George Cabot to Abigail Adams
Philadelphia 17th Janry 1794
The ice in the Delaware having delayed the post beyond it’s usual period I had not the honor to receive your esteemed letter of the 8th until this moment, but my respect for the writer constrains me to acknowledge it’s arrival before I can be prepared to give an answer to its contents.
in a free country it is so important that the people shou’d entertain just sentiments respecting their public affairs, that I feel myself much more indebted to those who contribute by their labors to rectify public opinion than I do to those who immediately share the administration of the Government, and upon this principle I have expressed very freely my obligation to Columbus.—
as I beleived that the peices under that signature woud be useful I have made it a practice to circulate among my friends the Newspapers which contained them, & thus it happens that at the moment I wish to review them they are not at my command.— I have hopes however that the Vicepresident has them, & with this expectation I have engaged Mr. Otis to procure them.— when this is done I shall reexamine them for the purpose you have suggested & shall shew you by my frankness & sincerity that I am ambitious of retaining the confidence you have so generously bestowed.—1
it was natural enough that Mrs. Cabot shoud be a little alarmed at seeing me read, with a pleasure which I coud not disguise, a letter from a Lady with a feigned signature & without the date of place—but as she discoverd that you expressed all your affection for her & only respect for me, her agitations subsided & she desired me to send back an unfeigned assurance of both2—in which I might join / with every consideration
RC (Adams Papers).
1. On 30 Jan. Cabot again wrote to AA suggesting that the public’s interest in the subject of Edmond Genet had waned and that “therefore the Essays of Columbus would be productive of infinitely less benefit than might be expected from their great merit at another period.— I am one of many very many individuals who feel deeply indebted for those enlightened performances & who hope that the same pen will continue to labor for the service & safety of our Country” (Adams Papers).
2. Cabot had married Betsey Higginson (1756–1826) in 1774 (Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, description begins John Langdon Sibley, Clifford K. Shipton, Conrad Edick Wright, Edward W. Hanson, and others, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge and Boston, 1873– . description ends 17:345, 367).