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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 5


Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0159

Author: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Recipient: Cranch, Elizabeth
Recipient: Norton, Elizabeth Cranch
Date: 1784-01-04

Abigail Adams 2d to Elizabeth Cranch

And why my Dear Eliza has my letter1 layn unanswered. That it merited a reply I will not pretend to determine, but as the motive which actuated me to write was a very friendly and Cousinly one, I { 294 } had the vanity to hope you would favour me with a second letter. If I have been presumtious, be pleased to let me know it, and I will indeavour to step back—tho a very mortifying movement.
If I recollect right I was prevented from answering your congratulations upon the return of our friend Mr. Thaxter. Tho I rejoiced at his arrival,2 I could not but feel a degree of regret that he should come back unaccompany'd by those of my friends who left us with him. I hope it was not any species of envy or any of its detestable train, that tinctured my mind at the time. I will hope it was rather a natureal desire to receive an equal degree of happiness with my friends. We cannot so justly judge of the joys or sorrows of others, unless we have experienced simuliar ourselfs.
Letters from my Brother, Eliza, of the 8th of November,3 and agreeable accounts of him, pleasing indeed to the partiallity of a sister. But alas my friend there is neer a rose without a thorn. The same letter that conveyed the flattering accounts of a Brothers health, conveyed the idea of a fathers <danger> haveing been dangerously ill of a Nervous fever. Reflect a moment my friend, upon the feelings of a Daughter, and your gentle heart will not refuse a sympathetick tear. Sick and distressed in a land of strangers. No Partner to sooth and comfort him in his unhappiness. No Daughter to offer the tender attentions, that Duty, affection and feeling, would lead her to pay. Oh my friend the picture is too <distressing> painfull, my imaginations paints the scene far more distressing than words can express. I fear his continuance in those climates, will prove fatal to his future health, if not his life. But I will not distress you my friend, with the feelings of my heart.
Since I have been in Town I have twice seen Miss Howard. This afternoon I drank tea with her at Mrs. Coffins. Her person I think I should have known from the discription I have received from Miss Sever.4 She is neither beautifull handsome or pretty, but genteel, and agreeable. Her manners are pleasing, and the impression she made upon my mind the first time I saw her was agreeable. And I believe it is from the very first impressions, that we are biassed. True it is that we carry them along with us many times when they are very eronious, because we would not mortify our penetration. Whether it is right or not I will leave you to determine.
Remember my Love to your sister, and tell her that serimony and punctilio ought never to step into a worthy and vallueable acquaintance. The usual interruptions of this place prevent my pursueing many of my wishes and intentions. But I intend very soon to remind { 295 } her that she has a Coussin and a friend united in one character, here.
Do Eliza give me some account of yourself. Since I left you I have not heard a word about any of the folks since I left them scarcely. How do they at Coln. Quincys. At Germantown.5 Please to distribute my regards and good wishes to all <you> who spend a thought upon your friend
[signed] A Adams
RC (MHi: C. P. Cranch Papers); addressed: “Miss Eliza Cranch Braintree”; endorsed: “Jany 4. 1784.”
1. Not found.
2. AA2 wrote a brief letter of welcome to Thaxter on 3 Jan. (Private owner, Boston, 1957).
3. Not found; AA2 received these letters on 2 Jan. (AA2 to Thaxter, 3 Jan.).
4. Probably Sarah Sever, a niece of James Warren, who married Thomas Russell in 1784 (see vol. 4:153, note 1).
5. The family of Gen. Joseph Palmer, husband of Richard Cranch's sister Mary.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0160

Author: Shaw, Elizabeth Smith
Author: Peabody, Elizabeth Smith Shaw
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1784-01-04

Elizabeth Smith Shaw to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Sister

I received Yours,1 last Friday just as We were siting down to dinner, favoured by Mr. Ludden. We mortified our bodily appetite for a few moments, for the sake of gratifying our mental—and I assure you we found it an agreeable Repast, notwithstanding it informed us of your Reheumatism for which we are sorry, Tommy and I more espicially. I confess it was not written in the spirit, and humour of a Person, exercised with such excruciating Pain, and I cannot account for the vivacity, and chearful Air, which runs through the whole Letter, only from some external Object acting more powerfully upon the Mind; some pleasing Circumstance, some fortunate Occurence had taken place, that exhilerated your Spirits. Tell me, am I not right? Tell me, that I may rejoice with you, and be happy too; for it does not suit my Constitution in the lest to grieve.2 I am really hurt for Cousin Betsy Hunt.3 Poor Girl, been sick too. The Laodicean4 Lover came in a little while after I had received the intelligence. I would he were cold, or——. However, I was determined to try his feelings and if possible put him in a Barrel stuck with nails, and roll him down Hill. I very formaly asked him, if he had heard from Boston Yesterday, or to Day—looked solemn, made a pause. Mr. Shaw motioned my going into another room and leting him know what I had heard there, but after I had fixed his attention, and I hope, harrassed him sufficiently, I gently told him, that Cousin Betsy had been very sick, and still confined to her Chamber. He wondered he had not been informed of it. Strange he had not received a Letter. Upon which I observed { 296 } with a look that I intended should reach his Heart—that it might be as well that he had not, for as he had been so engaged in Study for these eight weeks, that he could not come here to see us, it was not in the lest probable that he could take such a Journey as Boston.
But I must not be too severe—worthy good Men, we always ought to suppose, have just prudent and equitable motives which influence their Conduct, though they may not always be obvious, nor appear as such to the by-stander.
I found my Letter that I mentioned to You at Mr. Coles,5 I wrote it in great haste and sent it down, and thought it of some importance then, as it was a Token of remembrance—and I believe I will send it now unsentimental as it is. I fear Sister Cranch will think me unmindful of her. Mr. Ardoa is come, and I intended to have written to her this Evening.
Sister Adams Mr. Shaw has purchased a Horse, and given a note payable in February but the Man has been to him repeatedly and begd it as a Favor that he would let him have a part of the sum now—it would oblige him &cc. If it would suit you to send a few Dollars by Mr. Ardoa, Mr. Shaw would be obliged to you, he knows the quarter Bill is not yet out. If you please Mr. Ardoa may give a receipt.6

[salute] I am with love and affection to all my Friends and acquaintance theirs most sincerely.

[signed] E S
PS Mr. Thaxter Mr. Tyler and all, come and see us next week. Ask sister Cranch to send a Bottle of honey if she pleases.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs Abigail Adams Braintree.”
1. Not found.
2. The source of AA's “exhilerated Spirits” is also unknown to the editors.
3. Betsy Hunt has not been identified, but she may have been a descendant of JA's aunt, Bethia Adams Hunt.
4. That is, luke warm, said of the early Christian church at Laodicea in Asia Minor (Revelation 3:14–16; OED).
5. Neither this letter, presumably from Elizabeth Shaw to AA, nor Mr. Cole(s) have been identified.
6. Well to the right of the end of this sentence, in AA's hand, appears the word or name “ardway.” This may refer to “Mr. Ardoa,” who has not been identified.
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/