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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0153

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-05-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I left Paris on the Eighth of March, expecting to find the Alliance, at Nantes and embark immediately for home, but when I arrived there I found the Alliance was still at Brest. I went to Brest 200 Miles from Nantes, and after some Stay there the Alliance was ordered to Nantes. I returned to Nantes, and when every Thing was ready to sail for America, an order came from Court for the Alliance to go to L'orient, and for me to go home in one of the Kings ships, with his new Ambassador to the united States, Le Chevalier de la Luzerne.
It would fill a Volume to give you an History of my Adventures.2 My Son has accompanied me wherever I have been and is treated with more Attention than his father, tho that is as much as he wishes.
Dont think hard of me for not writing. I have wrote as often as I could. But there are Letters of mine still in the Ports of this Kingdom, which were written I believe 9 Months ago—many many others are in the Sea.
When you come to know how few Letters I have received from America, you will be surprized. There seems to be no Communication of Intelligence between the two Countries or worse than none.
What the Sentiments or Intentions of Congress are concerning me, I know not. Shall find out in Time, I presume. But it seems to most People a little misterious that I should be sent here, and so soon forgotten, so entirely as neither to be ordered to stay, go or come. However, there3 are Reasons probably that We know not here.
{ 196 }
You may form an Idea of the Tenderness with which I expect to see you and ours, in the Course of five or six Weeks.
1. This is JA's first letter to AA since his series to her at the end of February. See notes on his undated (and perhaps fragmentary) letter to her printed under the assigned date of Feb. 1779. On 14 May JA addressed ||including his second and third letters of that to date|| to AA, doubtless intending to send them by different vessels. The order in which they are printed here is simply the editors' guess as to the order of their composition.
2. They are fairly fully set forth in JA's Diary and Autobiography, 2:354–371.
3. MS: “they.”

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0154

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-05-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

When I left Paris, the 8 March, I expected to have been at Home before this Day and have done my Utmost to get to sea, but the Embarrassements and Disappointments I have met with, have been many, very many. I have however in the Course of them had a fine Opportunity of seeing Nantes, L'orient and Brest, as well as the intermediate Country.
By the gracious Invitation of the King, I am now to take Passage in his Frigate the Sensible, with his new Ambassador to America the Chevalier De la Luzerne.
I hope to see you in six or seven Weeks. Never was any Man in such a state of Uncertainty and suspense as I have been from last October, entirely uninformed of the Intentions of Congress concerning me.
This would not have been very painfull to me if I could have got home, for Your Conversation is a Compensation to me, for all other Things.
My Son has had a great Opportunity to see this Country: but this has unavoidably retarded his Education in some other Things.
He has enjoyed perfect Health from first to last and is respected wherever he goes for his Vigour and Vivacity both of Mind and Body, for his constant good Humour and for his rapid Progress in French, as well as his general Knowledge which for his Age is uncommon.—I long to see his Sister and Brothers—I need not Add—1
1. Thus in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0155

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-05-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I am taking an Opportunity by every Vessell that is going to inform you, that I am coming home as soon as possible. In Six or Seven Weeks I hope to have the Pleasure to see you, and my other Friends.
The new French Ambassador, who goes out to relieve Mr. Gerard, will go in the same Frigate.
We can get no News from America of any Consequence, and not a syllable of any Kind from Congress. There is but one Piece of News in Europe of any Importance, and that is from Holland and may be depended on, that the States General on the 26 of April, took the Resolution to convoy their Trade, notwithstanding Sir Joseph Yorks Memorial, and to fit out directly Thirty two Ships of War, for that Purpose—an important Event, which must have great Consequences.1—My Duty, Love and Respect, wherever due.
1. This “Piece of News” and the comment thereon are taken almost verbatim from a letter JA had just received from Franklin dated at Passy, 10 May 1779 (Adams Papers). Sir Joseph Yorke (1724–1792), the veteran and domineering British minister at The Hague, was to cross JA's path directly in 1780. His Memorial of 9 April 1779, protesting Dutch ships' continuing to carry naval stores to France, is printed in Ann. Register for 1779, “State Papers,” p. 425–427.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0156-0001

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-06-05

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

If at any Time heretofore I have seemed to infringe upon your Prerogatives, I ask your Pardon. It was rash in me to censure you for what Sovereigns do in all Parts of the World. Charging me with being a Flatterer you only exercised the Power of misinterpreting some of my most sincere Sentiments: And I, forsooth, ran into the antiquated Notion of a Distinction between Right and Power.
I smile, however, with myself in a Sort of revengeful Humour, while I consider how You also, like some others born to hold Dominion have been hurried into an Exertion which only tends to discover the Impotence of Might when operating against Integrity. Have you by the Artillery of Misnomer made me resign my affectionate Regard? Have you even deterred me from using Terms suited to my Opinions? No, for I will this Instant stile you “Very amiable Portia.” And having done that Act of Justice to my own Feelings, and furnished You with a { 198 } Hint for a moralizing Meditation upon the nature of Empire, I proceed to the Business for which I catched up my Pen at first, haunted with the Thought that the booted Bearer would return to me in five Minutes after leaving my Window.
The Box, which Mr. Adams left 20 months ago to the Care of Mr. Sprout's [Sproat's] Family, on the Morning of Sept. 19th., the Era of our Flight to York Town, came Yesterday to my Hand. I found it almost empty, but I imagine just as he parted with it tho contrary to my Expectation. Perhaps he left with you some Memorandum.1
I had determined to keep the Box here, and send the Things by Parts, at easy Opportunities, even if they had been more in Number. I have sealed up all the Papers into neat Packets, and forward a Part by the Bearer of this who goes with a Guard. Mr. S. Adams will be on his Way home next Week and a Waggon in Company. You will find the Papers regularly put together which for the most part was easy to be performed, as they were, for the most part, endorsed. The others I so far looked into as would enable me to finish the Arrangement. I might innocently have gone further, with two Packages, I mean those endorsed P.2 which accompany my Letter. But it happened that I had no Curiosity to satisfy there; and with the others, tho Curiosity at times prompted me, I could not without Guilt indulge it.—Am I right in my Notions of Letter-Peeping? In those Cases where Improprieties of Stile or Sentiment or Secrets intended only for the Eyes of the Correspondent are supposed to be penned, it is cri[mi]nal to venture. But where there is undoubted Right to expect only the Product of a Pen directed by the Fingers of a virtuous elegant discrete Writer, I hold it lawful, comparatively, to peep; if a man is quite at Leisure, and in danger moreover of running into notorious mischief unless he so employs himself, Curiosity also having at the same Time its stimulating Goads at work upon him.—These six last Lines narrow my System plaguily; I am sure they were not in my Imagination when I was putting together the Letters of Portia, who had more than thrice kindly shown me how she could write, and another Friend shows me weekly what a virtuous Wife will naturally write to her absent Husband. Thus was I without Curiosity in Regard to the two Packages which grounded my Descant upon Letter-Peeping.
If I do not get Opportunity to write somewhat at large to you on the Politics of Europe and the Great House in Chesnut-Street Philadelphia,3 yet you will not have Reason to regret my Occupations; as Mr. S.A. will in a more pleasing Manner communicate to you more than would be proper for the Pen.
{ 199 }
I shall convey under Seal and other Security Mr. Adams's Letter Book and Accounts.—If he did not settle with the State before he went you had better see how Mr. Dana gave in his Demand, and not descend to Minutenesses such as I remember to have heard my absent Friend say it was unbecoming to be subjected to, and such as you will find by Mr. Avery have not been practiced. Though I am prepared for such a Thing I will not chuse to submit to it.
I will now close my Letter and take a list of the Contents of the Box4 tho I will not miss sending the one if the other is not ready before the Gentleman calls on me.

[salute] Your affectionate humble Servant,

[signed] James Lovell
RC (Adams Papers). For a (presumed) enclosure see note 4.
1. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:262–264; Lovell to AA, 9 July and 14 Nov. 1778, both above; and AA to Lovell, 18–26 June, below.
2. For “Portia.”
3. The Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall), where Congress held its sessions.
4. This “list,” on a separate scrap, was not identified until after the present volume was in page proof. See addendum at p. 426 below.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0157

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-06-08

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

Six Months have already elapsed since I heard a syllable from you or my dear Son, and five since I have had one single opportunity of conveying a line to you. Letters of various dates have lain months at the Navy Board, and a packet and Frigate both ready to sail at an hours warning have been months waiting the orders of Congress. They no doubt have their reasons, or ought to have for detaining them. I must patiently wait their Motions however painfull it is—and that it is so your own feelings will testify. Yet I know not but you are less a sufferer than you would be to hear from us, to know our distresses and yet be unable to relieve them. The universal cry for Bread to a Humane Heart is painfull beyond Discription, and the great price demanded and given for it, verifies that pathetick passage of sacred writ, all that a Man hath will he give for his life. Yet he who Miraculously fed a Multitude with 2 loaves and 5 fishes has graciously interposed in our favour and deliverd many of the Enimies supplies into our hands so that our distresses have been Mitigated. I have been able as yet to supply my own family spairingly but at a price that would astonish you. Corn is sold at 4 dollors hard money per Bushel which is eaquel to 80 at the rate of exchange.
Labour is at 8 dollors per Day and in 3 weeks at 12 tis probable, or { 200 } it will be more stable than any thing else. Goods of all kinds are at such a price that I hardly dare mention it—Linnins at 20 dollors per yard the most ordinary sort calicow at 30 and 40,1 Broad cloths sold at 40 pounds per yard—West India goods full as high, Molasses at 20 dollors per Gallon, sugar 4 dollors per pound, Bohea Tea at 40 dollors and our own produce in proportion, Butchers meat at 6 and 7 and 8 shillings per pound, Board at 50 and 60 dollors per week. Rates2 high, that I suppose you will rejoice at, so would I, did it remedy the Evil. I pay 5 hundred Dollors, and a New continental rate has just appeard, my proportion of which will be 2 hundred more. I have come to this determination to sell no more Bills unless I can procure hard money for them altho I shall be obliged to allow a discount. If I sell for paper I through away more than half, so rapid is the depreciation, nor do I know that it will be received long. I sold a Bill to Blodget at 5 for one which was lookd upon [as] high at that time. The week after I received it, two Emissions were taken out of circulation and the greater part of what I had proved to be of that sort, so that those to whom I was indebted are obliged to wait and before it becomes due or is exchanged, it will be good for—as much as it will fetch, which will be nothing if it goes on as it has done for this 3 Months past, but I will not tire your patience any longer. I have not drawn any further upon you, I mean to wait the return of the Alliance which with longing Eyes I wait for. God grant it may bring me comfortable tidings from my dear dear Friend whose welfare is so essential to my happiness that it is entwined round my Heart, and cannot be impared or seperated from it without rending it assunder.
In contemplation of my situation I am sometimes thrown into an agony of distress. Distance, dangers—and O! I cannot name all the fears which sometimes oppress me and harrow up my soul. Yet must the common Lot of Man one day take place whether we dwell in our own Native Land, or are far distant from it. That we rest under the shadow of the Almighty is the consolation to which I resort, and find that comfort which the World cannot give. If he sees best to give me back my Friend, or to preserve my life to him, it will be so.
Our worthy Friend Dr. Winthrope is numberd with the great congregation to the inexpressible loss of Harvard College.3

Let no weak drop

be shed for him. The Virgin in her bloom

cut off, the joyous youth, and darling child

These are the Tombs, that claim the tender Tear

{ 201 }

And Elegiac Song. But Winthrope calls

For other Notes of Gratulation high

That now he wanders through those endless worlds

He here so well discried, and wandering talks,

And Hymns their Author with his glad compeers.

The Testimony he gave with his dyeing Breath in favour of revealed Religion, does honour to his memory and will endear it to every Lover of Virtue.4
I know not who will be found worthy to succeed him.
Our Brother Cranch is immersd in publick Buisness—and so cumbered with it that he fears He shall not be able to write you a line.5
C[ongre]ss have not yet made any appointment of you to any other court. There appears a dilatoryness, an indisicion in their proceedings. I have in Mr. L[ovel]l an attentive Friend who kindly informs me of every thing which passes relative to you and your situation, gives me extracts of your Letters both to himself and others. I know you will be unhappy whenever it is not in your power to serve your country—and wish yourself at home where at least you might serve your family.—I cannot say that I think our affairs go very well here. Our currency seems to be the source of all our Evils. We cannot fill up our continental Army by means of it, no bounty will prevail with them. What can be done with it, it will sink in less than a year. The advantages the Enemy daily gain over us is oweing to this. Most truly did you prophesy when you said that they would do all the mischief in their power with the forces they had here.
Many Letters lay in Boston for you which have been wrote Months. My good unkle S[mit]h yesterday let me know that a Letter of Mark bound for Nants would sail in a day or two. I eagerly seaze the opportunity and beg you to give my blessing to my son to whom I have not time now to write. I dare not trust myself with the Idea nor can express how ardently I long to see both the parent and son. Our whole family have enjoyed great Health since your absence. Daughter and sons who dayly delight themselves with talking of Pappa and Brother present their Duty and Love. Your Worthy Mamma who is now here request[s] me to add her tenderest affection to you, who next to the writer is anxious to hear from you. Your Brother request[s] me to desire you to procure for him 2 peices of Linnin to the amount of 24 dollors which he will pay to me, and to send them whenever you have an opportunity of sending to me. I shall not write for any thing till the Alliance returns and I find what success she has had.
{ 202 }

[salute] My tenderest regards ever attend you in all places and situations know me to be ever ever yours.6

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by JA: “Portia June 8. 1779,” to which is added in John Thaxter's hand: “Answerd 16th. March 1780”; see note 6.
1. Thus punctuated in MS.
2. Taxes.
3. Professor John Winthrop had died on 3 May. Although his death drew forth a number of printed poetical tributes, the lines that follow in AA's letter have not been found among them. We may guess that AA here adapted to Winthrop a tribute to an astronomer that she remembered from one of her favorite English poems in blank verse.
4. For this “Testimony” see the obituary in the Boston Independent Chronicle, 13 May 1779, p. 2, cols. 2–3.
5. However, see the following letter. Recently reelected a Braintree representative to the Massachusetts House, Cranch was particularly active at this time as a member of a committee conducting the sale of confiscated loyalist estates in Suffolk County. See the Confiscation Acts of 30 April and 1 May as published in the Boston Gazette, 10 May, p. 2, cols. 2–3, and 17 May, p. 1, cols. 1–3; the proceedings of the committee, signed by Cranch and others, same, 24 May, p. 1, col. 1; and, generally, Richard D. Brown, “The Confiscation and Disposition of Loyalists' Estates in Suffolk County, Massachusetts,”WMQ, 3d ser., 21:534–550 (Oct. 1964).
6. Thus punctuated in MS. A full stop would be appropriate after either “you” or “situations.”
This letter of course did not reach JA before he sailed for home on 17 June. It was evidently held for him in France, for on 16 March 1780 he answered it in very affectionate terms from Paris some weeks after his return there; see his letter of that date, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0158

Author: Cranch, Richard
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-06-11

Richard Cranch to John Adams

[salute] My dear Friend and Bror:

I have just now deliver'd to your Friend Genl. Warren of the Navy-Board, a Pacquet from Sister Adams directed to you. The Genl. informs me that a Vessell will sail for Nants next Sunday, by which he will send it. Tho' I cannot learn that any of my former Letters have reach'd you,1 yet I gladly take hold of the same Oportunity to try again to convey a Letter to so dear a Friend. I have had the happiness of receiving one Letter (and but one) from you since you left us, the Date of which I cannot recollect, as I have it not here with me, in which you encourage me to make some Communications to the Philosophic Society to which you have been admitted.2 A Compliance with such an Intimation would be extremely agreeable to me was I at Leasure and my Country in Peace; but Bellona and the Muses suit ill together. I hope, however, that in some future Time I may have the Honour and Pleasure of such a Correspondence. You will perceive by the inclosed Paper that I am again return'd a Member by your native Town to represent them in the General Court. The present Time requires much better Abillities than mine to be exerted.—I will, how• { 203 } ever, do the best I can. Your Friend Warren, you will perceive, declin'd taking a Seat at the Board, and I am glad of it, as we want such Men in the House. Government has been greatly perplex'd for some Time past; and our greatest Embarrasments have originated, as I apprehend, in the great Scarcity of Grain occasion'd by a severe Drought that cut off a great Part of our Harvest the last Year. Hence the necessity of the Consumer became so urgent that he must give whatever Price the Seller would please to ask for his Grain, and a higher Price was every Day demanded; this encourag'd many base Minds to withold from selling in hopes of getting a still more en[orm]ous3 Price in future. This increased the Evil by adding an artificial [ . . . ] Scarcity, 'till at last the Price of Corn has amounted to forty d[ollars] per Bushel. The Consequence of which has been that Labour has risen in nearly the same Proportion, and other Produce has been estimated by the Price of Bread; this has led the Merchant and Trader to raise their Goods in a like Proportion, in order to Ballance with the Farmer. This I take to have been the chief Source of the present sudden rise of things, and that the Evil is not to be charg'd wholly or chiefly (as many People will have it) to the Depreciation of the Currency. From this State of Things Government has been oblig'd, in Justice, to allow its Servants six or seven times as much nominally for their Services, as would have sufficed had things remained at the usual Price. Hence the Taxes laid on the People prov'd insufficient for the Purposes of Government—The Treasury is exhausted—temporary expedients of giving Notes, borrowing, &c. are try'd to little purpose—Servants of Government in the main time kept out of their Due—Credit of Government lower'd, and general uneasiness introduced. To remeddy the Evil in part, and to prevent a further Depreciation of the Currency, Congress has call'd upon the United States to pay into the Continenal Treasury by the 1st. of Jany. next forty five Millions of Dollars, six Million of which is apportioned on this State. For the Removal of the former Evil of Scarcity, we must look to him who ruleth the Seasons, and “giveth Bread to the eater.” At present we have more Grain growing, I suppose, than we ever had at one Time before, and a Prospect of a fine Harvest.
By Express received yesterday from Genl. Gates (who commands on the R: Island Station) it appears that the Enemy are again in the North River with a Design, as he supposes, to attack Genl. Washington, and make Depredations on the Eastern States; I cannot learn what Number of the Enemy are at North River. We have ordered two Thousand Men to be raised immediately to fill up our Part of the Continental Batallions, and eight Hundred Men for the Defence of R: { 204 } Island State. The Tory Band of Loyal Refugees, as they stile themselves, headed by George Leonard the Miller, are employ'd in coasting between N. York and Nantucket on the notable Business of Sheep-stealing, robing Hen-roosts &c. We have taken several of their small Arm'd Vessells; and this Morning arrived here the Blaze-Castle of eighteen Carriage and six Swivel Guns, taken by three of our Letter of Marque Vessells. She had 90 Men, and was sent from Hallifax on purpose to Cruise on this Coast. The Vessells that took her had just sail'd from Piscataqua, bound to the W: Indies. It seems the Commander of the Blaze-Castle had received intelligence of several Merchant-Men being about to sail from Portsmouth, and was watching for them, but caught a Tartar.4 I have enclos'd an Address from Congress which was read in Court this Day, and order'd to be reprinted.5 I think it will give you Pleasure; also one [of]6 Mr. Tudor's Orations presented to you by Mr. Gill the Printer,7 a[nd some?] NewsPapers.
I hope you will excuse the Length of th[is lette]r, and believe me to be with the highest Esteem, your oblig'd Friend and Brother,
[signed] Richard Cranch
Mrs. Adams and your Children were well Yesterday. Mrs. Cranch and our Children, and all Friends at Braintree and Weymouth were well when I left home, whose best Wishes attend you. Give my Love to Cousin Johnny and desire him to write to his Cousins by every Oportunity. They did not know of my Writing at present, or else they would have wrote to him.
P.S. Our House has voted a Tax of £1800,000 (being the six Million Dollars for the Continent) and One Million Pounds for the use of this State, to go out directly.8
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosures not found; for those that are identifiable, see notes 5 and 7.
1. None has been found that reached JA in Europe.
2. See JA to Cranch, 6 Aug. 1778, above.
3. MS torn, damaging several lines of text.
4. For the details see the Boston Gazette, 14 June 1779, p. 3, col. 1.
5. To the Inhabitants of the United States of America, a hortatory address on the financial difficulties of the country, drafted by John Dickinson, agreed to in Congress on 26 May, ordered to be printed, and signed by President Jay (JCC, 14:649–657; 15:1456; Evans 16636). On 11 June the General Court ordered that it be reprinted “in Hand-Bills and sent to the several Ministers of the Gospel in the Towns and Parishes [for reading after divine service] . . . , also to the respective Town-clerks,” &c. (Ford, Mass. Broadsides, 2191; Evans 16637). There are two copies of the Massachusetts reprint in MHi: Broadside Coll.
6. Here and below, MS is torn.
7. William Tudor, An Oration, Delivered March 5th, 1779, . . . to Com• { 205 } memorate the Bloody Tragedy of the Fifth of March, 1770, Boston: Edes and Gill (Evans 16550).
8. Cranch was mistaken. The sum to be raised by taxes, voted on 9 June, was £2,800,000 (Mass., House Jour., May–June 1779, p. 35).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0159

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-06-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I have been often disappointed, and therefore cannot be perfectly sure now: but my Baggage is all on Board a Frigate of the Kings, and I am to take Passage in her, with the Chevalier de la Luzerne the new Ambassador to the united States, and Monsieur Marbois, the Secretary to the Commission, two Gentlemen of the most amiable Characters. Their will be Eighteen or twenty Persons in their Train. We expect to go to Boston, but may possibly go to Philadelphia.1
I ought not to give you an History of my Adventures for Four Months past, untill I see you. This goes by another Vessell: but I hope you will see me before it.
The French Fleet is out from Brest, and the French look up now with a good Countenance.—England is torn with Distractions, and Spain is expected soon to declare. Holland and the Northern Powers have made Declarations which sufficiently indicate their Determination, which is favourable to Us. Britannia, in short must soon hearken to Reason.
My dear Fellow Traveller is very well, and is the Comfort of my Life. He is much caressed, wherever he goes.—Remember me to the rest. What can I say more? No Words, no Actions can express the Ardour of Affection with which I am theirs & yours.
[signed] John Adams
Not one Line from America since yours by the Alliance, nor any from Congress since October or the Beg[inning] of Novr.—a Pause that has consumed a great deal of my Patience, but I have Bags and Boxes of it yet left, in Abundance.
1. At one point during his tiresome wait JA expressed the view that the French government was treating him with “Insolence, and Contempt” (Diary and Autobiography, 2:369). But the great civility of both La Luzerne and his articulate and sophisticated secretary of legation, Marbois, toward JA and JQA at once overcame all such resentful feelings (same, p. 380).
Concerning Anne César, Chevalier de La Luzerne (1741–1791), François Barbé-Marbois (later Marquis de Barbé-Marbois) (1745–1837), and their subsequent relations with JA, see under both their names in the index to JA's Diary and Autobiography.
The passengers boarded the frigate La Sensible, Capt. Bidé de Chavagnes, early in the morning of 17 June and { 206 } sailed in mid-afternoon. They arrived in Boston Harbor on 2 (or possibly 3) Aug.; see below, Samuel Adams to AA, 31 July, note 2. JA's account of the voyage is one of the most engaging among his many records of travel; see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:381–400.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0160

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
DateRange: 1779-06-18 - 1779-06-26

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

Do you love the Natural sentiments of the Heart[?] Take them then as they flow from the pen of Portia. Having been to take a ride this afternoon upon my return stopt at my Brother Cranchs when one of the family came to the chaise and told me a Gentleman from Boston had left a large packet for me in the House. My Heart bounded for joy—I besought him to deliver them Instantly to me. The Bulk of the packet insured them a pressure to my Bosom. My spirits danced. It was dark, I could not see the hand writing but was in no doubt from whence they came. The Space between my Brothers and my own house was a dozen mile and it seemd like an age to get to it. I sprang from the chaise, calld for a light before I got into the house, but when I came to the light it was Mr. L[ovel]l['s] hand writing. O the Letters had arrived at Philadelphia, and he ever attentive to the calls of Friendship had coverd them to me. I broke the Seal and the dear delusion vanished like the “baseless fabrick of a vision.” An involuntary tear (it could not be helpd) found its way and for the first time I did not feel that pleasure which always before accompanied a Letter from Mr. Lovell. Six Months and not one line. Expectations so raised and so damped must plead my excuse for so unpolite a reception to my much valued correspondent, to whom for the future I shall give leave to make use of what ever expressions he pleases in order to prove that my Benevolence is eaquel to my power, having from a further acquaintance with him discoverd that the talent for which I formerly censured him is natural to him and that far from being a slothfull servant he has improved it tenfold. Nor would I rob him of the pleasure he takes in thus indulgeing the too pleasing art, since it must be acknowledged that he is an accomplished proficient in it.
I will not disclaim the Epethet of amiable since it is a character which if I do not already possess [it] I would wish to obtain even to the value of her whose price was far above rubies.
Your dissertation upon Letter peaping diverted me. I am glad however that you had no curiosity to gratify, or held yourself otherways restrained from inspecting the Letters of P[ortia]. For having flatterd me with a <first> place in your Esteem I should have been loth to have { 207 } forfeited it, since I have no right to expect nor a wish to obtain from any other than the person to whom they were addressd that which an Antient Sage has told us covereth a multitude of faults. The Manuscript you mention did not come by the hand which brought the Letters. I am happy sir if any of the contents of the Trunk were serviceable to you and you will oblige both my absent Friend for whom I know I can answer as well as the present writer in retaining both the Jacket and Stockings and in never mentioning them again.2
I stand indebted to you sir for a Letter dated March 9th. as well as June 5th in the former of which you say there is a strange delay and some thing of Mystery in the propositions which have been lately made here respecting our foreign affairs, but be assured that I have not yet perceived any thing which will probably affect Mr. A in a dissagreable Manner.
I wish you had explaind yourself more fully or was it out of tenderness to me that you would not tell me that I might have reason to daily expect his return, knowing the anxiety I must suffer in the interval.
If he has not been recalld I know not how to account for a passage in a Letter which has come to hand since I took my pen to you. It is from Dr. Winship belonging to the Alliance, to his wife and dated Brest harbour 7 of April. “It is now determined that we return to Boston as soon as may be, and what convinces me that we shall make all possible speed is that Mr. Adams is to return in the ship.”3 97 prisoners had been sent from England [with] which the ship would be well man'd. I have since heard some resolves of congress4 which I think makes it probable that he would return either with or without leave, since if he was not in a situation to serve his country, he would be unhappy absent from his family. God grant him a safe return, and that in future he may retire from publick life.
There has been 3 several appointments here of gentlemen for members of congress, all of whom have declined. This state will find it something difficult to supply the places of the present indefatagable Labourers there.5 It begins to be considerd as rather burdensome and no loaves and fishes to be caught.—But if virtue says my absent Friend on a similar occasion, was to be rewarded with wealth it would not be virtue, if virtue was to be rewarded with fame it would not be virtue of the sublimist kind. Who would not rather be Fabricus than Ceasar, who would not rather be Aristedes than even W[illiam] the 3d. Who? Nobody would be of this mind but Aristedes and Fabricius.
I fancy I had better close this Letter without any further addition least you should discover that I am not in a very good humour, pos• { 208 } sibly from wrong information. I will therefore endeavour to suppress every dissagreable Idea of publick Slight and indignity till assertained of the Truth or falcity by Mr. S. A[dams] whose daily arrival is expected, and in the mean time I shall anxiously wait for the return of the Alliance, perplexd with a thousand fears and apprehension which I do not owe the publick and for which—but hush, did I not say I would close but not till I have assured you that I am with sentiments of Esteem your Friend & humble Servant,
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers); at head of text in JQA's hand: “To James Lovell Philadelphia 1779,” to which CFA added: “June <1778>.”
1. This date is furnished in Lovell's reply, 19 July, below, to the missing RC.
2. On all the foregoing, see Lovell to AA, 5 June, above.
3. Amos Windship (1745–1813), a Boston physician and apothecary, was at this time serving as surgeon aboard the Alliance and thus knew something of JA's movements and plans from encounters with him at Brest and Lorient; see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:337, 353, 360, 368, 376. In an earlier note on Windship in this series, the editors did not know how to account for AA's reference to him as “the famous Dr. W[ind]ship” (vol. 2:187–188). That this was sarcasm becomes clear from a long and curious biographical sketch of Windship by Ephraim Eliot, a contemporary and fellow apothecary, contributed by S. E. Morison to Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns., 25 (1922–1924): 141–171, hitherto overlooked by the Adams editors. Eliot's sketch is entitled “Biography of a Rascal,” and from the details it furnishes Windship clearly was one. During his single year in Harvard College he entered on a career of casual but engaging knavery that continued with only occasional deviations into respectability until his death.
4. This reference is too vague to permit identification.
5. This observation is borne out by the proceedings of the General Court. In Oct. 1778, seven delegates had been elected (or reelected) to serve for the year 1779 in the Continental Congress: Samuel Adams, Francis Dana, Timothy Edwards, Elbridge Gerry, John Hancock, Samuel Holten, and James Lovell. But three of these did not attend at all in 1779, namely Dana, Edwards, and Hancock, leaving four delegates to represent the state in Philadelphia through the first half of the year. On 2 June, Edwards resigned from a delegation in which he had never served, and in mid-June Samuel Adams took leave for a visit home.
Much of June was therefore spent by the General Court in trying to strengthen its delegation during a period when its interests were very much at stake. On the 4th, Artemas Ward was elected in the place of Edwards, resigned; but ten days later Ward declined to serve. Meanwhile, on the 10th, the House passed a resolve “directing one of the gentlemen who are members of Congress for this State, and now within the same, to repair to Congress without delay; and empowering two delegates to represent the State therein.” On the 16th it elected James Warren in Ward's place, but he declined next day, whereupon George Partridge was chosen. After much hesitation and reconsideration, Partridge finally accepted on 29 June. All this did relatively little to strengthen the Massachusetts delegation. See Mass., House Jour., May–Oct. 1779, p. 21, 23, 28, 37–38, 48, 50, 56, 72–73; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:liii–liv.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0161

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-07-06

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

I take up my pen this Morning to let my Friend know I have not yet seen Mr. S. Adams, but understand by Mr. Warren, That Thier is No Expectation in Congress that Your Mr. Adams will Return yet. There is a large Majority of that Body who highly Esteem Him and wish his Continuance in Europe, have an Eye upon him if proposals of accomodation should be made as best qualifyed to Negotiate a peace or that he will be in Employ at some Court in a short time as it is Expected some New appointment will be Necessary before Long. Should have wrote you sooner but was in hopes to have seen Mr. Adams myself from whom I might have Collected more perticulers as Mr. Warren saw him only in Company, having unsuccessfully Called several times.
I will write again if anything offers worth Communicating. Yesterday was Celebrated the anniversary of Independence with Noise and Dissipation, a Concert this Evening, Though These kind of Entertainments May not Enhaunce the happiness of the people or fix our Liberties on a More solid Base.1
But your Friend Must hasten affectionatly to subscribe her Name though by the quiver the scrall might be known to be that of
[signed] M Warren
1.
“Yesterday commenced the Anniversary of the 4th Year of the Independence of the United States of America. The same, we hear, is to be observed by a Feu de-Joy of the Militia, of this Town, in State-Street, at Noon, this Day, a Discharge from the Shipping in the Harbour, and a Display of Fire-Works in the Common, at Evening” (Boston Gazette, 5 July 1779, p. 3, col. 2).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0162

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-07-14

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

My Friends anxity I Wonder not at. Wish I could say anything that would Give that Relief her agitated mind requires. Yet have no doubt her best Friend will soon be in a more Eligiable situation. Mr. Lovel writes Mr. Warren that the Motions of Congress tend towards an appointment to him Honorable, and thinks it will soon take place.2 No body seems to have an Expectation of his Return at present.
The movements of our Enemies I will say Nothing about yet pity Greatly pity the Distresses of our Friends And the Weary Lids are kept { 210 } Waking with the apprehension of Dangers approaching nearer our own Borders.
I expect to see you in a few days, perhaps Next Teusday. Yet it may not be till Wensday or Thursday. But whenever it is You will be assured of seeing one Friend when Called upon by your Humble Servant,
[signed] M Warren
1. In a letter dated from Plymouth, 29 July 1779, Mrs. Warren told JA that “On my way from Boston I lodged a week since at the foot of Pens Hill” (Warren-Adams Letters, 2:114). The present letter, written (as its final paragraph states) a week before that visit and dated at Boston on“Wensday,” must therefore have written on Wednesday, 14 July 1779.
2.
“Our worthy Friend John Adams must think I neglect him in his very odd Situation. We are ripening towards Measures which must induce an immediate and definite consequential Disposition of him, and I have no doubt of an honorable one” (Lovell to Warren, 15 June, Warren-Adams Letters, 2:108).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0163

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1779-07-15

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

I wrote to Mr. S A—— the same day I received your Letter,2 but not a syllable of information have I yet collected from him. No Alliance yet arrived—it will afford me some releif to be scribling to somebody who will hear me, who will attend to me and answer my Queries, and tho Mr. L[ovel]l has heretofore wrote rather problematically with regard to the situation of my absent Friend I beg of him to be explicit in answering my Questions and the first is whether the conduct of Mr. A. has been impeached either directly or Indirectly? Whether he was included in the publick censure of congress upon the dissensions amongst their commisioners, a censure which if I may presume to say it was as indiscreet as it was unjust.3 Why when Mr. Lee and Mr. Izard received new commissons Mr. Adams was not recalled? Was he ever requested to tarry in France or any notice of any kind taken of him after his commision was vacated? The Motions of congress tend towards an appointment of Mr. A——, and I make no doubt of an honorable one, says Mr. L[ovel]l in a Letter to General W[arre]n4—but where you do not mention. You observe that you are not surprised at the report of his return, nor am I if he has had the reason which I think he has for it. Whenever you favour me with a reply, I request a full and free indulgance of your pen upon the subject. If I have sufferd heretofore in some sacrifice of personal happiness believe me Sir I feel not less keenly the reward of it. But I say this only to you or a { 211 } perticuliar Friend. To every other inquirer my Lips shall keep silence. The safe return of the Alliance may possibly dispell the cloud which at present hangs heavy [on]5 the Heart and mind of
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers); at head of text in CFA's hand:“1779.” Just possibly the MS is a fragment, beginning as it does at the top of a page without salutation or paragraph indention and the text seeming to begin in medias res.
1. In all probability this letter was written within a day or two of AA's receipt of Mrs. Warren's letter to her of [14] July, preceding; see note 4 below.
2. Lovell's letter must be that of 5 June, above, but no letter from AA to Samuel Adams in late June or early July 1779 has been found.
3. Congress' much-debated resolve of 20 April on the Deane-Lee dispute: “That suspicions and animosities have arisen among the late and present commissioners, . . . highly prejudicial to the honor and interest of these United States” (JCC, 13:487). JA's name was not among those finally included in the resolve. See below, JA to AA, 13 Nov., note 3.
4. Lovell to Warren, 15 June (Warren-Adams Letters, 2:108), the substance of which respecting JA's status was transmitted to AA, in almost the same words as those used here, in Mrs. Warren's letter to AA, preceding; see note 2 there.
5. MS torn. The word may be “over.”

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0164

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-07-16

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

[epigraph]
March 6 1779. “Our friend my late Colleague means to embark soon and from him you will learn the State of our Affairs here. Mr. Izard and myself would have accompanyed him had not our Commissions prevented us.”

[salute] My dear Madam

[epigraph]
March 6 1779. “Our friend my late Colleague means to embark soon and from him you will learn the State of our Affairs here. Mr. Izard and myself would have accompanyed him had not our Commissions prevented us.”
The above is an Extract from a Letter of Ar. Lee to Mr. S. Adams1 and tho Mr. Lee writes afterwards on April 6th. yet it was a very short Letter of Information concerning the Enemys Plan against Connecticutt just as they have lately proceeded.2 He says not a Syllable therein about Mr. Adams; but it is currently reported here that he was at a Port of Embarkation before the Vessel now here left France. I suspect he is on board the Alliance Frigate; perhaps while I am writing he is embracing you. If not, you may find by a confidential Moment or two with his worthy Namesake in Boston the probable Cause of his not waiting for some special Direction from hence. Staying or Returning, I am sure he has done right; he has acted like a Man of Judgement, Probity and Spirit: Therefore it is that I express no Surprize at the written Intelligence or the Report.
I refer you to Mr. S. A——for the Communications which should make your Bosom easy if it is capable of suspecting my Mr. Adams of { 212 } Rashness. I will not without absolute Necessity risque to the Accidents of Carriage on the Road, at this Time, all that I could say about the probable Causes of this unexpected Return: The Knowledge of your being in any Pain about it, after having seen the Gentleman to whom I have referred you, will constitute such Necessity. For, be assured, the Sacrifices you have made to the public Good and the Manner in which you have made them have given you a despotic Command over my Affections. And, here, by way of Attonement for the Voice I have once given against your private and personal Felicity, I do soberly promise that, unless there is a great Change for the better in the Manners of America, I will not speedily exert myself in any way for the self same Purpose, but leave Portia in the full Enjoyment of Days twenty-five hours long.

[salute] Very platonically to be sure but, very, very affectionately your humb. Servt.,

[signed] JL
3 Ship Captains say Genl. Lincoln gained a Battle on the 20th. of June in a fair Field, each side quitting their Lines. The devilish Lies before were told by a Mate. The odds of Title is not all. Capt. Sergeant of Cape Ann who left Carolina the 23d. told the Story in the Teeth of the Delegates of his own State in their Parlour.
Perhaps I may get some particulars from Col. Laurens late President who, I hear, has examined the Gentlemen.
[signed] JL
I broke the Seal to warn you against the News. Col. Laurens told me a very fine Story which he believed from“the very ingenious Manner in which it was detailed to him.” An Express varies it by Letter so far as that our Men attacked the Enemy's Lines and were obliged to retreat which they did by order and in the best Manner. Things are not in bad Train however. The Writer tells that both Cannon and Musquetry were heard at the Time of his Writing so that the latter Part of the Story may turn out something like Truth, the Power of our Gallies being equal to the Work they meant to do at Stono Bridge.
1. The original has not been found. It was forwarded by Lovell to Samuel Adams, doubtless in Lovell's letter to Adams of 16 July (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:319–320). See also Adams to AA, 31 July, below.
2. Arthur Lee to the Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Affairs (PCC, No. 83, II; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:110–111), read in Congress on 15 July (JCC, 14:836).
{ [fol. 212] } { [fol. 212] } { [fol. 212] } { [fol. 212] }

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0165

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-07-19

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

Your Favor of June 18/26 is this Hour come to hand.
“Do I love the natural Sentiments of the Heart”? Yes, Amiable Correspondent, I truly love them; and your little Story was far, very far from non-natural. You was betrayed, it seems, by a Combination of Circumstances such as a tender Sensibility and the Dusk of the Evening, to make a Pressure to your lovely palpitating Bosom which soon after cost you a crying Spell.
If I do not forestall you by making a Remark here myself, I shall expect that in your next Letter you will turn my false Wit upon me, and by making natural mean only common, you will tell me that your misfortune had very natural Consequences, since the Celadon or Lothario who was the Means of your Sorrow only smiled at the Tears which he had caused. But—to be sober, I hope you have by this Time realized more substantial Pleasures than the Receipt of a Packet from my esteemed Friend. I have written to you lately by Express my Opinion of his Return. Winship's Letter three days later than Arthur Lee's is a strong Confirmation that you are to be soon happy.
Every Thing that wears the Appearance of Injury to him may be resolved into the Dilatoriness which springs from the Nature and Constitution of a certain Assembly here.
Promise me that you will be upon your Guard against Tremors at the Sight of Superscriptions upon large Packets not in the Handwriting you wish most to see, and I will put up a Set of Journals for your Mr. A. that you may read all the Weaknesses of some who are called great Men.1
I find by Letters from my dear Polly2 that a Mr. McClane is coming Express, by whose Return I shall be able to perform the Promise just made, and to renew the affectionate Assurances of my being Your obliged Friend and humble Servant,
[signed] James Lovell
1. On 31 March, Congress had ordered that its Journals from 1 Jan. 1779 (except for secret proceedings) “be printed immediately; and that, for the future, the journal . . . be printed weekly” (JCC, 13:395). Accordingly, the Journal was issued in three monthly parts for Jan.–March, and thereafter weekly through the rest of the year (“Bibliographical Notes” in same, 15:1459–1462).
2. The former Mary Middleton had married James Lovell in 1760 (DAB, under Lovell's name).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0166

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1779-07-28

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

[salute] Dear sir

Your favour of july 16 this moment received the contents of which have awakend in my Bosom the anxiety which had before almost subsided. By a Letter dated some time in june1 which you must before this time have received you have found that I had similar inteligance to what you have communicated. But I was strangely puzled, I knew not what to think. I had never received a hint of the kind from you. Upon Mr. A[dams'] return I desired my very worthy and attentive Friend General Warren to inquire into the Matter, which he did and was assured by him that my Friend was not recalld and that congress had no expectation of his return. Mr. A expressd some little surprize that I should even be anxious about his situation abroad, but believe me sir I knew the temper and disposition of my Friend too well to suppose that he would wish to be detained abroad an unemployed spectator—a useless figure. Nor is he sufficently the man of pleasure to be happy from his family unless he was rendering his country essensial service. But if that country had no further Demand upon him, methinks they might with honour have restored him to his family, and not have left him neglected and unnoticed. Far far be it from me to accuse him with Rashness. What ever I may suffer from fears, apprehensions and anxieties I must approve his conduct even tho in consequence of it he should become a prisoner to the Mad Tyrant of Britton.
You refer me to Mr. S A for further inteligance. My agitated mind would be glad to find present releaf from any quarter otherways I would wait for those probable causes hinted at by Mr. L[ovel]l from whence I am sure to gather more satisfaction than I shall from any other quarter. I need not add that Mr. S A is too much the politician to attend to purtubations and too much the phylosopher to realize the thousand nameless anxieties that distress the tender Heart of our frail Sex. I think I have a right to say this since he has not even wrote me a line since his return tho he could be no stranger to my perplexity having received a Message or two from me and being requested by Genll. W[arre]n to come and see me.
Since I last had the Honour of writing to you a vessel from Nantz brought me 3 Letters—one of December, one of Janry. and one of Febry.2 All that he say[s] with regard to his return in those Letters is in that dated December. I think I shall see you this year in spight of B[ritish] Men of war. I have expected every moment for more than { 215 } two Months my recall—and from this circumstance I supposed he held himself bound by his commision to Tarry till congress pleased to permit his return. But having waited month after month and no intelligance of the kind having arrived, I presume he received the inattention as a proof that they had no further service for him. What other motives he may have I know not.
He excuses himself from writing freely on account of the danger, but says thus much—I can say with perfect sincerity that I have found nothing to disgust me, discontent me, or in any manner disturb me in the French Nation. My Evils here arise altogether from Americans.
The vessel which brought these Letters brings a story also that the Alliance in company with a 40 gun frigate was gone upon some secret expedition. Sure Mr. A would not embark for any other purpose but a speedy return to America. I pray Heaven that her arrival may soon releave me from this defered hope which maketh the Heart sick.
The Carolina Bubble has made us hard of Belief—even General Wayne['s] success3 was not credited till Authentacated proofs of it arrived. Desolated Farefeild and Norwalk were too British exploits to be hesitated at. Too painfull are the retrospect of those scenes, and the Tragidy has so often been acted over that words are not left to discribe the Horrours of it.
Before I close suffer me with the most gratefull sensations to acknowledg your kind attention to me during the absence of my dearest Friend, by every method in your power alleviating my anxiety [and]4 rendering me all the information which you could obtain.
Dft (Adams Papers); mistakenly docketed by JQA at head of text: “to John Thaxter.” After AA's incomplete date JQA added “1779” and“Mr. Adams arrived from France five days after the date of this Letter.” The draft is a notably careless one, even for AA, and its punctuation has been slightly corrected for the sake of clarity.
1. 18–26 June, above.
2. 30 Dec. 1778, 1 Jan., 9 Feb. 1779, above. AA quotes briefly from all three below.
3. In taking the British post at Stony Point on the Hudson River, 16 July.
4. Editorially supplied.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0167

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
Date: 1779-07-30

Abigail Adams to Samuel Adams

[salute] Dear sir

As your good Lady had promised me the favour of a visit before your return to your Native Town, give me leave sir to request a compliance with the promise and that you would do me the Honour of accompanying her here. I wish sir to be informed by you with regard { 216 } to the situation of my absent Friend and what congress propose to do with him. The publication of a report of a committe of Congress with regard to their commisoners has given me some dissagreable sensations. I know not whether the report was accepted, but it was such a general censure as must wound the Innocent with the guilty and will be Esteemed by one of them at least as no very delicate recall.1
The latest advices which I have from France are dated Febry. 9. By that I find that the address of Mr. Dean had arrived in France, and rekindled a Flame there which before was almost extinct, that parties ran high to the injury of our publick affairs, and the consequence would be the prolonging of the war. That he had found nothing to disgust, disturb or any ways discontent him from the French Nation, but all the Evils he experienced arose all together from Americans.
But tis probable you have Letters by the same vessel and may be more fully acquainted with his affairs than I am. He daily expects his recall, but will be not a little mortified to find it couch'd in terms which I am sure he has not deserved. In what other light can he view it, whilst Mr. Lee as I have been informed is appointed to Spain, and he many months without an explicit recall or any prospect of any other Destination. I cannot help giving some attention to the report of his returning in the Alliance since I know if he is not in a situation to serve his Country he will be very unhappy from his family.
You sir can set me right if I have been misinformed or if I have misconstrued the determinations of your respected assembly either of which will give me more pleasure than to be assured that I had not erred in judgement tho by so competant a judge.
Be pleased to present my most affectionate regards to your Lady and to hope for the pleasure of a visit as soon as you can render it convenient. Possibly it might be more so to you to come up of a Saturday and spend the Sabbeth with your Humble servant,
[signed] A Adams
Dft (Adams Papers); at head of text in CFA's hand: “1779.” Recipient identified and approximate date assigned from internal evidence in conjunction with the substance of the following letter from Samuel Adams to AA, which is presumed to be a reply to the present letter.
1. The “general censure” recommended by the special committee on foreign affairs, 15 April, and adopted by Congress on 20 April (JCC, 13:455–457, 487). See above, AA to Lovell, ca. 15 July, note 3, and below, JA to AA, 13 Nov., note 3.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0168

Author: Adams, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-07-31

Samuel Adams to Abigail Adams

Mr. Saml. Adams and Mrs. Adams present their most friendly Regards to Mrs. Adams of Braintree. In Answer to her Message to Mr. A, he informs her, that in a Letter he receivd a few days ago from Arthur Lee dated the 6th of March, Mr. Lee acquaints him in these Words,“Our Friend my late Colleague means to embark soon, and from him you will learn the State of our Affairs here.” The Letter was dated at Nantez. Mr. Lee does not explain or hint at the Motive. Other Letters I am informd, are come to hand at Philadelphia dated as late as the 6th of April.1 Mr. and Mrs. A. intend to do themselves the Pleasure of visiting Mrs. A at Braintree soon.2
RC (ICHi); in Adams' hand.
1. For Arthur Lee's letters here mentioned, see James Lovell to AA, 16 July, above, and notes there.
2. It is not known whether this visit took place, for on this day the Sensible “Found Bottom . . . on St. Georges Banc” 100 miles east of Cape Cod, and two or (possibly) three days later JA reached home.
The evidence furnished by JA himself respecting the exact time and place of his disembarkation with JQA is contradictory and confusing. But in all probability on Monday, 2 Aug., they left the vessel in Nantasket Roads and were rowed with their baggage to the Braintree shore, whence they had departed in mid-February 1778. It is certain that La Luzerne and his party proceeded into the inner harbor and landed with due ceremony on Tuesday the 3d. (See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:342, 344, 400.) It is also certain that on the 3dJA sat down at home and addressed a letter to John Jay, president of Congress, reporting and explaining his movements since learning in February that he had been relieved of his duties as a commissioner in Europe (RC in PCC, No. 84, I, printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:276–278; LbC, Adams Papers, printed in JA, Works, 7:97–99, with CFA's silent correction of JA's probable error in giving the 3d rather than the 2d as the date of his actual arrival home). On the 4th, JA wrote (or at least began) a much longer letter to Jay submitting for the consideration of Congress his “Reflections . . . on the general State of Affairs in Europe, so far as they relate to the Interests of the united States” (RC in PCC, No. 84, I, printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:278–286; LbC, Adams Papers, printed in JA, Works, 7:99–110). This, which JA then viewed as his final dispatch and testament, was a major effort and was recognized as such; it was read in Congress on 20 Aug. (JCC, 14:981), and the numerous contemporary copies of it recorded in the Adams Papers Editorial Files show that it circulated widely.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0169

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-08-06

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Friend

“And are you sure the News is true,

And are you sure He's Come.”

{ 218 }
Beneath the shady Forrest of Ele River, while my Best Friend has walked towards the Fertile plains to survey the Reapers, or perhaps asscends the Rugged Hills to View the sportive Flocks, I take up my pen to Congratulate you, most sincerely to Congratulate you on the safe Return of yours, from the Busy and wearisom scenes of politics, pleasure, and politeness, to the still Delights of Domestic Felicity, where the Gladned mother Can scarcly suppress the tear of Rapture, to [listen?] and smile Alternately at the Narrations of her young traveler, and the simple tale, with which the two younger Masters (Emulous for Papahs Attention) strive to Entertain Him, while the observing Daughter silently Watches Every accent, and treasures up Every article of Inteligence for her Future improvement. The Father Thanks His Neglegent Countrymen for suffering Him so soon to Indulge in the Highest Joys of Life. But the patriot must secretly Chide the want of Decission, that Inattention to the Interests of the states, that has permited him thus Early to Leave Europe, when by a Longer stay He might have Rendered them such Essential service.
When I participate the Family Happiness, and take a part in the Felicity of my Friends, I Flatter myself it is an Emenation of Benevolence.
But There is not a spark of patriotism in the Cordial Gratulation in the Larger scale which is the Measure of patriotic Merit. What are the Little streams of social affection, the Heart felt pleasure of the Wife, the parent and the Friend, who would not sacrifice without a sigh these smaller Considerations when pro bono publico Requires, always assured of the Gratitude and applause of the unchanging Multitude.
But to be serious both you and I wish well to our Country, and will hope that some Good may result Even from the Mistakes of Her Rulers.
It is strongly impressed on my mind that the Return of a Gentleman Rather unexpectedly to his American Friends, May Give a New turn to the state of parties, and Eventually be productive of Happy Consequences. But my design is to say Little of public affairs. The full Heart Enwrapt (after the Anxieties and impatience of a Long abscence) in the tender scenes of Mutual affection has no Room, at pre[sent for]1 Forreign Cares. Yet hope your own Happiness will not prevent the Recollection, nor His Avocations the Completion of a promiss you made when we parted to Come to Plimouth soon after Mr. Adams Came home. You Little Thought then I should have a Demand upon you so soon. However I shall not Relinquish it. I will not admit Even the Indolence of Felicity as an Excuse. And though it has been observed by some that Indolence is Characteristic of Genius, I think { 219 } Generosity Indicates a Greatness of soul that will supply the Defects of Genius, but when we see them united in their Exertions to Bestow Happiness, we then see the perfection of Human Nature. And with my Friendly and Respectful Complements to Mr. Adams you will tell him this Visit shall be placed on the List of Charities. But if he is a Believer in the Doctrine of superrerogation, He will have more to do, for more will Certainly be Required. Mean time I shall hear from you both if you wish to Gratify your assured & affectionate Freind,
[signed] Marcia Warren
My Regards to Monseur [Jeany?] and to the sister of the young Frenchman.2
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree.”
1. MS torn by seal.
2. Probably a playful reference to JQA, “the young Frenchman,” and his sister.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0170

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-08-09

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

Indeed, my lovely anxious Friend, you lead me to doubt whether Mr. A. is really on the Water: The Report of the Alliance being in Concert with a 40 Gun Ship on a secret Expedition tallies with Something of which I am certain. A Man of War of that Size has been given up to the “Direction” of John Paul Jones, and the Name has been changed to“Poor Richard” that it may not appear to belong to the french Marine. Our Commissioners have moreover certified under their Hands to Jones that he is still in the American Navy tho' he had quitted it some time ago for that of France, but did not give up his Commission. I formed my Conjectures upon first receiving that Intelligence, and your Anecdote confirms me therein so far as that I expect soon to hear of blazing Retaliation.
And has not that very philosophic Politician1 been yet to see you? I shall grow highly disgusted at my public Employment if its certain or even natural Tendency is to make me insensible of “the thousand nameless Anxieties that distress the tender hearts of your Sex” or inattentive to a proper Call to exert myself in relieving them.
My Letter in answer to a former one of yours is before this in your Hand and will convince you that the dreaded Callosity has not yet fixed upon my Heart. I have therein attempted, nor ought it to be in vain on such grounds, to give your Bosom Ease by directing you to repose it on that Assemblage of Merit which originates and finishes { 220 } your Husband's Conduct uniformly. Good as he was, when I first had the pleasure of knowing him, I do not recollect that he was quite such a Man as he now appears. Indeed, it was before his Marriage. He did full credit to the Books he had studied. He now shows that it is more efficacious to read Virtue in a living Character.
Whether he is on his Way home or not, it may be a satisfaction to you to have the following copy.
In Congress Aug. 6. 1779
Resolved That an Allowance of eleven thousand four hundred & twenty eight Livres Tournois per Annum be made to the several Commissioners of the United States in Europe for their Services, besides their reasonable Expences respectively.
That the Salary as well as the Expences be computed from the Time of their leaving their places of abode to enter on their offices, and be continued three months after Notice of their Recall, to enable them to return to their families respectively.
That the several Commissioners, Commercial Agents and others in Europe entrusted with public Money be directed to transmit without delay their Accounts and Vouchers, and also triplicate Copies of the same to the Board of Treasury of these United States in order for Settlement.
Resolved That a suitable Person be appointed by Congress to examine the said Accounts in Europe and certify his Opinion thereon previous to their being transmitted.2
Extracted from the Minutes by JL
There is an authentic account that France has absolutely refused the Mediation of Spain; and that the latter would declare herself speedily after the 20th. of June.
That the Count D'Orvilliers had sail'd towards Corunna with 30 Ships of the Line where he was to be joined by 20 spanish.
25,000 Troops are ready on the Coast of France for a Descent on Ireland.

[salute] With respectful Tenderness your humb. Servt.,

[signed] JL
1. Samuel Adams; see AA to Lovell, 28 July, above.
2. These resolutions were adopted in consequence of a report by the Board of Treasury. The text in JCC, 14:928–929, varies slightly but not significantly.
On 2 Sept. Robert Troup, secretary of the Treasury Board, transmitted copies of these resolutions to JA, together with an order of Congress of 26 Aug. requesting JA “to inclose his Accounts and Vouchers to the Board of Treasury that they may take Order thereon” (letter and enclosures in Adams Papers). JA { 221 } had been prepared for this by Lovell's letter of 9 Aug. and was apparently quite ready to submit his accounts when Troup's notification reached him in mid-September while he was deeply engaged in drafting the Massachusetts Constitution. On 19 Sept. he addressed a long and illuminating letter to the Board of Treasury covering his accounts for his recently completed diplomatic mission, in four separate schedules, A through D, together with all the vouchers for expenditures that he could supply and an explanation of how the joint commissioners and he personally had recorded receipts and expenditures (LbC, Adams Papers, printed in JA, Works, 7:111–114, without the schedules and vouchers, of which JA did not retain copies; see further on in this note). From the beginning of Oct. 1778 he had himself kept the Commission's books, finding the Franklins' method too desultory, and of course he was unable to supply vouchers that were still in their hands.
Among his own expenses, he pointed out, were some for books, which he explained as follows:
“I found myself in France, ill versed in the Language, the Literature, the Science, the Laws, Customs and Manners of that Country, and had the Mortification to find my Colleagues, very little better informed than myself, vain as this may seem. I found also that Dr. Franklin, Mr. Deane and Mr. Lee, had expended considerable sums for Books, and this appeared to me, one of the most necessary, and usefull Ways in which Money had ever been spent in that Country. I therefore did not hesitate to spend the sums mentioned in this Account in this Way, in the Purchase of such a Collection of Books, as were calculated to qualify me for Conversation and for Business, especially the science of Negotiation. Accordingly the Books are a Collection, of Books concerning the french Language and Criticism, concerning french History, Laws, Customs and Manners, but above all a large Collection of Books on the public Right of Europe and the Letters and Memoirs of those Ambassadors and public Ministers who had acquired the fairest Fame and done the greatest services to their Countries in this Way.
“The Honourable Board will judge whether this is a 'reasonable expence,' and whether it ought, or ought not to be deducted from the Allowance I shall submit to their Judgment with entire Satisfaction.”
JA was also diffident about the items for his son's keep and schooling and supposed they would “be deducted from the Allowance. Yet I ought to observe,” he added,“that Mr. Izard and Mr. William Lee, have supported their Families, Dr. Franklin has two Grandsons and Mr. A. Lee a Nephew, Mr. Deane two Brothers, and afterwards a son. All that I desire is that I may be treated like the others.” Some other interesting but restrained observations on the Commissioners' expenses for servants, clerical assistance, rent, furniture, horses, &c., follow.
All of these papers were sent in two“large Packetts” to John Lowell in Boston, who was intending an immediate trip to Philadelphia (JA to Lowell, 21 Sept., DLC: Morgan Coll. of Signers). At the same time JA wrote to Elbridge Gerry in Congress asking him to see that the vouchers were returned “by a safe Hand” when the Treasury had no more need of them (20 Sept., LbC, Adams Papers).
JA's original letter to Congress, his accounts as submitted, and the supporting vouchers have all disappeared. Gerry wrote JA after receiving the packets from Lowell that he doubted whether the Treasury Board would “be able to comply with the proposition of returning [the vouchers], which is contrary to their usual Practice” (12 Oct., Adams Papers). The Board evidently did not comply, but intensive searches have failed to locate the originals in the Papers of the Continental Congress or in other likely sources.
What survives is a bare three-page summary in JA's hand, filed in the Adams Papers under date of Aug. 1779, showing that for twenty months' service with a salary of 11,428 livres per month there was due to JA, on the basis of his own reckoning of receipts and expenditures, the sum of 4,594 livres 12s. 9d. Concerning this he remarked: “If the Honourable Board do not approve of this state, they will make what altera• { 222 } tions they judge right. It is very probable there may be Errors in Casting and otherwise. The Business of keeping Accounts is a very dull Occupation to me, and that of transmitting them and casting anew, still more so. I confess I have not Patience for it. The Board will correct it as they think just. If they adjudge me in Debt the Ballance shall be paid to their order on demand.”
There survives also a detailed record of JA's receipts and expenditures for the period 12 Feb. 1778 – 2 Aug. 1779, entered in one of his bound diary volumes. The final balance was never reckoned there and would be difficult if not impossible to cast up now because of cancellations and notations not easy to interpret, but the entries supply some of the details, often of considerable interest, that the lost vouchers would have supplied more fully. These accounts have been printed and annotated in JA's Diary and Autobiography, 2:325–344.
An incomplete or interim report on JA's accounts was made by the Treasury Board accountants on 25 Oct. 1779 and read in Congress on the 27th (JCC, 15:1212; text not printed, but a copy was enclosed in James Lovell's letter to AA of 14 May 1780, printed below). It was referred on the same day to a committee of three members, who reported on 15 Dec. and admitted all of JA's expenses except those for JQA (JCC, 15:1383; original in William Churchill Houston's hand, PCC, No. 19, I). For reasons unknown, Congress did not act on the committee's recommendation until 15 April 1780, when it voted to adopt it without change. The text as entered in the Secret Journal reads:
“That they [the committee] do not find any vote or proceeding of Congress, nor are they informed of any general or received custom, on which the charge of moneys for the education of the accomptant's son can be admitted; and though the same [i.e. sum?] is inconsiderable, they are of opinion it ought to be rejected, that a precedent be not established. That they are of opinion that the charge for books ought to be admitted, on the ground of a practice which has obtained in different nations respecting their publick ministers, and which is mentioned by Mr. Adams in the explanations attending his vouchers. That they find the several charges in the said accounts conformable to the strictest principles of economy; and that as far as Mr. Adams has been entrusted with publick money, the same has been carefully and frugally expended” (JCC, 16:368–369).
See, further, Lovell to JA, 4 May 1780 (Adams Papers); also Lovell to AA, 14 May 1780; AA to Lovell, 11 June 1780; AA to JA, 5 July 1780; all below.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0171

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-08-11

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

[salute] My amiable Friend

This Evening I have satisfactory Intelligence of the real Embarkation of your very dear Treasure at <Nantes> l'Orient the 17th. of June and that he was left well 12 days after, off the western Islands. The Secretary of Arthur Lee arrived at Metompkin, Virginia, Augst. 1st. in a very swift sailing Vessel.1 Mr. Adams told him at parting that he had good News for Congress and sent his Respects. The Secretary is not here but a Connecticutt Captain a Passenger in the same Vessel is my Author. There is a very lazy Vessel in Company with the Baggage of the french Minister who is with Mr. Adams; so that you need not be uneasy meerly on Account of Time. But I must honestly say that there { 223 } is a risque both from Arbuthnot and Collier. God grant he may escape both, and speedily embrace his dear Family.
[signed] James Lovell
1. This was Hezekiah Ford, a Virginian of dubious political and moral character who as “Parson Ford” had alternately bored and shocked JA while the latter was waiting at Lorient for passage home. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:364–368, 373, 376–377.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0172

Author: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Recipient: Cranch, Elizabeth
Recipient: Norton, Elizabeth Cranch
Date: 1779-10-20

Abigail Adams 2d to Elizabeth Cranch

I have began too or three letters to you but have burnt them, all for reasons that you need not be inquisitive to know. If they had been fit [for] your perusal you should have seen them: I have just returned from Germantown, my favourite Miss Mayhew is there, in as good spirits as usual.
Our friend Amanda1 talks of leaveing Ger[manto]wn her mamma has sent for her, I had not time to ask her why. She left us so soon, I shall lament the loss of her company. She has a disposition that pleases me much, I love her sincerely and wish that she may be happyly situated in this vain and transitory state until she receives the reward of the good and just in another world.
You have had the pleasure of seeing Monsieur Groisbriand and Miss Broom. If he had given his hand to Miss Broom instead of Miss Scot I should have retained the same opinion of him I had before, I think he did not show a delicate taset2 to prefer the latter to the former, when in her heart she ridiculed him because he was a frenchman.3
I have endeavoured several times to come and see you but all in vain so you must take the will for the deed.
There has an agreable person come into town upon a vissiat. It is my delight to puzzel people. I shant mention his name. He is not handsome but very agreable, writes excessive prety letters &c. &c. &c. &c. &c. &c. &c.
My Love to all friends. That health and happyness may ever be your attendants is the wish of your
[signed] Mercella
RC (MHi:Cranch Papers); addressed: “Miss Betsy Cranch Boston”; docketed: “October 20 1779 AA.”
1. Unidentified.
2. Thus in MS.
3. The Chevalier de Goësbriand (as he himself wrote his name) was ensign and second in command of the French frigate La Sensible; he later applied to JA for an American naval command (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:395, 397; { 224 } Goësbriand to JA, 27 Feb. 1780, Adams Papers; JQA, Diary, 24 Nov. 1779). The young ladies mentioned in this paragraph have not been further identified.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0173

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-11-13

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I have just sent Mr. Thaxter, Johnny and Stephens with the Things on Board. I shall go with Charles at four O Clock. It is now three. Have seen the Captain, and the Navy Board &c.
It is proposed to sail tomorrow. Perhaps however, it may not be till next day. Mr. Dana will come on board at Nine tomorrow.
Mr. Hancock has sent me a Card, to invite me to go on board with him in the Castle Barge.—Dont make many Words of this.1
Your Aunt2 has given me a Barrell of Cramberries. I shall make a good Use of them, I hope.
Let me intreat you, to keep up your Spirits and throw off Cares as much as possible. Love to Nabby and Thommy. We shall yet be happy, I hope and pray, and I dont doubt it. I shall have Vexations enough, as usual. You will have Anxiety and Tenderness enough as usual. Pray strive, not to have too much. I will write, by every Opportunity I can get.

[salute] Yours, ever, ever yours,

[signed] John Adams3
1. Hancock's “Card” has not been found. The “Castle Barge,” based at Castle Island in Boston Harbor, was used for ceremonial purposes; see JA to AA, 14 Nov., below. The fullest account of the embarkation of the Adams party is in the first entries in JQA's diary, which begins its colossal seventy-year record with this voyage:
“1779 November.
Friday 12th.
“This Morning at about 11 o clock I took leave of my Mamma, my Sister, and Brother Tommy, and went to Boston with Mr. Thaxter, in order to go on board the Frigate the Sensible of 28 twelve Pounders. We arrived at Boston at about 1 o clock; dined at my uncle Smith's, we expected to go on board in the afternoon but We could not conveniently till to morrow.
“Saturday 13th.
“To day at about 1 o clock Pappa, and my Brother Charles came to town, and at about 5 o clock we all came on board and took our lodgings. My Brother Charles is to lodge with My Pappa and I with Mr. Thaxter” (D/JQA/1).
John Thaxter Jr., AA's cousin and frequent correspondent, accompanied the party as private secretary to JA and tutor and companion to the Adams boys. For a sketch of him see above, vol. 1:142; see also AA's comment on Thaxter in her letter to James Lovell, 18 Nov., below, and Adams Genealogy.
2. Elizabeth (Storer) Smith, wife of AA's uncle Isaac Smith, the Boston merchant. See Adams Genealogy.
3. For the four-month period from mid-August through mid-November 1779, virtually nothing survives in the way of family correspondence. So far as we know, AA wrote no letters. JA broke off his diary upon arriving off the American coast, and in writing his Autobiography many years later he skipped his sojourn at home except for copying in at the { 225 } beginning of the third and last section, called “Peace,” a number of letters and documents relative to his second mission to Europe; see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:400; 4:173–191. For the Adamses' occupations during the late summer and fall of this year we are therefore dependent on JA's comparatively scanty correspondence with persons outside the family and on scattered printed and MS sources outside the Adams Papers.
We do know of JA's presence at one semi-public event that had momentous consequences. This was a visitation by La Luzerne and his suite to Harvard College, followed by a dinner there, and although the following account of the event from the Boston Independent Chronicle for 2 Sept. (p. 1, col. 1–2) mentions neither JA's presence nor the consequences, it is essential to understanding JA's hopes for his country:
“On Tuesday se'nnight [24 Aug.], the Chevalier de la Luzerne, accompanied with M. de Valnais, Consul of France, M. de Marbois, Councellor of Parliament, M. de Chavagnes, Captain in the royal navy of France, and a number of other gentlemen of distinction, both French and Americans, made a visit to Harvard-College, at the invitation of the President and Corporation. The Chevalier and company having alighted from their carriages, passed through the College yard between two lines of Students in their academical habits, their heads uncovered, to the door of Harvard-Hall, where they were received by the President, Corporation, Professors, and Tutors, and conducted to the Library.—Soon after they were seated, the President rose, and in the name of the Corporation, and the whole University, addressed the Chevalier in the latin language, congratulating his safe arrival, making the most respectful mention of our illustrious Ally, His Most Christian Majesty; expressing the warmest wishes for the perpetuation of the alliance, and the completion of its important and happy design, and for the prosperity of religion and learning throughout the world.
“The Chevalier replied in the most polite manner, and in the same language; assuring his audience that his wishes had been most fortunately crowned by seeing a country, once indeed the region of ignorance and barbarity, but now the seat of freedom, commerce, virtue, and the liberal arts; and expressing at the same time, the uncommon joy he should derive from finding the turbulent scenes of war, and the public negociation in which he was engaged, preparing the way for a closer alliance between the arts and sciences in distant nations, to their mutual improvement, and the common benefit of mankind.
“After amusing themselves among the rich variety of books reposited in the Library, the company were conducted into a large and elegant Philosophy room, where a very decent entertainment was provided:—After dinner they viewed the curiosities of the musaeum, and the Philosophical apparatus, fabricated by some of the best artists in Europe.
“Every countenance indicated pleasure, and every circumstance of the day testified the joy that was diffused through the whole university, upon this agreeable occasion.”
As one of the “other gentlemen of distinction” present, JA was to remember years later that at the dinner in the “Philosophy room” (i.e. the late Professor John Winthrop's science laboratory in Harvard Hall) he had happened to sit next to the Rev. Dr. Samuel Cooper and “engaged him in Conversation, for the whole time on the subject of a natural History of the Country and the means of promoting it.” Being fresh from France, where he had visited public and private collections of “Specimens of the Works of Nature” and had observed the activity of learned societies in promoting science, “I suggested to him,” JA went on, “the Plan of an American Academy of Arts and Sciences, to be established by the Legislature, as a Corporation with Capacity to receive donations in Land and Money” (JA to Benjamin Waterhouse, 7 Aug. 1805, MHi: Adams-Waterhouse Coll., printed in Ford, ed., Statesman and Friend, p. 22–29; see a similar account in JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, Letter 29 [31 July 1809], esp. p. 163). The suggestion was so well received (despite initial fears that the proposed Academy would { 226 } “injure the College”) that in May of the following year Cooper and numerous other amateurs of science were incorporated by the General Court as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, realizing JA's wish that Boston might have a counterpart to Philadelphia's American Philosophical Society, for which he had heard frequent praise in Europe.
The dinner was also the immediate inspiration for a novel and elevated passage in the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, which JA himself was soon afterward to write in its earliest form. This was Ch. V, §2, entitled “The Encouragement of Literature, &c.,” which declared it “the duty of legislators and magistrates, in all future periods of this Commonwealth, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them; . . . to encourage private societies and public institutions, rewards and immunities, for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and a natural history of the country,” not to mention “sincerity, good humour, and all social affections, and generous sentiments among the people” (A Constitution or Frame of Government, Agreed upon by the Delegates of the People of the State of Massachusetts-Bay . . . , Boston, 1780, p. 43–44).
“As the Words flowed from my Pen,” JA afterward remembered, “from the heart in reallity rather than the head, in composing this paragraph, I could not help laughing, to myself alone in my Closet, at the Oddity of it. I expected it would be attack'd, in the Convention from all quarters, on the Score of Affectation, Pedantry, Hypocrisy, and above all Oeconomy. Many Ideas in it implied expence: and I knew then as well as I have known since that too large a portion of the People and their Representatives, had rather starve their Souls than draw upon their purses to pay for nourishment of them: and therefore no mercy was to be expected for a Paragraph, that I would not now exchange for a Sceptre, and wish may be engraved on my Tomb Stone.
“But to my great Surprize, instead of Objections, it was received with Applause and adopted I believe with Unanimity, and without any Amendment. Even the Natural History of the Country received no Opposition.” (Letter to Waterhouse, cited above in this note; Ford, ed., Statesman and Friend, p. 25–26.)
The concept that government and learning are natural partners, written into the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 in these terms, was to be standard Adams doctrine for two generations but was not to be accepted on the national level until at least a century later.
It was, of course, the drafting of a frame of government for his native state that chiefly occupied JA during the few months he spent at home in 1779. On 9 Aug., hardly a week after he had arrived home, he was elected by his fellow townsmen sole delegate from Braintree to the Convention to be held at Cambridge beginning 1 Sept. (Braintree Town Records, p. 503). Much as he would have liked to return to private life and to resume his legal business, no assignment could have been more challenging to JA. This was a role for which, as his early diaries and letters show, he had more or less consciously prepared himself from the time he plied his lawbooks in Samuel Putnam's office in Worcester and in his chamber in his father's house at Braintree. (See especially his Earliest Diary, p. 37–40, and references there.) From the summer of 1774, when he began his more than three years of service in the Continental Congress, he had been gravely concerned over the break in governmental continuity in Massachusetts, even though he had approved that break as recommended by Congress in June 1775 and had indeed been one of its chief advocates (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:351–359). That the province (or state) was still functioning under the old royal charter he knew was a pretense; executive power had lapsed except for a Council which had no basis in direct or indirect representation and was therefore also a pretense; and, with the courts of justice closed, signs of lawlessness and anarchy began to appear that were to a man of JA's temperament abhorrent (same, p. 326–327). It was as a member of the Revolutionary Council that JA prepared, in mid-January { 227 } 1776 while on a brief leave from Congress, one of his most important state papers, a Proclamation by the newly reconstituted General Court which was designed to be read from every pulpit, at every town meeting, and at the (hoped-for) opening of every court in Massachusetts. This remarkable document linked the ideas of government by consent, the obligation to resist tyranny, the propriety of Massachusetts' organizing its own government, and the necessity to preserve and promote “the Means of Education, . . . Piety and Virtue,” and exemplary social order—ideas that were all to reappear in JA's draft and the adopted version of the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780. (JA's MS of the Proclamation is in M–Ar, vol. 138:281–284; it is printed in his Works, 1:193–196, and also, though without mention of its authorship, in Oscar and Mary F. Handlin, eds., The Popular Sources of Political Authority: Documents on the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, Cambridge, 1966, p. 65–69. A copy of the handbill printing, without imprint but dated 23 Jan. 1776 from the concurring vote of the House on that day, is in MHi: Broadsides Coll.; Evans 14839; Ford, Mass. Broadsides, No. 1973, with reduced fascimile. See also JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:226.)
In March and April 1776, reacting to what he thought was the naiveté of Paine's Common Sense, JA had outlined his constitutional principles in Thoughts on Government for the benefit of friends in other states who were engaged in constitution-making. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:331–333; Adams Family Corr., 1:384–385. The printed version, addressed to George Wythe, concludes with a sentiment that both echoes and develops similar ones in JA's earliest records as a student of law:
“You and I, my dear Friend, have been sent into life, at a time when the greatest law-givers of antiquity would have wished to have lived.—How few of the human race have ever enjoyed an opportunity of making an election of government more than of air, soil, or climate, for themselves or their children. When! Before the present epocha, had three millions of people full power and a fair opportunity to form and establish the wisest and happiest government that human wisdom can contrive?” (Thoughts on Government, Boston, reprinted 1776, p. 16.)
Throughout this year and the next, although engrossed in his duties as one of the most industrious members and committee chairmen in the Continental Congress, JA remained attentive to every rumor from Massachusetts about maneuvers looking toward a new frame of government. “I suppose you will have a Constitution formed this Year,” he wrote AA, 2 June 1777. “Who will be the Moses, the Lycurgus, the Solon?” (above, vol. 2:253). Clearly he yearned to be that Moses, Lycurgus, and Solon but feared he would be precluded from such a role. In June 1777 the House of Representatives converted itself into a constitutional convention and appointed a large committee that labored at intervals during the following months and presented a draft constitution for consideration. At this point (Feb. 1778) JA departed on his first mission to Europe. The work he wished to do was, however, providentially saved for him because the “Convention” botched its work and the towns rejected the proposed Constitution of 1778, partly on the ground that the body that framed it was not properly constituted. (See Cushing, History of the Transition, p. 207–226; O. and M. Handlin, Popular Sources of Political Authority, p. 20–22; the text of the rejected Constitution is printed in Mass. Constitutional Convention, 1779–1780, Journal, p. 255–264, and by the Handlins, p. 190–201, followed by the towns' returns and objections, p. 202–365.)
In Feb. 1779 the General Court resolved to take “the sense of the People” on whether they wished another attempt to be made to frame a constitution, and, if so, whether delegates should be elected for that “sole purpose.” In June the General Court declared that two-thirds of the towns had agreed to both propositions, ordered elections to be held during the summer, and recommended that the frame of government the prospective convention agreed upon should be printed and laid before the people for approval “by at least two { 228 } thirds of [the male inhabitants] who are free and twenty one years of age”—a feature of the constitutional movement in Massachusetts which is among its remarkable distinctions. See Mass. Constitutional Convention, 1779–1780, Journal, p. 5–6, 189–190; Cushing, History of the Transition, p. 227–231; O. and M. Handlin, Popular Sources of Political Authority, p. 23, 383–403.
The Convention held four plenary sessions between Sept. 1779 and June 1780, only the first two of which JA attended, from 1 through 7 Sept. and from 28 Oct. through 11 Nov., both held in the First Church at Cambridge, then located in the southwest corner of the Harvard Yard (on the site of the present Lehman Hall). The first session was devoted to electing officers, framing “rules and orders,” and holding “free conversations” on general principles (Mass. Constitutional Convention, 1779–1780, Journal, p. 7–49). On 4 Sept. it chose a drafting committee of 30 members, of whom JA was one (same, p. 26–31). Payroll records indicate that JA was compensated for 25 days of committee work between plenary sessions (M-Ar, vol. 170:413; vol. 171: 20), for he became, as he wrote not long afterward, “a Sub Sub Committee” of one, “so that I had the honour to be principal Engineer” (to Edmund Jenings, 7 June 1780, Adams Papers). That is to say, he was the sole draftsman of the Constitution as it was laid before the committee, to be amended by the committee in minor details and laid before the Convention at the beginning of its second session, amended further in that and the third session (Jan.–March 1780), printed for consideration by the towns, declared adopted by the Convention at its fourth session (June 1780) without further change, and, with numerous later amendments, still in force as the fundamental law of the Commonwealth. (The Committee's Report of a Constitution or Form of Government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, i.e. JA's draft as slightly amended, was printed for the members of the Convention in a 50-page pamphlet that is now exceedingly rare; Evans 16352; an annotated copy is in MHi. The text was reprinted, from the sole copy then known, as an appendix in the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention, 1779–1780, Journal, p. 191–215. In JA's Works, 4:213–267, CFA presented a text with invaluable notes enabling the reader to follow the evolution of the Constitution from its draft form through the version adopted, together with all amendments through 1850. The Handlins do not include in their documentary work on the Constitution JA's draft of 1779 in its “committee print” form, although it is basic to understanding how the text of the Constitution evolved. For the amendments and debates in convention, the submittal to the towns, and the formal adoption of the Constitution, see the Convention's Journal as first printed in 1832, p. 35–187; Cushing, History of the Transition, p. 227–279; and S. E. Morison's brilliant study of “The Struggle over the Adoption of the Constitution of Massachusetts, 1780,” MHS, Procs., 50 [1916–1917]:353–411. The Handlins omit all the proceedings of the Convention until those of March 1780 submitting the proposed constitution to the people, but they include the towns' copious responses and votes; Popular Sources of Political Authority, p. 475–930.)
It was the “committee print” or Report of a Constitution . . . Agreed upon by the Committee in Oct. 1779 of which JA took a supply of copies when he sailed for Europe the second time. With justifiable pride he presented copies to friends and officials in Spain and France and to clandestine correspondents in England, so that this, rather than the Constitution as ratified in 1780, was the form in which the Massachusetts Constitution was first read, translated, published, and “exceedingly applauded” abroad. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:413–414; JA to Edmé Jacques Genet, 26, 29 Feb. 1780 (LbCs in Adams Papers); Genet to JA, 28 Feb. 1780 (Adams Papers); JA to William Gordon, 26 May 1780 (LbC, Adams Papers); JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 157–158 (Letter 29); [John Almon,] The Remembrancer, ... for the Year 1780, p. 377–381, and same, part 2, p. 17–30.
Back of JA's election by Congress in { 229 } Sept. 1779 to the dignity of minister plenipotentiary to negotiate treaties of peace and commerce with Great Britain lies one of the most complex chapters of diplomatic and political maneuvering in the history of the United States. A summary of it is necessary here in order not only to explain JA's acceptance of a second mission abroad so soon after the discouraging conclusion of his first but also to suggest the difficulties under which he was again to labor in Europe.
One root of the difficulties lay in the continuing and widening feud between the partisans of Silas Deane and those of Arthur Lee. Into this “first serious division in national politics since independence occurred,” as Professor Morgan has characterized it, JA had been reluctantly but unavoidably drawn almost from the moment when he first arrived in France (Edmund S. Morgan, “The Puritan Ethic and the American Revolution,” WMQ, 3d ser., 24:25 [Jan. 1967]; and see above, AA to Lovell, 4 Jan. 1779, and JA to AA, 9 Feb. 1779, with notes and references under both). Intertwined with this issue in Congress was the devious international policy of France and Spain. During 1778 and 1779 the Bourbon monarchies were engaged in an elaborate diplomatic game of trying to deceive each other while joining hands to deceive Great Britain and the United States. Their maneuvers forced the first of many “agonizing reappraisals” of foreign policy in American history. Congress' uncertainty as to its course was in turn the reason why JA had been stranded in France without an assignment and in fact without word of any kind from his former colleagues in Philadelphia—as helpless as Ariel, he later wrote, “wedged by the Waiste in the middle of a rifted Oak” (to William Whipple, 11 Sept. 1779, LbC, Adams Papers). Nor was its course to be determined until after debates that lasted through the greater part of 1779.
Since Spain, however hollowly, had offered to mediate peace between Great Britain and France, it became necessary to empower and instruct a minister to represent the interests of the United States in the proposed negotiation. Vergennes wished that Franklin, now sole minister to France, could be given the needed additional powers, or even that he would act without them sub spe rati. But the vigilant French minister in Philadelphia, to whom he communicated this idea, cautioned Vergennes repeatedly that Franklin's standing in Congress was far from what it was at Versailles and that he would not emerge spotless from the Deane-Lee disputes. “Un nouvel Orage,” he reported in a dispatch of 4–6 March, “s'est élevé contre le Docteur franklin. Je crains que la facilité qu'il a eiie de se laisser entrainer dans les animosités de ses Collegues, ne conduise le Congrès, malgré lui, à en faire le sacrifice au parti de l'opposition” (Gérard, Despatches and Instructions, p. 561).
A storm had indeed arisen, and it enveloped all current and former members of the foreign service. On 24 March a special committee on foreign affairs, consisting of one member from each of the thirteen states, brought in a report that recited the accumulated charges and complaints against them all, together with the evidence. On 15 April Congress debated the proposed vote of censure in the following words: “That suspicions and animosities have arisen among the said commissioners which may be highly prejudicial to the honor and interests of these United States.” On the 20th, in a further debate on the motion for censure, the names of all the commissioners were called over and individually voted on for inclusion or exclusion. Included were Franklin, Deane, Arthur Lee, Izard, and William Lee. JA was excluded by a vote of three states for censure, four against, and three divided or not voting. Remarkably, the Massachusetts delegation was among those that divided. Samuel Adams and James Lovell voted for, and Gerry and Holten against the inclusion of JA's name. (See JCC, 13:363–368, 456, 479–487, 484–485.) Since the Journal was being printed serially and successive numbers were sent to Braintree, these proceedings aroused strong feelings there. Lovell in particular, who had been caught in a parliamentary trap baited by the Deaneite or pro-French faction, had a great deal of explaining to do. (See AA to Lovell, ca. 15 July, { 230 } and to Samuel Adams, ca. 30 July 1779, both above. Lovell's explanation is in his letter to JA of 13 June 1779, “Confidential” [original and variant duplicate in Adams Papers], printed in JA, Works, 9:480–483, with valuable editorial clarification by CFA; also printed and annotated in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:261–263.)
There was of course not only the question of who could best represent the United States abroad; there was that of how such representatives should be instructed. If peace negotiations were to take place, what were the minimum–maximum American peace objectives? Under Gérard's eye and frequently with his interference, Congress warmly debated these from time to time until after JA, to everybody's surprise except his own, arrived home early in August. Only after the news brought by La Luzerne that England had declined Spain's mediation and that Spain had become a cobelligerent with France did the badly divided Congress agree, on 14 Aug., on instructions to the emissary—still to be named—who was to negotiate, when possible, treaties of peace and commerce with Great Britain. (Texts, amendments, and votes thereon are in JCC, 14:956–962.) On the day they were adopted Gérard sent a summary of them to Vergennes, modestly adding that “Elles m'ont été communiquées avant d'être portées au Congrès,” which was apparently true, and that the prospective American emissary had been instructed to reveal his full instructions to the French government, which according to JA's understanding was not true (Gérard, Despatches and Instructions, p. 847–848). Thus was laid the groundwork for the misunderstanding and coolness between the American envoy and the French foreign minister before JA's peace mission even began.
Six weeks of electioneering followed among the adherents of the two factions in Congress, climaxed by a Friday-through-Monday struggle, 24–27 Sept., over the choice of a minister to be stationed in Paris to negotiate peace and another to go to Madrid to urge recognition of American independence, an alliance, and the right of navigating the Mississippi and also to obtain a substantial loan. As reported in the Journal and in the letters of members and of Gérard, the involutions of this contest defy lucid exposition. Elbridge Gerry, who was in the thick of it, could well say that “the Embarrassments, Difficulties and Delays attending this Business, in consequence of the Disputes between the late Commissioners, have exceeded every thing of the Kind” that he had ever met with (to JA, 29 Sept. 1779, Adams Papers; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:454).
Before the actual balloting began, an attempt was made at a compromise between the factions that seems to have been reported only by Gérard, namely to commission Franklin and JA jointly as ministers for peace, but this failed (Gérard, Despatches and Instructions, p. 895). So, too, on the 25th, did a warmly debated motion, aimed at John Jay, currently president of Congress and one of Gérard's confidants, to exclude from nomination any present member of Congress (JCC, 15:1105–1107). Thereupon JA was nominated by Henry Laurens, and John Jay was nominated by Meriwether Smith, for the peace mission. Three successive ballots taken on Sunday the 26th resulted in deadlocks (same, p. 1107, 1109). Then occurred what Laurens called a “Manouvre” and Lovell called an “Accommodation . . . proposed in Whispers” among the pro-French faction. The election of a peace minister was deferred, and nominations for a minister to Spain were called for (same, p. 1109–1110; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:437, 447). Laurens himself, a die-hard anti-Deane man, then nominated Arthur Lee, who still held a separate commission to Spain although he had been dispossessed, with JA, of duties in Paris. William Paca, a Deane man, nominated JA (“Divide and conq[uer],” commented Laurens), and James Mercer, a new member from Virginia, nominated John Jay (JCC, 15:1110).
The hope of vindicating Arthur Lee's character and conduct proved forlorn. In the ballot taken on the 27th he received the vote of only one state, New Hampshire, represented by a single delegate (Burnett, ed., Letters of Mem• { 231 } bers, 4:438). Laurens, Lovell, and a few others thought he had been “cruelly injured” both by the French government and at home, but it may be pointed out that by this time even JA thought that Lee could no longer be useful abroad. He had done what he could to defend Lee against aspersions, but in a letter to Lovell that could not have reached Philadelphia before the balloting, JA wrote of Lee:
“I respect his past services, I know his Attachment to America, and I believe his Integrity. But I know his Prejudices, and his Passions. His Countenance is disgusting, his Air is not pleasing, his Manners are not engaging, his Temper is harsh, sour and fierce, and his Judgment of Men and Things is often wrong.—Virtue itself is said to be not always amiable” (21 Sept. 1779, LbC, Adams Papers; without name of addressee but clearly in answer to Lovell's letters of 20, 24 Aug., Adams Papers).
Eight states voted for Jay, three were divided or did not vote, and none voted for JA—a clear indication of how well understood an “Accommodation” this was. For some it may have been most gratifying as a means of punishing Arthur Lee. It was evidently satisfactory to John Jay because, according to Laurens' Notes of Proceedings, “Mr. Jay's own vote was necessary” to deliver New York's vote in his favor. And the friends of JA were pleased because it cleared a pathway for his election to the peace mission. (JCC, 15:1113; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:438, 443, 447; Gérard, Despatches and Instructions, p. 896.)
For this post JA alone was nominated and promptly elected by eleven states—a vote considered unanimous because the twelfth state, Delaware (represented by “your old Friend Mr. D[ickinso]n,” Gerry explained to JA), voted for Franklin, who was not in nomination (JCC, 15:1113; Laurens, Notes of Proceedings, in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:438; Lovell to JA, 27, 28 Sept. 1779, both in Adams Papers; Gerry to JA, 29 Sept. 1779, Adams Papers).
The tireless man who had had as much to do with these results as anyone, Conrad Alexandre Gérard, now about to leave America, professed himself satisfied. In his last dispatch, written on the day the elections were completed, he suavely reported to Vergennes:
“Enfin, Monseigneur, le Congrès a nommé ses plénipotentiaires. M. Jay est destiné pour l'Espagne et les pleins pouvoirs pour la paix sont confiés à M. John Adams. M Arthur Lée n'a eu en sa faveur qu'une seule voix isolée. On doit demain élire un [nouveau] Président à la place de M Jay.—Le choix de ce Ministre ne laisse rien à desirer. A beaucoup de Lumières et aux meilleures intentions, il joint un caractère et un esprit liant et conciliant.—Quant à M. Adams je ne le connois point et il n'est connu que d'un petit nombre des membres actuels du Congrès. Il a la reputation d'être honête homme et le presomption qu'il vous est agréable a [beaucoup] influé sur les opinions.” (27 Sept. 1779, Despatches and Instructions, p. 896–897.)
Then, probably more candidly and certainly very significantly, Gérard added: “M. le Chevalier de La Luzerne a eu occasion pendant sa traversée de démeler son caractère et ses sentimens; Il me semble, Monseigneur, que le resultat de ses observations, est qu'il eut été à désirer que les deux commissions eussent été differemment distribuées.” La Luzerne had arrived in Philadelphia from Boston on 21 Sept. and had had ample time to exchange news and views with the minister he was now replacing. His knowledge of JA was indeed intimate, for during the voyage from France in June and July JA, not then having the slightest notion that he would return to Europe soon or ever, had freely aired his views on men and measures with both La Luzerne and his canny secretary, Marbois; see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:380–399. Expressing something like horror at the very thought of French meddling in American affairs, they drew him out on matters that would serve the interests of France in America and Europe. Later on, JA was to learn how to discount such professions by any subordinate of Vergennes, but he did not learn soon enough. It is the judgment of a profound student of American diplomatic history that La Luzerne was to exercise “a { 232 } more complete ascendancy over the Government of the United States than any foreign envoy since his time” (Bemis, Diplomacy of the Amer. Revolution, p. 102–103). Under Vergennes' orders he was to work diligently and in the end successfully to have JA's powers as peace minister limited and countermanded. Eventually he succeeded in having them withdrawn. See William E. O'Donnell, The Chevalier de La Luzerne, Bruges and Louvain, 1938, p. 43, 123–125, 141, and passim.
Fortunately, JA's occupations at home in the late summer and early fall of 1779 did not leave him a great deal of time to brood over “maneuvers” and “accommodations” in Philadelphia. Having, however, been reading the serially printed issues of the Journal of Congress, he did address to President Jay a formal request on 10 Sept. to supply him with copies of all the “Complaints and Evidences” against his conduct as a commissioner, so that he could “take such Measures as may be in my Power to justify myself to Congress” (PCC, No. 84, 1, printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:313–314). His letter was read in Congress on 29 Sept. (JCC, 15:1122), and Gerry “moved the House to comply with your Request.” But Congress declined to do so, Gerry reported, on the ground that it had “by your late Appointment rejected the Charge, and had in the first Instance cleared You of the animosities subsisting amongst the other Commissioners.” Besides, to have the subject brought up again would taint Congress' judgment in making the new appointment. In this long letter reporting JA's election and illuminating much that had gone on behind closed doors over the past several years, Gerry went on to say:
“Upon the Whole, I am of Opinion, that in the Esteem of Congress, your Character is as high as any Gentleman's in America. That as much is obtained in the Arrangement and Determinations of our foreign Affairs as could be expected. That if Matters had been driven further, We should have been more deeply involved in Animosities and Dissentions, and have put a total Stop to our foreign Negotiations. That in Consequence thereof, We must, on the Return of Monsr. Gerard, have sunk in the Esteem of our Ally, of the Court of Spain, and of all Europe. . . . That however some late Measures may not be equal to our Wishes, It becomes our indispensible Duty to support them with Vigour, and to listen no more to Insinuations without Evidence to support them. That an able, upright, firm Friend to America, is greatly Injured in Doctor [Arthur] Lee. . . . But that his Usefulness being destroyed, had it been practicable to continue him in office, he could not have served with Satisfaction to himself, or Advantage to the public.” (29 Sept. 1779, Adams Papers; printed in full in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:454–458.)
These sentiments were so gratifying to JA and so in accord with his own that they must have powerfully affected his thoughts about a return to Europe. The news he received soon afterward that his good friend and fellow lawyer Francis Dana had been named by Congress secretary to the peace mission could only have added to his satisfaction (JCC, 15:1128; Lovell to JA, 1 Oct. 1779, printed in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:465–466). His decision must also have been influenced by a remarkable letter written by Henry Laurens a few days after the elections were completed. In terms that JA himself might have used in his most self-pitying moments, Laurens first offered sympathy for JA's recent plight in Europe, where, although he had deserved so well of his country, he had found himself “in the most awkward situation that an honest susceptible mind can be reduced to—Sent, without his own desire, and probably inconsistent with his Interest and inclination, on an embassy beyond the Atlantic—kept unemployed, and in the course of a few Months virtually dismissed, without censure or applause, and without the least intimation when or in what manner he was to return and report his proceedings.” But all that is over, Laurens continued, “and now My Dear Sir, I not only congratulate you on a safe return but I have another opportunity of rejoicing with my Country Men on the judicious choice which Congress { 233 } have made in their late election of a Minister Plenipotentiary to treat . . . with his Britanic Majesty on Peace and Commerce. The determination of Congress in this instance, will be grateful to the People of these States and may expiate the queernesses of some of the queerest fellows that ever were invested with rays of sovereignty. Let me intreat you Sir, for my Country's sake, to accept the appointment without hesitation or retrospection. . . . Wisdom and Patriotism forbid exceptions on account of past circumstances. I speak in pure truth and sincerity and will not risque offence by uttering a word respecting your fitness or peculiar or exclusive fitness for the important Office, but I will venture to add, it is necessary you should accept and stand ready to execute it, your determination to do so will make the true friends of American Independence happy, and will abate their apprehensions from incompetency or negligence in other quarters” (4 Oct. 1779, Adams Papers, printed in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:467–469).
Since a major issue at the peace table was bound to be the North Atlantic fisheries, other friends did not fail to point out, knowing they would strike home, that “the Interest of America requires . . . that a New England Man should negotiate a Peace” (John Lowell to JA, 12 Oct. 1779, Adams Papers).
All these considerations had been borne in upon JA's consciousness well before he received official word of his election, sent by Samuel Huntington (who had succeeded Jay as president of Congress), together with his commissions and instructions, in a letter of 20 Oct. (Adams Papers, printed in JA, Works, 7:119–120). Each had due weight; combined, they were irresistible to one schooled to believe that the highest duty entailed the greatest labor and privation while offering few chances of success against many of failure. Such, for better or worse, was the nature of the Puritan ethic, as Professor Morgan has recently reminded us in his illuminating article cited earlier in this note. While no formula will sum up a man, particularly a man as full of surprises as JA, the struggles, frustrations, bruising quarrels, justified and unjustified boasts, self-dedication, and occasional triumphs of his diplomatic career furnish a paradigm of the Puritan ethic in action.
“And what, my dear sir, shall I say,” he began a letter to James Lovell on 17 Oct. 1779, “to your Favours of the 27. and 28 of September, which came by the last Post?—The Unanimity of my Election surprizes me, as much as the Delicacy, Importance, and Danger, of the Trust distresses me” (LbC, Adams Papers, printed in Works, 9:499–501). But the question was rhetorical: he evidently made up his mind almost instantaneously. On this very day he replied to La Luzerne, who had written from Philadelphia to offer him a return passage to France in the Sensible, still lying in Boston harbor, that “the Frigate shall not be unnecessarily detained, on my Account” (LbC, Adams Papers, printed in JA's Diary and Autobiography, 4:175–176). Service to his country was even more delicate, important, and dangerous than completing a frame of government for his native state, and the claims of his business, his family, and his own peace of mind and physical comfort weighed little in comparison.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0174

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-11-14

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dearest of Friends

My habitation, how disconsolate it looks! My table I set down to it but cannot swallow my food. O Why was I born with so much Sensibility and why possessing it have I so often been call'd to struggle with it? I wish to see you again, was I sure you would not be gone, I could not { 234 } withstand the temptation of comeing to town, tho my Heart would suffer over again the cruel torture of Seperation.
What a cordial to my dejected Spirits were the few lines last night received. And does your Heart forebode that we shall again be happy. My hopes and fears rise alternately. I cannot resign more than I do, unless life itself was called for.—My dear sons I can not think of them without a tear, little do they know the feelings of a Mothers Heart! May they be good and usefull as their Father then will they in some measure reward the anxiety of a Mother. My tenderest Love to them. Remember me also to Mr. Thaxter whose civilities and kindness I shall miss.
God almighty bless and protect my dearest Friend and in his own time restore him to the affectionate Bosom of
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams Esqr. on Board the Frigate Sensible.” Cover bears a fine impression in red wax (now halved) of the Boylston family arms. JA is said to have inherited this seal from his mother, born Susanna Boylston (HA2, in Boston Athenaeum, Catalogue of JQA's Books, p. 136; see illustration facing p. 135; and see passim for other uses of the Boylston arms by members of the Adams family).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0175

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-11-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest

We got all on Board last night, and began to make our Arrangements. Mr. Thaxter and Johnny, slept in a large Cott in the Council Chamber. Charles and I, in my old Apartment. We all rested well. Charles is much pleased, with the Novelty of the Scaene.
I stole on Board last night as silently as possible but as the Boat passed the Courier de L'Europe,1 all Hands came upon Deck and huzza'd in English, that is cryed Vive le Roi. And as We approached the Frigate, I saw all Hands mounting the shrowds and manning the ship, [and]2 at our stepping out of the Boat, We were saluted, with another Vive le Roi.
Mr. Dana comes on Board, with Mr. Hancock in the Castle Barge at Nine or ten.
I had a Letter last night from M. Lovell, who complains that Portia dont write him, and another, kind Letter from R. H. Lee.3
Mr. Laurens and I were nominated for Holland. I suspect Laurens will be chosen and Lovel, go his Secretary.4
It is the Captains present Intention to fall down to Nantaskett Road to day.5 Day Day.6
[signed] J. Adams
{ 235 }
RC (Adams Papers). Tr in CFA's hand (Adams Papers); prepared as printer's copy for CFA's edition of JA-AA, Familiar Letters, since it is designated “No. 253” at head of text and has an identifying note on Dana; but in the end it was not included.
1. The Courrier de l'Europe, a chasse marée which was, according to Marbois, “one of the best sailers in existence on any of the seas,” had accompanied the Sensible on the outward voyage, but was dismasted and lost in a storm on the return voyage (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:381, 404; 4:191–192; Eugene P. Chase, ed., Our Revolutionary Forefathers: The Letters of François, Marquis de Barbé-Marbois . . . 1779–1785, N.Y., 1929, p. 42).
2. MS: “at.”
3. James Lovell to JA, 1–2 Nov., accompanied by five pages of extracts from the Journals of Congress recording motions and resolves on the Atlantic fisheries and navigation of the Mississippi, Feb.–June 1779, and on financial arrangements for American ministers in Europe, including the nominations of JA and Henry Laurens to negotiate a loan in the Netherlands, 15–18 Oct. 1779 (Adams Papers). Richard Henry Lee to JA, dated at Chantilly, Va., 8 Oct. (Adams Papers, printed in R. H. Lee, Letters, ed. Ballagh, 2:155–156).
4. The first prediction was correct, the second mistaken.
5. The Sensible did not sail until the next day. “Bror. Adams sail'd by the Light-House about ten o Clock Monday Morning [15 Nov.]; with a fair Wind. Genl. [James] Warren spent the Evening with him on Sunday, and left him in good Spirits. Mr. Dana was rather dull on the Occation” (Richard Cranch to Mrs. Cranch, Boston, 17 Nov. 1779, MHi:Cranch Papers).
6. Thus in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0176

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-11-15

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Portia

We have a fine Wind, and in the Course of this Afternoon and Night expect to be clear of Georges Bank, and out of Danger of meeting the Romulus, and the other Rascal.
John, and Charles, as well as S. C. Johonnot,1 are all a little Seasick, but this will soon be over.
Mr. Dana, Mr. Thaxter and myself are yet pretty well, but expect our Turn soon.
We have strong hopes of escaping the Enemy upon this Coast. We follow the Advice of Knox the Pilot, who is a very good Hand.
My Love to my dear Nabby and Thommy. J. and C. send Duty and Love.
God grant me and my little Family a happy Passage, and you and your little Household, Health, and Comfort in our Absence. I hope this will be the last Seperation, We shall suffer from each other, for any Length of Time.—If I should find an Opportunity at Sea, which is not likely, I will write, but certainly by the first Opportunity and by all occassions from France.

[salute] Adieu, Adieu, Adieu.

[signed] John Adams
{ 236 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams Braintree.” Tr in CFA's hand (Adams Papers); prepared for CFA's edition of JA-AA, Familiar Letters but in the end excluded.
1. Samuel Cooper Johonnot (1768–1806), son of the Boston merchant Gabriel Johonnot and grandson of JA's Boston pastor, Rev. Samuel Cooper, was being sent under JA's care to France for schooling. For a fuller note on Johonnot see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:418.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0177

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1779-11-18

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

[salute] Sir

In a Letter from my Dear absent Friend the day before he saild dated on Board the Frigate he informd me that the Evening before he received a Letter from his much Esteemed Friend Mr. L[ovel]l in which he complained that “Portia did not write to him.”2 Could Portia have given a greater proof of the high value she placed upon his Friendship and correspondence she would not have withheld her hand. But can Mr. L——l so soon forget that he had prohibited her from writing by prescribing conditions to her that he knew she could not practise.
He must have divested himself of that sensibility which vibrates with every sentiment of his mind and every motion of his Heart to suppose that she could

“Give sorrow vent. The Grief that cannot speak

Whispers the o'er fraught heart and bids it Break.”

Cannot you believe me sir when I tell you that there is but one more conflict in life harder to be endured than that which I have pass't through. Why was I born with so much sensibility, why possessing it have I so often been call'd to struggle with it?
A few more such trials would distroy a tabernacle already impaired by them. Could I find pleasure and happiness in a thousand sources from whence many others would derive them, I should feel less keenly the wound, but to me the world and all its enjoyments are hazarded at once.

Fame, wealth and honour, what are ye to Love?

Do not expose me sir, the world think differently I know. You should not call for my pen unless determined to pardon my weakness. Two sons have accompanied their Father, the Eldest but 12 years of age. Mr. Thaxter too, who has lived in the Family near 6 years and was like a Brother in kindness and Friendship, makes one of the absent { 237 } Family, whilst one daughter and Little son, are my solitary companions.
Your former kindness and attention leads me to rely upon your future Friendship which notwithstanding former prohibitions I hope is not forfeited by the present sentiments of
[signed] Portia
LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “To the Honble. James Lovell Philadelphia.” This is the first entry in the sole letterbook, evidently furnished to her by JA before he sailed, that AA ever tried to maintain. She did not succeed well. This handsome, well-preserved, vellum-bound folio volume (Lb/JA/9, Microfilms, Reel No. 97) contains thirteen letter copies in her hand written over a period of thirteen months—only a fraction of her known letters and a smaller fraction of the total letters she probably wrote between Nov. 1779 and Dec. 1780. Most of the volume remains blank.
1. Missing RC was evidently dated 20 Nov. 1779; see Lovell's answer, 22 Dec. 1779 (Adams Papers).
2. “I see my Correspondence with Portia is all over. She cannot write because I should see the mark of the Tear on the Paper” (Lovell to JA, 1–2 Nov. 1779, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0178

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-11-20

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

A brave fellow from Boston Captn. Carr, gives me an Opportunity of writing one Line, to let you know that We are all very well thus far.2 Charles behaves quite as well as John, and lies in my Bosom a nights. Mr. Dana has been very sea sick but is now pretty well. We are now out of all Danger of the Romulus and Virginia, and I hope have little to fear, from the Ennemy. We have had one storm which made Us all sea sick, but brought Us on well in our Course. I wish I could write to you these two Hours, but Time fails. Ships cannot wait for each other at sea. My Love to Nabby and Thommy. Tell them, to mind their studies.
Tell Nabby, tho she has lost her french Master for some time, I hope she will persevere, and perhaps a french Mistress in her Mamma may do better. Duty to your father, my Mother, Brothers, sisters &c. &c. &c. Dont fail to let me know how [the] Constitution goes on.

[salute] God bless you.

[signed] John Adams
I write on my Knees, and the ship rolls so that I write worse than common.
Captaine Chavagne has made me open my Letter, to assure Madam Adams of his best Respects, and Mmselle and Monsr Thomas. I find the same Civility and Kindness from this worthy officer and his subalterns as heretofore, and the Passengers are also agreable.3
{ 238 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams Braintree near Boston favd. by Captn. Carr.”
1. JA distinctly wrote “29,” and CFA printed this letter under that date in JA-AA, Familiar Letters, p. 368–369. But JA was mistaken, for it was on the 20th, off the Grand Bank of Newfoundland (“N.F.L.”), that the Sensible encountered the American privateer that brought back letters to Boston—the only such “Opportunity” that offered during the voyage. See the following note; also Francis Dana's Journal as quoted in note 3.
2. This and the following letter from JQA were sent back by the Salem privateer General Lincoln, Capt. John Carnes; see JQA, Diary, under the present date; Dana's Journal as quoted in the following note; MHS, Colls., 77:147. In his Diary and Autobiography, 2:402, JA mistakenly gave the captain's name as “Barnes.”
3. Since Francis Dana's Journal of 1779–1780 (MHi) gives the most succinct and connected account of the voyage, the relevant passage is quoted here in full:
“We had a very good wind till the 18th. when it changed to the N.E. and blowed very hard for about 24 hours. About this time our vessel began to leak considerably, so that we were obliged to keep one pump at work.—Novr. 20th. We spoke with the Genl. Lincoln privateer of Salem commanded by Capt. Carnes then bound for that place, whose Lieut. came on board us, by whom I wrote to Mrs. D.; an event which gave us much satisfaction not only because it was unexpected, but because it afforded an opportunity of notifying our friends of our escaping two British Frigates which had been cruising in the Bay for us, and were seen near Cape Ann the Wednesday before our departure. We were at this time near the Grand Bank where we sounded on the 23d. Novr.—Novr. 25th. The wind began to blow from the N.W. very heavy, and the Sea to run high.—Novr. 26th. During the last 24 hours we run under our Foresail only, 76 leagues; the wind and sea still raging; in the afternoon the Chasse Maree . . . carried away her Foremast. The tempest prevented our affording them any relief as we were driven before it at the same rapid rate I have just mentioned. There were about thirty souls on board the Chasse Maree, one a woman. Heaven protect them from further harm.—Sunday Novr. 28th. The Storm abated, and our leak having encreased, we set two pumps to work. This brought the Capt., Officers and Passengers to them in their turns—we were now not far east of the longitude of the Azores, and nearly 50 Leagues north of their latitude, the wind about south, so that it was impossible to make them. The encrease of our leak, rendering it impracticable to fight our ship well if we shou'd meet with an enemy and our state otherwise dangerous, the Capt. at this time changed our original destination which was Brest, for Ferrol the nearest port. Nothing material occurred, the weather continuing moderate and the winds not adverse, till Tuesday the 7th. Decr. when at about half past 10. o'clock A.M. we made Cape Finisterre, our first land, for which we had shaped our course. The wind was near SW and the weather clear for the most part of the day, so that we distinctly made our [i.e. out?] head Lands, but night coming on, we lay too, to avoid passing our port. The next morning, Decr. 8th. we run before the wind, it being a fine day, directly for Ferrol, and cast anchor in the harbour about noon.”

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0179

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-11-20

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] Hon'd Mamma

This moment gives me an Opportunity of writing to you but I have very little to write. We are now about 200 leagues from Boston and { 239 } have been [very?]1 lucky till now; we had a little storm but it did us but little damage.
My young freind Sammy Cooper is a very agreable young Gentleman who makes me more happy on the voyage than I should have been without him; as to his Language I have not heard him say any thing amiss till now. But I must conclude in being your dutiful son,
[signed] J Q Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams Braintree near Boston To be sunk in Case of Danger.”
1. Word largely obscured by seal.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0180

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-11-23

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Ma'am

Instead of sending the inclosed to the Navy Board I shall from Time to Time direct them as now, that after you have had the Amusement (such as it is) of reading them you may forward them to the Friend for whom they are designed, through the Care of the Navy Board at Boston.1 If you are quite indifferent as to this method, I will lodge them in future where those for Mr. Dana are lodged by my Direction. Yrs. affectionately,
[signed] J L
Col. Langdon2 Yesterday carried some Papers from me directed to Mr. A or in his Absence to the Navy Board. They were only of the Kind now sent, but former Numbers.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams Braintree.” For the (missing) enclosures see note 1.
1. Lovell's next letter, 27 Nov., following, makes clear that what he was forwarding to JA through AA, for her to read if she cared to, were the weekly numbers of the Journal of Congress as printed under Congress' resolve of 31 March; see above, Lovell to AA, 19 July, note 1.
2. Woodbury Langdon (1739–1805), a New Hampshire member of the Continental Congress who was returning home on leave (Biog. Dir. Cong.; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:lv).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0181

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-11-27

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Lady

I cannot recollect whether I sent No. 311 before. I promised your Husband to continue to forward the Journals: But my Wish is not to break the Numbers so as to spoil a Set for any body else. If therefore I at any Time repeat a Number you will be so good as to return it; and if I omit one you will demand it. I suppose Mr. A did not leave the 1st. { 240 } 2d. or 3d. Vol.2 in his Library. If he did I will send you a Set of 1779 to keep at home; and forward myself directly to the Navy Board what I design for him. But you must not keep any of the Pages of 1778, because I shall have but one Course of them.

[salute] Yours, with affectionate Respect,

[signed] James Lovell
RC (Adams Papers); addressed and franked: “Mrs. A. Adams Braintree Philada. Jas. Lovell.”
1. Of the weekly issues of the Journal of Congress for 1779; see the preceding letter.
2. Of the Journals of Congress issued in volume form, for 1774–1775, 1776, and 1777, respectively. The volume for 1778 had not yet been published. For copies surviving among JA's books, see Catalogue of JA's Library, p. 60–61.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0182

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lowell, John
Date: 1779-11-29

Abigail Adams to John Lowell

[salute] Sir

Before Mr. Adams left me he mentiond 2 or 3 gentlemen to me to whom he would have me apply for advice and assistance during his absence. You Sir was one of those Friends upon whom he directed me to rely who would consider my Situation and render me any little services I stood in need of.1
My present request is to be informd of the rate of exchange of hard Money into paper. There are so many persons disposed to take advantage of me, in this respect that unless I can find a Friend or two upon whom I can rely, I shall be imposed upon as I have heretofore been, and I have need enough I am sure of making the best exchange in my power.
The fluctuating state of our currency and the exorbitant demand for every necessary of life, together with the high taxes renders it more peculiarly difficult to be deprived of a partner at this day.
It has been my Lot in Life to be called repeatedly to the painfull task of seperating from the dearest connexion in Life. Honour and Fame of which the world talk, weigh but lightly against the Domestick happiness I resign, and the pain and anxiety I suffer.—One only consideration preponderates the scale, The hope of rendering Essential service to a distressd and Bleeding Country.
Be pleased sir to present my Respectfull complements to Mrs. Lowell tho I have not the pleasure of an acquaintance with her.2 A few lines left for me at Mr. I. Smiths Boston will be safely conveyed to me and will greatly oblige your Humble Servant,
[signed] A. Adams
LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “To John Lowell Esqr. Boston,” to { 241 } which is added, “answerd December 15 exchange from 30 to 35 for one.” (See Lowell's letter to AA of 15 Dec. below.)
1. John Lowell, identified and mentioned with some frequency in earlier volumes, was a Boston lawyer and a member of the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention.
2. As his 3d wife John Lowell had in 1778 married the former Rebecca Russell, widow of James Tyng (Ferris Greenslet, The Lowells and Their Seven Worlds, Boston, 1946, p. 63).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0183

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Wendell, Oliver
Date: 1779-11-29

Abigail Adams to Oliver Wendell

[salute] Dear Sir

My dear Mr. Adams when he left me recommended Mr. Wendle to me as one of those Friends he had Requested to assist me in his absence.1
My present Application is to request that you would be so good as to inform me at what rate exchange is at present, and whether you would take the trouble of exchangeing 30 or 40 dollors for me within this fortnight or 3 weeks if I should send them to you.
If hard Money has rose in proportion to other articles it ought to be Double what it was a Month ago.
I think Mr. Adams told me that you advised not to exchange more at a time, than present necessity required. I have no objection to this, otherways than being too often troublesome to my Friend.
A few lines left for me at Mr. Smiths will be safely conveyed to me.
Your Benevolent Mind will consider my situation, deprived of the care and assistance of my Nearest Friend, which must plead my excuse for giving you this trouble.

[salute] Be pleased Sir to present my Respectfull Regards to Mrs. Wendle2 from your Humble Servant,

[signed] A Adams
RC (Hugh Upham Clark, Arlington, Va., owner of the Austin H. Clark Collection, prints of which have been deposited in MBCo); addressed: “To The Honble. Oliver Wendle Boston”; endorsed: “Braintree Mrs. Adams Letter & my Answer 1779.”
1. Oliver Wendell (1733–1818), Harvard 1753, Boston merchant, land magnate, selectman, justice of the peace, member of the Constitutional Convention of 1779–1780, and, later, judge of common pleas, member of the Massachusetts House and Senate, and Fellow of Harvard College (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:367–374).
2. In 1762 Wendell had married Mary Jackson, whose mother was a Quincy; the Wendells' daughter Sarah was to marry Rev. Abiel Holmes and become the mother of Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes (same, p. 367, 373).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0184

Author: Wendell, Oliver
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-11-29

Oliver Wendell to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madm.

Mr. Adams gave me real Pleasure when he told me it was in my Power to render any Service to himself or his Family, therefore any Apology from you was needless.
The fluctuating or rather the Ebbing State of our paper Medium is such that to exchange More Silver than you may want for a fortnights Use, may be prejudicial—and oftentimes a better bargain may be made with the Silver than any other way. At present Thirty paper are given for one Mill'd Dollr. You'l therefore freely send Directions what Money you'd exchange and the best Advance I can obtain shall be sent you.

[salute] I am with Esteem Your very Hume. Servt.,

[signed] O. Wendell
Mrs. Wendell presents her Regards.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigal Adams Braintree.” Dft (Hugh Upham Clark, Arlington, Va., owner of the Austin H. Clark Collection, prints of which have been deposited in MBCo); text varies insignificantly in phrasing from that of RC.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0185

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-12-10

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I will not omit any opportunity of writing tho ever so great an uncertainty whether it will ever reach your Hand. My Unkle Smith has a vessel bound to Calis,1 he advises me to write, and I most willingly comply tho my Faith in the conveyance is but poor—indeed I have lost my Faith with my Spirits.
My Friends assure me from their observations that you must have had a good passage. God grant it I say, but my fears and anxieties are many—very many. I had a Faith and reliance before that supported me, but now my Heart so misgives me that I cannot find that confidence which I wish for. Your Letter from Cape Ann arrived and cheered my drooping Spirits. Could I hear of your safe arrival, I would try to compose my agitated mind which has horrours both day and night. My dear sons, Little do they know how many veins of their Mothers Heart bled when she parted from them. My delicate Charles, how has he endured the fatigues of his voyage? John is a hardy Sailor, seasoned before, I do not feel so much for him. Your fellow Travellers too I do not forget to think of them. I will not wish myself with you because you say a Lady cannot help being an odious creature at sea, { 243 } and I will not wish myself in any situation that should make me so to you.
Nothing new in the political way but the raising the Seige of Savannah, and being unfortunate.
You will have perticulars no doubt.
Our Friends are all well.
Enclosed are some papers and journals. Mr. Lawrance [Laurens] is appointed to Holland—has not yet given his answer.

[salute] Adieu—ever ever yours,

[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams Esqr. Paris”; endorsed: “Portia Decr. 10. 1779 ans. 16. March.” For earlier acknowledgments, and for the (missing) enclosures, see note 1.
1. Thus in MS, probably for “Cadiz.” In his first letter to AA after arriving in Paris, JA reported finding the present letter, “which came by your Unkles ship to Cadiz,” awaiting him in Paris (12 Feb. 1780, below). A few days later he wrote her to say that the postage on the accompanying packet of Journals, &c., had cost him 44 livres, and advised against sending large packets (16 Feb. 1780, below). A month later he touched again on the main topic of her letter—her “tender Anxiety” for him (16 March 1780, below).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0186

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-12-11

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

We have had an Escape again: but are arrived safely in Spain. As the Frigate will probably not get from this place these two Months, I must go by Land to Paris, which I suppose is a Journey of between three and four hundred Leagues. That part of it, which is in Spain is very mountainous. No Post—bad Roads—bad Taverns and very dear. We must ride Mules, Horses not being to be had. I must get some kind of Carriage for the Children, if possible. They are very well. Charles has sustained the Voyage and behaves as well as ever his Brother did. He is much pleased with what he sees. Sammy Cooper too is very well. These young Gentry will give me a vast deal of Trouble, in this unexpected Journey. I have bought a Dictionary and Grammar1 and they are learning the Spanish Language as fast as possible. What could We do, if You and all the family had been with me?
Ferrol is a magnificent Port and Harbour. It is fortified by Nature, by Rows of lofty rocky Mountains on each Side the narrow Entrance of it, and the public Works, the Fortifications, Barracks, Arsenals &c. which are of Stone very like Braintree Stone, exceed any thing I have seen.
I dined the day before Yesterday with Don Joseph Saint Vincent, { 244 } the Lieutenant General of the Marine, who is the Commandant in this Port, with four and twenty French and Spanish Officers. The Difference between Gravity and Gaiety was an amusing Speculation.
Yesterday I dined on Board the Triumphant, an Eighty Gun French Ship commanded by the Chef D'Escadre Mr. Sade, and have engagements for every day for a much longer Time than I shall stay.
The French Consul and Vice Consul have been particularly polite and obliging to me. In short I never was better pleased with a Reception at any place.2
There is no News. Nothing has been done in Europe. England is as insolent in Language as ever, but this is only ridiculous as it is apparently impotent. My Love to Nabby and Tommy. Adieu.
[signed] John Adams
RC in John Thaxter's hand, signed by JA (Adams Papers); addressed by Thaxter: “Mrs. John Adams Braintree near Boston”; docketed in an unidentified hand. LbC (Adams Papers).
1.
[El Ferrol, 14 Dec. 1779.] I went to a Bookseller and purchased Sobrino's Dictionary in three Volumes in Quarto, and the Grammatica Castellana which is an excellent Spanish Grammar, in their own Tongue, and also a Latin grammar in Spanish, after which Monsr. de Grasse made me a Present of a very handsome Grammar of the Spanish Tongue in French by Sobrino” (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:407–408).
The works by Francisco Sobrino survive at least in part among JA's books in the Boston Public Library; see Catalogue of JA's Library, which lists still other Spanish grammars and dictionaries acquired at this or other times.
2. On the persons and events mentioned in the foregoing paragraphs, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:404–405. Both JQA in his Diary and Dana in his Journal of 1779–1780 (MHi) entered numerous details on the Adams party's first days in Spain not recorded by JA.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0187

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, Mary Middleton
Date: 1779-12-12

Abigail Adams to Mary Middleton Lovell

[salute] My Dear Madam

The enclosed Letter I send to your care. The triffel which accompanies it I ask your acceptance of. I only wish that my ability was equal to the desire I have of serving you. But merrit like yours and that with which you are connected must look for its reward beyond this transitory scene where more permanant Blessings await it, than the gratitude of mortals can bestow.
I sympathize with you in all your sacrifices—I know what you resign, and the anxiety you must endure. Yet if you are called to a still more painfull task,1 as it is more hazardous you will submit to it with a fortitude which has always greatly distinguished you in the mind of your Friend and Humble Servant,
[signed] A Adams
{ 245 }
LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “To Mrs. Mary Lovell Boston.” Enclosure not identified.
1. In allusion to the possibility that her husband, James Lovell, might serve in a diplomatic post abroad; see JA to AA, 14 Nov., above.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0188

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-12-12

John Adams to Abigail Adams

The french Consul had agreed to carry me, Mr. Dana, Mr. Allen,1 and my three Children and our three Servants,2 this Day to Corunna, which is about five Leagues from this Place by Water, in a barge of fourteen Oars, but the Weather proved so boisterous, that it was impossible to go.
To give you some Idea of the Place where We are, Cape Finisterre, and Cape Ortugal are two long Arms of Land stretched out into the Sea, which embrace a large Bay of Water. Within this Bay are two other Points of Land, within one of which is Ferrol, where we now are, and within the other is Corunna where We intended to have gone this day, if the Weather had permitted, but We hope to go tomorrow. We can get neither Horses nor Mules nor Carriages in this Place for our Selves nor our Baggage, which I am much surprized at, as it is so grand a Port.
Living, and conveniences for Conveyance are very dear, in this Place, which will run my Expences very high. There is nothing remarkable here, but the natural strength of the Place, and the artificial Fortifications, together with the Arsenals, dry Docks, Barracks, and military Matters by Sea and Land. The City is small, not very well built nor accommodated. Very little Commerce, or Manufactures, Industry or Diversions.
There are two or three elegant Churches, and there is an Italian Opera. There is the Appearance of much Devotion and there are many Ecclesiasticks.
It is dull enough to be in a Country so wholly ignorant of the Language and Usages, but We have furnished ourselves with a Dictionary and grammar, and are learning every Hour. Charles is much pleased with what he sees and hears, and behaves very discreetly. John is writing to you and his sister and Brother.
I excused myself from dining to day on board the Souvereign and on board the Jason, two french Men of War. Yesterday I dined on board the Triomphant, and the Children on Board the Jason.
The French Officers appear to day, with Cockades, in Honour of { 246 } the Triple alliance—a large white Ribbon for the french, a smaller red one for the Spaniards, and a black one for the Americans, which makes a pretty Appearance.3
Upon looking a little into the Spanish Language, I find it so very nearly like the Latin that I am persuaded we shall learn more of it in a Month than We did of french in half a Year.
The Manners of the Spaniards and french are as opposite as grave and gay. The Dress of the Spanish Officers is much like the french, that of the People, a little different. Men and Women, Gentlemen and Ladies are very fond of long Hair, which often reaches braided in a Queue, or bound round with a black ribbon, almost down to their Hams. The Ladies wear Cloaks black or white which come over their Heads and shoulders and reach down to their Waists. They have fine black Eyes and consequently dark, but yet lively complexions.
When! Oh When! shall I see you again and live in Peace?
The Russian Embassador, lately appointed to relieve the one lately in London passed through France and was a fortnight or three Weeks at Paris from whence, the shrewd Politicians have conjectured that Peace was about to be mediated by that Power. But it is said that England is as reluctant to acknowledge the Independance of America, as to cede Gibraltar, the last of which is insisted on as well as the first. But this is only Bruit. Adieu.
1. Jeremiah Allen, described in JA's application for passports to cross Spain as “a private Gentleman of Boston in the Massachusetts, accidentally in Company, he is a Merchant travelling with a View of establishing a private Commerce in Spain as well as France” (JA to the Governor of La Coruña, 18 Dec. 1779, LbC, Adams Papers). Allen had come as a passenger on the Sensible and was to accompany the Adams party all the way to Paris.
2. Enumerated in JA's application, cited in the preceding note, as follows:
“Joseph Stevens a Servant of Mr. Adams.
“John William Christian Fricke a Servant of Mr. Dana.
“Andrew Desmia [elsewhere Dismié or Desmié] a Servant of Mr. Allen.”
3.
“The officers here French and Spanish have a cockade red and white for the alliance between France and Spain. Capt. Chavagnes desir'd all his officers to add the Black to it and put one in himself. He says that he has not wore a Cockade before since he was a Midshipman. . . . The Spanish and French officers wonder'd at it and enquir'd of the Frigates officers what they had the black for. They told them that France being allied to the thirteen United States of America they put it in. For that reason. The Captain said that it was only what was due for the Politeness he had been used with in Boston. There's an Example of French Compliments” (JQA, Diary, 14 Dec. 1779).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0189

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Date: 1779-12-12

John Adams to Abigail Adams 2d

[salute] My dear Daughter

If I could send you some of the Lemons, Oranges, or Water Melons of this Place, it would give me more Pleasure than you. But there are very seldom merchant Vessells at this Place from America.
We are here in the Latitude of 43, which is better than half a degree farther north than Boston, yet there has not yet been the slightest frost. The Verdure on the Fields and in the Gardens is as fresh as ever. We see large Quantities of Indian Corn, hanging up in Bunches of Ears, about the higher Parts of the Houses, which shews Us that that Species of Grain grows and is cultivated here, altho the Ears and the Kernel is much smaller than with Us.
I have much Curiosity to see Madrid and a strong Inclination to go that Way: but it is a great Way farther and I have some doubts for several other Reasons whether I ought to go there. But I shall go through Bilboa from whence I shall again write to you if I can.
I have met with few Things more remarkable than the Chocolate which is the finest I ever saw. I will enquire whether it is the Superiour Quality of the Cocoa Nut, or any other Ingredient which they intermix with it, or a better Art of making it, which renders it so much superiour to any other.
I see very little, which would be entertaining to a young Lady of your Turn of thinking, in this Place, which seems to be wholly devoted to military Affairs. There is what they call, an Italien Opera: but neither the Theaters, nor the Actors, nor the Pieces, nor the Musick are very pleasing. I have been once there, but not understanding the Italien Language, and seeing very little Company, and scarcely any Ladies who are always to me the most pleasing ornaments of such Spectacles, I don't think it worth while for me to go again: but the Gentlemen, and your Brothers with them are about going this Evening. They may possibly learn a little of the Spanish Language, as the Piece tonight is to be in that Tongue.
In the Course of my Journeys, I shall embrace any Moments of Leisure, to inform you of any Thing that I observe which may contribute to your Improvement or Entertainment: But you must remember that my Voyages and Journeys are not for my private Information, Instruction, Improvement, Entertainment or Pleasure; but laborious and hazardous Enterprizes of Business. I shall never be much polished, by Travel, whatever your Brothers may be. I hope they will be im• { 248 } proved. I hope they will increase in Knowledge as they go: but I am not anxious about their being very much polished.
Gold is very little more prescious for being burnished. Silver and Steel are as usefull without polishing as with it.
I dont mean by this however to suggest, that Arts and Accomplishments which are merely ornamental, should be wholly avoided or neglected especially by your Sex: but that they ought to be slighted when in Comparison or Competition, with those which are useful and essential.
I hope your Attention will be fixed chiefly upon those Virtues and Accomplishments, which contribute the most to qualify Women to act their Parts well in the various Relations of Life, those of Daughter, Sister, Wife, Mother, Friend.—Yours Affectionately,
[signed] John Adams
RC (Le Musée de Blérancourt, Blérancourt, Aisne, France).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0190

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1779-12-12

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My Dear Brother

As I have wrote to Mamma and Sister1 I have but very little to write to you but I cannot let an opportunity slip without writing to you. I have wrote an account of my Voyage And of this city to Mamma and also all the news I have heard since I have been here excepting a report that the ardent an English 64 Gun brig was taken by the French, and that two Spanish frigates have been taken by the English.
You must ask Mamma to write to me for you and send it. I am your affectionate Brother,
[signed] J Q Adams
PS Give my Duty to Mamma and love to sister and Cousins.
RC (Elsie O. and Philip D. Sang, River Forest, Ill., 1966); addressed: “To Mr. Thomas Boylston Adams Braintree near Boston.”
1. None of the two or more letters mentioned in this letter as having already been written by JQA from El Ferrol has been found.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0191

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1779-12-13

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

Enclosed I return according to your direction a duplicate Number of the journals. Number 29 is missing. I do not fully understand you when you say that I must not keep any of the pages 78.2 Do you mean that I must return them to you or forward them to Mr. Adams. I have { 249 } no journals left but part of 75 and 76. All that Mr. Adams could find or procure of a later date he took with him; I read the journals and the news papers which you are so kind as to forward, but I still find myself a looser. I have not the pleasure of the intelligance which used to be communicated to my Friend with the perusal of which he always indulged me. I dare venture to say this only to you, since a hint of this kind would restrain many Gentlemens pens possessd of less liberal sentiments.
I have ever made it a rule in life never to seek for a Secret which concernd the honour of a person to withhold, and have been too proud to divulge one when once confided in, and on this account probably I have met with more indulgence. I am not seeking Sir for communications improper to be made to a Lady—only wish to know from time to time any important and interesting matters which may take place. I find that congress are Drawing Bill[s] at 25 for one upon Mr. Lawrens and Jay to the amount of 100,000 Sterling. Have they any prospect that their draughts will be answerd, or do they depend upon the exertions of those Gentlemen to procure it after their arrival. Why may I ask do they demand only 25 when 30 has been currently given here, and if I have not been misinformd 40 at Philadelphia.
You may always give me the go by, when I ask an improper Question and I shall take no umbrage but it will not be one I suppose to inquire after Mr. Adamse's accounts and vouchers and to ask what has ever been done with them? as he never heard a syllable about them since they were sent to the board of treasury and left in charge that I should inquire after them.
I have the pleasure to inform you that I received a Letter from my friend 5 days after he sailed dated 200 leigues distant by way of a privateer which they brought too, and which soon after arrived here. They had met with one Storm which did them but little damage. They had not seen any Enemy and were all well except Mr. Dana who was very Sea Sick. Have nothing new this way but what the papers will inform you of. A Great hugh and cry raised by John Paul Jones the former valient commander of the Ranger. I have a curiosity to know more of this mans history, he first drew my attention by his Knight Errant expedition to St. Marys Ile and his Letter to Lady Selkirk which I [have] no doubt you have seen.3 Unhappy for us that we had not such a commander at the Penobscot expedition. We should not have been groaning under disgrace, dissapointment and the heavyest debt incurred by this State since the commencement of the war.4
Have wrote you several times lately, but have not yet received a line { 250 } in reply. Possibly you may have removed as I have heard it was in contemplation. Be so good as to let Mr. Nurse know that I received the Letter for Mr. Thaxter5 which shall be safely conveyed to him by an opportunity which will offer within a few days, when I shall send forward the papers and journals entrusted to my care.
Dft (Adams Papers); without date or recipient's name; at head of text in CFA's hand: “March 1780”; see note 1. The (missing) enclosure is identified in the first sentence of the text.
1. Date supplied from Lovell's answer of 6 Jan. 1780, below, to the now missing recipient's copy.
2. That is, “pages [of Congress' Journals for 17]78”; see Lovell to AA, 27 Nov., above.
3. Jones' celebrated and flamboyant letter to the Countess of Selkirk, written from Brest, 8 May 1778, explaining why he had taken her household silver (and declaring his intention to return it) in his raid the month before on St. Mary's Isle. A text derived from the original at St. Mary's Isle, with facsimile pages, is in John Paul Jones: Commemoration at Annapolis, April 24, 1906, Washington, 1906; reprinted 1966, p. 123–125. A full text is also given in Samuel Eliot Morison, John Paul Jones: A Sailor's Biography, Boston, 1959 (p. 148–150), in a chapter which contains the best account of the raid, its background, and its sequels, with illustrations.
4. For a brief account of Massachusetts' unsuccessful amphibious operation against the British in Penobscot Bay during the summer of 1779, see Commonwealth Hist. of Mass., 3:36–38.
5. Letter not found. Joseph Nourse (1754–1841) had been named assistant auditor of the Continental Treasury Board on 9 Nov.; in 1789 he was appointed register of the Treasury and was to serve for forty years in that post (JCC, 15:1251; Appleton's Cyclo. Amer. Biog., 4:541).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0192

Author: Lowell, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-12-15

John Lowell to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

I received by the Return of the last Post from Philadelphia a Letter from my Friend Mr. Adams1 which he had very kindly directed to me there, and had taken my Pen to a[cknow]ledge2 the Receipt of it to you when I [was] favoured with your's. I have every Motive to wish to be serviceable to Mr. Adams and his Connections, to Mrs. Adams in a peculiar Manner, and I hope you will without the least Hesitation give me every Opportunity of so doing as the Pleasure and Obligation will be entirely mine.—I have made Enquiry as to the Rate of Exchange of hard Money into Paper, and find it is fluctuating from thirty to thirty five for one. Let me add that if you find Occassion for Paper Money and a Chap3 does not readily offer for the Exchange or wishes to take Advantage of your Occassions, it will seldom happen but that I can furnish you without the least Inconvenience to myself and shall esteem it a favour if you will make Use of me in that Way so that you may have Time to take every Advantage which I am sure you ought { 251 } of your hard Money.—Mrs. Lowell joins me in respectfull Compliments to you. If her tender State of Health did not prevent I should take the Liberty of introducing her to your Acquaintance at Braintree. We should both be happy in having an Opportunity of doing it at Boston.

[salute] I am with Esteem your most humble Servt.,

[signed] J Lowell
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree.”
2. Here and below, MS is torn.
3. Chap, abbreviated from chapman, “A buyer, purchaser, customer” (OED).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0193

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-12-15

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

The Reason of our being in Spain, you will, perhaps, be no stranger to, when this reaches You. I am not sorry We arrived at Ferrol, as a prosecution of our Voyage might have been attended with hazard. A leaky Ship in a Storm or violent Gale, is not a Situation for very comfortable Sensations. We had Leaks, Storms and Winds in the passage. The former were more formidable than the latter, and induced the Captain to determine to make Ferrol, if possible: where We happily arrived the eighth of this Month. From Ferrol We journeyed to this place to day upon Mules. It is about one and twenty Miles. We made a Quixotik Appearance. It would have been excellent Diversion for our Friends to have seen Us: For We had Don Quixots, Sancha Pancas and Squires in Abundance.
The Country is very mountainous; but every Inch of it cultivated. There was a most agreeable Verdure in every Stage of our Journey, beautifully diversified prospects, Richness of Soil and Luxuriance to be seen every where. The Eye was not satisfied with seeing.
Believe Me, when I assure You, that it gave me the highest pleasure, to see Mr. [Adams]1 treated with every Mark of Attention and Respect at Ferrol by all Ranks and the two Children also on his and their own Account; and did they know the good Sense, Merits and Accomplishments of their Mamma, they would experience additional Tokens of both.
This Letter will be sent by a Vessel bound to Newbury Port—whether She will arrive or not is very uncertain.2 I will not therefore be more particular, but close with praying You to present My Duty, Respects, Love and Compliments where due.
{ 252 }

[salute] I have the Honor to be with great Respect and Esteem, your most humble Servant,

[signed] J.T.
1. Blank in MS.
2.
[La Coruña, 16 Dec. 1779.] After dinner Mr. Trash and his Mate, of a Schooner belonging to the Traceys of Newbury Port, who have been obliged by bad Weather and contrary Winds to put in here from Bilboa, came to visit me. I gave them Letters to Congress and to my family” (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:410).
Trash (or, as the name was later spelled, Trask) arrived at New-buryport on 23 Feb., bringing news of the Adams party's safe arrival in Spain (Boston Continental Journal, 2 March 1780, p. 3, col. 2).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0194

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-12-16

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Last night We all arrived in this Place from Ferrol. The Distance is about twenty miles by Land over high Mountains and bad Roads. You would have been diverted to have seen Us all mounted upon our Mules and marching in Train. From the Mountains We had all along the Prospect of a rich fertile Country, cultivated up to the Tops of the highest Hills and down to the very edge of Water all along the shore.
I made my Visits last night to the Governor of the Province, who resides here and to the Governor of the Town, and was politely received by both.1 I have a long Journey before me of a thousand miles I suppose at least to Paris. Through this Kingdom We shall have bad roads and worse Accommodations, I dont expect to be able to get to Paris in less than thirty days. I shall have an Opportunity of seeing Spain, but it will be at a great Expence. I am advised by every Body to go by Land. The Frigate the Sensible is in so bad Condition as to make it probable she will not be fit to put to Sea in less than three or four Weeks perhaps five or six, and then We should have the storms and Enemies of the Bay of Biscay, to escape, or encounter.
After this wandering Way of Life is passed I hope to return, to my best friend and pass the Remainder of our Days in Quiet.
I cannot learn that G[reat] B[ritain] is yet in Temper to listen to Propositions of Peace, and I dont expect before another Winter to have much to do in my present Capacity.
My tenderest affection to our dear Children, and believe me, ever yours,
[signed] John Adams
1. The governor of Galicia was Don Pedro Martín Cermeño (or Sermeño); see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:409–410, 412. A reproduction of the { 253 } passport he issued to JA and his suite on 18 Dec. will be found in same, facing p. 290. The name of the governor or mayor of La Coruña is given by JA as Patricio O Heir, i.e. O'Hare or O'Hara? (same, p. 412).
The Adamses stayed in La Coruña until the day after Christmas. A “mémoire” of their expenses at an auberge called the Hôtel du Grand Amiral, kept by M. LeBrun, is reproduced in same, facing p. 291.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0195

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-12-16

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

This Afternoon I visited one of the Churches in this place; and casting my Eyes into one Corner of it I spy'd one of the Monks of the Franciscan Order, laid out in a Case, with his Robes on, his Head reclined upon a Pillar,1 his Hands and Fingers embracing each other, and between his Thumbs a Cross. Around the Corpse was eight Candles, four of their largest Sort and four of the common. There was a perfect Blaze around this cold Lump. How long he is to be continued in this Posture, and how he is to be disposed of I should be very happy to be resolved in. This is the Custom of the Country; and it may be a very wise one.
The Churches are cold, damp, dull, gloomy and dark places. They are built of Stone. Their Exterior is very indifferent: but the Altars are superb and magnificent; being richly gilded and decorated. They are always kept open, and there are always more or less of the Devotees there. There is an awful Solemnity in them. The very appearance of the Sculpture and Architecture, the Temperature of the Air, indeed every thing is dismal. The Remains of the Franciscan increased the Gloom and deepened the Horror. You see Crosses wherever you turn your Eyes. They are upon the Roads over the Mountains and in the Valleys. We saw many of them Yesterday in our pilgrimage to this place.
The Charms of My little Friend Charley attract the Attention of every Body. Even his white Locks procure him Notice. He is very well and Master Johnny too. As to the surprizing Genius you mentioned to me—what shall I say of him? Why that I am disappointed egregiously. I see no Originality about him. We are often entertained with his weighty Opinion and Judgment upon Matters. He is very prompt to give his Opinion. He is vain—he is rude—he is impudent. He is troublesome to the last Degree. He tries (I speak Individually) my patience, he has almost battered it down; and at a Time too when every Prop of it ought to be supported. In one Word—he has not the best of Heads, nor the worst of Hearts. He can neither boast of any { 254 } Excellencies of the former, and but few Virtues of the latter. But this by the Bye. Charles has given him some severe Rubs this Evening. I cant deny, that I enjoyed them.2 It is now after one Clock and you will excuse any thing further at present. My Love to Miss Nabby and bid her good By for me if you please, as She was absent when I left B[raintree].
My Love to little Tommy. I will send him a Letter soon.

[salute] With every Sentiment of Respect and Esteem, I have the honor to be your much obliged and most obedt. Servant,

[signed] J.T.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams.”
1. Presumably a New Englandism for “pillow.”
2. The only members of the party to whom these strictures could have been applied by Thaxter would seem to be the boy Samuel Cooper Johonnot and Francis Dana's German servant, J. W. C. Fricke. The difficulty is that there is no evidence that AA knew either of them and thus could have represented either one as “a surprizing Genius.”

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0196

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lowell, John
Date: 1779-12-27

Abigail Adams to John Lowell

[salute] Sir

Your very polite reply to my Letter demands my acknowledgment. If I should find myself embarressed at any time I shall not fail making use of your kindly offerd Friendship and assistance. If Sir it will be of any service to you to receive the Hard Money giving me the current exchange it is at your Service if you will please to signify it, tho it will be but small sums that I shall exchange at a time and that as seldom as possible.
Mr. Adams has a small Farm upon which I live, and by Letting it to the Halves it supplies me with many necessaries. My family is not numerous, and my wants are circumscribed in a small compass

“Having learnt the virtue and the Art

To live on little with a cheerful Heart.”

For ever since Mr. Adams engaged in publick Buisness I relinquished the prospect of any thing more than a competent support. His motives you know Sir were not mercenary and he has too much honour and Integrity to serve himself or his family at the expence of his country. I frankly own that I derive more pleasure from this reflection than wealth could bestow.
{ 255 }
Excuse Sir this freedom and permit me to assure you that at this cottage I shall welcome Mr. and Mrs. Lowell whenever her Health will afford that pleasure To your obliged Friend & Humble Servant,
[signed] A Adams
LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “To John Lowell Esqr. Boston.”

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0197

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Wendell, Oliver
Date: 1779-12-27

Abigail Adams to Oliver Wendell

[salute] Sir

Your obligeing reply to my request demands my Thanks. I have taken the Liberty of sending 5 Guinea's to be exchanged—any time within these ten days will answer. I was told last week that exchange was at 35, but you Sir are in a better situation to be informd than I am, and I have full confidence in your kindness which forbids me to apoligize for the trouble given you, by your Humble Servant,
[signed] Abigail Adams
PS Respectfull complements to Mrs. Wendell. Be so good as to enclose the Money to me and leave it at Mr. Smiths [with]1 directions to send it by a safe Hand.
RC (Hugh Upham Clark, Arlington, Va., owner of the Austin H. Clark Collection, prints of which have been deposited in MBCo). LbC (Adams Papers); omits postscript; at foot of text: “To the Honble. Oliver Wendell Boston.”
1. MS torn.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0198

Author: Wendell, Oliver
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-12-31

Oliver Wendell to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dr. Madm.

Mr. Cranch deliver'd me your Letter with the five french Guineaus which at the Insurance Office I endeavord to hawk to the Money Voyagers. I found 30 for 1 the most they wou'd offer. Mr. Billy []1 who has purchased much hard Money told me he had offerd him 200 hard Dollars the Day before at that Rate. I have no Doubt that 33 and 35 had been given but the late Reports of a Loan being establishd by Congress and that they have actually drawn some Bills at 25 for 1 seems at present to check a further Depreciation. Part of this Report comes by Mr. H. Marchant a Member of Congress which gives it Influence. However I send you 30 for 1 and having the Guineaus by me if I can do better, it shall be your Advantage.
{ 256 } | view

[salute] The State of the Account I subjoin and am with my Respects added to Mrs. Wendells, Your very Humb. Servt.,

[signed] Oliver Wendell
5 french Guineaus   at 26/8 is   £  6   13   4  
Exchange   193   6   8  
        £200      
Sent to Mr. Smith        
    Dolls.          
1   70   70          
6   60   360          
2   50   100          
1     45          
2   40   80          
1     8          
2   2   4          
    667   at 6/ is   £200   2    
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree please to send by some carefull Hand.”
1. Illegible name; perhaps “Towles.”

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0199

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-01-06

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

You will see, lovely Woman, by the Papers which I have sent that we shall have more post Advantages of Communication than we have had for some time back;1 but I fear this Remark will tend to my Disadvantage, and if it was not for Oeconomy I would throw by the present Sheet and take up another in which I would only tell you that I regard, esteem and respect you and will certainly write to you as often as I possibly can. But since I have hinted at increasing Opportunities of Conveyance, I must assure you that the days are too short for me at present by much to get pressing public Business off my Hands; and as to the Nights they are ten times more ruinous to my health than they were in Summer. I therefore hide myself from them within the Bed Curtains the Moment that public duty is discharged. In Truth, I am at length aiming to preserve some Remnant of a good Constitution for Situations into which you seem to think you would chide me if you was invested with those Rights of Chiding which a Church Parson's Certificate is presumed to have conveyed to another.
You may thus perceive that your Letter of Decr. 13 is before me. { 257 } It was within two Minutes brought from the Office with Information that the Post sets out at 2 P.M. I ought now to be in Congress, but must scratch a Line or two for Boston.
Our Affairs are unpleasant in many Views, but not ruined. Every Patriot ought to be allarmed and then all will be safe. I think with Tristram about the Currency, now we have done with the Paper Mill and Press. It seems as if the Signature alone will not make Portia reject the Piece.2Yorick, Sterne and Tristram are bearable but Shandy is a wicked Creature.
Let me again mention to you to mind the pages of 1778, that if I have sent doubles you may return the 2d, or if I omit, you may demand a single Sheet of the Journals.
Thank Mr. Cranch for his kind Compliments left for me with Mrs. L[ovell]. I wish him and his every Felicity.
I cannot consent so to stint my heart-warm extensive Vows for you as to pass the Compliments of the Season from my Pen, and thereby risk a Supposition that I had done all which my Affections suggest at the Instant of subscribing myself your Friend & h. Servt.,
[signed] JL
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed newspapers not found.
1. On 27 Dec. Congress had resolved
“That the post office be so regulated that the post shall set out and arrive at the place where Congress shall be sitting twice in every week, to go so far as Boston, in the State of Massachusetts bay, and to Charleston, in the State of South Carolina” (JCC, 15:1411).
2. These allusions remain obscure.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0200

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-01-13

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

I send you a Continuance of the Journals.
The Printer having lately made a Mistake in the Course of sending me the Sheets of 1778, I was led to think he had done so before, as to that which I have written to you about already, called by him H; I therefore now put up one, as well as M.N. which I am certain were not before inclosed to you. I would have you send all forward to our Friend, unless you should have found that I really committed the Error of sending you before both Mr. A's H and my own. For you are to know that only two Copies are taken out of the Printer's Hands; and as I could not find all my own Pages I was induced to think I had sent them to you. But as you see above I have altered the Conjecture.
How do you do, Lovely Portia, these very cold Days? Mistake me not willfully; I said Days. For my Part, I was hardly able to write { 258 } legibly at the Distance of only 18 feet from two Fire Places in the Congress Room at 4 oClock this Afternoon. There is no Probability that the Cold will be decreased in 7 hours from that Time. I will strive however to refrain from coveting my Neighbour's Blankets. I shall find that not difficult. But really I doubt whether I shall be able to keep myself void of all Coveteousness. I suspect I shall covet to be in the Arms of Portia's1 Friend and Admirer—the Wife of my Bosom, who would be a whole Coverlid bettered, as well as I, by such an Approximation.
Upon casting my Eye back thro' what I have written, I find it would have been more justly comprehensible if the Page had been either a little longer or somewhat shorter. There was not room to write Turn over. I hope, however, that you did not stop long without doing so Madam; because a quick Turnover alone could save the 10th. Commandment intire; and you must now see plainly that I had not the smallest Suspicion of my being driven by my present Sufferings to make a frantic Breach there.
I hope Mr. Adams is long e'er now in France where he will not have at his very Fingers Ends such nipping Reasons as I have to regret his Separation from that sweet Comfort which is held up to our Hopes among other Bible-Felicities. Eccles: IV. 11.2
We are still without News from any of our Agents or Ministers abroad. I will not fail to communicate the first we get that can amuse you. Respectfully & affectionately Yrs.,
[signed] JL
RC (Adams Papers). The serial issues of the Journals of Congress accompanying this letter have not been found.
1. In the MS, Lovell facetiously ended the first page with the word “Portia,” adding the possessive form and the rest of the sentence overleaf. This device, reminiscent of some found in Sterne's writings, explains the clumsily playful remarks in his next paragraph.
2. “Again, if two lie together, then they have heat; but how can one be warm alone?

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0201

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-01-16

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

We arrived here, last night, all alive, but all very near sick with violent Colds taken on the Road for Want of comfortable Accommodations.
I was advised, on all Hands to come by Land rather than wait an uncertain Time for a passage by sea. But if I had known the Difficulties of travelling, in that part of Spain which I have passed through I think I should not have ventured upon the Journey.
{ 259 }
It is vain to attempt a Description of our Passage. Through the Province of Gallicia, and again when We came to that of Biscay, We had an uninterupted succession of Mountains; thro that of Leon and the old Castile, constant Plains. A Country, tolerably good, by Nature, but not well cultivated.
Through the whole of the Journey the Taverns were inconvenient to Us, because there are no Chimneys in their Houses and We had cold Weather. A great Part of the Way, the Wretchedness of our Accommodation exceeds all Description.1
At Bilbao, We fare very well, and have received much Civility from Mr. Gardoqui and sons as We did at Ferrol and Corunna from Mr. Detournelle2 and Mr. Lagoanere.3
I wish I could send you, some few Things for the Use of the Family from hence, but the Risque is such that I believe, I had better wait untill We get to France.4
I have undergone the greatest Anxiety for the Children, thro a tedious Journey and Voyage. I hope their Travels will be of Service to them, but those at home are best off. My Love to them.

[salute] Adieu, Adieu,

[signed] John Adams
1. The Adams party had left La Coruña on 26 Dec., with JA still undecided whether he would proceed to Bilbao by the longer but more traveled route via Madrid or by the shorter route more or less directly eastward through the rugged terrain of northern Spain. At the junction of roads in the town of Astorga on 4 Jan., he made up his mind, continuing east to Burgos and then north to Bilbao instead of turning southeast to Madrid. For his reasons, see his letter to the President of Congress, written this day and copied into his Autobiography (Diary and Autobiography, 4:231). As for the adventures and rigors of the journey itself, JA's diary entries furnish much vivid detail, and in his Autobiography he elaborated and commented upon them from memory—the whole forming a superb travel narrative (same, 2:415–433; 4:213–238).
2. The French consul stationed at La Coruña, who had welcomed JA at El Ferrol (same, 2:405; 4:194). JA this day wrote Detournelle a letter of warm thanks for his many kindnesses (LbC, Adams Papers).
3. Michel Lagoanere of La Coruña had, by contract, made the travel arrangements for the Adams party's expedition across Spain. See JA to Lagoanere, 16, 18 Dec. 1779 (LbC's, Adams Papers); Lagoanere to JA, 17, 26 Dec. 1779 (Adams Papers); also JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:415; 4:213–214.
4. JA did, however, send AA substantially more than “some few Things” from Bilbao. They were furnished by the firm of Joseph Gardoqui & Sons, a mercantile house that had American connections, and they included tumblers, cups, knives, forks, green tea, bolts of linen cloth, and eighteen dozen “Barcelona Handkffs.,” at a total cost of 4,000 rials. They were shipped by Capt. James Babson in the Phoenix, who sailed from Bilbao on 5 February. See Gardoqui & Sons to JA, 19 Feb., with invoice enclosed (Adams Papers); the invoice is reproduced as an illustration in the present volume. Babson arrived at Beverly, Mass., in forty-five days (Boston Gazette, 20 March, suppl., p. 2, col. 1; see also AA to JQA, 20 March–8 May, below).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0202

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-01-16

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] Hond. Mamma

I am (by the Grace of God) once more safely arrived at Bilbao. I have wrote you an account1 of my Voyage and why we put into Spain. I have heard Since I left Ferrol that a Child of foar years old might be put into the leak. It was well for us that we arrived as we did, one more Storm would very probably carried us to the bottom of the Sea. We arrived here yesterday at about one o'clock and found two American Vessels here one a ship belonging to one of the Cobetts and the other a brig belonging to the Tracy's;2 When you write me I beg you would let me know whither you have received an account of my Voyage. Please to give all my Duty to Grandpappa Smith and Grand Mamma Hall and Uncles Cranch, Quincy and Adams.

[salute] I am your dutiful Son,

[signed] John Quincy Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams Braintree near Boston To Be Sunk in case of Captivity.”
1. Not found.
2. The Rambler, Capt. Benjamin Lovett, owned by Andrew Cabot of Beverly; and the Phoenix, Capt. James Babson, owned by Nathaniel Tracy and others of Newburyport (MHS, Colls., 77 [1927]: 248, 235; see also the preceding and following letters).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0203

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1780-01-16

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My Dear Brother

I am always happy to find an opportunity of conversing with you, as we cannot verbally do this it is our duty to do it by writing. I now have a good opportunity to write a few lines to you by Captn. Lovett in a Ship belonging to Mr. Cobet of Beverly, but I can write but a few lines to you for I must write to all my Freinds. We have had the worst 3 Weeks that ever I pass'd in my life. Bad roads, worse accomodations, no Chimneys in the houses which look more like hogs penns than houses, and in Short it is past my art to give a description of what I have seen Since I left Ferrol. But I must conclude in subscribing myself your affectionate brother,
[signed] John Quincy Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mr. Thomas Adams Braintree near Boston—To be sunk in case of Captivity”; erroneously docketed in AA's later hand: “J Q Adams to C A. 16 Jan 1780”; but correctly, at head of text, in CFA's hand: “JQA to his brother Thomas.”

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0204

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-18

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

It is now a little more than two months since you left me. I have many hopes that you had a prosperous voyage and that you were some weeks ago safely landed in France.
I have been so happy as to hear from you twice upon your passage. Capt. Carr arrived safe and carefully deliverd your Letters.1 You left this coast in the best time that could have been chosen. Winter set in with all its horrors in a week after you saild, and has continued with all its rigours ever since. Such mountains of snow have not been known for 60 years. No passing for this fortnight, only for foot travellers, [and]2 no prospect of any as one Storm succeeds another so soon that the roads are filld before a path can be made.3
I hope you are in a climate more Friendly to Health and more condusive of pleasure than the unsocial Gloom and chill which presents itself to my view.
The Blocade of the roads has been a sad hinderance to the meeting of the convention, a few only of the near Members could get together, so few that they were obliged to adjourn.4 Many of them mourn the absence of one whom water, not snow seperates from them. They are pleased to say that he was more attended to than any other member, and had more weight and influence upon the minds of the convention.
This Town have received an invitation to elect an other member in the room of your Excellency, but do not appear to consider the importance of it, since the fear of expence overpowers every other consideration. Indeed their is but one person who could do them any Essential Service were they to elect a member and they might consider his being their representitive as an objection, tho that rule has been broken over in many places.5
It is a pitty that so noble a structure should undergo such a mutilation as to make it limp and totter all the rest of its life, yet I fear this will be its fate. Enclosed to you are the journals and News papers which Mr. Lovell has forwarded to me with directions to enclose them to you. Generall Warren has just acquainted me that a packquet will sail for Spain in a day or two, that Mr. Austin goes in her in a publick character with dispatches for you, and that you may have the opportunity of conveying whatever you please in a State Frigate.6
You will learn from Mr. Austin the state of our currency and the rate of exchange which renders it needless for me to say any thing upon the subject.
{ 262 }
John Paul Jones is at present the subject of conversation and admiration. I wish to know the History of this adventurous Hero, his Letter to Lady Selkirk fixed him in my memory.
I need not add how much I wish to hear of your safety and happiness, as well as the success of your Embassy. Of the latter I can form no very flattering expectation at present.
Present my respectfull complements to Mr. Dana. The inclement Season has prevented all communication between his good Lady and your Portia, but when ever the Season will permit shall not fail visiting a sister in seperation, and hope by that time to rejoice with her in the assurance of the safety and happiness of our partners.
Believe me dear sir with the tenderest sentiments of regard affectionately yours.
LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “To the Honble john Adams minister plenipo/ry at paris.” For the fate of the missing RC and its enclosures, see note 6.
1. JA's letters to AA of 15 and 29 [i.e. 20] Nov. 1779, both above, sent from the Grand Bank of Newfoundland by the privateersman Capt. John Carnes.
2. MS: “are.”
3. The winter of 1779–1780, when for the only time in recorded history the harbors of both Boston and New York froze solidly, was long known as “the Hard Winter.” Its effects were felt from Maine to Georgia and from Detroit to New Orleans. Contemporary evidence on its rigors has been conveniently assembled in David M. Ludlum, Early American Winters, 1604–1820, Boston, 1966, p. 111–133. Dr. Cotton Tufts of Weymouth, who was among other things an amateur of science, compiled a record of the extraordinary weather of this winter and spring, which he enclosed in his letter to JA of 25 July 1780; the enclosure is printed with Tufts' letter, below.
4. On 11 Nov. the Convention, meeting at the First Church in Cambridge, had adjourned to meet next in “the Representatives' Chamber” (in what is today the Old State House) in Boston on 5 Jan.; but it was then obliged for lack of a quorum to adjourn repeatedly until the 27th (Mass. Constitutional Convention, 1779–1780, Journal, p. 49–55).
5. The “one person” was Richard Cranch, who was serving in the General Court. Not until the following 5 June did Braintree elect a successor to JA in the Constitutional Convention; this was Joseph Palmer (Braintree Town Records, p. 510).
6. Jonathan Loring Austin (1748–1826) had brought the news of Burgoyne's defeat from America to France in 1777 and during the following summer had acted as JA's secretary in Passy; see the note on him in JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:300, and references there. His current mission, which was to borrow money and obtain supplies in Europe for Massachusetts, is fully detailed in Richard Cranch's letter to JA of the present date, which follows. Austin sailed on 29 Jan. in the Zephir Packet, which was captured at sea, the letters he carried were thrown overboard, and Austin was taken to England but contrived to obtain his release and to make his way to the Continent (DAB; William Singleton Church [i.e. Thomas Digges] to JA, London, 14 April, Adams Papers; JA to AA, 12 May, below).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0205

Author: Cranch, Richard
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-01-18

Richard Cranch to John Adams

[salute] Dear Bror.

I was last Evening at your House and left Mrs. Adams, Miss Nabby and Master Tommy well, as are also all the rest of our Connections. The Communication between this Town and Braintree is at present extremely difficult by means of a greater Quantity of Snow on the Ground than has been known for forty Years past. I bro't two Pacquets from Mrs. Adams which I deliver'd to Genl. Warren for conveyance. The Vessell by which these will be sent, will bring Jonathan Loring Austin who is sent by this Government for the Purpose of negotiating a Loan in Europe of 150 Thousand Pounds Sterling for the Use of this State, to be laid out partly for Supplies for the Soldiers of our part of the Continental Army, and partly in such other Goods as a Committee appointed for that Purpose shall direct: The rem[ainde]r to lye in safe Hands to be drawn for as shall be hereafter ordered. This measure originated from a Committee of the House appointed to devise Ways and Means for supplying the Treasury, who were permitted to consult Mr. Broom and the Honble. Mr. Bowdoin on the subject, who after fully examining the measure, and hearing what was offer'd for and against it were fully in favour of it. The members of Court as well as those Gentlemen, were, and yet are under an Injunction of Secresy. By a Letter from Government to you and Mr. Dana you will perceive that in Case of his Death or Capture you are requested to procure some Person or Persons to carry the matter into effect.1 The chief reason for this Measure that weighed with the House as far as I could observe, was this—That a fine new Frigate built by this State now almost ready for the Sea, might make a Cruise in the European Seas, without any extra expence, and when that was finished, go into a proper Port and take on board the Goods order'd for the Army &c. and then make the best of her Way back. It was supposed that the Insurance on a Vessell of such force, would be much lower than what must be given on other Vessels by private Merchants, and consequently that we should have a fairer Prospect of getting a real Supply for our Army, and that seasonably. It was supposed to be a fact that the Board of War now give to the Merchants for Goods to supply the Army more than Cent per Cent2 above what the same Goods would cost if procured in this manner, and this consideration had its weight with the House. Many other Advantages of a Political nature were supposed to be connected with the Measure. The Act providing for the Payment of the Sum borrow'd, will be sent to you.
{ 264 }
The Convention for forming a Constitution are now meeting in the State House according to an Adjournment that took place soon after you left them, but I fear the excessive Snows that have lately fallen will prevent many members from being present. I will now come to my private Concerns; I have taken Borland's Place in Braintree by Order of the Genl. Court for the Term of five Years. I suppose before that Term is expired the Place will be to be sold, and I should be glad to buy it if I was able, I would therefore suggest to your Consideration whether, if I could purchase it of Government for four or five Hundred Pounds Sterling, you would be willing to let me draw on you for that Sum, on my giving a Mortgage of the Place?3 The great Number of Tory Estates that will be soon to be sold, makes me think that some Gentlemen among our worthy Allies might make Purchases of some of them on very advantageous Terms. Auchmuty's fine Seat at Roxbury about 2 Mile from Boston might have been bought for seventeen Hundred weight of Bohea Tea,4 and others in like Proportion. If any Gentlemen should incline to send Effects here for the purpose of purchasing such Houses or Lands within this State, I should be glad to transact the Business for them on Commission or otherwise. And as I read French and am one of the Commitee of the G. Court for selling such Estates it might perhaps be more agreeable and advantageous for french Gentlemen to write to me than to a Person unacquainted with that Language and unconnected with the Gen. Court. I throw out these hints to you in confidence that if any thing of that sort should turn up, you might mention me if you should think proper. I am just now informed that the Vessel sails early in the Morning, and as it is now late at Night, I must conclude with assuring you that I am with every Sentiment of Esteem, your affectionate Bror.,
[signed] R.C.
Present my kindest Regards to the dear Boys, and to Mr. Thaxter.
Dft (MHi:Cranch Papers); endorsed: “Coppy of a Letter to Bror. Adams. Jany. 18th. 1780.” Sent by Jonathan Loring Austin, the RC of this letter was never received; see note 6 on the preceding letter.
1. Two copies of this letter, well enough summarized by Cranch, are in the Adams Papers under date of 13 Jan. 1780; both are signed by Jeremiah Powell, president of the Council.
2. That is, more than double the amount.
3. “Borland's Place in Braintree” was the current name for a fine country seat in that town, the Vassall-Borland house, built by Leonard Vassall about 1730, and the garden and farm surrounding it on the old coast road from Boston to Plymouth. With the house enlarged and outbuildings added, but with the farm property greatly reduced, it is today the Adams National Historic Site, having been in the possession of the Adams family from 1787 to 1946 and usually referred to by the family itself (and { 265 } sometimes in these volumes) as “the Old House.” For a summary note on its history, see above, vol. 1:219; on John Borland specifically, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:74–75.
Since John Borland (whose wife was Anna, daughter of Leonard Vassall) had died on the very eve of hostilities, and since the provisional government of Massachusetts took some time to determine what was to be done about abandoned loyalist property, the status of the Vassall-Borland house remained for several years ambiguous. In the fall of 1775, during the siege of Boston, it was commandeered by the selectmen of Braintree (after no little trouble with a squatter named James Hayward who was a friend of the Borlands) for the use of refugees then flooding the neighborhood and of Braintree people who, living close to the shore, needed to get out of the way of British warships operating in the bay. Early in 1776 the family of Joseph Palmer were living in the house, and during the next couple of years it continued to be leased out, although the occupants are not known. See Palmer's petition, Sept. 1775, in M-Ar: Legislative Records of the Council, 33:222–223; Mass., Province Laws, 19:88; petition of Braintree Committee of Correspondence, 9 Oct. 1775 (M-Ar, vol. 180:189); Abigail (Paine) Greenleaf to Robert Treat Paine, 22 Jan. 1776 (MHi: Paine Papers); advertisement of lease of Borland estate by public auction, Boston Gazette, 24 March 1777, p. 3, col. 3.
Richard Cranch had a long but fruitless flirtation with this choice piece of loyalist property, which partly adjoined his own Braintree farm. Under a new Resolve for Leasing Absentees' Estates at Public Auction, 19 Feb. 1779 (Mass., Province Laws, 20:620–622), Cranch had been admitted by the Suffolk Probate Court “Agent” of the very extensive properties owned by “the late John Borland Esqre. an Absentee deceased” (Suffolk County Court of Probate, Records, No. 16987; photostats in Adams Papers Editorial Files; see also Cranch to Mrs. Cranch, n.d. [probably March 1779], MHi: Cranch Papers). The Confiscation Acts of April and May 1779 followed soon afterward, and Cranch was named a member of the General Court's Committee for the Sale of Absentee Estates in Suffolk County, whose proceedings are recorded in a Journal in M-Ar; see also AA to JA, 8 June 1779, above, with references in note 5 there. He was thus decidedly an “insider” with respect to news and transactions relative to loyalist property. On 7 Oct. 1779 he obtained permission from the General Court to cut wood from Borland's wood lot “for the Use of his own Family” (Mass., Province Laws, 21:208); and on 4 Jan. 1780 he successfully petitioned the same body to lease for himself the house and farm for five years, contingent on its sale (same, 21:329). He was now determined to buy the place for himself if he could raise the money. But his plans went awry.
At a Braintree town meeting on 6 March, upon its being reported “that there had been great Strip & waste made in the wood Lott belonging to sd. Estate by Mr. Cranch or by those under him,” the town petitioned the General Court to put the lease of the Borland property up for public auction as the law required (Braintree Town Records, p. 506). The issue, apparently, was Cranch's status as an “insider,” for he shortly petitioned the Court, reporting that, “contrary to [his] expectation, a large number of the inhabitants . . . are uneasy and dissatisfied” because the lease had not been publicly auctioned. “And as your Memorialist,” he continued, “would by no means take possession of said Estate, in a way that might give the least umbrage for a supposition of partiallity in the Honourable Court in his favour,” he asked that his lease be rescinded and the auction be held. The legislature so resolved on 7 April (Mass., Province Laws, 21:427–428). In the Boston Gazette for 24 April (p. 2, col. 1) appeared the following notice:
“A genteel Country Seat to Let.
“On Tuesday the 25th of this Instant, April, at Twelve o'Clock, will be leased for one Year, at Public Auction, (by special Permission of the Honorable General Court).
“A very genteel Dwelling House, Barn, and Coach-House, with a Garden, planted with a great Variety of Fruit Trees, an Orchard, and about 40 Acres of Land, lately belonging to john bor- { 266 } land, Esq; deceased. This agreeable Seat is pleasantly Situated in the Town of Braintree, about ten Miles from Boston, on the Great Road to Plymouth.
“The Auction will be on the Premises.”
Two days later Cranch renewed his request to JA for a loan to enable him to purchase the property, offering a mortgage in return (Cranch to JA, 26 April, below).
From this point on, the history of the Borland estate becomes confused and obscure. Edward Church of Braintree obtained a deed for it from the General Court by making a first payment of £200 (M-Ar, vol. 190:120), but he did not retain it, for the deed is not on record in the Suffolk Registry. By 1782, when the war was about to end, allusions appear in contemporary correspondence to the plans of Borland's widow to return to Boston and recover her husband's property. With respect to his Braintree estate she succeeded. On 19–20 Nov. 1783 she conveyed this property to her son Leonard Vassall Borland (Suffolk County Registry of Deeds, vol. 142:6, 8; Tr in Adams Papers, Wills and Deeds), and a month later AA reported that “Mrs. Boreland since her return to America, has sold her House and Farm in this Town. Mr. Tyler has made the purchase at a thousand pounds Lawfull money. . . . None of it was ever confiscated” (to JA, 27 Dec. 1783). The purchaser was young Royall Tyler, a lawyer and literary man, who in acquiring the estate, as AA went on to say “has but one object in view,” namely marriage to AA2. With the failure of that “object” in the course of the next two years, Tyler lost all interest in his country seat, and when he failed to keep up his payments it reverted to the Borlands. For these matters, see the detailed account in the Introduction to JA, Earliest Diary, p. 18–28. Tyler's final settlement with Leonard Borland took place in 1787, when the Adamses were beginning to think of returning home from England. By now, Richard Cranch had given up hope of obtaining the property for himself, and he and his wife repeatedly and warmly urged the Adamses to buy it. This they did, through Cotton Tufts, on 26 Sept. 1787, at a cost of £600, and they moved in upon their return in the following June. See Mary (Smith) Cranch to AA, 22 April–20 May, 21 May [citation removed per Adams Papers editors] 1787; Cotton Tufts to AA, 21, 26 May, 13, 30 June 1787; AA to Tufts, 1, 4 July 1787 (all in Adams Papers); AA to Mrs. Cranch, 16 July 1787 (owned by J. Delafield DuBois, New York City, 1957); AA to Tufts, 20[19] July 1787 (NHi: Misc. MSS); JA to Cranch, 20 July 1787 (MeHi); Tufts to JA, 18 Sept., and to AA, 20 Sept. 1787 (both in Adams Papers). The deed of sale from Borland to JA is in the Suffolk County Registry of Deeds, vol. 161:123 (photostat in Adams Papers Editorial Files). It conveys seven parcels of land, amounting in all to about eighty-three acres, including the home lot of seven acres with its “House, Barn and other Buildings” on the north side of the Plymouth road; three parcels, among them the “great Pasture” of twenty acres, on the south side of the road (i.e. up present Presidents Hill); a tract of salt marsh on the Town River; and thirty acres of “Woodland” in two parcels elsewhere in the town.
4. Robert Auchmuty (ca. 1723–1788), a prominent Boston admiralty lawyer, had fled to England early in 1776, and his property was confiscated in 1779 (JA, Legal Papers, 1:xcvi and passim; DAB; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 12:12–16). The notice of the sale of his estate by the General Court's committee (of which Cranch was a member) remarked that “This very handsome and agreeable seat is so happily situated (a little beyond the main-street in the lower part of Roxbury) that it enjoys the united advantages of town and country” (Boston Gazette, 1 Nov. 1779, p. 1, col. 1).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0206

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-01-18

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

After twenty odd days spent in climbing Mountains, sinking into Valleys, tumbling over Rocks, pocking thro' Mud and Mire, creeping along Plains, oversetting of Carriages &c., to the End of the Chapter of Evils, We arrived at this place. In addition to the above Combination of Evils, We had smoaky, scolding, dirty Inns to put up at. Cleanliness is a moral Virtue undoubtedly, but very little Attention is paid to it in that part of Spain in which We have travelled: So that We have had Evils natural and moral to cope with. We struggled patiently and perseveringly, like resolute Pilgrims, but thank Heaven this is not to be our abiding place. A Journey thro' this part of Spain performed in the manner in which ours was, is sufficient to plant Stings of Asperity in the most placid Tempers and serene Dispositions. To be driven violently over rough rocky Road, and carted as it were upon a plain level Surface, would have made Yorick exclaim in very different Language from that which he prayed he might be enabled to use in perplex'd Situations. We bore it well, but Nature now and then would heave out Sighs and Groans.
We however are tolerably well off now, and should forget past Sorrow, was it not for the violent Colds that hang about Us—the Colds of Gallicia, Leon and Castile, the three province[s] thro' which We came.
Bilbao is about half as large as Boston. In it there are four Parish Churches, two Convents of Men; one of the Franciscan and the other of the Dominican Order—seven Nunneries of various Orders, Franciscan, Augustine &c. There is a Nunnery directly opposite our Lodgings. We see them peeping out of their Cells very often. It is a Cloister of very old Maids. I should reverence them, if they were obliged to continue in this Line of Life from the same principle, which holds and will hold me a Batchelor, viz. Necessity. Nay I should pity them too. But their Situation was originally the Result of Choice—it may be Election still perhaps.
Please to present my Duty, Respects, Compliments and Love where due. Accept my sincerest Wishes for your Health, and for all that Happiness which it is possible for you to enjoy in a Seperation from one of the best of Friends.

[salute] I have the Honor to be, Madam, with great Respect, your most obedient humble Servt.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0207

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1780-01-19

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

I hope you have had no occasion either from Enemies or the Dangers of the Sea to repent your second voyage to France. If I had thought your reluctance arose from proper deliberation, or that you was capable of judgeing what was most for your own benifit, I should not have urged you to have accompanied your Father and Brother when you appeared so averse to the voyage.
You however readily submitted to my advice, and I hope will never have occasion yourself, nor give me reason to Lament it. Your knowledge of the Language must give you greater advantages now, than you could possibly have reaped whilst Ignorant of it, and as you increase in years you will find your understanding opening and daily improveing.
Some Author that I have met with compares a judicious traveller, to a river that increases its stream the farther it flows from its source, or to certain springs which running through rich veins of minerals improve their qualities as they pass along. It will be expected of you my son that as you are favourd with superiour advantages under the instructive Eye of a tender parent, that your improvements should bear some proportion to your advantages. Nothing is wanting with you, but attention, dilligence and steady application, Nature has not been deficient.
These are times in which a Genious would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. Would Cicero have shone so distinguished an orater, if he had not been roused, kindled and enflamed by the Tyranny of Catiline, Millo,2 Verres and Mark Anthony. The Habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. All History will convince you of this, and that wisdom and penetration are the fruits of experience, not the Lessons of retirement and leisure.
Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated by scenes that engage the Heart, then those qualities which would otherways lay dormant, wake into Life, and form the Character of the Hero and the Statesman.
War, Tyrrany and Desolation are the Scourges of the Almighty, and ought no doubt to be deprecated. Yet it is your Lot my Son to be an Eye witness of these Calimities in your own Native land, and at the same time to owe your existance among a people who have made a glorious defence of their invaded Liberties, and who, aided by a { 269 } generous and powerfull Ally, with the blessing of heaven will transmit this inheritance to ages yet unborn.
Nor ought it to be one of the least of your excitements towards exerting every power and faculty of your mind, that you have a parent who has taken so large and active a share in this contest, and discharged the trust reposed in him with so much satisfaction as to be honourd with the important Embassy, which at present calls him abroad.
I cannot fulfill the whole of my duty towards you, if I close this Letter, without reminding you of a failing which calls for a strict attention and watchfull care to correct. You must do it for yourself. You must curb that impetuosity of temper, for which I have frequently chid you, but which properly directed may be productive of great good. I know you capable of these exertions, with pleasure I observed my advice was not lost upon you. If you indulge yourself in the practise of any foible or vice in youth, it will gain strength with your years and become your conquerer.
The strict and invoilable regard you have ever paid to truth, gives me pleasing hopes that you will not swerve from her dictates, but add justice, fortitude, and every Manly Virtue which can adorn a good citizen, do Honour to your Country, and render your parents supreemly happy, particuliarly your ever affectionate Mother,
[signed] AA
RC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “A Duplicate”; endorsed: “Mamma's letter No. 29”; docketed in JQA's more mature hand: “A. Adams 12. Jany. 1780.” LbC (Adams Papers). The true date of this letter is difficult to determine. AA apparently dated RC as “Janry. 12 1780,” thus accounting for JQA's docketing and the date under which CFA printed this letter in AA, Letters, 1840, p. 143–145, and in subsequent editions. But the digits of “12” are smeared and overwritten, suggesting a correction that is not now clear. LbC is clearly dated “Janry. 19 1780,” and that date has been followed here. From the fact that RC adds a few words and phrases not in LbC, it would appear that AA drafted her letter in the letterbook, and hence RC could not correctly bear an earlier date. Variations between the two versions are too minor to be recorded.
1. See the descriptive note on this letter.
2. AA's superficial knowledge of Roman history here betrayed her. Cicero was an ardent champion, not an adversary, of Milo. In his text of this letter CFA simply, and discreetly, dropped Milo's name from AA's listing.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0208

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1780-01-19

Abigail Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] My dear Charles

How does my son after the fatigues of a voyage. A young adventurer { 270 } indeed, how many times did you wish yourself by mammas fireside. But pappa wrote me that you made as good a sailor as your Brother, flatterd you a little I suppose, But I was very glad to hear you did so well.
I hope before this time that you are safe landed possibly arrived at Paris and placed at school, where I hope you will strive to obtain the Love and good will of every Body by a modest obliging Behaviour. You was a favorite in the Neighbourhood at home, all of whom wonder how Mamma could part with you. Mamma found it hard enough tis true, but she consulted your good more than her own feelings, and hopes you will not dissapoint her hopes and expectations by contracting vices and follies, instead of improveing in virtue and knowledge which can only make you usefull to society and happy to yourself.
You have an opportunity very early in life of seeing a foreign Country and of Learning a Language which if you live may be very serviceable to you, and even at this early period of your life you may form Friendships, if you behave worthy of your country, which will do honour to [you]1 in future, but in order to [do?]2 this you must be very attentive to your Books, and to every Branch of knowledge and improvement with which your pappa is pleasd to indulge you.
Let your ambition lead you to make yourself Master of what you undertake, do not be content to lag behind others, but strive to excell.
I hope soon to hear of your welfare and happiness which are always near the heart of your ever affectionate Mother.
1. Word omitted in MS.
2. Word omitted in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0209

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-01-19

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] Hond. Mamma

I can never keep my pen out of my hand when ever there is an oportunity of writing and as there is one now by a Captn. Lovett I will make the best of it.
I am Sorry to inform you that the Jason and Monmouth are taken and Manly for a third time is in a british prison but you very probably will have heard of this before this reaches you but what more than makes up for it is that there are 50,000 Men in arms in Ireland all united in the generous intention of freeing themselves from the yoke of that Tyrant George the 3d.
{ 271 }
We are anxious about the Confederacy having heard nothing of her Since we Left America.1 The last papers from France mention nothing of her arrival but I must conclude in Subscribing myself your most dutiful Son,
[signed] John Quincy Adams
PS Excuse the writing I being a little unwell and not having a very good pen.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams Braintree near Boston”; endorsed: “J Q Adams 19 Jan 1780.”
1. The Continental frigate Confederacy, Capt. Seth Harding, had sailed from the Delaware late in October bound for France, with C. A. Gérard, Mme. Gérard, John Jay, and Mrs. Jay among the passengers. Eleven hundred miles at sea it was dismasted in a storm but managed to creep into St. Pierre, Martinique, in mid-December, whence the diplomats took passage in a French vessel. See Morris, Peacemakers, p. 1–6.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0210

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Wendell, Oliver
Date: 1780-01-20

Abigail Adams to Oliver Wendell

I return you thanks Sir for the trouble you took in exchangeing my Money, our currency is some thing like the Stocks abroad, rises and falls with the News of the Day.

[salute] I have the Honor to be Sir with Sincere Esteem your obliged Humble Servant,

[signed] A Adams
MS (not found). Printed from a facsimile in Letters of Mrs. Adams, the Wife of John Adams, ed. CFA, 2d edn., Boston, 1840, vol. 2, frontispiece. At foot of text: “Honble. Oliver Wendell.”

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0211

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-02-12

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

On Wednesday, the 9th. of this Month, We all arrived in tolerable Health at the Hotel De Valois, in Paris where We now are.1 On Thursday the 10th We waited on Dr. F[ranklin] and dined with him at Passy. On Fryday the 11, the Dr. accompanied Us to Versailles, where We waited on Mr. De Vergennes, Mr. De Sartine and Comte Maurepas, from all of whom We had a polite Reception.2 To day We stay at home.
I put my three Children to Mr. Pichini's Accademy the next day after my Arrival, where they are all well pleased.3
We had a tedious Journey by Land, from Ferrol in Spain, of not much short of four hundred Leagues. My dear Charles bears travelling { 272 } by Land and Sea as well as his Brother. He is much beloved wherever he goes.
Since my Arrival here I had the Joy to find a Letter from you which came by your Unkles ship to Cadiz.4 It gives me more Pain than I can express to see your Anxiety, but I hope your fears will be happily disappointed.
I wrote you, from Cape Anne, from the Banks of Newfoundland, from Corrunna and from Bilbao, from whence I ordered you some Things by a Vessell to Mr. Corbet [Cabot] of Beverly, and another to Mr. Tracy of Newbury Port. These are a few necessaries for the Family. I will send Mr. W. and Mr. S. Things and my Brothers and Dr. T.s and his Sons, by the first Safe Conveyance that I can hear of.5

[salute] Yours, Yours, Yours, ever, ever, ever yours.

1. The Adams party had remained in Bilbao until 20 Jan., when they left and proceeded to Bayonne in France, arriving on the 23d. From there JA addressed a letter of thanks to the Messrs. Gardoqui, remarking on the improved roads and tavern accommodations in Biscay and Guipuzcoa and adding that “We discovered two or three fine Chimneys besides that which you mentioned to Us, which contributed not a little to our Health and Comfort” (24 Jan., LbC, Adams Papers). At Bayonne, JA later recalled, “We paid off our Spanish Guide with all his Train of Horses, Calashes, Waggon, Mules, and Servants,” and “purchased a Post Chaise and hired some others” for the journey to Paris (Diary and Autobiography, 4:238). They were on the road from Bayonne to Bordeaux from 25 to 29 Jan., paused at the latter until 2 Feb., and spent a week on frozen roads before arriving in Paris on the afternoon of the 9th (same, 2:433–434; 4:239–241). They followed the same route that JA and JQA had traveled in the preceding April, namely through Coué, Angoulême, Poitiers, Châtellerault, Tours, Orléans, and Toury. Much the most detailed record of this last part of the long journey that had begun in December is in Francis Dana's Journal, or what he called his “Memo, made While in Spain” (MHi:Dana Papers). JA's Accounts as printed in his Diary and Autobiography, 2:435 ff., furnish glimpses of his personal and domestic activity during his early weeks in Paris.
2. Jean Frédéric Phélypeaux, Comte de Maurepas (1701–1781), French minister of state, is elsewhere described by JA as “the Prime Minister or the Kings Mentor,” which appears to be something of an overestimation of his powers and role (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:48; see Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale). Antoine Raymond Jean Gualbert Gabriel de Sartine, Comte d'Alby (1729–1801), was currently minister of marine (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:295 and passim; Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale).
On this day JA addressed a letter to Vergennes, as suggested by Vergennes during their meeting at Versailles, asking whether JA should assume “any Public Character” or whether he should remain for the present “upon the Reserve.” This letter and Vergennes' reply of 15 Feb., which JA found irritating and humiliating, are given in full in JA's Diary and Autobiography, 4:243–245.
3. The “three Children” were of course JQA, CA, and Samuel Cooper Johonnot. Pechigny and his wife conducted a pension academy in Passy favored by Americans who had children in France. It was sometimes called the Pension or Ecole de Mathématiques. Apparently JQA had attended this school at least briefly during his first stay in Europe. { 273 } See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:434, 439–440, 442; Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 5:55, 75, 88, 507; several letters under date of 16 and 17 March, below; and JA to Pechigny, 16 May, also below.
4. AA to JA, 10 Dec. 1779, above.
5. The initials in this sentence stand for Rev. Anthony Wibird, the Adamses' minister at Braintree; Rev. Daniel Shute, minister at Hingham; and Dr. Cotton Tufts, AA's uncle. On 22 Feb.JA wrote to James Moylan at Lorient:
“As the Alliance is bound to America, and probably will go to Boston, I wish to avail myself of the opportunity to send a few Necessaries to my Family, and a black Coat or two to a few Parsons in my Neighbourhood, whose Salaries are so reduced by the Depreciation of our Paper Currency that they cannot afford to buy a black Coat nor a Band at home. . . . I should be glad if you could distinguish the Parcels—for Mr. Wibirt—for Mr. Shute—and for Mr. P. B. Adams, for Mr. Cranch and for me. Let each be separated from the other but all packed up in one Chest or Box, and I suppose a very small one will contain the whole” (LbC, Adams Papers; see also Moylan's reply, 28 Feb., Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0212

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1780-02-13

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

With fingers so soar that I can scarcly guide a pen tho it cost me ever so much pain I must I will call you—wicked Man. I told you that I had discoverd in your character, a similitude to that of Sterns and Yorick, but I never was before tempted to add that of Shandy.
From your own Authority I quote him as a wicked creature—What demon prompted you to carry the character through.
I have read Sterns Sermons and Yoricks Sentimental journey [and] his Letters to Eliza, but I never read Shandy and I never will.1 I know it would lessen my opinion of him, I know it would sink him in my Esteem. It is not in humane Nature, to regard those we dispise.
What I have read are the purest of his works, even in these there are exceptionable passages, but so intermixed with a rich Stream of Benevolence flowing like milk and Honey, that in an insensible heart, he creates the sensations he discribes—in a feeling one, he softens, he melts, he moulds it into all his own.
Possessd of an exquisite Sensibility, a universal phylanthropy, what a perverse Genius must he have to hazard those fine powers and talents for a wicked wit, that admits of no defence, and almost calls in Question the stability of his understanding. Shandy should have considerd that true wit

“Was not a tale, was not a jest

Admir'd with Laughter at a feast

Much less could that have any place

At which a Virgin hides her face.”

{ 274 }
What a figure would some passages of a Letter Dated Janry. 6th and an other of Janry. 13th have made in a publick Newspaper? For a Senator too? Did they not run the hazard of a 300 miles travel? I trembled with the Idea when I read them.—For Decencys sake Sir, return to the Humanizer, the polisher and the Softner of Man. I have charity Enough for the Writer to believe that his associates have been wholy of his own sex for 3 years past, or he could not have so offended.—

“Tis just—the Author Blush there,

Where the reader must.'”

By this post I return a duplicate journal or two. Your Letter in which you mention a probability of your going abroad did not reach me till after the matter was published in the publick News papers to my no small surprize.2
This day 3 months I was misirable indeed. Some mitigation I received in about ten days afterwards by a Letter wrote at sea from my Friend near the Banks of Newfoundland, which they reached in 5 days after they saild from this harbour, which gives me pleasing hopes that he had a short and safe passage. He has indeed excaped a view of the sublimest winter I ever knew. Since the Storms we have had 30 days without either snow, rain or the least thaw. But Sol is returning to us with his all enlivening influence and will I hope soon make a passage by conquering Boreas for the arrival of happy tidings to your Friend.
If I ever wrote well it would be worth while to excuse the present Scrawl by saying that my fingers are coverd with Whitlows.3 I would however advise you to distroy it when read that it may never appear in judgment against you. I assure you yours shall pass the ordeal as an atonement to
[signed] Portia
LbC (Adams Papers); without indication of addressee, but internal evidence makes clear that AA is answering Lovell's letters of 6 and 13 Jan., above. Enclosed journals not identified.
1. The works by Laurence Sterne mentioned by AA are The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, 1760–1767; The Sermons of Mr. Yorick, 1760–1769; A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy. By Mr. Yorick, 1768; and the posthumous Letters from Yorick to Eliza, 1775.
2. Lovell's letter in question was dated 22 Dec. 1779 (Adams Papers). On that day he was nominated in Congress as secretary to Franklin's mission in Paris (JCC, 15:1391), but he did not go. No newspaper mention of the nomination has been found.
3. Whitlow: “A suppurative inflammatory sore or swelling in a finger or thumb, usually in the terminal joint” (OED).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0213

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-02-16

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I have the Honour to be lodged here with no less a Personage than the Prince of Hesse Castle [Cassel], who is here upon a Visit. We occupy different Apartements in the same House and have no Intercourse with each other to be sure: but some Wags are of Opinion, that if I were authorized to open a Negotiation with him, I might obtain from him as many Troops to fight on our Side the Question, as he has already hired out to the English against Us.
I have found every Thing agreable here as yet: The Children are happy in their Academy, of which I send you the Plan inclosed.
The English bounce1 a great deal about obtaining seven Thousand Troops from the pety german Princes and ten Thousand from Ireland to send to America: but this is only a Repetition of their annual Gasconade. We are in Pain for Charlestown S.C. being apprehensive that they have made or will make an Effort to obtain that: which will be a terrible Misfortune to that People and a great Loss to the United States: but will be no lasting Advantage to our Ennemies.
The Channel of Correspondence you propose by Way of Bilbao and Cadiz will bring me many Letters no doubt, and I have received one of the 10 Decr. but the Postage is so expensive, being obliged to pay forty four Livres for the Packet that came with yours, that I would not advise you to send any Thing that Way unless it be a single Letter, or any Thing material in the Journals of Congress, or Letters from my friends in Congress or else where that contain any thing particularly interesting. The House of Joseph Guardoqui and Sons have sent to you by Capt. Babson of Newbury Port belonging to Mr. Tracy, some necessaries for the family,2 and you may write to Mr. Guardoqui, for any Thing you want, by any Vessell belonging to your Uncle, to Mr. Jackson or Mr. Tracy, provided you dont exceed one hundred Dollars by any one Vessell. Mr. Guardoqui will readily send them and draw upon me for the Money.
I had a great deal of Pleasure in the Acquaintance of this Family of Guardoqui's and was treated by them with the Magnificence of a Prince. They will be very glad to be Usefull to you in any Thing they can do. You will remember however that We have many Children, and that our Duty to them requires that We should manage all our Affairs with the strictest Oeconomy. My Journey through Spain, has been infinitely expensive to me, and exceeded far my Income. It is very ex• { 276 } pensive here and I fear, that I shall find it difficult to make both Ends meet, but I must and will send you some thing for necessary Use by every Oportunity.
If Mr. Lovell does not procure me the Resolution of Congress I mentioned to him, that of drawing on a certain Gentleman or his Banker, I shall soon be starved out. Pray mention it to him.3
If you should have an Inclination to write to Cadiz, for any Thing by any Vessell going there, Mr. Robert Montgomery, who is settled there I fancy would chearfully send it you, and draw upon me in Paris for his Pay.4 If any Vessell should go to Corunna, Mr. Michael Lagoanere would do the same, but this is not a likely Way.
I shall write as often as possible: but Conveyances will be very rare, I fear.

[salute] I am as I ever was and ever shall be Yours, Yours, Yours.

RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed “Plan” of Pechigny's school at Passy not found.
1. Bounce, verb, 4: “To talk big, bluster, hector; to swagger” (OED).
2. That is, in a vessel belonging to Nathaniel Tracy; see above, JA to AA, 16 Jan., note 4, and references there.
3.
“I beg one favour more, and that is for an order to draw in Case of Necessity and in Case all other Resources fail on Dr. Franklin or on the Banker of the United States, for a sum not exceeding My salary Yearly, and also for a Resolution of Congress, or a Letter from the Commercial Committee, requesting the Continental Agents, in Europe and America, to furnish me Aids and supplies of Cash &c., and to the Captains of all American Frigates, to afford me a Passage out or home upon demand. . . . I to pay for my Passage to Congress, or be accountable for it. . . . I hope I shall find the Funds provided for me sufficient, but if I should not I may be in the Utmost distress and bring upon myself and you Disgrace. Franklin will supply me, and so will any Agent in France, if they have a Resolution of Congress, or even a Letter from the Commercial Committee” (JA to James Lovell, 25 Oct. 1779, LbC, Adams Papers; printed in Works, 9:501–503).
4. There are letters in the Adams Papers from Robert Montgomery at Alicante to JA, 5 and 19 Feb., offering mercantile services.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0214

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-02-16

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

On the ninth of this Month We all happily arrived here, and with Hearts replete with Gratitude. Our Journey was long, cold, tedious and painful to an extream degree. After being fortunately delivered from a crazy and leaky Ship, We had conjectured our future Enterprises would be less irksome. Our Consolation and Triumph upon the Occasion terminated almost as soon [as] they existed. We had hardly begun our Journey in Spain, before a Battalion of Difficulties of a different Complexion surrounded Us. Our Carriages, (the Tops of { 277 } which resemble Calashes, and they are so called) were not more remarkable for the Antiquity of their Fashion, than that of their Building. They were in a truly decripid State and were continually out of Repair. The Mules which draw'd them, were as dull as obstinate. The Carriages were disoblegeant, but not in the Sense, in which Yorick appropriates the Term; for they would accommodate two persons as to Seats; but in every other Sense they merit very justly his Appellation.1 The Roads were mountainous and rocky to a terrible Degree from Corunna to Astorga, which is fifty Leagues, and where there were no Mountains, in our passage, yet Rocks, Mud and Mire, were the pleasing Objects that perpetually presented themselves. The Accommodations at the Inns were exceedingly bad, the Houses being in a Situation, which Decency forbids me to describe. Thus much I hope I may say without any offence to Delicacy, that they each of them appeared to me to be a Republic of Men and Beasts. There were some Exceptions to be sure. In addition to the above assemblage of Evils, the Weather was cold oftentimes, and we found no Chimnies to repair to in Spain, whose friendly Heat could refresh the fatigued Traveller. They would bring Us a small Braziaro, or Pan of Coals—the scanty Pittance of Fire in them, would chill one at first Sight. They hardly warmed a place upon the Stone Floor of so large a Compass as they stood upon. We found the Inns cold, arising from the Materials of their Construction, being almost all of Stone; from the Stone Floors; from a Want of Fires in different parts of them and finally from the State of the Air. Their Chimnies are rather a Burlesque upon the Name than any thing else, for they are nothing more than a small circular platform of Stones, having no other passage for the Smoke, than as it expands itself about the Room, and creeps out of two or three Holes pierced thro' the Top of the House, so that you are rather suffocated with Smoke, than warmed by the Fire. These kind of Hearths are only in one Apartment, the Kitchen. It required great Resolution to venture to some of them—the Smoke precluded all Foresight. You was forewarned indeed, but you could not be forearmed.
With these natural and artificial Evils and Embarrassments We travelled from Corunna to Bayonne. The Capital Towns or Cities we pass'd thro', were Lugos, Astorga, Leon, Burgos and Bilbao. We stop'd a day at Astorga to repair our Carriages. We visited the Cathedral Church there, as We did that at Leon. The Finery, the Trumpery, the Baubles, the Gewgaws and the Bagatelles in them as well as in all others almost We visited, were astonishing. Indeed they are exceeded in nothing but the Superstition of the People. I have written freely— { 278 } perhaps indiscreetly—but I have written nothing but Facts, which will not admit of Controversy. The Statuary, the Sculpture, Paintings and Architecture were very well executed in general. But what the End and Design of these things are, would not at this Juncture become me to explain, if they were not sufficiently obvious to you already.
Amidst all our perplexities We had now and then some Comforts. We found many worthy Men in our Route, whose Hearts were not in Unison with the temperature of their Air. In most of the considerable Towns We passed thro, We met with Gentlemen, who treated Us with politeness, Attention and Hospitality. The French Consul and Mr. Lagoanere at Corunna, the Messrs. Gardoqui's at Bilbao, treated us, more particularly, with great kindness and Friendship.
All News of a political Nature you will have from another Source and with more precision than I can pretend to.
Your Letter to Madam G[rand] is rendered into French and <I am told> admired by every one that reads it, for its excellent Sentiments. Many high Encomiums have been deservedly passed upon it.2 I must and will subjoin, that its Admirers discover pure Taste and good Judgment.
I have done myself the Honor to inclose You a few Extracts from the English Newspapers. You will find in them fresh proofs of their inflexible Adherence to Truth.
Please to present my Duty and Respects where due—a copious Effusion of Batchelor's Love I beg to send forward to the Young Ladies of my Acquaintance.
I have the Honor to be with the greatest Esteem and Respect your most obedient & most hble. Servt.
By Order I added to your Memorandum, the Article of delicate fine Chintz or thin Silk for a Gown for Mrs. W.3 If either should arrive, You will please to inform her. The Money for it, I have, which will be paid to Mr. A., when the Invoice comes, which will determine whether any Money will be left to purchase other articles. My Respects to General W. and Lady.
Your little Charles was highly diverted last Sunday with my modern parisian Vamping or Metamorphosis. He wanted a Subject to write upon. I gave him my new Appearance for a Subject. The bag I have laid aside. I cannot yet reconcile my self to it. The Sword I have used but once. I can bear with one, but both of them is too much.
{ 279 }
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed “Extracts from the English News papers” not found.
1. An early, and celebrated, section of Sterne's Sentimental Journey, 1768, is entitled “The Desobligeant. Calais.” The unusual term in the title is defined in a footnote as follows: “A chaise, so called in France, from its holding but one person.”
2. On AA's exchange of letters (which are now lost) with Mme. Ferdinand Grand, see JA to AA, 23 Sept. 1778; and AA to AA2, ca. 11 Feb. 1779, both above; also JA to AA, 27 Feb., below.
3. From the mention of “General W.” (doubtless Gen. James Warren) below, Mercy (Otis) Warren must be meant here. AA's “Memorandum” of goods to be purchased in Europe for her and others has not been found, but is discussed in James Moylan's letter to JA from Lorient, 28 Feb. (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0215

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-02-17

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] Hond. Mamma

As there is an opportunity of writing to you, I must by no means let it Slip me; I have wrote you a Small account of my Voyage and that we were obliged to put into Ferrol in Spain. After a terrible journey from thence to Paris of about 1000 Miles we have at last once more reach'd Paris, the day after we arrived Pappa put me to one of the Pensions where I was before, and I am very content with my Situation. Brother Charles begins to make himself understood in French and being as he is he will learn that Language very soon. The Count d'Estaing is in a very fair way of recovery of his wounds. We have here a young Gentleman who was on board of the Languedoc when the Count was in Boston, a son of the Governor of Martinico's. I am your dutiful son,
[signed] John Quincy Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams Braintree near Boston,” to which is added in Thaxter's hand: “To be sunk in Case of Capture”; mistakenly docketed in a later unidentified hand: “Adams G. W.”

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0216

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1780-02-22

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My dear Brother

I am once more settled down in a school and am very content with my situation. I was the other night at the Foire St Germain in Paris which is a publick place and full of curiosities.1 We went and saw a Woman who (in truth) was not very tall but who weigh'd 450 weight. The large part of her arm was as big round as my body and she cover'd With her thumb a Crown peice. Her thimble was big enough to put my thumbs in to and so was her ring which she wore on her little finger.
{ 280 }

[salute] As I must write to all my Freinds I can write only a short Letter to each and must conclude in subscribing myself your affectionate Brother,

[signed] John Quincy Adams
RC (PHi:Conarroe Coll.); addressed: “Mr. Thomas Boylestone Adams Braintree near Boston.”
1. An account of this annual winter fair appears in Thiéry, Almanach du voyageur à Paris, p. 290:
“La Foire S. Germain, située dans le voisinage de S. Sulpice, à l'extrémité de la rue de Tournon, fut établie par Louis XI dès 1'an 1482, & donnée à 1'Abbaye S. Germain-des-Près. Elle ouvre le 3 Février, & dure jusqu'à la veille du Dimanche des Rameaux. C'est un quarré régulier, percé de rues couvertes qui rendent les unes dans les autres. Ces rues sont garnies de boutiques occupées par des Marchands, des Cafés, des Jeux & des Spectacles, tels que les Variétés amusantes, l'Ambigu-Comique, les Danseurs de corde, le Waux-Hall d'hiver, &c. La quantité de monde qui s'y rend, présente un coup-d'oeil fort gracieux.
“On y vend toutes sortes de choses. Cette Foire est franche, & tous Marchands de dehors peuvent y venir vendre leurs merchandises.”

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0217

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-02-23

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

The Children made me a Visit to day, and went with me to dine with my old Friends the two Abbys, whom you have often heard me mention, Chalut and Arnoux, who desire me to mention them to you in my Letters as devoted Friends of America, and particular Friends to me and to you, notwithstanding the difference of Religion.1
The Children are still in good Health, and Spirits and well pleased with their Academy. Ah! how much Pain have these young Gentlemen cost me, within these three months. The Mountains—the Cold—the Mules—the Houses without Chimneys or Windows—the——. I will not add.
I wish for a Painter to draw me and my Company mounted on Muleback—or riding in the Calashes—or walking; for We walked, one third of the Way. Yet by the Help of constant Care and great Pains and Expence, I have been able to get them all safe to Paris. The other Moyety of the Family is quite as near my Heart, and therefore I hope they will never be ramblers. I am sick of rambling.
If I could transport the other Moyety of the Family across the Atlantick with a Wish and be sure of returning them, when it should become necessary in the same manner, how happy should I be!
I have been received here with much Cordiality, and am daily visited by Characters who do me much Honour. Some day or other you will know I believe, but had better not say at present.
{ 281 }
Your Friend, the Comte D'Estaing, however I ought to mention because you have been acquainted with him. I have dined with him, and he has visited me and I him, and I hope to have many more Conversations with him, for public Reasons, not private, for on a private Account great Men and little are much alike to me.
Mr. Lee and Mr. Izard are going home in the Alliance, and I hope will make you a Visit. How many Vicicitudes they are to experience, as well as I, and all the rest of our Countrymen I know not. The Events of Politicks are not less uncertain than those of War. Whatever they may be, I shall be content. Of one thing I am pretty sure, that if I return again safe to America, I shall be happy the Remainder of my days because I shall stay at home—and at home I must be to be happy.
There is no Improbability at all that I may be obliged to come home again soon, for want [of] means to stay here. I hope however, that Care will be taken that something may be done to supply Us.
My tenderest Affection to my dear Nabby and Tommy. They are better off than their Brothers, after all.
I have been taking measures to send home your Things, my Brothers, Mrs. Cranches, Mr. W. and Mr. S.2 I hope to succeed by the Alliance, it shall not be my fault if I do not. If I cannot send by her I will wait for another Frigate if it is a Year, for I have no Confidence in other Vessells.

[salute] Yours, forever yours.

1. On the Abbés Arnoux and Chalut, warm friends of the American cause and correspondents of JA, Franklin, and Jefferson, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:317; 4:59.
2. Mr. Wibird and Mr. Shute; see JA to AA, 12 Feb., above.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0218

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-26

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

This day I am happy in the News of your safe arrival at Corruna by a vessel arrived at Newbury port in 60 days from thence.1 I cannot be sufficiently thankfull for this agreable intelligence, or for the short, and I hope agreable voyage with which you were favourd. I suppose you will proceed from thence by land and flatter myself that a few weeks will bring me the agreable tidings of your arrival in France.
Capt. Sampson has at last arrived after a tedious passage of 89 days. By him came 3 Letters for you, 2 from Mr. Lee and one from Mr. Gellee. Both these Gentlemen are pleasd to make mention of me.2 You { 282 } will therefore return my Respectfull complements to them, and tell them that I esteem myself honourd by their notice.
I wrote you by Mr. Austin who I hope is safely arrived. He went from here in the height of the sublimist winter I ever saw. In the latter part of December and beginning of Janry. there fell the highest snow known since the year 1740, and from that time to this day the Bay has been froze so hard that people have walked, road, and sleded, over it to Boston; it was froze across Nantasket road, so that no vessel could come in or go out; for a month.3 For 30 days after the storms, we had neither snow, rain, or the least Thaw. It has been remarkably Healthy, and we have lived along tolerably comfortable, tho many people have sufferd greatly for fuel.
The winter has been so severe that very little has been attempted, and less performed by our army. The Enemy have been more active and mischievous; but have fail'd in their Grand attempt of sending large succours to Gorgia: by a severe storm which dispersed and wrecked many of their Fleet.
We have hopes that as the combined Fleets are again at sea, that they will facilitate a Negotiation for peace—a task arduous and important, beset with many dangers.
In one of those Letters Received by Capt. Sampson, Mr. Gellee mentions a report which was raised and circulated concerning you, after you left France.
The best reply that could possibly be made to so groundless an accusation, is the unsolicited testimony of your Country, in so speedily returning you there, in a more honorable and important Station, than that which you had before sustaind.
Pride, vanity, Envy, Ambition and malice, are the ungratefull foes that combat merrit and Integrity. Tho for a while they may triumph to the injury of the just and good, the steady, unwearied perseverence of Virtue and Honour will finally prevail over them. He who can retire from a publick Life to a private Station, with a self approveing conscience, unambitious of pomp or power has little to dread from the machinations of envy, the snares of treachery, the Malice of Dissimulation, or the Clandestine stabs of Calumny. In time they will work their own ruin.
You will be solicitous to know how our Constitution prospers. Convention are still setting. I am not at present able to give you an accurate account of their proceedings, but shall endeavour to procure a satisfactory one against a more direct conveyance.
I earnestly long to receive from your own hand an assurance of your safety and that of my dear Sons.
{ 283 }
I send all the journals, and papers I have received. All our Friends are well, and desire to be rememberd. Enclosed is a list of Taxes, since December. In April a much larger is to be collected to pay Penobscot score.4
Complements to Mr. Dana. His unkle is recoverd from a plurisy which threatned his life, but Mrs. Dana will no doubt write by this conveyance which renders it unnecessary for me to be perticuliar.5
Success attend all your endeavours for the publick weal and [that] the happiness and approbation of your Country be the Reward of your Labours is the ardent wish of your affectionate
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia Feb. 26,” with “1780” added in CFA's hand. Enclosures not found. LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “To the Honble. john Adams Minister Plenipotentary residing at Paris.” The two texts vary in many particulars that scarcely affect the substance. Both were carelessly written and punctuated. The text given here has been slightly repunctuated to indicate ends of sentences. In presenting his text in JA–AA, Familiar Letters, p. 377–379, CFA not only revised AA's punctuation, spelling, and grammar as usual, but eliminated colloquial expressions (e.g. “tolerably comfortable” becomes “very comfortable”) and struck out domestic and personal items toward the close of the letter.
1. This news had evidently been brought by Captain Trash (or Trask), who had arrived at Newburyport on 23 Feb.; see Thaxter to AA, 15 Dec. 1779, above.
2. Only one of Arthur Lee's letters can be identified with certainty, that of 24 Sept. 1779 (Adams Papers, with a “3plicate,” which was not likely to have been sent by the same vessel). The letter from N. M. Gellée was written from “Chaalons en Champagne,” 11 Oct. 1779 (Adams Papers). Gellée had earlier served in a secretarial capacity at the headquarters of the American Commissioners in Passy; see Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., index. Concerning his letter see, further, AA to Mrs. Warren, 28 Feb., below.
3. Thus punctuated in MS. Text of LbC suggests that “for a month” should have been scratched out in RC.
4. That is, to pay for the costly and unsuccessful Massachusetts expedition against the British in Penobscot Bay in the preceding summer.
5. Dana's uncle was the distinguished colonial judge Edmund Trowbridge (1709–1793), now in retirement in Cambridge; Dana's wife was the former Elizabeth Ellery (Elizabeth Ellery Dana, The Dana Family in America, Cambridge, 1956, p. 473, 486; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 8:520).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0219

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1780-02-26

Abigail Adams to John Quincy and Charles Adams

[salute] My Dear Sons

I am happy to hear of your safe arrival tho not at the port, I wished to hear you were. You will however have a more extensive opportunity of seeing that part of the world, if you travel by land to France.
I wrote you largely by Mr. Austin which I hope you have received. A very soar hand prevents my writing many things which I have in my mind, and which will be committed to paper as soon as I am able to write without pain. I shall daily expect Letters from you. I have for• { 284 } warded Letters to Mr. Thaxter from his Friends here, and hope he is well.
You have by your absence mist the view of a most uncommon winter, but this I suppose you will not regret, as the climate to which you are gone is more Friendly to Health and Spirits, consequently to Genius.
I have requested your sister to write, but she has not forgot that her Brother is a critick and chuses to bestow her favours upon those who will deal more candidly1 with her. She however presents her Love to you, as does Master Thommy who is very desirious I should write you to send him some Almonds, and acquaint you with Lady Trips2 Health, and prospect of increase—and to his Brother Charles that his favorite Songster is alive, has been well nourished and carefully attended through the winter, and now repays all his care by the Melody of her voice.
Your Grandpappa sends his Love to you and says you must write him a Letter in French.
I indulge myself in the fond hope of seeing the return of my Dear Sons in some future day improved in person and mind. They will not I hope dissapoint the affectionate wishes of their
[signed] Mother
1. A slip of the pen for either “more kindly” or “less candidly”?
2. Doubtless the family dog.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0220

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-02-26

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams

Last Evening we had an Account from Newbury that a Vessell was Arrived there from Bilbao, but haveing stopt att Coronia, brings the Agreeable news of your having Arrived att that port after a very short passuage.
I sent word to day to Mrs. Adams, and iff any letters should come to hand from Newbury, shall forward them. But as yet no letters are come, Occasiond by the badness of the roads. I sent word to Mrs. Adams of this Conveyance but as I am just told the Vessell will sail sooner than was expected that am Affraid she wont get her letters down in Season.—Capt. Sampson is Arrived att Plymouth after a passuage of 90. odd days. There were two letters for you which I sent Mrs. Adams.—We have nothing very new from the so[uth] Ward. You have heard of the great forse gone from York to Georgia. We have had a Vessell arrived here that came a thaught of One of the fleet, { 285 } which was in distress, haveing carried away three Masts and lost all there horses being 25, and they suppose that every horse in the fleet was lost which they say was Twelve hundred and upwards, which will be a great damage to them and itts probable many of the fleet have suffered greatly as they had two very severe stormes after they left York.—I suppose you may be wanting to here how Constitution work goes on, which is but very slowly. They have been seting two Months. One third of the time disputing whether itt would be best to proceed on Account of there being so few Members, there not being but about 50 for sometime, and the Most that has been to this day is not One hundred.1 They have Agreed to have a govenor, Lt. Govr., a Senate and a privey Councel, but the Country Gen[tleme]n dont choose that the Govr. should have much power, but finally agreed that he should have a revisal of all Acts, and is to give his reasons iff he dont Approve of them, and after being disapproved iff two thirds of both houses Agrees then itt shall pass and be enacted.
I hope itt will be finally finisht so as to take place, and will iff the Country party dont hinder itt, as many of them seem to be Affraid of every thing that has the Apperance of power or dignity Assentiall to a governor or goverment.—We have had One of the severest Winters for many years, not so much snow since the Year 1713. Our harbour has been shut up for a long time till within these few days. Your da[ugh]ter was with us the Other day, who came on the Ice all the way, and people have come from farr below. I forward this to the care of Mr. John Hodshon Mer[chan]t in Amsterdam. This Vessell is to return here Again, & are Sr. Yr. hume. Servt.,
[signed] Isaac Smith
PS I have to day received some letters by the Vessell from Coronia, but none as yet come to hand for Mrs. Adams iff any, but two from Allen to his brother.
Mrs. Adams has not sent any letter to go by this Conveyance, nor Mrs. Dana to whom I sent word of the Conveyance.
The Convention have Voted to Choose represantatives in the Old way and that all incorporated Towns that have heitherto sent Members should still have the liberty, but for the futer, no new Town to send One unless there be 150 Voters in the Town.
I forward you a peice of a News paper.2
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams”; endorsed: “M. Smith. Feb. 26. 1780. ansd. 16. May.” Enclosure not found, but see note 2.
{ 286 }
1. Only forty-seven out of some three hundred towns were represented when the third session of the Convention at length voted to proceed to business. It is noteworthy, however, that on that day, 27 Jan., the Convention voted “That the galleries be opened during the sitting of the Convention”—an action that helps explain Smith's detailed knowledge of the deliberations he reports here. See Mass. Constitutional Convention, 1779–1780, Journal, p. 55–57.
2. JA's reply, 16 May, below, indicates that the enclosure contained an account of Capt. Daniel Waters' recent successful cruise in the armed ship Thorn of Boston. Such an account appeared in the Boston Gazette, 21 Feb., p. 2, col. 1–2, which must therefore have been the newspaper extract sent by Smith to JA, who promptly circulated copies for reprinting in European papers. See also MHS, Colls., 77 (1927):299–300, which reprints part of the Gazette's news story.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0221

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-02-27

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

The House of Joseph Guardoqui and Sons of Bilbao, have sent you some necessaries to the Amount of about 200 Dollars, by Captain Babson of N[ewbury] Port, belonging to Mr. Tracy, and I have ordered them to send duplicates and Triplicates, by other good Opportunities. I have also written to Mr. Moylan of L'orient to send all the Things of which you gave me Minutes, for yourself, Mr. W[ibird], M. S[hute], my Brother and Mrs. W[arren], by the Alliance.1 If these things should all arrive safe, they will be of Use.
I am afraid however to send more, which I wish to do, because I am not sure of Remittances, nor of Authority to draw upon a Gentleman here. I wish you would give a hint to Mr. L[ovell] of the Embarrassment I shall be in, if he does not send me the Necessary, either in Bills, Merchandizes, or Orders to draw upon he knows whom.
The English are more in a Disposition to go to War with one another, I think than to make Peace, with the rest of the World, at present. But notwithstanding a few late successes, they will have their Hands full another Campaign.
I am told I am to be presented to the King and Royal Family, soon.
I have delivered your Letter to Madam Grand, and she makes a thousand Compliments upon it.2 It is indeed a fine Letter, and I confess myself very proud of it, as I am of my two Boys, who behave very well. My two other Children, are however, I think oftener in my Mind, altho I think their Morals and studies too, under a safer directress. Yet the Academy where they are is very well governed.
Mr. Thaxter is of more Service to me than you can well imagine. He is steady, prudent, firm, faithful and indefatigable. He is a great { 287 } Expence to me, and must unavoidably be, but I am very happy in having taken him.
Mr. Dana has enjoyed very good Health since his Arrival here. His Headachs have left him entirely.
I hope my dear Nabby pursues her studies, what would I give that I could assist her?
The Marquis de la Fayette is going as well as Mr. Lee and Mr. Izard, and further the Court have divided the American Continent into three districts, for their Consuls, and have appointed Mr. Holker to the Middle one, Mr.[]to the southward and Monsieur De L'Etombe, for the northern Department, or the Eastern states, to reside at Boston where he will soon go.3 I shall write by him.

[salute] Yours Yours &c.

1. See JA to James Moylan, 22 Feb. (LbC, Adams Papers), quoted in a note on JA's letter to AA of 12 Feb., above.
2. This letter is lost, but see JA to AA, 23 Sept. 1778; Thaxter to AA, 16–27 Feb. 1780, both above.
3. The three consuls were John (or Jean) Holker, the younger, who was to be stationed at Philadelphia; Charles François, Chevalier d'Anmours, at Baltimore; and Philippe André Joseph de Létombe, at Boston. Copies of their commissions are in PCC No. 128; see also Howard C. Rice Jr., “French Consular Agents in the United States, 1778–1791,” Franco-American Review, 1:368–370 (Spring 1937). On Holker and his family, whom JA had known in France, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:54–56; and on Anmours, see Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 3:162–166 and passim.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0222

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1780-02-28

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren

How does my Dear Mrs. Warren through a long and tedious Winter? in which I have never been honourd with a single line from her hand. Possibly she may think me underserving of her favours; I will not presume to lay claim to them upon the score of merrit, but surely she should have charitably considered my lonely State, and Brightned the Gloomy hour with the Benign Rays of her Friendship dispenced through her elegant pen.1
A Succession of tormenting whitlows has prevented me from inquiring after the Health of my much valued Friend. Those difficulties being now removed I have the pleasure of making that inquiry? and of communicating to her the agreable intelligance I received last week, by a vessel arrived at Newburyport from Corruna in Spain, of the safe arrival of Mr. Adams at that Port, in Eighteen days2 after he left Bos• { 288 } ton. I have not as yet, received any Letters, nor any certain account why they made that port, it is rumourd that the vessel sprung a leak.
I suppose he will proceed by land to France tho a journey of 700 miles, from whence I hope soon to be favourd with the certainty of his arrival.
By Capt. Sampson there came two Letters, one from Mr. Lee [and] one from a Mr. Gellée, to Mr. Adams. By Mr. Lee's I find that affairs go on in the old course at Passy. “The Counsel there is composed of the same Honorable Members, says Mr. Lee, as when you left it, with the reinforcement of Samll. Wharton, Samll. Petrie and the Alexanders, a match is concluded between one of the daughters and Jonathan Williams this August and natural family compact will I hope promote the publick as well as private Interests.”3
There is a party in France of worthless ambitious intrigueing Americans, who are disposed to ruin the reputation of every Man whose Views do not coinside with their selfish Schemes. Of this you will be satisfied when I tell you that Mr. Gellee writes thus,
“After your departure reports were circulated here that you were gone to England and that during your Station here, you had entertaind an Illicit correspondence with the British Ministry. It was even published here that Mr. Samll. Adams had headed a conspiration and contrived to surrender Boston to the English. In vain did I endeavour to shew them the absurdity of the former opinion, by your embarking in the same ship with the Chevalier, but you know the people in this country are in general very Ignorant of American affairs which give designing Men an opportunity to shew their Malignity.”4
How happy my dear Madam would America have been, had it been her Lot, to have contended only with foreign Enemies, but the rancour of her internal foes have renderd the task of the patriot peculiarly difficult and Dangerous.
I sometimes contemplate the situation of my absent Friend, honourd as he is at present with the confidence of his Country, as the most critical and hazardous Embassy to his reputation, his honour, and I know not but I may add life, that could possibly have been entrusted to him. I view him beset with the machinations of envy, the Snares of Treachery, the malice of Dissimulation and the Clandestine Stabs of Calumny.
Can the Innocence of the dove or the wisdom of a more subtle animal screne him from all these foes? Can the strictest integrity and the most unwearied exertions for the benefit and happiness of Mankind secure to him more, than the approbation of his own Heart.
{ 289 }
All other applause without that would be of small Estimation, yet one would wish not to be considerd as a selfish, designing, Banefull foe, when they have worn out their lives in the service of their country.
Those who Envy him, his situation see not with my Eyes, nor feel with my Heart. Perhaps I feel and fear too much.5
I have heard this winter of a Letter from a Lady to her son containing Strictures upon Lord Chesterfields Letters. I have not been favourd with a sight of it, tho I have wished for it. A collection of his Lordships Letters came into my Hands this winter which I read, and tho they contain only a part of what he has written, I found enough to satisfy me, that his Lordship with all his Elegance and graces, was a Hypocritical, polished Libertine, a mere Lovelace, but with this difference, that Lovelace was the most generous Man of the two, since he had justice sufficient to acknowledge the merrit he was distroying, and died penitently warning others, whilst his Lordship not content himself with practiseing, but is in an advanced age, inculcateing the most immoral, pernicious and Libertine principals into the mind of a youth whose natural Guardian he was, and at the same time calling upon him to wear the outward Garb of virtue6 knowing that if that was cast aside, he would not be so well able to succeed in his persuits.
I could prove to his Lordship were he living that there was one woman in the world who could act consequentially more than 24 hours, since I shall dispise to the end of my days that part of his character. Yet I am not so blinded by his abuse upon our sex, as not to allow his Lordship the merrit of an Elegant pen, a knowledge of Mankind and a compiler of many Excellent maxims and rules for the conduct of youth, but they are so poisoned with a mixture of Libertinism that I believe they will do much more injury than benifit to Mankind. I wish my dear Madam you would favor me with a coppy7 of the Letter said to be in your power.8
How does that patient sufferer Mrs. Lothrope? She is one of those who is to be made perfect through sufferings, nor will the prediction be unaccomplished in her, my affectionate regard to her, and a tender commiseration for her sufferings.
I spent a most agreable Evening with you not long since in immagination. I hope to realize it in the approaching Spring.

[salute] My respectfull regards to Generall Warren, complements to my young Friends from their and your affectionate Friend,

[signed] Portia
My Daughter presents her duty and reflects with pleasure upon the winter she so agreably spent with you. She remembers Master George with affection, the other young Gentlemen with complacency.
{ 290 }
RC (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed at head of text in two unidentified hands: “Mrs. Abigail Adams Feb. 28th 1780 No. 11.”Dft (Adams Papers); incomplete; docketed by CFA: “April 1780”; see notes 5–7.
1. It may be noted in passing that this sentence is worthy (if that is the word) of Mrs. Warren herself, and that in writing to this correspondent AA tended to take on Mrs. Warren's flowery mode of expression.
2. By any count this is five days short of the time the voyage actually took. The Sensible had sailed from the outer harbor of Boston on 15 Nov. and reached El Ferrol on 8 December.
3. Quoted from Arthur Lee's letter to JA of 24 Sept. 1779 (Adams Papers); see AA to JA, 26 Feb., above. For the members of Franklin's circle mentioned by Lee, see Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., index. Mariamne, daughter of William Alexander, married Franklin's grandnephew, Jonathan Williams, in Sept. 1779; see Franklin, Papers, ed. Labaree, 1:lviii; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:62, 134.
4. Quoted from N. M. Gellée's letter to JA of 11 Oct. 1779 (Adams Papers); see AA to JA, 26 Feb., above.
5. This paragraph is not in Dft.
6. Remainder of this sentence is not in Dft.
7. Dft ends at this point.
8. A copy of the paper here alluded to was later furnished to AA and survives in the Adams Papers as a five-page MS in an unidentified hand captioned “Remarks on Lord Chesterfield's Letters from a Lady to her Son,” dated at Plymouth, 24 Dec. 1779, and signed “M. W.” In it Mrs. Warren characterizes Chesterfield, as revealed in his letters to his natural son, as a monument of “finished Turpitude.” The volume in which AA read the now famous but then highly controversial letters, first published in 1774, has not been found. Early in 1776 AA had requested JA to buy her a copy in Philadelphia, but he declined to do so, on the ground that she would not wish to have in her library a work so “stained with libertine Morals and base Principles,” and she had meekly submitted to his judgment; see above, vol. 1:359, 376, 389. Eventually AA saw to it that Mrs. Warren's strictures on Chesterfield were published in a Boston newspaper; see AA to Nathaniel Willis, ante 4 Jan. 1781, vol. 4 below.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0223

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-02-28

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I have sent you, one yard of fine Cambrick, at 14 Livres an Ell, two of a coarser sort at 6 Livres an Ell. Eight India Handkerchiefs at 6 Livres each and three of another stamp at 6 Livres a Piece. These seem monstrous dear, but I could not get them cheaper.
If the Marquis1 should make you a Visit You will treat him with all Distinction that is due to his Merit and Character, as well as his Birth and Rank which are very high.
He has been the invariable and indefatigable Friend of America, in all Times, Places and Occasions, and his Assiduity have2 done Us much service. He is my particular Friend, and therefore deserves from mine, the greatest Respect, on my private Account as well as on the public.
RC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Portia”; addressed: “Mrs. John { 291 } Adams Braintree near Boston favd. by the Marquis de la Fayette To be sunk in Case of Capture.”
1. Lafayette; see the following letter.
2. Thus in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0224

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-02-28

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I have already sent to the Marquis de la Fayette, a Number of Letters for you, and the Children, from their Brothers, who favoured me with their Company last night and are just gone off to the Accademy. Charles's Master is full of his Praises, and John I think is more solid and steady than ever.
In two of the Letters to you, you will find no Writing, only a small Present to you and Miss Nabby, not meaning to exclude Mr. Tommy. I will endeavour to send more little Things of this Nature in the same manner, by several Opportunities. I can send small Things in this Way by Gentlemen, who may go by french Frigates or other good Opportunities, and I wish you would inform me, what Things you want that may be sent in the same manner.
I hope the Marquis will do your Ladyship the Honour of a Visit, at Braintree, and am sure he will if he comes to Boston and is not too impatient to get to the Field of Honour, which from the Keenness of his Passion for Glory, may very possibly be the Case.
The Marquis has a son since his Arrival in Europe, whom he has named George, not from the King of G.B. but his Friend Washington.1
Dr. F. told me News Yesterday, which he has from England, but it seems too extraordinary to me, to be true. That the Irish Parliament have repealed Poynings Law:2 declared that no Legislature has Authority over Ireland, but the Irish Houses of Lords and Commons and the King of Ireland, and prohibited all Appeals from the House of Lords in Ireland to the House of Lords in England —and sent these Laws to England for Approbation of the King. Ireland to be sure is not yet quieted, by all Lord Norths Address, which contrasted with his Conduct to America is curious.3
We have no News from America since Christmas, and very little since We sailed from Boston.
According to present Appearances the Field of Action the next Campaign will be the West India Islands.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs: John Adams Braintree near Boston Favd. by the Marquis de la Fayette. To be sunk in case of Capture.”
{ 292 }
1. George Washington Lafayette was born on 24 Dec. 1779 and after an early military career was active in politics most of the rest of his life. He accompanied his father on his tour of the United States, 1824–1825, and died in 1849. See Gottschalk, Lafayette, 3:57–58; Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale. An Card to John Adams Announcing the Birth of George Washington Lafayette, Paris, 1779 facing 212announcement of G. W. Lafayette's birth, on the day it occurred, is in the Adams Papers and is reproduced as an illustration in this volume.
2.
“An act of parliament, made in Ireland (10 Hen. VII. c. 22, A.D. 1495); so called because Sir Edward Poynings was lieutenant there when it was made, whereby all general statutes before then made in England were declared of force in Ireland, which, before that time, they were not” (Black, Law Dictionary).
3. The “News” in this paragraph was almost entirely the product of wishful thinking in Paris. Sympathy on the part of Irish patriots for the American cause and rumored threats of invasion by France, as well, of course, as the Irish people's numerous and long-standing grievances against the British government, had driven Ireland into a state of serious unrest. A vigorous movement for Irish parliamentary independence was in progress, but it failed, and no insurrections of the kind hoped for by the French and Americans took place. See W. E. H. Lecky, A of England in the Eighteenth Century, 8 vols., N.Y., 1878–1890, 4:520–551.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0225

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-01

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I had scarcly closed my packet to you when I received your Letters dated Ferrol and Corunna. I am happy indeed in your safe arrival and escape from the danger which threatned you.

“Alas how more than lost were I,

Who in the thought already die.”

I feel glad that you have determined to proceed by land tho so tedious and expensive a journey. I grow more and more apprehensive of the dangers of the sea, tho I have really no Right to Quarrel with old Neptune, since he has 3 times safely transported my Friend. Tho he has grumbled and growld, he has not shewn the extent of his power.
I hope you will meet with so much pleasure and entertainment in your journey, as will be some [comp]ensation1 for the fatigues of it, and the recital amuse me whenever you can find opportunity to communicate it.
The sailors you relieved at Corunna passt through this Town, and told their story at Brackets, where a Number of persons collected 40 dollors for them. I wished they had called upon me, I should have been glad to have assisted them.
Enclosed are a few journals received yesterday. Am rejoiced to hear my Charles behaves so well, but he always had the faculty of gaining { 293 } Hearts, and is more mournd for in this Neighbourhood than I could have believed if I had not heard it. Adieu most affectionately your
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams Esqr. Paris”; endorsed: “Portia Recd, and ansd. 17. May,” to which CFA added “1780.” Enclosed “journals [of Congress]” not found.
1. MS torn by seal.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0226

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1780-03-02

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear son

I cannot close the packet, without acknowledging the recept of your Letter, and thanking you for it.
You have great reason for thankfullness to your kind preserver, who hath again carried you through many dangers, preserved your Life and given you an opportunity of making further improvements in virtue and knowledge. You must consider that every Moment of your time is precious, if trifled away never to be recalled. Do not spend too much of it in recreation, it will never afford you that permanant satisfaction which the acquisition of one Art or Science will give you, and whatever you undertake aim to make yourself perfect in it, for if it is worth doing at all, it is worth doing well.
I have written to you several times since your absence, and as you are seperated from me I must endeavour to supply my absence by continuing to you all the advise I am capable of giving you. To know that you attend to it will be ample satisfaction to your ever affectionate
[signed] AA
1. MS reads: “March 2 11780,” which has hitherto been read (erroneously, the editors believe) as “March 21 1780.”

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0227

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Thaxter, John
Date: 1780-03-02

Abigail Adams to John Thaxter

[salute] Dear sir

I must attempt a few lines to you (tho very much troubled with whitlows upon my fingers) in reply to your favours from Ferrol and Corruna, which gave me much pleasure and entertainment.
I rejoiced at your safety after the hazard you run of a spacious Grave.
I think myself fortunate in having received all the Letters that my { 294 } Friends have written since their absence, by which means I follow them through all their various stages, and partake in their pleasures and sympathize in their Dangers.
I have ever thought that in the seperation of near and Dear Friends, and you know I have often experienced it, that the one who was left behind was the greatest sufferer, for the Mind must necessarily accompany the Body, and while that is in motion, it feels a kind of rotation too. Diversity of objects take of the attention, whilst the Lonely Being who is left behind, has no other amusement but to sit down and brood over the dangers and hazards to which the other may be exposed, the Hair Breadth Scapes, to which they are incident. Anticipated evils have often as much power over the mind as real ones. To guard against this imbecility of the mind an ancient Author observes “that sufficient unto the day was the Evil thereof.”
You have given me an agreable account of the country through which you passt, but not a word of the Dulcinas. There is surely a language common to all Countries by which a young Gentleman of your age and penetration might have discoverd some of the charms and accomplishments of the fair inhabitants.
I dare say the parisian Ladies will rouse you from that Apathy in which you have so securely slumberd all your days. I would not have you an Infidel to their power, yet whilst you bow before it; guard against being conquered by it, reserve that triumph for some fair American, who will

“charm by accepting, by submitting sway.”

I have had the pleasure of making your Friends very happy by forwarding your Letters to them from time to time, and I have enclosed under cover to Mr. Adams a Number for you.
I hope you will continue to entertain me as you have leisure and opportunity with a recital of all you meet with worth communicating to your affectionate Friend
[signed] AA
RC (MB); addressed: “To Mr. John Thaxter Parris”; endorsed twice by Thaxter: “Mrs. Adams 2. March 1780. R[eceived] 17. May.”

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0228

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-03-07

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

The Post but now arrived will be again on his Way in an Hour; I retire therefore from a Circle of public Debate, to acknowledge, at a { 295 } Side-Window, your Favor of February 13th. this Moment unsealed. I admire the Remarks. Be persuaded, lovely Moralist, to indulge me with a Sight of what occasioned them—“Passages of Letters of January 6th. and 18th.”1 I shall be much chagrined if you do not comply. Mutilated as to Names, inclosed without Comment under a bare Superscription to me there will be no Renewal of “Hazard.” You have said “they shall pass the Ordeal.” Let me perform your Vow. It will be done religiously; you may depend upon it. My Head and Heart have known no Moment in which Esteem for Mrs. Adams has not been joined with their Affection for Portia. And, if my Pen has been untrue to that Union, may a Whitlow punish the Fingers that moved it! I am not yet competent by Recollection to venture any Thing further, in Arrest of your Judgement, than a mere Hint, suggested by the last Line of your Quotation respecting Wit. While in Winter I speak to Virgin Portia, only about the keen Air of the Days and the Comfort of my domestic Fire-Side; may I not, to married Lucretia, take Notice of the lonesome tedious Nights, and lament a Seperation from my own faithful Mate? Am I to expect a double Answer? Yea for a Shepherd, Nay for a “Senator.”—I could not rest satisfied without some Explanation; yet every Word that is papered frustrates more and more my Wish and I hope yours for an Oblivion of the Whole so far as relates to any third Person. I am sure something is wrong. I am anxious to know the Degree. I deprecate the Continuance of the Impressions under which you wrote. I would not have a Monument remain either of my real Deficiency of Respect for you or of your Conception of such a Thing. Therefore this Scrawl must be devoted as the 3 others have been.2
The New Minister is much esteemed. Mr. Laurens has only a Clerk with him, as he means to change in Europe as he may find Occasion on Account of Languages. I am pledged to go if chosen, but I have not nor will I utter a Word that shall seem like soliciting. My Inclination is against going. I foresee much Vexation in the Undertaking. I am enraged at the Publication you speak of, tho' no one here has yet seen it. I have heard of it from Mrs. L[ovell] and from a Friend at Portsmouth.
A Vessel that sailed from hence 14 days after Mr. Gerard, got to France in 25 days; so that I am led to hope the Sensible fell in with the same Winds, sailing about the same time.
The Letters by the Mercury were some time prior in date to what we had before received.
As to the Pages of [17]78 which began the Year they were for• { 296 } warded by Mr. Gerard. I have continued —79 under Enclosures to Mr. S. Adams so as that you should also see them unless a Vessel was on the Point of Sailing. I am momentarily in Expectation of being able to give you News of the Arrival of your Husband. It is a favorable Circumstance that we have not yet heard of him Via New York.

[salute] With respectful Affection I am Madam your humble Servant,

[signed] JL
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed letter or letters to Samuel Adams and serial numbers of Journals of Congress not found or further identified.
1. “18th” should read “13th,” as correctly given in AA's letter to Lovell of 13 Feb., above. For Lovell's allusions here and below, see AA's letter.
2. Lovell here left more than half a page blank in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0229

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-03-10

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

I have to thank my Friend Mrs. Adams for a very agreable Letter Received a few days since. I shall make no other Apology for my long silence, but a Frank acknowledgment that I had layed asside my pen in Complesance to her, supposing her time and Attention taken up in more profitable correspondencies. But shall Fail at no time to shew myself Equally ready to Resume it. I Rejoice in the Happy opportunity to Congratulate you on Mr. Adams's arrival in Europe. [I] hope by this time you have Letters, which are the best and almost the only Consolation in the absence of such Friends.
I am obliged for the Communication of some Extracts from Mr. Adams's Friends in France. I think they shew both the spirit of the times and the Industry of our Enemies, but I think they Contain nothing to enhaunce your fears.
The probity of the best of Men may for a time be suspected. But when there is a uniform principle of Integrity, a Man May bid Defiance to the stings of Calumny, for the General sense of Truth still Remaining among mankind will in time do justice to his Character.
Curiosity burns not so high in my Bosom as it has done in Former Days. I feel more Indiferent to the transactions on a Theatre which will soon be taken down, or the actors Removed to more permanent scenes. Yet if there is anything Communicable in your Late letters, it may be an amusement of a solitary Moment, and prolong the Obligations of Friendship.
Having no conveyance for the above it lay till by Mr. Warrens re• { 297 } turn I learn you have again had letters from your Husband, Children and other Friends. You must be very happy in this Circumstance, and suffer me to take a part in your Happiness whether I have the Confidence of a perusal Reposed in me or not.
My son, who designs for France soon will Call on you in the Course of this week.1 He will Execute your Commands thither, or what is of far less Consequence anything you may have for Plimouth.
I delivered the Friendly Messages to my young Gentlemen from your amiable Daughter, And Return their affectionate Complements. I am sure they will Never be behind her in Every Expression of Regard nor is there any Defficiency towards her in the Bosom of her and your assured Friend,
[signed] M. Warren
1. This was Winslow Warren; see the exchange of letters between AA and him, 19 and 26 May, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0230

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1780-03-13

Abigail Adams to Elbridge Gerry

[salute] Sir

Altho this is the first time I ever took up my pen to address you,1 I do it in perfect confidence that you will not expose me, having been long ago convinced that you are the sincere and constant Friend of one deservedly Dear to me, whose honour and character it is my Duty at all times to support.
I observed in a late Philadelphia paper of Janry. 27, that the Philosophical Society had chosen a Number of Members, among whom they were pleased to place The Honorable J[ohn] A[dam]s Esqr. late Member of Congress, no doubt with an intention of confering an Honour upon him. Before him is placed—His Excellency John Jay Esqr. Minister of the united States at the court of Madrid.2
May I ask you Sir, why this distinction? Tho I do not know that you are any ways connected with the Society,3 I presume no person will say that the commission with which Mr. A——s is invested, is of less importance than that of Mr. J—ys. I suppose they both bear the same title of Minister plenipotentary. Mr. A——s had acted under a commission from Congress near two years before Mr. J—ys appointment, which if I am not mistaken, both in the Army and Navy gives a pre'eminence of Rank.
It may be considerd as pride and vanity in me Sir, for ought I know, to take notice of such a circumstance, nor should I have done it, if I { 298 } had not before observed similar Instances with regard to Mr. A——s.
In a publick Society where they mean to Confer an Honorary Distinction, such things as these ought to be attended to, especially as they have a much greater influence abroad where Rank is considerd of more importance than in our Young Country.
I do not Imagine Sir that this distinction was aim'd so much at the person, as the State. You have not been so long conversant with the Southern Department as to be inattentive to4 the jealousy that there is of the Massachusets, and of every Man of any Eminence in it.
Is it not therefore particuliarly incumbent upon the Members of this State carefully to gaurd the Honor of it, and of those who represent it, which never can be done if such Little Stigmas are sufferd to be fixed upon them.
The journals of Congress will sufficently shew the various Departments in which Mr. A——s acted whilst a Member of it. Those who sat with him, are the best judges of the Integrity of his conduct, an ample testimony of which has been given him by the unsolicited honor conferd upon him, in the important Embassy with which he is at present charged. Yet there is envy and jealousy sufficient in the world to seek to lessen a character however benificial to the Country or useful to the State.
Nor are these passions Local. They are the Low, Mean and Sordid inhabitants of all countries and climates, an Instance of which I can give you, with regard to Mr. A——s. When he first arrived in France, he found great pains had been taken to convince all Ranks that the person sent them in a publick character was not the famous A[dam]s.5 Who then could it be? Why some one of no importance, of whom the World never heard before, tho he however was not under the necessity of borrowing a reputation, nor had he any reason to complain of the French court or nation, from whom he received every mark of respect and attention.
A prophet is not without honour save in his own country. By that, he was left in a situation which I need not discribe to you sir who felt it for him, but which I am now satisfied, arose more from the Embarrassment in which foreign affairs were involved, than from any designed slight or neglect of Mr. A——s. Yet the light in which it was viewd abroad gave designing malicious persons an opportunity to shew their malignity, and they improved it to that purpose, for imediately upon Mr. A——s quitting France a report was circulated, (as I have learnt from a Letter lately received from a correspondent of Mr. A——s directed to him) that during his station there, he had entertaind an { 299 } illicit correspondence with the British Ministery, and that he was gone to England. “In vain says the writer did I endeavour to shew them the absurdity of such an opinion, by your embarking in the same ship with the Chevalier, but the people in this country are very Ignorant of American affairs, and eagerly swallow any thing.”6
If Sir America means to be respected abroad, she must chuse out such characters to represent her as will disinterestedly persue her Interest and happiness, in whom she can place an approved confidence, and whenever she is in possession of such characters, she must support them with honour and delicacy, nor hearken to the Machinations of envy, jealousy, vanity or pride. For if those who have stood foremost in her cause, supported her through all her perils and dangers, borne a large share in some of the most hazardous of them, do not find themselves and their characters defended and protected by her, will it be any wonder if she should finally be forsaken by every Man of Merrits withdrawing from her Service.7
I can answer for my absent Friend that he never regarded the appendages of Rank and precedence any other ways than they affected the publick; more Espicially this State, and that he would think himself happier in a private Station, beneath this Humble cottage in the cultivation of his farm, and the Society of his family, than in his envyed Embassy at foreign courts, where tho he possesst the Innocence of the dove, and the wisdom of a more subtle animal, they would be found insufficient to serene him against the Clandestine Stabs of calumny.
I have presumed to write thus freely to you sir, upon a subject which will not bear noticeing to any but a confidential Friend. In that light my dear Mr. A——s has always considerd you, and from the intimate union which constitutes us one, permit me through him, to consider you in the same character and to Subscribe myself your Friend and Humble Servant,
[signed] Portia8
RC (PHarH); endorsed: “Braintree [ . . . ] Mrs. Adams March 13 recd & ansd. Apr 17 1780.” Dft (Adams Papers); at head of text in CFA's hand: “1781.” Of the numerous, mostly minor, variations between RC and Dft, only two are recorded in the notes below.
1. This would seem to preclude Gerry as the intended recipient of AA's draft letter to an unidentified member of the Massachusetts delegation to the Continental Congress, printed above under the assigned date of Jan. 1779. But if, as seems likely, AA did not send that letter, she might then have had Gerry in mind and still have opened a correspondence with him in these terms fourteen months later.
2. The Pennsylvania Packet for 27 Jan. 1780, p. 3, col. 1, carried a notice of twenty-two persons elected to the American Philosophical Society at a meeting on 21st. The list is headed by { 300 } “His Excellency George Washington, Esq; General and Commander in Chief of the Armies of the United States of North America.” Washington and eight others, including Jefferson, La Luzerne, and Marbois, do indeed seem to have been duly elected. But for no fewer than nine other persons in the list, no other record whatever of their election exists (the original minutes of the Jan. 1780 meeting are missing); and three more, namely Jay, Hamilton, and JA, were later elected (in 1787, 1791, and 1793, respectively) without reference to their publicly reported election in 1780. According to Whitfield J. Bell Jr., librarian of the Society, who has kindly furnished information for the present note, this puzzle of the elections of Jan. 1780 and the apparent double elections has never been resolved.
3. Gerry was not a member.
4. Dft: “insensible of.”
5. For the incident of “the fameux Adams,” see JA's diary entry of 11 Feb. 1779 and note there (Diary and Autobiography, 2:351–352). See also Isaac Smith Sr. to JA, 17 June 1778, above.
6. Quoted from N. M. Gellée to JA, 11 Oct. 1779 (Adams Papers).
7. Dft adds at this point the following paragraph, perhaps unintentionally omitted from RC: “We have an Instance of the delicacy and politeness with which foreign courts treat their Servants in the recall of Mr. Gerrard.”
8. Gerry replied not once but twice; see his letters to AA of 17 April and 16 May, below.
AA and, in turn, her correspondent Gerry may seem to have taken a small matter overseriously, but the necessity in the 18th century of using official titles fully and correctly is substantiated in an engaging way (though in a very different connection) in a letter JA addressed on 25 May 1780 to John Bondfield, a merchant friend at Bordeaux who had undertaken many weeks before to supply the wines for JA's legation at Paris. The wines did not arrive and despite repeated inquiries could not be traced. The trouble was, as JA's French friends explained to him after examining his papers relating to the transaction, that the consignment had been addressed simply “to Mr. John Adams at Paris. They say that it should have been addressed to me, by my name and quality and the Hotel and street where I live. So that I dont expect to get a Glass of this Wine to the Lips of any of my Friends these six Weeks, [and] not then without writing many Letters and sending many Messages.” What is more, he continued, he is having the same kind of difficulty with respect to parcels of books and papers from Ostend and the Adams party's trunks which had come by sea from Spain to Brest. Considering the reputation JA later acquired for standing upon punctilio concerning titles of dignity, the conclusion of his letter is instructive:
“There is not a Being upon Earth who has a greater Contempt for all kind of Titles than I have in themselves, but when I find them in this Country not only absolutely necessary to make a mans Character and Office respected, but to the transaction of the most ordinary Affairs of Life, to get a glass of Wine to drink, a pamphlet to read or a shirt to put on, I am convinced of their Importance and necessity here. By the Etiquette of all the Courts in Europe a minister Plenipotentiary has the Title of Excellency, and the wise men of Europe cant believe it possible a Man should be one without it. I therefore request that for the future, you would address every Letter, Pamphlet, Bundle, Case and Cask for me, A Son Excellence, Monsieur Monsieur John Adams Ministre Plenipotentiaire des Etats Unis De L'Amerique, Hotel de Valois, Ruë de Richelieu a Paris” (LbC, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0231

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-03-15

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I have sent you Things from Bilbao, by Captain Babson, and a small { 301 } present by the M. de la Fayette, another by Mr. Lee, another by Mr. Wharton, and shall send another by Mr. Brown, another by Mr. Izard, and perhaps another by the Viscount de Noailles, and the Alliance will bring you and your Neighbours, what you and they wrote for.
I intend to tax every Gentleman who goes from here, towards the Support of my Family so far as to buy the favour of him to take a small present.
I have had the Honour to be presented in Form to the King, Queen and Royal Family of France,2 but see no great Prospect of being presented in a similar manner in London. I fancy, his Majesty of St. James's would not look so placidly upon me, as that of Versailles did, nor the Queen, nor the Princesses and Princesses.3 They would be apt to reflect that I had some hand in disseizing them of some Part of the Inheritance of the Princess Sophia of Hanover altho they are protestants, in Spight of the Act of Settlement.
The West Indies will be according to Appearances the Field of Battle, so you will be at Your Ease, I hope. I hope this will go by the Viscount Noailles, Brother of the Marquise de la Fayette, and an amiable Youth he is.4 I dont know whether to prefer the Marquis to him. He was with the C. D'Estaing in Georgia. I wish Success to all Enterprizes, that are directed at right Objects. I dont pretend to tell Tales nor guess at Secrets. The K[ing] and the General only ought to know.
Rodney and Digby have had a run of Luck, that vexes one a little, but the Tide may turn, and that would be ruin to them, which is only Vexation to their Ennemies.
The Gentlemen, the Children, and servants are well.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams Braintree near Boston To be Sunk in case of Capture <Favd. by the Marquis de Noailles.> Favd. by Mr. Brown.”
1. Dated from what is said in the first sentence of the following letter, in conjunction with the correction (from “the Marquis de Noailles” to “Mr. Brown”) on the address leaf of the present letter.
2. On 7 March; see JA to Samuel Huntington, president of Congress, 8 March (PCC, No. 84, I, printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:539).
3. Thus in MS, probably for “Princes and Princesses.”
4. Louis Marie, Vicomte de Noailles (1756–1804), actually the Marquise de Lafayette's brother-in-law; see note on the Noailles family in JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:84–85.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0232

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-03-15

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Mr. Brown, whom I left at Passy, when I returned to you, and whom I found here, upon my return to Paris,1 will deliver you this and another Letter which I intended to have sent by the Viscount de Noailles, and two small Bundles containing a Piece of Chintz each. The Price is horrid, Sixty Livres a Piece, but I cannot trade, I suppose others would get them at half Price.
If you will make me buy Dittoes2 you must expect to be cheated. I never bought any Thing in my Life, but at double Price.
The Children, with Sammy Cooper dined with me to day. Charles begins to speak French very well, and Cooper too.
Mr. Brown formerly lived with Governor Trumbull.
Captain Carpenter who sailed a few days after me in the Cartell for London dined with me to day. The English Ministry will not allow of an Exchange. He tells me the Gentry of Brompton Row3 firmly believe that America cannot hold out five Months longer.
My Duty to your Father, my Mother, Brothers, sisters, Uncles, Aunts and Cousins.

[salute] Yours Yours, forever and forever.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams Braintree near Boston favoured by Mr. Brown to be sunk in Case of Capture.”
1. Joseph Brown Jr., a young Charlestonian who came to Boston in the Alliance on the voyage in which Captain Landais was deposed. He made a great impression on AA; see her letters of introduction for him to Mrs. Warren, 1 Sept., and to James Lovell, 3 Sept., both below; also The Second Part of the Memorial to Justify Peter Landai's [sic] Conduct during the Late War, N.Y. [1785?], p. 23.
2. That is, other things of the same kind. Compare a passage in JA to AA, 12 Aug. 1776 (vol. 2:90, above): “Here they [the troops in Philadelphia] wait for Canteens, Camp Kettles, Blanketts, Tents, Shoes, Hose, Arms, Flints, and other Dittoes.” The passage just quoted is cited in OED as the earliest use of “Dittoes” as a noun in precisely this sense, and the later examples there cited are not, strictly speaking, parallel in meaning. This is apparently another instance of JA's verbal innovativeness.
3. That is, the colony of American loyalists in London.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0233

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-03-15

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

On Monday Morning I had the Honor to go with his Excellency and Mr. D[ana] to breakfast with the celebrated Abbè Reynald,1 in Com• { 303 } pany with a large Collection of Nobility and Gentry of both Sexes. In opening upon this Company, (which was unexpected to poor me) I felt all that irksome Discomposure and painful Confusion, which so respectable an Assembly of Strangers could produce in one accustomed to humble Life and simple Manners. In this unhappy Predicament I made as respectful a Bow, as Nature, untutored in the Art of Conges, and Confusion would permit. It was a Devoir of Respect unaccompanied with Ease—the latter never was or can be an Accomplishment of mine. I was however soon relieved from this disagreeable Situation, by the Vivacity and repeated Salutations of the venerable Abbey. The Reciprocal Salutations between the Abbey and Ladies formed an Intercourse among them too partial to be highly pleasing to one, who for the first Time had the Mortification to see a Monopoly of Salutations. Who would not have wished to have possessed the pre-eminent Priviledge of being an Abbey? Who would not have readily become a Subject of so tender and pleasant an Administration as that of being saluted by so beautiful Ladies.—But I have done on this Head.
Not long after Breakfast the Abbey introduced to his Excellency a Countess or Marchioness, who had expressed a great desire to see the Man, who had taken so able a part in bringing about a Revolution, which She approv'd. The Beauty, the Softness, the Delicacy and the Ease of this Lady were striking. Do you approve of the Revolution says the Abbey? Yes answerd the Lady.—You therefore, subjoined the Abbey, approve of his Excellency.—Oui Monsieur, replied the Lady.—I thanked her silently and cordially for this Testimony to the Merit of the Man I love, esteem and respect, as I did many other Ladies, to whom the same Questions were put, and to which the same Answers were given. The Abbey observed that the Name of his Excellency would be respected for ever.—Yes, replied he, if the Abbey Reynald should insert the Name in his celebrated Works. This Compliment the Abbey felt most sensibly.
After passing an agreeable Morning at the Abbey's we went to Mr. Grand's where we dined and where I had the Honor of being introduced to Madam Grand and Mademoiselle Labhar her Niece. Madam Grand is a worthy and respectable Character. Mademoiselle her Niece, is a pretty young Lady, has great Vivacity, a fine blooming Countenance, and a fortune of £800 sterling [a] Year. She is a fine Girl.
The Seal that I have chosen for my Letters may appear curious.2 It is not an emblem of my past Life, nor do I think it emblematical of the future. The Motto is “bonne Moisson.” I was not born with a Silver Spoon in my Mouth, nor have I ever reapt Harvests, nor do I wish { 304 } to reap any, but two—viz., the one a decent and comfortable Subsistence, the other the Happiness, Comforts and Enjoyments of a tender Partner, with whom I may share in the pleasures of the first.
Your dear Sons dined with Us to day. They are in good Health, and live happily at the Pension.
My Respects, Duty and Compliments where due if you please.

[salute] I have the Honor to be, with the most perfect Esteem and Respect, your most obedient & very humble Servant.

1. Guillaume Thomas François, Abbé Raynal (1713–1796), author of one of the most popular works of the French Enlightenment, Histoire philosophique et politique des établissemens et du commerce des Européens dans les deux Indes, Amsterdam, 1770, which was frequently reissued and widely read in translation as well as in French (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale). For surviving copies of this and other works by Raynal owned by JA, see Catalogue of JA's Library. JA's first impressions of Raynal, highly favorable, are recorded in diary entries of Feb. 1779; see Diary and Autobiography, 2:344.
2. No example of this seal has as yet been found.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0234

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-03-16

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Portia

I have never answered your Letter of the 8th. of June,1 that I remember, and there is nothing in it that requires a particular Answer but it affects me, with a Pleasure and a Tenderness and an Anxiety and a Pain, that I cannot describe to you, as all your Letters ever did and ever will, that describe your own sentiments and your own Distresses as well as those of our Country. They are the Delight of my Soul.
Captain Bartlet, who is escaped from an English Prison, will carry this.2 He will dine with me today, with Captain Nathaniel Cutting,3 and another American, but are in such Haste and going off this Afternoon, so that I have no time to be particular only to say, that my fine Boys are well and behave well, which will give Joy to your Heart as it does to mine.
Remember me to your father and my Mother, to your two dear Pledges, and to all Friends. Thaxter learns french fast. He is very clever.
Captain Chevagne, who ceases not to sing the high Praises of Boston and Braintree, writes me his desire that I would present his Respects to you, and to tell you that he hopes one day to carry me back, to you.
{ 305 }
No News, since the Dismal Tales of Rodneys League with old Harry, for one would think nothing less would have given him so much Luck, but his Friend will leave him in the Lurch.
Pray give me, in all your Letters, the Price currant.
1. 8 June 1779, above; see note 6 there.
2. Probably Nicholas Bartlett Jr., master of the brigantine Favorite, who had been captured in April 1778 (Mass. Soldiers and Sailors).
3. Of Brookline, Mass., a ship captain who was long in the employ of Nathaniel Tracy of Newburyport and who, after a wandering life both by land and sea, was for many years to hold a minor post in the War Department in Washington, where he died about 1822 (Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 9:352; MHS, Procs., 1st ser., 12 [1871–1873]:60–67).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0235

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-03-16

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Portia

I have not particularly answered your amiable Letter of 10 Decr. Your tender Anxiety distresses me, much: I hope your Faith however, has returned before now with your Spirits. If Captain Trash arrived safe from Corunna you have heard from me, or if Babson from Bilboa.
Your delicate Charles is as hardy as a flynt. He sustains every thing better than any of Us, even than the hardy Sailor his Brother. He is a delightful little fellow. I love him too much. My fellow Travellers too are very well. Mr. D[ana']s head ack is perfectly cured—not a groan nor a wry look.
There are some ladys, one at least that can never be odious, by Sea nor Land, yet she would have been miserable in both if she had been with me. The Governor of Gallicia told me I risqued a great deal to bring my two [sons]1 with me, but I should have risqued my All if I had brought you.
We have a calm at present: no News from America, nor from any other Quarter since the long Roll of Rodneys successes, which have made the English very saucy for the Moment, but this will not last long.
Captain Carpenter of the Cartel ship has been here from London and dined with me yesterday. They took his ship from him, and refused the Exchange of Prisoners. Thus ill natured are they. The Refugees, according to him are in bad Plight, not having received their Pensions these 18 Months, which are detained on some Pretence of waiting for Funds from Quebec. Yet they console themselves with the Thought that America cannot hold out another six Months. Thus { 306 } Whally and Goffe expected Deliverance, Glory and Tryumph every day by the Commencement of the Millenium, but died without seeing it.2 Governor Hutchinsons son Billy died in London about 3 Weeks ago.3

[salute] Yours, ever and forever.

1. Editorially supplied for a word missing in MS.
2. Edward Whalley and William Goffe, the regicides; they fled to America at the Restoration and died obscurely (DNB, under both names).
3. William Sanford Hutchinson (b. 1752), Harvard 1770, died on 20 Feb. 1780 (Harvard Quinquennial Cat.; Hutchinson, Diary and Letters, 2:341–342).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0236

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Date: 1780-03-16

John Adams to Isaac Smith Sr.

[salute] Sir

I duly received your Favour of December the 12, and thank you for your Attention to the Widows, whose Letters came safe by the same Conveyance.1 The Way of Spain is a very good one to send light Letters containing any interesting Intelligence, but large Packetts mount the Postage so high as to make it too heavy. The Method of cutting out from Newspapers interesting Paragraphs, and inclosing them, would do well. The loose Leaves of the Journals of Congress, recent ones I mean, I should be glad to have in this and all other Ways.
When I was in Spain I formed an Acquaintance with Mr. Michael Lagoanere of Corunna, a Merchant of the best Character, most extensive Business, and first Fortune in that Place. If your Vessells should ever touch at Corunna or Ferrol, or Vigo even, they cannot be addressed to a better Man. I also became acquainted with the House of Joseph Guardoqui and Sons, who will take the best Care of any Letters or Papers that may be sent to me, and will send any Thing Mrs. Adams may want of small amount and draw upon me for the Money, at Paris.
My respects to Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Gray and your son and Miss Betcy,2 I say Mrs. Gray alone because I fear by your Letter Mr. Gray is no more.3
I dont know whether this Letter will go by Mr. Brown, a young Gentleman who has been here some time, from America, or by the Viscount de Noailles. The latter is one of the most illustrious young Noblemen in this Kingdom, full of military Ardour and the most amiable Dispositions, in short fit to be as he is the Brother of the Marquis de la Fayette. Mr. Izzard also and Mr. Lee are going to Bos• { 307 } ton, where I hope they will be treated with all the Respect that is due to their well known Characters. I am, sir, with great Respect, your most obt.
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:Smith-Carter Papers); endorsed: “John Adams Esqr. Paris March 16. 1780.” LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. Smith's letter of 12 Dec. 1779 and the letters of “the Widows” it enclosed have not been found.
2. Elizabeth (1770–1849), youngest daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth (Storer) Smith; in 1813 she married Jonathan P. Hall of Boston. See Adams Genealogy.
3. Mrs. Gray was Mary (or Polly), another daughter of the Smiths. In 1777 she married Edward Gray, a Boston merchant, who died at the age of 29 in Dec. 1779; there is a brief obituary of him in the Continental Journal, 23 Dec. 1779, p. 3, col. 2. In 1782 his widow married Samuel Allyne Otis. See vol. 2:356, above, and Adams Genealogy.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0237

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-16

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

My Work for a day.
Make Latin,  
Explain   Cicero  
  Erasmus2  
  Appendix3  
Peirce   Phaedrus.4  
Learn   greek Racines5  
  greek Grammar  
Geography  
geometry  
fractions  
Writing  
Drawing6  
As a young boy can not apply himself to all those Things and keep a remembrance of them all I should desire that you would let me know what of those I must begin upon at first. I am your Dutiful Son,
[signed] John Quincy Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsieur Adams Hotel de Valois Richlieu A Paris,” with sender's address written in JQA's hand across one corner of the cover: “Ecole de Mathematiques.” Postmarked: “16 4e. Lvee. K/EI BANL E/P.D 3S,” the very last element being handwritten, the others stamped; see facsimile of cover reproduced as an illustration in this volume, and the Descriptive List of Illustrations, p. John Quincy Adams Lists His Studies and Seeks His Father's Advice following 212xvii–xviii, above, which attempts an elucidation of these markings of the Petite Poste de { 308 } Paris prior to its attachment to the Grande Poste in July 1780; compare also the postal markings on JQA's letter of 21 March, below. Endorsed: “My Son.” The name “Bethune” appears in John Thaxter's hand on the cover sheet, but this must have been written later for a purpose not now apparent.
1. Date supplied from the postmark (“16”) in combination with JA's reply of 17 March, following.
2. Probably a Latin edition of Erasmus' Colloquia, of which there were many prepared for French students' use from the early 16th century on. Among the many works by Erasmus at MQA, most of them no doubt acquired by JQA, are two editions of the Colloquia, an Elzevir published at Amsterdam, 1679, and a Colloquia selecta familiaris, Paris, 1767, which may have been the copy used by JQA at Passy.
3. JA, who was evidently keeping close track of his sons' studies, gives a fuller title for this work in his reply of the next day. According to JA this was an “Appendix de Diis et Heroibus ethnicis,” or Supplement on the Pagan Gods and Heroes, that is, an account of classical mythology, presumably for young readers. This was a common type of work, but the particular one being studied by JQA, whether a separate publication or part of a Latin reader, has not been identified.
4. That is, “Parse Phaedrus.” The OED records the spellings peirse, parce, and pearce in the 16th and 17th centuries, and there was evidently great variation in pronunciation. The Fables in verse of Phaedrus were a favorite book for beginners in Latin at the end of the 18th century. At MQA is a Latin edition, Paris, 1742; among JQA's books at the Boston Athenaeum are two others, London, 1750, and Paris, 1783, both with JQA's bookplate, but the latter ineligible by date for JQA's use at Passy.
5. “Racines” is the French word for “roots.” Hence: Learn Greek roots.
6. In the MS there follows a crude ornamental design spread across the whole page; see the facsimile John Quincy Adams Lists His Studies and Seeks His Father's Advice following 212illustration in this volume.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0238

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1780-03-17

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

I have received your Letter,1 giving an Account of your Studies for a day. You should have dated your Letter.
Making Latin, construing Cicero, Erasmus, the Appendix de Diis et Heroibus ethnicis, and Phaedrus, are all Exercises proper for the Acquisition of the Latin Tongue; you are constantly employed in learning the Meaning of Latin Words, and the Grammar, the Rhetorick and Criticism of the Roman Authors: These Studies have therefore such a Relation to each other, that I think you would do well to pursue them all, under the Direction of your Master.
The Greek Grammar and the Racines I would not have you omit, upon any Consideration, and I hope your Master will soon put you into the Greek Testament, because the most perfect Models of fine Writing in history, Oratory and Poetry are to be found in the Greek Language.
Writing and Drawing are but Amusements and may serve as Relaxations from your studies.
{ 309 }
As to Geography, Geometry and Fractions I hope your Master will not insist upon your spending much Time upon them at present; because altho they are Useful sciences, and altho all Branches of the Mathematicks, will I hope, sometime or other engage your Attention, as the most profitable and the most satisfactory of all human Knowledge; Yet my Wish at present is that your principal Attention should be directed to the Latin and Greek Tongues, leaving the other studies to be hereafter attained, in your own Country.
I hope soon to hear that you are in Virgil and Tully's orations, or Ovid or Horace or all of them.2

[salute] I am, my dear Child, your affectionate Father,

[signed] John Adams
P.S. The next Time you write to me, I hope you will take more care to write well. Cant you keep a steadier Hand?3
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in JQA's mature hand: “J. Adams. 17. March 1780”; also docketed in an unidentified hand. Tr in CFA's hand (Adams Papers); at head of text: “No. 267,” indicating that the letter was copied for inclusion in JA–AA, Familiar Letters, but in the end it was excluded.
1. Undated, but sent on 16 March, preceding; see the notes there on JA's allusions in this reply.
2. See, further, JA to Pechigny, 16 May, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0239

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Cranch, William
Date: 1780-03-17

John Quincy Adams to William Cranch

[salute] My Dear Cousin

As there is a very good opportunity of writing to you by a Gentleman from South carolina who is about embarking for America I must write one short Letter to all my Freinds.
I am in one of the schools which I was in when I was here before and am very content with my situation. I will give you an account of our hours. At 7 o clock A.M. we get up and go in to school and at 8 o clock we breakfast which consists of bread and milk. At 9 go into school again, stay till one when we dine, after dinne[r] play till half after two, go into school and stay till half after 4 and then we have a peice of dry bread. At 5 we go into School and stay till 7 when we sup, after supper we amuse ourselves a little and go to bed at 9 o clock.

[salute] I am your affectionate freind and Cousin,

[signed] John Quincy Adams
RC (Adams Papers); docketed by JQA in later life (presumably when the letter was returned by Cranch to JQA): “Adams J.Q. 17. March 1780. to William Cranch.” Text has been slightly repunctuated for clarity.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0240

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1780-03-20

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear son

Your Letter last evening received from Bilboa relieved me from much anxiety, for having a day or two before received Letters from your Pappa, Mr. Thaxter and Brother in which packet I found none from you, nor any mention made of you, my mind ever fruitfull in conjectures was instantly allarmed. I feard you was sick, unable to write, and your Pappa unwilling to give me uneasiness had concealed it from me and this apprehension was confirmed by every persons omitting to say how long they should continue in Bilboa.
Your Pappas Letters came in Capt. Lovett to Salem, yours by Capt. Babson to Newburry Port, and soon gave ease to my anxiety, at the same time that it excited gratitude and thankfullness to Heaven for the preservation you all experienced in the imminent Dangers which threatned you. You Express in both your Letters a degree of thankfulness. I hope it amounts to more than words, and that you will never be insensible to the particular preservation you have experienced in both your Voyages.
You have seen how inadequate the aid of Man would have been, if the winds and the seas had not been under the particular goverment of that Being who streached out the Heavens as a span, who holdeth the ocean in the hollow of his hand, and rideth upon the wings of the wind.
If you have a due sense of your preservation, your next consideration will be, for what purpose you are continued in Life?—It is not to rove from clime to clime, to gratify an Idle curiosity, but every new Mercy you receive is a New Debt upon you, a new obligation to a diligent discharge of the various relations in which you stand connected; in the first place to your Great Preserver, in the next to Society in General, in particular to your Country, to your parents and to yourself.
The only sure and permanant foundation of virtue is Religion. Let this important truth be engraven upon your Heart, and that the foundation of Religion is the Belief of the one only God, and a just sense of his attributes as a Being infinately wise, just, and good, to whom you owe the highest reverence, Gratitude and Adoration, who superintends and Governs all Nature, even to Cloathing the lilies of the Field and hearing the young Ravens when they cry, but more particularly regards Man whom he created after his own Image and { 311 } Breathed into him an immortal Spirit capable of a happiness beyond the Grave, to the attainment1 of which he is bound to the performance of certain duties which all tend to the happiness and welfare of Society and are comprised in one short sentance expressive of universal Benevolence, “Thou shalt Love thy Neighbour as thyself” and is elegantly defined by Mr. Pope in his Essay on Man

“Remember, Man, the universal cause

Acts not by partial, but by general laws

And makes what happiness we justly call

Subsist not in the good of one but all

Theres not a Blessing individuals find

But some way leans and hearkens to the kind.”2

Thus has the Supreme Being made the good will of Man towards his fellow creatures an Evidence of his regard to him, and to this purpose has constituted him a Dependant Being, and made his happiness to consist in Society. Man early discoverd this propensity of his Nature and found

“Eden was tasteless till an Eve was there.”

Justice, humanity and Benevolence are the duties you owe to society in general. To your Country the same duties are incumbent upon you with the additional obligation of sacrificeing ease, pleasure, wealth and life itself for its defence and security.
To your parents you owe Love, reverence and obedience to all just and Equitable commands. To yourself—here indeed is a wide Field to expatiate upon. To become what you ought to be and, what a fond Mother wishes to see you, attend to some precepts and instructions from the pen of one who can have no motive but your welfare and happiness, and who wishes in this way to supply to you, the personal watchfulness, and care which a seperation from you, deprives you of at a period of Life when habits are easiest acquired, and fixed, and tho the advise may not be new, yet suffer it to obtain a place in your memory, for occasions may offer and perhaps some concuring circumstances give it weight and force.
Suffer me to recommend to you one of the most usefull Lessons of Life, the knowledge and study of yourself. There you run the greatest hazard of being deceived. Self Love and partiality cast a mist before the Eyes, and there is no knowledge so hard to be acquired, nor of more benifit when once throughly understood. Ungoverned passions have aptly been compaired to the Boisterous ocean which is known to pro• { 312 } duce the most terible Effects. “Passions are the Elements of life” but Elements which are subject to the controul of Reason. Who ever will candidly examine themselves will find some degree of passion, peevishness or obstinancy in their Natural tempers. You will seldom find these dissagreable ingredients all united in one,3 but the uncontroulable indulgence of either is sufficient to render the possessor unhappy in himself and dissagreable to all who are so unhappy as to be wittnesses of it, or suffer from its Effects.
You my dear son are formed with a constitution feelingly alive, your passions are strong and impetuous and tho I have sometimes seen them hurry you into excesses, yet with pleasure I have observed a frankness and Generosity accompany your Efforts to govern and subdue them. Few persons are so subject to passion but that they can command themselves when they have a motive sufficiently strong, and those who are most apt to transgress will restrain themselves through respect and Reverence to Superiours, and even where they wish to recommend themselves to their equals. The due Government of the passions has been considered in all ages as a most valuable acquisition, hence an inspired writer observes, He that is slow to anger is better than the Mighty, and he that ruleth his Spirit than he that taketh a city. This passion unrestrained by reason cooperating with power has produced the Subversion of cities, the desolation of countries, the Massacre of Nations, and filled the world with injustice and oppression.—Behold your own Country, your Native Land suffering from the Effects of Lawless power and Malignant passions, and learn betimes from your own observation and experience to govern and controul yourself. Having once obtained this self goverment you will find a foundation laid for happiness to yourself and usefullness to Mankind. “Virtue alone is happiness below,” and consists in cultivating and improveing every good inclination and in checking and subduing every propensity to Evil. I have been particular upon the passion of Anger, as it is generally the most predominant passion at your age, the soonest excited, and the least pains taken to subdue it.

“What composes Man, can Man destroy.”

I do not mean however to have you insensible to real injuries. He who will not turn when he is trodden upon is deficient in point of spirit, yet if you can preserve good Breeding and decency of Manners you will have an advantage over the agressor and will maintain a dignity of character which will always insure you respect even from the offender.
{ 313 }
I will not over burden your mind at this time. I mean to persue the Subject of Self-knowledge in some future Letter, and give you my Sentiments upon your future conduct in life when I feel disposed to reassume my pen. In the mean time be assured no one is more sincerely Interested in your happiness than your ever affectionate Mother,
[signed] A A
This Letter has lain ever since March waiting for a passage. Since it was written I have had the pleasure of receiving Letters from your Pappa by the Marquiss Fayette, your Sister and Brother Letters from you. Your Sister replies to you,4 your Brother wishes to. If I have time I shall write for him. It gives me great pleasure to hear that you and your Brother are setled in a regular way. Roving is not benificial to study at your age, Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardour and attended to with diligence. I hope you have received Letters from me long e'er now, I have written to you often. My dear Charles I hope is a good Boy. Remember my Dear your example will have great weight with him. Your Pappa commends your Steadiness. If you could once feel how gratefull to the Heart of a parent the good conduct of a child is, you would never be the occasion of exciteing any other Sensations in the Bosom of your ever affectionate Mother,
[signed] A A
Do not expose my Letters. I would coppy but hate it. Enclosed are two patterns which I wish you to deliver to your Pappa.
RC and LbC (Adams Papers). LbC essentially a draft lacks the continuation of 8 May, but of the other minor differences between the two extant texts only one is recorded in the notes below. Enclosed “two patterns” (presumably samples of cloth) not found.
1. Emended by CFA in his editions of AA's Letters to read “for the attainment,” but note the closely parallel construction (“to this purpose,” also emended by CFA [“for this purpose”]) in the paragraph following the quotation from Pope, below.
2. Pope, An Essay on Man, Epistle IV, lines 35–40.
3. LbC: “in the same person.”
4. No letter from JQA to AA2 at this time has been found, nor any reply from her.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0241

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-21

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

[salute] Hond. Sir

I yesterday asked Mr. Pechigny if he thought it would do brother Charles any good to begin upon Latin at present, he answered me, { 314 } that on the contrary, that he thought that it would spoil his taste for it; That he must conjugate verbs about a month, and then he might begin upon Latin, he desired me to ask you if you thought his proposition good and if you should he would Set Brother Charles upon conjugating verbs immediately, and if you Should not he would keep him upon Latin.1 Please to give my respects to M[ess]rs. Dana and Thaxter. I am your dutiful and affectionate Son,
[signed] John Quincy Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Monsieur Monsieur Adams Hotel de Valois rue de Richlieu a Paris,” with sender's address in JQA's hand: “Pension de Mathematiques.” Postmarked: “21 8e. Lvee. K/EI E/P.D,” all stamped impressions; endorsed: “My Son March 21. 1780.” See facsimile reproduced as an illustration in this volume, and for an explanation of the postal markings see Descriptive List of Illustrations, p. John Quincy Adams Consults His Father About His Brother Charles' Studies following 212xvii–xviii, above.
1. This is sufficiently confusing even for a twelve-year-old adviser to his father on the studies of a younger brother. As JA's reply of the next day (below) makes clear, JQA by “conjugating verbs” meant conjugating French verbs; and in the last clause he must have meant, not “keep,” but startCA “upon Latin.”

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0242

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-03-21

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

I most sincerely rejoice with you on the safe Arrival of Mr. Adams in Spain after so short a Passage tho' attended with some Hardships.
In addition to the News in the Prints I venture, upon some confidential assurances from the worthy Genl. Lincoln, to excite your Hopes as to our affairs in that Quarter.1
It is recommended to redeem the continental Currency at 40 for 1 and to model the Tender Laws equitably. It is a Thing of uncertain Event and the Balance of Blessings and Cursings consequent cannot shortly be fixed. It is one of those Decisions about which much very much may and will be said on both Sides. I believe that most of those who said nay here on the Determination were glad it was carried against them. I cannot see how the Continent can suppose that Congress has any separate Interest to guide their Determination on this important Point.2

[salute] Yrs. affly.,

[signed] J Lovell
1. Maj. Gen. Benjamin Lincoln's defense of Charleston, S.C., had no such happy outcome for the American cause. See Massachusetts Historical Society, Guide to the Microfilm Edition of the Benjamin Lincoln Papers, Boston, 1967, p. 11–13 and passim; see also note 1 on JA to Isaac Smith Sr., 26 May, below.
2. See Congress' resolutions of 18 March (JCC, 16:262–267). For their { 315 } background and sequels see E. James Ferguson, The Power of the Purse: A History of American Public Finance, 1776–1790, Chapel Hill, 1961, chs. 3–4. See further below, Richard Cranch to JA, 26 April; John Thaxter to JA, 7 Aug., especially note 5.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0243

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1780-03-22

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

I have just now received your Letter, of Yesterday, and am very well pleased with it, because it is written with care,1 in an handsome Hand, and is prettily expressed, which shews that nothing is wanting but Pains and care, to make you an excellent Writer, for your Age.
I am of Mr. Pechini's Opinion that it is better to keep your Brother Charles to conjugating Verbs for some time, I agree therefore to his Proposition, and will give him some Assistance in this Exercise, by making Charles a Present of another Grammar, which I found Yesterday. The Title of it is, Les Verbes Francois, ou nouvelle Grammaire en form de Dictionaire Par. M. Demarville.2
The Critical Reviewers, March 1 1767 said of this Book. “Every one acquainted with the french Language, knows, that the Intricacies of the irregular Verbs render it the most difficult for Foreigners to speak or write with Propriety; and this Pocket Dictionary will certainly be serviceable to those who are desirous of attaining the Niceties of the French Tongue.”
The monthly Reviewers say. “It is sufficiently known to every one who has studied the French Language, that the most difficult Part of the Task, consists, in the Conjugation of the Verbs. In almost every Language indeed, the Conjugation of the Verbs, constitutes one of the most essential, and at the same Time one of the most difficult Parts of Grammar. Even in English, the few Verbs that can properly be said to be conjugated, are so amazingly irregular, that they give foreigners a great deal of Trouble. But the French Verbs are very different from the English, and like those of the Latin are conjugated through the different Moods and Tenses. The Work before Us is calculated to remove this Difficulty, and will in a great measure answer the Intention and save the Learner much Time and Trouble.”
Mr. Demarville's Grammar is confined, wholly to one Part of Speech, the Verb. There are a great Number of Verbs conjugated through all the Moods and Tenses, some of them both of the Active and Passive Voices, and some are even conjugated affirmatively, negatively, and interrogatively.
I should Advise Mr. Charles to take his Pen and Ink, and tran• { 316 } scribe some of these Verbs as conjugated by Demarville, and place the English down against every Word.
As the Letter you inclosed3 in yours to me, was not Superscribed to any one: I thought it was intended for me, and accordingly opened it, when, to my Surprize I found it written very differently from that to me—very hastily: very carelessly: the Letters badly made, the Lines as crooked as possible. I desire you would write it over again, and take more care. I will not over look one such heedless Piece of Work. I have suffered too many Inconveniences my self, from writing a bad Hand, all my Life, to neglect your Education in this Particular, as mine was.
Let me give you one Piece of Advice more, which is not to spend much of your Time in learning to flourish, with your Pen. Ornaments of this Kind, if not done with very great skill, are worse than none, and an Accuracy, and real Elegance in them would cost you more time to acquire than they are worth.—I am with the tenderest Affection, your Father,
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in JQA's hand of about 1800: “J. Adams. Paris 22. March 1780”; contains other docketings in unidentified hands.
1. JQA had taken the pains, after his father's rebuke in his letter of 17 March (above), to line his letter paper and thus to regularize his handwriting in his letter of 21 March (also above, and see a John Quincy Adams Consults His Father About His Brother Charles' Studies following 212facsimile of this letter reproduced in this volume), to which the present letter is a reply.
2. JA had purchased this lexicon of French verbs for English students from the bookseller Pissot the preceding day; see his Personal Expenditures as printed in his Diary and Autobiography, 2:437, 441. The volume, which is a copy of the 2d edition, “augmentée,” London, 1773, survives among JA's books in the Boston Public Library, and its Book Purchases by John Adams for Himself and His Sons in Paris and Amsterdam facing 213titlepage is reproduced as an illustration in the present volume. The extracts from English reviews, quoted by JA below, were printed as advertisements in the 1773 edition.
3. Probably JQA's letter to William Cranch, 17 March, above, which fits JA's description.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0244

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-03-24

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Portia

This goes by Colonel Fleury, whom you know, who desires to carry a Letter to you.1 My three Boys dined with me Yesterday, being a Playday for them, in fine Health and Spirits.
I long to hear, whether Captain Trash arrived from Corunna, who had Letters from me to you, or Captain Babson who had Letters and more. I dont know whether you have yet heard of our Arrival.
There are a great Number of Letters for You, in the Hands of the Marquis de la Fayette, the Viscount de Noailles, Mr. Lee, Mr. Brown, { 317 } Mr. Izard, and others. I hope you will receive them and some small Packetts with some of them.
My dearest Love to my N[abby] and T[ommy]—Affections, Duties, and Respects, &c.
If you send me any Minutes in future of any Thing to send you, pray be more particular in describing the Things. I find a great difficulty in getting french Words to express them often, because not knowing the Nature and the Prices of the Things myself, I am puzzled.

[salute] Yours.

1. François Louis Teissèdre de Fleury, a volunteer French officer who had served with distinction in the Continental Army, 1776–1779, and who then, following a leave in France, returned to serve with Rochambeau's army, 1780–1781 (Lasseray, Les français sous les treize étoiles, 2:425–433; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:104). Congress voted Fleury a medal for his gallantry in the storming of Stony Point, July 1779; see reproduction in Lasseray, vol. 2, facing p. 430. From a list of passengers recorded in JQA's Diary under date of 24 Nov. 1779, it appears that Fleury returned to France on the Sensible with the Adams party; thus he could have met AA in Boston or Braintree before they sailed. See, further, Fleury to AA, 6 Oct.; AA to JA, 15 Oct. and 13–24 Nov., in vol. 4, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0245

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-03-28

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Portia

Mr. Izard goes off, the day after tomorrow, and will carry this, and all the News there is. We have none from America, a long time. I have only yours of 10 decr. since I left you. I hope you have received Letters from me, from Corunna and Bilbao. There are gone many for you, since my Arrival here, but I suppose are still detained at the Sea Ports. They will soon sail.
My 3 Boys dined with me to day, all well. Send their Duty, and their brotherly Love.
There are no present Appearances of Peace, altho the English House of Commons have voted down the Board of Trade, which signifies that they are convinced the Plantations are lost.—I think you will have a quiet Summer: The English are too much exhausted to send Troops to N. York.
The News, i.e. the common Talk is that there is an Armament preparing at Cadiz and another at Brest, to act in Concert—but where is a great Secret. You will know sooner, than We. There will be more Communication this summer, than ever. Dont loose opportunities to write.
{ 318 }
My Duty to your Father and my Mother, Love &c. to Brothers and sisters and Children. A Trunk of Things will go in the Alliance, but she will go to Philadelphia, I fear. If she does the Trunk will be left with Mass. Delegates, and must be sent by Land in a Waggon.

[salute] Adieu.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0246

Author: Shaw, Elizabeth Smith
Author: Peabody, Elizabeth Smith Shaw
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1780-03-28

Elizabeth Smith Shaw to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] My dear Sister

It is so long since the enclosed was written that I am almost ashamed to send it. However I wish it may be accepted as a convincing Argugument that I have not been wholly unmindful of my Friends, and that the variety of Cares which have unavoidiably crouded upon me this winter, has not in the least abated my Concern and love for them. I have really so little Time for literary Employments, that writing has become a burden to me, though I conffess it arises from a consciousness, that what I write will not be worth spending time to peruse, and my Friends must not think it is owing to any want of Respect or Affection, particularly my much vallued Friend Betsy Leppington.1 When you see her tell her we love her as much as ever, that she is often the subject of our most grateful Conversation, and that it would give us the greatest pleasure to see her here.
Our little Son makes rapid proggress in his Parents affections, and I have the vanity to think you would love him too, were you with him, espicially if you could invest him, with a new pair of Eyes, more assimilated to the Coulour and Brightness of my Sisters. However I cannot perceive but that they may answer all the purposes of the finest Eyes in the World, unless it be in the matter of fascinating Ladies Hearts; it is true he may not have so many Trophies of that kind to boast of, nor so frequent Opportunities of shewing (as Gay expresses it) the Sugar on his Lips but this I conceive will no ways retard his progress in Literature.
Mr. Duncan, and Mr. Sparhawk have arrived at the threshold, and will very soon bow at the Shrine of Hymen—from hence we may conclude no Widower will ever die with Grief.2 All Haverhill seem disposed to join in the bands of wedlock—an excellent example this, in these days of peace and plenty.
We are greatly obliged to Brother Cranch for giving us so early intelligence of Brother Adam's safe arrival in Spain. Prosperity strew his Paths, and waft him safe to his destined Shores.
{ 319 }
We had no Opportunity of purchasing you any Flour, till after you had informed us you was provided for—and the money we were in hopes of procuring you some Wheat with, and after repeated importunities to Judge Seargant,3 we are happy to find you are furnished with some.4 The Judge expected a large quantity and was dissappointed several times, and at last did not get half so much as he expected.
It would have given us great pleasure to have fullfilled Dr. Tufts's request, but there has been so much counterfeit Siberian Wheat, that it would not do to purchase any but of some particular Acquaintance.—My best regards attend his Family, and my Uncle Quincy's.
If you have any pieces of that straw couloured russel5 that will do for a couple of heel Quarters6 I should be glad you would let me have it, and I send four Dollars for that purpose.—The two Miss Marshes, and I intended to have had, each of us a pair of Shoes, but the Man cut them so that we could not possibly get enough.
I hope my Friends will come and see me this spring. Mr. Shaw, and his Man Pratt propose taking a Journey as soon as the riding will permit but it is not probable I shall accompany them. I will forbear saying any more, least my sisters should exclaim as the Man who had a number of Twins, and cry send One at a time—and I will be content. Adeiu, my much loved Friends,
[signed] E. Shaw
RC (DLC: Shaw Family Papers); endorsed or docketed in Richard Cranch's hand: “Letter from Mrs E. Shaw Mar 28th. 1780.”
1. The Lappington sisters, Betsey and Rebecca, were orphans who seem to have been brought up largely in the Palmer and Cranch homes in the Germantown section of Braintree in the years before the war. See Tyler, Grandmother Tyler's Book, p. 62–63, 85, 109.
2. James Duncan (1724–1817), of Haverhill, married as his second wife Elizabeth Leonard of Plymouth in April 1780 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 6:326; Vital Records of Haverhill, Massachusetts, Topsfield, Mass., 1910–1911, 1:97; 2:95, 387). Nathaniel Sparhawk Jr. (1744–1815), Harvard 1765, of Kittery, Maine, married as his second wife Elizabeth Bartlett, of Haverhill, in April 1780 (Essex Inst., Hist. Colls., 25 [1888]: 132–133, 281; 38 [1902]:316).
3. Nathaniel Peaslee Sargeant (1731–1791), Harvard 1750, of Haverhill, a justice of the Superior Court of Judicature since Sept. 1776; later chief justice (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 12:574–580; JA, Legal Papers, 1:cix and passim).
4. Sentence thus in MS.
5. “A kind of woollen fabric formerly used for articles of attire.” (OED)
6. More or less explained in the following sentence, but see OED under heel, noun, 26: “heel-quarters, the part of the shoe round the heel, the counter.”

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0247

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-04-06

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Portia

There is a great deal of hatred against the Govt. in England as you { 320 } will see by the song inclosed. They are going on, with County meetings, Petitions, Committees, Correspondences, Associations &c. in our mode.1 What it will come to, I dont know.
They talk in London about withdrawing the Troops, &c., but I suspect, We had better take em, least they should alter their minds.
At last a Vessell has arrived at Bourdeaux from Baltimore, brings two or three newspapers, as late as 17 feb. but no Letters.—You have had a hard Winter, but I hope you had a good fire. I had a harder, without any fire, in Spain.
I am so taken up, with writing to Phil[adelphia] that I dont write to you so often as I wish. I hope you wont complain of me this time for not writing often enough, and long enough whatever may be the worth of it.
I hope you will advertise me, if there are any Machinations going forward. All well.

[salute] Adieu.

RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed anti-ministerial “song” not found.
1. On the “Association” movement that had begun during the past winter under the leadership of the Yorkshire clergyman-reformer Christopher Wyvill, see Ian R. Christie, Wilkes, Wyvill and Reform . . ., London, 1962, especially chs. 3–4. In his letters of 3 and 11 April to President Huntington, JA furnished details on the Associators' aims and current activities (RC's in PCC, No. 84, I; LbC's in Adams Papers; printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3: 593–596, 610–611).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0248

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-15

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

By Mr. Guile who is bound to Amsterdam and from thence to France, I embrace this opportunity of writing to you; and inquiring after your welfare. Mr. Guile was the Bearer from Mrs. Dana who received them, of the first Letters I received from you. I wish he may be the safe conveyer of mine to you.1
I have written to you various times since your absence, but have never had one direct conveyance to France, and I am apprehensive I shall hear but very seldom from you, unless you convey your Letters by way of Spain and Holland. Be sure not more than once a year, which is a situation I deprecate.2 Experience has however taught me more patience, tho it has not lessend my anxiety, or my affection. I wish to know your situation, and to hear of your welfare and happiness, I have philosophized so long upon my own that I have brought my mind to a patient acquiescence in it. The social and tender affections have been { 321 } sacrificed to it, yet the agitation of my mind and spirits, has debilitated my faculties and impaired my Health but I find myself at the same time less attached to the world and the enjoyments of it, whether I am better fitted for an other is a matter I am not resolved in.
I have been very fortunate in receiving all your Letters from Spain. I have traced and followed you upon the Maps through all your peregrinations. It has been a pilgrimage indeed, and the care of the children must have added greatly to your anxiety. I cannot wish to have shared with you as it would have been an additional Burden to you.
I have received by Capt. Babson the articles you orderd for me. Mr. Guardoqui has given in his commissions and Mr. Tracy & Co. the freight, which I esteem very kind in them as I find 15 per cent freight was paid out of articles imported in the same vessel by others.
All the articles you were so kind as to send me were very acceptable. The tumblers came safe. They were all of one size. I should have rather had a part in wine Glasses, but nothing comes amiss. The Linnens tho rather coars were an article I stood in great need of, and they are in great demand here. The Tea proves of the best kind, the Hankerchiefs will turn to good account sold for hard Money, the only currency that can be delt in without immense loss. I do not wish to tell you the state of our currency, you may learn it by word of mouth from others.
I am about purchaseing an article which you directed me to, and for which you gave me Liberty to draw upon you for payment.3 I shall only do it in part. The remittance lately made me in hankerchiefs only would make the purchase, but as the person would gladly take Bills for the whole, I thought I would give one for a part as the risk would be his, and pay the remainder here.
I would not have drawn even for that, but I have some prospect of making a purchase of the House and land, belonging formerly to Natell. Belcher who died this winter.4 I have been trying to agree with the Heir, he asked the moderate price of 20 thousand Dollors when exchange was at 30, it is now 60 and he doubles his demand. There are several persons very eager to purchase it, which has determined the owner to put it up to vendue, if he does shall endeavour to buy it. People here tell me that it was formerly valued at a hundred pounds Lawfull money. It is not so good now as then, yet I should have ventured to have exceeded that price as it would accommodate this place so well, if I could have done any thing with him, but he was more distracted in his hard money price than in his paper. If he puts it up to vendue, believe that will be the best chance for obtaining it.
{ 322 }
Mr. C. Tufts has left with me a list of a Number of articles which I enclose, which he wants for his own use, and 7 Louis D'ors, but asked it as a favour that I would keep the money and let his risk be but once. I ventured to do it, as I enclose a set of Bills of a much larger amount from which I knew you could deduct the sum if you pleased. I should be obliged if you will order me 12 Ells of Led coulourd Lutestring and 12 of black and white changeable with half a peice of black ribbon and a peice of Narrow about 4 sols per yard with 3 yards of plain black Gauze and 3 of figured.
If you should think proper not to deduct the 7 Louis from the Bills you will please to order the remainder remitted in common Calico and hankerchiefs which are the most saleable articles here. I request at the same time that you would not straiten yourself for supplies to me, especiall[y] whatever you may esteem a superfluity.
Your Brother I fear will very soon become a widower. It appears to me and to others that his wife is far gone in a consumption.5 Your Mother is in tolerable Health tho much broken I think with the Severity of the winter which has been very unfavourable to people in years. The old gentleman is almost helpless.6
All the rest of our Friends are well. Publick News you will learn from the papers.
Some vessel or other will sail for France soon by which I shall again write. The Spring is advanceing fast, which after the rigour of a Canadian Winter is more particuliarly agreable to those who do not feel that Lassitude from it; which anxiety of mind, confinement, and want of exercise produce in your ever affectionate
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia”; docketed by CFA: “April 15th. & May 1st. 1780,” to cover this and her letter to JA of the latter date (printed below). Enclosures not found.
1. Benjamin Guild (1749–1792), Harvard 1769, had been serving as a tutor in Harvard College since 1776, “in which Office,” Rev. Samuel Cooper told JA in a letter of introduction dated 11 May (Adams Papers), “he has acquitted himself with Capacity and Honours and is much esteemed by his Acquaintance. He goes abroad to enlarge his Knowledge of the World, to extend his Connections and make useful Observations of which he is very capable.” Guild spent the better part of a year in the Netherlands and France, and then after only a short time in America returned to Europe early in 1782 on an unspecified errand. Returning to Boston in the fall of that year, he married in 1784 Elizabeth, daughter of Col. Josiah and Elizabeth (Waldron) Quincy. It is said that he was “for some time a preacher,” but by 1789 he was conducting a bookstore and circulating library on Cornhill (now Washington Street) in Boston. He was an incorporating member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and became a donor of books to the Massachusetts Historical Society, where his valuable though somewhat irregular MS Diary for 1774–1779 was deposited in 1958. See AA to JA, 1 May, below; Guild to JA, 18 Jan., { 323 } 28 Nov. 1782 (both in Adams Papers); JA to Elbridge Gerry, 19 Aug. 1782 (MHi: Gerry II Papers); Harvard Quinquennial Cat.; Charles Burleigh, The Genealogy and History of the Guild, Guile, and Gile Family, Portland, Maine, 1887, p. 85; MHS, Procs., 1st ser., 1 (1791–1835): 33; New Select Catalogue of Benjamin Guild's Circulating Library . . ., Boston, 1789; Adams Genealogy.
2. The meaning appears to be: I can be sure not to hear more than once a year, &c.
3. This “article,” which it may be significant to note that AA mentioned only allusively, was “a genteel Chaise,” being made for her by Thomas Bumstead of Boston; see Richard Cranch to JA, 26 April, below, and references there.
4. The Belchers were a numerous family in Braintree and owned several of the farms on and about the north side of Penn's Hill, at the foot of which was JA's patrimonial property, in part acquired from one of the Belchers; see Waldo C. Sprague, The President John Adams and President John Quincy Adams Birthplaces, Quincy, Massachusetts, Quincy, Mass., 1959, passim; Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy, passim. Lt. Nathaniel Belcher (1700–1780) was a neighbor of the Adamses for many years; he had held sundry town offices and militia commissions and died during the preceding winter (NEHGR, 60 [1906] 1248). JA had had his eye since at least 1771 on Nathaniel's and other Belcher properties, which he hoped to acquire in order to improve his own farm; see Diary and Autobiography, 2:16–17, 41, 49. It is not certain whether he and AA succeeded in this object.
5. The former Mary Crosby, wife of JA's only surviving brother, Peter Boylston Adams, died on one of the first days of June, leaving several children, including a newborn daughter, Elizabeth, who lived only a few months. See Richard Cranch to JA, 9–10 June, and AA to JA, 13 June, 16 July, all below; also Adams Genealogy.
6. John Hall, JA's stepfather, who lived with the Peter Boylston Adamses, died on 27 Sept. 1780 (Quincy, First Church, MS Records, fol. 225; see also AA to JA, 8 Oct., below, and Adams Genealogy).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0249

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-04-17

Elbridge Gerry to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Madam

By the last Post I was honored with your Letter of the 13th March, communicating in Confidence your Sentiments on a certain publication in the Philadelphia Paper, which had been too striking to escape the Notice of Mr. A[dams]'s Friends in this Quarter.1
It is not easy to ascertain the Intentions, of the philosophical Society in their Election of Mr. A . . . . s, or how far they were concerned in making such an invidious Distinction, but it is highly probable that the List was sent to the press by some of their Members, and certain it is, they might have corrected the Measure, had they disapproved thereof. Nevertheless Madam, to pursue these Enquiries, I presume, will be no Ways pleasing to You, if “the Honor and Character” of our Friend can be guarded by any Mode that is more agreable, and at the same Time that promises as happy an Effect.
Previous to the Audience of Mr. Gerard, who was the first foreign Minister received by Congress, it was determined, that all Ministers { 324 } plenipotentiary, whether sent to or from Congress, should have the Title of “honorable”; and altho this appeared to many Members unequal to the Dignity of the Office, yet, in all the publick proceedings of Congress, the Rule has been invariably observed to the present Time. Doctor F[rankli]n, Mr. A——s, and Mr. J[a]y, are by their respective Appointments Ministers plenipotentiary, and no one who has seen their Instructions can suppose, that the Powers of Mr. A——s are less, or indeed that they are not more important than what are given to either of the other Gentlemen. Dr. F——n's Commission not being renewed represents him to have been “Deputy from the State of Pennsylvania to the General Congress and president to the Convention of the said State.” Mr. A——'s “late Commissioner of the united States of America at the Court of Versailes, late Delegate in Congress from the State of Massachusetts Bay and chief Justice of the said State” and Mr. J—y's “late president of Congress, and chief Justice of the State of New York,”2 from all which I think it evident, that whether We refer to the Commissions, Instructions, or Appointments of the Gentlemen mentioned, Mr. A——'s Rank is at least equal to either of the others, and by the Resolutions of Congress, he has the same Title.
But the Subject, as You justly consider it Madam, is delecate in it's Nature, and requires Measures that point not directly at the Object. I am therefore of Opinion, that it will be well, for the Information of the Friends and Correspondents of our Ministers plenipotentiary and the Secretaries of the Embassies, to publish such Circumstances as have been mentioned relative to their respective Commissions and Titles, in the same Paper in which the List of the Society was published. It may also be proper to have Mr. A——s appointed a Member of the “American Academy of Arts and Sciences,” for the Institution whereof I have been lately informed a Bill is depending in the Legislature of the State of Massachusetts;3 and should You think it expedient to consult our Friend General Warren on the Occasion, he will undoubtedly promote the Appointment, and see that it is properly communicated to the publick. A third Mode will be attempted, but I am doubtful whether it will succeed, which is to move Congress to grant a more dignified Title than “honorable” to all Ministers plenipotentiary, whether sent to or from Congress; for indeed they will always have it de Facto if not de Jure.
The Attempts mentioned in your Letter to traduce Mr. A——s in France, are convincing Proofs of the Necessity of opposing every Measure of this Kind, however trifling it may at first appear; and I assure You Madam that on every Occasion I shall with the greatest pleasure { 325 } endeavour to support him as a particular Friend, as well as a valuable Statesman.
At Mr. A——s Request in Novr. last I transmitted You the Rate of Exchange of Specie, which is now sold in this City from 60 to 62£ for 1,4 and remain with every Sentiment of Respect your sincere Friend & most hume. Sert.,
[signed] E.G.
RC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Portia.” Dft (PPAmP); docketed in margin: “Copy of a Letter to Mrs. Adams 17th. Apr. 1780.” Dft is heavily revised throughout and varies at a number of points from RC; one major variation is recorded in note 2 below.
1. See above, AA to Gerry, 13 March, and notes there; see also Gerry's further reply on the same subject, 16 May, below.
2. From here to the end of this paragraph Gerry first wrote and then crossed out in Dft the following: “and with some Difficulty carried this point, in order to guard them and especially the former [i.e. JA], against the Attacks of disappointed Ambition and Envy, to which notwithstanding his conspicuous Merit, I was apprehensive he would be liable in his elevated Station. I mention this likewise Madam to shew, that not even the [president?] of Congress, the Minister of France, Doctor Franklin, or Mr. Jay have by the Resolution of Congress a higher Title than Mr. Adams, whose Commission is by far the most important.”
3. An Act to establish a Society for the Cultivation and Promotion of Arts and Sciences was passed by the General Court on 4 May and was printed as a broadside (Ford, Mass. Broadsides, No. 2237; Evans 16841; example in Adams Papers). “Hon. John Adams, Esq.” was named therein as one of the sixty-two incorporators of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, but of course without mention of the offices he held.
4. Gerry had sent this information in a letter to AA of 24 Nov. 1779, which is known to the editors only in a printed summary of Gerry's draft, listed for sale by Walter R. Benjamin, Autographs, New York City, The Collector, 70:60 (May–June 1957).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0250

Author: Cranch, Richard
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-04-26

Richard Cranch to John Adams

[salute] Dear Brother

I have this Moment heard of an Oportunity of writing a line to you by Coll. Tyler of this Town who sets out this Day from hence and is going in a Vessel bound to France from New London.1 I would in the first Place (to fore-close Anxiety) inform you that your Wife and Children, your Mother, Brother &c. are well.
Mr. Partridge is return'd from Congress last Week—brings no News of importance. Genl. Hancock and Genl. Ward are not yet set out for Congress. Mr. Adams, it is said, will soon set out for Philadelphia.2 We have no News from Charlestown, South Carolina, later than the 22d of March, when the Inhabitants were in good Spirits, had got the Works in the Town in good order, and their out-works, for preventing the Enemy's approach, so strong that they were in no great apprehen• { 326 } sion of their succeeding in their Attempt on that Place. The storm that overtook the Enemy's Fleet after they left N: York, was very Providential. The Loss of their Cavalry and Warlike Stores was very great, but the Delay of their Attack upon Charlestown by that means for so long a Time, was of unspeakable Advantage to the State of S. Carolina and to the Town of Charlestown in particular, as by that means they had time to compleat their Works and collect Forces from distant Parts to defend them.
We have a strong Rumour in Town, via Plymouth, that a very formidable French Fleet is arrived at Martinico consisting of 17 Sail of the Line, 20 Frigats and 100 Transports with a large Body of Troops. Should this News prove true I fancy Britain may soon bid farewell to the West Indies as well as to North America.
You will see by the Papers the Congress has recommended a total Revolution in the Paper Currency. The Genl. Court is now sitting here. We have adopted the Spirit of the Recommendation, and a Bill for that purpose has pass'd both Houses but is not yet enacted. By this Act a Tax of £72,000 per Annum for seven Years including the present Year, is to be raised in hard Money, or Produce at a certain Rate; which Sum is supposed sufficient to redeem our Quota of the Continental Currency at its present depreciated value, estimated at forty Paper Dollars for one hard one. This Tax is to be paid in Silver at 6/8 per Oz. or Gold in proportion: or else in Wheat, Rye, Corn, Merchantable Fish, Barrell'd Pork and Beef, &c. &c. which are to be deliver'd into the State-Stores free of Charge at a certain stipulated Price, such as the Merchants would be willing to pay for them in Silver and Gold.3
This is the Fund on which the New Bills proposed by Congress for this State are to be founded, and will at the end of seven Years be sufficient to redeem them with Gold and Silver, and pay the intervening Interest. The Form of Constitution has received various alterations since you left it in less able Hands, that as I conceive are not for the better. It is now printed and sending out to the People. I let sister Adams have one of them to send to you in her Pacquet by Mr. Guile (one of the Tutors) who is going in a Vessel from Beverly, bound to Holland. I will endeavour to send you another by this Conveyance per favor of Coll. Tyler, if I can get it soon enough.4 Sister Adams has received from Mr. Tracey of Newbury Port the Goods that you directed Messrs: Gardoqui and Sons to send to her, consisting of several Pieces of family Linnen, some silk Handkerchiefs, a sett of Knives and Forks, some Glass-Ware &c. I suppose such Articles, if to be sold here, would { 327 } fetch four Dollars in hard Money, for what cost one Dollar in Europe; so that I think a few Remittances of that kind from time to time to Mrs. Adams would be very proper. And upon this occasion I would beg leave to mention to you that if any of your Mercantile Friends should be willing to become Adventurers to America in that way, I should be very glad to serve them in disposing of any Merchandize that might be consign'd to me. I am oblig'd to keep in my Hands part of a very good Warehouse built with Brick and cover'd with Tile, on the Town Dock in Boston where I could store the Goods without Expence of Truckage, and would transact the Business on the most reasonable Terms. And should any of them be inclined to purchase Lands now when so many Confiscated Estates will soon be to be sold (as I wrote you more at large in my Letter of the 18th. of Jany. last, which I hope you have received) my Connection with Public Affairs would enable me to transact such Business with some Advantages that a Person in a more private Station of Life would not have: and my knowledge of the French Language may also facilitate such a Correspondence.
You will see by the enclosed Paper that I have lost a very worthy Relative Mr. Natl. Cranch by an unlucky Fall: What makes this Event truly melancholy is the Connection between him and Betsy Palmer—they were soon to be Married.5
I want to write a thousand things to you but have not time, as I must Seal this directly. Give my kindest Love to the dear Boys Johnney and Charley, and to Mr. Thaxter. I intend writing to Mr. Thaxter by the next Oportunity that offers. His Friends at Hingham, Father Smith, Uncle Quincy &c. are all well. Sister Adams has drawn a Bill on you for one Hundred Dollars or £22–10–0 Sterling in favour of Mr. Thos. Bumstead who is making a genteel Chaise for her, she pays the rest here. The lowest Price I could get it for was three hundred hard Dollars. I suppose Mr. Bumstead has sent the Bill by Coll. Tyler.6 We were very happy in hearing from you soon after your dangerous Passage. Your Letters from Spain I suppose all arriv'd safe to hand, but we have not receiv'd a Line from you since your Arrival in France. I hope we shall soon have that Pleasure, which will add greatly to the Happyness of our friendly Circle, and particularly to that of your affectionate Brother,
[signed] Richard Cranch
P.S. I mentioned in my last that it was probable that Borland's Estate in Braintree would be to be sold before long by Order of Government; should that be the case I should be glad to buy it if I could { 328 } without selling my own Farm that joins upon it and makes it so very convenient for me. I should therefore be glad to know from you, by the first Oportunity, whether if I should be able to purchase that Place [for a]bout7 four or five Hundred Pounds Sterling you would let me draw [on yo]u for that Sum, on my Mortgaging the Place to you for security of Payment? Your Answer either to Sister Adams or to me would greatly oblige yours, ut supra,
[signed] R.C.8
RC (Adams Papers); addressed (half of address leaf torn away; missing matter supplied from indication of address at foot of text in Dft): “[To his Excellency John] Adams Esqr. [Minister Plen]epotentiary [from the United] States of [Americ]a at Paris”; endorsed by JA: “Mr. Cranch 26 April 1780”; endorsement repeated in Thaxter's hand. Dft (MHi:Cranch Family Collection); indication of address (as given above) follows text; docketed: “Lettr. to Bror. Adams Apl. 26th. 1780.” Concerning the enclosed newspaper see notes 5 and 8.
1. This was John Steele Tyler (d. 1813), older brother of Royall Tyler the (future) playwright whose tangled relations a few years later with the Adams family have been fully set forth in The Earliest Diary of John Adams. John Steele had served in the Continental Army, resigning as major in 1779, and thereafter in the ill-fated Massachusetts expedition against Penobscot, in which he held a commission as lieutenant colonel. A fellow passenger on his voyage from New London to Nantes in 1780 was the aspiring artist John Trumbull, and the two young men made their way, apparently without difficulty even though they were both former Continental officers, to London via Paris, where Tyler called on JA late in June; see note 6 below.
On Tyler and his career see Grandmother Tyler's Book, p. 257 and passim; Mass. Soldiers and Sailors; John Trumbull, Autobiography, ed. Theodore Sizer, New Haven, 1953, p. 58–59, 64–66; G. Thomas Tanselle, Royall Tyler, Cambridge, 1967, passim. In the early 1930's, while investigating Trumbull's sojourn in London during the Revolution, Lewis Einstein brought to light in the Public Record Office a letter written by Tyler to Lord George Germain from Bordeaux, 6 Aug. 1781, in which the writer offered to serve in the British forces, asking only £1,000 in compensation for the property he would thus forfeit in America (Einstein, Divided Loyalties . . ., Boston and New York, 1933, p. 365–366, 447). The offer was not taken up, and Tyler later returned to Boston without known damage to his reputation.
2. George Partridge had been elected to the Continental Congress in June 1779 and had attended from the following August until early April 1780. John Hancock, although a delegate, did not attend at all in 1779 or 1780. Artemas Ward, elected in Nov. 1779, did not attend until mid-June 1780. Samuel Adams extended his leave from Congress, begun in June 1779, for a whole year. See Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4: liii; 5: lvii–lviii.
3. This was An Act making Provision for Calling in, to be destroyed, this State's Quota, according to the present Apportionment, of all the Public Bills of Credit which have been emitted by Congress, &c., through a title of fifteen lines, passed 5 May 1780 and printed in Province Laws, 5:1178–1183. See, further, note 8 below.
4. The third session of the Convention had adjourned on 2 March until 7 June after having empowered a committee to print and distribute the text of the Constitution as agreed on for the consideration of the towns, together with an Address of the Convention . . . to Their Constituents (Mass. Constitutional Convention, 1779–1780, Journal, p. 163–164, 168–169, 216–221). For the background see above, JA to AA, 13 Nov. 1779, note 3.
5. Nathaniel Cranch was a nephew of Richard Cranch, who probably wrote { 329 } the following obituary, printed in the Boston Independent Ledger, 24 April 1780, p. 3, col. 2:
“On Wednesday evening last [19 April], a very melancholy event happened near this place. As Nathaniel Cranch, Esq; (lately returned from a public employment at Philadelphia) was passing over the Neck that leads from this town to Roxbury, the weather being very stormy, and he walking alone as is supposed, too near the edge of the Abuttment built there to guard against the tide, by some mis-step fell over, and striking his head against a sharp rock that lay on the Beach, received such a wound, that to all appearance put an instant period to his life.
“Mr. Cranch was the Son of a very worthy Clergyman in England: He came into America some years before the commencement of the present contest; when that interesting event had taken place, he did not stand an inattentive spectator, but throwing aside his local prejudices, carefully weighed the merits of the cause, and seeing clearly on which side truth and justice lay,—that honesty of mind, that invincible attachment to truth and justice, that were the characteristic qualities of his Soul, determined him to risk every thing in defence of the American cause. In this glorious struggle, he was engaged from the first forming of the army at Cambridge, untill a few weeks past—when the flattering prospect of a settlement in life, that would have crown'd his tenderest wishes, brought him back.—The feeling heart alone can tell the sequel!”
At the time of this “melancholy event” young Cranch was engaged to his cousin Elizabeth (1748–1814), daughter of Brig. Gen. Joseph Palmer; in 1790 she married Nathaniel's younger brother Joseph; see Tyler, Grandmother Tyler's Book, p. 55–56, and Adams Genealogy. See also Thaxter to AA, 12 May, below.
6. JA's record of personal expenditures contains an entry showing that on 28 June he paid Tyler 535 livres to redeem AA's bill of exchange in the amount of 100 dollars (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:440). Cranch, as he states here, had made the arrangements with Thomas Bumstead, a carriage-maker, dealer, and auctioneer of “Long Acre,” Boston, who advertised frequently in the papers in 1780. It is clear that AA had JA's approval for this personal indulgence, but when he heard its cost he pronounced it “horribly dear” (JA to AA, 17 June, below).
7. Here and below, MS is torn by seal.
8. JA received Cranch's letter on 16 June and immediately sent on to Vergennes the enclosed newspaper (presumably the Independent Ledger, 24 April; see note 5 above), together with an extract from the letter itself, namely the third paragraph, on the measures of Congress and of Massachusetts to check further depreciation of the currency. See JA to Vergennes, 16 June (RC in Archives Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. Pol., Etats-Unis, vol. 12; LbC in Adams Papers, printed, with the enclosed extract, in JA, Works, 7:187). Since many of Congress' creditors were French, Vergennes deeply disapproved of the Gordian method adopted to redeem the old currency, and JA's defense of it was one of the chief causes of the breach between him and Vergennes that took place in June–July 1780. The fullest account of this historic quarrel is in John E. Little, John Adams and American Foreign Affairs, 1755–1780, Princeton Univ. doctoral dissertation, 1966, ch. 8.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0251

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-04-30

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

That a Nation once distinguished in the Annals of Mankind, should by the Pride, Avarice, Ambition, Injustice and Oppression of its Governors, loose its distant Dependencies, is not an uncommon Event in { 330 } the History of the World; but that the same Nation, from the Operation of the same Causes, together with Folly and Madness, should league one half the World against her, is not only a Phenomenon in Modern Times (reserved to be exhibited by a neighbouring Nation) but a melancholy Monument of divine Vengeance. That this is the present State of England is but too true. Behold her a public Enemy, hostile to the Rights of Mankind, but too impotent to sport much longer. Such extremes of Wickedness and their Consequences, unhappily for human Nature and the Peace of Nations, are not local—other States and Kingdoms become infected by them, their Virtues and Morals become shaken and debauched. Britain then is to be considered not only as attempting to subvert the Civil and political Institutions of Men but indirectly their religions also. To You, Madam, who are so well versed in History, another observation is unnecessary.
The present Picture of England is truly melancholy. Her Tyranny has dismembered the best Part of her Empire—America is independent—Ireland is perfecting her Strength in her (England's) Weakness, and gliding on very calmly and smoothly to Independence. Behold her interrupting the Commerce of the United States, of Holland, seizing and condemning Articles not contraband by Treaty nor the Law of Nations, and insulting their Flag to crown their Injustice. The King by Proclamation has declared all Stipulations of the Treaties between England and the Republic are to be suspended, and the Republic to be considered as a Neutral Power no Ways priviledged by Treaties, because the Dutch have refused the Succours demanded in Virtue of a Treaty. Russia, from whence England expected a considerable Assistance in Men and Ships to promote her System of Rapine and Depredation, has determined upon a rigorous Neutrality between the belligerent Powers, declared her Resolution to maintain her Flag in Honor, invited Holland to make Common Cause, and sent Copies of her Resolutions and Declarations, to the Courts of the Powers at War. This Neutrality is against England—hard fate indeed that even a Neutrality is against her.1 She has insulted the Flag of Sweeden, by one of her Cruisers, attacking a Sweedish Frigate innocently and peaceably pursuing her Course. Behold her engaged in a War against America, France and Spain, singly and alone, without an ally or a Prospect of obtaining one in Europe. It is said that there is a Quintuple Alliance forming or formed between Russia, Prussia, Sweeden, Denmark and the Republic of the United States of Holland. I affirm it not for a Fact. If You recollect the System of Europe pointed out in an Judicious and ingenious Letter now in Manuscript in your Cus• { 331 } tody,2 You will probably think this Event not unlikely. The Object of it is, the protection of their Commerce and respective Flags. I cannot say that it is entered into—I can only affirm that such an Alliance is not improbable; for those Powers and no others in Europe love England with much Cordiality, but on the contrary see without Regret the decay of her Power. Add to all this, Intestine Broils and Divisions rending the Kingdom asunder. Such is the State of England internally and externally. A Tear of Pity an American is magnanimous enough to shed upon this Spectacle. Britain should shed Tears of Blood.
I had the pleasure of seeing Masters Johnny and Charley, my two dear little Friends, this day—they are well. With equal Satisfaction and equal Justice, can I send this acceptable Tribute, which is due to them, to a tender and fond Mamma, that they behave well.
I had the Honor of dining to day with his Excellency at Mr. Grand's, where were beaucoup de monde and amongst the rest Madamoiselle Labhar is not to be forgotten. Think me not smitten, Madam. If I have any Partiality for any one in particular (which I will neither affirm nor deny) it is not on this Side the Water.
Remember me affectionately to your dear Nabby and Tommy, and respectfully and dutifully where due.

[salute] With the highest Respect & Esteem, I have the Honor to be &c.,

[signed] J. T.
1. The latest scholarly study of the Armed Neutrality of 1780 is by Isabel de Madariaga, Britain, Russia, and the Armed Neutrality of 1780, New Haven, 1962. Since it concentrates on the mission of Sir James Harris (later 1st Earl of Malmesbury) to the Court of Catherine the Great at St. Petersburg, it does virtually nothing to indicate American interest in this significant episode of northern European diplomacy. See, however, Bemis, Diplomacy of the Amer. Revolution, chs. 11–12; Morris, Peacemakers, ch. 8.
2. Undoubtedly Thaxter is alluding to the long and remarkable letter JA addressed, or at least began, to John Jay, president of Congress, within a day or two of his return to Braintree from France, 4 Aug. 1779. When composing it, JA regarded it as his last diplomatic dispatch and therefore a kind of testament, embodying his “Reflections . . . on the general State of Affairs in Europe, so far as they relate to the Interests of the united States” (RC in PCC, No. 84, I, printed in Wharton, Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:278–286; LbC in Adams Papers, printed in JA, Works, 7:99–110). The influence of this testament on Thaxter's present letter is manifest. In the Adams Papers is a twelve-page contemporary copy in an unidentified hand which may possibly have been the version Thaxter saw and studied, although it is more likely that he read the letterbook copy. Numerous other contemporary copies were made, of which a number survive (four besides those already mentioned are recorded in the Adams Papers Editorial Files as in various repositories and private collections). The explanation is in a letter from James Lovell to JA, 14 Sept. 1779 (Adams Papers): “The dull letter you mention has been received [by Congress; see JCC, 14:981, under date { 332 } of 20 Aug. 1779], and I believe wished never to have been written, by the poor Drudges in the Secretary's Office who are called upon for Copies by every lazy Member, and I assure you that is more than the sanctified Number 13.”

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0252

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
DateRange: 1780-04 - 1780-05

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Portia

Yesterday We went to see the Garden of the King, Jardin du Roi, and his Cabinet of natural History, Cabinet d'Histoire naturell.
The Cabinet of natural History is a great Collection, of Metals, Mineral[s], shells, Insects, Birds, Beasts, Fishes, and presscious stones. They are arranged in good order, and preserved in good condition, with the name of every thing beautifully written on a piece of paper annexed to it. There is also a Collection of Woods and marbles.
The garden is large and airy, affording fine Walks between Rows of Trees. Here is a Collection from all Parts of the World, of all the plants, Roots and Vegetables that are used in medicine, and indeed of all the Plants and trees in the World.
A fine Scaene for the studious youth in Physick or Philosophy. It was a public day. There was a great deal of Company, and I had opportunity only to take a cursory view. The whole is very curious. There is an handsome statue of Mr. Buffon, the great natural Historian whose Works you have,2 whose labours have given fame to this Cabinet and Garden. When shall We have in America, such Collections? The Collection of American Curiosities that I saw at Norwalk in Connecticutt made by Mr. Arnold, which he afterwards to my great mortification sold to Gov. Tryon, convinces me, that our Country affords as ample materials, for Collections of this nature as any part of the World.3
Five midshipmen of the Alliance, came here last night, Marston, Hogan, Fitzgerald and two others, from Norway, where they were sent with Prizes, which the Court of Denmark were absurd and unjust enough, to restore to the English. They however treated the Officers and People well, and defrayed their Expences. They say the Norwegians were very angry, with the Court of Copenhagen, for delivering up these Vessells. It was the Blunder of Ignorance, I believe, rather than any ill Will.
Every day when I ride out, without any particular Business to do, or Visit to make, I order my servant to carry me to some place where I never was before, so that at last I believe I have seen all Paris, and all the fields and scenes about it, that are near it. It is very pleasant.
{ 333 }
Charles is as well beloved here as at home. Wherever he goes, every body loves him. Mr. D[ana] is as fond of him, I think as I am. He learns very well.
There is a Volume in folio just published here, which I Yesterday, run over at a Booksellers shop. It is a description and a copper Plate of all the Engravings upon precious stones in the Collection of the Duke of Orleans. The stamps are extreamly beautiful, and are representations of the Gods and Heroes of Antiquity, with most of the fables of their Mithology. Such a Book would be very usefull to the Children in studiing the Classicks, but it is too dear—3 Guineas, unbound.
There is every Thing here that can inform the Understanding, or refine the Taste, and indeed one would think that could purify the Heart. Yet it must be remembered there is every thing here too, which can seduce, betray, deceive, deprave, corrupt and debauch it. Hercules marches here in full View of the Steeps of Virtue on one hand, and the flowery Paths of Pleasure on the other—and there are few who make the Choice of Hercules.4 That my Children may follow his Example, is my earnest Prayer: but I sometimes tremble, when I hear the syren songs of sloth, least they should be captivated with her bewitching Charms and her soft, insinuating Musick.
1. Available evidence does not permit a more precise date. The letter is related in mood and substance to another undated letter that JA wrote to AA about this time, printed below under the assigned date of post 12 May 1780. Clearly, however, the present letter, reporting JA's visit to the Jardin du Roi on the preceding day, was written before his second undated letter.
2. Among JA's books surviving in the Boston Public Library are two multi-volume editions of Buffon's Oeuvres completes, both published in Paris in the 1770's and both apparently imperfect, and also a set of the Histoire nat–urelle des oiseaux, 6 vols., Paris, 1770–1775 (Catalogue of JA's Library). Marginal markings indicate that JA read at least portions of Buffon's compilations with attention; see Haraszti, JA and the Prophets of Progress, p. 302.
3. JA had briefly viewed this collection—one of the earliest recorded museum enterprises in America—when on his way to the first Continental Congress in Aug. 1774, and it made a lasting impression on him. From Gov. William Tryon's possession it passed into the hands of Sir Ashton Lever and became part of the Leverian Museum in London, which JA was to visit in Nov. 1783 but which was dispersed by auction early in the 19th century. See above, vol. 2:236–237; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:151; JA to Benjamin Waterhouse, 7 Aug. 1805, printed in Ford, ed., Statesman and Friend, p. 22–24.
4. The Choice of Hercules was JA's favorite classical allegory. In 1776 he had proposed it as a theme to be used in the Great Seal of the United States. See above, vol. 2:ix–x, 96–98, and illustration following p.102.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0253

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-01

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

Last week arrived at Boston the Marquis de la Fayette to the universal joy of all who know the Merit and Worth of that Nobleman. He was received with the ringing of Bells, fireing of cannon, bon fires &.1
He was so kind as to forward my Letters immediately, but his haste to set of for Philadelphia deprived me of the Honour of a visit from him at Braintree which I had hoped for, and but just gave me the opportunity of writing him a Billet.2
I am just informed that the General Pickering is to sail from Salem in a day or two, and that my Letters must be instantly ready. I was in hopes that the new State Frigate call'd the Protector would have gone, but find it otherways determined. I have written to you by Mr. Guile, who goes first to Amsterdam. I could have wished that those Letters had gone by this vessel as it is the first direct conveyance I have had since you left me.
You will be so good as to notice the dates of Letters which you receive from time to time. I shall then be able to judge what is necessary to repeat if any should be lost. I will however mention again that Capt. Babson arrived and that I received the articles you ordered for me to the amount of 40 pounds sterling.
All your Letters have come safe to hand that you have written since you left me, except what may be on Board the Alliance who is not yet arrived by which I hope the tide of fortune is turned in my favour.
I enclose a set of Bills. I have been particuliar in my Letters by Mr. Guile, but as I wish a return by this vessel, and least he should not arrive I will repeat that I requested you to send me 12 Ells of black and white striped Lutestring or changeable, Mr. Bondfeild sent a peice to Mr. Warren, the same kind I want, would send a pattern, but have none, and 12 Ells of Led coulourd proper for mourning. The first I want for Nabby, the other for myself, as I greatly fear I shall soon have a call for it. Your Brother will soon be a widower we all apprehend, his wife is in the last stages of a consumption, has been confined to her room for more than two months, and in circumstances too, otherways allarming.
I added to those a peice of black Ribbon common width and a peice of Narrow about 4 or 5 sols per yard, 3 yard of black plain gauze and 6 figured, 2 black fans, 3 black gauze hankerchiefs. I also mentioned that what remained of the Bills you might if you pleased order re• { 335 } mitted in common calico low priced hankerchiefs and fans which are articles that turn to the best account here. I have enclosed a list of some articles for Cotton Tufts for which he paid me 7 Louis d'oers to be deducted from the Bills in lieu of the calico, and other articles provided you find yourself in the least straitned which I fear you will. The remittance from Bilboa will render me very comfortable for this 12 month, even tho I should purchase the land which belonged to Nate'll Belcher, which I have written to you about. I have drawn one Bill of an hundred dollors in favour of Bomstead for you know what.3 He used formerly to have 50 pounds for the best Sort, I could not get it so low now, but have paid the rest myself by turning my hankerchiefs (a part of them) to very good account. I would not have drawn at all; but hoped to make a purchase of the land.
Received the present by the Marquis. You desire to know what I want that may be sent in the same manner—a peice or two of Holland Apron tape, a pair of silk mitts or Gloves, an Ell or two of Muslin or figured Lawn, and as a little of what you call frippery is very necessary towards looking like the rest of the world, Nabby would have me add, a few yard of Black or White Gauze, low priced black or white lace or a few yards of Ribbon but would have Mamma write to Pappa at the same time that she has no passion for dress further than he would approve of or to appear when she goes from home a little like those of her own age. But I must add that I do not wish you to send much of any of these articles in this way as I find by compareing the articles you was so kind as to send me, with those put up, both by Mr. Bondfeild, and the other Gentleman, whose Name I cannot undertake to spell, that they turn out much Dearer by retail. The hankerchiefs were exceeding nice, but being Linnen they will not last like the India Silk which are hardly so high priced, and which here will fetch double.
Crosby has had his medow measured again and makes 6 acres and a quarter. French measured it and has given a plan of it. It will not do to call for an other measure, it will multiply to 7, so I must settle in the best manner I can. I have a Castle in the air which I shall write to you upon by the next opportunity, either for you to laugh at and reject, or to think of if practicable.4
I wrote to Mr. L[ovel]l two months ago that I feard you would be embarrassed if he did not supply you.5 I shall as you desire repeat it to him.
I have written to my dear sons by Mr. Guile. Your daughter too, has written to you.6 If I have time I shall not fail writing to Mr. Thaxter who is very good to remember me so often. I highly esteem both { 336 } him and his Letters. I found him to be all you discribe him, and knew you could not be better suited. I am happy however in finding that my loss is your gain, I really miss his services and attentions.
Our Friends are in pretty good health excepting Sister A[dam]s. Your worthy parent is much broken by the severity of the winter—mine stood the winter—well but fails much more than I have known him this spring.
So many others will write you the state of politicks that I believe I shall not touch upon them. I have enclosed Philadelphia papers and journals. Our currency too is a Subject which you must learn from others; if I can procure sufficient to pay my taxes I shall be content, I want no more. I will just mention that the last years tax upon only two acres and half of Medow in Milton was 60 dollors and a parish tax for the land you own in the next parish 50 dollors. This year tis impossible to say to what amount they will rise. The tenants are all scared and declare they will quit Farms as tis impossible for them to pay half the taxes. Mine talked in the same strain but finally concluded to tarry an other year.

[salute] This Letter wholy upon Buisness must conclude with an assurance of the most affectionate regard of your

[signed] Portia
Complements to Mr. Dana and to my correspondent Madam Grand.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosures missing.
1. For the public ceremonies attending Lafayette's arrival at Boston, 28 April, in the French frigate Hermione in 36 days from Rochefort, see the Boston Gazette, 1 May, p. 3, col. 2.
2. Not found.
3. See AA to JA, 15 April, and Richard Cranch to JA, 26 April, both above.
4. What this was does not appear from AA's next letters that survive.
5. See AA to James Lovell, undated, in Adams Papers under the assigned date of post 26 Feb. 1780; not printed in the present edition.
6. None of these letters has been found.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0254

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-05-03

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Portia

Having just heard of a Small Brig bound directly from Nantes to Boston, I write you, one Line. The day before Yesterday, I had a letter from your Uncle S[mith] by Way of Amsterdam, 26 February. I should advise you to embrace these Opportunities by Way of Spain and Holland, otherwise I shall very seldom hear from you. There are a full Bushell of Letters from me, and your share is among them, on their Way, but when they will arrive I know not.
{ 337 }
The English Stocks are fallen two Per Cent and they are expected to fall much more on Account of the Confederation of the maritime Powers in support of Reason, Justice and Common Sense against the Extravagancies of Great Britain. Convulsed at home, Ireland falling off, after America, and all the Nations of Europe agreed in one Plan, against her: Yet the Government of England diminish none of their Pride, Obstinacy, or other, unsocial Passions.
I have not a Line from Congress, and but one from you, since my departure now almost 6 months. I wrote you by Trash, Babson, and the Marquis de la Fayette—these are all arrived I hope. The Alliance has many Letters from me to Congress and to you and others on board—so has the Fleet of de Rochambeau.
We are all well. So Nabby goes to Boston on the Ice. Tell Tommy he is his Papas favourite, because he left him to enjoy the Company of his Mama, and his sister. His Brothers are well and learn cleverly, but not so fast as he, I believe.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0255

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-05-05

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Portia

By your Uncles Letter of 26 feb., he could not hear of any Letters from me by Trash. I certainly wrote by him from Corunna, so did the Children. I wrote to Congress, as well as to you. I wrote also by Babson, who carried some Things for you, from Bilbao. I hope the letters are not lost.
I went a few days ago to Biçetre, to see the Curiosities of that Place.1 It is a Bedlam for the Mad, a Prison for Felons, an hospital for the Poor, and particularly for the most abandoned and decayed Women of the Town.—What a Collection of Insanity, Criminality, and Misery!—It is impossible for me to find time to describe in detail the Things that I saw there. The Objects of Horrour, which are there in such Numbers and such Variety of sorts, would be too painfull to describe.
There are 4600 Persons, in this Castle and its Appendages, including the distracted, the Culprits, the Poor, and the Tradesmen who reside there, and whose labours are necessary, for the subsistance and Accommodations of the Inhabitants of the Place. It is about 3 miles out of the City. In a beautifull and airy situation—it has a large fine Garden—a spacious Court Yard: but the most remarkable thing is a Well, 45 feet in Circumference and of a vast depth out of which they { 338 } draw all the Water for the Place. It is poured into a vast Reservoir, Square, and 9 feet deep, from whence it is taken for the supply of the People.
I went next Day to see the Guarde Meubles of the King, which is at the Place of L[ouis] 14. Here were riches and Magnificence without End—Gold, silver and prescious stones. But I cannot enter into Descriptions of particulars.2 After which We all went to see the Hospital of Invalids.

[salute] Adieu.

1. Under 1 May 1780 JA's account of personal expenditures has the following entry: “Gave at Biçetre, the bedlam of Paris 9 [livres]” (Diary and Autobiography, 2:439). This famous hospital, asylum, and house of correction, founded in the 1630's, took its name from a château in the countryside, just south of the then limits of Paris, which was the earliest building devoted to hospital use. For a description of the buildings and grounds of the Bicêtre at the time of JA's visit, see Dict. historique de la ville de Paris, 1:606–610.
2. The Garde-Meuble de la Couronne was the private art collection or “précieux dépot” of the King. See a detailed contemporary description in Dict. historique de la ville de Paris, 3:111–116. It was housed in 1780 in a building in the Rue Royale, Place de Louis XV (not XIV).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0256

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-05-12

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Portia

Mr. Austin has at last arrived—he dined with me, Yesterday and today. He has been taken, and been to London [and] from thence to Amsterdam. All his Letters to me from Congress, the Council and my friends, he cast into the Sea.—What a Loss!—Oh how I regret it!1
But he brought from Amsterdam, yours of 26 Feb.—but how was I mortified, to find that you had not received my Letters from Ferrol and Corunna. It was only to day that I went out to carry My sons Letter from his Cousin, that I learnt by a Postscript the 29 of Feb. that he had just received a Letter from him dated Ferrol Decr. 12.2 From this I conclude, you had mine.
I have this day a Letter from Mr. Moylan, that he has delivered to Dr. Winship in the Alliance a Chest with the Things you desired and others.3 But after all I fear she will go to a wrong Place. It is the only Opportunity I could get. Pray write me by every Vessell to Holland and Spain—I find they are the best Opportunities.
You cant imagine how C[harle]s was pleased with the Welfare of his Bird &c. I have given him a beautiful pair, which pleases him much.4 He speaks french like an Hero.—My dear daughter dont write { 339 } me. I wish I could write to her, but I cant get time.—Tom too, how fares my favourite boy? He's best off. We all envy him.
As to Taxes, the more they tax me, provided they tax others in Proportion, the happier I am. It is our best Policy and I fear our only Resource.
The fleet and Army are sailed from Brest, and another I suppose from Spain—Cadiz. We hope Clinton wont get Charlestown but We are afraid. If he does he wont keep it long I fancy.
There are many Letters from me on board the french fleet, wherever it is gone—many others with the Marquis de la Fayette—many more in the Alliance which have been there I know not how long.
I never wrote so much in my Life, yet it seems as if none of it would ever get to America. You had Letters by Babson and Knives and Forks—and Tumblers.
Peace is my dear delight, but when shall I see it? They have not attacked me very furiously, in the English Papers, as yet. They have called me once Rebel Chieftain and once Rebel Plenipotentiary, no more yet. I expect they will have at me, by and by. True conscious Honour is to know no sin.
I wish you had told me what Gellee's Report was—I cant hear a Syllable of it, nor guess what it is.5 He is gone from hence. Mr. L.6 goes in the Alliance. Remember me to all friends.

[salute] Adieu.

1. On Jonathan Loring Austin and his current mission and capture, see AA to JA, 18 Jan., above.
2. This exchange between JQA and his cousin William Cranch has not been found.
3. The letter from James Moylan, a merchant at Lorient, was dated 8 May but has not been found. JA acknowledged it on 14 May and instructed Moylan:
“I have received your Favour of the 8th. inclosing Invoice, of sundry goods shipped on board the Alliance to the Amount of Liv. 2187: 3s: 0d. . . . I am much obliged to Dr. Winship, for undertaking the Care of the Caisse. If he should go to Philadelphia and not return soon from thence to Boston, I should be glad he would deliver it, to Mr. Gerry or some of the Mass. Delegates and ask them to convey it by the first Waggon” (LbC, Adams Papers).
4. In JA's record of personal expenditures there is an entry of 28 April 1780: “Paid for Singing Birds and Cages 35 [livres]: 10: 0” (Diary and Autobiography, 2:439).
5. See AA to JA, 26 Feb., and AA to Mrs. Warren, 28 Feb., both above.
6. Arthur Lee.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0257

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-05-12

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

On the 10th. of this Month I had the pleasure of recieving Letters { 340 } from Hingham dated in February, which informed me of the Health of all Friends at both my dear Homes. They contain the first News I have recieved of the Kind. They gave me Relief from a Burden of Anxiety I had been under respecting the Severity of the Winter there.
I have also Letters from Braintree, which inform me, that a Marriage (that most honorable and most happy of States on this Side that great Society above) is on foot between Miss B[etsy] P[a]l[me]r and Mr. N. Cranch.1 I rejoice with the most unfeigned Sincerity in the Information. But there is a Circumstance accompanying this Hint, which is not more novel than extraordinary. It is this—that this is the fruit and Result of ten Years Courtship, Love, &c. Ten Years—ten years!! It is a long Time indeed. I fell into a Soliloquy upon reading it: but it was a short and pleasing one. I am too well acquainted, with the Intrigues and Finesse of some Characters, to hesitate one Moment in judging of the End and Object of giving to this Transaction so early a date. A Concurrence of Hints and Circumstances previous to my departure, tho' artfully enveloped, and hidden in the Shades of Intrigue, did not escape my Observation. This last Circumstance of ten Years, this pure vestal flame of Love of ten Years Duration and Growth is a master piece of Policy, and is fraught with this twofold Advantage, that as it does honor to their Invention, so it acquits me indirectly if not immediately, of all Culpability, even if my Conduct had been subject to Reprehension, which I absolutely deny. But I forbear any further Animadversions—they may have the Air of Vanity, perhaps of Truth. You will judge charitably and candidly, who are acquaintainted with the Rise, Progress, different Stages, forms and Appearances as well as Conclusion of this Matter so far as it respects me personally. It is no small Happiness to me to stand acquitted of any fault in this affair, by so respectable a Friend and Character as You Madam. Injurious Imputations would have fallen upon me, if You had not interposed. Happy am I in so able and so worthy an Advocate, but still more happy in a Consciousness of my entire Innocence.
Je vous prie, Madame, que vous voulez me faites de l'honneur presenter mes Respects a Madame C[ranch] et souhaiter Madame C. beaucoup de joie en mon parti, if She is married.—You will pardon, Madam, my writing thus freely to You on this Subject. Tis from a Conviction of your full Acquaintance of all the Circumstances in which I am in any Way connected. I could wish to talk one hour—and to write three—but the least said is best.
Give me leave to intreat You, Madam, not to let any Eye run over this Scroll but yours—not even Miss Nabby's, who from her very inti• { 341 } mate Connection with Miss B.P. or Mrs. Cranch that it is now possibly, may mention these Observations to her; tho' perhaps with no Intention to injure me, yet it may have a contrary Effect, and it would give me pain to be the Occasion of ill will. You will oblige me much if You will be so good as to commit it to flames.
P.S. Tho' my Head and Heart have been for many years running upon Courtship and Matrimony, and more especially since the ten Years Affair, I had like to have forgot to enquire after the Weymouth Match. I wish it more success than I did another made there in the same House.2 Much Joy if married. What a miserable, forlorn Wretch I am, who have been fixed as Fate in my Affection and Choice for a long while, should be condemned to find the Grapes sour all my Life, whilst all my Cotemparies are settling down in Life in the most respectable and happy Connections. But so it is. But this is wild Talk, and perhaps there is more advanced than can be proved. I know not how it is. However no Body is the wiser or better for my affection, for nobody knows it but myself, and perhaps not even myself. I will rattle no longer. There is Jargon and Contradiction enough indeed in so few Lines.

[salute] I am very respectfully your most obedient Servant,

[signed] J.T.
1. See, however, Richard Cranch's letter to JA of 26 April, above, in which Nathaniel Cranch's sudden death is reported. The hints in Thaxter's “Observations” that follow are too cryptic for interpretation, although their general drift suggests that he had at one time considered himself, or been considered by others, a suitor for Betsy Palmer.
2. The editors have not identified the persons concerned in these two Weymouth matches.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0258

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-05-12

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Portia

The inclosed Dialogue in the Shades was written by Mr. Edmund Jennings now residing at Brussells, a Native of Maryland. I will send you the Rest when I can get it.2
How I lament the Loss of my Packets by Austin! There were I suppose Letters from Congress of great Importance to me. I know not what I shall do without them. I suppose there was Authority to draw &c. Mr. T[haxter]'s Letter from his father, hints that Mr. L.3 is coming here. This will be excellent.
Since my Arrival this time I have driven about Paris, more than I { 342 } did before. The rural Scenes around this Town are charming. The public Walks, Gardens, &c. are extreamly beautifull. The Gardens of the Palais Royal, the Gardens of the Tuilleries, are very fine. The Place de Louis 15, the Place Vendome or Place de Louis 14, the Place victoire, the Place royal, are fine Squares, ornamented with very magnificent statues. I wish I had time to describe these objects to you in a manner, that I should have done, 25 Years ago, but my Head is too full of Schemes and my Heart of Anxiety to use Expressions borrowed from you know whom.
To take a Walk in the Gardens of the Palace of the Tuilleries, and describe the Statues there, all in marble, in which the ancient Divinities and Heroes are represented with exquisite Art, would be a very pleasant Amusement, and instructive Entertainment, improving in History, Mythology, Poetry, as well as in Statuary. Another Walk in the Gardens of Versailles, would be usefull and agreable.—But to observe these Objects with Taste and describe them so as to be understood, would require more time and thought than I can possibly Spare. It is not indeed the fine Arts, which our Country requires. The Usefull, the mechanic Arts, are those which We have occasion for in a young Country, as yet simple and not far advanced in Luxury, altho perhaps much too far for her Age and Character.
I could fill Volumes with Descriptions of Temples and Palaces, Paintings, Sculptures, Tapestry, Porcelaine, &c. &c. &c.—if I could have time. But I could not do this without neglecting my duty.—The Science of Government it is my Duty to study, more than all other Sciences: the Art of Legislation and Administration and Negotiation, ought to take Place, indeed to exclude in a manner all other Arts.—I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Mathematicks and Philosophy, Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their Children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry and Porcelaine.4

[salute] Adieu.

RC (Adams Papers). For the enclosed newspaper piece by Edmund Jenings, which has not been found, see note 2.
1. It is difficult to date this letter with precision but not at all difficult to date it within a day or two of its composition. It must have been written after JA's letter to AA of 12 May, above, which reported the capture of Jonathan Loring Austin and the loss of the letters he was bringing JA from America—a loss plaintively mentioned again in the present letter. It was very probably written before JA's letter to AA of 15 May, below, because it mentions incidents that occurred { 343 } earlier in May, for example JA's receipt of Jenings' “Dialogue” (see the following note) and Thaxter's receipt of letters from Hingham, which Thaxter's letter to AA of 12 May, preceding, states he received on the 10th.
2. The editors have not seen this political piece. The “first part” was sent by its author, Edmund Jenings (1731–1819), to JA on 2 May (letter in Adams Papers, enclosure missing) as printed in a recent but unidentified London newspaper; it was warmly acknowledged in JA's reply of 6 May (LbC, Adams Papers). In a dispatch dated 27 May, JA told President Huntington: “Among the English Papers, which I enclose to Congress, will be found a Dialogue in the Shades between the Duke of Devonshire, the Earl of Chatham and Mr. Charles York—it was written by Edmund Jennings Esqr. of Maryland, now residing at Brussells, a Gentleman of Merit” (PCC, No. 84, II, without the newspaper in question; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:735).
As for Jenings, a Marylander long resident in London who played an obscure but interesting and controversial part in the international intrigues of the day, see a biographical note in JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:355–356, and numerous mentions of him in that work.
3. Henry Laurens?
4. For an attempt to put the foregoing celebrated passage in the context of JA's general view of the fine arts, see the Foreword to Oliver, Portraits of JA and AA, p. xii–xvi. See also the Introduction to the present volume.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0259-0001

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-05-14

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

The inclosed Papers will show you how the Business of Mr. A's Accounts has been conducted—with indecent Delay. I presume the Treasury will draw a Bill of Exchange for the Balance.—You had all the News respecting Mr. Adams which has yet come to us. We hear some agreable Things from Mr. Carmichael at Madrid where he was preparing for Mr. Jay's Reception who remained at Cadiz.1
It is not necessary for you to send any Extracts to Mr. A——of what is here conveyed respecting his Accounts as I have already done it in Cyphers of which I shall make duplicates.2
I can only add to what I before said about Exchange, that you will certainly do well to get all the continental you can just at this Time. It cannot fail to be a Benefit.

[salute] Yrs. with Esteem,

[signed] JL
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosure, printed herewith: copies in Lovell's hand of several reports and the final vote of Congress, 1779–1780, on the settlement of JA's accounts as joint United States commissioner in Paris, 1778–1779.
1. William Carmichael was secretary of legation to John Jay's mission to Spain. For a sketch of Carmichael see above, vol. 2:199.
2. See Lovell to JA, 4 May (Adams Papers), which summarized Congress' action on JA's accounts.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0259-0002

Author: Govett, William
Author: Lovell, James
Author: Mercier, John D.
Recipient: Continental Congress
Recipient: Forbes, James
Recipient: Mathews, John
Recipient: Houston, William Churchill
Date: 1779-10-25
Date: 1779-10-27
Date: 1780-05-14

Enclosure: Reports on John Adams' Accounts

Mr. Adams' Letter of Aug. 3d. was referred to the Board of Treasury on the 20th. to take Order.1
The Commissioners report
That agreable to an Order of the honble. Board of Treasury of the 12th Instant, they have examined the Accounts of the honble. John { 344 } | view Adams Esqr. one of the Commissioners of the United States at the Court of Versailles for his Expences to, at and from thence, and find that He has received from the following Persons, the Sum of forty eight thousand nine hundred and fifty five Livres four Sols Vizt.
Of the honble. Navy Board, Boston   2400   0   0  
The honble. Benjn. Franklin Esqr.   10610   16   0  
Wm. T. Franklin   480   0   0  
John Bonfield   2292   12   0  
Mr. Grand sundry Drafts and payments   32159   16   0  
Mr. Puchelberg   1012   0   0  
    48955   4   0  
And that there is an Error in his Account of Expences at and from Bordeaux to Paris for which he is to be charged   53   11   0  
The whole Amounting to forty nine thousand and eight Livres fifteen Sols   49008   15   0  
That he charges for Expenditures for which there are many Vouchers wanting, and which, from Circumstances, they think could not easily be obtained, the following Sums vizt.
Joint Expences with the Honble. Benjamin Franklin   15261   4   6  
Expences paid for B. Franklin as per Account A   1981   3   0  
His Secretary and Servants Wages, travelling and other Expences   7742   3   6  
Cash paid for Cloathing for himself   5248   15   6  
Do. Books for Do.   1955   9   0  
Do. Schooling his Son   1861   1   0  
Money borrowed and repaid   45   12   0  
Money lost which was sewed in the lining of a Coat which was stolen3   192   0   0  
Expences at Boston on public Business, and Postage since his Return   48   0   0  
    34335   8   6  
And he also charges for his Allowance for Twenty Months at 11428 Livres per Ann:   19046   0   0  
The whole amounting to fifty three Thousand three hundred and eighty one Livres eight Sols and six Deniers   53381   8   6  
{ 345 } | view
From which accounts there appears a balance of four thousand three hundred and seventy two Livres thirteen Sols and six Deniers in favor of the honble. John Adams Esqr. But, as they have no Rule to go by in allowing his Expenditures or Pay, they have stated the Account as above, and beg Leave to submit the whole to the Honble. Congress.
They beg Leave to remark that the Examination of the Copy of an Account marked A which they received with Mr. Adams's other Accounts and is for joint Expences of himself, Doctr. Franklin and Mr. Deane, cannot be gone into at Present, the Monies credited therein having been received, and the Vouchers to said Account remain with him. But from a View of the Charges therein they find
That their joint Expences amount to           13307   13   0  
The particular Account of Benja. Franklin           2979   14   0  
Ditto Silas Deane           1323   18   0  
Cloathing for Mr. J. Adams   54   0   0   }   1014   0   0  
Cash received by him and which he credits for in his Account reported on   960   0   0          
Amounting to eighteen thousand six hundred and twenty-five Livres five Sols           18625   5   0  
[signed] signed Wm: Govett
[signed] John D: Mercier
Committed and a Report made Decr. 154 which Report was resumed April 15. 1780.
The Committee to whom was referred the Report of the Commissioners of Accounts of the 25th. of Octr. last on the Accounts of the honble. John Adams Esqr. late one of the Commissioners of the United States at the Court of Versailles report5
That they do not find any Vote or Proceeding of Congress nor are they informed of any general or received Custom on which the Charge of Monies for the Education of the Accomptants Son can be admitted; and, though the same is inconsiderable they are of Opinion it ought to be rejected that a Precedent be not established.
That they are of Opinion the charge for Books ought to be admitted on the Ground of a practise which has obtained in different Nations respecting their public Ministers and which is mentioned by Mr. Adams in the Explanations attending his Vouchers.
That they find the several charges in the said Accounts conformable { 346 } to the strictest principles of Oconomy and that as far as Mr. Adams has been intrusted with public Money the same has been carefully and frugally expended.
Resolved That Congress agree to the said Report.
The content of all or some notes that appeared on this page in the printed volume has been moved to the end of the preceding document.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosure, printed herewith: copies in Lovell's hand of several reports and the final vote of Congress, 1779–1780, on the settlement of JA's accounts as joint United States commissioner in Paris, 1778–1779.
1. In his letter to President Jay of 3 Aug. 1779 reporting his return home, JA had asked “whether Congress will choose to receive my Accounts alone, or to wait untill the other Commissioners shall exhibit theirs, so as to have the whole together under one View, in order to do equal Justice to all” (PCC, No. 84, I; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:277). The letter was read on 20 Aug. and referred to the Board of Treasury to decide this question (JCC, 14:981). What followed has been set forth in detail in a note by the editors on Lovell's letter to AA of 9 Aug. 1779, p. 220–222, above, and need not be repeated here. See, however, JA's record of Personal Receipts and Expenditures, Feb. 1778–Aug. 1779 (Diary and Autobiography, 2:325–344), and his letter to the Board of Treasury, transmitting and explaining his accounts, together with such vouchers as he possessed, 19 Sept. 1779 (LbC, Adams Papers; Works, 7:111–114).
2. The original of this document has not been found in PCC and may now exist only in the present copy made by Lovell and sent to AA.
3. This was actually “a pair of coarse homespun Breeches” belonging to JQA, into the waistband of which eight or more guineas had been sewn (JA to William McCreery, 15 April 1778, above). This humble article, lost either in Bordeaux or on the road between Bordeaux and Paris, became “a Garment” in JA's rough accounts (Diary and Autobiography, 2:326) and has here completed its evolution into respectability by becoming a lined coat.
4. The accountants' report had been referred on 27 Oct. to a committee of three members—James Forbes, John Mathews, and William Churchill Houston. They presented their report on 15 Dec., but no action was then taken on it. See JCC, 15:1212, 1383.
5. The original, in W. C. Houston's hand, is in PCC, No. 19, I. Deducting 1,861 livres 1s. for “Schooling his Son,” Congress agreed to the audit, without further change after what Lovell called “indecent Delay,” on 15 April 1780 (JCC, 16:368–369). The balance in JA's favor (not indicated in the Journal) then stood at 2,511 livres 12s. 6d., the sum finally paid over to him. See further, Lovell to JA, 4 May (Adams Papers); AA to JA, 5 July; Lovell to AA, 3 Sept.; and AA to Lovell, 17 Sept.; all below.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0260

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-05-15

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Portia

I inclose for your Amusement, a Publication, made here within a few days.1
Somebody has inserted in the Amsterdam Gazette, that this Gentleman lodges with me. This is done with a political design, but whether { 347 } it was intended to do honour to me, or him or both, I dont know.—It is not true.—However there is a good Understanding between him and me, and therefore I did not trouble myself to enquire whether it was done to serve or hurt him or me, or both.2
I went Yesterday, Pentecost, to Versailles, and saw the Nights of the order of St. Esprit. There was magnificence enough.3 The Queen shone, like a Star—and the K[ing] had a new Throne. This striking Character discover[ed] by his Countenance, that he had not a very profound Admiration of the Pomposities about him. He manifestly smiled Contempt, upon some of the Ceremonies. But He made a most profound, and reverential Bow to the Altar, when he came up and when he went away. This was done with an Air of real serioussness and Gravity.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosure not found; see note 1.
1. Evidently a French publication about the American naval hero John Paul Jones; see the following note.
2. “[T]his Gentleman” was John Paul Jones, as appears from an item of Paris news in the Gazette d'Amsterdam, 5 May 1780: “Le Commodore Paul Jones, qui est actuellement ici logé avec Mr. Adams, a reçu Mardi dernier á 1'Opéra de grands Applaudissemens du public, qui a paru voir avec un vif Sentiment de plaisir et d'Admiration, cet intrépide Marin” (cited from a collection of extracts from European newspapers concerning American affairs, 5 April–4 July 1780, copied by JA and John Thaxter, in Adams Papers). Between cruises, Jones was spending six weeks of April and May enjoying his celebrity and the other diversions offered him by the chief capital of Europe; see Samuel Eliot Morison, John Paul Jones, Boston and Toronto, 1959, p. 275 ff.
3. This was not the first time that JA had witnessed the ceremonial investiture of the Knights of the Holy Ghost. See his brief diary entry of 7 June 1778 and the colorful elaboration thereof in his Autobiography (Diary and Autobiography, 2:316; 4:130–132).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0261

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Pechigny, M.
Date: 1780-05-16

John Adams to Pechigny

[salute] Sir

I have recieved your two favors of the 9th. and 10th. of this Month with the Accounts of my Sons and Mr. Cooper [i.e. Samuel Cooper Johonnot] for the first Quarter.1
They did, I must confess, appear to me very high—and I have shewn the Account of Mr. Cooper, to some Gentlemen, who know the prices of things here, and they are of Opinion with me, that they are very high. They pointed out to me the Articles, especially those of Cloathing, which they thought were charged too high —on the whole they thought there ought to be an Abatement of at least three Louis D'Ors, on Mr. Cooper's Account. I find the Accounts of my Sons, are nearly as high, so that I fancy there ought to be an Abatement of the same { 348 } Sum of three Louis at least upon each of them. If You consent to this Abatement, I will pay You the Money for all three, as soon as You please.2
As to an Agreement to give 1200 Livres a Year to commence from the 10th, I will readily come into it, provided You mean that it shall be in that proportion for any longer or shorter Time, and that I shall be at Liberty to take them away, whenever I shall think proper.
I am uncertain how long I may stay here. I may be ordered to some other place. I may think it necessary to send my Children to Geneva or Holland, or I may take an House here, and see to the Education of my Sons myself, under proper Masters. In any of these Cases I must be at Liberty to take them from your Pension, paying in the proportion of 1200 Livres for a Year, for the Time they shall actually stay with You. If You agree to these proposals, please to inform me, as soon as possible by Letter—if You do not, I would desire You not to provide any of the three young Gentlemen with any more Cloaths of any kind, nor furnish them with any more Money or Books. I will take this upon myself, and further I would not have them put any longer to the Master of Fencing or Dancing—let them attend the Drawing and Writing Masters, and bend all the rest of their Time and attention, to Latin, Greek, and French, which will be more useful and necessary for them in their own Country, where they are to spend their Lives.
If I should take them from your Pension, it will not be from any disgust or dislike, for I am well satisfied with the Care that is taken of them, and with the progress they make. I am however very far from being determined to take them away at all. The sooner You favor me with your Answer, and the sooner I pay You, what is justly your due, for the first Quarter, the more agreable to me.

[salute] I am with much Respect and Esteem, Sir, your most obedient and humble Servant.

LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers). At foot of text: “Monsieur Pechiny.”
1. Neither the letters of M. Pechigny nor the accounts he rendered have been found.
2. In JA's record of personal expenditures the following entry appears under 17 May 1780: “Paid Mr. Pechini's Account for my Sons John and Charles 980 [livres] 10: 0” (Diary and Autobiography, 2:439). This suggests that the schoolmaster had come to terms with JA very promptly indeed.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0262

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Date: 1780-05-16

John Adams to Isaac Smith Sr.

[salute] Sir

Your kind favor of 26th. Feby. was sent me by Mr. John Hodshon of Amsterdam, whom I shall request to convey You this. You can't imagine how much pleasure this Letter gave me. I should be obliged to You to write me and desire Mrs. Adams, and my friends to write by every Vessel to Amsterdam and Spain. The Newspaper inclosed was very agreeable. I have procured the Account of Captain Water's glorious Cruise, to be translated and published, and it will be published in the English papers, and all the papers of Europe. It does him and Us much Honor.
You could not have gratified me more, than by the Account of the proceedings of Convention. The Report of the Committee is publishing in the Courier de L'Europe, and is well received.1 The Liberality on the Subject of Religion, does Us infinite Honor and is admired and applauded every where. It is considered not only as an honest and pious Attention to the unalienable Rights of Conscience, but as our best and most refined Policy, tending to conciliate the Good Will of all the World, preparing an Asylum, which will be a sure Remedy against persecution in Europe, and drawing over to our Country Numbers of excellent Citizens.2
From your Account I flatter myself we shall have a good Government. Two Armaments have sailed—one from Brest the 2d. May, Eight Ships of the Line and four thousand Men, with a fine Train of Artillery. Another from Cadiz of 12 Ships of the Line and 12,000 Men, with another Train of Artillery on the 28th. April. Accounts from the West Indies at the same time are very favorable.
One would think without some Uncommon Misfortune, these Armaments must tend to bring the English to Reason. My Regards to Mrs. Smith and the Family. I am &c.
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. It was JA who had submitted The Report of a Constitution or Form of Government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston, 1779, for publication in the Courier de l'Europe, an international journal that was published in various cities and seems to have had an office at Paris at this time; see JA to the Editor of the Courier de l'Europe, 8 May 1780 (LbC, Adams Papers).
2. Although the articles on religion in the proposed Constitution by no means satisfied certain minority groups in Massachusetts, they did attract favorable comment in Europe. An example, quite possibly one among those to which JA is specifically referring, is an article in the London General Advertiser and Morning Intelligencer, 21 April 1780, copied by JA into his collection of extracts from European newspapers concerning American affairs (Adams Papers, under date of 5 April 1780).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0263

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-05-16

Elbridge Gerry to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

I had the pleasure of addressing You on the 17th of April last, since which Congress have received several Letters from our worthy Friend at Paris, containing Copies of his Correspondence with the Count de V[e]rg[enne]s, Primier of F[ranc]e. In one of his Letters to Mr. A[dam]s the Count says “the principal object of your Mission, I mean what regards the future Pacification, shall be announced in the Gazette of France, when a Mention is made of your presentation to the K[in]g and R[oya]l F[amil]y”: and also proposes, that an Extract of Mr. A——s Commission of M[iniste]r P[lenipotentiar]y should at the same Time be published, and that similar Insertions should be made in the Leyden Gazette: all of which will undoubtedly be sent to America and communicated to the publick.1 Previous to this Intelligence, I had prepared for the press a paragraph to rectify the partiality of the P[hilosophica]l S[ociet]y, but as the Inconveniences apprehended from their publication in Europe will be now effectually prevented, I think it best to take no other Notice thereof, than to hint to one of their Members who is a Friend to Mr. A——s, that their Appointment, circumstanced as it was, could not be supposed honorary, but must appear deficient in Delicacy to Mr. A——s as well as to the State in which he resided.
I had the pleasure last Evening of a Visit from the Marquis la Fayette with a Letter of the 29th Feby. from Mr. A——s2 and one of the 26th from Mr. D[an]a, both of whom were happy in the Friendship and Confidence of the Court of F[ranc]e, and in the Hopes of seeing in due Time, the present tragical Scene closed, and the Cause of Liberty established on a permanent Foundation. I remain Madam with the sincerety, Friendship & Esteem your most obedt. & very hum. ser.,
[signed] G.
RC (Adams Papers). At foot of text: “Portia.”
1. Vergennes' note to JA quoted by Gerry was dated 24 Feb. (Adams Papers), and a translation of it was enclosed in JA's letter to President Huntington on the 25th (PCC, No. 84, I; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:518–519). Having had his presentation at Versailles on 7 March, JA waited a fortnight and then inquired concerning the promised official announcement of his mission (letter to Vergennes, 21 March; copy enclosed to Huntington in PCC, No. 84, I; Wharton, 3:564–565). In a reply nine days later Vergennes suavely explained that, upon inquiry, he had found that the presentations of neither ambassadors nor ministers plenipotentiary were announced in the Gazette de France and consequently that an announcement there of JA's presentation would appear an “affectation.” He proposed instead to insert a notice of it { 351 } in the Mercure de France (an organ of the French government, but not officially so), whence JA himself could see to it that it was copied in “les gazettes étrangères” in a postscript he subjoined a text for JA's approval, as follows: “Le S[ieur] Adams que le Congrès des Etats Unis de l'Amérique a désigné pour assister aux conférences pour la paix lorsqui'il y aura lieu, est arrivé depuis quelque tems ici et a eû I'honneur d'être présenté au Roi et à la famille royale” (Adams Papers; translation in Wharton, 3:580). JA had to be satisfied with this brief and bare gesture, which was made on 5 April, but in reporting it and his compliance therewith to Congress on the same day he could not refrain from commenting: “I ought to confess . . . that the Delicacies of the Comte de Vergennes about communicating my Powers, are not perfectly consonant to my manner of thinking” (letter to Huntington, 30 March, PCC No. 84, I; Wharton, 3: 581). Needless to say, the result of these “Delicacies” fell far below the expectations of Gerry as expressed in the present letter.
2. LbC, Adams Papers; printed in Austin, Gerry, 1:333–334.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0264

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-05-17

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Portia

This day I received yours of the first of March from Bilbao, with the Journals &c.—the Postage of this Packet, is prodigious. I would not Advise to send many Journals, or Newspapers, this Way, or by Holland, but cut out pieces of Newspapers, and give me an Account of any Thing particularly interesting in the Journals, in your Letters, by such Conveyances, and send large Packetts of Journals and Papers directly to France.—Dont omit any Opportunity of Writing however by Holland or Spain. The Communication this Way is more frequent than any other.—Your two Sons were at Table, with me, when your Letters arrived, and a feast We had of it indeed. Your Uncle writes me that Babson has arrived, who carried you Letters and Linnen. The same Articles are repeated in Trash. The Alliance, if she ever sails, has all your Affairs and those of our friends on board. I wish them safe.
Your account of the brave Jacks that I saw at Corunna, moves me.1 I saw another such Crew at Bilbao, who belonged to Mary land, and had the sweet Satisfaction [to] do them a similar Service. Amidst all my Pains and Heart Achs, I have now and then the Pleasure of doing a little good, and that is all the Pleasure I have. I wish however it was in my Power to do more for the Numbers of my unfortunate Countrymen, who fall in my Way. The Rogues however, committed a great fault in not calling upon you, to give you an Opportunity of having the same satisfaction. They ought too to have called to let you know, I was ashore, and well.
1. See AA to JA, 1 March, above. The incident is not recorded in JA's Diary.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0265

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-05-17

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

I was made happy this day by the Receipt of your esteemed favor of the 2d. of March.
You say, that in the seperation of near Friends, You have ever thought the person left at Home the greatest Sufferer, and that anticipated Evils have often as much Power over the Mind as real ones. This Observation is the Result of that extream Sensibility of which You are possessed, and which has been but too often wounded by repeated Seperations from your dear Friend. In point of duration of Suffering the Person at Home is the greatest, but in point of degree the Traveller is the greatest. It is sometimes the reverse. The Mind by its creative Power forms more dangers and Misfortunes for Friends at Sea and upon Journeys, than it provides Escapes for them, and altho' they hope and wish for their Safety, yet Fears, unfriendly Fears, do but too often damp their pleasing Prospects, and rob the Soul of its Anchor.
Pardon me, Madam, if I once sincerely rejoiced in the Absence of a Family, where I lived so agreeably and happily for several Years. It was in the Storm at Sea; which however would not have been very dangerous to Us had it not have been for the Leak and Age of the Ship. I did then rejoice that You was in Safety and far from witnessing a Scene, which would have awakened, all the Tenderness of a Wife and Mother, and doubly aggravated the Anxiety and Pain of your dearest Friend. In such a Case as this, I think the suffering of the Traveller is greatest.
You tell me, I have given a tolerable Account of Spain, but have not said a Word of the Dulcinas. I saw but one in the Route, that deserved so sweet a Name. This is harsh; but I dare not recal it.
You have rallied me upon my Apathy. This is another part of Speech. But the Parisian Ladies are to rouse me from my secure Slumbers you believe. They are fine Women its true, and have a Vivacity, Sprightliness, Civility, and Politeness which would disturb ones Philosophy. I am not an “Infidel to their Power,” I “bow before it,” yet am “guarded against being conquered by it,” and “do reserve that Triumph” (if it would be a Trophy) “for some fair American” (If I have a Claim to a fair one) “who will charm by accepting, by submitting sway.”
In my Conscience I believe, I have no Apathy nor Stoicism, by Nature, Habit or Grace. I am an Admirer of the Charms of the fair, { 353 } whether of Person or Mind and have felt their Force. But I refer You to the Postscript of my Letter of the 12th. of May for an honest Confession. I have said enough—the Subject always turns my Head and makes me wild and eccentric. You will pardon them I hope.
Masters Johnny and Charley dined with Us to day and are well and conduct well.
Much Duty, Love and Compliments where due. With the greatest Respect, I have the Honor to be, Madam your most humble Servant,
[signed] J T

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0266

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Winslow
Date: 1780-05-19

Abigail Adams to Winslow Warren

From the Friendship with which I have long been honourd by your Mamma, and the personal knowledge of the amiable disposition of her Son, I am led to the freedom of addressing him upon his quitting his Native land, and joining my wishes with those of his other Friends that his voyage may be fortunate and safe, and that as he becomes acquainted with other Countries he may do credit to his own, which unfortunately for America, has not been the case with many who have visited France.1
The watchfull care of tender parents and the distinguished abilities of his most Excellent Mamma renders every admonition from every other pen unnecessary. Yet her anxiety for the future welfare of her Son and partiality for her Friend led her to obtain a promise from her that she would write him a few lines, e'er he embarked. He will not I hope consider what is written in the Spirit of Friendship as intruded upon him, nor take it amiss if I intimate to him that he has many excitements to do honour to his Country.
The Merrit and example of his parents are an inheritance to him, but an inheritance upon which he cannot subsist unless he transplants into his own life those virtues which distinguish them.
The two most important Lessons in life for a young person to acquire, is a knowledge of themselves, and of the connections they form. As the latter determines and establishes the character, too much attention cannot be paid to this important matter. Who can touch pitch and not be defiled? Tho Merrit alone seldom obtains the distintion that is its due, yet when united with a knowledge of the world and those Graces which happily for Mr. W[arre]n he has not now to ac• { 354 } quire, they will not fail obtaining favour with every character whose acquaintance he would be ambitious to cultivate. May I add that those very accomplishments which ensure him the Esteem of the good and Worthy, expose him to the snares, and machinations of different characters, and that he is entering a world where every thing is sacrificed by the greater part of it, to ambition, to Interest and to the passions. This tho an unpromiseing picture is the Idea that must possess him, in order to avoid falling into the snares which continually await the unguarded and unsuspecting to whom vice frequently makes her approaches in the Form and appearence of Innocent amusements—a well-bred compliance with received customs, and a Liberty which must be allowed in order to please.
The Humane mind is easily intoxicated with pleasure and the purest Manners soon sullied. Virtue may come by degrees to be thought too severe, and an Enemy when it opposes the ruling passion —a Matter of mere decency, a politick phantom, a popular prejudice which ought to be shaken of. Thus the infatuated understanding leads the Heart astray till it fall a prey to crimes of the deepest dye.—May I ask if the Manners of the present day are not a proof of these assertions? but

“Thy tender age that Loves instructions voice

Promise thee Generous, patient, brave and wise

And Manhood shall confirm thy glorious choice

Whilst expectation waits to see thee rise.”

That you may rise to honour and to Fame, the ornament of your Country and the blessing of your parents is the ardent wish of your Friend & Humble Servant,
[signed] A A
Dft (Adams Papers); at head of text in CFA's hand: “Mr. W. Warren May 19. 1780.”
1. For what lay back, and ahead, of this letter, see Winslow Warren's reply, 26 May; AA to JA, 23 Aug.; both below.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0267

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-05-19

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

[salute] My much esteemed Friend

Large Packets are here received from Mr. Adams up to March 4th. His Reception was of the most cordial Kind. I shall execute speedily all his confidential Requests, and shall tell you the Nature of them in some Moment of more Leisure than the present. If a depreciating Currency has not ruined our Spirit and Principles of Patriotism, it { 355 } is not a mad Thing to hope that this Year's Campaign will give us Peace. But I must own that I feel great Uneasiness lest Ships and Troops should be in vain sent to co-operate with us. They may be hourly expected—we are much unprepared. I am sure that Mass: will do her utmost to forward what Congress may find necessary to recommend on this extraordinary Occasion. It is very material that the Nest at Penobscot should be broken up.

[salute] I am Madam, Your Friend and Servant,

[signed] JL
The inclosed is from Col. R. H. Lee, to be forwarded to Mr. Adams.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosure: Richard Henry Lee to JA, “Virginia May the 7th 1780” (Adams Papers); printed in R. H. Lee, Letters, ed. Ballagh, 2:182–184, from a transcript furnished by CFA2, but misdated 17 May 1780; the letter deals almost exclusively with war news in the southern states.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0268

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1780-05-24

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

Your favour of May the Second came last Evening to Hand, and is the only line received from you since the 21 of March.2 Former puntiality lead[s] me to fear the miscarriage of my Letters, but a multiplicity of publick avocations may easily account for omissions where nothing very important calld for a reply.
In Letters from Paris received by the Marquis, Mr. A[dam]s requests me to write you upon the Subject of remittances and that he shall be in trouble unless supplied in that way, or receives orders to draw upon you know whom,3 he says. You will not I trust be unmindful of him. Shall not fail to acknowledge any care or attention that you may take with regard to his former accounts.
When I requested you to negotiate an exchange for me, it was only 35 for one. The day that the resolutions of congress respecting exchange &c. was known here, it rose to 50 to 60 to 70 even up to 90, and has ever since been fluctuating in that manner. The 7 Labours of Hercules were not more difficult and complicated than the Subject of Finance. Congress are censured yet no one sees how the Evil can be easily cured tho every one is for administering a remedy.

[salute] When ever any thing respecting our publick affairs occurs which may be communicated, you will be so kind as to indulge in that way your Friend & Humble Servant,

[signed] Portia
We have had a strange Phenomena in the Natural World.4 On fryday the 19 of May the Sun rose with a thick smoaky atmosphere { 356 } indicating dry weather which we had for ten days before. Soon after 8 oclock in morning the sun shut in and it rained half an hour, after that there arose Light Luminous clouds from the north west, the wind at south west. They gradually spread over the hemisphere till such a darkness took place as appears in a total Eclipse. By Eleven oclock candles were light up in every House, the cattle retired to the Barns, the fouls to roost and the frogs croaked. The greatest darkness was about one oclock. It was 3 before the Sky assumed its usual look. The Luminous clouds dissapeard, and it raind gently for an hour or two. About 8 oclock in the Evening almost Instantainously the Heavens were covered with Egyptian Darkness, objects the nearest to you could not be discerned tho the Moon was at her full. It continued till 12 at Night and then dissapeard without either wind or rain. The clouds passt of to the south and east.—I have given you only my own observations. I hope some of our Philosophical Geniousess will endeavour to investigate so unusual an appearence. It is matter of great consternation to many. It was the most solemn appearence my Eyes ever beheld but the Philosophical Eye can look through and trust the Ruler of the Sky.
Dft (Adams Papers). CFA added at the head of the postscript: “1780.” On the (otherwise blank) fourth page of the folded sheet of Dft are several lines of a letter to “Sir,” possibly the rejected beginning of the present letter. Postscript has been slightly repunctuated for clarity.
1. Dated from Lovell's acknowledgment of the missing RC in his letter to AA of 13 June, below.
2. Thus she had not yet received Lovell's letter of 14 May, above, which enclosed copies of papers relating to the settlement of JA's accounts.
3. Benjamin Franklin.
4. AA's account of the famous “dark day” in New England, Friday, 19 May, was probably added a day or two after the foregoing was written, for, although her account is in her own language, it appears to draw some details from a communication signed by “Viator” and published in both the Continental Journal and Independent Chronicle, 25 May. See also Cotton Tufts to JA, 25 July, below, enclosing Tufts' own account of the dark day, which quotes some sentences from “Viator.”
This was a case of early American “smog,” doubtless caused by the smoke and ashes from forest fires burning in many places, as “Viator” notes, after a long stretch of very dry weather. According to Samuel Tenney, who later wrote a quasi-scientific description based on extensive inquiries, “the darkness was most gross in the county of Essex, the lower part of the state of New-Hampshire and the old Province of Maine. In Rhode-Island and Connecticut it was not so great, and still less in New-York” (“Dr. Tenney's Letter on the Dark Day, May 19, 1780,” MHS, Colls., 1st ser., 1 [1792, repr. 1806]:95).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0269

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Date: 1780-05-26

John Adams to Isaac Smith Sr.

[salute] Sir

I must intreat You to write me, and persuade others to write by every Vessel to Spain and Holland.
We have just received Clinton's Letter.1 A Spanish Armament, 12. Ships of the Line, 5 Frigates &c. &c., 12,000 men sailed 28th. April. The Brest Armament of 8 Ships and 6000 Men sailed 2d. May. Walsingham and Graves are still in Port, for any thing We have heard. The maritime Powers have all acceded to the Russian proposal for an armed Neutrality. Our hopes are flattered at present with something this Campaign more favourable than the last, but the Events of War are always uncertain.
The American Trade certainly spreads.
The House of Commons had cleared their Galleries by the last Accounts, devising nothing honest I fear.
Some new plan of delusion perhaps for themselves and Us. They still think they can detach Us from our Alliance with France. They might as well think of our surrendering our Sovereignty. They say America is distressed—the Consequence they draw from it is, that America will distress infinitely more by going to War, with France and Spain.

[salute] Yours.

LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. A purported confidential letter (“Private No. 15”) addressed by Sir Henry Clinton at Savannah to Lord George Germain, 30 Jan. 1780. It recited in great detail the difficulties under which the British labored in holding New York City against threats of combined American and French land and naval forces, painted the gloomiest prospects for Clinton's southern campaign, where “a train of Incidents peculiar, and beyond human Foresight have set in, against the Arms of my royal master,” and held out no hope of an American collapse as a result of the current monetary crisis. Whatever its actual origin, this letter reached Paris with assurances that it had been captured at sea and published in Philadelphia in April with the authority of Congress. Both JA and Franklin gave it credence and circulated copies for publication in European journals. But it was very soon exposed as a forgery—“a mere Jeu d'Esprit,” JA later heard, and conceded, “written by an Officer in the [Continental] Army, upon the North river,” and yet a most ingenious and plausible piece of fictionizing, quite in character with Clinton. Since Lincoln had surrendered Charleston to Clinton on 12 May, this was one instance of JA's activities as a propagandist that seriously backfired, and he was much embarrassed by it.
See JA to Arthur Lee, 25 May (Adams Papers; JA, Works, 7:178–179); Edmund Jenings to JA, 27 May (Adams Papers); JA to Jenings, 30 May, enclosing a copy of the spurious letter, to be communicated to “the English Papers” (Adams Papers); C. W. F. Dumas to JA, without date (Adams Papers, under date of May–June 1780[ante 30 May 1780]); William Lee to JA, 31 May, 8 July { 358 } (both in Adams Papers, the latter printed in JA, Works, 7:215–216); Franklin to Dumas, 5 June (Franklin, Writings, ed. Smyth, 8:82–83); JA to Dumas, 6 June (MHi:Hoar Autograph Coll.; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:771– 772); Dumas to JA, 6 June (Adams Papers); JA to Jenings, 4 July (Adams Papers); JA to William Lee, 20 July (LbC, Adams Papers; JA, Works, 7: 231). A French text of the forgery will be found in the so-called Gazette de Leide (Nouvelles extraordinaires de divers endroits), No. 43 (30 May), suppl., and No. 44 (2 June), suppl.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0270

Author: Warren, Winslow
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-05-26

Winslow Warren to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

I had the honor of receiving your Letter the last Week handed Me by Mr. Cranch; accompanied with your Letters for Mr. Adams1 Which I shall take particular pleasure in Conveying safe.—I shant here Attempt to Discribe my Gratitude to you for your Good Wishes and friendly advice to Me, In which I should fall so far short of what I would wish to express that it would neither give me the satisfaction in Conveying nor perhaps sufficiently convince you of the Obligation I feel myself under for this mark of your Condescention and friendship. To you it may suffice to say I think such a Letter from a Lady, and a Lady so Very Capable of dictating to a Youth as Mrs. Adams would stimulate the Most Depraved to the path of Virtue and Honor.
I have ever Endeavoured as far as the Caprices and Instabilitys of Youth and My Situation would Allow me, to avoid every friendship and Connection from which I might Hazzard the least personal reproach and dishonor. You May immagine I have met with mistaken friendships and formed too Contemptable Connections.
If I had, I Could Not entertain suspicions so dishonorable to Understandings as to suppose Any would Attribute them to more than Misfortune and Mistake. To whatever cause Mrs. Adams would Ascribe them I am sure her Generosity and Candour would Overlook Every Inadvertance of that kind which may have happened, at least till she perceives that Maturer Years and a better knowledge of the World does Not Guide with More Judgement thro: the snares and Machinations you Mention. I do Now and perhaps may have better reason to Consider my Voyage as a fortunate Opportunity to shake of Intimacys Many of which I hold in ineffable Contempt.—After informing you of my disappointment that I had Not the Honour of Again Waiting on You, and after wishing You every felicity subscribe with every sentament of respect and Esteem yr. Most Obedt: and very humb: Servt:
[signed] Winslow Warren2
{ 359 }
1. When Warren, 21-year-old son of James and Mercy (Otis) Warren, was about to embark in the brigantine Pallas, scheduled to sail from Boston on 20 May, his mother wrote AA offering her the opportunity of sending letters by him to JA (Mercy Warren to AA, 8 May 1781 [i.e. 1780], Adams Papers). AA embraced the chance, but the letters were doubtless lost when Warren was captured; see the following note.
2. Winslow Warren, in leaving for the Netherlands and France designed to seek his fortune by setting up a commission business dealing in goods to and from America. (See a brief sketch of Warren, vol. 2:151, above.) The Warrens were at least as protective of their children as other parents; Winslow's youthful friendships and proclivities had evidently already caused them concern; and his mother had solicited AA's advice to a son about to face temptations of a kind assumed to be far more numerous and seductive in Europe than in America; see AA to Winslow Warren, 19 May, above.
The departure of the Pallas was delayed until late in June, and not long after it finally sailed, from Newburyport, it was captured by the British man-of-war Portland and carried into St. John's, Newfoundland, where Warren at least briefly joined other Americans aboard the prison ship Proteus (James Warren to JA, 11 July, Warren-Adams Letters, 2:134; Winslow Warren and others to Adm. Richard Edwards, 20 July, MHi:Misc. Bound), then remaining at St. John's until September when he continued to England. (For the events of this interval, see below, AA to JA, 23 Aug., note 1.) For a time after arriving in London, Warren suffered no restraints and enjoyed the pleasures of London life with two other young Americans who had recently arrived there via Nantes, Paris, and Ostend. They were the fledgling artist John Trumbull, of Connecticut, and John Steele Tyler, a Bostonian whose errand was not to be known until 150 years later; see above, Richard Cranch to JA, 26 April, and note 1 there. In passing, Trumbull characterized Warren as “a somewhat amphibious character, and withal young, handsome and giddy,” but they must all have seemed so to the British authorities, who, following the news of Major John André's execution for his part in Arnold's treason, moved with vigor to restrain the Americans' movements. Trumbull was arrested, Tyler escaped arrest only by fleeing to the Continent, and Warren was allowed early in 1781 to leave the country only after submitting to repeated examinations of himself and his papers. According to his own account, written to his mother from Amsterdam in April 1781, one of the grounds for the leniency shown him was the fact that Secretary of State Lord Hillsborough was impressed by reading Mercy Warren's letters sent to her son in London: “His Lordship Condescended to Give me a great deal of advice saying he was prepossessed in my favour from my appearance. He and others to whom my papers were exposed, lavished many praises on my Mothers Letters—said 'they would do honour to the Greatest Writer that ever wrote,' and added, 'Mr. Warren I hope you will profit by her instructions and advice.' I had the honour of three private Conferences with him.”
Warren remained in Europe for more than three years without settling down to anything anywhere. He looked up JA in Amsterdam in March and April 1781 and in Paris in July (AA to JA, 28 May 1781, in vol. 4 below; Winslow Warren to Mercy Warren, 28 April, 25 July 1781, MHi:Mercy Warren Papers), but JA's mentions of him are laconic and unenthusiastic. The fullest reference he made to Warren is in a letter he wrote Mercy Warren, 29 Jan. 1783:
“I have never had an Opportunity, Madam, to see your Son since he has been in Europe, but once or twice at Amsterdam, and that before I had an House there. He has been travelling from Place to Place, and altho' I have often enquired after him, I have seldom been able to hear of him. I have heard nothing to his disadvantage, except a Shyness and Secrecy, which, as it is uncommon in young Gentlemen of his Age and Education is the more remarked, and a general Reputation which he brought with him from Boston of loving Play. But I have not been able to learn, that he has indulged it improperly in Europe. But { 360 } my Advice to him and every young American is and uniformly will be, to stay in Europe but a little while” (LbC in John Thaxter's hand, Adams Papers).
The whole of the foregoing paragraph has been scratched out beyond legibility in RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); it strains belief to suppose that this could have been done by the sender.
The chief source of information about Winslow Warren is in his travel journals and correspondence with his parents in MHi:Mercy Warren Papers and Winslow Warren Travel Journals and Letters; the materials there concerning his first sojourn in Europe have been drawn on in Charles Warren, “A Young American's Adventures in England and France during the Revolutionary War” (MHS, Procs., 65 [1932–1936]:234–267). Though useful in bringing together scattered materials, Charles Warren's account must be used with caution as to details, particularly on matters of date. The Warren-Adams Letters of course contain numerous references to Winslow; see index. For John Trumbull's characterization of Winslow and his part in helping John Steele Tyler to escape arrest in London, see Trumbull's Autobiography, ed. Theodore Sizer, New Haven, 1953, p. 64.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0271

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-06-03

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Portia

I went a few days ago to see the Hotel de Monnoie or the Mint, the Building where all the Kings Coin is cast and stamped.1 We viewed all the various Machines, from the first melting of the gold and silver, to the final issuing of the shining Morsells. The Metal goes thro many Operations that I have not time to describe. There are many Appartements in the Building the Architecture of which is solid and convenient as well as elegant. Their is a noble Reservoir of Water which is conveyed by Pipes to every Appartement. There is a large Well, by which the Reservoir is supplied.
I was most entertained however with the Cabinet of Minerals, Metals of all sorts, sulphurs &c., and every Thing that had any Relation to silver and gold. There is a vast Variety—very curious and in nice order. How should I delight to spend my days in such Enquiries into Nature, if I were not necessitated by every Tye, to devote all my Moments to other Uses.—I send you an Extract from an English Newspaper, for the Amusement of your Friend.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosure not found.
1. This was “le nouvel Hôtel des Monnoies” on the Quai de Conti on the left bank of the Seine, a very imposing building completed in 1774 and elaborately described in Dict. historique de la ville de Paris, 1779, 3:568–570, and Thiéry, Almanach du voyageur à Paris, p. 349–352.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0272

Author: Cranch, Richard
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-06-09

Richard Cranch to John Adams

[salute] Dear Bror.

The Bearer Mr. John Leverett has just now inform'd me that he is bound to Holland and intends to wait upon you at Paris before he { 361 } returns.1 I gladly embrace the Oportunity of writing a Line to you by him.
I am again chosen by the Town of Braintree to represent them in the Genl. Court which is the reason of my being here as the Court is now sitting in this Capital. We have been certified by a Committee of Congress and by Genl. Washington that a Fleet and a Number of Troops from our Illustrious Ally, may be hourly expected to co-operate with us in this Quarter of the Globe, requesting us to fill up our Battallions immediately. We have Order'd 4000 Men from this State to be immediately raised for that purpose, who are to be ready to march in twenty Days from this Time.
Rivington in his lying Gazett has announced the surrender of Charlestown on the twelfth of May;2 but as nothing has yet reach'd us to coroborate that Account from any other Quarter, we hope it is without Foundation, especially as we have pretty certain Advice that Charlestown was safe and in good Spirits on the tenth of May, being but 2 Days before.
The House has this Day pass'd a Bill for repealing the tender Acts, and for allowing a Depreciation agreeable to a Recommendation of Congress. I inform'd you in my last of the Revolution in the Currency that is to take place. I left Braintree on Sunday Morng. (the House being oblig'd to sit that Day to finish the affair of Raising the 4000 Men) when I left your dearest Connections Mrs. Adams and Children well; they knew nothing of the Conveyance, else they would doubtless have embraced it. Your poor Brother is in great Affliction—his Wife died about a fortnight ago. She was just bro't to Bed of a fine Girl, but her previous very low state of Health render'd her too weak to survive above three or four Days.3 Your Mother, Father Smith, Uncle Quincy, Dr. Tufts, Coll. Thaxter and Families are well. I wrote you, about a month ago, by Coll. Tyler who sail'd from New London for France. A large Pacquett also is gone forward from Mrs. Adams &c. &c. about a fortnight ago by Mr. Guild (one of the Tutors of Harvard Colledge) who is about to make the Tour of Europe and expects to land first at Gothenburg in Sweden. I wrote to Mr. Thaxter a few Days ago by Genl. Warren's Son bound to Holland. Please to give my kindest Regards to the young Messrs. Johnney and Charley and tell them that their young Correspondants at Braintree are very happy in receiving their Letters by the Marquis de Fayett. I thank Mr. Thaxter for his esteem'd Favour by the same conveyance, and beg the Favour of his Corespondence in future.
When you find a leisure Moment (if that should happen) you { 362 } would make me very happy if you would employ it in letting me know how Matters are going on your side the Water.
The Gentleman by whome this will be deliver'd to you (fortune of War excepted) is a worthy Son of Harvard, who would think himself greatly honour'd in being made known to you. He is waiting for this, therefore hope you will excuse this hasty Scrawl from your ever affectionate Bror.,
[signed] Richard Cranch
Mrs. Cranch and Children were well when I left home.
The Post brings advice this evening that Charlestown was safe the 16th. Ulto. but that Ft. Moultrie was taken by 1500 Granadiers after being twice repulsed, on May 12th. Only 50 Me[n taken,]5 the rest having [with]drawn the preceding Night. Those 50 had the honors of War.
RC (MHi:Cranch Family Collection); addressed: “To His Excellency John Adams Esqr. Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America at Paris”; docketed in an unidentified hand: “Richd. Cr. to Mr. Adams June 9th. 1780.” Dft (MHi:Cranch Papers); endorsed: “Letter to Bror. Adams June 9th. 1780.” Dft is written on blank sides of printed bill-of-lading forms. There are numerous small variations in phrasing between the two texts, but they are not recorded here.
1. John Leverett (1758–1829), Harvard 1776, later a lawyer and merchant of Windsor, Vt. ([Charles E. Leverett,] A Memoir, Biographical and Genealogical, of Sir John Leverett, Knt., . . . and of the Family Generally, Boston, 1856, p. 155–158, where the date of Leverett's death is erroneously given as 1839). Leverett sailed in the Pallas with Winslow Warren, was captured at sea, and in August returned in a cartel ship to Boston; see above, Winslow Warren to AA, 26 May, note 2, and two documents of 20, 27 July from Leverett, Warren, and others, one being a petition to, and the other an agreement with, Admiral Richard Edwards, Governor of Newfoundland, in MHi:Misc. Bound MSS.
2. This news was reported in the Boston Continental Journal, 9 June, p. 2, col. 2, from Rivington's New York Royal Gazette of 31 May, which was not lying.
3. See above, AA to JA, 15 April, note 5.
4. This addition was written by Cranch on the cover of his letter after he had folded and sealed it.
5. MS torn by seal.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0273

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1780-06-11

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

[salute] Dear sir

Your repeated favours of May 14, May 19 and 30 together with one bearing no date2 merrit my acknowledgement that amidst so great a Number of correspondents you should so often think of Portia. At the same time a sigh mingels with my gratitude that a Heart so benevolently disposed towards others whose life and Labours are so { 363 } intirely devoted to the publick Service should have occasion for an anxious moment for the situation of those dearest to him—that he cannot even receive the consolation of visiting those dear connextions without increasing difficulties.—Blush Massachusets that so ardent, so zealous an advocate in your cause and in the cause of Liberty, so patient a sufferer and so indefatigable a Labourer still should not at least be placed in a situation where he would have less occasion to feel for the bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh.
But I quit a subject which always give[s] me pain to reflect upon, and thank you for your alphabetacall cipher tho I believe I shall never make use of it. I hate a cipher of any kind and have been so much more used to deal in realities with those I love, that I should make a miserable proficiency in modes and figures. Besides my Friend is no adept in investigating ciphers and hates to be puzzeld for a meaning. If Mr. L——1 will not call me Sausy I will tell him he has not the least occasion to make use of them himself since he commonly writes so much in the enigmatical way that no body but his particular correspondents will ever find out his meaning.
<I have seen my friend sometimes rub his forehead upon the receipt of a Letter, walk the room—What does this Man mean? who can find out his meaning.>
Your favour of May 14th enclosed Mr. A's accounts and the proceedings of congress upon them. You mention that you suppose the Treasurer will draw a Bill of Exchange for the Ballance. If this could be done it would benifit me as I doubt not I could sell the Bill for hard Money. I shall take it as a favour Sir if you will endeavour to get it done for me. If a power of Attorney is necessary I will forward one to you; enclosed is a coppy of one given me by Mr. Adams which possibly may be of service to you in transacting this Buisness. If the Bills could be drawn for a thousand Livres each it would be still more advantageous to me. You will be so good as to let me know what is necessary for me to do in this Buisness.
You mention having received packets from Mr. Adams up to the 4th of March which is a few days later than any I have had from him. You mention some communications that you will make in a more leisure hour. You will not let them slip your memory I trust.—Heaven send forward our Allies and prosper their Arms in this Hour of distress. I tremble for the fate of Carolina. Rivington has given us a list of terrors but I hope the lieing Spirit has not left him. Massachusets will do all that is required of her if possible. Believe me whatever some interested sordid wretches may say or write the people have { 364 } confidence in congress and tho some of their measures may not have been productive of all the good they wished for, the Generality of the people consider them as aiming at the publick Benifit—yet few feel for few know their difficulties and embarresments.—May I ask for a continuance of your favours, they amuse me in my retirement. I live secluded from the Gay world and have not been more than four miles from home for these 6 months. I mourn not that as a loss. The society of a few select Friends and my correspondents give me more solid satisfaction than dissapations for which I am not calculated. I feel myself so much Interested in the Fate of my country that she feel[s] not a misfortune in which I do not participate. You will not wonder Sir that I am anxious to know her situation from one so capable of and disposed to give information to his assured Friend and Humble Servant,
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers). The “power of Attorney” enclosed in (missing) RC has not been found.
1. The (missing) RC of this letter must have been dated 13 June; see Lovell's acknowledgment in his reply of 14 July, below.
2. The first two of those enumeratedletters of 14 and 19 May are printed above, and the last twoletter of 30 May and that bearing no date are in Adams Papers but omitted here. That “bearing no date” was written after 4 May but before 14 May; it enclosed a simple alphabetical cipher for AA to use in letters to JA if she cared to; Lovell had sent the same cipher to JA in a letter of 4 May (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0274

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-06-13

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

The Palles which I thought had saild a fortnight ago, still lies at Newbury Port, and gives me the opportunity of acquainting you with the death of a Sister in Law, who I followed to the grave a week ago, leaving behind a Babe about 5 days old, and a distressd family of children, by which loss your Brother is bereved of an Excellent wife and his children a most kind and affectionate Mother. I have had one of the little Girls with me, and shall keep her till he can supply his family with better assistance.
We are greatly anxious for the fate of Charlestown, no Fleet arrived, yet no Alliance—am tired a looking for them.—Constitution will pass, will be accepted, we shall have a constitution of good goverment soon.1—Mr. L[ovel]l writes me your accompts are pass't. There is a balance in your favour for which the treasurer will draw Bills of exchange. Shall I send them to you, or sell them here for hard Money which I can easily do? Shall wait your determination when ever I { 365 } receive them. Enclosed is a pattern of which should be glad of 4 yards. —Friends all well—impatiently waiting to hear from you. Most affectionately Yours.
Love to the children. But a moments warning to write this.
1. The new Constitution was promulgated on 16 June, the last day of the last session of the Convention; see Mass. Constitutional Convention, 1779–1780, Journal, p. 186–187.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0275-0001

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-06-13

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

I will not omit to acknowledge by this Post the Receipt of your Letter of the 24th. Ulto. because I can in some measure afford you Satisfaction in Regard to what Mr. A[dams] mentioned to both of us. On the 31st. of May Doctr. F[ranklin] was directed to pay the Draughts of Mr. A and Mr. D[ana] to the Amount of their respective Salaries. I will on Friday send you an authentic Resolve which you can forward in addition to those I have sent already. You will thus be able to keep a Copy for your own Satisfaction.
Only last Night could we determine that Charlestown was taken. It is a fatal Blow indeed to that Country in particular as well as injurious to the common Interest of the Union. Look for the Cause in the <Aristocratic> Temper of Mind which must of Course be generated in the rich Masters of many Slaves. You will find too little regard has been paid to general Interest. More than one Man has been induced to risk a great Sacrifice of public Interest for the Sake of a Confederation of very dissonant Parts.—If there are not extraordinary Exertions in the Middle and Eastern States, this Year will be filled with our Disgraces.
It is a lamentable Thing that we have been so very drowsy as to need such severe Strokes as the present to rouse us.

[salute] I have a most painful Finger to manage the Pen which assures you of the Continuance of my great Esteem as yr. humble Servt.,

[signed] J L

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0275-0002

Author: Continental Congress
Author: Thomson, Charles
Date: 1780-05-31

Enclosure: Resolution of Congress of 31 May1

In Congress May 31. 1780
Resolved That the Establishment of the Salaries of the Honorable { 366 } John Adams and his Secretary Mr. Dana be transmitted to the Minister Plenipotentiary of these States at the Court of Versailles and that He be directed to pay their Draughts to the Amount of their respective Salaries till Congress shall take further Order for that Purpose.
Extract from the minutes
[signed] Chas. Thomson secy.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. A. Adams.” Concerning the enclosure, printed herewith, see note 1.
1. In Lovell's hand, with authentication and signature in Charles Thomson's hand. From a remark in Lovell's letter to AA of 14 July, below, it seems probable—though not beyond all doubt—that the resolution accompanied rather than followed the present letter. See JCC, 17: 476. AA forwarded the resolution in her letter to JA of 5 July, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0276

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-06-17

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Portia

I yesterday received a Letter of 26 April from Brother Cranch, for which I thank him and will answer as soon as possible. He tells me you have drawn a little Bill upon me. I am sorry for it, because I have sent and should continue to send you, small Presents by which you would be enabled to do better than by drawing Bills. I would not have you draw any more. I will send you Things in the family Way which will defray your Expences better. The Machine is horribly dear. Mr. C. desires to know if he may draw on me. I wish it was in my power to oblige him but it is not. I have no Remittances nor any Thing to depend on, not a Line from Congress nor any member since I left you. My Expences thro Spain, were beyond all Imagination, and my Expences here are so exorbitant, that I cant answer any Bill from any body not even from you, excepting the one you have drawn. I must beg you, to be as prudent as possible. Depend upon it, your Children will have Occasion for all your CEconomy. Mr. Johonnot must send me some Bills. Every farthing is expended and more. You can have no Idea of my unavoidable Expences. I know not what to do.
Your little affairs and those of all our Friends, Mr. Wibert &c. are on Board the Alliance and have been so these 4 months, or ready to be.—Pray write me by the Way of Spain and Holland as well as France. We are all well.—My Duty to your father, my Mother, and affections and Respects where due.
My affections I fear got the better of my Judgment in bringing my Boys. They behave very well however.
London is in the Horrors.—Governor Hutchinson fell down dead { 367 } at the first appearance of Mobs.1 They have been terrible. A Spirit of Bigotry and Fanaticism mixing with the universal discontents of the nation, has broke out into Violences of the most dreadful Nature–burnt Lord Mansfields House, Books, Manuscripts—burnd the Kings Bench Prison, and all the other Prisons—let loose all the Debtors and Criminals. Tore to Pieces Sir G. Savilles House—insulted all the Lords of Parliament &c. &c. Many have been killed—martial Law proclaimed—many hanged—Lord George Gordon committed to the Tower for high Treason—and where it will end God only knows.—The Mobs all cryd Peace with America, and War with France—poor Wretches! as if this were possible.2
In the English Papers they have inserted the Death of Mr. Hutchinson with severity, in these Words—Governor Hutchinson is no more. On Saturday last he dropped down dead. It is charity to hope that his sins will be buried with him in the Tomb, but they must be recorded in his Epitaph. His Misrepresentations have contributed to the Continuance of the War with America. Examples are necessary. It is to be hoped that all will not escape into the Grave, without a previous Appearance, either on a Gibbet or a scaffold.
Govr. Bernard I am told died last fall.3 I wish, that with these primary Instruments of the Calamities that now distress almost all the World the Evils themselves may come to an End. For although they will undoubtedly End, in the Welfare of Mankind, and accomplish the Benevolent designs of Providence, towards the two Worlds; Yet for the present they are not joyous but grievous.
May Heaven permit you and me to enjoy the cool Evening of Life, in Tranquility, undisturbed by the Cares of Politicks or War—and above all with the sweetest of all Reflections, that neither Ambition, nor Vanity, nor Avarice, nor Malice, nor Envy, nor Revenge, nor Fear, nor any base Motive, or sordid Passion through the whole Course of this mighty Revolution, and the rapid impetuous Course of great and terrible Events that have attended it, have drawn Us aside from the Line of our Duty and the Dictates of our Consciences!—Let Us have Ambition enough to keep our Simplicity, or Frugality and our Integrity, and transmit these Virtues as the fairest of Inheritances to our Children.
1. Former Governor Thomas Hutchinson died suddenly of apoplexy or heart disease in London on 3 June, almost at the outset of the week-long disturbances known as the Gordon Riots (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 8:212–213). In a letter to President Huntington of the present dateJA added extensive reflections on Hutchinson's role in history (PCC, No. 84, II; LbC in Adams Papers; { 368 } printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:794–798). AA subsequently permitted the passage to be published, anonymously, in the Boston Independent Chronicle; see Lovell to AA, 27 Nov. 1780, and AA to Nathaniel Willis, ante 4 Jan. 1781, both in vol. 4 below.
2. Besides accounts in London newspapers of the rioting inspired by Lord George Gordon and his Protestant Association, JA had received a vivid account in a letter from his secret informant Thomas Digges, who wrote over the pseudonym “W. S. Church,” 8–10 June (Adams Papers).
3. Former Governor Sir Francis Bernard had in fact died in June 1779 (DNB).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0277

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-06-18

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

About a fortnight since Mr. Hutchinson, formerly Governor of the Massachusetts Bay, dropped down dead in England. The Reflection made by some one in the English Papers is this. “Governor Hutchinson is now no more. On Saturday afternoon he dropped down dead. It is charitable to hope, that his Sins may be buried with him in the Tomb, but they must be recorded in his Epitaph. His Misrepresentations have added Fuel to the unnatural War which has been kindled against America. Examples are necessary; and there is Reason to wish, that all Incendiaries may not escape into the Grave, without a previous Appearance, either at the Gibbet, or on the Scaffold.” This ought to be engraved in indelible Characters on his Tomb. The Viper has lost his Sting. He has left Monuments of Infamy behind him to make his Memory execrated. He has not lived long enough, to see the Liberty and Independence of the Country he wished to subjugate, established and confirmed. Doubtless he has foreseen what must be. Even the Anticipation ought to have been Death to him.
There have been great Convulsions in England. Perhaps these have killed him. The Mob have burnt Lord Mansfield's House and many other private Houses, besides three Prisons. It was a Mob of fifty thousand Men. They visited Parliament, buffeted several Lords and Bishops. Lord George Gordon was at the Head. They went to Parliament to insist upon a Repeal of an Act in favor of Popery.1 I am sorry they have risen upon this principle. It was but an act of Toleration. Had they turned Administration out of Doors for bringing them into an American War, and a War with France and Spain, they would have done nobly. If they had beheaded their obstinate King, and a few others, they would have done better.
Lord Gordon is in the Tower, and impeached for High Treason. If he is beheaded something more serious will take place. Lord Gor• { 369 } don is a Scotchman and powerfully supported. What the End of these things will be Time will determine. In its present Stage, it is no Advantage to Us. Mobs fighting against Toleration are of no Service to America. I wish it may not be known in America that the Insurrection was upon that Ground. At any Rate it is a ruined Kingdom, more despised than ever respected by Europe.
The Abbies Chalut and Arnoux have Copies of the Celebrated Letter of Madam A[dams] to Madam Grand.2 It is a Subject of Panegyrick, and very justly. It is full of good Sense, and Affection—no Husband of Sensibility can read it without Encomiums and Tears.
I had the pleasure of dining there last Sunday, and of seeing Miss Labhar and many other Ladies who were very handsome, but I have seen none as yet that have made so great an Impression on my Heart as my favorite Miss —— in America. I will say no more.—Johnny and Charley dined here to day and are very well, and behave in a Manner the most charming. I have the Honor to &c. &c.

[salute] Duty, Love, &c. where due.

[signed] J.T.
1. The Catholic Relief Act, passed by Parliament in June 1778 in the hope of encouraging Catholics to enlist in the army. See Christopher Hibbert, King Mob: The Story of Lord George Gordon and the London Riots of 1780, Cleveland and N.Y., 1958, p. 34 ff.
2. On this (lost) letter see Thaxter to AA, 16–27 Feb., above, and references in note 2 there.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0278

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-06-23

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Portia

We are very much affected with the Loss of Charlestown—it seems the most disagreable Affair, We have ever met with. I dont know that the Consequences will be bad, but the Loss of so many Men, ships, and Artillery and stores is heavy besides the Town. To maintain it, they must weaken themselves at N. York and elsewhere. We hope to hear of something to ballance it.
I inclose a Paper, giving an Account of the Troubles in London. What they will come to, in the End, I dont know. It seems hitherto a fanatical Business. Their civil Liberties, and most essential Interests are forgotten, while they are running mad for their own contracted notions. It is said, that the Catholic Bill will be repealed. The true motive for making that Law, with the Ministry and King, was to engage the Irish Catholicks, on their Side, and get them to inlist into the American service.
{ 370 }
In the midst of the dismay of these Mobs, comes the News from Charlestown.
The Ways of Heaven are dark and intricate, it seems as if they were to be permitted to have Success enough, to lead them on, untill they become the most striking Spectacle of Horror that ever was seen.
These Riots discover Symptoms of deep distress and misery, among the lower Classes of People. The particular Spight against the Prisons is one mark of it. The decided Part they took against the Ministry, shews upon what Ground they stand. It is however a Shocking Scaene. The King seems in a fair Way to the Summit of all his wishes, absolute Power. Martial Law is very agreable to him. G[overnor] Hutchinson died in the Beginning of the Affray. Lord Mansfields House underwent a worse Fate, than his.
I suppose that it will cost two millions Sterling, to indemnify the Sufferers. This must be added to all the other Expences of the War. They forget the state of Ireland, France, Spain, West Indies, N. America, the armed Neutrality of the maritime Powers, and their own distracted State, in their Joy for the News of Charlestown, which in reality however unpleasant to Us ought to be more dreadful to them, because it will be a Grave to their Army and a drain to their Purses without any considerable Advantage.
They however think not of Peace.—We are all well.
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Collection). Enclosed “Account of the Troubles in London,” doubtless from a newspaper, not found. The letter itself must have been sent on by AA to Mercy Warren; it remained among her and her husband's papers and was included by Worthington C. Ford in his edition of the Warren-Adams Letters, MHS, Colls., 73 (1925): 133–134, where, despite the salutation to “Portia,” the addressee is wrongly assumed to be Mrs. Warren.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0279

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-05

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

Your favour of April 6th reachd me to day per favour Mr. Williams, and is the only one I have had the pleasure of receiving since the arrival of the Marquiss.
I wish you would be so particular in yours as to notice any you may receive from me, for to this day I am at a loss to know whether you have yet received a line. Mrs. D[an]a told me that Mr. D—a had mentiond hearing twice from her. I never omitted an opportunity which she improved, if I knew of it, so imagine you must have received some.
{ 371 }
I wish I had agreable intelligence to communicate to you, I should certainly write you with more pleasure. Our present situation is very dissagreable, it is Alarming, but perhaps not more so than you have heretofore been witness to; who ever takes a retrospective view of the war in which we are engaged, will find that Providence has so intermixed our successes, and our defeats, that on the one hand we have not been left to despond, nor on the other, to be unduely elated. We have been taught to sing both of Mercies and of judgements—and when our Enimies have supposed us subdued, we have rise[n] the conquerors. That Charlestown is taken is a Truth—yet it excites not the Rage which our Road Island or Penobscot dissapointments did. They stung as Disgraces, this after a Gallant Defence yealded to superiour force, and is considerd as a misfortune, and each one is reanimated with spirit to remedy the Evil. The 3 years Men all disbanded, a large victorious Army in persuit of a small brave, but unfortunate one—a currency in which there is no Stability or Faith—are circumstances to puzzel wise Heads and to distress Benevolent Hearts. But as “affliction is the good mans shining time” so does America give proof of her Virtue when distressd. This State have raised, and are procuring their Men with vigor to act in concert with the Fleet and Army of our Generous Ally which we are impatiently looking for. The importance of immediately recruiting our Army is known to be such, that the Demands of pay are exorbitent, yet we fill up at any rate. We pay any price. “To spare now would be the height of extravagance and to consult present ease would be to sacrifice it perhaps forever,” says C[ommon] S[ense].1
Goverment now see to their sorrow their deplorable mistake in not inlisting their Army during the war. Thousands of Lives might have been saved and a million of treasure. We now only patch and patch, find a temporary relief at an immence expence and by this false step give our Enemies advantages they could never have obtained if we had possessd a Regular Army.
Nothing could have been more fortunate for me than the arrival of the few articles you orderd for me from Bilboa, just as the time when the calls for large sums of money took place. (The Quarterly tax for the state and continent amounts to 7 hundred pounds Lawfull, my part.) Mr. Tracy kindly forwarded them to me, with this complement, that he wished there had been ten times as much.
Enclosed is a Resolve of Congress with regard to your sallery and a coppy of their Resolve with regard to your accounts.2 Mr. L[ovel]l wrote me that the Treasurer would draw a Bill for the Balance, which { 372 } shall enclose as soon as I receive. From Spain there are ten opportunities of getting merchandize to one from France. If you should think proper to make further remittances from Bilboa, be so kind as to send the following list, in lieu of Barcelona hankerchiefs with which the Market is at present Glutted. Order 15 yards of thin black mode,3 ditto white, ditto red, ditto blew, some black sattin proper for cloaks and low priced black lace, calico and Irish linnen, which is not higher priced than dutch, but sells much better, the best Hyson tea, the first I had was of the best sort, the last very ordinary.
Enclosed is a set of Bills.4 The other sent by Mr. Guile who I hope is safely arrived, but least he should not I will enclose a list of some things which I wrote for by him and some patterns of silk which I want for mourning for myself and Nabby5—15 yards of each kind which will be about four Livers per yard. If any thing of the wollen kind could be had which would answer for winter wear, be so kind as to order enough for two Gowns. 2 or 3 pair of black silk Gloves, if they were not in a former list which you carried. I have forgot. 3 black fans, a peice of black ribbon, half a peice of Narrow, 6 yard of plain black Gauze, 6 figured, four yard of plain Muslin. If I omitted in a former list a pound of white thread, (none to be coarse) we can make that; please to add it now and half a dozen peices of Quality binding different colours, ditto shoe binding. Calico can never come amiss, nothing in greater demand here. With Linnen am well supplied. Spain the best port to send that from. Some figured Lawn like the pattern enclosed about 2 Livers per yard, 6 or 8 yard—of Cap wire, a dozen peices.—The Alliance not yet arrived, a speady passage to her, I want my trunk.
No intrigues, no machinations that I hear of. There are some Great Folks here who I believe are sincerely glad that you do not stand in their way which from all Quarters is said would have been the case had you been here. I had rather distant as it is that you abide where you are for the present.6 The Man who from Merrit, fortune and abilities ought to be our Chief is not popular, and tho he will have the votes of the sensible judicious part of the State, he will be more than out Numberd by the Lovers of the tinkleling cymball.7
What a politician you have made me? If I cannot be a voter upon this occasion, I will be a writer of votes. I can do some thing in that way but fear I shall have the mortification of a defeat.
Adieu. How many pages does it take to pay the debt of one? How do my dear sons. Well I hope. Charley, the darling of the Neighbourhood is more deared over than all the rest, he possessd the faculty of { 373 } fastning every body to him. Thommy sends duty to pappa, respects [to] Mr. T[haxte]r and Loves his Brothers. I will not add any thing for their Sister, but that She does not write half so often as I urge her to. My paper warns me to close, yet gives me room to add the Signature of your ever affectionate
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers). For the sundry enclosures see notes 2, 4, and 5.
1. Closing quotation mark supplied. The quotation is from Thomas Paine, “The American Crisis, No. IX,” dated at Philadelphia, 9 June, signed “Common Sense,” and reprinted in the Boston Continental Journal, 29 June 1780, p. 2, col. 3.
2. The first of these enclosures, a resolution of 31 May ordering Benjamin Franklin to pay JA's and Dana's salaries, was enclosed in (or perhaps shortly followed) Lovell's letter to AA of 13 June and is printed with that letter, above. The second, “a coppy of their Resolve with regard to your accounts,” survives with the present letter in the Adams Papers. It is a copy, or rather summary, in AA's hand of Congress' vote, 15 April, approving JA's accounts as audited; the original had been transmitted by Lovell to AA in his letter of 14 May, and is part of the enclosure printed with that letter, above; see the notes there. On the verso of the copy she sent to JA, AA added: “I have the whole account as it is stated, but do not think proper to send it—believe it most prudent to keep it here. However if you think otherways, it shall be forwarded.”
3. A kind of thin, glossy silk formerly used for hoods, scarves, &c. (OED, under Mode, noun, 11).
4. These have not been found.
5. The silk “patterns” (i.e. samples) were doubtless sent with this letter as a confirmation or cautionary duplication of AA's requests in her letter to JA sent by Benjamin Guild, 15 April, above. But the items that follow in the present paragraph appear to be for the most part additional to earlier requests, and so one should probably read AA's expression “enclose a list” as meaning “furnish a more inclusive list here.” For the sake of clarity the punctuation of her listing has been minimally regularized by the editors.
6. Sentence thus in MS.
7. This only slightly cryptic passage indicates that electioneering for office began immediately upon the adoption of the new Constitution. In the Adams vocabulary John Hancock was a “tinkleling cymball,” and he won the governorship in the election held early in September. “The Man who . . . ought to be our Chief,” in AA's opinion, was James Bowdoin, who was not “popular” at this time, in part at least because of his loyalist connections. When no candidate for lieutenant governor was elected by the people in September, the General Court chose Bowdoin, but he declined the lesser office, and Thomas Cushing was chosen. See Barry, History of Mass., 3:180–181. There are illuminating comments on the Bowdoin-Hancock rivalry for the governorship in James Warren's letters to JA of 11 July and 12 Oct. (Adams Papers; Warren-Adams Letters, 2:135, 141); in William Gordon to JA, 22 July (Adams Papers; MHS, Procs., 63 [1929–1930]:436–437); and in Samuel Cooper to JA, 8 Sept. (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0280

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-07-14

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

Your favour of June 13th.1 reached me this Morning. I will endeavour to write intelligibly in answer;—but, alas! I have already fallen into my old track, and must give a note of explanation before I pro• { 374 } ceed further. N.B. The above underscoring means that I love flattery and a flatterer; nay, more, tho it may seem contradictory to the first part of my nota bene, it means that I love Saucyness and a Saucy-box. I think that I have done away all the “enigmatical” part of the word as it respected one particular epistle, and was not written in that honest sense in which I generally make use of it to mark whatever comes to me from the pen of Portia.
I will endeavour to accomplish speedily what you wish in regard to the Balance of long standing in favour of Mr. A.
You will find from the inclosed Gazette the Substance of 3 of Mr. A's Letters received the 10th. of this month. There was another very long one of Apr. 3d. but it contained only what had been before published here respecting the Affairs of the United Provinces of the Netherlands.2—As to what I promised about his former Letters, you afterwards appeared to have had the substance of them so far as related to his travails; and I judged you also got by the Marquis a Knowledge of Mr. A's Situation in France. I will, notwithstanding, catch the Leisure to see whether I can send you any Novelty from them. <Your mention of one of my Letters without date, and at the same time reminding me of such a promise in a late Letter confounds me because I find yours of May 24th. endorsed “recd. June 12—answered 13th.” Mr. A's Letters were read 15 of May.>3 I have had a good Opportunity of sending to Mr. A. this morning by Mr. Searle a Member of Congress for Pennsylvania and shall in a few days have another by Mr. Laurens, late President. I have forwarded a Commission to him to execute what was entrusted to Mr. L. as to a Loan in Holland4—and another Commission which he is to deliver to Mr. D[ana] for the same Purpose in case of his own Inability upon any Score. The Business was too critical to risque upon Mr. L's safe Passage. The Commissions are only provisory till he or another arrives. Mr. A.s Embassy was considered as too important to be absolutely broken in upon by a decisive order from hence. He signified to me his Readiness to undertake any Thing of public Utility to fill up those Hours of Leisure which british Backwardness towards a Treaty of Pacification might give him.
I think I sent you on the 13th the Orders to Doctr. F[ranklin] to pay Mr. A. and D. their Salaries.
I am called off. I care not what Comments you make upon my general Style and manner if you will only own to me that you do not think me enigmatical when I profess myself Madam, Affectionately your Friend and Servt.,
[signed] JL
{ 375 }
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed “Gazette” not found.
1. Doubtless her letter drafted and dated 11 June and printed above under that date.
2. Four letters from JA were read in Congress on 10 July; one was dated 3 April, and three were dated 4 April (JCC, 17:595)||; see JA to the President of Congress, Nos. 34, 35, and 36, all 4 April||. All are present in PCC, No. 84, I, and, as letterbook copies, in the Adams Papers.
3. No fewer than eight letters from JA, dating from 15 Feb. through 4 March, were read in Congress on 15 May (JCC, 17:428). All are present in PCC, No. 84, I, and, as letterbook copies, in the Adams Papers.
4. James Searle (1733–1797) held a commission for the State of Pennsylvania to borrow £200,000 in Europe and to lay part of it out in military stores in the current fiscal and supply crisis both in that state and in the Continental Army. He sailed in mid-July and arrived in Paris before mid-September, bringing letters of introduction to JA, together with his “provisory” commission and instructions to act for Henry Laurens in negotiating a loan in the Netherlands pending the arrival of Laurens himself. On Searle and his mission see DAB; Biog. Dir. Cong.; and especially Mildred E. Lombard, “James Searle: Radical Business Man of the Revolution,” PMHB, 59:284–294 (July 1935). JA's “new Orders,” voted by Congress on 20 June, are printed in JCC, 17:534–537; they were enclosed in a letter from James Lovell and William Churchill Houston (for the Committee of Foreign Affairs) to JA, 11 July (Adams Papers; text of letter only in JA, Works, 7:217). Searle received little encouragement for his mission from Franklin in Paris and soon followed JA to Amsterdam; see Thaxter to JA, 17 Sept., and JA to Thaxter, 23 Sept.; both below.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0281

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-16

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I had just retired to my Chamber and taken up my pen to congratulate you upon the arrival of the Fleet of our Allies at Newport,1 when I was call'd down to receive the most agreable of presents—Letters from my dearest Friend—one Bearing date March 28 by Mr. Izard and one of May 3d, taken out of the post office, but to what port they arrived first I know not. They could not be those by the Fleet, as in these you make mention of Letters which I have not yet received, nor by the Alliance since Mr. Williams sailed 25 days after the Fleet, and she was then in France. A pitty I think that she should stay there when here we are almost destitute, our Navy has been unfortunate indeed!
Am sorry to find that only a few lines have reached you from me. I have written by way of Spain, Holland and Sweden, but not one single direct conveyance have I had to France since you left me. I determine to open a communication by way of Guardoca.2 I wish you would make use of the same conveyance.
This with some others will go Direct to you, by the Mars, Capt. Sampson commander, a state vessel. She will return in the Fall, by her should be glad you would order all the Articles I have written for { 376 } by Mr. Guile, or any other way. So few opportunities offer that my list will contain more articles than I should otherways mention.
What shall I say of our political affairs. Shall I exclaim at measures, now impossible to remedy? No I will hope all from the generous aid of our allies in concert with our own exertions. I am not suddenly elated or depressed. I know America capable of any thing she undertakes with spirit and vigour, “Brave in distress, serene in conquest, drowsy when at rest, is her true characteristick.”3 Yet I deprecate a failure in our present Efforts. The Efforts are great, and we give this Campaign more than half our property to defend the other. He who tarries from the Feild cannot possibly earn sufficient at Home, to reward him who takes it. Yet should Heaven bless our endeavours and Crown this year with the blessings of peace, no exertion will be thought too great, no price of property too dear.
My whole Soul is absorpt in the Idea. The Honour of my dearest Friend, the welfare and happiness of this wide extended Country, ages yet unborn, depend for their happiness and security, upon the able and skillfull, the Honest and upright Discharge of the important trust committed to him. It would not become me to write the full flow of my Heart upon this occasion. My constant petition for him is, that he may so discharge the trust reposed in him, as to merrit the approveing Eye of Heaven, and Peace, Liberty and Safety crown his latest years in his own Native Land.
The Marchioness at the Abbe Reynald is not the only Lady who joins an Aproveing voice to that of her Country, tho at the expence of her present domestick happiness. It is easier to admire virtue, than to practise it, especially the great virtue of self denial. I find but few sympathizing souls. Why should I look for them? since few have any souls but of the sensitive kind. That nearest Allied to my own they have taken from me, and tell me Honour and Fame are a compensation.

“Fame, wealth or Honour—what are ye to Love?”

But hushd be my pen. Let me cast my Eye upon the Letters before me. What is the example? I follow it in silence.
I have repeated to you in former Letters that I had received all your Letters from Spain, unless you wrote by Capt. Trash, who brought me some articles, but no Letters. In a former Letter I wrote you an account of the death of Sister A[dam]s and that she left a poor Babe only 5 days old—a distressd flock of little ones besides. My Father desires to be rememberd to you, but will I fear never again { 377 } see you. He declines daily, has a slow fever hanging about him, which wastes his flesh and spirits. These are tender ties, and how far so ever advanced in life, the affectionate child feels loth to part with the Guide of youth, the kind adviser of riper years, yet the pillows4 must Moulder with time and the fabrick fall to the dust.
Present my complements to Mr. D[an]a. Tell him I have calld upon his Lady, and we enjoyed an afternoon of sweet communion. I find she would not be averse to takeing a voyage should he be continued abroad. She groans most bitterly, and is Irreconcilable to his absence. I am a mere philosopher to her. I am inured, but not hardned to the painfull portion. Shall I live to see it otherways?
Your Letters are always valuable to me, but more particularly so, when they close with an affectionate assurence of regard, which tho I do not doubt, is never repeated without exciteing the tenderest sentiments—and never omitted without pain to the affectionate Bosom of
[signed] Your Portia
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia Letters.—5. 16: 24. July,” to which was later added in CFA's hand: “1780.”
1. Admiral de Ternay's fleet of about a dozen fighting ships had sailed from Brest on 2 May and arrived at Newport, R.I., 12 July, convoying the transports of Rochambeau's army of some 6,000 men.
2. Gardoqui & Son, merchants at Bilbao in Spain.
3. Another quotation from Paine's “American Crisis, No. IX,” as reprinted in the Continental Journal, 29 June 1780, p. 2, col. 2.
4. That is, pillars. The words seem to have been used more or less interchangeably in New England dialect; see Thaxter to AA, 16 Dec. 1779, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0282

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Thaxter, John
Date: 1780-07-21

Abigail Adams to John Thaxter

[salute] My dear Sir

Your agreable favour of March 15 reachd me yesterday. I most sincerely thank you for every token of rememberance. You have been puntual to your word.
I have constantly replied to your favours but whether they have ever reachd you, I know not. So bad has our communication been, where it ought to have been best, that not a single opportunity has offerd, for a direct conveyance since your absence now 8 months. If this is sound policy, I lay no claim to a share in it. Our packets have lain still in our Harbours at the same expence to the continent, as if they had been passing and repassing. I believe I shall be in favour of Monarchy soon. We have so many wheels within wheels, and such Master workmen, it is next to impossible to set them all at work, the { 378 } right way at once, so one runs against the other and Crash goes the whole fabrick at once. Some move so slow that they never accomplish their journey, but there is no danger of their suffering from rapidity of motion.
I want an Energetick force that will draw forth our resourses, put them in motion with vigor and lead on decisively. The present mode would undoe Peru.
Will you go, and will you go? from day to day. “We will give you a thousand dollors bounty, 40 shillings per Month hard money, and a Bushel of corn per day till you return: or the value there of” is sufficient to bring ruin upon the richest Country upon the Globe, and puts an Everlasting bar against procuring a standing Army.—Should you not Grieve for such a stain upon the page of History? Well then, tell it not then to the Abbe Reynal. Yet virtue exists, and publick spirit lives—lives in the Bosoms of the Fair Daughters of America, who blushing for the Languid Spirit, and halting Step, unite their Efforts to reward the patriotick, to stimulate the Brave, to alleviate the burden of war, and to shew that they are not dismayed by defeats or misfortunes. Read the Pensilvana papers, and see the Spirit catching from state to state.1
America will not wear chains while her daughters are virtuous, but corrupt their morals by a general depravity, and believe me sir a state or nation is undone. Was not Adam safe whilst Eve was Innocent? If you render us wicked you inevitably bring ruin upon yourselves.
I thank you sir for the agreable account you have given me of your Visit to the Abbe Reynal. I venerate the character of that Celebrated Historian and wish to become acquainted with his Works. Write me from time to time, every thing you meet with, entertaining and improveing.
The Ladies to whom you desired me to distribute your Love, are so eager to share it, and there are so many who lay claim to it, that divided and subdivided as it is, not one of them I fear will be warmed with its influence. They even fear that the Parissian Ladies will rob them of their favorite American. But we have so few Gentlemen at this day whose morals and principals are so pure and unimpeachable, that I own, I should be loth that some worthy Girl in my own Country should not monopolize a Heart unhacknyed in Gallantries. It is a rara avis in these days of Modern refinement and Chesterfieldian politeness, but the Devotees to his Lordships sentiments, must excuse me if I observe, that with all his Graces and politeness he has exhibited { 379 } a peculiar Asperity against the Sex, inconsistant with that boasted refinement of sentiment upon which he lays so great stress, and Marks him in my mind a wretched votarie of vice, a voluptuary whose soul was debased by his dissolute connexions, a habit which vitiates the purest taste; and excludes all that refined and tender Friendship, that sweet consent of souls in unison, that Harmony of minds congenial to each other

“Where thought meets thought e'er from the Lips it part

And each pure wish springs mutual from the Heart”

and without which it is in vain to look for happiness in that Indissoluble union which Nought but death Dissolves. The Heart must be engaged to reap the genuine fruits of tenderness; contemptibly low must that commerce be in which the mind has no share. Love is an intellectual pleasure, and even the senses will be weakly affected where the Heart does not participate.
Believe me my young Friend, I say this to you in a firm belief and with a view to your persevering in that purity of sentiment which has always distinguished you in my mind; those persuits only are worth a reasonable Mans attention which will neither disgust by possession, nor sting with remorse; such you will find a soft and tender Friendship, enlivened by taste, refined by sentiment, which time instead of destroying, will render every hour more dear and interesting.
I cannot close this Letter without mentioning to you a connexion soon to take place between a Brother of your profession and a celebrated Lady who resides some times here and some times at B[osto]n. You know who publickly affronted the whole Sex, and you know what Lady had refused such a Gentleman and such a Gentleman—for a Gambling Rake. Can a Bosom of Sensibility and Innocence, accept a Heart hardned by a commerce with the most profligate of the Sex? a Constitution enfeabled, the fine feelings of the soul obliterated? What but disgust, suspicion, coldness, and depravity of taste, can be the consequence?2
But I must close a Letter already long enough for a trial of your patience, but not till I have assured you of the affectionate and Maternal regard of
[signed] Portia
RC (MB); addressed: “To Mr. John Thaxter Paris”; endorsed: “Mrs. Adams July 21st. 1780 Recd. Sept. 19th.” LbC ( (Adams Papers)).; dated at foot of text: “july 22 1780.” A few mistakes made by AA in copying from her letterbook version (which was unquestionably written first though dated later) have been silently corrected in the present text.
{ 380 }
1. AA refers here to a little-known but diverting episode of 1780, in which the wives of American governors and other leading citizens contributed cash and jewelry to buy materials and make up shirts and stockings for the ill-clothed and discontented Continental regiments that were encamped in New Jersey and facing what proved to be a severe winter. The idea appears to have originated in the French legation at Philadelphia, and the campaign was organized by Mrs. Joseph Reed, wife of the president (governor) of Pennsylvania. Mrs. Reed conducted a brisk correspondence with Washington on the subject of the soldiers' needs. Before long, socially prominent women in other states were drawn into the effort, which strikingly anticipated the “home-front” activities of American women in later American wars. See a brief and undocumented article by L. H. Butterfield, “General Washington's Sewing Circle,” in Amer. Heritage, 2:7–10, 68 (Summer 1951). The principal sources for the “ladies' association” movement are William B. Reed, Life and Correspondence of Joseph Reed, Phila., 1847, 2:260–271, 428–429 (recording the results of the door-to-door “drive,” as we would say today, in Philadelphia); Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, vols. 19–21, passim; Frank Moore, comp., Diary of the American Revolution, N.Y. and London, 1860, 2:293–298, 341–342 (reprinting newspaper accounts).
Mrs. Reed's appeal to the Massachusetts ladies is in a letter to Mrs. James Bowdoin, 30 June 1780, printed in MHS, Colls., 9 (1897):441–442. Writing to JA from Philadelphia, 13 July, Benjamin Rush announced that “The women of America have at last become principals in the glorious controversy” (Letters, 1:253); and JA in his reply of 20 Sept. struck the expected note of mingled compliment and drollery: “The Ladies having undertaken to support American Independence, settles the Point” (LbC, Adams Papers; JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 172–173).
2. The personal allusions in this paragraph, which, in AA's small world, should not be difficult to explain, have proved baffling to the editors. It might be plausibly supposed that the lawyer (“a Brother of your profession”) and the “celebrated Lady who resides some times here and some times at B[osto]n” were Perez Morton, a rising young Boston attorney, and Sarah Wentworth Apthorp, an heiress of Boston and Braintree who had gained some little reputation as a poet. Morton and MissMrs. Apthorp, who have been identified in a note at vol. 1:141–142, above, were to be married on 24 Feb. 1781 (Continental Journal, 1 March 1781, p. 3, col. 1). A few years later the couple shocked the public by a scandal that involved adultery, bastardy, and the suicide of Mrs. Morton's sister Frances Theodora, and inspired an early American sentimental novel; but there is no evidence known to the editors of their misbehaving before marriage in the manner hinted at here by AA. For the scandal, in which JA was to act as one of the public arbitrators who cleared Morton's good name, see Emily Pendleton and Milton Ellis, Philenia: The Life and Works of Sarah Wentworth Morton, 1759–1846, Orono, Maine, 1931, p. 32–40; and [William Hill Brown,] The Power of Sympathy. Reproduced from the First Edition [of 1789], ed. Milton Ellis, N.Y., 1937.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0283

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1780-07-22

Abigail Adams to Charles and John Quincy Adams

[salute] My Dear Sons

I must write you a few lines by this opportunity, altho tis a long time since I had the pleasure of hearing from you by your own Hands. You used to be fond of writing and have been very good since your absence. Letters are always valuable from those we Love, if they con• { 381 } tain nothing but an account of their Health. I cannot but reflect with thankfullness to the Great Preserver of my dear absent Friends, that I have the pleasure of knowing them alive and well, whilst I drop a Sympathetick [tear]1 with the family of General Palmer and your unkles over the remains of the Amiable Youth who left them last fall, just reachd the Arms of his Friends, after a long absence, endeared himself to them by his benevolence of Heart, his amiable and virtuous Manners, was summoned by a voilent Fever, and cut of in the full bloom of youth.2
Your Friends here all send their affectionate Regard, the domesticks of the family desire to be rememberd to master John and to the dear Charles.
Tis well he went away, he would have been spoilt by the fondness and carressess of his acquaintance. I hope you both live in Brotherly Love and Friendship. Your Brother desires to be particuliarly rememberd to you, have not time to write for him, as the person now waits who is to take this from your ever affectionate Mother,
[signed] A A
1. Editorially supplied for a word missing in MS.
2. Joseph Palmer, a nephew of Deacon Joseph Palmer, came from Plymouth, England, to enroll in Harvard College; upon his return home after graduating in 1779, he was suddenly taken ill and died (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:250). Another tribute to him appears in John Thaxter's letter to AA, 20 Sept., below.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0284

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-24

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dearest Love

Your affectionate Letter by the Count de Noailles reachd me but yesterday, together with your present by Col. Fleury which was very nice and Good.1 Should you send any thing of the kind in the same way, be so good as to let it be blew, white or red. Silk Gloves or mittins, black or white lace, Muslin or a Bandano hankerchief, and even a few yard of Ribbon might be conveyed in the same manner. I mention these things as they are small articles, and easily contained in a Letter, all of which by Resolve of congress are orderd to come Free. The Articles you orderd me from Bilboa are of great service to me. The great plenty of Barcelona hankerchiefs make them unsaleable at present, but Linnens are an article in great demand, and will exchange for any family necessary to good account, or sell for money, which is in greater demand at present than I have known it since { 382 } paper was first Emitted. High prices, high taxes, high bounties render such a Quantity of it necessary, that few people can procure sufficient to answer necessary demands. The usual Estimation is a Dollor at a copper, yet exchange at the highest has been at 75 for one. Country produce exceeds foreign articles, Lamb at 10 Dollors per pound, veal at 7, flower a hundred and 60 pound per hundred, Rye 100 & 10 Dollors per Bushel. I had determined not to have written you the account of prices &c., have avoided it all along, chose you should learn it from inquiry of others but insensibly fell into it.
I have a request to you which I hope you will not dissapoint me of, a minature of Him I best Love. Indulge me the pleasing melancholy of contemplating a likeness. The attempt here faild, and was more the resemblance of a cloisterd Monk, than the Smileing Image of my Friend. I could not endure the sight of it.—By Sampson will be a Good opportunity. Should he be taken none but a Savage would rob a Lady, of what could be of no value, but to her. Let him put it into his chest and it will come safe I dare say. Let it be set, it will be better done with you than here.2
I mentioned sending Bills by this opportunity but as I have already sent 3 sets was advised to defer the others till I knew whether they had faild. If I have not been too extravagant already, I would mention one article more, as I do not expect an other opportunity from France for a twelve month. It is a Green umbrella.
You think you run great risks in taking our two Sons. What then was mine? I could have accompanied you through any Dangers and fatigues, but whether I could have sustaind them I know not. An intimation that I could have renderd you more comfortable and happy, would have outweighd all my timidity. I should have had no other consideration. Yet the dangers of the sea, of Enimies and the fatigues of a long journey are not objects that I wish to encounter. A small portion of my own Country will be all I shall ever visit, nor should I carry my wishes further, if they would not seperate what God joined together. Ever remember with tenderness and affection yours & yours only,
[signed] Portia
1. See JA to AA, 24 March, above; Fleury to AA, 86 Oct., in vol. 4 below.
2. JA complied with this touching request, for in a letter of 25 Oct. 1782AA asked him: “Do you look like the Minature you sent? I cannot think so. But you have a better likeness I am told. Is that designd for me?” (Adams Papers). Neither the miniature AA already had, the one sent in response to her present plea, nor the “better likeness” she had been told of but had not seen can now be located. See Oliver, Portraits of JA and AA, p. 209–210.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0285-0001

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-07-25

Cotton Tufts to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

My Letter of the 1st. of May last1 gave You some Account of the Proceedings of the Convention, the Business of which has been since compleated, the Constitution agreed upon And in September We shall proceed to the Choice of Governor, Lt. Governor, Senators, &c. On the last Wednesday of October the first General Court is to be held.
Had a Negtive on the Governor and his Appointment of the Militia Officers been insisted upon in the Convention, I am persuaded it might have been carried, and accepted by the People. But a Fear of losing the whole prevented some of the leading and most able Members from pressing it.
As You will from other Hands receive an Account of the Politicks of the Day, I shall say nothing upon the Subject—and shall for Your Amusement give You a Journal of the Weather from November last with some Observations on the Darkness of the 19th. of May, relying that what was pend down in a loose Manner for my own private Amusement and now presented to You in its native state, will meet with Your Candor.
An Academy of Arts and Sciences is now established here, the incorporating Act will be transmitted to you—a List of the Fellows You have enclosed.2—What shall we do for want of Funds! Can we hope for Benefactions from abroad. I hope the tender Plant will somehow or other be nourished but I am sure it must be watered.—Adieu.

[salute] Yours with Affection,

[signed] C.T.
RC (Adams Papers). Two enclosures (Adams Papers), in Tufts' hand, are printed herewith; for a third, now missing, see note 2; for a possible fourth, see Tufts to JA, 27 Nov., vol. 4, below.
1. Not found.
2. This enclosure has not been found. It was probably a clipping from a newspaper listing the members (“Fellows”) of the newly organized American Academy of Arts and Sciences, of whom JA and Tufts were two. A copy of the printed Act of incorporation, 4 May 1780, is in the Adams Papers under its date; see also Elbridge Gerry to AA, 17 April, above, and note 3 there.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0285-0002

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, John
DateRange: 1779-11 - 1780-06

Enclosure No. 1: Weather Journal, 1779–1780

A General Account of the Weather from Nov. 17. 1779 to June 1780, to which is added some Account of Vegetation &c.1
The Autumn of 1779 was the most pleasant and agreable for its Fertility and the Mildness of the Air that has been remembered, scarce any Rain had fallen from the Month of August to November, the frequent Rains that fell in the Summer had sufficiently moistned the Earth, but little Rain afterwards was necessary as the Air was temperate between the Extremes of Summer Heat and Cold. The { 384 } Winter following was a perfect Contrast. In the Memory of Man so cold and severe a Winter has not been experienced.
About the 17th. of November the Air began to alter, a slight Snow fell this Day, and on the 26th. Much Rain and in the Evening a Considerable Snow, the Cold dayly encreasing.
Dec. 5. In the Evening it snowd attended with a very high Wind.
8th. The Fore River in Weymouth froze over. It opend again a Day or two after and shut up for the Winter on the 15th.
12th. 14th. & 16th. Snowd on each Day.
18th. It Snowd. The Ground coverd so as to admit of good Sledding. The Cold has encreased gradually through this Month. Winds—West, North and East on all the Days except the 13th. Wind South. 16th. So. West and the 24th. South.
1780. January. This Month Winds chiefly North, West and N. East. The 10th. Wind South, 16th. So. W., 21. S., 27 and 30. S., with steady uninterrupted Cold through the whole. Violent Storms of Snow the 2d., 3d., 4th., 6th. & 7th. in all which a great Quantity of Snow fell and by the violence of the winds was lodgd very irregularly upon the Earth. In the Roads it was much bankd and pretty generally lay in Depth from 3 to 6 Feet tho in many Places it exceeded. In the Woods the Level exceeded rather 3 Feet. From the 2d to the 12 or 14th the Roads impassible for Horses and Carriages (and continued so in By Lanes and Roads in many Parts of this Town through this Month and February). About the 14 or 15. some Horse Sleds pass from hence to Boston.
17th. Loads of Wood, Hay &c. are conveyed on Ox Sleds from Weymouth, Braintree and Milton across the Rivers and Dorchester Bay to Boston, they continue in this manner to transport untill the 21. February on which Day the Ice began to give Way, and none venturd after this.
No Arrivals in the Month of January nor scarce any Intelligence from any Quarter.
February. The Winds continue as in the last Month West, North and East except the 15, 26. and 28th. Wind at South. The Weather extreme cold to the middle of the Month. It then became more moderate.
7. No Water to be seen in the Rivers and Bay from Pens Hill, nor from Hull. Ice has extended as far as Cape Ann or beyond.
19. Ice remains in the Harbour as far as Hull, below it is clear.
The Weather cold to the Expiration of the Month tho not so severe as January.
{ 385 }
March. The Weather remains cold through this Month. Very little Snow has fallen since that in January of which mention has been made.
8. Our Rivers open and navigable.
31. At Northward and West Ward 40 Miles from Boston Snow still 3 Feet Deep and good Sledding.
April. The Weather cold through this Month, the Winds have held chiefly through this and last Month to the West, North and East.
A General State of Health has prevailed for a Year past. The only Disorders of the last Winter were Colics, those of the Spring Rheumatisms. Not a Cough or any Pulmonic Complaints during the cold Weather.
May 1. Not a Warm Day since last November, not a Blossom to be seen nor scarce a Tree budded.
10. The only Warm day since Novr. last.
12. A few Blossoms to be seen on Peach Trees.
16. Apple Trees show some Blossoms.
18. Wind. S.E. extremely chilly, Hazy and cold. Ice in Tubs of Water standing abroad. The Earth extremely dry. Dandelions appear in Flower.
19. Wind. S.W. In the Morning Thundered and raind, about Nine AM—a Surprizing Darkness came on and continued untill half past 3 PM.
May. 23. Peach and Cherry Trees in full Blow. The Earth very dry. But little Pasturage as yet.
27. Peach and Cherry Trees drop their Blows.
28. Apple Trees in full Blow.
31. Forest Trees in full Leaf.
Very little Rain through this Month and not much Heat. In the fore Part of the Month Winds chiefly at W., N. and E. In the Latter at So. W.
Many Trees have been destroyed by the Winters Cold and Frost. The everGreens have sufferd most, Acres of Cedar Swamp appear as if singd with Fire. No Verdure to be seen on them. Red Cedars have shard the same Fate—some Pines and Holly Bushes, though not so much as the Former.
Sometime past it was feared that Cedar Trees were entirely destroyed. In July they begin to assume their former Verdure.
In the middle of June a new Species of Worm fell upon the Apple Trees, eat the Leafs and enterd the Apple, did considerable Mischief, { 386 } disappear about the 10 and 12th of July. Calld by some the Palmer Worm. The Worm stripd with Green on the Back, about half an Inch long, spins down the Tree like the Canker Worm, moves backwards or forwards when [placd?] in the Hand if opposd.
Great Havock is made upon the Locust Trees by a Worm which eats into the Heart of the Tree and will defeat all attempts to raise this Tree.
RC (Adams Papers). Two enclosures (Adams Papers), in Tufts' hand, are printed herewith; for a third, now missing, see note 2; for a possible fourth, see Tufts to JA, 27 Nov., vol. 4, below.
1. On the severity of the winter of 1779–1780, see also AA to JA, 18 Jan., above, and note 3 there.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0285-0003

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-05-19

Enclosure No. 2: Account of the Dark Day in May 1780

An Account of the extraordinary Darkness which appeared in New England on the 19th. May 1780, Extending Southward as far as Fish Kill, to the Northward not as yet ascertained, Less (from this Place) in Degree to the Southward, greater to the Westward and northern Parts of this State.1
May 19. It thunderd early this Morning and raind about 7 or 8. About 9 a Darkness came on gradually encreasing at 11. I could neither read nor write without a Candle which soon became necessary for Family Business and continued untill past 3 P.M. A Heavy black Cloud hung at the Westward and Northward, a Thin Vapour Smoak or Fog rising up now and then and almost covering it at Times streaming like the Corruscations of the Aurora Borealis. In the Southern Hemisphere the Clouds appear low, thin and empty running in different Directions. Very little Wind or Rain during the Darkness. The Clouds have a brassy Appearance and the whole Complexion of the Clouds impresses the Mind with an Idea of an Approaching Hurricane, and a universal Gloom everywhere appears. About half after 3 the Wind which before had been South and So. West, sprung up at the North West, dispersd the Clouds and brought us Day. In the Evening the Wind Shifted to the East about 9. at Night and Darkness came on and held untill 12. The Moon had then risen and was full. I frequently during that Time went out of my House and could not abroad discern my Hand tho applied ever so near my Eyes. During the Darkness of the Day, a disagreable Smell was perceivd, some resembling it to the smell proceeding from a Chimney on Fire, others to that which arises from Swamps on Fire. A like Smell was perceivd In the Evening united with that of Sea Salts.
This uncommon Darkness, greater in Degree and longer in Duration than had ever been before amongst us occasioned much Speculation, some attributed it to the Influence of the Planets, some to the Effects of a Comet and some to an Eruption of a Vulcano. The Vulgar { 387 } considered it some as portending great Calamities, others as a Prelude to the general Dissolution of all Things. A close Attention to what appeared before and during this Event will help us to (at least) a probable Solution of this Matter, without having Recourse to the Planets &c. for a Cause. Prior to this, The Woods from Ticonderoga for Thirty Miles downwards had been for some Time on Fire. No Rain for many Days, Winds chiefly at West and N. West. By these the Smoak and Vapours were carried to a great Distance, insomuch that in our Vicinity, the Sky was at Times obscurd, the Air crowded with Smoak and Vapours, a disagreable Smell like what proceeds from Swamps on Fire. The Sun from rising to setting appeard extremely red, on setting very large and when in the Meridian as if confind to a narrow Compass and capable of emitting only its rectinilear2 Rays. The Air chargd above and below with these smoaky Vapours, that had been for some Time collecting some of which had been driven off to Sea were now brought back by the South East Wind of the preceding Day and the South West Wind of this Morning helpt to bring forward those that came within its Influence by which there must be at this Time as gross a Collection as could be sustaind in the Air. The Thunder and Rain of this Morning might contribute to precipitate them towards the Earth. After the Rain somewhat abated, the Darkness came on, the Clouds some of them appeared very low and thin, above them were seen others passing in different Directions, apparently sliding one over the other. But little Wind, some Rain, what fell in Tubs left a Skum on the Top as of burnt Leafs, of a sooty Cast. What fell on Snow left the same Marks, as was observd in some Parts of Newhampshire State, where Snow still remained. From this Account Must We not infer, that this extraordinary Darkness was owing to a vast Collection of Smoke and Vapours brought together by a Number of concurring Causes and by Reason of different Currents of Air, conveyed in different Columns or Bodies so that when the Rays of Light struck one, they passed from that to the next with an impaired Force and so on, hence the Feebleness of Rays which reached us.
The Darkness was different in different Places, with respect to the Degree of it, a tolerable Idea You will form from the following Account, transmitted to the Public by some curious Observers at Ipswich Hamlet. “About 11 o'Clock the Darkness was such as to demand our Attention and put us upon making Observations; At half past 11 in a Room with Three Windows 24 Panes each, all open towards the South East and South large Print could not be read by Persons of { 388 } good Eyes. About 12. the Windows being still open, a Candle cast a Shade, so well defined on the Wall as that Profiles were taken with as much Ease as they could have been in the Night.
“We dined about Two of the Clock, the Windows all open and Two Candles burning on the Table. In the Time of the greatest Darkness, some of the Dunghill Fowls went to roost, Cocks crowed in Answer to one another as they commonly do in the Night. Wood Cocks which are Night Birds whistled as they do only in the Dark—Frogs peeped—in short there was the Appearance of MidNight at Noon Day.”
A North West Wind sprung up about 3 o'Clock PM, dispersed the Vapours, carried them to Sea. These by the shifting of the Wind to East in the Evening, were brought back again and a Darkness from Nine to Twelve ensued—tho' the Moon was risen and full, a Darkness greater than which I believe has not been experienced since the Children of I[s]rael left Egypt.
The content of all or some notes that appeared on this page in the printed volume has been moved to the end of the two preceding documents.
RC (Adams Papers). Two enclosures (Adams Papers), in Tufts' hand, are printed herewith; for a third, now missing, see note 2; for a possible fourth, see Tufts to JA, 27 Nov., vol. 4, below.
1. For other accounts (including the one here partly quoted by Tufts) of this atmospheric phenomenon, long remembered in New England, see AA to James Lovell, printed under the assigned date of 24 May, above, and note 4 there.
2. Thus in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0286

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-07

John Thaxter to John Adams

[salute] Sir

Since Mr. Appleton left Us,1 the inclosed Letters came to hand with a packet of Newspapers as late as the middle of May. The Letter signed Portia came in the State that You will receive it in; it was under a Cover superscribed by I. Smith Esqr.2 In the Letter were two bills of Exchange on the Minister at this Court, one of eighteen dollars and the other of sixty, which Mr. D[ana] will present to day for acceptance. A Memorandum in the letter is forwarded. I am so unfortunate as not to have recieved a single line from any of my friends—for my Consolation Mr. D. says, Batchelors have no right to any. This is neither the Law nor the practice.
{ 389 }
The papers announce the death of Mr. Jona. Williams tertius, the Gentleman who studied with You. The convulsive fits, to which he had been latterly subject, returned upon him with great violence, and after three days severe struggling with them, he died.3
Dr. Gordon has been scribbling in the papers, about the time when a new Convention shall be held for revising and amending the Constitution if necessary. He objects not to the Year 1795 as a proper time, but looks upon a revision then as something precarious and contingent, because it is said in the Address may be held, and not shall be held. He is for having this made certain, that there shall be a Convention in 1795. He quotes an “excellent Speech” of yours in the Convention, upon the Impossibility of human Wisdom forming a plan of Government adapted to all future Emergencies, and the necessity of periodical revisions, and of a frequent recurrence to first and fundamental principles, to preserve the Constitution sound and free. He makes a few Observations on the Nature of Power, its often becoming dangerous from the frailties and imperfections of human Nature, where its Exercise is not guarded and limited, is for having a Constitution so framed and principled, that the People, as Mr. Burgh says, may lay hold of it without Violence to it, wield it as they please and turn it against those who have or would pervert it. He acquits the present Convention of any design of preventing a future one in 1795, but is jealous of some. These are his words—“but I am jealous lest there was a design in some to provide for the prevention of it: nor is this jealousy lessened upon reading in the Address, 'on the expiration of 15 Years a new Convention may be held.' I know not who were the Compilers of the Address, but were they full in the Idea that a Convention was to take place in 1795, I suppose that the words would have been, 'a new Convention is to be held.'” He supposes a Convention may be prevented at that time, by the influence of those, who possess Seats in the Government, over their “Creatures, friends and Dependents” in the Towns and Counties. Quere, whether the words, may, is, or shall, will make any mighty difference in the operation and effects of this Influence? A Gentleman under the Signature of Tribunus has answered him, and handled the Dr. rather roughly, vindicated the Convention from a sinister design. Tribunus says, “When the Convention had finished the performance sent to their Constituents for Examination, it was thought necessary to provide for a revision to cure the defects Experience might point out, and 15 years was judged a proper period to take the minds of the people upon the subject, and determine whether the Constitution or form of Govern• { 390 } ment should be or not be revised. Convention did not suppose they had a power to compel the people to revise or alter the form at that time, nor to prevent their doing it before, and therefore laid it down as a first principle in the declaration of Rights, that the people have at all times this power in themselves.” This is the substance, some parts of it are severe. I am not sorry for it, for altho' the Dr. has shone with the borrow'd lustre of the Names of Adams and Burgh in this performance, whose Characters and Opinions will ever be respected, yet pardon me, Sir, if I think and say, that he would on this occasion have been better employed in the Cure of Souls, than in quarrelling with Moods and Tenses.4
The Dr. has wrote something to conciliate the Minds of religious disputants in the 3d. article of the declaration of Rights.
Mr. D. who presents his respects to You, requests when you return, that You would bring a few pounds of Dutch sealing Wax and a few Bunches of the best Dutch Quills.5
I sincerely wish You better health and agreable prospects. Much Love to my two little Friends.

[salute] I have the Honor to be, with the greatest Respect, Sir, Your Excellencys most obedient humble Servant,

[signed] J. T.
RC (Adams Papers). Only one of the enclosures is now identifiable; see note 2.
1. John Appleton (1758–1829), son of the Boston merchant and commissioner of the Continental Loan Office Nathaniel Appleton. He had been in Paris on a mercantile mission and followed JA to the Low Countries, carrying letters for him. See Samuel Cooper to Benjamin Franklin, 15 March 1780, introducing Appleton (PPAmP:Franklin Papers); Francis Dana to JA, 31 Aug.Jul. 1780 (Adams Papers); Isaac A. Jewett, Memorial of Samuel Appleton of Ipswich, Massachusetts . . . , Boston, 1850, p. 36; Paige, Hist, of Cambridge, Mass., 2:19; JQA, Diary, 10, 11, 13 Aug. 1780.
2. Probably AA to JA, 1 May, above.
3. Williams, identified earlier in this volume, had returned from France, married, and, on 1 May 1780, died; there is an obituary notice of him in the Continental Journal, 4 May, p. 3, col. 2.
4. Rev. William Gordon's letter on the amending process, dated 28 April and addressed “To the Freemen of Massachusetts-Bay,” appeared in both the Continental Journal (p. 2, col. 1–2) and the Independent Chronicle (p. 1, col. 1–3) on 4 May. His summary of JA's speech, which, if made, must have been made at an early sitting of the Convention in the fall of 1779, is the only contemporary record of such a speech, but it has an air of authenticity. The answer to Gordon by “Tribunus” was published in the Continental Journal on 25 May 1780, p. 2, col. 2–3.
5. This passage indicates clearly enough that when JA left Paris, as he did with his two sons on 27 July on a journey to Brussels, The Hague, and Amsterdam, he did not intend to be gone long. But as things turned out he did not come back to Paris until the following July. The motives for his trip and its prolongation to almost a year's stay in the Netherlands require explanation.
Soon after his arrival in France with powers to negotiate treaties of peace and commerce with Great Britain, JA discerned from Vergennes' aloofness that neither negotiation was likely to be put { 391 } in train for some time. On 16 March he wrote to James Lovell in Congress:
“I wish to know your private Opinion whether Congress will continue Mr. Dana and me here, at so much Expense, with so little Prospect of any Thing to do, for a long time, . . . or whether they will revoke our Powers and recall Us? or what they will do with Us. A Situation so idle and inactive, is not agreable to my Genius, yet I can submit to it, as well as any Man, if it is thought necessary for the public Good.—I will do all the Service I can, by transcribing Intelligence and in every other Way” (LbC, Adams Papers).
In the role of intelligence gatherer and transmitter JA was phenomenally industrious during the next several months, and he combined with it another function, that of publicist and propagandist for the American cause, composing and sending a steady stream of communications for publication in French, Dutch, and (through a secret but efficient channel) British newspapers. The full story of his activities as a propagandist in 1780, before going to the Netherlands where his work of this kind is better documented, remains to be written from scattered hints in his correspondence and from the files of the newspapers themselves, few if any of which exist in adequate files in the United States.
He also furnished items of news from America to the French government. One such, which reported Congress' measures to support its currency by buying up old emissions at the rate of 40 to 1, led to questions from Vergennes; see above, Lovell to AA, 21 March, and Cranch to JA, 26 April, with notes and references under both; also CFA's account in JA, Works, 1:314 ff. A spirited correspondence ensued that led to a complete break in personal relations between the two men. “[J]e pense,” Vergennes wrote sharply on 30 June, “que toute discution ultérieure entre nous a cet égard serois superflüe” (Adams Papers; translation of full text in JA, Works, 7:212–213). Vergennes either forgot, or perhaps (as Professor Morris acutely observes) was only too well aware, that he himself had started this quarrel. His questions about American financial policy should have been directed to Franklin, the American plenipotentiary to France, rather than to JA. “Even a captious mood on the part of Vergennes came as the result of careful calculation” (Morris, Peacemakers, p. 196).
In July JA took up other subjects in a manner that proved at least equally exasperating to the French foreign minister, who at this moment was facing difficulties both in his own government and with his uncooperative ally, Spain. The last thing he wished for was pertinacious advice and questions from the American peace minister, who had little to do in Paris except to write letters and newspaper pieces; but this is precisely what he got. One series, beginning 13 July, related to the grand strategy of the war, in which JA argued in detail and with cogency that a greater concentration of French naval power on the North American coast could easily pen up the British armies in the port cities they occupied and bring the war to a conclusion—if indeed, he had the temerity to hint, France really desired such a conclusion. Vergennes replied on 20 July that this was the very reason the Chevalier de Ternay's fleet had been dispatched to Rhode Island (where it arrived at just this time). JA, however, was by no means ready to drop the subject. In a letter of 27 July he disputed some of Vergennes' language concerning French-American relations and observed that Ternay's force was not large enough to gain the vital supremacy he had been arguing for (as was shortly proved by Ternay's being bottled up by Admiral Graves' larger fleet). Two days later Vergennes returned a short and crushing rejoinder, informing JA “que le Roi n'a pas eu besoin de vos Sollicitations pour s'occuper des intérêts des Etats-unis.” See JA to Vergennes, 13 July (Archives Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. pol., Etats-Unis, vol. 13; printed in JA, Works, 7:218–227, from LbC, Adams Papers, and in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:848–855, from PCC, No. 84, II). Vergennes to JA, 20 July (Adams Papers; translation printed in JA, Works, 7:232–233; another translation printed in Wharton, 3:870–871, from PCC, No. 84, II). JA to Vergennes, 27 July (Archives Aff. Etr., as above, { 392 } printed in JA, Works, 7:241–243, from LbC, Adams Papers, and in Wharton, 4:12–14, from PCC, No. 84, II). Vergennes to JA, 29 July (Adams Papers; translation printed in JA, Works, 7:243; another translation printed in Wharton, 4:16–17, from PCC, No. 84, II). It is of some significance that the actual recipient's copies of these and of the other letters from JA to Vergennes cited below in this note are those now filed in the Papers of the Continental Congress, they having been sent by Vergennes to Franklin, and by Franklin at Vergennes' request forwarded to Congress (Wharton, 4:18–19, 22). Only copies and translations remain in the French Archives of Foreign Affairs.
In the midst of these stinging exchanges JA chose to raise again the question of announcing his missions to the British government, a subject on which Vergennes had imposed a ban almost from the moment JA had reappeared in Paris early in 1780. On 17 JulyJA proposed “a frank and decent Communication of my full Powers” as a means of stirring up British popular sentiment in favor of peace and of offsetting the rumored secret peace negotiations between England and Spain. Vergennes' answer of the 25th is a massive document in twenty MS pages which was intended to refute every one of his correspondent's arguments and, whether it did or not in JA's mind, forbade any notice to the British government until Congress had seen the exchange between JA and Vergennes and furnished fresh instructions. In the life of his grandfather, CFA correctly characterized Vergennes' letter as “rough and dictatorial. . . . The tone is that of a master” (JA, Works, 1:327). JA, who had begun to suspect a certain insincerity if not duplicity on the part of the hard-pressed foreign minister, replied temperately on the 26th and departed on the following day for the Low Countries. For his part, Vergennes on the last day of July transmitted to Franklin the entire correspondence that had passed between him and JA during June and July. The covering letter emphasized Vergennes' confidence in Franklin's principles and sentiments, but as for JA,
“Vous trouverés, je pense, dans les lettres de ce plénipotentiare, des opinions et une tournure qui ne répondent ni à la maniere avec laquelle je me suis expliqué avec lui, ni avec la liaison intime qui subsiste entre le Roi et les Etats unis. . . . [J]e desire que vous les fassiés passer au congrès afin qu'il sache la conduite que Mr. Adams tient à notre égard, et qu'il puisse juger s'il est doué autant que le congrès le desire sans doute, de 1'esprit de conciliation qui convient à besogne aussi importante et aussi délicate que celle qui lui est confiée (PCC, No. 84, II, printed in translation in Wharton, 4:18–19).
See JA to Vergennes, 17 July (Archives Aff. Etr., as above; printed in JA, Works, 7:228–230, from LbC,