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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 5


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Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0095

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-06-09

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

What would I not give for an Arrival from America? or for certain Advice from London of the Appointment of a Ministry, or for the Arrival here of a Minister to Sign the definitive Treaty?1
What would I not give for an Arrival from America or for Advice from London what the Ministry intend to do? Mr. Hartley is now here but We advance slowly to the definitive Treaty. I can now have no hopes of Seeing you before late in the Fall. If the Acceptance of my Resignation arrives, as I expect, and We finish the Peace, as soon as I can reasonably hope, I shall not now be able to embark before October. The Affairs of the World have little Complaisance for my Happiness, or yours, but it is not worth our while to be impatient, because it will do us no good. I am astonished however that We have nothing from Congress nor from you.
{ 169 }
If you and your Daughter were with me, I could keep up my Spirits, but idly and insipidly as I pass my time, I am weary, worn and disgusted to death. I had rather chop Wood, dig Ditches, and make fence upon my poor little farm. Alass! poor Farm and poorer Family what have you lost, that your Country might be free and that others might catch fish and hunt Deers and Bevers at their Ease?2
There will be as few of the “Tears of Gratitude” or “the Smiles of Admiration,” or the “Sighs of Pity” for Us, as for the Army. But all this should not hinder me from going over the same Scaenes again upon the Same Occasion, Scaenes which I would not encounter for all the Wealth Pomp and Powers of the World.
Boys! if you ever Say one Word, or utter one Complaint, I will disinherit you. Work you Rogues and be free. You will never have so hard Work to do as Papa has had.
Daughter! Get you an honest Man for a Husband, and keep him honest. No matter whether he is rich, provided he be independent. Regard the Honour and moral Character of the Man more than all other Circumstances. Think of no other Greatness but that of the soul, no other Riches but those of the Heart. An honest, Sensible humane Man, above all the Littlenesses of Vanity, and Extravagances of Imagination, labouring to do good rather than be rich, to be usefull rather than make a show, living in a modest Simplicity clearly within his Means and free from Debts or Obligations, is really the most respectable Man in Society, makes himself and all about him the most happy.
I long to see my dear John, as much as the Rest, but he is well at the Hague and I cannot go to him nor do I think it prudent to bring him to Paris.
I have accomplished a Correspondence between the Royal society of Medicine here, and the Republican one at Boston at the Desire of Dr. Tufts3 but have not yet found a carefull Hand to send the Diploma.

[salute] Adieu Adieu Adieu

1. The reason for JA 's failure to complete this letter in April is not known to the editors. In the two months following this date, JA wrote at least six letters to AA ; all are printed above. But with the similarity between his April and June opening sentences JA underscores how little his situation had changed.
2. Compare JA to Richard Cranch, 15 Dec. 1782, above, and note 1 there.
3. JA had visited the Académie Royale de Chirurgie on 19 Dec. 1782, and about 20 Dec. had written to the Société Royale de Médecine to propose a correspondence between them and the Massachusetts Medical Society, founded in 1781. Members of these and other French medical societies soon { 170 } wrote to JA , accepting his proposal. Copies of eight letters in this correspondence are in Lb/JA/22 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 110), dated from [ca. 20 Dec. 1782] to 3 June 1783; several of the originals are in the Countway Medical Library in Boston. JA also wrote to Edward Augustus Holyoke, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, on 10 June ( LbC , Adams Papers), the day following this letter (Cotton Tufts to JA , 26 Sept. 1782, and note 2 [vol. 4:386]; JA, Diary and Autobiography , 3:97, and note 1, 98, and note 1).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0096

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-06-10

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Day after day, Week after Week, Month after Month, roll away and bring Us no News. I am So weary of this idle useless Time, that I dont know what to do with myself. I dont wonder that People who have So much more of Such Time, than has fallen to my Share, have recourse to Play for dissipation.
I find myself in the Same Situation with my Lord Chesterfield who Says in one of his Letters, that he had a dangerous Fever in Holland, that after his Recovery the febrific humour fell into his Legs which Swelled to Such a degree as to be very troublesome to himself and all who came near him. That upon his Return to England he consulted Mead, Broxholme and Arbuthnot who were ignorant of his Disorder and did him no good but on the contrary increased the Swelling by improper Applications of Poultices &c. That he then consulted a surgeon who told him his Evil proceeded from a Relaxation of the skin and that he must bath his Legs, every Morning in Brine from the Salters in which Meat had been pickled, as warm as he could bear it. He followed this Advice and in three Weeks all his Symptoms disappeared and never returned.1
My Swelling has never been So violent, but it is not yet cured. If I increase my Exercise, beyond the usual degree, it returns in [same?] degree. I know not where to find the Brine, and have never done any Thing for it but Walk every day. But this Weakness in the Ankles is not all. I am vexed with other Relicks of that fever, which are very troublesome. They appear in sharp fiery humours which break out in the back of my Neck and in other Parts of me and plague me, as much as the Uncertainty in which I am in of my future destination. Let me get home and I will take Care how I run away again.
It is now 3 Months Since Barney arrived in Philadelphia and We have no answers to any of our Letters. What is the Meaning of it?
1. JA is paraphrasing Lord Chesterfield's letter to his son of 15 Nov. 1766 (Letters of Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, ed. Bonamy Dobrée, London, { 171 } 1932, 6:2778–2780). Chesterfield's illness occurred in 1732 while he was the British ambassador at The Hague. Dr. Richard Mead was a physician to royalty and author of notable treatises on poisons and on the control of the plague; Dr. Noel Broxholme was sometime physician to Queen Caroline, and to Frederick, Prince of Wales, son of George II; and Dr. John Arbuthnot was a favorite physician to Queen Anne (all in DNB ).