The Story Of Abigail Adams Essay Research
The Story Of Abigail Adams Essay, Research Paper
My name is Abigail Smith Adams. I am the wife of the second president of the United States and I am also the mother of the sixth president. I was born on November, 1744. I lived on a farm at Weymouth. I was often sick when I was young, and for medicine I was given broths in which there was boiled snails, or worms. I have a older sister, Mary, and a younger sister, Elizabeth, and a brother. My sisters were taught at the local schoolhouse and my brother had tutors who came to the house. I had to stay home and outside the closed doors while my brother was tutored. Back then girls were taught as little as possible. It was the rule. But being sick all the time got me closer to my father, Parson Smith, the preacher. He taught me how to read, make a quill pen, and ink for writing. Also, he taught me to know my mind and stick with the decisions I make. Sometimes I would help my mother make candles, learn to make bread and soap, and milk cows.
When young people stop by, we would write to each other, using pen names from the classic books or from mythology. I signed my name Diana. In my teens, I met a lawyer named John Adams. After that I signed Portia, after the bold young woman in The Merchant of Venice. One day when I was writing, my mom came into my room. She asked me what I was doing and I told her that I was writing a letter to John Adams. I showed her the love letter that he wrote me, and my mom was very upset. My mom knew who John Adams was and did not like me being in love with a farmer s son. They didn t just farm for family use, but they made a living out of it. John was kind, tender, and could quote Shakespeare to me. He had received a college education from Harvard. When I was 20 and John was 29, my mom finally agreed to let the marriage take place. Then there was an outbreak of small pox in Boston. When John had to go to Boston for cases, the letters he wrote had to be fumigated before I was allowed to read it. On October 25, 1764, my father married John and I. I went to live with him in a farm cottage in Braintree. We were happy but it did not last. King George III had put a tax on legal document and other papers that had never been taxed before. My husband lost his livelihood.
I had many children in my life. My first baby, a girl, was born on October, 1764. Her name was Abigail. A few years later, I had my second baby, a boy. I decided on the name John Quincy Adams after my grandfather who was dying. In 1770 when the bloody Boston Massacre occurred, my second baby girl, Susanna was born, but died at the age of one. When I had her, I was not in great health. Before the Boston Tea Party, I had my second son name Charles and later after I had another son named Thomas. My world was changing so fast. I had my wonderful children, and I taught them how to read and write and learn them French. When Johnny got older, he had a tutor who everyday for lessons. Soon I took them to see Weymouth to visit my parents and my sister Mary. I celebrated my 13th wedding anniversary on October 25, 1777.
I was really busy when the war started. Boston was now ready to fight again in a battle at Lexington in the year 1775. No one was allowed to leave Boston at the time. Strangers came knocking at my door for a place to stay. Those who were found guilty of defiance , were put to death, by being hanged. I fed the strangers and gave them a place to stay. I had soldiers living in my barn because they did not have official shelter. I hardly had any sleep, but I couldn t turn those poor people away. I had to find room for all for those who need my help. The stranger s babies slept in my room in their cradle. The kitchen, parlor, and farm sheds were full. I also had people sleeping on the fields. Here is part of a letter that I wrote to John when he was away:
The great distance between us makes the time appear very long to me. It seems already a month since you left me. The great anxiety I feel for my country, for you and for our family renders the day tedious and the night unpleasant. Rocks and quicksands appear upon every side. What course you can or will take is all wrapped in the bosom of futurity.
I want much to hear from you. I long impatiently to have you upon the stage of action. The first of September, or the month of September perhaps, may be of as much importance to Great Britain as the Ides of March were to Caesar. I wish you every public as well as private blessing, and that wisdom which is profitable both for instruction and edification, to conduct you in this difficult day.
The little flock remember Papa, and kindly wish to see him: so does your most affectionate
John came home from a case and we spent some time together, but then there was an express rider who handed John a letter. It was signed Hancock, Lee, and Lovell.
There was trouble in Paris with Silas Deane. Franklin needed to persuade King Louis. He was to leave with Captain Tucker to Paris. I could not let him go alone, so I asked my son, Johnny to go with him. He was my rock of support and he could help my husband. After they left , strangers said that Boston had been captured and carried into Plymouth. I started to get worried because I have not heard from John weeks now. I could not find any reliable information about John s ship. Lovell kept me informed on Congress actions. In December I got 2 letters from John. Their voyage had taken months. They were chased by British ships, saved by a hurricane, but then almost killed by that. John had tried to take part in a shooting, but he was removed by the captain. Johnny was not scared, but thrilled by the excitement. The British tried, and failed to seize John. After that, many months had gone by with no letter, so I wrote to him. I received a letter and packages which contained rare supplies. The letter said he wrote to me but they were probably seized or at the bottom to the sea.
Then I decided to go to Paris to see John and Johnny. It was almost 4 years when I last saw them. I decided to take little Abby, a maid, and a man servant with me. The voyage was rough, but I made it there in one piece. I was so glad to see them. Johnny looked so much like a man at the age 12. When I was in Paris, I got to meet some interesting people like Thomas Jefferson, King George III, his wife, Princess Augusta, and Princess Royal. John recently became the official minister of England. I had mixed feelings. I was glad that he became minister but that will bring more responsibilities and more time away from me. John was minister for a few years, when he could not take it any more. There were court functions and new outfits that he had to pay, but did not have the money too. He notified the Congress and told them that he would not serve any longer. We decided to live as we were back home, and John could practice law again.
Then George Washington was unanimously chosen for President, and John Adams was Vice-President. Since New York had became the capital of the United States, John and I had to move there. Again I had to live in another strange place. The Washingtons were provided with a mansion at the corner of Cherry Street, however the Vice-President had to find and pay for their own resident. John rented a house on Richmond Hill near the Hudson. I started out not liking New York, but after a while, I liked it. John then became President after Washington. John and I were the first couple to live in the White House, but it was not called that yet when John was president. The building was not completely built, we went to look at it. The President s House looked beautiful on the outside, but the inside was a mess. There was nothing. No chandelier, or bells. Some of the rooms were not even done. Being the wife of the president was not all just living in a mansion. I did many things to help out mankind. I supported women s rights and oppose to slavery. I went on business trips with John and talked to many important people. And when I die, I want to be remembered as a lady who was strong and courageous and made a difference in the world.
Abigail Adams died on October 28, 1818 at the age of 74.
Bobb , D., Abigail Adams , G. P. Putnam, Dominion of Canada by Longmans Canada Limited, 1966.
Nagel, P., The Adams Women , 1987.
Grolier Encyclopedia, Mindscape, Inc., Grolier Incorporated, 1995.