Adams Family Correspondence, volume 5

417 image Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch, 2 August 1784 AA Cranch, Mary Smith Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch, 2 August 1784 Adams, Abigail Cranch, Mary Smith
Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch
Dear sister London August 2d. 1784

Before Mr. Smith went away1 I had no opportunity to ask Master John a Question but in company. I find by his accounts that Some Letters are gone to America the contents of which should they come into your hands; I hope you will keep wholy to yourself. I own I am rather surprized at them, and I think I may rely upon your prudence, and all connected with you to keep them intirely to yourselves. I have thought it a very fortunate circumstance that they did not reach me, before I saild, as they would have greatly embarrassed me. The present trial must be the test, if the Gold is genuine failing neither in weight or value, time will not diminish it—but should such a mixture of alloy be finally found in it, as to prove the coin either counterfeit, or base, it will not pass for current where it is now valued as intrinsick.2

I am anxious that you should receive this; and if at any time you wish to communicate to me, any thing that no other person ought to see, let it be always inclosed in an other Letter with such a mark upon the outside as this ⦶.

I have been so much occupied for several days that I have not had leisure to write; and am engaged for more time now than tis probable I shall tarry in London. I have been to the Tower to St. Pauls to Westminster Abbe and to day to Kew, and to the most delightfull Spot my Eyes ever beheld, to Twickenham to Popes Grotto—but I can only add adieu—at present I am So fatigued. Yours affectionately

A Adams

RC (MWA: Abigail Adams Corr.); addressed in AA2's hand: “Mrs. Mary Cranch Braintree, near Boston, Massachusetts.”


William Smith Jr. departed London for America on 31 July, carrying etters from AA to Mary Cranch, 6 July, and to Elizabeth Shaw, 28 July, and from AA2 to Elizabeth Cranch, 30 July, all above.


Only one JA letter to AA known to the editors was not received before AA sailed for England, that of 25 Jan.; a second, of 3 July, was written after her departure (both above). In each, JA gave his permission for AA2 to marry Royall Tyler. In January, JA wrote that AA2 could marry immediately and take over the family house while AA was abroad. In July he proposed that AA bring AA2 and Tyler, as newlyweds, along to Europe.

After JA's initial strong disapproval of Tyler in early 1783, AA had come to see a separation between AA2 and Tyler as a suitable test of the strength of their love. And none of JA's letters in the summer or fall of 1783, above, showed a clear change in his attitude toward Tyler's courtship. Thus AA's discovery, in conversation with JQA about 1 Aug., that JA had acquiesced to his daughter's marriage in his Jan. and July letters, and possibly in other letters of which there is no record, was 418acutely embarrassing to her.

JA had also written Tyler directly on 3 April, above, giving a rather general approval of Tyler's suit, but also stating that he expected AA2 to come to Europe with AA before she married. Richard Cranch received this letter and forwarded it to Tyler on 11 Aug. (Cranch to JA, 12 Aug., below).

John Quincy Adams to John Adams, 6 August 1784 JQA JA John Quincy Adams to John Adams, 6 August 1784 Adams, John Quincy Adams, John
John Quincy Adams to John Adams
Honoured Sir 10. o'clock P.M. London August 6th. 1784

We have not received as yet any answer to the letters we wrote you the day I arrived in town;1 and are yet in a State of great uncertainty and doubt whether to go over to Holland or to go directly on to Paris to meet you there. We have got all ready to leave this Place to morrow morning if we had received any directions from you, and indeed we had some thoughts of setting off for Harwich at any rate to'morrow; But we have given over that intention, not knowing but you may have written us to go directly to Paris to meet you there, and may perhaps have already left the Hague. The Journey from hence to Paris would be attended with much less difficulty and much less fatigue, than to go first to Holland and immediately after to France. The Post from Holland must have been unluckily detained, and the mails are not arrived; I presume we shall receive Letters when it comes, which will direct us what to do. If our orders are for France, and we receive them to morrow, we shall leave London the next day; if for Holland we shall not be able to go, on account of the sailing of the Packet untill Tuesday. These delays are very disagreeable, but they were unavoidable; had Mr. Jefferson not arrived we should probably have been with you at this time.

I have bought the Coach of which I wrote you in my Last, and I believe that it will come upon the whole to about 120. Guineas as I wrote you. The Coach itself cost £102. 10S. the Imperial £6. 18S., but there will probably be some few trifles to add, and a Coachman's box, must be put on it at Paris, which will be about 10 or 15 Guineas more; I hope that it will prove satisfactory to you. I had it cheap because it is second hand, that is, it has been about 70. miles; it was built for a gentleman, who intended travelling thro' France, and Italy in it, but having altered his mind, disposed of it, at a low Price; the same carriage, new, would not be sold I dare say at less than £150. and perhaps more: it has every accommodation necessary for travelling, and may be converted into a town Carriage without the least diffi-419culty. I am upon the whole very well contented with it, and believe it will please you.

I have only time to add, that I am your dutiful Son. J. Q. Adams2

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Son Excellence Monsieur J. Adams. Ministre Plenipotentiaire des Etats Unis de l'Amerique à La Haye. Hollande”; postmarked: “6/AV”; endorsed: “J. Q. Adams. Aug. 6 1784.”


30 July, above.


JA arrived the following morning from The Hague, from which he had departed on 4 Aug.; the only record of his reunion with his family is in AA2's journal ( Jour. and Corr. , 1:viii; reprinted in JA, Diary and Autobiography , 3:170–171, note 1). Staying in London only one night, JA departed for Paris with his family on the following day, Sunday, 8 Aug., in the coach that JQA had just purchased. The Adamses boarded the Channel boat at Dover on 9 Aug.; upon reaching Calais they traveled in their coach through Boulogne, Amiens, and Chantilly to Paris, which they reached on the 13th. AA2's journal provides the only detailed description of this journey, but AA and JQA vividly record their impressions of certain parts of it in various letters, below. Four days after their arrival in Paris, where they lodged at the Hôtel de York, dined with Thomas Barclay and David Hartley, and received the abbés Arnoux, Chalut, and de Mably, the family moved to Auteuil, outside Paris, to a house which AA and AA2 describe minutely in their letters, below. See AA2, Jour. and Corr. , 1:7–15; JQA , Diary , 1:207–209.