Adams Papers

Abigail Adams to Sarah Livingston Jay, 20 February 1789

Abigail Adams to Sarah Livingston Jay

Braintree Febry 20th 1789

my dear madam

When I left your Hospitable mansion, I did not design so many days should have elapsed, before I had express’d to you the pleasing sense I entertaind of your kindness and Friendship. they have left a durable impression upon my mind, and an ardent desire to cultivate them in future.

I reachd Home Ten days after I left Newyork. we had an agreeable journey, good Roads fine weather and tolerable accommodations. our Musk and Lemon Brandy were of great service to us, and we never faild to Toast the donor, Whilst our Hearts were warmed by the Recollection. I hope my dear madam that your Health is better than when I left you, and this not for your own sake only, but for that of your worthy partner, who I am sure sympathized so much with you, that he never really Breakfasted the whole time I was with you; my best Regards attend him. I hope both he and you will one day do me the Honour of visiting Braintree, where I would do all within my power to Render the fireside as social and as pleasing as I found Broad Way.

If Miss Levingston is still with you pray present my Regards to her.1 my Love to Master Peter, the Grave Maria & the sprightly little French Girl.2 Compliments to Mrs Knox to Lady Kitty, and to all the other Ladies from whom I received particular attentions whilst at Newyork,3 and do me the Favour to let me hear from you by the first opportunity— This Letter will be deliverd to you by mr Ames, the Suffolk Representitive, a Young Gentlemen of an amiable Character and very good abilities,4 he was so good as to offer to take Charge of any letters I might have for Newyork. I have embraced this opportunity to present my little Friend Maria with a Book which I hope may be pleasing & usefull to her

mr Adams joins me in affectionate Regards to mr Jay, & best wishes for your Health and happiness— be assured I am my dear Madam with sentiments / of Esteem and Regard Your / Friend & Humble Servant

Abigail Adams

RC (NNC:John Jay Papers); addressed: “To / Mrs Sarah jay— / Newyork”; endorsed: “Mrs:Adams / 20 Feby: 1789.”

1Probably Susan Livingston (1748–1840), Sarah Jay’s sister, who married John Cleves Symmes in 1794 (Selected Letters of John Jay and Sarah Livingston Jay: Correspondence by or to the First Chief Justice of the United States and His Wife, ed. Landa M. Freeman and others, Jefferson, N.C., 2005, p. 8).

2The three surviving Jay children: Peter Augustus (1776–1843), Maria (1782–1856), and Ann (Nancy, 1783–1856), who was born in Paris during the peace negotiations (same, p. 12, 22).

3Probably Catherine Alexander Duer, for whom see vol. 6:230, note 13.

4Fisher Ames (1758–1808), Harvard 1774, a lawyer from Dedham, Mass., served in Congress from 1789 to 1797 (DAB description begins Allen Johnson, Dumas Malone, and others, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936; repr. New York, 1955–1980; 10 vols. plus index and supplements. description ends ).

Index Entries