Adams Papers
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Abigail Adams to Hannah Adams, 13 June 1798

Abigail Adams to Hannah Adams

June 13 1798

my dear Madam

I should sooner have acknowledgd your obliging favour & replied to your inquiries if I could have obtaind any thing upon the subject which would have been usefull to you The President desires me to tell you that he does not possess any minutes or details of the debate or speech upon the occasion you allude to. Dr Ramsey must have his from some lose memmorandan or other. with respect to the Federal Constitution, the President was in England when it was form’d. you will recollect that there was a meeting previous to the Gen’ll one which broke up without doing any thing. hearing of this the President turnd his thought upon the subject of Government and commenced writing that work which he entitle a defence of the Constitution of America1 he compleated his first volm and it arrived here just when the convention were sitting, and was read by the members & has been said by some gentlemen to have united them in sentiment; the Constitution of his own state he had a large and active share in making the original draught of it & reporting it to a committe. it underwent some alterations not as some persons have since thought for the better; one alteration was that of giving the choice of Military officers to the People, and the Annual Election of Goveneur.2 he holds

I wish you success in Your Work and request you to put my Name upon your list as a subscriber to it. I believe you already have the Presidents you may add if you Please the Name of my son J Q Adams Minister at Berlin Charls Adams Esqur counsellor at Law New York—and Thomas Boylstone Adams Philadelphia, where I hope he will soon return from Berlin. he is my youngest son, and studied Law in this city, each a copy—3 I recollect with pleasure the week you past with me at Quincy and should be happy to see you there again whenever I shall consider myself as stationary there

I am with respects to your Father4 / your Friend / and Humble / Servant

A Adams—

Dft (Adams Papers).

1For the composition of the first volume of JA, 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 , and its reception in the United States, see JA, Papers description begins Papers of John Adams, ed. Robert J. Taylor, Gregg L. Lint, and others, Cambridge, 1977–. description ends , 18:544, 546–550.

2For JA’s draft of the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 and the changes made by the convention, see same, 8:228–271.

3JQA had subscribed to Hannah Adams’ earlier work, A View of Religions, in Two Parts, 2d edn., Boston, 1791, 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.; rev. edn., www.readex.com. description ends No. 23102, and would later recommend to CFA her Summary History of New-England, Dedham, Mass., 1799, 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.; rev. edn., www.readex.com. description ends No. 35075. A copy of Summary History bearing JQA’s bookplate is at MQA (vol. 9:239, 240; JQA to CFA, 18 Feb. 1822, Adams Papers; Catalog of the Stone Library).

4Hannah Adams was the daughter of Elizabeth Clark and Thomas Adams (1725–1812), a Medfield, Mass., merchant and a distant cousin to JA (JA, D&A description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 3:243; Adams, Geneal. History of Henry Adams description begins Andrew N. Adams, comp. and ed., A Genealogical History of Henry Adams, of Braintree, Mass., and His Descendants, Rutland, Vt., 1898; 2 vols. description ends , 1:14, 19; 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., www.anb.org. description ends ).

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