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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 5


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0008

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1782-10-12

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I believe I shall set off for Paris next Fryday. Mr. Thaxter and Mr. Storer1 will go with me.
The Treaty of Commerce and the Convention respecting recaptures were Signed on the 8 of this Month, and they go by this and Several other Opportunities.2 I hope they will give Satisfaction.
Mr. Jay writes me that on the 28 of Septr. that the Day before Mr. Oswald received a Commission to treat with the United States of America3—and writes pressingly for me to come, but I have not been able to dispatch the Treaty and the Loan before. I know not what to Say about Peace. It will be a troublesome Business.
Dr. Franklin has been a long time much indisposed as I lately learn with the Gout and Strangury.4
Mr. Dana is well and so is our son, who may perhaps return to me this Fall.
Charles minds his Book I hope. I wish John was with him, and his Father too.
I dont know whether in future Job should be reckoned “The patient Man.” It Seems to me, that I have had rather more Tryals that [than] he, and have got thro them. I am now going to Paris, to another Furnace of Affliction. Yet I am very gay, more so than usual. I fear nothing. Why should I. I had like to have Said nothing worse can happen. But this is too much. Heaven has hitherto preserved my Country and my Family.
I have Sent you an whole Piece of most excellent and beautiful Scarlet Cloth—it is very Saucy. 9 florins almost a Guinea a Dutch ell, much less than an English Yard. I have sent some blue too very good. Give your Boys a suit of Cloths if you will or keep enough for it some years hence and yourself and Daughter a Ridinghood in honour of the Manufactures of Haerlem. The Scarlet is “croisée” as they call it. You never saw such a Cloth. I send also a Suit of Curtains for Miss Nabby. As to her request it will be long Ad referendum.5 There is also a Remnant of Silk, Green. Make the best of all—but dont meddle any more with Vermont.6
If We make Peace, you will see me next summer. But I have very little faith as yet. I am most inclind to think there will be another Campaign.
{ 16 }
I am exceedingly honoured of late by the French and Spanish Ambassadors.7
I never know how to close, because I can never express the Tenderness I feel.
1. On Charles Storer see Storer to AA , 17 Oct., note 8, below.
2. The treaty and the convention negotiated with the Netherlands were read in Congress on 22 Jan. 1783 and ratified two days later (John Thaxter to AA , 9 Oct., note 1, above; JCC , 24:50, 66–82).
3. John Jay's letter of 28 Sept. is in the Adams Papers. Jay sent Benjamin Vaughan secretly to see the British prime minister, Lord Shelburne, to persuade him to alter the commission of peace negotiator Richard Oswald. The point at issue was that the United States wanted its independence recognized by Britain before treaty negotiations began. The King and his ministers thought that recognition should be the first article in the treaty itself, and that granting recognition prior to negotiating peace terms was to give away the game. Jay drew up compromise wording specifying that Oswald's commission would empower him to treat with those representing “the Thirteen United States of America,” rather than with “the plenipotentiaries of the United States.” The compromise was made without Franklin's prior knowledge and before JA arrived in Paris from the Netherlands (see JA to AA , 8 Nov. and note 1, below; Morris, Peacemakers , p. 333–339).
4. A disease of the urinary organs, causing slow and painful urination ( OED ).
5. This is probably a second response by JA to AA2 's proposal, of ca. 17 July, that she come to Europe to care for her father; JA had advised against this on 26 Sept. (see vol. 4:344, 347, and note 10, 383).
6. For AA 's purchase of land in Vermont see vol. 4:index, under “Vermont.” On 17 June, in a letter to James Warren, JA had given one reason for disliking this purchase: “God Willing, I will not go to Vermont. I must be within the scent of the sea” ( RC [MB]; LbC [Adams Papers], printed in JA, Works , 9:513).
7. Because the Dutch had recognized American independence, JA had been put on an equal footing with other diplomats at the Hague. See also JA to AA , 1 July (vol. 4:337– 339, and notes 5 and 6).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0009

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1782-10-16

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Yesterday arrived your kind Letters of the 3 and 5 of september.1 I am preparing to sett off tomorrow Morning for Paris, so that I am unable to write you more than a Line.
Your Proposal of coming to me would make me the happiest of Men, if it were probable that I should live here where I am well settled. But, if the Negotiations for Peace should take a serious Turn, I shall be obliged to live in furnished Lodgings at Paris, or to travel 600 or 800 miles farther to Vienna. These Journeys would be infinitly disagreable to you and your Daughter—and for you to live at the Hague while I am running about Europe, would be more disagreable than in America.
If Peace should be made this Winter I intend to go home in the Spring.
{ 17 }
I shall however be able to form a better Judgment at Paris from whence I will write more fully.
Dont conclude from my Journey to Paris that Peace will be made. The Dutch Ministers at Paris have written that Mr. Fitzherbert2 has received Instructions to treat with the Ministers of the United states of America. Mr. Jay has written me, that Mr. Oswald has received a Commission to treat with the United states of America. But he enjoins me secrecy about it so that you must keep it to yourself. He will write it to Congress from Paris, I suppose. I shall write fully from thence as soon as I know the Truth, but I dare not write half Intelligence, about such delicate Points.
Thanks to Uncle Smith for his Letter3 which I would answer if I had time. Rejoice with Brother Cranch and family.
My dear Daughters enterprising Duty and Affection most tenderly moves me, but she little thinks of the Dangers and Difficulties she wishes to encounter.4
I have not received the Letter containing your Proposal5 so I cannot give you my Opinion of it fully.
1. Vol. 4:371–373, 376–377.
2. Alleyne Fitzherbert, British minister plenipotentiary to negotiate a peace with France, Spain, and the United Provinces ( DNB ).
3. Isaac Smith Sr.'s letter of 7 Sept. (vol. 4:378–379).
4. See JA to AA , 12 Oct., note 5, above.
5. In the letters of 3 and 5 Sept., AA mentioned again that she wanted to join JA and referred to her “proposal” made in an earlier letter. This letter may be missing; if it is that of 5 Aug. (vol. 4:356), it is known only in draft, and JA may never have received it. See vol. 4:372 and note 5, and 4:376 and note 1.