Elizabeth Smith Shaw to Abigail Adams
Haverhill October 31st 1795
My Dear Sister
I have this moment heard Mr & Mrs Black is in town, & going out again immediately but I would not let slip this favourable opportunity of sending directly to you— I have omited writing before, as I wished to see Mr Peabody, & inquire of him if he knew of any place worth purchasing— I have [in]quired of Mr Tucker, & others but can find none, not any, but what will want constant repairs, & not so good as what I now have— You understood me right when I said, I wanted the interest for my own use, & Childrens, & the principal secured to them, when I am gone, & they stand in the greatest need of it— Mr Peabody says he will sign any obligation which is reasonable & my friends think proper— If Mr Adams likes to purchase, I should feel willing to sell it, but not to any body else, because I think it might be an injury to you—
And if Dr Tufts & my sister should think it best to sell, I am willing, or if it is best to convert Hockley for the purpose of building, I submit entirely to the better judgments of my friends having confidence in Dr Tufts that he will do for me what he would for a Child— I suppose if it could be vested in publick securities it would neat more than it now does, & nothing but a re[vo]lution in Government could hurt me I think, but I leave the matter to Folks that know better than I— If it is sold, I chuse Capt Brooks to be a judge of the value— if you chuse one, let them two chuse another for the purpose— perhaps that will be a good way—1
I can truly say, if it was not for building I should rather let things remain as they are, than have so much upon my head heart, & hands now— but I know not how to spare the interest, or sink the principal—for my family will I am sensible, be a great addition to his, & if he gives us all food, I know he is not able to find us all raiment—without injury to his own family—which he loves as well as I do mine—2
I am sorry to hear you have not enjoyed your health so well as usual, may heaven restore it, & make you still a rich blessing to all arround you, prays / your affectionate Sister
excuse this haste my love to all—
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs Abigail Adams / Quincy—”; docketed by Richard Cranch: “Mrs E Shaw October. / 1795.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. For recent discussions regarding the possible sale of the Medford property owned jointly by Shaw and AA, see vol. 10:264, 265, 281, 296, 316. The sisters ultimately decided to retain the farm and its buildings at this time.
2. Rev. Stephen Peabody had two children from his first marriage: Stephen (1773–1851) and Mary (1775–1856), who in 1798 married Stephen Peabody Webster of Haverhill, N.H. (Selim Hobart Peabody, comp., and Charles Henry Pope, ed., Peabody Genealogy, Boston, 1909, p. 38, 72).