Adams Family Correspondence, volume 7

John and Abigail Adams to William Stephens Smith, 5 August 1786 JA AA Smith, William Stephens John and Abigail Adams to William Stephens Smith, 5 August 1786 Adams, John Adams, Abigail Smith, William Stephens
John and Abigail Adams to William Stephens Smith
Three Cup's Harwich August. 5. 1786. Saturday Dear Sir

After a very pleasant Journey, here We are. We came very leisurely, dined the first day at Ingatestone and Slept at Witham, dined Yesterday at Mistley (Mr Rigbys Seat very near) and Slept where We now are, in full View of the Land Guard Fortification, with a fair Sun and fine Breeze. Our Carriage is on Board. As Fortune will have it, Hearn is the Captain. It is my third Passage with him. The two first were tedious,1 this I hope will be otherwise. The Agent for the Packetts called upon Us last night, in Consequence of Mr Frasers Letter.2 Ld Walthams Seat,3 and Mr Rigbys, We wished to ramble in. Rigbys looks at a fine Cove of Salt Water. As this Farm has been watered and manured with the Effluvia of an hundred Millions of Money, being the Nerves of the American War, it might have been more magnificent. It is a fine Seat.4 My Love to my dear Mrs Smith. Mamma sends her Love to you both.

We passed a pretty Seat, of the Family of Hoar, perhaps the Same with that of President Hoar, once of Harvard Colledge.5

At the Sign of the 3 cups, a tolerable House where a better is not to be had, with a fine view of the water from 3 windows, and a memento mori from the fourth, viz a burying Ground and church with 308in half a rod of us. We are now Setting at the Breakfast table. Pappa having told you where we stopd dined Slept &c has left nothing for me to say excepting that he twic mounted Johns Horse and rode 7 miles twice, which you See by computation makes 14 ms. In concequence of a Letter from the Secretary of states office the captain is obliged to give us the great cabin to ourselves for which we must make him a compliment of 10 Guineys and 7 for the Carriage. We concluded as there were 10 other passengers one being a Lady, that if any of them were very sick we could not (doing as we would be done by), refuse them admittance. So it was as well not to retain it, as the captain promisd me a small room by myself. The Country from London to Harwich is very delightfull, we were not much incomoded with dust. We found a card at woods, from mr Hollis requesting us to call on him and take a dinner or Bed &c. We reachd woods about 2 oclock orderd our dinner and walkd to the Hide. Mr Hollis received us with great Hospitality, and miss Brands countanance shone. She treated us with some cake, we Sat an hour took our leave and dined at Woods. Esther sighd this morning as she was dressing me and said, how strange it seems not to have Mrs Smith with us. I had felt it strange through the whole journey—one must be weaned by degrees. I hope you are very happy, you cannot be otherways whilst you continue to have the disposition to be so. Look in if you please once a week at our House, and let me know that it continues to Stand in Grosvenour Square adieu. Your affectionately


RC (MHi: De Windt Collection); addressed by JA: “To William S Smith Esqr Charge des Affaires of the United States of America Wimpole Street No. 16. London”; endorsed: “Harwich August 5th. 1786 Jno. Adams Ansd. 8th.”; stamped: “7 AU” and “[H]arwich.”


JA and JQA sailed from Harwich to Hellevoetsluis in Jan. 1784. In August of the same year JA made the opposite voyage, alone, to join AA, AA2, and JQA, who had preceded him, in London (JA, D&A , 3:152, 170).


William Fraser (Frazier) was undersecretary of state for foreign affairs in Lord Carmarthen's office (Jefferson, Papers , 8:302). The letter has not been identified.


New Hall, the seat of Drigue Billers Olmius (1746–1787), 2d baron Waltham in the Irish peerage, was located in Boreham, Essex (Namier and Brooke, House of Commons , 3:225).


Mistley Hall, on the River Stour, was owned by Richard Rigby (1722–1788). As paymaster general of the forces, 1768–1782, Rigby controlled vast sums of public funds. The office was reformed in 1782 and Rigby accused of personally profiting from the monies under his control. Although he agreed to repay the outstanding balances, the public was still owed £156,000 three years after his death (Namier and Brooke, House of Commons , 3:354–360).


To this point, the letter is written by JA. The remainder is written by AA. Rev. Leonard Hoar (ca. 1630–1675), third president of Harvard College (1672–1675), was born in Gloucestershire, England. He came to Massachusetts as a child with his family, gradu-309ated at Harvard in 1650, returned to England in 1653, and preached at Wanstead, Essex, until 1662. In 1672, he accepted an invitation to preach at the Old South Church and returned to Boston. Soon thereafter he was named president of Harvard ( Sibley's Harvard Graduates , 1:228–252; DNB ).

William Stephens Smith to John and Abigail Adams, 8 August 1786 Smith, William Stephens JA AA William Stephens Smith to John and Abigail Adams, 8 August 1786 Smith, William Stephens Adams, John Adams, Abigail
William Stephens Smith to John and Abigail Adams
My dear Sir London Tuesday 8th. of August 1786

We were pleased by the receipt of yours of the 5th. inst. from Harwich, to find that your jaunt to that period and place had proved so agreable, you have our earnest wishes for its continuance. But we have been apprehensive since, that the fine Sun and fair Brieze which invited you on board in the morning, forsook you before, you had crossed the Channel. At this place, the after part of the day lowered, and it closed with light gusts and some rain, which continued thro, the night and part of Sunday, from this we were prevented from going to Church as usual, but our Prayers for your safety were equally fervent and as for Sermons, we had enough agreable to former allowance to last us a month, for we seated ourselves like sober people in the drawing room and read 4. Inclosed I send you a Letter from Mr. Rutledge of Charlestown South Carolina, introducing Doctor Moyes.1 He dined with us yesterday in Company with Dr. Price, Mr. Hartley and Major Langborne. The Day passed very agreable the two Philosophers were much pleased with each other and their conversation entertaining and instructive. They left us between 9 and ten. Very shortly after I was beat at a game of Chess—by the dear Lady you desire your Love to, she returns it with all the warmth of an honest heart. There has nothing new transpired since your departure. Margaret Nicholson is still in confinement and furnishes Paragraphs and Prints. His Majesty is highly applauded for his presence of mind and humanity on the occasion, and the Prince of whales is said to have discovered great filial affection, in the expedition with which he flew to congratulate his Royal Father, on his escape. This shews his goodness of heart, and must encrease (if possible) that public admiration which has been exccited by his other virtues. A Card in the general advertiser of this Morning after Stating the general joy which pervades all ranks of People and the numberless addresses which are preparing to be presented, say's, let us add our mite to the general Joy. We rejoice that his Majesty's Life has been preserved amidst a host of enemies, both open and secret. May his future reign enable him to forget the national calamities of 310 late years in the full enjoyment of peace and happiness and every Comfort, that a good Citizen can wish a good King.

So my good madam you were seated in a tolerable good House—with 3 Cups—at the breakfast table, with water in abundance—&c &c—but why did you bring in the memento mori—the burying ground and Church. I recollect when I was at that same house, I walk'd in that burying Ground and visited that Church, but thought more of you and your Dear Daughter than of either. But it has come to a happy period and I am contented and pleased. I sometimes wish for her sake, more Company and amusement. For myself, I wish for no other while I can please and amuse her. She is every thing I can wish in a Companion. If she was a little fonder of talking She would exceed the rest of her sex too much perhaps. We miss you and Papa very much and count the hours untill you return. You astonish us, thwice 7 Miles you say he appeard on the Back of Johns Horse, and did he Live? Well there is no Knowing what a body can do, before they try. On your return if the experiment should extend to twice 14, we'll both get hobby horses and Canter to Pain's Hill while you two Lady's are diverting yourselves in the Chariot with our bouncing &c. &c. Poor Esther sigh'd, and repeated the first verse in the Chapter of Lamentation.2 It was in unison with your feelings, and No. 16 Wimpole Street about the same moment echoed something we could not tell what. But we must not indulge it, for this greif according to Sr. John Falstaff . . .3 and is a terrible thing—adieu heaven bless you. My dear Abbey joins me in Love to you and Pappa. I am yours jointly and seperately I have made such a jumble of this that I can scarcely with any grace bring in the name of

W. S. Smith

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by AA: “Col Smith August 8th 1786.”


Dr. Henry Moyes, a blind Scotsman, traveled the eastern seaboard of the United States, 1784–1786, delivering a series of lectures on the philosophy of chemistry and natural history. He lectured in Charleston in April and May before sailing for Britain (Brooke Hindle, The Pursuit of Science in Revolutionary America, 1735–1789, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1956, p. 284–286; Jefferson, Papers , 8:51; Massachusetts Centinel, 20 May; Boston Independent Ledger, 5 June). The letter of introduction, from either Edward or John Rutledge, has not been found.


Lamentations, 1:1: “How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!”


Thus in MS. According to Sir John Falstaff, “A plague of sighing and grief! It blows a man up like a bladder” (Henry IV, Part 1, Act II, scene iv, lines 365–366).