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Abigail Adams to John Adams, 31 December 1798

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Quincy Decbr 31 1798

my Dearest Friend

I cannot give you any account of Thomas I have sought for him by capt Jenkins. the Barbara which saild at the same time was a better vessel, well armd. mr smith thought it probable he would prefer her, as she was for Boston. I joind him in the same opinion, and was not a little distresst in the storm on saturday Evening to hear that she had been cast away on saturday morning near Salem, but at the same time I was assured no lives were lost. on sunday mor’g I sent to Town to be satisfied whether he came in the ship, but find that he did not. the vessel run upon the Rocks, but was soon off, with little damage. I know not how to account for his not comeing, in either of these vessels, unless he has taken his passage in some one for Philadelphia supposing it would save him a winters journey by Land, and that he should sooner meet his Parents. mr Smith writes me that there were several good armd vessels for the southward ready to sail at the same time, these were there.1 I cannot help feeling a daily anxiety upon his account

I am greatly pleasd with the address of the Legislature of Pensilvanna; it received as it deserved a Good answer. the notice taken in it of the inteference of individuals, in what the constitution alone places with the executive Authority, was quite unexpected; I thought it belongd to the National Representitives to have noticed it, and regreeted that they should feel so trameld, as to omit it. their answer is however calld the best, which any House have deliverd since the first establishment of the Constitution.2 the Jacobins certainly expected a recommendation from the President of a Declaration of War with France, and a closer union with great Britain, at least I judge so from the tennor of Chronical pecices—3 Logans Election in the Legislature will give the Jacobins a triumph, but I believe Mulingburgh would not have been a better choice— Logan seems more fool than Knave— it is thought the V P. stays away from very bad motives. I am told he is considered here as the Head of the opposition, to Government both in the old dominion and Kentucky. He is certainly acting a part, that he will find hard to justify;4

Dr Tufts informd me last week that Mott Vesey had offerd him that small peice of Land adjoing you, of 4 acres, for the moderate sum of 500 dollors— would you Chuse to Buy it? it will be put up at Auction if you do not take it. I heard Major Millar say, that John Newcomb, had offerd Mrs Vesey 400 for it. How rich our Quincy people are? If it should be sold at Auction, you will please to say whether you would have it bid for, and to what amount.5

The weather is fine to day can you get time to walk, or to Ride?

I am with the / tenderest affection / ever yours

A Adams—

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “President of the United / states / Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mrs A. / Dec. 31. 98.”

1Not found.

2The Penn. house of representatives’ address and JA’s reply, for which see William Smith Shaw to AA, 20 Dec., and note 5, above, were printed in the Boston Russell’s Gazette, 31 December.

3Throughout December the Boston Independent Chronicle printed essays on Franco-American relations. In addition to the piece by Democritus, for which see AA to Shaw, 23 Dec., and note 3, above, in the issue of 6–10 Dec., a satirical letter by “Benedict Arnold” alleged that an Anglo-American war against France would “connect closely America with the mother-Country” and “Once more will the British flag grace the shores of Columbia.” In the issue of 20–24 Dec., however, Benjamin Austin Jr. writing as Honestus argued that the United States was moving toward “that path for reconciliation,” and in that of 27–31 Dec. he added that “the pen of an ambassador, rather than the sword of a warrior, should bring the controversy to an happy issue.”

4The Boston Russell’s Gazette, 24 Dec., identified Thomas Jefferson as the author of the Kentucky Resolutions and claimed that John Breckinridge had traveled to Virginia and returned to Kentucky with, “ready penned, the nine resolutions,” and asking: “Can we now be surprised at the opposition and industry of Jefferson, Gallatin, Logan, the Braken ridges of the mountain, and their numberless dupes, who have all their promised reward.”

5Mottram Veasey (1761–1825), the son of Ebenezer and Mary Miller Veasey, was a town clerk in Quincy (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 ). See also JA to AA, 10 Jan. 1799, and AA to JA, 27 Feb., both below.

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