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Abigail Adams to Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody

Jan. 1797

my dear sister

What a Charming Letter have I received from my ever dear and valued Sister. how repleat with kindness Surely she openeth her mouth with wisdom and on her Tongue is the Law of kindness, not an avenue to the Heart which her pen cannot trace, not a chord which she cannot Strike. How soothing How comforting how encourageing are her words. Such my dear sister have I need of in the Arduous Station which the voice of my Country has designated to me. so far from feeling any Sensations of pride or affectation my mind is solmnized and impressed with the weight of the new duties devolved upon me in concequence of it. I can say with the Psalmist when addressing the Supreme Being

“Still has my Life new wonders seen

"Repeated every Year

"Behold my days which yet remain

"I trust them to thy care”

Dr Priestly in the Dedication of his volm of sermons to the V president very justly observes that Christian principles will best enable Men to devote their Time, their talents their lives and what is often a greater Sacrifice still, their Characters to the publick good. What principles [. . . .] can enable a man to consult the real good of his fellow citizens without being diverted from his generous purpose by a regard to their opinion concerning him like those of the Christian who can be satisfied with the approbation of his own mind, and who tho not insensible to due praise, can despise Calumny, and steaddly overlooking every thing which is intermediate, patiently wait for the day of retribution.

The Situation of our Government is in as critical a State as it respects our Foreign connections, particularly with France, as it has ever seen since its first commencment, our Government is insulted by their Minister, our commerce plunderd, Treaties broken. in Short with their Religion all moral obligations appears to have shared the same dissolution which confirms the observation just resited, that there are no principls like the Christian, to bind our eitheir Faith or practise of Nations or individuals.

The prayers of all good people will I hope be offerd up with equal Sincerity for the Success and prosperity of the Government under their new Head as for his predecessor, we are told in Scripture that for the Efectual Fervent prayer of the Righteous man availeth much. I hope the task difficult as it is will be discharged with that wisdom firmness integrity prudence and impartiality as shall continue to us the Blessings of Peace at home and abroad and respectability both at Home and abroad

The vice presidency falling to mr Jefferson will tend I hope to continue the union of the States and tho diffring Sentiments may exist between the two gentlemen, if both aim at the same end the good of their country, their difference will not create any animosity. mr Jefferson is a Gentleman of unterstanding and probity, mr Adams acted with him in publick affairs in perfect harmony whilst they were abroad, nor do I fear any unpleasent conduct from him at the Head of the Senate.

I do not propose going untill the fall of the year to Philadelphia. I hope mr publick buisness will not require the President to reside there through the Hot months.

I hope my dear Sister that you will soon get the better of your infirmities and enjoy a more confirmed State of Health in future. Cousin William was here last Sunday as he wrote you. he will not come again untill he goes to Cambridge. I have told him that I will convey him from hence. I will see that he has a good pr small Cloaths made. I will get the cloth for him and have them done here he wants Shoes, and said he expected you to send him a pr. I chargd him to get those he had on mended, as the Soles were quite worn—He has every disposition to do right, but we cannot expect the judgement of Age upon the Shoulders of Youth. experience must teach & by that time we have learnt to live, our days have past away. my respects to mr Peabody whom I esteem for his many amiable qualities and particularly for the value & right estimation he appears to have of the treasure he possesses

To my dear Cousins Love and affection. tell them must write to their affectionate Aunt / and your Sister 

Abigail Adams

RC (MHi: Adams Papers).
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