Adams Papers

From Abigail Smith Adams to Catherine Nuth Johnson, 14 July 1798

Philadelphia July 14th. 1798

My dear Madam

I thank you for the intelligence communicated to me in yours of the 7th, respecting my Nephew for whom you justly supposed I was very anxious. I hope he will not venture abroad too soon. By other accounts I learn that Mr. Cranchs Life was really endangerd, and that your own fears, and indignation did not exagerate the Statement of facts. I have not heard any Crimination of Mr. Cranch, but all from whom I have learnt any thing, agree that, it was a Ruffian and assassin like attack upon an unoffending and defencless Man. I hope their will be no perversion of Justice, but that Duncanson will meet with the punishment due to so Lawless and unjustyfiable conduct.

I cannot but regret that your Lot should have been cast, in the only Spot in America, where from particular circumstances of local and partial views of interest, as it respects the Federal City the passions of individuals are excited, and their animosity kindled against each other, to the interruption of that harmony, and Friendship, cordiality and freedom of intercourse, so desirable in every Neighbourhood. I hope e’er long something will take place, to settle differences and harmonize the discord which prevails and that you will find your happiness increase with the duration of your residence.

I have at length procured a young Gentleman to go to Berlin to relieve my son Thomas who is very desirious of returning to his Native Country. He is a class mate of your sons and well known to him, Thomas Welch by Name. He will embark from Boston for Hamburgh. You will inform your son of this opportunity and embrace it yourself by writing as many Letters as you can, and forwarding them to me as expeditiously as possible. I shall write and send on my Letters expecting that he will go, before I can get to Boston myself. I know not when I shall be able to leave here but I will inform you before I leave Philadelphia. Your sons Letter to my Nephew I sent on immediatly.

My Neice is fully sensible to your kind and polite invitation and the temptation you hold out of returning with her would be irresistable, if she had not very powerfull motives for going Northward. An only Sister whom she expects will be married on her return: and a Mother who tho frequently in a deranged State of mind, has intervals when her Children are very dear to her, and who owe her, not less respect for her misfortune, but more of tenderness and attention.

I hope however an other Year will not pass without our meeting. I rejoice that Miss Johnson is like to be so agreably connected and with the approbation of her parents. I have received very pleasing and favourable accounts of her. It is no disadvantage to young people to be obliged to innure themselves at first sitting out in Life to habits of frugality, and industery. On the contrary I believe it usefull. It is much more pleasing to rise gradually than to descend from the Summit of wealth and ease, to penury and want. It is desirable however to be able with an equal mind to bear the reverses of fortune which all are subject to.

Accept my thanks for the promissed attention and support to Mrs. Cranch. She is a diffident unoffending woman like your dear daughter taken from all her connections and young and unexperienced was placed with Strangers whose manners and habits were as different from those she had been accustomed to associate with. As an other Nation, to this since her residence there, have been added a Series of misfortunes to her Family which have borne her down and at one time nearly cost her Life. The constant attention of my Sister, who is one of the best of women in writing to her every week and comforting and supporting her together with the affectionate attachment and attention of her Husband revived her sinking Spirits and in some measure restored her.

Present my best Regards to Mr. Johnson, to your son and to the Young Ladies. I am very impatient to get Letters from Berlin. You will know the first line I get, whether I receive it, here or at Quincy.

I am with Sentiments of affectionate Regard Your Friend and Humble Servant,

Abigail Adams

MHi: Adams Papers.

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