Adams Papers

From Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody to Abigail Smith Adams, 14 July 1800

Atkinson July 14 1800.

My Dear Sister,

To hear of your health, & safe return to Quincy, was joyful tidings to one whose bosom glows with love, gratitude, & sisterly affection—But the account you give of Mrs Norton again sinks my Spirits, & I involuntaryly breathe out, in broken accents, O spare her, spare her, gracious heaven! protract her date, & give her to see the fruit of her labours; the good seed which she has sown, spring up, & bloom in her precious Children—But not the prayers, nor tears of the fondest, most interested Friend, not the assiduities of the kindest of parents, not the cries of the helpless tender Offspring can avert the fatal arrow, when commissioned by the sovereign Arbiter—hard—bitter Cup but it must be drank—& let us strive from the heart to say, “thy will be done”—

I have my Sister been very sick myself but it has pleased heaven, to restore me to my usual health, excepting a bad sprain in my ancle, which at first I did not regard, but it grows worse, & swells & troubles me very much—For thirty days I was not free from a fever ten moments, continual burning in my flesh, & a very bad wire like pulse—When I first began to walk I could not go a step without two canes—& it was in this weak, state of muscles, that I unfortunately strained one—I have been favoured more than my Children in this respect, for before I never had a bone displaced nor a sprain—

I thank you for informing me of Mr Cranch’s recovery, I was very anxious till your letter came—I hope fortune will assume a milder aspect, & bless him with health, peace, & competence—ample as his virtues—

I should have written to my dear Sister Cranch, for whom my heart bleeds, as well as for Mr Norton, if I had not been prevented by an unexpected visit from Brother & Sister Goodwin from Plimouth—I was exceeding glad to see them—Abby was setting at the door, with two other little Misses, Sister looked in thier faces, & said, []no, this, nor this is not my neice, but here is my Brother’s Child, & I am your fathers Sister, your own Aunt.” Poor Abby burst into a flood of tears, & I must had more stoicism, than usual, not to have been affected by so tender an address—She is indeed a most benevolent, good hearted, happy woman—He is a worthy man, easy in his circumstances, & gratifies her in every rational wish—They have been three weeks from home visiting their Children, at Portland, Beverly &ca—& intends to be at the Chamber of her Nephew at his Commencement—The account we had of the Presidents return, I have since heard was premature—I hope he is well, & my Son—I did not know if he got home in season, but you would have sent him, for your Children—William and John are well, but much thiner in flesh, than they were in the winter—Johns neck seems too small yet for hankercheifs, so I have given him Williams shirts, all but what he would to put on—If William has new linnen John can take two, which I have not taken the ruffles of—I have mended their old ones, & John has not worn any of those new cotton yet—I shall send with them the best of their things, which I have requested them to keep, to visit their Grandparents, for I knew you could not make things in a moment—I should have gotten them new nankenets coats, but I thought they might make a better choice in Boston—They will want them, & some trowsers—I was sorry I could not get more suitable Stockings—I have not time to run the heels, nor to mark them now—Capt Peabody is here, & has been fixing to return to the eastward—& the other boarders going, some fixing for commencement, &cc that my hands have been full—I should been happy to accompanied Mr Peabody to Quincy, had it been convenient, but at present the heat would be uncomfortable, & I think a Journey when it is cooler weather, might be more beneficial to my health—Some of those things which I have put up, the Children have outgrown & I suppose you will give them to Mrs Nortons dear Boys—Everything that is fit to be worn I send—

The linnen I desired you to procure is for myself, I will thank you to let Dr Tufts know that I request him to pay you the money for it—It will save him the trouble of sending it on—Perhaps at present there may not be sufficient due to me, to pay you—if not take it the next quarter & you will oblige your affectionate Sister


Please to give my love to all, & to William, I hope to see him here soon—

MHi: Adams Papers.

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