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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0294

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-02

John Thaxter to John Adams

[salute] Sir

By yesterday's post from Nantes Mr. Austin recieved a Letter from Mr. Williams, informing him that a french Vessel had just arrived there from Philadelphia, the Captain of which reports that Kniphausen had been repulsed in the Jerseys—that besides the killed and wounded, there were seven hundred prisoners taken, which he saw in Philadelphia—that the Militia on this occasion behaved with great Spirit and Bravery. This Vessel sailed from Philadelphia the first of July, but did not leave the Deleware until the eighteenth of the same month. The day before she sailed, a Vessel going out of the Deleware informed the Captain that Mr. de Ternay had arrived, but that he did not know when or where. No dispatches have arrived by this Vessel. Mr. Deane has recieved a Letter from Mr. Robert Morris by this Conveyance,1 informing him that Kniphausen had burnt Springfield in the Jersies, some Farm Houses and Barns, but that he had been checked. No mention however is made of the loss or Number of Prisoners—a Circumstance somewhat singular, and renders the Account of the Capture of the seven hundred men rather doubtful. It may be true; but it seems so material a Circumstance would hardly have been omitted. We do not as yet give full Credit to the News. Mr. Morris further adds, that Clinton has made an Excursion towards West Point, but finding it of too difficult Access, quitted the Object, went to Tarry Town and burnt it, from thence directed his Course towards White Plains and the Country round about, burning, pillaging, and destroying as he passed along. It is supposed that Kniphausens Operations in the Jerseys prevented the sending detachments from our main Army to check the Ravages of Clinton. Perhaps Kniphausen's Operations { 405 } were designed to employ the Attention of our Army, so as to favour Clinton's Diversion. The latter it seems has not met with much opposition. Individuals are doubtless much distressed by these merciless burnings. The Confederacy at large is benefited—they are the distracted feats of a despairing Enemy—Union and Stability are the fruits which We reap from them. The Conduct of these Generals is so conformable to the Objects of Administration that it cannot fail to charm them, nor of the rhetorical decorations of the Morning Post. The Parson2 and his Adherents will have ample Scope for Panegyrick, and no doubt the Atchievements of Clinton and his Co-adjutor tho' to the last degree base, will be whitewashed with an euloge of these Tools of Corruption.
Mr. Dana desires his respects to You, and would have given You the Accounts brought by the french Vessel, but his Eyes are again in a bad State, and he has directed me to do it, which I have done besides adding a little trumpery of my own. He requests that You would have the goodness to purchase for him a sufficiency of Cambrick for three or four Handkerchiefs, and have them made up there, and take them with You in your Trunk when you return. Stevens possibly knows that kind which is proper for Handkerchiefs—if You would be kind enough to direct him to purchase enough for the purpose, he would be much obliged.
I have the Honour to be, with the most perfect respect, Sir, Your Excellency's most obedient and most humble Servant,
[signed] J Thaxter
My Love if You please to the Masters Johnny and Charley.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr. Thaxter ansd. Septr. 8”; docketed by CFA : “Septr. 2d 1780.” ( JA 's answer of 8 Sept. has not been found.)
1. Morris to Silas Deane, Philadelphia, 3 July, from which much of the war news communicated in the present letter appears to derive ( Deane Papers , 4:170–174). Deane had recently returned to Paris in an effort to have his accounts audited so that they could be settled by Congress.
2. Rev. Henry Bate, later Sir Henry Bate Dudley (1745–1824), at this time editor of the London Morning Post, a pro-ministerial paper. His quarrelsomeness led to his being called “the Fighting Parson.” ( DNB .)

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0295

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-03

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

By a Vessel of my unkles bound to Bilboa I write you a few lines, and commit them to the care of our Friends Gardoqui to whom I have written for a few small Articles, and desired them to draw upon you { 406 } for pay, but the demand will not amount to more than 20 dollors I think.
Tho I have been so unfortunate as to have my Trunk left in France, and the Alliance arrive safe here without it, to the no small dissapointment of our Friends, yet I know you will be full as much so. You have I know taken as much pains to forward it as you possibly could: to the dissentions on Board the Ship, and to no other cause is the dissapointment oweing. I could wish if it should not be shiped before this reaches you that it may wait, and come in Sampson if he is arrived: if he has, you have the Resolve of Congress which you wrote for and which will render you comfortable, till some other plan can take place. I have not been able to procure the Bills which are due to you from Congress. Shall forward them as soon as I receive them.
All your Letters are come safe to hand, as well as the presents you mention, except that by Mr. Wharton, who waits to come in Jones. I find you can greatly benifit me in this way. The chintz by Mr. Brown was very good and not dear as you Imagined.
This Gentleman spent a day with me, I was much pleased with his modesty and affability. Mr. Lee did me the Honour of keeping the Sabbeth with me. I expect an other visit from him when he returns from Plimouth where he is now gone.1
This is a Great and important day in the political System of this State. Mr. B[owdoi]n has merrit and integrity, all the judicious people will vote for him, but popular Clamour will elect an other,2 who ought to forfeit every vote, by the low mean Arts he has taken to procure them. I could tell you many, if prudence did not restrain me, yet nothing that would surprize you, for you know every Avenu of his vain Heart. Give an extensive cord, and you know the adage.
We have a Melancholy prospect about us. The most severe drought known for many years, has cut of our grass, our corn and our Gardens. Yesterday we had a plentifull rain, and the first since the begining of May. Many person[s] have been obliged to give Hay to their cattle for more than a month, but in the midst of this calimity we have a general time of Health.
No News stiring. General Washington has the best Army that he has had since the commencment of the war, yet tis like to be a very inactive campaign. The arrival of Graves fleet so soon after that of our Allies, put a stop to every measure which had been concerted for the Benifit of these States and at an amazeing expence we are keeping a defensive army.
{ 407 }
Tis true our Enemies have done nothing since the takeing of Charlestown, but we ought to have balanced accounts with them. I shall not write to my dear Sons now on account of the postage. You will remember me to them, and let Mr. D[an]a know that his family are well, Mr. T[haxte]r too.
I wrote you in May, an account of the death of sister A[dam]s.3 If this vessel should not sail immediately will enclose a list of our Great folks.4 I know you will be earnest to hear.—Pray write to me by every opportunity. I shall omit none to you. Your Letters are the cordials which keep my Spirits alive. Ever believe me with the tenderest sentiments of affection and Regard your
[signed] Portia
PS Unkle S[mit]h thinks you neglect him that you did not write him by the Alliance—says he wont write again.
I open my Letter to tell you the votes of this Town. Mr. B[owdoi]n 11, Mr. H[ancoc]k 75 as chief. General W[arre]n 75, Lieut. G[overno]r, only 3 scattering for any other person.5 Modest merrit—coy Nymph—how is she slighted.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “The Honble. John Adams Esq. Ambassador from the United States of America Passy near Paris”; endorsed: “Portia Sept. 3. 1780.”
1. Lee's first visit to AA was apparently on 20 Aug.; see Isaac Smith Sr. to JA , 21 Aug., above. His second was on 6 Sept., for on the 10th he wrote JA : “I left Mrs. Adams, your Children, General and Mrs. Warren in good health four days ago” (Adams Papers).
2. John Hancock; see the addition to this letter dated 4 Sept., below.
3. AA 's letter to JA reporting the death of Mrs. Peter B. Adams was dated not in May but 13 June, q.v. above, together with a note on AA to JA , 15 April, also above.
4. Meaning those who were to be elected next day as governor, lieutenant governor, and members of the Council and Senate.
5. Different figures are given in the Braintree Town Records (p. 514) for the results of the election held on 4 Sept.: “For Governor. Honr. John Hancock, Esqr. 95 Honr. James Bowdoin Esqr. 11 [For] Lt. Governor. Honr. James Warren Esqr. 80 Honr. Joseph Palmer Esqr. 1 Honr. James Bowdoin Esqr. 1 Honr. Samuel Adams Esqr. 1.”