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Abigail Adams Smith to John Adams, 14 March 1797

Abigail Adams Smith to John Adams

East Chester March 14th 1797

my Dear Pappa

I received some time since your letter of the 21st of Febuary—and am very happy to find that you suppose my apprehensions respecting any embarrassments which may be thrown in your way are premature—1 I have heard from all quarters that the Choice of President has been highly approved of and is perfectly Sattisfactory to all parties even the most violent Democrats in New York have expressed their intire acquiessence in the Election and I am very happy to find Mr Jefferson has come forward with such fair and Candid sentiments as his address to the senate discovers—2 I beleive many persons will be agreeably disappointed with respect to his pursuits

you must not my Dear Sir judge unfavourably of me—from my silence at this period—when all Connected with you are I presume offering to you their Congratulatory addresses—upon your assention to a Station so highly important—and which you are undoubtedly better prepared to fill with advantage to our Country than any other Man—or suppose that it is the result of indifferance towards you or any want of fillial affection—for I seek with avidity for every thing that is made public to us respecting yourself at this time, and have read with much pleasure your speach at the inauguration—and I Lamented that you should not have had one single Brance of your own family present at the interesting Scene— if I had been in a situation that could have rendered it proper, or Possible, I would most certainly have been present

that I am retired from all society and have no intercourse with any one out of my family would be no mortification to me—if it afforded me an opportunity of Educating my Children; there is no Personall gratification nor individual advantage that I should not readily relinquish if it could afford me an opportunity of Seeing them improve or advancing in their Studies— but the Place we are in neither affords a school or a Clergyman—and I am much at a loss to know, what to do with them—

William is now at an age when it becomes necessary for him to have constant and regular attention—and I think every day he passes is a day lost to him—3

what is to be their or our future destination is hid from our view by “that impenetrable veil which you observe covers futurity”—4 I see nothing in prospect for them but the most undistinguished stations in Life— and I expect that they will have to acquire as much self command and experience as many humiliations and mortifications of spirit as can be necessary for them; or as any one can wish them to encounter— but thease things are directed by an Higher Power and all Human Exertions are inadequate to Counteract them

whatever fate m[ay be] in reserve for me I hope I shall be supported under [it] without repineing—and that my Heart may be steeled against the misfortunes which seem to await us— but I must beg your forgiveness for obtruding upon your time, and important avocations

with every wish for your Happiness I am affectionately your Daughter

A Smith—

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “The President / of the United States / Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mrs Smith. March 14 / 1797.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.

1See vol. 11:574–575.

2On the morning of 4 March, prior to JA’s inauguration, Thomas Jefferson was sworn in as vice president by the president pro tempore of the Senate, William Bingham. After assuming the chair, Jefferson offered brief remarks in which he promised “diligence and attention” to the duties of his office and a “rigorous and inflexible impartiality” to the rules of the Senate. He also declared his “zealous attachment to the constitution of the United States, that I consider the Union of these states as the first of blessings, and as the first of duties the preservation of that constitution which secures it,” and he praised his predecessor, praying that JA “may be long preserved for the government, the happiness, and prosperity of our common country” (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 , 29:310–312). In its reporting on the inauguration, the Democratic-Republican New York Journal, 8 March, commented on JA’s and Jefferson’s addresses: “We dare congratulate the friends of Republican Virtue, on the auspious prospect which is presented before them by the patriotic speeches of JOHN ADAMS President, and THOMAS JEFFERSON, Vice-President of the United States.”

3William Steuben Smith was nearly ten years old at this time. For his enrollment in the Atkinson Academy, see AA to Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody, 12 Aug., below.

4From JA’s letter to WSS of 18 Jan. (vol. 11:507–508).

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