Adams Papers
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From Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody to Abigail Smith Adams, 18 December 1811

Atkinson December 18th. 1811—

At the arrival of the last Mail, I thought I could hear my dear Sister say, “Is there no Letters from Atkinson? I fear some of her Family are sick.”—

It has been really so—I have had one of my silent Colds—& my dear Abby, was confined a week after her return from Boston—But we are now both of us much better—I believe, I have what may be called the Rheumatism, or the Creek at the pit of my Breast, for I am not sick now, that I cannot help groaning when I move quick—I have red Bane up to my throat too—I feel very anxious for my dear Son, I pray, he may not be sick again at Mrs Carters—for nobody else will pity him—He is more careful, & concerned for every one, than for himself—I wish I could know by some means, whether it would be agreeable for Mr Foster to have Mr Shaw board with him—If it could be made agreeable upon both sides I should feel perfectly easy—Mrs Foster has a great family, but there he would pay her—She has many little Children—but then he is remarkably fond of those who are good—If it could be convenient, & suit both parties I should rejoice—I did not say anything to either, when I was in Town, nor should have thought so much about it now, if little Elizabeth had not said so much in favour of it—how she, & Charles would love to do anything for him—&cc—I know every addition to a number adds to the Care—But then he would make Compensation,

Perhaps, you have heard something said, upon this Subject, & can inform me, before I write to either of them—

I am very glad to hear that <your> Mrs Smith can help herself—Her mind must feel consoled under her late state of debility, when she considers how much worse state she might have been in, & from what an Evil she is relieved—May her gratitude to her heavenly Parent & Preserver, be as preeminent, as her Fortitude, & Patience, has been under severe Sufferings—& delight the Heart of her good Parents, by her cheerful conversation, & the sweatness of her Disposition—joined by her lovely Daughter, & Cousins—

I hope you have had letters from Col. Smith & know how Mrs Adams bore the journey—may it prove beneficial to her health—& the bosom of her Friends an exhilirating Cordial—

I have repeatedly read the Letters you were so good as to enclose—In that of Judge Cranch’s to you, I was pleased to see how the good Spirit of Elijah, rested upon his Elisha—The whole Letter was an effusion of a most grateful, pious, & affectionate Heart—I think his Children here inherit much of the Temper, & genius of the Family—William loves to study, & Richard much better than I feared, by what his Parents wrote upon the Subject—They are poor Readers, & I mentioned to their Father, that the appearance of Principle, their habits of regularity, & moral Rectitude, modesty, respectful manners, & sweetness of temper, did their Parents, & themselves more honour than their literary attainments—But they are quite Favourites in our Family—& are kind to George, & John—They say, they have answered all the Letters of their Fathers, only what I call the Bible Letter—& poor George, had I suppose, so much to say, that he could not arrange his Ideas upon paper—for I wished them to write, & then let me correct it for them—John did not feel so much difficulty, & has expressed himself, with ease—every word himself—& George has written at last, though he was loth to try—I am sorry his hand writing is so poor—he is ashamed of it—& I hope will endeavour to do better—I have gotten good writing Books, & Copy Slips & every necessary for the purpose—They are fine Boys—but want constant attention—& more Lines, & Precepts than I fear I shall be able to give—His Cousin said, I fear George, you will not love me, I tell you of so many of your faults—or odd ways of standing, or rather not standing—I was pleased with his reply—“yes Cousin I do love you dearly—I know you do it, all out of kindness, & for my good”—“I am sure I ought to thank you because you speak so pleasant”—I never saw any Child more affectionate, or discover a better temper, than they both do—& Mr Peabody is exceeding fond of them both—But it will take some time to get them to regular habits of Study, & puting their things in place to do it themselves—

I have gotten them some mittens, I knew they would want more than one pair—those you may send, must be kept for the Sabbath—They must have new flats soon, & if their Uncle Thomas, could forward safely a few Dollars for their service, I should be glad—The thirty Dollars Mr Cranch expected would supply his Childrens present wants, is now stoped—it is unfortunate, for us—for they must have Boots, Shoes, &ccc Abby A—— Shaw begs to be remembered to her dear & beloved uncle & Aunt in the most respectful manner—& to her Cousins, most affectionately—

I have a strange hot, dry humour in my hands, which is very troublesome—& makes them swell, & crack open in every direction even above my wrists—I can scarcely hold my pen—I hope it will not seize my Stomach—This must be my appology for not writing before, & better now—Abby tells me, our Brother Cranch’s property will be more than what his friends expected—for which I am very glad—& to hear by you that the Judge, & Mr Quincy will unite in purchasing the Property of the Virchills—The Library is very valuable—If it is sold, I wish I could purchase Popes works—I am almost sometimes mentally starved—I long to gratify my thirst—but I do not believe I could get more than one Volume of his works within twenty miles—

Mr Peabody unites in the warmest wishes for the Life & health of the President, & my Sisters Happiness, with your affectionate

E Peabody

I forgot to tell you, we were much diverted by your account of poor John’s unfortunate Jug—When I read it, the dear conscious little fellow, put up both his hands to cover his Face—I fancy the fate of it, will be impressed upon his young mind—& the effect much better, than what is generally experienced from common Jugs, or their contents—

If you think best, to Send on Georges letter you will please to enclose, & appologise for them to Mr J—— Q A——

MHi: Adams Papers.

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