John Adams to Abigail Adams
Phila. May 10. 1794
My dearest Friend
We go on as Usual—Congress resolving one Thing and the Democratical societies resolving the Contrary.— The President doing what is right and Clubbs and Mobs resolving it to be all wrong.
We had in senate a few Days ago the greatest Curiosity of all. The Senators from Virginia moved, in Consequence of an Instruction from their Constituents, that the Execution of the 4th. Article of the Treaty of Peace relative to bona fide Debts, should be suspended, untill Britain should fulfill the 7th. Article.— When the Question was put 14 voted against it, two only the Virginia Delegates for it, and all the rest but one ran out of the Room to avoid voting at all and that one excused himself.— This is, the first Instance of the kind.1
The Motion disclosed the real Object of all the wild Projects and mad Motions which have been made, during the whole session. Oh Liberty! Oh my Country! Oh Debt and Oh Sin! These Debtors are the Persons who are continually declaming against the Corruption of Congress. Impudence! thy front is brass.
The House is upon Ways and Means, which will take Us the rest of the Month I fear.2 yours as ever
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A.”
1. Art. 7 of the Definitive Peace Treaty between the United States and Great Britain required the British to “withdraw all his Armies, Garrisons and Fleets from the said United States, and from every Port, Place and Harbour within the same.” The 6 May vote on the bill to suspend Art. 4 of the treaty, proposed by James Monroe and John Taylor of Virginia, was fourteen to two against with thirteen abstentions (JA, Papers description begins Papers of John Adams, ed. Robert J. Taylor, Gregg L. Lint, and others, Cambridge, 1977– . description ends , 15:249; Annals of Congress, description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States [1789–1824], Washington, D.C., 1834–1856; 42 vols. description ends 3d Cong., 1st sess., p. 94; Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989, Washington, D.C., 1989. description ends ).
2. The House of Representatives debated various bills related to ways and means between 1 and 10 May, then resumed discussion of the same topic from 16 to 19 May. The Senate began its own debates on 19 May. Both houses continued their discussions with a number of bills passing back and forth between the two houses until they finally reached agreement on a series of appropriations between 5 and 9 June that set duties on liquor, tea, snuff, sugar, and numerous other items (Annals of Congress, description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States [1789–1824], Washington, D.C., 1834–1856; 42 vols. description ends 3d Cong., 1st sess., p. 101–132 passim, 616–779 passim, 1455–1461, 1464–1471, 1472–1473, 1478–1482).