A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
The Adams Papers Digital Edition is undergoing active maintenance while we work on improvements to the system. You may experience slow performance or the inability to access content. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We will endeavor to return to full capabilities as soon as possible.

Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 6

Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-06-02-0047

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Date: 1785-05-08

Abigail Adams to Isaac Smith Sr.

[salute] Dear Sir

Your Letter by way of Bilboa dated February 25,1 did not reach me until the 2d. of this Month, yet it was 2 Months later date than any I have received from my Friends, and I feel myself much obliged to you for your information. We had heard by way of New York of the resignation of your Governour, and we have had many conjectures, who amongst all the Canditates will succeed him. We rather thing it will fall upon the Gentleman you named2 especially if the late Governour gives him his influence. Mr. Adams has written you by this opportunity,3 and my son will give you all the News. We shall set for London as soon as we possibly can, but what success Mr. Adams will meet with time can only determine; the mission is a very delicate and difficult one.
You did not write me wheather you was a Grandfather. I suppose by this time I may congratulate you upon that event.4 We have had a mild winter here, but a very dry Spring. There has been no rain { 136 } worth mentioning for more than 3 Months, which has brought upon this County a serious calamity and such a scarcity of Herbage that the poor people in many places have been obliged to kill their cattle to prevent them starving. But as it must be an ill wind which blows no good to any one, the drought will contribute to silence the provinces and the Clamours which they are making against the commerce of America with the French West India Islands. Supposing that they could supply them themselves, the price of provision is much raisd by the dry season. We should have been very glad of some of the fat Turkies you mention, for a fat one I have not seen since we left America. Geese Ducks and Turkies are very indifferent here, but poor as the latter are we have given more than a Guiney a peice for them stuft with truffels which is the only fashionable way of dressing them here. Poultry and fish are excessive high here as well as in London. We have given three Louisdore's for a turbut, and 10 livres for an Ell. The Capons and poulards of this Country are the best in world. Vegetables and fruit are not so high as in London, but all enormus when compared to Boston Market. The expences of persons in publick Life in Europe even upon the frugal plan in which we live, are beyond the conception of those who have not tried it, and what is worse is, that the importanc of persons is Estimated by the show they make. The inquiry is not, whether a person is qualified for his office, but how many domesticks and horses does he keep? If he is not able to support an army of them, all of whose buisness it is to rob and plunder, he is considerd as a very small person indeed.
Mr. Brantzin the Dutch Minister dined here not long since. He was himself the plainest drest of all the company, but he had an Equipage of six Horses5 and 5 liveried servants to attend him. An attendance upon Courts cannot be done in the small way, unless a person will submit to be the object of universal Ridicule.
I have no ambition for a Life of this kind and I am sure our Country can have no Idea of the expences. It is my wish to return to America, where frugality and oconomy are, or ought to be considerd as virtues.6
Pray sir present my duty to my Aunt in whose better Health I rejoice, and my Regards to My cousins, as well as to Mr. Otis's family and believe me most affectionately Yours
[signed] A Adams
RC (MHi: Smith-Carter Papers); addressed by JQA : “Isaac Smith Esqr. Merchant. Boston.” Copy (MHi: Smith-Townsend II, E. H. Smith Scrapbook). The copy has several strike-outs and alterations characteristic of a draft, but it is dated “May 9th”; it also has less text than the RC , with two exceptions noted below.
{ 137 }
1. Not found.
2. Presumably Thomas Cushing, the lieutenant governor and Hancock supporter who replaced Hancock when he abruptly resigned the governorship in January.
3. Dated 6 May (MHi: Smith-Carter Papers).
4. See Mary Cranch to AA , 16 Jan., note 7, above.
5. The copy finishes this sentence: “. . . six Horses, none but the Royall family are allowed to ride with 8, and four livered servants to attend him.”
6. The copy adds: “and to which necessity will compell us to the practise of them.”

Docno: ADMS-04-06-02-0048

Author: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Cranch, William
Date: 1785-05-09

Charles Adams to William Cranch

[salute] Dear Cousin

I receiv'd your letter of the 27th. of April1 sometime last week, and as your Chum2 is going to Cambridge next Wednesday I here see fit without more ceremony to give you a small scroll; and you will please to think that you have been at College allmost a year and an half and that between us both four letters have been the production of our Correspondence; now as to your thought's about this matter I do not know them: but for myself I feel quite ashamed, but I shall come and see you one of these days but I beleive not before Commencement, if I get in then I shall be glad. What do you think of it? Why say you how should I know any thing about it in the first place, tell how far you have got. Why I been through Virgil and Tully twice and have got as far as the second of Corinthians. We are all well here and we study in the bedroom as usual two young fellows from Bradford being added to our number, One of whom will be my chum if we get in3 and who I should be very glad to introduce to you. I shall either send your slate by Leonard or by the post. Now I must leave you and so farewell dear Cousin. Amen Αμην Αμην λεγω σοι 4 Amen from
[signed] C Adams to W Cranch
PS Errors excepted.
RC (Private owner, New York, 1957); addressed: “William Cranch Harvard Coledge Cambridg,” and “Favoured Honoured and supported by the Honl Mr L W Esqr”; docketed: “C-A H-C May 9 1785.”
1. Not found.
2. Leonard White of Haverhill, whom CA names below and on the address page (see the descriptive note). White would become a good friend of his Harvard classmate JQA in 1786–1787, and he appears often in JQA 's Diary ( Diary , 2:237, and index).
3. Upon entering Harvard in August, CA roomed with Samuel Walker of Bradford, Mass. Shaw's other student from Bradford may have been Ebenezer Webster. See JQA to AA2 , 20 Aug., below; JQA, Diary , 1:316, note 3, 393.
4. Amen Amen I say to you.
{ 138 }