Adams Papers
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Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch, 12 December 1797

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch

Philadelphia december 12th 1797

my dear sister

I receied yesterday your kind favour of 29 Nov’br and 8th December. I had a few lines from you on monday I got my Letter to day to myself. I believe I shall not venture to communicate it. the President will be very angry with Some of his Neighbours, if through their means we lose so good a Man, as is now in our power to settle. the judgement of those in opposition is weak. I would sooner take the opinion of Gaius, with regard to the merrit of a Preacher than either of them. I do not know what their objections are. spear ought to know that the scriptures combine the Gosple with the Law. I fancy mr B s objection are not much more forcible. I think mr Whitman ought not to decline merely on account of those persons who all of them, I have not a doubt will be conciliated by a prudent conduct. to mr Flint there was an obstinate intemperate opposition from a certain quarter which I always condemned, and tho I did not like mr Flint so well as mr Whitman as a preacher, yet both the President and I determined to Sit down quietly with him if he had accepted the call of the people. I have a regard for and Love my Neighbours but I cannot but condemn their conduct on this occasion and look upon it as mere obstinancy to make themselves of concequence. poor Mrs Hall & her Husband are both Dead. they left a Child, but for some reason, I cannot devine what, her Brother will not let me, or any of the Family find it or see it, tho on mr Blacks account and from the regard I had for Mrs Hall I have taken some pains to find it, and know how it was Situated. I have written to Mrs Black respecting it—1

Mrs smith is gone back to East Chester determined to wait there the arrival of the col. we had a Letter from him this week. he was then at fort stanwick on his way to East Chester he Says it was dated 29th november— it was directed to Thomas supposing him, private secretary to the President2

we have not any late Letters from London. I presume mr Adams is gone to Berlin I had a Letter from Thomas dated the 10 of sep’br Thomas speaking of his new sister says, “she is indeed a most lovely Woman, and in my opinion Worthy in every respect of the Man for whom she has with so much apparent Cheerfulness renounced father and Mother kindred and Country to unite her destinies with his” this is a great deal for Thomas to say.

I inclose to you some remarks from Fennos paper upon some of Baches lies and abuse and a strip of paper containing Baches round assertion that the observations Printed in the Boston Centinel upon the sermon of the Bishop of Norwich were “Positively known” to proceed from the pen of the Duke of Braintree as he stiles the President. if this has not been printed in any of our papers, let it be sent to the Mercury to insert, that the world may see what bold and daring lies these wretches are capable of.3 yet when calld upon for proof, they have not a word to offer. the wretch who is supposed to have written this for the Aurora is a Hireling scotchman Campbel by name, who fled from England for publishing libels against the Government, and has been employd by the Jacobins here to excite a spirit of opposition to the Government.4 who the writer of those remarks upon the Bishops sermon was, is as Well known to the Pope of Rome, as to the President scarcly a day passes but some such scurility appears in Baches paper; very often unnoticed, and of no concequence in the minds of many people, but it has like vice of every kind, a tendency to corrupt the Morrals of the common people. lawless principls naturally produce lawless actions.— I have not heard from your son since I wrote you last. I am glad to learn that Mrs Greenleaf is like to get rid of her complaint by a collection of the cause of it to one point. I dare say she will find herself better— Miss Alleyne is gone to Levingstone Manor to pass the winter with her sister.5 mr G   f is yet confined, tho I believe he hopes soon to be liberated. The vice President is come and dines here to day with 30 other Gentleman—

Remember me kindly to mr Cranch and respectfully to Mrs Welch. tell cousin Betsy I will send her an old Maids cap, that will never be out of fashion—

Love to Mrs Norten and family. how much charigned shall I feel if you write me that mr Whitman has given his answer in the Negative. I hate Negatives when I have sit my Heart upon any thing— half the year I must sit under as strong Calvinism—as I can possibly swallow and the other half—I do not know what is to come

my paper reminds me to close; and my company that I must dress for dinner. yours most / affectionatly

A Adams

RC (MWA:Abigail Adams Letters).

1On 7 Dec. AA wrote to Esther Duncan Black to inform her of the Halls’ deaths during the recent yellow fever outbreak and to report that their two-month-old daughter was being cared for by her uncle, William Black, and a hired wet nurse. AA promised to check on the infant and to continue to send the Blacks information (NcD:Trent History of Medicine Manuscript Coll.). The infant was Ann (Nancy) Hall, a niece of Moses Black and his brother William, a silk and stuff (woven textile) shoemaker at 110 South Street in Philadelphia. Raised in Quincy by Moses and Esther Black, Hall would marry James Taggart of Genesee Co., N.Y., in Jan. 1819 and settle in Byron, N.Y. (AA to Esther Black, 18 Dec. 1797, NcD:Trent History of Medicine Manuscript Coll.; Norfolk County Probate description begins Norfolk County Probate Court Records, Canton, Mass., 1793–. description ends , 18:461–463; Philadelphia Directory description begins Philadelphia Directory [title varies], issued annually with varying imprints. description ends , 1797, p. 28, Evans, description begins Charles Evans and others, American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of All Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America [1639–1800], Chicago and Worcester, Mass., 1903–1959; 14 vols. description ends No. 32868; OED description begins The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d edn., Oxford, 1989; 20 vols.; rev. edn., description ends ; Sprague, Braintree Families description begins Waldo Chamberlain Sprague, comp., Genealogies of the Families of Braintree, Mass., 1640–1850, Boston, 1983; repr. CD-ROM, Boston, 2001. description ends ; Boston Weekly Messenger, 4 Feb. 1819; J. M. Toner, “Report on American Medical Necrology, 1878,” Transactions of the American Medical Association, 29:770 [1878]).

2Not found.

3For the original article in the Boston Columbian Centinel, see AA to William Cranch, 3 Dec. 1797, and note 6, above. A squib in the Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 5 Dec., countered its praise of JA’s Defence of the Const. description begins John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, London, 1787–1788; repr. New York, 1971; 3 vols. description ends , describing it as “three volumes of trumpery and dullness, which are now selling from the book-stalls in London for waste paper” and claiming that the laudatory comments were “positively known to have proceeded from the modest pen of the Duke himself.” In response, the Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 6 Dec., castigated the Aurora for exceeding “in impudence the general tenor” of the newspaper. The Gazette also challenged the Aurora’s conclusions about the Defence, noting the publication of new editions in Britain and the United States and its publication and influence in France. In Boston, it was the Columbian Centinel, 13 Dec., that denounced the Aurora article, contending that JA could not have authored the original 8 Nov. Centinel piece because he was in New York when it and the response were published.

4AA likely meant James Thomson Callender.

5Anne (Nancy) Penn Allen, whose sister Mary Masters had wed Henry Walter Livingston in Nov. 1796 (vol. 9:168; Charles P. Keith, The Provincial Councillors of Pennsylvania, Phila., 1883, p. 152).

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