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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0291

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

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

“Heaven first taught Letters for some wretches aid.”

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

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0292

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

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] My dear Madam

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

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0293

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

Jean de Neufville & Son to Abigail Adams

[salute] Honourd Lady!

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

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0294

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

John Thaxter to John Adams

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0295

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

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

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0296

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

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

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

“Then Let me have the higher post

Suppose it but an Inch at most

I have no title to asspire

Yet when you sink I seem the higher.”

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

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0297

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

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

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

[salute] Your most obedt.

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

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0298

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Portia

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

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0299

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

John Thaxter to John Adams

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0300

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

John Thaxter to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear John

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

[salute] Your affectionate friend,

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

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0301

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Portia

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

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0302

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

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

[salute] My Dear Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0303

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

John Thaxter to John Adams

[salute] Sir

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

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0304

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

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

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

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0305

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

John Thaxter to John Adams

[salute] Sir

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

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

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

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0306

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

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

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

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0307

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

John Adams to John Thaxter

[salute] Dear Sir

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

[salute] Affectionately your's,

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

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0308

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Portia

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

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

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

Enclosure In

James Lovell to Abigail Adams, 5 June 1779

1 Nankin Jacket
1 Brown Coat
1 Flannel Drawers
1 Shirt
2 Stocks
1 Pr. Thread Stockings
1 Pr. Worstead Stockings
1 Beaver Hatt
1 Straw Hatt
6 Packets of Papers
1 Raisor Case with 2 whole & 1 broken Razor
1 Letter Book, Manuscript
1 Printed Book latin
1 small Pamphlet
1 Shoe Brush
As to the Nankin Jacket it happens most accurately to fit me in the Length and Width, and, having two Pair of B——'s [Breeches] of that Sort made modest from the only Remnant at the Cloathiers, I have stopped the Jacket, which happens to be as much worn as the said two Articles and therefore will make a more tollerable Uniform than a new. I would have served the Worsted Hose in the same Sherriflike Manner, if I had not considered two Things. One is that they appear to be knit by a Mother or a Wife and therefore could not be replaced by me. Another is that they will exactly fit several other People as well as me, which I did not chuse to think would be the Case with the Jacket, the Materials of which can be repaid, and, if my present honest Temper of Mind continues, shall be.
The last Article invoiced will be also arrested for a Season, to keep Company with the Box.
I think the Razor Case is in Danger of like Confinement and I am sorry the Razors are not so good as my own.
MS (Adams Papers): without date, signature, or external indication of recipient. In his letter to AA of 5 June 1779 (p. 197–199, above), Lovell states that he is enclosing a list of the articles left by JA in his Philadelphia lodgings in Sept. 1777, when the British army was moving toward the city. But the enclosure strayed from the letter and was not identified for what it is until after the present volume was in page proof. See also AA's reply to Lovell, 18–26 June 1779, p. 206–208, above.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/