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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 4


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Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0110

Author: Cranch, Richard
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-06-22

Richard Cranch to John Adams

[salute] Dear Bror:

I wrote you by Doctor Dexter on the 28th Ulto. which I hope will come safe to hand. Tho' I have not had the Happiness of a Line from you since you left America yet I shall gladly embrace the Oportunity that now offers (by a Ship bound to Denmark) to write you a few Lines. We have just received Letters from Spain giving an account of the very great successes against the English in India by Hyder { 158 } Ali &c.—'Tis remarkable to observe how far the Destruction of the Indian Weed at Boston a few Years ago, has operated towards the loss of the very Country itself from whence the Pride of Britain has been so fed and fostered. I mentioned in my last that the Enemy in the southern States were making their Efforts with various success. By a Letter from Genl. Washington to Genl. Heath received yesterday by Express, (which the General was so kind as to read to me) it appears that Genl. Green about the 15th Ulto. had made himself Master of the Enemy's Strong Post at Camden and three other of the strongest Posts that the Enemy held in South Carolina, together with their Stores of Provisions, Cannon and Baggage; and had taken seven or eight Hundred Prisoners. The numbers of Field Officers, Subalterns and Privates are mention'd, but I do not recollect them exactly. Genl. Washington mentions in the same Letter the junction of the Enemy's Forces in a part of Virginia, as being what would give them room to make some partial Depredations at first, but as what will finally prove destructive to them. Genl. Washington has call'd upon this State to fill up its Battallions immediately, which the Court has accordingly order'd to be compleated by the last of this Month. Three Thousand Melitia are also call'd upon from this State for “supporting Communications and for other Purposes,” together with Beef &c. for their Support. Above two hundred and fifty Yoke of Oxen and Carriages are now taken up here in this Neighbourhood for transporting Large Mortars and heavy Battering Cannon, and other Warlike Stores from this Place which will set out immediately, some of them this Day; and the like Movements are making in other Parts of this State. What the Plan of our illustrious General is, may be infer'd from the following Passage in his Letter to this Government, dated Weathersfield May 24th 1781.
“In consequence of a Conferance held between his Excellency the Count De Rochambeau and my self at this Place, the French Army will march as soon as Circumstances will admit, and form a junction with the American on the North River. The accomplishment of this Object which we have in contemplation is of the utmost importance to America, and will in all probability be attained unless there be a failure on our Part in the number of Men which will be required for the Operation, or the Enemy should withdraw a considerable part of their Force from the Southward. It is in our own Power by proper Exertions to prevent the first—and should the last take place, we shall be amply repaid our Expences by liberating the Southern States where we have found by Experience we are only vulnerable.“—”The Enemy { 159 } counting upon our want of Abillity or upon our want of Energy, have, by repeated Detachments to the southward, reduced themselves in N: York to a situation which invites us to take advantage of it.”1
We have heard that you have succeeded in Holland in a Loan, thro' the House of Messrs. Deneufville and Son, of about 100,000 Pounds Sterlg.2 If by means of that Loan you should want to have any Publick Business transacted in this Place I should be glad to be assisting in it. Or if any of your Friends should be inclined to make a Tryal of sending any Merchandize this way on Commission, I should be glad to transact Business in that way for them with the greatest care and Dispatch, and on the most reasonable Terms. I suppose any Goods that are vendable in this Country, and are well bought in Europe, will fetch here double their first Cost in Gold and Silver or Bills of Exchange by the large quantity together; and in smaller quantities such as single Pieces of Linnen &c. three for one. My meaning is that an Invoice of well chosen Goods, that amounted to one hundred Pounds Sterling first Cost at the usual wholesale Price in Europe, would fetch here, from two Hundred to three hundred Pounds of the same Sterling Money in Specie, or in good Bills of Exchange.
I know that the transacting of those Matters lays entirely out of your Line, as well as out of your Inclination; but as you must sometimes mix with the Mercantile World, should a Hint of this kind be drop'd by you it might be of Service to me. Verbum sat &c.
I expect every moment when the Vessell will be under Sail, so that I must in haste conclude, with Love to your dear little Boys and Mr. Thaxter (to whome I wrote two Letters by Doctor Dexter) your affectionate Bror. and humble Servt.,
[signed] Richard Cranch
A French Fleet of Transports from Brest under convoy of several Frigates is arrived here within about ten Days past. I hear that all but one are arrived safe, and that one, (being the ship that had most of the Wine on Board) is drove on Shore not far from Plymouth, whether she will be got off or not I dont learn, nor do I know exactly where she is. The Troops that came in this Fleet march'[d] about a Week ago.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To His Excellency John Adams Esqr: to the Care of Messrs: De Neufville and Son, Merchants in Amsterdam.”; endorsed by John Thaxter: “Mr. Cranch 22d. June 1781.” Dft (MHi:Cranch Papers); endorsed: “Rough Draft of a Letter to Bror. Adams June 22d 1781.”
1. These are extracts from Washington's circular letter to the New England States, 24 May, printed in full in his Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 22:109–11.
2. This effort had failed; see above, Lovell to AA , 21 May, and note 2 there.
{ 160 }

Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0111

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1781-06-23

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

And is there no medium Sir, between terms which might be misconstrued, and the cold formal adieu of mere ceremony tagd with a title. Your Sentimentilist as you are pleased to stile her2 prizes the Emanations of a pure and friendly Heart, before all the studied complasance of a finished courtier.
Uncandid do you say? You never will find Portia so. When the character of the Statesman, the Senator, the Benevolent Philanthropist is maintained in its purity the grave parent of children who look up to him for an example for their future conduct should not suffer an impeachment in the Eye of the World, much3 less should there be just occasion for it.
I will give you a specimen of a conversation that passd not long since between Portia and a Lady of her acquaintance for whom she entertains a high Esteem as one of the best Female characters in America tho Portia would fain believe she errs in judgeing of one character. Cornelia. Have you seen the intercepted Letter of your Friend L[ovel]ls to Mr. G[err]y.4—Portia. No Madam but I have heard much of it, and some severe strictures about it. I could wish to see it—Cornelia. I have read it, and can give you an account of it. It is Enegmatical, as all his Letters are, but there are some things in it which for decency sake ought never to have been there. Were I his wife they would make me misirable, but I believe he cares little for her.—Portia. O, Madam do not judge so hardly. I have ever thought him to have a high value for her, he has never mentioned her but with respect and tenderness, of which I believe her very deserving.—Cornelia. True I am not acquainted with her, but I hear her well Spoken of by every body, and believe her much too good for a Man that can allow his pen such a lisence in writing of her, and add to that can leave her 3 or 4 years together.—[Portia.] Pray my dear Madam do not measure a Gentlemans regard for his wife by the last reason given. Is it not misfortune enough to be seperated from our best Friends without the worlds judgeing hardly of us or them for it. How would you wound me should [you] think thus of my own dear partner.—Corn[elia]. The case is different with him. It is in the power of one without much hazard or risk—but not of the other, and I tell you my Friend that this gentleman whom you think so favourably of, is in my opinion a deciple of Mandivile Nursed in the School of Chesterfeild—and looks upon the whole Sex as common prey [or free?] plun• { 161 } der.5—Portia. O my dear Madam I cannot think so. Were I once satisfied that such was his sentiments and character, I would Instantly renounce all acquaintance with him. I must condemn the Levity of his pen, but he cannot have a bad Heart. I have but little personal acquaintance with him but I never supposed him a man of the world. I never heard his conjugal character aspersed—did you.—Cornelia. No, only as the world will naturally believe that a Gentleman possessing domestick attachments would visit his family in the course of 4 years, when only 3 hundred miles distant.—Portia. Why Madam he may have reasons which he would not chuse to manifest to the World.—Cornelia. Then let him be uniformly delicate and I will believe them.
Thus ended a conversation but not a conversion. Uncandid as you are pleased to stile Portia, if she had not valued her correspondent for real and substantial virtues of Heart and mind, the just or unjust reflections of the world would have affected her no more than any other vague reports. By giving freedom to her pen and unreservedly censuring what she must ever consider as the Shades of a character she has given proof of a real Friendship which will not be diminished untill she shall be convinced that the character drawn by Cornelia is a just one.—And now Sir for one passage in your Letter which you may well think has not escaped my notice. “When I write again on this Subject, I shall transmit some anecdotes which you will think Interesting to your Friend abroad.” Now what Inference am I to draw from this? If you mean to retaliate for the pain you say I have given you, by this dark hint, you are mistaken, for my confidence in my Friend abroad is as unbounded as my affection for him which knows no limits. He will not injure me even by a thought. Virtue and principal confirm the Bond which affection first began, and my security depends not upon passion which other objects might more easily excite, but the sober and setled Dictates of Religion and Honour. It is that which cements at the same time that it ensures the affections.

“There Love his golden shafts employs, there lights

His constant Lamp and waves his purple wings.”

I shall not make any inquiry of Mr. S[amuel] A[dams] should I see him, but I hold you in duty bound to explain yourself.—Not a vessel from Holland or a line from that Quarter. My Heart sickens at the recollection. O for the wings of a dove that I might flie away.
Great and important is the day. May America shew herself equal to the call. Our wretched finances undoe us. This Town exerted itself { 162 } and has forwarded all the Men required and has paid the money required for the Beaf.—What a stupid race are the British retalers of News, to think one sensible American would credit their story of peace makers excluding America, when they would all be glad to hug her.
I hope you have recoverd from your fall, if it was an honest one from your Horse and not down a pair of dark stairs.6—I will not receive your sarcasam so have blotted it out, and in lieu of it “read Portias affectionate Friend,”7 and in return bestow the sincere Emanations of Friendship which glow in the Bosom of
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers); without date or indication of addressee; at head of text in CFA 's hand: “May 1781.” AA 's very careless punctuation, particularly in the dialogue between Cornelia and Portia, has been slightly regularized for clarity.
1. Lovell's reply of 13 July, below, mentions two letters from AA , dated 10 and 23 June, in language making it clear that the present letter is the second of these two. AA 's letter of 10 June has not been found.
2. In Lovell's letter to AA , 29 May, above, quoted again later in the present letter and alluded to in its leavetaking.
3. MS : “must.”
4. From AA 's characterization of her, from the general tenor of her comments, and from other hints, one may at least guess that “Cornelia” was Mercy Warren, but the identification cannot be established without more evidence than is now available. On “the intercepted Letter” from Lovell to Gerry, 20 Nov. 1780, see especially AA to Lovell, 17 March and 10 May, and Lovell to AA , 16 June, all above.
5. The first word in brackets has been editorially supplied for sense; the second word is only partially legible. Another reading of the passage might be: “common prey for plunder.”
6. See Lovell's reply, 13 July, below.
7. Closing quotation mark editorially supplied. Lovell's “sarcasam” was in the highly formal phrasing of the leavetaking in his letter of 29 May, q.v. above, responding to AA 's disapproval of his earlier use of terms of gallantry.