Adams Family Correspondence, volume 4

Abigail Adams to John Thaxter, 9 December 1781 AA Thaxter, John Abigail Adams to John Thaxter, 9 December 1781 Adams, Abigail Thaxter, John
Abigail Adams to John Thaxter
My dear Sir December 9 1781

I do not take up my pen by way of reply to any Letter of yours— that is not in my power. 15 Months have elapsed since the date of your last.1 I must take you a little to task to give you an opportunity of justifying yourself. Here are no less than 3 of the Heathen deities arrived from your port without a single Syllable from You. Minerva— surely it is her peculiar province to communicate Wisdom, yet she is as silent as Apollo whom I consulted upon the occasion, but both of them affirm that they know nothing of you. Juno indeed produced your Hand writing, as a cover to some Newspapers and pamphlets which is all that could be obtained from her. I cannot reconcile this with your former punctuality. It is true I have no more reason to complain, than your other Friends, but we all look sober about it, I assure you: and the more so for hearing that you are not well; and that your wishes are to return to America. I hope you are not so uneasy as to opperate upon your Health; if that is the case, loth as I know my dear Friend would be to part with you, he would not detain you, if you once made known your desires; I have not told your Friends all I have heard upon this subject as I fear it would give them uneasyness.

You will have heard before this reaches you of the strange part Gillion has acted; my dear Charles is at Bilboa, and must exchange September for Jan'ry or Febry., a dreadful Season to come upon this 262coast. The Letters which were put on Board of him must be still with him, if any were committed to his care. I do not think he means to come to America soon.

I hope you have been made very happy by the agreable tiding from America. The aspect of our affairs is Brightned, an other British Army is added to our Glorious exploits and conquests, with an abhored, because a merciless and cruel Captive General to swell our triumphs. The Month of October is a memorable one to America, and a fatal one to Britain. Will she can she still persist in her wanton cruelties, in her mad projects of domination, whilst she is crumbling to attoms? Will not the united provinces be proud to allye themselves to our vallient states—will they not acknowledge our Independance and claim kindred with us? Is there any prospect of peace? May a Glorious one incircle us with its blessings before an other year Elapses, but I fear from certain movements to which I suppose you are no Stranger that it may not be all we wish. Yet the Capture of Cornwallis must opperate in our favour.

Most of the Ladies of your acquaintance still remain Single. Several whom you left just rising into notice now figure with Eclat. You are not forgotten amongst them. I often hear your name mentiond with much esteem, an Epethet well suited to the tempreture of the low Countries.

Master Tommy desires me to remember to insert his affectionate regard to you, and Miss Nabby looks it, tho not articulated.

Your Friends were all well last week when your Brother was here. Your Sister Celia spent a fortnight here in the last month, and Miss Nancy2 is expected this Week to spend a month or two. Your Friend Abel Alleyne is sailed for Antigue and from thence designs for Barbados. Provisions plenty here, money a scarce commodity indeed, taxes, exorbitant. Luxery still prevailing in Building, furniture, Equipage, and dress. The scarcity of cash will Lessen it with some, but many realized their enormous sums of paper.

Let me beg of you to be punctual in writing and let no opportunity slip by which you may convey comfort and satisfaction to your Friends particularly to your ever affectionate Friend, Portia

RC (MB); addressed: “Mr. John Thaxter Amsterdam”; endorsed: “Mrs. Adams 9th. Decr. 1781.”


AA must allude to a letter or letters from Thaxter dated at Paris, 19 and 20 Sept. 1780, both in vol. 3 above. Thaxter had written her a number of times in 1781, and most of these letters are printed in the present volume, but some had been delayed in the sending and she had as yet received none of them. 263See above, Thaxter to AA, 21 July, and note 1 there.


Presumably Hannah, John Thaxter's other sister, identified above at vol. 3:43; see Adams Genealogy.

John Adams to John Quincy Adams, 14 December 1781 JA JQA John Adams to John Quincy Adams, 14 December 1781 Adams, John Adams, John Quincy
John Adams to John Quincy Adams
My dear Son Amsterdam Decr. 14. 1781

Your Letter of 21 Aug. O.S.1 the first I have received, reached me only two or three days ago.

I am pleased to see, your hand Writing improve, as well as your Judgment ripen, as you travel. But I am above all happy to find that your Behaviour has been such as to gain the Confidence of Mr. Dana so far as to employ you in copying. This Employment requires a great degree of Patience and Steadiness as well as care. It will be of vast Use to you, to be admitted thus early into Business, especially into Business of such Importance.

Make it a Rule, my dear Son, To loose no Time. There is not a moral Precept, of clearer Obligation, or of greater Import. Make it the grand Maxim of your Life, and it cannot fail to be happy, and usefull to the World.

You have my Consent to have any Masters, which Mr. D. thinks proper for you. But you will have none, upon whom I shall depend so much as upon him. He will form your moral and political Principles, and give you a Taste for Letters as well as Business, if you can but be so wise and happy as to continue to deserve his Confidence, and be admitted to assist him, in Copying his Business.

I have Letters from your Mother who sends you her Blessing and your youngest Brother who sends you his Love.2

Charles writes me from Bilbao 24 Nov.3 expecting to sail the next Week, he desires his Love to you, and his affectionate Respects to Mr. D.

Write me often. Let me know the State of Education and Letters in St. Petersbg. Pray do you hear any Thing of a Passage by Land, from Russia to America? What Discoveries have been made?

It is not necessary to add my Name, when I assure you of my Affection.

RC (Adams Papers). Early Tr (Adams Papers), in JQA's hand.


That is, 1 Sept. N.S.; printed above under that date.


No letter from TBA to JA at this period has been found.


Letter not found.