Saturday, June 1, 2019

Portrait of 18C American Woman

1746 Joseph Badger 1708-1765 Mrs. Isaac Smith (née Elizabeth Storer, 1726–1786 at MFA.Commissioned by Isaac Smith (1719-1787) of Boston on the occasion of his marriage to the sitter (1726-1786).  Isaac Smith, born in Charlestown July, 1719; married Elizabeth Storer October 9, 1746. He was a merchant in Boston; died October 16, 1787. He was a brother of Rev. Wm. Smith, of Weymouth, an uncle of Mrs. Abigail Adams, father of Isaac Smith and of William Smith.

Elizabeth Storer Smith to Abigail Adams, 3 January 1786 from The Massachusetts Historical Society.

Notwithstanding the unconquerable aversion I ever had to writing I cannot forbear taking up my Pen, to Congratulate my dear Neice on the new year, and to thank her for her favour by the Welcome hand of my Nephew,1 who is return’d I hope uncorupted, I do not wonder you wisht to keep him with you, I think he is very agreable. Your Journal and Letters to your friends have ever afforded me great Pleasure, and I look on my self under greater Obligation as your Correspondence is so large.

I am glad to find you still retain such an affection to your Native Place, notwithstanding the number of gay Senes which sorounde you, I make no doubt it would be pleasing to you, as well as to all your Conections, to have you with Mr and Miss A return to us again. I have slept but three nights at Brantree since my dear friend absence, it realy looks so Melancholy, I cannot take that pleasure I used to when you was their, I hope you will enliven it again with your Company, the pleasure we feel at seeing our Friends return, in a great measure make up for the pain of separation.

I wish it was in my power to write any thing entertaining, but as I seldom go abroad in Winter, I know but little besides what passes in my one familey, and there is no Matches going on the too Old Bacheldors2 still continue so.

Mrs Gill has latly had a letter from Mrs Hollowell informing her Capt H. and she had been a Journey and there health is much better, I am sorry their is any impedient in the way to your visiting Mrs H. as I know you would both be happy in each others acquaintance.3

Please to remember my love to Miss Hobart, I am much obliged to her for enquiering after me, she is Sister to Mrs Vasal and formaly lived with Madam Steel one of my most agreable Neighbours, I should be glad to see her and Mr Vasal’s familey in Boston again.4

So our friend Thomas B.5 begins to think he shall not live here always, as he has so good an opinion of your Uncle I wish he would leave him a handsome legasy, I think he ought to for the care he took of his intrest when he was out of town.

How does my good friend Mrs Rogers has she recovered her health, give my love to her, I sinserely sympathize with her in the death of her amiable Mama:6 O how many kind friends have we been calld to part with since you left us, and whose turn it may be next God only knows, but may we all be prepared for this Change and meet again in the World above to part no more is the sinsere wish of Your Affectonate Aunt

Elizabeth Smith

PS. Mr and Mrs Otis are well and send their love to you and Mr and miss Adams. My love to Cousin Nabby I sinserely wish her happy.

1. AA’s letter of 29 Aug. 1785 was one of those carried by Charles Storer, when he returned to America in November (vol. 6:314, 458).

2. Undoubtedly her two sons, Isaac Jr., 36, and William, 30.

3. AA thought she should restrict her visits to loyalist refugees to avoid complicating JA’s position as minister to Great Britain. Rebecca Boylston Gill and Mary Boylston Hallowell were sisters, and cousins of JA’s mother. Capt. Benjamin Hallowell served as the provincial commissioner of the customs before he left Boston in 1776 .

4. Anne Hubbard (Hobart) was the sister of Margaret Hubbard Vassall, who left Boston for England in 1775 with her husband William. In Boston, Hubbard probably had boarded with Margaret Nelson Steel

5. Formerly of Boston, Thomas Boylston, a merchant, was also a cousin of JA’s mother and brother of Rebecca and Mary.

6. Abigail Bromfield Rogers’ stepmother, Hannah Clarke Bromfield, of Boston, died in Aug. 1785 .