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-JOHN Ai>AMS ".'"^V '. 



m, L 
William Stephens Smith ) 




_ Q t r A- "T 1 }!/* Smith Adams Family 

Susanna Boylstoii- 
Who married 
2: John Hall 






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f^l t "FT" 1 /*O*T T O|-sri\ ' 

John Peter DeWiudl.' 





Charles Kulm (1821 1099; 

JOHN QuiNcv ADAMS (1833 1894) 

Louisa Catherine Johnson 


Fanny Cadwallader Crowninshield 

/ T n - T Q/n 





/' T TT _ T Q T ^\ 

. Mary Hone Odgen (1843 1935)" 

^~ IIjbiJNKi; ADAMS (1838 -1918)- 
ARTHUR ADAMS (1841-1846) 



( 1706-184.6) 

MARY ADAMS (18461928) i 
Henry Parker Quincy (1838-1899) * 

Sister of 
Susanna (Boyls ton) Adams 




i : Charles Thomas Clark-^ 
2: William R. H. Tread way 

A. Judson Crane 


Alexander Bryan Johnson* 

m. her second cousin, 
James Stoughton Lynch 



A 1-1 11 TTai -1 - - -, --- 



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m. his cousin, r- 

* Three daughters ' 
Four daughters 



("tTTJ tfil^ 

NOV 13 1979 

No issue 
Six children 

-Five children 
No issue 

Two children 

'No issue 

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New Letters of Abigail Adams 


Gilbert Stuart 

New Letters 

Abigail Adams 




> Stewart Mitchell 


SHic liibnrsiut ^resB C 

None of these letters, or any part of these letters, may be 
reproduced, with the exception of short passages for the purpose 
of review, without permission in writing from the Director of 
the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts 



R. D. C. 


yujwos #' UTTO yathv 
/cat rt /LiaTT^v ftox^S, yu/ivov opwv TO 


"My letters to you are first thoughts, without correction" 

Abigail Adams to Mary Cranch, May 26, 179$. 


In preparing these letters for publication, the editor has 
received generous and invaluable assistance from a great 
number of people, in particular, from the late Allyn B. 
Forbes, Director of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 
and also the members of its staff; as well as Clarence S. 
Brigham and Clifford K. Shipton, Director and Librarian, 
respectively, of the American Antiquarian Society; Robert 
W. G. Vail, Director of the New York Historical Society; 
and Nicholas B. \Vainwright, Assistant Librarian of the 
Historical Society of Pennsylvania. He is indebted, more- 
over, to members of the staff of the Harvard College Library 
and the Fogg Art Museum, to Miss Dorothy S. Manks, 
Librarian of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, and 
to Miss Dorothy C. Barck, Librarian of the New York 
Historical Society. 

He is under obligation, also, to IVErs. Henry D. Holmes 
and Miss Frances Holmes, of Montpelier, Vermont; to 
Heyliger DeWlndt, of Boston; to John Kleran, of "Informa- 
tion Please"; and to the late Albert IVtatthews, former 
Editor of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts. From first 
to last, the services of his secretary, Miss Marjorie M. 
Bruce, were continuous and faithful, and without them this 
work could not have been carried to completion. 



ABIGAIL ADAMS Gilbert Stuart Frontispiece 

MRS. WILLIAM STEPHENS SMITH, 1787 ... /. S. Copley 16 


BUSH HILL, PHILADELPHIA, 1787 .... /. P. Malcom J 
THE ADAMS MANSION, QUINCY, 1787 ... E. Malcolm So 


9 6 

WILLIAM STEPHENS SMITH, 1786 . . . Mather Brown - 128 

JOHN ADAMS, 1789 John Trumbull 144 









INDEX 271 


Calendar of Letters 


Jamaica, [New York,] November 24: Birth of John Adams Smith. Colonel Smith's 

home at Jamaica 3 

Jamaica, December 1518: Recovery of Mrs. William Stephens Smith. Mother and 

sisters of Colonel Smith. Anxiety for Susanna (Boylston) [Adams] Hall . . 4 


"Richmond Hill," [New York,] January 24: Visit of William Smith. Social life as 

wife of Vice-President 7 

Providence, [Rhode Island,] June 19: Journey from Braintree and social life in 

Rhode Island 9 

**Richmond Hill," [New York,] June 28: Pleasant visits in Providence and Newport. 
Voyage from Newport to New York. George and Martha Washington, and 
social life in New York I r 

"Richmond Hill," July 12; Intense heat. Character and habits of George Wash- 
ington. Sentiments and politics of Congress. Anxiety for Ivdrs. Richard Cranch, 
and future of her son. Correspondence between Mercy (Otis) Warren and 
Elbridge Gerry. Description of "Richmond Hill" ........ 14 

"Richmond Hill," August 9: Burden of social duties. Form of reception by Presi- 
dent and Mrs. Washington. Indolence and drunkenness of servants in New 
York. Political criticism of Washington and Adams. Household at "Richmond 
Hill" 18 

"Richmond Hill," September i: Funding the national debt. Proposal to move 

capital to Philadelphia. Edward Church's libel against Adams .... 22 

"Richmond Hill," October 4: Superiority of Massachusetts preachers to those of 
New York. Adjournment of Congress and disappointment at inability to visit 
Braintree. Advantages of private over public life. "Bedlamites" in Congress 26 

"Richmond Hill," October n: Departure of Adams for Braintree. President 
Washington's tour of New England. Visit to "Prince's Gardens." Trouble with 
poor servants 29 

"Richmond Hill," November i: Inoculation for small-pox. Second marriage of 
Dr. Cotton Tufts. Hopes for early return of John Adams. Supplies of food from 
Braintree and Boston 3 1 

"Richmond Hill," November 3: Pleasure and expense of living at "Richmond 

Hill." Trouble with servants. Plans for J. Q. and T. B. Adams .... 33 


"Richmond Hill," January 5-10: Dutch New Year's in New York. President's 
reception. Character of Washington. Plans for future of her three sons. 
Character of her grandsons 34- 

"Richmond.HIH," February 20: Death of Mrs. Palmer. Hamilton's proposal for 

funding debt. John Gardiner a madman 36 

New York, February 28: Illness of T. B. Adams. John Gardiner 39 

New York, March 15: Plans for Joseph CrancL New babies amongst relatives. 

Health of T. B. Adams. Consumption in Boston 40 

New York, March 21: Future of Joseph Cranch. Marriages and births. Financial 

burden of large family 42 

New York, April 3 : A new grand-nephew. Satisfaction with Mrs. Smith's children. 

Beauty of spring at "Richmond Hill." Plans for Joseph Cranch. Thomas 

Jefferson. Poor preachers in New York 43 

"Richmond Hill," April 21: Advice for recovery from childbirth. Henry Knox and 

advancement for Joseph Cranch. William Steuben Smith 45 

"Richmond Hill," April 28: Attack of rheumatism and general illness in household. 

Trouble with servants, except for slaves. Polly Tailor 46 

New York, May 30: Washington's illness. Beauty of "Richmond Hill" ... 48 
"Richmond Hill," June 9: Influenza in New York. Furniture for "Richmond Hill" 50 
New York, June 13 : Possibility of moving capital to Baltimore. Excursion with 

Mrs. Washington 51 

New York, June 27: New tenant for house in Braintree. Another grandson by 

Mrs. Smith . . * * 52 

New York, July 4: Reopening of Dutch church. Picture of "Richmond Hill." 

Sedentary duties of John Adams 53 

"Richmond Hill," July 27: Harvard Commencement, Tenant for house at Brain- 
tree. Scandalous Boston gossip about New York 54 

New York, August 8: Birth of Thomas Hollis Smith. Visit of McGillivray and 

Creek Indians 56 

New York, August 29: Farewell to Mrs. Washington. Philadelphia the new national 

capital. Careers of T. B. Adams and Joseph Cranch 57 

New York, October 3 : Moving to Philadelphia. Inoculation for small-pox ... 59 
New York, October 10: Sorrow at leaving New York for Philadelphia, Tenant for 

house at Braintree. Clothing for cold weather 60 

New York, October 17: Departure from "Richmond Hill" for New York City. 

Gift of wine to Cranches. Illness of John Adams 62 

New York, October 25: Serious illness. Shipping furniture to Philadelphia. Cure 

for pleurisy 63 

New York, November 7: Recovery from illness. Farewell to Mrs. William S. Smith, 

Treatment of small-pox 64 

Philadelphia, December 12-14: Journey to Philadelphia. Illness in Adams house- 
hold. Dr. Benjamin Rush. Departure of Colonel Smith for England . . 65 


Philadelphia, January 9: Philadelphia compared with New York. Loneliness for 

daughter. Indolent and drunken servants. Future of T. B. Adams ... 67 
Bush Hill, [Pennsylvania,] March 12: Remarks on Colonel Smith. Plans for future of 


her three sons. Servant problems. Domestic affairs at Braintree. Washington's 

southern tour 69 

Bush Hill, April 18: Supplies for garden and house at Braintree 72 

New York, May 6: Visit with Mrs. William Stephens Smith. Supplies for house at 

Braintree . 72 

Philadelphia, October 30: Trip from Braintree to Philadelphia. New house in city. 

Domestic affairs in Braintree 73 

Philadelphia, December 18: Social life and expenses at Philadelphia. Illness of John 

Adams. St. Glair's Defeat. Domestic affairs at Braintree 74 


Philadelphia, February 5: Visit of Smiths and Charles Adams. Proposed trip of 

Smiths to England. Social life in Philadelphia. Unpopularity of Indian war 77 

Philadelphia, March 20-21: Long illness. Plans for returning to Quincy. Pro- 
visions for household 78 

Philadelphia, March 25-29: Impatience at long confinement. Supplies for Quincy. 
Reapportionment of House of Representatives. Mania for speculation. "Re- 
publican" hostility to Hamilton. Washington's head on coins 80 

Philadelphia, April 20: Continued illness. Supplies for house at Quincy. Financial 

panic. Newspaper campaign against Knox and Hamilton 8 1 

New York, April 29: Results of panic in New York. Plans for reaching Quincy . . 84 


New York, June 25: Providing for poor relations. Jay's Treaty. William Cranch, 

James Greenleaf, and the North American Land Company 84 


Springfield, [Massachusetts,] April 30: Braintree to Springfield. Responsibilities 

as wife of President. Death of mother of John Adams 86 

East Chester, [New York,] May 5: Visit with Mrs. William Stephens Smith. Farm 

at Quincy 88 

Philadelphia, May 16: Colonel William Stephens Smith. Charles Adams and family. 

New York to Philadelphia. "Splendid misery" as wife of President ... 89 

Philadelphia, May 24: Domestic and social routine. Decline in public character and 

morals. France and American Jacobins. Food from Boston 91 

Philadelphia, June 3: Unseasonably cold weather. President's speech. "XYZ 
Mission." Violence of newspapers. Transfer of J. Q. Adams from Netherlands 
to Prussia. Bache and "Peter Porcupine" 93 

Philadelphia, June 6-8: Trouble in town meeting. Adams eager to return to 

Quincy. Falsehoods of Anti-Federalist press. Ruin of Greenleaf and Morris 96 

Philadelphia, June 23: Good news of house and farm at Quincy. Entertaining 
Congress at dinner. Expense of celebrating Fourth of July. Gerry for "XYZ 
Mission." Washington's approval of Adams. Fenno's Gazette 98 


Philadelphia, July 6 (with enclosure) : Fourth of July. Senator William Blount. 

Opposition to President leaving Philadelphia, Future of William Cranch. 

Gerry and "XYZ Mission" 100 

Philadelphia, July ii : Gifts for family. Hopes for news from Quincy .... 103 
Philadelphia, July 19: Preparations for returning to Quincy. Heat and dysentery in 

Philadelphia 104 

Philadelphia, July [21]: Suffocating heat. Plans for two nephews, and care of niece 104 
East Chester, [New York,] July [24]: Fatiguing trip from Philadelphia to New York 105 
East Chester, July 29: Plans for departure for Quincy. Supplies for household. 

Care of Smith grandsons 106 

Worcester, Massachusetts, October 5 : Trip from Quincy to Worcester, on way to 

Philadelphia 107 

East Chester, October 22: Visit with Mrs. William Stephens Smith. Lack of news 

from Smith grandsons. Long absence of Colonel Smith. Loneliness and 

desolation of daughter 108 

East Chester, October 31: Low spirits of daughter. Letters from sons in London. 

Marriage of J. Q. Adams 109 

Philadelphia, November 15: Disciplining John Adams. Long absence of Colonel 

Smith. Assistant clergyman for Quincy. Bache's abuse of Adams . ... no 
Philadelphia, November 28-29: Troubles of Colonel Smith and family. Congress 

and the President's speech. French Directory a scourge to the world. Supplies 

of food from Quincy 113 

Philadelphia, December 12, (with enclosure): Assistant clergyman for Quincy. 

Death of Mr. and Mrs. Hall. Letter from T. B. Adams. Sermon of Bishop of 

Norwich. Jefferson to dinner. Calvinism in Philadelphia. Criticism of Bache 115 
Philadelphia, December 26: Dislike of Calvinism. Serious illness. Loneliness of 

daughter, and anxiety for Smith grandsons. Care of Hall orphan daughter. 

President and wife as "Darby and Joan" 119 


Philadelphia, January 5: Death of Halls, and care of their daughter. Death of 

nephew of Mrs. Adams. News of peace between Austria and France . . , 121 
Philadelphia, January 20: Denunciation of French Directory and its American 

supporters. Assistant clergyman for Quincy 124 

Philadelphia, February [1-5]: Dismissal of Tench Coze. Venality in Pickering's 

office. News of J. Q. Adams in Prussia 126 

Philadelphia, February 6: Financial troubles of Colonel Smith, Letters from sons 

in Prussia 130 

Philadelphia, February 15: Brawl between Griswold and Lyon. Bad manners of 

Philadelphians, and discourteous proposal to celebrate Washington's birthday 132 
Philadelphia, February 21: Illness of Mrs. Adams. Financial troubles of Greenleaf 

and Morris. Failure of effort to expel Lyon. Anxiety for her brother . . . 134 
Philadelphia, February 28 .-Failure of ball in honor of George Washington . . . 136 


Philadelphia, March 3: Letters from Berlin. Death of King of Prussia* Foreign 

Intercourse Bill 138 

Philadelphia, March 5: Mrs. Thomas Law. Superiority of New England ers to 
people of Philadelphia. Failure of mission to France. Domestic affairs at 
Quincy 139 

Philadelphia, March 13 : Business difficulties of William Cranch. Tense relations 

with France. "Peter Porcupine" and Bache. Anxiety for J. Q. Adams . . 142 

Philadelphia, March 14: Disputes over policy toward France. Latest styles in 

female attire. Visit of Indian kings 144 

Philadelphia, March 20: Secrecy as to news from France. Bache's attack on Adams 146 

Philadelphia, March 27: Vanity and vexation of life. Perverse wickedness of Direc- 
tory. Division of American opinion over France. Foreign Intercourse Bill . . 147 

Philadelphia, March 31: Bad manners of Virginians in regard to Foreign Intercourse 

Bill. Bache's ridicule of John Adams 149 

Philadelphia, April 4: Failure of "XYZ Mission." Character and conduct of Talley- 
rand 150 

Philadelphia, April 7: Publication of dispatches from envoys to France. Jacobin 
sympathy with France in the United States. Anxiety for personal safety of 
envoys 153 

Philadelphia, April 13: Liberation of Greenleaf from prison. Letters from Berlin: 
friendly conduct of Frederick William III. Insolence of Directory towards the 
United States 155 

Philadelphia, April 21: Trip of J. Q. Adams from London to Berlin. " French bureau- 

cra^y under Directory. Malice and falsehood of Bache 157 

Philadelphia, April 22: Work on house in Quincy. Jesuit Gallatin and Jacobins in 
Congress. Patriotic addresses to John Adams. French depredations. Care of 
Hall orphan 160 

Philadelphia, April 26: First singing of "Hail Columbia." Sedition Bill. Bache's 

false report 164 

Philadelphia, April 28: Alterations to house in Quincy. Demonstrations of loyalty in 

Philadelphia 167 

Philadelphia, May 7: Mrs.Thrale's Dialogue on Death. French Revolution a scourge 
to all nations. Patriotic parades in Philadelphia. Financial difficulties of 
Greenleaf. Work on house at Quincy 168 

Philadelphia, May 10: A French conspiracy in Philadelphia. Popular support of 

John Adams. Bache and his Jacobin slanders. Alien and Sedition Bill . . 170 

Philadelphia, May 13: Fatigue of President Adams from answering public ad- 
dresses 172 

Philadelphia, May 13, to Mrs. John Greenleaf: Present for her daughter. Death of 

Mary Carter Smith 173 

Philadelphia, May 18: Patriotic demonstrations in Philadelphia. Volunteer Corps. 

Anxiety for "XYZ Mission" 174 

Philadelphia, May 20-21: Patriotic tension and false rumors. Danger of war with 

France. News from William Vans Murray. Exhaustion of President Adams . 176 


Philadelphia, May 26: Alien and Sedition Bill. Volunteer Corps. Robison's book on 
Freemasons. Victor Du Pont arrives in Philadelphia, Burke's opinion of 
French Republic 179 

Philadelphia, May 29: Visit to frigate United States. Benjamin Russell's Columbian 

Centinel 182 

Philadelphia, June i: Financial difficulties caused by failure of Greenleaf. Work 

on house at Quincy 183 

Philadelphia, June 4: Assistant for Anthony Wibird, and new secretary for J. Q. 
Adams. Alarm for American envoys to France. England only barrier to French 
domination of Europe 1 84 

Philadelphia, June 8: Visit to "Belmont," Pennsylvania. Relations with France. 

Edward Church and John Adams 187 

Philadelphia, June 13: News from J. Q. Adams. French invasion of Switzerland 

and Gerry's decision to remain in France 190 

Philadelphia, June 19: Breaking up of "XYZ Mission" and villainy of Talleyrand. 

Alarm over Gerry 193 

Philadelphia, June 23 : Heat and disease in Philadelphia. Dilatory tactics of Con- 
gress. Hard work and homesickness of John Adams. Sedition Act for Massa* 
chusetts 194 

Philadelphia, June 25: Depressing heat. Reception for Marshall on return from 

France. Invitation to visit "Mount Vernon" 196 

Philadelphia, June 27: Reflections on the death of Jeremy Belknap and John Clarke 197 

Philadelphia, July 3 : Exhausting heat. Washington named command er-in-chief . 199 

Philadelphia, July 9: Capture of French privateer. Arrest of Bache and Burk. 
Absent treatment by Benjamin Rush. Unwillingness of Congress to declare war 
on France. Universal confidence in Washington 199 

Philadelphia, July 12; Advice for William Smith Shaw, future secretary to President 

Adams 202 

Philadelphia, July 13 : Legal business of William Cranch in Washington, Benjamin 
Stoddert, first Secretary of Navy. Nomination of officers for Army. Disap- 
pointment at missing Harvard Commencement 202 

Philadelphia, July 17: Senate waits word from "Mount Vernon." Gerry, and rumors 
of peace with France, Supplies for house at Quincy. Secretary McHenry re- 
turns with Washington's acceptance. Nomination of officers for Army . . 205 


New York', January 17: Early and dangerous spring. News from J. Q. Adams at 

Dresden. Outburst of John Randolph of Roanoke 208 

Brookfield, Massachusetts, October 13 : Stay with Thomas Marshall and family at 

Weston. Worry over President's cold . . . . ; 208 

East Chester, New York, October 20: Yellow fever in New York and Philadelphia. 

Work on house at Quincy 209 

East Chester, October 31: Domestic illnesses. John Adams at Trenton, New Jersey. 

Family of Charles Adams, and his intemperance. Anxiety for J. Q. Adams 210 


[East Chester, November 1-3]: Impending departure for Philadelphia. Envoys to 

France ready to sail. Attack of Thomas Cooper 212 

Philadelphia, November 15: Trip from New York to Philadelphia. Visit to camp at 
Plainfield, New Jersey. Social duties at Philadelphia. Celebration of the 
President's birthday. French fashions in America 213 

Philadelphia, November 26: Theory of the good life. Political violence of Thomas 
Cooper and his friends. News from J. Q. Adams. Stormy session of Congress 
anticipated 215 

Philadelphia, December 4: President's address to Congress. Eagerness for news 
from France. Domestic matters in Quincy. Dana as successor to Governor 
Sumner 217 

Philadelphia, December 1 1 : Assistant clergyman for Quincy. Melancholy visit to 
Mrs. Robert Morris. President's speech to Congress. Popular reaction to 
peace with France. Disloyalty of Timothy Pickering 219 

Philadelphia, December 22-23 : Death of George Washington. His character and 
conduct. Squabbles over new assistant clergyman for Quincy. Benjamin 
Rush and "Peter Porcupine" 222 

Philadelphia, December 30-31: Letter from Talleyrand to President Adams. 
Hamilton's prediction of imminent restoration of Bourbons. Mourning for 
Washington at Philadelphia. Danger lest Washington be praised beyond his 
deserts . 224 


Philadelphia, January 7: Assistant clergyman for Quincy. Blunders of Boston 
printers. William Smith Shaw's visit to "Mount Vernon." Business troubles 
of James Greenleaf, General Lee's oration on Washington 226 

Philadelphia, January 28: Indiscreet praise of Washington: Messinger's oration. 
Bonaparte an adventurer. Letter of John Randolph of Roanoke. Alterations 
to house at Quincy 228 

Philadelphia, January 30: Burden of social duties as wife of the President . . . 231 

Philadelphia, February 12: William Cranch's candidacy for clerk of Supreme Court 232 

Philadelphia, February 27: Reverend Peter Whitney colleague to Anthony Wibird. 
Delightful weather at Philadelphia. Unpleasant prospect of removing to 
Washington. William Jackson's oration on George Washington. Improvement 
in health 234 

Philadelphia, March 5: Surrender of Thomas Nash to British. Danger of frequent 

popular elections. Public feeling as to George Washington 236 

Philadelphia, March 15-18: Dilatory tactics of Congress. A broken engagement. 
House for the Reverend Peter Whitney. Character of James Greenleaf. Im- 
modest dress of women 238 

Philadelphia, March 22: Providing for the Porters in Quincy 242 

Philadelphia, April 7: Success of William Cranch in Washington. Beauty of spring 

in Philadelphia. Major and Mrs. Tousard 244 

Philadelphia, April 15: Alterations to house in Quincy 245 


Philadelphia, April 17: Domestic details of removal to Quincy for summer, and 

Washington for winter 246 

Philadelphia, April 24-26: Illness and success of William Cranch in Washington. 
Mrs. Joshua Johnson and social life. Indecent dress of young ladies. Prepara- 
tions for return to Quincy. Arrival of Christopher Gore from England . . 246 

Philadelphia, [May 3]: Character of Reverend Anthony Wibird, Last Drawing- 
Room at Philadelphia 249 

[Philadelphia, May 5] : Alterations to house at Quincy. Importance of New York in 

coming election. Scurrilous attacks on Adams. Sectional animosity . . . 250 

Norwalk, Connecticut, May 26: Visit to Scotch Plains. Character and conduct of 

Colonel Smith. Bitter campaign for President, and disgust with world . . 252 

New Haven, Connecticut, November 2: Impending departure for Philadelphia 

and Washington. Adams on his way to Washington 254 

Philadelphia, November 10: Deathbed of Charles Adams. Election letter of 

Hamilton 254 

Washington, November 21: Stay with Snowdens at "Montpelier," Maryland. 
Arrival at Georgetown. Adams's birthday at Quincy. Hamilton in disgrace. 
Adams's speech to Congress. The President's House in Washington . . . 256 

Washington, December i : Sickness in family. Election of 1 800 260 

Washington, December 8: Death of Charles Adams 261 


Washington, January 15: Poor health in Washington. Dignified defeat better than 

resignation for Adams. Norton Quincy. Adams determined to leave public life 262 

Washington, February 7: Public excitement over tie between Burr and Jefferson. 
Danger of popular government. Character of Burr and Jefferson. Prospect 
of hard journey back to Quincy 264 




IN 1942 there came into the possession of the American Anti- 
quarian Society, of Worcester, Massachusetts, a collection of 
about two hundred and fifty letters which Abigail (Smith) 
Adams, the wife of President John Adams, wrote to her elder 
sister, Mary Cranch, who was married to Richard Cranch, of 
Braintree. These letters came from the estate of William George 
Arthur Turner (18581936), who was the husband of Mary 
Greenleaf Dawes (18611934), the great-great-granddaughter of 
the lady to whom most of them were addressed. Only sixteen of 
these letters had ever been published, having been included in the 
various collections of her correspondence edited by her grandson, 
Charles Francis Adams, from 1840 to 1876. 

For this volume 141 hitherto unpublished letters were selected 
from the whole Cranch-Dawes-Turner Collection. These 141 
letters were written over a period of fourteen years, and from all 
three capitals of the United States New York (1789-1790), 
Philadelphia (1790-1800), and Washington (1800-1801). By far 
the greatest number of them are dated during the first vice- 
presidency of John Adams and his single term as President. For 
the years 17931796 only one letter exists. Mrs. Adams spent 
most of that time at home, in the neighborhood of her elder, and 
favorite, sister, and had no reason to write to her. On the other 
hand, no fewer than ninety-five of these letters were composed 
while "Her Majesty" Abigail Adams was First Lady of the Land. 
These reflect the political and military anxieties, much of the 
growing factional rancor of the period, and the worries connected 
with our strained and stormy relations with France. 


This is the first time that any considerable number of the letters 
of Abigail Adams have been printed precisely and completely as 
she wrote them. 1 The different editions prepared by Charles 
Francis Adams must be used with great caution, for Abigail's 
grandson not only modernized her spelling, but took unindicated 
liberties with the texts. As an editor he was excessively cautious 
in his care not to publish anything which would oifend even the 
descendants of the contemporaries of John Adams. Proof of this 
glacial discretion is to be found in a comparison of the sixteen 
letters as printed by Mr. Adams from 1840 to 1876 with the 
originals of these letters now in Worcester. Abigail Adams ob- 
served of herself: "My pen is always freer than my tongue. I have 
written many things to you that I suppose I never could have 
talked/' 2 

Although no time and trouble have been spared to preserve the 
flavor of Abigail's phonetic spelling, and even her punctuation 
and the use of capitals, these are, after all, of trifling importance. 
Samuel Johnson established orthodox spelling in England when 
he brought out his Dictionary in 1755; about half a century later 
Noah Webster did much the same thing for the United States. 
Tampering with the contents of letters, however, is dangerous 
business, especially when it is prompted by consideration for the 
feelings not only of others but of ourselves. Family pride has held 
back the course of history time and again; yet sooner or later 
these dams are always broken, and the truth bursts through. Any 
"family," of course, is simply a convenient social fiction, undue 
regard for which can sink to absurd superstition. "Families" 
blend one into another in hopeless, interlocking confusion. 
Children, to be sure, wear the last names of their fathers; that 

1 Twenty-five letters, written by Abigail Adams to Mercy Warren between 1773 and 
1814, appeared in the Warren- Adams Letters; 1743-1777, Boston, 1917-1925. In 1942, 
twelve letters written by Abigail Adams between 1786 and 1811 were published in the 
sixty-sixth volume of the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society. The origi- 
nals of these thirty-seven letters are in the Warren Papers and the DeWindt Collection in 
the Society. Two of the letters included in this volume, those of June 19 and June 28, 1789, 
werejfprinted m Rhode Island History , October, 1942. 

2 Familiar Letters of John Adams and His Wife Abigail Adams, During the Revolution, 
Charles Francis Adams, Editor, New York, 1876, p. 115. 


this custom determines their character, and thus decides their 
fate, is nothing more than amiable nonsense. No matter whose 
feelings are involved, and how, it is high time to lift all censorship 
from the papers of persons who lived and died one hundred years 
ago. Here for the first time, at last, we have intimate details of 
the domestic life and troubles of the tribe of Adams. 

There is still another respect in which these letters are signifi- 
cant. Abigail Adams enjoys a good, if not great, reputation as a 
correspondent. In the days of her youth it was fashionable for 
young ladies writing to one another to adopt classical pen-names; 
so Abigail chose "Diana"; subsequent to her marriage, she signed 
herself, more appropriately, "Portia." These young ladies seem 
to have worked hard over their compositions. Thus, when Abigail 
wrote to her top-flight friends and to literary people her usual 
practice was to prepare rough drafts, and then make copies of 
these with such corrections as she thought fitting. Sometimes one 
of her sons would work out the final version for her. Not so with 
these letters to her sister Mary all those in this volume were 
composed hastily, and posted promptly. "My letters to you," 
she wrote on May 26, 1798, "are first thoughts, without correc- 
tion." The style, of course, is more intimate and easy, and the 
comments more familiar, even if some of the domestic details 
may seem trivial to persons not greatly interested in social 

They are full of references to current politics, many of them tart 
and partisan, for Abigail became an ardent Federalist. Most of 
her opinions probably reflect the private thoughts and feelings 
of her husband. This correspondence is filled with information as 
to conditions of life, especially in New York City and Philadelphia, 
at the close of the eighteenth century. We get glimpses of how 
people lived, in spite of sudden and serious sickness, and recurrent 
epidemics of smallpox and yellow fever. Keeping house was no 
simple matter, for servants were not only incompetent, but fre- 
quently drunkards, rogues, and thieves, and the fluctuating value 
of money in those days of inflation was an unpredictable mystery. 
People suffered cruelly from poor food and bad water, and 


quinine seems to have been the common cure for every ailment, 
apart from the barbarous and dangerous practice of blistering and 

In addition to all the trials and tribulations of public life, and 
the hardships of living away from home, Abigail suffered severely 
from her generous sense of responsibility for poor relations and 
indigent friends. Her courage and good nature, her unfailing 
kindness, even under the stress of sickness, disappointment, and 
misfortune, make a pleasant contrast to the unhappy circum- 
stances of some of these fourteen years. The first letter was 
written from Jamaica, Long Island, whither Mrs. Adams had 
gone to greet her daughter, Mrs. William Stephens Smith, who 
had just recently returned from England, on the eve of giving 
birth to her second son, John Adams Smith. The last letter was 
written from the brand-new White House, not long before Abigail 
Adams left Washington forever, 

In editing these letters, every effort has been made to identify 
persons and quotations, and to explain references to places and to 
circumstances. Not all these efforts were successful, for some of 
the friends and .neighbors of Mrs. Cranch and Mrs. Adams were 
utterly obscure. Although the footnotes were designed to help, 
rather than to distract readers, complete discretion in this matter 
is difficult. It is not always easy to determine what readers know, 
or remember or care to be told. All canceled words, and all 
editorial additions to the text are enclosed in square brackets. 
Often these have been employed to avoid the use of footnotes. 

The genealogical charts were prepared in the hope that they 
might assist readers in unraveling the complicated relation 
and descent of persons frequently referred to. Marriage among 
cousins, the use of only Christian names, and the frequent re- 
currence of the surname Smith make accurate identification 
doubtful in some cases. The chart of the John Adams Family 
has an additional interest, for it proves that the greatest propor- 
tion of ability appeared among the children of Charles Francis 
Adams (1807-1886). Each of the Adams Presidents had one 
distinguished son but one only. 




Abigail Smith (1744-1818), who became the wife of John 
Adams, was the second of four children of the Reverend William 
Smith (1707-1783), of Weymouth, who married Elizabeth Quincy 
(1722-1775). She had two sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, and a 
brother, William, a captain of the militia, who settled in Lincoln 
and seems to have been a person of slight significance. Only 
son of a parson, he did not even go to Harvard though not 
everyone did, in those days. Abigail was descended from some of 
the most distinguished men and women of New England. Her 
maternal grandfather was Colonel John Quincy (1689-1767), 
Speaker of the House of Representatives, and a member of the 
Council, who married Elizabeth Norton (1696-1769), the daugh- 
ter of John Norton, the second minister of Hingham. The mother 
of this John Norton was the daughter of Thomas Shepard, first of 
that name, and minister of Charlestown. 

Abigail, who was delicate, never went to school a day in her 
life. The greatest influence on her character and education seems 
to have been that of her maternal grandmother, with whom she 
spent much of her youth, in seclusion at Mount Wollaston. This 
remarkable old lady died when Abigail was twenty-five, and 
already (1764) married to John Adams. Her affection and regard 
for this Mrs. Quincy and for the mother of her husband, Susanna 
Boylston (1709-1797), is noticeable and touching. All three 
women seem to have been exceptional persons. There is a bit of 
mystery about Susanna Boylston, even though it is often said 
that she it was who brought the "brains" into the House of 
Adams two sisters, it will be observed, married two brothers. 
The father of President John died in 1761, and about 1775, at 
the age of sixty-six, Susanna took a second husband, a Lieutenant 
John Hall, who predeceased her by many years. It is practically 
impossible to find out anything about this man. Somebody did 
not like this second marriage. No mention of it appears on the 
old lady's tombstone, but the notice of her death as published in 
the Columbian Centinel of May 3, 1797, described her as "Mrs. 


Susannah Hall, the venerable mother of John Adams, President 
of the United States of America." 

Although she had no formal education, Abigail Adams became a 
literate young lady, and a well-read woman. She quotes frequent- 
ly, if always freely, from the Bible and Shakespeare, and from 
popular eighteenth-century authors like Swift, Sterne, and Burke, 
and that lively, loving, literary lady, Mrs. Hester Lynch (Salus- 
bury) [Thrale] Piozzi. She married John Adams when she was 
not quite twenty, and bore him five children: two daughters, one 
of whom died as an infant, and three sons John Quincy, Charles, 
and Thomas Boylston. Only one of these children achieved distinc- 
tion. After ten years of happy married life as the wife of a provin- 
cial lawyer, Abigail found her household broken up by the 
American Revolution. For the next ten years she had not only 
the care of four children on her hands, but the farm at Quincy 
to look after, for public business kept her husband away from 
home much of that time. 

In 1784 she finally joined John Adams in Europe, to spend 
eight months in Paris and then three years in London. Many of 
her most delightful letters date from this period. In 1787 the 
Adamses returned to the United States, and there Abigail spent 
the rest of her life. In spite of delicate health and attacks of seri- 
ous illness, she seems to have been of a cheerful disposition, and a 
companionable, popular person. The political opponents of her 
husband probably exaggerated her influence over him: Albert 
Gallatin called her "Mrs. President not of the United States, but 
of a faction." Charles Francis Adams argues otherwise, and at 
some length for him, perhaps, the perfect wife was no more than 
the moon to the sunlight of her husband. 

If Abigail Adams was not a perfect wife, she was a very good 
one, who managed financial matters so well as to protect the 
second President from the dangerous indigence of old age. As an 
affectionate mother, however, she cannot quite be cleared of the 
suspicion of having spoiled two of her children her pretty 
daughter, Mrs. Smith, who seems to have complained much of 
the man whom she had deigned to accept as her husband; and 
her second son, Charles, who met an early and a very unhappy 


death. This son was a cause of constant worry to his parents. 
Born in 1770, he was graduated from Harvard College in 1789, 
and moved to New York City, where he married the sister of his 
sister's husband, Sarah Smith (1769-1828), and had two daugh- 
ters. He planned to practise law, but he could not stick to any- 
thing. He was popular, gregarious, and unstable; he lived high, 
and he took to drink. Two of his mother's letters, those of 
November 10 and December 8, 1800, contain painful descriptions 
of his last illness and pitiable death in New York City on Sunday, 
November 30, 1800. 

The tragic end of this attractive son is often referred to as the 
reason for the last-minute departure of John Adams from Wash- 
ington just before the arrival of Thomas Jefferson, for his inaugu- 
ration. Adams drove off at sunrise on March 4, 1801; yet the 
troublesome son (whom he had not even stopped off to see when 
he passed through New York on his way to Washington in the 
autumn of 1800) had been dead and buried all of three months 
when the second President climbed into his coach that winter 
morning. His grandson knew what was uppermost in the mind of 
John Adams, deftly as he tried to cover it with a web of words. 

To them, then, as well as to Mr. Jefferson's followers he was to be 
made a spectacle, if he should stay to be a part of the pageant. No. His 
proud spirit would not endure it. He would not consent to enact the 
captive chief in the triumphant procession of the victor to the capitol. 3 

Colonel William Stephens Smith, the handsome, gallant, and 
spoiled son of a rich merchant of New York, lived longer, and 
caused even more trouble for Abigail Adams, her husband, and 
their daughter. Smith had served well and bravely during the 
Revolution; so Washington, whose aide he had been, sent him to 
London, as secretary to the first legation. There he met and 
married the daughter of the American minister, although he has 
been coldly described as "a stranger to the family." As late as 
1798, John Adams lectured him in a letter complaining of his 
"pride and ostentation." The colonel had expensive tastes; so 
he cheerfully planned to make himself a fortune by speculating 

8 John Quincy Adams and Charles Francis Adams, The Life of John Adams, Philadelphia, 
1871, vol. 2, p. 353. 


in land. His scheme was attractively simple: he would buy land 
low on credit, and sell it high for cash. He acquired large areas in 
central New York State, and promptly became bankrupt in the 
crash of 1797. Even Alexander Hamilton interceded for him with 
the swarms of his creditors. The unpleasant story of Smith's 
treatment of one of these, Lieutenant-Colonel William W. 
Burrows, first commandant of the United States Marine Corps, 
came to light in 1800 at the time of the outcry over Colonel 
Smith's appointment by his father-in-law as surveyor-general of 
the Port of New York. 4 There is reason to suspect that the great- 
est influence of Abigail on President John was this unfortunate, 
if gentle, pressure to keep needy members of the family in funds 
by putting them on the public pay rolls. Enemies of Adams who 
accused him of nepotism were not wholly unjust. 

Abigail's first report of this son-in-law is precisely what one 
would expect of her cheerful and generous nature. In 1786, 
immediately prior to the marriage of her daughter, Mrs. Adams 
wrote from London to her sister, Mrs. Cranch: 

Your niece is engaged to a gentleman worthy of her; one whom you 
will be proud to take by the hand and own as a nephew. With regard to 
his person, he is tall, slender, and a good figure; a complexion naturally 
dark, but made still more so by seven years' service in the field. He 
appears a gentleman in every thought, word, and action. 5 

But Colonel Smith liked punch, and loved to consort with his 
convivial brothers. The letters which follow show that he was 
frequently absent from home for protracted periods, during which 
time no news of him reached his lonely, anxious wife. Abigail 
Adams was blunt but not far wrong when she told the mother of 
the colonel that she had "been too indulgent to her sons." So 
much for the domestic tribulations of Abigail Adams. 

Her social and public worries stemmed from the fact that 
Abigail was a Yankee, born and bred, and really never felt at 
home anywhere in the world except in her beloved New England. 
The preachers of New York were ranting bores; the dress and 

4 Massachusetts Historical Society: Pickering Manuscripts, vol. 51: misc. 2: William W. 
Burrows to Gouverneur Morris, February 4, 1801. 

5 New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, vol. 2$ (1894), p. 160. 


manners of the "Republican Court" in Philadelphia were loose 
and offensive; the so-called courtly ladies and gentlemen from 
Virginia did not seem even polite to her. The growth of faction, 
especially after George Washington withdrew to Mount Vernon, 
tempted her tongue to be a trifle too tart at the expense of the 
opponents of her hot-tempered husband. Devious Thomas Jeffer- 
son, it is amusing to notice, was diplomatic enough to make her 
call him companionable. Her distress at an obscure radical like 
John Gardiner, of Boston, was so unduly violent as to lead her to 
denounce him as a "madman" (February 20, 1790). 

Her vexation at partisan journalists like Bache seems excessive. 
She was strongly in favor of the Alien and Sedition Bills that 
rash legislation which helped to bring about the ruin of her hasty 
husband. The letter of May 26, 1798, supplies an odd instance of 
her lapses into gullibility. Unfortunately for her, Abigail some- 
how got hold of a bad book by a good man John Robison's sensa- 
tional and silly attack on the Freemasons. This volume was 
published in Edinburgh in 1797, and reprinted in New York in 
1798. It sold well like most stories of conspiracies against the 
world. Mrs. Adams swallowed it, hook, line, bait, and sinker, and 
sent a copy to Jeremy Belknap. What the founder of the Mas- 
sachusetts Historical Society thought of this "lasting monument 
of fatuous credulity" does not appear. 

Then there was revolutionary France, and Abigail was an 
ardent disciple of Edmund Burke. The dress of the Directory dis- 
pleased her no less distinctly than its diplomacy. In April, 1800, 
her son, Thomas Boylston Adams, persuaded her to permit an 
impromptu* dance in the home of the President, in Philadelphia, 
"Her Majesty" did not like all she saw. Worse still, the inde- 
cently dressed, if divine, young lady, Elizabeth Mason, hailed 
from the best of Boston ! 

Just before I rose from table, Thomas [Boylston Adams] came round 
to me and whisper d me, have you any objection to my having a dance 
this Evening? None in the world, provided it comes thus accidental. 
The company soon came up to the drawing Room to Tea, and in an 
hours time, the tables were removed, the lights light & the Room all in 
order. At 8 the dancing commenced. At 12, it finishd. More pleasure, 
ease and enjoyment I have rarely witnessd. The President went down 


about an hour & then retired. I tarried it out, but was obliged to go to 
Bed at 8 oclock last night in concequence. Several of the company 
declared that they should always remember the Evening as one of the 
pleasentesst of their lives Amongst the company was Miss B. M. with 
manners perfectly affable, polite and agreable, without affectation, or 
any haughtyness of demeanour, but really fassinating. I could not but 
lament, that the uncoverd bosom should display, what ought to have 
been veild, or that the well turnd, and finely proportiond form, should 
not have been less conspicuous in the dance, from the thin drapery 
which coverd it. I wishd that more had been left to the imagination, 
and less to the Eye. She dances elegantly. "Grace was in all her steps." 

There were blank spots in the brains of Puritans, just as there 
was a bleak aspect to the age in which they had to live. Abigail's 
droll comments on the sweetest, if not the greatest, satirist Europe 
has produced are completely in character: 

I send with this the i volm of Moliere and should be glad of your 
oppinion of them. I cannot be brought to like them. There seems to 
me to be a general want of Spirit, at the close of every one I have felt 
dissapointed. There are no characters but what appear unfinished and 
he seems to have ridiculed Vice without engageing us to Virtue; and tho 
he sometimes makes us laugh, yet tis a Smile of indignation. There is one 
Negative Virtue of which he is possess'd, I mean that of Decency. His 
Cit, turnd Gentleman, among many others has met with approbation. 
Tho I can readily acknowledg that the cit by acting so contrary to his 
real character has displayed a stupid vanity justly deserving ridicule, 
yet the fine Gentleman who defrauds and tricks him is as much the 
baser character as his advantages are superior to the others. Moliere is 
said to have been an Honest Man, but Sure he has not coppied from his 
own Heart. Tho he has drawn many pictures of real life, ye t t all pictures 
of life are not fit to be exibited upon the Stage. I fear I shall incur the 
charge of vanity by thus criticising upon an Author who has met with so 
much applause. You, Madam, I hope will forgive me. 6 

Yet writers and readers of satire are not likely to be resolute 
persons, or given to being brave or gay. One of the favorite 
quotations of Abigail Adams was something she remembered from 
Proverbs, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine." This spirit 

6 See Warren Papers: Abigail Adams to Mercy Warren, December n, 1773, i 11 the 
Massachusetts Historical Society. "Cit" was a cant term of the eighteenth century for 
a climber. Mrs. Adams refers to M. Jourdain, of "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme." 


carried her safely over a sea of troubles. In 1813 she lost her 
daughter; three years later the troublesome Colonel Smith 
followed his wife. She was old and often ill. Perhaps it is best to 
take leave of this noble lady by quoting three very different per- 
sons, men who knew her in her lifetime. When her faithful and 
successful son, then Secretary of State, got the news that she was 
gone forever, he made this gentle entry in his grim journal: 

Had she lived to the age of the Patriarchs, every day of her life would 
have been filled with clouds of goodness and of love. There is not a 
virtue that can abide in the female heart but it was the ornament of hers. 
She had been fifty-four years the delight of my father's heart, the 
sweetener of all his toils, the comforter of all his sorrows, the sharer and 
heightener of all his joys. It was but the last time when I saw my 
father that he told me, with an ejaculation of gratitude to the Giver of 
every good and every perfect gift, that in all the vicissitudes of his 
fortunes, through all the good report and evil report of the world, in all 
his struggles and in all his sorrows, the affectionate participation and 
cheering encouragement of his wife had been his never-failing support, 
without which he was sure he should never have lived through them. 7 

That stubborn Republican-Democrat, the Reverend William 
Bentley, a stranger in the strange land of stiff-necked Salem, 
learning of her death on October 30, 1818, wrote in his diary: 

We have had notice of the death of Abigail, wife of the late President 
John Adams, who is still living at his home in Quincy. . . . The first time 
I ever saw Madam was at her own house shelling her beans for a family 
dinner at which without any ceremony or apology she invited me but 
from engagements I did not accept. I saw her repeatedly at her own 
house without any impression unfavourable to her person or manners. I 
found a freedom in conversation which took its familiar topics. When at 
my own house in Salem she left the kind opinion of a respect for herself 
adapted to make her courtesy and conversation more valuable and 
agreeable. She was in appearance of middle size, in the dress of the 
matrons who were in New England in my youth. The black bonnet, 
the short cloak, the gown open before, and quilted petticoat, and the 
high heeled shoe, as worn universally in that day. Everything the best 
but nothing different from our wealthy and modest citizens. She was 
possessed of the history of our country and of the great occurrences in it. 
She had a distinct view of our public men and measures and had her own 

7 Memoirs of John Quincy Adams, Charles Francis Adams, Editor, Philadelphia, 1875, 
vol. 4, P. IS7- 


opinions which she was free to disclose but not eager to defend in public 
circles. She had the vigour of a firm constitution and seemed designed 
for great old age. Her children are of disproportioned genius, but the 
Secretary of State would be an honour to any family. Mr. Adams al- 
ways appeared in full confidence, but that of an equal and friend who 
had lived himself into one with the wife of his bosom. 8 

Long afterward, Josiah Quincy recalled his pleasant visits to 
the quiet home of old President John and Abigail when he was a 
little boy: 

With Mrs. Adams there was ... a consciousness of age and dignity, 
which was often somewhat oppressive, [but] customary with old people 
of that day in the presence of the young. Something of this Mrs. Adams 
certainly had, though it wore off or came to be disregarded by me, for in 
the end I was strongly attached to her. She always dressed handsomely, 
and her rich silks and laces seemed appropriate to a lady of her dignified 
position in the town. If there was a little savor of patronage in the 
generous hospitality she exercised among her simple neighbors, it was 
never regarded as more than a natural emphasis of her undoubted claims 
to precedence. 9 

Gilbert Stuart painted Abigail Adams about the time of "Mr. 
Madison's War" the portrait which is the original of the frontis- 
piece of this volume. A description of that picture sticks in the 
memory, for clothing, and the color of it, are often close to 

She is shown, three-quarters right, seated in a yellow Empire armchair 
upholstered in figured satin of brownish-yellow, with her brown eyes 
directed to the spectator. Only a few ringlets of her brown hair show on 
her forehead beneath the white lace of her beribboned cap. She wears a 
mulberry-colored silk dress with the low neck filled in with a white 
muslin yoke, and long sleeves with lace at the wrists. Around her neck 
is a white lace collar in two folds. A thin white lace shawl is thrown over 
her shoulders and falls onto her lap, in which her right hand lies ; the left 
hand is not shown. The background is plain and of warm grays and 
browns. 10 

A stately lady, yet a lovely one. 

8 The Diary of William Bentley, D.D., 1784-1819, Salem, 1905-1914, vol. 4, pp. 556-7. 

9 Josiah Quincy, Figures of the Past, Boston, 1883, p. 61. 

10 Gilbert Stuart: An Illustrated Descriptive List of his Works, Compiled by Lawrence 
Park, New York, 1926, vol. I, p. 93. 




When John Adams became President of the United States in 
1797, he was already sixty-one years of age. For more than twenty 
years he had been continuously in the service of the American 
people, in the Old World or the New, and on poor, uncertain pay. 
He had first gone to Europe in 1778, in circumstances of great 
danger, to begin his years of wrangling with Franklin and Ver- 
gennes. The utter incapacity of Adams to get on with the one 
and only great American who was a man of the world, is ex- 
tremely significant. Then for three years (1785-1788) he had 
filled the ugly office of first American minister to King George. 
Writing of the financial worries of the founders of our nation, 
Edward Channing observes: "They gave their lives, their proper- 
ties, and their reputations to their country." At one time Adams 
had earned his living as a lawyer, but he had had to neglect his 
personal affairs, and he would have suffered a penniless old age 
except for the care which Doctor Cotton Tufts and Abigail took 
of the family property at Quincy. And when he left Washington 
forever in March, 1801, he had more than a quarter of a century 
yet to live. 

In one respect, our first Vice-President was the most dis- 
tinguished of them all. During his eight years in that office, 
Adams presided over a Senate that was frequently divided by tie 
votes; so he used his casting ballot more often than any of his 
successors. His decision to give the President the power to remove 
officials without the consent of the Senate was of immense im- 
portance. - His enemies accused him of acting so as to build up the 
power of the office of chief executive merely because he hoped to 
inherit it from Washington. Whatever his motive, he succeeded 
in preventing our Presidents from being creatures of Congress. 
Then Washington retired, and Hamilton let Adams have first 
place by three votes ! 

The initial act of Adams as President was a great mistake or 
so it seems to those who are lucky enough to be able to look back 
on the consequences of it. Just why John Adams kept the Cabinet 


of Washington in office is not easy to say; certainly the event was 
not successful. Perhaps he hoped to build up a government of 
national union in the face of rival factions at home, and the 
increasing confusion in Europe. There is, indeed, a striking 
parallel between his problems and those of the American Presi- 
dents who have had to deal with the two great wars of the twen- 
tieth century. By 1797, Great Britain stood alone against a 
France which seemed likely to conquer the whole Continent. The 
Coriscan was coming to the fore from the shock and bloodshed of 
the Revolution. It looks as if John Adams hoped at one time to 
enlist the aid of some leading Republicans. He called to them, in 
fact, but the only one who came was Elbridge Gerry. The Jeffer- 
sonians were closing ranks against the Federalists. 

France and England went to war in 1793 a war which ended 
only at Waterloo, more than twenty-two years later. In 1794, 
Washington sent John Jay to London to negotiate the famous 
treaty known by his name. While Jay was busy bargaining with the 
British, it was Alexander Hamilton who hinted to Hammond, 
the British minister to the -United States, that Jay's demands on 
behalf of their own country should not be taken too seriously. 11 
The treaty was ratified in 1795, much to the rage and indignation 
of the French, who rather dishonestly denounced it as a betrayal 
of the alliance which the Americans had made with a Bourbon 
king! Thereafter, relations between the two republics became 
increasingly tense, for French ministers were indiscreet and 
arrogant, and French generals were victorious. Washington had 
replaced aristocratic Gouverneur Morris at Paris with James 
Monroe; later, Pickering persuaded him to recall Monroe and send 
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney in his place. In 1797 Adams put 
the office in commission by sending over Marshall and Gerry 
to join Pinckney in Paris. 

The purpose of Adams was obvious and honest. Although the 
Franco-British War had opened great opportunities for American 
commerce on the Atlantic, the rival fleets of England and France 
seemed likely to sweep American vessels from the sea. Adams 

11 S. F. Bemls, Jay's Treaty, New York, 1923, pp. 246-7. Mr. Bemis uses the word 
"amazing" in describing Hamilton's second interview with George Hammond, when Jay 
was already in London. 


hoped that his commissioners could win from France some sort of 
understanding such as Jay had got in London. Pinckney, Marsh- 
all, and Gerry faced not only a truculent Directory, but one of 
the most adroit diplomats in all history perhaps the last great 
statesman of Europe to look on Europe as a whole Talleyrand. 
The three Americans waited in Paris and argued one with another. 
Then came mysterious, indirect suggestions as to loans and, 
worse still, bribes. Gerry and Marshall roomed and boarded at 
the home of a Madame de Villette, a formidable woman who had 
once passed for the adopted daughter of Voltaire, and was now a 
lady friend of Talleyrand! Madame de Villette became the 
connecting link between the American ministers and Messrs. 
"X," "Y," and "Z." "X" was Jean-Conrad Hottinguer (1764- 
1841), of Zurich, who settled in Paris and made a malodorous 
fortune financing the French armies. Hottinguer had traveled 
extensively in the United States, and subsequently became a 
financial intimate of John Jacob Astor. 12 "Y" was a Mr. Bellamy, 
an American banker living in Hamburg, whose first name is not 
known. "Z" was Lucien Hauteval, another fly-by-night Switzer. 
The American uproar over the proposal to pay Talleyrand 
50,000 was not only partisan but hypocritical. Hamilton and 
his "high Federalists" were eager for a declaration of war against 
France, and made the most of the angry messages from the 
American ministers. More important yet, however, the ad- 
ministrations of both Washington and Adams, it ought to be re- 
membered, had regularly paid annual bribes to both the American 
Indians and the Mediterranean pirates as M. Hottinguer 
impolitely pointed out. Why should not the French be bought 
off, too? Nobody got anywhere, even though the amiable Beau- 
marchais intervened in the negotiations to promise that if his 
lawyer, John Marshall, were to win his suit for land against 
Virginia, he himself would pay off Talleyrand out of his profits. 
Eventually the mission broke up Marshall returned in "triumph" 
to the United States; Pinckney took his sick daughter to the south 

12 See E. Wilson Lyon, "The Directory and the United States," American Historical 
Review, vol. 53 (1938), pp. 514-532; Samuel E. Morison, "Elbridge Gerry, Gentleman- 
Democrat, " New England Quarterly, vol. 2 (1929), pp. 6-33; and Thomas A. Bailey, A 
Diplomatic History of the American People, New York, 1946, pp. 71-89. 


of France, and Gerry remained a hostage in the hands of Talley- 
rand, and the object of unmerited abuse from excited Americans. 

The United States had been "insulted," and a declaration of 
war seemed certain, until the wily Jefferson slipped in behind the 
scenes. The Vice-President talked to Victor Du Pont, the French 
consul at Charleston, who had come to Philadelphia, warning 
him that Talleyrand was in great danger of overestimating the 
strength of American sympathy for France. To go to war would 
be to fall into the trap of William Pitt and Alexander Hamilton. 
Du Pont sailed for Bordeaux promptly and hastened on to Paris 
to report to Talleyrand. Within a week the offending French 
decrees of spoliation had been negatived, and the Directory was 
feeling for new negotiations by way of Holland. In the meantime, 
President Adams was in direct communication with William Vans 
Murray, the American minister to the Netherlands, and Richard 
Codman, a Boston speculator resident in Paris, both of whom had 
good reasons for assuring him that France did not want to go to 
war with the United States. To the rage of the Hamiltonians, 
Adams suddenly made Murray minister to France, and then sent 
Chief-Justice Oliver Ellsworth and William Richardson Davie 
to join him there to keep the peace in Paris. The Convention of 
Mortefontaine, September 30, 1800, is a lasting monument to the 
courage of Adams and the consummate wisdom of Talleyrand. 13 

Adams smashed his party, but he saved his country. Twelve 
years later, Madison, in similar circumstances, stumbled into the 
mistake which Adams avoided, stabbing Britain in the back for 
Henry Clay's promise of a quick conquest of Canada! Success 
abroad came too late, however, to save Adams at home. The 
outcry over the publication of the U X Y Z" dispatches led to 
the harsh Alien and Sedition Acts, and the Jeffersonians responded 
with the Virginia and the Kentucky Resolutions, defying federal 
encroachment on the sovereign people. Then, suddenly, George 
Washington died at Mount Vernon, and John Adams was lost. 
His one tie with Hamilton was broken. 

Within two weeks of the death of Washington, the two rivals 

13 Samuel E. Morison, "Du Pont, Talleyrand, and the French Spoliations," Proc. Mass. 
Hist. Sot., vol. 49 (1916), pp. 63-79. 


met at Trenton, where Adams was staying because of a plague of 
yellow fever in Philadelphia. Hamilton came over from New 
York to urge him not to trust France. The account of their inter- 
view, as given by Abigail Adams on December 30, 1799, is an 
amazing revelation of the wishful thinking of the one man and the 
foresight of the other. 

He [Hamilton] made the President a visit at Trenton, and was per- 
fectly sanguine in the opinion that the Stateholder would be reinstated 
before Christmass and Louis the i8th upon the Throne of France. I 
should as soon expect, replied the President, that the sun, moon & stars 
will fall from their orbits, as events of that kind take place in any such 
period, but suppose such an event possible, can it be any injury to our 
Country to have envoys there? It will be only necessary for them to 
wait for new commissions. And if France is disposed to accommodate 
our differences, will she be less so under a Royall than a Directorial 

John Adams was often accused of being jealous of George Wash- 
ington a pardonable weakness! Two of the letters in this volume 
reveal the vanity and want of tact which cost him the political 
success he desired and really deserved. In 1798, when it was pro- 
posed to celebrate Washington's birthday in Philadelphia, John 
Adams and his wife felt that the plan was a studied insult to the 
New England successor to the great Virginian. The letter of 
February 15 is loaded with detailed indignation at what Abigail 
thought was the outrageous plan for a grand celebration; that of 
February 28 tells Mrs. Cranch how completely the obvious dis- 
pleasure of the President and his wife had thrown a wet blanket 
over the whole business. Even after his death, Washington was 
praised far beyond their belief as to what was fitting and proper 
(January 28, 1800). Yet one of the most pleasant aspects of the 
early letters of this volume is the intimate description of Wash- 
ington and his wife the stately courtesy and nobility of the 
gentleman from Virginia, and the kindness of his gracious lady. 
Thought of this mighty man to whom fate and a physician gave 
not three years of the peace and quiet of Mount Vernon after a 
long, hard life in the service of his people, puts out of mind all 
memory of our Jeffersons and Jacksons, our Lincolns and our 


Wilsons, even of our Roosevelts, "just as the sun, rising in 
heaven, extinguishes the stars." 

Three men beside himself deprived John Adams of a second 
term as President. The first of these was Jefferson, who had 
deftly been gathering into his own hands all the threads of op- 
position to the Federalists. Never thereafter, it should be remem- 
bered, were the President and the Vice-President leaders of 
opposing parties. Yet it was Aaron Burr who won the election of 
1800 for the Republicans, for he carried the electoral vote of New 
York, and, without New York, Jefferson would not have replaced 
Adams in the White House. And had Burr lifted so much as his 
little finger, it is extremely doubtful if the House of Representa- 
tives would have chosen Jefferson for President in 1801. The bad 
reputation of Burr with American historians is no puzzle if we 
remember that he was so brave or rash as to make deadly 
enemies of both Federalists and Republicans. Because he was 
sneered at as nothing but a "politician" no life of him was allowed 
in the American Statesmen that series which includes a biography 
of Thaddeus Stevens! Just why Edward Channing wrote that Burr 
kept "the most disgraceful journal in existence" will never be 
known. Hated by Hamilton and Jefferson alike, Aaron Burr was 
always more sinned against than sinning. And so is he, to this day. 

It was Alexander the great Hamilton, however, who made the 
defeat of Adams certain Hamilton, "the brain" of their party! 
After the sudden death of Washington in December, 1799, Hamil- 
ton seems to have looked at himself as the leader of the Federalists, 
with the President as his puppet. For Adams to usurp that leader- 
ship, as in dismissing Pickering, was too much for his pride and 
consuming desire for power. In this sense, the death of Washing- 
ton was decisive, for it broke the one and only tie between the 
President and the vindictive New Yorker whom he liked to call 
an "alien," or the "bastard brat of a Scotch pedlar"! When 
Tench Coxe, whom Adams had ousted from office in 1797, pub- 
lished an indiscreet letter which Adams had written to him 
in 1792 implying that Hamilton was under British influence, 
Hamilton, after two of his letters of enquiry to the President had 
gone unanswered, prepared his untimely, intemperate, and 


notorious indictment of Adams in October, 1800. Hamilton 
intended this outburst to circulate secretly among the leaders of 
the Federalist Party, but a copy of it came into the hands of Aaron 
Burr, who promptly took care to see that it was published and 
spread abroad. This sealed the doom of John Adams. 

The bitter truth is that Burr and Hamilton were two peas out 
of one pod ridiculous as zealous partisans of each have made 
themselves in trying to deny this obvious resemblance. Each 
was able and ambitious; each was sinuous and ardent; each was 
utterly charming drunk or sober. Each was an adventurer, 
and each was loyal, first and last, to himself alone. Greek met 
Greek on the dueling ground at Weehawken. Yet it is not wise 
to be too hasty with the presently unpopular politics of Hamilton. 
We who live later may live late enough at last to learn, perhaps, 
that possibly "y ur people" is "a great beast" and that govern- 
ment had better belong to the "rich and to the well-born." 

All the great Presidents of the United States save one have been 
politicians to the tips of their fingers. Nor was Adams: moreover, 
he was vain like most men of small stature he wanted tact, 
and he was hot-tempered. Hamilton thought that his outburts 
of rage approached insanity. Not so: John Adams was simply 
one of the last Puritans, if not the last, in American politics, and a 
Puritan must make it his business to rove about in search of 
righteousness. Take Abigail's opinion of Jefferson, written on the 
eve of his inauguration. Her judgment is probably nothing more 
than an echo of the angry Mr. Adams. 

Have we any claim to the favour or protection of Providence, when we 
have against warning admonition and advise Chosen as our chief 
Majestrate a man who makes no pretentions to the belief of an all wise 
and suprem Governour of the World, ordering or directing or over- 
ruling the events which take place in it? I do not mean that he is an 
Atheist, for I do not think that he is but he believes Religion only 
usefull as it may be made a political Engine, and that the outward 
forms are only, as I once heard him express himself mere Mummery. 
In short, he is not a believer in the Christian system. 

And again. In 1807 Napoleon Bonaparte was at the peak of his 
power. Pitt, the Winston Churchill of those days, was dead of 
drink and despair; the Treaty of Tilsit was in the offing; the 


Corsican had yet to take the road to Russia and to ruin though 
Talleyrand quietly quit him at the very crest. That year Mercy 
Warren wrote to Abigail Adams to ask her to find out just what 
her husband thought of him whom foolish men still call "the 
great emperor." The answer speaks volumes : 

You inquire what does Mr. Adams think of Napoleon? If you had 
asked Mrs. Adams, she would have replied to you in the words of Pope, 
If plagues and earthquakes brake not heavens design 
Why then a Borgia or a Napoline? 

I am authorized to replie to your question. What does Mr. Adams 
think Napoleon was made for? "My answer shall be as prompt and 
frank as her question. Napoleon's Maker alone can tell all he was made 
for. In general Napoleon was, I will not say made, but permitted for a 
cat-o'nine-tails, to inflict ten thousand lashes upon the back of Europe as 
divine vengeance for the Atheism, Infidelity, Fornications, Adulteries, 
Incests, and Sodomies, as well as Briberies, Robberies, Murders, Thefts, 
Intrigues, and fraudelent speculations of her inhabitants, and if we are 
far enough advanced in the career, and certainly we have progressd very 
rapidly, to whip us for the same crimes, and after he has answerd the 
end he was made, or permitted for, to be thrown into the fire." 14 

Here, in a nutshell, is the hideous Puritan doctrine that the con- 
sequences of the mistakes of men even their misfortunes are 
nothing more than just punishments for their "sins." 

In 1815, however, at the end of "Mr. Madison's War," when 
Bonaparte was bottled up, for the moment, in Elba, the old 
President recovered his sense of proportion long enough to write 
proudly : 

I will defend my missions to France, as long as I have an eye to direct 
my hand, or a finger to hold my pen. They were the most disinterested 
and meritorious actions of my life. I reflect upon them with so much 
satisfaction, that I desire no other inscription over my gravestone than: 
"Here lies John Adams, who took upon himself the responsibility of the 
peace with France in the year i8oo." 15 

This was John Adams at his bravest and his best. Yet he had 
made so many enemies in life, that his noblest deed in office 
drove him out of it forever. STEWART MITCHELL 

14 Warren- Adams Letters, vol. 2, p. 353. 

15 Bailey, Diplomatic History of the American People, p. 89. 

New Letters of Abigail Adams 

New Letters of Abigail Adams 

Jamaica [Long Island, New York], Novbr. 24, 1788 

I know you will rejoice with me that all was happily over & Mrs. Smith 
safely abed before I reachd her. She thought she should do as she did 
before, so told no one that she was unwell, untill Mr. Smiths Mamma & 
sister could scarcly reach her, and a Negro woman whom she has was 
obliged to officiate for her. Happily she had on some former occasions 
assisted some of her own coulour, but all were teribly frightned. However 
no one sufferd, but Mrs. Smith & my young Grandson are as well as 
usual at this period. Master William is the very Image of his Mamma at 
the same age, except that he has a great share of vivacity & sprightly- 
ness, the merest little Trunchion that you ever saw, very pleasent & 
good humourd. 1 

I find this place a very retired one, Rural & delightfull in the summer. 
Mr. Smith has a large connection of Sisters & Brothers who as well as 
his Mamma appear very fond of their sister & her daughter & Grandsons. 2 
Belinda who keeps chiefly here, is very pleasing & soft in her manners, 
much like my Friend Mrs. Rogers. I was so short a Time at New York 
that I saw nothing of it, and I feel as if I ought to return to my Family 
again, as soon as Mrs. Smith gets about, but it is a long journey, & the 

1 Abigail (1765-1813), the only surviving daughter of John and Abigail (Smith) 
Adams, became the wife, in London, June 12, 1786, of Colonel William Stephens Smith 
(1755-1816). Colonel Smith was born in New York City, the son of John, a wealthy 
merchant, and Margaret (Stephens) Smith, whose relatives were Loyalists; he was grad- 
uated from Princeton in 1774, enlisted at the outbreak of the Revolution, and served 
brilliantly under Sullivan and Putnam. Later on, he became an aide to George Washington. 
In 1785, he was appointed secretary of the legation in London, where he met the daughter 
of John Adams, the American minister. Colonel and Mrs. Smith had four children: 
William Steuben (1787), John Adams (1788), Thomas Hollis (1790), and Caroline Amelia 
(1795), who married John Peter DeWindt. For portraits of Colonel and Mrs. Smith, see 
Old-Time New England: The Bulletin of the Society for the Preservation of New England 
Antiquities, vol. 19, No, 3 (January, 1929). 

For a blunt letter (1798) from John Adams to this son-in-law, criticizing his "pride and 
ostentation," see John Adams, Works, vol. 8, Boston, 1853, pp. 617-8. 

2 John Smith and Margaret (Stephens) Smith had ten children: four sons and six daugh- 
ters. For a description of the daughters, see the following letter. 

stages I find are very inconvenient for a Lady & wholy improper on 
many accounts for me. They are not hung upon springs & they drive 
very Rapidly over very bad road. I hope you will write me and give me 
some account of my Family, about which I am anxious. You will learn 
from Esther how she makes out. I wish to know whether she is able to 
take the care which is upon her. I also want to know how Mr. J. Q. A,'s 
health is. I know you will feel a care for all of them in my absence. 
Mr. Adams will Frank your Letters which please to direct under cover 
to Col Smith. 

My Love to my dear Neices and tell Betsy I design to be at Home to 
[her] wedding. 3 Mrs. Smith joins me in affectionate Regard to you & 
Family. I am, my dear Sister, 

Affectionately yours 


I wish my dear Sister if it will not dissapoint Cousin Betsy that you would 
write a line to the chair maker at Milton to send the half dozen to Mr. 
Smiths store in Boston put up so as to send safely on Board the first 
vessel which shall sail for New York, & let him know that I will pay 
him on my return. Pray Mr. Smith to address them to Mr. Daniel 
Macormick, New York. 4 

Jamaica [Long Island], December 15, 1788 

I thank you for your kind Letter of Novbr. 3Oth Decbr. 2nd. You 
judgd rightly I was almost melancholy to be a Month from Home, and 
not to hear once from Home in all that Time, but the post is long in 
comeing. I am Eleven miles from [New] York with a great Ferry be- 
tween, and you are ten from Boston so that we do not always get our 
Letters ready for post day. I wrote you the day after I arrived here & 

3 Elizabeth, daughter of Mary (Smith) Cranch and Richard Cranch (1726-1811), who 
married the Reverend Jacob Norton, Harvard, 1786. 

4 Of William Smith, only son of the Reverend William Smith, and younger brother of 
Mrs. John Adams, very little is known. He was born in 1746, and seems to have married 
three times. Several of his children were reared by their relatives. The date of his death 
has not been found. His first wife was probably Catherine Louisa Salmon (married Jan- 
uary 3, 1779); his second wife, Hannah Carter (married May 16, 1787); and his third wife, 
Martha White (b. 1755), daughter of Daniel and Sarah (Turner) White, by whom he had 
at least one child, Daniel White Smith (b. 1796). See Records of Braintrte and Boston 
Marriages: i7$2-~i8oQ. 

Thus, in the letters which follow, "Mrs. Smith" may refer to any one of three, or pos- 
sibly five women: the daughter of Mrs. John Adams, Mrs. William Stephens Smith; the 
mother-in-law of that daughter, Mrs. John Smith or, thirdly, one of the three wives of 
William Smith, the brother of Mrs. Adams. 

trust you have long ago got the Letter. Your Neice is very well, except 
weak, & very free with her Mamma as I can instance to you, for [I] hav- 
ing written a Letter to her Pappa & seald it, she comes in & says 0, 
Mamma what, is the Letter seald, why I must see it, and very cordially 
opens it to read. The little Boy grows finely, but I dont feel so fond of 
him yet as I do of William. Whether it is because he was Born in our 
own House, or the first or the best temperd child I cannot determine. 

Dec'br. i8th, [1788] 

Mrs. Smith has had several of her Neighbours to visit her since I have 
been here. They appear to be Geenteel people, but all the acquaintance 
she has upon the Island are of the ceremonious kind* In their own 
Family are four young Ladies, all of them agreeable, sensible, well 
behaved women. Peggy the oldest is tall, agreeable rather than hand- 
some, and the most particularly attentive to her manners without 
discovering any affectation of any Lady I have met with. Belinda the 
second daughter has less of person to boast of than her Elder Sister, but 
she has that Interesting countanance & openness of manners that 
Interests you at first sight, nor are you dissapointed upon a further 
acquaintance. Her temper and disposition appear perfectly amiable, 
accommodating and kind. I have more acquaintance with her than 
with either of the others. I found [her] here when I came, taking charge 
of Mrs. Smiths Family during her confinement. This she performd with 
much ease and tender sisterly affection. At Home their Mamma has 
used them to the care of her Family by Turns. Each take it a week at a 
Time. Charity is the third daughter, and if it was not for the loss of one 
Eye which she was deprived of at two years old I think she would be the 
Bel of the Family. She has been absent till last Sunday ever since I came. 
I have seen her but once. She is more social, has read more and appears 
to have the greatest .turn for literature of either. She has a taste for 
drawing, for musick &c. The fine arts seem to be the objects of her 
attention, and as she has a most inquisitive mind, she would shine with 
brightness if she had Books to direct her and masters to instruct her. 
She dresses with neatness but great simplicity, rather in the Quaker stile, 
avoids all publick company, assemblies &c but is strongly attachd to 
her Friends. I take from Mrs. Smith part of her History for, as I observd 
before, I have seen her but once. Sally is the fourth daughter, about 17, 
tall as Mrs. Guile, a fine figure & a pretty Face, unaffected and artless in 
her manners, modest and composed. She wants only a little more ani- 


mation to render her truly Interesting. She has dignity, & that you 
know is inconsistant with a gay, playfull, humour. 1 This Belinda has. 
They are four fine women and well educated for wives as well as daugh- 
ters. There are two young ones, Betsy & Nancy, one of ten & the other 
seven years old. Daughters so agreeable must have a worthy Mother, 
and this is universally her character. Mrs. Smith is a Large, tall woman, 
not unlike Mrs. Gray. She is about 50 years old and has been a very 
Handsome woman, tenderly attachd to all her children. She has I tell 
her been too indulgent to her sons, of whom she has four, but of them 
an other Time. 2 She is really a Charming woman as far as I have been 
able to form an acquaintance with her, and she has been here a good deal 
& I have visited her. We have had company several Times from N[ew] 
York and I have had many & repeated requests to go there, but my 
Trunk is, I know not where. I have only one morning gown & a green 
sattin which I very fortunatly had in my small Trunk or I should not 
have been able to have seen any body. I have no shoes but the pr I wear, 
no Bonnet, very little Linnen & only my calimanco Skirt, and there are 
very few things of Mrs. Smiths that I can wear. 3 I am sadly of. We had 
yesterday a cold snow storm, hardly enough to cover the ground, but it 
has cleard up very cold. I think of my poor dear & pitty him. I long to 
get back to my Family, but must wait for snow as the roads are too bad 
to Travel without. I regreet daily the distance, but Mrs. Smith comforts 
herself with thinking that I shall very soon be nearer to her, but I fear I 
shall not have much comfort if that should happen. Tis only on plain 
ground that one walks easily. Up hill or down is painfull. I am afraid 
J. Jr. will turn Hermit, if business does not soon call him into the World, 
but how much better is this, than having no given object, no persuit. 
I had rather a son of mine should follow any mechanical trade whatever 
than be a gentleman at large without any occupation. 

I am sorry to hear my good Mother had met with such an accident. 4 
It is one source of my anxiety to get home, that I have thought for some 

l This Sally, or Sarah Smith (1769-1828), married Charles Adams (1770-1800), and 
became the mother of two daughters: Susanna Boylston (1796-1846) and Abigail Louisa 

2 The four sons, and eldest children, of John and Margaret (Stephens) Smith were 
William Stephens, John, James, and Justus. 

* "Calimanco," obsolete for "calamanco." A woollen stuff of Flanders, glossy on the 
surface, and woven with a satin twill and chequered in the warp, so that the checks are 
seen on one side only; much used in the eighteenth century. Oxford English Dictionary. 

4 Abigail Adams refers to her mother-in-law, Susanna (Boylston) [Adams] Hall (1709- 
*797)> w ho married again after the death of the father of John Adams. 

months that she would not Live through the winter. Pray present my 
duty to her and tell her that her grandchildren & great grandchildren 
talk of comeing to see her. My Love to my [your?] two daughters. Tell 
Betsy she must not steal a march upon me. If she waits an other 
month Mrs. Smith will come & be Bride[s]maid. Present me kindly to 
Brother Cranch & go as often as you can & see my good Gentleman. 6 
Tell Esther she must write to me & let me know how she makes out. My 
fingers are so cold I can scarcly hold a pen. Adieu my dear Sister. Write 
as often as you can. Mrs. Smith desires me to present her duty & Love. 
She will write soon. 

Yours most tenderly 


Richmond Hill [New York], Janry 24, 1789! 

I embrace this opportunity By my Brother to write you a few lines 
tho it is only to tell you what you would have learnt from him, Namely 
that we are all well. He is come in persuit of Betsy Crosby. How well 
the child might have been provided for if the Dr. had lived, I cannot 
pretend to say, but two thirds of her property is already consumed, every 
minutia being charged to her as the account will show. However this is 
no concern of mine. 2 I am not without hopes my dear Sister of comeing to 
Braintree and spending several months with you during the next recess 
of congress. How long they will set this Session I cannot pretend to say, 
but rather think they will rise early in the Spring. I think it would be a 
pleasure to me to have a small Family, and be able when I returnd to 
visit my Friends a little more than I have done. I never rode so little as 
I have done since I resided here. There are no pleasant rides, no variety 
of scenes round New York, unless you cross ferrys over to long Island or 
to the Jerseys. I have however enjoyd a greater share of Health than I 

5 John Adams did not come down to New York until April 20, 1789. See footnote 8 
to tie enclosure with the letter of December 12, 1797. 

1 The manor house of "Richmond Hill" stood near what is now Macdougal Street, in 
Greenwich Village, New York City, Its original proprietor was Abraham Mortier; at the 
time John Adams and his wife occupied it, "Richmond Hill" was the property of a Mrs. 
Jephson. Aaron Burr bought it on June 17, 1797. It was subsequently removed to a new 
site, was turned into a theatre, and demolished in 1849. For a picture of the house, see the 
New-York Magazine (June, 1790), where it is described as the residence of Vice-President 
Adams. I. N. Phelps Stokes, The Iconography of Manhattan Island, New York, 1915-1928, 
vol. 3, p. 951; vol. 5, pp. 1254-5, 1274, and 1304; also, vol. I, plate 55A, and pp. 416-7. 

* Dr. Ebenezer Crosby, Harvard, 1777, Yale, 1782, died in New York City in 1788. 
William S. Pattee, A History of Old Braintree and Quincy, Quincy, 1878. 

have for some years past & been less afflicted with the Complaint which 
used to allarm as well as distress me. 

How is my Neice Mrs. Norton? 3 Give my Love to her & tell her I 
hope to find her with a fine Girl in her Arms when I return to Braintree. 
Tell Lucy she is quite as usefull as if she was married. 4 I want to see 
her much as well as the rest of my dear Friends. To many of them I owe 
Letters, but I really hate to touch a pen. I am ashamed to say how laizy 
I am grown in that respect. 

I could give an account of visiting and receiving visits, but in that 
there is so little variety that one Letter only might contain the whole 
History. For Instance on Monday Evenings Mrs. Adams Receives 
company. That is her Rooms are lighted & put in order. Servants & 
Gentlemen and Ladies, as many as inclination, curiosity or Fashion 
tempts, come out to make their Bow & Curtzy, take cofTe & Tea, chat 
an half hour, or longer, and then return to Town again. On Tuesday the 
same Ceremony is performed at Lady Temple's, 5 on Wednesday at Mrs. 
Knox's, 6 on Thursdays at Mrs. Jays 7 and on Fry day at Mrs. Washing- 
tonSj so that if any person has so little to employ themselves in as to 
want an amusement five Evenings in a week, they may find it at one or 
other of these places. To Mrs. Washingtons I usually go as often as once 
a fortnight, and to the others occasionally. 

So I learn that my Young Friend Nancy 8 is seriously thinking of 

8 Elizabeth (Cranch) Norton, to whom sons were born in 1790 and 1791. See the letter 
of February 5, 1792. 

4 Lucy Cranch (1767-1846), who married her first cousin, John Greenleaf (1763-1848). 

6 "Lady" Temple, so called, was Elizabeth Bowdoin (1750-1809), daughter of James 
Bowdoin (1726-1790), one of the richest and most influential men in the Province of 
Massachusetts, and subsequently Governor of the state of Massachusetts (17851787), 
during Shays's Rebellion. Elizabeth married John Temple (1730-1798), a native of 
Massachusetts, and surveyor-general of the customs under George III. After November 
II, 1786, this John Temple called himself "Sir" John Temple, claiming succession to the 
baronetcy of Stowe, in Buckinghamshire, but this claim was never proved or acknowledged. 
Burke' 's Peerage, London, 1938, "Temple of Stowe," pp. 2393-4. Temple was British consul- 
general at New York from 1788 to 1798. On June 17, 1797, he bought Aaron Burr's 
mansion-house, "Richmond Hill." Portraits of "Sir" John and "Lady" Temple are in the 
Massachusetts Historical Society. They had two children, "Sir" Grenville Temple (1768- 
1829) and Elizabeth Bowdoin Temple (1769-1825), the wife of Thomas Lindall Winthrop, 
father of Robert C. Winthrop (1809-1894), Speaker of the House of Representatives (1847- 

6 Lucy (Flucker) Knox, wife of Henry Knox (1750-1806), first Secretary of War, 1789- 

7 Sarah Van Brugh (Livingston) Jay, wife of John Jay (1745-1829), first Chief Justice, 
and daughter of William Livingston (1723-1790), first Governor of New Jersey. 

8 Anna (Nancy) Greenleaf (1772-1843) married William Cranch (1769-1855), whom 
John Adams (February 27, 1801) appointed judge of the United States Circuit Court of 
the District of Columbia. 

becomeing the Madam of a parish. Be sure to tell her, that I like it 
much as it will be so fine a half way House to call at when I go & come 
From N[ew] York to Braintree. But laying selfish considerations aside, I 
hope she is like to be setled to the mind of herself & Family. 
My best Regards to Mrs. Quincy 9 and all other Friends. 
Brother says you wrote to me by Mrs. Gushing. 10 She is not yet 
arrived. Adieu. 

Yours most tenderly 


Providence, [Rhode Island], June 19, ij$g l 

This day is the Aniversary of my Landing in Boston and Tomorrow 
that of my departure from it. Many are the mercies I have to be thank- 
full for through all my Perigrinations. All the painfull scenes I have past 
through, has been the temporary seperation from my Friends. Fatigue 
either of Body or Mind I scarcly name amongst them for I have my 
pleasures and gratifications which I set down as a balance to them> 
Cousin Lucy 2 has told you that I left Home about 8 oclock. We pro- 
ceeded to Man's Inn 3 In Wrentham before we stop'd, 27 miles, where we 
dinned upon roast veal, roast chickings, sallad &c. West India sweet 
meats I ought not to forget in the desert. It is really a very good Inn. 
We sat off at three oclock and reachd Attleborougfh] about five where we 
Rested. I met with Mr. and Mrs. Mason & Miss Powel going to New- 
port. We past an agreeable Hour together. At six we renewed our 
journey and reachd Providence at half after seven. We put up at 
Daggets Inn 4 just at the entrance of the Town situated upon a Hill 
opposite the State House 5 commanding a fine view of the River & the 

9 The wife of Norton Quincy (1716-1801), Harvard, 1736, the uncle of Abigail (Smith) 
Adams and Mary (Smith) Cranch. 

10 Hannah (Phillips) Gushing (1754-1834), wife of William Gushing (1732-1810), 
justice of the Supreme Court (1789-1810). Gushing refused the office of Chief Justice in 

1 Footnotes for this and the following letter are chiefly drawn from Rhode Island History, 
vol. i, no. 4 (October, 1942), pp. 97-104. 

2 Lucy Cranch (1767-1846), daughter of Richard Cranch (1726-1811) and Mary (Smith) 
Cranch (1741-1811), who married John Greenleaf (1763-1848). 

z David Man kept an inn at Wrentham as early as 1724. 

4 Daggett's Inn was the Mansion House, sometimes called the Golden Ball Inn. It was 
situated on Benefit Street, opposite the Old State House, which was pulled down in 1941. 

6 This State House is still standing on North Main Street, and is now the Sixth District 

whole Town. We are tolerably well accommodated, but should have 
been much better if the Governour 6 had not taken the best Chamber 
before I came, (the court being now in Session) and he has not had the 
politeness either to offer to give it up or to make me a visit, tho he has 
had much conversation with Polly 7 and now & then takes a peep at me 
from [the] entry. My first inquiry was after a packet. I found only 
[Captain] Browns here. He came & I like him. He has a very good packet 
& Bears a good character himself, but says he cannot be ready to sail till 
Saturday morning. The wind to day is directly against us. 

In about an hour after my arrival I received the visits of the following 
persons. Mr. & Mrs. Arnold, the Gentleman was one of the Committe 
who came to Mr. Adams, from the Towns of Newport & Providence. 
Mr. & Mrs. Francis, this Lady is the daughter of Mr. John Brown of this 
Town, so celebrated for his wealth. 8 Miss Bowen the sister to the late 
Governour. 9 Colonel Peck, Mr. Robins, Tutor to the Colledge & Mr. 
Shrimpton Hutchinson and Mrs. Nightingale, all of whom in the Name 
of many other Gentlemen & Ladies regreeted [sic] that I had dissapointed 
them in not letting it be known when I should be here as they had agreed 
to meet me several miles out of Town. Mr. & Mrs. Francis invited me to 
take up my abode with them. I excused myself, but have promised to 
take Tea & spend the Evening if I do not go out of Town. This morning 
I am to take a ride with them to see the Town & to return my visits, if I 
am not prevented by company, but my wish is not to be detained a 
moment. Pray write me & let me know by the next post whether my 
furniture is all on Board Barnard & when he will sail. I should be glad 
to hear how Mrs. Brisler is. 10 I left her in great affliction. 

6 John Collins, of Newport (1717-1795), third Governor of the state of Rhode Island 
(1786-1790). Collins cast the deciding vote in the State Senate (January 17, 1790) which 
led to the calling of the convention by which Rhode Island entered the Union, May 29, 

7 Polly Tailor, the maid of Mrs. Adams. For further reference to Polly Tailor, see letters 
of October n and November 3, 1789, and April 28, 1790. 

8 John Brown (1736-1803), son of James and Hope (Power) Brown, was the third of 
four brothers, Nicholas, Joseph, John, and Moses, of the mercantile firm of Nicholas Brown 
& Company, of Providence, In 1787, he became a partner in Brown & Francis, and in 
December of that year the General Washington cleared for the East, the first ship in the 
beginning of trade that brought fortune to Rhode Island for more than half a century. 
John Brown married Sarah, daughter of Daniel and Dorcas (Harris) Smith. Abby Brown, 
his daughter, married John Francis. 

* Miss Mary Bowen, sister of Lieu tenant-Governor Jabez Bowen, who was graduated 
from Yale in 1757 and died in 1815. Bowen also had two half-sisters, Elizabeth (Betsy) 
and Nancy. 

10 Mrs. Briesler was the wife of John Briesler, major-domo to John Adams. 


I feel the want of Mrs. Brisler as a Hair dresser. On other accounts 
Polly does very well Matilda 11 is well, & her finger much better. Let 
Mrs. Storer know if you please. 12 My best Regards to all my dear 
Friends. It grieved me to see you so dull. You used to keep up your 
Spirits better. Do not let them flagg. A merry Heart does good like a 
medicine. 13 We shall hear often from one an other, and the seperation 
be renderd less painfull by that means. 

This moment a Card is brought me from Mr, Brown & Lady with an 
invitation to dine with them to day & that they will visit me at ten. I 
accept it, as [Captain] Brown cannot go till tomorrow. Adieu my dear 

Most affectionatly yours 


Richmond Hill, June 28th, 1789 

I wrote you from Providence some account of my polite reception 
there & closed my Letter just as I had accepted an invitation to dine 
with Mr. Brown & Lady. The forenoon was pass't in receiving visits 
from all the principal Gentlemen and Ladies of the Town, who seemed to 
vie with each other, to convince me that tho they were inhabitants of an 
Antifederal State, they were themselves totally against the measures 
persued by it, and that they entertaind the highest Regard and Respect 
for the Character with which I was so intimately connected, altho to 
their great mortification they had been prevented the Honour of having 
any share in placing him in His respected Station. 1 

Mr. Brown sent his Carriage & son to conduct me [to] his House which 
is one of the grandest I have seen in this Country. Every thing in and 
about it, wore the marks of magnificence & taste. Mrs. Brown met me 
at the door & with the most obliging smile accosted me with, "Friend I 
am glad to see the here." The simplicity of her manners & dress with 
the openness of her countanance & the friendlyness of her behavior 
charmed me beyond all the studied politeness of European manners. 
They had collected between 22 persons to dine with me tho the notice 
was so short, & gave an elegant entertainment upon a service of Plate. 

11 Matilda was a kind of companion to Mrs. Adams. 

12 Hannah (Quincy) Storer (1736-1826), daughter of Josiah Quincy, who married as her 
second husband Ebenezer Storer. John Adams courted Hannah Quincy before he married 
Abigail Smith. 

18 Provfr bs t XVII, 22. 

1 Rhode Island refused to ratify the Constitution and join the Union until May 29, 1790, 
and then only by the close convention vote of thirty-four to thirty-two. 


Towards evening I made a Tour round the Town, & drank Tea & spent 
the Evening with Mr. & Mrs. Francis whom I mentioned to you before. 
Then the company was much enlarged, & many persons introduced to 
me who had no opportunity before of visiting me. Amongst those Ladies 
with whom I was most pleased was the Lady & two Sisters of Governour 
Bowen. About Eleven I returnd to my lodgings and the nezt morning 
went on Board the Hancock packet. We had contrary wind all day, by 
which means we did not reach Newport untill seven oclock. I had been 
only a few moments arrived when Mr. Merchant came on Board and 
insisted that I with my whole Family should go on shore & Lodge at his 
House. 2 He would take no refusal. He sent his daughter down to 
receive & accompany my Neice, & came himself in a few moments with 
a carriage to attend me. 3 At his House I was kindly & Hospitably Treated 
by his Lady & daughters. We slept there & the next morning were early 
summond on Board the packet. Captain Brown had very civily taken 
his wife to attend upon me, & accomodate me during my passage. I 
found her a very well Bred Geenteel [sic] woman, but neither civility 
attention or politeness could remedy the sea sickness or give me a fair 
wind or dispell the Thunder Gusts which attended us both night and day. 
In short I resolved upon what I have frequently before, that I would 
never again embark upon the water, but this resolution I presume will be 
kept as my former ones have been. We were five days upon the water. 
Heat, want of rest, sea sickness Be terror, for I had my share of that, all 
contributed to fatigue me, and I felt upon my arrival quite tame & 
spiritless. Louisa was very sick, but behaved like a Heroine. Matilda 
had her share but when she was a little recoverd she was the life of us all. 
Polly was half dead all the passage & sufferd more from sea sickness than 
any of us. Charl[e]s eat & slept without any inconvenience. 4 When we 
came to the wharff, I desired the Captain to go to our Friend Mr. 
Macormick and inform him of my arrival, if he was not to be found to go 
to the Senate Chamber & inform Mr. Afdams], who from the hour of the 
day I knew must be there. Mr. Otis 5 the Secretary came to me with a 

2 Henry Marchant (1741-1796), a prominent attorney of Newport, one of the signers of 
the Articles of Confederation, member of the Continental Congress (1777-1780 and 1783- 
1784), and federal judge (1790-1796). 

3 This niece was Louisa Smith, who made her home with John and Abigail Adams, and is 
frequently mentioned in the letters which follow. Louisa was the daughter of William 
Smith, the brother of Mrs. Adams. 

4 The three sons of John and Abigail Adams were John Quincy (1767-1848), Charles 
(1770-1800), and Thomas Boylston (1772-1832). 

5 Samuel Allyne Otis (1740-1814), brother of James and Mercy (Otis) Warren, and 
father of Harrison Gray Otis (1765-1848). Samuel A. Otis was chosen Secretary of the 
United States Senate in 1789 and served until his death, April 22, 1814. 


Carriage & I reach' d Richmond Hill on Thursday one oclock to my no 
small joy. I found Mr. Adams in better Health than I feard, Mr. & Mrs. 
Smith quite well & everything so well arranged that Beds & a few other 
articles seem only necessary towards keeping House with comfort, and I 
begin to think that my furniture will be troublesome to me, some part of 
it I mean, whilst Mrs. Smith remains with me. Master John was grown 
out of my knowledge. William is still at Jamaica. Our House has been a 
mere Levee ever since I arrived morning & evening. I took the earliest 
opportunity (the morning after my arrival) to go & pay my respects to 
Mrs. Washington. Mrs. Smith accompanied me. She received me with 
great ease & politeness. She is plain in her dress, but that plainness is the 
best of every article. She is in mourning. Her Hair is white, her Teeth 
beautifull, her person rather short than otherways, hardly so large as 
my Ladyship, and if I was to speak sincerly, I think she is a much better 
figure. Her manners are modest and unassuming, dignified and femenine 
[sic], not the Tincture of ha'ture about her. His Majesty was ill & con- 
fined to his Room. I had not the pleasure of a presentation to him, but 
the satisfaction of hearing that he regreted it equally with myself. 
Col, Humphries, 6 who had paid his compliments to me in the morning & 
Breakfasted with me, attended Mrs. Washington & Mr. Lear, 7 the 
Private Secretary, was the introducter. Thus you have an account of 
my first appearence. The Principal Ladies who have visited me are the 
Lady & daughter of the Governour, 8 Lady Temple, the Countess de 
Brehim 9 , Mrs. Knox & 25 other Ladies, many of the Senators, all their 
Ladies, all the Foreign ministers & some of the Rep[resentative]s. 

6 David Humphreys (1752-1818), youngest son of the Reverend Daniel Humphrey 
[sic] and Sarah (Riggs) Bowers, widow of John Bowers. Colonel Humphreys, Yale, 1771, 
was aide-de-camp to George Washington. 

7 Tobias Lear (1762-1816), born at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and graduated from 
Harvard College in 1783. Lear was private secretary to George Washington from 1785 to 

8 George Clinton (1739-1812), first Governor of New York (1777-1795 and 1801-1804), 
elected Vice-President of the United States in 1804 and 1808. 

9 The comtesse de Brehan arrived at Philadelphia on February 26, 1788, with her brother, 
Eleonore-Francois-Elie, comte de Moustier (1751-1817), French minister to the United 
States from 1787 to 1790. Madame de Brehan, eccentric both in appearance and deport- 
ment, was a painter, and made several miniatures of George Washington. G. A. Eisen, 
Portraits of Washington, New York, 1932, pp. 454-6 and 669. A letter which she wrote to 
Jefferson on September 3, 1787, from Brest, on her way to America, thanking him for the 
loan of his book, Notes on the State of Virginia, Paris, 1784-5, will be found in the Jefferson 
Papers, in the Coolidge Collection, at the Massachusetts Historical Society. This letter is 
written in English, but with obvious effort. See, also, Katharine M. Roof, Colonel William 
Smith and Lady, Boston, 1929, p. 196. 


We are most delightfully situated. The prospect all around is Beauti- 
full in the highest degree. It is a mixture of the sublime & Beautiful!, 
Amidst it all I sigh for many of my dear Friends and connections. I can 
make no domestick arrangment till Brisler arrives. Remember me 
affectionatly to all my Friends particularly my aged parent, 10 to my 
children to whom I cannot write as yet, to my dear Lucy & worthy Dr. 
Tufts, 11 in short to all whom I love. 

Yours most tenderly 


Richmond Hill, July 12th, 1789 

I received your kind Letter by Mr. Brisler who reachd here on the 
4th of July, since which you will easily suppose I have been very buisily 
engaged in arranging my Family affairs. This added to the intence heat 
of the season, some company (tho for three days I was fashionably not 
at Home,) and some visiting which was indispensable, having more than 
fifty upon my list, my Time has been so wholy occupied that I have not 
taken a pen. Yet my thoughts have not been so occupied, but that they 
have frequently visited you, and my other Friends in the Neighbourhood, 
and tho I have here, as to situation one of the most delightfull spots I 
have seen in this country, yet I find the want of some of my particular 
connection's, but an all wise Providence has seen fit to curtail our wishes 
and to limit our enjoyments, that we may not be unmindfull of our 
dependance or forget the Hand from whence they flow. I have a favour 
to request of all my near and intimate Friends. It is to desire them to 
watch over my conduct and if at any time they perceive any alteration 
in me with respect to them, arising as they may suppose from my situa- 
tion in Life, I beg they would with the utmost freedom acquaint me with 
it. I do not feel within myself the least disposition of the kind, but I 

10 The Reverend William Smith died in 1783, and his wife in 1775. "Aged parent" refers 
to the mother of John Adams, Su$anna (Boylston) [Adams] Hall (1709-1797). For a diary 
of the Reverend William Smith, see 3 Proc. Mass. Hist. Soc., vol. 42. 

11 Cotton Tufts (1732-1815) of Weymouth, an uncle of Mrs. Adams by marriage, and 
nephew of John Tufts (1689-1752). Like his father, Simon, Cotton Tufts became a 
physician. He had full charge of the private affairs of John Adams during the latter's 
absence from home: John Adams, Life and Works, Boston, 1850-1856, vol. 9, p. 54871. 
Cotton Tufts first married Lucy Quincy (died 1785), daughter of John Quincy. His second 
wife (October 22, 1789) was Mrs. Susannah Warner, of Gloucester. See letters of Novem- 
ber I, 1789, and March 21, 1790; and for reference to his first wife, that of May 16, 1797. 
For a diary of Dr. Cotton Tufts, see 3 Proc. Mass. Hist. Soc., vol. 42. 


know mankind are prone to decieve themselves, and some are disposed to 
misconstrue the conduct of those whom they conceive placed above them. 

Our August Pressident [sic] is a singular example of modesty and 
diffidence. He has a dignity which forbids Familiarity mixed with an 
easy affibility which creates Love and Reverence. The fever which he had 
terminated in an absess, so that he cannot sit up. Upon my second 
visit to Mrs. Washington he sent for me into his Chamber, He was 
laying [sic] upon a settee and half raising himself up, beggd me to excuse 
his receiving me in that posture, congratulated me upon my arrival in 
N[ew] York and asked me how I could Relish the simple manners of 
America after having been accustomed to those of Europe. I replied to 
him that where I found simple manners I esteemed them, but that I 
thought we approachd much nearer to the Luxury and manners of 
Europe according to our ability, than most persons were sensible of, 
and that we had our full share of taste and fondness for them. The 
Pressident has a Bed put into his Carriage and rides out in that way, 
allways with six Horses in his Carriage & four attendants. Mrs. Washing- 
ton accompanies him. I requested him to make Richmond Hill his 
resting place, and the next day he did so, but he found walking up stairs 
so difficult, that he has done it but once. Mrs. Washington is one of 
those unassuming characters which create Love & Esteem. A most 
becoming pleasentness sits upon her countanance & an unaffected 
deportment which renders her the object of veneration and Respect. 
With all these feelings and Sensations I found myself much more deeply 
impressd than I ever did before their Majesties of Britain. 

You ask me concerning politicks. Upon my word I hear less of them 
here, than I did in in [sic] Massa'ts. The two Houses are very buisy upon 
very important Bill's, the judiciary, and the Collecting Bills. The Senate 
is composed of many men of great abilities, who appear to be liberal in 
their sentiments and candid towards each other. The House is composed 
of some men of equal talants. Others, the debates will give you the best 
Idea of them, but there is not a member whose sentiment clash more 
with my Ideas of things than Mr. Gferrjy. 1 He certainly does not com- 
prehend the Great National System which must Render us respectable 
abroad & energetick at Home and will assuredly find himself lost amidst 
Rocks & sands. 

My dear Sister some parts of your Letter made me melancholy. Are 

1 Elbndge Gerry (1744-1814), signer of the Declaration of Independence, who helped 
to make the Constitution and then refused to urge its ratification; Anti-Federalist 
member of the House of Representatives (1789-1793). 


you in any difficulties unknown to me? I know very well that a small 
Farm must afford you a scanty support and that you are a sufferer from 
being obliged to receive pay in paper but I know your prudence & 
occonomy has carried you along, tho not in affluence, yet with decency 
and comfort, and I hope you will still be able to live so. You have one 
daughter comfortably situated. Your son will from his merit & abilities 
soon get into some buisness. Your other daughter, you have every reason 
to be satisfied with. Do not look upon the gloomy side only. How easily 
might your situation be changed for the worse. Even if you were in 
possession of Riches yet there is a competancy which is so desirable that 
one cannot avoid an anxiety for it. I have a request to make you. 
Desire Mr. Cranch 2 to make out his account which he has against Mr* 
Afdams], I gave Cousin Lucy a memmorandum. Let the balance be 
drawn and inclose to me, and I will send you a Receit in full This I con- 
sider myself at full liberty to do, because the little sum Lent you was my 
own pocket money. Put the Letter under cover to Mrs, Smith. It will 
then fall into no hands but my own. But cover the whole for a frank to 
Mr. Afdams] Do not talk of oblagations [sic]. Reverse the matter & 
then ask yourself if you would not do as much for me? 

I wish it was in Mr. A/s power to help Mr. Cranch to some office at 
Home which would assist him. Mr. A. exprest the same wish to me, but 
at present he does not see any, tho a certain Lady in the full assurence of 
hope, wrote him that he now had it in his power to establish his own 
Family & successfully help his Friends and that she is sure of his patron- 
age for certain purposes, to which Mr. A. replied, "that he has no pat- 
ronage but if he had, neither her children or his own could be sure of it 
beyond his own clear conviction of the publick Good, that he should bely 
the whole course of his publick and private conduct, and all the maxims 
of his Life, if he should ever consider publick Authority entrusted to 
him, to be made subservient to his private views, or those of his Family 
and Friends/' You cannot mistake who the Lady was. I know no other 
equally ambitious, but I presume her pretentions & those of her Family 
will fail, as I think they ought to if one quarter part is true which has 
been reported of them. I fancy a constant correspondence is kept up 
between Mrs. W[arre]n 3 & Mr, G[err]y and like enough with several 

2 Richard Cranch (1726-1811), husband of Mary (Smith) Cranch (1741-1811), the 
woman to whom these letters are addressed. "Cousin Lucy" was their daughter. 

3 Mercy (Otis) Warren (1728-1814), historian, poet, and dramatist, and sister of the 
famous James Otis. Although Mrs. Warren was a friend of Abigail Adams, the publication 
of her History ...of the American Revolution (1805) led to a sad quarrel with John Adams. 



J. S. Copley 

other jealous Partizans, but I hope they will never have sufficient interest 
to disturb the Government. I really believe Mr. G[err]y to be an honest 
Man. The other has been gravely misled, and I do soberly think by the 
unbridled ambition of all she told me upon her last visit, that she did not 
perceive any alteration in Mr. A's conduct towards them. I am sure she 
must have told what was not true if she had said there was none in mine, 
for I feel it, and I cannot deceive. With regard to Mr. A. he has dealt 
by them like a sincere Friend, and an honest Man and their own Hearts 
must approve his conduct, however grating to their feelings. I am most 
sincerely sorry for the cause. They were my old and dear Friend's for 
whom I once entertaind the highest respect. 

Col. Mrs. Smith, Charles & little Jack are gone this week to Jamaica 
to get out of the Bustle at home and are not yet returnd. Qharles] 4 will 
not go into any company but such as his Father or Col. Smith introduces 
him to. He appears steady and sedate & I hope will continue so. Time 
and example will prevail over youthfull folly I trust. My Love to Mrs. 
Norton. How does she do ? Louisa appears very happy, but I am obliged 
to keep her a mere prisoner on account of the small pox of which there is 
always danger in N[ew] York. As soon as the weather will permit [I] shall 
have her innoculated. I find as many servants necessary here as in 
England, but not half as well calculated for their buisness. The distance 
from Town requires one or two extra as they are obliged to go & come 
always four, & frequently six times a day. We have to send constantly 
to market in addition, but notwithstanding all this I would not change 
this situation for any I know of in Town. Richmond Hill is situated upon 
the North River which communicates with Albany. Pauls hook 5 as it 
is calld is in full sight & the Jersy shore. Vessels are constantly passing 
up & down. The House is situated upon a high Hill which commands a 
most extensive prospect. On one side we have a view of the city & of 
Long Island, the river in Front, Jersy and the adjasant country on the 
other side. You turn a little from the Road and enter a Gate. A winding 
Road with trees in clumps leads you to the House, and all round the 
House, it looks wild and Rural as uncultivated Nature. The House is 
convenient for one family, but much too small for more. You enter under 

4 Charles Adams (1770-1800), who was preparing to practise law in New York. See 
footnote I to the letter of May 16, 1797. 

5 Paulus Hook was also spelled "Pauls'* and "Powles" Hook, and is the present Jersey 
City, the site of which was originally called Communipaw. Stokes, Iconography of Man- 
hattan Island, vol. 6, pp. 453-4. Paulus Hook was the scene of one of the most brilliant 
actions of the Revolution, when "Light Horse Harry*' Lee attacked and captured the 
British garrison there on July 19, 1779. 


a piazza into a Hall & turning to the right Hand ascend a stair case which 
lands you in an other of equal dimensions of which I make a drawing 
Room. It has a Glass door which opens into a gallery the whole Front of 
the house which is exceeding pleasant. The Chambers are on each side. 
The House is not in good repair, wants much done to it, and if we con- 
tinue here I hope it will be done. There is upon the back of the House a 
Garden of much greater extent than our Braintree Garden, but it is wholy 
for a walk & flowers. It has a Hawthorn hedge & Rows of Trees with a 
Broad Gravel walk. 

How happy would it make me to see here my dear Brother, Sister, 
Nephew, Neices and to delight them with the prospect. Mr. Guile & 
Dr. Craigy dinned with us yesterday. 6 I find I have local attachments, 
and am more rejoiced to see a citizen of my own State than any other. 
Remember me affectionatly to my worthy Mother & Family, to Mrs. 
Palmer & family who I hope are comfortably situated, to Mrs. Brisler 
too. I hope she will be able to come this way before long. 7 

My Letter is written in haste, the weather very hot, and I too laizy to 

Most affectionatly yours 

Tell Lucy she must write to me. 

Richmond Hill, August gth, 1789 

If I should ask why I have not heard from my sister or Friends, for 
several weeks past, would she not answer me by retorting the question? 
In replie I could only say that I had designd writing every day for a long 
time, but we have had such a lassitude of weather, and such a long con- 
tinuence of it, that I have really felt unfit for every thing which I was not 
necessitated to perform, & for many of those which I have been obligated 

8 Andrew Craigie (1743-1819), of Boston, apothecary, financier, and speculator. During 
his service in the Revolution, Craigie was made Apothecary-General. In 1791 he purchased 
the Vassall house in Cambridge, now known as the Craigie-Longfellow house. Craigie 
married Elizabeth Nancy Shaw. 

7 Mrs. Palmer was Mary Cranch, widow of General Joseph Palmer (who died in 1788, 
leaving his wife and two daughters destitute) and sister of Richard Cranch (who married 
Mary Smith, the sister of Mrs. John Adams). One of the daughters, Elizabeth Palmer, 
married her first cousin, Joseph Cranch (who was the son of John, the brother of Mrs. 
Palmer and Richard Cranch). See the New-England Historical and Genealogical Register, 
vol. 27, pp. 40-1 : "Richard Cranch and His Family." 


to, from my situation, such as dressing, receiving & paying visits, giving 
dinners &c. I have never before been in a situation in which morning 
noon & afternoon I have been half as much exposed to company. I have 
laid down one rule which is, not to make any morning visits myself, and 
in an afternoon after six oclock I can return 15 or 20 & very seldom find 
any Lady to receive me. But at Richmond Hill it is expected that I am 
at Home both to Gentlemen & Ladies when ever they come out, which is 
almost every day since I have been here, besides it is a sweet morning 
ride to Breakfast. I propose to fix a Levey day soon. I have waited for 
Mrs. Washington to begin and she has fixd on every fryday 8 oclock. I 
attended upon the last, Mrs. Smith & Charles. I found it quite a crowded 
Room. The form of Reception is this, the servants announce & Col. 
Humphries or Mr. Lear, receives every Lady at the door, & Hands her 
up to Mrs. Washington to whom she makes a most Respectfull courtsey 
and then is seated without noticeing any of the rest of the company. 
The Pressident then comes up and speaks to the Lady, which he does 
with a grace dignity & ease, that leaves Royal George far behind him. 
The company are entertaind with Ice creems 1 & Lemonade, and retire 
at their pleasure performing the same ceremony when they quit the 
Room. I cannot help smiling when I read the Boston puffs, that the 
Pressident is unmoved amidst all the dissipations of the city of New 
York. Now I am wholy at a loss to determine the meaning of the writer. 
Not a single publick amusement is their in the whole city, no not even a 
publick walk, and as to dinners, I believe their are six made in Boston to 
one here, unless it is for some particular person to whom a Number of 
families wish to pay attention. There are six Senators who have their 
Ladies and families with them, but they are in Lodgings the chief of 
them, & not in a situation to give dinners as to the mode of visiting, 
less time is expended in this way, than in sending word to each person & 
passing an afternoon with them, tho I own on the score of pleasure that 
would be to me the most agreeable. I have returnd more than sixty 
visits all of them in 3 or 4 afternoons & excepting at the Pressidents, have 
drank tea only at two other places and dined but once out, since I 

Indeed I have been fully employd in entertaining company, in the 
first place all the Senators who had Ladies & families, then the remaining 

1 The earliest instance of the mention of "ice cream" in print seems to be that of 1744 in 
the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography ', vol. I, p. 126: Oxford English Dic- 
tionary^ Supplement, p. 490. 


Senators, and this week we have begun with the House, and tho we have 
a room in which we dine 24 persons at a Time, I shall not get through 
them all, together with the publick Ministers for a month to come. The 
help I find here is so very indifferent to what I had in England, the 
weather so warm that we can give only one dinner a week. I cannot find a 
cook in the whole city but what will get drunk, and as to the Negroes, I 
am most sincerely sick of them, and I can no more do without Mr. Brisler, 
than a coach could go without wheels or Horse to draw it. I can get 
Hands, but what are hands without a Head, and their chief object is to 
be as expensive as possible. This week I shall not be able to see any 
company unless it is to Tea, for my Family are all sick, Mrs. Smiths two 
Children with the Hooping Cough, Charles with the dysentary, Louisa & 
Polly with a complaint similar. To Charles I gave a puke last night & his 
complaints have abated. Louisa & Polly are to take one to night. If we 
had not been so fortunate in our situation I do not know how we could 
have lived. It is very sickly in the City. 

As to politicks, I presume many of the dissapointed candidates will 
complain. Some will quarrel with men & some with measures. I believe 
the President strove to get the best information he could, but there are 
some men who will get much said in their favour when they do not merit 
it. The News papers will give you the debates of the house. To the Pres- 
ident, their system is as liberal as I could expect, I leave the world to 
judge how it is with respect to their vice President from whom they 
expect more entertainment. The House was New furnished for the 
President & cost ten thousand dollars as the Board of Treasury say. The 
use & improvement of this they have granted him, which is but just & 
right. He never rides out without six Horses to his Carriage, four 
servants, & two Gentlemen before him. This is no more state than is 
perfectly consistant with his Station, but then I do not Love to see the 
News writers fib so. He is Perfectly averse to all marks of distinction, 
say they, yet on the 4th of July when the Cincinnati committee waited 
upon him he received them in a Regimental uniform with the Eagal most 
richly set with diamonds at his Button. Yet the News writers will fib, 
to answer particular purposes. I think he ought to have still more state, 
& time will convince our Country of the necessity, of it. Here I say not 
any thing upon the subject. It would be ascribed to a cause I dispise if I 
should speak my mind. I hear that the vote which Mr. A[dams] gave in 
the Senate, respecting the Removal of officers by the President inde- 
pendant of the Senate, has been by some of his own state construed, as 

voting power into his own Hands, or having that in view, but his Rule 
through life has been to vote and act, independant of Party agreeable to 
the dictates of his conscience, and tho on that occasion he could have 
wisht on account of the delicacy of his situation not to have been obliged 
to have determind the Question, yet falling to him, he shrunk not. 2 Not 
a word did any of our state say when his vote reduced the duty upon 
molasses. All was silence then. They could not possibly asscribe it to 
any sinister motive but uneasy wrestless spirits are to be found in all 
quarters of the world. 

And now my dear Sister I wish to know how you do. Mrs. Norton, 
Lucy not a line from either, nor a word from Sister Shaw. 3 

Mr. Bond will tell you that he saw us all. He was out two or three 
times. I wish you could come with our dear Brother Cranch & spend 
the Evening with us. We do not have company on Sundays. We go to 
meeting, but alass I do not find a Dr. Price. 4 I hope I shall visit Brain- 
tree nest summer. I wonder Sister Smith has never written a word to 
Louisa. I am glad to find Tommy 5 has got a good Chum. I hope he 
will continue steady. Charles studies with Mr. Hamilton, goes to the 
office when his Father goes to Senate & returns with him at 4 oclock. 
He has not discoverd the least inclination for getting into company and 
has no acquaintance but George Storer. 6 Pray make my best regards 
to all my Friends* To my Mother present my duty. Remember me to 

2 On the question of whether the power of removal of federal officers belonged (according 
to the Constitution) to the President alone, or went hand in hand with the process of 
appointment, thus requiring confirmation, the Senate divided nine to nine, and "John 
Adams then performed one of the most important acts of his life" by giving his casting 
vote, as presiding officer, for free presidential power of removal. Adams cast the decisive 
vote twenty times more frequently than any of his successors in office. Channing, A 
History of the United States, vol. 4 (1917), pp. 47-8. 

3 Elizabeth (Smith) Shaw (1750-1815), wife of the Reverend John Shaw of Haverhill, 
and subsequently the wife of the Reverend Stephen Peabody, who, suddenly becoming a 
widower, is said to have proposed to Elizabeth immediately after delivering the funeral 
sermon of her first husband. 

4 Richard Price (1723-1791), nonconformist minister and writer on morals, politics, and 
economics, was a famous preacher in London for many years. In 1771 he advocated the 
reduction of the British national debt, and in 1776 he attacked the justice and policy of the 
war against the American colonies. Price became the intimate friend of Benjamin Frank- 
lin, and in 1778 the Continental Congress invited him, without success, to remove to 
America. Apart from his Rsview of ike Principal Questions in Morals, 1756, Price is chiefly 
famous for Edmund Burke's scathing denunciation of his approbation of the principles of 
the French Revolution. Mrs. Adams heard Price preach in London during the years 1785- 

6 Thomas Boylston (1772-1832), son of John and Abigail Adams. 
6 One of the three children Charles, George, and Mary of Hannah (Quincy) Storer 


Mrs. Palmer and family. The Beautifull prospect here from every 
quarter makes me regret less than I otherways should do the spot I 
quitted. The rooms are lofty and was the House in good repair I should 
find it very convenient for my own Family. At present we are crowded 
for want of chamber room. My family consists of 18. How does the 
place look? I must get my Butter all put up & sent me from Braintree. I 
have Breakfasted constantly upon milk. I cannot eat the Butter here. 
I must write the Dr. 7 upon several subjects by twesdays post. I shall 
not get ready by this. 

Pray let me hear from you. The season is plentifull. Let us rejoice & 
be glad. Cheer up my good Sister. A merry Heart does good like a 
medicine. We all send abundance of Love. I must go to look after my 

Ever yours 


Richmond Hill, Sepbr. I, 1789 

I Received your kind Letters and meant sooner to have replied to 
them, but many avocations have prevented me. I am fully apprizd of all 
you mention in your Letter respecting your situtation and wanted no 
apoligies for your conduct, but I still insist upon what I first wrote you, 
& it will pain me to hear you say any thing more upon the subject. I 
never could apply it more to my satisfaction. I shall never I trust feel 
the want of it. If I should and you are in a situation to render me ser- 
vice, I will then accept it. I regret that it is not in my power to assist my 
Friends more than I do, but bringing our minds to our circumstances is a 
duty encumbent upon us. We have lived through dangerous Times, and , 
have reason to be thankfull that we are still in possession of our Liberty 
& so much of our Property; yet still there is no reason in our being 
cheated by our Friends as well as Robbed by our Enemies. I have reason 
to think that congress will take up the matter and Fund the debt. 1 I 

7 Dr. Cotton Tufts, who was acting as the steward of the Adams property in Braintree. 
See footnote n to the letter of June 28, 1789. 

1 Hamilton's proposal for funding the debt, or debts, of the United States, was not 
taken up till the second session of the First Congress. The fierce debate over his report 
concerned three different items: 

1. The foreign debt of the Union, $11,710,378, owed to France, Holland and Spain. 

2. The domestic debt of the Union, incurred by the Continental Congress, $42,414,085. 

3. The state debts, estimated at $25,000,000. 

Everyone agreed that the foreign debt should be paid in full, but many persons bitterly 


wish they would set about it before they adjournd or rather defered their 
adjournment, till they had compleated more buisness but they have had 
arduous work, and want a respit. 

I fear they will Remove from this place. I am too happy in the situa- 
tion of it, I fear, to have it lasting. I am every day more & more pleased 
with it. Should they go to Philadelphia I do not know how I could 
possibly live through the voilent Heats. But sufficient to the day; I am 
sorry to hear Mrs. Norton is unwell, but from your Letter suppose her 
situation will be mended by time and you will e'er long know that a 
Grandchild is almost as near to your Heart as your own children; my little 
Boys delight me and I should feel quite melancholy without them. 
William came from his Grandmamma Smiths an almost ruind child, but 
I have brought him to be a fine Boy now. 

My dear Lucy I long to see her. I am glad she is gone from home to 
amuse herself a little. I wish she could come to Richmond Hill and she 
would say it was the most delightfull spot she ever saw. My Love to her 
and Cousin William. 2 Louisa is worried that her Mother does not write 
to her. I really am surprizd that she has not written a single line either to 
me or to her, because I wrote to her before I left home and I cannot sup- 
pose that she could take any umbrage at my taking her away; I wish you 
would write to her and let her know that Louisa is uneasy upon the sub- 
ject, and has written to her I believe more than once. 

I wish you would be so good as [to] see if you can procure me two dozen 
Bottles of Rose water and send by [Captain] Barnard who has saild for 
Boston. 3 

I propose to have Louisa inoculated for the small pox this Month. I 
have now nearly got through all the company, that we propose to dine 
this Session & I have not heard, that any of them were so near being 
drownd as to render it necessary to apply to the Humane Society. The 
Spirit of Rebellion is not yet quelld in Massachusets* The coals are 
blowing again and with a malice truly infernal. What will not dissa- 
pointed ambition stick at? 

opposed the assumption of the state debts, and declared, moreover, that the domestic 
debt of the Union should be redeemed at its depreciated value. Hamilton's proposal pre- 
vailed, in the main: debts one and two were paid in full, and state debts were assumed to 
the extent of $21,500,000. Schouler, History of the United States, vol. I, p. 145. 

2 "Cousin William" was one of the children of William Smith, the brother of Mrs. 
Adams. See footnote 4 to the letter of November 24, 1788. 

8 Probably that Captain Moses Barnard, then in command of the Lydia, which was 
captured by the French in 1799. See the Columbian Centinel, November 9, 1799. 


"0 what a world is this, when what is comely 
Envenoms him that bears it." 

"Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not 
escape calumny." 4 

Pray present my duty to my worthy Mother & a kind remembrance to 
all inquiring Friends and be assured that I am, my dear Sister, 

Most affectionately yours 


P.S.I find the Author of the Libel (for such it is,) calld the Dangerous vice, 
is Ned Church, 5 a dissapointed [office] seeker. But why his malice should 

4 Lines i and 2: As You Like It, Act II, Scene 3, lines 14-5; the second quotation is from 
Hamlet, Act III, Scene I, lines 140-2. 

6 Edward Church was the brother of the notorious Benjamin Church (i734~a'ra* 1776), 
author, physician, poet, and traitor. There appeared in the Massachusetts Gtntinel for 
Saturday, August 22, 1789, a letter signed "A Republican,*' which contained parts of a 
"manuscript Poem, (said to have been written by a gentleman formerly of Boston) in which, 
among other popular topicks, the subjects of TITLES was introduced." The lines which 
annoyed John Adams follow: 

Be grateful then, YE CHOSEN! moderate wise, 

Nor stretch your claims to such preposterous size, 

Lest your too partial country wiser grown 

Shou'd on your native dunghills set you down. 

Ape not the fashions of the foreign great, 

Nor make your betters at your levees wait 

Resign your awkward pomp, parade and pride, 

And lay that useless etiquette aside; 

Th' unthinking laugh, but all the thinking hate 

Such vile, abortive mimickry of State; 

Those idle lackeys, saunt'ring at your door, 

But ill become poor servants of the POOR; 

Retrench your board, for e'en the guests who dine, 

Have cause to murmur at your floods of wine: 

Think not to bribe the wise with their own gold, 

Though fools by ilimsy lures shou'd be cajol'd; 

Places on places multiply to view, 

Creation on creation, ever new; 

Therefore in decent competence to live 

Is all that you can ask, or justice give. 

YE WOU'D BE TITLED I whom, in evil hour 
The rash, unthinking people cloth'd with pow'r, 
Who, drunk, with pride, of foreign baubles dream, 
Be prudent, modest, mod'rate, grateful, wise, 
Nor on your Country's ruin strive to rise, 
Lest great COLUMBIA'S AWFUL GOD shou'd frown, 
And to your native dunghills hurl you down. 


thus vent itself against Mr. A[dams] I know not, unless he thought him- 
self neglected by him. I remember he wrote a letter to Mr. A. when we 
were abroad soliciting the place of consul to Lisbon which Mr. A. never 
answerd. I have past him I recollect two or three times in comeing from 
Town & I rember[j^V] now that Mrs. Smith observed to me that he look'd 
so surly she hated to see him. It appears now that he offerd this peice to 
the Printers here who all refused to be concernd with it. He sent it [to] 
Boston & took himself off to Georgia. He never was the person that either 
visited or spoke a word to Mr. A. since he has been in N[ew] York. Mr. A. 
says, that one day at the Presidents Levee he was speaking to the Pressi- 
dent & Church bowed to him. He could not whilst addressing the 
President return his bow with Propriety. His intention was to have gone 
& spoken to him afterwards, but the Room being full he did not see him 
afterwards. This I suppose Church construed into Pride and contempt, 
& being dissapointed in obtaining a place from the Pressident, he vented 
all his malice upon the vice [President], & conceiving the Topick he took 
to be a popular one he has discoverd a temper as fit for Rebellion, 
Murder, Treason as his unfortunate Brother. I could wish that the 
Author might be fully known to the publick with regard to the subject of 
a proper title for the Pressident. Mr. A. never has or will disguise his 
opinion, because he thinks that the stability of the Government will in a 
great measure rest upon it. Yet the subject here is scarcly mentiond & 
the Boston News papers have rung more changes upon it, than all the 
News papers in the United States besides. I think in holding up Church 
to view, it would not be amiss to state his conduct with regard to the 
Spanish vessel. 

Ye faithful guardians of your Country's weal, 
Whose honest breasts still glow with patriot zeal! 
The lawless lust of POW'R in embryo quell, 
The germ of mischief, the first spawn of hell; 
Resist the VICE and that contagious pride 
To that o'erweening VICE so near ally'd. 
Within your sacred walls let Virtue reign, 
And greedy MAMMON spread his snares in vain. 
With unlick'd Lordlings sully not your fame, 
Nor daub our PATRIOT with a LACKER'D name. 
O WASHINGTON! thy Country's hope and trust! 
Alas! perhaps her last, as thou wert first; 
Successors we can find but tell us where 
Of ALL thy virtues we shall find THE HEIR? 

A letter of protest against this effusion, signed 'Togatus," appeared in the Centincl of 
August 26, 1789. 

It was a relief to my mind to find the Author Church. I was really 
apprehensive that a Female pen had been dipt in full in consequence of 
dissapointed views. A Brute to attack me who never in thought word or 
deed offended him, or have ever been in this Country to Ball's, plays, or 
Routes. 6 But malice was his motive & Revenge his object. The Vice 
Pressident ten times to one goes to Senate m a one Horse chaise, and 
Levee's we have had none. The Pressident only, has his powderd 
Lackies waiting at the door. So that under a Hipocritical mask he 
attacks one & hold [sic] the other impiously up & stiles him a Saviour & 
God. How inconsistant, railing at Titles & giving those which belong to 
the Deity. 

How must a wretch feel who can harbour such a temper? 

But adieu my dear Sister. Thus it is to be seated high. I pray Heaven 
to give me a conscience void of offence, and then the curse causeless 
shall not come. 7 

Your[s] affectionatly 


Richmond Hill, October 4th, 1789 

I wrote you a Letter last week, but as it did not get to the Post office, 
I have detaind it with an intention of sending you one of a later date. I 
believe I have received all your Letters. Your last was dated Sepbr 8th. 
I have not written to any of my Friends so often as I ought to. You 
know very well that when a person is fixed to any particular spot, that 
very few subjects worth communicating can occur. As I have not been to 
any publick amusement, I cannot say any thing upon that score, but I 
can tell you something which may well excite your surprize. It is that I 
have cause every Sunday to regret the loss of Parson Wibird, 1 and that 
I should realy think it an entertainment to hear a discourse from him. 
Do not however tell him so, but except three sermons which three New 
England Clergymen have preachd to us, I have been most misirably off. 
Dr. Rogers where we usually attend, has been unable to preach ever 

8 "A fashionable gathering or assembly, a large evening party or reception, much in 
vogue ia the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries." Oxford English Dictionary. See, 
also, letter of Abigail Adams to Mrs. Cranch, written from London, April 6, 1786, in Letters 
of Mrs. Mams, C. F, Adams, Editor, Boston, 1840, p. 332. 

7 "As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not 
come." Proverbs, XXVI, 2. See, also, the letter of June 6-8, 1797. 

1 Anthony Wibird (1728-1800), who was graduated from Harvard in 1747, was the 
minister at Quincy. 


since I have been here and the pulpit has been supplied as they could 
procure Labourers by Gentlemen who preach without Notes, all of 
whom are predestinarians and whose Noise & vehemince is to compen- 
sate for every other difficency. 2 To go to meeting & set an hour & half 
to hear a discourse the principals of which are so totally different from 
my own sentiments, that I cannot possibly believe them, is really doing 
penance. I have sometimes gone to St. Pauls. There I find much more 
liberal discourses, but bred a desenter and approveing that mode of 
worship, I feel a reluctance at changing tho I would always go to church, 
if I resided where there was no other mode of worship. The Clergymen 
here I am told are so Rigid that their company is very little sought after. 
They never mix with their people as they do with us, and there is in there 
Air and countanances that solemn Phiz and gate which looks so like 
mummery that instead of Reverence they create disgust, and they 
address their Audience with so much self importance and Priestly 
despotism that I am really surprizd at their having any men of sense and 
abilities for their hearers. I have seen but one exception to this character 
& that in a Dr. Lynd 3 who is really the best & most liberal of the whole 
sett. We have in Massachusetts a sett of clergy that are an honour to 
Religion, to Learning, & to our country, and for whom I feel an increased 
esteem & veneration since my Residence in New York. I do not however 
mean by my remarks that they are not Religious Moral Men here. I 
never heard a syllable to their injury, but they certainly are men of very 
mean capacities when compared to those of our State. There is no man 
of esteemed eminence amongst them even as a divine. 

The adjournment of Congress leaves me a leisure which I most sin- 
cerly wish I could improve in visiting Braintree. If they had honestly 

1 John Rodgers (1727-1811), Presbyterian clergyman, was born in Boston. In 1728 his 
parents moved to Philadelphia, where, as a boy of twelve, Rodgers was dramatically con- 
verted by George Whitefield. In 1747 he was licensed as a preacher, and served in Virginia, 
Maryland, and Delaware. Having married Elizabeth Bayard, of Maryland, who died in 
1763, Rodgers, in 1764, married Mary, the widow of William Grant, a rich Philadelphia 
merchant. In 1765 Rodgers began a pastorate of forty-five years in New York City, preach- 
ing to crowded congregations in the Presbyterian church which stood at the corner of 
Beekman-and Nassau Streets. He was a distinguished patriot, and a friend of Washington. 
The New England Congregationalists regarded him as one of themselves, but they disliked 
the Calvinism of the Scotch Presbyterian pastors who served as his colleagues. For many 
years Rodgers was a punctilious and picturesque person as he walked the streets of New 

3 Probably the Reverend Dr. William Linn (1753-1808), who was attached to the Dutch 
Reformed Church in New York City. He married a daughter of Dr. John Blair. Dr. Linn 
delivered a funeral eulogy on George Washington, on February 22, 1800. Eulogies and 
Orations on the Life and Death of General George Washington, Boston, 1800, pp. 159-175- 


adjournd to April, I say honestly for many of the southern members will 
not get here till then, I should not have hesitated in comeing on immedi- 
atly & spending the winter with my dear Friends in B[raintree]. But it 
has been my Lot to be fetterd one way or an other. The liberality of 
Congress obliged me to remove most of my furniture so as to make it 
quite inconvenient for us to pass a part of our Time at our own Home, 
without being at a considerable expence, and the prospect of a return in 
December very much discourages me in my progect. Mr. Adams's 
close & unremitting attention to Buisness during six months, has made a 
journey quite necessary for him, yet he will not go unless it is to his own 
Home. My son J. Q. A. proposes returning this week to Boston & Brisler 
leaves me tomorrow. How the Machine will get on without him I know 
not. I have offerd him what I esteem very liberal wages, & double what I 
can get others for, who would perform the mechanical part of Buisness 
as well perhaps as he but I know not where to find Honour, Honesty, 
integrity & attachment. He pleads the state of his family which I know 
it would be difficult to remove, but 200 dollars pr year are not so easily 
earned in Massachusetts, and are really more than we can afford. He 
has it at his option to return if he cannot succeed at home. I do not wish 
my offer to be known, and I think he will find it difficult to support his 
Family when he once comes to stand upon his own legs for them, which 
he has never yet done. From six years trial of him I can give him the best 
of characters, and I never expect to find an other so particularly calculated 
for me and my Family. His errors are those of Judgment or rather 
the want of judgment and upon that Rock I am fearfull he will split, 
when he comes to act for himself. The Letter you mention for Mr. Bond 
was sent directly to his Lodgings upon our receiving it. 4 

I hope the appointments in the judicial Line will give satisfaction, 
notwithstanding some dissapointments. If I may judge by the News 
papers, there is no state in the union where there are so many grumblers 
as in our own. It has been my Lot in Life to spend a large portion of it in 
publick Life, but I can truly say the pleasentest part of it was spent at the 
foot of Pens Hill in that Humble Cottage when rny good Gentleman was a 
Practitioner at the Bar, earnt his money, during the week, & at the end 
of it pourd it all into my Lap to use or what could be spaired to lay by. 
Nobody then grudgd us our living, & 25 years such practise would 
have given us a very different property from what we now possess. It 

4 Probably the father of William Cranch Bond (1789-1859), the astronomer. William C. 
Bond's mother was Hannah Cranch. See the letter of August 9, 1789. 


might not have given us the 2nd Rank in the United States, nor the satis- 
faction of reflecting by what means & whose exertions these states have 
arrived at that degree of Liberty safety & independance which they 'now 
enjoy. If the United States had chosen to the Vice P's Chair a man 
wavering in his opinions, or one who sought the popular applause of the 
multitude, this very constitution would have had its death wound during 
this first six months of its existance. On several of the most trying oc- 
casions it has fallen to this dangerous vice, to give the casting vote for its 
Life. 5 There are several Members of the House & some of the S[enat]e 
who are, to say no worse, wild as Bedlammites but hush I am 
speaking treason. Do not you betray me. 

Remember me kindly to all inquiring Friends, and believe me, my dear 

Yours most affectionatly 



Richmond Hill, October IT, 1789 

Mr. Adams sets of tomorrow Morning on a visit to Braintree. I would 
gladly have accompanied him, but so many difficulties arose in the way, 
that I gave up the Idea. If I had come we must have gone to house- 
keeping, & by that Time I had got things any way convenient, I must 
have returnd, & that at a season of the year when it would have been 
cold & unpleasent travelling. I find myself attackd with my Rhumatick 
complaints upon the setting in of cold weather, and am obliged to be 
very circumspect. 

The constant application to buisness for six months has made it 
necessary to Mr. Adams to take a journey and he promises me that he 
will go to Haverhill and visit his Friends, but you are like to have an 
other visiter. The Pressident sets out this week for a like excursion. He 
proposes to go as far as Portsmouth. He would have had Mr. Adams 
accept a seat in his m[sic] coach but he excused himself from motives of 
delicacy. We yesterday had a very pleasent party together. The whole 
family of us dinned with the President on Thursday, and he then pro- 
posed an excursion to long Island by water to visit Princes Gardens, but 
as Mrs. Washington does not Love the water we agreed that the Gentle- 
men should go by water and the Ladies should meet them at a half way 
House and dine together, and yesterday we had a most Beautifull day 

5 See footnote 5 to the letter of September I, 1789. 


for the purpose. The President, [the] V.P., Col Sfmith], Major Jackson, 1 
Mr. Izard 2 &c went on Board the Barge at 8 oclock. At Eleven the 
Ladies, namely Mrs. Washington, Mrs. Adams, Mrs. Smith, Miss 
Custos [Custis] 3 set out in Mrs. Washingtons coach & six & met the 
Gentlemen at Harlem where we all dinned together & returnd in the 
same manner. We live upon terms of much Friendship visit each other 
often. Whilst the Gentlemen are absent we propose seeing one an other 
on terms of much sociability. Mrs. Washington is a most friendly, good 
Lady, always pleasent and easy, doatingly fond of her Grandchildren, to 
whom she is quite the Grandmamma. 

Louisa & John A[dam]s [Smith] are both innoculated for the small pox 
on fryday last. I hope my son J. Q. A. arrived safe (as well as Brisler). I 
suppose he led you to think that I should visit you as he was very urgent 
for me to come. I think it not unlikely that there will be a summer 
recess next year & then I hope to see you all. I wish you would be so 
good as to get some Brown thread for me of Mrs. Field, three skains of 
different sizes. Mr. A[dams] will pay you for her, & for the Rose water, 
which you have procured. Ruthe Ludden, who lives with Mrs. Field, 
promised me that she would come and live with me whenever she was 
out of her Time. 4 If she holds of the same mind I will send for her in the 
spring either by Barnard or the stage. I wish you had Polly Tailor. To 
live alone she is a very excellent Girl, but she was never made for society, 
and Power was never worse used than in her Hands. I tell her sometimes 
that if I had taken Mrs. Brislers advice I never should have brought her. 
Of all things I hate to hear people for ever complaining of servants but I 
never had so much occasion as since I came here. One good servant 
attached to you is invaluable. The one who attends Mr. Adams is good 
for nothing that I know of but to look after his Horses. He has servd us 
as a coachman ever since I have been here. I hope Brisler will return, 
but I would not urge it too much, as the best people may take advantage 
of their own consequence and importance. 

1 Major William Jackson (1759-1828), who fought in the Revolution and was secretary 
to the convention which framed the Constitution in 1787. William Jackson served as one 
of the personal secretaries of George Washington from 1789 to 1791. 

2 Ralph Izard (1742-1804), Senator from South Carolina (1789-1795), and an ardent 
supporter of President Washington and the Federalists. 

3 Probably the eldest of the four children of Colonel John Parke Custis (1753-1781), 
stepson of George Washington: that is, Eliza Parke Custis (1776-1832), subsequently 
(1796) Mrs. Thomas Law. 

4 Ruth, daughter of Benjamin and Ruth Ludden, was born at Braintree in 1772. She 
did not become a servant of Mrs. Adams in New York. 


How is Mrs. Norton? Does she begin to look stately? I shall want to 
see her. Lucy I hope is well I pleasd myself for a week with the Idea of 
spending three months with you, but it cannot be. 

I will thank you to look over Mr. Adams things for him & see that 
they agree with the list which I will send as soon as I know what he takes. 
Love to Mr. Cranch. Remember me kindly to my Mother & all other 

Friends. __ _ 

Yours most anectionatly 


Richmond Hill, Novbr. I, 1789 

A strange phenomanan has happend in our Family. I believe I wrote 
you that Louisa and John were both innoculated for the small pox but 
neither of their arms shew'd any proofs after the 2d day. Louisa was 
soon seizd with the cold & Fever which has so universally prevaild here. 
Upon the 10 day John was very sick, apparantly the symptoms of the 
small pox, but they lasted only one day. On the 17 day the child had an 
inflamation in his Eyes, a fever in his Head, was sick and oppressd at his 
stomach, but not the least redness upon the arm. We had no apprehen- 
sion that it was the small pox. On the 19 day he began to have a small 
eruption upon his face, his symptoms went of & he has had the small pox 
finely, about a hundred which have filled. Louisa has been innoculated 
from him, and from the appearence of the arm we think it has taken. I 
hope she will have it as favourable as the child. He could not have taken 
it in any other way as he was not out of the House, but why he should 
take it, & Louisa not, cannot be accounted for in any other way, than 
that two disorders would not operate at the same time. 

I yesterday received a Letter from Cousin Lucy of Ocbr 25, one from 
Tommy & one from Sister Shaw, and Last week yours October 12 came 
to hand. I put into Mr. Adams's trunk the cushion I promisd you. I 
should have sent it sooner, but hoped to have brought it. All the things 
on the Top belong to J. Q. A., as you will see. I wish you would send 
them to him, or let him know that you have them. When Brisler leaves 
the House I should be glad to have the things left inventoried, not that I 
fear loosing by the Family who are now there, but for my own satis- 
faction. There was one thing which I forgot to mention. I have papers 
in the Escritore which I lent Mrs. Bass. 1 The key is on the Bunch with 

1 Mrs. Bass, of Braintree, was an occasional servant of Mrs. Adams. See the letter of 
July 19, 1797. 


Mrs. Brisler. I wish Cousin Lucy to go & take them away. Put them in a 
draw or Trunk at the other House. I hope to come to Braintree in the 
course of an other year, and see all my dear Friends. I wish the Dr, 
much happiness with his Young wife? Is she not young for him? Mrs. 
Norton must have much satisfaction in the event, if she proves as I hope 
& doubt not she will a kind Aunt and an agreeable companion. I hope 
my dear sister has recoverd her sprits. None of us live without our 
anxieties, tho some are of a much more painfull kind than others. 

How is our worthy uncle Quincy? 3 Mr. Adams I dare say will visit 
him as often as he can. I hope you will see our worthy President. He is 
much a favorite of mine, I do assure you. Tell Mr. Adams that Mrs. 
Washington says she has a present for him when he returns. It is true 
she says it is of no great value, but she will not tell me what it is, nor let 
me see it till he returns. I told her I would be jealous but it did not 
provoke her to shew it me. We are at present all very well, Louisa in- 
noculated the 2 time on thursday last. I hope Mr. Adams will not put 
of his return so late as he talked of when he set out. The weather 
will be soon very cold and uncomfortable. Remember me kindly to all 
my Friends. I am very bad about writing; not half as good as when I 
was in England. The reason is I have few subjects, few new objects. 
The M^n & Women here are like the Men & Women elsewhere, & if I was 
to meet a curious Character I should not venture to be free with it. 

I wish to have our winter Apples, pears, Butter, some cheese, Bacon, 
Tongue c all from our own state & what I cannot get from the Farm I 
would get put up in Boston, such as Hams & Tongues. I mentiond all 
these things to Mr. Adams, but do not know that he will be attentive 
about them. Any Letters which may be taken out of the post office 
addrest to the Vice Pressident of the United States, you may venture to 
open the covers of whether Mr. Adams is with you or not, for you may 
be sure that they come from Richmond Hill. 

Adieu, my dear Sister, and believe me 

Most affectionatly yours, 

Mrs. Smith & Master William Magpye as I call him send duty. 

2 See footnote n to the letter of June 28, 1789. 

3 Norton Quincy (1716-1801), a brother of the mother of Abigail Adams, was graduated 
from Harvard in 1736, 




MY DEAR SISTER: Richmond Hill, Novbr. 3, 1789 

I did not receive your Letter dated 25 untill Sunday Evening which 
made it too late to write by the last post in replie to it. I do not know- 
any thing that I wisht more for than to have past the winter at my own 
House. For a summer situation this place is delightfull & the House 
convenient, and except its being Bleak and perhaps difficult of access in 
some parts of a severe winter, it is more to my mind than any place I 
ever lived in. In point of occonomy it would be very advantageous to 
be able to live at Home part of the year and the winter in particular, 
wood being the most expensive article here. Nut wood, what we call 
Walnut is 7 dollars pr cord and oak cost me five brought to our door 
between 40 & 50 cords of which we shall consume in a year, as we are 
obliged to keep six fires constantly, & occasionally more. The hire of 
servants is an other very heavy article part of which we might spair at 
Braintree. Our House we must keep & pay for, but I should wish if a 
recess of any length should take place again to spend it with my Friends 
at Braintree. My constant family is 18, ten of which make my own 
Family. Both Mrs. Smith & I am [sic] disposed to accommodate as much 
as possible, but difficulties will arise with the best servants sometimes, & 
we can neither of us boast that all ours are of the best kind. 

I have a pretty good Housekeeper, a tolerable footman, a midling 
cook, an indifferent steward and a vixen of a House maid, but she has 
done much better laterly, since she finds that the housekeeper will be 
mistress below stairs. I wish Polly was in Braintree, and meant to have 
taken her with me if I had come, but I do not know what to say with 
regard to her suiting you. She is very far from being a Girl that will turn 
off work quick. Her constitution has been ruined by former hardships, 
and she is very often laid up. She has not method or regularity with her 
buisness. All her buisness here is to make 4 or 5 beds, & clean round 
Rooms which are almost coverd with carpets. All the Brass is cleaned 
by the footman. She helps wash & Iron, but I have been obliged to hire 
when I have wanted more cleaning than that done in a day, and every 
days work to pay 3 shilling a day for. I suppose I must keep her till 
spring, unless she should become more than usually quarelsome. With 
regard to drink I meet with no difficulty with her on that account, and 
she has an attention to my interest more than any servant I have besides, 
when Mr. Brisler is absent. She keeps no company, and is fond of the 
children, so that she has her good Qualities, for which I am ready to 
credit her. 1 
1 For Polly Tailor, see footnote 7 to the letter of June 19, 1789. 


I have written to Mr. Adams respecting the coachman, who certainly 
is not to be trusted with Keys of a cellar. He always slept in the stable & 
was never in the House but at meal times, or as a porter at the door when 
we had company to dine. He is a good coachman and that I believe is all. 
I hope Mr. Adams will return sooner than he talks of, for I am sure when 
Brisler goes he cannot be well accommodated in his own House, and the 
Roads will every day be proving worse. 2Oowt cheese, all the Butter 
from Mothers, my half from Pratts is what I should like sent. I should 
like a good Hog or two, but Pratts pork is not worth having, and I shall 
have some of my own here* 

I think Brisler much in the right, both for me and himself. He will be 
better of than his master & may lay up more money, but what could he 
do at home to earn 200 Hard dollars. I think his Family may live very 
well upon one hundred. I have engaged 2 good Rooms for him for 32 
dollars & a half. His wood I suppose will cost him 25 dollars, but suppose 
he only lays by 50 a year, tis more than he could do & mantain himself & 
family where he is. 

I wrote to him by the last post. Let him know if his Family can come 
on without him & Mr. Adams wishes him to stay with him, that they 
shall come here till he & his Things arrive but he must be here by the 
Time that Barnard is to look after his things. 

I wish Mr. Adams would return with the President, as I know he will 
be invited to, & let Tommy 2 take his sulky & come on with that. 

My Love to Mrs. Norton, to Cousin Lucy and all inquiring Friends. 
My most affectionate Regards to Mr. Cranch. Remember me to Mrs. 
Palmers Family. 

Yours most affectionatly 


[Richmond Hill], Janry. 5th, 1790 

I begin my Letter with the congratulations of the season, to you and 
all my other Friends & for many happy returns in succeeding years. The 
New Years day in this state, & particularly in this city is celebrated with 
every mark of pleasure and satisfaction. The shops and publick offices are 
shut. There is not any market upon this day, but every person laying 
aside Buisness devote[s] the day to the social purpose of visiting & receiv- 
ing visits. The churches are open & divine service performed begining 

2 Thomas Boylston Adams (1772-1832). 


the year in a very proper manner by giving Thanks to the great Gov- 
ernour of the universe for past mercies, & imploring his future Benidic- 
tions. There is a kind of cake in fashion upon this day call'd New Years 
Cooky. This & Cherry Bounce as it is calld is the old Dutch custom of 
treating their Friends upon the return of every New Year. The common 
people, who are very ready to abuse Liberty, on this day are apt to take 
rather too freely of the good things of this Life, and finding two of my 
servants not all together qualified for Buisness, I remonstrated to them, 
but they excused it by saying it was New Year, & every body was joyous 
then. The V. P. visited the President & then returnd home to receive 
His Friends. In the Evening I attended the drawing Room, it being 
Mrs. W[ashington']s publick day. It was as much crowded as a Birth 
Night at St. James, and with company as Briliantly drest, diamonds & 
great hoops excepted. My station is always at the right hand of Mrs. W.; 
through want of knowing what is right I find it sometimes occupied, but 
on such an occasion the President never fails of seeing that it is relin- 
quished for me, and having removed Ladies several times, they have now 
learnt to rise & give it me, but this between our selves, as all distinction 
you know is unpopular. Yet this same President] has so happy a faculty 
of appearing to accommodate & yet carrying his point, that if he was 
not really one of the best intentiond men in the world he might be a very 
dangerous one. He is polite with dignity, affable without familiarity, 
distant without Haughtyness, Grave without Austerity, Modest, wise & 
Good. These are traits in his Character which peculiarly fit him for the 
exalted station he holds, and God Grant that he may Hold it with the 
same applause & universal satisfaction for many many years, as it is my 
firm opinion that no other man could rule over this great peopl & consol- 
idate them into one mighty Empire but He who is set over us. 

I thank you my dear Sister for several kind Letters. The reason why I 
have not written to you has been that the post office would not permit 
Franks even to the V. P. and I did not think my Letters worth paying 
for. I wrote you a long Letter a little before Mr. Adams's return, but 
being under cover to him, I had the mortification to receive it back again. 
I am perfectly satisfied with what you did for son Thomas, and thank 
you for all your kind care of him. It has saved me much trouble, but I do 
not think his Health good. He is very thin, pale & sallow. I have given 
him a puke, & think he is the better for it. Charls is quite fat. He is 
very steady and studious. There is no fault to be found with his conduct. 
He has no company or companions but known & approved ones, nor 


does he appear to wish for any other. I sometimes think his application 
too intence, but better so, than too remis. 

I was really surprizd to learn that Sister Shaw was likely to increase 
her Family. I wish her comfortably through, but shall feel anxious for 
her feeble constitution. As to my Neice Mrs. Norton 1 1 doubt not she 
will find her Health mended by becoming a Mother, and you will soon 
be as fond of your Grandchildren as ever you was of your own. I hope 
however she will not follow her cousins example, and be like always to 
have one, before the other is weaned. John does not go alone yet. 
William becomes every day more & more interesting. He is a very 
pleasant temperd Boy, but the other will require the whole house to 
manage him. 2 With Regard to the cellars I know if very cold weather 
should come we shall lose our red wine & porter, but as to the key, tis a 
point I do not chuse to meddle with tho all the Liquors should suffer by 
it. I did not leave it where it is, nor do I hold myself answerable for the 
concequences of neglect. The fruit which came here was like refuse, 
rotton & Bruised, a specimin of what I expected. But you know there 
are cases where silence is prudence, and I think without flattering myself 
I have attaind to some share of that virtue. We live in a world where 
having Eyes we must not see, and Ears we must not hear. 

10 Janry. 

I designd to have written much more to you and some other Friends, 
but publick days, dinning parties &c have occupied me so much for this 
fortnight, that I must close my Letter now or lose the conveyance. 

Remember me affectionatly to all Friends. Living two miles from 
meeting obliges me to hasten or lose the afternoon service. Adieu., 



Richmond Hill, Febry. 20, 1790 

I yesterday received a Letter from Dr. Tufts and an other from 
Thomas informing me of the death of Mrs. Palmer. The good old Lady 
is gone to rest, happily for her, I doubt not, but what will become of her 
daughters Heaven only knows, Polly in particular. 1 I feel very unhappy 

1 Elizabeth (Cranch) Norton, wife of the Reverend Jacob Norton. 

2 William Steuben Smith (1787) and John Adams Smith (1788), sons of Abigail 
(Adams) Smith (1765-1813), previously referred to. See footnote I to the letter of 
November 24, 1788. 

1 Polly Palmer, daughter of the widow of General Joseph Palmer (died in 1788). See 
footnote 7 to the letter of July 12, 1789. 


for them, and you I am sure must be still more so. I suppose you was too 
heavily loaded with care, and affliction to write me by the last post. 
They may continue in the House untill we want it, if it would any way 
serve them, but I presume there cannot be any thing for their support 
after their Mothers discease. I am sure you cannot help looking back 
for 20 years and exclaming, what a change! But such are the visisitudes 
of Life and the Transitory fleeting state of all sublinary things; of all 
pride that which persons discover from Riches is the weakest. If we 
look over our acquaintance, how many do we find who were a few years 
ago in affluence, now reduced to real want, but there is no Family 
amongst them all whose schemes have proved so visionary, and so 
abortive as the unhappy one we are now commisirating. Better is a 
little with contentment than great Treasure; and trouble therewith. 
It would be some consolation to the Sisters if they had a Brother in 
whom they could take comfort. If ever convents are usefull, it would 
be for persons thus circumstanced. 

1 did not write to you by Thomas as I thought he could give you every 
information you wish'd for respecting us. He writes that he got home 
well, but appears in some anxiety about the Measles. I would not wish 
him to avoid them, but only to be watchfull when he takes them and to 
be particularly attentive to himself during the period. This care I know 
you will have of him, if he should get them, and if he does not take them, 
he will always have an anxiety upon his mind increasing too as he ad- 
vances in Life, every time he is liable to be exposed to them. 

From all the Debates in Congress upon the subject of a discrimination, 
I presume the vote will be that there shall be none, but that some one or 
other of the plans proposed by the Secretary of the Treasury will be 
adopted. 2 It is thought that tomorrow will be the desisive day with 
respect to the question, as the vote will be calld for. On this occasion I 
am going for the first Time to the House with Mrs. Dalton, 3 Mrs. Jay & 
Mrs. Gushing to hear the debate. If you read the papers you will find 
some very judicious debates. Mr. Smith 4 of S[outh] Qarolina] who 
married a daughter of Mr. Izard, is one of the first from that state, & I 

2 Hamilton's proposal for funding the debt of the United States. See footnote i to the 
letter of September I, 1789. 

8 Wife of Tristram Dalton (1738-1817), of Newburyport, who was graduated from 
Harvard in 1755. He was Senator from Massachusetts (1789-1791), and was defeated for 
reelection in 1790. See, also, the letter of March 20, 1792. 

4 William Loughton Smith (1758-1812), of Charleston, South Carolina, who was elected 
as a Federalist to the first five Congresses; and appointed United States minister to 
Portugal and Spain on July 10, 1797. 


might add, from the Southern States. Mr. Ames 6 from our state & Mr, 
Sedgwick 6 and Mr. Gerry are all right upon this Question & make a 
conspicuous figure in the debates. I hope some method will be adopted 
speedily for the relief of those who have so long been the sufferers by the 
instability of Government. The next question I presume that will occupy 
Congress will be the Assumption of the State debts, and here I apprehend 
warm work, and much opposition, but I firmly believe it will terminate 
for the General Good. 

What a disgrace upon the Legislature of our state that they should 
permit such a Madman as Gardner 7 to occupy their time, to vilify 
Characters, to propogate grose falshoods to the world under their sanc- 
tion. I should feel more trust for [sic] them if I did not foresee that good 
would come out of it in time, if the Bar possess that Honour which I 
presume they Have, they will combine to defeat Gardner and his 
Abetters and establish such Rules & Regulations as will tend to restore 

B Fisher Ames (1758-1808), of Dedham, Massachusetts, one of the most gifted and 
persuasive, if anxious, of the New England Federalists. Ames's speech on Jay's Treaty 
(April 28, 1796) was "one of the greatest speeches ever made in Congress." Channing, 
History of the United States, vol. 4 (1917), p. 145. 

6 Theodore Sedgwick (1746-1813), of Stockbridge, Massachusetts, graduated from 
Yale in 1765, member of the House of Representatives in the first four Congresses, Senator 
(1796-1799), and Speaker of the House (1799-1801). Despite (or because of) his extremely 
humble origin, Sedgwick was overbearing to the common people, and habitually spoke of 
them as Jacobins and sans culottes. 

7 John Gardiner (1737-1793), lawyer and reformer, was the son of Silvester Gardiner 
(1708-1786), physician, land owner, and Loyalist, and the father of John Sylvester John 
Gardiner (1765-1830), Episcopal clergyman, who was rector of Trinity Church, Boston 
(1805-1830). John Gardiner was born in Boston and educated in Great Britain, where he 
was graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1755. As an ardent Whig, living in 
London, he became the friend of, and acted as counsel for, John Wilkes. In 1783, Gardiner 
returned to Boston, and in 1786 removed to Pownalboro, in the District of Maine, from 
which he was elected to the Massachusetts General Court in 1789, He was instrumental in 
abolishing entails and primogeniture in Massachusetts, and organized a mass meeting to 
agitate for the repeal of the law against theatres, but without success. As a vestryman of 
King's Chapel, Boston, Gardiner manipulated the shady deal by which that church, the 
property of the Episcopalians, eventually passed into the possession of the Unitarians. His 
tumultuous career was cut short when he was drowned off Cape Ann in the loss of the 
Londoner, October 17, 1793, while he was on his way to Boston to attend a meeting of the 
legislature. For a reproduction of his portrait by Copley, see H. W. Foote, Annals of Kings 
Chapel, vol. 2, Boston, 1896, p. 357. 

John Gardiner's father cut him off with one guinea; his son, in his discourse, "A Preserva- 
tive against Unitarianism," June 8, 1811, observed: "The candor of an Unitarian resembles 
the humanity of a revolutionary Frenchman." Gardiner often attended services at Trinity 
Church, where he would disturb the congregation by refusing to read responses from 
the Book of Common Prayer, using, instead, a special prayer book which he himself had 


their profession to the same Reputation which they held before the 
Revolution. You and I feel peculiarly interested in this matter as we 
have children rising into Life educated to the Law, without a competant 
knowledge of which no Man is fit for a Legislator or a Statesman. Let us 
look into our National Legislature. Scarcly a man there makes any 
figure in debate, who has not been Bred to the Law. 

Pray give my Love to my worthy Brother Cranch & tell him that I 
sympathize with him in his affliction. 8 Remember me affectionatly to 
my Neices & Nephew and believe that your happiness is very near the 
Heart of your 

Ever affectionat 


New York, Feb'ry 28, 1790 

On the 17 of this Month Cousin William 1 wrote his uncle, that he had 
carried his Cousin Tom 2 Home to Braintree with the symptoms of the 
Measles upon him; you will easily suppose that I waited for the next post 
with great anxiety but how was I dissapointed last Evening when Mr. 
Adams returnd from Town, and the Roads being very bad the post had 
not arrived. I could not content myself without sending into Town 
again before I went to Bed, but the servant returnd with two Newspapers 
only. Am the more anxious because I know that Thomas was not well 
during the whole time that he was with us. I gave him a puke, after 
which he appeard better. He appeard to me to have lost his appetite his 
flesh and his coulour, & I am fearfull he was in a poor state to take the 
measles. I know that he will have every care & attention under your 
Roof that he could have, if I was with him, and this is a great relief to my 
mind; but to hear that he was sick, and to be ten days in suspence, & 
how much longer I know not, has made me very unhappy. If you have 
occasion for wine as no doubt you will, pray send for the key and get it; 
and let Pratt bring you wood. The trouble you must necessarily be in 
upon the death of Mrs. Palmer, and the distrest situation of the Family, 
anxiety which I know you feel for Mrs. Norton, and now the Sickness of 
Thomas I fear will prove too much for your Health. I wrote to you by 
the last post and to Thomas, but tis a long time since I had a Letter from 

8 The death of his sister, Mrs. Palmer. See the letter of July 12, 1789. 

1 William Cranch (1769-1855)* 

2 Thomas Boylston Adams (1772-1832). 


you. I think the House had better be shut up than permitt any Body 
that I can think of, to go into it especially as I think it probable we shall 
spend a large part of the year there. I wish however that the Dr. [Cotton 
Tufts] might be consulted with regard to the safety of the House; pray 
write to me and relieve my mind as soon as possible. 

I have never heard how Brother 3 got home with his charge. 4 Is Polly 
married? 5 I did not mention it to him while he was here, but Mr. 
A[dams] did. I knew it to be so much against his inclination that I 
thought it best to be silent. Our family is all well. Mrs. Gushing and 
Mrs. Rogers 6 spent the day with me yesterday, The judg and his Lady 
appear very happy, and well pleasd with their situation & reception at 
New York. I am very well pleasd to find that Gardner 7 is returning 
to his former insignificance. Strange that he should be attended to, or 
have any weight with sensible Men. 

My Love to Cousin Lucy whom with the rest of my Friends I long to 
see. Believe me dear Sister most 

Affectionatly yours 


N[ew] York, March 15, 1790 

I last Evening received Your Letter of 28th of Febry which relieved 
my mind from a great weight of anxiety. I do not think that I have been 
so long a period, without Letters from some, or other of my Friends since 
I first came to New York, or else the anxiety I have been under for 
several weeks appeard to prolong the Time. 

I have written to you 3 weeks successively but you do not mention 
having received my Letters. Last week I wrote to the Dr. 1 and not to 
you; in some of my Letters I proposed the Miss Palmers tarrying in the 
House as long as they could. I never expected any thing more from 
them, than a care of the House & furniture. I requested the Dr. to order 
them some wood which I presume he has done. I will mention to Gen'll 

8 William Smith (b. 1746). See footnote 4 to the letter of November 24, 1788. 
4 Betsy Crosby. See the letter of January 24, 1789. 

fi Probably Mary (Polly) Palmer, daughter of Mrs. Palmer, the recently deceased occu- 
pant of the old Adams house, and a niece of Mr. Cranch. 

6 See footnote 2 to the letter of October 4, 1789. Mary, widow of William Grant and 
second wife of John Rodgers, died in 1 8 12. 

7 See the preceding letter. 

1 Dr. Cotton Tufts, who acted as steward for John Adams in Quincy. See footnote II, 
to the letter of June 28, 1789. 


Knox Mr. Cranchs request. Mr. Adams deliverd the Letter and talked 
with the Gen'll about him at the same time. The Genii mentiond him as 
a good workman & an honest Man. I will inquire of him when I see him 
if any thing can be done for Him. A Thought has just struck my mind. 
If we should not return to Braintree this summer, is Mr.Cranch Farmer 
enough to take that place to the Halves, provided he can do no better? 
I have not said any thing about it, for it this moment came into my mind. 
You may think upon it & give me your opinion without letting it go 
any further. Nothing would give me more pleasure than to be able to 
assist two worthy people. I shall wish to hear from Mrs. Norton as 
soon as she gets to Bed. 2 I think you told me that she expected this 
month and Sister Shaw too. It is really a foolish Bulsness to begin after 
so many years, a second crop. I expect to hear next that our good friend 
the Dr. is like to increase his Family. Mine is like to be very prolifick if 
Mrs. Smith continues as she has set out. She has been gone a week on a 
visit to Long Island. Louisa grows tall, is the same diffident modest Girll 
she always was. I am sending her now to dancing. It is rather late for 
her to begin, but she learns the faster I believe. She has been only six 
weeks, & carried down a country dance in publick last week very well. 

I hope my dear Sister you will make Thomas very carefull of himself & 
not let him go to Cambridge till he gets well of his Cough. The March 
winds are cold and piercing, and the Measles never mends the constitu- 
tion, the Lungs being so much affected. Poor Mr. Otis I am grieved for 
him. 3 He told me to day on comeing out of meeting that he [never can- 
celled} did not expected [sic] to hear that his daughter was alive; for his 
last intelligence was that she was very near her end. This is a distress 
that neither you or I have yet experienced, at least not an age, when the 
loss is so very grevious, and Heavy. Yet can I most feelingly sympathize 
with those who have. It appears to me that more young ladies die of 
consumptions in Boston than in any other place. I cannot but think that 
there is some cause, arising from their manner of living, the two sudden 
change of air, from cold to Heat, & heat to cold, or a want of proper atten- 
tion to their cloathing. I think it ought to be a subject of investigation 
by the Medical Society. My affectionate Regards to all Friends. Do not 
let it be so long again before I hear from you. I thank you for all your 
kind care of my son during his sickness. You have some times talkd of 
obligations, but sure I am you ought to be satisfied upon that Head, as 

2 Elizabeth (Cranch) Norton, wife of the Reverend Jacob Norton. See the letter of 
April 3, 1790. 

8 Samuel Allyne Otis. Sec the letter of June 28, 1789. 


you so much oftner have the power of confering them, than I have of 
returning them to you, but you know that the will is good of 
Your ever affectionate Sister 


N[ew] York, March 21, 1790 

I was in hopes of hearing from you by last Nights post, as I am 
solicitious to learn how Mrs. Norton does. I had Letters from Thomas 
and find that he is returnd to Cambridge very well he says, and he gives 
me the agreeable News of his Aunt Shaws 1 having got well to Bed with a 
daughter added to her Family. 2 I have been anxious for her; as her Health 
is so slender, and I know how to feel for you too the anxiety of a parent. 

Mr. Adams has spoken to Genii Knox upon the subject of your Letter; 
and has received a promise from him, that he will do something for Mr. 
Cranch within a forghtnight [sic]; I wish it may put him upon such a 
footing as to enable him to marry. Betsy will make him an excellent 
wife. 8 I wish their prospects were better. Present my Regards to her, 
and tell her that I shall always be happy to promote her interest, and 
wish it was more in my power. 

Pray what is the dismall story we hear of Mrs. Danfords jumping 
out of a 3 story window? Has she been long delirious? What was the 
matter with Mrs. Jones? She lookt as like to live last fall when she was 
here as any person of her age. How is Lucy Jones? I heard last fall a 
very allarming account of her Health. Our Good Aunt I hope makes the 
Dr. very happy. Is Mrs. Tufts like to increase her Family? I mean 
Young Mrs. Tufts. I hope nothing of the kind will take place with the 
other. I think it would be like to distroy the Harmony between the two 
Families. 4 I want to know all about the good folks in whose happiness I 
feel interested, I am sorry for what you write me respecting the one 
lately married, but I expected it. Do you remember the story of the 
Parissian Girl who insisted upon being hanged because her Father and her 

Elizabeth (Smith) Shaw (1750-1815), wife of the Reverend John Shaw, and subse- 
quently Mrs. Stephen Peabody. 

2 Abigail Adams Shaw, who subsequently married Joseph Barlow Felt (1789-1869), the 
famous antiquarian of Salem and Boston. 

3 Joseph Cranch, son of the Reverend John Cranch, who died in Devonshire in 1746, 
married, May 2, 1790, Elizabeth Palmer, youngest daughter of General Joseph Palmer, 
and Mary Cranch, sister of Richard Cranch (1726-1811), husband of Mary, the sister of 
Abigail Adams. 

4 See footnote n to the letter of June 28, 1789. 


Grand Father were hanged? It is a sad misfortune when example can 
be plead to satisfy scruples but there never was any delicacy of senti- 
ment about her. I am sorry for her Grandmother, who I know it must 
Hurt. 5 

Mrs. Smith & children are gone on a visit to Jamaica [Long Island]. 
The House seems deserted. I expect their return soon, but not their 
continuence with me, as they are going to live in the city, and the 
Col[onel']s Mother and Family are comeing into Town to live soon. 
My Family has been so large for this year past, that we shall not make 
both ends meet, as they say. The expenses of Removing a Family, 
Furniture &c was a heavy burden, and the wages of servants is very high 
here, especially for such misirables as one is obliged to put up with 
but I hate to complain. No one is without their difficulties, whether in 
High, or low Life, & every person knows best where their own shoe 
pinches. My Love to Mrs. Norton. Tell her to keep up a good Heart 
but be sure you do not let Lucy be with her. I know her make so well 
that she could not stand the trial. 

I have had a Nervious Headache for this week past, which has quite 
unfitted me for any thing, and obliges me to make my Letter shorter 
than I designd. 

Remember me kindly to all inquiring Friends and be assured of the 
affectionate Regards of 

Your Sister 

Mrs. Brisler Lucy & children are well. 

_ N[ew] York, April 3d, 1790 


I congratulate you and my dear Neice upon the late happy event in 
your Family. 1 Can you really believe that you are a Grandmamma? 
Does not the little fellow feel as if he was really your own? If he does not 
now, by that time you have lived a year with him, or near you, I question 
if you will be able to feel a difference. Have you been so much occupied 
by these New cares as not to be able to write me a line upon the subject? 
It was from a Letter of Cousin William's 2 to Charles that I learnt the 

5 This letter from Mrs. Mary (Smith) Cranch is probably in the Adams Papers in the 
Massachusetts Historical Society. The story of the Parisian girl has not been found. 

1 The birth of a son to Elizabeth (Cranch) Norton, wife of the Reverend Jacob Norton, 
in March, 1790. 

2 William Smith, son of the brother of Abigail Adams. See footnote 2 to the letter of 
September i, 1789. 


agreeable news, at which I most sincerely rejoice. I doubt not as my 
amiable Neice has fullfild all the Relative duties in which she has been 
calld to act with honour to herself and satisfaction to her Friends, she 
will not fail to discharge the New one which has fallen to her share with 
equal ability. I wish my dear Sister I could go with you to visit her, 
as we used to do, and that I could personally tell her how much her safety 
and happiness is dear to me. I should receive more real satisfaction, in 
one hour, than in months of the uninteresting visits which my situation 
obliges me both to receive and pay, My old Friend Mrs. Rogers 3 has 
past the winter in N[ew] York and we have lived in our former intimacy. 
I shall regret her leaving it. Mrs. Smith and her Family the chief of them 
have been for three weeks at Jamica [sic] upon a visit. The House really 
felt so lonely after Master William went, that I sent for him back yester- 
day. John and he are both very fine children, but as yet my attachment 
to William is much the strongest. His temper is sweet and his disposition 

This place begins to reassume all its Beauty. I wish you could come 
and see it. For situation and prospect I know no equal. We have been 
gardning for more than a week. I always forgot to inquire of my Neices 
if the flower seeds succeeded last year. I fear my prospect of visiting 
Braintree will be cut of, by the short recess of Congress. The buisness 
before them is so important, and takes so much time to discus it, that 
they talk now of only adjourning through the Hot Months, and the 
breaking up a Family for a few months, the expense attending the 
journey with those domesticks which we must bring on, will out run the 
sum allotted by our generous Country, so that I see no prospect of 
visiting my Friends. I must therefore content my self with hearing from 
them as often as I can. 

I wrote you a fortnight since that Genii Knox had given his word to 
Mr. Afdams] that he would do something for Mr. Jfoseph] Cranch. 4 I pre- 
sume he will not forget him. I shall dine there on Tuesday next, and as 
the Genii is always very civil polite and social with me, I will drop a 
word to him if opportunity offers. Mr. Jefferson is here, and adds much 
to the social circle. 6 

I wish to have some seed Beans of scarlet and of the white kind, the 

8 See the letter of November 24, 1788, and footnote 6 to the letter of February 28, 1790. 

4 For Joseph Cranch, see footnote 3 to the letter of March 21, 1790. 

5 Thomas Jefferson sailed from France in October, 1789, and arrived at "Monticello" on 
December 23. He proceeded to New York, where, on March 22, 1790, he became the first 
Secretary of State under the Constitution: 1790-1794. 


pod of which is so tender. I forget the Name, but believe you will know. 
They grow in joints and are very fruitfull. Adieu. Tis time to go 
to meeting. that it was to hear good Dr. Price, 6 or Mr. Clark 7 or 
Thacher, 8 or any body whose sentiments were more comformable to 

Ever yours 


Richmond Hill, April 21 , 1790 

I received your two kind Letters of April I & 5. I am extreemly sorry 
to hear that Mrs. Norton is afflicted in the way that you write me she is, 
but tell her to keep up a good Heart. I can sympathize in her sufferings. 
A Bath of Hot Herbs was the most salutary means made use for me. A 
poultice of Camomile flowers is also very good, but I hope she is relieved 
before this time. Painfull experience would teach me upon the very 
first chill, to apply a white Bread poultice because those cold fits are 
always succeeded by a fever and complaints of the Breast always follow. 
I am glad to hear that my great Nephew [is] such a fine child. 

When I wrote you last, you may remember that I told you I would 
speak to Genii. Knox in behalf of Mr. Cranch. I thought I had best do it 
before I said any thing to Mr. A[dams] about the place as the arrangments 
which the Genii, might make would prove more advantageous to him 
and require his attention upon the spot. I talkd with him and he en- 
gaged to send me a letter for him which is now inclosed to you. He told 
me that at West Point he would find a dwelling House work shop &c and 
two years employ if he would go there immediatly, that, he believed there 
was yet Buisness to be compleated at Springfield. There are many appli- 
cants so that Mr. Cranch should not be dilatory as there may be now a 
good opening for him. He will not fail of writing directly to Genii. 
Knox and giving him the information he requests. The Miss Palmers 
may continue in the House untill Mr. Cranch can accommodate them 
better. I wish my dear Sister that I could come to Braintree, but I do not 
see how it can be effected to any good purpose. Pray can you tell me 
where I could get a Boy of a dozen years. I would have him come round 

6 See footnote 4 to the letter of August 9, 1789. 

7 John Clarke (1755-1798), nephew of Timothy Pickering, and pastor of the First Church 
in Boston. For Clarke's sudden death, see the letter of June 27, 1798. 

8 Probably Peter Thacher (1752-1802), who was born in Milton, preached in Boston, 
and died in Savannah, Georgia. 


In [Captain] Barnard if any one is to be had. Such a wretched crew as 
N[ew] York produces are scarcly to be found in any city in Europe. I 
am so much discouraged by every Body here that I dare not attempt to 
take one. I wish you would inquire of Ruthe Ludden whether she would 
be willing to come in Barnard & let me know. 1 Mr. Smiths Fetter had a 
likely Boy that he askd me to take before I came here. 2 If he is not put 
out, and he will send him to me by captain Barnard I will take him. Let 
me hear from you soon. Mrs. Smith is going to House keeping in N[ew] 
York the I of May, the day when every Body removes as they tell me 
here. I shall feel lost. The children amuse & divert me much but they 
will be here half there time. William is down on his knees searching the 
pictures in Milton, whilst I write. Gammar, he says look here, the Man 
with a great sword going to cut them are Men all to peices. He is a lovely 
child with a temper as mild & sweet as one would wish. Adieu my dear 
Sister. I must quit to dress, as Mrs. Washington, Lady Temple, Mrs. 
Dalton, Mrs. King & several other Ladies drink Tea with me this 
afternoon. 3 

Yours most affect ionatly 


Wednesday Noon Mr. Brisler desires me to ask if Mr. Cranch has 
got the Remainder of his money from Mr. Baxter 4 and prays he would 
see Mr. Baxter & let him know that he wants it. 

Richmond Hill, April 28, 1790 

I designd to have written to you by the Monday post, but I was so 
very ill on Sunday that I could not set up. I have had the severest 
attack of the Rhumatism attended with a voilent fever which I have 
experienced for several years. I have not yet left my chamber, tho I am 
much relieved. The weather has been uncommonly wet and cold. Snow 
we have had in the course of this fortnight more than through the whole 
winter. Our House has been a mere Hospital ever since Saturday last. 
I have been confined in one chamber, Coi Smith in an other with a 
Billious attack, Charl[e]s in an other with a fever, my Housekeeper 

1 See the following letter. 

2 Mrs. Adams refers to the son of Peter, a servant of her brother, William Smith, mer- 
chant of Boston. 

3 For Lady Temple and Mrs. Dalton, see the letter of February 20, 1790. Mrs. King 
was the wife of Rufus King, Senator from New York (1789-1795). 

4 Father of Polly Baxter, a maid of Mrs. Adams. 

4 6 

confind to her chamber with Saint Antonys fire, 1 and a servant of Col. 
Smiths laid up with a voilent seazure of the Breast & Lungs, but thanks 
to a kind Providence we are all upon the Recovery. I was in hopes to 
have heard from you by last weeks post, & to have learnt how Mrs. 
Norton was, for whom I am much concernd. I am anxious for her from 
more disinterested motives than Swifts Friend, tho perhaps I can more 
feelingly sympathize with her for having "felt a pain just in the place 
where she complains/' 2 

My last letter to you was accompanied by one for Mr. J[oseph] Cranch 
which I hope came safe to Hand. I wrote you something respecting 
Ruthe Ludden, but I wish now to be very particular, if her time is out 
with her Aunt as I think it was in March, and she is inclined to come. 
[Captain] Barnard will return here sometime in May. Her Passage by 
him will be six dollars which I shall pay. There is a Mrs. Laffen with 
whom Mr. Brisler is acquainted who went from here to Boston in 
Barnard and means to return again with him, so that she would not 
have to come alone. My terms to her will be three dollars a Month, 
and to give her the small pox. I wish to have an immediate answer be- 
cause if she does not like to come, Mr. Brisler has a sister Betsy in 
Boston, who would be very glad to come and I shall write to her to come 
immediatly. I do not wish to send Polly home till I get somebody in her 
Room, but send her Home I must, or I shall never have a quiet family. 
This I must say of her, that I have never found her otherways than 
stricktly honest and I have not had the least difficulty with her on 
account of drink. In short it is next to imposible here to get a servant 
from the highest to the lowest grade that does not drink, male or Female. 
I have at last found a footman who appears sober, but he was Born in 
Boston, has lived a very short time in the city & has very few acquaint- 
ance there. You would be surprizd if I was to tell you that tho I have 
been long trying to get a Boy here I cannot find one that any Body will 
Recommend, and I should be very glad to get one from Boston, I mean 
Peters son. My Housekeeper who on many accounts has been the most 
Respectable Female I have had in the Family, is so sick and infirm that 

1 Any of certain inflammations or gangrenous conditions of the skin, especially erysip- 
elas and ergotism, which in the Middle Ages were popularly supposed to be cured by the 
intercession of St. Anthony. 

2 See The Poems of Jonathan Swift, Harold Williams, Editor, Oxford, 1937, vol. 2, p. 557: 
"Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift" (1731), lines 135-6: 

Yet shou'd some Neighbour feel a Pain, 
Just in the Parts, where I complain; 


she is obliged to leave me, partly I know because she will not live with 
Polly. If I could find any middle aged woman of a Reputable Character 
who understands Pastry &c in Boston I would send for her. I give 5 
dollars a month to my Housekeeper. My kitchen and offices are all 
below stairs, and where there are a Number of servants there must be 
one respectable Head amongst them to oversee & take care that they do 
not run headlong as well as to overlook the cooking & to make Tea for 
me upon my publick Evenings, to make my pastry to assist in the Ironing 
&c. This is the Buisness which falls to her share. Ruthe I want for a 
house maid. She will have no concern with cooking at all, as I keep a 
woman solely for that purpose. I wish you would be upon the inquiry 
for me. If I had not Brisler with me I should be tempted to give up pub- 
lick Life. The chief of the servants here who are good for any thing are 
Negroes who are slaves. The white ones are all Foreigners & chiefly 
vagabonds. I really know now more than ever how to Prize my English 
servants but I think when the cat is once gone I shall do much better. 
Do you remember the Fable of the Cat the Sow & the Eagle? 3 Scarcly 
a day passes that I do not think of it. Yet I have a real value for Polly. 
She has a great many good qualities, and alone in a small Family would 
answer very wel! 3 but Authority she can not bear to have the least. It 
is only by keeping her Humble that she is any way to be bourn with. In 
many things as Mr. Nothorp observed, she seems as necessary to me as 
my daily food, and but for that temper, I would not part with her. With 
that I could deal, but the eternal mischief between others, keeps the 
whole House in disorder, and gives a bad Name to the whole Family. 
Thus having detaild my whole Family grievences to you I bid you adieu. 
With Love to all Friends from your 

Ever affectionate Sister 


N[ew] York, May 30, 1790. 

Your kind Letter of various dates came safe to Hand. I was allarmed 
at not hearing from you, & feard that you were all sick. The disorder 

8 See Aesop's Fables, "The Eagle, the Cat and the Sow." An eagle built her nest in the 
top of an old oak tree; a sow scooped out a home in its roots; and a wildcat lived in a hole 
half way between them. The wildcat persuaded the eagle to fear the sow, and the sow to fear 
the eagle, with the result that each starved to death, and the wildcat devoured the nest of 
eaglets and the litter of pigs a warning against tale-bearing trouble-makers. La Fontaine, 
Fables, Book 3, Fable 6. 

4 8 

termd the Influenza 1 has prevaild with much voilence, & in many 
places been very mortal, particularly upon Long Island. Not a Creature 
has escaped in our Family except its Head, and I compounded to have a 
double share myself rather than he should have it at all. Heitherto he 
has escaped, not so the President. He has been in a most dangerous 
state, and for two or three days [I] assure you I was most unhappy. I 
dreaded his death from a cause that few persons, and only those who 
know me best, would believe. It appears to me that the union of the 
states, and concequently the permanancy of the Government depend 
under Providence upon his Life. At this early day when neither our 
Finances are arranged nor our Government sufficiently cemented to 
promise duration, His death would I fear have had most disasterous 
concequences. I feard a thousand things which I pray I never may be 
calld to experience. Most assuredly I do not wish for the highest Post. 
I never before realizd what I might be calld to, and the apprehension of 
it only for a few days greatly distresst me, but thanks to Providence he is 
again restored. Congress will set till July it is thought, and I fear ad- 
journ to Philadelphia. I say I fear, for it would be a sad buisness to have 
to Remove. Besides I am sure there is not a spot in the United States so 
Beautifull as this upon which I live, for a summer residence. But personal 
inconveniency out of the question I do not see any publick utility to be 
derived from it, and I wish the Idea might subside untill time should 
make it proper to fix a permanant seat. I fear I must relinquish the Idea 
of visiting my Friends. I want to see you all and my Young Nephew 
whom you describe with all the fondness of a Grandmamma. Mrs. 
Norton will find her Health improved by Nursing I dare say. My Love to 
her and to Cousin Lucy. How I long to have you come and see me. 

I am affraid my dear Sister I shall have to trouble you with the care of 
a commencement for Thomas, 2 like that which you so kindly made for 
his Brother, but I shall know more about his inclinations when I hear 
from him. I am unhappy at the account you give of Mrs. Turner. Poor 
Girl. She is going after her Mother at an early period of Life. You did 
not say if the child was living, but I presume it is. 

I do not know what to do with our House if the Ladies remove. 3 I 

1 According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word "influenza" first appeared in 
print in English in 1743, in the London Magazine: "News from Rome of a contagious Dis- 
temper raging there, call'd the Influenza" 

2 Thomas Boylston Adams was graduated from Harvard in June, 179- 

3 The daughters of the late Mrs. Palmer, who were living in the old Adams house. See 
footnote 7 to the letter of July 12, 1789. 


sometimes wish it was all in cash again. Do you know of any Body trusty 
enough to leave it with? 

You will be so good as to have all Thomas things brought home and a 
glass which still remains at Mr. Sewalls. My best regards to Mr. Cranch 
& all other Friends. Yourg ^ affectionatl7 


[Richmond Hill, June gth, 1790] 

I wrote to you ten days ago and informd you that my Family were 
very sick. I did not then conceive it to be, what I have since found it 
the Influenza. I have got better, but my cough & some other complaints 
still hang about me. Polly Tailor is so bad with it, that if she is not soon 
relieved the concequences threaten to be fatal to her. Louisa is very sick 
confind to her chamber. I keep a Bottle of Tarter Emetick and adminis- 
ter it as soon as they complain. Mr. Adams has kept clear of it yet, and 
he is the only one who has not been attacked in a greater or less degree. 
Mrs. Smith has had a slight attack. The children appear to have it 
comeing and almost every Body throughout the whole city are [sic] 
labouring under it. This afternoon I heard that my Friend Mrs. Rogers 
lies dangerously sick. This distresses me greatly because it is not in nay 
power to render her any assistance. I last Evening heard from Thomas, 
and that your Family were well, but he does not mention Mrs. Norton, 
by which I would fain hope that she is better. Mrs. Smith Removed 
last week, and this makes it necessary for me to request a few articles 
from my House in Braintree. I must request the favour of my good 
Brother Craach to get me a case made for my large looking glass, and to 
be so good as to pack it for me & send it by [Captain] Barnard, with a 
note of the expence which I will pay to Barnard, my kitchen clock & 
press which stands in the kitchen, and two Glass Lanthern which are in 
the chamber closset & the stone Roller for the Garden. I should be glad 
to have all these things by Barnard. The Glass I do not know how to do 
without. The Top I have here. I cannot afford to Buy. Besides I have 
enough for the Braintree House, & should I purchase here, must sell them 
again at a loss. This House is much better calculated for the Glasses, 
having all the Rooms Eleven foot high. I have not heard from you since 
I wrote you respecting Ruthe Ludden. Mrs. Brisler has this disorder 
tho not Bad. I am impatient to hear from you. Pray let it be soon. 

Yours most affectionatly 


N[ew] York, June 13, 1790 

I received your Letter of May 16, and was very happy to find that you 
were all upon the recovery. We have daily mercies to be thankfull for, 
tho no state is exempt from trouble and vezation. The one which at 
present Torments me is the apprehension of a Removal from a very 
delightfull situation, to I know not where, and I am too short sighted, or 
too much blinded, to see any real advantage from a Removal unless a 
Permanent seat was fixed. The fatigue and expence are objects not very 
pleasing in contemplation, and the Removal to a more southern state 
what I do not like, especially to Baltimore, where I am told we cannot in 
any respect be half so well accomodated. If I could see that the publick 
good required it, I should submit with more satisfaction, but to be every 
session disputing upon this subject, & sowerd as the members are, is a 
very unpleasent thing. 1 If we must move I must relinquish every Idea 
of visiting my Friends, and I had a latent hope that I should come for a 
few weeks merely on a visit, after Mrs. Smith gets to Bed, which I 
presume will be in July. I wish to hear from my Mother & Brothers 
Family. I know not what to do with the House. I must request you 
to have an Eye to it, and if any trusty Body could be thought of to go into 
the kitchen part I could wish they might, but I own I do not know of any 
Body. All the interest we have must go to destruction, and we can barely 
live here upon the publick allowence. Your Romancing Neighbours may 
amuse themselves, but their storys will never gain credit. There is a gen- 
tleman here, several indeed of whom I could inquire, but I am ashamed 
to ask, and indeed I do not recollect enough of the first part of the 
story to inquire properly about it, and I have every reason to think it all 
fabulous. They are all together the strangest Family I ever heard of. I 
last week accompanied Mrs. Washington to the Jersies to visit the falls of 
Pasaick. We were absent three days and had a very agreeable Tour. 

I wish to have the articles I wrote for, sent by Captain Barnard. We 
have a fine growing season. Is it so with you? I wish to hear from you 
with respect to commencment. What will be necessary and how can it be 

1 For the intrigue and log-rolling which led to the choice of the site of Washington as 
the national capital in 1790, see Channing, History of the Uniud States, vol. 4, pp. 74-9. 
In essence, the deal was a trade between Virginia and New England : Jefferson and Virginia 
supported Hamilton's plan for the federal assumption of state debts, and Hamilton rounded 
up enough New England votes in the Congress to put the capital on the Potomac. Until 
1790, the seat of the government was New York, and, for the next ten years, Philadelphia, 
John Adams was the first President to live in the White House, which was ready for 
occupancy late in 1800. See footnote 4 to the letter of July 27, 1790. 

managed? I fear it will give you a great deal of trouble especially as you 
are not very well accomodated with help, as it will be impossible for us 
to be at Home. I have thought that it might be dispenced with, yet as 
Thomas has conducted himself so well I could wish that he might be 
gratified if it is his desire. 

Be so good as to let Mr. Smith know that Prince 2 is very well and 
quite contented. We are all well & Polly is better, than she was. Adieu. 
Write to me as soon as you can. Remember me aifectionatly to all 

Yours most tenderly 


N[ew] York, June 27th, 1790 

I have been expecting to hear from you every post, but I have not had 
a line from you since that dated May loth. I wrote you once, I believe 
twice since I wish to know what has been determined upon respecting 
commencment as it is near at hand. I long more than ever to come Home 
especially] since I am under some apprehensions of going further off. I 
am anxious to know what to do with our House. It is very hard that 
Mankind are so little trust worthy, that I cannot think of a single Family 
which might be placed there, who would not injure the House, furniture, 
& plunder me besides. Many through ignorance would not take proper 
care. I am sure that it will go to Ruin if it is not frequently lookd to. 
I have been thinking that when J. Q. A. has taken the Law Books to 
Town the remainder of the Books might be put into the small chamber 
next the garden or into the China closset above stairs. I fear they will 
receive injury from the weather in the office, I know not a word respect- 
ing the place any more than if it lay in the east Indies, and indeed it has 
proved of little more advantage to us than if it lay in the Moon. I look 
upon the Money expended there as lost. What has Woodard done with 
his place. Did he sell it? And to whom? 

Mrs. Brisler wants much to hear from her sister. How are all our 
Friends? Mrs. Norton is getting Health & strength I hope fast. I pray 
she may not have children as fast as Mrs. Smith. It is enough to wear 
out an Iron constitution. I think she has lost much of her coulour and 
does not seem to be well at all; I feel very anxious for her, especially as 
she is like to have a very hot season to be confined in. She says not till 

2 A new servant of Mrs, Adams. See the letters of October 3, 1790, and March 12, 1791. 


August, but I think she will not go so long as she looks very large. I have 
one or other of the children with me constantly. How is Uncle Quincy F 1 
You say nothing about him. Dr. Tufts I find is married. 2 I dont hear 
half as often from him as formerly. Pray present my duty to him and tell 
him the Hams he procurd for me are fine and that I should be glad of a 
keg of Tongues. 

Company call me of. Adieu. 

Yours most affectionatly 


N[ew] York, July 4th, 1790 

A Memorable day in our calender. A Church belonmg [sic] to the 
Dutch congregation is this day to be opened and an oration deliverd. 
This Church was the scene of Misiry & honour, the Prison where our 
poor Countrymen were confined, crowded & starved during the war, & 
which the British afterwards destroyed. It has lately been rebunVand 
this day is the first time that they have met in it. 1 They have done us 
the favour of setting apart a pew for us. The Clergyman is Dr. Lynn 2 
one of the Chapling to congress and I think a better preacher than most 
that I have heard to day. An oration is [to] be deliverd by Dr. Living- 
stone 3 the other Minister belonging to this Church, but as to an orater, 
the oratory of a Clergyman here consists in foaming, loud speaking, 
working themselves up in such an enthusia[s]m as to cry, but which has 
no other effect upon me than to raise my pitty. O when when shall I hear 
the Candour & liberal good sense of a Price 4 again, animated with true 
piety without enthusiasm, devotion without grimace and Religion upon a 
Rational system. 

1 Norton Quincy (1716-1801). See footnote 3 to the letter of November I, 1789. 

2 See the letter of June 28, 1789. 

1 The Reformed Dutch Church in Nassau Street, New York City, also called the Middle 
Collegiate, or the Rip Van Dam Church, which was rededicated and reopened on July 4, 
1790, the British having used it as a prison and a riding-school during the Revolution. The 
church became the Post Office in 1845, and was demolished in 1882. Stokes, Iconography of 
Manhattan Island, vol. I, plate 28, and description, p. 261; vol. 3, plate 1053, and de- 
scription, pp. 725-6; and vol. 5, p. 1269. 

2 See footnote 3 to the letter of October 4, 1789. 

8 John Henry Livingston (1746-1825) was graduated from Yale in 1762 and began the 
study of law at Poughkeepsie. Livingston studied theology in Holland (1766-1770), 
where he took the degree of Doctor of Theology at the University of Utrecht. In 1783 he 
became a minister In New York City, where he preached chiefly in English, but oc- 
casionally in Dutch. He united all the Dutch churches in the country in 1772. 

4 See footnote 4 to the letter of August 9, 1789. 


My worthy Friend Mrs. Rogers is returning to Boston. She has en- 
gaged to convey this to you with a Magizine which has for a Frontis- 
peice a view of this House, 5 but the great Beauty could not be taken 
upon so small a scale, which is the Noble Hudson, as far distant from the 
House as the bottom of the Boston Mall is from the Governours House. 
If you see Mrs. Rogers, as it is probable you will at commencment, she 
will tell you how delightfull this spot is, and how I regret the thoughts of 
quitting it. I shall miss her more than half N[ew] York besides. We are 
very well, but impatient to hear from you and Family. I wish Congress 
would so far compleat their buisness as not to have an other session till 
the spring. I really think I would then come home and pass the winter 
with you. Mr. Adams wants some exercise. Ever since the 4th of Janry 
he has not mist one hour from attendance at Congress. He goes from 
Home at ten and seldom gets back till four, and 5 hours constant sitting 
in a day for six months together, (for He cannot leave his Chair) is pretty 
tight service. Reading long Bill [sic], hearing debates, and not always 
those the most consonant to his mind and opinions, putting questions, 
stating them, constant attention to them that in putting questions they 
may not be misled, is no easy task whatever Grumblers may think, but 
Grumblers there always was & always will be. 

Adieu my dear Sister. Remember me affectionatly to all Friends. 



Richmond Hill, July 27, 1790 

I received your kind Letter of July 4th. The articles sent by Captain 
Barnard all arrived in good order, and I have to acknowledg Mr. Cranchs 
kind care in attending to them. 

You have got through commencment and I hope have not been made 
sick with the trouble and fatigue. We had a pleasent day here, not over 
Hot and I pleasd myself with the hope that it was so with you. We got 
Thursdays paper, but had very little account of commencment. I know 
you must have been too much fatigued, and too buisily occupied to be 
able to write. 

I do not know what to do with the House. I wish with all my Heart 
that Mears 1 would go in. I did not once think of her, but I do not know 

6 See the New-Tor k Magazine (June, 1790), or Stokes, Iconography of Manhattan Island, 
vol. i, plate ssA, and pp. 416-7; also footnote i to the letter of January 24, 1789. 

1 Mr. Mears was married to the sister of Mrs. Briesler, wife of the major-domo of John 


any person I would so soon commit the care to. Mr. Brisler is anxious 
about the wine Casks. He says that there are only two Iron hoops on 
each and he fears the other will Rot off. If you have not the keys, pray 
get them and let me request you to have the things lookd to. The Rats he 
says may undermine the Bottled wine which is packd in sand. He is 
very anxious about it, and I am not less so. I beg you my dear Sister to 
accept of a dozen of the wine and present half a dozen bottles to my 
Mother. 2 If it Is not drawn of let Thomas go, and do it, and send him for 
the keys. If the casks look like to give way, I must request that it may 
be New hoopd or otherways taken care of. I do not know when I shall 
see you. I think it would be a cordial to me, and Mr. Adams pines for 
relaxation, tho if one was to Credit the Clamours of the Boston papers 
we should imagine that there was nothing going forward but dissipation, 
instead of which, there is nothing which wears the least appearence of it, 
unless they term the Pressidents Levee of a tuesday and Mrs. Washing- 
tons drawing of a fryday such. One last[s] two & the other perhaps three 
hours. She gives Tea, Coffe, Cake, Lemonade & Ice Creams 3 in summer. 
All other Ladies who have publick Evenings give Tea, Coffe & Lemon- 
ade, but one only who introduces cards, and she is frequently put to 
difficulty to make up one table at whist. Pray is not this better than 
resorting to Taverns, or even having supper partys? Some amusement 
from the Buisness of the day is necessary and can there be a more 
Innocent one than that of meeting at Gentlemens Houses and conversing 
together? But faction and Antifederilism may turn every Innocent 
action to evil. 4 

We are all well. You see my pens are bad beyond description, and 
dinner calls. Love to all Friends from 

Your ever affectionate Sister 

2 Mother-in-law: Susanna (Boylston) [Adams] HalL See footnote 4 to the letter of 
December 15-18, 1788. 

8 See footnote I to the letter of August 9, 1789. 

4 The session of the Congress during the summer of 1790 was made acrimonious by 
wrangling over two bills, the first of which fixed the national capital after 1 800 on the 
Potomac; and the second of which provided for a limited assumption of state debts. The 
settlement was, in effect, a bargain between Jefferson and Hamilton. By the act of July 16, 
1790, Philadelphia was to be the capital until 1800, by which time the Federal City was to 
be founded in a National District on the Potomac, By the act of August 4, 1790, $21,500,000 
of state debts were to be taken over by the federal government. Massachusetts and 
South Carolina, each with four millions, and Virginia with three and one-half million, got 
more than half of the total sum. Schouler, History of the United StaUs> vol. I, pp. 154-6. 


New York, 8 August, 1790 

I have the pleasure to inform you that last Night Mrs. Smith got to 
Bed with an other fine Boy. 1 We could have all wisht it had been a Girl, 
but rest satisfied with the sex as it [is] a very fine large handsome Boy 
and both Mother and child are well She spent the day with me on 
fryday, and I urged her as I had several times before, to accept a Room 
here, and lie in here, as the house in which she is is Small and Hot. She 
told me she would come out, and the next day intended to get her 
things ready for the purpose, but found herself so unwell on Saturday, 
yesterday that she could not effect it. I have been very unwell myself for 
a fortnight, so that she did not let me know she was ill, untill I had the 
agreeable intelligence of her being safe abed. I shall get her here as soon 
as possible, I have both the children with me. I have not heard a word 
from you since commencment, and I expect all my intelligence from you. 
Congress rise on twesday. I wish and long to come to Braintree, but fear 
I shall not effect it. How does Mrs. Norton stand the Hot weather? 
Your Grandson grows a fine Boy I dare say. I should be quite charmd 
to see him & my dear Cousin Lucy. When is she to be married to that 
said Gentleman? Pray give my Love to her and tell her she need not 
have been so sly about it. I had a few lines from Thomas [Boylston 
Adams] just before he set out for Haverhill. I expect him on here daily, 
and think he had best send his things Round by Barnard. I have 
nothing new to entertain you with unless it is my Neighbours the Creek 
savages who visit us daily. They are lodgd at an Inn at a little distance 
from us. They are very fond of visiting us as we entertain them kindly, 
and they behave with much civility. Yesterday they signd the Treaty, 
and last Night they had a great Bondfire dancing round it like so many 
spirits hooping, singing, yelling, and expressing their pleasure and satis- 
faction in the true savage stile. These are the first savages I ever saw. 
Mico Maco, one of their kings dinned here yesterday and after dinner he 
confered a Name upon me, the meaning of which I do not know: Mam- 
mea. He took me by the Hand, bowd his Head and bent his knee, calling 
me Mammea, Mammea. They are very fine looking Men, placid coun- 
tenances & fine shape. Mr. Trumble 2 says, they are many of them per- 

1 Thomas Hollis Smith (b. 1790), died in infancy. See footnote I to the letter of Novem- 
ber 24, 1788. 

a John Trumbull (1756-1843), famous American painter, whose best-known work is the 
"Signing of the Declaration of Independence," which occupied eight years. After six years 
in London and Paris, Trumbull turned up in New York City in December, 1789, in order 
to obtain portraits for his popular historical composition. Washington sat for him several 

feet models. MacGillvery dresses in our own fashion speaks English 
like a Native, & I should never suspect him to be of that Nation, as he is 
not very dark. 3 He is grave and solid, intelligent and much of a Gentle- 
man, but in very bad Health. They return in a few days. 

Adieu my dear Sister. Remember me affectionatly to all Friends. I 
see Miss Nancy Quincy 4 is married. I wish her much happiness. 



Sunday eve, N[ew] York, August 29, 1790 

I last Night received your Letter which I have long expected, dated 
gth of August, and thank you for your account of commencment, as 
well as your care. I have written to you a number of times and wonderd 
much at not hearing from you. By Dr. Jeffries 1 1 wrote you an account 
of Mrs. Smiths getting well to Bed. She is very cleverly and has been 
once out to see me tho only three weeks last Night since she got to Bed, 
but the weather being so warm she has got the Air very soon or rather 
never shut it out. She was going to dine below stairs to day, and said if 
she was not asshamed she would go with me to take leave of Mrs. Wash- 
ington, who sets out tomorrow for Mount Vernon. I am [going] into 
Town for that purpose, and shall part with her, tho I hope, only for a 
short time, with much Regret. No Lady can be more deservedly beloved 
& esteemed than she is, and we have lived in habits of intimacy and 
Friendship. In short the Removal of the principal connections I have 

J Alexander McGillivray (c. 1759-1793), a Creek Chief belonging to the Wind Clan of 
the Upper Creek Indians, a Loyalist during the Revolution. From 1784 to his death in 
1793, McGillivray, courted by merchants, speculators, filibusters, and by the governments 
of Georgia, the United States, and Spain, enjoyed a career of international significance. 
His chief interests were diplomacy, trade, planting, and drink. At one time he owned three 
plantations and about sixty slaves. For a lively account of the state visit of McGillivray 
to New York in July, 1790, see Schouler, History of the United States, vol. I, pp. 171-2. 

4 Nancy Quincy (born 1763), daughter of Josiah and Ann Quincy, married on July 27, 
1790, the Reverend Asa Packard, of Maryborough, Harvard, 1783, who died in 1843. 

1 John Jeffries (1745-1819), physician and scientist of Boston, Loyalist in the Revolu- 
tion. Repairing to England, Jeffries made several famous balloon ascensions with the 
French aeronaut, Francois Blanchard (1753-1809) one over London in 1784, and another 
crossing the English Channel on January 7, 1785, as the result of which Jeffries was compli- 
mented by Louis XVI and dined with Benjamin Franklin at Passy. Jeffries returned to 
Boston about 1790, where he established a large and profitable practice. For a description 
of this balloon flight, see Roof, Colonel William Smith and Lady, p. 72. 


here serves to render the place, delightfull as it is, much less pleasent than 
it has been. 

I have been almost upon the point of visiting Braintree. I even made 
several arrangments for that purpose in my own mind, but had it all 
overthrown by an arrangment for a Removal to Philadelphia this fall 
Mr. Adams talks now of going there to look out a House, as he begins to 
think he shall be very miserable at Lodgings, but I will hope that I may 
come next summer, and be a Border with you for some Months if we 
should let our House. If the people you mention are responsible and 
worthy people I should have no objection to letting it to them with the 
furniture, the best carpet & china & glass tho not much, excepted I 
know more injury may be done to furniture in one year than a House can 
easily sustain in several. A Hundred dollers goes but a little way in good 
furniture. Perhaps they may run away with a fancy that as the house is 
unoccupied we would readily let it for [a] trifle. The House I should 
rather let at a low Rent than it should stand empty, but not the furni- 
ture. 200 dollers a year or not much less I should expect to have for it 
including the Garden, Stables, &c. There are three Beds, two very good, 
and three carpets besides the best. At Philadelphia we must give four 
hundred for an empty house and that out of the City, but I shall [have] 
opportunity to write you more fully if they should have any fancy for 
taking it and I would consult the Dr. 2 about it. 

We are anxious to get Thomas here and wonder that he does not come 
on. Pray hasten him as Mr. Adams is very desirious [sic] to have him 
here. My dear Sister I [will] never take the ten guineys so pray say no 
more about them. I am under obligations to you for the care and atten- 
tion to my children which nothing pecuniary can repay. It hurts me that 
I have it not in my power to do as I wish I hope our young folks will get 
into Buisness. I am glad Mr. Cranch will be like to get something for his 
hard Labour. I hope the remaining part of the debt will be provided for 
in less than ten years. Our publick affairs look very auspicious notwith- 
standing the grumbling. I have many more things to say to you but am 
obliged to close to go into Town, but will write to you soon again. 
We are all well. You may write by the post. They have not chargd us 
postage yet and I presume will not as the New act if it had past excepts 
the President and vice Pressident, and as it is known to be the intention 

2 Cotton Tufts. See footnote n to the letter of June 28, 1789, 


of congress, I suppose they will not tax us with postage under the present 

act. 3 Love to all Friends ^ 

Jlver yours 


MY DEAR SISTER: New York ' October 3 d ' J 79- 

Do you not pitty me my dear Sister to be so soon all in a Bustle, and 
weary of removing again, as much Boxing and casing as if we were 
removing to Europe? Our furniture may well be stiled movables. The 
expence attending the various removals would very handsomely furnish 
one House. 1 I feel low spirited and Heartless. I am going amongst an 
other new set of company, to form new acquaintances, to make and 
receive a hundred ceremonious visits, not one of ten from which I shall 
derive any pleasure or satisfaction, obliged to leave Mrs. Smith behind, 
and the Children to whom I am much attached, and many other things 
I have upon my mind and spirits which I cannot communicate by Letter. 
I live however upon the Hope that I shall come and see you next sum- 
mer: I hope congress will not set [sit] out the Month of April, 

I have wrote to the Dr. respecting the widow Owen and Rebecca 
Field I had rather they should be in the House than have it left empty 
through the winter. They must always remember that they must remove 
when ever we come to want the House, and that without giving us any 

You wrote me about Rose water. If you have an opportunity to send 
me a dozen Bottles I should like to have it. I forgot to write to you 
sooner, but you may have it put up and addrest to Col. Smith New York 
when Barnard comes again. We expect to get our furniture on Board by 
the 2Oth of the Month. Charles is going to Board with his sister, and 
Thomas will go into an office in Philadelphia. I wish he could have gone 
into merchandize as I am sure he has more of a Turn for active Life. 

8 While Adams was presiding over the Senate in New York during the summer of 1790, 
his Discourses on Davila, a series of letters written as a running commentary upon an 
Italian's history of France, appeared in Fenno's Gazette at Philadelphia, and were copied by 
other Federalist papers. Adams seemed to be trying "to direct American sentiment against 
the new idea of complete equality and rights of man. . . . Adams himself, in later life, 
admitted that Davila largely helped to destroy his popularity, and wondered that he could 
ever have written that 'dull heavy volume.* " Schouler, History of the United States, vol. I, 
pp. 192-3. For Discourses on Davila, see Adams, Works, voL 6, pp. 223-339. 

Enrico Caterino Davila (1576-1631) was born near Padua and murdered near Verona. 
Going to France to serve as a page of Catherine de Medici, Davila fought in the French 
civil wars until 1589. His chief work is Storia delta guerre civili di Francia (1630). 

1 Congress convened in Philadelphia in December, 1790, and sat there for ten years, 
meeting in Washington for the first time on November 17, 1800. 


How is Mrs. Norton & her Boy? We have got one with a Red Head. 
I do not know what part of the family he lays claim to. I forget whether 
I wrote you that they had Named him Thomas Hollis. 2 

Let Mrs. Field know that Lucy and Mr. Brislers children have the 
small pox. It has turnd and they have it very lightly. Lucy not more 
than 20 pock, Nabby not a dozen. Betsy is pretty full but has a good 
sort and is very cleverly. I had Prince inoculated at the same time. He 
has about a dozen, but has not been confined at all, nor sick, a little 
headache excepted. Be so good as to send his Father word if you have an 

Mrs. Smith is here to day and desires to be rememberd to all her 
Friends. When did you hear from Sister Shaw? I think I used to get 
Letters and write oftner when I was abroad than I do now. 

Let me hear from you soon, and believe me 

Most affectionatly yours 


Love to Mr. Cranch & Duty to Mother [mother-in-law]. I hope I shall 
see her again, good old Lady. 

N[ew] York, October loth, 1790 

I wrote to you last Sunday, and on Wednesday received your kind 
Letter. We have begun to pack up our furniture, and expect to get it on 
Board by the 20th. Perhaps we may make it later, but I hope not as the 
weather will every day become more & more uncomfortable. The Idea 
of going so much further from you is painfull to me, and would be more so 
if I did not hope to spend the next summer with you. At present you 
have your Family with and near you, but it is my destiny to have mine 
scatered, and scarcly to keep one with us. My seperation from Mrs. 
Smith is painfull to me on many accounts. There is at present no pros- 
pect of their going with us, and if their prospects .here were as fair 
as they ought to be, I should be less solicitious for them. With Regard 
to our House, I should have no objection to a carefull person living in the 
kitchin to take care of it, but as to letting it I cannot consent unless any 
person offers to take House and furniture all together. There is the other 
part of the House in which Bass lives that might be let, but then I should 

2 See the letter of August 8, 1790. 


be loth that a shoe makers shop should be made of either of the Rooms. 
In short I do not know of any persons property so unproductive as ours 
is. I do not believe that it yealds us one pr cent pr Annum. I have the 
vanity however to think that if Dr. Tufts and my Ladyship had been 
left to the sole management of our affairs, they would have been upon a 
more profitable footing. In the first place I never desired so much Land 
unless we could have lived upon it. The money paid for useless land I 
would have purchase[d] publick securities with. The interest of which, 
poorly as it is funded, would have been less troublesome to take charge of 
then Land and much more productive. But in these Ideas I have always 
been so unfortunate as to differ from my partner, who thinks he never 
saved any thing but what he vested in Land. I am really however 
very uneasy with Pratt as a Farmer. He has got a great swarm of help- 
less children round him, labours hard but has no skill, and the place with 
the addition of Veseys 1 very little more than pays the taxes. I wish Mr. 
Beals could be induced to go upon it. The other place I know no more 
about than if it lay in the Moon. I have written to request that the 
Saint Germain pears and the best Russet Apples may be sent to me* 
The communication between Boston and Philadelphia is so frequent that 
I should suppose their could be no difficulty in it. 

I had the pleasure of assembling yesterday Mr. & Mrs. Storer, 2 Mr. 
& Mrs. Atkinson, Mr. Charles, George & Mary Storer, Col. & Mrs. 
Smith and Miss Pegy Smith, who all dined with me and I felt more like 
Home than I have ever done since I left Braintree. Mr. Adams mourns 
that he could not make a visit Northward this fall. We are well. Brislers 
family all got through the small pox with only a day or two illness. 
Present me affectionatly to all Friends. I fear Mr. Cranch does not put 
on his flannel soon enough. I grow more and more in favour of the use of 
it and advise you to wear it next your skin. Make little waistcoats & put 
them on with the first comeing of cold weather, & I had as much spair 
Room in my stays as you have I would not be without them. 

Poor Mr. Thaxter I am grieved for him, but who is without their 
troubles. I thank God that a larger portion has not fallen to the Lot of 
your ever 

Affectionate Sister 


1 Mrs. Vesey was an aunt of John Adams. See Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His 
Wife, Edited by C. F. Adams, Boston, 1841, vol. 4, p. 249. 

2 See the letter of June 19, 1789. 


N[ew] York, Sunday, October 17 

I arrived here last Night. My first inquiry was for a Letter from you, 
which I was happy enough to find, and great relief did it afford to my 
anxious mind. I sent to the post office to see if I could get any further 
intelligence last evening but was dissapointed. I am ready however to 
attribute it more to your not getting an opportunity of conveyance than 
to any unfavourable circumstance, and I was much incouraged yesterday 
by seeing Mrs. Judge Gushing, who told me of a cure performed upon 
Mrs. Hyslops leg after a mortification had really taken place. She made 
great use of Bark 2 and wine. I am sure my dear Sister neither Mr. 
Adams or I can ever think our wine used to a better purpose than in aid- 
ing the recovery of so dear & valuable a Friend, and we request you to 
get more from our cellar when that is expended. Can there be a greater 
pleasure in Life than rendering kindness to those we love and esteem and 
who we know are every way worthy of our regard. How many of my 
anxious painfull hours did you in the summer past alleviate by your 
sisterly kindness. How much too am I indebted to my dear Lucy for her 
goodness. I am anxious for her Health, and full of the mind that a free use 
of the Bark would relieve her Nervious Headaches. Katy who is with me 
was relieved only in that way after a slow Nervious fever. I had a pleasant 
journey in point of weather. Mr. Adams found himself very weak and 
feeble when we came to travell- His Nerves were more affected than I 
was aware of before I left home. He has not had any return of his fever, 
but if I had not gone through all & more than he has sufferd I should be 
much more distrest. He gains strength by his journey, but what I fear is 
the buisness & company which he cannot avoid and which are very 

1 It is difficult to place this letter with certainty. Mrs. Adams plainly wrote, "N York, 
Sunday, October 17." The date "1790" was added in another hand, probably that of Mrs. 
Cranch, and the letter is endorsed: "Letter from Mrs. A. Adams (N[ew] York) Octr 17. 
1790." Between the years 1787 and 1802, only in the year 1790 did October 17 fall on Sun- 
day. Yet, in the following letter, of October 25, 1790, Mrs. Adams implies that she had not 
written to her sister since October 10, 1790, and the serious illness to which she refers 
makes it improbable that she did so. Beginning with the end of August, John Adams was 
absent from New York for about two weeks, looking for a residence in Philadelphia the 
house at Bush Hill, to which he removed in November, 1790. He wrote to George Wash- 
ington from New York on August 29, 1790, and to Samuel Adams from New York on 
September 12, 1790. Although her illness makes it seem unlikely, apparently Mrs. John 
Adams left "Richmond Hill" for New York City on October 16 if this letter is dated 

2 Jesuits' or Peruvian bark: the bark of various species of the cinchona tree, from which 
quinine is procured. 


unfit for a person recovering from such a disorder. Thomas & Louisa are 
well. Mrs. Smith & Family I found well, but I cannot learn a word from 
Philadelphia. 3 Remember us all kindly to Mr. Cranch with our most sin- 
cere wishes for his perfect restoration to Health. I am my dear Sister, 

AfFectionatly yours 


N[ew] York, October 25, 1790 

After I had closed my Letter to you this day fortnight, I retired to my 
chamber, and was taken with a shaking fit which held me 2 Hours and 
was succeeded by a fever which lasted till near morning, attended with 
severe pain in my Head, Back, &c. The next morning I took an Emetick 
which operated very kindly and proved to me the necessity of it. On 
Tuesday I felt better and went below stairs, but was again seazd with 
an other shaking fit which was succeeded as the former by the most 
voilent fever I ever felt. It quite made me delirious. No rest for 5 Nights 
& days. It setled into a Regular intermitting Fever. The Dr. after having 
repeatedly puked me, gave me James's powders, 1 but with very little 
effect. I began upon the Bark the loth day which I have taken in large 
Quantyties and it has appeard to have put an end to my fever, but I am 
very low and weak. I rode out yesterday and found no inconveniency 
from it. I shall repeat my ride to day. I have great cause to be thankfull 
for so speady a restoration, but I have a journey before me which ap- 
pears like a mountain & three Ferries to cross. Very fortunate for me the 
winds have kept back the vessel from returning from Philadelphia which 
was to have been here the 2Oth to have taken our furniture. Mrs. Smith 
has been with me till yesterday. Her Baby is inoculated for the small 
pox, and she expects him to break out this week. But here endeth not 
all my troubles, for the day before yesterday Mrs. Brisler was taken sick 
of a Plurisy fever. She has been 3 times Bled & is Blisterd, and lies very 

8 This refers apparently to the news which Mrs. Adams was awaiting as to whether or 
not the house at Bush Hill was to be rented to her husband. John Adams was back in New 
York again by October 18, when he wrote to Samuel Adams. 

1 A febrifuge, very popular during the latter part of the eighteenth century and the 
beginning of the nineteenth; prepared by Dr. Robert James (1705-1776), who was grad- 
uated from Oxford in 1726, and in medicine from Cambridge in 1728. Dr. James compiled 
a Medical Dictionary (1743), to which his friend Samuel Johnson contributed. He patented 
his powder and pill in 1746. Oliver Goldsmith and George III were both addicted to the use 
of Dr. James's medicine, and each brought on serious illnesses from self-administered over- 
doses of it, Goldsmith dying as a consequence. 


ill tho I hope not dangerous. I received your Letter by Mr. Cranch. He 
landed I believe only a few Hours. He went to Mr. Laurences 2 office, 
to Charles, and deliverd the two casks sent by Brother. The Ladies did 
not come on shore as the wind was then fair for them, and they had been 
out ten days, & much of the weather very stormy & Boisterous. He told 
Charl[e]s that they had been very sick. I am sure it would have given 
me great pleasure to have received & entertaind them or to have sup- 
plied them with any thing in my power. 

I received a few days since by Mr. Durant 8 your kind Letter of 
October nth, which I thank you for. Remember me affectionatly to 
Mrs. Eunice Paine. 4 Would a few Bottles of wine or Porter be accepta- 
ble to her? If they would will you take the trouble of getting it from our 
cellar for her. The Dr. has just left me and says he thinks Mrs. Brisler 
much relieved, and that she will be better in a few days. My Head I 
find as week as my body. You will therefore excuse my writing more at 
present than to assure you that I am as ever 

Your affectionate Sister 


Mr. Brisler would be glad the money may be sent by Mr. [Fisher] 
Ames when he comes to Philadelphia. 

N[ew] York, Novbr. 7, 1790 

1 will not leave N[ew] York without writing you a few lines. I have not 
written a single letter since that which I addrest to you untill this day I 
attempted one to my son J. Q. A. I left my own House & I may say 
chamber, on twesday last, for I had not been able to stay below stairs, 
till I came to Town. I have been with Mrs. Smith ever since, and tho my 
fever still hangs about me I hope to set out tomorrow & make small 
stages. The Dr. think[s] the journy may be of service to me. The 

2 John Laurance (1750-1810), soldier of the Revolution, judge, United States Senator, 
who was born near Falmouth, England, and settled in New York City in 1767. He pre- 
pared and conducted the case against Major John Andre, in 1780. He was a leading Feder- 
alist in the first and second Congresses in 1789 to 1793, and served in the Senate from 1797 
to 1800. 

3 Possibly John Waldo Durant of Philadelphia, father of Thomas Jefferson Durant 
(1817-1882), lawyer and politician. 

4 Probably Miss Eunice Paine (1733-1803) of Braintree, a sister of Robert Treat Paine. 
"Mrs." would be in this case a title of respect for an elderly lady; or possibly Eunice (Treat) 
Paine, wife of the Reverend Thomas Paine and the mother of Robert Treat Paine (1731- 
1814) and Miss Eunice Paine. 

fatigue of removing has been doubly troublesome to me. I will write as 
soon as I can to you, and on the Road if I feel able. 

Mrs. Smiths Baby has been very sick, and very near dying with the 
Small Pox. It would not come out. They were obliged to have it Bled & 
put into a warm Bath which relieved it. It is upon the Recovery. Mrs. 
Brisler is recoverd and I shall take her in the Carriage with me and her 
youngest child. Lucy & the eldest are gone with a maid of mine to 
Philadelphia. Our vessel saild on Thursday. I hope it will get there be- 
fore me. All Friends here desire to be kindly rememberd to you. I wrote 
you to ask Mr. Cranch to send Mr. Brislers money by Mrs. Ames, but 
upon further consideration, Mr. Cranch will be so good as to pay it to 
J. Q. A. and I will repay it to Mr. Brisler. Adieu, my dear Sister. 


[Bush Hill,] Philadelphia, Decbr. 12, 1790 

I have received your two kind Letters one dated in October the 30 day 
I think & the 14 of Novbr. As the last came by a private Hand it did not 
reach me till last Evening. You will suppose that I might have written 
to you long e'er this, but as my letters would only have been a detail of 
grivences and troubles I was reluctant at taking my pen, and put it of 
from day to day. I reachd this city after 5 days journey. I was so weak 
as to be able to travel only 20 miles a day, but I gaind strength daily and 
was much better when I got here than when I set out. My Furniture 
arrived the day before me. I came up to the House expecting to have 
found every thing in readiness to put up the furniture agreable to promise 
but how was I dissapointed to find the painters with their Brushes and 
some of the most necessary matters untouch'd. The House had not been 
inhabited for four years & being Brick you may judge of the state of it. 
We' had fires made in every part. The furniture must come in, and we 
must inhabit it unfit as it was, for to go with 14 or 16, for Brislers family 
were all with me, to Lodfgjings was much beyond my Revenue: I 
expected to suffer. We got in on fryday. On the Monday following 
Louisa was taken sick. I gave her a puke & set her up again, but on the 
thursday following Polly Tailor was taken sick with a voilent Plurisy 
fever, confined to her Bed, bled 3 times, puked & Blisterd, and tho it is 
a month, she has got no further down stairs than to my chamber, for 
after the fever left her the old Ague took her in her Head and face. She 


is however upon the mending order. But this is not the worst of all 
my troubles. Thomas has been 18 days totally deprived of the use of his 
Limbs by the acute Rhumatism, attended with great inflamation and 
fever. The fever has abated. After having been 9 times Bled, puked and 
many other applications, he is yet unable to help himself. He is carried 
from his Bed to the Settee & fed like an infant. I have not left his 
Chamber excepting a nights and meal times for the whole time. The 
disorder seazd his Breast as well as his Limbs and produced all the com- 
plaints of Gravel by affecting his kidneys. I never knew him half so sick 
in my Life. I will not lay either of the disorders to this place tho I believe 
they were hastned & renderd worse by the dampness of the House. 
Polly has had 2 Fevers of the same kind since she has been with me, & 
Thomas Rhumatism has been comeing on for some time, yet they were 
peculiarly unfortunate to attack them at the time of Removal. Dr. Rush 
has attended them and I have found him a kind Friend as well as 
Physician. 1 I will not detail to you that in the midst of all this, the 
Gentlemen and Ladies solicitious to manifest their respect were visiting 
us every day from 12 to 3 oclock in the midst of Rooms heepd up with 
Boxes, trunks, cases &c. Thanks to a kind Providence I have got through 
the worst, I hope, of my difficulties and am in tolerable Health tho much 
fallen away in flesh. I have a source of anxiety added to my portion on 
my dear daughters account, Col. Smith having saild last week for Eng- 
land. His going was sudden and unexpected to us, but some private 
family debts which were due in England to his Fathers estate was one 
motive, and some prospects of assisting his Family by his voyage was 
a still further motive. I do not know what has really been the cause why 
he has been so poorly provided for in the distribution of offices. The 
President] has always said that he was sensible to his Merrit & meant to 
Provide for him, but has not yet seen the way open to do it; She, poor 
Girl, is calld to quite a different trial from any she has before experienced, 
for tho the Col was once before absent, she was in her Fathers House. 
Now she writes that she feels as if unprotected, as if alone in the wide 
world. One of his Brothers & Sisters remain with her during the Cols, 
absence. I have Johnny here with me, and would gladly send for her, 

1 Benjamin Rush (1745-1813), of Philadelphia, physician and patriot, signer of the 
Declaration of Independence. Dr. Rush completed his medical education at the University 
of Edinburgh, visited Paris, and returned to settle in Philadelphia in 1769. He was one of 
the early advocates of temperance, and was widely interested in politics and reform. John 
Adams appointed him Treasurer of the United States Mint, where he served from 1797 to 


to pass the winter with me, but a young Baby and some other obstacles 
prevent. Pray my dear Sister, write to her and comfort her. No station 
in Life was ever designd by Providence to be free from trouble and anxi- 
ety. The portion I believe is much more equally distributed than we 
imagine. Guilt of conscience is the work of our own Hands and not to be 
classed with the inevitable evils of Humane Life. 

Decbr, 14: I wrote thus far on Sunday. Thomas is very little better. 
Charles got here on Saturday and is a great assistance to me. I want my 
dear sisters & cousins. Notwithstanding I have been such a Mover, I feel 
in every New place more & more the want of my own near & dear con- 
nexions. I hope to see you all next spring. Pray let my son J. Q. A. know 
that his Brother is sick, that we should be glad to have him come here in 
Janry. or this Month if more convenient to him, but that I cannot write 
to him till the Next post. Adieu. I have only Time to say yours as the 
Post is going. 


Philadelphia, Janry. Qth, 1791 

I received your kind Letter of December I2th with one from my 
Nephew inclosing 4 Portraits. I instantly recognized my worthy Brother 
Cranch and my dear Sister together with our venerable Uncle Quincy. 
The other not one of us have skill enough to find out, by which I judge it 
is not a likeness. The three first are admirably executed and I have to 
request that the same hand would take my Mother[-in-law] and send it 
without letting Mr. Adams know for whom it is designd. You inquire 
how I like my situation. 1 I answer you the one I removed from, was in 
Burk[e]s stile, the sublime. This is the Beautifull. The House is better; 
that is the work within is superiour. The Architecture of the other 
House was Grand and the Avenue to it perfectly Romantick. The British 
Troops rob'd this place of its principal Glory by cutting down all the 
Trees in front of the House and leaving it wholly Naked. Behind the 
House is a fine Grove; through which is a gravell walk; which must in 
summer add greatly to the delight of the place. I am told for 8 months 
this place is delicious. In winter the Roads are bad and we are 2 miles & a 
half from the city. I have received every attention and politeness from 
the Gentlemen and Ladies which I could either expect or wish. Living 

1 Bush Hill was a suburb of Philadelphia, where Stephen Girard and Peter Helm as- 
sumed the direction of the new Lazaretto Hospital in September, 1793, during an epidemic 
of yellow fever. Schouler, History of the United States^ vol. i, p. 255. 

6 7 

here is more expensive than in N[ew] York, Horse keeping in particular, 
which we sensibly feel, as we are obliged to keep four, for during the 
sitting of Congress they frequently go six times to the city in the course of 
the day. We cannot purchase any marketting but by going into the city. 
We have had very severe cold weather from the beginning of December 
till the week past, when the snow has chiefly left us. I am thinking 
seriously of making arrangments to come to Braintree [as] early in the 
spring as the Roads will permit, for it is generally believed that Congress 
will not sit after March. If so I hope to be with you by the last of April 
or begining of May, and as I must leave Brisler and his Family here, I 
would look out early for some person in his stead. Can you inform me 
where Nathan Tirril is, and whether he was last summer engaged? He is 
a good Hand in a Garden and on many other accounts usefull. There are 
some articles which I shall want in the kitchin way, but it will be time 
enough to think of these things some months hence. 

I feel the loss of Mrs. Smith and Family and it pains me daily that I 
could not have her with me this winter. It is in vain to say what we ought 
to have been able to do. I feel what I cannot do. The Cols. Family are 
all very kind to Mrs. Smith and treat her like a child, but a Fathers House 
is still the most desirable place. I hear every week from her. I have 
John with me. A fine Boy he is and the enlivener of the whole Family, 
We are a scattered family, and I see no prospect of our ever being other- 
ways. Mr. Durant was here last week and said he was going to Boston 
in order to sail from thence for St. Croix, the River here being frozen up. 
I thought the Letter you sent to the care of Thomas would go best & 
soonest by him, so we gave it to him. Thomas is much better tho he does 
not yet go out except to ride. I have had a succession of sickness in my 
Family. When we have been well ourselves, our servants have been laid 
up. When I come to this place again I am determined to bring a decent 
woman who understands plain cooking with me. Such a vile low tribe 
you never was tormented with & I hope never will be. I brought all my 
servants from N[ew] York, cook excepted, and thought I could not be 
worse of than I had been. I have had in the course of 18 months seven, 
and I firmly believe in the whole Number, not a virtuous woman amongst 
them all: the most of them drunkards. I recruited with a new one last 
Monday, who brought written recommendations with her, and who to 
all appearence is very capable of her buisness, but on thursday got so 
drunk that she was carried to Bed, and so indecent, that footman, Coach- 
man & all were driven out of the House. Concequently she has turnd 


herself out of doors. We know little of vileness in our state when com- 
pared to those cities who have such Numbers of Foreigners as N[ew] 
York and Philadelphia I thank you my dear Sister for your kind care 
of your Nephew. He wanted it I believe. He mourns a want of employ, 
but all young men must have patience, especially in his profession. 
"There is a tide in the affairs of men." 2 Our young folks must watch for it 

I would ask Dr. Rush about a certain affair if I had a short detail of 
Names, circumstances, and time. If Cousin Lucy thinks it worth her time 
to give me some account of the affair, I am upon such an intimate footing 
with the Dr. since his practise in our Family that I could easily assertain 
all he knows about it, but the Story was so complicated that I am by no 
means mistress of the Subject. 

My Love to Mrs. Norton & my young Nephew. I anticipate the pleas- 
ure of meeting you all. Pray heaven nothing may arise to prevent my 
realizing the satisfaction. Let me hear from you as often as you can and 
believe me at all times most 

Affectionatly yours 


Bush Hill [Pennsylvania], March I2th, 1791 

I was just going to set down to write to you, when I received your 
Letter of [blank]. I am sensible I was much in Arrears to you, as well as 
to some other of my Friends. Since the Recovery of Thomas we have 
had Health in our dwelling, for which I have great reason to be thankfull. 
I have been happy with my three sons round me, but a sigh of anxiety 
always hung about my Heart, for Mrs. Smith, who ought to be with me 
during the absence of the Col. If I had remaind in N[ew] York, we should 
not have lived seperate this winter, but my removal here, and the 
expence of the removal of a Family for 5 or six Months, was an obstical 
in the way. As the Col. is expected back in May, if he arrives as I hope 
he will, he will come immediatly into an office, which will afford to him 
and his Family a very handsome support. It will be a very Arduous office 
in the State of N[ew] York, but he is of a very active disposition, and 
very well calculated for the discharge of it. A prospect of a Provision for 

2 There Is a tide in the affairs of men 
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; 
Omitted, all the voyage of their life 
Is bound in shallows and in miseries. 

Julius Caesar, Act IV, Scene III, lines 218-21. 

6 9 

himself and Family has releived my mind from a very heavy burden. I 
hope nothing will arise to detain him abroad longer than we expect, and 
this provision for him at Home, is much more agreeable to us all than 
any employment abroad, which would have carried from me my only 
daughter. Charles is returnd to his office in N[ew] York and Boards with 
Mrs. Smith. I suppose J. Q. A. will reach Boston by the time this Letter 
gets to you. He seems happy in the expectation of our passing the sum- 
mer in Braintree, but he appears to have lost much of his sprightlyness 
and vivacity. He says that the want of Buisness in his profession and the 
dismal prospect for the practitioners of the Law in Massachusets, is the 
weight which depresses him, & that He should still be obliged at his age, 
to be dependant upon his parents for a support. Altho these feelings are 
proofs of a good mind, and a sensible Heart, I could wish that they did not 
oppress him so much. He wishes sometimes that he had been Bred a 
Farmer, a Merchant, or an, any thing by which he could earn his Bread, 
but we all preach Patience to him. Thomas follows his studies in the city 
with as much assiduity as his Health will permit, but he does not look 
well, and I think I cannot consent to leave him in this Hot climate during 
the summer. A journey may establish his Health, and prevent a return 
of that soar disorder the next fall, as his Blood retains yet much of the 
materials for making it. Every damp day warns him of the future, & 
reminds him of the past. 

You wrote me in your Letter of Janry 25th of a Negro Man and 
woman whom you thought would answer for me this summer. If she is 
cleanly and only a tolerable cook I wish you would engage her for me. 
I had rather have black than white help, as they will be more like to 
agree with those I bring. I have a very clever black Boy of 15 who has 
lived with me a year and is bound to me till he is 21. My coachman 
will not allow that he is a Negro, but he will pass for one with us. Prince 
I believe I shall leave with Mr. Brisler. I shall bring Polly, and dismiss 
the rest of my servants. Tis probable we may hire the Black man part 
of the time as a Gardner, but I design to make those I bring with me 
work if I can. I will be obliged to you if you will go to the House, and 
look over the things and write me what you think I shall have absolutly 
need of towards keeping House. I have written to the Dr. to get Mr. 
Pratt to make me two kitchin tables and some other articles. There were 
some old Bed Steads in the House but none perfect. Will you ask Mr. 
Pratt if he can make me one that is movable like one which Polly says 
he made for Mrs. Apthorp with a sacking bottom and doubles up to- 


gether. I do not know any Name for them to distinguish them by; 
I had one made in N[ew] York which I found exceedingly usefull when 
Thomas was sick. I have no coars ware neither milk pan, or bowl or 
dish, Broom or Brush. I shall want some tow cloth, ten or a dozen yds at 
my first arrival I do not know if the Dr. [Cotton Tufts] has any Money in 
his Hands, to procure me these articles, but if he has not, I will send you 
some for the purpose, as I cannot think of comeing there with a Family, 
and then haveing every thing to look out for afterwards. Besides I shall 
not have Brisler to manage for me. I shall take some spoons & what little 
plate I may have occasion for with me. Mrs. Brisler left some chairs 
which I shall take of her. I think I have as much table & bed linnen as I 
shall want. I wish the Roads were such that we could set out immediatly, 
but that cannot be. I hope however to be with you by the first of May, 
and I look forward to it with great pleasure I assure you. I shall send by 
the first vessel a Trunk with some cloaths &c, as we wish to travell with 
as little Bagage as possible. I dinned yesterday at the Presidents. It was 
a take leave dinner. The President sets of this week on a Tour to those 
parts of his Dominions which he has not yet visited, Georgia & North 
Carolina. Our publick affairs never looked more prosperous. The people 
feel the benificial effects of the New Government by an increasing credit 
both at Home and abroad and a confidence in their Rulers. Some grum- 
bling we must always expect, but we have as a people the greatest cause 
for Gratitude and thankfullness to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe 
for our present happy and prosperious circumstances as a Nation. 1 

Adieu, my dear Sister. Every blessing attend you and yours, is the 
sincere wish of your ever 

Affectionate Sister 


My kind regards to Mr. Cranch, to Mr. & Mrs. Norton, to Cousin 
William & Lucy and a kiss for my young Richard. 2 

1 Hamilton's project for founding a national bank aroused intense opposition in and 
out of the Congress. Passing the Senate first, with the customary secrecy, the bill caused a 
long and bitter debate in the House- Washington asked both Jefferson and Hamilton for 
reports on the constitutionality of the bill as finally passed, and followed Hamilton's 
favorable report, of which the chief argument was the doctrine of "implied powers." The 
Bank of the United States got a charter for twenty years and was authorized to have a 
capital of ten million dollars, of which the United States was to subscribe two millions, and 
the public eight millions. For popular reaction to the setting up of the bank m the autumn 
of 1791, see Schouler, History of the United States, vol. I, p. 198. 

2 Reverend Jacob and Elizabeth (Cranch) Norton, William Cranch (who married Anna 
Greenleaf), and Lucy Cranch (who married John Greenleaf). "Young Richard" is prob- 
ably the son who was born to the Mortons in March, 1790. 


Bush Hill, April 18, 1791 

This day fortnight the 2 of May we propose to set out on our journey 
to Braintree. It will be the middle of May I presume before we arrive 
there if we meet with no accident, so that I will thank you to attend a 
little to my garden, have some sallid sown and what ever else you think 
proper. I wrote to you not long since requesting you to let me know what 
you thought I might want. You will not forget some Night Hawks. 1 
Be so good as to get me a dozen yds of diaper for towels I have not one 
there and whatever else you think I stand in immediate want of. I 
cannot bear to go to a place unprovided, when a little forethought and 
care would save me much trouble, and I shall not have Brisler with me to 
provide for me. I have requested the Dr. to furnish you with the need- 
full. Vendues are so frequent in Boston that I may be provided with 
some things perhaps, I shall want a Tea kettle, dish kettle, chaffing dish, 
a set of Brushes, Brooms, pails, flat Irons, Tubs, Skillits, pots &c. I 
scarcly know what myself. I have not heard from you since I wrote to 
you respecting the Negro woman. I should like to have the House opend, 
cleand, and aird and to have her there when I get there, but I will write 
to you again and will let you know on what day tis probable I shall arrive. 
Remember me affectionatly to all Friends. I anticipate much satisfac- 
tion & pleasure with you this summer. I am with sincere regard & 

Yours sincerely 


New York, May 6th, 1791 

I arrived here the night before last and found Mrs. Smith and Family 
well. We propose to tarry with her till Monday the loth and in ten days 
more to be with you. Last night by the post I received your kind Letter 
of April 2gth. A thousand thanks for your sisterly care and attention. 
A little Providence before hand saves a world of fretting and teazing. I 
have found inconvenience enough and additional expence too, from going 

1 No suitable meaning for "night hawk" has been found in the Oxford English Dictionary, 
which gives two definitions only, the first a kind of bird, and the second a nocturnal bandit. 
The late Albert Matthews kindly suggested the following solution. In the Dictionary of 
American English, "nighthawk" is defined as "a dish of some kind." This definition is 
based on the Massachusetts Gentinel, July 10, 1784, which contains an advertisement of a 
sale of dishes in Boston. Among porringers, bowls, cups and saucers, pots and pans, and 
candlesticks, are listed "6 nighthawks." 


to places quite inprovided. It is matter of comfort too to think I shall be 
like to find sober honest servants. I shall make much of all such. I think 
my dear Sister that as it is comeing Hot weather my oil cloth will do best 
for my parlour. I would wish to have it put down. What would be the 
expence of a New Tack. If ten or 12 dollors would put one up, tis so 
great a comfort that I should be glad to have one put up. Knives and 
forks I have put up, I dozen large spoons, I dozen & 3^ Tea spoons. Sup- 
pose the Negro Man and woman have a bed and would not be against 
bringing it if I hire them both. A Matrass will do for the coach man & an 
other for the Boy. I hope Brother Adams 1 will not fail to procure us 
oats. We use 30 Bushels a month, and the coachman will have them, or 
other grain which is more costly & not so good for the Horses. Thomas is 
with us. Mr. Brislers Family moved in to our House the day I left it. 
I left to be put on Board Captain Cheeseman in the Brigg Ceares one 
Trunk of mine and one of Pollys, one Band Box & a small portmantua 
Trunk. If they should come before I get to Braintree I should be glad to 
have them brought up. I do not think of any other matter. I know you 
will be so provident for me that I am less anxious about any thing. I will 
write to you from some place on the Road so as to let you know with 
more certainty the day that I shall be with you. Let me find you at our 
House for I will be in before night. I shall avoid going through Boston. 
My Love to all my dear Friends. God send us a happy and joyfull 
meeting, prays your ever 

Affectionate Sister 


Mrs. Smiths Love & Duty. Louisa would be glad if she knew how but 
she is one of the equal folks. 

Philadelphia, October 3Oth, 1791. l 

I wrote to you upon my journey whilst I was at Brookfield [Massa- 
chusetts] the Sunday after I left you and was sorry to find by your Letter, 
that you had not received it. I wrote to you from N[ew] York but have 
been so engaged in moveing, & so embarressd with company in the midst 
of it, tho only a complimentary call, that I have had scarcly a moment 
that I could call my own. It was kind in you [to l]et Mr. Cranch to 
superscribe your Letter. I thank you for [the] precaution, because I open 

1 Peter Boylston Adams (1738-1823), only living brother of John Adams. 
1 Readers will notice that Mrs. Adams is now back in Philadelphia, after having 
spent the summer in Braintree, later (1792) Quincy. 


every Letter from you with trembling and fear. I rejoice most sincerely 
with you in your prospect of a recovering Limb. If the Life of our dear 
Friend is spaired, we cannot be sufficiently thankfull to a kind Provi- 
dence, even tho the recovery should be long and Tedious. My Heart bled 
to leave you in such distress. 

We have nearly got through the Bustle of Removal, but my House is 
no way to my mind. The Rooms so small and not able to lay two 
together, renders it very troublesome to see so much company as we 
must be obliged to. The weather is very pleasent and my Health better 
than for some months past. Thomas is less threatned with Rhumaticks 
than he was on our journey. Louisa as well as usual. Mr. Adams is much 
recovered to what he was, has been able to attend his duty in Senate, 
tho sometimes a good deal exhausted. 

You mention in your Letter getting the House blockd up. I forgot to 
inform you that there was cider and potatoes to be put into the cellar 
and that Brother had engaged to see the cellar Bank'd up. But if it should 
not be done I would wish to have it secured before the Frost. For the 
Reasons above mentioned I directed Polly [Tailor] to leave the keys of 
the House with them, the keys of the cellar to bring to you. I wonder 
Mrs. Jeffry has not sent for Polly, 2 She appeard so solicitious to get her. 
I hope no one has done her an injury. Polly had qualifications peculiarly 
fitted for my Family, and might still have been in it, but for a little un- 
ruly Member. I like Katy very well and beleive I could not have been 
better suited. Mrs. Brisler is with me, feeble & sick, tho better than she 
was. I do not see but she must remain with me, unless Lucy returns to 
take care of her and her children. My things have not yet arrived from 
Boston. I fear I shall lose my Pears. 

I am anxious for Billy Shaw 3 least he should be a criple all his day's. 

Let me hear from you often for I am still anxious. Remember me 
kindly to all inquiring Friends. 

Yours affectionatly 


Philadelphia, December 18, 1791 

I wrote to you on the 27 of Novbr. but company comeing in calPd me 
from my pen, and I have not since had leisure to reassume it. I have so 

2 Polly Tailor, formerly a servant of Mrs. Adams, See the letter of April 28, 1790. 
8 William Smith. Shaw (1778-1826), nephew of Mrs. John Adams. 


little Time that I can call my own whilst here that I think when I return 
to Braintree I ought without suffering from any reflections to be able to 
live retired. On Monday Evenings our House is open to all who please 
to visit me. On Twesdays my domestick affairs call for me to arrange 
them & to labour pretty well too, for the Wednesdays dinners which we 
give every week to the amount of sixteen & 18 persons which are as many 
as we can accommodate at once in our Thousand Dollors House. On 
Thursday the replacing & restoring to order occupies my attention. The 
occasional intercourse of dinning abroad, returning visits &c leaves me 
very few hours to myself. I feel that day a happy one that I can say I 
have no engagement but to my Family. I have a cleaver, sober, honest & 
Neat black woman as my daily cook. In this respect I am happier than 
formerly. I always hire for company. The greatest trouble I have, is that 
Mrs. Brisler is chiefly confind to her Bed wholy unable to do the least 
thing for herself or Family. She was better after I came here, but a 
return of the intermitting fever together with her old weakness & com- 
plaints not only deprives her of her usefulness but is a great incumberance 
to me, and takes up much of the Time of my help. In short I know not 
how I get through, for I have no other help than those I brought with 
me except the cook. I have been very well myself, till about a fortnight 
since, I have labourd under complaints. [One line at the top of the page 
has been cut off.} I am still afflicted. Mr. Adams is recoverd from his 
complaints but labours under a great cold. Thomas has escaped better 
than I feard from the Rhumatism. It threatned him for several weeks. 
Louisa is very well. Cealia requests me to inquire after her child & prays 
you would write to me & inform her if it is well. Mrs. Otis 1 & Cousin 
Betsy are well. We live socible & Friendly together. In many respects I 
am much better off than when I lived out of Town. Expence is not to be 
taken into consideration. That is almost beyond calculation. What a 
dreadfull blow this defeat of Sinclair & his Army? 2 My Heart bleads for 
the Relatives of as worthy officers as ever fought or fell but, the justice, 

1 Mary (Smith) [Gray], second wife of Samuel Allyne Otis (1740-1814). His first wife, 
Elizabeth Gray, daughter of Harrison Gray (1711-1794), died January 22, 1779. 

2 Arthur St. Clair (1736-1818) was born in Scotland and came to America in 1757 to 
serve with Amherst in Canada. He married Phoebe Bayard, of Boston, a niece of Governor 
James Bowdoin, from whom his wife inherited money. Having served in the Revolution, 
he was appointed Governor of the Northwest Territory in 1787. On November 4, 1791, he 
was surprised and overwhelmingly defeated by the Indians on a branch of the Wabash, 
not far from the present site of Fort Wayne. For a dramatic account of this defeat, and 
President Washington's reaction to the news of it, see Schouler, History of the United 
States, vol. i, pp. 209-15. 


the policy, the wisdom of this cruel enterprize lies with higher powers to 
investigate than mine. 

Your kind Letters of Novbr 6th & nth came safe to Hand and made 
me truly happy. So little hopes had I of the recovery of our dear and 
valuable Friend that I feard to hear from you; I could never have 
imagind that a Leg such as his was, & which appeard to be so far gone 
in a mortification, could possibly have been restored & that so soon, 
thanks to that all gracious Providence whose kindness has been so fre- 
quently displayd towards us. I heard last week from Mrs. Smith and her 
little ones. They were all well You begin I suppose to feel anxious for 
Mrs. Norton. I hope to hear in due time that she has a daughter. I feel 
anxious about our House at Braintree. There was a place in the Roof 
that Leakd much. I sent for two Carpenters, but they could not find 
out the place. I wish it might be lookd too. I spoke with Brother about 
it, but fear he has not thought about it. I see by the paper that Mr. 
Jeffrie is gone to the Madaries for his Health. I want to know how Polly 
does & how she is likd. I often think of your Neighbours saying she was 
as necessary to him as his daily Bread. I miss her very much in things 
which it will be hard for any other person ever to make up to me, in that 
ready offerd service which prevented my wishes, and which is always so 
pleasing. Yet she balanced the account sometimes by the vexation which 
she occasiond me. I wish her well, and shall always value her good quali- 
ties, and freely credit her for them. Cealia is as good as I could expect, 
but would soon be led way if I did not strickly guard her. Katy has all 
the dispositions in the world [as] Sterne says, but wants experience, in 
a service which is quite New to her. She is f aithfull in her duty, but poor 
Girl has her sister & two children to look after. In short I think some- 
times it cost me as dearly for honesty & fidelity as it would for knavery 
and I seem to have got an entailment that follows me through the world, 
particularly a certain degree of sickness that I must take charge of. How- 
ever it is I hope a part of the portion of good which I ought to do. If so 
I am in fault to complain. Remember me kindly to all Friends. Mrs. 
Payne I often think of. Give my Love to her & tell her I hope to see her 
early in thfe spring with my other Friends. Pray if I did not Mention the 
desk before give for it what you think it reasonably worth and ask the 
Dr. for the Money. Let me hear from you as often as you can and be 
assured of the sincere affection of 

Your Sister 


Philadelphia, Febry. 5th, 1792 

I received your kind Letter of Decbr. and sincerely congratulate you 
and my Neice upon the Birth of a Son, tho I could have wishd it had been 
a daughter. 1 I have had the pleasure of having Mrs. Smith and William 
on a visit to me for 5 weeks. The Col. has been part of the Time here & 
Charles spent a fortnight with me. They expect to leave me in a week or 
ten days. This would be but a small matter to me as I should hope to see 
them again when I past through N[ew] York. But of that I have no 
prospect. The Col. has made a very advantagous contract with some 
Gentlemen which will carry him abroad and keep him [there] two years 
and accordingly he takes his Family with him and [they will] sail in the 
March Packet. This you may be sure is a heavy stroke to me, but I 
cannot wish them to decline it, as he goes upon a certain sure footing, 
and a probable great advantage. Mrs. Smith is in circumstances which 
will make me more anxious for her, but my Family are destined to be 
scatterd I think. I begin to long for the Time when I shall set out for 
Braintree. I fear it will not be earlier than the last year. My Health for 
six weeks has not been good. I still Labour under an Intermitting 
[fever] which I apprehend will increase with the warm weather. I am not 
confind, but am frequently obliged to decline going into company, of 
which this city is the General Resort during winter, and one continued 
scene of Parties upon Parties, Balls and entertainments equal to any 
European city. The Publick amusements tis True are few. No Theatre 
here this winter, an assembly once a fortnight, to which I have not been 
this season, but the more general Method for those who have Houses 
calculated for it, is to give Balls at their own Houses. The Indian War 
has been a distressing subject. Who & who have been in fault is not for 
me to say. Where a commander is to be found fit for "the Buisness I 
believe will puzzel more wise Heads than one. The War is an [unpopular 
one. If it is a necessary War as I presume it is, it is to be hoped that 
measures will be pressed to render it more successfull than it has yet 
been, but I believe those whose judgments are good have little expecta- 
tion that it will be so. 

What is become of Betty & her Husband ? Cealia is very anxious about 
her child & very unhappy at the part her Mother has taken. I was glad 
to le[arn] that Polly was well & pleasd with her place. We have had 

The second son born to the Reverend Jacob and Elizabeth (Cranch) Norton. 


torn] weather here. The judge & Mrs. Lowell 2 have been a month 
here and by them I shall forward this to you. Mrs. Brisler is much better 
than she was. Her disorder proved to be an intermitting fever. 

Let me hear from you and my Friends as often as you can. It will give 
great pleasure to your 

Affectionate Sister 


Philadelphia, March 20, 1792 

I have obliged Louisa, much against her judgment, to give me a pen, 
Ink and paper, that I might make an effort however feeble to write a 
few lines to my dear sister. Tis now the sixth week since I have been out 
of the door of this Chamber, or moved in a larger circle than from my 
Bed to the chair. I was taken six weeks ago very ill with an Inflamitory 
Rhumatism and tho it did not totally deprive me of the use of my Limbs, 
it swelld and inflamed them to a high degree, and the distress I sufferd 
in my Head was almost intolerable. 3 Times was I let Blood, the state 
of which was like a person in a high Plurisy. I am now lame in my wrists 
from the 8th pr of Blisters which I have had. A week after the Rhuma- 
tism attackd me, the intermitting fever set in, and under that I am still 
Labouring. It was necessary to quell the inflamitory disease first, & 
Bark could not be administerd for that. I am now reduced low enough to 
drive away the Rhumatism, but the old Enemy yet keeps possession. 
The Dr, [Benjamin Rush] promisees me the Bark in a few days, but my 
dear Sister, you would scarcly know me reduced as I am. I have scarcly 
any flesh left in comparison of what I was, but blessed be God my Life is 
spaired and I am really mending, tho it must be slowly whilst this fever 
which daily visits me remains. In the midst of my Illness my dear Mrs. 
Smith was obliged to leave me. Distress enough poor Girl. She then 
expected to have saild in 8 days but they have since determind to go in a 
Merchant Ship which is to sail this week. But tho absent from you my 
dear Sister & deprived of the Tender care of my only daughter, I have not 
been without my comforts. Louisa has been a watchfull and attentive 
Nurse. Mrs, Brisler has happily recoverd her Health and has been a 
comfort to me. But I have found in my old Friend Mrs. Dalton 1 a 

2 John Lowell (1743-1802), of Newburyport, and later Boston. In 1789 he became a 
United States judge for the District of Massachusetts. 
1 See the letter of February 20, 1790. 


Friend indeed, and in my good Mrs. Otis 2 & kind Cousin Betsy, 3 all 
that I could wish or desire. One or other of them have been constantly 
with me, watching by Night & tending me by day as you my dear Sister 
would have done. I have experiencd from all my acquaintance the 
kindest solisitude for me, & tho so long a sickness, have always had 
more watchers to offer than I have had occasion to accept. I have had 
a most tedious cough through my disorder which has not yet left me. My 
weak state call[s] upon me to quit the pen & lay me down. If well 
enough tomorrow I will take it up again. 

Wednesday, [March] 21, [1792] 

I am much to day as yesterday. Had a tolerable Night, find rather 
more agitation upon my Nerves. Received a Letter from Mrs. Smith 
who was to have saild this day, but is prevented by the Cols, being taken 
sick with his old Billious complaint so as to be obliged to be Bled and 
Blisterd. I am not a little anxious for him. How soon may our fairest 
prospects be leveld with the dust and shew us that Man in his best 
estate is but vanity and dust? 

1 am almost too weak to think of any arrangments for a journey, but as 
soon as I am able to travel I shall set out for Braintree. If congress are 
not up, Mr. Adams will ask leave of absence. As I have not yet been out 
of my chamber, the middle of April is as soon as I can expect if I mend 
ever so fast, but that will soon be here. There is a little painting I wish I 
could get done to the House before I come. I mean the stairs and the 
Entry below & the china closset & the kitchen floor. I wish you would 
consult the the [sic] Dr. [Cotton Tufts] & have it done if you can. Mrs. 
Black has her small Room painted as I should like the Entry and closset. 
I hope my wood is ready which I engaged to have got in the winter. If I 
had been well I should have written to the Dr. respecting several things, 
but I am little capable of Buisness & Mr. Adams's whole time is taken 
up with the publick Buisness. I wish you to ask the Dr. if he does not 
think I had better have a Barrel of Brown Sugar bought provided it can 
be had. Good Sugars will rise. Oats I suppose it will be time enough to 
think of, yet if they are reasonable I wish the Dr. to secure us a hundred 
Bushel. I thank you my dear Sister for all the kind care you have taken 

2 Mrs. Samuel Allyne Otis, step-mother of Harrison Gray Otis (1765-1848). 

8 Elizabeth, daughter of William Smith, brother of Mrs. Adams. See the letter of April 
20, 1792. 


for me. I still continue to be troublesome to you. My Love to my 
Neices & all other Friends. I find myself too feeble to continue writing. 
Cealia is well, much concernd for her Child. Adieu. God grant us a 
happy meeting prays your ever 

Affectionate Sister 


Philadelphia, March 25th, 1792. 

I received your kind Letter of March eleventh yesterday, I wrote to 
you last week which was the first time I had been permitted to use my 
pen, or indeed was able too, for six weeks. I have not yet been out of my 
chamber. The Weather has been very unfavourable this Month. I was 
to have tried the carriage to day but the weather is against me. I am so 
feeble & faint, if I move that I do not think I could get down stairs with- 
out being carried. Yet I grow impatient of confinement, and long to be 
well enough to set out on my journey. I fear I shall not have strength for 
it so soon as I wish. I would leave here the middle of April if I could. 

You was so good as to make provision for me last year by procuring me 
those things which you thought necessary such as Loaf & Brown Sugar, 
Tea, Coffe, Meal &c. As to Brown Sugar I hope the Dr. [Cotton Tufts] 
will procure me a Barrel. I shall not have so many articles to provide as 
when I went last year in the furniture way, yet I did not arrive at a fry- 
ing pan or Grid Iron I think. I dont know whether I wrote the Dr. to 
procure me candles. If I did not you will speak to him. 

March 29th, [1792] 

Bad weather yet. No riding out for which I am impatient. I yesterday 
received a Letter from Mrs. Smith [dated the] 24th. She writes me that 
the Col was better & that they expected to sail the first fair wind. I 
have not learnt that they are yet gone. Indeed my dear Sister it is very 
hard to part with my only daughter. It has depressd my spirits very 
much through my sickness, but we must all have our trials, some of one 
kind & some of an other. As to Politicks, they begin to grow pretty 
warm. There are Honesters in Congress as well as in Boston. There are 
Grumblers and antifeadelist [sic], but very few from the North. The old 
dominion is in a Rage, because they could not carry the point of getting 



E. Malcolm 

more than there share of Representation in the Government. 1 All th< 
attacks upon the Secretary of the Treasury and upon the Government 
come from that Quarter, but I think whilst the people prosper, and fee 
themselves happy they cannot be blown up. I most sincerely wish a stoj 
could be put to the Rage of speculation, yet I think it is an Evil that wil 
cure itself in Time. Tis very curious, just before the News arrived o - 
Sinclairs defeat, Mr. Gerry made a motion for an Equesterian Statue tc 
be Erected to the President, agreeable to a former vote of congress no^ 
the Coin is not permitted to wear the stamp of the President because il 
would savor too much of Royalty. 2 So inconsistent are Men and th( 
same Men But I feel that I must close. Presenting my affectionate 
Regards to you & yours I am most sincerely 

Your affectionate Sister 

Philadelphia, April 2Oth, 1792 

I have just received your kind Letter as I was about to write to you 
to inform you that we proposed sitting out on our journey on Monday 01 
twesday next. The weather has been so rainy that I have not been able 
to ride so often as I wishd in order to prepare myself for my journey, 
and how I shall stand it, I know not. This everlasting fever still hangs 
about me & prevents my intire recovery. A critical period of Life Aug- 
ments my complaints. I am far from Health, tho much better than when 
I wrote you last. I see not any company but those who visit me in my 
chamber. Nor have I once been out of my carriage, but to see my Friend 

1 As a result of the first census (1790), the House of Representatives was reapportioned 
among the states in the spring of 1792. Three bills were introduced into Congress, resulting 
in a three-sided quarrel between House and Senate, Federalists and Republicans, and NCTB 
England and Virginia. The first bill was lost in the House; the second was vetoed by 
Washington the first exercise of the veto power in our history. The third bill, allowing one 
representative for every thirty-three thousand people, took care of the fractional parts oi 
the population in New England. After March 3, 1793, the House consisted of one hundred 
and five members. Schouler, History of the United States, vol. I, pp. 206-7. 

2 "A Federal proposition in the House to put the President's head upon the new United 
States coins was assailed with more effect as an unrepublican imitation of Caesar's image 
and superscription, and the device of Liberty was finally substituted instead. Though ir 
this instance and another, where plans were being pressed for erecting an equestrian statue 
to Washington . . . the real animus of the opposition was directed against the Hamiltor 
clique. . . ." Schouler, History of the United States, vol. I, p. 207* 


Mrs. Dalton, who was sick before I got well, tho not till I was so much 
better as to do without her kind care. Cousin Betsy Smith 1 has been 
with me for the greatest part of the Time the last Month, and a good 
child she is, tender and affectionate as her good Mother was. I thank 
you for your care about my things. We have sent last week to Boston 
by the Brigg Isabella a number of Boxes & Barrels, They are addrest to 
the care of J. Q. A,, but I wish you to ask the Dr. [Cotton Tufts] to be so 
kind as to see that a carefull Team brings them to Braintree, & that 
Hay or Straw is put into the cart, or the things will get Broken. The 
Bill of laiding was inclosed to Mr. Adams. I shall send by the Brig 
Maria my Trunk of cloaths &c. She is now here. I am glad to hear that 
spring is forward as I hope to find the Roads good in concequence of it, 
but I always fear for the fruit. If the things you mention could be ac- 
complishd before we arrive, it would be a great relief to me. I am grieved 
for my dear Sister Shaw, tho I have not been able to write and tell her 
so, for I was seaz'd with an inflamation in one of my Eyes when I was 
first taken sick which has not yet left me. I could not bear a light in the 
Room, nor even the fire to Blaize. It is much better, but writing, read- 
ing or sewing are all painfull to me. Mr. Adams has not had any return 
of his Ague but lives in continual apprehension. Thomas is thin & pale 
but does not complain. We must leave him on account of his Studies. 
Yet it will be with apprehensions that I shall hear of his being sick I 
do not particularly recollect any thing I want. You know as well as I & 
better for you provided for me before. If you go to Boston I should like 
to have a pr of Brass Andirons at about 8 dollars price, Tongues [sic] and 
Shovel proper for my best Room, but you need take no extra trouble 
for them. You will be so good as to have the Beds aird &c. If Betsy is 
in Braintree she may be engaged for to stay if you think best till Cealia 
gets Home, I shall send her by the vessel now here. I am not so perfectly 
easy on account of travelling Home as I should have been with Robert 
when he was sober, but he really got to such a pass that I have been 
obliged to part with him & have taken one who has not driven me more 
than once or twice, but I hope we shall reach Home safe. Terrible is the 
distress in N[ew] York, from the failure of many of the richest people 
there, and from the Spirit of Speculation which has prevaild & brought 
to Ruin many industerous Families who lent their Money in hopes of 

1 Daughter of William Smith, brother of Mrs. Adams and sister of Louisa Smith, who 
made her home with John and Abigail Adams. See footnote 4 to the letter of November 24, 


Gain. 2 I was mortified to see our worthy Friend 3 stand so low on the 
list of Senators who I had been accustomed to see stand foremost, but 
such is the Instability of the people. Popular Leaders catch their ear 
and they are credulous to their own injury. In the House of Representa- 
tives of the U[nited] States matters are not going better. The Southern 
members are determined if possible to Ruin the Secretary of the Treasury, 
distroy all his well built systems, if possible and give a Fatal Stab to 
the funding system. In Senate they have harmonized well, no unbecome- 
ing heats or animosity. 4 The Members are however weary & long 
for a recess one after an other are droping off, which gives weight to 
the opposite side. Many of the Southern Members have written long 
speaches & had them printed, which has had more influence than our 
Northern Friends are aware of who, depending upon the goodness of their 
cause, have been inattentive to such Methods to influence the populace. 
The V[ice] President, they have permitted to sleep in peace this winter, 
whilst the minister at War, & the Secretary of the Treasury have been 
their Game. 5 The Secretary of State & even the President has not 
escaped. I firmly believe if I live Ten Years longer, I shall see a devision 
of the Southern & Northern States, unless more candour & less intrigue, 
of which I have no hopes, should prevail. Should a war or any dire 
calamity assail us, then they would Hugg us. But politicks avaunt. My 
dear Mrs. Smith has been a Month gone. It pains me to the Heart. But 
who of us can say, that we have not our troubles ? Our portion of happi- 
ness is no doubt equal to our deserts. 

2 The collapse of what the press called "scripophobia," a period of feverish speculation 
when the banks "soared like soap bubbles," starting in the summer of 1791. By the spring 
of 1792 there were many failures, and for large amounts. 

8 In 1792 the Senators from Massachusetts were Caleb Strong (1745-1819), of North- 
ampton, and George Cabot (1752-1823), of Salem. 

4 "But in the Senate Chamber all was dignity, courtesy, and moderation; the Senators, 
never more than thirty-two in number in Philadelphia, appeared well powdered and in 
rich dress, and if a loud whisper disturbed the member who had the floor Vice-President 
Adams would restore order by gently tapping with his silver pencil-case upon the little 
mahogany table which stood in front of him." Schouler, History of the United States, 
vol. I, p. 353. 

5 Because Henry Knox, Secretary of War, usually sided with Hamilton, who often 
carried Edmund Randolph, the Attorney-General, over to his way of thinking in disputes 
in the Cabinet, the Anti-Federalists, or Republicans, seized on the disaster of St. Clair's 
Defeat to strike at Hamilton by accusing Knox of inefficiency. When the Cabinet divided, 
Washington was left in the middle; but too often Randolph, as Jefferson liked to say, 
would give the "shells" to him and the "oyster" to Hamilton. Schouler, History of the 
United States, vol. I, p. 275. 


Adieu my dear Sister. I hope to see you in a few weeks. Remember 
me affectionatly to all our Friends. And believe me 

As ever yours 


_ _ N[ew] York, Sunday, April 29, 1792 

MY DEAR SISTER: J ' /J r * 9 /y 

I left Philadelphia on Twesday Noon the 24 of April. My first stage 
was only twenty miles. I bore it better than I expected. The next day 
rode only 18. Rain came on & the Roads were miry indeed. We did not 
get to this place till fryday evening. Here I find a vacancy which cannot 
be supplied, tho all my Friends are good & kind. The first being who 
welcomed me to the House, and met me at the door, was Billys 1 little 
favorite dog who came skipping & hopping upon me. My feelings were 
awakened almost to Tears. Mrs. Smith I should have said moved into the 
Cols. House when he went away. N[ew] York is in great distress. Many 
of my particular acquaintance whose affluence was great & well founded 
when I lived here, and even when I passt through last winter, are now in 
Ruinous circumstances, thousands worse than nothing. Such is the 
wheel of fortune. 

We propose setting out tomorrow but shall not reach Braintree 
(Quincy I beg your pardon) 2 till next week. I will endeavour to write 
you what day when we get into Massachussets, not perhaps till Wednes- 
day week. My Health is better than when I set out, but the Weather is 
very Rainy, & I dare not travell in bad Weather. My best Regards to 
you all. Adieu. Yours affectionatly 


Tv/r o N[ew] York, 25 June, lygc 1 

MY DEAR SISTER: L J ' J J ' iy3 

I yesterday received your Letter giving me an account of the distressd 
situation of Sister Smith. 2 I fear her disorder will terminate in a setled 

1 William, the eldest son of Abigail (Adams) Smith (1765-1813). 

2 Quincy, formerly part of Braintree, was established as Quincy on February 22, 1792. 
Historical Data Relating to Counties, Cities, and Towns in Massachusetts: Division of Public 
Records, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston, 1920, p, 52. 

1 Readers will notice that more than three years have elapsed since the preceding letter. 
Jefferson was no longer Secretary of State, Edmund Randolph having succeeded him on 
January 2, 1794. Hamilton, also, had retired, Oliver Wolcott, Jr., having become Secre- 
tary of the Treasury on February 2, 1795. Timothy Pickering became Secretary of War on 
January 2, 1795. William Bradford was Attorney-General after January 29, 1794; Joseph 
Habersham became Postmaster-General on February 5, 1795. 

2 Apparently the second wife of William Smith, the brother of Abigail (Smith) Adams. 
Smith first married Catherine Louisa Salmon. 

distraction. Burrel shall have the Room & bed Room for Mrs. Smith at 
12 dollors a year, but he shall have them only for her. That is he shall not 
consider himself at Liberty to let them to any one else if she should 
not continue with him. I mention this because when I let him the House 
there was a misunderstanding between us. But if she goes there, care 
should be had that she should have a sufficiency of good & wholesome 
food. They are poor people and live pretty near. Indeed they are 
obliged to, Mrs. Smiths place is let at much too small a Rent as produce 

I was in hopes to have been on my way home by this time, but the 
Senate are not yet up, and Mr. Adams does not give me much hopes of its 
rising till Saturday. The Fate of the Treaty is not yet known. It is 
however the general opinion that it will be ratified. I say the out door 
opinion, for the Senate are secret and silent. It has been discussed with 
much calmness, coolness and deliberation, and considerd in all its vari- 
ous lights and opperations. 3 I hope the decision will be wise & judicious, 
satisfactory & benificial to the Country. The Grumblers will growl 
however. Party will shew itself, and be bitter. I have had letters from 
my sons [as] late as 24 April. They were well & desire to be particularly 
rememberd to all Friends at Quincy. 

Mrs. Smith sends her duty & Love. She is well & so is Emelia, 4 a 
lovely Girl I assure you tho she has got red Hair which mortifies her 
mother not a little. John has the Ague poor fellow. 

I hear frequently of your son, 5 & from every body the just praises 
which he merits. Mr. Greenleaf drank Tea here last week. He talks of 

8 For the acrimony and intrigue which accompanied the negotiation and ratification of 
this treaty, see the standard work, S. F. Bemis, Jay's Treaty, New York, 1923. Jay's 
Treaty, signed November 19, 1794, was the subject of such secrecy that John Trumbullj 
the painter, had to commit it to memory in order to give the text of it to James Monroe in 
Paris in December, 1794. Just as Washington was on the point of allowing a publication of 
the authentic document, Bache's Aurora of June 29 came out with an abstract of the sub- 
stance of it. Bache got his copy from Stevens Thomson Mason (1760-1803), United States 
Senator from Virginia; he printed the text of the treaty in full in a pamphlet on July 1, 1795. 
For the popular reaction to the text of the treaty, see Schouler, History of the United States, 
vol. I, pp. 3 10-2. The Senate ratified it on June 24, 1795. The House finally voted money 
to carry it into effect on April 30, 1796. 

4 Caroline Amelia Smith, who was born in 1795, married John Peter DeWindt. 

8 William Cranch (1769-1855) went to Washington in 1794 as lawyer for the North 
American Land Company, of which his brother-in-law, James Greenleaf, was one of the 
chief promoters. See James Edward Greenleaf, Genealogy of the Greenleaf Family, Boston, 
1896, pp. 217-8, and the following note. 


returning to Holland soon. The Girls here, I believe, wish his wife dead. 6 
He is sufficiently a favorite where ever he goes, & seems too much of an 
American not to have all his affections, all centerd in this country. His 
manners are more like Nancys 7 than any of the rest of the Family. He 
looks like her. I asked how Polly [Tailor] was liked. He told me very 
much & Julia he said was well. I wishd him to go on to Boston that he 
[might] enjoy the happiness of his Brother 8 to which he had so much 
contributed. He said he must rejoice in it at a distance as his buisness 
would not allow him that pleasure. 

Remember me affectionatly to all our Friends. Tell Brisler the week 
after next he may look for us, 

Affectionatly yours 


Springfield [Massachusetts], April 30, I797 1 

I know you will rejoice to hear that we are so far on our journey with- 
out meeting any accident. My Quincy Friends and Neighbours who 
accompanied us as far as Westown could tell you that they parted with 
us in as good spirits, as the peculiar circumstances which preceeded our 

8 This remarkable man was James Greenleaf (1765-1843) of Boston, notorious spec- 
ulator in land, the associate of Robert Morris (1734-1806) and John Nicholson (died in 
1800) of Pennsylvania, in the North American Land Company. Greenleaf was American 
Consul-General in Amsterdam, and had a Dutch wife, through whose connections in 
Holland he planned to obtain investors in American land. The wars of the French 
Revolution diverted Dutch money to France, and emigrants who might have crossed the 
ocean died on the battlefields of Europe. The North American Land Company collapsed 
because of its ambitious scheme to promote and develop the new city of Washington. 
Greenleaf, Morris, and Nicholson went to jail. See the account of Greenleaf and his 
company in Channing, History of the United States, vol. 4, pp. 107-13; also, Schouler, 
History of the United States, vol. I, p. 381. 

7 Nancy (Greenleaf) Cranch (1772-1843), sister of James Greenleaf (1765-1843), 
married William Cranch in 1795. 

8 John Greenleaf (1763-1848), who married his cousin, Lucy Cranch (1767-1846), 
daughter of Richard and Mary (Smith) Cranch. 

1 Readers will notice that almost two years have elapsed since the preceding letter. 
Mrs. John Adams, now the wife of the President, is on her way from Quincy to Philadelphia, 
where John Adams had been inaugurated on March 4, 1797. For his inaugural speech, see 
Adams, Works, vol. 9, pp. 105-11. President and Mrs. John Adams left their suburban 
home at Bush Hill and moved into the city of Philadelphia in 1791. In 1797 they occu- 
pied what was formerly the Robert Morris mansion, next door to the new Morris 
mansion at the southeast corner of Sixth and Market Streets. Washington resided there 
from 1790 to 1797. This dwelling was demolished in 1832. Pennsylvania built an 
Executive Mansion at Ninth and Market Streets, but neither Washington nor Adams 
lived in it. 


leaving home would admit. We reachd Williams's and lodgd there. 2 It 
was fortunate that Mr. Brisler was with his wife, for in the Night she was 
taken with one of her sick turns, and was ill all night and part of the next 
day. Worry and fatigue had brought on what would have taken place 
without it as soon as the Hot weather commenced. Having effectually 
cleard her stomack, I hope she will proceed without any further incon- 
venience. The next day we reachd Worcester to dine, and Brookfield 3 to 
lodge. How we got to Springfield to night, is not worth your while to 
inquire. The Attorney Generall 4 will not present us I presume, as we 
caught him on the Road, returning from Northhampton Court. But with 
a Family of thirteen persons it behoves us to get on as fast as we can, 
particularly when I consider my detention, and how necessary to the 
Wheels of the Presidents Family Brisler is. My Thoughts are continually 
like Noahs Dove, returning to the Ark I have left. 

Whether like that I shall return no more, must be left with that Being, 
in whose hands my Breath is. I consider myself following where duty 
leads and trust the Event. 

Is Heav'n tremendous in its frowns? Most sure; 
And in its favours formidable too: 
Its favours here are trials, not rewards; 
A call to duty, not discharge from care; 
And should alarm us, full as much as woes; 
Awake us to their cause, and concequence; 
O'er our scann'd conduct give a jealous eye; 
And make us tremble. 5 

Such appears to me the situation in which I am placed, enviable no 
doubt in the Eyes of some, but never envy'd or coveted by me. That I 

2 Weston, the west precinct of Watertown, was established in 1713. In 1754 part of it 
was included in the new town of Lincoln. Boundaries between Weston and Waltham were 
established in 1766. Counties, Cities, and Towns in Massachusetts, p. 47. Williams's Inn 
was at Marlborough, Abraham Williams having erected a tavern there in 1665, which was 
still known by his name as late as 1907. Mary C. Crawford, Little Pilgrimages Among 
Old New England Inns, Boston, 1907, p. 160. 

3 Brookfield, now in Worcester County, was incorporated as a town in 1718. Counties, 
Cities, and Towns in Massachusetts, pp. 63-4. 

4 James Sullivan (1744-1808) was Attorney-General of Massachusetts from 1790 to 
1807, and Governor, 1807-1808. 

* Edward Young, Night Thoughts: "First Night: on Life, Death, and Immortality," 
lines 328-35. John Kieran of the New York Sun and "Information Please" deserves the 
credit for the placing of this quotation. 


may discharge my part with honour, and give satisfaction is my most 
earnest wish. 

My kindest regards await my Friends, particularly to Brother Cranch. 
Love to my dear Eliza. I hope she will not let her spirits faint or sink 
under her bereavement. How consolutary the reflection, that whom the 
Lord loveth, he chastneth. 

You have the consolation of knowing that no part of your duty was 
omitted. All that the tenderest Love and kindest affection could do 
or perform was done by you, for the dear Girl whose loss we mourn. 
This with her dying Breath she bore witness too [sic]. [At this point half 
a page is cut out.] 6 

Let Mrs. Howard know that Betsy stands her journey pretty well. 
The other Girls are very well. I forgot to mention to Mr. Porter to 
attend to the first catipillar webb and take them of as soon as they 
appear. Pray send him word. I see they are beginning upon the Road. 


East Chester, [New York], May 5, 1797 

We reachd here yesterday being thursday the 7th day from leaving 
home. We had very bad Roads, the Rains having washd all the stones 
bare, and the ruts were very deep. I was much fatigued. Brisler and 
Family went on to N[ew] York, Mrs. Brisler much mended in her Health 
by her journey. I hope when we get over our fatigue we shall all be able 
to say so. Betsy does not seem the worse for it, tho I think I have run a 
risk in taking so feeble a Being, but I hope it may be a means of restoreing 
a Good Girl to Health. I found Mrs. Smith and her Children in good 
Health. Mrs. Smith grows very fleshy, as much so I think as before she 
first went abroad, tho being older and more moulded into the form of 
woman, she does not look so burden'd. The Col[onel] has been gone a 
journey for a fortnight up to his New Lands. Tomorrow I go into New 
York and on Monday proceed for Philadelphia. I think it a very fortu- 
nate circumstance that Mr. Smith accompanied us. It has renderd the 
journey much pleasenter, and he has taken a good deal of care and 

6 The mother of John Adams, Susanna (Boylston) [Adams] Hall (1709-1797), died on 
April 21, 1797, at the age of eighty-eight. "Died at Quincy, 22 April, 1797, Mary Smith, 
daughter of the late Captain Smith, in the 22nd year of her age." Columbian Centinel, 
April 26, 1797. This Mary Smith was a niece of Mrs. John Adams. See Letters of 
Mrs. Adams, Boston, 1840, vol. 2, p. 237. 

anxiety from my mind, which I should have felt if he had not been with 

I want to hear how you all are; and how my Farming buisness goes on. 
I would wish you to go & look at them sometimes. My Love to all 
Friends and Neighbours. Mrs. Smith joins me in a kind remembrance. 

Your affectionate Sister 


Philadelphia, May 16, 1797 

Most cordially welcome to me was your kind Letter of May the 4th, 
yet I have not found time since my arrival to thank you for it, or even to 
write a Line to any Friend. My Journey was as pleasent as my thoughts 
upon what was past, and my anticipations of what was to come would 
permit it to be. We reachd East Chester on thursday noon [May 4] and 
found Mrs. Smith and Children well. My reflections upon prospects 
there, took from me all appetite to food, and depresst my spirits, before 
too low. The Colfonel] gone a journey, I knew not where, I could not 
converse with her, I saw her Heart too full. Such is the folly and mad- 
ness of speculation and extravagance. To her no blame is due. Educated 
in different Habits, she never enjoyd a life of dissipation. The Boys are 
fine Lads. I wish they were at Hingham under your care. I tarried one 
day & a half, and then went into N[ew] York. Charles lives prettily but 
frugally. He has a Lovely Babe and a discreet woman I think for his 
wife, quite different from many of the Family. 1 A Number of Ladies 
and Gentlemen visited me there. On Monday, the 8 of May, we left 
N[ew] York to persue our journey. On Wednesday morning about 25 
miles from Town, I was met by my Friend who clameing his own, I 
quitted my own carriage, and took my seat by his side. We rode on to 
Bristol, 2 where I had previously engaged a dinner, and there upon the 
Banks of the Deleware, we spent the day, getting into the city at sun 
set. I found my Family of domesticks had arrived on Saturday without 
meeting any accident, which was very fortunate, for 40 miles through 
the Jersies was the worst Roads I ever travelld. The soil is all clay. The 

1 In 1798 Charles Adams (1770-1800) was living in Beaver Street, New York City. 
Stokes, Iconography of Manhattan Island, index, p. 288. His wife was Sarah Smith (1769- 
1828); his two daughters, Susanna Boylston (1796-1846), and Abigail Louisa (1798-1838). 
Mrs. Charles Adams was a sister of Colonel William Stephens Smith. 

2 Bristol, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. 

heavey rains & the constant ran of six stages daily, had so cut them up, 
that the whole was like a ploughd feild, in furroughs of 2 feet in deepth, 
and was very dangerous. To me you may well suppose such roads were 
more peculiarly distressing. They were so much so, as to confine me to 
my Room & Bed the greater part of Two days. By some applications I 
have in a great Measure recoverd, tho I am still a sufferer. 

Yesterday being Monday, from 12 to half past two I received visits, 
32 Ladies and near as many Gentlemen. I shall have the same ceremony 
to pass through to day, and the rest part of the week. As I am not pre- 
paird with furniture for a Regular drawing Room, I shall not commence 
one I believe, as the Summer is to near at hand, and my Health very 
precarious. At the Winter Sessions I shall begin. Mrs. [Cotton] Tufts 
once stiled my situation, splendid misery. She was not far from Truth. 
To day the President meets both Houses at 12 to deliver His speech. 3 
I will inclose it to you. I should like to learn the comments upon it, with 
a veiw to discover the Temper and Sentiments of the publick mind. We 
are indeed as Milton expresses it, "Thrown on perilious Times." 

We have Letters from the Minister at the Hague 4 as late as 23 
Feb'iy. I will send you in my next some extracts from them. They are in 
the same strain of information and intelligence with the former. The 
decission as it respected the Election here, was well assertaind in France 
& England & Holland, and it had its influence upon all those powers. 

I pray you to Remember me affectionatly to all my Friends & Neigh- 
bours. I rejoice in your unanimity as it respect [sic] Mr. Whitney, 5 who 
you know is the Man of my choice, without any prejudice or dissafection 
to Mr. Flint, 6 The union was however unexpected but not the less 
agreable. The hour approaches to dress for the morning. My Love to 
Cousin Betsy. I wish she could run in as formerly. I do not however 
dispair of seeing her Here some future day. 

I can say nothing to you of future prospects of returning to my own 

3 The first session of the Fifth Congress extended from May 15 to July 10, 1797. Adams 
read his message on relations with France on May 16, 1797. 

4 John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), who was commissioned by George Washington as 
minister to the Netherlands on May 30, 1794. For incomplete versions of seventeen letters 
which J. Q. Adams wrote to his mother, February 8, 1797, to April 14, 1801, from Holland 
and Prussia, see the second volume of Writings of John Quincy Adams> 1779-1823, W. C. 
Ford, Editor, New York, 1913-17. 

6 Peter Whitney (1770-1843), Harvard, 1791, became assistant to Anthony Wibird, 
minister in Quincy, 

8 Jacob Flint, of Reading, Harvard, 1794. He died in 1835. See the letter of November 
IS, 1797- 


dear Home. That must be governd by circumstances. My pens are so 
bad I know not whether you can read. I am most affec'ly 

Your Sister 

Evening 8 oclock 

The day is past, and a fatiguing one it has been. The Ladies of Foreign 
Ministers and the Ministers, with our own Secretaries & Ladies have 
visited me to day. and add to them, the whole Levee to day of senate & 
house. Strangers &c making near one Hundred asked permission to 
visit me, so that from half past 12 till near 4, 1 was rising up & sitting 
down. Mr. A[dams] will never be too big to have his Friends, 

Philadelphia, May 24, 1797 

I keep up my old Habit of rising at an early hour. If I did not I should 
have little command of my Time. At 5 I rise. From that time till 8 1 have 
a few leisure hours. At 8 I breakfast, after which untill Eleven I attend 
to my Family arrangements. At that hour I dress for the day. From 12 
until two I receive company, sometimes untill 3. We dine at that hour 
unless on company days which are tuesdays & thursdays. After dinner 
I usually ride out untill seven. I begin to feel a little more at Home, 
and less anxiety about the ceremonious part of my duty, tho by not hav- 
ing a drawing Room for the summer I am obliged every day, to devote 
two Hours for the purpose of seeing company. Tomorrow we are to 
dine the Secretaries of State &c with the whole Senate. 1 The Male 
[part of the cancelled] domestlcks I leave wholy to Brisler to hire and 
to dismiss; the Female I have none but those I brought with me, except 
a Negro woman who is wholy with the Cook in the kltchin, and I am 
happy in not having any occasion for any others, for a very sad set of 
creatures they are. I believe this city is become as vile and debauched 
as the city of London, nay more so, for in the lower classes, much more 
respect is had to Character there, Speculation in Property, In politicks 
and in Religion have gone very far In depraving the morals of the higher 
classes of the people of our Country. 

You will see by the Chronical, I presume, that the Tone of the Jacobins 
is turad, and that the president has committed with them the unpardon- 

1 In 1797 the Cabinet consisted of five men, and there were thirty-two Senators. If we 
count Vice-Presldent Jefferson, John and Abigail Adams must have invited at least thirty- 
eight guests to dinner. 


able sin "by saying, that he was convinced that the conduct of the 
Government had been just and impartial to foreign Nations." Bache 2 
opend his batterys of abuse and scurility the very next day, and has in 
every paper continued them, extracts of which I dout [sic] not the Faith- 
full Chronical will detail. The answer of the Senate 3 you will find equally 
firm and decided as the Speech. I call it a supporting answer. The House 
cannot yet get theres [sic] through. The Antis. want to qualify. They 
dare not openly countanance the conduct of France, but they want to 
court and coax her. 4 With Barra's [sicf insolent speech before their 
Eyes and Pincknys 6 dispatches, which fully prove the unbecomeing 
and indignant conduct of France toward the United States, these de- 
graded Beings would still have their Countrymen "lick the Hand just 
raisd to shed their Blood.' 3 Amongst that number is Freeman 7 of our 
state, who yesterday appeard a full blood Jacobin in his speech in the 
House. Landgon [sic]* in the Senate is more bitter than even Mason 9 
or any Virginian. Mr. Otis 10 1 am told appeard to great advantage, and 
was much admired in a speech of considerable Length. 

I want to hear from you again. You must write to me once a week. 
How does Mr. & Mrs. Porter succeed? I will thank you to get from the 

2 Benjamin Franklin Bache (1769-1798), nicknamed "Lightning-Rod Junior," was a 
grandson of Benjamin Franklin. In 1790 lie founded, in Philadelphia, the General Ad- 
vertiser, better known later under the name Aurora, an Anti-Federalist, or Republican paper. 

8 To the address of John Adams, May 16, 1797, dealing with the strained relations with 
France. See Adams, Works, vol. 9, pp. 111-20. 

* France and Great Britain had gone to war on February i, 1793. The French govern- 
ment was offended with the negotiation and ratification of Jay's Treaty by the United 
States (1794-1795)- 

8 Paul Francois Jean Nicolas Barras (1755-1829), member of the Directory (1795), 
appointed Bonaparte to the command in Italy, having, at the height of his power, 
arranged his marriage with Josephine de Beauharnais (1763-1814) in 1796. 

6 Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (1746-1825), of Charleston, South Carolina, appointed 
minister to France by Washington in 1796. When he arrived in Paris (December, 1796) 
the Directory declined to recognize his official status. For the four Pinckneys, see the 
genealogical note in Channing, History of the United States, vol. 4, p. 210. 

7 Nathaniel Freeman, Jr., (1766-1800), of Sandwich, member of the House of Repre- 
sentatives for Massachusetts (1795-1799). 

*John Laiigdon (1741-1819), of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was United States 
Senator (1789-1801). 

9 Stevens Thomson Mason (1760-1803), United States Senator from Virginia. See 
footnote 3 to the letter of June 25, 1795, 

M Harrison Gray Otis (1765-1848), of Boston, son of Samuel Allyne Otis, Secretary of 
the United States Senate. Elected to succeed Fisher Ames, young Otis served in the House 
of Representatives (1797-1801). For his character and career, see S. E. Morison, Harrison 
Gray Otis: Federalist, Boston and New York, 1913. 


table draw [sic] in the parlour some Annetts 11 and give it to Mrs. 
Burrel, and tell her to make her cheese a little salter this year. I sent 
some of her cheese to N[ew] York to Mrs. Smith and to Mr. Adams which 
was greatly admired and I design to have her Cheese brought here. 
When she has used up that other pray Dr. [Cotton] Tufts to supply her 
with some more, and I wish Mrs. French to do the same to part of her 
cheese, as I had some very good cheese of hers last year. In my best 
chamber closset I left a white Bonnet. Be so kind as to take it and give 
it for me to Mrs. Norton. In a small wooden Boz is a new crape cap 
which I designd to have sent here, but omitted it untill my other things 
were gone. Will you get it & fasten it down to the Bos by making a small 
hole or two and then putting a thread through the cap & Bos. In my 
Bathing machine you will find a peice of canvass which will cover the 
Bos, You will have it addrest & give it into Mr. Smiths care, who will 
send it to me. I have Bacon in Boston which I should be glad to have 
sent. Mr. Belcher knows about it. Dr. [Cotton] Tufts will pay the 
espence when requested. 

My Respects to Brother Cranch & to Mrs. Welch. Love to Cousin 
Betsy from your 

Ever affectionate Sister 


Philadelphia, June the 3, 1797 

The weather was so cold yesterday that we had fires in our Rooms. I 
suppose you have weather of a similar kind. We have had frequent 
showers and yesterday a fine rain. The House have at length got through 
the answer to the speech, 3 weeks debating whether, they should use the 
term indignation, or sensibility. The answer as reported and as finally 
agreed to, is a very handsome one, as well as a firm and decided one. It 
was carried 60 to 40. The Yeas & Nays were taken. Amongst the Nays 
will be found three of [the] Massachusetts delegation, Freeman, 1 who 

is a devoted , Varnum, 2 well known, and Skinner, 3 of whom better 

hopes were entertaind. 

u Annet, an obsolete variant of anet that is, anetseed the seed of anet, or dill. 
Oxford English Dictionary. 

1 See footnote 7 to the letter of May 24, 1797. 

2 Joseph Bradley Varnum (1750-1821), of Dracut, Massachusetts, member of the 
House of Representatives (1795-1811), and Senator of the United States (1811-1817). 

3 Thomson Joseph Skinner (1752-1809), member of the House of Representatives 


The appointments of Envoys extraordinary, like every other measure 
of Government, will be censured by those who make a point of abusing 
every thing. 4 Mr. Marshall of Virginia is said to be a very fair and 
Honorable man, and truly American, a Lawyer by profession, against 
whom no objection is offerd, but that he is not Frenchman enough for 
those who would have sent Jefferson or Madison, Giles 5 or even Jarvis. 6 
Judge Dana is known to be a decided Character, but not a party Man, 
nor any other than a true American. Yet Bache has undertaken to abuse 
the appointment, and the Chronical will not fail to retail it, that has more 
low Billingsgate than even Bache, But I can read them all with a true 
Phylosiphical contempt, and I could tell them what the President says, 
that their praise for a few weeks mortified him, much more, than all 
their impudent abuse does. 

There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats; 
For I am arm'd so strong in honesty 
That they pass by me as the Idle wind, 
Which I respect not. 7 

This day the House in a Body come at 12 to present their answer. The 
whole Hundred come. 

I hope they will proceed to buisness with some dispatch. I see by the 
Chronical that you only have one side of the Question. I think Russel 8 
ought to give the debates on the other side. We have Men from our state 

4 The famous "XYZ Mission." In the spring of 1797 John Adams chose C. C. Pinckney, 
of South Carolina, John Marshall (1755-1835), of Virginia, and Francis Dana (1743-1811), 
of Massachusetts, as envoys extraordinary to France. Dana declined to serve because of ill 
health; so Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814) was appointed in his place (June 20, 1797). Gerry 
was unalterably opposed to war with France because he feared an American alliance with 

5 William Branch Giles (1762-1830). 

s Dr. Charles Jarvis (1748-1807), Harvard 1766, who, together with Benjamin Austin, 
was the leader of the Jeffersonians in Boston. In the Boston town meeting of April 25, 
1796, Dr. Jarvis opened the debate in favor of a resolution which would have instructed 
members of the House of Representatives to veto Jay's Treaty, by refusing to vote for 
appropriations to carry the treaty into effect. H. G. Otis overwhelmed him and Austin 
by a vote of 2400 to 100. Jefferson appointed his son, William Jarvis (1770-1859), consul 
to Lisbon, where he served from 1802. to 1811. 

7 Julius Caesar, Act IV, Scene 3, lines 66-9. For some strange reason Mrs. Adams wrote 
"Jack cuss" Instead of "Cassms." 

8 Benjamin Russell (1761-1845), journalist of Boston, founded the Massachusetts 
Centind and Republican Journal in 1784, later the Massachusetts Centintl, and, in 1790, the 
Columbian CentineL Russell was a thorough-going Federalist, but welcomed President 
Monroe to Boston in 1817, and coined the phrase "era of good feelings." He was among 
those who have been credited with the invention of the word "gerrymander." 


who do great honour to it. Mr. Sewall 9 & Otis 10 are the principle 
Speakers. I must retract, however, what I have written as it respects 
Freeman & Skinner. They are on the question of agreeing to the 
address upon the yea side, but on most questions they vote with the 
antis. A Virginian who being right and a new member was misrepre- 
sented by Peter Porcupine 11 in his paper. Some Gentleman expresst his 
regret at it, upon which Mr. Evans 12 who was the Member, observed 
that Peter knew he was a Virginian, and so took it for granted that he 
must be wrong. 

I inclose you a newspaper. It has in it a Letter of Thomas [Boylston 
Adams] to Mr. J. Quincy. 13 Tis said to be from Paris, merly as a cover, 
for you see the spirit of envy and Jealousy opperating and the misrepre- 
sentations respecting only the Change of Missions to Berlin instead of 
Lisbon. 14 At Portugal this present time, it was the opinion of the Presi- 
dent & his ministers, that J. Q. A. could not be equally useful to his 
Country as at the Prussian court. A Treaty was to be renewd with that 
court, and various other reasons opperated which it would not be so 
proper to disclose. The appointment was made thus early to prevent his 
proceeding to Lisbon, where he would go on the arrival of his successor. 
But Malevelence is unbounded. The inclosed extract is from Bach's 
paper. Make the Chronical insert it. 

Mr. Brisler has accomplishd the buisness for Mr. Cranch and I inclose 
the Bill. I have had but one Letter from you since I came here. We are 
all in pretty good Health. John Brisler has had the small pox & that very 
light. Remember me affectionatly to all Friends and Neighbours. I am, 
my dear Sister, Affectionatly yours 


9 Samuel Sewall (1757-1814), of Marblehead, Massachusetts, member of the House of 
Representatives (1796-1800). 

10 See footnote 10 to the letter of May 24, 1797. 

u "Peter Porcupine," the pen-name of the journalist William Cobbett (1763-1835), 
who was born in England, and died there. From 1792 to 1800 and 1817 to 1819 he lived as 
a political refugee in the United States, residing in Philadelphia during the last period. On 
March 4, 1797, he launched Porcupine's Gazette & Daily Advertiser to advocate alliance 
with England, war against France, and perdition for Republicans. The savage, sarcastic 
humor of the paper surpassed that of Philip Freneau and Benjamin Franklin Bache. 

12 Thomas Evans, member of the House of Representatives from Virginia (1797-1801). 

13 Probably Josiah Quincy (1772-1864), of Boston, member of the House of Representa- 
tives (1805-1813). On January 14, 1811, he first proposed the doctrine of secession in the 
Congress in a speech opposing the admission of Louisiana as a state. 

14 In 1797 President Adams first named his son, who was minister to the Netherlands, 
minister to Portugal, but his destination was suddenly changed to Berlin, where he ne- 
gotiated a new treaty with Prussia. 


Philadelphia, June 6 ? 1797 

I received your Letter by this days post. I began to be anxious to hear 
from rny Friends at Quincy. I cannot but say that I was astonishd at 
some of its contents. I could not believe that any Gentleman would have 
had so little delicacy or so small a sense of propriety as to have written 
a mere vague opinion, and that of a Lady too, to be read in a publick 
assembly as an authority. The Man must have lost his senses. I cannot 
say that I did not utter the expression, because it has always been my 
opinion that the people would not be willing to support two ministers, 
but little did I think of having my Name quoted on any occasion in 
Town meeting. If he had respected my publick Character only, he would 
have had some scruples upon that Head, I should have supposed. I shall 
always consider it as a want of delicacy in him, and a real breach of con- 
fidence to make use of my Name on the occasion. I am mortified to find 
a Gentleman of whom I had formed so favourable an opinion guilty of 
such a want of decorum. It will however serve as a lesson to me, to be 
upon my guard, & to be very close mouthed. I have not any remem- 
brance of saying so, tho I think it very probable that I did. By your 
account of the whole transaction, he has not behaved like a Gentleman. 
I hope however we shall not be loosers in the end. 1 

I rejoice to hear our Farm looks well. The President is very desirious 
of seeing it, A journey some where will be absolutely necessary for him. 
Such close application for so long a period without any relaxation but a 
ride of a few miles, is too much for him & I see daily by a langour of his 
countanance that he wants rest. I fear he will not sustain himself unless 
congress rise so that we may quit this city during the Hot season. 

I long for my rose Bush, my clover Field, and the retirement of 
Quincy, and the conversation of my dear Sister and Friends. 

June 8th,[i797] 

To day is post day to Quincy, and yesterday we had the Chronical. 
I think Impudent as Bache is the Chronical has more of the true spirit 
of Satan, for he not only collects the Billingsgate of all the Jacobin 
papers but he add[s] to it the Lies, falshoods, calimny and bitterness 
of his own. For what other purpose could he design that paragraph, 

1 The use of the name of Mrs. Adams In the town meeting at Quincy had to do with the 
current discussion over finding an assistant to the Reverend Anthony Wibird. The letter 
from Mrs. Cranch, the contents of which "astonished" Mrs. John Adams, is probably in 
the Adams Papers in the Massachusetts Historical Society. 




that the President was to receive one hundred & 14 thousand dollors 
for four years? The sallery every one knows is the same Nominal sum 
granted to President Washington without half its value. The 14 thousand 
dollors is no more the Presidents than the money voted to Rigg one of 
the Frigates building. Every dollor of it, is laid out for the use of the 
United States, and accurate Book accounts kept & vouchers taken, all 
of which will be regularly renderd in at our quitting the House. The 
son too, of 23 [sic] years old receiving this sallery of ten thousand dollors 
pr year. 2 These salleries are all setled by Law. A Minister Resident 
has 4 thousand 500 dollors pr year, a Minister plenipotentiary Nine 
thousand. He is not pickd out to receive more than any other, but his 
fault is being the son of the President. This wretched party are sinking 
very fast; but the mischief of these publications arises from their cir- 
culating amongst persons and in places where no inquiry is made into 
facts. Bache will publich [sic] on both sides. I wish Mr. Cranch 3 would 
make a true statement and see if the wretch would publish it. We give 
for this very House a thousand pounds a year. President Washington 
never gave more than 500. And every thing else in the same proportion, 
nay more than double . But enough of this. I expected to be vilified 
and abused, with my whole Family when I came into this situation. 
Strickly to addhere to our duty, and keep ourselves unprejuced, is the 
path before us and the curse causeless shall not come. 4 I feel most sin- 
cerely for Mrs. Greenleaf and her situation. I know it will do no good 
to look back but you well know how anxious I was when it might have 
been of use to her. Mr. James Greenleaf it is said, is absconded. 5 
Mr. Morris is confind to his House. 6 Each Party criminate the other, 
as you have no doubt seen by the Washington paper. I regret that there 
should exist any occasion for it, but know not the state of Facts, to judge 
between the parties. As soon as it is in my power I will endeavour to 

1 In June, 1797, J onn Quincy Adams was almost thirty, not twenty-three, as the 
Boston Independent Chronicle & Universal Advertiser alleged. 
s Richard Cranch (1726-1811), and brother-in-law of Abigail Adams. 

4 See footnote 7 to the letter of September I, 1789. 

5 With the failure of the North American Land Company in the panic of 1797, James 
Greenleaf of Boston sought refuge in the poor debtors' prison In Prune Street, Philadelphia. 
He obtained a discharge from prosecution by his creditors in 1798, under one of the earliest 
bankruptcy laws in the United States that of Maryland. Channing, History of the United 
States, vol. 5, p. 193. 

c Robert Morris retired to a country house and fortified himself there, holding out for 
months against creditors, collectors, and constables. He was subsequently lodged in jail. 
In 1800 Congress passed a federal bankruptcy act, by virtue of which he obtained his 
freedom in August, 1801. Chaaning, History of the United States, vol. 5, p. 193, 


render Cousin William some assistance to enable him to purchase some 
Books. Say nothing about it, I will not forget him. 

The time for the post to go out prevents my adding more. Tell Mrs. 
Howard that I think Betsy is getting better. She begins to look more like 
flesh and Blood. Nabby has been sick from some imprudence of her own, 
but is about again, Becky well, but I have a Lad who has been sick a 
week, and that from eating Ice creeme 7 when he was making it & hot. 
He brought on such a cramp in His stomack that his Life has been in 
danger ever since. 

Remember me affectionatly to all Friends particuliarly to Dr. 
[Cotton] Tufts to whom I mean soon to write. My conscience accuses 
me that I have not. 

Your affectionate sister, 


Philadelphia, June 23, 1797 

I received your Letter of June ijth and thank you for it. The account 
you give me respecting my House and the Farm are very pleasing. I like 
your proposal of going to it and taking tea with my good Neighbours 
very much. I am very sorry to hear that Mrs. Beal is so unwell. I have 
feared that she would fall into a decline, for she has appeard to me, to 
look very unwell for many Months. She was a good Neighbour, and 
would be a very heavy loss to her Family. 

I do flatter myself with the prospect of comeing to Quincy to pass the 
Months of August and Sepbr. I know it will be a tedious Journey, but 
I fear it will be more tedious here, and the President really suffers for 
want of a journey, or rather for want of some Relaxation. To day will 
be the 5th great dinner I have had, about 36 Gentlemen to day, as many 
more next week, and I shall have got through the whole of Congress, 
with their apendages. Then conies the 4 July which is a still more tedious 
day, as we must then have not only all Congress, but all the Gentlemen 
of the city, the Governour and officers and companies, all of whom the 
late President used to treat with cake, punch and wine. What the 
House would not hold used to be placed at long tables in the yard. As 
we are here we cannot avoid the trouble nor the expence. I have been 
informd the day used to cost the late President 500 dollors. More than 
200 wt of cake used to be expended, and 2 quarter casks of wine besides 
7 See letter of August 9, 1789. 

spirit. You will not wonder that I dread it, or think President Washing- 
ton to blame for introducing the custom, if he could have avoided it. 
Congress never were present here before on the day, so that I shall have 
a Hundred 50 of them in addition to the other company. Long tables 
are sit in the House with similar entertainment. I hope the day will 
not be Hot. I am like to be favourd with a cool one to day at which I 
rejoice, for it is no small task to be sit [sic] at table with 30 Gentlemen. 

Judge Dana declines his appointment. I feard he would as the state 
of his Health has been infirm. The President has now nominated 
Mr. Gerry. 1 This I know will be cavilled at by some, and he will be 
blamed for it, but the responsibility rest [sic] with him, and he must 
bear it. He would not have nominated him if he had not thought him 
an honest Man and a Friend to his Country, who will neither be 
deceived nor warped. I hope he will not refuse. 

The task of the President is very arduous, very perplexing and very 
hazardous. I do not wonder Washington wishd to retire from it, or re- 
joiced at seeing an old oak in his place. He has manifested his intire 
approbation of the measures persued by the Executive. 

I thank you for your care of my things. Let Mrs. Hunt know that 
Nabby is well and I believe contented and that I shall want Betsy if I 
come as I expect, and I shall stand in need of some more female help, 
particuliarly a cook. I might here [sic] of some black woman in Boston 
perhaps who would undertake for two Months. I wish you would 

I want to have the House white washed, I will thank you to see a 
little about it. It will be well to have the Garden attended to. 

I inclose you a Ribbon I met with the other day, and I sent Cousin 
Betsy a short Gown to show her the fashion, by Mrs. Douse who was to 
send it to Boston to Mr. Smiths. I hope it will fit her. Adieu my dear 

I am most affectionatly yours 


I have not seen a speech more to the point than Genii Shepards, 8 
but old men do not take so much pains to circulate their Fame as young 
ones. I enclose it for Mr. Cranch. Let me know if you get Fennos 

1 See footnote 4 to the letter of June 3, 1797. 

2 William Shepard (1737-1817), of Westfield, Massachusetts; Major-General of the 
Massachusetts militia in 1786 during Shays's Rebellion; member of the House of Repre- 
sentatives (1797-1803). 


papers 3 now. If you do not I will send them to you. Love to all Friends. 
Tell Polly Baxter, that I shall miss her very much when I come to 
Quincy, particularly in cooking. Betsy Howard I think is better, tho 
not [sic] able to go through but little. 

Philadelphia, July 6th, 1797 

I got through the 4 July with much more ease than I expected. It was 
a fine cool day, and my fatigue arose chiefly from being drest at an early 
hour, and receiving the very numerous sets of company who were so 
polite as to pay their compliments to me in succession in my drawing 
Room after visiting the President below, and partaking of cake, wine & 
punch with him. To my company were added the Ladies of foreign 
Ministers & Home Secretaries with a few others. The parade lasted 
from 12 till four oclock. Fenno has saved me further occasion of detail- 
ing the events of the day. He has given them with accuracy. I inclose 
his account of it. 

You will see an Intimation In his paper of some malpractices by a 
Senator. I Inclose to you the Letter this day made publick. When shall 
we cease to have Judases? Here is a diabolical plot disclosed. When 
the Message was sent to the Senate with the original Letter Mr. Mai comb 
the Presidents Secretary met Mr. Blount 1 comeing out, who stopd and 
askd him what message he had got, upon which Mr. Malcomb replied 
it was a Secret and confidential one. Mr, Blount did not return untill 
after the Letter was read which threw the whole Senate Into a consterna- 
tion. Upon his comeing in, the Letter was again read. He turnd very 
pale, said he did write a Letter at that time to a Mr. Gary, but desired 
a coppy of it, and untill the next day to make his defence. It was granted, 
but Mr. Blount has not since been seen. Search was made after Mm 
yesterday and a vessel found which he had Charterd to go off in. Poor 

f John Fenno (1751-1798), was born in Boston. Fenno's Gazette of the United States was 
founded in New York in 1789, but was published in Philadelphia beginning April 14, 1790. 
The Gazette had the aid of prominent Federalists, among them Alexander Hamilton. 

1 William Blount (1749-1800), of North Carolina and Tennessee, elected to the United 
States Senate and served from August 2, 1796, until he was found guilty "of a high mis- 
demeanour, entirely inconsistent with his public trust and duty as a Senator/' and was 
expelled on July 8, 1797. President John Adams was active in revealing Blount's plan to 
incite the Creeks and Cherokees to aid the British in conquering the Spanish territory of 
West Florida* Impeachment proceedings were instituted, but dismissed when it was de- 
cided that Blount, as a Senator from Tennessee, was not an officer of the federal govern- 
ment, Blount's letter to Gary, an interpreter in the Cherokee Nation, came into the hands 
of President Adams, who sent it to the Senate on July 3, 1797. The private secretary of 
John Adams during part of his presidential term was Samuel B. Makom. 


Pensilvanna [sic] keeps no Gallows, as Porcupine says. The Senate will 
expell him, & it belongs to the House of Reps, to impeach, but they have 
not yet reported. It does not appear that his offerd Service was accepted 
by the British, tho it is a glorious kettle for the Jacobines to swim in. 
How they rejoice. Corruption is corruption from whatever source it 
originates. This same Tenesse [sic] Senator was arrested for debt four 
different times on his return home last fall, and but for his Priviledge 
as Senator which screens him 20 days, he would have been lodged in 
Jail, which he no doubt richly deserves. He has a Brother in the House 2 
who lately took fire at the mention of French Faction & challenged 
Mr. Thatcher [Thacher] 3 in concequence of it. This Buisness tho com- 
municated last tuesday to both Houses, is but just transpiring. The 
House have ordered all the papers to be published. I will send them 
as soon as they are publick. 

I thank you for your kind Letter of 27 June. I derive much pleasure 
from your account of the Garden and rose Bush. I wish I could enhale 
the one & taste the other, but I fear not. I past an hour or two with 
Mrs. Wolcot last Evening, the Lady of the Secretary of the Treasury. 
Mr. Wolcot 4 seemd anxious at the Idea of the Presidents going so far 
from the Seat of Government at so critical a period. I know he will not 
leave here for any time if the Ministers think his presence necessary. 
We may truly say, we know not what a day will bring forth. From every 
side we are in Danger. We are in perils by Land, and we are in perils 
by sea, and in perils from false Breathern. Dr. Blair gave us an excelent 
discourse a Sunday or two ago. "Trust in the Lord, for in the Lord 
Jehovah is everlasting Strength." 5 If it was not for that trust and con- 

2 Thomas Blount (1759-1812), of North Carolina, member of the House of Representa- 
tives (1793-1799,* 1805-1809; and 1811-1812). 

3 George Thacher (1754-1824), of Yarmouth, Massachusetts, Federalist member of the 
House of Representatives (1789-1801). Thacher removed to Maine, where he was judge 
of the Supreme Court (1820-1824), and died at Biddeford. 

* Oliver Wolcott (1760-1833), of Litchfield, Connecticut, son of the signer (1726-1797), 
was a confederate of Alexander Hamilton, and his successor as Secretary of the Treasury* 
(February 2, 1795). Throughout the years 1797 to 1800 he enjoyed the confidence of Presi- 
dent John Adams, but secretly served Hamilton by conspiring with his fellow Cabinet 
members, Timothy Pickering and James McHenry. Adams foolishly failed to dismiss 
Wolcott in 1800, when he finally got rid of Pickering. 

B Samuel Blair (1741-1818), the son of Samuel Blair (1712-1751), also a Presbyertian 
clergyman, one of whose pupils, the Reverend John Rodgers, was a colleague of the younger 
Blair, in New York City. This younger Samuel Blair, Princeton, 1760, Harvard, 1767, was 
minister at the Old South Church, Boston, 1766-1769; chaplain to the Continental Con- 
gress; and died at Germantown, Pennsylvania. 

Dr. Blair's text will be found in Isaiah, XXVI, 4: 'Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in 
the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength." 


Science our Hearts would often fail us, I inclose with this a part of a 
Letter written a day or two since, one part of which I thought proper 
to cut of, and am too laizy to coppy the remainder. 

Congress expect to rise this week. I will write you again, as soon as I 
can determine what will be the result of our deliberations. 

My Love to all inquiring Friends. Present me respectfully to Mrs. 
Welch and be assured I am, my dear Sister, 

Most affectionatly your[s] 


Let the Friends of my domesticks know that they are all well 

[Philadelphia ? July 4, 1797?] 

, . . Salute drank the Presidents Health gave 3 cheers and marchd 
off with perfect decorum & decency, next in order came the House of 
Rep's In a Body, and after them the Senate Foreign ministers Secre- 
taries and Ladies of those Gentlemen I should. . . , 1 

I have just this morning closed a long letter to your son. I congratu- 
late you upon the Birth of an other Grandson. He wrote me a Letter 
last week upon a subject which it is like he will, or has communicated 
to you, I have I have [sic] given him the same advice I would a son of 
my own, so far as I was able to Judge, and have offerd to procure Law 
Books for him here to the amount of 200 dollors if he should judge it 
Eligible to persue the practise of the Law. I saw this week a Mr. Scott, 2 
one of the commissioners from Washington, a very decent well informd 
Man. He dinned with us. I made particular inquiries respecting Mr. 
CrancL He assured me he was very much respected and esteemed. Then 
I asked if he thought he would succeed in the practise of the Law there. He 
replied he did not doubt it. He must have patience & perseverence, but 
with the qualities Mr. Cranch possessd he had never known a person f ail. s 

1 This letter was enclosed with the preceding. Most of the first page was cut off by 
Mrs. Adams, 

2 Gustavus Scott, a Scotsman, appointed a commissioner of the District of Columbia, 
August 23, 1794, died December 25, 1800. W. B. Bryan, The History of the National 
Capital* New York, 1914-16, vol. i, p. 41371. 

*After the failure of the North American Land Company and the collapse of real estate 
in Washington, William Cranch was appointed trustee in bankruptcy for James Greenleaf . 
The complicated af airs of Morris, Nicholson, and Greenleaf gave Cranch the legal experi- 
ence which Mrs. Adams desired for her nephew, and must have taught him the patience 
which she felt he needed. In December, 1800, President Adams appointed this nephew by 
marriage to the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia, in succession to 
Gustavtis Scott; two months later he put him on the federal bench, where he remained 
until 1855. 


I cannot but think it will be better for him to remain there, than 
attempt a removal at an uncertainty and I have written him so. 

I hope Mr. Gerry will not refuse to accept the mission to which he is 
appointed. 4 He has not given a decicive answer yet. I know he will 
not rashly decide, but he must know when a House is ready to burst 
into Flames. He deserves well of his country who will assist in putting 
it out. I cannot begin upon publick affairs. I am not certain but I lye 
exposed for having written some thing or other. A Letter to Mrs. 
Smith has not been received tho written 8th of June. It containd a post 
Note and I believe was taken from the office in N[ew] York. 

[Philadelphia], July nth, 1797 

I have only time this morning by Mrs. H. G. Otis 1 to write you a 
Line and to tell you that we are as well as the Hot weather will permit. 
Congress having risen, I hope we shall go some where out of this city 
as the sickly season approaches. 

I send you a handkerchief of the Mul mul kind which when well done 
up will look clear. 2 Pray accept it. The President says you must write, 
how the Barley has turnd out, how the corn grows, how it is in the 
meddow below the House every thing you can find out about the 
Farm at all the places as he fears. That will be all he shall know about 
it this season. The key you mentiond is on the bunch, but the lock is 
bad and does not move easy. I send Mrs. Greenleaf a peice of muslin 
to make her some baby caps. I fear I should not have so good an 
opportunity if I kept it to make. I have not seen any lace to put on 
them, but I shall look out. My Love to her and Mrs. Norton. Tho so 
long a journey, I am dissapointed at not comeing to Quincy. 

Adieu my dear Sister. Write me as often as you can. Give my Love 
and a kind remembrance to all Friends from 

Your affectionate Sister 


4 See footnote 4 to the letter of June 3, 1797. 

1 Harrison Gray Otis, on May 31, 1790, married Sally Foster (1770-1836), the daughter 
of a Boston merchant. 

2 Mulmull, often shortened to "mull," a thin variety of plain muslin. The Oxford English 
Dictionary gives 1676 as the earliest date of the appearance of this word in print. "Mull" 
first appears in Jane Austen, N onhanger Abbey (1798). See, also, the Gazette of the United 
States, January 16, 1798, in footnote I to the first letter of May 13, 1798. 


P.S, I wrote to Sister Peabody 3 by Judge Livermore. 4 When you 
write let me know how Uncle Qulncy does, Mr. Wibird, 5 and dont forget 
poor old Pheby. If she wants a Bushel corn, desire Mr. Porter to let 

her have it. 

Philadelphia, July 19, 1797 

If the Compass by which my course is directed does not vary again 
through unavoidable necessity I shall sit out for Quincy next week. We 
shall probably be 12 days in comeing. I shall want some preparation at 
Home. I will write to you from N[ew] York. Betsy wrote to her Mother 
to know if her Sister Nancy was at home & that I should want her during 
my stay at Qulncy. 

The Hot weather of July has weakend us all. Complaints of the 
Bowels are very frequent and troublesome. I received your Letter of 
13 yesterday. I have suspected unfair dealings in the post office for 
some time, tho I cannot say where the fault is. As to the girls Letters 
I believe they were foolish enough to send them without any Frank. 
I received a Letter yesterday from your son who was well, and expected, 
to come to Philadelphia soon on buisness. I fear I shall be away, but I 
shall write him to come & put up at the House the same as if we were here. 

Let Mrs. Porter 1 know that I should be glad she would have Mrs. 
Bass to clean up the House. I hope it will be white washd first. The post 
will be gone if I do not close. 

Yours affectionatly 


[Philadelphia, July 21, 1797] 

The weather is Hot as we can bear. The whole city Is like a Bake 
House. We have a House with large and airy Rooms, or I could not 
sustain it, I do bear it surprisingly well however, tho I long for a sea 
Breaze. I hope to leave here on Monday, and get on to Bristol [Pennsyl- 
vania] 1 8 miles the first night. I shall want several things put in order 

* Elizabeth (Smith) [Shaw] Peabody (1750-1815). 

4 Samuel Livermore (1732-1803), of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, member of the 
House of Representatives (1789-1793), Senator of the United States (1793-1801). 

* See footnote i to the letter of October 4, 1789. 

1 Wife of the gardener mentioned at the end of the letter of April 30, 1797, 


at home for our reception. When I once get on m7 journey, I shall 
write to you so that you will learn our progress. 

I heard from your son this week, and I wrote him yesterday. We are 
becomeing very Intimate. I inclose to you the two last papers from 
thence. I have just read a peice, under the signature C. 1 I arn at no 
loss for the writer, nor will you be when you read it. It does honour to 
the pen of the writer and proves him, no superficial observer. I expect 
to bring on with me William Smith to place him either at Hingham, or 
Atkinson, 2 I too, my dear Sister, have my troubles and anxieties. 

When we get together, we may say to each other what would not 
be proper to write. 

Louisa is better, but had an allarming turn of Numbness, so that she 
made no opposition to bleading, which with some powerfull medicine 
has restored her, but the side seazd was nearly useless for a day or two. 
Two years ago she had a number of these affections, but never one equal 
to this. She was, as well as I, pretty well allarmd. I hope she will be 
induced to be more active. 

We are all so-so, none very sick. Mrs. Brisler has her turns. Little 
John 3 has had the Cholera Morbis. I thought him dead for ten minuts. 
Nabby & Becky are well. Betsy returns with me, and if she does not 
fail on the journey will do credit to Philadelphia, by looking like flesh 
instead of clay. Adieu, my dear Sister 

Most affectionatly your[s] 


East Chester, July 2gth, 1797, Monday Evening 1 

We left Philadelphia on Wednesday last [July 19]. The day preceeding 
was very Hot. A partial Rain had waterd the Roads for 15 or 20 miles 
so as to render the first part of our journey pleasent. We were overtaken 

1 Apparently William Cranch (1769-1855). 

1 William Stenben Smith, eldest son of William Stephens and Abigail (Adams) Smith. 
See footnote I to the letter of November 24, 1788. William was ultimately placed as a 
boarder with Mrs. Adams's sister, Mrs. Stephen Peabody, at Atkinson, a town northwest 
of Haverhill, just across the border in New Hampshire. 

8 John Adams Smith (born in 1788), younger brother of William, mentioned above. 

1 This letter was written from East Chester, near the present site of New Roehelle, West- 
chester County, New York, where Colonel William Stephens Smith had a summer home. 
"Monday, July 29," however, is a date not possible for the year 1797. This letter was 
written on Monday, July 24, 1797. See the following letter. 


by showers, and detaind by them, but on thursday we found clouds of 
dust for want of Rain. Troops and calvacades [sic] did not lessen it, 
and the Heat was intolerably oppressive, so much so as to nearly kill 
all our Horses, and oppress me to such a degree as to oblige me to stop 
twice in a few hours, and intirely undress myself & lie down on the Bed. 
At night we could not get rest. Small Rooms, bad Beds & some company 
obliged me to stretch my wearied Limbs upon the floor upon a Bed not 
larger than one of my Bolsters. From tuesday untill the afternoon of 
this day, we have not had any respite from panting beneath the dog 
star. I never sufferd so much in travelling before. The Rain I hope will 
cool the Air & enable us to proceed, but I fear we shall not reach Quincy 
this week. Mrs. Smith & little Caroline will be of our party. 2 

It is a long time since I had a Line from you near a fortnight before 
I left home. I had a Letter from your son since I left Home. He writes 
me that he is well, and that his family are so. I wrote you inclosing to 
you a Hundred Dollars which I hope you duly received, as I found it 
necessary to give you some trouble to procure me several articles. 

If I can get time on the Road I shall write you as I progress onward. 
Mrs. Smith desires to be kindly rememberd to you. So does your 
affectionate Sister 


Saturday mor[nin]g 
East Chester, 29 July, 1797 

We leave this place this morning & hope to reach Home on fryday of 
the next week. I have written to Mr. Smith 1 to procure sundry articles 
for me in Boston which will require a Team to bring them to Quincy, & 
bags for oats. Will you be so good as to consult with Mr. Porter, and if 
Mr. Belcher can go to Town for them so as to get them up before we 
arrive, I should be very glad. Will you be so kind as to have some coffe 
burnt and ground, some Bread and cake made for me, and to be at our 
House on fryday when we hope to reach Quincy, and if you should hear 
of any intention of company meeting us on the road, to accompany us 

2 Mrs. Abigail (Adams) Smith and Caroline Amelia, her daughter, the granddaughter 
of Mrs. John Adams. 

1 "Mr. Smith's store in Boston." See postscript to the letter of November 24, 1788. 
William Smith, the brother of Mrs. Adams, kept a store in Boston. See the Columbian 
Centinel, April 28, 1798, 


to Quincy, I must beg of you to make such arrangments of punch & wine 
as may be necessary. I have written to Mr. Smith on the subject and 
he will inform you. Wine you can draw from the casks in the cellar. 
Punch must be made by Gallons. You will procure spirit for the purpose, 
and in a Box in the North cellar which is naild up is some Jamaca spirit, 
that with some Brandy will answer. 

I believe it would be best to get Mrs. Baxter to go to the House and 
assist in making Beds as she knows where my things are better than any 
one else. The Mattresses should be put on the Feather Beds, & two Beds 
put up in the new out Chamber for the Men servants. I have my two 
Grandson [sic] with me, but they can be provided for by some of my 
Friends if we cannot lodge them at first. We met at N[ew] York with so 
many unexpected things which we were not provided for, that I wish 
to have some arrangments made now previous to our getting home, 
particuliarly if we should meet company. You will find glasses &c 
enough. You will be so good as to have a table set in the dinning parlour, 
and every thing ready, to receive your truly affectionate 

Sister & Friend 

Woster, [Massachusetts, Thursday,] October 5th, 1797 


The day we left you, we proceeded to Flags to dinner. The weather 
very warm. We left there at half after 3 oclock and got to Williams's 
at half after six. Very much fatigued I was. 1 It is 35 miles from Quincy. 
Went to Bed at 8, slept but poorly. At 12 it began to rain & Thunder, 
continued showery all Night. In the morning cloudy & lowering. Sat 
out at 8, rode 8 mils to Sutbury. Stopd at Peases during a heavy 
Shower, then proceeded, but had not rode more than a mile before an 
other heavey shower overtook us. 2 We rode in the rain to this place, 

1 Mrs. Adams is writing from Worcester on her way back to Philadelphia from Quincy, 
where she spent the summer. John Flagg kept an inn at Weston at this time, and there, 
apparently, Mrs. Adams took her dinner on her first day out of Quincy. The Williams 
inn was at Marlborough, Abraham Williams having erected a tavern there in 1665, which 
was still known by his name as late as 1907. George Washington stopped at Flagg's and 
at Williams's in 1789. Mary C. Crawford, Little Pilgrimages among Old New England Inns, 
Boston, 1907, p. 1 60. 

2 Captain Levi Pease established a regular stage between Boston and Hartford as early 
as 1786. Worcester Gazette, January 5, 1786, Pease was born in Enfield, Connecticut, in 
1740, but removed to Massachusetts, where Farrar's Tavern, at Shrewsbury, which he 
bought in 1794, is better known by his name. Crawford, Old New England Inns^ pp. 36, 
48, and 50. 


where we were glad to stop the remainder of the day and night, during 
which time we had a deluge of Rain. This morning fair, windy cold. 
In hopes of Letters from England by Col. Tudor. 8 When I orderd the 
things into the carriage, I saw a coat lined with Green Baize. Inquired 
to whom it belongd. No one knew. I presumed we had by mistake put 
Mr. Cranchs coat in with our own, as I heard you say he had a Lambskin 

I would have returnd it by the stage but, they told us there was no 
security in sending it. I therefore wrote a Line & sent it to Mr. Packards 
[that cancelled] requesting them to send it on to Boston. 4 I have two 
cloase Lines both up. I wish when you see Mrs. Porter ask her to have 
one of them put up. We proceed as far as we can get to day. My best 
Love and regard attend you all. We are just sitting of. 

Your affectionate Sister 


East Chester, October 22, 1797 

I have been from Quincy near 3 weeks. In all that time I have not 
heard a word from thence. I have written twice. I have not yet been 
into N[ew] York, and one might as well be out of America as in this 
village only 20 miles distant from N[ew] York 3 for unless we send in on 
purpose we cannot even get a Newspaper out. Yet are we in sight of 
the post road, 1 It is quite a village of Farmers who do not trouble their 
Heads about any thing, but the productiveness of their Farms. Mrs. 
Smith has lived here 18 months with making only one visit in the place. 
There is an Episcopal Church near here where there is divine service 
one [sic] a fortnight. Thiether we went last Sunday. 

We have had some pleasent weather during the last week. I rejoiced 
in it, both on account of the Military parade & the Festival which was 
Brilliant indeed, and on Mrs. Norton's 2 account. I think it was the 
week she designd for her journey. Mrs. Smith is anxious to hear from 

* Probably Colonel William Tudor, prominent merchant and scholar of Boston, who 
married Delia Jarvis and became the father of William Tudor (1779-1850), and Frederic 
(1783-1864), the Boston "Ice King." 

4 The Reverend Asa Packard (died 1843), Harvard, 1783, married Nancy Quincy, of 
Braintree, on July 27, 1799. 

1 The Boston Post Road, the highway between New York and Boston. 

* Elizabeth (Cranch) Norton, wife of the Reverend Jacob Norton. 


her Children. I fear in the multiplicity of Sister Peabodys cares, she will 
not think how desirious Mrs. Smith is of hearing from her Boys, 3 and 
she ought to receive all the comfort she can, for she has her full share of 
anxiety and trouble. I cannot leave her here this winter with not a 
single creature within 20 miles of her to speak a word to, or shorten the 
long solitary winter Evening. 

I want her to take her little Girl & go with us to Philadelphia. Her 
feelings are such as you may suppose on such a proposal. What under 
different circumstances would have given her great pleasure, she now 
feels as a soar calimity [sic]. Yet I do not see what else she can do. 

I make no reflections but in my own Breast. It is some comfort, to 
know that she has not been the cause, and that she could not prevent the 
misfortunes to which she is brought. 

From the Col[onel] we have not heard, nor can I learn that his Brother 

I hope you are well and the rest of our Friends. Tell Sister Smith 4 1 
will give her half a dollar pr pair for as many as she can knit for me, and 
I will send you the money to pay her and to get me some more cotton. 

Tell Mrs. Brislers Friend, that I hear every day or two from him and 
that they are .... 

[The second page of this letter is missing} 

East Chester, October 31, 1797 

I have received but one Letter from you since I left Quincy now near 
a Month. I have been here three weeks, except 3 days which I past at 
my sons in N[ew] York. 1 Next Monday I leave here for Philadelphia, 
where it is thought we may now go with safety. 

I was in hopes to have taken Mrs. Smith with me, but her situation is 
difficult, not having received any advise what to do, and she is loth to 
go for the present. I cannot say so much as is in my mind, the subject 
being a very delicate one, and wishing to have her do no one thing but 
what may prove beneficial to the whole. Sister Peabody has not yet 

'William Steuben Smith, and John Adams Smith, grandsons of Mrs. John Adams, 
spent the winter of 1797-1798 with their great-aunt, Mrs. Elizabeth (Smith) [Shaw] 
Peabody, wife of the Reverend Stephen Peabody (A.B. Harvard, 1769), who was her 
second husband. The Peabodys lived in Atkinson, New Hampshire. 

4 Probably the second wife of William Smith, the brother of Mrs. Adams, The first wife 
of William Smith was Catherine Louisa Salmon. 

1 Probably in Beaver Street. See footnote I to the letter of May 16, 1797- 


written to Mrs. Smith, which she regrets. I know how much she has 
been engaged, and fear the concequences upon her Health. She feels 
most keenly, and you know by experience what it is to pass through such 
a Heart rending trial. I wish these repeated summonses to the surviving 
Brothers might have a serious influence. The sisters are not unmindfull, 
but William has to me, the air of a too free thinker. 2 

Since I wrote you last I have Letters from my sons abroad, Thomas's 
late as 17 August. He has consented to go to Berlin with his Brother, 
who writes that he cannot by any means part with him, especially upon 
being sent Into the center of Germany where I shall scarcly meet a 
Countryman twice a year," he says/' and Thomas writes me, I intreet 
you to negotiate a successor to me, for I plainly see untill some such 
arrangement is made, I shall not be released. He says since I wrote 
you last, my Brother has been married and given me an amiable and ac- 
complished sister. 3 He is very happy and I doubt not will remain so, 
for the Young Lady has much sweetness of Temper and seems to Love 
as she ought. Thomas speaks highly of the Family and of their kindness 
and attention to him, says they are about to embark for America & 
settle in the city of Washington, where Mr. Johnson has property. They 
will be an agreable acquisition to the city at which I rejoice for the sake 
of my Nephew and Neice. 4 

I have nothing of concequence to communicate. This place is as re- 
tired as you can imagine. We however keep up a communication with 
N[ew] York and Philadelphia. I had a Letter from Brisler, who was well 
with the rest of the Family yesterday. 

I write merely to keep up our communication, and to tell you that we 
are all well. I will thank you to go to our House and see that particular 
attention is paid to the Carpets. I fear they will suffer. Adieu. 

Yours affectionatly 


Philadelphia, Novbr. 15, 1797 

I yesterday about 1 1 oclock went into the Presidents Room to see if 
John had returned from the post office. My good Gentleman was soberly 

2 "William" refers to Colonel William Stephens Smith, whose extravagance and long, 
silent absences from home were a source of great displeasure to Mrs. John Adams. Appar- 
ently the colonel's wife had appealed to his brothers and sisters for news of him. 

* John Quincy Adams married Louisa Catherine Johnson, in London, on July 26, 1797. 

* William and Anna (Greenleaf)CrancL See footnote 8 to the letter of January 24, 1789. 


standing at the fire with your Letter open and very gravely reading it. 
I scolded and very soon carried it of. I thank you for all your communica- 
tions. The President] says one of Sister Cranchs Letters is worth half 
a dozen others. She airways tells us so much about home. And if he 
does not get them clandestinely he does not often see them. I wrote you 
a few lines the day before I left East Chester. On that day Mrs. Smith 
got Letters from her Brother Justice [Justus Smith] by a private hand, 
informing her that both he and the Col[onel] had written frequently 
by the post, and were astonished that she had not received any Letters, 
that by a private hand he had written and sent her some money in 
October. The Coljpnel] was not then at Shenang [Shenango, Pennsyl- 
vania?], the Name of the place which Justice owns, but was expected 
in a few days. These Letters communicated some comfort. She came to 
N[ew] York with me in search of the Man by whom the money and 
Letter was sent. Since I have been here, I have had a Letter from her 
informing [me] that he had been sought where he formerly lived, but 
had removed from thence. I have contemplated the plan you mention. 
It may be put into effect if future circumstances require it. At present, 
it would be expensive and lonely, and not less subject to unpleasent 
feelings than being here on a visit, which is all that at present is ex- 
pected, nor will she be obliged to appear on my publick Evenings, unless 
it is her choice. 

I found Mr. and Mrs. Brisler and the Children very well and much the 
better for their country excursion. The Girls Becky and Nabby were very 
well, and both Mr. and Mrs. Brisler say, behaved with great prudence 
and discretion, quite to their satisfaction. I found every thing in the 
House in perfect good order, and all my old Hands escaped through the 
Pestilence. 1 One only of them had the fever. The others returnd as 
soon as Brisler got home, those whom he had dismisst when he went out, 
and those he retaind in pay, so that at present I could not wish to be 
better off than I am with respect to domesticks, which greatly enhances 
the comfort of Life. 

I regret that there should be an opposition to Mr. Whitman, 2 and that 

1 Epidemics of yellow fever raged in Philadelphia in the summers of 1793, 1797, and 

! On October 23, 1797, at a town meeting in Quincy, the Reverend Mr. Kilborn Whit- 
man was offered the position as assistant to the Reverend Anthony Wibird, at a salary of 
five hundred dollars per annum and a house to live in. Mr. Whitman declined: see the 
letter of December 26, 1797. 


it should princlpfy arise from Mr. & Mrs. Black, 3 whom I very sincerely 
regard, the I cannot say I respect their judgment in this case. I have 
not a doubt but Mr. and Mrs. Black will be reconciled in time. Reason- 
ing and not railing will have the effect. Mr. Flint 4 was opposed by the 
latter. Present my compliment[s] to Mr. Whitman, & tell him if our 
State constitution had been equally liberal with that of New Jersey and 
admitted the females to a vote, I should certainly have exercised it in 
his behalf. As it is, he may be sure both of the Presidents and my good 
wishes for him, with a sincere desire for his settlement. 

I have received one Letter from Sister Peabody written just after the 
death of Charles, 5 but Mrs. Smith has not had a line from her since 
her Children have been with her. Sister Peabody has so many cares 
that she has not much time to write, but I wish she would to Mrs. Smith. 
In her lonely hours she thinks much of her Children, and wishes to have 
from her Aunts hand some account of them. I have written her twice 
since I came from home, beside, one or two Letters just before I left 
home. I know not if she has received them. I am sorry to learn that 
Mrs. Cranch 6 is unwell. I have just been writing to him, and I have 
recommended to her to keep good spirits, and that it is a long lane which 
has no turn. Ask Cousin Betsy when I am to speak for the weding cap ? 7 
No Congress yet. A House but no Senate. Ben Bache is as usual abusing 
the President for forceing the respect from the people, degradeing this 
city by representing the military parade here as all forced. That it is a 
corrupt mass of Jacobinism, Quakerism and abominationism^ I will most 
readily admit, but at the same time there are many worthy and respect- 
able people here. Inclosd is a specimin of Bache Gall. But all will not do. 
I can see where the respect and attention is sincere. Many affecting 
proofs I have witnessed In this tour, one in particular of a private nature, 
at Brunswick [Maryland]. A white headed venerable Man desired to be 
admitted to the President. When he came in, he bowd respectfully and 

3 Probably Mr. and Mrs. Moses Black, who held the title to a mansion house In Quincy 
in February, 1788. Mr. Black's sister became that Mrs, Hal! whose death, together with 
that of her husband, is mentioned in the letters of December 12 and 26, 1797. 

4 On July 31, 1797, at a town meeting in Quincy, the Reverend Jacob Flint, of Reading, 
was proposed as an assistant to Anthony Wlbird, but refused the offer later because the 
salary was too small. 

5 Charles Smith, son of William Smith, brother of Mrs. John Adams, Mrs. Richard 
Cranch, and Mrs. Stephen Peabody. 

s The wife of the brother of Richard Cranch (1726-1811), 

r Elizabeth Quincy Shaw (1780-1798), daughter of Elizabeth (Smith) [Shaw] Peabody, 
by her first husband. 


said he was happy to see him, inquired if that was his Lady? I came, said 
he, many miles this morning on purpose. I told my wife this morn- 
ing that I would come, and she said why aint you affraid. No said I. 
Why do you think I should be affraid to go and see my Father? This 
was said with so much hearty sincerity, that to me it was of more value 
than the whole Military calvalcade [sic] of Pensilvannia. 

Write me often, and remember me affectionatly to all Friends. 

Yours as ever 


Philadelphia, Novbr. 28th, 1797 

I received your kind Letter of Nov'br. igth by this days post. I had 
previously received two others both of which I had replied to, but I 
do not know how to pass a week without hearing from you. At the same 
time I received your Letter, I also had one from Mrs. Smith informing 
me that she had received Letters from the Col[onel] of 2d of Nov'br and 
that he had written her word that he should be home soon. She accord- 
ingly gave up the thoughts of comeing to Philadelphia, which is a very 
great dissapointment to me. I fear she will be waiting & expecting, ex- 
pecting & waiting, the rest of the winter, but I cannot advise her not 
to stay a reasonable time. She writes me in anxiety at not hearing a 
word from her Aunt. Sister Peabody did not use to be inattentive to her 
Friends. She knows the Boys are well and happy, but she should know 
that there Mother is not so, and for that reason is the more anxious for 
her Children, and wishes to have it to say that she hears often from them; 
for she may be blamed for placing them at such a distance from her, 
without considering the utility it is of to the Children. I have written 
repeatedly, so has Mrs. Smith, both to Sister and the Children. Before 
I left home I wrote & inclosed in one Letter a ten Dollor Bill. I never 
received any acknowledgment of it. Betsy 1 should write if her Mamma 
cannot. Pray do you represent the matter to her. I have requested that 
all Letters may be sent on under cover to the President at Philadelphia, 
and I will see them forwarded. 

The city of Philadelphia is very Healthy at this time. I have had my 
Health much better than for several years past. I have not had a single 
days confinement since I left Quincy. The President took a bad cold 
by riding with the carriage windows down a very raw day in complasance 

See footnote 7 to the preceding letter. 


to the Military, and was confined ten days after we came here, but good 
Nursing got the better of it. The Senate and House have dispatchd their 
answers already to the speech. 2 I believe they were asshamd of their 
delay the last session. What, said the Duke de Liancourt 3 to the Presi- 
dent 5 soon after the late constitution was adopted in France, do you 
think of our Constitution r 4 I think, replied the President, who was then 
Vice President, I think that the Directory are Daniel in the Lions Den. 
The Directory however, saw their Fate, and having an Army at their 
beck, banishd the Lions ? before they devoured them. But still the Den 
yajwns] for them and will sooner or later have them. 

The measure of their iniquity is not yet full They are instruments 
in the hands of Providence to scourge the nations of the Earth. 

29th: Mr, Bartlet from Haverhill attended the Levee. 5 I requested 
the President to ask him to take a Family dinner with us, which he did, 
and I was happy to learn by him that he brought Letters to Mrs, Smith, 
so that I hope her mind is more at ease. I did now [sic] however get any, 
but that, as I hear they are well, I do not so much care for. I will thank 
you to make my Bacon for me, and when It is fit to smoak let Mr. 
Belcher carry it to the same place he got the other smoakd at. But I 
do not want it here. God Willing I will eat it at Home, & stay not an 
hour here longer than duty requires. I should like to have a Barrel of 
cheese sent If [it] can come immediatly, Otherways I fear we shall be 
frozen up. As to Butter I do not know as I am not there to make it 
myself I fear it will not be put up so as to keep. I hope Mrs. Pope will 
not forget me. Pork I should like to have a plenty of that. 

a The second session of the Fifth Congress extended from November 13, 1797, to July 
16, I79& 

8 Francois Alexandre Frederic, due de La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt (1747-1827). 
This interesting nobleman founded on his estate, Liancourt, near Clermont 3 a model school 
for the education of the children of poor soldiers, called "ficole des Enfants de la Patrie," 
and was a member of the Estates-General in 1789, after which he was an emigr& from France 
until the Consulate. As a result of his visit to North America, he wrote Foyagf dans les 
ltats-Unis, d* Ameriqus fait sn 17^5-1797 (1798), an English translation of which appeared 
as Travels Through the United States of North America, the Country of ike Iroquois*, and 
Upper Canada^ London, 1799. 

This duke is chiefly famous for the following colloquy with Louis XVI on the news of 
the fall of the Bastille, in 1789: "C'est une revoke?" "Non, Sire, c'est une revolution.** 

4 The Third Constitution of the French Republic, that of 1795, which set up a Directory 
of five and a Legislature of two Chambers: the Council of Elders, and the Council of Five 
Hundred. This Constitution lasted till 1799, when it was replaced by the Consulate (1799- 

f Bal!ey Bartlett (1750-1830), of Haverhill, Massachusetts, member of the House of 
Representatives (1797-1801). 


I inclose you a 5 dollor Bill I forgot amongst my pensioners old 
Mrs. Hayden. Pray send her two, and get some salt peter & molasses 
with the other to do my Bacon. Will you be so good as to see that 
Pheby does not suffer for wood or any necessary. 

I this moment have received a Letter from your son of 21 Nov'br, a 
very excellent Letter. He writes me that Mrs. Cranch was better, that 
Richard had been sick with the Quincy but was better. William had a 
bad cold. 6 He is doing well I hope. He writes in pretty good spirits. 
No News of Mr. Johnsons Family tho they saild the 10 of Sepbr. 7 
I am under great fears for them. 

I think Baxters resolution a good one. The nest News I expect the 
parson will be courting. I am sorry to hear Mrs. Greenleaf has been so 
unwell. My Love to her and Mrs. Norton. A kind remembrance to all 

Affectionatly your Sister 


Philadelphia, December I2th, 1797 

I received yesterday your kind favour of 29 Nov'br and 8th December. 
I had a few lines from you on Monday. I got my Letter to day to myself. 
I believe I shall not venture to communicate it. The President will be 
very angry with some of his Neighbours, if through their means we lose 
so good a Man, as is now in our power to settle. 1 The judgement of 
those in opposition is weak. I would sooner take the opinion of Gains, 
with regard to the merit of a preacher than either of them. I do not 
know what their objections are. Spear ought to know that the Scrip- 
tures combine the Gosple with the Law. I fancy Mr. B[lack] ? s objection[s] 
are not much more forcible. I think Mr. Whitman ought not to decline 
merely on account of those persons, who all of them, I have not a doubt, 
will be conciliated by a prudent conduct. To Mr. Flint there was an 
obstinate intemperate opposition from a certain quarter which I always 
condemned, and tho I did not like Mr. Flint so well as Mr. Whitman as 
a preacher, yet both the President and I determined to sit down quietly 

6 Richard and William Cranch were sons of William Cranch (1769-1855), who married 
Anna Greenleaf (1772-1843) in 1795. 

7 Joshua Johnson, of a Maryland family, was the father-in-law of John Quincy Adams, 
and a brother of Thomas Johnson (1732-1819). 

1 For the choice of Kilborn Whitman as assistant to Anthony Wibird of Quincy, see 
footnote 2 to the letter of November 15, 1797. 


with him if he had accepted the call of the people. I have a regard for, 
and Love 3317 Neighbours but I cannot but condemn their conduct on 
this occasion and look upon it as mere obstinancy [sic] to make themselves 
of concequence. Poor Mrs. Hall & her Husband are both dead. They 
left a Child, but for some reason, I cannot devine what, her Brother will 
not let me, or any of the Family find it or see it, tho on Mr* Blacks ac- 
count and from the regard I had for Mrs. Hall I have taken some pains 
to find it, and know how it was situated. I have written to Mrs. Black 
respecting it. 2 

Mrs. Smith is gone back to East Chester determined to wait there the 
arrival of the Col[onel]. We had a Letter from him this week. He was 
then at fort Stanwick 3 on his way to East Chester, he says. It was 
dated 2gth November. It was directed to Thomas [Adams] supposing 
him, private Secretary to the President. 

We have not any late Letters from London. I presume Mr. [J. QJ 
Adams is gone to Berlin. I had a Letter from Thomas [Adams] dated the 
10 of Sep'br. Thomas speaking of his new sister says, "She is indeed a 
most lovely woman, and in my opinion worthy in every respect of the 
Man for whom she has with so much apparent Cheerfulness renounced 
father and Mother kindred and Country to unite her destinies with his." 
This Is a great deal for Thomas to say. 

I inclose to you some remarks from Fennos paper upon some of 
Baches lies and abuse and a strip of paper containing Baches round 
assertion that the observations Printed in the Boston Centinel upon the 
Sermon of the Bishop of Norwich were "Positively known" to proceed 
from the pen of the Duke of Braintree, as he stiles the President. 4 If 
this has not been printed in any of our papers, let it be sent to the Mer- 

2 See footnote 3, to the letter of November 15, 1797. 

3 Fort Stanwix, on the Mohawk River, In Onelda County, New York It was erected 
in 1758 by John Stanwbc (1690-1765). 

4 See the Columbian Centinel for Wednesday, November 8, 1797. On February 17, 1797, 
Charles, Bishop of Norwich, preached in London at the Church of St. Mary le Bow, "before 
the society for propagating the gospel in foreign parts [sic]. 99 After paying an elegant 
tribute to the character of George Washington, the bishop, probably with the thought 
of encouraging contributions, dwelt so feelingly on the need for spreading the gospel in 
North America as to make certain citizens of the United States think that he was describing 
their state of society as little better than that of savages. This letter of protest, signed "An 
American," occupies a column and a half on the first page. 

Charles Manners-Sutton (1755-1828), grandson of John, third duke of Rutland, and a 
favorite with George III and his family, became Bishop of Norwich in 1792, Dean of 
Windsor in 1794, and, in 1805, against the wishes of William Pitt, who wanted the place for 
another, was made Archbishop of Canterbury. His son was Speaker of the House of 
Commons, and first Viscount Canterbury (1780-1845). 


cury 5 to insert, that the world may see what bold and dareing lies these 
wretches are capable of. Yet when calld upon for proof, they have not 
a word to offer. The wretch who is supposed to have written this for the 
Aurora is a Hireling Scotchman Campbel 5 by name, who fled from 
England for publishing libels against the Government, and has been 
employd by the Jacobins here to excite a spirit of opposition to the 
Government. Who the writer of those remarks upon the Bishops Sermon 
was, is as well known to the Pope of Rome, as to the President. Scarcly 
a day passes but some such scurility appears in Baches paper, very often 
unnoticed, and of no concequence in the minds of many people, but it 
has, like vice of every kind, a tendency to corrupt the morrals of the 
common people. Lawless principles naturally produce lawless actions. 
I have not heard from your son since I wrote you last. I am glad to 
learn that Mrs. Greenleaf is like to get rid of her complaint by a collection 
of the cause of it to one point. I dare say she will find herself better. 
Miss Alleyne is gone to Levingstone Manor to pass the winter with her 
sister. Mr. G[reenlea]f is yet confined, tho I believe he hopes soon to be 
liberated. 7 The vice President is come and dines here to day with 30 
other Gentleman. 

Remember me kindly to Mr. Cranch and respectfully to Mrs. Welch. 
Tell Cousin Betsy I will send her an old Maids cap, that will never be 
out of fashion. 

Love to Mrs. Norton and family. How much charigned [sic] shall I 
feel if you write me that Mr. Whitman has given his answer in the Nega- 
tive. I hate Negatives when I have sit my Heart upon any thing. Half 
the year I must sit under as strong Calvinism as I can possibly swallow 
and the other half, I do not know what is to come. 

My paper reminds me to close, and my company that I must dress 
for dinner. 

Yours most affectionatly 


6 The Massachusetts Mercury, published in Boston. 

6 Possibly George Washington Campbell (1769-1848), who was born m Scotland, was 
christened George and added Washington to his name later. He was a member of the House 
of Representatives for Tennessee from 1803 to 1809, an ardent supporter of Jefferson, and 
an enemy of John Randolph of Roanoke. 

7 For the release of James Greenleaf (1765-1843), speculator in land, see footnote 5, 
to the letter of June 6, 1797. For James Greenleaf and his two wives, Antonia Cornelia 
Albertine Schotten (divorced 1800) and Ann Penn Allen, see Greenleaf, Greerdeaf Family, 
pp. 217-8, For the Stuart portrait of Greenleaf, see Anne H. Wharton, Social Life in tke 
Early Republic, Philadelphia, 1903, p. 30. 


[Enclosed with letter of December 12 ', 1797} 

Mr. Bache and his correspondents appear to be in great distress least 
the respect shown to the President of the United States by the people 
of every City and Town through which he past on his journey to his own 
Home, and on his return to the Seat of Government, should be construed 
into a satisfaction with the Government, and an approbation of its 
administration. As Mr. Bache is but a youth of yesterday, when com- 
pared with the old Patriots who first stood forth in defence of the invaded 
Rights of their injured Country against the usurpation of Great Britain, 
I who am grown grey with years, and was witness to what I relate, can 
tell him, that the Testimonials of respect which have recently been 
offerd to the President of the United States, are no Novelties to him. 

Previous to the meeting of the first Congress in the year 1774, the 
Members from Massachusetts, (our venerable President was one,) were 
met, escorted and Feasted, (if you please) in all the principal Towns and 
citys through which they past. The same publick marks of respect were 
again manifested with increased splendour, at the Meeting of Congress 
in the year 1775. In the year 1789 when the President was first Elected 
vice president, a Troop of Horse waited upon him at his Seat in Braintree, 
and escorted him from thence to the Governours in Boston accompanied 
by Numbers of citizens. From thence he was attended to Cambridge by 
a large, and respectable concourse of people, where he was again met 
by an other Troop of Horse. 

Throughout the State of Conneticut he received the same marked 
attention. The citizen[s] of New York were not less Zealous on that 
occasion, than they have been, to do honour to him as President. Troops 
of Horse, and respectable citizens went as far as Kings Bridge, 8 and 
escorted him into the City of New York, 

Every person who is acquainted with the Republican manners and 
habits of the President can witness for him, that every kind of show and 
parade are contrary to his tastes and inclination, and that they can be 
agreeable on no other ground 3 than as the Will of the People, Manifesting 
their determined resolution to support the Government, and the 
Administrators of it, so long as the administration is conformable 
to the Constitution. As to Mr. Baches polite allusion to Darby and 

* Kings Bridge, or Phillipse* Bridge, or the Bridge at Spuyten DuyviL This bridge 
connected the extreme northeastern tip of Manhattan Island with the mainland. John 
Adams was welcomed there at four o'clock In the afternoon of April 20, 1789, on his way to 
the home of John Jay. See Stokes, Iconography of Manhattan Island, index, pp. 328 and 
458; vol. i, plate 46; and vol. 5, p. 1238. 


Joan, 9 I consider that as highly honorary to the domestic and conjugal 
Character of the President who has never given His Children or 
Grandchildren cause to Blush for any illegitimate ofspring. 

Philadelphia, December 26, 1797 

I received your Letter by this days mail of ijth. I am mortified at 
the loss of Mr. Whitman, 1 tho from what you wrote me I apprehended 
it would be so. Every one has a right to their own opinion, and my 
conscience suffers as much when I hear Mr. & Mr. Mr. deliver senti- 
ments which I cannot assent to & preach doctrines which I cannot 
believe, as my Neighbours because a Man does not wear Calvinism in 
his face, and substitute round Os for Ideas. But we must be doomed to 
a a droomadery. I am out of patience, and yet I am brought down, 
for last week I was obliged to lose Blood, and confine myself for a week 
in concequence of one of my old attacks. I had some Rhumatism with 
it, but am getting better, and should have ventured to ride out to day 
if the weather would have permitted. 

I could not see company on fryday Evening, nor the Gentlemen to 
day who attend the Levee. Mrs. Gushing 2 came last evening and took 
tea with me. I promise myself some society with her. Most of the rest 
Is parade ceremony. Next Monday is New Years Day and we shall 
have a tedious time of it. I thank you for the care of my Bacon carpets. 
I had much rather they should be down on your floor than not. As to 
the Chair, I pray you take it. I had Letters from Mrs. Smith this week. 
She thought it best to part with Mr. Mrs. King as her family were 
small, so that she now has only one Man to look after the Stock, and a 
Boy Girl. In that manner she lives without a Human being to call 
upon her from one week to an other, buoyd up with an expectation of the 
Col[onel]'s return, which however I have very little faith in. The old 
Lady 3 is going out to stay with her now, which will render her situation 
more tolerable, I know she relucts at the thought of comeing here. If I 
was in private Life she would feel differently. 

9 Darby and Joan, a married pair who are said to have lived in the West Riding of 
Yorkshire in the eighteenth century. They are the subject of a ballad called "The Happy 
Old Couple," said to have been written by Henry Woodfall. The names trst appeared in 
print in the Genllemarfs Magazine (1735), vol. 5, p. 153. 

1 See footnote 2 to the letter of November 15, 1797. 

2 Wife of Justice William Gushing (1732-1810). See footnote 10 to the letter of January 
24, 1789. 

3 Mother of Colonel William Stephens Smith, son-in-law of John Adams. 


I was fully sensible that the Boys must be taken from all their con- 
nections to break them of habits which they had imbibed. There were a 
train of uncles and Aunts and servants to spoil them and very few ex- 
amples such as I wisht to have them innured to, and I dread their 
Fathers return least he should take It into his Head to take them away. 4 

I rejoice to hear that Mrs. Norton and Family are well. I hope Mrs. 
Greenleaf will recover her Health. Slip the inclosed into her Hand when 
you see her, and say nothing about it. 

Where is Mr. Wibird 5 & is he this winter? multiplying and increasing 
as he was? 5 dollors are inclosed that you may apply them to the use of 
Pheby as her necessities may be. I have not heard from Washington 6 
since I wrote you last. 

I have been the communicator of very melancholy News to Mr. & 
Mrs. Black. I was much shocked when John returnd from Mr, Halls 
House and brought me word that they were both dead, and when the 
Baby at my request, was sent to me to see, I felt for the poor little 
orphan an inexpressible tenderness. It Is a fine Baby and the Image 
of Its poor Broken Hearted Mother, who the Physicians agree, dyed with 
fatigue and dejection of spirits without any symptoms of the fever. 
I hope Mr. & Mrs. Black will take the child, as soon as it is weaned. 7 

The President has agreed that he will not open any more Letters to 
me, and will be satisfied with such parts as I am willing to communicate. 
Accordingly he has not opend any since I scolded so hard about it. 
Pray If you have got the Song of Darby and Joan do send it me. 8 I do 
not recollect but one line In it, and that Is, "when Darbys pipes out 
Joan wont smoke a whiff more." and I know they were represented as a 
fond loving conjugal pair. Baches object was to bring such a Character 
Into Ridicule. True French manners in Religion and politicks is what he 
alms to introduce, but corrupt as our manners are, there Is yet too much 
virtue to have such doctrines universally prevail. 

Remember me to all our Friends whom I hope to see again in the Spring. 

And be assured I am, my dear Sister, 

Your ever affectionate 


4 William Steuben Smith, and John Adams Smith, who were spending the winter with 
their great-aunt, Mrs. Elizabeth (Smith) [Shaw] Peabody, In Atkinson, New Hampshire. 

5 See footnote I to the letter of October 4, 1789. 

8 That is, from her nephew, William Cranch, son of Mary (Smith) Cranch. 

7 See footnote 3 to the letter of November 15, 1797. 

8 See footnote 9 to the enclosure with the letter of December 12, 1797. 


Philadelphia, Jan'ry 5th, 1798 

I received your kind Letter of December and was surprized to find 
that my Letter should convey the first intelligence of the death of Mr. 
& Mrs. Hall to Mr. & Mrs. Black, as their Brother assured me he had 
written three weeks before. 1 I told him I would take charge of any 
Letter from him, and could nearly vouch for its going safely. 

I was much dissatisfied when Mrs. Brisler sought the Child so earnestly 
and could not find it, and thought it my duty to inform Mrs. Black of it, 
as I did immediately upon his [Mr. Black's brother] sending the child 
to me. 2 My own conclusions were that it was at Nurse with some person, 
and in some place that he did not chuse my people should see. However 
this may be, the Nurse who brought the child and whom I saw Nurse 
it in my Chamber whilst she stay'd, is a very decent, respectable, healthy 
looking woman, above the common level of such persons here. 

I have already written Mrs. Black my opinion of her and her replies 
to such questions as I put to her; I shall send some of my people to see 
the child as you say, when they are not expected, and I will have it 
brought me as often as once a Month, and I will let the Nurse know, 
that the Child has relatives who are much interested for it, and design 
to take it in the Spring, if the Child lives untill the Spring. The sooner 
Mr. Black comes for it, the better, for this city is a very unhealthy 
place for children. 

As soon as Mrs. Brisler is well enough she will go with Betsy, and see 
the Baby. Mrs. Brisler has had one of her old ill turns, but is better. 

I expect that your next Letter will bring me tydings of Abbe's death. 
I look upon it [as] a release to Pheby, but I am fully sensible her days 
of usefullness are nearly over and what is to be done with her I cannot 

1 See footnote 3 to the letter of November 15, 1797. 

a Ann (or Anna) Hall, the orphan niece of Moses Black, of Quincy, and a distant relative 
of John Adams. "Moses Black's will left $1000 each to Anna Black Lamb and Mrs. Roi- 
anna Blake and all his real estate in Quincy to his wife 'provided that if my said wife marry 
again, that I give and devise one-half of said Quincy real estate to Anna Hall.*" Daniel 
Munro Wilson, Where American Independence Began, Boston and New York, 1902, pp. 187-8. 
The interest of Mrs. John Adams in this infant Hall orphan, probably sprang from the fact 
that some time after the death of the father of President John Adams, his widow married a 
4 Mr, Hall." On the death of her second husband, Mrs. Susanna (Boylston) [Adams] Hall 
seems to have made her home with Mrs. Richard Cranch, probably because of the pro- 
longed absence of John and Abigail Adams from Braintree, or Quincy. Both Abigail 
Adams and Mary Cranch were devoted to the aged mother of John Adams. She died on 
April 21, 1797. Columbian Cenlind, May 3, 1797. 


tell 3 For this winter she must remain where she is, but there Is no reason 
that the whole of the House should be devoted to her as it is in a manner, 
for no other person will occupy it, who will give any thing for it, whilst 
she resides there, and she must have somebody to look after her. 12 or 
13 years she has lived there, and never paid a sou. More than that she 
has lately received as much as her House rent from me, and as long as I 
am able I shall be willing to do for her, but I think some new plan must 
be struck out for her. 

I received Letters from Sister Peabody yesterday for myself and Mrs. 
Smith. She thinks Mr. Atwood ought to have some acknowledgment 
made to him for his trouble. She says Charles left a New Watch worth 
20 dollors. 4 Suppose that should be given him, but I know not who has 
a right to do it. To Miss Sarah Atwood she also thinks some Handsome 
present ought to be made. Query who ought to make these presents? 
She ought to have what is reasonable and proper & handsome consider- 
ing all circumstances, but the situation of Charles Family is well known. 
They are not in independant circumstances. I would not have them 
however receive from Strangers obligations which should be thought 
the Family ought to reward. Sister Peabody has twice written me upon 
this subject. She says Charles left in money about 40 dollors with which 
she has paid all extra Charges. His Cloaths which were given him by 
Mr. Atwood I think ought all to return to Mr. Atwood. He was his 
appretence [sic] and Mr. Atwood received from him all the service of his 
time &c. He treated him like a child in his sickness, and I shall ever 
esteem & respect the Family for it. I wish you would consult Dr. 
[Cotton] Tufts and Mr. [Richard] Cranch upon it. I will be at the 
expence of a Ring for Mrs. Atwood such as Cousin Betsy Smith has for 
Mrs. Rogers. 5 Pray inquire of her and get her to have one made with 
Charles Name & present it to Mrs. Atwood for me, and I will pay for it. 
I do not want this known however beyond ourselves. Tis true he was 
my Nephew, but not the only relative I had or have who stands in need 
of pecuniary assistance. Marys sickness was much longer and more 
expensive. That, too, ought to be considerd- 

8 Abbe Is probably Mrs, Joseph Field, to whom a daughter was bom in 1752, and Phebe 
Is probably Phebe Trask, who married Henry Field in April, 1767. See the letter of June 4, 

4 Charles Smith, son of that William Smith who was the brother of Mrs. John Adams, 
died in 1797, See footnote 5 to the letter of November 15, 1797* Charles Smith was 
apprenticed to Mr. Atwood. 

5 Possibly a relation of John Rodgers. See the letter of October 4, 1789. 


I wish you would write me fully upon the subject and whether you 
have had any Letters from William since the death of his Brother. 

The News from abroad of the Peace made by the Emperor with the 
Directory of France (to call it a Republick would be a subversion of 
terms) is an Event big with concequences. 6 The treatment of our en- 
voys, as rumourd, for the Executive has not received any communication 
from them since their arrival in France, excites however unpleasant 
sensations, for the insolent proposition & threat sent to Switserland a 
Nutral power shows us that tyrants stick at nothing. 7 The threatned 
invasion of England I do not much credit. They may be mad enough 
however to attempt it, for I believe they fear nothing so much as 
disbanding there [sic] Annies. 

Our American Minister in England is making a Tour of it, so that at 
this most critical moment the Government is indebted to News Paper 
intelligence for all they have. 8 "I never left my post a moment but upon 
business for my Country during the whole war/' crys you know who. 9 
But my paper is full, and the post will be gone. Adieu my dear Sister. 

Affectionatly your[s] 
[A.] Adams 

6 On April 18 and October 17, 1797, Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor Francis I, 
Emperor of Austria, after 1806 first dealt with the government of revolutionary France 
by authorizing the signing of the treaties of Leoben and Campo Formio, the most import- 
ant articles of which provided for the cession to France of the Belgian Provinces and the 
left bank of the Rhine. This left England standing alone as the only nation at war with the 
victorious French a fact of great significance for the future. 

7 The "ancient inviolability" of the neutrality of the Swiss Confederation is a journalistic 
myth, dating approximately from 1914. As early as 1792 a French army entered the terri- 
tory of Geneva, in order to "cooperate" with the "democratic" party of that city. On 
December 15, 1797, a French force seized Basle, and on March 6, 1798, the troops of Bona- 
parte captured Berne, the treasure of which, 800,000, was taken in order to provide pay 
for the conqueror's army. To "compensate" the plundered Swiss, the new t Helvetic 
Republic, one and indivisible," was proclaimed at Aarau. C. A. Fyffe, A History of Modern 
Europe, vol. I, New York, 1881, pp. 151-3. 

8 Rufus King (1755-1827) was born in Maine, and settled in New York City in 1786, 
having married the only daughter of a wealthy merchant there. Serving as American 
minister to England from 1796 to 1803, King is said to have been "one of the most effective 
representatives the United States has ever had at London." Channuig, History of tke 
United States, vol. 4, p. 353. 

9 John Adams spent his summers on his farm at Quincy, Massachusetts. In 1798 Mrs. 
Adams was seriously ill, and the President of the United States stayed away from the seat 
of government at Philadelphia from midsummer to November, and at a most critical time, 
when relations with France were strained to the breaking-point. 

Philadelphia, Janry 20, 1798 

I do not know whether there is any getting over the Rivers. The 
Eastern Mail due yesterday Is not arrived. The Ice has been broken 
up for two or three days past. Mr. B. Beals who has been here more 
than a week, talked of leaving the city yesterday. 1 I have given him a 
little matter addrest to Cousin Betsy. It is a small Box of the size 
of a little plate. In it you will find a shawl handkerchief which is for you 
and tho almost the only covering worn by our Ladies here, in the winter, 
you will think it more proper for April or May. My sattin fur Cloak 
is almost singular. 

I wrote to Mrs. Black yesterday and shall certainly be very attentive 
to the Child. It grows finely. 

We had some snow at the same time you had, but a much less quan- 
tity. We have had some very fine weather this Month, and it still con- 
tinues. I "wish our political Horizon look[ed] as bright as our Natural 
one does, but we have a dark prospect. I am at a loss to know how the 
people who were formerly so much alive to the usurpation of one Nation 
can crouch so tamely to a much more dangerous and dareing one, to 
one which aims not only at our independance and libety [sic] but a 
total annihilation of the Christian Religion, whose Laws, all which they 
have, are those of Draco, who are Robbers, Murderers, Scoffers, back- 
biters. 2 In short no crime however black or Horrid to which they have 
not become familiar. America must be punished, punished for having 
amongst her legislatures Men who sanction these crimes, who justify 
France In ail her measures, and who would rejoice to see fire, sword and 
Massacre carried Into the Island of Great Britain untill she became as 
misirable, as France Is wretched. 

My Native State, wash ye, make yourselves clean from these abomi- 
nations. You are Guilty of sending three such Men, V[arnu]m, F[ree- 
ma]n, S[klnn]er. 3 Not a single state but what has some, Conneticut ez- 

1 Beals or Beal. Probably the captain of the frigate mentioned in the letter of May 29, 
1798, plying between Philadelphia and Boston. See the letters of February 6, March 5, 
and June 13, 1798. 

* Draco, or Dracon, an Athenian legislator who formulated the first code of laws for 
Athens, about 624 B.C. Because of the number of offences to which his code affixed the 
penalty of death, It was often said to have been "written in blood." 

3 See the letters of May 24 and June 3, 1797. Varaum favored national defence through 
the militia as against a standing army, opposed building the Constitution and other naval 
vessels, and denounced what he called the personal extravagance of President John Adams. 
Varnum was Speaker of the House of Representatives (1807-1811). 


cepted, tho many of them would not go all lengths. Virginia has but two 
Federilists, North Carolina but one. Can we expect such measures to 
be adopted as the safety and security of the Country require? Every 
Man who sees the danger may toil & toil; like Syssaphass [Sisyphus], (I 
believe the Name is misspelt) the weight recoils. We have Letters from 
Mr. Murry. 4 A few lines from Mr. Marshall to him informs him: that 
the envoys were not received, and he did not believe they would be. 5 
They dare not write, knowing that every word would be inspected. They 
have not been permitted to hold any society or converse with any citizen. 
In short they have been in a mere Bastile. We are in daily expectation 
of their return. 

I expected from what you last wrote to hear of Abbes death. Pheby 
will be surrounded as long as there is any thing to eat or drink, and I 
suppose she will think [it] very hard to be obliged to alter her mode of 
living. But tho I am willing to assist towards her mantanance, I do not 
like to support all she may keep with her, and her whole income would 
not find her wood. Untill Spring it would be best she should remain 
where she is. I would have Mr. Porter let her have a Bushel of corn. 
The money I sent, you will lay out for wood or otherways as you think 
best. It would not do for me to order her any more wood but I would 
buy for her. That is an article she must have. Pray order her some when 
she wants and I will pay for it. The negro woman who lives with her 
should be obliged to find some, for she pays no rent. You will be so good 
as to let me know how she is. 

Mrs. Smith is still at East Chester, waiting Be expecting! I have just 
had a line from Sister Peabody of Jan'ry 5th. All well. 

I could very easily forgive Mr. [Peter] Whitney, and should still like 
him for our minister. I am sorry he was not better advised. I suppose 
Mr. [Anthony] Wibird will not think of removeing now there is a female 
in the House. I do not know but Mr. Wibird himself may go and do 
likewise. 6 Remember me affectinatly [sic] to all our dear Friends. 

Ever your affectionate Sister 
Abigail Adams 

4 William Vans Murray (1760-1803), of Maryland, was a member of the House of 
Representatives (1791-1797), and a loyal Federalist and close adviser of Washington, who 
sent him as minister to the Netherlands in February, 1797. For some time Vans Murray 
was the sole official channel of communication between the French Directory and the 
government of the United States. 

5 C. C. Pmckney, John Marshall, and Elbridge Gerry were appointed envoys-extraordi- 
nary to France by John Adams in the spring of 1797 the "XYZ Mission." 

8 See footnote 5 to the letter of May 16, 1797. 


Philadelphia, Febry [1-5], 1798 

Your kind Letter of Jan'ry I4th I received last week. I shall not be 
dissatisfied with Mr. Whitney if the people are disposed to give him a 
call, but far otherways. I shall rejoice in the prospect of having so 
virtuous and sensible a Gentleman setled with us, to whom I doubt not, 
years will teach more knowledge of the word. 

I can understand you -well, tho you do not speak plain. I know you 
think that there may be allowd a greater latitude of thought and action 
at the Bar than in the pulpit. I allow it, and yet each Character be per- 
fectly honourable & virtuous. 

You ask me^ What has Cox done that he is dismist, 1 I answer a Man 
of his Character ought not to have been employd where he was. At the 
Time the British were in [possession cancelled} this State, Mr. Cox then 
a young man, went from this city and joind them, and as a Guide led 
them into this city with a chaplet of ever Greens round his Head. When 
this Government was about to be establisht, he turnd about, and 
possessing some talants became a warm advocate for the Federal Govern- 
ment. He possesses] specious talants. He got Col[onel] Hamilton to 
appoint him first Clerk in His office whilst he was Secretary of the 
treasury. In this office he continued till it is said Hamilton found him 
very troublesome to him, and not wanting to have him an Enemy, he 
contrived to get the office of Commlssoner [sic] of the Revenue created, 
and Cox appointed to it. When Hamilton resignd, Cox expected to be 
appointed in his Room but finding Mr. Wolcot prefered befor him, he 
was much mortified. 2 And at the late Election for President, he became 
a writer in the papers and in pamphlets against the administration of 
Washington and a Partizen for Jefferson. But no sooner was the Election 
determined, than Sycophant like he was, worshiping the rising Sun out- 
wardly, whilst secretly he was opposing and thwarting every measure 
recommended by the President for the defence of the Country. But 

1 Tench Coxe (1755-1824), of Pennsylvania, was the author of an able pamphlet, 
An Examination of the Constitution of the United States (1788), which marked him as an 
active Federalist. Coze was made Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in 1789, and became 
Commissioner of the Revenue in 1792. Adams removed him In December, 1797; whereupon 
Coxe promptly went over to the "Republicans" and helped in the defeat of Adams in 1800, 
by publishing a letter which Adams indiscreetly wrote to him in 1792, blaming Hamilton 
for the appointment of Thomas Pinckney as minister to England. Hamilton struck back at 
Adams with his notorious election letter of 1800. 

3 Although John Adams gave no official reason for removing Coze, it was commonly 
believed that his Secretary of the Treasury, Oliver Wolcott, Jr., persuaded him to take this 
step, even though Wolcott was a creature of Hamilton, and disloyal to Adams. 


this was not all. He was constantly opposing and obstructing the Secre- 
tary of the Treasury in his department. A Man of no sincerity of views 
or conduct, a Changling as the Wind blow, & a Jacobin in Heart. 

You will see by the papers I send you the debate continued by Con- 
gress for 15 days and yet undetermined, upon the foreign intercourse 
Bill. 3 These debates will be a clue to unfold to you the full system of the 
Minority, which is to usurp the Executive Authority into their own 
Hands. You will see much said about the Patronage of the President 
and his determination to appoint none to office, as they say, who do 
not think exactly with him. This is not true in its full extent. Lamb 
the Collector was not dismist from office for his Jacobin sentiments, but 
for his Peculation, Jarvis for Peculation, Cox for opposing the Govern- 
ment in its opperations. 4 The President] has said, and he still says, he 
will appoint to office merit, virtue & Talents, and when Jacobins possess 
these, they will stand a chance, but it will ever be an additional recom- 
mendation that they are Friends to order and Government. President 
Washington had reason to Rue the day that he departed from this 
Rule, but at the commencement of the Government, when parties were 
not so high, and the Country not in danger from foreign factions, it 
was thought it would tend to cement the government. But the Ethiopen 
[sic] could not Change his Skin, and the Spots of the Leopard have been 
constantly visible, tho sometimes shaded. 5 I cannot think [the] Virgin[i]a 

3 Much of the time of the Second Session of the Fifth Congress (November 13,1797- 
July 1 6, 1798) was consumed in the House of Representatives by the impeachment of 
Senator Blount, of Tennessee; consequences of the feud between Griswold, of Connecticut, 
and Lyon, of Vermont; and a long debate on what was called the Foreign Intercourse Bill 
"A Bill Providing the Means of Intercourse between the United States and Foreign 
Nations," When Robert G. Harper, of South Carolina, brought this bill to the fioor of the 
House, he caused an explosion of oratory which sputtered for weeks. The bill was designed 
to establish the diplomatic and consular service by means of amending the acts of July I, 
1790, and February 9, 1793. The opponents of the Federalists attacked it on principle, and 
also because the son of tie President was minister to Berlin, and the unpopular William 
Loughton Smith, of South Carolina, had been appointed minister to Spain and Portugal on 
July 10, 1797, The opposition to the bill was led by John Nicholas (1756-1819), member of 
the House from Virginia. The Senate finally passed this bill as it came up from the House 
on March 13, 1798. Annals of the Fifth Congress, p. 521. 

4 John Lamb (1735-1800), a native of New York, became prosperous as a wine merchant 
and served with credit during the Revolution. In 1784 the New York Legislature, of which 
he was a member, appointed him Collector of the Customs of the port of New York 
Washington renewed this appointment in 1789, In 1797 a shortage in the accounts of 
Lamb's deputy, a former criminal, forced Lamb to resign his office; he sold his lands to 
cover the lost funds, and died in poverty. For William Jarvis and Tench Coze, see footnote 
6 to the letter of June 3, 1797, and footnotes I and 2 above. 

6 "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do 
good, that are accustomed to do evil." Jeremiah, XIII, 23. 


declamation will make many converts, for how stupid would that man 
be thought in private Life who should put the care and oversight of his 
affairs into the Hands of such persons as he knew would counteract all 
his instruction, and destroy all his property? 6 

Vague and contradictory accounts are in circulation respecting our 
Envoys. One thing is certain. No official communication has been re- 
ceived from them, from whence I judge they do not think it safe to make 
any. Bache is in tribulation. He publishd last Saturday an attack 
upon the Secretary of State for receiving as he said 5 dollors for a pasport 
which should have been deliverd Gratis. One Dr. Reynolds appears to 
have been at the bottom of the buisness, an Irish scape Gallows who 
fled here from the justice of his country charged as he was with treason 
against it, and a reward of a hundred Guineys was offerd for him by the 
British Government. A person wholy unknown to the Secretary but 
one of Baches slanderers and employ d by him as it is said to write libels. 
I hope the Rascals will be persued, to the extent of the Law. 7 

It is time to leave politicks for my paper is already full. We had a 
very heavy storm last week and it looks more like winter now than since 
I have been here. 

Mr. Greenleaf has been sick, but I believe he is quite recoverd. I hear 

6 What Mrs. Adams called the "Virginia declamation" were the long and formidable 
speeches in which John Nicholas, of Virginia, attacked the Foreign Intercourse Bill. 
Nicholas used three chief arguments in opposing this bill: 

1. He hoped "to bring back" the consular and diplomatic service to the "simple" days 
of 1789. 

2. He accused John Adams of filling up appointments to the foreign service with his 
partisan supporters, that is, with Federalists. 

3. He thought that the United States would be better off if it were to have no ministers 
at all! 

Nicholas was a crank, and consequently one of the very first American "isolationists" 
"Mr. Nicholas considered the subject of this bill as one of the most important that could 
come before the Legislature, for he attributed all our misfortunes to this source. He 
thought we ought to have no political connexion with Europe, but be considered, in rela- 
tion to that continent, as mere buyers and venders [sicl of their manufactures." Annals 
of ike Fifth Congress, p. 922. 

In 1803 Nicholas removed to Ontario County, New York, and died destitute in 1819, 

7 On November 12, 1796, Thomas Wotherspoon, a Scottish merchant, got a passport in 
Philadelphia, for which he gave one of the clerks of Timothy Pickering a gratuity of five 
dollars, in silver. Over a year later, Bache published the story of this transaction in the 
4urora of January 24, 1798. Pickering dismissed both his first and second clerk, and wrote 
to the Aurora. Bache gave Dr. James Reynolds as the source of his information, possibly 
the same James W. Reynolds whose so-called wife, Maria Lewis, blackmailed Alexander 
Hamilton in 1791 and 1792. Maria Lewis sometimes called herself the wife of Jacob Ciing- 
man, a confederate of Reynolds. Charles W. Upham, The Life of Timothy Pickering, 
Boston, 1873, v l- 3 PP- 308-12. 



Mather Brown 

of him frequently and I am told that no comfort or convenience is 
wanting but that of Liberty, that unfortunately there is but too much 
company, for I have been Credibly informd that as many as two Hundred 
Heads of Families and persons formerly in good circumstances are now 
in confinement. Mr. Greenleaf expects soon to be liberated by a Law of 
this State which is now before the Legislature. 8 

I had Letters from Mrs. Smith last week, the col[onel] was not returnd, 
nor do I much believe that he will. I believe I mentiond to you to get 
Sister Smith to knit me some Stockings, but I wholy forget whether I 
sent any money either to buy cotton or pay her. 9 

I wish you would mention to Mrs. Black to make a cap for the Baby 
and inclose it to me. It will have a good Effect I know in fixing in the 
mind of the Nurse a Certainty that it has Relations who attend to it. 
I inquired of the Nurse if it was well provided fir [sic]. She said it had 
sufficient for the present, and she always brings it clean and well enough 
drest. I know it will give you pleasure to learn that Mr. & Mrs. [J. Q,] 
Adams had arrived safe at Hamburgh in October & left it for Berlin 
on the 2d of Nov'br. We learn this from Mr. Murry by a Letter of 
Novbr 7th. 10 We have not received any letters of a later date than 
Sep'br. We are all at present in the enjoyment of Health. Mrs. Gushing 
came in last Evening in the sisterly manner & past the Evening with 
me. With Mrs. Otis and her I could fancy myself at Quincy. 11 

I bear my drawing Rooms, sometimes crowded, better than I expected, 
tho I always feel the Effects of the lights the next day. 

My affectionate Regards to all Friends young or old from your 



Pray let me hear from Polly. I am very uneasy about her. 

Just as I had written the last sentance yours of 2Oth was brought me. 
Alass poor Polly. My Heart aches for her. I shall dread to hear again. 
If she wants wine pray send from my cellar as much as she may have 

8 James Greenleaf was discharged from bankruptcy in 1798, under "one of the earliest 
American bankruptcy laws that of Maryland." Channing, History oftkf United States, 
vol. 5, p. 193. 

9 "Mrs. Smith" is Abigail (Adams) Smith, wife of Colonel William Stephens Smith. 
"Sister Smith" is Martha (White) Smith, wife of William Smith, the Boston merchant, 
brother of Kirs. John Adams. 

M For William Vans Murray, see footnote 4 to the letter of January 20, 1798. 
11 For Mrs. Justice William Gushing, see footnote IQ to the letter of January 24, 1789. 
Mrs. Samuel Allyne Otis was the wife of the Secretary of the Senate, 1789-1814. 


need of. They cannot buy such. If she lives do go & see her again. 
I wish I could do her any good. I really Loved her. 12 The post will 
be gone. 


A, A. 

Philadelphia, Feb'ry 6th, 1798 

I was very anxious to receive a Letter from you this morning, and 
Betsy was wishing yet dreading to hear from her sister. That she yet 
lives, is some hope for to build upon. Mr. Brisler has just brought your 
Letter from the office dated 2gth Jan'ry. I believe I have written you 
every week, but fancy the Ice may have prevented the post from arriv- 
ing. I wish Polly was where you could often see her. I have a great 
opinion of cabbage leaves. I would apply them to her feet, to her neck 
& to her Head. You know how opprest she always was at her Lungs if 
any thing ailed her. I want to be doing something for her. Tell her I 
am very anxious for her and hope she may yet recover. But great care 
and tenderness is necessary or she will be lost. Pray take care. But 
why should I ask what I am sure is always done. Pray tell Mr. Cranch 
to take great care of himself, and, my dear Sister, my cellar is always 
open to you. Do not let so good a man want wine to make his Heart 
glad, when you know where it can be had with a hearty welcome. I 
have written to Dr. Tufts to get my Room & chamber new painted and 
that as soon as it can be done in March the closset floor & the entrys and 
stairs. They will have time then to dry sufficiently. I had a letter on 
Saturday from Mrs, Smith. The Colfonel] returnd last week and has 
notified his Credittors to meet him in order to adjust with them his 
affairs. 1 I cannot suppose that he has it in his power to satisfy the 
demands they have, but if he can settle so as to be able to do any buisness 
in future it will be a great relief to my mind as well as to hers. But I am 
affraid of vissions, of Ideal Schemes &c. At any rate I am glad he has 
returnd. It really seemd to me at times, as if Mrs. Smith would lose 

13 Probably Mary Carter Smith, niece of Mrs. Adams, who died on April 28, 1798. See 
footnote i to the letter of May 7, 1798. 

1 Colonel William Stephens Smith, the son-in-law of John Adams, had plunged heavily 
into speculation in western lands on his return from London to the United States in 1788. 
As late as 1812, however, he was living on a farm, "Smith Valley," which he owned in 
Lebanon, Madison County, New York. From, there he was elected as a Federalist to the 
Thirteenth Congress (1813-1815), 


herself. She has sometimes written me that existance was a burden to 
her; and that she was little short of distraction. I have been more dis- 
tresst for her than I have been ready to own. You know she always 
kept every thing to herself that she could, but she writes in better spirits, 
and is at least relieved from that worst of States, I think, a constant 
anxious expectation, and anticipation. 

I have had Letters from my sons abroad to October. They were then 
well, but none since they left London. I hope they are safe at Berlin 
long before this time. You saw a Letter or rather an extract of a Letter 
in the Centinal from [J.Q.A. cancelled} dated as if written at Paris about 
a fortnight since in order the better to disguise the source. 2 It is probable 
you may see publlshd from Fennos paper some observations upon the 
operation of the French constitution as exemplified in the transactions 
of the 4 Sep'br by the same hand. 3 

You complain of always having a share of Rhumatism. That is just 
my case. I have it floting about, sometimes in my head, Breast, Stomack 
&c, but if I can keep of fever I can Parry It so as not to be confined. 
Dr. [Benjamin] Rush is for calling it Gout, but I will not believe a word 
of all that, for Rhumatism I have had ever since I was a Child. When I 
feel any thing like fever, nitre In powder of about 6 Grains with a 6 
part of a Grain of tarter Emetic & a 6 part of a Grain of Calomil in each 
taking 3 powders in a day, generally relieves me. 

Inclosed Is a ten dollor Bill out of which be so good as to give two to 
the widow Green, Mr. Pratts Mother, and to pay Sister Smith for the 
stockings knit, and supply her with Cotton. Buy Pheby a load of wood 
if necessary. I know you Love to be my almoner. I wish it was In my 
power to do more abundantly. If there is any thing in the way of oranges, 
Milk, Bisqult &c, which will be for Pollys comfort do be so kind as to 
procure It for her and send to her for me. 

I hope captain & Mrs. Beal are recoverd and that Mr. & Mrs. Black 
are well I pray you to remember me to Brother Adams & Family when 

s See the Columbian Ctntinel, January 27, 1798, for the "Copy of a Letter" dated "Paris, 
September 21, 1797," in which J. Q. Adams stated that he saw no prospect of success for 
the "X.Y.Z. Mission" because tie new revolution in Paris, by expelling two Directors and 
one-half of the legislative body, had driven the moderate men horn power, 

1 John Fenno's Gazette oftht United States, an organ of the Federalists. Mrs. Adams refers 
to the coup tfetat of September 4, 1798, the iSth Fructidor, when the three Republican 
directors, Barras, Rewbel, and La Revelliere, defeated their colleagues, Barthelemy and 
Carnot. See footnote 4 to the letter of April 13, 1798. 


you see them. My Love to Mrs. Norton, to Mrs. Greenleaf, & respects 
to Mrs. Welch. 4 From your ever 

Affectionate Sister 


When you see Mrs. Pope, ask her about the Butter, the quantity & 
price. I should wish to pay for it, as well as two or three of her Cheses. 

Philadelphia, Feb'ry 15, 1798 

I have not received a Line from you since the last of Jan'ry. Betsy 
is much distresst to hear from her sister and I am not a little anxious. 
I hoped the twesday post as usual would have given me some informa- 
tion. .1 must attribute it to the weather. For, my dear Sister, write me a 
line every post if only to tell me how you all are. You will see much to 
your mortification, that Congress have been fitting [fighting], not the 
French, but the Lyon, not the Noble British Lyon, but but [sic] the beast- 
ly transported Lyon. 1 I am of the Quakers mind whom Peter Porcupine 
quotes. Speaking of the Irish, he says, "There is no mediocrity, or me- 
dium of Character in these people: they are either the most noble, brave, 
generous and best Bred: or the most ruffian like dirty and blackgaurd 
of all the creation." What a picture will these I4een days make upon 
our Journals?! Yet are the supporters of Lyon alone to blame: the 
Gentlemen the real federillst would have expeld him instantly, and if it 
were possible a federilist could be found thus to have degraded himself, 
he would not have cost the Country 14 days debate, besides the infamy 
and disgrace of sitting again there. 2 I inclose you a paper containing a 
speach or two upon the subject. The Brute has not been in the house 

4 For Captain Beal, see footnote i to the letter of January 20, 1798; for Mr. and Mrs. 
Black, footnote 3 to the letter of December 22, 1799. "Brother Adams" is Peter Boylston 
Adams, younger brother of the President. Peter Boylston Adams (1738-1823) had four 
children by Mary Crosby: Mary (March 4, 1769), Boylston (April 24, 1771), Ann (April 
*9 I773) 5 an( 3 Susanna (August 1 1, 1777), The others are Mrs. Elizabeth (Cranch) Norton, 
wife of the Reverend Jacob Norton; Mrs. Lucy (Cranch) Greenleaf, wife of John Green- 
leaf; and the wife of Dr. Thomas Welsh, of Quincy. 

1 Matthew Lyon (1750-1822) was born in County Wkklow, Ireland, and came to 
America in 1765, settling in Vermont. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 
1797, and was mercilessly lampooned as an ignoramus by the Federalist press. On Jan- 
uary 30, 1798, in the House of Representatives, he spat in the face of Roger Griswold, of 
Connecticut, who had derided his military record. 

2 On February 12, 1798, a resolution for Lyon's expulsion was lost In the House, having 
received a majority, but not the requisite two-thirds vote. 


for several days, but he is unfealing enough to go again, and if he does, 
I have my apprehensions of something still more unpleasent. 3 

These Philadelphians are a strange set of people, making pretentions 
to give Laws of politeness and propriety to the union. They have the 
least feeling of real genuine politeness of any people with whom I am 
acquainted. As an instance of it, they are about to celebrate, not the 
Birth day of the first Majestrate of the union as such, but of General 
Washingtons Birth day, and have had the politeness to send invitations 
to the President, Lady and family to attend it. The President of the 
United States to attend the celebration of the birth day in his publick 
Character of a private Citizen ! For in no other light can General Wash- 
ington be now considerd, how ever Good, how ever great his Character, 
which no person more respects than his Successor. But how could the 
President appear at their Ball and assembly, but in a secondary Charac- 
ter, when invited there, to be held up in that light by all foreign Nations. 
But these people look not beyond their own important selves. I do not 
know when my feelings of contempt have been more calld forth, in 
answer to the invitation. The President returnd for answer, "that he 
had received the card of invitation, and took the earliest opportunity 
to inform them, that he declined accepting It." That the Virginians 
should celebrate the day is natural & proper if they please, and so may 
any others who chuse. But the propriety of doing it in the Capital in the 
Metropolis of America as these Proud Phylidelphians have publickly 
named it, and inviting the Head of the Nation to come and do It too, 
in my view Is ludicrious [sic] beyond compare. I however bite my Lips, 
and say nothing, but I wanted to vent my indignation upon paper. You 
must not however expose it, nor me. It will be calPd pride, It will be 
calld mortification. I despise them both, as it respects myself, but as it 
respects the Character I hold I will not knowingly degrade it 

Let me know whether a Letter coverd to Mr. Cranch for Dr. Tufts 
has reachd you safely. We are all as well as usual. The Baby was here 
on Sunday and is very well. 4 Remember me kindly to all Friends. 

Your ever affectionate Sister 


* On the very day Mrs. Adams wrote this letter, Roger Griswold beat Lyon with his 
cane, while the latter defended himself with the fire-tongs. Both encounters took place 
before the House had actually been called to order. 

* The infant orphan daughter of Mr. and Mrs, Hall. See the letters of December 12 and 
26, 1797. 


Philadelphia, Feb'ry 21, 1798 

I received your kind Letter of Feb'ry gth and was quite rejoiced to 
hear that Mrs. Baxter was like to do well, when I feard to open the Letter 
least it should inform me of her death. 1 I have been Confined with a 
cold like the influenza for several days past. I have dreaded least it 
should prove one of my Feb'ry attacks. It came on with a very soar 
Throat and hoarsness and terminated in sneezing. It has made me 
quite sick. I have not been out of my Room since Saturday. I hope 
however it is going of. I have a company of 33 to dine with me tomorrow. 
Eleven of whom are Ladies, and Louisa is in much trouble on account 
of being obliged to act as Principle tomorrow. 2 She would have had me 
sent [sic] cards of apology to defer it, but I could not consent, as most 
of the Ladies are well known to her, and it is good sometimes to oblige 
young people to come forward and esert themselves. Amongst the 
Ladies is Mrs. Law, the Grandaughter of Mrs, Washington, who lives 
in the city of Washington. She is a very pleasing, agreable Lady, and 
I loved her for the kind and affectionate manner in which she spoke 
of Mr. & Mrs. Cranch and Betsy Elliot, whose absence she says they 
all regret. 3 

I have some expectation of seeing your son here in a few days. I hear 
he is comeing upon Mr. Greenleaff's] affairs. Mr. Morris deliverd himself 
to his bail and went to Jail last week. 4 If ever said Mrs. Law, I had felt 
a disposition to extravagance, I should have been cured by a visit to 
Mrs. Morris. Two years ago, Mrs. Morris was a remarkable well looking 

1 Probably the wife of that Thompson Baxter mentioned In the letter of January 7, 1800. 

2 Louisa, the daughter of William Smith, the brother of Mrs. John Adams. This Louisa 
was the favorite niece and lived with Mr. and Mrs. Adams for many years. 

* Thomas Law (1756-1834) was born in Cambridge, England, and died in Washington, 
D. C. On March 20, 1796, Law married Eliza Parke Custis, step-granddaughter (and 
adopted child) of George Washington. This marriage ended in a Vermont divorce, Law 
distributing gifts of imported English china among his friends by way of celebrating his 
release. Law was the son of the Bishop of Carlisle and the brother of Lord Ellenborough. 
He made a fortune in India, most of which he invested in real estate in the District of 
Columbia, and lost He was eccentric and dictatorial, and given to writing poetry. For his 
strange character and checkered career, see Charles Moore, The Family Life of George 
Washington, Boston and New York, 1926, chapter 10; and, also, Allen C. Clark, Grsenlsaf 
and Lam in the Federal City, Washington, 1901, pp. 219-44. Betsy, or Elizabeth Eliot, is 
probably one of the five daughters of Samuel Eliot, a prosperous merchant of Boston, 
grandfather of Charles William Eliot, President of Harvard. 

4 Robert Morris (1734-1806), the financier, was finally arrested for debt in February, 
1798, when he was taken to Prune Street, the debtors* prison in Philadelphia, where ne 
remained for three years, six months, and ten days. 


woman, Maria, my companion, gay and blith as a bird, blooming as a 
rose in June. 5 I went to visit Mrs. Morris, & met her without knowing 
her, so alterd that I was shockd. Maria pale, wan, dejected & spiritless. 
Such is the change. Here I cannot refrain quoting a passage which 
struck me in reading it, as applicable not only to that Family, but to 
one with which I am more closely connected. 6 

"The man who loses his whole fortune, yet possesses firmness, Phi- 
losophy, a disdain of ambition and an accommodation to circumstances, 
is less an object of contemplative pity, than the person who without one 
real deprivation, one actual Evil is [first?], or is suddenly forced to recog- 
nise the fallacy of a Cherished and darling hope. All speculative wealth 
has a shallow foundation, but that its foundation has always been 
shallow is no mitigation of dissapointment, to him who had only viewed 
it in Its superstructure, nor is its downfall less terrible to its visionary 
elevator because others had seen It from the beginning as a folly or 
Chimera: Its dissolution should be estimated, not by its romance in 
the unimpassioned examination of a rational looker on but by Its be- 
lieved promise of felicity to Its credulous projector." 

I am sometimes ready to exclaim when I see one bubble bursting after 
an other, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. 

You write me that I have amused and entertaind you by my com- 
munications. I am sure I must mortify you by a detail of some late 
proceedings In congress. You must have heard of the spitting animal. 7 
This act so low, vulgar and base, which having been committed, could 
only have [been] dignifiedly resented, by the expulsion of the Beast, 
has been spun out, made the object of party, and renderd thus the dis- 
grace of the National legislature, by an unfortunate clause in the Con- 
stitution which gives the power into the hands of the minority, requiring 
two thirds to concur in an expulsion of a member. The circumstances 
were so fully proved of Lyons being the base agressor, that as Gentleman 
I could not have belived they could have got one third of the members 
to have consented to his continuence with them. But you will learn the 
state of the buisness from the documents I send you. I know not where 
it will end. In the mean time the buisness of the Nation is neglected, 
to the great mortification of the federalists. 

6 Robert Morris married Mary White, of Maryland, called ''Maria," daughter of Colonel 
Thomas White and sister of William White (1748-1836), first Protestant Episcopal Bishop 
of Pennsylvania. 

* Mrs. Adams was apparently thinking of her sense of disappointment with her son-in- 
law, Colonel William Stephens Smith, and her son, Charles Adams. 

7 Matthew Lyon of Vermont. See footnote i to the letter of February 15, 1798. 


You will have received before this my Letters, which contain a reply 
to some of your queries. 

I want to say a word to you by way of advise. The Farm which has 
been disposed of, I hope may prove a relief to Mr. Cranch as well as an 
advantage to him and that the income from the money if vested in 
publick Securities will yeald you more real profit than the Land, yet 
that was solid money fleeting. My request Is that the sum during 
Brothers Life may not be broken in upon with an Idea of assisting 
Children. They are young and can better bear hardships and care, than 
those who are advanced in Life, I hope therefore nothing will lead to a 
dispertion of the capital, tho you have as deserving children as any 
person need desire. I repeat pray do not let the bank be touchd. I have 
seen too many instances of parents dependant upon Children. Tho 
there are instances which do honour to humane nature, there are more 
which disgrace It. 

As to the Carpet you speak of, you may use It, and when I return I 
will let you know whether I will part with It. Adieu my dear Sister. 

Most affectionatly yourfs] 

Philadelphia, Feb'ry 28th, 1798 

I have this moment received your kind Letter of Feb'ry i8th, pre- 
vented by the bad Roads from reaching [me] sooner, and I have got now 
to be as anxious and as sollsltlous for the arrival of the Eastern post, 
as I used to be at Quincy for the arrival of the Southern. I thank you 
for all your communications. I saw the centlnal last Saturday and 
thought I knew my own Letter, but did not know whether it was an 
extract from one to you, or to Mr. Smith, to whom I sometimes freely 
scrible. 1 In my last I believe I gave you some account of the intended 

1 Columbian Centinel, February 17, 1798. The letter to which Mrs. Adams refers was 
apparently prepared for the Centind by Richard Cranch from Information he obtained 
from the letters Mrs. Adams wrote to his wife. The letter is as follows: 

"A writer in the Chronicle of yesterday, under the signature of Plain Truth asserts 'that 
the President of the United States received dispatches from France a month ago, notwith- 
standing which the most profound secrecy has been maintained on this all-important 
subject* Under this assertion, the writer proceeds to abuse the President and deceive the 
public. To prevent this incendiary from deceiving the public, you may from good authority 
declare the assertion of Plain Truth, to be without the least foundation. By letters from 
Philadelphia to the 6th February, not a word at that time had been received by the Execu- 
tive from our envoys at Paris. Letters had been received from Mr. King as late as October, 
and from Mr, Murray, at the Hague, to the loth November. Those gentlemen at that time 
were as much in the dark with respect to our Envoys, as we are here. The character of the 
President for patriotism and integrity is too firmly fixed with every true American, to be 
injured In the least by the abuse of such a vile incendiary as Plain Truth. 
February 16. A CORRESPONDENT." 


Birth Night Ball, & the Presidents reply, which on the morning of the 
day, appeard in Baches paper, to my no small surprize, tho I cannot 
say I was sorry to see it. It was however accompanied by insolence and 
abuse, and fully shews the temper of even those who were the Managers 
of the Birth Night Ball, not of the President of the United States, but of 
a private citizen. The publication had however a direct contrary effect 
to what was intended. It threw a Gloom & damp upon the whole pro- 
ceeding. Every one was inquiring the why? & the Wherefore? Many 
who had subscribed upon the Faith that the President was going, re- 
fused afterwards to attend, amongst whom in justice to him I must say 
was the Vice President, who declared himself shockd with the impro- 
priety of the thing when he first heard of the Proposal, but was led to 
lend his Name because he would not give offence. This is certain he did 
not go, and I have my my [sic] information so direct that I know what 
his opinion was. Yet these very persons who sit the matter on foot 
are now endeavouring to make it believed that he was the first mover 
in order to give offence to the President give the d[evi]l his due, but 
lay no more than he deserves to his Charge. 2 I have been informd that 
of 150 who subscribed 15 only were present of Ladies, and they have 
been so mortified that not a word has been publishd in their News 
papers respecting it. I hope in time they will learn how to appreciate 
themselves as a Nation. They have had, & now have a Head, who will 
not knowingly Prostrate their dignity & character, neither to foreign 
Nations, nor the American People. 

My dear Sister your son has been with us ever since he came, which is 
a week tomorrow. 3 Next to my own children I love those of my sister. 
He is very well and says Mrs. Cranch and the Children are so. But he 
will write you himself. 

Tell Mrs. Black I shall see the Baby tomorrow. 4 I had a Bonnet 
made for it which I gave it a fortnight ago. I think it wants a dimity 
Cloak which I will get for it. I will write her the result of my conference 
with the Nurse. 

I shall take Cousin Betsy in hand shortly. 5 At present I fear the post 

2 If Adams was not quite tactful about the "Birth-night Ball" for Washington on Febru- 
ary 22, 1798, Jefferson was not quite frank. He wrote privately of this tempest in a. teapot: 
"The late birth-night certainly has sewn tares among the exclusive federalists." Morison, 
H. G. Otis, vol. i, p. 133. 

William Cranch (1769-1855), son of Richard Cranch (1726-1811), husband of Mary 
(Smith) Cranch (1741-1811). 

4 See the letters of December 12 and 26, 1797. 

5 See footnote 4 to the letter of December 15, 1788. 


will go out without my Letter if I do not immediatly close after present- 
ing my kind regards to all Friends from 

Your ever affectionate Sister 


Philadelphia, March 3d, 1798 

To communicate pleasure, is reflecting happiness. The Secretary of 
State came smiling in my Room yesterday [upon which cancelled^ I said 
to him, I know you have got dispatches, upon which he took from his 
pocket two Letters from my dear son at Berlin. 1 Tho they were publick 
Letters and upon publick buisness, they informd us of his safe arrival 
at Berlin on the yth of Nov'br, 4 days from Hamburgh. On the roth 
he had an audience of the Prussian Minister. The King was informd of 
his arrival, and directed his Ministure [sic] to assure Mr. Adams, that 
he received with great satisfaction this mark of attention from the 
United States and that he regreetedly [sic] exceedingly that his extreem 
illness renderd it impossible for him to give him the first Audience. 

"On the iyth Mr. Adams writes. The King of Prussia died yesterday 
morning at 9 o'clock at Potsdam. He was immediately succeeded by his 
son Frederic William the 3d. My Credentials cannot now be presented. 
I must request New ones to the Present King may be forwarded as soon 
as possible." 2 

I hope the mission begun so contrary to his wishes and so injurious to 
his Private interest, will become more auspicious. He had made his ar- 
rangement for going to Lisbon, hired a house there, taken and paid his 
passage, when he received news that he must go to Berlin and this 
without any additional allowence, and only half the sum allowd for the 
outfit of a minister going from this Country, tho his expences must 
amount to the same. 

I received, he observes, an office, tho no promotion, at once invidious 
in appearence and oppressive in reality, but I have done. My Country 
has every claim upon me. If her Service were [really cancelled] merely 
a Bed of Roses, it would not be a worthy incitement to ambition. 

1 Timothy Pickering (1745-1829), bringing letters from John Quincy Adams, minister to 
the Court of Prussia, For portions of the texts of these letters from Prussia, see The Writ- 
ings of John Quincy Adams, 1779-1823, W. C. Ford, Editor, New York, 1913-1917, vol. 2, 
February 8, 1797 April 14, 1801. 

2 Frederick William II (1786-1797), nephew of Frederick the Great, and Frederick 
William III (1797-1840). 


I inclose you an other paper upon the Foreign intercourse Bill. 3 
A stranger would be ready to suppose that The President, instead of 
having appointed only one single Minister since he came into office 
(the Envoys excepted, who were only for a particular object,) that 
[sic] he had Nominated an incredible Number and increased or wanted 
to increase their Salleries. The House of Rep's have not by the constitu- 
tion any right to judge of the propriety of of [sic] sending foreign Min- 
isters, nor the courts to which they shall be sent, nor the Grades. The 
Constitution has given that power solely to the President as it has to the 
House of Reps the granting of Money. As well might the President 
assume to himself the disposal of Money, unappropriated. Yet have 
they according to calculation expended as much Money by the length 
of the debate as would pay the salleries of all our Ministers for two years 
to come. 

Mr. Otis & Mr. Harper have very abley replied to Mr. Gallitin whose 
speaches I will send you as soon as they are printed. 4 

Your Son is well and talks of returning the beginning of the week. 

I would have my stockings kept till I return. 

I had Letters from Mrs. Smith. She was well. My Love to Mrs. 
Norton, Greenleaf & their Families. Poor Suky Warner. 5 I am grieved 
for her. I am, my dear Sister, with unalterable affection. 

Your Sister 


Philadelphia, March 5th, 1798 

I received on Saturday Evening the 3d March your kind Letter of 
25 Feb'ry. You estimate much too highly the little services I am able 
to render to my Friends, and you depreciate the value of your own, 
the benifit of which I have too often experienced to sit [a cancelled^ 
lightly [value upon cancelled by them, for whilst you visit the widow, 

1 See footnote 3 to the letter of February 1-5, 1798, and the postscript to the letter of 
March 5, 1798. 

4 Abraham Alfonse Albert Gallatin (1761-1849), of Pennsylvania, Secretary of the 
Treasury (1801-1814), was one of the leaders of the opponents of the Federalists in the 
House of Representatives in 1798. Harrison Gray Otis, son of the Secretary of the Senate, 
was a member of the House from Massachusetts, and Robert Goodloe Harper (1765- 
1825) was a member of the House from South Carolina. 

5 Susannah Warner, daughter of that Mrs. Warner, of Gloucester, who became the second 
wife of Dr. Cotton Tufts, died at Weymouth on April 7, 1798, aged twenty-two. Columbian 
Centiwl* April 28, 1798. 


the orphan, the sick, and console them by your presense, enliven them 
by your conversation & prescribe for their necessities, you prove that 
it is possible to be very benevolent and Charitable tho with small pecuni- 
ary means. When you do all the good in your power, you enjoy all the 
happiness the practise of virtue can bestow, and long may you receive 
the Reward. 

Your son has been with us near a fortnight. I feel very loth to part 
with him. He must leave us, he says, tomorrow. I believe he has just 
received Letters from Mrs. Cranch. I will stop and ask him how she is. 

I have read Nancys Letter. She and the Children are both well. It 
is dated the 27 Feb'ry. She is very anxious for her Brother, which is very 
natural. 1 I know not how she could be otherways, for tho unfortunate 
belevolence [sic] has been a striking trait in his Character Mr. and Mrs. 
Law have been three weeks in this city. 2 You know he married Miss 
Custos, who seems to Inherit all the benevolence of her Grandmother. She 
is a charming woman. The more I see of her the more amiable she appears. 
She is to spend the day with me tomorrow, in the family way, for which 
she seems to be found [sic]. I loved her the more for the friendly manner 
in which she expresses her Regard for your son and for Mrs. Cranch and 
Betsy Eliot who she says, she misses very much. Mrs. Law is so easy, 
so tranquil, so unaffected, that her first appearence prepossesfes] you 
in her favour, so different from most of the formal Ladies of this city. 
Yet there is sociality enough here amongst some of them. I always 
however sit it down when I meet with it, that N. England comes in for 
some share of it. I have visited sometimes & sit half an hour in company 
in some families with whose reception and manners I have been particu- 
liarly gratified [with cancelled]. Upon making Inquiries of my IntelHn- 
genser, Dr. [Benjamin] Rush, who knows everybody and their con- 
nections, I discover that Grandfather or Mother or some relative 
originated from N. England. Two Nations are not more different than 
the N. Englanders and many Natives of this city. I must not however 
be too local. Which has the preference I have not said 

You will learn that at length dispatches have arrived from our com- 
missoners, but with them, no prospect of success. We have letters to 
the 9 Janry, I inclose you the paper which contains the message 
from the President with the Letter to both Houses of Congress. We shall 
now see how the American pulse beat. I fear we shall be driven to War, 

*Anna (Nancy) Greenleaf, wife of William Cranch, mentioned above, and sister of 
James Greenleaf, the speculator in land and the partner of Robert Morris, 
2 See footnote 3 to the letter of February 21, 1798. 


[to cancelled] but to defend ourselves is our duty. War the French have 
made upon us a long time. 3 

I cannot learn what is become of Mr. Beal. Is he not yet got to 

Let Mrs. Black know that the Nurse and Baby were with me yester- 
day. It had had a bad cold but was better. We put on the cap and it 
lookd very pretty. I gave the Nurse the 5 dollors sent by Mrs. Black 
for which she was very thankfull, and says Mrs. Black may assure 
herself that she shall take the best care of the child. She told our people 
Mrs. Brisler and Betsy, that Mr. Black complaind a good deal of the 
expence, but she could not keep it for less. She had to give at the rate 
of 15 dollors pr cord for wood, which I know to be true, and that she 
could not do any other buisness than look after the two Children. She 
seems to think that carrying the Children by water when the weather 
becomes pleasent will be less fatigue to them than by land, but this for 
a future days consideration. Louisa desires the letter to her sister may 
be sent to her if she is gone to Atkinson [New Hampshire]. 4 Thank Mr. 
Cranch for his kind Letter. I would have the floor painted in the kitchin 
& the stairs a plain yellow unless the floor is too thin. I believe it is much 
worn, the closset too. The best time for painting is when there can be 
time enough for it to dry without any persons treading upon it, and 
that makes me earnest to have it done quite early, and with boild oil. 
I should be glad [if] Mr. Billings would new lay the wall against the 
Garden as soon as the frost is out the Ground. Be so good as to desire 
Mr. Porter to lay in a load of Charcoal. Dr. Tufts will give him money 
to pay for it. We cannot do without it when we are there. I hope too 
he will get wood enough home. I must get you to have an Eye to the 
painting or I fear it will not be done to my mind. As soon as the season 
will permit I would have persons enough employd to compleat what is 
to be done. And my strawberry bed Stutson [Stetson] must attend to 
very soon in the Spring. I should not like any other person should [sic] 
touch it. As to the rest of the Garden, I must look to Tirril to do it, 
I suppose. But more of this an other time. I had rather prepare to come 
Home than to go from it. Adieu, my dear Sister, 

Most affectionately your[s] 

* The American c6mmissioners to France in the "XYZ Affair": John Marshall, Charles 
C. Pinckney, and Elbridge Gerry. See Schouler, History of ihe United States, vol. I, pp. 


4 Atkinson, New Hampshire, a village about three miles northwest of HaverHl!, Massa- 
chusetts, where Mrs. Adams's sister, the former Mrs. John Shaw, resided with her second 
husband, the Reverend Stephen Peabody. See footnote 3 to the letter of August 9, 1789. 


Foreign intercourse the Question upon Nicolas motion was taken to 
day & regected by the 52 Gentlemen. 44 in favour of it. 3 federilist 
absent. 5 

Philadelphia, March 13 th, 1798 

I received on Saturday your favour of March 3d. The reason why 
Letters are longer from hence to Quincy than to Boston, is oweing to 
their making up the Mail but once a week for Quincy, whereas they 
make them up twice for Boston; Mr. [William] Cranch did not leave us 
untill Wednesday Morning the Roads were so bad: I do not perceive 
any alteration in him, except that he has caught some of the Southern 
Complexion; none of their Manners: his principles were too well fixd 
to be easily altered. He went twice with us to meeting to hear Dr. 
[Samuel] Blair and said it was quite a Feast to him to go again to publick 
worship. 1 Mr. [James] Greenleafs situation worried him, and I am fear- 
full that his 3 or 4 years labour, has been toil and trouble, without any 
gain; or that he will finally lose what is due to him. This for a young 
Man just sitting out in Life is a very hard lesson but he has too feeling 
a Heart to deal with people embarressd in their circumstances. He 
found [Robert] Morris in Jail, and if he sufferd he could not say: you 
must pay me. What distress, what Ruin, have these immense specula- 
tors involved themselves, their families, their connections, and thousands 
of others in? What is past cannot be remedied. We seldom learn ex- 
perience untill we get too old to use it, or we grow callous to the mis- 
fortunes of the world by Reiterated abuse, 

And Nature, as it grows again towards Earth 
Is fashioned for the journey, dull and Heavy. 2 
What an alteration of honour has desperate want made! 
What viler thing upon the Earth than Friends 
Who can bring noblest minds to basest ends! 3 

5 Actually, the House of Representatives, on Monday, March 5, 1798, rejected the 
Nicholas Amendment by a vote of 52 to 48. Annals of the Fifth Congress, p. 1234, an ^ 
Columbian Centtnfl, March 17, 1798, This Nicholas Amendment would have limited the 
salaries of ministers to London, Paris, and Madrid to $9000 a year, and the salaries of all 
other ministers to $4500 a year. The second proposal, of course, was an oblique blow at 
John Quincy Adams, who had been transferred from the Netherlands, or the Batavian 
Republic, to Berlin for the purpose of negotiating a new treaty with Prussia to replace the 
one of 1784. 

1 See the letter of July 6, 1797. 

2 Timon of Athens, Act II, Scene 2, lines 227-8. 
8 Timon of Athens, Act IV, Scene 3, lines 470-1. 


I have been led into these reflections in contemplating the unhappy 
situation of Mr. Morris, Nicolson & others. You can scarcly form an 
Idea of the great Change which has taken place in this city in the course 
of 5 years, and a greater still awaits it. 4 

I am sorry to learn that Cousin Betsy has a Cough. Let her not neglect 
it. She should get some of Churchs Cough drops. 5 This climate tho 
subject to great Changes, is very little subject to Coughs. The Air is 
not half so keen in the coldest weather. 

I expect your next Letter will bear me the melancholy tidings of Suky 
Warners death. She has been vibrating upon a thread for several years. 
Tell Cousin Betsy if her cough does not soon mend, to lose a few ounces 
of Blood. She can spair it well, and it may prevent dangerous 

I cannot say what Congress mean to do. The dispatches are but just 
decypherd. Whether the President will think proper to make any further 
communications is more than he himself can yet determine, but it must 
strike every Body, that every thing which might endanger our Envoys, 
who are still in Paris, for any thing to the contrary which we know, 
must and will be kept Private, clamour who will. Enough is already 
known to excite wrath and indignation againsft] a Government who re- 
fuses even to receive Messengers specially appointed. "Peter [Porcupine] 
says, All men now agree that Congress ought to do something, and that 
immediatly, and if they do not, they may expect to bring on themselves 
all the odium attachd to such indecisive measures, I had almost said 
Criminal every one knows that the Snail like mode of proceeding which 
we have long beheld is not the fault of the President. He has taken care 
that his Character, either as an American, or as the Chief Majestrate 
of America, shall not suffer, let the result be what it may. The Senate 
are ready to support him: " 

Peter says many good things, and he is the only thorn in Baches side. 
He [Bache] is really affraid to encounter him [Peter], but he [Peter] 
frequently injures the cause he means to advocate for want of prudence 

4 For the North American Land Company of Robert Morris, John Nicholson, and James 
Greenleaf, see footnote 6 to the letter of June 25, 1795. See, also, Clark, Greeideaf and Law 
in the Federal City. 

5 "Church's Cough Drops are prepared and sold (only) by the inventor and sole pro- 
prietor, Dr. James Church, at his Medicine Store, No. I South Third-street, next the 
Market, Philadelphia; and by appointment, at New-York, by Messrs. Staples & Co., 
169 Pearl-street, and Miss Wedman, 112 William-street. 

"Dr. Church may be consulted every day, at his office, 158 South Front-street, Phila- 
delphia." Gazette of the United States, January 9, 1798, 

and discretion. I have a great curiosity to see the Creature. There Is a 
strange mixture In him. He can write very handsomely, and he can 
descend & be as low, and vulgar as a fish woman. 

I had Letters last Evening from Mrs. Smith. She is well, and writes 
in rather better spirits, at least with more calmness and composure. 
Inclosed is a Letter which she sent me for Mrs. Guile. 

My Love to Mrs. Norton, Greenleaf, and to the Dr. and Mrs. Tufts. 
Tell them I sincerely sympathize with them under their affliction. 
Mrs. Otis desires to be rememberd to you. They always dine with us 
on Sundays. The Judge and Mrs. Gushing have promised to call and 
see you on their return. Mrs. Gushing can tell you all about us. Inclosed 
is a ten dollor Bill. Will you be so good as to tell Mr. Porter to lay in a 
load of Charcoal and call upon you for the pay. Half a load will answer, 
but sometimes we could not get a part. I would rather he should take 
a whole load. And I would wish you to get me garden seeds. I speak in 
time, but a Letter does not reach you in a week. Will you ask Mr. 
Porter whether the young man who worked with him last year Soal is 
to be had this. If so he had better engage him for Nine Months. I do 
not conjecture when we shall get away, but you know I love to have 
every thing done In season. I am affraid the President will be over- 
whelrnd. Buisness thickens upon him. Officering all the frigates, con- 
templating what can be done at this critical period, knowing what he 
thinks ought to be done, yet not certain whether the people are sufficiently 
determined to second the Government, is a situation very painfull as 
well as responsible All Good people ought to pray Heartily for him 
and for our Country Good Dr. Blair prays "that he may hear a voice 
saying unto him this is the path, go thou in it." 

I thought I was just going to finish upon the opposite side, but here 
I am half way down the other. I must however bid you adieu to write 
to my sons by a vessel which is this week to sail for Hamburgh. 6 I am, 
my dear Sister, 

Affectionatly your[s] 


Philadelphia, March I4th, 1798 

Yesterday dispatches were received from Mr. King up to the 9th 
Jan'ry. 1 In a post scrip he says, I have just learnt that Mr. Adams has 

6 John Quhcy Adams and Thomas Boylston Adams (1772-1832). 
1 See footnote 8 to the letter of January 5, 1798. 



John Trumbutt 

been received by the new King notwithstanding his commission was to 
his Father. This is civil and will enable him to proceed with buisness. 2 I 
received a Letter from Dr. Tufts yesterday that allarmd me. I thought 
I inclosed him some Bills. I might, as I wrote you the same time [have] 
put them into yours, for the Dr. in a post scrip says that you had written 
him that you had them. When the Dr. writes to me inclose his Letters 
in yours, for as those are held sacred now by a promise not to open them, 
I shall receive them, in a way I wish. The Dr. and I have some buisness 
transaction [sic} which are between ourselves. 3 

Nothing new transpires but what your Boston papers have; warm 
words in congress must be apprehended, whilst some are for going 
shares with France submitting intirely to her will and quietly disposed 
to receive every lash she pleases to inflict. Northern Blood boils, and I 
do not know what will take place. I hope they will be cooler to day, but 
Giles has just opend his batteries. 4 

Pray, is Betsy going to steal a wedding upon us? She inquires the 
fashions. They are as various as the Changes of the moon. The young 
Ladies generally have their Hair all In Curls over their heads, and then 
put a Ribbon, Beads, Bugles or a Band of some kind through the fore 
part of the Hair to which they attach feathers. The Band is put upon 
Ribbon, sometimes on wire. Frequently two are worn which cross each 
other. They tye behind [under cancelled] over the hind Hair & then a 
small Bunch of Hair turns up behind in which a small comb is fcxd and 
the ends of the hind Hair fall Back again in curls. The Gounds [sic] 
are made to have only one side come forward and that is confind with 
a belt round the waist. The waist made plain. Some sleaves are drawn 
in diamonds, some [Robbins cancelled} Robins drawn up & down with 
bobbin in 5 or 6 rows. 5 In short a drawing room frequently exhibits a 
specimln of Grecian, Turkish, French and English fashion at the same 
time, with ease, Beauty and Elegance equal to any court What a 
medley are my Letters. I had yesterday to visit me after the Presidents 
Levee, the Kings of 3 Indian Nations. One of them after sitting a little 
while rose and addrest me. He said he had been to visit his Father, and 

1 See the letter of March 3, 1798. 

* Mrs. Adams refers to her having angrily forbidden her husband to open any more 
letters addressed to her. See the letters of November 15 and December 26, 1797. 

4 William Branch Giles (1762-1830), member of the House of Representatives from 
Virginia from 1790 to October 2, 1798, when he resigned. 

5 "Robin," a variant of "robing," a trimming on clothing: 1748, Richardson, Clarissa 
Harlotve; Oxford English Dictionary. 


he thought his duty but in part fulfilld, untill he had visited allso his 
Mother, and he prayd the great spirit to keep and preserve them. They 
ail came and shook me by the Hand, and then took some cake and wine 
with me. There were nine of them. One of them spoke English well. 
They then made their bow and withdrew, much more civil than the 
Beast of Vermont. 6 Adieu, my dear Sister. 

I am most affectionatly your[s] 

[Philadelphia], March 2oth, 1798 

I write you a few Lines this mor'g just to inclose to you the Newspaper 
of yesterday which contains an important Message from the President. 
It is a very painfull thing to him that he cannot communicate to the 
publick dispatches in which they are so much interested, but we have 
not any assurance that the Envoys have left Paris and who can say that 
in this critical state of things their dispatches ought to be publick? Our 
foreign Ministers can never be safe, or they will cease to be usefull to 
us abroad, if their communications are all to be communicated. This 
was not the case during our revolution. Under the old Congress, dis- 
patches were never made publick. I expect the President will be repre- 
sented as declaring War, by taking off the restriction which prevented 
Merchantmen from Arming. 1 It was always doubtfull in his mind, 
whether he had a Right to prevent them, but the former President had 
issued such a prohibition, and he thought it best at that time to continue 
it. You see by the papers that Bache has begun his old bilingsgate 
again, because Mr. J. Q. Adams is directed to renew the treaty with 
Sweeden which is now just expiring, and for which not a single sixpence 
will be allowd him as the King of Sweeden will empower his Minister 
at Berlin to renew it there. Dr. Franklin made the treaty in Paris with 
the Sweedish minister, and the President made the Treaty with Prussia 
in Holland, yet this lying wretch of a Bache reports that no treaties 
were ever made without going to the courts to negotiate them, unless 

8 Matthew Lyon. See footnote i to the letter of February 15, 1798. 

l See Schouler, History of the United States, vol. I, p. 395. On March 27, 1798, however, 
as the result of a conference attended by the "Republican" members of the Congress, 
Richard Sprigg, Jr., member of the House of Representatives from Maryland, offered three 
insidious resolutions: the first against war with the French Repbulic, the second against the 
arming of merchant vessels, and a third in favor of protection for the seacoast of the United 


the power where they were made, were concernd in them, and says it 
is all a job in order to give Mr. [John Quincy] Adams a new outfit & 
additional sallery at every Court. But there is no end to their auda- 
ciousness, and you will see that French emissaries are in every corner 
of the union sowing and spreading their Sedition. We have renewed 
information that their System is, to calumniate the President, his family, 
his administration, untill they oblige him to resign, and then they will 
Reign triumphant, headed by the Man of the People. It behoves every 
pen and press to counteract them, but our Countrymen in general are 
not awake to their danger. We are come now to a crissis too important 
to be languid, too dangerous to slumber unless we are determind to 
submit to the fraternal embrace, which is sure and certain destruction 
as the poisoned shirt of Danarius. 2 Adieu my dear Sister. I intended 
only a line but I have run to a great length. We have had snow and 
rain for three days. What has been your Weather? Love and a kind 
remembrance to all Friends from 

Your ever affectionate Sister 

Philadelphia, March 27, 1798 

I received yesterday your kind Letter of March igth, I expect a Letter 
every week if you have nothing else to say, but as Sterne observes, 
"how the Shadows Lengthen, as the Sun declines." And this may be 
applied to the Moral as well as the Natural [world cancelled] System. 
As we descend the Hill of Life, our gay and vissonary prospect vanish, 
and what gilded our Meridian days, our Zenith of Life, as the Shadows 
lengthen, we see through a different medium and may justly estimate 
many of our persuits, as vanity and vexation of spirit. 

"But theres a Brighter world on high" which opens to us prospects 
more permanant, and pleasures more durable. To that let us aspire 
in the sure and certain hope, that by a patient Continuence in the path 
of Religion and Virtue, we shall assuredly reap, if we faint not, the 
happy fruits of a glorious immortality. 

When I took my pen this morning, with the rising Sun, I did not 
think of moralizing thus, but the visions of the Night had left an im- 
pression upon my mind, and those visions were occasiond by reflections 

* Dejanira, the wife of Hercules, whom Nessus, the Centaur, tried to kidnap. Dejanira 
prepared the shirt which caused the death of her husband, after which she hanged herself. 


upon the dangerous and Hazardous situation into which our Country 
is brought, by that demoralizing, wicked and abandoned Nation, or 
Government of France. When no sacrifice on their part was required, 
when justice and Equity is all we wanted, when two repeated offers of 
accommodation have been generously offerd to them, they turn a Deaf 
Ear and refuse to listen eitheir [sic] to the voice of Reason, or the call 
of Honor; but answer only by renewed insults and more audacious 
plunder. In this situation our Country is calld upon to put themselves 
in a state of defence^ and to take measures to protect themselves by Sea. 
This is calld a declaration of war on the part of the President, by those 
who would gladly see their Government prostrate, Religion banishd and 
I do not know if I should judge too hardly if I said our Country Shared 
by France. That war will not be the concequence of the conduct of 
France towards us is more than I can say; it certainly leads to it, as the 
most probable Event. But the President did not make our difficulties, 
nor has the Government. No Nation has more strictly adhered to 
nutrality, none sufferd so much, none [bore cancelled\ bourn with more 
patience the spoiling of their Property. 

Union is what we want, but that will not be easily [be cancelled] 
obtaind. It is difficult to make the people see their danger, untill it is at 
their doors, or rouse untill their country is invaded. The Senate are 
strong. They are much more united in their measures than the House. 
There is an attempt in this city to get a petition signed to congress de- 
claring their determination not to go to war with France, and they hope to 
sit this measure in opperation through the different States. Is it possible 
that any person can suppose this Country wish for war by which nothing 
is to be obtaind, much to be expended and hazarded, in preference to 
Peace? But in self defence we may be involved in war; and for that we 
ought to be prepared, and that is what the President means. What 
benifit can war be to him? He has no ambition for military Glory. 
He cannot add by war, to his peace, comfort or happiness. It must 
accumulate upon him an additional load of care, toil, trouble, malice, 
hatred, and I dare say Revenge. But for all this he will not sacrifice the 
honor and independance of his Country to any Nation, and if in support 
of that, we are involved in war, we must & we ought to meet it, with 
firmness, with Resolution & with union of Sentiment. 

I shall sigh for my retirement at Peace Feild, before I shall reach it. 1 
If I can leave here in May, I shall be content, but I cannot say posi- 

1 "Peace Field," an old name for the Adams Mansion in Quincy. 


tively. The Roads will not be tolerable untill then ; I should like to have 
what I proposed done as soon in the season as it can be with advantage. 

The President says you may keep a Cow at the Farm through the 

I had a Letter from your son two days after he got home. He found 
little William had been dangerously sick with a fever, but he was on the 
recovery. And he mournd the loss of a very valuable Friend a Mr. 
Deakins who dyed in his absence, a Man possessd of a most estimable 
Character in whom he says he had found an other Father. 2 Mr. and 
Mrs. [Thomas] Law returnd last week. 3 I really think she is a truly 
worthy woman. 

I inclose to you a News paper because it contains a speech of Mr. 
Reads [Reed] upon the foreign intercourse Bill. 14 It contains as much 
good sense and is more to the point than the three & four hours Ha- 
rangues of some others. Mr, Read very seldom speaks. 

What, have I got so near the End of my paper before I was aware. 
I have more to say yet, but Louisa warns me to Breakfast, and I bid 
you adieu for the Present. 

Affectionatly your[s] 


[Philadelphia], March 31, 1798 

I write you a few lines this morning merely to inclose a Letter which 
I will thank you to cover and forward to Atkinson [New Hampshire]. I 
have not time to write this morning to Atkinson. Inclosed I sent you 
a specimin of the Manners, Religion & politeness of one of the 44 Gentle- 
men, who can come and Eat of my Bread, & drink of my wine, one whom 
the Virginians consider as a Paragon of politeness, whom they have 
plumed themselves upon as a promising [young cancelled} Man, and a 
man of Property, one of their best speakers. 1 

2 William Deakins, Jr., was the eldest of the three sons of William Deakins, Sr., of Prince 
George County, Maryland, himself a son of John Deakins, who came to the United States 
in the seventeenth century. William Deakins, Jr., and his brothers, Francis and Leonard, 
all became residents of Georgetown some time before the Revolution. See Clark, Grecnlea} 
and Law in thf Federal City. 

8 Thomas and Eliza Parke (Custis) Law. See footnote 3 to the letter of February ai, 

4 John Reed (1751-1831), of West Bridgewater, Yale, 1772, Federalist member of the 
House of Representatives (1795-1801). 

1 Possibly William Branch Giles (1762-1830), of Virginia, an active opponent of the 
Federalists; or probably John Nicholas (1756-1819), of Virginia, who harangued the House 
of Representatives for several weeks against the pending Foreign Intercourse Bill See the 
following letter. 

I know not what can escite their wrath to such a degree, but that they 
think there Is yet some Religion left in the Country, and that the people 
will have some respect to it, & to those Rulers who acknowledge an 
over overfjzV] Ruling Providence. Bache you see Is striving to render 
the Proclamation Ridiculous and with his Atheistical doctrines spread- 
ing French principles far and wide. 2 But I trust and hope we may as 
a people be of that happy Number, whose God Is the Lord, and never 
[get cancdled\ forget that it is Righteousness which esalteth a Nation, 
whilst Sin is their Reproach. Adieu, my dear Sister, 

Affectionatly yours 


[Philadelphia], April 4, 1798 

The eastern post will go out this morning and I take my pen to thank 
you for your Letters of the 20 & 26th of March. We had received in- 
telligence of the wisdom of Roxbury & Milton, their petitions having 
reachd their Representitives In Congress. 1 The reply to them may be 
found in the dispatches of our Envoys yesterday communicated to 
congress. 2 The publick exegiency of our Country, and the real in some, 

a Proclamation for a national fast, March 23, 1798. See Adams, Works, vol. 9, pp. 169- 
70. The fast was set for May 9, 1798. 

1 On March 20, 1798, at a town meeting in Roxbury, Massachusetts, a petition to Con- 
gress was prepared, and voted, against the arming of merchant vessels, as likely to bring on 
war with France. On March 22, Milton followed suit, in a town meeting at which Seth 
Sumner was chosen moderator. If merchant vessels were to be armed, it was argued, this 
measure should be taken by an act of Congress, not by executive order. See the Milton 
Records (17751808), pp. 301-303, and the Roxbury Records. See, also, the reports of these 
town meetings and letters in regard to them in the Columbian Centingl, March 24, 1798; 
the Independent Chronicle and Universal ddv^rtiser, March 19-22 and March 22-26, 
1798; and the Massachusetts Mercury , March 23, 1798- J. B. Varnum presented the Milton 
petition in the House of Representatives on April a, 1798, dnnals of the Fifth Congress^ 
Washington, 1851, vol. 2, p, 1367. On April 13, Varnum presented a similar petition from 
Cambridge, and on April 23, two others, from the towns of Harvard and Lexington. 
Annals of the Fifth Congress, vol. 2, pp. 1414 and 1522. When Mr. Dana objected to the 
petition of Cambridge being referred to the Committee of the Whole, the question was put, 
and he was defeated by a vote of 38 to 35. 

The Roxbury Records are locked up in the vaults of the Liberty Mutual Insurance 
Company, Boston. The editor wishes to thank Mr. George G. Wolkins, of the Massa- 
chusetts Historical Society, for having called his attention to microfilms of these records 
in the Boston Public Library. 

3 As a result of a resolution of the House of Representatives, April 2, 1798, John Adams, 
on April 3, transmitted to Congress the dispatches from "the envoys extraordinary of the 
United States to the French Republic" with the request that they might "be considered 
in confidence." On April 5, the House voted to print twelve hundred copies of these 
dispatches. Annals of the Fifth Congress^ vol. 2, pp. 1374-8. Adains withheld only the 
names and descriptions of Talleyrand's unofficial agents, Hottinguer, Bellamy, and 
Hauteval, who, in the deciphered dispatches, were designated as "X," "Y, J> and "Z. w 


and the Pretended unbelief of others, produced a torpor, and an indici- 
sion which call'd for Conviction & proof as strong as holy writ, that all, 
and more than was esprest, in the Presidents last message, was necessary 
to be done to put our Country on its gaurd and to inspire them with a 
determined resolution to preserve their Rights, their freedom and in- 
dependance, all of which are attack'd by the most base, profligate and 
abandoned Culprits which were ever permitted to scourge the Nations 
of the Earth; The Algerines lose all their venality & tyranny when 
Compared to them. 3 

The Proofs of this will now be laid before the publick as soon as they 
can be printed. Out of fears for the safety of our Envoy's they would 
not have yet been published, if the House of Reps, had not calld for 
them. Gallitan, the sly, the artfull, the insidious Gallitan knew better 
than to join in the call. 4 Giles was heard to say to his Friends in the 
House, You are doing wrong to call for those dispatches. 6 They will 
injure us. These Men knew that the President would not have esprest 
himself in such strong terms in his Message, if he had not possesst con- 
vincing Evidence, and tho they lie to the publick, they believed all that 
was asserted in his Message, "that all hopes of accommodation was at 
an End." I have never seen the dispatches, but I have learnt from the 
Members who yesterday visited me, what I had before suspected, that 
Tallyrand & the Directory would have been bought. The wretches even 
stipulated a certain sum to be paid them for the Presidents saying in 
his speech at the opening of the summer session, "that we ought to show 
France that we were not a degraded People." They wanted to prove 
him deficient in knowledge, a false man, by making us tributary to them 
and that by the consent of the of the [sic] very ministers he had sent to 
negotiate with them. But I will not mutilate further what I have only 
learnt by incorrect details. As soon as the dispatches are publishd I 

1 From one point of view, the American outcry against the French proposal that the 
"XYZ" commissioners should grease the palms of the Directory in 1798 was odd. As early 
as 1784 Adams, from London, had thought that the only way to deal with the Corsairs of 
the Barbary Coast (Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, and Morocco) was to buy them off. In 1786, 
a treaty was concluded with the ruler of Morocco providing for the annual payment of 
American tribute. On April 10, 1792, Washington submitted to the Senate a treaty, 
according to which the sum of $40,000 was to be given to the pirates of Algiers to keep 
them quiet. Adams continued the policy of paying blackmail to the pirates of the Medi- 
terranean. Jefferson put an end to the practice in 1805. See Channing, History of ike 
United States, vol. 4, pp. 44 and 264-9. 

4 See footnote 4 to the letter of March 3, 1798. 

6 See footnote 4 to the letter of March 14, 1798. 

will send them to you. The Jacobins in Senate & House were struck 
dumb, and opend not their mouths, not having their cue, not having 
received their lessons from those emissaries [which they make; which 
Tallirand cancelled] which Tallyrand made no secret of telling our 
Envoys are spread all over our Country; and from whence they drew 
their information. I believe T[alleyra]n[d] is not too scrupelous to 
take a fee. We are ensnared. We shall be destroyd unless the snare is 
broken, and that speedily. Thus you see Town meetings can judge! 

I was much shockd yesterday at reading in the Paper [of yesterday 
cancelled the death of Mrs. Quincy. 6 I had only heard by way of Mrs. 
[Samuel Allyne] Otis the day before, that she was unwell. What was her 
complaint? It must have been sudden I think, or you would have 
mentiond it. The Glory of the family is departed. Mrs. Quincy was in 
all respects the first Character in it. I mourn with all her Friends most 
sincerely, for by them her loss must be deplored. Mrs. Gill is an other 
of my Friends & connections whose loss I lament. 7 She was however 
at an age when we could not expect her much longer continuence. 
Yet I feel these ligaments giving way one after an other. I feel their 
loss to society and the warning voice to myself, "This Lifes a dream, 
an empty Show." 

How is your weather? Last week we had three or four days when we 
were obliged to sit with our windows open, and for these three days 
past we have had a voilent east storm of wind and Rain. We had sallid, 
and the Trees in our Yard are budding & would have Blossomd In a 
few days. The Roads had got tolerably good so that I just began to 
ride out of Town but this great rain will spoil them again. 

If we have many troubles we have also many blessings, amongst 
which & not the least I consider Health. Both the President & I have 
enjoyd our Health better this winter & spring than usual, but the 
constant care, application and anxiety will wear out the firmest 

I received Cousin Betsys Letter and shall write to her soon. 

Your truly affectionate Sister 

5 Mrs. Abigail Quincy, widow of Josiah Quincy, Jr. (1744-1775). See the Columbian 
Centinel, March 28, 1798. Mrs. Quincy was the daughter of William Phillips (1722-1804), 
and sister of Lieutenant-Governor William Phillips (1750-1827), benefactor of Phillips 
Academy, Andover, Massachusetts. 

7 Mrs. Rebecca Gill, wife of Lieutenant-Governor Moses Gill, of Massachusetts, died at 
Princeton, Worcester County, at the age of sixty-nine, on March 19, 1798. Columbian 
Centiml, March 24, 1798. 


I send you a pamphlet just publishd, said to be written by a Mr. 
Hopkinson, a young Lawyer, whose father was a judge & Author of the 
battle of the Kegs. 8 

[Philadelphia], April 7th, 1798 

The Senate on thursday voted to have the dispatches from our Envoys 
made publick, and orderd them Printed, but not the instructions. I 
hope however that those too, will be published: The People will then be 
convinced that every word Containd in the Presidents Message of the 
19 of March can be justified both by the instructions given, and by the 
dispatches received, and that what Jugurtha said of Rome is literally 
applcable [sic] to France. 1 When the Instructions were read in the 
House, the words of Milton might have been applied to the Jaco[bin]s 

Abash'd the devil stood 

And saw virtue in her own shape 

How Lovely. 2 

Not one of the clan have dared to say, that they themselves would 
have been willing to have conceded more; or that more could have been 
granted "consistant with the Maxims, for which our Country has con- 
tended at every hazard: and which constitutes the basis of our National 
Sovereignty." 3 Some of those who have been voters, more than speakers 

8 Francis Hopkinson (1737-1791), of Philadelphia, a signer of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, published in 1778 "The Battle of the Kegs," which celebrated the first attempt 
to employ mines in warfare, and is the best known of all his works. His son was Joseph 
Hopkinson (1770-1842), congressman and jurist, and author of te Hail Columbia." See the 
letter of April 26, 1798. 

1 Having successfully bribed a majority of the Roman Senate to approve of his process 
of disposing of his cousins (and rivals) by murder, Jugurtha, King of Numidia, the bastard 
grandson of Masinissa, observed that "Everything was for sale at Rome." "As he was leav- 
ing Rome, he is said to have exclaimed at last, after frequently looking back on it in silence: 
'that it was a venal city, and would quickly perish if it could only find a purchaser. 1 " 
Sallust, The JuguTthiw /Fizr, Chapters 20, 28, and 35. 
* ... abasht the Devil stood, 
And felt how awful goodness is, and saw 
Vertue in her shape how lovly, saw, and pin*d 
His loss; but chiefly to find here observd 
His lustre visibly impar'd; yet seemd 
Undaunted. Paradisf Lost, Book 4, lines 846-851. 

1 "Message to Both Houses of Congress; Transmitting Despatches from France," March 
19, 1798: ". . . consistently with maxims for which our country has contended at every 
hazard, and which constitute the basis of our national sovereignty." Adams, Works, vol. 9, 
p. 157. 


came forward and declared their intlre satisfaction in the conduct of 
the President and their conviction of his sincere desire to preserve 
Peace, their astonishment at the profligate demands of France, and an 
abhorence of her conduct. These are some of those who have been 
decived [sic] and declare so, but their is yet a Number of a different 
sort, those whom the French boast of as their Partizens who will not 
leave them, very wicked Men, who tho now convicted will only shift 
their ground, retreat for a little while seeing the current without doors 
sits so strongly against them, but return to the Charge again, as soon as 
their plans are concerted and matured. It is however come to such a 
crissis, that they will be adjudged Traitors to their Country. I shall not 
be able to send you the dispatches untill tuesday next. In the mean 
time I inclose you Fennos paper, which will give you a few of the out 
lines* If the communications should have the happy effect which present 
appearences lead me to hope, that of uniting the people of our Country, 
I shall not regret that they were calld for. Out of apprehension what 
might prove the result of such communications to our Envoys, if they 
still remain in Paris, the President forbore to communicate them and 
In his Message was as explicit as was necessary for those who reposed 
confidence in him. But such lies and falshoods were continually circu- 
lated, and base and incendary Letters sent to the house addrest to him, 
that I really have been allarmd for his Personal safety tho I have never 
before exprest it. With this temper in a city like this, materials for a 
Mob might be brought together in 10 minuts. When the Language In 
Baches paper has been of the most insolent and abusive kind, when 
Language in the House of Rep's has corresponded with it, and anatha- 
mas have been thunderd out by Members without doors, and a call 
upon the people to Humble themselves before their Maker, treated with 
open contempt and Ridicule, had I not cause for allarm? But that which 
was meant for evil, I hope may terminate in Good. 

I am not [without cancelled] without many fears for our Envoys. 
The wretches may imprison them and since they avow Algiers for their 
pattern, oblige us to Ransome them at an enormus price; They are 
like the three Children in the Furnace. 4 I wish they may have as safe a 
deliverence. But none of these fears should transpire. Poor Mrs. 
[Elbridge] Gerry with such a family as she has, may be very misirable 
with the apprehension if she should know that it is feard they will not 
be permitted to leave France. 

4 Children of Israel: Shadrach, MesHach, and Abednego. Daniel, III, 12-30. 


Let Mrs. Black know that my Little Ward has quite recoverd from 
the small pox. I expect it here tomorrow. 

I have received cousins Letter and have answerd it by a little Box 
which is to be put on Board a vessel going to Boston committed to the 
care of Mr, Smith & addrest to him. I shall say more to her when I 
write to her upon the Subject. 

I know not when I shall see you, but I exhort the Members to dis- 
patch buisness so as to rise in May. I hope their will subsist more 
harmony & union, peace and good will in the House than has appeard 
this Session. May the people be united now they have before them such 
proof of the base veiws and designs of France to Plunder us of all we 
hold dear & valuable, our Religion, our Liberty, our Government and 
our Property. 

My kind Regards to Mr. Cranch, to Mrs. Welch, to Sister [Mrs. 
William] Smith, and all others who interest themselves in the happiness 
of your 

Ever affectionate Sister 


Philadelphia, April 13, 1798 

I inclose a Letter to Cousin Betsy, who has been very frank with me 
upon the subject of her approaching connection. I hope they will live to 
enjoy mutual happiness. 

I believe I have been deficient in not mentioning to you that Mr. 
[James] Greenleaf was liberated from Prison on Saturday week. I have 
not seen him. Mr. [Samuel B.] Malcomb was present at Court and heard 
the examination. He returnd quite charmed with Mr. Greenleafs man- 
ners and deportment, tho not so with the counsel against him, who he 
said used Mr. Greenleaf in a very ungenteel manner but still Mr. 
G[reenlea]f did not forget what belongd to himself, by which means he 
obtaind many advocates. 1 

I know my dear Sister you will rejoice that I can hear from my Children 
publickly, that Is officially, tho I have not received any Private Letters. 
Mr. King writes that he has put on board a vessel bound to Liverpool 
Letters from Mr. Adams to his Family. 2 That vessel I presume waits to 

1 See footnote 6 to the letter of June 25, 1795, and footnote 7 to the letter of February I- 
5, 1798. 
1 See footnote 8 to the letter of January 5, 1798. 


sail under the convoy granted. The Secretary of State has received by 
the British packet duplicates of Letters from Mr. Adams at Berlin dated 
6 December in which he writes that he was received by the New King of 
Prussia on the sth of December^ that the King had waved [sic] the com- 
mon ussage with respect to him, considering the distance of the United 
States, and received him. Upon presenting his Credentials, he assured 
the King that he had no doubt that new ones would be sent him, and 
that he doubted not he should be warranted by his Government in 
assureing him of the interest the United Stat[e]s take in his welfare and 
prosperity, and that he should but fulfill their wishes by reiterating to 
him the sentiments of Friendship and good will which he had in Charge to 
express to his Royal Father and Predecessor. To which his Majesty 
answerd, that he was much gratified by the mark of attention which the 
United States had shown to the Government, and wished to assure him 
of his recipriocal [sic] good will, and good wishes for their happiness and 
prosperity, that the similarity of the commercial interests of the two 
Countries renderd the connection between them important, and might 
be productive of mutual benifit. On the same Evening Mr. Adams had 
an Audience of the Queen Mother. 3 

This is rather different from the treatment which our Envoys meet 
with from the 5 Kings In France. 4 The publick opinion is changeing here 
very fast, and the people begin to see who have been their firm unshaken 
Friends, steady to their interests and defenders of their Rights and Liber- 
ties. The Merchants of this city have had a meeting to prepare an 
address of thanks to the President for his firm and steady conduct as it 
respects their interests. I am told that the French Cockade so frequent 
in the streets here, is not now to be seen, and the Common People say if 
J[efferso]n had been our President, and Madison & Burr our Negotiators, 
we should all have been sold to the French It is evident that the whole 
dependance of the French is the devision amongst ourselves. Their 
making such a Noise & pretending to be very wroth at the Presidents 
speech, Is designd only to effect a Change In the chief Majestracy. They 
dare not openly avow it, but the declaration that all vessels should be 
subject to capture which had passports on board slgnd with the Presi- 
dents signature Is one amongst the many personal insults offerd, but they 
have sprung a mine now which will blow them up. They have disco verd 

* Louisa of Hesse-Darmstadt, second wife and widow of Frederick William II, King of 
Prussia (1786-1797). 

4 Barras, Rewbel, La Revelliere, Merlin, and Francois made up the French Directory as 
of October, 1797. See footnote 3 to the letter of February 6, 1798. 


a greedy appetite to swallow us all up, to make us like the Hollanders, to 
cut us up like a capon, and deal us out like true Gamesters, 

I sent and bought Kings Pantheon as soon as I found myself foild in 
my recollection. 5 

I shall write to your son tomorrow, I have not heard lately from him. 

I don't care whether Mrs. Pope puts me down any butter, if she will 
only let me have fresh when I come home. I could never find any body 
who would take the pains which she does, and make so good Butter in 
the heat of summer. 

My Love to Mrs. Norton & Greenleaf . To each I have sent a cimplicity 
[sic] cap. 6 Respects to Mr. Cranch & Mrs. Welch, from 

Your truly affectionate Sister 

Philadelphia, April 21, 1798 

I believe I have not written to you before this week. I have been 
much engaged in writing to my Children, from whom I have had the 
pleasure of receiving Letters last Saturday, and again this day. My 
Letters, of the last week were Decbr. 28th, giving me an account of the 
various disasters which befell them. J. Q. A. writes thus. "I saild with 
my little Family from London to Hamburgh, which place we reached 
after a stormy, but not a long passage. From Hamburgh we proceeded 
neither by Land I was going to say; but it is rather an ocean of a 
different description, or what Milton would call, c a windy Sea of Land/ 
that is about 200 miles of continual sand banks, converted by the wetness 
of the season into bogs of mud. 1 We reachd Berlin on the 7 of last Month, 
and three days after began my severest affliction. My Wife and Brother 
one after the other were seized with violent and dangerous illnesses. At a 
Tavern in a strange Country unacquainted with any humane Being 
In it, and Ignorant of the Language in a great measure, you can judge 
what we all sufferd. Mrs. Adams was so 111 for ten days that I could 

* An Alphabetical List of thf Subscribes to ike Kings Theatre, Pantheon: with references 
to their different boxes . . . , London, 1791; or Description of the Allegory, printed for the 
curtain of the King's Theatre, Pantheon, London, 1791. 

8 A small, plain cap, worn either in the house or out of doors, under large hats. These caps 
were ironed flat, and were used indoors on informal occasions. 
1 So on this windie Sea of Land, the Fiend 
Walked up and down alone bent on his prey. 

Paradise Lost: Book 3, lines 440-1. 


scarcly leave her Bedside for a moment, and Thomas seazd with an 
allarming Inflamltory soar Throat & high fever, threatned with an 
attack of the Rheumatism at the same time. In the midst of our mis- 
chances we had the good fortune to find a good Physician, an Englishman 
who has for many years been settled in this Country. My Wife 
Brother, thanks be to God, are now quite recoverd." Thomas delicately 
explains the sickness of Mrs. Adams, in the following manner. "The 
extraordinary exertion and fatigue of our voyage and journey proved 
too much for the delicate constitution of Mrs, Adams, and since our 
arrival she has undergone severe illness, illness of such a nature as an 
experienced Matron would easily divine upon calculation and compari- 
son of dates, but which a young Batchelor knows not how to describe, 
but by the use of terms which practise very properly renders familiar 
only to professionals. I conceive that you take my meaning, notwith- 
standing the veil of Mystery which is thrown over it." Thomas then 
goes on to say, that they were "obliged to pass a Month at a publick 
Hotel before appartments could be found for their accommodation. We 
are at length settled in a snug family way, tho in point of lodgings we are 
misirably provided. It is the fashion here for two or three Families to 
dwell under the same Roof, and tho the houses are large, they are not 
sufficiently so to accommodate completely the numbers that usually 
inhabit them." He then proceedes to give an account of the city, and of 
the King & Queen &c. The King has a very amiable Character. The 
Perusal of the Letters would give you pleasure, but I do not yet know 
how to spair them. To day I received an other Letter of 31 of Jan'ry 
in which he acknowledges receiving Letters from me written in November 
& December, which is some satisfaction. These Letters are full of in- 
formation, but it would be spoiling them to curtail them. One Anecdote 
I will however copy. "The Great and important object which now 
raises the most voilent discussions at Paris, relates to the seizure of 
certain cloaks at Lyons, which were Embroidering for the Costume dress 
of the Legislatures. It appears they were Casimiers of English manu- 
facture, purchased at Sedan and sent to Lyons, to have the appearence 
of proceeding from the National Looms But under the late decree of 
the Directory, commanding the seizure as contraband of all goods of 
English manufacture; the Costume cloaks themselves were laid hold of and 
subjected to the common destiny as soon as the counsel of 500 heard 
the fate of their Embroidered Cloaks they took fire, and sent a Message to 
the Directory complaining of the outrage offerd to the Legislative Body 


by the minister of police, intimating that they expected him to be 
punished, and insisting upon having their precious Cloaks deliverd up 
to their committee of Inspectors. The Directory answer that the com- 
mittee shall have the Cloaks, but that the Embroidering is not finished, 
and that without an explanatory Law, the Cloaks must be deliverd in 
their incompleat state. The counsel then with no little Indignation pass 
an explanatory Law, declaring that they will have their Cloaks with all 
the Embroidery or not at all. And thus ends the momentous affair, which 
at least serves to shew the condition of their National Manufactures, 
and at the same time the means used to give them a coulour of Prosperity. 
At the same time the great expedition to conquer and ruin England and 
give a directory to the Republic of Albion is going on with great ardour." 
The state of our own internal affairs ware a better prospect, as it 
respects union and dispatch in Buisness. The people who can see and 
judge for themselves are disposed to do right, but the Ethiopean cannot 
Change his skin, and the Emissaries were never busier or more active 
than the vile junto are at present. 2 Bache has the malice & falshood of 
Satin, and his vile partner the Chronical is equally as bad. 3 But the 
wretched will provoke to measures which will silence them e'er long. An 
abused and insulted publick cannot tollerate them much longer. In 
short they are so criminal that they ought to be Presented by the grand 
jurors. I have not a doubt that a late writer in the Chronical under 
the signature of a Republican has been in concert with the vile liar 
(Findley who during this session has written a Letter full of falshoods 
as may be proved from the journals of the Senate, from the treasury 
Books). This writer has been replied to by one under the signature of 
Marcus in the Centinal. Republican says the President & his son have 
received 80,000 dollars in two years. Every one knows from every 
Almanack and Registure that the sallery for President & Vice President 
has been the same from the commencment of the Government to this 
day; and the Man who dare say that a sou more has been received is a 
Liar, and is calld upon for his proof. Mr. J. Q. Adams has received exact- 
ly the same with other Ministers of the same Rank from this Country, a 
sallery of 4500 as minister Resident, an outfit of that sum when he left 
the Country. But when his destination was changed, he received only 
half the sum he would have done if he had gone from this Country. As 
minister Plenipoteniary, he has 900x3 dollors pr year, but was oaly 

2 See footnote 5 to the letter of February [1-5], 1798. 

3 The Independent Chronicle and Universal Advertiser^ of Boston, published by Thomas 


allowd half that sum as his outfit. He never received a copper in conce- 
quence of his having been appointed to Lisbon, because he did not go 
tho he had been at the expence of hireing a House there, & actually sent 
his Books there & paid his own passage, when he received orders to go to 
Berlin, so that he was actually a looser. Yet these wretches thus deceive 
the people. These are facts. Let them bring proof to the contrary. Let 
them go to the treasury Books & they will see how they are abused. 
I inclose that wicked old Findleys Letter. 4 Their system is evident in 
every part of the union. Perdition catch them. We had as good have no 
devil if he does not claim his own. Forgive me if I have been Rash. My 
indignation is excited at these Hypocrits. 



Philadelphia, 22 April, 1798 

By the post of yesterday I received yours of April 15. As the post will 
now go more frequently I hope you will get Letters more regularly. 

It was very unfortunate for Mrs. Porter, to have Mr. Sole taken sick 
the very day after he came, and the more so because she is now en- 
cumberd with more buisness. I have written the Dr. [Cotton Tufts] that 
I think it would be best to through [throw] two Chambers into one and to 
have access to it from without by stairs, which Chamber may hold all the 
Books in regular order, and be a pleasent Room for the President to do 
buisness in, as we are so confind in the House. There are in the granery 
some Book Shelves which may be made to answer in addition to those we 
have, and may be new painted, I mean to have the whole executed with- 
out Mr. Adams knowing any thing of the accommodation untill he sees 
it. And when the building is finishd for the Book Room, I must request 
Brother Cranch to see the putting [them cancelled] the Books up in 
order. The Room now used for the Books will serve Mrs. Porter for a 
Lodging Room. 

4 In the spring of 1798, there occurred a most unbecoming controversy as to just how 
much money in salaries and allowances John Adams and John Quincy Adams were draw- 
ing from the federal government. William Findley (1741-1821), a "Republican** member of 
the House of Representatives from Pennsylvania, seems to have begun it with the letter 
which Abigail Adams enclosed in her letter to her sister. The controversy was continued 
in Boston in the pages of the Independent Chronicle and Universal Advertiser, published by 
one Thomas Adams, and the Columbian Centinel^ published by Benjamin Russell. A 
"Republican" repeated the charges of Findley in the Chronicle; and "Marcus," "Philo- 
Marcus," and e Detector et Flagellator" defended John Adams and his son in the pages 
of the CfntineL See the Columbian Centinelfoi March 21 and 31, April 4, II, and 14, 1798. 


The Gentlemen say they will let me go home early in June, but it is 
difficult to keep the good men together. There are now absent nine 
Federal Senators from some excuse or other, some for a fortnight, some 
for three weeks, and some for the remainder of the session [which 
cancelled]. I think it difficult to excuse [them cancelled] absence at so 
Critical a period. The Antis all stick by. Tho the Senate are strong, yet 
they appear to be weak from the absence of so many federal men. In 
the House they are become so strong, as to do Buisness by a considerable 
Majority. The Jesuit Gallatin 1 is as subtle and as artfull and designing as 
ever, but meets with a more decided opposition, and the Party, tho many 
of them as wicked as ever, are much weakned by some whose consciences 
will not let them go all lengths with them. As the French have boasted 
of having more influence in the United States, than our own Govern- 
ment, the Men who now espouse their cause against their own Country, 
and justify their measures, ought to be carefully markd. They ought to 
be brought into open light. Addresses from the Merchants, Traders 
Underwriters [have cancelled^ have been presented and signd by more 
than 500 of Men, of the greatest Property here in this city, highly ap- 
proveing the measures of the Executive. A similar one from the Grand 
Jurors, one from York Town, and yesterday, one from the Mayor, Alder- 
men & common counsel of the city, a very firm and manly address. 
Others are comeing from N[ew] York, from Baltimore, and I presume 
Boston will be no longer behind than time to consult upon the measure. 
They must in this way shew the haughty Tyrrants, that we are not that 
divided people we have appeard to be; their vile Emissaries make all our 
trouble, and all our difficulty. A Report is in circulation that our Envoys 
left Paris for London on the 16 Feb'ry but nothing has been received 
from them here later than Jan'ry 8th tho many Rumourd accounts of 
dispatches, has been circulated. 

I would recommend to my countrymen the judicious observation of 
Mr. Burk, who says, "A Great State is too much envied, too much 
dreaded, to find safety in humiliation. To be secure, it must be respected. 
Power and Eminence, and consideration are things not to be begged. 
They must be commanded and they who suplicate mercy from others, 
can never hope from [for] justice through themselves. . . . Often has a Man 
lost his all because he would not submit to hazard all in defending it." 2 

1 See footnote 4 to the letter of March 3, 1798. 

2 Burke: Selected Works, E. J. Payne, Editor, Oxford, 1892, "Letters on the Regicide 
Peace," pp. 11-12: Letter I (1796), 


See the opinion of the French minister at Berlin upon our Naval 
defence. Mr, Adams writes, "I have had some conversation with the 
French Minister here concerning the New law against Neutral naviga- 
tion which he admitted as contrary to the Law of Nations. 3 But he says 
it is only a necessary Retaliation against the English, and if the Neutral 
Nations will suffer the English to [seize] all their vessels, the French must 
do the same. I told him without being disposed to justify or apologize 
for the Predatory practise of England, which I utterly detested, I must 
say they never had been carried to an extent any thing resembling this 
regulation that besides England was now making indemnification for 
many of the depredations committed under coulour of her Authority, 
that if the Principle of Retaliation alledged as a warrant for this new 
measure on the part of France were founded there could never be any 
such thing as Neutrality in any maritine [sic] war, for that it would 
require every Neutral power to make war upon the first instance of 
improper capture of a vessel under her flag. No said he, that is not 
necessary, but the Neutral powers should shew a firm countanance, and 
determined resolution to maintain its [sic] Rights and send all its com- 
merce under convoy. I askd him what a power was to do that had no 
ships of war to give as convoys? He said they must raise sufficient for 
the purpose/' This you see is the opinion of even a French Minister. 
Yet no longer ago than fryday, our House of Rep's sit till near 8 oclock 
combatting Gallatins motion, that the President should be restricted 
from useing the ships built & to be built as convoys in time of Peace, 
thinking, I presume, as he could not prevent their being built, he would 
Defeat the use of them at this present time, as France had not declared 
war, and it was not probable we should. The Federilists cast out the 
motion by 50 to 34."* 

I believe I have wearied you with politicks. I wrote Mrs. Black last 
week, and in hopes that she might get the Letter sooner inclosed it to 
Mr. Smith, who when it arrives may be absent, which I regreet. Please 
to tell her that I received her Letter of the 16 yesterday, that since I 

3 See the Memoirs of John Quincy Adams, Philadelphia, 1874, vol. I, pp. 214-5. The diary 
of John Qmncy Adams, ar published, contains no entry covering this conversation. In 1798, 
the French minister to Berlin was Antoine-Bernard Caillard (1737-1807), who served under 
both Louis XVI and the Republic! Adams first met Caillard in St. Petersburg, when he 
(Adams) was serving as the secretary (1781-1783) to Francis Dana, American minister to 
Russia. Caillard persuaded Prussia to acknowledge the Rhine as the eastern boundary of 
the French Republic. 

4 For the warlike measures adopted by the Congress against France in the spring of 
1798, see Schouler, History of ike United States, vol. I, pp. 397-401. 


took the child from Mr. Black, he nor his Housekeeper have not been 
near it, that they retaind all the Cloaths which the child had except what 
it had on, and those which Mrs. Black sent it. I knew It must have more 
clouts or it could not go the journey, never having had more than 8. I 
have therefore got some diaper and made 13 for it, a couple of yellow 
flannel coats & two calico slips, all of which we have made and if Mr. 
Black does not think proper to give up the other things, I will see that 
the Baby shall have every necessary article. I shall be answerable to the 
Nurse for its Board, but they made the poor thing sick by taking it out 
in the Evening and giving it Rum, the Nurse says to make it sleep. It 
was more uneasy and gave her more trouble than when it was sick with 
the small Pox. I was quite unhappy about it. It is better now, and I 
expect to see it to day. I believe I should have lost it, if they had kept it a 
week, and gone on in the way they began. I shall rejoice when I hear 
it is safe with its Patron and Benefactress Let me know when the Box 
for Cousin Betsy arrives. Has Mrs. Norton been unwell? I hope it is not 
her old sickness My Love to her. When she is Blessd with a daughter I 
shall think she deserves well of her Country, and need no further aid it 
with Recruits. I quite long to see you all. I do hope the buildings will be 
all finished so that Mrs. Porter may be able to remove into them when 
we come. I should like to have the kitchin floor stairs painted, and 
the Chamber floor where the Girls used to sleep. I hope particular 
attention will be paid to the chimny peice in the parlour to get the smoak 
of[f], that it may dry. 

I inclose 5 dollors. Will you be so good as to get something of the value 
of a couple of dollors & present to Mrs. Porter. Perhaps a new Bonnet 
might be acceptable. I will not confine you to two dollars. Please to pay 
Sister Smith as she knits & keep her supplied with cotton. I will put ten 
dollors instead of 5 in, that you may draw upon it for a load of wood to 
Pheby if she wants or Bread corn. 

I sent to get an other of Mr, Harpers Books to send to the Library, but 
tho two thousand were Printed they are all gone. A new Edition is 
comeing out. 5 I am, my dear Sister, most affectionatly 

Your Sister 


Mrs. Otis, who with her Family always dine with us on Sundays, 
desires to be rememberd to you. We live like Sisters. 

* Robert Goodloe Harper (1765-1825), of Virginia, published in 1797 his Observations on 
the Dispute Between the United States and France, which attracted great attention at home 
and in Europe, and ran through many editions. Harper was an able and ardent Federalist. 


My dear Sister the Aniversary of this day awakens all my feelings 
Is poor Suky yet living? 5 

[Get some thing of two dollors value for Mrs. Norton cancelled.] 
The Baby has been to see me to day. It grows very fast since it had 
the small pox. I dont think it half so pretty since, as it was before. Yes- 
terday the nurse went to Mr. Blacks, and they sent it what things it had. 
They had got over their anger, but said they would take it away at the 
end of a fortnight, but I do not believe them. My pens are very bad but 
I cannot copy my scrawls. 

[Philadelphia], April 26, 1798 

I inclose to you a National Song composed by this same Mr. Hopkin- 
son. 1 French Tunes have for a long time usurped an uncontrould sway. 
Since the Change in the publick opinion respecting France, the people 
began to lose the relish for them, and what had been harmony, now 
becomes discord. Accordingly their had been for several Evenings at the 
Theatre something like disorder, one party crying out for the Presidents 
March and Yankee Doodle, whilst Ciera was vociferated from the other. 2 
It was hisst oil repeatedly. The Managers were blamed. Their excuse 
was that they had not any words to the Presidents March Mr. Hopkin- 
son accordingly composed these to the tune. Last Eve'ng they were 
sung for the first time. I had a Great curiosity to see for myself the 
Effect. I got Mr. Otis to take a Box, and silently went off with Mr. and 
Mrs, Otis, Mr. & Mrs. Buck to the play, where I had only once been this 
winter. 3 I meant now to be perfectly in cogg, so did not sit in what is 

6 The mother of John Adams, Susanna (Boyiston) [Adams] Hall (1709-1797), had died 
just one year before. "Suky" is Susannah Warner, daughter of the second wife of Dr. Cotton 
Tufts. See footnote 5 to the letter of March 3, 1798. 

1 "Hail Columbia," composed by Joseph Hopkinson (1770-1842), at the request of a 
young actor and singer of his acquaintance, Gilbert Fox (1776-1807), who was born in 
England and settled in Philadelphia. Fox was not only a singer, but an actor and an 
engraver of some note. Years afterward, Hopkinson wrote that Fox had asked him for the 
song on Saturday, that he had composed it on Sunday, and that it was first sung on Mon- 
day evening. April 25, 1798, however, fell on Wednesday, not on Monday. 

2 "Qa ira ? " the first popular song of the French Revolution, was sung in 1789 by the 
Insurgents as they inarched to Versailles. The music was extremely popular under the 
name /'Carillon National," which was a great favorite with Marie Antoinette. The words 
were suggested to Ladre, a street-singer, by Lafayette, who remembered hearing Franklin 
say, when asked for news at various stages of the American Revolution: "Qa ira, Qa ira" 

* The scene was the New Theatre in Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, and the companions 
of Mrs. Adams were Samuel Allyne Otis, Secretary of the Senate from 1789 to 1814, and 


calld the Presidents Box. After the Principle Peice was perfor[m]d ? 
Mr. Fox came upon the stage, to sing the song. He was welcomed by 
applause. The House was very full, and at every Choruss, the most 
unbounded applause ensued. In short it was enough to stund [sic] one. 
They had the song repeated After this Rossina was acted. 4 When Fox 
came upon the state [sic] after the Curtain dropt, to announce the 
Peice for fryday, they calld again for the song, and made him repeat it 
to the fourth time. And the last time, the whole [Gallery cancelled] 
Audience broke forth in the Chorus whilst the thunder from their Hands 
was incessant, and at the close they rose, gave 3 Huzzas, that you might 
have heard a mile My Head aches in concequence of it. The Managers 
have requested the President to attend the Theater, and twesday next 
he goes. A number of the inhabitants have made the same request, and 
now is the proper time to gratify them. Their have been six differents 
[sic] addresses presented from this city alone; all expressive of the 
Approbation of the measures of the Executive. Yet dairingly do the vile 
incendaries keep up in Baches paper the most wicked and base, voilent & 
caluminiating abuse It was formerly considerd as leveld against the 
Government, but now it is contrary to their declared sentiments daily 
manifested, so that it insults the Majesty of the Sovereign People. But 
nothing will have an Effect untill congress pass a Sedition Bill, which I 
presume they will do before they rise 5 Not a paper from Bache press 
issues nor from Adams Chronical, but what might have been [prevented 
cancelled] prossecuted as libels upon the President and Congress. 
[They cancelled] For a long time they seem as if they were now desperate 
The wrath of the public ought to fall upon their devoted Heads. 
I shall send a paper or two because your Boston papers cannot take 

Daniel Buck (1753-1816), Federalist member of the House of Representatives from Vir- 
ginia (1795-1797), and their wives. 

* What Mrs. Adams calls "the principal piece" was "The Italian Monk," a play in three 
acts, interspersed with songs, and presented for the second time in America. This was fol- 
lowed by "More Sack," an epilogue in the character of Sir John Falstaff, to be spoken by 
Mr. Warren. Then Gilbert Fox sang "Hail Columbia" to the tune of the "President's 
March," "accompanied by the full band and a grand chorus," This was encored four times. 
The evening concluded with a favorite comic opera, in two acts, "not acted these two 
years," called "Rosina." See the Gazette of the United States and Philadelphia Daily 
Advertiser, April 25 and 26, 1798. 

5 For the texts, and the unpopular results of the Naturalization Act (June 18, 1798), the 
Alien Act (June 25, 1798), the Alien Enemies Act (July 6, 1798), and the Sedition Act 
(July 14, 1798), see Henry S. Commager, Documents of American History, New York, 1934, 
pp. 175-8. Pickering pressed for the full enforcement of these ill-advised laws, and to the 
detriment of Adams. 

in one half of what these contain. Mr. Otis's Letter is a very judicious, 
sensible, patriotic composition, and does him great honour. 6 

You may rely upon it from me, that not a single line from our Envoys 
have been received but what has been communicated, and nothing has 
been received from them since the last communication. 

I received your Letter of the 20 this day. I am very sorry the closet 
should be omitted because It wanted painting very much and does not 
easily dry. I wrote to the Dr, [Cotton Tufts] and proposed having the 
outside of the house new painted, and the Garden fence also which never 
was more than primed, but I would not put too many Irons at once in the 

If you have got Cousin Betsys Box or she has, as I see the vessel is 
arrived, you will then find what a drapery dress is, and the Young Lady 
will teach how it is to be put on. A Cap for you should be made as you 
usually wear yours, and as I wear mine, of handsome muslin with a 
pleated border or a lace I wear no other but upon publick Evenings 
when I wear a Crape dress cap. 

I do not wear the drapery dress myself as I consider it too youthfull for 
me. I have both sides alike, but they both come forward upon the top & 
then fall away and are worn with a coat or the Apron lose. 

Will you desire Mr. Porter to get some slips of the Quince Tree and sit 
out in the lower garden. 

Adieu my dear Sister. My pen, I think, is scarcly ever dry. 

Yours in Love, affection 


P.S. Since writing the above the song is printed. Bache says this morn- 
ing among other impudence that the excellent Lady of the Excellent 
President, was present, and shed Tears of sensibility upon the occasion. 
That was a lie. However I should not have been asshamed if it had been 
so. I laughed at one scene which was playd, [to] be sure, untill the tears 
ran down, I believe. But the song by the manner in which it is received, 
Is death to their Party. The House was really crowded, and by the most 
respectable people in the city. 

8 Letter to General Heath (1798). The Roxbury town meeting was "warned" on Monday, 
March 19, for Tuesday, March 20, 1798. General William Heath (1737-1814), a farmer of 
Roxbury and a veteran of the Revolution, acted as chairman of the meeting. According 
to the town records, 113 voted in the affirmative on the motion to petition Congress against 
permitting merchant vessels to arm in their defence. According to General Heath, only 
four I'oted in the negative. On Wednesday, March 21, General Heath wrote to Harrison 
Gray Otis, whose district included the town of Roxbury. Otis answered him on Friday, 
March 30, and his letter was published and circulated widely. See Morison, H. G. Otis, 
vol. r, pp. 68-71 and 88-9. See, also, the Columbian Centinel, March 24, 1798, for a letter, 
signed "Norfolk," attacking this town meeting and General Heath. 


Philadelphia, 28 April, 1798 

I have just received yours of the 23 April and I sit down to answer your 
inquiries respecting the building. I wrote to Dr. Tufts my Ideas upon it, 
I should think the East Chambers the best for a Library and I do not 
see any inconvenience from having the Stairs to it without doors like 
going into a store, as Mr. Tufts Store is built. I pray neither the Dr. or 
Mr. Black when he comes will say any thing about the Building. I mean 
to have it all done snug, and the Library removed if I can before I come, 
and I pray the Dr. to inform me of the cost, which I design to secure 
monthly from my expences here. I know the President will be glad when 
it is done, but he can never bear to trouble himself about any thing of the 
kind, and he has no taste for it, and he has too many publick cares to 
think of his own affairs. 

You mention Betsys [sic] Shaws illness. I did not know she had beea 
sick, except the beginning of the winter. I am allarmd for her. 1 

The caps are at the bottom of the Box sent to Cousin Betsy. I see by 
the papers that the vessel is arrived. If she is not at home you may open 
the Box. I never received the Letter in which the Dr. mentions having 
inclosed the plan. Tell the Dr. if four or 5 Hunderd dollors will meet the 
object, I will remit the remainder to him as he shall have occasion. 

The Child is very well. Let Mrs. Black know. The weather yesterday 
was very Hot and is like to be so to day. I had a very full Drawing Room 
last evening. I must close them in May. I cannot have them in Hot 
weather. I went yesterday to return some visits, and where ever I past, 
I received a marked notice of Bows & the Friends in the Street in their 
way noticed me. I thought nothing of it, untill my attention was caught 
by a Bunch of Tradesmen they lookt like, who at the comers of the Street 
saluted me as I past with their Hats In short we are now wonderfully 
popular except with Bache & Co who In his paper calls the President old, 
querilous, Bald, blind, cripled, Toothless Adams. Thus in Scripture was 
the Prophet mocked, and tho no Bears may devour the wretch, the wrath 
of an insulted people will by & by break upon him. 2 

1 Probably Elizabeth Quincy Shaw (1780-1798), daughter of Elizabeth (Smith) [Shaw] 

2 "And he [EHsha] went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the 
way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, 
Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. 

And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. 
And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of 
them." 2 Kings, II, 23-4, 


I have not time to add more than my Love and Regards to all Friends 
from your 

Affectionate Sister 


Philadelphia, May yth, 1798 

Mr. [Moses] Black got here on thursday night. I was rejoiced to see 
him. It seemd next to being at home. I yesterday received your Letter 
of April 29th. I had heard before both of Sukys death and my dear little 
Mary's. 1 I felt hers the more sensibly, because she was more endeared to 
me from having been more with me than either of the other Children. My 
Heart is grieved for Mr. and Mrs. [William] Smith who for this Month 
Past have seen one continued scene of affliction from the [frequent can- 
celled^ repeated Bereavements of Friends, and Relatives. If any thing 
can effectually wean & detach us from this world, it is the loss of those 
who render Life pleasent and agreable to us. Yet we are apt to cling 
closer to those which remain, and Even what are calPd Mrs. Thrails 
[Thrale] three warnings in her Dialogue between Death and Man, are 
insufrkent too frequently to find us ready to depart, loss of Limbs, loss 
of Sight & loss of Hearing. 2 I recollect my Mother[-in-law] once said to 
me after she was Eighty four years old, I really believe if I was now sick, 
I should want to get well again. So strong a principle is the Love of Life. 
If it was not for the sure and certain hope of a superiour state of existance 
beyond this transitory scene of Noise, Bustle, pain & anxiety we should 
be of all Beings the most misirable. The Present state of the world 
exhibits in the Revolution of France one of the most astonishing spec- 
tacles ever [exhibited cancelled] acted upon the stage to scourge the 
Nations of the Earth. Voltairfe] Predicted that Popery should be over- 
turnd by Atheism. What is to be our future Lot, and Destiny, remains 
to be unfolded. I hope we may still Continue to be "that happy people 
saved of the Lord." That we were sinking into a state of Langour, of 
Supineness, of Effimanancy & Luxury is but too evident from our stand- 

1 Mary Carter Smith, daughter of "William Smith, Esq., Merchant," niece of Mrs. 
Adams, died at the age of seven. See the Columbian Centinel, April 28, 1798, The Boston 
Directory (1798) lists "William Smith, merchant, No. 53 State Street, house Court Street." 

2 "The Three Warnings, A Tale" is a sprightly poem, in the style of Swift, by Hester 
Lynch (Salusbury) [ThraleJ Piozzi (1741-1821), in which Death, having been persuaded 
by a young bridegroom to call for him later on in life, pays his second visit only to find the 
lover of years past lame, deaf, and blind, and no longer unwilling to die. Autobiography: 
Letters and Literary Remains, Boston, 1861, pp. 247-9. 


ing in need of such severe & repeated scourging to arouse us to a sense of 
Danger, and to compell us to rise in defence of our Religion, our Liber- 
ties & independance. We are to day at 12 oclock to have a moveing and 
stricking spectacle, no less than between 7 & 8 Hundred young Men 
from 1 8 to 23 in a Body to present an address. Upon this occasion the 
President puts on his uniform, and the whole House will be thrown open 
to receive them. A number of Ladies will be present upon the occasion 
with me. The address and replie will appear in the paper and I will send 
it to you. 3 

I was pleasd with Mr. Nortons choice of a Text for the subject of his 
Fast sermon. Peter [Porcupine] I see in his paper of Saturday has been 
thinking upon the same subject, that Man is a very extraordinary [Man 
cancelled} creature. When he pleases he writes admirably, and is the 
greatest scourge of the french Faction which they have in the Country. 
His shafts are always tipt with wit, and his humour Is such as frequently 
to excite more of good than ill. 

I inclose to you a number of Letters from my sons; Some I have sent 
for Mrs. Johnson to read, who has not yet received any Letters. 4 Mrs. 
Johnson in her last Letter writes me, that Mr. Johnson had invited Mr. 
Cranch to come to George Town and take an office vacant by the death 
of a Mr. Cook, a Nephew of Mr. Johnsons. She says Mr. Johnson had 
put all his Papers into Mr. Cranchs Hands. I hope Mr. Cranch will 
find In Mr. Johnson an alleviation for the loss of Mr. Deaklngs. 5 Has he 
written you any thing upon the subject? Mr. Greenleaf has liberty to 
go out daily, which he does. He may be attended by an officer, and I 
believe he is, but his confinement is not close as It was. I have ever been 
an advocate for his intentions, but it is very hard for those who are 
smarting under the presure of a loss of all they possesst, and that without 
the least beneifit [sic] derived from him, to be reduced with their Families 
from affluence, to poverty and indigence, to refrain from bitter reflec- 
tions, and imputations mconsistant with candour and a confidence in the 
integrity of his heart. I never knew untill this week, that our Friend 
Mr. Smith of Boston was a looser by him to the amount [of] Eighteen 
thousand dollors. Do not however mention it to Mr. Smith, as he never 
hinted the thing himself to me What a Besom of destruction is this 
Spirit of Speculation. 5 

* Of Adams's answers to addresses from different parts of the United States (1797-1801), 
fifty-six are printed in Works, vol. 9, pp. 180-236; for this reply, see pp. 187-9, 

4 Mrs. Joshua Johnson, of Maryland, mother of Louisa Catherine, wife of John Quincy 

5 See footnote 2 to the letter of March 27, 1798. 

8 See Clark, Gwnleaj and Law in the Federal City, p. 195; and the letter of June I, 1798. 


I hope our people will proceed with the buildings as tho I was to be at 
Quincy the beginning of June. I regreet as the Roof is raised that the 
building was not continued the whole length of it, but the Dr. [Cotton 
Tufts] did not think of so extensive a plan, any more than I did at first, 
and the plan which he writes that he inclosed to me never came to 
Hand Let me know how It progresses. Have you got the Box I sent 
to Betsy? The weather has been as Hot for this fortnight past as it was 
last year in June. The Country looks delightfull. I ride almost every 
day and enjoy it. I fear we shall be detaind here much longer than I 
wish. I would have the building painted a Stone coulour, and I hope the 
Dr. poor man if he is able will have the out side of the House painted 
over white as it now Is, but it wants a new coat I wish the Dr. would 
try calomil upon himself. I have a great opinion of its efRcacey. Return 
me the Letters as soon as you have read them. Love & respects to all 
inquiring Friends from your 

Affectionate Sister 


Philadelphia, May roth, 1798 

Rumour at a distance magnifies and seldom reports truth. I have not 
written you a word upon a subject which I know would have made you 
at least very uneasy. About three weeks ago, a Letter was sent, or rather 
brought here of a Sunday Evening by two young women of the City, 
one of whom said passing the House a few days before She took up a 
paper in a small alley which runs between our house & our Neighbours. 
It was wet by lying at the Edge of a gutter which passes through the 
passage. The Girl, finding it in this way opend the Letter, and read it, 
but being allarmd at the contents, knew not what to do. Her mother, 
who was absent at the Time, returning & finding what she had done, 
directed the Girl to bring it herself, & relate the circumstances. The 
purport of the Letters [sic] was to inform the President that the French 
people who were in this city had formed a conspiracy with some un- 
suspected Americans, on the Evening of the day appointed for the fast 
to sit fire to the City in various parts, and to Massacre the inhabitants, 
Intreating the President not to neglect the information & the warning 
given, tho by an annonimous Hand, signd a Real tho heretofore a mis- 
guided American. The President conceived it to be an incendary Letter 
written to allarm & distress the inhabitants. An other Letter of the same 
purport was sent ten days after, thrust under the door of Mr. Otis's 


office. These with some Rumours of combinations got abroad, and the 
Mayor, 1 Aldermen &c kept some persons upon the watch through all 
parts of the city, & the Governour gave orders privately to have a troop 
of Horse in case of need. 2 The Young Men of the city as I wrote you on 
Monday to the amount of near Eleven Hundred came at 12 oclock in 
procession two and two. There were assembled upon the occasion it is 
said ten thousand Persons. This street as wide or wider than State Street 
in Boston, was full as far as we could see up & down. One might have 
walkd upon their Heads, besides the houses window even tops of 
Houses. In great order & decorum the Young Men with each a black 
cockade marchd through the Multitude and all of them enterd the House 
preceeded by their committe. When a Young Gentleman by the Name 
of Hare, a Nephew of Mrs. Binghams, read the address, the President 
received them in his Levee Room drest in his uniform, and as usual 
upon such occasions, read his answer to them, after which they all 
retired. 3 The Multitude gave three Cheers, & followd them to the State 
House Yard, where the answer to the address was again read by the 
Chairman of the committe, with acclamations. They then closed the 
scene by singing the new song, which at 12 oclock at night was sung by 
them under our windows, they having dinned together or rather a part 
of them. 4 This scene burnt in the Hearts of some Jacobins and they 
determined eitheir, to terrify, or Bully the young men out of their 
Patriotism. Baches publishd some saussy peices, the young men resented 
and he would have felt the effects of their resentment if some cooler 
Heads had not interposed. Yesterday was observed with much solem- 
nity. 5 The meeting Houses & churches were filPd. About four oclock as 

1 Hilary Baker, mayor of Philadelphia at this time, died in office of yellow fever on 
September 25, 1798. For a description of the circumstances in which this mysterious letter 
of warning as to arson and murder was found, see Morison, H. G. Otis, vol. l ? pp. iio-ni, 
where the source of information is given as "General Correspondence of John Adams, 
1797-1798," pp. 173 and 175, in the Adams Manuscripts, which are locked up in the Mas- 
sachusetts Historical Society. 

2 Thomas MifBin (1744-1800), merchant, member of the Continental Congress, and 
soldier of the Revolution, served three terms as governor of Pennsylvania (1790-1799). 
His wife, Sarah Morris, was described by John Adams as "a charming Quaker girl." 

'The famous Mrs. William Bingham, one of the daughters of Thomas Willing (1731- 
1821), Philadelphia banker, who was at one time a partner of Robert Morris. Willing'* 
thirteen children made up a numerous and influential clan in Philadelphia. This nephew 
of Mrs. Bingham was Robert Hare (1781-1858), distinguished chemist, the son of Robert 
and Margaret (Willing) Hare. See Morison, H. G. Otis, pp. 133-6, 

4 "Hail Columbia." See the letter of April 26, 1798. 

5 Wednesday, May 9, 1798, was observed as "A Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting and 
Prayer, throughout the United States." Columbian Centinfl, May 9, 1798; Adams, Works, 
vol. 9, pp. i6o/-70; and footnote 2 to the letter of March 31, 1798. 


is usual the State House Yard, which is used for a walk, was very full of 
the inhabitants, when about 30 fellows, some with snow Balls in their 
Hats, & some with tri-coulourd cockades enterd and attempted to seize 
upon the- Hats of the Young Men to tear out their cockades. A scuffel 
ensued when the Young Men became conquerors, and some of these tri 
coulourd cockades were trampled in the dust. One fellow was taken, 
and committed to Jail, but this was sufficient to allarm the inhabitants, 
and there were every where large collections of people. Thelight Horse 
were calld out & patrold the streets all Night. A gaurd was placed before 
this House, tho through the whole of the Proceedings, and amidst all the 
collection, the Presidents name was not once mentiond, nor any one 
grievence complaind of, but a foreign attempt to try their strength & to 
Awe the inhabitants if possible was no doubt at the bottom. Congress 
are upon an Allien Bill. 6 This Bache is cursing Be abusing daily. If 
that fellow & his Agents Chronical, and all is not surpressd, we shall 
come to a civil war. I hope the Gen'll Court of our State, will take the 
Subject up & if they have not a strong Sedition Bill, make one Before I 
close this I shall send to the post office. 

Qulncy address and a Letter from Brother Cranch, News papers but 
not a line from my sister, Well, I trust the next post will bring me some. 

I must now close my Letter or the post will be gone. The Nurse & 
childern and Nabby Hunt are all going on Board this morning. Nabby 
holds me to my word that I would let her go home this spring, no 
difficulty or uneasiness on either part. She is wrong for herself. I have 
given her a dollor pr week ever since she has been with me, paid her 
doctor, and she Is now going to . She will find the difference. I sup- 
pose she thinks she may get a Husband at home. Here there is no chance. 

Your ever affectionate 


Mr. Black was here & well to day. 

Philadelphia, May 13, 1798 

I write you a few lines by Mr. Black altho I know the post will go 
quicker. I hope to get Letters to day from Quincy. Now a week since I 
heard. We are thank God all well. The President is most worn down. I 

8 Tlie Alien Act, and the Alien Enemies Act, passed June 25 and July 6, 1798. Commager, 
Documents of American History, pp. 176-7. 


tell the Gentlemen if they do not give him a respit soon, it will be too 
much for him. The Numerous addresses which pour in daily in abund- 
ance give him much additional writing. They are however a gratefull 
and pleasing testimony of the satisfaction of the publick mind, assurences 
to support the Government, notwithstanding the pains which has been 
taken to poison it. 

I send you my dear Sister a peice of Muslin for two Crowns of caps. It 
must be done up with great care. It is calld Deca Muslin. 1 It does not 
look well to tell the price of any thing which is for a present, but that 
you may know its real value, I will tell you that it was six dollors pr yd. 
It is accompanied by a peice for a Border which to get the blew out you 
must put in vinigar & water. I have also sent you a narrow lace for to 
put on them. If you put a double Border there will be enough for only 
one. Let me know, because when I find a pretty Edging I will send you 
enough for the other. You will want to run the lace upon a narrow peice 
of Muslin. Ladies of your age wear such fine Muslin, with white Ribbons 
made like the dress close caps, with a little Hair seen at the Ears. I have 
not time to add more, than 



Philadelphia, May 13, 1798 

If I have not written to you my dear Neice it is not because I have not 
frequently thought of you. Through the winter, your good Mother has 
often informd me of your welfare and that your little Girl was well. I 
have sent by Mr. Black a little token of my Remembrance to her, not 
because I thought you had not pretty things in Boston, but merely that 
she might have a slip of my giving her. If she is in short coats y and what I 

1 "Imported (via New York) on the ship Hero, from Madras and Calcutta, and for sale 
by the subscriber, at No. 61 Chestnut Street . . . the following articles . . . Dacca worked 
muslins . . . Mull Mull handkerchiefs . . . Samuel Wilson." GazflU of the United States* 
January 16, 1798. "Dacca muslin is an exceedingly filmy and fragile textile, manufactured 
at Dacca, in Bengal, and much used by women for dresses and by men for neckerchiefs in 
England about 100 years ago. The Dacca Muslin now employed resembles the modern 
Madras Muslin, and is used for curtains." S.F.A. Caulfield, Dictionary of NffdltzcGrk, 
London, 1885. 

iThis letter was addressed to Mrs. Lucy (Cranch) Greenleaf (1767-1846), wife of her 
cousin, John Greenleaf, who was the brother of James Greenleaf of the North American 
Land Company. 


send would make two, with the addition of half a yd more, pray inform 
me and I will procure it. Mr. Black goes from hence this morning. It 
has been a Great pleasure for me to see him, both as a Friend and 
Neighbour. I hope he will get the little orphan safe Home. It will not 
then suffer for those it has lost. 2 

I mourn with you & with all who knew, your Faithfull, Learned, good 
and Benevolent Pastor, your loss. 3 Many of my Friends and acquain- 
tance are gone, since I left Home, tho only sis months since. My Love to 
Mrs. [William] Smith when you see her. I most sincerly sympathize with 
her, under the repeated shocks she has sustaind. My dear little Mary is 
amongst the number of those I shall miss, when I return, which I hope I 
may be able to, in the month of June. 4 My kind regards to Mr. [John] 

From your affectionate Aunt 

Your uncle & Louisa desire to be rememberd. 

Philadelphia, May 18, 1798 

What, no Letters from Quincy, has been repeated every day for a week 
upon the return of every messenger from the post office. I was hunting 
up my pen this morning & going to sit down and inquire whether my 
dear sister was sick when yours of May loth was brought me. You can 
hardly judge how impatient I feel if I do not hear once a week. But 
have you not received a Letter from me inclosing a Bill of Laiding of the 
Box which was addrest to Mr. Smith & which Bill I desired you to for- 
ward to him? I sent such a one to you before the vessel saikL Pray have 
It inquired for. Two of Mrs. Goulds daughters who was formerly of 
Boston went in this vessel. Mrs. Gould must be known to Mr. [William] 
Smith. The address arrived last week and Mr. Black carries the answer 
to it & placed his name to it here. He intended reaching Quincy this day. 
He can tell you all about us, and about Philadelphia & the spirit of the 
times, I am rejoiced to see that the pople [sic] are roused to a sense of 
their danger, and to a determination to support their Rights. The Good 

2 See the letters of December 12 and 26, 1797. 

8 Probably the Reverend John Clarke (1755-1798), who died suddenly on April 2, 1798. 
See footnote 2 to the letter of June 27, 1798. 
4 See footnote i to the letter of May 7, 1798. 


sense & property of the Country must be in its support. They cannot 
suppose that their President can have any object in view for himself or 
Family, from the whole course & tennor of his Life, incompatable with 
the honour, dignity and independance of his Country. He has his all at 
Stake, & more than any other individual, because of his high responsi- 
bility. The numerous addresses do honour to our Country, tho they load 
the President with constant application to his pen, as he answers all of 
them and by this means has an opportunity of diffusing his own senti- 
ments, more extensively & probably where they will be more read and 
attended to than they would have been through any other channel. His 
manner of Receiving the youth of this city and his replie to them, I am 
told has attachd them so much to him, that a word to them from him 
upon any subject will not fail of [his cancelled] its influence. Of this he 
had a trial this week, upon a trivial subject, it is true, but it was one 
which might have had concequences. But his opinion signified to one of 
the Committe instantly was complied with A Bill has been before the 
House empowering the President to receive voluntary Choirs [Corps, see 
below} in case of need. Varnum and Gallitin have opposed it vehemently. 
It was yesterday carried by a Great Majority in the House. 1 

I am equally anxious with Col. Daws for the fate of our Envoys. 2 
With the best intentions I fear they have been too believing, and sub- 
mitted to more humiliation than their country required of them, by 
remaining after the last decree of the Directory. I send you the last 
dispatches and I sometimes add a news paper, supposing it contains 
more than you can get otherways. I long for the time to come when I 
may sit my face Northward. I have not received any account of the 
Dr. [Cotton Tufts] receiving a Bill of a hundred dollors sent I believe in 
my last Letter to him. He mentions having received the Letter to you, so 
I presume he got it. I hope he will be able to write me soon. The Presi- 
dent received a Letter from him this week. I pray Heaven to prolong his 
usefull Life. 

Return the Letters from my Children, as soon as you can. I inclose 
you one from your son, and one from my Friend Mrs. Johnson, which you 
will be so good as to return me. 3 I have but little time to write now as 
the post will go out at 12 oclock, but I congratulate you upon a brighter 

1 See the Act of May 28, 1798. Schouler, History of ike United States, vol. I, p. 397, 
note 3. 

* Probably Thomas Dawes, father of Harrison Dawes (1794-1835), who married Lucy 
Greenleaf, the daughter of Lucy Cranch and John Greenleaf. 

* See footnote 4 to the letter of May 7, 1798. 


prospect for him. I have bespoken for Mrs. Cranch the kind and Ma- 
terial regard of Mrs. Johnson, and told her, that like her own daughter 
she had been seperated from all her natural connections. I have written 
to Mr. Cranch & his uncle has written the Letter he requested for Mr. 
Carrol 4 I am anxious for Betsy Shaw. A change of Air might serve her. 
She is [in] too high & keen a situation, I fear, for the State of her Lungs. 5 
My Love to Mrs. Black. I long to hear she has got her little Girl. 

Most affectionatly your Sister 

Philadelphia, May 2Oth, 1798 

I was sorry to read to day in the Centinal of the i6th an account said 
to be written by a member of congress to his Friend in Conneticut [an 
account cancelled} so contrary to truth. If the writer had said the State 
House Yard or Gardens, instead of the Presidents House, he would 
have written the Truth, but most assuredly there was no appearence of 
any persons round this House, or near it, untill the Gaurd of light Horse 
came. You will hear many a Goblin story I doubt not, but you may rest 
assured we are not ourselves apprehensive. 1 The ardour and attentions 
of the Citizens is so great, that if a House takes fire a gaurd [sic] is placed 
round us. On the Evening the allarm was, you will recollect that I wrote 
you a great concourse of persons were assembled in the street before our 
doors, but it was not untill the affray took place in the State House Yard 
that the light Horse were calld out, or that any persons assemblied here, 
& then they were citizens I believe from the orderly behaviour & silence 
which was preserved. 

4 Daniel Carroll, of Duddington, a large holder of land In the District of Columbia, and a 
nephew of Daniel Carroll (1730-1796), one of the commissioners of the Federal City, 
that is, Washigton, D.C., until his resignation in 1795. Clark, Greenleaf and Law in the 
federal City. 

6 Probably Elizabeth Quincy Shaw (1780-1798), daughter of Elizabeth (Smith) [Shaw] 
Peabody. See footnote I to the letter of April 28, 1798. 

1 As an instance of the touchiness of Adams and his wife in regard to trifling errors in 
the newspapers, see the Columbian Ctntinfl for May 16, 1798: "May 7, 1798. This day at 
12 o'clock, the Young Men of this city assembled at the Merchants Coffee House, from 
whence they marched in a body, attended by an immense concourse of their fellow-citizens, 
forming a body of upwards of 1200, bearing the American Standard, and wearing the 
American cockade, to the house of the President of the United States, where they presented 
to him their address." The correction offered by Mrs. Adams is of no importance. 


I also see a Letter from Mr. Bourn in the paper respecting our Envoys. 2 
Government have not received any such account, altho there are letters 
from Mr, Murrey [sic] & Mr. King 3 I cannot however take it upon me 
to deny the fact, tho I think it the worst News we could hear, because 
suppose it true, I believe it only calculated to deceive and amuse us, 
the more effectually to devour us. When I hear of an order to stop 
all depredations upon our commerce and to restore what has been 
unjustly robd from us, then shall I believe that they consider our 
Friendship of some use and value to them, not that they are acting 
from Principles of equity or justice, whilst they are dealing such ven- 
gence to other Nations. If they approach a step towards us, it Is be- 
cause there is some formidable combination taking place with some 
other powers against them, I hope it will not damp the ardour of 
Patriotism which is just rousing from its stupour. The best negotiaters 
we can possibly have, are our addressers pledging their Lives and 
fortunes. Our Preliminaries are fortifications, Armed vessels and 
voluntary [Choirs cancelled] Corps. 

21 May, [1798] 

Upon a further attention to the Letter of Mr. Bourn I find not the 
least inducement to believe that It refers to any thing of a later date 
than the dispatches received by [the] Government dated In Febry. 
There are letters from Mr. Murrey [sic] ten days later and no mention 
is made of any such event or expectation; that Spain & other powers 

2 In the Columbian Centinel, May 16, 1798, the following letter and editorial note 
appeared : 

Amsterdam, March 20, 1798. 
Mr. Benjamin Russell, 

I avail myself of the first opportunity to acquaint you that the ship America, Capt. 
Henshaw, from New-York, lately brought in here by a French cruiser, has been immediate- 
ly released by the Consul of that nation; and I am happy to add, that every thing will be 
done here to support and protect the intercourse with the United States. 

My letters by the last mail from Paris mention, that our Envoys had lately have [sic] 
several conferences with the Minister of Foreign Affairs result not known. 

I am, your obedt. sent. 

Sylvanus Bourne, 

Another letter from the above gentleman says, that Mr. Gerry had informed him, that the 
Envoys had had three conferrences [sic] with the Jvlinister for Foreign Affairs, and that 
the negotiation appeared to be in good train. 

3 For Rufus King, see footnote 8 to the letter of January 5, 1798, For William Vans 
Murray, American minister to the Netherlands and envoy to France (i799" 1 8oo), see 
footnote 4 to the letter of January 20, 1798. 


appear to be assumeing more spirit is true. Hear before you blame, is 
a good maxim, but it seems as if our Envoys were of the bird or cat 
kind to be fasinated [with the cancelled] by the serpents of France. 
They know not to what a pitch the pulse of their countrymen Beat. 

I am very sorry Mr. Cabbot [sic] declined accepting the Secretaryship 
of the Navey. 4 No body but himself doubts his ability to have executed 
the trust well. On such occasions as the present, every hand should be 
put to the plough. I fear congress will continue to sit far into the Month 
of June. I think sometimes if they do not rise & give [their cancelled] the 
President a respit, they will have Jefferson sooner than they wish. 

I never saw Mr. Adams look so pale, and he falls away, but I dare not 
tell him so. His spirits are however [are cancelled] good, but he wants 
a ramble in the clear air of the Country, and a new Scene. I stand it, 
better and have my Health better this Spring, tho an ill turn of a day or 
two at a time, is scarcly worth mentioning when compared to the weeks 
of confinement I have experienced. 

You mentiond in your Letter that Dr. Tufts wanted only 200 hundred 
dollors. I did not know whether you meant in addition to what I had 
sent. I however inclose one which you will deliver to him; if another is 
wanted I can send it the begining of June. I dont know how I shall send 
a trunk to Boston. There are so many French Privateers cruizing that I 
dare not venture. 

You must write to me once a week certainly, no matter whether you 
have a subject of more concequence than our mere domestick affairs. 
How does the building go on? Have you seen it lately? I hope the Book 
Room will be large enough and that it will be pleasent. My best regards 
to Dr. Tufts, who I hope is better. I think [it cancelled] his disorder 
Rhumatick. I am very anxious for Betsy Shaw. When do you expect 
Cousin Betsy back? Have you not got the Box yet? Captain Bradford of 
the schooner Sally was the vessel by which it went. I sent you the Bill of 
laiding with a request that you would forward it to Mr. Smith. Love to 
all Friends from 

Your ever affectionate Sister 


Write as soon as you receive this & send your Letter to Boston if not post 
day. We get news papers in 5 days now. 

4 George Cabot (1752-1823), who, weary of politics, resigned his seat in the Senate 
in May, 1796, retired to private life, and refused an appointment as the first Secretary of 
the Navy in 1798. 


Philadelphia j May 26, 1798 

Yours of the 18 I received on thursday 23, and I rejoice to hear 
Mr. Black got home so soon, as I think he could dissipate your anxiety 
on our account. I may be too confident, but I do not feel as if any body 
wanted to hurt or injure us. Bearing neither malice or ill will towards 
any one, not even the most deluded, I cannot be particuliarly apprehen- 
sive. I wish the Laws of our Country were competant to punish the stirer 
up of sedition, the writer and Printer of base and unfounded calumny. 
This would contribute as much to the Peace and harmony of our Coun- 
try as any measure, and in times like the present, a more carefull and 
attentive watch ought to be kept over foreigners. This will be done in 
future if the Alien Bill passes, without being curtaild clipt untill it is 
made nearly useless. 1 The Volunteer Corps which are forming not only 
of young Men, but others will keep in check these people, I trust. 
Amongst the many addresses have you particuliarly noticed one from 
the state of N[ew] Jersey with the Govr. at their head, as commander in 
chief? 2 It is from all the officers, and they are not vain and empty 
tenders, for a deputation from their Body is comeing to Present the 
address on Monday next, and to tender their services as a volunteer 
Corps. I wish with you that I could see as great a Change for the better 
in Morals as in politicks, but it is a part of Religion as well as morality, 
to do justly and to love mercy and a man can not be an honest & Zealous 
promoter of the Principles of a True Government, without possessing 
that Good will towards man which leads to the Love of God, and respect 
for the Deity; so that a proper appreciation of our Rights Duties as 
Citizens, it is a prelude to [of cancelled] a respect for Religion, and its 
institutions. To destroy and undermine Religion has been the cheif 
engine In the accomplishment of this mighty Revolution throughout 
Europe. We have felt no small share of the balefull influence of the Age of 
Reason, but to have a thorough Idea of the deep laid system, you must 
read a work lately publishd calld proofs of a conspiracy against all the 
Religions and Governments of Europe, by John Robison, Professor of 

1 See footnote 6 to the letter of May 10, 1798. 

'Richard Howell (1754-1802), soldier of the Revolution, Governor of New Jersey 
(1793-1801). Howell helped suppress the 'Whiskey Insurrection,'* wrote the popular 
song, *T>ash to the Mountains, Jersey Bell," and was described as *Tbe soul of honor, 
friend of human kind." 


Natural Philosophy m the university of Edinburgh. 3 This Book I have 
sent to Dr. Belknap with a request that if he possesst a Copy, that 
he would send it to Mr. Cranch. 4 If he has not, he will lend it to him. 
Yon will read the Book with astonishment. What led me to send the 
Book at this Time, was from a Letter from my son at Berlin, who I know 
from his manner of writing had not seen the Book* It was first publishd 
last Sep'br in Edinburgh. In his Letter he mentions a society calld a 
Theo Pkilanthropick^ and describes it as a [mixture of cancelled] a [sic] 
Theological & political mixture of deism, morality and Anti-Christian- 
ity that to propagate these doctrines, persons had been sent lately to 
Hamburgh; and that Dupont de Nemours w r as talkd of as comeing out 
to America to establish such societies here. 6 

I have made the extract from his Letter at length, and sent it to Dr. 
Belknap together with Robisons work, which fully unfolds the whole 
scheme, and displays the effects of the Principles in the Revolutions 
in Europe to their full extent. I thought I could not do a better service 
than to put our Countrymen upon their Gaurd. The son of this Dupont 
[Victor Du Pont] has just arrived in this city from Charlstown, S[outh] 
Carolina], where he was Consul. He is now sent here in order to super- 

3 John Robison (1739-1805), "one of the greatest mathematical philosophers of his age," 
was graduated from the University of Glasgow, where he later lectured on chemistry, 
He served in Canada with Wolfe, and became professor of Natural Philosophy in the 
University of Edinburgh in 1773, and first general secretary of the Royal Society of Edin- 
burgh In 1783. He was a copious contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica. Although 
James Watt, the engineer, said of him: "He was a man of the clearest head and the most 
science of anybody I have ever known," Robison, who was himself a Freemason, published 
what has been called "a lasting monument of fatuous credulity" Proofs of a Conspiracy 
against all the Religions and Governments of Europe, carried on in ike secret meetings of Free- 
masons, Illuminati, and Reading Societies, Edinburgh, 1797. A fourth, edition of this book 
appeared in London and New York in 1798. This was the absurd book which Mrs. Adams 
was reading. It was Robison who passed on to posterity the famous story of General 
Wolfe*s having quoted Gray's Elegy from memory the night before his death at the 
capture of Quebec. 

4 Jeremy Belknap (1744-1798), Congregational clergyman, author of the History of 
New Hampshire, 1784-1792, and the American Biography, 1794-1798, and founder of the 
Massachusetts Historical Society. 

5 Theophilanthropy, a system of Deism based on a belief in the existence of God and in 
the immortality of the soul, which appeared in France in 1796 and died out about 1801. 
Oxford English Dictionary. "Larevelliere de Lepeauz enjoys the distinction of having 
invented a new religion of his own; but Theophilanthropy' fa kind of hotch-potch of 
Rousseau, Voltaire, Socrates, Seneca, and Fenelon') soon outlived an ephemeral popu- 
larity." J, R. Moreton Macdonald, A History of France, New York, 1915, vol. 3, p. 75. 

6 Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemours, who was born at Paris in 1739, and died near 
Wilmington, Delaware, in 1817, was a French political economist and politician, a friend 
of Thomas Jefferson, and the founder of the Dupont Family in the United States. 

1 80 

ceed Le Tomb [Joseph Philippe Letombe], as consul-general. 7 He told 
a Gentleman who mentiond it at the drawing Room last Evening that 
his Father was gone to Hamburgh in order to embark for America, which 
corresponds with the account given by Mr. []. Q.] A. and he added 
that he found the spirit of the times such, that he should be very sorry to 
have his Father come out. The intention was that he should have come 
out to accompany the Marquiss La Fayett Family. By this means 
you see, he would naturally have been cordially & kindly received, and 
have crept unsuspected into the Bosoms of Americans, untill he had bit 
like a Serpent and stung like an Adder. 8 Was there ever a more basely 
designing and Insidious people? Burk was right, when he described the 
French republick to be [founded cancelled] founded upon Regicide, 
Jacobinism and Atheism, and that it had joind to those Principles; a 
body of systamatick manners, which secured their opperation. 9 

Robisons Book will shew you how much the corruption of manners 
has aided in the destruction of all Religious and moral Principles. All 
the new institutions strike at the root of our social nature. Mr. Burk 
goes on to observe in his Letters upon the Regicide Directory, "that 
other Legislators knowing that marriage is the origin of all Relations, 
and concequently the first Element of all duties, have endeavourd by 
every Art to make it sacred." The following observation ought to be 
[indelliably cancelled] indelbly [sic] written upon every mind. "The 
Christian Religion by confining it to pairs and by rendering that Rela- 
tion indissoluable, has by these two things, done more towards the 
peace, happiness, settlement and civilization of the world, than by any 
other part in this whole scheme of divine wisdom*" 10 

I objected to the answer to the Boston address upon the same Prin- 
ciple you mention. 11 I did get an alteration in it, but between ourselves, 
I think the address itself as indifferent as most any one which has been 
sent. But this is confidential. 

Inclosed is a Letter [from cancelkd\ for Mr. Black, which I return as 
he requested. I hear nothing yet of the Box sent for Cousin Betsy. I 
hope it is not lost. 

7 In 1798, Talleyrand replaced Joseph Philippe Letombe as consul-general at Philadelphia 
with Victor Marie du Pont (1767-1827). See footnote I to the letter of July 17, 1798. 

8 "At the last it [wine] biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.*' 
XXIII, 32. 

9 Bur ke: Selected fPorks, '^Letters on the Regicide Peace," pp. 70-2, Letter I. 

10 Ibid., p. 74, Letter I. 

11 Adams, Works, vol. 9, p 189. 


We have had some delightfull rains these two days past. I want to 
escape the cage & fly to Quincy but know not when to say it will be. I am, 
my dear Sister, 

Affectionatly yours 


P.S. Louisa desires me to inquire when you expect her sister back. My 
Letters to you are first thoughts, without correction. 

[Philadelphia], 29th May, 1798 

I just write you a line to day, to tell you we are well, and to inclose 
Letters from my Family. We have not any thing new since I wrote you 
last, except a fine rain, which is truly a blessing, for the Grass and Grain 
were in a suffering condition, and the dust so intolerable as to render 
riding very dissagreable. I am to drink tea on Board the Frigate United 
States this afternoon if the weather permits On Saturday the Captain 
hopes to go out I was glad to see by the papers of yesterday that Cap- 
tain Beals was arrived. I should have been sorry if he had lost his place 
on Board the Frigate. 1 

I inclose to you a paper containing a number of addresses and answers. 
I think [Benjamin] Russel might enlarge his paper and take some of 
them in, that the knowledge of the prevailing spirit & sentiments might 
be diffused, especially as not a Jacobin paper publishes one of them, but 
an Insolent impudent thing of 14 or 15 Grenadeers with a St. Domingo 
captain at their head, has found its way into all there papers. 2 But 

1 This frigate of 44 guns was one of those designed by Joshua Humphreys expressly to 
outclass the existing type of frigate in the British and French navies. It was built in 1798, 
and became famous. In 1799, Chief Justice Ellsworth and Governor Davie boarded her at 
Newport, Rhode Island, at the command of John Adams, and, after a prosperous voyage 
across the Atlantic, entered the Tagus on one of the last days of November. The two com- 
missioners landed finally near La Corufia, from which place they pushed on to Paris to 
join Vans Murray. On October 25, 1812, the United States engaged and captured the 
44-gun British frigate Macedonian^ and brought ship and crew into Boston Harbor. See 
Channing, History of the United States, vol. 4, pp. 205-6 and 476-7. 

2 After the completion of the ratification of Jay's Treaty in 1796, the United States 
extended de facto recognition to the quasi-independent government of Toussaint L'Ouvert- 
ure, the Negro chieftain who had dispossessed French authority in Santo Domingo. The 
ports of that island were excepted from the non-intercourse law against France until 
June 26, 1799. The British used the ports of Santo Domingo for their naval patrol of the 
West Indies, where their search and seizure of American ships added fuel to the flames of 
sympathy for France in the United States. See [John] RussdPs Commercial Gazette, May 
28, 1798; the Massachusetts Spy and Worcester Gazette, May 30, 1798; Charles R. King, 
The Life and Correspondence of Rufus King, New York, 1894-1900, vol. 2, p. 285, and 
Appendix 2, pp. 616-634; and S, F. Bemis, A Diplomatic History of the United States, New 
York, 1942. 


Russels paper is pretty much like what Peter [Porcupine] says the 
N[ew] York papers have been of late, "not worth a curse." The Mercury 
might like to publish some of them. 3 How does the Farm look, says the 
President? Oh that I could see it, and ramble over it. Does not Sister 
Cranch say a word about it? Have you heard lately from Atkinson 
[New Hampshire] ? Poor little Caroline has got the Ague & fever* 4 

Yours affecly 


Philadelphia, June I 3 1798 

I was indeed greatly afflicted by the contents of your last Letter. I 
received it yesterday, and having a large party of Ladies and Gentlemen 
to dine, I felt but Little spirit to receive or entertain them. I did not 
communicate it to the President untill the Evening, when he insisted 
upon it, that I had some dissagreable News which had affected my spirits. 
Least [sic] he should suppose it greater, or of a different kind, I told him. 
He most sincerely participates with the distresst family. It hurts him, as 
you know all, & every thing which afflicts his Friends, does. I have all 
ansiety for our worthy Friend Mr. Smith, least he should be materially 
affected by it. His loss by Mr. Greenleaf was very heavey. 1 Like his 
Father, he is the Friend in secreet, as well as openly, and his own troubles 
he surpresses. I fear Mr. J. Q. A. must be a sufferer. I know he left his 
little all in the Drs. [Thomas Welsh's] Hands. He has since his absence 
directed his Brother Charles to draw upon him for a sum, I do not exactly 
know how much, & vest it in real estate; This he did, but afterwards was 
prevaild upon to let it go, Sc what security he now has I know not. 
Knowing the Family difficulties, and that it is a [difficult cancelled} 
hard thing to keep clear of them, I got some knowledge from a Quarter 
which I dared not disclose, that the Property was in Jeopardy. I then 
wrote to Mr. J. Q. A., advising him to employ Dr, Tufts in future as his 
Agent. He then wrote me that he had written Dr. Welch to lay out his 

3 The Massachusetts Mercury, published in Boston. Benjamin Russell, Federalist pub- 
lisher of the Columbian GeniiwL See footnote 8 to the letter of June 3, i?97< 

* Caroline Amelia Smith, daughter of Abigail Adams and Colonel William Stephens 

1 Mrs. Adams refers to financial losses resulting from the speculations of James Green- 
leaf, "Air, Smith" Is not her brother, William Smith, but probably that "William Smith, 
Esq." who was elected one of the selectmen of Boston, standing third In the poll of seven 
victors, on Monday, May 14, 1798. See [John] RussdFs Commfrcial Gawtte, May 17, 1798. 


Property In a freehold In Boston; I know not what to do. 2 I believe I had 
better write to Charles, and if I find he has the property secure, to hold 
it untill he can hear from his Brother. 

The longer we live in the world, the more do troubles thicken upon us, 
yet we hug the fleeting shadow. Have you heard from Haverhill, or 
rather Atkinson? I am anxious for Betsy Q[uincy] Shaw. I think a 
change of air might be good for her. 

I am glad to learn that the buisness goes on so rapidly at Quincy. I do 
expect to see it, the beginning of July, I fear not sooner. Pray desire 
Mrs. Porter not to use the Bacon, but to have Beef procured. I found so 
much difficulty to get any good when I was at home [that was good 
cancelled] that I should be loth not to have enough. In about 6 days I 
will remit what the Dr. wants, I should like to know that what I sent 
to you for the Dr. had arrived safe. I have not learnt how Mrs. Blacks 
little Girl got to Quincy* I think Nabby Hunt was a foolish Girl to go 
home and relinquish a dollor pr week which I have given her ever since 
I first hired her, for a very easy kind of Buisness, and go home to Pov- 
erty. I did not send her away, for Nabby was a solid honest Girl. But 
for the buisness, I have got a much better one. Let me know how far 
the building is compleated. I hope It will all be finishd before I get home 
and all the workmen gone. If you think the walls will not be sufficiently 
dry for papering, that can be omitted untill an other season. With the 
kindest Regard for all our dear Friends and a sympathy in their troubles 
I am, my dear Sister, 

Your ever affectionate 


Mrs. Brisler Is much afflicted at the death of her Mother. The answer 
to the Quincy address tho short was from the Heart. 3 

Philadelphia, Monday, June 4, 1798 

I received on Saturday yours of May 28th. I wrote you on Saturday 
previous to my receiving yours. I am very sorry if the Bos I sent should 
be lost. It was a square Box covered with canvass, the same you sent my 
cap In last summer, addrest to Mr. Smith The dress in it together with 
the handkerchief, Ruffels &c was of 30 dollors value. I intended it for 
Betsys wedding dress. The vessels Name the Sally y Polly ', Cap, Brad- 

2 For Dr. Thomas Welsh, see Adams, Works, vol. 9, pp. 571-2. 

3 Adams, Works, voL 9, p. 197. 


ford. I was rejoiced to learn that Mrs. Blacks little Girl was safely 
arrived. She is not very fair, nor do I think her so pretty as she was when 
younger, but she was tand with the water no doubt. I did not have any 
conversation with Mr. Black respecting Mr. Whitman. 1 I thought as he 
had been so constant and determined in his opposition, that it would be 
to no purpose, and if the thing cannot work its own cure I do not believe 
persuasion will. A prudent, discreet conduct on the part of Mr. Whitman 
will have the greatest effect. Yet we must suppose that Mr. Whit- 
man has his feelings, & that he cannot go to Mr. Blacks without a new 
invitation after having been so much opposed by him. I think the first 
step should be taken by those in opposition towards Mr. Whitman, unless 
affliction assails any of them. Then the man should forget his feelings, 
and the true spirit of Christianity induce him to do good even to those 
who have despightfully used him. When Mr. Black lost his Brother & 
Sister Mr. Whitman should have visited them then was the time for 
him to have won them. Mr. Black has a tender feeling Heart, all alive to 
distress, and actively benevolent. I will however when I return use my 
good offices to unite them. 

I have not heard from your son nor from Mrs. [Joshua] Johnson since 
I wrote you last. Mr. Johnson, I understand, has sufferd very much 
since the war, between France & England, and he is obliged to attend 
very closely to his affairs here, where he had large sums oweing to him. 

Dr. [Thomas] Welch and Family are never out of my mind. I know 
not what to say to them by way of comfort or consolation. I have 
written to Mr. [William] Smith asking his opinion of sending Thomas to 
Berlin to Mr. [John Quincy] Adams in lieu of T[homas] Bfoylston] 
Adams, who is determined to return home this fall, and who begs me to 
send some body in his Room. 2 Thomas is a solid Lad, Loves Mr. Adams, 
was brought up with him, and it will be a living for him for a year or 
two, and prepare him for future buisness, and I should suppose that the 
proposal would be agreable to him at this time, when he must be de- 
jected with his Fathers situation. I would have him go to Hamburgh, 
and from thence he may soon proceed to Berlin. I would have him go 
directly after taking his degree. 

We are distrest at the stay of our Envoys, who seem to be in a delirium. 
They will assuredly suffer in some way or other, if the knowledge of the 

1 Kilborn Whitman declined the position as assistant to the Reverend Anthony Wibird 
See the letter of December 26, 1797. 
* Thomas Welsh, Harvard, 1798, son of Dr. Thomas Welsh. 


dispatches arrives there, and the concequent temper of the Pople 
[sic] reaches, before their orders arrive for comeing away. My only hope 
is that the winds of Heaven were propitious in carrying their orders to 
them. But my astonishment is, that after the decree past the Directory 
for seazing all Nutrals who should have any kind of British Manufactor 
on Board, 24 hours should not have past before pasports had been de- 
manded. They ought not to have hesitated a moment what part to have 
acted. Do not however repeat these censures from me. They may be 
asscribed to a higher source. But I greatly fear the delay occasiond by 
the obstinacy of one Man? You will hear reports, I suppose, but they 
shall not come from me, nor will I give Ear to them, untill more solid 
proof, more demonstration, obliges me too The News Papers say 
that dispatches have arrived from our Envoys to the 4 April. It is 
not so. Those are dispatches from Mr. King, & from Mr. Adams 
but not a line to [the] Government since those which have been made 
publick from our Envoys in France. There is a private Letter from Mr. 
Pinckney to Mr. King, which Mr. King has sent a copy of, but it is not 
publick, but a private Letter from one Gentleman to an other. By some 
means or other this has leakd out and given rise to the report of publick 

I think our nest accounts from England must be highly important. 
God Grant the fate of Pharoah [sic] & his Hoast, to those who attempt 
to cross the channel. England is the only Barrier between France & 
universal domination. There I trust is some true Religion, & piety, some 
respect to Law & Government, some Rational Liberty, Benevolence & 
Philanthropy, for whose sake I hope & trust the Nation will be saved. 

Braintree address is received, and answerd. So is Cambridge & 
Medford, which last is an admirable one. Who drew it? It is out of the 
common stile. It is designd by some Gentlemen to collect them all 
together & publish them in a vol'm. I pray you present my kind and 
affectionate Regards to all my Friends. How many of my acquaintance 
I shall miss when I return! Mrs. Field is relieved from the infirmites 
under which she sufferd, and having acted well, very well, her part in 
Life, will, I doubt not, have her reward. As a Neighbour I loved, valued 
& esteemed her, & all who belonged to her, as I have fully proved by my 

3 Elbridge Gerry, who, as a member of the famous "XYZ Mission," remained in France 
when Charles Cotesworth Pinckney left Paris and Marshall decided to return to the United 
States. Talleyrand had persuaded Gerry that France would declare war If he left, but 
Gerry refused to negotiate alone without further power. See "Message of John Adarns to 
Congress": Columbian Centinel, Extraordinary > April 16, 1798. 

1 86 

connection with so many Branches of her Family. Considering her 
Education few women have exhibited more Prudence, industry, patience 
under trying afflictions, equanimity of temper, and indeed every Christian 
virtue. I [have cancelled] experienced her kindness from my first become- 
ing her Neighbour, when I was young and unexperienced. Her [kindness 
cancelled] Benevolence was always manifested without any boast or 
expectation of reward. I never wanted help, eitheir in sickness or Health, 
when some of her Family was not ready to afford it, and that long before 
[she cancelled] I was in a station to do more for them than others. I shall 
ever revere her memory. 4 

How is Brother Adams, Suky & Boylstoner 5 Not a word of them, or 
from them have I heard but by Mr. Black. Mr. Adams wrote to his 
Brother & told him he must write him word about his Farm and Town 
affairs, but he has not. You say we must not sit our Faces towards you 
this Month, I fear it. I do not expect to get from here untill the last of 
June. I hope all will be accomplished then. 

My Love to Mrs. Black, & kind Regards to Dr. Welch & Family. I 
would write if I knew what to say. 

I do not hear from Haverhill, Atkinson [New Hampshire] I mean. The 
Children write to their Parents which Letters I forward; but not a line to 
me. Louissa is quite out of Patience with Betsy. 6 She has had but one 
Letter from her since she left Quincy. My Paper says, leave off. 

Yours as ever 

Philadelphia, June 8th, 1798 

I received yours of June the first. I am quite delighted at the account 
you give of the season, and the appearence of vegetation. I was out 
yesterday at a Farm of Judge Peters calld, Belmont. 1 It is in all its 
Glory, I have been twice there, when I lived at Bush Hill, but he has 

4 This Mrs. Field was probably one of the forebears of that John Quincy Adams Field 
who flourished in Quincy during the nineteenth century, and possibly, therefore, connected 
by marriage with the tribe of Adams. See footnote 3 to the letter of January 5, 1798. 

6 Peter Boylston Adams, only surviving brother of the President, and two of his four 
children, Susanna and Boylston. 

e Louisa Smith, the devoted niece who made her home with John and Abigail Adams, and 
her sister Elizabeth. 

1 Richard Peters (1744-1828), lawyer, soldier of the Revolution, judge, and farmer, 
lived at "Belmont," near Philadelphia. Washington appointed Peters to the federal 
bench in 1792. Judge Peters, an authority on maritime jurisprudence, married Sarah 
Robinson, by whom he had six children. 


improved both the House and Gardens since. After being six Months in 
a city, you can hardly conceive the delight one feels at entering a 
wilderness of sweets. The Grass, the Grain, the profusion of Beautifull 
flowers, Jasmine, Hyacinths & Roses, all in full Bloom, climing arond the 
windows & Piazzas and Porticos of the neat building, formd such a 
pleasing contrast to the bare brick Buildings and the throng of conechigo 
Waggons which are ranged in rows through our street, that it appeard 
a mere Paridice to me. 2 The House is an ancient building with a Hall 
through it, like Jeffries at Milton which opens into the Garden. 3 In 
front is a lawn and from the House there is a view of the Noble Hud- 
son [sic: Delaware], and at the foot of the Hill much nearer flows the 
Schuylkil. After walking in the Garden we return'd and found the 
table spread with 6 or 8 quarts of the large Hudson Strawberry, gatherd 
fresh from the vines with a proportionable quantity of cream, wine & 
sugar. Our taste and smell were both regaled, whilst ease, sociability 
and good humour enhanced the pleasure of the repast. The Judge is an 
old Friend and acquaintance of the President from the first Congress & 
served with him as one of the Board of war. Mrs. Peters has all that ease 
and affibility, united to good sense and fine spirits which render her 
manner truly pleasing. They have a number of children, 2 Grown 
son[s] & a daughter with 3 younger. They reside in the city during the 

You will learn with pleasure that the Bill for calling of all inter- 
course with France past the Senate by 1 8 to 4. There are 10 Members 
absent most of whom, I believe all, would have joind the Majority, 
Mr, Fosters Resolutions will be taken up this day, the amount of which 
will be to declare our Treaty with France no longer binding. You will 
see them in your papers. 4 

Addresses increase untill the President can find scarcly any thing new 
to say. He has however [one] in answer to the old Colony. 

His old Friend W[arre]n did not sign it. His son has. I received a kind 
of an apology in a Letter from her, "He addresses none but the Supreem 
Being." But he wishes well to the Government and the Administrator of 
it. Her Letter was that of an old Friend. 5 

* "Conechigo waggons" may possibly mean garbage wagons. See Webster** New Inter- 
national Dictionary: "Connach, .*. to spoil, to waste. Scot." 

s John Jeffries (1745-1819). See footnote I to the letter of August 29, 1790. 

4 D wight Foster (1757-1823), Federalist representative and Senator from Massachusetts. 
At this time Mr. Foster was a member of the House of Representatives. 

8 James Warren (1726-1808), Massachusetts political leader, was born at Plymouth, 
graduated from Harvard in 1744, and settled as a merchant and gentleman-farmer in his 
native town. He was the husband of Mercy (Otis) Warren (1728-1814), the historian, 
by whom he had five sons. 


We have just got a Pamphlet from France, abusive as Thorn. Paines 
against Washington, part Prose & part Poetry, the very language of 
their Party here, the very wrods of Bache & Volney in some parts of it. 5 
But the time is past for their currency here. When I read it I said to 
Louissa, this is the production of that unhangd Rascal Church. 7 You 
must know that there were such complaints made from Portugal of him 
& his conduct had been so base & enimical to his Country, that one of the 
first acts of the Presidents, was to displace him. This you may be sure > 
excites all his vengance, tho he disguises it. Genii. W[ashingto]n used 
sometimes to give a man an office of whom he was afraid. This was the 
case with Goveneer Morris & Church, but it has ended as all the ap- 
pointments have, which were made with a concilatory mew? Neither 
Love or fear will prompt the Present Commander in chief to give an 
office to an undeserving Character knowingly. [Many cancelled} Some 
no doubt, will prove unworthy of their trust. 

People are not sufficiently on their gaurd with respect to recom- 
mendations, and by them alone can the President judge of a very great 
proportion of those whom he appoints to office. It was Gen'll W[ash- 
ingtojn's wish to make Friends of foes, and he aimd at converting over 
those who were luke warm. You did not hear at that day so much Noise 
of Executive Patronage. The reason the Reason [sic] is evident. Lambs 
Services, Munroes, Randolph, Church & Morris, with many others of 
similar sentiments, shared the loaves and fishes. A different conduct is 
now observed and wisdom taught by experience. 9 

[I do not cancelled} Mr. Johnson went from Cambridge In the vacancy 
to visit his parents, and they have concluded that he should finish his 
Education at Annopolis college. It is not well judged I think, and I 

8 Thomas Paine (1737-1809), in his Letter to George Washington, 1796, accused the 
President of bad faith and indifference to him. Paine helped organize the Theophilan- 
thropists. See footnote 5 to the letter of May 26, 1798. Comte Constantin Francois de 
Chassebceuf de Volney (1757-1820), was a French scholar and author. He travelled In 
Syria and Egypt (1783-1787) and in the United States was a member of the Constituent 
Assembly, and was ennobled by Bonaparte and by Louis XVIIL 

7 Edward Church, the brother of the notorious Benjamin Church, who was born in 1734 
and died some time after 1776. See footnote 5 to the letter of September i, 1789. 

8 Gouverneur Morris (1752-1816), of New York, was named as minister to France by 
President Washington early in 1792. The nomination was fought bitterly in the Senate 
because of the aristocratic views of Morris, and his very bad manners. He was confirmed 
by 1 6 to 1 1, and was very successful in Paris the only minister who refused to leave the 
capital during the Reign of Terror. 

9 For John Lamb (1735-1800), see footnote 4 to the letter of February 1-5, 1798. 


have ventured to express such a sentiment. I have not heard since I 
wrote you from Mrs, Johnson or your son. 10 

Mrs, Otis desires to be kindly rememberd to you. She is dlstresst for 
Mrs. Welch & Family. She knows how to sympathize, and really does. 

You must let me know how things go on. Take particular care of the 
Letter inclosed for Dr. Tufts. I have just seat a trunk on Board [with 
cancelled^ a vessel for Boston and hope it will not be long before I shall 
follow; The Rumour of yesterday ends in vapour but tho not true, I 
hope I hope [sic] it will be soon. Church as I conjectured, is said to be 
the writer of this base libel. It Is an abuse upon the President for his 
speeches to Congress, of which you see Tallyrand says the Directory 
complain. Poor wretchs. I suppose they want him to cringe, but he is 
made of the oak instead of the willow. He may be torn up by the 
Roots, or break, but he will never bend. 11 


Quincy I mean Philadelphia June I3th, 1798 

But I was thinking so much of Quincy, that I mechanically dated 
from thence; When I sent Letters for Louissa, Mrs. Brisler &c by yester- 
days Mail, I could not get time to add a line of my own, being engaged 
in writing to Berlin by the British packet. Since my last to you, I have 
received a Letter from Mrs. Johnson inclosing Letters to her, both 
from Mr. & Mrs. A[dams] ? at which I rejoiced. She has thought [it] hard 
that, I should hear so much oftner from our Children than she should, 
but Mr, Adams writes duplicates, & by different ways. I dared not 
venture to send you the Letters as I should have liked to, but I thought 
it would be a breach of confidence, and I have returnd them to Mrs. 
Johnson I copied a part of Louissa's Letter. Her first date is 1 7th of 
Jan'ry, when she says Mr. Adams returnd from Court, and found her 
writing to her Friends, but threw her into great agitation, by telling her 
that she must be presented to Court on the next day, and that her 
Cloaths were not any of them ready. To use her own words, "You 
know Mamma my Partiality for Great Companies and will therefore 

M "Mr. Johnson" was a son of Joshua Johnson, of Maryland, and a brother of Mrs, 
John Quincy Adams. 

11 See La Fontaine, Fabks, Book i, Fable 22: "Le Chene et le Roseau." The fable refers 
not to a willow, but to a reed, which obliged the wind by bending, when the unpliable oak 
was torn up by the roots ! 


readily conceive what I felt at the thought of going into a society so 
intirely strange to me, that I had never even seen the Lady who was to 
present me. However I got ready and went & considering all things, got 
through this dissagreable buisness pretty well. But from that day to 
this the first of Feb'ry we have not been permitted to spend an evening 
at home, which is so extreemly unpleasent to me, that I am obliged to 
pretend sickness, to avoid it. The King and Queen are both young, 
and I think the Queen one of the most beautifull women I ever saw. 
She is now pregnant with her fourth child, and is but just 21 years 
old. She goes into company, and dances from 6 in the Evening untill 6 
in the morning, notwithstanding her situation. The Courts are twice a 
week, one of which is a Ball & the other a card party. The Etiquet and 
usage of the Court, require all Ministers & their Ladies to attend, so 
that I am obliged to make one in this Elegant Mob. On every Monday 
Evening I am obliged to pay my respects to the Princess Henry, a Great 
Aunt of the Kings, where I am necessitated to sit 2 or 3 hours at whist. 
Once a fortnight we are obligated to visit Prince Ferdinand, who is Great 
Uncle to the King. 1 The Princess is an old Lady who has been very 
Handsome. She is remarkable kind to me, and has interested [me very 
cancelled] herself very much about my Health. Her sister, some years 
Younger than herself, is the most Elegant woman I ever beheld. She 
has been pleasd to take such a fancy to me, as to make me sit down with 
her, at her work table, and talks whole evenings with me. I was invited 
to a Ball the other Evening, and she undertook to find me partners. 

Yet after all this, my dear Mamma, I do not think I am calculated for 
a Court. To a Child Educated like yours, for domestick society, such a 
round of constant dissipation, makes me wish I was once more among 
my beloved Friends." 

Mr. J. Q. Adams in his Letter to Mrs. [Joshua] Johnson expresses him- 
self thus: "Since the recovery of Mrs. Adams, she has been presented at 
Court, and to the Several Princesses, belonging to it. Her Personal 
appearence, as well as her manners & deportment, which are such un- 
equivocal indications of her Character and disposition, have been every 
where pleasing." 

Thus you see, my dear Sister, I have been amused, and entertaind 
like a partial fond mother and knowing how much you interest your- 
self in my pleasures I have communicated them to you. I now inclose 

1 Princess Henry was the wife of Heniy of Hohenzollera, the second of the three younger 
brothers of Frederick the Great (1740-1786). Henry died in 1802. Ferdinand of Hohen- 
zollern, who died in 1813, was the youngest brother of Frederick the Great. 


to you what will be more interesting to you, a Letter received from your 
son. If he does not get time to write so often to you, as you wish you will 
learn how he has been employd. 

I yesterday received Letters both from Mr. and Mrs. [Stephen] 
Peabody. The account she gives me of Betsy are [sic] painfull and 
allarming. I hope she too, will not be added to the Number who fall 
victims to the slow underminer, a consumption, yet the constant fever is 
very like it. Few instances occur here, and a cough is rare, oweing, I 
believe, to the less keen air. Disorders here are more sudden, and 

Letters from Mr, Murrey to the 12 of April, in which he says, "Switzer- 
land is broken down after a most bloody conflict with the army of Bernes 
in which seven thousand, including women, who fought bravely, have 
fallen on the side of the Swiss Army. That Bern was aristocratic was the 
Pretence. 752 

In this Letter he says, "I learn that France will treat with Mr. Gerry 
alone. The other two will be orderd away." Can it be possible, can it be 
believed that Talleyrand has thus deluded and facinated Mr. Gerry, 
that he should dare to take upon him such a responsibility? I cannot 
credit it, yet I know the sin which most easily besets him is obstinacy, 
and ? a mistaken policy. You may easily suppose how distrest the Presi- 
dent is at this conduct, and the more so, because he thought Gerry would 
certainly not go wrong, and he acted Ms own judgment, against his 
counsellors, "who have been truer prophets than they wish them- 
selves." Gerry means the Good of his Country, he means the Peace of 
it, but he should consider, it must not be purchased by national dis- 
grace & dishonour. If he stays behind, he is a ruind Man, in the estima- 
tion of his Countrymen. This is all between ourselves. You will be 
particullarly reserved upon this subject. I would not be the mean's of 
hurting Mrs. Gerry s feelings, or even of judeing [sic] hardly an old and 
steady Friend, for whom I am really distrest. 

Adieu my dear Sister. Tomorrow I promise myself a Letter from you. 
We have abundance of wet weather. How is the season with you ? Has 
Mrs. Porter got help? I wish if she has, that she would whiten me a 
cotton sheet or two & some towels which are in a trunk in the Garret. 
Let me know when you think all things will be in readiness ? I shall not 
leave here till after the 4 July. We shall be overwhelmd with Military 

2 William Vans Murray was stationed at The Hague as United States minister to the 
Batavian Republic from June 7, 1797, until he went into France in February, 1800. For 
Bonaparte's conquest of Switzerland, see letters of January 5 and May 20, 1798. 


Parade on that day. Love, affection &c &c where ever due. The Presi- 
dent will put young Beals name on the list. 3 If he applies to Capt. Sever 
& gets an approbation from him, the President will appoint him. 

Yours as ever 

Quincy [Philadelphia], 19 June, 1798* 

I expected to have heard from you on Saturday, but no Letter came 
and on Wedensday but still no Letter. I was dissapointed, but knowing 
your many avocations I concluded it must arise from thence, I hope not 
from sickness, tho you wrote me you was not well. I who have more 
leisure, and no care of Family affairs but my orders can, and do devote 
almost every morning in writing to some Friend or other. You will hear 
before this reaches you of the arrival of Mr. Marshall at N[ew] York. 
Mr. Pinckney is gone to the South of France with a persuit for the 
Health of a daughter suposed in a consumption. Mr. Gerry stays 
untill he hears from our Government, which as appears to me, is a very 
wrong step. 2 The Government you will be informd received last week 
an other dispatch of a Letter from Talleyrand, and a very lengthy 
reply by our Envoys, which being in a press copy & part cypher, two 
copies being to be prepared of it, could not be got ready in one or two 
days. In the meantime Talleyrand [by the cancelled] had sent out to 
Bache his Letter for to be publishd here, & without the replie of our 
Envoys. This he exultingly gave to the publick on Saturday. It really 
appears a very fortunate circumstance that, our government, should 
have received tho by an other conveyance the dispatches about the 
same time, and so soon be able to counteract the villany Intended by 
Talleyrand. It has an other good effect, that of convinceing the most 
unbelieving of the close connection between the Infernals of France & 
those in our own Bosoms. And in any other Country Bache & all his 
papers would have been seazd and ought to be here, but congress are 
dilly dallying about passing a Bill enabling the President to seize sus- 
pisious persons, and their papers. We shall be favourd soon I suppose 
with the pamphlet written by the Clerk in Talleyrands office All this 
however works for good, and will tend to work out our salvation I hope. 

'Probably Richard Beal, who was third lieutenant of the Constitution. Columbian 
Ccntinfl, May 26, 1798. 
1 See the letter of June 13, 1798. 
1 See Charming, History of the United States, vol. 4, pp. 187-8. 


I will send the papers as soon as publishd. In the mean time I send you 
some pamphlets to be distributed for the publick Benifit, and send one 
in my Name to Mrs. Webb with my compliments. 

We are all well but a servant who has been voilently attackd with an 
inflamitory Soar Throat, & very dangerously sick for several days. We 
hope he has past the worst. The season has not yet been uncommonly 
Hot, [The cancelled] I am weary of conjectures, so shall say nothing of 
when it is probable Congress will rise. I believe they will decarle [sic] war 
against the French first. 

Mr. Marshalls arrival will hasten the buisness Mr. Gerry! Mr. 
Gerry, that you had but been wise enough & resolute enough to have 
come too, 

Mrs. Malony got home yesterday morning, in six days. I have not 
seen her. I have only heard that she is come. 

With a kind remembrance to all Friend[s] 


Philadelphia, June 23d, 1798 

The weather has been so oppressively Hot for this week, and the 
streets of the City so nausious that I expect the concequences which 
must follow. They already begin. Complaints of the Bowels are fre- 
quent & an inflamitory soar throat. Frederick has got below after 
5 bleedings, Blistering &c. Becky is now sick with it. Hers is less upon 
her throat, more in her Bowels, not much fever. I hope hers will not 
prove very Bad. Several of the rest of us have had a touch. It comes 
with a stifness & pain in the neck & back part of the Head. In some 
parts of the city the old fever is making its appearence. 1 Congress are 
anxious to rise, but will not sooner than they did last year, I fear. how 
much precious time did they waste this winter in that dirty affair of 
Lyons, and disputing whether Mr. Smith & J. Q. A. should be ministers 
Resident, or Plenipos, with which they had no buisness, any more than 
who should be of the Directory in France. 2 

1 Yellow fever, or maladu de Siam, See College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Facts and 
Observations Relative to the Nature and Origin of the Pestilential Fever which Prevailed in the 
City of Philadelphia in 1793, 1797, and 1798, Philadelphia, 1799. 

2 For the feud between Matthew Lyon and Roger Griswold, see the letter of February 
15, 1798. John Quincy Adams was American minister to Prussia. "Mr. Smith" is William 
Lough ton Smith (1758-1812), of South Carolina, son of a rich merchant, educated in Eng- 


I have put under cover to Mr. Cranch a Letter for William Shaw, 
supposing he might be at Quincy & the papers and handkerchiefs are for 
him. You will send them if he is gone home. 3 You will find in them what 
Mr. Marshal brings and the state in which things are in France. 

I received your Letters of the 10 & I5th. The President is delighted 
with your account of the clover and Barley Fields. He most sincerely 
pines after them, but he is tied to his table 9 Hours of the day. Some of 
the addressers complain that his answers are too short. They do not 
consider nor know how numerous they are, or what other buisness there 
is to attend to. Some fore noons he is calld from his Room 20 times in 
the course of it, to different persons, besides the hours devoted to the 
Ministers of the different departments, the Investigation necessary to 
be made of those persons who apply for offices or are recommended, the 
weighting the merrits, and pretentions of different Canditates [sic] for 
the same office c &c &c. His Eyes, which you know used to be very 
troublesome to him, are quite well, and he is enabled to read and write 
with ease to himself, which is a great favour. 

I am glad you have got the Box. Betsy did not say to me that she was 
going to be married directly, but she wrote what I took to be her de- 
termination soon. Poor dear Betsy Shaw, must she too follow our dear 
Mary, Charles and Suky Warner? 4 My heart aches for our sister. I know 
not how she will sustain the shock. I think our physicians are too fearfull 
of Bleeding In early complaints of the Lungs. 

I shall be satisfied with the kitchen floor as it is. I hope all will be 
done by the beginning of July, for I shall want all the Room I can find 
and, more than all, I do expect Mrs. Smith will come with me to make 
her Children a visit. As I have sent the papers I need say nothing about 
politicks. Our Legislature have done nobly in Massachusetts]. W T hat 
Life & vigor does a good Patriot give to a whole state when placed at the 

Und and Geneva. Smith was the author, In 1792, of a pamphlet (Tht Politicks and Flews 
of a Certain Party, Displayed) attacking Jefferson, which Is usually attributed to Alexander 
Hamilton. In 1794 he was burned in effigy in Charleston, in company with images of 
Benedict Arnold and the Devil! Although Hamilton and Washington felt that Smith's 
personal unpopularity debarred him from conspicuous appointment, John Adams made 
him minister to Portugal, July 10, 1797. Jefferson relieved him on September 9, 1801. 

William Smith Shaw (1778-1826), Harvard, 1798, became secretary to his uncle by 
marriage, John Adams, after his graduation. Adams, Works, vol. 9, p. 45. 

* Charles Smith, who died in 1797, and Mary Carter Smith, who died in April, 1798, 
aged seven, were children of William Smith, the brother of Abigail Adams. Susannah 
Warner, who died m April, 1798, was the daughter of Mrs. Susannah Warner, of Gloucester, 
the second wife of Dr. Cotton Tufts. 


Head of it. 5 I wish our Legislature would set the example & make a 
sedition act, to hold in order the base Newspaper calumniators. In this 
State, you could not get a verdict, if a prosecution was to be commenced. 
My pen is bad. I know not whether you can read it. And the damp air 
spoils the paper. 

I am in haste. The post will leave me before I assure you of what my 
Sister knows and believes, that I am allways her 

Affectionate Sister 


Philadelphia, June 25, 1798 

I write you a few lines to day, but the weather is so Hot and close, 
and the flies so tormenting that I can not have any comfort. The morn- 
ings instead of being pleasent as with you, are stagnant. Not a leaf stirs 
till nine or ten oclock. I get up & drop into my chair; without spirits or 
vigor, breath a sigh for Quincy, and regreet that necessity obliges us to 
remain here. It grows sickly, the city noisome. My Family are thanks 
to God, recoverd from their illness, and no New one taken down. We 
have began the use of the cold Bath, and hope it will in some measure 
compensate for want of a braceing Air. The largness and hight of our 
Rooms are a great comfort and the Nights are yet tolerable, and I have 
freed myself for the season of any more drawing Rooms. Dinners I 

I send you the last dispatch which has yet got printed. I expect 
Congress will decare [sic] war before they Rise. They are impatient now 
to rise, but will not be permitted to untill several more important Bills 
are matured and past. You will see by the paper inclosed the reception 
give to Genii. Marshall. 1 He is deserving of it all. I cannot but feel hurt 
for Mrs. Gerry. that [he cancelled] Mr. Gerry had, but have thought 
with his Employer and with his Colleagues. They would all have been 
here long before this time. We must wait the Event. You will find that 
in the toast Given at the dinner to Mr. Marshal no notice or mention 
[was made] of Mr. Gerry. 

5 Increase Sumner (1746-1799) was elected Governor of Massachusetts in 1797, 1798, 
and 1799. He died in office at the beginning of his third term. See the letter of December 
4, 1799. 

1 On June 18, 1798, John Marshall arrived at New York on the Alexander Hamilton, 
after a voyage of fifty-three days from Bordeaux. "General" Marshall entered Philadel- 
phia in triumph on June 25, 1798. A. J. Beveridge, John Marshall) Boston, 1916, vol. 2* 
pp. 343-5. 


I had a Letter from Mrs. [William Stephens] Smith on Saturday. She 
desires to be rememberd to you and all her Friends. She was in N[ew] 
York on a visit to Col. Smiths Mother, who had been sick. Caroline was 
better. I want to hear of Betsy Shaw every week, but alass I fear she is 
too far gone to receive any comfort from hearing of her. I send a hand- 
kerchief to old Mrs. Welch with my respects, and a little bit of Muslin 
for Sister Smith a couple of caps. How does she do? 

Inclosed is a Book for Mrs, Porter. Do you get Peters paper Regu- 
larly? 2 I am, my dear Sister, 

Affectionatly yours 


The President received last week a polite and Friendly Letter from 
Genii. Washington Inviting us to make a visit to Mount Vernon when 
Congress rises. 

One of the handkerchiefs for my dear Sister Cranch. [Written on the 
outside of the letter.] 

Philadelphia, June 27th, 1798 

The reflections which this morning have occupied my mind previous 
to taking my pen, have been of a solemn & melancholy Nature. Where- 
fore Lord art thou thus contending with thy people, that one prop 
after an other is taken from them? The Sudden death of Dr. Belknap 
has filld my Heart with Sorrow. 1 Following so soon after Dr. Clark, and 
I presume from the account in the paper, in as sudden a manner, calls 
upon us to make the inquiry, and that with suitable Humiliation, why 
at this season of uncommon danger to the Religion of the Gospel of 
Christ, we are deprived of its ablest supporters and defenders? 2 Why 
when our Country is in danger from within & from without, its steadiest 

2 William Cobbett's Porcupines Gazette and Daily Advertiser, which advocated alliance 
with England, war against France, and perdition for "Republicans." 

1 Jeremy Belknap, pastor of the church in Federal Street, died suddenly in Boston on 
June 20, 1798. See I Coll. Mass. Hist. Sor., vol. 6, 1799, pp. x-xviii (from the Columbian 
Centind of June 25, 1798), and Proc. Mass. Hist. Soc. y vol. 66, pp. 96-106: Samuel A. 
Eliot, "Jeremy Belknap: A Paper in Recognition of the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anni- 
versary of the Massachusetts Historical Society." 

* John Clarke (1755-1798), pastor of the First Church in Boston, suffered a stroke of 
apoplexy in the pulpit on the afternoon of Sunday, April i, and died the following day. 
See the letter of April 3, 1790. Oddly enough, Clarke was the fourth pastor of the First 
Church to suffer this fate: John Norton (1663), John Oxenbridge (1674), and Thomas 
Foxcroft (1769), having experienced a similar misfortune. See I Coll, Mass. Hist. Soc. t 
vol. 6, pp. iiHx. 


friends in the midst of their days, and in the height of their usefullness 
should so awefully be snatchd from us? Two of our ablest divines, 
men of distinguished learning, industery, integrity, virtue & Patriotism, 
are releasd from their Labours, [and cancelled] but their works will sur- 
vive them. Dr. Belknap was engaged in a very usefull & Labourious 
work, that of his American Biography, the 2d volm of which is now at 
the press, and as he wrote me on the 14 of this Month will be out in July. 
In the course of the last month I had exchanged several Letters with 
him, and I had undertaken to get a subscription paper filld for him. On 
Monday I closed a packet to him, little thinking that he had fled to the 
world of spirits. His stile of writing was plain, simple and clear. I 
recollect with pleasure the only time I ever heard him preach. It was at 
the Accademy meeting at Hingham, a sermon well worthy publication. 
His late Fast sermon he sent me, and as I had been, I hardly know how, 
drawn into a correspondence with him, I had contemplated with pleas- 
ure, a more intimate acquaintance with him upon my return to Massa- 
chussets, but of this, and many other, Scources [sic], I have been deprived 
in the short space of seven Months absence. But his examples & his 
Precepts will not I hope be lost. To use his own words, "It is Impossible 
to conceive how much good may be done by our example. It may do 
good after we are Dead. The Remembrance of what we have been, and 
what we have done, may long outlive us, and unborn Posterity may 
be the better for it." 

He must have left a very distresst family I think. Tell Mr. & Mrs. 
Black, that I am a sincere mourner [with them cancelled and sym- 
pathizer with them. The President mourns his loss, not less than I do. 
He was one of his best Friends. He mourns not only for himself, but 
for his Countrys loss, and for Society in General. My path to Massa- 
chusets is spread with sorrow, and coverd with mourning. The death 
of so many of my friends, the distress of Dr. Welch and Family, the 
prospect of an other melancholy Scene at Atkinson [New Hampshire] 
together with the dark & thick cloud which hangs ready to Burst upon 
our Country, all combine to wound and distress me. The dark side of the 
picture is a deep shade. 

I would not however forget the Blessing which remain, nor be ungrate- 
full for what of Good is yet continued to me nor [forget cancelled] be 
unmindfull that I hold all by a frail tenure. 

I cannot commence any other subject, but Subscribe your ever 

Affectionate Sister 



[Philadelphia], July 3d, 1798 

The extreem heat of yesterday & the no less prospect of it this day, is 
beyond any thing I ever experienced in my Life. The Glasses were at 
90 in the Shade Yesterday. Tomorrow will be the 4 July, when if possible 
I must see thousands. I know not how it will be possible to get through. 
Live here I cannot an other week unless a Change takes place in the 
weather, You had as good be in an oven the bricks are so Hot. I can 
only say to you that yesterday the President Nominated Gen' 11. Wash- 
ington to be commander in chief of the Army to be raised, and as soon as 
the Senate pass upon it, the Secretary of War will be sent express to 
announce it to him. 1 His Country calls. No Man can do so much for it 
in that Line. "The knowledge that he lives" is a Bulwark. It will unite 
all Parties in the Country. It will give weight, force and energy to the 
People, & it will dismay our Enemies. I cannot think that he will 
decline the station. 2 ^ 

Mr. Soper from Braintree was here yesterday, & he disclosed my whole 
secret about my building. The President had a hearty laugh & says he is 
sorry it was not carried clear along. He is affraid it is upon too small a 
Scale, so tell the Dr. [Cotton Tufts] we shall not incur any blame. 

I inclose you the paper of this day. You will see how Politicks are. 
Tis so Hot I cannot think or write more than 

Yours as ever 

Philadelphia, Monday, July gth, 1798 

I have not a Letter from you to day. I hope however to hear from you 
by the next post, but if you have had weather like what we experienced 

1 James McHenry (1753-1816), the fourth choice for the post, succeeded Timothy 
Pickering as Secretary of War in January, 1796* Adams forced his resignation from the 
Cabinet in May, 1800. See the letter of July 17, 1798. 

* Mrs. Adams is quoting from one of sixteen toasts drunk at the "sumptuous dinner" 
at the "Concert Hall" in Boston, in celebration of George Washington's birthday, in 1798. 
Most of the officers of the state were present, and General Benjamin Lincoln presided. 
The second toast, that to George Washington, reads as follows: 

"May his name be still a rampart, and the knowledge that he lives, a bulwark against all 
open and secret enemies of our country.** The third toast was drunk to President Adams, 
with a proper verbal tribute. The fourth toast was drunk to Vice-President Jefferson 
but without comment. "Nineteen Volunteer" toasts followed. Apparently the number 
of formal toasts at the time usually sixteen was determined by the number of states 
then in the Union. Columbian Centiwl, February 24, 1798. 


here for three days, I do not wonder that you could not write. We have 
had ever since the 4 July very comfortable days and nights, frequent 
showers, no hard or severe thunder, a prospect of a fine season. This 
morning I have to congratulate you upon the first Gallic trophy to the 
Arms of the United States. Captain Decateur in the Deleware has 
captured a 12 Gun Privateer & 70 Men, which he has brought in. 1 She 
had taken a ship two days before bound [for cancelled] from this port 
for Liverpool. The Men she put on board a vessel bound for Boston. 
So stupid will the merchants here be, as still to send their vessels out 
unarmd. The French Man thought himself attackd by an English ship 
of war, but upon finding that it was an American, he askd the Captain 
if America was at war with their Nation? No, replied the captain, but 
you are with mine. 0, says the frenchman, I have a commission for 
what I do. And so, replied captain Decateur, have I. When he saw 
the American flag hoisted over his, he stormed and swore at a terrible 
rate. Mon Dieu, I had rather see my ship sunk, blown up in the Air. 
The captain told him, he would soon put him below with the Men if 
he did not conduct himself properly. I rejoice to see the spirit & Bravery 
of my Native State. Let the vipers cease to hiss. They will be destroyd 
with their own poison. Bache is in duress here, & Burk in N[ew] York. 2 
I inclose to you the dareing outrage which calld for the Arm of 

This mornings Centinal announces the death of Sheriff Thayer. 3 
What was his disease? Quite a middle aged Man. Was it an Apploplezy 

1 Stephen Decatur, Sr., (1752-1808), naval officer, and son of a French seaman of the 
same name, was commissioned captain in the United States Navy on May u, 1798, 
at the outbreak of hostilities with France. He put to sea in the Delaware, and in July 
captured the French privateer, Le Croyable, renamed Retaliation, the first prize of the war, 
and of the new American Navy. He was the father of the more famous Stephen Decatur 

2 Gazette of the United States, July 7, 1798: "We are credibly informed that John D. 
Burk and Dr. James Smith have been arrested in New-York, for a most infamous libel 
against the President of the United States, published in the Time-Piece, Their bail are 
Colonel [Henry] Rutgers, Aaron Burr and Peter R. Livingston." 

John Daly Burk (1775-1808), dramatist, was born in Ireland and came to America in 
1796, evidently as a political refugee. He was among the earliest to put an American battle 
scene on the stage, in Bunker Hill, or the Death of General Warren, produced first at the 
Haymarket Theatre, Boston, February 17, 1797. One character refers to nightingales 
singing in Boston! President Adams saw the play in New York, and said to the manager: 
**My friend, General Warren, was a scholar and a gentleman, but your author has made 
him a bully and a blackguard." For a short time Burk was the publisher of the Time- 
Piece, in New York City. He was killed in a duel with a Frenchman at Petersburg, Virginia. 

* Atherton Thayer, Sheriff of Norfolk County, died at Braintree at the age of thirty- 
three. Columbian Centinel, July 4, 1798. 


[sic] or fever? I have been affraid to hear from you, least you should be 
the bearer of the death of Mrs. Lincoln, who I heard was dangerously 
sick with a Billious fever. Not seeing her death in the paper of to day I 
am led to believe & hope that she is upon the recovery. I had a Letter 
from Sister [Stephen] Peabody stating according to my request Betsys 
[Elizabeth Quincy Shaw (1780-1798)] case from its commencment, 
which I consulted Dr. [Benjamin] Rush upon. He is of opinion that 
she has an abscess forming in her side, that a fatal mistake was made 
at the commencment of her disorder in neglecting to Blead and Blister, 
which might in a few days at that time have relieved her. The Man, 
whom I had, seizd voilently with an inflamitory Soar throat, was Bled 
5 times & 60 oz of Blood taken from him. He was below stairs in a fort- 
night and tho pale, is very well and able now to perform his duty, picking 
up fast. The Dr. does not like to advise without being able to see the 
particuliar state in which Betsy is, but as her circumstances are de- 
scribed, he thinks he should take 4 oz of Blood from her, & keep Blisters 
upon her side, as soon as one heald put on an other. Give her gentle 
exercise and vegatable food. But she may be too far gone for all this. 
I fear from the Numbness, the cough, the waisting & the Night Sweats, 
that her doom is fixed [and cancelled]. I hope, my dear Sister, that my 
friends will conquer the aversion to the Lancet, which I believe is not 
used sufficiently early in inflamitory diseases. But this climate calls for 
it more than ours. Consumptions are not common here. 

Congress are going on very well at the Eleventh hour. Tho timid they 
will do all but one thing before they rise. That however would save them 
much trouble. Why, when we have the thing, should we boggle at the 
Name The Secretary of War went express this morning to Mount 
Vernon I hope and trust that the Gen'il will not refuse an appointment 
made, it is true, without his knowledge or consent. It was one of those 
strokes which the Prospect and Exigency of the times required, and which 
the President determined upon without consultation. It however meets 
with universal approbation and will concenter more Hearts than any 
other possible appointment. "His Name a Host, & the Knowledge that 
he lives a Bulwark." 4 

I wish you would tell Dr. Tufts that I would have a table made for 
Mrs, Porter, and half a dozen chair[s] if she wants them. 

Yours, ever yours 

* See footnote 2 to the letter of July 3, 1798, 


Philadelphia, July 12, 1798 

By Mrs. Otis, who leaves here this week, I send a waistcoat Pattern for 
William Shaw, which I designd should have reachd him before com- 
mencment. I send it to you because I presume he will be at Quincy. If 
you will get it made for him you may charge it to me. The stripes should 
go round the body. I have put some lining in. The waistcoat should be 
linned throughout. I hope he will be attentive to arrange all the Books 
up in the Book Room & to replace all he pulls down. Order strick order, 
& method will be required of him in the place designd for him. Every 
Letter & paper are placed in Alphabitical order in desks & places designd 
for them, and every different department relative to War office, Marine 
office, Secretary & Treasury office distinct, so that no trouble occurs 
in searching for papers. 1 

I do not expect to leave here in ten days, as the Senate must set after 

the House rise. - r ~ i 

Yours affectionately 

A. A[I>AMS] 

Philadelphia, July 13, 1798 

I begin my Letter by saying that Mr. Cranch was so much better on 
the 7th, the date of Mrs. Johnsons last Letter, as to conclude to go to the 
Court the next day. I would not make a long preparation to allarm or 
distress you, or write you a word upon the subject untill Mrs. Johnsons 
2d Letter came, for I would not have you feel as I did, upon reading 
the first part of hers of the 4 of July, upon any account. I veryly thought 
I should drop it before I found out the cause. To save a long detail I in- 
close you her Letters tho there are several confidential communications 
in them which you will not permit to go out of your Hands. Perhaps you 
may have received a Letter from Nancy with more particulars. I know 
when Mr. [William] Cranch was here, he gave me some account of the 
Party quarrels and animosities, but said he had been happy enough to 
keep clear of them. 

You will learn by Mrs. [Joshua] Johnsons Letter that in taking Mr. 
Cooks buisness, he [William Cranch] was engaged for Mr. Cooks clients, 
and Mr. [James] Ray being one of them, he was also engaged in his 
buisness. This it seems was the cause of [Captain William Mayne] 

1 William Smith Shaw (1778-1826), nephew of Abigail Adams. See footnote 3 to the 
letter of June 23, 1798. 


Duncansons animosity against him. Duncanson is a Scotchman who had 
held a command in the East Indies and came over to this country when 
Mr. [Thomas] Law did. 1 I saw them both frequently at Col. [William 
Stephens] Smiths in N[ew] York the summer I made a visit there. Ray 
is an Englishman. The dispute between them is concerning a vessel 
which they fitted out for the East Indies coverd as American Property, 
but which was taken by the English upon suspicion that she belongd to 
British subjects, and Ray pleads that tho a partner, he became so after 
the vessel was purchasd. Duncanson thinks himself cheated by Law & 
Ray, and has been hardly used as dispassionate people say. But the 
quarrel has arrived at such a pitch as to throw all George Town into 
two strong Parties. Property in the federal city, in different parts of it, 
is an other Source of contention. I really pitty Mrs. Johnson, who is 
come into the very heart of contention, and will judge of All America, I 
fear, from what she sees & hears round her. The warm interest she has 
taken in behalf of Mr. Cranch, who is indeed the much Injured Man, 
makes her too deeply interested as a Partisan with the Ray, & Law, 

I was surprizd to find Mr. Dalton becomeing Bail for Duncanson, 
but suspect he had a family reason for it. 2 Indeed, intemperate and 

1 For the complicated and unfortunate business and legal relations of these men, see 
W. B. Bryan, A History of the National Capital, 1914-16, vol. i, passim. Most of the 
trouble sprang from James Greenleafs operations in real estate in the District of Columbia. 
George Washington expressed his disapproval of GreerileaPs methods in a personal letter 
to Daniel Carroll, one of the commissioners of the District. Washington observed that the 
price Greenleaf offered the commissioners for land was too low, and that Greenleaf was 
obviously planning to obtain a monopoly of the land and make an "immense" profit. 
When James Greenleaf went bankrupt, William Cranch, his lawyer and brother-in-law, 
was appointed his trustee. Captain William Mayne Duncanson, James Ray, his partner 
in the commission business, and Thomas Law were all Englishmen who had come to the 
United States in 1794 and invested heavily in Greenleaf 's scheme to "promote" the 
District of Columbia. Thomas Law was the only investor who was shrewd enough to 
obtain mortgages from the North American Land Company for the purchases which he 
made. When Greenleaf failed, all the other investors were in the hopeless position of 
"general unsecured creditors.'* Bryan, National Capital, vol. r, p. 245. Lawsuits over 
Greenleafs operations went on for fifteen years, including an appeal to the United States 
Supreme Court. For Thomas Law, see footnote 3 to the letter of February 21, 1798. See 
also, Clark, Qreenltaf and. Law in the Federal City. 

J Tristram Dalton (1738-1817), of Newbury, former Federalist Senator from Massa- 
chusetts (1789-1791), inherited large means, most of which he lost speculating in real 
estate in the District of Columbia. As early as 1793 he helped to found a mercantile estab- 
lishment in Washington: Lear & Company, the partners of which were Tobias Lear, 
former secretary to George Washington, James Greenleaf, and himself. After this com- 
pany failed, Adams appointed Dalton to succeed William Cranch as one of the com- 
missioners of the District of Columbia. President Jefferson made Tobias Lear the United 
States commercial agent at Santo Domingo. Bryan, National Capital, vol. I, pp. 221 and 


unjustifiable as Duncanson was towards Mr. Cranch he is said to be 
much injured, and kept out of money due to him, by his opponents, but 
he should have waited untill the Law decided. A responsible Bondsman 
is no disgrace to the injured Party, and I cannot see it in the light which 
it appeard to Mrs. Johnson when in her warmth & agitation she wrote 
first. You will see there were heavey Bonds required. 

I could not know the state of things to my satisfaction, untill I sent 
for Mr. Stodard the Secretary of the Navey, who is a man of great 
modesty, worth and integrity. 3 He came from George Town and he 
conversed freely upon the subject with me, giving me the true state of 
the Parties. He spoke in high terms of the fair & honorable Character 
which Mr. Cranch sustaind, and particularly of his Prudence in keeping 
himself clear of party animosities. I found that he himself and two 
others were the only persons who had not taken their sides. I have just 
been writing to Mr. Cranch. Mr. Greenleaf came in great distress to 
me yesterday, having got by Rumour a report of the Matter. He talkd 
like a friend, and felt like a Brother. He looks very well and so does 
his dear Nancy. 4 

I received a Letter from you this day. Congress will rise on Monday 
next. The House I mean, the Senate will yet remain in session. The 
appointment of officers cannot be made without them. I mean Gen'll 
officers and the Secretary of War cannot get back untill next week from 
Mount Vernon. The President would not nominate any other officer 
untill he received an answer from Gen'll Washington. Return my Letters 
as soon [as] you have read them. The weather is now delightfull. I find 
that it was as hot at N[ew] York & Baltimore & Boston as here. I 
thought it would have killd me, for I was not well and the heat added to 
the pressure of my complaints. We were happily relieved on Twesday 
afternoon by Rain and Wind, since which the weather has been agreable. 
I long however to see my friends. Those which remain to me, should be 
doubly dear and precious. O that I could slide along to them, unnoticed 
and without parade. 

I presume William [Smith] Shaw will be with you. I have sent him a 
white waistcoat pattern by Mrs. Otis. You will take charge & have it 

3 Benjamin Stoddert (1751-1813), of Maryland, was the first Secretary of the Navy, 
George Cabot (1752-1823), of Salem, Massachusetts, having refused Adams's appoint- 
ment of him to the post in 1798. See footnote 4 to the letter of May 20, 1798. 

* Anna (Nancy) Greenleaf, wife of William Cranch, who was the nephew of Mrs. Adams, 
was the favorite sister of James Greenleaf, promoter of the North American Land Company. 


made. I set my Heart upon going to commencment this year; but the 
publick would not let me. 

I have heard from Atkinson [New Hampshire], but I get no comfort or 
consolation. That poor Girl has in my mind been sacrificd by a wrong 
management by her Physicians in the first Instance. If she had been early 
Bled, she might have been saved. At least that is my sentiment, tho I 
would distress her mother by saying so. I think there is no doubt that an 
abscess is forming in her Side. 

I shall want you to procure me some stores. I will give you notice and 
send you money for the purpose. 
I am, my dear Sister, 

Affectionatly your[s] 


P.S. Thank you for Nancys Letter. Tis a very good one. In the first 
instance Mrs. [Joshua] Johnson attended from my recommendation, but 
both Mr. & Mrs. [William] Qranch] require only to be known to be 

Philadelphia, July 1 7th, 1798 

I had a Letter yesterday from Mrs. [Joshua] Johnson of the 12 July, 
in which she says Mr. Cranch had just returnd from the Court to which 
he went, the Judge being indisposed; that his wounds were getting well 
fast, and that he did not suffer any inconvenience except a headache, 
by his ride, that he had written to you a full account of the whole 
buisness. Congress rose yesterday. The House. The Senate are obliged 
to sit a few days longer. Mr. McHenry is not yet returnd from Mount 
Vernon He Is expected to day. I hope we shall be able to leave here 
next week, but I cannot possltively say. We do not design that it shall 
be known here the day we are to sit out. We wish to avoid military 
Parade. We get no News from abroad, and Mr. Gerrys stay [puts 
cancelled] is a plausible pretence for the Jacobins to circulate Lies and 
falshoods in abundance. Le Tomb [Joseph Philippe Letombe] has 
circulated the report, that Mr. G[erry] was received and was negotiating 
& that a French minister might daily be expected here If one should 

come, he will not find America a resting place, 24 hours, but I have not 
any Idea of such an Event. 1 

I wrote you in my last that I should want some stores, a couple pound 
Hyson Tea, ditto souchong, Hundred Brown Sugar, several dozens 
Hard Bread, half Hundred coffe, Gallon of Brandy, Quarter pd Nut- 
megs, pd cinnamon, Mustard, Pepper, 2 oz Maize [mace], half pd 
Cloves I want also for one Bed a Bed tick. It is for a common one. 
Mrs* Porter can tell you. I think I must have a couple of Bedsteads. I 
shall have 4 Men Servants. I would have them saking bottoms. Would 
it not be best to get them of Bedlow? I have Bedsteads enough out in the 
Grainary chamber, but they are such lumber that I do not know if any 
thing could be done with them. If they could I should not regret their 
being cut for the purpose. They put up with screws which screws are in 
the store closset some of them & some of them over the Top of the 
Granary chamber window. If any of them should be put up, I shall 
want some straw Beds to be made to put upon them before the others 
are laid on. I also wish you to purchase me a peice of Russia sheeting 
and sit Nabby to make it. I have not half sheeting enough for these 
People which is stout. I also want you to get me a peice of the plain 
Russia towelling. The sheeting toweling take a receipt for as thus, 
"for the use of the Household of the President of the U S." I also 

1 S. E. Morison, "Du Pont, Talleyrand, and the French Spoliations," Proc. Mass. Hist. 
Soc.y vol. 49, pp. 63-79, has proved, with documents found in the French Archives, that 
peace between the United States and France in 1798 was maintained chiefly by the de- 
cisive influence of Talleyrand, who learned from Victor Marie du Pont (1767-1827), 
French consul at Charleston, and elder son of Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemours (1739- 
1817), t ^ iat the Directory had over-estimated the strength of sympathy for France in the 
United States, Having been refused his exequatur at Philadelphia by John Adams when 
he was appointed consul-general to succeed Joseph Philippe Letombe, Victor du Pont had 
a long talk with Thomas Jefferson on May 31, 1798, and then sailed for France on June 7, 
on the Benjamin Franklin, He reached Bordeaux on July 3, and forwarded a long report 
to Talleyrand on July 21. Talleyrand sent a copy of this report to the Directory on July 
27. The decree ending depredations on American commerce was published July 31, 1798. 
Although Pickering denied the sincerity of France in reporting to the Senate on January 
31, 1799, Adams based his spectacular change of policy a few weeks later on this very 
decree, taking his hint from Richard Codman, a Boston speculator who was living in Paris 
at the time. After talking with young Victor du Pont, Talleyrand warned the Directory 
that for France to go to war with the United States would be merely to fall into the Anglo- 
Federalist trap. 

By the time Davie, Ellsworth, and Vans Murray, minister to the Netherlands, presented 
their credentials at the Tuileries on March 8 5 1800, Bonaparte, by the revolution of the 
iStli Brumaire (November 9, 1799), had overthrown the Directory, and had made himself 
First Consul, assisted by Cambaceres and Lebrun, and Talleyrand was entrenched as 
foreign minister of the Consulate. After long bickering, peace between the United States 
and France was signed at Mortefontaine, September 3O-October i, 1800. 


want some Tea pots & a coffe pot or two ? some tea spoons for the kitchin. 
Any thing which you may think I want beside you will be so good as to 
provide. I inclose you a Bill of an Hundred dollors. It runs in my mind 
that I want some yellow dishes & plates, some kitchin knives & forks, 
half dozen pd spermiciti candles, flask sweet oil. I have a small field 
Bedstead in the Garret which might be put either in the little Chamber 
or the one Mrs. Porter used to occupy. It wants a little mending if I 
remember right. 

I have put things down just as I have thought of them and without 
much order. 

Mr. McHenry is just returnd and brought with him Genii Washing- 
tons acceptance of his appointment, but the Printers without any 
Authority have published that he was expected to come on to Phila- 
delphia, whereas no such thing is at present intended. The present 
opperations necessary can be carried on by communicating with him and 
by other and younger officers, who will this day be nominated. 2 As 
Congress would not proceed to a declaration of war, they must be 
answerable for the concequences. With a kind remembrance to all 
Friends, and in the hope of seeing you e'er long I am sincerely and 

Your Sister 


2 In organizing an army for the proposed war with France in 1798, President Adams 
induced George Washington to accept the command of it, and was persuaded, much against 
his will, to make Hamilton Inspector-General. Henry Lee was placed at the head of the 
brigadiers. For Adjutant-General, Adams picked his son-in-law, Colonel William Stephens 
Smith, a brave and able veteran of the Revolution, but Pickering, the Secretary of State, 
"lobbied so effectively against Smith that he received only five votes." At Washington's 
suggestion, Smith was made the colonel of a regiment. Channing, History of the United 
States, vol. 4, pp. 191-4, and Annals of the Fifth, Congress, vol. I, p. 623. For a defense of 
the innocence of Hamilton in this intrigue and for an explanation of the motives of Picker- 
ing, see S. F. Bemis, The American Secretaries of State and Their Diplomacy, vol. 2, New 
York, 1927: Henry J. Ford, 'Timothy Pickering," p. 236. When, in December, 1800, 
Adams nominated his son-in-law, Smith, to be Surveyor of the Port of New York, "Hamil- 
ton successfully exerted his influence in favour of confirmation by the Senate," 

* The gap of almost fifteen months which follows, except for one letter, is explained by 
the fact that in the summer of 1798 Mrs. Adams was taken seriously ill at Quincy and did 
not return to Philadelphia until the autumn of 1799. The letter of January 17, 1799, 
which follows, probably was written during a visit with her daughter, Kirs. William 
Stephens Smith, in New York Most unfortunately for himself and the duties of his office, 
President Adams was absent from the seat of government from mid-summer until Novem- 
ber, 1798. Channing, History of the United States, vol. 4, p* 194. 


[New York?], Janry. 17, 1799 

I received your kind Letter of Janry and intended writing you yester- 
day, but I know not how it is, I have less time for writing than formerly. 
I believe it is partly oweing to my not being able to improve the morning 
as I used to.^ When I can sleep I indulge myself more as it is not light 
enough to see to write till after seven oclocL Our Weather is too warm. 
We shall have a sickly spring. Colds are very common. Poor little Caro- 
line has been threatned with the Quincy or Hives. She is very sick now 
but I hope not dangerous. It is a very allarming complaint. 1 

I am rejoiced to learn that we shall once more be a setled people. Any 
thing I have is at your service. I inclose you ten dollors towards purchas- 
ing a Gown for Mr. Whitney as my part. 2 

I know you will rejoice that I have heard from Mr. [J. Q.] Adams, tho 
the Letter is four Months old. It is dated at Dresden yth Sep'br when 
he was about returning to Berlin. He says he was quite recoverd & Mrs. 
Adams's health much mended. 

Do you want to see a specimin of Virgin[i]a Democracy, politeness, 
independance. Respect for Authority couchd in language decent, polite 
and Manly? Read the inclosed from litterally a Beardless Boy, a child 
in voice and face, the most purile figure you ever saw for his age, which is 
said to be 26. Let the public judge. 3 

I can only add my Love to all Friends from your 

Truly affectionate 


Sunday eveng, Brookfield, October 13, 1799 

I got to Westown [Weston] on Wednesday by four oclock and was 
met two miles from Town by Mrs. Otis, accompanied by Mrs. Marshall, 
who insisted upon rny putting up with them. 1 I accordingly went, 

1 Caroline Amelia Smith, daughter of Abigail Adams and Colonel William Stephens 

2 Peter Whitney (1770*1843), who became the assistant to Anthony Wibird, minister 
at Quincy. 

3 Early in 1799 John Randolph of Roanoke (1773-1833), a noisy disciple of the phi- 
losophers of the French Revolution, became a candidate for the House of Representatives. 

1 Colonel Thomas Marshall (1718-1800) commanded the Tenth Massachusetts Regi- 
ment at Saratoga in 1777. Son of Captain Christopher Marshall, an officer in the British 
service, he was a merchant-tailor in State Street, Boston, before the Revolution. He 
purchased the confiscated estate of a Tory at Weston, where he died on November 18, 1800. 
The Marshall house was moved in 1882 from Highland Street to Church Street, where it 


and was very kindly and hospitably received by the Col. and his Family. 
The old Gentleman who is now more than So years, still retains much 
of the fire and sprightlyness of youth. He is very infirm in health, but 
delights in the company and society of his Friends and acquaintance. 
Mrs. Marshall you know. She is a charming woman; and strives to 
render the Col. comfortable and happy. Thursday was so rainy, that 
we could not go out of the House. On fryday morning we set out, 
and got on 27 miles to Peases, which being a neat good house, and 
good Beds, we put up for the night, and yesterday proceeded to this 
place, where it has been my lot oftner to keep Sabbath, than in any 
other Town upon the Road. 2 We have renderd it more agreable to day, 
by attending public worship, and hearing two good sermons, and some 
delightfull singing. Tomorrow we hope to reach Springfield, and get 
along by degrees, but the young Farmer whom James has founderd by 
giveing him grain, is very lame, and unpleasent travelling with. I heard 
of the President, who got to East Chester on Monday last, almost sick 
with a voilent cold. 3 I am very anxious about him. I pray you to write 
me how Brother Cranchs [cold] is. Direct your letters to me at East 
Chester. Write by Brisler, who will call upon me. Remember me kindly 
to all Friends. 

Your affectionate Sister 


East Chester, [New York], October aoth, 1799 

I reachd this place yesterday morning and found Airs. Smith and 
Caroline very well. Mrs. [Charles] Adams and her two little Girls have 
been here three weeks. N[ew] York still distresst with the fever. Tho 
many of the inhabitants have returnd to the city, yet several of them 

now stands. Appletons* Cyclopaedia of American History; Francis S. Drake, Dictionary of 
American Biogra$hy 9 Boston, 1872, p. 600; Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the 
Revolutionary fFar, Boston, 1902, vol. 10, p. 265; and Daniel S. Lamson, History of the 
Town of Weston, Massachusetts: 1630-1890, Boston, 1913, p. 63. 

2 For Captain Lev! Pease and his inn, see footnote 2 to the letter of October 5, 1797. 

Colonel William Stephens Smith had two homes in New York. On March 25, 1795, 
he bought the eastern section of the Van Zandt farm, a tract of twenty-three acres lying 
between the East River and the Boston Post Road, on Manhattan Island, extending north 
and south between what are now East 58th and 6znd Streets, New York City. This was 
his winter home. He spent the summers in East Chester, Westchester County, where he 
bought the property known as the Vincent Halsey house, three miles from what is now 
New RocheUe. Roof, Colonel Smith and Lady, pp. 226-7, 


have fallen since, and from the return of so many persons, new cases 
have been increased, 

I found a Letter from the President, who writes, that he was oppresst 
with one of his old heavey colds that he could get but a small Room & 
Bed Room at Trentown [New Jersey] for his accomodation, that the 
fever still was so bad in Philadelphia that it would not be thought 
prudent to attempt going in untill the Black frosts of Novbr carne I 
found here old Mrs, Smith & Nancy just returned from Baltimore. They 
past through the city of Philadelphia. They said that tho it was Evening 
when they got there, yet they would not have remaind a Night, for the 
smell of the city was so offensive that they could not endure it They 
therefore procured a carriage & got 5 miles out. I left Mr. Otis and 
Family at a neat Inn about 7 miles from hence. Mrs. Smith is gone out 
this morning to see if she can procure lodgings for them in this place 
We had a very agreable journey save that young Farmer proved so 
lame as to oblige rne to hire an other horse, and have him led on. 

I am desirious to hear from you. A Letter directed to East Chester to 
the care of the post master New Rochell will reach me. I mentiond to 
Mr. Beal that I would have the garret entry painted & the back stairs. 
I would have them done before he leaves the House. The kitchin floor 
stands in need of painting, I think it will be best to do it, even tho I 
should make the alteration in the kitchin which I contemplate. You must 
write a word about the cellar unless the Letters come immediatly to me. 

Remember me to all our Friends. Mrs. [William Stephens] Smith & 
Caroline & Mrs. [Charles] Adams desire to be rememberd to you. Louissa 
will write for herself. 

Your affectionate Sister 


East Chester, October 31, 1799 

I received your Letter on Saturday the 26th by Brisler, who with his 
family arrived here in safety. John was taken with the Mumps the day 
before. He was not so sick, as to prevent their proceeding to cross 
the Ferry I have not heard of him since, but expect to, this day. 
Louissa has had the Mumps, so as to be swelld up to her Eyes. They 
have been a week upon her, and are not yet gone. Caroline was seizd 
last week with the worst inflamation in her Eyes that I have ever seen a 
child have* It threw her into a fever. She has been blisterd for it, and 


kept without light, which she could not bear a Ray of. It seems to 
be going of, but is still bad. Mrs. Smith had designd to go on to Phila- 
delphia with me, and remain untill the Col. got into his winter quarters 
in the Jersies, and then go to him and pass the winter with him. It was 
my intention to have gone from hence on Monday the 4th of November, 
but I fear Caroline will detain me longer. The President is still at Tren- 
ton. We keep up a communication by the post at [New] Rochell, which 
is three miles from hence; and there I requested you to direct a Letter 
for me, but after this week I think you may address them to Phila- 
delphia, Mr. & Mrs. Atkinson calld with Nancy Storer to see us this 
morning on their way to N[ew] York, all well, and yesterday I met Col. 
& Mrs. Morton, Mrs. Quincys Brother, returning. 1 Mrs. [Charles] 
Adams and Nancy Smith went in on Tuesday. I expect they will return 
on Saturday to take in the children. Tell Mrs, Norton I should like to 
present my Granddaughters to her sons; They are sprightly lively 
children. Susan is very forward and intelligent for three years, and would 
stand all day to hear you read stories, which she will catch at a few 
times repeating, and has got all goody Goose stories by Heart as her 
uncle J. Q. Adams did Giles Ginger Bread. 2 She tells me all her Letters 
and would read in a month if she had a good school. Abbe went alone at 
nine months, and is very pretty, more so than Susan, having the ad- 
vantage of sprightly Eyes. Both have fine complexions.* But I cannot 
look upon them my dear Sister with that Joy which you do upon yours. 
They make my Heart ache, and what is worse, I have not any prospect 
of their being better off. But shall we receive Good, and not Evil ? Yet 
it is a trial of the worst kind. Any calamity inflicted by the hand of 
Providence, it would become me in silence to submit to, but when I 
behold misiry and distress, disgrace and poverty, brought upon a Fam- 
ily by intemperence, my heart bleads at every pore. 

When I get to Philadelphia I will write to Mr. [William] Cranch, 
and enjoin it upon Thomas [B. Adams] to do so. He will rise superiour to 

1 Eliza Susan Morton, daughter of John Morton, merchant, of New York, was the wife 
of Josiah Quincy (1772-1864). Nancy Storer was the daughter of Charles Storer, private 
secretary, at one time, to John Adams. Adams, #V&r, vol. 8, p. 310. 

2 The Renowned History of Giles Gingerbread: A Little Boy who lived upon Learning 
This book for children, attributed both to John Newbury and Giles Jones, appeared about 
1765. Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, 1940, vol. 2, p. 561. 

'Susanna Boylston (1796-1846) and Abigail Louisa (1798-1838), daughters of Charles 
(1770-1800) and Sarah (Smith) Adams (1769-1828). Charles Adams died of drink on 
November 30, 1800. 


Ms troubles. He has no vices to disgrace himself and Family. His mis- 
fortunes have arrisen from trusting to the honesty of others. 4 

I am exceedingly anxious for my dear son abroad. The last accounts 
from him lead us to fear, that the next will bring us an account of the 
death of his wife. He too, had been sick of an intermitting fever. Where 
is the situation in Life which exempts us from trouble? Who of us pass 
through the world with our path strewed with flowers, without en- 
countering the thorns? In what ever state we are, we shall find a mix- 
ture of good and evil, and we must learn to receive these vicissitudes of 
life, so as not to be unduly exalted by the one, or depressed by the other. 
No cup so bitter, but what some cordial drops are mingled by a kind 
Providence, who knows how as Sterne says, to "temper the wind to the 
Shorn Lamb." 5 But I shall insensibly run into moralizing. 

You mention a pr of stockings. I left a pr for you. Betsy might [have] 
put them into the black trunk in the entry. You will" look there for 
them. With a kind remembrance to all our Friends and Neighbours, I 
am, my dear Sister, 

Your truly affectionate 

When you write let me know how Pheby does. 

[East Chester, New York, November 1-3, I799] 1 

Tomorrow morning I expect to leave this place, and proceed on my 
way to Philadelphia, where I hope soon to hear from you. Frank and 
family had arrived before Brisler. They had only ten days passage. 

Our Envoys, I presume, are ready to sail. 2 The President] writes me, 

4 On January 19, 1799, the Columbian Centind of Boston announced: "Thomas B. 
Adams, third son of our beloved President has arrived at New York from Europe." 
William Cranch was the lawyer of James Greenleaf, of the North American Land Com- 
pany, speculator in real estate in Washington, D.C. 

5 "But, God tempers the wind,' said Maria, c to the shorn lamb.' " This is an ancient 
French proverb which Laurence Sterne made famous in A Sentimental Journty Through 
France and Italy. See the section called "Maria." 

1 Endorsed by Mrs. Cranch: "Received November 9, 1799." See the following letter. 

2 On February 18, 1799, Adams startled Congress and the country, and infuriated the 
Hamiltonians, by nominating William Vans Murray as minister to France. A committee 
of five from the Senate waited on Adams to persuade him to withdraw the nomination. 
Adams suggested a commission of three, two actually residing in the United States and 
not to depart until the requisite assurances were received from France. He nominated 
three men on February 25, 1799. Ultimately, Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth (1745-1807) 
and William Richardson Davie (1756-1820) joined Vans Murray in Paris. Adams, Works > 
vol. 9, pp. 161-3, and Channing, History of the United States, vol. 4, pp. 203-6. Ellsworth 
and Davie sailed from Newport, Rhode Island, on the frigate United StaUs on November 
3, 1799- 


that he hopes they are gone that there may no longer be room for im- 
pertinent paragraphs, fabricated by busy bodies who are forever med- 
dling with things they understand not. I inclose you a Letter from 
William [Steuben Smith] to me. Be cautious however in your communi- 
cations as the source will be traced. I request Mr. [Richard] Cranch to 
have the inclosed communication publishd, taken from the N[ew] York 
commercial advertizer of Nov'br zd in the centinal, or Jfohn] Russels 
paper. 3 I also inclose a paper which contains an answer to Coopers ad- 
dress. 4 If it has not been republished in our papers, it ought to be. If you 
could send it to Mr. Gardner [of] Milton he will see that it is done. The 
writer is T[homas] Bfoylston] A[dams] as I have good reason to believe. 

Mrs, [William Stephens] Smith goes on with me. My Love and regards 
to all Friends. Mrs. [Charles] Adams and children went to N[ew] 
York to day. She had been in part of the last week. She returned last 
Evening, and went again this morning. 

I read in the centinal [of] the death of Lilly Field. 5 What was her 
sickness ? The quitting of Mrs. Foster was the ruin of that poor Girl. 
Adieu, your ever 

Affectionate Sister 


Philadelphia, Novbr. 15, 1799 

I wrote to you twice from East Chester. 1 I left there the day I pro- 
posed, and had a fine passage across the North River. It was quite calm 

3 [John] RusselFs Commercial Gazette. 

4 Thomas Cooper (1759-1839), agitator, scientist, and educator, was born m West- 
minster, England, and entered Oxford In 1779. He became a friend of Joseph Priestley, 
and, consequently, a Unitarian and a revolutionist. He visited Paris in 1792, and then 
settled at Northumberland, Pennsylvania, in 1794, where he practised law and served 
unofficially as a physician. On June 29, 1799, Cooper published in the Sunbury and 
Northumberland Gazette a blast against the administration of John Adams, attacking the 
arrogance of the executive; the "seizure" of the power to make treaties; and the Alien and 
Sedition Laws. See Thomas Cooper, Political Essays Originally Inserted in tkf Northumber- 
land Gazette, Northumberland, 1799; second edition, Philadelphia, 1800, Pickering called 
this outburst to the attention of President Adams on August i, 1799. Adams, JForkf, 
vol. 9, pp. 5-7. See, also, Dumas Malone, The Public Lift of Thomas Cooper, 1783-1839, 
New Haven, 1926. 

5 Lilley Field died at Quincy, aged fourteen. Columbian Centinel, October 23, 1799. 

1 Mrs. Adams wrote not twice, but three times from East Chester. **The President of 
the United States has taken Ms residence at Philadelphia." Columbian Cfntinel, Novem- 
ber 9, 1799. 


& not cold. We proceeded on our journey to Newark the same day, and 
there finding that we could go to Brunswick as conveniently by travelling 
through Springfield and Scotch Plain to Plainfield, the place where 
Col. [William Stephens] Smith is Encampd with three Regiments, we 
parted with Mr. & Mrs. [Samuel Allyne] Otis, and took different direc- 
tions. We reachd Plainfield about 4 oclock, and found all hands, officers 
and Men busily employd in cutting down Trees & building log houses 
for winter quarters. 

We took a walk through the encampment, and then went to a House 
which the Col. had provided for us, where we lodgd. The next morning 
he accompanied us to Brunswick, where the President met us. We 
tarried all Night, and then sat out in [the] morning for Trenton, 
32 miles, which we reachd by four oclock, and the next day pro- 
ceeded to this place, but were overtaken by rain, and rode 18 miles 
in it. We were met about four mils out of Town by the Light Horse 
escorted in &c. 

Ever since I have been sitting up receiving visitors which prevents 
me going even to take a ride which I want for exercise The show 
will be pretty well over by the next week, and then I must sit out 
to return them all Drawing Rooms will not commence untill after 
Congress meet. News we have none but what you get first from 
Boston. I have not a line from any one but you since I left home 
and that by Mr. Brisler. I quite want to hear from you; I wrote to you 
twice from East Chester. 

I have seen by the papers the honorable testimony of respect and 
Regard paid to the Birth day in Quincy, as well as in other parts of 
Massachusets 2 The citizens of N[ew] York and this place were not 
In a situation to do it, if they had been disposed. The inhabitants were 
not returnd to their abodes who had been driven from them by the pesti- 
lence, I suppose they will, as they did last year give a Ball and Supper, 
when the winter commences after [the cancelled] Congress meet, and the 
Ladies have settled the fashions which are now canvessd, and adjusting 
from some late importations. Amongst the Ladies presented to me the 
Countess de Tilly has been of the Number, by the Appelation of Madam 
de Tilly. She has all the appearence and dress of a Real French woman, 
Rouged up to the Ears; Mrs. Bingham did not appear to feel any 
embarresment at introducing her, tho I cannot say she did not creat one 

2 The birthday of John Adams, who was born on October 19, 1735. See the letter of 
November 21, 1800. 


in me; for I really felt a reluctance at addressing her. 3 So I talked to her 
mother and sister, and as there was much other company present I easily 
past her over. Mrs. Black will have a curiosity to know something of the 
fashions. I have heard of once a Man & twice a child, and the Ladies 
caps are an exact coppy of the Baby caps those which are made with 
drawings, and drawn with a bobbin to a point, a quarter and Nail deep, 
a lace upon the border, a bow upon the point, three bows behind and 
one before, the Hair a little drest at the side Be a few curls upon the 
forehead, the cap to lie flat upon the head. 4 Some tye them under the 
chin. Gown waists, half a yd in length. Morning dress a Gown very 
narrow just to reach the bottom of the skirt, a Narrow frill of half a Nail 
pleated round the bottom buttond with an oval shirt button down 
before, two rows of the same down the back, over which a cord is 
crossd the sleaves short but with cuffs pleated, buttons upon them 
corded in the same Manner, two large buttons on the hips A dress 
Gown, made with a long train behind comeing only half way down the 
coat before. A Muslin coat of the same with a small flounce at bottom 
So much for fashions, already exhibited. 

I requested you to take charge of my pork for Bacon, but left you not 
the means. Inclosed is a five dollors Bill to get salt peter and Molasses. 

Pray write. We all send Love, Regards &c to all friends, Neighbours 

&c &c * Ever your affectionate Sister 


Philadelphia, Novbr 26, 1799 

Your kind Letter reachd me on the 2Oth. I began to feel very impa- 
tient to hear from you: Your Letter afforded me much pleasure: I rejoice 

8 The worst scandal of the "Republican Court" at Philadelphia during 1799 was the 
clandestine marriage, on April n, of fifteen-year-old Maria Matilda Bingham, second 
daughter of Anne (Willing), daughter of Thomas Willing, and William Bingham, a rich 
banker, to Jacques-Pierre-Alexandre, Comte de Tilly (i764.-i8i6). Tilly, a handsome and 
profligate Frenchman, and a poet and author, was born at Le Mans and was, at one time, 
a page to Marie Antoinette. Fleeing from France after the storming of the Tuileries, 
August 10, 1792, he wandered through England, the United States, and Germany. In 
1797, he turned up in the United States, and, after his marriage to Maria, the Bingharns 
had to buy him off with a cash settlement and an annuity, and put a bill of divorce through 
the Pennsylvania legislature. In 1807, Tilly returned to France, where he led a disorderly 
life, committing suicide at Brussels as the result of a scandal at cards. For the subsequent 
career of Maria, see Morison, Harrison Gray Otis, pp. 137-9. For Comte de Tilly, see 
Memoirs tf ike Comtf Akxandre de Tilly, New York, 1932; and Havelock Ellis, From Rous- 
seau to Proust, Boston and New York, 1935, pp. 193-351. 

4 A nail measures two and one-quarter inches. 


that so worthy and amiable a Man as Mr. Kendall allways appeard to 
me, is like to be so soon, and agreably setled. 1 I would willingly exchange 
all the discourses I have heard here since I came and all I shall be like to 
hear, for the one half which even chance offers us at Quincy. I do not 
believe that a people are ever made better by always hearing of the 
terrors of the Lord. Gloom is no part of my Religion. To mantain [sic] a 
conscience void of offence, as far as is consistant with the imperfect 
State we are in, both towards God and Man, is one article of my Faith, 
and to do good as I have opportunity, and according to my means I 
would wish to make the Rule of my practise. [To cancelled] Do justly, 
walk Humbly and to Love mercy are duties enjoind upon every Chris- 
tian, and if we can attain to those graces, we may cheerfully look for 
our recompence and reward, where it is promised to us. 2 

Shall we be so happy at Quincy as to settle a Gentleman of Mr. [Peter] 
Whitneys talents? I most sincerely hope we may; but fear that so good 
a choice is not reserved for us. 

I saw In Rusels paper the answer to Cooper. 3 I found I was Mistaken 
in the writer. It was not the person [Thomas Boylston Adams] I con- 
jectured, nor is it known by him, who it was. Cooper has lately appeard 
in the Aurora, and in his former Mad democratic Stile, abused the 
President, and I presume subjected himself to the penalty of the Sedi- 
tion act. The greater part of [our cancelled^ the abuse leveld at the 
Government is from foreigners. Every Jacobin paper in the United 
States is Edited by a Foreigner, and John Fenno is become a coppiest 
of them. What a disgrace to our Country. 

1 Probably James Kendall, Harvard, 1796; S.T.D., 1825; died in 1859. 

2 "He hath shewed thee, man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, 
but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" Micak, VI, 8. 

3 For the answer to Thomas Cooper's attack on the administration of John Adams, see 
/. RusselPs Gazette, November 18 and 21, 1799, in which "A True American" points out 
the constitutional power of the executive branch to negotiate treaties, and defends the 
exclusion from the United States of aliens from Europe, both "Aristocrats" and "Demo- 
crats." The author of this answer observes that, according to British law of the time, no 
subject of Great Britain was permitted to renounce his status to become a citizen of the 
United States or of any other country. In May, 1800, Cooper was convicted under the 
Sedition Law, and sentenced to serve six months in prison and pay a fine of four hundred 
dollars. Throughout the rest of his life he sought the repayment of this fine, which, after 
his death, was refunded to his heirs, with interest. From 1821 to 1834 Cooper was presi- 
dent of the University of South Carolina. In his later years, this rebel supported the Bank 
of the United States against Andrew Jackson, defended slavery, and argued for nullifica- 
tion of the federal tariff acts. See Malone, Thomas Cooper. See, also, the letter of 
November 1-3, 1799. 


On thursday next [the cancelled] four of our N[ew] England States 
keep thanksgiving. I would not suffer the day to pass without noticeing 
it here by the Symbols of the festival as commemorated by us. I have 
invited a chosen set to dine upon that day, and whilst we share in are 
plentifully supplied with the good things of this world, I hope we shall 
not be unmindfull of the many blessingfs] of the past year, which we 
have abundant cause to be thankfull for. 

Thomas has had a Letter from your son. He appears I think much 
more tranquil in mind, and is quite witty in his Letter. 

There is a Letter from Mr. Pitcarn in Hamburgh to Thomas [Boylston 
Adams] dated in Sepbr, in which he says that he heard from Mr. [John 
Quincy] Adams three days before, and that he was well. He makes no 
mention of Mrs. Adams. He would I think, if she had not recoverd or was 
so dangerous as she had been represented. 

Mrs. Smith and Louissa desire to be rememberd to you and all our 
Friends. I do not get a line from Sister [Mrs, Stephen Peabody] or the 
Children. Mrs. Smith is anxious to hear from them. William [Smith 
Shaw] is well. Thomas will get into buisness in time I hope. He is very 
attentive to his office. 

Next week Congress meet. I expect it will be a stormy Session. 
Electionering is already began. There will be more things aimed at 
than will be carried either by Jacobins or Federalists but the Jacobins 
are always more subtle and industerous than there opponents. 

My Love to Mrs. Norton and Greenleaf. 4 I hope if my Health remains 
to be with you early again in the Spring. My best regards and the 
Presidents to Mr. [Richard] Cranch. Accept the affectionate Regard 
and Love of 

Your Sister 

Philadelphia, December 4th, 1799 

Mrs. Smith, Louissa, Mrs. Otis, [Dr.] Rush, Peters & a number of 
young Ladies are just gone to Congress to hear the speech which is 
deliverd at 12 oclock to day. 1 I should have liked well enough to have 

* Elizabeth Cranch, wife of the Reverend Jacob Norton, and Lucy Cranch, wife of 
John Greenleaf, the daughters of Richard and Mary (Smith) Cranch. 

1 See "Speech to Both Houses of Congress," December 3, 1799, in Adams, Works, vol. 
9, pp. 136-40. Mrs. Adams probably dated her letter Incorrectly. 


been of the Party, but it would not have been proper. You will see it, 
as soon as you will get the Letter, I presume. Some people will not be 
pleased, I suppose, because it will not disclose enough about the mission 
to France. Others will Growl, because war is not waged against England, 
in words at least, They will grumble at all events, and under all cir- 
cumstances, and so let them. But their brightest, best, and most peace- 
ful} days they now see: Such at least are my predictions. 

I have to request you, my dear Sister, to look in my large Hair cloaths 
Trunk which stands in the Garret for my white Lutestring Gown & 
coat which is trimd with silver, and for a Napkin in which is a plain 
Muslin Gown Embrodered with silk, which belongs to Mrs. [William 
Stephens] Smith. Indeed all that is pind in the Napkin belongs to Mrs. 
Smith. These dresses I request you to have done up in the safest manner 
and take them to Mr. [William] Smiths, with a request to send them to 
me if possible by some private conveyance; I sent Betsy [Howard] 
yesterday to my Trunk to get them and found to my great mortification 
that she had omitted to put them up, or rather, that she had by mistake 
put up what I did not want in lieu of them. Mrs. Smith is more dissa- 
pointed than I am, as she wants hers more; If they should not be in 
that trunk they must be in the imperial. 2 I had depended upon mine for 
fryday Evening next and as they wanted a little alteration, I discoverd 
that they were missing, by sending to my Trunk for them. It is like 
there will be persons comeing on from Boston who will in the course of 
the winter take them on for me. Gen'll Lincoln designs to come about 
Christmass but that may be uncertain. 3 I will trust to Mr. Smith['s] 
care to convey them for me. Sew them in a coars cloth as well as a 
Napkin, and I will give who ever brings them safe, as many good dinners 
as they will Eat. 

I should certainly use some Red Broad cloth if I could come at it, 
for red cloth Cloaks are all the mode, trim'd with white furs. This is 
much more rational than to wear only a shawl in winter. I wish any 
thing would persuade the Ladies that muslin is not a proper winter 
dress. So far as example goes, I shall bring in the use of silks. At my 
Age I think I am priviledged to sit a fashion. The real truth is that 
Muslin is new every time it is clean, & new trimed, so that it is, they 

2 A luggage case for the top of a coach. 

3 Benjamin Lincoln (1733-1810), of Hingham, who suppressed Shays's Rebellion in 
1787, and was Collector of the Port of Boston (1789-1809). See the letters of July 9, 1798, 
and January 28, 1800. 


say, upon a principle of oconomy they use it, fewer changes being 

I have not had a Letter from you for some time. I communicated to 
the President Mr. J[oseph] Cranchs Letter and he gave it to the Secre- 
tary of War to see what can be done. I shall ask the Secretary soon 
respecting it, and then will write you. 4 

I learn from some of the Essex leaders that Judge [Francis] Dana 
is to be sit up for Governour. He will make a very able one. The Bench 
will also lose a learned Judge. I Question however whether Judge 
Dana is sufficiently popular for that place. He wants the amiable & 
concilitating [sic] manners of Sumner. 5 Alass I know not where, is to be 
found all the qualities which he possess'd, concentered in any person 
who will be held up as a canditate [sic]. 

Mr. Sheaf the member from Portsmouth will be like to come soon. 
He will call at Mr. Storers no doubt, and I have been thinking if you 
was to buy me a small trunk just large enough to hold the articles 
whether Mr. Sheaf would not take charge of it for me, & bring it within 
the carriage. 6 The sooner you can get the things to Town the better. 
Mrs. Smith is very well and sends her duty to you. So does Mr. [John] 
Adams, Mr. [William Smith] Shaw & Louissa [Smith]. The City is 
now said to be very healthy. The Members of both houses have been 
punctual to a day, a sufficient Number to make both houses. I inclose 
the Speech. 7 With hopes of hearing from you this week I close, adding 
Love to Mrs. Norton & Greenleaf. 

Affectionatly your Sister 

Please to send all you find in the Napkin belonging to Mrs. Smith. 

Philadelphia, December n, 1799 

I received this week your Letters of Novbr 24th and 28th, and this 
morning yours of Decbr. 3d, the contents of which gave me much 

4 James McHenry, third Secretary of War. See footnote I to the letter of July 3, 1798. 

5 See footnote 5 to the letter of June 23, 1798. 

6 James Sheafe (1755-1829), Harvard, 1774, merchant of Portsmouth, and Federalist 
representative and Senator from New Hampshire (17997-1802). "Mr. Storer" is probably 
Charles Storer, who was at one time private secretary to ^Ir. Adams. Adams, Works, 
vol. 8, p. 3 10. 

7 See Adams, Works, vol. 9, pp. 136-40. 


pleasure. It will be a real subject of rejoicing to me, if we obtain Mr. 
[Peter] Whitney for our pastor. It will greatly add to the pleasure I 
anticipate upon my return to Quincy to find that we are in possession 
of a Gentleman of Mr. Whitneys known and acknowledged talents, so 
well adapted to the profession he has chosen. I hope that no root of 
bitterness will spring up, to injure his usefullness, or to impeed his 

The season continues remarkable mild, but the late rains have pre- 
vented my riding more than through the city to return visits, of which I 
have a more than ordinary share, many persons visiting me now who 
never did before. They think, I suppose, that as it is the last season 
Congress will sit in this city, they will not be wanting in attention 
I sometimes walk for esercise and make some visits in that way. I yes- 
terday made one in this way to Mrs. Morris, which to both of us was 
painful!. 1 I had not seen her since the very great reverse of her cir- 
cumstances. She received me with all that dignity of manners for 
which she more than any Lady I ever saw, is distinguished. I calld 
rather at an improper hour, (having been detaind from going sooner 
by visitors). She was in a small neat Room and at dinner with her 
daughter & youngest son, who is with a merchant, and on whose account 
she said, she always dinned at one oclock, but instead of refusing her- 
self, she rose and met me at the door. Her feelings were evidently 
strongly excited. She endeavourd to smile away the Melancholy which 
was evident upon her whole countanance, and enterd into conversation. 
When I left her, I requested her to come and take Tea with me. I took 
her by the Hand. She said she did not visit, but she would not refuse 
herself the pleasure of comeing some day when I was alone. She then 
turnd from me, and the tears burst forth. I most sincerely felt for her. 

I have sent to Mrs. Black and Suky Adams a model of the New 
fashiond cap. 2 They are not such as you or I should wear. If I thought 
Mrs. Norton and Greenleaf would like them I would send each of them 
one. With the Hair drest as I have directed they look very pretty. 

The politician[s] have before this, got the speech which Duane says, 
in his paper, was as anxiously expected, and sought for, as a speech is, 
from the tyrant of Britain. It has been received here, with more ap- 
plause & approbation than any speech which the President has ever 
before deliverd, and what is very surprizing and remarkable, the answer 

1 Mary (White) Morris, wife of Robert Morris (1734-1806). 

2 Susanna (born 1777), daughter of Peter Boylston Adams (1738-1823), sole surviving 
brother of John Adams. 


to it by the House past unanimously without a motion for alterating but 
one sentance, which motion did not obtain. The answer was draughted 
by Mr. [John] Marshall, and contains so full and unqualified an approba- 
tion of the Measures of the President in his late Mission, as not only gives 
him sincere pleasure, but the unanimnity [sic] with which it past the 
whole House, being the first instance of the kind is a proof that the 
Measure meets the wishes of the people at large. 3 The documents upon 
which the measure was founded I inclose to you in the paper. What 
would the people of this Country have said, if the President had neglected 
to meet the advances of France, and have sufferd himself to have been 
governd by a spirit of personal resentment because he had been ill used, 
and abused by some of their Rulers. Would such conduct have become 
the Head of a Great Nation? Should France conduct [herself] dishonor- 
ably, we shall not be to blame; and the President will have the satisfaction 
of knowing: that he has done every thing Encumbent upon him to 
preserve Peace and restore harmony. The replie of the Senate cold and 
Languid, fully discovers in what school they have imbibed their senti- 
ments. The committe chosen to draught the replie, were known to be 
some of the most opposed to the Mission. There is a man in the cabinet,, 
whose manners are forbiding, whose temper is sour and whose resentments 
are implacable, who neverless [sic] would like to dictate every Measure. 
He has to deal with one, who knows full well their respective depart- 
ments and who chuses to feel quite independant, and to act so too, but 
for this He is abused. But I am mistaken if this dictator does not get 
himself ensnared in his own toil. He would not now remain in office, if 
the President possesst such kind of resentments as I hear from various 
quarters, he permits himself to utter From this fountain have flowed 
all the unpopularity of the Mission to France, which some of the feder- 
ilists have been so deluded as to swallow large draughts off. 4 

Thomas [Boylston Adams] keeps so constantly at his office that I see 
him only at meal times. He sends his Respects. As to William [Smith 
Shaw], we have rubd of [sic] so many of his peculiarities that he has 
scarcly one left for us to laugh at. He is a good creature. I heard yester- 
day from Mr, [William] Cranch and Family. They were all well. Mr. 

* For the acknowledgment of Adams, see Adams, Works, vol. 9, pp. 141-2. 

4 Timothy Pickering, having bitterly opposed the President's policy of peace with France, 
was summarily dismissed by Adams on May 12, 1800. Adams, Works, vol. 9, p. 55. Peace 
with France was concluded at Mortefontaine, September so-October i, 1800, and was, with 
the exception of one article, accepted by the Senate. See Proc. Mass. Hist. Soc, 9 vol. 44 
(1911), pp. 377-429: Brooks Adams, "The Convention of 1800 with France. 1 ' 


Wainright has been there, and will see you as soon as he returns. Mrs. 
[William Stephens] Smith sends her Love. My paper reminds me to 
close. I will write to Dr. [Cotton] Tufts by the next Mail. Love &c 

Your affectionate 


Philadelphia, Sunday Eve'ng, Decbr. 22, 1799 

I wrote to you the day after we received the account of the death of 
Gen'll Washington. 1 This Event so important to our Country at this 
period, will be universally deplored. No Man ever lived, more deservedly 
beloved and Respected. The praise and I may say addulation which 
followed his administration for several years, never made him forget 
that he was a Man, subject to the weakness and frailty attached to 
humane Nature. He never grew giddy, but ever mantaind a modest 
diffidence of his own talents, and if that was an error, it was of the 
amiable and engageing kind, tho it might lead sometimes to a want of 
decisions in some great Emergencys. Possesst of power, posest of an 
extensive influence, he never used it but for the benifit of his Country. 
Witness his retirement to private Life when Peace closed the scenes 
of War; When call'd by the unanimous suffrages of the People to the 
chief Majestracy of the Nation, he acquitted himself to the satisfaction 
and applause of all Good Men. When assailed by faction, when reviled 
by Party, he sufferd with dignity, and Retired from his exalted station 
with a Character which malice could not wound, nor envy tarnish. If we 
look through the whole tennor of his Life, History will not produce to us 
a Parrallel. Heaven has seen fit to take him from us. Our Mourning is 
sincere, in the midst of which, we ought not to lose sight of the Blessings 
we have enjoy'd and still partake of, that he was spaired to us, untill he 
saw a successor filling his place, persueing the same system which 
he had adopted, and that in times which have been equally dangerous 
and Critical. It becomes not me to say more upon this Head. 

I inclose to you a News paper which contains all that has yet been 
done in commemoration of the late dispensation. Tomorrow the Senate 
come in a Body with a sympathetic address, and on thursday a Eulogy 
is to be deliverd by Genii. Lee, in the Dutch Church in this city, to 
which we are all invited. 2 

1 George Washington died on Saturday, December 14, 1799, The letter to which Mrs. 
Adams refers was lost In the mail. See the letter of January 7, 1800. 

2 Henry Lee (1756-1818), "Light-Horse Harry" of Virginia, soldier of the Revolution, 
Governor of Virginia (1792-1795), and father of Robert E. Lee. In 1799 Lee entered 


Monday, [December] 23, [1799] 

Company comeing in last Evening, I was prevented finishing my 
Letter. This morning I received yours of December 15. It is unhappy 
that what is liked by one should for that very reason, be the object of 
aversion to an other, but when a spirit of private animosity is per- 
mitted to influence the mind, it always produces an illiberal conduct. 
The two B[lack]'s who are now opposed to Mr. Whitney, are pretty 
nearly upon a footing in point of talants and capacity, taking into view 
the comparative advantages they have had. 3 But their influence will 
not be very extensive. I am sorry you had such a cold time in looking 
for my Gown. I shall not have occasion now for any thing but Black, 
untill Spring. Then I shall put on half mourning. I shall be glad to 
have it, if it can be conveniently sent. Mrs. Smith wants her white, as 
she will after a certain period appear in white trimd with black. At 
Present the whole Family are in full mourning. 

I hope Mrs. Black has received her Cap safe. Mr. Wainright did not 
go so soon as I expected, and Betsy Howard got a Mr. Whitney, with 
whom she was acquainted, to take it. It was to be left at Mr. Lambs. 

Mrs. Smith has worked you a Crown of a Cap & Band, which I 
request you to accept of. I will send a Border the next time I write. 

We all desire to be kindly rememberd to all Friends. 

Your affectionate Sister 


I send a paper containing the speech of Mr. Hopkins[on] upon the trial of 
Peter Porcupine for defamation. The Jury brought in five thousand 
dollors damages and the court confirmed the verdict. 4 

Congress, and drew up the resolutions offered by John Marshall on the death of Washing- 
ton. These contained the famous description of Washington as "first in war, first in peace, 
and first in the hearts of his countrymen." Lee repeated the words in his memorial oration 
to the Congress in Philadelphia on December 26, 1799. 

* Mr. and Mrs. Moses Black, of Quincy, who tried to prevent the appointment of the 
Reverend Peter Whitney as assistant to the Reverend Anthony Wibird in the parish. 
See footnote 5 to the letter of May 16, 1797, and footnote 3 to the letter of November 
IS, 1797- 

4 During the yellow-fever epidemic of 1797, Dr. Benjamin Rush treated his patients 
with violent purges and copious bleeding, and William Cobbett, on politico-medical 
grounds, made a terrific onslaught on him. Rush sued for libel, and, after a delay of two 
years, the case came to trial, and Cobbett was ordered to pay $5000. Rush was libelled, 
and deserved to be libelled, but the trial was unfair. Joseph Hopkinson, author of "Hail 
Columbia," represented Rush in court. Cobbett retreated to New York, where he pub- 
lished a new paper, the Rush-Light^ in which (February 28, 1800), he described Dr. Rush's 
system as "one of the great discoveries . . , which have contributed to the depopulation of 
the earth." Adams thought of deporting Cobbett under the Alien Act, but Cobbett re- 
turned to England in June, 1800. 


Philadelphia, December 3Oth, 1799 

I received your Letter of the 23d this morning. I should be glad you 
would inform me from time to time the state Mrs. Mears is in. I have 
told Mrs. Brisler that she was ill, but as [she cancelled] it can not be of 
any service to Mrs. Mears, I think best not to let her know of her 
relapse tho I fear it will finally be fatal to Mrs. Mears Mrs. Brisler 
would so distress herself as very probably to bring on her fits and render 
her wholy useless in the Family. 1 

I think every days experience must convince the people of the pro- 
priety of sending the Envoys at the time they went. After the President 
had received the Letter from Tallyrand containing the assureances 
from the Directory which he required, he would not allow it, to be made 
a question whether they should proceed tho he knew certain persons 
set their faces against it as far as they dared. Gen'll. Hamilton made no 
secret of his opinion. He made the P[residen]t a visit at Trenton, 
and was perfectly sanguine in the opinion that the Stateholder would 
be reinstated before Christmass and Louis the i8th upon the Throne of 
France 2 . I should as soon expect, replied the President], that the sun, 
moon & stars will fall from their orbits, as events of that kind take place 
in any such period, but suppose such an event possible, can it be any 
injury to our Country to have envoys there? It will be only necessary for 
them to wait for new commissions. And if France is disposed to accom- 
odate our differences, will she be less so under a Royall than a Directorial 
Government ? Have not the Directory Humbled themselves to us more 
than to any Nation or Power in contest with her? If she proves faithless, 
if she will not receive our Envoys, does the disgrace fall upon her, or 
upon us ? We shall not be worse off than at Present* The people of our 
own Country will be satisfyed that every honorable method has been 
try'd to accommodate our differences. At the period the envoys went, 
France was loosing ground. She was defeated, and the combined powers 
appeard to be carrying victory with them. If they had been detained 
untill now, how mean and despicable should we have appeard ? Reports 
have been circulated that the British Minister remonstrated: However 

1 Mrs. Mears was a sister of the wife of John Briesler, major-domo to John Adams. 
See the letter of January 7, 1800. 

2 It was fifteen years before Louis XVIII entered Paris. William V (1748-1802), Stad- 
holder of the Netherlands (1751-1795), never regained his position. Louis Bonaparte was 
King of Holland from 1806 to 1810, when Holland was incorporated with France as an 
integral part of the empire. The son of William V became William I, King of the Nether- 
lands, in 1815. 


dissagreable the measure might be to him, he is too old a minister, and 
understands the nature of his Mission too well, to have ventured upon 
any such step. As an independant Nation, no other has a Right to com- 
plain, or dictate to us, with whom we shall form connections, provided 
those connections are not contrary to treaties already made. 

Last frydays drawing Room was the most crowded of any I ever had. 
Upwards of a hundred Ladies, and near as many Gentlemen attended, 
all in mourning. The Ladies Grief did not deprive them of taste in 
ornamenting their white dresses: 2 yds of Black mode in length, of the 
narrow kind pleated upon one shoulder, crossd the Back in the form of 
a Military sash tyed at the side, crosd the peticoat & hung to the bottom 
of it, were worn by many. Others wore black Epulets of Black silk 
trimd with fringfe] upon each shoulder, black Ribbon in points upon the 
Gown & coat some plain Ribbon, some black Snail See* Their caps 
were crape with black plumes or black flowers. Black Gloves & fans. 
The Gentlemen all in Black. The Ladies many of them wanted me to 
fix the time for wearing mourning, but I declined, and left them to 
Govern themselves by the periods prescribed by the Gentlemen. The 
assembly Room is burnt down, and they have not any place to display 
their gay attire but the drawing Room and private parties, and as they 
expect it will be the last winter they will have the opportunity, they 
intended shining. 

Mr. [William Smith] Shaw is gone to Mount Vernon the Bearer of 
Letters from the President & the Resolutions of congress, to Mrs. 
Washington. It was thought most respectfull to send a special Mes- 
senger. He sit out last Saturday. I wrote to your son by him, and he will 
be able on his return to give a particuliar account of their health and 
welfare. I expect he will be absent 10 days. 

Twesday, [December] 31 [1799] 

We have a report here that the plague is in Boston, brought by a 
ship from the Levant. I hope it is without foundation, but let me know 
the Truth. The weather here has been so mild, foggy, and thawey that 
colds universally prevail. Dr. Rush says there is a procession fever. 
I do not wonder at it, for the processions was an hour and quarter from 
congress Hall to the churrch & an hour half in church. The Gentle- 
men say they walkd over shoes in Mud. I went at Eleven & did not get 
home till 20 minuts before four oclock. I then had to dress and sit 

3 "Snail," obsolete for "chenille,** in use from 1741 to 1773; Oxford English Dictionary. 


down to dinner with 30 Gentlemen & Ladies. I went to Bed the mo- 
ment the company left me, which was not till nine oclock. I felt sick 
enough & expected to pay for my exertions, but the next morning I 
was quite smart, and went through the drawing Room ceremonies in 
the Evening. You [will cancelled] may be assured that my Health is 
much firmer than the last winter. I was at the Theater last night to 
hear the Monody performd I think sufficient has been done to express 
the gratefull feelings of a people towards the Character of even a Wash- 
ington. The danger is, least the enthusiastic disposition of some should 
proceed too far. Some things are requested of the President] which 
really appear improper, and may tend to turn what is designd as respect, 
into Ridicule. He will withstand it if he can without giving umbrage to 
the Representatives of the People. If the thing is done, you will know 
what it is. 

I inclose the Border I promised, and am 

Your affectionate Sister 

Philadelphia, Janry yth, 1800 

I know not what could have become of a Letter written to you upon 
the 1 8 of December, that upon the 3oth you should not have received 
it. 1 I have written you more than once since that period, but do not 
recollect the dates. I forget whether it was before or since then, that I 
Inclosed to you a crown of a Cap & Band. Since that, I have sent the 
Border and a Cap for Mrs. Norton, which I think you could not yet have 
got. I have not learnt whether Mrs. Black has got my Letter & the cap 
sent to her by a Mr. Whitney. I should greatly regret that any obstical 
should prevent the settlement of Mr. Whitney with us. I would most 
certainly accommodate him if it was in my power, but my sons whole 
Library is at the House in which Mr. Clark lives, beside some cumber- 
some furniture which I have not yet any place for. 

Thom[p]son Baxter once offerd his House and place to the President 
for a thousand pounds. That is a large sum for a Clergyman, yet if it 
could be had for that, would It not prove much Cheeper than building? 
40 acres of land belongd to it. The poor old incumbent might be had 
into the Bargain I suppose. But who knows but if Mr. Whitney could 

1 See the letter of December 22, 1799. 


get the place, and marry a woman kind and attentive to the old Gentle- 
man who would clean & brush him up, but that it might prove advan- 
tageous to them. I only suggest the Idea. I received my Gown & Mrs. 
[William Stephens] Smithf's] safe, by Mr. Sheaff [James Sheafe] yes- 
terday. 2 I thank you for your care & Mr. & Mrs. [William] Smith for 

Our Boston Printers are great blunderers. In the answer to the 
Senates address of condolance, they make him say a Trojan instead of 
[Traygain cancelled] "Trajan found a Pliny" and in an paper they 
say the Senate sent a Letter of condolance, whereas the truth is, the 
Senate came in a Body and pressented the address, which address is 
said to have been drawn by Mr. Dexter, a New England Man certain. 8 
No Southern Man quotes Scripture Mr. [William Smith] Shaw re- 
turnd yesterday from Mount Vernon. He was much gratified by his 
tour, tho regreeted that he did not see Mrs. Washington. She strove 
the whole time he was there, which was two days, to get resolution 
sufficient to see him, but finally excused herself. She had the painfull 
task to perform, to bring her mind to comply with the request of Con- 
gress, which she has done in the handsomest manner possible in a Letter 
to the President which will this day be communicated to congress. She 
wrote me in repHe to my Letter an answer repleat with a sense of rny 
sympathy, and expressive of her own personal Grief and anguish of 
mind. Mr. [Tobias] Lear told Mr. Shaw that she had not been able to 
shed a tear since the Genlls. death, untill she received the Presidents and 
my Letters when she was two hours getting through them, tho they were 
not Lengthy 4 On his return he visited your son, who he says, is in good 
Health & spirits, as is Mrs. [William] Cranch. Richard [1797-1824] he 
says is not well, tho not confined. Mr. Greenleaf was with them. I fear 
Mr. Greenleaf is not a wise counsellor. Mr. Cranch would, a year before 
he did, have taken the step of relinquishing his Property if it had not 
been for Mr. Greenleafs advice. He certainly would have been better 
off, as his friends say. I am glad he had resolution enough at last to 
decide for himself. I have just closed a Letter to Mrs. Cranch of West 
Point, having obtained a promise from the Secretary of War that he 
shall have a place at Harpers ferry which he expects will be vacant in 

* See footnote 6 to the letter of December 4, 1799. 

'Samuel Dexter (1761-1816), of Boston, Harvard, 1781, Federalist representative 
(1793-1795) and Senator (1799-1800) from Massachusetts, Adams appointed him Secre- 
tary of War, May 13, 1800; and Secretary of the Treasury, January i, 1801. 

* See footnote 8 to the letter of June 28, 1789, and Adams, Works, vol. 9, pp. 45 and 164-5. 


the Spring and that in the mean time he shall be employd where he is. 5 
I made Mrs. Brisler happy yesterday by your Letter containing the 
information that Mrs. Hears was better. She had burried her In her own 
mind, and when I went to tell her, she was so overcome expecting the 
news was fatal that she shook so I thought she would have gone into 
fits. No two sisters were ever fonder of each other. I hope Mrs. Mears 
will recover. 

Inclosed is Genii. Lees oration. 6 It is a handsome performance. I will 
send you the pamphlet when it is out. We have charming weather. 
Adieu my dear Sister. I am going to take Mrs. [Samuel Allyne] Otis 
out to Ride. She has been very unwell with one of her old hoars colds & 
coughs which still hangs about her. 7 

Philadelphia, Janry 28, 1800 

I yesterday received your Letter of the igth, I think you have 
testified your proportion of Respect in a handsome manner to the 
Memory of the good and virtuous Washington. That he ought to live in 
our Memories, and be transmitted to posterity as a Character truly 
worthy Imitation is Right, but some Eulogystjs] have asscribed to him 
solely, what was the joint effort & concert of Many. To no one Man in 
America, belongs the Epithet of Saviour of his Country. That Washing- 
tons Character, when we take into view, his Education, the place of his 
Birth, and the various scenes in which he was calPd to act, exhibits a 

* In spite of the declaration of John Adams to the contrary (see the letter of July 12, 
1789), no one can accuse him of not having done his utmost to further the interests of his 
children and his relatives. Two Cranch cousins are referred to in this letter: William 
Cranch (1769-1855), the son of the sister of Mrs. John Adams, and Joseph Cranch, the 
son of the Reverend John Cranch, who died in England in 1746, the year that Richard and 
his sister, Mary Cranch, emigrated to America in the Wilmington, landing in Boston on 
November 13, 1746. This Joseph Cranch was given a post at West Point, New York, as 
early as 1790 (see the letters of April 3, 21, and 28, 1790). Ten years later he was using 
his influence to get a place at Harpers Ferry. His Cousin William, son of Richard (who was 
a close friend of John Adams), was a classmate of John Quincy Adams at Harvard. Having 
studied law, he entered the employment of James Greenleaf, the promoter of Washington, 
D.C., in 1794, and married Greenleaf s sister in 1795. Having failed to obtain the clerkship 
of the Supreme Court (see the letter of January 30, 1800), William Cranch was, in Decem- 
ber, 1800, made one of the commissioners of Washington by John Adams. Two months 
later, March 3, 1801, Adams appointed him assistant judge of the Circuit Court of the 
District of Columbia, where he sat for the extraordinary term of fifty-four years. For a 
cool account of the career of William Cranch, see Clark, Greenleaf and Law in the Federal 
City> pp. 47-66. For a sketch of the Cranch family, see the New-England Historical and 
Genealogical Register, vol. 27, pp. 40-1 : "Richard Cranch and His Family." 

s See footnote 2 to the letter of December 22, 1799. 

7 The remaining third of the page is cut off. 

most uncommon assemblage of Modesty, Moderation, Magninimity, 
fortititud [sic], perseverance and disinterestedness, will be most readily 
allowed, but at no time, did the fate of America rest upon the Breath of 
even a Washington, and those who assert these things, are Ignorant 
of the spirit of their countrymen, and whilst they strive to exalt one 
character, degrade that of their Country. These reflections have arrisen 
in my mind from reading Mr. Paynes oration, 1 and a Mad Rant of Bom- 
bast in a Boston centinal of a Mr. Messenger. 2 Judge [George Richards] 
Minots oration is exempt from these reflections. [It is the cool mild and 
cancelled] Wise and judicious observations upon his Character are 
those only which will out live the badges of mourning. Simple Truth is 
his best his greatest Eulogy. She alone can render his Fame immortal. 8 

1 ct Mr. Payne's oration" refers to the Reverend Thomas Paine's "An Eulogy on the 
Life of General George Washington. Written at the Request of the Citizens of Newbury- 
port, and Delivered at the First Presbyterian Meeting-House in that town, January 2, 
1 800," the first paragraph of which follows: 

Americans, The saviour of your country has obtained his last victory. Having reached 
the summit of human perfection, he has quitted the region of human glory. Conqueror of 
Time, he has triumphed over mortality; Legate of Heaven, he has returned with the tid- 
ings of his mission; Father of his People, he has ascended to advocate their cause in the 
bosom of his God. Solemn, "as it were a pause in nature," was his transit to eternity; 
thronged by the shades of heroes, his approach to the confines of bliss; papaned by the 
song of angels, his journey beyond the stars I 

Eulogies and Orations on tkf Life and Death of General George Washington, Boston, 1 800, 


This Reverend Thomas Paine is not to be confused with fi Tom" Paine (1737-1809), who 
did not return from France until October, 1802. 

3 Rosewell Messinger (1776-1844). See his An Oration, Delivered at Old York on the 
Death of George Washington, Charlestown, Massachusetts, 1800. Messinger's oration fills 
twelve pages, and contains twenty-three paragraphs. The portions quoted below will 
explain the contempt of Mrs. Adams: 

The sun of the firmament is not darkened I The foundations of the earth do not tremble! 
Rocks have not fallen to dust! The mountains have not melted away! But the veil of 
liberty's temple is rent in twain. Her spotless high-priest hath retired to rest, through the 
portals of everlasting fame. 

If our tongue were an angels it would falter; if our hearts were marble they would bleed; 
if our eyes were fiint they would swell with tears; if the world were a Zembla It would melt 
and mourn, for Washington is no more .... 

O, Adams, thy grief must pierce the centre of thy heart. More momentous than ever 
are the cares that devolve upon thee. The prophet with whom thou hast walked hand and 
hand, is now departed. Receive the mantle of thy brother, If the waters of death threaten 
to flood our country, divide them asunder; bid them roll on the right and the left, till they 
are lost In the desert. God will make thee Columbia's second Saviour 

Though they said he [Washington] was a God, he died as a man: let us not murmur, 
but rather wonder, that his great and immortal soul should be contented to reside in a 
human form so long. 

* George Richards Minot (1752-1802), of Boston, jurist and historian, delivered a 
speech on the occasion of the death of Washington, a whole edition of which sold in one day, 


The News from France, is not that the Royall Standard is raised, but 
that a Triumvirate exists Buonaparta is an adventerous Man. He is 
upon a Pinacle and with one foot only. We are yet all together in the 
dark respecting his views. Time must develope them. But one volcano 
burstfs] forth after an other, and what current the lava will take, we must 
wait to learn. 4 

I send you the report upon citizen Randolphs Letter. The Young Man 
is like to cost the Country more money in the debate by the time it 
will take up, than all his services will be worth tho he lived to the age of 
an Antideluvian. I have not a doubt that it was all a contrived buisness, 
by the Antifeds to raise a ferment to spread amongst their constituents. 
See says the fly upon the wheel, what a dust I raise. 5 

I have had Letters from Berlin and the pleasure of hearing that 
both Mr. & Mrs. [J. Q.] Adams were in good health. The latest date to 
30 October. 

When I wrote you last, I had had a sleepless Night. I then have no 
spirits to spair I have had a turn of loosing my sleep, but am not other- 
ways sick. I have for the last three Nightfs] been very fortunate. Genii. 
Lincoln is about to return home. By him I send a little packet which I 
request my sister to accept. Pray desire Mrs. Porter to look to the Beds 
frequently. I shall have much to request your care and attention to, as 
soon as you get through the ordination. 6 If the spring is not more of 
winter than the winter itself, I hope the Building will go up early in 

4 On October 8, 1799, Bonaparte returned unannounced from Egypt to France, landing 
at Frejus. Effecting an alliance with two of the Directors, Emanuel Joseph Sieyes (1748- 
1836) and Pierre Roger Ducos (1747-1816), and enlisting the aid of his only able brother, 
Lucien (1775-1840), who was President of the Council of Five Hundred, Bonaparte over- 
threw the Directory on November 9 (18 Brumaire), and broke up the Council of Five 
Hundred on the following day. The Corsican became First Consul for a term of ten years, 
assisted by two other Consuls, Jean Jacques Regis Cambaceres (1753-1824) and Charles 
Francois Lebnm (1739-1824), both of whom were appointed by him and had only con- 
sultative powers. A "popular" vote of December 24, 1799, "ratified" the establishment of 
this disastrous dictatorship. 

* Hardly had John Randolph of Roanoke (1773-1833) got himself elected to the House 
of Representatives when, in advocating the reduction of the Army, he referred to the regu- 
lar soldiers as "mercenaries" and "ragamuffins." After a couple of officers had tried to 
insult him, he wrote President Adams, demanding that notice be taken of this attack on 
the independence of the legislature. His letters were transmitted to the House (Adams, 
Works, vol. 9, pp. 46 and 165), and they led to a heated debate. The story of the fly upon 
the wheel comes from Aesop. See Francis Bacon, Essays: "Of Vain Glory"; and La 
Fontaine, Fables, Book 7, Fable 9: "Le Coche et la Mouche." 

8 See footnote 3 to the letter of December 4, 1799. The "ordination" refers to the 
Reverend Peter Whitney, who became the assistant to Anthony Wibird, minister in Quincy, 
and was ordained on Wednesday, February 5, 1800. Whitney's father, pastor at North- 
boro, delivered the ordination sermon. Massachusetts Mercury^ February u, 1800. 


March. The doors which must be cut through the Room & chamber 
will require the Removal of all the furniture, and the painting of Both, 
which they now want. The glaseing of the front I would have done one 
of the first things and the alteration in the kitchin which I contem- 
plated I should like to have done, but the floor must be coverd, or 
painted again afterwards. When the new building goes up the kitchin 
will be so darkned that I must let the closset into it & take off a partition 
where the dressers now are. I think it would be best to run the partition 
along so as to take the Chamber door, the cellar & parlour door into the 
entry. This will make the kitchin much warmer & serene the [porch 
cancelled] kitchin from the view of the parlour. But more of this soon. 

Mrs. [William Stephens] Smith is very unwell with a voilent cold, 
Soar Throat, & some fever. She has kept her Chamber ever since 
Saturday. I hope she is getting better Caroline [Amelia] is well. The 
rest of us in pretty good Health Adieu my dear Sister. I will write to 
Mrs. [Moses] Black soon. 



Philadelphia, Jan'ry 30, 1800 

I have only time this morning to write you a line, to inclose a Letter 
from Mrs. Brisler to her sister. It is company day. New Hampshire, 
Conneticut & Massachusetts delegation^] dine with us to day: I am 
sure we have never had half so many Congress Ladies since I first came 
here. They do not expect any accommodations at the new city for them, 
and they seem determined to take their turn now. We have had large 
companies twice every week besides the drawing Rooms; and I have 
not got near through. Next week the Court & Bar are to dine with us. 
I have no time for work, and not much for writing. But I have much 
better health than last winter, or I could not get along. Congress have 
been for five or six days employd in discussing Randolphs folly. It is not 
yet finishd. 1 

The weather is now very cold. I hope it will be more moderate for 
ordination. Pray let me know how Pheby is this winter, and whether 
she is well supplied. 

Love, Regard[s] & respects to all Friends from your 

Affectionate Sister 


J John Randolph's letter to John Adams. See footnote 5 to the letter of January 28, 1800. 

23 1 

Philadelphia,, Feb'ry mh, 1800 

I did not write to you the last week. I supposed you must be much 
occupied by the ordination, which I hope is happily over and that I 
may congratulate you as well as myself upon again having a setled 
Pastor, in whose society I promise myself much pleasure, please God to 
continue my Life. I cannot entertain you with any thing new. I have 
the pleasure of Mrs. Cushings company frequently. She will call and see 
you upon her return and tell you how we are. I have sent by her a little 
Jockey for my Little Thomas B[oylston] A[dams] Norton, which I hope 
will fit him, and of which I request his mammas acceptance. 1 Since I 
wrote you I have received a Letter from Sister [Stephen] Peabody, who 
I was rejoiced to learn, was well and in pretty good spirits. I have also 
had a Letter from your son, who writes like the Man of sense he always 
was. I ventured to mention him myself to Judge Patterson, and Judge 
Gushing has said every thing proper upon the occasion. Judge Chase, 
Mr. T[homas] B[oylston] A[dams] went himself to, and ask'd him if 
he had been informd that Mr. Cranch was a candidate for the office of 
Clerk to the Supreme Court. 2 Yes Sir, I do. Do you know his Character 
Sir? Yes Sir, I do. Then Sir, I have nothing further to add. Judge 
Gushing mentiond to Judge Chase that Mr. Cranch was a Nephew of 
mine, to which he replied, that Mrs. Adams wish should be his Law. 
This tho very polite in the Judge, I am far from wishing should influence 
him or any of the other Gentlemen. If I did not think Mr. Cranch a 
person well qualified for the office, I would not recomend him if he was 

1 Thomas Boylston Adams Norton was the son of Elizabeth Cranch and the Reverend 
Jacob Norton, and the grandson of Mrs. Richard Cranch. A * e jockey" coat was an over- 
coat, especially one of broadcloth, with wide sleeves. 

2 William Paterson (1745-1806), William Cushing (1732-1810), and Samuel Chase 
(1741-1811), associate justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. See footnote % 
to the letter of November 21, 1800. The first clerk of the Supreme Court was John Tucker 
(1753-1825), Harvard, 1774, who served for one year. Samuel Bayard (1767-1840), 
of Philadelphia, Princeton, 1784, was the second clerk. Bayard resigned his office in 1800 
rather than go to Washington, D.C. Elias Boudinot Caldwell, of New Jersey, Princeton, 
1796, became the third clerk of the Supreme Court, and died at Washington in May, 
1825. This Caldwell was the son of the Reverend James Caldwell (1734-1781), pastor 
of the First Presbyterian Church in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and a militant clergyman dur- 
ing the Revolution, Although a chaplain, Caldwell carried arms, and rewards were offered 
by the British for his capture. This "soldier parson" was shot and killed by an American 
sentry, who was subsequently tried and hanged for murder. Charles Warren, The Supreme 
Court in United States History, Boston, 1935, vol. I, p* 15871.; John W. Barber and Henry 
Howe, Historical Collections of the State of New Jersey , New York, 1844, p. 169; and Proc. 
Mass. Hist. Soc. t vol. 50 (1917), p. 118. 


my own son. To Judge Washington no application from [an]y one of the 
Family has been made* 3 He holds his appointment as Judge from the 
President, and I had some scruples upon that account whether in point 
of delicacy I ought to say any thing to him. Judge Gushing advised that 
Mr. Cranch should himself write to the Judges, and I wrote to him 
requesting him to do so, and yesterday just before the Court rose having 
finished their Buisness, Mr. Cranch's Letters arrived and Mr, T. B. A. 
deliverd them. There is an other candidate who has made consider- 
able interest belonging to New Jersey, the state in which Judge Paterson 
lives; so that I presume Judge Paterson will be silent, if Mr. Cranch 
should be nominated. The Gentlemans name is Colwill [Cal dwell], 
whose father fell in Battle in the American Revolution. He is said to be 
a Gentleman of Merrit. A Gentleman applied yesterday morning to 
Judge Gushing in his behalf. The Judge replied that he could not give 
any encouragement, because he was interested for an other Gentleman. 
To this the Gentleman who applied, said that he had heard that there 
was an application from a Carpenter in the city of Washington. The 
Judge replied that Solomon who built the Temple might be as well calld 
a carpenter. The Gentleman who would have his vote had received a 
liberal Education, was regularly Bred to the Law, and had been several 
years a practitioner, early setled in Washington, had a fair and honorable 
Character, and tho he wishd well to the other Gentleman, he could not 
give him his interest. Thus the matter now stands. The result I presume 
my next Letter will inform you of. 4 

I want to hear from you. It is a long time now since I had that pleasure. 
Remember me kindly to all Friends. 

Your ever affectionate Sister 

* Bushrod Washington (1762-1829), nephew of George Washington, was confirmed as 
associate justice of the Supreme Court on December 20, 1798. 

4 EHas Boudinot Caldwell, of New Jersey, was the successful applicant for this position, 
and became third clerk of the Supreme Court in 1 800. The slur in calling William Cranch a 
"carpenter" arose from the fact that he was confused with his cousin, Joseph Cranch, who, 
through the influence of Secretary of War Henry Knox, was appointed, in 1790, a super- 
visor of the construction which the federal government was carrying on at West Point, 
New York. See the letter of April 21, 1790. 


Philadelphia, Febry 27th, [1800] 

I have not written to you since I received your Letter giving me an 
account of the ordination, the fatigues of which I should have been glad 
to have shared with you, and I could not but blame myself, that I did not 
write to request Mrs. Porter to have opend our House, and Stables, and 
to have accomodated as many persons as they could. It is now happily 
over and I congratulate the Town in having made so wise, and as I 
think, judicious a choice. The President frequently expresses his satis- 
faction that we are once more a setled people not as for a long time past, 
sheep without a sheapard. I hope we shall live in union and harmony. 
The nest thing will be the marriage of Mr. Whitney, I presume. If it 
were proper to wish a Gentlemans happiness deferd, I should like to be 
at Quincy when the Lady is introduced as our Madam. For the last 
fortnight we have had delightfull weather through the whole of it. Clear 
sun shine, cold enough to be pleasent without being urksome, the snow 
all melted, the Rivers open and the weeping willow, which is a great 
ornament to this City, putting on its first appearence of veg[et]ation, 
a yellow aspect, which changes to a beautifull Green in a few week's 
and is the first Harbinger of that Season, in which all nature is ren- 
ovated. This appearence as I ride out brings to my view the few weeks 
longer which I have to remain here, and then I shall bid, very probably 
a final adieu to this City. There is something always melancholy, in the 
Idea of leaving a place for the last time. It is like burying a Friend. 
I could have wished that the period of the first Election might have 
closed in this city; It is a very unpleasent thing to break up all the estab- 
lishments, and remove to a place so little at present, and probably for 
years to come, so ill calculated for the residence of such a Body as 
Congress. The houses which are built are so distant, the streets so miry, 
and the markets so ill supplied. 

In my last I wrote you that Mr. [Samuel] Bayard, the present Clerk of 
the Court, intended resigning this session, but there is a revision of the 
judiciary system contemplated. It will soon be reported to the House. 
If it should pass, many alterations will take place. This I believe was 
the reason of Mr. Bayards determining not to resign at present. 1 You 
will see Judge Gushing soon, if not before this reaches you, and he will 
inform you more than I can. The Judge & Mrs. Gushing left here near a 
fortnight ago, and have had fine weather ever since. I trust they have 
improved it. 

1 See footnote 2. to the letter of February 12, 1 800. 


On Saturday the 22d [of February] I went to hear Major [William! 
Jackson deliver his oration. 2 It was a very handsome one, and much 
better deliverd than I had any Idea he could perform It is not yet 
printed, but when it is, I think it will not suffer by any comparison 
with any I have yet Seen. Two months have chiefly been appropriated 
to funeral honours to the memory of Gen'll. Washington. I know not 
that in any modern Times, either Kings or Princess have received 
equal honors. History does not record any so deserving or so meritori- 
ous [of cancelled] 

Mrs. [William Stephens] Smith I expect will leave me in a week or ten 
days. I expect a visit from Mrs. [Joshua] Johnson & her son, the middle 
of next month. Mrs. Black I hope has received a Letter I wrote to her 
inclosing the certificate of Ann Halls baptism. 3 I fear she thought me 
unmindfull of it, but I was not. It was oweing to the sickness of Dr. 
Green that I could not sooner obtain it, 4 My Letter must have reachd 
her about the same time that a renewal of her request did me. 

How are all our Neighbours and Friends? I have inquired once or 
twice concerning Pheby. I hope she is comfortable in her marriage and 
well provided for. We all send Love, respect &c to all our Friends. I 
want to know how your cold is, and whether Mr. Cranch's is better. I 
have great cause for thankfullness. I know not when I have past a winter 
with so little sickness, or a Febry without being confined upon the 
Birthday of Gen'll. Washington. Three years ago, I was well enough 
upon that day to celebrate it in Boston, but it has generally been a 
month of sickness to me. Except the loss of sleep which I have several 
times experienced, I have had more Health than for many years. I hope 
it may be continued to me, for without Health Life has few enjoyments. 

Adieu my dear Sister. I would desire you to remember me to Miss 
Gannet, with whose increasing years I hope and trust wisdom, Pru- 
dence, and every female virtue will grow and increase. Where much is 
given, much is required. This should impress her mind and influence 

* William Jackson (1759-1828), soldier and secretary, was born in England and brought 
up In South Carolina. From 1788 to 1791 he served as aide-de-camp to George Washing- 
ton. He formed a business partnership with William Bingham, and married (1795) Eliza- 
beth Willing, of Philadelphia, daughter of Thomas Willing, the president of the Bank of 
North America. Jackson's "Eulogium on the Character of General Washington" will be 
found in Eulogies and Orations on ike Liff and Death of General fPaskington, pp. 243-60. 

8 See footnote 2 to the letter of January 5, 1798. 

*Ashbel Green (1762-1848), eighth president of Princeton, was assistant and then 
minister of the Second Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia from 1787 to 1812. From 
1792 to 1800 he was chaplain to the Congress. 


her conduct. She will I trust receive this as the admonition of a Friend. 
Let her think what she owes to one of the kindest [&] tenderest of 
Parents, and she can never wander from the path of Rectitude. 5 Once 
more I bid you adieu assureing you of the 

Love and affection of 

Philadelphia, March 5, 1800 

I received your Letter of Febry 23 and was glad to learn that you 
were well, for from not hearing from you from the time of ordination I 
was fearfull that the fatigue had made you sick. We have now arrived 
to the 5th of March with a small quantity of snow upon the ground and 
the weather mild. With you I suppose there is much more. Congress 
might easily accomplish the buisness necessary for the benifit of the 
Nation, but I must say their is a most shamefull waste of time. The 
Antifeds have brought before the House the delivering up to Justice, 
Thomas Nash, which in strict conformity with the Treaty with G[reat] 
Britain was done. 1 The Anti party have by every subterfuge, mean art 
& declamation wasted the time of the House upon that subject more 
than a week, and I dare answer will keep the buisness more than a week 
more before them. The Jacobins are a very wicked unprincipeld set of 
Beings. This whole affair is brought up not from a Love of Justice, or 
apprehension that a fellow creature was unjustly punished, but merely 
to hold out to their Party that the President had Encroached upon the 
Judiciary, and assumed an influence which was unconstitutional. The 

5 Miss Gannett was the daughter of Caleb Gannett. See footnote 5 to the letter of 
March 5, 1 800. 

1 In February, 1800, the House of Representatives, under the goading of John Randolph 
of Roanoke, wasted a lot of time and breath over the case of a seaman, Jonathan Robbins, 
alias Thomas Nash, who was in jail at Charleston, South Carolina. Robbins was accused 
of murder and piracy on HJVf.S. Hermione, and Admiral Sir Hyde Parker had sent a 
cutter to Charleston to carry him back to the West Indies for trial. Robbins first "con- 
fessed himself to be an Irishman," and then declared that he was a citizen of Danbury, 
Connecticut. The selectmen of Danbury denied this, under oath. Thomas Bee, judge of 
the district court of the United States for South Carolina, refused to surrender Robbins 
to the British on his own authority. When the case was referred to Pickering and Adams, 
Robbins was given up, according to the terms of Jay's Treaty: See the Boston Independent 
Chronicle and Universal Advertiser, February 17-27, 1800. John Marshall was the chief, 
and successful, defender of the action of Adams in the House of Representatives. See the 
letter of March 15-18, 1800. The French spy who befriended Nash, or Robbins, and who 
advised him to swear that he was an American citizen, was hanged at Kingston, Jamaica: 
/. RusselFs Gazette, February 27, 1800. 


whole correspondence is before the public and every candid person must 
see, that the delivering the Rascal up, was in conformity to the Treaty 
which is the Law of the Land, and the President is sworn to see the Laws 
executed. But Electionering purposes are answerd by the gloss put 
upon the transaction by the Jacos, which is carefully retaild in all the 
democratic papers. The replies and confutation of their arguments are 
carefully conceald from the party whom these people wish to lead blind 
fold. I have not a doubt but their will be a majority in the House who will 
approve the conduct of the Executive. One or two more Elections will 
be quite sufficient I believe to convince this people that no engine can be 
more fatally employd than frequent popular Elections, to corrupt and 
destroy the morals of the people 3 years are now past, and we have 
enjoyd as much peace, quiet, Security and happiness as any people 
can boast of in the same period of time, much more than for the three 
years which preceeded. Our National Character has risen in the public 
estimation, and the public confidence has in no ways been diminished. 
Faction has not been so turbulent nor malice so active. The Electioner- 
ing campaign I presume will bring all their forces into action. 

1 send you an oration of Major [William] Jacksons, with which I think 
you will be pleased 2 And now as you observe, I hope the good mans 
spirit may rest in quiet, for America has testified her gratitude & her 
Grief in the fullest manner, and I firmly believe with more sincerity 
than any people ever before felt for any Man But when the collection of 
Sermons, Eulogiums, Poems &c are collected, more than two thirds 
of them will be found to have originated in N[ew] England. From thence, 
did he derive his chief aid in War, and his chief and principle support, 
in the administration of the Government. At a late festival in Kentucky, 
amongst a number of Jacobin toasts is one to the memory of Genii. 
Washington to the year 1779 [1787], and no longer, by which they mean 
to cast a slur upon the whole of his administration of the Government. 
But Hence, wretches, to your native dens the bogs of Ireland, the dens 
of Scotland, and the outcasts of Britain. 3 

2 See footnote ^ to the letter of February 27, 1800. 

3 The festival to which Mrs. Adams refers was a barbecue held by the Jeffersonians at 
Thomas Stephenson's Spring on the North Elkhorn, in Fayette County, Kentucky, "in 
order to celebrate the recent successes of our allies the French." Sixteen toasts were 
"drank," of which the fourth, the ninth, and the fourteenth probably annoyed John 
Adams and his wife: 

"Thomas Jefferson; the pride of republicans, and terror of aristocrats; may he^be 
soon raised to the seat, to which his unfortunate country has been too long in elevating 


Mrs. [William Stephens] Smith and my little Caroline [Amelia Smith] 
left me yesterday to go to Scotch Plain's. I was very loth they should go, 
but could detain them no longer. I hope Dr. [Cotton] Tufts will send us 
his performance. I dare say it was a very judicious one. 4 I have written 
to the Dr. I hope the Building will go on with all speed. Mr. Porter, the 
Dr. writes, inclines to leave us this spring. I had rather they should 
remain untill the fall of the year, but if he determines to go, can you 
think of a man and woman to take their place untill the fall? I hope 
to return by the time their year expires, or that at all events they will 
stay untill I do. 

Louissa is very well and desires me to present her duty to you. Re- 
member me affectionatly to all my Friends. I see by the late papers 
that Mr. Gannet is married again. 5 I hope Miss Gannet will strive to 
obtain and preserve the regard of her [step-] Mother, whose Character 
stands high and who will do justice to the charge she has taken upon her, 
from what I have heard of her. 

Adieu my dear Sister. My best regards to Brother Cranch, in which I 
am always joind by the President. 

Ever your affectionate Sister 

Philadelphia, March 15, 1800 

I find the best time for writing, is to rise about an hour earlier than 
the rest of the family; go into the Presidents Room, and apply myself 
to my pen. Now the weather grows warmer I can do it. His Room in 


"The memory of Gen. Washington, may his illustrious actions and services be faith- 
fully recorded down to the year 1787, but no farther." 

"The President of the U. States; may he soon retire to Quincy, by general consent, 
accompanied by his ^Defence of the American Constitutions.* " 

In commenting on this "barbacue," John Ward Fenno wrote: "I would not be thought 
to magnify dangers, or exaggerate alarms. If the whole of this drunken Republic of 
Kentucky had avowed the above infamous sentiments on this occasion (as indeed they 
have very often done) Instead of a crew whom perhaps a single work house or a single Jail 
will contain, I should still view them as contemptible, in respect of numbers or specific 
force." Gazette of the United States, March 3, 1800, quoting the Kentucky Gazette, "printed 
at Lexington, by one Bradford, whether a member of our illustrious family, or not, we 
cannot determine." 

4 Cotton Tufts, Oration at Weymouih, February 22, 1800, on the Death of George Washing- 
ton, Boston, 1800. See also. Franklin B. Hough, Washingtoniana: or Memorials of the 
Death of George Washington . . . uith a List of Tracts and Volumes Printed upon the Occasion, 
Rozbury, Massachusetts, 1865. 

6 Caleb Gannett, Esq., was married to Ruth Stiles, "daughter of the late President 
Stiles," January 19, 1 800. Massachusetts Mercury January 24, 1800. 


which I now write has three larg[e] windows to the South. The sun visits 
It with his earliest beams at the East window, and Cheers it the whole 
day in winter. All my keeping Rooms are North, but my forenoons are 
generally spent in my own Chamber tho a dark one, and I often think of 
my sun shine Cottage at Quincy. 

March 1 8th, [1800] 

I was calld from writing on the 15 by a summons below stairs, and have 
not been able to reassume my pen untill this morning. Yesterday the 
1 7th I received your kind Letter of March gth. I hope Mr. Cranch will 
be able to obtain the appointment he has so much at Heart, but I know 
not what will be the result of the judiciary Bill which is not yet reported 
to the House. Congress seem loth to enter upon buisness of the most 
concequence. Some are for postponing this Bill untill the next Sessions, 
which has already Cost much time, and labour of the Committe. They 
will find themselves much less agreably situated the next session I 
presume, besides Its being a short one. But they have spent much time, 
and I fear always will upon very trifling buisness. Jacky Randolph & 
Thomas Nash, or [Jonathan] Robbins, have occupied a whole Month. 1 
But whilst there is so great a disposition In the House to let the Jacobins 
through [throw] obsticales in the way of every measure useful! and beni- 
ficial to the public, and prate whole days, least it should be said that they 
were affraid to contend with them, much time must & will be waisted. 

I do not regreet that my Nephew is dissapointed, if so he Is. I am sure 
the family connextion could never have proved happy, however amiable 
Ann was, or Is. She will be better the wife of any other Man. I never 
thought it a judicious connextion. Oil & water might as well mix, as the 
Fathers harmonize. Then Boylstone always despiced the Ignorance, 
selfishness want of Breeding In Beals, how was It possible for him to 
respect or treat him, as a son ought to treat a Father? Many other 
things I could add why It was unequal. Ann had been Educated In a 
different stile from what she might expect to live. I shall wish her joy 
more cordially the wife of Mr. Prince if they like, or any other man they 
chuse. I never want any nearer relationship than that of Neighbour or 
[even though] I know there was a time I might have had It. 2 

I communicated to the President Mr. [Peter] Whitneys desire, and 
the President says Mr. Whitney shall have the House and that it shall 

1 See footnote I to the letter of March 5, 1800. 

* Mrs. Adams refers to the projected marriage between Boylston Adams (born 1771), 
son of her husband's brother, Peter Boylston Adams, and Ann Beal (born 1774), daughter 
of Abijah and Ann (Canterbury) Beal, of Weymouth. 


be put into decent repair. I have directions to write to Dr. Tufts upon 
the subject. The House is to be painted, the Garden fence new sit, and 
every proper repair made to render it decent & comfortable But I am 
at a loss to know what to do with Mr. [J. Q.] Adams's Books. The 
furniture belonging to me, I can take away as soon as I can get Room to 
place it at home, but as the rest part of the House wants the most done 
to it, that may be accomplishd first. Mr. Brisler would have his furni- 
ture which remains there removed to Mr. Mears's. Mrs. Mears knows 
what it is. I heard from Mrs. [William Stephens] Smith yesterday. 
She says, as her happiness did not consist in the size of the House in 
which she lived, it is not essentially diminishd by Removing, from that 
where she has past the winter to a Log Hut, that her disposition is 
accommodating, that she has always found that she can support herself 
against the Present, but that in anticipating the future she has much more 
anxiety. She says there are 13 Hundred Men all in Huts, but so per- 
fectly quiet both by Night and day that no Noise but that of the drum & 
fife is heard amongst them. 

I intend to propose to her passing the summer at Quincy with me. I 
have not mentiond it to her. I am sorry for the [distresses cancelled^ 
misfortunes of my Neighbours, particularly so for Dr. Phips, whose sit- 
uation must be very distressing, with a large young family, 3 Present me 
kindly to Mr. & Mrs. Greenleaf when you see them. Their Brother 
James [Greenleaf] is here; and has been to see us a number of time. 
I saw him yesterday walking with Miss Allyne, as I was going to return 
some visits. She is a beautifull figure, and with the assistance of a little 
Rouge, a beautifull face, which however I think she does not need. He 
appears as easy, and looks as happy, as tho neither care or sorrow ever 
approachd his Heart. 4 

3 Thomas Phipps, son of Samuel and Eleanor (Gardner) Phipps, was born at Cambridge 
on March 15, 1737/8, and died at Quincy on April 4, 1817, He was graduated at Harvard 
College in 1757, became a physician at Quincy, and married (1761) Mary Brackett, daugh- 
ter of James and Abigail (Belcher) Brackett. Phipps was a prominent citizen, and seems to 
have been connected first with the First Church, and later with the Episcopal Church in 
Braintree. His eighth child, a son named Samuel, was born on May 13, 1801. Apparently 
Dr. Phipps was one of the unfortunate persons from New England who lost money through 
the speculations of James Greenleaf. Personal information supplied by the Reverend 
Frederick L. Weis, of Lancaster, Massachusetts, author of The Ancestors and Descendants 
of John Phipps , of Sherborn, 1924. 

4 After being discharged from bankruptcy, and having divorced his Dutch wife, Antonia 
Cornelia Albertine Schotten, James -Greenleaf married, April 26, 1800, Ann Penn Allen, 
daughter and heiress of James Allen, the founder of Allentown, Pennsylvania, who was 
the son of William Allen, Chief Justice of the Province of Pennsylvania. Greenleaf, 
Genealogy of the Greenleaf Family, Boston, 1896, pp. 217-8. For reproductions of portraits 
of the two wives of James Greenleaf, see Clark, Greenleaf and Law in the Federal City, 
pp. 87 and 201. 


* , aw w . ^ * M ^'* 
c *^c .AT*/* /."^ ^A /fi 

,A / - A^. * 

/^-VA X^ *-*_**** > 



Tell Miss Hazel that she is in so good Hands that I cannot think she 
wants any advise of mine, as I believe her to be modest, diffident & 
tracktable. It was oweing to a different opinion that I offerd to an other 
an admonition. The Lay Preacher of Pensilvana who has publishd a 
peice in Fennos Gazzet of the last week thinks there are some Ladies in 
this city, who stand in need of admonition, & I fully agree with him. 
His test was, "In like Manner also, that women adorn themselves in 
modest apparel." He observes that where the semblance of modesty 
is wanting, there is strong ground to presume the absence of the virtue 
itself. What shall we say then ? Is there virtue in the woman who art- 
fully seeks to display the rich luxuriance of natur's Charms, at the hazard 
and expence of sporting with all claim to Chaste appearence? 5 

The stile of dress which the preacher attacks is really an outrage upon 
all decency. I will describe it as it has appeard even at the drawing 
Room A sattin peticoat of certainly not more than three breadths 
gored at the top, nothing beneath but a chemise. Over this thin coat ? a 
Muslin sometimes, sometimes a crape made so strait before as perfectly 
to show the whole form. The arm naked almost to the shoulder and with- 
out stays or Bodice. A tight girdle round the waist, and the "rich 
Luxurience of naturs Charms" without a hankerchief fully displayd. 

5 The essay to which Mrs. Adams refers appeared In Fenno's Gazettf for Saturday, March 
15, 1800, and occupied a column and a half. In it "The Lay Preacher of Pennsylvania" 
denounces the notorious style of female dress under the Directory, as well as the habit of 
using rouge. The author took as his text part of verses 9 and 10 of the second chapter of 
the First Epistle of St. Paul to Timothy: 

"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefaced- 
ness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 

But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works." 

Two samples will suffice to give the drift of this denunciation: 

"It is a subject of no small astonishment, that modes and fashions should be so readily 
and Indiscriminately adopted, without regard to their origin or use, A despicable courtezan, 
who commands the gallantries of a vitiated capital, is often known to lead one half the 
female world by her fantastic whimsies. Generated by the artifice or fancy of a wanton, 
to subserve the views of sensual conquest, a new fashion speedily obtains extensive cur- 
rency, is transported to a distant land, and by a blind adoption, ensured by novelty, de- 
grades the form and comliness [sic] of virtue. It cannot but create surprise, that Ve are 
such stuff/ as to pride ourselves in habiliments, whose only excellence is recency of inven- 
tion, and whose origin is from no higher source than a harlot's brain. 

" The mischiefs efface painting have been amply experienced, and its evil consequences 

have been repeatedly detailed, but the custom extends with an alaniJng progress. Still 
do the dupes of fashion continue this unseemly practice, by which the rosy cheek of health 
is wasted to the paleness of disease; and nature's fairest red is defiled or counterfeited, 

by a daubed covering of rouge And the world at once sets down a painted woman either 

as a hag, who thus seeks to conceal her deformity, or as a fool, sporting with real charms 
and sacrificing a rich possession." 


The face, a la mode de Paris, Red as a Brick hearth. When this Lady has 
been led up to make her curtzey, which she does most gracefully, it is 
true, every Eye in the Room has been fixd upon her her [sic], and you 
might litterally see through her. But in this stile of dress, she has 
danced nor regarded the splitting out of her scanty coat, upon the 
occasion. I askd a young Gentleman, if Miss. was at the dance 
last Evening. The replie was: yes, most wickedly. To do justice to the 
other Ladies, I cannot accuse them of such departures from female 
decorum, but they most of them wear their Cloaths too scant upon the 
body and too full upon the Bosom for my fancy. Not content with the 
show which nature bestows, they borrow from art, and litterally look 
like Nursing Mothers. To disguise the strait appearence of the Gowns 
before, those Aprons, which you say look like fig leaves, were adopted. 
The Mother of the Lady described & sister, being fine women and in 
the first Rank, are leaders of the fashion, but they show more of the 
[bosom] than the decent Matron, or the modest woman. 6 

I am glad to learn that Sister [Elizabeth] Peabody has recoverd her 
spirits. She must not be too hard upon Betsy nor forget that she herself 
was once young, and possesst a heart as liable to impressions, and as 
susceptable of the tender passions as any body I can recollect. Betsy 
has a heridatary spice of the Romantic in her constitution. Guide her 
right. Her heart is good, A cold youth, would be a frozen Age. If she 
has more pangs in concequence of her disposition she has more pleas- 
ures. 7 Adieu my dear Sister. 

I must write to Dr. Tufts before the post goes out. 

Affectionatly your Sister 

[Philadelphia], March 22, 1800 

I received your Letter yesterday. I know from what I saw and heard 
whilst I was at home that there was pains taken to make Mr. Sc Mrs. 
Porter uneasy, and that they were too apt to listen to stories which were 

6 Aime Willing, that is, Mrs. William Bingham, of "The Mansion House," Philadelphia, 
and her two daughters, Anne, who married Alexander Baring, of the celebrated family of 
London bankers, and Maria Matilda, divorced wife of the Cointe de Tilly. 

7 Elizabeth Smith, one of the daughters of William Smith, the brother of Abigail Adams, 
Mrs. Cranch, and Mrs. Peabody (formerly Mrs. Shaw). Mrs. Peabody eked out the slender 
emoluments of her ministerial husband by taking college students and young relatives 
as paying guests. 


in themselves Idle, and raised from Envy. Many would be glad to get 
into their hands such a charge as is left with Mr. & Mrs. Porter, who 
would not be so honest in their care and attention of our Property. I feel 
a safety in leaving my things to their care, because #s I know it is their 
duty faithfully to fulfill the trust. I consider them conscientious people, 
and having a principle of honesty, that they will not betray the con- 
fidence reposed in them. I would have you say to them that I had much 
rather they should continue upon the place than make the exchange for 
any other persons, and the President would not have them go this 
season. If I remain through the winter at Quincy, I may not think it 
necessary to continue a Family through the winter, but in that case, I 
have mentiond my terms for Mr. Porter, which I think generous ones. 
As to any persons who may offer, I do not know any whom I should like. 
I cannot think of taking any person with Children, or who may be like 
to have any. I hope every exertion will be made by Mr. Bates to get 
forward the building, that it may be compleated by the last of May at 

I intended giving Mrs. Porter a Muff this winter. If she has not one, 
will you get one for her of about four dollors value and give it her in my 
Name. If Mr. Gary should come with flax be so good as to get me 30 
weight. I inclose ten dollors for these purposes. 

We have had two days severe rain. I hope it has not been snow with 
you. I must depend upon you to visit our House and with Mrs. Porter 
see the things removed, when the Carpenters begin to work; Mrs. 
Porter will want help. I understand Zube is with Mrs. Tufts. I presume 
it is only conditionally, for I expressly engaged her to return to me in 
the spring. 

Do you know whether Mrs. Brigs, who lived with Mrs. Black, would 
go out again & what she is for a Cook? I must get a woman somewhere 
who will undertake that buisness. Do be upon the inquiry for me. I 
shall not encumber myself with Frank & family, nor shall I have more 
than three or four men servants this season. 

Adieu my dear Sister. Send the inclosed Letter to [the cancelled] 
Dr. Tufts as soon as you can. With Love to you all, I am, my dear Sister, 

Your affectionate 


Philadelphia, April yth, 1800 

Yesterday Mr. Johnson and his Mamma [Mrs. Joshua Johnson] 
arrived here, in good Health. By her I heard from Mr. & Mrs. Cranch. 
She, poor thing, has had a mishap. I rather think it good than ill luck 
however, for it is sad slavery to have children as fast as she has. She has 
recoverd tho she is thin & weak. Your son is rising, Rising in his own 
estimation, which was the place where he most wanted it. He plead a 
cause, spoke three hours against Mr. Mason & an other Gentleman, and 
obtaind his cause. 1 He gaind much applause & Reputation, I am informd. 
Having broken the Ice, I hope he will gain courage and be yet successfull 
and prosperous. He has been born down by his circumstances, & 
deprest beyond measure. He is now rising above them, I hope. 

The weather is remarkable fine. The verdure of the feilds and the 
bursting of the Buds, with the beautifull foliage [sic] of the weeping 
willow, which you have often heard me admire and which is the first 
tree to vegitate in the spring, all remind me of Quincy, my building, my 
Garden, &c. I would have gardning commence upon a large scale 
that we may be provided with vegatables sufficient for a large family. I 
know we want a skilful! gardner. Peas I would have put in & of the sort 
which Stutson [Stetson] procured of Major Millar. I am inforrnd here 
of what is said to be a fact, that the Peas which are first planted bear 
much the longest and best, taking deeper Root into the Ground. I must 
request you to see Mr. Porter and desire him to have due attention by 
Stutson to all the vines &c which George planted last year. 

I am dissapointed in not getting a Letter from you this morning. 
Monday usually brought me one. You will have received several from 
me all requesting your attention to something or other for me. I shall 
want you to see Bates & hurry him as much as possible. The painting 
must be done in the Room & chamber this Month. The closset in the 
keeping parlour wants it too, the floor I mean. 

Major Tousard, the Gentleman you have seen with one Arm, re- 
quested me the other day to inquire if there was any Family in Quincy 
where Mrs. Tousard could be Boarded. He is going to superintend the 
fortifications at fort Independance, and wants to have Mrs. Tousard 
near him, where he can occasionally be with her. I thought of Capt 
James Brackets. She is a pretty little woman, and received here into 

1 Probably Jonathan Mason, Jr., of Boston, who was appointed Senator from Massa- 
chusetts in the autumn of 1800. Mr, Mason went to Washington, D.C., as the legal repre- 
sentative of certain creditors of James Greenleaf in his disastrous speculations in real estate. 


the first circles. She is an American, has no Family. He is much of a 
Gentleman. Will you inquire & write me by the first opportunity. 2 
I must close, not having more time this morning than to assure you of 

My sincere affection 


Philadelphia, April 15, 1800 

I received a few lines from you yesterday In replie to Mr. Bates 
queries. I would have the Room above finishd off the same size with the 
lower Room, the North clossets to remain in the Room and chamber, 
the stairs to be one flight, a portico with a flat Top which I would have 
leaded, and a smilar [sic] one built over the front door of the House, the 
two trees cut down. But I do not wish to have the window to open to 
the floor, because the window in the other entry does not, and cannot 
easily be made to, and I wish to preserve as much uniformity in appear- 
ence as possible. The fence in front will be made to conform with the 
other, the side fence I would not have at present removed: I wish to 
have the length & Breadth of the Hearths as soon as may be, intending 
to get Marble cut for them as well as for the sides and front of the 
the chimney without. I would have a chimny made In the upper Cham- 
ber or Garret, windows to the North as well as South & 2 upon the side 
of the chimny if they can be admitted, and the chamber made as con- 
venient & handsome as it will admit. 

I hope workman [sic] will be employd so as to get along as fast as 
possible. I shall have many a schooling for the sound of the hammer &c 
and for not having the bmsness finished sooner than I fear it will be 
accomplishd the painting in the old part I hope will be done directly. 

Mrs. Porter must have help. If Zuby chuses to stay & Mrs. [Cotton] 
Tufts to keep her, I certainly will not say a word. Mrs. Porter must 
look out & get other help Mrs. [Joshua] Johnson desires to be remem- 
berd, I must send this directly to the post or miss it. 


I am very well & sleep soundly when I am not vexed. 

2 Anne Louis de Tousard (1749-1817), soldier, was born in Paris and served in America 
as an aide to Lafayette. In Santo Domingo, in 1788, Tousard married Maria Francisca 
Regina (Joubert) St. Martin, widow of a rich planter. In 1795 Tousard joined his wife 
and children in the United States, where his wife died in July, 1794. In 1795 he married 
Anna Maria Geddes. Reinstated in the United States Army, he became a colonel, and 
superintended the building of fortifications at West Point, New York; Newport, Rhode 
Island; and Fort Independence, Boston. 


Philadelphia, April lyth, 1800 

Inclosed is a Letter for the Doctor [Cotton Tufts]. As the contents 
are valuable you will be so kind as to deliver it yourself, and give me 
notice that you have received it and done so by the first post. 

I shall want to hear very often from you and to know how our affairs 
progress. I am most anxious about the painting and having the Rooms 
of the old House in order. Mrs. Porter must have help. She will have 
such a family that she cannot do without. I would have Mrs. Burrel 
have some pots to lay me down some more butter. She has some which 
I desired her to put up for me last fall, but we are an Army of ourselves, 
and shall want a good deal. I am affraid I may not be in season to provide 
that article. 

Please to tell Mrs. Porter that I have got a new Coachman and that 
James will not be with us this summer. I think I have a decent, civil, 
sober Man, and a Native American A Cook I shall want, and she must 
be a woman. I will have no more men cooks. Richard has just got 
through the small pox, which he has had so favorable as to keep him but 
three days from his buisness. 

We are all well. Congress think of rising by the middle of May. Our 
furniture must then all be packd and sent to the Federal city but I 
mean to get out of the way of that. 

Affectionatly your Sister 


Philadelphia, April 24th, 1800 

It is with great pleasure, my dear Sister, that I can say to you, your 
son has recoverd from a dangerous complaint, which threw us all here 
into great distress and anxiety upon his account. He returnd from Court 
sick. It proved to be a Billious Cholic. Mr. [Joshua] Johnson wrote 
Mrs. Johnson that he had been to see him, but that he was so ill that 
he could not be seen. The Children too were all sick, and she poor 
creature just recovering from a late illness so that it was a House of 
distress. You may be sure what we all sufferd untill the pleasing news of 
Hs restoration reachd us. I wrote to her, but have not yet received an 
answer. Mr. [James] Greenleaf also wrote & waited only to hear to have 
sit off to her, if Mr. [William] Cranchs illness had required him. When I 
wrote last to you, I dared not hint the subject to you. To [be] so far 
distant and know that a dear child is ill, and that we cannot render any 


aid to them is painfull in the extreem. Mrs. Johnson says he often rides 
late at Night in order to get back to his family. This he should avoid, 
I know his last years low spirits was in some measure occasiond by a 
slow aguish intermitting. He has lately obtaind a cause of considerable 
concequence in which he spoke near two hours, and did himself much 
honour. Mr. Mason too his opponent. 1 He will do very well if he will 
but think himself the most sensible & capable Man with whom he is 
acquainted. I think I can be reconciled to go to the city [Washington], 
if I can aid and serve him by any means. He has been crampt, hurt & 
wounded by his situation. Mrs. Johnson says Col. Forrest has been a 
very sincere Friend to him. 2 

April 26th, [1800] 

Since writing the above I have heard twice from Washington. Mr. 
[James] Greenleaf, who lodges at the next door, sent me in a Letter to 
read from his sister. She writes Mr. Cranch had been very ill but was 
then so much recoverd as to have gone again to Court to finish his 
buisness there. Yesterday Mr. G[reenlea]f informd me that he had a 
Letter from Eliot who wrote him that Mr. Cranch was quite recoverd. 

Mrs. [Joshua] Johnson is still with me. She will return nezt week, when 
I shall seriously sit about getting away. My last drawing Room is 
notified for the 2d of May, On thursday we had 28 young or rather 
unmarried Ladies and Gentlemen to dine with us. They were from 
Families with which our young people have been most intimate, and who 
had shewn them many attentions & civilities. Just before I rose from 
table, Thomas [Boylston Adams] came round to me and whisperd me, 
have you any objection to my having a dance this Evening? None In the 
world, provided it comes thus accidental. The company soon came up 
to the drawing Room to Tea, and in an hours time, the tables were 
removed, the lights light & the Room all in order. At 8 the dancing 
commenced. At 12, it finishd. More pleasure, ease and enjoyment I 
have rarely witnessd. The President went down about an hour & then 
retired. I tarried it out, but was obliged to go to Bed at 8 oclock last 
night in concequence. Several of the company declared that they should 
always remember the Evening as one of the pleasentesst of their lives 
Amongst the company was Miss B. M. with manners perfectly affable, 
polite and agreable, without affectation, or any haughtyness of de- 
meanour, but really fassinating. I could not but lament, that the un- 

1 See footnote I to the letter of April 7, 1800. 

2 Possibly Uriah Forrest, with whom John Adams was acquainted as early as 1797. 
See Adams, Works, vol. 8, p. 546. 


coverd bosom should display, what ought to have been veild, or that 
the well turnd, and finely proportiond form, should not have been less 
conspicuous in the dance, from the thin drapery which coverd it. 3 I 
wishd that more had been left to the imagination, and less to the Eye. 
She dances elegantly. "Grace was in all her steps." 4 She is not yet 17, 
and tho she cannot be said to have regular features, she has fine teeth, 
and Eyes, and the winning graces, far superiour to inanimate symetry: 
I never could endure a clod, yet it has been my lot to have met with 
them. In the first instanc[e] Education and example may do allmost 
any thing. In the last, who can make an impression. But wither runs 
my pen ? 

I must stop it to talk about domestic affairs. Has Mrs. Porter got any 
help? And do you know where I can get a steady body? A cook is of 
the most concequence. I must not have one who will be put out of 
humour by company comeing in unexpectedly. She must be willing 
upon washing & Ironing days to assist in the after part of the day to 
fold cloaths & to help Iron if necessary, to keep every thing clean and 
neat in her department. She will be assisted when necessary. If Mrs. 
Briggs will comply with these terms, and an other, which is indispensable, 
to have no concern or interference with Mrs. Porters Family, I shall 
like to have you engage her for me; With respect to the building, will you 
tell Mr. Bates that I think there ought to be a portico over the back 
entry door as well as front. It will serve to keep off the Rains & cold in 
winter I am quite impatient to get a Letter from you We have had 
such fine weather that I should suppose our people may go on rapidly. I 
left word for Mr, Beal to paint the floor of the chamber over the wash 
house & the stairs. If it was not done in the fall, I would have it done as 
soon as the Painters come. And pray, my Sister, tell them to lay out for 
Garden enough. Peas had best be bought for seed beside those which 
we have. I inclose you ten dollors to lay out such part as is necessary for 

3 "Miss B. M." was Betsy, or Elizabeth Mason, one of the five daughters and seven 
children of Jonathan Mason, Jr. (1756-1831), United States Senator from Massachusetts 
(1800-1803), and close friend and business associate of Harrison Gray Otis. Mason made a 
fortune in Boston real estate, and all his five daughters married welL Elizabeth became the 
wife of Samuel Dunn Parker on December 12, 1807. Her sisters, Susan, Anna, Miriam, 
and Mary, became Mrs. J. Collins Warren, Mrs. Patrick Grant, Mrs. David Sears, and 
Mrs. Samuel Parkman. See Columbian Centinel> November 5, 1831; Robert Grant, Four- 
score: An Autobiography, Boston and New York, 1934; Boston Marriages: 1752-1809, 
Boston, 1903, p. 266; and Abner Forbes, Our First Men: A Calendar of Wealth, Fashion and 
Gentility . , . , Boston, 1846, p. 34, 

4 Grace was in all her steps, Heav'n in her Eye, 
In every gesture dignitie and love. 

Paradise Losf y Book 8, lines 488-9. 


the Garden. Do not let my flowers be neglected. Pray, if you can, get 
me some stursion seed, double Larks spur and the Marble perue. 5 

Mr. Gore is here just arrived from England. 6 Our Envoys were not 
arrived at Paris when he le[f]t England. They were hastning on. Great 
Britain as surly as John Bull, tho he dare not Growl loud, hating our 
Prosperity most cordially, and swelling to see our Navy rising in power 
and respectability. We have quite as much to Gaurd against from that 
quarter, as from the Great nation [France]. 

Adieu my dear Sister. Let me hear from you as soon as you can. 

Affectionatly yours 


Philadelphia, [May 3d, 1800] 

I think you have been exercised in deeds of Charity to that poor, 
forlorn Man who would once have said, is thy Servant a dog, that he 
should become a living prey to worms, or what is worse? 1 He is a most 
striking instance of Indolence, and having no stimulous to action? none 
of those tender endearing ties of wife, child, sister, or Brother, Indolence 
Created first an apathy, and apathy Crept on untill all that was estimable 
and praise worthy in Man, was sunk into torpor, like waters that stag- 
nate when they cease to flow. [The very cancdle3\ It ought to be a 
warning to every man not to contract habits of sloth, and inaction, to 
consider that no Man liveth for himself. Mr. [Anthony] Wibird is 
punished in this Life, not for sins of commission but of omission. Talents 
have been committed to him, which from the same source of indo- 

5 Marvel of Peru, one of the popular names for mirabilis jalapa^ commonly called "four 
o'clocks." See Miller, Gardeners Dictionary, Eighth Edition, London, 1768, and E.L.D. 
Seymour, The Garden Encyclopedia, New York, 1936, p. 782. 

6 Christopher Gore (1758-1827). He was graduated from Harvard in 1776, was appointed 
United States district attorney in 1789, and a commissioner under Jay's Treaty in 1796. 
Rufus King left him as charge d'a/aires in London in 1803. Gore was Governor of Mas- 
sachusetts (1809-1810) and United States Senator (1814-1817). He was a Fellow of Har- 
vard, and president of the Massachusetts Historical Society (1806-1818). Gore Hall, the 
Harvard College Library from 1841 to 1912, was named for him. See 3 Coll. Mass. Hist. 
Sac., voL 3, pp. 19 1-204. Oddly enough, no life of Gore is to be found in the great Dictionary 
of American Biography > nor was this oversight corrected in the first Supplement. 

1 Mrs. Adams seems to have made a conflation of two kings Hazae!, of the OH Testa- 
ment, and Herod, of the New. 

"And Hazael said, But what, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing? 
And Elisha answered, The Lord hath shewed me that thou shalt be king over Syria." 
2 King s, VIII, 13. 

"And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him [Herod], because he gave not God 
the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost." Acts, XII, 23. 


lence, have not been improved to the best use and advantage. For the 
Good he has done, may the Lord reward him, and for what he has ne- 
glected to do, pardon him. We all have much to be forgiven, and as we 
hope for mercy, so may we extend it to others. 

But to quit moralizing Last Eveng was my Last Drawing Room. 
Both Rooms were so crowded as to render the Air very oppressive. It 
was judged that about 200 Gentlemen & Ladies were present: We got 
through, some what fatigued you may easily suppose, but I got sleep, 
which I did not expect, and to day feel bright enough to dine between 
20 & thirty persons. On thursday next will be the last dinner of a 
formal nature. Mrs. [Joshua] Johnson & son leave me on Monday. 
Mr. Cranch and family were well this week. I heard from him. Yester- 
day I sent some Trunks on Board a vessel with my Hearths and Jams. 
When they arrive and are to be put up, I will thank Mr. [Richard] 
Cranch to be present with his advice. I would have the chimneys made 
to conform to them. I am much affraid of having the Chimneys con- 
tracted too small, which in a Room so large would look bad. I have 
mentiond to the Doctor [Cotton Tufts] the method in which I am told 
the Hearths & fronts must be put up. I will thank you when the Rooms 
new painted, are quite dry to have the furniture replaced. I expect to 
leave here the week after next. It will bring it near the last of May before 
I can get home, so that I hope there will be time enough for the paint to 

I will thankfully accept Mr. Blacks offer for Mr. [J. Q.] Adams's 

Congress persist in saying they shall rise the week after next. The 
weather is fine indeed, as growing and Luxurient a season as I ever 
knew. With Love regards &c 

Affectionatly your Sister 

Love to Mrs. Norton & thanks for her Letter, 

[Philadelphia, May 5th, 1800] 

After I had closed my Letter yesterday, I received yours of the 28th. 
The Garden seeds are in a small wooden Box in the garret Chamber over 
the best Chamber, made for the purpose of securing them from the mice. 
The Box is lockd and Mrs. Porter has the key, tho she may have for- 
gotten it. It is a long Box unpainted. 


I should like much to have a passage to the kitchin from the entry; 
My intention was to have a closset taken of where the dressers now are, 
& to have taken in the other closset into the kitchin. I care very little 
about the North window, which must be darkned by the other building,, 
but as you observe a window may be made opposite. The cellar door 
might be removed if necessary, and my Liquors were removed, but that 
is not practicable at Present. If Mr. Cranch, Dr. Tufts or Mr. Bates can 
contrive such a communication, it would be very desirable. 

Major Tousard was with Mrs. Tousard at the drawing Room, and he 
inquired of Louissa if there was any Prospect of procuring Lodgings. 
She is a little tight looking fashionable Native America, made french by 
her marriage. She is pretty & much younger than he Is. She is a second 
wife, has not any children. 1 

You need not write to me after the present week. It is my present 
intention to leave here some time next week. I will give you notice 
My Coachman is a stranger to the Roads. Richard I shall take with me 
Mrs. [William Stephens] Smith goes on fryday to N[ew] York. I wish it 
was so, that we could be in company. 

I shall have a very buisy week the next; It is the last time that I shall re- 
side in this city, and as present appearences indicate, the last time I shall 
visit it; The people are led blind fold by those who will ride them without 
saddle, but well curbed and bitted. It Is generally supposed that N[ew] 
York would be the balance in the [scaile, scale, cancelltd\ skaill, scaill, 
(is it right now? it does not look so). N[ew] York by an effort to bring 
into their assembly antifederal Men, will make also an antifederal ticket 
for President; and this will give all the power sought by that Party, 
which at the sacrifice of all that Good men hold dear and sacred, they 
are determined upon To this purpose was Randolphs] Letter, Living- 
stones Resolutions, and Coopers libels with all the host of Callenders 
lies. 2 Much animosity is springing up between South & North & East; 

1 See footnote 2 to the letter of April 7, 1 800. 

* For Randolph's letter, see footnote 5 to the letter of January 28, 1800. Edward Living- 
ston (1764-1836), while a member of the House of Representatives from New York in 
1795, introduced a resolution calling for all the papers from the President concerning Jay's 
Treaty with England. Livingston settled in New Orleans in 1804. For Thornas Cooper, 
see footnote 3 to the letter of November 1-3, 1799, and footnote 2 to the letter of November 
26, 1799. James Thomson Callender (1758-1803), political writer, was born in Scotland, 
and settled in Pennsylvania in 1796. His History of the United States for 1796 forced 
Hamilton publicly to confess his adultery with the so-called Mrs. James W. Reynolds. 
Because of his notorious pamphlet, The Prospect before Us, 1800, containing criticism of 
John Adams, Callender was tried under the Sedition Law in May and June of that year, 
and fined two hundred dollars and sentenced to nine months* imprisonment. By i8o2 > 
Callender was attacking the private life of Thomas Jefferson. 


A whole year we shall hear nothing else, but abuse and scandel, enough 
to ruin & corrupt the minds and morals of the best people In the world. 
Out of all this will arise, something which tho we may be no more, our 
Children may live to Rue I hope we may be preserved from confusion, 
but it is much to be dreaded. Adieu, my dear Sister, 

Affectionatly yours 


Norwalk, State of Conneticut, 
Monday, 26 May, 1800 

Detained here by a cold North east rain, I write to inform you I am 
thus far on my journey to Quincy 100 [and] 44 miles from Philadelphia, 
which I left this day week in the afternoon; I tarried one day in N[ew] 
York and have taken Little Susan [Adams] on with me. I went to the 
incampment upon Scotch Plains [New Jersey] and lodged one night in 
the Col's Log House, which I found quite a comfortable habitation. 
Mrs. Smith was there, tho she soon must quit it, as the Army is dis- 
banded. I should have taken her with me, but she was not quite ready. 
I brought Caroline [Amelia Smith] on to her Grandmamma [Margaret 
(Stephens)] Smiths. She has taken a House at Newark in the Jersles. 
The Col. [William Stephens Smith] talks of going up with his Brother to 
the Miami. In that case Mrs. [Abigail (Adams)] Smith and Caroline 
will spend the summer with me, I was present at the Review of the 
Troops by Gen[era]ll Hamilton, who had come on for the purpose. 1 
They did great honor to their officers and to themselves. The Col. has 
been the Principle hand in forming and disciplining them. They need 
not be ashamed of appearing before regular troops. The officers & men 
Respect and Love him, and it is with much pain that they seperate. 
There is a very general feeling exprest for Col. Smiths situation, and a 
wish that he might receive some appointment. This is a very delicate 
subject. I hope however that he will get into some buisness. You may 
be sure that I have my feelings on this subject, and that they are not of 
the most consolatary kind. Every soul knows its own bitterness. I wish 
I had no other source of sorrow than that which I have just named 

1 At the time of the danger of war with France, and following the passage of a law for 
raising a provisional army, Hamilton, at the suggestion of Washington, was appointed 
Inspector-General, with the rank of Major-General, by John Adams. He was commis- 
sioned July 25, 1798, after a long wrangle over precedence. See footnote 2 to the letter 
of July 17, 1798, 


My mind is not in the most cheerfull state. Trials of various kinds seem 
to be reserved for our gray Hairs, for our declining years. Shall I receive 
good and not evil? I will not forget the blessings which sweeten Life. 
One of those is the prospect I have before me of meeting my dear sister 
soon, I hope in health and spirit's. A strong immagination is said to be 
a refuge from sorrow, and a kindly solace for a feeling Heart. Upon 
this principle it was that Pope founded his observation, that "hope 
springs eternal in the human breast." 2 

My intention was to reach Home on fryday next [May 30], but the 
Election Storm as we term it with us, may continue and prevent my 
making the progress I hope to. I will request you to have the House 
open and aired, the Beds shook up. If there was time and a fine day, 
I should like to have them sun'd, as they have not been slept in for a long 
time. I have not heard from Philadelphia but once since I left it. I do 
not yet know whether the President has left it. I have heard of so many 
lies and falshoods propagated to answer electioneering purposes since I 
left Philadelphia and for the last three weeks that I was there, that I am 
disgusted with the world, and the chief of its inhabitants do not appear 
worth the trouble and pains they cost to save them from destruction 
You see I am in an ill humour. When the rain subsides and the sun shines, 
it will dispell some of the gloom which hangs heavey at my heart. I heard 
a sermon yesterday upon the subject of Humility. I believe I do not 
yet possess enough of that negative quality to make me believe that I 
deserve all that can be inflicted upon me by the tongues of falshood 
I must share in what is said reproachfull or malicious of my better half 
yet I know his measures are all meant to promote the best interest of 
his Country Sure I have enough of public and Private anxiety to 
humble a prouder Heart than mine. Adieu, my dear Sister, and believe 
me ever 

Your affectionate Sister 


2 Hope springs eternal In the human breast; 
Man never is, but always to be blessed. 

An Essay on Man: Epistle I, lines 95-6. 

3 The gap of five months which follows is explained by Mrs. Adams's residence in Quincy. 
John Adams arrived in the District of Columbia on June 3, 1 800. Georgetown Centinfl of 
Liberty, June 6, 1800. See the following letter. 


New Haven, Sunday, 2d Nov'br, [1800] 

Yon will forgive me, my dear Sister, that I spaired both you and my- 
self the pain of a formal leave, and that I left you without bidding you 
an adieu. I never was so divided between duty, and affection, the desire 
I had to remain with you, and the necessity I was under to commence a 
long and tedious journey at this late season of the year. My Heart was 
rent with the distrest situation of yourself and family; I could not be 
with you as I wished. I saw Mrs. [Moses] Black, and requested of her 
sisterly kindness and attention. I have no doubt of the fullfillment of 
her kind promise. To the great Physician both of body and soul I com- 
mitted you and yours, and sit out with an anxious mind and heavey 
Heart. I reachd this place last Evening, and as usual put up at my old 
quarters, Mrs. Smiths, where I shall remain this day. 1 We got on with- 
out any accident and had a fair week for travelling. The weather to day 
is rainy, but promises to clear up. By Wednesday [November 5] I hope 
to reach New York and there to hear from you as my good Brother 
promised I should. The President left Philadelphia for Washington the 
day I left Quincy, 2 

Mrs. Smith desires to be affectionatly rememberd to you. With Love 
to Mrs. Greenleaf and Norton I am 

Your affectionate Sister 


Philadelphia, Novbr. 10, 1800 

I arrived in this City last Evening & came to the old House now 
occupied by Francis as a Hotel. Tho the furniture and arrangment of 

1 Probably Mrs. Margaret (Stephens) Smith, widow of John Smith, and mother of 
Colonel William Stephens Smith. 

2 President Adams left Philadelphia on May 27, 1800, accompanied by his secretary and 
nephew by marriage, William Smith Shaw. In a carriage drawn by four horses, he pro- 
ceeded to Georgetown by way of Lancaster and York, Pennsylvania, and Frederick, Mary- 
land, On June 3, 1800, he entered the District of Columbia, and was escorted to the Union 
Tavern, where he stayed over night. The next day he crossed the Rock Creek Bridge into 
Washington, inspected the White House and the Treasury Building, and put up at Tunni- 
cliff's Hotel. Tristram. Dalton made the speech of welcome in the capitol building on June 
5, after which Adams dined with Joshua Johnson, the father of the wife of John Quincy 
Adams. On June 9, Adams went to "Mount Vernon" to call on the widow of Washington, 
and spent the next day there. On June 13 he left Washington for Quincy, by way of Balti- 
more. For full details of Adams's visit, see Bryan, History of the National Capital, vol. I, 
pp. 347-50- 


the House is changed I feel more at home here than I should any where 
else in the city, and when sitting with my son [Thomas Boylston Adams] 
& other friends who call to see me, I can scarcly persuade myself, that 
tomorrow I must quit it, for an unknown & an unseen abode. 1 My 
Journey has hetherto been as propitious as I could have expected at 
this season. Hearing by Louissa [Smith] & from my worthy Brother 
Cranch that you & yours were regaining your strength & gradually ad- 
vancing I hope to Health, has given a new spring to my spirits, and I 
shall go on my way rejoicing. Mercy & judgment are the mingled cup 
allotted me. Shall I receive good and not evil? At N[ew] York I found 
my p'oor unhappy son [Charles Adams], for so I must still call him, laid 
upon a Bed of sickness, destitute of a home. The kindness of a friend 
afforded him an assylum. A distressing cough, an affection of the liver 
and a dropsy will soon terminate a Life, which might have been made 
valuable to himself and others. You will easily suppose that this scene 
was too powerfull and distressing to me. Sally [Sarah (Smith) Adams] was 
with him, but his Physician says, he is past recovery I shall carry a 
melancholy report to the President, who, passing through New York 
without stoping, knew not his situation. 2 

I shall not say any thing to you upon political subjects, no not upon 
the little Gen'll['s] Letter but reserve it for a future Letter when I arrive 
at Washington and you have more health to laugh at the folly, and pitty 
the weakness, vanity and ambitious views of, as very a sparrow as Sterne 
commented upon, in his Sentimental Journey, or More describes in his 
fables. 3 

With my best wishes for your perfect restoration to Health and that 
of your Family, I am, my ever Dear Sister, 

Your affectionate 


1 Mrs. Adams refers to the residence in Philadelphia, which Washington and Adams had 
used as the Executive Mansion. The "unseen abode" is Washington, D.C., to which the 
capital of the United States was moved in the autumn of 1800. 

2 This was the last time which Mrs. Adams saw her son Charles, who died about thrtc 
weeks later, on November 30, 1800. 

8 See Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy: *The Passport: 
Versailles," for the sparrow which interrupted the "grave and learned Bevoriskms" in his 
"commentary upon the generations from Adam." "More" is Edward Moore (1712-1757), 
a popular author and playwright, whose Fables for the Female Sex, 1744, went through 
many editions. See The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, 1940, vol. 2, p. 323. 
For the election pamphlet of "little" General Alexander Hamilton, see the following 

Thank Mr. [Richard] Cranch for his kind Letters & Mrs. [Moses] 
Black for her sisterly attention. Heaven reward her. May she never 
know the want of a Friend. 

Washington, Nov'br 21, 1800 

I arrived in this city on Sunday the i6th ult. Having lost my way in 
the woods on Saturday in going from Baltimore, we took the road to 
Frederick and got nine miles out of our road. You find nothing but a 
Forest & woods on the way, for 16 and 18 miles not a village. Here and 
there a thatchd cottage without a single pane of glass, inhabited by 
Blacks. My intention was to have reachd Washington on Saturday. 
Last winter there was a Gentleman and Lady in Philadelphia by the 
Name of Snowden whose hospitality I heard much of. They visited me 
and were invited to dine with us, but did not, as they left the city before 
the day for dinner. They belong to Maryland, and live on the road to 
this place 21 miles distant. 1 I was advised at Baltimore to make their 
House rny stage for the night, the only Inn at which I could put up being 
36 miles ride from Baltimore. Judge [Samuel] Chase who visited me, at 
Baltimore, gave Mr. T[homas Boylston] Adams a Letter to Major 
Snowden, but I who have never been accustomed to quarter myself and 
servants upon private houses, could not think of it, particuliarly as I 
expected the chariot & 5 more Horses with two servants to meet me. 2 
I sit out early, intending to make my 36 miles if possible: no travelling 
however but by day light; We took a direction as we supposed right, 
but in the first turn, went wrong, and were wandering more than two 
hours in the woods in different paths, holding down & breaking bows of 
trees which we could not pass, untill we met a solitary black fellow with a 

1 Major Thomas Snowden, descendant of a Welshman who came to Maryland before 
1675, married Ann Ridgely, and built for her a magnificent colonial manor-house which 
she named "Montpelier," after her birthplace in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. The 
house stands a short distance southeast of Laurel, Maryland, on the Great Northern and 
Southern Post Road which connects Annapolis and Washington. Major Snowden's house 
was a favorite stopping-place for George Washington on his trips north from "Mount 
Vernon" to New York, or to Philadelphia, J. D. Warfield, The Founders of Anne Arundel 
and Howard Counties > Maryland, Baltimore, 1905, pp. 362-3. 

2 Samuel Chase (1741-1811), of Maryland, signer of the Declaration of Independence, 
was appointed to the Supreme Court on January 26, 1796, by George Washington. In 
March, 1804, he was impeached by the House of Representatives, but in June, 1805, in 
spite of secret, and improper, pressure by Jefferson, the effort to have him removed failed 
in the Senate, although 25 of the 34 members were of Jefferson's party. 


horse and cart. We inquired of him our way, and he kindly offerd to 
conduct us, which he did two miles, and then gave us such a clue as led 
us out to the post road and the Inn, where we got some dinner. Soon 
after we left It, we met the chariot then 30 miles from Washington, and 
20 from our destination. We road as fast as the roads would allow of, 
but the sun was near set when we came in sight of the Majors. I halted 
but could not get courage to go to his House with ten Horses and nine 
persons. I therefore orderd the coach man to proceed, and we drove 
rapidly on. We had got about a mile when we were stoped by the 
Major in full speed, who had learnt that I was comeing on; & had 
kept watch for me, with his Horse at the door; as he was at a distance 
from the road. In the kindest, and politest manner he urged my return 
to his House, represented the danger of the road, and the impossibility 
of my being accomodated at any Inn I could reach: A mere hovel was 
all I should find. I plead my numbers. That was no objection. He could 
accomodate double the number. There was no saying nay and I re- 
turnd to a large, Handsome, Elegant House, where I was received with 
my Family, with what we might term true English Hospitality, Friend- 
ship without ostentation, and kindness without painfull ceremony. 
Mrs. Snowden is a charming woman of about 45. She has a lovely 
daughter of 16 & one of 6, a son whom I had seen often in Philadelphia 
and who had several times dinned with us. I need not add that they 
are all true federal Characters* Every attention possible was shown me 
and the next morning I took my departure, having shared in the com* 
men bounty of Major Snowdens hospitality, for which he is universally 
celebrated I arrived about one oclock at this place known by the 
name of the city, and the Name is all that you can call so. As I expected 
to find it a new country, with Houses scatterd over a space of ten 
miles, and trees & stumps in plenty with, a castle of a House so I 
found it The Presidents House is in a beautifull situation in front of 
which is the Potomac with a view of Alexandria. The country around is 
romantic but a wild, a wilderness at present. 

I have been to George Town and felt all that Mrs. [William] Cranch 
described when she was a resident there. It is the very dirtyest Hole I 
ever saw for a place of any trade, or respectability of inhabitants. It is 
only one mile from me but a quagmire after every rain. Here we are 
obliged to send daily for marketting; The capital is near two miles from 
us. As to roads we shall make them by the frequent passing before 
winter, but I am determined to be satisfied and content, to say nothing 


of inconvenience &c. That must be a worse place than even George 
Town, that I would not reside in for three Months [in cancelled]. 

I found your dear son [William Cranch] here at the House to receive 
me. He is well and grows much like his Father. He dinned with us on 
Sunday & yesterday, and yesterday I went to see Nancy and your dear 
little modest Boys. Richard is a fine Boy. William is more bashful!, and 
Nancy Is a fat little doe. They are all pretty children, and Mrs. Cranch 
tho thin is handsomer than she was as a Girl. 3 

When I arrived here I found a Boston News paper, which containd 
the celebration of the Birthday [October 19] at Quincy. It was truly 
gratifying to find in a world of calumny and falshood, that a Prophet 
could meet with honour in his own native soil. I hope the benidiction 
prounounced upon those who are reviled and persecuted falsly, may be 
his, who conscious of his own pure views and intentions; walks stead- 
fastly on, tho the shafts and arrows of dissapointed ambition are hurled 
at him from every quarter. The Letter of Hamilton, which you have no 
doubt seen, can never be answerd properly but by the person to whom it 
is addrest, because no one else knows all the circumstances, or can deny 
what he has published for facts; many of which are as grose lies as Duane 
has told In the Aurora Such a replie may one day appear, when the 
[modern cancelled] Man may appear still more odious than he now does. 
I have heard from every quarter, but one voice. It is Hamilton has 
done his own buisness. 4 Pray can you inform me by whom those pas- 

3 Children of William and Nancy (Greenleaf) Cranch: William Greenleaf (1796-1872), 
Richard (1797-1824), and Anne Allen (1799-1822). 

4 On August I and October I, 1800, Hamilton wrote to Adams asking for an explanation 
of rumors as to certain charges which the President was said to have brought against his 
character and conduct. Adams did not answer either letter. In October, Hamilton pre- 
pared his strange paper, "The Public Conduct and Character of John Adams, Esq., Presi- 
dent of the United States," for circulation among leading Federalists: Hamilton, Works, 
voL 6, pp. 391-444.. Burr got hold of a copy of this untimely attack, and had it published. 
Hamilton put himself in the ridiculous position of telling Federalists that the best they 
could do was to vote for Adams, although he was not fit for the office of chief executive. 
Adams did not answer Hamilton until 1809, when he published eighteen letters in the 
Boston Patriot, the last one dated "June 10, 1809." Adams, Works, vol. 9, pp. 241-311. 

For a remarkably charitable letter written by Adams on the subject of Hamilton, on 
December 3, 1800, see Adams, Works, vol. 9, p. 576: "This last pamphlet I regret more on 
account of its author than on my own, because I am confident it will do him more harm 
than me. I am not his enemy, and never was . . . " ft seq. Yet as late as July 12, 1813, in 
writing to Jefferson, Adams was so bitter as to refer to Hamilton as "a bastard Bratt of a 
Scotch Pedlar." Historical Magazine, July, 1870, pp. 50-1. This last sentiment recalls 
the spirit in which John Quincy Adams refused to witness the granting of an honorary 
degree by Harvard to Andrew Jackson in 1833, a spirit which casts suspicion on many of 
the judgments in that son's famous Memoirs. Jefferson, it is interesting to remember, 
placed a bust of Hamilton in the hall of "Monticello." 


sages were selected from Shakespear[e] which composed the Quincy 
toasts? The President says if his Friends intended to flatter him, they 
have succeeded, for he would not exchange the Quincy celebration for 
any other that he has heard off. 5 

My dear Sister the few lines in your own hand writing were a cordial 
to my spirits. I pray most sincerely for your perfect restoration to 
health and my dear Mrs. Norton. I have received all the kind Letters of 
my Brother Cranch and thank him for them. If my future peace & 
tranquility were all that I considered, a release from public life would 
be the most desirable event of it I feel perfectly tranquil upon the 
subject, hoping and trusting that, the Being in whose Hands are the 
Hearts of all Men, will guide and direct our national counsels for the 
peace & prosperity of this great people. 

Remember me affectionatly to all my Friend[s], never omitting Mrs. 

I have the pleasure to say we are all at present well, tho the news 
papers very kindly gave the President the Ague and fever. I am rejoiced 
that it was only in the paper that he had it. 

This day the President meets the two Houses to deliver the speech. 
There has not been a House untill yesterday We have had some very 
cold weather and we feel it keenly. This House is twice as large as our 
meeting House. I believe the great Hall is as Bigg. I am sure tis twice as 
long. Cut your coat according to your Clotiu But this House is built for 
ages to come. The establishment necessary is a tax which cannot be 
born by the present sallery : No body can form an Idea of it but those who 
come into it. I had much rather live in the house at Philadelphia. Not 
one room or chamber is finished of the whole. It is habitable by fires in 

5 An account of the celebration of the birthday of John Adams, at Quincy, October 19, 
1800, appeared in the Columbian Centinel for Saturday, November I, 1 800. Moses Black 
was in the Chair, and there were sixteen toasts, in all. The second was drunk to the Presi- 
dent, and the fifteenth to John Quincy Adams, "our Minister at Berlin." Only one of the 
passages to which Mrs. Adams refers comes from Shakespeare. Cardinal Wolsey^s words 
to Henry VIII were quoted in offering the toast to the President: 

. . though perils did 

Abound as thick as thought could make *em and 
Appear in forms more horrid yet my duty, 
As doth a rock against the chiding flood, 
Should the approach of this wild river break 
And stand unshaken. 

William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, Henry Fill, Act 3, Scene 2, lines I94"9- 
The first 203 lines of this scene are attributed to Shakespeare, rather than to Fletcher. 


every part, thirteen of which we are obliged to keep daily, or sleep in 
wet & damp places. 6 

Yours as ever 


Washington, December ist, 1800 

I have written to you, my dear Sister, twice since my arrival here. I 
know not but one of the Letters was in the lost mail. 1 I miss your pen, 
which used to detail to me both public and private affairs. I have reason 
to bless God, that your Life is spared to your family, and Friends, I hope 
you will not be induced by any means to over exert yourself, or try your 
strength beyond its bearing, a relapse being often more fatal than an 
original disease. If you can recover your strength and appetite, I hope 
your Health will be benifitted. Poor Mrs. [Joshua] Johnsons eldest 
unmarried daughter has been sick ever since I came with the same kind 
of fever. She is much reduced, and her complaints have been very simi- 
lar to those who have been sick with us. She has been twice bled. I am 
not however satisfied that it was the best practise; The fever has run to 
21 days We have hetherto [sic] been very well, untill last night Susan 
[Adams] was threatned with the Qumcy, which allarmd me very much 
as she went well to bed. I was waked in the night by a strange noise. 
She sleeps in a little chamber near to mine. I went in, and found her 
labouring with that dreadfull hoars cough, and sound which indicated 
immediate medical aid. We sent for the Physician nearest to us, who 
gave her calomil, put her feet in warm water, and steamed her with 
warm vinigar. She puked, and that semd to relieve her. She has coughed 
all day, but not with so much hoarsness. I think she has woorms, I saw 
Mr. [William] Cranch on fryday. He is well Little Nancy had a return 
of the Ague, Mr. [William] Cranch is going to remove to Capitol Hill, 
which will bring him half a mile nearer to me, and is I believe a much 
healthier spot. 

My dear Sister, I beg you would not trouble yourself about my Bacon 
this year, only be so kind as to give the proper directions to Mr. & 

8 "Before I end my letter, I pray heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house, 
and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule 
under this roof!" John to Abigail Adams, November 2, 1800: Letters of John Adams, 
Addressed to his Wije> Charles Francis Adams, Editor, Boston, 1841, vol. 2, p. 113. 

1 Of the two letters to which Mrs. Adams refers, only that of November 21 has been 


Mrs. Porter. I was rejoiced to learn by your son in a Letter from his 
Father, that Mrs. [Jacob] Norton was on the recovery, and able to walk 
her Room. Poor creature. What has she not Suffered ? I have not got a 
line from my much honord and respected Friend Dr. Tufts since I left 
home. I hope bad health is not the cause. Pray tell him I am only one 
hundred and 50 miles, further off than formerly, tho the winter com- 
munication is 14 days instead of 7. 

As to politicks; they are at present such a mere turn penny, that I 
believe it is best to leave all calculations to those who daily occupy them- 
selves with them, and say what from the Sincerity of my Heart I do: that 
I hope the termination of the present contests will be such as will be 
most productive of the Peace, Liberty and happiness of our common 
Country, let who will be at the Head of the Government. 

Inclosed are some Letter[s] which you will be so kind as to have de- 

With the sincerest regard to all my Friends and my dear Sister, in 
particuliar, I am 

Ever Yours 


Washington, [Monday], 8 December, 1800 

I know, my much loved Sister, that you will mingle in my sorrow, and 
weep with me over the Grave of a poor unhappy child who cannot now 
add an other pang to those which have peirced my Heart for several 
years past; Cut off in the midst of his days, his years are numberd and 
finished; I hope my supplications to heaven for him, that he might 
find mercy from his maker, may not have been in vain: His constitution 
was so shaken, that his disease was rapid, and through the last period 
of his Life dreadfully painfull and distressing; He bore with patience & 
submission his sufferings and heard the prayers for him with com- 
posure; His mind at times was much deranged thro his sufferings, and 
through a total want of rest; He finally expired without a groan on Sun- 
day week. Mrs. [Margaret (Stephens)] Smith & Sally [Sarah (Smith) 
Adams] have had a distressing scene to pass through, yet I cannot be 
thankful enough that Mrs. Smith got home when she did, and that she 
took him into her care. She has a satisfaction in knowing that she 
spared no pains to render his last moments less distressing to his Parents 
and relatives than they could have been else where. I was satisfied I had 


seen him for the last time when I left him. Three weeks only has he been 
really confined, but his constitution was broken down. Food has not 
been his sustanance, yet he did not look like an intemperate Man He 
was bloted, but not red He was no mans Enemy but his own He was 
beloved, in spight of his Errors, and all spoke with grief and sorrow for 
his habits, 1 

Afflictions of this kind are a two Edged sword. The Scripture expresses 
it as a mitigation of sorrow [that cancelled] when we do not sorrow as 
those who have no hope The Mercy of the almighty is not limited; To 
his sovereign will I desire humbly to submit. 

Mr. [Richard] Cranch in the cover of his Letter refered me to one 
written to his son for the state of your Health. Mr. [William] Cranch 
did not get the Letter, so I have not heard, but I know I should see your 
own hand wrlteing if you were able. I have not been well myself for the 
week past. I have been afflicted with a loss of voice & a sad cough 
It is not worse I hope [it] is going off. The President is well and has 
been so ever since we have been here. Your son [William Cranch] dinned 
with us yesterday. He and family were well Pray remember me kindly 
to all our Friends and let me hear of or from you as often as possible. 
I am, my dear Sister, 

Your truly affectionate but afflicted Sister 


Washington, Janry 15, 1801 

I received from you two kind Letters which I have not yet acknowl- 
edged; I am surprized to find that the frost & cold have not yet put a 
stop to the fever. I hope it will not be permitted to make a renewed 
visit, at the approach of the summer with a severity never before experi- 
enced in our healthy and delightfull village. I cannot say that I have 
enjoy'd so much health this winter as the last. I am very frequently shut 
up, tho but for a few days at a time; I fancy we have too much damp here 
for Rhumatick Constitutions, but my constitution appears to have 
sufferd severely from the Ague and fever, and to be much broken by 
repeated attacks of an intermitting kind. I patch up, but it is hard work. 
Heretofore I have had spirits which would surmount & rise above bodily 

1 Charles Adams (1770-1800) died in New York on Sunday, November 30, 1800. The 
death of this unhappy son is the conventional and dishonest excuse usually offered for the 
last-minute departure of John Adams from Washington at sunrise on March 4, iSorl 


infirmity; whether they will be continued to me, I know not; I tope they 
may, for a groaning, whineing, complaining temper I deprecate. 

I have no disposition to seclude myself from society, because I have 
met with unkind or ungratefull returns from some; I would strive to 
act my part well and [resign cancelled] Retire with that dignity which is 
unconscious of doing or wishing ill to any, with a temper disposed to 
forgive injuries, as I would myself hope to be forgiven, if any I have com- 
mitted. I wish for the preservation of the Government, and a wise 
administration of it. In the best situation, with the wisest head and 
firmest Heart, it will be surrounded with perplexities, dangers and 
troubles, that are little conceived of by those into whose Hands it is like 
to fall. The President had frequently contemplated resigning: I thought 
it would be best for him to leave to the people to act for themselves, and 
take no responsibility upon himself. I do not regreet that he has done 
so. He has had the pleasure of appointing your son to the office of com- 
misoner for the city, in the place of Mr. Scott, who dyed a few weeks 
since, and tho this will be sit down by the Antis, as a promotion on 
account of Relationship, we care not now what they say. 1 The Senate 
had nothing to do with this appointment, and therefore could not 
quibble as they have done upon some former occasions. The principle 
proprieters in the city came forward In a recommendation of Mr. [William] 
Cranch to the President, and I trust the appointment will give general 
satisfaction I think Mr. Cranch is rising fast and will be one of the 
first Men in the city in a short time The duties of his office will be ardu- 
ous, and delicate to give satisfaction to the contending interests, but I 
hope he will act impartially, tho it may sometimes be difficult to persuade 
interested people to believe that he is so. The sallery I think is sixteen 
hundred dollors a year. 

I hope I shall return to Quincy sometime in Feb'ry but I own it is a 
mountain before me, so many horrid Rivers to cross and such Roads to 
traverse my health very delicate. 

I feel most sensibly for our dear Respected and venerable uncle, 2 I 

1 Gustavus Scott (1753-1800), of Maryland, lawyer and patriot, was appointed a com- 
missioner for the Federal City by George Washington in 1704. He died at "Rock Hill," 
Washington, D. C., December 25, 1800. Adams appointed his wife's nephew, William 
Cranch, to the vacancy, and then, on February 27, 1800, placed him on the Circuit Court 
of the District of Columbia as junior assistant judge. Jefferson made Cranch chief judge 
of the Circuit Court in which office he served for fifty years, until his death, in 1855. 
See Clark, Greenleaf and Law in ike Federal City, pp. 52-3. 

2 Norton Quincy (1716-1801), Harvard, 1736, the brother of Elizabeth (Quincy) Smith 
(1722-1775), the mother of Mrs. Richard Cranch, Mrs. John Adams, and Mrs. Stephen 


know not, nor do I think it possible to supply to him the loss he has 
sustaind. Tho Mrs. Pope's temper was not pleasent, she was attentive 
towards him, knew all his wants and wishes. She was prudent and 
saveing of his interest, and had many excellent qualities. To a person of 
his years it is peculiarly urksome to have new faces, new habits, new 
fancies to conform to It will probably shorten the period of his ex- 
istance but it would seem as if there remained but little desirable in 
this world to him Yet we must live all the days of our appointed time, 
and when our change commeth, may it be happy to us. 

I thank you, my dear Sister. I have not any thing yet to ask for. I 
rejoice you are in such health as to be able to assist your Friends, and 
I rejoice that our dear Mrs. [Jacob] Norton is spaired to her family and 
Friends. Surely we may sing of mercy as well as judgment. 

We all send Love. The President has enjoyed very good health ever 
since he has been here, and hopes to be a good Farmer yet. He some 
times says he would go to the Bar again if he had the powers of speech, 
but of public Life he takes a final farewell. 

Betsy Howard and her Lover have chosen to signilize their marriage 
by having it performed whilst in the Family of the President. I did not 
much oppose it, tho I thought they had better have waited untlll they 
returnd, as I supposed it would subject them to reports wholy ground- 
less & unfounded, but they, conscious of their innocence, disregarded 
such rumours and last Sunday Evening were married. Richard and 
Becky have not yet proposed a similar subject to me. I trust they think 
themselves young enough yet. 

Adieu my dear Sister. It Is my large dinner party to day and I must 
dress to sit at table as I have Ladies, tho I have not been below for three 
days. I make an exertion as it Is the last time I expect the pleasure of 
dinning them. 

Affectionatly your Sister 


Washington, Febry. yth, 1801 

I suppose the reason why I have not had a Letter from you for a long 
time, arises from your expectation that I am upon my Journey; The 
Roads have been represented to me as so intolerable bad, and I know 
them to be so, that I have been prevaild upon to remain longer than I 
designd. I now think I shall stay untlll after the I3th of Febry, the great 


important day, which may in its concequences deside [sic] the fate of our 
Country. 1 I feel as it is so near at hand, as tho I could not quit the city 
untill I know what, or rather who is to be our future Ruler, Never were 
a people placed in more difficult circumstances than the virtuous part 
of our Countrymen are at the present Crisis. I have turnd, & turnd, and 
overturned in my mind at various times the merits demerits of the two 
candidates. Long acquaintance, private friendship and the full belief 
that the private Character of one is much purer than the other, inclines 
me to him who has certainly from Age, succession and public employ- 
ments the prior Right. Yet when I reflect upon the visonary system of 
Government which will undoubtedly be adopted, the Evils which must 
result from it to the Country, I am sometimes inclined to believe that, 
the more bold, daring and decisive Character would succeed in support- 
ing the Government for a longer time. 

A Sceptre, snatch' d with an unruly hand 
Must be as boistrously mantain'd as gain'd; 
And he that stands upon a slipp'ry place 
Makes nice of no vile hold to stay him up. 2 

What a lesson upon Elective Governments have we in our young 
Republic of 12 years old? What is the difference of Character between 

1 The whole number of electoral votes in iSoi was 138; necessary to the choice of a 
President, 70. Jefferson and Burr each had 73 ; therefore, the election went into the House 
of Representatives. The balloting continued from February II to 17, inclusive. Nine 
states were necessary to a choice. On the first ballot, Jefferson had 8, Burr 6, and two states 
weredivided. On the thirty-sixth ballot, Jefferson received the vote of ten states and was 
declared elected President. On the decisive ballot, the states were divided as follows: 
Jefferson: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, 
Georgia, Tennessee, Maryland, and Vermont; Burr: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode 
Island, and New Hampshire. Delaware and South Carolina cast blanks, Matthew L. 
Davis, Memoirs of Aaron Burr, New York, 1837, vol. 2, pp. 73-4. 

In writing to Elbridge Gerry from Washington, December 30, 1800, President Adams 
commented on the results of the election of that year as follows: 

"Your anxiety for the issue of the election is, by this time, allayed. How mighty a power 
is the spirit of party! How decisive and unanimous it is! Seventy-three for Mr. Jefferson 
and seventy-three for Mr. Burr. May the peace and welfare of the country be promoted 
by this result! But I see not the way as yet. In the case of Mr. Jefferson, there is nothing 
wonderful; but Mr. Burr's good fortune surpasses all ordinary rules, and exceeds that of 
Bonaparte. All the old patriots, all the splendid talents, the long experience, both of 
federalists and antifederalists, must be subjected to the humiliation of seeing this dexter- 
ous gentleman rise, like a balloon, filled with inflammable air, over their heads. And this 
is not the worst. What a discouragement to all virtuous exertion, and what an encourage- 
ment to party intrigue, and corruption! What course is it we steer, and to what harbor 
are we bound? Say, man of wisdom and experience, for I am wholly at a loss." Adams, 
Works, vol. 9, pp. 577-8. 

1 King John, Act 3, Scene 4, lines 135-8. 


a Prince of Wales, & a Burr? Have we any claim to the favour or protec- 
tion of Providence, when we have against warning admonition and ad- 
vise [sic] Chosen as our chief Majestrate a man who makes no preten- 
tions to the belief of an all wise and suprem Governour of the World, 
ordering or directing or overruling the events which take place in it? 
I do not mean that he is an Atheist, for I do not think that he is but he 
believes Religion only usefull as It may be made a political Engine, and 
that the outward forms are only, as I once heard him express himself 
mere [Mumery cancelled] Mummery. In short, he is not a believer in the 
Christian system The other if he is more of a believer, has more to 
answer for, because he has grosely offended against those doctrines by his 

Such are the Men whom we are like to have as our Rulers. Whether 
they are given us in wrath to punish us for our sins and transgressions, 
the Events will disclose But if ever we saw a day of darkness, I fear this 
is one which will be visible untill kindled into flame's. 

My Health is better than it was the first part of the winter: I hope I 
shall be able to encounter this dreadfull journey, but it is very formid- 
able to me, not only upon account of the Roads, but the Runs of water 
which have not any Bridges over them, and must be forded Mr. and 
Mrs. [William] Cranch are very well and dinned with me last Sunday, 
as did \VilKam and Richard. To day the Judges and many others with 
the heads of departments & Ladies dine with me for the last time 
My best Regards to all my Friends and acquiantance. With the hope 
of seeing them e'er long, I am. 

Your truly affectionate Sister 


Susan [Adams] sends her duty. She has had the hooping cough, but is 
getting better. 



Letters of Mrs. Adams, the Wife of John Adams. With an Introductory 
Memoir by Her Grandson, Charles Francis Adams (Boston, 1840). 

Letters of Mrs. Adams,, the Wife of John Adams. Charles Francis 
Adams (Boston, 1841). I (1761-1784); II (1784-1816). 

Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by ... Charles 
Francis Adams (Boston, 1841). I (1774-1777); II (1777-1801). 

Letters of Mrs. Adams, the Wife of John Adams. Charles Francis 
Adams (Boston, 1848). 

Familiar Letters of John Adams and His Wife Abigail Adams, During 
the Revolution. Charles Francis Adams (New York, 1876). 

Warren-Adams Letters (Boston, 1917-1925). I (1743-1777); II (1778- 

"Abigail Adams, Commentator." Massachusetts Historical Society, 
Proceedings, 66 (Boston, 1942). 

Journal and Correspondence of Miss Adams, Daughter of John Adams. 
Edited by Her Daughter, [Caroline Amelia (Smith) DeWindt] (New 
York and London, 1841). 

Correspondence of Miss Adams, Daughter of John Adams. Edited by ... 
[Caroline Amelia (Smith) DeWindt] (New York and London, 1842). 

Henry Adams of Somersetshire, England, and Braintree, Mass. His 
English Ancestry and Some of His Descendants. Compiled by J. Gardner 
Bartlett (New York, 1927). 

John Adams's Book: Being Notes on a Record of the Births, Marriages, 
and Deaths of Three Generations of the Adams Family, 1734-1807. By 
Henry Adams, Jr. (Boston, 1934). 

Abigail Adams, The Second First Lady. By Dorothie Bobbe (New 
York, 1929). 

"Abigail Smith Adams": Portraits of American Women. By Gamaliel 
Bradford (Boston and New York, 1919). 

"Abigail Adams": Some American Ladies: Seven Informal Biographies, 
By Meade Mihnigerode (New York and London, 1926). 

Abigail Adams and Her Times. By Laura E. Richards (New York 
and London, 1917). 

Abigail Adams. By Janet Whitney (Boston, 1947). 



















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In preparing these letters for the press, the editor confused two obscure persons of the 
same name: William Smith (1755-1816), merchant of Boston, a kinsman of Mrs. John 
Adams, and William Smith, Jr. (1746-1787), younger brother of Mrs. Adams. This 
William Smith, Jr., married Catherine Louisa Salmon, and seems to have had five children: 
Mary (i 775-1797), Charles (1780-1797), Louisa (1785) who lived with President and 
Mrs. John Adams William, and Elizabeth. He settled in Lincoln, and died of black 
jaundice, September 3 or 10, 1787 the letters of his sisters, Mary Cranch and Elizabeth 
Shaw, do not agree on the date. The kinsman, William Smith, merchant of Boston, married 
Hannah Carter in 1787, and was the father of Mary Carter Smith (1791-1798). Thus, 
four William Smiths appear in the index and notes: the Reverend William Smith (1707- 
1783), father of Mrs. Adams; his son, William Smith, Jr.; his son, William Smith, 3rd; 
and William Smith, merchant of Boston, Therefore, footnotes on pages 4, 40, 46, 129, and 
130 should be read with this correction in mind. This information was supplied by Henry 
Adams, Jr. 

Page 8, footnote 5 : delete statement as to Richmond Hill. 

Page 9, line 23 : "Mr. Mason" is Jonathan Mason, Jr. (1756-1831), of Boston, who married 
Susannah Powell. 

Page 40, footnote 3: "Brother" refers not to William Smith, Jr. (1746-1787), but to 
Peter Boylston Adams (1738-1823), who married Mary Crosby (1749-1823). 

Page 67, lines 26-27: Mrs. Adams, in comparing Bush Hill, Philadelphia, with Richmond 
Hill, New York, refers to Edmund Burke's essay, On the Sublime and the Beautiful (1756). 
Page 108, footnote 4, line 2: for 1799 read 1790. 

Page 137, footnote 5 should read: See footnote 7 to the letter of November 15, 1797. 
Page 220, line 33, a lost footnote should read: Benjamin Franklin Bache, proprietor of 
the Aurora, died of yellow fever in Philadelphia, September 10, 1798. His widow married 
the associate editor, William Duane, who continued the paper, and with great success. 
William Duane (1760-1835) was born near Lake Champlain, New York, taken to Ireland 
as a child, and went out to India in 1787, from which country he was deported without 
trial. Leaving England in disgust, he settled in Philadelphia and helped Bache edit the 
Aurora. In the autumn of 1799, he was indicted under the Sedition Law, but his trial was 
postponed twice, and President Jefferson dismissed the charges. To Jefferson alone Duane 
remained a faithful follower and devoted friend. Jefferson thought that his "passions" were 
"stronger than his prudence/' and described him as an "honest" but "intolerant" man. 

Page 224, last line, a lost footnote should read: The "British Minister" to whom Mrs. 
Adams refers as having been accused of protesting, in 1799, against the proposed peace with 
France was Sir Robert Liston (1742-1836), of Edinburgh, "ambassador extraordinary and 
minister plenipotentiary" to the United States (1796-1802). Listen, then H.B.M. am- 
bassador to Constantinople, was appointed on February 17, 1796, and arrived in Phila- 
delphia on May 12. 

Page 251, line in for America read American. 
Page 263, footnote I, line 4: for 1800 read 1801. 



Adams, Abigail. See Abigail (Adams) 

Adams, Abigail (Smith), opinion of New 
York, 7; receptions and dinners of, 8, 
19-20, 75, 90, 91, 98-99, 100, 107, 114, 

119, 129, 134, 167, 169, 183, 196, 214, 

217, 220, 225, 226, 231, 247-248, 250, 
264, 266; character, 6, 14-15, 16, 22, 26, 
28, 32, 36, 37, 41-42, 43, 58, 62, 67, 71, 
72, 76, 79, 80-81, 83, 87-88, 89, 96-97, 

IIO-III, 112, Il6, 117, 120, 125, 133, 

*34> *35> 137, 139-140, 142, 144* *47- 
148, 154, 159-160, 166, 168, 174-175, 
176, 181, 183, 185, 186, 187, 193, 194, 

198, 2O8, 211, 212, 214-215, 2l6, 217- 

21 8, 220, 225, 232-233, 234, 241-242, 

243, 245, 247-248, 249-250, 252-253, 
254255, 257, 259, 261262, 263, 266; 
health, 63, 65, 77, 78-79, 80, 81-82, 90, 
H3, 134, 152, i?8 230, 231, 235, 245, 
262, 266; daily routine, 91, 238-239. 

Adams, Abigail Louisa. See Abigail 
Louisa (Adams) Johnson. 

Adams, Boylston, 187, 239. 

Adams, Charles, 12, 17, 19, 20, 21, 35-36, 
43, 46, 49, 59, 64, 67, 70, 77, 89, 93, 183, 

184, 211, 255, 261-262. 

Adams, John, 4, 6, 7, 12, 13, 30, 31, 32, 35, 
39, 40, 41, 42, 44, 58, 61, 79, 89, 103, 

120, 144, 151-152, 160, 170, 174, 183, 
187, 188, 192, 198, 201, 209, 2ii, 214, 

219, 243, 247, 253, 254, 255; political 
patronage, 16-17, &> I2 7, 189; as Vice- 
President, 20-21, 29, 54, 83, 118; attacks 
on, 25, 126, 159-160, 236-237, 258; 
character, 21, 25, 28, 29, 91, 94, 99, no- 
III, 115, 123, 133, 136-137, 167, 183, 

189, 195, 199, 212-213, 224, 259; visit to 
New England, 29, 34; health, 49, 50, 62, 
74, 75, 82, 96, 98, 113-114, 152, 172-173, 
178, 209, 210, 262, 264; land poor, 61; 
speech on France, 90, 92, 93, 151, 156, 

190, 217-218, 219, 220-221; birthday, 

108, 258-259; opens letter to wife, no- 
in, 120; respect for, 112-113, 118, 143, 
161, 165, 167, 169, 171, 173, 175, 176, 
214; Duke of Braintree, 116; messages 
and speeches, 146, 153-154, 227; French 
hatred of, 147; hopes for peace with 
France, 148, 220221, 224-225; thoughts 
of resigning Presidency, 263. 
Adams, John Quincy, 4, 6, 28, 30, 31, 52, 
64, 65, 67, 69, 82, 90, 95, 97, no, 116, 
129, 131, 144, 146, 147, 155-156, i57 ? 
159-160, 162, 169, 175, 1 80, 181, 183, 

185, 190, 191, 194, 208, 211, 212, 217, 

226, 230, 240, 250; character, 70, 138. 
Adams, Louisa Catherine (Johnson), no, 

*S7-i5S, 208, 212, 217, 230; character, 

116, 190-191. 
Adams, Peter Boylston, 7, 40, 64, 73, 74, 

76, 131, 136, 187,239,254. 
Adams, Sarah (Smith), 5, 89, 209, sir, 213, 

255, 261. 

Adams, Susanna, 187, 220. 
Adams, Susanna (Boylston). See Susanna 

(Boylston) [Adams] Hall 
Adams, Susanna Boylston. See Susanna 

Boylston (Adams) Clark. 
Adams, Thomas, 159, 165. 
Adams, Thomas Boylston, 21, 34, 35, 36, 

39, 41, 42, 49, 50, 52, 55, 56, 58, 59, 63, 

66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 74, 75, 82, 95, no, 

116, 131, 144, 157-158, 169, 175, 185, 

211 212, 213, 2l6, 217, 221, 232, 247, 

255, 256. 

Aesop, Fables of, 48, 230. 

Ague, 65, 82, 85, 183, 260, 262. 

Algerines, 151, 154. 

Alien and Sedition Laws, 165, 172, 179, 

193, 196, 216. 

American Biography, Belknap's, 198. 
Americans, vexation with, 124, 150, 154, 

159, 165, 168-169, 177, 179, 186, 216, 

218, 237, 251-252, 261, 265. 
Ames, Fisher, 38, 64. 
Ames, Frances (Worthington), 65. 


Anetseed, 93. 

Annapolis College, 189. 

Apoplexy, 197, 200. 

Assembly Room, Philadelphia, 225. 

Assumption of state debts, 38. 

As You, Like It, 24. 

Atheism, 1 68, 266. 

Atwood, Sarah, 122. 

Aurora, Philadelphia, 92, 94, 95, 96, 97, 
112, 116, 117, "8, 120, 128, 137, 143- 
144, 150, 154, 159, 165, 166, 167, 171, 
172, 216, 258. 

Bache, Benjamin F., 92, 94, 95, 96, 97, "2, 

116, 117, 118, 120, 128, 137, I43-I44. 

146, 150, 154, 159, 165, 166, 167, 171, 

172, 189, 193, 200. 
Baker, Hilary, 171. 
Baltimore, Md., 51,256- 
Bankruptcy, 97, 117, 128-129, 134, 142, 

143, 155, I6& 203-204, 247. 
Barbary Coast pirates, 151. 
Baring, Anne (Bingham), 242. 
Barnard, Moses, 10, 23, 30, 34, 46, 47, 50, 


Barras, Paul F. J. N., Director, 92. 
Bartlett, Bailey, 114. 
Bastille, The, Paris, 125. 
Bathing machine, 93, 
Baths, use of cold, 196. 
Battle of the Kegs, The, 153. 
Baxter, Mary, 100. 
Baxter, Thompson, 46, 115, 134, 226* 
Baiter, Mrs, Thompson, 107, 134. 
Bayard, Samuel, 234. 
Beal, Abijah, 239. 
Beal, Ann, 239. 
Beal, Richard, 61, 141, 193. 
Belknap, Jeremy, 180, 197, 198. 
Bellamy, , 94, 99> 103, "3, I2 5> I28 > 

139, 140-141, 143, 146, 148, 150-152, 

I53> 154, i$6, 161, 166, 175, 177, i?8, 

185-186, 192-193, 205, 
Belmont, Pa., 187-188. 
Berlin, 138, 157, 158; royal court at, 191. 
Berne, capture of, 192. 
Bingham, Anne (Willing), 171, 214-215, 

Bingham, Maria Matilda* See Maria 

Matilda (Bingham) Tilly. 

Birthday of John Adams, 214, 258-259. 
Birthday Ball for Washington (1798), 133, 

Black, Moses, 112, 114, 115-116, 120, 121, 

131, 167, 168, 172, 173, 174, 179* I8l > 

185, 198, 223, 250. 
Black, Mrs. Moses, 79, 112, 116, 120, 121, 

124, 129, 131, 137* Hi, I55> 162-163, 

167, 176, 184, 185, 187, 198, 215, 220, 

223, 226, 231, 235, 243, 254, 256, 259. 
Blair, Rev. Samuel, Jr., 101, 142, 144. 
Bleeding and blistering, 63, 65, 66, 78, 79, 

105, 119, 143, 194, 195, >!> >5> 2IO > 26 - 
Blount, Thomas, 101. 
Blount, William, 100, 101. 
Bonaparte, Napoleon, 230. 
Bond, William Cranch, 21, 28. 
Boston, Mass., plague in, 225; printers, 227. 
Boston Mall, 54. 
Boston Post Road, 108. 
Bourne, Sylvanus, 177. 
Bowen, Ann, 12. 
Bowen, Elizabeth, 12. 
Bowen, Jabez, 10, 11, 12. 
Bowen, Mrs. Jabez, 12. 
Bowen, Mary, to. 
Brackett, James, 244. 
Braintree, address from, 1 86. 
"Braintree, Duke of," 116. 
Brehan, Comtesse de, 13. 
Briesler, Abigail, 60. 
Briesler, Elizabeth, 47, 6b, 141. 
Briesler, John, Sr., 14, 20, 28, 30, 31, 33, 34, 

46, 47, 48, 55, 64, 65, 68, 70, 71, 72, 73, 

86, 87, 88, no, in, 130, 209, 210, 212, 

Briesler, Mrs. John, Sr., 10, II, 18, 30, 32, 

43, 5r 52, 63, 64, 65, 71, 74, 75, 78, 87, 

88, 105, 109, in, 121, 141, 184, 190, 224, 

228, 231. 

Briesler, John, Jr., 95, 120, 210. 
Briesler, Lucy, 65. 
Brookfield, Mass., 73, 87, 208-209. 
Brown, John, 10, n. 
Brown, Sarah (Smith), ir. 
Buck, Daniel, 164. 
Buck, Mrs. Daniel, 164. 
Burk, John Daly, 200. 
Burke, Edmund, 67, 161, 181. 
Burr, Aaron, 156; character, 265-266. 
Bush Hill, Philadelphia, 65, 67, 187. 



Cabot, George, 178. 

Caillard, An tome-Bernard, 162. 

"Ca ira," 164. 

Calamanco (calimanco), 6. 

Caldwell, Eiias Boudinot, 233. 

Callender, James Thomson, 251, 

Calvinism, 117, 119. 

Cambridge, address from, 186. 

Campbell, George W., 117. 

Campo Formio, Treaty of, 123. 

Canterbury, Archbishop of. See Charles 
Manners-Button, Bishop of Norwich. 

Carroll, Daniel, 176. 

Census and reapportionment, 80-8 1. 

Ceres, 73* 

Chase, Samuel, 232, 256. 

Childbirth, treatment for, 45. 

China tea, 206. 

Cholera rnorbis, 105. 

Christianity, Jefferson's disbelief in, 266. 

Chronicle, Boston, 91-92, 94, 95, 96, 172. 

Church, Benjamin, 25. 

Church, Edward, 24, 25, 26, 189, 190. 

Church's Cough Drops, 143. 

Cincinnati, Society of the, 20. 

Civil War, fear of, 172. 

Clark, Susanna Boylston (Adams), 89, 209, 
211, 213, 252, 260, 266* 

Clarke, Rev. John, 45, 174, 197. 

Clarkson, Belinda (Smith), 3, 5, 6. 

Clergymen, superiority of New England, 
26-27, 216; dullness of New York, 27, 
53, 117, 119; compared with lawyers, 126. 

Clinton, Cornelia (Tappen), 13. 

Clinton, George, 13. 

Cobbett, William, 95, 101, 132, 143-144* 

Cockades, brawl over, 171-172, 176. 

Collins, John, 10. 

Columbian Centinel, 116, 131, 136, 159, 
176, 182, 183, 200, 213, 229, 258. 

Conechigo waggons, 188. 

Congress, 7; comments on, 15, 28, 29, 39, 
44, 54, 83, 92, 93, 94-95, 100-101, 102, 
124-125, 127, 132, 135, 139, 140, 142, 
143, 145, 146, 148, 149, 153, 154, 155, 
161, 162, 173, 178, 193, 194, 201, 207, 
217, 219, 221, 227, 230, 231, 236, 239, 

Congress Hall, Philadelphia, 225. 

Constitution of the United States, com- 
ments on, 20-21, 29, 135, 139. 

Consulate, French, 230. 

Consumption, 41, 192, 193, 201. 

Continental Congress (1774-1775), 118, 146. 

Convoys, use of, 162. 

Cooper, Thomas, 213, 216, 251. 

Cost of living, 33, 34, 43, 44, 58, 67-68, 
75, 97, 141. 

Coxe, Tench, 126, 127. 

Craigie, Dr. Andrew, 18. 

Cranch, Ann Allen, 258, 260. 

Cranch, Anna (Greenieaf), 8-9, 86, no, 
115, 134, 137, 140, 176, 202, 204, 205, 
227, 244, 266. 

Cranch, Elizabeth. Bee Elizabeth (Cranch) 

Cranch, Elizabeth (Palmer), 36, 40, 42, 

Cranch, Joseph, 41, 42, 44, 45, 47, 112, 219. 

Cranch, Lucy. See Lucy (Cranch) Green- 

Cranch, Mary (Smith), 173, 183, 257, 260; 
domestic difficulties, 15-16, 67. 

Cranch, Richard, Sr., 7* 9 16, 21, 31, 34* 
39, 45, 46, 50, 54, 58, 60 61, 63, 65, 67, 71, 
73> 88, 93, 97, 99, 108, **7> 122, 130, 133, 
136, 141, 155, 157, *72> 1 80, 195, 202, 
209, 213, 217, 235, 238, 250, 251, 255, 
256, 259> 261, 262. 

Cranch, Richard, Jr., 102, 115, 227, 258, 

Cranch, William, 16, 39, 64, 67, 71, 85, 98, 
102, 104, 105, 106, no, 115, 134, 137* 
139, 140, 142, 149, 157, 169, 175-174 
185, 190, 192, 202, 203-204, 205, 211, 

217, 221, 225, 227, 232, 233, 239, 244, 

246-247, 250, 258, 260, 261, 262, 263, 

Cranch, William G., 115, 149, 258, 266. 

Crosby, Dr. Ebenezer, 7. 

Crosby, Elizabeth, 7, 40. 

Cashing, Hannah (Phillips), 9, 37, 4* fa 

119, 129, 144 232, 234. 
Gushing, William, 144, 232, 233, 234. 
Custis, Eliza Parke. See Eliza Parke 

(Custis) Law. 


Dacca Muslin, 173. 
Daggett's Inn, 9. 


Dalton, Tristram, 203-204. 

Dalton, Mrs. Tristram, 37, 46, 78, 82. 

Dana, Francis, 94, 99, 219. 

"Dangerous Vice, The," by Edward 

Church, 24-25. 
Daniel, 114. 

Darby and Joan, 118, 119, 120. 
Davie, William Richardson, 212-213, 249. 
Dawes, Lucy (Greenleaf), 173. 
Dawes, Thomas, 175. 
Deakins, William, Jr., 149, 169. 
Debts of the United States, funding of, 22- 

23, 37, 38, 83; bonds a good investment, 


Decatur, Stephen, Sr., 200. 
Dejanira, 147. 
Delaware, 200. 
Delaware River, 1 88. 
Democrats. See Republicans. 
DeWindt, Caroline Amelia (Smith), 85, 

106, 109, 183, 197, 208, 209, 210-21 1, 

231, 238, 252. 
Dexter, Samuel, 227. 
Directory, French, 92, 114, 123, 151-152, 

156, 158-159* 161, I75> 178, 186, 190, 

194, 224. 

Draco of Athens, 124. 
Duane, William, 220, 258. See Additions 

and Corrections. 

Duncanson, William Mayne, 203-204. 
DuPont, Victor Marie, 180-181. 
Durant, John Waldo, 64, 68. 
Dutch Church, New York, 53; Philadelphia, 


Dutch customs, in New York, 35. 
Dysentery, 104, 194. 


Eastchester, N. Y., 108. 

Election of 1800-1801, 217, 237, 251-252, 

253, 261, 263, 264-265. 
Eliot, Elizabeth, 134, 140. 
Elisha, arrogance of, 167, 249. 
Ellsworth, Oliver, 212-213, 249. 
England, rumored invasion of, 123, 159* 

186; comments on, 162, 225, 249. 
Episcopal Church, Eastchester, N. Y., 108. 
Essay on Man, An^ 253. 
Essex Junto, 219. 
Evans, Thomas, 95* 


Fables for the Female Sex y 255. 

Farrar's Tavern. See Pease's Inn. 

Fashions, 145, 173, 214-215, 218-219, 220, 
223, 225, 226, 241-242, 247-248. 

Fast Day (May 9, 1798), 171. 

Federalists, comments on, 125, 132, 135, 

Felt, Abigail Adams (Shaw), 36, 42. 

Fenno's Gazette, 99-100, 116, 131, 154, 
216, 241. 

Field, Abigail, 60, 121, 125. 

Field, Lilley, 213, 

Field, Lucy, 60, 

Field, Phoebe (Trask), 104, 114, 115, 120, 
121, 125, 131, 163, 212, 231. 

Field, Rebecca, 30, 59, 60, 105, ill. 

Findley, William, 159-160. 

Flagg's Inn, Weston, 107. 

Flint, Rev. Jacob, 90, 112, 115. 

Foreigners, objections to, 48, 69, 216, 237, 

Foreign Intercourse Bill, 127, 139, 142, 149. 

Forrest, Uriah, 247. 

Fort Stanwix, 116. 

Foster, D wight, 188. 

Fourth of July, 20, 98-99, loo, 102, 192- 
193, 199. 

Fox, Gilbert, 165. 

France, trouble with, 94, 101-102, 140-141, 
145, 146, 148, 151-152, 177, 1 88, 190, 
192, 196, 221; opinion of, 114, 153, 154, 
230, 249; denunciation of, 124, 131, 148, 
150, 151, 155, 156, 162, 168, 179-180, 
181, 186, 193, 205-206; emissaries from, 


Francis, Abby (Brown), 10, 12. 
Francis, John, 10, 12. 
Francis L, of Austria, 123. 
Francis Hotel, Philadelphia, 254. 
Franking of letters, 58-59. 
Franklin, Benjamin, 146. 
Frederick William II, of Prussia, 138, 156. 
Frederick William III, of Prussia, 138, 145, 

156, 158, 191. 

Freeman, Nathaniel, Jr., 92, 93, 95, 124. 
Freemasons, plots of, 179-180. 
French, influence and manners in U.S.A, 

120, 161; cockade, 156; conspiracy against 

U.S.A., 170. 



Gallatin, Albert, 139, 151, 161, 162, 175. 

Gannett, Caleb, 238. 

Gannett, Ruth (Stiles), 238. 

Gardiner, John, 38, 40. 

George III, 15, 19, 220. 

George IV, 266. 

Georgetown, D. C., 203, 257-258. 

Gerry, Ann (Thompson), 154, 192, 196. 

Gerry, Elbridge, 15, 16-17, 38, 81, 99, 103, 

^186, 192, 193, 196, 205. 
Giles, William B., 94, 145, 149, 151. 
dies Gingerbread, 211. 
Gill, Mrs. Rebecca, 152. 
Gore, Christopher, 249. 
Gout, 131. 

Governor's House, Boston, 54, 
Green, Rev. Ashbel, 235. 
Greenleaf, Ann Penn (Allen), 117, 240. 
Greenleaf, Anna. See Anna (Greealeaf) 


Greenieaf, Antonia C. A. (Schotten), 86. 
Greenleaf, James, 85-86, 97, 117, 128-129, 

134, 140, 142, 169, 183, 204, 237, 247; 

character, 155, 240, 246. 
Greenleaf, John, 86, 174, 240. 
Greenleaf, Lucy. See Lucy (Greenleaf) 

Greenleaf, Lucy (Cranch), 7, 8, 9, 14, 16, 

1 8, 21, 23, 31, 32, 34, 39, 40, 43, 49, 56, 

62, 69, 71, 97, 103, 115, 117, 120, 132, 

139, *44> 157, 217, 219, 220, 240; letter 

to, I73-I74- 
Gustavus IV, of Sweden, 146. 


"Hail Columbia, 5 * 164-165, 166, 171. 

Hall, Anna, 116, 120, 121, 129, 133, 137, 
141, 155, 162-163, 164, 167, 174, 176, 
184, 185, 235. 

Hall, Susanna (Boylston) [Adams], 6, 14, 
1 8, 21, 24, 31, 34> 5* 55, &> 67 *% 
character, 168. 

Hamburg, 157, 180, 181, 185. 

Hamilton, Alexander, 21, 37, 81, 83, 126, 
252, 255; character, 224; Public Char- 
acter . . . of John Adams, 258. 

Hamlet, 24. 

Hancock, 12, 

Hare, Robert, 171. 

Harlem, N. Y., 30. 

Harper, Robert Goodloe, 139, 163. 

Harpers Ferry, 227. 

Harvard Commencement, 51, 54, 57, 205, 

Hauteval, Lucien, 94, 99, 103, 123, 125, 
128, 139, 140-141, 143, 146, 148, 150- 
152, 153, 154, 156, 161, 166, 175, 177, 178, 
185-186, 192-193,205. 

Heath, William, 166. 

Hebrews, 88. 

Henry Fill, 259, 

Hesse-Darmstadt, Louisa of, 156. 

Hingham, Mass., Academy at, 198. 

Hohenzollera, Prince Ferdinand, 191. 

Hohenzollern, Princess Henry, 191. 

Hopkinson, Francis, 153. 

Hopklnson, Joseph, 164-165, 223. 

Hottinguer, Baron, Jean-Conrad, 94, 99, 
103, 123, 125, 128, 139, 140-141, 143, 
146, 148, 150-152, 153, 154, 156, 161, 
166, 175, 177, 178, 185-186, 192-193, 

Howard, Elizabeth, 88, 98, 100, 105, 121, 

212, 21 8, 223., 264. 

Howeli, Richard, 179. 
Hudson River, N. Y., 54, 213. 
Humphreys, David, 13, 19. 

Hunt, Abigail, 60, 98, 99, 105, ill, 172, 

184, 206. 
Hunt, Ann, 104. 
Hunt, Elizabeth, 60, 99, 104. 
HiitchJnson, Stirimpton, 10. 


Ice cream y 19, 55, 98. 

Independent Chronicle, Boston, 159, 165. 

Indians, visits of, 56, 57, 145-146. 

Indian War, 75-76, 77, 81. 

Indigence^ in old age, 136. 

Influenza, 49, 50, 134. 

Irish, character of, 132. 

Isabella, $2. 

Isaiah, 101. 

Israel, Children of, 154. 

Italian Monk, The, 165, 

Izard, Ralph, 30, 37* 


Jackson, "William, 30, 235, 237. 

Jacobins, 91-92, 96, 101, 112, 117, 127, 147, 

152, 153, 171, 181, 182, 205, 217, 236- 

237, 239. 

Jamaica, Long Island, 3-7, 43, 44. 

James's Powders, 63. 

Jarvis, Dr. Charles, 94. 

Jarvis, William, 127. 

Jay, Sarah Van Brugh (Livingston), 8, 37. 

Jay's Treaty, 85, 236-237. 

Jefferson, Thomas, 83, 94, 117, 126, 156; 
character, 44, 137, 265-266; French 
support of, 147; danger of succession of, 

i 7 8. 

Jeffersonians, spite of, 230, 236, 237, 251- 

252, 263. 

Jeffries, Dr. John, 57, 76, 188. 
Jeffries, Mrs. John, 74. 
Jeremiah, 127, 159. 
Jesuit's Bark, 62, 63, 78. 
Johnson, Abigail Louisa (Adams), 209, 211, 


Johnson, Joshua, no, 115, 169, 185, 246. 
Johnson, Mrs. Joshua, 169, 175-176, 

185, 190, 191, 202, 203, 204, 205, 235, 

244, 246, 247, 250, 260. 
Jones, Lucy, 42. 
Judiciary system, revision of, i8or, 234, 


Jugurtha, 153, 
Julius Caesar, 69, 94, 

Kegs, The Battle of ike, 153. 

Kendall, Rev. James, 216. 

Kentucky, Jeffersonlan barbecue in, 237. 

King, Mary (AIsop), 46. 

King, Rufus, 123, 144-145, ISS, 177* 186. 

King John, 265. 

Kings, Second Book of, 167, 

Kings Bridge, New York, 118. 

King's Pantheon* 157, 

Knox, Henry, 41, 42, 44, 45, 83. 

Knoi, Lucy (Flucker), 8, 13. 


Lafayette, Marquis de ? 181. 
La Fontaine, 190. 
Lamb, John, 127, 189. 
Land, as an investment, 136. 
Langdon, John, 92. 

La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt, Due de, 114. 
Laurance, John, 64. 

Law, Eliza Parke (Custis), 30, 134, 140, 

Law, Thomas, 140, 149, 203-204. 

Lawyers, 38-39, 126. 

Lay Preacher of Pennsylvania, 241. 

Lear, Tobias, 13, 19, 227. 

Le Croyable, 200. 

Lee, Henry, 222, 228. 

Leoben, Treaty of, 123. 

Letombe, Joseph Philippe, 181, 205. 

Letter to General Heath, 1 66, 

Letters on the Regicide Peace, 161. 

Levant, The, 225. 

Liancourt, Due de. See La Rochefoucauld- 


Lincoln, Benjamin, 218, 230. 
Linn, Rev. William, 27, 53. 
Lisbon, Portugal, 95, 138. 
Listen, Sir Robert, 224-225. See Additions 

and Corrections. 
Livermore, Samuel, 104. 
Livingston, Edward, 251. 
Livingston, Rev. John Henry, 53. 
Louis XVIIL, 224. 
Louisa of Hesse-Darmstadt, 156. 
Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, character, 


Lowell, John, 78. 
Lowell, Susanna (Cabot), 78. 
Ludden, Ruth, 30, 46, 47, 48, 50. 
Lyon, Matthew, 132, 135, 146, 194, 
Lyons, cloaks from, 158-159. 


McCormick, Daniel, 4, 12. 
McGillivray, Alexander, 57. 
McHenry, James, 199, 201, 204, 205, 207, 
219, 227. 


Madiera Island, 76. 

Madison, James, 94, 156. 

Mails, tampering with, 104. 

Malcom, Samuel B., 100, 155. 

Mammea, Creek name for Mrs. John 
Adams, 56. 

Manners-Sutton, Charles, Bishop of Nor- 
wich, 116-117. 

Man's Inn, Wrentham, 9. 

Marchant, Henry, 12. 

Marchant, Mrs. Henry, 12. 

Maria, 82. 

Marriage, sanctity of, 181. 


Marshall, John, 94, 125, 193, 195, 196, 221. 
Marshall, Thomas, 209. 
Marshall, Mrs. Thomas, 208-209. 
Marvel of Peru, four o' clocks, 249. 
Mason, Elizabeth, 247-248. 
Mason, Jonathan, Jr., 9, 244, 247. 
Mason, Stevens T., 92. 
Mason, Susannah (Powell), 9. 
Massachusetts, politics of, 23, 38-39, 124, 

195-196, 219, 
Massachusetts Mercury, Boston, 116, 117, 


Masters, Ann (Smith), 6, 210, 211. 

Measles, 37, 39, 41. 

Medford, Mass., address from, 186. 

Medical Society, Boston, 41. 

Merchantmen, Arming of, 146. 

Messmger, Rev. Rosewell, 229. 

Micah, 2 1 6. 

Mico Maco, 56. 

Mifflin, Thomas, 171. 

Milton, John, 46, 153, 157, 248. 

Milton, Mass., petition, 150, 152, 

Minot, George Richards, 229. 

Monroe, James, 189. 

Montpelier, Md., 257. 

Moore, Edward, 255. 

Morris, Gouverneur, 189. 

Morris, Mary (White), 134-135, 220. 

Morris, Robert, 97, 134, 142, 143. 

Mortefontaine, Peace of, 212-213, 218, 

221, 224, 249. 

Morton, Eliza Susan, 211. 
Morton, John, 21 1. 

Mount Vernon, 57, 201, 204, 205, 225, 227. 
Mulmull, 103. 
Mumps, 210. 
Murray, William Vans, 125, 129, 177, 192. 


Nash, Thomas, 236, 239. 
Negroes, 3, 20, 48, 70, 72, 73, 75, 9*> 99, 

125, 256. 

Nemours, Pierre Samuel Dupont de, 180. 
Netherlands, The, 157, 224. 
Neutrality, American theory of, 148, 162, 

New England, preference for, 140, 142, 

227, 237. 
Newspapers, malice of, 19, 25, 28, 55, 95, 

96-97, 117, 146-147, IS9, 160, 1^5, 176, 

213, 237, 253. 

New Theatre, Philadelphia, 164-166. 

New Year's Day, in New York, 34-35; in 
Philadelphia, 119. 

New York, N. Y., climate of, 18, 32, 46, 
64; yellow fever, 209-210; and election 
of 1800, 251. 

New York Commercial Advertiser, 213, 

Nicholas, John, 142. 

Nicholas Amendment, 142. 

Nicholson, John, 143. 

Nighthawks, 72. 

Nigkt Thoughts, 87. 

Non-Intercourse Bill (1798), 188. 

North American Land Company, 97, 102. 

Norton, Elizabeth (Cranchj, 4, 7, 8, 16, 17, 
21, 23, 31, 32, 34, 36, 39, 41, 42, 43, 44, 
45, 47, 49, 50, 52, 56, 60, 69, 71, 76, 77, 
88, 90, 93, 103, 108, 115, 1x7, 120, 124, 
132, 139, 144, 157, 163, 164, 166-167, 
170, 178, 181, 217, 219, 220, 226, 250, 
259, 261, 264. 

Norton, Rev. Jacob, 71, 169. 

Norton, Richard Cranch, 43, 45, 49, 56, 


Norton, T. B. Adams, 232. 
Norton, William Smith, 77. 
Norwich, Bishop of. See Charles Manners- 


Old Colony (Plymouth), 188. 

On the Sublime and the Beautiful, 67, See 

Additions and Corrections. 
Otis, Harrison Gray, 92, 95, 139, 166. 
Otis, Mary (Smith) [Gray], 75, 79, 129, 

144, 152, 163, 164, 190, 202, 204, 208, 

214, 217, 228. 
Otis, Sally (Foster), 103. 
Otis, Samuel Allyne, is, 41, 164, 170, 210, 



Packard, Ann (Quincy), 57* 
Packard, Rev. Asa, 108. 
Paine, Mrs. Eunice (Treat), 64, 76. 
Paine, Thomas, 189, 
Paiae, Rev. Thomas, 229. 
Palmer, Elizabeth. See Elizabeth (Palmer) 


Palmer, Joseph Porter, 37. 
Palmer, Mary, 36, 40, 45, 49. 


Palmer, Mary (Cranch), 18, 22, 34, 3&-37, 


Paper money, 16. 
Paradise Lost, 153, 157, 248. 
Parisian girl, story of, 42-43. 
Paterson, William, 232, 233. 
PaulusHook, N. J., 17. 
Peabody, Elizabeth (Smith) [Shaw], 21,31, 

36, 41, 42, 60, 104, 109, 112, 113, 122, 

125, 192, 2OI, 217, 232, 242. 

Peabody, Rev. Stephen, 192. 

Peace Field. See Quincy, Adams houses at. 

Pease's Inn, Shrewsbury, 107, 209. 

Penn's Hill, Braintree, memories of, 28. 

Peruvian Bark, 62, 63, 78. 

"Peter Porcupine." See William Cobbett. 

Peters, Richard, 187-188. 

Peters, Sarah (Robinson), 188. 

Pharaoh, and the Red Sea, 186. 

Philadelphia, climate of, 23, 68, 8 1, 103, 
104, 105-106, 113, 121, 124, 128, 143, 
147, 152, 167, 170, 182, 192, 194, 195, 
199, 204, 208, 220, 225, 231, 234, 236, 
238-239, 243, 244, 250; as capital, 49, 
5 *, 58, 59, &> 220,- house in, 74, 188, 238, 
239, 254-255, 259; social life in, 77; 
yellow fever in, in, 194, 210; manners in, 
I33> HO. 

Phillipse' Bridge. See Kings Bridge, New 

Phipps, Dr. Thomas, 240. 

Pickering, Timothy, 128, 138, 156; char- 
acter, 221. 

Pinckney, C. C., 92, 186, 193. 

Piozzi, Hester Lynch (Salusbury) [Thrale], 

Plainfield, N. J., 214. 

Pleurisy, 65. 

Pliny, 227. 

Pope, Alexander, 253. 

Popery, 168. 

Popular government, 83; danger of, 237, 

"Porcupine, Peter." See William Cobbett. 

Portugal, 95, 189. 

"President's March," 164. 

Price, Rev. Richard, 21, 45, 53. 

Princes Gardens, 29. 

Privateers, French, 178. 

Proofs of a Conspiracy . . . of Freemasons, 
1 80. 

Proverbs, 22, 26, 181. 

Prussia, Treaty with, 156. 

Prussia, mission to, 1797. See J. Q, Adams. 


Quakers, 5, 112, 132. 

Quincy, Abigail (Phillips), 152. 

Quincy, Josiah (1772-1864), 95. 

Quincy, Josiah, Jr., 152. 

Quincy, Martha (Salisbury), 9. 

Quincy, Nancy. See Ann (Quincy) Packard. 

Quincy, Norton, 32, 53, 67, 104, 263-264. 

Quincy, Adams houses at, 22, 28, 41, 44-45, 
5o> 52, 54, 55, 58, 60-61, 72, 73, 74, 76, 
80, 82, 85, 88, 89, 96, 99, 101, 103, 104, 
106, 107, no, 114, 119, 122, 130, 141, 
144, 148-149, 160, 163, 166, 167, 170, 
183, 184, 195, 199, 206-207, 230-231, 
234, 240, 246; praise of, 262. 

Quinsy, 115, 208, 260. 


Randolph, Edmund, 189. 

Randolph, John, of Roanoke, 208, 230, 

231, 239, 251. 
Ray> James, 202-203. 
Real estate, burden of, 49-50, 51, 52, 54- 

55, 58, 6o~6i, 122, 141. 
Reed, John, 149. 

Religion, 53; plot against, 179-180; im- 
portance of, 124, 148, 150, 155, 181, 186, 

197-198, 216, 266. 
Republicans, spite of, 55, 161, 230, 236, 


Reynolds, Dr. James, 128. 
Rheumatism, 46, 66, 75, 78, 119, 131, 158, 

178, 262. 

Rhode Island, politics of, 1789, n. 
Richmond Hill, N. Y., beauty of, 14, 17- 

18, 23, 33, 44, 49; life at, 19, 22; picture 

of, 54. 

Rip Van Dam Church, 53. 
Robbins, Jonathan, 236, 239. 
Robison, John, 179-180, 181. 
Rodgers, Rev. John, 26. 
Rodgers, Mary [Grant], 3, 40, 44, 50, 54, 


Rome, Jugurtha's opinion of, 153. 
Rosina, 165. 

Roxbury, Mass., petition, 150, 152. 
Rum, strange use of, 163. 
Rush, Dr. Benjamin, 66, 69, 78, 131, 140, 
201, 217, 225; libel suit, 223. 


Russell, Benjamin, 94, 182, 183. 

Russell's Commercial Gazette, Boston, 213, 

Russia sheeting, 206. 


St. Anthony's Fire, 47. 
St. Glair's Defeat, 75-76, 77, 8 1. 
St. Croix, 68. 

St. Hilaire, Margaret (Smith), 5, 61. 
St. James's, Court of, 35. 
St. Paul's Church, New York, 27. 
Salaries and wages, 28, 47-48, 51, 97* 138, 

139, 147, 159, 172, 184, 259, 263. 
Sally and Polly, 178, 184. 
Santo Domingo, 182. 
Schuylkill River, Pa., 188. 
Scotch Plains, N. J., 238, 240, 252. 
Scott, Gustavus, 102, 263. 
Search and seizure, 156, 162, 175, 177, 186. 
Sectionalism, growth of, 251-252. 
Sedan, English goods at, 158. 
Sedgwick, Theodore, 38. 
Sentimental Journey, A, 212, 255. 
Servants, comments on, 17, 20, 30, 33, 35, 

43, 46, 47-48, 68-69, 73, 76, 82, 91, HI, 

121, 194, 243, 246, 248, 251. 
Sewail, Samuel, 95. 

Shakespeare, 24, 69, 94, 142, 259, 265. 
Shaw, Abigail Adams. See Abigail Adams 

(Shaw) Felt. 
Shaw, Elizabeth Quincy, 112, 113, 117, 137, 

143, 145, 155, 167, 176, 178, 184, 192, 

195, 197, 201, 205. 
Shaw, Elizabeth (Smith). See Elizabeth 

(Smith) [Shaw] Peabody. 
Shaw, William Smith, 74, 195, 202, 204, 

217, 219, 221, 225, 227. 

Sheaf e, James, 219, 227. 
Shenango, Pa., ill. 
Shepard, William, 99. 
Simplicity cap, 157. 
Sisyphus, labors of, 125. 
Skinner, Thomson J., 93, 95, 124. 
Slaves, negro, the best servants, 48. 
Small pox, 23, 30, 31, 47, 60, 61, 63, 65,95, 

155, 163, 164, 246. 
Smith, Abigail See Abigail (Smith) 

Smith, Abigail (Adams), 3, 4, 5, 7, *3, * 6 > 

17, 19, 25, 30, 32, 33, 4^ 43, 44, 46, 5Q> 

51, 52, 56, 57, 59, 60, 61, 63, 64, 65, 66, 
68, 69, 72, 73, ?6, 77, 78, 79, So, 84, 85, 
88, 89, 93, 103, 106, 108, 109, no, in, 

112, 113, 114, 116, 09, 122, 125, 129, 

I30-I3I, 139, 144, 195, 197, 209, 210, 
211, 213, 217, 218, 219, 222, 223, 227, 

231, 235, 238, 251, 252; character, 240. 
Smith, Ann. See Ann (Smith) Masters. 
Smith, Belinda. See Belinda (Smith) 

Smith, Caroline Amelia. See Caroline 

Amelia (Smith) DeWindt, 
Smith, Catherine Louisa (Salmon), 21, 23, 


Smith, Charity, 5. 
Smith, Charles, 112, 122, 123, 195. 
Smith, Elizabeth. See Elizabeth (Smith) 

[Shaw] Peabody. 
Smith, Elizabeth, niece of Mrs. Adams, 75, 

79, 82, 122, 130, 132, 152, 182, 187, 195, 


Smith, Elizabeth, 6. 
Smith, James, 6. 
Smith, John, 6. 
Smith, John Adams, 3, 5, 13, 17, 20, 30, 

31, 36, 43, 44, 66, 68, 85, 105, 107, 109, 

113, 120, 187, 217. 

Smith, Justus Bush, 6, in. 

Smith, Louisa, 12, 17, 20, 21, 23, 30, 31, 

32, 41, 50, 63, 65, 73, 74, 78, 105, 134, 
141, 149, 174, 187, 189, 190, 210, 217, 219, 

Smith, Margaret. See Margaret (Smith) 

St. Hilaire. 
Smith, Margaret (Stephens), 3, 6, 23, 43, 

U9, 197, 210, 252, 254, 261. 
Smith, Mary. See Mary (Smith) Cranch. 
Smith, Mary, 88, 122, 129-130, 131, 132. 
Smith, Mary Carter, 168, 174, 195. 
Smith, Sarah. See Sarah (Smith) Adams. 
Smith, Thomas Hollis, 56, 59, 65. 
Smith, William, Jr., (1746-1787), 51. 
Smith, Mrs. William, Jr., 84, 85, 109, 129, 

I3i 155, 163, 174, *97- 
Smith, William, IIL, 23, 43, 123. 
Smith, William, merchant, 4, 46, 52, 88-89, 

93, 99, 106, 107, 136, 168, 169, 174, 178, 

183, 184, 185, 218, 227. 
Smith, William Loughton, 37, 194. 
Smith, William Stephens, 3, 6, 13, 17, 30, 

46, 59, 61, 66, 69, 77, 79, So, 88, 89, 105, 


113, n6, 129, 203, 211, 214, 252; char- 
acter, 69-70, 109, no, in, 119, 120, 130- 
131, 252-253. 

Smith, William Steuben, 3, 5, 13, 20, 23, 
32, 36, 43, 44, 46, 775 84, 107, 109, 113, 
120, 187, 213, 217. 

Snowden, Ann (RIdgeley), 256-257. 

Snowden, Thomas, 256-257. 

Solomon, as carpenter, 233. 

Spain, foreign policy of, 177-178. 

Speculation, mania for, 81, 82, 84, 89, 91, 
109, 129, 134-135, 142, 143, 169, 183, 

202-204, 220. 

Stage coaches, 4. 

State debts, assumption of, 38. 

Sterne, Laurence, 76, 147, 212, 255. 

Stoddert, Benjamin, 204. 

Storer, Ann, 211. 

Storer, Charles, 61. 

Storer, Ebenezer, 61, 219. 

Storer, George, 21, 6l. 

Storer, Hannah (Quincy), II, 6l. 

Storer, Mary, 61. 

Strong, Caleb, 83. 

Suicide, 42. 

Sullivan, James, 87. 

Sumner, Increase, 195-196, 219. 

Supreme Court, clerkship, 232-233, 234. 

Sweden, treaty with, 146. 

Swift, Jonathan, 47. 

Switzerland, 123; conquest of, 192. 

Tailor, Polly, 10, 11, 12, 20, 30, 33, 47, 48, 

50, 52, 65, 66, 70, 73, 74, 76, 77, 86. 
Talleyrand, Charles Maurice, 151-152, 190, 

193, 224. 

Tartar Emetic, 50. 
Temple, "Lady" Elizabeth (Bowdoin), 8, 

13, 46. 

Thacher, George, 101. 
Thacher, Rev. Peter, 45. 
Thanksgiving, in New England, 217. 
Thazter, Rev. John, 61. 
Thayer, Atherton, 200. 
Theophilanthropy, 180. 
Thrale, Hester Lynch (Salusbury). See 


Three Warnings, The, 168. 
Tilly, Comtesse de, Maria Matilda (Bing- 

ham), 214-215, 242. 

Timon of Athens, 142. 

Tirril, Nathan, 68, 141. 

Tousard, Anna Maria (Geddes), 244-245, 

Tousard, Anne Louis de, 244-245, 251. 

Trajan, 227. 

Trenton, N. J., 210, 211, 224. 

Trumbull, John, 56. 

Tudor, William, 108. 

Tufts, Dr. Cotton, 14, 22, 32, 36, 40, 41, 
42, 53, 58, 59, 61, 70, 71, 72, 76, 79, 80, 
82, 93, 98, 122, 130, 133, 141, 144, 145, 
160, 166, 167, 170, 175, 178, 183, 184, 
190, 199, 201, 222, 238, 240, 242, 246, 
250, 251, 261. 

Tufts, Mrs. Cotton, Jr., 42. 

Tufts, Susannah [Warner], 32, 42, 90, 144, 
243, 245. 

Turner, Mrs. George, 49. 


United States, 182. 

United States, Funding of debts of. See 


Varnum, Joseph B., 93, 124, 175. 
Vendues, 72. 
Vermin, 106. 

"Virginia Declamation," 127-128. 
Virginia manners, 133, 142, 149, 208, 227. 
Volney, Comte de, 189. 
Voltaire, prediction about Popery, 168, 
Volunteers, for Army, 175, 179. 


Washington, Martha [Custls], 8, 19, 46, 
134, 225; appearance and character, 13, 
IS. 2 9-30> 32, 57, HO 227; receptions of, 
35, 55; trip with, 51. 

Washington, D.C., 102; as new capital, 
234, 247, 254, 257; commissioner of, 263. 

Welsh, Dr. Thomas, 183, 185, 187, 198. 

Welsh, Mrs. Thomas, 93, 102, 117, 132, 
155, 157, 190, 197. 

Welsh, Thomas, Jr., 185. 

West Point, N. Y., 227. 

Whist, 55. 

White House, Washington, D.C., 257, 259- 


Whitman, Rev. Kilborn, in, 112, 115- 

116, 117, 119, 185. 
Whitney, Rev. Peter, 90, 125, 126, 208, 216, 

220, 223, 226, 232, 234, 239. 
Whooping cough, 266. 
Wibird, Rev. Anthony, 26, 104, 120, 125, 

226-227, 249-250. 
William V., of Holland, 224, 
Williams's Inn, Marlborough, 87, 107. 
Wine cellar, at Quincy, 55, 107, 129-130. 
Wolcott, Elizabeth (Stoughton), 101. 
Wolcott, Oliver, Jr., 125, 127; advises John 

Adams against leaving Philadelphia, 

1797, 101. 

Warner, Susannah, 139, 143, 164, 168, 195. 
Warren, James, 188. 
Warren, Mercy (Otis), 16-17, 188. 
Washington, Bushrod, 233. 
Washington, George, 83, 97, 126; illness, 

13; appearance and character, 15, 19, 20, 

26, 29-30, 32, 35, 222, 228-229; visit to 

New England, 29, 34; dread of his death, 
49; tour of the South, 71; coinage and 
statue, Si; criticism of, 98-99, 189; 
political patronage, 127; birthday, 133, 
I 37 2 35 courtesy of, 197; nominated 
commander-ifi-chief (1798), 199, 201, 
204, 207; death of, 222, 225, 226, 227; 
tributes to, 226, 227, 228-229, 2 35? 2 37s 


"XYZ Mission," 94, 99, 103, 123, 125, 
128, 139, 140-141, 143, 146, 148, 150- 
152, 153, 154, 156, 161, 166, 175, 177, 
178, 185-186, 192-193, 205. 


"Yankee Doodle," 164. 
Yellow fever, Philadelphia, ill, 194, 210, 

214; New York, 209-210. 
Young, Edward, Night Thoughts, 87. 





Mary Smith 

Sister of: 

Abigail (Smith) Adams 




Reverend Jacob Norton-* 


General Joseph Palmer-* 

Lucy CRANCH - 

m. her first cousin, 

John Greenleaf 




m. his first cousin, 
Anna (Nancy) Greenleaf 

Elizabeth Peabody 


. her first cousin, 
Joseph Cranch 


m. his first cousin, 
Mary Cranch 



Five other children 



m. her second cousin, 

Harrison Dawes 



m. her second cousin, 
George Minot Dawes - 

Five other children 





m. her first cousin, 
Richard Cranch Norton 

Nine other children 


1: Marcia J, Alger 

2: Mary Ellen Seal!- 


Martha Shaw 




William George Arthur Turner 





65 <