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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


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.”
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/