Abigail Adams to John Adams, 1 August 1781
Abigail Adams to John Adams, 1 August 1781
Abigail Adams to John Adams
August 1 1781
O that I could realize the agreable reverie of the last Night when my dear Friend presented himself and two Sons safely returnd to the Arms of the affectionate wife and Mother. Cruel that I should wake only to experience a renual of my daily solicitude. The next month will compleat a whole year since a single Line from your Hand has reachd the longing Eyes of Portia. No vessels have arrived here since the declaration of war from Holland. Congress have no dispatches later than october from you. I hope and hope till hope is swallowed up in the victory of Dispair. I then consider all my anxiety as vain since I cannot benifit any one by it, or alter the established order of things. I cannot relieve your mind from the burden of publick cares, or at this distance alleviate the anxiety of your Heart, tho ever so much distressed for the welfare of your Native land or protect you from the Slanderous arrow that flieth in Secret, a Specimin of which you will find inclosed in a Letter from Mr. Cranch1 but which you must I think have received before as many coppies have been sent. My Indignation is too big for utterance.
Falsehood and fraud shoot up in ev'ry soil
The product of all climes—Rome had its Ceasar.
I will not comment upon this low this dirty this Infamous this
191diabolical peice of envy and malice as I have already done it where I thought I might be of service—to your two Friends Lovell and Gerry.
True consious Honour is to know no Sin—
and the firm patriot whose views extend to the welfare of Mankind tho obstructed by faction and vice, tho crossed by fortune, tho wounded by calumny and reproach, shall find in the end that his generous Labour is not lost—even tho he meets with no other reward than that self approveing hour, which the poet tells us outweighs whole years of stupid starers and of loud Huzzas.
When ever any opportunity occurs write, and write me a volume to amuse, to comfort and inform me. I turn to the loved pages of former days and read them with delight. They are all my comfort, all my consolation in the long long interval of time that I have not received a line. Should I name my dear Boys a tear will flow with the Ink—not a line have I received from them for more than a Year. May they be their Fathers comfort and their Mothers delight.
No very important military events have taken place since I wrote you last which was by Capt. Young to Bilboa. Green is driving Cornwallis acting with much Spirit and viggour. We are here looking upon each other in a mere maze. Our old currency died suddenly, the carkases remain in the hands of individuals, no Burial having been yet provided for it. The New was in Good repute for a time, but all of a Sudden and in one day followed its Elder Brother—so that with old and New in my hand, I can not purchase a single Sixpence worth of any thing yet taxes must be paid, men must be raised for Road Island and West Point and paid too, yet the profits of what each one has sold for paper avails them not. This was a stroke of our Enemies by employing Emissaries to depreciate it who were detected and put into jail. Barter and hard money is now the only trade. The strugle will be to supply our army. How after having sold our commodities for paper we can raise hard money to pay the next demand which must be speedy, I know not. I had collected a sufficient Sum of paper to pay a very large tax which the last Session of the court levied. It now will avail me not a groat. I mentioned in a former Letter that I wished you to send me a chest of Bohea tea by any vessel of Mr. Tracys or Smiths.2 It would turn into money quicker remainder missing
(Adams Papers); incomplete. The MS is worn and torn along one edge, requiring a number of words to be partly or wholly supplied by editorial conjecture.
Franklin's letter to Huntington of 9 Aug. 1780, a copy of which was enclosed in Richard Cranch to JA, 16 July, q.v. above.
AA to JA, 23 April, above.
Abigail Adams to Elbridge Gerry, 4 August 1781
Abigail Adams to Elbridge Gerry, 4 August 1781
Abigail Adams to Elbridge Gerry
Braintree, 4 August 1781
The very quick reply with wish which you honourd my Letter together with the Friendly contents of your polite favour demand my acknowledgement.2
If you Sir as a patriot and a Friend feel for the injurys offerd to your Country and the disgrace with which those in power are endeavouring to load our Friend, you may easily judge of the anxiety of one whose happiness is so interwoven and blended with the injured, that he cannot receive a wound at which the other does not blead.
I presume not to judge of all the consequences which will follow the late determinations of Congress. One only I am satisfied in. If our Friend is cloged and embarrassed as you hint, if his instructions are such as he ought not consistant with the Good of his country and the duty he owes to it, to execute, he will resign his commission and return to his native country.
Here Sir I will give you a few extracts which will shew you his Sentiments not upon the present, but upon his Situation when he returnd from Europe, which you know was not then very Eligible. They were written in a confidential Letter to you, but some parts of the Letter was written with so much freedom that he thought proper to surpress it.3 In speaking of the Jealousy which he had ever observed in Congress of the Massachusetts, he adds “Is it possible that Congress should be respected if she suffers those Men upon whom she has as her records shew most depended from the begining, those Men who had a chief hand in forming her Navy and Army, who have supported her Independance, who have promoted and formed her alliances, to be slandered and disgraced. These things are of more importance in Europe than here to the publick but they are of too much here to be neglected. If the Massachusetts is to be made the But and Sport in the Manner it has been you will soon see it abandoned by all Men of Spirit, or you will See it break the union. For myself I care nothing at all, for my children I care but little for these things, but for the publick I care much. It is really important that congress should not dishonour their own members without cause and is really Important that the Members of Mass Bay should support each others honours and characters. I could return to my practise at the Bar, and 193make fortunes for my children, and be happier and really more respected than I can in the hazardous tormenting employments into which Congress have always put me. I can be easy even under the marks of disgrace they put upon me but they may depend upon it they either mistake their own Interest in putting me into these employments or in putting these Brands upon me.”
Time will shew which of his predictions are true. If our Friend Mr. Lovell returns I shall be fully informed, he has often refered me for information to Mr. A. but that Gentleman is so much ingrossed that I cannot get him even to spend one day with me. Have only been able to see him for half an hour and that in company. I shall be happy sir to see you at Braintree, whenever it suits your convenience; I doubt not of your Friendship or of your assiduity to support my Friend in every measure He may persue for the benifit of his country, but by your Letter and Mr. Lovells late hints I fear it is wholy out of his power. He will immediately upon the recept of the new plan feel his dissagreable Situation and I am pained when I reflect upon the anxiety it will give him. He must and will quit a Situation in which he cannot act with Honour, this his enimies know and they will assuredly answer their end. Those who wish well to their country must mourn the corrupt influence that has poisoned the fountain of power from whence issue Streams which Instead of nourtering and refreshing these Infant States are like to prove as Banefull as the ten fold plagues of Egypt. If you should receive any further information from your Friends at Congress respecting these matters I should take it as a favour if you would communicate them to Sir Your obliged Friend & humble Servant,
(Adams Papers); written on discarded cover sheets of old letters, one bearing the address “Mr. John Thaxter Paris”; docketed by CFA at head of text: “1781?”
Dated from Gerry's acknowledgment, 31 Aug. (below), of the (missing) RC.
AA to Gerry, 20 July (which may not have been sent until some days later), and Gerry's reply, 30 July, both above.
JA to Gerry, 18 Oct. 1779 (LbC, Adams Papers), marked “Secret as the Grave” and then, according to AA, not sent; see above, AA to Lovell, 20 July–6 Aug., and note 6 there. Quotation marks have here been editorially supplied, but it should be noted that AA quotes JA's letterbook text freely and with her own improvements in phrasing.