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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0213

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-02-16

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I have the Honour to be lodged here with no less a Personage than the Prince of Hesse Castle [Cassel], who is here upon a Visit. We occupy different Apartements in the same House and have no Intercourse with each other to be sure: but some Wags are of Opinion, that if I were authorized to open a Negotiation with him, I might obtain from him as many Troops to fight on our Side the Question, as he has already hired out to the English against Us.
I have found every Thing agreable here as yet: The Children are happy in their Academy, of which I send you the Plan inclosed.
The English bounce1 a great deal about obtaining seven Thousand Troops from the pety german Princes and ten Thousand from Ireland to send to America: but this is only a Repetition of their annual Gasconade. We are in Pain for Charlestown S.C. being apprehensive that they have made or will make an Effort to obtain that: which will be a terrible Misfortune to that People and a great Loss to the United States: but will be no lasting Advantage to our Ennemies.
The Channel of Correspondence you propose by Way of Bilbao and Cadiz will bring me many Letters no doubt, and I have received one of the 10 Decr. but the Postage is so expensive, being obliged to pay forty four Livres for the Packet that came with yours, that I would not advise you to send any Thing that Way unless it be a single Letter, or any Thing material in the Journals of Congress, or Letters from my friends in Congress or else where that contain any thing particularly interesting. The House of Joseph Guardoqui and Sons have sent to you by Capt. Babson of Newbury Port belonging to Mr. Tracy, some necessaries for the family,2 and you may write to Mr. Guardoqui, for any Thing you want, by any Vessell belonging to your Uncle, to Mr. Jackson or Mr. Tracy, provided you dont exceed one hundred Dollars by any one Vessell. Mr. Guardoqui will readily send them and draw upon me for the Money.
I had a great deal of Pleasure in the Acquaintance of this Family of Guardoqui's and was treated by them with the Magnificence of a Prince. They will be very glad to be Usefull to you in any Thing they can do. You will remember however that We have many Children, and that our Duty to them requires that We should manage all our Affairs with the strictest Oeconomy. My Journey through Spain, has been infinitely expensive to me, and exceeded far my Income. It is very ex• { 276 } pensive here and I fear, that I shall find it difficult to make both Ends meet, but I must and will send you some thing for necessary Use by every Oportunity.
If Mr. Lovell does not procure me the Resolution of Congress I mentioned to him, that of drawing on a certain Gentleman or his Banker, I shall soon be starved out. Pray mention it to him.3
If you should have an Inclination to write to Cadiz, for any Thing by any Vessell going there, Mr. Robert Montgomery, who is settled there I fancy would chearfully send it you, and draw upon me in Paris for his Pay.4 If any Vessell should go to Corunna, Mr. Michael Lagoanere would do the same, but this is not a likely Way.
I shall write as often as possible: but Conveyances will be very rare, I fear.

[salute] I am as I ever was and ever shall be Yours, Yours, Yours.

RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed “Plan” of Pechigny's school at Passy not found.
1. Bounce, verb, 4: “To talk big, bluster, hector; to swagger” ( OED ).
2. That is, in a vessel belonging to Nathaniel Tracy; see above, JA to AA , 16 Jan., note 4, and references there.
3.
“I beg one favour more, and that is for an order to draw in Case of Necessity and in Case all other Resources fail on Dr. Franklin or on the Banker of the United States, for a sum not exceeding My salary Yearly, and also for a Resolution of Congress, or a Letter from the Commercial Committee, requesting the Continental Agents, in Europe and America, to furnish me Aids and supplies of Cash &c., and to the Captains of all American Frigates, to afford me a Passage out or home upon demand. . . . I to pay for my Passage to Congress, or be accountable for it. . . . I hope I shall find the Funds provided for me sufficient, but if I should not I may be in the Utmost distress and bring upon myself and you Disgrace. Franklin will supply me, and so will any Agent in France, if they have a Resolution of Congress, or even a Letter from the Commercial Committee” ( JA to James Lovell, 25 Oct. 1779, LbC , Adams Papers; printed in Works , 9:501–503).
4. There are letters in the Adams Papers from Robert Montgomery at Alicante to JA , 5 and 19 Feb., offering mercantile services.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0214

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-02-16

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

On the ninth of this Month We all happily arrived here, and with Hearts replete with Gratitude. Our Journey was long, cold, tedious and painful to an extream degree. After being fortunately delivered from a crazy and leaky Ship, We had conjectured our future Enterprises would be less irksome. Our Consolation and Triumph upon the Occasion terminated almost as soon [as] they existed. We had hardly begun our Journey in Spain, before a Battalion of Difficulties of a different Complexion surrounded Us. Our Carriages, (the Tops of { 277 } which resemble Calashes, and they are so called) were not more remarkable for the Antiquity of their Fashion, than that of their Building. They were in a truly decripid State and were continually out of Repair. The Mules which draw'd them, were as dull as obstinate. The Carriages were disoblegeant, but not in the Sense, in which Yorick appropriates the Term; for they would accommodate two persons as to Seats; but in every other Sense they merit very justly his Appellation.1 The Roads were mountainous and rocky to a terrible Degree from Corunna to Astorga, which is fifty Leagues, and where there were no Mountains, in our passage, yet Rocks, Mud and Mire, were the pleasing Objects that perpetually presented themselves. The Accommodations at the Inns were exceedingly bad, the Houses being in a Situation, which Decency forbids me to describe. Thus much I hope I may say without any offence to Delicacy, that they each of them appeared to me to be a Republic of Men and Beasts. There were some Exceptions to be sure. In addition to the above assemblage of Evils, the Weather was cold oftentimes, and we found no Chimnies to repair to in Spain, whose friendly Heat could refresh the fatigued Traveller. They would bring Us a small Braziaro, or Pan of Coals—the scanty Pittance of Fire in them, would chill one at first Sight. They hardly warmed a place upon the Stone Floor of so large a Compass as they stood upon. We found the Inns cold, arising from the Materials of their Construction, being almost all of Stone; from the Stone Floors; from a Want of Fires in different parts of them and finally from the State of the Air. Their Chimnies are rather a Burlesque upon the Name than any thing else, for they are nothing more than a small circular platform of Stones, having no other passage for the Smoke, than as it expands itself about the Room, and creeps out of two or three Holes pierced thro' the Top of the House, so that you are rather suffocated with Smoke, than warmed by the Fire. These kind of Hearths are only in one Apartment, the Kitchen. It required great Resolution to venture to some of them—the Smoke precluded all Foresight. You was forewarned indeed, but you could not be forearmed.
With these natural and artificial Evils and Embarrassments We travelled from Corunna to Bayonne. The Capital Towns or Cities we pass'd thro', were Lugos, Astorga, Leon, Burgos and Bilbao. We stop'd a day at Astorga to repair our Carriages. We visited the Cathedral Church there, as We did that at Leon. The Finery, the Trumpery, the Baubles, the Gewgaws and the Bagatelles in them as well as in all others almost We visited, were astonishing. Indeed they are exceeded in nothing but the Superstition of the People. I have written freely— { 278 } perhaps indiscreetly—but I have written nothing but Facts, which will not admit of Controversy. The Statuary, the Sculpture, Paintings and Architecture were very well executed in general. But what the End and Design of these things are, would not at this Juncture become me to explain, if they were not sufficiently obvious to you already.
Amidst all our perplexities We had now and then some Comforts. We found many worthy Men in our Route, whose Hearts were not in Unison with the temperature of their Air. In most of the considerable Towns We passed thro, We met with Gentlemen, who treated Us with politeness, Attention and Hospitality. The French Consul and Mr. Lagoanere at Corunna, the Messrs. Gardoqui's at Bilbao, treated us, more particularly, with great kindness and Friendship.
All News of a political Nature you will have from another Source and with more precision than I can pretend to.
Your Letter to Madam G[rand] is rendered into French and <I am told> admired by every one that reads it, for its excellent Sentiments. Many high Encomiums have been deservedly passed upon it.2 I must and will subjoin, that its Admirers discover pure Taste and good Judgment.
I have done myself the Honor to inclose You a few Extracts from the English Newspapers. You will find in them fresh proofs of their inflexible Adherence to Truth.
Please to present my Duty and Respects where due—a copious Effusion of Batchelor's Love I beg to send forward to the Young Ladies of my Acquaintance.
I have the Honor to be with the greatest Esteem and Respect your most obedient & most hble. Servt.
By Order I added to your Memorandum, the Article of delicate fine Chintz or thin Silk for a Gown for Mrs. W.3 If either should arrive, You will please to inform her. The Money for it, I have, which will be paid to Mr. A., when the Invoice comes, which will determine whether any Money will be left to purchase other articles. My Respects to General W. and Lady.
Your little Charles was highly diverted last Sunday with my modern parisian Vamping or Metamorphosis. He wanted a Subject to write upon. I gave him my new Appearance for a Subject. The bag I have laid aside. I cannot yet reconcile my self to it. The Sword I have used but once. I can bear with one, but both of them is too much.
{ 279 }
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed “Extracts from the English News papers” not found.
1. An early, and celebrated, section of Sterne's Sentimental Journey, 1768, is entitled “The Desobligeant. Calais.” The unusual term in the title is defined in a footnote as follows: “A chaise, so called in France, from its holding but one person.”
2. On AA 's exchange of letters (which are now lost) with Mme. Ferdinand Grand, see JA to AA , 23 Sept. 1778; and AA to AA2 , ca. 11 Feb. 1779, both above; also JA to AA , 27 Feb., below.
3. From the mention of “General W.” (doubtless Gen. James Warren) below, Mercy (Otis) Warren must be meant here. AA 's “Memorandum” of goods to be purchased in Europe for her and others has not been found, but is discussed in James Moylan's letter to JA from Lorient, 28 Feb. (Adams Papers).