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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0121

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-01-18

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

A Gentleman, Mr. Boardman of Newbury Port,1 is going, and by him I send you a few Lines.
In England nothing is talked of, but Admiral Keppell, whom they are daily trying by a Court Martial. His Defence, I suppose is our security, viz. the shattered Condition of their Navy.
They are almost ripe for cutting each others Throats to all Appearance, yet they are about sending Reinforcements to America. But they cant send many.
Here, they are silently preparing for your Assistance. Patience and Perseverance, will finally obtain what We wish.
I am quite unwell, with one of my violent Colds. But I walk ten miles a day to cure it.
I never was so embarrassed, in writing to you in my Life. I never know what security I have against appearing in the News Papers, and I assure you I dont wish to see any more of my Love Letters there.2
I have been here in a State of total Suspence and Uncertainty, these three Months. Not one Word can We get from Congress. No News here from the Comte3 since his Departure from Boston.
1. Probably Capt. Offin Boardman, who had commanded a Newburyport privateer that had been captured; Boardman had escaped from Mill Prison and made his way to France (William H. Bayley and Oliver O. Jones, History of { 150 } the Marine Society of Newburyport [Newburyport], 1906, p. 355–356).
2. An allusion to his letter to AA of 24 July 1775, intercepted and published by the British; see text and notes at vol. 1:255–258, above.
3. Admiral d'Estaing.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0122

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-01-19

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest

I can only tell you that I am not well. A bad Cold only. The others are all well.
Not a Word of News from any Part. None from America a long time, i.e. since Mr. Cheever and Sears sailed. None from Congress this Age. Mr. Gridley, Cheever and Sears, brought me only a Line from your Uncle and a Duplicate from Mr. Cushing. These I answered before.1
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams.”
1. The letter from AA's uncle, Isaac Smith Sr., 9 Nov. 1778, is printed above; no answer has been found. Thomas Cushing's letter, “a Duplicate” dated 21–28 Oct. 1778, is in Adams Papers; JA replied in a letter of 8 Dec. 1778 (NhD).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0123

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-01-19

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

Yes, lovely Portia, you have written to one “who lives in the continual practice of mortification and self denial,” who therefore can and does most “feelingly commiserate your situation.”
I am pleased when You speak of my disinterested attachment to the public weal: for, I know you judge from Sensibilities to which the herd of worldlings are intire strangers. They would stare at your opinion, and gravely ask “what Fortune does he sacrifice.”
I fear not, from you, the tax of vanity when I hope my example may tend to strengthen your Patience. I will fortify my own by looking up to your dearest Friend, whom even the worldling will own to be a striking pattern.
You say 'tis near 11 months since he left Braintree. I find myself relieved by that period from a certain anxiety, which was founded on my tenderness towards your dear Sex that Mr. A's rigid patriotism had overcome. He used, in that Spirit, to contemplate with pleasure, a circumstance in you, the like of which in Mrs. L[ovell] aggravated my absence from home, exceedingly. In spight therefore of his past reproofs to me, I will take pleasure in your Escape.
{ 151 }
You may be assured, dear Lady, that not a line for you has arrived here, or any thing material to the public under your Husband's hand, or I should have communicated both the one, and the other so far as proper, to you speedily.
From the minutes now on my table, I can only mention the Receipt of short letters from him of Apr. 28.1 Aug. 12. 14. 21. Before I seal, I shall be in the Secretary's office, and will add other dates, if I find them. Personally, I have not had a single line of answer, tho my almanac proves I have written 16 or 18 times to him. He is right in his short letters: The quarrels of others are as fiery Beacons to his prudence.
I am sorry you do not see all the papers from this quarter. The vanity of a late Envoy will work its own destruction. His chief antagonist here, tho indiscreet at times, is an overmatch for him in the scribling way.2 The Lees are men of Probity as well as Science; and the advantage of speaking of them behind their backs will not turn out so great as was at first hoped by the Innuendo-Man; so R. H. Lee quaintly terms Mr. D[eane].
Arthur Lee has no Commission but what Mr. Adams helped to give him 18. Months ago. There is no particular destination yet made of Mr. A——, but there will be, shortly. I think Party can hurl no Dart against his Honor.
I will communicate to you from time to time any decision interesting to you.
As to our money; 'Till we get a foreign Loan, we can only patch and patch. There is a prospect of our succeeding in Holland. Our Cause gains strength there daily.
I do not think I shall soon be able to help you to flour. But my wishes are on constant watch.
You do not mention the Receipt of either a Scrawl from me of Novr. 14 or a Box sent by one Lusher who is returned hither, though I have not seen him.
As to Mr. Thaxter, I begin to suspect whether I was ever civil to him for one moment. He has never wrote me a single line or sent me a verbal message of Direction where I am to find my Saddle-Bags which I lent him. “There is nothing new under the Sun.” Why then should I be astonished on this Occasion?
“Past 12 o Clock, and a rainy Morning” says the watchman under my Window. Taking his hint, and quitting, for the present, my Converse with Virtue, Sense and Beauty, shall I not find, on my pillow, a Repose sweet as that of a cradled Infant? or, if Fancy will maintain { 152 } her domination jointly with Morpheus, shall I not realize the Slumbers of the Arcadians, and, therein, know myself yr. affectionate Friend,
[signed] JL.
P.S. I find Aug. 27. Sepr. 11th.
1. Probably a mistake for 25 April 1778. If so, all of the letters from JA to Congress listed here and in Lovell's postscript have been located in some version or other except that of 12 Aug. 1778.
2. Thomas Paine, who under his famous pen name “Common Sense” vigorously answered Deane and Deane's defenders in a series of communications to the Pennsylvania Packet, 15, 29, 31 Dec. 1778, and 2, 5, 7, 9 Jan. 1779. These are reprinted in the Deane Papers, 3:86–100, 133–136, 209–239. As a result, through the direct intervention of Gérard, the French minister in Philadelphia, Paine lost his post as secretary to the Committee for Foreign Affairs; see same, p. 246–259.
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, 2017.