Adams Papers

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 9 February 1797

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Phila. Feb. 9. 1797

My dearest Friend

The Die is cast, and you must prepare yourself for honourable Tryals.

I must wait to know whether Congress will do any Thing or not to furnish my House— if they do not I will have no House before next Fall. and then a very moderate one, with very moderate Furniture.

The Prisoners from Algiers arrived Yesterday in this City, in good health and looking very well. Captn. stevens is among them. one Women rushed into the Crowd & picked out her Husband, whom she had not Seen for 14 years.1 I am and ever shall / be yours and no others

J. A2

Mr Sullivan and young Johnson are to breakfast with me.

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A.”

1Isaac Stephens was captain of the Maria of Boston, the first American vessel taken by Algiers. His ship and crew of five were captured off Cape St. Vincent, Portugal, on 25 July 1785. In 1793 Algerian corsairs captured twelve other American vessels and seized over 100 Americans. The captives, both before and after the 1793 seizures, petitioned Congress for their release, but a successful attempt by the United States was not effected until 1795, when Joseph Donaldson Jr. was appointed as a deputy to Algiers. Donaldson arrived in Algiers on 3 Sept. and two days later signed a treaty with the Algerian dey Hassan Bashaw, who agreed to release the Americans in exchange for $180,000. The house of Bacry, a Jewish brokerage firm in Algiers, loaned the United States the funds necessary to redeem the American captives. On 12 July 1796 the men left Algiers, arriving on 20 July in Marseilles, where they were quarantined for eighty days due to a shipboard outbreak of the plague. On 12 Nov. they sailed for America, arriving on 7 Feb. 1797 at Marcus Hook, Penn., and in Philadelphia the following day (Gary E. Wilson, “American Hostages in Moslem Nations, 1784–1796: The Public Response,” Journal of the Early Republic, 2:126–130, 138–140 [Summer 1982]; Boston Gazette, 20 Feb.).

2On the same day AA wrote to JA enclosing JQA’s letter to her of 14 Nov. 1796, above, and summarizing a letter she received from TBA, which has not been found; she also noted the receipt of several letters from JA and commented on JA’s salary as president. JA wrote to AA on 11 Feb. telling her to bring all the female servants she desired to Philadelphia but cautioning her that as yet he had no furnishings for the presidential residence (both Adams Papers).

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