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Ruth Hooper Dalton to Abigail Adams, 15 August 1797

Ruth Hooper Dalton to Abigail Adams

Washington August. 15. 1797

my Dear Madam

After your having been three months in the City of Philadelphia at this season of the year I think our good Friend the President and you must want some relaxation, and the sea air for a few weeks will be gratefull to you. as we are agreeably situated near the river I dont feel the want of it. where ever you are I wish health and happyness to attend, and hope you will return perfectly recovered and injoy an agreeble Winter, and that another season we shall have the Pheasure to see you here.

I have often thought of the alteration there was in the former set of our acquaintance, almost every one then belonging to Congress are gone. I know but few of those who supply their places.

the times we live in my dear Madam are Critical indeed, and God only knows what will be the end. that the Vessell of State with its present Conductors may be kept in Safety, and brave all the storms and tempests that they may have to pass through, is my Sincere prayer. He took the Command at a difficult season but His known abilities and good conduct I think I can Venture to say the Majority of the people have great confidence in. I hope His endeavours will be crowned with peace and tranquility and Honor to the Country

The publick affairs have very much affected this place in its growth and Commerce. I hope soon both will revive. This has been a great disappointment to Mr Dalton and made him a Man of much more leisure than he expected or likes to be which makes me sometimes wish we were in Philadelphia, as under the present administration I should have hoped some thing to Mr Daltons advantage, and still flatter myself his good Friend will not forget him1

Please to present my kind love to Louissa and tell her I can sympathize with her from feeling the loss of a sister, dear indeed, for She was more than that, I took her as a Child from the dying hands of a tender Mother, and brought her up, Married her, and she had four de[ar] Children; and in my absence died very suddenly2 It was for a long time I lost my health and indeed have never injoyed it so well since, the lenient hand of time has in a degree eased the smart not cured the wound these are tryalls we must submit to

Mr Dalton and all my Family joyn in very affectionate regards to the President and yourself. my young Ladys thank you and Louissa for your kind wishes to see them. At present it will not be in their power they would like it much. Wishing you a most pleasant Jurney and happy return / I am Dear Madam / your very affectionate Friend

Ruth Dalton

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs. Adams.” Some loss of text due to wear at the edge.

1Tristram Dalton was a partner, along with James Greenleaf, in the mercantile firm of Tobias Lear & Company and was also involved in land speculation in the District of Columbia; he filed for insolvency in 1799. JA appointed Dalton to be one of the commissioners for Washington, D.C., a position he held from 10 March 1801 until the commission was abolished on 1 July 1802 (Clark, Greenleaf and Law description begins Allen C. Clark, Greenleaf and Law in the Federal City, Washington, D.C., 1901. description ends , p. 147; Jefferson, Papers description begins The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, Princeton, N.J., 1950–. description ends , Retirement Series, 8:679 description begins The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, ed. J. Jefferson Looney and others, Princeton, N.J., 2004–. description ends ; John B. Larner, “List of Principal Municipal Authorities of the Cities of Washington, Georgetown and the District of Columbia,” Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Washington, D.C., 23:180 [1920]). For Dalton’s previous financial hardships, see vol. 10:270.

2Ruth Hooper Dalton raised her youngest sister, Rebecca (b. 1755), following the death of their mother, Ruth Swett Hooper in 1763. Rebecca married Lewis Jenkins and had four children—Rebeckah Hooper, Joseph Marien, Robert Dalton, and Susannah Caroline— prior to her death in Newburyport on 18 Dec. 1790, at which time Ruth Hooper Dalton was presumably with her husband in Philadelphia (Charles Henry Pope and Thomas Hooper, Hooper Genealogy, Boston, 1908, p. 107, 109, 110; Vital Records of Newburyport, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849, 2 vols., Salem, 1911, 1:209, 210; Newburyport Essex Journal, 22 Dec. 1790; U.S. Senate, Jour. description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, Washington, D.C., 1789–. description ends , 1st Cong., 3d sess., p. 215).

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