Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Adams
Philada: Octr: 17th. 92
My dear Mother,
I have not received any letters from you, for a considerable time, and I experience the same kind of apprehensions for the cause which you have often expressed concerning me. I fear least the cold weather which is fast approaching should affect your health, by bringing a return of your Rheumatism. I have repeatedly written concerning engaging lodgings for my Father before all the places are engaged, but I have yet recd: no instructions, and if they should even come now I fear no very eligible accomodations can be easily obtained. Mrs. House has the most commodious Rooms of any I know, but ’tis probable they may all be engaged by this time, as many of the former lodgers will return there;1 I know of no other place where there is even a tolerable prospect of obtaining suitable lodgings; however it cannot be my fault if they are not now attainable. Every body of your acquaintance seem to regret your determination to remain behind; but I differ from them in opinion, tho’ I may be presumed more interested in your return than any of them. I do not despair however of again seeing you in Philada: provided you think proper to return next Fall—2 The Reelection is I believe very safe—there can be no hindrance on that score then; but your health is the principal objection, but this I hope will be removed by that time. The Election for Representatives in Congress has been held in this State, and from the returns allready recd: it is said to be Federal; there was a very formidable interest however in opposition; they were indefatigable in their endeavors to carry their Ticket, but are obliged to knock under at last.3 The Electors for P & VP are to be chosen in a few days; we hear very little said of them; indeed there was scarcely ever know an Election however trifling, that was conducted with so much peace & order in this place.4 But the City has disgraced itself by the countenance given to Rank Anti’s while the Counties have deservedly gained a great share of applause by an opposite conduct. Messrs: Hutchinson, Dallas Fox & Co: feel themselves heartily mortifyed by their ill success, in those places where their presence could not overawe or influence the people.5 We never shall get a splendid Representation for this State while there are so many distinct interests or rather prejudices to encounter; but we may get an harmless one.
I got a Letter from Mrs: Smith dated 5 Augst: she was just going to the Review at Bagshott—6 What dismal accounts we have from France if true— A Letter has been received by a Mercht: in this City from a Correspondent in Charleston SC, informing him of the Slaughter of 5000 Parisians—and the Assassination of the Queen— The King & M. La Fayette were missing—& the Duke of Brunswick within 30 leagues of Paris. This intelligence is from Paris by the Georgia Packet wh[ich] sailed on the first of Septr:— Doubts are suggested of its authenticity but tis said to be direct[. For] my part, if the last circumstance concerning the [Duke] of Brunsw[ic]k be true I can easily credit all the rest. Otherwise it seems improbable.7
I sent the Carriage by Captn. Carver; but the price Binghurst charges for Casing, is extravagant especially in the manner it is done—8 If the Carriage gets injured I won’t pay him a Farthing—he asks six Dolls. which I would have given if it had been well done; I’ll thank you to let me hear how it arrives. I have payed Mrs. Keppele her third quarter, and resigned the Key of the House, she has allready removed her Family & taken possession. I have also paid my Board. The Store Rent, and my Taylor’s Bill—for my Winter & Summer cloath’s. I want some shoes from Hardwick if you will please to send them. My best love to all Friends
Thos: B Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs: A Adams / Quincy / near Boston—”; internal address: “Mrs A Adams”; endorsed by JA: “T.B.A. Octr. 17 1792.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed and due to a torn manuscript.
1. Mary House ran a boardinghouse at the corner of High (now Market) and Fifth streets (Washington, Diaries description begins The Diaries of George Washington, ed. Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, Charlottesville, 1976–1979; 6 vols. description ends , 5:155–156).
2. In fact, AA would not return to Philadelphia until May 1797, after JA had become president.
3. TBA’s assessment of the 9 Oct. 1792 election was premature. The returns as counted and reported in the newspapers by 17 Oct. indicated that eight Federalists and five Democratic-Republicans would be sent to Congress from Pennsylvania. The final results put the tally at five Federalists and eight Democratic-Republicans (Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 17 Oct.; Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 31 Oct.; Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989, Washington, 1989. description ends ).
4. The election of electors for president and vice president took place on 6 November.
5. Dr. James Hutchinson (1752–1793) studied medicine in Philadelphia and London prior to the Revolution, during which he served as the surgeon general of Pennsylvania from 1778 to 1784. He was active in Philadelphia politics. Alexander James Dallas (1759–1817), of Scottish descent, was born in Jamaica. In 1783, he moved to Philadelphia. where he practiced law and became a naturalized citizen. From 1791 to 1801, he served as secretary of the Commonwealth. Both men played active roles in promoting Democratic-Republicans in the 1792 election. Fox may have been Edward Fox (1752–1822), an Irishman who held various positions in the Pennsylvania government and also served as secretary and treasurer of the University of Pennsylvania from 1791 until his death (DAB description begins Allen Johnson, Dumas Malone, and others, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936; repr. New York, 1955–1980; 10 vols. plus index and supplements. description ends ; Harry Marlin Tinkcom, The Republicans and Federalists in Pennsylvania 1790–1801, Harrisburg, Penn., 1950, p. 51–54; Edward Fox, Penn Biographies, University of Penn. Archives, www.archives.upenn.edu).
6. Not found. On 7 Aug. 1792, King George III conducted a review of the British Army at their encampment at Bagshot roughly thirty miles southwest of London. According to newspaper reports, some 200,000 people attended the event, which featured a military parade, demonstrations of precision marching, and target firing (London Times, 9 Aug.).
7. The Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 15 Oct., printed the item that TBA paraphrases here under the headline “Melancholy Intelligence, If True.” This was just one of many reports appearing in newspapers throughout the United States on the situation in France, often offering contradictory information. The report was a mixture of fact and exaggeration; see AA2 to AA, 13 Sept., and notes, above.
8. John Bringhurst (1726–1795) was a noted Germantown carriage maker. Capt. Reuben Carver sailed the schooner Friendship between Boston and Philadelphia (Laurens, Papers description begins The Papers of Henry Laurens, ed. Philip M. Hamer, George C. Rogers Jr., David R. Chesnutt, C. James Taylor, and others, Columbia, S.C., 1968–2003; 16 vols. description ends , 7:574; Boston Columbian Centinel, 15 Aug.).