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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


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{ 169 }

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0133

Author: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Recipient: Cranch, Elizabeth
Recipient: Norton, Elizabeth Cranch
Date: 1779-02-13

Abigail Adams 2d to Elizabeth Cranch

[salute] My Dear Myrtilla

It is now past ten however I will write you a few lines as I flatter myself they will be axcepttable, for you know we ar too apt to judge others by our own feelings.
I will ask you one question whetheir if you have an opportunity to write me you dont imbrace it if you dont happen to be in dept [debt]? If we ware too or three hundred miles distant I could expect to hear as often from you as I do now espeshely if there was not a wide ocean between us.
I spend my time very agreeably hear, how could I do otherwise in the company of Mrs. Waren and her agreeable Sons; Miss Polly Otis is to spend the Spring hear.1 I have a secret hope that Mamma does not intend to send for me yet tho I dearst not say so beceaus I know she must be very lonesome. When ever she command me to leive Plymouth I shall obey.

[salute] I must now bid you adeiu for it is quite time my Eyes ware closed to sleep. Do write me soon and belive me to be what I rearly [really] am, your Sincere friend,

[signed] Mercella
RC (MHi:Cranch Papers); addressed: “Miss Eliza Cranch att Braintree”; docketed: “ AA Plymouth Feb 13 1779.”
1. Mary Otis (1769–1806), Mrs. Warren's niece and youngest daughter of James and Ruth (Cunningham) Otis; she later married Benjamin Lincoln Jr., son of the Revolutionary general (Boston Record Commissioners, 24th Report , p. 320; NEHGR , 2 [1848]:296).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0134

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-02-13

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Yours of 15 Decr.1 was sent me Yesterday by the Marquiss whose Praises are celebrated in all the Letters from America. You must be content to receive a short Letter, because I have not Time now to write a long one.—I have lost many of your Letters, which are invaluable to me, and you have lost a vast Number of mine. Barns, Niles, and many other Vessells are lost.
I have received Intelligence2 much more agreable, than that of a removal to Holland, I mean that of being reduced to a private Citizen which gives me more Pleasure, than you can imagine. I shall therefore soon present before you, your own good Man.3 Happy—happy indeed shall I be, once more to see our Fireside.
{ 170 }
I have written before to Mrs. Warren and shall write again now.4
Dr. J. is transcribing your scotch song,5 which is a charming one. Oh my leaping Heart.
I must not write a Word to you about Politicks, because you are a Woman.
What an offence have I committed?—a Woman!
I shall soon make it up. I think Women better than Men in General, and I know that you can keep a Secret as well as any Man whatever. But the World dont know this. Therefore if I were to write any Secrets to you and the letter should be caught, and hitched into a Newspaper, the World would say, I was not to be trusted with a Secret.
I never had so much Trouble in my Life, as here, yet I grow fat. The Climate and soil agree with me—so do the Cookery and even the Manners of the People, of those of them at least that I converse with, Churlish Republican, as some of you, on your side the Water call me. The English have got at me in their News Papers. They make fine Work of me—fanatic—Bigot—perfect Cypher—not one Word of the Language—aukward Figure—uncouth dress—no Address—No Character—cunning hard headed Attorney. But the falsest of it all is, that I am disgusted with the Parisians—Whereas I declare I admire the Parisians prodigiously. They are the happiest People in the World, I believe, and have the best Disposition to make others so.
If I had your Ladyship and our little folks here, and no Politicks to plague me and an hundred Thousand Livres a Year Rent, I should be the happiest Being on Earth—nay I believe I could make it do with twenty Thousand.
One word of Politicks—The English reproach the French with Gasconade, but I dont believe their whole History could produce so much of it as the English have practised this War.
The Commissioners Proclamation, with its sanction from the Ministry and Ratification by both Houses,6 I suppose is hereafter to be interpreted like Burgoines—Speaking Daggers, but using none. They cannot send any considerable Reinforcement, nor get an Ally in Europe—this I think you may depend upon. Their Artifice in throwing out such extravagant Threats, was so gross, that I presume it has not imposed on any. Yet a Nation that regarded its Character never could have threatned in that manner.

[salute] Adieu.

1. Printed above from AA 's draft, dated 13 Dec. 1778; RC is missing.
2. This “Intelligence” had reached JA on 12 Feb.; see entry of that date in his { 171 } Diary and Autobiography , 2:353–354, and see also JA to AA , 27 Nov. 1778, above, and note 4 there.
3. Perhaps used with the force of a single word, “Goodman,” q.v. in OED : “The master or male head of a household,” “A householder in relation to his wife.”
4. JA to Mercy Warren, 18 Dec. 1778 (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.; LbC , Adams Papers, printed in JA, Works , 9:474–476, under the wrong date of 15 Dec.) It does not appear that JA kept his pledge to write Mrs. Warren again in February.
5. See above, AA to JA , 27 Dec. 1778 1779 . JA clearly wrote “Dr. J.” in MS , but this must have been a slip for “Dr. F.,” i.e. Franklin, whose fondness for the “simple traditional airs of Scotland” is well known and has been pleasantly described and documented in Claude-Anne Lopez, MonCher Papa: Franklin and the Ladies of Paris, New Haven, 1966, p. 22, 34–35, 68, 290.
6. On 3 Oct. 1778 the Carlisle conciliatory commission issued at New York a Manifesto and Proclamation addressed to Congress, the state assemblies, and Americans at large, threatening sanguinary consequences if they continued in revolt against Great Britain and in alliance with France. For the text of the Manifesto (Evans 15832) and the debates in Parliament over its substance, considered by the whig opposition as exceeding the commission's instructions, see Parliamentary Hist. , 19:1388–1402; 20:1–46.