A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
close

Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0120

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1779-01-04

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

May I be permitted to call of your attention from the important and weighty concerns of State to answer me a Question in which I feel myself interested. I find by some late intelligence which I have collected that there is a New arrangement of the commissioners, Doctor Franklin being appointed Minister plenipotentiary for France, Mr. Lee for Spain. My query is where is my Friend to be placed?
I would fain hope not at a greater Distance than he is at present. The publick service may require a removal, to that service he is devoted, and must attend it where ever it can best be promoted, whilst I must endeavour to act the part allotted to my Sex—patience and submission—a Lesson I ought to be well versed in since I have been so often call'd to the Exercise of it.
I wish to know if any vessels have arrived at the Southard from France by which you have received Letters from my Friend. This day { 148 } compleats 10 months since he left his own habitation,1 during the whole of this time I have heard from him only 5 times, his last date 27 of August near four months ago.2 This is a painfull situation and my patience is sometimes nearly exhausted; I should complain more but that I am conscious I am writing to a Gentleman who lives in the continual practise of mortification and self denial, having already been absent from his family near two years, tho the frequent intercourse by Letters must greatly lessen the pains of absence.
<If my Friend should be removed from France it is not likely that I should be able to hear even so often as I have done. The climate is perticularly agreable to his Health and the Manners of the people greatly changed for the better during the present Reign, and their Sentiments both in Religion and politicks are much more liberal than they formerly were).3 >
Since Mr. T[haxte]r left Philadelphia I have scarcly seen a publick paper, or known any thing that has past in the Capital of America, as it is termd but why I know not unless the residence of your high Mightinesses there should make it so. Some of the Mighty ones of the Earth appear to be at varience and tell sad stories of each other. The publick will not sit down easy from the present disposition which appears among them unless an Eclarismong takes place with regard to the charges exhibited by Mr. Dean. Surely he would not have advanced such articles as he has unless he had the proofs in his Hand's.4
It is a very great misfortune that persons imployd in the most important Departments should be at varience with each other, or should have seperate interests from the publick whom they profess to serve. Ceasars wife ought not to be suspected.
Am I entitled to the journals of Congress, if you think so I should be much obliged to you if you would convey them to me.
I want to be resolved in an other question, what shall we do with our currency? I fear it will be a Hurculean labour to extricate it out of its present forlorn condition. There is a universal uneasiness with regard to it and some are speculating one project, some another.
If the Embargo should cease this month Mr. L[ovel]l will not be unmindfull of his assured Friend and Humble Servant,5
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers); at head of text in JQA 's hand: “to James Lovell Philadelphia.” Composed several weeks earlier than the date it bears; see notes 1 and 2.
1. Although JA left Braintree for France on 13 Feb., AA 's phrase “10 months” is not so much a mistake as an indication that she actually wrote this { 149 } draft on or about 13 Dec. 1778. She must have affixed to it the date of 4 Jan. when she copied out and sent the (missing) RC to Lovell, but she failed to update this reference in the draft. Lovell's answer of 19 Jan., below, shows that RC was dated 4 Jan. and that she corrected its text to read “near 11 months.”
2. AA acknowledged JA 's letter of 27 Aug. 1778 in hers to JQA of 15 Dec., above, thus confirming the conjecture in the preceding note that she drafted the present letter on or about 13 Dec. 1778.
3. This paragraph is scratched out in MS . AA perhaps decided that offering to a member of the Committee for Foreign Affairs her personal reasons for JA 's remaining in France would be thought meddlesome.
4. Silas Deane's combined defense of his conduct in France and counterattack on Arthur Lee, entitled “To the Free and Virtuous Citizens of America,” had been printed in the Pennsylvania Packet on 5 Dec. and was reprinted in all the Boston papers early in January. This was the first in a proposed series of articles, but it proved such a bombshell that no more were published. JA was unwillingly but inevitably drawn into the bitter and protracted Deane-Lee feud and was profoundly distressed by Deane's publication when it reached France, declaring on 8 Feb. that there appeared to him “no Alternative left but the Ruin of Mr. Deane, or the Ruin of his Country.” See JA to AA , 9 Feb., below, and JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:345–351.
5. On the “Embargo” and AA 's concern over it, see Lovell to AA , 1, 12 Sept. 1778, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0121

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-01-18

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

A Gentleman, Mr. Boardman of Newbury Port,1 is going, and by him I send you a few Lines.
In England nothing is talked of, but Admiral Keppell, whom they are daily trying by a Court Martial. His Defence, I suppose is our security, viz. the shattered Condition of their Navy.
They are almost ripe for cutting each others Throats to all Appearance, yet they are about sending Reinforcements to America. But they cant send many.
Here, they are silently preparing for your Assistance. Patience and Perseverance, will finally obtain what We wish.
I am quite unwell, with one of my violent Colds. But I walk ten miles a day to cure it.
I never was so embarrassed, in writing to you in my Life. I never know what security I have against appearing in the News Papers, and I assure you I dont wish to see any more of my Love Letters there.2
I have been here in a State of total Suspence and Uncertainty, these three Months. Not one Word can We get from Congress. No News here from the Comte3 since his Departure from Boston.
1. Probably Capt. Offin Boardman, who had commanded a Newburyport privateer that had been captured; Boardman had escaped from Mill Prison and made his way to France (William H. Bayley and Oliver O. Jones, History of { 150 } the Marine Society of Newburyport [Newburyport], 1906, p. 355–356).
2. An allusion to his letter to AA of 24 July 1775, intercepted and published by the British; see text and notes at vol. 1:255–258, above.
3. Admiral d'Estaing.