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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0199

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-01-06

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

You will see, lovely Woman, by the Papers which I have sent that we shall have more post Advantages of Communication than we have had for some time back;1 but I fear this Remark will tend to my Disadvantage, and if it was not for Oeconomy I would throw by the present Sheet and take up another in which I would only tell you that I regard, esteem and respect you and will certainly write to you as often as I possibly can. But since I have hinted at increasing Opportunities of Conveyance, I must assure you that the days are too short for me at present by much to get pressing public Business off my Hands; and as to the Nights they are ten times more ruinous to my health than they were in Summer. I therefore hide myself from them within the Bed Curtains the Moment that public duty is discharged. In Truth, I am at length aiming to preserve some Remnant of a good Constitution for Situations into which you seem to think you would chide me if you was invested with those Rights of Chiding which a Church Parson's Certificate is presumed to have conveyed to another.
You may thus perceive that your Letter of Decr. 13 is before me. { 257 } It was within two Minutes brought from the Office with Information that the Post sets out at 2 P.M. I ought now to be in Congress, but must scratch a Line or two for Boston.
Our Affairs are unpleasant in many Views, but not ruined. Every Patriot ought to be allarmed and then all will be safe. I think with Tristram about the Currency, now we have done with the Paper Mill and Press. It seems as if the Signature alone will not make Portia reject the Piece.2 Yorick, Sterne and Tristram are bearable but Shandy is a wicked Creature.
Let me again mention to you to mind the pages of 1778, that if I have sent doubles you may return the 2d, or if I omit, you may demand a single Sheet of the Journals.
Thank Mr. Cranch for his kind Compliments left for me with Mrs. L[ovell]. I wish him and his every Felicity.
I cannot consent so to stint my heart-warm extensive Vows for you as to pass the Compliments of the Season from my Pen, and thereby risk a Supposition that I had done all which my Affections suggest at the Instant of subscribing myself your Friend & h. Servt.,
[signed] JL
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed newspapers not found.
1. On 27 Dec. Congress had resolved
“That the post office be so regulated that the post shall set out and arrive at the place where Congress shall be sitting twice in every week, to go so far as Boston, in the State of Massachusetts bay, and to Charleston, in the State of South Carolina” ( JCC , 15:1411).
2. These allusions remain obscure.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0200

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-01-13

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

I send you a Continuance of the Journals.
The Printer having lately made a Mistake in the Course of sending me the Sheets of 1778, I was led to think he had done so before, as to that which I have written to you about already, called by him H; I therefore now put up one, as well as M.N. which I am certain were not before inclosed to you. I would have you send all forward to our Friend, unless you should have found that I really committed the Error of sending you before both Mr. A's H and my own. For you are to know that only two Copies are taken out of the Printer's Hands; and as I could not find all my own Pages I was induced to think I had sent them to you. But as you see above I have altered the Conjecture.
How do you do, Lovely Portia, these very cold Days? Mistake me not willfully; I said Days. For my Part, I was hardly able to write { 258 } legibly at the Distance of only 18 feet from two Fire Places in the Congress Room at 4 oClock this Afternoon. There is no Probability that the Cold will be decreased in 7 hours from that Time. I will strive however to refrain from coveting my Neighbour's Blankets. I shall find that not difficult. But really I doubt whether I shall be able to keep myself void of all Coveteousness. I suspect I shall covet to be in the Arms of Portia's1 Friend and Admirer—the Wife of my Bosom, who would be a whole Coverlid bettered, as well as I, by such an Approximation.
Upon casting my Eye back thro' what I have written, I find it would have been more justly comprehensible if the Page had been either a little longer or somewhat shorter. There was not room to write Turn over. I hope, however, that you did not stop long without doing so Madam; because a quick Turnover alone could save the 10th. Commandment intire; and you must now see plainly that I had not the smallest Suspicion of my being driven by my present Sufferings to make a frantic Breach there.
I hope Mr. Adams is long e'er now in France where he will not have at his very Fingers Ends such nipping Reasons as I have to regret his Separation from that sweet Comfort which is held up to our Hopes among other Bible-Felicities. Eccles: IV. 11.2
We are still without News from any of our Agents or Ministers abroad. I will not fail to communicate the first we get that can amuse you. Respectfully & affectionately Yrs.,
[signed] JL
RC (Adams Papers). The serial issues of the Journals of Congress accompanying this letter have not been found.
1. In the MS , Lovell facetiously ended the first page with the word “Portia,” adding the possessive form and the rest of the sentence overleaf. This device, reminiscent of some found in Sterne's writings, explains the clumsily playful remarks in his next paragraph.
2. “Again, if two lie together, then they have heat; but how can one be warm alone?