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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


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).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/