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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 5


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Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0121

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-07-26

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Last Saturday, I left Paris, and on Tuesday arrived, at the Hague. To Day I am come to this Town. I Shall return to Paris in a Fortnight. { 218 } So as to make my whole Absence about three Weeks. Soon after my Return I expect the definitive Treaty will be Signed, but in this I may be mistaken. My Son is with me in good health. I had a tender Meeting with the dear Companion of my Voages and Journeys, and have been very happy with him, ever Since. He is grown a Man in Understanding as well as Stature. He gives a very intelligent and entertaining Account of his Travels to and from the North. I shall take him with me to Paris, and Shall make much of his Company.
I have no Letters from you this Year,1 and not knowing what to do with myself, I am in much Perplexity. I hope Soon to be informed of the orders of Congress. If they accept my Resignation, I may come home in October. If not, I know not what will become of me. To Stay another winter hung up between one Thing and another in suspence would be the most disagreable Thing that could happen to me. Patience however. If my Health was as good as it was two Years ago, before my great Sickness2 I could be patient. But continual ill health added to all the Perplexities that distract me, is too much for me. I want two Nurses, my Wife and my Daughter, and three gay Boys about Us to keep Us all in good humour. But this is too much. My Boys must have their Educations.
I am told a Vessell is just arrived from Boston and another, Cazneau expected. I hope for Letters by both.
A Letter from Mr. Dalton and a few Lines from Mr. Smith and Mr. Storer are all I have had from N. England an immense long Time. What have I done to be thus punished?
I am come here to See if any Thing can be done to get Money, to prevent Mr. Morris's Bills from being protested. I hope that Some thing may be done but am not very Sanguine.3
I wonder whether any body but you would believe me Sincere if I were to Say how much I love you, and wish to be with you and never to be Seperated more?
1. In late January, JA had received letters from AA dated in Oct., Nov., and Dec. 1782 ( JA to AA , 22 and 29 Jan., above).
2. JA 's first serious illness in Europe occurred in Amsterdam, from late August to early Oct. 1781 (see vol. 4:224, and note 3). Since that dismal event, JA periodically complained of poor health, especially when he was in Holland, and a fear of the return of his illness colored his statements that he was in good health (vol. 4:265, 272, 324, 337, 360, 369).
3. Robert Morris was Congress' superintendent of finance. JA 's efforts to secure funds from Dutch bankers for Morris' bills of exchange, which America's Paris banker, Ferdinand Grand, could no longer cover with the funds remaining in America's account, and his efforts to advance the Dutch loan that he had earlier contracted for the United States, appear in the correspondence between JA , Robert Morris, R. R. Livingston, Benjamin { 219 } Franklin, Thomas Barclay, and John Jay, between May and Nov. 1783, in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , vol. 6; in Morris to JA , 12 May (Adams Papers); and in Morris to JA , 23 Oct. (DLC). Grand's letter of 12 May to the Peace Commissioners, announcing the depletion of America's funds, is also in Wharton, 6:420–421. Background documentation and commentary on America's fiscal crisis of 1783 appears in The Papers of Robert Morris, ed. John Catanzariti and others, vol. 7, Pittsburgh, 1988.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0122

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-07-29

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

Mr. Adams having taken a Journey to Holland for three or four Weeks, and there being nothing of consequence to do in his Absence, Mr. Storer and myself thought it an exceeding good opportunity of executing our Project of a Voyage to this place, for the sake of the Sea Bath. We arrived here on the 27th. instant, after a delightfully fatiguing Journey. We passed thro' the Province of Normandy, which is extremely fertile, producing Grains of all kinds in Abundance, Cyder &c. The People are very hardy and laborious, and the fine Crops on the Earth seemed to have amply rewarded their Labors. The Women in general are not handsome. And one sees no where in Europe the common Women so handsome and well made as in America. This Class of Women in Europe are much accustomed to all kinds of farming business from their Infancy almost, and are obliged to be out basking and baking in the Sun and employed in the severest parts of the Labors of a Farm. Whether this accounts for the difference, I know not, or what physical Reason there may be for it. That there is a difference every American, that travels with his Eyes open, must observe. They seemed contented and happy, which are the most principal Objects. There are some of them that are very smart, and parry rude questions with great dexterity. We had one in the Diligence (a travelling Carriage in this Country holding 6. or 8. persons), who was a mere Country Girl. As there were a Number of young fellows in the Carriage, and Miss looked very clean, neat and tidy, it was natural to ask her some questions. She behaved with vast propriety, was modest, sensible and reserved. Obliged often to answer questions, and as often to be silent. Her Repartees confounded a Gentleman in the Carriage to a great degree, tho' he did not feel them as a Man of Sensibility, and indeed if he had been one he would not have asked some questions that he put. I admired her Character very much, as a discreet prudent Girl, who spoke without fear, or Confusion, yet modestly. Most of the young Girls of our Country are timid, and frightened, if a Stranger interrogates them. In this Country, there { 220 } is a confident Assurance and a possession of self without pertness, impertinence or impudence. I dont mean always, but the Country Girls in general have the former without the latter. I have mentioned our Miss as one Example. And I should have been very sorry to have lost her Company, if one of our rude Companions had been out of the Carriage. However She rode but a little ways with us, and then left us. I might as well have said nothing about the matter, as I have said nothing of the Conversation. But as it was rather curious and connected with what ought to be omitted, I may as well be silent. She was not handsome, but charming, and I shall always love and esteem her even upon so short an Acquaintance.
I write in great haste, and shall not have time to write to my other friends, if I have any, as I very much doubt; and perhaps this may be an unwelcome Letter to your Ladyship.
Mr. Storer has Packet after Packet, but I am either forgotten or neglected.
You will please to forward the inclosed Letters. My Sister is well catechised in my Letter, if She takes it seriously.1
My Respects to all Friends if you please, and particular Regards to your Family.

[salute] With great Esteem and Respect, I have the honor to be, Madam, your most obedient and most humble Servant

[signed] J Thaxter Junr.
1. Letter not found, but “My Sister” must be Celia Thaxter, John Thaxter's oldest sister (1749–1829), to whom he wrote at least twelve extant letters from Europe, 1780–1783, and another twelve from Haverhill, 1784–1791. He also addressed three extant letters to his sisters collectively. MHi: Thaxter Papers; History of Hingham , 3:232–233.