John Adams to Abigail Adams
Philadelphia Feb. 24. 1797
My dearest Friend
The Presbyterian Congregation have voted me the front Pew in their Church for my Family. It is an elegant new Building and the Pew is large1
I have bought me a Pair of Young Horses for a Carriage and a saddle horse.
The Birthday was affecting and the Night Splendid but tedious to those who were too old to dance.2
I have now Settled all My Accounts with the senate as you will see by the inclosed Papers.
I assure you it was a tender Scene at parting.3 How do you like our Adieus alias Farewells. Nothing yet determined about House or Furniture. Yours with a great desire to be with you, but it is impossible
RC (Adams Papers).
1. For the First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, see vol. 10:261. On 8 Feb. church secretary Dr. David Jackson wrote to JA offering him the use of pew no. 92 “for the accommodation of your self & family, should you be inclined to join in religious worship there” during his presidency. JA replied to Jackson the same day accepting the church’s offer (Adams Papers; LbC, APM Reel 117).
2. George Washington celebrated his 65th birthday in Philadelphia on 22 February. The day began with the ringing of bells and firing of cannon in the city, followed by congratulations from congressmen, the governor, and members of the Pennsylvania legislature, who paid their respects at the president’s house. In the evening a ball was held at Ricketts’ Amphitheatre, “which for Splendour, Taste and Elegance, was, perhaps, never excelled by any similar Entertainment in the United States” (Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 23 Feb.).
3. The enclosure has not been found but was likely a newspaper account of JA’s 15 Feb. address to the Senate in which he took his leave; see, for example, the Philadelphia Gazette, 17 February. JA used the address to praise Washington and express his gratitude for being chosen to succeed him and also to thank the members of the Senate “for the candor and favor invariably received from them all … within these walls, for a course of years, I have been an admiring witness of a succession of information, eloquence, patriotism, and independence” (U.S. Senate, Jour., description begins Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, Washington, D.C., 1789– . description ends 4th Cong., 2d sess., p. 324–326).