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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


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Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0176

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-11-15

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Portia

We have a fine Wind, and in the Course of this Afternoon and Night expect to be clear of Georges Bank, and out of Danger of meeting the Romulus, and the other Rascal.
John, and Charles, as well as S. C. Johonnot,1 are all a little Seasick, but this will soon be over.
Mr. Dana, Mr. Thaxter and myself are yet pretty well, but expect our Turn soon.
We have strong hopes of escaping the Enemy upon this Coast. We follow the Advice of Knox the Pilot, who is a very good Hand.
My Love to my dear Nabby and Thommy. J. and C. send Duty and Love.
God grant me and my little Family a happy Passage, and you and your little Household, Health, and Comfort in our Absence. I hope this will be the last Seperation, We shall suffer from each other, for any Length of Time.—If I should find an Opportunity at Sea, which is not likely, I will write, but certainly by the first Opportunity and by all occassions from France.

[salute] Adieu, Adieu, Adieu.

[signed] John Adams
{ 236 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams Braintree.” Tr in CFA 's hand (Adams Papers); prepared for CFA 's edition of JA-AA, Familiar Letters but in the end excluded.
1. Samuel Cooper Johonnot (1768–1806), son of the Boston merchant Gabriel Johonnot and grandson of JA 's Boston pastor, Rev. Samuel Cooper, was being sent under JA 's care to France for schooling. For a fuller note on Johonnot see JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:418.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0177

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1779-11-18

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

[salute] Sir

In a Letter from my Dear absent Friend the day before he saild dated on Board the Frigate he informd me that the Evening before he received a Letter from his much Esteemed Friend Mr. L[ovel]l in which he complained that “Portia did not write to him.”2 Could Portia have given a greater proof of the high value she placed upon his Friendship and correspondence she would not have withheld her hand. But can Mr. L——l so soon forget that he had prohibited her from writing by prescribing conditions to her that he knew she could not practise.
He must have divested himself of that sensibility which vibrates with every sentiment of his mind and every motion of his Heart to suppose that she could

“Give sorrow vent. The Grief that cannot speak

Whispers the o'er fraught heart and bids it Break.”

Cannot you believe me sir when I tell you that there is but one more conflict in life harder to be endured than that which I have pass't through. Why was I born with so much sensibility, why possessing it have I so often been call'd to struggle with it?
A few more such trials would distroy a tabernacle already impaired by them. Could I find pleasure and happiness in a thousand sources from whence many others would derive them, I should feel less keenly the wound, but to me the world and all its enjoyments are hazarded at once.

Fame, wealth and honour, what are ye to Love?

Do not expose me sir, the world think differently I know. You should not call for my pen unless determined to pardon my weakness. Two sons have accompanied their Father, the Eldest but 12 years of age. Mr. Thaxter too, who has lived in the Family near 6 years and was like a Brother in kindness and Friendship, makes one of the absent { 237 } Family, whilst one daughter and Little son, are my solitary companions.
Your former kindness and attention leads me to rely upon your future Friendship which notwithstanding former prohibitions I hope is not forfeited by the present sentiments of
[signed] Portia
LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “To the Honble. James Lovell Philadelphia.” This is the first entry in the sole letterbook, evidently furnished to her by JA before he sailed, that AA ever tried to maintain. She did not succeed well. This handsome, well-preserved, vellum-bound folio volume (Lb/JA/9, Microfilms, Reel No. 97) contains thirteen letter copies in her hand written over a period of thirteen months—only a fraction of her known letters and a smaller fraction of the total letters she probably wrote between Nov. 1779 and Dec. 1780. Most of the volume remains blank.
1. Missing RC was evidently dated 20 Nov. 1779; see Lovell's answer, 22 Dec. 1779 (Adams Papers).
2. “I see my Correspondence with Portia is all over. She cannot write because I should see the mark of the Tear on the Paper” (Lovell to JA , 1–2 Nov. 1779, Adams Papers).