Abigail Adams to John Adams
Richmond Hill october 25 1789
my dearest Friend
I presume you have reachd Braintree before this day I hope the sight of your Friends and of your Farm has restored your Health and spirits. you did well to flee before the very sickly period Mr Maddison lies very ill at Philadelphia, & it is reported that the Speaker of the House died last week by the Bursting a Blood vessel in this Epidemick cold, which scarcly one escapes. I hope however the report may not be true, as I have not seen any mention of it in the papers.1 Count Moutier & family saild last week as silently as possible. no mention of them in the papers, or other notice taken every thing appears perfectly quiet & easy.2 Boston papers only are seditious I think from the complexion of some peices which I read in them the massachusetts is brewing mischief.
inclosed is a letter which I wish you to answer immediatly. I have received the fish in four Boxes & tried some of it, which proves very fine.3 one Box I have sent to mr Jay as a present from you. our Family is better than when I wrote you last, little John excepted who is very sick cutting his Eye teeth.
If Brisler is at Braintree would not you wish him to Bottle the sherry wine which we used part of, & pack it for this place. the other cask I would not remove.
I wish to hear from you and from the children. mrs Cranch wrote me that John was very unwell with his cold. it was taken here I believe, and he ought to be attentive to it. my affectionate Regards to all Friends from / Your ever affectionate
RC (Adams Papers).
1. This rumor was false. Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, the Speaker of the House, lived until 1801 (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 ).
2. The Comte de Moustier was unpopular as the French minister to the United States. James Madison wrote to Thomas Jefferson on 8 Dec. 1788 that “Moustier proves a most unlucky appointment. He is unsocial, proud and niggardly and betrays a sort of fastidiousness toward this country. He suffers also from his illicit connection with Madame de Brehan which is universally known and offensive to American manners.” In France, Jefferson pressed for a change in ministers, which led to Moustier’s departure in Oct. 1789 (Jefferson, Papers description begins The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, Princeton, 1950–. description ends , 14:340–341, 520–522). Contrary to AA’s comments, several of the New York newspapers included short pieces on his formal leave-taking; see, for example, Gazette of the United States, 14 Oct.; New York Journal, 15 Oct.; and New York Daily Gazette, 15 October.
3. On 30 Sept. Marston Watson of Marblehead wrote to JA on behalf of a “Fish Club of Gentlemen in this Town bearing Strong Sentiments of Esteem & respect for your private Character, and with all others of your Countrymen cannot but admire the lustre of your public Negociations while in Europe, & the more, as they feel Indebted for your good Service to their branch of business;—therefore hope that they may be Indulg’d to offer with Propriety, attendant on their Sincere Expressions of Gratitude, a few Quintals of their best Table fish” (Adams Papers). JA replied on 7 Nov., thanking Watson for the fish and reiterating his belief that “the Fisheries, are so essential to the Commerce and naval Power of this Nation, that it is astonishing that any one Citizen should ever have been found, indifferent about them” (Dft, Adams Papers). See also AA to JA, 1 May, note 3, above.