When Abigail Adams came to Washington, D.C. on November 16, 1800, she arrived at an infant city, sparse and not fully formed. Having just left the comforts of old Philadelphia, this must have been quite a shock. To make matters worse, her trip south had seen been rough. So, it’s safe to assume that she was in an irritable mood when she finally made it to D.C.
We should probably keep that in mind while reading her appraisal of the city because she was pretty harsh. The First Lady called the capital ‘a city only in name,’ and pulled no punches in her description of Georgetown.