Adams Papers

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 14 January 1797

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Philadelphia Jan. 14. 1797

My Dearest Friend

Mr Beale called upon me, a few Days ago and left your Letter of Decr. 23d.— Last Evening I presented him to the P. and Mrs W. together with Mr Howard, a son of Dr Howard of Boston.1

You Say Mr H. is very full of his Praises of Mr Monroe— So is Dr Edwards— He Says Mr Monroes Correspondence will do him infinite Honour when it comes to be published—and all that—

Monroes House has been a School for Scandal against his Country its Government and Governors—Mr Jay and his Treaty &c— Edwards Says, as Dr Rush told me that Washingtons Character was in total Contempt in France— This I shall not believe till I have better Evidence than that of any or all these great Personages. nay, than all the Directory Ancients and five hundred.

Mr Madison is to retire—2 It Seems, the Mode of becoming great is to retire— Madison I Suppose after a Retirement of a few Years is to be President or V. P.— Mr Cabot I suppose, after Aggrandizing his Character in the shade, a few Years is to be some great Thing too— and Mr Ames—&c &c &c It is marvellous how political Plants grow in the shade.— continual Day light & sun shine, Show our Faults and record them. Our Persons Voices, Cloaths, Gate, Air, Sentiments, &c all become familiar to every Eye and Ear & Understanding and they diminish in Proportion, upon the same Principle that no Man is an Hero to his Wife or Valet de Chamber.

These Gentlemen are certainly in the right to run away and hide— tell Mr Cabot so, if you see him— His Countrymen will soon believe him to be a Giant in a Cave and will go in a Body and dig him out.— I wish, but dont tell Cabot so, that they would dig up Gerry—

I have bespoke a Chariot and am treating for Horses—

We read of a Vessell from Rotterdam arrived at salem or its Neighbourhood, by which I hope there may be Letters from our Young friends—as late as the middle of Novr3 My Anxiety for Letters from them increases every day. They have more accurate Views, and Intelligence, than any others.— and what is of more importance Still, more Application & Industry.

The Weather has moderated a little. I am, / with anxious desires to see you, which I fear / cannot be gratified before July, yours forever

J. A

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A”; endorsed: “Janry 14 1797.”

1John Clarke Howard (1772–1810), son of Rev. Simeon Howard, graduated from Harvard in 1790 and became a physician in Boston (Heman Howard, The Howard Genealogy: Descendants of John Howard of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, from 1643 to 1903, Brockton, Mass., 1903, p. 84).

2James Madison’s retirement from the House of Representatives was announced on 9 Dec. 1796, although he continued to serve until the adjournment of Congress on 3 March 1797 (Madison, Papers, Congressional Series, description begins The Papers of James Madison: Congressional Series, ed. William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, and Robert Allen Rutland, Chicago and Charlottesville, Va., 1962–1991; 17 vols. description ends 16:xxviii).

3The schooner Phenix, Capt. Samuel Gale, sailed from Rotterdam on 14 Nov. 1796 and arrived in Marblehead, Mass., after a voyage of 51 days. The Philadelphia Gazette of the United States published news of the vessel’s arrival on 13 Jan. 1797 (Massachusetts Mercury, 6 Jan.; Salem Gazette, 6 Jan.; Boston and Charlestown Ship Registers, description begins Ship Registers and Enrollments of Boston and Charlestown, Boston, 1942. description ends p. 154).

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