Adams Family Correspondence, volume 3

Abigail Adams to James Lovell, 24 June 1778 AA Lovell, James Abigail Adams to James Lovell, 24 June 1778 Adams, Abigail Lovell, James
Abigail Adams to James Lovell
Dear Sir Braintree, 24 June 1778 1

I know not whether I ought to reply to your favour of April the first, for inded Sir I begin to look upon you as a very dangerous Man.

It was a Saying of a very corrupt Statesman that every Man had his price, had Sir Robert Walpole impeachd mankind with a universal Love of Flattery I believe his assertion would have been more agreable to Truth, but I suppose he was judgeing others by his own venal disposition and I am practicing upon the same principal when I acknowledg that undeserving as those few lines were penned in the bitterness of my Soul of the encomiums bestowed upon them, I cannot but acknowledg Mr. Lovell a most ingenious and agreable flatterer, nor will I attribute this kind praise wholy to a corrupt principal in humane Nature since a desire to stand high in the estimation of those whose virtues and abilities adorn humane life, is rather a proof of a desire of immitation and a stimulous to a good Heart, that if it is conscious it does not already deserve the praises bestowed upon it, it will hasten to obtain them.2

The late agreable news from the court of France in some Measure compensates for the anxiety I sufferd from that Quarter of the World before, and I now anticipate the pleasure which it must give my Friend upon his arrival to find the great interest of his Country so generously espoused and a prospect opening for its future Glory and Welfare, nor do I regret that he waited not till this period, but sought to serve his Country in a Foreign Land when the prospect was much glomier than it is at present—and I can now look back to the 13 of Febry. with some pleasureable Sensations and much less Emotion than I could a month ago. But you kindly advice me to confine my Imagination to a future happy day. O Sir you have pointed me to a motive which is my food by day and my Rest by Night, it sheds a Ray of light upon the Gloomy hours, days and months as they pass. But I must restrain a pen which would run riot upon this subject.

The Letters which you mention in yours of March 213 as having wrote to my partner arrived since his absence and were deliverd to me, and agreable to his direction I opened them all, and perused them with a pleasure which the communicative manner of your writing must always give to your correspondence, tho in these I could not charge you with excerciseing a talent, which in your late favour to me you did not hide in a Napkin. There is something peculiarly pleasing in all of them. The Letter which your curiosity leads You to inquire 49after and which is forwarded, is that in which you gave ample scope to your immagination with regard to the Robbery of the publick packets.4 It most abundantly aided my fears and apprehensions at that time, and I could easily connect assassination with Robbery, and devollope the whole scene of wickedness at once.—The concilitary plan as it is calld, will reach you before this Letter. I cannot but congratulate my country upon it. Since they will be universally united in dispiseing it, he5 never could suppose with the advantages we are in possession of that we would accept them. I hope we should have disdaind them in our most unfortunate days, or I should think my Countrymen arrived at that unfortunate period, when as a late political writer observes a people are no longer worth saving. But not for this have we endured Hunger, cold and Nakedness, the sword and pestilence, But the Laws, the Rights, the generous plan of power deliverd down, From age to age, by our renoun'd Forefathers.

“And think thou North the Sons of such a Race Where Beams of Glory bless their purpled Morn Will shrink unnerved before a Tyrant face Nor meet thy lowring insolence with Scorn. Go raise thy hand and with its magick power Pencil with Night the Suns assending Ray Bid the broad Veil Eclipse the Noontide hour And blank the radiance of the cheerfull Day (Such Night as lowers o'er Britain's fated land Where rayless Shades the Darkned Throne surround. Nor Deeper Glooms at Moses waving Wand6 Pour'd their thick Horrours, oer the memphian land) Bid Heaven bright Flames at thy dread Voice expire Or chain the angry vengance of the waves Then hope thy Breath can chill the Eternal Fire And free Souls pinion with the Bonds of Slaves.”

Excuse this borrowed poetical flight, and the length of this Epistle. I have had a great mind to commit it to the flames but considering it cost me some time to write it, and some paper too which is an expensive article, and that I have a curiosity to know the contents of Mr. Deans packages7 which I could not so conveniently ask for in any other way, I have concluded to let it come under the Signature of


Dft (Adams Papers); docketed by JQA: “To James Lovell. Yorktown June,” to which CFA added: “1778.” Dft was written on the large address sheet, or cover, of JA's letter to AA, 26 Aug. 1777; see descriptive note on that letter 50(vol. 2:330, above); it contains numerous deletions and revisions, only one of which is indicated in the notes below.


Missing RC was dated 24 June according to Lovell's reply of 1 Sept., below.


This rhetorical flight, probably improved grammatically in the text actually sent to Lovell, has been allowed to stand as written and punctuated in Dft. Its meaning is clear enough. In her letter of 1 March, vol. 2, above, AA had written in deep distress to Lovell after hearing the report of the near assassination of Benjamin Franklin, and Lovell had replied with flattering praise of her “elegant . . . Sentiment and Language” (1 April, above).


A mistake for Lovell's letter dated 1 April, above.


This letter from Lovell cannot now be identified. It must have dealt with Captains John Folger and Joseph Hynson and the “blank Dispatches” from the American Commissioners delivered to Congress; see vol. 2:405–406.


Lord North.


MS: “Want.”


Simeon Deane had brought the Franco-American treaties to America; see Isaac Smith Sr. to JA, 6 May, above.

William Tudor to Abigail Adams, 26 June 1778 Tudor, William AA William Tudor to Abigail Adams, 26 June 1778 Tudor, William Adams, Abigail
William Tudor to Abigail Adams
Dear Madam Boston 26th. June 1778

I inclose £23:3:10—Twenty Pounds, seventeen Shillings being the Amount of the Account against Mr. Hancock—and two Pounds six Shillings & ten Pence the Difference in favour of Mr. Adams on Settlement With Mrs. Turell. Turells Account as You will see by the Account and Receipt herewith sent being £6 10s. 6d. His Note with Interest was £8 17s. 4d. Be pleased to credit Mr. Hancock in the Books for this Money. Mrs. Turell's Receipt You will file with the Clerks Receipts.1

I inclose You what is handed about in Town as Proposals from the British Commissioners to Congress.2 How humiliating must even these be to the haughty Despots of the British Court, who so lately scorned every Thing short of bringing America to their Feet. But these, like every thing else from that infatuated and foolish Nation have come too late. One Year's further Perseverance gives Independence and Peace to our Distressed but (on the whole) virtuous Country.

I send You Col. Henley's Trial.3 The only Thing in it worth reading is Genl. Burgoyne's Speeches. They give Us a Specimen of modern Oratory. But Cicero did not write so. You will find a tedious Argument in summing up the Cause by the Judge Advocate.4 Possibly his being your Friend, may induce you to read it. It hath Nothing else to recommend it to a Lady's Perusal. When you have done with it, Pray send it to your Father as a small Token of my Respects to the good Man.

If I can be in any Way serviceable to You in settling the much neglected Demands of my valuable Friend Mr. Adams, pray command me. I shall be happy to discharge some of the Obligations I am under 51to that disinterested Friend. To yourself I can only make verbal though the warmest Assurances of my being with every Sentiment of Esteem, Respect, & Friendship your faithfull Friend & Servt.,

Wm. Tudor

RC (Adams Papers). Enclosures not found, but see notes 1, 2, and 3.


JA's financial records as a lawyer having only very partially survived, we do not know precisely what these payments were for. See JA, Legal Papers , 1:lxix–lxxiv. “Turells . . . Account and Receipt herewith sent” have not been found.


Not found.


No Adams copy has been found, but this was the recently published Proceedings of a General Court-Martial, Held at Cambridge, on Tuesday the Twentieth of January; and Continued by Several Adjournments to Wednesday the 25th of February, 1778: upon the Trial of Colonel David Henley, Boston: J. Gill, 1778 (Evans 16139).


Tudor himself; see note on him under AA to JA, 2 July 1777 (vol. 2, above), and also Tudor to JA, 11 Feb. 1778 (Adams Papers, quoted in same, 2:395).