Adams Papers

From Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody to William Smith Shaw, 27 December 1800

Atkinson Dec 27th. 1800.

My Dear Son

The Dye is cast! Jefferson is announced the President. But I hope it will not have so dissagreeable effect upon you, as upon William Smith; for it made him quite sick. Yesterday Mr Jabez Kimbal brought us the news, just as we were going to dine, & William could not eat one morsel; but he was unwilling to own that to be the cause. I confess I could scarcely swallow mine; It rubbed very hard.—John groaned out, “now Grand-Papa will not be able to carry us through Colledge I am affraid.” I comforted John as well as I could; & William I exhorted to be very economick, & not burn his Boots, & to retrench every unnecessary expence, & to remember that much may be accumalated in this way, & that Time, was money, that would yield us ample interest, if wisely improved—

Their Sorrow was personal; but mine my Son, was for both myself, & my Country. As we are now prosperous & happy under the present administration our Navy respectable, our Commerce extended, Ships arriving at every Port, laden with the riches of the East, & the West, the North, & the South; while our Liberties civil, & religious are enjoyed, how ungrateful, & corrupt must be the People, who can wish for a change! And it is not difficult to predict what will be consequent upon an exchange of Men, & Measures. My reliance however, is upon that Being, who can bring good out of Evil, & “restrain the wrath of Man.” I will therefore not dispond, but trust that the Father, & the Patriot will stand unmoved by calumny, unsubdued my [by] malice, unconquered by the arts of insidious Friends, that his Bow will abide in strength, & his integrity preserve him, supported by the mighty God of Jacob. Though while he passes from the Scenes of active life, he may look back with a tear of parental Solicitude, upon the glorious Temple of Liberty, which wisdom has erected, lest its Alter should be prophaned, & rent assunder by unhallowed hands.

You my dear Son, must feel particularly interested in this Event, & with me, anticipate with regret, the time when you must leave the best of friends, & Benfactors—Though bereaved at a most critical time of your earthly Parent; you have shared largely in the beneficence of that Being, who is a Father to the Orphan, and clothes the Lilly of the Field—And ever since you have quitted your Collegiate Life, you have been in a situation to increase in knowledge; happy in being surrounded by an assemblage of virtues, by which to raise your mind, form your morals, and improve your manners. And it affords me the most heartfelt pleasure, that I have reason to think you have not mispent this precious Season. But neither you, nor I can wholly divest ourselves of anxiety, respecting the course of life you must soon enter upon. I hope your will form your measures with prudence; let them be the result of advice, & of premeditation. Then in whatever situation you may be, or profession you may preffer, may you study to act your part with fidelity, as One who is responsible, & must render an account.—

It seems almost an age since I have heard from you. Do write soon, & give me some account of your situation—How do you like the people you see? How, and in what do southern manners differ from ours? Our friend Abner Rogers was very politely & kindly treated by the Virginians, though in consequence of a misunderstanding he was obliged to return, & has taken the school at Medford—Robert has been unwell, he kills himself by hard study—He has taken a school at Newtown—My ancle is some better, & we are all in good health, excepting Mr Brown & he is recovering as fast as we can expect.

Mr Peabody, Miss Palmer, your dear Sister, & Lydia send love—

That we may meet again, my dear Son, & rejoice in the preservation of our best Friends, prays your / Affectionate Mother

Elizabeth Peabody

DLC: Shaw Family Papers.

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