Adams Papers

From Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody to William Smith Shaw, 2 November 1800

Boston November 2d. 1800.

My Dear Son,

I am happy in being here with Mr. and Mrs Foster, who behave under their recent affliction, with that becoming temper of mind, as I hope will be approbated by the great searcher of hearts, & the Giver of every Good—I am more, and more convinced that happyness is not attached, to a concomitant of wealth but that “virtue alone, is happiness below”—

I was doubly dissappointed by my sister, & Mrs Smiths not coming to Atkinson, as we expected, but the fates conspired against us, & would not permit them to come, or me to visit Quincy, nor see my Son, & now I submit with the thought that it must be so, & therefore it is best—solacing myself, by anticipating the recovery of the Sick, the preservation, health, & safe arrival of my friends at the City of Washington—My dissappointment, & our Abbys in the loss of your dear Aunts company this winter, is your gain, my Son—I feel that you must be greatly gratified by her support, & counsel—Reward her, as far as it is in your power, by your discreet deportment & attention, both towards her, & your President & Patron Sooth by filial regard, & alleviate as far as it is <in your power> possible his mighty Cares—by exactness, & precision in <the> conducting the buisness which falls to your department—

My dear Son, “Wherever you roam, What–ever realms to see,” be assured a Mothers heart, is like the needle true, but while it turns, it trembles—A thousand tender anxious thoughts hover round my Child—would, they were gaurdian Angels, that would avert every danger, & in slippery paths, direct thy footsteps, safely through Virtues Fane, & find that honour awaits, to crown thy wishes—

My ancle remains lame yet, I have applied since I have been here to Dr Warren, <[. . .]> & he has given me something which I hope may be of service—The ligaments he says are much injured, You, poor Child, know how to pity me—I found my feet were much wanted Exhibition week—But my cares were almost compensated, by the satisfaction the Parents of our Scholars expressed at seeing their Children conduct so well,—our little creatures did themselves much honour,—William, and John shone as speakers—I wish you could have seen, & heard them—& your Sister Abby had the applause of the audience—had you seen the modest air, & the sweet innocence of her, & her little mates, (you would, as I heard several say they did,) long to clasp them in their arms—She has taken up my paper, & impressed an affectionate kiss for you, do you not see it? It is warm from the heart—treasure it, as a sweet effusion of sisterly love. For these few weeks past, her health is better, & I hope the Journey will do her good—There is danger of her becoming my Idol, I fear for myself—She ought to go from me, I shall spoil her, or she will me—

Mr. Greenleaf has been in Town to day & informs us of our Quincy & Weymouth friends being on the recovery—all better much—but Lucy Greenleaf, but she is not very bad—I long to see my Sister Cranch, & can hardly reconcile myself to the thought of returning home without, but the Dr thinks, I ought not to go—William Smith is to come for me a week from tomorrow—I home this respite from my family fatigues, will be of great benefit to my health—May heaven preserve yours; & our dear connections prays your affectionate Mother—

Elizabeth Peabody—

accept if you can read it this rough scrawl, I cannot transcribe—

DLC: Shaw Family Papers.

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