. On 29 Nov. JQA wrote short letters to both JA and CA. The former simply served to cover some London newspapers being sent to JA but did indicate that JQA had “entered upon my business, and have many things to say to you, but find myself at present, pressed for want of time.” JQA’s letter to CA replied to one from CA of 27 Sept., not found, and informed him that his bills had been duly accepted. The letter primarily reiterated JQA’s second 4 Nov. letter to CA, above (Adams Papers; LbC, APM Reel 130).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0031

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1795-11-29

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] my Dear son

The last Letter which has come to hand from you, was dated 27 July, now four Month.1 I begin to grow impatient to hear from you. I have lately sent my Letters by Way of England, where it is confidently said you are, and from whence I expect, to hear from you
I wrote to you not long since by a private Hand a mr Wilder from N Hampshire. by him I sent you some of Websters papers containing col Hamiltons Defence of the Treaty, under the Signature of Camillus.2 By mr Stone, a Gentleman introduced by mr Jeffries, who is going to return to England in captain Scott. I send you the remaining Numbers.3 Your Father Sits out tomorrow Morning for Philadelphia. The Galleries in the Senate Chamber have been finished and the senate is no longer to be a secreet conclave, as it has been stiled.4 Whether the publick will be benifitted by the alteration, Time must determine. The Virtuous Ten, as they have been call’d will not I presume be gainers, unless they adopt the wisdom of solomon, and hold their Tongues. It is very certain that all the Eloquence, and most of the abilities, are monopolizd by the majority. Burr, excepted, they are all, Mediocer, save in Bacons left handed Wisdom.5 Burr, has address, insinuation and intrigue, sufficient for a pupil of Machiavilel
It is thought the senate will have Some difficult discussions before them. there Judas may not pass uncensured, and the Chief Justice may possibly receive a Negative. the Appointment was extrodonary. some person ask’d General Knox how the P——t came to make such an appointment left of God, replied Knox. for the first Time, the circumstances which took place after ward, were not foreseen { 74 } by the P—— and I must suppose that he was ignorant of the present Character of the Man. I am sure the P—— never adopted the sentiment, of a Southern Writer, who in aiming to defend his Character, asserted that a Mans Moral Character, had no connextion with his political Character. a Judge like the Wife of Ceasar, ought not to be suspected.6
The ex Secretary of state, is writing a long defence of his resignation. there are many reports in circulation.— Something all agree must be wrong. What? is not yet disclosed to the publick. When Congress meet, the Truth will be disclosed
The Jacobins have excerted every nerve to allarm & terrify the people into measures disgracefull to the Country and dishonorable to them Selves. in some of the large Towns and cities they have so far succeeded as to get partial resolves, and censures past upon the Treaty, and upon the Senate whilst the flood gates of scurility and abuse have been opend by hireling writers, upon the President and mr Jay, exhibiting a mortifying picture of the Depravity of the Humane Heart, & of the prevalence of the most Malignent passions, which like the ostracism of the Athenians, is sufficient to undo a state, by preventing those who most excell in wisdom and virtue, from undertaking the Arduous and important offices of Government, and rendering all those who Serve the publick, desirious of retireing to the private walks of Life, when they find their own wisdom and virtue, turned into weapons of offence, and that it is almost as safe, to be infamous as renouned. these observations will occur to every one who read the attacks upon one of the Fairest Characters, which ever gave Fame to a Nation—
our Friends here are all well, except Mrs Tufts who lies Dangerously Sick and deprived of her senses.
Your Minister, mr Clark spent a Day with us, not long since. he askd to read some of your Letters and exprest himself much informd by them. he promised to write to you. mr Hall a Brother Lawyer took Letters to you and is gone on to N York where he will embark.7
Heaven preserve You my dear so[n and] make you usefull to your Country and to Mankind, i[s the] / prayer of your ever affe[ctionate] / Mother
[signed] Abigail Adams8
Louissa desires to be rememberd to you. send her some little token of Remembrance in a Book. she is a good Girl and exceedingly usefull to me.
{ 75 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by Louisa Catharine Smith: “John Quincy Adams. / Minister from the United States of. / America. / Holland or England.”; endorsed: “Mrs: A. Adams. / 29. Novr: 1795. Quincy. / 1. Feby: 1796. recd: London. / Ansd:.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Of 30 July, above. JQA’s letter to JA of that period was dated 27 July (Adams Papers).
2. Letter not found.
3. Not found.
4. For the decision to open gallery space in the Senate, see vol. 10:82–83. The new gallery, built during the congressional recess, offered space for roughly fifty visitors to the Senate chamber (Roger W. Moss, Historic Landmarks of Philadelphia, Phila., 2008, p. 35).
5. That is, cunning (Francis Bacon, The Essays; or, Counsels Civil and Moral, Essay XXII, “Of Cunning”). For the Virtuous Ten, see vol. 10:471, 474, and AA to JQA, 15 Sept., and note 9, above.
6. John Rutledge had asked George Washington for the position of chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court upon John Jay’s resignation earlier in the year. Washington complied, notifying Rutledge at the beginning of July, but shortly thereafter Rutledge participated in a public meeting in Charleston, S.C., opposing the Jay Treaty. Pro-treaty senators, irritated by this behavior, refused to confirm Rutledge’s appointment in December (ANB). The Boston Columbian Centinel, 2 Sept., published a piece by “A South Carolinean” entitled “Judge Rutledge, Vindicated.” In this item, the author comments on Rutledge’s financial difficulties and failure to pay certain debts, “His private moral character has nothing to do with his official uprightness.”
7. For Boston lawyer Joseph Hall, see LCA, D&A, 1:47. Hall reached London by 1 Feb. 1796 and remained there until the summer of 1798 (D/JQA/24, APM Reel 27; Joseph Hall to JQA, 30 June 1798, Adams Papers). Among the letters he carried were AA2 to JQA, 26 Oct. [1795], above; JA to JQA, 12 Dec., below; and JA to TBA, 13 Dec., private owner, 1961.
8. On this same date JA wrote a joint letter to JQA and TBA to save time as JA was busy making preparations to leave for Philadelphia the next day. JA wrote that he expected a “Stormy Session” of Congress, though he also presumed that the Jay Treaty would ultimately be accepted and funded. He praised their “sentiments and Conduct,” which JA felt “have been so perfectly comformable to my best Judgment and all my Wishes that I have only to say that I hope you will persevere in the Principles you have adopted and the system you have pursued” (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0032

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1795-11-30

Abigail Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] my Dear Thomas.

I Love to receive a Letter from both Brothers at once, and I suppose each of You like to have a Seperate Letter. I write all my politicks to the Minister and then am as much at a loss, what to write to you, as I Sometimes am, to find conversation for a company of Ladies.
I go but little from Home, and many interesting events, pass unnoticed. of Domestick occurrences I believe I wrote you, that Peggy smith had suddenly married a Handsome young! Frenchman! by the Name of St Hillair and James smith that he might keep up the Farce, Run with all speed, and Married a young girl of 16. against the consent of her Mother, who would not receive her into her { 76 } House again, and this Without a House or Buisness, or any Thought of the Morrow. I believe the grace of consideration has been but spairingly bestowed upon any Member of the Family. The rage is French. Mrs Flucker is going to marry monsieur Beauma.1 Genll Knox and Family have spent the summer in the Province of Maine, and have just returnd to winter in Boston.
Mr Ames, I am sorry to inform You is in a very poor state of Health. he had a Billious fever in the summer which reduced him very low. he has been out of spirits occasiond by his ill health, and thinks he Cannot go to Congress.2 his absence will be a loss indeed, and the more So as mr Dexter lost his Election.
Several of the virtuous ten have made excursions through the states Butler & Burr have been on to Boston, Langdon has had his Tour, even Blair McClenican wrote to his Countrymen mr Black to see if he could not excite a revolt in the little Town of Quincy, but Black returnd for answer, that his Farm and not politicks occupied all his attention. considering the exertions made by the Jacobines, the pains they have taken, the falshoods and Slanders they have made, and circulated, and the money which Fauchet Charges in his account as having circulated, very little impression has been made upon the Yeomanry; they are for Peace & a good Market for their produce.3
The Miniatures oh the Miniatures a Blundering Captain forgot that he had such a precious Charge. after waiting a reasonable Time to receive them, I wrote to request mr smith to inquire for them.4 the Captain recollected that for better security he had put them in to the bottom of his Trunk, which Trunk he had sent to Nantucket, and there they still are to my no small mortification
The Holland merchant Charges me for a Doz table cloths, and puts up but 8, and those very poor make Minhere, rectify the mistake and send me 1 Doz of a larger and better sort, and put the four in which he has charged. the Box was full so none could have been taken out. the cloth and sheeting were excellent. I wrote to your Brother Something about a cloak, but he understands negotiations better I suppose than traffick. You should have been the Merchant. do you ask that Delightfull miss copley to get a winter cloak for Louissa, such an one as she would chuse for herself, and Mrs Copley to get one for me. she may go as far as 5 Guineys for mine or Six Louissas must not be so costly. if your Brother advances the money, I will pay it to Dr Welch on his account, or I will give him an order { 77 } upon Willinks I should like to have them by the return of Scott.5 any new publications would amuse us.
When I was in England I used to seek the Boston captains & invite them to my table. I could get much information from Some of them. Scott is a Man of intelligence I believe he is not married this trip. present me kindly to mrs copley & Family to Mrs Hollowell & Family & the old Maiden Vassels—6
I am My Dear Thomas most / affectionatly your Mother
[signed] Abigail Adams.
your last Letter was Agust 5th
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by Louisa Catharine Smith: “Thomas Boylston Adams Esqr— / Holland or England”; endorsed: “Mrs: Adams / 30 Novr: 1795 / 24 Jany Recd: / 29 June Ansd.”
1. Sarah Lyons Walrond Flucker, originally from Antigua, the widow of Thomas Flucker Jr. and sister-in-law of Lucy Flucker Knox, married Bon Albert Briois de Beaumez in either late 1795 or early 1796. The couple sailed for India in May 1796 (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 18:241, 243).
2. Fisher Ames did attend the 4th Congress but was not seated until 9 Feb. (Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 307).
3. For Edmund Randolph’s alleged request for money from Jean Antoine Joseph Fauchet, see AA to JQA, [ca. 28 Sept. 1795], and note 3, above.
4. Not found.
5. AA’s earlier request to JQA for a cloak has not been found, but he fulfilled the commission while in London with assistance from LCA; see JQA to AA, 28 Feb. 1796, and note 3, below.
6. Presumably a reference to the daughters of William and Margaret Hubbard Vassall, prominent loyalists originally from Boston: Margaret and twins Ann and Charlotte. All three women died unmarried in England (vol. 6:388; Edward Doubleday Harris, “The Vassalls of New England,” NEHGR, 17:116 [April 1863]). See also LCA, D&A, 1:34–35.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0033

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1795-12-01

Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother.

I had the pleasure to write you a few lines by the Betsey Captn: Clarke, which sailed from Rotterdam last week; another occasion now offers by the Ann. Captain Lord, the same which brought your favor of the 8th: October to my Brother, in little more than a month.1 I have forwarded your letter to him. He arrived in England on the 10th: ulto: and I hear by a letter from London of the 13th: that he had safely reached that place.2 As yet I have no direct accounts from him.
If reports now circulating are true, the situation of affairs in England but particularly in the Capital, is far from being such, as to render a residence there very pleasant at this moment. The public mind seems to be in a considerable ferment, and the Corresponding { 78 } Society are said to occasion much trouble to the Government. You will doubtless hear very soon of the violent disorders, that took place upon the opening of Parliament. Of the insults offered to the King, & the risk he ran of being personally injured by a Ball from an Air Gun; the breaking in pieces the Coach of State, the vociferation of an ungovernable mob; the terror of the Queen; the repressive measures used by the Military. The Kings speech—Debates and answer of his Parliament—& lastly the method, which his Majesty & family adopted to testify their grateful acknowledgments to Heaven for his most singular & miraculous escape from the danger that so recently threatened him,—by repairing to the Play house the next evening. Surely here is matter enough in half a dozen lines, to furnish at least as many Pindaric’s.3 In point of consequences, I am apt to think it will produce none more serious. The efficacy of an unsuccessful Mob, whether in London, or else where, to decide the fate of great questions, has long been known to be an unsafe dependence, and as the active instigators of this last tumult in that place, have been for the most part, already taken up, the issue of the business may easily be foretold. There are people however who pretend to draw from it, deductions in favor of Peace. It would be fortunate if the apparently inexorable resolution of the British Cabinet to continue the War, could be made to relent; but popular insurrections are probably not the means that will produce a more pacific temper, in a Government, possessing such ability to repress.
The close of the Campaign, or more accurately, the season for a cessation of Military operations, has been fruitful in bloody events upon the Banks of the Rhine. Almost every day for the space of six weeks past has produced some affair more or less important, between the French & the Austrian Armies. Every nerve & sinew has been exerted to dispossess the French of their posts on the German territory, but hitherto without effect. Pichegru & Jourdan the Commanders in chief of the two french Armies, still make a stubborn stand against the Imperial Generals Clarifait & Wurmser, though compelled to raise the Siege of Mentz, and to retreat across the Rhine in considerable numbers.4 The result of this Campaign, which must come to an end very soon, in this quarter, in whatever way it may terminate, is not expected to decide any thing with respect to peace. Negotiation however will probably be employed on all sides. But honorable terms for all parties, is a point of such delicate texture, and wears so many faces, that nothing less than magic, { 79 } can possible charm discordant claims, & high toned pretensions, to grateful harmony.
A powerful combination has been formed in the Nothern hemisphere— The Mighty Empress of all the Russias, the warlike Emperor, & the Monarch of the Island have coalesced in triple league against ——— all the world besides. The Treaty was lately concluded at Petersburg, with vast secrecy as is said, in so much that, the Negotiators themselves, were scarcely supposed to know, what they were about. It hardly need be observed then, that nothing hitherto has transpired upon the momentous objects upon which this formidable instrument is built.
Another threefold iniquity, is finally arranged; I mean the division of Poland. Here is a pretty example of what results from the dependence of factions upon the aid of foreign powers. Poland annihilated.— Holland,! but here I must refrain—are instances which speak loud to the people of any Country, who for the sake of a pretended dissatisfaction with the Governments placed over them, are willing to risk the honor, the happiness, the Independence & the salvation of their native land upon the treacherous support of an external ally.
The freedom of these remarks would perhaps be imprudent, if they did not apply as well to our own Countrymen, as to others. Under this impression I conceive myself authorized to make use of them; & if there be yet another apology necessary for the generality of such strictures, I owe it to myself, because I feel them to be just.
The new Government in France, will doubtless excite your curiosity. It is organized, & has commenced its career. The whole doctrine of check’s & balances, so far as it is recognized in the Constitution has already been brought to operate; it remains to be seen, how long reciprocal obedience, will be the order of the day.
A National Convention, in single assembly is finally resolved upon here— Four Provinces against three. It is to take place the 1st: of February.
You letter to my brother mentions your having written me two, a few days before. I hope soon to receive them.5
Remember me kindly to all friends— I Shall write my Father by a vessel for Philadelphia, to whom you will present me in all duty & affection / as your Son
[signed] Thomas B Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs: A Adams.”; endorsed: “T B A Decbr 1 1795.”
{ 80 }
1. TBA’s earlier letter to AA has not been found. Both the brig Ann, Capt. Robert Lord, and the brig Betsey, Capt. Henry Clarke, arrived in Boston in late Feb. 1796 (Boston Price-Current, 22 Feb.).
2. Not found.
3. George III’s carriage was attacked by a mob while en route to the opening of Parliament on 29 Oct. 1795. People threw stones and shouted “No war!” and “Down with George!” One stone or possibly an air-gun pellet shattered the glass on the coach window. Despite the turmoil, the king apparently delivered his speech calmly and the next night attended the opera, where “God Save the King” was sung with two encores.
George’s speech, which primarily focused on the war with France, took an optimistic tone, noting that in Italy the French “have been driven back from a considerable part of the line of coast which they had occupied” and that Britain was “continuing to make the greatest exertions for maintaining and improving our naval superiority, and for carrying on active and vigorous operations in the West-Indies, in order to secure and extend the advantages which we have gained in that quarter, and which are so nearly connected with our commercial resources and maritime strength.” George blamed “the distraction and anarchy which have so long prevailed” in France for the European state of affairs but suggested he was prepared to negotiate with France if that country’s internal crisis were to “terminate in any order of things compatible with the tranquillity of other countries, and affording a reasonable expectation of security and permanence in any treaty which might be concluded.” The king also expressed concern regarding the high price of grain and urged Parliament “to apply yourselves, with the utmost diligence, to the consideration of such measures as may tend to alleviate the present distress.”
In the debates over the response in the House of Commons, some MPs took issue with the king’s optimistic tone. Charles James Fox called the first paragraph an “impudent falsehood” for claiming that the situation over the past year was “materially improved.” He recommended that the response request his majesty “take decided and immediate measures for bringing about a peace with France, whatever may be the present or future form of her internal government,” but Fox’s proposal was defeated by a substantial margin (Parliamentary Hist., 32:142–207; Stanley Ayling, George the Third, N.Y., 1972, p. 363).
4. That is, Austrian generals Charles de Croix, Comte de Clerfayt (1733–1798), and Dagobert Sigmund, Count von Wurmser (1724–1797).
5. See TBA to JQA, 23 Dec., and note 8, below, for the arrival of these two letters of 17 and 18 September.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0034

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1795-12-05

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My Dear Son

As capt Scott has not yet saild, it gives me an opportunity of informing you that last Evening I received the Miniatures, and they were next to personally Seeing you; for the likenessess are very good. the Painter however, it is said has given a more flattering Likeness of you than of Thomas
I am perfectly satisfied with them and want to be constantly looking at them.
Tis now a long time Since I received Letters from you. I am anxious to hear whether you are in England. I send you three more of the Defences,1 and am as ever your / affectionate Mother
[signed] Abigail Adams
{ 81 }
I have requested mr smith to deliver to mr Coles a little plain English and the Feadelrist for you2
1. Camillus’ “Defence,” for which see JA to JQA, 25 Aug., and note 3, above.
2. Enclosures not found. Mr. Coles was likely John Coles (ca. 1749–1809), a Boston printer and painter (Alex Krieger and David Cobb, eds., Mapping Boston, Cambridge, 1999, p. 49).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0035

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1795-12-06

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] my Dear son

I inclose to you the Cupons of Febry and June. 2 for that Month and 20 for Febry. 21 in one paper and 8 in an other.1 you will convey them in the best manner to Holland and direct new obligations to be taken for the interest, drawing upon them however for the amount of what you pay to Mrs Copley on my account. I mentiond to you or Thomas a Watch.2 you may purchase one for me, but the cost of that I will pay to Dr Welch on your account. I have requested mr Coles’s to Deliver this Letter into yours or your Brothers Hand, otherways to deliver it to mr Johnson consul to be forwarded to you. Love to Thomas, from Your / affectionate Mother
[signed] Abigail Adams
I heard from your sister & Brother last week.3 they were well & had escaped the Dreadfull calamity which has distrest that city—
1. Not found but presumably coupons from the 1791 Dutch-American loan, to which JA was a subscriber, for which see vol. 9:412–413. On 6 April 1796 JQA forwarded the coupons to Wilhem & Jan Willink on JA’s behalf with instructions to purchase new loan obligations with the proceeds from them (Adams Papers).
2. Not found.
3. Letters not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0036

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1795-12-06

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

We have been favoured with fine Weather and tolerable Roads in such a manner that We reached Kingsbridge on Fryday night and came into N. York by Nine o Clock on Yesterday morning. If it had not been for the Desire of seeing my Children I should have gone immediately on with the other Passengers. The stage House was so near C. Smiths and I knew not where my Son lived: so that I put up { 82 } at Cortland Street:1 but for the future I will drive to my Sons. My Grandsons and Grand Daughter are all very well and very gay. The Girl is a fine Child and will have La peau d’un Ange as the Baron De Stael Said her Mother had, and I hope will be fort Spirituelle as the Same Ambassador said her Grand Mother was.2 Mr Paine the Senator from Vermont and Mr Freeman of Barnstable, were our only Companions in the Stage till We reached New Haven As soon as I had dressed myself I walked out to find Mr Adams The Lawyer— I was told he lived in Front Street No. 91— I went throught Broad Way and Wall Street to Mr McCormicks who was complaisant enough to take his hat & Cloak and conduct me to the House in Front street No. 91.— The House is new near the River among the Navigation. The Windows on the back side have a fine View of a forest of Masts The sound and long Island. It must be a very good stand for Business.— accordingly They say he has twice or thrice the Employment he ever had before. I found him in his office, which is large & commodious and well stored with Book Learning at least, with three Clients about him in very deep and earnest Consultation. He lets part of the House for half the Rent.
Charles acquired the Character of a Wit, at the Time of the Epidemic Matrimony here— some Gentleman asked him in the Country “How is the Fever Sir in Town?” Which Fever do you enquire after sir? The Yellow Fever or the Smith Fever? said Charles. The Gentleman told the story in the City and it flew through the streets quicker than either of the Fevers.
The Lady of the Baron De stael has lately published a Work under the Title of Reflexions on Peace, which Mr D’Ivernois has answered by another under the Title of Reflections on the War which he has sent me in French and another for the President in English. The Author has given some Account of “The Defence &c[] and gives it the Preference, to all other Writers upon Govt.— But all his Recommendations will have little Effect.3
I wish, if it is possible, that our Men, after carting out the Manure upon the old Clover at home, would cart out that whole heap of limed manure in Mr Joys Cowyard, upon Quincys Meadow, as well as the heap already in the Meadow. these two heaps will give the Meadow a good dressing. They should be careful to mix the Lime with the other Ingredients as thoughroughly as possible. The other heap upon Penshill should be mixed in the Same manner when that is carted out, and the whole very carefully Spread.
{ 83 }
Tomorrow Morning at Seven I cross the North River for Philadelphia— I am as I ever have been / and ever shall be your affectionate
[signed] John Adams4
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs. A.”; endorsed: “Decbr 6 1795.”
1. AA2 and WSS were living at 18 Courtlandt Street while building their new home, for which see CA to AA, 27 Sept., and note 2, above (New-York Directory, 1795, p. 200, Evans, No. 28598).
2. The Adamses had known Erik Magnus, Baron Staël von Holstein, in Paris in 1784–1785, where he was serving as the Swedish ambassador to France (vol. 6:5, 9).
3. Anne Louise Germaine, Baronne Staël von Holstein (Madame de Staël), Réflexions sur la paix, Paris, 1794. Francis d’Ivernois’ Réflexions sur la guerre: En réponse aux Réflexions sur la paix was first published in English and French in London, 1795. Ivernois writes that “it would be doing a real service to the French” to have JA’s Defence of the Const. translated, as it is “another work still more complete, and if possible better calculated for the present situation of France” (p. 80, 83). The presentation copy to JA is in the Stone Library, MQA, and JA wrote to Ivernois on 11 Dec. 1795 to confirm that he had sent the pamphlets on to George Washington as well (Catalog of the Stone Library; Bibliothèque Publique et Universitaire, Geneva, Switzerland).
4. JA wrote again to AA on 9 Dec. to inform her that he had arrived safely in Philadelphia, although “a storm the night before last Spoiled the Roads and made the Journey disagreable from N. York.” He also reported that Henry Tazewell of Virginia had again been named president pro tempore of the Senate (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0037

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1795-12-10

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I have rejoiced in the fine weather which has attended you through your journey, and the good Roads if you have had them as good as we have. Some cold Days but not enough so, to freeze or prevent our People from accomplishing the plowing at the corn Feilds. the Shelter for the young cattle is compleated & coverd with Sea weed. one Day more will cover the clover with manure, and to Day they plow the great Garden. one Day they have been in the woods and one Day upon high ways. this compleats the Tour of Duty.
I contemplated your keeping Sabbeth with our Children at N york & hope You found them well and happy. I received the Miniatures three Days after you left me, and feasted myself upon them for they are most admirable Likenessess. I wish You would inquire of the Secretary of state, if he has had any later Dispatches, than our Letters, and whether there is a probability of the children being in England
I shall not ask you how the pullse beat, but wait the Presidents Speah.1
{ 84 }
Nancy Adams, & Betsy crosby have the scarlet fever I hope not very bad.
present me respectfully to the President and Mrs Washington. Love to mrs Otis & Family—
most affectionatly yours
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by Louisa Catharine Smith: “The Vice President of the / United States / Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mrs A. Decr 10. Ansd 17 / 1795.”
1. The 1st session of the 4th Congress met from 7 Dec. 1795 to 1 June 1796. On 8 Dec. 1795 George Washington addressed a joint meeting of Congress. He opened his speech: “I trust I do not deceive myself while I indulge the persuasion that I have never met you at any period, when, more than at the present, the situation of our public affairs has afforded just cause for mutual congratulation, and for inviting you to join with me in profound gratitude to the Author of all Good for the numerous and extraordinary blessings we enjoy.” Specific items mentioned included the successful negotiation of a treaty with Native Americans in the Northwest, concluding that war; confirmation of existing treaties with the Creek and Cherokee; positive negotiations with Morocco, Algiers, and Spain; the senatorial consent to Washington’s ratification of the Jay Treaty; continuing prosperity in agriculture, manufacturing, and commerce; and “the blessings of quiet and order” in western Pennsylvania, “lately the scene of disorder and insurrection.” Washington concluded his summary of foreign affairs by observing, “If, by prudence and moderation on every side, the extinguishment of all the causes of external discord which have heretofore menaced our tranquility, on terms compatible with our national rights and honor, shall be the happy result, how firm and how precious a foundation will have been laid for accelerating, maturing, and establishing the prosperity of our country” (Biog. Dir. Cong.; Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 10–14). For the Senate’s and House’s responses to the speech, see JA to CA, 13 Dec., and notes 2 and 3, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0038

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1795-12-12

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My Dear Son

By your old Acquaintance Mr Hall, who is bound to Europe I shall Send you Some Newspapers, which will give you a general View of the Complexion of our Public Affairs. Upon Meeting and conversing with the Members of Congress I find that although there will be Noise there will be no Serious Evil this session. The Treaty if it comes back ratified by the K of G. B. will be Supported and executed without any difficulty.
Your old Friend real or pretended, Randolph is under a dark Cloud and his Behaviour Under it increases its blackness and thickness. I think his Business is done.
The Senate have now a Gallery and Yesterday for the first time, the Debates were overlooked by a crouded Audience. The Senators who voted against the Treaty persevere as well as those who voted in its favour. Bache has published this morning Minutes of the { 85 } Speeches of the Cons but has omitted those of the Pros.1 This proceeding has less Reciprocity than the Treaty. The Voice of the People So much vaunted by the Ten is not in Reality in their favour. A great Majority will Support Government and the twenty.
The Conduct however of Some of our old Men, such as Rutledge, McKean S. Adams Warren &c has been not only illegal and unconstitutional but indiscreet in a high degree.2
I am anxious to hear from you in England, as the President informs me he has directed you to go there. I hope you have not flinched.— I can give you no Advice but to Act as you have done with Reserve, Caution discretion, Rectitude & Impartiality.
My Love to your Brother Thomas and believe / me to be your Affectionate Father
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “John Quincy Adams Esqr.” Tr (Adams Papers).
1. The Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 12 Dec., published portions of the Senate’s debate on its response to George Washington’s address, for which see JA to CA, 13 Dec., and note 2, below. The article included the text of Stevens Thomson Mason’s motion and speeches by Rufus King and Pierce Butler, but it excluded comments by Jacob Read, Oliver Ellsworth, and Henry Tazewell. Butler and Tazewell supported Mason’s motion; King, Read, and Ellsworth opposed it (Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 15–23).
2. John Rutledge, Thomas McKean, and Samuel Adams had all expressed their opposition to the Jay Treaty in various ways. For Rutledge, see AA to JQA, 29 Nov., and note 6, above. Thomas McKean was part of a committee representing “the Citizens of Philadelphia” that submitted a memorial to Washington in July condemning the treaty and encouraging him to refuse to ratify it, suggesting that such a decision would “advance the prosperity and happiness of your constituents.” Samuel Adams had failed to suppress anti-treaty riots in Boston and would later speak publicly to the Mass. General Court of his opposition to the treaty, for which see AA to JA, 21 Jan. [1796], and note 3, below. James Warren, while not in public office, also likely opposed the treaty, given his earlier support for the French Revolution and his opposition to the United States’ developing too close ties with any European country (Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 28 July 1795; Mark Puls, Samuel Adams: Father of the American Revolution, N.Y., 2006, p. 226–227; Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, 11:604).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0039

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1795-12-13

John Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] My Dear Son

So great a Part of my Life has been and Still continues to be Spent in travelling that I seldom trouble my Friends in Conversation or by Letter with the Inconveniences or Adventures I meet upon the Road: otherwise I might give you a Romantic History of my Journey from N. York. The Roads were bad enough and the Company [] but Speak well of the Bridge that bears you well over— They behaved civilly to me.
{ 86 }
I have read Mr Randolphs Statement of Faih as far as it has been printed tho no part of it is yet published. The whole is advertised for Publication on next fryday.1 I am afraid there will appear a disposition in Some of our Countrymen to be corrupted if they could. but shall be glad if it appears that foreign Powers will neither corrupt them, nor be corrupted by them.
As a Vindication of Mr Randolph, it must I think be a Vindication of his Resignation. If he had not resigned his Continuance in office would have needed Vindication. But how his Character and Conduct in office are vindicated I have not been able to discern. There is such Evidence of Imbecillity and such suspicions of Something a Stretch beyond Weakness remain that I wonder he has Suffered it to be communicated to so many Persons as he has. It is a dark enigmatical Business at best. I never had any great opinion of his Genius or Talents his Penetration, Steadiness or Consistency: but I Supposed he was good natured and doubted not his Integrity. Now all is problematical.
The Speech and the Answer of the senate are Smooth enough.2 Whether the House will ruffle the Waves I know not. The Consequences of any damnatory Vote of the House, would be Such at home and abroad that I cannot think the daring ones will have courage to venture. If the Hopes of the Posts and of Compensation for Losses at sea are dashed and all our Commerce exposed as they must be by any ill temper of that House, I think that the popular Men will become very unpopular.3
I Shall be obliged to you, if your Leisure will allow you to write me, the Sensations and Reflections of your City from time to time as the Measures of Congress devellope themselves.
My Love to my Daughter Adams, the first I have had since your sister changed her Name My Friendship to your excellent Governor. His Palace at New York will not be the largest he will ever inhabit as I guess. While the Idols of Jacobinism & Democracy, Jefferson and Clinton think themselves dying of Rhumatisms amidst the Hozannas of the Mob. I fancy that Health and Spirits will be given to the Man whose Effigies have been so much honoured, that he will live to see the Federal City and inhabit its proudest House. The Passions of the People are not the most Steady Part of them.
Farewell my Dear son. May you enjoy in private Life more Comforts than ever were allotted by the Public to your affectionate Father4
{ 87 }
RC (MHi:Seymour Coll.); internal address: “Charles Adams Esq.”
1. JA indicated in a letter to AA of 13 Dec. that he had received printed but not yet published pages of Edmund Randolph’s Vindication of Mr. Randolph’s Resignation from Sen. Alexander Martin of North Carolina. JA extracted portions of it for AA, notably from Jean Antoine Joseph Fauchet’s dispatches, and informed her of its impending publication “next Fryday: but I still doubt whether it will come out unmutilated. The Copy I have stops short at the most material Thing” (Adams Papers). All of the material he copied to AA did in fact appear in the published version, as did the remainder of Dispatch No. 10.
2. The Senate appointed a committee of three members to draft a response to George Washington’s address. The draft was submitted and deliberations occurred on 11 December. Most of the draft was routine, congratulating the president on the negotiations with the Native Americans, Morocco, Algiers, and Spain, and met with no opposition. But the fourth and fifth paragraphs of the draft caused some consternation. The fourth paragraph suggests that, on account of the Jay Treaty, “we derive an expectation of the extinguishment of all the causes of external discord, that have heretofore endangered our tranquility, and on terms consistent with our national honor and safety.” The fifth paragraph, directed explicitly to Washington, reads, “Circumstances thus every way auspicious demand our gratitude, and sincere acknowledgments to Almighty God, and require that we should unite our efforts in imitation of your enlightened, firm, and persevering example, to establish and preserve the peace, freedom, and prosperity, of our country.”
Stevens Thomson Mason offered a motion to strike out these two paragraphs, arguing that they attempted to force the minority that had opposed the Jay Treaty to now speak in support of it. Debate ensued, including a lengthy speech by Pierce Butler in support of Mason’s motion. Butler argued, “Our situation, as far as it respects Great Britain, … was not in the least ameliorated” and “depredations on our commerce have not been less frequent of late.” He also felt that describing Washington as “firm” was inappropriate: “Why firmness? he asked. To what? or to whom? Is it the manly demand of restitution made of Great Britain for her accumulated injuries that called forth the praise? for his own part he could discern no firmness there.” Others, including Jacob Read and Oliver Ellsworth, spoke in favor of retaining the two paragraphs, noting that the Senate had assented to the treaty and that the president had an obligation to “not sacrifice … his own conviction” to the opinions of the people. The motion failed on a vote of eight to fourteen, and the address was approved as originally written by the same margin (Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 14, 15–23).
3. Following discussion on 9, 10, and 14 Dec. regarding the process by which an address would be drawn up and presented to the president, the members of the House of Representatives finally began discussion of the substance of their response on 15 Dec. in a Committee of the Whole. After an extended debate centering largely on whether the House should express its “undiminished confidence” in Washington, a decision was reached to expand the committee that had produced the original draft and request that it resubmit a new version. This was accomplished on 16 Dec., and the House moved quickly to approve it. The final text of the House’s response, which was delivered to Washington on 17 Dec., endorsed the president’s work to negotiate with the Native Americans and expressed particular satisfaction “that the late scene of disorder and insurrection has been completely restored to the enjoyment of order and repose.” Avoiding the phrasing that had caused consternation among some members, the response concluded its praise of Washington: “In contemplating that spectacle of national happiness which our country exhibits, and of which you, sir, have been pleased to make an interesting summary, permit us to acknowledge and declare the very great share which your zealous and faithful services have contributed to it and to express the affectionate attachment which we feel for your character” (same, p. 128–129, 134–135, 144–149, 150, 154–155).
4. On the same day, JA also wrote a short letter to TBA reporting on news of CA and AA2 in New York City and the impact of the Senate’s new galleries (private owner, 1961).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0040

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1795-12-14

Thomas Boylston Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dear Sir.

I owe you a volume, & the certainty that I have not time to compile it at present is more terrifying to me than the weight of the debt. Your two kind letters of June 29 & August 25. though some time since received have never before been acknowledged; but my gratitude for these precious testimonials of Parental affection has not I trust diminished in force by having remained thus long in silence.1
Since the departure of my Brother from this place, my duties & occupations have been so much altered & so considerably multiplied, that I considered every moment lost that was not devoted to the discharge of them. For the first few weeks my new situation was a source of much anxiety, indeed I may say with truth, that it yet continues to give me unaffected solicitude from the apprehension, that the affairs entrusted to my management during my Brothers absence should suffer, either from my want of ability or experience to conduct them. The subordinate Office of Secretary, exercised during the space of a year, had not prepared me, I conceive, for the sudden transition, which invested me with the functions of the Minister, & the reflection was not a little humiliating to my pride, that the contrast of my performance with that of my Predecessor would be by no means in my favor. The trust devolved upon me however by the casual call of my Brother to another place will probably be of short duration if no unforeseen accident should arrive, & it shall be my endeavor, that no duty within my Province shall be neglected during that period, if zeal in the discharge of it will in any measure supply the possible want of capacity.
The exchange of Ratifications of our Treaty with Great Britain took place previous to my Brother’s arrival in England, & provided the object of his Voyage there is connected with further Negotiation upon the suspended Article it is impossible to calculate the length of his stay. The business upon which he is gone is however unknown to me; it may be of a nature to detain him much longer than I could wish, & for himself I am persuaded, that the residence of the Hague would be more to his fancy, than that of London. Considerations of personal convenience however, enter very little, I believe, into the system he has prescribed to himself. If it be his { 89 } fortune to participate the odium of a concurrence in the Treaty with Great Britain, he is perhaps not unprepared to meet it.
The factitious opposition, which has been made to that instrument, and the abuse which has been poured forth in such copious effusions upon all the principal agents, who assisted at its formation & subsequent ratification, produced a temporary effect upon the public mind more unfavorable than was anticipated by many of our Countrymen; but it is a great satisfaction to be assured, that the first impressions, which were in most instances the result of ignorance or misintelligence have given place to conviction founded upon reflection, that the best interests of our Country instead of being betrayed are unequivocally secured by the Treaty.
America will not soon be pardoned by the different powers of Europe, who are jealous of her growing prosperity, for having secured to herself by her own unassisted efforts such advantageous terms of intercourse with a Nation, certainly the most formidable in point of Naval strength, & from whose open enmity she had most to apprehend. It is made a crime to America, that she has acted & has shewn herself able to act independently, in the management of her own concerns, & however fashionable it may be to affirm, that she has been gulled & cheated in her late commercial arrangements, I dare assert in opposition, that there is not a power in Europe, which would not gladly exchange situations with her in that respect.
I send a pamphlet herewith, which will serve to shew the kind of language which is current upon the subject of our Treaty. The author is not a Frenchman by birth, though he is now employed in the service of the Republic.2 His work contains many ideas expressed in the true spirit of a partizan, but in some instances it must be confessed they have the appearance of being just. My vanity has induced me to think that his strictures upon my own Country have less foundation in truth than the rest. His remarks upon the political system of Great Britain & the National character of the English partake of French acrimony, but as an American I could not but subscribe to them in a great measure. His observations upon their taste, faculties of invention, & scientific improvements, grossly expose his ignorance. Criticism is allowable, but in order that a good effect should result from it, it should never degenerate into indiscriminate abuse. I hope the pamphlet will afford you some amusement.
A few days since I took the liberty to give a letter of introduction { 90 } for you to a Gentleman by the name of de Persyn, a brother in law of Mr: J Luzac. He applied to me for a passport, being upon the point of embarking for America with the intention of establishing himself there for life, but as it was not in my power to furnish him with a pass, I offered to give him letters for some of my friends.
I cannot better explain to you the cause of this Gentlemans voyage & his reason for renouncing his native land than by an extract from Mr: Luzac’s letter in answer to one from me.
“Mon Beau Frère part pour l’Amerique Unie, votre Patrie, sur tout d’après mes Conseils. Il considére avec moi ce Pays, comme l’unique qui existe actuellement, où s’étant assuré la Liberté sans Crimes l’on sçache aussi en jouir sans en abuser. Aprés avoir tout sacrifié à l’amour de sa patrie, aprés avoir servi durant trois Campagnes avec les Francois dans toutes les occasions les plus perilleuses,—il s’est vu mis ici dans l’oubli; il s’est vu préférer des hommes, qui certes n’avoient pas ces titres.— Il quitte une Nation chez laquelle le Patriotisme sans intrigue n’est pas moins négligé que par-tout ailleurs où la vertu et le desintéressement ne règlent pas les actions. La carrière Militaire ne sçaurait lui servir en Amérique, mais il a dessein d’y employer un petit capital, dont it peut disposer, de la manière la plus avantageuse pour s’établir. Jamais il ne pourroit avoir à cet effet de direction plus utile ni plus honorable que celle de vos parens & amis, de votre digne Père, sur-tout, un des hommes que je respecte le plus parmi tous ceux que j’aie connus dans ma vie, et à qui j’espère donner un jour (si Dieu nous conserve la vie) une marque publique de ces sentimens.” &cc:3
I regret much that I have not hitherto been able to cultivate Mr: L——s acquaintance. I have never seen him but once & that shortly after my arrival in this Country; his occupation as Professor confines him constantly at Leyden, & though we have often promised to pay him a visit, it has not yet been fulfilled.4 His Patriotism is I believe pure & of course does not suit altogether the temper of the times. It would perhaps have been better for Holland if more such men were to be found in it.
Mr: Dumas has charged me with a small packet for you, which I forward by this occasion. It contains the Resolution of their High Mightinesses whereby the decree of censure passed against the old Gentleman in 1787. is revoked. He considers his triumph complete as appears from his letter which accompanies it.5 I rejoice at his victory because I believe it was essential to his peace of mind, & that without it he could never have pronounced with devotional fervor { 91 } his nunc dimitis. I am indebted to his kindness for many little assistances in my official business, & I have the highest respect for his character.
Hoping to devote more of my time to you than I have done of late, & begging your forgivness for former remissness, I remain with filial love & respect, Dear Sir / Your dutiful Son
[signed] Thomas B Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “The Vice President.”; endorsed: “T. B. A. 14. Decr 1795 / ansd 9. June 1796.”
1. For the 29 June letter, see vol. 10:467–468; the 25 Aug. letter has not been found.
2. Probably John Skey Eustace, Traité d’amitié, de commerce et de navigation, entra Sa Majesté britannique et les Etats-Unis d’Amérique, Paris, [1795–1796?]. For Eustace, see vol. 7:333.
3. My brother-in-law is leaving for the United States, your fatherland, largely spurred by my advice. He considers this country, as I do, the only one currently in existence where, having defended liberty without crime, it is enjoyed without abuse. After having sacrificed everything for love of his fatherland, after having served with the French during three campaigns in every perilous encounter, he has found himself forgotten here; he has seen other men preferred over him, men who certainly did not have his merits. He leaves behind a nation where patriotism without intrigue is not less neglected than everywhere else, where virtue and even-handedness do not direct actions. His military career will not help him in America, but he plans to use his small disposable capital most effectively to settle down. To this end, he could receive no more useful nor honorable guidance than that of your relatives and friends, of your honorable father most of all, one of the men whom I respect the most among all those whom I have met in my life, and to whom I hope to give one day (if God preserves our lives) a public token of these same sentiments.
Neither TBA’s letter of introduction nor Jean Luzac’s letter to TBA have been found, but for the visit of Govert Jan van Persijn to the United States, see CA to JA, 18 April 1796, and note 1, below. Van Persijn (1724–1809) had served on the Council of Brabant between 1755 and 1776 and had represented Holland on the Supreme Court of Holland, Zeeland, and West Friesland from 1776 until 1795 (Repertorium van ambtsdragers en ambtenaren).
4. TBA and JQA had visited Jean Luzac on 27 and 28 Nov. 1794 while in Leyden, going sightseeing and dining with him. The brothers would visit with him again on various other occasions while in the Netherlands, including in Nov. 1796 and April 1797 (M/TBA/2, 27–28 Nov. 1794, APM Reel 282; D/JQA/24, 30 Nov. 1796, APM Reel 27; D/JQA/21, 25 April 1797, APM Reel 24). See also vol. 10:432.
5. C. W. F. Dumas wrote to JA on 11 Dec. 1795 about a resolution passed by the Dutch government on 14 Aug. countermanding an earlier resolution of 23 Sept. 1788 that censured Dumas for taking the title of agent of the United States. The 1795 resolution rightly noted that Dumas had served only as the U.S. chargé d’affaires. In his letter to JA, Dumas enclosed a copy of the resolution as well as his letter to the States General in response to the new resolution (all Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0041

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1795-12-15

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

This is the Sixteenth Day since you left me, and I have not yet heard a word from You. I hope tomorrows post will bring me a Letter. I wrote you on the 10th. the Day before yesterday Was the first { 92 } Winter Weather We have had, a pretty severe snow storm lasted through the Day. it fell moist & the rain the Day before renders it bad for wheels & worse for a Sled. the Weather is so moderate to day that it will run fast. our people got the clover all coverd on saturday. Yesterday Deacon French calld to Setle his account, and his conscience not only permitted him to take the 4/6 pr Day but to Charge 16 shillings in addition for his plow. I paid him 45 Dollors wanting two shillings. You have seen no Doubt the Federilism of Govr Gilman in New hampshire. Maryland too has manifested their Approbation, and even Virginia was almost persuaded. they comprehend the absurdity of it is, and it is not, or I do not conceive how they could approve of the Presidents conduct, and approve of their senators conduct too.1 I am all impatience for the Presidents speach2 O for Authority, and I would humble all Jacobinical Wretches in the Dust. I may safely say this Since France their great exampler has done so. I long to hear from our Dear Children abroad. we have not been so long Since their arrival as now, without hearing from them
Let me hear as often as possible from you, and write me all the News you will venture upon.
My best regards to all inquiring Friends / from Your ever affectionate
[signed] Abigail Adams
Mrs Brisler and Family are well. she is here to day and desires to be rememberd to her Husband—
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by Louisa Catharine Smith: “The Vice President of the / United States / Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mrs A. Decr 15 / Ansd 24. 1795.”
1. In New Hampshire Gov. John Taylor Gilman delivered an address on 3 Dec., at the beginning of the state’s legislative session, expressing support for George Washington and John Jay and decrying those who would attack the Jay Treaty without having full knowledge of the agreement. He noted, “For my own part, I freely declare that my confidence in the President, the negociator, and the Senators (who it is said advised to the ratification of a treaty) is not in the least degree impaired, and I find myself more zealously engaged to support the government and administrators than heretofore, believing, as I do, that attempts are making to destroy it.” In a unanimous response, the N.H. house of representatives, with the senate concurring, replied in full support of Gilman’s statement, expressing “abhorrence for those disturbers of the public peace, who have endeavoured to render abortive measures so well calculated to advance the happiness of our country.” Gilman (1753–1828), of Exeter, N.H., was governor of the state from 1794 to 1805 (Journal of the Proceedings of the Hon. House of Representatives of the State of New-Hampshire, at Their Session Begun and Holden at Concord, December, 1795, Portsmouth, N.H., 1796, p. 9–13, 17–21, Evans, No. 47847; A Journal of the Proceedings of the Honorable Senate of the State of New-Hampshire, at a Session of the General Court, Holden at Concord, December, 1795, Portsmouth, N.H., 1796, p. 21, Evans, No. 47848; ANB).
The Maryland legislature, while not { 93 } commenting on the treaty directly, unanimously approved and published a statement of support for Washington on 25 Nov. 1795. The legislature, “convinced that the prosperity of every free government is promoted by the existence of rational confidence between the people and their trustees, and is injured by misplaced suspicion and ill founded jealousy, … observing, with deep concern, a series of efforts, by indirect insinuation or open invective, to detach from the first magistrate of the union the well earned confidence of his fellow-citizens, think it their duty to declare … their unabated reliance on the integrity, judgment and patriotism, of the president of the United States” (Votes and Proceedings of the House of Delegates of the State of Maryland, November Session, 1795, Annapolis, Md., 1796, p. 36–37, Evans, No. 30749; Votes and Proceedings of the Senate of the State of Maryland, November Session, 1795, Annapolis, Md., 1796, p. 13, Evans, No. 30750).
By a two-to-one margin the Va. House of Delegates on 20 Nov. voted a resolution approving their U.S. senators’ opposition to the treaty. The next day the house further endorsed a resolution, “That this House do entertain the highest sence of the integrity and patriotism of the President of the United States; and that while they approve the vote of the Senators of this state in the Congress of the United States, relative to the treaty with Great Britain, they in no wise mean to censure the motives which influenced him in his conduct thereupon” (Journal of the House of Delegates of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Begun … the Tenth Day of November, One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-Five, Richmond, Va., 1795, p. 25–30, Evans, No. 31502).
2. Washington’s speech to Congress appeared in the Boston Federal Orrery, 17 December.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0042

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1795-12-16

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

The Newspapers will inform you before this Letter reaches you that the Ratifications of the Treaty have been exchanged by Mr Deas the Chargé d’Affairs under Mr Pinkney.1 The President told me the orders were that if Mr Adams did not arrive by a certain day this Business was to be done by another. Whether our Son will go over at all or not is to me uncertain. If he has lost a White Feather, he has avoided a dark one: so that he is as well off. There are Letters from him in the Public offices dated in september.2
having no Letter from you has given me Anxiety for your health, especially as I recollect you complained of some Rheumatic symptoms before I came away. My own health is as good as it has been for Some years. The Countenance of the House wears no very threatning aspect. The senate have refused their Consent to the Nomination of Mr Rutledge. I hope that Chief Justices at least will learn from this to be cautious how they go to popular Meetings especially unlawful: assemblies to Spout Reflections and excite opposition to the legal Acts of Constitutional Authority.
The assembly of New Hampshire have appalled one of their senators and gratified the Friends of Peace order and good Government.3 Their Unanimity could hardly have been expected. I hope the { 94 } Massachusetts Assembly when they meet will at least vote no Resistance to the Law of the Land. I learned from the Children in the Wood not to halloos before We get out of the Wood, but I think the Prospect of Peace is brighter now than it has been for Several Years.4
Your Friends here are all well and enquire after you as usual on every Occasion. The President Seems in as good Health and Spirits as ever I knew him.
Mr Brisler Sprained his ankle which has interrupted his Business somewhat: but he is now better and will soon be quite well. as soon as he is so he will look up some Flour & Grass seeds &c
My Duty to my Mother of whose Situation I wish to be informed. Love to all— Let me know the Progress of Farming &c
I am entirely & forever yours
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “Decbr 16—1795.”
1. William Allen Deas (b. 1764) was a lawyer from South Carolina who served as Thomas Pinckney’s private secretary in England. Having previously served in the S.C. house of representatives, he was reelected in 1796 following his return to the United States and later served in the state senate (N. Louise Bailey, Mary L. Morgan, and Carolyn R. Taylor, Biographical Directory of the South Carolina Senate 1776–1985, 3 vols., Columbia, S.C., 1986).
2. Besides JQA’s Sept. 1795 letters to Timothy Pickering, for which see JA to AA, 17 Dec., and note 1, below, JQA had also written twice to Secretary of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott Jr., on 8 and 24 Sept. (both CtHi: Wolcott Papers).
3. That is, John Langdon, who had switched his allegiance from the Federalists to the Democratic-Republicans by the previous congressional term (DAB).
4. The final song in Thomas Morton’s opera The Children in the Wood includes the lines, “May I halloo now for joy? / Are we out of the wood, Sirs?” The proverb warns one “not to exult till all danger or difficulty is past” (OED).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0043

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1795-12-17

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I went to Senate this morning with Expectations highly raised of receiving my first Letter from you: and happily was not disappointed. I began to entertain fears for your health.
I know not how to account for it, but your Short Accounts of the Progress of Business upon the farm Serves as a Substitute for the Pleasure of Seeing it as it goes on: and every Word of it is a cordial drop. The Weather Since the 10th the date of your Letter has been as fine as it had been from the time I left you: so that I presume our People have made a good hand of it, in Spreading the Manure from the heaps. You must not forget your Wood.
I congratulate you upon the Receipt of your Miniatures, and am { 95 } very glad you find them Likenesses: I shall have my feast in looking at them next Summer. Col. Pickering told me, he had Letters from John dated in September. He loves to read his Correspondence and contrast it with another which he cannot admire.1 I doubt now whether my Son will go over to England at all: but am not certain.
The Negative put by the Senate on the Nomination of Mr Rutledge gave me pain for an old Friend, though I could not but think he deserved it. C. Justices must not go to illegal Meetings and become popular orators in favour of Sedition, nor inflame the popular discontents which are ill founded, nor propagate Disunion, Division, Contention and delusion among the People. I never thought him the greatest Man in the World, nor had any fixed Confidence in his Penetration or his Constancy or Consistency. I have also had Reason to suspect that the French had too much Influence with him to leave him perfectly neutral or impartial. The Disarrangement of his Affairs the Reports of his Eccentricities &c had not made so much Impression upon me. But all Things considered, the senate were very decided that such an Example ought to be made.
I know you will naturally inquire whether any Notice will be taken of Mr Masons Disobedience to the order of the Senate, in his publication of the Treaty. I make no Inquiries upon such Subjects—they are not connected with any Branch of my Duty. But from accidental hints I have heard the subject is not forgotten.2
The Complexion of the House of Representatives is not so formidable as many expected and the Voice of the People from Maryland Northward is much more favourable to the Treaty than was imagined. and indeed in North Carolina, though they may not disapprove of the Votes of their senators their disposition to acquiesce in the decision of Authority, is Said to be very good.3
Gen. Jackson of Georgia has resigned and my old Friend Walton is coming in his Place. Gunn writes that he is for order and good Government.4
We are daily overlooked by our Masters in the Gallery: but there has not yet been many debates which could afford much Gratification to their Curiosity. The Debate on the Answer to the Presidents Speech has been the only one of any Consequence. The Arguments of those who were in favour of it have been very poorly reported to the Public in Gazettes. This Partiality will be one ill Effect of the Gallery. But upon the whole I hope it will do more good than harm. { 96 } I will present your Respect and Affection as you desire. My Duty to my Mother.
I am as ever most affectionately yours
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “December 15 / 1795.”
1. JQA had written twice to the secretary of state in September, once on 14 Sept. and again on 29 Sept. (LbC’s, APM Reel 129). The one whose correspondence “he cannot admire” was presumably U.S. minister to France James Monroe, a Democratic-Republican.
2. No formal action was taken against Stevens Thomson Mason by the Senate for his breaking the embargo on publication of the Jay Treaty (DAB).
3. By a vote of 82 to 15, the N.C. House of Commons on 8 Dec. declined to debate resolutions “reprobating the [Jay] Treaty, and returning thanks to our Senators for voting against it” (Journal of the House of Commons, State of North-Carolina, at a General Assembly, Begun … the Second Day of November … One Thousand and Seven Hundred and Ninety-Five, Edenton, N.C., 1796, p. 53, Evans, No. 30910; Philadelphia Gazette, 23 Dec.).
4. The English-born lawyer James Jackson (1757–1806) of Georgia had served in the state militia during the Revolution, as a representative in the 1st Congress, and as a senator since 1793. Following his resignation, the state of Georgia appointed George Walton to replace Jackson. Walton (1750–1804), also a lawyer, had served with JA in the Continental Congress and was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He had been governor of Georgia and also served as chief justice of the state. He remained in the Senate only until Feb. 1796, when a successor was elected. James Gunn (1753–1801), the other Georgia senator, was a Savannah lawyer. He served in the Senate from 1789 to 1801 (Biog. Dir. Cong.). No letter from Gunn to JA from this time has been found.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0044

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Smith, Abigail Adams
Date: 1795-12-17

John Adams to Abigail Adams Smith

[salute] My Dear Daughter:

I am returned to my yearly servitude, and have began to drudge for the winter, if not for both winter and spring. I should long since have been weary of this laborious course, if, insignificant as my office appears, it had not been manifest upon several occasions, that some of the greatest questions upon the Constitution, as well as the great point of war or peace, had depended upon my decision. Had Mr. Clinton, or Mr. Jefferson, been in my place the winter before last, this country would now have been involved in all the evils of a foreign, if not at the same time of a civil war. This language however must be in confidence; to many it would appear vain. It is not the less true.
The temper of the house of representatives is not so warm as many people feared, and as some hoped. The affairs of France are not so prosperous, nor those of England so desperate, as to excite the hopes of the enemies of the treaty, or the fears of its friends. It is now become the law of this land, and I hope all parties will { 97 } become temperate enough to carry it into execution with decision, but with caution.
I sat down to write only to induce you to write to me; as I have no letter from Quincy, I fear your mamma may not be well. Don’t conceal it from me, if she is. My love to Col. Smith and the children.
I am your affectionate father,
[signed] John Adams.
MS not found. Printed from AA2, Jour. and Corr., 2:140–141; internal address: “To Mrs. Smith.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0045

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1795-12-20

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

The Day I wrote you last, I received Your Letter written at Nyork. neither of my Neighbours Black or Beals went yesterday to Town, so that if any Letters came by saturdays post, I must wait till Thursday for them which I do not so well like. I should like You to write me by the Wednesday post, then I should get my Letters of a thursday.
The account you gave me of Charles situation, and increasing buisness was very agreable to me. You did not mention Sally. Gentlemen are not half [so] particular as the Ladies are in their details. I recollect when C. L was minister for foreign affairs, he found fault because you was not Minute enough in your description of the looks, behaviour &c of those with whom Your buisness connected you. accordinly in a Journal you sent, you related Some conversation & Speaches, and even handing Madam La Comtess, to Table.1 I cannot but figure to Myself how immoveabl and like the Marble Medallion You ought to keep Your countanance whilst differing parties address you. the speach of B—— in support of M’s motion, which the centinal informs us Bache has retail’d must have been one trial amongst many others.2 is your Senate Chamber crowded? Parkers politeness is execrated.3 it is imposible for the President to have given a severer rebuke to the Jacobins than he has done, by the particular detail of the flourishing & prosperous state of our Country.

To Virtue only, and her Friends a Friend

Faction beside, May Murmur, or commend

Know all the distant Din, that Fiend can keep

Roll’s over Mount Vernon & but; Sooths my sleep4

those Lines of Pope occurd to me upon reading the Speach fraught with so much benevolence, after all the abuse and Scurility so { 98 } wantonly display’d by, a Decaying Dying Dying Junto. As I hope they now are, Symptoms of Mortality appear in all their Limbs—
I suppose You take Bach[e’s] paper upon the same principal that You wanted the Chronical, as their is no Wife to prevent it. I should like to see Butlers speach, pray inclose it to me. are the reflections upon Peace by Madam De Stael, to be had here? if so be so kind as to send them—
our people began the buisness you mentiond, but were driven of by bad Weather. We are like to have Snow enough.
adieu Ever Ever yours
[signed] A Adams—
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by Louisa Catharine Smith: “The Vice President of the / United States / Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mrs A. Decr. 20 Ansd / 28. 1795.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Chancellor Robert R. Livingston, while serving as secretary for foreign affairs during the early 1780s, complained in a letter to JA of 5 March 1782, “tho’ your letters detail the politicks of the Country, tho’ they very ably explain the nature and general principles of the Government, they leave us in the dark with respect to more important facts.” Livingston continued on at some length enumerating all the details JA had allegedly failed to include in his correspondence with the secretary. JA responded in part to this provocation by sending his “Peace Journal” to Livingston several months later. Excerpts from JA’s Diaries, the Peace Journal included the story of JA’s escorting Anne Viviers, Comtesse de Vergennes, the wife of the French foreign minister, Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes, into dinner one evening (JA, Papers, 12:295–296, 14:xviii–xix; JA, D&A, 3:49). AA had received another copy of the Peace Journal, for which see vol. 5:60.
2. During the debate over the Senate’s response to George Washington’s address, Pierce Butler spoke in favor of Stevens Thomson Mason’s motion. When the Boston Columbian Centinel, 19 Dec. 1795, reported on that day’s legislative activities, it noted only, “Mr. Butler in a warm speech, (as detailed by Bache) supported Mr. M.’s motion.” Benjamin Franklin Bache had previously published Butler’s speech in full in the Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 12 December. See also JA to JQA, 12 Dec., and note 1, above, for more on Bache’s publication of the senatorial debates.
3. Josiah Parker had proposed on 9 Dec. in the House of Representatives that, rather than the House prepare an address in response to Washington’s address, a committee “should personally wait on the President, and assure him of the attention of the House, &c.” Parker thought that too much time was wasted first crafting a response then adjourning for the entire House to present its response in person to the president. The motion failed (Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 128–129).
4. “To Virtue only and her Friends a friend, / The world beside may murmur or commend. / Know, all the distant din that world can keep, / Rolls o’er my grotto and but soothes my sleep” (Alexander Pope, “The First Satire of the Second Book of Horace,” lines 121–124).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0046

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1795-12-21

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

My old Acquaintance Mr Walton, who Served in Congress, with me in 1776 and 1777 is returned a Senator from Georgia in the room of General Jackson who has resigned. He is or has lately been Chief { 99 } Justice. As old Acquaintances are easily Sociable We soon fell into Conversation about Affairs old and new. I asked him whether The Negative of Mr Rutledge would have any ill Effects at the southward. He says No by no means— on the Contrary he is sure it will have a very good Effect. He adds he was rejoiced when he heard upon his Arrival that it was done, because it Saved him & his Colleague from the Necessity of giving a disagreable Vote: but that they both came to Town with a determination to vote against the Appointment. He Says that a Disarrangement of Intellect certainly exists and has been more decisive lately than formerly. That he has not been able to attend the Circuit Court in Georgia nor in North Carolina. That he attempted to attend in N. Carolina but was so bad that he could not. That he even attempted to make Way with himself. He was himself at the House and made himself fully acquainted with the Facts. He adds that Mr R’s Conduct as Chief Justice of the State of S. Carolina has been lately so unsatisfactory that several Grand Juries have presented him for what they thought Misconduct or at least Negligence of his Duty. The Embarrassment of his private affairs has lately pressed harder Upon him than ever and produced or at least accellerated and increased the Disorder of his Mind. These Things being so We shall hear of no very sharp Rebukes Upon the Senate, for the Vote they have passed and the President will have avoided giving any Offence to particular Friends. This is all in Confidence between you and me as I know you will have some Anxiety upon this subject, as I have had a great deal. I have felt for an old Friend and his Friends. He is a Brother of your Friend Mrs Smith whom you knew in London and has been a worthy Man.1 But the Man who plunges into Debt will soon get out of his Depth. You must mention these Things with great discretion and only in Confidence.
You will soon see Fauchets Letter and Randolphs Pamphlet.— What Scænes do they open? The Duplicity of that shallow Fellow has been greater than any one suspected him capable of.— Where did Fauchet get his Information of a general Plott against the Government and Mr Hamilton’s Plans! He and his Colleagues may pretend to as much Purity as they will, but I am not convinced that they have not dabbled these fifteen Years in Corruption in this Country.
I have known for the whole of that Period so many of my Country men fawning, cringing and creeping after them that I find it difficult to impute it all to simple servility. I have not been without { 100 } suspicions of some Characters, whom I dont choose to name even in a Letter to You.
There is however a native servility in some Men which produces almost all the base Effects of Corruption itself.— There are Persons who depend upon a foreign Influence to give them Credit Consequence and Power in their own Country, and I have sometimes thought their Chance better for Preferment, than that of those who stand only on American Ground. Their Peace of Mind however can never be secure however they may gratify their mean Ambition.— Oh my sons—Be ye independent at all Expense and at every risque. There can be no Comfort in a dependence on a foreign Interest or Influence, whether British French or Dutch.
I am my Dearest Friend ever / so
[signed] J. A2
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “December 21.”
1. For Mary Rutledge Smith, see vol. 8:ix.
2. JA sent another letter to AA on this date enclosing Edmund Randolph’s pamphlet, which JA described as “a very weak thing— He has disclosed Secrets very dishonourably without any proper Motive. It is a Piece of Revenge against the President but for what Injury or Offence I cannot discover” (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0047

Author: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1795-12-23

Thomas Boylston Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Brother

It has been announced in the Dutch Gazettes as an extract from those of London, that you had delivered Credentials to his Majesty as Envoy from the United States.1 The article somewhat terrifies me, from the apprehension, that your visit will be protracted, beyond the term of our first expectations. Mr: Pinckney is probably in England by this time, as he was some weeks since said to be at Paris upon his return. Your next letters will I hope clear up my doubts to satisfaction; that is, announce the probability of your speedy return, which is wished for by many, but by none so earnestly as myself.
I have enquired of Mr: van Son respecting the case of the William Penn, and from what he says, should suppose it desperate. The papers, Cargo, and Captain were entirely French.
The business upon which I wrote you at full by Mr: Calhoun,2 rests in the same state, except that the French Government has refused to grant Mr: Monroe’s demand for an escort to accompany the specie hither; but gave no answer as to the liberty of exportation. I have recommended a resort to the Bill on Hamburg, in case the remittance from Paris cannot be effected. Since then however, Mr: { 101 } Monroe advises me to draw upon him if possible for the money, & I have consulted the Bankers upon the expediency of such a measure, but have not yet received their answer. Mr Monroe’s letter was in answer to my first, and did not arrive until after my second had gone, I know not therefore what will be the result of the proposal to use the other Bill. Some delay will I fear be inevitable in the payment at Amsterdam.3
The only interesting news in this quarter is relative to the military operations upon the Rhine. The series of illsuccess on the part of the French is yet unbroken, except a momentary advantage gained by the Army of Sambre & Meuse in the affair of Kreutznach.4 Later accounts say that this army has since received a severe shock, but that Pichegru has been successful in his quarter. As yet however there is nothing but rumor. Some general affair has probably taken place, but the French are out of the habit of giving Official details, & the Austrians too, when they are unfavorable to them, so that the only sure indication, on which side the balance of success preponderates, is by the retreat of one or other of the Armies. The surrender of Manheim operated extremely to the disadvantage of the French, as it reduced their numbers when they had most need of them, and gave their enemies greatly the advantage of situation. The reinforcements, that have arrived to the French have not apparently given them the superiority, because the desertions, which had previously taken place were scarcely supplied by the fresh troops. It seems to be the opinion that Dusseldorf cannot be retained, & if that falls, the operations will be entirely transferred to the left side of the River.
As a counterbalance for the defeats on the Rhine, some details have been published of signal victories gained by the Army in Italy over the Austro Sarde’s.5
Every body seem to turn their attention most to England at present. The King’s message to Parliament, which declares a disposition to treat for peace, produced a gleam of hope in many; but the distance between such an event and the commencement of negotiation, is perhaps wider than is generally imagined. It would puzzle me not a little I confess to divine, what those honorable terms will be, that all parties will insist on. Necessity must be the final umpire; no other can ever graduate the scale of pretensions. The age of miracles is passed, but a general peace in Europe very speedily would deserve to be ranked among the wonders of the world. I think with you that a prospect of Famine is much more visible.
{ 102 }
You need not be told, that this Country afords little matter for a letter of news. Since the decision of the question for calling a Convention, nothing remarkable has occurred. The three Provinces still hold out in opposition to the measure, it is therefore doubtful whether it will take place so soon as was expected.
The news from Paris of late, has been sufficiently uninteresting. The sudden command given to M Carletti to depart the territory of the Republic without delay has excited some speculation. Conversing with your friend the Baron upon the subject, he observed—“we have probably not had the whole truth of this business. Either M. C——s note was dictated by his superiors, or he must be a man sans tête. The probability is, that this occasion was seized as a pretext, but the real motives must have been founded upon something behind the curtain.”6 The Baron is among those who have expressed regret at the news of your new Commission.
The List mentioned in my last, was accidentally omitted, I forward it now, requesting as before, that it may be sent to its address; the Gentleman for whom the articles are intended, assures me it will not make a large packet, & may easily be conveyed by private hand, without trespassing much upon the corner of a Trunk.7 The Bill, you will be good enough to forward to me, as I hold myself accountable for the amount to you. If you should send them by a vessel, they may be addressed to me, to the care of Mr Beeldemaker or Mr Bourne.
I have two letters from our mother dated september 17. 18. but you have later doubtless, as we have news here, via London as late as the 10. Novr: from the U,S.8 It is bad enough to have been forged where it came from last.
The winter has not yet seriously commenced here; there have been fogs enough, but scarcely any frost.
Remember me to all friends that you may meet, and dont forget to forward me the Newspapers—which are in great demand.
With real affection I am your Brother
[signed] Thomas B Adams.9
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “JQ Adams Esqr:”; endorsed: “T. B. Adams. / 23. Decr: 1795. The Hague. / 14. Jany: 1796. Recd: / 25. do: answered.”
1. See JQA to TBA, 26 Dec., and note 7, below.
2. According to TBA, Calhoun was a “Gentleman from Baltimore” who had left Maryland in August to visit Europe (M/TBA/2, 13 Sept., APM Reel 282).
3. TBA’s letter to JQA of 11 Dec. (Adams Papers) contained a summary to date of an ongoing debate in which TBA was engaged with the Dutch bankers Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and Nicolaas Hubbard regarding payments due at Antwerp and at The Hague to cover interest on the Dutch-American loan. { 103 } Arrangements had previously been made for Charles Jean Michel De Wolfe to cover the Antwerp interest, and James Monroe in Paris had been organizing additional payments of these debts in specie. But Monroe was experiencing difficulties in getting the money to the Netherlands, as the French government had denied him permission to remove silver from France. There was also an ongoing dispute over how much money was properly owed to the bankers by the U.S. government, how overdue certain bills were, and which remittances should legitimately be credited to the American accounts. While the bankers eventually accepted the money from De Wolfe and received the silver from Monroe, disputes over payment of American debts in the Netherlands long continued (TBA to Oliver Wolcott Jr., 6 Jan. 1796, CtHi:Wolcott Papers; Wilhem & Jan Willink, Nicolaas & Jacob van Staphorst, and Nicolaas Hubbard to TBA, 22 April, Adams Papers).
4. The French were unable to hold their advantage at the Battle of Kreuznach, which ultimately proved another victory for the Austrian Army just prior to the winter’s armistice ([Walter Keating Kelly], History of the House of Austria from the Accession of Francis I. to the Revolution of 1848, London, 1905, p. xxi).
5. At the beginning of Oct. 1795 the French installed a new commander of the Army of Italy, Barthélemi Schérer. He decided to push forward, and in late November the French Army successfully surprised and overcame the combined Austrian and Sardinian forces at Loano. By the end of the month the French had killed some 7,000 Austrians and taken both Austrian and Sardinian weapons, a fortified camp, and two fortresses. They also successfully opened the road to Piedmont (Cambridge Modern Hist., 8:444–445).
6. The Tuscan minister plenipotentiary to France, Francesco Carletti, had been involved in attempts to win the release of Princess Marie Thérèse Charlotte, Madame Royale, first from the French government under the National Convention and then again from the Directory. Carletti had also requested permission—in writing—to visit “the illustrious prisoner,” who Carletti believed was soon to be released to the Austrian government. Carletti’s note concluded with phrasing that the French government deemed threatening, and the Directory demanded his expulsion (Biro, German Policy of Revolutionary France, 1:450; 2:521–522).
7. The list, which was originally intended to be enclosed in TBA’s letter to JQA of 11 Dec., has not been found. In the earlier letter, TBA wrote, “The enclosed list, you will be good enough to let Tilley take to its address, & if you will charge me with the Bill of them, & forward the packet to me when you can, it will confer an obligation upon one of my friends & upon me” (Adams Papers).
8. AA’s letter of 17 Sept. is above; that of 18 Sept. has not been found.
9. TBA also wrote to JQA on 10 Jan. 1796 reviewing his earlier correspondence to JQA, providing updates on European affairs, and particularly complaining about the lack of ships sailing for the United States and the “damp & dirty” weather (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0048

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1795-12-24

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I wrote you this morning inclosing a Post note for 600 and went to Senate with full Expectation of receiving a Letter from you.1 The Door Keeper had the Letters for others but none for me— What a Disappointment! I went mourning and moaping about for Some time, grumbling at my Stars and almost blaming my best Friend: but it was not long before the Letter of the 15 was brought me from the President to whom the Post office had sent it by Mistake.
I am glad the Clover is covered and that French is paid extravagant as he is. The Anti Treaty People are not Supported by the People generally nor by their Legislatures. North Carolina has left them { 104 } in the Lurch and it is Supposed S. Carolina will not be up to their Pitch.2 In Short all the opposition to the Treaty is likely to vanish in Vapour and foul Smoke.
The Assembly of Virginia, however, have passed a Number of hairbrain’d Resolutions for amending the Constitution, in which I believe they will not be Seconded, unless by Kentucky. After the Experience of our own Government and that of France, when all Sensible Men are convinced that our Constitution, if defective in any Part, wants more Strength in the senate & Executive, to propose to make the senate dependent on Annual Elections and the House of Representatives to participate more in Executive Power is a flight of Ignorance and folly that I could not have expected from a People like the Virginians: nor can it be accounted for but by that Spirit of Irritation and Terror which is inspired by Conscious Debts.3
The Senate is as firm as a Rock and has received I believe an Accession of Strength in the new Member from Georgia.
The Newspapers begin to throw out hints about Titles and Checks and Ballances with a distant View to the approaching Election of Electors of P. and V. P.4 But this at present will counteract their own hopes: for Checks and Ballances having been adopted in Part at least in France, begin to grow more popular all over Europe & America. I dined with The P. Yesterday and shall again to day.
I wish to read your Observations upon Randolphs what shall I call it?— I sent it by last Post. I think it is too evident that the Creature meditated a total defeat of the Treaty; and he had too much Influence in proceeding several Steps in the Business. The Plan Seems to have been to delay the Ratification till the People should have time to set up Such a Clamour as to make it impossible to sign it at all. This was a very friendly Attachment to the Honour and Faith of the P. to be Sure. to say nothing of The senate or Mr Jay. Such a Character in the Cabinet and in the P.s bosom was a Serpent that might have Stung if his Invention Cunning and Courage had been adequate. The P. is more than commonly incensed as I hear against this Man and he certainly has great Reason. His Pamphlet has not blunted the Edge, nor diminished the force of Fauchets Letter in the least. It must totally destroy the Confidence in both Characters for what I see.—
There are Letters to the offices from Mr Adams dated in September— Dont be uneasy— We shall hear in due time.
I am in great Affection
[signed] J. A.
{ 105 }
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “December 24 / 1795—”
1. The post note JA sent to AA was to repay a debt owed to Cotton Tufts “and the rest I hope will answer your Ends till March. My Expences here are so enormous, two subscriptions for erecting Colledges in Kentucky and in the Western Territory and a small, too small assistance to Charles will make it almost impossible for me to answer the Demands on me during the Quarter” (Adams Papers).
2. The S.C. house of representatives, on 8 Dec., approved a resolution in opposition to the Jay Treaty and on 11 Dec. described it as “Highly injurious to the General Interests of the Said States.” The state senate failed by a narrow margin to approve a resolution thanking Pierce Butler for his vote against ratification of the treaty. The other senator from South Carolina, Jacob Read, had voted in favor of the treaty (John Harold Wolfe, Jeffersonian Democracy in South Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1940, p. 83, 87).
3. On 12 Dec. the Va. House of Delegates approved a resolution instructing the Virginia congressional delegation to introduce and promote four amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The first would require approval of all treaties by the House of Representatives, the second would remove the authority for trying impeachments from the Senate, the third would reduce Senate terms to three years, and the fourth would bar anyone holding a judicial appointment from holding any other office. The Va. senate agreed to these resolutions on 15 Dec., and they appeared in the Philadelphia press a week later (In the House of Delegates, Saturday, December 12, 1795, Richmond, Va., 1795, Evans, No. 29798; Philadelphia Gazette, 22 Dec.).
4. The Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 24 Dec., reprinted a piece by “The Ghost of Warren” from the Boston Independent Chronicle directly addressing the question of titles for the U.S. president and recalling the Senate debate on the subject in 1789 in which JA figured prominently. The article notes, “The more important project of giving to the President the title of a king, that the other attributes of royalty might follow in regular succession, was one of the earliest efforts of the aristocratic party in the Senate of the United States. Hardly indeed were they warm in their seats, before they felt the full force of their imaginary importance.” The piece argues that it was the House of Representatives that thwarted the Senate’s attempts to create a more monarchical title. The item concludes, “Let us always remember this sacred & inestimable truth—That the forms only of our Constitution will exist, when these authorities appointed by you cease to respect the interest, the feelings, and the principles of those by whom they are constituted.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0049

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1795-12-26

Charles Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dear Sir

Your favors of the 13th and 24th I have received the latter containing the Post note for Dols 100 and I return you my thanks for it.1 The Vindication of Mr Randolph’s Resignation is read with the greatest avidity. I think there are many things contained in it quite foreign to the subject and which it was unnecessary to disclose. That good will come of it I do not doubt, not to him but to our Government if it serves to open the eyes of the People and to convince them that French policy with regard to America has not changed with their government. I dare say there are some men in our government who consider the declarations of Mr Fauchet respecting the morals of his nation and the candor of his Government as a { 106 } Gasconade: To those who are inclined to beleive them I would recommend the reading of the History of the Revolution in Geneva.2 The federal cause will triumph. It would not be matter of surprize to me if Mr Jay should become more popular than he ever has been. You observe “that the passions of the people are not the most steady part of them” You recollect Sir that the same people who one day cried Hosanna to the son of David the next cried Crucify Crucify him. The President of the United States was for sometime an object too high for the shafts of calumny to be aimed at but faction has made such Giant strides that nothing is any longer sacred.

An habitation giddy and unsure

Hath he that buildeth on the vulgar heart

O thou fond many! with what loud applause

Didst thou beat heaven with blessing Bolingbroke

Before he was what Thou would’st have him be!

And now being trimm’d up in thy own desires

Thou beastly feeder art so full of him

That thou provoke’st thyself to cast him up.

Hen 4 2d P A2 S63

Our friends here are well except you two grandsons who have the meazles Sally joins with me in the sentiments of respect and affection with which I am / Your son
[signed] Charles Adams
1. JA’s letter of 13 Dec. is above; the letter of 24 Dec. has not been found.
2. Francis d’Ivernois, Authentic History of the Origin and Progress of the Late Revolution in Geneva, Phila., 1794, Evans, No. 27159. JA sent this book to CA in Dec. 1794; see vol. 10:301–302.
3. Shakespeare, King Henry IV, Part II, Act I, scene iii, lines 89–96.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0050

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1795-12-26

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My Dear Brother.

Your Packet by Mr: Clarke at length was delivered me on the 21st: and your letter of the 11th: of this month, by Mr: Calhoun the day preceding.1
Quincy’s letter is indeed a valuable one, and contains some opinions which are at once just important, and not sufficiently established in the minds of Americans in general. I would enclose it back to you, but think I may as well be the bearer of it myself.2
Our friends Frazier and White have returned from Paris, but { 107 } Gardner remained behind. He is however still expected shortly, and I hope to see Crafts with him; they intended to come together when Frazier left them. So you will see Crafts is not gone to America as he intended.3
Your opinion that a Peace will not be procured by the excesses of a London mob was accurate. They find it rather a dangerous thing to tamper with the strength of such a Government as this. For a square of glass broken, and a coach door opened mal-a-propos, this kingdom has been resounding for two months with echoes and reechoes of daring and unparallel’d outrage, with horror and indignation, with the royal virtues and the crimes of the Jacobins.
The dulness of loyalty, no doubt has its privilege, and the tediousness of addresses, must be suffered principally by the receiver. But a more substantial use is made of the incident by the Ministers; for they have taken occasion from it to carry through two new Laws which give great additional strength to the Government, and will be a powerful check even upon political discussion.— The revolutionists you readily suppose weep and wail and gnash their teeth, but to little purpose. The power of this Nation is in the hands of its property; and the property is perfectly aware that it is contending for self preservation. What walls hunger may break down, no previous calculation can ascertain; but if the People here can have bread, I believe the more rioting there is raised, the longer the war will continue.
I thank you for the detail of your correspondence with the bankers on the subject of the approaching interests. If they should apply to you again, for supplies, you can refer them to me; they have indeed already made a similar application to me, and perhaps their anxiety on this subject proceeds at least as much from curiosity as from expectation. It is very probable that before the first of February you will receive from the Treasury Department the means of answering them or that they will receive supplies which will prevent the renewal of their applications. To say the truth I was more apprehensive on account of the Antwerp interest than I am for the payments in Holland; there is one strong operative cause in favour of the latter which was directly contrary to the former. If I find occasion for recurring to new resources I shall not fail to write you fully on the subject, but in the mean time, you can if they should again make demands on you, assure them that you have no authority to raise money on Account of the United States, nor any funds of theirs in your hands. Their style of language has not I think { 108 } improved in civility since their correspondence with you. They treat us however pretty much alike, and I think it best to overlook altogether their airs of superiority, taking care to allow them nothing more than the airs.
Your transition as you call it, to a thinking animal, no doubt contributed to encrease your labours, but it will be serviceable to you. A habit of thinking is of considerable importance in the passage through life, and few men think accurately whose judgment has not been sharpened by opposition.
The non-payment of the bill on Dallarde and Swan, is a circumstance that mortifies and surprizes me. But as to the causes of the failure neither you nor I can be responsible; the business was put entirely into other hands, and had I been disposed to meddle with it, you remember that the bankers informed me they were in correspondence with Mr: Monroe on the subject, which I considered as a sufficient intimation to me, that it was not a concern of mine. Since then however I have interfered as far as was in my power to secure the payment for them, and regret as much as they can, that any difficulties should yet intercept the remittance.4
The letter from your mother was indeed a treat, but like many others previously received a little too high-seasoned.5 The opinion of the great man seems to look through the parental microscope. If the flattery of my Vanity, constituted my happiness, I could not possibly wish for higher gratification; but you know what value I am apt to set upon my own opinions; when others go beyond my own estimation of myself they are certainly under a mistake, and it gives me more pain than pleasure to find myself over rated.
I have many thanks to give Mr: Parker for the device you sent me, with which I am highly pleased; I have made a little addition to it for the sake of a proud motto, but I hope it will not hurt the design. It is now in the hands of an able engraver, and I hope Mr: Parker himself will be satisfied with the Execution.6
Your letter mentions a list, to be procured and forwarded by me, but no such list was enclosed. If it had been, I should have executed the commission with pleasure.
I am yet in hopes of returning in the course of a few weeks. Mr: Pinckney is hourly expected, and the life of the Hague suits me much better than that of London.
The news-papers here have taken a deal of pains to make an Envoy Extraordinary of me, and to supply me with credentials for the Queen. If you should hear any thing of the kind at the Hague, you { 109 } will say there is not a word of truth in these tales. I have no new character, and the credentials as well as the dignity, are merely of typographical creation.7
I hope to hear from you soon, again. You will continue to write untill I give you notice to stop. If you receive any Dispatches from the Government, you will inform me of their substance. What became of the bill drawn by Mr: Van Berckel on Mr Tinne?8
your affectionate brother
[signed] John Q. Adams.
RC (NHi:Gilder Lehrman Coll., on deposit, GLC00392); internal address: “Thos: B. Adams Esqr.” FC-Pr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 131.
1. TBA wrote to JQA on 14 Nov. enclosing a packet of letters from friends and family in the United States, as well as Dutch newspapers to give JQA the local news. TBA wrote again on 11 Dec. to give JQA a report on activities in his absence. TBA found his promotion to chargé d’affaires difficult; he wrote, “I can easily conceive that you miss my services in a degree, but I can assure you, that the want of your advice & assistance has occasioned me, since your departure, not only trouble, but much anxiety.” The bulk of the letter then outlined the ongoing controversy with the Amsterdam bankers, for which see TBA to JQA, 23 Dec., and note 3, above (both Adams Papers).
2. Not found, but on 14 Nov. TBA wrote to JQA indicating he was enclosing a letter from Josiah Quincy III, “for your perusal, because I think much of its merit, hoping you will return it by the first occasion” (same).
3. For Thomas Crafts, see LCA, D&A, 1:98. James White (ca. 1755–1824) was a Boston stationer, bookseller, and publisher. Crafts departed for Charleston, S.C., on 23 Feb. 1796, while White left on 21 March for Boston (Boston Columbian Centinel, 7 Jan. 1797, 31 July 1824; D/JQA/24, 22 Feb. 1796, 20 March, APM Reel 27).
4. The French mercantile firm of Dallarde & Swan was founded in the late 1780s by James Swan, for whom see JA, Papers, 3:354, and LCA, D&A, 1:168 (Winter, Amer. Finance and Dutch Investment, 1:485).
5. See AA to JQA, 15 Sept. 1795, above.
6. JQA had this device engraved into a seal for his use (D/JQA/24, 22 Dec., APM Reel 27). The image has not been positively identified but may have been one which JQA also used as a bookplate; see Catalogue of JQA’s Books, p. 139–140 and facing p. 66.
7. London newspapers variously described JQA as “the new Envoy from the United States of America,” “the American Envoy,” and “Envoy Extraordinary” when describing his presentation of credentials to the king and queen and his attendance at court functions; see, for instance, St. James’s Chronicle, 8–10 Dec.; Lloyd’s Evening Post, 16–18 Dec.; and Morning Chronicle, 18 December.
8. On 2 July Oliver Wolcott Jr. wrote to JQA requesting that he draw 3,000 florins on Johan Abraham Tinne to cover a bill of Franco Petrus van Berckel, the Dutch minister to the United States. Tinne (1742–1808) was the director of foreign correspondence, essentially the businessman for the States General. Van Berckel, the son of Pieter Johan van Berckel, first Dutch minister to the United States, served in his position from 1788 to 1796. TBA called for the payment on 25 Nov. 1795 and received the money on 26 Nov. (Adams Papers; Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 2:111; Repertorium, 3:271; Frederik Oudschans Dentz, History of the English Church at The Hague 1586–1929, Delft, 1929, p. 99, 101; M/TBA/2, 25–26 Nov., APM Reel 282).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0051

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1795-12-27

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

Your Letter dated the 9th the blundering Post carried with him to Barnestable, so that I did not get it till the next week. Yours of the { 110 } 13th came duly to Hand.1 the extracts with which You have favourd me, are curious, and prove a Weak Head. of the Heart, I shall say nothing. it does not appear that Fauchett, as has been reported went to Randolph to complain of British influence, but Randolph to him. Fauchett as well he might, despises the Man, as well as the pretended Patriots, & his reflections are naturel & Judicious, tho I think he shows his want of knowledge, when he supposes that a few thousand Dollors could have turnd the Scale for peace or War. the Pretended Patriots never saved any Country yet, & tho they might have been purchased, the great Body of the people are firm. nor do I think the System of Finance conceived by mr Hamilton the origion of the Speculating stockjobbing Rage.2 it existed before col Hamilton came into office. his system produced a confidence in the value of the funds, raisd their credit, & gave a full scope be sure by that means to the believers to Dupe the faithless; these Dispatches when made publick will do much service, but how Randolph is to get himself out of the Scrape, is more than I can Devine. I pray you send me the pamphlet as soon as it appears. the Senate have my Approbation for their Negative. Marplot will Do his own buisness by the Doors of the senate being open, when ever it is necessary to shut them. he ought to be voted out too. pray Who are the four Men whose Talents Influence and Ennergy were capable of saving their country? they grew not in the Nothern Soil. if they thus trembled under the weight of British Debts at this Day What a Tool & What a Fool!.3 the British King in his Speach to Parliament announces the exchange of the Ratification of the Treaty. an extract from an English paper of the 4 Novbr says a “frigate saild some Days ago, With Dispatches to mr Bond and assurences that what ever might be misunderstood or disliked in the Treaty should be open to a free and Friendly discussion to cement the good understanding and Friendship so desirable between both Countries— The Treaty was forwarded to mr Adams the American Minister at the Hague, to be brought here and exchanged by him Who has full powers to Treat further on the 12 article”4
a vessel is Daily expected belonging to mr Lamb, by which I wrote to Holland. she went from Holland to England by her I hope to receive Letters for Which I begin to be impatient.5 I read the Debates in Senate. the Government strengthens, intrigue and treachery will not prevail tho I am not certain that it will Live to old Age.
We have had a few Days of Sleding two of them were employd in getting manure upon the Medow the other in the Woods. the three { 111 } past Days have been rainy & stormy. We are all well in the Family. at mr Cranchs they have the Scarlet fever. they have all got better at Your Brothers. I wish you would let Brisler send me some flower it will rise I fear.
With Sentiments of the most affectionate / Regard I am as ever / Your
[signed] A Adams.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. Decr 27 1795 / ansd Jany. 5. 1796”; notation by AA: “Seal with Wax.”
1. For JA’s letter to AA of 9 Dec., see JA to AA, 6 Dec., note 4, above; for the letter of the 13th, see JA to CA, 13 Dec., note 1, above.
2. AA references here Jean Antoine Joseph Fauchet’s Dispatch No. 10, which JA had quoted at length in his letter to her of 13 Dec. (Adams Papers).
3. This is a reference to the extract from Fauchet’s Dispatch No. 6 quoted by JA in his 13 Dec. letter to AA. The four men are not identified in the subsequent printing of this dispatch in Edmund Randolph’s Vindication of Mr. Randolph’s Resignation.
4. AA is loosely quoting from the Massachusetts Mercury, 25 Dec.; for Phineas Bond, the British chargé d’affaires in Philadelphia, see vol. 9:312.
5. For James and Thomas Lamb and their ship Margaret, see AA to JA, 10 Jan. 1796, and note 2, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0052

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1795-12-28

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I have just recd from the P. Office your Letter of the 20th. by Brisler who went to carry one for you— I write by every Post i.e by Mondays and Thursdays which are the only ones on which Mails are made up for any Place beyond N. York, and the only ones on which Letters arrive here from any Place beyond that City.
Mrs Adams your new Daughter behaves prettily in her new Sphere— I dined with them one day and promised, to take my Lodgings with them the next time— Mrs Adams shewed me an elegant bed which she politely said she had made up for me. As to the details in which you Say the Ladies excell Us, I have not Patience— I who have the Patience of Job, have not Patience to write Letters in the style of Grandison & Lovelace.
You would admire to see with what Serenity & Intrepidity I commonly Sett and hear— Not all the Froth can move my Contempt not all the Sedition Stirr my Indignation, nor all the Nonsense and Delirium excite my Pity. If Dignity consists in total Insensibility I believe my Countenance has it. B. however tells me he can always perceive when I dont like any Thing. It must be by reasoning from what he knows to be my Opinions. My Countenance shews nothing for the most part.— Sometimes I believe it may be legible enough.
The Reflexions upon Peace by Madam De Stael are not here.
{ 112 }
The President and Presidentess always send their Regards to you.— Madam invites you to come next Summer to Mount Vernon and visit the Fœderal City— I am almost afraid to write it to you for fear it should turn your head and give you thoughts and hopes of accepting the Invitation. I told Madame La Presidante, that after the Year 1800 when Congress should sett at Washington And that City become very great I thought it not impossible that You & Your sister Cranch might seriously entertain such a Project, for the sake of making a Visit to Mount Vernon as well as seeing Mrs Cranches Grand Children.—
Always write me how Mrs Brisler & her Children are. It makes the good Mans Countenance shine so bright when I tell him of it, that I take a great Pleasure in reading these Paragraphs to him.
My Mother I am anxious to hear of— My Duty to her and Love Compliments &c &c to whom you please
always yours
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “December 28th / 1795—”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0053

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1795-12-30

John Quincy Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] My Dear Brother

Your favour of 19th: September was transmitted to me by our brother from the Hague about a fortnight since; I have answered already that of Septr: 27. which I received on my first arrival here.1
You will find from one of my former Letters, that with a little balance of yours still to be accounted for by me, and with another little Commission which I have troubled you with your demand on me will exceed 300 dollars in the whole; and I have left it at your option to pay yourself from the interests that you shall receive for me, or to draw on me as shall be most agreeable and convenient to yourself. I am very well satisfied with the employment which you made, of the sum which you have already drawn, and have given you my ideas upon the subject in a former letter.2 I have requested you to wait for a favorable state of exchange, to draw according to my last authority; but I did not mean to lay you under any particular restraint. I leave all these circumstances to your own discretion, trusting that you will take no step without due reflection; with the particular consideration, that I wish to have the money as much as possible at command, in case my own situation and circumstances should erelong require it.
{ 113 }
With respect to the state of public affairs in America, we are at present in a suspense, which is unpleasant enough. Much will depend upon the proceedings of Congress at this time, and I confess the Western political sky looks rather more lowering than I could wish.
There is nothing very remarkable in the present situation of European politics. There have been recently some symptoms of an approximation towards a peace; but little dependence is to be placed upon them. Before the close of the Season, all the parties at War, will be in great want of bread, and I do not know but they will drain it off from America, even beyond what we could wish.3 But in a national point of view the advantages of neutrality, are increasing in Geometrical proportion to the United States. In the course of the year now expiring it has given us Peace with the Indians, Peace with Algiers, and a Treaty with Spain. Let the Mediterranean, be fairly opened to our Commerce, and the consequences will soon be felt in respect to other branches of trade.4 In this Country the restrictive system is already gasping, and will be forced to yield, for a time at least to necessity. But there seem to be people in America, who are not enough aware of all these things, or who think like Mandeville that national happiness and virtue are inseparably connected with national weakness and poverty5
The neutrality of the present time has not only produced an unexampled course of prosperity during the period itself, but has laid the foundation for a series of advantages which, I cannot imagine, that madness itself would throw away. Our political dependence upon France, and our commercial dependence upon Britain, have both been great and heavy clogs upon us from the time of the Peace to this day. Every hour of neutrality now has a tendency to extricate us from both these shameful dependencies, and to make us a really & completely independent People. The demands upon the Articles of our produce will undoubtedly continue very great for several ensuing years. The inevitable course of Events will make us carriers for France, Holland, and even for Great Britain. As to the last, the benefit will be possessed only while she is at War and we at Peace, for you may be assured she now sees herself with extreme reluctance, compelled to resign it into our hands. Her own navigation is not adequate to her own supply, and the longer her War continues, the greater her deficiency will be. Holland which has heretofore been her competitor and rival as a carrier is in greater need even than she. Holland has scarce any active Navigation left. She cannot { 114 } protect her own Commerce, and we must therefore be her carriers too. As to France the thing speaks of itself.— There is indeed no doubt but a general Peace will produce great changes, and the usual system of selfishness and exclusion will be as far as possible resumed by all these Nations. But there are many reasons which lead to a belief that France will for many years have no temptation to resume it, and perhaps not the ability. The Commerce of Holland has suffered so severely by the present War, that they will not easily find themselves able again to carry on the trade of others. But if she should, it will but partially interfere with us. Let there only be a competition, and our point is gained; for the simple reason that we can carry quicker and cheaper, than either the Dutch or the English.
There is another circumstance, which will enhance the value of American neutrality in the opinion of every man, who can look deeper than the surface. It is the probability that a general Peace, will if it takes place be but of short duration, and that the seeds of future European Wars and tumults are thickly sown. The hearts of the human race were never less pacific than they are at this time. The political question upon which all Europe has been deluged with blood for the last four years, is so far from being decided, that it has become a more extensive source of discord than ever. The political question will perhaps be decided by Arms in every part of Europe, and it is every where a civil as well as a foreign War. It will undoubtedly give to all the standing Governments so much employment, that their commercial pursuits will necessarily and inevitably suffer from it. This is our strongest security against the Gigantic projects of the british Government, for so long as they shall be engaged in the grapple of democracy and feudality their purposes of commercial extension must be often sacrificed to the necessities of their struggle.— And I have no doubt but at the period when they shall be disembarassed of the doctrine, the United States will have strength to resent and defeat any attempt to encroach upon their Commerce.
I hope therefore that at all Events our neutrality will be preserved, as I am persuaded that the Prosperity of our Country depends upon that circumstance alone; and in that hope I conclude with the assurance of the invariable good wishes and affection of your brother6
FC-Pr (Adams Papers); internal address: “Charles Adams Esqr”; APM Reel 131.
{ 115 }
1. Neither letter has been found.
2. See JQA to CA, 4 Nov., 2d letter, above. On 29 Nov. JQA again wrote to CA, thanking him for his letter of 27 Sept. and assuring him that all of his bills would be covered and none returned for insufficient funds (LbC, APM Reel 130).
3. The grain shortages in Europe, combined with disruptions to trade from the European war, created increased demand for U.S. foodstuffs and raised prices significantly. For instance, the average price of a barrel of flour in Philadelphia nearly doubled from 1793 until 1807. Grain growers benefited with increased profits, though average Americans faced higher food costs (John T. Schlebecker, Whereby We Thrive: A History of American Farming, 1607–1972, Ames, Iowa, 1975, p. 72).
4. Following the U.S. victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794, Native Americans from twelve tribes of the Northwest Territory agreed to the Treaty of Greenville in Aug. 1795. Under the terms of the treaty, the United States received land in what is now Ohio and the right to build posts and pass freely through other northwest Indian territory. Native Americans also agreed to recognize the United States as their sole protector (Charles J. Kappler, Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 7 vols., Washington, D.C.; 1904–1979, 2:39–45; Wood, Empire of Liberty, p. 123, 131, 132). For the treaties with Algiers and Spain, see AA to JA, 22 Feb. 1796, and notes 1 and 2, below.
5. Bernard Mandeville’s Fable of the Bees; or, Private Vices, Publick Benefits, originally published in 1714, argues that the worst qualities of human nature lead to the most prosperous and flourishing societies. While not actually endorsing vice, Mandeville observes that vice is a necessary partner to a strong and prosperous nation (DNB).
6. On 29 Dec. 1795 JQA had written to JA a lengthy letter in reply to JA’s of 19 Sept., above. JQA expressed his appreciation for the compliments contained in the September letter and commented on the frustrations of his current efforts in Britain, where “all commercial Negotiation on the part of this Country will be captious and illiberal. … I have been accustomed all my life to plain dealing and candour, and am not sufficiently versed in the art of political swindling to be prepared for negotiating with an European Minister of State.” He also reported news from Europe, including rumors of a prospective Anglo-French peace, the continuing prosecution of the European war, the passage of laws in Britain against democratic societies, and the launch of a British naval expedition to the West Indies that threatened to disrupt U.S. trade in the region. Three days later JQA again wrote to JA covering a packet of newspapers and noting the lack of communication between Britain and the Continent at the time, possibly due to a French embargo (both Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0054

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1795-12-31

John Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] Dear Son

Yesterday I received your kind and pleasing Letter of the 26, and am happy to hear of your and your Ladies health. I dont approve of your calling her Sally unless to herself in a Family Way. To other People especially in Writing you must call her Mrs Adams. Your Nephews and Neice I hope will have the Meazles favourably. it is a good age and a good Season: so that I think the family may be congratulated on the Event.
Alass poor Randolph! But what are We to think of the Symptoms of a Corruption which appear in various shapes in this infant Country? I hope it will not appear that any Member of either house listened to the vile proposals of the two Wretches from Detroit.1 But the Attempt itself is disgraceful to our Country.
{ 116 }
Your quotation from shakespear is well applied and is most admirable. There is another Passage which I wish you would look for and write me in what Play it is. to this Effect

He who lives on Popularity

is like a drunken Sailor on a Topmast

at every Nod, liable to plunge into the briny deep.2

The People, are as I believe always grateful, when they are not deceived. But they are ignorant and credulous & easily imposed on. in times of Wealth and Prosperity they are easily altered and corrupted. Juvenal in his tenth Satyr ver. 78 describes the Roman People, who in the days of the Republic granted the Consulships, & the Command of Armies, as reduced to such Indolence Effemincy and folly as to think only of Bread and the Games of the Circus.

Nam qui dabat olim

Imperium, Fasces, Legiones, omnia, nunc Se Continet, et duas tantum res anxius optat,

Panem et Circenses.

Cakes and Sports, to a People humiliated in their own Esteem, by Corruption, are, as to Children, all they Wish and all they want.
Mr Josiah Quincy brought me your Letter and was much pleased with your situation and Civilities to him. This young Man is eloquent—his Father was eloquent: his Grand father was eloquent and his Great Grand father was eloquent. Here is eloquence in 4 successive Generations. Who can Say that Eloquence does not descend in Families.4
Write me as often as possible. I am your / Father
[signed] John Adams5
RC (MHi:Seymour Coll.); internal address: “Charles Adams Esqr.”
1. Two land speculators, Robert Randall of Philadelphia and Charles Whitney of Vermont, had developed a scheme to purchase land in the Northwest Territory amounting to what is now the lower peninsula of Michigan. To smooth the way for congressional acceptance of the purchase, Randall and Whitney attempted to bribe several members of Congress with promises of shares in the land-holding company which could be redeemed for either land or money. The congressmen refused to go along with the scheme, and beginning on 28 Dec., Congress took up debate on the matter. On 4 Jan. 1796 the two men were formally arraigned by the House of Representatives; Randall was found guilty and fined, but Whitney was acquitted based on the fact that the person he attempted to bribe, Daniel Buck of Vermont, was not yet a congressman at the time of the offense (Charles Moore, History of Michigan, 4 vols., Chicago, 1915, 1:262–263; Proceedings of the House of Representatives of the United States, in the Case of Robert Randall and Charles Whitney, Phila., 1796, Evans, No. 31364).
2. “O momentary grace of mortal men, / Which we more hunt for than the grace of { 117 } God! / Who builds his hope in air of your good looks / Lives like a drunken sailor on a mast, / Ready with every nod to tumble down / Into the fatal bowels of the deep” (Shakespeare, King Richard III, Act III, scene iv, lines 95–100).
3. “For that sovereign people that once gave away military command, consulships, legions, and every thing, now bridles its desires, and limits its anxious longings to two things only,—bread, and the games of the circus!” (Juvenal, Satires, Satire X, lines 78–81).
4. That is, Josiah Quincy III (1772–1864, “the President”), son of Josiah Quincy II (1744–1775, “the Patriot”), grandson of Josiah Quincy I (1710–1784, “the Colonel”), and great grandson of Edmund Quincy (1681–1738, “the Judge”).
5. On 14 Jan. CA replied to this letter with a short note commenting on the changing politics in New York State and indicating that he had recently received letters from JQA and TBA. CA also supplied the remainder of the Shakespeare quotation about which JA had inquired, for which see note 2, above (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0055

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams Smith

[salute] Dear Child:

*   *   *   *   *   *  
I have several letters from your mother, who, I thank God, appears to be in good health.
Mr. Josiah Quincy is now in this town, and is bound to Savannah in Georgia; whether after the example of his father as a mere traveller to acquire information, or whether with some share of the spirit of his grandfather in pursuit of speculation, I know not. This young man is a rare instance of hereditary eloquence and ingenuity in the fourth generation. He comes into life with every advantage of family, fortune, and education, and I wish him all the success which such auguries naturally present to him in prospect. I yesterday, in the presence of half a dozen Senators, laughingly advised him to go to the President and Mrs. Washington, and ask their leave to make his addresses to Nelly Custis, or her sister, at Georgetown, in the course of his journey. The young gentleman blushed, and he may have left his heart in Boston; but I think him the first match in the United States.1
I hope with you, that good sense will prevail over prejudice. But I despair of much tranquillity in this country, till France shall have established a good government. And although by the adoption of three branches they have made a great improvement on their former inanimate conceptions, yet they will find that their plural executive will be a fruitful source of division, faction, and civil war. In a few weeks the five directors will be divided into two parties, three against two. The three will be for decisive and vigorous measures, the two for wavering and feeble ones, under the names of moderation, republicanism, and liberty. The two will strengthen themselves { 118 } by connections with numbers in the Council of Ancients, that of 500, and in the city, and among the people at large, till the two become more powerful than the three. The latter will be the victims. The essential emulation in the human heart will never permit the five to be long unanimous. Such is the lot of humanity.
Their elective judiciary, too, will be found an instrument of party, instead of a sanctuary of justice.2
Your brother was empowered to go to England; but if not arrived by a certain day, the business was to be done by Mr. Dean. The despatches did not arrive in season, so that I suppose he will not go over.
I expected the pleasure of seeing Col. Smith at Christmas. My love to him, and to my grandchildren all. I am your / Affectionate father,
[signed] John Adams.
MS not found. Printed from AA2, Jour. and Corr., 2:142–144; internal address: “To Mrs. Smith.”
1. Josiah Quincy III likely never went to Georgia, as he was still in Philadelphia later in the month and had returned to Boston by mid-February; see JA to AA, 26 Jan., and AA to JA, 22 Feb., both below. His sweetheart was Eliza Susan Morton, to whom he was already secretly engaged. The couple married in June 1797 (Robert A. McCaughey, Josiah Quincy 1772–1864: The Last Federalist, Cambridge, 1974, p. 17).
2. The French Constitution of 1795 allowed for the election of judges for both civil and criminal matters, as well as for justices of the peace (Arts. 212, 216, 234, 235).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0056

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-01-02

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

The Weather here is as fine as it was the last Year. The Festival season of Christmas and the new Year, is enjoyed in Perfection by all, for what I know, but poor Cabot and me. He is as solitary and disconsolate as a lone Goose. He strives to keep up his Spirits and preserve his usual Gaiety but one plainly perceives it is all Exertion.
There are Letters to the secretary of State upon public affairs, from J. Q. A. as late as 5th. of october.1 I dont expect that he will go over to England at all. Upon the whole it will be as well that he should not.
Two Speculating Landjobbing Villains, in combination with Indian Traders at Detroit, will take up the House of Representatives half the Winter for what I know. I see no Necessity for all this Parade— They might have been sent to Prison at once for Contempt, during the session and ordered to be prosecuted by the Att. Gen.
{ 119 }
our two Grandsons at New York have the Meazles and the Grandaughter is expected to have them. The season of the Year is as favourable As their age, and will be fortunate for them to have gone through this unavoidable Evil thus early in Life.
The H. of Reps in S.C. have behaved amiss—but they did not dare to send their firebrand to the senate, and almost half their Number went out of the House.
The Vote is the meanest which has ever been passed. not one of the Mobs have been so sordid as to put the whole Treaty upon the single Point of Pay for the Negroes.2
S.C. V. and Kentucky I believe will be the only States which will shew their Teeth and they can not bite.
Goodhue is almost discouraged or at least quite out of Patience. He says “the whole History of the Government has been one continued Labour to roll a stone up a steep hill. It is too fatiguing to be always on the Stretch—and a Government that requires So much Pains to support it is not worth preserving.”

It is indeed the Stone of Sysiphus.

Van berckel tells me that the new French Government is not agreeable to The Dutch— They are as yet too Jacobinical. He thinks the French Constitution will turn upon a Pivot, and come round at length to “The Defence of the C. of U.S.” De L’Etombe tells me that [“]‘The Defence’ has not only been laid down by Boissy D’Anglass, as their future Model, but has been frequently quoted of late in the Convention by many other of the principal Members as their first Authority.”
I wish they understood their Authority better or had more Fortitude, Consistency and Influence in adopting and establishing the genuine Principles of that Work.
I have often told you laughing, what may become a real Truth that “I shall be the great Legislator of Nations and that Nations must learn of me or cutt one anothers throats.”
This sounds like the Bombast of Mad Tom: Thus much is a Serious Truth that free Nations must all become followers of Zeno not of me, or wrangle & fight forever. I am but a Disciple of Zeno.
I dined on Thursday with Adet who called upon me for a Toast— I gave an happy Success to the new Government in France. The French Company seemed to relish it better than our Frenchified Americans—
I am, and that is enough
[signed] J. A
{ 120 }
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “Janry 6 1796.”
1. JQA to Timothy Pickering, 5 Oct. 1795, LbC, APM Reel 129.
2. The Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 1 Jan. 1796, reported on a debate in the S.C. house of representatives on 10 Dec. 1795 over a resolution to oppose the Jay Treaty, primarily on the grounds that the British had failed to compensate “those of our fellow citizens, whose negroes and other property have been removed by the British troops, contrary to the treaty of peace.” The resolution questioned the constitutionality of the treaty and recommended that the U.S. House of Representatives withhold funding for it. This resolution narrowly failed. Another taken the next day that more simply described the treaty as “highly injurious to the general interests of the United States” passed in the S.C. house by a wide margin, although a large number of legislators failed to vote on the measure. On 2 Jan. 1796 the Aurora argued that the decision of several members of the legislature to leave rather than vote on the treaty did not indicate they favored the resolution but rather, “they conceived it was not the duty of a State Legislature to express an opinion upon it.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0057

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

I will try to write tho it is with much difficulty I hold My pen, oweing to a very painfull Soar which gatherd at the Root of one of My nails on My Right Hand. it has been so painfull as to allarm me for several Days least it Must be opend to the Bone, and to deprive me of rest. it has begun to discharge, & tho yet painfull, is less so since. I have not been free from my old Rhuemactick complaints, tho, not confined with them to the House. We have had very moderate weather and our Farmers have improved it by getting out the mannure upon the meadow & spreading as Much as they could. they finishd this Day getting it out. we do not go on so rapidly as some, but we are very steady. I setled with Bass and paid him his 16 Dollors as was your agreement, and engaged him till the Eleventh of April for which I am to give him 22 Dollors— the Farm Boat is taken care of & the Roller the Wheels &c
our weatherwise Soothsayers have been as much out in their calculations as yet respecting the Severity of the Winter as the political prophesyers respecting the Stormy Sessions of congress, but I do not yet think the Scene opened I calculate however from a combination of circumstances, the Triumph of virtue and National Prosperity. I received Your Letters of the 16 17 & 21 with Randolphs poor Poor Story,1 three Months in Hatching, a dark Business at best.
the President whom Mr Randolph treats so very unhandsomely appears with more dignity for the tenderness he shews a Man Who can never be considerd in any other Light than the Fool of Party, { 121 } the weak unstable Politician, assumeing to himself an influence over the mind of a Man infinately his Superiour and reminding one of the frog in the Fable who tried to Swell to the size of the ox till he burst.2 Where there is vanity there Will be folly— Fauchet dispatches shew a pidling Genius he knew very little of the real Character of the people whom he described, and less of their politicks. no extensive views no comprehensive mind, but as the Rebublick of France can comprehend any thing and every thing, they may possibly make out a system in Fauchet Dispatch. tis beyond my comprehension many parts of it I own not withstanding Randolphs Precious confessions. I propose the old play of a Wonder, a Woman keeps a secreet should change its title, or Else let the Lords of the creation confess that Nature is equally weak in Male & Female.3 A Mason & a Randolph have taken of the Reproach from the Female Character. The answer of the Senate to the Presidents Speach I liked much. “He hath deserved worthyly of his Country, and hath so planted his honour in their Eyes, and his actions in their Hearts, that for their Tongues to have been silent, and not confess so much were a kind of ingratefull injury; to report otherways were a malice, that giving itself the lie would pluck reproof and rebuke from every ear that heard it” Shakspear.4 my finger is so bundled up that my writing is rather worse than usual. you are so used to it that I suppose you can pick it out, and if you cannot, there will be no great loss. Shall I remind you of the New Year, and congratulate you that we are one Year nearer the End of our Journey? can it be a subject of congratulation, that our Years as Life declines, speed rapidly away,

[“]And not a year, but pilfers as he goes

Some youthfull grace, that Age would gladly keep

A tooth or auburn Lock”5

But soloman tells us, that in a Multitude of years there is Wisdom, “That Life is Long, which answers Lifes great End.[]6 Whilst we can be serviceable to Mankind, and enjoy the blessing of Life, I believe we May rejoice that our Days are Lengthend out and unite in mutual congratulation upon revolving years.
I inclose a paper of Russels. Cato is as restless and as dissapointed, as factious and as turbulent in plimouth as the Cato of N york.7 Your Mother is as well as when you left home. she walkd here this week, and desires to be rememberd to you. I am ashamed to { 122 } send such a Scrawl, but I know you would be uneasy if you Did not hear once a week from / your affectionate
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. Jan. 3 / ansd 12 1796.”
1. At this point in the manuscript AA inserted a caret. Above the next line of text, at the far left of the page, she inserted the words, “O! jimmy Tompson O!”
2. Aesop’s fable “The Frog and the Ox,” of which the moral is, “Men are ruined by attempting a greatness to which they have no claim.” While newspapers at this time were prevented from publishing excerpts from Edmund Randolph’s Vindication because of his copyright on the material, they did publish the content of letters between Randolph and George Washington, including Randolph’s letter of resignation and Washington’s response, in which Washington promised to keep secret the contents of all letters until Randolph had an opportunity to clear his name. Washington also wrote in a later letter to Randolph that “No man would rejoice more than I should to find that the suspicions which have resulted from the intercepted letter, were unequivocally and honourably removed” (New York Daily Advertiser, 26 Dec. 1795; New York American Minerva, 26 Dec.).
3. Susanna Centlivre, The Wonder: A Woman Keeps a Secret, London, 1714.
4. Shakespeare, Coriolanus, Act II, scene ii, lines 27–28, 32–38.
5. William Cowper, “The Sofa,” The Task, Book I, lines 131–133.
6. Edward Young, The Complaint; or, Night Thoughts, Night V, line 773.
7. The enclosure has not been found but was likely a copy of the Boston Columbian Centinel, 30 December. That issue published a piece by Hampden, responding to Cato in the Boston Independent Chronicle, 17 December. Both pieces addressed a debate in Plymouth over the Jay Treaty, in which one group of residents met in late October to condemn the treaty and another published their support for the treaty in the Columbian Centinel, 14 November. Cato, perhaps written by Henry Warren, defended the town meeting and challenged the arguments put forth by its detractors, particularly those laid out in the Centinel (Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 12 Nov.; Boston Federal Orrery, 31 Dec.).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0058

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

There is a dead calm in the political Atmosphere, which furnishes no Event worth relating. The House of Reps is wholly taken up with two worthless Agents of Corruption.
I have this day however heard News that is of some Importance. It must be kept a Secret wholly to yourself, One of the Ministry told me to day that the President was solemnly determined to serve no longer than the End of his present Period. He mentioned Such Circumstances of solemn Asseveration as left him no room to doubt. Mrs W. said one thing to me lately which seemed to imply as much. Others, Men of the first Weight, I find consider the Event as certain.— You know the Consequence of this, to me and to yourself. Either We must enter upon Ardours more trying than any ever yet experienced; or retire to Quincy Farmers for Life. I am at least as determined not to serve under Jefferson, as W. is not to serve at all. { 123 } I will not be frightened out of the public service nor will I be disgraced in it.
You will say that he will be over persuaded— You know what Jemmy said of Elijah. “His poor soul would have no chance for salvation for he had sworn most bitterly.”
The Weather is mild as last Winter— No snow No frost— Farmers may plough.
I received Yesterday your favour of the 27. Who Randolphs four mighty Men were, I know not. I am much mortified to reflect that I ever had any Opinion of that Creatures head or heart.
There are Letters from John as far as 5th of October in the office of state. His public Correspondence is still very punctual and quite Satisfactory.
Randolphs Intrigues to defeat the Treaty defeated him of the honour of going to England but I dont regret it. I am with the tenderest / Affection your
[signed] J. A.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs”; endorsed: “Janry 5 1796.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0059

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1796-01-06

Charles Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Brother

Your letter of the 15th September arrived yesterday I own I have not so much cause to complain of my brothers as they have of me. It is reported and generally beleived that our Present Chief will decline serving for another term. I have been informed from good authority that such are his intentions. It is to be hoped that he will not make the trial as I am confident The People of this Country will never accept his resignation. Should he be removed by death I am persuaded The People would fix upon the man to succeed him with much more composure than is generally imagined. It has been an idea industriously circulated that confusion and tumult will follow the decease of George Washington but I trust this government does not depend upon the life of any man.1 I do not agree in opinion with you that the successor of the present first magistrate will hold a situation so very uncomfortable and dangerous Americans begin to see through the schemes and machination of certain factious and turbulent men among them and to be ashamed of the influence they have had over their passions. They will therefore unite more firmly to support The Constitution and The men who administer it. { 124 } They feel that gross deception has been used in order to destroy their confidence in their Magistrates. The greatest enemy we have to contend with is foreign influence. You and I very well know how active it has been for a long while Yet certain facts are coming to light which open the eyes and rouse the indignation of our Countrymen The body of the People scorn to be directed by French art or British insolence May heaven preserve the honest sentiment. Nothing can exceed the abuse upon honest men and measures which has for these two years past been disgorged from our presses, but The scriblers have gone too far and their weapons are turned against themselves Hamilton has this day given the public his last number of The Defence of the treaty. It will make a valuable volume. I hope you have received the numbers I sent. You will have the rest by this oportunity and as soon as the whole is published in a volume I will transmit it to you. Randolphs Defence of his resignation may excite some curious reflections. The intercepted letter shows what we have to depend on
Our State Legislature commenced their session on the 4 inst and It gives me great satisfaction to find the three branches for the first time united in the support of Federal measures.2 I rejoice to see this State assuming her proper rank and throwing off the shackles of Clinton and his adherents This moment I have seen Mr Van Rensalaer who informs me he left you well in July He was taken and carried into Halifax where all his private letters were opened except one from Thos which he gave me Thus you see the British continue their civilities.3
With sincere affection I am / your brother
[signed] Chas Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “John Quincy Adams Esqr / Minister Resident from The United States / of America / at / The Hague”; endorsed by TBA: “Charles Adams Esqr: / 6 Jany 1796 / 18 March Recd. at Hague”; and by JQA: “3. May. recd: at London. / 10 do: Ansd:.”
1. While not yet definitely acknowledged, the possibility of George Washington’s retirement was certainly under discussion in New York at this time. The New York Journal, 16 Dec. 1795, for instance, reported that Camillus—generally believed to be Alexander Hamilton—had openly stated in court “that the President intends to resign.
2. John Jay, the Federalist governor of New York, was inaugurated on 1 July, and Federalists had retained control of both houses of the New York legislature following the spring elections (Young, Democratic Republicans, p. 440, 441).
3. For Robert Van Rensselaer’s visit with JQA and TBA in Europe, see vol. 10:410. Van Rensselaer sailed back to the United States in the ship Olive Branch, which was captured by the British and taken to Halifax (Catharina V. R. Bonney, comp., A Legacy of Historical Gleanings, 2d edn., 2 vols., Albany, N.Y., 1875, 1:122). The letter from TBA to CA has not been found.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0060

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-01-06

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Mother.

I have the receipt of two Letters from you to acknowledge; the one bearing date September 15. and the other October 8. of the year which has just been added to the rolls of departed Time. For both these Letters please to accept my cordial thanks. As the principal subject of them relates to the Treaty, which brought me here, they are not susceptible of a lengthy answer from me.— The part which as you observe I have to act upon the occasion is indeed trivial enough, and I find myself with respect to Mr: Jay, something like the candlesnuffer to Garrick, in Peter Pindar.

“The Boards of Drury, you and I have trod.”1

But insignificant as my part in the business is, I have the most unequivocal symptoms, that it is gathering the rays of Envy from various quarters; they will centre upon your son with no common malignity, unless he be speedily removed to the less conspicuous station which he previously held.— It is a thing almost unaccountable to me, that sensible men, and above all that ambitious men should see with such sentiments, a situation which in my mind is at present both aukward and embarassing.— It seems to be a proverbial opinion, that to be an object of Envy, is a desirable and a pleasant thing.— But I have no such wish, and on the contrary desire to avoid it as much as possible. One of the most predominant ingredients in my composition is the love of ease, and I therefore dread the necessity of having to contend, even defensively, with ardent, eager, intriguing, or violent men. To all this however a Man must make up his mind in political existence as much as to sickness or death in natural life. It is a sort of trial, which I would fain escape or at least postpone.
The opinion expressed in the quotation of your letter, coming from a quarter so highly respectable, was as grateful to my feelings, as you could have expected; but let me once more repeat, my dear mother, that the energy, and warmth of approbation, which has been so liberally bestowed in all my late family letters from America, really alarm me. My father especially sometimes hardly remembers what a corrupter praise is. I expect indeed to have the other side of the question in the newspapers before long; but if my sins are there visited only upon myself, I shall be better proof against that.
{ 126 }
I have now been here almost two months; in a character so differing from the common diplomatic course as to have produced various circumstances more or less ridiculous.— I believe that some of the good souls in administration here, have been led to think me a good sort of man; and as Sir Toby Belch says “one that adores them.—”2 They have therefore, especially on my first arrival been liberal of their polite condescension, a species of treatment, which I have endeavoured to convince them that I did not deserve, and would not receive. That they have had the gift of pleasing me, is more than I will vouch for, and if they meant to shew me that I had possessed that of pleasing them, they have been very clumsy in the art of complimenting.3
I wish I could find it in my heart to think better of them; because when a man means to shew civility, I do not love to meet it with contempt, or to suspect its motives. That I had a certain merit in their estimation, for political opinions which they attributed to me, I have every reason to believe. But I believe also that they imagined I should set an higher value upon their estimation, than I do: they supposed that I should be flattered by their notice, and in an enthusiasm of gratitude should perhaps be very compliant.
I hope to have no further occasion to discover either my compliance or my obstinacy to them. But they are not men with whom it is likely that I can ever readily agree. They are not more likely to agree with me, and I have abundance of reasons to suppose that I could do very little good here by negotiation. I am convinced that Mr: Jay did every thing, that was to be done; that he did so much, affords me a proof of the wisdom with which he conducted the business, that grows stronger the more I see.— But circumstances will do a great deal more than any negotiator. The pride of Britain itself must bend to the course of Events. The rigour of her system already begins to relax, and one year more of War to her, and of Peace to us, will be more favourable to our interest, and to the final establishment of our principles, than could possibly be, twenty years of negotiation or of War.
Since I sat down to this Letter, Scott has arrived, but I have yet received no Letters.4 Perhaps my friends chuse to wait untill they can write more pleasing intelligence. I am obliged to put up with here a scrap and there a scrap of information that I pick up from persons arriving from America, and it is not always such as may be depended on.
You may suppose that with the business I have on hand, the { 127 } letters I am obliged to write and copy, without any assistance, and the usual portion of time that must be dedicated to forms and to civility, my leisure moments are not very numerous.— About once a week I frequent one of the Theatres, but find in general that representations of mere parade and shew, are so much preferr’d to those of Sentiment, Passions, or Manners that I do not always meet with the entertainment which might be the most pleasing to myself.— The taste for painting continues to be as prevalent here as it has ever been. The splendid editions of Shakespear, and of Hume’s History, now publishing, you have often heard of. The original paintings from which the plates destined to adorn these works are to be taken, are exhibited to the public in Galleries, called the Shakespear, and the Historic Gallery. I have seen them both, and was very highly gratified particularly with the first: The Collection is much more numerous, and in my opinion much superior in point of Execution, to the other. The introduction of elegant plates, seems to be more proper for compositions of imagination and fiction, than for the sober dignity of the Historian. Many of the Historic Pieces are by Opie, the friend and protegé of Peter Pindar; they have repeated to me the lesson of placing small dependence upon the applause of friendship however eminent.— Mr: Opie’s performances are upon the whole below mediocrity.
The most indifferent things of the Shakespear Gallery, are those in which the Painters have endeavoured to follow the Poet into the worlds of his own creation. So long as they only copy, the imitation is beautiful; but when they attempt to manage such machines, as his Fairies, his Spirits and his Witches, they sink in helpless weakness under their weight. A Scene in the Midsummers Nights Dream, by one of the most eminent artists, instead of the fine frenzy of the Poet has given only the nauseous incoherencies of a sick man’s dream; and the witches of Macbeth, by Reynolds himself are not entirely clear from the same observation.— But there is a Death of Cardinal Beaufort, by Reynolds, an Ophelia by West, a Richard and Mortimer and a Hubert and Arthur by Northcote, a Ghost of Hamlet by Fuseli, a Cassandra by Romney, and indeed many others the merit of which must be acknowledged and felt by every beholder whether ignorant or connoisseur; I have no pretensions to the latter character, but by judging merely from effect, I believe the simple taste of nature is not more easily pleased than the more accurate perception of science.5
These are the only curiosities that I have visited in my present { 128 } residence here: excepting the Panorama; a species of exhibition remarkable only from its first impression, and the novelty of a singular optical illusion produced merely by a particular arrangement of admission and exclusion to light. The thing has been shewn in America by Mr: Savage, and its nature is probably well known to you.6
My paper as usual brings me to a close, leaving me only room to request my remembrance, to all my good friends and relations at Quincy and Weymouth, and to assure you that I remain with customary duty and affection, your Son
[signed] John Q. Adams.7
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs: Adams.”; endorsed: “J Q A Janry 6 1796.” FC-Pr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 131. Tr (Adams Papers).
1. Peter Pindar, “Farewell Odes to the Royal Academicians, for the Year 1786,” Ode X, line 43. In the poem, the “Man of Rags” informs the actor David Garrick, when Garrick asks what part the other played in Hamlet at the Drury Lane Theatre, “‘Lord!’ quoth the Fellow, ‘think not that I mock: / When you play’d Hamlet, Sir, I play’d the Cock.’”
2. Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, Act II, scene iii, lines 195–196.
3. When JQA first arrived in London, George Hammond, undersecretary for foreign affairs, played off their previous acquaintanceship to attempt to curry favor with JQA and split him away from his colleague William Allen Deas. Likewise, British foreign minister Lord Grenville made a point of attempting to flatter JQA by addressing him as minister plenipotentiary, instead of minister resident, and of leaving off JQA’s association with The Hague to imply a position as U.S. minister to Britain. Grenville also arranged for JQA to be invited to various official receptions and royal levees. JQA tried to set the record straight on his diplomatic position but ended up offending Grenville and the British court in the process (Bemis, JQA, 1:71, 77–78). See also D/JQA/24, 25, 27 Nov., 1, 11 Dec. 1795, 13, 14 Jan. 1796, APM Reel 27.
4. Capt. James Scott and the Minerva reached Deal on 5 Jan. and Falmouth by the 6th (London Evening Mail, 4–6 Jan.; London Daily Advertiser, 6 Jan.). See also JA to JQA, 17 Nov. 1795, and note 5, above.
5. For the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery, see Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 3, above. As JQA notes, the gallery included works by the Swiss-born Henry Fuseli and British artists Joshua Reynolds, George Romney, Benjamin West, James Northcote (1746–1831), and John Opie (1761–1807), who had been mentored and promoted by John Wolcot (Peter Pindar) (Richard D. Altick, Paintings from Books: Art and Literature in Britain, 1760–1900, Columbus, Ohio, 1985, p. 45; Oxford Art Online).
The Historic Gallery, located on Pall Mall, was established by Robert Bowyer as part of his plan to produce an illustrated edition of David Hume’s History of England. Bowyer, himself a painter, saw this project as a way to demonstrate that “historic painting is not less congenial to our clime than the rest of the fine arts.” The gallery closed in the early nineteenth century because of a lack of funds (Robert Bowyer, Elucidation of Mr. Bowyer’s Plan for a Magnificent Edition of Hume’s History of England, London, 1795, p. 3–11, 31–32; David Hughson, London, 6 vols., London, 1805–1809, 4:333–334).
6. JQA saw two panoramas on 4 Jan. 1796, one of London and the other of the fleet of Adm. Richard Howe, Earl Howe, as it was aligned on 1 June 1794 before its confrontation with the French. The American artist Edward Savage, who had spent time in London in the early 1790s, had displayed a panorama of London and Westminster in Philadelphia in July 1795 (D/JQA/24, APM Reel 27; DNB; Charles Henry Hart, Edward Savage: Painter and Engraver, Boston, 1905, p. 8–9).
7. One day later JQA wrote a short note to JA covering an enclosure of newspapers. JQA commented that negotiations with the British would not move forward until Thomas Pinckney returned to London, and that there was little to report from Europe (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0061

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

“And Midas now neglected Stands

With Asses ears and dirty hands.[”]2

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0062

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

Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Sister—

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0063

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0064

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

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

“If plagues and Earthquakes break not heavens design

Why then a Paine or Jacobine?”3

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

“These are the Men who fiercely burn

Your constitution to overturn

To blast the Sages of Your Choice

They weild the pen, and Ply the voice”4

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0065

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0066

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0067

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0068

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

Thomas Boylston Adams to Joseph Pitcairn

[salute] Dear Sir.

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0069

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

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

No 1 for the year 96

[salute] my Dear son

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0070

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0071

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

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My Dear Brother.

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0072

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0073

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0074

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

Charles Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Mother

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0075

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

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

Search We the Spot which mental power contains?

Go where Man gets his living by his Brains.4

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0076

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

John Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] Dear son

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

The Man to Titles and to Riches born

Amid the World of science how forlorn!

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

Heavens what an Ideot gape & Ideot stare!

Though Lord of millions, gilt with Titles o’er

A Statue in a Library!—no more!

Search We the Spot which mental Power contains!

Go where Man gets his living by his Brains.1

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0077

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

I am not averse

From Kingly cares if Jove appoint me Such.2

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0078

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0079

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0080

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams Smith

[salute] Dear Mrs. Smith:

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0081

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

Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Sister

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0082

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

Charles Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0083

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0084

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0085

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

John Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] Dear son

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0086

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0087

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

Abigail Adams to Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody

[salute] My Dear sister

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

With Goodness fraught, with animation Warm,

To inspire our actions, dignify our mien

Gild every hour and beautify each scene

Tis those perfections of superiour kind

The Moral Beauties which adorn the mind

Tis those enchanting Sounds mellifuous hung

In words of Truth and kindness on our Tongues

Tis delicacy gives those Charms new Worth

And calls the Loveliness of Beauty forth,

Tis the mild influence beaming from the Eye

“Like vernal sun-beams round cerulean skies”

With minds embellish’d and with Hearts refin’d

{ 174 }

Tis ours to act, in still sequester’d life

The glorious parts of Parent, Friend and wife,

To soothe our partners, and divide their cares

Calm raging pain, delay the parting Breath,

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

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0088

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0089

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

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

“On Eagles Wings immortal Scandles fly,

Whilest Virtuous actions, are but born & Dye”1

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0090

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0091

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

And for the Day of trial is at hand

With the whole fortunes of a Mighty land

Are stakd on thee, and all their weal or woe

Must from thy good, or thy misconduct flow;

Have You Familiar with Your Nature grown

And are You Fairly to yourself made known?

and can You acquire influence sufficent as the Poet further describes

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

To make weak Faction’s discontented band

Detected, weak and Crumbling to decay

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

Like brethren, in the self same intrests warm’d

Like diff’rent bodies, with one soul informd

To Make a Nation, Nobly raisd above

All meaner thoughts, grow up in common Love;

To give the Laws Due vigour, and to hold

That Sacred balance, temperate, Yet bold

With such an equal hand that those who fear

May yet approve, and own thy Justice clear;

To be a common Father, to Secure

The weak from voilence, from Pride the poor

To make fair plenty through the Land increase

Give Fame in War, and happiness in Peace”1

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0092

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

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Mother.

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0093

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Deares Friend

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

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

Which conscience tells him, he hath broke himself”2

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0094

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0095

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0096

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

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

“All envy power in others, and complain

of that which they would perish to obtain”6

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0097

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0098

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

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Mother.

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

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

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0099

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

Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Sister

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0100

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

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] my Dear son

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

O Might Reflection, Folly’s place Supply

Would she one moment use her pierceing Eye

Then might she learn what woe from Ruling springs

And learn to pitty, not to Envy xxxxx—3

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

“The Damask roses blooming in her face

Alass too soon shall wither and decay,

{ 196 }

And Natures hand that gave the glowing Grace

that very hand shall take it soon away;

Yet while he plants the wrinkles on her Brow

And plucks the flowing Auburn from her Head

Superiour Beauties shall old Time bestow

And give the Virtues in the Graces stead”5

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0101

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0102

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0103

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

What gave great Villiers to th’ Assassins Knife

And fix’d disease on Harleys closing Life?

What murder’s Wentworth and what exil’d Hyde

By Kings protected and to Kings ally’d?

What but their Wish indulged in Courts to shine

And Power too great to keep or to resign?5

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0104

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0105

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0106

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0107

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0108

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

Abigail Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] my Dear Thomas.

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

“And Midas now neglected Stands

With Asses Ears, and Dirty Hands.[]

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0109

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0110

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

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

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

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0111

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0112

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0113

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0114

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0115

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

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Mother

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0116

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

Charles Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0117

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

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My Dear Brother.

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0118

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0119

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0120

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

John Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My Dear son

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0121

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0122

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0123

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

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother.

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0124

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0125

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0126

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0127

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

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My Dear son

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0128

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

John Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams