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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


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Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0128

Author: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Recipient: Cranch, Elizabeth
Recipient: Norton, Elizabeth Cranch
Date: 1779-02-04

Abigail Adams 2d to Elizabeth Cranch

[salute] My Dear Myrtilla

If aney person had told me the night I left Braintree that I should have ben at Plymouth almost seven weaks and have received only one letter from my Mamma and too from my Myrtilla1 I should have thought they ware capable of telling a falshood but I find it too true. I had almost taken up a resollution not to have wrote to aney of my Braintree friends untill I had received letters from them, but you know that second thoughts are often the best and I think I will put them in mind that thare is such a person gone out of Braintree as one Nabby Adams. Perhaps they have forgot it; or thought her of so littel consequence that they never troubled themselves to write to her or even to think of her; I assure you she takes it not a little hard. You will suppose me prejudiced in her favour; and would it be strainge if I ware; why rearly I dont think it would.
I have this afternoon seen the farce no dought you will have seen before this rearches you. Some suppose it wrote by Mr. Gimey Huse.2 I should like to know your opinion of it. I think some caractters are taken of very well. It is much more severe upon the tories than the whigs which is something strange unless he is a turncoat.

[salute] I must now bid you adeiu with asureing you that neither time nor { 160 } distance shall ever obliterate that affection with wich I remain your sincere friend,

[signed] Mercella
Yesterday I had the pleasure to receive your kind letter of jan 31; I should write you a longer letter by this oportunity but I expect General Waren will go tomorow Morning and I shall not have time as it is now late in the evening. You will suppose I am quite contented here as I am when I tell you that I have ben hear seven weaks and have not ben out but twice excepting to Mrs. Lothrops whare I visiat often. Once I have ben to Mr. Watsons he has a very agreable Laidie and too Deaughters Miss Betsey and Miss Ellen3 they are very agreable young Laidies, but I cannot give you aney further decription of them as I have a very bad pen and so sleeppy that I dont know what I write and must bid you adieu.
RC (MHi:Cranch Papers); addressed: “Miss Eliza Cranch Braintree”; docketed: “A A plyth. Feb 7 1779.”
1. None of these letters has been found, nor has Elizabeth Cranch's of 31 Jan., mentioned below.
2. Doubtless standing for “Jimmy Hughes,” who may have been the James Hughes (d. 1799) who graduated at Harvard in 1780. His “farce” has not been identified.
3. William Watson (1730–1815), Harvard 1751, a merchant and “indispensable town father,” was currently the Plymouth postmaster, later naval officer and collector of customs for Plymouth, and eventually chief justice of the Inferior Court. His daughter Elizabeth was to marry in 1789 Nathaniel Niles, a Vermont congressman. His daughter Ellen in 1785 married Judge John Davis of Plymouth and Boston. (Bradford Kingman, Epitaphs from Burial Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts, Brookline, 1892, p. 125; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates , 13:149–153.)

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0129

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-02-09

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

It is now a Year within a Day or two of my Departure from home. It is in vain for me to think of writing of what is passed.
The Character and Situation in which I am here, and the Situation of public Affairs absolutely forbid my Writing, freely.
I must be excused.—So many Vessells are taken, and there are so many Persons indiscreet, and so many others inquisitive, that I may not write. God knows how much I suffer for Want of Writing to you. It used to be a cordial to my Spirits.
Thus much I can say with perfect sincerity, that I have found nothing to disgust me, discontent me, or in any manner disturb me, in the French Nation. My Evils here arise altogether from Americans.
{ 161 }
If I would have inlisted myself under the Banners of Either Party, I might have filled America I doubt not with Panegyricks of me, from one Party and Curses and Slanders from another. I have endeavoured to be hitherto impartial, to search for nothing but the Truth and to love nobody and nothing but the public Good, at least not more than the public Good. I have hoped that Animosities might be softened, and the still small Voice of Reason heard more, and the boisterous Roar of Passions and Prejudices less.—But the Publication of a certain Address to the People, has destroyed all such Hopes.
Nothing remains now but the fearfull Looking for of the fiery Indignation of the Monster Party, here.
My Consolation is, that the Partisans are no more than Bubbles on the Sea of Matter born—they rise—they break and to that Sea return.
The People of America, I know stand like Mount Atlass, but these Altercations occasion a great deal of Unhappiness for the present, and they prolong the War.
Those must answer for it who are guilty. I am not.1
1. This letter should be read in the context of JA 's diary entries of 8–12 Feb. 1779, including his draft letter to Vergennes of 10–11 Feb., which he reduced by about three-quarters before actually sending it ( Diary and Autobiography , 2:345–353). JA first read Deane's publication as reprinted in English and French newspapers, and it put his mind, he said, “in such a State . . . as it never was before. I confess it appeared to me like a Dissolution of the Constitution” (i.e. the union of States in Congress); it might lead, he thought, to “a civil War in America” (same, p. 353).