John and Abigail Adams’ reflections on an emerging nation as they move into the new President’s House in Washington, D.C., are a highlight of the nearly 280 letters written over seventeen months printed in volume 14 of Adams Family Correspondence. The volume opens with the Adamses’ public and private expressions on the death of George Washington and concludes with John’s defeat in the contentious presidential election of 1800. Electoral College maneuvering, charges of sedition, and state-by-state strategizing are debated by the Adamses and their correspondents as the election advances toward deadlock and finally victory for Thomas Jefferson in the House of Representatives. John’s retirement from public life had some sweet mixed with the bitter. The U.S. mission to France resulted in the Convention of 1800 that ended the Quasi-War and the so-called midnight appointments at the close of his presidency ushered in the transformative U.S. Supreme Court era of John Marshall, a coda anticipated in Abigail’s request to John in the final days of his administration“I want to see the list of judges.”
The domestic life of the Adamses was equally dynamic. Abigail and John endured the crushing loss of their son Charles, whose struggle with alcohol ended in repudiation and death in New York. Son Thomas Boylston and daughter Nabby spent the period in relative stability, while John Quincy chronicled a tour of Silesia in letters home from Europe. At the volume’s close, the correspondence between John and Abigail comes to an end. As they retired to Quincy, their rich observations on the formation of the American republic would continue in letters to others if not to each other.
About the Author
Hobson Woodward is Series Editor of the Adams Family Correspondence of the Adams Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Sara Martin is Editor in Chief of the Adams Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Christopher F. Minty is Assistant Editor for the Adams Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Amanda M. Norton (née Amanda A. Mathews) is Digital Production Editor for the Adams Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Neal E. Millikan is Digital Projects Editor for the Adams Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Gwen Fries is Assistant Production Editor for the Adams Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Sara Georgini is Series Editor of the Papers of John Adams of the Adams Papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Table of Contents
Descriptive List of Illustrations ix
1 From the Presidency to Peacefield xix
2 "With what a weight of Sorrow is my bosom opprest" xxiv
3 New Directions for a New Generation xxvi
4 Notes on Editorial Method xxix
5 Related Digital Resources xxix
Guide to Editorial Apparatus xxxv
1 Textual Devices xxxv
2 Adams Family Code Names xxxv
3 Descriptive Symbols xxxvi
4 Location Symbols xxxvii
5 Other Abbreviations and Conventional Terms xxxviii
6 Short Titles of Works Frequently Cited xxxviii
Family Correspondence, October 1799 - February 1801 1
Appendix: List of Omitted Documents 581