Adams Family Correspondence, volume 3

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams, 15 December 1778 AA JQA Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams, 15 December 1778 Adams, Abigail Adams, John Quincy
Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams
My dear Son December 15 1778

I have a very bad soar finger and it pains me to write, yet a few lines I must write to my dear son to tell him that he is never forgotton by his Mamma, tho he does not receive a Letter every time his pappa does.

Many Letters to and from you are lost I make no doubt or I should certainly hear oftner. Barns by whom you say you wrote a very long Letter has not arrived and is supposed to be lost or taken. The 27 of August is the Latest date I have received from your pappa, and that was brought by Mr. Ingersol.

There is no present half so acceptable as Letters from my dear absent Friends. I long for them with an impatience that I find difficult to restrain. You have been very good in writing, but are not so perticular as I wish you was.

Your Sister and Brothers are well and have lately wrote to you,1 your Grandpapa and Grandmamma are well and desire to be rememberd to you. Let Stevens know that his Friends are well, and that he has a son about 6 weeks old, suppose his conscience will tell him who the Mother is.

Nothing New has taken place with us since the French Fleet saild, except a British ship the Somerset, being wrecked upon the cape. The captain and most of the Men were saved and are prisoners. The Guns were saved and many other valuable Effects.

It has been a very tempestous fall, many of the severest storms I ever knew, and a very cold winter threatens us. The climate of France is more temperate than that of America. Your sister longs to make a voyage there, if she was of the other sex I should encourage her, and perhaps send her in the New frigate call'd the Alliance which will bring this to you. Gen'll. Warrens son is Lieut. of Marines on Board, and I have heard the Marquiss Fayet designs going home in her if he leaves America her Blessing will follow him,2 for he is much Esteemed here, and may he reap in his own country the Lawrels he has merritted here.

I am my dear Son with affection and regard your Mamma, Abigail Adams

RC (Adams Papers); addressed in Thaxter's hand: “Mr. John Q. Adams 138Paris”; endorsed by JA: “Portia to her Son Decr. 15. 1778”; docketed by JQA.


Letters not found.


Thus punctuated in MS.

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 18 December 1778 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 18 December 1778 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
Passy Decr. 18 1778

This Moment I had, what shall I say? the Pleasure or the pain of your Letter of 25 of Octr. As a Letter from my dearest Freind it gave me a pleasure that it would be in vain to attempt to describe: but the Complaints in it gave me more pain than I can express—this is the third Letter I have recd. in this complaining style. the former two I have not answer'd.—I had Endeavour'd to answer them.—I have wrote several answers, but upon a review, they appear'd to be such I could not send. One was angry, another was full of Greif, and the third with Melancholy, so that I burnt them all.1—if you write me in this style I shall leave of writing intirely, it kills me. Can Professions of Esteem be Wanting from me to you? Can Protestation of affection be necessary? can tokens of Remembrance be desir'd? The very Idea of this sickens me. Am I not wretched Enough, in this Banishment, without this. What Course shall I take to convince you that my Heart is warm? you doubt, it seems.—shall I declare it? shall I swear to it?—Would you doubt it the less?—And is it possible you should doubt it? I know it is not?—If I could once believe it possible, I cannot answer for the Consequences.—But I beg you would never more write to me in such a strain for it really makes me unhappy.

Be assured that no time nor place, can change my heart: but that I think so often & so much, of the Blessings from which I am seperated as to be too unmindful of those who accompany me, & that I write to you so often as my Duty will permit.

I am extremely obliged to the Comte D'Estaing and his officers for their Politeness to you, and am very Glad you have had an opportunity, of seing so much of the french Nation. The accounts from all hands agree that there was an agreable intercourse, & happy harmony upon the whole between the inhabitants and the Fleet, the more this Nation is known, & the more their Language is understood, the more narrow Prejudices will wear away. British Fleet and Armys, are very different from theirs. in Point of Temperance and Politeness there is no Comparison.

This is not a correct Copy, but you will pardon it, because it is done by an Hand as dear to you as to your

John Adams

RC (Adams Papers); in JQA's hand except for last paragraph and signature. Text is given here in literal style.


One of them may survive, however, as the unfinished LbC of 3 Dec., above.