Abigail Adams to John Adams
Quincy April [May] 11 1794
my Dearest Friend
This day has been our May meeting and without clubs or even Drunkeness, tho we have little purity to boast of in that respect, our Election has been calmly carried, & your Brother chosen.1 it seems the Name is in high estimation, as the Prophet Samll. find himself not only first but second, being Elected by the people both Govenour & Liut Govenour which I believe is the first instance of the kind in this State. the Land I wrote you about was this day sold for more than a hundred pounds as your Brother informs me, and concequently I was out bidden. Dr Phips purchased it, as your Brother Supposes with an intention of Building upon it. the Town have agreed to sell the front seats in the Meeting House for pews—and your Brother has told them that they shall have that in which we sit, for the use of the Aged, at what it will fetch and he means to purchase for you one of the others. I tell him I chuse that upon the right hand. I suppose they will be high, as that of old captain Beals was sold a few weeks ago at 40 pounds— Captain Beal will purchase one of them I presume—2
Dr Bracket of this Town lies dead. he was getting into practise & was much esteemed.3 mr Howard who mareid your Aunt Dyed last Saturday.4 Your Mother I think is better than she was a week ago. we are extreemly dry here, quite as much so as the last spring. we have but little News. if as tis reported Robertspear is absconded from Paris—some important change will take place in their affairs. he may however have a hydra Head5 I see by the N york papers that the Gullotine has been advertized to be seen there.6 I think it should be as “advertized in England, Here is to be seen the Goulotine of the French—and the Wild Beasts”
I begin to expect your return, and one week of expectation will appear longer than a Month when I know you fixt. I am Sorry that the dry weather will give to my labours so unfavourable an appearence
present me kindly to all inquiring Friends and, as ever I am wholy / Yours
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by JQA: “The Vice-President of the United States / Philadelphia.”; endorsed: “Mrs A. April. 11 / 1794.” Filmed at 11 April 1794.
1. Peter Boylston Adams was elected to represent Quincy for the 1794–1795 term in the Mass. General Court (Mass., Acts and Laws, description begins Acts and Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts [1780–1805], Boston, 1890–1898; 13 vols. description ends 1794–1795, p. 145).
3. Dr. Ebenezer Brackett (1773–1794), Dartmouth 1791, was the son of the tavern keeper James Brackett (Sprague, Braintree Families description begins Waldo Chamberlain Sprague, comp., Genealogies of the Families of Braintree, Mass., 1640–1850, Boston, 1983; repr. CD-ROM, Boston, 2001. description ends ).
4. Lt. Joshua Hayward (or Howard, 1699–1794) of Randolph had married JA’s aunt Bethia Adams Hunt Bicknell in 1777. He died on 10 May (same).
5. Both the Massachusetts Mercury, 9 May, and the Boston Columbian Centinel, 10 May, reported on Maximilien Robespierre’s alleged flight from Paris. There was no truth to the rumor. He remained in Paris and in control of the Convention and the Committee of Public Safety until his overthrow and execution on 27–28 July (Bosher, French Rev., description begins J. F. Bosher, The French Revolution, New York, 1988. description ends p. lv, 200–202).
6. The museum and waxwork of New York, located at the Exchange on Broadway and largely supported by the Tammany Society, advertised in March “that from the late & many applications to see the Guillotine, there is a separate appartment provided in the building, and a compleat Guillotine is erected, and a wax figure which perfectly represents a man beheaded.” The guillotine was available for viewing three days a week, and for the squeamish, the museum keeper noted that “it may be seen with the beheaded figure or by itself—when the machine is seen alone, nothing appears horrible” (New-York Directory, description begins New-York Directory [title varies], issued annually with varying imprints. description ends 1795, 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. 28598; New York American Minerva, 22 March).