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New York, 6 September, 1790. MY DEAR SIR, You ask in one of your letters to Mr. Adams, “What is become of Mrs. Adams, that I do not hear from her?" If my
heart had not done you more justice than my pen, I would disown it. ' I have so long omitted writing to you, that my conscience has been a very severe accuser of me. But, be assured, my dear Sir, that I never fail to talk of you with pleasure, and think of you with affection. I place the hours spent at the Hyde amongst some of the most pleasurable of my days, and I esteem your friendship as one of the most valuable acquisitions that I made in your country; a country that I should most sincerely rejoice to visit again, if I could do it without crossing the ocean.
I have sometimes been suspected of partiality, for the preference which I have given to England ; and, were I to live out of America, that country would have been
choice. I have a situation here, which, for natural beauty may vie with the most delicious spot I ever saw. It is a mile and a half distant from the city of New York. The house is situated upon an eminence ; at an agreeable distance flows the noble Hudson, bear
1 This letter has been printed in the Notes to the Memoirs of Thomas Brand-Hollis, Esq., by Dr. Disney, from which it is taken.
ing upon its bosom the fruitful productions of the adjacent country. On my right hand, are fields beautifully variegated with grass and grain, to a great extent, like the valley of Honiton in Devonshire. Upon my left, the city opens to view, intercepted, here and there, by a rising ground, and an ancient oak. In front, beyond the Hudson, the Jersey shores present the exuberance bf a rich, well-cultivated soil. The venerable oaks and broken ground, covered with wild shrubs, which surround me, give a natural beauty to the spot, which is truly enchanting. A lovely variety of birds serenade me morning and evening, rejoicing in their liberty and security; for I have, as much as possible, prohibited the grounds from invasion, and sometimes almost wished for game laws, when my orders have not been sufficiently regarded. The partridge, the woodcock, and the pigeon are too great temptations to the sportsmen to withstand. How greatly would it add to my happiness to welcome here my much esteemed friend. 'T is true, we have a large portion of the blue and gold, of which you used to remind me, when you thought me an Egyptian; but, however I might hanker after the good things of America, I have been sufficiently taught to value and esteem other countries besides my own.
You were pleased to inform us, that your adopted family' flourished in your soil ; mine has received an addition. Mrs. Smith, Mr. Adams's daughter, and the wife of Colonel W. Stephens Smith, respecting the name of the great literary benefactor of her native state, and in grateful remembrance of the friendly attention and patriotic character of its present possessor, has named his new-born son Thom. as Hollis.
1 His trees. The allusion is explained in a preceding letter,
She desires me to present you her affectionate remembrance. Mr. Adams is absent upon a journey, or he would have written you a letter of a later date than that which Mr. Knox is the bearer of. This gentleman is a brother of our Secretary of War, and is appointed consul to Dublin. He is intelligent, and can answer you any question respecting our government and politics, which you may wish to ask ; but, if he should not see you, I know it will give you pleasure to learn that our union is complete, by the accession of Rhode Island; that our government acquires strength, confidence, and stability daily ; that peace is in our borders, and plenty in our dwellings; and we earnestly pray, that the kindling flames of war, which appear to be bursting out in Europe, may by no means be extended to this rising nation. We enjoy freedom in as great a latitude as is consistent with our security and happiness. God grant that we may rightly estimate our blessings.
Pray remember me, in the most affectionate terms, to Dr. Price and to Mrs. Jebb; and be assured, my dear sir, that I am, with every sentiment of regard and esteem,
TO MRS. SMITH.
Philadelphia, 21 November, 1790. MY DEAR, I SUPPOSE you wish to hear from me and from your little boy. He is very well, and very amusing, as usual ; talks of William, and of the other papa; is as fond as ever of the “ fosses,” and has a great addition to his amusement and pleasures from a flock of sheep, which are daily pastured by a shepherd and his dog upon the lawn in front of our house. Bush Hill, as it is called, though by the way there remains neither bush nor shrub upon it, and very few trees, except the pine grove behind it, Hill is a very beautiful place. But the grand and sublime I left at Richmond Hill. The cultivation in sight and prospect are superior, but the Schuylkill is no more like the Hudson, than I to Hercules. The house is better finished within ; but, when you come to compare the conveniences for store-room, kitchen, closets, &c., there is nothing like it in the whole house. As chance governs many actions of my life, when we arrived in the city, we proceeded to the house. By accident, the vessel, with our furniture, had arrived the day before, and Briesler was taking in the first load into a 'house all green-painted, the workmen there with their brushes in hand. This was a cold comfort in a house, where I suppose no fire had been kindled for several years, except in a back kitchen ; but, as I expected many things of this kind, I was not disappointed nor discomfited. As no wood nor fodder had been provided beforehand, we could only turn about, and go to the City Tavern for the night.
The next morning was pleasant, and I ventured to come up and take possession; but what confusion! Boxes, barrels, chairs, tables, trunks, &c.; every thing to be arranged, and few hands to accomplish it, for Briesler was obliged to be at the vessel. The first object was to get fires ; the next to get up beds; but the cold, damp rooms, the new paint, &c., proved almost too much for me.
On Friday we arrived here, and late on Saturday evening we got our furniture in. On Sunday, Thomas was laid up with the rheumatism ; on Monday, I was obliged to give Louisa an emetic; on Tuesday, Mrs. Briesler was taken with her old pain in her stomach; and, to complete the whole, on Thursday, Polly was seized with a violent pleuritic fever. She has been twice bled, a blister upon her side, and has not been out of bed since, only as she is taken up to have her bed made. And every day, the stormy ones excepted, from eleven until three, the house is filled with ladies and gentlemen. As all this is no more nor worse than I expected, I bear it without repining, and feel thankful that I have weathered it out without a relapse, though some days I have not been able to sit up.
Mrs. Bingham has been twice to see me. I think