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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 5


Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0113

Author: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Recipient: Cranch, Elizabeth
Recipient: Norton, Elizabeth Cranch
Date: 1783-07-17

Abigail Adams 2d to Elizabeth Cranch

For these Two days my Dear Eliza, I have been in expectation of hearing from you. Mr. Shaw tells me he brought letters but I have not yet been so happy as to receive any. You see by the date of my letter that the publick occasion brought me to this place to gratify that degree of curiosity that is so universally attributed to our sex, but I do not think that the other sex are deficient by any means. Tis to me an interesting part of a persons character, when directed to proper objects. When it is not it is troublesome to every one.
Here we have had much company. If I had time I would give you a very particular account of myself and all that I have seen and heard for this week past, but at present it is not in my power. We came here a tuesday Eve.1 Mr. Lincoln2 accompanyd us wondrous sivil, Eliza. Yesterday Morn we went to meeting, an amaizeing croud of people, I am quite satisfied with commencement, for this year. I had but a tolerable seat, the company some of it was agreeable to me. Miss E. Q.3 and Miss Leonard. Dr. Dexter and Mr. Guild. But I must not nor can I pursue any other subject till I have given you some idea, if tis in my power, of the bright and blazeing star that has arrived from the South, and engaged the attention of all persons of every rank. She is beautifull as an angell of Light, and accomplishd beyond the description of Human pen. Immagination cannot paint her perfections. Methinks I hear you say what does all this mean, what are you after Amelia. Ill tell you Eliza, it is Miss Betsy Hunter from Newport. She has been in Boston a week, and had there an army of cupids graces and Loves, arrived from some prety castle such as immagination only can form any idea of, they would not been more the subject of admiration. I have heard a particular account of this Lady from Dr. Waterhouse. He does justice to her merit and accomplishments, and from him I have received an agreeable idea of her unbiassed by { 201 } prejudice. And yesterday I had the happiness of being a silent spectator of her charms of person. She is tall and very genteel rather pale a very agreeable dark eye and dark hair beautifull mouth teeth and lips. In fine I think she is very handsome a sweetness in her countenance, which every person is engaged with. But the perfection of her mind are wonderfull, She speaks french and Italian, as well as her native tongue, translate each and writes poetry in both Languages. She has mortified the Boston Girls very much. It would divert you to hear them speak of her.
We dined at Mr. Storers a large company. This Eve Mr. Otis gives a Ball. Your friend is going to accept her invitation, a very general invitation is given. Twill not be in my power, to give you an account of it in this letter. Must defer it till I get setled down in the ould path at home.
I have received an invitation from Miss Dalton to spend a few weeks with them in the Country and Mr. D. is so very urgent that Mamma seems inclined that I should accept it. If I should I shall be in your neighbourhood, and shall wish to go to see you.4
What Eliza will you say to Betsy Lincoln5 after given the preference to a gentleman for near Two years, to doubt her affection. Ought she not to have considered that the whole sex would be stiled inconstant from her conduct, such general asser[t]ions are unjust but they will be made, and not intirely without a cause. Sallys situation is pittyable indeed. I realy feel distress'd for the family. It has wounded their Brother very much, and what must not the parents feell.
Tis time to prepare for the entertainment and amusement of the evening. I do not expect happiness. Tis not a scene that my fancy paints happiness to proceed from by any means. A small circle of sincere friends will not bear a comparison. I very much fear that your letter will be lost. I have not heard of it since your sister gave it to Grandpappa. No secrets I hope Betsy. Adieu. Write me soon. My Love present to all who deserve it and believe me yours sincerely and affectionately
[signed] Amelia
RC (MHi: C. P. Cranch Papers); addressed: “Miss Eliza Cranch Haverhill”; endorsed: “July–17–83 AA.”
1. 15 July.
2. Possibly Henry Lincoln of Hingham, Harvard 1786 (History of Hingham, 2:467).
3. Elizabeth Quincy, AA2's Braintree neighbor and distant cousin, who married Benjamin Guild in 1784.
4. “Miss Dalton” was probably Ruth, eldest daughter of Ruth Hooper and Tristram Dalton; she was about two years younger than AA2 (JQA to AA2, 1 Oct. 1785, note 10, { 202 } below). Tristram Dalton's summer home, Spring Hill, was several miles west of Newburyport, on the Merrimac River, and just a few miles east of Haverhill, where Elizabeth Cranch was visiting the Shaws (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 13:573; and see AA to JA, 21 July, below).
5. Betty, daughter of Elizabeth Whitcomb and Ezekiel Lincoln of Hingham, would marry Samuel Pratt in 1787; AA2 mentions her sister Sally and her only brother, Elisha, below (History of Hingham, 2:467).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0114

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-07-17

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

No Letter from you, yet. I believe I shall Set off Tomorrow or next day, for the Hague, and Shall bring John with me back to Paris in about 3 Weeks. There will be an Interval, before the Signature of the definitive Treaty, and Several publick Concerns oblige me to go to the Hague for a Short time.1 When I get my Son with me, I shall be ready to go to any Place, where I may embark for home, as soon as I get Leave.
I am weary beyond all Expression of waiting in this State of Uncertainty about every Thing. It is at this Moment as uncertain as it was six months ago when the definitive Treaty will be signed. Mr. Laurens and Mr. Dana have leave to go home. Mr. Danas is upon a Condition, however, which is not yet fullfilled so that he will not go home for some time. Dr. Franklin Says he is determined to go home, and Mr. Jay talks of going next Spring.
In Short it is a terrible Life We lead. It wearies out the Patience of Job, and affects the health of Us all.
Mr. Smith writes me2 that Charles and Thomas are gone or were going to Haverhill, under the Care of Mr. Shaw. I approve of this very much. They will learn no Evil there. With them at Haveril, yourself and Miss Nabby and Mr. John with me, I could bear to live in Europe another Year or two. But I cannot live much longer without my Wife and Daughter and I will not. I want two Nurses at least: and I wont have any, at least female ones but my Wife and Daughter.
I tremble too, least a Voyage and change of Climate should alter your health. I dare not wish you in Holland for there my Charles, Mr. Thaxter, My servants and myself were forever Sick. I am half a Mind to come home with the definitive Treaty, and then if Congress dismiss me, well—. If they send me back again I can take you and your Daughter with me. However I can determine upon nothing. I am now afraid We shall not meet till next Spring. I hear, by Word of Mouth that Congress will not determine upon my Resignation till they have received the definitive Treaty. Heaven know when this will { 203 } be. It will be a Mercy to Us all, if they let me come home: for if you and your Daughter come to Europe you will get into your female Imaginations, fantastical Ideas that will never wear out, and will Spoil you both.3
The Question is whether it is possible for a Lady, to be once accustomed to the Dress, Shew &c. of Europe, without having her head turned by it? This is an awfull Problem. If you cannot be Mistress enough of yourself, and be answerable for your Daughter, that you can put on and put off these Fooleries like real Philosophers, I advise you never to come to <your> Europe, but order Your husband home, for this you may depend on, your Residence in Europe will be as uncertain as the Wind. It cannot be depended on for one Year no nor for Six Months. You have Seen two or three very Striking Instances of the Precariousness, of Congress Commissions, in my first, second and third. The Bread that is earned on a Farm is simple but sure. That which depends upon Politicks is as uncertain as they.
You know your Man. He will never be a Slave. He will never cringe. He will never accommodate his Principles, sentiments or Systems, to keep a Place, or to get a Place, no nor to please <his Wife> his Daughter, or his Wife. He will never depart from his Honour, his Duty, no nor his honest Pride for Coaches, Tables, Gold, Power or Glory. Take the Consequences then. Take a Voyage to Europe if the Case should so happen that I shall write to you to come live three Months. Let your Man See something in a different Light from his Masters, and give them offence, be recalled. You and he return back to the Blue Hills, to live upon a Farm. Very good. Let Lyars and slanderers without any of this, write Reports and nourish Factions behind his back, and the same effect is produced. I repeat it. It will be a Blessing to Us all, if I am permitted to return.
Be cautious my Friend, how you Speak upon these subjects. I know that Congress are bound, from regard to their own honour as well as mine, to send me to England, but it is the most difficult Mission in the Universe, and the most desperate, there is no Reputation to be got by it, but a great deal to be lost. It is the most expensive and extravagant Place in Europe, and all that would be allowed would not enable one to live, as a set of insolent Spendthrifts would demand. I am quite content to come home and go to Farming, be a select Man, and owe no Man any Thing but good Will. There I can get a little health and teach my Boys to be Lawyers.
I hope New York and Penobscot will be evacuated before this reaches you. That will be some Comfort. You must pray Mr. Storer { 204 } or your Unkle Smith to send Your Letters to me, by Way of New York Philadelphia, London Bilbao, Holland France or any way. If they inclose them to any of their Friends in London they will get to me.

[salute] Farewell, my dearest Friend Farewell.

1. Thomas Barclay, the American consul general in France, had just told JA that he (Barclay) and Matthew Ridley, an agent for Maryland who was seeking a European loan, were authorized to adjust “all the accounts which the United States have in Europe.” JA explained to Barclay that he needed to obtain his papers at The Hague to render his accounts (JQA, Diary, 1:181, and notes 2 and 3; Barclay to JA, 8 July, and JA to Barclay, 9 July, LbC, both Adams Papers). To Robert Livingston, JA explained that he was going to The Hague to improve his health and to “endeavor to assist the loan” sought by the United States from Holland (18 July, Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:560–562).
2. This letter, presumably from Isaac Smith Sr., has not been found.
3. This sentence was squeezed into the space before JA's original last paragraph (“I hope New York . . .”), and a mark following the inserted sentence indicates that the following three paragraphs, beginning “The Question is whether . . .,” although written below JA's close, were also intended to precede “I hope New York . . . .”
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/