Adams Papers

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 16 December 1795

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Philadelphia Decr 16. 1795

My Dearest Friend

The Newspapers will inform you before this Letter reaches you that the Ratifications of the Treaty have been exchanged by Mr Deas the Chargé d’Affairs under Mr Pinkney.1 The President told me the orders were that if Mr Adams did not arrive by a certain day this Business was to be done by another. Whether our Son will go over at all or not is to me uncertain. If he has lost a White Feather, he has avoided a dark one: so that he is as well off. There are Letters from him in the Public offices dated in september.2

having no Letter from you has given me Anxiety for your health, especially as I recollect you complained of some Rheumatic symptoms before I came away. My own health is as good as it has been for Some years. The Countenance of the House wears no very threatning aspect. The senate have refused their Consent to the Nomination of Mr Rutledge. I hope that Chief Justices at least will learn from this to be cautious how they go to popular Meetings especially unlawful: assemblies to Spout Reflections and excite opposition to the legal Acts of Constitutional Authority.

The assembly of New Hampshire have appalled one of their senators and gratified the Friends of Peace order and good Government.3 Their Unanimity could hardly have been expected. I hope the Massachusetts Assembly when they meet will at least vote no Resistance to the Law of the Land. I learned from the Children in the Wood not to halloos before We get out of the Wood, but I think the Prospect of Peace is brighter now than it has been for Several Years.4

Your Friends here are all well and enquire after you as usual on every Occasion. The President Seems in as good Health and Spirits as ever I knew him.

Mr Brisler Sprained his ankle which has interrupted his Business somewhat: but he is now better and will soon be quite well. as soon as he is so he will look up some Flour & Grass seeds &c

My Duty to my Mother of whose Situation I wish to be informed. Love to all— Let me know the Progress of Farming &c

I am entirely & forever yours

John Adams

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “Decbr 16—1795.”

1William Allen Deas (b. 1764) was a lawyer from South Carolina who served as Thomas Pinckney’s private secretary in England. Having previously served in the S.C. house of representatives, he was reelected in 1796 following his return to the United States and later served in the state senate (N. Louise Bailey, Mary L. Morgan, and Carolyn R. Taylor, Biographical Directory of the South Carolina Senate 1776–1985, 3 vols., Columbia, S.C., 1986).

2Besides JQA’s Sept. 1795 letters to Timothy Pickering, for which see JA to AA, 17 Dec., and note 1, below, JQA had also written twice to Secretary of the Treasury Oliver Wolcott Jr., on 8 and 24 Sept. (both CtHi: Wolcott Papers).

3That is, John Langdon, who had switched his allegiance from the Federalists to the Democratic-Republicans by the previous congressional term (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 ).

4The final song in Thomas Morton’s opera The Children in the Wood includes the lines, “May I halloo now for joy? / Are we out of the wood, Sirs?” The proverb warns one “not to exult till all danger or difficulty is past” (OED description begins The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d edn., Oxford, 1989; 20 vols.; rev. edn., description ends ).

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