A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
close

Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 5


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0240

Author: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Recipient: Cranch, Elizabeth
Recipient: Norton, Elizabeth Cranch
Date: 1784-09-30

Abigail Adams 2d to Elizabeth Cranch

N 3.1
Your letter N 2. Eliza, I was so happy as to receive a day or two ago.2 I searched my journal, upon your request to know were I was the 4 of August and found that I was in London, and that day dined at Mr. Vaughans,3 a very agreeable family, and from whom we received much attention. I was perhaps at the time you wrote at dinner for I recollet we did not dine till five oclock, the usual hour in London when people have company. From three to five is the general hour which every body dines at. Whether it is right or not I wont determine. I confess the custom was agreeable to me.
{ 465 }
“Happy happy clime, I hope one day to visit thee” was your expression. Indeed Eliza as I wish you the gratification of every desire your heart knows, I wish you may, be gratified in this request. And if you wish to gain a higher relish for your own Country I would advise you to visit Europe. In the climate alone I do not at present see any meterial difference from our own. Even in this Country which has been represented as the finest climate in the World I do not think from what I know already that it is more agreeable than our own. There are not so violent extremes of heat and cold, but I think there is as much rain and we have had as violent storms since I have been here as I ever know in America at this Season. However I find myself more reconciled, since I have formed some few acquaintances here. Most of them are with Americans. There are several American Ladies here, and we make a little society that is very agreeable. I wish I could give you some idea of the French Ladies, but it is impossible to do it by letter, as I should absolutely be ashaimed to write, what I must if I tell you truths. There is not a subject in Nature that they will not talk upon, in any company, and there is no distinction of sex, after they are Married. I will venture to give you one very small instance of their unreserve in what is called a descent Woman. It was young Madam Grand, who has lately been married and expects an addition to her family. An English gentleman dined there the other day, and asked her if she had any family. Ah No said she, I was Married in March, but you see it is comeing. She told My Brother who saw her at Work upon little things, that she was at Work, for her petit Enfant. Do not Judge from my giveing you these proofs of French Manners that I am reconcoiled to them. I sometimes think Myself fortunate in not understanding the Language. What do you think of such a people.
I hope you have received by this my letters by Mr. Smith. According to our calculations he must have arrived ere this. You know by them of our voyage and arrival with many other interesting particulars. You have made an agreeable visit I doubt Not at Haverhill, and renewed your former acquaintances there. They cannot have improved in the means of being agreeable to you as they were perfect before. But why did you not tell me who was your gallant4 and all about it, and likewise of your entertainment at Commencment, as I judge you were there. I hear it was a very gay one, and that Mr. B—Sons made a figure, at least in expence. You have forgot Eliza how very interesting every circumstance is to those so far distant from their friends even { 466 } the most trivial, those, which perhaps you would not think of mentioning were we together become realy important, at this distance. I dont know that they do not even receive a consequence from their Travels. But this is the usual reply, “nothing interesting has happened since you left us.” Do you relate them, and leave me to Judge of their interesting qualities. Should you write me where you had been or [who?] [what?] 5 you saw, or what you heard upon any particular day, why I should half imagine myself amongst you.
You ask me how I spent my time on board Ship, whether I kept to my resolution of not working and whether I slept the Whole way. I should have been very glad to have slept, I assure you and indeed, I slept my portion.6 I was the most fortunate in this respect than either of the other Ladies, for I never was kept awake a single moment, by the least fear or apprehension. It is a queer Life I assure [you] 7 and I am very far from thinking it agreeable.
This Morn we have received letters from your Pappa and Mamma,8 with a Number of others that have informed us of the health of our friends, the most pleasing inteligence that we could have received I assure you. Your Mamma writes us you were still at Haverhill, and that Mr. Shaw was at commencment. Why did not my Dear Aunt Shaw write to her friends. I am happy to hear that her Journey was of service to her health. My Brothers too are well, may they be good and as happy as they can. Mr. Thaxter we have not heard from. He shares in our good wishes.
Sister Lucy is a little punctilious I suppose, upon the account of debt and credit which by the way surely should be laid aside at this distance. She is now in my debt. The only judgment we have to form of the attention of our friends is certainly from the frequency of their letters, and to those who favour us oftenest we are certainly the most obliged.

[salute] Remember me affectionately to my Brothers and to all my friends and believe me Eliza your sincere friend

[signed] A Adams
RC (MHi: C. P. Cranch Papers); addressed: “Miss Eliza Cranch Braintree or Haverhill—docketed: “Letter from Miss A Adams to Miss Eliz: Cranch. France Sep 30 1784.”
1. This is AA2 's fourth extant letter to Elizabeth Cranch since her departure from America; she did not number her letter of 4 Sept., above.
2. Elizabeth Cranch's letter “N 2” to AA2 , evidently (from the next sentence) written on 4 Aug., has not been found.
3. Benjamin Vaughan's invitation, dated 2 Aug., to AA , AA2 , and JQA to dine with him on 4 Aug., is in the Adams Papers. On Mr. { 467 } and Mrs. Benjamin Vaughan and the Adamses, see JA, Diary and Autobiography , vol. 4:index.
4. Betsy's “gallant” has not been identified.
5. AA2 omitted a word here.
6. AA records AA2 's sleeping at noon in her 6 July letter to Mary Cranch, above.
7. AA2 left a blank space at this point.
8. Richard Cranch to JA , 12 Aug.; Mary Cranch to AA , 7 Aug., both above.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0241

Author: Cranch, Mary Smith
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1784-10-03

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams

Accept my dear Sister a thousand thanks for your charming Journal,1 it is just Such an one as I wish'd, so particular that while reading it, I could not help fancying my self with you. We hoped as we had Such fine weather for six weeks after you Sail'd, that you would have had a quicker Passage than I find you had. You did not feel more joy when you set your feet upon the British Coast, than I did when I reciev'd your first Letter. It was that dated “the 2d of August” just after Mr. Smith Sail'd. I answer'd it the next day,2 and hope you have receiv'd it, and that you will do as I desir'd you would with it, if you have not done it already. I have read your journal four times, but never with dry Eyes, nor shall I ever be able too. Oh my Sister what have you suffer'd! I pity you more for what you have not express'd than for what you have—my immagination has read that close Lock'd journal.
Let me intreat you my Amiable Sister not to indulge unnecessary anxieties. The evening of your Days will I hope be as happy as the morning. Your Letters excited a variety of immotions in my Breast as I read them. I was at Haverhill when they arriv'd. One I recievd upon my journey, the other while I was there3 and the journal I found when I came home. It was late before I could begin it, the Family all retir'd to rest. It was one o clock before I had finish'd it. Your tender and affectionate expressions for me and mine softend me to a Baby, and your sufferings wounded my Heart. In short when I had finish'd I set down and weep'd heartily.
When I arriv'd at Sister Shaws, I found her very Ill of a Fever, the Doctor feard a settled one.4 She had taken a violent cold. It seiz'd her Lungs and took away her voice for a week. She was taken Sneezing to such a degree that she was in danger of breaking a vein in her Stomack. I believe this occation'd the Loss of her voice. She had [a] watcher5 above a week, but by good nursing and a kind Providence, she has escapd a settled Fever and was so well as to ride out the day before I came away. I was with her a fortnight.
Your dear children are well, and Look very Happy. Cousin Charles { 468 } came home with Lucy and I, he is here now; and a so poor child has miss'd of his Letters.6 Mr. Cranch had sent them to Haverhill the day we came away: He thinks he cannot write till he has seen them: He sends his Duty. I went yesterday to see your Mother and told her I had come to read part of your journal to her. Aya said she “I had rather hear that she is coming home.”7 She has had her Health this summer much better than for Several years past, and is grown quite Fat. You would have been pleas'd to have seen with what eagerness Little Boylstone8 devour'd every word as I read. I dare say he does not forget a sentence. While I was reading his Papa sent him for something he wanted; I saw he was unwilling to go least he should lose some of the Letter. I was so pleas'd that I promiss'd to stop till he return'd, and then away he flew like the wind. This child is a Genious Sister. Mr. Porter has been keeping a Grammer School in this Parish all Summer. Your Nephew has attended it, and it has given him such a thirst for Learning that of his own head without his Papas knowledge, he procur'd himself some Latin Books and set himself in good earnest to the study of the Language. He has rose with the Day all summer that he might have time for his studys. I have often met him going to School with his Book open studying his Leason as he walk'd along. His Master told me he would make a fine Schooler.
Mr. Adams and the children are well, they all send their Love, Mrs. Hall in perticular. She often spends the day with me. If she walks to meeting, I take her home with me at noon, and send her home at night. Mr. Adams's Horse will not go in the chaise. You may be assur'd she shall not want any comfort that I can give her.
Oh my dear Sister when will you return and make us all happy? Your Neighbours are often coming to know when I heard from you, they will cry as much for joy when you return as they did for sorrow when you left them. Delight Newcomb dyed about six weeks ago. “Cap” Joseph Baxters wife about a month since. Eunice Bellhou is sick with a slow Fever. Mr. Thaxter is well, has as much business as he could expect for the time he has been there. Peggy White of Haverhill has fallen into a melancholy, is quite distracted at some seasons. The Family are greatly distress'd. I was there about an hour one evening, Mrs. White took me into the other room to tell me her trouble. Poor woman my Heart bore its part in her woe. The sympathiteck Tear stole from my eye. They doated upon her! She was the delight of their Eyes. This was her Language. She ennumerated her virtues. She was Spritely prudent and Dutiful—but now how chang'd! The sight of this dear Girl affected me greatly. She was seting upon { 469 } a couch, dress'd in a Queens nightcap with a white ribbon bound round her head and a white long loose Gown on, her Hands cross'd before her, and her Eyes fix'd upon the Flour. When I enter'd Her Mama took my Hand and led me to her, and told her I was the mama of her Brothers Friend.9 She rose courtesy'd and sat down, but did not speak nor move a Feature of her Face. Her skin was of a delicate white, and a Fever which she has, had given her cheeks a Beautiful flush. She made me think of Clementina.10 I greatly suspect she has something Labouring in her mind which ought to be drawn from her. I told her mama so, but she did not seem to think there was any thing.
Billy is well and pursues his studys steadyly and behaves well, has the Love of all his Class and the approbation of his Tutors. May he always continue to do so. Leonard and he are as happy in each other as two young Fellows can be. I believe I can tell you one peice of news. Aunt Smith is like to be a grandmama!!! There is not much joy among the children.11
Continue your journal my dear Sister, you cannot immagine how it entertains us. I rejoice that you have found such Friends. If nothing unforeseen happens your Tour must give you great pleasure. Give my most affectionate regard[s] to Mr. Adams and my Cousins, and accept the be[st wishes?] of your affectionate Sister.
[signed] M. Cranch
I have not receiv'd the things you mention. When I do I shall destribute them as you desire. Lucy will write if the vessel does not sail too soon for her. I sent a Long Letter to you in a vessel going to Holland. The others went in the Cencinatus: Capn. Farris'.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Abigail Adams. Paris.” Some damage to the text just above the signature.
1. Of 6 July, above.
2. Letter not found.
3. The letters of 2 Aug., above, and 25 July (MWA: Abigail Adams Corr.).
4. Fixed in the bodily system; said of coughs ( OED ).
5. One who watches over a sick bed ( OED ).
6. These letters have not been found.
7. Closing quotation mark supplied.
8. Boylston Adams, son of JA 's brother, Peter Boylston Adams, was thirteen in 1784.
9. JQA gives a vivid portrait of Peggy White in 1785 (JQA, Diary , 1:321, 322, note 2, 377), and describes her parents and her brother Leonard (same, vol. 2). Peggy recovered from her depression and married in 1786. Leonard, a close friend of Mary Cranch's son William (“Billy” in the next paragraph), would also become one of JQA 's best friends when all three attended Harvard in the same class (1787).
10. Clemmentina Porretta, a character in Samuel Richardson's The History of Sir Charles Grandison, suffered from depression when Grandison, whom she loved, was absent.
11. Mary Smith Gray, daughter of Isaac Smith Sr. and Elizabeth Storer Smith, married Samuel Allyne Otis, her second husband, in 1782. Otis had five children from his first marriage.