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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 11


Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0045

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] my Dearest Friend

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

To Virtue only, and her Friends a Friend

Faction beside, May Murmur, or commend

Know all the distant Din, that Fiend can keep

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

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

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0046

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

My old Acquaintance Mr Walton, who Served in Congress, with me in 1776 and 1777 is returned a Senator from Georgia in the room of General Jackson who has resigned. He is or has lately been Chief { 99 } Justice. As old Acquaintances are easily Sociable We soon fell into Conversation about Affairs old and new. I asked him whether The Negative of Mr Rutledge would have any ill Effects at the southward. He says No by no means— on the Contrary he is sure it will have a very good Effect. He adds he was rejoiced when he heard upon his Arrival that it was done, because it Saved him & his Colleague from the Necessity of giving a disagreable Vote: but that they both came to Town with a determination to vote against the Appointment. He Says that a Disarrangement of Intellect certainly exists and has been more decisive lately than formerly. That he has not been able to attend the Circuit Court in Georgia nor in North Carolina. That he attempted to attend in N. Carolina but was so bad that he could not. That he even attempted to make Way with himself. He was himself at the House and made himself fully acquainted with the Facts. He adds that Mr R’s Conduct as Chief Justice of the State of S. Carolina has been lately so unsatisfactory that several Grand Juries have presented him for what they thought Misconduct or at least Negligence of his Duty. The Embarrassment of his private affairs has lately pressed harder Upon him than ever and produced or at least accellerated and increased the Disorder of his Mind. These Things being so We shall hear of no very sharp Rebukes Upon the Senate, for the Vote they have passed and the President will have avoided giving any Offence to particular Friends. This is all in Confidence between you and me as I know you will have some Anxiety upon this subject, as I have had a great deal. I have felt for an old Friend and his Friends. He is a Brother of your Friend Mrs Smith whom you knew in London and has been a worthy Man.1 But the Man who plunges into Debt will soon get out of his Depth. You must mention these Things with great discretion and only in Confidence.
You will soon see Fauchets Letter and Randolphs Pamphlet.— What Scænes do they open? The Duplicity of that shallow Fellow has been greater than any one suspected him capable of.— Where did Fauchet get his Information of a general Plott against the Government and Mr Hamilton’s Plans! He and his Colleagues may pretend to as much Purity as they will, but I am not convinced that they have not dabbled these fifteen Years in Corruption in this Country.
I have known for the whole of that Period so many of my Country men fawning, cringing and creeping after them that I find it difficult to impute it all to simple servility. I have not been without { 100 } suspicions of some Characters, whom I dont choose to name even in a Letter to You.
There is however a native servility in some Men which produces almost all the base Effects of Corruption itself.— There are Persons who depend upon a foreign Influence to give them Credit Consequence and Power in their own Country, and I have sometimes thought their Chance better for Preferment, than that of those who stand only on American Ground. Their Peace of Mind however can never be secure however they may gratify their mean Ambition.— Oh my sons—Be ye independent at all Expense and at every risque. There can be no Comfort in a dependence on a foreign Interest or Influence, whether British French or Dutch.
I am my Dearest Friend ever / so
[signed] J. A2
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “December 21.”
1. For Mary Rutledge Smith, see vol. 8:ix.
2. JA sent another letter to AA on this date enclosing Edmund Randolph’s pamphlet, which JA described as “a very weak thing— He has disclosed Secrets very dishonourably without any proper Motive. It is a Piece of Revenge against the President but for what Injury or Offence I cannot discover” (Adams Papers).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/