Adams Family Correspondence, volume 5

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 16 October 1782 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 16 October 1782 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My dearest Friend Hague Oct. 16. 1782

Yesterday arrived your kind Letters of the 3 and 5 of september.1 I am preparing to sett off tomorrow Morning for Paris, so that I am unable to write you more than a Line.

Your Proposal of coming to me would make me the happiest of Men, if it were probable that I should live here where I am well settled. But, if the Negotiations for Peace should take a serious Turn, I shall be obliged to live in furnished Lodgings at Paris, or to travel 600 or 800 miles farther to Vienna. These Journeys would be infinitly disagreable to you and your Daughter—and for you to live at the Hague while I am running about Europe, would be more disagreable than in America.

If Peace should be made this Winter I intend to go home in the Spring.


I shall however be able to form a better Judgment at Paris from whence I will write more fully.

Dont conclude from my Journey to Paris that Peace will be made. The Dutch Ministers at Paris have written that Mr. Fitzherbert2 has received Instructions to treat with the Ministers of the United states of America. Mr. Jay has written me, that Mr. Oswald has received a Commission to treat with the United states of America. But he enjoins me secrecy about it so that you must keep it to yourself. He will write it to Congress from Paris, I suppose. I shall write fully from thence as soon as I know the Truth, but I dare not write half Intelligence, about such delicate Points.

Thanks to Uncle Smith for his Letter3 which I would answer if I had time. Rejoice with Brother Cranch and family.

My dear Daughters enterprising Duty and Affection most tenderly moves me, but she little thinks of the Dangers and Difficulties she wishes to encounter.4

I have not received the Letter containing your Proposal5 so I cannot give you my Opinion of it fully.

RC (Adams Papers).


Vol. 4:371–373, 376–377.


Alleyne Fitzherbert, British minister plenipotentiary to negotiate a peace with France, Spain, and the United Provinces ( DNB ).


Isaac Smith Sr.'s letter of 7 Sept. (vol. 4:378–379).


See JA to AA, 12 Oct., note 5, above.


In the letters of 3 and 5 Sept., AA mentioned again that she wanted to join JA and referred to her “proposal” made in an earlier letter. This letter may be missing; if it is that of 5 Aug. (vol. 4:356), it is known only in draft, and JA may never have received it. See vol. 4:372 and note 5, and 4:376 and note 1.

John Adams to Abigail Adams 2d, 16 October 1782 JA AA2 John Adams to Abigail Adams 2d, 16 October 1782 Adams, John Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
John Adams to Abigail Adams 2d
My Dear Daughter Hague, October 16, 1782

Your obliging letter of 3d September,1 I have received, and read with all the tenderness of a father deprived of the dearest, and almost the only enjoyment of his life, his family.

I never receive a packet from your mamma without a fit of melancholy that I cannot get over for many days.

Mine has been a hard lot in life, so hard that nothing would have rendered it supportable, especially for the last eight years, but the uninterrupted series of good fortune which has attended my feeble exertions for the public. If I have been unfortunate and unhappy in private life, I thank God I have been uniformly happy and successful as a public man.

18 image 19

This happiness may not always last, and I am now very little solicitous whether it does or not. The great cause of our country is established and out of danger, both in America and Europe, and therefore it is not matter, in my judgment, how soon I return to my family.

Your father, John Adams

MS not found. Printed from (AA2, Jour. and Corr. , 2:21.)


Not found; see JA to AA, 12 Oct., note 5, above.