Adams Papers

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 7 December 1794

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Philadelphia December 7. 1794

My dearest Friend

Brisler has shipped, on board The Abby Captain Eames, two Barrells of Flour, one hundred Weight of Clover Seed and half a Bushell of Herds Grass Seeds; and the Medallion: all consigned to our Friend Mr Smith in Boston. As Captain Eames’s Intention was to Sail to day, I Suppose he is gone. twelve Pounds of Clover seed and two quarts at least of Herds grass seeds must be sown, when the time comes, to each Acre of Ground.

The Weather is so mild and fine here that ploughing or any other Business may be done as well as in October. how it is with you I know not. The Times are very calm here at present and political societies are very Silent. There is Scarcely Animation enough in either house, to excite Attention. One may sleep in the midst of a Debate. I have not yet tried however.

I want to mount my little horse and ride to Penns Hill, or down to Uncle Quincys. but walking must answer for exercise till next March.

Dr Ewing preaches to me every sunday but I like Mr Wibert as well— how does he do?

I am more solitary than I was last Winter. but I can read. Writing is painful to my Eyes.

I am afraid Charles will loose his Friend Steuben. He writes me that the Baron has been Stricken with a Palsy, a Catastrophy naturally to be expected from his total neglect of Exercise. It is unaccountable that a Military Man, who must have used so much Exercise in some parts of his Life and have felt the Pleasure as well as the Salubrity of it, should be become so indolent in his old Age. But Men in solitude are apt to become inactive in proportion as they increase their gormandizing.

There has been a great Mortality I think of late among our old patriotic Chiefs civil and military. The President wears the best of any of them that I have seen: and may he long continue his Vigour of Body as well as Mind.

Hamilton is certainly to resign and Knox is expected to go the same Way. Wolcot is talked of for the Treasury and Pickering for the War Office with how much probability I know not.1

These Resignations as well as that of Mr Izard and Mr Boudinot are not prosperous Omens—2 I fear that good Men will be worn out and wearied too often into Resignations. It is unpleasant Service how much soever it may be envied.


RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Decembr 7th.”

1Henry Knox resigned as secretary of war on 28 Dec.; Timothy Pickering took over the position on 2 Jan. 1795. Alexander Hamilton, who resigned as secretary of the treasury on 31 Jan., was replaced by Oliver Wolcott on 2 Feb. (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 ).

2Neither Ralph Izard nor Elias Boudinot stood for reelection to the 4th Congress. Boudinot (1740–1821), a New Jersey lawyer, had served in the Continental Congress, signing the 1783 Treaty of Paris as the president of that body. He subsequently served in the U.S. Congress from 1789 to 1795 and later became director of the U.S. Mint, remaining at that position from 1795 to 1805 (Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989, Washington, D.C., 1989. description ends ).

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