ADAMS, Abigail (1744-1818), First Lady. Autograph letter signed ("A. Adams"), to Mrs. Hannah Cushing, Quincy, [MA], 29 October 1810. 1 1/8 pages, 4to, with integral address leaf, small tear affecting bottom edge, otherwise fine. [With:] Autograph free frank of John Adams ("J. Adams") on address panel.
ABIGAIL SENDS SWEET CONDOLENCES ON THE DEATH OF SUPREME COURT JUSTICE CUSHING
A touching letter addressed to a friend upon the loss of her husband, Supreme Court Justice William Cushing. With elegant and gracious sympathy, Abigail tries to ease the pain of Cushing's wife Hannah, "The sweet remembrance of the just Shall flourish when they sleep in dust; was the reflection my dear friend which first occurred to me when I read the tribute, so justly paid, to our departed friend, by judge Davis ... my heart responded, to every sentiment it contained, and to you my friend it must be a healing balm to your bereaved bosom. Thus to have the universal testimony rise up in grateful acknowledgement of the many virtues which adorned the Life and conversation of your worthy Husband." Having herself experienced the vicious verbal attacks that had become a part of party political rhetoric and had often been directed towards her husband during his presidency, Abigail suggests that the Davis tribute offers a glimmer of hope that good will still exists; "By the homage paid to virtue, I am inclined to think more favorably of mankind, and to hope the time may come, when a spirit of justice and candor will prevail over malice, envy, and falsehood." She concludes the letter by encouraging her friend to visit, "...it would give pleasure to your departed friend, and it will be an additional motive with you, to contribute to the pleasure of your surviving friend."
William Cushing (1732-1810) served on the judicial court during the Revolutionary War and was the first Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. A well known Adams biographer has written that Abigail was "a gyroscope that brought [Adams] safely through the stormiest seas," and that, as a result, she was able, "to enter with so much sympathy and understanding into her husband's world that she makes him more holy, more wholesome, more healthy. And this is what Abigail Adams did for the man who was her husband, her lover and her friend." (Smith, John Adams, vol. 1, p. 71).