Adams Papers

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 14 January 1793

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Philadelphia January 14. 1793

My dearest Friend

This day I recd yours of the 2d.— I have recd all the Votes from all the States. it is known that Georgia voted with N.C. V. and N.Y. and Kentucky voted for Jefferson.

There is no other Newspaper circulated in the back Country of the Southern States than Freneau’s National Gazette, which is employed with great Industry to poison the Minds of the People. The Fœderal Court has again had a Sitting in Virginia and by reason of Mr Jays Scikness the great Cause is again continued, which serves to keep up the Rage in that State, and N. C. which is its Eccho.1

If you hire the Man you mention, you should know beforehand what kind of skill and Experience he has in farming as well as his Integrity and good disposition. I shall leave it however to you.— Twenty Six Pounds are too high. 24 are enough: but if you cannot get one for less We must give 26.

I expect e’er long to hear that Pain is Split and pliced for an Aristocrat: perhaps roasted or broild or fryed. He is too lean to make a good Pye, but he is now in company with a Number, who are admirably qualified and disposed to feed upon each other.

The foolish Vote of the constituting Assembly in favour of a Rotation and excluding themselves from being re-elected has cost every Man of Weight and Talents among them his Life or his Country and his fortune. all are murdered banished and confiscated. Danton Robertspiere, Marat &c are Furies.2 Dragons Teeth have been sown in France and come up Monsters.

The Army has behaved better and the People seem to be zealous: but if they have not some system by which they can be united, what is to be expected?

We have our Robertspierres and Marats whose wills are good to do mischief but the Flesh is weak. They cannot yet persuade the People to follow them.

If the national Assembly can Subdue the mutinous Rabble at Paris as well as Dumourier has driven the Prussians, they may be free and do something, but what I know not.

tenderly yours


RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Portia.”; endorsed: “Janry 14 1793.”

1The Circuit Court for the District of Virginia sat between 23 Nov. and 6 Dec. 1792, but the only justice to attend was William Cushing. The court met again in Virginia between 22 May and 8 June 1793, with John Jay and James Iredell in attendance, at which time they considered “the great Cause,” the case of Ware v. Hylton. One of more than 200 suits filed by British creditors seeking to recover debts from Virginia citizens, Ware v. Hylton raised questions about the strength of the contract clause of the Constitution (Art. 1, sec. 10) and the supremacy clause (Art. 6). It was ultimately decided in favor of the British creditors in 1796 (Doc. Hist. Supreme Court description begins The Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789–1800, ed. Maeva Marcus, James R. Perry, and others, New York, 1985–2007; 8 vols. description ends , 2:338–339, 380, 539).

2When the French Constituent Assembly was replaced by the Legislative Assembly on 30 Sept. 1791, the dissolving assembly—at the suggestion of Robespierre—voted that its members would be prohibited from serving in the new congress. This made it impossible for prominent conservatives to continue to serve and cleared the way for radicals to dominate the government. After the National Convention in turn replaced the Legislative Assembly in Sept. 1792, Robespierre and fellow radicals Danton and Marat were active members (François Furet and Mona Ozouf, A Critical Dictionary of the French Revolution, transl. Arthur Goldhammer, Cambridge, 1989, p. 530; Stanley Loomis, Paris in the Terror, June 1793 – July 1794, Phila., 1964, p. 49, 73, 93).

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