Adams Papers

Abigail Adams to Jeremy Belknap, 5 June 1798

Abigail Adams to Jeremy Belknap

Philadelphia June 5th 1798


The President received yesterday your obliging favour of May 29th: accompanied by two of your Fast Sermons.1 permit me sir to be the organ of his acknowledgment to you for them; A Friend had Sent him one a week before; which he read with pleasure and Satisfaction. It is indeed, a consolatary reflection amidst the weight of cares which press upon him from every quarter and the dangers which threaten our Country,2 that in the Hand of Providence he may be renderd instrumental of

“Vindicating the Ways of God to Man”3

I had permission a week ago to transmit to you an extract of a Letter from my Son J Q A. Since which, the President has received from our youngest Son; the Letter which by his leave, I inclose, to you—

The intelligence which it contains may be usefull to the publick. it is thought best that it should be publishd in a Boston paper, rather than in one at this place for Reasons which your own mind will sujest. You will if you think proper, begin the extract, with, “our intelligence from Home” substituting, America, for Home, and Friend, for Mother, the extract to go no further, than the passage which closes, “Should it be disposed to pardon my Herisies”4

You will be so good as to return the Letter to the President when you have done with it.

The subscription paper You will give me leave to retain to an other opportunity, and inclose me a few more.5 I shall take pleasure in aiding the prosecution of a Work which will undoubtedly be renderd valuable, and usefull to the World, particuliarly so to our Country.

With my Respects to Mrs Belknap / I subscribe myself, Your / obliged Friend and Humble / servant

A Adams

RC (MHi:Jeremy Belknap Papers); endorsed: “Mrs Abigail Adams / June 5 1798.” Dft (Adams Papers).

1In the Dft, dated 3 June, AA noted that Belknap’s letter was received “this day” rather than 4 June as stated here. For Belknap’s 29 May letter to JA, see Belknap to AA, 30 May, and note 1, above.

2In the Dft, AA wrote and then canceled here: “that he can look with confidence to the Great Ruler of Kingdoms & Nations, conscious that Truth and justice has been dealt out to those who array themselves against us as Enemies, and Seek our destruction, and.”

3Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man, Epistle 1, line 16.

4For AA’s request that Belknap have an extract printed of JQA’s 17 Feb. letter to JA, see Belknap to AA, 30 May, and note 5, above. For the publication of the extract of TBA’s 4 March letter to JA, see Belknap to AA, 14 June, and note 1, below.

5Belknap sought subscribers for the second volume of his American Biography; or, An Historical Account of Those Persons Who Have Been Distinguished in America, Boston, 1798, Evans, description begins Charles Evans and others, American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of All Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America [1639–1800], Chicago and Worcester, Mass., 1903–1959; 14 vols.; rev. edn., description ends Nos. 26637, 33393. Belknap intended the work to be a multivolume collection of essays on the “Adventurers, Statesmen, Philosophers, Divines, Warriors, Authors” and others who influenced American history. The first volume, published in 1794, covered Europe’s early exploration of the Americas and relations with the native populations. This second volume focused on the North American settlements of the seventeenth century, in particular those of Virginia and Massachusetts, while a planned third volume was to cover important New England individuals (Washington, Papers, Retirement Series description begins The Papers of George Washington: Retirement Series, ed. W. W. Abbot, Edward G. Lengel, and others, Charlottesville, Va., 1997–1999; 4 vols. description ends , 2:302–305, 400; Kirsch, Jeremy Belknap description begins George B. Kirsch, Jeremy Belknap, New York, 1982. description ends , p. 130–133).

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