Adams Family Correspondence, volume 6

William Stephens Smith to Abigail Adams, 6 December 1785 Smith, William Stephens AA William Stephens Smith to Abigail Adams, 6 December 1785 Smith, William Stephens Adams, Abigail
William Stephens Smith to Abigail Adams
Tuesday Morn'g. 10 oClock 6 December 1785 1

The three Letters which Mrs. Adams honoured me with were received at Paris,2 and should have been answered, had an oppertunity offered. Permit me to pass an encomium on that prudence which dictates silence on painful Subjects, and to assure her while honour guides my actions and is my ruling star thro' Life—I shall alway's endeavour to appear as if I had taken the deepest draught from the stream recommended.3 Indeed I am now a little surprized at myself for seeking it at such a distance—when reflection would soon have pointed it out as flowing from the mount of honour, any deviation from which can never give me satisfaction or lay a proper foundation for me to risk my happiness upon—for I should alway's doubt the purity of that mind, which could sacrifice the smallest particle of it on any shrine whatever. With these sentiments my friends must feel themselves shelt'red from a troublesome assiduity which is sometimes connected with similar Circumstances.

Give me your friendship and believe—W. S. Smith—capable of gratitude.

Dr. Madam

I intended to ask for my small trunk when I begun this note, but found it full sooner than I expected. I shall be obliged if Mr. Spiller 484will send it by the bearer. I shall soon pay my respects to Mr. A——s and put my shoulder to the wheel.

W. S. S.

RC (Adams Papers); written on a small sheet of paper from which a part was torn off neatly; addressed, running onto the lost end of the sheet: “Mrs. Adams G——S.” Originally filed and filmed at [1785?] ca. 15 Dec. (Adams Papers Microfilms, Reel No. 366).


The date is based on William Stephens Smith's surprise return from the Continent on “Monday Eve,” in AA2 to JQA, 5 Dec., above.


Two are known to the editors: 13 Aug., and 18 Sept., both above.


The Lethe; see AA to William Stephens Smith, 18 Sept., above.

Lucy Cranch to Abigail Adams, 8 December 1785 Cranch, Lucy Greenleaf, Lucy Cranch AA Lucy Cranch to Abigail Adams, 8 December 1785 Cranch, Lucy Greenleaf, Lucy Cranch Adams, Abigail
Lucy Cranch to Abigail Adams
My Dear Aunt Braintree Dec. 8. 1785

I last week recieved your invaluable favour of August 27. by Mr. Storer. I wish it was in my power to return you any thing that would be any way equivelent to it, if there are any of your Letters Madam, (which I am very sure there is not) that will bear to be ranked with Whiped Sulububs Flumery &c. in what rank must mine be placed. Far very far below them. Believe me Madam your Letter to me was a dish of very solid food dressed in a manner the most elegant that was possible. And it must be high cultivation added to a naturally rich soil to produce fruites rich as your Letters are.

I felt flattered by your encomiums upon Richardsons works as it is what I have often thought. He was always a favourite author of mine. I think I never read any Romances, that taken alltogether were equal to his. Too many of them, if they do not directly lead to Vice, tend to eneveate the mind and robs it of the strenght which is nessesary to make it stem with resolution the torrent of folly, which too often prevails.

Yes my Dear Aunt I think it reasonable to suppose that those who shall make the highest attainments in virtue while here, and who most improve the talents alloted them by the supreme Being, will have the most elevated seats in the blissful mansions above, and even there shall we not be making constant progression toward greater perfection, and though always rising we shall yet be at an infinite distance from the infinitely perfect God.

Our dear good Aunt Tufts is now no more. She has bid an eternal adieu to this vale of tears, and has gone to take her seat with the blessed. The universal benovelence of her heart and her undesembled piety had long fited her for their company. As her Life had ever been 485that of virtue, and as far as in her power of ussfulness, she was able to look forward to another state with satisfaction. She bore her sickness with the resagnation of a Christion yet longing to be released from that frail tenement which had always been a sourse of pain to her. The Doctor feels his misfortune as a man and bears it as a Christion. I have not seen Mr. Storer yet, his friends in Boston cannot spare him long enough to come as far as Braintree.

My sister is now at Haverhill and has been there for two months past. She will write. Cousin JQA is there following his studies with the utmost ardour. Cousin Charles is very well, and very good. Tommy improves fast in body and mind. They all feel like Brothers to me. Charles Billy and his Chambermate L. White will keep Thanksgiving with us next week.1

I often my dear Aunt indulge myself in thinking of your speedy return: the idea gives me pleasure. I fear I must satisfy myself with that at present. I often think of the many happy hours we shall pass when you shall once more be fixed down in your peaceful habitation, on your native land, when Aunt Adams shall again spend the long winter evening with us and entertain her Neices with the relation of her adventures. How many pleasing anecdotes will she have to make the time pass cheererly away: how pleasing is this (at present) vissionary scene. Many years I hope will not pass before it is realised.

I think I ought to ask pardon for encroaching so long upon your time by my scribling. I will not increase my fault by making apoligies but will hasten to conclude with assureing you my ever dear Aunt of the resspectful gratitude and affection of your Niece.

L Cranch

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by AA2: “Miss Lucy Cranch Dec 8 1785.”


In 1785, Massachusetts observed Thanksgiving Day on 15 December, but according to JQA's Diary, Leonard White spent the day with his family in Haverhill (JQA, Diary , 1:371).