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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


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).
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/