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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0033

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-10

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dearest of Friends

I should write to you with a much more cherefull Heart if I knew { 36 } where to find you, but as yet I have no inteligance which can be relied upon. I have already wrote several times, by different ways. It wants but a few days of four months since the Boston saild and in all that time we have received no inteligance with regard to her but what was a week ago printed in a New York paper, viz. that she was taken and carried into Plimouth. This you may be sure gave me great uneasiness, for tho I was not apprehensive that you would be ill treated, I did not chuse to have you a prisoner at a time when I hoped to hear of your safe arrival in France.
The small pox has gone through the Town of Boston since you left us, and has taken such a spread through the Country that Hospitals are opened in almost every Town. You will be surprized I know when [I] tell you that my Father is now under inoculation in this Town, the whole Farms is an Hospital and he is at Col. Q[uinc]ys. He is not yet broke out. Mr. W[ibir]d is just recovering from it. Your Worthy Mother is well, and very anxious to hear from you. You will easily observe that I write under great restraint. As to politicks we have been rather inactive through the winter, but you will have all the News from other Friends. The list of our House and counsel will I suppose surprise you, it does not deserve the term Motly this year; I believe you may say with Duchea their Names scarcly ever met your Ear before.1
We have a prospect of a fine Season again. If you are safe in France direct me into some way to pay taxes. Besides the tax of 47 pounds 18 & 6 pence there is a continental and town tax which amounts to about 50 pounds more for this year. The price of Labour, I think I formerly mentiond. Least you did not get the Letter I will mention that tis 12 pounds per month—I make no comments—you can make calculations.
I am all anxiety to hear from you. God grant me the happy tidings of your welfare and safety, thus prays your affectionate
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia. June 10”; docketed by CFA: “1778.”
1. The names of the members of the newly elected Massachusetts House and Council are printed in the Boston Gazette of 1 June, with the names of those not in the previous House or Council distinguished. Among others displaced was James Warren of Plymouth. AA's comment is borrowed from Rev. Jacob Duché's remarks about the Pennsylvania delegates to the Continental Congress in his apostatizing letter to George Washington, 8 Oct. 1777; see JA to AA, 25 Oct. 1777, vol. 2, above, and note 3 there.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0034

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1778-06-10

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My Dear Son

Tis almost four Months since you left your Native land and Embarked upon the Mighty waters in quest of a Foreign Country. Altho I have not perticuliarly wrote to you since yet you may be assured you have constantly been upon my Heart and mind.
It is a very dificult task my dear son for a tender parent to bring their mind to part with a child of your years into a distant Land, nor could I have acquiesced in such a seperation under any other care than that of the most Excellent parent and Guardian who accompanied you. You have arrived at years capable of improving under the advantages you will be like to have if you do but properly attend to them. They are talents put into your Hands of which an account will be required of you hereafter, and being possessd of one, two, or four, see to it that you double your numbers.
The most amiable and most usefull disposition in a young mind is diffidence of itself, and this should lead you to seek advise and instruction from him who is your natural Guardian, and will always counsel and direct you in the best manner both for your present and future happiness. You are in possession of a natural good understanding and of spirits unbroken by adversity, and untamed with care. Improve your understanding for2 acquiring usefull knowledge and virtue, such as will render you an ornament to society, an Honour to your Country, and a Blessing to your parents. Great Learning and superior abilities, should you ever possess them, will be of little value and small Estimation, unless Virtue, Honour, Truth and integrety are added to them. Adhere to those religious Sentiments and principals which were early instilled into your mind and remember that you are accountable to your Maker for all your words and actions. Let me injoin it upon you to attend constantly and steadfastly to the precepts and instructions of your Father as you value the happiness of your Mother and your own welfare. His care and attention to you render many things unnecessary for me to write which I might otherways do, but the inadvertency and Heedlessness of youth, requires line upon line and precept upon precept, and when inforced by the joint efforts of both parents will I hope have a due influence upon your Conduct, for dear as you are to me, I had much rather you should have found your Grave in the ocean you have crossd, or any untimely death crop you in your Infant years, rather than see you an immoral profligate or a Graceless child.
{ 38 }
You have enterd early in life upon the great Theater of the world which is full of temptations and vice of every kind. You are not wholy unacquainted with History, in which you have read of crimes which your unexperienced mind could scarcly believe credible. You have been taught to think of them with Horrour and to view vice as

a Monster of so frightfull Mein

That to be hated, needs but to be seen.

Yet you must keep a strict guard upon yourself, or the odious monster will soon loose its terror, by becomeing familiar to you. The Modern History of our own times furnishes as Black a list of crimes as can be paralleld in ancient time, even if we go back to Nero, Caligula or Ceasar Borgia. Young as you are, the cruel war into which we have been compelld by the Haughty Tyrant of Britain and the Bloody Emissarys of his vengance may stamp upon your mind this certain Truth, that the welfare and prosperity of all countries, communities and I may add individuals depend upon their Morals. That Nation to which we were once united as it has departed from justice, eluded and subverted the wise Laws which formerly governd it, sufferd the worst of crimes to go unpunished, has lost its valour, wisdom and Humanity, and from being the dread and terror of Europe, has sunk into derision and infamy.
But to quit political subjects, I have been greatly anxious for your safety having never heard of the Frigate since she saild, till about a week ago, a New York paper inform'd that she was taken and carried into Plimouth. I did not fully credit this report, tho it gave me much uneasiness. I yesterday heard that a French vessel was arrived at Portsmouth which brought News of the safe arrival of the Boston, but this wants confirmation. I hope it will not be long before I shall be assertaind of your safety. You must write me an account of your voyage, of your situation and of every thing entertaining you can recollect. Your Sister and Brothers are well. The last desire I would write for them, but I have not time by this opportunity. Your Sister I chide for her neglegence in this way. I have wrote several times to your papa, hope the Letters will not Miscarry. Let Stevens know his Mother and Friends are well.

[salute] Be assurd I am most affectionately yours.

Mr. Hardwick desires if such a thing as stocking weavers needles are to be had that Stevens or you would procure 2 thousand No. 6 and convey with any thing your pappa may have to send to me.
{ 39 }
1. AA left a space for the day of the month but did not fill it in. From coincidences in language, this, the first extant letter from a famous mother to a famous son, must almost certainly have been written on or about the same day as AA's letter to JA of 10 June, preceding. Both letters were acknowledged by JA in his reply of 26 July, below; and both were thus, presumably, carried to France by Captain Barnes in the Dispatch.
2. CFA emended this word to “by” in AA, Letters, 1840, p. 123, and in later printings. This may well be what AA intended to write.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0035

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-06-10

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

Your favor of the 21st. and 26th. of May came to hand yesterday.
I was exceedingly shocked at the first mention of the capture of the Boston, till I had read the latter part of the paragraph, which related the circumstances. From those circumstances, Madam, I must beg leave to observe, no facts can be collected, and they leave it at least a very dubious, if not an improbable event. She sailed the latter end of Feby., better than three months have since elapsed, in which time, the capture, the arrival at Portsmouth, and the news thereof sent to America, must have happened. The passages must have been extraordinary; much better than I can at present believe. Winter passages are not always rapid. An 8 weeks voyage is esteemed very good. They are generally ten. From all circumstances, I am induced to believe that such an Event has not taken place.
Upon supposition that she is captured; our Friend will be treated with respect and humanity, say all his and your friends here. It is a fact that some rays of Humanity have already appeared on their side. They cannot but respect him. They dare not treat him ill.—Sincerely, madam, do I wish, that your present painful suspense may be soon removed by a positive certainty of his arrival at F[rance]. From that degree of sensibility you are possessed of, I am persuaded, you are exceedingly affected at the news. I am not so callous as not to sympathize, and feel for your anxiety of mind. The repeated disagreeable accounts you have received since his departure, must have made it additionally painful: And, was it not for that truly Christian and virtuous fortitude you are possess'd of, such a quick succession of disagreeable events, would have borne down one, who has a just claim to the Sympathy and Gratitude of her Country. Your heroism appears in that cheerful vein which runs thro' almost the whole of your Letter. Permit me to admire and imitate it.
Your quotation from Harrington is the truest picture of the English { 40 } nation, that can be portrayed. It is near a Century since a Revolution. Another is necessary to save the Kingdom, which is without the “ballast” of virtue and good morals at present. They want the activity, the Justice and I may add the sword of a Cromwell, displayed among them.
I cannot forbear mentioning the pleasure another of your quotations gave me, respecting the duty of the King, if he is disposed for peace. “Bid him disband his Legions &c.” It is the language of virtue and patriotism, and Justice. They were very judiciously and pertinently introduced.
The two famous Acts are now enacted into Laws. Sir Henry Clinton has sent them to Congress accompanied with an Act to repeal the act for altering the Charter of the Massachusetts Bay. This most daring Rebellion is softened down into a uneasiness.1 Congress have referred Sir Henry, the present commander in chief, to their resolutions of the 22d. of April last for their sentiments upon Acts, which are not essentially [different]2 from the ones now sent. They assure him that when the King is seriously disposed to put an End to this cruel war, they will make peace upon terms, consistent with the honor of independant nations, the interest of the States and the sacred regard they mean to pay to Treaties. This is dealing honestly and fairly.
The Commissioners, it is credibly reported, have arrived.3 They are Earl of Carlisle, Govr. Johnson, Eden former Govr. of North Carolina, and Ld. Howe. Cornwallis has arrived and a small party of troops. The Commissioners have open'd the jails and set free the prisoners, report says. They are willing to exchange prisoners. If they will treat us as an independent nation, we are ready to meet them, and upon no other ground.
Accept my thanks for your polite mention of my scrolls, am happy to hear they afford the least entertainment. I will continue to scribble to you by every opportunity.

[salute] With the highest esteem I am, Madam, your very Hble. Servt.,

[signed] J.T.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “june 10.”
1. In the MS the two following sentences have a line drawn beside them in the margin and the word “Private” added there. They are taken, without quotation marks, from Congress' identical replies of 6 June to letters from Lord Howe and Sir Henry Clinton transmitting copies of the British conciliatory acts; see JCC, 11:572–575.
2. This word was carelessly omitted by Thaxter but has been supplied from the text in JCC as cited in preceding note.
3. This news came in a letter from Clinton to Washington of 9 June, enclosed by the latter to Congress in a letter of the same date, with other papers relative to the conciliatory commission, all read in Congress on 11 June (JCC, { 41 } 11:585). Thaxter could hardly have been accused of not keeping his correspondent up to date on developments in Congress and in the field.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0036

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-06-11

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

to day my Pappa received a Letter from you which I had the honour of seeing1 in which you mentioned your being struck with the account of dotor Franklins being assasinated but that Story like many others I Suppose arose from those set of People who pretend to be the best Lovers of their Country when they are all the time a seeking her ruin in your Letter you said you wrotee to my Pappa in February which went to Bilboa2 but my Pappa has not received any one before this I am &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “to my Mamma.” Text is given here in literal style.
1. This letter, dated 25 March, was acknowledged by JA in his reply to AA of 16 June, below, but has not been found.
2. This “February” letter may possibly have been AA's letter of 8 March, sent “by a vessel for Bilboa,” never received by JA, but printed in vol. 2, above, from a draft. On the other hand, AA may have sent more than one letter by the ship for Bilbao.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0037

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1778-06-12

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

Will you forgive my so often troubling you with my fears and anxieties; Groundless as some of them have been they were real to me for a time, and had all the force of truth upon me. I most sincerely wish my present uneasiness may arise from as fi[c]ticious a cause as the former proved to be but from many circumstances I fear it will not. Tis near four months since the Boston saild, in all which time we have not received the least inteligance from her, a vessel arrived from France in a passage of 32 days and did not leave France till after the Boston had been out 7 weeks, but neither saw or heard any thing of her. Last week there was I am told a paragraph in the Newport paper taken from the New york Gazzet that the Boston was taken and carried into Portsmouth with the Name of the Ship which took her, but what date I know not. There was no mention of Mr. Adams'es being on board which is the only reason I have to think that posibly she might be taken after landing him.
Tis full time if he was safe to hear from him. My anxiety daily in• { 42 } creases, and I write to you Sir who have been acquainted with sorrow and affliction in various shapes, enduring with unshaken fortitude the Horrours of Capitivity and chains, in hopes that you will communicate to me some share of that hidden strength, which Th[r]ows out into practice

Virtues which shun the day, and lie conceal'd

In the smooth Seasons, and the calms of life

that I may endure this misfortune with becomeing fortitude, and to request of you to inform me what Steps congress will take in consequence of it. Will they endeavour an exchange immediately, or is it possibal that his most christian Majesty will demand him as an Ambassador from the united States of America.2
Dft (Adams Papers); docketed by JQA: “to James Lovell,” to which CFA added: “June 1778.” Text incomplete; see note 2.
1. Missing RC bore date of 12 June; see Lovell's acknowledgment of 3 July, below.
2. Dft is quite evidently incomplete, for the last five, possibly six, words were added in what appears to the present editors to be AA2's hand.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0038

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Thaxter, John
Date: 1778-06-12

Abigail Adams to John Thaxter

[salute] Dear Sir

My spirits are rather low, I do not feel in any great moode for useing my pen, yet I cannot let this opportunity slip without expressing my concern for your Health. The Humour you complain of, is a sad compound I fear, among the ingredients the Salt Rhume is of the most obstinate and inveterate kind as I can assure you by sad experience. I have tried many things with little or no Effect. Where it once takes possession it will not be removed, and in you and me it claims a Hereditary right. But if it continues to harass you, I would advise you to return and go into a Regular course of phthick [physic] and diet.
You would be surprized I suppose if I should tell you that my Father was inoculated for the small pox and is this day Breaking out; he has it in this Town at Col. Quincys. I believe I mentiond to you in a former Letter that the whole Farms were under Inoculation for the small pox. Mr. Wibird has just recoverd from it.
Would it surprize you still more if I should carry you to a Barn at the Worlds End,1 and shew your Father just Breaking out with the same Disease; yet so it is. I would not write you an account of it till I had been myself to your Fathers and heard from your own Family how he was. He is comfortable and like to do well, your sister[s] are { 43 } all well, 2 of them have had it full, your sister Hannah2 has not venturd. Your Father was inoculated 11 days ago and mine 10.
No News yet of the Boston, and tomorrow compleats 4 months since I committed my Happiness to the winds and waves. O when will it again be wafted Back to your Friend
[signed] Portia
RC (MB); addressed: “To Mr. John Thaxter York Town”; endorsed: “Mrs. Adams June. 1778.”
1. The tip of a peninsula in Hingham Bay.
2. Hannah Thaxter (1751–1807). See Adams Genealogy.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0039

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-06-13

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

Amiable tho unjust Portia! doubly unjust!—to yourself, and to me. Must I only write to you in the Language of Gazettes, enumerating, on the Part of Britain, Acts of Deceit, Insolence and Cruelty; or, on the part of America, Instances of Patience under repeated Losses, Fortitude under uncommon Hardships, and Humanity under the grossest Provocations to Revenge? Must I suppress Opinion, Sentiment and just Encomium upon the Gracefullness of a lovely suffering Wife or Mother? It seems I must or be taxed as a Flatterer. Immured for many Months in a Prison, and, upon escape from thence, confined in a narrow Circle, with He-Creatures, drudging, plodding Politicians, for an equally tedious Period of Time, I did not suspect that my Pen could now run in such a Stile of social Intercourse as to provoke a delicate Judge among the Polishers of the Manners of our Race to call me Adulator. After having called you unjust, I will not set so light by my Decission as to venture to make, to you, any Remarks upon the remaining Parts of your Letter now before me,1 whether original or quoted. I will content myself, as I have done for a Month back, with secret Admiration.
Mr. Thaxter sending a Course of printed Papers,2 it becomes unnecessary for me at this Time to try my Hand at paragraph Writing: But I cannot omit to say that I hardly conceive it possible that your Information of the Capture of the Boston can be good, as neither the Fishkill nor Pokipsie Gazettes mention it; and their Publishers are more in the Way than you to know what is the News in the City of New York. I do not mention this to cheat you with false Hope; for, be assured, I think you qualified to hear bad News: And I will prove that this is not Flattery; for I will give you whatever comes to my Knowledge in Regard to my worthy Friend, your dearest, be it good or { 44 } bad. And I will continue to esteem you for many good Qualities, though you make your Slips now and then by calling Names and misconstruing the honest Sentiments of Your sincere humble Servant,
[signed] James Lovell
1. Not found.
2. “What I mentioned as private in my last is now published in the inclosed paper” (Thaxter to AA, 13 June, Adams Papers). Enclosure is not now with Thaxter's letter, but it must have been a copy of the Pennsylvania Gazette of this date, which contained the recent correspondence and resolutions of Congress relative to the British conciliatory commission; see Thaxter to AA, 10 June, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0040

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-06-16

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Since my last I have had the inexpressible Pleasure of yours of the 25 of March1 by the Way of Holland, which is the first and the last Letter as yet received from you.
This will be delivered you by a young Gentleman by the Name of Archer who is going to America, to serve in our Army as a Voluntier. He is a promising Youth, and will tell you all the News, both in England and France.2—Germany seems at the Eve of War. The Emperor and King of Prussia are at the Head of Armies, and on Tiptoe to strike the Blow. England seems to be lost in a Stupor. Byrons Fleet is not yet sailed. D'Estaings passed the Straights of Gibraltar the 16 May.
We long to hear from America, the Ratification of the Treaty with France, the captivity of Gen. Clintons3 Army, and of Lord Howes Fleet.—John is very well, at School. Stevens is also well, and behaves well. My Love to all my little ones.4
I want a few Pamphlets here—the Thoughts on Government, the New York Constitution, an Essay of a Constitution of Government for Pensilvania, said to have been written by Mr. Dickinson.5 Look them up, and send them.
I cannot learn, that any Reinforcement is to be sent to America, this Summer. They can spare none. They are in a Panic, from an Apprehension of an Invasion. Ireland is grown tumultuous, are concerting a Non Importation Agreement, and give Simptoms of an Insurrection.
1. This, the first letter from AA received by JA in Europe, is now unaccountably lost. AA kept no draft of it, and, so far as appears, CFA knew no version of it.
2. On 14 June Henry Archer had writ• { 45 } ten the American Commissioners that he designed to enlist in the American army and become an American citizen. “Though a native of England, I feel myself quite attached to America, and firmly persuaded that I shall carry thither dispositions entirely consonant to its welfare, and that my affection to her will not be the less in being only a Son by adoption. . . . Ambitious of military fame, and of military distinction, it was not consistent with my Notions to engage in the Army of the King of Great Britain” (PPAmP: Franklin Papers). JA introduced Archer to Samuel Adams in a letter dated 21 May but sent considerably later (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:108, note), and on 17 June he wrote another letter of introduction for Archer to Isaac Smith Sr. (same, 4:139).
Samuel Adams in a reply to JA of 25 Oct. (Adams Papers) acknowledged receipt of his letter “yesterday,” and went on to say: “The Gentleman who brought it, Mr. Archer, tells me he had a Passage of Eleven Weeks.” He set off for Philadelphia very shortly and apparently arrived there on the 30th; the Boston Gazette of 23 Nov. reprinted the following account of Archer from Philadelphia newspapers of 5 Nov.: “On Friday last arrived in this city Henry Archer, Esq; This young gentleman, we are told, has been educated at a military school in England, where he owned a handsome fortune, which he has lately sold, in order to embark as a volunteer in the American army, in defence of the liberties and independence of America.” Whether Archer realized his ambition is not known.
3. LbC: “Hows” (i.e. Gen. Sir William Howe's).
4. LbC originally broke off here with the leavetaking “Yours—yours—yours.”
5. The pamphlets desired by JA included his own Thoughts on Government, 1776, on which see his Diary and Autobiography, 3:331–333 and passim; the pamphlet form of the New York State Constitution, of which there were several printings in 1777 (see Evans 15472–15474); and An Essay of a Frame of Government for Pennsylvania, Phila., 1776 (Evans 14748), the authorship of which is not known.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0041

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-06-17

Isaac Smith Sr. to Abigail Adams

[salute] Mrs. Adams

I send Josiah Spear, the bearer, to inform you of the Agreeable news of the Arrival of Mr. Adams in France.
A London News paper taken Out of a prize from London which Arrived Yesterday att Salem says that Mr. Adams Arrived in France the 15th. Aprill, and brings Accounts that the Commissioners saild Ten days before this Vessell.—I congratulate you on so Agreeable intelligence and are Yr. Uncle &c.,
[signed] Isaac Smith1
1. Under London news the following item appeared in the Boston Independent Chronicle of 18 June: “Paris, April 15. Mr. Adams, brother of the celebrated Member of the American Congress, arrived at Dr. Franklin's house here a few days ago, with some advices from America, the contents of which are not yet publicly known.” Its phrasing provides some justification for JA's rueful observation early in 1779 that “all Parties both in France and England . . . agreed in this—that I was not the fameux Adams” (Diary and Autobiography, 2:351–352).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0042

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-18

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dear Sir

At length my anxiety is relieved and the happy happy tidings of your arrival and safety in France has reachd my Ears and blessd my Eyes. By an English paper taken in a prize and carried into Salem, under the Paris News there is mention made of my Dearest Friends arrival at the abode of the venerable Dr. Frankling.—What have I not suffered for this month past? The Fear of your being finally lost daily encreased upon my mind, for not the least inteligence could be procured with regard to the Boston save what our Enemies told us that she was taken and carried into England. My anxious Friends by their endeavours to console me plainly discoverd their own fears, upon this occasion, but my joy is great in receiving the constant and repeated congratulations of my Friends, and in seeing the unfeigned joy of the countanances of all I meet. The vessel was in general given up as taken or lost.
I have wrote to you 7 different times,1 but of late my Heart so much misgave me that I knew not how to hold my pen, and the distracting thought of not knowing where to find you withheld my Hand. Do not fail of writing to me by every way and opportunity you hear of, if Letters are sent to any other State directed to the president of congress I shall soon get them.
I shall wait with impatience till I receive some tidings from the well known hand of my dearest Friend. O When, When will it arrive. But Hush my anxious heart, two days ago I would have promised to have rested quiet, only to have known that you were in the land of the living. When you think of those you have left behind you, you know where to find them, but I have been wandering from Sea to Sea and from Shoar to Shoar not knowing where to rest. I have the pleasure to tell you that our children and Friends are all well, that my Friends are all well, that my aged Father is upon the recovery from the small pox, which he has pass'd through lightly.
As to news the present talk is that commisioners have arrived at New York. Of this my Friend may be assured that the Idea of treating with them upon the terms they are supposed to have, is treated with indignation and contempt by every American. We dispise the Nation that can suppose us so nearly assimilated to them, as to renounce treatys, break the publick Faith and tamely give up that Liberty which we have purchased with our Blood, who whilst they are pretending to hold out the olive Branch with one Hand, extend it only to deceive— { 47 } for Blood, Fire, Slaughter and inhumane cruelties are sealed with the other.
Many are now trembling in this Town least a few days should involve them in the same terrors and confusion they have heretofore experienced. Mr. How's movements indicate a remove some where and many suppose Boston destined for destruction, but I am not yet of that opinion yet.
I have mentioned to you in one Letter that I should have a small Bill to draw upon the commisioners this month, to which Bill I wish you would add ten pounds Sterling in such articles as I may have occasion for. I find by a Letter which I have received since your absence from Mr. MacCreary, that he is setled in the mercantile way at Bordeaux, which place he represents as the best to purchase Goods.2 I was thinking to send such Bills to him as may be drawn in your favour and get you at the same time to write to him requesting him to procure me such things as I may write to him for, and to the amount of ten pounds Sterling at a time more than the Bills drawn for Interest, which will be 3 times a year. I wish you would write me with regard to this or any other method you think best. I have allready paid in taxes 47 pounds odd, there is an enormous tax for raising men, which together with the continental Tax amounts to 50 pounds more which must be paid immediately. Labour is 15 and 12 pounds per month.
I am very uneasy too, about our Charlly. We have no School nor can I procure any instruction for him in Town. I have some thoughts of putting [him] to Board at his unkles3 in Haverhill where there is a very good School, but could not think of it till I heard from you. I shall now run the venture tho at present I do not see my way to get through all the difficulties which suppose you have discoverd from what I have mentiond.
I hope and pray that this may find you and my dear son well, to whom I wrote last week.
The Season here is very fine and promisses a plentifull crop. Adieu. Remember with unabated ardour her whose chief happiness is calling Herself your affectionate
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia”; docketed by CFA.
1. Only six of these can be accounted for by the most liberal reckoning and by including the present letter. If AA's letter to JQA of 10? June is added, she could then be said to have written seven times since the Boston sailed in February. But AA was exceedingly careless in statements of this kind.
2. William McCreery to JA, 10 Oct. 1777 (copy in AA's hand, Adams Papers); see James Lovell to AA, 21 March 1778, vol. 2, above, and notes there.
3. Rev. John Shaw. See Adams Genealogy.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0043

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1778-06-24

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

I know not whether I ought to reply to your favour of April the first, for inded Sir I begin to look upon you as a very dangerous Man.
It was a Saying of a very corrupt Statesman that every Man had his price, had Sir Robert [Walpole] impeachd mankind with a universal Love of Flattery I believe his assertion would have been more agreable to Truth, but I suppose he was judgeing others by his own venal disposition and I am practicing upon the same principal when I acknowledg that undeserving as those few lines were penned in the bitterness of my Soul of the encomiums bestowed upon them, I cannot but acknowledg Mr. L[ovel]l a most ingenious and agreable flatterer, nor will I attribute this kind praise wholy to a corrupt principal in humane Nature since a desire to stand high in the estimation of those whose virtues and abilities adorn humane life, is rather a proof of a desire of immitation and a stimulous to a good Heart, that if it is conscious it does not already deserve the praises bestowed upon it, it will hasten to obtain them.2
The late agreable news from the court of France in some Measure compensates for the anxiety I sufferd from that Quarter of the World before, and I now a[n]ticipate the pleasure which it must give my Friend upon his arrival to find the great interest of his Country so generously espoused and a prospect opening for its future Glory and Welfare, nor do I regret that he waited not till this period, but sought to serve his Country in a Foreign Land when the prospect was much glomier than it is at present—and I can now look back to the 13 of Febry. with some pleasureable Sensations and much less Emotion than I could a month ago. But you kindly advice me to confine my Imagination to a future happy day. O Sir you have pointed me to a motive which is my food by day and my Rest by Night, it sheds a Ray of light upon the Gloomy hours, days and months as they pass. But I must restrain a pen which would run riot upon this subject.
The Letters which you mention in yours of March 213 as having wrote to my partner arrived since his absence and were deliverd to me, and agreable to his direction I opened them all, and perused them with a pleasure which the communicative manner of your writing must always give to your correspondence, tho in these I could not charge you with excerciseing a talent, which in your late favour to me you did not hide in a Napkin. <There is something peculiarly pleasing in all of them.> The Letter which your curiosity leads You to inquire { 49 } after and which is forwarded, is that in which you gave ample scope to your immagination with regard to the Robbery of the publick packets.4 It most abundantly aided my fears and apprehensions at that time, and I could easily connect assassination with Robbery, and devollope the whole scene of wickedness at once.—The concilitary plan as it is calld, will reach you before this Letter. I cannot but congratulate my country upon it. Sin[c]e they will be universally united in dispiseing it, he5 never could suppose with the advantages we are in possession of that we would accept them. I hope we should have disdaind them in our most unfortunate days, or I should think my Countrymen arrived at that unfortunate period, when as a late political writer observes a people are no longer worth saving. But not for this have we endured Hunger, cold and Nakedness, the sword and pestilence, But the Laws, the Rights, the generous plan of power deliverd down, From age to age, by our renoun'd Forefathers.

“And think thou North the Sons of such a Race

Where Beams of Glory bless their purpled Morn

Will shrink unnerved before a Tyrant face

Nor meet thy lowring insolence with Scorn.

Go raise thy hand and with its magick power

Pencil with Night the Suns assending Ray

Bid the broad Veil Eclipse the Noontide hour

And blank the radiance of the cheerfull Day

(Such Night as lowers o'er Britain's fated land

Where rayless Shades the Darkned Throne surround.

Nor Deeper Glooms at Moses waving Wand6

Pour'd their thick Horrours, oer the memphian land)

Bid Heaven bright Flames at thy dread Voice expire

Or chain the angry vengance of the waves

Then hope thy Breath can chill the Eternal Fire

And free Souls pinion with the Bonds of Slaves.”

Excuse this borrowed poetical flight, and the length of this Epistle. I have had a great mind to commit it to the flames but considering it cost me some time to write it, and some paper too which is an expensive article, and that I have a curiosity to know the contents of Mr. Deans packages7 which I could not so conveniently ask for in any other way, I have concluded to let it come under the Signature of
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers); docketed by JQA: “To James Lovell. Yorktown June,” to which CFA added: “1778.” Dft was written on the large address sheet, or cover, of JA's letter to AA, 26 Aug. 1777; see descriptive note on that letter { 50 } (vol. 2:330, above); it contains numerous deletions and revisions, only one of which is indicated in the notes below.
1. Missing RC was dated 24 June according to Lovell's reply of 1 Sept., below.
2. This rhetorical flight, probably improved grammatically in the text actually sent to Lovell, has been allowed to stand as written and punctuated in Dft. Its meaning is clear enough. In her letter of 1 March, vol. 2, above, AA had written in deep distress to Lovell after hearing the report of the near assassination of Benjamin Franklin, and Lovell had replied with flattering praise of her “elegant . . . Sentiment and Language” (1 April, above).
3. A mistake for Lovell's letter dated 1 April, above.
4. This letter from Lovell cannot now be identified. It must have dealt with Captains John Folger and Joseph Hynson and the “blank Dispatches” from the American Commissioners delivered to Congress; see vol. 2:405–406.
5. Lord North.
6. MS: “Want.”
7. Simeon Deane had brought the Franco-American treaties to America; see Isaac Smith Sr. to JA, 6 May, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0044

Author: Tudor, William
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-06-26

William Tudor to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

I inclose £23:3:10—Twenty Pounds, seventeen Shillings being the Amount of the Account against Mr. Hancock—and two Pounds six Shillings & ten Pence the Difference in favour of Mr. Adams on Settlement With Mrs. Turell. Turells Account as You will see by the Account and Receipt herewith sent being £6 10s. 6d. His Note with Interest was £8 17s. 4d. Be pleased to credit Mr. Hancock in the Books for this Money. Mrs. Turell's Receipt You will file with the Clerks Receipts.1
I inclose You what is handed about in Town as Proposals from the British Commissioners to Congress.2 How humiliating must even these be to the haughty Despots of the British Court, who so lately scorned every Thing short of bringing America to their Feet. But these, like every thing else from that infatuated and foolish Nation have come too late. One Year's further Perseverance gives Independence and Peace to our Distressed but (on the whole) virtuous Country.
I send You Col. Henley's Trial.3 The only Thing in it worth reading is Genl. Burgoyne's Speeches. They give Us a Specimen of modern Oratory. But Cicero did not write so. You will find a tedious Argument in summing up the Cause by the Judge Advocate.4 Possibly his being your Friend, may induce you to read it. It hath Nothing else to recommend it to a Lady's Perusal. When you have done with it, Pray send it to your Father as a small Token of my Respects to the good Man.
If I can be in any Way serviceable to You in settling the much neglected Demands of my valuable Friend Mr. Adams, pray command me. I shall be happy to discharge some of the Obligations I am under { 51 } to that disinterested Friend. To yourself I can only make verbal though the warmest Assurances of my being with every Sentiment of Esteem, Respect, & Friendship your faithfull Friend & Servt.,
[signed] Wm. Tudor
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosures not found, but see notes 1, 2, and 3.
1. JA's financial records as a lawyer having only very partially survived, we do not know precisely what these payments were for. See JA, Legal Papers, 1:lxix–lxxiv. “Turells . . . Account and Receipt herewith sent” have not been found.
2. Not found.
3. No Adams copy has been found, but this was the recently published Proceedings of a General Court-Martial, Held at Cambridge, on Tuesday the Twentieth of January; and Continued by Several Adjournments to Wednesday the 25th of February, 1778: upon the Trial of Colonel David Henley, Boston: J. Gill, 1778 (Evans 16139).
4. Tudor himself; see note on him under AA to JA, 2 July 1777 (vol. 2, above), and also Tudor to JA, 11 Feb. 1778 (Adams Papers, quoted in same, 2:395).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0045

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-06-30

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dearest of Friends

Shall I tell my dearest that tears of joy filld my Eyes this morning at the sight of his well known hand, the first line which has bless[ed] my Sight since his four months absence1 during which time I have never been able to learn a word from him, or my dear son till about ten days ago an english paper taken in a prize and brought into Salem containd an account under the Paris News of your arrival at the abode of Dr. Franklin, and last week a Carteel from Halifax brought Capt. Welch of the Boston who informd that he left you well the Eleventh of March, that he had Letters for me but distroyed them, when he was taken,2 and this is all the information I have ever been able to obtain. Our Enemies have told us the vessel was taken and named the frigate which took her and that she was carried into Plimouth. I have lived a life of fear and anxiety ever since you left me, not more than a week after your absence the Horrid Story of Doctor Franklins assassination was received from France and sent by Mr. Purveyance of Baltimore to Congress and to Boston. Near two months before that was contradicted, then we could not hear a word from the Boston, and most people gave her up as taken or lost, thus has my mind been agitated like a troubled sea. You will easily Conceive how gratefull to me your favour of April 25 and those of our Son were to me and mine, tho I regret your short warning and the little time you had to write, by which means I know not how you fared upon your Voiage, what reception you have met with, (not even from the Ladies, tho you profess { 52 } yourself an admirer of them,) and a thousand circumstances which I wish to know, and which are always perticuliarly interesting to [a] near connextion. I must request you always to be minute and to write me by every conveyance. Some perhaps which may appear unlikely to reach [me] will be the first to arrive. I own I was mortified at so Short a Letter, but I quiet my Heart with thinking there are many more upon their passage to me. I have wrote Seven3 before this and some of them very long. Now I know you are Safe I wish myself with you. Whenever you entertain such a wish recollect that I would have willingly hazarded all dangers to have been your companion, but as that was not permitted you must console me in your absence by a Recital of all your adventures, tho methinks I would not have them in all respects too similar to those related of your venerable Colleigue,4 Whose Mentor like appearence, age and philosiphy must5 certainly lead the polite scientifick Ladies of France6 to suppose they are embraceing the God of Wisdom, in a Humane Form, but I who own that I never yet wish'd an Angle whom I loved a Man, shall be full as content if those divine Honours are omitted. The whole Heart of my Friend is in the Bosom of his partner, more than half a score of years has so riveted [it] there that the fabrick which contains it must crumble into Dust e'er the particles can be seperated. I can hear of the Brilliant accomplishment[s] of any of my Sex with pleasure and rejoice in that Liberality of Sentiment which acknowledges them. At the same time I regret the trifling narrow contracted Education of the Females of my own country. I have entertaind a superiour opinion of the accomplishments of the French Ladies ever since I read the Letters of Dr. Sherbear,7 who professes that he had rather take the opinion of an accomplished Lady in matters of polite writing than the first wits of Itally and should think himself safer with her approbation than of a long List of Literati, and he give[s] this reason for it that Women have in general more delicate Sensations than Men, what touches them is for the most part true in Nature, whereas men warpt by Education, judge amiss from previous prejudice and refering all things to the model of the ancients, condemn that by comparison where no true Similitud ought to be expected.
But in this country you need not be told how much female Education is neglected, nor how fashonable it has been to ridicule Female learning, tho I acknowled[ge] it my happiness to be connected with a person of a more generous mind and liberal Sentiments. I cannot forbear transcribing a few Generous Sentiments which I lately met with upon this Subject. If women says the writer are to be esteemed our Enemies, { 53 } methinks it is an Ignoble Cowardice thus to disarm them and not allow them the same weapons we use ourselves, but if they deserve the title of our Friends8 tis an inhumane Tyranny to debar them of priviliges of ingenious Education which would also render their Friendship so much the more delightfull to themselves and us. Nature is seldom observed to be niggardly of her choisest Gifts to the Sex, their Senses are generally as quick as ours, their Reason as nervious, their judgment as mature and solid. Add but to these natural perfections the advantages of acquired learning what polite and charming creatures would they prove whilst their external Beauty does the office of a Crystal to the Lamp not shrowding but discloseing their Brighter intellects. Nor need we fear to loose our Empire over them by thus improveing their native abilities since where there is most Learning, Sence and knowledge there is always observed to be the most modesty and Rectitude of manners.9
Dft (Adams Papers); apparently incomplete. RC has not been found, was not acknowledged by JA, and was presumably never received.
1. The letter AA received, as she says below, was JA's of 25 April, above, which enclosed one from JQA dated 20 April, also above. These came by “a Packet from France” (James Warren to JA, 1 July 1778, Adams Papers).
2. “Monday night last [22 June] a Cartel returned from Halifax, with 90 American prisoners” (Continental Journal, 25 June 1778). Among them was Hezekiah Welch, a lieutenant on the Boston, who had been placed in command of the prize ship Martha, captured by the Boston on 10 March and then recaptured by the British. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:285–287. On 25 JulyJA wrote Richard Henry Lee from Passy: “We took a fine Prize upon the Passage by which I sent Letters, and large Bundles of Pamphlets and News Papers to Congress, but within a few days I have had the Mortification to learn she has been retaken and carried into Hallifax” (LbC, Adams Papers).
3. But see AA to JA, 18 June, above, and note 1 there.
4. The rest of this sentence, dealing with Franklin and the French ladies, was an afterthought which AA scribbled on a separate scrap of paper, without, however, giving the slightest indication of the point at which it was to be inserted in the text.
5. MS apparently reads “most”; but, if so, the editors believe it to be a slip of the pen.
6. MS obscure. Superficially it reads “politi scientifick Ladies of France,” which scarcely makes sense. CFA in editing this letter amended the phrase to “politico-scientific ladies of France” (AA, Letters, 1840, p. 127, and later editions), which is a happy improvement and is recorded in OED under politico- as an early example of this combining form but is not what AA wrote. The present editors believe the reading as given in the text above is in all likelihood what AA both wrote and intended.
7. Rev. John Shebbeare's Letters on the English Nation, 2 vols., London, 1755, a copy of which survives among JA's books in the Boston Public Library. See vol. 1:77–78, above, and references there.
8. MS: “titles of our Friend.”
9. The source of this quotation is not known to the editors.From the Turkish Spy or Espion Turc(1684), attributed to Giovanni Pàolo Marana by Samuel Halkett and John Laing, Dictionary of anonymous and pseudonymous English literature, Edinburgh, 1926).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0046

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1778-06-30

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

As I have so often troubled you with my fears tis a debt I owe your patience to communicate to you my happiness. To a Heart so susceptible as the person I address I need not discribe the joy I experienced this day in receiving Letters from my dear absent Friend informing me of his Safety and Health. He arrived at Beaudeaux the begining of April and reachd Paris the 8th, but I know not what passage they had, nor what hare Breadth Scapes in the Emninent [imminent] deadly Breach of Danger he has passd through, as the first Letters he wrote me were distroyed when the vessel was taken—but one I have heard of for the vessel was struck with lightning and the mast split within a few inches of the Powder Room.2 He writes no politicks as he was distrustfull of the conveyance.
The same vessel has brought Letters for Congress. Suffer me Sir to thank you for your favour of june the 13, tho I will not acknowledg the term unjust is properly applied. The unshaken fortitude with which you endured the Horrours of Capitivity and chains, attended with every agravating circumstance but personal Guilt, the superiour magninimity with wich you sufferd, and threw out into practice

“Virtues which shun the day, and lie conceald

in the smooth Seasons and the calms of life”

must plead my excuse for troubling you with all the fears, anxieties and apprehensions of a heart perhaps too susseptible, and a mind Berreft of its chief temporal Support, who hoped to imbibe some of that hidden strength and virtuous fortitude which shone in so conspicuous a light in my correspondent.
My apprehensions have happily proved so Groundless, that for the future I promise to be more spairing of them, or if they arise to suppress them. I acknowled[g]e myself obliged for your patient hearing and kind endeavours to alleiviate them, as well as for the polite Sentiments expressed for your much obliged Humble Servant,
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers); docketed by JQA: “to James Lovell July 1778.”
1. From its second sentence it is clear that this draft was written on the same day that AA drafted the preceding letter, dated 30 June, to JA.
2. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:275–276, 280. This information must have been furnished to AA by Lt. Hezekiah Welch of the Martha, the vessel “taken”; see preceding letter and note 2 there.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0047

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-07-03

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

I have this Afternoon received your Favour of June 12th. and at the same Time a Gazette from Boston, of later Date, in which I find a pleasing Entry in Regard to Mr. Adams's Arrival in France. It is so likely to be true from the blundering Manner of it that I venture to congratulate you upon it.1
Mr. Thaxter is not yet arrived here,2 but is expected hourly. He will heartily participate in the Joy of your Family.
Disgrace pursues the Army of our Enemies in their Passage from this City. The particulars are not yet come to Hand of the Battle at Montmouth; but we know it has been very fatal to the best of the british Troops. I shall communicate the partial Account this Day to Mr. Adams,3 and acquaint him with the Health of his dearest Friend and her little ones.
Nothing can exceed the Filthiness of the Houses which have been occupied by the Enemy here; but, externally, the central Part of the City does not appear much abused. The northern Liberties as they were called are gone intirely, and Southwark has been much injured. The Schuylkill appears from five miles Distance; so totally have the Woods and Orchards been destroyed.
I think you need not apprehend a Visit from the shattered Army now at Sandy Hook. The Desertion which prevails must shortly ruin it. When the foreign Troops were sent for to support the broken Grenadiers and Light Infantry of the British Divisions, it was answered that many of the Officers were willing to obey but none of the Soldiers.

[salute] I am continually Yr. affectionate humble Servant,

[signed] James Lovell
1. See Isaac Smith Sr. to AA, 17 June, above, and note there.
2. Philadelphia. Congress had adjourned at York on 27 June and convened in Philadelphia on 2 July (JCC, 11:662, 671).
3. No such “Account” by Lovell of the battle at Monmouth, N. J., which took place on 28 June, has been found.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0048

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-07-06

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

Permit me to congratulate you on the safe Arrival of Mr. Adams at France. It is an event that has relieved many of his friends from pain• { 56 } ful anxieties. I could have wished for the happiness of communicating the very agreeable intelligence to you. I hope it has reached you before this date. His arrival was taken notice of in the French papers and also in a London paper, which have been received. It is now an indubitable fact. May his life and usefulness be preserved there.
On the 4th inst. was celebrated at the City Tavern the Anniversary of our Independence, or the political birthday of every American. It was conducted with great decency. The promising aspect of our affairs, the late victory, the almost frantic joy of returned citizens, the dejection of haughty disaffection &c. &c. occasioned the most infallible demonstrations of Joy and Gratitude.
Some time after dinner, was escorted through the Streets a noted and infamous doxy with one of the high head dresses lately worn by some of the Ladies in this City. It was elegantly finished, but it was borne (it is a fabrick indeed on the head) by a Trull, which gave great offence to the Jewels who have lately prop'd such awful superstructures.
It was designed to ridicule them. The end was answered. It was quite as high as that representation which I dare say you have seen at Brigr. Palmer's.1
In the morning of the same day a duel was fought between Major Genl. Conway and Brigr. Cadwallader of Pennsylvania, the former of whom recieved a wound—the ball entered his Cheek and coming out under his Ear lodged in his hair. He is like to recover. There are so many reports respecting the origin of it that I cannot determine absolutely what did occasion it. I believe, however, Cadwallader charged him with bashfulness at Germantown battle.2 Genl. Lee is under an arrest for disobedience to orders &c. I think he has done his job this time. He has not many Advocates at this juncture in the Army.3 There is a Report in town that the King of Prussia has sent vessels to open a trade with these States, and that he has requested the King of Britain to give no annoyance to the trade, as he is determined to repair all losses, by such interference, by visiting Hanover.
Your kind favor of June 12th. reached me the 4th inst. I am exceedingly obliged to you for visiting our family and enquiring of the stage and progress of the small pox. I am very happy to hear my father has broke out and like to do well, as also your father. I never was more surprised than to hear of their inoculation. I am very impatient indeed to hear from them both. God grant that I may hear of the confirmed recovery of both.
I thank you Madam for your advice respecting my health. I am very { 57 } comfortable at present. I expect another Crop very shortly.4 The weather is now so intensly hot that I cannot think of returning. I am glad I came to this part of the world; it has given me a further acquaintance with men and things. It is a fine opportunity to get an insight into the forms and modes of transacting business, of observing the motives, interests and passions which actuate mankind. These are times to discover the materials of mens hearts—the avenues are open.
Please to remember me to all friends.

[salute] With sentiments of the highest esteem I am Madam, Your most obedt. Servt.,

[signed] JT
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “july 6.”
1. This reference may possibly be to a well-known satirical print, “Bunkers Hill or America's Head Dress,” issued in London, 1 March 1776, in which a lady's “enormous coiffure of 1776–7 grotesquely exaggerated” supports the redoubts and entire battle action at Bunker Hill (Mary Dorothy George, Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires . . . in the British Museum, vol. 5, London, 1935, No. 5330; for a reproduction see Old-Time New England, 46:94 (Spring 1956). However, prints satirizing elaborate hairdressing styles were common in England at the time; see Nos. 5335, 5378, and others in the British Museum's Catalogue, and the text and illustrations in Thomas Wright, Caricature History of the Georges, London, 1898, p. 253 ff.
For another account of the Fourth of July proceedings in Philadelphia this year, both serious and comic, see William Ellery's “Diary” as printed in PMHB, 11 (1888):477–478.
2. For the duel between Maj. Gen. Thomas Conway and John Cadwalader, a brigadier general in the Pennsylvania militia, see the articles on them in DAB and references there.
3. Maj. Gen. Charles Lee, who insisted on his right to command the attack on the British at Monmouth but then made a cowardly retreat, was court-martialed and suspended from the army for a year (DAB).
4. Referring to his skin disease, which AA had spoken of as “Salt Rhume” (i.e. eczema); see Thaxter to AA, 22 May; AA to Thaxter, 12 June; both above.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0049

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-07-09

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

I heartily congratulate you upon the indubitable Proofs of our Friends Arrival in France. You might imagine that the Congress had received some important Intelligence in the large Packets sent lately from Boston, if I did not acquaint you that they were chiefly for Monsr. Girard who is not yet arrived.1 A french Fleet having sailed for America, an English One being ready to follow, and a second french One to pursue that, if there is to be a War between the two Nations, it will probably commence in our Seas.
The Indians and Tories have cut off Wyoming;2 and They must be eradicated Root and Branch as soon as ever we get a little Relaxation from War on the Sea Coasts.
{ 58 }
I am not inattentive to Mr. Adams's Boxes which shall be forwarded by the first Opportunity. I presume I shall now get that which contained his Papers left under the Care of the Rev. Mr. Sprout.3

[salute] With every friendly Attachment, I am Dear Madam your humble Servt.,

[signed] James Lovell
1. Conrad Alexandre Gérard (1729–1790), first French minister to the United States, imminently expected in Philadelphia; see the following letter and Thaxter to AA, 17 July, below.
2. The destructive raid by British, Tories, and Indians on the Wyoming Valley settlements in northern Pennsylvania in early July.
3. Rev. James Sproat, JA's last landlord in Philadelphia, Sept. 1777; see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:262. For the recovery of JA's letters and other papers left there, and of personal articles he left at York in Nov. 1777, see Lovell to AA, 14 Nov. 1778, 5 June 1779; AA to Lovell, Feb.–March, 18–26 June 1779; all below.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0050

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-07-10

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

I had been so short a time in this place when I wrote you last, that it was out of my power to furnish you then with any particulars respecting the enemy's conduct during their continuance here. By enquiries and observations since, I am enabled to give you some particulars on that head.
The City in general has escaped, but houses and fences detached from the Town have felt the wantoness of their power. Many arbitrary imprisonments have been occasioned by Villains in the City lodging informations—indeed they were repeated, till fatigued with the importunities of those Vipers, they turned them out of doors.
Houses of worship of the Presbiterian order were converted into hospitals, while the Churches escaped. Those buildings have suffered considerable damage. They have unpaled grave yards and left them as Commons. Men, women and horses have been indiscriminately thrown into Vaults. Several have been found under the State House. It was not however a general practice. Single and married women together with Servants to the amount of near two thousand departed the City with this legion of monsters. The Whigs of the City would have escaped many evils and Calamities had it not been for those vile miscreants who were perpetually at the elbow of the General. Upon the whole, there are left in many places the Vestiges of a British Army and the traces of British Violence. I need say no more.
By a deserter from the Enemy we hear of their embarkation. Part { 59 } of the fleet is to recieve the troops at New York, if they are not captured by the French Fleet, which is not improbable. The fleet from France are going to Sandy Hook not far distant from N. York. They have already sunk an English Frigate of 26 Guns. The force at New York is very incompetent to an effectual opposition and must fall a sacrifice if they are not relieved. The Troops there cannot make any figure after the capture of the Ships. I wish an Event of that kind to take place. We should have great plenty of goods, as the City I understand is full of them.
I have the pleasure to congratulate you on the Arrival of the Ambassador in the Delaware. He is near Chester in a ship of War. Tomorrow he will make his Entrance, I imagine, into the City. Great preparations were made for his reception this afternoon, but an unhappy tempest prevented the Ship from coming down the Bay. In the morning I hope to have the honor of seeing him. He is only 15 miles off.
I have look'd at Whig and Tory Phizes and find the features of Joy in the one and a dejection bordering on despair in the other. The Transition in the latter from one State to the other was as unexpected as unwelcome. They will swallow the bitter Pill of Independence shortly I have no doubt.
It is confidently reported here that the French ships have drove the Roebuck ashore and captured the Pearl and Rose Frigates. I do not affirm it, tho I firmly believe that one or two of the Enemy's Fleet are taken or destro[yed.]1 The particulars we shall have tomorrow. I [would] with pleasure wait for them, but the Express leaves this City in a short time. I have only time to request you will be pleased to remember me to all Friends.

[salute] I am Madam with great Esteem, Your Obedt. Servt.,

[signed] J.T.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “july 10.”
1. Here and below, MS is torn by seal.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0051

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-07-15

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dearest of Friends

By Mr. Tailor, who has promised me to deliver this with his own hand to you, or distroy it if necessary, I take the liberty of writing rather more freely than I should otherways venture to do. I cannot { 60 } think but with pain of being debared this privilidge, the only one left me for my consolation in the many solitary and I may add melancholy hours which pass. I promissed myself a negative kind of happiness whenever I could hear of your safe arrival but alass I find a craveing void left akeing in my Breast, and I find myself some days especially more unhappy than I would even wish an Enemy to be. In vain do I strive to divert my attention, my Heart, like a poor bird hunted from her nest, is still returning to the place of its affections, and fastens upon the object where all its cares and tenderness are centered. I must not expect, I ought not indeed for the sake of your repose to wish to be thus frequently, and thus fondly the subject of your meditation, but may I not believe that you employ a few moments every day from the Buisness and pleasures which surround you in thinking of her who wishes not her existance to survive your affection, who never recollects the cruel hour of seperation but with tears. From whence shall I gather firmness of mind bereft of the amicable prop upon which it used to rest and acquire fortitude? The subject is too tender to persue. I see it touches your Heart. I will quit it at the midnight hour, and rise in the morning suppressing these too tender sensibilities.
Tis 5 month since the Boston sailed during all which time I have only received two very short Letters.2 That you have wrote more I know tho you do not mention them. Cautious as tis necessary you should be, methinks you need not be so parsimonious. Friendship and affection will suggest a thousand things to say to an intimate Friend which if ridiculed by an Enemy will only be an other proof among the thousands we already have of a savage barbarity. A variety of new scenes must arise the discription of which would afford ample amusement to your domestick Friend.
I had the pleasure of drinking tea a few days ago with Sir James Jay and Mr. Diggs.3 It was a pleasure to hear so directly from you and my dear Jack. The Gentlemen were very social and communicative. I found they had throughly enterd into the character of my Friend, who they represented as rather relucttantly entering into the modes and customs of — —4 and rather conforming from necessity than inclination. They diverted me with an account of the Freedoms and fondness of the . . . . . .5 for the venerable Doctor. At the same time I could not refrain figuring to myself a grave American republican starting at the sight unaccustomed to such freedoms even from the partner of his youth. After 13 years intimate connexion, who can recollect the time when had she laid her hand upon his—a universal Blush would { 61 } have coverd her.6—Much however must be allowed for Forms and Customs which render even dissagreable practise'es familiar. I can even consent that they should practise their Forms upon your Lordship considering your natural fondness for the practise whilst I hold possession of what I think they cannot rob me of. Tis mine by a free gift, mine by exchange, mine by a long possession, mine by merrit and mine by every law humane and divine.
If I was sure this would reach you I should say many things which I dare not venture to. I stand corrected if I have said any thing already which I ought not to. I feel myself embaresse'd whilst my Heart overflows, and longs to give utterance to my pen. Many domestick affairs I wish to consult upon. I have studied for a method of defraying the necessary expences of my family. In no one Instance is a hundred pound L M better than thirteen pounds Six and Eight pence used to be, in foreign Articles no ways eaquel, in taxes but a fourth part as good. Day Labour at 24 shillings per day. What then can you think my situation must be? I will tell you after much embaresment in endeavouring to procure faithfull hands I concluded to put out the Farm and reduce my family as much as posible. I sit about removeing the Tenants from the House, which with much difficulty I effected, but not till I had paid a Quarters Rent in an other House for them.7 I then with the kind assistance of Dr. T[uft]s procured two young Men Brothers newly married and placed them as Tenants to the halves retaining in my own Hands only one Horse and two Cows with pasturage for my Horse in summer, and Q[uinc]y medow for fodder in winter. At present I have no reason to repent of my situation, my family consists at present of only myself, two children and two Domesticks. Our daughter is at School in Boston, and I wait only to know how I shall be able to discharge my schooling for Master Charles to place him at Haverhill. Debts are my abhorrance. I never will borrow if any other method can be devised. I have thought of this which I wish you to assent to, to order some saleable articles which I will mention to be sent to the care of my unkle S[mit]h a small trunk at a time, containing ten or 15 pounds Sterling, from which I may supply my family with such things as I need, and the rest place in the hands of Dr. T[uft]s Son who has lately come into Trade, and would sell them for me, by which means if I must pay extravagant prices I shall be more upon an eaquel footing with my Neighbours.
I have been obliged to make fence this year to the amount of 100 & 50 Dollors. I have occasion for only a pair of cart wheels for which I must give 60 pounds Lawfull money. I mention these few articles to { 62 } serve as a specimen of the rest. I inquired the price of a new carrage the other day and found it to be no more than 300 pounds Lawfull money—at this rate I never will ask for a supply of this light commodity from any Body let my situation be what it will. The Season has been fine for grass but for about 3 weeks past we have had a sharp and severe Drouth which has greatly injured our grain and a blast upon english grain with a scarcity for flower so that a loaf which once sold for 4 pence is 4 shillings. Tis rumourd that the French fleet to the amount of 18ten have arrived of Chesepeak. The Enemy have left Philidelphia, but for politicks I refer you to the publick Letters which will accompany this.—Mr. Tailor promisses to bring Letters from you whenever he returns. I am in daily expectation of hearing from you. I lament that you lay so far from the sea ports that you must omit some opportunities of writing. I will not suppose that with more leisure you have less inclination to write to your affectionate and Lonely Friend
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers). RC, sent by “Mr. Tailor,” has not been found, was never acknowledged by JA, and may have been among AA's “last and largest packets distroyd,” the vessel conveying them “being taken and carried into Halifax” (AA to JA, 21 Oct., below).
1. Draft was written on more than one day but left entirely undated. However, AA's saying that “Tis 5 month since the Boston sailed” indicates that she was writing about mid-July; and her mention of a drought that had prevailed for three weeks also helps place her letter close to 15 July because a little later Cotton Tufts told JA that the drought had begun on 24 June (Tufts to JA, 5 Aug., below). There are lesser clues pointing to the approximate date that has been assigned.
2. Those of 25 April (acknowledged by AA in her reply of 30 June, above) and 19 April (brought to her by Sir James Jay and George Digges at the beginning of July); both above.
3. “Wednesday last [1 July] arrived here Captain Joseph Chapman, in 5 Weeks from France; in whom came Passengers Sir James Jay of New-York, and George Diggs, Esq; of Maryland, by whom we have the following Account of Arrivals in France from America” (Boston Gazette, 6 July). Concerning Jay and Digges see JA to AA, 19 April, above—a letter which they brought from Paris to AA.
4. Supply “France” or “Paris.”
5. Supply “ladies.”
6. AA's careless handwriting, punctuation, and capitalization leave some ambiguities in this diverting passage. It is possible that the first five words in the present sentence should be attached, instead, to the sentence preceding. Everything considered, the editors think not, but they do think that the present sentence is defective as it stands and that AA probably intended to write: “. . . who can recollect the time when, had she laid her hand upon his, a universal blush would not have covered her?”
7. The Haydens; see AA to Thaxter, 9 April, above, and note 6 there.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0052

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-07-17

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

In my letter of the 11th. inst.1 I mentioned the arrival of the { 63 } French Ambassador at Chester. I am now to inform you that on the 12th. a Committee of Congress, escorted by a party of light dragoons, waited on him at that place to accompany him to this City. About two o Clock the same day he entered the City. The usual military salutes were paid him by two detached parties that were previously drawn up. After his arrival at Head Quarters 15 Canon were discharged—13 for the States, one for the King of France and one for the King of Spain.
Monsr. Gerard, the Ambassador, is a citizen of Strasbourg. He appears to be about fifty years of age. He is a grave Man and well calculated for the Embassy. He is easy and polite in his manners, without the least tincture of affectation; agreeable in his address and dignified in his demeanour. He burdens no one with a multiplicity and parade of Bows and Conges. He will soon have a public reception.2
The frontiers of this State have suffered exceedingly by Indians, the disaffected and British Savages. They have made a considerable Excursion and have marked their progress with depredation and bloodshed. Near 200 of our men have been slain, some murdered and others killed in battle. Detachments have been ordered up to check not only their incursions but to sack their towns and extirpate those blood hounds from the Earth. We must deal with them in their own way—promiscuous destruction is their rule and mode of Warfare.
I hope soon to have some agreeable News from New York. The French Fleet have arrived at Sandy Hook. The first news I will transmit, if authentick.

[salute] I beg Madam you will excuse this slovenly Scroll—it is the effects of hurry which will apologize for Your most obedt. Servt.,

[signed] J.T.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “july 17.”
1. 10–11 July, above.
2. For other accounts of Conrad Alexandre Gérard and his arrival, which naturally stirred great interest, see Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 3:325 ff.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0053

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Thaxter, John
Date: 1778-07-22

John Quincy Adams to John Thaxter

[salute] Dear Sir

It is with great pleasure That I write to you who have been so good and kind to me for which I fear I Shall never be able to repay you. I wrote to you just before I came from america which you have not answer'd but my Pappa received one from you about a week ago in which you said you was so much hurried that you could not write to me for which I was very Sorry for I Should take a great deal of { 64 } pleasure in having a few lines from you when you have a little leasure time1

[salute] I am &c

LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “to Mr. Thaxter.” Text is given here in literal style.
1. JQA's letter “from america” has not been found, but in a letter to AA of 13 March (Adams Papers) Thaxter mentioned having received it. Thaxter's letter to JA, received at Passy “about a week ago,” was that of 30 April, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0054

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Thaxter, John
Date: 1778-07-23

Abigail Adams to John Thaxter

[salute] Dear Sir

I have not wrote you so soon as I should have done, if I had known where to have directed to you, but your kind favours of july 6 and 10 which reachd me yesterday leaves me no longer at a loss.
I will not leave you any longer in Suspence with regard to your worthy parent who has happily recoverd from the small pox. I omitted writing before not being willing to tell you that he had so plentifull a portion of the disease as he really had, he is very cleverly since; your Mamma is exceeding anxious about your Health, and fears that troublesome humor will be distructive to it. Let me at the same time add a caution to you at this very Hot Season of the year. Do not by carelessness or indiscretion rob your parents of a darling Son, some worthy Girl of a deserving tender partner, and the world of a promiseing and usefull citizen.
What says my young Friend, I have never inquired into this matter yet?1 Have you in York or Pensilviana found a favourd object? Your remarks have been wholy confined to your own Sex, not a Female has been mentiond any more than if you were intirely excluded from them. Diffident as you were, there are some attractions sufficent to draw your attention. Have you found no striking characters, no Ladies of Literature? Come Sir, shew your faculty at discription and let me know the accomplishments of the fair Sex in that part of the world.
I am very sorry that General Lee should disgrace himself and the cause he is engaged in. My opinion of him, was that he was a Friend to the Rights of Mankind and a Lover of Liberty where ever he found it without any perticuliar attachment to one country or climate more than an other.
“Honour is a sacred tie, The Noble mind's distinguishing perfection.” If he has forfeited that I know not what hold we can have of { 65 } him. His principals with regard to religion were rather loose I believe.
I rejoice with every virtuous citizen in their return to the city, and hope from the account you give that tis throughly <purged> purified.
Write me an account of the French Ambassador['s] arrival and every other occurance you meet with worth communicating. The congratulations of my Friends were never more agreable to me. I have indubitable proofs of his safe arrival by two Letters under his own Hand, and Letters from Master John. They had rather a dissagreable Voyage but arrived at Bordeaux the beginning of April. The 4 sit of for Paris and arrived there in 4 days the distance 400 and 50 miles.2 Master John writes that he is placed at a School in Paris, where the discipline is pretty strict, his pappa resides about 2 miles out of town with Dr. Franklin at Passy. The Letters relative to their voyage I lost, the vessel being taken the Letters were thrown over.
And now sir I dare say you think I feel happy, comparitively I do—but this is a state of restless anxiety, and I find a “Craveing void left akeing in my Breast.” My Situation is Lonesome. Miss Nabby is at School in Boston. Myself, two Children and two domesticks comprise my family which used to consist of more than a dozen.
Tis reported here that Mr. H[ancoc]k is returning out of Health. Is it really or politically so? Did he expect an offer, which he never made himself. I fancy he did, and his Disease is mortification. A little of it will do no injury.3
We have lost one of our Neighbours since you left us. Mr. Bass died this week with the small pox in the natural way.4 My Father had it very lightly, was not absent quite 3 weeks.
Mr. Hardwick begs me to write and ask the favour of you to purchase him one Hundred of Needles No. 6 fit for his Buisness and enclose them to me by whom he will remit the money let it be what it will. I send forward by this conveyance Letters which have lain more than a week becaus we knew not how to direct.
Master Charles and Tommy send their regards. I expect to take a journey to Haverhill next week where I have not yet been.
Present my regards to Mr. L[ovel]l with thanks for his favour convey'd by you. I shall find some excuse or other to scrible to him soon I suppose. I place a high value upon his Letters tho he will like the rest of you flatter.
Are you in the same office you first went into? How has your regulateing act succeeded? Is the price of things more moderate in Philadelphia than in York Town. Our Currency what shall we do with it? { 66 } Lawfull money is not so good as old tennor used to be. My paper reminds me that tis time to close assuring you that I am [with] great regard Your Friend,
[signed] Portia
RC (MB); endorsed: “Mrs. Adams July 1778.” Accompanying letters not found or identified.
1. Thus punctuated in MS, admitting of several different readings.
2. The details in this sentence are not in any letter known to have been received by AA from France, but they could have been communicated by Sir James Jay and George Digges during their recent visit.
3. “Yesterday the Hon. John Hancock, Esq; one of [the] Delegates of this State; and the Hon. Richard Hudson [i.e. Hutson], Esq; one of the Delegates from the State of South Carolina, arrived here from Congress” (Boston Gazette, 27 July 1778). The “offer” which AA thought Hancock may have expected but “which he [had] never made himself” in similar circumstances must have related to the presidency of Congress.
4. Jonathan Bass (1729–1778), who lived only two or three doors away from the Adamses in Braintree and had served with JA on the town committee that laid out the North Commons in 1765 (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:301–302; 3:279–280; Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy, p. 38; information from Mr. William C. Edwards, city historian of Quincy and a descendant of Bass).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0055

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-07-26

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Yours of the Tenth of June by Captain Barnes was brought to me Yesterday, which is only the second that I have yet received from you. The other is of 25 March.1 I have written to you, several Times, as often as I could, and hope they will arrive. I have put on board one ship, all the Articles in your Minute. By Captain Niles I have sent you a smal Present of Tea.2 By Captain Barnes, I will send some few Things.
You enquire how you shall pay Taxes?—I will tell you.—Ask the favour of your Uncle Smith or Some other Friend to let you have Silver, and draw your Bills upon me. The Money shall be paid, in the instant of the sight of your Bill, but let it be drawn in your own Hand Writing. Any body who wants to remit Cash to France, Spain, Holland or England, will let you have the Money. You may draw with Confidence, for the Cash shall be paid here. I suppose however, that one hundred Pounds, a Year, sterling will be as much as you will have Occasion for. With silver, you may get your Father, or your Uncle or Brother Cranch to pay your Taxes.3
You have made your Son very happy by your Letter to him—he is writing a long Answer. He begins to read and speak French, pretty well. He behaves well, and is much esteemed here, which gives me { 67 } constant Pleasure.—His Sister is to blame for not writing to him as well as to me.—He has been very good, is almost constantly writing to her, and his Brothers, and to his Cousins and his Friend Joshua Green,4 and many other Correspondents. He wrote a french Letter the other Day to his Grand Pa.5 He will write to his Grand ma, to whom present his and my most affectionate and dutiful Respects.
As to Politicks, The Emperor and K[ing] of Prussia are at War. France and England are the same altho there is yet no formal Manifesto. America, I think has nothing to fear from Europe. Let her chase away the broken Remnants of her Ennemies, now within her Limits, and lay on Taxes, with a manly Resolution, in order to raise the Credit of her Currency and she will do very well.
This is a delicious Country. Every Thing that can sooth, charm and bewitch is here. But these are no Enchantments for me. My Time is employed in the public Business, in studying French like a school Boy, and in fervent Wishes, that the happy Time may arrive soon, when I may exchange the Elegances and Magnificence of Europe for the Simplicity of Pens Hill, and the Glory of War, for the Obscurity of private Contemplation. Farewell.
LbC (Adams Papers). RC, presumably sent by Capt. Corbin Barnes in the Dispatch, along with “some few Things,” has not been found, was never acknowledged by AA, and must have been lost when Barnes was captured soon afterward; see JA to AA, 6 Nov., below.
1. Acknowledged by JA in his letter of 16 June, above, but unaccountably missing from the Adams Papers.
2. Capt. Robert Niles, of the Connecticut ship Spy, who had brought Congress' ratifications of the treaties with France, was also captured on the return voyage; see JA to AA, 6 Nov., below.
3. On 28 JulyJA repeated the substance of this paragraph and sent it off as a letter to AA by a different vessel. Apparently it too never reached her, for it was never acknowledged and remains only as a letterbook copy in the Adams Papers (Microfilms, Reel No. 95). It has been omitted from the present edition.
4. A letter from JQA to his friend Joshua Green, 5 July 1778, survives in the Adams Papers (LbC, Microfilms, Reel No. 96).
5. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0056

Author: Le Coeur, M.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-07-31

Le Coeur to John Adams

[salute] Monsieur

Vous avez eu la bonté de me confier M. votre fils.1 c'est pour lui donner toute l'education possible, je me ferai honneur de mettre ses talens à profit je crois que vous devez être satisfait; pour le mettre au Latin j'aurois désiré qu'il entendit un peu mieux le françois et qu'il ait plus de facilite à apprendre par mémoire. il2 travaille et ne perd point de tems, il faut esperer qu'avec la bonne volonté qu'il a, il ne sera { 68 } pas long tems sans faire des progrès rapides. Lundi prochain il commencera.

[salute] J'ai Lhonneur d'etre tres parfaitement Monsieur Votre tres humble et tres obéissant Serviteur

[signed] Le Coeur
RC (Adams Papers). Since the punctuation, capitalization, and accentuation of the original are so irregular, the text has been given here in literal style.
1. See JA to AA, 19 April, above, and references in note 3 there. On 11 June JA had paid Le Coeur 365 livres and 5 sous for JQA's board and tuition to date (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:329).
2. Thus in MS. Sense seems clearly to call for “S'il.”

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0057

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-08-05

Cotton Tufts to John Adams

The News of your Arrival at Paris gave us great Joy. Before your Letters reached America, the first Intelligence of your Arrival was obtain'd from an English Paper taken in a Prize. Previous to this in a New York Paper was inserted the Capture of the Boston by a 60 Gun Ship but no mention being made of her Contents more especially of a very valuable Article too important to have been passed over in Silence We made ourselves pretty easy being assured that they would have publickly gloried in the Acquisition of it.
Our Season was very fine untill the 24th. June having been favoured with moderate Heat and frequent Showers which gave us large Crops of English Hay and Pasturage. The Eclipse of that Day brought on a Change of Air to extreme Heat which encreased for 12 or 15 Days to a Degree greater than ever was known amongst us so early in the Year, it then became more cool for a few Days, afterwards the Heat returnd and continued to this Time, very little Rain having fallen untill Three or Four Days past, [so] that we have sufferd much in our Gardens and the Indian Corn will by the Drought be lessend greatly. Our English Grain much blasted—a very good Crop of Flax. A very plentiful Rain this Day and for 4 Days past in different Places will I trust give a new Appearance to the Earth. On the 28th. June the Heat was violent at the Southward, on which Day a Battle was fought at Monmouth in the Jerseys between Clintons Army passing from Philadelphia (which they deserted the 18th. preceding) and our Army, after a long Struggle the Enemy gave way. Night coming on prevented in all Probability their entire Destruction. They left 245 of their best Troops dead on the Field of Battle, some they had buried. Near 50 too badly wounded to be removed were left in an House, how many wounded they carried { 69 } of is uncertain.—The Second in Command is under Arrest, chargeable with some malconduct on that Day. Had he never been in the Enemy's Hands perhaps he never would have been suspected. He is now under Tryall the Result of which will be made publick. I must therefore suspend my Judgment untill that Time, but am pretty well satisfied that neither the Scholar nor the General will save him if he should be found Culpable in a high Degree.—In this Battle we lost 50 killed, upwards of an 100 wounded—a more full Accountt youll receive from other Hands. I saw a Letter from the Adjutant Generall in which He speaks in the highest Terms of the Bravery of our Troops—it is agreed that they never fought better. Genll. Knox acquired immortal Honour.—The french Fleet arrived in the Delaware about the 8th. July—had they reached it about 3 Weeks sooner they would have securd the Enemys Shipping, both Fleet and Army must have fallen into our Hands. Some Intelligence they got of the near Approach of Mons. De Estang thought fit to sail and march off in Season.—This Fleet has taken many valuable Prizes from the Enemy among which is a Vessel loaded with military Stores having among other Things Six large Mortars with Shells suitable for them. These came very seasonably for the purpose of driving out of their Holes those Pests of Mankind that have so long plagued America for which Preparations are now making and if the French Fleet in Conjunction with that of the united States should prove superior to the British I flatter myself that it will be shortly effected.
I have only time to add that your Family is well and other Connections.—Remember me to your Son, and accept of my best Wishes for your Health, Usefulness and Happiness.

[salute] I am yours,

[signed] C.T.
<Your Bro[the]r this day sets off at the Head of a C[ompan]y on the [ . . . ]1 Expedition to R[hode] Island.>2
The Commissioners who arrived here in June wrote to Congress (being denied by Genl. Washington a Pass to York Town, untill the Pleasure of Congress should be known). Their Letter and the answer of Congress, You must have received before this Time. Least you should not have received them, it may not be amiss to say, that they acquainted Congress with their Power, the End of their Coming and proposed some Matters as the Basis for Settlement and desird an Interview.—The Answer from Congress was short. That whenever the King of Gt. Bn. discoverd a sincere Disposition for Peace they were ready to attend. The Evidence Congress expected was an explicit { 70 } Declaration of our Independance or the Removal of their Fleets and Armies. (I give You the Sense tho not the identical Words.) About the Middle of July Congress received a Second Letter, and as it did not contain an explicit Declaration of Independance and the Troops still continuing in New York and Rhode Island with their Fleets, Congress resolved not to return any Answer to said Letter. Govr. Johnston has wrote great Numbers of private Letters—many to Members of Congress, many to others. By order of Congress all Letters from the Commissioners and People in Great Britain to Members of Congress are to be laid before that Body, examined and made publick, some of which we have had in our Papers.—Gen. Read has had the offer of 10,000 Guineas to interest himself in the Affair of Reconciliation—Govr. Johnston the Agent, and a Lady of [first?] Character in Philadelphia connected with the British Gentry the Medium. Reed rejected, by answering that he [was not]3 worth purchasing, but supposing he was, The King of Gt. Britain was not rich enough to do it.4
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams Esqr. Ambassador at the Court of France for the United States of America At Paris”; endorsed: “Dr. Tufts. August 5th 1778.”
1. Illegible; possibly “Present.”
2. This passage is heavily scratched out in MS. Evidently Peter Boylston Adams did not go on the expedition against Rhode Island, concerning which see AA to John Thaxter, 19 Aug., below, and references there.
3. MS torn by seal.
4. All the news in Tufts' postscript was from recent Boston newspapers. On the attempt to bribe Joseph Reed, currently a Pennsylvania delegate to the Continental Congress, see a letter in the Boston Gazette, 10 Aug. 1778. The intermediary, not named there, was Elizabeth (Graeme) Ferguson, a literary light of Philadelphia whose husband, Henry Hugh Ferguson, a Scottish tory, was serving as a British commissary of prisoners. It was he who involved his wife in the Commissioners' underhanded efforts to make a quick peace. See Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:177–179; Van Doren, Secret History, p. 100–104.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0058

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cranch, Richard
Date: 1778-08-06

John Adams to Richard Cranch

[salute] My dear Brother

I have long wished for an Opportunity to write to you but the thousand things that have surrounded me have prevented. Mr. Williams has promised me to write you concerning your Affairs and I suppose he has done it. I am not able to inform you of anything concerning them.1
There is a Society here resembling the Society of Arts &c. in London. It is called “Le Societe libre d'emulation.” It gives Rewards to every Inventor of Improvement in Mechanicks and other Arts. I will send you by another Opportunity the Regulations of it. They have { 71 } | view done me the Honor to elect me a Member as well as Doctor Franklin and Dr. Lee. In my Case it was a meer Compliment, because my Avocations having been very different I have never turned my Thoughts much to such Speculations. If they had chosen you, the Consequence would have been Honor to the Society and Benefit to Mankind. I have thought however that if I could not gratify my Vanity upon this Occasion I might possibly become accidentally an Instrument of some good to my Fellow Men by introducing some of your Discoveries to the Society. I therefore beg of you to send me a Draught upon paper or a Model2 in Wood of your Card Machine and Spermacaeti Machine with Explanations in Words of the various parts, or any other of your Speculations that you may think fit. I will engage to introduce them to the Notice of the Society and possibly they may grant Rewards. At least you will do good. It will be for the Reputation of our Country here. It will strengthen the Connection between the two Nations and be in other Respects usefull to the World. It shall be known that I am not the Author, and it shall be known who is. The Reputation and the Benefit shall be yours, and I shall think myself very happy in being the Channell of Conveyance. Remember me with the tenderest Affection to my Sister and the Children and to all our Connections and believe me with the utmost Esteem & Affection,

[salute] Your Brother

PS I have paid Mr. Williams of Nantes 141 Livres 9 Sols for you, which you may if you please repay to my Wife. He has sent the things you wrote for to you.3
Memoire des Fournitures faites par le Roy Horloger du Roy a Monsieur Williams.
1 Grosse de clef de Cuivre en couleur prix   22    
6 douzaines & demi de ressorts de montres conformes aux echantillons a 10  10s. la douzaine   68   5  
2 Grosse de Crestaux [pour?] montre a 6  6s.   12   12  
2 douzaines de pendant de Montre & une doze: de Boucles en argent   38    
pour la Caisse & tembalage     12  
  £141   9  
Payé par Monsieur Adams
[signed] signé J Williams Jr.
RC (MHi:Cranch Family Papers); unsigned; text and appended “Memoire” in the hand of Jonathan Loring Austin, currently serving as JA's secretary; endorsed: “Letter from the Hon. John Adams Esqr. at Passi Augt. 16th. [sic] 1778.”LbC (Adams Papers); lacks “Memoire.”
{ 72 }
1. Doubtless Jonathan Williams (1750–1815), grandnephew of Benjamin Franklin and an American commercial agent at Nantes; he has been identified earlier in the present series and appears frequently in JA's Diary and Autobiography.
2. This word is taken from LbC text. Austin miscopied it in RC as “Mould.”
3. This letter was acknowledged by Cranch in a reply dated 11 June 1779, below, but without mention of the watchmaker's supplies listed in the mémoire which follows; these were captured at sea, as JA reported to AA, 6 Nov. 1778, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0059

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-08-11

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I am desirous of conveying to you, in a manner that will not probably fail of success, and therefore have written the same Thing by many Vessells. I have ordered some Things to be shipped to you by two Opportunities. But least these should not arrive, or whether they do or not, I beg of you to draw upon me, for one hundred Pounds sterling which shall be paid at sight. Any Person who has occasion to remit Money to any Part of Europe will be glad of the Opportunity and will let you have Silver or Gold for the Bill. Your Uncle will negociate the Affair for you.
My Son is writing at the same Table with me, is very well, sends his Duty and Affection.
What would I give that the rest of my Family were here. But I dont see how they could have lived through the Passage. Yours—Yours—Yours,
[signed] John Adams
The only News I send to Congress, which is the Battle between the French and English Fleets, and the different Accounts of it by Keppell and D'Orvilliere. However, both concur to shew that the English had a drubbing.1
Birons fleet appears to have been shattered terribly in a storm. Several of his ships have returned to Europe in sad plight. The Russell has returned to England, scarcely able to swim and with upwards of 200 Men sick of the Goal Fever.—Is it Presumption to imagine that one sees the Wrath of Heaven against a Nation overloaded with Guilt. I cannot however but hope, that these Sad Things will bring the Nation to Consideration, and induce them to become just.
1. For a concise account of the indecisive engagement off Ushant, 27 July 1778, between a British fleet commanded by Admiral Augustus Keppel and a French fleet under the Comte d'Orvilliers, see W. M. James, The British Navy in Adversity, London, 1926, p. 127–136.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0060

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-08-11

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] Hond. Mamma

you will pardon me if I do not write to you very often for you know how I used to teaze you to write a copy of a letter for me but now I do not have you to write and my Pappa being always a doing publick affaires or a writing to you cannot do it for me, so that I am obliged to think myself, sometimes I think of a few words to write but you know I am no great hand at letter writing for if I was I should write much oftener though I have wrote several times I wrote a long letter by captain Barnes with an account of my voyage1

[salute] I am your dutiful son

[signed] John Quincy Adams
RC (Adams Papers). Text is given here in literal style.
1. Not found; doubtless lost at sea.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0061

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-08-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I have neither Time, nor Confidence enough in the Opportunity, to write you any Thing more, than an Assurance that We are all well, anxiously wishing for News from America. 3d. June1 is the last We have had from Boston. Not a Word of D'Estaing.
Never was the Spirits of a Nation, higher than the French. Never Nation had more Cause for Dejection than England.
They are now censuring Keppell, who seems to have done what he could with a Fleet half manned, or a little more.
They are distressed for Masts and Yards to refit.—Persons from England say that the general Opinion is, that Independance will be agreed to: but be not deceived. It is time enough to believe it, when it is fact.
Dont be anxious about Spain—nor any Thing else. Let Us sing “Oh be joyfull,” &c.—I have written 10 times to desire you to draw upon me for what Money, you want. Your Uncle Smith will get you Cash for your Bills, which shall be paid at sight.
[signed] John Adams
1. A mistake for “July.” See JA to Laurens of the present date: “the last Accounts from thence [America] having been brought by Captains Ayers and Barns from Boston, neither of them later than the 3 or 4 July” (LbC, Adams Papers). Capt. John Ayres had sailed in the Arnold Packet from Boston on or about 3 July and arrived at Bordeaux on 28 July after a remarkably quick passage (Ayres to the American Commissioners, 29 July, PPAmP: Franklin Papers; JA to R. H. Lee, 5 Aug., LbC, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0062

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Cranch, Elizabeth
Recipient: Norton, Elizabeth Cranch
Date: 1778-08-14

John Quincy Adams to Elizabeth Cranch

[salute] My Dear Cousin

by your desire I now sit down to write a few lines to you and not yet having wrote to you I cannot let this oportunity pass without writing. my Pappa has received two or three packets from my mamma in which she said our family and Freinds were all well as I hope this will find them. I have nothing material to write having given an account of my voyage and travels to my Mamma. I am your affectionate Cousin
[signed] John Quincy Adams
RC (MHi:Jacob Norton Papers); docketed: “August 14. 1778. JQA.” MS bears various later notations in ink and pencil not recorded here. Text is given in literal style.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0063

Author: Rush, Benjamin
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-08-15

Benjamin Rush to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

I set down with great pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of a letter from Mr. Adams dated February 8th, with a poscript from you, which through a Mistake, or neglect in the post Offices did not reach me 'till the 10th. of this instant.1 I hope it is not too late to thank you for them both. The remedies you have demanded to releive the anguish of your mind occasioned by parting with your dear Mr. Adams have now become unnecessary from my hand. You have drawn comfort from a hundred resources since he left his native shores. You have heard of his safe arrival in France, of the marks of respect with which he was introduced into that kingdom, and of his zeal and industry in promoting the liberties, and adding to the Stability of the independance of his country. To greive at the Absence of a husband thus honoured, and thus employed, would partake of the weakness of those people who bewail the premature translation of a friend from the humble pursuits of earth to the beneficent employments of heaven.
I am led by the many amiable traits I have received of your Character from Mr. Adams, to call upon you to rejoice in the happy changes that have taken place in the Appearance of our Affairs since my correspondence commenced with Mr. Adams.—An Alliance has been formed with the first Monarchy in Europe. The haughty Court of Britain has been forced to sue to her once insulted colonies for peace—the capital of Pennsylvania the Object of the expenses and blood of a whole campaign has been evacuated—the flower of the british army { 75 } has been disgraced—and above all, a french fleet now hovers over our coasts, and adds its Strength to the Arms of the united States. These madam are great and unexpected events, and call for the gratitude of our country to the great Arbiter of human Affairs. When the Duke D'Avignon,2 After having witnessed the destruction of a whole Army by Sickness, the war before last, at Hallifax, saw his last Ship perish in a storm, he cried out “God is resolved to have all the honor of conquering us to himself.” In like manner it seems as if heaven was resolved to have all the honor of our deliverance to itself. The wisdom of our counsels was often foolishness, and the strength of our Arms was too often weakness. Even the capture of Burgoyne which produced this wonderful revolution in our Affairs was the effect of a Mistake in Congress. By recalling General Gates from Ticonderoga they gave the enemy a post which led him into the heart of our country. The restoring of General Gates to his command was not the effect of the wisdom of Congress, but the result of the spirit and clamors of the people.
Soon after my last letter to Mr. Adams I was forced to resign my commission of physician General to the military hospitals having no prospect of being supported in doing my duty by the Congress, or the Army. This prepared the way for my returning to Philadelphia as soon as the enemy left it, where I am now setled with my family in the business of my profession, and wholly taken up in the duties of private life. Our city has undergone some purification, but it still too much resembles the Ark which preserved not only the clean, but the unclean beasts from the effects of the deluge.3

[salute] My dear Mrs. Rush joins in best compts: to you, and your little family with Madam your most Obedient humble servt.,

[signed] Benja. Rush
RC (Adams Papers). LbC (PPL); dated “Septr: 3. 1778”; printed in Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:217–218. There is no discernible explanation of the discrepancy between the date of LbC (which is essentially a draft) and that of RC; see note 1. Among numerous textual differences between the two MSS, only one is recorded here; see note 3.
1. JA's letter to Rush of 8 Feb. 1778, with a postscript by AA saying she stood “in need of [Rush's] prescriptions of Condolance,” is now in MB; LbC (Adams Papers) is printed in JA, Works, 9:472–473, without the postscript. Rush's statement that he had received this letter on “the 10th. of this instant” (i.e. August), found also in LbC, makes the date he attached to LbC altogether unaccountable.
2. A mistake for the Due d'Anville (or Enville); see JA to AA, 30 Dec., below, and note 3 there.
3. LbC has a paragraph at this point which is not in RC: “I beg you would present Miss Adams with the little book which accompanies this letter. It was written by Dr. Gregory, one of my masters, a worthy and eminent physician in { 76 } the city of Edinburgh.” The volume in question was John Gregory, A Father's Legacy to His Daughters, first published in 1774 and frequently reprinted (DNB).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0064

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1778-08-19

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

[salute] My dear Sir

This Moment your favour of August the 62 is come to hand. My Heart reproaches me that I have not before this time told you that according to the Scotch Song “I had banishd all my Grief for I was sure the News was true and I was sure he's well.”—Indeed Sir I have been so much absorbed in my own happiness and so selfish that I have scarcly thought of communicating it.
But a debt of gratitude is due to you who not with standing the weight of publick cares which must engrose all your hours, have frequently devoted those which Nature requires for repose, to the Benevolent purpose of giving ease and dissapating the fears and anxieties of your greatly obliged Friend. No additional proof was wanting to convin[c]e me that the Native Sensibility, tenderness and Benevolence of Mr. L[ovel]l could suffer no alteration or dimunation, by any buisness or employment in which he could be engaged—that it is an innate principal and displays itself in every action of his life and of this he may be assured if it will give him any satisfaction that the happy talent he possesses in the Manifestation of those virtues will ever attach the fair Sex to him and in a perticuliar manner.
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers); docketed by CFA: “To James Lovell.”
1. Since AA is here acknowledging a letter from Lovell dated 6 Aug., and since Lovell acknowledged on 1 Sept. (see under that date below) a letter from her dated 19 Aug. (RC not found), the present draft can be assigned the latter date with some confidence.
2. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0065

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Thaxter, John
Date: 1778-08-19

Abigail Adams to John Thaxter

[salute] Dear Sir

I really began to feel very uneasy at your long Silence and feared Sickness or some disaster had befallen you. I have been a journey, and absent about a fortnight as far as Haverhill,1 and upon my return I expected to have found Letters in Town, for so long a Space has not intervened since your absence, but to my no small dissapointment I could not hear any thing from you, but I will not complain since Last nights Express brought me so ample a compensation, for which accept my thanks and for the publick papers enclosed which beguile some { 77 } of my lonely Hours. Six months have elapsed, in the whole of which time I have received only two short Letters from abroad. You may judge how painfull to me this long interval appears when I compare my present Situation with my former indulgence. Tho I could not expect such frequent intercourse yet I had flatterd myself with a much freer communication. I cannot help exclaming sometimes, O! that I had the wings of a Dove.2
I was in hopes that I should have had some very agreable intelligence to have communicated to you before this time from Rhode Island;3 the Spirit I assure you is greater here than you ever saw it. Gentleman of rank and fortune have joind that Army in the capacity of volunteers, the spirit caught from Town to Town surprizeingly. Portsmouth, Newburyport,4 Salem, Boston, all their chosen Sons, have marched with a spirit and vigor that does Honour to America. Hitchbourn, Welsh, Mason, Smith, Bradford, Codman are those you know of the independent company5 and all of them are gone to earn Lawrels I hope, and wear the victors Crown.6

“Honour rewards the Brave and bold alone

She spurns the Timirous, Indolent and base

Danger and Toil stand stern before her Throne

And guard, so Jove commands the sacred place

Who seeks her must the mighty cost sustain

And pay the price of Fame, Labour, care and pain.”

We are very anxious for the French Fleet, which saild after How, the day before the severest North East Storm ever known at this season of the year.7 Nothing has been heard of them since and to day is 9 days since they went out.
The commissioners of Britain make not only a small but an ignominious figure. I cannot help considering them in the Light of the Fallen Angles in Milton who meditating upon their own miserable State and lost Liberties are desirous of involving this New world, this paridice of Freedom in the same chains and thraldom with their own and thus consulting,

“Here perhaps some advantageous act may be achievd

By sudden onset, or with tempting Bribe

To waste this whole creation or possess all as our own

and drive, as we are driven the puny habitants

or if not drive, seduce them to our party,

that their God may prove their foe

And with repenting hand, abolish his own work.”8

{ 78 }
They too like the Grand Deceiver must be making use of the same instruments to effect their diabolical plans by tempting a Modern Eve to taste the forbidden Fruit. But tis with pleasure I find in the General and Statesman a more rigid virtue and incorruptable Heart than our primitive parent discoverd, tho perhaps it may be happy for the Gentleman that his own Eve was not imployd, and she the only Female on Earth, or that unbounded knowledg was not the Bribe, instead of the paltry Gold.
You have heard before this time of the recovery of your worthy parent and mine from the small pox.9 They are both in Health.—I believe I did not mention to you that I have a new Nephew at Haverhill (betterd I hope by the Mothers side).10
You do not tell me how you do, nor how you like the city, the Metropilis as she calls herself of America.
Masters Charles and Tommy present their respects to you. Charly is learning to write and hopes soon to let you know it. Miss N[abb]y is at Boston. I have reminded her of a debt she owes you but she is backward in paying it. G[enera]l Hancock you see is gone to Rhode Island, so is another G[enera]l from this Town as volunteer.11 May they be calld to action and acquit themselves with Honour.
Continue to write by every opportunity. I love to know what is passing in the world tho excluded from it. I asked you several questions in my last, an answer to which is expected by your Friend
[signed] Portia
RC (MB); addressed: “To Mr. John Thaxter Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mrs. Adams 19th. Augst. 1778.” Dft (Adams Papers); incomplete (see note 9); at head of text in CFA's hand: “August 1778.” Some of the numerous variations between RC and Dft have been recorded in notes below.
1. Dft: “Haverhill and Newburyport.”
2. This sentence is not in Dft, which reads, instead: “I cannot help suspecting that many vessels must have been taken, or I should have heard oftner. Methinks with so respectable a Navy as France has she might keep a clearer coast. If England was not such a dastard she would have declared war, e'er this period. Our communication would be better should that be the case.”
3. The campaign then in progress against the British forces in Rhode Island was under the command of Maj. Gen. John Sullivan. On the point of probable success, it failed when a sudden and heavy storm disabled the Comte d'Estaing's cooperating fleet. For detailed accounts see AA to Thaxter, 2–3 Sept., and Cotton Tufts to JA, 2 Nov., both below.
4. Dft inserts “Marblehead” at this point, which was perhaps unintentionally omitted in RC.
5. Benjamin Hichborn had been captured with JA's indiscreet letters in Aug., 1775 but afterward escaped; see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:174–175; 3:318–319. Thomas Welsh, serving as a military surgeon, was a relative of AA's by marriage; see Adams Genealogy. Jonathan Mason, a former law clerk of JA's and a correspondent of AA's, has been identified and often alluded to in earlier volumes of this series. John Codman (probably John Codman Jr., on whom { 79 } see William Smith to AA, 1–3 Oct., below) was one of the members of the Independent Company when it was formed in 1776; see AA to JA, 1 Aug. 1776, vol. 2, above; Mass. Soldiers and Sailors, 3:704. Neither Smith nor Bradford can be identified with certainty.
6. Dft varies markedly from RC at this point, but it may be necessary to note only that in DftAA stated that she herself “saw the Boston independant company march. Many joind it who did not really belong to it. They made a Handsome appearence.” According to the newspapers the Company marched on Friday, 7 August. Presumably AA was in Boston at this time, either going to or returning from Haverhill.
7. Dft adds: “The wind blew a mere Hurricane for 24 hours.”
8. From Beelzebub's speech in Paradise Lost, bk. II, lines 362–370, but, as usual in quoting, unquestionably from memory, AA partly paraphrases and pays little heed to the original line arrangement. In Dft her wording and line arrangement are still different.
9. From here to its end Dft reads:
“We have sufferd greatly by a very severe drought and intense Heat. The Indian corn was nearer perishing than ever I knew it before, many Feild[s] have been cut up, and what were left the most severe storm that was ever known here laid level with the Ground. I fear we shall be distressd for Bread, and cider will be scarcer than it has been since my remembrance. There were but very few apples before the storm having sufferd an early blast, and the few there were are distroyd by the storm. We think you deficient in your duty that you never tell us how you do, nor have you said lately whether your disorder has left you. Your Welfare is most earnestly wished by your Friend Portia.”
In a passage not quoted from Dft there is evidence that the entire draft was written a day earlier than the fair copy which was sent. It is possible that the date at head of RC was overwritten from “18” to “19.”
10. William Smith Shaw, son of AA's sister Elizabeth (Smith) and Rev. John Shaw, was born in Haverhill on 12 Aug. 1778 (Vital Records of Haverhill, Massachusetts, Topsfield, Mass., 1910–1911, 1:271). He served as JA's private secretary during the latter's Presidency and became a founder and the first librarian of the Boston Athenaeum. See Adams Genealogy. AA's aversion to her brother-in-law Shaw has been expressed earlier in this correspondence; see above, vols. 1:176 and 2:173, and see Thaxter's answer, 11–12 Sept., below.
11. Possibly but not certainly Brig. Gen. Joseph Palmer.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0066

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-08-21

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

If I knew of any more endearing Title I should certainly give it. But this appears to me to express the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth.
It is at this Time a very still season for News. We are all Impatience to hear from America, having nothing certain since the 3d. July.
My Son is well, and servant, and both behave well. The first is in high Reputation here.—Please to draw Bills on me for what Money you want, and get your Unkle to obtain Cash for them. They shall be paid at sight. If any Body scruples your Bills get your Father or Unkle to indorse them.
It is uncertain by what Conveyance this will go. I send you the { 80 } Journal de Paris, which contains an Account of all the new Books and Publications. Our Friends will be amused with them and our Children should be taught to read them. I hope you teach them all French, it is so usefull a Language that they should all learn it.—Embrace them for me. My duty to Father, Mother, Brothers, Sisters, Cousins, Uncles and all good folks.

[salute] I am &c.,

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed Journal de Paris not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0067

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Thaxter, John
Date: 1778-08-26

Abigail Adams to John Thaxter

[salute] Dear Sir

Your favour of the 5th instant is just come to hand.1 I should like very well to see the Speach you mention and the reply, but would not desire it till you have full Licence to communicate it.—I wish I could give you such intelligence from Rhode Island as I hoped to, but not withstanding we have men of Sence and Letters, many of them there, we do not get Authentick intelligence. Tis a week since the French Fleet returnd, yet to this day we know not whether she had any engagement with How or not. We are told that they were much damaged and are comeing round to Boston to repair, and that in consequence of that the Seige of Rhode Island is like to be raised. I own I am Mortified, because I never before saw the people so zealous, or so much engaged and determined. I thought it portended success to our Arms—no expence has been spaired.
I will not censure. I know not circumstances sufficently, but I wish we had succeeded tho at the expence of many Heroes.
I wish them to recollect the Maxims of one of the greatest Statesman in the World, Sully, that we ought neither to adventure upon rash attempts from too much confidence nor to dispair of Success in a great design from the appearance of difficulties. In bold and difficult enterprizes we should endeavour to subdue one obstacle at a time, nor suffer ourselves to be depressd by their greatness and their Number. We ought never to dispair of what has been once accomplished.
How many things have the Idea of imposible been annexed to, that have become easy to those who knew how to take advantage of time, opportunity, Lucky moments, the faultts of others, different Dispositions, and an infinate Number of circumstances.2
I never had all the confidence in the World in the abilities of the ——. Courage I believe he has a sufficient portion of. But an { 81 } unfortunate General is always supposed to be a culpable one, tho the censure may some times be unjust.3
The Large 74 Gun Ship calld the Ceasar which parted company from the Fleet fell in with an english Ship and fought her but two more comeing up obliged her to quit and to come into Boston.
We have had the Hottest Summer I ever remember. I am this moment almost melted, and this is the 3 day of such voilent Heat. You will therefore excuse my sending you this Scrawl in a greater Dishabill than usual.—Your Friends were all well yesterday. The first cool day I expect to bring your Sister Hannah to tarry with me.—No News from the Far country—no Letters, no vessels. High ho—ten times in an hour I wish I had a Bird of passage.

[salute] Adieu continue your correspondence with unremitted assiduity and know that you greatly oblige

[signed] Portia
I am greatly hurried, the person who is to take this waits, excuse everything and purify by fire. I am conscious I sometime write better.
RC (MB); addressed: “To Mr. John Thaxter Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mrs. Adams 26. Augst. 1778.”
1. In Adams Papers but omitted here. Among other things Thaxter had said he would furnish AA with a copy of Gérard's speech to Congress after the ceremonies of welcome to the new minister next day.
2. This was not the first time AA used this passage from Sully's Mémoires; see vol. 1:416, 418, above.
3. Gen. Sullivan had been defeated and captured two years earlier in the battle of Long Island.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0068

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-08-27

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I shall inc[l]ose by this Opportunity, by Mr. Ingersol, Son of Mr. Ingersol of Connecticut, the late Judge of Admiralty at Philadelphia, but very different from his Father in his political sentiments, the Journals of Paris.1 But must refer you to the Public Papers for News.
Indeed there is a Famine for News at present, here and in England. Not a Word from M. Destaing, nor from America since beginning of July.—We are all Impatience.
We are all well here. The Climate, the Air, and the manner of living agree very well with our Health. But when will the happy Time arrive, that I shall return to the scaene of my Happiness.
I have several Times sent some Things to you and shall continue to do so. But draw upon me for what Money you want.
Remember me, to Father, Mother, Brothers, Sisters, Uncles, Aunts, { 82 } Cousins, and to those which I ought to have mentioned, first of all Children.

[salute] I am yours, ever yours,

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed “Journals of Paris” not found.
1. Jared Ingersoll Jr. (1749–1822), Yale 1766, was attending the Middle Temple in London when war broke out; returning to Philadelphia in 1778, he served as a Pennsylvania delegate to the Continental Congress, 1780–1781, and later had a distinguished career as lawyer, judge, and politician (DAB; Biog. Dir. Cong.; Dexter, Yale Graduates, 3:184–187).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0069

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Mason, Jonathan Jr.
Date: 1778-08

Abigail Adams to Jonathan Mason?

[salute] Dear Sir2

Tho I cannot stile you a plant of my Hand, in some measure I own you as a child of my care, and as such feel anxious for your Glory and welfare. It was with pleasure I found you determined to enter the Feild against our cruel and Barberous foes and should you be calld to action I dout not but you with the rest of your Brethren would Signilize yourselves, and gain immortal Honour to the Arms of America. You must for a while forget the soft endearment of Love, and instead of worshiping at the Shrine of Venus Buckle on the Armour of Mars and fight the cause of Honour, Virtue, and Liberty.
Providence (says a favorite Author) has fitted mankind for the higher engagements which they are sometimes obliged to fullfill, and it is in the midst of such engagements that they are most likely to acquire or to preserve their virtues. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties, not in engageing the repose of a pacific station. Penetration and wisdom are the Fruits of experience, not the lessons of retirement and leisure; ardour and generosity are the qualities of a mind raised and animated in the conduct of Scenes that engage the Heart, not the Gifts of reflections or knowledge.3
The present contest is of that Nature, and gives you an opportunity of <acquiring and displaying> immortalizeing your Fame to future ages.

Honour rewards the Brave and bold alone

She spurns the Timirous, Indolent and base

Danger and toil stand stern before her Throne;

And gaurd, so Jove commands the sacred place

Who seeks her must the mighty cost sustain

And pay the price of Fame, Labour and care and pain.

Your enterprize is Harzerdous, and I fear you will find an obstinate { 83 } resistance, but it was a maxim of an able warior never to dispair of what had been once accomplished. We do not get such minute intelligence from you as we wish for. I want to know how you weatherd the Storm, where the French Fleet have been, and what became of those they went in chase of, the disposition of your Army, how many regular Troops you have, How many Militia, and every thing respecting your Army. Be so good as to present my regards to Dr. W[elc]h and Mr. S[mit]h. A Letter directed to me with orders to leave it [at] Vose's at Milton will come safe to Hand. The Hand writing is so well known to you that I need not add any other Signature than that of
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers); undated and without indication of recipient; at head of text in JQA's mature hand: “To Nathan Rice 1776”—another example of JQA's misleading guesswork as family archivist; see note 2.
1. From the questions asked by AA in the last paragraph it is clear that she was writing after the news of Estaing's chase (10 Aug. et seq.) of Lord Howe's fleet off Newport was known in Boston but before Estaing sailed into Boston Harbor to refit (28 Aug.). It may be noted that AA's letters to Thaxter of 19 and 26 Aug., both above, contain quotations found also in the present letter, which may well have been written between those two dates.
2. Internal evidence leaves no serious doubt that AA was addressing Jonathan Mason, an earlier correspondent of hers and JA's former law clerk, who (as she reported to Thaxter, 19 Aug., above) had recently marched to Rhode Island with the Massachusetts troops supporting Sullivan's army. See a biographical note on Mason, vol. 1:280, above.
3. MS has closing quotation marks here. Probably opening quotation marks should have been placed at the beginning of this paragraph. The source of the quotation is not known.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0070

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-09-01

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

Yesterday the Letters of Portia of June 24th. and Augst. 19th. came to my hand together, by Post. The wishes expressed in the latter1 have made all the Impressions of the most pleasing Commands, and shall be strictly attended to upon the first possible Occasion of fulfilling them; which must, I think, be soon, tho the Embargo is not yet taken off.
As to the former, I will not now make it the Baisis of a Declamation against Flattery. I will only tell the sudden Effect which it produced, upon the quick glancing of my Eye over it. Did it add to my former great Respect for the Writer of it? No, Portia, not at the first Reading; but it forced from me, almost audibly, in a grave Assembly where I broke the Seal, “gin ye were mine ain Thing how dearly I would love thee”! Excuse me, Ramsay,2 if I now misspell you; I am sure my Feelings did Justice to your Sentiment!—A second Reading restored me to { 84 } Decorum, and I recognized my Age, tho I did not find any sudden Aids from Philosophy; nor do I now think that one single Plunge into the Waters of Lethe would quite prevent all after Recollection of the pleasing Impulse which I felt on this Occasion.
I will not, at this Moment, suffer my Ideas to deviate so widely from the Track they have been in as to go into the Trenches and covered Ways at Newport. I will still make them attend to your American Republican, who can, as readily as Vertumnus, throw aside an “awkward” Cloak, in the Presence of a Pomona.3 You will think less of what he can do than of what he really will. You may contemplate Judge Adams at the Louvre; while he will render you Justice with Interest, by contemplating the Mistress of his Happiness, a Portia.
Though I have just avoided a certain Part of your Letter, yet, perhaps, in the Shade of Evening a Raven or a Screech Owl may send Voices to my Ears which will attune my Nerves for a Dirge upon blasted Hopes and abortive Victory.
But,—I almost forget that the Post is to convey this memorandum of my constant affectionate Wishes for your Happiness.
[signed] James Lovell
1. Concerning a barrel of flour AA wanted shipped to her. This was not mentioned in her draft printed above under the assigned date of 19 Aug., but it must have been added in the (missing) RC; see Lovell's next letter, 12 Sept., below.
2. Allan Ramsay (1686–1758), Scottish poet (DNB). For the lyric quoted, see Ramsay's Poems, London, 1800, 2:261.
3. For the legend of Vertumnus' wooing of Pomona, see Harper's Dict. of Classical Lit. under the name of the former.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0071

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Thaxter, John
Date: 1778-09-02

Abigail Adams to John Thaxter

[salute] Dear Sir

I was much surprized to Night upon receiving a Letter from you,1 in which you say you have not heard from Home since june; I have wrote many Letters to you since that time and have sent 4 or 5 from your Friends all under cover to Mr. L[ovel]l to you. What can have become of them I know not, unless some of them being directed to York Town travelled that way and have been lost. Do not think unkindly of us, for I assure you many Letters have been sent since that time. I saw your Mamma last week. She is very anxious for your Health. I deliverd with my own hand the Letter to your sister.2 You mention comeing home in October. Your Mamma and Sister are very { 85 } desirous of seeing you, but say they would not have you return, unless you mean to quit your place. You know your own situation best, and whether it is worth your while to tarry longer. You may be assured of a Hearty welcome from your correspondent, tho I shall regreat the loss of my intelligencer.
You will hear no doubt before this reaches you of our unhappy Failure in the Rhode Island expedition, and yet no one to be blamed that I know of either for want of courage or conduct, but the Hand of providence was against us. The Terible Storm I mentiond to you in my last so impaired and shatterd the Counts Fleet that he was under a necessity of comeing into Boston to refit, in consequence of which the Enemy took the advantage of it, and attacked our Army. A pretty smart engagement ensued, in which we lost tis said a hundred Men killd and a 100 & 80 wounded, but did not loose ground, drove the Enemy back to their entrenchments, their loss have not heard. By orders since from General Washington the Island is quitted and every thing brought of without molestation. The reason for leaving it, is that How had sent his Fleet that course, and now finding the Island evacuated they are hovering about this coast 20 Sail of them. Poor Boston is again distress'd, and I own my Spirits not a little agitated. Tis now past Eleven o clock, and as I sit writing to you I hear the alarm Guns fired; the Count has this day orderd his Men to entrench upon Georges Island. Guns are carrying to Nantasket, what ships he has fit for an engagement are drawn up in order of Battle, but his own is disabled more than any other. The seat of war appears to be drawing into this quarter again. Should they attempt landing here, which I can scarcly believe, they will I hope meet with distruction, but they come upon us rather unexpectedly, and would greatly distress us. More Guns—I believe I shall not sleep very soundly to Night.3
You inquire after my Dearest Friend. O Sir, I know not how to curb my impatience, only twice have I heard and [tho]se Letters dated in April. I wish a thousand times I had gone with him. We have not had a vessel from France since july when I heard by Sir James Jay. I think it very strange indeed and apprehend they must have been taken.
I would be more perticuliar but the News paper will tell you all the New's. We are very dry here, our crops are very much cut of, and this Fleet raises the price of every article which before exceeded in Lawfull money what they used to be in old tenor. I cannot say I shall come to the Town for a support, for I think I ought to come to the Continent.4 Some where or other I must find it, what signifies what one was once possessd of, when a hundred pounds Lawfull Money is reduced to { 86 } thirteen pounds, six & 8 pence. I cannot name you an article save House Rent but what exceeds and eaquels that difference.
Tis very late, but I will not seal to Night. I will add a few lines in the morning if I am not captivated5 before that time.
I heard nothing further last Night. What tremours they had in Town I know not, but am inclined to think they were pretty great, as the Night before the Bells rung and the Militia were paraded at Eleven o clock at Night.

[salute] I must hasten and close or loosse this conveyance. Excuse all inaccuracies from your Friend

[signed] Portia
RC (MB); addressed: “To Mr. John Thaxter Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mrs. Adams 2. Septr. 1778.”
1. Thaxter to AA, 21 Aug., in Adams Papers but not printed here.
2. Letter not found.
3. Three of the disabled ships, including Estaing's flagship, the 90–gun Languedoc, were at anchor in what is now Quincy Bay and were thus in plain sight of the villagers of Braintree; the rest of the fleet lay in Nantasket Roads, and several adjacent islands and promontories were fortified to protect it (J. J. R. Calmon-Maison, L'amiral d'Estaing, 1729–1794, Paris, 1910, p. 218). See maps above, vol. 1, following p. 240.
4. That is, appeal to the Continental Congress for financial support.
5. Captured.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0072

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-09-02

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

Your much esteemed favors of 23d. July and 19th. Augst. came to hand on Monday. Your Letters and the inclosed ones were very acceptable; as they contained agreeable Information. The Letter of June from you and also those from home of the same month mentioned that our Parents were under the operation of a disease, which has swept away it[s] thousands. Tho' Art has check'd its malignity, yet fears will arise when near connections have it in the way which promises the greatest success. The present Letters contain the only information from that Quarter since June—an Interval of more than two months. I will only say that my sensations in that period were neither pleasing nor agreeable.
Should I pass over the Quotations and observations in your letter respecting the Commissioners without expressing Admiration, I should deprive myself of the pleasure which the pertinency of both inspired on the perusal. There is not a passage in Milton more applicable—it designates their characters in a very just manner. Their productions { 87 } since the last publication of Congress are curious. Govr. Johnstone has made a seperate declaration—Carlisle, Clinton and Eden a joint one. There is neither decency nor conclusive reasoning in either of them. Johnstone to prevent embarrassments and difficulties has seperated himself from his Colleagues in Iniquity, Congress having declared they could not negociate with him as a Commissioner. The Commissioners may publish their productions—Congress I believe will not. It is not known among people here that Congress have recieved any thing further from them. You will therefore Madam use your discretion as to a communication of the above. I believe it is somewhat private as yet.
We hear nothing of consequence of late of the expedition against the inchanted Island. Great men have gone—may great Exploits be atchieved. I hope the present Expedition has no features of the old. Success there will materially affect the Councils and Operations of the Enemy at New York. For that reason I most ardently wish for it. The departure of the French Fleet has no doubt thrown embarrassments upon the operations on the Island, but I presume not insuperable Obstacles. The Spirit of the Militia does them great honor. If General Spencer is within the Atmosphere of the Troops he ought to be sacrificed. It must be damp, rainy or foggy wherever he is if fighting is the Object.1
The Charges against General Lee were as follows viz. 1st. Disobedience of orders in not attacking the Enemy agreeable to repeated instructions. 2d. Misbehaviour before the Enemy in making an unnecessary, disorderly and shameful retreat. 3d. Disrespect to the Commander in Chief. He was found guilty of the whole of the 1st. and 3d. and in part of the 2d. viz. in making an unnecessary and disorderly retreat. The proceedings of the Council of War are publishing.2 Every one that reads them will judge for themselves. He is suspended.
You propose a number of Questions to me respecting the Ladies in this part of the world, which I beg leave to arrange under the two following heads viz. Sense and Beauty. I can answer them Madam, only in general terms, as a multiplicity of business and other causes have prevented any considerable Intercourse with them. I have been introduced to Ladies possessing the former and latter. You will excuse any thing of a descriptive nature, lest insipidity or partiality should be the most conspicuous Color in the portrait. I possess not a descriptive talent, but good Sense and Literature I respect in both sexes. As to the Question which immediately affects me, I must candidly answer, that { 88 } a cold phlegmatic frame has in times past and does at present render me invulnerable to the most poignant shafts of the celebrated Bow. This is a constitutional answer. It is a misfortune—and one without remedy.
I am much obliged by your polite Caution, Madam: Be assured that the greatest attention shall be paid to the preservation of the health of so valuable a Lad as he who has the honor to be with great respect your most humble Servant,
[signed] J.T. Junr.
1. Maj. Gen. Joseph Spencer of Connecticut had led the abortive attack on the British in Rhode Island a year earlier; see vol. 2:351–352.
2. On 21 Aug. Congress “Ordered, That 100 copies of the proceedings of the court martial of the trial of Major General [Charles] Lee, be printed for the use of the members” (JCC, 11:826). They were published as Proceedings of a General Court Martial, Held at Brunswick, in the State of New Jersey . . . for the Trial of Major General Lee, Phila., 1778 (Evans 16140). A copy bound for CFA and with his bookplate is in MHi.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0073

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-09-09

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I fear you will complain of me, for not writing so often as I ought. But I write as often as I can.—I really never had more Business to do in my Life, and what mortifies me, beyond Measure is, to be obliged to say I never did less.
No News from England, or America—dreadfull Intervall! I say dreadfull Because, the Question of Speedy Peace or not depends, I apprehend upon what has already passed in America and We have not heard of—our last News was that D'Estaing was anchored, before Sandy Hook.
I send you a litle Amusement1—and Love and Respects to all Friends. Nabby, Charly and Thommy particularly. Johnny is well—reads and chatters french like a french Boy.
[signed] John Adams
1. What this was does not appear.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0074

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-09-11

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

Your favor of the 26th. Augst. I was honored with last Monday.
Just after I had wrote my last to you we had an account here of the action at Rhode Island. I am very happy in its being successful in so { 89 } great a degree; but will be honest enough to declare that my most pleasing expectations are disappointed. There seemed to be a Certainty almost of a total reduction of the Enemy at that post. There is a Spell set upon the Island, which we shall not I fear be able soon to remove.
The Spirit and Patriotism of the Militia in the affair have acquired them much honor every where. Congress have thanked them for their Exertions.
Pardon my impoliteness in omitting to congratulate you on the birth of the H[aver]hill Nephew. My only apology must be that I really intended, what unfortunately escaped my recollection at the time of writing. May a sincere Congratulation at this present expiate the offence. I hope it is “bettered by the Mothers side” in all conscience, else I pity it. May it be an heir to its sweet mother's Perfections and an alien to its Father's <Imperfections>.
[In the margin beside the preceding paragraph:] This is too impudent. The flames will purify.
I have not as yet been able to get any needles of the Number Mr. Hardwick wants. I will make all enquiry possible. If I can procure any I will send them forward.
I am very desirous to hear from Mr. A. and Son again. I was very glad in hearing of the health of both sometime agone. You will certainly hear oftener in a little time. The intercourse with that Country will become more general.

[salute] With great respect I am Madam Your very Hble. Servt.

[signed] J.T. Junr.
I have just heard that a vessel has arrived at some part of Maryland after a passage of 26 days. The news brought by her is to the following effect—that the Brest fleet, consisting of 30 sail of the line and 40 frigates, had sailed. That Keppel had sailed from his Station; but soon returned.—This is the substance. What will be the consequence time will unfold.—It is all conjecture at present.
I begin to feel the greatest uneasiness for Providence and Boston. May they escape the vengeance of a merciless Enemy.
[signed] J.T.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0075

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-09-12

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

I have the Mortification of being obliged to tell the amiable Portia { 90 } that the Council of Pensylvania will not grant a partial Exportation of Flour from their State while the general Embargo lasts: So that I cannot soon have the Pleasure of executing the Commission which that lovely Woman has entrusted to me.1 The State of Massachusetts [Bay?]2 will have the Direction of a Quantity out of which the distressed Inhabitants may get a Pittance. I shall join Portia in my Attentions to my dear Mrs. Lovell upon the first free Exportation from hence.

[salute] With affectionate Esteem,

[signed] J L
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams Braintree To Care of Isaac Smith Esqr. Boston.”
1. See Lovell to AA, 1 Sept., above, and note 1 there.
2. MS damaged.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0076

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-09-15

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

Since the date of that letter mentioning my not having recieved any intelligence from home for more then two months,1 I have had the honor of four or five letters from you and two or three from home. Your favor of the 2d. inst. came to hand yesterday. My situation is such at present, that it will by no means answer for me to reside here. Boarding, at almost the cheapest rate, is 16 dollars per week and Washing between two and three dollars per dozen. Every thing else is in proportion. Shoes 9. 10. and 12 dollars per pair. My pay is 100 dollars a month. After the Bills for boarding and washing and other contingent expences are paid, what is there left? Why a fund sufficient to support an extravagant Wife, a magnificent Table and all the equipage and parade of high life. I never wish to see Salaries very high in America. My Ambition is a decent competency. I believe my pay will not be raised. C[ongre]ss do not seem inclined to raise Wages. Compensation is most agreeable to them. If the limits of some Room in a certain building, now before my Eyes, does not mark the utmost extent of my personal liberty, I shall be easy. I hope to escape.—Enough of Egotisms.
Ten sail of Jamaica men were lost on the Bahamas in the late storm. Fine Harvest indeed for the Divers.
A paragraph of a letter from the far Country mentions, that an Engagement between the two fleets was daily expected. It was the opinion of the Writer that as soon as the news of the Ratification of the Treaty between France and America reached England, War would { 91 } be instantly declared. The letter was dated July 4th. 1778. A letter of the 12th from a Gentleman of distinction at Camp mentions that the accounts from deserters as well as appearances seem to indicate a total evacuation of New York by Water.—Destruction attend them wherever they go. Thus much for News. It needs no Comments. The Observations to be made will naturally occur.

[salute] With great respect I am Madam Your humble Servt.,

[signed] JT J.
I have this instant heard that the Privateer Montgomery has arrived from Nantz in France. She brings news that Keppel is blocked up in Portsmouth, by the Brest fleet—that 3000 manufacturers had risen—and that the insurrection was quelled by Subscriptions. Tame fools. They are fit subjects for so mercenary an Administration.
I hope de Chartres the French Admiral will make Keppel tremble to some purpose.
1. Thaxter to AA, 21 Aug., in Adams Papers but not printed here.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0077

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-09-23

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

A very idle, vain Conversation, at a Dinner, has produced you this Letter from a venerable old Lady, in this Neighbourhood, the Wife of Monsr. Grand the Banker.1
As the Subject was introduced, and according to the turn that the Conversation really took, there was not so much Vanity and Ostentation on my Part, as you will suspect from her Account of it. But as I speak french very imperfectly and she understands not a syllable of English I suppose she did not fully understand me.—All that I maintained was that it was the Duty of a good Citizen to sacrifice all to his Country, in some Circumstances. God Grant I may never be called to do this again so often as I have done already: for I have hazarded all very often and done as much as sacrifice all sometimes.
You will have a delicate Task to answer her. Write to her in English —she has a son about five and twenty who is a Master of English and will interpret.2
It is a virtuous Family, and very civil to me and my dear Johnny of whom the whole Family is very fond.3
We are in deep Concern for America, the last Accounts having left D'Estaing going to Rhode Island and Ld. Howe after him.
It is high Time for me to write to my Children but hitherto I have { 92 } not had time. I hope you have received twenty Letters from me, in which I have desired you to draw up[on] me for what Money you want. Yours,
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers). Concerning the (missing) enclosure see note 3.
1. The writer was Marie (Silvestre) Grand, wife of Ferdinand Grand (1726–1794), whose banking house in the Rue des Capucins handled financial transactions between the French government and the new United States (Lüthy, La banque protestante en France, 2:339 and passim). The Grands had a suburban villa in Passy near the residence of the American Commissioners; see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:303.
2. Jean François Paul Grand (afterward Grand-Labhard) (d. 1829), who married his cousin Marie Labhard and became a partner in his father's banking firm (Lüthy, La banque protestante en France, 2:341, 820).
3. Although Mme. Grand's letter has been lost, its tenor is clear from these comments by JA and a summary of it in AA's letter to AA2, ca. 11 Feb. 1779, below. It reached AA with the present letter early in February, and she followed JA's instructions in answering it. This answer, which must have been among AA's most interesting efforts of the kind, was enclosed in her reply to JA of 13 Feb. 1779, below. This, however, did not reach JA before he left Paris on 8 March, and the enclosure was ultimately delivered by hand to Mme. Grand after JA's return to Paris almost a year later; see JA to AA, 27 Feb. 1780, below. Despite its circulation in French as well as English, no version has so far been found. “Your Letter to Madam G[rand],” John Thaxter wrote AA, “is rendered into French and admired by every one that reads it, for its excellent Sentiments” (16–27 Feb. 1780, below). Four months later it was still circulating in France and producing “Encomiums and Tears” (Thaxter to AA, 18 June 1780, below).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0078

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-09-27

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] Honoured Mamma

My Pappa enjoins it upon me to keep a journal, or a diary, of the Events that happen to me, and of objects that I See, and of Characters that I converse with from day, to day, and altho I am Convinced of the utility, importance, & necessity, of this Exercise, yet I have not patience, & perseverance, enough to do it so Constantly as I ought. My Pappa who takes a great deal of Pains to put me in the right way, has also advised me to Preserve Copies of all my letters, & has given me a Convenient Blank Book for this end; and altho I shall have the mortification a few years hence, to read a great deal of my Childish nonsense, yet I shall have the Pleasure, & advantage, of Remarking the several steps, by which I shall have advanced, in taste, judgment, & knowledge.1 a journal Book & a letter Book of a Lad of Eleven years old, Cannot be expected to Contain much of Science, Litterature, arts, wisdom, or wit, yet it may Serve to perpetuate many observations that I may make, & may hereafter help me to recolect both persons, & { 93 } things, that would other ways escape my memory. I have been to see the Palace & gardens of Versailles, the Military scholl at Paris, the hospital of Invalids, the hospital of Foundling Children, the Church of Notre Dame, the Heights of Calvare, of Montmartre, of Minemontan, & other scenes of Magnificense, in & about Paris, which if I had written down in a diary, or a Letter Book, would give me at this time much Pleasure to revise, & would enable me hereafter to Entertain my Freinds, but I have neglected it & therefore, can now only resolve to be more thoughtful, & Industrious, for the Future & to encourage me in this resolution & enable me to keep it with more ease & advantage my father has given me hopes of a Present of a Pencil & Pencil Book in which I can make notes upon the spot to be Transfered afterwards in my Diary & my Letters this will give me great Pleasure both because it will be a sure means of improvement to myself & enable me to be more entertain[in]g to you.

[salute] I am my ever honoured & revered Mamma your Dutiful & affectionate Son

[signed] John Quincy Adams
RC and LbC (Adams Papers); aside from better paragraphing in LbC, the differences between the two texts are negligible. Text is given here in literal style.
1. JQA's earliest surviving diary (D/JQA/1) was begun on 12 Nov. 1779, the day he left Braintree for Boston to board the French frigate La Sensible for his second voyage to Europe. But he had begun a letterbook some months before he wrote the present letter; see above, JQA to TBA, 29 May, note 1.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0079

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Date: 1778-09-27

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams 2d

[salute] My Dear sister

it is some time since I wrote you a Letter & if I should neglect it a great while longer you would have no right to complain because you have been negligent in writing to me. however I think I will not take advantage of you.
But what Subject Shall I write you upon as you have now the honour to be miss in <her> your teens1 I suppose you begin to look about the world for Diversion if you was here you would have a surfeit of them the number of <them> gay amusements in this Country is Litterally infinite & therefore it would be impracticable to give you a List of them there is however but one sort of them that I care for and that is calld by the general name of Spectacles. these I like very well but Pappa wont let me go to them so often as I wish he lets me go now and then especially if there happens to be a tragedy of { 94 } Corneille Racine or Voltaire I have been twice to the opera & several times to the Italien Comedy but I have been oftenest to the French Comedy the others have a great deal of musick and dancing which are sprightly and agreable enough but the language the wit the passions the sentiments the oratory the poetry the manners and morals are at the French Comedy.
If you will promiss to learn French I will in some future letters give you an account of <one> some of them but Remember it is upon Condition that you will learn french2

[salute] I am &c.

LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “to my sister.” Text is given here in literal style.
1. Miss in Her Teens is the title of a comedy by David Garrick, produced at Covent Garden and published in 1747.
2. Here follows nearly a whole line heavily scored out in the letterbook, probably at the time the letter was entered because the writer decided not to pursue the subject. The first few words scored out are: “which may be done by”; remainder illegible.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0080

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-09-29

Abigail Adams to John Adams

It is difficult my dearest Friend at the instant in which the Heart finds itself dissapointed of some darling hope, to avoid reflexions that however, our cooler reasons dissaproves. I know not whether the pleasure I had in hearing that you were in Health the 10 of last June, was eaquel to the pain I endured in not receiving one Single line from you by the vessel which arrived last week from Nants in a passage of fourty days on board of which came a French Gentleman passenger from whom my Friends have kindly collected the state of your Health. <If there had not been publick dispatches on board>1
It is painfull to me to tell you that I have never received a line from you since those which were dated in April, tho I have reason to think you have received several Letters from me. I will not suggest an Idea that you have not wrote, or entertain a suspicion that distance, length of time, change of climate or any other cause could render you less mindfull of your country, less thoughtfull of your Friends or less solicitious for the welfare of your family, since so many hazardous circumstances may have arrisen and deprived me of the repeated testimonies of your affection. I dare aver that the Sea can witness for you that you have not been unmindfull of your Friends. Four vessels bound from Bordeaux to Boston have fallen into the hands of the Enemy. I must suppose I have lost letters on board of them. If I had realized { 95 } before you left me that the intercourse between us would have been so hazardous, I fear my magninimnity would have faill'd me. Expectation has so long and so often been combatted by dissapointment that I feel myself unhappy, my Spirits which were naturally cheerfull are depressed and the enjoyments of life are growing very insiped to me.
<I view myself in a situation by no mean to be envied. I wish for an Education for my children.>
Our publick affairs which looked so promiseing and so likely to meet with Success have been remarkabley frownd upon in an expedition against the enchanted Island. Neither spirit or conduct were wanting. Every one appeard zealous in the cause and determined by a vigirous effort to crush the vipers who had all collected together into a fort and gave up their cause as desperate. Count de Estang with his Fleet were to cooperate with our Army. How appeard of2 with his Fleet. The Count went out to attack him. A most uncommon storm arose, shatterd the Fleet to such a degree that it was not thought prudent to tarry. This at one3 stroke put an end to the opperations upon the Island, and our troops returnd mortified enough you may be sure. A small engagement ensued by an attack upon our troops in which they discoverd what they would have done had they been assisted4—but I forbear being minute as you will from News papers and other ways collect better accounts than I can give you. The French Fleet now lie in the Harbour of Boston. The daily supplies which we are obliged to afford them enhances the price of every article of life scarce before but now almost incredibley so. We have had a most uncommon hot and dry season. The months of July and August were the hottest ever known here and have cut of our corn, our potatoes and every other article. The cry for Bread is such as I never heard before. Rye 10 dollors a Bushel, Barly 6, corn not to be had, not one Barrel of cider will be made upon this place this year. The fruit is intirely cut of nor will there be one [ . . . ].5 Flower 50 Dollors per hundred. Whilst Scarcity and want threatens us on one hand, the pestilence is rageing on the other. The Dyssentery is as mortal as it was 3 years ago and prevails in the Neighbouring Towns, it has not yet been so mortal in this. All things look gloomy and melancholy arround me.
As to my own affairs you may recollect the sum you left with me was between 11 and 12 hundred dollors 7 of which I placed in the publick funds, there was a debt due to the clerk of the court which amounted to 50 dollors which I discharged and another to the Black Smith amounting to 55. My Rate Bill amounted to 49 pounds, and { 96 } the continental Rate to 15, the ministerial Rate raised by contribution. These sums with the payment of my winter Labourers left me destitute enough but I struggled along hoping to receive some assistance from you in the articles sent for, but never having received any thing I must suppose that I have been unfortunate enough to loose them. I can receive four pounds Lawfull money here for one pound Sterling paid in France. I have therefore run the venture to draw upon you for 50 pounds Sterling payable to my Cousin S[mit]h which order suppose you will receive with this Letter.6 I [ha]ve7 taken this method in preference to [borro]wing a sum which would subject me [to] the payment of Interest, and perhaps I might [be c]alld upon for it when it would not be in [my] power to discharge it. You will keep in [m]ind my dear sir that you may not think [me] lavish that the 2 hundred Lawfull is not [ea]quel to what 2 hundred old tenor once was. Those who purchase with hard money give for every necessary of life more than double what it formerly sold for.
I shall if I can have patience to coppy send Duplicates of this Letter. I enclose to you some papers and the kind remembrance of all your Friends.
Dft (Adams Papers); without date and heavily corrected in the course of composition. Written on both sides of a large, torn wrapper that had been earlier used by JA to cover a letter or letters conveyed from Philadelphia to AA by Samuel Adams; under AA's writing appears JA's direction: “Mrs. Adams at Isaac Smith Esqr. Boston favd. by Mr. Adams.” From internal evidence (see especially notes 1 and 6), it is clear that this is a draft of a letter which must have been dated 29 Sept. 1778 and which JA acknowledged in his answer of 2 Dec., below. Curiously, however, JA did not enter the present letter in his list of AA's letters received, sent to her on 20 Feb. 1779 (first letter of that date, below).
1. Thus in MS; AA did not pursue the thought here begun. See Boston Independent Chronicle, 24 Sept.: “Friday night last [18 Sept.] arrived a vessel at Piscataqua in 40 days from Nantz in France, with Dispatches for his Excellency Count d'Estaing, commander of his Most Christian Majesty's squadron, on this station; which dispatches went down to his Excellency last Sunday; the contents of which has not yet transpired.”
2. That is, “off,” and a following word or words were inadvertently omitted. Lord Howe's fleet had appeared off Point Judith, the entrance to Narragansett Bay, on 9 August.
3. MS: “once.”
4. This action took place near Newport on 29 Aug.; see Samuel G. Arnold, History of the State of Rhode Island, N. Y., 1859–1860, 2:425–428.
5. Illegible. Possibly “rason” (for “raisin”).
6. “Cousin Smith” was William Smith (1755–1816), partner in the Boston mercantile firm of Codman & Smith; see Adams Genealogy, and see also Smith's letter to AA of 1–3 Oct., below. The “order” in question has not been found.
7. Here and below, text is slightly conjectural because a fragment has been torn from MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0081

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1778-09-29

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My Dear Son

Writing is not A la mode de Paris, I fancy or sure I should have heard from my son; or have you wrote and have I been so unfortunate as to lose all the Letters which have been written to me for this five months.
I have sufferd great anxiety in not hearing from your pappa, or you. I hope you have not been so unlucky in those Letters sent to you.
I want to know your situation, what proficiency you make in the Language. I expect you will write me a Letter en Francois á vous dire le vray, un si long silence commençoit déja á me donner de 1'inquietude.
We have here a large portion of the French Navy. I never wanted to speak the language half so much before, it is difficult holding any intercourse with them. Many of the officers appear to be Gentleman of Education.
I wrote you one very long Letter, hope you received it. You must be very perticuliar when you write. I think it very hard when a vessel arrives without a Letter for me. You know the pleasure I always took in hearing from your pappa in his frequent absence from me. You must think now both he and you are at such a distance from me that Letters are more acceptable than ever.
Your Friends here are all well. The next opportunity you have for writing you must not forget your Grandmamma. Mr. T[haxte]r is at Philadelphia yet, tho he talks of returning this month.
Does the climate of France suit your constitution. You used to be unwell in the spring and fall. It is very sickly here with the dysentery.
We have heard of the engagement between the French and English Fleets, and are much gratified with the good conduct of our Allies.
After the faileure of the late Expedition against Rhoad Island, we were in great apprehension of an attack upon Boston, as the Fleet lay in that harbour, but haveing looked in upon them Lord How thought it best to retire to New York after plundering 9000 Sheep from Martha Vinyard.1
Your Brothers send their Love to you, and thank you for their Letters, will write to you as soon as they are capable of it. Charlly got his pen to day and attempted it but could not please himself. I believe I must not write an other Letter to Paris till I hear from thence. Be dutifull my dear Son, be thoughtfull, be serious, do not gather the { 98 } Thorns and the Thistles, but collect Such a Garland of flowers as will flourish in your native climate, and Bloom upon your Brows with an unfading verdure.

[salute] This will rejoice the Heart and compensate for the continual anxiety of your affectionate

[signed] xxxxxxx xxxxx
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mr. John Quincy Adams Paris In France”; endorsed: “Mamma's Letter Ansd. Decr. 2d. 78”; docketed twice in JQA's later hand, the more inclusive notation reading: “A. Adams. 29. Septr: 1778. 2. Decr: Ansd:”.
1. An account of Howe's marauding expedition on Martha's Vineyard is in the Boston Gazette, 28 Sept., suppl.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0082

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Thaxter, John
Date: 1778-09-29

Abigail Adams to John Thaxter

[salute] Dear Sir

I know not but you are upon your return home. If you be a pleasent journey to you but you will not I fear find us a bit better people than you left us. We are more extravagant, selfish, oppressive than we were last year, and then you well know we were bad enough. What can be done with this light commodity which makes such strange work amongst us. It cost me as much to live one month as it used to in a year, but the mischief is that I know not where to get it. To day Labour I cannot go because forsooth they have placed my Husband in a Station that must not be so disgraced. Yet had he been left in his own station, I need not have had a care of this kind.
It is true says one that Mankind in general are a worthless and ungratefull set of Beings for a Man to wear out himself in serving but if we do not lay out ourselves in the Service of mankind whom should we serve? Our own insignificant selves that would be sordid indeed.
Thus I hush all my murmurs by considering we are all embarked upon the same bottom, and if our Country sinks we must sink with it.
I believe we shall be rest1 pretty secure in this quarter this winter. How is gone to New York to winter, and Count Destaing has made this harbour impregnable.—By the way I am going on Board the Fleet tomorrow by a perticuliar invitation, I will tell you all about it when I return.2—Your good sister Hannah has been with me these 5 weeks and presents her Love to you. Your Mamma3 was well to day and here for a rarity. No News yet from my absent Friend, how cruel this suspence. Present my most sincere regards to Mr. L[ovel]l for his kind { 99 } attention to me. I will thank him myself soon, at present adieu in haste from your affectionate Friend,
[signed] Portia
PS Hardwick desires if you cannot procure No. 6 that you would try for No. 7.
RC (MB); addressed: “To Mr. John Thaxter Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mrs. Adams 29 Sept. 1778.”
1. Thus in MS.
2. No such account has been found. In her letter of 21 Oct., below, AA gave JA a brief account of a later visit she paid on board Estaing's flagship in Quincy Bay.
3. Anna (Quincy) Thaxter (1719–1799), AA's aunt, wife of John Thaxter Sr.; see Adams Genealogy.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0083

Author: Lafayette, Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, marquis de
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-09-29

Lafayette to Abigail Adams

Le Marquis de lafayette Most Respectful Compliments Wait on Mrs. Adams and is highly sensible of the honor she had done him By her Most polite letter.2 He is very sorry that his Going immediately to Camp prevents him from Waiting on her at Bain tree Where he should have been happy to Present her With a tribute of his Gratitude and Respect.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. john Adams Bain Tree.”
1. This is simply the most plausible date and is not assigned with perfect confidence. Lafayette's first visit to Boston had been for only two or three days at the end of August, to smooth over differences between Gen. Sullivan (with whom Lafayette was serving at Rhode Island) and Adm. d'Estaing, whose shattered fleet had just sailed into Boston Harbor. See Gottschalk, Lafayette, 2:263–265. No Tuesday occurred during that visit. Lafayette returned to Boston just a month later for further conférences with Estaing, and stayed a little longer; this visit included Tuesday, 29 Sept. (same, p. 279–282). The writer's saying in the present letter that he is “Going immediately to Camp” presumably refers to his imminent departure for Washington's headquarters on the Hudson, for which he in fact did set out on 1 Oct. (same, p. 282–283).
It is true that Lafayette soon paid a third and longer visit to Boston, lasting from about 12 Dec. 1778 to 11 Jan. 1779, when he sailed with Congress' dispatches for France on the Alliance (same, p. 311, 315–320). During this period he may very well have met AA (whose favorable allusion to him in her letter to JQA of 15 Dec. sounds as if they had not yet become acquainted), but on this longer visit he was headed for France and not back “to Camp.”
2. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0084

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1778-10-01

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My Dear Brother

As my thoughts are Principally busied upon the French tongue, & as I wish you to turn yours the same way, earlier than I did, I cannot { 100 } think of a Subject to write to you upon more agreable & useful both to you & me than this: Pappa who has an opportunity of Conversing with many men of Learning in this Kingdom, among the phisiciens & Lawyers, as well as eclesiasticks, of various orders, particularly with several very learned abbys,1 he has made it his buisiness to enquire after the best books, & other helps for learning the language of this nation2 in some future letters to my brother Charles & you, I will give you a List of the grammers, Dictionarys, & treatisies upon the French tongue which he has collected as I have the use of this little library if I do not make myself master of French it will not be for want of opportunity or of books but that this talent with which Providence has intrusted3 me may be improved to the best advantage it is necessary to be a good husband of my time.
I cannot impress too strongly upon my mind or recommend too warmly to you the importance of a sentence4 which I lately read in a French writer “tous les momens de 1'enfans sont precieux”5 with which I take my Leave of you and subscribe myself your affectionate Brother
[signed] John Quincy Adams
RC (Adams Papers); docketed by CFA. LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “to my brother Tommy.” RC was doubtless enclosed in JA's letter to AA of 2 Oct., below. Text is given here in literal style. There is a second RC in Adams Papers, dated at Passy, 10 Feb. 1778 [i.e. 1779]; it was copied from LbC and may have been sent either as a duplicate or because JQA thought he had not previously made a copy to send; see descriptive note on JQA to CA and TBA, 3 Oct., below.
1. The inseparable Abbés Arnoux and Chalut, warm friends of the Adamses and of the American cause; see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:317 and passim.
2. See JQA to CA and TBA, 3 Oct., below.
3. JQA here first wrote “instructed” and then altered it to “instrusted”; but the correct form appears in LbC and is given here.
4. LbC: “sentiment.”
5. LbC adds translation: “every moment of infancy is precious.”

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0085

Author: Smith, William (1755-1816)
Author: Codman, John Jr.
Author: Codman & Smith (business)
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-10-01

William Smith to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

I have received your Letter, respecting the Bill for £50.1 The way that you propose is as agreable to us as any. The Credit of the Bill no one can dispute. It will be proper to have the Bill drawn in the proper form. I have inclos'd 4 Bills of the same Tenor and Date for the £50 which you have only to sign. You mention some Bills that will become due in November if you have not engag'd them We shou'd be glad to have them and what other Bills you may receive.

[salute] Yr. affectionately,

[signed] Wm. Smith
{ 101 }
PS 3rd. [October.] We have left a Blank in the Bills for the Place where Mr. Adams resides, as also for the manner in which you may choose to subscribe, both which, you will let us know, that it may be filld up, by the same hand, or draw other setts, yourself if you should Incline, in which the Inclosed may be some guide. If you should choose the time of payment, twenty or thirty days after sight we have no Objection, & are Madam, with great Respect & Esteem Yr. Most Obedt. Hume. Servts.,
[signed] Codman & Smith2
Should be obliged by their Return as soon as Convenient, as intend writing by the Counts Express.
RC (Adams Papers). Postscripts are in an unidentified hand, possibly that of John Codman Jr.; see note 2. Enclosures not found.
1. Letter not found, but see AA to JA, 29 Sept. 1778, above, and 2 Jan. 1779, below.
2. This was a mercantile partnership that lasted some years between AA's cousin William Smith and John Codman Jr. (1755–1803). Codman had been “brought up to business in the counting house of Isaac Smith in Boston” and later formed a partnership with his brother Richard (Cora C. Wolcott, The Codmans of Charlestown and Boston, Brookline, 1930, p. 13–14).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0086

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-10-02

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

This goes by Captn. McNeil, who is an Adventurous Cruiser.1 It is not safe to write much by him.
If Expressions of Tenderness, were necessary my Heart is full enough to write a great many. I send some Letters from Johnny, who intended to have written to his Brothers and indeed has written but there is not time to copy them.
I think, that the Distance of Place, and the present perfect security which I enjoy, has by no Means lessened my Anxiety. We have no News from America since the C[omte] D'Estaing left Sandy Hook. We expect News every Moment.—I have sent you by C[aptain] Tucker all the Things you desired me to send, which I wish safe. I sent you ten Guineas worth of Linnen and Woolen by Captn. Barns, who I fear is taken. I have sent you a few Pounds of Tea by Captn. Niles and a few More by Mr. Austin. But the Risque is so great that I will send no more, but by Frigates or under Convoy.—Draw upon me for an hundred Pounds. This is the safest Way of supplying your Wants.

[salute] Yours forever.

RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed “Letters from Johnny” were presumably JQA's letters dated 27 Sept., 1 Oct., above, and 2 Oct., following.
{ 102 }
1. Daniel McNeill was captain of the privateer General Mifflin (MHS, Colls., 77 [1927]: 148–149). He reached Boston on 8 Feb. 1779, bringing four letters from JA to AA (AA to JA, 13 Feb. 1779, below).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0087

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1778-10-02

John Quincy Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] Dear Brother

I have been thinking of a subject for a letter to you, & I can find none more agreable than that which is the constant employment of my thoughts, I mean the French Language, & as you will very soon begin the same study, it will be profitable to you as well as to myself, to sketch a little plan for the more easy & effectual acquisition, of so elegant & useful accomplishment, as that of reading, speaking, & writing, the French Language—There is a great number of excellent books written in this Language in all sorts of arts, Sciences, & Litterature, & there is more conversation and correspondance in this Language, than in any other throughout Europe; for which reason it is worth while for children of your age & mine, to take a great deal of pains to acquire it: Pappa laments very much his having neglected this study in his youth, in terms so pathetical, as to have made a deep impression upon my mind, & I wish to make the same upon yours, that we may both employ those hours which are often spent in frivolous amusements, in gaining a knowledge which will make us useful to our fellow men when we grow up.
I have taken so much time in writing my preface, that I must leave the book to another opportunity,1 in the mean time with the tenderest sentiments of brotherly love, I am your affectionate
[signed] John Quincy Adams
RC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Mr. Charles Adams”; mistakenly docketed by CFA: “JQA to TBA.” LbC (Adams Papers); dated “Septr. the 30th. 1778”; at foot of text: “to my Brother Charles.” Text is given here in literal style.
1. See the following letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0088

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1778-10-03

John Quincy Adams to Charles Adams and Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My Dear Brother1

in my <last> letter to you of Septr. the 30th I promised you to sketch a plan for learning French and in a letter to Tommy I promised him a list of books such a list will fullfill my Promise to both I will therefore send a Copy of this letter to each of you.
{ 103 }
The grammers in common use in america are Boyer Chambaud & Tandam2 every one of which is imperfect and inaccurate in addition to these I have the use of a Volume intitled Principes Generaux et raisonnés de la Grammaire Francoise avec des observations sur l'orthographe les accents la ponctuation et la prononciation et un abrégé des regles de la versification Francoise dediée a Monseigneur Le duc d'orleans premier Prince du sang par Mr. restaut avocat au Parlement et aux conseilles du Roi onzieme edition3 I have also the use of another work intitled Les vrais Principes de La langue Francoise ou la Parole reduite en methode conformement aux Loix de l'usage en seize discours par Msr. l'abbe Girard de L'academie Francoise et secretaire interprete du Roi in two volumes duodecimo4 this is a most elegant and beautiful performance the style is so beautiful and the researches into the Principles of the language are so rational, ingenious and curious that the book is as entertaining as a Romance though the subject is so dry.
But there is another work which is a greater curiosity still it is the monde primitif analysé et comparé avec le monde moderne considéré dans l'histoire naturelle de la Parole ou grammaire Universelle et comparatif avec des figures en taille douce par Mr. Court de Gebelin de la Société Oeconomique de Birne et de l'academie royal de la rochelle5 this is a surprising work the effect of immense Labour & contains a collection of almost every thing which has been written in whatever Language upon the subject of philosophical grammer this Grammaire Universelle is in one Large thick volume in Quarto, but there is an abridgement of it in one volume in octavo under the title of histoire naturelle de la Parole ou Precis de l'origine du Langage et de la grammaire Universelle extrait du monde Primitif6 this work is so learned and contains so ample a collection of every thing relating to the French Language in particular as well as to Grammer in General that if one owns this it is unnecessary to have any other.7
nevertheless I have the use of many more Particularly two volumes in twelves intitled synonymes Francoises leurs diff[er]ents significations et le choix qu'il en faut faire pour parler avec justesse par Mr. L'abbe Girard Nouvelle edition considerablement augmenteé Mise dans un nouvel ordre et enrichie des notes par Mr. Beauzée de L'academie Delia Crusca des academies Royales de Rouen et de Metz des societes Litteraires d Arras et d'Auxerre professeur de grammaire a l'ecole royale militaire.8
there is another excellent book intitled Dictionaire portatif des regles de la langue Francoise contenant les Principes necessaires pour { 104 } ecrire et parler correctement le Francois en prose et en Vers; les Regles de la grammaire, de l'orthographe de la ponctuation et de la Prononciation et generalement tout ce qui concerne la logique la Rhetorique la Versification &c, Le tout appuyé sur les autorités des meilleurs auteurs9 this work is in 2 Volumes in twelve's. † vidé the 2 books described at the end of this letter.10
Dictionnaire Grammatical de la langue Francoise ou l'on trouve rangés par ordre alphabatique toutes les regles de l'orthographe de la prononciation de la prosody du regime et de la construction &c. et les memes regles appliqués à chacune des mots de plus les remarques et observations des plus habiles grammariens. ouvrage tres utile aux jeunes gens aux etrangers et aux habitans des differentes provinces du Royaume.11
Traité de l'Orthographe Francoise en forme de Dictionaire; enrichi de notes critiques et de Remarques sur l'etymologie et la prononciation des mots, le genre des noms, la conjugaison des verbes irreguliers et les variations des auteurs nouvel edition considerablement augmente Sur la revision et les corrections de monsieur Restaut avocat au Parlement et aux conseils du Roy.12
Manuel Lexique ou dictionnaire portatif des mots Francois dont la signification n'est pas familiere a tout le monde ouvrage fort utile a ceux qui ne sont pas versés dans les langues anciennes et modernes et dans toutes les Connoisances qui s'acquerent par l'etude et le travail pour donner aux mots leur sens juste et exacte dans la lecture dans la langage et le style on y a joint les noms et les propriétés de la plûpart des animaux et des plantes. nouvelle Edition considerablement augmentée.13
Dictionnaire Historique des meurs usages et coutumes des Francois contenant aussi les etablissemens fondations et poques [i.e. époques] anecdotes progres dans les sciences et dans les arts et les fetes [i.e. faits] les plus remarquables et interressant arrivé depuis l'origine de la monarchie jusqu'a nos jours.14 this work is in three volumes in twelves.15
Vocabulaire Francois ou abrégé du dictionnaire de l'academie Francois auquel on a ajouté un nomenclature geographique fort etendue ouvrage utile aux Francois aux etrangeres et aux jeunes gens de l'un et de l'autre Sexe this abridgement is in two volumes in octavo—dictionaire de l'academie Francois in two volumes in Folio.16
dictionaire Universelle Francois et Latin vulgairement appelée dictionaire de trevou contenant la signification et la definition des mots de l'une et de l'autre langue avec leurs differents usages; les { 105 } termes propres de chaque etat, et de chaque profession la description de toutes les choses naturelles et artificielles; leurs figures leur espece leur propriété: l'explication de tout ce que renferment les sciences et les arts soit liberaux soit mechaniques, &c. avec des remarques deruditions et de critique le tout tiré des plus excellens auteurs des meilleurs lexicographes etymologistes et glossaires qui ont parut jusqu'ici en differents langues.17
nouveau dictionaire Francois-Anglais et Anglais-Francois contenant la signification des mots avec leurs differents usages les constructions Idiomes faeons de parler particulieres et les proverbes usites dans l'une et l'autre langue les termes les plus ordinaires des sciences arts et metiers le tout recueilli des meilleurs auteurs anglois et Francois de Mr. Louis Chambaud corrigée et considerablement augmentée par lui et par Mr. J. B. Robinet. this work is in two volumes in Quarto.18 dictionnaire Royale Francois Anglais et anglais Francois tire des meilleurs auteurs qui ont écrit dans ces deux langues par Mr. A. Boyer avec une dissertation sur la Prosody Francois par Mr. de la S.R.19
Des tropes ou des differenes sens dans lesquels ont peut prendre un même mot dans une même langues ouvrage utile pour l'intelligence des auteurs et qui peut servir d'introduction a la Rhetorique et a la logique par Mr. Du Marsais.20
Logique et Principes de Grammaire Par Mr. Du Marsais ouvrage post humes en partie, & en partie extraits de plusieurs traités qui ont deja paru de cet auteur.21
Traité de la prosodie Francoise par Mr. l'Abbe d'olivet avec une dissertation de Mr. durand sur le meme sujet.22
Methinks I hear you ask “why does my brother trouble himself to write and [tell?]23 me to read this long role of title pages which has so much appearence of pedantry?[”]
I answer that you may have the means in your possesion of furnishing yourself sometime or other of a compleat collection of books for learning the French tongue

[salute] I am your affectionate Brother

[signed] J Q. A.
†Les Rudiments de la langue latine a l'usage des Colleges de l'université de paris par Mr. Tricot Mtre. des [Arts] & de pension en la meme université Quatorzieme edition24—Abrégé de la Grammaire Francoise Par Mr. de Wailly septieme edition revue et augmentée.25
LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “to my brother charles and Tommy.” RC 1 (Adams Papers), dated “Passy jan'y 2d 1779”; incomplete and not sent; docketed by CFA: “JQA to TBA.” RC 2 (Adams Papers), dated “Passy February 11th 1779”; at foot of text: “Messieurs Charles & Thomas Adams”; { 106 } docketed by CFA: “JQA to Charles and Thomas.” Text is given here, in literal style, from LbC, which is in fact a draft and from which both RC's were copied.
The history of this remarkable bibliographical epistle by an eleven-year-old boy to his younger brothers seems to be as follows. Being out of school for an interval and having looked through his father's growing accumulation of books on French grammar, orthography, rhetoric, prosody, lexicography, and the philosophy of language, JQA in the last days of September and the first days of October determined to urge his brothers to study French and to advise them how to do so in a thoroughly scholarly way. His first letters were merely prefatory; see JQA to TBA, 1 Oct., and to CA, 2 Oct. (actually drafted in JQA's letterbook on 30 Sept.), both above. When he settled to his task, he produced the present short treatise—the first surviving manifestation of JQA's lifelong compulsion to prepare bibliographical and similar lists as a means of mastering learned subjects. Doubtless it is this letter, primarily, that JA alluded to when he told AA on 2 Oct. (above) that “Johnny . . . intended to have written to his Brothers and indeed has written but there is not time to copy them.”
Opportunity or inclination to copy out his treatise did not occur for several months. On 2 Jan. 1779 JQA began a fair copy (RC 1) and filled up most of both sides of a folio sheet before breaking off; see note 7. On 11 Feb. he began over again, making a new fair copy (RC 2), which he shortened and slightly revised as he went, finally just skipping a number of the later entries that are in the longer (LbC) version; see note 15. It is still not certain beyond question whether RC 2 was sent and received, for the MS bears no definite indication of receipt. If it was indeed sent, it was accompanied by a duplicate of JQA's letter to TBA of 1 Oct., above, which JQA in February probably (but wrongly) supposed had, like his long letter on studying French, not been copied and sent when written.
1. Thus in MS. RC 1 and RC 2: “My Dear Brothers.” When JQA began composing his letter in his letterbook, he planned to write to each brother separately. The present version, as its first paragraph makes clear, was intended for CA.
2. Abel Boyer, The Compleat French Master, London, 1694, and innumerable later editions (BM, Catalogue; BN, Catalogue). Louis Chambaud, A Grammar of the French Tongue, London, 1750, which appeared with variant titles in numerous editions (same, bis). “Tandam” is J. E. Tandon, whose New French Grammar was also frequently reprinted during the 18th and early 19th centuries. The earliest edition that the present editors have found recorded is the third, London, 1736 (BN, Catalogue). AA had a copy (which the editors have not located) from which she taught herself French and which JA thought well of in 1776; see vol. 1:349, 355, 359–360, above.
3. By Pierre Restaut, first published at Paris in 1730; 11th edition, Paris, 1774 (BN, Catalogue). (Despite JQA's barbarous orthography, no attempt is made in the editorial notes to repeat and correct his citations when their substance is full enough to enable readers to recognize the works in question.)
4. This work by the Abbé Gabriel Girard was published at Paris in 1747. It is the first book in JQA's listing of which an Adams copy has been located. There are two copies among JA's books in the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA's Library, p. 103).
5. This is actually the second volume of Antoine Court de Gébelin's ponderous but unfinished 9-volume Monde primitif, Paris, 1773–1782, of which JA had a copy that in later years he annotated and that is now among his books in the Boston Public Library. See Catalogue of JA's Library, p. 65; Alfred Iacuzzi, John Adams, Scholar, N. Y., 1952, p. 230–232; Frank E. Manuel, The Eighteenth Century Confronts the Gods, Cambridge, 1959, p. 250–258, 272–274, and pas• { 107 } sim. See, further, Edward Wigglesworth to AA, 13 Oct. 1780, below. For JA's opinion of Court de Gébelin derived from personal encounters in Paris, see his Diary and Autobiography, 2:323, 344.
6. A copy of this abridgment or Extrait, Paris, 1776, is in the Stone Library (MQA).
7. RC 1 breaks off here and was never completed.
8. A copy of this work by the Abbé Gabriel Girard, 2 vols., Paris, 1769, is among JA's books in the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA's Library, p. 103).
9. Said to be compiled by A. Demandre. JA's copy, Paris, 1770, acquired in 1780, is among his books in the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA's Library, p. 72).
10. This sentence was inserted in LbC as an afterthought and does not appear in RC 2.
11. Said to be compiled by Jean François Feraud. Among JA's books in the Boston Public Library is a copy of the first edition, Avignon, 1761, and also a copy of this “nouvelle édition,” 2 vols., Paris, 1768 (Catalogue of JA's Library, p. 92).
12. The author of the Traité was Charles Le Roy; this edition, edited by Pierre Restaut, was published at Poitiers in 1775. JA's copy is among his books in the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA's Library, p. 143); and JQA's copy is in the Boston Athenaeum (Catalogue of JQA's Books, p. 106).
13. The compiler was François Antoine Prévost d'Exiles (“Abbé Prevost”). JA's copy of this edition, 2 vols., Paris, 1755, is among his books in the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA's Library, p. 201).
14. By François Alexandre Aubert de La Chesnaye des Bois. JA's copy of this work, published at Paris, 1767, is among his books in the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA's Library, p. 16).
15. Text of RC 2 ends here with a brief leavetaking and a postscript: “NB I set down with an intention to discribe many more but I cannot at present because the Gentleman is just a going away & it shall be for the next opportunity.”
16. JA's copy of the Dictionnaire de l'Académie françoise was the fourth edition, Paris, 1762, and it is among his books in the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA's Library, p. 127). But no Adams copy of the abridgment entitled Vocabulaire françoise, compiled by Jean Goulin, Paris, 1771 (BN, Catalogue), has been located.
17. Of this well-known work, which went through many editions, JA owned a copy in eight folio volumes, Paris, 1771, now among his books in the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA's Library, p. 74).
18. A copy of a Paris, 1776, edition is recorded in LC, Catalog, but there were other editions; see BN, Catalogue. Which one JQA consulted is not determinable.
19. First published at The Hague, 1702, according to BN, Catalogue; numerous editions, with varying titles and published in various places, followed. It is not clear which edition JQA consulted.
20. That is, César Chesneau Du Marsais. First published at Paris in 1730; there were several later editions (BN, Catalogue). It is not clear which edition JQA consulted.
21. Paris, 1769 (BN, Catalogue).
22. The author was the Abbé Pierre Joseph Thorellier d'Olivet; the work was first published at Paris in 1736 (BN, Catalogue).
23. Supplied for a word omitted in MS.
24. JQA's copy of this edition, Paris, 1777, inscribed “John Q Adams 1778,” is among JA's books in the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA's Library, p. 247).
25. By Noël François de Wailly. The seventh edition was published at Paris in 1778 (LC, Catalog).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0089

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-10-14

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

The importunity of my Friends at Braintree, though my inclination is strong, is not sufficient to Carry me again from my Family till a { 108 } Little more time is Elapsed. We therefore instead of indulging our own Wishs substitute a son who will be happy to Escort you, and in whose Bosom Curiosity is or ought to be as much alive as in that of his parents. You will doubtless have an agreable day. I can Enjoy it at this distince, and speculate on the Exstrordinry Connextion and the Rapid Changes that have led to it by my own fire side as well as in the apartment of the General or the state Room of the first Count in France.
My best Regards to the family at the Farms1 tell Miss Quincy2 when she again dances with the Count de Brouce3 to take care of her Heart. Tell Miss Mayhew4 that knights of Malta are sometimes Dangerous Companions, that their Vows will not always protect a Lady from the shafts which a Little Mischvious Urchin often indiscriminatly throws.
I depend on seeing you Next week when I hope you and your amiable Companion will make a Visit of some Length, I Wont say as Long as you Can be Contented with your assured & Constant Friend,
[signed] M. Warren
1. Col. Josiah Quincy's family. Quincy lived on the shore of what came to be called Quincy Bay, and his home served as a kind of social headquarters ashore for Estaing and his officers, whose ships lay off Nantasket. See vol. 1:x–xi, above, and illustration facing p. 80 in that volume. See also AA's two letters to JA immediately following.
2. Presumably Elizabeth (1757–1825), daughter of Col. Josiah Quincy and his 2d wife, Elizabeth Waldron; she married Benjamin Guild in 1784. See Adams Genealogy.
3. Probably Ensign Joseph Barthélemy, Comte de Rafélis de Broves (1753–1824) (Lasseray, Les français sous les treize étoiles, 1:139).
4. Probably Elizabeth Mayhew (1759–1829), daughter of the late Rev. Jonathan Mayhew of Boston; she later married Peter Wainwright (Charles E. Banks, The History of Martha's Vineyard, Boston and Edgartown, Mass., 1911–1925, 3:314).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0090

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-21

Abigail Adams to John Adams

How dear to me was the Signature of my Friend this Evening received by the Boston a ship more valued to me than all the American Navy besides, valuable for conveying safely my choisest comfort, my dearest Blessings.2 “I Love the place where Helen was but born.”
You write me that you have by several vessels convey'd me tokens of your Friendship. The only Letters I have received from you or my dear Son were dated last April and containd only a few lines—judge then what my Heart has sufferd. You could not have sufferd more { 109 } upon your Voyage than I have felt cut of from all communication with you. My Harp has been hung upon the willows, and I have scarcly ever taken my pen to write but the tears have flowed faster than the Ink. I have wrote often to you but was unfortunate enough to have my last and largest packets distroyd the vessel being taken and carried into Halifax. Mr. Ingraham of Boston will convey this to you with his own hand.3 You will I know rejoice to see him as a Bostonian, an American and a Man of Merit, I need not ask you to notice him. I apprehend that this will never reach you yet this apprehension shall not prevent my writing by every opportunity. The French Ships are still in the Harbour of Boston. I have received great civility and every mark of Respect that it has been in the power of their officers to shew me.
Count dEstaing has been exceeding polite to me, he took perticulir care to see me, sending an officer to request I would meet him at Col. Q[uinc]ys as it was inconvenient to be at a greater Distance from his ship. I according waited upon his Excellency who very politely received me, insisted upon my Dineing on board his Ship, appointed his day and sent his Barge, requested I would bring any of my Friends with me. We made up a company of 13 and waited upon him. An entertainment fit for a princiss was prepared, we spent a most agreable day.4 The Count is a most agreable Man, Sedate, polite, affible with a dignity that is lost in Ease yet his brow at times would be overclouded with cares and anxieties so like a dear absent Friends that I was pained for him. But I determine to write you more perticuliarly by an other opportunity. I lament the loss of my last packet. I hate to write duplicates. Our Friend[s] here are all well. Let me intreat you to write me more Letters at a time, sure you cannot want subjects. They are my food by day and my rest by night. Do not deal them so spairingly to your own
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers).
1. Dated conjecturally but with some confidence from internal evidence and from JA's entering a letter of 21 Oct. in his list of letters received from AA (JA to AA, 20 Feb. 1779, first letter of that date, below). RC has not been found.
2. The letter here acknowledged must have been JA's of 3 June, above. The Boston had left France on 6 June and had arrived at Portsmouth on 15 Oct. (Sheppard, Tucker, p. 88, 100).
3. Duncan Ingraham, evidently the same young Boston mariner and merchant who soon afterward established, with others, an American mercantile firm in Amsterdam; see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:453–454, 456; 3:29, 83, 85; also correspondence between JA and Ingraham in the 1780's (Adams Papers). On the conveyance of the present letter, see John Eliot to AA, Oct. 1778, below.
4. This must have been on 15 Oct.; see Mercy Warren to JA, 15 Oct. (Adams Papers, Warren-Adams Letters, 2:54–55); Thomas Cushing to JA, 21–28 Oct. (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0091

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-10-25

Abigail Adams to John Adams

The Morning after I received your very short Letter I determined to have devoted the day in writing to my Friend but I had only just Breakfasted when I had a visit from Monsieur Rivers an officer on board the Langudock who speaks English well,2 the Captain of the Zara and 6 or 8 other officers from on Board an other ship. The first Gentlemen dined with me and spent the day so that I had no opportunity of writing that day. The Gentlemen officers have made me several visits and I have dined twice on board at very Elegant entertainments. Count dEstaing has been exceeding polite to me. Soon after he arrived here I received a Message from him requesting that I would meet him at Col. Q[uinc]y['s] as it was inconvenient leaving his ship for any long time. I waited upon him and was very politely received. Upon parting he requested that the family would accompany me on board his Ship and dine with him the next thursday with any Friends we chose to bring and his Barge should come for us. We went according to the invitation and were sumptuously entertaind with every delicacy that this country produces and the addition of every foreign article that could render our feast Splendid. Musick and dancing for the young folks closed the day.3
The temperance of these Gentlemen, the peaceable quiet disposition both of officers and men joined to many other virtues which they have exibeted dur[ing]4 their continuance with us, is sufficent to make Europe[ans] and American[s] too blush at their own degeneracy of manners. Not one officer has been seen the least disguised with Liquour since their arrival. Most that I have seen appear to be gentlemen of family and Education. I have been the mo[re] desirous to take notice of them as I cannot help saying that they have been neglected in the town of Boston. Generals Heath and Hancock have done their part, but very few if any private families have any acquaintance with them.
Perhaps I feel more anxious to have them distinguished on account of the near and dear connextion I have among them. It would gratify me much if I had it in my power to entertain every officer in the Fleet.
In the very few lines I have received from you not the least mention is made that you have ever received a line from me. I have not been so parsimonious as my Friend, perhaps I am not so prudent but I cannot take my pen with my Heart overflowing and not give utterance to some of the abundance which is in it. Could you after a thousand fears and anxieties, long expectation and painfull suspences be satis• { 111 } fied with my telling you that I was well, that I wished you were with me, that my daughter sent her duty, that I had orderd some articles for you which I hoped would arrive &c. &c.—By Heaven if you could you have changed Hearts with some frozen Laplander or made a voyage to a region that has chilld every Drop of your Blood.—But I will restrain a pen already I fear too rash, nor shall it tell you how much I have sufferd from this appearance of——inattention.
The articles sent by Capt. Tucker have arrived safe and will be of great service to me. Our Money is very little better than blank paper, it takes 40 dollors to purchase a Barrel of cider, 50 pounds Lawfull for a 100 of Sugar and 50 dollors for a hundred of flower, 4 dollors per day for a Labourer and find him5 which will amount to 4 more. You will find by Bills drawn before the date of this that I had taken the method which I was happy in finding you had directed me to. I shall draw for the rest as I find my situation requires. No article that can be named foreign or domestick but what costs more than double in hard money what it once sold for. In one Letter I have given you an account of our Local Situation, and of every thing I thought you might wish to know. 4 or 5 sheets of paper wrote to you by the last Mail were distroyd when she was taken. Duplicates are my Aversion tho I believe I should set a value upon them if I was to receive them from a certain Friend, <since so little> a Friend who never was deficient, in testifying his regard and affection to his
[signed] Portia
1. Dated from JA's letter of acknowledgment, 18 Dec., below, of the (missing) RC.
2. M. de Ribiers, a lieutenant on the Languedoc. (J. J. R. Calmon-Maison, L'amiral d'Estaing, 1729–1794, Paris, 1910, p. 456).
3. The date of this visit by AA to Estaing's flagship has not been determined, but it took place on a Thursday in September and thus antedated the similar visit described in AA's preceding letter.
4. Here and below, MS is worn.
5. That is, furnish his meals.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0092

Author: Garcin, M. de
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-10-29

Garcin to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

Give me leave to present you my Most Sincear and respectful thanks of having been so kind as to Recommend me to Mr. Smith. As we expect of going off every Moment, it has not been in my power to go to town to wait upon him myself and give him the letters. But I have taken the liberty of writing to him joining your letter to mine, Desiring him to send to Portsmouth those I intend to send in France. I hope that { 112 } acording your kind Recomendation he will be pleased to do it. This will be a great obligation Confered upon me and I should be very hapy if I Could find an oportunity of being any way of som use to you. This with gratitude and Respec shall be the Santiment of Madam Your Most obedient humble Sarvent,
[signed] Garcin1
1. If the writer's name has been correctly read, he may be identified as M. de Garcin, ensign aboard the Fantasque in Estaing's fleet; see J. J. R. Calmon-Maison, L'amiral d'Estaing, 1729–1794, Paris, 1910, p. 460. He had evidently asked AA's advice about transmitting letters to France, and she had referred him to her uncle Isaac Smith or her cousin William Smith in Boston. The letters he mentions have not been found. The French fleet left Massachusetts waters for the West Indies on 4 Nov. (same, p. 225).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0093

Author: Eliot, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-10

John Eliot to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

You did not see fit to send the letter you proposed for the conveyance of Mr. Ingram. Perhaps it was owing to the supposition that it would arrive too late.—Lest that was the case, I would inform you that Mr. I. is still detained in expectation of his Vessell from the Eastward, and it is more than probable that he will tarry till the middle of next week.
I hope in mercy the British Cruiser have2 not met with it in the course from Kennebeck to Boston. You join in the same earnest desire.
My regards at home.

[salute] Your most obliged and obedient servant,

[signed] John Eliot3
1. So dated in MS. It is possible, and even likely, that the letter was actually written before 21 Oct., on which day AA wrote a letter to JA (q.v. above) to be conveyed to France by Duncan Ingraham.
2. Thus in MS.
3. John Eliot (1754–1813), son of Rev. Andrew Eliot of Boston; Harvard 1772; later the minister of the New North Church and a founding member of the Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS, Colls., 2d ser., 1 [1838]:211–248).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0094

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-11-02

Cotton Tufts to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sr.

I wrote to You the latter End of last July1 which I hope You have received before this Time, by what Vessel it was sent I am not able to say. We were then making Preparations for an Attack on Rhode Island, a fine Body of Troops were raised with great Expedition and furnished { 113 } with every Thing necessary. On the 8th. of Augt. they landed on Rhode Island (under the Command of Genl. Sullivan) without Opposition the Enemy having deserted their outposts and retired to their main Fortress about a Mile from the Town. On the 9th. Our Army advanced, possessd themselves of an Eminence about 1 ½ Miles distance and went on to make regular Advances, every thing seemd to promise Success, Count De Estang covering the Seige with his Shipping and every thing was preparing for a general Attack, the Fleet to attack on one Side, a Body of the Counts Troops to enter the Town whilst our Army would act on another side. It was the general Opinion that a few Days would give them the entire Possession of the Enemys Works.—On the 12th. P.M. Howes Fleet from New York appeared off, Count De Estang immediately went in pursuit of them, Howe put to sea, the Count pursued the Chase. In the Night a most violent Storm at N.E. came on—the 13th the Storm was furious, the Wind blew almost an Hurricane, a more violent Wind and Rain I scarce ever remember, it threw down Fences, beat down the Corn and tore up many Trees, scarce any Apples were left on the Trees especially on the north East Side. Not a Twentieth part of the Cyder has been made this Year that has been made in the scarcest Season that I ever remember. In the Middle of September in every Orchard Many of the Trees on the north east side were in blow2 and green Apples are now to be found on many Trees. I saw several Rods of Province Rose Bushes three Weeks agone full blown, the Season having been very warm almost ever since the Storm.—But to return, the Siege was carried on with Vigour, the Return of the Fleet was dayly expected—this however did not take Place untill the 18th. or 19th. Their distant Appearance gave Joy, but when they came in they were found to be in a shatterd Condition, the Admirals ship dismasted in the Storm and the whole sufferd greatly, the Cesar missing (she parted from the Fleet and got into Boston). A Council was held on Board the Fleet and it was determined to sail for Boston and there refit. A Part of the Fleet could not be left, as their orders from the King were to keep together. This was rather mortifying to our Army. (However though the Fleet immediately set sail for Boston) the Seige was continued untill [on] the 28th. orders were given to remove all the Cannon, Stores &c. to Butts Hill about a Mile from the Ferry leaving behind a party of Men to amuse the Enemy. This was effected on the Evening of the 28th. without the Loss of any Thing. Towards Morning of the 29th. the whole Body of the Enemy came out, attacked the Party, [they?]3 retreated the Enemy pursuing untill they approached near the main { 114 } Body of our Army, which brought on a very obstinate Engagement. At length the Enemy gave Way and in their Turn retreated leaving many slain and Wounded. Intelligence of a large Reinforcement [comi]ng from New York induced General Sullivan on the 30th. to leave the Island which was accomplished without leaving any thing behind or without any Opposition from the Enemy. The Reinforcement arrived the next Day.4 The Enemys Account of their Loss during the Seige and the Battle of the 29th. is about 300—other Accounts say not much short of 1000. Ours amounted to about 200 as near as I can collect in the Slain, wounded and missing. I have given You as succinct an Account of this Expedition as I am able and should have enlarged had Time permitted. I hardly know an Event that gives us a more striking Proof that Providence gives Victory to whomsoever he will. A Storm shall block the best concerted Plan and the most promising Appearances shall end in Disappointment, Sic Deus voluit Amen.
The Convention Troops are orderd to the Back Parts of Maryland and Virginia and are to march this Week. This is said to be in consequence of General Clintons informing Genl. Washington that the Convention was broke and that his Master would not any longer pay for their Support.—This is the news of the Day, but of this You will have more authentic Intelligence.5—Yours and our Connections are in Health. Remember me to Yr. Son. Accept the affectionate Regards of Yr. Friend.6
1. Actually on 5 Aug.; see Tufts' letter of that date, above.
2. “A state of blossoming; bloom; chiefly in phrases in blow, in full blow, etc.” (OED, “Blow,” noun 3).
3. Overwritten and more or less illegible. Text and sense are both difficult to follow in this passage, and it has been slightly repunctuated by the editors.
4. This sentence was added by Tufts at the end of his letter for insertion here.
5. For a summary account of the current negotiations and orders respecting the Saratoga Convention Troops, see Alexander J. Wall, “The Story of the Convention Army, 1777–1783,” N.Y. Hist. Soc., Quart. Bull., 11:67–99 (Oct. 1927), especially p. 86–91.
6. This letter was sent by “Mr. [John] Jenks (formerly my Apprentice) now a Surgeons Mate to the General Pickering Privateer from Salem” (Tufts to JA, 12 Feb.– 12 April 1779, below).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0095

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-11-06

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

We have received Information that so many of our Letters have been thrown overboard, that I fear you will not have heard so often from me, as both of us wish.
{ 115 }
I have written often. But my Letters have not been worth so much as other Things which I have sent you. I sent you a small Present by Captain Niles. But he is taken by a Jersey Privateer. I sent you also, some other Things by Captain Barnes, and what affects me quite as much, I sent the Things that my dear Brother Cranch requested me to send, by the same Vessells. These Vessells were chosen because they were fast Sailers, and so small as to be able to see Danger before they could be seen, but all is taken and sent into Guernsy and Jersy.1
By Captain Tucker I sent you the whole of the List you gave me of Articles for the Family. These I hope have arrived safe. But I have been so unlucky, that I feel averse to meddling in this Way. The whole Loss is a Trifle it is true: but to you, in the Convenience of the Family, and to Mr. Cranch in his Business they would have been of Value. If the Boston arrives, the little Chest she carries to you will be of service.
My Anxiety for you and for the public is not diminished by Time or Distance. The great Number of accidental Dissappointments in the Course of the last summer are afflicting. But We hope for better Luck another Year.
It seems to be the Intention of Heaven, that We should be taught the full Value of our Liberty by the dearness of the Purchase, and the Importance of public Virtue by the Necessity of it. There seems to be also a further Design, that of eradicating forever from the Heart of every American, every tender Sentiment towards Great Britain, that We may sometime or other know how to make the full Advantage of our Independence by more extensive Connections with other Countries.
Whatever Syren songs of Peace may be sung in your Ears, you may depend upon it from me, (who unhappily have been seldom mistaken in my Guesses of the Intentions of the British Government for fourteen Years,) that every malevolent Passion, and every insidious Art, will predominate in the British Cabinet against Us.
Their Threats of Russians, and of great Reinforcements, are false and impracticable and they know them to be so: But their Threats of doing Mischief with the Forces they have, will be verified as far as their Power.
It is by no means pleasant to me, to be forever imputing malicious Policy to a Nation, that I have ever wished and still wish I could esteem: But Truth must be attended to: and almost all Europe, the Dutch especially, are at this day talking of G. Britain in the style of American sons of Liberty.
{ 116 }
I hope the unfortunate Events at Rhode Island will produce no Heart Burnings, between our Countrymen and the Comte D'Estaing, who is allowed by all Europe to be a great and worthy Officer, and by all that know him to be a zealous friend of America.
I have enjoyed uncommon Health, since my Arrival in this Country and if it was Peace, and my family here, I could be happy. But never never shall I enjoy happy days, without either.
My little son gives me great Pleasure, both by his Assiduity to his Books and his discreet Behaviour. The Lessons of his Mamma are a constant Law to him, and the Reflexion that they are so to his sister and Brothers, are a never failing Consolation to me at Times when I feel more tenderness for them, than Words can express, or than I should choose to express if I had Power.
Remember me, in the most affectionate Manner to our Parents, Brothers, Sisters, Unkles, Aunts, and what shall I say—Children.
My Respects where they are due, which is in so many Places that I cannot name them.
With Regard to my Connections with the Public Business here, which you will be naturally inquisitive to know something of, I can only say that We have many Disagreable Circumstances here, many Difficulties to accomplish the Wishes of our Constituents, and to give Satisfaction to certain half anglified Americains,2 and what is more serious and affecting to real and deserving Americans who are suffering in England and escaping from thence: But from this Court, this City, and Nation I have experienced nothing, but uninterupted Politeness.

[salute] It is not possible for me to express more Tenderness and Affection to you than will be suggested by the Name of

[signed] John Adams3
1. See JA to AA, 26 July, and to Richard Cranch, 6 Aug., both above. A long entry in JA's diary for 8 Oct. records information on the defenses of the Channel Islands and proposals for retaking the numerous American prizes being sent into those busy centers of privateering activity (Diary and Autobiography, 2:320–322).
2. Thus in MS. One of these may be identified with some confidence as the quarrelsome New Yorker Dr. James Smith (1738–1812), with whom JA was to have more than one disagreeable encounter. “This Man was supposed to come over from England [to Paris], either to solicit some Employment, or to embarrass and perplex the American Ministers, or to be a Spy both upon the Americans and the French” (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:75; see also same, 2:312; 4:49–50).
3. AA quoted liberally from the present letter in writing to AA2, ca. 11 Feb. 1779, below.
{ [fol. 116] } { [fol. 116] } { [fol. 116] } { [fol. 116] }

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0096

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-11-09

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams

Mrs. Adams not knowing of this Opportunity by Mr. Sears and Capt. Cheevers, who are going in a Dutch ship, who probably may call on you as the ship is designed to touch at Bourdeaux. I wrote you by a Vessell of my Own a few days since by the way of Cadiz, I then wrote you I had received a Trunk by Capt. Tucker, for Mrs. Adams, in good order.1
You will doubtless have heard by the packet Count Destrang sent, that he is gone from hence, but we are att a loss w[h]ere.
The Somerset M[an of] Warr a 64 Gun ship was cast away on Cape Codd, some of the people lost, the rest are expected by land being about 400. The Cape Codd people have been att her this week past.2
Genl. Hancock gave a handsome ball to the Count and his Officers and many of the Town were there likewise.3 Mrs. Adams has been On board the Admiral ship, and has with Col. Quincy's family and Mr. Cranch dined on board Another ship and the Captain &c. have been up to Brantry and some of the Gentlemen dined with her and Colo. Quincy. I lately took out of the office sundry letters by Via4 Baltemore for your and Mr. Cranchs family.
The ship cast away itt is said is part of Admiral Byrons fleet, who had been to Convoy a Number of Transports clear of the Coast which were bound to England and so was coming to look after the french fleet—but itt seems they got seperated in the storm. Five were seen near Nantucket and as we have not heard any more of them suppose have returnd to York. Count Destrang did not know of these disasters As he saild Two days after the ship got on Cape Codd.
There has been talk of the Enemy's leaving N. York and Rd. Island, but itt dont Appear by many circumstances that they will, though many of the Troops may go elsewhere Yet itt is supposed they will keep a Garrison of 5 or 6,000. As itts likely you will have more certain Accounts from head Quarters, shall not add.
We have had near a hundred of sick prisoners brought up from Halifax; some dyed on there passuage and have a most terrible fever. They are att the Islands,5 but those who have tended them are mostly taken with the same fever. A young Doctor, a son of Shereff Greenleaf, who tended them, dyed last week and Young Doctor Appleton lys dangerously ill of the same fever caught of them.6 The treatment Att Halifax latterly is much worse than att York, for since Admiral Gambere [Gambier] has been there, he has treated Our people with { 118 } great humanity, Allowed by all that comes from there. On the Conterary what we send them go all in good health upwards of 200, went a few days since to Halifax.—I have just given you a little sketch and when Opportunity Offers should be glad of a line—& are Yr. hum. servt.,
[signed] Isaac Smith
1. This letter has not been found, but it was doubtless one dated 3 Nov., mentioned as received in Paris by JQA in his letter to AA of 26 Dec., below.
“Saturday, Sabbath day, and Monday last [31 Oct.–2 Nov.], we had a violent storm, the wind being at N.E. tho' variable, the British fleet under the command of Admiral Byron, consisting of sixteen sail of the line, were cruizing near Cape-Cod; and on Monday, the Sommerset of 64 guns, Capt. Ourey, was cast ashore near the Race, at the head of the Cape. The ship is intirely lost, and 60 or 70 of the hands were drowned: The captain, officers, and the remainder of the men, surrendered themselves prisoners of war, to the United States. There was about 490 hands on board when the ship went on shore. She was in Company with 5 other Ships about 11 o'Clock the same Day; so that we are in hopes by our next, to give a good Account of them.” (Boston Gazette, 9 Nov. 1778.)
“Last Thursday Evening [29 Oct.], a superb Ball was given at Concert-Hall, by General Hancock, at which were present, His Excellency Count D'Estaing, and a Number of Officers belonging to the French Fleet.—There were upwards of a Hundred of the principal Ladies of the Town present, who being richly and elegantly dressed, added a most inchanting Brilliancy to the Evening, and in the Eyes of their Countrymen, at least, gave no bad Specimen of American female Grace and Beauty!” (Boston Independent Chronicle, 5 Nov. 1778.)
4. Thus in MS. Name omitted after “by”?
5. In Boston harbor, where several islands were from time to time used for hospital and quarantine purposes.
6. William Greenleaf Jr., Harvard 1777, son of Sheriff William Greenleaf, died on 4 Nov. (Boston Independent Chronicle, 5 Nov. 1778; Harvard Quinquennial Cat.). Nathaniel Walker Appleton (1755–1795), Harvard, 1773, survived and had a distinguished though not a long professional career (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0097

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
DateRange: 1778-11-12 - 1778-11-23

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I have taken up my pen again to relieve the anxiety of a Heart too susceptable for its own repose, nor can I help complaining to my Dearest Friend that his painfull absence is not as formerly alleiviated by the tender tokens of his Friendship, 3 very short Letters only have reachd my Hands during 9 months absence.
I cannot be so unjust to his affection as to suppose he has not wrote much oftener and more perticularly, but must sit down to the Score of misfortune that so few have reachd me.
I cannot charge myself with any deficiency in this perticular as I have never let an opportunity slip without writing to you since we parted, tho you make no mention of having received a line from me; { 119 } if they are become of so little importance as not to be worth noticeing with your own Hand, be so kind as to direct your Secretary
I will not finish the sentance, my Heart denies the justice of the acqusation, nor does it believe your affection in the least diminished by distance or absence, but my Soul is wounded at a Seperation from you, and my fortitude all dissolved in frailty and weakness. When I cast my <Eye> thoughts across the Atlantick and view the distance, the dangers and Hazards which you have already passd through, and to which you must probably be again exposed, e'er we shall meet, the Time of your absence unlimitted, all all conspire to cast a Gloom over my solitary hours, and bereave me of all domestick felicity. In vain do I strive to through of [throw off] in the company of my Friends some of the anxiety of my Heart, it increases in proportion to my endeavours to conceal it; the only alleiviation I know of would be a frequent intercourse by Letters unrestrained by the apprehension of their becomeing food for our Enemies. The affection I feel for my Friend is of the tenderest kind, matured by years, [sanctified?] by choise and approved by Heaven. Angles can witness to its purity, what care I then for the Ridicule of Britains should this testimony of it fall into their Hands, nor can I endure that so much caution and circumspection on your part should deprive me of the only consolor of your absence—a consolation that our Enemies enjoy in a much higher degree than I do, Many of them having received 3 or 4 Letters from their Friend[s] in England to one that I have received from France.
Thus far I wrote more than ten day[s] ago, my mind as you will easily see far from tranquil, and my Heart so wounded by the Idea of inattention that the very Name of my Dearest Friend would draw tears from me. Forgive me for harbouring an Idea so unjust, to your affection. Were you not dearer to me than all this universe contains beside, I could not have sufferd as I have done, But your Letters of April 12, of June 3 and June 162 calmd my Soul to peace. I cannot discribe the Effect they had upon me, cheerfullness and tranquility took place of greif and anxiety. I placed them Next my Heart and soothed myself to rest with the tender assurences of a Heart all my own.
I was not a little mortified to find that the few Lin[e]s wrote by way of Holland were the only ones you had received from me,3 when I had wrote many sheets of paper long before that time and sent by so many different hands that I thought you must have heard often from me, <and led me to suppose that many of your Letters to me must have shared the same fate>.
{ 120 }
But this circumstance will make me more cautious how I suffer such cruel Ideas to [haunt?][hound?] me again. Tis the 23 of November now. Count Estaing has saild near a fortnight, Biron with 15 sail lay upon the watch for him, but a very terrible Storm prevented the Count from sailing, and shatterd Birons Fleet, 11 Sail only have arrived at Newport, the Somerset was lost upon Nantucket Shoals. I fed many of the prisoners upon their march to Boston. About 40 were drowned, the rest deliverd themselves as prisoners. The two other ships which are missing were supposed to be lost there, as the Hulks appear and a 50 gun ship which came out with Biron from England has not been heard of since. Thus they have made a fine voyage of watching dEstaing, lost 3 capital ships, never saw the French Fleet, returnd into port with one Ship dismasted and the rest much damaged.
Heaven continue to be propitious to our Friends and allies for whom I have contracted a most sincere regard. If chastity, temperance, industery, frugality, sobriety and purity of morals, added to politeness and complasance can entitle any people to Friendship and respect, the Behaviour of this whole Fleet whilst they lay in this harbour which was more than two months, demand from every unprejudiced person an acknowledgment of their merrit. If I ever had any national prejudices they are done away and I am ashamed to own I was ever possessd of so narrow a spirit—and I blush to find so many of my country men possessd with such low vulgar prejudices and capable of such mean reflections as I have heard thrown out against the Nation of our allies though the unblamable conduct of this Fleet left them not one personal reflexion to cast.
Let me Imitate and instill it into my children the Liberal Spirit of that great Man4 who declared he had no Local attachments. It is indifferent to me say[s] he whether a man is rocked in his cradle on this Side of the Tweed, or on that, I seek for merrit whereever it is to be found. Detested be national reflexions, they are unjust.
Dft (Adams Papers). RC has not been found, was not acknowledged by JA, and was presumably never received.
1. Dated from references within the text. The first of the days of the month is approximate, the second exact.
2. It was actually JA's letter of this date (q.v. above), delivered by Henry Archer on or within a day or so of 20 Nov., which so greatly relieved AA's feelings between writing the two parts of the present letter.
3. Her letter of 25 March, vol. 2, abovefor which see JA to AA, 16 June, note 1, above.
4. Not identified.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0098

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-11-14

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Lady

Having a good Opportunity, I now forward those Things which were left at York Town by your worthy Husband. I have never yet got the Box of Papers which were carried away by Mr. Sprout's Family.1 They consigned the Box to a most careful Man, Mr. Houston who has promised to send it to me.2 But perhaps it will be a Thing convenient to the Carrier of what is now with me to call at Princeton for the other Property. I took a memorandum of the Contents of the Chest delivered to me by Mrs. Clymar on the day I received it. Perhaps Mr. Adams may have done so at his Departure for Home.
As the Box is not full, I am now thinking to make one Package of Mr. A's, Mr. Dana's and some Articles of my own which will be of use to my poor Boys. I have cast my Eye upon a Box that will answer such a Purpose. The Box though rougher than Mr. A.'s will be as useful in a Family Way. I am yet undecided; but shall let Mrs. L[ovell] know, by a few Lines, my Decision when made. I mean solely at this Time to name the Articles.
a Brown Summer Coat & Jacket
a Black Cloth Suit
a Nankin Coat & two Pr. of Breeches
a pr. of Cotton Velvet Breeches
a pr. of Buckskin do.
a pr. of Black Silk Stockings
a pr. of Shoes
a pr. of Mittens
a Steel Swivel for an Hanger
2d. Vol. of Symes's Military Guide
2 Vols. on Horsemanship in French
3 Vols. of Vertot's Revolutions
1 Vol. Molesworths account of Denmarc
Horace in Vellum
Tully's Epistles do.
Thoughts on Governmen[t]—Marble3
Not a line from Mr. A—— up to the 12th. of Augst. tho' I have written to him 14 Times. I shall write again on Monday. I know that several Vessels going hence have failed.—Believe me continuing your affectionate humble Servant,
[signed] James Lovell
{ 122 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams Braintree To the Care of Mrs. Lovell Boston.”
1. The papers had been left at the house of Rev. James Sproat, JA's last landlord in Philadelphia, when Congress hurriedly left that city in the face of Howe's invasion, Sept. 1777. See Lovell to AA, 9 July, above, and references there.
2. William Churchill Houston (1746?–1788), Princeton 1768, professor of mathematics at Princeton (where he served as JA's guide around the College in 1774), delegate to the Continental Congress, 1779–1781, 1784–1785 (Biog. Dir. Cong.; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:112).
3. The books can for the most part be identified as JA's. The clothes may have been partly Francis Dana's. The books include: Thomas Simes, The Military Guide, for Young Officers, Phila., 1776 (Catalogue of JA's Library, p. 230); two works on horsemanship that had been presented to JA by Augustin Mottin de La Balme (same, p. 174; see also above, vol. 2:xii–xiii, 268, and illustration facing p. 263); one or more of the numerous historical works of the Abbé René Aubert de Vertot d'Aubeuf (see above, vol. 2:292); Robert, 1st Viscount Molesworth's Account of Denmark, as It Was in the Year 1692, of which JA eventually owned a London, 1694, edition and the sixth edition, Glasgow, 1752 (Catalogue of JA's Library, p. 170); and JA's own Thoughts on Government . . ., Phila., 1776. For Molesworth and the notable influence of his Account of Denmark on American Revolutionary thought, see Caroline Robbins, The Eighteenth-Century Commonwealthman, Cambridge, 1959, p. 98–109, 393–394; Bailyn, ed., Pamphlets, 1:31–32, 43–44, and passim.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0099

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-11-27

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Mr. Brown1 is here, and I cannot miss the Opportunity by him, to write you a Line.
I know not how often you receive Letters from me, so many are taken, or sunk: but I write as often as I can.
I have received some Letters from you, which will occasion your Name to be classed with Mrs. McCaulay and Mad[ame] Dacier2 for ought I know. Johnny is very well. Stevens had a fall Yesterday which hurt him a little: but not very badly. He is in a good Way this Morning. The Things inclosed which were a present to me you will do as you please with.
Europe is the dullest Place in the World. No News but the Lyes, which the Emmissaries of England are making and spreading, in every Part. We get no News from Congress or any Part of America.
By some Hints in some Letters which I have heard of I expect that the first Vessells will bring us News of some new Regulations of Congress, concerning foreign Affairs.—It is said that Congress have determined to have but one Commissioner at this Court. If this is true, as I suppose it is as it comes from Mr. D[eane], I am uncertain { 123 } what is to be done with me. It is said that I am to be sent to some other Court,3 and that the Dr. is to be here alone. If this should be the Case, I shall be puzzled what to do.
The Motives of Congress are very good to save Expences, but this Motive will not have its Effect, if I am to be maintained here, in Idleness, or sent upon my Travells to other Countries, where I shall not be received, which would be the most painfull situation imaginable to me. In this Case I should be at a Loss, whether to return home immediately or wait untill I could write to Congress and obtain Leave.—Some of my friends here are of opinion that I ought not to return without Leave. I would not take any step that should give any just Cause of offence, to Congress or the People. But I cannot eat Pensions and Sinecures, they would stick in my Throat.4
I wish some honest Vessell would arrive and remove my Doubts.
RC and LbC (Adams Papers). Enclosures not found or identified.
1. Not identified.
2. Anne (Tanneguy Lefèvre) Dacier (1654–1720), the celebrated French classical scholar, translator, and woman of letters (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale).
3. LbC adds: “that of Vienna is mentioned”; see the following note.
“Congress yesterday chose you to be their Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of France, and You will very soon receive their Letters, and Credentials. I am very happy on the Occasion, and the more so on Account of the Unanimity with which I learn it was carried; what other arrangements will take place I know not, nor do I much Interest myself on the Subject.” (Silas Deane to Benjamin Franklin, Phila., 15 Sept. 1778, PPAmP.)
For the election on 14 Sept. of Franklin as sole minister to France, which dissolved the Franklin-Lee-Adams commission, see JCC, 12:908. The vote is not recorded. A committee of five was at the same time appointed to prepare Franklin's letter of credence and instructions. The instructions as drafted led to debate, were not adopted until 26 Oct., were not sent until Lafayette sailed from Boston for France in mid-January, and were not received in Paris until almost mid-February (same, 12:1035–1038, 1039–1042, 1064; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:807–809; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:353–354).
It was JA in the first place who had suggested, within a few weeks of his arrival in France, that trying to do business through three diplomatic representatives in Paris was a serious mistake when “one alone would be obliged to no greater Expence, and would be quite sufficient for all the Business of a Public Minister” (to Samuel Adams, 21 May 1778, JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:107). But in appointing Franklin, Congress neither recalled JA nor gave him notice of what further was expected of him beyond saying that something more on this score would follow, and that “In the mean Time we hope you will exercise your whole extensive Abilities on the Subject of our Finances” (R. H. Lee and James Lovell, for the Committee for Foreign Affairs, to JA, 28 Oct. 1778, Adams Papers; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:814–815).
On the very day he wrote the present letter to AA, JA wrote Lovell imploring him to hasten Congress' determination of what was to be done with him:
[I]f you appoint me for any other [diplomatic post], especially that which is mentioned to me, Vienna, it will be more disagreable to me than to be recalled. Because Vienna is the Court of all Europe, as I conceive at present, the least likely to receive your Agent. I should { 124 } therefore be reduced to the Necessity of residing at Paris in Idleness, or of travelling to Germany and living there in greater Idleness still, in either Case at a great and useless Expence.
“In Time of Peace, nothing would give me greater Pleasure, than travelling: but at present my Heart is too much affected, with the Miseries of this War, for me to take Pleasure in a mere Gratification of Curiosity, or even in a Pursuit of Taste in Arts, or Knowledge in the Sciences.
“To return home immediately, some Persons here say would give Offence, and be wrong. To wait to write for Leave, would be loosing Time, and putting you to some Expence.—However, I will determine nothing untill I know what is done.” (LbC, Adams Papers.)

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0100

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-12-02

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Last Night an Express from M. De Sartine, whose Politeness upon this Occasion, was very obliging, brought me your Letters of September 29 and Octr. 10.1
The Joy which the Receipt of these Packets afforded me, was damped, by the disagreable Articles of Intelligence, but still more so by the Symptoms of Grief and Complaint, which appeared in the Letters. For Heavens Sake, my dear dont indulge a Thought that it is possible for me to neglect, or forget all that is dear to me in this World.
It is impossible for me to write as I did in America. What should I write? It is not safe to write any Thing, that one is not willing should go into all the Newspapers of the World.—I know not by whom to write. I never know what Conveyance is safe.—Vessells may have arrived without Letters from me. I am 500 Miles from Bourdeaux and not much less distant from Nantes. I know nothing of many Vessells that go from the Seaports, and if I knew of all there are some that I should not trust. Notwithstanding this, I have written to you, not much less I believe than fifty Letters.2 I am astonished that you have received no more. But almost every Vessell has been taken. Two Vessells by which I sent Goods to you for the Use of your Family and one by which I sent Mr. Cranches Things, We know have been taken, in every one of these I sent large Packetts of Letters and Papers for Congress, for you and for many Friends. God knows I dont spend my Time, in Idleness, nor in gazing at Curiosities. I never wrote more Letters, however empty they may have been. But by what I hear they have been all or nearly all taken or sunk.
My Friends complain that they have not received Letters from me. I may as well complain. I have received scarcely any Letters, from America. I have written three, where I have received one. From my Friend Mr. A. I have received only one short Card—from Mr. Gerry { 125 } not a syllable—from Mr. Lovell only two or three very short.—What shall I say? I doubt not they have written oftener—but Letters miscarry. Drs. Cooper and Gordon write to Dr. F. not to me.
My Friend Warren has been good as usual, I have received several fine long Letters full of Sound sense, Usefull Intelligence and Reflexions as virtuous as wise, as usual, from him. I have answered them and written more, but whether they arrive I know not.
I approve very much of your draught upon me, in favour of your Cousin. The Moment it arrives it shall be paid. Draw for more as you may have Occasion. But make them give you Silver for your Bills.
Your Son is the Joy of my Heart, without abating in the least degree of my Affection for the young Rogue that did not seem as if he had a Father, or his Brother or sister. Tell Nabby, her Pappa likes her the better for what she tells her Brother, vizt. that she dont talk much, because I know she thinks and feels the more.—I hope the Boston has arrived—she carried many Things for you.
Last Night a Friend from England brought me the Kings Speech. Their Delirium continues, and they go on with the War, but the Speech betrays a manifest Expectation that Spain will join against them, and the Debates betray a dread of Holland. They have Reason for both.
They have not, and cannot get an Ally. They cannot send any considerable Reinforcement to America.
Your Reflections upon the Rewards of the Virtuous Friends of the public are very just. But if Virtue was to be rewarded with Wealth it would not be Virtue. If Virtue was to be rewarded with Fame, it would not be Virtue of the sublimest Kind. Who would not rather be Fabricius than Caesar? Who would not rather be Aristides, than even W[illiam] the 3d? Who? Nobody would be of this Mind but Aristides and Fabricius.
These Characters are very rare, but the more prescious. Nature has made more Insects than Birds, more Butterflys than Eagles, more Foxes than Lyons, more Pebbles than Diamonds. The most excellent of her Productions, both in the physical, intellectual and moral World, are the most rare.—I would not be a Butterfly because Children run after them, nor because the dull Phylosophers boast of them in their Cabinets.
Have you ever read J. J. Rousseau. If not, read him—your Cousin Smith has him. What a Difference between him and Chesterfield, and even Voltaire? But he was too virtuous for the Age, and for Europe—I wish I could not say for another Country.3
{ 126 }
I am much dissappointed in not receiving Dispatches from Congress by this Opportunity. We expect Alterations in the Plan here. What will be done with me I cant conjecture. If I am recalled, I will endeavour to get a safe Opportunity, home. I will watch the proper Season and look out for a good Vessell. And if I can get safe to Penns Hill, shall never repent of my Voyage to Europe, because I have gained an Insight into several Things that I never should have understood without it.
I pray you to remember me with every Sentiment of Tenderness, Duty and Affection, to your Father and my Mother, Your and my Brothers and Sisters, Uncles, Aunts, Cousins and every Body else that you know deserves it. What shall I say too and of4 my dear young Friends by your Fireside, may God almighty bless them, and make them wise.
1. That of 29 Sept. is printed above (from a draft with an editorially assigned date); that of 10 Oct. has not been found.
2. The editors' count is only eighteen, surviving or alluded to, including the present letter.
3. JA's reading of Rousseau had begun as early as 1765 when he was a member of the “Sodality” of young Boston lawyers who met under the eye of Jeremy Gridley. The work he then read was the Contract sociale (1762), of which he eventually owned three copies, together with the Oeuvres, 9 vols., Neuchâtel, 1764–1767, and several other works separately printed; see his Diary and Autobiography, 1:255; Catalogue of JA's Library. Zoltán Haraszti has printed JA's marginalia in his copies of Rousseau's works (JA and the Prophets of Progress, ch. 5); and a recent article by Robert R. Palmer discusses Rousseau's influence on JA's political ideas (“Jean-Jacques Rousseau et les Etats-unis,” Annales historiques de la Révolution française, 34:529–540 [Oct.-Dec. 1962]).
4. Thus in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0101

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Date: 1778-12-02

John Adams to Abigail Adams 2d

[salute] My Dear Daughter

In your letter to your brother,1 which is a very pretty one, you express a wish that you understood French. At your age, it is not difficult to learn that language; patience and perseverance is all that is wanting.
There are two ways, which are sure. One is to transcribe, every day, some passages from the best authors. Another is to conjugate the verbs, in writing, through all the modes and tenses and persons, both of the active and passive voice. If you are resolute to practise this every day, you are sure of the language in no long time. I have made your brother do this, and write the English in every person against { 127 } the French, so that he has sometimes filled two sheets of paper in conjugating one verb. In this practice he has had great success.
I shall not lay down any rules for your behaviour in life, because I know the steadiness of your mind, your modesty and discretion; and you cannot find in this world, in my opinion, a better preceptor than your mamma, both in her precepts and examples.
I have so many things to do, and so many cares upon my mind, that I cannot write to you so often as I wish: but I should take great pleasure in receiving letters from you. I am, with the tenderest affection, my dear daughter, Your father,
[signed] John Adams
MS not found. Printed from (Journal and Correspondence of Miss Adams, . . . Edited by Her Daughter,) New York, 1841–1842, 2:11–12.
1. Letter not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0102

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-12-02

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] Hon'd Mamma

I just now recd. your Letter of septr. ye 29th and read it with great pleasure in which you say you think that writing is not a la mode de paris. on the contrary I have wrote very often to you whether they have fail'd, or whether they have been taken by the English I do not know but your Letters have been more lucky than my Pappa's and mine for to day is the 2d time that I have received a Letter from you since my arrival in france and amongst a number of letters that we have sent to you you have not recd, but once and with the others I wrote you by captn. T[ucke]r I hope you have recd. them before now I am now at one of the environs of Paris which is call'd Passy and am at a pension I like my situation pretty well but I had rather be in america than in any part of France you ask me if the climate of France suits me it does very well for I have not felt any sickness since I left you. you say that it has been very sickly in america last summer but I hope none of our freinds have had it I am &c
[signed] John Q Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. John Adams at Braintree near Boston in America.” Text is given here in literal style.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0103

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1778-12-02

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My Dear Brother

I have just now wrote to my Brother charles1 & you would not like it if I did not write to you also. but now I have my pen in my hand { 128 } what shall I write you about for you do not encourage by writing to me; you should ask mamma to write for you I have wrote very often to you but Mamma says that you have not recd. but once from me but I hope that you have recd. some more before now surely you have not forgot me. I have two letters from Mamma, 1 from my sister and two from my Cousin billy2 but not one from my Brother charles or you, but I have wrote to him and to you very often but perhaps you have not received them I have amongst the others given you an account of my Voyage and in another all the things that I have seen that have been remarkable and amongst others the description of the dome of the invalids & the ecole militaire the description of Which would be too long to write but I will take another oportunity to do it. I have 2 or 3 more letters to write and so I must Leave you, and beleive that I am your affectionate Brother
[signed] John Quincy Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mr. Thomas Adams at Braintree near Boston in America”; docketed by CFA. Text is given here in literal style.
1. Letter not found.
2. Letters from AA2 and William Cranch (on whom see Adams Genealogy) not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0104

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-12-03

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Your two Letters of the [29th] of Sept. and [10th] of Oct. gave me more Concern than I can express. I will not say a Fit of the Spleen. But last night I got a Letter from Mr. Vernon, in which he acquaints me with the Arrival of the Boston, at Portsmouth.1 There were Letters from me on Board of the Boston, Providence or Ranger, and there was all the Things mentioned in the Memorandum, you gave me, this News has given me great Pleasure. I have sent other Things, on Board other Vessells since, with more Letters, which are all taken by the Ennemy, and among others all Mr. Cranchs Watch Materials.
You must not expect to hear from me so often as you used: it is impossible. It is impossible for me to write so often. I have so much to do here, and so much Ceremony to submit to, and so much Company to see, so many Visits to make and receive, that, altho I avoid as many of them as I possibly can with Decency and some People think, more, it is impossible for me to write to you so often as my Inclination would lead me.
I have been informed that Congress, on the 14 of September took up foreign Affairs and determined to have but one Minister, in France. { 129 } By a Letter from Mr. Lovel we learn that Congress had foreign Affairs on the 12 of October, still under Consideration, but gives no Hint of what is done or intended.2 This keeps me in a State of Uncertainty that is very disagreable. I have applied every Moment of my Time when Awake, and not necessarily engaged otherwise in learning the Language, and the Laws, the Manners and Usages of this Nation, an occupation indisspensable in my situation. In order to avoid Expence, as much as possible, I have kept no Clerk altho every other Gentleman has constantly had two. In order to save Expences, and that I might be under the less Temptation to spend my Time unusefully, I have kept no Carriage, altho every other Gentleman has kept one Constantly and some Gentlemen two, and I am told I am the first public Minister that ever lived without a Carriage. By All these Causes together added to another Motive, viz. a Fear of Trusting our Books and Papers without a Keeper I have been almost constantly at home. Here are a Thousand Things to do, and no Body else to do them. The extensive Correspondence We have with Congress, with the Court, with our Frigates, our Agents, and with Prisoners, and a thousand others, employs a vast deal of my Time in Writing. You must therefore excuse me, if I dont write so often as I would. Yet I have written very often, but my Letters have miscarried.
By your Letter, and another, I suspect that Parties are forming among you.3 I expect also, by some Letters I have seen from the Weathersfield Family, that a certain fine Gentleman will join another fine Gentleman, and these some other fine Gentlemen, to obtain some Arrangement that shall dishonnour me. And by Hints that are given out here, I should not wonder if I should be recalled, or sent to Vienna which would be worse.4
I am extreamly unhappy to see such Symptoms of Selfishness, Vanity and Ambition as manifest themselves in various Quarters, but I will neither indulge these Passions myself, nor be made the Instrument of them in others. Observing as I have a long Time the Characters of several Persons, I have long foreseen, that Parties must arise and this foresight has been the most forcible Motive with me to refuse a certain elevated Office.5 Because I knew, that my public Conduct, to which I was necessitated by the clearest Dictates of my Judgment, in the various intricate and hazardous Contingences of our Affairs, had exposed me to the Angry Passions of some Gentlemen of Consequence, who, altho obliged to cooperate with me, had often differed from me in Opinion. These I knew would render me, unhappy if not useless, in some situations, which determined me, to preserve my Independ• { 130 } ence, at the Expence of my Ambition, a Resolution in which I rejoice and ever shall rejoice.
The Conflicts of these Passions, I expect, will very soon relieve me from the Duties of this station, and enable me to return to my Family and my Garden, the Ultimate Object of all my Hopes, Wishes and Expectations, for myself. And happy indeed shall I be if by the favour of Heaven I can escape the danger of the Seas and of Ennemies, and return to the charming Office of Precepter to my Children.
LbC (Adams Papers); apparently unfinished (a page and a half of blank space follows in the letterbook), and presumably not sent (no RC has been found, and no acknowledgment by AA has been seen). This letter goes over some of the ground covered by JA's letter to AA of 2 Dec., above, but it is clearly a separate letter, not simply a variant version, and it was written under greater stress of emotion and pique. A sufficient reason for JA's not completing and sending it is found in his letter of the day before: “It is not safe to Write any Thing, that one is not willing should go into all the Newspapers of the World.—I know not by whom to write. I never know what Conveyance is safe.” See also JA's allusion to “several answers” that he wrote to AA about this time but “burnt” because they were too angry or too melancholy (letter of 18 Dec., below).
1. William Vernon Sr. to JA, 22 Oct. 1778 (“duplicate,” Adams Papers). Vernon informed JA that the “Ships Providence, Boston and Ranger” had arrived at Portsmouth, N.H., on the 17th.
2. James Lovell, for the Committee for Foreign Affairs, to the American Commissioners at Paris, 12 Oct. 1778, a single paragraph only (PPAmP: Franklin Papers; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:781).
3. AA's letter must have been that of 10 Oct., which has not been found; the particular letter from “another” correspondent has not been identified.
4. The “Weathersfield Family” was of course the Deanes, and one of the letters here alluded to was Silas Deane to Benjamin Franklin, 15 Sept. 1778, for an extract from which see JA to AA, 27 Nov., above, and note 4 there. The hints in the present letter are enlarged and to some extent clarified in a letter from JA to Samuel Adams of 7 (or 5) Dec. that goes into great detail on the conduct and relations of the American Commissioners at Paris, past and present, and expresses JA's now very strong reservations about leaving Franklin as sole minister if “all maritime and Commercial and pecuniary as well as political affairs, are left in his Hands” (RC in NN:Emmet Coll., dated 7 Dec.; LbC, Adams Papers, dated 5 Dec., printed with the recipient wrongly identified as James Warren, Warren-Adams Letters, 2:73–77; see Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:207, note).
5. The chief justiceship of Massachusetts, a post to which JA had been appointed in 1775 but from which he resigned without serving early in 1777. See his Diary and Autobiography, 2:259; 3:359–363; also numerous references in vols. 1–2, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0105

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tufts, Cotton
Date: 1778-12-03

John Adams to Cotton Tufts

[salute] Dear Sir

I have the Pleasure of yours of the 5th. of August, for which I am much obliged to you. It is a great Satisfaction to me to be informed, { 131 } of the Particulars which are enumerated in your Letter, upon which the Happiness of the People and their Exertions in the Cause so much depend.
I am not able to inform you of any News, except what the News Papers contain. Those inclosed, contain some Things that perhaps are not in any other. I wish you would lend them to the Printers as soon as possible.
Remember me to Mrs. T[ufts] and Mr. C[ranch] and all the Family. My son is very well, and I hope will not be the Worse for coming to Europe. Yet I will not trust him here long. The Manners of Europe are enough to debauch Angells.

[salute] I am, dear sir, with great Affection and Esteem.

LbC (Adams Papers). Enclosed newspapers not found or identified.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0106

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-12-09

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I cannot let this opportunity slip without sending you a Line, but the Gentleman waits and it can be but a Line. I have ordered you some Wine as you desired and a Present of some Tea and sugar—But cant tell you by what Vessell it will go.1
All Well. No Hopes of Peace, at least in my Mind. We must be taught to set an higher Value upon our Liberties before We shall obtain them.
We are extreamly anxious to know the Fate and Destination of D'Estaing and Biron, but have no News from Boston later than 5 Novr., or rather the 4, I believe. Of Clinton and Washington We know nothing a long time.
“I am anxious to send a few Articles to my Family by the first Vessell that shall go for Boston, and there is no Person at Nantes, to whom I have a better Excuse for applying. It is to send a Cask of Bourdeaux Wine, half a Dozen Pounds of Tea and Fifty Weight of Loaf Sugar Addressed to John Adams Esqr. Braintree near Boston, to the Care of Isaac Smith Esq. Boston. The Claret I fancy should be such as is sent to the English Markett.
“Captain McNeil, in the Privateer Gen. Mifflin was good enough to tell me he would take these Things on Board his Ship, but if you can conveniently send it on Board any other, it will be as well. If you will be so good as to take this Trouble, and draw upon me, alone, for the Expence and your Commissions, I will very gladly discharge your Bill upon sight.” (JA to John Daniel Schweighauser, 8 Dec. 1778, LbC, Adams Papers; see Schweighauser to JA, 12, 19 Dec., both in Adams Papers.)

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0107

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1778-12-10

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren

Nothing but a very bad soar finger has withheld my Hand from writing to my Friend, and telling her that I most sincerely sympathize with her in the late melancholy dispensation of providence towards her, an Event tho not unexpected yet when we are calld to the trial of resigning our dear Friends to the Grave Nature will recoil, and the Beleif of a Glorious immortality can only support the anguish of a bleeding Heart, or bring the mind quietly to submit to the allotments of Heaven.
From this and other sources you have reason for consolation. Your parent had lived to a good old age with Honour and reputation, the recollection of his virtues will embalm his memory to you.2

“The sweet remembrance of the just

Shall flourish when they sleep in Dust.”

Nor am I unmindfull of my Friend or less disposed to sympathize with her in an other call which she will soon have to exert her fortitude;3 this life is well termd a checkerd state; tis wisely orderd so, since with all the visisitudes we pass through we are still strongly attached to it. I rejoice with my Friend that she has the best of Earthly comforts to support her, and console her, through the painfull task to which she is call'd, there is such a cheering influence, in the Bosom of a Friend, that those only who are deprived of it, can truly estimate its worth.
The most Forlorn and Dismal of all states is that of widowhood. How often does my Heart bleed at thinking how nearly my own Situation is allied to that, nor can I sometimes refrain from wishing that the wisdom of the continent had made choise of some person whose seperation from his partner would have been little or no pain, or mortification—many such might have been found I dare say. Heaven can witness for me that I judge not by my own feelings, but from the conduct of too many of my sex.
Two Letters I have had the pleasure of receiving since I saw you, the latest date 27 of August.
Never says the writer was the Spirit of a Nation higher than the French, never Nation had more cause for Dejection than England, persons from England say that the General opinion is that Independance will be agree'd to, but be not Deceived—it is time enough to believe it when it is fact. He adds do not be anxious about Spain, nor { 133 } any thing else. Let us sing, O be joyfull! I fancy the writer has imbibed some of the Spirit of the Nation from the climate, he appears to be in high Spirits.
This Letter was wrote more than ten days ago, but my finger was so bad that I could not finish it. I now propose sending it by my Daughter who earnestly hopes to see Plimouth tomorrow. I commit her to the care of a Friend who I hope will advise, admonish and direct her, with the same freedom she would one of her own. Tho large in stature, she is young in years.
My best regards to our worthy suffering Friend Mrs. Lothrope. I never see her but she brings to my mind Shakespears

“Patience on a Monument smiling at Grief.”

Love attend Master Henery with his smileing countanance and Master George with his Grave Senatorial face.4
You will be so good as to write often to me. I shall endeavour to fullfill my promise whenever any thing offers worth communicating from your Sincere Friend,
[signed] Portia
RC (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “Mrs. Mercy Warren Plimouth”; docketed in two later unidentified hands: “Mrs. Adams Decr. 1779 No. 10.”
1. In the MS the year “1779” was added to AA's day and month date, very likely in the same early hand that mistakenly docketed this letter as 1779 instead of 1778.
2. James Otis Sr. (1702–1778) had died at Barnstable on 9 Nov.; identical obituary notices of him appeared in the Boston Continental Journal, 12 Nov., and Boston Gazette, 16 Nov. 1778.
3. James Warren Jr. (see vol. 1:419) was about to sail as an officer of marines on board the Continental frigate Alliance, Capt. Pierre Landais; see Mrs. Warren to JA, 15 Dec. 1778 (Adams Papers; Warren-Adams Letters, 2:82).
4. Henry (1764–1828) and George (1766–1800), 4th and 5th sons of James and Mercy (Otis) Warren (Mrs. Washington A. Roebling, Richard Warren of the Mayflower . . . , Boston, 1901, p. 28).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0108

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-12-10

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

It is now my Turn to complain. Last night We had great Packetts from the Council,1 but no Line from you. If Vessells sail from Boston, within four Leagues of you, without your Knowledge, is it to be wondered that Vessells 500 Miles from me should sail without mine. What is more striking, altho our P[lymouth] Friend had just received a Letter from me, I have no Line from him. We are not yet so happy, as to learn from Congress, what they have done upon foreign Affairs. { 134 } We expect Intelligence every Moment—I hope it will arrive, before the Fleet of Merchant Vessells sails, which is going out, that I may be able to inform you, how I shall be disposed of.
We are now inquisitive to know where Clinton is gone, and D'Estaing. It is given out in England that Clinton is gone to Carolina. The British Fleet in Europe makes but a poor Figure. Their Privateers have taken a great many Prizes, but the Kings ships come off, second best.
You wish you had ventured with me—I wish you was here—no I dont, I wish I was there. But I assure you I know not how you could have lived thro the Voyage. I often asked myself, what should I do if a certain Lady was with me. You can have no Adequate Idea of our Voyage.
Did I ever tell you that Governor Wentworth made me a Visit to clear up his Character. He declared to me upon his Honour, that he never wrote the Letters that were published in his Name, and that he never directly nor indirectly, had any Concern in Counterfeiting Continental Bills or New Hampshire Bills, or any other Paper Money. He desired me to let Mr. Apthorp know that he was well. I since hear, he has got a Pension of 500 a Year. A poor Pittance for a Governor to live on in London—especially with his Extravagant Humour.2 You are studying French I hope. Oh that I had studyed it, you know when.
1. One of the “great Packetts” from the Massachusetts Council was doubtless “One hundred Copies of an Act intitled 'An Act to prevent the return to this State of certain Persons named and described and others who have left the same and joined our inveterate and Cruel Enemies'” (Deputy Secretary John Avery to Franklin, Lee, and JA, 23 Oct. 1778, PPAmP).
2. John Wentworth (1737–1820), JA's Harvard classmate and the last royal governor of New Hampshire, had fled to Nova Scotia and then to England; in the preceding May JA had encountered him at the Comédie Francaise in Paris; see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:308; 4:85. At least one of “the Letters that were published in Wentworth's Name,” dated 17 Jan. 1777 at his winter quarters in Flatbush, Long Island, and directed to his sister, has been published in full in the Provincial Papers: Documents and Records Relating to the Province of New Hampshire, Concord and Nashua, 1867–1944, 7:394–395. In publishing an extract of it in his biographical sketch of Wentworth, Mr. Shipton has said: “Intercepted, this letter was published throughout the United States, and did much to ruin Wentworth's reputation” (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:671). The counterfeiting charge stemmed from a published confession of a convicted counterfeiter in the Continental Journal, 9 Oct. 1777, accusing Wentworth while in Newport, R.I., of being “the fount from which counterfeit currency was flooding the insurgent colonies” (same).
“Mr. Apthorp” was James Apthorp (1731–1799), a Braintree loyalist who had married Sarah Wentworth, a sister of Wentworth's wife (and cousin), Frances; see vol. 2:267, above; John Wentworth, The Wentworth Genealogy: English and American, Boston, 1878, 1:317–318, 519–520.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0109

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-12-13

Abigail Adams to John Adams

By the alliance (a fine frigate Built in Newbury port commanded by Capt. Laundry a Native of France2) I hope this will reach you and by her you will have a good opportunity of conveying any thing you please to me. I have wrote so often and met with so little encouragement by a return that if I really believed one half you wrote, reachd my Hands I should through my pen aside as an impertinent intruder upon hours more agreably imployed.
Barns we have reason to think is either lost or taken, if Ayers has saild he may have shared the same fate as neither of them have arrived. Two vessels lay ready to sail from Boston by both of <whom> them I have wrote. One is called the 3 Friends Bound for Port Orient, the other goes to Holland <I believe> where perhaps you will receive orders to go before this reaches you. I cannot say I am gratified by the removal. The climate of France is more agreable I believe to your Health, and I fear I shall hear from you if possible seldomer than at present, but neither your own pleasure or satisfaction or my comfort or conveniency are to be consulted. Those were long ago sacrificed to the publick to whom you are devoted and wherever that service can best be p[romo]ted there it is your duty to repair, mine to acquiese—mine to attend you whenever you think your own comfort, pleasure or satisfaction can be promoted by it, and that I could come to you with any degree of safety. This is my wish tho I had much rather have accompanied you than follow you.—I have enjoyed a tolerable good state of Health, Depression of spirits I often experience from the state of anxiety in which I live. Domestick cares some times oppress me, you have directed me to a method which will in some measure relieve me from them. The miserable state of our currency adds to other difficulties, a hundred Dollors will not purchase what ten formerly would, common sugar is 200 dollors per hundred, flower 50, cider 12 pounds a Barrel, and other articles in proportion. Taxes very high. Should I tell you that it cost me a hundred dollors to new shingle one side of a Barn you would scarcly credit it, yet it is as true as astonishing. Whilst I am studying frugality and oconomy, I look round me and see others living in dissapation and greater extravagance than ever, sitting up Equipages [ . . . ]3 and dazling the world with their glare.
This year has not been a very glorious one to America. The unfortunate failure of their Expedition against Rhoad Island shagrined, { 136 } mortified and dissapointed to such a degree that they cannot yet mention it with patience, for they had every humane appearence of being crownd with Success and victory. Our Arms have rather been imployed in the defensive way. Our Enemies however have nothing to boast of since they have not gained one inch of territory more than they possessd a year ago and are at least Philadelphia out of pocket. What the winter may produce I know not. I wish it would give us peace but do not expect it.
In your last Letter you mention having sent some articles several times but do not say by whom. I have not received any thing but by Capt. Tucker. There is no remittances you can make me which will turn to a better account than Goods, more especially such articles as I enclose a list of but I believe a ship of war is the safest conveyance for them. Doctor Tufts son has lately sit up in Trade, whatever I receive more than is necessary for family use I can put into his hands which will serve both him and my-self.
I have wrote so lately and so perticuliarly that I have nothing further to add than to request you to write by every opportunity and that with more leisure than you seem to have done. A short Letter always give[s] one pain as well as pleasure since a few lines only from such a distance looks as if the Friend we wrote to possessd but a small share of our attention and regard. <All your Friends complain of you.> You should recollect that in the absence of a certain Friend all pleasures and amusements are tasteless, all loose their relish, that I have not one left eaquel to that of receiving from your own hand assurances [of yo]ur affection and regard—that tis the only consolation for an absence to which I know no limits. I should be obliged to you if you would mention the dates of Letters you receive from your affectionate
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers). Enclosed list of articles desired by AA not found.
1. The year has been supplied on the basis of internal evidence; see note 2. The missing RC was in all likelihood dated 15 Dec., for in his letter to AA of 13 Feb. 1779, below, JA acknowledged a letter from her of that date, brought to France by Lafayette, which, from its allusions, clearly seems to have been a version of the present text.
2. The new 36-gun Continental frigate Alliance sailed from Boston before the middle of Jan. 1779 and arrived at Brest on 6 Feb.; one of her passengers was Lafayette (Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships). Her commanding officer was Pierre Landais, concerning whose controversial naval career and whose relations with the Adamses see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:366 and passim.
3. Here and below, MS is worn.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0110

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1778-12-15

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

I have a very bad soar finger and it pains me to write, yet a few lines I must write to my dear son to tell him that he is never forgotton by his Mamma, tho he does not receive a Letter every time his pappa does.
Many Letters to and from you are lost I make no doubt or I should certainly hear oftner. Barns by whom you say you wrote a very long Letter has not arrived and is supposed to be lost or taken. The 27 of August is the Latest date I have received from your pappa, and that was brought by Mr. Ingersol.
There is no present half so acceptable as Letters from my dear absent Friends. I long for them with an impatience that I find difficult to restrain. You have been very good in writing, but are not so perticular as I wish you was.
Your Sister and Brothers are well and have lately wrote to you,1 your Grandpapa and Grandmamma are well and desire to be rememberd to you. Let Stevens know that his Friends are well, and that he has a son about 6 weeks old, suppose his conscience will tell him who the Mother is.
Nothing New has taken place with us since the French Fleet saild, except a British ship the Somerset, being wrecked upon the cape. The capt[ain] and most of the Men were saved and are prisoners. The Guns were saved and many other valuable Effects.
It has been a very tempestous fall, many of the severest storms I ever knew, and a very cold winter threatens us. The climate of France is more temperate than that of America. Your sister longs to make a voyage there, if she was of the other sex I should encourage her, and perhaps send her in the New frigate call'd the Alliance which will bring this to you. Gen'll. Warrens son is Lieut. of Marines on Board, and I have heard the Marquiss Fayet designs going home in her if he leaves America her Blessing will follow him,2 for he is much Esteemed here, and may he reap in his own country the Lawrels he has merritted here.

[salute] I am my dear Son with affection and regard your Mamma,

[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in Thaxter's hand: “Mr. John Q. Adams { 138 } Paris”; endorsed by JA: “Portia to her Son Decr. 15. 1778”; docketed by JQA.
1. Letters not found.
2. Thus punctuated in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0111

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-12-18

John Adams to Abigail Adams

This Moment I had, what shall I say? the Pleasure or the pain of your Letter of 25 of Octr. As a Letter from my dearest Freind it gave me a pleasure that it would be in vain to attempt to describe: but the Complaints in it gave me more pain than I can express—this is the third Letter I have recd. in this complaining style. the former two I have not answer'd.—I had Endeavour'd to answer them.—I have wrote several answers, but upon a review, they appear'd to be such I could not send. One was angry, another was full of Greif, and the third with Melancholy, so that I burnt them all.1—if you write me in this style I shall leave of writing intirely, it kills me. Can Professions of Esteem be Wanting from me to you? Can Protestation of affection be necessary? can tokens of Remembrance be desir'd? The very Idea of this sickens me. Am I not wretched Enough, in this Banishment, without this. What Course shall I take to convince you that my Heart is warm? you doubt, it seems.—shall I declare it? shall I swear to it?—Would you doubt it the less?—And is it possible you should doubt it? I know it is not?—If I could once believe it possible, I cannot answer for the Consequences.—But I beg you would never more write to me in such a strain for it really makes me unhappy.
Be assured that no time nor place, can change my heart: but that I think so often & so much, of the Blessings from which I am seperated as to be too unmindful of those who accompany me, & that I write to you so often as my Duty will permit.
I am extremely obliged to the Comte D'Estaing and his officers for their Politeness to you, and am very Glad you have had an opportunity, of seing so much of the french Nation. The accounts from all hands agree that there was an agreable intercourse, & happy harmony upon the whole between the inhabitants and the Fleet, the more this Nation is known, & the more their Language is understood, the more narrow Prejudices will wear away. British Fleet and Armys, are very different from theirs. in Point of Temperance and Politeness there is no Comparison.
This is not a correct Copy, but you will pardon it, because it is done by an Hand as dear to you as to your
[signed] John Adams
{ 139 }
RC (Adams Papers); in JQA's hand except for last paragraph and signature. Text is given here in literal style.
1. One of them may survive, however, as the unfinished LbC of 3 Dec., above.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0112

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-12-26

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] Hon'd Mamma

it is now with Great Pleasure that I now sit down to write to you & many a time since I came here I have done the same though you say in several Letters that [i.e. to] My Pappa that you have not rec'd but two or three Letters from My Pappa or me but Pappa rec'd a Letter from Uncle Smith Dated November the 3th1 in which he says that he had taken a Number of Letters for the family Yours have been pretty lucky but I have not rec'd but 2 Letters from you however My Pappa has rec'd several from you in which you complain'd a great deal of my Pappa's not writing to you but be assured that it is not that for he has wrote a great number of Letters to you & I have given you once a Long history of my Voyage2 which I will do another opportunity for at Present it would be too long & I am in a hurry & so I must Leave you for this time. I am with every sentiment of Esteem & respects your dutiful son
[signed] John Quincy Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. John Adams Braintree near Boston.” Text is given here in literal style.
1. Not found, but see Isaac Smith Sr. to JA, 9 Nov., above.
2. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0113

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-12-27

Abigail Adams to John Adams

How lonely are my days? How solitary are my Nights? Secluded from all Society but my two Little Boys, and my domesticks, by the Mountains of snow which surround me I could almost fancy myself in Greenland. We have had four of the coldest Days I ever knew, and they were followed by the severest snow storm I ever remember, the wind blowing like a Hurricane for 15 or 20 hours renderd it imposible for Man or Beast to live abroad, and has blocked up the roads so that they are impassible.
A week ago I parted with my Daughter at the request of our P[lymout]h Friends to spend a month with them, so that I am solitary indeed.
{ 140 }
Can the best of Friends recollect that for 14 years past, I have not spent a whole winter alone. Some part of the Dismal Season has heretofore been Mitigated and Softned by the Social converse and participation of the Friend of my youth.
How insupportable the Idea that 3000 leigues, and the vast ocean now devide us—but devide only our persons for the Heart of my Friend is in the Bosom of his partner. More than half a score years has so rivetted it there, that the Fabrick which contains it must crumble into Dust, e'er the particles can be seperated.

“For in one fate, our Hearts our fortunes

And our Beings blend.”

I cannot discribe to you How much I was affected the other day with a Scotch song which was sung to me by a young Lady in order to divert a Melancholy hour, but it had a quite different Effect, and the Native Simplicity of it, had all the power of a well wrought Tradidy [tragedy]. When I could conquer my Sensibility I beg'd the song, and Master Charles has learnt it and consoles his Mamma by singing it to her. I will enclose it to you. It has Beauties in it to me, which an indifferent person would not feel perhaps—

His very foot has Musick in't,

As he comes up the stairs.

How oft has my Heart danced to the sound of that Musick?

And shall I see his face again?

And shall I hear him speak?

Gracious Heaven hear and answer my daily petition, “by banishing all my Grief.”
I am sometimes quite discouraged from writing. So many vessels are taken, that there is Little chance of a Letters reaching your Hands. That I meet with so few returns is a circumstance that lies heavy at my Heart. If this finds its way to you, it will go by the Alliance. By her I have wrote before, she has not yet saild, and I love to amuse myself with my pen, and pour out some of the tender sentiments of a Heart over flowing with affection, not for the Eye of a cruel Enemy who no doubt would ridicule every Humane and Social Sentiment long ago grown Callous to the finer sensibilities—but for the sympathetick Heart that Beats in unison with
[signed] Portias
PS I beleive Mr. Blodget the Bearer of this1 will have a Bill upon you, in favour of yours.
{ 141 }
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia Decr. 27. 1778.”
1. Nathan Blodget, purser of the Alliance; see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:372–373. See, further, AA to JA, 2 Jan. 1779, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0114

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-12-27

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Mr. Greenleaf is about to set off, towards Nantes and from thence to Boston.
Last Night, I walked to Paris and saw the Illumination for the Birth of the Princess Maria Theresa Charlotta,2 Fille du Roi—Splendid indeed. My little Friend who was with me will write you a Description of it. The Military school, the Hospital of Invalids and the Palace of Bourbon, were beautiful and sublime indeed, as much so as an Illumination can be. I could scarcely have conceived that an Illumination could have such an Effect. I suppose the Expence of this is a Million of Livres. As much as I respect this Country, particularly the King and Royal Family I could not help reflecting how many Families, in another Country would this Tallow make happy for Life, how many Privateers would this Tallow fit out, for chasing away the Jerseymen and making Reprisals on Messrs. Les Anglois.—But Taste will have its Way in this Country.
The Queen and her illustrious Infant are very well, and this Nation is very happy to have discovered a Way, by which a Dauphin may come to them next Year, or the Year after.
The K[ing] and Q[ueen] are greatly beloved here—every day shews fresh Proofs of it.
On the other side the Channel there is a King, who is in a fair Way to be the object of opposite sentiments, to a Nation, if he is not at present.
If Keppell should be destroyed in Life or Reputation, I shall expect to hear that all Restraints are taken off, and Passions allowed to sport themselves without Reserve. Keppell told the King he would not fight against America—an unpardonable offence. He will be ruined if possible.3 However I think that Keppell was wrong even to accept a Command against the French. If B[ritain] is wrong in this War against America, she is wrong in that vs. the French, for France and America have the same Object in View and no other. France is right if America is right, because France only assisted the American Cause for which John Bull abused and fought her. But John will come off wretchedly. He will be beat. He has been beat. There have been more British Men { 142 } of War already taken and destroyed, than they lost in two former War[s], and more sailors Prisoners.
1. Corrected from “26” by overwriting.
2. Marie Thérèse Charlotte (1778–1851), “Madame Royale,” eldest child of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette; in 1799 she married her Bourbon cousin the Duc d'Angoulême (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale).
3. Admiral Keppel was about to be court-martialed on charges by his subordinate officer Sir Hugh Palliser. The trial had profound political implications because Keppel was a whig and Palliser a supporter of the administration. The court completely exonerated Keppel. See DNB under both names; also JQA to AA, 16 Feb. 1779, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0115

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-12-30

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

We wait and wait and wait forever, without any News from America. We get nothing but what comes from England and to other People here and they make it as they please. We have had nothing from Congress an immense while. Every Merchant and every Merchants Apprentice, has Letters and News when I have none.
In Truth I have been so long from Boston that every Body there almost has forgot me.—I have expected every Moment for almost two Months my Recall.
Carlisle, Cornwallis and Eden are arrived in England, but bring no good News, for the English, or we should have had it, in the Gazette.
The two Houses of Parliament, join Ministry and Commissioners in threatning Fire and sword. They seem to think it necessary to threaten most when they can do least. They however shew their Disposition which they will indulge and gratify if they can.
But be not dismayed. They can do no great Things. Patience, Perseverance and Firmness, will overcome all our Difficulties.
Where the C. D'Estaing is, is a great Mystery. The greater the better. The English fancy he is returning to Europe. But We believe he is gone where he will do something.
The English reproach the French with Gasconade. But they never gasconaded as the English do now.
I suppose they will say as Burgoigne did, Speak Daggers but use none. But I believe however that they and he would use them if they could. Of all the Wrong Heads, Johnstone is the most consummate.1 The Tories at New York and Philadelphia have filled his Head with a Million Lyes. He seems to have taken a N. York Newspaper for holy Writ.
{ 143 }
Parliament is adjourned to the 14th. January.
Of this you may be assured that England can get no Allies.—The new Secretary at War makes a vast Parade of the Number of Men in their service by Sea and Land. But it is a mere Delusion.
They intend to bingyfy2 Keppell, to all Appearance. But killing him will not mend rotten ships nor make sailors.
I dined to day at the Dutchess D'Anvilles. When I saw the Companies of Militia on their March to fight her Husband I did not expect this. Did you?3
1. George Johnstone (1730–1787), former governor of West Florida and more recently a member of the Carlisle conciliatory commission (DNB).
2. JA's nonce word. Adm. John Byng (1704–1757) was court-martialed, sentenced, and shot for neglect of duty in a battle with the French off Minorca in 1756 (DNB).
3. This allusion is explained in JA's Diary and Autobiography, 4:42. The Duchesse d'Anville was the widow of the Due d'Anville (or Enville) who had in 1746 “commanded a kind of Armada against Us” that had greatly frightened New Englanders.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0116

Author: Smith, William (1755-1816)
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-12-31

William Smith to Abigail Adams

I have inclos'd two hundred & thirty six Dollars. The amount of the bills was £100. 16. The Cask of Wine gaug'd 30 Gallons. Deducting the £30 you desir'd leaves the sum inclos'd. I shou'd have sent it before, but have not had any oppertunity till the present. Mr. S. Bradford has sent you a Billet1 by Mr. Gannet. He sails next Sunday for France in the Alliance, if you have any letters to send to Mr. Adams he will take the charge of them. If I had know[n] that you wou'd have dispos'd of the £100 bill for paper I shou'd have likt to have had it.2

[salute] We have nothing new here. I remain your affectionate Couzin,

[signed] Wm. Smith
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed bills not found.
1. Not found.
2. See postscript to AA to JA, 27 Dec., above.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0117

Author: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Recipient: Cranch, Elizabeth
Recipient: Norton, Elizabeth Cranch
Date: 1779-01-01

Abigail Adams 2d to Elizabeth Cranch

[salute] My Dear Friend

I take my pen to perform my promice of writing to you and to wish you a happy new year may heaven pour down those blessings upon you that will make this life agreable
{ 144 }
this is an unsertain World we know not what a day may bringh forth & when we think we are in the utmost dainger we may be in the least
Mrs. Waren has lately had a severe trial of her fortitude A Son as it ware raisd from the arms of death in that voielent Storm of last saturday her Son Charles2 was no more than a mile from the shore comeing from Boston in a little sloop expecting every moment to go to the Bottom, but surpriseingly his Life was spaird and he arived safe on his native shore on sunday Morning:
In the same storm the Brig General Annould belonging to Col. Sears and Company wrect and seventy Men frose to death there never was so mallonclery an event took place in this harbour before—we have heard of other damages.3
I belive this letter will give you the dumps if you are free from them when you receive it—
I dont know whether this will find you at Braintree Germantown or Boston if you are at Germantown I suppose you are very happy in the company of that Worthy family4 a letter from either place will [be] very accepttable to your Sincere Friend
[signed] Mercella5
PS in some future letter I shall give you some account of the white chaimber the sun is now shineing into it & looks very pleasant
RC (MHi:Cranch Papers); addressed: “To Miss Eliza Cranch Braintree”; endorsed or docketed: “AA plyth. Jan 1 1779.” The text of this earliest MS letter from AA2 known to survive is given here in literal style.
“Your pretty Daughter is here on a Winter's Visit to Mrs. Warren. She is very well, and wont own that she is not happy” (James Warren to JA, Plymouth, 1 Jan. 1779, Adams Papers).
2. Charles Warren (1762–1785), Harvard 1782, 3d son of James and Mercy (Otis) Warren (Mrs. Washington A. Roebling, Richard Warren of the Mayflower, Boston, 1901, p. 28).
“On Friday the 25th ult. at 6 A.M. the Wind to the Westward, sailed from this Port the Brig General Arnold, James Magee, Commander; and about Meridian the Wind chop'd round to N.E. and looking likely for a Gale, they thought best to put into plymouth, and came to Anchor in a Place called the Cow Yard. On Saturday the Gale encreasing, she started from her Anchor, and stuck on the White Flatt; they then cut both Cables and Masts away, in Hopes to drive over, but she immediately bilged; it being low Water, left her Quarter-Deck dry, where all Hands got for Relief. A Schooner lying within Hail, heard their Cries, but could not assist them. On Sunday the Inhabitants were cutting Ice most of the Day before they got on board, when they saw 75 of the Men had perished, and 34 very much froze, which they got on Shore; and on Monday they got on Shore and buried the dead. Great Part of her Stores, &c. will be saved.—Some evil-minded Persons have raised a Report that she was plundered by the Inhabitants, which is entirely false, as they behaved with the greatest Humanity.” (Boston Gazette, 4 Jan. 1779, p. 3, col. 2.)
4. Presumably the Joseph Palmer family at Friendship Hall.
5. In adopting fanciful names for their girlish correspondence AA2 and her cousin Elizabeth Cranch (“Myrtilla”), later Mrs. Jacob Norton, followed the { 145 } practice of their elders twenty years or so earlier. Some of the persons mentioned under poetical names in the extended series of letters between them during the following decade (of which AA2's are now in the Cranch Papers but Miss Cranch's are lost) cannot now be identified.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0118

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-01-01

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I wish you an happy new Year, and many happy Years—and all the Blessings of Life. Who knows but this Year may be more prosperous for our Country than any We have seen. For my own Part I have hopes that it will. Great Blessings are in store for it, and they may come this Year as well as another. You and I however must prepare our Minds to enjoy the Prosperity of others not our own. In Poverty and Symplicity, We shall be happy, whenever our Country is so. Johnny sends Duty. Mr. Williams waits—I knew of his going but this Moment.1—I think I shall see you this Year, in spight of British Men of War. If it should be otherwise ordered, however, we must submit.
1. Jonathan Williams, Franklin's grandnephew, often called Jonathan Williams Jr., had been at Passy planning a voyage to America, but at Nantes on 12 Jan. he informed Franklin that the loss of a vessel had altered his plans (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:228; Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:6).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0119

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-01-02

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

You have directed me to draw Bills upon you for what Money I want, and add, that if my Bills are scrupled, to get them indorsed. I thank you sir, but I have no occasion for an indorser. My credit will last here; till it fails upon the other side of the water, I should find no difficulty in selling many more Bills than you would chuse to pay. I have had various applications to me for Bills, but not a single six pence can I get of substantial coin. That is kept up as choise as the life Blood; if our currency was two weeks together upon the same footing, I should not so much regard receiving it for Bills. Merchants do not care to buy small Bills, and if I draw for more than I have immediate use for, it sinks in my hands.
Remittances made in goods, provided it could be done with any safety, will fetch hard Money, or may be parted with as occasion requires. Every article either of Merchandise or provision has been rising for this Month. I had occasion for a Sum of Money to discharge { 146 } my last years accounts and to provide some family stores, which has obliged me to draw a Bill upon you in favour of Mr. Blodget who is in the Alliance, to the amount of a 100 pounds which added to the Bill I drew in favour of Smith and Codman amounts to 2 hundred pounds Lawfull Money.
I hope you will not think me extravagant, I could account for the expenditure of every shilling to your satisfaction; I will give you one instance of prices here. Yesterday I gave 12 pounds Lawfull Money for one pound of Bohea tea and 14 pounds of ordinary brown sugar. Our crops were so cut of by the drought, and distroyed by the Storm, that 23 Bushels of corn is the sum total of my last years crop. Not a single Barrel of cider was made upon the Farm. I do not exaggerate when I say that 100 and hundreds of families have not a mouth full of Bread to eat. Grain is not to be had at any rate in this State and the Embargoes of other States, has hitherto prevented any supplies.
My determination was, that the Bills I had already drawn should answer all the purposes of the last year; but last Night Mr. Williams the Bearer of this Letter,1 and your former pupil, applied to me for a Bill in his favour, but I declined, as I had lately made so large a Draught, and had paper sufficent for all my present Demands. He then offerd me ten guineas if I would draw a Bill for them. As I knew I should be no loser by having hard money in my Hands I consented to draw for that, and have accordingly given him a Bill. Both my unkle and Genll. W[arre]n had been trying a month for me, but not a shining morsal could they procure for me, nor will they give near so much in paper as dollors sell for, which I think a very great hardship. If on any occasion I should be offerd gold and silver for Bills I shall venture to draw, but will not exceed 2 hundred Lawfull Money yearly if I can posibly avoid it—and if I should receive the articles you say you have orderd for me, I may not perhaps have occasion for near that Sum. I have given to Mr. Williams a List of articles2 nearly the same which I have sent to you and if you give him leave, he will purchase and convey them to me, he has also promised to take perticular care to convey any Letters you may wish to send from time to time. The publick packet in which Capt. Ayers went to France arrived at Cape Ann, and was in the most voilent Storm ever known here, drove ashore, happily no one perish'd. Capt. Ober who I find now commands her, has not got to Boston yet. I expect Letters by him—what shall I attribute it to if I have not? My dissapointment will be great, yet should their be a paper addressed to me, and enclosed should I find what may properly be termd a Letter, my agreable dissapointment will be great { 147 } indeed. Surely I have been the most unfortunate person in the world, to loose every Letter you have wrote me since your absence, and to receive only a few lines at various times wrote in the greatest haste, containing only the state of your Health, perhaps making mention of your Son and Servant and then concluding abruptly yours.
I determine very soon to coppy and adopt the very concise method of my Friend—and as I wish to do every thing agreable to him, send him Billits containing not more than a dozen lines at the utmost Especially as paper has grown so dear, which will afford some coulour of an excuse to his most affectionate
[signed] Portia
PS Mr. Williams goes in the vessel calld the 3 Friends. I wrote Letters by her a month ago and supposed she was gone. My Love to my Son he will find letters for him on board the same vessel.3
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “Honble: John Adams Esqr. Commissioner of the United States of America at Passi near Paris. Pr. favor of Mr. J. Williams”; endorsed: “Portia Jan. 2. 1779 ansd. Feb. 19. 1779.”
1. Not, of course, the “Mr. Williams” mentioned in the preceding letter, but a young Boston relative of his who bore the same name, Jonathan Williams, and who has been identified at vol. 1:123, above. He was on his way to France, where he arrived in mid-February, partly to improve his health (see Williams to JA, 16 Feb. 1779, Adams Papers), but he died in 1780; see Thaxter to JA, 7 Aug. 1780, below.
2. List not found.
3. These letters are not clearly identifiable and were presumably lost.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0120

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1779-01-04

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

May I be permitted to call of your attention from the important and weighty concerns of State to answer me a Question in which I feel myself interested. I find by some late intelligence which I have collected that there is a New arrangement of the commissioners, Doctor Franklin being appointed Minister plenipotentiary for France, Mr. Lee for Spain. My query is where is my Friend to be placed?
I would fain hope not at a greater Distance than he is at present. The publick service may require a removal, to that service he is devoted, and must attend it where ever it can best be promoted, whilst I must endeavour to act the part allotted to my Sex—patience and submission—a Lesson I ought to be well versed in since I have been so often call'd to the Exercise of it.
I wish to know if any vessels have arrived at the Southard from France by which you have received Letters from my Friend. This day { 148 } compleats 10 months since he left his own habitation,1 during the whole of this time I have heard from him only 5 times, his last date 27 of August near four months ago.2 This is a painfull situation and my patience is sometimes nearly exhausted; I should complain more but that I am conscious I am writing to a Gentleman who lives in the continual practise of mortification and self denial, having already been absent from his family near two years, tho the frequent intercourse by Letters must greatly lessen the pains of absence.
<If my Friend should be removed from France it is not likely that I should be able to hear even so often as I have done. The climate is perticularly agreable to his Health and the Manners of the people greatly changed for the better during the present Reign, and their Sentiments both in Religion and politicks are much more liberal than they formerly were).3>
Since Mr. T[haxte]r left Philadelphia I have scarcly seen a publick paper, or known any thing that has past in the Capital of America, as it is termd but why I know not unless the residence of your high Mightinesses there should make it so. Some of the Mighty ones of the Earth appear to be at varience and tell sad stories of each other. The publick will not sit down easy from the present disposition which appears among them unless an Eclarismong takes place with regard to the charges exhibited by Mr. Dean. Surely he would not have advanced such articles as he has unless he had the proofs in his Hand's.4
It is a very great misfortune that persons imployd in the most important Departments should be at varience with each other, or should have seperate interests from the publick whom they profess to serve. Ceasars wife ought not to be suspected.
Am I entitled to the journals of Congress, if you think so I should be much obliged to you if you would convey them to me.
I want to be resolved in an other question, what shall we do with our currency? I fear it will be a Hurculean labour to extricate it out of its present forlorn condition. There is a universal uneasiness with regard to it and some are speculating one project, some another.
If the Embargo should cease this month Mr. L[ovel]l will not be unmindfull of his assured Friend and Humble Servant,5
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers); at head of text in JQA's hand: “to James Lovell Philadelphia.” Composed several weeks earlier than the date it bears; see notes 1 and 2.
1. Although JA left Braintree for France on 13 Feb., AA's phrase “10 months” is not so much a mistake as an indication that she actually wrote this { 149 } draft on or about 13 Dec. 1778. She must have affixed to it the date of 4 Jan. when she copied out and sent the (missing) RC to Lovell, but she failed to update this reference in the draft. Lovell's answer of 19 Jan., below, shows that RC was dated 4 Jan. and that she corrected its text to read “near 11 months.”
2. AA acknowledged JA's letter of 27 Aug. 1778 in hers to JQA of 15 Dec., above, thus confirming the conjecture in the preceding note that she drafted the present letter on or about 13 Dec. 1778.
3. This paragraph is scratched out in MS. AA perhaps decided that offering to a member of the Committee for Foreign Affairs her personal reasons for JA's remaining in France would be thought meddlesome.
4. Silas Deane's combined defense of his conduct in France and counterattack on Arthur Lee, entitled “To the Free and Virtuous Citizens of America,” had been printed in the Pennsylvania Packet on 5 Dec. and was reprinted in all the Boston papers early in January. This was the first in a proposed series of articles, but it proved such a bombshell that no more were published. JA was unwillingly but inevitably drawn into the bitter and protracted Deane-Lee feud and was profoundly distressed by Deane's publication when it reached France, declaring on 8 Feb. that there appeared to him “no Alternative left but the Ruin of Mr. Deane, or the Ruin of his Country.” See JA to AA, 9 Feb., below, and JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:345–351.
5. On the “Embargo” and AA's concern over it, see Lovell to AA, 1, 12 Sept. 1778, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0121

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-01-18

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

A Gentleman, Mr. Boardman of Newbury Port,1 is going, and by him I send you a few Lines.
In England nothing is talked of, but Admiral Keppell, whom they are daily trying by a Court Martial. His Defence, I suppose is our security, viz. the shattered Condition of their Navy.
They are almost ripe for cutting each others Throats to all Appearance, yet they are about sending Reinforcements to America. But they cant send many.
Here, they are silently preparing for your Assistance. Patience and Perseverance, will finally obtain what We wish.
I am quite unwell, with one of my violent Colds. But I walk ten miles a day to cure it.
I never was so embarrassed, in writing to you in my Life. I never know what security I have against appearing in the News Papers, and I assure you I dont wish to see any more of my Love Letters there.2
I have been here in a State of total Suspence and Uncertainty, these three Months. Not one Word can We get from Congress. No News here from the Comte3 since his Departure from Boston.
1. Probably Capt. Offin Boardman, who had commanded a Newburyport privateer that had been captured; Boardman had escaped from Mill Prison and made his way to France (William H. Bayley and Oliver O. Jones, History of { 150 } the Marine Society of Newburyport [Newburyport], 1906, p. 355–356).
2. An allusion to his letter to AA of 24 July 1775, intercepted and published by the British; see text and notes at vol. 1:255–258, above.
3. Admiral d'Estaing.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0122

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-01-19

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest

I can only tell you that I am not well. A bad Cold only. The others are all well.
Not a Word of News from any Part. None from America a long time, i.e. since Mr. Cheever and Sears sailed. None from Congress this Age. Mr. Gridley, Cheever and Sears, brought me only a Line from your Uncle and a Duplicate from Mr. Cushing. These I answered before.1
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams.”
1. The letter from AA's uncle, Isaac Smith Sr., 9 Nov. 1778, is printed above; no answer has been found. Thomas Cushing's letter, “a Duplicate” dated 21–28 Oct. 1778, is in Adams Papers; JA replied in a letter of 8 Dec. 1778 (NhD).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0123

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-01-19

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

Yes, lovely Portia, you have written to one “who lives in the continual practice of mortification and self denial,” who therefore can and does most “feelingly commiserate your situation.”
I am pleased when You speak of my disinterested attachment to the public weal: for, I know you judge from Sensibilities to which the herd of worldlings are intire strangers. They would stare at your opinion, and gravely ask “what Fortune does he sacrifice.”
I fear not, from you, the tax of vanity when I hope my example may tend to strengthen your Patience. I will fortify my own by looking up to your dearest Friend, whom even the worldling will own to be a striking pattern.
You say 'tis near 11 months since he left Braintree. I find myself relieved by that period from a certain anxiety, which was founded on my tenderness towards your dear Sex that Mr. A's rigid patriotism had overcome. He used, in that Spirit, to contemplate with pleasure, a circumstance in you, the like of which in Mrs. L[ovell] aggravated my absence from home, exceedingly. In spight therefore of his past reproofs to me, I will take pleasure in your Escape.
{ 151 }
You may be assured, dear Lady, that not a line for you has arrived here, or any thing material to the public under your Husband's hand, or I should have communicated both the one, and the other so far as proper, to you speedily.
From the minutes now on my table, I can only mention the Receipt of short letters from him of Apr. 28.1 Aug. 12. 14. 21. Before I seal, I shall be in the Secretary's office, and will add other dates, if I find them. Personally, I have not had a single line of answer, tho my almanac proves I have written 16 or 18 times to him. He is right in his short letters: The quarrels of others are as fiery Beacons to his prudence.
I am sorry you do not see all the papers from this quarter. The vanity of a late Envoy will work its own destruction. His chief antagonist here, tho indiscreet at times, is an overmatch for him in the scribling way.2 The Lees are men of Probity as well as Science; and the advantage of speaking of them behind their backs will not turn out so great as was at first hoped by the Innuendo-Man; so R. H. Lee quaintly terms Mr. D[eane].
Arthur Lee has no Commission but what Mr. Adams helped to give him 18. Months ago. There is no particular destination yet made of Mr. A——, but there will be, shortly. I think Party can hurl no Dart against his Honor.
I will communicate to you from time to time any decision interesting to you.
As to our money; 'Till we get a foreign Loan, we can only patch and patch. There is a prospect of our succeeding in Holland. Our Cause gains strength there daily.
I do not think I shall soon be able to help you to flour. But my wishes are on constant watch.
You do not mention the Receipt of either a Scrawl from me of Novr. 14 or a Box sent by one Lusher who is returned hither, though I have not seen him.
As to Mr. Thaxter, I begin to suspect whether I was ever civil to him for one moment. He has never wrote me a single line or sent me a verbal message of Direction where I am to find my Saddle-Bags which I lent him. “There is nothing new under the Sun.” Why then should I be astonished on this Occasion?
“Past 12 o Clock, and a rainy Morning” says the watchman under my Window. Taking his hint, and quitting, for the present, my Converse with Virtue, Sense and Beauty, shall I not find, on my pillow, a Repose sweet as that of a cradled Infant? or, if Fancy will maintain { 152 } her domination jointly with Morpheus, shall I not realize the Slumbers of the Arcadians, and, therein, know myself yr. affectionate Friend,
[signed] JL.
P.S. I find Aug. 27. Sepr. 11th.
1. Probably a mistake for 25 April 1778. If so, all of the letters from JA to Congress listed here and in Lovell's postscript have been located in some version or other except that of 12 Aug. 1778.
2. Thomas Paine, who under his famous pen name “Common Sense” vigorously answered Deane and Deane's defenders in a series of communications to the Pennsylvania Packet, 15, 29, 31 Dec. 1778, and 2, 5, 7, 9 Jan. 1779. These are reprinted in the Deane Papers, 3:86–100, 133–136, 209–239. As a result, through the direct intervention of Gérard, the French minister in Philadelphia, Paine lost his post as secretary to the Committee for Foreign Affairs; see same, p. 246–259.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0124

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-01-19

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

I Intended writing my Friend Mrs. Adams when Mr. Thaxter Returned but dare say he Gave you a satisfactory Reason why I did not, since which many matters have taken up my time. The Bussy and the Gloomy scenes have Alternately played before me and Commanded my Attention almost Ever since I left your house with a Heart full of anxiety.
I saw my Father no more as my Foreboding Heart presaged. He Breathed his Last sigh And bid Adieu to mortality before I Reached His now Desolate Mansion.
Why was this such a painful Circumstance to me. How Inconsistent, how Irrational are our Wishes. When the saint is on the Threshold of Eternity And His Lord has Commissioned a Messenger to Release him from his Labour, and Bestow the Reward shall we wish a Moments Detention, that we may be permited the painful, the Terefying satisfaction of standing by His Couch, while the trembling Soul is taking Leave of Its shattered tenement, and is looking abroad, amidst the Dark, profound, Etheriel oeconimy, for a New and more permenent Habitation.
My Excellent parent had Long done his Work, and was patiently waiting this important Change. He longed to Depart and to be with Christ, and to unite his song of praise with the seperate spirit of one whose Life was such that her Children Could not be forgiven if they did not Arise and Call her Blessed, so long as Memory is lent them.
Forgive the Fond overflowings of Fillial affection, and I will lead { 153 } you from a subject so unpolite to a more Fashionable theme, to the Disputes of polititions and statsmen. There if any where is Developed the Dark Windings of the Human Heart. How often when they have involved themselves in Guilt, do they send a Hue and Cry for justice to overtake such as are about to Detect them. Perhaps we may soon see the Methods taken to Exculpate the knave1 were the best Means of Bringing to Light the knavery: and had the Former been silent, the odium of the Latter might have been fixed where it was not due, but by opening a Door for a strict scrutiny I hope truth will be Discovered And punishment and Disgrace will Rest where it ought.
If your Little Good Girl is unhappy she Conceals it from me, for she smiles as if she Enjoyed herself and says plimouth is as pleasant as Either Boston or Braintree. I shall Endeavour to keep her in that sentiment as Long as I Can.
If you hear anything from France we are not so immersed in our own Happiness but what she and I Can Listen with pleasure. Nor would Inteligence from any other quarter be unentertaining handed forward by your pen.
Make my Regards to Mr. Thaxter and to all other Braintree Friends. I will not write what I think of this young Gentleman, but when I see you I will tell you.
It gives me pleasure in such a day as this when Vice is strengthened by Fashion, and Crimes are softned by the appelation of Taste to see any Coming on the stage of action who have understanding and Virtue sufficient to Dare to be Good. But this may be one of the Antiquated Whims of Your undisguized Friend,
[signed] Marcia Warren
RC (Adams Papers). Early Tr (MHi:Mercy Warren Letterbook); in an unidentified hand and dated: “Plymouth January 2d. 1779.” Tr was based on a Dft, which may have been dated but is not now to be found. Variations between RC and Tr, though numerous, are disregarded here.
1. In Tr an asterisk is inserted here and a note appears at the bottom of the page: “Silas Dean's address to the public when under censure of Congress.”

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0125

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1779-01-22

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren

Your favour by Col. Henly was deliverd me by the Hand of that gentleman. I had been some time expecting to hear from you by your own worthy partner and not seeing him this way gave me some anxiety least he was unwell. But as you did not mention it, and by inquiry of Col. H——I could not find that any thing was the Mater so I set it { 154 } down to the miserly disposition of my Friend who having got intire possession of her treasure was for securing it wholy to herself, unwilling to impart it to an ungratefull world who tho they had formerly reapd advantages and benifits from the improvement of it, had turnd their attention and Applause to the empty vain Bauble which glitters for a while but is destitute of that intrinsick value which defies the tooth of time.
Forgive me if I sometimes am envious—envious I will not call it since I am sure I do not wish the diminution of any ones happiness—only that I possessd an eaquel share of domestick felicity. My Ideas do not coincide with those who recommend a seperation as necessary to revive the Langour of the most intimate of unions. Those who feel that langour may willingly apply the remedy and find a substitute, but no substitute can fill up the vacancy in my happiness, or supply to me the absence of him who has all my Heart.
I ask not excuse for such sentiments as I know you can join in, nor need my Friend have apoligised for the overflowings of Filial affections to one who has experienced the last sad farewell of one of the best of parents. How much more painfull would the retrospect appear had crimes embitterd their remembrance. May their virtues desend and adorn their children even unto the 3 and fourth generation.
My daughter I dare say is happy and content, was she otherways I should have no opinion of her judgment or taste. When I sent her to you I supposed you would have been for the most part alone and did not know but her company might in some measure elude2 the lonely hour. In return I knew she would reap advantages from residing with a Lady she could not fail of loving and respecting, but as you are determined to keep more valuable company, I suppose I may call for her in a few weeks.
The conduct of a certain gentleman has roused the attention of the publick. He has stired up a nest which will sting him till he bleads. Tis unhappy that in the Infancy of our republicks such unworthy characters should stain our Anals and Lessen us in the Eyes of foreign powers. Yet this will ever be the case where self Interest is more powerfull than publick virtue. When the path of rectitude is forsaken, the mind is soon bewilderd in error and when men leave honesty wisdom forsakes them.
I hope the dark scene will be develloped and the indignation of an abused people fall where it ought.
You call for News from France. With pleasure I would give you any intelligance I could obtain, but alass there is a wide ocean betwen, { 155 } and my Heart sickens when I recollect what a long period has elapsed since I received the least consolation from thence. May I ask the ready pen of my Friend to indulge me with a few lines from Parnassus upon the Anniversary of a very Melancholy day to me, which will always be more peculiarly devoted to my absent Friend, till the happy one arrives which shall give him back to me again.
I sympathize with my Friend that she is again and so soon call'd to mourn a departed relative cut of in the midst of her days, witherd in her Bloom at a time when the young charge require the maternal watchfulness and precepts.3 This is a much more trying Dispensation than resigning those who according to the course of Nature have done the work assignd them and like a shock of corn are gathered.

As those we love decay, we dye in part

String after string is sever'd from the Heart

Till loosen'd life, at last but breathing clay

Without one pang is glad to fall away,

Unhappy those, who latest feel the blow

Whose Eyes have wept o'er every Friend laid low,

Drag'd ling'ring on from partial Death to Death

Till, dying, all they can resign is Breath.

At a late hour I must bid a good Night to Marcia and close her affectionate
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers); at head of text in CFA's hand: “Mrs. Warren Jan 1779.” At the beginning of the third page of this four-page MS, AA had begun, and later scratched out, an undated draft letter to an unnamed correspondent: “Sir As you are determined to return to your native land again permit me Sir to address you tho personally unknown to you [sentence unfinished].” One may guess that she was addressing a loyalist, but the editors cannot identify him, and presumably she never finished or sent the letter.
1. The death of Elizabeth (Gray) Otis, spoken of in this letter, occurred on 22 Jan. 1779 (see note 3). AA is obviously answering Mrs. Warren's letter of 19 Jan., preceding, but her answer may have been written at any time between 22 Jan. and 13 Feb., “the Anniversary of a very Melancholy day,” also mentioned in this letter.
2. Thus in MS. Possibly AA meant to write: “in some measure help you elude the lonely hour.”
3. Elizabeth (Gray) Otis, 1st wife of Mrs. Warren's youngest brother, Samuel Allyne Otis (see Adams Genealogy), died on 22 Jan. at the age of 33 (Boston Gazette, 25 Jan. 1779). She left five children, the eldest of whom was Harrison Gray Otis (1765–1848), later famous as a Federalist political leader (Morison, H. G. Otis, vol. 1, ch. 1–2).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0126

Author: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Recipient: Cranch, Elizabeth
Recipient: Norton, Elizabeth Cranch
Date: 1779-01-24

Abigail Adams 2d to Elizabeth Cranch

Last weak I had the pleasure to receive too letters1 from my friend Myrtilla, aney time when you have letters if you send them to Brackets2 and dirrect them to General Waren or his Laidie, they will come safe to hand; you must cover them if you intend I shall read them first: I should have wrote you a longer letter by this opportunity but am prevented by an accident, which has taken up my thoughts for a weak past, but as I know you are not possest of so great a share of curiosity as some others, and suppose you can stey the tide of that torrent which is sometimes so fatal I shall not make you accqainted with it till my return which I do not wish for only upon account of seeing my friends; however I do not talk of it yet. Do not let this raise the little curiosity you are Mistress of to too great a height for a little is dangerous sometimes.
I am very sory to hear Lysander3 is so unwell however I hope the distemper he now labours under will not prove fatal to him or to you:—you say you have not had the symtoms of love yet: but I sincerely belive you have too fataly experienced them. Should be glad you would enclose them4 in the next letter as I ever shall be glad to see aney thing Portius recommends: and I think he did those: I enclose those para-gafts from Charles Wentworth and Grandison which you [desired of?] me.5
I have had the pleasure to see the Miss Eastons.6 Mrs. Waren sais she thinks the oaldest Miss Betsey is an agreable prety Girl so I must defer my opinion till a future day, they are great talkers. <I suppose Jack Thaxter has told you he was intimately accqainted with us: I let one of them say this>7 But I think Modestty in a Laidie is one of the shineing virtues of their sex; no dought you have heard.

[salute] I am with the sincereest affection your sincere & unalterable friend,

[signed] Mercella
PS jan 26 I beg you would not show this letter to aney person not even to your Mamma espechely that paragraft which mentions the accident as something has turnd up since I wrot the letter which makes me desire this of you.
RC (MHi:Cranch Papers); addressed: “To Miss Eliza Cranch Braintree”; docketed: “from AA Jan 24 1779.” Enclosed extracts not found.
1. Not found.
2. Brackett's tavern in Braintree, frequently mentioned in JA's Diary and Autobiography.
{ 157 }
3. Lysander, like Portius below, has not been identified.
4. Probably excerpts from a sentimental novel.
5. MS mutilated. The History of Charles Wentworth was a 3-volume novel published anonymously by Edward Bancroft, London, 1770; see above, vol. 1:138; also JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:72–73. Samuel Richardson's History of Sir Charles Grandison, London, 1754, was a novel well known in the Adams circle; see above, vol. 1:42.
6. Thus apparently in MS, but actually the Miss Watsons; see AA2 to Elizabeth Cranch, 4 Feb., below.
7. The passage scored out in MS is probably a specimen of the Watson girls' conversation, followed by an unfinished comment by AA2.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0127

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Recipient: Continental Congress
Date: 1779-01

Abigail Adams to a Massachusetts Member of the Continental Congress

[salute] Dear Sir

It gives me real pain to see the various arts and machinations of our internal Enemies practised with Effect upon the generality of Mankind. From the various reports which have been too successfully circulated for this month past the people will be brought to entertain suspicions with regard to congress which will tend to weaken their Authority and be greatly detrimental to our cause.
Mr. D[ea]n by his indiscreet appeal to the publick has laid a foundation for more extensive mischief than perhaps he first intended. He has insinuated that the Ears of congress were shut against him when matters of the utmost importance to the United States required an impartial tribunal, thereby reflecting upon their wisdom and justice.
This unhappy contest, not so prudently conducted by his antagonist as it ought to have been, has led people to entertain suspicions and surmizes with regard to the integrety of that Honorable Body and the Enimes of America have caught hold of this very opportunity to propogate falshood, which will among the unreflecting part of mankind keep such surmizes alive. I will name two Instances which have lately come to my knowledg. I was told last week by a Gentleman who received it in Town from two Southern Gentlemen that notwithstanding Mr. D—n character appeard in so unfavourable a light, congress had appointed him minister plenipo to Holland.2
I ventured at random to assure the gentleman their could be no truth in it.
The second report is that some Members of congress in conjunction with G[e]n. A[rnol]d had been counterfeiting the continental currency. I hope their is as little truth in this assertion. For individual Members I cannot answer—their was a judas amongst the Apostles—tho I do not credit the report. In such a Body of Men it would be { 158 } strange indeed, considering the Depravity of Humane Nature if their were not some less attached to the publick than to their private interest. Yet as a Body they have given every proof in their power that they are seeking the good of their country and disinterestedly act for the benifit of the publick weal and tho no Lover of their country would wish to see a blind obeidence to any body of Men, yet at the same time they must be sensible that it is for the good of the community that every member of it should pay a proper respect and regard to those to whom they have delegated power and Authority, that when once the confidence of the people is weakend by any real or immaginary cause of distrust, their rulers become the object of their Suspicion and jealousy, and their power of serving them decreses, their Authority is weakend, and the cause they wish to support is greatly injured.3
This Sir will certainly be our case unless the real Friends and disinterested patriot[s] will excert themselves and counter work the dangerous designs of our Enemies by discovering to the world their Arts and disigns.
I have taken the freedom Sir to address you upon this subject, as a warm and Zealous Friend to America and to the rights of Mankind. At the same time I intreet your pardon for touching upon a subject more properly belonging to your sex, but whilst I saw a dangerous poison spreading not only in this but the Neighbouring Towns, and judged it must be the case elsewhere, I thought it my duty to apply to those capable of applying a spedy antidote.
The absence of a very near and dear Friend I must plead as a further Excuse for addressing any other gentleman upon a subject which may be considerd as foreign to my sex, added to the critical state of our country which requires the Eyes of Argos to watch for its safety an[d] security, will I hope secure from the imputation of vanity one who begs leave to submit to your Eye only the Sentiments of your Friend and Humble Servant.
Dft (Adams Papers); at head of text in JQA's hand: “to James Lovell,” to which CFA added: “1779.”
1. Neither the intended recipient nor the precise date of this draft letter is determinable. The most likely addressee would seem to be James Lovell, as JQA supposed when he read this letter about 1830. Lovell was AA's regular correspondent in Congress, and one bit of evidence points directly to him. AA's phrase in the fourth paragraph, avowing that Congress is mainly composed of men who “disinterestedly act for the benifit of the publick weal,” is echoed more or less unmistakably in Lovell's letter to her of 19 Jan., printed above: “I am pleased when You speak of my disinterested attachment to the public weal.” But Lovell's letter here quoted is unquestionably an answer to AA's of 4 Jan., also above, of which, since only a rough draft has been found, we do not know the language of the recipient's copy (and therefore the phrase he echoed { 159 } may have been added to it); and nothing else in his answer suggests that he had received from AA a second letter of nearly the same date—a novelty that he would surely have made the most of if he had had an opportunity to do so. Less conclusive but not negligible in the case against Lovell as addressee is the fact that the tone of AA's present draft is definitely more formal than that of her known letters to Lovell of this period. The editors believe, therefore, that she was addressing someone she had not often written to before, if at all—perhaps Samuel Adams or Elbridge Gerry. There is no evidence that the draft was copied and sent; AA may well have decided not to send it.
As to the date, while it could not have been earlier than 3 or 4 Jan., when AA read Silas Deane's controversial address in a Boston newspaper, the rumor of Deane's possible appointment to the Netherlands suggests late January or even early February; see Samuel Adams' letter quoted in the following note.
“Mr Deans Friends are in hopes he will be sent to Holland as a Reward for his good Services. . . . Doubtless deep Commercial Connections may be formd there. They are willing Mr J A should go to Spain. The Design of this is to get Mr A L removd from thence. Others are for sending Mr A to Holland leaving Mr. L in Spain, to whose Influence in that Country our Armies are indebted for Supplys of Blanketts Shoes and Stockins. I am sorry to be obligd to think, that a Monopoly of Trade, and not the Liberty of their Country, is the sole Object of some Mens Views. This is the Cake which they hope shortly to slice and share among themselves.” (Samuel Adams to Samuel Cooper, 19 Jan. 1779, Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:37.)
3. This paragraph is so carelessly written and ill punctuated that for the sake of clarity it has been slightly repunctuated by the editors.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0128

Author: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Recipient: Cranch, Elizabeth
Recipient: Norton, Elizabeth Cranch
Date: 1779-02-04

Abigail Adams 2d to Elizabeth Cranch

[salute] My Dear Myrtilla

If aney person had told me the night I left Braintree that I should have ben at Plymouth almost seven weaks and have received only one letter from my Mamma and too from my Myrtilla1 I should have thought they ware capable of telling a falshood but I find it too true. I had almost taken up a resollution not to have wrote to aney of my Braintree friends untill I had received letters from them, but you know that second thoughts are often the best and I think I will put them in mind that thare is such a person gone out of Braintree as one Nabby Adams. Perhaps they have forgot it; or thought her of so littel consequence that they never troubled themselves to write to her or even to think of her; I assure you she takes it not a little hard. You will suppose me prejudiced in her favour; and would it be strainge if I ware; why rearly I dont think it would.
I have this afternoon seen the farce no dought you will have seen before this rearches you. Some suppose it wrote by Mr. Gimey Huse.2 I should like to know your opinion of it. I think some caractters are taken of very well. It is much more severe upon the tories than the whigs which is something strange unless he is a turncoat.

[salute] I must now bid you adeiu with asureing you that neither time nor { 160 } distance shall ever obliterate that affection with wich I remain your sincere friend,

[signed] Mercella
Yesterday I had the pleasure to receive your kind letter of jan 31; I should write you a longer letter by this oportunity but I expect General Waren will go tomorow Morning and I shall not have time as it is now late in the evening. You will suppose I am quite contented here as I am when I tell you that I have ben hear seven weaks and have not ben out but twice excepting to Mrs. Lothrops whare I visiat often. Once I have ben to Mr. Watsons he has a very agreable Laidie and too Deaughters Miss Betsey and Miss Ellen3 they are very agreable young Laidies, but I cannot give you aney further decription of them as I have a very bad pen and so sleeppy that I dont know what I write and must bid you adieu.
RC (MHi:Cranch Papers); addressed: “Miss Eliza Cranch Braintree”; docketed: “A A plyth. Feb 7 1779.”
1. None of these letters has been found, nor has Elizabeth Cranch's of 31 Jan., mentioned below.
2. Doubtless standing for “Jimmy Hughes,” who may have been the James Hughes (d. 1799) who graduated at Harvard in 1780. His “farce” has not been identified.
3. William Watson (1730–1815), Harvard 1751, a merchant and “indispensable town father,” was currently the Plymouth postmaster, later naval officer and collector of customs for Plymouth, and eventually chief justice of the Inferior Court. His daughter Elizabeth was to marry in 1789 Nathaniel Niles, a Vermont congressman. His daughter Ellen in 1785 married Judge John Davis of Plymouth and Boston. (Bradford Kingman, Epitaphs from Burial Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts, Brookline, 1892, p. 125; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:149–153.)

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0129

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-02-09

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

It is now a Year within a Day or two of my Departure from home. It is in vain for me to think of writing of what is passed.
The Character and Situation in which I am here, and the Situation of public Affairs absolutely forbid my Writing, freely.
I must be excused.—So many Vessells are taken, and there are so many Persons indiscreet, and so many others inquisitive, that I may not write. God knows how much I suffer for Want of Writing to you. It used to be a cordial to my Spirits.
Thus much I can say with perfect sincerity, that I have found nothing to disgust me, discontent me, or in any manner disturb me, in the French Nation. My Evils here arise altogether from Americans.
{ 161 }
If I would have inlisted myself under the Banners of Either Party, I might have filled America I doubt not with Panegyricks of me, from one Party and Curses and Slanders from another. I have endeavoured to be hitherto impartial, to search for nothing but the Truth and to love nobody and nothing but the public Good, at least not more than the public Good. I have hoped that Animosities might be softened, and the still small Voice of Reason heard more, and the boisterous Roar of Passions and Prejudices less.—But the Publication of a certain Address to the People, has destroyed all such Hopes.
Nothing remains now but the fearfull Looking for of the fiery Indignation of the Monster Party, here.
My Consolation is, that the Partisans are no more than Bubbles on the Sea of Matter born—they rise—they break and to that Sea return.
The People of America, I know stand like Mount Atlass, but these Altercations occasion a great deal of Unhappiness for the present, and they prolong the War.
Those must answer for it who are guilty. I am not.1
1. This letter should be read in the context of JA's diary entries of 8–12 Feb. 1779, including his draft letter to Vergennes of 10–11 Feb., which he reduced by about three-quarters before actually sending it (Diary and Autobiography, 2:345–353). JA first read Deane's publication as reprinted in English and French newspapers, and it put his mind, he said, “in such a State . . . as it never was before. I confess it appeared to me like a Dissolution of the Constitution” (i.e. the union of States in Congress); it might lead, he thought, to “a civil War in America” (same, p. 353).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0130

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Date: 1779-02-11

Abigail Adams to Abigail Adams 2d

[salute] My Dear Daughter

It is with inexpressible pleasure that I enclose to you a letter from your brother, and that I can tell you, that I last night received four letters of various dates from your papa, and one so late as the 6th of November.1 I would send forward the letters, but know not how to part with them. Your papa writes that he has enjoyed uncommon health for him, since his arrival in France; that your brother is well, and, what is still more grateful to a parent's ears, that he conducts with a becoming prudence and discretion; that he assiduously applies himself to his books. And your papa is pleased to say, “that the lessons of his mamma are a constant law to him, and that they are so to his sister and brothers, is a never failing consolation to him, at times when he feels more tenderness for them than words can express.” Let { 162 } this pathetic expression of your papa's, my dear, have a due influence upon your mind.
Upon politics, your papa writes thus: “Whatever syren songs of peace may be sung in your ears, you may depend upon it, from me, (who unhappily have been seldom mistaken in my guesses of the intention of the British government for fourteen years,) that every malevolent passion, and every insidious art, will predominate in the British cabinet against us. Their threats of Prussians2 and of great reinforcements, are false and impracticable, and they know them to be so; but their threats of doing mischief with the forces they have, will be verified as far as their power.”
This we see, in their descent upon Georgia, verified this very hour.
Almost all Europe, the Dutch especially, are at this day talking of Great Britain in the style of American sons of liberty. He hopes the unfortunate event at Rhode Island will not produce any heart-burnings between Americans and the Count D'Estaing, who is allowed by all Europe to be a great and worthy officer, and by all that know him to be a zealous friend of America.
After speaking of some embarrassments in his public business, from half anglified Americans, he adds, “But from this court, this city and nation, I have experienced nothing but uninterrupted politeness.”
I have a letter from a French lady, Madam la Grand, in French—a polite letter, and wrote in consequence of your papa's saying that, in some cases, it was the duty of a good citizen to sacrifice his all for the good of his country.3 She tells him that the sentiment is worthy of a Roman and a member of Congress, but cannot believe he would sacrifice his wife and children. In reply, he tells her that I possessed the same sentiment. She questions the truth of his assertion; and says nature would operate more powerfully than the love of one's country, and whatever other sacrifices he might make, it would be impossible for him to resign those very dear connections, especially as he had so often given her the warmest assurances of his attachment to them; and she will not be satisfied till she has related the conversation, and appealed to me for my sentiments upon the subject. She is an elderly lady, and wife to the banker, expresses great regard for your brother, of whom she is very fond, says he inherits the spirit of his father, and bids fair to be a Roman like him.
When I have fully translated the letter I will send it forward. I would have written to Mrs. Warren, but have much writing to do, and you may communicate this letter to her, if she can read it; but 'tis badly written, and I have not time to copy.
{ 163 }

[salute] Let me hear from you soon, who am, at all times, your affectionate mamma,

[signed] A. A.
MS (not found). Printed from Journal and Correspondence of Miss Adams, . . . Edited by Her Daughter, New York, 1841–1842, 2:15–17. The enclosed “letter from your brother” was presumably JQA to AA2, 27 Sept. 1778, printed above.
1. See a faulty listing of these letters in AA's reply to JA of 13 Feb., below, and an editorial note there which corrects her list. The letters had come by Capt. Daniel McNeill in the General Mifflin privateer, which reached Boston on 9 Feb. according to the Boston Gazette of the 15th.
2. JA's letter (of 6 Nov. 1778) said “Russians.” The mistake may have been AA's or that of a copyist or printer when AA2's letters were published in 1842.
3. Concerning Madame Ferdinand Grand's letter and AA's reply to it, neither of which has been found, see JA to AA, 23 Sept. 1778, above; AA to JA, 13 Feb., below; with notes and references under both letters.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0131

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-02-12

Cotton Tufts to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sr.

In the latter End of July and beginning of Novr. last I wrote to You.1 Am uncertain by whom the first was conveyed, the Latter was committed to the Care of Mr. Jenks (formerly my Apprentice) now a Surgeons Mate to the General Pickering Privateer from Salem which saild soon after and was to touch at France in her Cruize. In my first among other Things I gave You an Account of our Season, which from the 24th. of last June to the Beginning of this Month has been uncommon, more especially for violent Storms. That of the 13th. of Augst. was attended with such Consequences as renderd our Expedition against Rhode Island abortive; another violent Storm of Nov. 2d. in which Byrons Fleet then cruising for De Estangs, sufferd greatly. The Storm met them on Georges Bank where the Culloden of 64 Guns is supposed to have foundered and has never been heard of since, in the same Storm the Somerset another 64, was wreckd on the Back of the Cape with the Loss of 50 or 60 Men—from her we have been favoured with 54 Cannon, 200 Blls. of merchantable Powder and many other valuable Articles. The Guns and Powder were safe deliverd at Boston. Decr. 10. We had another violent Storm of Wind and Rain, with the Darkness of the Night and violence of the Storm some People perished on Land and considerable Damage was done to the Shipping. Dec. 22d. the Cold became extreme and continued so to the 28th. On the 25th. PM. it began to Snow, the 26th. it continued, the Wind excessive high and cold severe. The oldest amongst us dont remember a more distressing and violent Storm. This day a Man { 164 } passing over Boston Neck toward Night with his Team was next day found dead, his Team consisting of 4 Cattle and one Horse were froze to Death, the hind Oxen standing. A most Melancholy Account we received from Plimouth 72 Men in the Brig Genl. Arnold froze to Death in the Storm. She saild the 24. from Nantasket, met the Storm, put back and on the 26. got as near Plimouth as the Ice would admit. The 24th. according to Dr. Winthrop has been but once equalld for Coldness in his Day.2
It was on the 2d. Novr. that Byrams Fleet consisting then of 13 or 14 Sail of the Line and 2 or 3 Frigates met with the Disaster already mentiond. On the 6th. of the same Month Monsr. De Estang left this Harbour with a fine Wind; about the same Time a Fleet of 108 Vessells saild from New York with 8000 some say 10000 Troops supposed for the West Indies. We have had Accounts of the Arrival of both. After the Capture of Dominica by the French, Admiral Barrington with a Fleet and Army attacked St. Lucia and took it. Monsr. De Estang arrived with a Force sufficient to Block him in after the Capture. In order to retake it the Count landed several Thousand Men, these were repulsed with a great Slaughter and the Count was obliged to repair to Martineco. Byrons Fleet have since arrived and by the best Accounts the Count is block'd up by Byron in Conjunction with Barringtons Fleet. I am really sorry for Monsr. De Estang. If Success depended solely upon Worth and Integrity he would have certainly had a larger Share. During his Stay here he shewd himself to be a very vigilant officer, and a Man of Wisdom and great Prudence. The Temperance, good Oeconomy and Civility of every order of Men in his Fleet was truly praise worthy. The Damage his Fleet sustained in the Storm of Augt. 13th. renderd a great part of his Fleet unfit for an Engagement more especially his own Ship which was dismasted. As soon as he arrived in Nantasket Road, all possible Expedition was made use off to repair his Fleet, he took every Precaution to prevent a Surprise from the Enemy, he erected Works on Point Alderton, Georges Island, Pectic, Long Island &c. that he could at one Time bring 6 or 700 Guns to bear on an Enemy. While he lay there Howe appeared with a Fleet of 15 or 16 Sail of the Line within Sight of Hull, sent some Frigates within a League of Hull but found the Harbour so well secured that they thought prudent after a few Days Cruise to return to New York.—Accounts from New York and Newport agree that a great Part of the british Troops have left the Continent, some gone to Europe, some to the West Indies, some to Hallifax. Clinton is said to remain at New York with 3000, Pigot or Prescot at Newport with 7000—and we have { 165 } been amused with Stories of their entirely leaving the Continent (to me these have been idle Tales). Some suppose the Want of Transports, some the Want of Provisions have prevented it. Some of the Troops that were supposed to have left the Continent are now exercising their Rage and Cruelty in Georgia under the Command of Col. Campbell (formerly a prisoner at Concord).3
In Decembr. last A Piece appeard in the Pensylvania Paper which gave no small Uneasiness to the publick. The Author mortified at his recall from —— complaind to the publick that Congress had not given him a full hearing, tho it had been requested; laid open many Transactions and Affairs in ——, reflected upon a certain Family, some of whom are nearly connected with You in a publick Character, pointed out the Absurdity of their Appointments, having such close Connections with G[rea]t B[ritai]n and one of them employed in services at first Blush inconsistent, with many other interesting Matters of which You will hear more hereafter. This Piece was answered by Common Sense. A Paper War ensued. Many Things were said by both Sides which were painful, imprudent and to the last Degree impolitic. Though this may sooner or later give Our Ministers at Versailles some Trouble, Yet much Good in the End may result from it.
I am My Dear Friend sometimes in Doubt whether Civilization (as it is commonly understood it is but a softer Name for Dissimulation) and the Knowledge of the Arts and Sciences have really mended the World. The Art of looking one Way and moving another is brought to greater Perfection in the present than in any former Age. The next Century will probably refine upon this untill it shall be verefied what an old Saint in ancient Days said of the then World, All Men are deceivers (to say Lyars would be uncivil and I should be loth to make the World worse than it is).
I am now got to the 5th. of March having had no conveyance for the aforegoing.—The Month of February hath made amends for the Roughness of the latter End of December and the greater part of January—the Weather was mild and open, Farmers turning up their Lands, mending Fences and busied in the Affairs of Husbandry as if Spring had opened.
By the last Advices from the West Indies Count De Estang was at Martineco, not blockd up as mentiond before, but lately reinforced with a Number of Capital Ships.—Manly in the private Ship Cumberland was lately capturd by the Juno of 38 Guns and sent into Barbadoes. Eight or Ten Prizes have arrived within 6 Weeks past—one a { 166 } Privateer of 16 Guns from Liverpool taken by the Dean, another of 16 Guns capturd by the Franklin.
The Month of March has been as rough as February was mild. The Snow lay 15 Inches on a Level the 25th. of March. The 22, 24th. violent Storms of Snow. Since April came in we have had fine Weather.
Our latest Advices from Georgia are that the Enemy, who for some time past had reignd triumphant there, have met with some severe Repulses and are making hasty Steps to Savannah. We are a strange Set of Mortals. A Little Chastisement does not move us, but when the Blow comes heavy the Spirit rises, it was some Time before Our Brethren at the Southward realized the Matter. They are now roused and are pressing on with Vigor and I trust with the Smiles of Providence they will clear that State of inbred Enemies and foreign Murderers.—Our Insidious Enemies had for Three Years past employ'd Agents in that State to enlist Regiments into their Service and after enlisting men swore them to Secrecy. This they have done (I make no doubt) in all our States. When I reflect upon the numerous Acts and Stratagems, the open Attempts and secret Designs together with the powerful Fleets and Armies employd against us and the peculiar Scituations and Circumstances of the Continent I am almost astonished to find that We are still an unconquerd People. Had not Heaven appeared for us We must long before this Time have been subject to the Will of our Enemies. Thanks to Heaven the Teeth of the Lion are broken. Great Britain is falling and She will no more rise among the Nations of the Earth, Glorious and powerful as heretofore, but will meet with that Hatred and Disgrace which is due to her Injustice and Cruelty and with that Scorn and Contempt which her unbounded Pride and Insolence hath merited.
Mr. Jenks has returned from the Cruize without touching at France, that I doubt whether You will receive my Letter sent by him. May this meet with a better Fate and reach you in the Enjoyment of Health and every desireable Good.
Our Friends here are well, Mastr. Charles [Adams] and Billy Cranch dind with us to Day having kept Sabbath at their Grand Pa's, by whom I find that Yours are all well.—I will compound with You for a Letter half so long as this, but one as long as again4 would be esteemd a valuable Present.—Adieu.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Dr. Tufts Feb. 1779.”
{ 167 }
1. These letters were actually dated 5 Aug. and 2 Nov. 1778, both above.
2. Professor John Winthrop of Harvard had kept weather records, which are still extant, since 1742. See JA, Earliest Diary, p. 34 and note 93 there.
3. Note at foot of page in MS: “A great Part of Georgia has fallen in the Power of the Enemy.”
4. Thus in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0132

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-02-13

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

This is the Anniversary of a very melancholy Day to me, it rose upon me this morning with the recollection of Scenes too tender to Name.—Your own Sensibility will supply your Memory and dictate to your pen a kind remembrance of those dear connections to whom you waved an adeiu, whilst the full Heart and weeping Eye followed your foot steps till intervening objects obstructed the Sight.
This Anniversary shall ever be more particularly Devoted to my Friend till the happy Day arrives that shall give him back to me again. Heaven grant that it may not be far distant, and that the blessings which he has so unweariedly and constantly sought after may crown his Labours and bless his country.
It is with double pleasure that I hold my pen this day to acquaint my Friend that I have had a rich feast indeed, by the Miflin privateer, which arrived here the 8th1 of this month and brought his Letters of 9 of Sepbr., 23 of october, 2d of November, 2d of December all together making more than I have received since your absence at one time.2 The Hankerchiefs in which the3 were tied felt to me like the return of an absent Friend—tis Natural to feel an affection for every thing which belongs to those we love, and most so when the object is far—far distant from us.
You chide me for my complaints, when in reality I had so little occasion for them. I must intreat you to attribute it to the real cause—an over anxious Solicitude to hear of your welfare, and an ill grounded fear least multiplicity of publick cares, and avocations might render you less attentive to your pen than I could wish. But bury my dear Sir, in oblivion every expression of complaint—erase them from the Letters which contain them, as I have from my mind every Idea so contrary to that regard and affection you have ever manifested towards me.—Have you a coppy of your Letter December the 2d. Some dissagreable circumstances had agitated your mind News from Rhoad Island—or what? Why was I not by to sooth my Friend to placidness—but I unhappily had contributed to it. With this consideration I read { 168 } those passages, which would have been omited had the Letter been coppied.
And does my Friend think that there are no hopes of peace? Must we still endure the Desolations of war with all the direfull consequences attending it.—I fear we must and that America is less and less worthy of the blessings of peace.
Luxery that bainfull poison has unstrung and enfeabled her sons. The soft penetrating plague has insinuated itself into the freeborn mind, blasting that noble ardor, that impatient Scorn of base subjection which formerly distinguished your Native Land, and the Benevolent wish of general good is swallowed up by a Narrow selfish Spirit, by a spirit of oppression and extortion.
Nourished and supported by the flood of paper which has nearly overwhelmed us, and which depreciates in proportion to the exertions to save it, and tho so necessary to us is of less value than any commodity whatever, yet the demand for it is beyond conception, and those to whom great sums of it have fallen, or been acquired, vest it in Luxurys, dissapate it in Extravagance, realize it at any rate. But I hope the time is not far distant when we shall in some measure be extricated from our present difficulties and a more virtuous spirit succeed the unfealing dissapation which at present prevails, And America shine with virtuous citizens as much as she now deplores her degenerate sons.

[salute] Enclosed you will find a Letter wrote at your request,4 and if rewarded by your approbation it will abundantly gratify your

[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “Honble. John Adams Esqr. Passy near Paris”; endorsed: “Portia Feb 13. 1779.” Enclosed “Letter wrote at your request” not found, but see note 4.
1. The Boston Gazette of 15 Feb. reported the arrival of the General Mifflin on Tuesday the 9th.
2. In her happy excitement AA seems here to have managed to record three wrong dates out of four, i.e. all except the last. From evidence and reasoning that would be tedious to set forth in full, the editors believe that she actually received by the General Mifflin letters from JA dated 23 Sept., 2 Oct., 6 Nov., and 2 Dec. 1778, all of which are printed above. She had in all probability received JA's letter of 9 Sept. 1778, also above, earlier. No letters from JA to AA dated 23 Oct. or 2 Nov. 1778 have been found, and there is no evidence apart from AA's present careless listing that he wrote her on those dates. Concerning her constitutional difficulty in recording dates, see Introduction to vol. 1:xlvii.
3. Thus in MS. AA either meant to write “they” or else omitted a word.
4. Undoubtedly this was AA's answer (now lost) to the letter (also lost) that Mme. Ferdinand Grand had addressed to her and that JA had transmitted in his to AA of 23 Sept. 1778, q.v. above; see also AA to AA2, ca. 11 Feb., above; Thaxter to AA, 16–27 Feb. 1780, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0133

Author: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Recipient: Cranch, Elizabeth
Recipient: Norton, Elizabeth Cranch
Date: 1779-02-13

Abigail Adams 2d to Elizabeth Cranch

[salute] My Dear Myrtilla

It is now past ten however I will write you a few lines as I flatter myself they will be axcepttable, for you know we ar too apt to judge others by our own feelings.
I will ask you one question whetheir if you have an opportunity to write me you dont imbrace it if you dont happen to be in dept [debt]? If we ware too or three hundred miles distant I could expect to hear as often from you as I do now espeshely if there was not a wide ocean between us.
I spend my time very agreeably hear, how could I do otherwise in the company of Mrs. Waren and her agreeable Sons; Miss Polly Otis is to spend the Spring hear.1 I have a secret hope that Mamma does not intend to send for me yet tho I dearst not say so beceaus I know she must be very lonesome. When ever she command me to leive Plymouth I shall obey.

[salute] I must now bid you adeiu for it is quite time my Eyes ware closed to sleep. Do write me soon and belive me to be what I rearly [really] am, your Sincere friend,

[signed] Mercella
RC (MHi:Cranch Papers); addressed: “Miss Eliza Cranch att Braintree”; docketed: “AA Plymouth Feb 13 1779.”
1. Mary Otis (1769–1806), Mrs. Warren's niece and youngest daughter of James and Ruth (Cunningham) Otis; she later married Benjamin Lincoln Jr., son of the Revolutionary general (Boston Record Commissioners, 24th Report, p. 320; NEHGR, 2 [1848]:296).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0134

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-02-13

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Yours of 15 Decr.1 was sent me Yesterday by the Marquiss whose Praises are celebrated in all the Letters from America. You must be content to receive a short Letter, because I have not Time now to write a long one.—I have lost many of your Letters, which are invaluable to me, and you have lost a vast Number of mine. Barns, Niles, and many other Vessells are lost.
I have received Intelligence2 much more agreable, than that of a removal to Holland, I mean that of being reduced to a private Citizen which gives me more Pleasure, than you can imagine. I shall therefore soon present before you, your own good Man.3 Happy—happy indeed shall I be, once more to see our Fireside.
{ 170 }
I have written before to Mrs. Warren and shall write again now.4
Dr. J. is transcribing your scotch song,5 which is a charming one. Oh my leaping Heart.
I must not write a Word to you about Politicks, because you are a Woman.
What an offence have I committed?—a Woman!
I shall soon make it up. I think Women better than Men in General, and I know that you can keep a Secret as well as any Man whatever. But the World dont know this. Therefore if I were to write any Secrets to you and the letter should be caught, and hitched into a Newspaper, the World would say, I was not to be trusted with a Secret.
I never had so much Trouble in my Life, as here, yet I grow fat. The Climate and soil agree with me—so do the Cookery and even the Manners of the People, of those of them at least that I converse with, Churlish Republican, as some of you, on your side the Water call me. The English have got at me in their News Papers. They make fine Work of me—fanatic—Bigot—perfect Cypher—not one Word of the Language—aukward Figure—uncouth dress—no Address—No Character—cunning hard headed Attorney. But the falsest of it all is, that I am disgusted with the Parisians—Whereas I declare I admire the Parisians prodigiously. They are the happiest People in the World, I believe, and have the best Disposition to make others so.
If I had your Ladyship and our little folks here, and no Politicks to plague me and an hundred Thousand Livres a Year Rent, I should be the happiest Being on Earth—nay I believe I could make it do with twenty Thousand.
One word of Politicks—The English reproach the French with Gasconade, but I dont believe their whole History could produce so much of it as the English have practised this War.
The Commissioners Proclamation, with its sanction from the Ministry and Ratification by both Houses,6 I suppose is hereafter to be interpreted like Burgoines—Speaking Daggers, but using none. They cannot send any considerable Reinforcement, nor get an Ally in Europe—this I think you may depend upon. Their Artifice in throwing out such extravagant Threats, was so gross, that I presume it has not imposed on any. Yet a Nation that regarded its Character never could have threatned in that manner.

[salute] Adieu.

1. Printed above from AA's draft, dated 13 Dec. 1778; RC is missing.
2. This “Intelligence” had reached JA on 12 Feb.; see entry of that date in his { 171 } Diary and Autobiography, 2:353–354, and see also JA to AA, 27 Nov. 1778, above, and note 4 there.
3. Perhaps used with the force of a single word, “Goodman,” q.v. in OED: “The master or male head of a household,” “A householder in relation to his wife.”
4. JA to Mercy Warren, 18 Dec. 1778 (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.; LbC, Adams Papers, printed in JA, Works, 9:474–476, under the wrong date of 15 Dec.) It does not appear that JA kept his pledge to write Mrs. Warren again in February.
5. See above, AA to JA, 27 Dec. 17781779. JA clearly wrote “Dr. J.” in MS, but this must have been a slip for “Dr. F.,” i.e. Franklin, whose fondness for the “simple traditional airs of Scotland” is well known and has been pleasantly described and documented in Claude-Anne Lopez, MonCher Papa: Franklin and the Ladies of Paris, New Haven, 1966, p. 22, 34–35, 68, 290.
6. On 3 Oct. 1778 the Carlisle conciliatory commission issued at New York a Manifesto and Proclamation addressed to Congress, the state assemblies, and Americans at large, threatening sanguinary consequences if they continued in revolt against Great Britain and in alliance with France. For the text of the Manifesto (Evans 15832) and the debates in Parliament over its substance, considered by the whig opposition as exceeding the commission's instructions, see Parliamentary Hist., 19:1388–1402; 20:1–46.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0135

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-02-16

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] Hond. Mamma

I have now the pleasure to acquaint you some news which will be agreable to you. Yesterday morning an extroadinary express from England has brought this news that on Friday 12 i[n]st. the Populace of London put fire to the hotels of North, Sandwich, Germaine, and Paliseer which was consumed and that at the Moment of the depart of the Letter it went so well that they did not know where it would end, and all for joye of the justification of Keppel &c. &c.1

[salute] Yours &c.,

[signed] J. Q. Adams
NB Excuse my writing. I being in a hurry just let you know this news.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams at Mr. Adams's Braintree near Boston in America.”
1. For the demonstrations in London, 11–12 Feb., against the ministry and against Sir Hugh Palliser and the Admiralty when news of Admiral Keppel's acquittal was received from Portsmouth, see Ann. Register for 1779, p. 198–199, where it is pointed out that “Some of the mob seemed not to be of the lower class.” See also JA to AA, 27 Dec. 1778, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0136

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-02-16

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

Though I have this day for the first time received a Letter from your husband, yet I feel chagrined at not having had one inclosed for you. { 172 } I had promised myself the pleasure of being instrumental to your happiness in that way, frequently. He dates from Passy Decr. 6th.1 and acknowledges the Receipt of an official Letter from Me of Octr. 122 but says not a syllable of having touched a single one of all my private Addresses to him. He is not lengthy. Some parts are confidential and not interesting to you as his Wife. Other Parts, tho confidential also, are not indifferent in a domestic view. On the footing therefore of a past promise I copy them. “Mr. D. and others have written in a manner which makes it expected that one will be left alone here. But what is to be done with the other two is left to conjecture. If I am recalled, I shall have nothing to do but get home if I can. If I am appointed to another Court I shall be in some perplexity; because I see no probability of being received at present. However, I can digest nothing till I have the premises.”—“The King's Speech I have already sent to Congress by several Opportunities. You will see he dreads the great armament of other powers, in the plural. He must mean Holland and Spain. You will see also that the Opposition is more strong than it ever was before, in both Houses. I will omit no opportunity of sending the other papers with the debates as they come, and I pray they may go safe. But immense Numbers of our Dispatches are sunk in the Sea. I beg of you to write as often as possible to John Adams.”
None of the Papers he mentions have come to hand. The Perplexity he apprehends will I know for certain lessen every hour. You will hear much talk of great Secrets which Congress keep to themselves. It is true that some Circumstances respecting Alliances are and ought to be concealed but the News papers will give you the main Parts of what we know in Regard to Friendships for us and Disappointments for Gr. Britain.
But, I quit these Topics, and return to Mr. A——. His Namesake here wrote some time ago on the subject of a new destination for him3 and several of my Letters are on their passage tending in their contents to make him rest satisfied till he receives our final Adjustments of who and where.

[salute] With a terrible Head Ach but a sound and affectionate Heart I bid you Good Night.

[signed] JL
1. LbC, Adams Papers. Lovell's quotation below of about half of JA's letter is sufficiently accurate.
2. Lovell, for the Committee for Foreign Affairs, to the American Commissioners (PPAmP: Franklin Papers; printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:781).
“It is not yet determind how you will be disposed of; but as Congress entertain great Expectations from your Services, you may depend upon Employ• { 173 } ment being allotted for you somehow. The critical Situation of the Powers of Europe in general, makes it somewhat difficult for us to determine, to which of them to make our Addresses at present. . . . Holland, whose Policy is always to be at Peace, may be open for a Negociation; and in my Opinion, we ought to take the earliest Opportunity to tempt her” (Samuel Adams to JA, 25 Oct. 1778, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0137

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-02-19

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I have written three Answers to yours of January 4. This is the fourth. The Three first I have burned. In one I was melancholly, in another angry, and in the third merry—but either would have given you more Pain than Pleasure. I have gone through with several others of your Letters in the same manner. They are Admirably written, but there is such a Strain of Unhappiness and Complaint in them, as has made me very uneasy.—This last goes farther than any other, and contains an Expression which allarms me indeed, and convinces me, either that some infernal has whispered in your Ear Insinuations, or that you have forgotten the unalterable Tenderness of my Heart.1
This Letter is an Additional Motive with me to come home. It is Time.—I have written as often as I could. I want to write you every day but I cannot—I have too much to say: but have good Reasons for saying nothing. Is it necessary that I should make Protestations that I am, with an Heart as pure as Gold or Aether,2 forever yours.
1. At the close of her letter of 2 Jan., above, AA twitted JA on the infrequency and brevity of his letters to her and threatened to follow his example; at the same time she expressed the hope that Captain Ober, momentarily expected in “the publick packet” from France, would bring letters that would assuage her disappointment. This, however, did not happen, and on 4 Jan. she addressed JA “in a Strain of Unhappiness and Complaint” stronger than anything she had said earlier on his seeming neglect of her. Her letter has not survived, although it is acknowledged here, again in JA's first letter of 20 Feb., following, and is mentioned in JQA's letter to his mother of 20 Feb., below.
2. Thus apparently in MS, though partly overwritten. Early meanings of the word ether (commonly spelled aether) included: “The clear sky; the upper regions of space beyond the clouds”; and “the element breathed by the gods” (OED).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0138

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-02-20

John Adams to Abigail Adams

March 25  
June 10  
June 18  
May 18  
Octr.   10  
Decr.   2  
Jany.   2 1779  
In the Margin are the Dates of all the Letters I have received from you. I have written you, several Times { 174 } that Number—they are allmost all lost, I suppose by yours.1
But you should consider, it is a different Thing to have five hundred Correspondents and but one. It is a different Thing to be under an Absolute Restraint and under none. It would be an easy Thing for me to ruin you and your Children by an indiscreet Letter—and what is more it would be easy, to throw our Country into Convulsions.—For Gods sake never reproach me again with not writing or with Writing Scrips. Your Wounds are too deep.
You know not—you feel not—the dangers that surround me, nor those that may be brought upon our Country.
Millions would not tempt me to write to you as I used. I have no security that every Letter I write you will not be broken open and copied and transmitted to Congress and to English News Papers. They would find no Treason nor Deceipt in them it is true, but they would find Weakness and Indiscretion, which they would make as ill an Use of.
There are Spies upon every Word I utter, and every Syllable I write—Spies planted by the English—Spies planted by Stockjobbers—Spies planted by selfish Merchants—and Spies planted by envious and malicious Politicians.
I have been all along aware of this, more or less, but more so now than ever.
My Life has been often in danger, but I never considered my Reputation and Character so much in danger as now.
I can pass for a Fool, but I will not pass for a dishonest or a mercenary Man.
Be upon your Guard therefore—I must be upon mine—And I will.
1. JA reports in the margin of his letter the receipt of eleven letters from AA during his year's absence. Four of these have not survived in any version known to the editors: 25 March, 10 Oct., 2 Dec. 1778, and 4 Jan. 1779. Three others have been found only as drafts: 21, 25 Oct., and 15 Dec. 1778 (all printed above, but the last under the date of its presumed draft, 13 Dec.). The other four survive as recipients' copies: 18 May, 10, 18 June 1778, and 2 Jan. 1779 (all printed above). JA failed, however, to list AA's letter of 29 Sept. 1778, which he had acknowledged in his to her of 2 Dec. and which is printed above from an undated draft under the date he furnished in his acknowledgment. Apparently he had not yet received hers of 27 Dec. 1778, above—a circumstance that is a little puzzling because it seems to have been sent by the same conveyance, the Alliance frigate, which had brought him AA's letter of 13 (or 15) Dec. 1778. Besides the letters here enumerated, AA had sent to JA during this period four other letters, at the very least, which he { 175 } had not received but which are printed above (the earliest of them in vol. 2) from her drafts, in some cases with supplied or approximate dates, as follows: 8 March, 30 June, ca. 15 July, and 12–23 Nov. 1778. (A letter printed in JA-AA, Familiar Letters, p. 340–341, under the incorrect date of 23 Aug. 1778, is printed below under its correct date of 23 Aug. 1780.)

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0139

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-02-20

John Adams to Abigail Adams

A new Commission has arrived by which the Dr. is sole Minister. Mr. Lee continues Commissioner for Spain, but I am reduced to the Condition of a private Citizen. The Congress has not taken the least Notice of me. On the 11. of September they resolved to have one Minister only in France, on the 14 they chose the Dr., in October they made out his Commission, the Alliance sailed in 14 Jany. and in all that Interval, they never so much as bid me come home, bid me stay, or told me I had done well or done ill.1
Considering the Accusation against Mr. L[ee], how unexpected it was, and how groundless it is, I should not be at all surprized if I should see an Accusation against me for something or other. I know not what—but I see that all Things are possible.
Of all the Scenes I ever passed through, this is the most extraordinary. The Delirium among Americans here, is the most extravagant.—All the infernal Arts of Stockjobbers, all the voracious avarice of Merchants, have mingled themselves with American Politicks here, disturbed their operations, distracted our Councils, and turned our Heads.
The Congress I presume expect that I should come home, and I shall come accordingly. As they have no Business for me in Europe I must contrive to get some for myself at home.—Prepare yourself for removing to Boston into the old House—for there you shall go, and there, I will draw Writs and Deeds, and harrangue Jurys and be happy.
1. See entry of 12 Feb. 1779 in JA's Diary and Autobiography, 2:353–354; also JA to AA, 27 Nov. 1778, above, and note 4 there.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0140

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-02-20

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] Hond. Mamma

I last night had the honour of reading a letter from you to my Pappa dated Jany. 4th.1 in which you complain much of my Pappa's not { 176 } writing. He cannot write but very little because he has so many other things to think of, but he can not let slip one opportunity without writing a few lines and when you receive them you complain as bad or worse than if he had not wrote at all and2 it really hurts him to receive such letters. But I will write upon another subject. A Charming prospect opens [before]3 me. I now begin to see a probability of returning to America. Pappa is now at liberty to return home and proposes to do it by the first safe opportunity unless he should receive counter orders which I heard him say he did not expect; it is a feast to my thoughts to go home, to run about to my Grandpappa's and grandmamma's, my uncles &c. The joy of meeting my Mamma, sister and brothers will be greater than all the pain I suffer'd when I took my leave of them severe as that was and the pleasure of telling the tale of my travels and adventures will be some compensation for the toils and dangers I have gone through in the course of them but possibly this pleasing dream may be all disapointed by a battle at sea, by captivity or by shipwreck. All that I can say is gods will be done. I am my ever honoured and ever revered Mamma your dutiful son,
[signed] John Q. Adams4
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams Braintree near Boston in America.” LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “to my Mamma.”
1. Not found, but see JA's reply of 19 Feb., above, and note 1 there.
2. LbC adds at this point, but the addition is lined out: “therefore if all your letters are like this my Pappa will cease writing at all, for” (&c., as in RC).
3. Editorially supplied for a word omitted in both RC and LbC.
4. With this letter JQA gave up his occasional practice of making and keeping letterbook copies (in Lb/JA/8) and did not resume it until Aug. 1781, when the first of his own numbered series of letterbooks (Lb/JQA/1) begins.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0141

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-02-21

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear

Yours by Mr. Williams have received.1 The little Bill must be paid, but I confess it allarms me a little. The Expence of my Son here is greater than I ever imagined. Altho his Company is almost all the Pleasure I have, in Life, yet I should not have brought him, if I had known the Expence. His Expences, together with what you have drawn for, and a little Collection of Books I have bought, will amount to more than will ever be allowed me.2 My Accounts must not be drawn into Intricacy nor Obscurity. I must not be involved in Suspicions of medling in Trade, nor any Thing else but my proper Business.
{ 177 }
You complain that I dont write often enough, and that when I do, my Letters are too short. If I were to tell you all the Tenderness of my Heart, I should do nothing but write to you. I beg of you not to be uneasy. I write you as often and as much as I ought.
If I had an Heart at Ease and Leisure enough, I could write you, several sheets a day, of the Curiosities of this Country. But it is as much impossible for me to think of such subjects as to work Miracles.
Let me entreat you to consider, if some of your Letters had by any Accident been taken, what a figure would they have made in a Newspaper to be read by the whole World. Some of them it is true would have done Honour to the most virtuous and most accomplished Roman Matron: but others of them, would have made you and me, very ridiculous.
In one of yours you hint that I am to go to Holland. But I think you must be misinformed. By all that I can learn, some Gentlemen intend to vote for me to H[olland] vs. Mr. D[eane], others to Spain vs. Mr. Lee. Neither I think will succeed, and therefore I think I have but one Course to steer, and that is homewards. But I can determine nothing absolutely. I must govern myself, according to the Intelligence, which may hereafter arise, the orders of Congress, and the best Judgment I can form of my own Duty and the Public Good.
I am advised to take a ride to Geneva, or to Amsterdam: and I have been so confined from Exercise, having never been farther from Paris than Versailles since my arrival here, that some such Excursion seems necessary for my Health, yet I cannot well bear the Thought of putting the public to an Expence merely for the Sake of my Pleasure, Health or Convenience.
Yet my situation here is painfull. I never was in such a situation before as I am now, and my present Feelings are new to me. If I should return, and in my Absence, any orders should arrive here for me to execute, in that Case nobody would be here to execute them, and they might possibly fail of success for Want of Somebody with Power to perform them. At least this may be suspected and said and believed.—However, upon the whole, as Congress have said nothing to me good or bad, I have no right to presume that they mean to say any Thing and therefore, on the whole it is my duty to return, by the first good Opportunity, unless I should receive counter orders, before that occurs.
If ever the Time should occur, when I could have a little Leisure and a quiet Mind, I could entertain you with Accounts of Things, which would amuse you and your Children. There are an Infinity of { 178 } Curiosities here, but so far from having Leisure to describe them I have found none even to see them, except a very few.
The Clymate here is charming. The Weather is every day, pleasant as the Month of May—soft mild Air,—some foggy days, and about 10 or twelve days in January, were cold and icy. But we have had scarce 3 Inches of snow the whole Winter. The Climate is more favourable to my Constitution than ours. The Cookery, and manner of living here, which you know, Americans were taught by their former absurd Masters to dislike is more agreable to me, than you can imagine. The Manners of the People have an Affection in them that is very amiable. Their is such a Choice of elegant Entertainments in the theatric Way, of good Company and excellent Books, that nothing would be wanting to me in this Country, but my family and Peace to my Country, to make me, one of the happyest of Men.—John Bull would growl and bellow at this Description—let him bellow if he will, for he is but a Brute.
1. AA to JA, 2 Jan., above, which JA had in fact acknowledged in his first letter to AA of 20 Feb., also above.
2. For some of JA's expenditures on books see the payments to the Paris bookseller Hochereau recorded in JA's Accounts for 1778–1779, Diary and Autobiography, 2:325–343, and especially note 10 there. See also JQA to CA and TBA, 3 Oct. 1778, above; and the note on JA's accounts in Europe, under Lovell to AA, 9 Aug. 1779, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0142

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-02-26

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I have this day taken a long Ramble, with my son. The Weather is as delightfull as you can imagine. There is not in the Month of May, a softer Air, a warmer sun, or a more delicious Appearance of Things about Boston.
We walked all over the Gardens of the Royal Castle of Muet, at Passy.1 The Gardens are very spacious, on one Quarter looking to Mount Calvare,2 on another to the famous Castle of Madrid, built by Francis the 1st, whose History you will see in Robertson, C[harles] 5.,3 on another looking over the Plain de sablon, or sandy Plain to the Gate of Maillot.—The Rowes of Trees, and gravel Walks are very pretty, and the orangerie are very grand. But the whole is much neglected—the Trees are all mossy, and have a distempered Look.
We then walked in the Bois du Boulogne, rambling about in by Paths, a long Time, till we came to a Gate which We presumed to open and found ourselves in a noble Garden, the salads green and { 179 } flourishing ready for the Table, long Rows of Wall Fruits, Trees of every species, Apples, Peaches, Appricots, Plumbs &c. and next to the Garden a fine extensive Farm, the Fields and Pastures already shining with Verdure. Upon Enquiry of the Gardiners I was told it belonged to Madame Le Comtess de Boufleure.4 We passed by the Castle, after having viewed all the Farm and Gardens, into the street of Auteuil, the Village where Boileau was born, lived and died5—it is the next Village to Passy. We then walked through the fields along the Castle and Seignoury of Passy which belongs to the Comte De Boulainvilliers6 and returned home, much pleased with our Walk and better for the Air and Exercise.
Now Madam dont you think I have spent my Time very wisely in writing all this important History to your Ladyship. Would it not have been as well spent in conjugating two or three french Verbs, which I could have done through all the Moods, Tenses and Persons, of the Active and passive Voice in this Time.
We expect the Honour of Mr. Turgot,7 the famous Financier, as well as learned and virtuous Man, to dine with Us. And if there should be some Ladies, at the feast, it will not be at my Invitation and therefore you need not be uneasy.
Suppose I should undertake to write the Description of every Castle and Garden I see as Richardson did in his Tour through Great Britain,8 would not you blush at such a Waste of my time.
Suppose I should describe the Persons and Manners of all the Company I see, and the fashions, the Plays, the Games, the sports, the spectacles, the Churches and religious Ceremonies—and all that—should not you think me turned fool in my old Age—have I not other Things to do of more importance?
Let me alone, and have my own Way. You know that I shall not injure you and you ought to believe that I have good Reasons, for what I do, and not treat me so roughly, as you have done.

[salute] Adieu.

1. La Muette, a chateau or hunting lodge at the entrance of the Bois de Boulogne from Passy (Dezallier, Environs de Paris, 1779, p. 18–20).
2. Mont Calvaire or Mont Valérien, across the Seine from the Bois de Boulogne. See a view of Mont Calvaire from the Bois in 1766 reproduced in Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, vol. 12, facing p. 482, with descriptive notes at p. xxxv–xxxvi.
3. On the chateau called Madrid in the Bois de Boulogne, see Dezallier, Environs de Paris, 1779, p. 21–22. For the “History” of Francis I, JA refers AA to William Robertson's History of the Reign of the Emperor Charles V, of which JA's copy, 4 vols., London, 1777, is among his books in the Boston Public Library.
{ 180 }
4. Marie Charlotte Hippolyte de Camps de Saujon, Comtesse de Boufflers-Rouverel, whose gardens at Auteuil, “begotten on her by an English gardener,” according to Horace Walpole, were celebrated. See Walpole's description of them in 1775 (Walpole, Corr., ed. W. S. Lewis, 28:222–223) and frequent mentions of the Comtesse and her country seat at Auteuil in his correspondence with Mme. du Deffand, same, vols. 3–8.
5. And also where JA and his family were to live a few years later; see his Diary and Autobiography, 3:120, 143–146. In the latter passage JA describes the topography and some of the sites of this part of (present) Paris more fully than he does in this letter, including the home of the French poet and critic Boileau.
6. The Marquis de Boulainvilliers, “who is a kind of Lord of the Manor of Passi,” was a close neighbor and friend of the American Commissioners (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:303 and passim).
7. Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, Baron de l'Aulne (1727–1781). For a fuller note, with references, on Turgot and on JA's relations with him, see same, 2:297.
8. JA doubtless meant Daniel Defoe's well-known Tour through Great Britain, first published 1724–1726 and frequently revised and reprinted throughout the century. Samuel Richardson contributed to the edition published in 1769; and surviving among JA's books in the Boston Public Library is a copy of the Defoe-Richardson compilation called the 8th edition, 4 vols., London, 1778 (Catalogue of JA's Library, p. 71).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0143

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-02-27

John Adams to Abigail Adams

The Weather continuing fine, I went to Saint Denis a little Village about Eight Miles from this Place, where are the Tombs of all the Kings and Queens. The statues of all lie in state in Marble.
The Church which is called the Royal Church of Saint Denis is magnificent, and there is an Appartment in a Chamber where the Crowns and many other Curiosities are preserved.
It is curious to see such a Collection of Gold, Ivory and precious stones, as there is every Species I suppose that is mentioned in the Revelations. The Diamonds and Rubies glitter.—But I confess I have so much of the savage sachem in me, that these Things make no great Impression upon me.
There are several little Crucifixes here, which the Ecclesiastic, who showed them told Us, were made of Bits of the true Cross.—This may be for any Thing that I know.
In my Return, I took a Circuit round by Mont Martre and dined at Home, with the Dr. who has a fit of the Gout but is getting better.
The situation in which my Masters have left me, puzzles me very much. They have said nothing to me, but one sett of Gentlemen write that I am to go to Spain, another to Holland, a third to Vienna. But upon the whole I believe they dont intend to send me to either, but leave me, to stay here in a ridiculous situation or return home, if I can get there.
{ 181 }
I shall return, unless I should receive before the Time arrives for the Vessell to sail, orders which I can execute with Honour, and a Prospect of rendering some service to the public. But of these two last Points I will judge for myself.1
1. In a letter of this date addressed to John Jay, president of Congress, JA expressed his feelings about his situation and intentions in language that was officially correct but not without barbs below the surface:
“By the new Arrangement, which was brought by the Marquis de la Fayette, I find myself restored to the Character of a private Citizen.
“The Appointment of a single Minister, at the Court of Versailles, was not unexpected to me, because I had not been two Months in Europe, before I was convinced of the Policy, and indeed of the Necessity of such a Measure. But I ever entertained Hopes that when the News of such an Alteration should arrive, the Path of my own Duty, would have been made plain to me by the Directions of Congress either to return home or go elsewhere. But as no Information we have received from Congress has expressed their Intentions concerning me, I am obliged to collect them by Implication, according to the best of my Understanding: and as the Election of the new Minister Plenipotentiary, was on the fourteenth of September, and the Alliance sailed from Boston the fourteenth of January, and in this Space of four Months no Notice appears to have been taken of me, I think the only Inference that can be made is, that Congress have no farther Service for me on this Side the Water, and that all my Duties are on the other. I have accordingly given Notice to his Excellency M. De Sartine, and to his Excellency the Minister Plenipotentiary here, of my Intentions to return, which I shall do by the first Frigate which sails for any Port of the united States, unless I should receive Counter orders in the mean time. In a Matter of so much Uncertainty, I hope I shall not incur the Disapprobation of Congress, even if I should not judge aright of their Intentions, which it is my Desire as well as my Duty to observe, as far as I can know them.” (PCC, No. 84, I; LbC, Adams Papers.)

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0144

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-02-28

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I suppose I must write every day, in order to keep or rather to restore good Humour, whether I have any thing to say or not.1
The Scaffold is cutt away, and I am left kicking and sprawling in the Mire, I think. It is hardly a state of Disgrace that I am in but rather of total Neglect and Contempt. The humane People about me, feel for my situation they say: But I feel for my Countrys situation. If I had deserved such Treatment, I should have deserved to be told so at least, and then I should have known my Duty.
After sending orders to me at five hundred Miles distance which I neither solicited, nor expected nor desired, to go to Europe through the Gulf Stream, through Thunder and Lightning, through three successive storms, and three successive Squadrons of British Men of War, { 182 } if I had committed any Crime which deserved to hang me up in a Gibet in the Face of all Europe, I think I ought to have been told what it was—or if I had proved myself totally insignificant, I think I ought to have been called away at least from a Place, where I might remain a Monument of the Want of Discernment in sending me here.
I have given Notice here and written to Congress, of my Intentions to return, by the first good Opportunity, unless I should receive other orders before my Embarkation, orders that I can execute with Honour and some Prospect of Advantage to the Public.—You know probably before now what orders if any are sent me. If none or such as I cannot observe you may expect to see me in June or July. If otherwise I know not when.
1. This day JA wrote her twice, and the order in which the two letters are printed here ||(the second letter following)|| is merely the editors' guess.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0145

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-02-28

John Adams to Abigail Adams

This Day, the Chevalier D'Arcy, his Lady, and Niece, Mr. Le Roy and his Lady, dined here. These Gentlemen are two Members of the Academy of Sciences.1
Now are you the wiser for all this? Shall I enter into a Description of their Dress—of the Compliments—of the Turns of Conversation—and all that.
For mercy Sake dont exact of me that I should be a Boy, till I am Seventy Years of Age. This Kind of Correspondance will do for young Gentlemen and Ladies under 20, and might possibly be pardonable till 25—provided all was Peace and Prosperity. But old Men, born down with Years and Cares, can no more amuse themselves with such Things than with Toys, Marbles and Whirligigs.
If I ever had any Wit it is all evaporated—if I ever had any Imagination it is all quenched.
Pray consider your Age, and the Gravity of your Character, the Mother of Six Children—one of them grown up, who ought never to be out of your sight, nor ever to have an Example of Indiscretion set before her.
I believe I am grown more austere, severe, rigid, and miserable than ever I was.—I have seen more Occasion perhaps.2
{ 183 }
1. Patrick d'Arcy (1725–1779), Irishborn military engineer who served in the French army; and Jean Baptiste Leroy (d. 1800), French physicist, author, and intimate friend of Franklin. They were currently engaged in electrical experiments that interested Franklin. See Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale, under the names of both men, and see also Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:54.
2. The final punctuation mark may have been intended for a comma instead of a period, and the text ends at the foot of the first page of a four-page sheet. JA may, therefore, have intended to continue the sentence and the letter, or he may have simply broken off in disgust.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0146

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-02

John Adams to Abigail Adams

You are uneasy that I dont write enough. I understand you. You want me to unravel to you all the Mysteries of the Poli[ti]cks of Europe, and all the Intrigues of Courts. This would make Madam a Lady of Consequence no doubt and enable her to shine in a Circle of Politicians of Either sex.—But in the first Place I dont understand them—in the next if I did I would give the English Leave to laugh or swear as much as they pleased if they should catch me in such a folly as that of Writing it, to your Ladyship.
There has been too much of that heretofore. No more—dont you know that there are eagle Eyes, and eager Ears about you, to catch any Thing improper from me, or from you. Read the Journal de Paris and be easy.
RC? (Adams Papers). The MS has the appearance of being a recipient's copy, and though undated was bound up in the family papers between JA's letters to AA of 26 and 27 Feb., above. But it could have been sent as a postscript to any one of several of JA's letters written during this month; or perhaps, having been written in an even crosser mood than the others in this sequence, it may not have been sent at all. Since no acknowledgments have been found and the letters themselves bear neither endorsements nor docketings, there is, in fact, nothing to prove that any of JA's scolding letters in February were sent or received.
1. If this is in fact JA's last letter to AA in February, it is his last to her until he wrote three on the same day from Lorient, 14 May, q.v. below. On 3 March he took leave of the French ministry at Versailles; on the 8th he and JQA left Passy for Nantes, where they arrived on the 12th, expecting to sail to America on the Alliance, Capt. Pierre Landais. But the ship was in disrepair at Brest, whither JA went to arrange for an exchange of British prisoners that were aboard. The negotiation became protracted, and the Adamses could not board Alliance until 22 April, at St. Nazaire. There, and at Nantes and Lorient again, JA had a lengthy and “triste sejour” after learning that the ship was to be detained by request of the French government and that he and his son were to sail in a French frigate, La Sensible, in company with the new French minister to the United States, La Luzerne, whose preparations were tedious. La Sensible finally sailed from Lorient on 17 June. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:354–381.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0147

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
DateRange: 1779-02 - 1779-03

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

Your favour of Jan'ry 19 never reachd me till the 26 of this Month. The only reason why I did not mention the recept of your Letter November 271 and acknowledge with thanks Mr. L[ovel]l['s] kind care and attention to the Box which arrived safe was oweing to my not receiving the least intimation of it, till after my Letter was sent to the post office.
In reply to a certain congratulation, can only say that the Idea of suffering for those who are dear to us beyond the power of words to express, raise sensibilities in the Heart which are blendid with a delicate pleasing Melancholy, and serve to mitigate the curse entailed upon us.
Since I wrote last I have been releived from a great degree of anxiety by the arrival of the Miflin in which came a large packet of Letters of various dates, and one so late as December 2d. In reply to some pathetick complants, my Friend assures me that he has wrote 3 Letters where he has received one, and that he has full as much reason to complain of his Friends as they have of him. From Mr. A[dam]s he writes he has received only one short card, from Mr. G[err]y not a Syllable, from Mr. L[ovel]l only 2 or 3 very short, tho he candidly allows for them supposing that they must have wrote oftner but attributes to the score of misfortune that so few have reachd him. I mention this that you may be assured he has not been unmindfull of his Friends. The occasion of my inquiry in a former Letter2 was oweing to my receiving inteligance that alterations had taken place and that my Friend was removed. He had received some such inteligance when he wrote in December. Why may I not wish that the removal might be to America. I reclined my Head upon my Hand, my pen in the other whilst I revolvd that wish in my mind.—Lie still thou flutterer. How pleasing were the Ideas that rushd upon my Soul whilst I was wholy absorbed in Self. But a superiour claim silenced the voice of pleading nature and I revoked the ardent wish—whilst I will endeavour to keep in view those patriotick sons of freedom and imitate their virtuous examples who whilst they long for private life and pant for Domestick felicity with painfull patience, incessant care and mixt anxiety are sacrificeing the vigor of their days to secure Independance and peace to the rising age.
But my Heart recoils with Indignation when I see their generous { 185 } plans of Freedom sapped and undermined by guilefull Arts and Machinations of Self Love, Ambition and Avarice. Whether the late indiscreet appeal to the publick may be considerd in this light time will determine, but an open and Avowed Enemy to America could not have fixed upon a more successfull method of rasing Jealousys among the people or of sowing the seeds of discord in their minds, and such have been the Effects of it here that it produced a very extrodinary motion in a late assembly of which I dare say you have heard.3

Virtue! without thee,

There is no ruling Eye, no Nerve in States;

War has no vigour and no safety peace;

Even justice warps to party, laws oppress.

For, lost this social cement of Mankind,

The greatest empires, by scarce felt degrees,

Will moulder soft away—till tottering loose

They prone at last to total ruin rush.4

Since I first took up my pen a fortnight has slid a way without any thing material taking place unless the News paper altercation upon the important Subject of Balls and assemblies may come under the head of Material.5— More than 2 years I think has elapsed since you was even a visitor in your Native Town. If you absent yourself much longer you will be under the same necessity which it is said Timon was in Athens of lighting a candle to find a Man. Monkies, Maccoronies and pate Ma'ters6 have multiplied like Egypt Locusts. Luxery, Luxery with her enticeing charms has unbraced their Nerves and extinguished that Noble Ardor, that Zeal for Liberty, “that Manly Soul7 of Toil,” that impatient Scorn of base Subjection which once distinguished the inhabitants of your Native Town and led them first and foremost in the present glorious strugle.
Alass how changed! but I will quit a subject that I know must give you pain and ask if you are at Liberty to tell me the important News which is said to have arrived from Spain, which is good, very good and so good that nobody must know it. Various are the conjectures concerning it.
Mr. Thaxter acknowledges your reproof just and kissis the rod, makes his excuses I suppose in the enclosed Letter.
I will seek one in the benevolent Friendship of Mr. L[ovel]l for the Freedom I take in Scribling to him. I love every one who Manifests a regard or Shew[s] an Attachment to my Absent Friend, and will indulgently allow for the overflowings of a Heart softned by absence, { 186 } pained by a seperation from what it holds most dear upon Earth. A similarity of circumstances will always lead to Sympathy and is a further inducement to subscribe myself your Friend & Servant,
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers); at head of text in JQA's hand: “to James Lovell,” to which CFA added: “Feby. 1779.” Enclosed letter from John Thaxter to Lovell not found.
1. AA apparently means that she had answered Lovell's letter (of 14 Nov. 1778, printed above) in a letter dated 27 Nov. (which has not been found).
2. AA to Lovell, 4 Jan., above.
3. If there was a motion in the Massachusetts legislature on Deane's address of Dec. 1778, no record of it has been found.
4. From Thomson's Liberty (1735–1736), Part V, lines 109–112, 95–98, in that order as quoted by AA. Missing punctuation has been editorially supplied for clarity.
5. On 12 Jan. 1779 a bill for “suppressing theatrical Entertainments, Horse-Racing, Gaming, and such other Diversions as are productive of Idleness, Dissipation, and a general Depravity of Manners,” was introduced into the Massachusetts House of Representatives; on 10 and 11 Feb. it was read and debated; and on the 12th the House voted 78 to 53 to insert “a Clause in the Bill to prevent what is generally understood by public Assemblies for Dancing” (Mass., House Jour., 1778–1779, 3d sess., p. 94, 136, 138, 140). A newspaper debate on this momentous issue followed, begun by “A Country Representative” who accused “a certain Reverend Doctor, not far from Jamaica Plains,” which is to say Rev. William Gordon, of having meddlesomely inspired this measure and taken up the time of the House with so “frivilous a subject as that of fiddling and dancing” (Continental Journal, 25 Feb.). Gordon replied by declaring his accuser “half-witted,” denying that he had had anything directly to do with the bill, but asserting at the same time that he “hath long meddled, and, while health and strength admit, is determined to meddle in matters regarding the public weal, as oft as he apprehendeth, that, by so doing, he can assist in securing the liberties, the virtue, the innocence of the community” (same, 4 March). The controversy went on but need not be pursued here. The bill did not pass.
6. That is, petits-maîtres— fops or coxcombs.
7. Thus in MS, but AA may have intended to write “Love.”

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0148

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-03-09

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

It is hardly necessary that I should tell the amiable Portia of my having within 4 days received a letter from her worthy Husband, as the date is no later than Sepr. 26, and Capt. Bradford mentions having received others, doubtless later and inclosing some for you. We have this Morning also received one from him (Mr. A.) dated Sepr. 7th. At the Time I received the first mentioned Congress had from him one of Decr. 6th or 7th so that he was then well.1
He has seen an intercepted Letter of Simeon Deane to Silas which contained some indecent hints respecting the Adamses but he com• { 187 } ments upon it with his usual Superiority and properly despises the Writing and the Writer. He pays us, great Folks, off, as he used to do when here, for not seeing that Taxation is the only Remedy against Depreciation, in our Circumstances.2
I would close here by telling you how affectionately I esteem you, if I was not sure that it would rather mortify than please you while your mind is anxious to know how this indecisive Assembly intend to dispose of your best Friend. There is a strange Delay and something of Mystery in the Propositions that have been lately made here respecting our foreign Affairs. But, be assured, I have not yet perceived any Thing which probably will affect Mr. A—— in a disagreable Manner. I am not entitled to write so confidentially to you about the mighty Congress as Mr. A. used to. For though I think I may venture, yet I do not know how far. We are talking here about War or Peace. Would to God we were vigorously acting for one or the other. Look round you and guess which of the two we ought to talk least about. I hope that we shall not gape so eagerly after a desirable Object as to break our Necks in the Pursuit. We had better keep our Eye upon the Ditch and the Cheveaux de Frize though our Fancy will be roving.
But, I had better quit this Topic, or I shall destroy all the Credit of your Sagacity, and bring you down to a par with the Wiseacre who was called upon to tell whether his Wife had brought him a Girl or a Boy, and who guessed right at the second Tryal. I will give your Wit and Judgment fairer Play, that I may have if possible some new Cause to admire you.
[signed] JL
What signifies putting above those Initials the particular Truth which I hope is graven among the Articles of your Belief.
1. The letters referred to by Lovell are as follows: (1) JA to Lovell, 26 Sept. 1778 (LbC, Adams Papers), summarized by Lovell in the following paragraph and printed, in part, in Edward E. Hale and Edward E. Hale Jr., Franklin in France, Boston, 1887–1888, 1:232–233. (2) JA to President Laurens, 7 Sept. 1778 (PCC, No. 84, I; printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:703–704); it was received and read in Congress on the day Lovell wrote the present letter (JCC, 13:296). (3) Presumably JA to Laurens, 6 Dec. 1778 (PCC, No. 84, I; printed in Wharton, vol. 2:851); it had been read in Congress on 25 Feb. 1779 (JCC, 13:251). (4) A letter from John Bradford at Boston to Congress, 13 Feb., which was read and referred to the Committee on Commerce on 5 March (JCC, 13:275) but has not been found.
2. JA's comments on both the intercepted letter and American tax policy are in his letter to Lovell of 26 Sept. 1778 (see preceding note). Silas Deane's brother Simeon had returned from France early in 1778 bringing the Franco-American treaties for ratification, and had then set vigorously about extending the Deanes' commercial enterprises in America, for which they had great expectations because of their close official and mercantile ties in France. { 188 } Simeon's letter to Silas here discussed was captured by the British and printed, without date or place (though quite evidently the writer was in Virginia), in Lloyd's Morning Post (London), 26 Aug. 1778. For the most part it reported on the ships and cargoes in which the Deanes had an interest and on Simeon's own plans and prospects as a trader in goods from France. But before finishing, Simeon added a revealing passage in which he first spoke indignantly of the rising complaints in Congress over Silas Deane's rumored commercial activities and then ingenuously substantiated the rumors:
“The two Adams's from N[ew] E[ngland] are both strongly against [John Hancock] and yourself. God knows what lengths they intend by their factions; yet depend they are indefatigable. I can with great truth assure you, that, notwithstanding their treatment of you, . . . they have not yet dared to attack your character, further than to say you were in trade, &c. This has been amply blazed by the imprudence of Mr. Bromfield, who has told it everywhere, in Virginia and the Carolinas, that you and M. M——owned a quarter or half of the ship commanded by Capt. Roche. The effects of that cargo, I believe, are here (or a part of them), in his possession at James River, and in case they have been laid out into tobacco, last June, at 30 to 36, may turn amazingly advantageous—but whether this has been fully done or not, I am not informed.” (Deane Papers, 2:467–468.)

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0149

Author: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Recipient: Cranch, Elizabeth
Recipient: Norton, Elizabeth Cranch
Date: 1779-03-15

Abigail Adams 2d to Elizabeth Cranch

As a convenient opportunity offoring by General Warren I cannot let it excape without a line for my Myrtilla. I now take up my pen to inform you that I do not feel in the writing humour and am determind to indulge myself and give way to thease Lazy freeks. I shall take my pen in the eve again and will give you an account how I shall have spent the afternoon for I am now already trigd1 to vissiat Miss Watson and can you wonder that I cannot write.
Monday eve [15 March]. We have paid the vissiat and had a very agreable afternoon more so than I expected I assure you. Miss Sally Watson is I think a very prety agreable young Laidie but rather reserved. She has a sister as prety as herself, Miss Betsey. They treated us very Genteelly indeed, and I asure you I am much with the family altho they are of differend sentaments.2
I dond think myself capable of medling with politicks and therefor can have friends upon either party. Miss Watson is soon to be married. I suppose no dought she thinks she shall be happyer than at present but some people think her mistaken. Some people who ware once low in the World now Live in aff [l]uence and Luxury but I dont think it will last always.
I dont belive the person Who rides in his Chariot is half so happy as the farmer whose nesecetyes oblige him to walk a foot. A polite person and a great fortune will make up for every other diffishencey let them be ever so great.
{ 189 }
I must now bid you adeiu for my fingers are so cold I cannot hold my pen aney longer than to subscribe myself your friend,
[signed] Mercella
PS I suppose before this Mrs. Welch is the fond parrent and has either a Son or Deaughter to take up her attention.3 I wish the latter.
RC (MHi:Cranch Papers).
1. Trig, now a dialect word: “to dress smartly or finely” (OED).
2. This was the family of George and Elizabeth (Oliver) Watson of Plymouth. Sarah (1759–1832) was to marry Martin Brimmer of Boston on the 28th of this month. Her sister Elizabeth (1767–1806) married (1st) Thomas Russell of Boston and (2d) Sir Grenville Temple. The Watsons' “differend sentaments,” not surprisingly, were loyalist; Mrs. Watson was a daughter of former Chief Justice Peter Oliver, and the oldest sister in the family, Mary, was the wife of Elisha, son of former Governor Thomas Hutchinson. See Plymouth Church Records, 1620–1859, N.Y., 1920–1923, 1:449, 452, 456; 2:500; Bradford Kingman, Epitaphs from Burial Hill, Plymouth, Massachusetts, Brookline, Mass., p. 40, 87; Barbara N. Parker and Anne B. Wheeler, John Singleton Copley, Boston, 1938, p. 204–206; Andrew Oliver, Faces of a Family, privately printed, 1960, p. 9–10.
3. Mrs. Thomas Welsh (Abigail Kent), AA's first cousin, gave birth to a son, Thomas Welsh Jr., on 8 Jan. 1779. He graduated from Harvard in 1798 and during 1798–1799 served as JQA's secretary in Berlin. He later practiced law in Boston, ventured into politics and business, suffered heavy losses, and died in 1831. Information from Harvard Univ. Archives; see also vol. 1:220, above; CFA, Diary, vol. 2, passim; JQA, Diary, 12 July 1831; Adams Genealogy.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0150

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-03-15

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

If anything would awake the sleeping Muses or Call Back the Wandering Deities the Imagery of this Delightful Morn (when the hand of Nature has Decorated Every twig with spangles of peculiar Brilioncy) joined with the Repeated Request of my friend would not fail to do it. The subject you point out1 Requires Heroics. But Alas, Clio is Deaf, perhaps irrecoverably stunned till the Noise of War shall Cease. The Harmony of Calliope suffers by the jaring of patriots, and Melpomene is starved amidst the General Cry for Bread.
In short, I believe the sacred Nine sickened by the unpromissing aspect of this Decayed Village (once the Asylum of piety) And Grown weary of their old friend, sensible they had heretofore made a Lodgment in an unthrifty soil, have bid an Everlasting Adieu. And as their Ladyships have taken Wing (probably in pursuit of some more happy Clime,) I hope they will not Rest till they light on the Head of some Votive Genius whose productions will do honour to the Admired Train, as well as to the Cold Regions of the North.
{ 190 }
But if they should ever Condescend again to make a Temporary Visit to one almost secluded from society (Which Brightens the Ideas and Gives a polish to Expression) you may depend upon it your abscent partner will not be forgot. But at present you must be Content to Let me tell you in plain prose that I think him Honest, that if by Living among the Refinements of politions and Courtiers his Integrity should be undermined, or his taste perverted, my Motto to Every Character in Future shall be, That Man is all a Lye.
I Return you a Letter with thanks for the perusal. Wish if proper you would forward some others when you send for your Daughter who I Really Love, and Love her the more the Longer she Resides with me.2
In future I shall Call her my Naby and Back my Claim with the promiss of her papah to whom I shall appeal if you Monopolize too much.
You do not tell me why you was so Confident I had a Letter from France. Depend upon it you shall see it when I have. I think I might Expect two or three in a Year if it was only a Complementary Return for the Many Visits made A Lady, by a Gentleman with Regard to whom were it in my power, I should Discover perhaps too much of the spirit of the times, by Engrosing his hours wholly to myself, and to a Number of amiable youth, but he is impeled by a Coincidence of Circumstance to a style of Life not agreable to his taste. Call me Miserly if you please, Yet I am sensible you Can you May3 feelingly join with me and the Bonny Scotch Lass, and Warble the Mournful Chorus from Morn to Eve.

Theres Little pleasure in the Rooms

When my Good Mans awaw.

I shall Return a Number of Letters with a Manuscript Volum by Miss N[abb]y.4 It has been an agreable Entertainment to me, and when you Come to Plimouth which I hope Will be within a few weeks I shall Endeavour to make all the Retaliation in my power.
You ask what I think of the Late Dispute among the higher powers of America. I know Little of it Except what is in the public papers, where I think may be Discovered the precipitation and timidity of Guilt in a Certain Indiscreet writer.5 Yet I Like not the Expression of Englifyed Americans which I saw droped from a pen I View in a very different Light.6
I shall only Gentley Remind you that your promiss is not yet Com• { 191 } pleated of writing much and frequently through the Course of the Winter to her who subscribe your affectionate Friend,
[signed] M Warren
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams Braintre.” Tr (MHi:Mercy Warren Letterbook;) in an unidentified hand and doubtless copied from Mrs. Warren's (missing) draft. RC and Tr frequently differ in phrasing, but only two conspicuous differences in actual substance have been recorded here; see notes 2 and 5. Enclosed letter may have been JA to AA, 6 Nov. 1778, printed above; see note 6 below.
1. See AA to Mrs. Warren, post 22 Jan., above.
2. The three paragraphs that follow in the text (not counting the poetical quotation) do not appear in Tr and so must have been added after Mrs. Warren's draft was completed.
3. Thus in MS. Probably “you Can” was meant to be struck out.
4. None of these items is identifiable.
5. Silas Deane. From this point, Tr continues—and concludes—as follows:
“But it is not unusual in the infancy of states, for some of the most unworthy characters to justle themselves by fortunate accidents into the most capital departments of office:—and when by their atrocious conduct, they have thrown every thing into confusion, they make efforts to escape punishment and often impeach the most worthy, and cast an odium on the best concerted plans. I think time must unravel some misteries which authority at present thinks best should be hushed in silence.
“To your second question I answer, there is no calculating on the termination of military rencountres, yet, I do not fear much from the sword of Britain. I believe her to be more haughty than powerful, and more malevolent than politic, and that she will endeavour to do much by intrigue.
“Heaven will restrain the arms and defeat the councels of a corrupt Court, but not for our sakes. The Lord of the universe will disappoint the projects of our foe, to carry on the system of his own government: and while he protects, will chastise us if necessary, and will punish an ungrateful people, in ways more analegous to the usual doings of providence, than to suffer a new formed nation to be trodden down e'er it arrives to maturity.
“America is a theatre just erected—the drama is here but begun, while the actors of the old world have run through every species of pride, luxury, venality, and vice—their characters will become less interesting, and the western wilds which for ages have been little known, may exhibit those striking traits of wisdom, and grandeur and magnificence, which the Divine oeconomist may have reserved to crown the closing scene. Yet, [here a long ellipsis is indicated by the copyist]

[salute] “Adieu,

[signed] M Warren”
6. This “Expression” echoes one in JA's letter to AA of 6 Nov. 1778, above, characterizing Dr. James Smith. Thus it seems likely that the letter Mrs. Warren enclosed here was that letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0151

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-03-20

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

Your favour of December 9 came to hand this Evening from Philadelphia, by the same post received a Letter from Mr. L[ovel]l transcribing some passages from one of the same date to him,1 and the only one he says which he has received since your absence, and his pocket2 proves that he has written 18teen different times, yet possibly { 192 } you may have received as few from him; the watery world alone can boast of large packets received, a Discourageing thought when I take my pen. Yet I will not be discouraged, I will persist in writing tho but one in ten should reach you. I have been impatient for an opportunity, none having offerd since Janry. when the Alliance saild,3 who my presaging mind assures me will arrive safe in France, and I hope will return as safely.
Accept my thanks for the care you take of me in so kindly providing for me. The articles you mention should they arrive safe, will be a great assistance to me. The safest way you tell me of supplying my wants is by Draughts, but I cannot get hard Money for Bills. You had as good tell me to procure Diamonds for them, and when Bills will fetch but five for one, hard Money will exchange ten—which I think is very provoking and I must give at the rate of ten and sometime 20 for one for every article I purchase. I blush whilst I give you a price current, all Butchers meat from a Dollor to 8 shillings per pound, corn 25 Dollars, Rye 30 per Bushel, flower 50 pounds per hundred, potatoes ten dollors per Bushel, Butter 12 shillings per pound, cheese 8, Sugar 12 shillings per pound, Molasses 12 Dollors per Gallon, Labour 6 and 8 Dollors a Day, a common Cow from 60 to 70 pound, and all English goods in proportion.
This is our present situation. It is a risk to send me any thing across the water I know, yet if one in 3 arrives I should be a gainer. I have and do study every method of oeconomy in my power, otherways a mint of money would not support a family.—I could not board our two sons under 40 dollors per week a peice at a school. I therefore thought it most prudent to request Mr. T[haxte]r to look after them, giving him his board and the use of the office—which he readily accepted and having passd the winter with me, will continue through the summer, as I see no probability of the times speedily growing better.
We have had much talk of peace through the mediation of Spain, and great News from Spain, and a thousand reports as various as the persons who tell them, yet I believe slowly, and rely more upon the information of my Friend, than all the whole Legend [legion] of stories which rise with the sun, and set as soon. Respecting Gorgia other Friends have wrote you, shall add nothing of my own but that I believe it will finally be a fortunate Event to us.
Our Vessels have been fortunate in making prizes, tho many were taken in the fall of the year, we have been greatly distressd for Grain.4 I scarcly know the looks or taste of Bisquit or flower for this four months, yet thousands have been much worse of, having no grain of any sort.
{ 193 }
The great commotion raisd here by Mr. D[ea]n[e] has sunk into contempt for his character, and it would be better for him to leave a country which is now supposed to have been injured by him. His Friends are silent, not knowing how to extricate him. It would be happy for him if he had the art himself—he most certainly had art enough in the begining to blow up a flame and to set the whole continent in agitation.
More than a Month has past away since writing the above and no opportunity has yet offerd of conveying you a line. Next to the pain of not receiving is that of not being able to send a token of remembrance and affection. (You must excuse my [not]5 coppying as paper is ten dollors per quire.) Last week a packet arrived from Brest with dispatches for Congress but no private Letters. I was dissapointed, but did not complain. You would have wrote I know had you supposed she was comeing to Boston. By her we heard of the safe arrival of the Alliance in France which gave me much pleasure, may she have as safe a return to us again. Last week arrived here the Frigate Warren after a successfull cruize. She had been out about 6 weeks in company with the Queen of France and the Ranger, Capt. Jones.6 They fell in with and captured a Fleet bound from New York to Georgia consisting of Ship Jason 20 Guns 150 Men, Ship Maria 16 Guns 84 Men, having on board 1800 Barrels of flower, privateer schooner Hibernian 8 Guns and 45 Men, Brigs Patriot, Prince Fredirick, Batchelor John and Schooner Chance, all of which are safe arrived to the universal joy and satisfaction of every well wisher of their country. The officers who were captured acknowledge that this loss will be most severely felt by the Enemy, and it is hoped will give General Lincoln important advantages against the enemy in Georgia.
Respecting Domestick affairs I shall do tolerably whilst my credit is well supported abroad and my demands there shall be as small as possible considering the state of things here, but I cannot purchase a Bushel of grain under 3 hard Dollors, tho the scarcity of that article makes it dearer than other things.
Our Friends here all desire to be rememberd to you. I remind your daughter of writing and she promises to, but she does not Love it. Charlly is very busy a gardening, sends his Duty and hopes to write soon.—My pen is very bad, but you are so used to the hand you can pick it out, and if it goes into the sea it will be no matter.
I should be very glad of some wollens by the Alliance for winter Gowns. Nothing will be amiss, unless it is Mens white silk stockings { 194 } | view which I have no occasion for, and suppose the pair sent among the Letters which came in the Miflin an accident.

[salute] My pen is really so bad that I cannot add any further than that I am wholy yours.7

RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “Honble. John Adams Esqr. Passy near Paris”; endorsed: “Portia. March 20. 1779.”
1. James Lovell's letter to AA of 16 Feb., above, quotes from JA's letter to him of 6 Dec. 1778 (not 9 Dec., as AA here states).
2. That is, Lovell's “pocket book,” or what he actually called his “almanac”; see Lovell to AA, 19 Jan., above.
3. She had apparently forgotten her letter to JA of 13 Feb., above.
4. Sentence thus punctuated in MS.
5. Editorially supplied for sense.
6. A mistake for Lt. Thomas Simpson, then commanding the Ranger. The newspaper accounts from which AA drew the information in this paragraph, though voluminous, were confused and not perfectly accurate.
7. Bound with this letter in the papers as arranged by the family in the 19th century was a notation in AA's hand of tax assessments which may possibly have been enclosed to JA, although since she does not mention it in her letter, this seems unlikely. There is no proof that the assessments even belong to this year. The notation reads as follows:
State Tax real Estate   60   6   4  
  personal   25   17   0  
  half farm   100   3   5  
  186   6   9  
Second Tax   106   9   5  
  half Farm   137   10   7  
  Parish tax   089   5   2  

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0152

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-04-08

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

So I must Give up my Little Companion, my Young Friend. Your Claim is prior, your Title Cannot be Contested, but Remember she is not all your own: how apt are we to think we hold all our Blessings by a tenure of right, and Grow fretful when they are Resumed by the first proprietor.
But I took not up my pen to Moralize. Nor will I hold it Long: and were I to Judge by the very sparing Returns dos my Friend wish it. Therefore will hasten to thank you for the Instance of self Denial in thus long sparing your Daughter. I Love her, and as her amiable Disposition Delights her Friends, May an assemblage of Virtues Ripen, and Flourish, to Gladden the Fond Mother, and to fill the paternal Bosom with unspeakable satisfaction, when he Returns to his Natal soil, and must Look painfully abroad on the Degeneracy of Man, the Depravity of Manners, the Decline of Morals, the Depreceation of Money and the sinking of patriotism.
But I forbear. I will throw asside my pen, Ink and paper for this time at Least not because I am not in a Writing humour, I have a thousand things to say, but merely in Resentment, that Your Attention { 195 } is so much taken up with Your southern and other Correspondents that You have no time for your assured Friend,
[signed] M Warren
PS Must postpone sending your Dishes As Miss Naby Cannot Convenently Cary them.
I Send Mr. Adams's Letter knowing it will Give you pleasure. You will Give it Mr. Warren.
I hope Miss Naby will not be the Less solicitous to Come to Plimouth in Future for rather runing over her time. If she is I shall be sorry she did not Go sooner that her Wishes might accellerate her return.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams Braintree.” Enclosed letter from JA to James Warren or Mrs. Warren not certainly identifiable.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0153

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-05-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I left Paris on the Eighth of March, expecting to find the Alliance, at Nantes and embark immediately for home, but when I arrived there I found the Alliance was still at Brest. I went to Brest 200 Miles from Nantes, and after some Stay there the Alliance was ordered to Nantes. I returned to Nantes, and when every Thing was ready to sail for America, an order came from Court for the Alliance to go to L'orient, and for me to go home in one of the Kings ships, with his new Ambassador to the united States, Le Chevalier de la Luzerne.
It would fill a Volume to give you an History of my Adventures.2 My Son has accompanied me wherever I have been and is treated with more Attention than his father, tho that is as much as he wishes.
Dont think hard of me for not writing. I have wrote as often as I could. But there are Letters of mine still in the Ports of this Kingdom, which were written I believe 9 Months ago—many many others are in the Sea.
When you come to know how few Letters I have received from America, you will be surprized. There seems to be no Communication of Intelligence between the two Countries or worse than none.
What the Sentiments or Intentions of Congress are concerning me, I know not. Shall find out in Time, I presume. But it seems to most People a little misterious that I should be sent here, and so soon forgotten, so entirely as neither to be ordered to stay, go or come. However, there3 are Reasons probably that We know not here.
{ 196 }
You may form an Idea of the Tenderness with which I expect to see you and ours, in the Course of five or six Weeks.
1. This is JA's first letter to AA since his series to her at the end of February. See notes on his undated (and perhaps fragmentary) letter to her printed under the assigned date of Feb. 1779. On 14 May JA addressed ||including his second and third letters of that to date|| to AA, doubtless intending to send them by different vessels. The order in which they are printed here is simply the editors' guess as to the order of their composition.
2. They are fairly fully set forth in JA's Diary and Autobiography, 2:354–371.
3. MS: “they.”

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0154

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-05-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

When I left Paris, the 8 March, I expected to have been at Home before this Day and have done my Utmost to get to sea, but the Embarrassements and Disappointments I have met with, have been many, very many. I have however in the Course of them had a fine Opportunity of seeing Nantes, L'orient and Brest, as well as the intermediate Country.
By the gracious Invitation of the King, I am now to take Passage in his Frigate the Sensible, with his new Ambassador to America the Chevalier De la Luzerne.
I hope to see you in six or seven Weeks. Never was any Man in such a state of Uncertainty and suspense as I have been from last October, entirely uninformed of the Intentions of Congress concerning me.
This would not have been very painfull to me if I could have got home, for Your Conversation is a Compensation to me, for all other Things.
My Son has had a great Opportunity to see this Country: but this has unavoidably retarded his Education in some other Things.
He has enjoyed perfect Health from first to last and is respected wherever he goes for his Vigour and Vivacity both of Mind and Body, for his constant good Humour and for his rapid Progress in French, as well as his general Knowledge which for his Age is uncommon.—I long to see his Sister and Brothers—I need not Add—1
1. Thus in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0155

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-05-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I am taking an Opportunity by every Vessell that is going to inform you, that I am coming home as soon as possible. In Six or Seven Weeks I hope to have the Pleasure to see you, and my other Friends.
The new French Ambassador, who goes out to relieve Mr. Gerard, will go in the same Frigate.
We can get no News from America of any Consequence, and not a syllable of any Kind from Congress. There is but one Piece of News in Europe of any Importance, and that is from Holland and may be depended on, that the States General on the 26 of April, took the Resolution to convoy their Trade, notwithstanding Sir Joseph Yorks Memorial, and to fit out directly Thirty two Ships of War, for that Purpose—an important Event, which must have great Consequences.1—My Duty, Love and Respect, wherever due.
1. This “Piece of News” and the comment thereon are taken almost verbatim from a letter JA had just received from Franklin dated at Passy, 10 May 1779 (Adams Papers). Sir Joseph Yorke (1724–1792), the veteran and domineering British minister at The Hague, was to cross JA's path directly in 1780. His Memorial of 9 April 1779, protesting Dutch ships' continuing to carry naval stores to France, is printed in Ann. Register for 1779, “State Papers,” p. 425–427.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0156

James Lovell to Abigail Adams, with enclosure James Lovell to Abigail Adams, 5 June 1779


PartCode: I


Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0156-0001

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

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

If at any Time heretofore I have seemed to infringe upon your Prerogatives, I ask your Pardon. It was rash in me to censure you for what Sovereigns do in all Parts of the World. Charging me with being a Flatterer you only exercised the Power of misinterpreting some of my most sincere Sentiments: And I, forsooth, ran into the antiquated Notion of a Distinction between Right and Power.
I smile, however, with myself in a Sort of revengeful Humour, while I consider how You also, like some others born to hold Dominion have been hurried into an Exertion which only tends to discover the Impotence of Might when operating against Integrity. Have you by the Artillery of Misnomer made me resign my affectionate Regard? Have you even deterred me from using Terms suited to my Opinions? No, for I will this Instant stile you “Very amiable Portia.” And having done that Act of Justice to my own Feelings, and furnished You with a { 198 } Hint for a moralizing Meditation upon the nature of Empire, I proceed to the Business for which I catched up my Pen at first, haunted with the Thought that the booted Bearer would return to me in five Minutes after leaving my Window.
The Box, which Mr. Adams left 20 months ago to the Care of Mr. Sprout's [Sproat's] Family, on the Morning of Sept. 19th., the Era of our Flight to York Town, came Yesterday to my Hand. I found it almost empty, but I imagine just as he parted with it tho contrary to my Expectation. Perhaps he left with you some Memorandum.1
I had determined to keep the Box here, and send the Things by Parts, at easy Opportunities, even if they had been more in Number. I have sealed up all the Papers into neat Packets, and forward a Part by the Bearer of this who goes with a Guard. Mr. S. Adams will be on his Way home next Week and a Waggon in Company. You will find the Papers regularly put together which for the most part was easy to be performed, as they were, for the most part, endorsed. The others I so far looked into as would enable me to finish the Arrangement. I might innocently have gone further, with two Packages, I mean those endorsed P.2 which accompany my Letter. But it happened that I had no Curiosity to satisfy there; and with the others, tho Curiosity at times prompted me, I could not without Guilt indulge it.—Am I right in my Notions of Letter-Peeping? In those Cases where Improprieties of Stile or Sentiment or Secrets intended only for the Eyes of the Correspondent are supposed to be penned, it is cri[mi]nal to venture. But where there is undoubted Right to expect only the Product of a Pen directed by the Fingers of a virtuous elegant discrete Writer, I hold it lawful, comparatively, to peep; if a man is quite at Leisure, and in danger moreover of running into notorious mischief unless he so employs himself, Curiosity also having at the same Time its stimulating Goads at work upon him.—These six last Lines narrow my System plaguily; I am sure they were not in my Imagination when I was putting together the Letters of Portia, who had more than thrice kindly shown me how she could write, and another Friend shows me weekly what a virtuous Wife will naturally write to her absent Husband. Thus was I without Curiosity in Regard to the two Packages which grounded my Descant upon Letter-Peeping.
If I do not get Opportunity to write somewhat at large to you on the Politics of Europe and the Great House in Chesnut-Street Philadelphia,3 yet you will not have Reason to regret my Occupations; as Mr. S.A. will in a more pleasing Manner communicate to you more than would be proper for the Pen.
{ 199 }
I shall convey under Seal and other Security Mr. Adams's Letter Book and Accounts.—If he did not settle with the State before he went you had better see how Mr. Dana gave in his Demand, and not descend to Minutenesses such as I remember to have heard my absent Friend say it was unbecoming to be subjected to, and such as you will find by Mr. Avery have not been practiced. Though I am prepared for such a Thing I will not chuse to submit to it.
I will now close my Letter and take a list of the Contents of the Box4 tho I will not miss sending the one if the other is not ready before the Gentleman calls on me.

[salute] Your affectionate humble Servant,

[signed] James Lovell
RC (Adams Papers). For a (presumed) enclosure see note 4.
1. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:262–264; Lovell to AA, 9 July and 14 Nov. 1778, both above; and AA to Lovell, 18–26 June, below.
2. For “Portia.”
3. The Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall), where Congress held its sessions.
4. This “list,” on a separate scrap, was not identified until after the present volume was in page proof. See addendum at p. 426 below.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0156-0001

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

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

If at any Time heretofore I have seemed to infringe upon your Prerogatives, I ask your Pardon. It was rash in me to censure you for what Sovereigns do in all Parts of the World. Charging me with being a Flatterer you only exercised the Power of misinterpreting some of my most sincere Sentiments: And I, forsooth, ran into the antiquated Notion of a Distinction between Right and Power.
I smile, however, with myself in a Sort of revengeful Humour, while I consider how You also, like some others born to hold Dominion have been hurried into an Exertion which only tends to discover the Impotence of Might when operating against Integrity. Have you by the Artillery of Misnomer made me resign my affectionate Regard? Have you even deterred me from using Terms suited to my Opinions? No, for I will this Instant stile you “Very amiable Portia.” And having done that Act of Justice to my own Feelings, and furnished You with a { 198 } Hint for a moralizing Meditation upon the nature of Empire, I proceed to the Business for which I catched up my Pen at first, haunted with the Thought that the booted Bearer would return to me in five Minutes after leaving my Window.
The Box, which Mr. Adams left 20 months ago to the Care of Mr. Sprout's [Sproat's] Family, on the Morning of Sept. 19th., the Era of our Flight to York Town, came Yesterday to my Hand. I found it almost empty, but I imagine just as he parted with it tho contrary to my Expectation. Perhaps he left with you some Memorandum.1
I had determined to keep the Box here, and send the Things by Parts, at easy Opportunities, even if they had been more in Number. I have sealed up all the Papers into neat Packets, and forward a Part by the Bearer of this who goes with a Guard. Mr. S. Adams will be on his Way home next Week and a Waggon in Company. You will find the Papers regularly put together which for the most part was easy to be performed, as they were, for the most part, endorsed. The others I so far looked into as would enable me to finish the Arrangement. I might innocently have gone further, with two Packages, I mean those endorsed P.2 which accompany my Letter. But it happened that I had no Curiosity to satisfy there; and with the others, tho Curiosity at times prompted me, I could not without Guilt indulge it.—Am I right in my Notions of Letter-Peeping? In those Cases where Improprieties of Stile or Sentiment or Secrets intended only for the Eyes of the Correspondent are supposed to be penned, it is cri[mi]nal to venture. But where there is undoubted Right to expect only the Product of a Pen directed by the Fingers of a virtuous elegant discrete Writer, I hold it lawful, comparatively, to peep; if a man is quite at Leisure, and in danger moreover of running into notorious mischief unless he so employs himself, Curiosity also having at the same Time its stimulating Goads at work upon him.—These six last Lines narrow my System plaguily; I am sure they were not in my Imagination when I was putting together the Letters of Portia, who had more than thrice kindly shown me how she could write, and another Friend shows me weekly what a virtuous Wife will naturally write to her absent Husband. Thus was I without Curiosity in Regard to the two Packages which grounded my Descant upon Letter-Peeping.
If I do not get Opportunity to write somewhat at large to you on the Politics of Europe and the Great House in Chesnut-Street Philadelphia,3 yet you will not have Reason to regret my Occupations; as Mr. S.A. will in a more pleasing Manner communicate to you more than would be proper for the Pen.
{ 199 }
I shall convey under Seal and other Security Mr. Adams's Letter Book and Accounts.—If he did not settle with the State before he went you had better see how Mr. Dana gave in his Demand, and not descend to Minutenesses such as I remember to have heard my absent Friend say it was unbecoming to be subjected to, and such as you will find by Mr. Avery have not been practiced. Though I am prepared for such a Thing I will not chuse to submit to it.
I will now close my Letter and take a list of the Contents of the Box4 tho I will not miss sending the one if the other is not ready before the Gentleman calls on me.

[salute] Your affectionate humble Servant,

[signed] James Lovell
RC (Adams Papers). For a (presumed) enclosure see note 4.
1. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:262–264; Lovell to AA, 9 July and 14 Nov. 1778, both above; and AA to Lovell, 18–26 June, below.
2. For “Portia.”
3. The Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall), where Congress held its sessions.
4. This “list,” on a separate scrap, was not identified until after the present volume was in page proof. See addendum at p. 426 below.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0157

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-06-08

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

Six Months have already elapsed since I heard a syllable from you or my dear Son, and five since I have had one single opportunity of conveying a line to you. Letters of various dates have lain months at the Navy Board, and a packet and Frigate both ready to sail at an hours warning have been months waiting the orders of Congress. They no doubt have their reasons, or ought to have for detaining them. I must patiently wait their Motions however painfull it is—and that it is so your own feelings will testify. Yet I know not but you are less a sufferer than you would be to hear from us, to know our distresses and yet be unable to relieve them. The universal cry for Bread to a Humane Heart is painfull beyond Discription, and the great price demanded and given for it, verifies that pathetick passage of sacred writ, all that a Man hath will he give for his life. Yet he who Miraculously fed a Multitude with 2 loaves and 5 fishes has graciously interposed in our favour and deliverd many of the Enimies supplies into our hands so that our distresses have been Mitigated. I have been able as yet to supply my own family spairingly but at a price that would astonish you. Corn is sold at 4 dollors hard money per Bushel which is eaquel to 80 at the rate of exchange.
Labour is at 8 dollors per Day and in 3 weeks at 12 tis probable, or { 200 } it will be more stable than any thing else. Goods of all kinds are at such a price that I hardly dare mention it—Linnins at 20 dollors per yard the most ordinary sort calicow at 30 and 40,1 Broad cloths sold at 40 pounds per yard—West India goods full as high, Molasses at 20 dollors per Gallon, sugar 4 dollors per pound, Bohea Tea at 40 dollors and our own produce in proportion, Butchers meat at 6 and 7 and 8 shillings per pound, Board at 50 and 60 dollors per week. Rates2 high, that I suppose you will rejoice at, so would I, did it remedy the Evil. I pay 5 hundred Dollors, and a New continental rate has just appeard, my proportion of which will be 2 hundred more. I have come to this determination to sell no more Bills unless I can procure hard money for them altho I shall be obliged to allow a discount. If I sell for paper I through away more than half, so rapid is the depreciation, nor do I know that it will be received long. I sold a Bill to Blodget at 5 for one which was lookd upon [as] high at that time. The week after I received it, two Emissions were taken out of circulation and the greater part of what I had proved to be of that sort, so that those to whom I was indebted are obliged to wait and before it becomes due or is exchanged, it will be good for—as much as it will fetch, which will be nothing if it goes on as it has done for this 3 Months past, but I will not tire your patience any longer. I have not drawn any further upon you, I mean to wait the return of the Alliance which with longing Eyes I wait for. God grant it may bring me comfortable tidings from my dear dear Friend whose welfare is so essential to my happiness that it is entwined round my Heart, and cannot be impared or seperated from it without rending it assunder.
In contemplation of my situation I am sometimes thrown into an agony of distress. Distance, dangers—and O! I cannot name all the fears which sometimes oppress me and harrow up my soul. Yet must the common Lot of Man one day take place whether we dwell in our own Native Land, or are far distant from it. That we rest under the shadow of the Almighty is the consolation to which I resort, and find that comfort which the World cannot give. If he sees best to give me back my Friend, or to preserve my life to him, it will be so.
Our worthy Friend Dr. Winthrope is numberd with the great congregation to the inexpressible loss of Harvard College.3

Let no weak drop

be shed for him. The Virgin in her bloom

cut off, the joyous youth, and darling child

These are the Tombs, that claim the tender Tear

{ 201 }

And Elegiac Song. But Winthrope calls

For other Notes of Gratulation high

That now he wanders through those endless worlds

He here so well discried, and wandering talks,

And Hymns their Author with his glad compeers.

The Testimony he gave with his dyeing Breath in favour of revealed Religion, does honour to his memory and will endear it to every Lover of Virtue.4
I know not who will be found worthy to succeed him.
Our Brother Cranch is immersd in publick Buisness—and so cumbered with it that he fears He shall not be able to write you a line.5
C[ongre]ss have not yet made any appointment of you to any other court. There appears a dilatoryness, an indisicion in their proceedings. I have in Mr. L[ovel]l an attentive Friend who kindly informs me of every thing which passes relative to you and your situation, gives me extracts of your Letters both to himself and others. I know you will be unhappy whenever it is not in your power to serve your country—and wish yourself at home where at least you might serve your family.—I cannot say that I think our affairs go very well here. Our currency seems to be the source of all our Evils. We cannot fill up our continental Army by means of it, no bounty will prevail with them. What can be done with it, it will sink in less than a year. The advantages the Enemy daily gain over us is oweing to this. Most truly did you prophesy when you said that they would do all the mischief in their power with the forces they had here.
Many Letters lay in Boston for you which have been wrote Months. My good unkle S[mit]h yesterday let me know that a Letter of Mark bound for Nants would sail in a day or two. I eagerly seaze the opportunity and beg you to give my blessing to my son to whom I have not time now to write. I dare not trust myself with the Idea nor can express how ardently I long to see both the parent and son. Our whole family have enjoyed great Health since your absence. Daughter and sons who dayly delight themselves with talking of Pappa and Brother present their Duty and Love. Your Worthy Mamma who is now here request[s] me to add her tenderest affection to you, who next to the writer is anxious to hear from you. Your Brother request[s] me to desire you to procure for him 2 peices of Linnin to the amount of 24 dollors which he will pay to me, and to send them whenever you have an opportunity of sending to me. I shall not write for any thing till the Alliance returns and I find what success she has had.
{ 202 }

[salute] My tenderest regards ever attend you in all places and situations know me to be ever ever yours.6

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by JA: “Portia June 8. 1779,” to which is added in John Thaxter's hand: “Answerd 16th. March 1780”; see note 6.
1. Thus punctuated in MS.
2. Taxes.
3. Professor John Winthrop had died on 3 May. Although his death drew forth a number of printed poetical tributes, the lines that follow in AA's letter have not been found among them. We may guess that AA here adapted to Winthrop a tribute to an astronomer that she remembered from one of her favorite English poems in blank verse.
4. For this “Testimony” see the obituary in the Boston Independent Chronicle, 13 May 1779, p. 2, cols. 2–3.
5. However, see the following letter. Recently reelected a Braintree representative to the Massachusetts House, Cranch was particularly active at this time as a member of a committee conducting the sale of confiscated loyalist estates in Suffolk County. See the Confiscation Acts of 30 April and 1 May as published in the Boston Gazette, 10 May, p. 2, cols. 2–3, and 17 May, p. 1, cols. 1–3; the proceedings of the committee, signed by Cranch and others, same, 24 May, p. 1, col. 1; and, generally, Richard D. Brown, “The Confiscation and Disposition of Loyalists' Estates in Suffolk County, Massachusetts,”WMQ, 3d ser., 21:534–550 (Oct. 1964).
6. Thus punctuated in MS. A full stop would be appropriate after either “you” or “situations.”
This letter of course did not reach JA before he sailed for home on 17 June. It was evidently held for him in France, for on 16 March 1780 he answered it in very affectionate terms from Paris some weeks after his return there; see his letter of that date, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0158

Author: Cranch, Richard
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1779-06-11

Richard Cranch to John Adams

[salute] My dear Friend and Bror:

I have just now deliver'd to your Friend Genl. Warren of the Navy-Board, a Pacquet from Sister Adams directed to you. The Genl. informs me that a Vessell will sail for Nants next Sunday, by which he will send it. Tho' I cannot learn that any of my former Letters have reach'd you,1 yet I gladly take hold of the same Oportunity to try again to convey a Letter to so dear a Friend. I have had the happiness of receiving one Letter (and but one) from you since you left us, the Date of which I cannot recollect, as I have it not here with me, in which you encourage me to make some Communications to the Philosophic Society to which you have been admitted.2 A Compliance with such an Intimation would be extremely agreeable to me was I at Leasure and my Country in Peace; but Bellona and the Muses suit ill together. I hope, however, that in some future Time I may have the Honour and Pleasure of such a Correspondence. You will perceive by the inclosed Paper that I am again return'd a Member by your native Town to represent them in the General Court. The present Time requires much better Abillities than mine to be exerted.—I will, how• { 203 } ever, do the best I can. Your Friend Warren, you will perceive, declin'd taking a Seat at the Board, and I am glad of it, as we want such Men in the House. Government has been greatly perplex'd for some Time past; and our greatest Embarrasments have originated, as I apprehend, in the great Scarcity of Grain occasion'd by a severe Drought that cut off a great Part of our Harvest the last Year. Hence the necessity of the Consumer became so urgent that he must give whatever Price the Seller would please to ask for his Grain, and a higher Price was every Day demanded; this encourag'd many base Minds to withold from selling in hopes of getting a still more en[orm]ous3 Price in future. This increased the Evil by adding an artificial [ . . . ] Scarcity, 'till at last the Price of Corn has amounted to forty d[ollars] per Bushel. The Consequence of which has been that Labour has risen in nearly the same Proportion, and other Produce has been estimated by the Price of Bread; this has led the Merchant and Trader to raise their Goods in a like Proportion, in order to Ballance with the Farmer. This I take to have been the chief Source of the present sudden rise of things, and that the Evil is not to be charg'd wholly or chiefly (as many People will have it) to the Depreciation of the Currency. From this State of Things Government has been oblig'd, in Justice, to allow its Servants six or seven times as much nominally for their Services, as would have sufficed had things remained at the usual Price. Hence the Taxes laid on the People prov'd insufficient for the Purposes of Government—The Treasury is exhausted—temporary expedients of giving Notes, borrowing, &c. are try'd to little purpose—Servants of Government in the main time kept out of their Due—Credit of Government lower'd, and general uneasiness introduced. To remeddy the Evil in part, and to prevent a further Depreciation of the Currency, Congress has call'd upon the United States to pay into the Continenal Treasury by the 1st. of Jany. next forty five Millions of Dollars, six Million of which is apportioned on this State. For the Removal of the former Evil of Scarcity, we must look to him who ruleth the Seasons, and “giveth Bread to the eater.” At present we have more Grain growing, I suppose, than we ever had at one Time before, and a Prospect of a fine Harvest.
By Express received yesterday from Genl. Gates (who commands on the R: Island Station) it appears that the Enemy are again in the North River with a Design, as he supposes, to attack Genl. Washington, and make Depredations on the Eastern States; I cannot learn what Number of the Enemy are at North River. We have ordered two Thousand Men to be raised immediately to fill up our Part of the Continental Batallions, and eight Hundred Men for the Defence of R: { 204 } Island State. The Tory Band of Loyal Refugees, as they stile themselves, headed by George Leonard the Miller, are employ'd in coasting between N. York and Nantucket on the notable Business of Sheep-stealing, robing Hen-roosts &c. We have taken several of their small Arm'd Vessells; and this Morning arrived here the Blaze-Castle of eighteen Carriage and six Swivel Guns, taken by three of our Letter of Marque Vessells. She had 90 Men, and was sent from Hallifax on purpose to Cruise on this Coast. The Vessells that took her had just sail'd from Piscataqua, bound to the W: Indies. It seems the Commander of the Blaze-Castle had received intelligence of several Merchant-Men being about to sail from Portsmouth, and was watching for them, but caught a Tartar.4 I have enclos'd an Address from Congress which was read in Court this Day, and order'd to be reprinted.5 I think it will give you Pleasure; also one [of]6 Mr. Tudor's Orations presented to you by Mr. Gill the Printer,7 a[nd some?] NewsPapers.
I hope you will excuse the Length of th[is lette]r, and believe me to be with the highest Esteem, your oblig'd Friend and Brother,
[signed] Richard Cranch
Mrs. Adams and your Children were well Yesterday. Mrs. Cranch and our Children, and all Friends at Braintree and Weymouth were well when I left home, whose best Wishes attend you. Give my Love to Cousin Johnny and desire him to write to his Cousins by every Oportunity. They did not know of my Writing at present, or else they would have wrote to him.
P.S. Our House has voted a Tax of £1800,000 (being the six Million Dollars for the Continent) and One Million Pounds for the use of this State, to go out directly.8
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosures not found; for those that are identifiable, see notes 5 and 7.
1. None has been found that reached JA in Europe.
2. See JA to Cranch, 6 Aug. 1778, above.
3. MS torn, damaging several lines of text.
4. For the details see the Boston Gazette, 14 June 1779, p. 3, col. 1.
5. To the Inhabitants of the United States of America, a hortatory address on the financial difficulties of the country, drafted by John Dickinson, agreed to in Congress on 26 May, ordered to be printed, and signed by President Jay (JCC, 14:649–657; 15:1456; Evans 16636). On 11 June the General Court ordered that it be reprinted “in Hand-Bills and sent to the several Ministers of the Gospel in the Towns and Parishes [for reading after divine service] . . . , also to the respective Town-clerks,” &c. (Ford, Mass. Broadsides, 2191; Evans 16637). There are two copies of the Massachusetts reprint in MHi: Broadside Coll.
6. Here and below, MS is torn.
7. William Tudor, An Oration, Delivered March 5th, 1779, . . . to Com• { 205 } memorate the Bloody Tragedy of the Fifth of March, 1770, Boston: Edes and Gill (Evans 16550).
8. Cranch was mistaken. The sum to be raised by taxes, voted on 9 June, was £2,800,000 (Mass., House Jour., May–June 1779, p. 35).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0159

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-06-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I have been often disappointed, and therefore cannot be perfectly sure now: but my Baggage is all on Board a Frigate of the Kings, and I am to take Passage in her, with the Chevalier de la Luzerne the new Ambassador to the united States, and Monsieur Marbois, the Secretary to the Commission, two Gentlemen of the most amiable Characters. Their will be Eighteen or twenty Persons in their Train. We expect to go to Boston, but may possibly go to Philadelphia.1
I ought not to give you an History of my Adventures for Four Months past, untill I see you. This goes by another Vessell: but I hope you will see me before it.
The French Fleet is out from Brest, and the French look up now with a good Countenance.—England is torn with Distractions, and Spain is expected soon to declare. Holland and the Northern Powers have made Declarations which sufficiently indicate their Determination, which is favourable to Us. Britannia, in short must soon hearken to Reason.
My dear Fellow Traveller is very well, and is the Comfort of my Life. He is much caressed, wherever he goes.—Remember me to the rest. What can I say more? No Words, no Actions can express the Ardour of Affection with which I am theirs & yours.
[signed] John Adams
Not one Line from America since yours by the Alliance, nor any from Congress since October or the Beg[inning] of Novr.—a Pause that has consumed a great deal of my Patience, but I have Bags and Boxes of it yet left, in Abundance.
1. At one point during his tiresome wait JA expressed the view that the French government was treating him with “Insolence, and Contempt” (Diary and Autobiography, 2:369). But the great civility of both La Luzerne and his articulate and sophisticated secretary of legation, Marbois, toward JA and JQA at once overcame all such resentful feelings (same, p. 380).
Concerning Anne César, Chevalier de La Luzerne (1741–1791), François Barbé-Marbois (later Marquis de Barbé-Marbois) (1745–1837), and their subsequent relations with JA, see under both their names in the index to JA's Diary and Autobiography.
The passengers boarded the frigate La Sensible, Capt. Bidé de Chavagnes, early in the morning of 17 June and { 206 } sailed in mid-afternoon. They arrived in Boston Harbor on 2 (or possibly 3) Aug.; see below, Samuel Adams to AA, 31 July, note 2. JA's account of the voyage is one of the most engaging among his many records of travel; see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:381–400.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0160

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
DateRange: 1779-06-18 - 1779-06-26

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

Do you love the Natural sentiments of the Heart[?] Take them then as they flow from the pen of Portia. Having been to take a ride this afternoon upon my return stopt at my Brother Cranchs when one of the family came to the chaise and told me a Gentleman from Boston had left a large packet for me in the House. My Heart bounded for joy—I besought him to deliver them Instantly to me. The Bulk of the packet insured them a pressure to my Bosom. My spirits danced. It was dark, I could not see the hand writing but was in no doubt from whence they came. The Space between my Brothers and my own house was a dozen mile and it seemd like an age to get to it. I sprang from the chaise, calld for a light before I got into the house, but when I came to the light it was Mr. L[ovel]l['s] hand writing. O the Letters had arrived at Philadelphia, and he ever attentive to the calls of Friendship had coverd them to me. I broke the Seal and the dear delusion vanished like the “baseless fabrick of a vision.” An involuntary tear (it could not be helpd) found its way and for the first time I did not feel that pleasure which always before accompanied a Letter from Mr. Lovell. Six Months and not one line. Expectations so raised and so damped must plead my excuse for so unpolite a reception to my much valued correspondent, to whom for the future I shall give leave to make use of what ever expressions he pleases in order to prove that my Benevolence is eaquel to my power, having from a further acquaintance with him discoverd that the talent for which I formerly censured him is natural to him and that far from being a slothfull servant he has improved it tenfold. Nor would I rob him of the pleasure he takes in thus indulgeing the too pleasing art, since it must be acknowledged that he is an accomplished proficient in it.
I will not disclaim the Epethet of amiable since it is a character which if I do not already possess [it] I would wish to obtain even to the value of her whose price was far above rubies.
Your dissertation upon Letter peaping diverted me. I am glad however that you had no curiosity to gratify, or held yourself otherways restrained from inspecting the Letters of P[ortia]. For having flatterd me with a <first> place in your Esteem I should have been loth to have { 207 } forfeited it, since I have no right to expect nor a wish to obtain from any other than the person to whom they were addressd that which an Antient Sage has told us covereth a multitude of faults. The Manuscript you mention did not come by the hand which brought the Letters. I am happy sir if any of the contents of the Trunk were serviceable to you and you will oblige both my absent Friend for whom I know I can answer as well as the present writer in retaining both the Jacket and Stockings and in never mentioning them again.2
I stand indebted to you sir for a Letter dated March 9th. as well as June 5th in the former of which you say there is a strange delay and some thing of Mystery in the propositions which have been lately made here respecting our foreign affairs, but be assured that I have not yet perceived any thing which will probably affect Mr. A in a dissagreable Manner.
I wish you had explaind yourself more fully or was it out of tenderness to me that you would not tell me that I might have reason to daily expect his return, knowing the anxiety I must suffer in the interval.
If he has not been recalld I know not how to account for a passage in a Letter which has come to hand since I took my pen to you. It is from Dr. Winship belonging to the Alliance, to his wife and dated Brest harbour 7 of April. “It is now determined that we return to Boston as soon as may be, and what convinces me that we shall make all possible speed is that Mr. Adams is to return in the ship.”3 97 prisoners had been sent from England [with] which the ship would be well man'd. I have since heard some resolves of congress4 which I think makes it probable that he would return either with or without leave, since if he was not in a situation to serve his country, he would be unhappy absent from his family. God grant him a safe return, and that in future he may retire from publick life.
There has been 3 several appointments here of gentlemen for members of congress, all of whom have declined. This state will find it something difficult to supply the places of the present indefatagable Labourers there.5 It begins to be considerd as rather burdensome and no loaves and fishes to be caught.—But if virtue says my absent Friend on a similar occasion, was to be rewarded with wealth it would not be virtue, if virtue was to be rewarded with fame it would not be virtue of the sublimist kind. Who would not rather be Fabricus than Ceasar, who would not rather be Aristedes than even W[illiam] the 3d. Who? Nobody would be of this mind but Aristedes and Fabricius.
I fancy I had better close this Letter without any further addition least you should discover that I am not in a very good humour, pos• { 208 } sibly from wrong information. I will therefore endeavour to suppress every dissagreable Idea of publick Slight and indignity till assertained of the Truth or falcity by Mr. S. A[dams] whose daily arrival is expected, and in the mean time I shall anxiously wait for the return of the Alliance, perplexd with a thousand fears and apprehension which I do not owe the publick and for which—but hush, did I not say I would close but not till I have assured you that I am with sentiments of Esteem your Friend & humble Servant,
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers); at head of text in JQA's hand: “To James Lovell Philadelphia 1779,” to which CFA added: “June <1778>.”
1. This date is furnished in Lovell's reply, 19 July, below, to the missing RC.
2. On all the foregoing, see Lovell to AA, 5 June, above.
3. Amos Windship (1745–1813), a Boston physician and apothecary, was at this time serving as surgeon aboard the Alliance and thus knew something of JA's movements and plans from encounters with him at Brest and Lorient; see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:337, 353, 360, 368, 376. In an earlier note on Windship in this series, the editors did not know how to account for AA's reference to him as “the famous Dr. W[ind]ship” (vol. 2:187–188). That this was sarcasm becomes clear from a long and curious biographical sketch of Windship by Ephraim Eliot, a contemporary and fellow apothecary, contributed by S. E. Morison to Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns., 25 (1922–1924): 141–171, hitherto overlooked by the Adams editors. Eliot's sketch is entitled “Biography of a Rascal,” and from the details it furnishes Windship clearly was one. During his single year in Harvard College he entered on a career of casual but engaging knavery that continued with only occasional deviations into respectability until his death.
4. This reference is too vague to permit identification.
5. This observation is borne out by the proceedings of the General Court. In Oct. 1778, seven delegates had been elected (or reelected) to serve for the year 1779 in the Continental Congress: Samuel Adams, Francis Dana, Timothy Edwards, Elbridge Gerry, John Hancock, Samuel Holten, and James Lovell. But three of these did not attend at all in 1779, namely Dana, Edwards, and Hancock, leaving four delegates to represent the state in Philadelphia through the first half of the year. On 2 June, Edwards resigned from a delegation in which he had never served, and in mid-June Samuel Adams took leave for a visit home.
Much of June was therefore spent by the General Court in trying to strengthen its delegation during a period when its interests were very much at stake. On the 4th, Artemas Ward was elected in the place of Edwards, resigned; but ten days later Ward declined to serve. Meanwhile, on the 10th, the House passed a resolve “directing one of the gentlemen who are members of Congress for this State, and now within the same, to repair to Congress without delay; and empowering two delegates to represent the State therein.” On the 16th it elected James Warren in Ward's place, but he declined next day, whereupon George Partridge was chosen. After much hesitation and reconsideration, Partridge finally accepted on 29 June. All this did relatively little to strengthen the Massachusetts delegation. See Mass., House Jour., May–Oct. 1779, p. 21, 23, 28, 37–38, 48, 50, 56, 72–73; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:liii–liv.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0161

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-07-06

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

I take up my pen this Morning to let my Friend know I have not yet seen Mr. S. Adams, but understand by Mr. Warren, That Thier is No Expectation in Congress that Your Mr. Adams will Return yet. There is a large Majority of that Body who highly Esteem Him and wish his Continuance in Europe, have an Eye upon him if proposals of accomodation should be made as best qualifyed to Negotiate a peace or that he will be in Employ at some Court in a short time as it is Expected some New appointment will be Necessary before Long. Should have wrote you sooner but was in hopes to have seen Mr. Adams myself from whom I might have Collected more perticulers as Mr. Warren saw him only in Company, having unsuccessfully Called several times.
I will write again if anything offers worth Communicating. Yesterday was Celebrated the anniversary of Independence with Noise and Dissipation, a Concert this Evening, Though These kind of Entertainments May not Enhaunce the happiness of the people or fix our Liberties on a More solid Base.1
But your Friend Must hasten affectionatly to subscribe her Name though by the quiver the scrall might be known to be that of
[signed] M Warren
“Yesterday commenced the Anniversary of the 4th Year of the Independence of the United States of America. The same, we hear, is to be observed by a Feu de-Joy of the Militia, of this Town, in State-Street, at Noon, this Day, a Discharge from the Shipping in the Harbour, and a Display of Fire-Works in the Common, at Evening” (Boston Gazette, 5 July 1779, p. 3, col. 2).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0162

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-07-14

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

My Friends anxity I Wonder not at. Wish I could say anything that would Give that Relief her agitated mind requires. Yet have no doubt her best Friend will soon be in a more Eligiable situation. Mr. Lovel writes Mr. Warren that the Motions of Congress tend towards an appointment to him Honorable, and thinks it will soon take place.2 No body seems to have an Expectation of his Return at present.
The movements of our Enemies I will say Nothing about yet pity Greatly pity the Distresses of our Friends And the Weary Lids are kept { 210 } Waking with the apprehension of Dangers approaching nearer our own Borders.
I expect to see you in a few days, perhaps Next Teusday. Yet it may not be till Wensday or Thursday. But whenever it is You will be assured of seeing one Friend when Called upon by your Humble Servant,
[signed] M Warren
1. In a letter dated from Plymouth, 29 July 1779, Mrs. Warren told JA that “On my way from Boston I lodged a week since at the foot of Pens Hill” (Warren-Adams Letters, 2:114). The present letter, written (as its final paragraph states) a week before that visit and dated at Boston on“Wensday,” must therefore have written on Wednesday, 14 July 1779.
“Our worthy Friend John Adams must think I neglect him in his very odd Situation. We are ripening towards Measures which must induce an immediate and definite consequential Disposition of him, and I have no doubt of an honorable one” (Lovell to Warren, 15 June, Warren-Adams Letters, 2:108).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0163

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1779-07-15

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

I wrote to Mr. S A—— the same day I received your Letter,2 but not a syllable of information have I yet collected from him. No Alliance yet arrived—it will afford me some releif to be scribling to somebody who will hear me, who will attend to me and answer my Queries, and tho Mr. L[ovel]l has heretofore wrote rather problematically with regard to the situation of my absent Friend I beg of him to be explicit in answering my Questions and the first is whether the conduct of Mr. A. has been impeached either directly or Indirectly? Whether he was included in the publick censure of congress upon the dissensions amongst their commisioners, a censure which if I may presume to say it was as indiscreet as it was unjust.3 Why when Mr. Lee and Mr. Izard received new commissons Mr. Adams was not recalled? Was he ever requested to tarry in France or any notice of any kind taken of him after his commision was vacated? The Motions of congress tend towards an appointment of Mr. A——, and I make no doubt of an honorable one, says Mr. L[ovel]l in a Letter to General W[arre]n4—but where you do not mention. You observe that you are not surprised at the report of his return, nor am I if he has had the reason which I think he has for it. Whenever you favour me with a reply, I request a full and free indulgance of your pen upon the subject. If I have sufferd heretofore in some sacrifice of personal happiness believe me Sir I feel not less keenly the reward of it. But I say this only to you or a { 211 } perticuliar Friend. To every other inquirer my Lips shall keep silence. The safe return of the Alliance may possibly dispell the cloud which at present hangs heavy [on]5 the Heart and mind of
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers); at head of text in CFA's hand:“1779.” Just possibly the MS is a fragment, beginning as it does at the top of a page without salutation or paragraph indention and the text seeming to begin in medias res.
1. In all probability this letter was written within a day or two of AA's receipt of Mrs. Warren's letter to her of [14] July, preceding; see note 4 below.
2. Lovell's letter must be that of 5 June, above, but no letter from AA to Samuel Adams in late June or early July 1779 has been found.
3. Congress' much-debated resolve of 20 April on the Deane-Lee dispute: “That suspicions and animosities have arisen among the late and present commissioners, . . . highly prejudicial to the honor and interest of these United States” (JCC, 13:487). JA's name was not among those finally included in the resolve. See below, JA to AA, 13 Nov., note 3.
4. Lovell to Warren, 15 June (Warren-Adams Letters, 2:108), the substance of which respecting JA's status was transmitted to AA, in almost the same words as those used here, in Mrs. Warren's letter to AA, preceding; see note 2 there.
5. MS torn. The word may be “over.”

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0164

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-07-16

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

March 6 1779. “Our friend my late Colleague means to embark soon and from him you will learn the State of our Affairs here. Mr. Izard and myself would have accompanyed him had not our Commissions prevented us.”

[salute] My dear Madam

March 6 1779. “Our friend my late Colleague means to embark soon and from him you will learn the State of our Affairs here. Mr. Izard and myself would have accompanyed him had not our Commissions prevented us.”
The above is an Extract from a Letter of Ar. Lee to Mr. S. Adams1 and tho Mr. Lee writes afterwards on April 6th. yet it was a very short Letter of Information concerning the Enemys Plan against Connecticutt just as they have lately proceeded.2 He says not a Syllable therein about Mr. Adams; but it is currently reported here that he was at a Port of Embarkation before the Vessel now here left France. I suspect he is on board the Alliance Frigate; perhaps while I am writing he is embracing you. If not, you may find by a confidential Moment or two with his worthy Namesake in Boston the probable Cause of his not waiting for some special Direction from hence. Staying or Returning, I am sure he has done right; he has acted like a Man of Judgement, Probity and Spirit: Therefore it is that I express no Surprize at the written Intelligence or the Report.
I refer you to Mr. S. A——for the Communications which should make your Bosom easy if it is capable of suspecting my Mr. Adams of { 212 } Rashness. I will not without absolute Necessity risque to the Accidents of Carriage on the Road, at this Time, all that I could say about the probable Causes of this unexpected Return: The Knowledge of your being in any Pain about it, after having seen the Gentleman to whom I have referred you, will constitute such Necessity. For, be assured, the Sacrifices you have made to the public Good and the Manner in which you have made them have given you a despotic Command over my Affections. And, here, by way of Attonement for the Voice I have once given against your private and personal Felicity, I do soberly promise that, unless there is a great Change for the better in the Manners of America, I will not speedily exert myself in any way for the self same Purpose, but leave Portia in the full Enjoyment of Days twenty-five hours long.

[salute] Very platonically to be sure but, very, very affectionately your humb. Servt.,

[signed] JL
3 Ship Captains say Genl. Lincoln gained a Battle on the 20th. of June in a fair Field, each side quitting their Lines. The devilish Lies before were told by a Mate. The odds of Title is not all. Capt. Sergeant of Cape Ann who left Carolina the 23d. told the Story in the Teeth of the Delegates of his own State in their Parlour.
Perhaps I may get some particulars from Col. Laurens late President who, I hear, has examined the Gentlemen.
[signed] JL
I broke the Seal to warn you against the News. Col. Laurens told me a very fine Story which he believed from“the very ingenious Manner in which it was detailed to him.” An Express varies it by Letter so far as that our Men attacked the Enemy's Lines and were obliged to retreat which they did by order and in the best Manner. Things are not in bad Train however. The Writer tells that both Cannon and Musquetry were heard at the Time of his Writing so that the latter Part of the Story may turn out something like Truth, the Power of our Gallies being equal to the Work they meant to do at Stono Bridge.
1. The original has not been found. It was forwarded by Lovell to Samuel Adams, doubtless in Lovell's letter to Adams of 16 July (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:319–320). See also Adams to AA, 31 July, below.
2. Arthur Lee to the Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Affairs (PCC, No. 83, II; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:110–111), read in Congress on 15 July (JCC, 14:836).
{ [fol. 212] } { [fol. 212] } { [fol. 212] } { [fol. 212] }

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0165

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-07-19

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

Your Favor of June 18/26 is this Hour come to hand.
“Do I love the natural Sentiments of the Heart”? Yes, Amiable Correspondent, I truly love them; and your little Story was far, very far from non-natural. You was betrayed, it seems, by a Combination of Circumstances such as a tender Sensibility and the Dusk of the Evening, to make a Pressure to your lovely palpitating Bosom which soon after cost you a crying Spell.
If I do not forestall you by making a Remark here myself, I shall expect that in your next Letter you will turn my false Wit upon me, and by making natural mean only common, you will tell me that your misfortune had very natural Consequences, since the Celadon or Lothario who was the Means of your Sorrow only smiled at the Tears which he had caused. But—to be sober, I hope you have by this Time realized more substantial Pleasures than the Receipt of a Packet from my esteemed Friend. I have written to you lately by Express my Opinion of his Return. Winship's Letter three days later than Arthur Lee's is a strong Confirmation that you are to be soon happy.
Every Thing that wears the Appearance of Injury to him may be resolved into the Dilatoriness which springs from the Nature and Constitution of a certain Assembly here.
Promise me that you will be upon your Guard against Tremors at the Sight of Superscriptions upon large Packets not in the Handwriting you wish most to see, and I will put up a Set of Journals for your Mr. A. that you may read all the Weaknesses of some who are called great Men.1
I find by Letters from my dear Polly2 that a Mr. McClane is coming Express, by whose Return I shall be able to perform the Promise just made, and to renew the affectionate Assurances of my being Your obliged Friend and humble Servant,
[signed] James Lovell
1. On 31 March, Congress had ordered that its Journals from 1 Jan. 1779 (except for secret proceedings) “be printed immediately; and that, for the future, the journal . . . be printed weekly” (JCC, 13:395). Accordingly, the Journal was issued in three monthly parts for Jan.–March, and thereafter weekly through the rest of the year (“Bibliographical Notes” in same, 15:1459–1462).
2. The former Mary Middleton had married James Lovell in 1760 (DAB, under Lovell's name).

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0166

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1779-07-28

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

[salute] Dear sir

Your favour of july 16 this moment received the contents of which have awakend in my Bosom the anxiety which had before almost subsided. By a Letter dated some time in june1 which you must before this time have received you have found that I had similar inteligance to what you have communicated. But I was strangely puzled, I knew not what to think. I had never received a hint of the kind from you. Upon Mr. A[dams'] return I desired my very worthy and attentive Friend General Warren to inquire into the Matter, which he did and was assured by him that my Friend was not recalld and that congress had no expectation of his return. Mr. A expressd some little surprize that I should even be anxious about his situation abroad, but believe me sir I knew the temper and disposition of my Friend too well to suppose that he would wish to be detained abroad an unemployed spectator—a useless figure. Nor is he sufficently the man of pleasure to be happy from his family unless he was rendering his country essensial service. But if that country had no further Demand upon him, methinks they might with honour have restored him to his family, and not have left him neglected and unnoticed. Far far be it from me to accuse him with Rashness. What ever I may suffer from fears, apprehensions and anxieties I must approve his conduct even tho in consequence of it he should become a prisoner to the Mad Tyrant of Britton.
You refer me to Mr. S A for further inteligance. My agitated mind would be glad to find present releaf from any quarter otherways I would wait for those probable causes hinted at by Mr. L[ovel]l from whence I am sure to gather more satisfaction than I shall from any other quarter. I need not add that Mr. S A is too much the politician to attend to purtubations and too much the phylosopher to realize the thousand nameless anxieties that distress the tender Heart of our frail Sex. I think I have a right to say this since he has not even wrote me a line since his return tho he could be no stranger to my perplexity having received a Message or two from me and being requested by Genll. W[arre]n to come and see me.
Since I last had the Honour of writing to you a vessel from Nantz brought me 3 Letters—one of December, one of Janry. and one of Febry.2 All that he say[s] with regard to his return in those Letters is in that dated December. I think I shall see you this year in spight of B[ritish] Men of war. I have expected every moment for more than { 215 } two Months my recall—and from this circumstance I supposed he held himself bound by his commision to Tarry till congress pleased to permit his return. But having waited month after month and no intelligance of the kind having arrived, I presume he received the inattention as a proof that they had no further service for him. What other motives he may have I know not.
He excuses himself from writing freely on account of the danger, but says thus much—I can say with perfect sincerity that I have found nothing to disgust me, discontent me, or in any manner disturb me in the French Nation. My Evils here arise altogether from Americans.
The vessel which brought these Letters brings a story also that the Alliance in company with a 40 gun frigate was gone upon some secret expedition. Sure Mr. A would not embark for any other purpose but a speedy return to America. I pray Heaven that her arrival may soon releave me from this defered hope which maketh the Heart sick.
The Carolina Bubble has made us hard of Belief—even General Wayne['s] success3 was not credited till Authentacated proofs of it arrived. Desolated Farefeild and Norwalk were too British exploits to be hesitated at. Too painfull are the retrospect of those scenes, and the Tragidy has so often been acted over that words are not left to discribe the Horrours of it.
Before I close suffer me with the most gratefull sensations to acknowledg your kind attention to me during the absence of my dearest Friend, by every method in your power alleviating my anxiety [and]4 rendering me all the information which you could obtain.
Dft (Adams Papers); mistakenly docketed by JQA at head of text: “to John Thaxter.” After AA's incomplete date JQA added “1779” and“Mr. Adams arrived from France five days after the date of this Letter.” The draft is a notably careless one, even for AA, and its punctuation has been slightly corrected for the sake of clarity.
1. 18–26 June, above.
2. 30 Dec. 1778, 1 Jan., 9 Feb. 1779, above. AA quotes briefly from all three below.
3. In taking the British post at Stony Point on the Hudson River, 16 July.
4. Editorially supplied.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0167

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, Samuel
Date: 1779-07-30

Abigail Adams to Samuel Adams

[salute] Dear sir

As your good Lady had promised me the favour of a visit before your return to your Native Town, give me leave sir to request a compliance with the promise and that you would do me the Honour of accompanying her here. I wish sir to be informed by you with regard { 216 } to the situation of my absent Friend and what congress propose to do with him. The publication of a report of a committe of Congress with regard to their commisoners has given me some dissagreable sensations. I know not whether the report was accepted, but it was such a general censure as must wound the Innocent with the guilty and will be Esteemed by one of them at least as no very delicate recall.1
The latest advices which I have from France are dated Febry. 9. By that I find that the address of Mr. Dean had arrived in France, and rekindled a Flame there which before was almost extinct, that parties ran high to the injury of our publick affairs, and the consequence would be the prolonging of the war. That he had found nothing to disgust, disturb or any ways discontent him from the French Nation, but all the Evils he experienced arose all together from Americans.
But tis probable you have Letters by the same vessel and may be more fully acquainted with his affairs than I am. He daily expects his recall, but will be not a little mortified to find it couch'd in terms which I am sure he has not deserved. In what other light can he view it, whilst Mr. Lee as I have been informed is appointed to Spain, and he many months without an explicit recall or any prospect of any other Destination. I cannot help giving some attention to the report of his returning in the Alliance since I know if he is not in a situation to serve his Country he will be very unhappy from his family.
You sir can set me right if I have been misinformed or if I have misconstrued the determinations of your respected assembly either of which will give me more pleasure than to be assured that I had not erred in judgement tho by so competant a judge.
Be pleased to present my most affectionate regards to your Lady and to hope for the pleasure of a visit as soon as you can render it convenient. Possibly it might be more so to you to come up of a Saturday and spend the Sabbeth with your Humble servant,
[signed] A Adams
Dft (Adams Papers); at head of text in CFA's hand: “1779.” Recipient identified and approximate date assigned from internal evidence in conjunction with the substance of the following letter from Samuel Adams to AA, which is presumed to be a reply to the present letter.
1. The “general censure” recommended by the special committee on foreign affairs, 15 April, and adopted by Congress on 20 April (JCC, 13:455–457, 487). See above, AA to Lovell, ca. 15 July, note 3, and below, JA to AA, 13 Nov., note 3.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0168

Author: Adams, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-07-31

Samuel Adams to Abigail Adams

Mr. Saml. Adams and Mrs. Adams present their most friendly Regards to Mrs. Adams of Braintree. In Answer to her Message to Mr. A, he informs her, that in a Letter he receivd a few days ago from Arthur Lee dated the 6th of March, Mr. Lee acquaints him in these Words,“Our Friend my late Colleague means to embark soon, and from him you will learn the State of our Affairs here.” The Letter was dated at Nantez. Mr. Lee does not explain or hint at the Motive. Other Letters I am informd, are come to hand at Philadelphia dated as late as the 6th of April.1 Mr. and Mrs. A. intend to do themselves the Pleasure of visiting Mrs. A at Braintree soon.2
RC (ICHi); in Adams' hand.
1. For Arthur Lee's letters here mentioned, see James Lovell to AA, 16 July, above, and notes there.
2. It is not known whether this visit took place, for on this day the Sensible “Found Bottom . . . on St. Georges Banc” 100 miles east of Cape Cod, and two or (possibly) three days later JA reached home.
The evidence furnished by JA himself respecting the exact time and place of his disembarkation with JQA is contradictory and confusing. But in all probability on Monday, 2 Aug., they left the vessel in Nantasket Roads and were rowed with their baggage to the Braintree shore, whence they had departed in mid-February 1778. It is certain that La Luzerne and his party proceeded into the inner harbor and landed with due ceremony on Tuesday the 3d. (See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:342, 344, 400.) It is also certain that on the 3dJA sat down at home and addressed a letter to John Jay, president of Congress, reporting and explaining his movements since learning in February that he had been relieved of his duties as a commissioner in Europe (RC in PCC, No. 84, I, printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:276–278; LbC, Adams Papers, printed in JA, Works, 7:97–99, with CFA's silent correction of JA's probable error in giving the 3d rather than the 2d as the date of his actual arrival home). On the 4th, JA wrote (or at least began) a much longer letter to Jay submitting for the consideration of Congress his “Reflections . . . on the general State of Affairs in Europe, so far as they relate to the Interests of the united States” (RC in PCC, No. 84, I, printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:278–286; LbC, Adams Papers, printed in JA, Works, 7:99–110). This, which JA then viewed as his final dispatch and testament, was a major effort and was recognized as such; it was read in Congress on 20 Aug. (JCC, 14:981), and the numerous contemporary copies of it recorded in the Adams Papers Editorial Files show that it circulated widely.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0169

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-08-06

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Friend

“And are you sure the News is true,

And are you sure He's Come.”

{ 218 }
Beneath the shady Forrest of Ele River, while my Best Friend has walked towards the Fertile plains to survey the Reapers, or perhaps asscends the Rugged Hills to View the sportive Flocks, I take up my pen to Congratulate you, most sincerely to Congratulate you on the safe Return of yours, from the Busy and wearisom scenes of politics, pleasure, and politeness, to the still Delights of Domestic Felicity, where the Gladned mother Can scarcly suppress the tear of Rapture, to [listen?] and smile Alternately at the Narrations of her young traveler, and the simple tale, with which the two younger Masters (Emulous for Papahs Attention) strive to Entertain Him, while the observing Daughter silently Watches Every accent, and treasures up Every article of Inteligence for her Future improvement. The Father Thanks His Neglegent Countrymen for suffering Him so soon to Indulge in the Highest Joys of Life. But the patriot must secretly Chide the want of Decission, that Inattention to the Interests of the states, that has permited him thus Early to Leave Europe, when by a Longer stay He might have Rendered them such Essential service.
When I participate the Family Happiness, and take a part in the Felicity of my Friends, I Flatter myself it is an Emenation of Benevolence.
But There is not a spark of patriotism in the Cordial Gratulation in the Larger scale which is the Measure of patriotic Merit. What are the Little streams of social affection, the Heart felt pleasure of the Wife, the parent and the Friend, who would not sacrifice without a sigh these smaller Considerations when pro bono publico Requires, always assured of the Gratitude and applause of the unchanging Multitude.
But to be serious both you and I wish well to our Country, and will hope that some Good may result Even from the Mistakes of Her Rulers.
It is strongly impressed on my mind that the Return of a Gentleman Rather unexpectedly to his American Friends, May Give a New turn to the state of parties, and Eventually be productive of Happy Consequences. But my design is to say Little of public affairs. The full Heart Enwrapt (after the Anxieties and impatience of a Long abscence) in the tender scenes of Mutual affection has no Room, at pre[sent for]1 Forreign Cares. Yet hope your own Happiness will not prevent the Recollection, nor His Avocations the Completion of a promiss you made when we parted to Come to Plimouth soon after Mr. Adams Came home. You Little Thought then I should have a Demand upon you so soon. However I shall not Relinquish it. I will not admit Even the Indolence of Felicity as an Excuse. And though it has been observed by some that Indolence is Characteristic of Genius, I think { 219 } Generosity Indicates a Greatness of soul that will supply the Defects of Genius, but when we see them united in their Exertions to Bestow Happiness, we then see the perfection of Human Nature. And with my Friendly and Respectful Complements to Mr. Adams you will tell him this Visit shall be placed on the List of Charities. But if he is a Believer in the Doctrine of superrerogation, He will have more to do, for more will Certainly be Required. Mean time I shall hear from you both if you wish to Gratify your assured & affectionate Freind,
[signed] Marcia Warren
My Regards to Monseur [Jeany?] and to the sister of the young Frenchman.2
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree.”
1. MS torn by seal.
2. Probably a playful reference to JQA, “the young Frenchman,” and his sister.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0170

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-08-09

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

Indeed, my lovely anxious Friend, you lead me to doubt whether Mr. A. is really on the Water: The Report of the Alliance being in Concert with a 40 Gun Ship on a secret Expedition tallies with Something of which I am certain. A Man of War of that Size has been given up to the “Direction” of John Paul Jones, and the Name has been changed to“Poor Richard” that it may not appear to belong to the french Marine. Our Commissioners have moreover certified under their Hands to Jones that he is still in the American Navy tho' he had quitted it some time ago for that of France, but did not give up his Commission. I formed my Conjectures upon first receiving that Intelligence, and your Anecdote confirms me therein so far as that I expect soon to hear of blazing Retaliation.
And has not that very philosophic Politician1 been yet to see you? I shall grow highly disgusted at my public Employment if its certain or even natural Tendency is to make me insensible of “the thousand nameless Anxieties that distress the tender hearts of your Sex” or inattentive to a proper Call to exert myself in relieving them.
My Letter in answer to a former one of yours is before this in your Hand and will convince you that the dreaded Callosity has not yet fixed upon my Heart. I have therein attempted, nor ought it to be in vain on such grounds, to give your Bosom Ease by directing you to repose it on that Assemblage of Merit which originates and finishes { 220 } your Husband's Conduct uniformly. Good as he was, when I first had the pleasure of knowing him, I do not recollect that he was quite such a Man as he now appears. Indeed, it was before his Marriage. He did full credit to the Books he had studied. He now shows that it is more efficacious to read Virtue in a living Character.
Whether he is on his Way home or not, it may be a satisfaction to you to have the following copy.
In Congress Aug. 6. 1779
Resolved That an Allowance of eleven thousand four hundred & twenty eight Livres Tournois per Annum be made to the several Commissioners of the United States in Europe for their Services, besides their reasonable Expences respectively.
That the Salary as well as the Expences be computed from the Time of their leaving their places of abode to enter on their offices, and be continued three months after Notice of their Recall, to enable them to return to their families respectively.
That the several Commissioners, Commercial Agents and others in Europe entrusted with public Money be directed to transmit without delay their Accounts and Vouchers, and also triplicate Copies of the same to the Board of Treasury of these United States in order for Settlement.
Resolved That a suitable Person be appointed by Congress to examine the said Accounts in Europe and certify his Opinion thereon previous to their being transmitted.2
Extracted from the Minutes by JL
There is an authentic account that France has absolutely refused the Mediation of Spain; and that the latter would declare herself speedily after the 20th. of June.
That the Count D'Orvilliers had sail'd towards Corunna with 30 Ships of the Line where he was to be joined by 20 spanish.
25,000 Troops are ready on the Coast of France for a Descent on Ireland.

[salute] With respectful Tenderness your humb. Servt.,

[signed] JL
1. Samuel Adams; see AA to Lovell, 28 July, above.
2. These resolutions were adopted in consequence of a report by the Board of Treasury. The text in JCC, 14:928–929, varies slightly but not significantly.
On 2 Sept. Robert Troup, secretary of the Treasury Board, transmitted copies of these resolutions to JA, together with an order of Congress of 26 Aug. requesting JA “to inclose his Accounts and Vouchers to the Board of Treasury that they may take Order thereon” (letter and enclosures in Adams Papers). JA { 221 } had been prepared for this by Lovell's letter of 9 Aug. and was apparently quite ready to submit his accounts when Troup's notification reached him in mid-September while he was deeply engaged in drafting the Massachusetts Constitution. On 19 Sept. he addressed a long and illuminating letter to the Board of Treasury covering his accounts for his recently completed diplomatic mission, in four separate schedules, A through D, together with all the vouchers for expenditures that he could supply and an explanation of how the joint commissioners and he personally had recorded receipts and expenditures (LbC, Adams Papers, printed in JA, Works, 7:111–114, without the schedules and vouchers, of which JA did not retain copies; see further on in this note). From the beginning of Oct. 1778 he had himself kept the Commission's books, finding the Franklins' method too desultory, and of course he was unable to supply vouchers that were still in their hands.
Among his own expenses, he pointed out, were some for books, which he explained as follows:
“I found myself in France, ill versed in the Language, the Literature, the Science, the Laws, Customs and Manners of that Country, and had the Mortification to find my Colleagues, very little better informed than myself, vain as this may seem. I found also that Dr. Franklin, Mr. Deane and Mr. Lee, had expended considerable sums for Books, and this appeared to me, one of the most necessary, and usefull Ways in which Money had ever been spent in that Country. I therefore did not hesitate to spend the sums mentioned in this Account in this Way, in the Purchase of such a Collection of Books, as were calculated to qualify me for Conversation and for Business, especially the science of Negotiation. Accordingly the Books are a Collection, of Books concerning the french Language and Criticism, concerning french History, Laws, Customs and Manners, but above all a large Collection of Books on the public Right of Europe and the Letters and Memoirs of those Ambassadors and public Ministers who had acquired the fairest Fame and done the greatest services to their Countries in this Way.
“The Honourable Board will judge whether this is a 'reasonable expence,' and whether it ought, or ought not to be deducted from the Allowance I shall submit to their Judgment with entire Satisfaction.”
JA was also diffident about the items for his son's keep and schooling and supposed they would “be deducted from the Allowance. Yet I ought to observe,” he added,“that Mr. Izard and Mr. William Lee, have supported their Families, Dr. Franklin has two Grandsons and Mr. A. Lee a Nephew, Mr. Deane two Brothers, and afterwards a son. All that I desire is that I may be treated like the others.” Some other interesting but restrained observations on the Commissioners' expenses for servants, clerical assistance, rent, furniture, horses, &c., follow.
All of these papers were sent in two“large Packetts” to John Lowell in Boston, who was intending an immediate trip to Philadelphia (JA to Lowell, 21 Sept., DLC: Morgan Coll. of Signers). At the same time JA wrote to Elbridge Gerry in Congress asking him to see that the vouchers were returned “by a safe Hand” when the Treasury had no more need of them (20 Sept., LbC, Adams Papers).
JA's original letter to Congress, his accounts as submitted, and the supporting vouchers have all disappeared. Gerry wrote JA after receiving the packets from Lowell that he doubted whether the Treasury Board would “be able to comply with the proposition of returning [the vouchers], which is contrary to their usual Practice” (12 Oct., Adams Papers). The Board evidently did not comply, but intensive searches have failed to locate the originals in the Papers of the Continental Congress or in other likely sources.
What survives is a bare three-page summary in JA's hand, filed in the Adams Papers under date of Aug. 1779, showing that for twenty months' service with a salary of 11,428 livres per month there was due to JA, on the basis of his own reckoning of receipts and expenditures, the sum of 4,594 livres 12s. 9d. Concerning this he remarked: “If the Honourable Board do not approve of this state, they will make what altera• { 222 } tions they judge right. It is very probable there may be Errors in Casting and otherwise. The Business of keeping Accounts is a very dull Occupation to me, and that of transmitting them and casting anew, still more so. I confess I have not Patience for it. The Board will correct it as they think just. If they adjudge me in Debt the Ballance shall be paid to their order on demand.”
There survives also a detailed record of JA's receipts and expenditures for the period 12 Feb. 1778 – 2 Aug. 1779, entered in one of his bound diary volumes. The final balance was never reckoned there and would be difficult if not impossible to cast up now because of cancellations and notations not easy to interpret, but the entries supply some of the details, often of considerable interest, that the lost vouchers would have supplied more fully. These accounts have been printed and annotated in JA's Diary and Autobiography, 2:325–344.
An incomplete or interim report on JA's accounts was made by the Treasury Board accountants on 25 Oct. 1779 and read in Congress on the 27th (JCC, 15:1212; text not printed, but a copy was enclosed in James Lovell's letter to AA of 14 May 1780, printed below). It was referred on the same day to a committee of three members, who reported on 15 Dec. and admitted all of JA's expenses except those for JQA (JCC, 15:1383; original in William Churchill Houston's hand, PCC, No. 19, I). For reasons unknown, Congress did not act on the committee's recommendation until 15 April 1780, when it voted to adopt it without change. The text as entered in the Secret Journal reads:
“That they [the committee] do not find any vote or proceeding of Congress, nor are they informed of any general or received custom, on which the charge of moneys for the education of the accomptant's son can be admitted; and though the same [i.e. sum?] is inconsiderable, they are of opinion it ought to be rejected, that a precedent be not established. That they are of opinion that the charge for books ought to be admitted, on the ground of a practice which has obtained in different nations respecting their publick ministers, and which is mentioned by Mr. Adams in the explanations attending his vouchers. That they find the several charges in the said accounts conformable to the strictest principles of economy; and that as far as Mr. Adams has been entrusted with publick money, the same has been carefully and frugally expended” (JCC, 16:368–369).
See, further, Lovell to JA, 4 May 1780 (Adams Papers); also Lovell to AA, 14 May 1780; AA to Lovell, 11 June 1780; AA to JA, 5 July 1780; all below.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0171

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-08-11

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

[salute] My amiable Friend

This Evening I have satisfactory Intelligence of the real Embarkation of your very dear Treasure at <Nantes> l'Orient the 17th. of June and that he was left well 12 days after, off the western Islands. The Secretary of Arthur Lee arrived at Metompkin, Virginia, Augst. 1st. in a very swift sailing Vessel.1 Mr. Adams told him at parting that he had good News for Congress and sent his Respects. The Secretary is not here but a Connecticutt Captain a Passenger in the same Vessel is my Author. There is a very lazy Vessel in Company with the Baggage of the french Minister who is with Mr. Adams; so that you need not be uneasy meerly on Account of Time. But I must honestly say that there { 223 } is a risque both from Arbuthnot and Collier. God grant he may escape both, and speedily embrace his dear Family.
[signed] James Lovell
1. This was Hezekiah Ford, a Virginian of dubious political and moral character who as “Parson Ford” had alternately bored and shocked JA while the latter was waiting at Lorient for passage home. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:364–368, 373, 376–377.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0172

Author: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Recipient: Cranch, Elizabeth
Recipient: Norton, Elizabeth Cranch
Date: 1779-10-20

Abigail Adams 2d to Elizabeth Cranch

I have began too or three letters to you but have burnt them, all for reasons that you need not be inquisitive to know. If they had been fit [for] your perusal you should have seen them: I have just returned from Germantown, my favourite Miss Mayhew is there, in as good spirits as usual.
Our friend Amanda1 talks of leaveing Ger[manto]wn her mamma has sent for her, I had not time to ask her why. She left us so soon, I shall lament the loss of her company. She has a disposition that pleases me much, I love her sincerely and wish that she may be happyly situated in this vain and transitory state until she receives the reward of the good and just in another world.
You have had the pleasure of seeing Monsieur Groisbriand and Miss Broom. If he had given his hand to Miss Broom instead of Miss Scot I should have retained the same opinion of him I had before, I think he did not show a delicate taset2 to prefer the latter to the former, when in her heart she ridiculed him because he was a frenchman.3
I have endeavoured several times to come and see you but all in vain so you must take the will for the deed.
There has an agreable person come into town upon a vissiat. It is my delight to puzzel people. I shant mention his name. He is not handsome but very agreable, writes excessive prety letters &c. &c. &c. &c. &c. &c. &c.
My Love to all friends. That health and happyness may ever be your attendants is the wish of your
[signed] Mercella
RC (MHi:Cranch Papers); addressed: “Miss Betsy Cranch Boston”; docketed: “October 20 1779 AA.”
1. Unidentified.
2. Thus in MS.
3. The Chevalier de Goësbriand (as he himself wrote his name) was ensign and second in command of the French frigate La Sensible; he later applied to JA for an American naval command (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:395, 397; { 224 } Goësbriand to JA, 27 Feb. 1780, Adams Papers; JQA, Diary, 24 Nov. 1779). The young ladies mentioned in this paragraph have not been further identified.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0173

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1779-11-13

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I have just sent Mr. Thaxter, Johnny and Stephens with the Things on Board. I shall go with Charles at four O Clock. It is now three. Have seen the Captain, and the Navy Board &c.
It is proposed to sail tomorrow. Perhaps however, it may not be till next day. Mr. Dana will come on board at Nine tomorrow.
Mr. Hancock has sent me a Card, to invite me to go on board with him in the Castle Barge.—Dont make many Words of this.1
Your Aunt2 has given me a Barrell of Cramberries. I shall make a good Use of them, I hope.
Let me intreat you, to keep up your Spirits and throw off Cares as much as possible. Love to Nabby and Thommy. We shall yet be happy, I hope and pray, and I dont doubt it. I shall have Vexations enough, as usual. You will have Anxiety and Tenderness enough as usual. Pray strive, not to have too much. I will write, by every Opportunity I can get.

[salute] Yours, ever, ever yours,

[signed] John Adams3
1. Hancock's “Card” has not been found. The “Castle Barge,” based at Castle Island in Boston Harbor, was used for ceremonial purposes; see JA to AA, 14 Nov., below. The fullest account of the embarkation of the Adams party is in the first entries in JQA's diary, which begins its colossal seventy-year record with this voyage:
“1779 November.
Friday 12th.
“This Morning at about 11 o clock I took leave of my Mamma, my Sister, and Brother Tommy, and went to Boston with Mr. Thaxter, in order to go on board the Frigate the Sensible of 28 twelve Pounders. We arrived at Boston at about 1 o clock; dined at my uncle Smith's, we expected to go on board in the afternoon but We could not conveniently till to morrow.
“Saturday 13th.
“To day at about 1 o clock Pappa, and my Brother Charles came to town, and at about 5 o clock we all came on board and took our lodgings. My Brother Charles is to lodge with My Pappa and I with Mr. Thaxter” (D/JQA/1).
John Thaxter Jr., AA's cousin and frequent correspondent, accompanied the party as private secretary to JA and tutor and companion to the Adams boys. For a sketch of him see above, vol. 1:142; see also AA's comment on Thaxter in her letter to James Lovell, 18 Nov., below, and Adams Genealogy.
2. Elizabeth (Storer) Smith, wife of AA's uncle Isaac Smith, the Boston merchant. See Adams Genealogy.
3. For the four-month period from mid-August through mid-November 1779, virtually nothing survives in the way of family correspondence. So far as we know, AA wrote no letters. JA broke off his diary upon arriving off the American coast, and in writing his Autobiography many years later he skipped his sojourn at home except for copying in at the { 225 } beginning of the third and last section, called “Peace,” a number of letters and documents relative to his second mission to Europe; see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:400; 4:173–191. For the Adamses' occupations during the late summer and fall of this year we are therefore dependent on JA's comparatively scanty correspondence with persons outside the family and on scattered printed and MS sources outside the Adams Papers.
We do know of JA's presence at one semi-public event that had momentous consequences. This was a visitation by La Luzerne and his suite to Harvard College, followed by a dinner there, and although the following account of the event from the Boston Independent Chronicle for 2 Sept. (p. 1, col. 1–2) mentions neither JA's presence nor the consequences, it is essential to understanding JA's hopes for his country:
“On Tuesday se'nnight [24 Aug.], the Chevalier de la Luzerne, accompanied with M. de Valnais, Consul of France, M. de Marbois, Councellor of Parliament, M. de Chavagnes, Captain in the royal navy of France, and a number of other gentlemen of distinction, both French and Americans, made a visit to Harvard-College, at the invitation of the President and Corporation. The Chevalier and company having alighted from their carriages, passed through the College yard between two lines of Students in their academical habits, their heads uncovered, to the door of Harvard-Hall, where they were received by the President, Corporation, Professors, and Tutors, and conducted to the Library.—Soon after they were seated, the President rose, and in the name of the Corporation, and the whole University, addressed the Chevalier in the latin language, congratulating his safe arrival, making the most respectful mention of our illustrious Ally, His Most Christian Majesty; expressing the warmest wishes for the perpetuation of the alliance, and the completion of its important and happy design, and for the prosperity of religion and learning throughout the world.
“The Chevalier replied in the most polite manner, and in the same language; assuring his audience that his wishes had been most fortunately crowned by seeing a country, once indeed the region of ignorance and barbarity, but now the seat of freedom, commerce, virtue, and the liberal arts; and expressing at the same time, the uncommon joy he should derive from finding the turbulent scenes of war, and the public negociation in which he was engaged, preparing the way for a closer alliance between the arts and sciences in distant nations, to their mutual improvement, and the common benefit of mankind.
“After amusing themselves among the rich variety of books reposited in the Library, the company were conducted into a large and elegant Philosophy room, where a very decent entertainment was provided:—After dinner they viewed the curiosities of the musaeum, and the Philosophical apparatus, fabricated by some of the best artists in Europe.
“Every countenance indicated pleasure, and every circumstance of the day testified the joy that was diffused through the whole university, upon this agreeable occasion.”
As one of the “other gentlemen of distinction” present, JA was to remember years later that at the dinner in the “Philosophy room” (i.e. the late Professor John Winthrop's science laboratory in Harvard Hall) he had happened to sit next to the Rev. Dr. Samuel Cooper and “engaged him in Conversation, for the whole time on the subject of a natural History of the Country and the means of promoting it.” Being fresh from France, where he had visited public and private collections of “Specimens of the Works of Nature” and had observed the activity of learned societies in promoting science, “I suggested to him,” JA went on, “the Plan of an American Academy of Arts and Sciences, to be established by the Legislature, as a Corporation with Capacity to receive donations in Land and Money” (JA to Benjamin Waterhouse, 7 Aug. 1805, MHi: Adams-Waterhouse Coll., printed in Ford, ed., Statesman and Friend, p. 22–29; see a similar account in JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, Letter 29 [31 July 1809], esp. p. 163). The suggestion was so well received (despite initial fears that the proposed Academy would { 226 } “injure the College”) that in May of the following year Cooper and numerous other amateurs of science were incorporated by the General Court as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, realizing JA's wish that Boston might have a counterpart to Philadelphia's American Philosophical Society, for which he had heard frequent praise in Europe.
The dinner was also the immediate inspiration for a novel and elevated passage in the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, which JA himself was soon afterward to write in its earliest form. This was Ch. V, §2, entitled “The Encouragement of Literature, &c.,” which declared it “the duty of legislators and magistrates, in all future periods of this Commonwealth, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them; . . . to encourage private societies and public institutions, rewards and immunities, for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and a natural history of the country,” not to mention “sincerity, good humour, and all social affections, and generous sentiments among the people” (A Constitution or Frame of Government, Agreed upon by the Delegates of the People of the State of Massachusetts-Bay . . . , Boston, 1780, p. 43–44).
“As the Words flowed from my Pen,” JA afterward remembered, “from the heart in reallity rather than the head, in composing this paragraph, I could not help laughing, to myself alone in my Closet, at the Oddity of it. I expected it would be attack'd, in the Convention from all quarters, on the Score of Affectation, Pedantry, Hypocrisy, and above all Oeconomy. Many Ideas in it implied expence: and I knew then as well as I have known since that too large a portion of the People and their Representatives, had rather starve their Souls than draw upon their purses to pay for nourishment of them: and therefore no mercy was to be expected for a Paragraph, that I would not now exchange for a Sceptre, and wish may be engraved on my Tomb Stone.
“But to my great Surprize, instead of Objections, it was received with Applause and adopted I believe with Unanimity, and without any Amendment. Even the Natural History of the Country received no Opposition.” (Letter to Waterhouse, cited above in this note; Ford, ed., Statesman and Friend, p. 25–26.)
The concept that government and learning are natural partners, written into the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 in these terms, was to be standard Adams doctrine for two generations but was not to be accepted on the national level until at least a century later.
It was, of course, the drafting of a frame of government for his native state that chiefly occupied JA during the few months he spent at home in 1779. On 9 Aug., hardly a week after he had arrived home, he was elected by his fellow townsmen sole delegate from Braintree to the Convention to be held at Cambridge beginning 1 Sept. (Braintree Town Records, p. 503). Much as he would have liked to return to private life and to resume his legal business, no assignment could have been more challenging to JA. This was a role for which, as his early diaries and letters show, he had more or less consciously prepared himself from the time he plied his lawbooks in Samuel Putnam's office in Worcester and in his chamber in his father's house at Braintree. (See especially his Earliest Diary, p. 37–40, and references there.) From the summer of 1774, when he began his more than three years of service in the Continental Congress, he had been gravely concerned over the break in governmental continuity in Massachusetts, even though he had approved that break as recommended by Congress in June 1775 and had indeed been one of its chief advocates (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:351–359). That the province (or state) was still functioning under the old royal charter he knew was a pretense; executive power had lapsed except for a Council which had no basis in direct or indirect representation and was therefore also a pretense; and, with the courts of justice closed, signs of lawlessness and anarchy began to appear that were to a man of JA's temperament abhorrent (same, p. 326–327). It was as a member of the Revolutionary Council that JA prepared, in mid-January { 227 } 1776 while on a brief leave from Congress, one of his most important state papers, a Proclamation by the newly reconstituted General Court which was designed to be read from every pulpit, at every town meeting, and at the (hoped-for) opening of every court in Massachusetts. This remarkable document linked the ideas of government by consent, the obligation to resist tyranny, the propriety of Massachusetts' organizing its own government, and the necessity to preserve and promote “the Means of Education, . . . Piety and Virtue,” and exemplary social order—ideas that were all to reappear in JA's draft and the adopted version of the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780. (JA's MS of the Proclamation is in M–Ar, vol. 138:281–284; it is printed in his Works, 1:193–196, and also, though without mention of its authorship, in Oscar and Mary F. Handlin, eds., The Popular Sources of Political Authority: Documents on the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, Cambridge, 1966, p. 65–69. A copy of the handbill printing, without imprint but dated 23 Jan. 1776 from the concurring vote of the House on that day, is in MHi: Broadsides Coll.; Evans 14839; Ford, Mass. Broadsides, No. 1973, with reduced fascimile. See also JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:226.)
In March and April 1776, reacting to what he thought was the naiveté of Paine's Common Sense, JA had outlined his constitutional principles in Thoughts on Government for the benefit of friends in other states who were engaged in constitution-making. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:331–333; Adams Family Corr., 1:384–385. The printed version, addressed to George Wythe, concludes with a sentiment that both echoes and develops similar ones in JA's earliest records as a student of law:
“You and I, my dear Friend, have been sent into life, at a time when the greatest law-givers of antiquity would have wished to have lived.—How few of the human race have ever enjoyed an opportunity of making an election of government more than of air, soil, or climate, for themselves or their children. When! Before the present epocha, had three millions of people full power and a fair opportunity to form and establish the wisest and happiest government that human wisdom can contrive?” (Thoughts on Government, Boston, reprinted 1776, p. 16.)
Throughout this year and the next, although engrossed in his duties as one of the most industrious members and committee chairmen in the Continental Congress, JA remained attentive to every rumor from Massachusetts about maneuvers looking toward a new frame of government. “I suppose you will have a Constitution formed this Year,” he wrote AA, 2 June 1777. “Who will be the Moses, the Lycurgus, the Solon?” (above, vol. 2:253). Clearly he yearned to be that Moses, Lycurgus, and Solon but feared he would be precluded from such a role. In June 1777 the House of Representatives converted itself into a constitutional convention and appointed a large committee that labored at intervals during the following months and presented a draft constitution for consideration. At this point (Feb. 1778) JA departed on his first mission to Europe. The work he wished to do was, however, providentially saved for him because the “Convention” botched its work and the towns rejected the proposed Constitution of 1778, partly on the ground that the body that framed it was not properly constituted. (See Cushing, History of the Transition, p. 207–226; O. and M. Handlin, Popular Sources of Political Authority, p. 20–22; the text of the rejected Constitution is printed in Mass. Constitutional Convention, 1779–1780, Journal, p. 255–264, and by the Handlins, p. 190–201, followed by the towns' returns and objections, p. 202–365.)
In Feb. 1779 the General Court resolved to take “the sense of the People” on whether they wished another attempt to be made to frame a constitution, and, if so, whether delegates should be elected for that “sole purpose.” In June the General Court declared that two-thirds of the towns had agreed to both propositions, ordered elections to be held during the summer, and recommended that the frame of government the prospective convention agreed upon should be printed and laid before the people for approval “by at least two { 228 } thirds of [the male inhabitants] who are free and twenty one years of age”—a feature of the constitutional movement in Massachusetts which is among its remarkable distinctions. See Mass. Constitutional Convention, 1779–1780, Journal, p. 5–6, 189–190; Cushing, History of the Transition, p. 227–231; O. and M. Handlin, Popular Sources of Political Authority, p. 23, 383–403.
The Convention held four plenary sessions between Sept. 1779 and June 1780, only the first two of which JA attended, from 1 through 7 Sept. and from 28 Oct. through 11 Nov., both held in the First Church at Cambridge, then located in the southwest corner of the Harvard Yard (on the site of the present Lehman Hall). The first session was devoted to electing officers, framing “rules and orders,” and holding “free conversations” on general principles (Mass. Constitutional Convention, 1779–1780, Journal, p. 7–49). On 4 Sept. it chose a drafting committee of 30 members, of whom JA was one (same, p. 26–31). Payroll records indicate that JA was compensated for 25 days of committee work between plenary sessions (M-Ar, vol. 170:413; vol. 171: 20), for he became, as he wrote not long afterward, “a Sub Sub Committee” of one, “so that I had the honour to be principal Engineer” (to Edmund Jenings, 7 June 1780, Adams Papers). That is to say, he was the sole draftsman of the Constitution as it was laid before the committee, to be amended by the committee in minor details and laid before the Convention at the beginning of its second session, amended further in that and the third session (Jan.–March 1780), printed for consideration by the towns, declared adopted by the Convention at its fourth session (June 1780) without further change, and, with numerous later amendments, still in force as the fundamental law of the Commonwealth. (The Committee's Report of a Constitution or Form of Government for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, i.e. JA's draft as slightly amended, was printed for the members of the Convention in a 50-page pamphlet that is now exceedingly rare; Evans 16352; an annotated copy is in MHi. The text was reprinted, from the sole copy then known, as an appendix in the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention, 1779–1780, Journal, p. 191–215. In JA's Works, 4:213–267, CFA presented a text with invaluable notes enabling the reader to follow the evolution of the Constitution from its draft form through the version adopted, together with all amendments through 1850. The Handlins do not include in their documentary work on the Constitution JA's draft of 1779 in its “committee print” form, although it is basic to understanding how the text of the Constitution evolved. For the amendments and debates in convention, the submittal to the towns, and the formal adoption of the Constitution, see the Convention's Journal as first printed in 1832, p. 35–187; Cushing, History of the Transition, p. 227–279; and S. E. Morison's brilliant study of “The Struggle over the Adoption of the Constitution of Massachusetts, 1780,” MHS, Procs., 50 [1916–1917]:353–411. The Handlins omit all the proceedings of the Convention until those of March 1780 submitting the proposed constitution to the people, but they include the towns' copious responses and votes; Popular Sources of Political Authority, p. 475–930.)
It was the “committee print” or Report of a Constitution . . . Agreed upon by the Committee in Oct. 1779 of which JA took a supply of copies when he sailed for Europe the second time. With justifiable pride he presented copies to friends and officials in Spain and France and to clandestine correspondents in England, so that this, rather than the Constitution as ratified in 1780, was the form in which the Massachusetts Constitution was first read, translated, published, and “exceedingly applauded” abroad. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:413–414; JA to Edmé Jacques Genet, 26, 29 Feb. 1780 (LbCs in Adams Papers); Genet to JA, 28 Feb. 1780 (Adams Papers); JA to William Gordon, 26 May 1780 (LbC, Adams Papers); JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 157–158 (Letter 29); [John Almon,] The Remembrancer, ... for the Year 1780, p. 377–381, and same, part 2, p. 17–30.
Back of JA's election by Congress in { 229 } Sept. 1779 to the dignity of minister plenipotentiary to negotiate treaties of peace and commerce with Great Britain lies one of the most complex chapters of diplomatic and political maneuvering in the history of the United States. A summary of it is necessary here in order not only to explain JA's acceptance of a second mission abroad so soon after the discouraging conclusion of his first but also to suggest the difficulties under which he was again to labor in Europe.
One root of the difficulties lay in the continuing and widening feud between the partisans of Silas Deane and those of Arthur Lee. Into this “first serious division in national politics since independence occurred,” as Professor Morgan has characterized it, JA had been reluctantly but unavoidably drawn almost from the moment when he first arrived in France (Edmund S. Morgan, “The Puritan Ethic and the American Revolution,” WMQ, 3d ser., 24:25 [Jan. 1967]; and see above, AA to Lovell, 4 Jan. 1779, and JA to AA, 9 Feb. 1779, with notes and references under both). Intertwined with this issue in Congress was the devious international policy of France and Spain. During 1778 and 1779 the Bourbon monarchies were engaged in an elaborate diplomatic game of trying to deceive each other while joining hands to deceive Great Britain and the United States. Their maneuvers forced the first of many “agonizing reappraisals” of foreign policy in American history. Congress' uncertainty as to its course was in turn the reason why JA had been stranded in France without an assignment and in fact without word of any kind from his former colleagues in Philadelphia—as helpless as Ariel, he later wrote, “wedged by the Waiste in the middle of a rifted Oak” (to William Whipple, 11 Sept. 1779, LbC, Adams Papers). Nor was its course to be determined until after debates that lasted through the greater part of 1779.
Since Spain, however hollowly, had offered to mediate peace between Great Britain and France, it became necessary to empower and instruct a minister to represent the interests of the United States in the proposed negotiation. Vergennes wished that Franklin, now sole minister to France, could be given the needed additional powers, or even that he would act without them sub spe rati. But the vigilant French minister in Philadelphia, to whom he communicated this idea, cautioned Vergennes repeatedly that Franklin's standing in Congress was far from what it was at Versailles and that he would not emerge spotless from the Deane-Lee disputes. “Un nouvel Orage,” he reported in a dispatch of 4–6 March, “s'est élevé contre le Docteur franklin. Je crains que la facilité qu'il a eiie de se laisser entrainer dans les animosités de ses Collegues, ne conduise le Congrès, malgré lui, à en faire le sacrifice au parti de l'opposition” (Gérard, Despatches and Instructions, p. 561).
A storm had indeed arisen, and it enveloped all current and former members of the foreign service. On 24 March a special committee on foreign affairs, consisting of one member from each of the thirteen states, brought in a report that recited the accumulated charges and complaints against them all, together with the evidence. On 15 April Congress debated the proposed vote of censure in the following words: “That suspicions and animosities have arisen among the said commissioners which may be highly prejudicial to the honor and interests of these United States.” On the 20th, in a further debate on the motion for censure, the names of all the commissioners were called over and individually voted on for inclusion or exclusion. Included were Franklin, Deane, Arthur Lee, Izard, and William Lee. JA was excluded by a vote of three states for censure, four against, and three divided or not voting. Remarkably, the Massachusetts delegation was among those that divided. Samuel Adams and James Lovell voted for, and Gerry and Holten against the inclusion of JA's name. (See JCC, 13:363–368, 456, 479–487, 484–485.) Since the Journal was being printed serially and successive numbers were sent to Braintree, these proceedings aroused strong feelings there. Lovell in particular, who had been caught in a parliamentary trap baited by the Deaneite or pro-French faction, had a great deal of explaining to do. (See AA to Lovell, ca. 15 July, { 230 } and to Samuel Adams, ca. 30 July 1779, both above. Lovell's explanation is in his letter to JA of 13 June 1779, “Confidential” [original and variant duplicate in Adams Papers], printed in JA, Works, 9:480–483, with valuable editorial clarification by CFA; also printed and annotated in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:261–263.)
There was of course not only the question of who could best represent the United States abroad; there was that of how such representatives should be instructed. If peace negotiations were to take place, what were the minimum–maximum American peace objectives? Under Gérard's eye and frequently with his interference, Congress warmly debated these from time to time until after JA, to everybody's surprise except his own, arrived home early in August. Only after the news brought by La Luzerne that England had declined Spain's mediation and that Spain had become a cobelligerent with France did the badly divided Congress agree, on 14 Aug., on instructions to the emissary—still to be named—who was to negotiate, when possible, treaties of peace and commerce with Great Britain. (Texts, amendments, and votes thereon are in JCC, 14:956–962.) On the day they were adopted Gérard sent a summary of them to Vergennes, modestly adding that “Elles m'ont été communiquées avant d'être portées au Congrès,” which was apparently true, and that the prospective American emissary had been instructed to reveal his full instructions to the French government, which according to JA's understanding was not true (Gérard, Despatches and Instructions, p. 847–848). Thus was laid the groundwork for the misunderstanding and coolness between the American envoy and the French foreign minister before JA's peace mission even began.
Six weeks of electioneering followed among the adherents of the two factions in Congress, climaxed by a Friday-through-Monday struggle, 24–27 Sept., over the choice of a minister to be stationed in Paris to negotiate peace and another to go to Madrid to urge recognition of American independence, an alliance, and the right of navigating the Mississippi and also to obtain a substantial loan. As reported in the Journal and in the letters of members and of Gérard, the involutions of this contest defy lucid exposition. Elbridge Gerry, who was in the thick of it, could well say that “the Embarrassments, Difficulties and Delays attending this Business, in consequence of the Disputes between the late Commissioners, have exceeded every thing of the Kind” that he had ever met with (to JA, 29 Sept. 1779, Adams Papers; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:454).
Before the actual balloting began, an attempt was made at a compromise between the factions that seems to have been reported only by Gérard, namely to commission Franklin and JA jointly as ministers for peace, but this failed (Gérard, Despatches and Instructions, p. 895). So, too, on the 25th, did a warmly debated motion, aimed at John Jay, currently president of Congress and one of Gérard's confidants, to exclude from nomination any present member of Congress (JCC, 15:1105–1107). Thereupon JA was nominated by Henry Laurens, and John Jay was nominated by Meriwether Smith, for the peace mission. Three successive ballots taken on Sunday the 26th resulted in deadlocks (same, p. 1107, 1109). Then occurred what Laurens called a “Manouvre” and Lovell called an “Accommodation . . . proposed in Whispers” among the pro-French faction. The election of a peace minister was deferred, and nominations for a minister to Spain were called for (same, p. 1109–1110; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:437, 447). Laurens himself, a die-hard anti-Deane man, then nominated Arthur Lee, who still held a separate commission to Spain although he had been dispossessed, with JA, of duties in Paris. William Paca, a Deane man, nominated JA (“Divide and conq[uer],” commented Laurens), and James Mercer, a new member from Virginia, nominated John Jay (JCC, 15:1110).
The hope of vindicating Arthur Lee's character and conduct proved forlorn. In the ballot taken on the 27th he received the vote of only one state, New Hampshire, represented by a single delegate (Burnett, ed., Letters of Mem• { 231 } bers, 4:438). Laurens, Lovell, and a few others thought he had been “cruelly injured” both by the French government and at home, but it may be pointed out that by this time even JA thought that Lee could no longer be useful abroad. He had done what he could to defend Lee against aspersions, but in a letter to Lovell that could not have reached Philadelphia before the balloting, JA wrote of Lee:
“I respect his past services, I know his Attachment to America, and I believe his Integrity. But I know his Prejudices, and his Passions. His Countenance is disgusting, his Air is not pleasing, his Manners are not engaging, his Temper is harsh, sour and fierce, and his Judgment of Men and Things is often wrong.—Virtue itself is said to be not always amiable” (21 Sept. 1779, LbC, Adams Papers; without name of addressee but clearly in answer to Lovell's letters of 20, 24 Aug., Adams Papers).
Eight states voted for Jay, three were divided or did not vote, and none voted for JA—a clear indication of how well understood an “Accommodation” this was. For some it may have been most gratifying as a means of punishing Arthur Lee. It was evidently satisfactory to John Jay because, according to Laurens' Notes of Proceedings, “Mr. Jay's own vote was necessary” to deliver New York's vote in his favor. And the friends of JA were pleased because it cleared a pathway for his election to the peace mission. (JCC, 15:1113; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:438, 443, 447; Gérard, Despatches and Instructions, p. 896.)
For this post JA alone was nominated and promptly elected by eleven states—a vote considered unanimous because the twelfth state, Delaware (represented by “your old Friend Mr. D[ickinso]n,” Gerry explained to JA), voted for Franklin, who was not in nomination (JCC, 15:1113; Laurens, Notes of Proceedings, in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:438; Lovell to JA, 27, 28 Sept. 1779, both in Adams Papers; Gerry to JA, 29 Sept. 1779, Adams Papers).
The tireless man who had had as much to do with these results as anyone, Conrad Alexandre Gérard, now about to leave America, professed himself satisfied. In his last dispatch, written on the day the elections were completed, he suavely reported to Vergennes:
“Enfin, Monseigneur, le Congrès a nommé ses plénipotentiaires. M. Jay est destiné pour l'Espagne et les pleins pouvoirs pour la paix sont confiés à M. John Adams. M Arthur Lée n'a eu en sa faveur qu'une seule voix isolée. On doit demain élire un [nouveau] Président à la place de M Jay.—Le choix de ce Ministre ne laisse rien à desirer. A beaucoup de Lumières et aux meilleures intentions, il joint un caractère et un esprit liant et conciliant.—Quant à M. Adams je ne le connois point et il n'est connu que d'un petit nombre des membres actuels du Congrès. Il a la reputation d'être honête homme et le presomption qu'il vous est agréable a [beaucoup] influé sur les opinions.” (27 Sept. 1779, Despatches and Instructions, p. 896–897.)
Then, probably more candidly and certainly very significantly, Gérard added: “M. le Chevalier de La Luzerne a eu occasion pendant sa traversée de démeler son caractère et ses sentimens; Il me semble, Monseigneur, que le resultat de ses observations, est qu'il eut été à désirer que les deux commissions eussent été differemment distribuées.” La Luzerne had arrived in Philadelphia from Boston on 21 Sept. and had had ample time to exchange news and views with the minister he was now replacing. His knowledge of JA was indeed intimate, for during the voyage from France in June and July JA, not then having the slightest notion that he would return to Europe soon or ever, had freely aired his views on men and measures with both La Luzerne and his canny secretary, Marbois; see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:380–399. Expressing something like horror at the very thought of French meddling in American affairs, they drew him out on matters that would serve the interests of France in America and Europe. Later on, JA was to learn how to discount such professions by any subordinate of Vergennes, but he did not learn soon enough. It is the judgment of a profound student of American diplomatic history that La Luzerne was to exercise “a { 232 } more complete ascendancy over the Government of the United States than any foreign envoy since his time” (Bemis, Diplomacy of the Amer. Revolution, p. 102–103). Under Vergennes' orders he was to work diligently and in the end successfully to have JA's powers as peace minister limited and countermanded. Eventually he succeeded in having them withdrawn. See William E. O'Donnell, The Chevalier de La Luzerne, Bruges and Louvain, 1938, p. 43, 123–125, 141, and passim.
Fortunately, JA's occupations at home in the late summer and early fall of 1779 did not leave him a great deal of time to brood over “maneuvers” and “accommodations” in Philadelphia. Having, however, been reading the serially printed issues of the Journal of Congress, he did address to President Jay a formal request on 10 Sept. to supply him with copies of all the “Complaints and Evidences” against his conduct as a commissioner, so that he could “take such Measures as may be in my Power to justify myself to Congress” (PCC, No. 84, 1, printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 3:313–314). His letter was read in Congress on 29 Sept. (JCC, 15:1122), and Gerry “moved the House to comply with your Request.” But Congress declined to do so, Gerry reported, on the ground that it had “by your late Appointment rejected the Charge, and had in the first Instance cleared You of the animosities subsisting amongst the other Commissioners.” Besides, to have the subject brought up again would taint Congress' judgment in making the new appointment. In this long letter reporting JA's election and illuminating much that had gone on behind closed doors over the past several years, Gerry went on to say:
“Upon the Whole, I am of Opinion, that in the Esteem of Congress, your Character is as high as any Gentleman's in America. That as much is obtained in the Arrangement and Determinations of our foreign Affairs as could be expected. That if Matters had been driven further, We should have been more deeply involved in Animosities and Dissentions, and have put a total Stop to our foreign Negotiations. That in Consequence thereof, We must, on the Return of Monsr. Gerard, have sunk in the Esteem of our Ally, of the Court of Spain, and of all Europe. . . . That however some late Measures may not be equal to our Wishes, It becomes our indispensible Duty to support them with Vigour, and to listen no more to Insinuations without Evidence to support them. That an able, upright, firm Friend to America, is greatly Injured in Doctor [Arthur] Lee. . . . But that his Usefulness being destroyed, had it been practicable to continue him in office, he could not have served with Satisfaction to himself, or Advantage to the public.” (29 Sept. 1779, Adams Papers; printed in full in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:454–458.)
These sentiments were so gratifying to JA and so in accord with his own that they must have powerfully affected his thoughts about a return to Europe. The news he received soon afterward that his good friend and fellow lawyer Francis Dana had been named by Congress secretary to the peace mission could only have added to his satisfaction (JCC, 15:1128; Lovell to JA, 1 Oct. 1779, printed in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:465–466). His decision must also have been influenced by a remarkable letter written by Henry Laurens a few days after the elections were completed. In terms that JA himself might have used in his most self-pitying moments, Laurens first offered sympathy for JA's recent plight in Europe, where, although he had deserved so well of his country, he had found himself “in the most awkward situation that an honest susceptible mind can be reduced to—Sent, without his own desire, and probably inconsistent with his Interest and inclination, on an embassy beyond the Atlantic—kept unemployed, and in the course of a few Months virtually dismissed, without censure or applause, and without the least intimation when or in what manner he was to return and report his proceedings.” But all that is over, Laurens continued, “and now My Dear Sir, I not only congratulate you on a safe return but I have another opportunity of rejoicing with my Country Men on the judicious choice which Congress { 233 } have made in their late election of a Minister Plenipotentiary to treat . . . with his Britanic Majesty on Peace and Commerce. The determination of Congress in this instance, will be grateful to the People of these States and may expiate the queernesses of some of the queerest fellows that ever were invested with rays of sovereignty. Let me intreat you Sir, for my Country's sake, to accept the appointment without hesitation or retrospection. . . . Wisdom and Patriotism forbid exceptions on account of past circumstances. I speak in pure truth and sincerity and will not risque offence by uttering a word respecting your fitness or peculiar or exclusive fitness for the important Office, but I will venture to add, it is necessary you should accept and stand ready to execute it, your determination to do so will make the true friends of American Independence happy, and will abate their apprehensions from incompetency or negligence in other quarters” (4 Oct. 1779, Adams Papers, printed in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 4:467–469).
Since a major issue at the peace table was bound to be the North Atlantic fisheries, other friends did not fail to point out, knowing they would strike home, that “the Interest of America requires . . . that a New England Man should negotiate a Peace” (John Lowell to JA, 12 Oct. 1779, Adams Papers).
All these considerations had been borne in upon JA's consciousness well before he received official word of his election, sent by Samuel Huntington (who had succeeded Jay as president of Congress), together with his commissions and instructions, in a letter of 20 Oct. (Adams Papers, printed in JA, Works, 7:119–120). Each had due weight; combined, they were irresistible to one schooled to believe that the highest duty entailed the greatest labor and privation while offering few chances of success against many of failure. Such, for better or worse, was the nature of the Puritan ethic, as Professor Morgan has r