Adams Papers

Abigail Adams to William Smith, 15 April 1798

Abigail Adams to William Smith

sunday April 15 1798

Dear sir

I inclose a Letter to you for Mrs Black. as there is but one post a week for Quincy, it may probably lay in the office Some days, and it is of conquence that she should have it immediatly as it respects an orphan Baby which I have under my care here. you will be so kind if mr Black should not be in Town when you receive it to send it to mr Lambs with a request to them to send it to Quincy immediatly— Since I wrote you last nothing very material has taken place in the opposition Line, but the cementing of Hearts, and the Union of mind increases. a very handsome address manly & firm was presented by the Grand Jurors of this state to the President acknowledging the Wisdom of his Measures, their confidence in him and their determination to support the Government, not like the Cambridge support, by opposing, but by uniting with the different Branches of the National Government. on twesday a smiliar address from the Merchants will be presented. I do not know how our state can wipe off the stain, from themselves, but through the legislature when they meet. it was an object with the Jacobins here, to sit on foot an opposition in Massachusetts, that they might strengthen themselves here by saying as they already have done, that the state from whence the President originated, is foremost in opposing his measures, but they will change their Sentiments I presume, or they will stand nearly alone—

The fish came safe we have had a report that our Frigate sunk in the hale storm. it was not however credited.1 you may mention to Dr Welch, that young Wier will be made midshipman2 I have been this afternoon to hear dr morse, and have been highly Entertaind. he preach’d for dr Green— We have a number of Bostonians here at present.3

My kind Regards to Mrs smith, to dr & mrs Welch and to mr & mrs storer, Green and Aunt Edwarsds—and all the young folks in a Bunch. I wish I had them here to grace my Drawing Room. who could be so foolish as to make such a Pother about a few words between mr Giles & otis, neither of whom I believe wisht to measure swords. yet they must make a duel of it— Giles is in very bad Health—and will not come again tis said—4

we yesterday received Letters from mr Adams at Berlin and from Thomas, three days after they reachd Berlin & whilst they could get no better accommodation than a Paltry Inn, Mrs Adams was taken dangerously sick, and before She was able to rise from Bed, Thomas was Seizd with an inflamitory soar Throat & fever poor mr Adams was nearly out of his wits, in a strang Country, not a human Being whom he knew, and even the common language he could not speak. happily he says, he found a Good English Physician When he wrote, mrs Adams was recovering, and Thomas had got quite well. the New King had waved the ceremony of new Credentials and received him upon his old one, which was a stretch of civility not shewn to others, in consideration of the compliment made his Government by sending a minister, at which the King appeard to be much pleased5

adieu my dear sir / yours affectionatly


RC (MHi:Smith-Carter Family Papers); addressed by Louisa Catharine Smith: “William Smith Esqr / Boston”; endorsed: “Philaa. 15 April 1798 / A. Adams—”

1The Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser, 11 April, reprinted a report from the New York press that a storm on 3 April had sunk the frigate Constitution in Boston Harbor. The following day it further reported that Boston newspapers carried no similar accounts.

2Edward Wyer (ca. 1777–1839) of Boston was commissioned as a midshipman on 26 April and promoted to lieutenant on 18 May 1800. He resigned from the navy in 1805 and thereafter held several consular posts before serving as the Senate doorkeeper (The Papers of James Madison, Retirement Series, ed. David B. Mattern and others, Charlottesville, Va., 2009– , 1:380; United States Office of Naval Records and Library, Naval Documents Related to the Quasi-War between the United States and France, 7 vols., Washington, D.C., 1935–1938, 7:358).

3Rev. Jedidiah Morse (1761–1826), Yale 1783, served as the minister of the First Congregational Church of Charlestown from 1789 until 1819. During a visit to Philadelphia in mid-April 1798, he presumably stood in for the chaplain of Congress, Rev. Ashbel Green (vol. 9:340; ANB description begins John A. Garraty, Mark C. Carnes, and Paul Betz, eds., American National Biography, New York, 1999–2002; 24 vols. plus supplement; rev. edn., description ends ; Boston Independent Chronicle, 14–18 June).

4On 16 April William Branch Giles obtained a leave of absence for the remainder of the congressional session. He resigned his seat on 2 Oct. but would again be elected to the House in 1801 before serving in the Senate from 1804 to 1815 (U.S. House, Jour. description begins Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1789–. description ends , 5th Cong., 2d sess., p. 261; Biog. Dir. Cong. description begins Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–2005, Washington, D.C., 2005; rev. edn., description ends ).

5See JQA to AA, 28 Dec. 1797, above. For TBA’s letter of 22 Dec., see his letter to AA of 12 Feb. 1798, and note 4, above.

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