Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams
Quincy April 22 1795
My Dear Son
I received your very excellent Letter No 4 written from the Hague, dated 11 of November. accept my thanks. Your Letters are a source of consolation for your absence and do honor to the Hand which indites & the Heart which dictates them.
I hope you have received those which I have written to you. my last No 3 was sent by way of Hambugh1
Mr W Cunningham has a vessel going immediatly to Amsterdam. your Father writes by it, and I hope many of your other Friends will. we presume you are Still at the Hague, equally safe under the protection of our Allies the French as our Friends the Dutch, tho the Chronical was pleasd to make a matter of uncertainty of it, whether the American Minister was gone to England with the Stadtholder, or remaind under the protection of General Pichegrue. he however confessd that he heard nothing of him.2
As it will not be proper for me to write freely upon publick affair, I shall confine myself to such domestick occurences as relate to our own State and Country, and I know of none more important than the Election of mr Coffin Jones into the State Senate, in the place of Honestus, and this by a majority of four hundred votes. the Represeentitives stiled Jacobins are like to be displaced at the ensuing Election, and mr Codman & otis are talkd of to Succeed them.3 Should this be the case, the Boston Seat may again become respectable.
I am sorry to damp your pleasureable feelings, by informing you that mr Dexter after three trials has lost his Election in the National Representation, & Varnum Succeeds him, who to use an expression of your favorite Shakspears—[“]is no more to Dexter, than I to Hercules”4 Jarvis may be said to have Districted Dexter out of his Election, and for this he ought himself to fall
I inclose you the Jacobiniad,5 from which I wrote you some extracts in my last, and hope it will reach you as safely as the Jew did me, a play I was much gratified with. it had Several escapes the vessel in which you sent it was cast away and lost upon the Irish Coast. the Letter No 2 which you mention having wrote from England has never come to Hand. the last to your Father which he has received were No 3. & 4. dated in December.6
upon the 8 of June the Senate are convened to consider the Treaty. I shall embrace that opportunity to visit your sister, and see my young Grandaughter, Carolina Emelia I have proposed a Treaty of Marriage, merely for the Names between Frederick Adolphus Packard & carolina Emelia Smith.7
our two Cousins William & Lucy Cranch were married the week before last. I was at both the weddings— they are gone on a visit to Haverhill. Your Aunt is left as Clergymens widows usually are in low circumstances. I wish you would write to her she would receive it very kindly—and if you think your circumstances will allow you to make her a small present of Nine or ten pounds, it would assist her and I know gratify the natural Benevolence of your Heart You can direct Dr Welch to do it in your Name. her Friends have been kind to her, or She could not have lived & have discharged to every one their full & just dues—
Dr Appleton dyed last week after a lingering illness of many Months.8
I hope to have frequent opportunities of writing immediatly to Holland. be assured that none of them will be omitted by your / ever affectionate
RC (Adams Papers).
2. In its commentary on the French invasion of Amsterdam, the Boston Independent Chronicle, 30 March, reported, “There is no account of the American Ambassador in this explosion; whether he has retired with the Stadtholder to the Court of St. James, or whether he has gone over to Gen. Pichegru to congratulate him on the signal success of the French Democrats.” For JQA’s response, see his letter to AA of 29 June, below.
3. John Codman Jr. was not a candidate for a seat in the Boston delegation to the Mass. house of representatives in the May election. Harrison Gray Otis was nominated but tallied eighth in voting for seven seats on 11 and 13 May. All seven seats would go to Federalists in May 1796, among them both Codman and Otis (Boston Federal Orrery, 14 May 1795; Samuel Eliot Morison, Harrison Gray Otis 1765–1848: The Urbane Federalist, Boston, 1969, p. 95; Boston Columbian Centinel, 14 May 1796).
4. “But no more like my father / than I to Hercules” (Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act I, scene ii, lines 152–153). For the race between Samuel Dexter and Joseph Varnum, see Thomas Welsh to JA, 15 Dec. 1794, and note 1, above.
5. Not found.
6. JQA’s only letter to AA from London, 25 Oct. 1794, above, was numbered one and enclosed The Jew. Letter no. 2, from The Hague, was dated 11 Nov., above, and was acknowledged by AA with this letter. His letters to JA of 3 and 21 Dec. were his fourth and fifth in number, respectively (Adams Papers).
7. Frederick Adolphus Packard, born 26 Sept. 1794, was the son of Rev. Asa Packard and Nancy Quincy (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 ). Preparations for the marriage of George Augustus Frederick, Prince of Wales, to Caroline of Brunswick on 8 April 1795 were widely reported in the American press; see, for example, Massachusetts Mercury, 17–21 April.
8. Dr. Nathaniel Walker Appleton, for whom see vol. 3:118, was 39 years of age when he died on 15 April. Public tribute for the respected physician included a published funeral sermon and a lengthy obituary that extolled, “In the various relations of husband, son, parent, brother, and friend, his conduct was most exemplary. With an uncommon gentleness of manners, he united an exalted firmness of character. And to the close of life, his moral and political virtues, reflected new lustre, because he was a Christian from inquiry, and a Patriot from principle” (John Clarke, A Discourse, Delivered … after the Interment of Nathaniel W. Appleton, M.D., Boston, 1796, 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. 30199; Boston Columbian Centinel, 18 April).