Adams Family Correspondence, volume 4

141 Abigail Adams to John Adams, 28 May 1781 AA JA Abigail Adams to John Adams, 28 May 1781 Adams, Abigail Adams, John
Abigail Adams to John Adams
My Dearest Friend May 28 1781

I could not have conceived that a Letter written upon merely political subjects could have communicated so much pleasure to my Bosom as yours of the 28th of December to the president, of Congress, has given to mine.

This Letter was taken by the Enemy, carried into New York, and published by them, and republished by 1 Edes.2 For what reason the Enemy published it I cannot tell, as it contains nothing which can possibly injure 3 us or the writer. It has proved a cordial to my anxious Heart for by it I find you were then living, and in Amsterdam, two facts that I have not received under your own hand for 8 months. This Letter is 3 months later than any which has reachd me.

Dr. Dexter by whom I have before written, has since, been polite enough to visit me, that he might, as he expresses it, have the pleasure to tell you, that he had seen me, and take from me any verbal message, that I would not chuse to write, but my pen must be the faithfull confident of my Heart. I could not say to a stranger, that which I could not write, nor dare I even trust to my pen the fullness of my Heart. You must measure it, by the contents of your own when softned by recollection.

Dr. Dexter appears to be a sensible well bred Gentleman, and will give you much information respecting our state affairs which may not be so prudent to commit to paper. I have written to the House of de Neufvilla for a few articles by an other opportunity and have now inclosed a duplicate.

I intreat you my dearest Friend to forward Letters to the various ports in France as you have some acquaintance with many of them. I should then be able to hear oftner.

June 1

Our Friends from Plymouth have made me a visit upon their remove to Neponset Hill which they have purchased of Mr. Broom. You will congratulate me I know upon my acquisition in the Neighbourhood, it is a very agreable circumstance. By them I learnt that the late vessels from France had brought them Letters from their Son up to the 10 of March, in which he mentions being with my dear Friend, my Sons, and Mr. Thaxter. They have received five Letters, by different vessels yet not a line has yet blest my hand. May I soon be made happy, and the Number compensate for the delay.


I hope you do not think it necessary to continue in Holland through the summer. I am very anxious for your Health—so flat a country will never agree with you. Pray do not be negligent with regard to an article which so nearly concerns the happiness of Your Ever affectionate


RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Honble. john Adams Esqr Amsterdam”; docketed by CFA: “Portia May 28. 1781.” Enclosed “duplicate” order on the firm of de Neufville is missing, but a text of it is printed as an enclosure in AA to JA, 25 May, above.


Editorially supplied for a word missing in MS.


The original of JA to Pres. Samuel Huntington, 28 Dec. 1780, was captured at sea and published in the New York Mercury extraordinary of 19 April 1781, from which it was reprinted in Edes & Sons' Boston Gazette, 28 May, p. 2, col. 3–p. 3, col. 1. A duplicate is in PCC, No. 84, II; printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 4:213.


Editorially supplied for a word missing in MS.

Richard Cranch to John Adams, 28 May 1781 Cranch, Richard JA Richard Cranch to John Adams, 28 May 1781 Cranch, Richard Adams, John
Richard Cranch to John Adams
Dear Bror: Boston May 28th. 1781

Having an Oportunity by Doctor Dexter, now bound to Europe, I gladly embrace it to write you a few Lines. We have been longing to hear from you a great while—not a line received from you or Mr. Thaxter for near six months. A Dutch War—Northern Powers arming for Defence of their Trade &c. are important Events since we last heard from you, which we wish to have an account of from you with your Opinion what the Issue of them will probably be. The Enemy in America are making their efforts in the southern States with various success, often repulsed with great loss, but always victorious, if you believe Rivington's Gazett. We have some way or other been taught to believe for a number of Months past, that a second Divison of Ships of War and Troops were coming to our assistance from our Illustrious Ally: Such a Belief and Expectation has been very injurious with respect to some of our publick Measures, and we feel a Disappointment with respect to the reinforcement of Ships more especially; as, for want of having more Men of War, those already here have been of little or no Service, being generally kept in Port by a superiour British Fleet. A Superiority by Sea in North America would probably terminate the War gloriously in this Part of the World. Our new Army fills up finely; Government has order'd all the Inhabitants to be Classed according to their Polls and Estates, Poor and Rich together, and each Class is to find a Man for three years or during the War, by which method our Army fills up very fast with fine Men. I mentioned above, 143the want of a superiour Fleet of Men of War in these Seas; it appears to me that a small Reinforcement in addition to the Ships that are already here would give a decided superiority, and would be of infinite importance to the common Cause, as by that means a few Ships might be spared from time to time, which, in conjunction with our Forces, might easily break up those little Nests that now keep a large Territory almost constantly in an Alarm by means of their paltry Lodgements, as is the Case at Ponobscutt, Chesepeak, &c: And at the same time might clear the Coasts from those small Piqueroons that Harbour there and infest our Trade. Another great Advantage that would arise from having the command of the American Seas would be that of transporting our Stores for the Army &c. as well as the different Produce of the United States, by Water carriage, which would be an amazing Saving in Expence as well as Time, compar'd with the expensive and tedious method of Land Carriage.

To the same want of a superiour Fleet I think we may charge the Loss of our State Ships of War from time to time as the Confederacy lately; and, we fear, the Protector also. 'Tis almost impossible to prevent our Enemies from knowing very soon when any of our State Ships of War sail, and we having no Fleet on the Coast, or, (which is much the same thing) none that is strong enough to venture freely out of Port; the Enemy by means of having a few more Ships are able to dispatch a Ship or two of superiour force after them and so take one by one, our best Ships. It appears to me plainly that our greatest Difficulties and the prolonging of the War is almost entirely owing to the want of having a superiority of Ships of War in these Seas. Had we a sufficient Fleet to cooperate with such an Army as we are now every Day getting into the Field, we might with the Smiles of Heaven, very soon extirpate the Enemy from the United States. My earnest Wish is for a Fleet!

I have mentioned to you that I send this by Doctor Dexter, whome I now take the liberty to recommend to your Notice as a very worthy Man;—he is engaged in Business with our Friend and Cousin Doctor Welsh and two other Gentlemen in a Plan of importing Druggs and Medicines in the wholesale way. Doctor Dexter will bring with him Bills to a large amount to begin with. Your taking Notice of him will give him Rank.

Braintree has honour'd me this year with an unanimous Choice to represent them in General Court the following Year. Doctor Cotton Tufts is chosen senator. I was at Braintree yesterday, when I had the pleasure of seeing your Mother, your Lady and Children, your 144Brother and Children, Messrs. J. Quincy, and N. Quincy, Palmer, Wibird &c. all well. Father Smith was well a few Days ago. Coll. Thaxter's Family were well the last time I heard from them.1

I hope you will excuse my taking up so much of your valuable Time and believe me to be with every Sentiment of Friendship and Esteem, your affectionate Bror: ——

Please to give my kindest Regards to my dear young Friends Johnney and Charley, and to Mr. Thaxter, (to whome I intend to write by Doctor Dexter.) My dear Mrs. Cranch and Children are well and retain the kindest Wishes for your Happiness. I suppose our little Folks will write by this Oportunity.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency John Adams Esqre. at Amsterdam. Per favr. of Dr. Dexter,” followed in another hand by: “Forwarded by Excellency's Most obedt. hume. Servant Aaron Dexter Gottenberg. Augt. 15 1781”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Cranch May 28th. 1781.” Dft (MHi:Cranch Papers); endorsed: “Rough Draft of a Letter to Bror. Adams. May 28th. 1781.” Dft differs from RC in many details, one of which is recorded in note 1.


Dft adds in this paragraph: “I am almost constantly in this Town i.e. Boston (excepting Sundays) on Committees of the General Court.”