Adams Papers

From Abigail Smith Adams to Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody, 9 April 1799

Quincy April 9th 1799

My dear sister

I received your kind Letter of March 17th after I had written the inclosed. I know that I have been long indebted to you for a Letter, but I have felt ever since I was Sick, as tho I could not write, only when necessitated to.

Man is born to trouble as the sparks flie upwards, we daily experience this truth; both your public and domestic occurrencies; and every one knows their own bitterness when they are the result of the dispensations of providence, it becomes us to kiss the Rod, but when they are brought upon us, by Our own indiscretion folly or wickedness, we deserve all the wretchedness—they intail; but it is a bitter portion when tho innocent ourselves we suffer from those, too closely connected with us, not to wound us in the Sharpest manner; how often when the Heart is sorrowfull are we call’d upon to assume the smile of cheerfulness, and the aspect of content? You can trace my thoughts, to their source. Health will suffer when the mind is anxious and distrest—.

I can however my dear sister rejoice with you in the prospect you have, of the returning Health of my little Neice, and I cannot but think you have discoverd the cause of her disorder. I am the more apt to conclude that it has arrisen from worms, from having the girl who lives with me much in the same way, She had a slow fever. The Spot you mention daily came in her cheek, she grew weak, pale, a hard dry cough, and a total loss of appetite, I gave her several things, finally pink Root, & the calomil & Jalop, a small portion daily of hiera piera but the Calomil & Jalop cured the cough. I have since been giving her Bitters, and she is getting well fast. Your own complaint my sister arrises from your period of Life, you must take Elixer vitrol, the Bark and whatever can invigorate your constitution, I suffer yet from the same cause, and the debilitating sickness which brought me to the brink of the Grave last year. I frequently have Sleepless nights, but not so often, as I had through the fall and Winter.

I inclose 50 dollars for Mr Peabody as a quarter advance for the childrens Board &c I will soon have them here to fit them up—I have Cloaths for them, I send 10 dollars for which you will credit me <y> when they come you will be so good as to pay out of it, their passage in the Stage—

I am very anxious for mr W Cranch. I fear a melancholy is comeing on upon him, the State of his mind from his Letters allarm me more than I dare express <from> to his Mother, nor would I have you sugest the Idea—Sister is better, mr Cranch as well as he has been for a long time—

Your Son Will Sit out to day for Boston & tomorrow accompanies miss Harrod to Haverhill. I think her a very amiable accomplished Girl, and was much pleased with her the week she spent here.

My Love to all Friends. I have only time to add that I am your ever affectionate / Sister

A Adams

PS as every person must learn wisdom by experience, William I think grows more attentive to his appearence rather too much yet inclined to the careless; but he has line upon line he is so good temperd, and takes admonition so kindly, that it would be cruel to be Severe.

DLC: Shaw Family Papers.

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