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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


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.
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/