A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
close
-
The Adams Papers Digital Edition is undergoing active maintenance while we work on improvements to the system. You may experience slow performance or the inability to access content. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We will endeavor to return to full capabilities as soon as possible.

Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 6


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).

Docno: ADMS-04-06-02-0162

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Jefferson, Thomas
Date: 1785-12-20

Abigail Adams to Thomas Jefferson

[salute] Dear Sir

Your favours by Colln. Smith and by the Baron Polintz1 came safe to hand. As you have justly estimated the Worth and merit of the former, you will easily suppose we were very glad to see him, and equally so to wellcome Colln. Humphryes upon English Ground. I { 496 } hope his reception here will be as agreeable to him as he expected. He will inform you I dare say that he has seen both the Lions, and His Majesty.2
You will find by the publick Papers what favourites we are at Court. The Prince of Wales supping with us, Mr. Adams holding frequent conferences with His Majesty, and yesterday going to Windsor for the same purpose.3 It is said by some that these are Ministerial manvoeures to keep up the stocks. A Paragraph of this kind has certainly been attended with that effect. Others say it is to feel out the minds of the People with respect to a Treaty with America, of which if I dared to give my opinion; I should say that some simptoms have lately appeard tending to that point. But this is said in confidence Sir, as I must not betray secrets.
The affair of Capt. Stanhope has been officially taken up and his Conduct much disapproved of by the Lords of the Admirality, as Congress are informed by an official reply to them. Mr. A has also received an answer to his Demand of the Citizens of the United States sent to the East Indies, “that orders were immediately issued for their discharge.” It is not probable that any thing very material will take place till the meeting of Parliament.4
The Pacquet arrived last week from New York, in which came Passenger Monsieur Houdon. He returns to Paris the latter End of this week. There were no official Dispatches, and only a private Letter or two to the second of November. But as Mr. A writes you I will leave Politicks with which I really have no business, and talk of that which more properly belongs to me.
The Commission you honourd me with will be compleated to send by the return of Colln. Humphryes. I received my Plateau safe about ten days since. It is a very Good one and I am much obliged by your kind attention to it. The Deities however showed that they were subject to Humane frailty and got a few Limbs dislocated in their Tour.5
If Mr. Barclay will be so good as to settle with Mr. Bonfeild, Mr. Adams will be obliged to him. Coll. Smith delivered me the Louis's you sent by him, and when Colln. Humphryes returns I will forward you the account of my stewardship.
Compliments to Mr. Short. We are sorry to hear of his indisposition. I once found Great benefit in the Dissorder which he complains of by taking an oz. of Castile soap and a pint of Bristol Beer, dividing it into three portions; and takeing it three Mornings, fasting.6
I wish you could make it convenient to let Miss Jefferson come { 497 } and pass a few Months with us here.7 I do not yet dispair of seeing you in England and in that Case you will certainly bring her with you.
I am Sir your most obedient servt.
[signed] A Adams
RC (in AA2's hand DLC: Jefferson Papers); addressed: “His Excellency Thomas Jefferson Esqr. Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America to the Court of France Paris.” Dft (Adams Papers). Major variations between the recipient's copy and the draft are noted below.
1. William Stephens Smith brought Jefferson's letter of 20 Nov.; Baron Pöllnitz brought that of 11 Dec. (both above).
2. Col. David Humphreys and William Stephens Smith arrived at Grosvenor Square from Paris on the evening of 5 Dec. (AA2 to JQA, 5 Dec., above). After “English Ground,” in the draft, AA wrote and then struck out: “and to assure him as descendents from a people once celebrated for Hospitality we possesst a sufficient Share of it to rejoice at the sight of our Friends.” And in the draft AA began a new paragraph at “I hope . . .” rather than at “You will find . . .” JA presented Col. Humphreys at Court on 14 Dec. (AA2, Jour. and Corr., 1:83).
3. In a letter of 23 Dec., to Rufus King (NHi: King Papers), JA makes clear AA's irony. The reports published in the London Chronicle of 6–8 Dec. were false; neither the Prince of Wales' “supping” with the Adamses on 6 Dec. nor JA's visit to George III at Windsor on 19 Dec. actually occurred.
4. The first two sentences of this paragraph explicitly summarize the first paragraph of a letter by JA to John Jay, 9 Dec. (PCC, No. 84, VI, f. 13–16, printed in Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789, 2:543–544), in which JA reports on his 8 Dec. meeting with Lord Carmarthen. In that meeting, Carmarthen informed JA of the Admiralty's decision to reprimand Capt. Stanhope for his behavior in Boston in August, and to order the release of American seamen seized by the British in the East Indies; both actions were in response to formal protests and supporting materials that JA had presented to Carmarthen. The last sentence refers to the lack of any progress in the larger disputes between the two nations—Britain's retention of forts on the American shores of the Great Lakes; America's resistance to paying debts owed to British merchants; and America's desire for a commercial treaty—to which JA made brief reference in the second and third paragraphs of his letter to Jay. See also Carmarthen to JA, 9 Dec.; and JA to John Jay, 12 Dec. (PCC, No. 84, VI, f. 27 and 17–18; printed in Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789, 2:545, 544–545). For the importance which Jefferson attached to AA's brief summaries of diplomatic news in London, see Jefferson to AA, 27 Dec., and note 1, below.
5. The commission that AA intended to send with Col. Humphreys was probably the set of shirts that Jefferson had requested AA to have made for him (Jefferson to AA, 11 Oct., above). The “Deities” were the four ceramic figurines that AA requested Jefferson to buy for her (AA to Jefferson, 12 Aug., Jefferson to AA, 25 Sept., both above).
6. William Short was “indisposed with the jaundice” (Jefferson to Francis Eppes, 11 Dec., Jefferson, Papers, 9:91–92).
7. At this point in her draft, AA canceled the sentence: “If you will trust her in my care I should be happy in having her with us.”
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/