My Dearest Friend
My unkle who is very attentive to acquaint me with every opportunity of conveyance, last Evening let me know of a vessel going to Spain, and tho my Letters cost you much more than they are worth; I am bound as well by inclination, as your repeated injunctions to omit no opportunity of writeing.
My last to you was by way of Bilboa. A vessel will soon sail for Amsterdam, by which I shall write largely to you, to my dear Boys, and to my agreable correspondent.
I am not without some prospect that the Letters may find you at that very port. I not long ago learnt that a commission for Holland was forwarded to you.
I was much surprized to find that you had not heard from C-ss [Congress] by the date of your last, the 17 of June [John to Abigail, 17 June 1780] . The communication from that Quarter is worse than it is from here, bad enough from both, for an anxious wife and an affectionate Mother.
I know not how to enter into a detail of our publick affairs -- they are not what I wish them to be. The successes of the Enemy at Charlestown are mortifying. General Gates misfortune will be anounced to you before this reaches you, and the enclosed Gazet will give you all the information of the treachery of Arnold which has yet come to hand.
How ineffectual is the tye of Honour to bind the Humane Mind, unless accompanied by more permanent and Efficacious principals? Will he who laughs at a future state of Retribution, and holds himself accountable only to his fellow Mortals disdain the venal Bribe, or spurn the Ignoble hand that proffers it.
Yet such is the unhappy lot of our native land, too, too many of our chief Actors have been and are unprincipled wretches, or we could not have sufferd as we have done. It is Righteousness, not Iniquity, that exalteth a Nation. There are so many and so loud complaints against some persons in office that I am apt to think neither age nor Fame will screen them.
Peace, Peace my beloved object is farther and farther from my Embraces I fear, yet I have never asked you a Question which from the Nature of your Embassy I knew you could not determine. It is however an object so near my Heart, that it lies down and rises with me. Yet could you bring the olive Branch, even at the expiration of an other year, my present sacrifices should be my future triumph, and I would then try if the Honour, as I am sometimes told, could then compensate for the substantial Blessings I resign. But my dear Friend well knows that the Honour does not consist so much in the Trust reposed, as in the able, the Honest, the upright and faithfull discharge of it. From these sources I can derive a pleasure, which neither accumulated Honours, wealth, or power, could bestow without them.
But whether does my pen lead me? I meant only to write you a short Letter, if writing to you I could do so. Some months ago I wrote you an account of the death of sister A-s [Adams] and of her leaving a poor Babe, only 3 days old. The death of Mr. H-l [Hall], who full of years, was last week gatherd to the great congregation, will be no matter of surprize to you. Your M-r [Mother] is gone to your B-r [Brother], till a change in his condition may render her services unnecessary, which with a young family of 5 children, is not likely to be very soon. Whatever she call upon me for shall endeavour to supply her with.
Pray make my Respectfull complements to Mr. D-a [Dana] and tell him that his Lady made me a Friendly visit last week, and we talked as much as we pleased of our dear Absents, compared Notes, Sympathized, Responded to each other, and mingled with our sacrifices some little pride that no Country could boast two worthyer Hearts than we had permitted to go abroad -- and then they were such honest souls too, and so intirely satisfied with their American dames, that we had not an apprehension of their roveing. We mean not however to defy the Charmes of the Parissian Ladies, but to admire the constancy and fidelity with which they are resisted -- but enough of Romance.
Be so good as to let Mr. T-r [Thaxter] know that his Friends are all well, and will write by the Amsterdam vessel. This will be so expensive a conveyance that I send only a single Letter.
I have been very sick for a month past with a slow fever, but hope it is leaving me. For many years I have not escaped a sickness in the Fall. -- I hope you enjoy Health, Dr. L-e [Lee] says you grow very fat. My poor unfortunate trunk has not yet reachd America, that was
Our dear daughter is in B-n [Boston] but would send her duty and Love by all opportunities tho I cannot prevail with her to write so often as I wish.
Little Tom sends his Duty, learns fast now he has got a school master. My tenderest regard to my two dear Sons. The account of their good conduct is a gratefull Balm to the Heart of their & your ever affectionate
PS Stevens Friends are all well. You will hear a strange story about the Alliance -- the officers of the Ship ran away with her to Boston. Barre has got the command of her now. Pray write me by way of Bilboa. Holland is a fine place for Buisness -- there is much trade from here there, many vessels go and come from thence, as well as to Spain. I am quite impatient to hear from you again, 4 months since the last date.
[Endorsement -- see page image]