Abigail Adams to John Adams
Quincy Decbr 4th 1792
my dearest Friend
I was very happy to receive on thanksgiving day the 29 of Novbr. your Letter dated Hartford. I feard that you had not reachd so far the weather was so dissagreable, but if the Roads have mended as much with you as they have this way, you have reachd Philadelphia by this time. I shall with impatience wait to hear of your arrival there. the snow remaind with us but one week Since which we have had pleasent weather. there has not anything occurd material that I know of since you left us— if you get Russels paper you will see a little deserved Burlisque upon the Govenours speach respecting the expressions made us of by Congress which gave him such umbrage.1 Tomorrow is a very important day to the united states, much more important to them, than it can possibly be to you or to me for think of it as they please tomorrow will determine whether their Government shall stand four years longer or Not. mr Clinton Seems to be the only competitor held up. I fancy he will receive no aid from N England. I hope you will order Fenno to continue his paper to me. We have had a Gang of Thieves infesting this Town since you left it. the thursday after you went away Shaw & James went into the woods & in the day time the best saddle was stolen out of the Barn closset. the same Night mr Cary had his best Horse stolen2 and mr smith who lives on mrs Rows place had his taken the same night3 and last Sunday morning James came Running in to inform me that his Stables had been attempted, & his Lock broken, but being doubly secured the villan could not effect his purpose. he tried the Coach house door & split of a peice of the door, but could not get the Bar out. he went on to mr Adams’s at Milton & stole his Horse4 a Traveller lodged at Marshes Tavern on saturday night, who got up in the Night Rob’d the House of various articles of wearing Apparal and made of. we Suppose that he was the person who attempted our stables and that he belongs to a Gang. they are in persuit of him5
your Mother was well this day she spent it with me. She and your Brother & family all dinned with me on thanksgiving day as well as our Son. tis the first thanksgiving day that I have been at Home to commemerate for Nine years. Scatterd and dispersed as our Family is, God only knows whether we shall ever all meet together again much of the pleasure and happiness resulting from these N England Annual feltivals is the family circles & connections which are brought together at these times, but whether seperate or together I am sensible that every year has been productive of many Blessings, and that I have great cause of thankfulness for preserving mercies both to myself & Family.
I inclose a Letter for Brisler6 I wish him to inquire the price of Rye that I may know whether it would quit cost to send me a dozen Bushel tis five & six pence pr Bushel here. Superfine flower I want to know the price of, it has taken a rise here7
my Love to Thomas tell him to write me often I hope the House of Reps will be in a little better humour after all Elections are over. I hope trust they will not follow the French example & Lop of Heads, even of departments. they appear to have a great terror of them I see a Lucius & a Marcus, I should like to know who they are.8 [. . . .]hee many compliments & respects to all my good Friends in Philadelphia. I flatter myself I have some there, and be assured of the affectionate Regard / of your
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by JQA: “The Vice-President of the United States. / Philadelphia.”; endorsed: “Portia. Decr 4. / ansd. 19. 1792.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. On 12 Nov., John Hancock addressed the Mass. General Court. In his speech, he took exception to a directive from Congress that “the Supreme Executive of each State SHALL cause three lists of the names of the Electors of such State to be made and certified.” Hancock believed that the use of the word “shall” was inappropriate; he argued, “that Government applies itself to the People of the United States in their natural, individual capacity, and cannot exert any force upon, or by any means controul the officers of the State Governments as such: Therefore, when an Act of Congress uses compulsory words with regard to any Act to be done by the Supreme Executive of this Commonwealth, I shall not feel myself obliged to obey them” (Boston Columbian Centinel, 14 Nov.).
2. Alpheus Cary (1761–1816) of North Bridgewater later served as a selectman in Quincy (Sprague, Braintree Families description begins Waldo Chamberlain Sprague, comp., Genealogies of the Families of Braintree, Mass., 1640–1850, Boston, 1983; repr. CD-ROM, Boston, 2001. description ends ).
3. Probably Hannah Rowe of Milton (Pattee, Old Braintree description begins William S. Pattee, A History of Old Braintree and Quincy, with a Sketch of Randolph and Holbrook, Quincy, 1878. description ends , p. 60).
4. Lemuel Adams (1748–1833) of Milton (Sprague, Braintree Families description begins Waldo Chamberlain Sprague, comp., Genealogies of the Families of Braintree, Mass., 1640–1850, Boston, 1983; repr. CD-ROM, Boston, 2001. description ends ).
5. The tavern proprietor may have been Jonathan Marsh (1753–1822), who lived on Hancock Street and held various town offices (same; Pattee, Old Braintree description begins William S. Pattee, A History of Old Braintree and Quincy, with a Sketch of Randolph and Holbrook, Quincy, 1878. description ends , p. 171).
6. Not found.
7. In Dec. 1792, rye was priced at three to three and a half shillings per bushel in Philadelphia; superfine flour cost forty shillings per barrel (Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 1 Dec.).
8. Lucius, probably Melancton Smith, argues in two articles in the Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 14 and 24 Nov. 1792, that JA’s writings in Defence of the Const. description begins John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, London, 1787–1788; repr. New York, 1971; 3 vols. description ends and Discourses on Davila demonstrated his attachment “to a goverment of king, lords, and commons,” making him unsuitable to be reelected vice president. Comparing JA and George Clinton, Lucius writes, “The characteristic difference, then, in their political principles simply amounts to this, that those of Mr. Adams vary radically from the constitution, in the main features of the republican system; whereas those of his competitor harmonize with it in that essential point.” Marcus’ essay, which initially appeared in the Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 21 Nov., replies to Lucius in defense of JA, arguing that the Defence of the Const. description begins John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, London, 1787–1788; repr. New York, 1971; 3 vols. description ends “is the best defence of a free republican government in the English language” (Young, Democratic Republicans description begins Alfred F. Young, The Democratic Republicans of New York: The Origins, 1763–1797, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1967. description ends , p. 331).