Adams Papers
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John Adams to Abigail Adams, 3 March 1797

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Philadelphia March 3. 1797

My dearest Friend

The Congress have passed the Law allowing 14,000 d to purchase furniture. The State Legislature have done nothing about their new House: so that I shall take the House the President is in, at a 1000£ or 2700 dollars rent, nothing better can be done.1

Mr Jefferson arrived Yesterday and came to visit me in the Evening.

Tomorrow will be a worse day than the 8th. of Feb. was. We are to take the oaths. and P. Washington Says he will be there.

I shall purchase little furniture, before you come or give directions. All the World are of opinion that it is best for you not to come till next fall. I will go to you as Soon as I can but that is uncertain.

We shall be put to great difficulty to live and that in not one third the Style of Washington.

Mr Malcom Charles’s Clerk is with me as a private Secretary.

Oh how I long to go and see you I am with everduring and never ending affection your

John Adams

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A.”

1In 1791 the Pennsylvania legislature, in an attempt to keep the federal capital in Philadelphia, authorized the construction of a presidential mansion. Located on Ninth Street between Chestnut and Market Streets, the building was completed by the spring of 1797, and after the legislature failed to pass a bill offering the property to Congress, Gov. Thomas Mifflin wrote to JA on 3 March (Adams Papers) offering the house at a rent “for which you might obtain any other suitable House in Philadelphia.” Replying the same day (PHi: Ferdinand J. Dreer Autograph Coll.), JA declined the offer, citing “great doubts whether by a candid Construction of the Constitution of the United States, I am at Liberty, to Accept it without the Intervention and Authority of Congress.” Mifflin submitted this correspondence to the legislature on 8 March recommending it “designate some other use to which the building may be applied.” It was also published in the Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 10 March. Ultimately, the state senate authorized the sale of the property, and it was purchased in 1800 by the University of Pennsylvania (Dennis C. Kurjack, “The ‘President’s House’ in Philadelphia,” Pennsylvania History, 20:380, 382, 384, 389–390, 393–394 [Oct. 1953]; Journal of the Senate of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Commencing on Tuesday, the Sixth Day of December, in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-Six, Phila., 1796, p. 141, 145, 186–187, 229, 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. 32653; Journal of the First Session of the Seventh House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which Commenced at Philadelphia, on Tuesday, the Sixth Day of December, in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety-Six, Phila., 1797, p. 224, 233–234, 238, 240, 246, 281–282, 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. 32651).

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