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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 5


Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0196

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Dana, Elizabeth Ellery
Date: 1784-06-20

Abigail Adams to Elizabeth Ellery Dana

Little my Dear Mrs. Dana did I think I should leave America without seeing you, but a slow fever, your absence and now a thousand thousand cares are like to deprive me of that pleasure. I must { 350 } therefore submit to biding you adieu in this way. I am going to embark very soon upon the mighty waters. Never did I think I could have been persuaded to such an undertakeing unaccompanied with Husband son or some near connection, but thus it is. Hope that springs Eternal in the Humane Breast, I pray may in some early day realize to me the promised blessing. You know the joy of meeting the long absent partner of your Heart without the personal dangers to which Your Friend may be exposed in search of that happiness.2 May your Seperations in future be of short duration and your happiness be as large as your wishes. Make my Respectfull Regards to Mr. Dana and tell him I was much dissapointed in not seeing him at Braintree. Let me hear of your welfare, and recollect that the daughter; is bethrothed and that She must be called Harriet.3 Make my Compliments to Your Brother and Sister,4 and accept my dear Madam the affectionate Regard of Your Friend
[signed] A Adams
Dft (Adams Papers). docketed at the top, by CFA: “1784”; originally filed and filmed under the date of [ca. 15 June] (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 363). At the bottom of the page AA wrote “serch,” followed by “search,” undoubtedly in an attempt to spell more accurately.
1. On 20 June, AA and AA2 departed from Boston for London on the Active, Capt. Nathaniel Byfield Lyde.
2. Francis Dana had returned to Elizabeth Ellery Dana from Europe on 12 Dec. 1783 (AA to JA, 7 Dec. 1783, above, under “December 13”).
3. The daughter in this cryptic sentence refers to Elizabeth Dana's unborn child, whom AA evidently wished the Danas to name Harriet, if a daughter, and whom she apparently imagined as marrying one of her sons. Elizabeth Dana did in fact give birth to her first daughter on 29 Sept., but Francis Dana, writing to JA on 12 Dec. (Adams Papers), explained that: “She is not named Hariot, as Mrs. Adams requested, but Martha Remington after our [Elizabeth's] much esteemed late Aunt.” Martha Remington Dana married the painter Washington Allston (NEHGR, 8:318 [Oct. 1854]).
4. Elizabeth Ellery Dana, the eldest of seven children, had two brothers, William and Edmund Trowbridge, and three sisters, Lucy (wife of William Channing), Ann, and Almy (later married to William Stedman). She also had several quite young half-brothers and sisters (same, p. 318, 320).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0197

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1784-06-21

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

I received your Letter of the 15th. on the 18th. and that of the 18th. this moment, and am happy to find that you Spend So much Time and take so much Pleasure in Chancery and Parliament.
Present to Mr. Vaughan and Mr. Whiteford, my Thanks for their Politeness to you.
I want to know if the Books are on their Way. You Should tell me { 351 } Something of them in every Letter untill they are gone off, by Sea or Land.
Your Mothers Voyage is Such an Uncertainty that I would not have you wait longer, than the day you have fixed for your Departure. I know nothing in particular of the Young Gentleman you mention: But my Advice in general is to have a Care of Templars.1 You should remember I have no Secretary or Companion, and I cannot do without you. You may be here in 3 days from London, and if the Ladies arrive you may go again in 3 more, if Mr. Smith goes home.
Mr. Bingham and his Lady have been here and Spent a few Days with me. I introduced them to the Princess of Orange and the young Princess conversed with her, very agreably in English.2 Last Evening came an Invitation to them to sup at Court this night, but they went off on Saturday for Amsterdam.
You have had a Taste of the Eloquence of the Bar and of Parliament: but you will find Livy and Tacitus, more elegant, more profound and Sublime Instructors, as well as Quinctilian Cicero and Demosthenes.
There will be everlastingly a Demades and an Aeschines to plague a Demosthenes.3 Wherever a great able and Upright Man appears, there will be ever a Swarm of little, corrupt, weak or wicked ones, who will find among the People Such Numbers like themselves, as to form a Body capable of obstructing diverting and interrupting him, so that he will be able to serve the publick only now and then and generally by surprize and4 against their Will. Such will be the Fate of Mr. Pitt, if he persevers in the Line of Integrity he has taken.
This however Should not discourage, for Integrity is the only Line in which a Country can be greatly served.

[salute] Your affectionate Father

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr. Adams. June 21. 1784”; docketed, also by JQA: “My Father—21. June 1784.”
1. If JA is expressing a distrust of the law students of the Middle Temple, where William Vans Murray was studying, the origins of that distrust are not known to the editors.
2. JA gives further details on Anne Willing Bingham and the Dutch court in his Diary (Diary and Autobiography, 3:167).
3. JA inserted “and an Aeschines” above the line. Demosthenes, Athens' greatest orator, was his city's most outspoken opponent of the growing power of Phillip of Macedon, and contended with the Athenian orator Aeschines throughout the 340s B.C. over the most effective policy for maintaining the independence of the Greek city states. The Athenian politician Demades, who was more deeply influenced, and corrupted, by Phillip and his successor, Alexander the Great, than was Aeschines, became an implacable foe of Demosthenes. After Macedon's final triumph over the resistance of the Greek city states in 322 B.C., Demades condemned Demosthenes to death. The great orator, in flight from Athens, then committed suicide (Oxford Classical { 352 } Dictionary). Although JA applies this historical lesson to William Pitt the younger in this paragraph, he sounds like he is remembering his own struggles as a political leader and diplomat.
4. JA inserted “by surprize and” above the line.
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/