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Abigail Adams to Martha Dandridge Custis Washington

9 Feb. 1797

my dear Madam

your retirement from publick Life excite in my mind many sensations, some of them of a nature very different from those which I have ever before experienced.

The universal satisfaction, Love esteem and respect which you have ensurd from all Ranks of persons since you have been in publick Life and more particularly for these 8 years past when your situation has made you more universally know so that the Tongue of \Slander/ the pen of Calumny, nor the bitteness of envy have never once to my knowledge assailed any part of your conduct a pattern so exemplary a Character so irreproachable whilst it cannot fail to excite an Emulation in the Bosom of your Successor, must at the same time fill her mind with an anxious Solicitude least she should fall far short of so bright an exemplar her most amiable predecessor who to have seen you still sustaining your part in publick would have given much more pleasure to me my dear Madam than I can possibly receive from succeeding you it shall be as it has fallen to me, I will endeavour to follow your steps and by that means hope I shall not essentially fall short of my amiable exemplar \the discharge of my duties/ with this view I shall be obliged to you Madam to communicate to me those Rules which you prescribed & practised upon as it respected receiving & returning visits, both to Strangers and citizens as it respected invitations of a publick or private nature

Your experience and knowledge of persons and Characters must render your advise particularly acceptable to me who inquires not from motives of an Idle curiosity but from a desire to do right, and to give occasion of offence to no one, if you have any domesticks whose fidelity and attachment to you have merrited your particular confidence of your successor, I will thank you to Name them to me.

I cannot close this Letter without presenting my Thanks my gratefull acknowledgments to the president for the Honorable notice he has taken of my Family and particularly for the appointments with which he has honourd my Son and the Satisfaction which \he/ has repeatedly expresst of his publick conduct, whilst it gives to the maternal Heart the highest reward cannot fail as a Stimulous in exciting him to the utmost dilligence and fidelity towards his Country, [. . . . ] and respect and attachment to the president who has thus honourd him with his Confidence,

I join in the General the universal voice in beseaching Heaven to bestow its choicest Blessings upon you in your retirement, \to private Life/ and beg you Madam to ever honour me with your friendship and will hope for your Friendship and affection regard to your obliged Friend

A Adams

RC (MHi: Adams Papers).
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