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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 11


Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0251

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0252

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

John Quincy Adams to Joshua Johnson

[salute] Dear Sir.

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0253

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

John Quincy Adams to Louisa Catherine Johnson

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0254

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

Louisa Catherine Johnson to John Quincy Adams

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0255

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

Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody to Abigail Adams

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0256

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0257

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0258

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

Ruth Hooper Dalton to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Madam

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0259

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

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

“the Event we hope will

Unite the Roses Red and White together

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

My Authority for the Author of Aurelias, was William Shaw who going one Day into Nancreeds Book store saw a young Gentleman correctting the press. Nancreed introduced him to William as the Writer of Aurelias and gave him one of the Books; notwithstanding this, he may only, as he has on former occasions for our son be the Channel only, to convey & foster the ospring of an other.2
You ask me what I think of comeing on in Feb’ry? I answer that I had rather not if I may be excused. I have not for Many Years enjoyd so good Health as this Winter. I feel loth to put it to risk by passing a spring in Philadelphia. I know not what is to be Done. I think an inventory ought to be taken of what belongs to the United States a House ought to be provided and furnishd in such a Manner as they chuse, or a Committe appointed to Do it, if a sum Should be granted for the purpose. I desire to have nothing to Do with it. there are persons who know what is both necessary & proper. if this is Done I should not be against going to assist in the arrangement of the Household.
I will make the necessary inquiry respecting a Carriage and write you word as soon as I can obtain information. my old Chariot, I have purchased Runners and put it on. Dr Tufts Says it must never be hung again. it has long been too shaby for use. I was beholden to My Neighbours for a conveyance before I got them. it answers very well for that purpose. the Sleighing is remarkable fine and has been so for more than a Month. I have had one Succession of visiters & company, more than for any two years past. every Body who ever knew one comes to pay compliments & visit who would not have been so forward perhaps . . . .3 a little prematurely too, but it shews their good wishes.
I see no prospect of the fall of any article. Grain is as high as ever and all West India articles risen beyond bounds. Such Sugars as were purchased last Winter at 12 Dollors pr hundred are now 18. Loaf Sugar 2/6 pr pd. Tea Coffe Chocolat risen in proportion. at this rate we must be Starved if the House of Reps have not a sense of Justice before their Eyes.
{ 501 }
What is to be Done with our places? I have not advertized, nor have I seen Vinton or French since you went away. Burrel I believe will stay on if we find him a yoke oxen & cart. he has not had a Drop of water since last july. Billings is getting steady. he had but a Small flight this last time, but he wants his Money as fast as he earns it
I have been so much hindred by company that I have not been able to write for these ten Days only one short Letter to you.
I took up the Note and Destroyd it.
I inclose You a Letter from an old Friend it contains some just sentiments.4 I need not say to you how necessary it is to lay ones finger upon their Lips—and to be upon our gaurd with all foreign Characters, and most domestick ones— I want to acquire an habit of silence, or of saying unimportant things.
We have had a Wedding in our Family too in the last week which has occupied some part of my Time. Nancy Adams was married on thursday last, and to Day the New married pair dinned with me.5 Mr and Mrs Shaw are here upon a visit to keep Sabbeth with me, and desire their Respects to you— I am Sitting up after all are a bed to write you that tomorrows post may not go without a Letter. you will write me and inform me what I must Do, or what you wish— Cabot says I must go on or all the Wheels will Stand Still, but I know better.—
Yours most affectly
[signed] Abigail Adams
return the Letter when read
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. Jan. 15 / Ansd 23. 1797.”
1. A summary of Thomas Jefferson’s letter to James Madison, for which see JA to AA, 1 Jan., and note 1, above, appeared in the Boston Columbian Centinel on 14 January. The quotation is derived from Shakespeare’s King Richard III, Act 5, scene v, lines 19–22: “We will unite the White Rose and the Red. / Smile heaven upon this fair conjunction, / That long have frown’d upon their enmity! / What traitor hears me, and says not amen?”
2. Paul Joseph Guerard de Nancrede, a bookseller and stationer whose business was located at 49 Marlborough Street in Boston (Thwing Catalogue, MHi).
3. Ellipsis in MS.
4. Probably Elbridge Gerry to AA, 7 Jan., above.
5. JA’s niece Ann Adams married Capt. Josiah Bass on 12 January.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0260

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-01-16

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I went Yesterday to hear Dr Priestley, in the Philosophical Hall of the University and there I met unexpectedly with Dr Euwing and Dr { 502 } Andross or Andrews.1 Euwing Seems paralytic and falling very fast. The Drift of the Discourse was to shew the Superiour moral Tendency of the Jewish and Christian Religions, to that of all the Pagan Rituals ancient and modern.2
The Weather is moderated. I hope to find a Letter from you this Morning when I go to the senate.
Inclosed is a List of the best natured Toasts I ever read.3 They were Sent me in a Baltimore Paper. They are peculiarly indulgent to me, as they allow me, Salmon & Lobster in Addition to Hog, Homminy, Mush, Milk and Cider. There is no Malice in any of them. An Old Fielder is a tough hardy laborious little Horse, that Works very hard and lives upon very little. very Useful to his Master at small Expence.
Priestly has written something in answer to Volneys Ruins of Empires, which has been more universally read in England than any of his Writings.4
I begin to long for Letters from the Hague. Our next must be important.
It is not probable, that Dr Wests Year 1796 has wholly Stripped the Pope of his Temporalities.
The French People in this Country, Seem to be disappointed and a little confounded, at the Strong Ground which has been taken by the People of this Country in Consequence of Mr Adets Note. There have been no Signs of dismay, except among the Quakers and a few weak merchants in Philadelphia, at the time of the Election.
I, am affectionately and perpetually / your faithful
[signed] J. A5
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “Janry 16. 1797.”
1. Rev. John Andrews (1746–1813), University of Pennsylvania 1765, was ordained as an Episcopal clergyman in London in 1767; he was appointed professor of moral philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania in 1789 and served as provost from 1810 to 1813 (Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, University of Pennsylvania; Its History, Influence, Equipment and Characteristics, 2 vols., Boston, 1901–1902, 1:260).
2. On 15 Jan. 1797 Joseph Priestley preached a sermon on “The Moral Design of Revelation” that included quotations from Psalms, Proverbs, the Gospels, and the Epistles relating to the morality of Revelation. The sermon, along with six others Priestley gave in Philadelphia in early 1797, was published there in March as the second volume of Discourses Relating to the Evidences of Revealed Religion, Evans, No. 32715 (Robert E. Schofield, The Enlightened Joseph Priestley: A Study of His Life and Work from 1773 to 1804, University Park, Penn., 2004, p. 381, 382). For the first volume of Priestley’s Discourses, see JA to AA, 5 March 1796, note 4, above.
3. Not found.
4. The third edition of Priestley’s Observations on the Increase of Infidelity, Phila., 1797, included as a subtitle To Which Are Added, Animadversions on the Writings of Several Modern Unbelievers, and Especially the Ruins of Mr. Volney. Priestley informed his readers that Constantin François Volney bore “such { 503 } evident marks of prejudice” against Christianity that Priestley considered his writings on religion ineffectual. Both men were living in Philadelphia at the time, and Priestley wanted to provoke Volney into a debate. Priestley sent a copy of Observations to Volney and stated that “it will be in his power to notice any mistake that he shall think I may have made with respect to his opinions” (p. xviii–xix, 142, Evans, No. 32721; Elizabeth M. Geffen, Philadelphia Unitarianism, 1796–1861, Phila., 1961, p. 50).
The Frenchman responded with Volney’s Answer to Doctor Priestley, published in Philadelphia in March, in which he replied, “The question between us is not of a very urgent nature: the world would not go on less well with or without my answer as with or without your book” (p. 3, Evans, No. 33140).
5. In a second letter of the same date, JA hinted at continuing stories of electioneering. He also mentioned a meeting with Col. Jeremiah Wadsworth and recounted Wadsworth’s opinions of French sentiment toward the United States in light of Pierre Auguste Adet’s note (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0261

Author: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1797-01-17

Louisa Catherine Johnson to John Quincy Adams

I have recieved your very decisive letter of 20th December, which has astonished and mortified me so much, that I can scarcely believe you recollected to whom you were writing—
You seem to complain of a want of confidence on my part, and tell me it is what you have repeatedly solicited and what you again think it necessary to recommend— Surely you cannot imagine the authoritative stile of your letter, at all calculated to inspire this confidence did I even know what you mean by it, I am very sorry to discover that we have not perfectly understood each other and to find it requisite to demand an explanation.
In regard to what I said respecting our visit to Holland, you appear to have indulged unnecessary apprehensions. I have cautiously avoided repeating the hint, though my kind and honored Parents, anxious for our mutual happiness, occasioned too by a letter to my father wherein you say, “In consequence of his departure for America you shall be compelled to relinquish the hopes so fondly raised, and which were so essential to your future happiness,[]1 generously told me that his affairs might oblige him to quit England, and if it would tend in any degree to alleviate my distress, offered to embark from thence that we might have the satisfaction of meeting once more, which satisfaction I fondly and foolishly imagined would have been mutual— had my hopes been such as your fears have magnified in my wish of seeing you in Holland, your rejection might have been softened by a declaration on your part, of the probable time of our continued seperation, the die is however cast, I go to America, you to your embassy, where I ardently pray the great disposer of events, { 504 } to grant that peace to your bosom which mine has, and will be long a stranger to untill that period arrives which will prove, that “I am as incapable of betraying affection or slighting engagements as of breaking a determination decidedly adopted”— In this sentiment I am proud to acknowledge myself as firm as you—
Do not suppose that this letter proceeds from any change in my affection— no my best friend rather esteem it a proof of the sincerity of my attachment. rest assured that the woman who is capable of calmly submiting to recieve such a letter without asserting sufficient spirit to answer it, is not cannot be worthy your esteem—
I have been very much surprized at the frequent repetition of the words suspicion and distrust in your last and several of your former letters, I cannot concieve what you mean by them or to what you allude— I certainly have never given you cause to make use of these very kind and tender expressions, heaven knows I have never doubted your affection, and I cannot concieve why you should suspect mine, never could I for one moment suppose you capable of betraying affection or slighting engagements, and I know you too well to doubt, your ever varying from a purpose deliberately formed and decidedly adopted— But why write to me in this stile? did I ever give you reason to believe I feared your betraying my affection? is it my too great anxiety to see you that has created this suspicion and distrust? surely surely no, it cannot be. you have too high an oppinion of yourself, and I trust not so contemptible a one of me, as to suffer yourself to harbour an idea so derogatory to my feelings so unjust to your own merit—
Never my friend may we meet while there is a doubt on either side, for it would too surely prove a source of endless misery to us both—
Your letter has caused me such real uneasiness, that I think myself obliged to be very clear and explicit on a subject which you must be covinced is so very important to our future happiness—
Perhaps I have too severely felt the pontive commanding stile of your letter, from being totally unacquainted with any thing of the sort. you mention the tender indulgence I have always experienced from my family at the moment you are writing so unkindly—
I have endeavored to discover by retracing my conduct, what part of it can have given rise to a manner so very different from what I have always recieved I confess it has been vain, unless my affection has been too warmly expressed, my love too candidly avowed—
You quote a part of my letter of July 25th in which I request you { 505 } not to see me unless I am permited to accompany you to Lisbon you then say you do not charge me with inconsistency when I express a wish to meet you once more before our embarkation surely the case is very different, I had not then encouraged the slightest hope of attending you, therefore should not have been disappointed. your answer led me to believe I should go with you, which belief most of your succeeding letters tended to confirm. I was prepared to recieve you with the fondest expectation, when instead of beholding you, my best and dearest friend, I encountered that cruel disappointment, and all my illusive dreams of happiness immediately vanished. I was ill. I could not bear this trial with the calmness and patience I ought to have exerted, and thought if I could see you but for a few days, I should acquire fortitude and resignation to endure our lengthened seperation. but even this was not enough. you my beloved friend to whom I looked for every indulgence, from whom I least expected unkindness, I must say have added to the poignancy of my distress, by the peremptory harshness so evidently displayed throughout your letter—
I had flattered myself from a letter I recieved on a former occasion, I should have escaped the pain attending explanations of this nature. Yet while I think it a duty incumbent on myself to declare my opinion with the utmost candour my heart revolts at the necessity, and feels too sensibly how much it will wound you—
The generosity of your sentiments charm and delight me, they are a proof of the goodness of your heart, and of that honor it is my glory to see you possess—
I understand that your father is elected President, by a majority of five votes. I congratulate you with pleasure, as it is a mark of distinction which is highly flattering. though I own I think it dearly purchased at the present crisis of affairs—
Adieu, that every happiness may await you, is the constant and heartfelt prayer of your truely and sincerely faithful,
[signed] Louisa C. Johnson
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “L. C. J. / 17. Jany: 1797. / 29. do: recd: / 31. do: Ansd:.”
1. LCA is paraphrasing from JQA to Joshua Johnson, 9 Nov. 1796, where JQA wrote that as Johnson was “under a like necessity of going to America early in the Spring, I apprehend I shall be compelled to acquiesce in the necessity of postponing untill my own return to America those arrangements which I had hoped might be settled at an earlier period, and upon which the happiness of my future life will essentially depend” (Adams Papers). For a summary of the letter, see JQA to LCA, 12 Nov., note 1, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0262

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-01-18

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I recd, Yesterday by the Post, the inclosed Letter, which excites a hope of more by the Same Ship.1
There is a curious Mass of matter in fermentation at this Time. The French and Spaniards are as injurious as ever the English have been. Washington retires and his Sucessor will have but a majority of three Votes at most. and as if, it were to irritate every feeling nerve a Land Tax must be discussed, at this moment and the Debtor States must be called on for their ballances.2 The People of America, must awake out of their golden dreams, consider where they are, and what they are about. The foolish Idolatry of France and Paine which Russells Paper, has encouraged as much as any other, has brought Us into Snares and dangers which We might have avoided. We must assume more Decorum than to run after foreign Ministers as if We were their Slaves or Subjects. The Ignorance in which our People will keep themselves of the true Character of the french Nation in general and of their present Government as well as all their former Governments Since the Revolution, is astonishing.
I must wade through all these Difficulties or be overpowered by them. And if the Case should happen that I should get Safely or even tryumphantly through, it will be forgotten in one month that I had any hand in it—judging of the future by the past.—
Oh no! it will not be forgotten. My Friends will remember it— Ay and my Ennemies too. They remember too well, for their comfort tho they deny.
Mr Jay, if I mistake not, will be a glorious Being in this Country before very long.
Mr Volney talks a bolder and freer Language about French affairs than I Should expect. He Says the Directory will be changed for one Director and be chosen for ten Years, which he considers, as for perpetuity. He Says all the Members of the Constituant Assembly in 1789 will be elected into the Legislature at the next Election. &c &c—3 This I have from Mr Burr, who wonders at it. What would I give to Spend / the Evening at your fireside
[signed] J. A4
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A.”; endorsed: “Janry 18 1797.” For the enclosure, see note 4, below.
1. For JQA’s 25 Nov. 1796 letter to JA, see JQA to AA, 14 Nov., note 7, above.
2. On 5 Dec. 1793 the Commissioners of Accounts issued a report to Congress { 507 } declaring that six states—New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina—owed a combined total of $3,517,584 to the federal government. Three years later, on 20 Dec. 1796, Joshua Coit, a representative from Connecticut, presented a resolution to the House of Representatives directing the Committee of Ways and Means to investigate the debts. On 26 Dec. William Smith presented to the House the report of the committee showing that the total due to the U.S. government from the six debtor states (including interest) on 1 Jan. 1797 would amount to $4,502,507.52. Smith also submitted two resolutions: one requesting the president to inform the debtor states of the amounts they currently owed, and the second asking the president to accept payments from the states in the same form as the creditor states had been previously paid. On 5 Jan. the House agreed to the resolutions; however, Congress was unwilling to pressure the debtor states to pay, and only New York, which had the largest debt, paid off a small amount of the money it owed, via the construction of state fortifications (Amer. State Papers, Miscellaneous, 1:69; Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 2d sess. p. 1691, 1805–1806, 1810; Amer. State Papers, Finance, 1:479; Richard Hildreth, The History of the United States of America: From the Adoption of the Federal Constitution to the End of the Sixteenth Congress, 1788–1821, rev. edn., vol. 1, Administration of Washington, 1789–1797, N.Y., 1871, p. 494). For the land tax, see AA to JA, 6 Feb., and note 2, below.
3. Constantin François Volney’s predictions were not accurate. In the spring 1797 elections for the French legislature only 11 of the approximately 200 former members up for reelection were chosen, and 228 of the new members had no previous political experience. The policy of having five directors remained in place until Napoleon’s Nov. 1799 coup (Cambridge Modern Hist., 8:506, 678, 679; William Doyle, The Oxford History of the French Revolution, Oxford, 1989, p. 329).
4. JA enclosed an article from the Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 21 Dec. 1796, which stated that George Washington had resigned because he knew he would not be reelected and that he feared the Democratic-Republicans would vote for JA as president and make Washington assume the lowly position of vice president. JA wrote horizontally along the left side of the article: “of all the Devilism in Bache’s Paper this is the most diabolical.” The following day JA again wrote to AA, enclosing Ruth Hooper Dalton’s 14 Jan. 1797 letter to her, above, and noting he had received a letter from Col. Samuel Griffin congratulating JA on his election and seeking a place for a relative as JA’s private secretary. JA also commented on French affairs, the consequences of which he believed “will come up after the 4 of March, and stare at me” (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0263

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Smith, William Stephens
Date: 1797-01-18

John Adams to William Stephens Smith

[salute] Dear Sir

I Received yesterday your kind Letter of the 13th and Return you and yours the Compliments of the Season and Thanks of your Congratulations on the Probability of a Cartain Election1 the felicities or infelicities of what Events however are Hidden from our Vew by that impenetrable Veil which Covers Futurity the Prospect at Present is not very bright a Country Impotent at Sea tho Powerful at Land indignantly Sees itself Injured with Circumstances of Contempt and Insolence by more Then one foreign Nation and will hardly be Persuaded to bleive That it is not more or less the fault of thair Government Tho that Should be administered with all the zeal Diligence Fidelity and Skill that its administraters Profess if I am in, I Cannot retreat and indeed I would not if I Could for I May as will mount a breach as another and if it falls to my Lot it will not be my { 508 } fault and I will rely on the Spirit and Resources of my Country—and the Blesing of Providence I have alredey as Good a Coach as I wish and as I must have a Chareat I have ingaged a Good one here in Case I Should want it I want two Pair of Bay Horses and have written to Mr Abraham Hunt of Trinton and mr Drake of Brunswick Mr Hunt whose answer I have Received Cannot at Present Supply me from mr Drake I have no answer2 if you Hear of one or more Pairs I Should be Glad you would inform me of them and thair Prices
I am not able to Say that Little Suzen is the Greatest beauty I Ever See But I know I have two Charming Little Grand Daughters both of wich appear beautiful in my Eyes they are both “fine Crosses” your kind wishes for my Success and Prosperity are Very Obliging and are Returned by mine for yours the Socratic3 Philosophy, the Roman Empire the Christian Religion all great things Have begun by being Despised our Nation began in Contempt and altho it Punished that offence in one Nation it is not yet Sufficiently Respected
I hope we Shall not have to make another Nation Repent of her insolence at So great an Expence of Blood Treasure Labour— I am Sir affectionate yours
LbC in Samuel Bayard Malcom’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Col. Smith.”; APM Reel 117. This is the first letter in Lb/JA/29 and the first transcribed by Samuel Bayard Malcom, who began serving as JA’s private secretary in mid-February. Beginning at that time, he copied JA’s public letters from this one forward. For Malcom, see AA to JA, 30 Jan., note 6, below.
1. Not found.
2. No correspondence has been found between JA and Abraham Hunt (1740–1821), a prominent merchant of Trenton, N.J., who had facilitated horse purchases for George Washington. JA’s original letter to James Drake, not found, was sent by mistake to Quincy, where AA forwarded it to the post office. In a 23 Feb. letter to Drake, JA offered Drake $600 for a pair of horses and then enclosed payment in a letter of 18 April. Drake was likely the proprietor of the Indian Queen Tavern in New Brunswick, N.J. (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 3:245, 12:280; AA to JA, 30 Jan., below; Parke-Bernet Galleries, Sale No. 40, 11 May 1938, item 40; LbC, APM Reel 117; William H. Benedict, “Early Taverns in New Brunswick,” Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society, new series, 3:138–139 [1918]).
3. This word is in JA’s hand.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0264

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-01-18

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Mother

A few days ago, I received a Letter from my father dated at Quincy the 28th: of October, and brought by a vessel directly from Boston. But there came with it, none from you either to my brother or to me, and my father does not mention the state of your health, so that we are much concerned about it, particularly as a Letter { 509 } from Mr: Cranch at Washington, written in September mentions by information from my aunt that you were then unwell.2 We hope to be soon relieved from our anxiety by Letters directly from yourself.
I still remain here in expectation of orders to remove; which I do not at present suppose will reach me before mid-summer ensuing. If Portugal should not be swallowed up by the alliance of a french Democracy and a Spanish Monarchy, I may perhaps reach Lisbon in the latter part of the year now commencing.
My father does not approve my projects intimated in one of my former Letters to you, of quitting the Diplomatic career; and of making a settlement in one of the Southern States.— The former of these designs I had already suspended; it was formed upon the consideration of the particular situation in which I was placed, and the remoteness in my own mind of any prospect that it would be advantageously altered.— My station was comfortable for me singly, but would not allow me the charge of a family, and it would have been certainly more eligible for me, to try once more the fortune of my own industry in my private affairs, than to chill in the torpid and comfortless solitude of a celibacy without prospect of its termination.— With regard to the public, I knew the Government might with perfect ease find many young Men, able and willing to perform all the duties of this place, and had no reason to imagine that the affairs of my Country would suffer in the smallest degree by my retirement, and I had therefore concluded, at the expiration of my third year of residence here to return home as I wrote you. A probable chance of having advantageous inducements of a settlement such as I noticed to you, had led me to contemplate that as one of the resources of futurity, and I had then no right to expect under the President at this time any diplomatic promotion. Under the next there would be two contingencies in one of which I was certain and determined never to be the subject of an appointment, and in the other I was strongly suspicious that I should not hastily receive one— Such therefore were my views when a new destination, designated to me in a manner, which it would have been culpable to disregard bound me with new obligations to continuance in the public service, and my intention to return home being of course postponed for the purpose, my views of a private settlement are also no longer the same.
Whether I shall find it in my power to make my final domestic arrangements in Europe, is not yet altogether ascertained. It is my intention upon my removal from hence to go through London, and { 510 } take my companion there; but various accidents may take place to make this design impracticable, and if so, I shall submit to the gloomy prospect of a solitary life during my future mission, like that which I am leading in the present; or even much worse, unless I can prevail upon my brother to continue with me a year or two longer in case he should not be stationed here at the time of my departure.
My father further observes to me that I need not be anxious about the succession to the Presidency, or apprehensive that any of the Candidates who have been mentioned, would pass over any rational pretension of mine to promotion. I have never had any doubt of that, though I have not been and am not yet insensible to the possibility that the Spirit of Party may intrude itself into the chair of the Union; and if so, my father knows as well as I do what I should have to expect, if it were for no other reason than my relation to him.— But I never have been anxious for Promotion, nor I trust ever shall be. Ambition is far from being a pungent Passion in my Heart, and with a strong conviction of the Vanity of all human greatness, I have been taught a sense of Independence and delicacy which will always deter me from a very fervent wish for any thing that it is in the power of man to confer or deny.— I have besides had from the Executive of the Union, promotion, beyond my merits or expectations, and if I can reasonably indulge any desire for further notice or honour from my Country, there are other constitutional and regular judges of merit and talents, clear-sighted to discover and ready to employ them, to whose suffrages I can cheerfully leave the estimation of my titles to the means of public service.
My anxieties on account of the succession to the Presidency are of a different nature and arise from other sources. They are deep, but not personal. From some of them, at least from the suspense of expectation as to the issue of the Elections I hope soon to be relieved. The mode of choice provided by the Constitution is subject to errors, accidents and questions. I shall not be altogether exempt from uneasiness on this account, untill I shall know the choice to be ascertained.
At this Season of the year, the opportunities for conveyance of Letters to America happen so seldom, that I do not expect this Letter can reach you earlier than the Month of May. Such at least is the presumption which arises from the experience of former years, and therefore it will be perhaps useless for me to give you a detail of news, which will be known long before my letter can be received. The Death of the Empress of Russia, will perhaps produce some { 511 } alteration in the political system of Europe. It was very sudden like that of almost all the crowned heads that have fallen, during the last seven years, and not one of them as it should seem so richly deserved a sudden end.—3 You will have heard of the negotiations for Peace commenced by the British Government, and broken off by the orders of the French Directory, as well as the endeavours of the same Directory to make a separate Peace with the Emperor. They have sent an Ambassador for the purpose to Vienna, but whether he has been received or refused is not certain as the reports at present are contradictory.—4 In the mean time they have been many months preparing a formidable maritime expedition from Brest, which although untill after it had sailed there was a mockery of secrecy as to its destination was long before announced in the public papers to be meant for an invasion of Ireland, to spread the holy flame of insurrection.— On the 16th: of December a fleet of about twenty ships of the line, with as many transports and twenty-five thousand men sailed from Brest.— In going out, they totally lost one Ship of 74 Guns, and the principal part of twelve hundred men embarked in it. The fleet was soon after scattered; part of them arrived on the coast of Ireland, and anchored several days in Bantry Bay at the Southern extremity of the island. At length they were driven off by the violence of a tempest; part of them have returned to Brest, and all the rest who have the good Fortune to escape the dangers of the Season, and the superior force of the British, have in all probability before this also returned: so that in every sense of the words it may properly be termed an Irish expedition.5
The fort of Kehl after a siege of two or three months is at length taken by the Austrians.6 This will probably nearly terminate the hostilities upon the Rhine untill the next Season. The situation of the French armies is not apparently advantageous. The Generals are resigning one after another; the troops are badly paid, and such is the penury of the French finances that they find it extremely difficult even to pay for the feeding of their armies. Their real situation is as distressed as their conduct is insolent.
I regret that I have not at present the opportunities to send you the interesting new English Publications, as I could while I was in London.— Though so near to that Country it is with extreme difficulty and after long delays that I can ever get any thing from thence myself. For besides the State of War which constantly impedes the intercourse, I find from a long and often repeated experience, that scarcely any thing is so rare as an attentive { 512 } correspondent. I intend soon to send several new french publications to my father, and among them a very curious work of Madame de Stael, the daughter of Mr: Necker. A Treatise upon the influence of the Passions on the happiness of individuals and of Nations.7
I remain with the tenderest duty and affection, your Son
[signed] John Q. Adams.8
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs: A. Adams.”; docketed by Louisa Catharine Smith: “January 18 ’97.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 128.
1. The LbC of this letter reads “No 25.”
2. William Cranch to JQA, 16 Sept. 1796, above.
3. Catherine the Great died on 6 Nov. at the age of 67, having ruled Russia for 34 years. JQA had written to JA on 24 June condemning Catherine’s alliance with Great Britain and her influence over other European countries. When Sweden, an ally of France, tried to provoke Great Britain into a war, the “system … was on the point of succeeding, when the Empress of Russia, interfered in her usual style by prescribing the most humiliating conditions, to which after some blustering, Sweden was compelled to submit.” JQA further noted that “the same terror of Russia controuls the Danish Cabinet, which appears inflexibly determined upon the preservation of neutrality, though they are no less indignant than ourselves at the depredations and insolence of the British” (John T. Alexander, Catherine the Great: Life and Legend, N.Y., 1989, p. 324, 325, 326; Adams Papers).
4. In November the French Directory decided to send Henri Jacques Guillaume Clarke to Vienna to propose a general armistice followed by negotiations for peace between France and Austria. While en route, Clarke received word that Emperor Francis II refused him entry to Vienna but that instead he could meet with Maurizio di Gherardini, the Austrian minister at Turin. In the meantime, the emperor charged two generals, Heinrich Josef von Bellegarde and Maximilien von Merveldt, to negotiate with Napoleon. On 7 April 1797 the three men agreed to a six-day armistice during which a Franco-Austrian peace would be negotiated. Although Napoleon had no authority from the Directory, he, Merveldt, and Marzio Mastrilli, Marquis del Gallo, the Neapolitan ambassador to Vienna and only true diplomat of the group, signed the preliminary peace treaty of Leoben, Austria, on 18 April (Biro, German Policy of Revolutionary France, 2:705, 707, 710, 712, 733, 734, 748, 750, 751; Philip G. Dwyer, Napoleon: The Path to Power, New Haven, Conn., 2008, p. 285).
5. As early as June 1796 the Directory had conceived a broad plan to invade Great Britain and launch a smaller expedition to India; however, the plan was scaled down to encompass a single invasion of Ireland with a diversionary attack on the British coast. Poor organization, communication, and training doomed the expedition, which launched on 16 Dec. when 45 French vessels, under the command of Rear Admiral Justin Bonaventure Morard de Galles, sailed from Brest. Early confusion from a course change led to the division of the fleet and the loss of one vessel. Progress was further confounded when the frigate carrying Morard de Galles was chased off course by the British, leaving the fleet without clear command. With standing instructions to reunite at Mizen Head, the fragmented flotilla entered Bantry Bay and launched a halfhearted attack with 16 vessels on 22 December. Continued bad weather forced the retreat of the remaining fleet, all of which had abandoned their orders and returned to Brest by 6 Jan. 1797 (Cambridge Modern Hist., 8:472–474).
6. The siege of Kehl lasted from Nov. 1796 to 9 Jan. 1797. French forces had captured Kehl in the fall of 1796, prompting Archduke Charles to lay siege to the fort by commandeering available guns from other Rhine fortresses. Both sides suffered heavy losses, and the French surrendered the fortress after the Austrians moved their artillery close enough to cut off French communications across the Rhine (Martin C. Dean, Austrian Policy during the French Revolutionary Wars, 1796–1799, Vienna, 1993, p. 80, 81).
7. Madame de Staël, De l’influence des passions sur le bonheur des individus et des nations, Lausanne, Switzerland, 1796. Madame de Staël argued that the main obstacles to happiness in individuals were human { 513 } passions; she believed that passionate individuals were marked for a life of pain and needed to adopt a philosophy to reduce their suffering. Yet the author offered little practical guidance, insisting instead that governments should create policies based on probability theory to increase the happiness of nations as a whole. She did not, however, believe passions should be absolutely restrained to achieve happiness (Madame de Staël, Politics, Literature, and National Character, transl. and ed. Morroe Berger, New Brunswick, N.J., 2000, p. 55, 56, 57).
8. JQA had written to JA on 14 Jan. 1797 lamenting the absence of remittances from America to the Dutch bankers, detailing James Monroe’s delivery of his letters of recall to the French Directory, and suggesting that the American government produce a document stating that the Jay Treaty did not violate any previous treaties made with France (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0265

Author: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1797-01-20

Louisa Catherine Johnson to John Quincy Adams

Almost immediately after I had dispatched my last, I recieved yours of 31st December, and was delighted to see that you were again become the tender and affectionate friend I had always found you.
All the family but me recieve letters from Boston, and Tom excuses himself by saying, it is generally supposed I am married and have accompanied you to Lisbon. he desires Mama to send him my picture, which he says will be some recompence for my loss. and informs them that Mr: and Mrs: Adams approve our union, which tends greatly to promote my happiness. he tells Mama that they have been very kind to him, that he staid a day and night at their house where they treated him with great politeness and attention, for which my friend I suppose we are indebted to you. they were very well, and expressed their satisfaction at your appointment to Portugal, which they said was placing you in a situation much beyond their expectations—
It is possible they might have wished you to resign your situation at the Hague but if they are so pleased with your new commission it is hardly probable they would desire you to relinquish that or any station so advantageous to a young man— I certainly feel myself very much interested, and most cordially wish your duty to the public, would enable you to return to your own Country— But however unacustomed to habits of reflection, I am well convinced it would be highly improper, and though it does retard my happiness and lengthen our seperation I prefer it to the painful idea of being by any thing I may have said, the cause of future uneasiness and regret— You have from being early placed in these flattering situations, insensibly acquired a taste for them, and however free you may fancy yourself from ambition, you would feel infinite mortification { 514 } when you reflected, that by resigning these you gave up the many advantages resulting from them. I will not apologize for what I have said but should you think my sentiments on this subject erroneous be kind enough to write me yours and point out my error—
You have ceased to mention the Harp— I much fear I shall never make any proficiency in this charming accomplishment as I confess I am not yet able to play one Song— I suppose this acknowledgement will make you angry, but it is the truth, and truth must not be concealed— if my friend you should be very angry reflect upon yourself, as I confess my harp has not like your Books, usurped the primary place in my heart—
I concluded my last with a hasty congratulation on your fathers being elected President of the United States being always anxious to afford you pleasure I wished to be the first to convey such pleasing intelligence I think I mentioned his being elected by a majority of five votes I have taken the enclosed from this days chronicle which will enable you to judge for yourself—1
Your friend Mr. Hall has long been very sanguine respecting your father and is become a violent politician—
Mama and Sisters desire to be affectionately remembered as does Miss Henning, though she is fearful she must write you herself to excuse her impertince,2 believe me my beloved friend with the most fervent attachment, the most tender most sincere of your friends
[signed] L. C. Johnson3
RC and enclosure (Adams Papers); addressed: “John Q. Adams Esqr. / Minister Resident at / The Hague”; endorsed: “L. C. J. / 20th: January 1797. / 1. February. recd: / 7. do: Ansd:.” For the enclosure, see note 1, below.
1. The election returns LCA enclosed were from the London Morning Chronicle, 20 Jan.; the article is affixed to the third page of the letter with red sealing wax.
2. Miss Henning was the governess of the younger Johnson daughters (LCA, D&A, 1:41).
3. JQA also wrote to LCA on this date, noting that he had written to her every week and was waiting for a response (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0266

Author: Smith, Abigail Adams
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1797-01-20

Abigail Adams Smith to John Adams

[salute] My Dear Papa:

I had the pleasure a few days since to receive your favour of the 11th inst. and was happy to hear of your health:1 the season has with us, been extremely severe, and my faculties have been, I believe, congealed by the cold. I have scarcely had any intercourse with any of my friends; and this must be my apology, for having omitted to { 515 } offer you my congratulations upon your election to the Presidency of the United States, a station in which no one can more sincerely wish you happiness, peace, and tranquility, than your daughter; but I fear that the party, who have hitherto embarrassed the President by their cabals, and who have exerted themselves to divide the election, will continue their utmost endeavours to render it as uncomfortable a situation as possible.
You will suffer much inconvenience from the absence of my mother, in the interior arrangement of your affairs.
*   *   *   *   *   *   *  
Believe me, my dear Sir, at all times, and in all situations,
Affectionately your daughter,
[signed] A. Smith.
MS not found. Printed from AA2, Jour. and Corr., 2:148–149.
1. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0267

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-01-21

Charles Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mother

Permit me to congratulate you on the return of This Season and to offer my most earnest prayers that you may live to see many revolving years in health and contentment. The event of the late Election will force you from your calm retreat to more confused and active scenes the toil incident to the situation I hope you will be able to bear and I am more sanguine in this expectation as I hear you enjoy much better health than usual. I know not what arrangement my father has made or thought of respecting his household but I suppose he will be obliged to reside the greater part of The year at The Seat of Government. I am highly gratified at the prospect of having a federal majority in the house of Representatives The next Session a house of the same complection as the present would exceedingly embarrass the operations of the Executive and surely we never stood more in need of unanimity in our Councils than at present.1 The Predatory Measures of The French exceed all that the British have committed and our situation with regard to that Nation is extremely critical. The President I see is pursuing again the system of Negotiation. Madison has talents adequate to the mission provided he will exercise them with proper honesty; but if he suffers himself to be allured into corruption by The French, as some of his venerable Predecessors have done, his talent instead of being a { 516 } blessing will only prove a curse to his Country.2 Parties seem to be reconciled with regard to the Election; but I fear it is the calm of a smothered volcano which will burst forth with redoubled violence.
We have had the most severe weather this season that I have known since I lived in this City and the price we have been obliged to give for wood is enormous I have given twenty four dollars a cord but thank heaven it is falling or we should all become bankrupt.
The absence of my Sister from the City this winter makes our society something less pleasant I have not seen her these four months I hear she and her Children are well. Mrs Adams is so much taken up with her Susan that she give no part of her time to her friends. The little thing wanted much attention for owing to the unfortunate turn of the ague which Mrs A suffered before it was born she was rather puny but by the great care of the mother my de[ar] little girl is now one of the most healthy lively infa[nt]s I ever knew. Col Smith says it is without exception the most beautiful child he ever saw. I long to have you kiss it as does my dear Sally who joins me in the sentiments of affection with which I am / your son
[signed] Chas. Adams.
RC (private owner, 1957); addressed: “Mrs Abigail Adams. / Quincy / near / Boston”; endorsed: “Charles Adams / Janry 21 1797.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. In the 4th Congress the House of Representatives was almost evenly divided, with 57 Federalist and 58 Democratic-Republican members. The 5th Congress shifted to a Federalist majority of 64 to 53 (Rudolph M. Bell, Party and Faction in American Politics: The House of Representatives, 1789–1801, Westport, Conn., 1973, p. 255–257).
2. The New York Minerva and New York Diary, both 19 Jan., reported that James Madison had been appointed envoy extraordinary to France and would soon depart. On 22 Jan. Madison wrote to Thomas Jefferson that the articles declaring his diplomatic appointment were “pure fiction.” The news was published in the Boston Columbian Centinel, 28 Jan. (Madison, Papers, Congressional Series, 16:471).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0268

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1797-01-22

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

I have not received a Line from You of a later date than the 3d Instant the last week is the only one which has past since you left me, without Letters I hope it is not oweing to any other cause than the difficulty of passing the North River. we have had this Day Something very like a snow storm. it has Bankd some tho not very deep. it is two Months tomorrow since you went away, and we have had only one part of a Day in which any Rain has fallen, and intensely cold the greater part of the Time.
{ 517 }
I have something to propose to you on the part of Your Mother. I think the remainder of her Days ought to be renderd comfortable & respectable, that she is not now in such a Situation as she ought to be placed, taking into consideration the station you will soon be call’d to fill. there is but one Grandaughter left.1 she has necessarily the whole Family care upon her which will prevent that constant care and attention which the Age and infirmities of your Mother require. She ought to have a lower Room, and not be obliged to mount up stairs, at the risk of falling. Mears has in His House a Handsome Room which I would furnish for the Good Lady, and Mrs Mears has no children and could attend alltogether to the care and necessary attention of her.2 If I should be calld away and Mears should agree to come & take care of this place we could easily remove her here. I should have proposed taking her here, but we have so little House Room and company would be urksome to her. I think she would be more agreabley placed in a Room which she should consider as her own, and with Authority to call for every assistance she wants. She told Me since the Marriage of Nancy, that if I went away, she should have nobody to take any care of her. I assured her that she might make herself easy for she should certainly be provided for to her comfort and satisfaction, and that I would not leave her untill she was. I was sure it was your desire, and that I had in my Mind Such accommodations as would make her so. if you approve of this I will propose it to her, and engage Mrs Mears to undertake the Charge, and I will see every thing Done to Make her Comfortable.
There is much talk with the Merchants upon petitioning Congress to lay an Embargo. the piracys of the French are very provoking and insulting. we have very few arrivals3 Young Beals got home last week, but was near being lost in comeing upon our coast. we appear to be quiet here. the Election of Mr A. and mr J seems to have quieted for a Time the Spirit of Party. I have not had any further advises from our sons. are there any publick Letters from them? I have read Peters censor. he is a full Blooded English Man. I want to see him craking Pains Bones.4 that Wretch has however written a Book which even the Jacobines will blush to advocate. I think he has Done his buisness in this Country. there are More Persons who will detest him for his abuse of Washington than for his infidelity— adieu My Dear Friend. I will not ask when I may hope to see you, for if you cannot come to me, I will to you, in the Month of May. I am My Dearest Friend / ever, ever Yours
[signed] A Adams—
{ 518 }
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. Jan. 22. Ansd 31 / 1797.”
1. Susanna Adams, for whom see vol. 2:309, was the youngest daughter of Peter Boylston Adams and the only one of Susanna Boylston Adams Hall’s five granddaughters who had yet to marry.
2. George Mears and his second wife, Lucy Field Mears (1767–1817), lived in a house on Quincy Square that he had built in 1790 (Sprague, Braintree Families; vol. 9:83).
3. The Massachusetts Mercury, 31 Jan. 1797, reported that “an Embargo is confidently expected to be suddenly laid on the vessels in our Ports.” The Boston Columbian Centinel, 1 Feb., however, reported that no accounts from Philadelphia mentioned an embargo: “Merchants can embargo their vessels if they please; the government, we think, will not.” On 1 March a bill authorizing the president “to lay, regulate, and revoke embargoes” during the recess of Congress was taken up by the Senate but did not pass (Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 2d sess., p. 1559–1560, 1569).
4. William Cobbett, writing as Peter Porcupine, Porcupine’s Political Censor, for December, 1796, Phila., 1796, Evans, No. 30227, included “A Letter to the Infamous Tom Paine, in Answer to His Letter to General Washington.” There, Cobbett compared lines from Thomas Paine’s Letter to George Washington with lines from Paine’s Rights of Man and Common Sense, and he informed Paine that “the effects of your letter are exactly the contrary to what it was intended to produce. There is but one thing on earth nearer to the hearts of all true Americans than their constitution, and that is, the spotless character of their chief” (p. 18).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0269

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1797-01-23

Cotton Tufts to John Adams

Our Newspapers have announced to us the Choice of a President of the United States and that it has devolved on You. I congratulate You on this Occasion. as an American I feel highly gratified—as a Friend I confess that I feel some Deduction from my pleasing Sensations, when I contemplate the Fatigue Anxiety & Vexation to which you must be expos’d; this is indeed a Misfortune annexed to every exalted Station, I will not however admit this to be of Weight sufficient to deter or prevent a great & good Man, from undertaking the arduous Task when Providence points out the Way, and a Field for the most extensive Usefulness presents itself to his View—
Your enlarged Acquaintance with the World, various & continued Employments, in the great & most important Concerns of the public, have taught You how to calculate the good and the evil incident to the highest Station, and I may add, qualified You for bearing its Burdens & discharging its Duties with the greatest Facility to yourself, and advantage to the Community—
Should You undertake the Administration of Government, You will My Dear Sr. have my most fervent Wish, that it may be attended with the greatest possible Ease, & advantage to yourself, and the greatest possible Good, to the United States of America—
Some Days since I applied at the Loan Office, for the Dividend on { 519 } your funded Stock, but could not obtain it, for want of a sufficient Power, the last which you gave me extended no farther, than to my receiving the Two Pr. Cent Principal then payable. By a Law of Congress, or order of the Secretary of the Treasury. Powers of Attorny must express an Authority to receive, “the Dividends which are or shall be payable according to Law”— The necessary Powers you will forward if you think proper—
We have had a fine Winter for Business the best of Sledding in Roads, Woods & Swamps for Five Weeks past and still continues Snow level, not exceeding 12 Inches in Depth till Yesterday & the Day before 3 Inches were added Cold in general steady, but some Days severe Viz the 24th December, My Thermometer1 in the open Air at 8 oClock in the Morning stood at 8. below 0 the 4th. of this Month at 2 below 0. the 8th. at 10 below. 0. the 9th. 8 below. 0.—
With Sentiments of Respect & Esteem / am / yours—
[signed] Cotton Tufts—
1. The remainder of the letter is written vertically in the margin.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0270

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Johnson, Joshua
Date: 1797-01-27

John Quincy Adams to Joshua Johnson

[salute] Dear Sir.

I am to thank you for your obliging favour of the 30th: of last month, which I received a few days ago.—1 I have given due attention to your observations contained in it.— If the approbation of my Countrymen were the only motive which I felt myself obliged to compare in the sacrifice of domestic happiness which I find myself obliged to make, I should not hesitate a moment in taking a different course. Dearly as I value that approbation, I am fully sensible of its uncertainty, and besides, I know it is more easily and more certainly attainable at home, in my own Country, than in any distant and foreign region. As long however as I serve the public in any official station, [the] duties of that Station, are inducements to my conduct, to which every other consideration [must] give way, and in collision with which, my domestic happiness cannot weigh the [dust] of the balance.
At the same time, if I were at Liberty to withdraw at this time from my Post, I should not find myself any more advanced at least for the present towards the object of my wishes in a domestic point { 520 } of view. My absence from home has taken from me all the benefits of my profession, nor could I expect by an immediate return to it such a support as would make it possible for me to charge myself with a family.— Time would necessarily be requisite for me to find out and improve some view of settlement, and of security for an independent maintenance, without which marriage would be at once folly and cruelty.
Since I began this Letter, I have received your favour of the 13th: together with one from your amiable daughter.2 I learn with the highest satisfaction from the latter that she has recovered her Health.
I return you many thanks for the papers and other articles which you have had the goodness to forward to me.— The Box I have not yet received but suppose it will reach me in the course of a day or two.
The french Newspapers announce that Mr: Jefferson is chosen President of the United States. From the statement of the votes in the Papers which you sent me, the circumstance appears probable.
I am with affectionate esteem, & respect Dear Sir, your very humble & obedt: Servt:
[signed] John Q. Adams.3
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Joshua Johnson Esqr / Consul of the United States of America. / London.”; internal address: “Joshua Johnson Esqr:”; endorsed: “John Q. Adams / Hague 27 Jany. 1797 / Receved.” FC-Pr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 131. Text lost where the seal was removed has been supplied from the FC-Pr.
1. Not found.
2. Joshua Johnson’s 13 Jan. letter to JQA has not been found. For LCA’s 13 Jan. letter to JQA, see LCA to JQA, 10 Jan., note 2, above.
3. JQA wrote to LCA the following day informing her that he had received her letters of 30 Dec. 1796, 6, 10, 13 Jan. 1797, and that he was glad to hear of her improved health. JQA also commented on his parents’ affection for LCA, noting that AA “considers you already as her daughter” and that JA’s letters “contain his paternal benedictions upon our destined union” (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0271

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1797-01-28

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

I received by the post on thursday the whole Mail containing your Letters of the 5th 9th 11th 14 & 16th I began to be very impatient at rude Boreas for laying an Embargo upon that intercourse which alone mitigated the pain and anxiety of Seperation.1
Genll Lincoln had call’d upon me the beginning of the week and informd me that you was well. the steady cold weather has been { 521 } more favourable to my Health than any Winter we have had for Years past, and since I have been equiped with Runners I have not faild to take the Air almost every Day. in one of My late Letters I inclosed You Frothinghams estimate of a carriage but as you have orderd one it will not do to apply to him and you will want one sooner than he could make one I have been thinking that we shall want a light travelling Carriage for me to go to and from Philadelphia, as you can not be left without one, and would it not be best for to sit Frothingham to make one something upon the same plan with that which we formerly Had.?2 “You say your Farm appears very differently to you now from what it did, and that it seems to you as if you ought not to think of it.”
The greater reason there is for me to turn my attention to it. I consider it as our Dernier resort, as our Ark of safety. I think it ought not to be sufferd to fall into Decay, and I shall not regreet any pains which I can bestow upon it to render it a retirement Eligible to us when we are four Years older if we should live to see the Day. we have been Doing, & undoing all our Days. I would aim at making such arrangements as would tend to make it better rather than worse even tho I expended twice its annuall income. Billings has returnd to his senses and conducts very well. he is going to sled stones next week, but it is impossible to dig them we have had a covering of snow and Ice impenetrable to every tool, the finest Sleighing I ever knew. the snow very level so that there has been no difficulty in turning out of the road, but for six weeks no rain & So cold as not to Thaw at all. The price of flower which is good superfine has been in Boston from 11/2 to 12 I have inquired divers times, and I gave 12 about a Month ago. it is to be had now for 11/2 which capt Beal has just told me he gave last week, but it is not of concequence whether any is Sent. I can purchase it here
in one of Your Letters you Mention having seen enough at East Chester. in an other you exclaim alass poor Nabby, and say you have written to the col. but get no answer; I received a Letter from Mrs Smith in December, in which She expresses a state of anxious suspence, and a willingness to Submit to her Lot with resignatin if she could but know that all just demands were satisfied.3 Speaks of a col Walker as a Man very Rigirous and disposed to take ungenerous advantages.4 Mrs Shaw came here on a visit & spent the last week with me. she told me of many things which I did not before know of, and which I must give credit to. Some of them you had { 522 } heard before from Charles. the col is a Man wholy devoid of judgment & has deceived himself with visionary Schemes, and run risks which he ought not to have Done, and led his Family into a stile of living which I fear his means would not bear him out in.
You have I Suppose before this Time received a Letter from me which inclosed an other proof of your old stuanch Friends confidence and attachment5

“The Friend thou hast, and their adoption tried

Grapple them to thy soul with hooks of Steel”

Mr Black told me the other Day on his return from Boston, that col H—— was loosing ground with his Friends in Boston. on what account I inquired. Why for the part he is Said to have acted in the late Election. aya what was that? Why they say that he tried to keep out both mr A——s and J——n, and that he behaved with great Duplicity. he wanted to bring in Pinckney that he himself might be the Dictator— So you See according to the old adage, Murder will out. I despise a Janus tho I do not feel a disposition to rail at or condemn the conduct of those who did not vote for you, because it is my firm belief that if the people had not been imposed upon by false reports and misrepresentations, the vote would have been nearly unanimous— H [] n dared not risk his popularity to come out openly in opposition, but he went Secretly cunningly as he thought to work, and as his influence is very great in the N England States, he imposed upon them. Ames you know has been his firm Friend. I do not believe he suspected him, nor Cabot neither whom I believe he play’d upon— Smith of S C was Duped by him I suspect.
Beware of that Spair Cassius, has always occured to me when I have seen that cock Sparrow. O I have read his Heart in his Wicked Eyes many a time the very Devil is in them. they are laciviousness it self, or I have no Skill in Phisiognomy.
Pray burn this Letter. Dead Men tell no tales. it is really too bad to Survive the Flames. I shall not dare to write so freely to you again unless you assure that you have complied with my request. I am as ever most affectionately / Your
[signed] A Adams
1. Boreas was the Greek god of the north wind (OED).
2. Probably Nathaniel Frothingham (1746–1825), a Boston coachmaker who participated in the Boston Tea Party. AA had previously written to JA on 18 Jan. urging him to contact Frothingham immediately if JA desired a carriage from him, as he had so many orders that { 523 } “he cannot engage to have it ready untill the first of July.” An enclosure with the letter listed the specifications for “A Neat Chariot” that would cost $1,155, with “handsomely trim’d full seat Cloth” and “Silver Letters on Doors & handsomely painted” (New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial, ed. William Richard Cutter, 3d series, 4 vols., N.Y., 1915, 1:23; Adams Papers).
3. AA2’s letter has not been found. For JA’s comments on her situation in Eastchester, N.Y., see JA to AA, 1, 19 Dec. 1796, and 5 Jan. [1797], all above.
4. Possibly Col. Benjamin Walker, for whom see vol. 9:98–99.
5. See Elbridge Gerry to AA, 7 Jan., above; JA had received the letter on 23 Jan. (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0272

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-01-28

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

It is now determined what the President has to depend on after the 4th March. The Committee determined against raising the Salary of P. or V. P.
The House which the P. had for 500£ cannot again be had under 1000£— Horses are from 3 times to five times as high as they were Seven Years ago, Carriages three times as high—Provisions &c
In Short all Levees and Drawing Rooms and Dinners must be laid aside and I am glad of it.
I will entertain my friends, and Such as I please and no more. The Foreign Ministers must be Seen sometimes.
It will never do for you to come here before next October. The Ladies, some of them think so. The Heats are intollerable—and the Yellow Fever not improbable.
The P. bought the furniture of the drawing Room of Count de Moutier—that is his. and he carries it to Mount Vernon.1 The Lustre the Glasses the Plateau &c are his. The Linnen and Kitchen furniture, he has been obliged to replace several times. In short the whole salary for the Year will be taken up in an Out fit. affectionately
[signed] J. A2
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A.”
1. For Elénore François Elie, Comte de Moustier, see vol. 8:151. When Moustier was recalled to France in Oct. 1789, George Washington bought from him several pieces of furniture, some of which are still at Mount Vernon (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 5:71–72; Carol Borchert Cadou, The George Washington Collection: Fine and Decorative Arts at Mount Vernon, Manchester, Vt., 2006, p. 186).
2. JA previously wrote to AA on 23 and 26 Jan. 1797. In the letter of the 23d, JA expressed concern about her health, informed her that he had engaged a carriage to use, and explained that they must make provisions for their Massachusetts properties while they would be living in Philadelphia. On the 26th JA wrote of dining with Joseph Priestley and asking him if France would ever establish a republican government, to which the doctor replied in the affirmative. The second letter appears to be incomplete (both Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0273

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1797-01-29

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Yes My Dear Friend I had seen and read the Tenth Muse, and I think she abuses our poor old Govenour who tho quite in his Dotage, is not the Man there represented1 I do not think him a Hypocrit, but a real Lover and Friend of Religion from pure Principles. He has served his Country many Years with honour and with fidelity. I respect his Virtues, tho I pitty his weakness. it is said that he means to decline an other Election. if this should be the case, I will go & see him and Mrs Adams as soon as they are out of Office, and shew them that personally, I respect old Friends and Friendships.—
Since I sit Down to write Neighbour Beal has sent in his paper of Saturday containing the Govenours attoneing Speach, and his retireing Speach. his Notice of the Presidents retireing from office cannot be chargeable with adulation. it is as cold as his Age, and as frozen as the Season what he says respecting the importence of preserving our Election pure, is wise and just Federal Commonwealth is an odd Epithet for our common Country. The old Gentleman could not refuse himself the pleasure of instructing his Kinsman and telling him he hoped he would [“]stick close to the Letter of the constitution” he should have advised him to look well to the Laws before he puts his Name to them, for erasing it after it becomes a Law, is an act of Despotism, a Veto. The old Gentleman discovers some mortification in his farewell address, tho I can assent to the whole as truths which all must readily allow.2
Mrs Washingtons congratulation to you I believe perfectly sincere who would not wish for a successor that would not disgrace his predecessor. every person Sees that the President pointed out his Successor in his address, and in his late reply to the senates address. I heard it said in company that he could not have spoken plainer if he had call’d the person by Name.
I shall think myself the most fortunate among women if I can glide on for four years with as spotless a Reputation, beloved and esteemed by all as that good and amiable Lady has Done. my endeavours shall not be wanting. at Meeting to Day a psalm was sung, a verse of which I could not but apply to Myself

“Still has My Life new Wonders seen

Repeated every Year:

{ 525 }

Behold my Days that yet remain

I trust them to thy care.”3

The news paper announces Mr Madison appointed Ambassador extraordinary to France. if true I rejoice in the appointment. I have confidence in the honour and integrity of Mr Madison, that he would not betray a trust thus reposed or Prostrate the Dignity & independance of his Country to any foreign Nation, even tho that Nation be France. beside his instructions I trust would be positive, not Discretionary
The little extracts inclosed in your Letters diverted me, particularly Pompys scratching his Head with one finger. be sure it was designd as a Friendly Hint. the writer Did not know that the Scratching was sometimes oweing to a cause which peter Pinder celebrates.4
all peculiarities become conspicuous in proportion as the Character is exalted. [“]Ammon one shoulder had too high”5 the More luminous the Body, the more easily are the Spots discerned.

“Ah spare your idol! think him human still.

Charms he may have, but he has frailties too

Doat not too much, nor Spoil what ye admire”6

Adulation creats envy. Honours should be meekly Borne as shakspear expresses it.7 there are a Thousand Men in the United Stats fit for Presidents, said Modest Giles.8 happy Country! Who surely will dispute the palm of “Most enlightned[] with us.?
My pen runs riot. I forget that it must grow cautious & prudent. I fear I shall make a Dull buisness when such restrictions are laid upon it, but you will soon be too full of buisness, to be amused with what may Create a Smile in Your present Solitary state. by the Dates of our Letters we are often writing to each other at the same Time. if that be the case now, may the same sentiments inspire / each Heart when we say we will / never be for any other. thus thinks / Your
[signed] A Adams
1. The “Guillotina” devoted several lines to mocking Gov. Samuel Adams’ age and political history: “If mischief’s brewing, much, or little, / Depend upon’t Sam finds the kettle; / And tho’ too old to hatch expedients, / He’ll borrow, beg, or steal ingredients.” The author stated that even in his hometown of Boston Adams was not beloved: “Yet round her throng’d and busy streets, / No honest tongue thy praise repeats, / Nor scarce can piety restrain / Their execrations on thy reign” (lines 280–283, 326–329, Evans, No. 31979).
2. Samuel Adams’ 27 Jan. address to both branches of the Mass. General Court was published in the Boston Columbian Centinel the following day. In the speech Adams began by { 526 } acknowledging the retirement of George Washington and stating that the next president’s administration should “be strictly conformable to the letter & true intent of the Constitution.” Adams next commented on three issues: that foreigners should produce proof of citizenship in order to vote, the importance of education to the state, and his belief that all men, regardless of wealth or rank, should serve in the militia. Adams finished by announcing his own retirement, noting, “The infirmities of Age render me an unfit person in my own opinion, & very probably in the opinion of others, to continue in this Station” (Mass., Acts and Laws, 1796–1797, p. 643–646).
3. Isaac Watts, The Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament, Psalm LXXI, First Part, lines 9–12.
4. In the second letter JA sent to AA on 16 Jan., for which see JA to AA, 16 Jan., note 5, above, he noted, “I have cut out two or three Slips from Browns Paper of this Evening for your Amusement.” The Philadelphia Gazette of that date contained an article on the censure faced by statesmen who are often “wounded in their reputation” by those envious of their position. Quoting from Plutarch, the article noted that “the enemies of Pompey the Great having observed that he scratched his head with one finger, upbraided him with it.”
5. “Ammon’s great son one shoulder had too high” (Alexander Pope, “Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot,” line 117).
6. William Cowper, “The Time-Piece,” The Task, Book II, lines 496–498.
7. “In my profession? Knighthoods and honours, borne / As I wear mine, are titles but of scorn” (Shakespeare, Cymbeline, Act 5, scene ii, lines 6–7).
8. On 14 Dec. 1796 William Branch Giles spoke in the House of Representatives on a motion he presented to strike out several paragraphs from the House’s answer to the president’s speech. Giles “thought there were thousands of citizens in the United States able to fill that high office.” The speech was reprinted in the Boston Columbian Centinel, 4 Jan. 1797 (Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 2d sess., p. 1616).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0274

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1797-01-30

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

Inclosed is a Letter for our Daughter which you will be so good as to cover and address. it is in reply to two which I have received from her pressing Me to come on & be with her untill March1
I have replied to her, as to you that if it was necessary I would come, but that I had rather not untill I knew what was necessary & saw the means for executing, having no inclination to proceed in the Dark or be involved in difficulties. Congress will rise in March. there will not be any great occasion I presume for the President to see much Company. as to House I suppose some one will offer. as to Furniture, some I suppose will remain in the Presidents House as belonging to the United States. What May be Wanting, if a sum is granted to supply it, and I am consulted upon it I can soon determine. Mrs Otis may be consulted she is upon the Spot and is as good a judge as I could wish. Brisler is not unacquainted with Such Things. let the coat be cut to the Cloth. neverless when ever You say the Word that I am necessary to your releif of care, of Mind or Body, I come.
In reply to me respecting the Farms here, I would have you as { 527 } explicit as possible with regard to what you would have Done. Labour is not like to be lower. produce keeps up its price, particularly Grain, and West India articles are 25 pr cent higher than this time last year. My Mind is Much occupied in determing what to Do with this. I cannot think of a more eligible plan than that which we proposed of placeing Mears here as over seeer, he keeping his own House to retire to when I may wish to return here of summers. I cannot think of any person so trust worthy as both he and his wife. inclosed is a little plan which I have thought of.2 Mrs Brisler will go to Philadelphia when I do and make part of our Family. I have had several applications for the place of Ladys Maid, but My answer has been that I have not made any arrangments— amongst others Betsy Howard has applied whom I should like well if her Health will answer3 a trusty person I shall want in that capacity. Polly will be married, Becky may remain with mrs Mears and little Betsy I would take or procure a place for her. if this plan should be agreed upon in our new lease with French had I better not have Quincys Meddow inserted and Let mr Jonathan Baxter take that meddow which he wants to halves. that would lessen the buisness upon this place. as soon as the Season will allow Billings says he will go on to compleat the Wall & should like to have Hayden to assist him— We have got wood enough Home to last us the Year— I wish you would Draw & execute a power of Attorney for Mr Quincy. I expect to have to call upon him to bring an action or two, against the Nightingales. Your Brother came last week to tell me that they had cutt in upon you largely and that if I would not persue them now, he would never tell me again. Deacon Webb it seems sit the fellows to cut & cart him wood, and not finding a sufficient quantity in his; they have cut in, your Brother thinks four or 5 Rods upon You.— Vesey has cut this winter where your Brother has shewn him only. I immediatly wrote a Note to the Deacon informing him; I requesting him to send some person to meet mr Joseph Arnold, whom your Brother advised me to appoint; to run the line; and determine what quantity had been cut. the Deacon sent me word he would attend on Saturday last; Arnold agreed to go, but the Day proving a very thawing one; Arnold did not go; the Deacon went with Joseph Bass; but could Do nothing, as Arnold was not there. he has however Stopt the Men, but he knew no more about his Lot, than he does about Government. he wishes however to Do what is right. I have received information that wood has been cut by Samll Nightingale in the Lot call’d Babel. I { 528 } am endeavouring to get proof as soon as I have I will commence an action. It is not the first Time that fellow has cut wood knowingly in Your Lot. if I had punishd him then, he would not have Dared to have repeated his Theaft.4 in this way we shall have all the Lots cut up, and they who touch my wood, attack me upon My favorite Ground.
Charls writes me that he has had to give 24 Dollors pr cord this winter.5 wood has been low here this winter, in Boston only 5 Dollors—
Have you thought of a private Secretary. Why not employ the one already in the Presidents Service—for a time at least6 I am so little acquainted with the Young Gentlemen of the Day that I cannot think of any one who is personally known to me that would do. You will no Doubt have many applications. with the Letters which came to Quincy by last Mail was one of yours to an Inn Holder in the Jerseys, Drake I think. by some mistake it was sent here. I sent it to the post office. I mention it least You should be at a loss to know what became of it. it might be on buisness which required an answer. as this Letter is wholy on Family buisness I will close it and begin a new one upon politicks when I write again. You tell me You Dreem of me. I hope they are pleasent Dreems, for sleeping or waking I am / Wholy Yours—
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. Jan. 28. 29. 30 / ansd Feb. 7. 1797.”
1. Letters not found.
2. Not found.
3. Betsy Howard (1772–1852), sister of Polly Doble Howard, served as AA’s maid during JA’s presidency and married William Shepley (or Shipleigh) in Washington, D.C., in 1801, presumably at the President’s House (Sprague, Braintree Families; AA, New Letters, p. 264).
4. Samuel Nightingale (1746–1819) was a clockmaker who had fought in the Revolutionary War; his accomplice in the theft of wood was probably one or more of his four brothers. On 18 Feb. 1797 JA wrote to AA enclosing a power of attorney for Josiah Quincy III and stating, “I would have you Sue the Nightengales by all means. they are insufferable.” On 21 Feb. JA wrote to Quincy: “I inclosed to mrs Adams a power of Attorney to you, if she should have occasion to prosecute some hardy Trespasser She will employ you.” The Adamses apparently did not go forward with the suit (Sprague, Braintree Families; Adams Papers; LbC, APM Reel 117).
5. See CA to AA, 21 Jan., above.
6. For Bartholomew Dandridge Jr., see vol. 9:473. After George Washington’s retirement Dandridge traveled to Europe in April to serve as secretary to William Vans Murray at The Hague, then as secretary to Rufus King’s legation at the Court of St. James, and he ended his career as American consul in St. Domingue. Samuel Bayard Malcom, for whom see vol. 10:249, served as JA’s private secretary from 20 Feb. 1797 until 28 Aug. 1798 (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, 8:235; Retirement Series, 1:23–24; JA to AA, 20 Feb. 1797, below; JA to Samuel Malcom, 28 Aug. 1798, LbC, APM Reel 119).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0275

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-01-31

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I have recd yours of January 22d. I know not the reason you had not recd Letters for a Week— There has not been a Week since I arrived in Philadelphia that I have not written you twice or thrice
I agree with you that Something must be done for my Mother to make her Condition comfortable and respectable. A Horse and Chaise must be at her Command and I like your other Plan very well if she approves it— But I believe She will never think of leaving my Brothers Family. If she should prefer Staying with him I will be at the Expence of the Wages and Board of a Maid or Woman to live in the House and be wholly under her Direction. If Mears will take our House, or if he does not, if Mrs Mears will take the Care of her and she is willing to go to Mrs Mears’s, I shall be willing. but I think she will prefer some Provision for her at my Brothers. I shall leave it to you & her to digest & determine the Plan and any Expence for her Comfort & respectability I will chearfully defrey.
There are no public Letters from our sons later than the latter part of september
An Embargo, which you say the Merchants talk of petitioning for, would not perhaps answer the End. It would give a shock to us which our People would impatiently bear and hurt the English so much more than the French, that perhaps they would persevere in their system as a Measure of Hostility against their Enemy.
If you come to me at all, the earlier in the spring the better: for We must go to Quincy for the hot Months. The Plague has got into this Country and I will not remain here, nor shall you during the Season of it. But my Dearest Friend We must consult Œconomy in every Thing. The Prices of Things are so extravagantly high that We shall be driven to Extremities to live in any decent style. I must hire & maintain secretaries as well as servants and the purchase of Horses Carriage Furniture and the Rent of a House 2666 Dollars per 2/3 a year will Streighten Us and put Us to all manner of shifts. I have a great Mind to dismiss all Levees Drawing Rooms and Dinners at once. Dinners upon Washingtons Scale I will dismiss and only entertain a few select Friends. They shall have a Republican President in earnest.
A Committee of senate have reported in favour of an Augmentation of salaries but I dont expect it will pass the House if it does the { 530 } Senate, and if it should what are 5000 Dollars. An Addition of Fifty thousand Dollars would not much more than restore the salary to its original Value, as Prices are thribled in most articles & doubled in all. In another Week or so The Point will be legally settled.
I fear you will not persuade Mears to take our House and I know not who else to think of.—
Alass my Poor Country! Divided in herself insulted by France, and very frequently by Englishmen even since the Govt have assumed an Appearance of Moderation. Witness the cruel tyrannical Treatment of Capt Diamond at st. Eustatia.1
The Fæderalists themselves are divided and crumbling to Pieces. Allmost all the ablist and best Men are discouraged and many of them retiring. And this has been brought about by Tom Paine prophecying Clergymen and French Finesse and Intrigue. But I must stop to assure / you of my tenderest & never failing / Affection
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “Jan’ry 31 1797.”
1. On 4 Dec. 1796 four British ships attacked the West Indian island of Saint Eustatius, and during their retreat one of the ships “committed an action, which will stand recorded an eternal disgrace in their naval history.” Capt. Benjamin Dimond’s sloop Nancy of Salem, Mass., was sailing to Antigua from Charleston, S.C., when it was “wantonly run down” and destroyed. After the loss of his ship, cargo, and crew—“victims to British insolence and wickedness”—Dimond took passage with a Marblehead, Mass., ship bound for Philadelphia (Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 30 Jan. 1797; Ship Registers of the District of Salem and Beverly, Massachusetts, 1789–1900, Salem, 1906, p. 128–129).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0276

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Date: 1797-01-31

John Quincy Adams to Louisa Catherine Johnson

The day after I wrote you my last Letter, which was on the 28th: I received your Letter of the 17th:1 It has given me as much pain as you expected, and more than I hope you intended.
It has never been my intention to speak in an “authoritative,” a “commanding,” an “unkind” a “harsh” or a “peremptory” stile to you, and it distresses me to find that you think my letter of Decr: 20. deserving of all those epithets.— I did indeed mean to speak decisively, and I thought the occasion required it.
You call for an explanation what I mean by soliciting so often as I have done, your confidence, and by the intimations that I fear you have sometimes allowed a suspicion and distrust of me to enter your mind; I have written the explanation which you demand— I have recapitulated [the] circumstances upon which I have been unable to { 531 } shun this conclusion, and I have burnt it, because [it] would only give you pain.— Do not, my ever dear friend, insist upon the detail.—Simply recollect that you once professed to me a positive resolution, expressly founded upon the principle of guarding against perfidy.— A resolution founded solely upon Suspicion and Distrust.— Let me again entreat you to remove the principle and the sentiment from your heart; but do not require the proofs which I can produce that they are there.— The narration would be as unpleasant for me to make, as for you to read.
Even in this last Letter, my Louisa, you tell me that I appear to have indulged unnecessary apprehensions, with regard to your proposal to come here; you intimate that your hopes were not such as my fears had magnified, and that your only wish was to acquire by seeing me a few days fortitude and resignation to endure our lengthened separation.— Yet your father has written me that it was more than probable that he should see me here before he embarks for America, and as plainly hinted to me, that it was with the view, which I had inferred from your former Letter.
It is because I respect as much as I love you, that this expedient did not please me; it is because, I knew it would only accumulate disappointment, that I wished to dissuade you from it: and because you had mentioned it as a resolution of your own, that I thought it necessary to answer with unequivocal decision.
At the same time I was writing to you in the most intimate and exclusive confidence: it was between you and me and Heaven alone, that I thought I could freely utter feelings, which I could not without dissimulation conceal, and which I was equally unable to discard.— I believed Louisa, for I will not disguise my belief, that your idea of coming here was neither a new idea, nor one that had originally sprung up in your own mind.— I believed it connected with that principle of distrust which I have already noticed to you, and therefore I felt a necessity of discovering my sentiments upon it.
You observe that you have cautiously avoided repeating the hint; but my answer which has so much offended you was written at the first moment when I received it, and before a repetition could have been possible; and your father has repeated it, but evidently upon the idea which you still in a manner disclaim.— I have therefore most reluctantly been reduced to the necessity of an explanation to him as clear as that I had made to you.— I hope it will not be so displeasing.
Let not my lovely friend imagine that one sentiment of tenderness { 532 } in my Heart, for her, was at any moment weakened even when I expressed myself in the most unwelcome manner.— Far be it from me, to pretend that every thing I said was measured upon the accurate rules of courtly politeness. Neither Nature, Education nor Art have formed me for it.— It was my desire only to express my own determination, so as that no doubt or scruple about it should remain. If any thing of all the other qualities which you think you found in my Letter, stole imperceptibly into it, I do most cordially apologize to you for it
But let me also add that the assurance of your own Letter that you meant it as an assertion of Spirit, and that your heart revolted at the necessity which you thought there was of wounding me, persuades me to suppress sensations which otherwise would most certainly break from my strongest resolution to constrain them.— Spirit in a proper degree I do not disapprove, even when it bids defiance to myself; but the tenderness of affection which feels the wounds itself has inflicted; this, My Louisa has a much more powerful command over my heart and temper than all the Spirit upon Earth.
I therefore readily forbear all further comment upon your Letter, and most devoutly wish that this may remove the uneasiness which you received from mine.— As I do most heartily and sincerely love you, and believe that my affection is as freely returned, I hope never to be an object of future distrust to your mind.— Why I have used the words you cannot after this be at a loss to know, and I hope you will not think, any more detailed explanation necessary.
How long the probable continuance of our separation may be, I would most cheerfully say, were it within my own knowledge or dependent upon my own power. That it shall be as short as my honour and my duty to my Country, to you and to myself will permit, I have already more than once declared: a more limited engagement it is not in my power to make, because it may be out of my power to perform.
I would fain my lovely friend now pass to the more pleasant subjects of correspondence which your previous letters would furnish me; would fain endeavour to write you something over which your eyes might pass with pleasure; something that might indicate at once an heart at ease, and a desire of contributing to give you delight.— But the materials will not mix.— My heart is not at ease, and its endeavours to gratify you would aukwardly fail of success.— I will hope that my next Letter may discover only the dictates of my constant inclinations. That it may contain nothing but what shall be { 533 } soothing and agreeable. That it may be the pure and unmingled effusion of an Heart devoted entirely to you, and the warmest wish of which is to be in perpetual unison with yours.
I thank you for your congratulations upon the supposed Event of the American Election, though it is probable the information upon which you offer them was inaccurate. The decision is still and must be for some time to come uncertain.— If the choice has fallen where you suppose, it will afford me little else than extreme anxiety. Your observation upon this point is very just, and discovers a reflecting mind.— I have long deprecated the occurrence, which the course of public affairs has at last made unavoidable, and at this moment, all the wishes of my filial affections would tend towards a result different from that which you have announced.— The honour of the place is a mere bubble; the Station is exposed in proportion to its elevation; the period is uncommonly critical.— There is nothing to counterbalance the cares, the perplexities, the dangers of that eminence but a calm and intrepid public Spirit, and an overruling sense of duty.— Join in prayers to Heaven with me, my charming friend, that the issue may be propitious to the welfare of my Country
Remember me with respect and affection to your Mamma and Sisters, and, may you receive with sentiments of unabated tenderness the invariable assurance of mine.
[signed] A.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Miss Louisa C. Johnson. / London.” FC-Pr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 131. Text lost where the seal was removed has been supplied from the FC-Pr.
1. For JQA’s 28 Jan. letter to LCA, see JQA to Joshua Johnson, 27 Jan., note 3, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0277

Author: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1797-01-31

Louisa Catherine Johnson to John Quincy Adams

Yes, my beloved friend, my spirit is roused, and I am determined to bear with fortitude what it is vain to lament— E’re this, you will have recieved my letter in answer to yours of December the 20, in which I have explained my sentiments as clearly as possible, it probably has displeased you, but remember my situation admits not of hesitation, or affectation, and though while I wrote it I was conscious it would distress you, perhaps offend you, I felt it absolutely necessary to convince you that however weak my conduct may have appeared, it will bear the strictest investigation—
I regret most sincerely ever having expressed a wish to meet you { 534 } in Holland, since it appears to have given you so much uneasiness, but indeed my friend you are causelessly alarmed, I really never have mentioned it to my father which you will know by my letter of the 17, and be satisfied that should he again offer to take me, I would immediately refuse believe me I should be sorry to put it in your power, or in that of the world, to say I wished to force myself upon any man or into any family— You tell me that our visit would neither have been consistent with your delicacy or my dignity, I rather think you ought to have reversed it, and said, it would have been inconsistent with your dignity, and my delicacy, whatever appearance my conduct may have to you I know not, but I am perfectly satisfied with its appearance to the world— I really am fearful that there has been a great want of dignity on my part, or I should not have had the mortification of recieving two such letters as you have lately favored me with, which suffer me to say are as unaccountable as undeserved, you seem to me to have very little knowledge of my disposition, or you would easily have seen that such letters would not pass unnoticed—
You appear to regret what has passed in respect to my attending you to Lisbon, if such is the case you have certainly taken an improper method of shewing this regret, if it is not I beg your pardon for having even thought it— You recommend Madame de Staels Book to me, I intend to read it though I can with pleasure inform you, that you have been a more able instructor in philosophy, than she possibly can be— I have acquired a great deal lately, and I think after the perusal of her book, I shall become adequate to every trial—1
Yet much as I avow myself offended and hurt at your late conduct, I would not relinquish the smallest particle of my affection if I could—
I confess I am almost astonished myself at the weakness I have betrayed, it now strikes me in a most glaring light, and I can scarcely believe it possible that I could have acted in so ridiculous a manner— I own I feel myself humbled when I reflect, that I have myself put it in your power to write me in this stile, but alas it too often happens, that the best motives may be perverted and often made to appear the worst—
My letter in answer to yours, will shew that I have ceased to repine, and that I am prepared for our departure for America, therefore you need be under no apprehension, of my abandoning myself to childish weakness, or idle lamentation—
You mention the pain it gives you to write me in this stile, if thus { 535 } painful to you judge what it must be to me, whose mind must be doubly wounded at the idea of having given rise to it—
Ah my beloved friend, this boasted philosophy that I have heard so much of is indeed a dreadful thing, I have too much reason to dislike it, as I see too plainly that it dictates every action, and guides your pen I hope in contradiction to your feelings— When you were here you have often said that you could see no fault in your Louisa, but alas how are you changed, you now charge her with impropriety of conduct, and there is even an indication of want of delicacy
Let me entreat you to destroy, and if possible to erase from your memory that unfortunate letter, which has been productive of our mutual anxiety, and rest assured I will never again offend you with any thing of the sort— however long our seperation may be you will find that I am as capable of bearing it as yourself and I hope in time to convince you, that I possess both fortitude and dignity, sufficient at least to conceal any unbecoming emotions, if not entirely to conquer them—
True “we should indeed be unfit for the course of life in prospect before us, if we indulged ourselves in dreams of finding our way strewed with flowers, or its borders lined with down,”2 no, delusive as may have been my imagination, I have never dreamt of cloudless skies yet did I not expect that you would have been the person to have strewn my path with needless thorns
Adieu my beloved and most esteemed friend, may you enjoy every happiness, and may you never feel the anguish, your late severity has occasioned, your still tenderly attached and truely faithful,
[signed] Louisa C. Johnson
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “L. C. J. / 31. Jany: 1797. / 12. Feby: recd: / do: Ansd:.”
1. On 7 Jan. JQA wrote to LCA of his disappointment at not receiving a letter from her in three weeks and noted that he was anxiously awaiting letters from America. He stated that he was worried about LCA’s health and hoped that she had recovered her “usual good spirits” and had reconciled herself “to the longer separation which we are doomed to suffer.” JQA also recommended that LCA read Madame de Staël’s De l’influence des passions sur le bonheur des individus et des nations (Adams Papers).
2. LCA is quoting from JQA’s 10 Jan. letter, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0278

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Briesler, John
Date: 1797-02-01

Abigail Adams to John Briesler

[salute] Mr Brisler

I last Evening received a Letter from You in which You express an anxiety at the prospect of being seperated from Your Family.1 I know { 536 } too well how painfull a situation that is, to have any desire, to inflict so great an hardship upon any one, unless through necessity.
The uncertainty how the Election would terminate, has prevented me, from saying any thing to You, or to your Wife upon the Subject, untill this week, when I said to her, I suppose you will have no objection to going where Your Husband does, to which She answerd, certainly She Should not.
I consider you as quite necessary to me, and Mrs Brisler, tho her Health will not allow her to take so active a part, as May be required of a person whose buisness it is to Superintend so large a Family. I doubt not she can be usefull to me, with her care, with her needle, and as an assistant to you, and in my absence, as having in Charge those things which I should place particularly under her care. Your Children are old enough to go constantly to school.2 if your Family should increase, we must leave those arrangments to futurity, but at present I shall consider Your Family as making a part of mine, except in the article of Cloathing and Schooling for the Children. I shall bring with me a Maid Servant, a respectable one, particularly to attend upon me, and if I could find an honest capable woman to take upon herself the Government arrangment, and direction of that class of Domesticks who require such attentions, I should be glad to engage such an one. Your long and Faithfull services in My Family, merrit the first place in it. in that light I shall consider You both Mrs Brisler and you are well acquainted with the assorting persons in a Family where a regular Set are employd so that I need make no explanations to you upon that Head. it would be my endeavour to have each department so arranged and so explicitly markd out that each one should be responsible for the trust committed to them that all may move on with order punctuality and Harmony
The difficulty of obtaining such a sett of Domesticks, You know as well as I do. We must however do the best we can.
As to your Wages, they will be such as we can afford to give consistant with other Demands, and I presume to Your satisfaction. upon this head I should chuse to consult mr Adams.
When I am informd with respect to the arrangments for Myself, I will communicate further with You upon the Subject. in the mean time make inquiry for a respectable woman as an Housekeeper who understands the nicer parts of Cookery &c such an one I know of here, a Mrs Leopard, but She is now in the service of Mr Jeffry—3
{ 537 }
I inclose to you a Letter from your wife.4 it is I think the fourth which I have forwarded. She and the Children were well yesterday. Whilst honour and fidelity, integrity and uprightness mark Your Character, Such as I have ever found it, You can never want Friends. of one you may always be assured / in
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mr John Brisler / Philadelphia”; docketed by JA: “Mrs A. to Mr Brisler / Feb 1. 1797.”
1. Not found.
2. Elizabeth (b. 1788) and John (b. 1794) were the surviving Briesler children in 1797 (Sprague, Braintree Families).
3. Possibly Lydia Galley who married John Leopard in 1776 in Salem and was likely living in Boston after 1790 (Vital Records of Salem Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849, 6 vols., Salem, 1924, 3:398; U.S. Census, 1790, Mass., p. 187; Boston Directory, 1798, p. 75).
4. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0279

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-02-02

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I believe I have not directly & expressly Answered your Letter, inclosing the Memorandum from Mr Smith of the Price of a Chariot at Boston.
I had before bespoke a new Chariot here, and it is or will be ready: so that there is an End of all further Enquiries about Carriages.— I hope as soon as the Point is legally settled you will have your Coach new Painted and all the Arms totally obliterated. It would be a folly to excite popular feelings and vulgar Insolence for nothing.1
Mrs Washington, Mrs Powell &c send their regards &c
I believe I must take Mr Malcom, Charles’s Clerk & Pupil for a private secretary, at least for a time.2
I wish you could get a compleat set of Domesticks from your Neighbourhood that We might avoid a little of the Brigandage.
Fine Weather to day. Candlemas. Half your corn and half your hay.
I am Affectionately
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “Febry 2. 1797.”
1. AA to JA, 18 Jan., for which see her letter to JA of 28 Jan., note 2, above.
2. JA wrote to CA on 12 Feb. asking that Samuel Bayard Malcom, JA’s new secretary, be sent no later than the beginning of March; he also voiced a desire that CA attend his inauguration on 4 March. Malcom arrived in Philadelphia on 19 Feb. (MHi:Seymour Coll.; JA to AA, 20 Feb., below).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0280

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-02-04

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I hope you will not communicate to any body the hints I give you about our Prospects: but they appear every day worse and worse. House Rent at 2700 dollars a Year 1500 dollars for a Carriage 1000 for one Pair of Horses— All the Glasses ornaments kitchen furniture—the best Chairs settees, Plateaus &c all to purchase—All the China Delph or Wedgwood Glass & Crockery of every sort to purchase—and not a farthing probably will the H. of R. allow tho the senate have voted a small Addition. All the Linnen besides.
I shall not pretend to keep more than one Pair of Horses for a Carriage and one for a saddle.
Secretaries, Servants, Wood, Charities which are demanded as Rights, and the Million Dittoes present such a Prospect as is enough to disgust any one— Yet not one Word must We say.
We cannot go back— We must stand our Ground as long as We can. Dispose of our Places with the help of our Friend Dr Tufts as well as you can— We are impatient for News— But that is always so at this season. I am tenderly your
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0281

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1797-02-05

Abigail Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] My Dear Son

I received Your kind congratulatory Letter upon the new year. accept My thank for the filial regard and affection with which they are expresst. it is the will of Providene to place me in a very conspicious station. it shall be my endeavour so to conduct in it, as to excite neither envy ill will or Jealousy. as shakspear expresses it, I would bear my Honours meekly fully sensible that

“High Stations tumult, but not Bliss creat

None think the Great unhappy but the Great”1

I can say with the Royall Singer

“Still has My Life New wonders Seen

Repeated every Year

{ 539 }

Behold my Days that yet remain,

I trust them to thy care”

However wise able and discreet the Government may be conducted, the present pilot must not expect to have all Hands and Hearts united in his Support, as his predecessor has had I hope however he will be ably supported, and if he does not receive so large a portion of praise, that he will escape its attendent Envy calumny and abuse, in an equal Ratio.
I consider the vice Pressidency as a concilitary union of the States, and on that account a fortunate event. I have always entertaind a Friendship for Mr Jefferson from a personal knowledge & long acquaintance with him. tho I cannot altogether accord with him in Politicks I believe him to be a Man of strickt honour, <firm in his Friendships> and of real integrity of Heart, in his judgment not so Mature as some Men, but incapable of Doing a real injury to his Country, knowing it to be so, <and that is more than I can say> nor will he sacrifice its interests from any pecuniary Motive. When placed at the Head of the Senate, I will venture to say he will verify the opinion I have always formd of him, for I have never sufferd calumny and abuse to hide those good qualities from my view. the most reprehensible part of his conduct, was countanancing that Freaneu when he was continually libelling the Government.2 there is a Character in your state who with all his pretentions to Friendship, took a very ungenerous part in the late Election. tho he thought to conceal himself under that Mask, the covering has been Seen through, and his real views and Motives discoverd. he may have superiour talents to Jefferson, but he has not half his disinterested Friendship— the Gentleman I mean was not a Canditate for either office. he is one however upon whom I placed my Eye very early, nor do I mean to withdraw it whilst I am an observer. “beware of that Spair Cassius” this is between ourselves.—
That we are in a very critical State with France every one must be sensible. their insults to our Government & their depredations upon our commerce ought not to be endured but upon the Principle that it is better to bear wrong than Do wrong. Their late victories in Italy will give a new Spur to insolence. by their own account it was so dear a purchase that I question whether ultimately it will contribute to their prosperity.3 every new desolation ought to excite our Vigilence & put us upon prepareing for defence, whilst we cautiously avoid every cause of offence
{ 540 }
I have not yet made any arrangments for going to Philadelphia. I waited untill the Declaration is made and untill Something is Done by the House of Reps. the united states ought to have a House for their chief Majestrate furnished. I know not what will be Done.—
Dft (Adams Papers); notation by CFA: “Copy. J. Q. Adams?”
1. Edward Young, Love of Fame, the Universal Passion, Satire I, lines 237–238.
2. For Thomas Jefferson’s involvement with Philip Freneau’s Philadelphia National Gazette, see vol. 10:30–31.
3. In the fall of 1796 Napoleon’s forces suffered heavy losses against the Austrians in Italy, including at the 15–17 Nov. battle of Arcola, which ended with a French victory but a loss of 4,500 troops. On 4 Feb. 1797 the Boston Columbian Centinel reprinted Napoleon’s 19 Nov. 1796 letter to the Directory detailing the Austrian defeat at Arcola, in which he mentioned that several French officers were killed or wounded, and describing the French losses as “very severe” (Ross, Quest for Victory, p. 102–103).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0282

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1797-02-06

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

The heavey rain & thaw to day will prevent my getting my Letters to Town to go by the post, to that cause you must attribute it. This Month is a short one, and March will soon be upon you with its new Duties, with its load of care, and perplexities. those of a Domestick kind I would relieve you from as much as possible, Yet wish to consult You upon them. in the first place, what is to be Done about an House furniture Household at Philadelphia? I do not know the Number which will be requisite. as few as can perform the necessary business will be most for our Comfort. in My Letter to Brisler I named a Woman here who if she could be had is well calculated for a Housekeeper both when I am absent and there. Men servants will be best procured at Philadelphia their buisness will be better understood. I feel most anxious for Your private Scecratary, who must be trust worthy close mouthd a Man of buisness, and application. the accomplishments of a Drawing Room are not so requisite, as those of the Cabinet, nor do I consider it as any peculiar recommendation that a Young Gentleman has been abroad, where he is much more like to accquire habits of dissipation than application.
Mr Pickerings Letter to mr Pinckny is just publishing in our papers. I have not been from home to hear the Sentiments of people upon the Subject, but I am confident it will have a Salutary effect upon the minds of those who read it, and open their Eyes with respect to their engagements and attachment to France.1 the late victories of their Army in Italy, tho Dearly purchased will give them an { 541 } other incentive to conquest, and render them still more delirious. there has been much talk here of an Embargo as an necessary measure to preserve our remaining commerce. I askd a Gentleman in the Mercantile Line who was hopeing that Congress would lay an embargo, if the people were not the best keepers of their own Liberties and priveledges. O no he replid, the Merchants would risk, & ruin themselves if not restraind by authority
There is much good Sense in Swanwicks arguments for a direct Tax. a Land Tax will be submitted to in N England with much less reluctance than the very unpopular ones of Hearth Window and Stamps. I am astonishd that so sensible a Man as Mr Harper Should know so little of the temper and disposition of his Countrymen.2 if there are no extra officers appointed for the collection of a land tax, so as to render it burdensome in that way I believe it will be cheerfully paid, and we certainly ought to have Some resource of Revenue which is not subject to the piratical plunder of Foreign Nations.
Mr Volneys prediction respecting France will take place sooner or later I have not a Doubt, and that it must be Royal Blood to heal their Wounds, tho a successfull General may pave the way but their measure is not yet full. the vials of wrath are not yet all poured out upon the Nations against whom they are contending
I wait for your directions respecting our affairs at Home. the Grass Seed You will not fail to Send. this Thaw must extend to your Rivers, and open them. Billings has been employd for several Days in making a Dragg for stones. he has compleated one which he says would make you laugh if you could See it. he is making a New cart putting his Harrow and tools in order. his wanderings have not been very troublesome this Winter. take him at large I do not know a better Hand. he can contrive buisness & Sit himself about it. his cattle look well. Baxters Sheep have not attempted Your Wall, but they leap the other. adieu my Dear Friend and companion. I dreem too of you, but they are not so pleasing as My Waking Thoughts the former being fancifull wandering, the latter possessing the / constant & unalterable attachment / and affection of your
[signed] A Adams—3
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. Feb. 7. Ansd 18 / 1797.”
1. Timothy Pickering’s 16 Jan. letter to Charles Cotesworth Pinckney was communicated to Congress on 19 Jan. by the president and published in installments in the Massachusetts Mercury, 31 Jan., 3 Feb., and in the Boston Columbian Centinel, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25 February. A response to Pierre Auguste Adet’s 15 Nov. 1796 letter, for which see AA to JQA, 11 Nov., note 3, above, Pickering reviewed and refuted Adet’s charges against the United { 542 } States, noting that “there has been no attempt in the Government of the United States to violate our Treaty or weaken our engagements with France” (Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 2d sess., p. 1914, 2713–2769; Charles W. Upham, The Life of Timothy Pickering, 4 vols., Boston, 1873, 3:357–358).
2. On 12 Jan. 1797 the Committee of Ways and Means presented a resolution to the House of Representatives for a direct tax on lands and slaves. The next day John Swanwick stated his support for the land tax, noting that he “trembled for the existence of our Government; for it could not exist without revenue, and he could not see how that revenue could be raised but by a land tax.” Robert Goodloe Harper disagreed and submitted a proposed list of indirect taxes, including duties on stamps and windows. Harper argued that a direct tax on land would create a heavy financial burden for the nation: “For an assessor to go through the United States, and class every farm according to its value, would not only be very expensive, but it would require a very long time to accomplish such a business.” Swanwick responded to Harper on 16 Jan. that “a window tax, a hearth tax, a stamp tax … cause murmurings and discontents wherever they are established; but in no country has a land tax been grievous.” Swanwick further argued that a land tax would allow “all ranks” to “unite in putting their shoulders to the wheel of Government.” On 20 Jan. the House voted 49 to 39 to approve the resolution (Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 2d sess., p. 1843–1844, 1858, 1863–1864, 1868, 1886, 1889, 1941–1942).
3. AA wrote to JA on 7 Feb. enclosing a letter for Martha Washington of [9 Feb.], below, and lamenting the lack of letters from their sons in Europe. She also reminded JA that Richard Cranch would soon want a decision regarding purchasing Cranch’s farm (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0283

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-02-07

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I recd Yesterday together your Letters of the 28. 29. and 30th of January.
It is impossible for me to give any Directions about our affairs at Quincy. I shall be hurried here with Business and Ceremony. I like your Plan to get Mears but fear he will not agree to it.
When you come here I hope you will bring all the Women you want. I would not have any other than N. England Women in the House on any Account. Why cant Becky and Betcy too come here.
But I can determine nothing, untill the H. of Representatives Shall determine— I cannot even receive the Furniture belonging to the Public, without their Act.1 If I have an House to furnish—I will have no House before next December, if then. I will live at Lodgings at Francis’s Hotel.
The Governors Retirement does him Honour. I wish I could retire too: but it is now too late. I am in the Cage and cant get out as yet. The Examination is to be tomorrow after which We shall soon see what turn Things are to take.
I am with the tenderest Affection yours / & only yours forever
[signed] J. A
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “Feb’ry 7th / 1797.”
{ 543 }
1. On 2 March George Washington signed an act appropriating $14,000 “for the accommodation of the household” of the president and authorizing the sale of presidential furnishings that were “decayed and out of repair” (U.S. Senate, Jour., 4th Cong., 2d sess., p. 343; Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 2d sess., p. 2307–2308).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0284

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Date: 1797-02-07

John Quincy Adams to Louisa Catherine Johnson

Your Letter of the 20th: of last month, which I received a few days ago has taken from my bosom one of its heaviest weights. The imputation of unkindness to you, was one of those which it was least able to bear with fortitude, and to be relieved from which would alone have been equivalent to the most delicious gratification. Besides which it is full of the tenderness which I love and the reflection which I respect and esteem.
I am very happy to find that your brother was pleased with his visit to my Parents.— One of my father’s last Letters indicates the same uncertainty with that which deprived you of Letters from your brother. It says “I know not where to address you: whether in Holland, England, or Portugal; whether as a married or a single Man.”—1 Neither of them had the least idea or expectation of my last appointment, untill some time after it was made.— It was, Louisa to the good opinion of the President alone, that I was indebted for the nomination, and while I am profoundly sensible how far it has placed me above the Station to which any pretensions of mine could have aspired, I hope never to forget the obligation it has laid upon me to use every exertion of which I am capable to justify the choice— You enquire, my amiable friend, whether my early introduction to these flattering situations will not attach me too strongly to the advantages which they confer?— I do not think that any Man can answer at once with confidence and with sincerity, for the exemption of his Heart from the feelings which operate powerfully upon the generality of Mankind.— I will not undertake therefore to say that my retirement from public life, will be effected without casting “one longing lingering look behind.”—2 But that I can and will subdue every such reluctance, I think it in my power to assure you. To serve my Country at her call, is not merely an ambition, but a duty; I cannot therefore refuse to perform it, especially at a moment when there is danger and inconvenience attending it.— I am certainly making at this moment a sacrifice to my sense of duty, very great in my own estimation, since it comprehends not { 544 } only my own happiness, but your inclinations too. At the same time I know it is a sacrifice, which no other person will impute to me as a merit, and for which there is no other compensation than the consciousness of doing right.— I have repeatedly talked to you of my Country; of my unlimited attachment and devotion to it.— The sentiment like that of all other virtues, ought not to be displayed with ostentation, and therefore I seldom say any thing of it, except where my free confidence allows and requires me to make a profession of principles, which at other times and with other persons, I hold it sufficient to keep in silence as the guides of my conduct.— I may therefore own to you that my duty to my Country is in my mind the first and most imperious of all obligations; before which every interest and every feeling inconsistent with it must forever disappear.— It is that which requires my present continuance in Europe.— For as to my personal advantage I am persuaded it would be more promoted by my immediate return to America, and by the direction of all my attention to my own concerns, and as an object of ambition, it is not at a distance like this from America, out of sight and out of the hearing of his Countrymen that an ambitious American is to rise.— I had hoped the last Summer when I was informed that I should be removed early in the then ensuing fall, that my duties might have been conciliated with my own wishes and yours, that I should be enabled to accomplish our union at an early period, and I hoped that your good sense, prudence and Spirit, would reconcile you to the indispensable necessity of accompanying me to a life of retirement in America, and to the suppression of propensities, which you were yourself unaware of being prevalent in your heart.— But my own expectations were soon protracted; my hopes of removal were postponed, I was directed still to remain here, and received at the same moment a summons from your father announcing that he must go very early in the Spring to America, and that he must know whether I could previously come over to England.— I had no choice left and accordingly hesitated not a moment.— But it was impossible for me to say how long I might be detained in Europe, and the same impossibility still remains.— I have said and repeat that I will come to you as soon as my sense of duty and of prudence will permit, and whenever they shall allow me to indicate a time, it will give me the most cordial pleasure to do it.
Your attention in sending me the little strip from the news paper containing the Statement of votes was very kind.— You will perhaps laugh at me for that perpetual contemplation of the dark side, which { 545 } makes me look upon this Event as thus announced, in the light of a misfortune, and will not perhaps believe that it has only given me concern and anxiety— Such Louisa is the condition of human Nature; every one who looks forward, discovers little else than evil in the view, and the more elevated the eminence from which the prospect is taken, the more dreary is the scene that it exhibits.— Prepare yourself then my amiable friend to sympathise with adversity, and to share and encourage fortitude.— The highest consolation under misfortune is the consciousness that it was occasioned by no fault of our own. The next is that it did not fall upon us by surprize.
You imagine that I receive with anger the information that you pay little attention to the Harp, and cannot yet play a single song.— By no means— I hear it with great indifference: it is indeed as you say a charming, but it is also a trivial accomplishment. It can amuse a moment of idleness, and discard some of the languor of tediousness. but it confers neither intelligence to the mind, nor virtue to the Heart. I trust therefore that your hours are employed in the acquisition of more valuable qualities.— Small indeed is the portion of domestic happiness that any proficiency in music can bestow, and while you pass your time in cultivating your virtues, in improving your understanding, and in correcting your defects, I shall very willingly spare whatever of delight, is contained in the highest powers of musical harmony.
To avoid losing the Post I must conclude. yours with constant affection
[signed] A.3
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Miss Louisa C. Johnson / London.” FC-Pr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 131. Tr (Adams Papers).
1. See JA to JQA, 11 Nov. 1796, above.
2. Thomas Gray, “Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard,” line 88.
3. JQA wrote to LCA on 5 Feb. 1797 that he was sending bracelets, earrings, and rings for the Johnson sisters and their mother. LCA wrote to JQA on 7 Feb. expressing happiness at the kinder tone in his recent letters to her and informing him that Thomas Jefferson, not Thomas Pinckney (as she had previously thought), was elected vice president (both Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0285

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1797-02-08

Abigail Adams to John Adams

“The Sun is drest in Brighest Beams

To Give thy Honours to the Day”1

And may it prove an auspicious prelude to each ensuing Season. You have this Day to declare Yourself Head of A Nation.2 And now O { 546 } Lord my God thou hast made thy servant Ruler over the people. give unto him an understanding Heart, that he may know how to go out, and come in before this great people, that he may descern between good and bad, for who is able to judge this, thy so great People?3 were the Words of a Royal Soverign, and not less applicable to him who is invested with the Chief Majestracy of a Nation, tho he wear not a Crown, or the Robes of Royalty.
My Thoughts, and My Meditations are with you, tho personally absent, and My petitions to Heaven are that the things which make for Peace, may not be hiden from your Eyes. My feelings are not those of Pride, or ostentation upon the occasion they are solemnized by a sense of the obligations, the important Trusts and Numerous Duties connected with it. that you may be enabled to Discharge them with Honour to yourself, with justice and impartiality to Your Country, and with satisfaction to this Great People Shall be / The Daily prayer of your
[signed] A Adams
1. AA misquotes James Hervey’s “Ode from Casimire,” lines 9–10: “The Sun is dressed in beaming Smiles, / To give thy Beauties to the Day.”
2. On 8 Feb. JA, as president of the Senate, presided over the official reading in Congress of the electoral votes for president and vice president. George Washington joined the members of both houses in the House chamber so that JA could address the entire legislature. The “crowded assemblage” also included several diplomats, many “ladies,” and “the principal inhabitants” of the capital. JA informed the group that he had received packets from each of the sixteen states “containing the certificates of the votes.” He started by opening the packet from Tennessee, noting that “it has been the practice heretofore … to begin with the returns from the State at one end of the United States, and to proceed to the other.” JA then read the certificate, handed it to the clerk of the Senate who read the report out loud, then gave it to the tellers who noted the vote counts. After all the reports had been read and tallied, JA stated the total vote counts for each candidate and the number of votes needed to be elected president. At that point in the proceedings JA sat down for a moment, and then rising again, spoke: “I declare that John Adams is elected President of the United States, for four years, to commence with the fourth day of March next.” JA then made the same pronouncement for Thomas Jefferson as vice president. The orderly scene of the count in Congress was described favorably by the 9 Feb. Philadelphia Gazette: “To see the representatives of a free people, thus assembled, for the purpose of determining the election of two of their first magistrates … afforded a fine contrast to the parade and splendour which attend a change of the first officers” in other countries (Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 2d sess., p. 2095–2098).
3. 1 Kings, 3:7, 9.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0286

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-02-08

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Mother.

Though not many days have elapsed since I wrote you last, and I scarcely know what I can write for your amusement, I cannot omit the acknowledgment of having recently received your kind Letter, { 547 } dated November. 11. which besides the pleasure which your Letters always afford, had the additional merit of relieving me from great anxiety on account of your health.
The address of the President declaring his intention to retire from the public service, has been republished, translated and admired all over Europe.— But in France the usual arts of french intrigue in all their impudence and all their falsehood have been used against it. The most barefaced forgeries have been palmed upon the public in France under the name of translations and extracts of this address, and I know not whether one faithful french translation of it has appeared in that Country.— The Leyden Gazette has given one here, together with such encomiums upon the piece itself and its author, as both deserve and obtain from every virtuous mind, and has noticed the infidelity of the pretended translations published in the Paris papers.— The french Directory, or their guide, have taken a dislike to the principles and Fame of Washington, and have among other of their little projects undertaken to run him down They have been at work two years upon it, and are now in a perfect frenzy at the thought that he has placed himself beyond the reach of their weapons.— Yet they have been unable to succeed generally, even in France, where at this moment the generality of the Nation revere his character, and where his name will be remembered with veneration when they will escape detestation only inasmuch as they shall sink in oblivion.
I have written to you in my former Letters the state of my matrimonial prospects and purposes. They remain still in the same uncertainty. When I shall be removed from hence, I intend to take my course through London, but when that will be is yet uncertain and precarious.— To live much longer in Europe, without a family, and especially if without my brother too, is what I cannot possibly think of.— My life is destined to be spent at home— I have weaned myself from the delights of large and numerous society, and can now enlarge or diminish at my own choice my mixture with it. But perpetual solitude at home, is almost as bad as imprisonment
Your apprehensions as to the tastes and sentiments of my friend; your fears that they may be Anti-American or liable to contract too strong an attachment to the tinsel of courts was perfectly natural, and all your observations on the subject were received by me with gratitude, as I knew them to proceed from serious concern and the purest parental affection.— I should be a bold man indeed to affirm that there is no ground for them; that the Lady is superior to such { 548 } attractions and despises such splendor.— But she has goodness of heart and gentleness of disposition as well as spirit and discretion; with these qualities I shall venture upon the chances of success, and hope you will find her prove such a daughter as you would wish for your son.
As to the idea I had at one time contemplated of an Establishment at the Southward, it is my wish that it may not give you the least concern. It was indeed founded upon the prospect of my retirement from the public Service, and you may be sure I should not have effected it, without very sufficient inducements of interest.— I am not unacquainted, and I think there is no danger that I shall forget what are the appropriate duties and obligations of either party in marriage, but if I had returned altogether to private Life, I should of course have found it necessary to pursue the most advantageous honourable means of providing for myself, wherever they might have placed me: and indeed to commence anew the practice of Law in Massachusetts, would have been so very unpromising a Prospect, that I should have been driven by necessity to seek some other more favourable.— At present my design is altogether suspended and very possibly may never be renewed.— If a political convulsion or revolution should speedily throw me upon the world, with the necessity to look out for support, where I shall be most like to find it, I shall leave to the contingencies of such a time the provision which its occasion may require. It is a fruitless as well as a painful employment to look too far into futurity.
The Election of President and Vice-President which was preparing with so much bustle manoeuvre and intrigue when you wrote me is now concluded, and on this day I presume the choice will be ascertained and declared. From the success of French influence in settling the votes of Pennsylvania, which was the first part of the transaction transmitted to France, the revolutionizers of the world had already announced the success of their candidate, with a degree of exultation proportionate to the importance of the Event. At present the accounts received lead to the belief among the public of a different issue, and the french Directory are accordingly mortified and provoked. Their vexation at this proof that they were not able to make a President of the United States, enraged them to such a degree that they immediately ordered Mr: Pinckney, whom they had before refused to receive, to quit France, and I expect every day to see him here.— I am anxious to hear in what manner the feelings of my Countrymen will receive these accumulated indignities and { 549 } injuries, with which their too sincere and cordial friendship for France is returned.— How they will bear to be informed that the French Directory have resolved to force all the maritime and commercial Nations out of their neutrality.— They calculate upon such a party within the United States totally devoted to them as will at least disable the Government from any means of defence if not compel a submission to their most unjust dictates.
The Directory have just discovered or fabricated a royalist conspiracy against the present Constitution of France.—1 If all these conspiracies are true, it is easy to judge what sort of a Government it is against which continual conspiracies are forming.— They have lately gained another splendid victory in Italy to comfort them for their disastrous attempt against Ireland.2 It may be a consolation to us to see that they are as impotent in every thing relative to the Sea, as they are terrible to every Nation which they can approach by Land.— Thank Heaven they cannot materially injure us, but by dividing us among ourselves.— And God Grant they may be disappointed even in their expectations from that source.
Mr: Bourne, who has been our Vice-Consul at Amsterdam ever since my first arrival here purposes paying a visit to our Country the spring ensuing, and goes from hence to Embark from England, in the course of a few days. I have entrusted to his care, the watch which conformably to your request, I purchased for you last Winter in England, and which I have not hitherto had a good opportunity of sending.— I have been indebted to him for much kindness and many friendly attentions in this Country.3
I know not whether this Letter will find you at Quincy, or at Philadelphia— If the election has been such as is here said, (for I consider it still as very uncertain) you will probably be at the seat of Government. You will not lead there, for the present at least a life of ease or quiet; but your disposition will find consolations and encouragements, and it is my fervent prayer that the progress of Events may produce more smiling prospects, and a milder sky.
Mr: Johnson’s son has written to his Parents that he had spent a day and night at Quincy, by your invitation and where he was much gratified by the civilities which were shewn him. This attention to the brother of my friend has added a new claim to my gratitude for your kindness.
My friend Otis, I see succeeds Mr: Ames as representative in Congress for the district of Boston. While I lament that the public should be deprived of Mr: Ames’s services, at this early period of his { 550 } life and from so melancholy an occasion, I rejoice in the hopes that the talents and energy of Otis will be substituted in their stead.— His eloquence, his activity and his firmness will be exerted I am very confident in a good cause, and while he rises to eminence and fame himself he will promote at the same time the honour the dignity and the true interests of his Country.
I am with steady sentiments of duty and affection, your Son,
[signed] John Q. Adams.4
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs: A. Adams.”; endorsed: “J Q Adams Feb’ry / 8th 1797”; notation by TBA: “N: 26 / 25. Jany 18.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 128.
1. On 30 Jan. Jean Pierre Ramel, commandant of the national guard, notified the French Directory of a royalist conspiracy that planned to secure members of the French military to help them seize public buildings and proclaim Louis XVIII king. The conspirators were tried before a military tribunal, and those found guilty were ultimately deported to Cayenne in French Guiana (Cambridge Modern Hist., 8:505–506).
2. In January Napoleon’s army defeated the Austrian forces at Rivoli, leading to the Austrian surrender of Mantua on 2 Feb. (Ross, Quest for Victory, p. 104).
3. It is unclear when Sylvanus Bourne arrived in the United States, but he was in Boston by the middle of June and soon began advertising land for sale in Hingham and the services of his commission house in Amsterdam. While in America, Bourne was appointed by JA consul general of the United States for the Batavian Republic. Bourne and his wife left on 29 Oct. aboard the Phoenix bound for Amsterdam and arrived by mid-Jan. 1798 (Boston Columbian Centinel, 8 July 1797; Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 27 July; U.S. Senate, Exec. Jour., 5th Cong., 1st sess., p. 247; Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 2 Nov.; JQA to Bourne, 19 Jan. 1798, LbC, APM Reel 130).
4. JQA wrote four letters to JA in Feb. 1797 (dated 3, 7, 16, and 23, all Adams Papers), in which he commented on European interest in the American presidential election and noted that the returns he had seen predicted JA’s election. He relayed French military and political news and reported receiving constant requests from the Marquis de Lafayette’s friends that he assist in securing Lafayette’s liberation. JQA noted Charles Cotesworth Pinckney’s expulsion from France and the minister’s subsequent arrival at Amsterdam, and he voiced his opinion that America’s biggest challenge in Europe was the French government’s belief that Americans were not strongly attached to their government. JQA also sent JA a packet of books, including The History of the Conspiracy of Orleans by Christophe Félix Louis Montjoye, a publication by Madame de Staël, and the French translation of the proposed Batavian constitution.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0287

Author: Otis, Mary Smith Gray
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-02-08

Mary Smith Gray Otis to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Mrs Adams

It gives me peculiar pleasure to hear from the Vice President, that you have enjoyed your health, better, this Winter, than usual; the frost of this season, will I hope entirely eradicate your former complaints, & that you will long enjoy a confirmed state of health, not only for your own sake, but that of your friends.—
Give me leave to congratulate you, on the choice made of a President, as a proof of the confidence & attachment of the (I will say) { 551 } best part of the community, it must give you pleasure. As you are both Veterans in politicks you are better able to repel the attacks of those, whose chief aim seems to be, to render those unhappy who are placed in the high Offices of Government, but that you may enjoy much satisfaction & pleasure, is my earnest wish.
Your friends here are anxious, to know whether they shall see you this Spring, for myself I anticipate much pleasure, in the prospect of having you for a Neighbour.
If there is any thing to be done, or any little arrangements to be made, previous to your coming, that I can do for you, I will do it with pleasure.
With love to Louisa, I remain, Yours Affecly:
[signed] M Otis1
1. Another example of the congratulatory correspondence sent to AA was Susanna Clarke Copley’s letter of 10 Feb. (Adams Papers). Copley sent best wishes from her family to AA “upon the wisdom that our country Men of America have displayed in the choice of their Chief Magistrate” and introduced one of her acquaintances to AA.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0288

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Otis, Mary Smith Gray
Date: 1797-02

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Gray Otis

[salute] My Dear Mrs Otis

I received last Evening Your kind Letter of Febry 8th. I thank you for your congratulation, and kind wishes
To be the Successor of Mrs Washington and to make good her place will be an arduous task. I can only Say that my Sincerest Wishes will be joined With my best endeavours to give offence to no one & satifaction to all.
I have amidst many gloomy reflections, receivd pleasure from the thought of having So near a relative and valuable a Friend near me, whose tender care & kind Solisitude I had experienced on the Bed of Sickness, and to whom I could communicate my thoughs without that reserve, which my situation will require.
Your kind offers I May have occasion for, but as yet I know what will be necessary. I would not wish to make a journey this Spring to return in the heat of the Season if mr Adams can dispence with my attendance. I had rather go on in Sep’br but I shall consult his wishes and convenience all together. I will thank You if you can inform me what Number of Domesticks the Presidents Household consisted of. how many female Servants? I can carry four from hence. I should then want a good housekeeper
{ 552 }
My Health has been better through the winter than usual I have not been without mementoes of Reumatism Since Feb’ry came in.
My Regards to mr Otis & Love to miss Harriot <& Mary> from / Your affec
[signed] A A1
Dft (Adams Papers); notations by CFA: “Copy. Mrs S. A. Otis.” and “Quincy. 1797.”
1. On the last page of the Dft, AA wrote, “who that has a private Friend who has served them many Years devoting their time and talents to promote their interest, even to the loss and prejudice of their own private emolument.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0289

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Washington, Martha
Date: 1797-02-09

Abigail Adams to Martha Washington

[salute] my Dear Madam

Your retirement from publick Life excite in my mind many Sensations, Some of them of a nature very different from those which I have ever before experienced.
The universal satisfaction Love esteem and Respect which you have ensured from all Ranks of persons, Since you have been in publick Life and more particularly for these 8 years past when your Situation has made you more universally know “so that the Tongue of Slander the pen of Calumny,[”] nor the bitteness of envy have never once to my knowledge assailed any part of your conduct a pattern so exemplary a Character so irreproachable whilst it cannot fail to excite an Emulation in the Bosom of your Successor, must at the Same time fill her mind with an anxious Solicitude least she should fall far short of her most amiable predecessor to have seen You Still Sustaining your part in publick would have given much more pleasure to me my Dear Madam, than I can possibly receive from succeeding you as it has fallen to Me. I will endeavour to follow Your steps and by that means hope I Shall not essentially fall Short <of my most amiable exemplaer> in the discharge of My Duties with this view I Shall be obliged to you Madam to communicate to Me those Rules which you prescribed & practised upon as it respected receiving & returning visits, both to strangers and citizens as it respected invitations of a publick or private nature
Your experience and knowledge of <persons and Characters> must render your advise particularly acceptable to me who inquires not from motives of an Idle curiosity but from a desire to do right, and to give occasion of offence to no one. if you have any Domesticks whose fidelity and attachment to you have merrited your particular confidence, I will thank you to Name them to me.
{ 553 }
I cannot close this Letter without presenting my gratefull acknowledgments to the President for the Honorable notice he has taken of My Family and particularly for the appointments with which he has honourd my Son the Satisfaction which he has repeatedly exprest of his publick conduct. whilst it gives to the Maternal Heart the highest reward cannot fail as a stimulous in exciting him to the utmost dilligence and fidelity towards his Country, and Respect and attachment to the President who has thus honourd him with his Confidence.
I join in the General the Universal Voice in beseaching Heaven to bestow its choicest Blessings upon You in Your retirement, to private Life, and will hope for Your Friendship and affection Regard to your obliged Friend
[signed] A Adams
Dft (Adams Papers); notations by CFA: “Copy. Mrs Washington.” and “Quincy 1797.”
1. For the dating of this letter, see Martha Washington’s reply of 20 Feb., below.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0290

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-02-09

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

The Die is cast, and you must prepare yourself for honourable Tryals.
I must wait to know whether Congress will do any Thing or not to furnish my House— if they do not I will have no House before next Fall. and then a very moderate one, with very moderate Furniture.
The Prisoners from Algiers arrived Yesterday in this City, in good health and looking very well. Captn. stevens is among them. one Women rushed into the Crowd & picked out her Husband, whom she had not Seen for 14 years.1 I am and ever shall / be yours and no others
[signed] J. A2
Mr Sullivan and young Johnson are to breakfast with me.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A.”
1. Isaac Stephens was captain of the Maria of Boston, the first American vessel taken by Algiers. His ship and crew of five were captured off Cape St. Vincent, Portugal, on 25 July 1785. In 1793 Algerian corsairs captured twelve other American vessels and seized over 100 Americans. The captives, both before and after the 1793 seizures, petitioned Congress for their release, but a successful attempt by the United States was not effected until 1795, when Joseph Donaldson Jr. was appointed as a deputy to Algiers. Donaldson arrived in Algiers on 3 Sept. and two days later signed a treaty with the Algerian dey Hassan Bashaw, who agreed to release the Americans in exchange for $180,000. The house of Bacry, a Jewish brokerage firm in Algiers, loaned the United States the funds necessary to redeem the { 554 } American captives. On 12 July 1796 the men left Algiers, arriving on 20 July in Marseilles, where they were quarantined for eighty days due to a shipboard outbreak of the plague. On 12 Nov. they sailed for America, arriving on 7 Feb. 1797 at Marcus Hook, Penn., and in Philadelphia the following day (Gary E. Wilson, “American Hostages in Moslem Nations, 1784–1796: The Public Response,” Journal of the Early Republic, 2:126–130, 138–140 [Summer 1982]; Boston Gazette, 20 Feb.).
2. On the same day AA wrote to JA enclosing JQA’s letter to her of 14 Nov. 1796, above, and summarizing a letter she received from TBA, which has not been found; she also noted the receipt of several letters from JA and commented on JA’s salary as president. JA wrote to AA on 11 Feb. telling her to bring all the female servants she desired to Philadelphia but cautioning her that as yet he had no furnishings for the presidential residence (both Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0291

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Peabody, Elizabeth Smith Shaw
Date: 1797-02-10

Abigail Adams to Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody

[salute] my Dear Sister

What a Charming Letter have I received from my ever Dear and valued Sister, how repleat with benevolence. Surely she openeth her Mouth with Wisdom, and upon her Tongue is the Law of Kindness.1 Not an avenue to the Heart, which her pen cannot trace, not a Chord which her skill cannot strike. How soothing how comforting how encourageing are her Words, and such My Dear Sister have I need of, in the Arduous station which the voice of my Country has designated to me. so far from feeling any sensations of Pride or Ostentation from the event, my mind is solemnized and impressed with the new Duties, and the Weight of cares devolved upon My best Friend. in concequence of it, and upon me, as a sharer in some of the cares which will encompass him, I can say with the Psalmist when addressing the Supreeme Being

“Still has my Life new Wonders seen

Repeated every year

Behold my Days which yet remain

I trust them to thy care[”]

Dr Preistly in his dedication of his volm of Sermons to the Vice President, very justly observes that Christian principles will best enable Men to Devote their Time their Talents, their Lives, and what is often a greater sacrifice, their Characters to the publick Good. what Principles can enable a Man to consult the real good of his fellow citizens, without being diverted from his generous purpose by a regard to their opinion concerning him, like those of the Christian who can be satisfied with the approbation of his own mind, and who tho not insensible to due praise, can despise Calumny, and steadily Overlooking every thing which is intermediate, patiently wait for the Day of Retribution.
{ 555 }
Our Government is in as Critical a state, as it respects our Foreign connections, as it has ever known Since its commencment, particularly as it respects France, who have unprovokedly insulted our Government by their Minister, Plunderd our Commerce by their cruizers, and openly broken their Treaties. in short with their Religion, all moral obligation appears to have shared the same dissolution, so that Galick Faith will become a by word, and a reproach, which verifies the observations just resited, that there are no principles like the Christian to bind either the Faith or practise of Nations or individuals—
May the prayers of all good people, be offerd up with equal Sincerity, for the Success and prosperity of the Government: under the new Head, as for his predecessor for the effectual fervent prayer of the Righteous, availeth much.2
I hope the arduous Task difficult as it is, will be discharg’d with wisdom, firmness, integrity, prudence, and impartiality, as may be instrumental in preserving to us, Peace, and respectability both at Home and abroad
The vice Presidency having been allotted to mr Jefferson: will serve as a bond of union between the States.3 I have long known mr Jefferson, and have ever entertaind a Friendship for him; he is a Man of understanding, and of probity. tho he has been biased towards one Nation, and prejudiced against an other, I do not believe he would knowingly Sacrifice the interests of his Country to any foreign Nation. between him and mr Adams there has ever subsisted harmony. tho they have not accorded always in Sentiment, they have discented without warmth, or ill will, like Gentlemen, and mr Jefferson, I have not a Doubt will Support the President, nor do I fear any unpleasent Conduct from him at the Head of the Senate—4
I hope My Dear sister that you will Soon get the better of your infirmities and enjoy a more confirmd state of Health in future
Cousin William was here last sunday as he wrote you. I do not expect him again untill he goes to Cambridge.5 I will render him the assistance you request. he appears to have every disposition to Do right, but we cannot expect the judgement of Age, upon the Shoulders of youth. experience is the best School. I know you will be gratified to hear from Your Nephews abroad; I received Letters from them this week. the vessel which brought them had 99 Days passage. they were dated 20 Nov’br they were both well.6
Sister Cranch said the other Day that she designd to write to you. She is well, but cousin Mary is very sick; I fear her complaints are { 556 } consumptive—a threatning cough—7 I am happy to learn that cousin B Smith is content with her Situation. how does that Laughter Loving Girl B Q S do.? I have mist her spirits this winter. Cherish the little pratler Abbe. She will with the rest of them, prove a comfort to you I trust. my Respects to mr Peabody whom I esteem for his many amiable qualities, and particularly for that value, and right estimation, he appears to have of the treasure he possesses. Louissa desires me to present her Duty to you, and Love to her Sister, and cousins Louissa is not deficient in writing to her Sister. ask cousin Betsy, if She can say as much?
With Sincere regard and Sisterly affection / I Subscribe your
[signed] A Adams
RC (DLC:Shaw Family Papers). Dft (Adams Papers); filmed at [Jan. 1797].
1. Proverbs, 31:26.
2. James, 5:16.
3. In the Dft, AA adds here: “and tho differing Sentiments may exist between the two Gentlemen, if both aim at the Same end the good of their country, their difference will not create any animosity.”
4. In the Dft, AA adds as a new paragraph here: “I do not propose going untill the fall of the Year to Philadelphia. I hope Publick buisness will not require the President to reside there through the Hot Months.”
5. In the Dft, AA adds here: “I have told him that I will convey him from hence. I will see that he has a good pr small Cloaths made. I will get the cloth for him and have them Done here he wants Shoes, and said he expected You to send him a pr. I chargd him to get those he had on mended, as the Soles were quite worn—”
6. JQA to AA, 14 Nov. 1796, above; TBA’s letter to AA of 20 Nov. has not been found. The vessel that carried the letters was probably the schooner President, Capt. Holbrook, which arrived in Boston on 5 Feb. 1797 (Boston Price-Current, 9 Feb.).
7. Mary Smith died in Quincy on 22 April after suffering from tuberculosis. AA noted the young woman’s deteriorating condition in her letters that spring, writing to JA on 18 March that Mary was “far gone in a consumption” and on 6 April that her illness “dejects all our Spirits.” On 21 April AA informed William Smith that Mary “has not been able to be raised from her Bed for three Days” (Boston Columbian Centinel, 26 April; Adams Papers; MHi:Smith-Carter Family Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0292

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Date: 1797-02-12

John Quincy Adams to Louisa Catherine Johnson

“This day, which saw my Delia’s beauty rise,

Shall more than all our sacred days be blest;

The world, enamour’d of her lovely eyes,

Shall grow as good and gentle as her breast.1

I was reflecting this morning, with what peculiar force and propriety, I could make the application of these tender and affectionate lines of Hammond, and how much more truly they were suited to the object of my constant love than to the person for whom they { 557 } were originally destined, when your Letter of the 31st: of last month was brought me. … It put an end at once to the delicious contemplation in which I was indulging my fancy, and to the resolution I had taken of writing you a letter full of the feelings which the recurrence of this day raised in my Heart, and which I hoped would contribute something at least to your present pleasure while it should bear the sincere testimonial of my ardent prayers for your happiness through a numerous succession of similar anniversaries.— “I now must change those Notes for tragic”—2 I must reply to a Letter, which but for the profound affection and indissoluble attachment I feel for its writer, I should think most kindly used by leaving it without any reply at all.
You have again in this Letter repeatedly intimated that you think yourself obliged to assert spirit, and to resent what I wrote you in my Letters of Decr: 20. and Jany: 10.—and you tell me that I “seem to have very little knowledge of your disposition, or I should easily have seen that such letters would not pass unnoticed.”— Let us understand one another, Louisa.— I have always expected and intended that the communication of sentiments between you and me, should be free, candid, open and undisguised;—if on either side they should occasionally give pain I have trusted that the certainty of mutual affection would at least secure the most favourable construction; that nothing sarcastic, nothing bitter, nothing indivious would ever pass between us; that expostulation itself would speak the language of love, and that Spirit, would never be needed, or called in aid for the settlement of our differences.— Let me now assure you that I never thought your disposition deficient in Spirit, and that I am fully convinced you have as much of it as can be consistent with an amiable temper, but let me earnestly entreat you never to employ it in discussion with me, and to remember that it is in its nature a repellent quality; that whenever it is used, and more especially when it is professedly used, it inevitably necessitates either a similar return of Spirit, or an acquiescence and obsequiousness, painful to him who makes and unworthy of her who receives the sacrifice.— I do most cordially wish my amiable friend that you may never have occasion to know whether I should possess a proper degree of Spirit or not, in opposition to you.
You say “I should be sorry to put it in your power or in that of the world, to say I wished to force myself upon any man, or into any family.”— I feel all that you meant I should feel by this suggestion; I see the suspicion of your heart in which it originated, and deeply as { 558 } it probes my sensibility, my bosom is protected by the clear and unhesitating consciousness that the suspicion is without any foundation.— I can say the same of the other passage, where you observe that I “appear to regret what had passed in respect to your attending me to Lisbon, and have taken an improper method of shewing this regret,” but as you apologize yourself for this conjecture, I will assure you that my only regret was, of having at the moment of my own hopes and expectations of an early removal, by imparting them to you led you to make preparations of departure, of which you reminded me at the moment of my disappointment.
You have in some former letters spurned at the idea of thinking yourself honoured by your connection with me. And you now again mention I will not say with what temper of mind, my Dignity. Is it because you know Louisa how much I despise every sentiment of arrogance or pride resulting from such a source as these? is it because you know how much my feelings must be wounded by imputations of motives which I disdain, that you so often address them to me?— No, my friend, you tell me, that it is not for the pleasure of distressing me that you avow yourself offended, and I will not imagine, that you can ever consent to use weapons merely for the sake of the venom with which they are pointed.
My dignity, my Station or my family, have no sort of concern with any subject of debate between you and me— When I spoke of your dignity in a former Letter, I meant and could mean only the dignity of your sex and of your personal character. It would therefore have been as improper to reverse the expression, as it was erroneous in you to give it a construction so different from that in which it was used.
In one part of your letter you “confess yourself astonished at the weakness you have betrayed; that it now strikes you in a most glaring light, and that you can scarcely believe it possible that you could have acted in so ridiculous a manner.”— You add that your mind “is doubly wounded at the idea of having given rise to the stile in which my Letters were written” which have so much offended you, and yet in another part you say they are equally “unaccountable and undeserved.”— These expressions suffer me to say, my dearest friend, are on both sides remote from the sober medium of reason. Your proposal to come here, was adopted by you, without a full consideration of its natural and inevitable consequences, but without the faintest shadow of indelicacy in your heart which I firmly believe to be purity itself.— There was one consideration, which it is natural { 559 } enough should not have occurred to you, but which upon candid reflection I am perswaded will not now escape you: it is the appearance which it would have given to me and my conduct in the opinion of the world.— It was under that impression, and feeling it perhaps too forcibly (for indeed my Louisa I cannot bear the imputation of unnecessary harshness to you) that I wrote both the obnoxious Letters; and now that I apologize from the deepest of my heart for every word which may have contained one particle of superfluous asperity, I only request you to consider the whole subject deliberately in that point of view, and am perswaded that after such deliberation, if you still remain convinced that my two Letters were undeserved, you will at least perceive that they were not unaccountable.
That I ever pretended to say that I could see no fault in you, My Louisa, I do not recollect. If I ever did, it must be attributed to the blindness of an irrational Love, or to the natural exaggeration of expression, which ardent Sentiment often inspires, but which without any suspicion of insincerity, you must of course have concluded was exaggeration.— I have always believed and still believe you to possess a virtuous Heart, an intelligent mind, an accomplished person and a gentle disposition, all of which qualities contributed to inspire the strong affection which I have for you; but I never seriously believed or pretended that I believed you exempt from the common and universal imperfections of humanity; or from occasional errors of the mind, and varieties of temper.— As I knew that in the progress of Life, I should often need your indulgence for similar failings of my own, I have hoped that I should always be enabled to extend my indulgence to your’s; that every trivial failing would be overlooked by the eye of tenderness, or swept away by the hand of reciprocal benevolence. I still cherish the same hope, and while I receive with thanks every frank and candid avowal of the particulars in which you think my conduct or my language offensive or censurable, I shall only repeat the request that you would never again try my temper by a formal and professed assertion of your Spirit
The last Post from Bremen had brought me your kind and affectionate Letter of Jany: 27.3 A Letter where all your natural loveliness of disposition appears; which brought me at once obliging congratulation, soothing consolation and auspicious augury.— Oh my Louisa! let us forever discard a subject of correspondence which tends mutually to excite sensations of a nature so different from these. Let our only exchange of sentiments, be that of tenderness and Love.
I hope the indisposition which you mention as having been { 560 } prevalent in the family has totally disappeared, and beg to be remembered with respect and affection to all. I feel very much obliged to Miss Henning for her kind recollection, and hope you will assure her of my respectful esteem in return.
I am ever faithfully and tenderly your friend.
[signed] A.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed by JQA: “J. Q. A. / 12. Feby: 1797. / recd: / Ansd:.” FC-Pr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 131.
1. James Hammond, “Love Elegies,” Elegy 10, lines 1–4.
2. John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book IX, lines 5–6.
3. LCA wrote to JQA on 27 Jan. congratulating him on JA’s election and mistakenly reporting that Thomas Pinckney was vice president. She also remarked that her family had recently been ill but were now recovered (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0293

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1797-02-13

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

It is now the Middle of Feb’ry it will be the 20 by the Time this reaches you. the whole Months has been a Thaw So that to present appearences we shall have an early Spring. Billings has been Several Day at work upon the Wall. he tells me he shall want help to cart & Digg. Veseys time is just expiring, and as he is a bird of passage, he does not incline to tarry longer, So that I have to Seek a Hand, and to hire occasionally, for I think this wall which Billings computes at 30 Days, ought to be compleated as soon as possible. the Hill must however be ploughd, in a week or ten Days. unless the Weather changes, it may be Done. write if you are like to Send Seed. French was with me a Day or two Since, to know if I had received an answer from You respecting his remaining upon the place. I told him that there was no Doubt he might have it. he proposed breaking up 3 or 4 acres upon Belchers Side adjoining to Dr Phips. he Says that will be Sufficient, and that the manure will be required upon the Gound which is to be Sown So that much corn will not be profitable. I conversd with the Dr upon the Subject. he proposed letting French take the place for two years as an inducement to him to carry on Manure, but this is as you please.
I wish you to make provision in March for the payment of Haydens Note. his Brother call’d a few Days Since and ask’d me if I would take it up. I told him I was not prepaird then, but if he wanted the Money I would procure it for him in a few Days. he replied that he would not give me the trouble to Do that. if his Brother was really in want he would let me know. I then told him I { 561 } would take it up by the middle of March, but still I would get the Money immediatly if he would Send me word. I have not heard Since So presume he will wait till March. my Rates were sent the first of this Month. they amount to 178 Dollors and half the Farm tax upon which French & Vinton are to 24 Dollord, 16 Burrels. they have taken it upon them to Rate Your personal estate at 90 Dollors. I know of no one article of living which does not exceed in price this Year the last; during 8 weeks of as good travelling as ever was known in the Winter, there was a plenty, but no glut of the Market or fall of prices. I am disposed with you to curtail every expence which the Parsimony of our Rep’s require, and I would calculate for a surpluss of Revenue too. it will be there Disgrace, not ours, but they will bring their Government into contempt by it. they cry out, the high prices are but temporary, but they will starve out their officers whilst that temporary continues, which has been annually proving worse for these Six Years.
I have been much diverted with a little occurence which took place a few Days since and which serve to Shew how little founded in nature, the so much boasted principle of Liberty and equality is. Master Heath has opend an Evening School to instruct a Number of Apprentices Lads cyphering, at a shilling a week, finding their own wood and candles.1
James desired that he might go. I told him to go with my compliments to Master Heath and ask him if he would take him. he did & Master Heath returnd for answer that he would. accordingly James went after about a week, Neighbour Faxon came in one Evening and requested to Speak to me. his errant was to inform me that if James went to School, it would break up the School for the other Lads refused to go. pray mr Faxon has the Boy misbehaved? if he has let the Master turn him out of School. O no, there was no complaint of that kind, but they did not chuse to go to School with a Black Boy. and why not object to going to Meeting because he does mr Faxon? is there not room enough in the School for him to take his Seperate forme. Yes. did these Lads ever object to James playing for them when at a Dance. how can they bear to have a Black in the Room with them then? O it is not I that Object, or my Boys, it is some others. pray who are they? why did not they come themselves?. this mr Faxon is attacking the Principle of Liberty and equality upon the only Ground upon which it ought to be supported, an equality of Rights the Boy is a Freeman as much as any of the young Men, and merely because his Face is Black, is he to be denied instruction. { 562 } how is he to be qualified to procure a livelihood? is this the Christian Principle of doing to others, as we would have others do to us? O Mam, You are quite right. I hope You wont take any offence. none at all mr Faxon, only be so good as to send the Young Men to me. I think I can convince them that they are wrong. I have not thought it any disgrace to My self to take him into my parlour and teach him both to read & write— tell them mr Faxon that I hope we shall all go to Heaven together— upon which Faxon laugh’d, and thus ended the conversation I have not heard any more upon the Subject—.2 I have sent Prince Constantly to the Town School for some time, and have heard no objection—
I think You will excuse My attendance at Philadelphia till October. I hope however You will be able to come on in june. I talkd with Dr Tufts on the subject of building a Barn. he says he should advise to Building only a coach House for the present and appropriate the whole of this Building for the Hay. he thinks Some alteration may take place in the course of an other year which perhaps may render it less expensive inclosed is a line which I received from mr Bracket a Day or two since.3 I fear your more serious occupations will put out of your mind all personal concerns. adieu my Dear Friend do not let any thing put out of Your Mind Your ever affectionate
[signed] A Adams—
1. Possibly Samuel W. Heath, who married Anna Penniman of Braintree in Dec. 1796 (Massachusetts Mercury, 13 Dec.).
2. Probably James Faxon, who had seven school-age sons by 1797 (Sprague, Braintree Families).
3. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0294

Author: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1797-02-17

Louisa Catherine Johnson to John Quincy Adams

I have recieved your letters of Janry. 28. and 31. which have afforded me more real satisfaction, than I have latterly been accustomed to experience—1
I think, I have at length discovered the meaning, of those very disagreeable expressions suspicion, and distrust, and can assure my best friend, if he alludes to what I said, respecting the circumstance that happened in our family, from the moment I engaged myself to him, I banished them for ever from my heart—Indeed my most loved friend, I have always, and do place the most implicit, and unlimited, confidence in you, and should our seperation continue { 563 } for years, (which heaven avert) I can never for one moment, admit a doubt of your affection to enter my mind— should I be mistaken in this conjecture, I must request those proofs, however painful, that I may at least endeavor to vindicate myself, and convince you I hope, that they are without foundation—
You must permit me once more to repeat what I said concerning our visit to Holland. I had no idea of remaining with you, nor did I know till lately, that my Father had written to you on the subject, you know his tenderness for his children, therefore I am sure cannot be surprized at any thing he may have written which was dictated by the utmost affection, and anxiety for our mutual happiness— Ah my dearest friend you cannot concieve how much I regret ever having hinted a wish to meet you as instead of giving you pleasure I have unwillingly caused you great uneasiness You think I have acted with impropriety— I am always anxious to act in such a manner as to merit your approbation, therefore am very unhappy you should see my conduct in such a light— I hope however you will pardon the involuntary error, from the knowledge of its proceeding from the sincerest, and most disinterested affection, and I trust, I shall soon by my unremitting attention, and solicitude, for your welfare, convince you that your Louisa’s heart is entirely devoted to you, and that she does not nor ever can distrust you—
Now my most esteemed friend let us mutually forget the past, and by a constant, and tender correspondence, endeavor to alleviate the pang of inevitable seperation— believe me I have long ceased to think writing a trouble, it is now my greatest pleasure, and when writing to you, I only regret that I cannot find Language sufficienly forcible, to express my affection, my love
How shall I express my grateful sense of the honor your Mother has confered on me— say every thing for me your imagination can suggest, and tell her if the most constant and invariable affection for her beloved Son will secure her esteem, I flatter myself I shall ever retain it, and with pleasure acknowledge myself her daughter—
Our departure for America is fixed—we are to bid adieu to England, in about three months, preparations are making, though slowly— I have so often been disappointed in this respect that I am become indifferent to going or remaining here— were you there my friend, I should indeed endeavor to hasten our departure, but I really am so ridiculous as to wish to stay here, because the distance between us will be so much encreased— dont laugh at me, you know this said love is allowed to make people very inconsistent, and there { 564 } is some reason in this, as I certainly shall not be able to hear from you so frequently—
I shall however indulge the pleasing idea of your soon being enabled to follow us, should this happen, I shall indeed be happy, and will with pleasure relinquish every thing to share the simple fortunes of my dearest friend. I look forward to our meeting with the most heartfelt delight, I shall see you divested of rank, and shall prove the sincerity of my attachment by convincing you, that it was not your situation, but yourself that I loved—
It is here universally believed, that your Father is elected President— if I may venture to give my opinion, I think it will be fortunate for America, should he have gained his election— Mr. Jefferson, though a man of very great abilities, is not generally allowed, to possess that calm, intrepid firmness, which the present period demands— your father, has always been accustomed to a public Station, and I make no doubt, he would in this as in every other, acquit himself to the satisfaction of all parties— it is certainly an arduous and difficult task, and by no means to be wished, yet the more difficult it at present appears, the more satisfaction he will enjoy from the faithful discharge of it, for the welfare of his Country—
You see my friend, I write you every thing I think, because I am sure you will correct my errors, and kindly undertake to teach your Louisa, how to avoid such errors in future—
I have written so long a letter, that I am almost ashamed to send it, but I think my letters must at least have novelty to recommend them, they are always elegant and well written I sometimes think you will scarcely be able to read them, which is likely to be the case with this for it is perfectly unintelligible—
Adieu—Mama, and my Sisters, send their love to you still and ever believe in the sincere and unalterable affection of your tender and faithful friend,
[signed] Louisa C. Johnson
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “L. C. J. / 17. Feby: 1797. / 1. March. do: recd: / 6. do: Ansd:.”
1. For JQA’s 28 Jan. letter to LCA, see JQA to Joshua Johnson, 27 Jan., note 3, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0295

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1797-02-19

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

It was not till last Evening that I received Your Letters of Febry 2d 4 & 7th. the post did not get in which was Due on twesday till { 565 } Saturday. I do not know how to pass a week without hearing from You. I received newspapers to the Tenth. in those I have an account of the Declaration.1 it was a Solemn Scene to You, and an affecting one. You will find by my Letter of the 8th that I was with You.
I have not taken any steps as Yet preparitory to quitting home. I must tell you a little of Farrming if you cannot give me any directions. Billings has tried various kind of work Since the Weather became milder. he workd two Days on the Wall before the House. he then attempted to break up a peice of ground upon the Hill where you directed this he has accomplishd and carted on the manure. he has since been Sleding Stones, for we had an other Snow which lasted for a few Days and assisted us in that Buisness tho it obstructed other. Veseys time expires this week, and buisness will soon press hard, so that I must have a hand immediatly and two in April if Billings goes on with his Walls. French is inclined to Stay, but wants some further indulgences, such as a little wood, and the use of the cattle wholy to himself except when calld to work upon this place, by which means he could pay for labour, upon the place. thinks the hire of a Man and maid will eat him up, unless he may be thus indulged. he will in consideration of it pay all the Shoeing and will get up some Seaweed into the pens; I have thought we had better consent to this, as we know the Man; and the trouble of looking out a new Tennant who may want as much, have a larger Family and Do us more harm than the amount of these articles. I shall however consult Dr Tufts as you direct, and will Do the best we can. I shall let him have Quincy Meddow and in lieu, Burrel is to take the whole of the pasture.
I have not yet tried Mears as I thought it would be time enough; for I have no disposition to give the management up whilst I remain here. I will enter into a treaty with him to take it in the fall if I can.
I conversd with Your Mother upon having a Room to herself, without nameing any particular place. she said she should prefer being with her Children, that she would come and stay with me some part of the time whilst I remaind here, and that when I went away I might make provision for her then if she lived. I told her I should be very happy to have her, and would make her as comfortable as I could tho it was probable my Family would sometimes be an incumberd one. she has spent one week with me, and when I know how matters are to be arranged I shall have her here again.
I cannot say any thing with respect to Domestick arrangement at Philadelphia untill I know what is in the House. I hope Still, that { 566 } Congress will consider the subject sufficiently to add what furniture may be necessary. I want not a stick of it at the close of the Term. You must not worry yourself upon that Head. I Suppose I can collect Domesticks from this way, the principles ones, but whether I could some in the lower departments I do not know I Mentiond in my Letter to mr Brisler a woman as an housekeeper whom I shall try for, but as She is with Jeffry and he is very good to her, and has made her and two grandchildren who are dependent upon her very comfortable I do not know that I shall succeed. the yellow fever has its terrors With many and I do not wonder at it.
My Dearest Friend as you have been calld in Providence into the chair of Government, You did not accept it without knowing that it had its torments, its trials its Dangers & perplexities. look steadfastly at them, arm yourself with patience and forbearence and be not Dismayed, and May God and the people support You. having put your Hand to the plough, You must not look back, nor ought you I think to wish you had not.
I presume yu will have a Splnded Birth Day. there are preparations making in Boston to celebrate it. I received a very polite Note inclosing a Card for me & an other for Louissa for the Washington Ball: the Note from the Managers requested me to honour them with my attendance, which they should esteem a particular favour, as it is the last publick honour they can Shew the President. thus circumstanced I have determined to attend—2
I hope your next Letters will be more explicit, and that you will be able to fix upon Some plan—
I am My Dearest Friend allways willing to be a fellow Labourer with You in all those Relations and departments to which my abilities are competent, and I hope to acquire every requisite degree of Taciturnity which my station call for, tho Cabot says truly that it will be putting a force upon nature I expect many trials when it may be hard work, but as Porcupine Says, I Shall think.—
communicate to Me what ever you learn of our Dear Sons. there we have pleasures which Washington never knew. one Man ought not to have every thing. adieu there is one plasure wanting to me, that of folding to My Bosom the Dear partner of all My joys and Sorrows and telling him that I am ever his
[signed] A Adams—
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. Feb. 19. 1797.”
1. Probably one of the many reports published in Philadelphia newspapers on 9 Feb. of the reading of the electoral votes in Congress, for which see AA to JA, 8 Feb., and note 2, above.
2. AA received an invitation on 17 Feb., not { 567 } found, to the ball in Boston to celebrate George Washington’s birthday. She wrote to AA2 the following day that she would need a new dress cap for the occasion, “a good one proper for me, not a Girlish one.” On 22 Feb. AA attended the ball at the Federal Street Theater, where the orchestra pit was covered and the building converted to “a magnificent saloon; sumptuously decorated with tapestry hangings; elegantly illuminated with variegated lamps; and fancifully embellished with festoons of artificial flowers.” At noon Lt. Gov. Moses Gill escorted AA into the ball, where she was seated “at the head of the table; and was followed by the managers with the ladies of the judges” (private owner, 1967; Boston Price-Current, 27 Feb.).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0296

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-02-20

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

just rcd yrs of 8. 9. 13th. return sister Peabodys lovely Letter.1 John’s is gone to the P.— I could not withhold it.2
All thoughts of building a Barn or Coach house I must lay aside for this Year— I cant bear the thought of it.— My head and hands are so full—and Expences so great.
in March I will send Provision for Taxes, Haydens Note &c
French may break up the 4 Acres if he will. Brisler will ship the Clover seed this Week, in Captn Gardiner consigned to Mr Smith.3 French may have the Place for two Years, if he will.
Mr Malcom arrived here last night and Acts this Morning as my private Secretary.
inclosed is Mrs Washingtons Answer to yr Letter.4
I believe it best you should Stay till October—but if that is the final Plan I will be with you in June— But you must keep all these Things Secret. The foundation is not yet laid when it is I can set up my Plan.— It is not yet known what Congress will do about house & furniture— When it is, I shall settle my Arrangments.
Johns Letter, tho in familiar confidence to a Mother is the most beautiful Thing I ever read.
Oh Thomas I wish I had thy droll face at my fireside. I must have him home. Charles is doing Charmingly. Gets more than he Spends without my help.
[signed] J. A5
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A.”
1. For AA’s 9 Feb. letter to JA, see JA to AA, 9 Feb., note 2, above. For Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody to AA, 10 Jan., see above.
2. JQA to AA, 14 Nov. 1796, above, a portion of which was published in the Philadelphia Gazette of the United States on 22 Feb. 1797. George Washington returned JQA’s letter to JA with a note dated 20 Feb., praising JQA as “the most valuable public character we have abroad” and urging JA not to “withhold merited promotion” because of the filial relationship (Adams Papers).
3. Probably Capt. George Gardner of the Pomona (Boston and Charlestown Ship Registers, p. 165; Philadelphia Gazette, 25 Feb. 1797).
4. See Martha Washington to AA, 20 Feb., below.
{ 568 }
5. JA also wrote to AA on 16 Feb. to say that he had taken leave of the Senate, that he had given AA’s letter to Martha Washington, and that he approved of renting out Quincy’s Meadow (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0297

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Date: 1797-02-20

John Quincy Adams to Louisa Catherine Johnson

I hope we shall never get into a habit of writing to one another angry and kind Letters alternately, for it would be far from promoting the happiness of either. Your obliging favour of the 7th: instt: came to me yesterday.1 It gave me great pleasure which I will not mingle, with other sentiments by dwelling upon a topic necessarily disagreeable.— I wish it were in my power to write you always what would give you the most delight, or rather as you say, to have no occasion for writing you at all.
I feel again indebted to you for mentioning the statements that you hear of, concerning the American Election. They are all yet entirely uncertain and not the least dependence is to be placed upon them. Very probably the Event may differ essentially from all.— Soon after you shall receive this Letter that is in about three weeks from this, you will have the proper and accurate statement as the votes shall be found upon being opened in the Senate of the United States: untill then you may consider every thing that you hear or see upon the subject as mere conjecture more or less destitute of foundation.
That so near and dear a relation of my own is personally concerned in the result, is to me a source of some of the most oppressive cares and anxieties that ever weighed upon my heart. Upon this point Louisa, you can be more philosophical than I: that is if philosophy consists in a state of tranquility and unconcern, which you seem to believe, though it is not the last however it may be the other.
My friend Hall, you tell me has become a violent politician.— He always took a great interest in the public affairs of his Country, and will doubtless find his attention to them encrease in proportion as they grow more important.— And I too Louisa, am much of a politician.— I wish you could reconcile yourself to consider the public Events of America, as a subject not totally remote even from your attention. In my situation they have a necessary, and not a very indirect connection with and influence upon the most material occurrences of my private life. They have of course a similar influence { 569 } upon your’s, and therefore may deserve some part of your observing moments.
You have more than once intimated to me, that since we have been absent, my affection for you has undergone a change, and that I am not the tender and gentle friend that you found me in England.— I do assure you from my Heart that the sentiments of my Love retain all their force, and have not suffered the minutest abatement.— Nevertheless I will freely confess a material change which absence has produced, and of which I ought to give you notice that you may always be prepared for its effects when we shall meet again. It is the restoration of sober reason, and reflection, which alas! if they did not abandon me were without all the influence they should have, during the latter part of my residence in London. It was indeed a time of delight; but a time of too much indulgence.— The duties of life, my friend are rigorous, and I am afraid to ask myself the question how far I neglected them at that time.— I can however now reflect with the sentiment which ought to accompany the reflection, that I certainly did neglect many.— The fault indeed was not your’s. It was my own irresolution my own indolence, and my own abandonment, to the fervour of my inclinations.— Upon all this I can now think the more justly, for the persevering and uninterrupted exertions of nine months have in some sort filled up the vacancies of the previous five— I am the Man I was when you first knew me, and with the most entire and unlimited disculpation of you, my lovely friend, that Man, is much more estimable, and much more respectable than the Man I was for two or three months before I left you.— I hope you will not like him the less.— His faults indeed are such as may be more immediately unpleasant to a Lady of taste and elegance, but they are not such as can render him despicable, or disqualify him for every species of usefulness to himself or others.
I have no very late Letters from America.— Nothing further upon the subject of my removal. I should not be surprized if the particular and critical position of our affairs, should fix me here, even longer than I have now reason to expect. This however is between us alone. It is not founded upon any special intelligence.— If I should receive any, you may be depend upon having the most immediate notice of it.
With my best remembrance to all the family, I remain ever faithfully yours
[signed] A.2
{ 570 }
1. See JQA to LCA, 7 Feb., note 3, above.
2. JQA also wrote to LCA on 27 Feb. apologizing for his crossness in previous letters to her, asking her forgiveness for his faults, and noting the arrival of Charles Cotesworth Pinckney in Amsterdam and the election of Harrison Gray Otis to the U.S. House of Representatives (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0298

Author: Washington, Martha
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-02-20

Martha Washington to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Madam

your kind and affectionate letter of the 9th instant has been duly received.— For the favourable sentiments you have been pleased to express for me, and for the testimony it contains of the aprobation of my conduct in the station I am about to retire from, I pray you to accept my grateful acknowledgments—
It is very flattering for me, my dear Madam, to be asked for rules, by which I have acquired the good opinion, which you say is entertained of me.— With in your self, you possess a guide more certain than any I can give, to direct you:— I mean the good sence and judgment for which you are distinguished;—but more from a willingness to comply with your request, than from any conviction—of the necessity, I will concisely add—
That the practice with me, has been always to receive the first visits, and then to return them.— These have been repeated (when received) after an absence of considerable length from the seat of the government.—
It has been a custom for the ladies of the diplomatic corps, to be introduced in their first visits by the secretary of state;—and for strangers by those who are known to them and to me; after which the visits have been returned.— This has been the general etequette;—but familiar morning visits have been received and made without cerimoney.—
The President having resolved to accept no invitations, it followed of course that I never dined or supped out, except once with the vice President, once with each of the Governers of the state whare we have resided—and (very rarely) at the dancing assemblies.— In a few instances only—I have drank tea with some of the public characters—and with a particular friend or acquantance.—
with respect to the Trades people of this city, I find but little difference in them: and of domestics, we have none I would venture to recommend, except the steward; who is capable, sober, active and obliging; and for any thing I know, or believe to the contrary, is honest.—
{ 571 }
The President feels very sensibly for the politeness of your expressions as they relate to him self; and unites most cordially and sincerely with me in wishing that you, and the President elect, may enjoy every honour happiness and ease which the station you are to fill, can afford— and with compliments to Miss smith in which Nelly Custis joins us
I am my dear Madam with great / esteem and affectionate regard your / your obediant
[signed] Martha Washington
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs Washington / Feb’ry 20 1797.”

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0299

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1797-02-21

Abigail Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] Dear Thomas

I fear to look back to the Date of my last Letter to You, least it should accuse me of omission. There have been but very few opportunities this Severe Winter, of writing to You Rude Boreas laid an embargo, and our harbours have been frozen for six weeks, so that not a vessel could go out, or come in. for about a Week we have had a Thaw. I have received within a fortnight your Letters of October 5th which came by way of New York, and yours of Novbr 20th has just reachd me, after a passage of 99 Days—1 yet So great was My anxiety to hear from You, and from Your Brother, that I was gratified to receive So late Letters, and to learn from them, that You were both Well. I really Sympathize with your Brother, to whom I shall write. I dare say he commissirates the poor Prisoners at Algiers and from the Sincerity of his Heart, longs for the period when the buisness will be terminated. I presume this is the chief cause of his detention in Holland. tell him the Poet Says—

“Tis expectation makes the blessing Sweet”2

Polly has received her Letter of licence & replied both to that, and a former one. I inclose it for her.3
Soberly the Girl has a verry good offer, and she had some Scruples upon the Subject. two or three Times I had perceived a disposition to coquett with some, whom I either thought unworthy of her, or was doubtfull of their views. “Grim Williams Ghost”4 was always held up to her, So that I kept her Steady, tho Sometimes impatient, at an absence indeffinate.
when the Young Man who now visits her, first made his approaches { 572 } She delay’d for some time giving him an answer. she wanted to consult me, but did not know how very well to accomplish it. She therefore made use of a Second, and desired to speak with me alone. accordingly the case was put, with all the circumstances, of “no possitive engagement tho a kind of a liking, but the Letters did not look as if a return might be look’d for soon, and perhaps a visit to foreign Countries might give him a Dislike to a Country Girl.” I had made up My mind upon the Subject, for I thought from Tillys Letters, that he had no wish to be bound. I therefore advised her to write to him and deal candidly by him, and accept the Young Man who offerd himself. She has Done So, and they have both been very Steady ever since.5 She is to remain with me untill I go to Philadelphia, which I hope will not be untill next Fall. I do not Love that city so well as you do. I fear you will find it Changed for the worse when You return. it is more than any city the resort of Foreigners, who leave most of their virtues behind them, if they ever had any, and bring principles, and Manners into our Country by no means calculated to promote the order of our Government, or the purity of our Morals. I would however make some exceptions to this Rule.
The result of the Election of President will be known to you before this reaches You. all the Machinations, and intrigue of party, terminated in the Election of mr Jefferson to the vice Presidency. if the people had not been deceived, by the grosest and most palpable falshoods I have every reason to suppose, that their choice of Chief Majestrate would have been nearly unanimous. as the Union is now formed, I am far from thinking that it is an unfortunate circumstance. Mr Jefferson is a Gentleman of abilities, and integrity. if he has his failings, we know them. Hypocrisy is not of the number. I have no apprehension of his acting an unfriendly part towards the President, or any way plotting against him. we are like to have a firm Senate, and it is said, our House of Representives will be more Federal than the former; tho we lose from it, some good Men, we shall gain others.
The thickest cloud which portends a Storm, proceeds from the Galic hemisphere. the smiles, and frowns, the Enmity and the Friendship of that Terrible Nation, are like to prove equally banefull to us.
Adets Note, has brought into publick view, the Secretary of States Letter to mr Pinckny our Minister at Paris and fully proves the conduct of our Government, to have been, what it always professt, { 573 } perfectly neutral, just, fair, and honorable, consistant with the faith of Treaties, and the Laws of Nations.
It has unmask’d the conduct and designs of France so fully to the people, that they are throwing off that blind attachment towards a Nation, whom they now consider not less Selfish, usurping, and Domineering, than their old Step Dame Mother Britain. I hope we shall Still be able to preserve our nutrality Next to a war with France, I deprecate a closer alliance with any foreign power, and it must be the Madness of France, if we are driven to that necessity.
I inclose to you, the Tenth Muse of 98.— it will give You some Idea of what has been passing here. the Wit Whoever he is, bears too hard upon our poor old Govenour, who for the good he has done, ought to be more tenderly handled. the old Gentleman has taken his leave, and declines standing an other Election. His fondness for a Republican Government, and his Love of Liberty, led him to form an opinion of the transactions in France from their professions, rather than from their actions. he considerd them as an oppressed people, strugling for freedom, and not as a people forgeing chains tenfold heavier for other Nations, than those which they were bursting from off themselves. thus has his administration been marked with weakness, and the imbicility of Age
As to the table Linnen formerly sent, I would not have you say any thing further upon the subject nor would I be the occasion of the lowest being perjuring, himself for any loss I may sustain tho tenfold greater, but untill I can comprehend, how a space, in which it was not possible to pack more than 8 Table cloths, could be made to receive 12, I must be certain that it containd no more than 8. having stood by whilst Brisler opend the Box, otherways I should have supposed that they might have been taken out.
Do not Despair my Son, there are many fine Girls grown up since You left America. Your Fathers choice is not Yet engaged that I have heard. come and see if she can be Yours?
Your Father has not mentiond her to me this Winter. I suppose she is with her Grandmamma. I shall want you very much in Philadelphia. You must return with a stock of Patience, forbearence prudence and Humility. how are you for those Comodities. Holland is a country where those plants must flourish, or they could not endure their Task Masters.
I long my Dear son to fold you to my Bosom, and tell you how very Dear you are to me. as to your Brother I must leave his Louissa { 574 } to Do that part, for me, and I hope She will not be deficient, either, in mine or her own. Your Friends all desire me to Send their regards to You. Your aged Grandmother in particular never forgets you, nor does your ever affectionate Mother
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs: Adams 21 Feby 1797 / 28 May Recd / 24 July acknd / 17 August answd.”
1. TBA to AA, 5 Oct. 1796, above; TBA’s letter to AA of 20 Nov. has not been found.
2. Sir John Suckling, “Against Fruition,” line 23.
3. Not found.
4. AA may have been referring to the Scottish ballad poem “Sweet William’s Ghost,” first published in Allan Ramsay’s The Tea-Table Miscellany, 4 vols., London, 1740, 4:324–325. In the poem the protagonist, Margaret, is visited by the ghost of her suitor, Willy, whom she assumes has left Scotland but who is actually dead. Willy asks Margaret to “Give me my faith and troth … / As I gave it to thee,” but Margaret refuses to do so until Willy marries her. Willy explains that he is dead, and Margaret asks if there is room in his coffin for her. Willy replies that there is not room and vanishes from Margaret’s presence, after which Margaret also dies.
5. For Polly Doble Howard and her new suitor, Jonathan Baxter Jr., see vol. 10:281.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0300

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Smith, Abigail Adams
Date: 1797-02-21

John Adams to Abigail Adams Smith

[salute] Dear Child:

I believe I have not acknowledged your favour of the 20th January, which I received in its season.
I hope your apprehensions that “the party who have embarrassed the President, and exerted themselves to divide the election, will endeavour to render my situation as uncomfortable as possible,” will be found to be without sufficient foundation; I have seen, on the contrary, a disposition to acquiesce, and hope it will increase. I am not at all alarmed; I know my countrymen very well.
If the way to do good to my country, were to render myself popular, I could easily do it. But extravagant popularity is not the road to public advantage.
By the 4th of March I shall know what to do. I cannot build my house till the foundation is laid; at present I know not what house I shall have, nor what means to furnish it. These things will be determined in ten days. At present I believe it will be best for your mother to remain where she is until October. I shall go to her as soon as I can.
Your brother John continues to give the highest satisfaction to government by his great industry, his deep discernment, his independent spirit, and his splendid talents. I hear such commendations of him as no other man abroad obtains.
In your solitary hours, my dear daughter, you will have a { 575 } delightful opportunity of attending to the education of your children, to give them a taste and attachment to study, and to books. A taste for science and literature, added to a turn for business, never can fail of success in life. Without learning, nothing very great can ever be accomplished in the way of business. But not only a thirst for knowledge should be excited, and a taste for letters be cultivated, but prudence, patience, justice, temperance, resolution, modesty, and self-cultivation, should be recommended to them as early as possible. The command of their passions, the restraint of their appetites, reverence for superiors, especially parents, a veneration for religion, morals, and good conduct.
You will find it more for your happiness to spend your time with them in this manner, than to be engaged in fashionable amusements, and social entertainments, even with the best company.
But I must restrain myself, and subscribe the name of your affectionate father,
[signed] John Adams.
MS not found. Printed from AA2, Jour. and Corr., 1:204–206.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0301

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-02-24

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

The Presbyterian Congregation have voted me the front Pew in their Church for my Family. It is an elegant new Building and the Pew is large1
I have bought me a Pair of Young Horses for a Carriage and a saddle horse.
The Birthday was affecting and the Night Splendid but tedious to those who were too old to dance.2
I have now Settled all My Accounts with the senate as you will see by the inclosed Papers.
I assure you it was a tender Scene at parting.3 How do you like our Adieus alias Farewells. Nothing yet determined about House or Furniture. Yours with a great desire to be with you, but it is impossible
[signed] John Adams
1. For the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, see vol. 10:261. On 8 Feb. church secretary Dr. David Jackson wrote to JA offering him the use of pew no. 92 “for the accommodation of your self & family, should you be inclined to join in religious worship there” during his presidency. JA replied to Jackson the same day accepting the church’s offer (Adams Papers; LbC, APM Reel 117).
2. George Washington celebrated his 65th { 576 } birthday in Philadelphia on 22 February. The day began with the ringing of bells and firing of cannon in the city, followed by congratulations from congressmen, the governor, and members of the Pennsylvania legislature, who paid their respects at the president’s house. In the evening a ball was held at Ricketts’ Amphitheatre, “which for Splendour, Taste and Elegance, was, perhaps, never excelled by any similar Entertainment in the United States” (Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 23 Feb.).
3. The enclosure has not been found but was likely a newspaper account of JA’s 15 Feb. address to the Senate in which he took his leave; see, for example, the Philadelphia Gazette, 17 February. JA used the address to praise Washington and express his gratitude for being chosen to succeed him and also to thank the members of the Senate “for the candor and favor invariably received from them all … within these walls, for a course of years, I have been an admiring witness of a succession of information, eloquence, patriotism, and independence” (U.S. Senate, Jour., 4th Cong., 2d sess., p. 324–326).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0302

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1797-02-27

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

It Can be of little Consequence to you my dear Madam wither Your late adventure with me amounts to 8000 dollars or only 8/— Yet it is my duty to let you know how it stands and to take your commands either to vest You again as an adventurer in the next Class—or remit to your order the sum of 8/4—
as I think it always best to rise in our subject instead of sinking from great to small things—my Gratulations on mr Adams elevation to the presidential Chair are secondary to my Condolence: and may form a perfect Contrast to Your Ill success in H C lottery—the one a small stake in the most precarious Game—the other the best Card in the pack.— a second throw Could make no addition but a Crown—and that you have too much understanding and knowledge of the World to suppose it Could enhance Your happiness.—1 I hope we shall meet again before You take up Your residence in a southern Clime—
Was I a Courtier I Could say many prety things in the present occasion both to you and to mr Adams but his old friend will only observe in her usual stile of Correspondence that she sincerly wishes peace prosperity & Virtue may pervade the united states under his administration and may you my dear madam feel no interruption of health nor any of those Circumstances in human life ten fold more painful—that might impede the tide of prosperity in which you have long sailed—
The bearer of this will wait on You next Tuesday for an answer to this or any other Commands You may have for your / assurred Friend & Humble servt
[signed] Mercy Warren
{ 577 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Madam Adams / Quincy”; notation: “pr plimouth stage.”
1. Presumably, Warren purchased a ticket in the fourth class of the Harvard College Lottery on behalf of AA. The lottery began in 1794 to raise money to build Stoughton Hall to house the increasing number of students enrolling at the school. By 1796 the lottery had successfully completed three classes, and the fourth class was scheduled to be drawn in January but was postponed until September; after several delays due to slow ticket sales, the drawing finished in Jan. 1797. The fifth class of the lottery did not take place. The construction of Stoughton Hall was completed in 1805. In a 4 March 1797 letter to Warren, AA asked that her lottery winnings be used to purchase some books for Warren’s young granddaughter Marcia Otis Warren, for whom see Mercy Otis Warren to AA, 13 Nov. 1796, and note 4, above (Massachusetts Mercury, 13 Jan. 1797; John Noble, “Harvard College Lotteries,” Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns., 27:163, 179, 182–183 [April 1929]; Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard, p. 173; Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0303

Author: Johnson, Louisa Catherine
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1797-02-28

Louisa Catherine Johnson to John Quincy Adams

Yes, my friend you have answered me as I deserve, and made me feel the striking difference between us, from the moment I had dispatched that letter, I regretted my folly, and felt sincerely ashamed of my ridiculous conduct—1 Dictated by anger, without time for reflection, I scarcely know what I wrote— you appeared to think I had not acted with delicacy, and my pride was wounded at the manner in which you mentioned my father, but I have since reflected, and am convinced, you could not mean to intimate the most distant reflection, on his conduct respecting his family, and I feel, how very low I must have sunk myself in your esteem— to be beloved by you is my greatest happiness, but I cannot support the idea of being merely loved, no my best friend I will deserve your esteem, and by doing this I am convinced I shall secure your affection, I entreat you to pardon me never again shall your temper be tried by a formal assertion of my spirit, and I trust you will never again have occasion to write, any thing, but what the tenderest love dictates, and what your Louisa may peruse, without feeling the painful sensations which this moment agitates her bosom— let us my beloved friend endeavor to forget what has caused us so much uneasiness and by a constant correspondence and mutual desire to please shorten the time of inevitable absence and alleviate by anticipation of the future our painful seperation—
I scarcely know what to say in answer to your letter of the 7th Febry., I think as you do respecting your attachment to your Country, it is certainly a virtue, but like all other virtues may be carried to { 578 } too great a height, I believe I ought not to write on this subject— I really am not equal to the task of judging how far this virtue may extend, besides which it is a subject in which I feel myself too much interested to decide impartially—
As it regards myself, I can answer without hesitation— I had taught myself to expect I should soon be united to you, and the disappointment at first was very severe, but time has reconciled me to our lengthened seperation, and I now think it a fortunate circumstance, placed in a situation so much above that I have ever been accustomed to, I should most likely have been fascinated with the glare of ideal greatness, and it might in time have had charms, which I should have felt unwilling to relinquish— It appears to me from the observations I have been enabled to make, that a fondness for distinction is natural to us, it is a sort of ambition inherent in human nature, and though we may fancy ourselves free from it, no sooner is it acquired, than we learn to think it valuable, and regret the possibility of losing it— therefore my friend, I am happy to avoid what I consider an evil, and will patiently await your return to that retired life in America, so much more calculated for your Louisa, and so much happier for us both—
You think my friend, I shall laugh at your continual contemplation of the dark side, far from it, the situation appeared unpleasant and the prospect was every way disagreeable but the accounts from America, have led me to hope your father will find the situation less difficult, and more pleasing, than we have apprehended—
Mr. Jefferson is elected Vice President, and by these accounts we understand, that the people were well satisfied with the election, and that every thing wore the most pleasing aspect— you will perhaps laugh at my attempting to write you intelligence of this kind, but I know how much you are interested, and I believe papa does not write by this Mail, your own letters have been here some time, but there is no Vessel going, therefore I have ventured, to write you all the information I have been able to learn— I know you will excuse the manner, when you consider the motive—
Thank you my kind friend, for the compliment you intended to make me, it never was deserved by me therefore I did not regret it. my only sorrow is having written that letter, and could I recall it, I should be happy, but it cannot be, and long shall I suffer for my folly, for I cannot pardon myself— Papa is in daily expectation of Mr. Bourne from Holland. I have understood your Brother might { 579 } possibly come with him— Our family still continue very ill, Nancy is confined to her room— Adieu, believe me invariably your, tenderly affectionate, friend.
[signed] Louisa C Johnson2
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “L. C. J. / 28. Feb.y: 1797. / 15. March do: recd: / 19. do: Ansd:.”
1. See LCA to JQA, 31 Jan., and JQA’s 12 Feb. reply, both above.
2. LCA had previously written to JQA on 24 Feb. noting that she was impatiently waiting for letters from him and informing him of the illness of her sisters and of her disappointment at his long absence (Adams Papers).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2017.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/