Adams Family Correspondence, volume 4

Abigail Adams to John Adams, 18 October 1780 AA JA Abigail Adams to John Adams, 18 October 1780 Adams, Abigail Adams, John
Abigail Adams to John Adams
My Dearest Friend October 18 1780

The vessel by which I mean to send this is bound for Amsterdam and had very nigh given me the slip.

I have been writing to you when ever I was able by other opportunities, and should have compleated several Letters for this conveyance, but I have been very sick with a slow fever, and your Mother has been sick here of a fever, occasiond by great fatigue, the old gentleman dyeing about 3 weeks ago of a fever. Both of us are much better. 9I have got out, tho she has not yet left her chamber. The rest of our Friends are well.

I wish this Letter might find you in Holland. I think it not improbable if you have received a Commission forwarded to you some months ago.

My Trunk about which you have been so anxious, and so often wished me safe, is not on board the Alliance to my no small mortification. You have found out the cause I dare say before this time. Party and cabal ran so high that the person to whose care it was intrusted, did not chuse to come in the ship—so that it may possibly lay in France till Sampson arrives. If it should I wish it may be put on Board of him and be so good as to get an invoice of Mr. Moylan and send the first opportunity. This I wish you to do. If it should come by the Dr., it will be no damage to compare them.

Holland is so much improved in the way of Trade, that ten nay twenty opportunities offer for sending from there, to one from France.

Enclosed I send a set of Bills received from Mr. Lovell. They do not amount to near the Balance reported in your favour, but I suppose the rest to be connected with the other Gentlemens accounts, which they say can not be gone into at present for want of a state of theirs. I have however written to Mr. L——l to know if it is really so.1

As to politicks if I begin I shall not know where to end, yet I must tell you of a horrid plot, just ready to have been sprung, which would have given us a shock indeed. Arnold, you know him unprincipald as the ——. He missirable wretch had concerted a plan to give up West point where he commanded with its dependancies, into the hands of the Enemy. He had made returns of every important matter to them; with a plan (but a little before concerted, between the General officers) and State of the Army. Major Andry was the person upon whom these papers were found. An officer in the British Army, sensible, bold and enterprizing, universally beloved by them, and regreated with many tears—he was young and very accomplished, but taken in our Camp as a Spy, he was tried, comdemned and Executed. Arnold upon the first allarm that Andry was taken, conveyd himself on Board a ship of war and deserted to the Enemy. I have by two late papers sent you enclosed to you the whole of this Black transaction, so providentially discoverd which must excite gratitude in every Breast not wholy devoid of principal.2—It is now a long time since I heard from you, the 17 of June was the last date.

I have just sent Letters for Mr. Thaxter to Newport to go in a French Frigate. I shall write to him by a vessel soon to sail for France 10and to my dear Boys. Remember me tenderly to them. Ah! when shall I see them again, or their dear parent?—I must bid you good Night, tis late and I am yet feable and weak. Believe me with sentiments of tenderness & affection ever yours.

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia,” to which CFA added later: “October 18th 1780.” Enclosures not found.


See Lovell to AA, 14 May, vol. 3, above, with enclosure, and references in note 3 1 there.


The classic modern account of Benedict Arnold's treason and Major John André's capture, trial, and execution as a spy is in Carl Van Doren's Secret History of the American Revolution , N.Y., 1941, p. 143–388, to which are appended full texts of the Arnold-André correspondence and Sir Henry Clinton's narrative of the plot and its outcome, p. 437–495.

John Adams to the Rector and Preceptor of the Latin School at Amsterdam, 18 October 1780 JA Verheyk, H. John Adams to the Rector and Preceptor of the Latin School at Amsterdam, 18 October 1780 Adams, John Verheyk, H.
John Adams to the Rector and Preceptor of the Latin School at Amsterdam
18th October 1780

Mr. Adams presents his Compliments to the Rector and the Preceptor, and acquaints them that his eldest Son is thirteen Years of Age: that he has made considerable progress already in Greek and Latin: that he has been long in Virgil and Cicero, and that he has read a great deal for his Age, both in French and English; and therefore Mr. Adams thinks it would discourage him to be placed and kept in the lower Forms or Classes of the School; and that it would be a damage to interrupt him in Greek, which he might go on to learn without understanding Dutch. Mr. Adams therefore requests that he may be put into the higher Forms, and put upon the Study of Greek.1

LbC (Adams Papers); in John Thaxter's hand; at foot of text: “not sent.”


On the placement of JQA and CA as boarding students in the Latin School on the Singel in Amsterdam at the end of August, with JQA's diary entries about their life there, see JA to AA, 25 Sept., vol. 3 above. The present letter, which on second thought JA did not send, indicates that the school authorities had held JQA back from his proper scholastic level because of his deficiency in the Dutch language—a decision that JA thought unwise and that soon proved so in its effect on JQA. For the upshot see the exchange of notes between Rector Verheyk and JA under 10 Nov., below.

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams, 20 October 1780 Warren, Mercy Otis AA Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams, 20 October 1780 Warren, Mercy Otis Adams, Abigail
Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams
My Dear Friend Plimouth 20th October 1780

A Promiss made to my son to spend a week with our Friends at Braintree is readily Caught at nor Can I Receed had I inclination. I 11hope his Behaviour is such as no one will think it too Long Except his mamah who is very Choice of the Precious Moments of Youth. But you will put into his hand such Books as will both instruct and Entertain.1

I am sorry Naby is not at home. Why will my Friend be so Ceremonious. Why not sometimes a Letter Gratis. You have a Great deal of Leasure when Compared with me, who Constantly am preparing a Large Family to Go from home. Half a Dozen agreable young are now a going from me among whom I sat down to write. Judge what sort of Letter you are Like to have. How ever tis no matter. Inteligence I Can Give You none. Sentiment you dont Need. Therefore an Expression or two off Friendship is all I shall aim at, in which your sister will Ever have a share Though have Niether Letter or Message from her, but suppose she is all the Mother. Tell her to Gaurd her heart. These little Encroachers soon Get full Possession. The Entrenchments are made strong about them, and when Time, Curiousity or Bussiness Calls them to a distant World, or Death Calls them out of it: what a shock. How shatered the Citadel, how weakned the whole Fabrick. But I can Neither speculate, Morallize or Anticipate. The Room is a Meer Wind Mill. One says Mamah your Letter Cant be very Elegant, another is still more saucy. But I aim at Nothing of the kind, and must spite of my inclination Abruptly bid you Adieu. Though not without assuring you of the affection of your Friend,

M. Warren

Let me hear from you.

RC (Adams Papers).


The Warrens had five sons, of whom two were away and the others were still in their teens: Charles, Henry, and George (Mrs. Washington A. Roebling, Richard Warren of the Mayflower . . ., Boston, 1901, p. 28). Which of the three younger sons was to visit Braintree does not appear.