Adams Papers

John Adams to Abigail Adams Smith, 11 November 1788

John Adams to Abigail Adams Smith

Braintree, November 11, 1788.

My Dear Child:

Our anxiety for you, in your present circumstances and situation among strangers, (though we doubt not you have many friends,) has prevailed upon me to make a great sacrifice, in consenting to your mother’s journey to Long Island.

* * * * * * *

I am kindly obliged to Col. Smith and to you, for your many invitations, and I have a great desire to see you, your friends, and even your situation. But, as long as this political squall shall last, I can scarcely lie asleep, or sit still, without censure, much less ride journeys on visits to my friends.

If my future employment in public depends on a journey to New-York, or on the feather of being for a week or a day President of Congress, I will never have any other than private employments while I live. I am willing to serve the public on manly conditions, but not on childish ones; on honourable principles, not mean ones.

It is the opinion of good judges, in which I fully concur with them, that there will be no Congress till February; nor then, but merely to declare the old Government dissolved, and the new one in exercise; so that there will be no occasion for me to go.1

I find men and manners, principles and opinions, much altered in this country, since I left it. Gen. Knox will tell you, when you see him, how completely I am initiated in the order of Cincinnatus, without any vote of the Society. He has obliged me by two short visits, and is the same sensible and agreeable man as when I formerly knew him.

I am, my dear daughter, with much affection, / Yours,

John Adams.

MS not found. Printed from AA2, Jour. and Corr. description begins Journal and Correspondence of Miss Adams, Daughter of John Adams,... Edited by Her Daughter [Caroline Amelia (Smith) de Windt], New York and London, 1841–[1849]; 3 vols. description ends , 2:105–106.

1While various members of Congress did attend between Nov. 1788 and March 1789, no business was transacted (JCC description begins Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. Worthington Chauncey Ford, Gaillard Hunt, John C. Fitzpatrick, Roscoe R. Hill, and others, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 34:604–605).

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