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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 5


Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0144

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Thaxter, John
Date: 1783-10-20

Abigail Adams to John Thaxter

To you my young Friend upon whom the parential ties are strong and unbroken; who never yet knew the agonies which attend the loss of a fond Mother; or the pangs which rend the filial Heart Bereaved of a dear and venerable Father, to You I say, may Heaven long continue those blessings, nor teach you, experimentally to Sympathize with your afflicted Friend.
My dear parent is no more! His illness was Short and accute, his patience resignation and Submission, exemplary.

“His conduct was a legacy for all

Richer than Mammons for his single heir

His comforters, he comforts; great in ruin

With unreluctant Grandeur, gives, not yealds

His soul sublime.”

Few persons enjoyed so rigorous an old age, few persons of his age are so universally regreted.

“Virtuous and wise he was, but not Severe

He still rememberd, that he once was young

His easy presence checked no decent joy

Him even the dissolute admired; for he

A Gracefull loosness, when he pleasd put on

And laughing would instruct.”

Even in his last hours, he retaind that Cheerfullness which had distinguishd him through his Life. I never before past through so painfull and yet so instructive a Scene, I reflect upon the last fortnight of his Life with a melancholy satisfaction and pleasure.
{ 262 }

“Sweet peace and Heavenly hope, and humble joy

Divinely beamd on his exalted Soul.”

I will not ask an excuse for thus dwelling upon the memory of one so deservedly dear to me, and for whose death you will yourself feel a regret; he affectionately rememberd you upon his death Bed and left his blessing for all his young Friends and acquaintance. During the afflictive Scene, I received several Letters from you,1 but my mind has not long recoverd such a state of tranquility as to be able to replie to you. I most sincerely thank you for all your kind attentions to me. Mr. Storer you observe2 receives many large packets when you get none. I do not know of half the opportunities by which Mr. Storers Friends write to him, I never omit writing when I have timely notice, but you must not charge your Friends too severely, who from many of your Letters had reason to expect your return for many months. The present severe Storm fills me with a thousand apprehensions least my Friends should attempt comeing to America this winter. We have had in the course of 3 weeks two as severe storms of wind and rain, blowing a mere Huricane for 48 hours, as I ever knew.
Ardently as I long to see my long absent partner I would not; that he should hazard a voyage upon this coast in the winter season—and yet I have a thousand anxieties at his continuence abroad upon account of his Health.
I hear by way of Mr. Smith that you have made a little excursion to our good old Friend Britania. Pray how do you like her? Is she Great in Ruins? In decay at least, for she past her zenith Eight years ago. You must discribe this visit to me, for tho by the residence of my Friends abroad, I have felt particularly interested in the various Countries they have inhabited, and a sort of acquaintance with them, I now dispair of a nearer view of them, having quitted all thoughts of ever visiting them.
Depreciated and depraved as our manners are, from the purity of former days; I think our own country the best calculated to make “Men happy and to keep them So.” Here domestick virtues are more Esteemed and cultivated, Gallantry is less practised, those passions which enoble humanize and soften Man, are not prostituded at the Shrine of Mammon. Gameing that Bane of civil Society, that antidote to good Humour and Beauty, that distroyer of female delicacy and honour, is not yet; and I pray Heaven, it never may become fashionable amongst the Females of the Northern States. The Manners of the Southern are much nearer assimilated to those of Europe. You { 263 } appear to have retained so many of your Yankee sentiments, that I fancy you will highly realish the Simplicity of your own country, you can anticipate a “well orderd Home, Mans cheif delight” with sincere pleasure.
Confess my Friend your wishes for a connection and an agreable companion for life, it certainly would not engross so much of your attention, as to be the subject you oftenest write upon, unless it was very near your Heart. All your declarations of conquering your passions and of your insensibility, like a Monk in his Cloister, are proofs, of what you think and what you feel. Let me comfort you with the Idea that Heaven has in reserve for you; much domestick felicity, the enjoyment of which is sincerely wished you by your affectionate Friend
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “John Thaxter Esqr. Paris”; endorsed by JA: “Portia Oct. 20. 1783 ansd. 25. Jany. 1784.” For an explanation of the presence of this letter in the Adams Papers, see AA to Thaxter, 21 July, descriptive note, above. Despite his endorsement, JA makes no reference to AA's letter to Thaxter in his letter to her of 25 Jan. 1784, below.
1. Probably those of 10 June and 29 July, and possibly that of 28 March, all above.
2. Thaxter to AA, 29 July, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0145

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-11-06

Elbridge Gerry to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Madam

Since I had the Pleasure of addressing You,1 nothing of Importance has occurred in the Concerns of our Friend excepting a Letter from Mr. Jay, wherein he with great Candour and good Sense has endeavoured to do Justice to Mr. Adams' Character, and recommended him as the most suitable person to represent the united States at the Court of London; declaring at the same Time in the most positive Terms, that should the place be offered to himself, he would not accept it.2 I should be exceedingly happy on my own Account, but more particularly on yours, Madam, to see Mr. Adams in America, because I am persuaded he would not only be in the Way of rendering at this Time essential Services to his Country, but also (by recovering his Health), to himself and Family. The perplexities of American politics, are neither pleasing nor salutary; much less so must those be, which are in the Center and subject to all the Subtleties and Intrigues of European Systems; but the probability is I think against his immediate return.
The postmasters have either misconstrued or perverted the Design { 264 } of the post office Ordnance, which provides that Letters to and from certain persons in publick office, on publick Business shall be exempt from postage—the Endorsement of such persons Names on their Letters is therefore sufficient to acquit the Receiver thereof from postage; but the postmasters have, as I am informed, in many Cases where the Members of Congress and the Commander in chief have not endorsed with the Words “on publick Business,” had the Assurance to take postage; not so much I apprehend to benefit the publick, as to save the 20 per Cent allowed to the postofficer, but Measures are taken since the Receipt of your Letter to correct this Error, and I presume the Franks of our foreign Ministers will be admitted in Future by order of Congress.3 Doctor Lee and Mr. Osgood join in their best Respects to yourself and Family, with Madam your sincere Friend and most hum Servt.
[signed] E Gerry
1. On 18 Sept., above.
2. On 30 May, Jay wrote to R. R. Livingston, the secretary for foreign affairs, to recommend JA for the London post. Declaring that he would not stand in JA's way, he added, “Were I in Congress I should vote for him. He deserves well of his country, and is very able to serve her. It appears to me to be but fair that the disagreeable conclusions which may be drawn from the abrupt repeal of his former commission should be obviated by its being restored to him. I do, therefore, in the most unequivocal manner decline and refuse to be a competitor with that faithful servant of the public for the place in question” (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:457–458). Several months earlier, JA had recommended either Jay or Francis Dana for this position (5 Feb., in same, 6:246).
3. See AA to Gerry, 15 Oct., and note 5, 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/