Adams Papers

John Adams to Abigail Adams Smith, 10 March 1792

John Adams to Abigail Adams Smith

Philadelphia, March 10, 1792.

My Dear Child:

Your kind letter of the fourth of this month is before me.1 I have frequently desired your mother to consent that I should send for other advice; but she has always forbid it, alleging that she was perfectly satisfied. The assiduity of her physician has, indeed, been very great; and his anxiety to do every thing in his power, most apparent. She is better to-day than she has ever been since her illness began, and I am much encouraged.

I rejoice that you are to wait till the equinox is over.

I do not read the New-York papers, having seldom an opportunity; but should be glad to have a hint of the various reasons which are conjectured for Mr. Jay’s consenting to be a candidate.2

My love to Colonel Smith and my dear little boys.

I am, my dear daughter, with full intentions of corresponding with you frequently in your absence, and with sanguine expectations of pleasure in it, / Your affectionate father,

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 , 2:118.

1Not found.

2John Jay, although still chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, agreed to stand as a Federalist candidate for governor against Gov. George Clinton in 1792. Alexander Hamilton, who led the Federalists in New York State, recruited Jay as the only person who might have a chance to defeat Clinton. The contest generated considerable comment in the newspapers, including speculation on Jay’s reasons for accepting the nomination. Jay’s friends and foes alike believed personal interests guided his decision to run but put different interpretations on those interests. One supporter wrote, “Mr. Jay no doubt consults his ease and comfort in withdrawing himself from the fatigues to which his present appointment expose him, or is perhaps of opinion that he can serve this state and the United States more essentially as our first magistrate than as Chief Justice. In the first case gratitude for his long and important services in the most trying times impell us to support him, and in the latter the spirit of federalism will call forth our most earnest exertions.” By contrast, an opponent sarcastically noted Jay’s “noble instance of condescention and disinterested generosity;—he will give up £.1600 a year, and relinquish the pleasure of travelling nine months in the twelve—for the pitiful consideration of a continual residence in the most elegant mansion on the continent, and a salary, that by the next appropriation, will probably amount to £.2000.” Jay was defeated after a highly partisan and sometimes controversial election (Monaghan, John Jay description begins Frank Monaghan, John Jay, Defender of Liberty, New York and Indianapolis, 1935. description ends , p. 325–327, 333–337; New York Daily Advertiser, 20 Feb.; New York Diary, 22 Feb.). See also CA to JA, 20 Aug., below.

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