Abigail Adams to John Adams
Quincy decbr 28 1793.
my dearest Friend
The weather is so extreemly cold that my Ink almost freezes whilst I write, yet I would not let a week pass without writing to you tho I have few occurrences to entertain you with; I received last saturday your two Letters one of the 12 and one of the 13th december;1 I have not yet had a Philadelphia paper. when the pamphlets are out containing the correspondence between the ministers I hope you will send me one. in Edds paper of the last week appeard a low abusive peice against the British minister for the conduct of his court towards America but it was really too low for notice.2 the Chronical exults, without reason however at Dallas’es Reportt, it has become as much of a party paper as Freaneus.3 there is a great & general Allarm arising from the depredations which it is reported & feard the Algerians have made upon American vessels. All imported articles particuliarly west India produce has risen in concequence of it; congress will indeed have their Hands full of Buisness—and will have no time I hope, and very little disposition to quarrel. I am solisitious to know what Genets conduct will be at Philadelphia. I presume he does not shew his Head at the Levee nor will he venture a visit to you in his publick Character; I think he is much like Cain after he had murderd Abel. Columbus closed last Saturday. I hope you have seen all the Numbers we have had in the course of the last week a very suden Death dr Rhoads was taken sick with a nervious fever and dyed the 3 day leaving a most distrest family 5 children 2 of them quite Babies, and mrs Rhoads hourly expecting to get to Bed, and in want of every necessary of Life. I never was witness to a more distresst Scene. I attended the funeral, and found her in fits, the children and people in the Room all terifye’d not knowing what to do with, or for her. dr Phips had run home for some medicine; and every person seem’d to be thrown into the utmost distress. the dr was a kind Husband and an innofensive man dejected & disspirited tis Said by his prospect, her situation is pityable indeed. she has since got to bed and happily I may say lost her Baby which no doubt sufferd from her distress of Body and mind4
our Friends here are all well. I do not learn that any persons have been endangerd by going into the city of Philadelphia, so that my fears and apprehensions are much quieted. this very cold weather if it reaches you will tend to preserve the Health of the inhabitants, but I fear it will pinch you severely. it gives me the Rhumatism
I am with every sentiment of affection and Regard most tenderly your
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by JQA: “The Vice-President of the United States / Philadelphia.” endorsed: “Mrs Adams 28. Decr / 1793 / ansd. 6 Jan. 1794.”
1. JA wrote a brief letter to AA on 13 Dec., acknowledging hers of 28 Nov., above. He mentioned attending church services on the day of thanksgiving and also noted Edmond Genet’s arrival in Philadelphia (Adams Papers).
2. The Boston Gazette, 23 Dec., contained a piece signed “A Merchant” attacking George Hammond, “one of the diplomatic Agents of our late detestable Tyrant,” for declaring the British intent to seize U.S. provisions being shipped to France. “The Ignorance of this person becomes as conspicuous as his Impudence is insupportable,” the article continues. “The Principles of the War against the French are well known to be precisely the same with those which instigated the late cruel and unprovoked attack upon the Liberty and Independence of this Country.” The piece also excoriates the British government for its part in the Indian wars and “their late manœuvres in ALGIERS.”
3. Alexander James Dallas published a report in the Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 9 Dec., outlining his version of events related to Genet’s ongoing battle with John Jay and Rufus King over the French minister’s alleged “appeal to the people.” Dallas’ report, while describing Genet as “intemperate” and accusing him of issuing “angry epithets,” nevertheless stated unequivocally that the expression that Genet would “appeal from the President to the People” was in Dallas’ words, not Genet’s. The Boston Independent Chronicle, 19 Dec., reprinted Dallas’ statement. In the same issue, the newspaper also published an editorial celebrating Dallas’ “strict probity” and decrying, “it is evident that every unfair measure has been taken to injure Mr. Genet, in the opinion of the people—to destroy his reputation, and to throw him into a ‘dilemma’ in the execution of his office.”
4. Dr. Joseph Wanton Rhodes (or Rhoades) (b. ca. 1752) died on 19 December. He had been married to Catherine Greenleaf (b. 1760) since 1780 (Boston Independent Chronicle, 30 Dec. 1793; Boston, 30th Report description begins City of Boston, Record Commissioners, Reports, Boston, 1876–1909; 39 vols. description ends , p. 447; Greenleaf, Greenleaf Family description begins James Edward Greenleaf, comp., Genealogy of the Greenleaf Family, Boston, 1896. description ends , p. 196).