Adams Family Correspondence, volume 3

Abigail Adams to John Adams, 27 December 1778 AA JA Abigail Adams to John Adams, 27 December 1778 Adams, Abigail Adams, John
Abigail Adams to John Adams
Sunday Evening December 27 1778

How lonely are my days? How solitary are my Nights? Secluded from all Society but my two Little Boys, and my domesticks, by the Mountains of snow which surround me I could almost fancy myself in Greenland. We have had four of the coldest Days I ever knew, and they were followed by the severest snow storm I ever remember, the wind blowing like a Hurricane for 15 or 20 hours renderd it imposible for Man or Beast to live abroad, and has blocked up the roads so that they are impassible.

A week ago I parted with my Daughter at the request of our Plymouth Friends to spend a month with them, so that I am solitary indeed.


Can the best of Friends recollect that for 14 years past, I have not spent a whole winter alone. Some part of the Dismal Season has heretofore been Mitigated and Softned by the Social converse and participation of the Friend of my youth.

How insupportable the Idea that 3000 leigues, and the vast ocean now devide us—but devide only our persons for the Heart of my Friend is in the Bosom of his partner. More than half a score years has so rivetted it there, that the Fabrick which contains it must crumble into Dust, e'er the particles can be seperated.

“For in one fate, our Hearts our fortunes And our Beings blend.”

I cannot discribe to you How much I was affected the other day with a Scotch song which was sung to me by a young Lady in order to divert a Melancholy hour, but it had a quite different Effect, and the Native Simplicity of it, had all the power of a well wrought Tradidy tragedy. When I could conquer my Sensibility I beg'd the song, and Master Charles has learnt it and consoles his Mamma by singing it to her. I will enclose it to you. It has Beauties in it to me, which an indifferent person would not feel perhaps— His very foot has Musick in't, As he comes up the stairs. How oft has my Heart danced to the sound of that Musick? And shall I see his face again? And shall I hear him speak? Gracious Heaven hear and answer my daily petition, “by banishing all my Grief.”

I am sometimes quite discouraged from writing. So many vessels are taken, that there is Little chance of a Letters reaching your Hands. That I meet with so few returns is a circumstance that lies heavy at my Heart. If this finds its way to you, it will go by the Alliance. By her I have wrote before, she has not yet saild, and I love to amuse myself with my pen, and pour out some of the tender sentiments of a Heart over flowing with affection, not for the Eye of a cruel Enemy who no doubt would ridicule every Humane and Social Sentiment long ago grown Callous to the finer sensibilities—but for the sympathetick Heart that Beats in unison with


PS I beleive Mr. Blodget the Bearer of this1 will have a Bill upon you, in favour of yours.


RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia Decr. 27. 1778.”


Nathan Blodget, purser of the Alliance; see JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:372–373. See, further, AA to JA, 2 Jan. 1779, below.

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 27 December 1778 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 27 December 1778 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My dearest Friend Passy Decr. 271 1778

Mr. Greenleaf is about to set off, towards Nantes and from thence to Boston.

Last Night, I walked to Paris and saw the Illumination for the Birth of the Princess Maria Theresa Charlotta,2 Fille du Roi—Splendid indeed. My little Friend who was with me will write you a Description of it. The Military school, the Hospital of Invalids and the Palace of Bourbon, were beautiful and sublime indeed, as much so as an Illumination can be. I could scarcely have conceived that an Illumination could have such an Effect. I suppose the Expence of this is a Million of Livres. As much as I respect this Country, particularly the King and Royal Family I could not help reflecting how many Families, in another Country would this Tallow make happy for Life, how many Privateers would this Tallow fit out, for chasing away the Jerseymen and making Reprisals on Messrs. Les Anglois.—But Taste will have its Way in this Country.

The Queen and her illustrious Infant are very well, and this Nation is very happy to have discovered a Way, by which a Dauphin may come to them next Year, or the Year after.

The King and Queen are greatly beloved here—every day shews fresh Proofs of it.

On the other side the Channel there is a King, who is in a fair Way to be the object of opposite sentiments, to a Nation, if he is not at present.

If Keppell should be destroyed in Life or Reputation, I shall expect to hear that all Restraints are taken off, and Passions allowed to sport themselves without Reserve. Keppell told the King he would not fight against America—an unpardonable offence. He will be ruined if possible.3 However I think that Keppell was wrong even to accept a Command against the French. If Britain is wrong in this War against America, she is wrong in that vs. the French, for France and America have the same Object in View and no other. France is right if America is right, because France only assisted the American Cause for which John Bull abused and fought her. But John will come off wretchedly. He will be beat. He has been beat. There have been more British Men 142of War already taken and destroyed, than they lost in two former Wars, and more sailors Prisoners.

RC (Adams Papers).


Corrected from “26” by overwriting.


Marie Thérèse Charlotte (1778–1851), “Madame Royale,” eldest child of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette; in 1799 she married her Bourbon cousin the Duc d'Angoulême (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale ).


Admiral Keppel was about to be court-martialed on charges by his subordinate officer Sir Hugh Palliser. The trial had profound political implications because Keppel was a whig and Palliser a supporter of the administration. The court completely exonerated Keppel. See DNB under both names; also JQA to AA, 16 Feb. 1779, below.