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Abigail Adams to William Smith, 11 July 1797

Abigail Adams to William Smith

Philadelphia July 11th 1797

my dear sir

Mr otis will tell you all the News in this quarter of the Earth, where Wickedness abounds of all kinds. I hope however there may be found Rightous sufficient to save the city. we have a senator—you see by his Letter what he is capable of. the Government is not found sufficently strong to punish him according to his Demerrits, or he would not have been permitted to have escaped, nor do I think he would, if too great lenity had not lessned his Bonds—

Congress are up— before they come again together, I think they will repent of not having left some powers in the hands of the executive of laying on an Embargo if it, was thought necessary. it certainly would not have been wantonly used.1 it may before, the meeting of congress, be found necessary to have past the Law Regulating the Armanent of private Merchantmen. many will Arm now contrary to Law, and without regulation. an Indiaman captured two Days since belonging to this place, and within the capes is a proof of our Embicility, and I hope of our Love of Peace, for some good ought to flow from so much evil as a counter balance.—2

We have had some very Hot weather which makes me anxious to get away. I was calld sudenly out of my bed this morning to John Brisler, who was taken in the night with the Cholori Morbus.3 he was fainted intirely away, and every appearence of death for half an hour— the child went well to Bed. he is come too, but I think him very dangerous

We must get away from this Hot city—

I inclose to you a post Note of three Hundred Dollors, with which I will thank you to take up a Note of Hand of mine to Genll Lincoln. mr Wells may give it to you if the Genll is not there.4 you will destroy the Note and write me only these Words—“I have tranacted the buisness you desired in the Way you directed,” as we may be absent When the Letter arrives. I do not desire any more should be said than that.

My best Regards to mrs smith and Children Love to cousin Betsy—from your sincere Friend / and affectionate

A Adams

I wrote you last saturday concerning the carriage You will let me hear Soon.5 I put dr Tufts Letter in your care there is a post note in it

RC (MHi:Smith-Carter Family Papers); addressed by Louisa Catharine Smith: “Mr William Smith, Merchant / Boston”; endorsed: “Philaa. 11. July. 97 / A. Adams.”; notation: “24 July. wrote Mrs. A. that I had transacted the / Business she requested as directed.”

1On 24 June Jacob Read introduced a bill in the Senate “to authorize the President of the United States to lay, regulate, and revoke embargoes,” but it was voted down 15 to 12 on 27 June. A similar measure was also introduced in the House on 24 June, when William Loughton Smith proposed a resolution appointing a committee “to prepare and report a bill empowering the President of the United States to lay and revoke embargoes during the recess of Congress.” The resolution was tabled and was not taken up again before Congress adjourned (U.S. Senate, Jour. description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, Washington, D.C., 1789–. description ends , 5th Cong., 1st sess., p. 376, 379; Annals of Congress description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States [1789–1824], Washington, D.C., 1834–1856; 42 vols. description ends , 5th Cong., 1st sess., p. 386).

2The ship Asia, Capt. Edward Yard, en route to Philadelphia after a five-month voyage from Bengal, India, was captured near Cape May, N.J., on 7 July by the privateer Julia, Capt. Baptista Mahon, and sailed for Cap-Français, St. Domingue. On 2 Aug. the British privateer Ranger intercepted the Asia, seized the vessel, and sent it to New Providence, N.J., where it was libeled for salvage (Philadelphia Gazette, 10 July; Williams, French Assault on American Shipping description begins Greg H. Williams, The French Assault on American Shipping, 1793–1813: A History and Comprehensive Record of Merchant Marine Losses, Jefferson, N.C., 2009. description ends , p. 68).

3Cholera morbus was a gastrointestinal complaint characterized by “violent purging and vomiting” and diarrhea and thought to be caused by rancid food (Buchan, Domestic Medicine description begins William Buchan, Domestic Medicine; or, the Family Physician, 2d U.S. edn., Philadelphia, 1774, Evans, No. 13181. description ends , p. 235–237).

4Possibly Arnold Welles (or Wells) Jr. (1761–1827), Harvard 1780, who represented Boston in the Mass. house of representatives along with William Smith (Albert Welles, History of the Welles Family in England and Normandy, Welles, N.Y., 1876, p. 122; Mass., Acts and Laws description begins Acts and Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts [1780–1805], Boston, 1890–1898; 13 vols. description ends , 1796–1797, p. 490).

5For a summary of AA’s 1 July letter to William Smith regarding the carriage, see AA to William Smith, 10 June, note 1, above.

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