Adams Papers

From Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Smith Adams, 15 June 1798

Quincy June 10 [15] 1798

Dear Sister

I have at last heard from Atkinson. I had just sent a long Letter to sister when I receiv’d one from her & another from Cousin Betsy—Sister is full of anxiety about her daughter & well she may be—for by both the letters I think her in a fix’d consumtion. Her cough is better but her Fever runs high she has night Sweats & is so weak she can ride but a few miles in a day. Cousin Betsy says she sent me a long Letter the week before but I have not got it yet. Sister Says She feels so agitated she cannot bear to take her pen to write—her mind has been keept in such painful suspence for five months past that life has had but few injoyments. She wants her sisters by her to comfort & support her—My heart is rent for her. She possesses a great Share of fortitude but tho her Spirit sustains the load of woes & cares, perplexities & aprehentions which providence has seen fit to exercise her yet her Body bows under it & I some times fear she will not be able to stand many more Shocks. Should she lose the dear Girl as I much fear she will it will be the severest Stroke she has yet met with. She has just arriv’d at the age to become the companion & confidant of her Mother & her charming Spirits have been a cordial in a gloomy hour. How apt we are to look forward & please ourselves with plans of fancy’d happiness tho we have often had to experince the breaking of the bubble before it had been swell’d to half its propos’d Size. If we would tast any real happiness we must enjoy the good of the present moment & leave to the great arbiter of events whatever is in the womb of Futurety—I fear my Sister you will indeed miss many of your Friends & acquaintince when you return. Mrs. Welsh tells me her Sister Allen is thought to be going fast into a consumtion also—To be the last of a Famely is a gloomy thought. These are things I know you are anxious about but I hate to write them to you. I am sure they will depress your Spirits & they are full low enough already. Our publick prospects are dark & destressing. Our vices make them much more so—They rob us of our confidence but for them I should fear nothing that our enemies could design for we are verily innocent towards them—

When Cousin Betsy will return I know not. Her aunt wants her much never more & I think it will be impossible for her to deny comfort & assistance to one who has been a parent to her from infancy. dear girl she goes from house to house doing good—by your sending the wedding Garments I should suppose you expected her to be married soon. there is no appearence of it that I have seen. however we have at last got the Box. I have not yet open’d it as we have just receiv’d it. I wish I could get the caps out without fou. Tis a wonder if they do not loose half their value. if they should be view’d by vulgar eyes before the proper time I shall be careful not to rob them of any of there importance &shall nail up the Box again.

I was in Boston on Saturday. Mr. Smith was absent. Mrs. Smith mention to me what you had written to him about Tom Welsh & said he had not yet given his opinion. She suppos’d he was considering. I wish’d to have seen him—I was at the Dor but did not see him. She is much more compos’d & better in health & has no Idea how bad the Doc: affairs are. Toms Bills are so behind hand at college that Mr. Isaac Smith told Mrs. Greenleaf he would not have his degree [. . .] they were settled & I do not believe his Father [. . .] it.

I hope your house will be done but they do not get along so fast as I want them to. Mr. Newcomb is very slow about his part & we have had so much wet weather that it has prevented some of the works being done so soon as it ought to be. You may tell the President his Farm looks delightfully & I hear People say he has a noble peece of Barley. There never was a more growing Season. Your Brother Adams Family are all well. Mrs. Black has wean’d her baby & the nurse is return’d.

I long to hear the contents of the despatches which went on last week. I hope the Gentlemen can give a good reason for their delay to return after they had been so insolantly dispel’d & insulted but I mean to hear before I censure. Extend the same charety if you do not receive a letter every Week—

to your ever affectionate Sister,

Mary Cranch

MHi: Adams Papers.

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