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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 4


Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0075

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1781-05-10

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

Upon opening your favour of April 17 my Heart Beat a double stroke when I found that the Letter which I supposed had reachd you was the one captured2 in the room of that you received which was what I had supposed lost, but I should have been secure from the knowledge of the writer if Mr. Cranchs Letter and one I wrote at the same time had not accompanied it.3 The Letter which I would not have chosen should have come to any hand but yours, was in reply to two of yours and containd some Stricktures upon the conduct of a Friend.4 Least you should imagine it freer than it really was I enclose the coppy. I risk no more should it be captured than what the Enemy already have.—The Letter which occasiond some of the remarks I have not yet seen, tho I find it was published in the Halifax paper as well as Riveingtons.5 If what I have heard with regard to its contents is true, I cannot open my lips in defence of a Friend whose character I would wish to justify, nor will I secret from him that it suffers exceedingly even in the Eyes of his Friends from his so long absenting himself from his family. How well he may satisfy her who is nearest concernd I presume not to say, but if she possesses that regard for her partner which I presume she does, she must be exceedingly hurt even by the Speach of the world, if she is otherways sufficiently convinced of the attachment and affections of her partner. I write from a Sense of the feelings which under similar circumstances would harrow up my Soul, and wound with a Bearded Arrow. I have but a very small personal acquaintance with the Lady whom I esteem and commisirate, those who have speak highly of her. I have as little personal acquaintance with the Gentleman connected with her; but it has so happened that I have stood in need of his services, and he has exhibited an assiduity and Friendship in the discharge of them that has bound me to him in the bond of Friendship. Add to this he is the particular Friend and correspondent of him who is dearest to me and for whose sake alone I should Esteem him, but it would mortify me not a little to find I had mistaken a character and in the room of a philosopher, { 112 } a man of the world appeard. If I could credit the report [remainder missing]
Dft (Adams Papers); text incomplete and without date or indication of addressee; at head of text in CFA's hand: “<March> May 1781.”; see note 1. Enclosure: copy (not found) of AA to Lovell, 17 March, printed above from Dft; see descriptive note there.
1. Lovell furnished the date of the (missing) RC of this letter in his replies of 29 May and 16 June, both below.
2. That is, her letter of 17 March, of which the draft text is printed above and a “coppy” was enclosed in the recipient's copy of the present letter. It was only a presumption by AA that this letter was actually captured.
3. The letters here alluded to (other than AA's of 17 March) have not been found, but see the opening sentences of Lovell to AA, 17 April, above, and 14 May, below.
4. That is, Lovell himself.
5. “Lovell's letter to Elbridge Gerry, 20 Nov. 1780, captured by the British and published in a Halifax paper and in James Rivington's New York Royal Gazette, 27 Dec. 1780. From the cryptic and circumlocutory remarks below, it appears that AA, although she had not yet seen the text of this letter, had gathered from common report (“the Speach of the world”) that Lovell had alluded in some demeaning way to his wife, Mary (Middleton) Lovell. For what Lovell actually wrote, and his plea in extenuation, see below, Lovell to AA, 16 June, and notes there.

Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0076

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1781-05-13

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

I wrote you by the last post2 with a freedom which perhaps you may think I had no right to make use of. I was stimulated to it by many severe speaches that I had heard, and from not knowing myself what to say in paliation of my Friend. All former excuses were worn out by time and tho I do not believe the hard things I have heard, I think he ought to suffer any temporary inconvenience which a short absence from the scene of his buisness might subject him to, rather than the world should judge that he was devoid of all domestick attachments.
A report prevails here that the Alliance is arrived at Philadelphia. If so I hope I shall again here from my dear connextions. I have been more unfortunate for six months past than usual. Not a line has reachd me of a Later date than Septbr. The Fame on Board of which was Mr. Guile upon his return from Holland, was taken off Newfoundland and carried to Ireland. By that vessel I had large packets from all my Friends. No vessel has arrived from that port since Davis in November, who threw over all his Letters. Two prizes arrived here last week taken by the Alliance 3 days after she saild from France. If she is come to Philadelphia and means to come round to Boston I would risk what property you have of mine and others in her rather { 113 } than by land. I hope what private Letters are come will be well gaurded this way. What publick News she bring[s] that may be communicated you will be so good as to write me. A French vessel arrived from Brest with an admiral for Newport, but brought no private Letters. We are longing for News with a hungry avidity. How will Holland realish the hard knocks she has received. Britain has done sufficient to make them feel where it is said they are most Susceptable. She has taken and distroyed so much of their property, that I should suppose they would retaliate with a vengance.
I forgot to mention the receipt of your favour of April 13th it is dated but I believe it was a mistake as the preceeding one was the 17th.3
No invoice was ever sent in the Alliance as the Ship was throughly examined by my Friends. This Buisness was transacted much like your continential cloathing, with the same attention and Honesty. In the Name of all concernd I most sincerely thank you for your care and attention as well to others, as to your obliged Friend,
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers); without indication of addressee.
1. According to Lovell's reply, 29 May, below, the (missing) RC was dated 14 May.
2. Letter of 10 May, preceding.
3. Lovell's letter dated 13 April was actually written on 23 April (as he himself was to say in his to AA of 16 June, below) and is printed above under the corrected date.
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/