Adams Papers

From Abigail Smith Adams to Mary Smith Cranch, 20 May 1798

May 20th Philadelphia 1798

My dear Sister

I was sorry to read to day in the Centinal of the 16th an account Said to be written by a member of congress to his Friend in Conneticut <an account> so contrary to truth if the writer had said the State House Yard or Gardens, instead of the Presidents House, he would have written the Truth, but most assuredly there was no appearence of any persons round this House, or near it, untill the Gaurd of light Horse came. you will hear many a Goblin Story I doubt not, but you may rest assured we are not ourselves apprehensive. the ardour and attentions of the Citizens is so great, that if a House takes fire a gaurd is placed round us—on the Evening the Allarm was, You will recollect that I wrote you a great concourse of persons were assembled in the Street before our doors, but it was not untill the affray took place in the State House Yard that the light Horse were calld out, or that any persons assemblied here and then they were citizens I believe from the orderly behaviour and silence which was preserved.

I also see a Letter from Mr. Bourn in the paper respecting our Envoys. Government have not received any such account, altho there are letters from Mr. Murrey & Mr. King. I cannot however take it upon me to deny the fact, tho I think it the worst News we could hear because suppose it true, I believe it only calculated to deceive and amuse us, the more effectually to devour us. When I hear of an order to stop all depredations upon our commerce and to restore what has been unjustly robd from us. then shall I believe that they consider our Friendship of some use and value to them, not that they are acting from principles of equity or justice, whilst they are dealing Such vengence to other Nations. If they approach a step towards us it is because there is some formidable combination taking place with Some other powers against them. I hope it will not damp the ardour of patriotism which is just rousing from its Stupour. The best negotiaters we can possibly have are our addressors <an> “pledging their Lives and fortunes. Our preliminaries are fortifications, Armd vessels and voluntery [. . .] Corps.

21 May

Upon a further attention to the Letter of Mr. Bourn I find not the least inducement to believe that it refers to any thing of a later date than the dispatches received by Government dated in Febry. There are letters from mr Murrey ten days later and no mention is made of any such event or expectation that Spain and other powers appear to be assumeing more Spirit is true. Hear before you blame, is a good maxim but it seems as if our Envoys were of the bird or cat kind to be fasinated <with the> by the Serpents of France. They know not to what a pitch the pulse of their countrymen Beat.

I am very sorry Mr. Cabbot declined accepting the Secretaryship of the Navey. No body but himself doubts his ability to have executed the trust well. on such occasions as the present, every hand Should be put to the plough.

I fear congress will continue to sit far into the month of June. I think some times if they do not rise and give their president a respit, they will have Jefferson sooner than they wish—I never saw Mr. Adams look so pale, and he falls away, but I dare not tell him so. his Spirits are however <are> good, but he wants a ramble in the clear air of the Country, and a new Scene. I stand it, better and have my Health better this Spring, tho an ill turn of a day or two at a time is scarcly Worth mentioning when compared to the Weeks of confinement I have experienced.

You mentiond in your Letter that dr Tufts wanted only 200 hundred dollors. I did not know whether you meant in addition to what I had sent. I however inclose one which you will deliver to him. If an other is wanted I can send it the begining of June. I dont know how I shall Send a trunk to Boston. There are so many French privateers cruizing that I dare not venture—

You must write to me once a week certainly, no matter whether you have a Subject of more concequence than our mere domestick affairs. How does the building go on? Have you seen it lately. I hope the Book Room will be large enough and that it will be pleasent my best regards to dr Tufts who I hope is better. I think <it> his disorder Rhumatick—I am very anxious for Betsy Shaw. When do you expect cousin Betsy back? Have you not got the Box yet? Captain Bradford of the Schooner Sally was the vessel by which it went. I sent you the Bill of laiding with a request that you would forward it to mr Smith.

Love to all Friends from / Your ever affectionate / Sister

A Adams

Write as soon as you receive this & send your Letter to Boston if not post day. We get news papers in 5 days now.

MWA: Adams Papers.

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