Adams Papers

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 19 April 1789

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Havilands at Rye. April 19. 1789

My dear

I have been so diligent on the Road and so much interrupted by Company at the Taverns that this is the first time I have been able to get an opportunity to write to you. We arrived at this house last night (Saturday) Shall rest here to day and go into N. York tomorrow.—1 at Hartford, the Manufacturers presented me with a Piece of Broadcloth, for a Suit of Cloaths. at N. Haven the Corporation presented me with the Freedom of their City.— at both these Towns the Gentlemen came out to meet us, and went out with us.—2 at Horseneck, we were met by Major Pintard, & Captain Mandeville with a Party of Horse from the State of New York, and there is to be much Parade on Monday.—3 Before this I presume, the Printers in Boston, have inserted in their Gazettes, the Debates of the House of Representatives, which are conducted with open Galleries.4

This Measure, by making the Debates public will establish the national Government, or break the Confederation. I can conceive of no medium between these Extremes.— By the Specimens that I have seen, they go on with great Spirit, in preparing the Impost, which is a favourable omen.— My Love to the Children and Duty to my Mother, &c.

John Adams.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs Adams / at Mr John Adams’s / Braintree.”

1First run by Dr. Ebenezer Haviland and later by his widow, Tamar, Haviland’s Tavern (also known as the Square House) had been a popular stopping point on the Post Road in Rye, N.Y., since about 1770. JA had previously visited the tavern at least twice, riding to and from the Continental Congress in 1774 (Charles W. Baird, Chronicle of a Border Town: History of Rye, Westchester County, New York, 1660–1870, N.Y., 1871, p. 145–147; D&A, 2:102, 158).

2On 16 April, JA passed through Hartford where “an escort of the principle gentlemen in town, the ringing of Bells, and the attention of the Mayor and Aldermen of the Corporation, marked the Federalism of the Citizens, and their high respect for that distinguished patriot and statesman” (Hartford American Mercury, 20 April).

That same day, the city of New Haven voted to give JA “all the rights Privileges and immunities of a free Citizen of the said City of New Haven” (Adams Papers). Ezra Stiles noted in his literary diary that on 17 April JA “was escorted into To by 35 or 40 Horse & phps 60 Chaises. . . . He rested in the City an Hour, when the Diploma of the Freedom of it was presented to him” (The Literary Diary of Ezra Stiles, D.D., LL.D., ed. Franklin Bowditch Dexter, 3 vols., N.Y., 1901, 3:351).

3The Norwich Packet reported that “the light horse of West Chester county” escorted JA’s entourage from the Connecticut line to Kingsbridge. Major Pintard was probably Lewis Pintard (1732–1818) of New Rochelle, a merchant who had assisted American prisoners in New York during the Revolution. John Mandeville was named captain of the Westchester Light Horse in 1786 and served until 1790 (Norwich Packet, 8 May; 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 ; Hugh Hastings, comp. and ed., Military Minutes of the Council of Appointment of the State of New York, 1783–1821, 4 vols., Albany, 1901, 1:80, 178).

4The Boston Herald of Freedom began printing the debates on 14 April; various other Boston newspapers soon followed suit.

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