On May 13, 1789, John Adams wrote ‘most tenderly’ to his wife from New York about their upcoming move. He was vice president of the United States, having come in second next to George Washington in the presidential election. New York City was then the nation’s capital.
Adams would not be happy as vice president. He later complained to Abigail,
My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.
He had little to do in the job, and what he did do invited controversy. He argued unsuccessfully that the president should be called ‘His Majesty the President’ or ‘His High Mightiness, the President of the United States and Protector of Their Liberties.’ He quarreled with the Senate, over which he presided, over procedure and policy. His chubbiness and pomposity earned him the nickname, ‘His Rotundity.’
All that was before him as he wrote to Abigail at home in Braintree:
My dearest Friend
I have taken an House, and now wish you to come on, as soon as possible. It will be necessary to Send by Water all the Carpets that are not in Use, and Several Beds, Bedsteads, Bedding Bed and Table Linnen, — Plate China &c. if you can convey it to Providence would come better that Way. The House is on the North River about a mile out of the City, in a fine situation, a good Stable, Coach House, Garden, about 30 Acres of Land. It goes by the name of Mr. Montiere House. We may keep two Cows, on the Pasture. The Rent is 50 or an 100 less, than for a poorer House in the City.
Charles and Thomas had better come on with you, at least the former. Brisler and Polly Taylor, at least must come. I inclose a Letter to President Willard and am
yours most tenderly