Adams Papers

Abigail Adams to John Adams, 9 February 1793

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Quincy Febry 9th 1792 [1793]

my dearest Friend

I received your kind favour of the 24th of Jan’ry together with the News papers. the writings of the American Mirabeau, if he is an American & those under the Signature of Cincinnatus are insolent indeed, and are in unison with a Number of papers Published in the Boston Chronical calld the crisis, Supposed to be written in Philadelphia and sent here for publication as I was told in Boston that there was a Club, who were in constant correspondence with the s——y of state those papers are leveld at the Government & particularly against Hamilton, who will however I hope stand his ground.1 a very viruelent peice has appeard in the same paper signd stephen Colona Threatning the Government with the vengence of a hundred thousand Men, if certain Characters formerly stiled Antifeaderal were not more notised & appointed to office this writer says that the constitution was addopted by means of Artifice cagoiling deception & he believes corruption I read the peice at the time it was publishd, but had no Idea that the Author could be our former P——h Friend.2 a very good answer followd it written; by mr davis, signd Publius with a Quotation as the introduction from the Play calld the Ladies of castile—3

I received a Letter to day from our daughter dated Novbr the col children &c were all well.4 she writes that our minister complains loudly of expences that he had no Idea of them. mrs P—— complains of the impudence of trades people in that Country. they must be strangly alterd—for I never saw more civility in any country. Nay I have often been surprized at their confidence in strangers, but perhaps these people have been accustomed to slaves, and expect the same servility. mr M—— renders himself very obnoxtiuous in France by an active and officious Zeal in favour of the Aristocracy he has lately been obliged to keep close—for the Jacobines declare that if he was not an American with a commiss[ion] from Washington they would have had his Head upon a Pike long ago. they are astonishd that such a character should be sent them. short tis said is very voilent in Holland. Humphries is really going to marry a Lady of Ample fortune.5 his countrymen who have been in Lisbon speak highly of his polite attention to them, but complain that they are not noticed by others mrs smith had visited mrs Beach who was well and vastly pleasd with England—6 if there is any vessel going from Philadelphia pray write to mrs smith for she complains very much that she does not hear from her Friends. tis uncertain whether she returns in the Spring

I had a Letter to day from Charles he writes me that he had been sick with a fever which prevaild very much in NYork, but was quite recoverd.7 we have had a fortnight of Sad weather here one day very cold the next a warm rain and thaw. this has convinced me that I am still to suffer from my former complaint. I have been attackd with the old intermitting and am still strugling with it.

we have accomplishd drawing home the remainder of the Timber, & shaw has been employd with Faxon & two other hands whom I have hired in getting stuff from the ceadar swamp, in which they have found four or five pine Trees—old & fit for Boards these I have had cut & drawn to the saw mill we hope to get 2 thousand of Boards from them. we still have to cut and draw from the woods Trees for Jistes, but our snow comes & lies only a day or two, by which means we do not accomplish all we wish.

My affectionate Regards to all inquiring Friends tell Benson I do not know what he means by abusing me so, I was always for Equality as my Husband can witness. Love to Thomas, from your affectionate

Abigail Adams

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Vice President of the / United States / Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Portia / Febry 9th 1792.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.

1In the Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 7 Jan., “Mirabeau” addresses a letter to “Fellow Citizen” Thomas Jefferson, begging him to forgo retirement to continue his work as “the colossus of opposition to monarchial deportment, monarchial arrogance, and monarchial splendor.”

Addressed to members of Congress, the president, and the “Victorious & Patriotic Officers of the French Army,” Cincinnatus’ letters were published in the Philadelphia General Advertiser, 8, 11, 14, 21 January. Cincinnatus takes both George Washington and Congress to task for their failure to compensate fairly former members of the Continental Army, arguing that “the present government has been liberal to the late army in nothing but neglect and contempt” (11 Jan.).

Beginning the previous September, the Boston Independent Chronicle had been publishing a lengthy series of articles entitled “The Crisis,” signed “A Republican,” which would eventually total fourteen installments, concluding in Aug. 1793. The wide-ranging pieces cover various topics, including trade and commerce, taxation, public credit, the Indian War, economic relations with Europe, and the establishment of a national bank. The author attacks Alexander Hamilton as a “superficial financier” (15 Nov. 1792) and disputes the efficacy of many of his policies, especially his support of national and branch banks over state banks (Independent Chronicle, 6, 27 Sept.; 11, 25 Oct.; 1, 15, 30 Nov.; 10, 24 Jan. 1793; 7 Feb.; 26 April; 18, 25 July; and 8 Aug.).

2The article by Stephen Colonna appeared in the Boston Independent Chronicle, 20 Dec. 1792. It complains of the poor treatment of Antifederalists, “excluded from any places of honour or emolument,” concluding, “And be assured, the awakened wrongs, and the active resentment of a hundred thousand men are not easily done away, or alleviated.” The Adamses’ “former” friend from Plymouth was James Warren.

3Publius’ article, which was printed in the Boston Independent Chronicle, 10 Jan. 1793, decried Stephen Colonna’s piece as “indecent and intemperate invective . . . a libel on the government and people of the United States.” Mercy Otis Warren’s play The Ladies of Castile, written in 1784, was published in Poems, Dramatic and Miscellaneous, Boston, 1790, Evans, description begins Charles Evans and others, American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of All Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America [1639–1800], Chicago and Worcester, 1903–1959; 14 vols. description ends No. 23035. Publius quotes from Act II, scene v, lines 42–45: “’Tis all a puff—a visionary dream— / That kindles up this patriotic flame; / ’Tis rank self love, conceal’d beneath a mask / Of public good.” Mr. Davis was probably Caleb Davis (1738–1797), a Boston merchant and Federalist who had been a delegate to the Massachusetts state ratifying convention (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 , 4:xxxv; 5:909).

4Not found.

5David Humphreys eventually married Ann Frances Bulkeley, the daughter of a wealthy English merchant, in Lisbon in 1797 (Colonial Collegians description begins Colonial Collegians: Biographies of Those Who Attended American Colleges before the War of Independence, CD-ROM, ed. Conrad Edick Wright, Robert J. Dunkle, and others, Boston, 2005. description ends ).

6Sarah Franklin Bache (1743–1808), Benjamin Franklin’s daughter, had served as his hostess until his death in 1790. She and her husband, Richard Bache, visited England in 1792 (Notable Amer. Women description begins Edward T. James and others, eds., Notable American Women, 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary, Cambridge, 1971; 3 vols. description ends ).

7Not found, but on 20 Jan. 1793, CA wrote to JA, “I have but just now recovered from an attack of the epidemical fever which has for some time past raged in this City. It confined me somewhat more than a week to my chamber” (Adams Papers).

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