Adams Family Correspondence, volume 3

James Lovell to Abigail Adams, 13 June 1778 Lovell, James AA James Lovell to Abigail Adams, 13 June 1778 Lovell, James Adams, Abigail
James Lovell to Abigail Adams
June 13th: 1778 York Town

Amiable tho unjust Portia! doubly unjust!—to yourself, and to me. Must I only write to you in the Language of Gazettes, enumerating, on the Part of Britain, Acts of Deceit, Insolence and Cruelty; or, on the part of America, Instances of Patience under repeated Losses, Fortitude under uncommon Hardships, and Humanity under the grossest Provocations to Revenge? Must I suppress Opinion, Sentiment and just Encomium upon the Gracefullness of a lovely suffering Wife or Mother? It seems I must or be taxed as a Flatterer. Immured for many Months in a Prison, and, upon escape from thence, confined in a narrow Circle, with He-Creatures, drudging, plodding Politicians, for an equally tedious Period of Time, I did not suspect that my Pen could now run in such a Stile of social Intercourse as to provoke a delicate Judge among the Polishers of the Manners of our Race to call me Adulator. After having called you unjust, I will not set so light by my Decission as to venture to make, to you, any Remarks upon the remaining Parts of your Letter now before me,1 whether original or quoted. I will content myself, as I have done for a Month back, with secret Admiration.

Mr. Thaxter sending a Course of printed Papers,2 it becomes unnecessary for me at this Time to try my Hand at paragraph Writing: But I cannot omit to say that I hardly conceive it possible that your Information of the Capture of the Boston can be good, as neither the Fishkill nor Pokipsie Gazettes mention it; and their Publishers are more in the Way than you to know what is the News in the City of New York. I do not mention this to cheat you with false Hope; for, be assured, I think you qualified to hear bad News: And I will prove that this is not Flattery; for I will give you whatever comes to my Knowledge in Regard to my worthy Friend, your dearest, be it good or 44bad. And I will continue to esteem you for many good Qualities, though you make your Slips now and then by calling Names and misconstruing the honest Sentiments of Your sincere humble Servant,

James Lovell

RC (Adams Papers.)


Not found.


“What I mentioned as private in my last is now published in the inclosed paper” (Thaxter to AA, 13 June, Adams Papers). Enclosure is not now with Thaxter's letter, but it must have been a copy of the Pennsylvania Gazette of this date, which contained the recent correspondence and resolutions of Congress relative to the British conciliatory commission; see Thaxter to AA, 10 June, above.

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 16 June 1778 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 16 June 1778 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My dearest Friend Passi June 16. 1778

Since my last I have had the inexpressible Pleasure of yours of the 25 of March1 by the Way of Holland, which is the first and the last Letter as yet received from you.

This will be delivered you by a young Gentleman by the Name of Archer who is going to America, to serve in our Army as a Voluntier. He is a promising Youth, and will tell you all the News, both in England and France.2—Germany seems at the Eve of War. The Emperor and King of Prussia are at the Head of Armies, and on Tiptoe to strike the Blow. England seems to be lost in a Stupor. Byrons Fleet is not yet sailed. D'Estaings passed the Straights of Gibraltar the 16 May.

We long to hear from America, the Ratification of the Treaty with France, the captivity of Gen. Clintons3 Army, and of Lord Howes Fleet.—John is very well, at School. Stevens is also well, and behaves well. My Love to all my little ones.4

I want a few Pamphlets here—the Thoughts on Government, the New York Constitution, an Essay of a Constitution of Government for Pensilvania, said to have been written by Mr. Dickinson.5 Look them up, and send them.

I cannot learn, that any Reinforcement is to be sent to America, this Summer. They can spare none. They are in a Panic, from an Apprehension of an Invasion. Ireland is grown tumultuous, are concerting a Non Importation Agreement, and give Simptoms of an Insurrection.

RC and LbC (Adams Papers.)


This, the first letter from AA received by JA in Europe, is now unaccountably lost. AA kept no draft of it, and, so far as appears, CFA knew no version of it.


On 14 June Henry Archer had writ-45ten the American Commissioners that he designed to enlist in the American army and become an American citizen. “Though a native of England, I feel myself quite attached to America, and firmly persuaded that I shall carry thither dispositions entirely consonant to its welfare, and that my affection to her will not be the less in being only a Son by adoption. . . . Ambitious of military fame, and of military distinction, it was not consistent with my Notions to engage in the Army of the King of Great Britain” (PPAmP: Franklin Papers). JA introduced Archer to Samuel Adams in a letter dated 21 May but sent considerably later (JA, Diary and Autobiography , 4:108, note), and on 17 June he wrote another letter of introduction for Archer to Isaac Smith Sr. (same, 4:139).

Samuel Adams in a reply to JA of 25 Oct. (Adams Papers) acknowledged receipt of his letter “yesterday,” and went on to say: “The Gentleman who brought it, Mr. Archer, tells me he had a Passage of Eleven Weeks.” He set off for Philadelphia very shortly and apparently arrived there on the 30th; the Boston Gazette of 23 Nov. reprinted the following account of Archer from Philadelphia newspapers of 5 Nov.: “On Friday last arrived in this city Henry Archer, Esq; This young gentleman, we are told, has been educated at a military school in England, where he owned a handsome fortune, which he has lately sold, in order to embark as a volunteer in the American army, in defence of the liberties and independence of America.” Whether Archer realized his ambition is not known.


LbC: “Hows” (i.e. Gen. Sir William Howe's).


LbC originally broke off here with the leavetaking “Yours—yours—yours.”


The pamphlets desired by JA included his own Thoughts on Government, 1776, on which see his Diary and Autobiography , 3:331–333 and passim; the pamphlet form of the New York State Constitution, of which there were several printings in 1777 (see Evans 15472–15474); and An Essay of a Frame of Government for Pennsylvania, Phila., 1776 (Evans 14748), the authorship of which is not known.