Adams Family Correspondence, volume 5

Abigail Adams to Chandler Robbins Jr., 10 January 1783 AA Robbins, Chandler Jr. Abigail Adams to Chandler Robbins Jr., 10 January 1783 Adams, Abigail Robbins, Chandler Jr.
Abigail Adams to Chandler Robbins Jr.
Sir ca. 10 January 1783 1

The Letter which you find enclosed you will be kind enough to sink should you be so unfortunate as to be captured; if you arrive safe and find it necessary to forward it to the Hague; you will cover it with a few lines from yourself. Accept my best wishes for your safety and prosperity, and my sincere thanks for the care and attention you 69paid to the education of my children during my absence that period of your preceptorship to them—it is with regret that I part with you on their account and my own. Few young gentlemen are so well qualified or so much disposed “to rear the tender thought and teach the young idea how to shoot.”2 It is an observation not the less true for being common, that example is more forcible, but when they were so agreeably united; they could not fail of a due impression on the minds of youth.

The early precepts of your Parents and the virtuous education you have received and practice upon render every thing unnecessary by way of Caution or advice; nor need I remark to you that the true use of travel is to enlarge the understanding to rectify the judgment and to correct and rub off most of those local attachments which every man is apt to acquire by a prejudice in favour of his own Country and Laws and manners and Government, by comparing his own with other Nations,3 he will be led to believe there is something to praise and something to amend in all each.

The disposition which you have ever discovered to please and oblige your friends where ever you reside;4 and leave in the minds of your acquaintance a pleasing remembrance of you. Among that number you will do yourself the justice to believe your friend and humble Servt.

A Adams

Tr in LCA's hand in Lb/JA/26 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 114, item 66), where it appears without date or name of recipient.


Dated from AA to JA, 10 Jan., above, enclosed with this letter (see the opening sentence). Robbins, delayed in his departure for Europe, did not deliver this letter to JA until November, in London (see AA2 to JA, 10 May, and JA to AA, 8 Nov., first letter, both below).


AA quotes from James Thomson's The Seasons: Spring, lines 1152–1153, but omits “Delightful task!” which begins line 1152.


LCA appears to have first ended her transcription of this paragraph here, and then continued, writing the “he” over a dash-like period. This interruption may explain the passage's grammatical confusion.


The remainder of the paragraph is in a lighter ink, suggesting another pause in the transcription that spoiled AA's grammatical structure.

Abigail Adams 2d to Elizabeth Cranch, 11 January 1783 AA2 Cranch, Elizabeth Norton, Elizabeth Cranch Abigail Adams 2d to Elizabeth Cranch, 11 January 1783 Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA) Cranch, Elizabeth Norton, Elizabeth Cranch
Abigail Adams 2d to Elizabeth Cranch
Saturday Morn ca. 11 January 1783 1

Your letter2 my Dear Eliza, was, sent me yesterday afternoon. By the bearer of it I returned an insipid scrale3—which I suppose you have either recieved or will recieve—to day. Nothing is uninteresting to friends, a meere trivial detail of events, from those we regard, are pleasing. Never my Eliza refrain from writing me, with an idea, that 70you have nothing interesting to say, but let me hear from you by every opportunity. And when the passing moment does not furnish you a subject, renew, those interesting ones that were the subject of your long, good letter—peculiarly good—or favour me with your sentiments, on any other that may suit you. I ever find myself the better, for whatever comes from the heart of you my friend. I am very sorry for your disappointment. From the knowledge I have of the intended party, I think it would have been agreeable to you.

I walked out yesterday afternoon, and as I passed, a window, I dont know how my eyes came directed to it, there was standing a gentleman, dressed in p r iestly robes, with a letter in his hand reading it. I thought I was no stranger to the person, a second view, convinced me I was not. He started back, and would not be thought to have seen your friend—(but alas she had caught the fatal glance) and felt happy that she was alone. As tis the fashion to make secrets in Braintree, I charge you not to let this important letter appear, upon aney account whatever.4

You aske me in one of your letters, what Betsy Quincy is doing. Do you not hear from of her. She is as amiable and agreeable as ever. My most pleasing moments are passed with her. I call without serimony at any time of the day. Tis a previledge that we are not allowed, every whare in this town. Tis a happy one.

No No Eliza, I never suspected, that you were received with coldness upon the Mount Pleasant.5 It would cease to be so if the inhabitants were ever to look cold upon one. You my Dear of all folks in the World, will not receive a look of disapprobation from that quarter. Your happiness, is too nearly connected with, some one, I may say all—the whol family.

Adeiu. Believe me thy friend Amelia

Excuse my breaking of thus abrubtly. Tis late and and and and and and and and and and and. I got the mode and send it, but fear it will not suit you.

RC (MHi: C. P. Cranch Papers); addressed: “Miss Eliza Cranch Braintree”; endorsed: “Jan—83 AA.”


This letter was probably written at the Adams' home in Braintree, on either 11 or 18 Jan., following AA2's return from the Warren's home in Milton (see AA2 to Elizabeth Cranch, ca. 4 Jan. , above).


Not found.


Not identified.


The man in this passage has not been identified. His “priestly robes” would seem to argue against Royall Tyler, but no other candidate suggests himself.


Perhaps the Warren's home in Milton, where AA2 imagined that Elizabeth Cranch was interested in Henry Warren.