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Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams, 5 April 1798

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams

Quincy April 5th 1798

My dear Sister

I last week had to inform you of the Sudden death of my much value’d Freind Mrs Quincy I Now have to acquaint you that last Sunday afternoon in the midst of his Sermon Doctor Clark was struck with an apoplexy & fell down— after he was got into the carriage to be carry’d home he came a little to but Soon seem’d to fall asleep & into a Suoun out of which he never wak’d & ceas’d to breath about 3 oclock the next Morning1 his Freinds the Society to which he belong’d & the community at large have met with a great loss. he was a very useful Minister to his People. & such a Friend in trouble & affliction as renderd him like a Brother— He was visiting at Mr Greenleafs this winter when I was there. & I observ’d to him that I thought he was growing too corporlent. he Say’d he found himself short-breath’d when he walk’d he look’d Strangely to me about his throat & under his chin. his voice was observ’d to fail a moment or two before he fell. how Strange my Sister that we Should place any dependance upon a thing So uncertain as life for in the midst of life there is death— Sucky warner Still lives but is gradually failing. She has not a wish to recover She has brought her mind to be resign’d & does not wish to again form any ties which she has found so hard to break

we have had a Strange rumour here for Several days. tis Said that mr Giles had Shot mr otis in a Dual I hope tis not true. we are disgrac’d enough already by the behavior of Some of the members of that house. tis greatly to be lament’d that Such unhappy divisions are to be found where uninimety & firmness is so necessary2

I have been reading Sipios Strictures upon mr munroes conduct. tis greatly to be regreted that we Should have had Such a minister abroad especially in France I wonder that he was not recall’d Sooner. there is no Saying how much mischief he might have prevented but it appears he did not try to prevent any. he ought to be Severely punish’d. Is he weak enough to suppose that what he has publish’d is a vindication of himself. I Should Suppose no person could possibly offer a better justifecation of the late presidents conduct in recalling him & leave no blame upon him except for suffering him to stay so long & what can the Ve. President Say for the part he has acted—3 oh dear! what a Nest of Vipers do we nourish—

we have had a Stormy week the Sun has not for four days till this afternoon. It is fast day4 I have been to meeting Mr whitman has given us two good Sermons. he is ingag’d for three months. mr whitney would not go down— he will get a better parish I beleive we have turbelant Spirits to engage tis well we are not all So waspish

the Painter comes next week it has been no time to paint exceep last week & then he could not attend The Doctor hir’d mr Soal & the day after he was taken with the billious cholick & has Scarcly been able to set up long inough to have his Bed made Since they got old mr Bass to attend to him night & day. he has been Sick a fortnight I have been to see him he has had great pain & much of a fever. he is better but can set up but little it has been a great addition to mrs Porters work. She has much to do with work people. & her other cares & She is not very Strong. If wine Should be want[ed] for mr Soal I know I may take it for him & Sh[ould] not wait for leave from you as you gave me […] [ge]neral orders

The Doctor sent me a letter to inclose [. . . .] I shall do it—5 If I ply you too close with Letters you must tell me So.

adieu my dear Sister most affectionately

Mary Cranch

Mr Cranch desire you to accept his Love & thanks for the last Pamphlet he has read it with pleasure & pain

cousen Betsy goes tomorrow

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs / Abigail Adams / Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mrs Cranch / April 3d / 1798.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.

1Rev. John Clarke collapsed in the pulpit of the First Congregational Church of Boston on Sunday, 1 April, and died the next day. In reporting his death, the Massachusetts Mercury, 3 April, praised his character: “The moral, social and political duties of life were the counter part of his publick labours, and like a double mirror shed a mutual strength and lustre on the Preacher and the Man.”

2The Massachusetts Mercury, 23 March, reported the near “FRACAS” that erupted in the House of Representatives prompted by the verbal sparring between Harrison Gray Otis and William Branch Giles during the debates of 13 March, for which see AA to Cranch, 14 March, and note 3, above. On the 27th the same newspaper printed the full debates, and from these reports apparently emerged the rumor of a duel between the two men, for the New York Journal, 18 April, noted, “It has been reported thro’ New England, that a Duel had been fought between Mr. Giles and Mr. Otis, in which the latter fell;—this we know to be untrue.”

3The Scipio articles, for which see William Cranch to AA, 12 March, and note 4, above, commented that on the eve of the 1796 presidential election “the French Republic was intent on raising to the helm Mr. Jefferson, who … was justly deemed, hostile” to both the Constitution and the American political system (Scipio’s Reflections on Monroe’s View of the Conduct of the Executive on the Foreign Affairs of the United States, Boston, 1798, p. 132, 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. 34676).

4On 1 March 1798 Gov. Increase Sumner proclaimed that 5 April would be a fast day in Massachusetts, in order that among other things the state “may be Protected from Internal Commotion and Foreign Invasion” and “that the overtures for adjusting differences in Europe may be successful, and Permanent Peace be established” (Boston Independent Chronicle, 15–19 March).

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