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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


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, Adams Papers, and in Wharton, 3:861–863, from PCC, No. 84, II). Vergennes to JA, 25 July (Adams Papers; printed in translation in JA, Works, 7:235–240; another translation in Wharton, 3:882–883, and 4:3–6, from PCC, No. 84, II). JA to Vergennes, 26 July (Archives Aff. Etr., as above; printed in JA, Works, 1:322–327, from LbC, Adams Papers, and in Wharton, 4:7–11, from PCC, No. 84, II). The degree of Vergennes' success in endeavoring to obtain JA's recall or at least a reduction of his powers will appear subsequently. Among many comments JA later made on this incident, perhaps the most incisive is in a letter of 18 Aug. 1809 (Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 284–286).
As for the trip to the Netherlands, it was a “fishing expedition,” of the very kind that both Vergennes and Franklin heartily disliked but could scarcely forbid. “I have never yet chang'd the Opinion I gave in Congress,” Franklin told Arthur Lee in 1777, “that a Virgin State should preserve the Virgin Character, and not go about suitoring for Alliances, but wait with decent Dignity for the Applications of others” (21 March 1777, Franklin, Writings, ed. Smyth, 7:35). The Lees did not subscribe to this view, nor did JA. Hints of the possibility of Dutch support for America, or at least of marked antipathy to Great Britain as arbitrary mistress of the seas, had reached the Continental Congress, and JA as a member, from various quarters for several years. (An example will be found { 393 } in JA's letter to AA, 3 April 1777, summarizing a letter written to Congress by William Carmichael from Amsterdam, 2 Nov. 1776; see above, vol. 2:198–199, and references there.) Whether these were well or ill authenticated, it was natural and easy for Americans to give them credence, for the Dutch Republic (in official language the United Provinces of the Low Countries) was a confederation of states that had won its freedom from a distant imperial power and was governed, at least in part, by a representative body, the States General. In July 1777 Congress instructed its Committee of Foreign Affairs to prepare a commission for an American representative to the United Provinces, and this was done, but the whole matter was then laid on the table (JCC, 8:523, 527, 531). The reason for postponing action was the very correct one that the sentiments of their High Mightinesses the States General ought to be known first, since “possibly their connections with England, might make the receiving an American Minister, as yet inconvenient, and . . . a little embarrrassing” (American Commissioners at Paris to C. W. F. Dumas, 10 April 1778, JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:44–45). Meanwhile JA began reading Dutch history, particularly commending to AA and the ten-year-old JQA Cardinal Bentivoglio's History of the Warrs in Flanders, in which they were to note the remarkable parallels between the Dutch and American revolutions (JA to AA, 21 July, and to JQA, 27 July 1777, above, vol. 2:286–287, 289–292). The first official but very tentative American overtures to the Dutch were made in the spring of 1778, via C. W. F. Dumas, and JA happily reported that “In Holland there is more Friendship for Us, than I was aware before I came to France” (to Samuel Adams, 21 May 1778, JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:107). But nothing meaningful had resulted by early 1779, when JA learned that he was to be relieved of his duties as a commissioner. That he yearned to go to the Netherlands at this time is clear from his conversation with Marbois on his return voyage to Boston. “My own Inclinations would have led me to Holland: But I thought my Honour concerned to return directly home” (same, 2:390). In the very long letter—his diplomatic testament—that he wrote to Secretary Jay immediately after reaching Braintree, JA commented thoughtfully on a possible entente between the two republics. He supposed this would be favored by the “Similitude of Manners, of Religion and in some Respects of Constitution,” by “the Analogy, between the Means, by which the two Republicks arrived at Independancy,” and, most of all, by “the Attractions of commercial Interests” between the United Provinces and the United States. But these affinities, JA felt in the summer of 1779, were unlikely to show themselves “in a public Manner before a Peace, or a near Prospect of Peace. Too many Motives of Fear or Interest place the Hollanders in a Dependance on England, to suffer her to connect herself openly, with Us, at present.” Even so, on the basis of the inquiries the American Commissioners in Paris had made and the information they had received, JA felt that the prospects of obtaining loans and promoting trade between the two countries were good enough to warrant Congress' sending a minister to The Hague. The minister should be given “a discretionary Power, to produce his Commission, or not, as he shall find it likely to succeed”; he should have full powers and clear instructions for borrowing money; “and the Man himself, above all, should have consummate Prudence” and “a Caution and Discretion that will be Proof against any Tryal” (4 Aug. 1779, full text printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3: 278–286, from PCC, No. 84, I, and in JA, Works, 7:99–110, from LbC, Adams Papers).
It is perhaps not surprising that, having prescribed these exacting qualifications, JA should have thought of himself as eligible for the post in question. At any rate, having accepted his altogether unexpected and unsolicited mission as peace minister in Europe, he intimated to a close friend in Congress that a commission to the Netherlands might be attached to it without added pay (to Elbridge Gerry, “Secret as the Grave,” 18–19 Oct. 1779, LbC, Adams Papers). The idea had already occurred to his friends there, and he was in fact { 394 } nominated on 18 Oct. as agent to seek a loan, but Congress thought best “to make a distinct Appointment” and on 21 Oct. chose Henry Laurens, who shortly afterward was given further powers to negotiate a treaty of amity and commerce with the States General (Lovell to JA, 19 Oct. 1779, Adams Papers; JCC, 15:1186, 1198, 1230).
For one reason or another, Laurens did not sail for Europe during the winter and spring of 1779–1780, and the surrender of Charleston (in which his son Col. John Laurens was made prisoner) delayed his departure still longer. Ultimately, as we shall see, Laurens never served in the Netherlands. Evidence meanwhile accumulated in both Paris and Philadelphia showing that relations between the Dutch and British governments were deteriorating—a theme recurrent in JA's voluminous dispatches to Congress throughout the spring of 1780. Reporting on Sir Joseph Yorke's latest memorial to the States General, invoking ancient Dutch treaty obligations to England, JA said, “[I]t looks as if England would force the Dutch into the War: but if they take a Part it will be certainly for Us.—Oh that Laurens was there.—Oh that Laurens was there!” (to Lovell, 29 March, LbC, Adams Papers; see also JA to Huntington, 3 April, PCC, No. 84, I, printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:588–592, ||(also printed in Papers of John Adams)||and a long series of long dispatches that followed on the subject of Anglo-Dutch relations and the Armed Neutrality that Russia had initiated among the northern European powers to curb British naval power). By mid-June Congress felt it must take some step, and on the 20th it empowered JA (or, alternatively, Francis Dana) to act in Laurens' place, until Laurens himself arrived, with respect to obtaining a Dutch loan (JCC, 17:534–537). Such a commission was precisely what JA would have liked to have at just this time, but he had made his own plans to reconnoiter Amsterdam and The Hague long before it reached him. (It was not sent until 11 July, in a letter from the Committee of Foreign Affairs, Adams Papers). At the beginning of July he waited on Vergennes and told him “that I had an intention of making a Journey to Amsterdam for a few weeks, as I flattered myself I might form some Acquaintances or Correspondence there and collect some Intelligence that might be useful [to] the United States.” Vergennes asked him to wait for further news from the diplomatic front but on the 16th informed him that since the current Anglo-Spanish negotiations would be delayed until further instructions could be sent for from Madrid and received back from London, which would take perhaps two months, there was time enough for JA to pay his visit to the Netherlands (JA to Huntington, 23 July, printed in Wharton, 3:877–878, from PCC, No. 84, I; also in JA, Works, 7:233–235, from LbC, Adams Papers). Hence the entry of 27 July in JA's diary: “Setting off on a Journey, with my two Sons to Amsterdam.—Lodged at Compiegne. Fryday night lodged at Valenciennes. Saturday arrived at Brussells.—This Road is through the finest Country, I have ever seen”—and the diarist went on to describe the topography and crops with enthusiasm (Diary and Autobiography, 2:442). This brief interval in the beautiful and fertile French countryside was deeply refreshing to him after his labors and frustrations in Paris.
On 3 Aug. Franklin acknowledged Vergennes' letter of 31 July, quoted above, which enclosed the entire correspondence Vergennes had had with JA during June and July. Without particularizing, Franklin characterized JA's “Sentiments therein expressed” as proceeding from his “Indiscretion alone, and not from any Instructions received by him” from America; nor was it possible that his conduct would be “approved” by Congress. “I am glad,” he went on, “he has not admitted me to any Participation of those Writings” (Franklin, Writings, ed. Smyth, 8:123–124)—a statement only partly true since at JA's request Franklin had himself written Vergennes in June about the issue of Congress' fiscal policy, and at the end of that month had received copies from JA of all the correspondence that dealt with it (JA to Franklin, 23 June, printed in JA, Works, 7:193, from LbC [dated 22 June], Adams Papers; the original was enclosed in Franklin to Vergennes, 24 June, which, with its en• { 395 } closure, is in Archives Aff. Etr., Paris, Corr. pol., Etats-Unis, vol. 12; JA to Franklin, 29 June, printed in JA, Works, 7:211–212, from LbC, Adams Papers; RC in PPAmP:Franklin Papers, with postscript: “I have added Copies of the whole Correspondence”).
Dutifully but not very happily, Franklin on 9 Aug. forwarded to Congress the papers Vergennes had sent him, and gave his view of JA's conduct in Paris and his motives in traveling to the Netherlands:
“Mr. Adams has given Offence to the Court here, by some Sentiments and Expressions contained in several of his Letters written to the Count de Vergennes. . . . Mr. Adams did not show me his Letters before he sent them. I have . . . mentioned some of the Inconveniencies, that attend the having more than one Minister at the same Court; one of which Inconveniencies is, that they do not always hold the same Language, and that the Impressions made by one, and intended for the Service of his Constituents, may be effaced by the Discourse of the other. It is true, that Mr. Adams's proper Business is elsewhere; but, the Time not being come for that Business, and having nothing else wherewith to employ himself, he seems to have endeavoured to supply what he may suppose my Negociations defective in. He thinks, as he tells me himself, that America has been too free in Expressions of Gratitude to France; for that she is more oblig'd to us than we to her; and that we should show Spirit in our Applications. I apprehend, that he mistakes his Ground, and that this Court is to be treated with Decency and Delicacy. . . . Mr. Adams, on the other hand, who at the same time means our Welfare and Interest as much as I, or any man, can do, seems to think a little apparent Stoutness, and greater air of Independence and Boldness in our Demands, will procure us more ample Assistance. . . .
“He is gone to Holland to try, as he told me, whether something might not be done to render us less dependent on France.” (Franklin, Writings, ed. Smyth, 8:126–128.)
To JA, on the next occasion he communicated with him, Franklin allowed himself, in touching on this last topic, only the observation that “Our Credit and Weight in Europe depend more on what we do than on what we say; And I have long been humiliated with the Idea of our running about from Court to Court begging for Money and Friendship, which are the more withheld the more eagerly they are sollicited, and would perhaps have been offer'd if they had not been asked” (2 Oct., Adams Papers; Franklin, Writings, ed. Smyth, 8:146). Judged by ultimate results, Franklin's view proved correct in regard to American relations with all the European powers, major and minor, except France, where, at the outset, Franklin himself had participated in the “militia diplomacy” he now so deprecated, and the Netherlands, where JA in due time proved Franklin's view wrong and his own irregular tactics overwhelmingly right.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0287

Author: Cranch, Richard
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-08-17

Richard Cranch to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Sister

The Alliance arriv'd yesterday after a Passage of about 36 Days.2 I went this Morning to see Mr. A. Lee (who came in her) but he was engag'd in Writing and could not be spoke with, his Nephew inform'd me that Mr. Adams and the Children were well, as were also Mr. Dana and Mr. Thaxter. Mr. Blodget bro't a Letter from Mr. Adams for you.3 I sent it (just before Peter4 came) by Mr. Seth Spear, who promised to leave it at our House. I have spoke to Uncle Smith who will take care of any thing that may be on board for you.
{ 396 }
There has been a great Mob in London headed by Lord Gordon: Marshall Law was proclaim'd, great numbers kill'd, and others hang'd without Judge or Jury, as 'tis said. Gordon is taken and put in the Tower. A Captain of a Vessell from Holland says that the Hopes of Amsterdam inform'd him that in their Opinion War was inevitable with E[n]gland. The French knew nothing of Admiral Graves being come to America, and Mr. Lee was surprized when he heard of it. He brings no news of a second French Fleet from France. I propose to see Mr. Lee in the Morning when I shall receive your Letters if he has any; He dines out to Day so that I cannot see him soon enough to let you know to night.
The Interest on your Note is not yet due, I will return it to you. I have not seen Mr. Newell, he has been out of Town. Pardon haste and blunders from Yours affectionately,
[signed] R. Cranch
1. Cranch's misdating appears to be a mere inadvertence. Thursday of this week fell on the 17th, and all accounts agree that the Alliance arrived on Wednesday the 16th; see the following note.
2.
“Yesterday arrived here the Continental Frigate Alliance, Capt. Landais, in 40 days from L'Orient, in France, in whom came passengers the Hon. Arthur Lee, Esq.; and his two nephews [&c.]” (Boston Continental Journal, 17 Aug. 1780, p. 3, col. 2).
3. This particular letter has not been identified, but AA actually received numerous letters from JA via the Alliance; see her letter to him of 23 Aug., below.
4. Probably a servant in the Adams household.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0288

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-21

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams

I received your favor of the 16 March sometime Ago. The fleet and Army are still att Rd. Island by the arrival of Admiral Graves the british are superior. There intention Against Rd. Island seems to be laid aside. The french fleet and Spanish were att the Cape about 20 days Ago. We were in hopes they were bound to Jamaica.
Several privateers belonging to Salem, Cape Ann And Newbury have made a haul upon the Quebeck fleet, have taken about 16 that they have got in, some wholly with goods and some with provisions. On an Average supposed to be worth £15,000 sterling.
The Alliance Arrived here a few days Ago. Mr. Lee is come in her. He has been to see Mrs. Adams.1
Mrs. Adams and Mrs. Cranch are gone to Plymouth so you may judge they are well.
The french General has exprest great satisfaction to the Councel { 397 } on Account of the readiness in going to Aid him on the late Apprehension of there being Attackt att Rd. Island, and mentions a circumstance which suppose was very striking to him, That of one Mr. Thatcher who lives near Rd. Island, [who] went Over with Three Sons and headed is whole parish, which being something not ever seen before was the more pleasing.
Mr. Cranch and my self are going Over to Charlestown with Mr. Lee to show him were the battle was fought. Mr. Brown I have seen and has been to drink Tea with us.
I dont recollect any thing worth your Notice & Are Yr. Most hume. servant,
[signed] Isaac Smith
Ps. Itt seems the Conduct of the Captn. of the Alliance was such As that the ship came in here under the charge of the Lt.2
1. Probably on Sunday, 20 Aug.; see AA to JA, 3–4 Sept., below.
2. On this voyage Captain Landais “became irrational and was removed by his lieutenants” (Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships, 1:33). Concerning the controversial Pierre Landais, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, passim, particularly the brief sketch, with references to biographical accounts, at 2:366. The record of Landais' court-martial, Nov. 1780–Jan. 1781, is in PCC, No. 193, II.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0289

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-08-21

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

I have the pleasure of informing You, that Mr. Dana this day recieved a letter from Mr. A[dams] of the 17th. of this Month,1 who was well with his two Sons at Amsterdam. He thinks the Air of the Low Countries not so salubrious as that of France. They have too many Canals and too much stagnant Water there to make it the most healthy Spot in the World: The Air and Climate of this Country are exceedingly good. The farmers have blessed the Summer, for the Summer has blessed them in suffering 'em to enjoy the fruit of their labours. The Season has been most excellent indeed they say. I can answer for the Weather in the City that it has been in general very fine. The public walks of Course have been good. How happy should I be to traverse them with my young female Acquaintance on the other side the Atlantic, but this cannot be. My Acquaintance with young Ladies here is very contracted. The Customs of this Country are very different from ours—it is best they should be so. It is not the hardest task in Creation to form female Acquaintances here, but it is necessary previously to determine, whether they will not be such as { 398 } will lead one into that path, which is neither that of Wisdom or Riches, of Peace or of Pleasantness. I will not however undertake to form comparisons between the virtues or vices, the good or ill manners and Customs of one Country with another, or to run parallels—sufficient is it for a Resident to make the proper discriminations and to play the Roman in matters of indifference.
Tomorrow morning I have an Invitation to go and see a Nun take the Veil. I am told the Ceremony is singular. My Curiosity will lead me there to see it and I am persuaded my Inclination will induce me upon my return to give You an Account of it, for which purpose I leave the letter unfinished to night.
I have this moment returned from the Monastere des filles de Dieu, the Cloister of the Nuns where the Ceremony was performed. The Ceremony is as follows. The Lady who took the Veil was elegantly dressed and conducted forward to a grated Partition, which seperates the Nuns place of worship from the Chapel, by two of the Sisterhood, and seated in a Chair. When Mass begun, She left the Chair and kneeled—directly before her was standing a large Candle to which a Crucifix was affixed. After Mass, a discourse was addressed to her by a priest, in which he spoke perhaps more largely than learnedly upon the Advantages of a Cloister. The discourse being finished, She paid her Reverence to the Crucifix in the Chapel, and her devoirs to all the Sisterhood, and then retired with a Torch and Crucifix to put off her gaudy attire. Upon her return She was clad in Linen, carrying the lighted Candle that stood before her, and conducted by two of the Sisterhood to the Grate. After each of the Sisters had lighted up their Candles, they began to chant. After this two of them bound a piece of white linnen about her head. She then retired to a little Chapel adjoining, where the black Robe was put on and a white Veil. Upon her return the whole Nunnery chanted a te deum—after this She embraced most cheerfully the old and young of the Sisterhood and retired with them. I had forgot to mention that when She appeared clad in white linen She had a Crown or Garland upon her head.
I was invited to this Ceremony by one of the Sisterhood, about one or two [and] twenty years of age, whom I visit now and then. Her Name is Miss Maroni, a young Lady of Irish Extraction, has travelled much and is very sensible—speaks good English by the Way. I love to go to the Grate to chat with her, because She is cheerfull and full of { 399 } innocence tho' not very handsome. She would willingly convert me to the Catholic faith, but my heretical Notions I fear are too firmly established to be eradicated by her Importunities, which are always accompanied with a Sweetness of Expression and the Charms of Innocence. She is an amiable Girl indeed. The young lady, who took the Veil to day, is perhaps about the same Age. In this Nunnery are about four and twenty who have taken the Veil, and eight or ten probationers. The Veil is not taken immediately upon their Entrance. They rest one or two years there to make a Trial of the life. If in that time, they find themselves sufficiently detached from the World, they put on the Veil. If on the contrary, the Life is disagreeable to them, they have liberty to retire, but when they have once taken the Veil, they must continue there, 'till kind death releases them. This is the Regulation I am told. They go to prayers seven times a day—seven times a day I hope my amiable Nun prays for me. What an institution this? A voluntary and perpetual seclusion from the World, if humanity does not forbid, Religion does not require. It is a Species of devotion somewhat misterious to me, but as one is not obliged to “copy their humility,” let him take care not to “disturb their devotion.”
Much Respect and Duty where due. J'aime beaucoup les Mesdemoiselles de ma connoissance et je vous prie, Madame, pour leur dire mille choses que sont agréables de mon part.
I have the honor to be with the greatest Respect, your most obedient and most humble Servt.
1. ||Letter of 17 August, ||LbC, Adams Papers; printed in JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 151–152.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0290

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1780-08-21

John Thaxter to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear young Friend

Your favor from Brussells1 was duly recieved, and ought to have been acknowledged before this. By the size of your Packet that came to hand this day, I concluded that it contained a particular description of your Travels, of the Curiosities you had met with &c., but upon opening it I found one line of request, and another (truly laconic) hinting at my neglect in writing. If You had been kind enough to have given me a short sketch of Amsterdam, the tartness of one line in this day's packet would have been much more palatable. However I have not taken it much in dudgeon, because You had a just claim to an answer.
{ 400 }
I have forwarded You a letter2 some days agone from America. It was inclosed with others to your Papa. I wrote your Papa but a day or two ago by Mr. McCreary.3 I hope he will recieve both packets. Possibly they may be at Brussells.
We were very happy to hear of your safe arrival at Amsterdam. You have travelled there at a good time of life, and under the Advantage of an excellent Instructor in your Papa. No doubt you have profited of both. As You are fond of keeping a Journal, be very particular in your description of the capital Towns you pass, of their Curiosities, their manners, Customs, Dress, but more particularly of their Religion and Governments.4 This will be of great Advantage hereafter.—Omne tulit punctum, qui miscuit utile dulci.5 I have only time to request You to present my best Respects to your Papa, and Love to your Brother Charles, and to subscribe myself in great haste your affectionate Friend,
[signed] J. Thaxter Junr.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr. J. Thaxter's letter dated August 21st 1780. Answered september the 3d 1780. No. 25”; docketed in JQA's later hand. (JQA's answer has not been found.)
1. Not found.
2. Not identified.
3. Probably Thaxter's letter to JA of 18 Aug. (Adams Papers).
4. After beginning his diary with his voyage to Spain and continuing it during his journey across northern Spain and into France, Nov. 1779–Jan. 1780, JQA had given it up (so far as we know from the surviving MS) until 25 July 1780, when, in anticipation of his journey to the Low Countries, he resumed his daily entries and kept them up through the end of September. Boyish as these are, they are so detailed as to be very valuable in tracing the Adamses' movements and stops during their first weeks in the Netherlands.
5. He has carried every point who has mingled the useful with the agreeable (Horace).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0291

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-08-23

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I could not omit so favourable an opportunity as the present of writing you a line by Mr. Warren who is upon his travells, and tis not unlikely may take France in his way.1
I know the welfare of your family so essential to your happiness, that I would improve every means of assureing you of it, and of communicating to you the pleasure I have had in receiving every Letter you have written since you first left the harbour of Boston. Mine to you have not been so successfull.
Several packets have been sent to Neptune, tho improperly directed, and I Query whether having found his mistake he has had complasance enough to forward them to you. So that you must not charge to me any failure in point of puntuality or attention, but to the avidity of { 401 } the watery Gods who I really believe have distroyed them—but enough of romance.
You see I am in good Spirits—I can tell you the cause. The Alliance arrived last week and brought me “the Feast of Reason and the flow of Soul.” Assurances too, of the Health of my dear absent Friends. Those only who know by experience what a Seperation is from the tenderest of connextions, can form adequate Ideas of the happiness which even a literary communication affords—

“Heaven first taught Letters for some wretches aid.”

I have written to you and to my dear Sons2 by Capt. Sampson. If Mr. Warren should be the Bearer of this, I need not ask you to love him, his Merrit will ensure him that, and every attention he may stand in need of from one who never suffers the promiseing youth to pass unnoticed by him, more especially one who has a double claim to your Friendship, not only on his own account, but from the long and intimate Friendship which subsists between his worthy parents and the Friend I address—who will be pleased to accept of the tenderest Sentiments of affectionate3 from his
[signed] A. Adams
RC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “To His Excellency John Adams Esqr. Paris”; addressed in an unidentified hand: “To His Excellency John Adams Esq: Minister Plenepotentiary Paris”; endorsed in John Thaxter's hand: “Portia 23d Augst. 1780.”
1. On 16 Aug. a British cartel ship from St. John's, Newfoundland, bearing American sailors, including some taken in the capture of the Pallas (see above, Winslow Warren to AA, 26 May, note 2), arrived at Boston (Independent Chronicle, 17 Aug.) under a plan devised at St. John's for the exchange of prisoners. Winslow Warren, remaining at St. John's as a hostage until the arrival of the exchanged British seamen, sent word of his good treatment and that the possibility of continuing to Holland by way of England was open to him. His parents in a reply to go by the returning ship offered no objection (articles of agreement, 27 July, MHi:Misc. Bound; Mercy Warren to JA, 15 Nov., Warren-Adams Letters, 2:145–146; to Winslow Warren, 20 Aug., MHi:Mercy Warren Papers). AA, given notice of the opportunity, such as it was, to send a letter to JA did so here, expressing in the first and last paragraphs her uncertainties about Warren's plans.
Word that when free Warren would resume his journey did not reach home for another month. Meanwhile, he was given passage on the sloop-of-war Fairy, which sailed on or about 18 Sept. and reached Dartmouth ten days later, carrying also Henry Laurens (James Warren to W. Warren, 27 Sept.–13 Oct., MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.; Mercy Warren to same, 7 Nov., Jan. 1781, MHi:Mercy Warren Papers; “Narrative of . . . Henry Laurens,” S.C. Hist. Soc., Colls., 1 [1857]: 22–23). Warren's experience in England and on the Continent later is given at p. 359–360, above. If he retained AA's letter to deliver by hand, it did not reach JA until March 1781 (see AA to JA, 28 May 1781, vol. 4 below).
2. CFA, perplexed by the letter, when publishing it altered silently the date from 1780 to 1778 and substituted “son” for “sons” to accord with JA's first European mission when only JQA was with him (JA-AA, Familiar Letters, p. 340–341).
3. Thus in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0292

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1780-09-01

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] My dear Madam

From your Hospitable Mansion of Benevolence and Friendship, I reachd my own Habitation, the day I left you, and found my family well, but the Scenes arround me wore a dismal aspect—the dyeing Corn, the Barren pastures and the desolated Gardens threaten us with distress, and Hunger. Not a vine that had modestly and silently crept along the Ground unasspiring of a nearer approach to the Burning God, but had crumbled to dust beneath his scorching Rays.
Ceres witherd Head reclines, Virtumnus is fled, and Pomona is scattering here and there the half Grown fruit e'er she too bids us adieu. To the Father of the rain, and the Mercifull dispencer of the dew Drops, must we lift up our Beleiving hearts, for that releif which he does not refuse to the young Ravens when they cry, nor to the more important works of his Hands, but to oblige them to confess from whence cometh every good and perfect gift.
How happy should I be my dear Madam, Honourd as I am with your Friendship, if I could often join a sister mate, instead of sitting in my own solitary chamber the representitive of the lonely dove. Methinks we might coo, to each other, in accents which might Mitigate pain and illude the Solitary Hour, but when this is deliverd you that Idea will vanish from your mind, yet whilst you felicitate your own happier Lot, lend a pittying Sigh of commisiration to a sufferer.
The young Ladies returnd last wedensday so highly Gratified with their visit that there regret at parting, could be mitigated only by the pleasing recollection of what they had enjoyed.
My Dear Mrs. W[arre]n will not forget her promise of a Letter to be coppied for her Friend. She may rest assured proper care shall be taken of one committed to her—and the young Gentleman, if he visits France shall receive a coppy of it.1
The packet by Mr. Brown received since my return, but no later dates than what I had before. This young Gentleman made me a visit this week. He is a Native of Carolina, a youth about 22 or 3, of easy address, soft Manners and modest Deportment, he bespeaks your good opinion the moment you look upon him, and is sure to have it before he leaves you. His Soul is perhaps softned by the Filial tenderness he feels for parents who he believes prisoners, if nothing worse has befallen them, and from whom he has not heard since the Capture of Charlestown.
{ 403 }
Present my Regards to the young Gentlemen, and Let me hear from your own hand, of your Health and happiness. You must quit Plimouth, you who so well love Society and who always adorn it, must not be secluded,2 the constant enjoyment of it. I should have felicitated myself if you had exchanged Plimouth for Braintree. It would have greatly added to the happiness of your ever affectionate
[signed] Portia
RC (MHi: Warren-Adams Collection); docketed in two unidentified hands: “Mrs. Abigail Adams Sepr. 1st 1780 No. 12.”
1. Both of these were evidently didactic essays in epistolary form addressed by Mrs. Warren to one or another of her sons Winslow and Charles. One of them can be identified as a letter dated 24 Dec. 1779, which survives in copied form in the Adams Papers, on the false teachings of Chesterfield in his letters to his natural son; see AA to Mrs. Warren, 28 Feb., above; Mrs. Warren to AA, 21 Dec., vol. 4, below.
2. Thus in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0293

Author: Neufville, Jean de & Fils (business)
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-09-02

Jean de Neufville & Son to Abigail Adams

[salute] Honourd Lady!

May we begg leave to offer our Respects to your Excellency, and to enclose here the list of some particulars His Excellency favourd us with the honour to procure, and which we hope may prove to satisfaction, or if any thing may be wanting, which never will be owing to the least inattention; we most frendly begg to be guided by your Ladyships instructions for the future; and we will pay the highest regard to Any orders we may ever find ourselfs honourd with.
We are very happy enjoying the presence of so worthy a Professor of the Liberty and the Rights of his Country as all the World must assure Mr. Adams to be, and pay him the highest Regard, so every body must and doth Love Madam your [sir?] John and young Mr. Charles, who under so worthy Parents will grow to be an ornament to their Country as they promiss already for their age, may time soon bring forth that all the worthy in America and Holland through the spirit of Liberty and the ties of humanity make butt one family.
We have the honour to be with the most profound Respect and Unfeignd Regard, Honourd Lady Your Excellencys most Obedient and Most devoted humble servants,
[signed] John de Neufville & Son1
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosure missing. This letter was originally sent under cover to Isaac Smith Sr.; see William Smith to AA, 20 Nov., vol. 4, below.
1. Jean (Jan or John) de Neufville (1729–1796) was the head of an Amsterdam mercantile firm that, as the present letter indicates, was conspicu• { 404 } ously friendly to the American cause. In Sept. 1778, acting somewhat vaguely on behalf of the Amsterdam Regency, he had met William Lee at Aix-la-Chapelle and agreed with him on the draft of a commercial treaty with the United States. This got little further in any official way, but the capture at sea by the British of a text among the effects of Henry Laurens the day after the present letter was written not only led to Laurens' imprisonment in the Tower but was made the pretext of England's breaking off relations with the Netherlands in Dec. 1780. Early in 1781, at the height of the Anglo-Dutch war crisis, Jean de Neufville & Son tried with little success to raise a loan for the United States. See the article on the elder de Neufville in Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek, 8:1211–1214; Van Winter, Het andeel van den Amsterdamschen handel aan den opbouw van het Amerikaansche Gemeenebest, The Hague, 1927–1933, passim; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:444–445, 452–453; JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 378, 399–400; JQA, Diary, 11 Aug. 1780et seq.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0294

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-02

John Thaxter to John Adams

[salute] Sir

By yesterday's post from Nantes Mr. Austin recieved a Letter from Mr. Williams, informing him that a french Vessel had just arrived there from Philadelphia, the Captain of which reports that Kniphausen had been repulsed in the Jerseys—that besides the killed and wounded, there were seven hundred prisoners taken, which he saw in Philadelphia—that the Militia on this occasion behaved with great Spirit and Bravery. This Vessel sailed from Philadelphia the first of July, but did not leave the Deleware until the eighteenth of the same month. The day before she sailed, a Vessel going out of the Deleware informed the Captain that Mr. de Ternay had arrived, but that he did not know when or where. No dispatches have arrived by this Vessel. Mr. Deane has recieved a Letter from Mr. Robert Morris by this Conveyance,1 informing him that Kniphausen had burnt Springfield in the Jersies, some Farm Houses and Barns, but that he had been checked. No mention however is made of the loss or Number of Prisoners—a Circumstance somewhat singular, and renders the Account of the Capture of the seven hundred men rather doubtful. It may be true; but it seems so material a Circumstance would hardly have been omitted. We do not as yet give full Credit to the News. Mr. Morris further adds, that Clinton has made an Excursion towards West Point, but finding it of too difficult Access, quitted the Object, went to Tarry Town and burnt it, from thence directed his Course towards White Plains and the Country round about, burning, pillaging, and destroying as he passed along. It is supposed that Kniphausens Operations in the Jerseys prevented the sending detachments from our main Army to check the Ravages of Clinton. Perhaps Kniphausen's Operations { 405 } were designed to employ the Attention of our Army, so as to favour Clinton's Diversion. The latter it seems has not met with much opposition. Individuals are doubtless much distressed by these merciless burnings. The Confederacy at large is benefited—they are the distracted feats of a despairing Enemy—Union and Stability are the fruits which We reap from them. The Conduct of these Generals is so conformable to the Objects of Administration that it cannot fail to charm them, nor of the rhetorical decorations of the Morning Post. The Parson2 and his Adherents will have ample Scope for Panegyrick, and no doubt the Atchievements of Clinton and his Co-adjutor tho' to the last degree base, will be whitewashed with an euloge of these Tools of Corruption.
Mr. Dana desires his respects to You, and would have given You the Accounts brought by the french Vessel, but his Eyes are again in a bad State, and he has directed me to do it, which I have done besides adding a little trumpery of my own. He requests that You would have the goodness to purchase for him a sufficiency of Cambrick for three or four Handkerchiefs, and have them made up there, and take them with You in your Trunk when you return. Stevens possibly knows that kind which is proper for Handkerchiefs—if You would be kind enough to direct him to purchase enough for the purpose, he would be much obliged.
I have the Honour to be, with the most perfect respect, Sir, Your Excellency's most obedient and most humble Servant,
[signed] J Thaxter
My Love if You please to the Masters Johnny and Charley.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr. Thaxter ansd. Septr. 8”; docketed by CFA: “Septr. 2d 1780.” (JA's answer of 8 Sept. has not been found.)
1. Morris to Silas Deane, Philadelphia, 3 July, from which much of the war news communicated in the present letter appears to derive (Deane Papers, 4:170–174). Deane had recently returned to Paris in an effort to have his accounts audited so that they could be settled by Congress.
2. Rev. Henry Bate, later Sir Henry Bate Dudley (1745–1824), at this time editor of the London Morning Post, a pro-ministerial paper. His quarrelsomeness led to his being called “the Fighting Parson.” (DNB.)

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0295

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-03

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

By a Vessel of my unkles bound to Bilboa I write you a few lines, and commit them to the care of our Friends Gardoqui to whom I have written for a few small Articles, and desired them to draw upon you { 406 } for pay, but the demand will not amount to more than 20 dollors I think.
Tho I have been so unfortunate as to have my Trunk left in France, and the Alliance arrive safe here without it, to the no small dissapointment of our Friends, yet I know you will be full as much so. You have I know taken as much pains to forward it as you possibly could: to the dissentions on Board the Ship, and to no other cause is the dissapointment oweing. I could wish if it should not be shiped before this reaches you that it may wait, and come in Sampson if he is arrived: if he has, you have the Resolve of Congress which you wrote for and which will render you comfortable, till some other plan can take place. I have not been able to procure the Bills which are due to you from Congress. Shall forward them as soon as I receive them.
All your Letters are come safe to hand, as well as the presents you mention, except that by Mr. Wharton, who waits to come in Jones. I find you can greatly benifit me in this way. The chintz by Mr. Brown was very good and not dear as you Imagined.
This Gentleman spent a day with me, I was much pleased with his modesty and affability. Mr. Lee did me the Honour of keeping the Sabbeth with me. I expect an other visit from him when he returns from Plimouth where he is now gone.1
This is a Great and important day in the political System of this State. Mr. B[owdoi]n has merrit and integrity, all the judicious people will vote for him, but popular Clamour will elect an other,2 who ought to forfeit every vote, by the low mean Arts he has taken to procure them. I could tell you many, if prudence did not restrain me, yet nothing that would surprize you, for you know every Avenu of his vain Heart. Give an extensive cord, and you know the adage.
We have a Melancholy prospect about us. The most severe drought known for many years, has cut of our grass, our corn and our Gardens. Yesterday we had a plentifull rain, and the first since the begining of May. Many person[s] have been obliged to give Hay to their cattle for more than a month, but in the midst of this calimity we have a general time of Health.
No News stiring. General Washington has the best Army that he has had since the commencment of the war, yet tis like to be a very inactive campaign. The arrival of Graves fleet so soon after that of our Allies, put a stop to every measure which had been concerted for the Benifit of these States and at an amazeing expence we are keeping a defensive army.
{ 407 }
Tis true our Enemies have done nothing since the takeing of Charlestown, but we ought to have balanced accounts with them. I shall not write to my dear Sons now on account of the postage. You will remember me to them, and let Mr. D[an]a know that his family are well, Mr. T[haxte]r too.
I wrote you in May, an account of the death of sister A[dam]s.3 If this vessel should not sail immediately will enclose a list of our Great folks.4 I know you will be earnest to hear.—Pray write to me by every opportunity. I shall omit none to you. Your Letters are the cordials which keep my Spirits alive. Ever believe me with the tenderest sentiments of affection and Regard your
[signed] Portia
PS Unkle S[mit]h thinks you neglect him that you did not write him by the Alliance—says he wont write again.
I open my Letter to tell you the votes of this Town. Mr. B[owdoi]n 11, Mr. H[ancoc]k 75 as chief. General W[arre]n 75, Lieut. G[overno]r, only 3 scattering for any other person.5 Modest merrit—coy Nymph—how is she slighted.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “The Honble. John Adams Esq. Ambassador from the United States of America Passy near Paris”; endorsed: “Portia Sept. 3. 1780.”
1. Lee's first visit to AA was apparently on 20 Aug.; see Isaac Smith Sr. to JA, 21 Aug., above. His second was on 6 Sept., for on the 10th he wrote JA: “I left Mrs. Adams, your Children, General and Mrs. Warren in good health four days ago” (Adams Papers).
2. John Hancock; see the addition to this letter dated 4 Sept., below.
3. AA's letter to JA reporting the death of Mrs. Peter B. Adams was dated not in May but 13 June, q.v. above, together with a note on AA to JA, 15 April, also above.
4. Meaning those who were to be elected next day as governor, lieutenant governor, and members of the Council and Senate.
5. Different figures are given in the Braintree Town Records (p. 514) for the results of the election held on 4 Sept.: “For Governor. Honr. John Hancock, Esqr. 95 Honr. James Bowdoin Esqr. 11 [For] Lt. Governor. Honr. James Warren Esqr. 80 Honr. Joseph Palmer Esqr. 1 Honr. James Bowdoin Esqr. 1 Honr. Samuel Adams Esqr. 1.”

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0296

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1780-09-03

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

Where is my Friend Mr. L[ovel]l? Can he be an inhabitant of this world and inattentive to a Lady? Can he suffer Letters repeatedly to reach him and not deign a line in reply? Can he be so apsorbed in the Region of politicks as to have forgotten Social engagements?
Snatch him some friendly Genius from the Region of torpitude, { 408 } bear him hence Benevolence, he is your intimate acquaintance. Hospitality open your doors, his are ever ready to receive you, Friendship and Love embrace a wanderer who is still your own.
Not a line nor even a vagrant paper for six whole weeks. So long have I been accustomed to indulgence, that like the Nobler Sex I claim that as a right, which was first granted me as a favour, and look every post for a line or two at least, and feel myself inti[t]led to a return where I have not remitted a refusal. I have more patiently sufferd under my dissapointment, having been much engaged in writing and receiving Letters from abroad, yet do not feel satisfied with my own portion tho a large one. An Evish disposition prompts me to ask of you any communications from your Letters that may safely be entrusted to Portia.—No advances towards a negotiation have yet taken place. Brittain still persists in her mad career, nor will she exchang her Hostile weapons for the peacefull olive Branch. I had hoped e'er this period that the Tranquil Goddess would have erected her Banners and every sighing Heart rejoiced beneath the Roof of domestick felicity, and even the long absent Mr. L——1 been permitted once more to visit his Native State.
Tomorrow will be a great and important day in the political Systim of this State. There is one Man who it is said will have the votes of the wise and judicious part of the State, but the popular choise will fall where it has been meanly sought and much coveted—

“Then Let me have the higher post

Suppose it but an Inch at most

I have no title to asspire

Yet when you sink I seem the higher.”

Rejoice with me sir on the plentifull rain this day dispenced to the dyeing corn, the Barren pastures and desolated Gardens. So severe a droubth as we have experienced through this Summer has not been felt for many years. Not a vine that had Humbly and modestly crept along the Ground, unasspiring of a nearer approach to the Burning God of Day, but has crumbled to dust beneath his scorching Rays. Ceres witherd Head reclines, Virtumnus is fled and Pomona is scattering here and there the half grown fruit, e'er she too, bids us adieu.
I rejoice to hear that our Sister States are not sharers in the same distressing calamity, and hope they will Benevolently feed the Hungry and satisfy the poor with Bread.
This will be handed you by Mr. Brown a young Gentleman who is a Native of Carolina, but last from France. He brought me Letters from Mr. Adams, and a Letter of recommendation in his countanance. { 409 } I was much pleased with his modest and affable deportment, his easy manners and his Good Sense. He wishd for a Letter as he was unacquainted in Philadelphia and I have taken the Liberty to introduce him to you and know you will esteem him according to his merrit, which is all that is requested by your unalterable Friend,
[signed] Portia

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0297

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-09-03

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

I have at length an Opportunity by Mr. Brown1 to forward Bills of Exchange; and I only add the News Paper of Yesterday. Bell so long expected from France is arrived. He sailed with the Alliance. You know much more of your Mr. Adams than we, as only a Letter of April 10th. is come to hand from him.2 I assure you we feel very angry with Somebody, as neither Congress or the Minister have yet received a single Letter brought by the Alliance twenty days ago.

[salute] Your most obedt.

[signed] J L
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed “Bills of Exchange” (not found) paid the balance due JA on his accounts for 1778–1779 as settled finally on 15 April 1780; see Lovell to AA, 14 May, above, and references in note 3 there. Enclosed newspaper not found.
1. This Mr. Brown, obviously not Joseph Brown Jr. of South Carolina, mentioned several times just above, has not been further identified.
2. JA addressed the first, second, and thirdthree letters to President Huntington on this dateof 10 April that survive in PCC, No. 84, I, and in JA's letterbooks; two are printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:604–608.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0298

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-09-04

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Portia

I have ordered the Things you desired for yourself and Mr. Tufts by Captain Edward Davis in the Brig Dolphin. They are very dear, as you will see. I insured them at 25 per Cent.
The French and Spaniards have at length, made a Hall as the saying is of 40 or 50 ships at once from the English. A few more such strokes will answer a very good End.1 But not make Peace. This will never be while the English have one soldier in the United States.
We are all well—thank Nabby for her Letter,2 and tell Master T. that I should have been obliged to him for one.
We are all Impatience to hear from N[orth] A[merica] and the W. Indies. Proportional good News from thence would make Us very happy.
{ 410 }
I have been here three or four Weeks, and have spent my time very agreably here. I am very much pleased with Holland. It is a singular Country. It is like no other. It is all the Effect of Industry, and the Work of Art.
The Frugality, Industry, Cleanliness, &c. here, deserve the Imitation of my Countrymen. The Fruit of these Virtues has been immense Wealth, and great Prosperity. They are not Ambitious, and therefore happy. They are very sociable, however, in their peculiar Fashion.
Adieu, yours forever.3
1. This action took place off Cape St. Vincent, Portugal, on 9 August. Nearly sixty ships in a British convoy, mainly bound for the West Indies but including some East Indiamen as well, were intercepted by the combined French and Spanish fleet and were brought into Cadiz. See JA to Huntington, 4 Sept. (PCC, No. 84, II, printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:45; Annual Register for 1781, p. 2–3).
2. Not found.
3. It is not now possible to tell whether this is the first letter JA wrote to AA from the Netherlands. The announcement “I have been here three or four Weeks” suggests that it may be; on the other hand, the letter appears much too brief and casual to cover so long a period and such important news. (Note that JA does not even mention here that the two boys have come with him from Paris—an oversight for which AA chided him in her answer of 13–24 Nov., vol. 4, below.) We also know that Captain Davis of the Dolphin, who sailed from a Dutch port early in September and arrived in Boston in mid-November, threw overboard most of his mail when chased by an American privateer flying British colors. Among that mail there must have been other JA letters, presumably including some to AA. See William Smith to AA, 20 Nov.; AA to JA, 13–24 Nov.; both in vol. 4 below.
At all events this was the first letter AA received from JA after his of 23 June, above. The Adams party had traveled by way of Brussels (where JA had satisfying talks with Edmund Jenings and William Lee) to Antwerp and Rotterdam, from there by canal boat (“trekschuit”) to Delft and The Hague (where JA met C. W. F. Dumas, who was to become his faithful man-of-all-work in the Netherlands), and then via Leyden and Haarlem to Amsterdam, where the Adamses arrived on 10 Aug. (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:442–445; JQA, Diary, 29 July10 Aug. 1780). In Amsterdam they stopped at the Hôtel des Armes d'Amsterdam but moved on the 12th to better family quarters in the house of “Madame La Veuve du Monsier Henry Schorn, op de Agterburgwall by de Hoogstraat” (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 343; JQA, Diary, 1112 Aug. 1780).
On 14 Aug.JA resumed his dispatches to Congress, writing President Huntington that day explaining his trip to the Netherlands and deploring Laurens' continued absence:
“He would not be publickly recieved, at least until the States [i.e. the States General of the United Provinces] shall take a decided part with the other Maritime Powers against England. This Case however may soon happen. But there is not in Europe a better Station to collect Intelligence from France, Spain, England, Germany, and all the Northern Parts; nor a better Situation from whence to circulate Intelligence, through all parts of Europe, than this. And it may be depended on, that our Cause has never suffered from any thing more, than from the failure of giving and recieving Intelligence. A Minister here from Congress would be considered as the Center of Communication between America and this and many other Parts of Europe; and I have since my Arrival here been more convinced { 411 } than ever, that Congress might open a considerable Loan here, and be supplied from hence with Stores, and with Clothing, and at the same time be gradually extending the Commerce between this Country and America to the great Advantage of both” (PCC, No. 84, II; printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:29–32; also in JA, Works, 7:244–246, from LbC, Adams Papers).
The two matters dealt with in the foregoing paragraph, together with his work as a publicist and propagandist of the American cause, principally occupied JA's attention in the coming months. After receiving in mid-September his “new Orders” to stand in for Laurens, he decided to stay and doubled his efforts; and after learning in October of Laurens' capture at sea he redoubled them. No brief summary of his intense and wide-ranging activities during the latter part of 1780 and the first half of 1781 can approach adequacy, which is the more unfortunate because the correspondence in the present volumes reflects them very spottily. His diary entries are equally spotty, and, to make matters worse, his Autobiography breaks off (in the middle of a sentence of a letter copy) in March 1780. To compensate for these gaps there is the fairly full documentation for this period selected by CFA for publication in JA's Works, 7:244–430, and the very valuable but extremely disorderly mass of documents and comment in what the editors of the Adams Papers have called JA's “second autobiography,” namely his Correspondence in the Boston Patriot—now, unfortunately, a rare book. Nearly four-fifths of that portion of his reminiscences that was issued in serial parts in 1809–1810 is devoted to these eleven months of “militia diplomacy” in Amsterdam and The Hague. Short of the manuscript files themselves, the Correspondence is thus the best single source for this chapter of JA's public life, and since JA did not keep copies of the letters he wrote to the Patriot at such white heat and in such profusion, important material is printed in the Correspondence that can be found nowhere else at all.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0299

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-04

John Thaxter to John Adams

[salute] Sir

I was this day honoured with your favour of the 30th. of last Month.1
I cannot give a fuller answer to your question respecting President Laurens, than the following Extract from Mr. Jay's Letter to Mr. Dana, dated at Madrid the 19th. of August.2
“As to Col. Laurens, I have heard nothing of him except as follows. Captain Bryan of the Schooner Peggy arrived at Cadiz the 18th of July in forty nine days from Wilmington No. Carolina, freighted with thirty four hogsheads of Indigo by Col. Laurens on account of Congress. He says that Col. Laurens had had his stores on board this Vessel upwards of ten weeks and was to have come with him to Europe, but was determined by the fate of Charlestown to return to Philadelphia.” The above, Sir, is the only information respecting the President. There is not a syllable of any other Appointment made or to be made, nor of what may or will be his final Determination.
Mr. Jay also mentions, that Captain Cook, who left Salem the 19th. of July, had arrived, and brought news that M. de Ternay and M. { 412 } le Cte. de Rochambeau had arrived at Rhode Island and that the latter had landed his Troops there, but there is not a word of the time of their Arrival.
There are some other Matters in the same letter, which Mr. Dana will communicate in his next, as he informs me.
All the News that came by the Fier Rodorique has been communicated already by Mr. Dana. When She sailed, they had but just heard of the news of the Surrender of Charlestown, so that the Passengers know nothing of its Effects. The most frightened and dejected were happily the right side of the Atlantic.
The Capture of the two fleets is esteemed here a great Acquisition, and is a general Topic of Conversation. The combined fleets have opened the Campaign prosperously; may they finish it gloriously. The Harp in England is where it ought to be, and this heaving of sixties instead of sixes will keep it there. The combined fleets have opened the true Vein, and if they have the good fortune to prevent its closing, England may grow faint and feel feeble.3
Mr. Dana would be happy to know whether any Vessels are bound from Holland to the Massachusetts or St. Eustatia.
It is not inferred from your not mentioning the time of your Return, that You intend to fix your Residence at Amsterdam. It is supposed your present situation is not disagreeable. We should be happy to know when You intend returning but much more so in seeing You.
I am much obliged by Mrs. A's mention of my Letters, but am very sorry that I have nothing more interesting for so respectable a Correspondent.
Mr. Dana presents his Respects to You and Love to the young Gentlemen.
I have the Honor to be, with the most perfect respect, Sir, your Excellency's most obedient and most humble Servant,
[signed] J. Thaxter Junr.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “M. Thaxter 4: Septr. 1780.”
1. Not found.
2. This letter is in MHi:Dana Papers.
3. The general tenor of this paragraph relating to the capture of the British convoy off Cape St. Vincent is clear, but some of the phrasing remains cryptic to the editors.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0300

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1780-09-04

John Thaxter to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear John

I had the pleasure of your agreeable favour of the 31st. of August { 413 } this day, and am much obliged by the Continuation of your Journal.1 You have refreshed my Memory encore. I acknowledge my Engagements, and think I have in part fulfilled them. You have I am persuaded recieved my first before this.2 The portions of your Journal are very short, but nevertheless choice and well written—was You to add a page and an half more it would give an agreeable length to the letter. But I will not urge You too much—perhaps a want of leisure may Occasion two Pages being left blank.
I have sent your Letters to the Pension, as they have been recieved, and forwarded some to You, which must have come to hand before this.3
You are at present in a Country very different from that of France in many Respects. You have turned over another Leaf of the great Volume of Nature—a Book worth reading and Study. Many good lessons are to be learnt from it—it forewarns and if well read it forearms.
John4 desires that Stephens would purchase for him a German Bible—be kind enough to mention it to Stephens. Pray what progress have you made in the language, and how do You find it? Is it as musical as the Spanish, and as agreeable as the French? If You have undertaken to learn, I wish You much satisfaction and Improvement.
Mr. Dana's Compliments are returned to You.

[salute] Your affectionate friend,

[signed] J. Thaxter
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed on face: “Mr. Thaxter's letter No: 26”; docketed on verso by JQA in his mature hand.
1. Neither JQA's letter nor the enclosed “Continuation” of his journal has been found.
2. Dated 21 Aug., above.
3. Of these, only one has been found. This is a letter from JQA to his Passy schoolmate Samuel Cooper Johonnot, from Brussels, 30 Aug., signed “Polydore” (NjMoW).
4. John (or Johannes) W. C. Fricke, Dana's German-born servant.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0301

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-09-15

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Portia

I wish you to write me, by every Opportunity to this Place, as well as to France. It seems as if I never should get any more Letters from America. I have sent you some Things by Captn. Davis, but he has no Arms, and I fear they will be lost, by Capture.—I sent Things by the Alliance.
The Country where I am is the greatest Curiosity in the World. This Nation is not known any where, not even by its Neighbours. The Dutch Language is spoken by none but themselves. Therefore They { 414 } converse with nobody and nobody converses with them. The English are a great nation, and they despize the Dutch because they are smaller. The French are a greater Nation still, and therefore they despize the Dutch because they are still smaller in comparison to them.
But I doubt much whether there is any Nation of Europe more estimable than the Dutch, in Proportion.
Their Industry and Oeconomy ought to be Examples to the World. They have less Ambition, I mean that of Conquest and military Glory, than their Neighbours, but I dont perceive that they have more Avarice. And they carry Learning and Arts I think to greater Extent.
The Collections of Curiosities public and private are innumerable.
I am told that Mr. Searle is arrived at Brest: but I have learned nothing from him as yet—nor do I know his Destination.
The French and Spanish Fleets have made a sweep of Sixty upon the English E. and W. India Fleets. This must have great Effects.
We are all well.—Dont expect Peace. The English have not yet forgot the Acquisition of Charlestown, for which they are still making the most childish Exultations. The new Parliament will give Ministry a Run. Mark my Words, You will have no Peace, but what you give yourselves, by destroying Root and Branch all the British Force in America.
The English cannot bear the Thought that France should dictate the Terms of Peace, as they call it. They say they must make a dishonourable Peace now—a shameful Peace, a degrading Peace. This is worse than death to them, and thus they will go on, untill they are forced to sue for a Peace, still more shamefull and humiliating.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0302

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1780-09-17

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

[salute] My Dear Sir

I was much gratified at again receiving a few lines from you, tho very Laconick.1
I wrote you about ten days since by a Mr. Brown,2 who came in the Alliance and brought Letters from my Friend to congress and to some of his Friends which he put into the post office, but they must be of an old date, as he was waiting near four months for the Sailing of the Alliance. Such conduct with regard to one vessel was I believe never before practised. I suppose Jones kept the publick packet and all other Letters. By Letters I received by the Fleet from Mr. Adams { 415 } dated in May, He says there are a full Bushel of Letters on board the Alliance for Congress, for my Friends and your Share amongst them.
I received by a Number of private Gentlemen Letters to the 3 of june, and one last week by way of Amsterdam of the 15 of june,3 in which he says, I have no remittances nor any thing to depend on, not a line from Congress nor any Member since I left you—at which I was really astonished. When you write I wish Sir you would forward your Letters to me, I can certainly convey them better from here. In that time he had received 3 Letters from me from different ports. I forwarded the resolve of congress to him by Capt. Sampson respecting his sallery which you was so kind as to send me. Shall do the same with the Bills now sent but I either misunderstand the account you sent me some months ago, or there is a mistake in the Bills, for after stateing the account the report is in these words—From which accounts there appears a balance of four thousand 3 hundred & seventy two Livres thirteen Sols & Six Deniers in favour of the Honble. John Adams Esqr.
The Bills received are only for two thousand five hundred Livres, besides £30 6 shillings in paper. I wish to have this explained.4
O my dear Sir I am Sick Sick of politicks. How can you exist so long in the midst of them? There is such mad ambition, such unbounded avarice, such insufferable vanity, such wicked peculation of publick property. Yet Hosana to these wretches, Cry all the vipers who nknaw at the vitals of our republicks—in vain do you toil and Labour at the oar, whilst such pilots guide the helm abroad, your vessel will unavoidably suffer ship wreck.
But why should I exclaim where I cannot remedy. You have so much of this from all Quarters that it is cruel for a female to wound who ought to sooth the statesmans harrowed Brow, but at that moment my Indignation overpowerd my tenderness.
I am happy in thinking that my Friend abroad is so happily connected with a man of probity and principal, and that both of them have no sinister views or any Interest to serve seperate from that of their country.
But—I put a stop to my pen upon recollecting that for more than two months I have only received a few lines from Mr. L[ovel]l nor will I defraud the publick by calling of his attention further than to assure him of the affectionate regard of
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers); conjecturally dated “Aug. 1781” at head of text by CFA; this could hardly have happened if the second leaf of Dft, bearing the full and correct date at foot of text, had not at an early date become separated { 416 } from the first leaf; the two leaves have been brought together since the Adams Papers Microfilms were produced.
1. Lovell's letter of 3 Sept., above.
2. Her letter of 3 Sept., also above, sent by Joseph Brown Jr.
3. JA's letters to AA of 3 June and 17 (not 15) June are both printed above.
4. The explanation lay in the fact that Congress had not allowed the item for JQA's schooling (1,861 livres ls.), which JA had somewhat diffidently entered among his charges. See the audit and report as enclosed in Lovell to AA, 14 May, above, and notes there.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0303

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-17

John Thaxter to John Adams

[salute] Sir

I was honoured with your favour of the eighth Instant1 on the fifteenth.
So general an Approbation of the Constitution of the Massachusetts is an Event of great Importance to our State, and it's Acceptance at this juncture affords an unequivocal proof of the Wisdom and Magninimity, Concord and Unanimity of its Inhabitants. I rejoice that I am to live under a Constitution of Government, that has for Object the Liberty and Happiness of the governed, and am penetrated with the liveliest gratitude towards its framers in general, but more particulary towards him, whom I know to have had the most capital share in its formation. With the addition of a wise and equitable Administration of it, no State perhaps can be more happy in this respect.
Mr. Searle brings a very pleasing Account of the Situation of our public Affairs. His History of matters is a compleat fulfillment of your prophecy and rather more, but Mr. Dana by this I presume has given You a minute detail. Mr. Dana's departure was very sudden indeed. I knew not his Object, and am happy to say that my total Ignorance of it, has put it out of my Power to gratify Speculators, and has saved me an abundance of Evasions, short answers &ca. I am exceedingly glad that I do not know it, and that I have once found Ignorance to be an excellent Species of saving Knowledge.2
I am a lonely solitary Being, even in this Croud of fellow Mortals—it is a situation not the most eligible. To you, Sir, the Reason must be obvious. I shall endeavour to be as prudent and oeconomical as possible, and to take the best care of the things in my charge until your Return, which I sincerely hope is not far distant.
I have written to Mr. Austin, and as I know not his Address, have directed to him at Amsterdam, where I presume he is by this time. I pray You to be kind enough to inform him of it, if he does not get the letter of this day's date, and another sent a few days agone.3
{ 417 }
The English have taken two Russian Vessels, whose Cargoes are not contraband according to the Empress's declaration, but expressly excepted. Their Cargoes were Hemp and Iron. What Part England will take, whether dismiss or condemn, and what part the Empress will take in Case of Condemnation, are questions of great Speculations. If they are condemned the Confederation it should seem is brought to a Crisis.4 If not, there is a pointed partiality on the part of England towards Russia, and an odious distinction set up between the former and Holland in precisely the same Circumstances. Monsr. Linguet says, “Il me semble que si les ministres anglois sont adroits, ils n'ont qu'un échappatoire pour concilier l'orgueil et l'intérêt national: c'est en laissant passer galamment le pavillion de Catharine, de dire froidement à l'Europe, vous voyez bien que c'est une femme.”5 He calls her not only une femme but une maitresse femme. Linguet's Wit and British Politicks do not always quadrate, and (tho' I am no Lover of War) I hope they will not in this instance, as far as they respect the fate of the two captured Vessels of Russia.
Respects to Mr. Dana and love to the Children. I have the honor to be, with the most perfect respect, &c.,
[signed] J. Thaxter
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed on face:“M. Thaxter 17. Septr. 1780.”
1. Not found.
2. The reason for Dana's sudden departure from Paris was the receipt of the letter brought by James Searle from the Committee of Foreign Affairs, 11 July, empowering JA (or, alternatively, Dana) to act in Henry Laurens' stead to try to obtain a loan in the Netherlands until Laurens himself arrived there; see Lovell to AA, 14 July, above. Dana reached Amsterdam on the night of the 16th and immediately conferred with JA (Dana to JA, 16 Sept., Adams Papers; JQA, Diary, 17 Sept.; JA to William Churchill Houston, 17 Sept., LbC, Adams Papers, printed in JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 168–169). Hence JA's decision to remain where he was and not to return to Paris. This was conveyed to Congress in an important dispatch of the 19th (printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 4:60–61, from PCC, No. 84, II; and in JA, Works, 7:258–260, from LbC, Adams Papers), and to Thaxter in a letter of the 23d, below, summoning Thaxter to join him in Amsterdam, no doubt because he needed someone to help him take care of the boys.
3. Jonathan Loring Austin arrived in Amsterdam on the 17th and put up at The First Bible inn with Francis Dana (JQA, Diary, 17 Sept.).
4. By “the Confederation” Thaxter means the Armed Neutrality of 1780, which the Dutch were on the verge of joining; if they did, however, Great Britain intended to force a rupture with them. See Isabel de Madariaga, Britain, Russia, and the Armed Neutrality of 1780, New Haven, 1962, p. 233 ff.
5. Simon Nicolas Henri Linguet (1736–1794) was an extremely prolific writer on legal and historical subjects (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale). Among other things, Linguet was the editor of Annales politiques, civiles et littéraires du dix-huitième siècle, which bore a London imprint, 19 vols., 1777–1792, and which Thaxter may well have been reading since in May 1780 JA had bought some of the volumes and perhaps subscribed to future issues (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:439).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0304

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-09-19

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

A few days since I had the honor of a letter from Mr. A., who I have the pleasure to inform You is well with his two Sons.1 Mr. Dana is gone also to Amsterdam—he left Paris the 12th instant. What his Object is I know not—his determination was sudden and unexpected, and occasioned by the Arrival of Mr. Searle, but this by the bye.
I am left here of Course a miserable, solitary lonely Being, altho' in this gay City—a situation very embarrassing and disagreable to me. I sincerely wish for their return, and flatter myself that the Time is not far distant.
Was I not one of the soberest and steadiest of all the five and twenty's in the World, I should run wild in this Climate of Amusement. As a kind of Consolation in my Solitude, I have got a Limner to sketch my Phiz. It is rather a silent Companion, but perhaps as proper a one as I ought to have at present.2
Master John and I have commenced smart Correspondents. He sends me now and then small portions of his Journal which is very judiciously written. Master Charles and I have just opened—I have wrote him,3 but have not recieved his Answer. They are indeed both fine young Gentlemen and conduct themselves with great propriety. Charles will be loved every where—his delicacy and sensibility always charm. He is beloved I find at the Pension by his Schoolmates which is a happy Circumstance for him and his Brother, who is also highly esteemed there. I have great satisfaction in assuring You of these facts, for I well know how interested and tender a part You take in every thing that respects them, and the Pleasure it will give You to hear of their good Conduct.
Mr. Searle brought a most pleasing, charming Account of our public Affairs, which made him a most welcome visitor. The original Spirit seems to have revived—may the English feel its Energy. The loss of Charlestown may prove great gain. The English made a great handle of this Acquisition and their Adherents have endeavoured to cast “Shadows, Clouds and darkness” upon our prospect, but the flames of Springfield and Tarry Town have dissipated them. The burning of Villages (tho' distressing to Individuals) has no bad effect upon the Confederacy at large. It rouses up a spirit of Indignation and Resentment, and kindles a flame pure in its birth, rapid in its growth and terrible in its Consequences.
There is nothing too absurd and ridiculous for them to publish, and { 419 } to make believed. They have killed the Chevalier de la Luzerne in a Mob at Philadelphia, made the french Fleet take possession of Rhode Island in the name of the King of France, turned this same Chevalier (whom they destroyed long ago at Philadelphia) out of Boston in Consequence of it, killed Genl. Washington forty times over and defeated his Army as often, taken N. Carolina and Virginia, all the World running voluntarily to their King's Standard, and a vast abundance more of the same kind of Flummery, Nonsense, Contradictions and Inconsistencies. It was high diversion to read the Court Gazette after the loss of the East and West India fleets. The Turnings, the twistings, the Comparison of one Event with another, diminishing their losses, running parallels, &c. &c. was a rich repast for an American.
Much Duty, and respect where due. Much Love to the young Ladies, a few of whom I wish were here to keep House for me.
With great respect, I have the Honor to be, Madam, your most obedient humble Servant.
1. JA's letter has not been found.
2. From letters to his family it appears that Thaxter not only had a portrait painted but a miniature later executed from it. After many delays and with frequent disclaimers of vanity, he subsequently sent both home to Hingham. The miniature was apparently lost in transit; the portrait may survive but has thus far eluded the editors' searches. See Thaxter to his sister Celia, 21 Dec. 1780; 1 April, 24 May 1781; 27 July, 9 Oct., 25 Nov. 1782; 7 Feb. 1783 (MHi:Thaxter Papers).
3. Letter not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0305

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-09-19

John Thaxter to John Adams

[salute] Sir

This Evening Capt. Simeon Sampson of the State Ship Mars of 20 Guns arrived here, and delivered me a large Budget of Letters for You and Mr. Dana. According to your direction, I opened your's, and read them excepting Mrs. A[dams'] which I had no business to read. Postage for her Letters you will never think dear, I therefore have forwarded them with the highest satisfaction. I have the honor of a most excellent Letter from her1—indeed She never writes otherwise than well. It is a Correspondence not more honorable than instructive to me.
There are two Letters from Genl. Warren, one from I. Smith Esq., one from Dr. Tufts, one from R. H. Lee Esqr. of the 7th. May, one from Dr. Gordon, one from Mr. Vernon, one from Tristram Dalton Esqr. and one from Ellis Gray Esqr. all dated about the middle of July last.2
{ 420 }
With Mr. Dalton's Letter is a large bundle of Papers respecting the Brigantine the Fair Play, which was sunk by a Battery on the Island of Guadaloupe. The Papers relative to this Case are very numerous, and I have not as yet read them. In his letter to You, he states the facts concisely—that the King had ordered a reparation from the Chest at Guadaloupe, that the order had been evaded there, altho' repeated applications had been made: that as an Excuse it was alledged that the Chest was empty, and was therefore recommended to apply to the Minister of the King, to obtain an order for payment in France. He requests your assistance in the Business, if You have a spare moment. There is a letter to Dr. Franklin from the same Gentleman in the same Budget—it is open.3 I pray your direction in the matter, whether to deliver it now or wait your return. If the Letter is delivered, the Papers may be required also. There is a letter to Mr. Gerard in the same budget, directed to Mr. Dana's Care, which he is to deliver if he thinks proper—it is also open.
Mr. Gray has had a Vessel condemned at Martinico. The Judge, he says, declares in his decree of condemnation Vessel and Cargo to be Dutch Property, but that the Vessel was navigated by Englishmen. This is absolutely denied, and Capt. Andrews has appealed, and is coming to France by the Way of Holland to support his Appeal. Mr. Gray requests your Assistance; with what propriety is not my business to determine. Mr. Andrews must have arrived at Holland by this, as he sailed the beginning of July.
In one of Genl. W[arren's] letters, he complains much of English Goods arriving by permit, that Duncan and Mitchel had arrived with a Cargo, thinks it ought to be publickly avowed or discountenanced, and that it will not leave a very agreable impression upon our new Connections.
Captain Sampson is much embarrassed by not finding Mr. Austin here. In Case of Mr. Austin's Absence he was instructed to apply to You, and in your Absence to Mr. Dana. He desired me to read his private instructions, which I did, and find by them he is ordered not [to] exceed six weeks stay in France. His Ship wants cleaning, his Men money &c. &c. It is absolutely necessary that Mr. Austin return without loss of time to Paris, and the Captain has desired me to acquaint him with it, or at least to request the favour of You, Sir, to do it. The Captain says he has wrote to Mr. Austin, and upon the presumption that he will return immediately, I shall not forward the Councils dispatches to him, lest he should set off before they could reach there.
If I have managed these dispatches and Letters to your satisfaction, { 421 } Sir, I shall think myself happy. The business was novel, and can make no other Apology for any Error in it, than having conducted it to the best of my knowledge.
I have opened none of Mr. Dana's letters, not having permission for that purpose. They are somewhat bulky and heavy—if he thinks proper to have them forwarded, I shall readily comply.
The best news from home is, that the Spirit of 1775 is revived. The loss of Charlestown has roused up every body—Genl. W[arren] writes We are likely to have a fine Army. There is a large bundle of Newspapers, but have not yet read them.
My respects to Mr. Dana and love to the young Masters.

[salute] I have the Honor to be with perfect respect, Sir, your Excellency's most obedient and humble Servant,

[signed] J. Thaxter Junr.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “M. Thaxter,” to which CFA later added “19 Sept. 1780.”
1. AA to Thaxter, 21 July, above.
2. Most of the letters mentioned are in the Adams Papers: from James Warren, 11, 19 July (both printed in Warren-Adams Letters, 2:134–137); from Cotton Tufts, 25 July (printed above); from R. H. Lee, 7 May (printed in R. H. Lee, Letters, ed. Ballagh, 2:182–184); from Rev. William Gordon, 22 July (printed in MHS, Procs., 63 [1929–1930]:436–438); from William Vernon, 22 July; and from Ellis Gray, 25 July. Those from Isaac Smith Sr. and Tristram Dalton have not been found.
Tristram Dalton (1738–1817), a Harvard classmate of JA and later a U.S. Senator, was at this time a Newburyport merchant and shipowner and a member of the General Court (JA, Diary and Autobiography, passim; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:569–578; Benjamin W. Labaree, Patriots and Partisans . . ., Cambridge, 1962, p. 210–211 and passim).
Ellis Gray (1740–1781) was a Boston merchant whose family was related by marriage to the family of Isaac Smith Sr. (AA to JA, 20–22 Oct. 1777, vol. 2, above; Thwing Cat., MHi).
3. Dalton to Franklin, 22 July 1780, respecting the loss of the brigantine Fair Play (Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S, 2:273).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0306

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-09-20

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

I had the honor yesterday of a most excellent letter under the signature of Portia dated 21st. July; and altho' I wrote You largely but yesterday, yet it would be unpardonable to omit the earliest opportunity of most gratefully acknowledging the receipt of a letter, which from its Morality, its refined Sentiments and its Patriotism does infinite honour to the Writer.
I have read with the highest satisfaction your ingenious observations on the works of my Lord Chesterfield.1 Your known Impartiality and the justice of your remarks have confirmed me in an Opinion I had before entertained of this Writer. I confess with Candour, that { 422 } I have not read all the Works of his Lordship; but have however read enough to convince me of his Object, and of the difficulties with which he was embarrassed in the execution of it. His Object was the education and instruction of his Son, in the Arts, Intrigues and Chicane of Policy, in the use of the Weapons of Gallantry, and in the fashionable and polite Vices of the Age. But his Son, if not belied, was a Clown and Blockhead, a promising Pupil for such excellent Doctrines. To form a Statesman and Gallant from such materials was a Task full equal to the Talents of the Father. What progress his own Son made I know not. That of his adopted Sons is no Mystery. There is a great difference of Sentiment in respect to the merit of this Work. Some say it was written to preserve Morality, others that it tends to poison it. I mean not to set up an Opinion of my own, but if the most scandalous deviations from the principles of Morality are to be justified upon the principles of Chesterfield, as is often the Case, the natural Inference seems to be, that Morality has found but a weak Advocate in his Lordship. Happy would it be, if Burgh was more read,2 and Chesterfield less admired. It must be allowed that his Lordship has wrote many excellent letters and that he was a Man of Talents, Experience and Observations. Unfortunately for Posterity, he hath left more proofs of the great, than the good Man.—These are my Sentiments, for which I shall be called, fool, blockhead, Pedant, &c. &c.—be it so. I wish I had more Wisdom and more Morality.
I am to thank You for your kind distribution of my very sincere affection to the young Ladies, and for your polite and flattering Communication of their reception of it. They have laid me under an Obligation of renewing my request to you to tender the same to them again. I am very happy in their Esteem. I will not say I should be particularly happy in the Esteem of one out of the Number, nor one word about partiality. You acquitted me of any before my departure. Here I must stand my own Voucher.
Your three letters to your dearest friend are forwarded to him at Amsterdam. Captain Sampson delivered me a large budget for Mr. A. and D. with yours. I was almost tempted to break open one of Mrs. D. to her dear friend, but was afraid She would take me to Task for it, as well as Mr. D. I had liberty to read all Letters to Mr. A. in his Absence. Yours to him I did not. Perhaps You would not have given me liberty. I ought not then to have taken it. I did in one instance but apologized for it.
Captn. Sampson informed me that Mr. Pearse Palmer told him just before his departure, that they had had news of the Death of Josey Palmer in England.3 It was unexpected and shocking to me. I { 423 } loved him for his amiable Virtues, his good Heart and engaging manners. The World had a prospect of an useful Citizen in him. I scarcely knew a more promising young Gentleman, but he is cropt in the Bloom of Life, in the Morning of his days and in the beginning of Usefulness. I sympathize most sincerely with his friends.
I cannot close without assuring You, that I think myself extremely happy in having a Share in your Esteem, and without thanking You for your charitable Opinion of me. To continue to be more deserving of both will [be] the ambition of him, who has the Honor to be with the most perfect Respect, Madam, your most obedient and very humble Servant,
[signed] J T
1. In her letter of 21 July, above. For more on the Adams-Warren circle's views respecting Chesterfield's Letters to His Son, see AA to Mrs. Warren, 28 Feb., above, and references there.
2. James Burgh (1714–1775) was a Scottish miscellaneous writer who taught in a dissenting academy at Newington Green near London. His Political Disquisitions: or, an Enquiry into Public Errors, Defects, and Abuses, 3 vols., London, 1774–1775, was a popular work among American patriots for the very reasons that they repudiated Chesterfield's worldly morals. Burgh denounced the corruptions of British society and politics from a puritanical point of view that appealed particularly to New Englanders. See the very perceptive study by Oscar and Mary Handlin, “James Burgh and American Revolutionary Theory,” MHS, Procs., 73 (1961):38–57. JA owned two presentation sets of Burgh's Political Disquisitions (both in Boston Public Library) and wrote the author a letter glowing with praise (Catalogue of JA's Library; JA to Burgh, 28 Dec. 1774, incomplete Dft in Adams Papers, printed in JA, Works, 9:350–352).
3. On the death of “Josey,” i.e. Joseph Palmer, see AA to CA and JQA, 22 July, above. “Pearse Palmer” was Josey's cousin, Joseph Pearse Palmer (1750–1797), son of Deacon (and Brig. Gen.) Joseph Palmer; see vol. 1:18, and Adams Genealogy.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0307

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Thaxter, John
Date: 1780-09-23

John Adams to John Thaxter

[salute] Dear Sir

Last Night I had the pleasure of receiving yours of the 17th. After reflecting a little upon matters I think upon the whole it will be necessary, that you wait on Dr. Franklin and ask the Favour of him to take the Charge of my Books, at his house, and also of my cloaths. If he declines permitting them to be left there, ask the same favour of Mr. Grand. You may leave the Books open for their use or purchase trunks and lock them up leaving the keys with them.
All my Letters, Letter Books, Account books and papers must be brought here by you, with the utmost care, especially the most valuable Papers, which you will easily distinguish.
The Wine I know not what to do with. If the Landlady will keep { 424 } it in the Cellar it may remain, taking an Account of the number of Bottles and a Receipt for them. Otherwise consult Mr. Grand, or Dr. Franklin. Perhaps they would buy it, or procure a Store for it, which I should chuse. If Mr. Grand Could procure a Cellar for it, to lye untill I should call for it, which may soon happen, I should prefer that.1
Apply to Mr. Grand for all the Money you want to pay off Scores and to bear your Expences here, keeping an Account.
Above all Things take Care of my Papers. Get Mr. Harry Grand2 to assist you in purchasing an Handsome Porte Feuille with a Lock and Key. Lock up in this the most prescious Papers, and lock up the Port Feuille in your Chest.
My Linnen and Stockings I wish you to bring with you.

[salute] Affectionately your's,

[signed] John Adams3
LbC in JQA's hand (Adams Papers). This may have been the first occasion on which JQA, now thirteen, served as his father's amanuensis.
1. This paragraph has been slightly repunctuated in the interest of clarity.
2. Henry Grand (more properly and fully Henri Maximilien Grand), second son of Ferdinand Grand, the banker for Congress in Paris (Lüthy, La banque protestante en France, 2:618, 820).
3. This letter superseded another, immediately preceding it in JA's letterbook, dated 23 Sept. but corrected to the 21st by overwriting and with its text entirely canceled, containing somewhat different and less detailed instructions to Thaxter regarding JA's books, clothing, wines, and papers in Paris. On 8 Oct. Franklin wrote from Passy to JA: “Your Books and Trunks have been lodged here by Mr. Thaxter, and will be taken care of. They are of no Inconvenience to me” (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0308

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1780-09-25

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Portia

The new Orders I have received from your side the Water, have determined me to stay here untill further Orders. Write to me, by every Vessell this Way, or to France or Spain. The Air of Amsterdam is not so clear and pure as that of France, but I hope to preserve my Health. My two Boys are at an excellent Latin School, or in the Language of this Country, Den de Latÿnche School op de Cingel by de Munt. The Scholars here all speak French.1
John has seen one of the Commencements when the young Gentlemen delivered their Orations and received their Premiums, and Promotions which set his Ambition all afire. Charles is the same amiable insinuating Creature. Wherever he goes he gets the Hearts of every Body especially the Ladies. One of these Boys is the Sublime and the other the Beautifull.
{ 425 }
You promised me a Description of the Castle you were building in the Air, but I have not received it.
The English are revenging the Loss of their Power upon those who have uniformly endeavoured to save it. They are totally abandoned and lost. There is no Hope for them but in a civil War nor in that neither. Burke, Keppell, Sawbridge, Hartley are thrown out.
We are anxiously waiting for News from America and the Islands; but my Expectations are not very high. The Fleet is not strong enough in N. America.—I sent the Things you wrote for by Captain Davis, Son of Solomon, but they cost very dear.
I have written to Mr. Thaxter to come here—Mr. Dana is already here. I want to know how the season has been, with you, and who are your Governor and Lt. Governor &c. &c. &c.
I shall loose all Opportunity of being a man of Importance in the World by being away from home, as well as all the Pleasures of Life: for I never shall enjoy any, any where except at the Foot of Pens hill—When Oh When shall I see the Beauties of that rugged Mountain!
By your last Letters I fear my Brother is in Affliction. My Love to him and his family—and Duty & affection where due.
1. “After supper Mr. Le Roi went with us to a School and left us here. How long we shall stay here I can not tell” (JQA, Diary, 30 Aug. 1780).
The school was the celebrated Latin School on the Singel (innermost of Amsterdam's concentric canals), close to what is today one of the busiest sections of the city, marked by the ornate and highly conspicuous Mint Tower in the Muntplein (Mint Square) and across from the Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market). The building then used by the school is now, much altered, occupied by the city police. On 31 Aug.JQA listed in his diary the names of the other boys who were boarders, described the scholars' regimen in interesting detail, and copied out in his own translation an account of the school printed in Le guide ou nouvelle description d'Amsterdam . . ., Amsterdam, 1772, p. 220–222, which JA had given the boys to read and use. (This volume is now among JA's books in MB.) In the following weeks JA and his Dutch friends paid occasional visits to the school, and the boys spent Wednesday and Saturday afternoons and Sundays with their father. JQA's diary contains only brief glimpses of school life. On 6 Sept., for example, “Brother Charles and Myself study in a little Chamber apart because we dont understand the Dutch.” On 22 Sept. the boys went with the rest of “the scholars to see the promotion and the proemiums given” by the burgomasters “in the old Church” (Oude Kerk). Although a three-week “vacancy” then began, the Adams boys continued to live at the school, doubtless to cram because of their language problem, but during this interval they had rather more liberty to visit fairs and the like.
JQA's diary unfortunately breaks off on 30 Sept., not to be resumed until the following June; and the next we hear of the school is in JA's letter to the Rector and Preceptor, 18 Oct., vol. 4, below, which indicates that all was not going well there for JQA.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0309-0001

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

Enclosure In

James Lovell to Abigail Adams, 5 June 1779

1 Nankin Jacket
1 Brown Coat
1 Flannel Drawers
1 Shirt
2 Stocks
1 Pr. Thread Stockings
1 Pr. Worstead Stockings
1 Beaver Hatt
1 Straw Hatt
6 Packets of Papers
1 Raisor Case with 2 whole & 1 broken Razor
1 Letter Book, Manuscript
1 Printed Book latin
1 small Pamphlet
1 Shoe Brush
As to the Nankin Jacket it happens most accurately to fit me in the Length and Width, and, having two Pair of B——'s [Breeches] of that Sort made modest from the only Remnant at the Cloathiers, I have stopped the Jacket, which happens to be as much worn as the said two Articles and therefore will make a more tollerable Uniform than a new. I would have served the Worsted Hose in the same Sherriflike Manner, if I had not considered two Things. One is that they appear to be knit by a Mother or a Wife and therefore could not be replaced by me. Another is that they will exactly fit several other People as well as me, which I did not chuse to think would be the Case with the Jacket, the Materials of which can be repaid, and, if my present honest Temper of Mind continues, shall be.
The last Article invoiced will be also arrested for a Season, to keep Company with the Box.
I think the Razor Case is in Danger of like Confinement and I am sorry the Razors are not so good as my own.
MS (Adams Papers): without date, signature, or external indication of recipient. In his letter to AA of 5 June 1779 (p. 197–199, above), Lovell states that he is enclosing a list of the articles left by JA in his Philadelphia lodgings in Sept. 1777, when the British army was moving toward the city. But the enclosure strayed from the letter and was not identified for what it is until after the present volume was in page proof. See also AA's reply to Lovell, 18–26 June 1779, p. 206–208, above.
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/