Adams Papers

From Abigail Smith Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams, January 1801

[ca. January 1801]

a Conversation at table between mrs A—— and mr J——n last thursday. mr J. Pray who is that Gentleman who sits next but one to the president? That is mr Waln of pennsilvana. I never Saw him to know him before. pray who is the next? that is mr Ho[l]mes you surely know him, Smiling. he is a democrat. No I do not. mrs A. I know nearly all the gentlemen of Both houses, a few voilent demos. excepted who have excluded themselves from our table; mr J——n I do not know one in twenty. they complain, and Say that I will not take my Hat off to them when I pass them, but I cannot help it. I have no means of knowing them; I never See them but at your table. mrs A. do you never go into the House of Reps’ No I cannot, I am sure there are persons there who would take a pleasure in saying Something, purposely to affront me. mrs A—— Aya I cannot answer for them, I wished myself to have gone out last winter when one or two interesting questions were before the House, but was restrained by the same consideration; party Spirit is much alike upon both Sides the Question. mr J—— indeed I think there is more candor and liberality upon one Side than there is upon the other. I differ from you Sir, yet I do not deny but that there is a difference amongst those who profess the same sentiments. Some are mere Brutes, others are Gentlemen—but party Spirit, is a blind Spirit; I was at the House to day for the first time; I would have gone into the Senate, but was obliged to return home. mr J. I wish you had been there; mr Gov Morris really made an eloquent Speech upon the Subject of the Mausoleum, and mr <Coke> Cocke tried for his life to make one too. it was really diverting pray sir what do the Senate design to do with the Convention? upon my Soul, I believe they will reject it—I am surprized at that the mercantile interest, in the great States are in favour of it—mr J—— I have information from the South that they are so. Mrs A. There has always been a party determined to defeat it from the first Sending the Mission, I mean the Hamiltonians; they must abide the concequences—mr J. pray is not your New Senator Mason of that party; mrs A—— I think he is.—mr J. Foster I think is not. there Sir you are mistaken. Foster was brought into Senate by that party, to the exclusion of mr Sewall who ought to have been Senator. mr Foster is not one of the voilent party men. His Brother however votes and thinks differently from him—mr J. I think Chipman as bitter a man as any in Senate—mrs A. I know very little of mr Chipman I never see him but at publick dinners—and he is a very Silent man—Mr paine I am well acquainted with. he is a sensible well informd candid man, and as free from party Spirit as any Gentleman I know

mr J. I wonder what they mean to do? they have Some daring projects on foot; as I Supposed this refered to the Election, I replied I do not know, that is a subject which I do not chuse to converse upon—I have heard of a Clergyman who upon Some difficulty amongst his people, took a text from these words—“and they knew not what to do”—from whence he drew this inference, that when a people were in Such a Situation, that they do not know what to do; they Should take great care that they do not do—they know not what. at this he laught out, and here ended the conversation—

MHi: Adams Papers.

Index Entries