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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 4

Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0056

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1781-02-27

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

Your Effects, expected in the Alliance, came in the Ariel. Yesterday two Cases were brought to my Chamber, the Size of which I give on the other Side to govern your future Directions as to Transportation.1
Inches   }   54 long   }   27 long  
18 high   17 broad  
16 broad   14 high  
I received at the same Time a Box for my Friend Gerry and another for Col. Peabody. Having deliver'd the former agreable to his order, I was told in the Evening that the Articles were in Part rotten. This { 82 } made me immediately open Col. P's. I found them not much injured. I thoroughly examined, wiped and dried them properly for second Package. The Appearance of his Box indicated his medium Luck: Not so yours, my dear Lady. The large Case was shattered; and, thro' the Cracks appeared neither full nor regularly packt; and it smoaked so in the Sun in my Chamber as to warrant the further Search of my Eye even if I had been warned of its containing only Secrets.
I was agreably disappointed in finding that the Damage was not equal to my Fears. It was such however as to oblige me to pass over every Article seperately; for those which are not really injured were in a warm fermenting moisture. Your Diaper, very pretty, was among the worst. Mr. Shutes Linnen the next, your No. 7507 next, Mr. Wibert's No. 19 next, Brother Cranche's Cambrick No. 1216 next.2 The other Linnens and Cambricks do not properly fall under the Head of Damage, nor any of the other Articles, except your Gloves which are useless in their present party-colored State; and They had nearly ruined those of your Articles among which they were wron[g]fully inserted: They should be wrapped in wollen. There was a good Fire in my Room and a pretty-handy Watchman till 5 this morning; in Consequence, all of the smaller Parcels have had due Airing, Wiping and Repacking. I must particularly acquaint Miss that, tho the Fans stuck much together, they are now in no Measure defaced. They would have been lost if they had dried in that Posture. One of them is the prettiest of the shining Kind that I have yet seen; and a Lady who lately lodged here was supposed to have them the prettyest. I like those better which I used to see 19 years ago. The green Mould is next-to-intirely taken from the Gauzes, among which the Gloves were placed for their Security.—Tell the Men their Cloths are become quite dry without any Change of Colour.—I should have named Miss P. B. A's Linnen Handkerchiefs as damaged, but I suppose within the Power of some of her Arts to recover: Her Chintz was not injured tho' in the same wet Paper; it is almost a Beauty.3 It has a large Flower too much. Your striped Persian is spotted but I believe the Wind will recover it. Your nice quaker Broad Cloth escaped, tho the wrapper was very wet. You had better keep to your Cardinal and not run into the Pride of the female Lucifers of this City with their uncouloured Long Cloaks. The Linnens and Diapers are still at the Fire. The best shall be done for them that can be. I hope your Fears will magnify the Damage that you may have more Satisfaction in the End.
The large Case is larger than was necessary, by many Inches. And I suspect will not easily find Transportation when perhaps I shall be { 83 } able to send the whole Articles in two or three Parcels more readily.
But, now Madam the worst of the Future is to be mentioned: how is the smaller Box to reach you. For the Past, it has escaped well, but I fear the long, rough Waggonnage: Perhaps shortly there will be a most decided Superiority in our favor by Sea so as to make the Winds the only Risque to be run. Capt. Penny sold his China here some time ago, because of the great Risque to Jamaica Plains. But I cannot advise you to part with yours. Nevertheless, I will in my next send you the current Price that if you wish to chip and change you may do it with your Eyes open.
The fate of the South is balancing between Cornwallis and Green; and of the Middle States—War between the Commanders near Gardner's Island. I never have yet been so agitated by present Moments since the War began. God be better to us than our Deserts!

[salute] Your very humb. Servt.,

[signed] JL
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. A. Adams.”
1. The dimensions of the “Cases” are inserted here from the third page of Lovell's letter. These cases contained the goods JA had ordered a year earlier from James Moylan, merchant at Lorient, to be sent as gifts to AA and various relatives and friends; see JA to Moylan, 22 Feb. 1780 (LbC, Adams Papers), the relevant portion of which is quoted in a note on JA's letter to AA, 12 Feb. 1780, vol. 3:273, above. As numerous allusions in the correspondence that followed make clear, the goods were to have been shipped to Boston in the Alliance in care of Dr. Amos Windship. But they became the victims of the quarrels that beset that unfortunate vessel and all who had anything to do with it, and were left behind when the Alliance finally sailed in the summer. See AA to JA, 3 Sept. (vol. 3:406), 18 Oct., 13–24 Nov. 1780, both above. JA repeatedly inquired what had happened to the goods, and Moylan at length replied on 29 Dec. 1780 that John Paul Jones had “encharged himself” with them and had sailed in the Ariel on the 18th of that month (Adams Papers). In a letter to AA of 1 March 1781, below, Lovell furnished an itemized list, and he soon forwarded some of the less bulky articles (see his letter of 5 March, below), but late in April AA was still awaiting most of the shipment and gave vent to her feelings about Moylan's negligence from start to finish (to JA, 23 April, below).
2. The numbers in this sentence, which are clearly not ciphered forms of words, may possibly be entries in a missing invoice, though it is hard to account for the numbers running so high, and Lovell used no numbers in his itemized list at 1 March below.
3. Lovell's reference to “Miss P.B.A” is characteristically ambiguous. “Miss” is a shortened form of “Mistress,” and though it usually designated an unmarried woman, it could still be used for a married one; see entry of 2 Dec. 1760 (and note) in JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:176–177. JA was far more likely to have sent gifts from France to his sister-in-law, Mrs. Peter Boylston Adams (the former Mary Crosby), than to his niece, Mary (1769–1830), later Mrs. Elisha Turner. Mrs. P. B. Adams had, however, died in June 1780; see vol. 3:323, above. On Mary (Adams) Turner see Adams Genealogy.
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Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0057

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-02-27

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams

I wrote you a few days since1 by a ship which goes in Company with this of the success under Genl. Morgan in the Caralinions Over the famous Tarleton. Since which we have the Agreeable Advize of an Expedition of a 64 ship and <2 frigates> part of the french fleet att Rd. Island, haveing been to Virginia in order to ketch Genl. <Phillips and> Arnold, which business they have compleated haveing saild from Rd. Island the 9th and returned the 24th with the Romulous a 44 gun and 2 sloops of Warr, of the british with 500 seamen prisoners. They distroyed the most of the transport, and brought of there stores. The Enemy got ashore, but as the Virginians had been under Arms before itts most likely they will be Obliged to surrender As they are deprived of every thing. Itts said to be a plan concerted by Congress and Genl. Washington and has Answered the happy effect. We cant but with gratfully2 Acknowledgments, Acknowledge the particular kind hand of heaven in the late successes Over the Enemy in the southern goverments. We have not got all the particulars as itt came but last Evening.—We hope in a post or two to have Advize from Virginia. The dispute between Virginia and Maryland About the land Affair is settled and Maryland delegates have signed the Confederacy.3
Itt is thought best that Vermont should be a seperate state and will or is Allready.4—Mrs. Adams is well. Mrs. Smith has been confined to her Chamber a Month with a fever but through the goodness of god, is geting better.

[salute] I am, Sr. Your Most hum. Servt.,

[signed] Isaac Smith
PS A french frigate is just arrived from france with a large sum of Money and the Marrs from Nantes, with a prize, something Valuable.—Do let my friend M. Hadshon5 know I received his of the 8th Novr. Yours by said Conveyance is forwarded to Mrs. Adams.
[Insted?] of 2 sloops [of] War, some Armed Transports with stores.6
The famous Capt. Paul Jones is Arrived att Phila.
1. A very brief note dated at Boston, 24 Feb. 1781, in Adams Papers but omitted here.
2. Thus in MS.
3. This was substantially true but in part premature news. The long delay in completing the ratification of the Articles of Confederation, originally submitted to the states in 1777, was owing in good part to differences between states (such { 85 } as Virginia) with large claims to western lands and those (such as Maryland) with none. Virginia at last ceded her claims to Congress on 2 Jan. of the present year; in February the Maryland delegates were instructed to ratify; and on 1 March they signed the Articles, the last of the thirteen state delegations to do so. Appropriate acts of celebration followed. See JCC, 19:138–140, 208–223; Julian P. Boyd, ed., The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union (Old South Leaflets, Nos. 228–229), Boston, 1960; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 6:1–4; Merrill Jensen, The Articles of Confederation, Madison, 1959, ch. 12.
4. Vermont had assumed the status of an independent republic in 1777–1778; despite efforts of some Vermonters and of some groups in Congress to bring it into the Union, it was not admitted as a state, the fourteenth, until 1791 (Burnett, Continental Congress, p. 540–546; DAH). See also AA to JA, 23 April, below.
5. John Hodshon, head of a mercantile firm in Amsterdam well disposed toward America (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:444).
6. This may refer back to the end of the second sentence in the first paragraph of this letter.
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.