A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 4

Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0180

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1781-12-19

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

By the last Mails came the King's Speech, the Address of the two Houses in answer, and the debates in Parliament. His most gracious Majesty is sorry, that the Americans and French have catched one of his flying Generals with an Army, because the Rectitude of his Cause entitled him to better luck. He tells his Parliament the Rebellion is still fomented, and that his Subjects continue in that state of delusion, that the Bravery of his fleets and Armies was to have removed seven Years agone. He seems to be anxious about America, and wishes to bring them back to that happy state which their former Obedience placed them in. Never mind it, my Lords and Gentlemen, to be sure it has been rather a bad season for Us, and I am sorry for it, but next Year, if You will keep the Purse full, I will rely with a firm Confidence upon the Assistance of divine Providence, the Justice of my Cause, and the Bravery of my fleets and Armies, and do great things. What solemn Mockery coupled with a most ridiculous Farce? This, Madam, is the Language of a Monarch, who has had seven Years Experience of the most pointed Indignation of Heaven against his despotic Projects; seven Years experience of the Iniquity of his Cause, and an equal peri[o]d of the most convincing proofs, that neither the Bravery or Skill of his fleets and armies are adequate to the Task of subduing a People determined to assert the Rights and Dignity of human Nature, and to be free. Yet with this Torrent of Evidence, he means to go on, as if abandoned by that Providence on which he affects to rely. He is now flattering his People with the Epithets of “brave and free.” America will hear much of large Armies — perhaps 20 or 25,000 men—large fleets &c. &c. being to be sent out next Spring by England. But these Men are all to be raised by the way, which will take six or seven Years at least. They cannot fit out a larger fleet than last Year: and this Fleet must be divided in proportion to their Objects and Number of Places to guard and relieve, which have increased much. In the debates of Parliament their fleet is stated to be only seventy nine Ships of the Line—this is not contradicted. France alone has seventy-one, Spain near sixty, and Holland between twenty and thirty. The fleet of England is not in general well manned—many of their ships very old—their standing Army is very small. Supposing the whole regular Army of the three Kingdoms were sent out, it would not replace the losses they sustained last Year in America, the West Indies &c. Altho' We need be { 269 } under no apprehension at all of any force they can send out next Spring, (which cannot but be small) yet We ought not to relax in the least in our Exertions by Sea and Land, and more especially by Sea; for these Gentry have been so buffetted in this War, so baffled and disappointed in their Expectations, that they will never make Peace 'till they can no longer make War. Commerce is the Heart of the Kingdom, and Blood drawn from this Source will create sensations that will bring them at least to Reflection. Nothing like Privateering for this purpose.
I have become acquainted with an amiable Circle of Ladies in this City. I pay my Respects to them now and then, for the pleasure of their good Company, an improvement in the French Language, and to divert a little Gloom and Melancholy, which this horrible Climate casts over me at times. Three or four of them are handsome, and the rest very agreable, but make no pretensions to Beauty. I find much formality and Ceremony in families that are most intimate, which gives an appearance of an introduction to their most familiar Visits. However they are very sociable and one finds a display of good humour in their Company. The Ladies always salute each other upon entering and parting when they make Visits: And where I dared, I have endeavoured to introduce the practice of Gentlemen's (as far as respected me) making Use of the same feeling Expression of Respect towards the Ladies.

[salute] Much Duty and Love where due. I have the honor to be, with the most perfect Esteem & Respect, Madam, your most humble Servant,

[signed] North Common

Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0181

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1781-12-22

John Thaxter to John Quincy Adams

[salute] Mon cher Ami

J'ai bien-recu les Lettres que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de m'ecrire de Francfort et de Berlin.1 Votre Lettre de St. Petersbourg sous la date de 8/19 7bre. est aussi parvenue. Je vous suis très obligé pour toutes les trois. J'ai été fort content de vos observations sur le Caractere, les manieres et les coutumes des Peuples de ces pays dans lequels vous avez voyagé: et je vous prie de vouloir bien m'envoyer de terns en terns quelques morceaux de votre Journal, parce que je suis persuade que c'est plein des remarques et des choses extrémement interressantes. Je suis étonné que vous navez pas trouvé plus des Villes entre Berlin et St. Petersbourg, et que le terrein est si stérile. Com• { 270 } ment trouvez vous les Villes de Dantzic, de Konigsberg, de Memel, de Riga, de Narva, et enfin la grande Ville de St. Petersbourg? Monsieur D[ana] a remarqué dans ses Lettres que cette derniere Ville etoit la plus belle et la plus magnifique du monde. Ayez la bonte de m'ecrire tout ce que vous pensez ou remarquez de cette Ville.
J'espere que Monsieur votre Frere est parti de Bilbao. Vous savez bien qu'il est parti d'ici premierement dans la Sud Caroline et qu'il est arrivé a Corogne en Espagne dans le mois de ybre. Après il se trouvoit abord d'un Corsaire Americain destiné a Bilbao, ou il est heureusment arrivé. Nos dernieres Lettres de cet endroit-la sont sous la date de 30. Novembre, et ces Messieurs, qui sont là, ecrivoient qu'ils doivent partir sur le champ, tellement que nous attendons la nouvelle de leur départ incessament.2
Je vous felicite très sincerement sur la prise de Milord Cornwallis avec toute son Armée: c'est un evénément très important pour notre chere patrie.
J'espere que vous trouvez votre situation très agreable et avantageuse. Prenez garde de votre santé. Suivez assidument vos études et je vous conseille en ami a suivre les conseils de Monsieur D. dans toutes choses. Croyez moi, mon cher, qu'il est votre meilleur Ami dans ce pays-la. II n'y a personne plus capable que lui, ou plus prêt de vous aider et conseiller en tout ce qui vous regarde. Fait bien des Complimens a Mr. D. Tous vos Amis m'ont prie de vous faire leurs Complimens. Soyez assuré de mon affection pour vous et croyez moi que je suis très sincerement votre fidele Ami et Serviteur.
Voila une Lettre pleine des fautes3—n'importe. Peut-être vous pouvez la comprendre; mais si vous ne pouvez pas, dit moi franchement.—Adieu.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsieur J. Q. Adams à St. Petersbourg”; endorsed: “Mr. J. Thaxter's Letter recd. January 2/13 1782. dated Decr. 22. 1781. No. 1. answered Jan'y 2/13 1782”; docketed in JQA's more mature hand: “J. Thaxter 22 Decr: 1781.” Early Tr (Adams Papers), in JQA's hand; see note 3.
1. Not found.
2. See William Jackson to JA, Bilbao, 30 Nov., above.
3. In the early Tr (i.e. in copying the text into his letterbook) JQA corrected some of Thaxter's misspellings and grammatical errors and supplied numerous missing accent marks.
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, 2018.