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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


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Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0163

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1779-07-15

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

I wrote to Mr. S A—— the same day I received your Letter,2 but not a syllable of information have I yet collected from him. No Alliance yet arrived—it will afford me some releif to be scribling to somebody who will hear me, who will attend to me and answer my Queries, and tho Mr. L[ovel]l has heretofore wrote rather problematically with regard to the situation of my absent Friend I beg of him to be explicit in answering my Questions and the first is whether the conduct of Mr. A. has been impeached either directly or Indirectly? Whether he was included in the publick censure of congress upon the dissensions amongst their commisioners, a censure which if I may presume to say it was as indiscreet as it was unjust.3 Why when Mr. Lee and Mr. Izard received new commissons Mr. Adams was not recalled? Was he ever requested to tarry in France or any notice of any kind taken of him after his commision was vacated? The Motions of congress tend towards an appointment of Mr. A——, and I make no doubt of an honorable one, says Mr. L[ovel]l in a Letter to General W[arre]n4—but where you do not mention. You observe that you are not surprised at the report of his return, nor am I if he has had the reason which I think he has for it. Whenever you favour me with a reply, I request a full and free indulgance of your pen upon the subject. If I have sufferd heretofore in some sacrifice of personal happiness believe me Sir I feel not less keenly the reward of it. But I say this only to you or a { 211 } perticuliar Friend. To every other inquirer my Lips shall keep silence. The safe return of the Alliance may possibly dispell the cloud which at present hangs heavy [on] 5 the Heart and mind of
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers); at head of text in CFA 's hand:“1779.” Just possibly the MS is a fragment, beginning as it does at the top of a page without salutation or paragraph indention and the text seeming to begin in medias res.
1. In all probability this letter was written within a day or two of AA 's receipt of Mrs. Warren's letter to her of [14] July, preceding; see note 4 below.
2. Lovell's letter must be that of 5 June, above, but no letter from AA to Samuel Adams in late June or early July 1779 has been found.
3. Congress' much-debated resolve of 20 April on the Deane-Lee dispute: “That suspicions and animosities have arisen among the late and present commissioners, . . . highly prejudicial to the honor and interest of these United States” ( JCC , 13:487). JA 's name was not among those finally included in the resolve. See below, JA to AA , 13 Nov., note 3.
4. Lovell to Warren, 15 June ( Warren-Adams Letters , 2:108), the substance of which respecting JA 's status was transmitted to AA , in almost the same words as those used here, in Mrs. Warren's letter to AA , preceding; see note 2 there.
5. MS torn. The word may be “over.”

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0164

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-07-16

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

[epigraph]
March 6 1779. “Our friend my late Colleague means to embark soon and from him you will learn the State of our Affairs here. Mr. Izard and myself would have accompanyed him had not our Commissions prevented us.”

[salute] My dear Madam

[epigraph]
March 6 1779. “Our friend my late Colleague means to embark soon and from him you will learn the State of our Affairs here. Mr. Izard and myself would have accompanyed him had not our Commissions prevented us.”
The above is an Extract from a Letter of Ar. Lee to Mr. S. Adams1 and tho Mr. Lee writes afterwards on April 6th. yet it was a very short Letter of Information concerning the Enemys Plan against Connecticutt just as they have lately proceeded.2 He says not a Syllable therein about Mr. Adams; but it is currently reported here that he was at a Port of Embarkation before the Vessel now here left France. I suspect he is on board the Alliance Frigate; perhaps while I am writing he is embracing you. If not, you may find by a confidential Moment or two with his worthy Namesake in Boston the probable Cause of his not waiting for some special Direction from hence. Staying or Returning, I am sure he has done right; he has acted like a Man of Judgement, Probity and Spirit: Therefore it is that I express no Surprize at the written Intelligence or the Report.
I refer you to Mr. S. A——for the Communications which should make your Bosom easy if it is capable of suspecting my Mr. Adams of { 212 } Rashness. I will not without absolute Necessity risque to the Accidents of Carriage on the Road, at this Time, all that I could say about the probable Causes of this unexpected Return: The Knowledge of your being in any Pain about it, after having seen the Gentleman to whom I have referred you, will constitute such Necessity. For, be assured, the Sacrifices you have made to the public Good and the Manner in which you have made them have given you a despotic Command over my Affections. And, here, by way of Attonement for the Voice I have once given against your private and personal Felicity, I do soberly promise that, unless there is a great Change for the better in the Manners of America, I will not speedily exert myself in any way for the self same Purpose, but leave Portia in the full Enjoyment of Days twenty-five hours long.

[salute] Very platonically to be sure but, very, very affectionately your humb. Servt.,

[signed] JL
3 Ship Captains say Genl. Lincoln gained a Battle on the 20th. of June in a fair Field, each side quitting their Lines. The devilish Lies before were told by a Mate. The odds of Title is not all. Capt. Sergeant of Cape Ann who left Carolina the 23d. told the Story in the Teeth of the Delegates of his own State in their Parlour.
Perhaps I may get some particulars from Col. Laurens late President who, I hear, has examined the Gentlemen.
[signed] JL
I broke the Seal to warn you against the News. Col. Laurens told me a very fine Story which he believed from“the very ingenious Manner in which it was detailed to him.” An Express varies it by Letter so far as that our Men attacked the Enemy's Lines and were obliged to retreat which they did by order and in the best Manner. Things are not in bad Train however. The Writer tells that both Cannon and Musquetry were heard at the Time of his Writing so that the latter Part of the Story may turn out something like Truth, the Power of our Gallies being equal to the Work they meant to do at Stono Bridge.
1. The original has not been found. It was forwarded by Lovell to Samuel Adams, doubtless in Lovell's letter to Adams of 16 July (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members , 4:319–320). See also Adams to AA , 31 July, below.
2. Arthur Lee to the Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Affairs (PCC, No. 83, II; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 3:110–111), read in Congress on 15 July ( JCC , 14:836).
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