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-04-06-02-0162

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.”

Docno: ADMS-04-06-02-0163

Author: Storer, Charles
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1785-12-21

Charles Storer to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

I am persuaded you will be pleased with this letter, if you were not ever before with one from me, because in the first place, it will inform you of my safe arrival among my friends, and at the same time may give you some information respecting yours. I write you therefore with pleasure on my part. Our arrival here be assured was attended { 498 } with much satisfaction on all sides. I need not paint to you a Parent's tears on such an occasion. Suffice it to say he pressed us to his heart. Nor were a Sister's or Brother's feelings unmoved on the occasion. In a mutual embrace we joined in one thanksgiving.1 Since my return my time has not been mispent. From our nearest Connections we first received the flattering welcome, and since from very many others. You will readily suppose this was not unpleasing, as beleive me it was not. How shall I write you of every particular one of our friends? 'Twould be a little history. Yet I know, (for I have felt the same curiosity more than once myself,) you wish some account. But I must adopt the expression my friends have hitherto made use of to me and say “your friends are all well,” or else, as I do to those who want me to tell them off ahand, at once, every thing I have heard, or seen since I left home, say ask me what questions you please and I will answer them if I can. But I must not omit telling you of one person whom I have not yet heard or seen, yet to whom I am indebted for kindness since my return, and as it comes to me thro' you, 'tis highly proper you should be made acquainted with it. I mean your Sister, Mrs. Shaw. She has been kind eno: to give me an invitation, from Haverhill, to make her a visit, assuring me that, having been so long one of your family, she cannot look upon me with indifference. This is a friend unexpected, and as I am indebted to you therefor I have to thank you accordingly. Betsey Cranch is and has been with her at Haverhill sometime and what is quite new to me is learning to play on the Harpsichord. They say she makes great proficiency, as Mrs. Shaw mentions that John and Thomas do also in their studies. John attends so closely he has not yet found time to write me since my arrival, tho' I wrote him from N York soon after I landed.2 Both Mr. and Mrs. Cranch I have seen once and again: they made many enquiries about you and the family; as did Dr: Tufts. Billy Cranch and your Son Charles I have not yet seen. From Braintree I went to Germantown. The family there are distressed. Mr. P[almer] thinks he may be obliged even in his old age to retire to the settlements on the Ohio. He thinks he may set up the Salt works in that Country to much advantage. Mr. Perkins writes him encouragingly on this head. Mrs. Quincy and Nancy live quite retired at the Farms, having let their farm to their [ . . . ] Overseer. Mr. and Mrs. Allen remain the same they were whe[n][ . . . ] America. Dr. and Mrs. Welsh made many enquiries about you. They have a house full of Children, who are like young Giants. I see no change either in Aunt, Uncle, or Cousins Isaac { 499 } and Willm: Smith. Cousin Betsey is grown, as are all the younger of the folks in town. Many are grown quite out of my knowledge. The younger part of our family is grown also very much. As to the appearance of the town, I find it changed for the better. I mean the houses; which have been repaired and painted. But trade is extremely dull and folks are complaining. There is not therefore by any means that extravagance and dissipation I expected to find, and which there was about a twelvemonth after the peace.
But my paper bids me say no more than desire you to write me as often as you can, and confidentially when you can, as I love to know what's doing, and to assure you that I am with much esteem, Yrs. &c. &c.
[signed] C. S.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. A. Adams. Grosvenor-Square London”; endorsed by AA2: “Charles Storer December 21st 1785.” Some damage to the text where the seal was torn away.
1. Storer evidently returned to Boston with his sister Elizabeth Atkinson. His sister Mary and brother George lived in Boston's North End with their father Ebenezer Storer and his second wife, Hannah Quincy Lincoln Storer, and their young children (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 12:208–214).
2. Not found.
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/