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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


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/