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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


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.
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/