Abigail Adams to John Adams
Quincy Janry 21 1795
My Dearest Friend
We have had very Severe weather through the whole of this week, but very little snow. yet the Ground being hard froze, our people have been sledging Stones. to day the wind has come round to the Southard, & Thaws. we cannot do half the buisness I want to have done. from here they go out early & spend no Idle time. the other Team does not work so hard, but looking after so Many cattle takes up much time.
you will see by the papers The Govenours Speach.1 He has paid more attention to publick affairs than in any former Speach. mr osgood has really awakened him, and roused him to a sense of his Duty. his Speach however is a pretty cold one, & shews that he was constraind to say something, or look very unfeaderal
The Connecticut News Boy is really cruel to the old Gentleman.2 I hope it will not be a Death wound, as a similar insinuation from Burk killd Good Dr Price.3 he has given a sprig of Lawrel to embelish, (I am too much of a Democrat) to say Crown a Friend of mine. I think Congress had better have passd to the order of the Day than have Squabled so long to have made so much ill Blood, merely to give the Jacobines a Triumph— it was knowing the motives of the Mover, that raisd the indignation of the opposers— it was a Trap to catch those who scornd the Bate. it was done to allarm the credulous—and wound the feelings of those who possessd too much independance of Spirit to flinch at the trial having carried their point. I am sorry there was so much opposition to the Yeas & Nays—
you will see by the papers that our sons had a fine passage.4 I am told that some private Letter informs that they left London on the 30 of october, for the Hague. I have written twice by way of London— tis strange that we get no Letters. are there none from mr Jay? I hope it will not be long before I shall hear from them. Perilious are the Times into which they have fallen— I hope it may prove for their good and the benifit of their Country that they are called into Service in so critical a period. many are my reflections upon it in the wakefull Watches of the Night. to an over ruling Providence I commend them. adieu Ever Yours &c
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs A. Jan. 21 / ansd Feb 2. 1795.”
1. Gov. Samuel Adams addressed the Massachusetts legislature on 16 January. In his speech, the governor advocated for an engaged citizenry as the best means for effective government. He wrote, “No people can be more free under a Constitution established by their own voluntary compact, and exercised by Men appointed by their own frequent suffrages.” The address gave voice to Adams’ republican ideology but also supported the president’s recent decisions regarding neutrality with Europe and his suppression of the violence in western Pennsylvania and with Native Americans (Dft, Adams Papers).
The address was published in the Boston Columbian Centinel, 17 Jan., but did not appear in the Philadelphia papers until 26. Jan., when it was reprinted in the Philadelphia Gazette.
2. On 5 Jan. the Connecticut Courant published the newsboy’s address “to all Christian people,” one section of which poked fun at the Massachusetts governor: “And now, O Muse! throw Candour’s veil, / O’er aged Sam. in dotage frail; / And let past services atone, / For recent deeds of folly done; / When late aboard the Gallic ship, / Well fraught with democratic flip, / He praying fell on servile knees, / That France alone might rule the seas; / While Sense and Reason took a nap, / And snor’d in Jacobinic cap. / His other acts, both grave and jolly, / Behold! are in the book of Folly; / Yet should he with his fathers sleep, / We’ll strive with all our might—to weep.” Extracts of the address appeared in the Boston Columbian Centinel, 14, 17 January. See also AA to TBA, 23 April, and note 5, below.
3. Richard Price, the British dissenting minister and close friend of the Adamses, died in April 1791 only a few months after Edmund Burke published an attack on Price’s philosophical support of the French Revolution. JA believed the two events were connected (vol. 9:216), as apparently did AA. For further description of the differences between Price and Burke, see vol. 9:205.
4. On 21 Jan. the Boston Columbian Centinel reported that the Alfred had arrived in London on 13 Oct. 1794 and that “Mr. Adams, the American Minister Resident at the Hague, went passenger in this vessel. He immediately set out for the Hague.”