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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


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Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0270

Author: Warren, Winslow
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-05-26

Winslow Warren to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

I had the honor of receiving your Letter the last Week handed Me by Mr. Cranch; accompanied with your Letters for Mr. Adams1 Which I shall take particular pleasure in Conveying safe.—I shant here Attempt to Discribe my Gratitude to you for your Good Wishes and friendly advice to Me, In which I should fall so far short of what I would wish to express that it would neither give me the satisfaction in Conveying nor perhaps sufficiently convince you of the Obligation I feel myself under for this mark of your Condescention and friendship. To you it may suffice to say I think such a Letter from a Lady, and a Lady so Very Capable of dictating to a Youth as Mrs. Adams would stimulate the Most Depraved to the path of Virtue and Honor.
I have ever Endeavoured as far as the Caprices and Instabilitys of Youth and My Situation would Allow me, to avoid every friendship and Connection from which I might Hazzard the least personal reproach and dishonor. You May immagine I have met with mistaken friendships and formed too Contemptable Connections.
If I had, I Could Not entertain suspicions so dishonorable to Understandings as to suppose Any would Attribute them to more than Misfortune and Mistake. To whatever cause Mrs. Adams would Ascribe them I am sure her Generosity and Candour would Overlook Every Inadvertance of that kind which may have happened, at least till she perceives that Maturer Years and a better knowledge of the World does Not Guide with More Judgement thro: the snares and Machinations you Mention. I do Now and perhaps may have better reason to Consider my Voyage as a fortunate Opportunity to shake of Intimacys Many of which I hold in ineffable Contempt.—After informing you of my disappointment that I had Not the Honour of Again Waiting on You, and after wishing You every felicity subscribe with every sentament of respect and Esteem yr. Most Obedt: and very humb: Servt:
[signed] Winslow Warren2
{ 359 }
1. When Warren, 21-year-old son of James and Mercy (Otis) Warren, was about to embark in the brigantine Pallas, scheduled to sail from Boston on 20 May, his mother wrote AA offering her the opportunity of sending letters by him to JA (Mercy Warren to AA , 8 May 1781 [i.e. 1780] , Adams Papers). AA embraced the chance, but the letters were doubtless lost when Warren was captured; see the following note.
2. Winslow Warren, in leaving for the Netherlands and France designed to seek his fortune by setting up a commission business dealing in goods to and from America. (See a brief sketch of Warren, vol. 2:151, above.) The Warrens were at least as protective of their children as other parents; Winslow's youthful friendships and proclivities had evidently already caused them concern; and his mother had solicited AA 's advice to a son about to face temptations of a kind assumed to be far more numerous and seductive in Europe than in America; see AA to Winslow Warren, 19 May, above.
The departure of the Pallas was delayed until late in June, and not long after it finally sailed, from Newburyport, it was captured by the British man-of-war Portland and carried into St. John's, Newfoundland, where Warren at least briefly joined other Americans aboard the prison ship Proteus (James Warren to JA , 11 July, Warren-Adams Letters , 2:134; Winslow Warren and others to Adm. Richard Edwards, 20 July, MHi:Misc. Bound), then remaining at St. John's until September when he continued to England. (For the events of this interval, see below, AA to JA , 23 Aug., note 1.) For a time after arriving in London, Warren suffered no restraints and enjoyed the pleasures of London life with two other young Americans who had recently arrived there via Nantes, Paris, and Ostend. They were the fledgling artist John Trumbull, of Connecticut, and John Steele Tyler, a Bostonian whose errand was not to be known until 150 years later; see above, Richard Cranch to JA , 26 April, and note 1 there. In passing, Trumbull characterized Warren as “a somewhat amphibious character, and withal young, handsome and giddy,” but they must all have seemed so to the British authorities, who, following the news of Major John André's execution for his part in Arnold's treason, moved with vigor to restrain the Americans' movements. Trumbull was arrested, Tyler escaped arrest only by fleeing to the Continent, and Warren was allowed early in 1781 to leave the country only after submitting to repeated examinations of himself and his papers. According to his own account, written to his mother from Amsterdam in April 1781, one of the grounds for the leniency shown him was the fact that Secretary of State Lord Hillsborough was impressed by reading Mercy Warren's letters sent to her son in London: “His Lordship Condescended to Give me a great deal of advice saying he was prepossessed in my favour from my appearance. He and others to whom my papers were exposed, lavished many praises on my Mothers Letters—said 'they would do honour to the Greatest Writer that ever wrote,' and added, 'Mr. Warren I hope you will profit by her instructions and advice.' I had the honour of three private Conferences with him.”
Warren remained in Europe for more than three years without settling down to anything anywhere. He looked up JA in Amsterdam in March and April 1781 and in Paris in July ( AA to JA , 28 May 1781, in vol. 4 below; Winslow Warren to Mercy Warren, 28 April, 25 July 1781, MHi:Mercy Warren Papers), but JA 's mentions of him are laconic and unenthusiastic. The fullest reference he made to Warren is in a letter he wrote Mercy Warren, 29 Jan. 1783:
“I have never had an Opportunity, Madam, to see your Son since he has been in Europe, but once or twice at Amsterdam, and that before I had an House there. He has been travelling from Place to Place, and altho' I have often enquired after him, I have seldom been able to hear of him. I have heard nothing to his disadvantage, except a Shyness and Secrecy, which, as it is uncommon in young Gentlemen of his Age and Education is the more remarked, and a general Reputation which he brought with him from Boston of loving Play. But I have not been able to learn, that he has indulged it improperly in Europe. But { 360 } my Advice to him and every young American is and uniformly will be, to stay in Europe but a little while” ( LbC in John Thaxter's hand, Adams Papers).
The whole of the foregoing paragraph has been scratched out beyond legibility in RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); it strains belief to suppose that this could have been done by the sender.
The chief source of information about Winslow Warren is in his travel journals and correspondence with his parents in MHi:Mercy Warren Papers and Winslow Warren Travel Journals and Letters; the materials there concerning his first sojourn in Europe have been drawn on in Charles Warren, “A Young American's Adventures in England and France during the Revolutionary War” (MHS, Procs. , 65 [1932–1936]:234–267). Though useful in bringing together scattered materials, Charles Warren's account must be used with caution as to details, particularly on matters of date. The Warren-Adams Letters of course contain numerous references to Winslow; see index. For John Trumbull's characterization of Winslow and his part in helping John Steele Tyler to escape arrest in London, see Trumbull's Autobiography, ed. Theodore Sizer, New Haven, 1953, p. 64.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0271

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-06-03

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Portia

I went a few days ago to see the Hotel de Monnoie or the Mint, the Building where all the Kings Coin is cast and stamped.1 We viewed all the various Machines, from the first melting of the gold and silver, to the final issuing of the shining Morsells. The Metal goes thro many Operations that I have not time to describe. There are many Appartements in the Building the Architecture of which is solid and convenient as well as elegant. Their is a noble Reservoir of Water which is conveyed by Pipes to every Appartement. There is a large Well, by which the Reservoir is supplied.
I was most entertained however with the Cabinet of Minerals, Metals of all sorts, sulphurs &c., and every Thing that had any Relation to silver and gold. There is a vast Variety—very curious and in nice order. How should I delight to spend my days in such Enquiries into Nature, if I were not necessitated by every Tye, to devote all my Moments to other Uses.—I send you an Extract from an English Newspaper, for the Amusement of your Friend.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosure not found.
1. This was “le nouvel Hôtel des Monnoies” on the Quai de Conti on the left bank of the Seine, a very imposing building completed in 1774 and elaborately described in Dict. historique de la ville de Paris, 1779, 3:568–570, and Thiéry, Almanach du voyageur à Paris , p. 349–352.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0272

Author: Cranch, Richard
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-06-09

Richard Cranch to John Adams

[salute] Dear Bror.

The Bearer Mr. John Leverett has just now inform'd me that he is bound to Holland and intends to wait upon you at Paris before he { 361 } returns.1 I gladly embrace the Oportunity of writing a Line to you by him.
I am again chosen by the Town of Braintree to represent them in the Genl. Court which is the reason of my being here as the Court is now sitting in this Capital. We have been certified by a Committee of Congress and by Genl. Washington that a Fleet and a Number of Troops from our Illustrious Ally, may be hourly expected to co-operate with us in this Quarter of the Globe, requesting us to fill up our Battallions immediately. We have Order'd 4000 Men from this State to be immediately raised for that purpose, who are to be ready to march in twenty Days from this Time.
Rivington in his lying Gazett has announced the surrender of Charlestown on the twelfth of May;2 but as nothing has yet reach'd us to coroborate that Account from any other Quarter, we hope it is without Foundation, especially as we have pretty certain Advice that Charlestown was safe and in good Spirits on the tenth of May, being but 2 Days before.
The House has this Day pass'd a Bill for repealing the tender Acts, and for allowing a Depreciation agreeable to a Recommendation of Congress. I inform'd you in my last of the Revolution in the Currency that is to take place. I left Braintree on Sunday Morng. (the House being oblig'd to sit that Day to finish the affair of Raising the 4000 Men) when I left your dearest Connections Mrs. Adams and Children well; they knew nothing of the Conveyance, else they would doubtless have embraced it. Your poor Brother is in great Affliction—his Wife died about a fortnight ago. She was just bro't to Bed of a fine Girl, but her previous very low state of Health render'd her too weak to survive above three or four Days.3 Your Mother, Father Smith, Uncle Quincy, Dr. Tufts, Coll. Thaxter and Families are well. I wrote you, about a month ago, by Coll. Tyler who sail'd from New London for France. A large Pacquett also is gone forward from Mrs. Adams &c. &c. about a fortnight ago by Mr. Guild (one of the Tutors of Harvard Colledge) who is about to make the Tour of Europe and expects to land first at Gothenburg in Sweden. I wrote to Mr. Thaxter a few Days ago by Genl. Warren's Son bound to Holland. Please to give my kindest Regards to the young Messrs. Johnney and Charley and tell them that their young Correspondants at Braintree are very happy in receiving their Letters by the Marquis de Fayett. I thank Mr. Thaxter for his esteem'd Favour by the same conveyance, and beg the Favour of his Corespondence in future.
When you find a leisure Moment (if that should happen) you { 362 } would make me very happy if you would employ it in letting me know how Matters are going on your side the Water.
The Gentleman by whome this will be deliver'd to you (fortune of War excepted) is a worthy Son of Harvard, who would think himself greatly honour'd in being made known to you. He is waiting for this, therefore hope you will excuse this hasty Scrawl from your ever affectionate Bror.,
[signed] Richard Cranch
Mrs. Cranch and Children were well when I left home.
The Post brings advice this evening that Charlestown was safe the 16th. Ulto. but that Ft. Moultrie was taken by 1500 Granadiers after being twice repulsed, on May 12th. Only 50 Me[n taken,] 5 the rest having [with]drawn the preceding Night. Those 50 had the honors of War.
RC (MHi:Cranch Family Collection); addressed: “To His Excellency John Adams Esqr. Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America at Paris”; docketed in an unidentified hand: “Richd. Cr. to Mr. Adams June 9th. 1780.” Dft (MHi:Cranch Papers); endorsed: “Letter to Bror. Adams June 9th. 1780.” Dft is written on blank sides of printed bill-of-lading forms. There are numerous small variations in phrasing between the two texts, but they are not recorded here.
1. John Leverett (1758–1829), Harvard 1776, later a lawyer and merchant of Windsor, Vt. ([Charles E. Leverett,] A Memoir, Biographical and Genealogical, of Sir John Leverett, Knt., . . . and of the Family Generally, Boston, 1856, p. 155–158, where the date of Leverett's death is erroneously given as 1839). Leverett sailed in the Pallas with Winslow Warren, was captured at sea, and in August returned in a cartel ship to Boston; see above, Winslow Warren to AA , 26 May, note 2, and two documents of 20, 27 July from Leverett, Warren, and others, one being a petition to, and the other an agreement with, Admiral Richard Edwards, Governor of Newfoundland, in MHi:Misc. Bound MSS .
2. This news was reported in the Boston Continental Journal, 9 June, p. 2, col. 2, from Rivington's New York Royal Gazette of 31 May, which was not lying.
3. See above, AA to JA , 15 April, note 5.
4. This addition was written by Cranch on the cover of his letter after he had folded and sealed it.
5. MS torn by seal.