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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 5


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Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0224

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Roberdeau, Daniel
Date: 1777-12-24

To Daniel Roberdeau

[salute] My dear Friend

Your most friendly and obliging Favour of 28. Novr was never delivered to me, untill the 22d instant, when I returned home { 370 } from a short Excursion upon private Business, almost the only Sample that has fallen to my share for four Years.
Indeed, Sir, I have neglected and abandoned, my own Affairs and the Concerns of my Family So long, to the inexpressible Loss and Injury of both, that I must confess I began to feel a great deal of Joy in the Prospect of returning to my former Course of Life. Your Letter however and the other Dispatches, which accompanied it: have cast a Damp upon me again: They have opened new Prospects before me and have agitated me with new Hopes and Fears.
If I were perfect in the French Language, and could converse in it, with Ease and Propriety, I think I should be happy: But my great Deficiency in this Particular, and the total Impossibility, as I conceive it that a Man after 40 should ever be, a critical Master, of the Pronunciation of any Language, give me great Anxiety.
I shall try the Experiment, however, and if I find any great Inconvenience by which the Public may be likely to suffer I shall ask Leave to return.
I shall devote my Time henceforward, to the Acquisition of a Language, to which I am not a total stranger having, had some Knowledge of the Grammer and Construction of it, early in life, and having practised Reading something in all along, but which however, I never before aimed at learning to Speak.
Be pleased, to make my most friendly Respects to Mrs. Clymer, and Miss Betsy, and to Mr Isaac, Miss Nancy, Polly, and Selina.1 May every Blessing and Prosperity attend you and them, and wherever I may be, let me intreat the Favour of your Correspondence by every opportunity. I am &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. Isaac, Nancy, Polly, and Selina were Roberdeau children ( Adams Family Correspondence , 2:373; DAB ).

Docno: ADMS-06-05-02-0225

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Campbell, Archibald
Date: 1777-12-25

To Archibald Campbell

[salute] Sir

Three Days ago, I had the Honour of receiving your Letter of the 18th. of December, inclosing Copy of a Letter from Mr. Heman Allen and another from Mr. Boudinot.
I was not present in Congress, when the Resolution passed, for { 371 } your being taken into close Custody1 But I believe You may assure Yourself, sir, that no suggestion of improper Conduct on your Part as a Prisoner of War, gave Birth to that Resolution. But Necessity alone from not having an Officer of General Lees Distinction in Possession of the United States occasioned a Retaliation of Circumstances on the Persons of Six Officers of the British Army inferiour to him in Point of Rank.
The Captivity of General Prescott, has, in my opinion, removed that Necessity, and therefore, sir, I Should very chearfully give my Voice, for your going to New York, upon your Parol of Honour to return immediately, in Case your Exertions for negotiating an Exchange for Coll Allen should prove ineffectual.
But, Sir, I have not the Honour to be a Member of the Council of the Massachusetts Bay, and consequently have no Right to interfere in their Deliberations: <nor if I had should I be clear that they would be justifiable in granting your Request, without the consent of Congress.>
If I were to advise you sir, it would be, to apply to Congress, who I <make no Doubt> am much inclined to think would readily, grant your Request.
I am fully of opinion, however that the Resolution of Congress respecting your Confinement ought not to operate to your Disadvantage after the Capture of Gen. Prescott, and if the Honourable Council should see fit to grant your Request, I dont think they would incur any Censure from Congress: and if I should see any Member of that Body I shall take the Liberty to express the same Sentiments to him, being desirous of doing whatever I consistently can for the Accomodation of a Gentleman of your Character, in such Circumstances, as well as of accomplishing the Exchange of Coll Allen. I have the Honour to be &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. The resolution for close custody was passed on 20 Feb.; JA was in attendance by the 4th of that month. He may mean that he was not in the chamber on that day, although that seems unlikely (see Campbell to JA , 18 Dec., note 2, above).