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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 4


Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0102

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1781-05-29

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

Yesterday's Post brought me your Letters of the 10th and 14 with a Copy of March 17. on the Subject of which I shall be particular when I have a proper Opportunity.1 I have a Friend2 to whom I communicate most unreservedly all the Ocurrences which tend to govern my Pleasures and my Pains; your Letters will of Course be submitted in that mixt View: I have already hinted their Influence in the latter; so that there is a Chance of some Eclaircissement before I can convey them in whole, should you meet each other.
“You have a very small personal Acquaintance with the Lady whom you esteem and commisserate—you have as little personal Acquaintance with the Gentleman connected with her.”3—Had you greater with both, you could not fail to think more highly of the former, and not so well or so ill of the latter as you seem at present to think, if I, who am perfectly intimate with them, may conclude from the Communications which you have lately made to me.—When I write again on this Subject I shall transmit some Anecdotes which you will think interesting to your Friend abroad. I believe I have already told you to see S[amuel] A[dams] as a Preparative.
I please myself with imagining you had Letters by Capt. Porter who appears to have reached Boston the 13th. in 27 Days from France. We are still without a Line from Mr. A or Mr. D[ana] since October.
I shall be attentive to Mr. Cranch if an Occasion offers to Fishkills.
I need not betray the Secrets which I am enjoined to keep. Your Eveship ought to be satisfied with what the Printers are pleased to give to the good People of Boston-Town. Glory or Shame, great in Degree of either Kind, depends upon the Behavior of the Americans in the coming six months, but more especially in the two first. I shudder verily at the Thought. Is it not almost a Resurrection from the Dead that I am looking for?
And now, avaunt ye Emanations of an honest Pen! Come to my aid { 146 } ye Products of Insincerity! It is not the candid but the sentimental to whom I send you.

[salute] “I have the Honor to be with the most perfect Consideration Your Excellency's most obedt. & devoted humble Servant,”

[signed] James Lovell
PS By way of Nota Bene Excellency in English is of both Genders.
1. All three of AA's letters here acknowledged are printed above, but that of 14 May appears under the date of her draft, 13 May, the only surviving text. Lovell found “a proper Opportunity” to enter into the subject of AA's reproaches of 17 March in his letter of 16 June, below.
2. Mrs. Lovell.
3. Lovell is quoting from AA's letter to him of 10 May, above. The lady and gentleman are of course Lovell and his wife.

Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0103

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1781-05-30

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear John

If there are any extraordinary Productions of Nature or Art, exhibited, at the Fair of Leyden, write me an Account and a description of them, and insert them in your Journal.1
There were so many Rarities, at the Fair of Amsterdam, that I think these Fairs worth seeing. A Youth may store his Mind with many new Ideas, and with many usefull Reflections by attending to these Things. To open your Views and enlarge your Ideas of Nature, you ought not to neglect any innocent Opportunity.
[signed] J. Adams
1. See Waterhouse to JA, 21 May, above. If JQA followed his father's advice, no record of it appears. No “Journal” kept by him has been found for this period, though he resumed his diary in a new booklet on 9 June (D/JQA/4 in the Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No.7).

Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0104

Author: Cranch, Elizabeth
Author: Norton, Elizabeth Cranch
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1781-05

Elizabeth Cranch to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My Dear Cousin

How shall I excuse myself for my long neglecting to write to you? Should I offer any other apology, than want of proper abilities, it would be false; and should I offer that, which is the only true one, perhaps it might be thought I wished for a compliment. But I had rather my Cousin should have a less favourable opinion of my understanding; than have cause to doubt my regard for him. That regard, joined to your Mama's repeated solicitations and my wishes for that { 147 } improvement, and entertainment, which I shall receive from your letters, have at last encouraged me to write; and if you should read this letter, let it be with the candour of a Friend, not with the scrutinizing eye of a Critick.
It gives me pain to think that we are deprived of so many of your Letters by means of the frequent capture of Vessels. We have not heard from you but once, since you have been in Holland. We are impatient for some news from you; I hope it will not be a great while yet before we shall have it.
I expect to see you at your return, the accomplished gentleman; possessed of all the solidity and resolution of the American, finely polished by the ease, and sprightliness of the French. And may you not be destitute of the greatest of all accomplishments, that which can alone make you amiable, that which constitutes a Good Man; a due regard for Virtue and Religion. I am sensible my dear Cousin that they are words, which are very seldom, if ever, mentioned in the modern Plan, for what is called a Polite Education. But I dare say they are neither new, or unpleasing Sounds to your Ear. From your Papa (who practises them so well), I do not doubt you often receive the rules for attaining both and from your Mama's Letters (if you are so happy as to receive them) you may collect an excellent System of Morality. Your advantages for improvement are much greater than most young Gentlemen who travel; though they are generally provided with a Tutor, he is not their Parent, and cannot be supposed, to feel so interested for their good behaviour. The advice you receive from your Papa, you are sure, is free from all motives, but such as tend to promote your happiness. Let me beg of you my dear Cousin, by all means and as you prize your's, and the happiness of all your dearest Friends, to regulate your conduct by his precepts invariably—but I must stop and beg you to forgive the earnestness of a Friend and desire you not to impute what I have said to arrogance or self-sufficiency, but to the true motives, which were, my ardent desires to promote your good.
I could wish you to make my most respectful regards acceptable to your Papa and Mr. Thaxter, and my Love to my dear little Charles, (if they still remember me) and if amidst many much more important concerns you should think it proper to favour me with some of the productions of your Pen, I should think myself greatly obliged. May not the time be far distant, when you will all return in safety to your Friends, among which number I hope you include her who is sincerely and affectionately Your's,
[signed] E. C.
{ 148 }
Early Tr (Adams Papers), in JQA's hand; at head of text: “1. From Miss E.G.”; see descriptive note on AA2 to JQA, 24 May, 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/