A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 6

Docno: ADMS-04-06-02-0090

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Tufts, Cotton
Date: 1785-08-18

Abigail Adams to Cotton Tufts

[salute] My dear sir

Captain Lyde is to Sail this week. I will not let him go without a few lines to you, tho Captain Callihan has arrived without a Single Letter from my Friends. Mr. Adams received 3 by Monssieur Le Tomb, from his Boston Friend's.1 If my son had been lucky enough to have had such a passage as I hoped he would, I should have heard of his arrival by Captain Callihan or the New York packet which saild the 7 of july. He left Lorient the 21 of May, and must have a very tedious passage. I am not yet without hopes that the French packet which does not leave New York untill the 20th may, will2 bring intelligence from him.
I find that our reception here had not reachd Boston when Captain Callihan left it. Tho treated by the Court with as much civility as could have been expected, it has not Screened us, or our Country from the base falshoods, and bilingsgate of hireling Scriblers or the envenomd pen of Refugees. Their evident design has been to get Mr. A. to notice them, and to replie to their peices. They have tried every string. Sometimes they will not even allow him the Rank of Minister, then they will represent the title in a ridiculous light, calling him commercial Agent, proscribed Rebel, snearing at him for having taken Dr. Price as Father confessor, because we have usually attended the Drs. meeting. Sometimes they have asserted that the king treated him with the utmost disdain, at others that Lord Carmathan and the American plenipo, were at the utmost varience, that the foreign ministers would not associate with him, that he could not give a publick dinner because Congress paper would not pass, and tradesmen would not credit, that the Secratary to the Legation could neither read or write, but that his principal had sent him to an evening school to qualfy him, that Hearing the Honble. Mrs. Adams's Carriage call'd was a little better than going in an old chaise to market with a little fresh butter; in short the publication which they have daily publishd have been a disgrace to the Nation.3 Now and then a peice would appear lashing them for their Scurility, but they are callous, and refuse to publish in favour of America, as I have been told or rather demand such a price for publishing as to amount to a prohibition. Mr. A has never noticed them.
The Massachusetts Navigation act has struck them dumb, for tho { 284 } 3 days publishd not a syllable of abuse has appeard; by a vessel which arrived yesterday from Virgina it is said, that assembly has passt similar acts and prohibited any tobaco being exported in British vessels,4 which will essentially affect the revenu, by the British navigation act. No vessels but British and American have been permitted to bring tobaco. The duty paid here last year upon tobaco, amounted to four hundred and Eighty two thousand pounds. It is supposed that 3 hundred thousand pounds worth was smuggled. The severity of the Laws against Smuggling has led them to suppose they should collect seven hundred thousand pounds this year. Three Virgina vessels which went not long since to the West India Islands being sent away without permission of unloading have raised the old Spirit amongst them. Thus is this Nation driving us into greatness, obliging us to become frugal, to retrench our Luxeries, to build a Navy to have a great Number of Seamen, and by and by to become a terrour to evil doers.5 The very measures they are taking to prevent it, will hasten it. Mr. A. soon after his arrival communicated to the Marquiss of Carmarthan the various subjects of his mission agreeable to his instructions. He had some conferences with him, in all of which the Marquis discoverd a liberality of sentiment and a mind open to conviction. Through him these matters pass to the minister of State.6 Yet not a syllable of replie to any one thing proposed has been returnd. It is thought they mean to wait, and see what effects the propositions7 are like to have in Ireland. If they can oblige the Irish to swallow them without much struggle, they will then be ready for America. But by the present appearence Ireland determines not to be triffled with, and it is thought best not to push these matters at present. If the States empower Congress to regulate their commerce it will have happy concequences for at present, there are those who have the ear of the ministry and persuade them that there is not union sufficient in the States to accomplish any thing jointly. Every little petty disturbance is represented as a dissolution of all government.
It is hoped here by the Friends of America, and there are many such yet, that the measures which are taken there, will be well weighed and matured, that the legislators will not suffer any narrow contracted sentiments and principals to operate, but that they will view objects upon a large Scale looking forward to concequences, rearing the Edifice upon a rock that will not be shaken.8
You will consider some parts of my politicks as confidential Sir and { 285 } excuse my being so buisy in them, but I am so connected with them, that I cannot avoid being much interested.
With regard to our private affairs sir I wrote you by my son9 and nothing new occurs at present to my mind. Mr. Elworthy presented your Bill which was paid upon Sight, and Mr. Storer who is soon to sail for America will receive 12 Guineys at New York from Dr. Crosby, being money paid upon the dr account here, which money he will deliver to you.10 We do not find living here, less expensive than in Paris I assure you sir, but there is one comfort that we cannot go to Kings bench11 untill our commission is vacated. But we should soon be in a condition for that place if we were disposed to take the credit which is offerd us. Notwithstanding all the abuse in the papers we receive none from any other quarter, tradesmen are as civil and as obliging as in any country, and there are constant solicitations from them to Supply us. But I chuse no credit, so long as we have money we shall pay it, and when we cannot live here we will come home. Go to Market again with fresh Butter.
I suppose sir you will receive by this vessel, two Letters which may supprize you.12 Mrs. Cranch will communicate to you what I have written to her. It is a matter I believe concluded upon after long deliberation and mature reflection. The former assent of her Father seems to have sometime hindred her from taking this step, and tho perfectly agreable to our wishes, we had never expresst them, nor scarcly ever mentiond the name of the person. Being once free, I believe she will in future proceed with a caution purchased by experience. You will not be very well pleasd with the commission,13 yet as it was her own act and the choise she has made is so wise, I hope you will comply. I have scarcly room upon my paper to present my duty to my dear Aunt or to Assure you how affectionately I am Yours
[signed] AA
Since I finishd my Letter Mr. A has received Letters from France from Mr. Jefferson,14 inclosing the two Arrets of the King of France, prohibiting english Manufactories, which make them grumble here very much, but it will all work for good to us. It has been publishd here in the papers that our “good and Great Ally” had shut us out of the French West Indias, whereas Mr. Jefferson writes no such thing had taken place, but that more of our vessels were now at the French West Indias than ever was known before, and that he is not without hopes of obtaining particular priviledges for us. What an impolitick { 286 } Nations this, it has been hinted that this Court are striving to set the Algerines to war with us. Congress sent important papers by a Mr. Lambe to the minister more than 3 months ago. No such man has arrived and their Hands are tied for want of this intelligence. Nobody can tell what is become of him or his papers. He had been tendering his Services to congress to go there as consul.15 They sent him to the ministers to do as they thought best—but no Papers or Man has come. Thus you see sir how the most salutary measures may be obstructed and parties blamed when they have done what was their duty and exerted themselves to the utmost for the publick benefit. Col. Smith has taken a tour to Berlin to see the Grand Review which commences the 21 of the month, he appears a Gentleman solid sedate tho warm and active when occasion requires. He is sensible and judicious, dignified sentiments of his own Country and a high sense of honour appear to govern his actions. Mr. A is very happy in him.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs. Adams London Aug 1785 recd Sept.” The postscript is written on a separate fragment of a full sheet of paper.
1. On 14 Aug., Philippe André Joseph de Letombé, the French consul in Boston, called on JA at Grosvenor Square with letters from Samuel Adams, 2 July, and Thomas Cushing, 3 July (both in Adams Papers; see AA2 to JQA, 26 Aug., below).
2. Thus in MS; “will” is written above the line. AA perhaps intended to write “untill the 20th [July] may bring,” and then, in reading over the letter, mistook “may” for “May” and added “will.”
3. JA was identified as “the same person who was proscribed as a REBEL,” in the Daily Universal Register of 9 June. On 10 June the same newspaper stated that his reception at Court had been “cool,” and on 14 June it reported: “It is whispered the celebrated Dr. Price is political father confessor to the new Plenipo, and has already given him absolution.” Similar attacks and attempts to discredit JA appear in the Daily Universal Register of 6, 21 and 22 July.
4. Virginia levied a 5 shilling per ton duty on all goods imported in English ships; this act went into effect in October (William Waller Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large; being a Collection of all the Laws of Virginia, Richmond and Philadelphia, 1809–1823, 13 vols., 12:32; Jensen, The New Nation, p. 299).
5. AA appears to paraphrase Scripture here, perhaps Romans 13:3, or 1 Peter 2:14. Several verses in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Psalms also speak of “evil-doers.”
6. AA probably intends the prime minister, William Pitt. On 6 Aug., JA wrote Pitt to request a conference. Pitt replied on the 16th, agreeing to meet the following day, but that meeting was evidently postponed to 24 Aug., when JA had his first meeting with the prime minister (JA to Pitt, 6 Aug. [LbC], Pitt to JA, 16 Aug., both Adams Papers; JA to John Jay, 25 Aug., PCC, No. 84, V, f. 605–619, printed in Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789, 2:455–462).
7. See AA2 to JQA, 4 July note 31, above.
8. Luke 6:48; Matthew 7:24–25.
9. On 2 May, above.
10. On 5 March, JA accepted Tufts' bill of £50, and directed Richard & Charles Puller, bankers in London, to pay that amount to James Elworthy, and charge the sum to his Amsterdam bankers, on his account with the United States (JA to Elworthy, 5 March, to Richard & Charles Puller, 5 March, both LbCs, Adams Papers). On 1 Jan., Tufts had received £70 lawful Massachusetts currency for his £50 bill of exchange, drawn “in favour of James Elworthy” (account entry in Tufts to John Adams, 10 Aug., above). Dr. Ebenezer Crosby owed the twelve guineas to JA for a medical instrument that JA had recently purchased for him (Crosby to JA, 14 April, Adams Papers).
11. King's Bench Prison in Southwark, where debtors as well as criminals were held (Wheatley, London Past and Present).
12. The identity of these letters, concerning { 287 } Royall Tyler, is not certain, but see AA2 to Royall Tyler, [ca. 11 Aug.], and AA to Mary Cranch, 15 Aug., both above.
13. Probably to recover a miniature of AA2, her letters, and certain other items, from Royall Tyler. See Tufts to AA, 13 April 1786, and AA to Tufts, 22 July 1786 (both Adams Papers).
14. Jefferson to JA, 10 Aug., and perhaps also 6 Aug. (Jefferson, Papers, 8:361–362, 347–353).
15. The JCC says nothing about Lamb's seeking the position of consul to the Barbary States; see AA to Jefferson, 12 Aug., and note 5, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-06-02-0091

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Date: 1785-08-20

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams 2d

This morning we left <Hartford> New Haven, accompanied by Mr. Broome, and Mr. Brush, who wishing to take a ride to Hartford, took this opportunity, which is a very agreeable Circumstance to us. We at first intended to have gone directly to Hartford this day. But as I had a Letter for Genl. Parsons,2 one of the aldermen of this City, and as we were told it was worth ou[r while to us]e this road, which is only 2 miles longer than the other, we [determined t]o go no further than this, to-day: it is only 28 miles from New Haven. This is a much smaller place than that, but I think full as agreeably situated. It stands upon the side, of an hill on the banks of the Connecticut River, which deserves the poet's lays as much as ever the Rhine, the Danube, or the Tiber did. Many parts of the Country through which we have past, and especially the banks of this River, are highly cultivated, and I was never so much delighted with the appearance of any Country, probably because, I never felt so much interested, in any of those I have travell'd through. Genl. Parsons spent the Evening with us. I feel a peculiar veneration for him, because he told me, he was three years at Harvard College, with my father, and was at that time intimate with him. We proceed to-morrow, for Hartford.
It is only 14 miles from hence to Middleton, so that we got here, before 9 o'clock this morning. Part of the road, is along by the side of the River, but some times you leave it, to ascend an hill from whence there are some of the most beautiful Prospects I ever beheld. There are several such on this Road. Three miles before this we came through, the town of Weathersfield, which is greatly celebrated for the Singers, it produces. Indeed all over Connecticut, they pay great attention to their singing at meeting. Mr. Chaumont went with us { 288 } this afternoon; and as soon as the Service was over, he told me he had been struck with the singing. I own I was very agreeably, although I had already been told, of the fact. Here I have seen Coll. Wadsworth, with whom I suppose you are not acquainted, and Mr. Trumbull,3 with whom I had a great deal of Conversation this afternoon. I wish I could have an opportunity of forming a nearer acquaintance; but cannot be gratified, as we propose leaving Hartford to-morrow.
We have rode 16 miles this afternoon: for we did not leave Hartford till 4 o'clock. Mr. Broome, and Mr. Brush, left us in the morning, and return'd to New Haven. We went in the forenoon out with Coll. Wadsworth, to his farm, 2 or 3 miles out of the City. He there shew us a number of the largest oxen we ever saw: they really appeared monstrous to us, yet, Cattle of this size, are not uncommon, we are told in this State. What such an amazing difference, in the same kind of animals, is owing to I cannot conceive. We dined with Coll. Wadsworth, and were not able to ride further this afternoon, on account of the weather which is very warm.
Thirty six miles nearer home, than yesterday, and at length arrived into the State itself. At about 9 this morning, we cross'd Connecticut River, near Springfield, where it serves as a barrier between the two States.4 Two days more will carry us I hope to the town [Boston]. The roads in this State, are much rougher, and more disagreeable than the greatest part of those in Connecticut. I have been known at two or three taverns, by my resemblance to my father, who has travelled these roads more than once.5
We have proceeded, only 31 miles to-day owing to several circumstances; we shall have 42 to-morrow, an hard days work, but I hope we shall perform it, if the weather is good. The roads as we are told, and as we may naturally suppose, grow better as we come nearer to the Capital. We came through Worcester this afternoon, and a[re] now but 6 miles from it.6 This I think is where your Pappa studied Law, and the appearance of the town pleased me very much; I wished to stop there this Night, but it would have made our Journey of to-morrow, too long.
{ 289 }
The heart of the most loyal frenchmen, has not felt this day, so great, and so real a pleasure as mine has. Our motives are certainly very different. Their's because it is the jour de fête, de Son bon Roi; (all kings of France you know are bons Rois)7 mine, the idea, of being after a seven years absence, return'd to my own dear home, and amidst the friends of my Infancy, and those who are dear to me by the ties of blood. My Satisfaction cannot be now complete. The absence, of two of the best Parents in the World, and of a Sister on whose happiness my own depends, can certainly be compensated by nothing; but I will think as Little of this as possible, and turn all my ideas to pleasing Subjects. I have not yet told you how I got here. This morning, before 4 o'clock, we got under way, and by riding till about 9 this evening, we got to Bracket's tavern. There was no lodging to be had there: the house, was full, as there are now a great number of foreigners in town. We then came down, to a Mrs. Kilby's in State Street, where we have obtained one Room between us both. It is now eleven o'clock, and I am much fatigued: so I must lay down my pen for the present.
The first thing I did this morning, was to go to Uncle Smith's. Betsey8 came to the door, and as you may well suppose I knew her immediately: but she did not know me. Your uncle was at his Store; and Mr. William set out this morning, on a journey to the Eastward.9 Your Aunt ask'd abundance of Questions about you. I went down to Uncle Smith's store. He knew me as soon as he saw me, and immediately enquired when I arrived. Upon my telling him, last night, I suppose, said he, you could not find the way to our house. I found here all my trunks, both those that were sent from Holland, and those I embark'd at New-York. But I enquired in vain for Letters from you: none were to be found, so I am now obliged to set out on fresh hopes; and though I have received but four short pages from you, since I left Auteuil,10 yet I have no doubt but you have been as punctual as myself; and I am sure, if all I have written, affords you half the pleasure, one of your Letters does to me, I shall never regret my time. I Dined with Uncle Cranch, Lucy and Betsey were both in town. We sat, and look'd at one another; I could not speak, and they could only ask now and then a Question concerning you. How much more expressive this Silence, than any thing we could have said. I am glad { 290 } to see you, will do for a Stranger, and a person quite indifferent to us; but may I always find a silent reception from my real friends. Don't think I am grown too sentimental; I felt so impatient to see my brother that I would not wait till to-morrow, and went in the afternoon with Mr. Smith and your Cousins, to Cambridge. Charles and your Cousin, are both well; but I spoilt Charles for Conversation by giving him your Letters;11 he was so eager to read them, that he was employ'd a great part of the time we were there. He comes on well in his Studies, and, what is of great advantage, to a Student, has for his Chambermate, a youth, whose thirst for knowledge is insatiable. His name is Walker. He <studied> was about six months in Mr. Shaw's family, and it will be sufficient to say that all our friends, are much pleased with their being together at College. And I am perswaded it will afford peculiar Satisfaction to our Parents, who well know how much benifit is derived from the Spur of Emulation. I hope I shall be as fortunate as my Cousin, and brother have been, when I enter College, myself. To-morrow we go to Braintree.
At length all the ideas, which have been for so long a time been playing upon my imagination, are realized, and now I may truly say,

A tous les coeurs bien nés que la patrie est chere!

Qu'avec ravissement, je revois ce séjour!12

I left Boston early in the afternoon, but stopp'd on the road at several places; so that it was eight before I got here. Mr. Toscan, (the Vice, as you used to call him)13 and Mr. Chaumont came 4 or 5 miles out of town with me. You remember your Pappa gave Mr. Chaumont a Letter for the former governor,14 Who has occupied, Mr. Swan's house in Roxbury, all this Summer. He deliver'd it this afternoon. And I thought this might be a proper time to pay him my visit too. He is at this time troubled with the gout, but not enough to prevent his seeing Company. From thence we went and drank tea at Mr. Hichborne's, Summer Seat, (for Summer Seats are high in vogue now). He was not at home himself, so that I saw only his Lady. There was considerable Company.15 There I left the gentlemen, and proceeded to Genl. Warren's. There I was cordially received. Poor Charles, is going again to try if he can recover any portion of Health. He went last Winter to the West Indies, and found himself much better, but has pined away again since he return'd, and intends now to sail in the Course of the Week for Europe: he proposes spending the Winter { 291 } at Lisbon. My wishes for him are much greater than my hopes. My last Stage, was at Uncle Adams's, there I saw our aged honour'd Grandmamma, and I am perswaded, I have been more heartily welcomed by no person. The Question, which is so often repeated to me, When will they return? was one, of the first she ask'd me. I could only answer with a sigh, which she understood as well, as if I had spoken. May she live to see the joyful day! It will be an happy one to her, and then may she never wish for your return again! When I arrived here,16 I perceived that I had left your Packet for Mr. Tyler, and the letters for your aunt, at Boston in my trunk. I was sorry it happened so; but the Circumstance was to my own Advantage, for it made them all more sociable, than they would have been; for as one of our Cousins told me, they have now time enough to talk with me, but your Letters will not last so long, and therefore when they have them, they must make as much of them as they can. Miss Eunice Paine, has spent some weeks here, and Cousin Betsey has spent a great part of the Summer in Boston; where she is learning to play upon the harpsichord.
I have attended the meeting twice to-day. I could not have supposed that the parson's17 voice, and looks and manner, would seem so familiar to me. I thought while he was preaching, that I had heard him every week ever since I left Braintree. As I look'd round the meeting house every face, above 30, I knew; scarcely one, under 20. This did not at all surprize me, as I had already made the same observations with Respect to persons of our own family. As for Billy Cranch: I might have been an hundred times in Company with him, without having the most distant suspicion who he was, though I should at first sight, have known his father and mother, wherever I might have seen them. This afternoon I went down, and view'd the well known habitation. My Sensations on this occasion cannot be described, but they were such that I did not stay two minutes in the House, nor would it give me the least pain, was I forbidden to enter it again, before your return. I went to the Library, and look'd over the books, which are in good Condition; only somewhat musty and dusty, which shows that their owner is not with them.
My Paper bids me close, but it shall not be for long. Compliments, are useless to those we love. Your's.
[signed] J. Q. Adams
RC (Adams Papers). The text is written on eight small pages numbered “49” to “56”; see the descriptive note to JQA to AA2, [12] May, above. Small fragments of { 292 } the text have been lost at folds and edges, and through the tearing away of the seal. The MS was water damaged in the wreck of the ship Ceres, which brought its courier, Nathaniel Barrett of Boston, to France. See AA2 to JQA, 5 Dec., below.
1. Middletown, Conn.
2. The letter was from Connecticut congressman William Samuel Johnson, whom JQA had met in Fairfield on 17 Aug. (JQA, Diary, 1:306, 308–309). Samuel Holden Parsons, Harvard 1756, had served in the Continental army throughout the war, reaching the rank of major general. JA wrote to Parsons at least once a few years after college; in 1776 they became regular correspondents. See Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 14:50–73; JQA, Diary, 1:309, note 2; and JA, Papers, 1:46–47; 4:index.
3. John Trumbull, the Connecticut poet and lawyer, had studied law with JA in 1773–1774, had written the epic poem McFingal in 1775, and was regarded, in 1785, as the leader of the Connecticut Wits (JQA, Diary, 1:310, note 1; DAB).
4. JQA also makes this curious statement in his Diary (Diary, 1:311), perhaps because the river nearly coincided with the point where his particular route crossed the state border.
5. JQA's Diary suggests Scott's Tavern in Palmer, Mass., fifteen miles east of Springfield, as one location where he was recognized as JA's son. JQA and Chaumont probably reached either Western (now Warren) or Brookfield, Mass., this evening (same, 1:311, note 3).
6. The travelers probably lodged in Shrewsbury, Mass., this evening (same, 1:312, note 1).
7. In his Diary, JQA notes this as the festival day of St. Louis, France's “good king” Louis IX, the pious crusader monarch of the thirteenth century (same, 1:312).
8. Elizabeth Smith, youngest daughter of AA's aunt and uncle, Elizabeth Storer Smith and Isaac Smith Sr., was fifteen; she would not have seen JQA since he was twelve or younger, and she only nine.
9. In his Diary, JQA records that he did see Isaac Smith's son William before William's departure (same, 1:312).
10. Not found. This was probably AA2's “No. 1,” which JQA received on 20 May, in Lorient; it was probably written about five or six days earlier, at Auteuil (JQA to AA2, 17 May, above, under “Friday eve: May 20th”).
11. Not found.
12. Voltaire, Tancrède, III, i (JQA, Diary, 1:313, note 1).
13. Jean Joseph Marie Toscan was currently the French vice-consul in Boston (Abraham P. Nasatir and Gary Elwyn Monell, French Consuls in the United States, Washington, 1967, p. 567–568).
14. JA's letter to John Hancock, dated 14 April, merely recommended Chaumont to Hancock (LbC, Adams Papers).
15. Included in the party at the home of Boston lawyer Benjamin Hichborn was Lt. Gov. Thomas Cushing (JQA, Diary, 1:313, and note 4).
16. The Cranch's home in Braintree.
17. Rev. Anthony Wibird.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.