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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2


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Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0146

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-04-02

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I sit down to write tho I feel very Languid; the approach of Spring unstrings my nerves, and the South winds have the same Effect upon me which Brydon says the Siroce winds have upon the inhabitants of Sicily.1 It gives the vapours, blows away all their gaiety and spirits and gives a degree of Lassitude both to the Body and mind, which renders them absolutely incapable of performing their usual functions.
He adds that it is not surprizing that it should produce these Effects upon a phlegmatic English constitution; but that he had just had an Instance that all the Mercury of France must sink under the weight of this Horrid Leaden Atmosphere. A smart Parisian marquis came here, (to Naples) about ten days ago; he was so full of animal Spirits that the people thought him mad. He never remained a moment in the same place; but at their grave conversations used to skip from room to room with such amazing elasticity that the Italians swore he had got springs in his shoes. I met him this morning walking with the step of a philosopher; a smelling bottle in his hand, and all his vivacity extinguishd. I asked what was the matter? “Ah! mon ami,” said he “je m'ennui à la mort; moi, qui n'ai jamais sçu L'ennui. Mais cet execrable vent m'accable; et deux jours de plus, et je me pend.”
The natives themselves do not suffer less than strangers. A Neapolitian lover avoids his Mistress with the utmost care in the time of the Siroce, the indolence it inspires, is almost sufficent to extinguish every passion. Thus much for the Siroce or South East wind of Naples, which I am persuaided bear[s] a near resemblance to our Southerly Winds, and thus does the happiness of Man depend upon a blast of wind.
I think the Author of common Sense some where says that no persons make use of quotations but those who are destitute of Ideas of their own. Tho this may not att all times be true, yet I am willing to acknowledg it at present.
{ 194 }
Yours of the 7 of March received by the Post.2 Tis said here that How is meditating an other visit to Philadelphia, if so I would advise to taking down all the doors that the panels may not suffer for the future.
Tis said here that General Washington has but 8 thousand troops with him. Can it be true? that we have but 12 hundred at Ticondorogo. I know not who has the care of raising them here, but this I know we are very dilitory about it. All the troops which were station'd upon Nantasket and at Boston are dismissd this week so that we are now very fit to receive an Enemy; I have heard some talk of routing the Enemy at Newport, but if any thing was designd against them, believe tis wholy laid aside. Nobody seems to consider them as dangerous or indeed to care any thing about them.
Where is General Gates? We hear nothing of him.
The Church doors were shut up last Sunday in consequence of a presentment, a farewell Sermon preached and much weeping and wailing. Persecuted [to] 3 be sure but not for righteousness sake. The conscientious parson had Taken an oath upon the Holy Evangelist to pray for His most Gracious majesty as his Sovereign Lord, and having no Father Confesser to absolve him, he could not omit it without breaking his oath.4
Who is to have the command at Ticondorogo? Where is General Lee? How is he treated? Is there a scarcity of Grain in Philadelphia. How is flower sold there by the Hundred?
Are there any stocking weavers needles to be had. Hardwick has been with me, to desire me to write to you, to send Turner to procure 500 and to beg of you to enclose to me 50 or a Hundred at a time as he is in great want of them. Says Turner knows what sort he wants, and if you will send word what the price is he will pay it, and make me a present of the best pair of Brants he gets this year. He is full of work, but almost out of needles.
We are just begining farming Buisness. I wish most sincerely you was Here to amuse yourself with it, and to unbend your mind from the cares of State. I hope your associates are more to your mind than they have been in times past. I suppose you will be joind this month by two from this state.5

[salute] Adieu. Yours.

[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia To be left at the Post Office in Boston”; endorsed: “Portia ans. Ap. 27”; docketed in CFA 's hand.
1. Patrick Brydone, A Tour through Sicily and Malta; in a Series of Letters { 195 } to W. Beckford, Esq., London, 1773, and later editions (BM, Catalogue ). No Adams copy has been found.
2. JA 's second letter of that date, above.
3. This word editorially supplied for clarity.
4. Rev. Edward Winslow held his last service in Christ Church, Braintree, on 30 March. See AA to JA , 29 Sept. 1776, above, and note 4 there.
5. An enlargement of the Massachusetts delegation in Congress, though evidently talked of, did not happen.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0147

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-04-02

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Yesterdays Post brought me your kind Favour of March 8. 9. 10, with a Letter inclosed for [from] each of my Sons. But where is my Daughters Letter? That is missing. I regret the Loss of it much.1
You think I dont write Politicks enough! Indeed I have a surfeit of them. But I shall give you now and then a Taste, since you have such a Goust for them.
By a Letter of 17. Jany.2 Dr. Franklin, Mr. Deane and Dr. Lee, met in Paris, and on 28. december had an Audience of the Count de Vergennes, Secretary of State and Minister of foreign Affairs; laid before him their Commission, with the Articles of the proposed Treaty of Commerce; were assured of the Protection of his Court, and that due Consideration should be given to what they offered. Soon after they presented a Memorial on the Situation of our States,3 drawn up at the Ministers Request, together with the Articles of general Confederation, and the Demand for ships of War, agreable to their Instructions. Copies of all which Papers, they gave to the Count D'Aranda, the Spanish Ambassador, to be communicated to his Court.
They were promised an Answer from the french Court, as soon as they could know the Determination of Spain, with whom they design to Act with perfect Unanimity. In the mean Time they are expediting several Vessels laden with Artillery, Arms, Ammunition and Cloathing.
The Ports of France, Spain and Florence (that is Leghorne in the Mediterranean) are open to the American Cruizers, upon the usual Terms of Neutrality.
They write for Commissions to be given to Privateers, and for more frequent and authentic Intelligence.
Great Efforts are now making by the British Ministry, to procure more Troops from Germany. The Princes in Alliance with France, have refused to lend any, or to enter into any Guarrantee of Hanover, which England has been mean enough to ask, being apprehensive for that Electorate if she should draw from it, any more of its Troops.
{ 196 }
Four more Regiments (two of them to be light Horse) are raising in Hesse, where there has been an Insurrection, on Account of drafting the People: and now great sums of Money, are distributed for procuring Men. They talk of Ten thousand Men in all to be sent over this Spring.
The Hearts of the French are universally for Us, and the Cry is strong for immediate War with Britain. Indeed every Thing tends that Way, but the Court has Reasons for postponing it, a little longer. In the mean Time, Preparations are making. They have Twenty six sail of the Line manned and fit for the Sea. Spain has seventeen sail in the same State, and more are fitting with such Diligence, that they reckon to have thirty sail in each Kingdom, by April. This must have an immediate good Effect in our Favour, as it keeps the English Fleet at Bay, coops up their Seamen, of whom they will scarce find sufficient to man their next set of Transports, will probably keep Lord Howes fleet more together for fear of a Visit, and leave Us more Sea room, to prey upon their Commerce and a freer Coast to bring in our Prizes, and supplies from abroad.
The Letter then mentions a Circumstance much to our Advantage but this is a secret.4
So strong is the Inclination of the Wealthy, in France to assist Us, that our Ambassadors have been offered a Loan of two Millions of Livres, without Interest, and to be repaid when the united States are settled in Peace and Prosperity. No Conditions or securities are required. They have accepted this noble Benefaction, and one half of it is paid into the Hands of their Banker. On the strength of this supply, they are now in Treaty for some strong ships.
Lee is in N.Y. confined, but otherwise treated well.
1. AA 's letter of 8–10 March, above, evidently enclosed, or was intended to enclose, letters from all the Adams children (except TBA ?), of which only that from JQA of 3 March, above, has been found.
3. Dated 5 Jan. and in same, p. 245–246.
4. A contract for American tobacco, under the terms of which the Farmers General were to advance a large sum at once for the purchase of French munitions and other military supplies to be sent to America.