Adams Family Correspondence, volume 3

302 John Adams to Abigail Adams, 15 March 1780 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 15 March 1780 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My dearest Friend Paris March 15. 1780

Mr. Brown, whom I left at Passy, when I returned to you, and whom I found here, upon my return to Paris,1 will deliver you this and another Letter which I intended to have sent by the Viscount de Noailles, and two small Bundles containing a Piece of Chintz each. The Price is horrid, Sixty Livres a Piece, but I cannot trade, I suppose others would get them at half Price.

If you will make me buy Dittoes2 you must expect to be cheated. I never bought any Thing in my Life, but at double Price.

The Children, with Sammy Cooper dined with me to day. Charles begins to speak French very well, and Cooper too.

Mr. Brown formerly lived with Governor Trumbull.

Captain Carpenter who sailed a few days after me in the Cartell for London dined with me to day. The English Ministry will not allow of an Exchange. He tells me the Gentry of Brompton Row3 firmly believe that America cannot hold out five Months longer.

My Duty to your Father, my Mother, Brothers, sisters, Uncles, Aunts and Cousins.

Yours Yours, forever and forever.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams Braintree near Boston favoured by Mr. Brown to be sunk in Case of Capture.”


Joseph Brown Jr., a young Charlestonian who came to Boston in the Alliance on the voyage in which Captain Landais was deposed. He made a great impression on AA; see her letters of introduction for him to Mrs. Warren, 1 Sept., and to James Lovell, 3 Sept., both below; also The Second Part of the Memorial to Justify Peter Landai's [sic] Conduct during the Late War, N.Y. [1785?], p. 23.


That is, other things of the same kind. Compare a passage in JA to AA, 12 Aug. 1776 (vol. 2:90, above): “Here they the troops in Philadelphia wait for Canteens, Camp Kettles, Blanketts, Tents, Shoes, Hose, Arms, Flints, and other Dittoes.” The passage just quoted is cited in OED as the earliest use of “Dittoes” as a noun in precisely this sense, and the later examples there cited are not, strictly speaking, parallel in meaning. This is apparently another instance of JA's verbal innovativeness.


That is, the colony of American loyalists in London.

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams, 15 March 1780 Thaxter, John AA John Thaxter to Abigail Adams, 15 March 1780 Thaxter, John Adams, Abigail
John Thaxter to Abigail Adams
Madam Wednesday Paris March 15th 1780 Hotel de Valois Rue de Richelieu

On Monday Morning I had the Honor to go with his Excellency and Mr. Dana to breakfast with the celebrated Abbè Reynald,1 in Com-303pany with a large Collection of Nobility and Gentry of both Sexes. In opening upon this Company, (which was unexpected to poor me) I felt all that irksome Discomposure and painful Confusion, which so respectable an Assembly of Strangers could produce in one accustomed to humble Life and simple Manners. In this unhappy Predicament I made as respectful a Bow, as Nature, untutored in the Art of Conges, and Confusion would permit. It was a Devoir of Respect unaccompanied with Ease—the latter never was or can be an Accomplishment of mine. I was however soon relieved from this disagreeable Situation, by the Vivacity and repeated Salutations of the venerable Abbey. The Reciprocal Salutations between the Abbey and Ladies formed an Intercourse among them too partial to be highly pleasing to one, who for the first Time had the Mortification to see a Monopoly of Salutations. Who would not have wished to have possessed the pre-eminent Priviledge of being an Abbey? Who would not have readily become a Subject of so tender and pleasant an Administration as that of being saluted by so beautiful Ladies.—But I have done on this Head.

Not long after Breakfast the Abbey introduced to his Excellency a Countess or Marchioness, who had expressed a great desire to see the Man, who had taken so able a part in bringing about a Revolution, which She approv'd. The Beauty, the Softness, the Delicacy and the Ease of this Lady were striking. Do you approve of the Revolution says the Abbey? Yes answerd the Lady.—You therefore, subjoined the Abbey, approve of his Excellency.—Oui Monsieur, replied the Lady.—I thanked her silently and cordially for this Testimony to the Merit of the Man I love, esteem and respect, as I did many other Ladies, to whom the same Questions were put, and to which the same Answers were given. The Abbey observed that the Name of his Excellency would be respected for ever.—Yes, replied he, if the Abbey Reynald should insert the Name in his celebrated Works. This Compliment the Abbey felt most sensibly.

After passing an agreeable Morning at the Abbey's we went to Mr. Grand's where we dined and where I had the Honor of being introduced to Madam Grand and Mademoiselle Labhar her Niece. Madam Grand is a worthy and respectable Character. Mademoiselle her Niece, is a pretty young Lady, has great Vivacity, a fine blooming Countenance, and a fortune of £800 sterling a Year. She is a fine Girl.

The Seal that I have chosen for my Letters may appear curious.2 It is not an emblem of my past Life, nor do I think it emblematical of the future. The Motto is “bonne Moisson.” I was not born with a Silver Spoon in my Mouth, nor have I ever reapt Harvests, nor do I wish 304to reap any, but two—viz., the one a decent and comfortable Subsistence, the other the Happiness, Comforts and Enjoyments of a tender Partner, with whom I may share in the pleasures of the first.

Your dear Sons dined with Us to day. They are in good Health, and live happily at the Pension.

My Respects, Duty and Compliments where due if you please.

I have the Honor to be, with the most perfect Esteem and Respect, your most obedient & very humble Servant.

RC (Adams Papers).


Guillaume Thomas François, Abbé Raynal (1713–1796), author of one of the most popular works of the French Enlightenment, Histoire philosophique et politique des établissemens et du commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes, Amsterdam, 1770, which was frequently reissued and widely read in translation as well as in French (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale ). For surviving copies of this and other works by Raynal owned by JA, see Catalogue of JA's Library . JA's first impressions of Raynal, highly favorable, are recorded in diary entries of Feb. 1779; see Diary and Autobiography , 2:344.


No example of this seal has as yet been found.