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Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams, 14 July 1797

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

Philadelphia July 14 1797

my dear son

Gen’ll Marshal expects to sail tomorrow Several Days sooner than I expected, and the weather has been so very Hot, that I have not had resolution to touch my pen for several days past. you recollect what the Month of July is in this place, and how severely I feel, and suffer from the Heat.

I wrote to you about a fortnight since by the British Packet, Captain Cathcart, but I am so hamperd that I cannot write you with the freedom I wish.1 I shall therefore send you some publick papers and some Pamphlets and leave you to make your own comments.2 you will see that an whole Host are rising up in formal array against your Country and that too surely your Prophesys become History.

Mr W smith of south Carolina is appointed to Portugal, in your Room and will sail in the next week.3 your & my old Friend mr Gerry accepts his appointment, and will sail in a few days. amongst the papers inclosed you will find Some of your Friend and old school mate Bene Baches virtuous Auroras in one of which you will find remarks upon your mission to Berlin. a French production, all the writers in that paper are said to be foreigners, many of them fugitives from the Halter in their own Country, incendaries who kindle Flames where ever they go, and who for the peace of Mankind, might be very readily consignd to the Element they delight in, with their kindred Spirits4 you will find in Gen’ll Marshal a sensible upright honest Man you may be of great service both to mr Gerry and him by a free communication with them. by a pamphlet in which you will find a plot disclosed, you will see what Americans are capable of, but to your mortification, I am sure, too many instances occur within your daily observation.

you will be pleased to learn that amidst this War of parties and Nations the chief Majestrate preserves his spirits and his fortitude unshaken, and that he sustains the burden of his office with patience and magninimity, that the people are alive to the injuries they sustain, but patiently wait the issue of the Mission Extraordinary— but from which, viewing the state of publick affairs, in all their various connections and concequences, I can form but faint hopes—

I heard from your sister last week. she is at East Chester, and has been ever since last winter the col has been gone up with his Brothers to their new Lands for some time. I can say, She is a truly deserving woman whose lot is cast, not with the most fortunate of her sex—

Your Brother is doing well in N york— Louissa who is by desires me to present her Love to you. I hope mr Murry is arrived long e’er this— my Letters have been lost. I have written you 4 different times of which Letters we have no acknowledgment—5

I am my dear son / with every sentiment of Maternal affection your Mother

A Adams

RC (Adams Papers). Tr (Adams Papers).

1Presumably AA’s letters of 15 and 23 June, both above, which JQA noted receiving in his letter of 29 July, below.

2See JQA to AA, 7 Oct., below.

3JA nominated William Loughton Smith to be minister plenipotentiary to Portugal on 6 July. The Senate gave its advice and consent on 10 July, and Smith served in the position until 1801 (U.S. Senate, Exec. Jour. description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America, Washington, D.C., 1789–. description ends , 5th Cong., 1st sess., p. 248, 249; ANB description begins John A. Garraty, Mark C. Carnes, and Paul Betz, eds., American National Biography, New York, 1999–2002; 24 vols. plus supplement; rev. edn., description ends ).

4The Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 8 July 1797, published an article stating that JA “intends his eldest son, now gone to Berlin, to ride the whole of the northern circuit,” having JQA spend a year each in Prussia, Russia, Sweden, and Denmark, earning $13,500 dollars per residence for a total of $54,000. At this time the Aurora had at least two foreign writers: Scottish-born James Thomson Callender, for whom see vol. 10:277, and Irish-born Dr. James Reynolds, for whom see AA to Mary Smith Cranch, [1] Feb. 1798, and note 6, below (ANB description begins John A. Garraty, Mark C. Carnes, and Paul Betz, eds., American National Biography, New York, 1999–2002; 24 vols. plus supplement; rev. edn., description ends ; James Tagg, Benjamin Franklin Bache and the Philadelphia “Aurora,” Phila., 1991, p. 285).

5Presumably AA to JQA, 3 and 15 March 1797, both above, another letter dated 28 Nov., for which see vol. 11:420–424, and possibly one dated in December, which AA mentioned in her letter of 3 March.

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