Adams Papers

From Thomas Boylston Adams to William Smith Shaw, 8 June 1799

Philadelphia 8th: June. 1799.

My dear William

On my arrival here the day before yesterday I should have found your favor of the 28th: ulto: if I had gone directly to see Mr. & Mrs: Otis, as I ought; instead of which I went to make a wedding visit to Captain Henry, who left town for New York the day following, on his way to Rhode Island & Massachusetts—Mrs: H—— accompanies him & I have promissed to give them letters. Well, as I was a saying, I should have got your letter, had I gone where I ought; but as I failed in my duty, for the sake of performing an act of civility, so I was justly punished by the deprivation of your agreeable favors till yesterday. My visit was performed within a few days of the time originally fixed for my return, and I have been highly delighted satisfied & gratified with every part of it, except the most essential, I mean, the business I went upon, which turned out very contrary to my wishes, though I was never sanguine in my expectation of success.

I was accompanied in my visit to Mount Vernon, by Mr: & Mrs: Johnson & Tom; we passed two nights there very happily &d received from the Genl: & Mrs: Washington, A most cordial welcome. Owing to the excessive heat of the weather, I could not make the usual tour, with which the Genl. often favors his guests, that is, some 8 or 10 miles walking about his grounds—I regretted it was out of my power to pay this customary tribute, because I am sure I should not have tired in the performance as some folks are said to do.

I told the General that if the President were to see Mount Vernon, he would be quite ashamed of his own place— He smiled at the remark, as if to say, I like the compliment, though I am not sure of your sincerity. I am by no means confident that the prospects from the heights of Quincy would suffer even in my own opinion, by a comparison with those of Mount Vernon; I am sure the President would not give them up; but in point of improvements, the two Seats will not bear a parallel. Mrs. Lewis was absent on a visit to her husband’s relation; we had the pleasure however of seeing her sister Mrs: Peter who is a very fine woman.

I stayed only a day at Georgetown on my return from Mount Vernon and then accompanied Mr: Cranch back again to Annapolis, where I spent nearly another week in a very pleasing Society, partaking of all their amusements with the same freedom as if I had been domiciliated among them. I returned to Baltimore on Saturday last and passed several days more with equal satisfaction as on my first visit—I dont mention, because it has made me vain, that the day I left that place I had Seven different invitations to dinner—This is a mark only of the hospitality of the place, as some people express it.

There is federalism enough I believe to answer present exigencies and I hope it will increase; this State, is but a poor creature, but we shall say less, I am afraid, in her favor, e’re long. I am distressed at the accounts we hear of Governor Sumner’s health. God grant he may yet live an ornament to his Country & to the world.

Why dont you tell me more than all about your late return with the boys—Am happy to hear your Mother has better health than in the winter.

I have been writing for the first time, all this forenoon in my Office, which however is not yet deserving the name, having for all furniture a chair & table. I have gone to my lodgings though my landlady has not yet removed from Pine street— You know how much I shall be out of the way here, but it is only for a short time. Retirement is more necessary for me now, than Society.

Present me kindly every where & think me / yours

T. B. Adams

Inform Uncle and Aunt Cranch that their Son and his family are in health. I left him much better than I found him—

I shall send Fries’s trial shortly—As to Porcupine, if you have complaints against him, drop him a line— I will none of him.

MWA: Adams Papers.

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