Adams Papers

From Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody to Abigail Smith Adams, 29 January 1799

Atkinson Jan. 29th. 1799

My Dear Sister

After many expecting, anxious hours for my dear Nephew, I am made happy by seeing his safe arrival announced in the Newspaper—The fibres of my heart cannot remain untouched, while my Sisters must be filled with joy, & gratitude—I claim a share, & feel that I am a maternal Participant—I know that you long to clasp your Son in your fond arms—When he reaches Peace-field you will think the order of nature inverted that the days are shortening, instead of lengthening. Times downy foot will tread so soft, that moments will fly swift, <[. . .]> & hours slide unperceived away—. It has been a long separation—O how thankful that there is not a forever annexed—but that each of you after Sickness, & perils, are living monuments of sparing mercy—After you have pressed him to your fond Bosom, & viewed him over, & over a thousand times, I hope urged by affection, & inclination, I may be indulged with a visit, & partake of the rich repast, enjoy the flow of Soul—

My Friend Mrs Osgood of Haverhill has had a Son absent for ten years, doing business in the east Indies—He got home last week, & is now dead—This instance of mortality which I this moment have heard of, gives a severe check to my pleasing anticipations, & adds one more, to the list I am daily receiving, of the precarious tenour upon which we hold our enjoyments, & convinces us, that []the spiders most attenuated thread, is Cord, is Cable to man’s tender tie, on earthly bliss.”

We have all bad colds, John, & Abby are most sick—William, Ben & us are not so bad—

I am glad to hear of our Brother Cranch’s recovery—We want “the faithful” here upon earth—I have been thinking of writing every day to my dear Mrs Smith, & am ashamed to think I have not more energy—I am rejoiced to see in the late appointments Col. Smith’s name—Though it may not be equal to his merit, and military Talents, yet it is much better than to have them remain useless, when our Country’s exigencies call for men of worth in every department—It is quite a luxury to me to hear the President approves of Williams Services—I hope he will be careful of his health, & of every thing else that he ought—

I hear Mr & Mrs Webster are upon the road, & we expect them every hour—They both [left] us, & went on their way singing, & rejoicing last winter, but their notes now must be in the elegiac strain—at least I am sure tho through the medium of my ears, they cannot but have a most plaintive cadence. Yet with you, I must say, that a wise Providence allots my portion of happiness, & that though all is not agreeable to my short sight, yet I have more than my deserts—With the tenderest affection I am your Sister

Elizabeth Peabody

[In the margin:] The Childeren send love, Mr Peabody his respectful love to you, & our Brother & Sister Cranch—Louisa accept my love—

MHi: Adams Papers.

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