Abigail and John Adams to Mary Smith Cranch
Braintree Jana’ry 12 1767
Mr. Etter was so good as to come this morning and inform me that his Sons would go to Salem tomorrow.1 By them I gladly embrace this Opportunity of inquiring after the welfare of you and your family. It has been a very long time since I heard any thing from you; the roads have been so block’d up with Snow here; that I assure you I have not been to Weymouth since mother came from Salem. They were all well to Day, father dined here, Sister Betsy had an ague in her face which has been very troublesome to her.—I immagine the Winter will seem very long to you, not being able to see your Friends from this way and scarcly to hear from them. They have all round made you a visit and retierd to their abideing places waiting, hopeing and Expecting that when the Spring returns, you will return their visits. Thus I reckon Febry., March, April, May, and then I hope to see you again in this Cottage of our own, where we have heretofore sat, and had sweet communion to get her. With what a painful pleasure do I recollect those hours of social chat? and how earnestly do I wish for the continuance of them? But alass where are they—fled “in the Dark backward, and abyss of time.”
How does our Dear Brother, how would the Sight of his Grave, Yet chearful countenance Gladen my Heart? And my Little Betsy, how does She. How every word and action of these little creatures, twines round ones heart? All their little pranks which would seem ridiculous to relate, are pleasing to a parent. How vex’d have I felt before now upon hearing parents to relate the chitt chat of little Miss, and Master said or did such and such a queer thing—and this I have heard done by persons whose good Sense in other instances has not been doubted. This tho really a weakness I can now more easily forgive, but hope in company I shall not fall into the same error.
As for New’s we have not any but what tis like you see in the publick papers, where A B and C are drawn up in Battle array against P &c. As for Domestick News, I mean such as family News, we have none, unless it would be so to tell you that we have 2 horses, 3 cows, 2 Yearlings, 20 Sheep, 1 cock and no hens. Mem’ one peice and a material one I had like to have omitted, viz. that the camblet has been done these 3 weeks but how to get it to you now I know not. I shall send it to unkle Smiths as the likelyest way to find a conveyance. Dawson has damaged it something [. . .],2 for which I am very sorry, but if you want any thing for Strength I believe I may warrant this. Pray be so good as to write by Mr. Etters Sons how you and Brother, Betsy and all do? My good Man would send his Love to you all only he sets by reading news paper politicks, and is so taken up with them (being just come in) that he cannot think of better matters. He would take it as a favour if Mr. Cranch would write to him, for at all times it delights him to hear of your Health and happiness as much as it does Your Truly affectionate Sister,
P.S. I will send my Love. What care I for News Paper Politicks?—Since last May, my Heart has been at Ease. At Ease I say, and the Governor and all his Friends and Enemies together cant trouble it.3—What would I give to have Brother Cranch’s long Visage along Side of my short one, with a Pipe in each, talking about this and that and ’tother?
da da yrs,
RC (Goodspeed’s Book Shop, Boston, 1956); addressed: “To Mrs. Mary Cranch Salem.” Postscript in JA’s hand. Cover has docketing notes in two hands, one of them perhaps that of Richard Cranch, the other later and unidentified.
1. Peter Etter Sr., a Swiss by birth, had settled in Pennsylvania but came to Braintree about 1750 as one of the entrepreneurs of the industrial establishment in the district still called Germantown. His own trade was stocking weaving. A staunch Anglican, he became a loyalist and left America with the British troops in 1776. See Jones, Loyalists of Mass. description begins E. Alfred Jones, The Loyalists of Massachusetts: Their Memorials, Petitions and Claims, London, 1930. description ends , p. 133–134; numerous references in JA’s Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends ; and, for Etter’s connection with Benjamin Franklin and Franklin’s connection with the enterprises at Germantown, Franklin, Papers, ed. Labaree description begins The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Leonard W. Labaree and others, New Haven, 1959– description ends and Bell, 4:64–65.
2. MS apparently reads “rowe”; perhaps for “rowed,” meaning that a nap was raised on the cloth (see row, verb 7, in OED description begins The Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford, 1933; 12 vols. and supplement. description ends ).
3. On the contrary, JA was at this time intensely busy writing answers, under various pseudonyms, for publication in the Boston Gazette, to Jonathan Sewall’s “Philanthrop” articles defending Governor Bernard in the Boston Evening Post. His present denial is a deliberate blind. See JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 1:326–332; also Works description begins The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, ed. Charles Francis Adams, Boston, 1850–1856; 10 vols. description ends , 3:484–500.