John Adams to Abigail Adams
Phil. June 14. 1795
My dearest Friend
It is painfull to feel an Impulse to write when there is nothing to Say. I write merely to let you know that I am alive and not Sick.— The Weather has been cold for several days which is more tolerable at least to me, than the heat which We Suffered for a day or two the Beginning of the Week past.
The new French Minister is arrived. Whether he has any Budget to disclose has not yet appeared.
Mr Jay is in fine Spirits and his health improves. I should Suppose he will remain here till the Fate of his Treaty is determined, which We hope, with some doubts however, will happen before the End of this Week. 29 Senators attended Yesterday and the 30th is expected tomorrow. We shall meet for the future at an earlier hour in the Morning. The Deliberations have been temperate, grave, decent, and wise, hitherto and the Results judicious.1
I have recd but one Letter from you— I am anxious to hear further from Johnny Smith: whether he is better or not.2
My Absence from home at this season would be less distressing or rather less insipid, if my Presence here was more necessary, or indeed of any Utility: but to the Mortification of Seperation from my family and affairs at a time when they would be most agreable to me, is added the Consciousness that I can do no good to others any more than to myself. I have no Voice, and although the fate of the Treaty will not be justly imputable to me in any degree, yet there is reason to expect that many will suspect me, and other charge me, with a greater share of it that would belong to me if I had a Voice. All these Things terrify me little.—
A Mr Millar, a son of a Professor Millar of Glasgow known by his “Historical View of the English Government” last night brought me a Letter of Introduction & Recommendation from Dr Kippis who desires his “Sincere Respects to every Part of my Family” “In the Midst of the Desolations of Europe, he rejoices in the Prosperity of America and in the Wisdom and Moderation of its two chief Governors”—so much for Compliment.3
Moderation however is approved only by the Moderate who are commonly but a few. The many commonly delight in something more piquant and lively.
I am, with desires rather immoderate / to be going home with you, yours forever
Monday 15th June 1795
Yesterday I dined at Mr Bingham’s with a large Company— While at Table a servant came to me with a Message from Mr Law who desired to speak with me in the Antechamber— I went out to him and found that he wanted to enquire of me concerning a young Lady of amiable manners and elegant Education whom Mr Law and Mr Greenleaf had found in Maryland in great distress and a little disarranged and brought with them to Philadelphia. she is connected with the Families of Col Orne and Col Lee of Marblehead. I knew nothing of her—4 Governor Bradford Says she has been Some Weeks in Rhode Island.5 I Sent Mr Law to Mr Cabot.
Mr Brown came in Yesterday— He keeps with all the Horses at The Rising sun, between the 4th & 5th mile Stone in the Country, at Mr John Doves—6 His Horses are in fine order.— But I shall not be in a Condition to Use them this Week I fear.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “June 14 1795.” The postscript was filmed separately at 15 June 1795.
1. By the minimum two-thirds margin of twenty to ten, the Senate voted to consent to the ratification of all but one article of the Jay Treaty on 24 June. The Senate adjourned two days later. The section of the treaty deemed too detrimental to American interests was Art. 12, which opened the West Indies to American trade vessels of seventy tons burden or less but restricted the reexportation of cotton and other important trade goods (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., special sess., p. 859, 862–863, 868; Stanley Elkins and Eric McKitrick, The Age of Federalism, N.Y., 1993, p. 409, 412–413).
3. John Craig Millar (1760–1796) was the son of John Millar (1735–1801), a respected law professor at the University of Glasgow and author of An Historical View of the English Government: From the Settlement of the Saxons in Britain to the Accession of the House of Stewart, London, 1787. Also a lawyer, the younger Millar immigrated to the United States in 1795, where he secured work as a clerk in the state department before his sudden death in 1796 (DNB description begins Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds., The Dictionary of National Biography, New York and London, 1885–1901; repr. Oxford, 1959–1960; 21 vols. plus supplements. description ends ; Jefferson, Papers, description begins The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, Princeton, 1950– . description ends 28:407).
Millar’s letter of introduction from Andrew Kippis was dated 10 March 1795 (Adams Papers). JA’s response, apparently of 14 June, has not been found.
4. The young lady could be a number of women among the interrelated families of Col. Azor Orne and Col. William R. Lee, who had both served in the Revolutionary War and were successful merchants in Marblehead (JA, Papers description begins Papers of John Adams, ed. Robert J. Taylor, Gregg L. Lint, and others, Cambridge, 1977– . description ends , 3:48; Thomas Amory Lee, Colonel William Raymond Lee of the Revolution, Salem, 1917, p. 7–8, 19).
5. William Bradford (1729–1808), who had been a doctor before becoming a lawyer and politician, served as Rhode Island’s deputy governor between 1775 and 1778. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1793 and served until 1797 (Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989, Washington, D.C., 1989. description ends ).
6. John Dover (1754–1821), who rose to the rank of colonel in the Philadelphia militia during the Revolution, had been the proprietor of the Rising Sun Tavern, approximately four miles outside the city at the junction of the Old York and Germantown Roads. By 1795 Dover had relocated to nearby Frankford (W. A. Newman Dorland and others, “The Second Troop Philadelphia City Cavalry,” PMHB, description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. description ends 45:285–286 ; 52:380 ; Philadelphia Gazette, 20 March 1795).