Adams Family Correspondence, volume 4

James Lovell to Abigail Adams, 14 May 1781 Lovell, James AA James Lovell to Abigail Adams, 14 May 1781 Lovell, James Adams, Abigail
James Lovell to Abigail Adams
Noon 14th. of May 1781

By a Letter of the 1st.,1 this Moment received, I find that my amiable and respected Friend is under the mistake of supposing the Enemy in Possession of one of her former which has reached me, and that I have neglected to answer some others. She will know better before this reaches her. The Enemy have the one which attended Mr. 115Cranche's: So that I have no Knowledge of the Mode He or She particularly pointed out for forwarding the Goods in my Possession.2

I have had the Satisfaction of knowing that Mr. Hugh Hughes has well guarded, by boxing, what I committed to Doctor Winship and I have this day desired Mr. Brown, who setts off with a Light Waggon, to take the Box from Mr. Hughes and deliver it to Mrs. Lovell who has my former Directions about the Contents which are for different Persons. I was not able to send by Mr. Brown your large Box or the China. He goes greatly loaded from hence, but as he drops part of his Charge at Head Quarters, he can conveniently take what I have mentioned, at Fishkill, if it has not yet been sent on by the Kindness of Mr. Hughes.

The Enemy have published one Letter from Mr. Adams, dated in December3 and they say they have intercepted a Pacquet from him and Doctor Franklin; but I do not think they say truly. I imagine they have got only that general Letter of News not ordered to be sunk. We have had nothing from Holland a long Time, except something which Mr. Carmichael transmitted in the handwriting of a known Correspondent at the Hague, and which you must have seen republished, I imagine, in your own Gazettes.4

I have endured much Pain lately from a Fall: I shall not soon be free from the ill Effects. But I have been very stoical. For it would have been a Shame to groan at what happened, while I reflected that neither Back nor Limb was broken, nor any Joint absolutely dislocated. Portia will however do me the Justice to think that neither Pain or Affliction shall make me neglect Endeavors to render her Service in finishing the little Business of sending on her Invoices or rather her Goods. I have written for the Invoices agreable to her Hints.

I imagine that some of the Articles supposed missing are in the Band Box, and that Mr. Wibert may find some Things within his Package of Cloth, which was in so good order as not to need opening. I have so thoroughly packed the Case for Transportation, that I do not incline to make a Scrutiny anew of the Contents. Dear Lady, Yrs.,


RC (Adams Papers).


Not found.


These letters have not been found, or at any rate are not identifiable from the allusions made to them here. See also AA to Lovell, 10 May, above.


Probably JA to Samuel Huntington, 28 Dec. 1780, mentioned more specifically in AA to JA, 28 May, below; see note 2 there.


Probably the letters, not specifically identified, from C. W. F. Dumas that were enclosed in William Carmichael to the Committee of Foreign Affairs, Madrid, 4 March (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 4:272–273).

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 16 May 1781 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 16 May 1781 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My dearest Friend Amsterdam May 16. 1781

I am now settled at Amsterdam on the Keysers Gragt near the Spiegel Straat. Charles is with me to recover his Health after his fever. John is at Leyden. Mr. Thaxter with me.

De la Motte Piquet has taken half Rodneys Plunder.1 I know not what other News to write. We hope, that Vessels will soon arrive from Boston. Hope you have received your Boxes by Sampson and Jones. I shall send you, as I can, but you must draw upon me, if you find it necessary.

I am more busy than ever, but to no Effect, at least no immediate Effect.

Oh! Oh! Oh! that you were here, to do the Honours of the United States, and to make the beautifull Scaenes with which this Country and Season abounds, agreable to yours forever.

RC (Adams Papers). Written on verso of a canceled “Copy” (in Thaxter's hand) of a note from JA to Hendrik Fagel, 19 April 1781, transmitting JA's Memorial to the States General of that date.


That is, the plunder taken by Rodney following his capture of St. Eustatius earlier this year. See above, Thaxter to AA, 1 April, and note 3 there. JA observed of this event a little later that “the Cards are once more turned against the Gambler; and the British Nation has gained nothing but an Addition to their Reputation for Iniquity” (to Pres. Huntington, 29 May, PCC, No. 84, III; Wharton, Dipl Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:460).

John Quincy Adams to John Adams, 17 May 1781 JQA JA John Quincy Adams to John Adams, 17 May 1781 Adams, John Quincy Adams, John
John Quincy Adams to John Adams
Honoured Sir Leyden May the 17th 1781

I reciev'd this morning your letter of the 14th. in which you speak of Poetry, and although I have not read much of it, yet I always admired it, very much.

I take the Delft Dutch paper to learn to read the language. To day there is a report which I read in it that Admiral Kingsbergen had taken fourteen of the German Transports, but this is only a report.1

Inclosed is a letter which I reciev'd this morning, I should have sent it by Mr. Thaxter (who is arrived here with Mr. Guild) but he says that it would be better to send it, this night.2 I will write to brother Charles by Mr. Thaxter.

I am your dutiful Son, John Quincy Adams

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsieur Adams Ministre Plenipotentiaire des etats unis de l'Amerique Sur le Keizers Gragt prés du 117Spiegel Straat à Amsterdam”; endorsed in John Thaxter's hand: “Master John 17th. May 1781.” For the enclosure see note 2.


The report JQA had read in “the Delft Dutch paper” (on which see JA's reply of 18 May, below) related to Adm. Jan Hendrik van Kinsbergen, soon to be better known for his part in the Dutch naval action against the British at the Doggerbank, Aug. 1781 ( Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek , 4:839).


The letter enclosed was a note to JA from the Duc de La Vauguyon, French minister at The Hague, 16 May 1781, acknowledging receipt of copies of JA's Memorial to... the States General (Adams Papers; JA, Works , 7:416).