Adams Family Correspondence, volume 3

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams, 14 October 1778 Warren, Mercy Otis AA Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams, 14 October 1778 Warren, Mercy Otis Adams, Abigail
Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams
Wednesday 14th october 1778

The importunity of my Friends at Braintree, though my inclination is strong, is not sufficient to Carry me again from my Family till a 108Little more time is Elapsed. We therefore instead of indulging our own Wishs substitute a son who will be happy to Escort you, and in whose Bosom Curiosity is or ought to be as much alive as in that of his parents. You will doubtless have an agreable day. I can Enjoy it at this distince, and speculate on the Exstrordinry Connextion and the Rapid Changes that have led to it by my own fire side as well as in the apartment of the General or the state Room of the first Count in France.

My best Regards to the family at the Farms1 tell Miss Quincy2 when she again dances with the Count de Brouce3 to take care of her Heart. Tell Miss Mayhew4 that knights of Malta are sometimes Dangerous Companions, that their Vows will not always protect a Lady from the shafts which a Little Mischvious Urchin often indiscriminatly throws.

I depend on seeing you Next week when I hope you and your amiable Companion will make a Visit of some Length, I Wont say as Long as you Can be Contented with your assured & Constant Friend,

M. Warren

RC (Adams Papers).


Col. Josiah Quincy's family. Quincy lived on the shore of what came to be called Quincy Bay, and his home served as a kind of social headquarters ashore for Estaing and his officers, whose ships lay off Nantasket. See vol. 1:x–xi, above, and illustration facing p. 80 in that volume. See also AA's two letters to JA immediately following.


Presumably Elizabeth (1757–1825), daughter of Col. Josiah Quincy and his 2d wife, Elizabeth Waldron; she married Benjamin Guild in 1784. See Adams Genealogy.


Probably Ensign Joseph Barthélemy, Comte de Rafélis de Broves (1753–1824) (Lasseray, Les français sous les treize étoiles , 1:139).


Probably Elizabeth Mayhew (1759–1829), daughter of the late Rev. Jonathan Mayhew of Boston; she later married Peter Wainwright (Charles E. Banks, The History of Martha's Vineyard, Boston and Edgartown, Mass., 1911–1925, 3:314).

Abigail Adams to John Adams, 21 October 1778 AA JA Abigail Adams to John Adams, 21 October 1778 Adams, Abigail Adams, John
Abigail Adams to John Adams
Braintree, 21 October 1778 1

How dear to me was the Signature of my Friend this Evening received by the Boston a ship more valued to me than all the American Navy besides, valuable for conveying safely my choisest comfort, my dearest Blessings.2 “I Love the place where Helen was but born.”

You write me that you have by several vessels convey'd me tokens of your Friendship. The only Letters I have received from you or my dear Son were dated last April and containd only a few lines—judge then what my Heart has sufferd. You could not have sufferd more 109upon your Voyage than I have felt cut of from all communication with you. My Harp has been hung upon the willows, and I have scarcly ever taken my pen to write but the tears have flowed faster than the Ink. I have wrote often to you but was unfortunate enough to have my last and largest packets distroyd the vessel being taken and carried into Halifax. Mr. Ingraham of Boston will convey this to you with his own hand.3 You will I know rejoice to see him as a Bostonian, an American and a Man of Merit, I need not ask you to notice him. I apprehend that this will never reach you yet this apprehension shall not prevent my writing by every opportunity. The French Ships are still in the Harbour of Boston. I have received great civility and every mark of Respect that it has been in the power of their officers to shew me.

Count dEstaing has been exceeding polite to me, he took perticulir care to see me, sending an officer to request I would meet him at Col. Quincys as it was inconvenient to be at a greater Distance from his ship. I according waited upon his Excellency who very politely received me, insisted upon my Dineing on board his Ship, appointed his day and sent his Barge, requested I would bring any of my Friends with me. We made up a company of 13 and waited upon him. An entertainment fit for a princiss was prepared, we spent a most agreable day.4 The Count is a most agreable Man, Sedate, polite, affible with a dignity that is lost in Ease yet his brow at times would be overclouded with cares and anxieties so like a dear absent Friends that I was pained for him. But I determine to write you more perticuliarly by an other opportunity. I lament the loss of my last packet. I hate to write duplicates. Our Friends here are all well. Let me intreat you to write me more Letters at a time, sure you cannot want subjects. They are my food by day and my rest by night. Do not deal them so spairingly to your own


Dft (Adams Papers).


Dated conjecturally but with some confidence from internal evidence and from JA's entering a letter of 21 Oct. in his list of letters received from AA (JA to AA, 20 Feb. 1779, first letter of that date, below). RC has not been found.


The letter here acknowledged must have been JA's of 3 June, above. The Boston had left France on 6 June and had arrived at Portsmouth on 15 Oct. (Sheppard, Tucker , p. 88, 100).


Duncan Ingraham, evidently the same young Boston mariner and merchant who soon afterward established, with others, an American mercantile firm in Amsterdam; see JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:453–454, 456; 3:29, 83, 85; also correspondence between JA and Ingraham in the 1780's (Adams Papers). On the conveyance of the present letter, see John Eliot to AA, Oct. 1778, below.


This must have been on 15 Oct.; see Mercy Warren to JA, 15 Oct. (Adams Papers, Warren-Adams Letters , 2:54–55); Thomas Cushing to JA, 21–28 Oct. (Adams Papers).