Adams Papers

Abigail Adams to John Adams, 17 April 1797

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Quincy April 17th 1797

My Dearest Friend

Tho I have not heard from you since I wrote you last, and have nothing new to say, unless it be a resital of my own perplexities, out of which I must get by myself. Yet a few lines will assure you that I am getting forward as fast as possible with my affairs, and prepairing to sit out on my journey. the weather has been as uncommonly cold and stormy for the week past, as it was Hot for two days the week before. we have a snowstorm, of some inches Depth, which has lain for three days. it has retarded our Buisness on the farm and chilld our exertions. the sudden changes have confind Your Mother and brought on one of her old Lung complaints the good old Lady is sure she shall dye now her Physician & Nurse is about to leave her, but She judges with me, that all ought to be forsaken for the Husband. it is an additional care and anxiety for me. I shall provide for her comfort every thing necessary before I leave her. Mary Smith is yet living. of how uncertain a duration are all our worldly possessions, and Earthly comforts? if we could not look for brighter scenes and fairer prospects, who could wish to remain the victims of pain and sorrow? mr otis has lost his son George with a dropsy in his Head.1

I have just been reading chief Justice Elsworths Charge to the Grand jury at New York!2 did the good gentleman never write before? can it be genuine? the language is stiffer than his person. I find it difficult to pick out his meaning in many sentences. I am sorry it was ever publishd— how I run on. the Federilist say there is but one blot in Your Character. the Chronical has undertaken to praise and the Jacobins to speak well.3 the snare will not hold action will soon break it— critical are the Times. may you get valiently through them.

yours for ever

A Adams—

RC (Adams Papers); addressed by Louisa Catharine Smith: “The President of the United / States / Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mrs A. Ap. 17. / ansd. 24. 1797.”

1George Otis (b. 1777), son of Samuel Allyne Otis and his first wife, Elizabeth Gray, died in Newburyport on 13 April, having been “seized with a violent and painful disorder, which he sustained with exemplary patience; and retaining his reason until the moment of dissolution” (The Manifesto Church: Records of the Church in Brattle Square, Boston, 1902, p. 190; Boston Columbian Centinel, 15 April).

2On 1 April Oliver Ellsworth addressed the federal grand jury of New York, charging its members: “PLACED as guardians of the laws, you have in trust the government itself.” The chief justice outlined some of the challenges to good government, all of which “a SPIRIT OF PARTY has not failed to cherish, to ripen, and to marshal,” thus allowing the government to become susceptible to “foreign influence” and demanding “vigilance and firmness in the execution of laws.” Ellsworth’s charge was published in the Boston Columbian Centinel, 15 April.

3The Boston Independent Chronicle, 13 April, offering late commentary on JA’s inaugural address, extolled the speech as having “flowed, spontaneously from a heart enlightned by the rays of right reason” and praised his long career in service to his country. Celebrating “another champion of freedom,” Thomas Jefferson, and calling “every lover of our America” to “flock to this standard,” the writer further urged the nation to strive to “be in peace with all the world” but to “not forget that great people who were our best friends in the time, of our trouble; let us set FRANCE on our right hand.”

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