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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 5


Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0183

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1784-05-25

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I came to Town yesterday and have engaged My passage on Board the ship Active Capt. Lyde, agreable to the advise of my Friends: she will sail in about a fortnight or 3 Weeks and is the only good vessel now going. Mrs. Jones with whom I hoped to have been a passenger is still in so poor Health that there is no prospect of her going very soon and my Uncle Smith upon whose judgment and care I place much dependance advises me by no means to delay my passage. It gives me some pain that I can only hear of you by second hand; and that not since the last of Janry.1 I find Congress have commissiond the Gentlemen now abroad to transact and form all their commercial Treaties, and Mr. Gerry wishes me to give you the earliest notice; and requests that Mr. Jay may be prevented from returning. There was a trial to add Mr. Jefferson to you, but I cannot learn that it is done.2
And now my dear Friend let me request you to go to London some { 331 } time in july that if it please God to conduct me thither in safety I may have the happiness to meet you there. I am embarking on Board a vessel without any Male Friend connection or acquaintance, my servant excepted, a stranger to the capt. and every person on Board, a situation which I once thought nothing would tempt me to undertake. But let no person say what they would or would not do, since we are not judges for ourselves untill circumstances call us to act. I am assured that I shall have a state room to myself and every accommodation and attention that I can wish for. It is said to be a good vessel copper Bottom and an able Captain. Should I arrive I know not where to apply for accommodations. I shall carry with me a Number of Letters and rely upon the Captains care of me. The United States, Capt. Scot, is not yet arrived tho we are in hourly expectation of it.3 I hope to hear from you by her. Tis six months since a single line reachd me from you. All communication seems to be shut out between Amsterdam and America. I think after the arrival of the Letters by Capt. Love, that you would write as you would not then look for me untill july.4 I have given you my reasons for not going with Capt. Callihan. I could get no satisfaction from Mr. Gerry with regard to the movements of Congress untill this month.
Our children are all well. Charles and Tommy are both at home now but will return to Haverhill next week. The expence attending my voyage will be great I find. The Captns. have got into a method of finding5 every thing and have from 20 to 25 guineys a person. I shall draw Bills upon you for this purpose but in whose favour I do not yet know. I shall embark with a much lighter Heart if I can receive Letters from you. I dare not trust my self with anticipating the happiness of meeting you; least I should unhappily meet with a bitter alloy. I have to combat my own feelings in leaving my Friends. And I have to combat encourage and Sooth the mind of my young companion whose passions militate with acknowledged duty and judgment.6 I pray Heaven conduct me in safety and give me a joyful and happy meeting with my long long seperated best Friend and ever dear companion and long absent son to whom my affectionate Regards. I hope to be benefitted by the voyage as my Health has been very infirm and I have just recoverd from a slow fever. I have one anxiety on account of the Maid who attends me. She has never had the small pox. The one I expected to have come with me undertook to get married and dissapointed me. The one I have is a daughter of our Neighbour Feilds and has lived with me ever since Jinny was married. I shall be very happy in two excellent servants.7—Adieu my dear { 332 } Friend. Heaven preserve [us] to each other. Yours with the tenderest affection
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers). endorsed: “Portia. May 25 1784.”
1. AA refers specifically to the news of JA's being at The Hague on 31 Jan., which was contained in a letter from John Cranch to Richard Cranch, probably written in Feb. (see AA to JQA, 25 April, above), although by this time she must have known of JA's residence there from other sources as well.
2. See Gerry to AA, 16 April and note 1, above; AA had yet to receive Gerry's letter of 7 May (Adams Papers). John Jay embarked for America on 1 June, and reached New York on 24 July, but he had already been chosen secretary for foreign affairs on Gerry's motion, on 7 May (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:816; JQA to JA, 25 May, and JA to JQA, 28 May, both below; JCC, 26:355).
3. Capt. James Scott did in fact arrive on the 25th (Independent Chronicle, 27 May).
4. On 2 April, JA received some letters sent via Capt. Love, but AA's letters sent with Love apparently did not reach JA until 5 May (see JA to Richard Cranch, 3 April; JQA to JA, 18 May, and note 1, both above). JA's letter to Cranch had evidently not reached Boston by this date.
5. Supplying or furnishing (OED).
6. This must refer to AA2's feelings about Royall Tyler.
7. Esther Field and John Briesler. The servant she had wanted to take was Jane Glover Newcomb (Jinny).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0184

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1784-05-25

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

[salute] Hond. Sir

Yesterday, I met Mr. Bridgen1 at the Coffee House; he told me he had a book for you, and this morning he sent it to my lodgings; [Mr.] Watson2 who leaves this place to morrow, has been so kind as to offer to take charge of any thing I wish to send, and will deliver you the volume, with this.
The Parliament have done nothing as yet, as all the time has been taken up, in swearing in the Members, which may take up some days more; but as soon as any thing worth while comes upon the Carpet, I shall endeavour to go and hear the debates as often as possible; I hope to get acquainted with some member, to introduce me; both Messrs. Hartley3 are left out. The Courts of Justice are I believe, not setting at present.
I believe I shall send off the trunk of books by the latter end of <next> this week. I shall either address them to Mr. Freeman,4 or to you at the Hague; however, when I send them, I will write you what measures, it will be necessary for you to take to get them. Mr. Smith wishes to have, a good impression of his family arms; and would be obliged to you if you would send one of the seal you have;5 inclosed in the first Letter you write to me.
Mr. Jay is I believe at Calais, waiting for a vessel which sailed two days agone from this Place, and will take him up at Dover; he left { 333 } Paris the 15th. of this Month. Mr. Laurens sails in a few days for Boston. We have no late arrivals, but Callihan is expected every day.

[salute] Your dutiful Son

[signed] J.Q. A[dams]
RC (Adams Papers). Some damage to the text and signature from a tear, probably made in removing the seal.
1. Edward Bridgen, a London artisan and sometime alderman, who corresponded with JA from 1781, and spent much time with the Adamses in 1785–1786 (vol. 4:334–335, note 2; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:179, and note 1, 188, 196–200; Bridgen letters to JA in the Adams Papers).
2. Elkanah Watson, a native of Plymouth, Mass., who had lost his mercantile house, based in Nantes, to creditors as a result of the financial crisis of 1783. In May 1784 he was still liquidating his remaining assets; later in the year, after a tour of Holland and England, he would return to the United States. Watson later moved to New York, and then to Pittsfield, Mass., where he organized America's first county agricultural fair. Watson would correspond with JA to 1825, and with JQA into the 1830s. DAB; Adams Papers.
3. David Hartley had represented Kingston-upon-Hull in Yorkshire for nearly a decade, but retired from politics after this defeat. His younger half-brother Winchcombe Henry Hartley had been knight of the shire for Berkshire since 1776, and would win his seat again in 1790. Namier and Brooke, House of Commons, 2:592–594.
4. Probably P. I. Freeman, a Rotterdam merchant who corresponded with JA in April 1782 (Adams Papers).
5. Since William Smith shared with his first cousin, AA, a great grandmother, Sarah Boylston, the reference is probably to a seal bearing the Boylston coat of arms that JA used on passports and when he signed the peace treaty in 1783. JA employed this seal because his mother was Susanna Boylston; Sarah was the sister of JA's great grandfather, Thomas Boylston (Adams Papers Editorial Files). William Smith may have wanted to find a craftsman who would do as well for him in making a seal as a Dutch artisan had done for JA. See vol. 4:xv–xvi, 202, illustration at 381; “The Seals and Book-Plates of the Adams Family 1783–1905,” by Henry Adams, in Catalogue of JQA's Books, esp. p. 135–137, and illustrations.
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/