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Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 28 December 1798

My dearest Friend

On twesday Evening I received the Mercury, and read in it, the arrival of Capt. Jenkins in the America, on Sunday. You may well suppose I felt greatly rejoiced expecting from Thomas's Letter, that he was undoubtedly a passenger. No mention was however made of him in the paper: I expected for two days to hear of him. Then I conjectured that not knowing of my being here, was the reason of my not receiving a Letter to notify me. In this Suspence I wrote to Mr. Smith requesting him to get intellegence for me. I received an answer from him last Evening that he had seen one of Capt. Jenks owners but that he knew not of any passengers comeing in her. He supposes Mr. Adams is on Board the Ship Barbara Capt. Clark who saild at the same time for Boston the 30 of october, but I have not been yet able to learn any thing further. I can only pray for his Safety. I watch'd the weather all last week, and tho threatned with a Snow Storm, it past off, with a small slight portion and ended in a Thaw, by which the travelling is again impeeded. It had just got passible, and the Roads were lively. The weather is now moderate and fine. I last Evening received your Letter of

December the 19th. I cannot say that it added to my Spirits or Rest. The dissapointment from Thomas's not comeing had already depresst me, and the reflections and observations respecting our Children calls up so many painfull Ideas, that I cannot be otherways than unhappy when I reflect upon them; in Silence I do reflect upon them daily. I wish it was otherways with them. For Mrs. Smith I feel more keenly; because I know she is innocent of the cause of her misfortunes; she is and always was a dutifull and affectionate Child. I hope better days are reserved for her,tho at present the prospect is dark. With respect to what is past, all was intended for the best, and you have the Satisfaction of knowing that you have faithfully served your generation, that you have done it at the expence of all private Considerations and you do not know whether you would have been a happier Man in a private, than you have been in publick Life. The exigencies of the times were such as call'd you forth. You considerd yourself as performing your duty. With these considerations, I think you have not any cause for regret. What remains to us of Life we must expect to have checkerd with good and evil, and let us patiently endure the one and rejoice in the other as becomes those who have a better hope and brighter prospects beyond the Grave.

Much is said in the Philadelphia papers respecting the united Irishmen. Is there any reason to think them so formidable as there represented? I know there is a banditty

of unprincipeld wretches who are employd as emissaries to keep us at varience. A passage struck me in Fennoes paper last Evening, that the democratic Society of N York were summoned to meet, by one Davis when some communications of of importance are to be made.

I took the more notice of it from having read a preface written by one John Davis the translator as he calls himself, of General Buonaparte Campaign in Italy, a work of 300 pages printed in N York at the Argus office in 98 written by a Genll. officer of his Army. I am now reading it, but the Stile of the preface struck me as the most conceited Bombastical thing I ever read. "He says he came to this Country the middle of last March,with no other recommendation than a Love of literature. He had caught the Bliss of publication in England, which will ever constitute my supreme felicity."

As a Specimin of this superb translater work, he is transported with joy to have executed the translation of a work that records the actions of one of the Greatest Warriours the World ever produced; compared to whom Hannibal was a Stripling, Alexander a holiday captain, and Caesar a mere candidate for military Fame."

I would recommend to him to translate Buonaparty Campaign into Eygypt. Query is not this the same fellow probably?

The Book belongs to Nat'll. Austin the Brother of Honestus. You will wonder how I came by it. For the good of the publick it was put into the circulating Library in Boston, taken out by Mr. Do Greenleaf and by him lent to me.

Master Cleverly is still living. Mr. Barrel who was sick when you was here recoverd but a younger

Brother of his who lived with him took the fever and dyed with it. Mr. Cranch is getting well I hope. So is B. Adams.

I have not heard yet whether Richard Dexter has arrived.

I had a Letter from Mrs. Smith in which she expresses her anxiety at hearing you were unwell and fears you took cold in going on in the Storm. She says she has been greatly afflicted with an Eruption upon her hands which the Dr. pronounces the Salt Rhume, the same which afflicts you. She complaind of its itching intollerably. Sulpher and cream of Tarter she took. You have always found that of Service to you, and I would again recommend it to you.

I inclose to you a Sermon. Dr. Eckley was so polite as to send me two. It is a good performance. I see that the yellow fever has not purified the Northern Liberties. What a wretched crew?

Adieu ever yours
A Adams

Love to William

Cite web page as: Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 28 December 1798 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/
Original manuscript: Adams, Abigail. Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 28 December 1798. 4 pages. Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
Source of transcription: Adams Papers Editorial Project. Unverified transcriptions.
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