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Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams, 23 April 1798

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams

Quincy April 23d 1798

Dear Sister

I write now merely to inform you that I have reciev’d your two Lettes of the 9th & 13th of this month & Shall answer them by the next mail. I reciv’d them both last Saturday with the instructions & dispatches— I do not wonder that the Jacobins in Senate house & every where else Should be Struck dumb.— do you really Suppose Galletan Sinscere in his declarations?1 & what says mr Nicolas?— the chronical has got a mortal wound. it agonzes.2 we thank you my dear Sister for all your communications. I wonder how you have preserv’d your health thro So much trouble & anxiety as you have had to incounter this winter. but I feel as if they were over as it relates to the Sentiments of the People & as to France She has sprung a mine which will distroy her influence here. the Southern States will assuredly become a prey to their Slaves if they do not take great care. how blind they are?

Doctor Tufts has left the inclos’d memorandom for me to send you.3 we think you had better have two of those chambers thrown into one for a Library it will be much larger & more pleasenter than the old one. that will make a Bedroom large enough for mr Porter when the entry & Stairs are taken from it. I think you would like to have a chimney in the Library— take in the two east chambers would be furtherest from the noise of the Family. the Doctor is concern’d about the expences exceeding what he at first calculated & does not know what to do about mentioning it to the President he knows him to be burthen’d with publick troubles & concrns enough without having much care for his private matters. you must direct what method the Doctor must persue to Stere right

I rejoice to here mr Greenleaf is releas’d & hope he will get into better business than speculating—

mrs Clark wants firmness of mind. She is confin’d & her children taken from her. it was a dreadful shock be Sure but She has not poverty to contend with & ought to Submit with dignity & christian resignation.4

Coll. Billings was buried a Saturday.5 but mr Soule to my astonishment was down Stairs yesterday & will be about again Soon I hope. Sukys lamp is not yet extinguish’d She has seem’d to be almost gone Several times & then lights up again. but the oil is almost spent—

I was to see miss Paine a friday I found her patiently waiting her great change— She has had a distress’d winter but can chear up as she use’d to do when she was brightend by the countenance of a Friend. mrs Rhodes went with me I shall visit her again in a few days & will give her your token of remembrance. we are all well mrs Black drinks Coffee with me this afternoon She has just Sent a Letter to be inclos’d—6 I Shall forward cousens letters to her sister Betsy. her mother is well. we had a Severe thunder Storm last evening. I think the thunder broke close by but have not heard I have not heard again from Betsy Shaw. I am very uneasy about her cough & cold fits

I wonder cousen Betsy Smith has not written me a line. the caps you was So kind as to send my Daughters I do not see how did you Send them? The post will be upon me. I was too sick yesterday to write or you would have had a longer Letter from your ever affectionate Sister

Mary Cranch

RC (Adams Papers).

1The Boston Columbian Centinel, 14 April, in reporting news from Philadelphia during the closed debates over publishing the envoys’ dispatches, stated: “Some of the most uniform and ardent opposers of the President have assured me with their own lips, that they are perfectly satisfied with the sincerity and anxiety which he has discovered to preserve peace with the French Republic. … Gallatin, Giles and Nicholas, declare themselves satisfied with the conduct of our President, and the temper and spirit of the instructions.” The newspaper further reported on 18 April that Albert Gallatin, who had opposed both the call for the papers and also the publication of them, instead proposed a resolution avowing that JA’s instructions were “well calculated to ensure the objects of their mission” and that if the commissioners failed it would “be attributed altogether to an indisposition on the part of France to meet the advance made by our Government.

2The Boston Independent Chronicle, 16–19 April, queried whether “the mode pursued by the Commissioners was the reason why no Official communications were made to them by the Directory.” The squib also stated that “the Commissioners should have been totally silent” about their mission “unless they could negociate with some persons actually authorized by the government.” The next issue, of 19–23 April, printed the envoys’ dispatches and acknowledged that “if the Directory are guilty to the extent insinuated, then the public concerns of that great and mighty nation, are in the hands of the basest and most infamous, of the wickedest, and even the weakest of people!”

3Not found.

4Esther Orne Clarke (1758–1848) was the daughter of Rebecca Taylor and Timothy Orne Jr., a wealthy Salem merchant. She had married Rev. John Clarke in June 1780, and the couple had three surviving children— Esther (b. 1784), Charles Chauncy (b. 1789), and Harriet (b. 1792)—at the time of the pastor’s death (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates description begins John Langdon Sibley, Clifford K. Shipton, Conrad Edick Wright, Edward W. Hanson, and others, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge and Boston, 1873–. description ends , 18:396, 405; Salem Register, 28 Sept. 1848; Vital Records of Salem, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849, 6 vols., Salem, 1916–1925, 2:125; Boston Repertory, 9 Sept. 1806).

5Col. Edmund Billings (b. 1731) of Quincy had served on the Committee of Safety during the Revolution and held numerous town offices, including moderator and fence viewer. He died on 18 April 1798 (Sprague, Braintree Families description begins Waldo Chamberlain Sprague, comp., Genealogies of the Families of Braintree, Mass., 1640–1850, Boston, 1983; repr. CD-ROM, Boston, 2001. description ends ; Massachusetts Mercury, 20 April).

6Not found.

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