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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0052

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1769-06-29

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest

I embrace with Joy, this Opportunity of writing you. Mr. Langdon, who is to be the Bearer, was so good as to call this Morning, to know if I had any Letters to send. You'l therefore of Course, treat him civilly and give him Thanks. We are now but beginning the Business of Falmouth Court. The Weather has been for three days, so hot, as to render the Business of the Court very irksome, indeed, but we are in hopes it will now be cooler. How long I shall be obliged to stay here, I cant say. But you may depend I shall stay here no longer, than absolute Necessity requires. Nothing but the Hope of acquiring some little Matter for my dear Family, could carry me, thro these tedious Excursions.—How my Business at home may suffer I cant tell.—I hope to be in Boston before July C[our]t. If I should not, you will see that my Actions are entered.—Give my Love to my little Babes. Cant you contrive to go to Braintree to kiss my little Suky, for me. Respects, Compliments and Love to all who deserve them, and believe me, unalterably yours,
[signed] John Adams
{ 67 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For Mrs. Abigail Adams Boston Pr. favr. Mr. Langdon.”
1. That is, the first week of Cumberland co. Superior Court, sitting at Falmouth (now Portland, Maine). The year is determinable for JA's allusion at the close of this letter to his 2d daughter, Susanna, born in Dec. 1768, died in Feb. 1770. The day of the month is determinable from the fact that Cumberland Superior Court opened in 1769 on Tuesday, 27 June, and JA's letter was written on the following Thursday.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0053

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1769-07-01

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] [My]1 Dear

We have lived thro the Heat, and Toil, and Confusion of this Week. We have tried three of the Kennebeck Proprietors Actions and have been fortunate enough to obtain them all. Mr. Bowdoins great Case with Lord Edgcumbe, and Dr. Gardiners great Cause with William Tyng the sherriff of this County particularly.2 There are about 60 or 70 Actions now remaining on the Dockett, and When we shall get loose from this Town I cant yet foresee. However, I am determined not to stay at York Court and therefore shall be at home, the latter End of the Week after next. If I can be at home sooner I shall. I hope you are all well. God preserve you and all our Family.—The good Man waits for this Letter and it is late Saturday night. I am yr ever affectionate
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For Mrs. Abigail Adams Boston Pr. favr. of Mr. Snow.”
1. MS: “Mr.”
2. James Bowdoin v. Thomas Springer et al., and Silvester Gardiner v. William Tyng. Among JA's legal papers there are notes on both these cases tried in the current Superior Court term for Cumberland and Lincoln counties, held at Falmouth (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 185).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0054

Author: Adams, Abigail
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Smith, Isaac Jr.
Date: 1770-01-04

Abigail and John Adams to Isaac Smith Jr.

[salute] Dear Cousin

I Congratulate you upon the fine weather we have had since your absence; if it has been as favourable to you, as it has been here, you will long Ere this reaches you be safely arrived in Carolina.1 When you left us, you did not tell me, nor did I know till a few days agone, that you designd a visit to our (cruel) Mother Country, shall I say. I highly approve your design. Now is the best Season of Life for you to travel; Ere you have formed connections which would bind you to your own little Spot.
{ 68 }
Your Parents and Friends have placed great confidence in you; at so Early an age to commit you to yourself, with no Guardian but your own Honour, and no Monitor but your own Conscience. And with pleasure I say it. Still suffer them, in spite of every temptation to the Contrary, to maintain the same power over you, which they have had from your Early infancy. Still keep them faithful to you; and you will not need any other.
The Stage you are entering upon is large and Capacious. You will have temptation of various kinds to encounter, but you will we hope, we expect it from you, be superiour to them all. Vice and imprudence are no necessary attendants upon Youth, tho too frequently its inseperable Companions. If your Gay acquaintance assault you with ridicule for persisting in any Laudable practice, dispise their contempt, and be only fearful of encurring your own. If you would be secure from the arrows of Calumny, be careful never to part with the Shield of Innocence. Tis Expected from you who have a prudence far surpassing your years, that you will make improvements Eaquel to your prudence. From you I expect not the mere common place observation and remarks, but those that will not only please but instruct. What ever occurs curious or remarkable in the Course of your travels remit to your Friends. Here might I be permitted to give my advice, it would be to keep a dayly journal. You will find it both useful and pleasent. Permit me also to call to your remembrance those lines of Shakespears, that Excellent advice of Polonius to his Son Laertes

“Give thy thoughts no tongue,

Nor any unproportioned thought his act

Be thou familiar; but by no means vulgar.

The Friends thou hast and their addoption try'd

Grapple them to thy Soul with hooks of Steel

But do not dull thy palm with entertainment

Of Each new hatch'd, unfledg'd comrade

Beware of entrance to a quarrel, but being in

Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee

Give every Man thine Ear but few thy voice

Take Each man['s] censure; but reserve thy judgment

Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,

But not Express'd in fancy; rich not Gaudy

For the apparell oft proclaims the man

Neither a borrower nor a lender be

For loan oft looses oft itself and Friend

{ 69 }

And borrowing dulls the Edge of husbandry

This above all, to thine own self be true

And it must follow as the Night the Day

Thou canst not then be fake to any man.”

I have written a great deal. Receive it in the Spirit of real Friendship. Thus it is designed by Your affectionate Cousin and Friend,
[signed] Abigail Adams
PS Your Friends here are in as good health as when you left us and desire to be remember'd to you. Mr. and Mrs. Cranch send their Love, regard also from me to all my kindred in Carolina. Forget not a token of remembrance when you have opportunity to yours,
[signed] A.A.

[salute] My good Friend

I have been reading the foregoing Instructions and Exhortations of Dame Adams, and have no Doubt at all of their Orthodoxy, the only Question with me is, what occasion, a Gentleman of your Character, has for them.—Am very glad to hear You intend a Voyage to Fog land.—There you will find every Object that [can]2 inform or delight.—Pray if among all your Pleasures, Studies, Business &c. you can find a few vacant Moments to write, let me hear from you. Write a great deal about Politicks, for by the News we hear to day We shall have need. Our General Court by special order from his Majesty, as Punishment of their Behaviour last summer And that of our Merchants is prorogued to the 11th. March.3

[salute] I am yr friend,

[signed] John Adams
RC (MB); addressed in JA's hand: “For Mr. Isaac Smith So. Carolina These.”
1. Isaac was visiting his Kinsmen in Charleston. AA's first American forebear in the paternal line, Thomas Smith, a butcher of Charlestown, Mass., had a son Thomas, a sea-captain, who married in South Carolina and whose grandsons, Benjamin and Thomas Smith, became very prominent in business and colonial affairs there. (One of Benjamin's sons, William Loughton Smith [1758–1812], was to become a Federalist representative in Congress, U.S. minister to Portugal, and a well-known pamphleteer; see DAB.) Among the Smith-Carter Papers (MHi) are numerous letters from these “Loving Cousins” throughout most of the 18th century. For the full genealogical details see George C. Rogers Jr., Evolution of a Federalist: William Loughton Smith of Charleston (1758–1812), Columbia, S.C., 1962.
2. A word is missing in the MS.
3. For the events alluded to, see Hutchinson, Massachusetts Bay, ed. Mayo, 3:171 ff.; Arthur M. Schlesinger, The Colonial Merchants and the American Revolution, 1763–1776, New York, 1918, ch. 4.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/