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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 6


Docno: ADMS-04-06-02-0160

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tyler, Royall
Date: 1785-12-12

John Adams to Royall Tyler

[salute] Sir

I have received, your instructive and entertaining Letter of the 15. of October, and although a Change of Circumstances has rendered it improper for me, to say any Thing in answer to the first part of it, I am not the less obliged to you, for the rest.
The Pamphlets you inclosed are great Curiosities, and merit the Consideration of the Publick in Europe as well as in America. The Coin, I have presented, together with an Extract of your Letter, to the Society of Antiquaries. It has occasioned a Sensation among the learned, and all heads are employed to discover whether the Figures are Phoenician, Carthaginian or what.1 If they are found to be ancient, they will bring into fresh Reputation, the Accounts of Diodorus Siculus and Plato, of an Atlantic Island,2 and will confirm the Suspicions of many curious Persons, that the Mariners Compas, was not an Invention of the fourteenth Century, but borrowed from the Arabs in the twelfth, and that the Arabs had it from the Pheenicians. I wish We could have had more of the 300 Coins here; but I make no doubt that the Society of Arts and Sciences at Boston, will publish in their Transactions, a particular Account of the whole.3 The Antiquaries complain of the Injury done to the Coin by rubbing off the rust, which they wish to have entire, as they are able by its thickness and Colour, Sometimes to compute the Age of it. Every Particular, which you can communicate to me, relative to this Discovery, will be gratefully acknowledged, and will redound to your Reputation. It is of Importance to Mankind to ascertain the Fact, whether Arts, Sciences and Civilization have existed among ancient Nations, inhabiting Countries, where few Traces of them remain: because the Progress of the same moral and political Causes, which have desolated Tire [Tyre] and Sidon, Sodom and Gomorrah, may again restore Europe to a forest, the residence of Savages. And indeed if Luxury and Vice should increase for a Century to come, as they have for two Centuries past, there is nothing incredible in the supposition, that Europe { 493 } might become again in time, a howling Wilderness. America I hope however will contribute to stay the Torrent both at home and abroad. When Nations are corrupted to a certain Point, Arts and Civility decline and Barbarity succeeds.
The Abby De Mablys Letters, and the Answer to Gibbons,4 I will endeavour to send you with this. I am very happy to learn that my Sons Behaviour has been pleasing to his Countrymen, and I hope that in time he will be a valuable Man. &c.
P.S. my Bookseller informs me, that the Answer to Gibbons is out of Print. He will look out and procure me one if it is to be had.
1. JA gave the coin to “Mr. [Edward?] Bridgen,” with a note and an extract from Tyler's letter, for presentation to London's Society of Antiquaries; the extract is a nearly verbatim transcription of the fourteenth paragraph of Tyler to JA, 15 Oct., above (see note 9 there).
Bridgen presented the coin with the extract to the Society of Antiquaries on 8 December. On 15 Dec., a Dr. Combe told the Society that the inscription on the coin did not resemble Punic (Carthaginian) writing, as some Americans had supposed, but was closer to Arabic or Turkish writing. As for the inscription on Dighton (Taunton) Rock, however, a Dr. Morton assured the Society that it did indeed appear to resemble Phoenician or Carthaginian writing (Minutes of the Society of Antiquaries of London, 8 and 15 Dec. 1785, 21:39, 41–43).
2. See Plato, Timaeus, and Critias; Diodorus Siculus 2.55–60.
3. No account of the coins found at Mystic has been found in the Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
4. See Royall Tyler to JA, 15 Oct., and note 10, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-06-02-0161

Author: Cranch, Mary Smith
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1785-12-18

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear sister

I did not design to write another line till I could get my pen mendid but not a creature can I get to do it, and I am so affraid that Captain Lyde will sail without my Pacquit that I dare not venture to wait till the children come from college tomorrow. I hope to see the dear Boys, and if the ship should not go so soon as I expect I will write again. I shall certainly write by the way of New York this winter.
Your Mother Hall din'd with me this day. I sent the chaise for her and Suky1 to make it seem as much like coming to Daughter Adams's as I could. She desirs me to give her best Love to all of you and tell you that she thanks you for the coat but that, there is nothing in this world that she wishes for so much as to see you. She is very well and really looks charmingly. Mr. A is more attentive to her than I ever expected to see him to any woman in the world. He came and drank Tea with us and waited upon her home. She complains that she { 494 } cannot get her son to write to his Brother. I wonder if Mr. Cranch does not seem quite as much like a Brother to your Friend. I had the Honour to present him with the Commission Mr. Cranch has procur'd for him—but if I should tell you he receiv'd it very graciously I fear you would not believe me.2 People have different ways you know of expressing their approbation. Your Brother has a sincerity about him that I love notwithstanding he has not sacrificed much to the Graces. Suky sends her Duty to uncle and aunt and Love to cousin. They were all much gratified by your and cousins presents. Mr. Cranch had spoken for some Nuts to be brought from Bridgwater for you before you mention'd that they would be acceptable to you, but I fear they will not come soon enough for this vessel. We shall send some chocalate by Lyde, which we beg your acceptance off. I wish I could send you any thing that would bear any proportion to your present to me and our children. If there is any thing that I can send that you cannot get in Europe pray let me know it. Mrs. Quincy says she has written to cousin3 to procure her a Black Padua Silk. The moment she knows she has done it she will pay the money to your order.
Winslow Warren surpriz'd His Friends last week by his unexpected return from Lisbon. We do not know the occation of his return. It will be a very great dissapointment to poor Charles if he should live to arrive there.4 Did you ever find or recieve the Letters you thought you had lost of Mrs. Warrens to Mr. Adams and her son, those she deliver'd to you when you went away.5 I have a great curiosity to know there fate. The General and Lady take it in dudgion that neither you nor Mr. Adams have written by the late vessels. “I hear he has written to Mr. Hancock.” Mrs. Warren says she has written tuw very long Letters and cannot find that you have mention'd receiving them in any bodys Letters.6 We are very jealous of any preference any where else.
You kindly desire me to tell you if I want any thing.7 It is not for me to create wants. My task is to think what I can do without. I find the gratification of one only makes way for another. For instance your kindness has furnish'd me with a beautiful Petticoat. “Tis a Beauty mama, but you have not a thin Silk nor an apron that will do to wear With it.” “I know it my dear and I know also that your Papas income will but just pay your Brothers quarter Bills and provide plain food and Raiment for us, and I will wear my old cloath's forever rather than run in debt for fine ones.”8 And so my dear sister if you will be so good as to procure me Lutstring enough for a gown suitable for { 495 } my station and age and muzlain for an apron, and send me the price, it shall be placed to your account, which I shall settle as you desir'd with the Doctor. It grieves me to think of charging any thing for my Nephews Board9 and we never shall do so if Mr. Cranch should be able to get into a little better business. As to any labour that we or the children perform for them pray my sister accept it as a small acknowledgment of the many obligations we are under to you.
I shall leave the colour of the silk to your fancy only let it be modest and not very dark.
I design'd this for a cover to my other Letters but I never know when to writ the last word. Adieu
1. Susanna Adams, daughter of Peter Boylston Adams.
2. The editors do not know of any letters exchanged between JA and Peter Boylston Adams between 1776 and 1803. On Richard Cranch's securing a justice of the peace commission for P. B. Adams, see Cranch to JA, 19 Nov., and note 4, above.
3. No letter written by Ann Marsh Quincy to either AA2 or AA has been found.
4. Charles Warren did not reach Lisbon, but died near Cadiz, Spain, on 30 Nov., after Winslow had left Lisbon for Boston (Emily Warren Roebling, Richard Warren of the Mayflower and Some of His Descendants, Boston, 1901, p. 28).
5. See AA to Mary Cranch, 6 July 1784, under “July 7th,” above.
6. On 14 April, JA wrote John Hancock a brief letter to introduce young Le Ray de Chaumont; on 2 Sept. he wrote Hancock a somewhat longer letter, carried to America by Charles Storer, in which he discussed Massachusetts' prospects in the whale fishery (both LbCs, Adams Papers).
JA had written to James Warren on 26 April, to Mercy Warren on 6 May, and to both James and Mercy on 12 December. James Warren had written to JA on 28 Jan., 4 Sept., and 6 Oct.; while Mercy had written on 27 April, and (n.d.) Sept. Except for the letter to James Warren of 12 Dec. (MB), all of these letters are printed in Warren-Adams Letters, 2:248–269 passim. AA had written to Mercy Warren on 10 May, above; while Mercy Warren had written to AA on 30 April, above, and 18 Sept. (Adams Papers).
7. AA to Mary Cranch, 1 Oct., above.
8. The editors have added the quotation marks around the second sentence. Mary Cranch's conversation was probably with her daughter Lucy, who had lived most of the time in recent months in Braintree, while Betsy was in Boston and then Haverhill visiting friends and relatives and studying music.
9. That is, for boarding JQA, CA, and TBA when they were in Braintree on visits from Haverhill or from college. Mary Cranch was also washing and mending clothes for CA while he was at college (Mary Cranch to AA, 29 Nov., above).
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/