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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 6


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Docno: ADMS-04-06-02-0113

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-09-12

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear son

Mr. Storers departure is delayed from day to day so that I fear he will have a dissagreeable time upon our Coast. It gives me an opportunity of adding a few more lines to you. Col. Franks arrived here on Saturday with dispatches from Mr. Jefferson. The Ministers not hearing a Syllable of Lamb, and reports growing every day more serious, tho many of them are really false, yet they have the effect of raising ensurence and greatly obstructing trade. In concequence of which it is determined to send Mr. Barclay without further delay and Col. Franks goes Secretary upon the Buisness which Lambe was Charged with. It is of importance that this matter be kept from this Court, and that occasiond Col. Franks comeing with the dispatches.
Your old acquaintance Stockdale is bought up by the M[inistr]y and receives a pension of 4 hundred per Year.1 It is said he is quite a different Man from what he was when you knew him. Not a single paragraph can be publishd in favour of America, suppose it only six lines under 3 or 4 Guineys. They have offerd a Bounty here of 500 to the British whale man who shall take the largest Quantity this Season, 400 to the next, 300 to the 3d, 2 to the fourth and one to the 5th. In concequence of this a Number of vessels have saild from hence. They take the Mates of the American vessels here and give them the command of a good Ship for this purpose. They have pickd up all the Negroes who were stragling about and starving, and engaged them in this buisness. The M[inistr]y secretly allow any American vessel which comes here to go out in the whale fishery and bring their oil in here free of duty. This is done in order to intice our Whale Men here. At the same time they are prohibiting under the severest { 361 } penaltys any artificer from going to America and prohibiting all hardware tools. The Court Scriblers publishd last week that <your> the American minister had been closeted with the king in a long conference. The concequence was an Immediate rise of stocks. This Manuver was on purpose to try what Effect it was probable might be produced by a treaty.
Mr. Jefferson writes me2 that the Queen of France has agreed in future to wear only French Gauze, that Cardinal Rohan is Still in the Bastile, and that it appears he was the dupe of his Mistress Madam la Mote.
I have nothing further to add but that I found two or 3 stocks Night caps &c which I have sent by Mr. Storer and a pair of Buckles which I have had mended for you. Adieu. Yours &c.
[signed] A A
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Momma. Septr. 12th. 1785”; docketed: “My Mother 12. Septr. 1785,” and “Mrs. Adams. Septr. 12. 1785.”
1. If the Pitt ministry did try to buy Stockdale's support in 1785, the arrangement did not endure. In 1789 the government tried Stockdale for publishing John Logan's Review of the Charges against Warren Hastings (1788), which the ministry considered a libel against the House of Commons. The court, in a major decision affecting British libel law, acquitted him. See JQA to JA , 20 May 1784, and note 2, above; DNB .
2. On 4 Sept., above.

Docno: ADMS-04-06-02-0114

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Shaw, Elizabeth Smith
Recipient: Peabody, Elizabeth Smith Shaw
Date: 1785-09-15

Abigail Adams to Elizabeth Smith Shaw

[salute] My Dear Sister

Mr. Storer says the ship in which he is to embark will go down to day and that he shall go on Board tomorrow. I cannot let him depart without a few lines to you tho I wrote you so lately by Captain Lyde1 that I have nothing New to add. I have not been lately either to Court or the Play. I have made some visits into the Country to a couple of families who have been very polite to us. When we first came they got introduced to us, and have twice invited us to dine. Both times we were unfortunatly preengaged. The Gentleman Name is Smith he is a Member of Parliament, and he married into the other family whose Name is Copes. They are very agreeable people and live about 4 mils from Town at a very pretty village call'd Clapham. Next week I propose going to Court as it is the aniverssary of his Majestys Coronation.2 I may probably find some entertainment for you from that quarter.
This week the Theatre at Covent Garden opens and Mrs. Siddons appears in the Tradigy of Othello in the Character of Desdamony. We { 362 } have sent a Week before to engage places. I promise myself high entertainment from this admired and celebrated actress, but heitherto I have seen nothing that I can realish since my comeing from Paris. Of the Theatrical kind I should say.
If I had come to this Country with high expectation I should have been dissapointed, but as I have no taste and passion for Routes, and gameing, tables, &c. I cannot string over to you such a Night at my Lady H's Ball and such a night at the Countess C——s Route or the Dutchess ofs, Card party. I am so little Qualified for my station and so old fashiond as to prefer the Society of Dr. Price, Dr. Jebb, and a few others like them to the midnight Gamblers, and the titled Gamesters, and I am so impudent, impudent the English call it, as to take a pride in acknowledging my Country despightfully as this people treat it. I am neither ashamed of it, or the great actions which dismemberd it from this empire. Some of our Countrymen who mix much with this people, have confessd to me; that they secreat their Country, and pass themselves for Natives to avoid being insulted—but I am loth to part with the Scripture Benidiction, “blessed are Ye when Men persecute and revile you falsly.”3
I know they abuse America because they fear her, and every effort to render her unpopular is a proof of it. They go on deceiving themselves, thinking they can keep us low and poor, but all the time they are making us industerous, frugal wise and Great I hope.
I have sent to Mr. Shaw a little Treatise upon Education which was presented to Mr. Adams by the Author, tho unknown to him.4 Mr. Adams thought it might be more usefull to Mr. Shaw than it could be to him, as it lay more in his particular department and accordingly directed me to send it to him.
I hope all your little family are well, and that you have only exchanged one Nephew for an other.
My best regards attend all my good Friends at Haverhill, to Madam Marsh in particular if the Good Saint is not yet gone to Heaven. Dr. Johnson used to make a practise of praying for his departed Friends. This is rather singular for a Protestant, who universally believe that Death excluds their friends both from the good or evil of those who survive.
But I must bid you adieu as I am going to take a little ride. I have been very unwell for several Days. I am very sensible I want excercise. O that I could go and see my sisters, my Aunts, my cousins.
Once more adieu. Most tenderly yours
{ 363 }
RC (DLC: Shaw Family Papers); addressed by Charles Storer: “Mrs. Elizabeth Shaw, Haverhill”; endorsed: “Sep. 15 1785.”
1. Of [ca. 15 Aug.] , above.
2. George III and his queen, Charlotte Sophia, were crowned on 22 Sept. 1761, nearly a year after he ascended the throne.
3. Matthew 5:11, altered and condensed; opening quotation mark supplied.
4. The author and treatise have not been identified.