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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 5

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0046

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-02-01

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

[salute] Honoured Sir

I arrived here a few days agone,1 and expect to be at the Hague by the latter end of this month where I shall wait for your orders, in case I dont find you there; what to do. I should have written you from Stockholm but when I arrived there I was told you was in Paris, and I did not know where to adress my letters. But just before I left Stockholm2 I receiv'd a letter from Mr. D[ana]3 in which he told me I might send them to Mr. Grand. I should have been in Holland, before this time, had the weather not made me stop a fortnight in a small town call'd Norrkiöping.4 I have had a very agreable Journey, for the Season of the year. I believe there is no people in Europe so { 87 } civil and hospitable to Strangers as the Sweeds. The name of stranger is enough for them to do one all the services in their power. They are in general good friends to America, but seem to be a little afraid for their mines;5 however they are very well disposed for carrying on Commerce, with America; and there is a merchant here named CederstrVm6 who has a brother lately settled in Boston. Mr. Eberstein the first merchant in Norrkiöping only waits for an opportunity to send some ships. Mr. Brandenburg in Stockholm intends to send a vessel to some part of America this spring. He desired me to let him know what would be the best articles he could send, and gave me a list of the exports of Sweeden; a copy of which I have sent to Mr. D. desiring him to answer Mr. Brandenburg as I was not certain myself, about the matter.7
They talk a great deal here about peace. Tis said to be very near; but a great many people think the contrary, on account of the amazing armaments of the belligerent powers. But nothing is certain as yet I believe.

[salute] I am your most dutiful Son

[signed] J Q. Adams
P.S. Please to present my duty to Mamma when you write. As soon as I arrive in Holland I shall write to her and to all my friends in America.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To. J. Adams. Esqr. Paris”; endorsed: “J. Q. Adams. 1. Feb. 1783 ansd. 18th. recd. 18th.”
1. JQA had arrived in Göteborg, the largest city on the west coast of Sweden, on 16 Jan., and would not depart until 11 February. His Diary entries for this period, during which he took a side trip to the falls and canal works at Trollhättan, are among the most detailed of his entire journey from Russia to Holland (JQA, Diary, 1:164–170).
2. JQA had arrived in Stockholm on 22 Nov. 1782 and left on 31 Dec. (same, 1:159–162).
3. Not found.
4. JQA had reached Norrköping, located on an inlet to the Baltic Sea, about 80 miles southwest of Stockholm, on 1 Jan., and departed on 14 Jan. (same, 1:162–164). His Diary describes his stay there in some detail.
5. Sweden was in the eighteenth century, and remains today, a leading exporter of high grade iron and steel products. This put the Swedes in natural competition with the United States, whose Pennsylvania iron deposits were also among the world's most valuable in the eighteenth century. Eli F. Heckscher, An Economic History of Modern Sweden, Cambridge, 1954.
6. Carl Söderström; his brother was Richard Söderström, Swedish merchant and later consul at Boston, whom JQA would meet in 1785 (JQA, Diary, 1:167).
7. JQA's Diary entry of 23 Nov. 1782 suggests that Brandenburg may already have been in correspondence with Francis Dana before JQA's arrival in Stockholm (same, 1:161). JQA's letter to Dana requesting advice for Brandenburg has not been found. In a 28 Feb. letter to JA (Adams Papers), Brandenburg wrote that he lent JQA money in Stockholm, and that he had heard of JA's concern for JQA's whereabouts (see JA to AA, 4 Feb., note 5, below). He then told JA what he knew about JQA's journey through Sweden to Göteborg, and congratulated JA on the conclusion of the preliminary articles of peace.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0047

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-02-04

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Your two Letters concerning Mr. T[yler]1 are never out of my Mind. He is of a very numerous Family and Connection in Boston who have long had great Influence in that Town and therefore if his Education has been regular to the Bar, as it must have been if he followed his Studies regularly, under two Such Masters as Mr. Dana and Mr. Angier, if he has been admitted and Sworn with the Consent and Recommendation of the Bar, and if he has Health, Talents, and Application and is a Speaker, his Relations will easily introduce him to full Business.
But I dont like the Trait in his Character, his Gaiety. He is but a Prodigal Son, and though a Penitent, has no Right to your Daughter, who deserves a Character without a Spot. That Frivolity of Mind, which breaks out into Such Errors in Youth, never gets out of the Man but Shews itself in some mean Shape or other through Life. You seem to me to have favoured this affair much too far, and I wish it off.
Nevertheless, I cannot Judge, you have not furnished me with Facts enough for the Purpose. I must Submit, my Daughters Destiny, to Her own Judgment and her own Heart, with your Advice and the Advice of our Parents and Brothers and sisters and Uncles and Aunts &c. You must endeavour to know the Opinion of the Family, and I pray a kind Providence to protect My Child.
I had flattered myself with the Hopes of a few Years of the society of this Daughter, at her Fathers House. But if it must be otherwise I must Submit.
I am So uneasy about this Subject, that I would come instantly home, if I could with decency. But my Dutch Treaty is not yet exchanged, I have not yet taken Leave of their High Mightinesses, nor of the Court, nor have I yet signed all the Obligations for the Loan: So that I dont See how I can possibly, come home without first returning to the Hague.2 There are other Subjects too about which I am not on a Bed of Roses. The Revocation of my Commission to make a Treaty of Commerce with G. Britain without assigning any Reason, is an affront to me and a Stain upon my Character that I will not wear one Moment longer than is indispensably necessary for the public Good. And therefore I will come home, whether my Resignation is accepted or not, unless my Honour is restored. This { 89 } can be but one Way, in Europe, and that is by Sending me a Renewal of the Commission. This I have no Idea will be done: because the Forest is laid wide open for the Game and all the Hounds of Faction will be let loose at the Halloo of the Sportsman. I will have no share in the Chase.3 I am weary to death of a Residence in Europe, and so would you be. You have no Idea of it. Mrs. Jay can tell you. This Lady is as weary as is possible, and you would be more so.
If it were only an Affair of myself and my Family, I would not accept a Commission if sent. But I consider it a public Point of Honour. An infamous Attack has been made upon me, only Doing my Duty, or rather an Attack has been made upon the Fisheries, the Missisippi and the Western Lands, through my Sides.4 I have totally defeated the Attack upon those Great Objects and I Say the Honour the Dignity and future Safety of the United States <depend> are interested in restoring that Commission to me, that future Attacks of the same Kind may be discouraged, and future Servants of the Publick protected. And I have Sworn that Justice Shall be done in this Case somehow or other. The Public Voice shall pronounce the Righteous sentence, if Congress does not.
If therefore Congress should renew my Commission to <the> make a Treaty of Commerce with G. B., come to me, with your Daughter if she is not too much engaged, and master Tommy. Send Charles to his Uncle Shaw or some school and let any Body draw upon me for his support. I do not however believe, Congress will send me such a Commission, and if not I shall have my Daughter by her Hand before she gives it away, at the Blue Hills at the latest by Mid summer. Endeavour to learn what passes upon the subject in Congress and write it to me for my Guidance. You may write by Way of England, Holland, France or Spain. Send under Cover however to some other Friend.

[salute] I Shall Send Johnny home to Colledge, I believe. Bring him certainly with me if I come, as I expect and hope.5 Yours forever.

1. Of 23 and 30 Dec. 1782, above.
2. The exchange of ratifications of the Dutch Treaty did not occur until June, and JA, occupied with the peace negotiations in Paris, ordered C. W. F. Dumas to perform it for him. JA did not return to the Netherlands until July, and then only briefly, but he remained accredited to the States General of the Netherlands (“their High Mightinesses”) until 1788, and traveled to Amsterdam in 1784, 1787, and 1788 to negotiate additional loans (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:135–136, note 1, 168, note 1, 202, note 1, 211–212, note 2).
3. See JA to AA, 29 Jan., note 1, above; and note JA to Elbridge Gerry, 4 Nov. 1779 (JA, Papers, 8:276), where JA employs the same image of virtuous men and policies being hunted down by the forces of faction.
4. That is, an attack mounted indirectly (OED). In addition to revoking JA's commis• { 90 } sion to secure a commercial treaty with Great Britain, and appointing four additional peace commissioners to serve with him in July 1781, Congress had issued new instructions for a peace treaty. This directive obligated the commission to follow the diplomatic lead of France, which had no interest in expanded western boundaries for the United States and was ready to exclude Americans from fishing rights on the Grand Banks. The change in instructions was lobbied through Congress by La Luzerne, who, acting on orders from Vergennes, used influence and money to build a pro-French faction in that body (JCC, 20:746–747; Morris, Peacemakers, p. 210–216).
5. By this date JA had become most anxious to learn of JQA's whereabouts. Acting on Francis Dana's assurance (to JA, 30 Oct. 1782, Adams Papers; see JA to AA, 4 Dec. 1782, and note 2, above), he had expected his son to reach Holland by late December. By February, having heard nothing since JQA's arrival in Stockholm two months earlier (JA to AA, 22 Jan., and note 2, above), JA began to fear that the boy was ill or had met with an accident, and wrote to his agent Dumas and to La Vauguyon, the French ambassador, both at The Hague, to the French chargé at Hamburg, and to diplomats and merchants in northern Europe to seek their help in locating him. But he said nothing to AA about his fears, and did not report on JQA's journey in any extant letter before 28 March, below. See JA to Dumas, both letters, 7 Feb. (PCC, No. 101, I, f. 316, 317); an extract from JA to the Duc de La Vauguyon, 7 Feb., in Algemeen Rijksarchief, The Hague, Eerste Afdeling, Dumas Papers, vol. 1, p. 498; and JA to Lagau, 13 Feb. and Duncan Ingraham Jr. to JA, 13 Feb. (both Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0048

Author: Storer, Charles
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-02-10

Charles Storer to Abigail Adams

And why may I not write you, Madam, tho' Mr. Thaxter should not go to America? Is the restriction absolute? But I have already addressed you with several letters, as well from Holland, as since our arrival here.1They cannot be recalled. Thus there is a beginning, and to continue the Correspondence, I must improve the present favorable moment. I venture then, by supposed permission to write you a line by this opportunity—not, however, because Mr. Thaxter has, in his letter, said I should, but because the offer of your Correspondence is too inviting for me to resist it. If you consent, Madam, the bargain is made, and this may be stiled No. 1.
In yours to Mr. Thaxter, you have been pleased to say some clever2 things of me. I can only reply in the common phrase of this Country, “mon pardon, Madam, vous etes fort polie.”
I am already much indebted to Mr. Adams, for many kindnesses and attentions to me. He has again flattered me, with Confidence in a certain affair, mentioned in your last letters.3 He will return you his Sentiments thereupon, and me it does not become to speak, further, than to assure Amelia of my best wishes for every happiness and pleasure the married state can afford. 'Tis a state of all others I respect the most, being firmly persuaded 'tis there we find the most rational enjoyment and complete satisfaction. My friend here says no. We often dispute the point. However I shall not give it up, so { 91 } long as so many good folks are on my side. He wants a little of your good tutoring, Madam.
I have several times entertained hopes of seeing you, in Europe, as Mr. Adams, you will find, has written for you. But hardly did he give his advice, before he again changed it. Such are the uncertainties of a political life on this side the water. From some Circumstances, I think you will see him in America, in the course of the Spring or Summer. He often wishes to be at “his hut at the foot of Penns-hill, mending roads, or surveying North-Common.” He says, he shall return with pleasure to his plow. A civil Cincinnatus! Return, Madam, as he will, he will abundantly merit the gratitude and respect of his Countrymen.
I have this day received a letter from Mr. John Bowring, of Exeter, in Devonshire, G. B. who married Mr. Christopher Cranch's daughter.4 He rejoices, as do all his family, at Mr. R. Cranch's recovery, and desires me to forward their kind remembrance and congratulations to him on the occasion. Mr. B. is an Overseer of an extensive Woolen Manufactory at Exeter, and wishes to form Connections with some of our commercial Houses. If Mr. Cranch could assist him, he would be much benefited and obliged. He is a man exceedingly well respected in Exeter and has extensive acquaintances. I am indebted to him and all his family, by their friendship and civilities to me. Excuse my troubling you with business. Was it not entirely among Friends and Neighbors, I should not have done it.
It seems you did not expect Mr. A's success in Holland. I assure you, Madam, Riot, faction and vengeance has been opposed to him, yet he has braved it all, honorably. And he is now pleased, to use his own words, to see “the flag of the United-States securely planted and waving in triumph at the Hague.”5 A most critical Circumstance in our Politics, for to no one thing more than this, are we indebted for the Peace at the present day.
Let me request you to present my best respects to your family, Neighbors, and all our friends, near you, and to be assured yourself of the respect and esteem of, Madam, Yrs:
[signed] Eugenio
NB. I trust Portia will excuse the signature of Eugenio, since both are in mask.
1. Only two are known to the editors, that of 17 Oct. 1782, and that of 8 Nov. 1782, written as a postscript to JA to AA, 8 Nov.; both are above.
2. “Clever” in the sense of favorable, nice (OED). AA's letter of 26 Oct. 1782 to Thaxter is above.
3. Royall Tyler's courtship of AA2, dis• { 92 } cussed in AA to JA, 23 and 30 Dec. 1782 both above.
4. The relationship of this Christopher Cranch to Richard Cranch has not been determined by the editors. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:207–208.
5. Passages nearly identical to this appear in JA to James Warren, 6 Sept. 1782 (JA, Works, 9:513), and in JA to Francis Dana, 17 Sept. 1782 (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:732). In both, JA makes clear that his triumph was over Britain's ambassador Sir Joseph Yorke and “British pride.”

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0049

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-02-11

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

Did I feel myself conscious of any inclination to suspend a Correspondence that has given pleasure I should feel a little Awkward in the Renewal.2 But as I stand acquited to my own Heart of the least distance or indifference where the warm glow of friendship subsists I Readily snatch up the pen, and Even Rejoice that the Dreary storm, the incumbered Road, and the severe season has given me an opportunity to testify my illacrity to Embrace your proposal.3
And though the pace of Nature is so universally chilled, that Thought may be stiffned thereby And the Ideas Run slow, yet the last which will die in my Bosom are those social Feelings which only Deserve the Name of Genuine Friendship. Martyred Word! Hackneyed, Mangled: prostituted Name! But I Beleive the Next Revolution that makes her Blush, it will become unfashionable to acknowledge her Existence.
But as Language with some yet means more than a Compliment, I imagine you will be Really Gratifyed when in Reply to your Wishes I tell you my late letters gave me that kind of satisfaction which None but the Maternal Heart can feel when Addressed by a son long absent, amiable and affectionate and in a situation Eligiable to himself.4
That you my Dear Madam May have the completion of your wishes in the Company of Those you hold most dear but a thousand Motives prompt me to hope it May be on the American shore.
Come to Milton and let me tell you some of them—as well as the Reason why I break off thus Abruptly.
RC (Adams Papers); filmed at Feb. 1783[1783 or 1784], Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 360362.
1. References in AA to Mercy Otis Warren, [ca. 12 Feb.], below, place this letter just before CA visited the Warrens on 11 February.
2. The last letter known to the editors that was exchanged between the two women was AA's of 5 March 1781 (vol. 4:86–88).
3. How AA made her proposal to renew their correspondence is not known to the editors.
4. Winslow Warren was traveling in Europe during this period; see vol. 3:359–360, note 2.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0050

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-02-12

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Madam

I need not tell you I was much disappointed in not having the pleasure of your Company yesterday and the advocate you Employed1 to appoligize assures me you were not less so. I promissed to Give it under my hand that to the best of my judgment he had obeyed your orders with great punctuallity. As soon as the Roads will permit I will call on you. Though as your Daughter left you this Morning suppose you must be better. Naughty Girl she did not call and tell me so, but I Flatter myself she in this Instance sacrificed her inclinations to her Complasance. Somehow or [o]ther my Head dos not feel very sentimental this Morning. Though at the same time have many things to say but in the tete a tete style which all ladies love. A little Fatigue, some Head ache, and a kind of lassitude the Consequence of too much Exercise renders me quite unfit for your Correspondent this day. Yet inconsistent as it may appear, have a Violent inclination to proceed, and least I should indulge it Rather to your Fatigue than Amusment, believe I shall not Venture to begin Another page for I always think it must be Friendship alone that will Give patience to pick a meaning out of my almost uninteligible Characters. It was an observation of the Great Tully, “I am too old to Change my Habits.”2 And I Imagine no one will Contradict me when I assert, I have scribbled too long to Change my Hand. But what Woman lives long Enough not to Change her Mind. Surely not your Friend as she would have kept her Word and Releived you before this. But as we Cannot Reason more Conclusively, (I mean Consequentially) why should we act more Consistantly than Man. Show me says a Celebrated writer one Woman in the World that Can do this for ten Minits together. I would be a little more Candid and only Challenge all the Masculine World to shew me more than one in ten Hundred of Thier sex whom you, would know to morrow from what he appears to be this day. His Darling passion requiring it you will find a Proteus3 in Every Company Circumscribe the Circle to as Narrow limits as you Please.
Some Necessary Domestic Matters Called me from my pen, I resume it again but with a strong inclination to Erase all I have written and perhaps before this you Wish I had had the Resolution. Tell me so, if you do. When I write again, will Endeavor to do it with more Correctness of Style more Elegance of Diction more Esteemation and Candour for the World indiscriminatly. Yet perhaps not with { 94 } more Truth and sincerity, or a stronger pathos of Friendship than this is subscribed from Yours affectionatly
[signed] M Warren
“What! a letter to me of two Folio pages and not one Word of politics oh fiy—“Let me see what is the subject, truly I cannot tell. I will write and ask my Friend she Can surly Explain her non meaning. Though the Day may be a little Cloudy with her.” Do so Madam and Forward the Result of your Observations soon very soon to Milton Hill.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams Braintree.”
1. CA. See AA's letter that follows.
2. Closing quotation mark supplied. The source of this quote from Marcus Tullius Cicero has not been identified.
3. In Homer and Virgil, Proteus was a minor sea god who could take almost any shape or form (Oxford Classical Dictionary).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0051

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1783-02-12

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren

Indeed my dear Madam my omiting writing to you by my son was not oweing to the abrupt manner of your closeing your Friendly Billet1 which was sufficiently apoligized for by the counsel2 you employed with all that Eloquence which ever distinguishes him in a female Cause—but to the sudden proposal of Master Charles who no sooner determined to visit Milton than he executed it—and as I had not time to write in my usual lengthy manner; I told him to excuse me to you and assure you that I would not fail the next opportunity.
I will not say that I feel awkward on the renewal of our correspondence, because that would be to insinuate that such feelings are New to be [me?], where as I affirm that I never took my pen to write to my dear Mrs. Warren without a sensation of that Nature: and I have bit up more goose quils in her service than I ever wore out any other way. The knowledge of her superiour abilities kept me long from that intimacy which her Benevolence and Friendship finally Effected, and tho I have not less Love and respect for her now than I formerly had, before those dismal apprehension[s]<vanished,> were vanquished by the free social intercourse of Friendship, I cannot say but a little of the old leaven remains.
What induced my Friend to Epethize with so many hard words the Friendship of the world3—it could be no New discovery to her that neither nation, or communities use it, but as a more refined and { 95 } polished Name, <than> for Interest, Self Interest! There are not wanting many in these day[s] of modern refinement and Mandivelean principals4 to asscribe all the social virtues to the same <principal> Cause and to affirm that no such thing as disinterested Friendship or patriotism exists. I shall not attempt to confute these doctrines by words, but retire into my own Bosom and there feel that they are false.
America is assimilating herself to foreign Nations, and will I fear copy more largely their foibles and vices than their virtues, Simulation and disimulation with their false coin are passing upon us, insted of the pure Bullion of honest truth and integrety—Sterling worth becomes more rare, publick happiness less stable, private and domestick virtues less cherished and cultivated.
What a picture my dear Madam for the rising generation. Shall we shade it from their view, or hold it to them as a warning? Yet why rob them of those few years of happy Credulity when meaning no evil, they are unsuspicious of it in others!——How little do <our> children know the anxiety of parents towards them—their hopes and their fears—<their exultation> the exultation which fills the mind and dilates the Heart when they behold them rising in virtue and Eminence. It is a pleasure which the almighty himself enjoyed when he looked upon his works and saw that all was good.
I am called to dinner, but will not go untill I have told my Friend that the first passible roads I will improve in visiting Milton—and hope she will make the same use of them to Braintree.
My affectionate regards attend General Warren at Milton. I had rather have sent them on to Philadelphia.5 You know they are used to travelling that road in search of a disinterested patriot. If he had been there, they would not have failed of success.——I will close my letter with the prospect of a visit from my good fellow traveller this afternoon whom I realy long to see and welcome again to Braintree. Harry6 has had his rejoiceing fit I suppose, so will not be so glad to see me, as some other of his B—n Friends.——I would not have deprived my daughter so soon of the pleasure she took <in her> at Milton <visit> if I had known she could not have made her visit to the city before this time as she has long designed one there, and proposed it the week after she left you; I thought it necessary to call her home a day or two before she <left me> quitted M n.7 Adieu my dear Madam a little attention is necessary to the outward appearence of your Friend before she receive[s] her young visiters. She has really { 96 } had the unpoliteness to address you in a dishabile, having snatchd up her pen upon the return of her son with a determination of convinceing you that <my> her invitation to a renewal of our correspondence was more than a mere compliment from your assured Friend
[signed] AA
1. Mercy Otis Warren to AA, [ante 11 Feb.], above.
2. CA.
3. See Warren to AA, [ante 11 Feb.]
4. Bernard Mandeville's The Fable of the Bees; or, Private Vices Public Benefits (1714 and later edns.) resorted to paradox to argue that vices, i.e. men's selfish actions, through the introduction of inventions and the exchange of capital in the pursuit of luxury, promote progress. Men wholly lack the higher motives attributed to them by most thinkers. Mandeville, who particularly rejected the moralism of the third earl of Shaftesbury, was attacked for his views by many writers (DNB).
5. A reference to James Warren's election to Congress in Oct. 1782, an honor he finally declined on 4 June 1783. See Cotton Tufts to JA, 10 Oct. 1782, note 12, and AA to JA, 13 Nov., note 3, both above.
6. Henry Warren.
7. See AA2 to Elizabeth Cranch, [ca. 4 Jan.], [ca. 11 Jan.], [ca. 18 Jan.], and [ca. 27 Jan.], and the accompanying notes concerning AA2's visits to Milton and Boston, all above.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0052

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-02-18

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

The Peace, which Sets the rest of the World at Ease, increases, I think my Perplexities and Anxiety. I have written to Congress a Resignation, but I foresee there will not be a Speedy decision upon it, and I Shall be left in a State of Suspence that will be intolerable. Foreseeing this,1 I am determined not to wait for an Acceptance of my Resignation, but to come home without it, provided it does not arrive in a reasonable Time.
Dont think therefore of coming to Europe. If you do We Shall cross each other, and I shall arrive in America about the Same time that you may arrive in Europe.
I Shall certainly return home in the Spring. With or without Leave, Resignation accepted or not, home I will come, So you have nothing to do but wait to receive, your obl Friend
[signed] J. Adams
1. From this point on the letter repeats verbatim an entire letter of the same date which is not printed here. In fact, JA sent a third letter on this day, explaining that he was taking advantage of several opportunities to inform AA of his determination to come home. This last added a further thought: “I Shall arrange all the Affairs of the public that I have any Relation to in such a manner that nothing can Suffer, by my Absence untill another Minister shall arrive in my place” (both Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0053

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1783-02-18

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

You cannot imagine, the Anxiety I have felt on your Account, nor the Pleasure just received from your Letter of Feb. 1. I had heard nothing of you Since the Beginning of December when you was in Stockholm, and then only by the public Papers.
When you arrive at the Hague, you may take your Choice, either to remain there and follow your Studies under the Direction of Mr. Dumas1 or go to Leyden to your former Tutor.2 I believe however for a few days, you had better Stay at the Hague where I expect Soon to have the Pleasure of Seeing you, as I Shall return there, forthwith upon the Signature of the definitive Treaty of Peace.
I have Letters from your Mamma and Several of our Friends the later End of December. They were all well and desired to be remembered very particularly to you.
I expect to embark for America, in the Spring and Shall take you home with me. Enquire what Vessells are likely to go from the Texel, and what Accommodations we might have on board of any of them.

[salute] I am With the tenderest Affection, your Father

[signed] John Adams
1. C. W. F. Dumas was a frequent correspondent of JA and other American diplomats, an adviser to Congress on diplomatic affairs, and an informal, but paid, American informant and agent at The Hague from 1777. He was also a scholar of languages. Upon his return to Holland in April, JQA chose to study with Dumas rather than to hire a tutor because his father's stay in Europe was now so uncertain. Moreover, Dumas was conveniently located, for he and his wife had moved into and took care of the American legation (see vol. 3:393, note 52, 410, note 3; vol. 4:304, note 3; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:9–10, note 6; JA, Papers, 6:72–73, note 7; JQA, Diary, 1:174–175, note 2).
2. The tutor was a Mr. Wensing (or Wenshing), with whom JQA studied Latin and Greek from Dec. 1780 to June 1781 (see vol. 4: 45, and note 1, 46, 118, and note 1; JQA, Diary, 1:75, note 1, 85).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0054

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-02-20

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

[salute] Honoured Sir

I arrived here about a week agone, and expected to leave this place in a vessel for Kiel, (which I found here,) two days afterwards, but I have been waiting for a wind here ever since.1 I rather preferred going from hence to Hamborough by water; than thro' Holstein because the roads are extremely bad and it would be a Journey of at• { 98 } least eight or ten days; whereas, with a good wind we can run over in 24 hours from hence to Kiel, and besides it will not be near so expensive by water.
I went yesterday to see the Baron de la Houze the French Minister here. He shew me a letter from the Duke de la Vauguyon,2 which mentions your having been anxious on my account; but I suppose you have receiv'd before this time my letter from Gottenbourg.
The Baron de la Houze tells me of a piece of news to be found in the Leiden Gazette, I mean, of a treaty of commerce said to be concluded between the american comissioners and the Ambassador of the King of Sweden in Paris.3 I should expect it is true; for of all men the King of Sweden knows the best how to seize upon opportunity, and I think we might have a considerable commerce with Sweden. As to this country, I cannot tell what sort of trade we shall be able to carry on, with it; however there is already a person design'd to be as the minister of this court, in our country, and every body here say they never doubted of the Independance of America; but things have greatly changed here within these three months.

[salute] I am your dutiful Son.

[signed] J. Q. Adams
1. JQA had arrived in Copenhagen on 15 Feb., and finally departed for Hamburg, by land, on 5 March (JQA, Diary, 1:171–174; JQA to JA, 12 March, below).
2. See JA to AA, 4 Feb., note 5, above.
3. Gustav Philip, Comte de Creutz, and Benjamin Franklin signed the treaty on 5 March, although the treaty is dated 3 April (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:149). JA, however, in a letter of 14 Feb. to Edmund Jenings, says he had just attended a dinner at the Swedish ambassador's, “upon occasion of the Signature of the Treaty, between his Master and Congress, which was done the 5. instant” (Adams Papers). JA may have been referring to a preliminary signing, and this would account for the story in a February gazette. For JA's reaction to Franklin's role in negotiating this treaty, see AA to JA, 25 Oct. 1782, note 5, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0055

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-02-26

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

“A Court,” as John Dryden informed me, before Experience, “is a place of forgetfulness for well deservers.1 It is infectious even to the best Morals to live always in it.2 It is a dangerous Commerce where an honest Man is sure at the first of being cheated; and he recovers not his losses, but by learning to cheat others. The undermining Smile becomes at length habitual; and the drift of his plausible Conversation is only to flatter one, that he may betray another. Yet it is good to have been a Looker on, without venturing to play; that a Man may know false Dice another Time, tho' he never means to use { 99 } them. I commend not him who never knew a Court, but him who forsakes it because he knows it.”
Experience has not only given me an Understanding but a feeling of these Observations. I am so disgusted at all Courts, that I long to get away from all of them; and however unpromising and melancholy my Prospects are for myself and Family, in retirement, I had rather take my Chance in it, than remain at any Court in the World. I can live upon a little and teach my Children to do so too as yet, while they have no Habits of Expence: but those Habits once changed, Adieu to all Happiness both for them and me.
I am so bent upon coming home; that it would be a cruel Disappointment to me, to be obliged to stay another Year in Europe, which is a possible and but barely a possible Case. Congress, in Complaisance to a Frenchman,3 revoked my Commission to the King of Great Britain, and the same Complaisance continuing they will appoint some other Person to that important Mission, or will delay appointing any one. But if Congress should think the Honor, Dignity and most important Interests of the United States concerned in an immediate Restoration of that Commission to me, I cannot in honor, and I ought not, from Regard to the Publick, to refuse it. But Faction, Finesse and Intrigue, which first took away the Commission, will no doubt continue to keep it away. I shall therefore certainly come home. If my Resignation is not accepted, but is drawn out into length, I must come home of my own head—for my Family at all Events I must and will join—J'ai besoin d'être Pere, as King Lear says.4
Even if Congress should restore my Commission to Great Britain, don't You think of coming till You hear from me, because I shall probably be going home while You are coming here, and We shall miss each other.
I have lived too long without my Family for the Health of my Body or Mind, and God willing the Seperation shall come to an End.5
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. In the dedication to Philip, earl of Chesterfield, of Dryden's translation of Virgil's Georgics. JA quotes from this same dedication in his first letter of 27 Feb., below.
2. JA left out the first half of this sentence: “It is necessary, for the polishing of manners, to have breathed that air; but.”
3. Either Vergennes or his envoy in America, La Luzerne. See JA to AA, 4 Feb., note 4, above.
4. Because he quotes from King Lear in French, JA may have attended the production of the play by the Comédie Française given in January (Le roi Léar . . . représentée à Versailles, devant leur majestés, le jeudi 16 janvier 1783, & à Paris, le lundi 20 du mème mois, par les comédiens françois, Paris, 1789).
5. The present letter was the first of four that JA wrote to AA within two days, evidently to take advantage of several vessels sailing for America (see Charles Storer to AA, 26 April, below). John Thaxter copied all four into JA's { 100 } Letterbook, but only the second letter of 27 Feb., below, survives in the recipient's copy. Although the substance of all four letters is similar, their various references to the reading that JA was doing while he waited for the signing of the definitive treaties, an event he hoped for every day, all show something of his state of mind.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0056

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-02-27

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Dryden, whom I have always loved to read now and then, because I learn something from him, informs me,1 if I did not know it before, that “it hath been observed in former times that none have been so greedy of Employments, and of managing the Publick, as they who have least deserved their Stations. But such only merit to be called Patriots, under whom We see their Country flourish. I have laughed sometimes,2 when I have reflected on those Men, who from time to time have shot themselves into the World. I have seen many successions of them; some bolting out upon the Stage with vast applause, and others hissed off, and quitting it with disgrace. But while they were in Action, I have constantly observed, that they seemed desirous to retreat from Business—Greatness they said was nauseous, and a Crowd was troublesome; a quiet Privacy was their Ambition. Some few of them I believe said this in earnest, and were making a Provision against Futurity, that they might enjoy their Age with Ease. They saw the happiness of private Life, and promised to themselves a Blessing which every day it was in their Power to possess. But they deferred it, and lingered still at Court, because they thought they had not yet enough to make them happy. They would have more, and laid in to make their Solitude luxurious. A wretched Philosophy, which Epicurus never taught them in his Garden: they loved the prospect of this quiet in Reversion, but were not willing to have it in Possession. They would first be old, and made as sure of Health and Life, as if both of them were at their dispose. But put them to the Necessity of a present Choice, and they preferred Continuance in Power, like the Wretch who called Death to his Assistance, but refused him when he came. The great Scipio was not of their Opinion, who indeed sought Honors in his Youth, and endured the fatigues with which he purchased them. He served his Country, when it was in need of his Courage and Conduct, until he thought it was time to serve himself: but dismounted from the Saddle, when he found the Beast which bore him began to grow restif and ungovernable.”
I have constantly and severely felt this desire to retreat from Business—But have never made this Provision for futurity, that I { 101 } might enjoy my Age with Ease, much less have I ever wished for a luxurious Solitude.
I have never in any part of my public Life sought Profits or Honors. It was my Destiny to come into Life at a critical dangerous time, and to see Prospects before me that I dreaded and wished to avoid but could not, with Honor or a good Conscience. I took my Part according to the Dictates of my Heart and Head, and have gone thro' it and all its Horrors, and landed the Public safe and glorious in the Harbour of Peace. Thanks be to God! No Honors, not a Crown—no Profits, not all the Indias, would be the smallest Temptation to me now to go thro' it again, nor would ever have tempted me to begin it. I thought it my Duty and that I should be a guilty Wretch if I did not do it. I have done it to the best of my Understanding, Health and Strength.
I seek not Honors nor Profits now. But I have now a Right to be exempted from Dishonour, Spots, Stains and Disgrace. Congress have stained and soiled me. They must wipe it out, or I throw off their Livery.

[salute] Yours with the same Sentiments as ever.

LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers). This and the two letters of the same date that immediately follow are printed here in the order in which they are entered in the LbC.
1. From Dryden's dedication to his translation of Virgil's Georgics, see JA to AA, 26 Feb., note 1, above.
2. JA here omits Dryden's parenthetical question: “for who would always be a Heraclitus?”

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0057

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-02-27

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

L'Ambition dans l'oisiveté, la Bassesse dans l'orgueil, Le Desir de s'enrichir Sans travail, l'Aversion pour la vérité; la flatterie, la Trahison, la Perfidie, l'Abandon de tous Ses Engagemens, le mépris des devoirs du Citoyen, la Crainte de la Vertu du Prince, l'espérance de Ses foiblesses, et plus que tout cela le ridicule perpétuel jetté sur la vertu, forment, je crois, le caractère du plus grand Nombre des Courtisans, marqué dans tous les lieux et dans tous les tems.1
It is Montesquieu who draws this Picture. And I think it is drawn from the Life, and is an exact resemblance. You cannot wonder then that I am weary and wish to be at home upon almost any Terms. Your Life, would be dismal, in a high degree. You would be in an hideous Solitude, among Millions. None of them would be Society for you { 102 } that you could endure. Mrs. Jay is in this Situation ardently longing to come home. Yet She is much better Circumstanced, than you are to be abroad, as her family is Smaller and younger. You must leave a Part of your Family.
No Let Us live in our own Country, and in our own Way. Educate our Children to be good for something. Upon no Consideration what ever would I have any of my Children educated in Europe. In Conscience I could not consent to it.
If Congress had been Steady, and continued in force my Commission to make a Treaty of Commerce with Great Britain, I should have gone to London, and have finished the Treaty before now, but I should not have thought of residing in London long. I should have resigned and returned to America in a Year or two at furthest. If Congress should now revive my Commission and send me a new one, which I think altogether improbable, but believe they will compleat their Work, by Sending another Man upon that Errand, I would not Stay longer in England than a Year or two at furthest. I cannot bare the Thought of a long Banishment from my own native Soil, where alone I can ever be happy, or comfortable.
I write you by every opportunity, least you should embark for Europe when I am upon my Passage home, which would be a terrible Disappointment to both. My Intention is to come home whether I receive the Acceptance of my Resignation or not, unless I receive a Commission to St. James's. Dont you embark therefore untill you receive a Letter from me desiring you to come. If I should receive Such a Commission I will write you immediately, by way of France Holland and England, and shall wish you to come to me on the Wings of the Wind. But the Same Influence, french Influence I mean, which induced Congress to revoke my Commission, will still continue to prevent the Revival of it. And I think it likely too, that English Influence will now be added to French, for I dont believe that George wishes to see my face. In this Case I shall enjoy the satisfaction of coming where I wish most to be, with all my Children, living in Simplicity, Innocence, and Repose.
What I write you, upon this subject is in Confidence and must not be communicated but with great discretion.

[salute] Yours entirely and forever

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers). LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers.)
1. De l'esprit des lois in OEuvres, 6 vols., Amsterdam, 1777, 1:48. The capitalization is JA's; his copy of this edition of Montesquieu's works is in MB (Catalogue of JA's Library).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0058

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-02-27

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I read in a great Writer, Montesquieu that “l'honneur, en imposant la loi de servir, veut en être l'arbitre; et, s'il se trouve choqué, il exige ou permet qu'on se retire chez Soi.”
C'est une des Règles suprêmes de l'honneur, Que lorsque nous avons été une fois placés dans un rang, nous ne devons rien faire ni souffrir qui fasse voir que nous nous tenons inferieurs à ce rang même.”1
These being the supream Laws of Honor in all the Countries of Europe, it is astonishing that Congress should wound the feelings of their Servants whom they send to Europe in such delicate Points, and by this means lessen their Reputations and Influence, at a time when they wanted Support to their Reputations more than any other Men.
It may be said that Virtue, that is Morality, applied to the Public is the Rule of Conduct in Republicks, and not Honor. True. But American Ministers are acting in Monarchies, and not in Republicks. Such a Slur may not hurt a Man in America so much as in France, or England or Holland, but in these Countries it certainly diminishes him and his Utility exceedingly.
But upon the Rule of Virtue, I hold that Virtue requires We should serve, where We can do most good. I am soberly of Opinion, that for one or two Years to come I could do more good in England to the United States of America, than in any other Spot upon Earth. Much of the immediate Prosperity of the United States, and much of their future Repose, if not the Peace of the World, depends upon having just Notions now forthwith instilled in London. But I think the British Court will be duped by the French and will entertain that dread of me, which neither ought to entertain, but which France will inspire because She thinks I should be impartial—so that I expect some <body> Booby2 will be sent, in Complaisance to two silly Courts, upon that most important of all Services. If Heaven has so decreed, I must submit, and the Submission will be most pleasant to me as an Individual and as a Man. I shall be in a Situation where I shall think that I could do more good in another. But I have been often in such a Situation. And things must take their Course. We must wait for Things to arrange themselves, when We cannot govern them.
My Mind and Body stand in need of Repose. My Faculties have { 104 } been too long upon the Stretch. A Relaxation of a few Years would be the Life the most charming to me, that I can concieve.
Dont be concerned at any thing I have written concerning Spots, Blemishes, Stains and Disgraces. When all is known, they will be universally acknowledged to be Laurels, Ornaments and Trophies. They will do neither You nor me nor Ours harm in the End.
I cannot say precisely, when You will see me. I hope by the Month of June or July, but it may be August or September, and it is possible it may be in April or May. It will depend upon the Time when I shall recieve the Acceptance of my Resignation. Dont think of embarking for Europe, not even if Congress should send me a Letter of Credence to King George, until You hear from me, because I think it is most probable I shall come home without Leave, if the Acceptance of my Resignation, or the Answers to my Letters should be delayed.

[salute] Yours most tenderly.

LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. De l'esprit des lois, 1:65–66 (see JA's first letter of 27 Feb., note 1, above). JA renders these quotes with variations.
2. JA corrected Thaxter's transcription error in bold letters.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0059

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-03-12

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

[salute] Honoured Sir

I suppose you have receiv'd before now my letter from Copenhagen dated Feby. 20th. in which I wrote you that I expected to come from thence to Kiel by water; and that I only waited for a wind: but I have been obliged after all to come by Land, for, after waiting better than a fort night expecting every day to sail, the harbour of Copenhagen froze up, (a thing which happens but very seldom) and there was no appearance of being able to get away by water in less than three weeks or a month. I left Copenhagen on Wednesday the 5th. of this month and arrived here last evening at about 5. o'clock. I expect to stay here some days, so that I shall certainly be in Holland the latter end of this month,2 where I shall wait for your orders, what to do.

[salute] I am your most dutiful Son.

[signed] J. Q. Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To J. Adams Esqr. hotel du Roy at Paris”; endorsed: “J. Q. Adams. March 14. 1783.”
1. JQA's “2”s and “4”s are easily confused, causing JA, in his docketing of this letter and in his letter to AA, 28 March, below, to read “March 14.” The same error appears in JQA, Diary, 1:174, note 1, under “Martius. 1783.” JQA's statement in his Diary entry at that { 105 } point that he reached Hamburg on 10 March, and his statement in the present letter that he had arrived “last evening,” point to 12 March as the correct date.
2. JQA did not leave Hamburg until 5 April; he reached Amsterdam on 16 April, and The Hague on 21 April (same, 1:174).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0060

Author: Shaw, Elizabeth Smith
Author: Peabody, Elizabeth Smith Shaw
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1783-03-15

Elizabeth Smith Shaw to Abigail Adams and Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] My Dear Sisters

If I had received your Letter2 an hour sooner, I could have sent you an answer the same day, viz. Thursday, by Mr. Badcock3 who dined here, and would conveyed it as far as Milton Bridge himself. But having lost this Opportunity, I must send by the Post. But since you have signified your Request to Mr. Shaw only mediately, he thinks himself entitled to make use of the same Medium in giving an answer. And I am authorised to say, that he complies, most chearfully comply's with the Request, and flatters himself he shall be able to discharge the office of Preceptor to my dear Nephews,4 (provided they will be as assiduous to be taught, as he will be to teach them) so as to give Satisfaction, not only to them, but to their Parents.
If you must put your Children from you, I think I may venture to say, they may have advantages here, which they could not have but in few Families. Two things I particularly disliked in several Families who boarded Scholars. One is giving them scanty meals, and too poor victuals—the other is of vastly more importance, as it affects their minds, and their manners. It is their being sent into the Kitchen to herd among themselves or much worse company. By this ruinous method, their whole subsequent Lives have a Tinture of awkardness, which the politeness of a Court could not wholly erradicate. By this means they imbibe low, and shocking Ideas of wit—the loud unmeaning Laugh—and every species of indelicacy. By this they conceive a low opinion of themselves, feel a consciousness of wrong, which depresses their Spirits, and makes them actually dread going into company that is really good and polite, company that would raise their thoughts, refine their manners, and embelish life with all those pleasing assiduities, which render both Sexes so agreeable to each other.
If your Children should live with us, you my dear Brother,5 and Sisters must permit us, to be the sole Arbiters of their company, and playmates. You may rely upon it, we shall endeavour to discharge our { 106 } duty towards them, with that watchfulness, and tenderness, which parental affection would dictate.
And now my Sisters we will talk about the Terms, if you please. Two Dollars pr week is the price for each of them, including their teaching. I do not know but you may think it too much but the price of necessary Articles are this spring so high, and have been so through the past winter, and alas! are still like to be so I fear, as makes it very expensive living. The uplifted sword, and not the olive-Branch is presented to our view—at least the new papers indicate War, War instead of the blessings of Peace, that we had been solacing ourselves with.6 Though no politician, I confess, I am now disappointed.
If Your Children should come, you mentioned advancing some money, it was very kind, it was like my Relations—but this offer must be refused, if it would be agreeable to pay quarterly, I hope we shall be able to supply them with every-thing nesecssary. But as I have omited purchasing anything for some time in hopes of peace, and am almost out of many things which are not to be purchased here, viz. good Tea, Chokalate or Shells,7 if you or Sister Adams have any quantity, or can purchase any quantity it may be not be disadvantagous to either, for us to take many necessaries in this way—a pound or 2 of poland Starch, for I could not bear to do up their linnen with our Cohos Flour8—will be necessary. If you should send of those articles, let an account be kept by each Sister—and charged to us. We have a sufficent supply for the present of Beef, pork, Corn, and Rye, Butter, milk &c. So that if they should come without any of the above articles, they would not suffer I hope. They shall have a good Chamber, good bed, and beding. I suppose they can all lodge together for the present, or till we can provide another bed. If they come I will speak to Mr. Marsh9 to make some sort of a Desk, or chest with draws. I wish I could step into the Vendue at Boston and procure something that would answer. Sister Adams has had one or 2 looking Glasses broke, if she would give me a peice big enough for Susa to see to do up her hair by, I will take my little Glass and put in the childrens Chamber for I suppose they will want one, to see their smiling, good natured faces in. I thank you and my Cousins10 for their kind offer of doing work for me, and for what they have done already, but unless it be sticking11 and such fine work, I am not under any present necessity, but I should be most heartily glad to have either of my Cousins come and spend some part of the summer with me. I have a very good Girl lives with me, and no babies in my arms.12
{ 107 }
Dft (DLC: Shaw Family Papers); text possibly incomplete (see note 12); notation at the top of the first page: “Mrs. Shaw. probably 1782.”
1. The year date is certain, despite the notation (desc. note, above), from the Shaws' agreement to take on the education of CA and TBA. See note 4.
2. Not found.
3. Perhaps the Milton-Braintree area figure that JA had known since 1760. “Badcock” may be a mistake for “Babcock.” See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:170; 2:101, 159.
4. Up to 1783 AA employed tutors at home for her boys, but shortly after she and/or Mary Cranch received this letter, AA put CA and TBA under the care of their uncle Rev. John Shaw (see AA to JA, 7 April, below). At the same time, Richard and Mary Cranch put their son William at the Shaws. And when JQA returned from Europe, he also studied with Rev. Shaw before entering Harvard.
Before Elizabeth's marriage in 1777, AA did not have much use for John Shaw, and as late as 1778 she expressed reservations about him (vols. 1:176, and note 1; 2:173; 3:78, and note 10). Thus AA's willingness to entrust her boys' schooling to Shaw may have marked a change in her views. Later passages in this letter also suggest the possibility that AA was concerned that her sister was in financial need, and that she and Mary Cranch were trying to help out.
5. Richard Cranch.
6. The news from Europe in the Boston press for February pointed toward peace, and culminated in the publication in the Evening Post on the 22d, of George III's 5 Dec. 1782 speech to Parliament, announcing the preliminary peace between Great Britain and the United States. Reports in early March, however, centered on the negotiations between Britain, France, and Spain, which were at a difficult stage, and in the 13 March issue of the Independent Chronicle, under “London, Jan. 7,” appeared the notice: “Jan. 7. We are assured that fresh orders have been sent to all the different offices since Friday, to accelerate every preparation for war, as if no negotiation was on the carpet.” In the same issue, under “Boston, March 13,” was the statement: “No accounts received since our last are able to determine the important matter of peace or war.—Tho' our London papers are down to the 10th of January they afford us nothing decisive; . . .” In the next few issues, Bostonians learned that peace had finally prevailed.
7. Ground mussel shells were used medicinally, externally as a drying agent, and internally for promoting perspiration during fevers (Richard M. Lederer Jr., Colonial American English, A Glossary, Essex, Conn., 1985).
8. That is, Haverhill flour. “Cohos” was an Indian term for the Haverhill region and its rivers (Dict. of Americanisms). Poland starch was probably made from Polish wheat, a highgrade European variety.
9. Probably of Haverhill; see vol. 3:319.
10. Probably her nieces, AA2, Elizabeth Cranch, and Lucy Cranch, who are often called cousins by their aunts.
11. Perhaps stitching, or embroidery.
12. The appearance of the text suggests that it may break off here. The word “arms” is written below a struck out word at the end of the last line; the end punctuation may be a comma.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0061

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-03-28

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

On the 30 Nov. our Peace was Signed. On the 28. March We dont know that you have Yet heard of it.1 A Packet Should have been Sent off. I have not yet received the Ratification of <the> my Dutch Treaty.2 I know not when I Shall be able to embark for home. If I receive the Acceptance of my Resignation, I Shall embark in the first ship, the first good ship I mean, for I love you too well, to venture my self in a bad one, and I love my own Ease to well to go in a very Small one.
I am Sometimes half afraid, that those Persons who procured the
{ 108 } | view { 109 } | view { 110 }
Revocation of my Commission3 to King George, may be afraid I shall do them more harm in America, than in England, and therefore of two Evils to choose the least and manoeuvre to get <my> me sent to London. By several Coaxing hints of that Kind, which have been written to me and given me in Conversation, from Persons who I know are employed to do it, I fancy that Something of that is in Contemplation. There is another Motive too—they begin to dread the Appointment of some others whom they like less than me. I tremble when I think of such a Thing as going to London. If I were to receive orders of that sort, it would be a dull day to me. No Swiss ever longed for home more than I do. I Shall forever be a dull Man in Europe. I cannot bear the Thought of transporting my Family to Europe. It would be the Ruin of my Children forever. And I cannot bear the Thought of living longer Seperate from them. Our foreign Affairs, are like to be in future as they have been in times past an eternal Scaene of Faction. The fluctuation of Councils at Philadelphia have encouraged it, and even good Men Seem to be Seized with the Spirit of it.
The definitive Treaty is yet delayed, and will be for any Thing I can see till Mid Summer. It may however be signed in a few Weeks. If it should be signed I could go home with the Dutch Ambassador,4 in a Frigate which will sail from the Texel in June. But So many Points are uncertain, that I cannot determine on any thing. Dont think of coming to Europe however, unless you should receive a further desire from me, which is not at all probable. My present Expectations are to pay my Respects to you, at Braintree, before Midsummer.
My dear Daughters happiness employs my Thoughts night and Day. Dont let her form any Connections with any one, who is not devoted entirely to study and to Business. To honour and Virtue. If there is a Trait of Frivolity and Dissipation left, I pray that She may renounce it, forever. I ask not Fortune nor Favour for mine, but Prudence, Talents and Labour. She may go with my Consent whenever she can find enough of these.5
My Son, has been another Source of Distress to me. The terrible Weather has made his Journey from Petersbourg very long. But I have a Letter from him at Hamborough the 14th.6 and hope he is at the Hague by this day. I am much relieved on his Account. My Charles and Thomas how are they? Fine Boys I dare Say? Let them take Care how they behave if they desire their Fathers Approbation. My Mother and your Father enjoy I hope a good Share of Health and Spirits. Mr. Cranch's Health is perfectly restored I hope, and Uncle Quincy7 and Dr. Tufts as good and as happy as ever. Why should not my Lot in { 111 } Life be as easy as theirs? So it would have been if I had been as wise as they and staid at home as they do. But where would have been our Cod and Haddock, our Bever skins Deer skins and Pine Trees?8 Alass all lost, perhaps. Indeed I firmly believe so, in a good Conscience. I cannot therefore repent of all my fatigues, Cares, Losses, Escapes, anxious Days and Sleepless nights.
Nothing in Life ever cost me so much Sleep, or made me so many grey Hairs, as the Anxiety, I have Suffered for these Three Years on the Score of these Objects. No body knows of it: Nobody cares for it. But I shall be rewarded for it, in Heaven I hope. Where Mayhew, and Thatcher and Warren9 are rewarded I hope, none of whom however were permitted to suffer so much. They were taken away from the Evil to come.
I have one favour for you to ask of Mr. Adams the President of the senate. It is that he would make a compleat Collection of his Writings and publish them in Volumes. I know of no greater service that could be rendered to the Rights of Mankind. At least that he would give you a List of them. They comprize a Period of forty Years.10 And although they would not find so many Rakes for Purchasers, as the Writings of Voltaire, they would do infinitely more good to mankind especially in our rising Empire. There Posterity will find a Mass of Principles, and Reasonings, Suitable for them and for all good Men. The Copy, I fancy would Sell to Advantage in Europe.

[salute] Yours most affectiatly and eternally.

1. On 22 Feb. the Boston Evening Post had printed George III's speech of 5 Dec. 1782 opening Parliament, which “admitt[ed America's] separation from the crown of these kingdoms,” and mentioned “provisional articles agreed upon.” The newspaper also included a separate report that the articles of peace were signed. Capt. Joshua Barney of the packet Washington, who left Lorient on 17 Jan. arrived in America with the preliminary articles on 12 March (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 7:71). Definite news of the completion of the preliminary treaty, though without the text of the articles, arrived in Boston within a few days (Boston Evening Post, 15 March). Finally, on 1 April, “by a gentleman immediately from the Southward,” Bostonians learned of the contents of the treaty (MHi Broadside Coll.).
2. The Treaty of Amity and Commerce with the Netherlands, negotiated and signed by JA on 8 Oct. 1782, was ratified by Congress on 23 Jan., but JA did not learn of its ratification until late May. See vol. 4:381; JCC, 24:64–82; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:135–136, note 1; and JA to AA, 4 Feb., and note 2, above.
3. See JA to AA, 4 Feb., and note 4, above.
4. Pieter Johan van Berckel, who sailed for America on 23 June (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:17, note 2). JA had written to van Berckel on 11 March (JA, Works, 8:46–47), congratulating him on his appointment as minister to the United States, and advising him to sail to Boston and travel overland to Philadelphia to familiarize himself with the country.
5. This sentence appears crowded into the space separating this paragraph and the next. AA quotes “whereever She can find enough of these” in her letter to Royall Tyler, 14 June, below.
6. JQA to JA, 12 March, above, whose date { 112 } JA misread (see note 1 to that letter).
7. Norton Quincy.
8. See JA to Richard Cranch, 15 Dec. 1782, and note 1, above.
9. Rev. Jonathan Mayhew (1720–1766), Boston's fiery Whig preacher, Oxenbridge Thacher (1719–1765), an ally of James Otis in the early 1760s, and Dr. Joseph Warren, twice Massacre Day orator, who died at Bunker Hill. JA had been a good friend of Thacher, and of Warren, who was the Adams' family doctor when they lived in Boston. See AA's moving letter to JA on the occasion of Warren's death (vol. 1:222–223, and note 3).
10. Samuel Adams, chosen president of the Massachusetts senate in 1781, could be said to have begun his political writings in 1743, “a Period of forty Years” prior to this letter, by arguing the affirmative in his M.A. thesis, “Whether it be lawful to resist the Supreme Magistrate, if the Commonwealth cannot be otherwise preserved.” In 1748 he began contributing political pieces to the short-lived Public Advertiser. But these early works either did not survive or cannot be positively identified, and his extant political writings begin in 1764.
The genesis for this first expression of interest by JA in seeing his second cousin's work published is not certain, but he proposed this project to Samuel directly in a letter of 5 April (NN: George Bancroft Coll.), stating, more briefly, the same reasons given in this letter. JA's weariness with Europe, his longing for retirement from public life, and perhaps a belief that his sixty-year-old cousin would soon leave the public scene, may all have contributed to a desire to see Samuel's public achievement preserved. On 10 April, in a letter to William Lee (LbC, Adams Papers), JA reiterated this desire, and gave the additional reason that the publication of Samuel Adams' works would show how important a role he had played in the Revolution. Such an edition, JA implied to Lee, would also help place the inflated reputation of Benjamin Franklin in perspective.
Samuel Adams did not respond to JA's suggestion, however, and he made no attempt to publish an edition of his writings. The only editions of his work appeared much later, the first by his grandson William V. Wells, in The Life and Public Services of Samuel Adams, Boston, 1866, 3 vols.; the fullest by Harry Alonzo Cushing, ed., The Writings of Samuel Adams, N.Y., 1904–1908, 4 vols.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0062

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-03-28

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

Peace seems to have closed all Communication with America. 'Tis a very long time since any Vessels or Letters have arrived either in France or Holland. We cannot account for this Circumstance, but upon the Supposition, that News had reached America of Negociations for Peace being opened, and that while this Business was pending the Merchant prefered a State of Inactivity to putting any thing at risque. I hope e'er this all doubts and uncertainty as to the Issue of the Negociation have ceased in America, by their having learnt that Peace is once more established. I flatter myself, that We shall soon hear again of the Arrival of some Vessels, and that the Stars and Stripes are waving with Dignity in various Parts of Europe.
England is the same kind of England now that it has been since the last Peace, as to its Pride and Wickedness. 'Tis the Misfortune of that Country to experience political Convulsions, and, what is worse, never to profit by them. The War has enfeebled, impoverished and exhausted the Nation. They wanted Peace, and they have ob• { 113 } tained it, not by dictating but by recieving the Terms of it. They dont like the Peace, and, as usual, curse the Minister who made it.1They think it far below their just Expectations, while reasonable People on the Continent concieve it to be fully equal to what they had a Right to expect. However Pride, Prejudices and particular Habits of thinking are not removed and changed in a moment. Tis hard to convince an Englishman, that he is not equal in Strength and Force to any two Foreigners, or that his Nation is not a Match for almost all the rest of the World, altho' he has daily proofs to the contrary. This is a laudable Confidence, when within moderate Bounds. But their Misfortune is to push it to a foolish and ridicilous Length. And the outrageous Condemnation of the Minister for the Peace he has made, is the Result of such kind of Opinions. By the last Accounts, Lord Shelburne and Mr. Pitt were out of Office. Fox has come in as one Secretary of State, and Lord North as the other. The Duke of Portland is Premier, Lord Stormont, Privy Seal, and the Earl of Carlisle, President of Council.2 The Rest are Northites, Rockinghamites and Bedfordites &c. a motley Crew—a promising Group for a Kingdom who was never in greater Want of the wisest Heads and most incorruptible Hearts than at present. This is a Coalition of Parties, resembling the Union that exists between Fire and Water. Of what Stamp must be the Character of a—3 and his Advisers, who dare to bring into Administration a set of Men, who were formerly driven in Disgrace from it, for having reduced and brought the Kingdom to the Brink of Destruction? A Nation, that will patiently bear such a Contempt of its feelings and Opinions, deserves every thing that can befal it. The Spirit of the Nation is not broke entirely, and I would flatter myself that there is still Vigour enough left to render another Epocha as memorable in their Annals as that of 1668;4 provided wicked Systems are pushed to the same violent Extremities. But I must stop, and beg You not to make this Letter too public, as Peace is now made. America has little to fear from any Power, while united and pursuing a wise, firm and independent System of Politicks. We must be upon our Guard, and remember that smooth Words and fair Promises are courtly Engines to extinguish a Flame that ought ever to burn, and that once quenched, the Republick is lost. We must beat down foreign Influence wherever it is found, and think ourselves capable and able of conducting and managing our Affairs ourselves, and convince other People that We think so. If We do not respect ourselves, nobody else will be very zealous in preserving our Dignity. This by the Bye.
{ 114 }
As to the Natural World, it is not without its Horrors. The beautiful City of Messina is a Heap of Ruins. An Earthquake of four days Continuance5 with intermissions only of a quarter or half an hour, accompanied with every imaginable Horror has produced this dreadful Catastrophy. Every Building public and private has been totally overthrown, and many thousands buried under their Ruins. But few Inhabitants escaped, being crushed by the Fall of the Houses, or consumed by Fire. The first Shock was on the 5th. February at noon, when there was Fires for Cooking in all the Kitchens of private Houses, which communicated to other parts of the Houses in their Fall. No Tongue or Pen can describe the Horrors of this Scene. If I had time by this Opportunity, I would copy some Accounts I have seen. But they must be faint Descriptions; strong enough however to make one dread the real Picture. I have been too much affected with the following Instance of maternal Tenderness in this aweful Scene, to omit copying it. “The Marchioness of Spadara, at the beginning of the Earthquake swooned away and had been conducted by her Husband in this Situation to the Port, where he meant to embark—whilst he was engaged in making the preparations for this purpose, the Marchioness came to herself, and percieving that her Son was not with her, She availed herself of the moment, in which her Husband was too much occupied to watch her, to escape. She ran to her House, which was not yet fallen, went up Stairs and seized her Son in the Cradle—the Stairs at this moment falling cut off her Retreat by them. She flew from Chamber to Chamber, <which tumbled in almost under her feet> with difficulty escaping the successive Falls of the different parts of her House, and went to the Balcony, become her only Asylum. She implored Assistance in holding out her Son. But in a public Disaster Pity for another is silent, and each one trembling for <himself> Self sees only its own Danger. The Fire took to the Rest of the House, and in the Midst of the Flames and Destruction, this unfortunate Victim of Maternal Love fell, crushed, still holding in her Arms the Object of her Tenderness and the Cause of her Death.” Who can refrain from weeping over this glorious Martyr to maternal Affection? The tender Heart of Portia will bleed on the Occasion. Yet will She shed a Tear of Joy, that the Dignity of human Nature still exists and that it was reserved for one of the Fair Sex to display to the World an Instance of Magnanimity and parental Tenderness, unparralleled in modern Times.
I think Master John has arrived at the Hague by this.6 He has had a long Journey of it, and been delayed often by the Badness of the { 115 } Roads. By the last Accounts he was in good Health. I fancy he will be satisfied with Journeying. He has had a pretty sufficient Share of it, and will be very glad to lay by for a time.
We have nothing new here, worth communicating, except the fine Weather. This is indeed something new. For I believe that the last fifteen Months have never been equalled since the Flood. The seasons have been turned topsy turvy. While You have been scorched in America, We have half drowned in Europe. And if any Prayers have been put up for fair Weather, I suppose they have been an Abomination, for the Rains have been very constant.
My fair Maroni is in fine Health. I visit her often and have agreable tête-à-têtes with her. I get a pious Billet-doux now and then. But the confounded Grates bar me out of her Room. 'Tis almost seven Years since She has taken the Veil. She is to Appearance perfectly content. I have not yet dared to ask her, why She bid Adieu to the World, to drag out a miserable Existence in a Convent. I fear the Question would be painful, and nothing could tempt me to disturb a Moment her Tranquility. What an insipid Existence! If they are the Retreats of disappointed Love or religious Enthousiasm, they find there their Remedies in Death or an eternal Prostration before the Altar. But the Rage for Convents has much abated, and I believe no more Tombs for the living will be built. Very modern Lovers and Enthousiasts find that there are Consolations in the wide World, and that it is not so very necessary to be immured within four dead Walls to sigh away a Disappointment or moderate the Ardor of religious Frenzy. However, God bless the dear Prisoners, I wish them all well and happy.

[salute] My affectionate Regards to Miss A. and the young Gentlemen. Respects and Love as due. With perfect Respect, I have the honor to be Madam, your very obedient humble Servant

[signed] JT
1. Parliamentary criticism of the Earl of Shelburne's preliminary peace with the United States, signed on 30 Nov., had risen to a crescendo by mid-February with pointed opposition to the ministry's concessions to America on fishing rights, the northern and western boundaries, and the rights of the loyalists, and by Parliament's reluctance to concede that American independence was now irrevocable. See Morris, Peacemakers, p. 411–422; and note 3, below.
2. William Pitt the younger failed to prevent the censure of the Shelburne ministry in the House of Commons on 21 Feb., and on 23 Feb., Shelburne resigned. For several weeks Great Britain had no settled administration, but early in April, George III reluctantly accepted a new ministry formed along the lines Thaxter gives here. Charles James Fox and Lord North became secretaries of state, with Fox handling foreign affairs, and North the home office. The Duke of Portland became first lord of the treasury, the ministry's titular “premier” (see Morris, Peacemakers, p. 421–426; DNB).
3. Thaxter's dash presumably stands for “King” or “Monarch,” that is, George III.
4. Thaxter probably means 1688, the year of { 116 } England's “Glorious Revolution,” in which an alliance of Whig noblemen and a Dutch invading force led by James II's son-in-law, William of Orange, drove James from the English throne. Thaxter could, however, be referring to Parliament's decision, in 1667, to impeach and banish Edward Hyde, the first earl of Clarendon, and Charles II's most important advisor, following England's defeat in the second Dutch war (DNB: Edward Hyde).
5. Early reports of the earthquake at Messina in Sicily appeared in the London Chronicle, 13–15 and 15–18 March, and the London Gazette, 15–18 and 18–22 March. Thaxter embellishes an account, from an unidentified source, that later appeared in Gentlemen's Magazine, May 1783, p. 439. A moving firsthand description of the devastation is Sir William Hamilton's “An Account of Earthquakes which happened in Italy, from February to May, 1783,” in New Annual Register, 1783, Philosophical Papers, p. 121–142.
6. JQA did not reach The Hague until late April.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0063

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-04-07

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Tis a long a very long time since I had an opportunity of conveying a single line to you. I have upon many accounts been impatient to do it. I now most sincerely rejoice in the great and important event which sheaths the Hostile Sword and, gives a pleasing presage that our spears may become prunning hooks;1 that the Lust of Man is restrained, or the powers and revenues of kingdoms become inadequate to the purposes of distruction.
I have had the good fortune to receive several Letters from you of late; I thank you for them; they are always too short, but I do not complain knowing the thousand avocations you must have upon your mind and Hands. Yours of December 4th, gave me the highest pleasure.

“And shall I see his face again

And shall I hear him speak”

are Ideas that have taken full possession of my Heart and mind. I had much rather see you in America, than Europe. I well know that real true and substantial happiness depend not upon titles Rank and fortune; the Gay coach, the Brilliant attire; the pomp and Etiquet of Courts; rob, the mind of that placid harmony, that social intercourse which is an Enemy to ceremony. My Ambition, my happiness centers in him; who sighs for domestick enjoyments, amidst all the world calls happiness—who partakes not in the jovial Feast; or joins the Luxurious table, without turning his mind to the plain unadulterated food which covers his own frugal Board, and sighs for the Feast of reason and the flow of <sense> soul.2
Your Letter of Janry. 29 created perturbations, yet allayed anxiety. “Your “Image your “Superscription, Your Emelia3 would tell you, if
{ 117 } | view { 118 }
she would venture to write to you upon the subject; that it was not the superficial accomplishments of danceing, singing, and playing; that led her to a favorable opinion of Selim;4 since she knew him not, when those were his favorite amusements—nor has he ever been in the practise of either, since his residence in this Town; even the former Beau, has been converted into the plain dressing Man; and the Gay volatile Youth, appears to become the studious Lawyer. Yet certain reasons which I do not chuse to enumerate here, have led me to put a present period, as far as advise and desires would go, to the Idea of a connection, to extirpate it from the Hearts and minds of either is not I apprehend in my power, voilent opposition never yet served a cause of this nature. Whilst they believe me their best Friend, and see that their Interest is near my Heart, and that my opposition is founded upon rational principals, they submit to my prohibition, earnestly wishing for your return, and more prosperous days; as without your approbation, they never can conceive themselves happy.
I will be more particular by the first direct conveyance. Mr. Guile who kept Sabbeth with me, tells me he has a vessel which will sail tomorrow for Virgina;5 and from thence to Europe, yet he knows not for certain to what part, but as this is the only opportunity since December; I would not let it slip. We are all well, our two Sons go on Monday with Billy Cranch to Haverhill; there to be under the care and tuition of Mr. Shaw who has one in his family which he offers for colledge in july. I have done the best I could with them. They have been without a school ever since janry. I tried Mr. Shutes6 but could not get them in, he having seven in his family; and four more engaged to him. Andover7 was full and so is every other private School. They do not like the thoughts of mammas going a broad, and my little Neice who has lived 5 years with me8 prays that her uncle may return, and hopes he will not send her away when he <returns> comes. This day has been our meeting for the choise of a Governour. The vote in this Town was for Genll. Lincoln. There were proposals of chuseing an absent Man,9 but I discouraged it wherever I heard it mentiond. <We want>
Be kind enough to let the young Gentlemen who reside with you know, that their Friends are well and that I will do myself the pleasure of answering their Letters by the first vessel which sails from this port.

[salute] Adieu and believe me most affectionately and tenderly yours

[signed] Portia
{ 119 }
Mr. Smith10 is to be my Gaurdian and protector if I cross the Atlantick. He comes whether I do or not. Emelia has spent the winter in Boston,11 during that time it has been currently reported that preliminary articles were setled between this gentleman and her. She took no pains to discountanance this report—but alass her Heart is drawn an other way—and Mr. S. never entertaind an Idea of the kind.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To His Excellency John Adams Minister plenipotentiary from the United States of America to the United Provinces—at the Hague or Paris”; endorsed: “Portia April 7. 1783.”
1. Micah 4:3.
2. Alexander Pope, Satires . . . of Horace, “The First Satire of the Second Book,” line 128. AA quotes this line again on 7 May and 20 Nov., below.
3. AA is paraphrasing JA's greeting to AA2 in his 29 Jan. letter to AA, above.
4. Royall Tyler. AA's reason for giving him the name of a Moorish or an Asian youth, popularized in two or more quite different eighteenth-century English stories, is unclear. See E. Cobham Brewer, The Reader's Handbook, London, 1902.
5. It may have been Benjamin Guild's vessel that carried Chandler Robbins Jr. on his longdelayed trip to Europe; see AA2 to JA, 10 May, below. On Guild, see AA2 to Elizabeth Cranch, [ca. 22 Dec. 1782], note 9, above.
6. Rev. Daniel Shute, pastor at Hingham, and friend of the Adamses from the 1760s (vol. 3:272, and note 5; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:278).
7. Phillips Academy, founded in 1778 and legally incorporated in 1780, enrolled twentyeight students in 1782, and thirty-five in 1783. They varied widely in age, but many were at the age of CA (12) and TBA (10). See Biographical Catalogue of the Trustees, Teachers and Students of Phillips Academy Andover, Andover, Mass., 1903.
8. Louisa Catharine Smith.
9. JA himself. In 1783, as in each year since 1780, John Hancock easily defeated his opponents, including James Bowdoin and Gen. Benjamin Lincoln of Hingham. See AA to JA, 7 May, below, and William M. Fowler Jr., The Baron of Beacon Hill, A Biography of John Hancock, Boston, 1980, p. 255.
10. William Smith, son of Isaac Smith Sr. and cousin of AA. Smith married Hannah Carter in 1787 (JQA, Diary, 2:288).
11. See AA2 to Elizabeth Cranch, [ca. 18 Jan.] and [ca. 27 Jan.], both above.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0064

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-04-07

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

It is now compleatly five Years, Since I first arrived in Europe, and in all that time I was never more impatient to hear from you and from America in General, than I am now and have been for some months. Not a Word, Since the Beginning of January, except a Line from your Unckle, and Scarcely any Thing Since the 26 of Oct. when I arrived in Paris.1 I have no intimation of the Arrival of my Dutch Treaties,2 four of which I put on board 4 different Vessells at Amsterdam in October. No News of Coffins Arrival who carried You, the richest Present I ever sent you from Europe.3 No News of the Reception of the Peace. No Acceptance of my Resignation. And what { 120 } is worse Still there is no Ministry in England,4 and consequently We cannot finish the definitive Treaty, and consequently I cant come home without Leave. This Life of a Spider is very unpleasant. I have been all Winter upon Tenter Hooks. Indeed I fear, We shall have no Arrivals before June or the latter End of May. If so my Fidgets must continue two months longer.
If Miss Nabby Should, be disgusted with Europe as much as I am she would repent of her Rashness in ever thinking of coming here. I hope a Commission will arrive with the first ships, to make a Treaty of Commerce with G. Britain. We have lost an admirable Opportunity of making the best Treaty for the Publick, by the Revocation of mine without sending another. Some Persons Suppose, that such a Commission will arrive to me, others to Mr. Laurens others to Dr. Franklin, others to Mr. Jay, others that Mr. A. Lee will come others that Mr. Izard will be the Man, and some that Mr. Jefferson. Of all these Persons I think myself the least likely. But still it is possible and it is certain that Congress will commit a Mistake, by appointing any other.5 But the same Influence which led them into the first Error, may continue them in it. Supposing a Commission should come to me, I am frightened at the Thought of it. How will the King and the Courtiers the City and the Country look at me? What Prospect can I have of a tollerable Life there? I shall be Slandered and plagued there, more than in France. It is a Sad Thing that Simple Integrity should have so many Ennemies in this World, without deserving one. In the Case Supposed I must go to London and reconnoitre—see how the Land lies and the faces look, before you think of coming to me. I will not stay there, to be plagued. One may soon judge. If I should find a decent Reception and a Prospect of living comfortably a Year or two there I will write for you. All this is you see upon a supposition which is improbable. It would be infinitely more agreable to my own heart to come home and quit Europe forever. At home I can take Care of my Children, to give them Education and put them into Business. If I should remain abrod my Children must suffer for it and be neglected. But in all Events I will not stay in Holland, the Air of which is totally inconsistent with my Health. I have tried it, very sufficiently. I can never be well nor enjoy myself there. In other respects I like that Country very well.
John has been taken much notice of, in his Journey from Petersbourg by Ambassadors and other People of Rank who write much in his favour, both for Prudence and Knowledge.6

[salute] Adieu my dear friend Adieu.

[signed] J.A.
{ 121 }
This will go by Mrs. Izard, who is about embarking from Bourdeaux for Philadelphia with her Family.
1. “Since the Beginning of January” could refer either to the dateline of letters sent to JA or to the date he last received letters. As far as the editors know, AA wrote on 10 Jan., above, which JA had probably not yet received, and not again until 7 April, immediately above. In late Jan., JA had received letters from AA dated 25 Oct., 13 Nov., and 23 Dec. 1782, all above (JA to AA, 22 and 29 Jan. above). The last known letters from AA's uncles are from Isaac Smith Sr., 9 Oct. 1782 (Adams Papers), and from Cotton Tufts, 10 Oct., above.
2. See JA to AA, 28 March, note 2, John Thaxter to AA, 9 Oct. 1782, note 1, and JA to AA, 12 Oct. 1782, note 2, all above.
3. The expensive cloth mentioned in JA to AA, 12 Oct. 1782, above. It was carried by Capt. Alexander Coffin (Charles Storer to AA, 17 Oct. 1782, above).
4. See John Thaxter to AA, 28 March, and note 2, above.
5. See JA to AA, 29 Jan., note 1.
6. In response to his letters of inquiry after JQA's whereabouts that he sent northward in early February (see JA to AA, 4 Feb., note 5, above), JA received several replies in March. Two from Dumas, 18 and 28 March (both Adams Papers) relayed the favorable impressions that JQA had made on several important persons at Copenhagen and Hamburg. A 28 Feb. letter from Mr. Brandenburg of Stockholm (Adams Papers), sent independently of JA's inquiries, concurred in this judgment of young JQA.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0065

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-04-11

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

There is at length a Ministry in England composed of Kings Friends and Peoples Men, which will effervesce, and throw out a great deal of fixed Air1 like Potash and Lime Juice. Mr. Laurens and Mr. Hartley2 are to be here in a few days to enter upon the definitive Treaty, but it is now probable there will be a Congress under the Mediation of the two imperial Courts at least respecting the Terms between England and Holland. Whether it will be expected that We should join in the Congress or not, I dont know.3 In any Case I am afraid it will be So long before our Affair is finished that I shall loose the Opportunity of a Spring or Summer Passage home, and a fall Passage is not so Short nor so agreable.
I have ballanced in my own mind, a long time, whether I Should take a Short Excursion to London before my Return. I Should be glad, once, to see that fine Country, but I believe I shall deny myself that Pleasure; Circumstances have placed me in an awkward Situation with regard to England, and I think upon the whole it will be most prudent to avoid it. England is in danger of being a Scaene of Confusion, and whoever shall be Sent there by Congress will not have a very pleasant Residence if he does his Duty. Yet it is in the Eyes of many, the Apple of Paradise. I See Such Symptoms of an { 122 } ardent desire of it, in Several Persons, as make me Smile very often. I wish the Commission which was once given to me and So unaccountably taken away again, had never existed. In that Case I Should never have interfered with the Appetite of any one. And I wish I was now at home, out of the Scramble. I Should not feel very reverential under Such an indignity, Such a Mark of Contempt as the Appointment of another to that Court, while I am in Europe. If I ever merited the Appointment, I have done nothing Since to forfeit it, but on the Contrary have rendered to the Publick Since that time, Such Services as were never rendered by any other Minister in Europe. The most critical, important and decisive Services, as it is in my Power at any time to prove, if Congress have not already Sufficient Proofs of it. The French Minister<s>, who procured the Revocation of my Commission, <are> is now I believe Sorry enough for it. They now see a danger of its falling into hands which they dislike and distrust more than mine, into the Hands of Gentlemen who have passed a great Part of their Lives in England, have numerous Family Connections there as well as other Friendships and Acquaintances. I have fretted and laughed, very sufficiently at the “petite Ruse,” which deprived me of the Feather, but I know it to be a Feather and I will still laugh at it, what ever becomes of it. It Seems as if, We were never to hear from America more. Not one Word, any more than if the Antlantic Islands were again Sunk, as they are fabled to have once sunk and rose again.
My dear Nabbys Felicity is near very near my Heart. I must resign her to your Prudence and the Advice of your Friends. If Coffin is arrived he carried a Present for her.4 I wish I could do more for her, but I cannot, at present.
I am again obliged to have recourse to a Saddle horse. Mr. Jay and I trot about the Environs of Paris, and Speculate about a distant Country where our hearts are. I have been in the former Part of Life so accustomed to riding, that it is become necessary to me. I attribute my Fever, in Part to a too long neglect of this Exercise. Whether I shall ever get rid of the Effects of that Fever I dont know. A Voyage home, a little Repose and rural Exercises may cure me, but I fear a European Life will never do it. My Boys I hope are good. They know not how tenderly they are beloved by their Father.
[signed] J. Adams
1. Carbon dioxide (OED).
2. After Shelburne's fall from power, Britain's new foreign secretary Charles James Fox, replaced Peace Commissioner Richard Oswald with David Hartley (Morris, Peacemakers, p. 426–427).
{ 123 }
3. On 8 Aug., commissioners for Britain, France, Spain and Holland, under the nominal mediation of representatives of the imperial courts of Austria and Russia, met in Paris to settle their final terms for peace. The Americans were not formally invited, but they had signaled their desire not to be involved with the mediators. Britain and Holland only agreed upon preliminary articles of peace on 2 Sept., the day before Britain and the United States signed their definitive peace treaty, and they did not conclude a definitive treaty until May 1784. See Morris, Peacemakers, p. 428, 434; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:100–101, note 2.
4. Dutch cloth, described in JA to AA, 12 Oct., and Charles Storer to AA, 17 Oct. 1782, both above.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0066

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Date: 1783-04-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams 2d

[salute] My dear daughter

By this time, I hope, your inclination to travel has abated, and the prospect of peace has made you more contented with your native country. You little know the difficulties of a voyage to Europe, even in time of profound peace. The elements are as unstable in peace as in war, and a sea life is never at first agreeable, nor ever without danger. In foreign countries few persons preserve their health; the difference of climate, of air, of manner of life, seldom fail to occasion revolutions in the constitution and produce disorders, very often violent, dangerous and fatal ones. Those who escape have a seasoning. Besides, the polite life in Europe is such an insipid round of head-dressing and play, as I hope will never be agreeable to you—or rather I hope you will detest it as beneath the character of a rational being, and inconsistent with the indispensable duties of life, those of a daughter, wife, or mother, and even those of a sister, friend, or neighbour.
Policy, which is but another word for imposture in these countries, encourages every species of frivolity and dissipation on purpose to divert people from reading and thinking. But in our country every encouragement ought to be given to reading and thinking, and, therefore, diversions should be very sparingly indulged.
You are now of an age, my dear, to think of your future prospects in life, and your disposition is more thoughtful and discreet than is common. I need not advise you to distinguish between virtues and amusements, between talents and fancy.
Your country is young, and advancing with more rapid strides than any people ever took before. She will have occasion for great abilities and virtues to conduct her affairs with wisdom and success. Your sex must preserve their virtue and discretion, or their brothers, husbands, and sons will soon lose theirs. The morals of our country are a sacred { 124 } deposit, and let every youth, of either sex, beware that no part of the guilt of betraying it belongs to him.
Look not for fortune, honours, or amusements, these are all but trash. Look for the virtues of good citizens and good men; with these the others will do little good or no harm; without them they are nothing but vexation and a scourge.
I please myself with the fond hope of conversing with you soon at home. Your brother was at Hambourg on the 4th of April, but I hope is at the Hague by this time.1

[salute] Your affectionate father,

[signed] John Adams
MS not found. Printed from (AA2, Jour. and Corr., 2:22–24.)
1. JA had probably received the letters from Lagau, and from Parish & Thomson, both dated 4 April, at Hamburg (both Adams Papers), by this date, informing him that JQA was still in that city but would leave soon.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0067

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-04-16

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

It Seems as if Providence had ordered many Things for the last Months, in Such a manner as to put my Patience and Resignation to the Tryal. I dont know whether Jobs Tryals were more Severe. 1. Mr. John who was to have been at the Hague by Christmas has been detained at Stockholm, Copenhagen and Hamborough at which last Place he was on the 4. of this month, you may imagine my Anxiety about him. 2. Your Letters concerning Miss N. have given me as much Concern as they ought—not knowing the Character2 nor what to advise, but feeling all a Fathers Tenderness, longing to be at home that I might enquire and consider and take the Care I ought. 3. The Uncertain State of Things in England, leaving me idle, with nothing to do but Think of my Situation. 4. The Want of Intelligence from America, in Answer to the most important Dispatches both to the public and to me which ever crossed the seas, not one Word yet. 5. Standing here in Relation with two Personages at least in whom I can have no Confidence.3 Mr. Jay has been my only Consolation. In him I have found a Friend to his Country, without Alloy. I shall never forget him, nor cease to love him, while I live. He has been happier than I, having his Family with him, no Anxiety for his Children, and his Lady with him, to keep Up his Spirits. His Happiness in this particular, has made me more unhappy for what I know under the Seperation from mine.
In answer to one of your Letters,4 I assure you that all the Money { 125 } I advanced to the Prisoners in England was out of my own Pocket. I had at that time no Public Money in my Power. So that it may be paid to you if it is ever paid at all.
I am afraid that all the Money you have laid out in Vermont Lands is lost.5 You can ill afford it, I assure you. You are destined to be poor in your old Age, and therefore the more perfectly you reconcile your self to the Thought of it the better. Your Children have no Resource but in their own Labour. They will have this Advantage, they may labour a little for themselves, more than their Father could ever do, without betraying Trusts which it was his duty to Accept.

[salute] Adieu my dearest Frd Adieu.

1. No evidence survives to suggest whether this letter or the one immediately following was composed first.
2. Royall Tyler.
3. Probably Benjamin Franklin and either Henry Laurens or the Comte de Vergennes.
4. That of 25 Oct. 1782, above; see note 8.
5. The editors are unaware of any information JA had in 1783 that AA's Vermont investment was unsound, although he was cool toward the idea from his first knowledge of it. See JA to AA, 12 Oct. 1782, note 6, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0068

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-04-16

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

If Congress when they revoked my Commission had appointed another to make a Treaty of Commerce with Great Britain, We should have had the Business all done on the 30 of Nov. Shelburnes Ministry would not have been condemned in the H. of Commons, and the definitive Treaty would have been signed before now and I Should be ready to embark for the Blue Hills, where I must go to recover my health, repose my Spirits, take a little Care of my Sons and Daughter, and be made much of, by their Mother.
My last Voyage and Residence in Europe has broken me very much. Millions of Contrivances are used, by some invisible Spirit, with Arrows shot in darkness to render an honest Mans Life uncomfortable to him, in every Part of Europe. In England the only Place where I could go with honour, I should live the Life of a Man in a Barrell Spiked with Nails. The Vanity, Pride, Revenge, of that People, irritated by French and Franklinian Politicks, would make it Purgatory to me. I sometimes feel Seriously afraid that Congress will send me, a Credence to that Court. I should be terrified at the sight of such a Thing.
{ 126 }
My Health, to Speak to you Seriously, demands a Voyage home, my native Air and Repose from Business. You know very well that those Remedies alone have heretofore saved my Life.1 The Consequences of that Amsterdam Fever, are still upon me in Swelled Ankles, Weakness in my Limbs, a Sharp humour in my Blood, lowness of Spirits, Anxieties &c. I exercise every day on horse back or on foot, and take every Precaution in my Power, but all does not avail.
I begin to suspect that french and franklinian Politicks will now endeavour to get me sent to England, for two Reasons, one that I may not go to America where I should do them more Mischief as they think than I could in London. 2. That the Mortifications which they and their Tools might give me there might disembarrass them of me sooner than any where.
Is it not Strange and Sad that Simple Integrity should have so many Ennemies? that a Man should have to undergo so many Evils merely because he will not betray his Trust? If I would have given up the Fisheries and Illinois and Louisiana and Ohio, I might have had Gold snuff Boxes, Clappings at the Opera, I dont mean from the Girls, millions of Paragraphs in the Newspapers in praise of me, Visits from the Great, Dinners Wealth, Power Splendor, Pictures Busts statues, and every Thing which a vain heart, and mine is much too vain, could desire. Mais Je ne Sçais pas, me donner aux tells Convenances et Bienseances.
I have found by Experience, that in this Age of the World that Man has an awfull Lot, who “dares to love his Country and be poor.”2
Liberty and Virtue! When! oh When will your Ennemies cease to exist or to persecute!
Our Country will be envied, our Liberty will be envied, our Virtues will be envied. Deep and subtle systems of Corruption hard to prove, impossible to detect, will be practised to sap and undermine Us and the few who penetrate them will be called suspicious, envious, restless turbulent ambitious—will be hated unpopular and unhappy.
But a Succession of these Men must be preserved, for these are the salt of the Earth. Without these the World would be worse than it is. Is not this after all the noblest Ambition. Such Ambition is Virtue. Cato will never be Consull but Catos Ambition was sublimer than Caesars, and his Glory and even his Catastrophy more desirable.
I have Sometimes painted to myself my own Course for these 20 Years, by a Man running a race upon a right line barefooted treading among burning Ploughshares, with the horrid Figures of Jealousy Envy, Hatred Revenge, Vanity Ambition, Avarice Treachery Tyranny { 127 } Insolence, arranged on each side of his Path and lashing him with scorpions all the Way, and attempting at every Step to trip up his Heels.
I have got through, however to the Goal, but maimed scarrified and out of Breath.
1. JA may have in mind his removal from Boston to Braintree in April 1771 and his journey to take the waters at Stafford Springs, Conn., in May-June, both done to improve his health, which he thought threatened by Boston air and the press of his legal practice (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:15–35; 3:296). He may also be remembering his journeys home from Congress in 1775 (twice), 1776, and 1777. JA did not record any concern over his health on the occasion of his previous return from Europe, in 1779.
2. Alexander Pope, “On His Grotto at Twickenham,” last line, slightly altered.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0069

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-04-18

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

For about three Weeks in the Time of Lent, the Play Houses are shut up, on account of its being a Season for the Care (not Cure) of Souls. To a City so much accustomed to Amusements as Paris, this is a Time of Mourning and Sadness. Horse racing and Bull baiting have been invented to fill up a part of this Interval of Sorrow. But what is called the Fête des longs Champs, or long Fields, is the most brilliant. About five Miles from Paris, there is a Place by the Name of Longs Champs, where formerly there was a Chapel, to which the Citizens and others peregrinated in this holy Time, to hear Mass. They made this Pilgrimage three times a Year, on the 16. 17. and 18th. of April.1 But as all human Institutions are imperfect and perpetually subject to Change, even this holy one has not been exempt from the common Lot. From a Pilgrimage to hear the word of God and sing his Praises, it has been metamorphosed into a Procession, to shew elegant Carriages, splendid Liveries and Equipage, &c. &c. Whether the Transition is natural or not, I am not to determine, but I believe one to be quite as rational as the other. They are both ridiculous enough. Upon the whole, I think the Procession much more sensible than the Pilgrimage. I am an Enemy to all Pilgrimages, except those which a Lover is obliged to make to a distant Mistress. There is good Sense in this, but to travel under Pretence of praying to this Saint or that Apostle, is a mere blind, and a villanous Tax on the Charity of the benevolent, given to the Drones of Society. But to return to Longs Champs—I went yesterday to see the Procession. All the Beauties of the Court and City were there,
{ 128 } { 129 }
many of them in elegant Carriages, with Horses beautifully harnessed, and Servants in Livery. There were several thousand Carriages. The Crowd of People was immense. There were all Sorts of Characters of both Sexes. A ragged Coachman, an old or dirty Carriage or a slovenly ill dressed Servant, were objects of Ridicule and Hissing. It was diverting enough to hear the Speeches that were made yesterday, and to see the different Effects they produced on different Characters. The Crowd press so near the Carriages as they pass, that one hears every Observation they make on Men, Women, Servants, Horses and Carriages. Whoever can brave Laughter and Ridicule may venture out with an old Coach and poor Horses, but the bashful and timid had better remain at home. In one word, they are three days of Show of new Carriages, new Harness for Horses and new Livery for Servants. There is a kind of Emulation and Rivalry among them. And very often a Miss surpasses every one in Elegance and Brilliancy. Last Year, I was told, there appeared a Miss, in an elegant Carriage drawn by six superb Horses. She so far exceeded in Grandeur and Splendor every one else, that She was forbid ever appearing at Longs Champs again. I dare say, You will think this Circumstance a sufficient Comment on the whole Business, and that it is unnecessary to give any Opinion about the Matter. There are Hints enough as to Origin, Change and present Stage of the Amusement of Longs Champs. Your own Reflections will be infinitely more judicious than any I can make, and therefore I will be silent as to the Impressions this Entertainment has made on my Mind. I am happy to close this Account of the Entertainment of yesterday, by informing You, that notwithstanding the Crowd of Gentlemen on Horseback and Carriages was so prodigious, yet the excellent Arrangement of the Foot Soldiers and Dragoons was such, that not a single Accident happened. This was the Work of the Police, who at other Times experience as large a Share of Maledictions as any Class of People whatever.
Mr. Laurens arrived here yesterday from London. Mr. Hartley is daily expected in Town to finish the definitive Treaty of Peace with America. I am afraid the American Ministers will have a verbose Negociation; Mr. Hartley being well gifted in Speech, and much addicted to talking. The plain, honest good Sense of Mr. Oswald is worth more than all the fine spun speculative Speeches of Mr. H. However it is said the new Ministry means to close the Business liberally, and it is to be hoped Mr. Hartley will be equally well disposed to it. Your dearest Friend is almost wearied out in waiting { 130 } here for the final Arrangement of the definitive Treaty. But I am not sorry he is here, as he enjoys his Health better in this City than in Holland, and as the Weather is now very fine. I am persuaded, I should have never recovered in Holland, and should have returned home last Fall, if it had not have been for our Journey here.2 It was an agreable Change, and I hope never to spend more Time in Holland than just enough to prepare to embark for America, if I should go from thence.
The latest Letter I have from home was in Novr. last. I am anxious to recieve News from thence, but am very patient. I expect Budgets by the next Ships, at least I hope for a large Number of Letters.

[salute] Remember me to all Friends, particularly to your Family. I have the honor to be, with perfect Respect and Esteem, Madam, your most obedient & most humble Servant.

[signed] JT
1. Thaxter's dates are misleading. The promenade to Longchamps occurred each year at the end of the Lenten season, on the Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday before Easter, with the grandest parade on Good Friday. Compare Thaxter's description here with the Adams' description of the same event held on 23–25 March 1785: AA to Elizabeth Cranch, 8 May 1785, below; AA2, Jour. and Corr., 1:62–63; and JQA, Diary, 1:238–239.
2. Thaxter was ill in Holland sometime in 1781, and again from May to Aug. 1782 (vol. 4:249, 333, 354, 359, 363).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0070

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-04-22

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

[salute] Honoured Sir

I arrived here in very good health yesterday morning at about 6. o'clock, after having spent some days at Amsterdam. I found here a letter from you,1 by which you leave to my choice to stay here [or]2 go to Leyden: if you return to America this summer I think I had best stay here; because, if I go to Leyden; I shall only stay there a few weeks at most. You advise me yourself to stay here until you return.
Mr. D[ana] gave me when I left him two letters; one for you,3 and the other for Mr. Livingston4 which he enjoined me to deliver into your hands myself; but he has since wrote me to give the one for Mr. Livingston, to Mr. Ingraham, to be forwarded to America, but he forbids me absolutely to send yours by the post.5 I hope however to see you pretty soon here, as Mr. Oswald is said to be at present at Paris, to finish the Definitive treaty of Peace.

[salute] I am your Dutiful Son

[signed] J. Q. Adams
{ 131 }
1. Of 18 Feb., above.
2. Lost when the seal was cut out.
3. That dated 15 Oct. 1782, marked “Secret & confidential,” and endorsed by JA: “Letter by my Son” (Adams Papers). The date is evidently old style (26 Oct. N.S.), from the dating of other letters around it in Dana's letterbook. The text is in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:815–817.
4. Probably that dated 14 Oct. 1782, O.S., in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:812–814.
5. See Dana to JQA, 1 Nov. 1782, N.S. (Adams Papers, filed and filmed under 21 Oct., O.S.). Dana repeated his injunctions on 21 Nov. 1782 (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0071

Author: Lee, Arthur
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-04-23

Arthur Lee to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

I arrived in Philadelphia this day1 and had the honor of receiving your Commands of the 9th.2 Tho' we were exceedingly desirous of the assistance of Mr. Adams in what yet remains to be done in Europe; yet his Letters were so pressing, that the Committee to whom they were referrd coud not resist reporting in favor of his resignation.3 Congress have not yet considerd that report; but I think Madam, you may rely upon it, that leave will be given as he requests.
I shall participate with you in the pleasure of his return, after so long a sacrifise as he has made to the peace and prosperity of this Country. Her gratitude will I hope never forget, the essential services he has renderd. A french frigate, that left France, the beginning of March, arrivd here two days since;4 but did not bring one line for Congress. We learn however, that the general Treaty was not then settled.

[salute] I have the honor to be with the truest sentiments of respect & esteem, Dear Madam, Yr. most Obedt. & most humbl. Servt.

[signed] Arthur Lee
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Abigail Adams. Braintree near Boston”; franked: “Free A. Lee”; postmarked: “23 AP”; stamped: “FREE.”
1. Lee, serving in Congress since his election in Dec. 1781, had taken a brief trip to Virginia on 2 April (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 7:lxxvii, 121).
2. Not found. In her letter to JA of 7 April, above, AA noted receiving JA's letters of 4 Dec. 1782, and 29 Jan., both above; JA's announcement in those letters of his request to Congress to resign his post apparently prompted AA to ask Lee whether Congress would honor JA's request. JA had directed AA on 4 Feb., above, to make such an enquiry, but AA did not receive this letter until 6 May (AA to JA, 7 May, below). AA probably wrote to Lee, whom she had met in Sept. 1780 (vol. 3:406), because James Lovell had left Congress and Elbridge Gerry had not yet arrived there (see AA to JA, 28 April, below).
3. Lee was a member of the committee that recommended that JA's resignation be accepted. On Congress' response, see JA to AA, 4 Dec. 1782, note 1, above.
4. The Active arrived at Chester, Penna., on 21 April (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 7:145).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0072-0001

Author: Ronnay, Chevalier de
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-04-26

The Chevalier de Ronnay to Abigail Adams, with a Contemporary Translation

[salute] Madame

Ce jour tant désiré est à la fin arrivé, la paix a couronné vos voeux et les nôtres. Ce fléau si dangereux s'est donc éloigné pour longtems de votre hémisphère, et peut être pour peu du nôtre. Ce même jour qui a fait mes délices, m'a en même tems fait perdre tout espoir de revoir L'Amérique continentale: mon devoir, mon intérêt personnel et l'amitié que je porte à un pere, à une mere et à des parents qui me chérissent sont les puissants motifs qui reglent ma conduite. L'attachement que j'avois et que j'aurai toujours pour nos alliés de L'Amérique, m'avoit fait desirer d'aller leur aider à cueillir des Loriers que Bellona1 fait moissonner; mais la paix si nécessaire, a changé mes projets; je lui en veux cependant de m'avoir éloigné à jamais de personnes que j'aurois été enchanté de revoir. C'est, me direz vous, le sort d'un militaire, aujourd hui en paix, demain en guerre, tantôt auprès d'une épouse cherie tantôt dans les combats, tantôt à Paris tantôt à pondicheri, il doit s'attendre à tout et y être disposé. Croyez je vous prie le contraire. Son ame habituée à sentir continuellement n'est que mieux disposée pour sentir nouvellement et souvent avec plus de force.
La mémoire ce Beau présent de la nature qui nous cause de grands maux et de grands plaisirs fait sur nous plus d'effect que sur personne. Je crains bien que cette lettre hazardée ne vous parvienne pas car je me rappelle que vous m'avez fait l'honneur de me dire qu'au printems vous deviez avec Melle. Adams aller rejoindre Mr. Adams en Hollande j'ai l'espoir que la paix fera changer vos projets et que mon épitre vous parviendra: l'occasion qui s'est présentée m'a forcé d'en profiter.
Je me rappelle avec tant de plaisir des momens où j'ai eu le bonheur de jouir Votre Compagnie ainsi que de celle de Melle. Adams;2 Serai-je assez heureux! pour qu'elle veuille se rappeller celui à qui elle a inspiré des sentimens inéfaçables. J'ai été très malheureux depuis que j'ai eu la douleur de vous quiter, cette époque a été pour moi le Signal de l'infortune. J'ai en sortant de Po[r]tsmouth3 failli perir sur les roches dans la rivière de Piscatakoa, le vaisseau a été en danger pendant demie heure. Le lendemain de notre depart qui étoit le trente un décembre nous avons couru les mêmes risques, en { 133 } éprouvant un Coup de Vent du sud-est qui nous mettoit infailliblement à la côte s'il n'eut diminuée et changé de direction. A la hauteur des Bermudas il est revenu avec plus de force, a endommagé notre mâture et nous a mit sans Voiles.
En allant pour embouquer sous le Vent d'Antigues nous avons eut un Combat avec Le St. Léandre vaisseau de Cinquante anglois, notre mauvais état nous a empêché de manoeuvrier, et sa marche supérieure l'a sauvé. Il a été assez mal traité dans les trois quarts d'heure que nous l'avons combattu, et a été forcé de faire route pour La Jamaique. Nous avons eu sept hommes tués et vingt quatre Blessés. Nous sommes arrivés à Porto Cabello dans la terre firme espagnole4 le vingt six de janvier. L'escadre de Mr. Le Marquis de Vaudreuil y est arrivée en differens tems. Le trois fevrier le vaisseau de 74 La Bourgougne a fait côte sur La Pointe de Koro sous le vent de Porto Cabello par la latitude de Curacao, c'est un événement si déplorable que je n'ose vous en donner aucuns détails, il suffit que vous appreniez qu'il y a peri dix officiers et deux cens hommes et de tout le vaisseau on n'a sauvé que 700 hommes.5
Le pluton est arrivé au Cap6 le 11 et l'escadre le 14 elle est prête à partir, et moi je Vais encore rester quelque tems au Mole St. Nicolas après quoi le régiment recevra ordre de passer en france où je le suivrai avec grand plaisir.
Si dans ce pays La, Madame, je puis vous être uttile ou à Melle. Adams mettez moi à même de reconnoîe les honnêtetés que vous m'avez faites, des livres françois pourroient peut être Vous Convenir, la voye de Bordeaux ou de Nantes m'offriroit les moyens de vous en faire passer.

[salute] Je suis avec respect Madame Votre très humble et très obeissant Serviteur

[signed] Le Chev. de Ronnay7
Je prie Melle. Adams d'agréer l'assurance de mon respect.8

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0072-0002

Author: Ronnay, Chevalier de
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-04-26

The Chevalier de Ronnay to Abigail Adams: A Translation

[salute] Madam

The much-desired day is at last arrived: Peace hath crowned both your Wishes and Ours. The dangerous Scourge of War is removed for a long time from your Hemisphere; and, perhaps, for a little while from ours. But This delightfull Period has, at the same time, taken from me all Hope of seeing again the Continent of America. My duty, { 134 } my personal Interest, and the Love that I bear to my Parents and dear Friends, are so many powerfull Motives for regulating my Conduct. The Attachment that I had, and always shall have for our american Allies, made me desirous of helping them, in gathering the Laurels, that were there to be reaped in the Field of Bellona.1 But that Peace, which was so much wanted, has changed my Plan, and I acquiesce tho' it removes me forever from those who I should otherwise have visited again with transports of Joy.—You will tell me perhaps that it is the Lot of a Soldier to be one Day in Peace, and the next in War, now at home with the dear Partner of his Life, Tomorrow in the Field of Battle; one while at Paris, and the next at Pondicherry: He ought to be ready and prepared for every Event. View him, madam, on the other side; his Soul habituated to feel continually, is thereby but so much the more disposed and open to the reception of new and more forcible Impressions. Memory, that noble Gift of Nature, the source of so many Sorrows and so many Pleasures, affects us more than it does others.—I am fearfull that this Letter, sent as it were at Hazard, will not reach you, as I remember you did me the Honour of telling me that you, with Miss Adams, intended in the Spring, to go and meet Mr. Adams in Holland. I hope however that the Peace may have alter'd your Plan, and that my Letter may come to hand. The Oportunity that offer'd could not be neglected by me.
I recall, with Pleasure, the Moments when I had the Honour of being in Company with you and Miss Adams.2 Shall I ever be so happy as <to find in her Breast> that she should daign to awake in her Mind a Remembrance of Him <whom> whose Breast she has inspired with the <tenderest> most indelible Sentiments! I have been very unhappy since I left America; that Epocha was to me the <summer> season of Misfortune. I had3 like to have perished on the Rocks in Piscataqua River, the Ship was in danger about half an Hour. On our departure the next day, which was the 31st. of December, we were in like danger from a Gale of Wind from the South-East, which would infallibly have cast us on Shore if the Wind had not lower'd and veer'd about. In the Lat: of Bermudas the Storm return'd with greater violence, damaging our Masts and Rigging, and carrying off our Sails. In passing to leeward of Antigua, we had an Engagement with an English 50 Gun Ship, (Leandre). The dammage we had sustained prevented our working our Ship, and the Enemy being in better condition for sailing, got away. She was pretty roughly handled by us for the three Quarters of an Hour that we engaged, and was forced to put away for Jamaica. We had seven men kill'd and 24 wounded. We { 135 } arrived at Porto Cabello on the Spanish Main,4 the 3 of Feby. The Burgoyne [Bourgogne] of 74 Guns ran a shore on Point De Koro, to leeward of Porto Cabello in the Lat: of Currecoa [Curaçao]; This is an Event so shocking that I cannot give you a detail of it, it is sufficient to tell you that Ten Officers and 200 Men perished, and that but 700 Men were saved out of the whole Crew.5 The Pluto arrived at the Cape6 the 11th. and the Squadron the 14th. Instant and is ready to sail. As for my self I am to stay for some time at St. Nichola-Mole, after which the Regiment will be order'd to France, where I will accompany it with great Pleasure. If in that Country, Madam, I can be of any Service to you or Miss Adams, do be so kind as to put me in a Capacity of acknowledging the Civilities that I received from your Family. Perhaps Books in our Language may be agreeable to you.
Bordeaux and Nantes will afford me Oportunities of sending to you.

[salute] I am with Respect, Madam your most humble and most obedient Servant

[signed] Le Chevr. De Romsay7
I beg Miss Adams to accept the assurance of my Respects.8
Underneath I have added my Address. You may write in English, I can read it.
A Monsieur, Monsieur De Romsay Officier au Regiment d'Armagnac en Garnison à tout dans les Evechés à tous.
RC (Adams Papers). Translation in Richard Cranch's hand (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree.”
1. The Roman goddess of war.
2. The underlining in the translation is presumably by Cranch. In the following sentence, shown by the deletions, he at first attempts a freer, more poetical rendering of Ronnay's French, and then returns to his quite literal style of translation.
3. Cranch does not translate “en sortant de Po[r]tsmouth.”
4. Cranch garbles this passage by omitting “le vingt six de janvier. L'escadre de Mr. Le Marquis de Vaudreuil y est arrivée en differens tems,” and then placing “Le trois fevrier” with Ronnay's arrival, rather than with the wreck of the Bourgogne.
5. The expression “peri . . . deux cens hommes et de tout le vaisseau on n'a sauvé que 700 hommes” seems odd, but Ronnay's number is clear and unmistakable. The locations that Ronnay mentions—Puerto Cabello and the “Pointe de Koro” (the Paraguaná Peninsula)—are on the Venezuelan coast, SE and SW of Curaçao.
6. Cap Français (now Cap Haïtien, Haiti), on the north coast of Hispaniola. Mole St. Nicolas, mentioned in the next sentence, is west of Cap Français, at the western extremity of the same coast. Lester J. Cappon, ed., Atlas of Early American History, The Revolutionary Era 1760–1790, Princeton, 1976.
7. This signature is quite clear; “Romsay” is Cranch's error.
8. Ronnay's text ends here. The additional material in Cranch's translation is probably based on text written on a separate, enclosed sheet.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0073

Author: Storer, Charles
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-04-26

Charles Storer to Abigail Adams

The last Evening's news, Madam, has made me somewhat anxious on your Account. We heard of the arrival of Captain Barney, in the Packett-Washington, at Philadelphia. By him Mr. Adams wrote to you advising to come to Europe.1 After the departure of Captn. Barney from hence, Mr. A. changed his mind and sent Counter-advice to L'Orient, in hopes of sending it by the same vessell.2 Whether these last letters have reached you or not I cannot say. If they should not, I fear it may occasion you some trouble in making preparations for embarking. Some other letters, on the same subject, were sent to different Sea-ports,3 but whether they have been duly forwarded or not I cannot tell. However, I have mentioned the matter in several of my Papa's letters, which I hope will arrive with timely intimation respecting your embarkation.
Negotiation, Madam, is again coming on the Carpet. Mr. Hartley, (whom probably you know thro' Mr. Adams,) is arrived here4 and appears disposed to close all matters as liberally, as amicably and as speedily as possible. However, be his wish ever so good, as Matters do not depend solely on him, the business may be spun out yet to a great length. The unsettled, divided state, and heterogeneous Ministry we see in England, favor this opinion.
The public Accounts from London savour not of prosperity to the Kingdom. Three or four violent parties divide the Nation, and opposition is made for opposition – sake – or, for a worse purpose, striving at the mastery. The People are complaining for want of a final Settlement of Affairs and for an arrangement in the Commercial line. With the people at large, to very heavy taxes, is added almost a famine, on account of the very extraordinary year past. Such is the Nation at this moment. The latter grievance may be remedied, but their political prospect is not easily cleared up. Some very black Clouds hang over them, deeply charged with various evils, and should they descend too low may shake the Kingdom to its very foundation—in other words, their public debt is so monstrous, their sources of raising taxes so nearly exhausted, yet their debt encreasing, so violent is the party rage among the higher order, and on the other hand, the frequent meetings of the People at large, County-assemblies, (they have no Committees of Correspondence yet,) and the Clamours of the { 137 } Nation for a more equal representation, all these opposite Circumstances must terminate in something—and something extraordinary. In short, they are upon the eve of Revolution, which will be very important in its Consequences. Other Revolutions, in other places, are doubtless involved in our grand Revolution, but these Mr. A. says are not yet to be spoke of.5 An extensive revolution begun is not easily averted.
We have been daily wishing for letters from America, on public, as well as private Accounts. Much is depending on both. Compliments, if you please, to Miss Adams, with very best wishes.
Let me request you to present my Respects [to all? >my] friends in your neighborhood and quarter, and to be [ . . . ] I am, with much esteem, Madam, Yrs.
[signed] C. Storer
P.S. Mr. W. Warren has been sailed this sometime for America, from Marseilles.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams, Braintree, near Boston.” Several words lost where the seal was removed.
1. 8 Nov. 1782, above. Capt. Barney did not leave France with this letter until 17 Jan., arriving in Philadelphia on 12 March (Pennsylvania Gazette, 19 March).
2. These could have been JA's letters of 4 and 28 Dec. 1782, both above, which could have reached Barney before his departure, and that of 22 Jan., above, written too late, but whether any of these three letters were forwarded to Capt. Barney is not known. JA probably wrote at least one other letter, of about 1 Dec. 1782, that has been lost (see JA to AA, 4 Dec. 1782, note 3, above).
3. These could include any of the letters mentioned in note 2, above, and others of 29 Jan., and 4, 18, and 27Feb., all above. From 29 Jan., JA consistently advised AA not to come to Europe unless his revoked commission to negotiate a commercial treaty with Britain was honorably restored.
4. Hartley received his commission on 18 April, arrived in Paris on 24 April, and wrote to JA on Friday, 25 April (Adams Papers), offering to meet him and his colleagues at JA's lodgings on Sunday, 27 April. JA briefly describes this meeting in his Diary (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:112).
5. The reference is obscure, but JA may have expected a revolution in Dutch politics as early as 1783. When the Dutch Patriot party attempted major reforms a few years later, he followed their efforts with keen interest, especially during his Aug.–Sept. 1786 visit to Holland, during the highpoint of the Patriot movement. By 1787, however, conservative forces had swept the Patriot party from power throughout the Netherlands. JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:201–202, note 1, 211, note 2.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0074

Author: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Recipient: Thaxter, John
Date: 1783-04-27

Abigail Adams 2d to John Thaxter

Opportunities of conveyance from America have for these many Months past been so seldom, that it would be unpardonable to omit the present, my good Will being so greatly indebted. Allow me to judge; and the intrinsick value, will by no means balance the account.
{ 138 }
We have been in the disagreeable state of uncertainty and expectation, balancing between hopes and fears, for this long time; and are by no means confirmed as yet. Pappa's letters have so contradicted each other that we know not what to judge, by his last date of Feb 18, I suppose it is his intention to return home immediately without waiting to hear from Congress, Mamma thinks otherwise. We have in the week past had a report from N. York, that Mr. Jay had arived at Phyladelphia.1 Some persons supposed it might be pappa—but yesterday the account was contradicted. I wrote you a forghtnight since by a vessel of Mr. Guilds that was going a roundabout way.2 Whether you will receive it or not is uncertain, some reasons induce me to wish you never may—and yet I wish you to know that we have not been inattentive when any conveyance has offered.
Peace is again restored to our Country. Tis not received with so great a degree of joy and gladness as could have been expected, or as so important an event demands. The political World have been balancing in their minds with regard to the certainty of it, not having received satisfactory accounts till very lately.
Mamma has thought it best to put my Brothers under the care of Mr. Shaw at Haverhill which has deprived us, of a very agreable part of our family. Charles a sweet boy was just become a companion: and enlivened many a solitary moment, but Mamma consulted their advantage; twas hard to part with them, we are now but five in family—except honest puss and sparder.3 Dont you think this is an interesting detail of events to communicate many thousand Miles. Braintree I assure you looks more solitary than ever; we have generally had some person as a preceptor for the young gentlemen, and we have been fortunate in meeting with those who were agreeable. My Brothers absence deprives us even of this privilege. The general determination is to convert the great House at Germantown4 into a Monastry and <in our own distress?> all turn Nuns. Miss Paine is to be Lady Abbess, and parson W[ibird] has offered to become professor. However we chose a person not quite so advanced and have had the offer of one—very agreable, “he is the professor and practitioner of Urbanity.” He proposes following the King of Prussia's late example. After a certain short time, to absolve the assembly of Nuns and take one under his immediate protection,—a good plan is it not? We expect however; when you long absent gentlemen return, that you will at least make use of some very powerfull arguments with some of us, to change our situation. Twill be unpardonable if you should disappoint our hopes and expectation.
{ 139 }
I have scribled away at a curious rate. I had nothing particular to say when I took my pen, but to indeavour, by Words only, to make some little return for your past kindness. I have not succeeded to my wishes, a perusal will only augment the mortification of having said nothing better.
The situation of our friends at Germantown is realy disagreable, tis hard that so great a share of excellence as there exists; should be so <deluded> clouded by misfortunes and unhappiness,5 but we cannot account for the various causes of events. Those that are fraught with happiness do not claim so great a degree of our amaizement and surprize, as the contrary. “The Ways of heaven are dark and intricate.”
I believe tis a happiness to have arived at that state of mind in which we can look calmly and composedly on all the events of fortune, and meet its decrees without repining. This is seldom attained by youth for where it does exist in young minds there is generally a want of that sensibility and feeling, which, constitutes it a virtue.
Not one word have we heard from my Brother John these many, many, months, I feel as if he was lost almost. Sincerely and ardently do I wish for the period to arive when this family, Now so widely seperated; shall be again collected. I anticipate the many future scenes with pleasure and my imagination sometimes, perhaps always, leads me beyond my reason. At times I feel very impatient, that there is not a prospect of its being at an earlyer period than I am allowed to expect. Whenever you shall receive this, make my compliments to Mr. Storer—and permit me to subscribe your young friend
[signed] A Adams
I must ask Miss D—6 pardon for not long ere this acknowledging the receipt of the pincushing. As you have desired to be permitted to communicate any returns I shall make to her, I authorize you, to present to her my best compliments, and thank her for this mark of attention to one unknown to her, and in that way which shall be most acceptable to the young Lady acknowledging you to be a better judge than I possibly can.
RC (Private owner, Boston, 1957); endorsed in the margin of the last page: “Miss Adams 27. April 1783.”
1. Jay did not return to the United States until the summer of 1784.
2. Letter not found.
3. See AA to Charles Storer, 28 April, below. Since AA there counts two domestics among her five, “puss” and “sparder” were evidently pets.
4. Gen. Joseph Palmer's home in Braintree's Germantown section, called “Friendship Hall” as a tribute to Palmer's generous { 140 } hospitality (Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy, p. 488).
5. Gen. Palmer's financial difficulties, which would soon become acute, were probably already evident by 1783. AA2 may also be referring to the tragic death of Elizabeth Palmer's fiancé, and cousin, Nathaniel Cranch, in 1780, and the broken health of Elizabeth's older sister, Mary, who had suffered from a nervous disorder since 1765 (vol. 3:329, note 5; Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy, p. 488, note).
6. Perhaps Nancy, daughter of C. W. F. Dumas and close to AA2 in age. See vol. 4:355 and note 2.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0075

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1783-04-27

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

Last Night I received your Favour from the Hague of the 22 and I congratulate you, on your Safe Arrival. You have had a long Journey, from Petersbourg, and I hope it has not been a disagreable, nor an unprofitable one. You Should write to Mr. Dana and to me, an Account [of th]e Monies you have taken up and expended upon the Road. Keep the Letter from Mr. Dana to me,1 till We meet. Mr. Hartley is arrived here, as Min. Plen. from his Britannic Majesty to finish the Peace, and I hope it will not be many Weeks before I Shall See you at the Hague. Yet it may be longer than I wish. In all Events you cannot be better than where you are. Mr. Dumas will have the Goodness to direct your Studies. Let me recommend an immediate Attention to the Greek Testament.
It is my hope and Expectation to return to America as Soon as the definitive Treaty is Signed and I can go to the Hague to exchange Ratifications2 and take Leave. If We could embark by the Middle of May or beginning of June We should have a Prospect of a pleasant Voyage, after that you know there is danger of Summer Calms. You and I dont yet know what it is to cross the Atlantick without fear of Ennemies. Poor Stevens I fear is lost.3
Mr. Thaxter and Mr. Storer Send their Compliments to you upon your Arrival.
I have one Tax to lay upon you, and that is to write me a Short Letter every Post. You Should Se[e as many] of the Curiosities at the Hague as you can, and go to Forebourg Loosduinen and Riswick and Schevening.4

[salute] I am your affectionate Father.

[signed] John Adams
Have you [lear]n'd the German? forgot the Dutch?5
RC (Adams Papers). Some loss of text at a tear.
1. See JQA to JA, 22 April, note 3, above.
2. The ratifications of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the United States and the Netherlands, which JA had negotiated { 141 } in Oct. 1782.
3. Joseph Stephens, JA's servant from 1778 to 1782, was lost at sea while returning to America in 1783 (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:274).
4. Voorburg and Ryswick are east of The Hague, Loosduinen is south, and Scheveningen is west, on the North Sea. All are within five miles of the city.
5. JQA had studied Dutch in Holland in 1780–1781, but apparently made slow progress at a time when French, Latin, and Greek took most of his attention. He studied German in 1782 in Russia. See vol. 4:116; JQA, Diary, 1:35, note 1, 48, note 3, 57, 58, 115, and note 1.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0076

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-04-28

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

At length an opportunity offers after a space of near five Months, of again writing to You. Not a vessel1 from any port in this state has sailed since Jan'ry, by which I could directly convey you a line. I have written twice by way of Virgina,1 but fear they will never reach you: from you I have lately received several Letters containing the most pleasing intelligence.2
“Peace o'er the world her olive Branch extends.”3 “Hail! Goddess heavenly bright profuse of joy, and pregnant with delight.”4 The Garb5 of this favorite of America, is woven of an admirable texture and proves the great skill, wisdom, and abilities, of the Master workmen. It was not fabricated in the Loom of France, nor are the materials english, but they are the product of our own American soil, raised and Nurtured, not by the gentle showers of Heaven, but by the hard Labour and indefatigable industery and firmness of her Sons, and water'd by the Blood of many of them. May its duration be in proportion to its value, and like the Mantle of the prophet descend with blessings to generations yet to come.
And may you my dearest Friend, return to your much loved solitude with the pleasing reflextion of having contributed to the happiness of Millions.
We have not yet received any account of the signing6 the definitive Treaty, so that no publick rejoiceings have taken place as yet. The 5th article in the Treaty has raised the old spirit against the Tories to such a height that it would be at the risk of their lives should they venture here; it may subside after a while, but I Question whether any state in the union will admit them even for 12 Months.7 What then would have been the concequence if compensation had been granted them?8
Your journal has afforded me and your Friends much pleasure and amusement. You will learn, perhaps from Congress that the journal, you meant for Mr. Jackson; was by some mistake enclosed to the
{ 142 } { 143 }
Minister for foreign affairs; and concequently came before Congress with other publick papers. The Massachussets delegates applied for it, but were refused it. Mr. Jackson was kind enough to wait upon me, and shew me your Letter to him, and the other papers inclosed, and I communicated the journal to him.9 Mr. Higginson writes that it was moved in congress by Hamilton of Virgina and Wilson of Pensilvana10 to censure their ministers, for departing from their duty in not adhering to their instructions, and for giving offence to the Court of France, by distrusting their Friendship; they however could not carry their point; it was said the instruction alluded was founded upon Reciprocity, and that the C.V. [Comte de Vergennes] had not acted upon that principal. When these gentry found that it would not be considerd in the Light in which they wished, they gave out that if no more was said upon that subject, the other would drop. This is all I have been able to collect—my intelligence is very imperfect since Mr. L[ovel]l left congress. Mr. G[e]r[ry] I believe is determined to go again. I shall then have a Friend and correspondent who will keep me informed.11 Upon receiving a Letter from you in which you desire me to come to you should you be longer detained abroad, I took the Liberty of writing to Dr. Lee, requesting him to give me the earliest intelligence respecting the acceptance of your resignation. I do not think it will be accepted, by what I have already learnt;12 if it should not; I shall still feel undetermined what to do. From many of your Letters I was led to suppose you would not return without permission; yet I do not imagine the bare renewal of a former commission would induce you to tarry. I shall not run the risk unless you are appointed minister at the Court of Britain.13 Mr. Smith is waiting for me to hear from congress. He means to go whether I do or not, but if I do he will take charge of every thing respecting my voyage. Our two sons together with Mr. Cranch's, are placed in the family of Mr. Shaw. He had one young gentleman before whom he offers this year for Colledg.14 I doubt not he will contribute every thing in his power towards their instruction and improvement. I last evening received Letters from them,15 and they appear to be very contented and happy.
With Regard to some domestick affairs which I wrote you about last winter, certain reasons have [pre]vented their proceeding any further—and perhaps it will never again be renewed. I wished to have told you so sooner, but it has not been in my power.16 Our Friends are all well and desire to be affectionately rememberd to you. Where is our son, I hear no more of him than if he was out of the world. { 144 } You wrote me in yours of December 4th that he was upon his journey to you, but I have never heard of his arrival.17
Need I add how earnestly I long for the day when Heaven will again bless us in the Society of each other. Whether upon European of American ground is yet in the Book of uncertainty, but to feel intirely happy and easy, I believe it must be in our own Republican cottage; with the Simplicity which has ever distinguished it—and your ever affectionate
[signed] Portia

[salute] My dearest Friend

I last Evening received yours of Febry 18th19 in which you are explicit with Regard to your return. I shall therefore let Congress renew or create what commission they please, at least wait your further direction tho you should be induced to tarry abroad. I have taken no step as yet with regard to comeing out, except writing to Dr. Lee as mentiond before. Heaven send you safe to your ever affectionate Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To His Excellency John Adams minister plenipotentiary from the united States of America—Paris”; endorsed: “Portia. April 29 1783.” Slight damage to the text where the seal was torn away. Dft (Adams Papers), on half of a large sheet of paper that had served as a cover for a letter from JA, addressed in JA's hand: “Mrs John Adams Braintree near Boston Massachusetts”; and marked: “Trip[licate?],” and “To be sunk in case of Capture.” This part of the sheet also has the remnants of JA's Boylston seal. Significant differences from the RC are noted below. AA used the other half of this cover sheet for the Dft of her letter to John Thaxter, 29 April, below.
1. Probably those of 10 Jan. and 7 April, both above. AA apparently sent both letters by Benjamin Guild's vessel, which sailed to Virginia before heading for Europe. See AA to JA, 7 April, note 5, above.
2. AA probably refers to JA's letters of 4 Dec. 1782 and 29 Jan., both above, referred to in her letter of 7 April, above, and to that of 28 Dec. 1782, above, which accompanied JA's “Peace Journal,” to which she refers below. By this date, AA may also have received JA's 22 Jan. letter, and his 8 Nov. 1782 letter, both above; the latter had arrived in Pennsylvania on 12 March. The postscript below marks her receipt of one or more of JA's three brief 18 Feb. letters (one above). She had not yet received JA's 4 Feb. letter (see AA to JA, 7 May, below), and probably had received no letters written after 18 February.
3. Alexander Pope, Messiah, line 19; AA substitutes “Branch” for “wand.”
4. The editors have supplied the quotation marks before “Hail,” but have not identified this passage.
5. In the draft, AA first wrote “The terms,” and then deleted it in favor of “The Garb.”
6. The draft reads: “any official account of the ratification.”
7. Art. 5 provided that Congress would “earnestly recommend” to the states the return of confiscated property to “real British Subjects” and to loyalists “resident in Districts in the Possession of his Majesty's Arms,” who had not borne arms against the United States; and that others would be allowed to return for twelve months to seek restitution, provided those who had purchased their property received compensation. No persons who had “any Interest in confiscated Lands” were to be subjected to any “lawful Impediment” in pursuing their “just Rights” to such property (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:98–99).
{ 145 }
8. The final sentence of this paragraph does not appear in the draft.
9. JA's “Peace Journal” accompanied his 28 Dec. 1782 letter to AA, above. His enclosing of a copy of the “Journal” to the secretary for foreign affairs, R. R. Livingston, was no mistake. AA's “communication” of the journal to Jackson may explain its absence from the Adams Papers, but see JA's letter of 28 Dec., note 1, and references there.
10. No letter from Stephen Higginson to AA has been found. AA's draft does not mention Higginson, a delegate from Massachusetts, at this point, but begins this sentence with: “There were 3 member[s] in C—s who moved for censure upon their ministers.” AA then identifies them as Madison, Hamilton, and Wilson, adding that “they could not carry their point so withdrew their motion.” She then added one detail about the attitude of several delegates towards Vergennes which she omitted from the finished letter: “instead of the Count V—acting with the American ministers he had opposed them at least by his intrigues with England respecting the Fishery and had acted in direct violation of the Spirit of their treaty.
On 19 March, Alexander Hamilton of New York (whom AA assigned to Virginia), Hugh Williamson of North Carolina, and Richard Peters of Pennsylvania each offered motions expressing regret that the American ministers had negotiated an additional article, affecting West Florida, which they intended to keep secret from France. Each of the three congressmen asked that the ministers be directed to communicate the secret article to Vergennes immediately. None of the motions, however, used the term “censure,” and Hamilton made a point of praising the commissioners' work (JCC, 24:193–194). James Madison introduced no motion concerning the preliminary articles of peace, but he was much concerned over the ministers' violation of their instructions. See Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 7:89–90, and Madison's full recounting of Congress' debate over the preliminary articles in JCC, 25:924–926, 928–936. James Wilson of Pennsylvania took part in the debate of 19 March, and then chaired the committee which considered the three petitions and reported on them on 21 Oct. (JCC, 25:714–715).
11. The draft makes no mention of Elbridge Gerry.
12. The draft gives AA's source: “by what I can learn from Mr. Higisons Letter and others, you will still be requested to tarry abroad.”
13. In the draft AA is less certain: “I know not whether you would be prevaild upon to tarry.” She says nothing about staying home unless JA is named minister to Britain. CFA omitted the text following this sentence to “Our friends are all well. . . .” from AA, Letters, 1840.
14. The draft reads: “an[d] an other young gentleman.” This second youth may have been Samuel Walker, later CA's close friend.
15. The draft reads: “received Letter from them.” No letter from CA or TBA has been found.
16. This sentence is not in the draft. The draft continues: “I wish exceedingly to come to you if you continue abroad, and should congress as is expected give you a commission to the British court, unqualified as I feel myself for a publick Station in life, I believe I shall venture <as I have a reason for wishing to come with our daughter to you>.” In her letter to Charles Storer, 28 April, below, AA is more positive that AA2's relationship with Royall Tyler would go no further.
17. The draft contains no mention of JQA.
18. The continuation of the letter on 29 April is not in the draft.
19. AA2 to John Thaxter, 27 April, above, also reports AA's receipt of an 18 Feb. letter from JA. The letters may not have been the same; JA wrote three to AA on that date.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0077

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Storer, Charles
Date: 1783-04-28

Abigail Adams to Charles Storer

May I address you by the Epithet of my dear Charles? for I realy feel towards you a Maternal Regard. I enjoyed a Feast upon the receit of your Letters.1 Col. Quincys came to my care, I carried them to { 146 } him, there I found your pappa and Mamma, who had just received a packet from you. After mutual congratulations, we set ourselves down to hear and read, Col. Q—y began, whilst the whole circle attended, but it was not Silent admiration. What a fine young fellow, how charmingly he writes says one, why he is a statesman already says an other. How affectionately and respectfully he speaks of Mr.—.2 How sweetly he varies his stile and manner according to the different subjects upon which he writes. What judgment! What prudence! What Love of his Country! O Sir you are a happy Man says one. You have a jewel of a son, says an other: thus were your praises Reverberated; untill the paternal Eye overflowed; and delight Shone in every feature of his face: the Reflextions which filled my mind upon this occasion were pleasing beyond expression. Heaven grant me that I may thus rejoice in my children, thus see them ornaments to their Country, and blessings to their parents.
Here Let me pause and thank you for your favour Nomber 1.3 I assent to your proposal and commence your correspondent, but you must write to me with that freedom and unreserve which I so much admire in your Letters.
You have given me a proof of the confidence of my best Friend towards you, whilst the words “It becomes not me to speak,”4 express more than a page. Believe me I know your thoughts, the person whom they concerned5 is a different Character from what in very early Life you knew him, at least I presume so. I wish him well, I wish him prosperous and happy, and that every juvenile deviation from the Path of Rectitude, may teach him wisdom and prudence in future, but he will never be in any other character in Life to Emelia, than an acquaintance. I speak not this from any recent misconduct, but from a full conviction that it is right.
My family is lessned so much of late that I feel quite dull, my sons are sent from home to school, Emelia and Louissa,6 a Neice of about 10 years old, with two domesticks compose my family. I was loth to part with my sons, but I found it so difficult to procure a Suitable preceptor, and to keep him, that the frequent changes made them unstedy, and injured their Learning. The former was a matter of more importance in my mind than the latter.
Unstable as water, thou shalt not excell said the good old patriarch to his son7—it is an observation as true as it is ancient; and founded upon a knowledge of humane Nature. Youth are peculiarly liable to this frailty, and if it is not early curbed and restrained both by example and precept, it takes root and saps the foundation, it shoots out into { 147 } unprofitable branches, if the Tree blossoms, they wither and are blown by every change of the wind so that no fruit arrives to maturity.
The Character which a youth acquires in the early part of his Life is of great importance towards his future prosperity—one false step may prove irretrievable to his future usefulness. The World fix their attention upon the behaviour of a person just setting out, more particularly so if they stand in a conspicious light with Regard to family or estate, and according to their discretion, prudence or want of judgement, pronounce too precipately perhaps, upon the whole of their future conduct. Of how great importance is it, that good principals be early, inculcated and steadily persued in the Education of youth?
But whither does my imagination lead me, and why all this to me Madam! methinks I hear you inquire. My thoughts are not difficult to trace, I dare say you will find the thread.
Amidst all the anxieties I have felt for the weight of cares and perplexitys which have devolved upon my absent Friend, I have found a consolation in the knowledge of his being accompanied by [a] young Gentleman of so much steadiness and probity as Mr. Thaxter, who by his attention and assiduity would render him every relief in his power, nor was I less gratified when I heard that Eugenio, was to become his Successor.
To a young Gentleman who wishes for improvement the situation will afford him ample scope, whilst the Gentlemans character with whom he resides requires not even my partial pen to delineate. With regard to my visiting Europe—upon some accounts I wish it. From my Infancy I have wished to visit England but this unhappy war, or as Mr. S. Adams expresses it, this Glorious Revolution, alienated my affections from her. I think upon the whole that I feel rather averse to a publick Character.
The particular manner in which you wish your Friends to detail every circumstance to you, which relates to their welfare or happiness must plead my excuse for the domestick communications; besides as you are a Member of Mr. A—s family,8 you by concequence become a relation of mine. I must close my letter to wait upon Dr. Gorden and Lady who are just come to spend the Night with me. We Shall not lack conversation. Dr. Gorden as well as any Man I know of, practices upon the maxim of Epictetus or Pythagoras, I forget which, “Reverence thyself.” Accept my best wishes for your happiness and be assured no one is more disposed to contribute to it than Your Friend.
[signed] Portia
{ 148 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mr Charles Storer Paris”; endorsed: “Portia to Eugenio. 28th. April. 1783.” This is one of 13 letters given to the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1922, all of which were incorporated into the primary collection of Adams manuscripts. Two others are printed here, AA to Storer, 3 Jan. and 18 May 1785 (below).
1. This is AA's first extant letter to Storer. By this date, AA had probably received Storer's letters of 17 Oct., and 8 Nov. 1782, and of 10 Feb. 1783, all above. That of 8 Nov. was written as a postscript to JA to AA of that date. Storer may also have written, and AA received, other letters now lost (see Storer to AA, 10 Feb., note 1, above), but the letters upon which AA “feasted” here appear to have been those written to Col. Josiah Quincy, and to Storer's father, Ebenezer.
2. Presumably JA.
3. Storer's letter of 10 Feb., above, in which he explains why “this may be stiled No. 1” even though he had written before.
4. Storer to AA, 10 Feb., above.
5. Royall Tyler.
6. Louisa Catharine Smith.
7. Jacob's dying words to his first-born son, Reuben (Genesis 49:4).
8. See Storer to AA, 17 Oct. 1782, note 8, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0078

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Thaxter, John
Date: 1783-04-29

Abigail Adams to John Thaxter

I am largely indebted to you my much valued correspondent for many Letters received in the last four months, to not one of which have I been able to send you a line in return; no vessels have gone from this Quarter since december last.1
I join my congratulations with every real Friend of America upon the safe and Honorable peace obtaind for our Country, thanks be to Heaven, and to the firmness, wisdom and integrity of our negotiaters. I “persue the triumph, and partake the Gale”2 with a satisfaction that neither the envy of some, or the Secret malice of others can rob me of. Do you recollect a Letter of Plinys to Hispulla which you will find in the 7 volume of the Spectator?3 Tis expressive of what I have often felt, to that I refer you for a true disscription4 of an affectionate Wife participating in the Glory and Reputation of her Husband.
Last Evening Your favour of November 205 was deliverd me, and have I really puzzeld you? Are you anxious to know who the Eliza is that wore your Minature? As I have obtaind my end; which was to teaze you a little, in return for your Ideal Fair American;6 I will state facts. Your sisters had sent to Eliza C[ranc]h Your minature to shew to me, and she put it upon her Neck, no further do you mind: and came to see if I knew it, I catcht the opportunity of requiteing you in your own way. I know not whether any of your Female acquaintance after Your comments: which I realy think just, would wear your portrait, but I know several who have Friendship enough for you, to retain you in their Hearts.
I do not see why a subject which appears from all your Letters to { 149 } have taken such a full possession of your mind, should <appear> become to you so impracticable. Return with peace to your Native Land, set yourself down with a fixed resolution to persue your profession; and I dare say success will crown your endeavours. There is more good to be done in Life, says a judicious observer of Humane Nature, by obstinate diligence and perseverence, than most people seem aware of. The Ant and Bee are but little and weak animals; and yet, by constant application they do wonders.7 It is an observation of Plinys that no Mans abilities are so remarkably shining, as not to stand in need, of a proper opportunity, a patron, and even the praises of a Friend to recommend them to the Notice of the World. Your merit I dare say has secured to you the two latter, nor need you dispair of the former, when you return to a Country you have already done honour to.
Heaven has yet in store for you some sweet female companion to smooth the Rugged road of Life,8 and sweeten the bitter cup—indeed you shall not live single. The greatest Authority pronnounced that it was not good for Man to be alone.9
Your Hingham Friends are all well and expect your return with impatience. I cannot tell you much News of the domestick kind. Some persons say that your Friend Mr. Guild is taken with the Quincy, I hope he will do well—tho it is a Mortal complaint.10 With Regard to my comeing to Europe, Mr. A—s Letter of Febry 18 is so explicit with regard to his return that I shall not attempt it, even tho Congress appoint him to the Court of Britain, which tis said will be done.11 Mr. Smith has been waiting to know whether I should go or not, as he has been kind enough to offer me his protection. Common Fame gave him to me for a son12 this last winter, who then so proper to conduct the Mother and daughter abroad in the absence of the Father. Tis true he was politely attentive to Emelia this winter, gave her a ticket to the assembly and attended her there through the Season; which you know is sufficient for the world to unite them for life. Mr. Smith is a Gentleman of a Fair and amiable character and I sincerely wish him happily connected altho his attempts have never yet been successfull, by no means equal to his merit.—Adieu I am hurried to death to close, here is a messenger for my Letter now; I have not time to give it a Second perusal so excuse every inaccuracy and belive me most affectionately your Friend.13
[signed] Portia
RC (MB); addressed: “To Mr John Thaxter Paris”; endorsed: “Mrs. Adams 29th. April 1783. Recd. 26. August 1783.” Dft (Adams Papers); written at the bottom of the reverse side, in AA's hand: “prussia.” The Dft was written on one half of a large sheet { 150 } of paper that JA had used as a cover for letters that he sent to AA, and it shows faded seal markings; AA used the other half to draft her 28 April letter to JA, above. Major variants between the RC and the Dft are indicated in the notes.
1. The draft is more specific: “no vessels have gone from this Quarter to any part of Europe since the Iris saild in december last.” Since AA's last letter to Thaxter, 26 Oct. 1782, above, Thaxter had written ten letters to AA; all appear above.
2. Alexander Pope, Essay on Man, epistle IV, line 386.
3. The Spectator, London, 1767, 7:207–208 (the conclusion of The Spectator, No. 525, 1 Nov. 1712). Pliny the Younger wrote to Hispulla, his wife's aunt, to thank her for the excellent education she had given her niece, and to tell her how devoted his wife was to him, and what pleasure she took in every aspect of his career as a lawyer, writer, and public official.
4. In the draft, AA wrote and then struck out: “of the pleasure and satisfaction with which,” and replaced it with the text in the recipient's copy.
5. This is the letter begun on 19 Nov. 1782, above, which Thaxter finished on 20 November.
6. The draft reads: “your fair American, whom I rather suspect is merely Ideal.”
7. This and the preceding sentence are not in the draft.
8. In the draft these words follow: “may she never be called to the trials of Seperation which have torn so often torn the Heart of Your Friend.” The rest of the sentence in the recipient's copy and the sentence that follows there are not in the draft.
9. Genesis 2:18.
10. In place of this final clause, the draft has “constant application and attendance may have a good Effect.” Benjamin Guild would marry Elizabeth Quincy, daughter of Col. Josiah Quincy, in May 1784.
11. In the draft AA is less decided: “I am at a loss what to determine with regard to comeing abroad even tho Mr. Adams should be detained an other year. I shall better be able to judge when I hear from congress.” The draft was apparently composed before 29 April, when AA reported to JA that she had received his 18 Feb. letter the previous evening (to JA, 28 April, postscript, above), and perhaps on or before 27 April, when AA2 mentioned AA's receipt of an 18 Feb. letter (AA2 to Thaxter, 27 April, above; see AA to JA, 28 April, note 19, above). AA's statement here that she would not attempt to cross the Atlantic even if Congress should appoint JA minister to Great Britain contradicts her 28 April letter to JA, and its 29 April postscript, above, as well as the drafts of both that letter and the present one.
12. That is, a son-in-law; see AA to JA, 7 April, above. If William Smith, AA's cousin and son of Isaac Smith Sr., really did court AA2, he seems to have made little impression on her.
13. The draft continues: “An other opportunity will soon offer when I shall write you again. I must close now or I shall not have leisure to reply to Mr. Storer's polite and Friendly epistles—continue to write whilst you tarry abroad to your sincerely affectionate Friend.”

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0079

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-05-06

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

[salute] Honoured Sir

The bearer of this, is Mr. Hardouin a French young Gentleman whose company I had the pleasure of from Hamborough to Amsterdam, and who intends to go to Havre de Grâce to form an establishment in the commercial way.
I receiv'd your favour of the 27th. of April, last friday and shall not fail writing as you enjoin me by every post: <except this> I shall pursue at present my Latin and Greek exercises, which have had a very long interruption.
{ 151 }
I took up at Stockholm 420. Swedish Rixdallers which makes about 1250. Guilders and 400. Danish Rixdallers at Hamborough: a Danish Rxs: is a little more than 2 Guilders. I shall write to Mr. Dana and send him also an account of what money I have taken up on my way. Mr. Allen1 sail'd for Riga the Day before yesterday. Mr. Brush2 sets off this day for Rotterdam with an intention to go over to Ireland.

[salute] I am Sir your dutiful Son.

[signed] J. Q. Adams
1. Jeremiah Allen, a Boston merchant who had traveled with the Adamses to Europe in 1779 (JQA, Diary, 1:7, note 6).
2. Perhaps Eliphalet Brush, a New York merchant whom JQA had met in Amsterdam in 1781 (same, 1:76, note 1).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0080

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-05-07

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Yesterday Mr. Johonet1 waited upon me with your favour of Febry 4th. I am sorry you have sufferd so much anxiety with regard to a domestick occurrence, it has been wholy oweing to want of conveyance that you have not much sooner been informd that what you wish, has taken place, that is that it is done with—and that this determination took place soon after my last Letter to you which was in December.2 In Jan'ry she went to Boston and spent the rest of the winter there. It is not that any of those Qualities you justly dread have appeard in this Gentleman Since his residence in this Town. His conduct has been Regular, and his Manners pure—nor has he discoverd any Love of Gaiety inconsistant even with your Ideas. I say this as it appears to me, to be the Truth, and in justification of my having had a partiality in his favour. The world look back to the days in which I knew him not: and remember him as a Beau and a Gay volatile young fellow, and tho I have never heard any vices asscribed to him, yet I think with Some of my Friends a longer period necessary to Establish a contrary Character. It has therefore been my advise and wish to put an end to the connection. I cannot affirm that it is wholy eradicated from their minds, but time will do it; your daughter has a firmness of mind and a prudence beyond her years. She will not act contrary to the advise of her Friends, and in a particular manner her parents. It <is> has not been a matter of indifference to either of them. Yet it is now so far laid asside as gives me reason to think it will never again be renewed; he visits here but seldom. When I received yours of Febry 4th and found your anxiety; it gave me pleasure to think I could tell you; that it was wholy done with.
{ 152 }
The spirit which rises here against the return of the Refugees is voilent, you can hardly form an Idea of it.3 I think you are wanted much in your own Country; it must be to continue your Labours, but your Reward must be in a better State, you will Scarcly find Gratitude in this—loaves and fishes are not for you or yours. As much as has been said with regard to wishing you were here for a certain office, I do not believe it would have been carried against the Golden Calf. Many efforts were made this year to shake his Interest. In this Town it was done; and Genll. Lincoln had the vote, in Weymouth Mr. Bowdoin, in Bridgewater Lincoln. But in the Town of Boston H[ancoc] k carried it by a much fuller vote than ever. Some gave this reason why they were full for him this year, (Newburry port, Andover and some other places), that they chose he should be continued rather than a New one chosen, because they saw a proba[bi]lity of making a better choice an other year and that it would be an affront to leave a Man out who had only served one year when prehaps they had nothing particular against him. Some person of more activity and firmness is wanted, or our Goverment will become truly contemptable.
Since I took my pen a Letter from Dr. Lee has reached me, he writes thus “I arrived in Philadelphia this day 23 of April, and had the Honour of receiving your commands of the 9th. Tho we were exceeding desirious of Mr. Adamses assistance in what yet remains to be done in Europe, yet his Letters were so pressing, that the Committee to whom they were referrd could not resist reporting in favour of his Resignation. Congress have not yet considerd that Report, but I think Madam you may r[e]ly upon it that leave will be given him, as he requests.”4 I shall accordingly look for you by the middle of summer, and I beg you would not make it late in the year, as this coast you well know is very dangerous in the fall and winter. Heaven preserve and send you safe to this peacefull cottage on[c]e more.
I enclose a list of a few articles in the family way. I have done with any thing more.5 My last adventure from Holland was most unfortunate. The Length of the passage was such, that the News of peace arrived a few days before; Goods fell and are now sold much below the sterling coast; many are lower than ever I knew them; Some persons are obliged to sell, and I believe the peace, will ruin more merchants and traders than the War. Many solem faces you see in concequence of it. No such rapid fortunes to be acquired now. Taxes heavy, very heavey—trade stagnated, money scarce. Your daughter request by me 18 yd of white Lutestring,6 as that is a favorite coulour { 153 } with her, and my Ladyship asks if she may now be permitted to have 10 yd of crimson English damask for a winter gown, and 18 yd of a light brown sattin, Mouse coulour. Mr. Storer has a good fancy and would purchase them if you give orders. 2 peices of good Irish linnen, ah dear Ireland, no linnen like yours—so white so strong &c. France for Cambrick, so I should like a peice as I expect to close my mercantle affairs with this Letter. Holland sends us the best tea, and if you take half a dozen pound of Hyson ditto souchong and congo, it may not be amiss—and a few pounds of spice &c. You will as a housekeeper having many articles which you will bring home—table linnen &c, which will make it unnecessary for me to write for any. I once wrote to you requesting you to send me a set of china for a dining table, but whether you never received the list7 or thought me extravagant I know not. I have never written for any thing but what has past through your hands. I suppose you have a Quantity by you which when you return you will take with you: those articles have been here so very high that I have never purchased any. Carpets I suppose you have which I wish you not to leave behind.
I shall not make any draught if I can dispose of what articles I have yet remaining. The Board and schooling of our sons runs up, and I have been purchaseing land again, tho not in Virmont. You recolle[c]t a Woods at the foot of the hill which belonged to the Estate of Your uncle Adams and fell to the heirs of his Son. This with 4 acers of pasture was sold and I purchased it, as I felt loth it should go to any person who could not pass to it, but through land of yours. The wood upon the land is estimated at 45 cord. It cost me 2 hundred dollors, the whole is 7 acers.8 If it should so happen that you should be detained abroad longer than you expect you may make me a little remittance by a carefull hand. I shall not need it if I could dispose of what articles I have without giving them away; or even receive a sum which is due to me for some china which I sent for without Bills. I expected when I was requested to send for it, to have had a Bill for the purpose, but instead of this, 20 Livres which were laid out for me, were charged to me a hundred and 10 pr cent, and I paid to the very person 10 dollors and half for only those 20 livres whilst upon the other side of the account stood 60 dollors worth purchased for them and charged at the Sterling coast for which I have never yet received a Livre. This is the Friendship of the World. I shall take care in future, I have Interest due upon loan office certificates to the amount of 90 dollors, but not a farthing can I get, whilst the Cry for taxes is no otherways appeased than by the payment of them. I have { 154 } a good mind to grow selfish, but I have such an example of disinterestedness and constant Instances of personal sacrifices, family Sacrifices, pecuniary sacrifices that I shall never have resolution enough nor I hope, meaness of spirit enough to take advantage of the unprotected, the widow or the Fatherless.
Adieu company calls. A family society meet here to day. How happy should I bee that you could make one. I would give you a fine Salmon, a pair of roast Brants9 and a custard, can you dine upon such a Slender number of dishes after having been accustomed to 50 and a hundred. Aya but say you true Friendship, tender affection and mutual Love are to be found there, and that is a feast I meet not with abroad. Come then and join in the Feast of reason and flow of Soul.10 Come and give happiness to her who know not either solid pleasure or real felicity seperated from you—and who subscribes most tenderly and affectionatly
[signed] Portia
My Pappa sets by and desires to be rememberd to you, Uncle Q[uinc]y dines here to day, hopes to see you at his House e'er long; Sister Shaw too sends her Love, and you are the subject of all our conversation. Enclosed is a publick paper. You will see you are not forgotten here. The writer is J.Q. Esqr.11
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by Royall Tyler: “His Excellency John Adams Esqr. Minister Plenipty. From the United States of America residing at Paris”; endorsed: “Portia May 7.June 20. ansd. Aug. 14. 1783.” The notation “June 20” refers to AA's letter of that date, below, received with the present letter (see JA to AA, 14 Aug., below).
1. Col. Gabriel Johonnot, father of young Samuel who traveled to Europe in 1779 with the Adamses (vol. 3:236, note 1).
2. 23 and 30 Dec. 1782, above, although AA had written again in Jan. and April, above.
3. At the time of AA's writing, when the campaign for the spring elections was underway, there were several communications to the Boston newspapers opposing the return of the loyalists and urging voters not to choose any who had returned, or any “tory like gentry,” as representatives. Boston organized a committee of correspondence to cooperate with like committees in other towns to prevent refugees from returning, and to examine and expose those who had already returned. One letter in the Gazette, signed “Consideration,” explicitly discussed Article 5 of the preliminary articles of peace, and urged that Massachusetts and other states reject the article's “recommendation” that Tory refugees be allowed to return, or to reclaim their property. (Boston Evening Post, 19 April; Independent Ledger, 5 May; Boston Gazette, 5 May.)
4. See Arthur Lee to AA, 23 April, above, and notes 2 and 3 there.
5. No separate list of articles has been found. On AA's selling of goods received from JA, which she here declares to be at an end, see vols. 3 and 4, and esp. the introduction.
6. A kind of glossy silk fabric (OED).
7. See AA to JA, 17 March 1782 (vol. 4:297). JA does not, in any extant letter, mention receiving AA's letter or the enclosed list of purchases.
8. Ebenezer Adams, uncle to JA, died in 1769, less than a month after his son Micajah, whose heirs were three daughters and a son. Micajah's daughter Huldah married Moses Babcock of East Milton, Mass., in 1782. The land that AA purchased is described in the { 155 } deed, dated 2 May, by which Moses and Huldah Babcock sold the seven acres to JA for £57. (A. N. Adams, Geneal. Hist. of Henry Adams of Braintree, 1:401, 412, 431; deed in Adams Office Papers).
9. Wild geese (OED).
10. See AA to JA, 7 April, at note 2, above.
11. This piece has not been identified, and the initials given here are uncertain—the “Q” is poorly formed.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0081

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-05-09

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

[salute] Honoured Sir

I wrote you last Tuesday by Mr. Hardouin who will arrive in Paris I suppose to morrow. I have not yet began to pursue my studies, on account of the fair; but intend to begin directly. I take a walk every day and, once or twice a week a ride on horse-back. Every thing here is full of Life at present on account of the Fair, which will be over to morrow evening.
I am afraid I shall not see you this long time: and that we shall not have the pleasantest season in the year to return: I believe Mr. van Berkel will not go before the middle of June and perhaps not so soon as that. I shall write soon to our Friends in America, I have not heard from them this long while, I hope they are all well.

[salute] I am your Dutiful Son.

[signed] J. Q. Adams

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0082

Author: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-05-10

Abigail Adams 2d to John Adams

No opportunity of writing has pressented since I was so happy as to receive two excellnt letters from my Dear Pappa, neither of them of a date later than actober.1 Not a vessell has sailed for Europe these many months. All the return that it is in my power to make, is to indeavour to assure you Sir that I feel a greater degree of gratitude for all your favours, than it is possible for me to express. It is the foundation of virtue, and I hope is fully impressed on my heart.
I assure you my Dear Sir that I have suffered, not a little mortification, whenever I reflected that I have requested a favour of you that your heart and judgment did not readily assent to grant.2 Twas not that your refusal pained me, but the consciousness that there was an impropriety, in my soliciting whatever you should consider incompattiable to comply with. It has rendered me so througherly dissatisfied with my own oppinion and judgment, that I shall for the future take care to avoid the possibility of erring in a similar <situa• { 156 } tion> manner and shall feel doubly gratified by the receipt of aney favour unsollicited.
Whatever Books my Dear Sir you think proper to recommend to me, I shall receive with particular pleasure, those of your choice, cannot fail, to gratify your Daughter. I have not that taste for history which I wish and which might be greatly advantagous, but I hope it is yet to be acquired.
Permit me my Dear pappa to join the general voice in addressing my congratulations on your late happy success in your publick station. None I believe refuse to acknowledge and express the gratified that is due to those who have been immediately instrumental in accomplishing this great event, altho many persons do not appear gratified with it. It does not so intirely coincide with their own interest, as they wish, and this principle of selfinterest is too often the governing power of the mind. It is upon the same motive that I am so intirely gratified, by it—as it leads me to look forward with pleasure to your return. I hope the period is not far distant. Yet I still have an ardent desire to cross the atlantick, it is quite as powerfull as ever. Was you to continue abroad I should not feel contented with the distant prospect I have had of it for these few years, past.
I wrote you last December by Mr. Robbins3 a young gentleman who was for some time an instructor to my Brothers. He has been detained all Winter in Virginia and I suppose my letter will never reach you.
It seems almost an age since we have received aney direct accounts from my Brother John. I feel at times as if we were growing into Life strangers to each other. It is a painfull reflection to my mind. I hope he has not lost in aney degree his affection for his friends, or the remembrance of them. His advantages are great, and I flatter myself that his improvements in every thing necessary, and usefull, will be in proportion.
I hope my Dear Sir that you will receive this; before you leave Europe. It will remind you of a Daughter who derives her happiness from the anticipation of y[our] return, who is ever solicitious of your remembra[nce] and whose greatest pleassure is in subscribing yours Dutif[ully] and affectionately,
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “His Excellency John Adams, Minister Plenipotentiary from the United states of America residing at Paris”; endorsed: “Miss Nabby May. 10. 1783 ansd Aug. 14.” Some damage to the text where the seal was removed.
1. Probably those of 26 Sept. 1782(vol. 4:383–384), and 16 Oct. 1782, above.
2. AA2 had apparently asked JA for a book that he thought was somehow improper or { 157 } frivolous (JA to AA2, 26 Sept. 1782, vol. 4:383–384).
3. Not found; see AA to Chandler Robbins Jr., [ca. 10 Jan.], note 1, and AA to JA, 7 April, note 5, both above.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0083

Author: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1783-05-10

Abigail Adams 2d to John Quincy Adams

Where, or in what part of the world to address you, my dear brother, I do not at present know; but I can no longer restrain my pen. It is a long, very long time, since we have had any accounts from you; not a line has your sister received since you left her, now more than three years.2 Is it right, my brother? Have you not written her once? I will hope you have not been unmindful. Have you not almost forgot your friends, and do you not feel forgotten by them? Indeed, it sometimes seems to me as if you were lost. But I hope the period is not far distant when we shall all meet, and this long absence will lead us to enjoy the moment with a pleasure known only to those who have felt the pain of a long separation. We now live in expectation of papa's returning in the course of the summer, an event that is looked forward to with pleasure by many; may no unforeseen event blast the pleasing prospect. Our brothers are gone from home to school under the care of Mr. Shaw. Mamma considered it most for their advantage; we find their absence very disagreeable. Our whole family at present consists of only five; we are indeed quite lonely. Charles was just become an agreeable companion; he is a sweet little fellow, I assure you. Tom is something of a rogue, but will not be the less worthy in future, I dare say. You, my brother, have become so great a traveller that much is expected from you. I hope to see you return every thing we wish you, and I dare flatter myself I shall not be disappointed. You will have acquired a store, a useful store of knowledge, from which will result a great advantage to yourself, and improvement to your friends. You must remember that we expect to reap the first of your advantages, in some degree, and you must not, when you return, refuse to gratify that desire of information which we all possess, and which, if directed aright, may be made the foundation of great improvement. You have a sister who looks forward to your return with feelings that 'tis not in the power of words to describe; she anticipates a pleasure that is only to be felt; you have but one. I never knew the blessing; but in my brothers shall have the want fully compensated. There is no higher pleasure, no greater { 158 } happiness, than a family bound by the ties of love, and cemented by the bonds of affection, where each for the other feels more than for himself, and where the chief end and aim is to render each other happy: this I wish may be our situation; it will; and the advantages arising will be mutual. I cannot bear the idea of growing into life strangers to each other; this may, in some degree, be avoided by writing to and for each other. Let me solicit you not to continue thus silent. If you are to be from us, write constantly; let no opportunity escape you. I will be punctual in future, I assure you. You have before you an admirable example of attention and every other quality that appears amiable and engaging in a brother,—I mean in Mr. Storer,—he is considered as the criterion by all his friends and acquaintances. He will feel fully rewarded by the opinion that is entertained of him. I hope you keep a journal, 'tis a practice I have often heard highly recommended by papa3 and mamma, as greatly advantageous. Yours, my brother, may be replete with events. You have become acquainted with countries and characters which, I doubt not, you have made your observations upon, and that will give you pleasure to peruse in a future day, when you can only look back to the scenes you have passed as something you cannot realize, and will give pleasure and satisfaction to any one who feels that attachment for you that would lead them to feel interested in every event of your life. Here I could point out many. Your sister, I hope, will be the first in your mind; she feels greatly interested in your present and future welfare; and she hopes to see you exhibit such a character in life as she shall feel happy in acknowledging as her brother. If you possess the same degree of regard for her that she feels towards you, you will not receive amiss any thing her heart dictates.
This goes by a vessel from Providence to England; I hope You will receive it in Paris or Amsterdam. In whatever country it reaches you, let it remind you of one whose chief happiness is in hearing from those absent persons in whose esteem she claims some small share, and who ever feels happy in subscribing herself

[salute] Your affectionate sister,

[signed] A. Adams
MS not found. Printed from (AA2, Jour. and Corr., 2:24–27.)
1. This conjectural date is assigned from the date of AA2 to JA, immediately above. AA2 probably sent both letters to Europe with AA to JA, 7 May, above.
2. The only surviving JQA letter to AA2 before this date was written 27 Sept. 1778 (vol. 3:93–94); but see vol. 4:126–127, and note 1. AA2 had written JQA on 24 May 1781 and 3 May 1782 (vol. 4:126–127, 319–321).
3. See JA to AA2, 17 [27?] July 1784, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0084

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-05-12

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

[salute] Honoured Sir

The fair ended last Saturday, and yesterday1 I began to translate Suetone's life of Caligula;2 Mr. Dumas who is so good as to direct my studies, says you chose I should translate Suetone. I shall begin upon the Greek Testament3 directly.
The 4th. of this Month a vessel from Philadelphia arrived in the Texel, and last saturday Mr. Dumas receiv'd two large packets one of which he forwards this day. T'is said here that the preliminary articles between Great-Britain and this Republick are about to be signed, and that the Definitive Treaty will soon be finished; if so I hope you will soon be here.4

[salute] I am, Sir your dutiful Son.

[signed] J. Q. Adams
Please to present my respects to Messrs. Storer and Thaxter.
1. That is, Sunday, the 11th.
2. An 8-page MS fragment of a rough-draft French translation of Suetonius' Caligula survives from this exercise (M/JQA/45, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 240). Between March and July 1784, JQA produced a finished 462-page French translation of the first six of Suetonius' Lives of the Twelve Caesars (Julius Caesar through Nero) (M/JQA/44, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 239). At the end of his finished translation of Caligula, JQA noted that he had merely copied it from a translation that he completed on 22 July 1783, which must be the translation that he refers to here. See also JQA, Diary, 1:175, note 2, 207, note 1; 2:44, note 1.
3. See JA to JQA, 27 April, note 5, above.
4. The preliminary articles between Great Britain and the Netherlands were not signed until 2 Sept. (Morris, Peacemakers, p. 436). The “Definitive Treaty” between the United States and Britain was signed in Paris on 3 Sept., but JA visited Holland in July.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0085

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1783-05-13

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear son

No Letters from you by the two last Posts. Let me hear from you as Soon and as often as you can. This is the only Substitute for the Pleasure of Seeing you, which I fear I cannot enjoy for Some time, as the Conferences for the definitive Treaty languish more than I could wish.
When I desired you to send me an Account of your Expences, I did not mean a particular Account, but only the Amount, or Sum total of all your Expences upon your Journey from Petersbourg. You { 160 } must write to Mr. Dana too, if you have not already done it, an Account of all the Money you took up, on his Account on the Road.

[salute] My Compliments to Mr. Dumas and the Family. Your affectionate Father

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Hotel des Etats Unis D'Amerique A la Haye”; docketed by JA: “J.A. May: 13. 1783.”

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0086

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1783-05-14

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Child

Mr. Hardouin has just now called upon me, and delivered me your Letter of the 6 Instant.
I find that, although, your hand Writing is distinct and legible, yet it has not engaged So much of your Attention as to be remarkably neat.1 I Should advise you to be very carefull of it: never to write in a hurry, and never to let a Slovenly Word or Letter go from you. If one begins at your Age, it is easier to learn to write well than ill, both in Characters and Style. There are not two prettier accomplishments than a handsome hand and Style, and these are only to be acquired in youth. I have Suffered much, through my whole Life, from a Negligence of these Things in my young days, and I wish you to know it. Your hand and Style, are clear enough to Shew that you may easily make them manly and beautifull, and when a habit is got, all is easy.
I See your Travells have been expensive, as I expected they would be: but I hope your Improvements have been worth the Money. Have you kept a regular Journal?2 If you have not, you will be likely to forget most of the Observations you have made. If you have omitted this Usefull Exercise, let me advise you to recommence it, immediately. Let it be your Amusement, to minute every day, whatever you may have seen or heard worth Notice. One contracts a Fondness of Writing by Use. We learn to write readily, and what is of more importance We think, and improve our Judgments, by committing our Thoughts to Paper.
Your Exercises in Latin and Greek must not be omitted a Single day, and you should turn your Mind, a little to Mathematicks. There is among my Books a Fennings Algebra. Begin it immediately and go through it, by a Small Portion every day. You will find it as entertaining as an Arabean Tale. The Vulgar Fractions3 with which it begins, is the best extant, and you should make yourself quite familiar with it.
A regular Distribution of your Time, is of great Importance. You { 161 } must measure out your Hours, for Study, Meals, Amusements, Exercise and Sleep, and suffer nothing to divert you, at least from those devoted to study.
But above all Things, my son, take Care of your Behaviour and preserve the Character you have acquired, for Prudence and Solidity. Remember your tender Years and treat all the World with Modesty, Decency and Respect.
The Advantage you have in Mr. Dumas's Attention to you is a very prescious one. He is himself a Walking Library, and so great a Master of Languages ancient and modern is very rarely Seen. The Art of asking Questions is the most essential to one who wants to learn. Never be too wise to ask a Question.4
Be as frugal as possible, in your Expences.
Write to your Mamma Sister and Brothers, as often as you have opportunity. It will be a Grief to me to loose a Spring Passage home, but although I have my fears I dont yet despair.
Every Body gives me a very flattering Character of your Sister, and I am well pleased with what I hear of you: The principal Satisfaction I can expect in Life, in future will be in your good Behaviour and that of my other Children. My Hopes from all of you are very agreable. God grant, I may not be dissappointed.

[salute] Your affectionate Father

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “J. Adams. 14. May 1783.”
1. JQA's letter of the 6th has two words crossed out and two others written over. JA had repeatedly criticized JQA's hand in 1780; see vol. 3:309, 315–316, and illustrations 10 and 11 following p. 212; and vol. 4:47.
2. JQA's Diary entries, brief but fairly numerous during his stay in Russia (JQA, Diary, 1:101–153), varied greatly in length on his return journey through Sweden, Nov. 1782 to Feb. 1783 (same, 1:154–173), and then virtually ceased for the remainder of his journey through Denmark, Germany, and Holland (same, 1:174–175).
3. That is, common fractions, although in this case the numerators and denominators were algebraic expressions rather than numbers (OED, under “Fraction”). The book is Daniel Fenning, The Young Algebraist's Companion, or, A New and Easy Guide to Algebra, 2d edn., London, 1751 (Catalogue of JA's Library).
4. This sentence appears to have been inserted after the next one-line paragraph was written.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0087

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-05-18

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

You may well Suppose that I am not very easy when you are informed that We have no News from America, and that the definitive Treaty is neither Signed, or likely to be Signed very Soon. Mr. Hartley it is true is here and is well disposed to finish, with Liberality and { 162 } with dispatch: but he must wait for orders at every Step, and his principals are either not firm in their Places or not decided in their System: So that it is impossible to foresee, when the End will be. I hope the first Ships will bring me, my Quietus. If my Resignation is accepted, I do not yet despair of embarking in the Month of June. If it is not, I must wait for a Fall Passage, which will be much less agreable. I am at Sea and must wait the Motions of Winds and currents.
What I most dread is, that my Resignation will not be accepted, in which Case I shall be necessitated either to go home without Leave, or Stay in Europe in a ridiculous state of Torture. This last I will not long submit too. I have already contracted in Holland, Disorders which will perhaps never leave me, and the poisonous Steams of that Country, are utterly inconsistent with my Health, besides it is a Place where I can do no good; for which Reasons I am unalterably determined not to remain there.
To send another to England and oblige me to remain in Holland would be a Piece of Tyranny; and a Slight and an affront to me which I will not bear at all Events. To take the Conduct of a publick affair from a Man who has, made Voyages and Journeys run Risques and made Sacrifices, in the discharge of his Duty and brought it almost to a Conclusion, is regarded by every Man, who knows any Thing of human Feelings, as a most invidious Injustice. And whoever is the sordid Crawler to swallow it, I am not.
Our Son is at the Hague in good health, and pursuing his Studies. I hope, our other Children are well. I hear Coffin is arrived and I hope what he had for you and my other Nabby were satisfactory.1

[salute] Yours for ever

[signed] John Adams
1. “Other” is inserted above the line. For Coffin's cargo, see JA to AA, 7 April and note 3, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0088

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1783-05-19

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear son

I am glad to learn, by your Favour of the 12th, that you have begun to translate Suetonius. This is a very proper book to teach you to love your Country and her Laws. Do you translate it into French or English?
You Should always have a Book of Amusement, to read, along with { 163 } your Severe Studies and laborious Exercises. I should not advise you to take these Books always from the shelf of Plays and Romances, nor yet from that of History. I Should recommend to you Books of Morals, as the most constant Companions, of your Hours of Relaxation, through the whole Course of your Life. There is in Barbeyrac's Writings, an History of the Rise and Progress of the science of Morality which I would have you read with Care, early in Life. It is printed with his Puffendorf I think in English.1
The Writings of Clark, Cudworth, Hutchinson, Butler, Woolaston,2 and many Sermons, upon Morals subjects will be worth your Attention, as well as Cicero Seneca &c.
I cannot enlarge, because the Post is on the Point of departing.

[salute] Your affectionate Father

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); marked in JA's hand at the bottom of the second page: “Mr Dumas.” The notation may have indicated this brief letter's enclosure in JA to Dumas, 19 May LbC, (Adams Papers).
1. Jean Barbeyrac, An Historical and Critical Account of the Science of Morality . . ., transl. by “Mr. Carew of Lincoln's Inn,” appeared as a preface to Samuel Pufendorf 's Of the Law of Nature and Nations, London, 1729, which Barbeyrac annotated (Catalogue of JA's Library).
2. All of these writers based morality on reasoning, whether psychological or philosophical. Samuel Clarke, Francis Hutcheson, and Joseph Butler are extracted or cited in JA's Literary Commonplace Book of 1755–1756 (JA, Papers, 1:9, 10). Ralph Cudworth, a seventeenth-century professor of Hebrew and one of the Cambridge Platonists, is best known for his The True Intellectual System of the Universe: wherein All the Reason and Philosophy of Atheism Is Confuted, and Its Impossibility Demonstrated (1678). William Wollaston became famous for his Religion and Nature Delineated (1724), which sold ten thousand copies soon after its publication. Wollaston offered an intellectual basis for morality by deducing it “from logical necessity.” All of these writers appear in DNB, and all except Wollaston are represented in JA's library, although the edition of Clarke is of a later date than this letter (Catalogue of JA's Library).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0089

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-05-20

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

No News yet from America!1 We Yesterday, exchanged Full Powers with Mr. Hartley, and have agreed to meet at my House, every Evening at Six o Clock, untill We Shall have finished.2 This looks as if We were under Weigh, and I hope We shall reach Port. But cannot guess, how Soon.
My Residence in Holland has given me many faithfull Remembrancers, and among the Rest the Scurvy. I walk every day, never less than a League and some days two or three. I am as carefull of my Diet, Rest &c. as possible: but all is not enough. I shall never get rid { 164 } of the Rests of that Fever and the damp Chills and Sour putrid Steams of the Low Countries.
Their Records are full of me, and my Veins are full of their Stagnant Water, they send me Medals too to perpetuate the Remembrance. Three different Medals have been sent me Since I have been in Paris, one in Commemoration of the Resolution of the States of Friesland, in Feb. 1782 to receive me, another of that of the states General of 19th. of April 1782, and a third of the signature of the Treaty 8 Oct. 1782.3
I hope a Voyage home, and a little Repose may restore me to health or at least give me some Relief.
I wonder of what Materials, Congress think I am made? When they found it necessary to recall that honest Steady, persevereing virtuous Patriot and Citizen Mr. Silas Deane, they were anxious to Save his Reputation, and covered up his Faults by a pretence that they wanted to consult with him about their foreign Affairs. When, at the Instigation of French Finesse, they took from me Authorities, in the Execution of which I had gone so far, and which french Finesse wanted taken from me for no other Reason but because it knew I should execute it too faithfully, they never thought of assigning any Reason at all. Stat pro ratione Voluntas.4 And Posterity are left to accuse or suspect me if they can. Thank God they can accuse, nor suspect me of any Thing, but an Integrity of full Proof in all Tryals. But Posterity can think very meanly of those Members of Congress, who voted for those Sordid Resolutions.
1. JA writes this sentence in unusually large characters.
3. These medals are now in the MHi. The second of those mentioned here appears as an illustration in JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:x, and opposite p. 65. All three medals, and two others, are illustrated in Celeste Walker, John Adams & a “signal Tryumph”: The Begining of 200 Years of American-Dutch Friendship, Massachusetts Historical Society, Picturebook, Boston, 1982, illustration 24.
4. Will stands for reason. JA also writes this well-known maxim, adapted from Juvenal (Satire VI, 223), in exceptionally large characters.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0090

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-05-24

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

[salute] Honoured Sir

Last Tuesday I went to pay a visit to Mr. van Berkel and when I return'd I receiv'd your favours of the 13 and 14th. instants in which you say, you expect not to be here so soon as you wish, on account { 165 } of the Signature of the definitive Treaty. Unless you were present I could not be better plac'd than as I am at present; as Mr. Dumas is so good as to direct and assist me in my Studies. For an amusement I have begun to read Virgil, and Mr. Dumas has advis'd me to begin with the 4th. Eneid. He reads it with me; and explains me every thing which regards the ancient rites; and ceremonies. We commonly read about 100. verses at a time and when we have done I read to Mr. Dumas Dryden's translation1 of the same.

[salute] Madam and Mademoiselle, present their compliments. I am Your dutiful Son.

[signed] J Q. Adams
Please to present my best respects to Messrs. Thaxter and Storer.
1. At some point JQA acquired John Dryden's translation of Virgil's Works in four volumes, London, 1782; it is now in MQA.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0091

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1783-05-28

John Thaxter to John Quincy Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

I have had the pleasure of recieving your favor of the 20th. instant.1 With regard to the Miniature of Genl. Washington, which Mr. D[ana] requested You to enquire about, I have only to say, that Mr. D. has been fully informed of the Reasons of the Delay in not sending it. Mr. Dumas can give You the whole History of the Affair, as he was so kind as to undertake the Expedition of it to Petersbourg, and why he was disappointed in the Execution of his Commission.2
I am as anxious to take You by the Hand, as you can possibly be to see me. I hope we shall meet soon. But I presume not to say when, as Business is not as yet tout-à fait finished. Tis impossible to foresee, exactly when the whole Web will be completed. 'Tis a spinning Negociation.
You will not take it amiss, that I have still so much of the Pedagogue about me, as to recommend very seriously to You a strict Attention to the Latin and Greek Languages, while You remain at the Hague, and You will suffer me also to press You to avail yourself of the classical Knowledge and good Disposition of Mr. Dumas as much as possible. He is an excellent Linguist, and I am too well convinced of your turn for Study, to doubt a Moment of a steady Application to this important Branch of Education. You will recieve the above as the Hints of a Friend, and not as the officious Intermedlings of one who loves to interfere in every Body's Business.
{ 166 }
We are a long time without News from Boston. We are in daily Expectation of some Arrivals. But Patience is almost worn out.
Mr. Storer returns Compliments to You. Please to present his and my Respects to the Family You are in.

[salute] Sincerely your Friend.

[signed] J. Thaxter
1. Not found.
2. The editors can throw little light upon the Washington miniature and its failure to arrive in St. Petersburg. In a letter of 28 March 1782 O.S. (Adams Papers), Francis Dana requested that JA send a copy of it, and JA replied on 17 Sept. that he had “sent [it] to the Care of the Dutch Ambassador” to Russia (MHi: Dana Papers). A month later, however, the Dutch ambassador told Dana that he had neither received it nor heard anything about it (Dana to JA, 20 Oct. 1782 O.S., Adams Papers). Neither JA nor Dana name the Dutch ambassador. The Dutch minister plenipotentiary to St. Petersburg, 1780–1785, was Willem Lodewijk Baron van Wassenaer Starrenburg; the Dutch resident, 1773–1794, was Johan Isaac de Swart (Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Länder, 3:268).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0092

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1783-05-29

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

It gives me great Pleasure to find, that your Situation is agreable to you. An abler Instructor than Mr. Dumas is not to be found. Is not an 100 Verses at a Time too long a Lesson?1 Are you familiar enough with the Latin to comprehend So many Verses at once? You have Ainsworths Dictionary2 I presume. Let no Word escape you, without being understood.
Drydens is a good translation, but it is not Virgil. You will do well to Study the Difference. There is another English Translation of Virgil. It is in blank Verse, done by Dr. Trapp.3 This is thought by Some to be better than Dryden's, but I am not of that opinion. It is worth your while however to have it if you can get it.
I dont know but the Book of Games would be more proper for your young head, than the History of Dido.4
You translate Suetonius in Writing, I hope, and preserve your Translation as you did that of Phaedrus.5 I Should advise you to make a compleat Translation of Suetonius, in order to make yourself Master of the Work.

[salute] Your affectionate Father

[signed] John Adams
1. See JQA to JA, 24 May, above, for JQA's reading of Virgil, and for Dryden's translation of Virgil, to which JA refers below.
2. Robert Ainsworth, Dictionary, English and Latin, London, 1773 (Catalogue of JA's Library).
3. Joseph Trapp, Aeneis of Virgil, Translated into Blank Verse, 2 vols., London, 1718–20. At { 167 } some point JQA acquired Virgil's complete Works in Trapp's blank verse translation (4th edn., 3 vols., London, 1755; now in MQA).
4. The romance of Queen Dido of Carthage and the Trojan leader Aeneas is the subject of Virgil, Aeneid, book IV, which JQA was reading (to JA, 24 May, above). Book V of the same work, the “Book of Games,” describes the athletic contests held by the Trojans in Sicily after their departure from Carthage.
5. See JQA to JA, 12 May, note 2, above. JQA had studied the Latin fabulist Phaedrus in Paris in 1780 and in Leyden in 1781, but the French translation that he copied out in Leyden was the work of his language teacher, not his own (see vols. 3:307, and note 4; 4:xvi, 113, 118, and note 1).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0093

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-05-30

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Here I am, out of all Patience. Not a Word from America. The British Ministry, lingering on. Mr. Hartley uncertain what to do. No Regulation of Commerce agreed on. No definitive Treaty of Peace, Signed, nor likely to be Signed very Soon. My Spring Passage home lost. To embark in July or August, would be the worst Season of the whole Year—on Account of Heat and Calms. I dont See a Possibility of embarking before September or October.
The total Idleness, the perpetual Uncertainty We are in, is the most insipid and at the Same Time disgusting and provoking Situation imaginable. I had rather be employed in carting Street Dust and Marsh Mud.
Neither do I know how or where, I shall get a Passage. I could now go with Mr. Van Berckel in a fine new 68 Gun ship. In the Fall, I suppose I shall be obliged to step on board a Merchant ship loaded down to the Brim. But whether from Holland, or from Some Port in France I know not. So many Vessells will run away to England, that I fear it will be difficult to find a Passage from France or Holland.
But We must bear it all, if We can.
Our Son is at the Hague pursuing his Studies with great Ardour. They give him a good Character wherever he has been, and I hope he will make a good Man.
It is unaccountable that not one Vessell should have arrived from any Part of New England, Since the Peace nor for so long a Time before. But all is Mystery. Pray write me. Dont omit to write, untill I arrive home, direct to the Care of Mr. Dumas a L'hotel des Etats Unis D'Amerique, at the Hague, or to the Care of Mr. Jay, at Paris. These Gentlemen will take Care of your Letters, if I should be gone.

[salute] Yours with great Affection

[signed] J.A.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs John Adams Braintree near Boston.”

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0094

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-06-06

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

[salute] Honoured Sir

I receiv'd last Tuesday your favour of the 29th of last month. As Mr. Dumas is so good as to read Virgil with me; 100 verses at a time is not too much at a Time. I have not Ainsworth's Dictionnary, but I have Lyttleton's,1 and several French one's. I don't think I shall be able to find Trapp's translation of Virgil here; but I have enough with that of Dryden. I had already began to translate Suetonius in writing. I have began it in French, as it is more convenient to me and to Mr. Dumas who corrects the translation. I have began with the Life of Caligula.
I have heard nothing about the finishing the Peace for some time; it was said here, near a fortnight agone that all was over; but at present I hear nothing said about it.

[salute] I am, your Dutiful Son. Please to present my respects to Messrs. Thaxter and Storer.

[signed] J. Q. Adams
1. Adam Littleton, Latin Dictionary, 6th edn., London, 1735, is in MQA; it has JQA's signature and “1781” on the titlepage.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0095

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-06-09

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

What would I not give for an Arrival from America? or for certain Advice from London of the Appointment of a Ministry, or for the Arrival here of a Minister to Sign the definitive Treaty?1
What would I not give for an Arrival from America or for Advice from London what the Ministry intend to do? Mr. Hartley is now here but We advance slowly to the definitive Treaty. I can now have no hopes of Seeing you before late in the Fall. If the Acceptance of my Resignation arrives, as I expect, and We finish the Peace, as soon as I can reasonably hope, I shall not now be able to embark before October. The Affairs of the World have little Complaisance for my Happiness, or yours, but it is not worth our while to be impatient, because it will do us no good. I am astonished however that We have nothing from Congress nor from you.
{ 169 }
If you and your Daughter were with me, I could keep up my Spirits, but idly and insipidly as I pass my time, I am weary, worn and disgusted to death. I had rather chop Wood, dig Ditches, and make fence upon my poor little farm. Alass! poor Farm and poorer Family what have you lost, that your Country might be free and that others might catch fish and hunt Deers and Bevers at their Ease?2
There will be as few of the “Tears of Gratitude” or “the Smiles of Admiration,” or the “Sighs of Pity” for Us, as for the Army. But all this should not hinder me from going over the same Scaenes again upon the Same Occasion, Scaenes which I would not encounter for all the Wealth Pomp and Powers of the World.
Boys! if you ever Say one Word, or utter one Complaint, I will disinherit you. Work you Rogues and be free. You will never have so hard Work to do as Papa has had.
Daughter! Get you an honest Man for a Husband, and keep him honest. No matter whether he is rich, provided he be independent. Regard the Honour and moral Character of the Man more than all other Circumstances. Think of no other Greatness but that of the soul, no other Riches but those of the Heart. An honest, Sensible humane Man, above all the Littlenesses of Vanity, and Extravagances of Imagination, labouring to do good rather than be rich, to be usefull rather than make a show, living in a modest Simplicity clearly within his Means and free from Debts or Obligations, is really the most respectable Man in Society, makes himself and all about him the most happy.
I long to see my dear John, as much as the Rest, but he is well at the Hague and I cannot go to him nor do I think it prudent to bring him to Paris.
I have accomplished a Correspondence between the Royal society of Medicine here, and the Republican one at Boston at the Desire of Dr. Tufts3 but have not yet found a carefull Hand to send the Diploma.

[salute] Adieu Adieu Adieu

1. The reason for JA's failure to complete this letter in April is not known to the editors. In the two months following this date, JA wrote at least six letters to AA; all are printed above. But with the similarity between his April and June opening sentences JA underscores how little his situation had changed.
2. Compare JA to Richard Cranch, 15 Dec. 1782, above, and note 1 there.
3. JA had visited the Académie Royale de Chirurgie on 19 Dec. 1782, and about 20 Dec. had written to the Société Royale de Médecine to propose a correspondence between them and the Massachusetts Medical Society, founded in 1781. Members of these and other French medical societies soon { 170 } wrote to JA, accepting his proposal. Copies of eight letters in this correspondence are in Lb/JA/22 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 110), dated from [ca. 20 Dec. 1782] to 3 June 1783; several of the originals are in the Countway Medical Library in Boston. JA also wrote to Edward Augustus Holyoke, president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, on 10 June (LbC, Adams Papers), the day following this letter (Cotton Tufts to JA, 26 Sept. 1782, and note 2 [vol. 4:386]; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:97, and note 1, 98, and note 1).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0096

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-06-10

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Day after day, Week after Week, Month after Month, roll away and bring Us no News. I am So weary of this idle useless Time, that I dont know what to do with myself. I dont wonder that People who have So much more of Such Time, than has fallen to my Share, have recourse to Play for dissipation.
I find myself in the Same Situation with my Lord Chesterfield who Says in one of his Letters, that he had a dangerous Fever in Holland, that after his Recovery the febrific humour fell into his Legs which Swelled to Such a degree as to be very troublesome to himself and all who came near him. That upon his Return to England he consulted Mead, Broxholme and Arbuthnot who were ignorant of his Disorder and did him no good but on the contrary increased the Swelling by improper Applications of Poultices &c. That he then consulted a surgeon who told him his Evil proceeded from a Relaxation of the skin and that he must bath his Legs, every Morning in Brine from the Salters in which Meat had been pickled, as warm as he could bear it. He followed this Advice and in three Weeks all his Symptoms disappeared and never returned.1
My Swelling has never been So violent, but it is not yet cured. If I increase my Exercise, beyond the usual degree, it returns in [same?] degree. I know not where to find the Brine, and have never done any Thing for it but Walk every day. But this Weakness in the Ankles is not all. I am vexed with other Relicks of that fever, which are very troublesome. They appear in sharp fiery humours which break out in the back of my Neck and in other Parts of me and plague me, as much as the Uncertainty in which I am in of my future destination. Let me get home and I will take Care how I run away again.
It is now 3 Months Since Barney arrived in Philadelphia and We have no answers to any of our Letters. What is the Meaning of it?
1. JA is paraphrasing Lord Chesterfield's letter to his son of 15 Nov. 1766 (Letters of Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, ed. Bonamy Dobrée, London, { 171 } 1932, 6:2778–2780). Chesterfield's illness occurred in 1732 while he was the British ambassador at The Hague. Dr. Richard Mead was a physician to royalty and author of notable treatises on poisons and on the control of the plague; Dr. Noel Broxholme was sometime physician to Queen Caroline, and to Frederick, Prince of Wales, son of George II; and Dr. John Arbuthnot was a favorite physician to Queen Anne (all in DNB).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0097

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-06-10

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

It would give me great Satisfaction to have it in my power to reply to any Letter from you since October last. But that pleasure is denied me. I feel that I am deprived of one Source of Instruction and Entertainment, in being deprived of your excellent Letters. And I support the Privation with little Philosophy. I am thoroughly tired of this cold Consolation, “wait with Patience.” Tis oftentimes the Counsel of the deepest, tho' disguised, Impatience. With this opinion I quit it, or I shall soon fall into a violent fit of fretting, unless I go and pass an Hour with my fair Nun,1 whose Countenance and Language are Contentment. I have seen her several times of late. On my last Visit, She was doing Penance, and it was with the utmost difficulty I could obtain Leave to speak to her, as in that Season they are not allowed to speak to any Visitant but upon a very pressing Occasion. I was happy enough to succeed, and to introduce Mr. Codman2 who delivered her a Letter from her Mother, which was some kind of Atonement for withdrawing her even but for a Moment from the good work of Penance. Why She was in this State, I know not. I had concieved that the Life of a Nun was an eternal Series of Acts of Penance, and was much surprized to find that certain portions of time are allotted to this pious business. What offences the Spouses of Jesus Christ can be capable or guilty of, I am not enough in the Secrets of a Convent to determine. So that I am left to Conjectures, which perhaps may be ill founded and injurious, and therefore very proper to remain where they originated.
Two Nuns have lately taken the Veil. As I had an Invitation to the Ceremony, I conducted a married Lady of my Acquaintance to see it. The Ceremony was much the same as that I formerly gave you an Account of.3 The Sermon was decidedly in favor of that kind of life, as freest from the Evils, Vices and Embarrassments of the World; assuring that it was the only State of Happiness this side of Heaven. He really gave his Audience a severe Lecture, and represented them as in a doubtful State. He did not say, that they would all perish finally, but lashed them without Mercy in speaking of the World at { 172 } large. If he had been a little spare meagre Abby with one foot in the Grave, he might pardonably have painted the World in hideous Colours and bid it a sour Adieu. But the contrary was the fact. Our Orator was in the Bloom of Life and a Picture of Health, but an Abby, condemned by his State to Batchelorism. He made but few Proselytes, if even he himself gave full Credit to his own Doctrine. The married Ladies and Widows deny his System, and are angry enough with him to blanket him.4 And indeed I would inlist as a Volunteer in their Service in so laudable an Undertaking. But the World is full of Contradictions and Absurdities, and the Sermon was only a small Addition to the great Mass.
I have lately met with the Life of Eloise and Abeilard5 in French, as well as the Letters that passed between them. I have bought them, and read them through. 'Tis an interesting Story to Lovers I believe, and I think at 19. I should have read it with more Goût than at present. My Season is over. And for a Year past I have philosophized so much upon Love and Matrimony, that the Sentiment of the former is extinguished to its due degree, and an Inclination for the latter entirely lost. Therefore if I can now read the History of the unfortunate Pair without the ordinary Marks of Sensibility, it must be esteemed rather as a proof of Philosophy than a want of a proper feeling. No one is to be deemed callous whose Sensibility does not instantly melt into Tears on reading or hearing an affecting History or Anecdote. Passions operate differently on different Subjects—more or less violently. Who knows the Sufferings and convulsive Agitations of one who shews few external Marks of them? A Tear is often an equivocal proof of Sensibility.
However notwithstanding my smart Philosophy, I have a strange Inclination to go to Paraclete,6 the Convent built by Abeilard, and of which Eloise was the Superior. I feel a kind of Veneration for the Place, and I believe that kind of Curiosity which leads People to visit particular celebrated Spots of Earth will carry me there, with Pope's Translation of Eloise's Letter. As I have made up my Mind about Matrimony and am in no danger of becoming Love sick I may go in safety. If I should take the Journey, as it is only a day's ride, you may depend on a particular Description from me.
Please to remember me affectionately to your Family, particularly to Miss A. <at her nuptial Ceremony> as an old Acquaintance I may claim <an Invitation>. Respects to all Friends.

[salute] With the utmost Esteem and Respect, Madam yours

[signed] J T
{ 173 }
1. Miss Maroni.
2. Probably Stephen Codman of Boston; see vol. 4:218, and note 1, and John Jay to the president of Congress, 6 Feb. 1782 (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 5:150).
3. In Thaxter to AA, 21 Aug. 1780 (vol. 3:398–399).
4. Probably to toss him in the air, using a blanket; possibly to cover up (stifle) him (OED).
5. The twelfth-century theologian Pierre Abélard seduced his pupil Héloise, and when he learned that she was pregnant, secretly married her. But Héloise's uncle, upon discovering Abélard's deception, had him castrated. Héloise then retired to a convent, and Abélard entered a monastic order. This medieval love story, told in a long correspondence attributed to the two lovers, held a powerful appeal in the eighteenth century. Thaxter's interest in the tale may have been sparked by Pope's “Eloisa to Abelard,” a poem to which he refers, below, as “Pope's Translation of Eloise's Letter.”
6. Le Paraclet, which Thaxter locates, below, as “only a day's ride” from Paris, is near Nogent-sur-Seine, over sixty miles southeast of Paris.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0098

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1783-06-12

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

The Bearer of this Letter, Eliphalet Fitch Esqr., a Gentleman of large Fortune and high in office in Jamaica, is a Grandson of Dr. Boylston and consequently your Relation.1
You will wait upon him and his Lady, and do yourself the honor to shew them all the Attention and Respect in your Power, while they stay at the Hague.

[salute] Your affectionate Father

[signed] John Adams
LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. Eliphalet Fitch was receiver general and a judge of the supreme court of Jamaica. He was born in Boston in 1740, the son of Benjamin Fitch and Jerusha Boylston, the daughter of Dr. Zabdiel Boylston, who introduced innoculation for smallpox into America. Dr. Zabdiel Boylston was the brother of JA's grandfather, Peter Boylston; thus Fitch and JA were second cousins. See JA to C. W. F. Dumas, 12 June (Adams Papers); Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 7:335–336; DAB (Zabdiel Boylston).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0099

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Tyler, Royall
Date: 1783-06-14

Abigail Adams to Royall Tyler

I had thoughts of writing to you before I received my last Letters from abroad, because you have frequently flatterd me with an assurance that my advise is not unacceptable to you.1 I thought I had some hints to drop to you which might Serve your interest. I feel an additional motive to take my pen, and communicate to you a passage from my Last Letter.2
“My dear daughters happiness employs my Thoughts Night and { 174 } day. Do not let her form any connection with any one who is not devoted intirely to Study and to Buisness—To honour and to virtue. If there is a Trait of Frivolity and dissapation left I pray that She may renounce it forever; I ask not Fortune nor favour for mine, But prudence Talents and Labour—She may go with my consent whereever She can find enough of these.”
You have before you sentiments and principals which your Reason must assent to, and your judgment approve, as the only solid foundation upon which a youth can Build: who is entering into Life, with satisfaction to his own mind, or a prospect of happiness for his connections. Talants are not wanting, shall they lack Labour for improvement, or industery for cultivation?
Honour and virtue, are they not inmates and companions? Is their a Trait of Frivolity and dissapation left? Examine your own Heart with candour, let it not deceive you. These are the Rocks and quick Sands. Dissapation enervates the Man, dissolves every good purpose and resolution, it excuses a thousand ways his deviations from the path of Rectitude, and in the end becomes his distroyer. It puts on like a mere Proteous a thousand different forms, and too frequently calls itself Relaxation. The one is necessary the other ruinous. To draw the line requires both skill and judgment; perhaps there is no more certain cure for dissapation, than method, and order, and were I to advise any one liable to this infirmity, it would be to portion out the Day, and appropriate a certain Number of Hours to Study, or to Buisness. With a determined Resolution to be inflexable against every temptation which might allure them from their purpose; untill fixed habits were formed which could not be easily shaken.
Perhaps more industery and application, are necessary, in the profession of the Law, in order to become Eminent; than in either phisick, or divinity; if it is, as I realy believe, in the power of my young Friend, to become so; it is also a duty incumbent upon him. Doubling the Talant of him, who possesst but one, would have obtaind him the Eulogy of a Faithfull Servant, but if he to whom ten was committed had gained only one, how neglegent and Sothfull would he have been deemed?3
Have you not Ambition, let it warm you to Emulation, let it fire you to rise to a Superiour height; to be well accomplished in your profession, I have heard a Friend of mine4 observe that it was indispensably necessary to have a perfect knowledge of the Theory of Goverment, and foundations of society, to study Humane Nature not { 175 } to disguise, but to present Truth in her Native Loveliness. Shall I not See you become an honour to your profession in the excersise of a generous candour; an inflexable integrity; strict punctuality, and exact decision, virtues which are by no means incompatable with your profession, notwithstanding the Sarcastick reflexions it is daily liable to. If you can find within your own breast any additional motives, let them serve to enforce my Recommendations. I have so far interested myself in your advancement in Life, as to feel a peculiar satisfaction in your increasing Buisness. I shall rejoice in your success, and in the consistancy of your Character. Much depends upon a uniformity of conduct. There is a strenght of mind, a firmness and intrepidity which we look for in a masculine character—an April countanance, now Sunshine and then cloudy, can only be excused in a Baby faced girl—in your sex, it has not the appearence of Nature, who is our best guide.——Be assured you have my best wishes that you may merit and obtain whatever may conduce to your happiness, for I am most Sincerely a Friend to Your Fame; and a Lover of your Virtues. Adieu—
RC (VtHi: Royall Tyler Coll.); addressed: “To Mr Royal Tyler Braintree”; docketed, in an unknown hand: “From Mrs John Adams to R. Tyler Esq. June 1783.”
1. The period is supplied.
2. That is, JA to AA, 28 March, above; see note 5.
3. See Matthew 25:14–30.
4. Probably JA.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0100

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Tyler, Royall
Date: 1783-06-14

Abigail Adams to Royall Tyler?

You wish me to devote half an hour to you in your absence; you requested and I comply, to shew you that I have a disposition to oblige, but I am very unequal to the task you have assigned as I have no Herculian properties, but can say with Gays Shepard

“the little knowledge I have gaind

is all from simple nature draind.”

I study her as my surest safest guide, for our actions must not only be right, but expedient, they must not only be agreable to virtue but to prudence. It was upon this principal that my late advise2 was founded. You differd so widely from me in sentiment, that I determined never again to tender an opinion unaskd—yet I did not wish you any further influenced by it than appeard to me, to conduce to your <own> happiness.
{ 176 }
Horace has in some of his Epistles this sentiment better one thorn pluct out than all remain, Humane nature is represented by an english poet as a wild where weeds and flowers promiscuous shoot

A garden tempting with forbiden fruit.

Let it be our study to cultivate the flowers, and root out the weeds, to nourish with a softening care and attention those tender Blossoms, that they may be neither blasted in their prime nor witherd in their bloom but as the blossom falls may the fruit <encrease> yet green <. . . to a perfect> ripen into maturity untill the Beauty of its appearence, shall tempt some Fair hand to pluck it from its native soil and transplant it in one still more <beneficial> conducive to its perfection.
Sternses observation may be just, but King Richards was a more independant one. God says, he helps those who help themselves.3 Advise is of little avail unless it is reduced to practise nor ought we implicitly to give up<on> our judgement to any one what ever may be our regard or esteem for them untill we have weighed and canvassed that advise with our reason and judgment—then if it is right agreable to virtue expedient and prudent we ought strictly to adhere to it—a mutability of temper and inconsistency with ourselves is the greatest weakness of Humane Nature, and will render us little and contemtable in the Eyes of the World. There are certain principal which ought to become unchangeable in us justice temperance fortitude hold the first rank—he who possesses these will soon have all others added unto him.
I have not been alone to day. My Weymouth Friends dined with me together with my sister and cousins. You was kindly enquired after, and the vacant Chair lookt solitary. The provision too was not carved with that dexterity and allertness which your hand is accustomed to.4 This evening—I know you think of your solitary Friend—whilst the lightning plays from cloud to cloud and threatens a tempestous Night. You wish yourself at hand to read me some amuseing or entertaining subject, or to beguile the hour with the incidents of the past day, or converse upon some literary subject, but my little slumbering Guests are all locked in the Arms of sleep. My candle and my pen are all my companions. I send my thoughts across the broad Atlantick in serch of my associate and rejoice that thought and immagination are not confined like my person to the small spot on which I exist.

[salute] Adieu—I have complied with your request recive it in the Spirit of Friendship for that alone dictates to the pen of your Friend

[signed] A A
{ 177 }
1. The editors have redated this letter, originally filed and filmed at [June–July 1779][1779], Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 350. Royall Tyler is AA's likely correspondent for several reasons. First, the letter seems to be a response to a reaction by Tyler to AA's letter of 14 June, above. Second, Tyler is the only person outside the family who enjoyed such an intimate relationship with AA's household in JA's absence. Finally, AA's mention of her correspondent's carving abilities, at note 4, resembles a passage in a later AA letter that almost certainly refers to Tyler.
2. See AA to Royall Tyler, 14 June, above.
3. This may be AA's joke, since one source of this saying, which appears as early as AEsop's fables, is Benjamin Franklin's Maxims Prefixed to Poor Richard's Almanac (1757). See also AA to Dr. Thomas Welsh, [25 Aug. 1785], below.
4. See AA's reference to the carving abilities of “Mr. T—r” in her letter to Elizabeth Cranch, 8 March 1785, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0101

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-06-19

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

The Legion of Lauzun has arrived,1 and We hope has brought the Orders of Congress, for Us, but We have not yet received them, and are as much at a Loss as ever. I know not whether my Resignation is accepted, and consequently can give you no Conjecture, when I Shall be able to get away. As the Spring and Summer Passage is lost, I cannot now embark before September or October, or November. Whether I Shall embark from France, Holland or England I dont know. It will be according as I shall hear of a convenient Passage. Write me by all these Ways. I have received no Line from you, dated Since December.
The definitive Treaty may be Signed in three Weeks: and it may as probably be trained2 on till Christmas. In the last Case, provided the Acceptance of my Resignation Should not arrive, it may be Spring before I can embark. In this State of Suspense and Perplexity you may well Suppose I do not Sleep upon a bed of Roses, especially, as the Public Affairs are as uncertain as our private ones.
I Should like very well, to take a Short Tour to London before my Return, for the Sake of taking a look at that Country, and Seeing Some Personages there, because if I waive this Opportunity, it is not likely I Shall ever have another. Once more at home, it is not probable, I Shall again go abroad. Indeed it is more for the Sake of Mr. John than my own, that I wish to see England, at all.
I was at Versailles, the day before Yesterday and paid my Respects to the King and Queen, Monsieur and Madame his Lady, the Comte D'Artois, Madame Elizabeth and the Mesdames of France Adelaide and Victoire.3 As the Weather was more like a Spring Equinox than a Summer Solstice, the Number of Ambassadors was Smaller than { 178 } usual, and the Attendant Croud less, So that I had a better Opportunity, of viewing the Royal Family at Leisure, then ever I had before.
I dined and breakfasted in deed, with the Ambassadors and found them universally more Sociable, than ever they were before. They begin now universally to consider and treat Us, as Members of their Body.4
It is forbidden I Suppose to Princes and Princesses upon these Occasions, to utter a Sentiment least they Should betray a Secret of State or Say something which might lead a Sagacious Ambassador to political Consequences. According No one Word is ever Said, except asking a Question about some common Thing, as the Weather, the Spectacles, or have you come from Paris to day.
I know an Ambassador who has been fourteen Years at a Court, who has attended regularly once a Week, who says that a Prince has never failed to ask him the Same question, every Time. “Did you come from home to day”—and never any other. This Ambassador too, is of the highest Rank.
Among all the Officers, who come in Play upon these Occasions Such as Introducers of Ambassadors, Secretary of the Presentations of Ambassadors &c., there ought I think to be one, Praeceptor to teach the Princes and Princesses, the Art of asking Questions and making Observations upon these Occasions.
The Prince of Orange's Court is a Miniature of that of Versailles. The Ceremonials, and the Conversation of Princes and Princesses is much the Same. The English Gentlemen here particularly Mr. Hartley tells me, I must be presented at Court, if I should go to London only for a Visit, in my publick Character as a Minister at the Peace. This is rather a discouraging Circumstance, as I should wish to go incog. as much as possible, and my Appearance at Court would make more Talk than I wish. I should be Stared at, as a Sight. I Should be treated however complaisantly enough, I doubt not. The Case is altered. I had rather make my Court to my Princesses at5 Pens Hill, than to all the others in the World. This Honour I hope for but cannot promise myself so soon, as I wish.
1. The French forces commanded by the Duc de Lauzun, the last major unit of the Comte de Rochambeau's army to return to France, were formally released from service by George Washington on 23 April, and thanked by Congress on 1 May, shortly before their departure (Howard C. Rice Jr. and Anne S. K. Brown, eds., The American Campaigns of Rochambeau's Army 1780, 1781, 1782, 1783, Princeton and Providence, 1972, 1:76, 168; Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:397–398; JCC, 24:317–318).
2. Dragged, now obsolete (OED).
3. “Monsieur” was the Comte de Provence, { 179 } brother of the king, who later became Louis XVIII; the Comte d'Artois, youngest brother of the king, later became Charles X; Elisabeth was the king's sister; Adélaïde and Victoire were sisters of the king's father, the late Louis Dauphin (see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:137, and note 2; Dorothy Moulton Mayer, Marie Antoinette: The Tragic Queen, N.Y., 1969, p. 20, 23, 366).
4. JA gives a detailed account of his conversation with several of these diplomats in his Diary entry for 17 June (Diary and Autobiography, 3:137–138).
5. Here JA thoroughly crossed out two or three words, rendering them illegible.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0102

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-06-20

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

If I was certain I should welcome you to your native Land in the course of the summer, I should not regret Mr. Smiths going abroad without me. Should it be otherways, should you still be detained abroad—I must submit, satisfied that you judge best, and that you would not subject me to so heavy a dissapointment, or yourself to so severe a mortification as I flatter myself it would be, but for the general good: a European life would, you say, be the ruin of our Children. If so, I should be as loth as you, to hazard their embibeing sentiments and opinions which might make them unhappy in a sphere of Life which tis probable they must fill, not by indulging in luxuries for which tis more than possible they might contract a taste and inclination, but in studious and labourious persuits.
You have before this day, received the joint commission for forming a commercial treaty with Britain.2 I am at a loss to determine whether you will consider yourself so bound by it, as to tarry longer abroad. Perhaps there has been no juncture in the publick affairs of our country; not even in the hour, of our deepest distress, when able statesmen and wise Counsellors were more wanted than at the present day. Peace abroad leaves us at leisure to look into our own domestick affairs. Altho upon an Estimate of our National debt, it appears but as the Small Dust of the balance, when compared to the object we have obtained, and the benifits we have secured, yet the Restless spirit of man will not be restrained; and we have reason to fear that Domestick Jars and confusions, will take place, of foreign contentions and devastations. Congress have commuted with the Army by engageing to them 5 years pay, in lieu of half pay for Life. With Security for this they will disband contented. But our wise Legislators are about disputing the power of Congress to do either;3 without considering their hands in the mouth of the Lion, and if the just and necessary food is not supplied, the outragious animal may become so ferocious as to spread horrour, and devastation, or an { 180 } other Theseus may arise who by his reputation, and exploits of valour, whose personal character and universal popularity, may distroy our Amphictinik system and subjugate our infant republicks to Monarchical domination.4
Our House of Representitives is this Year composed of more than a hundred New Members, some of whom no doubt are good Men. Near all the able and skillfull Members who composed the last House have lost their Seats, by voting for the return of Mr. Brattle; notwithstanding the strongest evidence in his favour, and the many proofs which were produced of his Friendly conduct towards America. For this crime, our worthy Friend Mr. Cranch was droped by this Town.5 The Senate is a loser this year by the resignation of some excellent Members.6 We have in this state an impost of 5 per cent, and an excise act,7 whilst the Neighbouring states have neither. Foreigners finding this the case, cary their Cargoes to other states. At this the Merchant grumbles, the Farmer groans with his taxes, and the Mechanick for want of employ. Heaven Avert that like the Greek Republicks we should by civil discension weaken our power, and crush our rising greatness; that the Blood of our citizens, should be shed in vain: and the labour, and toil, of our statesmen; be finally bafled; through niggardly parsimony; Lavish prodigality; or Ignorance of our real Interest. We want a Soloman in wisdom, to guide and conduct this great people: at this critical aere, when the counsels which are taken, and the measures which are persued; will mark our future Character either with honour, and Fame, or disgrace, and infamy; in adversity, we have conducted with prudence and magninimity. Heaven forbid, that we should grow giddy with prosperity, or the height to which we have soared, render a fall conspicuously fatal.
Thus far I had written when your welcome favour of March 28th reached me;8 I was not dissapointed in finding you uncertain with regard to the Time of your return; should the appointment which I fear; and you have hinted at; take place, it would indeed be a dull day to me. I have not a wish to join in a scene of Life so different from that in which I have been educated; and in which my early and I must suppose, happier days, have been Spent; curiosity satisfied and I should sigh for tranquil Scenes,

“And wish that Heaven had left me still

The whisp'ring Zephyr, and the purling rill?”

{ 181 } Well orderd home is my chief delight, and the affectionate domestick wife with the Relative duties which accompany that character my highest ambition. It was the disinterested wish of sacrificeing my personal feelings to the publick utility, which first led me to think of unprotectedly hazarding a voyage. I say unprotectedly for so I consider every lady who is not accompanied by her Husband. This objection could only be surmounted by the earnest wish I had to soften those toils which were not to be dispenced with, and if the publick welfare required your Labours and exertions abroad, I flatterd myself, that if I could be with you, it might be in my power to contribute to your happiness and pleasure, but the day is now arrived, when with honour and well earned Fame, you may return to your native land—when I cannot any longer consider it as my duty to submit to a further Seperation, and when it appears necessary that those abilities which have crownd you with Laurels abroad, should be exerted at home for the publick Safety.
I do not wish you to accept an Embassy to England, should you be appointed. This little Cottage has more Heart felt Satisfaction for you than the most Brilliant Court can afford,9 the pure and undiminished tenderness of weded Love, the filial affection of a daughter who will never act contrary to the advise of a Father, or give pain to the Maternal Heart. Be assured that she will never make a choice without your approbation which I know she considers as Essential to her happiness. That she has a partiality I know, and believe, but that she has submitted her opinion to the advise of her Friends, and relinquished the Idea of a connection upon principals of prudence and duty, I can with equal truth assure you. Yet nothing unbecomeing the Character which I first entertaind has ever appeard in this young Gentleman since his residence in this Town, and he now visits in this family with the freedom of an acquaintance, tho not with the intimacy of a nearer connection. It was the request of Emelia who has conducted with the greatest prudence, that she might be permitted to see and treat this Gentleman as an acquaintance whom she valued. “Why said she should I treat a Gentleman who has done nothing to forfeit my Esteem, with neglect or contempt, merely because the world have said, that he entertained a preferable regard for me? If his foibles are to be treated with more severity than the vices of others, and I submit my judgment and opinion to the disapprobation of others in a point which so nearly concerns me, I wish to be left at liberty to act in other respects with becomeing decency.” And she { 182 } does and has conducted so as to meet with the approbation of all her Friends. She has conquerd herself. An extract from a little poetick peice which Some months ago fell into my Hands10 may give you some Idea of the Situation of this Matter. You will tell me you do not want a poet,11 but if there is a mind otherways well furnished, you would have no objection to its being a mere amusement. You ask me if this Gentleman is a speaker at the Bar. He attends Plimouth Court and has spoke there. He is not yet sworn in to the Superiour Court, but is proposed to be sworn in the Next court, with his cotemporaries. I cannot say what he will make, but those who most intimately know him, say he has talants to make what he pleases, and fluency to become a good Speaker. His buisness encreases here, and I know nothing but what he is well esteemed. His temper and disposition appear to be good. The family in which he boards12 find no fault with his conduct. He is Regular in his liveing, keeps no company with Gay companions, seeks no amusement but in the society of two or 3 families in Town, never goes to Boston but when Buisness calls him there. If he has been the Gay thoughtless young fellow which he is said to have been and which I believe he was, he has at least practised one year of reformation. Many more will be necessary to Establish him in the world, whether he will make the man of worth and steadiness time must determine.
Our two sons are placed under the care, and in the family of Mr. Shaw. They have been near 3 months absent from me. This week with my daughter and Mr. Smith to accompany us I go to see them. My dear John, where is he?13 I long to see him. I have been very anxious about him. Such a winter journey. I hope he is with you. I want to receive a Letter from him. If you should continue abroad untill fall I should be glad you would make me a small remittance, goods will not answer. We are glutted with them. I do not wish for any thing more, than I want for my family use. In this way a few peices of Irish linnen and a peice of Russia sheeting together with 2 green silk umbrellas I should be glad of as soon as convenient. If you should have an opportunity from France to send me 3 Marsels cotton and silk quilts I should be very glad; they are like the Jacket patterns you sent me by Charles. I want a white, a Blew and a pink. Mr. Dana sent 3 to Mrs. Dana; I think she said Mr. Bonfeild procured them. I mentiond in a former Letter a few other articles.14 I am going to marry one of my family to a young fellow whom you liberated from jail, a son of Capt. Newcombs, to the Jane Glover who has lived 7 years with me and as she never would receive any wages from me I think { 183 } myself obligated to find her necessaries for house keeping.15 I have been buying land, and my last adventure came to so poor a market, that I am quite broke. My letter is an unreasonable long one, yet I may take an other sheet of paper—not to night however. I will bid you good <night> by.16 I seal this least Mr. Smith should sail before I return. Mean to write more. Have a Letter for Mr. T[haxter].
1. This letter was probably begun before 14 June, and substantially finished before 20 June; see note 8.
2. AA's information was incorrect. On 1 May a congressional committee had reported on a letter from JA to the secretary for foreign affairs, R. R. Livingston, dated 5 Feb. in which he strongly recommended that steps be taken to negotiate a treaty of commerce with Great Britain. Struggling to control his distress at Congress' earlier decision (July 1781) to revoke his 1779 commission to negotiate a commercial treaty with Britain, but nonetheless taking the opportunity to wonder about the reason for that loss, JA discussed extensively how such a treaty might be initiated, who might undertake the task, and what the advantages of a treaty would be (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:242–247). The committee responded by recommending that JA, Franklin, and Jay be authorized to enter into a commercial treaty (JCC, 24:320–321, 405, note 1), and JA received a copy of the committee's resolution from Franklin on 7 Sept., which he recorded verbatim in his Diary, and in two different Letterbooks. But Congress never implemented this resolution, and in the fall of 1783 they initiated new measures to settle their diplomatic establishment, which they did not complete until May 1784. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:141–142, and note 2.
3. For a thorough discussion of the effect upon Massachusetts factions of Congress' commutation of officers' pay, see Van Beck Hall, Politics without Parties: Massachusetts, 1780–1791, Pittsburgh, 1972, p. 152–158.
4. The Amphictionic League of city-states in central Greece existed throughout the classical period and centered on the temple of Apollo at Delphi. At first primarily religious in nature, the League occasionally exercised real political power. As a confederation of representatives from several sovereign states, however, the League was never able to sustain its unity or power over long periods. Theseus, from a much earlier period of Greek history, was the presumably mythical hero who united the several communities of Attica into the powerful city-state of Athens. Oxford Classical Dictionary.
This passage is the first extant expression of AA's concern that if the states did not support Congress' settlement with the recently disbanded Continental Army (“the Lion”), a “Theseus” (George Washington or another military leader) might lead the discontented forces to destroy the American confederation of free sovereign states. Other expressions of fear and distrust of the Army, and particularly of its officers, appear in letters by AA and JA beginning in 1784, below. In those letters the immediate object of the Adams' criticisms was the newly formed Society of the Cincinnati.
5. In 1779 Thomas Brattle, who had left Massachusetts in 1775, returned from Europe to New York and then to Rhode Island, but was denied permission to return to his home in Massachusetts on the grounds that he was a loyalist refugee, even though JA had written a letter on his behalf (to Oliver Wendell, 14 Nov. 1779, JA, Papers, 8:289). Staying in Rhode Island, he gave evidence of his patriotism by serving on the staff of Gen. James M. Varnum and by performing services for the French forces. In the spring of 1783 Brattle once more sought permission to return to his home state, but Massachusetts' House of Representatives rejected his petition by a vote of 52 to 51 (see John Thaxter to JA, 12 Aug., Adams Papers). Brattle finally won back his citizenship and property through court action.
The new House of Representatives that assembled at the end of May 1783, considerably larger than its predecessor, had 135 new faces. Of the 51 representatives that had voted for Brattle, 28 were replaced or resigned, while 37 of the 52 who voted against Brattle returned to office. While AA exaggerates the connection between the vote on Brattle and { 184 } the membership of the new House, she may have thought that several of the 28 who voted for Brattle and were replaced were particularly “able and skillful Members” of the legislature. Independent Chronicle, 6 March 1783; Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 14:568–572; membership lists for 1782–1783 and 1783–1784, Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A.1b, Reel No. 10, Unit 3, p. 1–9; Reel No. 11, Unit 1, p. 1–9).
6. Eight of the thirty nine senators elected in 1782 were not listed in the records of the 1783 election. One other senator, Caleb Strong of Northampton, declined to serve after being elected (Records of the States, A.1a, Reel 16, Unit 1, p. 4–11; Unit 2, p. 5–9, 20).
7. On Massachusetts' impost and excise taxes, see Hall, Politics without Parties, p. 111–112 and references there.
8. This sentence indicates that the foregoing paragraphs were written before 14 June, when AA wrote to Royall Tyler, above, and quoted JA's letter of 28 March, also above.
9. In all of his editions of AA's Letters (1840, 1841, 1848), CFA omitted virtually the entire text after this point, up to the close: “I will bid you good night.” The only material that he included, in any editions, is marked at note 13.
10. See AA to JA, 30 Dec. 1782, above.
11. See JA to AA, 22 Jan., above.
12. Royall Tyler boarded with Richard and Mary Cranch, AA's brother-in-law and sister.
13. In his 1841 and 1848 editions of AA's Letters, CFA included the passage from “My dear John” to “I want to receive a Letter from him.” He omitted this passage from AA, Letters, 1840.
14. Probably that of 7 May, above, at note 5.
15. Bryant Newcomb and Jane Glover formally announced their intention to marry on 2 Aug. (Braintree Town Records, p. 885). On JA's role in freeing Bryant Newcomb from Mill Prison in Plymouth, England, where he and other Braintree residents were being held as prisoners of war, see vol. 4:257, 259–261, note 3.
16. The remainder of the text was written in the margin.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0103

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-06-24

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

[salute] Honoured Sir

I receiv'd some days agone two setts of the 3d. and 4th. volumes of the Politique Hollandais, from Mr. Cerisier.1 I suppose your intention is to have them bound in the same manner as the 2. first, and shall therefore have it done.
I have been obliged to borrow a Suetonius. Please to let me know if you chuse I should Purchase one. There is an edition with the Commentaries of Ernesti which I believe would be the best.2
We have had no news about the Peace this long while: it seems it goes on but slowly. Tis said hostilities have commenced between the Russians and the Turks. Mr. van Berkel left Rotterdam, yesterday was a week and will probably sail within these two or three Days.

[salute] I am your Dutiful Son

[signed] J. Q. Adams
My best respects if you please to Messrs. Thaxter and Storer.
1. Antoine Marie Cerisier was publisher of Le politique hollandais, a pro-American journal that appeared weekly in Amsterdam. Four bound volumes are preserved in JA's library (Catalogue of JA's Library).
2. Probably Suetonius, Opera ex recensione et cum animadversionibus, ed. J. A. Ernesti, 2d edn. rev., Leipzig, 1775. This work is in MQA.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0104

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-06-26

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Frind

No Letters from you Since last December. Write by the Way of England Holland, France Spain all the Winds of Heaven. You may desire Mr. Storer to inclose your Letters to the Care of his Connections in London.1 Letters come now by that Way very well.
I know not when I shall see you. I begin to fear it will not be, till next year. Yet I am in constant hopes every Moment of receiving from Congress my Quietus. If it comes I shall embark in September, October or November. But whether from France, Holland or England I know not. The Uncertainty in which We are left is cruel. We have no Information of the sentiments of Congress upon the Peace, nor any Intimation of their Pleasure for the future.
My dear Daughter and my brave Boys, what would I give to see them and how much more their Mamma. John is translating Suetonius and Virgil into French at the Hague. He says very gravely it is more convenient to him to turn them into French than English. This is not pleasing to me, who still love the English Language better than the French.
We dont yet know whether you are angry with Us for making Peace, or what you think of Us.

[salute] Yours forever

[signed] J.A
1. Probably Ebenezer Storer's daughter Elizabeth and her husband, John Atkinson, whom the Adamses would see often in London in 1785.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0105

Author: Cranch, Richard
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-06-26

Richard Cranch to John Adams

[salute] Dear Brother

Your most esteemed Favour of the 15th. of December came safe to hand, for which I heartily thank you. I have also been favour'd with the sight of several of your other Letters, particularly one to Uncle Smith about the Fishery;1 and I got liberty from him to let some of your Essex Friends have a sight of it, particularly your Friend and Class-mate Mr. Dalton (the Speaker) and some other Members of the Fishing Towns.2 They are very highly gratified with the Honour you do them in saying that “for the rest of your Days you shall consider your self as a Marblehead or Cape-Ann Man.” I am perswaded that something higher than the “Freedom of their Cities in { 186 } a Box of Heart of Oak, or the Quintal of dumb Fish” that you humourously mention for your Lady, is very seriously tho't of by them; and, as I think, by the People at large. I think it is the general Wish that He whose great Talents in Negotiation (under God) have given us Peace, and whose unshaken Firmness has caused our “Independance to be Independant,” should be our first Magistrate. Holland in the American Scale, and in consequence thereof a Treaty enter'd on. An unrestrained Fishery obtained. Boundaries of Territory so ample, that we could scarcely in Idea comprehend their Extent and future Advantages. All these and a thousand other publick Benefits, we think ourselves indebted for, to your Virtue, great Abilities and indefatigable Application in favour of your Country.
But the Tories—there's the Pinch. The Spirit runs very high here at present against letting any one of the Absentees return. I wish to be informed by you whether any of the Articles of Novr. 30th. 1782 respecting those Persons were understood by the contracting Parties as being any thing more than meerly recommendatory, and which of them (if any such there be) are to be considered by the States as absolutely binding. I will endeavour to explain my self. If, for instance, the Estate of A (an Absentee) had bean confiscated and sold before the Treaty was Signed; the Restitution of such an Estate to the former Owner, would rest only on the Recommendation of Congress, according to the 5th. Article,3 which Recommendation, I conceive, may or may not be comply'd with by the State where the Estate lies; and therefore it would be uncertain to A whether his Estate should ever be restored to him or not. But if B, another Absentee in the same Predicament as the former, has been so lucky as not to have had his Estate libelled or prosecution commenced against it until after the signing of the Treaty; He, if the 6th. Article4 be considered as absolutely binding on the States, seems to me to be secured from any future Prosecution or Confiscation of his Property. So that A may loose his Estate, because the Restitution of it, according to the 5th. Article, is meerly recommendatory, and may not be comply'd with by the Government of the State where the Estate lies: while B, on the contrary will be secure from loosing his Estate because by the 6th Article (if that is absolutely binding on the several States) it is stipulated that no further Prosecutions shall commence against any Person on account of the Part he has taken in the War. These are difficulties that we would wish to have solved, and we should be glad to know from you in what latitude we are to take the sense of the { 187 } 5th. and 6th. Articles respecting the Restitution of the Absentee's Estates, their Return &c.
Our very worthy Friend, the Honble. Cotton Tufts Esqr., is of the Senate this Year, and is now here (the General Court being sitting). I expect he will write to You and Mr. Thaxter more fully on Publick Affairs, and to his Letters I must referr you. We shall send the present Pacquet by Cousin William Smith who will sail in a few Days for London, and I hope he will have the happiness of seeing you and our worthy Friends Thaxter and Storer before he returns; and particularly our young Northern Envoy, who before this time, I hope, is happily return'd to you. We all long to see and embrace him here.
Our dear Boys, Charles Tommy and Billy, are all at Haverhill at present under the Tuition of Brother Shaw, who, with our excellent Sister, will take the best Care both of their Learning and Morals. Your Lady and Daughter and my Betsy are gone to pay them a Visit. I heard from them last Saturday, when they were all well.
We have lately heard from N: Hampshire of the Death of your aged and truly venerable Uncle the Revd. Mr. Adams of Newington.5 I have been informed that the last Sermon he ever preach'd was a Thanksgiving Sermon on the Peace, in which he express'd his great satisfaction at having lived to see that great Event take place (he being then, if I mistake not; about 96 or 97 Years of age) and more especially on considering the firm and decisive Part that One of his own Blood and Family had born in bringing about that glorious Period.
Your Mother and Brother and his Children are well. Uncle Quincy is not very well. Father Smith, Coll. Thaxter and Family, and all our near Connections are as well as usual. Poor Mr. Crosby the Preacher is dead: he died lately of a Consumption, his Wife died about a Year ago and his Infant Child. There is only one Child, a little Girl, remaining.6
We are all longing for the happy Day when the great Publick will so far release you as to give your particular Friends and Relatives an Oportunity of personally congratulating the Father of their Country and the Friend of Mankind. In which no one will join with more sincerity or warmer Gratitude than your ever affectionate
[signed] Brother Richard Cranch
P.S. My dear Wife and Children join with me in our best Wishes for your Health and Safety, beging that you would present our kindest Regards to your amiable Son, if return'd, and to our worthy and very { 188 } esteemed Friends Thaxter and Storer. I intend to write to Mr. Thaxter by this Oportunity if possible.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To His Excellency John Adams Esqr. Minister for the United States of America, at Paris”; endorsed: “Mr. Cranch. 26. June 1783 ansd. 10. Septr.”
1. JA to Isaac Smith Sr., 15 Dec. 1782 (MHi: Cranch Family Papers).
2. Tristram Dalton represented his native town, Newburyport (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 13:569–578).
3. See AA to JA, 28 April, note 7, above.
4. Art. 6 begins, “That there shall be no future Confiscations made, nor any prosecutions commenced against any Person or Persons, for or by reason of the Part which he or they may have taken in the present War” (Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:99).
5. Rev. Joseph Adams, older brother of JA's father, who died on 20 May at the age of ninety-five (A. N. Adams, Geneal. Hist. of Henry Adams of Braintree, p. 394).
6. Joseph Crosby, Harvard 1772, son of Maj. Joseph Crosby of Braintree, and brother-in-law of Peter Boylston Adams, JA's brother, died on 28 May. His wife Betsey had died on 28 July 1782. His surviving daughter, Elizabeth Anne, later married Boylston Adams, JA's nephew and her first cousin (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:52; 3:277; MH-Ar; Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy, p. 156; New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, 30:8).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0106

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-06-30

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I wrote you a Letter a fortnight ago1 to send per this opportunity, but meeting with the Consul in Boston,2 he informd me, that the America would sail in a few days. I gave it to him and hope it has reachd you as he promised a particular attention to it. Mr. Smith will be the Bearer of this; I need not ask your particular attention to him. He is most worthy and Good, Benevolent and kind, Generous to his Friends and connections who stand in need of his assistance; he has been industerous and successfull in Buisness, and is untainted by the vices of the age. Yet with all these virtues and accomplishments he has not found Success among the Fair. Why? Because he has not address.3 I know not any other reason. He can inform you of our little excursion to Haverhill where he was kind enough to accompany me, on a visit to my sister and our two dear Boys, whom I found well pleased with their Situation. I tarried with them 8 days. Whilst I was there, Charles whose constitution is exceedingly delicate was seazd with a pluratick disorder. Giving him an Emetick and attending immediately to him, he so far recoverd as to be able to ride home with me, to which the doctor advised. And it was of so much service to him, that I hope he will be able to return to his studies in a week or ten days. The weather was so extreemly hot, and the fatigue of my journey, has so enfeabled me that I scarcly know how to hold my pen.
The Country looks well, and the season is promising, tho rather { 189 } dry. But I never shall take a journey which will be truly pleasent to me, unaccompanied by my Friend. And yet how few in the course of 19 years that we have been connected, have we taken together? Tho your life has been one continued Scene of journeying, in the early part of my Life, Maternal duties prevented my accompanying you, and in the Later the Stormy Scenes of war. Few persons who so well Love demestick Life as my Friend; have been calld, for so long a period, to relinquish the enjoyment of it; yet like the needle to the pole, you invariably turn towards it, as the only point where you have fixed your happiness. It is this belief which has supported me thus far through the voyage, but alass how often have I felt the want of my pilot, obliged “to act my little part alone.” I cannot say with Dyanthe4 that I wished not for my associate. And is the time near at hand, when Heaven will again bless us in the Society of each other? I would fain flatter myself that it is. O! May we taste, may we drink of the cup of happiness without one alloy, and be as blest as we can bear, “all Various Nature pressing on the Heart.” Thus let us retire into ourselves, and rejoice in the purity of our affections, the simplicity of our manners and the Rectitude of our Hearts, for without an ostentatious boast we may claim them all.

“And that which nothing Earthly gives, or can distroy

The Souls calm Sunshine, and the Heartfelt joy.”5

But from this picture of domestick felicity shall I reverse the Medal and shew you a political state of discontent, jealousy, and rangling. The Stormy Scenes of war have subsided—but in lieu of them, what have we—a Legislature composed of wise Heads, and skillfull hands—by their deeds shall ye know them.

“In parts Superiour what advantage lies?

tell (for you can) what is it to be wise?

Tis but to know how little can be known;

To see all others faults, and feel our own

Condemn'd in bus'ness or in arts to drudge

Without a second, or without a judge

Truths would you teach, or save a sinking land

All fear, none aid you, and few understand.”6

By the best information I can obtain few of these superiour parts are like to become troublesome to our Legislators the present year. In my last I gave you some account of them, and the principal upon which many of them were Elected. Last week came on the choice of { 190 } delegates for Congress, and every Member who composed the last,7 was left out. They even went so far, as to propose recalling them immediately; and voting that they should never be again chosen. Here I believe they exceeded the bounds of the constitution, and the limits of Reason. So high does the spirit run against commutation to the Army. Connecticut I hear has voted their Army one years pay, and Road Island were doing something of the kind.8 All seem determined to act contrary to the Resolve of Congress. The Army are disbanding fast, without a six pence to bear their expences home; and live upon the kindness of the people. The New Members chosen for Congress are our Friend Mr. Gerry, who is gone on, Mr. Dalton your old Friend, Mr. Partridge, Mr. Danilson, Judge Sullivan. I have engaged our Friend Dr. Tufts to write you fully upon political matters.9 He will give you much better information than I am able to; yet I cautiond him not to coulour even to the Life, least you should reluct at the Idea of a return to us. Yet no one has experienced a larger share of the turbulent scenes of political Life than my Friend, or steared through them with more honour and reputation. I heed not the little sarcastick reflextions of Reviewers, Magazine writers or News paper scriblers and rather consider it as a compliment, than a reflextion, that they should have nothing to offer against my Friend, but that he was not nobly descended. Mean are those arts indeed which would derogate from the Merit of a Man, upon account of the honest occupation of his parents. The truly noble mind spurns the Idea.

“Honour and shame from no condition rise

Act well your part, there all the Honour lies.

What can ennoble sots or slaves or cowards?

Alass! not all the Blood of all the Howards.”10

I hope my dear John is with you. I long to hear from him, much more to see him. I shall expect you by September. Do not delay it till late in the year. I shall continue writing to you untill you tell me You are about to embark. Continue to Frank your letters, if they catch one without they make me pay enormously. I Sent per the America a little invoice of a few articles.11 As there is little hazard of the loss of the Letter, I do not think it worth repeating. Our Friends are all well and desire to be affectionately rememberd to you. I call upon Nabby to write you and suppose she will. Adieu—and believe me most sincerely when I echo back, the most pleasing attestation of my Friend, Yours entirely and forever,
[signed] Portia
{ 191 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by Royall Tyler: “His Excellency John Adams Esqr. Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America. at Paris”; endorsed: “Portia. 30. June 1783”; docketed in a later hand: “Family Letter.”
1. That of 20 June, above, which was probably largely written well before that date (see note 8 to that letter).
2. Philippe André Joseph de Létombe, French consul general to the United States, 1781–1792 (Abraham P. Nasatir and Gary Elwyn Monell, French Consuls in the United States, Washington, 1967, p. 563).
3. Either a dutiful and courteous approach in courtship or a general presentation or bearing (OED).
4. Perhaps the Roman goddess Diana, usually thought of as virginal.
5. Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man, epistle IV, lines 167–168.
6. Same, lines 259–266.
7. Those dropped were Nathaniel Gorham, Samuel Osgood, Stephen Higginson, and Samuel Holten, all of whom voted for commutation (JCC, 24:210). In the first vote for new congressmen on 27 June, Elbridge Gerry received by far the highest number of votes cast jointly by the two legislative houses—141 out of 145—and 101 legislators supported Tristram Dalton. No other candidates won a majority of the votes on this first day. The next day, George Partridge, James Sullivan, and Timothy Danielson were chosen, but only after the first tallies were rejected for irregularities. Dalton declined his election, and Samuel Osgood was chosen on 9 July by a vote of 79 out of 142, a rather slim majority. Sullivan never attended Congress and resigned in Feb. 1784, to be replaced by Francis Dana, who was elected unanimously. Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass., A.1b, Reel 11, Unit 1, p. 130, 132–133, 161, 341, 375; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 7:lxviii, lxix.
8. See Cotton Tufts to JA, 26 June (Adams Papers).
9. Same.
10. Pope, Essay on Man, epistle IV, lines 193–194 and 215–216.
11. No separate “invoice” enclosed with AA to JA, 20 June, above, has been found, but see the items that AA lists in that letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0107

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Thaxter, John
Date: 1783-07-01

Abigail Adams to John Thaxter

[salute] My Dear Sir

Mr. Smith is at last about to leave us. I cannot in conscience omit so good an opportunity of writing, altho I hope you will be here almost as soon as he arrives abroad. He expects to sail the Next day after tomorrow which will be the 3d. of july. He went from here this morning, not a little dissapointed that he was to go abroad without me, as he politely expresst the pleasure he had anticipated in accompanying my Ladyship and daughter abroad. Few young Gentlemen have gone from hence with a worthyer character than Mr. Smith possesses, and he will do honour to his Country, where ever he resides. If he has not all those Brilliant accomplishments which distinguish some who are favorites of the Fair, he has all those virtues of the Heart which endear him to his Friends, and will render him respectable among the worthy of every Country. He “that commends an other,” Says the Spectator, “engages so much of his own Reputation as he gives to the person commended.”1 I can safely trust mine upon the Established character of this Gentleman. He can inform you of every thing respecting us, which you wish to know. He can { 192 } tell you that your Fair American, and many other Fair Americans, are still Single, tho he has made some efforts to lesson the Number, but in spight of him, they will continue blind to their own Interest.
I scarcly know what to entertain you with, in return for the many kind, and repeated favours You have of late obliged me with. Politicks—I think you must be surfeited with them. Shall I talk of my self and contrast my simple manners; and republican stile of Life, with the pagentry, Splendour, and courtly Life you are necessatated to endure. As a novelty, it may please for a time, but I dare say you have seen enough of the painted greatness to discern the daubing, and to prefer the Native Beauties, and comparitively Simple, Rustick, and plain manners of America, to the more Luxurious and refined Manners of European Courts.
You have drawn a very agreable picture of your American party.2 I should have been happy to have made one of the number, but now think it improbable that I shall ever visit Europe. I sometimes think the pleasentest days of my life are past, I have slided on in the absence of my Friend, with few enviers, because I stept not out of the path in which I had been accustomed to walk, nor sought to vie with the Beau Mond. I mixed not with the frequenters of the Ball or assembly room, and I extended not my acquaintance amongst the polite and fashionable circle of the present day, but convinced that the Honour, and Reputation of a Lady in the absence of her Husband, was necessaryly connected with retirement, I followed my own inclination, and gratified my taste; by associateing only with a seele[c]t number of Friends whose manners and taste, corresponded with my own, and from whose converse and society, I could reap profit and entertainment. Large mixed companies, are not calculated for true Social converse. It is an observation of Rochfoucaults that a company to be truly agreable should not consist of more than the number of the Muses, nor less than the Graces.3
I presume he meant to except Lovers, who you know are all the World to each other, and to whom the company of a third person is dissagreable, or if it is not it is seldom fit that a third person should be witness, to what they cannot be actors in, for if I recollect aright, there are a thousand little tendernesses, which pass between persons of this character, which can make no one but themselves happy.
But to return to my subject, I foresee a different scene of Life opening before me, I see my Friend still connected with publick life in his own Country, and probably in a situation which will create envy { 193 } in the Breasts of some and Calumny in the mouths of thousands, himself his wife his children will all be scrutinized with an Eye of jealousy. I shall become a spectator of a thousand anxious cares, and tormenting perplexities, of which I have heitherto only heard—at least there is a strong probability that this may be the case. I have no reason to think that my Friend would be permitted to retire from publick life, whilst his active powers can be of any service to his Country. A State of inactivity was never meant for Man; Love and the desire of glory as they are the most natural, are capable of being refined into the most delicate and rational passions.4 That Ambition which in the mind of Alexander became a scourge to mankind, in an Alfred and Augustus would have been employed for the benifit of their fellow Mortals.5

“Reason the bias turns to good, from ill.

And Nero reigns a Titus if he will

The fiery Soul abhorr'd in Cataline

In Decius charms, in Curtius is divine

The same ambition can distroy or save

And makes a patriot, as it makes a knave.”6

Remember me kindly to Mr. Storer, tell him I mark him as one of those Genious'es capable of being eminently serviceable to mankind. There is a large tax upon his merit I expect he always pays, in solid coin, even without alloy. Accept my kindest wishes for your Health and prosperity. And believe that no one is more sincerely Interested in the safety of your return to your native Land, than Your Sincerely affectionate
[signed] Friend Portia
RC (MB); endorsed: “Mrs. Adams 1. July 1783.” Dft (Adams Papers). Substantial material in the Dft that is not in the RC is noted below.
1. Joseph Addison and Richard Steele, The Spectator, No. 188, 5 Oct. 1711.
2. Thaxter's letter to AA of 19 Nov. 1782, above.
3. That is, between three (the Graces) and nine (the Muses).
4. The passage following the semi-colon, to the end of the sentence, was substituted for this long passage in the draft:
“. . . and he is truly unhappy who has nothing further to hope. If mankind were divested of those two great active principals hope and fear, an unmanly indolence and security would unfit him for all the social and relative duties of life.
“'Strength of mind is exercise not rest' (Pope, An Essay on Man, epistle II, line 104). It is storied of Domitian that after he had possessd him self of the Roman empire, his desires turned upon catching flies. Tho this was a <more laudible> less criminal persuit than many in which he had been engaged, those Qualities which made him a conquerer might have been more honorably employed.”
5. The draft concludes as follows: “He is the truly noble minded man whose enlarged { 194 } soul can embrace the whole Humane Race, who is charmed alone with that applause which is the Fair attendant of virtue.
“But whither does my fancy lead me? If I had Eugenio['s] pen I might fill six pages with one impertinance, but to tell you the real truth, we have been scorching under the torid Sone for ten days past, and it has enervated [and] enfeabled every faculty of my mind.”
6. Pope, Essay on Man, epistle II, lines 197–202.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0108

Author: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Recipient: Cranch, Elizabeth
Recipient: Norton, Elizabeth Cranch
Date: 1783-07-01

Abigail Adams 2d to Elizabeth Cranch

Every moment of my time has been employd since we got home,1 in writing to my friends abroad, to forward by Mr. Smith who sails a thursday—that I have not had any opportunity to give you my dear Eliza an account of our return home. Twas disagreeable enough I assure you—the day was very warm. However we got to Wymans to dine.2 There we stay'd till five in the afternoon. Went to Mr. Brooks3 and drank tea—and intented to have lodged at Mrs. Danas. When we got there we found that Mrs. D. was gone to Hingam and no body to see us at home. There was too many to go to Mrs. Winthrops,4 and twas not best to go back to Mr. Bro[oks]. Our horses went very well, we were very much fatigued. Twas likely it would be as warm the next day as it had been for some time. However we set of for Braintree after sunset from Cambridge—and arrived at our own door at one a clock in the morning—as tired as I ever wish to be. Charles bore the fatigue of the day as well as any of us. We are all alive and well after it.
You will perceive that a few days have elapsed since I began this and that I have changed my place of residence. Thursday [Friday] the fourth of july an oration was delivered by Dr. Warren.5 Mamma and your friend came into Town. Mammas political sentiments induced her to come. Indeed I cannot trace to any particular course my accompanying her—except inclination. I followed its dictates as you see, and shall not return till after commencement.6 A fryday I received a quarter of a sheet from you, one side only filled. I have thought to return line for line—but my disposition to communicate is ever so great, that I cannot withstand my inclination to intrude upon your patience a very long letter. This disquallifying speach will answer for the Whole, will it not?—or must I make more apologyes for the liberty I am going to take.
Mr. Smith went on board this afternoon—ah—he looked a kind { 195 } farewell to me. It has comforted me all this warm afternoon. I prevailed upon myself to go to meeting—least my absence should be noticed. However I sincerely wish him an agreeable voyage and a safe return with an amiable agreeable Wife—as good a wish as ever existed in the most benevolent mind—say, is it not.
How does my Dear Aunt Shaw—does she not intend to write to me. I should esteem it as a particular favour—assure her.—A peice of news Miss Betsy Cranch—Mr. Hary Otis7 is very sorry Miss Cranch is not to be at commencement. He expressed his disappointment in a very striking manner—my words will not do it justice.
A sweet letter from Sally Bromfeild8—containing more sentiment than I ever wrote in my life.—After trifling so long permit me to inquire after the health and happiness of my Cousin—each I hope attend you. May you long continue to experience the happy affects of their presense—is the sincere and ardent wish of your friend and Cousin.
Another hour shall not pass my Dear Eliza ere I close a letter to you, some little engagements have prevented me since sunday, or rather I have not felt in a disposition to write. Not one idea has passt my mind that would appear well upon paper. I past the afternoon yesterday with Betsy Mayhew.9 She has a most strange facinating power over me—I cannot account for it. I only know by experience that it is most true, and, I lament it. I was not so happy as to see the little Dr.10 I spent an agreeable afternoon. I must conclude a very dull letter—and if it will give you pleasure, assure you that I will attempt to say something that may afford you entertainment in my next,—if it is possibly in my power. Make my respects and love acceptable to all who remember with regard esteem and affection your friend
[signed] Amelia
Your pappa came to town yesterday and is well.
RC (MHi: C. P. Cranch Papers).
1. AA2 and AA had been visiting the Shaws in Haverhill. They brought the ailing CA home to Braintree for a brief vacation.
2. “Wymans” has not been identified, but may have been a tavern in Woburn, a town on the route from Haverhill to Cambridge. Wymans were numerous in Woburn, where they had intermarried with the Fowles, to whom AA was related. See NEHGR, indexes.
3. Thomas Brooks of Medford, whose second wife was Mercy Tufts, sister of Dr. Cotton Tufts (NEHGR, 51:303 [July 1897]).
4. Hannah Winthrop of Cambridge, widow of Prof. John Winthrop who had died in 1779 (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 9:262–263).
5. John Warren, An Oration, Delivered July 4th, 1783, at the Request of the Inhabitants of the Town of Boston, Boston, 1783. Dr. John { 196 } Warren was the youngest brother of Dr. Joseph Warren, the patriot. In 1783 Boston inaugurated the Independence Day address as a substitute for the annual oration commemorating the Boston Massacre, of which Dr. Joseph Warren had delivered the first, in 1772. The younger Dr. Warren's oration culminated in a paean to the preliminary peace concluded at Paris in November (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 14:515–516; 17:666–667). For a comment on his performance, see Cotton Tufts to JA, 5 July (Adams Papers).
6. On AA2's attendance at Harvard commencement, see her letter to Elizabeth Cranch of 17 July (Adams Papers).
7. Harrison Gray Otis, a graduating senior.
8. Letter not found. The author was probably Sarah Bromfield, daughter of Margaret and Henry, who married Prof. Eliphalet Pearson in 1785 (NEHGR, 26:38–39 [Jan. 1872], 142 [Apr. 1872]).
9. AA2 first mentions Elizabeth, daughter of Elizabeth Clarke and Rev. Jonathan Mayhew, in Oct. 1779 (vol. 3:223), but she already knew her well and admired her. Elizabeth Mayhew later married Peter Wainwright (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 11:469; Charles Edward Banks, The History of Martha's Vineyard, 3 vols., Boston and Edgartown, Mass., 1911–1925, 3:314).
10. “The little Dr.” has not been identified; see AA2 to Elizabeth Cranch, 20 Aug., below.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0109

Author: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Recipient: Thaxter, John
Date: 1783-07-01

Abigail Adams 2d to John Thaxter

On my return from a little excursion to Hingham some time since, I was presented with a letter from you.1 It pleased me and I felt quite in the spirit of answering it at the time, but there was no opportunity of conveyance, and I have so long delayed writing, that the genious which presided over my mind at that time, has fled and my thoughts have all wandered from my intention, my ideas are all afloat, twill take some time at least to collect them. When all this is necessary to be done, tis rather a task than a pleasure, to each, for letters wrote in this disposition of mind are rather dull and insipid, and cannot possibly give much pleasure. My pen is bar'd against apologizes, never again will it write one on any occation, you must not attribute any thing to the score of my vanity.
Mr. Smith sails for England next Thursday, I could not let so good an opportunity escape me. Of him you will have an opportunity of makeing very particular inquire's after all your friends in America. The Peace which I hoped would have forwarded the communication between America and Europe, seems to have retarded it and closed all prospects of hearing from you. Vessells dayly and almost hourly arrive, but we receive no letters. This is doubly mortifying. I have wrote you lately by every opportunity that has presented, I hope you will receive my letters as they will show you that I am very punctual.2 But I am almost discouraged for I receive no returns. I shall very soon exhaust all my writable subjects and necessity will oblige me to lay my pen aside.
We are anxiously waiting in expectation of hearing particularly { 197 } from my Brother John. I hope he is with you long before this time. We are quite impatient to see him. It seems as if he was lost to his American friends, he is very deficient in writing to us. I fancy tis not the custom in Rusia to write letters.3 This is the best excuse that I can furnish him with, to be unmindfull of his nearest friends is unpardonable but I will not tax him too severely with inattention. I hope however that he will be induced to give us some proof of his remembrance.
Shall I tell you Sir that I have half a mind to be affronted with you. I rather think I shall defer the matter till you have an opportunity of explaining yourself. This is a method that I never have recource to unless I can reap some advantage, and indeed I do not see any that can occur in this case, so I'll defer the matter till I see you.
When are we to expect this pleasure? In your last letter you mention nothing of the matter. You have so often disappointed our expectations, I suppose you mean to take us by surprize, and so have avoided saying any thing about it. I think tis the best way. I dislike these premeditated partings or returns. They heighten our painfull sensations, and do not increase our pleasureable ones.
We hope to hear from you all soon. Do not cease to write me, but while you continue abroad permit me to ask you to continue to favour with your correspondence one who is ever happy to hear from you and who subscribes herself your friend
[signed] Amelia
RC (Private owner, Boston, 1957); addressed: “Mr. John Thaxter. Paris”; endorsed: “Amelia 1. July 1783.”
1. Not found. Thaxter's only extant letter to AA2 is dated 25 Aug. 1781 (vol. 4:198–200).
2. AA2's most recent extant letter to Thaxter was that of 27 April, above.
3. JQA's most recent letters to Braintree, and his only extant letters sent to America from Russia, were to AA, 23 Oct. 1781, and to Elizabeth Cranch, 17 March 1782 (vol. 4:233–234, 297–299). See JQA to AA, 23 July, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0110

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1783-07-03

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

I can tell you nothing with Certainty when the Peace will be finished. I hope it will not be long.
You may purchase a Suetonius, provided you intend to make a good Use of it.1
I long to See you, but can as yet form no Judgment when I shall have that Pleasure. We have no News from Congress, a Neglect which is to the last degree astonishing and inexplicable.
{ 198 }
Do you find any Society at the Hague? The Family2 where you are is good Company but have you any other?
I want your Company very much, for the Time hangs heavily upon me very often. Your affectionate Father
[signed] John Adams
1. See JQA to JA, 24 June, above.
2. Of C. W. F. Dumas.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0111

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-07-09

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Not a Line from you since December. Congress has not cutt off our heads for making Peace, and that is some Comfort. I am not in health and dont expect to be, untill I can get home. But when will this be? We are all at as great Uncertainty as We have been these six Months. Yet one should think it cannot be long before the Treaty is finished. You must not cease to write to me, untill I arrive at your Door. Write by England Holland France. The Letters will find their Way. Write decently and then I dont care if they open your Letters, at present.
My Duty to my Mother and Father,1 Brothers and sisters, Unkles and Aunts, Sons and Daughter, Cousins and all the rest.
I am very angry with my Freinds in Mass. They neglect me most Shamefully. I wrote them a Multitude of Letters from the Hague last summer and again from Paris last Winter, and have no answer from any one, but a friendly Letter from Mr. Dalton of Newbury Port.2 I Suppose they are afraid to write me. Fine indeed. I should have excepted a Letter or two from Gen. Warren. I cant learn whether he is in Congress or not.3 He will receive some long Letters from me.4 Pray him to be very cautious of them. Neither they nor I can do any good in the present Circumstances.
Dr. Franklin gives out very seriously that he must return and he has been lately more than commonly Smooth and gracious. I know not what his Intentions are.
Receiving no Answers to publick or private Letters that We know have been received is very painfull. And the long Uncertainty about every thing is enough to kill one. All but me are pretty well. Adieu.
1. That is, JA's mother and AA's father. In the same way, JA uses “Brothers and sisters” to include AA's two brothers-in-law as well as his own brother, and AA's two sisters (he had no sister).
2. Tristram Dalton had written on 26 April { 199 } (Adams Papers). Samuel Adams had last written to JA on [ante 2 March 1782] (Adams Papers), and Elbridge Gerry had not written since July 1781 (MHi: Gerry-Knight Coll.), although JA had written to Adams on 15 June and 19 Aug. 1782 (NN: George Bancroft Coll.), and to Gerry on 2 July, 19 Aug., and 14 Dec. 1782 (ICN; MHi: Gerry II Papers; CtY: Franklin Papers).
3. James Warren had written on 7 Oct., and 1 Nov. 1782, and, so far as the editors know, not again until 24 June 1783 (all in Adams Papers; Warren-Adams Letters, 2:178–179, 181–183, 217–220). Elected to Congress in Oct. 1782, Warren never attended and resigned his seat on 4 June (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 7:lxix). Without mentioning his resignation, Warren told JA in his 24 June letter that he had not attended because he had “been sick the whole Spring, and dare not Venture to go at this Season.” See AA to JA, 13 Nov. 1782, note 3, above.
4. JA had written unusually long letters on 20 and 21 March, and 13 April, and shorter ones on 9, 12, and 16 April, but in his letter to JA of 24 June (Adams Papers), Warren listed JA's letter of 15 Dec. 1782 as the last that he had received. All of these JA letters are in MHi: Warren-Adams Collection, except 9 April (MB), and are printed in Warren-Adams Letters, 2:190–199, 205–215 217–220, with that of 9 April printed from LbC, Adams Papers.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0112

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-07-13

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

We have had for a Fortnight or Three Weeks a Succession of Hot Weather, attended with an unusual Fog, that has been worse for me to bear than were ever the extreamest heats of Philadelphia. My Scorbutic1 Habit is very ill fitted to bear it.
But all this is not so tedious as the mournfull Silence of every Body in America. Not a Line from you or any Body near you Since Christmas. Congress have given Leave to Mr. Laurens and Mr. Dana to go home. My Congé is not yet arrived. Mr. Dana however will not get home this Year as he will have a Treaty to make.2 I am weary to death of the idle tasteless Life I lead. It would be more tolerable to be at the Hague.
At the Hague I should have my Books Papers and Conveniences about me; which would be some Comfort tho no Compensation for the seperation from my Family.
Pray let me know the History of the Affair you mentioned formerly.3 I hope there is an End of it. I hope never to be connected with Frivolity. Youths must Study to make any Thing at the Bar. The Law comes not by Inspiration. An Idler I despise. You will keep this to yourself but I dont like the Affair at all.
My Daughter is very dear to me and need not be in haste to form Frindships. Let her keep her Reserve I say. I wish her Mother had been more so than she has been upon this Occasion.4
My Duty to Father and Mother and Love to the Children. How cruelly I am tormented to be kept thus from you?

[salute] Adieu Adieu Adieu.

{ 200 }
1. Of or related to scurvy (OED).
2. The congressional committee that recommended on 1 April that JA's resignation be accepted made the same recommendation for Henry Laurens and Francis Dana, although it said that Dana should stay if he were engaged in making a treaty with Russia. Congress accepted the report as it pertained to Laurens and Dana, but took no action on JA (JCC, 24:225–227; and see JA to AA, 4 Dec. 1782, note 1, above).
3. Royall Tyler's courtship of AA2; see AA's reply to JA, 19 Oct., below.
4. See JA to AA, 22 Jan., above.

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 . . . .”

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0115

Author: Cranch, Richard
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-07-18

Richard Cranch to John Adams

[salute] Dear Brother

The Bearer Mr. Benjamin Austin is a Son of the Honble. Benjamin Austin Esqr. of this Town, and Brother to Mr. Jona. Loring Austin who was lately in Europe.1 He expects to see France and Holland before he returns, and wishes that he may have an Oportunity of being made personally known to your Excellency. I am not very particularly acquainted with this young Gentleman, but the great Esteem that I have for his Father and Family makes me wish that you would take a friendly notice of him, not doubting but his Conduct will be such as to make him deserving of it.
I wrote you the 26th. ultimo by Cousin William Smith, who sail'd from hence the 7th. Instant, bound to London, on board Capt. Callahan. I then gave you an account of domestick matters, and that all our dear Connections were well. Nothing remarkable has taken place since. Our Honble. Friend Cotton Tufts Esqr. wrote you at the same time,2 giving you some account of our Publick Affairs. The General Court was adjourned the 11th. Instant to the 24th. of September. The two chief Objects of Debate this session have been the 5 Per Cent Duty recommended by Congress as a Fund for paying the Interest of the National Debt; and the Commutation with the Officers of the Army in lieu of the half Pay for life that Congress had promised them. The former was pass'd, but clog'd with such Condi• { 205 } tions as, I fear, will make a Difficulty.3 But the present Spirit of the House seems very averse to the Commutation, (how consistant with Justice and good Faith is yet to be shewn) so that nothing is done in that behalf; but a Remonstrance, on the contrary, has been agree'd upon to be sent to Congress to shew their disapprobation of the Conduct of Congress in making such a Promise to the Army. I now send you, by the care of the Bearer, a Collection of State Papers on the Subject, and among the rest the cellebrated Letter of his Excellency Genl. Washington on his quitting the publick Theater and retiring to his Farm and private Life; which he does with a Dignity that would do honour to a Roman General in the most virtuous Days of their Republick.4
Please to present my best Regards to your Son, if return'd, and to our very worthy Friends Thaxter and Storer; and believe me to be, with the highest Esteem, your affectionate Brother
[signed] Richard Cranch
I saw your Lady and Daughter, and Master Charles at Commencement yesterday, all well. They were at Mrs. Dana's who with her Family are all well. Master Tommy was well, the Day before Commencement, at Haverhill.
1. In 1780 the Massachusetts Council named Jonathan Loring Austin to negotiate a loan in Europe (vol. 3:262, note 6, and 263; Council to JA and Francis Dana, 13 Jan. 1780, JA, Papers, 8:308–309, and notes).
2. Cotton Tufts to JA, 26 June (Adams Papers).
3. For Congress' action on the debt and its address to the people concerning it, see JCC, 24:257–261, 277–283. During this summer session the Massachusetts General Court did not in fact agree upon an impost bill for the benefit of the Confederation; but the legislative history is complicated, and Cranch, who was not in the legislature, could easily have been confused (Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass., A.1b, Reel No. 11, Unit 1, p. 148, 155, 157–159, 163, 165–167, 170; Mass. A.1a, Reel No. 16, Unit 2, p. 113). The impost was passed during the second session on 20 Oct., the measure repealing the impost of 4 May 1782. Again the legislative struggle was prolonged and sharp (Mass., Acts and Laws, 1782–1783, p. 541–543; same, 1780–1781, p. 589–592; AA to JA, 27 Dec., note 9, below). The text of the final impost act heaped up conditions: violators were to be tried by jury only in Massachusetts with final appeal to the Supreme Judicial Court. Excessive fines and cruel punishments were forbidden. The state was to have an annual accounting of monies received and the amount for each imported item and an annual statement of receipts taken by Congress from each of the other states.
4. See also Cotton Tufts to JA, 26 June (Adams Papers). Washington's long circular letter, sent to each of the thirteen states, addressed several topics that the General deemed of the utmost importance, among them the commutation of the army's half-pay as recommended by Congress (The Writings of George Washington, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick, 39 vols., Washington, 1931–1944, vol. 26:483–496). On an order from the Massachusetts General Court, Washington's letter was printed along with earlier letters of his and of other army officers, and the related actions of Congress, as A Collection of Papers Relative to Half-Pay and Commutation thereof Granted by Congress . . ., Boston, 1783. The collection is similar to, but contains fewer { 206 } documents than, that with a like title printed in Fishkill, New York, 1783, by Samuel Louden. The title of this collection ran, in part, Compiled, by Permission of General Washington, from the Original Papers in His Possession; although quite extensive, it omitted Washington's farewell to the states (Evans Nos. 18256 and 18255). Washington probably sent this larger collection with his farewell letter to Massachusetts, and the General Court chose to print several documents from it along with the farewell.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0116

Author: Cranch, Richard
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-07-18

Richard Cranch to John Adams

[salute] My dear Friend and Brother

The Pamphlets herewith inclosed, I send you by favour of Mr. Benjamin Austin, Merchant (Brother to Mr. Jonathan Loring Austin) by whome I have wrote you more at large. He proposes to sail tomorrow for London with Capt. Love. I wrote you also by Cousin William Smith1 who sailed for London the 7th. Instant with Capt. Callahan.
Last Wednesday I attended at the old Seat of the Muses, having not been at Commencement until now, ever since your Friend and Class Mate Doctr. Locke was President.2
A Republican form of Government has been observ'd to have been most productive of Oratory, and I think it is natural to suppose it; as in a popular Government an able Orator addressing the People on weighty Matters of State, must become a very important Personage. I could not help observing an alteration much for the better, as I think, in the more free easy address and manly manner in which our young Gentlemen now perform their Parts as publick Speakers than formerly; owing, probably, to that State of Freedom and Independance in which they feel themselves placed, and to that laudable Ambition which our free Constitution inspires by making every Freeman a Candidate for Places of trust and Honour in the Commonwealth. Mr. <Henry> Harrison Gray Otis (Son of Saml. Allen Otis Esqr.) and Mr. George Storer did themselves Honour by the Part they bore in the Publick Performances of the Day. Mr. President Willard conducted the Exercises with great Ability and Dignity. The Day was very fine and the Concourse of People from all Parts was numerous and Splendid. Your Lady and Daughter and Master Charles were present, but Master Tommy did not come from Haverhill where our three Boys3 are placed under the tuition of Brother Shaw. I left Sister Adams and Miss Nabby at Mrs. Dana's yesterday, who with Mrs. Dana and Family, are all well.
My dear Mrs. Cranch and Children join me in ardent Wishes for your Health and safety, and for your happy Return to your Country { 207 } and Friends, among whome I hope you will always include your affectionate Brother
[signed] Richard Cranch
P.S. I had this Day the happiness of Receiving a Pacquet from Cousin Thaxter of the 20th. of April. Please to present my kind Regards and Thanks to him for it. It came too late for me to write to him by this Oportunity. His Friends are well.
RC (Adams Papers); enclosures not found.
1. On 26 June. See Cranch's first 18 July letter to JA, above.
2. Samuel Locke, a close college friend of JA's, served as the twelfth president of Harvard College, from Dec. 1769 to Dec. 1773. He resigned when it became known that, with an ill wife, he had begun a relationship with his housekeeper, who became pregnant (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 13:625–626).
3. That is, CA, TBA, and William Cranch.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0117

Author: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Recipient: Cranch, Elizabeth
Recipient: Norton, Elizabeth Cranch
Date: 1783-07-20

Abigail Adams 2d to Elizabeth Cranch

Amid the numberless letters that you receive from your various and numerous correspondents, can a few lines from your friend afford you any pleasure. Tis perhaps vanity in me to suppose you can receive any satisfaction from my letters, but I assure you if I thought you did not I should not have resumed my pen.—You well know that Nature has given me pride enough to balance all my other qualities, whether tis an advantage or not I have never yet been able to determine.
I should have acknowledged the receipt of your letter by Mr. Shaw,2 ere this time, but the weather for this week past has been so extreme hot that I have not been capable of complying with my own wishes or intentions. Has it been as unfavourable with you, or have you been singularly favourd.
I do not intirly agree with you Eliza. I believe our happiness is in a great measure dependant upon external circumstances. At the same time I think that there are some persons—I hope they are few, that wan[t] every outward event through their lives to prove favourable, either from their natureal unconquerable dispositions, or from habitual uneasiness, would never find any source of happiness pleasure or contentment within themselvs.—Your wishes for the continueance of my health and happiness are gratefully received. My natural disposition will ever lead me to look upon the fairest side of things. Tis no merit. I do not mean to claim any from it. When I look arround me and see numbers of my fellow mortals, equally deserving the blessings and enjoyments of Life with myself, deprived in numberless instances of even the necessarys and conveniences of it, it leads me to reflect { 208 } that it is my Duty not only to feel gratefull, to the Wise disposer of all events, but to express my gratitude by the acknowledgement of my happiness. I am in reality happy my friend. I have ten thousand scources of happiness which others are deprived of. If there is an equal degree of happiness and misery strewd in our path, I sometimes fear least some unforeseen event should deprive me of that degree of contentment and quietude that I now experience. But I will not forebode evil. Twill not lessen the poignancy of the stroke.
Your letters to your friends since you have been at Haverhill, if I may judge from them, bespeak a tranquility of mind which I think is the result of an agreeable situation. I dare say you feel intirely happy. We are apt, perhaps too often, to judge of others by our own feelings. In this instance I acknowledge I do, from my own feelings when I visited my good Aunt, I know yours are not only pleased but happy.
You ask me to give you an account of commencement.3 Indeed my Dear I could wish to comply with all your requests, but I should not give you an agreeable idea of it should I make an attempt, so I think it is best to be silent. I saw many of my friends, and this circumstance pleased me, but such a scene of noise and confusion was no place for me to enjoy their presence. We had an elegent Ball, there was much company, too much to be agreeable and as much confusion as I ever wish to be witness to again, and yet it was executed as well as could be expected. The court house was not an agreeable place for the purpose of danceing. I think you will find out that I was not very much gratified, with my part of the evening. I came away at twelve, prudent Girl was I not, many of the company that I went with stayd till three. No one from Mrs. Danas family except Miss Lidia,4 was there, oweing to a little desinged affront from Mr. Otis. Mr. Hary I mean.
I hope and wish to hear from you soon, my friend. Do not let the multiplicity of your correspondence neglect, the first that you ever had. A tuesday there is to be a little party here. We shall miss you. The Miss Q[uincy], Polly Otis,5 she is to spend the next week with me, Miss Frazier6 and Mr. Head. Louisa has just begun to complain of the symptoms of the measels. We expect Charles will have them this week, he is anxius to return to Haverhill. I wish they were well through them.
We have received no letters from Pappa since you left B[raintree]. Mamma received one from Mr. Thaxter dated in April7—no news of any kind. He does not particularly mention returning. And when are { 209 } we to look for you in Braintree. I do not wish to deprive your Haverhill friends of the pleasure that your presence affords them. But I cannot avoid wishing you to return. I have not yet gained any great degree of disinterestedness, and fear I never shall.
Your Cousin Betsy Palmer has become quite a rambler, goes to Boston every week. I am sincerely glad of it. I hope it will be of advantage to her health and spirits. She was at meeting to day in her quaker coulourd habit. I have not seen her since I came from Haverhill. Tis a strang circumstance. I have this instant recollected it. Present my respect and Love if it will be acceptable to Mr. Shaw and my Aunt. Love to Tommy, if I do not find time to write him. If you will take the trouble you may if you please present my compliments to Miss Peggy White.8—Here is I think a considerable long letter. I hope it will ensure me as long or a longer one in return. Adieu believe me your sincere friend
[signed] Ab. Adams
RC (MHi: C. P. Cranch Papers); endorsed: “July-83-AA.”
1. AA2 refers below to AA's receipt of a letter from John Thaxter “dated in April”; AA received that letter, dated 18 April (above), on 20 July (see AA to JA and to Thaxter, both 21 July, both below). AA2's remarks in the second paragraph below suggest that this letter was written several days, and perhaps a week, after her return from Cambridge and Boston to Braintree with AA, ca. 18–20 July.
2. In her letter of 17 July, above, AA2 complained that she had not yet received Elizabeth's letter by their uncle, John Shaw. She may have received this letter from Elizabeth upon her return to Braintree with AA (see AA to JA, 21 July, below).
3. On AA2's immediate reaction to Harvard commencement, and to the announcement of the Otis' ball, described in this paragraph, see her letter to Elizabeth Cranch, 17 July, above.
4. Lydia Dana, sister of Francis, who married Capt. John Hastings in December 1783 (Elizabeth Ellery Dana, The Dana Family in America, Cambridge, 1956, p. 474).
5. Probably Mary Otis, daughter of Ruth Cunningham and the patriot James Otis Jr. (NEHGR, 2:296 [July 1848]).
6. Perhaps a daughter of Moses Frazier, Newburyport merchant (JQA, Diary, 2:337, and note 1). Mr. Head remains unidentified.
7. Dated 18 April, above.
8. The Whites were near neighbors of the Shaws in Haverhill; Peggy was the sister of Leonard, who later became a close friend of JQA's at Harvard (JQA, Diary, 2:passim).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0118

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-07-21

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I last evening received a Letter from Mr. Thaxter dated in April,1 and Mr. Storer received Letters from his Son, but not a line has yet come to hand from you. I Know not what to think. I should feel more anxious, but Mr. Thaxter mentiond you as well. I fancy you must feel impatient at the delay of your return. I fear you will compleat the four years2 before you reach America. Do not think of a winter voyage, I dread this coast in winter. From a state of our publick { 210 } affairs, the knowledge of which will reach you, if your Friends have written as they promised you will feel, both a wish, and a reluctance at a speedy return.
A Gentleman observed to me the other day, that he believed you had served your Country almost long enough to be forgotten. But it will not be a forgetfulness that will diminish or depreciate your Services, but jealousy and envy of those abilities which have crowned you with Success; the insolence of wealth will endeavour to trample down what it cannot emulate. But it is an observation of Swifts, that persons of transcendent merit force their way in spight of all obsticals, but that those whose merit was of a second third or fourth rate, were seldom able to perform any thing; because the Knaves and dunces of the World, had all the impudence, assiduity, flattery, and servile, compliance, divided among them; which kept them continually in the Way; and engaged every body to become their Solicitors. Swifts observations generally carry a Sting with them—yet he had too much reason for his severity.
There is a position in Machiavel says a late elegant writer that a country should sometimes be without order, and over run with all sorts of calamities, that Men of great Genius may distinguish themselves by restoring it. We certainly see a country sufficiently disorderd, and embarrassed to satisfy any speculator in the utmost wantonness of his imagination. But where and to whom shall we look, for a restoration of internal peace and good order, so necessary for the preservation of that very freedom for which we have so long and so successfully contended.
Tis a long time since I heard from You.3 I flatterd myself that when there was no danger from enemies, that the communication would be much more frequent.
I know but little of the movements of Congress, the States are jealous of their assumeing too great power, and there are certain restless Spirits who keep up the Hue and cry, the impost will not go down in any shape, the treasury has no money, and was obliged to borrow of private persons to pay the last Sessions of the court, the most expensive that we ever had and the least performd. No money has ever been paid upon loan office certificates since France stoped payment.4 Taxes are Still enormous, what becomes of the money I cannot say. The Soldiers have no pay, and every department is crying out—give, give.
I was lately in conversation with Mr. Osgood upon our publick affairs. He told me that the British influence in Congress were all in { 211 } your favour, and that he was certain, they wished to support you—that it was matter of great Speculation among the Gallicians,5 how your aged Colleigue was brought to coinside and act in concert with you. This same Mr. Osgood is a sensible modest Man. When he came from congress, I wished to see him, and he was introduced to me. I made some inquiry of him respecting the situation of my Friend. Ever since that time he has taken it into his head to be vastly civil to me. I told him I wished he would write you a state of publick affairs. He said he had not the honour of being personally known to you. I promised to introduce him to you, and he has promised to write you, if he goes again to Congress, of which he appears at present doubt-full. The House past a most pointed censure upon him by recalling all their Delegates at once, but when they cooled upon reflection, and <when> Mr. Dalton refused they chose Mr. Osgood again. I know I cannot recommend him more, than by saying, he appears to me a second Mr. Gerry.6 Mr. Dalton made me a visit in Boston the other day, told me he had been writing you, was vastly pleased with your Letter to him not long since.7 He became acquainted with Nabby at the assembly, the last winter, and has always been very polite to her. He visited me with a request from his daughter, an agreable young Lady of about 16 that I would let Nabby go and tarry a month with her at his country Seat where the family reside in the summer, and at the same time deliverd a Letter from his Daughter pressing the same request. She became acquainted with Nabby at Haverhill and then insisted upon her making this visit. Mr. Dalton was so polite as to insist upon sending for her when ever she could go. I promised him that as soon as my family got through the Measels which I daily expected them to have, she should go.
I think I feel a greater regard for those persons who Love me for your sake, than I should if they Esteemed me on my own account only. Where is my wanderer, is he not yet arrived. I do not forget him, but am anxious to hear from him. Mrs. Dana too, is desirious of hearing from her long absent Friend. I went to commencment this year at the pressing invitation of my Friends many of whom were there, but I have such unfashonable feelings that I cannot bear to go into publick assemblies. I always find some gentleman who is polite enough to tender me his service, yet I should be pained at receiving that particular attention which every Lady stands in need of when she goes into publick. Besides I have <too> so much pride, that if I cannot go by your side, and be introduced as your companion, I will not go at all.
{ 212 }

[salute] Adieu my Friend. Heaven bless and prosper you is the ardent wish of yours for ever

[signed] Portia
1. Of 18 April, above.
2. Since JA's second departure for Europe, on 15 Nov. 1779.
3. AA had received JA's letter of 28 March by mid-June (AA to Royall Tyler, 14 June; AA to JA, 20 June, both above).
4. France stopped payment of interest on loan office certificates in the spring of 1782 (E. James Ferguson, The Power of the Purse, A History of American Public Finance, 1776–1790, Chapel Hill, 1961, p. 149).
5. Evidently AA's label for the Gallican, or pro-French, faction, composed either of congressmen or of Frenchmen and Americans lobbying Congress.
6. Samuel Osgood of Andover, Mass., like Elbridge Gerry an Essex County man, had entered Congress in June 1781 and was reelected to that body, for a third time, on 9 July (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 7:lxviii; Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 17:412–419).
7. Not found. The latest extant letter from JA to Tristram Dalton known to the editors is of 23 Feb. 1780 (JA, Papers, 8:356). Dalton wrote to JA five times between May 1782 and July 1783 ||: 25 May 1782, 19 July 1782, 26 Oct. 1782, 26 April 1783, 16 July 1783|| (all Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0119

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Thaxter, John
Date: 1783-07-21

Abigail Adams to John Thaxter

[salute] My dear Sir

I almost fear I shall be too late for the Vessel which is about to sail for England. I did not know of it untill a few days ago, and then I was absent from Home. I have been to Cambridge to visit my sister Dana. Mr. Storers and Mr. Allen Otis'es sons took their degree and made a large commencment as it is call'd. From both these families I received invitations. Emelia was urgent with me to go, and my Friend Mrs. Dana's repeated invitation, prevaild upon me to accept, accordingly I went. I attended the forenoon Service, it was said to be the largest the most splendid and Brilliant assembly which has appeard there for many years. The young Gentlemen who received their degrees exhibited to great acceptance. In a particular manner Mr. Gorge Storer who deliverd a lattin oration, and altho I could not understand the language, yet his voice and action did him Credit. Mr. Otis'es oration was in english, a Celebration of independance and peace, the freedom [of] Republicks and the Nature of Government. It was a sensible, elegant and well adapted performance, deliverd with much Decency and Spirit, and procured him a universal Clap. He is a polite, accomplished young fellow, and much too handsome. I know not a finer person. Aya my young Friend, beware, beware, or that address and Beauty will prove your bane, the Calipsoes are laying Snares for You. Would you be truly great, court no Mistress but Science and no companion at your early age, but Learning. I own I could scarcly help envying his Father, his feelings { 213 } upon that day. Were this a Son of mine, how would my Heart dilate and beat with joy, at the same time it would rejoice with trembling. There were a Number of dialogues upon various subjects. Whether a Monarchical or a Republican Goverment was most condusive to the happiness of mankind, whether a publick or private Education was most benificial to the morals of youth, whether a larger portion of happiness or misiry fell to the Lot of Man. There were many good speakers and sensible observations upon both sides of the Questions. The President1 conducted with great dignity through all the Services of the Day. After the young Gentlemen had performed their parts, he rose and made a very pathetick address to them. He observed to them, that they were going out into the World, steping upon the stage of action under greater advantages than any of their predecessors—at a time when their Country was emanicipated from the chains of thraldom, and ranked among the Nations of the earth—at a time when the blessings of peace encompassed the land—and under an Excellunt form of goverment, which it became their Duty to support and mantain to transmit to posterity those blessings which their Fathers had so dearly purchased for them. He advised them to frugality industery and oconomy, but above all things a due regard to the Supreem Being, as the foundation and Scource of all their happiness. The croud was so great, that I had no inclination to attend the afternoon service. There was an oration deliverd upon Law and an other upon phisick. On thursday evening Mr. Otis gave a Splendid Ball at the Court House, and a cold collation, but as I never attend any of these amusements, I must refer you to Emelias pen for the account of it.2
Your obliging favour of April 18 reachd me last evening, unaccompanied by a single line from Mr. Adams, the reason of which I cannot define. Nor did you make any mention of my Wandering Son, of whose arrival at the Hague or Paris, I have not yet been informd. I have not received a line from him for 18 months,3 nor has Mrs. Dana heard from Petersburgh since Jan'y last. I have formed no expectations of the return of all my dear Friends untill fall of the year, I hope it will not be deferd untill late in the Season. From your last letter, I am happy to find, that you are still in a climate, more favorable to Health than Holland, and if my Friends must be detained abroad, I had rather hear of them at Paris than else where.
I hate to touch upon our publick affairs. Many of Mr. A's Friends have written largely to him upon the Subject, and to him I must refer you. I should feel easier if I could fully believe, an observation of a { 214 } Gentleman who is acquainted with publick affairs tho not a present actor—the Ship is safe says he, but the pilots will have a tough time. I rejoice that they have obliged me to become only a passenger.
Your Friends at Hingham are all well. I shall not be able to acquaint them of this opportunity. Tis said your two youngest sisters are going to change their state, tho not both of them their Names.4
Remember me kindly to Mr. Storer. I wrote you by Mr. Smith who saild a fortnight ago. The young Gentlemen are very fond of a trip across the Atlantick. A dozen I am told are going [passe]ngers in this vessel. Adieu my Worthy Friend. Continue to write me by every opportunity so long as you continue abroad. Yours affectionately
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mr John Thaxter Paris”; docketed by JA in a late hand: “AA 83.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed. Thaxter's departure for the United States in September accounts for JA's docketing of this letter and its presence in the Adams Papers.
1. Joseph Willard, president of Harvard College from 1781 to 1804.
2. AA2 gives a brief account of the Otis ball in her letter to Elizabeth Cranch of [post 20] July, above. No extant AA2 letter to Thaxter descibes this event.
3. See JQA to AA, 23 July, and note 1, below.
4. Lucy Thaxter married John Cushing in 1785; Anna Thaxter married Thomas Thaxter in 1786 (History of Hingham, 3:233).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0120

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-07-23

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] Honoured Mamma

It is indeed a long time since I have receiv'd any Letters from my friends in America, and I must own I have been a little behind hand within these two years; in writing to them.1 However, I hope they will consider that I have been all that time, almost at the world's end, or to make the best of it, in such an out of the-way place, as made it very inconvenient for me to write: But I should think myself deficient in my duty, if I should let pass the present opportunity; without giving you some account of my travels, since I left Mr. Dana.
I Set off, from Petersbourg the 19/30 of last October,2 in company With Count Greco an Italian gentleman with whom I was acquainted, at that place: and on account of the badness of the roads and weather; and of our having a great number of considerable water passages, which had began to freeze over, did not arrive in Stockholm, the capital of Sweeden untill the 25th. of November. The distance is about 800 English Miles. I stay'd at Stockholm about 6 weeks and was much pleas'd with the polite manner in which the people of the
{ 215 } { 216 }
Country treat strangers. Sweeden is the country in Europe which pleases me the most. That is; of those I have seen. Because their manners resemble more those of my own Country, than any I have seen. The King3 is a Man of great Abilities. In the Space of one day from being <one of> the most dependent, he rendered himself one of the most absolute Monarchs of Europe. But he is extremely popular, and has persuaded his people that they are free; and that he has only restor'd them their ancient constitution. They think they are free, and are therefore happy. However in the interior parts of the Kingdom he has lost a little of his Popularity because he has laid some heavy taxes upon Brandy, and some other articles.
I Left Stockholm the 31st. of December and was obliged to stop at a small town call[ed] Norrkiöping at about 120 miles from Stockholm, for a fortnight, because of a very heavy fall of Snow which happen'd just at that time; I stopp'd also about 3. weeks at Gottenburg, and arriv'd at Copenhagen, the Capital of Denmark (it is about 600. miles from Stockholm) the 15th. of February of the present year. I found there Count Greco who had taken a different road from Stockholm. He had taken a place in a vessel which was to sail three days after my arrival, for Kiel a town in Germany near Hamborough: not to lose the opportunity I took a place in the same vessel, but after having waited three weeks for a Good wind The harbour froze up and we were obliged after all to go to Hamborough by Land. The people in Denmark treat strangers with a great deal of Politeness and Civility, but not with the same open-heartedness, which they do in Sweeden. The government is entirely Monarchical. But it astonishes me, that <mankind> a whole people can place at the Head of their goverment such a Man as the king of Denmark because his father was a king. The hereditary prince it seems is at least possess'd of common sense, and is regarded in the Country as a prodigy, as he indeed is, if he is compared to his father.4
I arrived at Hamborough (which is about 300 English Miles from Copenhagen) a the 11th. of March. I stay'd there near a Month: it is a large city; quite commercial, and will I dare say, carry on hereafter a great deal of Trade with America. But its commerce is somewhat restrain'd because it is surrounded by the Dominions of the King of Denmark, and of the Elector of Hanover.5 The Danes have built a town, at about a quarter of a Mile from Hamborough, which is become now its rival in commerce, the Hamburgers have named this Place Al-te-na, which signifies, much too near as indeed it is for their commercial interests.
{ 217 }
The [last]6 city where I made any stay before I arriv'd at Amsterdam was Bremen which is another commercial Republic but the city is much smaller than Hamborough. It was anciently one of the Hanseatic league; and has been in a much more flourishing condition than it is at present. There are at Bremen some publick cellars, which are famous. I drank there some Rhenish wine about 160. Years old. I stay'd only four days at Bremen and arriv'd at Amsterdam the 15th. and at this Place the 21st. of April, and here I have been ever since.7 Hamborough is about 450 English Miles from this Place.
Last night, at about 11. o'clock, Pappa arrived here from Paris all alone, only accompanied by a Servant; he intends to return to Paris in about three weeks.
I hope, Charles, and Tommy are both well, and my dear Sister, who has been very obliging within these three years. I have receiv'd already from her two letters.8 I should take it as a great favour if she would favour me with some more; I have quite left off criticizing, especially upon faults in Language at least untill I shall be my self less faulty in this respect.

[salute] I am your most dutiful, and affectionate Son.

[signed] J. Q. Adams
1. JQA's only extant letters to America written between his departure for Russia in July 1781 and his return to Holland in April 1783 were one to AA of 23 Oct. 1781, and one to Elizabeth Cranch of 17 March 1782 (vol. 4:233–234, 297–299); but see his statement about lost correspondence in his letter to AA of 30 July, below. His only regular correspondents during these two years were JA and John Thaxter.
2. Compare the following account of JQA's journey with JQA, Diary, 1:153–174; and JQA to JA, 1 Feb., 20 Feb., 12 March, and 22 April, all above.
3. Gustavus III, King of Sweden from 1771 to 1792; the constitutional coup to which JQA refers below occurred over several days, 18–21 Aug. 1772, with the critical seizure of power on the 19th (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale).
4. Christian VII of Denmark (1766–1808), son of Frederick V (1746–1766), was mentally troubled and increasingly incompetent. His only son, born in 1768, took control of the government in a bloodless coup in 1784, the year following JQA's visit, and served as regent until his father's death, when he became Frederick VI (1808–1839). Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale.
5. The Elector of Hanover was George III, King of England.
6. The text here was lost by the removal of the seal.
7. JQA had taken short trips to Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and Delft since his return to The Hague in April (Diary, 1:174–175).
8. That is, two letters since he had set out for Russia in 1781: those of 3 May 1782 (vol. 4:319–321), and of [ca. 10] May 1783, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0121

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-07-26

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Last Saturday, I left Paris, and on Tuesday arrived, at the Hague. To Day I am come to this Town. I Shall return to Paris in a Fortnight. { 218 } So as to make my whole Absence about three Weeks. Soon after my Return I expect the definitive Treaty will be Signed, but in this I may be mistaken. My Son is with me in good health. I had a tender Meeting with the dear Companion of my Voages and Journeys, and have been very happy with him, ever Since. He is grown a Man in Understanding as well as Stature. He gives a very intelligent and entertaining Account of his Travels to and from the North. I shall take him with me to Paris, and Shall make much of his Company.
I have no Letters from you this Year,1 and not knowing what to do with myself, I am in much Perplexity. I hope Soon to be informed of the orders of Congress. If they accept my Resignation, I may come home in October. If not, I know not what will become of me. To Stay another winter hung up between one Thing and another in suspence would be the most disagreable Thing that could happen to me. Patience however. If my Health was as good as it was two Years ago, before my great Sickness2 I could be patient. But continual ill health added to all the Perplexities that distract me, is too much for me. I want two Nurses, my Wife and my Daughter, and three gay Boys about Us to keep Us all in good humour. But this is too much. My Boys must have their Educations.
I am told a Vessell is just arrived from Boston and another, Cazneau expected. I hope for Letters by both.
A Letter from Mr. Dalton and a few Lines from Mr. Smith and Mr. Storer are all I have had from N. England an immense long Time. What have I done to be thus punished?
I am come here to See if any Thing can be done to get Money, to prevent Mr. Morris's Bills from being protested. I hope that Some thing may be done but am not very Sanguine.3
I wonder whether any body but you would believe me Sincere if I were to Say how much I love you, and wish to be with you and never to be Seperated more?
1. In late January, JA had received letters from AA dated in Oct., Nov., and Dec. 1782 (JA to AA, 22 and 29 Jan., above).
2. JA's first serious illness in Europe occurred in Amsterdam, from late August to early Oct. 1781 (see vol. 4:224, and note 3). Since that dismal event, JA periodically complained of poor health, especially when he was in Holland, and a fear of the return of his illness colored his statements that he was in good health (vol. 4:265, 272, 324, 337, 360, 369).
3. Robert Morris was Congress' superintendent of finance. JA's efforts to secure funds from Dutch bankers for Morris' bills of exchange, which America's Paris banker, Ferdinand Grand, could no longer cover with the funds remaining in America's account, and his efforts to advance the Dutch loan that he had earlier contracted for the United States, appear in the correspondence between JA, Robert Morris, R. R. Livingston, Benjamin { 219 } Franklin, Thomas Barclay, and John Jay, between May and Nov. 1783, in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., vol. 6; in Morris to JA, 12 May (Adams Papers); and in Morris to JA, 23 Oct. (DLC). Grand's letter of 12 May to the Peace Commissioners, announcing the depletion of America's funds, is also in Wharton, 6:420–421. Background documentation and commentary on America's fiscal crisis of 1783 appears in The Papers of Robert Morris, ed. John Catanzariti and others, vol. 7, Pittsburgh, 1988.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0122

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-07-29

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

Mr. Adams having taken a Journey to Holland for three or four Weeks, and there being nothing of consequence to do in his Absence, Mr. Storer and myself thought it an exceeding good opportunity of executing our Project of a Voyage to this place, for the sake of the Sea Bath. We arrived here on the 27th. instant, after a delightfully fatiguing Journey. We passed thro' the Province of Normandy, which is extremely fertile, producing Grains of all kinds in Abundance, Cyder &c. The People are very hardy and laborious, and the fine Crops on the Earth seemed to have amply rewarded their Labors. The Women in general are not handsome. And one sees no where in Europe the common Women so handsome and well made as in America. This Class of Women in Europe are much accustomed to all kinds of farming business from their Infancy almost, and are obliged to be out basking and baking in the Sun and employed in the severest parts of the Labors of a Farm. Whether this accounts for the difference, I know not, or what physical Reason there may be for it. That there is a difference every American, that travels with his Eyes open, must observe. They seemed contented and happy, which are the most principal Objects. There are some of them that are very smart, and parry rude questions with great dexterity. We had one in the Diligence (a travelling Carriage in this Country holding 6. or 8. persons), who was a mere Country Girl. As there were a Number of young fellows in the Carriage, and Miss looked very clean, neat and tidy, it was natural to ask her some questions. She behaved with vast propriety, was modest, sensible and reserved. Obliged often to answer questions, and as often to be silent. Her Repartees confounded a Gentleman in the Carriage to a great degree, tho' he did not feel them as a Man of Sensibility, and indeed if he had been one he would not have asked some questions that he put. I admired her Character very much, as a discreet prudent Girl, who spoke without fear, or Confusion, yet modestly. Most of the young Girls of our Country are timid, and frightened, if a Stranger interrogates them. In this Country, there { 220 } is a confident Assurance and a possession of self without pertness, impertinence or impudence. I dont mean always, but the Country Girls in general have the former without the latter. I have mentioned our Miss as one Example. And I should have been very sorry to have lost her Company, if one of our rude Companions had been out of the Carriage. However She rode but a little ways with us, and then left us. I might as well have said nothing about the matter, as I have said nothing of the Conversation. But as it was rather curious and connected with what ought to be omitted, I may as well be silent. She was not handsome, but charming, and I shall always love and esteem her even upon so short an Acquaintance.
I write in great haste, and shall not have time to write to my other friends, if I have any, as I very much doubt; and perhaps this may be an unwelcome Letter to your Ladyship.
Mr. Storer has Packet after Packet, but I am either forgotten or neglected.
You will please to forward the inclosed Letters. My Sister is well catechised in my Letter, if She takes it seriously.1
My Respects to all Friends if you please, and particular Regards to your Family.

[salute] With great Esteem and Respect, I have the honor to be, Madam, your most obedient and most humble Servant

[signed] J Thaxter Junr.
1. Letter not found, but “My Sister” must be Celia Thaxter, John Thaxter's oldest sister (1749–1829), to whom he wrote at least twelve extant letters from Europe, 1780–1783, and another twelve from Haverhill, 1784–1791. He also addressed three extant letters to his sisters collectively. MHi: Thaxter Papers; History of Hingham, 3:232–233.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0123

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-07-30

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] Honoured Mamma

Altho' I have already written you by Mr. Brush who will probably deliver this to you; yet I cannot help writing a few more Lines to justify myself with you, from a reproach; the Idea of which I cannot bear. If the Northern Regions have frozen up that Quick and Lively Imagination, which you are please to say, used to be agreeable to my Friends, they have most certainly not chilled my affection, but have if possible augmented my Love for my Friends, and my reverence for the dearest and most honoured, of mothers. I must beg your pardon for having scratch'd out of your letter these words, to be forgotten by my Son,1 for I could not bear to think that such an Idea should ever { 221 } have entered the mind of my ever honoured Mamma. I should certainly have written oftener to you while I was in Russia than I did. But there were no vessels which sail'd from there, directly for America, and we had very few private opportunities to forward letters here; so we were obliged to send them by the post which was not only a very expensive manner; but the letters would have been all opened for in that Country, not a letter passes, the Contents of which, are not known at the Post Office, and they take so little pains to hide it, that I have receiv'd several Letters, the seals of which were broken, and the Letters open. If you complain, they will tell you that they know nothing about it, and that they suppose the rubbing of the letters have broken the seals: and one does not Love to have the Letters he writes seen by every body. But I used to write you by every private opportunity: I suppose the greatest part of my Letters failed, for I wrote several times to you, and to my other friends, and you mentioned having receiv'd but one letter from me since I left Amsterdam.

[salute] I am your most dutiful and Affectionate Son.

[signed] J. Q. Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. A. Adams. Braintree Massachusetts Bay.”
1. See AA to JQA, 13 Nov. 1782, note 2, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0124

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-08-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I have received your two favours of 7 May and 20 June.1 I had received no Letter from you for so long an Interval that these were really inestimable. I always learn more of Politicks from your Letters, than any others. I have lost all my Correspondents in Congress. I wrote to Mr. Jackson and Gen. Warren2 Supposing they were Members. Mr. Gerry is there now, to my Great Joy. Beg of him to write to me, if I stay in Europe.
I learn with great Satisfaction the Wisdom of my Daughter, whom I long to see. What is to be my Fate I know not. We have not received any joint Commission to make a Treaty of Commerce with Great Britain. I hate to force my self home without Leave, and Congress have not given me Leave as Mr. Lee gave you Reason to expect.3 My Son is with me, at present, and you will be as proud of him as I shall be of my Daughter, when I see her. He is grown up a Man, and his Steadiness and Sobriety, with all his Spirits are much to his honour. I will make of him my Secretary while I Stay.
{ 222 }
I like the Situation of Charles and Tom.
Your Purchase of Land tho of only the Value of 200 Dollars4 gives me more Pleasure than you are aware. I wish you had described it. I Suppose it to be that fine Grove which I have loved and admired from my Cradle. If it is, I would not part with it, for Gold. If you know of any Woodland or salt Marsh to be sold, purchase them and draw upon me for the Money. Your Bills shall be paid upon Sight. Direct the Bills to be presented if I should be returned home, to Messrs. Wilhem and Jan Willink Merchants Amsterdam, who will accept and pay them for the Honour of the Drawer. Pray dont let a Single Tree be cutt upon that Spot. I expect, very soon, to be a private Man, and to have no other Resource for my Family but my Farm, and therefore it is my Intention when I come home to sell my House in Boston and to collect together all the Debts due to me and all other little Things that I can convert into Money and lay it out in Lands in the Neighbourhood of our Chaumiere.5 The whole <will not> will make <a large> but a Small Farm, Yet it will be large enough for my Desires if my Children are content. You Speak of a high Office.6 In Gods Name, banish every Idea of such a Thing. It is the Place of the Greatest slavery and Drudgery in the World. It would only introduce me to endless Squabbles and Disputes, and expose me to eternal obloquy and Envy. I wish that all Parties would unite in the present one who has the Hearts of that People and will keep them. The Opposition will only weaken and distress his Administration, and if another were chosen in his Place, the Administration of that other would be weakened and distressed by a Similar Opposition. I have not health to go through the Business, nor have I Patience to endure the Smart. I beg that neither You nor yours would ever encourage in yourselves or others such a Thought. <If I return home> If after my Return home, the state should think proper to send me to Congress and you will go with me, I will go, for a short time, but not a long one. After that if I should be chosen into the senate or House, I should be willing to contribute my Mite, to the publick service in that Way. At home, upon my Farm and among my Books assisting in the Education of my Children, and endeavouring to introduce them into Business to get their Bread and do some service in the World, I wish to pass the feeble Remnant of my Days. But I am too much hurt, by those Exertions to which the Times have called me, to wish or to be capable of any great active Employment whatsoever. You know not how much your Friend is altered. The Fever burnt up half his Memory and more than half his Spirits, and has left him, with scorbutic { 223 } Disorders about him that are very troublesome. Without Repose, if with it, he can never hope to get the better of them. This is said to you my friend in Confidence and is to be communicated to no one else. <Adieu> After having seen so many of my friends, thro Life fall Victims to the great Contest, I think my self very happy to have got through it, in no worse a Condition. Adieu.
1. JA had also received AA's letter of 28 April, above (see JA to AA2, 14 Aug., below).
2. JA had last written Jonathan Jackson on 17 Nov. 1782 (MHi: Misc. Coll.); Jackson's next extant letter to JA was dated 27 April 1784 (Adams Papers). Jackson resigned from Congress on 5 Nov. 1782 (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 6:xlvi). On JA's correspondence with James Warren, see JA to AA, 9 July, notes 3 and 4, above.
3. See Arthur Lee to AA, 23 April, above.
4. See AA to JA, 7 May, note 8, above.
5. Thatched cottage. AA also referred to the Adams' modest home in Braintree as a cottage (to JA, 20 June, above), and even as “our own Republican cottage” (to JA, 28 April, above).
6. See AA to JA, 7 May, above, for the oblique reference to the governorship of Massachusetts, which some opponents of John Hancock thought JA might fill if he returned.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0125

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Date: 1783-08-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams 2d

[salute] My Dear Daughter

I have received your affectionate letter of the 10th of May, with great pleasure, and another from your mother of the 28th and 29th of April, which by mistake I omitted to mention in my letter to her to-day. Your education and your welfare, my dear child, are very near my heart; and nothing in this life would contribute so much to my happiness, next to the company of your mother, as yours. I have reason to say this by the experience I have had of the society of your brother, whom I brought with me from the Hague. He is grown to be a man, and the world says they should take him for my younger brother, if they did not know him to be my son. I have great satisfaction in his behaviour, as well as in the improvements he has made in his travels, and the reputation he has left behind him wherever he has been. He is very studious and delights in nothing but books, which alarms me for his health; because, like me, he is naturally inclined to be fat. His knowledge and his judgment are so far beyond his years, as to be admired by all who have conversed with him. I lament, however, that he could not have his education at Harvard College, where his brothers shall have theirs, if Providence shall afford me the means of supporting the expense of it. If my superiors shall permit me to come home, I hope it will be soon; if they mean I should stay abroad, I am not able to say what I shall do, until I { 224 } know in what capacity. One thing is certain, that I will not live long without my family, and another is equally so, that I can never consent to see my wife and children croaking with me like frogs in the Fens of Holland, and burning and shivering alternately with fevers, as Mr. Tha[xt]er, Charles, Stephen[s], and myself have done: your brother John alone had the happiness to escape, but I was afraid to trust him long amidst those pestilential steams.
You have reason to wish for a taste for history, which is as entertaining and instructive to the female as to the male sex. My advice to you would be to read the history of your own country, which although it may not afford so splendid objects as some others, before the commencement of the late war, yet since that period, it is the most interesting chapter in the history of the world, and before that period is intensely affecting to every native American. You will find among your own ancestors, by your mother's side at least, characters which deserve your attention. It is by the female world, that the greatest and best characters among men are formed. I have long been of this opinion to such a degree, that when I hear of an extraordinary man, good or bad, I naturally, or habitually inquire who was his mother? There can be nothing in life more honourable for a woman, than to contribute by her virtues, her advice, her example, or her address, to the formation of an husband, a brother, or a son, to be useful to the world.
Heaven has blessed you, my daughter, with an understanding and a consideration, that is not found every day among young women, and with a mother who is an ornament to her sex. You will take care that you preserve your own character, and that you persevere in a course of conduct, worthy of the example that is every day before you. With the most fervent wishes for your happiness, I am your affectionate father,
[signed] John Adams
MS not found. Printed from (AA2, Jour. and Corr., 1:202–204.)
1. The date is corrected from JA to AA, 14 Aug., above (see the opening sentence of the present letter).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0126

Author: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Recipient: Cranch, Elizabeth
Recipient: Norton, Elizabeth Cranch
Date: 1783-08-20
Date: 1783-08-29

Abigail Adams 2d to Elizabeth Cranch

Why my Dear Eliza have I not had the pleasure of hearing from you but once in an absence of two months. Is this right Betsy? I have been half of a mind to believe that you had ceaced to wish to hear { 225 } from me—the idea has given me pain. Surely you received a letter by Mr. Shaw at commencement, and I have wrote you since.1 I cannot say that you have certainly received that but methinks you might have devoted one hour, even had it have been 'the sixth' to your friend.
I must acknowledge that at times I have felt greived by your inattention—perhaps you thought me void of those feelings that would create unpleasing sensations by a neglect of friendship.
We have had such a profusion of folks here for these some weeks that it has been absolutely out of my power to write at all. Betsy Otis spent a forghtnight with me. Polly is here at present. Mrs. Dana and Miss Elery2 spend this week with us. We have all passed this afternoon with your Mamma and sister. We all regreted the absence of my Cousin. This Eve we have had a disagreeable scene. It has thundered and lightened exceedingly. You know my natureal insensibility or from some cause quite simular, I am not at all affected by it. Nancy Elery is much affected. Poor Polly Otis feels from it severely. She is a girl of sensibility gentleness and softness natureally, and affliction has increased her amiability. The scenes of this Eve, have recalled to her mind that period, which time has not so far effaced as to permit her to reflect upon without very painfull sensations, it is a painfull remembrance and she must often be called to the reflections by causes unavoidable.3
The little Dr.4 who seems to be the subject of many of your late letters, has I fancy by the charms of musick quite enchanted my friend.

“Musick the fiercest greifs can charm

And pains severest rage disarm.”5

Dont you know Eliza that tis daingerous to give way to such enchantment—and do you recollect that Haverhill is a fortunate situation for Laidys, who declare they risk to be connected before two and twenty.
The first part of this letter Elisa was wrote almost a forghtnight passt. No opportunity of conveyance has presented, and I have been in hopes that I should have it soon in my power to acknowledge the receipt of at least a line from you. I hear dayly of your letters to various persons, but have the mortifycation not to hear of any for myself. I came over here to spend a week with Polly Otis, before she goes into town.6 Charles and Harry are both gone to reside in Boston. We feel their absence—as you may well suppose. Harry comes a { 226 } saturdays and spends the sunday with us. He retains his sprightliness, and has increasd in volubility greatly I assure you. His spirits are raised by his prospect of business and he can scarce contain himself. Charles has been gone but a week. He is a more sedate young Man. You know they are both good amiable and agreeable at all times—tho I must confess I am more pleased with the dignity, and delicacy, of Charles, than with all the sprightliness and airryness of his Brother Harry. Winslow is hourly expected to return. When he arrives we shall see an extrordinary.
At last my friend I have the pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of a letter from you7—a pleasure I have long and ardently wished. Last Eve on my return from Milton, your letter was handed me. From your own feelings, you may judge of the pleasure that I received from this event. Indeed my Dear after so long a silence once more to receive the product of your pen was a pleasure, that I cannot pretend to describe. You may see by various dates of my letter that I have not been unmindfull of you. Charles sets out tomorow. He is all impatience to return to his studys and discovers a disposition that will ever be of advantage through life to him.
You have drawn a sweet picture Eliza of your visit, but to whom it was, you thought it was unnecessary for me to know, I suppose. If the agreeable couple are not indebted to your imagination for the embellishment of the scene, I imagine they are happy.
Have you concluded to spend the next winter in your present situation, or do you think of favouring your friends in this part of the World with your presence. I assure you we are almost impatient to see you, and flater ourselvs with the prospect.
Let me hear from you soon. Remember me to all who think of me. Present my love regards and respects to Uncle and Aunt Shaw. My Love to Tommy and Billy. And believe me your affectionate Cousin and friend
[signed] A Adams
RC (MHi: C. P. Cranch Papers); endorsed: “August 20 83 AA.”
1. Letters of 17 July, and [post 20] July, both above.
2. Nancy Ellery, sister of Elizabeth Ellery Dana (AA to JA, 24 Aug., below).
3. Mary (Polly) Otis was the younger daughter of the patriot orator James Otis Jr., who had been struck dead by lightning on 23 May (see John Thaxter to JA, 12 Aug., Adams Papers; Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 11:277–286).
4. Not identified; see AA2 to Elizabeth Cranch, 1 July, above.
5. Alexander Pope, “Ode for Music on St. Cecilia's Day,” lines 118–119; Pope has “grief” { 227 } in line 118, and “Fate's,” not “pains,” in line 119.
6. Polly Otis was visiting her aunt, Mercy Otis Warren, and her cousins Charles and Henry (Harry) Warren, and eagerly awaited the return of her cousin Winslow Warren from Europe.
7. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0127

Author: Cranch, Richard
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-08-20

Richard Cranch to John Adams

[salute] My Dear Brother

This will be convey'd to you by the Honble. Natl. Gorham Esqr. our late Speaker, who return'd this Summer from Congress in which he has Serv'd this Commonwealth as a Delegate, with great Ability and Honour. I hope he will, if possible, have a personal Interview with you, as he can doubtless throw much Light on many of the Transactions of that Body. The special Purpose for which Mr. Gorham now goes to Europe, is, to solicit Donations for the distressed Inhabitants of his native Town of Charlestown. You are well acquainted with the uncommon Sufferings that worthy Community has undergone by having all their Houses burnt, and a great part of their Moveables, by the British Army; and then forced to retire almost naked, and destitute, to every part of the State where any Provision could be made for their Support, either by private Charity, or by the Publick permitting them to be entertained for the present as the Poor of the Towns to which they were sent.1
In this unhappy Condition most of the Inhabitants of Charlestown have remained ever since the time when that wanton Violence took place. Some of the former Inhabitants of that Town who yet retain some Property, have formed the laudable design of assisting in rebuilding the Town on a much more regular and elegant Plan than it stood on before it was burnt. An Act of the General Court has pass'd to enable them to lay out the new Streets commodiously and regularly, according to a Plan exhibited to the Legislature.2 The Honble. Mr. James Russell is among the foremost (notwithstanding his great Age)3 to bring forward the Rebuilding of the Town, and has earnestly requested his old Friend, our Father Smith, to write to you on the Subject. Father says he cannot write to you at present but wishes me to write.4 He says his Friend Mr. Russell is so engaged in raising up Charlestown (like the Phoenix from its Ashes) that he has scarce another Object on Earth for which he wishes to live.
The Plan, therefore, on which the Honble. Mr. Gorham now comes to Europe, is, to solicit Benefactions from the Rich and Generous, to assist the Poor of Charlestown (many of whome yet retain the { 228 } small Spots of Ground on which their former Houses stood) in erecting such necessary Buildings, in the room of those that were burnt, as may enable them to return to their native Place, and enjoy with some degree of Independence, the common Blessings of Providence.
The manner in which you may best give Assistance in the prosecution of such a Plan, must be left entirely to your Prudence and Wisdom: But it is thought that the high Character you have so deservedly acquired both in Europe and America, would give great weight and encouragement to the Undertaking if it should meet with your approbation.
You know the Interest that Father Smith and the whole Family take in the Rebuilding of their native Town—it would be peculiarly pleasing to them if any thing of this sort should take place.
I wrote you the 26th. of June by Cousin Wm. Smith, who sail'd for London in Capt. Callahan; and two Letters of the 18th. of July, by Mr. Ben. Austin, who sail'd for London in Capt. Love, by him I sent you two Pamphlets containing some late Transactions of Congress—which I hope are come to hand. Your Mother and your Lady and Family are all well. Master Charles is just got well of the Meazels, he has had them favourably. Master Tommy was not at home, so that he has not catch'd them. The Ladies Adams, Dana, Warren, Quincy &c. drank Tea at our [House?] last Monday, all well, and wishing for your Re[turn] to crown the other Blessings of Peace, in the procuring of which you have born so essential a Part. My Family and all our Connections are as well as usual, and desire to be remember'd to you. I am, with the highest Esteem, your affectionate Brother
[signed] Richard Cranch
Please to present my kindest Regards to your Son and to our worthy Friends Thaxter and Storer, and let them know that their Friends are all well. Your Lady has received your Letters of the 20th. and 30th. of May.
The Ship Lady Ann, Capt. Richard Chapman arriv'd here last Saturday Night, by which I rec'd a Letter from Mr. Eyma fils of Amsterdam, by which I perceive that he has sent me a considerable Consignment thro' your recommendation, for which I thank you. You may please to inform him that I shall take the utmost care of his Interest, and make Sale of them as quick as possible. The Goods are not yet come on shore. I shall write him very particularly as soon as I have examined the Goods. Adieu.
{ 229 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To His Excellency John Adams Esqr. Minister from the United States of America at Paris”; endorsed by JQA: “Mr. Cranch. Boston. Augt. 20th. 1783.” The cutting out of the seal caused the loss of two words of text.
1. The burning of Charlestown occurred during the Battle of Bunker Hill on 17 June 1775. Only a few buildings escaped the flames; estimates placed the number of houses destroyed at 400 and property loss at over £115,000. After the British evacuated Boston, the residents began slowly to return, but rebuilding did not begin in earnest until 1783. Nathaniel Gorham had been involved in relief efforts for Charlestown since 1777, when he had presented a petition to Congress for that purpose. See vol. 2:214, and note 1, 240; JA, Papers, 5:198–199; Richard Frothingham Jr., The History of Charlestown, Massachusetts, Boston, 1845, p. 367–368; Souvenir of the 50th Anniversary of the Dedication of the Bunker Hill Monument, Charlestown, 1893, p. 8–9.
2. This act was dated 30 Oct. 1781 (Private and Special Statutes of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from . . . 1780 to 1805, 3 vols., Boston, 1805, 1:21–24).
3. James Russell, age sixty-eight in 1783, was a representative from 1746 to 1759, a member of the Council, 1759–1771, and a superior court justice from 1771 until the Revolution (Thomas Bellows Wyman, The Genealogies and Estates of Charlestown, Boston, 1879, 2:831, 832; William Davis, History of the Judiciary of Massachusetts, Boston, 1900, p. 141).
4. Rev. William Smith, AA's father, was born in Charlestown in 1707, and joined the First Church there before graduating from Harvard in 1725 (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 7:588). It may have been failing health that prevented Smith from writing to JA; he would die on 17 Sept. (AA to JA, 20 Sept., below).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0128

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-08-24

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

By Capt. Freeman who Sails on Sunday for England I embrace the opportunity of writing you a few lines. Mr. Goreham is gone to Portsmouth to embark from thence, impowerd by the Town of Charlstown to solicit Charity for them. I have not the best opinion of his errant; nor of his politeness, or I should have Supposed that as he means to apply to you for assistance; he would have <Supposed> imagined that a Letter from your family would not have been unacceptable, but he moved off, without giving me any notice. I do not regret it much as Capt. Freeman will be so kind as to take this, and carefully forward it. I have written frequently, written by way of England Since the Peace, and hope you have received my Letters. I have not heard so frequently from you as I wish; your last date was the 30 of May. I hope it was not long after that date, that you remaind in the dissagreable suspence which you then appeard to be in, and that your publick dispatches were agreable to your mind and that you will not be delayed by them. Every Letter which reaches me places your return at a further remove; I pray that it may not exceed November as I have a dread of our coast. I fear for your Health, and hope a voyage will prove benificial. When I reflect upon the many perplexing scenes, and difficulties through which you have passt in { 230 } the last ten years, I conceive them sufficient, to batter down a stronger building than the Fabrick you occupy. It is however a pleasing consolation that the Deity which inhabits it, is formed for a duration, beyond the brittle tennament, and is capable of extending its views to an existance more suitable to its nature and capacity—and where I trust it will meet with a due regard for that Benevolence and good will which upon all occasions, has been exerted for the benifit of Mankind.
To the blessings of Peace, we have, that of plenty added. The Earth yealds in abundance, Ceres flourishes with her sheaves and her cornicopia. Pomona cannot boast of being so richly laiden, Boreas committed a Robbery upon her in her Infancy which she is not like to recover, and the plague of Eygipt followed him.1
Our son Charles is just recoverd from the Measles, and is going again to Haverhill. I wish his Brother Tom, had been here to have had them with him, my Neice2 too has had them and recoverd, tho it has proved very mortal in Boston. Tis said 300 children have been buried since last March. Our Friends are all well, your Mother dined with me to day, and desires to be rememberd to you. I think she enjoys better health than she did a Year ago. I am going with Genll. Warrens family, and a small party of Friends to dine with my Father. How happy would it make the good old gentleman could you be one of the party; alass the Sons his Daughters have given him, are those only in which he can rejoice. How often have I heard him both with pain and pleasure, say, when reflecting upon his misfortune, I desire to bless God, I have three comforts to one affliction—and he might have added four, for his Daughter in Law is to him, like an own child in kindness and attention, to be otherways she must be a monster of ingratitude for to her he has supplied the place of Father Mother and husband. There are Six fine children as you would wish to see—all without a Father, or what is worse.3 My little Neice who has lived 6 years with me is a sweet Girl, tho she is no Stranger to her unhappy lot. She never speaks a word upon the Subject, all that she ever said was the other day, a stranger had askd who she was. She came with tears in her Eyes and said she wished nobody would ask who she was, or whether she had a Father. She frequently asks whether I think you will let her live with me when you return.
Mrs. Dana and sister have been with me this week. She is very anxious to hear from Mr. Dana, her last letter was dated 7 months ago. She hopes you will not come without him. I know not how to realize that I shall see you soon. Hope and Fear have been the two { 231 } ruling passions of a large portion of my Life, and I have been banded from one to the other like a tennis Ball. We are waiting with a degree of impatience for the definitive Treaty. There is nothing New in the political World—cheating is an old story, even from the Days of Jacob. Inclosed is a little poetical performance.4 You will be at no loss to comprehend it—it has too much Truth for its basis.
I hope Master John will find his pen once more, his Brother's and Sister desire to be affectionately rememberd. I shall write to him if the vessel does not Sail immediately. Uncle Quincy desires to be rememberd to you. Let Mr. Thaxter know his Friends were all well this week—are so sanguine with regard to his speedy return that they do not think it worth while to write again.

[salute] Adieu my dear Friend. So many Ideas croud upon me when about to close, that I can utter only that I am Yours.

[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by Royall Tyler: “His Excelly. John Adams Minister Plenipty From the United States at Paris”; endorsed: “Portia August 24. 1783.”
1. Ceres was the ancient Italian goddess of grain; Pomona the Roman goddess of fruit. Boreas was the north wind in Greek lore. Jehovah visited Egypt with several plagues in Exodus, chaps. 7–10.
2. Louisa Catharine Smith, whose situation AA descibes so affectingly below.
3. AA refers to her father's grief over his prodigal son William, who had abandoned his family by 1783 (Elizabeth Shaw to Mary Cranch, 20 Jan., [DLC: Shaw Family Papers]). His children, by Catharine Louisa Salmon, were Elizabeth, later Mrs. James H. Foster, Louisa Catharine, who lived with AA, William, Mary, Charles, and Isaac.
4. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0129

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-09-01

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I have not received my Letters of Recall from Holland and therefore must disappoint you and my self. I have requested them anew1 and Suppose I shall receive them about Christmas, but whether I do or not, I shall come home, at latest in the first Spring ships, unless I should receive Some new Commission in Europe, which is not likely. I am unalterably determined not to stay in Holland where I never have any tollerable Health. To break away and come home without Leave, would neither be civil to Congress nor to the states General nor to the statholder, I hope I shall not be obliged to do it, but if I cannot obtain Leave, I must take it. I propose a Tour of three Weeks to England and shall take my son with me, whose Company is the greatest Pleasure of my Life. His Behaviour and close Attention to his studies are very pleasing to me, and promise to produce, a worthy Character.
{ 232 }
I have received Several, very agreable Letters from my Daughter, which I shall answer if I can, as well as yours,2 which always afford me more Intelligence, than I get from any other American source. You may continue to write me under Cover. I am much pleased with your Purchase, and with the Boys Shool and Preceptor.3
Mr. Dana is embarked as I suppose from Petersbourg, and will be soon in Boston, defeated in his Endeavours to serve his Country, by jesuitical Schemes from Passy and other sources,4 from whence have Sprung so many obstacles to the publick Good. Never was a Country, more imposed on by Finesse. Our late Minister of foreign affairs5 appears to have been a mere Puppet danced upon French Wires electrified from Passy. I hope there will be, an End of this Philosophical and political Conjuration, if not, I am determined to get out of its striking Distance. Hitherto, altho it has tossed and tormented me, and prevented me from doing a great Part of the Good I meditated, and am Sure should have accomplished without it: yet it has not totally defeated me. Yet it has defeated me in so many Things and others in so many more, that it is high time to break it up.
I thank the Dr. and Mr. Cranch for their very friendly Letters, but their Speculations into futurity, are not well grounded.6 Give Us Peace in our Day, for there is none that fightest for Us but thou O God, is a Prayer <of the Church of England> which no son of the Church has a better right to offer up than I—and none can make it more sincerely.7

[salute] Adieu, My dearest Friend Adieu, oh when Shall We meet? Next Spring most certainly God Willing.

1. See JA to the president of Congress (Elias Boudinot), 1 Sept. (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:668–669).
2. The only extant previous AA2 letter to JA is that of 10 May, above; AA's letter was that of 30 June, also above.
3. See AA to JA, 7 May, on AA's purchase of land; AA to JA, 7 April, on the education of CA and TBA; and JA's reply of 14 Aug., all above.
4. Francis Dana left St. Petersburg on 3 Sept. and arrived in Boston on 12 Dec. (W. P. Cresson, Francis Dana: A Puritan Diplomat at the Court of Catherine the Great, N.Y., 1930, p. 317–318; AA to JA, 7 Dec., below). JA's charge that Benjamin Franklin intrigued against Dana's mission is unfounded, although Vergennes did instruct the French minister to Russia not to support Dana's moves. A number of reasons have been given for Dana's failure to secure recognition of American independence and a commercial treaty with Russia. As an absolute monarch, Catherine II did not look favorably upon a republican revolution against a monarchy. Moreover, Catherine, who was attempting to mediate an end to the war, could hardly as a mediator sign a treaty with the United States. American inexperience in diplomacy hampered Dana. He sought recognition of independence through admission to the League of Armed Neutrality, but membership was not likely to be accorded to a belligerent. Further, Dana resorted to moral arguments rather than to appeals to Russia's self-interest. Finally, he chose to ignore the court tradition of { 233 } distributing bribes. Had Dana followed the practices current at the Russian court and used the greatest skill, he still would have had little chance of success, given Russia's conception of its national interests. See H. W. L. Dana, The Dana Saga, Cambridge, 1941, p. 25–28; Cresson, Francis Dana, p. 183–184; Samuel Flagg Bemis, The Diplomacy of the American Revolution: The Foundations of American Foreign Policy, 1775–1783, N.Y., 1935, p. 164–166; and David M. Griffiths, “American Commercial Diplomacy in Russia, 1780–1783,” WMQ, 3d Ser., 27:379–410 (July 1970).
5. Robert. R. Livingston had left office in June.
6. Dr. Cotton Tufts' letters of 26 June and 5 July (both Adams Papers), and Richard Cranch's letter of 26 June, above. JA refers to Cranch's speculation that Massachusetts would reward JA's labors by electing him governor.
7. Book of Common Prayer, Morning Prayer, Versicles.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0130

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-09-04

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I have the Satisfaction to inform you that the definitive Treaties were all Signed yesterday, and the Preliminaries with Holland were Signed the day before.1 Ours is a Simple Repetition of the provisional Treaty. So We have negotiated here, these Six Months for nothing. We could do no better Situated as We were. To day We dined with Mr. Hartley and drank Tea with the Duchess of Manchester. Thus you see We are very good Friends, quite free, easy and Social.
Now I dont Know what to do with my self. I wish I knew more of the Intentions of Congress. The Leave to come home which Mr. Lee promised you is not arrived, and I cannot go with Decorum without Leave, and the Loan, an important matter would Suffer.2 I believe upon the whole I Shall wait, untill We hear from Congress of their Reception of the definitive Treaty, when no doubt they will Send me their Orders. I Shall have a gloomy Winter at the Hague, but a Tour to London of two or three Weeks and the Company of my Friend your Son, will relieve me a good deal. This Boy is a cordial to me.
I Suppose that our foreign affairs will be wholly new modelled, on the Receipt of the definitive Treaty. Some Say We shall all be recalled, and Consuls only appointed. Others Think that Ministers will be continued, or new ones Sent to Versailles, London, the Hague and Madrid. Others that Ministers will be sent to the two Empires. But all is uncertain.
I Shall make you a Small Remittance by Mr. Thaxter. I Shall make Mr. John, my Secretary. He has acted in that Capacity, some Weeks and done very well.3
I Shall not be able to find Time to write to many of my Friends by this opportunity although it is so good a one.
Mr. Dana will be home before me. I envy him. But he will do great { 234 } good. He is a thoroughly Sensible Man, and entirely well principled. No Man knows our foreign affairs, and difficulties better than he. I have no Patience at the insidious Manoeuvres by which he has been defeated.
Dr. Franklin has fallen down again with the Gout and Gravel.4 He is better, and has been to Versailles and Paris, but he breaks visibly. Mr. Laurens, has a Brother declining, So that he will go to the south of France, untill he knows his Brother's Fate.5 I Shall go to Holland and Stay some time. I may be called to Paris again, and may take a Tour to England. Write me, prudently, by any Way. If my Health was firm, I could bear the Uncertainties of Life better. Tell Mrs. Warren I am already quite enough exhausted to retire. If I could, perfectly obey the Precept, “Fret not thy self, because of evil Doers,”6 I might wear a little longer. But I forget it sometimes. Mr. Jay has been my Comforter. We have compared Notes, and they agree. I love him so well that I know not what I should do in Europe without him: Yet how many times have I disputed Sharply with him in Congress!7 I always thought him however an honest Man. He is a virtuous and religious Man. He has a Conscience, and has been persecuted, accordingly, as all conscientious Men are. Dont suspect me of Cant. I am not addicted to it. He and I have Tales to tell, dismal Tales: But it will be most for his Happiness and mine to forget them. So let them be forgotten. If the publick Good should not absolutely require them to be told.
But I am wandering from my favourite Point which is the Recollection of my fervent affection for my Dearest Friend and the Dear Pledges of her Love.
1. These were the peace treaties between the United States and Great Britain, between France and Great Britain, and between Spain and Great Britain, all 3 Sept., and the preliminary treaty between the Netherlands and Great Britain, 2 September. The Anglo-American treaty was signed at Paris; all the others were signed at Versailles.
2. JA interlined “and the Loan . . . would Suffer.”
3. See JA to AA, 7 Sept., and note 8, below.
4. Visible urinary crystals or painful urination (OED).
5. Henry Laurens, still in England as late as 16 Sept., would soon visit his younger brother, James, who had suffered from poor health for a number of years. James died in Feb. 1784 in Vigan, France. Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:693, 699; David Duncan Wallace, The Life of Henry Laurens, N.Y., 1915, p. 226, 418.
6. Psalms 37:1.
7. JA's congressional disagreements with John Jay ran back to 1774, when Jay favored Joseph Galloway's Plan of Union and urged the colonies to pay the British East India Company for the property destroyed in the Boston Tea Party, but the two were often in agreement, especially concerning independence in 1776. See JA, Papers, 2:149; 4:71, 99–100, 219, 238; and JA, Diary and Autobiography, vol. 4.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0131

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-09-04

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] Honoured Mamma

I should deserve, all the reproaches which my friends in America have made me if I neglected writing, by so good an Opportunity as the one that presents itself at this time. Mr. Thaxter who will deliver you this expects to sail for New-York in the course of this Month. He will probably carry the Definitive Treaty, (which was at last signed yesterday,) to Congress.1 So you will not receive this so soon as if, it went directly, but, I suppose, he will not stay long to the South-ward. I suppose we shall soon leave this Place, and return to the Hague, as the business which called my Father here is now all finished, the Treaties having been signed yesterday on all sides. The Dutch signed their preliminary articles with Great-Britain the day before Yesterday. It seems they have ceded Negapatnam,2 or rather have left the matter to be decided in their Definitive Treaty so that

“Peace o'er the world her olive wand extends”3

But, how long it will last, no body knows; it is feared not long; for it is thought almost universally that the affair between the two European Empires and the Turkish one, will not be arranged without some blood-shed. They have been for these 9 months in the Situation of a couple of Dogs, growling at one another, yet each afraid to touch the other; however, they will probably get at it, before they have done.4
I suppose you will see Mr. Dana before this reaches you. He left Petersbourgh, in a yacht which sailed directly for Boston. Mr. Allen I believe is gone with him. Mr. Storer is expected here every day, he wrote Mr. Thaxter that he intended to leave London the first or second of this month.

[salute] I am your most dutiful Son

[signed] J. Q. Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. A. Adams. Braintree Massachusetts.”
1. Thaxter sailed from the Ile de Groix, off Lorient, on 26 Sept., landed at New York, and reached Philadelphia with the treaty on 22 November (see Thaxter to JA, 18 and 22 Sept., Adams Papers; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:143; and Elbridge Gerry to AA, 24 Nov., below).
2. Negapatam, a seaport on the southeastern coast of India and principal Dutch settlement in India, was captured by the British in 1781, and was ceded to them in the definitive peace (Piers Mackesy, War for America, Cambridge, 1965, p. 495–496, 509).
3. Alexander Pope, “Messiah,” line 19; also quoted in AA to JA, 28 April, at note 3, above.
4. In 1783 Catherine II took over the Crimea from the Turks, who for the moment had to accept what they could not prevent. Actual war between Russia and the Ottoman empire did not break out until 1787; Austria entered on Russia's side the next year (Cambridge Modern Hist., 6:674–676).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0132

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-09-07

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

This Morning for the first Time, was delivered me the Resolution of Congress of the first of May, that a Commission and Instructions Should be made Out, to Me, Dr. Franklin and Mr. Jay to make a Treaty of Commerce with Great Britain.1 If this Intelligence had been Sent Us by Barney, who Sailed from Philadelphia a Month after, the 1st of May, and has now been Sailed from hence on his return home above a Month2 it would have Saved me and others much Anxiety. I am now even at a Loss. It is of great Importance that Such a Treaty Should be well made. The Loan in Holland must be attended to, and when the present one is full, another must be opened, which cannot be done but by me or my Successor. There are other Things too to be done in Europe of great Importance. Mr. Laurens has Leave to go home, and Mr. Dana is gone so that there remain in service only Mr. Franklin Mr. Jay and my self. In these Circumstances I must stay another Winter. I cannot justify going home. But what Shall I do for Want of my Family. By what I hear, I think Congress will give Us all Leave to come home in the Spring. Will you come to me this fall and go home with me in the Spring? If you will, come with my dear Nabby, leaving the two Boys at Mr. Shaws, and the House and Place under the Care of your Father Uncle Quincy or Dr. Tufts, or Mr. Cranch. This Letter may reach you by the <first of> middle of October,3 and in November you may embark, and a Passage in November, or all December will be a good Season. You may embark for London, Amsterdam, or any Port of France. On your Arrival, you will find Friends enough.4 The Moment I hear of it, I will fly with Post Horses to receive you at least, and if the Ballon, Should be carried to such Perfection in the mean time as to give Mankind the safe navigation of the Air, I will fly in one of them at the Rate of thirty Knots an hour.5 This is my Sincere Wish, although the Expence will be considerable, the Trouble to you great and you will probably have to return with me in the Spring. I am So unhappy without you that I wish you would come at all Events. You must bring with you at least one Maid and one Man servant.
I must however leave it with your Judgment, you know better than I the real Intentions at Philadelphia, and can determine better than I whether it will be more prudent to wait untill the Spring. I am determind to be with you in America or have you with me in Europe, { 237 } as soon as it can be accomplished consistent with private Prudence and the publick Good. I am told that Congress intend to recall Us all, as soon as a few Affairs are finished. If this should be the Case, all will be well. I shall go home with infinite Pleasure. But it may be longer than you think of, before all their necessary Affairs will be dispatched. The Treaty of Commerce with G. B. must take Time. A Treaty will be wanted with Portugal and Denmark if not with the Emperor and Empress.6 If you come to Europe this Fall, in my Opinion you will be glad to go home in the Spring. If you come in the spring you will wish to return the next fall. I am sure I shall, but Six months of your Company is worth to me, all the Expences and Trouble of the Voyage.
This Resolution of Congress deserves my Gratitude; it is highly honourable to me, and restores me, my Feelings, which a former Proceeding had taken away.7 I am now perfectly content to be recalled whenever they think fit, or to Stay in Europe, untill this Business is finished, provided you will come and live with me. We may Spend our Time together in Paris London or the Hague, for 6 or 12 Months as the Public Business may call me and then return to our Cottage, with contented Minds. It would be more agreable to my Inclinations to get home and endeavour to get my self and Children into a Settled Way, but I think it is more necessary for the Publick that I should stay in Europe, untill this Piece of Business is finished. You dont probably know the Circumstances which attended this Proceeding of Congress. They are so honourable to me, that I cannot in Gratitude or Decency refuse.
I must Submit your Voyage to your Discretion and the Advice of your Friends, my most earnest Wishes are to see you but if the Uncertainties are such as to discourage you, I know it will be upon reasonable Considerations and must submit. But if you postpone the Voyage for this Fall, I shall insist on your coming in the Spring, unless there is a certainty of my going home to you. Congress are at such grievous Expences, that I Shall have no other Secretary than my son. He however is a very good one.8 He writes a good hand very fast, and is very Steady, to his Pen and his Books. Write me by every Ship to Spain France Holland or England, that I may know. You give me more public Intelligence than any body. The only hint in Europe of this Commission was from you to yours forever
[signed] John Adams
1. This resolution was Congress' response to a committee report on JA's letter of 5 February. In that letter JA subtly protested Congress' July 1781 revocation of his commis• { 238 } sion to negotiate a commercial treaty with Britain while making the case for America's need for such a treaty. The new commission for the three diplomats, however, was never issued, the necessary instructions were never drafted, and Congress did not again consider its foreign assignments until October, and did not complete those assignments until May 1784. JA to AA, 29 Jan., note 1, above; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:142–143, note 2.
2. See John Thaxter to JA, 4 Aug. (Adams Papers).
3. On 20 Nov., AA wrote to JA, below, that she had just received one of JA's two letters of 10 Sept. (one below; the otherAdams Papers), which gave the same information and exhortation as the present letter. In her letter to JQA of 20 Nov., below, she says that she received JA's “Letters of 10 September.” This letter of the 7th went to America with John Thaxter, who traveled to New York and Philadelphia before reaching Braintee on 14 December (AA to JA, 15 Dec., below).
4. See Charles Storer to AA, 8 Nov. 1782, note 2, above.
5. Joseph Michel and Jacques Etienne Montgolfier developed the first hot-air balloons in 1782–1783; the first public launching occurred in June of the latter year. The Montgolfiers' balloon immediately caught the fancy of the French, and Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette witnessed the first attempt to send animals aloft from Versailles. Pilâtre de Rozier made the first free manned flight in November. JQA's great interest in the Montgolfiers' balloon in Aug.–Sept. is evident in his Diary entries (Diary, 1:187–190,192–194).
6. Joseph II, of Austria; and Catherine II, of Russia.
7. That is, the loss of his earlier commission to negotiate a commercial treaty with Great Britain (see note 1).
8. With John Thaxter's departure for America on 14 Sept., JQA fully assumed the role of JA's secretary. He had begun making copies for his father, however, from the moment of JA's arrival at The Hague; over a dozen JA letters are in JQA's hand from 23 July to 13 Sept., the day before Thaxter's departure. This was a new role for JQA, although he had made copies of two JA letters in 1778: to AA 18 Dec., vol. 3:138; and to Mercy Warren, 18 Dec., JA, Papers, 7:281–284. See also JA to Richard Cranch, 10 Sept., descriptive note, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0133

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-09-10

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

We have received from Congress a Resolution by which We are to be impowered to negotiate a Treaty of Commerce with G. B. My self Mr. Franklin and Mr. Jay. This will detain me in Europe this Winter. If this Letter arrives in Season, that you can come to me this Fall with Miss Nabby, I shall be Supreamly happy to see you. But Still Things are so unsettled in Congress that you may expect to return with me in the Spring. You may come to London Amsterdam or L'Orient, to either of which Places I will soon go to receive you after hearing of your Arrival.
It is however attended with so many Inconveniences that I must submit it to your Discretion with the Advice of your Friends whether to come this Fall, or stay till Spring and then come in Case Things should not be so altered as to oblige me to came home then to you.2 I have written more fully by Mr. Thaxter who sails the 20 of this Month from L'Orient, in the French Packet to New York. If you come { 239 } Leave the Boys at their School, bring a Maid and a Man servant. Leave the Place in the Care of Dr. Tufts or yr father.3 John is well.

[salute] Yours unfailingly

[signed] J. Adams
1. JA wrote AAanother letter of this date, also in the Adams Papers, with virtually the same content. Neither letter is addressed or endorsed. Both evidently went directly to Boston, perhaps in the same ship. It is likely that JA included one with his letter to Richard Cranch, and the other with his letter to Cotton Tufts (both of this date, below). AA received at least one, and probably both, on 20 Nov. (see AA to JA, and AA to JQA, both 20 Nov., below).
2. JA concludes his other letter of this date with the sentence: “If Affairs should require my stay another Summer in Europe I shall insist upon your coming at least in the Spring.”
3. In his other letter of this date, JA instructs: “Leave . . . the Farm in the Care of your Uncle Quincy, Dr. Tufts, your Father Mr. Cranch or other good Fr[ien]d.”

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0134

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cranch, Richard
Date: 1783-09-10

John Adams to Richard Cranch

[salute] My dear Brother

I have received with very great Pleasure, your favours of June 26 and July 18. If my Townsmen of Marblehead, Salem, Cape Anne, Plymouth &c. are pleased with the Peace, I am very glad:2 But We have yet to Secure, if We can, the Right to carry Some of their Fish to market. This and other Things is like to detain me longer here than I expected. I do not regret this, on Account of what you Say is meditated,3 because I have not the qualifications necessary to give Satisfaction in Such a Station, which no Man can obtain with[out]4 divisions or hold without Reproach in these turbulent Times. A great deal of dangerous and disagreable Service, it is true has fallen to my Lot, and it has been done with as much Success as could be expected and I am content.
I regret the Articles concerning the Tories, even for their sakes as well as ours. I thought and Still think it would have been better to have Said nothing about them. But What was done, was insisted on and could not be avoided.
The Treaty must Speak for itself. I do not Think myself qualified for a Commentator, nor should I think myself at Liberty to comment if I knew how. From the Treaty itself, the Stipulations may be easily distinguished from the Recommendations. The former should be Sacred and the latter coolly considered, at least. It will never do to quote me in Explanation of the Treaty: Your ministers have Said, and will Say in their Letters to Congress as much as they think proper upon the subject, and such Parts as Congress think fit to communi• { 240 } cate you will have from them. All I can Say is I wish the real Sense and Spirit of the Treaty may be complied with, and would recommend to all a dispassionate Consideration of it. If there are any Serious Things among Men such a Treaty is one of them.
I am much obliged to you for your particular Account of my Friends and particularly of the Death of my Aged Uncle5 for whom I had a great Regard, and am much affected with his kind Remembrance of me in his last Days. When I shall be released and see you I know not. We must finish off, in Europe, if Such is the Will of Congress, which may take Us a Year, and may be done sooner, or may require longer time. I should hope to finish all in a Year. I have written to my dear Partner to come to me, this Fall if she can, but have Small hopes that my Letters will reach her soon enough and I would not have her Think of a Winter Passage. It is a cruel Punishment to me to live without her, but I should choose this for 6 months longer rather than expose her health, to a turbulent Winter Passage without me. My kind Regards to sister and the Children and all our Friends.

[salute] With great Affection, your Friend and Brother

[signed] John Adams
RC (Tioga Point Museum, Athens, Penna.:Tidd Coll.); endorsed: “Letter from His Excellency J. Adams Esqr. Paris Sepr. 10th. 1783.” LbC in JQA's hand (Adams Papers). This is the first JA letter transcribed by JQA into JA's letterbook (see JA to AA, 7 Sept., note 8, above).
1. JA probably began to write the date of one of Cranch's letters to him, 26 June, above.
2. Responding to Cranch's letter of 26 June, above, JA is clearly pleased by the reaction of Massachusetts' fishermen to the rights gained under the Anglo-American peace treaty, but is also concerned over the need for commercial treaties to insure that American ships could carry the fish to market.
3. That JA should be chosen governor of Massachusetts; see Cranch to JA, 26 June, above.
4. This word, mutilated on the worn right margin, is completed from the LbC.
5. Rev. Joseph Adams.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0135

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tufts, Cotton
Date: 1783-09-10

John Adams to Cotton Tufts

[salute] Dear sir

I thank you for your Favours of [June] 26 and July 51 and for your obliging Congratulations, on the Peace. The Articles respecting Refugees had [better] have been [omitted], but [we could not] have Peace without them and the Peace as it is, is better than none. The[se] Articles must be [explained] by a Consideration of the [words] of them and the whole Treaty, [and] I do not consider myself at Liberty to Say any Thing about their Meaning any more than if I had [drawn] a Will, I could explain the [Intention] of the Testator. { 241 } Give it as generous a Construction as you can, and call in Christian Charity as well as public Faith and human Policy to your [Aid].
I am more anxious about the Settlement of the Question between Congress and the States. The Public Debts must be paid, Yet you must take Care who raises the Money. At this distance, not hearing the Arguments I am not competent to decide for myself. But who shall govern foreign Commerce? Who shall preserve an Uniformity of Duties and Prohibitions? Can We preserve our Union without Such Uniformity? Can We defend our Sea Coast? Can We preserve the Respect of foreign Nations? But there is so much Sense among you and you have Such Resources that you will soon get over these difficulties, I hope.2
I was lately in hopes of joining and assisting in the discussion of these Matters, but Congress have sent me a new Business or a Revival of an old one,3 which will detain me this Winter at least. Pray Advise Mrs. Adams, whether to come to me or not. I have written to her to come, but it will be so late, before she receives the Letters, and Things are so unsettled in Congress respecting foreign affairs, that I am full of Doubt and Fears, whether it would not be more prudent to postpone it untill next Spring. If Things should not be arranged by my Masters so [that] I come home [then], I must insist on her coming to me, if it is even to live at the Hague. My John is a cordial to me, and if I had my two Nabbys I should be as happy as any Lord with my two Boys at Mr. Shaws and my little Farm under your Eye.

[salute] My affectionate and dutifull Respects to Father Smith, Your Lady and son.

[signed] John Adams
RC (NPV); docketed: “Letter fm. Hon John Adams dated Sept. 10 at Paris.” LbC in JQA's hand (Adams Papers). Extensive bleeding of the ink has obscured several words in the RC; they have been supplied from the LbC.
1. Both Adams Papers.
2. This paragraph, like the one preceding it, is in response to Tufts' letter of 26 June (Adams Papers). As JA well understands here, the manner in which Congress raised money to pay off its debts would determine whether the United States would develop a strong central government or remain a collection of sovereign states. Those who favored the first course wanted Congress to have the power to levy taxes and to appoint and control its own tax collectors. Their opponents preferred either to divide the national debt among the states or to have the states collect the money and turn it over to Congress as payment of their share of the cost of government. In April Congress offered the states a number of proposals, packaged as one, that would give Congress power to levy duties on foreign imports for twenty-five years in order to pay the interest and principal of the national debt, and to levy an additional tax of $1,500,000 annually, apportioned among the states, also for twenty-five years; that would have all states cede their western land claims in accordance with the congressional resolu• { 242 } tions of 1780; and that would offer the states an amendment to the Articles of Confederation changing the proportion of assessments on the states from one based on land values to one based on population, with three-fifths of the slaves being counted. Aside from their dislike of the different effects that duties and taxes would have in different regions, opponents of the package of proposals feared that the new duties and taxes would create too powerful a central government, one dangerous to liberty. JCC, 24:170–174, 223–224, 256–262; Jensen, The New Nation, p. 400, 407–419.
3. Negotiating a commercial treaty with Great Britain.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0136

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-09-10

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] Honoured Mamma

As you have ordered me in a Letter which I have Lately receiv'd1 to give you my own Observations on the Countries thro' which I have travelled, the following are some upon Russia; but I must previously beg you will remember, that you Say in your Letter that you expect neither the precision of a Robertson, nor the Elegance of a Voltaire, therefore you must take them as they are.2
The government of Russia is entirely despotical. The Sovereign is absolute, in all the extent of the word. The persons, the Estates, the fortunes of the Nobility depend entirely upon his Caprice. And the nobility have the same power over the people, that the Sovereign has over them. The Nation is wholly composed of Nobles and Serfs, or in other words, of Masters and Slaves. The Countryman is attached to the Land in which he is born; if the Land is sold he is sold with it; and he is obliged to give to his Landlord the portion of his time, which he chuses to demand. It is commonly two days in the week, I think. Others make them pay a sort of tax, of two or three Roubles a year (N.B. that a Rouble is 4 shillings sterling or thereabouts).3 This makes a large Revenue for the Landlords if they have a great Number of Serfs. And there are some of the Nobles who have an amazing Quantity of them: out of each five hundred they are obliged to furnish one to the Empress every year, and this forms her Army. I have been assured from good Authority that there is one Nobleman who furnishes 1300 men a year to the Empress, according to that the number of his Slaves would be 650,000. Supposing each of these Slaves pay him a Rouble a year his revenue will be more than 100,000 £ Sterling per annum.
This form of Government is disadvantageous to the Sovereign to the Nobles and to the People; for first, it Exposes the Sovereign every Moment to Revolutions of which there have been already four in the Course of this Century vizt: when Anne, Dutchess of Courland4 was set upon the throne, which was the right of Elizabeth, daughter of { 243 } Peter the first. This was done by some Noblemen who wanted to limit the prerogatives of the Sovereign, and be more powerful themselves. And they thought, they would find Anne more ready to agree to their Stipulations than Elizabeth because she had no right to the Crown. But she soon overturned all their Schemes; for as soon as she found herself well seated upon the throne, she rendered herself Absolute, by reinstating the Ancient form of Government; and banished all those who had made those restrictions, this was the second Revolution. The third was when Elizabeth dethroned Iwan an infant of 6 months old, and had him shut up in a Tower where he lived 20 years and was then murdered in it. And the 4th. when Peter the third was dethroned by the present Empress: this I think is sufficient proof that the Government is disadvantageous for the Sovereign. Secondly, As the Nobles all depend wholly upon the Sovereign they are always in danger, of their estates being confiscated, and themselves sent into Siberia. It is commonly the fate of the favourites. Menzicoff, the Dolgoroucki's, Biron, Bestucheff, Osterman, L'Estocg,5 all these have been the sport of Fortune. For some time the favourites of the Emperors and then sent to Siberia into exile, there to live in Misery. The History of Menzicoff is the most extraordinary, and he did not deserve his fate. He was born at Moscow, he was of low extraction, and used to Carry about the Streets, while a Child, pies, and sing ballads. Peter the first, saw him several times, and asked him several Questions; his answers pleased him so much that he took him to the Palace, and by degrees he became the favourite of the Emperor, who gave him the title of Prince and made him general of his Army &ca. At the battle of Pultowa, he saved the Empire, because [by]6 a manoeuvre of his he was the means of the battle's being decided in favour of the Emperor. During the whole Reign of Peter the 1st. and that of Catharine7 he was high in favour, but under that of Peter the 2d.8 he was stripped of all his dignities, his fortune which was immense, was confiscated, and himself sent in exile, where he died in misery. This is very nearly the history of all the others. An author who has written upon Russia (Manstein's Memoirs of Russia)9 says he has seen Lands change masters three or four times in the Course of a year. This is certainly not advantageous for the Nobility. And Thirdly, as to the People, No body I believe will assert that a People can be happy who are subjected to personal Slavery. Some of these Serfs are immensely rich: but they are not free and therefore they are despised, besides they depend still upon the Nobles, who make them contribute the more for their riches. A Nobleman wants money, { 244 } if he has any rich Serfs, he sends and lets one of them know that he must have at such a time a thousand Roubles (more or less according to Circumstances). This the Serf has a right to refuse: but in that Case his Landlord orders him to go and work upon such a piece of Ground: so he is obliged either to give the money or to go and work. The richer they are the more the nobles prize them: thus a Common man costs but 80 or 100 Roubles at most: but I have seen a Man who gave to his Landlord for his Liberty and that of his descendents 450,000 Roubles. This proves the esteem they have for Liberty: even where one would think they should not know that such a thing exists.10

[salute] As I am a little pressed for time, and as my Letter has already run to a considerable Length, I must for the present subscribe myself your most dutiful Son

[signed] J Q Adams
1. AA's letter of 13 Nov. 1782, above, was addressed to St. Petersburg.
2. The account of Russia that follows is nearly identical to the first four pages of JQA's seven-page, incomplete essay on Russia, which is now among his miscellaneous MSS (M/JQA/43.13). The essay is probably little more than a long extract or set of extracts from published sources (see note 9). It is not known whether JQA began or completed this essay in St. Petersburg, the Netherlands, or Paris. The letter appears to be a fair copy of the essay.
3. The clause in parentheses appears in the essay on p. 4, coming after “thus a Common man costs but 80 or 100 Roubles at most.” The position of the explanation in the letter is more logical, coming as it does after the first mention of rubles.
4. The relationships and reigns of the rulers named in the following passage are, in the order given: Anne, niece of Peter I, 1730–1740; Elizabeth, 1741–1761; Peter I (the Great), 1682–1725; Ivan VI, great nephew of Anne, 1740–1741 (d. 1764); Peter III, nephew of Elizabeth, 1761–1762; and “the present Empress,” Catherine II (the Great), widow of Peter III, 1762–1796.
5. Alexander Menshikov; the Dolgoroukis (Yuri, Ivan, and Vassili were active between 1680 and 1746); Ernst Johann Biren (or Biron), Duke of Courland; Michael Bestoujef; Heinrich Johann, Count Osterman; and Johann Herman, Count L'Estocq.
6. “By” is interlined in the essay.
7. Catherine I, 1725–1727, the widow of Peter I.
8. The grandson of Peter I; he reigned, 1727–1730.
9. The earliest edition of Christof Hermann von Manstein's Memoirs of Russia . . . from the year 1727 to 1744 was translated from the original French MS, edited by David Hume, and published in London in 1770. French and German editions appeared in 1771. JQA purchased the Paris edition of 1771 in St. Petersburg on 7 March 1782, according to his notation on p. iii of the volume, which is now in MQA. Manstein's Memoirs; Voltaire's Histoire de l'empire de Russie sous Pierre le grand (1759–1763), which JQA bought in July 1781, either in Germany or in Holland (vol. 4:234, note 2; JQA, Diary, 1:94–95); and JQA's observations were the sources for his descriptions of Russia. See JQA to AA, 23 Oct. 1781 (vol. 4:233–234).
10. The clause after the colon is not included in the essay.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0137

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1783-09-12

Will of Reverend William Smith

In the Name of God Amen, I William Smith of Weymouth in the County of Suffolk and Commonwealth of Massachusetts in New England Clerk,1 being of a sound disposing Mind and Memory do make and ordain this my last will and testament as follows—
My will is that my farm at Lincoln in the County of Middlesex and Commonwealth aforesaid with the Stock and Utensils thereto belonging and the household stuff in the dwelling house on said farm contained in a bill of Sale given me by my Son William, also a wood lot in Concord in the County of Middlesex aforesaid bought of one Minot shall all be possessed by my Executors herein named during the natural life of my Son William and the profits thereof by them applied according to their discretion to the seperate maintenance and comfort of Catharine Louisa the present wife of my said son William and her children and after the death of my said son William I give the use of my said farm, stock, utensils and household stuff and wood lot to my Daughter in law Catharine Louisa the present wife of my said Son William for her maintenance and support and the maintenance and support of her children by my son William. And my will further is that after the decease of my said daughter in Law, the said farm, stock, utensils, household stuff and wood lot shall go to her children by my said son to be equally divided between them, their respective heirs and assigns forever as tenants in common and not as joint tenants. And in case my Executors should die before my said Son William my desire is that the Honorable the Judge of Probate appoint an Administrator cum testamento Annexo to manage my said farm, stock, utensils, household stuff and wood lot and apply the profits of them, for the support and comfort of my said daughter and her children during the life of my said Son.
My Will is that all and every part or parcel of Land in said Lincoln with the buildings thereon mentioned and described in a quit claim given to me by William Dodge bearing date August the fifteenth Anno Domini one thousand seven hundred and eighty shall all be possessed by my Executors hereafter named during the continuance of my right in or to any of the said lands and buildings and the profits arising therefrom shall be applied as my Executors shall see fit either to the
{ 246 } { 247 }
support and benefit of my said Son William or to the support and benefit of his present wife Catharine Louisa and her children by my said Son.
I do give unto my Son William all my wearing apparel and whatever shall be due from him to me on Notes, Bonds or Accompt at my decease.
I do give unto my Daughter Mary Cranch, wife of Richard Cranch of Braintree in the County of Suffolk Esquire to her, her heirs and Assigns forever all my lands, buildings and real estate in Weymouth aforesaid with the Stock and Utensils thereto belonging.
I do give my farm in Medford and my Salt marsh in Malden both in the County of Middlesex aforesaid with all the buildings, stock and utensils thereto belonging unto my daughter Abigail Adams wife of the Honorable John Adams Esquire of Braintree aforesaid and unto my daughter Elisabeth Shaw wife of the Reverend John Shaw of Haverhill in the County of Essex and Commonwealth aforesaid Clerk, to be to them, their heirs and Assigns for ever, to be equally divided to and among them or their heirs respectively.
I do give unto my Said Daughter Abigail Adams my Silver Tankard.
I do give unto my said Daughter Elisabeth Shaw all my real estate in Hingham in the County of Suffolk aforesaid, to her, her heirs and Assigns forever.
I give unto my Negro Woman Phoebe her freedom, in case she should chuse it; but if she should not chuse it I do then give the said Phoebe unto either of my Daughters Mary Cranch, Abigail Adams or Elisabeth Shaw, viz, unto such one of them as she shall within three months from my decease manifest to my Executors her desire to live and dwell with; And it is my will that one hundred pounds be retained out of my estate, and that to such my daughter with whom the said Phoebe shall live, the annual interest thereof shall be paid so long as she shall live with her if by sickness, or age the said Phoebe shall become a charge to her; or otherwise my Executors shall have full liberty to apply the said one hundred pounds or any part thereof for the comfortable maintenance and support of said Phoebe if they shall { 248 } judge it necessary and expedient. And if it should so happen that the aforesaid one hundred pounds or any part thereof should not be expended for the purposes aforesaid, the same shall be divided among my residuary legatees.2
I do give unto my Grand Daughter Elizabeth Smith Sixty six pounds, thirteen shillings and four pence to be improved by my Executors for the use and benefit of my said Grand Daughter untill she shall arrive at the age of eighteen years or untill her Marriage.
I do give unto each of my Executors hereafter named the sum of thirty pounds. And my will is that they discharge my just debts, funeral charges and legacies out of my personal estate, such of them as are ordered to be paid in money.
I do give and devise the remainder of my estate both real and personal, not before disposed off, unto my aforesaid Daughters Mary Cranch, Abigail Adams and Elisabeth Shaw, to be to them their heirs and Assigns forever to be equally divided to and among them or their heirs respectively.
I do constitute and appoint Cotton Tufts of Weymouth aforesaid Esquire and Richard Cranch of Braintree aforesaid Esquire Executors of this my last will and testament, confirming and declaring this and no other to be my last will and testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twelvth day of September Anno Domini one thousand seven hundred and eighty three.
[signed] William Smith
Signed Sealed published and declared by William Smith the Testator Aforesaid & a Seal for and as his last Will and Testament
[signed] In presence of us
Danl: Shute Junr. swornCotton Tufts Junr. swornJonathn Darby Junr. absent
Suffolk ss. The within Will being presented for Probate by the Executors therein named Daniel Shute Junr. and Cotton Tufts junr. made Oath that they saw William Smith the Subscriber to this Instrument sign and Seal and also heard him publish and declare the same to be his last Will and Testament and that when he so did he was of sound disposing mind and memory according to these Depo• { 249 } nents best Discerning and that they together with Jonathan Darby junr. now absent set to their Hands as Witnesses thereof in said Testators presence.
[signed] O. Wendell Jud Prob3
MS (Suffolk County Probate Records, file no. 18039, presently located at M-Ar).
1. That is, a member of the clergy.
2. It is interesting to note that Rev. Smith made this manumission provision shortly after Chief Justice William Cushing of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, in a charge to the jury in the case of Commonwealth vs. Jennison (April 1783), argued that slavery was illegal under the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780. The jury evidently concurred, and their decision in favor of Quock Walker, who charged his former master, Nathaniel Jennison, with assault and battery, ended two years of judicial controversy, involving six cases, that came to center on the question of whether slavery was legal in the Commonwealth. Other evidence involving Jennison and his other slaves, however, suggests that slavery did not entirely cease in Massachusetts with the final disposition of these cases. See John D. Cushing, “The Cushing Court and the Abolition of Slavery in Massachusetts: More Notes on the 'Quock Walker Case,'” American Journal of Legal History, 5:118–144 (April 1961).
3. A survey of the two inventories and the final statement of the settlement of the estate suggests that Rev. Smith disposed of his possessions according to his perception of his several heirs' financial needs. The final statement, presented by the executors, Richard Cranch and Dr. Cotton Tufts, to the heirs on 20 May 1784, and agreed to by them on that day, distributed the estate as follows:
To Mary Smith Cranch: 18 acres of land, with buildings, tools, and household goods, all in Weymouth, all valued at £513.2.7.
To AA: a one-half share in 86 acres of land, with buildings and tools, in Medford and Malden, and a silver tankard, all valued at £439.12.10.
To Elizabeth Smith Shaw: a one-half share in 86 acres of land, with buildings and tools, in Medford and Malden, and 46 1/2 acres of land in Hingham, all valued at £685.13.0.
To Louisa Catharine Salmon Smith: the use, under the supervision of the executors, of over 261 acres of land, with buildings, tools, and household goods, in Lincoln and Concord, all valued at £761.0.7.
To William Smith Jr., who had abandoned his family: only his apparel, valued at £21.13.4, and the forgiveness of all debts (not evaluated).
These provisions appear to reflect the fact that Mary Cranch's husband was not prosperous, but that her three children were nearly grown by 1783; that AA's husband was prosperous, and her two oldest children nearly grown; that Elizabeth Shaw's husband was a country parson, probably of modest means, and that her two children were quite young; and that Louisa Catharine Salmon Smith had six children, many still quite young, and no means of support beyond the farm that Rev. Smith owned in Lincoln, on which she lived.
Of interest in understanding AA's early education is that part of the inventory of Rev. Smith's Weymouth possessions that accounted for his library. It listed, usually in large groups with only a few major titles specifically identified, over 430 volumes, of which 85 were in French.
See “An Inventory of the real & personal Estate whereof the Revd. William Smith late of Weymouth died seized and possessed of . . . .” 9 April 1784, submitted to the judge of probate, 6 August 1784; “Inventory of Rev. William Smith's Real and Personal Property at Concord and Lincoln”; and “Dr. Cotton Tufts & Richard Cranch Executors of the last Will of the Revd. Willm. Smith late of Weymouth deceased,” 20 May 1784, also submitted to the judge of probate, 6 August 1784. All documents are in M-Ar.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0138

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Shaw, Elizabeth Smith
Recipient: Peabody, Elizabeth Smith Shaw
Date: 1783-09-17

Abigail Adams to Elizabeth Smith Shaw

[salute] Dear Sister

It will not be in my power to get Beaf. Bisquit I can procure, I shall prepaire a dinner here and stop all our Boston Friends with me, in order to save you as much trouble as I can.1 Cannot you get [mourning clothes?] made at the drs [Dr. Cotton Tufts]. Sister Cranch sent for 15 yds possibly she may spair some. You had better take what black Gauze you want for the family at the drs. I think it answers very well. I have procur'd you the Cloaths I mentiond. There was no cuffs, Nabby is making you a pair. Cousin Betsy will borrow a skarf for you in Boston that you need not be hurried to make your Cloak. I send Louissa to day because I shall not know how to convey all the family to morrow.
I do not wonder that the unhappy House looks desolate and mourns. Desolate indeed will it ever look to us. But the House not made with hands, is the mansion I trust where our dear parents are, and there may all their children meet them, is the prayer of your ever affectionate
[signed] AA
RC (DLC: Shaw Family Papers).
1. AA is consulting with her sister about mourning arrangements for their father, who died on 17 Sept.; Elizabeth Shaw and her family had traveled to Weymouth to be present with the Cranches and the Adamses during the Rev. William Smith's final days (AA to JA, 20 Sept., below).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0139-0001

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-09-18

Elbridge Gerry to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

I embrace the Oppertunity by Mr. Guild, of informing You, that Mr. Adams was well the 27th. of July,1 and that by a Letter to the Minister of France of the 29th,2 the Dutch Negotiation with the British was finished, by which one great Obstacle to the definitive Treaty is removed.
Inclosed is an Extract of an official Letter from Doctor F—to Mr. Livingston Secretary of foreign affairs dated July 22d., which is calculated to give a private Stab to the Reputation of our Friend; at least it appears so to me.3 By the Doctors Observation that by writing the Letter “he hazzarded a mortal Enmity,” I think it evident, he did not intend the Letter should be seen by Mr. Adams's particular Friends, { 251 } but that Mr. Livingston should make a prudent Use of it to multiply Mr. Adams' Enemies. Mr. L. could easily do this, by not communicating to Congress the paragraph: but being now out of Office,4 the Doctor's Craft is apparent. You will please to keep the Matter a profound Secret, excepting to Mr. Adams, General Warren and Lady; and let the Channel of Communication be likewise a secret. My Compliments to Miss Adams, and all our Friends in your Quarter, and be assured I remain with the highest Esteem Madam your very hum ser
[signed] E Gerry
RC with enclosure (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs Adams at Braintree favd. by Mr. Guild.” The enclosure is in Gerry's hand. AA had Royall Tyler make a copy of it and sent it to JA with her letter of 15 Dec., below (see note 3 there).
1. Gerry may be referring to the letter of 27 July from Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and Henry Laurens to R. R. Livingston that described the progress of the definitive peace treaty and noted that JA had “gone to Holland for three weeks” (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:600). Gerry was a member of a committee to consider that and other letters from American diplomats in Europe, but there is no mention of the letter of the 27th until 25 Sept. (JCC, 25:617).
2. The preceding three words were interlined and an alternative reading of the date is the “27th,” but no letter of either the “27th” or the “29th” to the Chevalier de La Luzerne has been identified. Elbridge Gerry, however was a member of a committee appointed on 18 Sept. to meet with La Luzerne. At the meeting, probably on the 18th, the French minister related the contents of a letter from the Comte de Vergennes of 21 July, in which the foreign minister commented on the progress of the various peace treaties, including that between Britain and the Netherlands. Not mentioned by Gerry was Vergennes' criticism of the American negotiators for pursuing tactics which he believed had delayed the definitive treaty (JCC, 25:588–589).
3. AA received this letter, with the extract from Franklin's letter, before 15 Oct. (AA to Gerry, below), but she did not send a copy of the extract to JA until she wrote him on 15 Dec., below. In her December letter she explains her delay.
4. Congress accepted Livingston's resignation as secretary of foreign affairs on 4 June (JCC, 24:382). Gerry read Franklin's 22 July letter because he was one of five congressmen appointed to report on the dispatches of America's foreign ministers (JCC, 25:587–588).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0139-0002

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-07-22

Enclosure: Extract of a Letter from Benjamin Franklin to Robert R. Livingston

Extract of a Letter from D[octor] F[ranklin] to Mr. L[ivingston]

After declaring that neither the Letter from Mr. Marbois nor the conversation respecting the Fishery, Boundaries, Royalists and recommending Moderation in our Demands, are of Weight sufficient to fix in his Mind an opinion, that the Court of France wishes to restrain us in obtaining any Degree of Advantage We could prevail on our Enemies to accord to, the Doctor goes on—
“I ought not however to conceal from You, that one of my Collegues is of a very different Opinion from me in these Matters. He thinks the french Minister one of the greatest Enemies of our Country; that he would have straitned our Boundaries to prevent the Growth of our people; contracted our Fishery to obstruct the Increase of our Seamen; and retained the Royalists amongst Us to keep us divided—that he privately opposes all our Negotiations with foreign Courts, and afforded us during the War the Assistance We received, only to keep it alive that We might be so much the more weakened by it. That to think of Gratitude to France, is the greatest of Follies, and that to be influenced by it, would ruin us. He makes no Secret of his having these opinions, expresses them publickly, sometimes in presence of the english Minister, and speaks of hundreds of Instances which he could produce in proof of them. None however have yet appeard to me, unless the Conversation and Letter above mentioned2 are reckoned such. If I were not convinced of the real Inability of the Court to furnish the farther Supplies We asked, I should suspect these Discourses of a person in his station, might have influenced the Refusal; but I think they have gone no farther than to occasion { 252 } a Suspicion that We have a considerable party of Antigalicans in America, who are not Tories, and consequently to produce some Doubts of the Continuance of our Friendship. As such Doubts may hereafter have a bad Effect, I think We cannot take too much Care to remove them: and it is therefore I write this to put you on your Guard (beleiving it to be my Duty, tho I know that I hazzard by it a mortal Enmity) and to caution You respecting the Insinuations of this Gentleman against the Court, and the Instances he supposes of their Ill Will to us, which I take to be as imaginary as I know his Fancies to be that the Count de V[ergennes] and myself are continually plotting against him, and employing the News writers of Europe to depreciate his Character &c., but as Shakespear says “Trifles light as Air” &c.3 Persuaded however that he means well for his Country, is always an honest Man, often a Wise one, but sometimes and in somethings absolutely out of his Senses.”
The content of all or some notes that appeared on this page in the printed volume has been moved to the end of the preceding document.
RC with enclosure (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs Adams at Braintree favd. by Mr. Guild.” The enclosure is in Gerry's hand. AA had Royall Tyler make a copy of it and sent it to JA with her letter of 15 Dec., below (see note 3 there).
1. The full text of Franklin's letter appears in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:580–588.
2. That is, the letter by Barbé-Marbois, intercepted by the British and given to the Americans, and certain conversations “respecting the Fishery, Boundaries, Royalists and recommending Moderation in our Demands,” mentioned above, which Franklin does not identify any further than does Gerry.
3. Othello, III, iii, 322–324: “Trifles light as air/Are to the jealous confirmations strong/As proofs of holy writ.”

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0140

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-09-20

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Dearer if possible than ever; for all the parental props which once sustaind and supported me are fallen! My Father, my Father, where is he? With Humble confidence I can say; he is with the spirits of just Men made perfect, become an inhabitant of that Country, from whose Bourn no traveller returns.1
In my last Letter to you,2 I recollect to have particularly mentiond both our dear and venerable parents. My Father then appeard to sustain his age, with fewer of the infirmities of it, than most aged persons are subject to, his Health, his spirits, and his activity were remarkable. He sat out upon a visit to my sister at Haverhill, and with an intention of carrying our son Charles, who had just recoverd from the Measles: he reachd here for the Night, and tho he complaind of having felt rather unwell for a few days, he spent as pleasent and cheerfull an evening as I had known him for many Years. About midnight, I waked with his calling a servant, and desireing him to rise, upon which I rose, and went into his Chamber, I found him in great distress with the strangery;3 I made every application which I could think of untill morning, but his pain increasing he could neither lie nor set, he insisted upon being carried home. It was with great difficulty to himself, that he reachd his own House, where for 15 days he lived in most exquisite distress, during which time no medicine or outward application procured him relief. He supported himself through his distressing pain, and exemplified that Christian patience and fortitude, which he had, through his whole Life taught to others.

“Here real and, apparent, were the same

We saw the Man, We saw his hold on heaven

A lecture silent, but of sov'reign power!

to vice confusion, but to virtue peace.”

Not a complaint fell from his Lips during his sickness, his reason was clear to the last moment of his Life; every hour of which, he exerted himself, to admonish and warn the youth, who attended round his Bed, intreating them to devote themselves early to their Maker. To them and to others, he was with a most Cheerfull resignation, manifesting the joy and comfort, derived from unfeigned piety; and a Life well Spent; he had a well grounded hope; and his last end was peace.
{ 254 }
His affection towards his children and his grandchildren seemed heightned by the Idea, of parting with them.
O my children, said he, you are so kind and tender, I fear you will make me loth to leave you. Through his sickness he was but once heard to say, that he wished it had pleased God to have spaired his Life longer, and that was, to have seen the return of my dearest Friend; but tell him says he, I hope to meet him in a better world.

“The Sweet remembrance of the just,

Shall flourish when they sleep in dust.”

Sweet indeed, is the remembrance of this my dear parent; and his death bed Scene the greatest consolation for his loss. Painfull as it was, I would not have exchanged it, for the triumph of the Greatest Monarch.

“The Chamber where the good Man meets his Fate

is privileg'd beyond the common walk

of virtuous Life, quite in the verge of Heaven

whatever farce the Boastfull Hero plays,

virtue alone has Majesty in death.”

How trifling, and of how little importance does such a scene, make all the wealth, power and greatness of the world appear. I have; Said my dear parent, made two things the principal Study of my Life, let me injoin the Same upon my Children. I have endeavourd to do all the good I could with the talants committed to me, and to honour God with my substance. Well may his Children rise up; and call him blessed—gratefully acknowledging the hand which bestowed upon them such a parent, doubling their diligence to walk in his Steps. Like good old Jacob, our parent blessed all his of[s]pring,4 may our children never forget the Solemn Scene.

“We gaze'd we wept, mixt tears of greif and joy.”

I know my dear Friend, you will most sensibly feel this bereavement. You have lost one of your firmest Friends, no man could be more delighted, with your successes, or entertaind a higher sense of them, than my dear parent, he knew your Worth, and he honourd it at all times. No man was happier in the sons his daughters had given him,5 two of whom attended him in his last moments, administering to him, those kind offices, which his afflicted daughters could not perform.
{ 255 }

“His God sustaind him in his final hour!

his final hour brought Glory to his God

Mans Glory Heaven vouchsafes to call her own.”

In the midst of my affliction several of your kind Letters6 were brought me. My Heart I hope was not unthankfull to Heaven for the blessing, but my Mind is not sufficiently calm to reply to them. I shall close this and wait a more tranquil hour; how much do I feel the want of the Soothing kindness of the Friend of my Heart. The Idea is too painfull—adieu. Your
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia Sept. 20. 1783. ansd. 25. Jan. 1784”; docketed in an unknown hand: “Mrs. AA—Sep—'83.”
1. Shakespeare, Hamlet, III, i, 79–80; “bourn” means “boundaries” or “frontiers” (OED).
2. Of 24 Aug., above.
3. A blockage of the urinary tract (OED).
4. Genesis 48 and 49.
5. That is, Richard Cranch, Rev. John Shaw and JA.
6. Perhaps those mentioned in AA to JA, 19 Oct., below, although she may have received those letters after 20 September.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0141

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-10-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I have had another Fever, which brought me low, but as it has carried off certain Pains and Lamenesses the Relicks of the Amsterdam Distemper, I am perswaded it will do me, much good.
I am going next Week to London, with my son. I may Stay Six Weeks, if nothing from Congress calls me away Sooner.2
I have only to repeat my earnest Request that you and our Daughter would come to me, as soon as possible. The Business that is marked out for Us, will detain me in Europe at least another Year, as I conjecture. You may take the Voyage and Satisfy your Curiosity and return with me. It is not very material, whether you arrive in Nantes, Amsterdam or London—the Distance from Paris is about the Same.
You, once wrote me that Mr. Allen had offered his Place for Sale. Pray what was his Price?3
I Suppose that Bills, upon Europe will now sell for Money or more than Money. If So draw upon me, for what you want, and your Bills shall be paid, upon Sight. I Sent you a little by Mr. Thaxter.
I have particular Reasons for wishing to own that Piece of Land where <>4 Mr. Hancocks House stood and the Addition which has been made to it.5 If Coll. Quincy will Sell it, at any tollerable Price, and you can sell a Bill upon me, for Cash to pay for it, buy it. Pray Dr. Tufts to do it, if you have not time.
{ 256 }
Your Letters by the Way of England have all come to me very regularly and in good order. It is the best Way at present of Writing. You may write however, by the Way of the French Packet from N. York to L'Orient. But Secrets should not be trusted to that Conveyance by you nor me.
The Family affair which has been mentioned in Several of your Letters,6 may be managed very well. The Lady comes to Europe with you. If the Parties preserve their Regard untill they meet again and continue to behave as they ought, they will be still young enough. Lawyers should never marry early. I am quite unqualified to decide upon that matter. To Your Judgment, with the Advice of our Friends, I must leave it. One Thing I know, that Knowledge of the Law comes not by Inspiration, and without painfull and obstinate Study no Man will ever have it. Yours, without Reserve.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “october 14th.”
1. JA moved from Paris on 22 Sept. to live in Auteuil, just west of the city on the right bank of the Seine, near the Bois de Boulogne, as a guest of Thomas Barclay, who was renting a house from the Comte de Rouault. As JA explained in a long and vivid reminiscence published nearly thirty years later in a Boston newspaper, the noise of carriage traffic outside the Hôtel du Roi in Paris, where he was lodging, was so loud and continuous that loss of sleep threatened his recovery from the ravages of a serious fever (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:143 and note 4; and see illustration opposite 3:257). In Aug. 1784, JA rented the same house and brought his family to live there.
2. Despite his program of exercise at Auteuil, JA's health did not improve as rapidly as he hoped, and on the advice of his physician, Sir James Jay, JA decided to take the waters at Bath in England (same). JA, JQA, and their servant Levêque left Auteuil on 20 Oct., and arrived in London the 26th (same, 3:146–148).
3. On the farm of Mr. Alleyne of Braintree, see AA to JA, 17 and 25 March, and 25 April 1782, vol. 4:295–296, 315–316.
4. Six to eight words have been deleted here.
5. The residence of Rev. John Hancock, father of the governor, stood on land that became the property of Col. Josiah Quincy; the house burned down in 1759. JA acquired this property sometime after Col. Quincy's death in March 1784, and he refers to it in his Diary as “the Hancock Cellar.” In 1822 he gave the property with other land to the Town of Quincy in trust for the eventual establishment of a private school to train young men for college. Adams Academy was completed in 1871, constructed on the site of the “cellar.” The building is now the home of the Quincy Historical Society. See AA to JA, 15 March 1784, below; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:111–113, and note 15; 3:249; Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy, p. 341–342.
6. Royall Tyler's courtship of AA2.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0142

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1783-10-15

Abigail Adams to Elbridge Gerry

[salute] Dear Sir

Your obligeing favour was handed me from Mr. Guild,1 at a time when I was engaged in the Melancholy office, of attending the dieing Bed, of a dear, and venerable parent.
I need ask no further excuse of you for omiting a speedy replie, { 257 } and thanking you for your kind attention to me. Neither the contents of your Letter; or the extracts inclosed, were unexpected to me; from many of Mr. Adam'es Letters, I have been fully satisfied, that the gentleman who wrote the Letter, you inclosed, in conjunction with the Count,2 were determined if possible, to get so troublesome, and watchfull an inspector, of their conduct, and views removed out of their way, and if this could not be Effected; at least attempt to ruin his usefullness. The latter I presume is out of their power. The former, I know not whether I should be very much their Enemy if they accomplished. Tho it would mortify me to have the faithfull Services of my Friend undervalued, or depreciated by their influence, yet I so sincerely wish his return; that I should receive that for good; which might be meant for evil.
Seriously Sir; the state of Mr. Adams'es Health is such, that I suffer, every anxiety on account of it. The Fever he had two years ago in Amsterdam, left him with many disorders, amongst which; he complains of the scurvy, a swelling of his legs, a weakness of his joints, lowness of spirits. A voyage might do much towards restoreing him to Health, but without that, and a little of my good Nursing, I fear he will fall a sacrifice to perplexities and anxieties of mind, added to his bodily infirmities.
Amongst many observations which my Freind makes, in his late Letters respecting our Country, I transcribe the following, “our Country will be envied, our Liberty will be envied, our virtues will be envied. Deep and subtle Systems of corruption, hard to prove, impossible to detect, will be practised to Sap and undermine Us, and the few who penetrate them; will be called Suspicious, envious, restless, turbulant, ambitious; will be hated, unpopular and unhappy.”3 This Sir, it is to be a real patriot. How much courage perserverence and fortitude are necessary to compleat the Character? In this age of the world, that Man has an awfull Lot, who dares to “Love his Country and be poor.”4
If any thing offers at Congress respecting my Friend, I will thank you to let me know it. You may relie upon it sir, that no use will be made of it; but such as you permit. If you have received publick dispatches, and they are of a Similar nature with private Letters, they are filled with complaints and anxieties, ariseing from want of intelligence.
Genll. Warren has a large number of Letters supposing him a Member of Congress; the contents of which I hope he will transmit to you. They were written for his information, supposing him a { 258 } Member of that body, and knowing him to be an unshaken Friend to his Country.
If any Letters should arrive for me I will thank you sir if you will forward them. Mr. Adams'es Letters are not calculated for the post office, many of them being written upon very thick paper and under two and sometimes 3 covers. Tis true he franks them according to a resolve of Congress which passt Soon after he went abroad, but the post master insists that, Congress by putting the post office upon its former establishment superseded that Resolve.5 You would oblige me sir, by informing me whether it is realy so or not. I am the rather led to this inquiry, from a demand which Genll. Warren had, the other day for postage, for a Letter which was from a Member of Congress.

[salute] Be pleased to present my respectfull Regards to Dr. Lee, and to Mr. Osgood, for whom I have a high Esteem, and believe me dear Sir your Friend & humble servant

[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Private owner, Boston, 1956).
1. Gerry to AA, 18 Sept., above, which AA could hardly have received much before 25 Sept., despite her comment here.
2. Vergennes; “the gentleman who wrote the Letter” is Franklin.
3. JA to AA, 16 April, second letter of this date, above.
4. JA, same letter, above, quotes this line from Alexander Pope, “On His Grotto at Twickenham.”
5. Congress resolved on 28 Dec. 1779 that letters to and from the Commissioners abroad should be free of postage charges, but the ordinance to regulate the post office adopted on 18 Oct. 1782 limited free letters to those sent on public business. On 28 Feb. 1783, Congress made it clear that the franking privilege was not to cover private letters sent along with public ones (JCC, 15:1415; 23:670–678; 24:156–157). But see Gerry to AA, 6 Nov., below.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0143

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-10-19

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

My last Letter to you was written in Sepbr.2 I closed it, because I knew not how to think upon any other subject than the solemn one I had just past through; since that date I have received a Number of Letters from you, written in April, May, june and 2 in july.
To hear from you is a satisfaction, but the whole tenor of your Letters rather added to my melancholy, than mitigated it. The state of your Health gives me great anxiety; and the delay of your return increases it. The Season is now so far advanced, that if you embark I shall have a thousand terrors for you; if you tarry abroad; I fear for your Health.
{ 259 }
If Congress should think proper to make you an other appointment, I beg you not to accept it. Call me not to any further trials of the kind! Reflect upon your long absence from your family, and upon the necessity there is, of your returning in order to recover that Health which you have unhappily impaired and lost abroad.
Your Children have a demand upon You, they want your care, your advice and instruction; I mean at all times to consult and promote their interest and happiness, but I may be mistaken in it; I cannot feel so safe or so satisfied as I should if Your approbation was added to it.
There was a time when I had brought my mind to be willing to cross the Seas to be with you, but tho one strong tie which held me here, is dissolved, the train of my Ideas for six months past has run wholy upon your return; that I now think nothing short of an assurence from you, that your happiness depended upon it, would induce me to alter my oppinion. The Scenes of anxiety through which you have past, are enough to rack the firmest constitution, and debilitate the strongest faculties. Conscious Rectitude is a grand support, but it will not ward of the attacks of envy, or secure from the assaults of jealousy. Both ancient and modern history furnish us with repeated proofs, that virtue must look beyond this shifting theatre for its reward; but the Love of praise is a passion deeply rooted in the mind and in this we resemble the Supreem Being who is most Gratified with thanksgiving and praise. Those who are most affected with it, partake most of that particle of divinity which distinguishes mankind from the inferiour Creation; no one who deserves commendation can dispise it, but we too frequently see it refused where it is due, and bestowed upon very undeserving characters. “Treachery venality and villainy must be the Effects of dissipation voluptuousness and impiety, says the Great Dr. Price and adds, these vices sap the foundation of virtue, they render Men necessitous and Supple, ready at any time to sacrifice their consciences. Let us remember these Truths in judging of Men. Let us consider that true goodness is uniform and consistant; and learn never to place any great confidence in those pretenders to publick Spirit, who are not men of virtuous Characters. They may boast of their attachment to a publick cause, but they want the living root of virtue, and should not be depended upon.”3
You call upon me to write you upon a subject which greatly embarrasses me,4 yet I ought to tell you what I conceive to be the real Truth. The Gentleman whom I formerly mentiond to you, resides { 260 } here Still, and boards in the same family. I wrote you the Truth when I informd you that the connection was broken of—and nothing particular has since past. Yet it is evident to me, as well as to the family where he lives, that his attachment is not lessned. He conducts prudently, and tho nothing is said upon the subject I do not immagine that he has given up the Hope, that in some future Day he may be able to obtain your approbation. Your daughter so highly values your esteem and approbation, that She has frequently said she never could be happy without it. That she will not act contrary to the opinion of her Friends, I am fully satisfied, but her sentiments with regard to this Gentleman she says are not to be changed but upon a conviction of his demerrit. I wish most sincerely wish you was at Home to judge for yourself. I shall never feel safe or happy untill you are. I had rather you should inquire into his conduct and behaviour, his success in Buisness and his attention to it, from the family where he lives, than Say any thing upon the subject myself. I can say with real Truth that no Courtship subsists between them, and that I believe it is in your power to put a final period to every Idea of the kind, if upon your return you think best. There is a young Gentleman, who formerly kept our school, by the Name of Perkings,5 who is now studying Law with Mr. Tyler. He has been in Virgina for a twelve month past and designs to return there again.
I was very unhappy to find by your Letters that you was so long without any intelligence from America, but I hope you have been amply compensated before this time. Your Letters which were dated in April May and june did not reach me untill Sep'br. I must request you in future to calculate those you send to Philadelphia for the post office. Every line of yours is invaluable to me, yet blank paper is not so, and the double covers pay as large postage, as if they were wholy written. I have disputed the matter some time with the postmaster, and now he will not deliver a Letter untill the postage is pay'd. I payd 3 dollors the other day for what one sheet of paper would have containd. I do not yet believe that congress mean to make their foreign ministers subject to postage, and I design to write to Mr. Gerry upon the Subject.6
I hear of a vessel bound to France. I will forward this and write to Mr. Thaxter by way of England. I hear he is there, and that Mr. Smith arrived after a short passage. At this I rejoice tho I was not his companion. Our two sons are gone to Haverhill. I hope to hear frequently from you if I do not see you, which I now almost dispair of, this winter. Adieu my dearest Friend ever yours
[signed] Portia
{ 261 }
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia Oct. 19. 1783. ansd. 25. Jan. 1784.”
1. The date indicates when AA completed the letter since her stated intention of writing to Elbridge Gerry makes it evident that she wrote most of the letter before 15 October (AA to Gerry, 15 Oct., is above).
2. Of 20 Sept., above. On that date, AA may already have received at least some of the letters from JA that she mentions immediately below; see AA to JA, 20 Sept., above. Note that one of the “2 [letters] in july” that AA received was that of 13 July, above (see note 4).
3. AA's quotation of these sentiments may have been prompted by reading the extract from Franklin to Livingston, 22 July, which Gerry enclosed in his letter of 18 Sept., above.
4. See JA to AA, 13 July, above, for his request that AA write more about Royall Tyler's courtship of AA2.
5. On Thomas Perkins, see vol. 4:309, note 2.
6. See AA to Gerry, 15 Oct., and note 5, above.

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.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0146

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-11-08

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Yours of Jany. 10 to Mr. Robbins,1 he shewed me this Moment and informs Me, he goes on Board on Monday.2 I regret that I have had no earlier Knowledge of this young Gentleman. My son and I have been here, this fortnight, and have been very civilly and obligingly treated, by some private Gentlemen. <But this Government?> It is a fine Country; but it is undone by Prosperity. It has the Vertigo in the Head, yet.
Yesterday a Letter from Unkle Smith informed me of the Death of my dear and honoured Father.3
I have flattered myself with Hopes of Seeing him again, but it was not to be, and he is better Situated.
My Life is Sweetened with the Hope of embracing You in Europe. Pray embark as soon as prudently you can, with Nabby. Come to { 265 } England France or Holland, no matter which. But We must go to the Hague to live. My Second Fever, has so cured me that I hope I could live with you in Holland, at the Hague at least, if you will perswade me to ride on Horseback every day. Yours in haste, but most tenderly
[signed] J. Adams
1. Above. It was on this occasion that Robbins delivered AA's letter to JA of 10 Jan., also above.
2. 10 November. Robbins reached Boston in December; see AA to JA, 3 Jan. 1784, below.
3. JA's father-in-law, Rev. William Smith. The letter from Isaac Smith Sr. has not been found.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0147

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-11-08

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I have this Day, by Special Permission from their Majesties obtained by Mr. West the Painter who with Mr. Copely do so much honour to our Country, Seen the Appartements in the Queens House, as it is called, or Buckingham House.1 It is a great Curiosity indeed. There is an inestimable Collection of Paintings by the greatest Masters, Raphael, Rubens, Vandyke, and many others.
There is one Room which the King calls Mr. Wests, as it is ornamented with a Collection of his Works—the Return of Regulus—The Death of Epaminondas—The Death of Bayard—The Death of General Wolf2—and &c.
The Cartons3 of Raphael, are a wonderfull Production of Art.
The Library is the most elegant Thing I ever saw.4 But the Kings Military and Naval Room, pleased me best as it is a Collection of Plans, and Models of every Dockyard, Fortress and Man of War in his Empire.
Come to Europe with Nabby as soon as possible, and Satisfy your Curiosity, and improve your Taste, by viewing these magnificent Sceenes. Go to the Play—see the Paintings and Buildings—visit the Manufactures for a few Months—and then, if Congress pleases return to America with me to reflect upon them.
I am in earnest. I cannot be happy, nor tolerable without you. Besides I really think one Trip across the Sea would be of Service to you and my Daughter to whom my Love. I Shall expect you constantly untill you arrive.
I mourn the Loss of my Father, but it was time to expect it, from his Age. You must be melancholly and afflicted, and I hope that the Voyage, will divert your Thoughts.
{ 266 }
Mr. Thaxter is in America before this no doubt. My dear Son, is the only Secretary, I have or propose to have at present. I believe I Shall go to the Hague, and reside chiefly there but write to me untill you embark by Portugal Spain France England or Holland. The nearer you Arrive to the Hague, the nearer I believe you will be to me, yet I may be in Paris. I shall stay but a Short time in London.
You will read in the Newspapers, innumerable Lyes about Jay and me.5 Regard them as little as I do. I have met with an agreable Reception here, as agreable as I wish. In short I have been received here, exactly as I wished to be.

[salute] Yours with Tenderness unutterable

[signed] J. Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “No 8.”
1. Compare JA's description of this visit with JQA, Diary, 1:201–202. According to JQA, they were taken to Buckingham House by Benjamin West himself. For a similar but fuller JA description of Buckingham House, drawn apparently from memory nearly thirty years later, see his Diary and Autobiography, 3:150. This mansion, built in 1705 for John Sheffield, first duke of Buckingham and Normanby, was bought by George III in 1762, and settled on Queen Charlotte in 1775, whence it was called “the Queens House.” All of the children of George III and Queen Charlotte except the Prince of Wales (later George IV) were born there. The mansion was razed in the 1820s, and replaced with the present Buckingham Palace (Wheatley, London Past and Present).
2. These four historical paintings were all commissioned by George III. The title of the first, done in 1768, should be “The Departure of Regulus.” The rendering of “The Death of General [James] Wolfe,” finished in late 1769 or early 1770, was a popular sensation. West's novel depiction of heroes in contemporary dress powerfully directed the course of painting in England away from the neo-classical style, with its “chaste academic severity, muted colors, and repressed emotion.” “It was like no other modern picture Englishmen had seen. It made the viewer feel that he was present at and a part of a great historic event of his time, that he was an accessory with others in a tragic but inspiring occasion.” Because of its modern treatment, the King refused to buy the painting; but when he observed the nearly universal approval it won, he commissioned a copy from West. This was the painting that JA saw. In his enthusiasm the King commissioned the other two death scenes here mentioned (Robert C. Alberts, Benjamin West, Boston, 1978, p. 89–90, 103–109).
3. JQA identifies these as seven cartoons—drawings or rough paintings on stout paper—as the designs for a set of Brussels tapestries depicting “several of the Acts of the apostles” (Diary, 1:201).
4. This magnificent library, which occupied three rooms, was given to the nation by George IV, and became part of the British Museum (Wheatley, London Past and Present; Alberts, Benjamin West, p. 86).
5. This probably refers to JA's and Jay's disagreements with Benjamin Franklin during the treaty negotiations; no specific newspaper issues critical of JA or Jay have been identified.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0148

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-11-11

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Col. Trumble1 has been so kind as to visit me, and request a Letter from me to you; I have promised him one. You direct me to write by every opportunity, I very seldom let one slip unimproved, but I find { 267 } many more conveyances by way of England than any other. I have written twice to you since the recept of your last favour, which was dated july 17th.
I wish you to write by way of England but to send no letters to the southard.
I pleased myself with the Idea of seeing you here during the summer, but when I found how publick Buisness was delayed I endeavourd to banish the Idea, for one month of daily expectation, is more tedious than a year of certainty. I think it would be a releif to my mind if your next Letter was to assure me, that you had no intention of comeing out till next spring; Yet think not, that I am more reconciled to your absence, or less ardently desire your return, but your Life and Health are too dear to me, to gratify my wishes at the expence of either.
I have but last evening returnd, from a visit to Haverhill, where I was led at this season, by the Sickness of Master Tommy, who has a Second time experienced a severe fit of the Rheumatism. It was an unfortunate bequest, but it is so Similar to what at his age I was excersised with, that I think it must have descended to him. He lost the use of his Limbs for a fortnight. It was attended with a fever, and a Stricture across his Breast. I had the Satisfaction to find him upon the recovery, and much better than my fears, for Seazing him at this Season and with so much voilence, I feard he would have been disabled all winter.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Shaw, speak very well of our young Lads, who begin to think of a Colledge Life, as not more than a year and half distance. Charles is very desirious that he may be ready at 15, and Master Tommy is determined that he shall not out strip him, in his learning, what ever he may do in his entrance at colledge, for which purpose he requests that his lessons may be the same with his Brothers. He took great pains to overtake Charles, during his absence and sickness with the Measles, nor did he rest untill he accomplished it. Mr. Shaw is I believe an excellent preceptor and takes great pains with them. Their Morals and Manners are strickly attended to, and I have every satisfaction I can wish with respect to care and tenderness both in sickness and Health. I wanted for nothing but to see you Mamma, says Master, during my sickness. Mrs. Shaw is the same amiable good woman you always knew her. She has one son and one daughter,2 but her Health is feeble and her frame exceedingly delicate and tender, her spirits lively, her temper placid. The children Love her with a <parental?> filial affection.
{ 268 }
I longed for you to accompany me in this journey, and to have participated the pleasure of seeing our Children attentive to their studies, and promiseing to be wise and good.
While your own Heart dilates, you will tell me, that the season for temptation is not yet arrived, that altho they are carefully Guarded against evil communications, and warned of the danger of bad examples, no humane foresight can effectually preserve them from the contagion of vice; true, but I have a great opinion of early impressions of virtue, and believe that they take such hold of the mind, as neither time, or temptations can wholy subdue. They recall the wanderer to a sense of his Duty, tho he has strayed many many times. Attend says the Good Ganganella,3 more to the Hearts, than the understanding of your pupils, if the Heart is good, all will go well.
I have a thousand fears for my dear Boys as they rise into Life, the most critical period of which is I conceive, at the university; there infidelity abounds, both in example and precepts, there they imbibe the speicious arguments of a Voltaire a Hume and Mandevill. If not from the fountain, they receive them at second hand. These are well calculated to intice a youth, not yet capable of investigating their principals, or answering their arguments. Thus is a youth puzzeld in Mazes and perplexed with error untill he is led to doubt, and from doubting to disbelief. Christianity gives not such a pleasing latitude to the passions. It is too pure, it teaches moderation humility and patience, which are incompatable, with the high Glow of Health, and the warm blood which riots in their veins. With them, “to enjoy, is to obey.” I hope before either of our children are prepaird for colledge you will be able to return and assist by your example and advise, to direct and counsel them; that with undeviating feet they may keep the path of virtue.
I have heitherto been able to obtain their Love their confidence and obedience, but I feel unequal to the task of guiding them alone, encompassed as I know they must be with a thousand snares and temptations.
I hope our dear son abroad will not imbibe any sentiments or principals which will not be agreable to the Laws the Goverment and Religion of our own Country. He has been less under your Eye than I could wish, but never I dare say without your advise and instruction. If he does not return this winter, I wish you to remind him, that he has forgotten to use his pen, to his Friends upon this Side the water.
With Regard to what passes in the political world I hear little said upon the subject. We are anxious to receive official accounts of the { 269 } Signing the definitive Treaty. The Merchants will Clamour if the commercial Treaty is not to their taste. The Peace necessitates many of them to a less extravagant mode of living, and they must retrench still more if ever they pay their debts abroad. Bills are now sold at par, if you continue abroad, I shall be under a necessity of drawing upon you, for tho the War is ceased, taxes have not. Since I took my pen, and within this hour, I have been visited by the collector with 3 tax Bills; the amount of which is 29 pounds 6 and 8 pence, the continental tax state tax and town tax, beside which, I have just paid a parish tax. I live with all the frugality in my power. I have but two domesticks, yet I find it as much as I can do to muster cash enough to pay our sons Quarter Bills and Cloath them decently.
Of one thing you may rest assured, that I involve you in no debts, no[r] go one Inch without seeing my way Clear; you laugh at me with regard to my Virmont purchase. I still value it, and do not doubt of its becomeing so. I have a Right in about [2?] hundred acers of land some where in Northburry which comes to me from my Mother; I will exchange with you. My Father left to me and Mrs. Shaw his Medford Farm stock buildings &c. and his medow in Malden the value of which is Estimated at near 800. Now what I wish is to persuade my Sister to sell you her part of the Farm, and make a purchase in the Town where <they> she lives, but I do not chuse to Say any thing upon the Subject at present. I Suppose it will sell for more than the apprizement, and as I hope you will return early in the spring, that will be as soon as any thing can be done about it. The estate is some cloged in concequence of a Numerous family but the personal estate will clear it and pay the Legacies which amount to about 300 pounds and Some small debts.

[salute] Adieu my dearest Friend. Heaven preserve your Life and Health, and safely conduct You to Your ever affectionate

[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); docketed by CFA: “Portia. Novr. 11. 1783.”
1. John Trumbull (1756–1843), soldier and painter, first traveled to Europe in 1780, where he briefly studied painting with Benjamin West. Returning to America in Jan. 1783, he again sailed for Europe in December to develop commercial interests, but quickly abandoned these plans and turned a second time to Benjamin West for instruction in painting. Influenced by both West and John Singleton Copley, Trumbull soon became the principal painter of the great events of the American Revolution (DAB).
2. William Smith Shaw and Elizabeth Quincy Shaw. William served as private secretary to JA for two years during his presidency, later became a lawyer, and gained some renown as librarian of the Boston Athenaeum, whence his nickname “Athenaeum Shaw” (DAB).
3. Giovanni Vincenzo Antonio Ganganelli, Pope Clement XIV. The editors do not know whether AA acquired or borrowed a copy of the Interesting Letters of Pope Clement XIV (London, 1770, 1781, and other editions). At some point JA acquired the 1781 edition for his library (Catalogue of JA's Library).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0149

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-11-18

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dearest Friend

I have time only to inform you that We are well, and to repeat my earnest Wish and Expectation to see you as soon as possible. Draw upon me for Whatever Money You want and it shall be paid at Sight.
I have been invited by the Duke of Portland and Mr. Fox to See them and I have Seen them and Mr. Burke [an]d met a cordial Reception from all three.1 These would [do?] right if they governed. But I am not certain, they are not Sometimes overruled or overawed.
Comfort yourself for the Loss of your Father amiable and excellent as he was. His Age was such as to have renderd it a duty, to be prepared to hear of his Decease: and his Virtues were such as to leave Us no room to doubt that the Change is happy for him.

[salute] My Duty to my Aged Mother, and Love to the Children.

[signed] J. Adams
RC (Adams Papers). Some text was damaged where the seal was cut out.
1. This meeting took place on 15 Nov. (David Hartley to JA, 14 Nov., Adams Papers). The Duke of Portland had become titular head of the government after Shelburne's fall in April; Charles James Fox was Foreign Secretary. Both Fox and Edmund Burke had been critical of the preliminary peace terms that Shelburne had negotiated with France and America. Fox thought Britain should have sought more advantage over France in India; Burke opposed ceding the Ohio Valley to the United States (Morris, Peacemakers, p. 421). JA later recalled that his visits with these men were purely ceremonial: “I did not ask favours or receive any thing but cold formalities” (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:150). Charles James Fox and George III hated one another and when Fox's India Bill faltered in the House of Lords in December, the King dismissed the Portland ministry (Namier and Brooke, House of Commons, 2:456–460).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0150

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-11-20

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Your favour dated at Amsterdam in july1 was last evening handed to me; and this evening your Letter of the 10th of Sepbr. by Col. Ogden reached me.
I had for some time supposed that the delay of publick buisness would retard your return; hearing that the definitive treaty was not compleated untill september, and knowing that the commercial Treaty was still to form; I had little reason to expect you; unless your State of Health required an immediate resignation of all your publick employments. Your Letter2 therefore which informs me of your determination to pass an other Winter abroad is by no means unex• { 271 } pected. That we must pass it with a vast ocean between us; is a painfull reflection to me, yet thus it must be; I am so much of a coward upon the Water, that even a summers voyage had its terrors. A Winter passage I cannot possibly think of encountering. If I was instantly to set about it, I could not adjust my affairs so as to leave them in any order under a month. Mr. Temple and family sail this week.3 I do not know any person except Mr. Jackson [o]f Newburry-port, who is going abroad; with whom I should like to become [a] passenger, and he goes to Ireland.
But I have a stronger objection than even a winters voyage against comeing at present. It is the undetermined counsels of Congress. They have not yet made any appointment to the Court of Britain. Many are seeking for the place, with more splendid titles, if wealth can give them, and many more thousands to claim it with: I am informd that Mr. Jay, has written pressingly to Congress in your favour, at the same time assureing them, that he would absolutely refuse the appointment, if it should be offerd him;4 but whether you will finally be the person, is left to futurity.
Of this I am sure, that I do not wish it. I should have liked very well, to have gone to France, and resided there a year, but to think of going to England in a publick Character, and resideing there; engageing at my time of life in Scenes quite New, attended with dissipation parade and Nonsence; I am sure I should make an awkward figure. The retired Domestick circle “the feast of reason and the flow of soul”5 are my Ideas of happiness, and my most ardent wish is, to have you return and become Master of the Feast.
My Health is infirm, I am frequently distresst6 with a nervious pain in my Head, and a fatigue of any kind will produce it. Neither of us appear to be built for duration. Would to Heaven the few remaining days allotted Us, might be enjoyed together. I have considerd it as my misfortune, that I could not attend to your Health, watch for your repose, alleviate your Hours of anxiety, and make you a home where ever you resided. More says a very skillfull Dr. depends upon the Nurse than the physician.
My present determination is to tarry at home this winter; lonely as it is without my children; and if I cannot prevail upon you to return to Me in the Spring—you well know that I may be drawn to you.7 One strong tie which held me here is dissolved, my dear Parent; who used to say: I cannot consent to you[r] going child, whilst I live. An other cord and almost the only one which binds me to this place, is like to be loosed. I mean Mr. Cranchs family who talk of removeing to { 272 } Boston in the Spring. Should this take place Braintree would indeed become a lonely spot to me.
Mr. Thaxter will be able to give me when he arrives; the best intelligence upon the Subject.
I hope I shall not miss the French Brig which was to sail to day, but may possibly be detained. I knew not of her going untill last evening.

[salute] Adieu and believe me whether present or absent, most affectionately Yours

[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by Royall Tyler: “His Excellency John Adams Esqr. Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America residing at Paris”; endorsed by JQA: “Mrs. Adams. Braintree Novr. 20. 1783”; slight damage to the text where the seal was cut out. Dft (Adams Papers) with some stylistic differences and no mention of the intention of the Cranches to move to Boston; dated 19 November.
1. That of 26 July, above.
3. John Temple, a native of Massachusetts and a relative of England's powerful Temple-Grenville family, had married Elizabeth Bowdoin, daughter of James Bowdoin. A customs agent in Boston before the Revolution, Temple strongly sympathized with the patriot cause, but had mixed feelings about American independence. He was in England from 1773 to 1781, then in Massachusetts until he sailed again for England on 21 November. In 1785 he returned to America and served in New York as Great Britain's first consul general in the United States. Temple's reasons for returning to England in 1783 were to seek a permanent office, to help promote a commercial treaty between Britain and the United States, and to clear himself of any remaining suspicion that he, in 1770–1772, had played any role in the passing to Benjamin Franklin of copies of Gov. Thomas Hutchinson's confidential letters to British officials, a still mysterious incident that had further poisoned the deteriorating relationship between Massachusetts and the British government. See Richard Cranch to JA, 21 Nov. (Adams Papers); JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:70–71, 79–80 and note 1, 91; 3:174, note 2; Franklin, Papers, vol. 20; and Bernard Bailyn, The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson, Cambridge, 1974.
4. See Elbridge Gerry to AA, 6 Nov. and note 2, above.
5. See AA to JA, 7 April, note 2, above.
6. The draft reads: “I am still subject to a severe nervious pain . . .”
7. The draft adds: “provided there is any Stability in Congress.”

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0151

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1783-11-20

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

This evening as I was Setting, with only your sister by my side, who was scribling at the table to some of her correspondents, my Neighbour Feild enterd, with “I have a letter for you Madam”;1 my immagination was wandering to Paris, ruminating upon the long, long absence of my dear son, and his parent; that I was rather inattentive to what he said, untill he repeated; I have Letters for you from abroad. The word abroad, roused my attention, and I eagerly seazied the Letters,2 the hand writing and Seal of which gave me hopes that { 273 } I was once more like to hear from my Young Wanderer; nor was I dissapointed.
After two years silence; and a journey of which I can scarcly form an Idea; to find you safely returnd, to your parent, to hear of your Health, and to see your improvements!
You cannot know, should I discribe to you; the feelings of a parent. Through your pappa, I sometimes heard from you, but one Letter only, ever reach'd me after you arrived in Russia.3 Your excuses however, have weight; and are accepted; but you must give them further energy by a ready attention to your pen in future. Four years have already past away since you left your native land, and this rural Cottage—Humble indeed, when compared to the Palaces you have visited, and the pomp you have been witness too. But I dare say you have not been so inattentive an observer, as to suppose that Sweet peace, and contentment, cannot inhabit the lowly roof, and bless the tranquil inhabitants, equally guarded and protected, in person and property, in this happy Country, as those who reside in the most elegant and costly dwellings.
If you live to return, I can form to myself, an Idea of the pleasure you will take, in treading over the ground, and visiting every place your early years were accustomed wantonly to gambol in—even the rocky common and lowly whortleberry Bush will not be without its Beauties.
My anxieties have been, and still are great least the Numerous temptations and Snares of vice, should vitiate your early habits of virtue, and distroy those principals, which you are now capable of reasoning upon; and discerning the Beauty, and utility, of, as the only rational Source of happiness here, or foundation of felicity here after, placed as we are, in a transitory Scene of probation, drawing nigher and still nigher, day after day to that important Crisis, which must introduce us into a New System of things. It ought certainly to be our principal concern to become qualified for our expected dignity.
What is it that affectionate parents require of their Children; for all their care anxiety and toil on their accounts? Only that they would be wise and virtuous, Benevolent and kind.
Ever keep in mind my son, that your parents are your disinterested Friends, and if at any time their advise militates with your own opinion, or the advise of others, you ought always to be, diffident of your own judgment, because you may rest assured that their opinion is founded in experience, and long observation, and that they would not direct you; but to promote your happiness.
{ 274 }
Be thankfull to a kind providence who has hitherto preserved the lives of your parents, the natural guardians of your youthfull years. With Gratitude I look up to heaven blessing the Hand, which continued to me my dear and honoured parents untill I was setled in Life, and tho I now regreet the loss of them, and daily feel the want of their advise and assistance, I cannot suffer as I should have done, if I had been early deprived of them.
You will doubtless have heard of the Death of your worthy Grandpappa, before this reaches you. He left you a Legacy, more valuable than Gold or silver—he left you his blessing and his prayers, that you might return to your Country and Friends improved in knowledge, and matured in virtue, that you might become a usefull citizen, a Guardian of the Laws Liberty and Religion of your Country, as your Father, (he was pleased to Say) had already been. Lay this bequest up in your memory, and practise upon it, believe me, you will find it a treasure that neither Moth, or Rust can devour.4
I received Letters from your Pappa last evening dated in Paris the 10 of sepbr. informing me of the necessity of his continuance abroad this winter. The Season is so far advanced that I readily sacrifice the desire of seeing him, to his safety. A voyage upon this coast at this Season, is fraught with dangers. He has made me a request, that I dare not comply with at present; No Husband, no Son, to accompany me upon the Boisterous ocean, to animate my courage, and dispell my fears, I dare not engage with so formidable a combatant.
If I should find your Pappa fixed in the Spring; and determined to continue abroad a year or two longer, the earnest desire I have to meet him, and my dear son, might overcome the reluctance I feel, at the Idea of engaging in a New Scene of Life and the love I have for domestick attachments—and the still calm of Life. But it would be much more agreeable to me, to enjoy all my Friends together in my own Native land. From those who have visited foreign climes I could listen with pleasure; at the narative of their adventures, and derive satisfaction from the learned detail, content myself that the “little Learning I have gaine'd is all from Simple Nature divind.”
I have a desire that you might finish Your Education at our university, and I see no chance for it, unless You return in the course of a year. Your cousin Billy Cranch expects to enter next july. He would be happy to have you his associate.
I hope your Pappa will indulge you with a visit to England this winter, it is a country I should be fond of your Seeing. Christianity which teaches us to forgive our enemies, prevents me from enjoining { 275 } upon you a similar vow, to that which Hamilicar obtained from his son Hanible,5 but I know not how to think of loveing those haughty Islanders.
Your Brothers will write to you soon. Your sister I see is prepairing a Letter; Your Friends send you their affectionate regards. And I enjoin it upon you to write often to Your ever affectionate Mother.
[signed] A Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mr john Quincy Adams Paris”; endorsed: “Mrs. Adams. Novr. 20th. 1783”; docketed, also by JQA: “Mrs. A. Adams. 20. Novr. 1783.”
1. Closing quotation mark supplied. AA may refer to Job Field, who would accompany her to England in 1784 and substitute for her ailing servants, John Brisler and Esther Field, on the voyage (AA to Mary Cranch, 6 July 1784, and note 2, below; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:155, and note 5); several other Fields also lived in Braintree (same, 4:index).
2. Apparently those of 23 July, written at The Hague, and 30 July, written at Amsterdam, both above.
3. That of 23 Oct. 1781, vol. 4:233–234.
4. Matthew 6:19–20.
5. Sometime before his departure with his father from Carthage for Spain in 237 b.c., young Hannibal was made to swear, upon an altar, eternal enmity to Rome, with whom Carthage had been in an intermittent state of war for three decades (Oxford Classical Dictionary).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0152

Author: Gerry, Elbridge
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-11-24

Elbridge Gerry to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Madam

Mr. Thaxter is arrived with the Definitive Treaty and I have the pleasure of receiving a number of letters from Mr. Adams.1 I think it will be Indispensably necessary to continue him in Europe, and shall therefore use my best endeavours for this purpose;2 but can form no Idea of what will be the determenation of Congress on the Occasion, as the Representation of the present year will be very different from that of the last.
Mr. Adams in one of his letters has desired if he is continued in Europe to send him his Family “for he is decided, God willing, never to live another year without you.” In another letter he desires me “to write you and advise you whither it is prudent to Come to him or not this fall or next spring.” I cannot think it advisable this fall as it is almost elapsed and a winters passage would be extremely disagreeable as well as dangerous, but I flatter myself before the Spring, the Bussiness of Congress will admit of an adjournment, or if not that our Foreign Arrangements will be compleat and leave you no doubt of the expediency of embarking as Mr. Adams wishes with your Family for Europe. Yours &c.
[signed] E. G—
{ 276 }
Copy in Royall Tyler's hand (Adams Papers); notation by Tyler: “Copy of a letter from E.G. Esqr. to Mrs Adams,” and “Copy of letter from E.G. Esqr to Mrs. A—”; notation by AA: “To be deliverd to your Pappa.” AA's notation may have been a direction to AA2 to include the copy in a packet of letters that she would send to JA from Boston where she was staying in mid-December (see AA to JA, 15 Dec., and 3 Jan. 1784, both below). Or the notation could have been intended for JQA, then acting as JA's secretary, and likely to open packets of letters from America.
1. Probably those of 3, 5, 6, 8, and 10 Sept. (MHi:Gerry II Papers [3d] Hoar Autograph Coll. [5th, 10th], Gerry-Knight Coll. [6th]; and DLC:Gerry Papers [photostat; 8th]; all LbCs, Adams Papers [Microfilms, Reels No. 106 and 107]). Those of 3 Sept., in full, and 9 Sept., in part, are in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:669–670, 684–685. John Thaxter had reached Philadelphia, via New York, on 22 Nov. (Gerry to JA, 23 Nov., Adams Papers).
2. Gerry's position here is sharply at odds with that taken in his letter to AA of 6 Nov., above, where he favors JA's return to America.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0153

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-12-07

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

Will you honour a Bill of mine, drawn in favour of Uncle Smith1 for 60 pounds, to pay for 9 acres of wood land which I have purchased of William Adams being part of the estate of Benjamin Ruggles, which fell to Mr. Adams in right of his wife. You will think I have given a large price for it, but it is not so much as your Brother2 has given him for a 6 acre Lot adjoining to his. The Lot I have purchased is much nearer home, and much easier getting the wood of than any which you owned before of so large a Growth. I am informd that it is very well wooded, and if I was inclined to have a part cut of, for the market, I might at the price wood bears now; raise the money with a third of the wood; it fetches 7 dollors a cord, in Boston, oweing to the few vessels which remained to us after the peace, and these all imployed in carrying Lumber, so that no wood comparitively speaking has been brought from [the?] eastward this fall. I gave 6 pounds pr acre and have trusted to my [cr]edit with you to reimburse me the money I have paid for it, it being what I had collected for the payment of my present taxes and my Quarters Board and Schooling for my children. The land cost a hundred and eighty dollors.3 I have drawn for 200 being an even Sum.
I have not heard any thing further from you since your Letters of Sepbr,4 which I replied to immediately and hope you received the answers to them. Mr. Thaxter it is said arrived at New York the 20 of November and proceeded on to Congress immediately.
Capt. Callihan in the Peace and Plenty, is not yet arrived, and we { 277 } are anxious for him as he saild the 7 of october. I hope to receive Letters by him. We have had most terrible weather upon this coast.
I have considerd your invitation to me, the arguments for and against it, with all the deliberation I am mistress of. I have arranged before me all your former objections, I have added to them the state of your Health as you have discribed it, and upon the whole, your return here, is the object my Heart pants for. A relaxation from the fatigues and vexations of publick Life appears necessary for your Health, from these you cannot be exempted whilst you continue abroad. The envyed embassy to a certain Island5 is surrounded with so many thorns, that the Beauty and fragrance of the Rose, would be but a small compensation for the wounds which might be felt in the gatheiring and wearing it.
If you felt yourself under obligations during the dangers and perilous of war, to sacrifice, your Health your ease and safety, to the independance and freedom of your Country, those obligations cannot now be equally binding. The Golden Fleese is won. If you have no female wiles to contend with, the dragon may secure it to us; but I believe it is as necessary that he should <reside> watch in America as Europe.6
Letters from our sons last nig[ht] from Haverhill7 inform me of their Health, and of their intention of writing to their Pappa and Brother by the next opportunity.
Dr. Cooper lies very dangerously ill of a Lethargy.8 I shall write you again very soon, for the present adieu. I know not whether I shall believe myself how well you Love me, unless I can prevail upon you to return in the Spring to your ever affectionate
[signed] Portia
I have learnt that the vessel which carried Letters from me10 answers to your last from Amsterdam and letters to Johnny in reply to his and Letters in reply to your of Sepbr. this vessel is dismasted and returnd into port Cape Cod after having been out 3 weeks so that what fate the Letters will meet with I know not. Mr. Dana, arrived in Boston yesterday from Petersburgh. I have not time to Say what my Sensations were. A flood of tears unbidden flowed from my Eyes. Yet I am sure I sincerely rejoiced in his return. Mr. Thaxter has not yet reached Braintree. I received a letter from him [ . . . ] dated New York, December 3.11 He had been to Philadelphia and was upon his return. I shall in a few days write you again.
{ 278 }
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed by JQA: “Portia. Braintree Decr. 7. 1783.” Some damage to the text where the seal was removed.
1. AA filled in “Uncle Smith” in the same ink used for the text under “December 13,” below. This textual completion, the current news under “December 13,” and AA's attendance at sermons in Boston on 14 Dec. (see AA to JA, 15 Dec. and note 1, below), suggest that AA finished the letter in Boston, and that she was not certain from whom she could obtain the loan of £60 when she began it.
2. Peter Boylston Adams, also of Braintree.
3. A deed for the land, dated 15 Dec. and signed by William and Ruth Adams of Hopkinton, Mass., is in the Adams Papers. As AA writes here (9 acres at £6 per acre), the price is given as £54 lawful money.
4. Of 10 Sept. (one above; the other, Adams Papers); see JA to AA, 7 Sept., note 3, above.
5. Great Britain.
6. AA's intention in her use of certain details of the Greek legend of Jason and the Argonauts is a bit uncertain here. The “Golden Fleese” is the Definitive Treaty of Peace, and the “female wiles” (of European high society?) play the role of Medea. JA is presumably Jason, who can now return home, although he might be the Dragon who can guard the “Fleese” in America. The Dragon might also be Franklin, who can stay in Europe to protect America's interests, provided he does not succumb to “female wiles.”
7. Not found.
8. Rev. Samuel Cooper of Boston's Brattle Square Church had been ill since mid-November, and would die on 29 Dec.; see AA to JA, 27 Dec., note 13, below.
9. This text begins on a separate sheet, and is written in lighter ink, but the docket on the back and the fold marks establish its inclusion with the previous text. See note 1.
10. AA to JA, and AA to JQA, both 20 Nov., above.
11. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0154

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-12-15

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I returned last Evening from Boston, where I went at the kind invitation of my uncle and Aunt, to celebrate our Anual festival. Doctor Cooper being dangerously Sick, I went to hear Mr. Clark; who is Setled with Dr. Chauncey;1 this Gentleman gave us an animated elegant and sensible discourse, from Isaah 55 chapter and 12th verse—“For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with Peace; the Mountains and the Hill Shall break forth before you into singing, and all the Trees of the Field shall clap their Hands.”
Whilst he asscribed Glory and praise unto the most high, he considerd the Worthy disinterested, and undaunted Patriots as the instruments in the hand of providence for accomplishing what was marvelous in our Eyes; he recapitulated the dangers they had past through, and the hazards they had run; the firmness which had in a particular manner distinguished Some Characters, not only early to engage in so dangerous a contest, but in spight of our gloomy prospects they persevered even unto the end; untill they had obtained a Peace Safe and Honorable; large as our designs, Capacious as our wishes, and much beyond our expectations.
How did my heart dilate with pleasure when as each event was particularized; I could trace my Friend as a Principal in them; could { 279 } say, it was he, who was one of the first in joinning the Band of Patriots; who formed our first National Counsel. It was he; who tho happy in his domestick attachments; left his wife, his Children; then but Infants; even surrounded with the Horrours of war; terified and distresst, the Week after the memorable 17th. of April,2 Left them, to the protection of that providence which has never forsaken them, and joined himself undismayed, to that Respectable Body, of which he was a member. Trace his conduct through every period, you will find him the same undaunted Character: encountering the dangers of the ocean; risking Captivity, and a dungeon; contending with wickedness in high places; jeoparding his Life, endangerd by the intrigues, revenge, and malice, of a potent; tho defeated Nation.
These are not the mere eulogiums of conjugal affection; but certain facts, and solid truths. My anxieties, my distresses, at every period; bear witness to them; tho now by a series of prosperous events; the recollection, is more sweet than painfull.
Whilst I was in Town, Mr. Dana arrived very unexpectedly, for I had not received your Letter by Mr. Thaxter.3 My uncle fortunately discoverd him, as he come up into State Street, and instantly engaged him to dine with him, acquainting him that I was in Town, and at his House. The news soon reached my Ears. Mr. Dana arrived, Mr. Dana arrived—from every person you saw, but how was I affected? The Tears involuntary flowed from my eyes, tho God is my witness, I envyed not the felicity of others. Yet my Heart swelled with Grief, and the Idea that I, I only, was left alone, recall'd all the tender Scenes of seperation, and overcame all my fortitude. I retired and reasoned myself into composure sufficient; to see him without a childish emotion.
He tarried but a short time, anxious as you may well imagine, to reach Cambridge. He promised me a visit with his Lady, in a few days, to which I look forward with pleasure.4
I reach'd home last evening, having left Nabby in Town, to make her winter visit. I found Mr. Thaxter just arrived before me. It was a joyfull meeting to both of us, tho I could not prevail with him only for half an hour; his solicitude to see his Parents was great, and tho I wished his continuance with me, yet I checked not the fillial flow of affection. Happy youth! who had parents still alive to visit, Parents who can rejoice in a Son returned to them after a long absence; untainted in his morals, improved in his understanding; with a Character fair and unblemished.
But O my dearest Friend what shall I say to You in reply to your { 280 } pressing invitation; I have already written to you in answer to your Letters which were dated Sepbr. 10th and reachd me a month before those by Mr. Thaxter. I related to you all my fears respecting a winters voyage. My Friends are all against it, and Mr. Gerry as you will see, by the Coppy of his Letter inclosed,5 has given his opinion upon well grounded reasons. If I should leave my affairs in the Hands of my Friends, there would be much to think of, and much to do, to place them in that method and order I would wish to leave them in.
Theory and practise are two very different things; and the object magnifies, as I approach nearer to it. I think if you were abroad in a private Character, and necessitated to continue there; I should not hesitate so much at comeing to you. But a mere American as I am, unacquainted with the Etiquette of courts, taught to say the thing I mean, and to wear my Heart in my countantance, I am sure I should make an awkward figure. And then it would mortify my pride if I should be thought to disgrace you. Yet strip Royalty of its pomp, and power, and what are its votaries more than their fellow worms? I have so little of the Ape about me; that I have refused every publick invitation to figure in the Gay World, and sequestered myself in this Humble cottage, content with rural Life and my domestick employments in the midst of which; I have sometimes Smiled, upon recollecting that I had the Honour of being allied to an Ambassador.6 Yet I have for an example the chaste Lucretia who was found spinning in the midst of her maidens, when the Brutal Tarquin plotted her distruction.7
I am not acquainted with the particular circumstances attending the renewal of your commission; if it is modeled so as to give you satisfaction I am content; and hope you will be able to discharge it, so as to receive the approbation of your Sovereign.
A Friend of yours in Congress some months ago, sent me an extract of a Letter, requesting me to conceal his Name, as he would not chuse to have it known by what means he procured the Coppy. From all your Letters I discoverd that the treatment you had received, and the suspence You was in, was sufficiently irritating without any thing further to add to Your vexation. I therefore surpresst the extract; as I knew the author was fully known to you: but seeing a letter from G[e]n. W[arre]n to you, in which this extract is alluded to;8 and finding by your late Letters, that your situation is less embarrassing, I inclose it;9 least you should think it much worse than it really is: at the same time I cannot help adding an observation which appears pertinant to me; that there is an ingredient necessary in a Mans { 281 } composition towards happiness, which people of feeling would do well to acquire—a certain respect for the follies of Mankind. For there are so many fools whom the opinion of the world entittles to regard; whom accident has placed in heights of which they are unworthy, that he who cannot restrain, his contempt or indignation at the sight, will be too, often Quarrelling with the disposal of things to realish that Share, which is allotted to himself.”10 And here my paper obliges me to close the subject—without room to say adieu.
RC with enclosures (Adams Papers); endorsed: “recd. 5. May 1784.” Enclosures: (1) A copy of Elbridge Gerry to AA, 24 Nov., in Royall Tyler's hand; printed above. (2) An extract, also in Tyler's hand, copied from an extract that was originally enclosed with Gerry to AA, 18 Sept.; printed with that letter, above. The extract is from Benjamin Franklin to R. R. Livingston, 22 July. Following the extract, Tyler added an “Extract from Mr. G[erry']s letter Inclosing the above,” which consisted of the first three sentences of the second paragraph of Gerry's 18 Sept. letter, ending “the Doctor's Craft is apparent.” This second enclosure is endorsed, like the inclosing letter: “recd. 5. May 1784” at the bottom of the text; and docketed on the back, in an unknown hand: “AA 83 19 December.” AA's rather unclear “5” was misread for a “9.”
1. The annual festival was the commemoration of the Boston Tea Party, which had taken place on 16 Dec. 1773; the sermons marking this event in 1783 were preached on Sunday, the 14th. AA probably went to Isaac Smith Sr.'s home on Saturday, if not earlier (see AA to JA, 7 Dec., note 1, above). John Clarke, Harvard 1774, was ordained as assistant to the aged Rev. Charles Chauncy, Harvard 1721, the pastor of Boston's First Church (the “Old Brick”) in 1778, and succeeded him in 1787 (William B. Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit, N.Y., 1857–1869, 11 vols., 8:10).
2. That is, the 19th of April 1775, the day of the battles of Lexington and Concord; JA departed for Congress about 26 April (vol. 1:188–189, and note 1).
3. That is, JA's letters of 1, 4, and 7 Sept., all above; that of 1 Sept. gives the fullest information on Dana's departure for America.
4. In AA, Letters, 1840, CFA omitted this and the following paragraph. He included them in AA, Letters, 1841 and 1848.
5. Probably Gerry's letter to AA of 24 Nov., printed above.
6. From this point, CFA omitted the entire text from AA, Letters, 1840. In AA, Letters, 1841 and 1848, he dropped the sentence after “Ambassador,” included the following brief paragraph, and omitted the long concluding paragraph that discussed Franklin's attack on JA.
7. In Roman legend Lucretia, the wife of Tarquinius Collatinus, was famed for her virtue. When her husband and several other Roman nobles each boasted of their wives' decorum, and then returned from a military camp unannounced to test their claims, only Lucretia was found spinning with her handmaidens; the other wives were all dancing and revelling. Lucretia's beauty, however, aroused Sextus, son of Tarquin, king of Rome, who by deception and then violence entered her home and raped her. She made her relatives swear to avenge her and then took her own life. Outraged by Sextus' crime and his father's oppressive rule, the Romans drove the Tarquins from the city and established the republic. The primary ancient sources of this story are Livy and Ovid; the major English literary source is Shakespeare's The Rape of Lucrece (1594), a long poem of rhymed seven-line stanzas.
8. James Warren to JA, 27 Oct. (Adams Papers). In this long, rather gloomy letter about the enemies of virtue, in and out of Congress, Warren remarked: “the Old Man [Franklin] . . . is, as You might expect Your determin'd Enemy,—You will before this reaches You get a Paragraph of one of his Letters, which if You should by an Interval be in possession of Your right Mind will put the Matter out of Doubt.” JA had probably received this letter by 6 April, when he wrote to Arthur Lee { 282 } (Adams Papers). JA is not known to have received any extract of Franklin's letter prior to 5 May 1784, when he marked the receipt of both the present letter from AA and the extract which accompanied it.
9. Printed at Gerry to AA, 18 Sept., above.
10. AA neglected to provide opening quotation mark. The quotation has not been identified.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0155

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1783-12-16

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam,

I have this moment received your polite Invitation to dinner tomorrow, and am extremely sorry, that a severe Cold, which has confined me a day or two to the House, prevents my accepting it. I had engaged to dine in Company tomorrow if well enough, but could easily set aside the Engagement, if nothing else but that prevented. I should be very happy to see Mr. Shaw, and if I have not that pleasure on this Visit, I will wait on him and Mrs. Shaw at Haverhill very shortly.1
Under No. 1244. in the inclosed Paper, you will find 19. Lines which made a very sensible Impression upon your dearest Friend.2 He requested me to give them to you, which I should have done on Saturday last,3 if I could have readily put my hands upon them.
My Sisters are very sensible of your kind Invitation to them, but as my Brother is gone to Town, and they have no Gentleman to accompany them, they hope you will excuse them.

[salute] Please to present my best Regards to all Friends, and to be assured that I am, Madam, with the most perfect Respect, Your most obedient and most Hble Servt.

[signed] J Thaxter Junr.4
1. Thaxter would set up a law practice in Haverhill in May 1784 (Elizabeth Shaw to AA, 6 May 1784, below).
2. Enclosure not found; the reference is probably to an English newspaper.
3. AA to JA, 15 Dec., above, says that she saw Thaxter in Braintree upon her return from Boston on Sunday evening, 14 December.
4. On 26 Dec., Thaxter wrote to AA (Adams Papers) to apologize again for not visiting Braintree. On this occasion, the failure of his baggage to arrive from New York left him with “an absolute Want of Cloathes” with which to appear in polite society. With that letter he enclosed an unidentified “Gazette and Pamphlet” for James Warren.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0156

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1783-12-26

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My Dear Son

Your Letters by Mr. Thaxter I received;1 and was not a little pleased with them; if you do not write with the precision of a Robertson, nor { 283 } the Elegance of a Voltaire, it is evident you have profited by the perusal of them.
The account of your northern journey and your observation upon the Russian Goverment; would do credit to an older pen.
The early age at which you went abroad; gave you not an opportunity of becomeing acquainted with your own Country. Yet the Revolution in which we were engaged, held it up in So striking and important a Light, that you could not avoid being in some measure irradiated with the view. The Characters with which you were connected, and the conversation you continually heard; must have impressed your mind with a Sense of the Laws, the Liberties, and the Glorious privileges, which distinguish the Free sovereign independant States of America.
Compare them with the vassallage of the Russian Goverment you have discribed, and Say, were this highly favourd land Barren as the mountains of Swisserland, and coverd ten months in the Year with Snow; would she not have the advantage, even of Italy, “with her orange Groves, her Breathing Statues, and her melting Strains of Musick” or of Spain with her treasures from Mexico and Peru; not one of which can Boast that first of Blessings, the Glory of Humane Nature; the inestimable privelege of setting down under their vines; and fig trees, enjoying in peace and security what ever Heaven has lent them; having none to make them affraid.2
Let your observations and comparisons produce in your mind, an abhorrence, of Domination and power, the Parent of Slavery Ignorance, and barbarism, which places Man upon a level with his fellow tennants of the woods.

“A day, an hour of virtuous Liberty,

is worth a whole eternity of Bondage.”3

You have seen Power in its various forms—a Benign Deity, when exercised in the surpression of fraud, injustice, and tyranny, but a Demon when united with unbounded, ambition: a wide wasting fury, which has distroyed her thousands: not an age of the World, but has produced Characters, to which whole humane Hecatombs have been sacrificed.
What is the History of mighty kingdoms and Nations but a detail, of the Ravages, and cruelties, of the powerfull over the weak? Yet it is instructive to trace the various causes, which produced the strength of one Nation, and the decline and weakness of an other; { 284 } to learn by what arts one Man has been able to Subjugate millions of his fellow creatures; the motives which have put him upon action, and the causes of his Success—Sometimes driven by ambition and a lust of power; at other times, swallowed up by Religious enthusiasm, blind Bigotry, and Ignorant Zeal, Sometimes enervated with Luxury, debauched by pleasure, untill the most powerfull Nations have become a prey, and been subdued by these Syrens; when neither the Number of their Enemies, nor the prowess, of their Arms, could conquer them.
History informs us that the Assyrian empire sunk under the Arms of Cyrus with his poor, but hardy Persians. The extensive, and opulent empire of Persia, fell an easy prey to Alexander, and a handfull of Macedonians, and the Macedonian empire when enervated by the Luxury of Asia, was compelld to receive the yoke of the victorious Romans. Yet even this mistress of the World, as she is proudly stiled, in her turn, defaced her glory, tarnished her victories, and became a prey to Luxury, ambition, faction, pride, Revenge, and avarice, so that Jugurthy after having purchased an acquittance for the blackest of crimes, breaks out into an exclamation, “O city, ready for Sale, if a Buyer rich enough can be found!”4
The History of your own country, and the late Revolution, are striking and recent Instances of the mighty things achived by a Brave inlightned and hardy people, determined to be free, the very yeomanry of which, in many instances, have shewn themselves superiour to corruption, as Britain well knows, on more occasions than the loss of her Andry.5
Glory my son in a Country which has given birth, to Characters, both in the civil and military Departments, which may vie with the wisdom and valour of antiquity. As an immediate descendent of one of those characters, may you be led to an imitation of that disinterested patriotism and that Noble Love of your country, which will teach you to dispise wealth, tittles, pomp and equipage, as mere external advantages, which cannot add to the internal excellence of your mind or compensate for the want of Integrity and virtue.
May your mind be throughly impressed with the absolute necessity of universal virtue and goodness as the only sure road to happiness, and may you walk therein with undeviating steps—is the Sincere and most affectionate wish of your Mother
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mr John Quincy Adams Paris”; endorsed: “Mrs. Adams. Decr. 26. 1783”; docketed, also by JQA: “My Mother. 26. Decr. 1783.”
{ 285 }
1. Those of 4 and 10 Sept., above.
2. Micah 4:4.
3. Joseph Addison, Cato, II, 1.
4. Sallust, Jugurthine War, 35. Jugurtha, prince of Numidia, a client state of Rome, assassinated his rivals for the throne and bought off Roman army commanders and an ambassador before he was defeated and captured. The Romans executed Jugurtha in 104 b.c. (Oxford Classical Dictionary). JA's library has The Works of Sallust, translated into English, by Thomas Gordon, London, [1744], and Bellum Catilinarium et Jugurthinum, a Latin edition with parallel English text, by John Clarke, 4th edn., London, 1766 (Catalogue of JA's Library).
5. AA refers to the virtue of American militiamen who seized Major John André on 23 Sept. 1780 and, refusing his offers of large bribes to release him, carried him before American officers, who found him guilty of spying and executed him on 2 October. For America's patriots, the determination of their militiamen and officers in seizing, convicting, and executing André made a gratifying contrast to the treachery of the American general Benedict Arnold, whose plans of the fortifications at West Point Major André was carrying to the British army at the time of his capture (DNB).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0157

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1783-12-27

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I did not receive your Letter of August the 14th. untill this very Evening; I was much gratified to find I had done what you directed, before your Letter reach'd me. That is, that I had bought a wood Lot. Concerning this purchase I have already written to you; but least that letter should not arrive, I will repeat, that the Lot I have purchased is a part of 27 acres which belonged to Samuel Ruggles,1 and in the division of that estate fell to William Adams in right of his wife. Out of regard to you, as he says whom he has carried about in his arms (and now I Suppose feels a merit in it) he came to offer it to me, and an other reason I told him I fancyed weigh'd full as much; which was that he wanted the money down. I inquired of my Neighbours and took the advise of your Brother, who purchased at the Same time a 7 acre Lot2 adjoining to his, and I bought the Lot containing 9 acres and gave him 20 dollors per acre; which at that time I thought a large price. But this week 5 acres of wood, upon Ruggles'es homestead was sold at vendue at a hundred and fifty dollors per acre, for the wood only; and purchased by persons able to pay for it. They estimate the wood 3 dollors per cord standing; you will from hence conclude, that money is very plenty, or wood very scarce. The latter only is true. The scarcity of vessels to transport wood from the eastward has been such, that during all the war; the Town of Boston was never so bare.
The land I purchased before, is part of the Grove below the Hill, and not an ax has been put to it since the purchase.3 I had it immediately fenced in with stone wall; I wish I could have commanded the whole, but some of the Children are not of age, and the Father in Law is levelling this Beautifull woods without mercy.
{ 286 }
Mr. Vesey4 I hear is comeing to make me an offer of his Farm, but here I shall be wholy at a loss. He is determined to sell, and I dare not buy without hearing from you; taxes run so high upon land that he has discoverd that he is a looser, as he cannot himself improve it. If my dear Friend you will promise to come home, take the Farm into your own hands and improve it, let me turn dairy woman, and assist you in getting our living this way; instead of running away to foreign courts and leaving me half my Life to mourn in widowhood, then I will run you in debt for this Farm; I have a hundred pounds sterling which I could command upon such an occasion, but which upon all others is a deposit I do not chuse to touch. I will however let you know his terms, and if he should not sell untill spring, I may possibly by that time learn your pleasure.
I have had an offer of ten acres more of wood land, but having just purchased I dared not venture further, untill I received your approbation, and now the owner does not chuse to part with it, and I could not advise him to, as he will be under no necessity of doing it.
Mrs. Boreland since her return to America, has sold her House and Farm in this Town. Mr. Tyler has made the purchase at a thousand pounds Lawfull Money. The estate chiefly came by her. None of it was ever confiscated; it is considerd in Town as a good Bargain, there is about a hundred and eight acres in the whole 50 of which is fine wood land. The Garden contains the best collection of fruit in Town, and there is land enough contiguous to it, to be sold, to make a very pretty Farm, when ever he finds himself able to make an addition.5
I should deceive you if I did not tell you that I believe this Gentleman has but one object in view, and that he bends his whole attention to an advancement in his profession and to an oconomy in his affairs which enables him to pay for this purchase without being involved at all; he looks forward to some future day with a hope that he may not be considerd unworthy a connection in this family. The forms of courtship as the word stiles it, do not subsist between the young folks, but I am satisfied that both are fixed, provided your consent may one day be obtained. She intends however to take a voyage with me, provided I cross the water.
The opinion you express with regard to the chief seat of Goverment, is perfectly agreable to my sentiments.6 Ever since I have been capable of observation I have been fully satisfied that it is a most unthankfull office, subject to continual wranglings. And tho by a very general voice, you are and have been named as a successor, and your { 287 } return earnestly wished for on that account, yet I have generally chosen to be silent upon the subject. There was even a proposal of putting you up last year, upon the Faith of your being here during the summer. It was mentiond to me, and I beged that no such thing might take place, as I was certain it would be very dissagreable to you, and instead of serving your interest, would greatly injure you.
The present Gentlemans Health is much upon the decline. He has been confined more than half of the last year and unable to do any buisness on account of the Goute.7
I most sincerely wish you would prosecute the plan discribed in your Letter.8 I feel myself so much better calculated for private and domestick Life, that it is with pain I think of any other. And I cannot yet help hoping You will return in the Spring of the year. Your ill Health distresses me and your complaints allarm me.
Congress have gone to Anapolis in Maryland. I shall constantly endeavour to inform myself of what passes there respecting my Friend, and to transmit it to you. In this state we appear to be in a much better temper than we were at the commencment of the year; things appear Setling into their old channel. Many of our Gay Gentry are returning to New York from whence they came. Commutation will go quietly down, the impost is passt in this state. Mr. Moris asscribes this, wholy to the extracts of your Letters which he sent to the Govenour, and through him to the assembly. They had a great influence tis true, and turnd the scale in favour of it.9 Mr. Morris mentiond the success you had obtaind in Holland respecting the loans with great approbation, as Mr. Thaxter informd me. He has been sick ever since his return confined to the house, so that I have only seen him for half an hour.
My uncle had furnished me with money to pay for my wood land before Mr. Thaxter arrived, upon my promiseing him a Bill. He wished to have it drawn upon London, but the Sum he wanted was 300 Dollors and I wanted two only. He is uncertain with respect to the Bill whither it will be upon Holland or England. If it is drawn upon Holland I had better apply to the Merchants you mention, because there is some expence attending the negotiation if it must be sent from thence to Paris. Bills upon London are in most demand, and would be more advantageous.
I will make the best use of your remittance in my power. You do not mention having sent me the articles I wrote for, the Irish linnen I should have been very glad of, and half a dozen pound of Hyson tea,10 we do not get any such as you used to send me.
{ 288 }
I inclose to you a paper containing Govenour Trumbles farewell, which would do honour to an old Roman.11 A scheme for a Bank, which I am informd is already nearly fill'd, the utility I am no judge of.12
Dr. Coopers life is dispaird of, I shall mourn his loss. He has been by some very unkindly used and many gross falshoods reported of him, amongst the rest, that you had written a Letter last spring in which you had named 3 Gentlemen as pensioners to France, the Govenour, Dr. Cooper and Judge Sullivan. This I denied upon all occasions, and traced it to the Temple of Scandle.13 Trust not that Man. He means to visit you, and will bring you letters I suppose. I hope you know him.14 Adieu.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Portia. 27. Decr. 1784”—an obvious inadvertance.
1. In her letter of 7 Dec., above, AA had called him Benjamin Ruggles. This individual has not been identified.
2. AA called this a six-acre lot in her letter of 7 December.
3. See AA to JA, 7 May, and note 11, above.
4. For several Veaseys (in various spellings) in Braintree, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:index; Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy; and Braintree Town Records.
5. Royall Tyler held this property until 1787 and made some improvements, intending, as AA asserts in this letter, to marry AA2 and settle there. Not long after the failure of his courtship of AA2 in late 1785, however, he decided to abandon Braintree, and the farm reverted to Leonard Vassall Borland, who sold it to JA in Sept. 1787. Occupied by Adamses from 1788 to 1927, it was given by the family to the United States in 1946, and is now the Adams National Historic Site. The Adamses have traditionally referred to it as the “Old House.” See G. Thomas Tanselle, Royall Tyler, Cambridge, 1967, p. 13, 18–19; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:74–75, note 1; 3:217, note 7.
6. See JA to AA, 14 Aug., and note 6, above.
7. John Hancock suffered from increasingly severe and prolonged attacks of gout from the early 1770s to his death in 1793 (Herbert S. Allan, John Hancock, Patriot in Purple, N.Y., 1948; William M. Fowler Jr., The Baron of Beacon Hill, A Biography of John Hancock, Boston, 1980, p. 162–163).
8. In his letter of 14 Aug., above, JA wrote that he planned to sell his Boston house, collect his debts, and put his money into land, rejecting any high public office in favor of supervising the education of his children.
9. Robert Morris' letter to Gov. Hancock, dated 20 Sept., enclosed extracts from two of JA's letters to Morris, dated 10 and 11 July, in which he stressed the importance of the several states adopting a plan to pay the interest on the national debt. In his second letter JA wrote at length on the public honor requiring the payment of the debt: “The thirteen States, in relation to the discharge of the debts of Congress, must consider themselves as one body, animated by one soul. The stability of our confederation at home, our reputation abroad, our power of defence, the confidence and affection of the people of one State towards those of another, all depend upon it. . . .
“The commerce of the world is now open to us, and our exports and imports are of so large amount, and our connexions will be so large and extensive that the least Stain upon our character in this respect will lose us in a very short time advantages of greater pecuniary value, than all our debt amounts to” (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 6:531–532, 536–537).
This kind of persuasion was needed in the House, which on 8 Oct. voted down by 97 to 26 a motion to concur with the Senate in approving the 5 percent federal impost. The position of the House was that the impost should be used to pay the state's proportion of the national debt, that its collection should be regulated by the state legislature, and that no part of its receipts should be used to provide half-pay for Continental Army officers.
{ 289 }
The next day Gov. Hancock addressed a joint meeting of the legislature, in which he referred to JA's extracted letters. Much of his address, which was printed in the Boston newspapers, dwelt upon the knowledge and accomplishments of JA, whose recommendations he urged the legislators to weigh carefully: “I need not remind you, Gentlemen, of the political knowledge of that minister; of the confidence he has acquired from the United States; of the part he bore in framing the constitution of this commonwealth, and the confederation of the states, the intent and spirit of which he well understood; nor need I mention the advantage afforded him by his important public employments in Europe for taking an extended view of the subject on which he writes, for examining it nicely, and feeling its whole force” (Continental Journal, 16 October).
Following Hancock's address the House proposed a conference with the Senate to exchange views, and in the next ten days opposition to the impost as voted by the Senate steadily eroded. When it was revealed that only 37 members had instructions from their constituents to oppose half-pay, the House approved the Senate measure by 70 to 65. On 17 Oct., a motion to bar the use of the impost for half-pay failed by 74 to 64, but the final text of the act stipulated that sums raised could be applied only to discharge the interest or principal of debts incurred in fighting the war. The measure finally passed on 20 Oct., with 108 members present, 57 yeas (Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A.1b, Reel No. 11, Unit 1, p. 224–225, 231–233, 234, 236, 238, 252–254, 258–261, 267; Mass., Acts and Laws, 1782–1783, p. 541–543).
10. See AA to JA, 7 May, above.
11. Enclosure not found. The only Boston newspaper that carried Gov. Jonathan Trumbull's speech was the Continental Journal of 18 December. The speech was separately printed as An Address of His Excellency Governor Trumbull, to the General Assembly and the Freemen of the State of Connecticut: Declining Any Further Election to Public Office. With the Resolution of the Legislature, in Consequence thereof, New London, 1783, Evans, No. 17885. In his address, Trumbull laid heavy emphasis on the need for a stronger central government, urged the faithful payment of public and private debts, and entered a plea for virtuous living and love among community members.
12. This fragmentary reference must be to the establishment of the Massachusetts Bank, the first in the state (later called the First National Bank of Boston, and from 1984, The Bank of Boston). On 10 Dec., six Bostonians, including AA's uncle, Isaac Smith Sr., wrote to Thomas Willing, president of the Bank of North America in Philadelphia, the nation's first bank, asking for information on how to start and run a bank. Willing's reply of 6 Jan. 1784 encouraged the six to seek legal incorporation, and on 7 Feb. the General Court passed an act to establish the bank. The first stockholders met in March to organize the institution and elected James Bowdoin its first president. It is likely that AA first heard of this endeavor while visiting Isaac Smith on 13–14 December. Norman S. B. Gras, The Massachusetts First National Bank of Boston: 1784–1934, Cambridge, 1937; Ben Ames Williams Jr., Bank of Boston 200: A History of New England's Leading Bank, 1784–1984, Boston, 1984.
13. No JA letter of any date accusing Gov. John Hancock, the Rev. Samuel Cooper, or the prominent attorney and former superior court judge James Sullivan of being in the pay of France has been identified, and it seems as unlikely to the editors as it did to AA that JA would ever have made such a charge.
Yet the Rev. Cooper, who died on 29 Dec., had in fact, in Jan. 1779, accepted the offer of an annual stipend of £200 sterling from Joseph de Valnais, the French consul in Boston, to promote the French alliance through his speeches and newspaper writings. This stipend was approved by Conrad Alexandre Gérard, the French minister to the United States, and then by the Comte de Vergennes, who continued it until Cooper's death. Cooper later informed the French of the contents of letters written by Arthur Lee and JA to Cooper's good friend, Samuel Adams (William C. Stinchcombe, The American Revolution and the French Alliance, Syracuse, 1969, p. 124). According to his biographer, Charles Akers, Rev. Cooper sincerely believed that the alliance and French leadership were in the best interests of the United States.
As AA suggests here, John Temple, the son-in-law of James Bowdoin, had become suspicious of Cooper's strong pro-French sympathies, and either Temple or his friends began attacking Cooper in Boston's newspapers in Jan. 1782 for being too political a clergyman. By the spring of that year, James Sullivan emerged as a defender of both Cooper and James Bowdoin's political rival, Gov. Han• { 290 } cock, against Temple.
Once the question of whether the American Commissioners would observe Congress' instructions that they follow the French lead in the peace negotiations with Great Britain became a public issue, the acceptance of a stipend from the French crown would have seemed to many Americans to be disloyalty to the interests of the United States. Because JA as Commissioner refused to observe these instructions, he and those holding like views would certainly have been dismayed to learn that Cooper was taking French money. Apparently without any such suspicion on JA's part, but after warnings from William Gordon to JA in Sept. 1782, that Cooper had become “Franklified & Frenchified” (Stinchcombe, p. 124), the old warm relationship between JA and Dr. Cooper was cooling by 1783. Neither man, however, would acknowledge this alteration.
Dr. Cooper died without the knowledge of his pension being revealed to his countrymen. No evidence has been produced that either John Hancock or James Sullivan was ever a French pensioner. Cooper, however, so strongly supported Hancock that he was dubbed the governor's “Prime Minister” in the early 1780s. And James Sullivan, one of Cooper's stoutest defenders, wrote a laudatory obituary of the pastor for the Boston newspapers. See Charles W. Akers, The Divine Politician, Boston, 1982, p. 278–281, 290, and chaps. 21–22; Stinchcombe, p. 67, 113, and chap. 9.
14. This, AA's first criticism of John Temple, contrasts sharply with the favorable view expressed in Richard Cranch to JA, 21 Nov. (Adams Papers). AA may have learned of Cranch's opinion, which she had not countered in her letter of 20 Nov., above, and therefore felt a need to caution JA here. In any event, AA's wariness of John Temple, despite his strong opposition to Gov. Hancock, whom she despised, and her continued high opinion of Dr. Cooper, who remained one of Hancock's principal supporters, points to the complexity of Massachusetts politics, and to its interconnections with the foreign policy of the United States, in 1783.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0158

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1784-01-03

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I have already written you 3 Letters, which have been waiting a long time for a passage;1 they will now all go in one ship, provided I can get this to Town to morrow; tho She was ordered for sailing to day, yet I trust to the delay which vessels usually have.
Last evening I received a packet of Letters from Nabby who has been in Town a month; inclosing Your Letters by Mr. Robbins,2 who arrived in a passage of 33 days only. By him, I was happy to hear you were well when he left you, but alass! you know not the anxiety I suffer upon account of your Health, or how often my Heart is overwhelmed, with the Idea that I never shall see you more.
I cannot without terrour, think of your going to reside at the Hague, indeed you cannot live in that country, and you have repeatedly told me so. Why then will you risk a Life invaluably dear to me; and for the comfort and enjoyment of which, there is no earthly pleasure, I would not willingly relinquish; and it is the apprehension which I have for your precarious Health, and the hope that by a watchfull attention I may be able to preserve it, that leads me to seriously to think of quitting all my Friends and my dear Boys, to cross the ocean, coward as I am; without Husband or son to protect { 291 } or support me; it is one thing to encounter dangers or difficulties with you; and an other without you.
Why with a Heart Susceptable of every tender impression, and feelingly alive, have I So often been called to Stand alone and support myself through Scenes which have almost torn it assunder, not I fear, because I have more resolution or fortitude than others, for my resolution often fails me; and my fortitude wavers.
As my own judgment, and the advice of my Friends, will prevent my comeing out this winter, I shall by spring know the determinations of congress with respect to your situation, and in some measure be governed by them.
Your Daughter writes me thus, “this mor'g I was agreeably Surprized by the sight of Mr. Robbins, who came with Letters from Pappa and my Brother. You will see that I have taken the liberty to open them, which I hope your own feelings will lead you to excuse. I find my dear Pappa has again been sick with a severe fever. O Mamma what have we not to fear from his continuance abroad in climates so enemical to his Health? I shudder at the thought, and wish he could be prevailed upon to consider his danger.”
“I know perfectly well how I should act with regard to Pappas requests, were I exatly in your situation, tho I own, I now dread the result. Yet my duty, and my fears for the critical state of his Health, operate so powerfully upon my mind being never absent from my thoughts, that I would rather influence than dissuade you from going.”3
In concequence of your last Letters I shall immediately set about putting all our affairs in such a train as that I may be able to leave them in the spring; you have written to me with Regard to Mr. Alleynes Farm, during the war he talked of selling; but I have heard nothing of it of late. I will have him sounded, and if he should sell, leave it in charge with some Friend to purchase if you can; the land you mention belonging to Col. Quincy I know he wants to sell. Mr. Tyler applied to him for it tho not very pressingly, before he purchased Mrs. Borelands Farm, but the Col. had got such wild notions of foreigners of fortune comeing over to settle here, and the high value of Land, that there was no reason in him; but after he heard that Mrs. Boreland had sold her Farm, of which he had then no Idea, he was shagreen'd that he did not sell it, and has since offerd it to him, but he asked 26 pound pr acre. I will take the opinion of your Brother and one or two others, of the real value of it; and make him an offer, through some Friend, for if he should suspect that you wanted it, he { 292 } would immediately suppose that it was because you knew of gentlemen of fortunes comeing over, and supposed land would run very high near Boston.
There is a method of laying out money to more advantage than by the purchase of land's, which a Friend of mine advised me to, for it is now become a regular merchandize. Dr. T[uft]s has sold a Farm with a design of vesting it in this manner, viz in State Notes. Provision is now made for the anual payment of Interest, and the Notes have all been consolidated. Foreigners and monied Men have, and are purchaseing them at 7 shillings upon the pound, 6 and 8 pence they have been sold at. I have mentiond to you that I have a hundred pounds sterling in the hands of a Friend, I was thinking of adding the 50 you sent me, and purchaseing 600 pounds L M in state Notes provided I can get them at 7 shillings or 6 and 8 pence. This would yeald me an anual interest of 36 pounds subject to no taxes:4 and be some thing to leave in the hand of a Friend for the support of our Sons.
If I should do this I shall have occasion to draw upon you, tho not for any large sum. I wish you would put me in a way to have my Bills answerd in London, as those will sell above par.
If I come out in the Spring I hope to prevail with Dr. Tufts to take under his patronage our little cottage and Farm. The care of our two sons I will leave in charge with my two Sisters, but as they reside at Haverhill, it will chiefly devolve upon Mrs. Shaw. To Mr. Shaw I shall leave the trust of the Medford estate which was left jointly between my sister and me.5 It will be his interest to take the best care of it, and to make such arrangements from time to time as he may find necessary. I shall direct him to receive my part of the Rent, as part pay for the schooling of the children. Forgive me if I sometimes use the singular instead of the plural, alass I have been too much necessitated to it. Mr. Pratt our old tenant still lives upon the Farm. If he continues here it will be necessary to come into new conditions with him.
Your account Books I put six months ago; into the hands of Mr. Tyler, that the whole might not be lost, by insolvent debtors and Refugee Tories as a great part already is. He is in a way to get them adjusted; some little money he has received, many of the accounts he has got into Notes of Hand, which if sued will not admit of dispute as accounts do.6 Many persons very barefacedly deny their accounts. This is not so much to be wonderd at, when they can totally forget Notes of Hand. The Sloans Bond I sued, and got some land under { 293 } mortgage which I put upon record.7 I have some thoughts of selling at vendue part of the house furniture, as I suppose I could purchase new for what this would fetch. With regard to cloathing, there will be no occasion of my taking more than a change. I could wish to receive any particular directions which you may think proper to give before I embark.
To my uncle Smith I shall apply to look me out a proper vessel captain &c.
My Neice I must send to her Mother. She mourns sadly at the thoughts of my going. I must seem nearer to her than her own Parent, as she has lived 6 years with me, and has little remembrance of any thing before she came to me. She has been as earnest to know the result of every letter from you as if her life depended upon it. I have promised with your consent; that if I live to return she shall come again to me; but I fear that I can no more live in Holland than you; tis a climate no way suited to Rheumatick complaints, of which I have had a larger share than I have for many winters before, and I am so subject to a nervious pain in my head that I think my own Health in a precarious situation. Adieu, ever, ever Yours
[signed] AA
Love to my son. I have written him by this vessel.8
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia Jan. 3. 1784.”
1. Those of 7, 15, and 27 Dec. 1783, all above.
2. Probably the first and secondtwo of 8 Nov., and possibly also that of 18 Nov. 1783, all above. Although Robbins was to board his ship on 10 Nov. (JA to AA, 8 Nov. 1783, first letter, above), his sailing may have been sufficiently delayed to allow him to carry the last letter.
3. AA2's letter has not been found, but see AA2 to Elizabeth Cranch, 4 Jan., and AA2 to AA, 6 Jan., both below.
4. “L M” is lawful money, the official Massachusetts currency. During the early 1780s, the legislature passed acts to consolidate the state's outstanding debts from the war. State notes, also called consolidated notes, were issued to creditors upon the redemption of old paper money and debt certificates. Taxes were levied to pay interest and principal in successive years (Mass., Acts and Laws, 1780–1781, p. 75–77; 1782–1783, p. 175–176). In a separate act, the legislature stated that income from consolidated notes would be exempt from taxes (same, 1780–1781, p. 954).
5. See Elizabeth Shaw to AA, 26 March, note 3, below.
6. Royall Tyler kept these accounts of JA's legal practice from 1783 to 1786, when he turned them over to Cotton Tufts (Tufts to AA, 15 Aug. 1786, Adams Papers; JA, Earliest Diary, p. 25, 26, 28).
7. The editors have found no further information about this transaction.
8. AA to JQA, 26 Dec. 1783, above.

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.