Adams Papers
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Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams, 27 May 1798

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

sunday Philadelphia May 27th 1798

my dear son

As the vessel by which I have already written to you, did not sail yesterday, I can now inform you that the Bill for the protection of our commerce past yesterday in the House of Rep’s 50 to 40—1 it impowers our vessels of war to capture, and bring in all French cruizers and Privateers which shall be found hovering upon our Coast.— it will pass into a Law tomorrow.

We are still in the dark why our Envoys remain in Paris— we have reason to believe that they were there as late as the 8th of April, tho the Government is without any dispatches of later date than those, which I have Sent you by this opportunity

I inclose the latest paper to you. Mr dayton the speeker of the House of Rep’s, has been through the whole of this session as firm & steady as a Rock. This state appears to have had an astonishing Change of sentiment. it is in the City, more united in sentiment than Nyork2

The Levingstone aristocracy dominers there, tho according to there Education, and there means of dissipation & allurements they are apt scholors of the Orlean Faction. an insatiable Ambition devours the Chancellor. To see mr Jay stand higher in the publick estimation, and Elected Chief over him; fills him with the same sensations, which Milton puts into the mouth of the Arch fiend. “Better to Reign in hell, than serve in Heaven.”3 If you wish to order your Books to America, and think it safe, I will find a shelter for them. most affectionatly Your / Mother

A Adams—

Ps To mrs Adams Love & to Thomas—

RC (Adams Papers).

1AA had written to JQA the previous day, noting the continuing flood of addresses in support of the president and government as well as the ongoing attempts in the House of Representatives to block defensive measures. She also recommended that JQA read John Robison’s Proofs of a Conspiracy Against All the Religions and Governments of Europe. She wrote again to JQA on 29 May reporting the success of convoys in protecting American vessels (both Adams Papers). Her letters of 26, 27, and 29 May were likely all carried by the brig Peter, Capt. Hansen, which sailed from Philadelphia on the 29th and arrived in Hamburg on 7 July (Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 29 May; Philadelphia Porcupine’s Gazette, 5 Oct.). For the law authorizing the protection of American commerce and U.S. coasts, see AA to Cotton Tufts, 25 May, and note 2, above.

2The enclosure has not been found but was likely the Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 26 May, reporting on the 10 May debates over the provisional army during which Jonathan Dayton gave a lengthy defense of the bill. He argued the opposition was promoting “Weakness and Submission” as a new American motto and dishonoring the legacy of the Revolutionary War. Dayton called on other members “to make their stand” and to defend the bill “inch by inch.” The newspaper also printed two articles condemning Albert Gallatin for his opposition to the administration and published a number of supportive addresses to JA.

3Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 1, line 263.

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