Charles Adams to Abigail Adams
New York Sepr 27. 1795
My Dear Mother
Your favor of the 19th instant I have received1 I thank you for your congratulations upon an event which has united me to the woman of my affections Your kind invitation shall be accepted as soon as I can leave my business for a few weeks how soon this may happen I cannot tell, nor can I flatter myself it can be in a short time. Since our marriage we have been at a house the Colonel has bought for his mother about two miles out of the City2 Mrs Smith intends residing here all winter. I have taken a house in a very advantageous situation for my business near the Tontine Coffeehouse and shall remove to it on the first of November.3
I have as yet been every day into the City The billious fever by most people called the yellow fever which prevails in this City has frightened the inhabitants exceedingly, though the mortallity has by no means been so great as to warrant it, more than seventeen thousand are said to have left the place. Terrified by the example of Philadelphia reason has but little effect when opposed to their apprehensions The greatest mortallity which was last week amounted to 89 in three days yet business is at a stand almost every house and store in Water street and Cherry Street where it has mostly raged is shut up. The inconvenience to our commerce is equal to that experienced in Philadelphia though our loss by the fever does not amount to more than a tenth part.4 Col and Mrs Smith with their children are on Long Island and have enjoyed remarkable good health during the summer. We had yesterday three ships arrived from England that bring late intelligence I have not yet seen any papers but by a private letter to a gentleman of my acquaintance I see the news that the treaty was ratified by The Senate arrived in England as early as the thirty first of July and was very acceptable.5 I had sent the Herald for my Brothers to Holland two days before the receipt of your last. I wrote to them by a Vessel which sailed yesterday for London.6
Sally joins with me in offers of respectful affection to her new parents. Remeber us also to Louisa her kind recollection gave me a pleasing proof of the esteem I sincerely wish she may always cultivate for one who loves her much for your dutiful and / affectionate son
RC (Adams Papers).
1. Not found.
2. In March WSS had purchased 23 acres of land on the eastern side of Manhattan between what is now 60th and 61st Streets at First Avenue near the East River. On this property he began building a large mansion called Mount Vernon, after the estate of George Washington, under whom WSS had served in the Revolutionary War. The home was still under construction in Oct. 1796, when WSS was forced to sell it due to financial difficulties; it became known in some New York circles as “Smith’s Folly.” AA2 and WSS subsequently moved to Eastchester, N.Y. (Joseph Warren Greene, “Mount Vernon on the East River and Colonel William Stephens Smith,” The New-York Historical Society Quarterly Bulletin, 10:115–116, 128 [Jan. 1927]). See also AA to TBA, 16 Aug. 1796, below.
3. CA and SSA moved to 93 Front Street in November. The Tontine Coffeehouse was located about one block north, at the corner of Wall and Water Streets (New-York Directory, description begins New-York Directory [title varies], issued annually with varying imprints. description ends 1796, p. 2, 7, 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. 30706).
4. A virulent outbreak of yellow fever occurred in New York City beginning in late July 1795, probably carried via ships from the West Indies. On 1 14 Aug. Gov. John Jay issued an edict prohibiting vessels from the West Indies from docking on Manhattan Island until they could prove themselves free of infection, and by September panic was spreading. People who could afford to left the city, and Columbia College ceased offering classes because of low attendance. By the time the disease abated toward the beginning of November, some 700 people had died from it (M. L. Davis, A Brief Account of the Epidemical Fever Which Lately Prevailed in the City of New York, N.Y., 1795, p. 14–20, 58–67, 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. 28538). See also AA2 to JQA, 26 Oct., below.
5. The New York Argus, 1 Oct., had already reported that news of the ratification of the Jay Treaty had reached London by 29 July. The three ships were likely the Susan and Polly, the Ocean, and the Ellis, all from London (New York American Minerva, 3 Oct.; New York Argus, 5 Oct.).
6. The letter has not been found but was likely carried on the Niagara, Capt. Black, which cleared for London on 1 Oct. (New York Argus, 1 Oct.).