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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


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Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0010

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-04-19

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

This Letter will be conveyed to you by Sir James Jay and Mr. Digges. Sir James is a Brother of the C[hief] J[ustice] of N. York.1 Mr. Digges is of one of the southern states.2
I never felt myself under so much Embarrassment in Writing because there never was so much Danger of my Letters falling into British Hands.
I am pleasantly situated at Passi, a fine airy, salubrious Situation, in the same House with Dr. Franklin, with whom I make one Family. The Dr. is in fine Health and great Reputation.
Long before this Reaches you, the News will have arrived of the Treaty between this Kingdom and America, a great Event indeed in our History, which cannot fail to have the most important and decisive Effects.
The Trade between the two Countries will vastly increase and the Security of it, will make it more profitable.
My dear Johnny is well fixed in a school,3 and his Behaviour does Honour to his Mamma.
My Love to my dear Daughter, and my dear sons at home.

[salute] I am yours, ever, ever yours,

[signed] John Adams
1. Sir James Jay (1732–1815), M.D. Edinburgh 1753, knighted by George III in 1763, after sundry adventures on both sides of the Atlantic because his { 15 } political views were suspected by both Americans and British, was to serve as JA 's physician during the latter's grave illness at Auteuil in the fall of 1783. His erratic conduct angered his brother John, and his career and views remain obscure to this day. See Sir James Jay to American Commissioners, 14 April 1778 (PPAmP:Franklin Papers); JA to Arthur Lee, 6 April 1784 (Adams Papers); Jay, Correspondence and Public Papers , 1:236; 2:297–298; JA, Diary and Autobiography , 3:143–144; Stokes, Iconography of Manhattan Island , 5:1145; Monaghan, John Jay , p. 29, 32, 37–38, 215; Appletons' Cyclo. Amer. Biog. ; Morris, Peacemakers , p. 298–299, 359–360, 433.
2. George Digges (1747–1792), younger brother of the better-known Thomas Digges (1742–1821), Marylanders who found themselves in England at the outbreak of the Revolution and had some difficulty in knowing which way to move, if at all. George Digges sailed from France for Boston with Sir James Jay and on 12 Aug. 1778 took an oath of loyalty to his state at Annapolis. See William Bell Clark, “In Defense of Thomas Digges,” PMHB , 77:381–438 (Oct. 1953), especially p. 386–388, 390, 438. Thomas remained in England and became a frequent but secret correspondent of JA . The “Mr. Digges” mentioned by JA in his Diary and Autobiography , under date of 20 April 1778, was therefore George rather than Thomas, and was misidentified by the editors in their note on that entry (vol. 2:304). Thomas, as Mr. Clark's article makes clear, did not come to Paris until the spring of 1779. Jay and Digges arrived in Boston on 1 July ( AA to JA , ca. 15 July, below, and note 3 there).
3. This “pension” school was kept by one Le Coeur in Passy. Among JQA 's American schoolmates there were Franklin's grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache; Jesse, son of Silas Deane; and Charles B. Cochran, evidently a South Carolinian. See JQA to AA , 20 April, below; Le Coeur to JA , 31 July, also below; JQA to Charles B. Cochran, 18 July 1814 ( RC , privately owned, printed in AHR , 15:572–574 [April 1910]); JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:301; 4:58.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0011

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Date: 1778-04-19

John Adams to Isaac Smith Sr.

[salute] Sir

This Letter will be delivered you, by two Gentlemen who are returning to America, Sir James Jay of New York, a Brother of The Hon. John Jay, once a Member of Congress, now Chief Justice of that state. The other is Mr. Digges a Gentleman from South Carolina.
These Gentlemen will be able to give you, a particular Account of all the News. I should be obliged to you if you would introduce Dr. Cooper to them, and such other Gentlemen as wish to know the state of Things in France and England.
The American Cause stands very high in Europe, at present: And it is the prevailing Opinion, that even Great Britain herself, will acknowledge our Independence, as soon as she shall see that We are inflexibly determined to support it, which no doubt, she will be convinced off, by the Reception which will be given to her Commissioners.1
As to France—I must confess, that the Friendship prevailing here for America, is more universal and more cordial, than I expected to find it.
{ 16 }
And the Reception, I have met with, in every Part of the Kingdom that I have seen, has been much more distinguished than I ever foresaw.
There is Intelligence of great Importance to America, which I am not at Liberty to put in Writing, but which perhaps may come to your Knowledge before this shall reach you.

[salute] My Duty and Love to my Dear Aunt, and my Cousins, and believe me to be, with great Esteem Yours,

[signed] John Adams
My little son, sends his Duty. He is very well, and in a good school.
RC (MHi:Smith-Carter Papers); endorsed: “John Adams Esqr. Passee. 19. April 1778.”
1. That is, the conciliatory commissioners, headed by the Earl of Carlisle, then on their way from England to America. Since they arrived some weeks after the Franco-American treaties reached Congress, their “Reception” was of the kind that JA hoped for and predicted. See Burnett, ed., Letters of Members , 3:xvi–xix, xxii–xxiii.