Charles Adams to John Adams
New York Decr 26 1792
My dear Sir
I am very sorry that Mr Bull has been so very dilatory that I received the horses but a day or two since He I find can make good promises. I am now looking out for a purchaser and hope to find one soon The horses do not look so well as I expected they would. We have accounts from Europe of the retreat of the combined armies from France. In this event I am only able to see a state of Anarchy continue for a longer space of time for They disposition of The French people is now much less inclined to a state of Tranquillity than ever. This unhappy Country will I fear be ruined de fond encomble1 The Federal party in this State bite their chains while Clinton and his party Lord it over them with uncontroled sway. In his appointments he thrusts all kind of real merit asside and opens the door to none but his devotees. He has made Morgan Lewis a brother in law of Chancellor Livingston a judge of the Supreme Court, a man who is as unfit for a judge as any lawyer at our bar in preference to Mr Benson or Mr Jones2 He has made Nathaniel Lawrence attorney General a man who never opens his lips at the Bar but has this merit that he is his.3 And even poor me he has chosen to vent his spite upon by preferring one of his young adorers to hold a Notarial Seal.4 He makes thorough work I assure you. I will venture to ask you one question Whether it is not propable if he goes on in this way for three years longer he may not fix himself very firmly in the saddle? There are two more measures which we expect A vote of thanks to the majority of the Canvassers a William Livingston as member from this City to Congress.5 If These two things happen I suppose they will have finished this winters Campaign They are more mortified than they are willing to allow at the unsuccesful attempt of their head for the office of Vice President. The Baron desires his respects he intends to visit Philadelphia in a few days We have had a sorrowful house for sometime my poor friend Mulligan lost two of his sisters in one day by an epidemical fever which is raging with great violence in this City.6 Do not think me indolent I am not and will write constantly to you.
Adieu my dear father beleive / me your dutiful and affectionate son
RC (Adams Papers).
1. The French Army defeated the Austro-Prussian Army at Valmy on 20 Sept. and Jemappes on 6 November. This success allowed the French revolutionary government to begin a push for imperial expansion and formally annex territory, starting with Savoy in late November (Bosher, French Rev. description begins J. F. Bosher, The French Revolution, New York, 1988. description ends , p. 182).
2. Morgan Lewis (1754–1844), Princeton 1773, was a lawyer, member of the N.Y. State Assembly, and attorney general. He had married Gertrude Livingston, sister of Chancellor Robert R. Livingston, in 1779. He would serve as a justice of the N.Y. Supreme Court until 1801. Samuel Jones (1734–1819) was a noted lawyer who had helped to compile the authoritative edition of New York legal statutes in the wake of the Revolution. He served in the N.Y. state senate from 1791 to 1797 (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 ).
3. Nathaniel Lawrence, who replaced Morgan Lewis as attorney general, represented Queens County in the N.Y. State Assembly. He had previously served in the N.Y. state ratifying convention (Hamilton, Papers description begins The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Harold C. Syrett, Jacob E. Cooke, and others, New York, 1961–1987; 27 vols. description ends , 9:247).
4. Probably Francis Bloodgood (1769–1840) of Albany, a lawyer, who on 15 Sept. 1792 married Eliza Cobham, a ward of Clinton (New-York Directory description begins New-York Directory [title varies], issued annually with varying imprints. description ends , 1793, p. 227, Evans, description begins Charles Evans and others, American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of All Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America [1639–1800], Chicago and Worcester, 1903–1959; 14 vols. description ends No. 25422; Dexter, Yale Graduates description begins Franklin Bowditch Dexter, Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College with Annals of the College History, New York and New Haven, 1885–1912; 6 vols. description ends , 4:532; New York Diary, 24 Sept. 1792).
5. Col. William S. Livingston had been elected to the N.Y. State Assembly as a Federalist in 1791 but sided with Clinton in the gubernatorial election controversy the following year. The Republicans nonetheless declined to endorse Livingston in the subsequent congressional race, and he lost to John Watts, a Federalist (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. 334–335).
6. John W. Mulligan (1774–1862), Columbia 1791, studied law with Alexander Hamilton. Like CA, he was a close friend of Baron Steuben. Two of Mulligan’s sisters, Frances (b. 1782) and Mary (b. 1787), died on 24 and 25 Dec. 1792, respectively (Michael J. O’Brien, Hercules Mulligan: Confidential Correspondent of General Washington, N.Y., 1937, p. 153–156).