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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 4


Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0133

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1781-08-24

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

After giving a few Lines for you yesterday to the Commissary { 197 } General of Prisoners who was going for Boston; I held Conversation with a Capt. Mason who had just landed from a Flag of Truce of Bermuda. He sailed from the Texel May 29 was taken close off the Capes of Delaware, after about 8 weeks passage and carried to the island from whence he is now arrived on parole to release another Captain for a balance. He had lately before sailing from Holland, dined with Mr. Adams and his family, who were all well. This gentleman brought out from the Texel the quantity of a barrel of letters, but was obliged to sink them on the 8th of June, when he was brought to by the Suffolk man of war, and endured a search and examination for 5 hours, but was not discovered to be an American vessel. The Suffolk was with three other ships of the line convoying 65 merchantmen from Jamaica, and had, a few days before, taken, after 3 hours engagement, the Marquis de Fayette a 44 gun ship with our cloathing, &c.
Capt. Mason mentions that about three days before he left Holland Mr. Adams had made a very great change as to an exhibition of character, had taken a large house, proper equipage and servants; and it was not doubted to be according to the wishes and designs of their High Mightinesses.1 I conclude from my memorandum book that Mr. A. must have received at that Period our Resolves and Instructions respecting the Completion of the Union, March 1st. by the signature of Maryland to the articles.
You may expect Commod: Gillon momently in a ship of 24 42 pounders on one deck. There is also a Capt. Eden or something like it bound for Boston. People connected Mr. a's appearance with a certain proceeding of Gillon, and judged both originating in the Government there. Gillon very suddenly unloaded known private property and received other Goods at the same Hours, one Shallop going and another coming constantly. The memorial of mr. a is spoken of by Capt. Mason, as it is by Mr. Carmichael, very familiarly, both conceiving we have it amongst us, but we only see it hinted at sneeringly in British papers. Is not this vexatious to us Evites?
I hope the Children with you, and their Mama enjoy perfect Health. They have much of my Love. There is a Cnot of Emphasis and Grammar which may amuse the Teeth of any one of the C's of your Circle who chuses to search for mischief.
I am induced, upon second thought, to repeat what may lag on the road with Col. Skinner.
Upon reviewing and securing your Goods against moths, I found that instead of Gauze I might have said Gauze Handkerchiefs for D. { 198 } Tafts: that there are Buttons, Twist, Serge and something of the Sattinet kind for Mr. Wibert found within his Cloth.
Rationally respectfully, Mistriss Adams's humble Servant,
[signed] JS——2
MS not found. Printed from Rivington's New York (Royal Gazette), 8 Sept. 1781, p. 2, col. 4—p. 3, col. i. Without indication of place, without salutation, and with an obvious misreading of its initialed signature, the letter appears with a number of others in Rivington's paper under the heading “Part of the Contents of a new Rebel Mail (being the Fifth) which was taken by a party of Refugees, On Tuesday last” (i.e. on 4 Sept.).
1. In a letter to Mrs. Francis Dana of 23 Aug. which was captured in the same mail and published in Rivington's New York Royal Gazette of 12 Sept., Lovell elaborated as follows:
“Within half a week of the sailing of Captain Mason from the Texel Mr. Adams had gone into a vast change of Living; from a course of private Lodging with command of two rooms, He took a grand House rolled his Chariot multiplied his Servants and put on the minister plenipo: without any other Explanation than what the free publication of his memorial in all the Gazettes naturally gave. The general persuasion was that their High mightinesses were fully decided to declare in our favour.” (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 6:194.)
2. A misreading by Rivington's printer of “J L——,” as Lovell himself pointed out in his letter to AA of 15 Sept., below.

Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0134

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Date: 1781-08-25

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams 2d

I was yesterday honoured with a Letter from Braintree dated the 25th of May last, and tho' an anonymous one, yet the hand writing, connected with other Circumstances, warranted my subjoining the Signature of the amiable and accomplished Daughter of one of the first Ladies of the Age, to whose Goodness added to your Politeness I am indebted for this mark of Attention. I have embraced the first moment to acknowledge the Receipt of so unexpected a favor, and to assure You of my readiness to commence, renew or “revive” a Correspondence. Indeed it has been so rare for me to converse or even to speak with a Lady, to write to or receive from one a Letter, for these two years past, that I esteem any Civility or attention from them, an Instance of Compassion to one who was formerly very happy with the fair Circle of his female Acquaintance.
My worthy friend Mr. Storer, who forwarded your kind favor, is safely arrived at Gottenbourg, and he is expected in this City every moment. I am impatient to take him by the hand. I can easily concieve that the absence of so amiable a Character will be exceedingly regretted by his Friends, and by the fair particularly. Europe may be { 199 } a good School for an exterior Polish: but Morality is a plant of slow Growth in this quarter of the Globe, where the polite and fashionable Vices of the Age have but too much extinguished the sentiment of it, and given an air of Awkwardness to Virtue. A good Education in our own Country is not an object of difficult Acquisition. An easy deportment and graceful Address are the fine polishes of a polite and may be of a virtuous and good moral Character: but the Graces and Virtues are not always united. When they do harmonize, they add a mutual Lustre to each other, and form one of the most pleasing Spectacles in Life.
The tender the gentle Eliza, “whose Mind is Virtue by the Graces drest,” as your good Mamma has observed, has had a Share of my sincerest and tenderest Pity during her Indisposition. I am very happy to find by your Letter, that She has recovered her Chearfulness and her health to so great a degree—be good enough to wish her affectionately for me a long Continuance of both.
You have informed me that Mr. Rice has at last drawn the Prize in the matrimonial Lottery—the happier he. Of all Lotteries this is the most hazardous. And being at all times unlucky, is a sufficient Objection with me to putting any thing to the Risque. However I am not too envious to wish any one success in this Wheel of Fortune.
You have closed a charming Letter, by calling me off from “my more important Business or Pleasures to point out the foibles of it.” I am almost tempted to scold at You for endeavouring to make me a Scrutinizer or critical Reviewer and sarcastically giving me an air of Importance. My pleasures are few but the most “important” of them is writing to my dear Friends on the other side of the Atlantic, whom may God bless and preserve. I cannot undertake the office of a Critic. To point out Foibles and Faults where none exist, is the mark of an ignorant, envious, ill-natured one, a Character which I hope no one will fix upon me.
If a Correspondence with You can give You the least pleasure or entertainment, I shall be happy to be ranked in the Class of them, and will not suffer another eighteen Months to pass away, without convincing You that You have a Correspondent in the old World. I shall make but an indifferent figure among your others, but that shall not discourage me. As to scores and Ballances of Merit, I make no pretensions.

[salute] Remember me dutifully and respectfully to all friends at Braintree, Weymouth and Boston, and believe me to be, with sincere Esteem, your affectionate Friend and Hbl. Servant,

[signed] JT
{ 200 }
An abundance of Love to all the young Ladies of my Acquaintance, and particularly to my fair American, if it is yet discovered who She is.
RC (MHi:Thaxter Papers); at foot of text: “Miss Nabby Adams.”
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/