Adams Papers

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 2 December 1788

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Braintree Decr.2. 1788

My dearest Friend

Before this time I hope you have the Happiness to See your Daughter out of all Danger and your Son in Law and your two grand children in perfect health. I have no Letter from you, Since that you wrote at Hartford, and I cannot find fault because this is the first I have written to you. We are all very well, and go on very well. Charles came home and Thomas went to Haverhill, last Week.—

We are all in a Lurry with Politicks. MrDalton and Mr Strong are Senators1 and Mr Lowell will be Rep. for the District of Suffolk, as is generally Supposed.— Mr Varnum, Mr Partridge Coll Leonard, Mr Grout Mr Sedgwick or Mr Lyman Mr Jackson or Mr Dane or Mr Goodhue, Mr Thatcher or Col Sewell, are named for other Districts.2

My Love to our Children and Respects and Regards wherever you please.

Dont be uneasy, on Account of your Family here, nor in haste to come home before a good opportunity presents.

I dont enter into any political Details. My Mind has ballanced all Circumstances. and all are reducible to two Articles Vanity and comfort.— I have the Whip Row Alternative in my own Power. if they mortify my Vanity they give me Comfort.— They cannot deprive me of Comfort without gratifying my Vanity. I am my dearest / Friend your forever

John Adams

RC (Adams Papers); addressed by JQA: “Mrs: A. Adams. / Jamaica. / Long Island.”; internal address: “Mrs Adams.”; notations: “Free / John Adams.”; “Not”; and “2.16 / ¼.”

1Caleb Strong (1745–1819), Harvard 1764, a Northampton lawyer, served in the Senate until 1796 (First Fed. Elections description begins The Documentary History of the First Federal Elections, 1788–1790, ed. Merrill Jensen, Robert A. Becker, Gordon DenBoer, and others, Madison, Wis., 1976–1989; 4 vols. description ends , 1:759–760).

2For a full discussion of the elections of U.S. representatives in Massachusetts, including the multiple balloting in some districts, see same, 1:543–742.

Suffolk County elected Fisher Ames over John Lowell (same, 1:743).

Gen. Joseph Bradley Varnum (1750/51–1821), from Dracut, was not elected at this time but would serve in Congress as a representative from 1795 to 1811 and as a senator from 1811 to 1817; Middlesex County elected Elbridge Gerry in his place (same, 1:749, 760–761).

Plymouth and Barnstable Counties elected George Partridge (1740–1828), a Duxbury native, who served from 1789 to 1790 (same, 1:756).

George Leonard (1729–1819), Harvard 1748, from Norton, represented Bristol, Dukes, and Nantucket Counties from 1789 to 1791 and again from 1795 to 1797 (same, 1:753–754).

Jonathan Grout (1737–1807) was elected from Worcester County and served until 1791 (same, 1:751).

Berkshire and Hampshire Counties elected Theodore Sedgwick over Samuel Lyman, among others. Sedgwick (1746–1813), Yale 1765, practiced law and served in the Mass. General Court nearly continuously from 1780 to 1788. He had been a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1785 to 1786 and in 1788, and would serve in the U.S. Congress from 1789 to 1801. Lyman (1749–1802), Yale 1770, was also a lawyer and a member of the General Court from 1786 to 1793. He was later elected to Congress and served as a representative from 1795 to 1800 (same, 1:603, 754, 757).

Benjamin Goodhue was elected to represent Essex County over Nathan Dane and Jonathan Jackson. Goodhue (1748–1814), Harvard 1766, served as a Massachusetts congressman from 1789 to 1796, and then as a senator from 1796 to 1800. Jackson (1743–1810), Harvard 1761, was a Newburyport merchant (same, 1:586, 750, 752).

The three Maine counties—York, Cumberland, and Lincoln—selected George Thatcher over Colonel Sewall, probably Dummer Sewall (1737–1832), a lieutenant colonel in the Massachusetts militia who represented Bath in the state ratifying convention. Thatcher (1754–1824), Harvard 1776, was a lawyer from Biddeford; he served in Congress from 1789 to 1801 (same, 1:611–613, 760; Doc. Hist. Ratif. Const. description begins The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution, ed. Merrill Jensen, John P. Kaminski, Gaspare J. Saladino, and others, Madison, Wis., 1976–. description ends , 7:1517).

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