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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0320

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-03-08

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Tis a little more than 3 week[s] since the dearest of Friends and tenderest of Husbands left his solitary partner, and quitted all the fond endearments of domestick felicity for the dangers of the Sea, exposed perhaps to the attack of a Hostile foe, and o good Heaven can I add to the dark assassin, to the secret Murderer and the Bloody Emissary of as cruel a Tyrant as God in his Riteous judgments ever sufferd to Discrace the Throne of Brittain.
I have travelled with you over the wide Atlantick, and could have landed you safe with humble confidence at your desired Haven, and then have set myself down to have enjoyed a negative kind of happiness, in the painfull part which it has pleased Heaven to allot me, but this intelligance with Regard to that great Philosopher, able Statesman and unshaken Friend of his Country, has planted a Dagger in my Breast and I feel with a double Edge the weapon that pierced the Bosom of a Franklin—

“For Nought avails the Virtues of the Heart

Nor tow'ring Genious claims its due Reward

From Britains fury, as from Deaths keen dart

No worth can save us and no Fame can guard.”

The more distinguished the person the greater the inveteracy of these foes of Humane Nature. The Arguments of my Friends to alleviate my anxiety by perswading me that this shocking attempt will put you more upon your Gaurd and render your person more secure than if it had never taken place, is kind in them and has some weight, but my greatest comfort and consolation arrisses from the Belief of a Superintending providence to whom I can with confidence commit you since not a Sparrow falls to the ground without his Notice. Were it not for this I should be misirable and overwhelmed by my fears and apprehensions.
Freedom of sentiment the life and soul of Friendship is in a great measure cut of by the Danger of Miscarrages, and the apprehension of Letters falling into the hands of our Enemies. Should this meet with that fate may they Blush for their connextion with a Nation who have renderd themselves infamous and abhorred by a long list of crimes which not their high atchivements nor the Lusture of former Deeds, nor the tender appellation of parent nor the fond connextion which { 403 } once subsisted, can ever blot from our remembrance or wipe out those indellible stains <of their> cruelty and baseness.1 They have engraven them with a pen of Iron and Led in a Rock forever.
To my dear Son Remember me in the most affectionate terms. I would have wrote to him but my notice is so short that I have not time. Injoin it upon him Never to Disgrace his Mother, and to behave worthy of his Father. Tender as Maternal affection is, it was swallowed up in what I found a stronger, or so intermingld that I felt it not in its full force till after he had left me. I console myself with the hopes of his reaping advantages under the carefull Eye of a tender parent which it was not in my power to bestow upon him.
There is nothing material taken place in the politicall world since you left us. This Letter will go by a vessel for Bilboa from whence you may perhaps get better opportunities of conveyance than from any other place. The Letter you deliverd to the pilot came safe to hand.2 All the little folks are anxious for the Safety of their Pappa and Brother to whom they desire to be rememberd—to which is added the tenderest Sentiments of affection and the fervent prayers for your happiness and Safty of Your
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers). RC, sent by a vessel bound for Bilbao, has not been found, was never acknowledged by JA, and therefore probably never reached him.
1. Thus in MS. The sentence is defective, but only because it is not clear which words AA would have omitted and which she would have let stand in her fair copy.
2. His second letter of 13 Feb., above, sent from the Boston in Nantasket Roads, or a missing letter sent from Marblehead when the Boston sailed from there? See AA to Thaxter, 15–18 Feb., above.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0321

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-03-21

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Ma'am

I am to thank you, in my own name, and on the public account, for that exercise of laudable patriotic prudence, which you have modestly termed the “Freedom” of inclosing to me Mr. McCreary's letter to your worthy Husband.1 I read it in Congress, and I think it will be useful to the commercial Committee. The same Gentleman wrote to Mr. Adams in Sepr. some interesting history,2 of which he gave me a copy, just before he undertook his late vast Sacrifice to his Country's Wellfare.—I fear I shall have wounded you by carrying { 404 } your mind back to a day which you ought to strive to forget, by confining your imagination strictly to that of your future reunion: but, your billet under my eye, by developing your character, made my pen mark the expression “vast Sacrifice,” while my heart acknowledged its individual portion of the debt of gratitude, which our Mr. Adams may charge against the Public.
All the intelligence which we received from France, about the period of Mr. McCreary's letter, was of the same tenor; our friends in Martinique wrote in like style on Decr. 3d.; but, on the 28th. of that month and the 26th. of January we have an ecclaircisement of the gallic finesse. The most open protection is afforded to our trade, privateers are fitted out, and their prizes not only sold, but a duty of 1 pr. Ct. regularly paid upon their cargoes towards the governmental revenue. The Governor of Antigua has no resource left but impotent threats to the General at St. Pierres of the Resentment that may arise in the breast of his Britannic Majesty, when the affair is properly represented. I suspect that England will more easily draw France in to open War by talking about Reconciliation than by boasting of subduing us by force. Louis thinks the latter impossible: his only fears are about the former.
I cannot give you any thing agreable from this neighbourhood. I cannot promise you that we shall owe our prosperity to our own spirit and preperations, in any degree comparable to what we shall owe to the Enemy's embarrassments and the unmerited favour of Providence, but, our hope of the latter is hardly supported in a ballance by the Justice of our Cause, counteracted by the selfish spirit of the Times: Justly may I be turned to the Parable of the Beam and Mote while I beg you to count me among yr. affectionate humb Servant[s].
1. AA's letter to which Lovell is replying has not been found. In the Adams Papers, however, is a paper in AA's hand containing copies of two letters to JA from William McCreery at Bordeaux, 10 and 25 Oct. 1777, the substance of either or both of which AA may have furnished to Lovell. There is no record in the Journal that they were read in Congress. Concerning McCreery, a Maryland merchant who had some acquaintance with JA and had recently established himself in Bordeaux, see JA's Diary and Autobiography, 2:293–294, and passim; also AA to JA, 18 May (Adams Papers). JA and McCreery corresponded for some years on commercial matters.
2. This may refer to McCreery's letter to JA from Nantes, 29 Sept. 1777 (Adams Papers).
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/