Adams Family Correspondence, volume 13

William Smith Shaw to Abigail Adams

William Smith Shaw to Abigail Adams

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 17 December 1798 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My Dearest Friend Phyl. Dec. 17. 98

With a great deal of snow upon the Ground it is now plentifully snowing. There must be an unusual Quantity upon the Earth. I suppose you have it very deep.

our Men and Teams must have had a terrible Jobb to get the Lumber home: but I hope it is all compleated e’er this.

To Day at two Dr Ewing & Mr snowden are to dine with me and tomorrow at four about 30 senators and Reps.—1 I have not had as yet any Tuesdays or Saturdays Parties: and I believe I will not have any. There is too much familiarity at them: they Sit too late.

The last Letter from you was dated the 9th. 2 I admire your taste for Weddings. I hope you will marry Louisa & Betcy Howard and all the single ones, who are ripe.— I am sorry for Louisa at Berlin: But I have Grand Children more than enough. I dont want any more. Yet 311 I should like that John should have a son & a Daughter. But I cannot bear the trouble of Children at my Age.

In short I have enough of Children as well as Grand Children. My Daughter and one son, will bring down my Grey Hairs with sorrow to the Grave, if I dont arrouse all my Phylosophy. The Daughter too without a fault. Unfortunate Daughter! Unhappy Child!

I begin to doubt whether I was in the Way of my Duty in ever engaging in public Life. With my Family of Children ought I not to have staid at home, minded their Education and sought their Advancement in Life! It is too late for this Casuistry now. The Die is cast and I am not far from the End of my Life. I have done all for my Children that I could: and meant all for the best. What have I not suffered? What have I ever enjoyed? All my Enjoyments have been upon my farm. Oh that my Children and Grand Children were all Farmers!

I am anxious and impatient to hear of the Arrival of Thomas.

Is Master Cleverly dead? And Mr Burrell? How is Mr Cranch and Boylston Adams?

J. A.

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A.”; endorsed: “J A decbr 19th / 1798.”


Likely Rev. John Ewing, for whom see vol. 10:261, and Isaac Snowden (1732–1809), a founding member of Philadelphia’s Second Presbyterian Church (John W. Jordan, ed., Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania, 3 vols., N.Y., 1911, 3:1649–1650).


AA’s brief letter to JA of 9 Dec. reported family news and entreated JA to maintain a regular correspondence with her, even though she felt she was “but a half way politician” (Adams Papers).