Charles Adams to Abigail Adams
New York Sepr 22 1794
My dear Mother
My books arrived in good order and well conditioned the day after I last wrote to my father.1 By some mistake the 28th volume of The Dictionaire Diplomatique was left behind.2 Though I have not seen an account of the departure of my brothers I suppose from my father’s last letter that e’er this they must have sailed One half of your children are called away from you and though seas do not divide you from the others yet necessity obliges them to be absent but wherever they are I trust they never can forget the maternal tenderness you have ever exercised toward them. You have indeed been a mother to us and such a one as we never can too highly value. My sister wishes you to pass the winter with her but I fear you will not again venture from home. Mrs Fitch has been very civil to me they appear to have a great affection for our family She says one of the principal inducements that Mr Fitch has for coming to settle in America is the friendship he has for my father3 The opinions of people here are very various respecting the success of Mr Jay’s mission. We have accounts that Genl Wayne has taken several British subjects in a late engagement with the Indians and hung them upon the trees4 I do not vouch for the truth of this but the conduct of the officers of the British Government towards this Country bear not a very favorable aspect. The antifederalists here predict that the whole power of the United S[tates] cannot quell the insurrection in Penn[sylvania] that open hostilities must be commenced there is no doubt for the indignities offered to the Commissioners cannot be overlooked The volunteers from N Jersey and Pennsylvania are very numerous In the former State they would not agree to the regular draft but insisted upon drafting for those who should not go. There has been as yet no requisition from this State if there should be one I shall take my musket and march in the ranks as I have been drafted as one of the minute men: this will not be altogether so convenient for me.5
On the fourteenth of October I shall set out for Albany The earnest solicitations of the Baron have drawn a promise from me to spend a few days with him at his solitude after I have passed my Counsellors examination. I have always lamented that you have so little acquaintance with this excellent man I never have know a more noble character and his affection for me calls forth every sentiment of gratitude which can exist in my breast. I hope you will write to me frequently I feel as if every day some friend and I have not many was taken from me to those who remain I am more strongly attached but the affection to my Mother can never suffer any alteration I shall ever remain as heretofore I ever have been yours with the sentiments of the purest filial tenderness
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: Mrs Abigail Adams. / Quincy”; endorsed: “C Adams / 22 Sepbr / 1794.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. Not found.
2. Jean Baptiste Robinet, Dictionnaire universel des sciences morale, économique, politique et diplomatique, 30 vols., London, 1777–1783.
3. For Eliphalet Fitch of Jamaica, see vol. 5:173.
4. George Washington had appointed Gen. Anthony Wayne commander-in-chief of the U.S. Army in the wake of Gen. Arthur St. Clair’s defeat at Fort Recovery, Ohio, in Nov. 1791. Wayne rebuilt the army and successfully defeated a coalition of Native Americans at the Battle of Fallen Timbers on 20 Aug. 1794. Following the battle, Wayne also approached the British-held Fort Miami but refrained from attacking it, instead burning the crops and leveling the ground around it (DAB; description begins Allen Johnson, Dumas Malone, and others, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936; repr. New York, 1955–1980; 10 vols. plus index and supplements. description ends Harry Emerson Wildes, Anthony Wayne: Trouble Shooter of the American Revolution, N.Y., 1941, p. 343, 349, 422–425).
A report in Philadelphia, based on an undated letter from New York, suggested that in the wake of the battle, “several British subjects (said to be Canadians) were left wounded among the Indians, and my information states that Wayne hung two of them” (Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 22 Sept.).
For more on Wayne, see Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 7, above.
5. The army raised to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion comprised citizens from Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. New York State did not enact a draft. Under the federal law establishing a uniform militia, enacted on 8 May 1792, “each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of the age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years” could be enrolled in the militia (Slaughter, Whiskey Rebellion, description begins Thomas P. Slaughter, The Whiskey Rebellion: Frontier Epilogue to the American Revolution, New York, 1986. description ends p. 212; 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 2d Cong., 1st sess., p. 1392–1395).