Adams Papers

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 26 May 1794

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Philadelphia May 26. 1794

My dearest Friend

I shall inclose with this, some Letters between Randolph and Hammond which will shew you how quarelsome they are.1 Poor Fellows! They both desire Peace, but think themselves obliged to wrangle for their Countries.

It is fashionable to charge Wars upon Kings: but I think Le Peuple souvereign is as inflamable, and as proud and at the Same time less systematick, uniform & united: so that it is not so easy for them to avoid Wars. We have laboured very hard to preserve our Tranquility: but the Peuple souvereign is continually committing some Intemperance or Indiscretion or other tending to defeat all our Precautions. if We are involved in a War, my head heart and hands shall be guiltless of the Crime of provoking it. But it will be my Duty to Submit to the Legal Voice & Decree of my Country.

We have fine Rains here, for three days past, and I hope you enjoy a similar Blessing

I shall take Leave on saturday 31. of May: but cannot hope to get home before the 10 or 12th of June. The Journey lies before me, like a Mountain— I am too old and too feeble for these long Journeys, dry sessions and uncomfortable Scænes— I am at an Age when I ought to be at home with my Family.

I Sent 600 dollars to John last Week, which is our whole Allowance till september.2

I wish you an agreable Election. Who will be Lieutenant Governor Gill or Gerry?

I wrote to Dr Willard, sometime ago a Resignation of the Chair of the Academy of Arts and sciences.— It would be a farce for me to hold it any longer.3

My Duty to my Mother— Tell my Brother that I Suppose he was for War to make himself popular: but I am very sorry to find that warlike sentiments are popular in Quincy. I am glad he is chosen however and hope he will get our Town back to the County of Suffolk.

Adieu— My dearest Friend Adieu

J. A.

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A.”; endorsed: “May / 1794.”

1The enclosures have not been found but were likely copies of correspondence between Edmund Randolph and George Hammond published initially in the Philadelphia Gazette, 24 May. Randolph wrote to Hammond on 20 May to protest what Randolph believed was encouragement of Native Americans in “hostile dispositions towards the United States” and reports that British troops were encroaching on U.S. territory. Hammond replied on the 22d, disputing Randolph’s interpretation of events and reminding him of the United States’ failure to cede land in Vermont that the British considered rightfully theirs. Both letters were read in the House of Representatives on 21 and 23 May, immediately after which Congress continued its discussion of a bill to establish a nonintercourse policy with Britain (Annals of Congress, description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States [1789–1824], Washington, D.C., 1834–1856; 42 vols. description ends 3d Cong., 1st sess., p. 713, 715).

2On 24 May JA wrote a brief note to JQA enclosing $600 and asking JQA to deliver it to AA (John Jay Smith, ed., American Historical and Literary Curiosities, 2d ser., N.Y., 1860, plate 62). On that same day, JA also wrote to AA informing her, “Yesterday I asked and obtained leave of the Senate to be absent after next Fryday. I shall therefore leave this City on Saturday the Thirty first day of May: but the heat and Dust & Fleas and Bedbugs &c will render it difficult, if not impossible to get home to you, in less than ten days. By the Tenth of June I hope to embrace you” (Adams Papers).

3JA wrote to Rev. Joseph Willard, president of Harvard and vice president of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, on 6 May to communicate his decision not to accept future elections as president of the Academy. JA noted, “If I have ever entertained a hope that I might at some time or other have been of some Use to that respectable Society, the State of Publick Affairs has hitherto wholly prevented me; and the present and future Prospects render it wholly impossible for me to give the Smallest Attention to the Interest or Honour of that Institution which has such just and so important Claims upon its President” (MBAt:American Academy, Letters). No reply from Willard has been found, but JA remained president of the Academy until 1813; see vol. 9:390–391, note 1.

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