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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 6


Docno: ADMS-04-06-02-0166

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1785-12-28

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

It is mortifying to me, to be again obliged to offer an excuse, for not having written more frequently to you, and to my father however conscious I may be, of its having been out of my Power, yet the Idea, of your suspecting me of neglecting you, worries me very much. But it has been and still is absolutely necessary for me, to apply myself with unremitting attention to my studies. About ten hours every day, are devoted to them: you will easily suppose from this, that I do not go much into Company. Many of the families in Town, have been { 504 } very polite, and have given me repeated Invitations to see them often: But excepting Mr. White's, where I often pass two or three hours in the Evening, I have scarce been any where. Indeed I do not go out quite as much as I could wish too, but that would prevent me from writing at all.
The dissolution, of a certain Connection,1 which you have been kind enough to hint in your Letters to me, and which I have also collected from other Quarters, has afforded me, as well as almost all our Friends, real consolation. My anxiety was not small before I left you, but it was greatly augmented after my return home. In Obedience to your Injunctions, I will give you with the utmost sincerity and impartiality, an account of what I have heard since my arrival concerning the Gentleman. I have no personal pique against him. I saw but little of him while I was in Braintree or in Boston, but he behaved to me in the most friendly manner; and as a transient acquaintance, I should have considered him, as a very agreeable Person. But many things I heard of him, from respectable authorities, and all agreeing perfectly, excited in my mind such fears, as I never wish to feel again, for any person, much less dear to me, than a Sister. And I cannot express how much I was relieved, when the news came, so unexpectedly, of her having so happily freed herself from an Inclination, which I considered as very dangerous. When my father's Letter came, (you know the one I mean)2 he not only shew it about, but in some places triumphed, at his succeeding with so many of her relations and friends against him: he rather prided than otherwise, in writing so seldom as he did. He kept many of the Letters to her friends, which were inclosed to him, several months, and when he was ask'd the Reason why? he begg'd to be excused from giving any Reasons.3 Since the last Letters,4 he has said that it was wholly owing to foul Play, that every one of her friends here, had agreed to write against him; she had been thus deceived, but that he intends in a short Time to sail for Europe, and has no doubt, but that he shall bring all to rights again. For these nine months, he has spent three quarters of his Time at Boston, and from the 1st: of October to the middle of November, was not at Braintree at all.—Some of these facts are undoubtedly true: for the rest I trust to the Veracity of persons, whose honour I have not the least Reason to doubt. He Complains that all her friends are combined in a league against him. But should it be enquired, how it happened, they are so universally averse to his being connected with her, and rejoyced at her late determination, I know not what answer he would give.
{ 505 }
I have received several Letters from you.5 One, as late as October 5th: which came in Callahan. Accept my warmest, and sincerest thanks, my dear Mamma, for those kind attentions. It shall be the study of my Life, to follow the Instructions and the Example of my Parents, and the nearer I come to them, the greater share of happiness I shall enjoy. Three or four months more; and then I shall have time enough, to write often;6 but never sufficient to express my love and gratitude to them.
As to Politics, this is not the place to know any thing of them; and of the public affairs even of this State, I know not so much as I did, when I was in Europe; and I should not regret it, if it did not deprive me of the Pleasure of communicating them to you. The Merchants groan sadly of the decay of trade, and failure after failure seems to justify their Complaints. Within these last Three weeks however, I hear it whispered about that Times are growing better, and I hope their misfortunes will in the End, prove of great Service to themselves, and to the Public.—But I can tell you a piece of private News, which will not I hope, be too sudden, and unexpected to you. On Sunday the 11th: Instant Mr. Allen, and Miss Kent, were married at Boston, and on Monday they arrived at Bradford, at the seat of Empire. She is in high Spirits, and Mr. T[haxter] says, as much pleased as a child can be with a rattle: though by the bye, he is verging towards the same State himself; and is now got so far, that he has done boasting the superlative happiness of a single Life, and begins to hint, that it is not fit for man to be alone. He has made choice of a most amiable young Lady,7 whose least praise is, to be the prettiest girl in Haverhill.
I am as contented with my Situation, as I can be, when absent from three of the dearest Persons on Earth. If the place of Parents possibly could be supplied to me, it would be, here. And my Cousin Eliza, who has been in town ever since I came, is a Sister to me: she does not live here, but at Mr. White's, whose family have been as kind, and attentive, to me, as they always have been to my brothers: I pass many very agreeable hours, at that house. Miss Hazen, is still a boarder in this family. She has many amiable Qualities, but you have no reason to fear that she will ever prove an Omphale to your Hercules.8
The Winter Vacation at College, begins this day week.9 Charles will probably spend the greater part of it here; I heard from him a few days since, when he was at Braintree to keep Thanksgiving.10 Tommy desires I would send his Duty. He would write, but does not know { 506 } what to say. Mr. and Mrs. Shaw desire to be affectionately remembered; Aunt, has had an inflammation in her Eyes, which prevents her from writing. Mr. Thaxter is so entirely absorb'd with the present, that he almost forgets the absent, and I have no great Expectations that he will write again to you before the Spring. He desires however to be remember'd.
It is now quarter of an hour after mid-night, which, as well as my Paper, bids me to subscribe myself, your dutiful and affectionate Son.
[signed] J. Q. Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “J Q Adams Decem 28 1785.”
1. Between AA2 and Royall Tyler.
2. The reference is probably to JA to Royall Tyler, 3 April 1784, above, the only extant letter from JA to Tyler before that of 12 Dec., above.
3. See Mary Cranch to AA, 8 Nov., above.
4. AA2 to Royall Tyler, [ca. 11 Aug.], AA to Mary Cranch, 15 Aug., AA to Cotton Tufts, 18 Aug., and see AA to Mary Cranch, 1 October. All appear above.
5. Since JQA's last letter to AA, of 6 Oct., he had probably received AA's letters of 11 and 23 Aug., and 6 and 12 Sept., in addition to her letter of 5 Oct., which he mentions. All these letters appear above.
6. That is, after securing admission to Harvard College; see JQA to AA2, 1 Oct., above.
7. Elizabeth Duncan.
8. AA, thinking of Nancy Hazen and JQA, referred to the same lovers in Greek mythology in her letter to Elizabeth Shaw of 11 Jan., above.
9. That is, on 4 Jan. 1786; the vacation lasted five weeks (JQA, Diary, 1:382).
10. CA arrived in Haverhill with William Cranch on 17 January; they left Haverhill for Braintree on 26 January (same, 1:389, 394). CA's letter to JQA from Braintree of ca. 15 Dec. has not been found.

Docno: ADMS-04-06-02-0167

Author: Cranch, Richard
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1785-12-29

Richard Cranch to John Adams

[salute] Dear Bror.

When the Senate was last sitting I desired the Honble. Mr. Goodhue≠ of Salem, to answer your Request to me about the Cod-Fishery, and give you a Statement of it—and I learn by Capt. Geo: Williams that a Letter he deliver'd me a few Days ago (which I herewith send you)1 contains his Observations on that Subject. The Hon: Peleg Coffin Esqr. of Nantucket, the Senator for that County, also promised me to give you a particular account of the present State of the Whale-Fishery, which I suppose you will receive from him.2 I have been trying to get an account of the Distilleries Sugar-baking Business within this State, and hope e'er long to send you an Estimate of them. There is at present a new Valuation in hand; and, as “Truth is not to be spoken at all times,” I find some Difficulty arising from that Quarter. I have sent you the Continuation of the Newspapers, and some Letters inclosed.3 The Letter to Mr. Elworthy I wish might be carefully deliver'd as soon as possible.
{ 507 }
Your Hond. Mother, and your Brother and Family are well. I had the Pleasure of sending your Brother a Commission for the Peace, about a fortnight ago.4 He knew nothing of it untill it was deliver'd to him. Your Sons at Haverhill were well a few Days since, and behave so as to give you Pleasure, and do honour to their Parents and Instructors. Your dear Charles and his Chum (Mr. Walker from Bradford) kept Thanksgiving with us the Week before last, and staid untill Monday following. I keep a constant Look-out on them, and have Cousn. Charles and Billy to see me almost every Week at my Lodgings in Boston. I cannot hear that they have ever departed from the Line of Conduct that we should wish them to follow. I hope Mrs. Cranch and I have a good Share in their Confidence and Friendship; and we shall endeavour to cultivate it more and more, as, without that, Advice looses a great part of its Effect. Mrs. Cranch will write to her Sister more particularly by this Conveyance (Capt. Lyde).5 I thank her for her most valuable Letters to our Family, they do Honour to her Sex and to Human Nature. Please to give my most affectionate Regards to her and to my amiable Niece, and believe me to be, with the highest Esteem and most cordial Friendship, your obliged Brother
[signed] Richard Cranch
P.S. I have desir'd Capt. Lyde to take a Dozn. Pound of Chocolate among his Ship-Stores. If he can be permitted to present it to Sister Adams, I beg the favour of her to accept it. The maker says it is good.
I wish to hear from you what is like to be done (if any thing) in the way of Commerce &c. Your Letters will always be esteemed by me as invaluable.
≠Mr. Goodhue is a Merchant largely concerned in the West India Trade. He was educated at the University of Cambridge, and is an active Member of the Senate. He was the Father of our Navigation-Act, and wishes to be more acquainted with you. I wish you would write to him. He was graduated in the Year 1766.6
1. Benjamin Goodhue to JA, 20 Dec. (Adams Papers).
2. No letter from Peleg Coffin to JA has been found.
3. These letters have not been identified.
4. See Richard Cranch to JA, 19 Nov., and note 4, above.
5. Mary Cranch had last written on 23 Dec., above; she would next write on 10 Jan. 1786 (Adams Papers), probably still in time for Capt. Lyde, who was delayed in sailing.
6. This paragraph was written perpendicularly on the last page, and keyed to its proper location by the symbol. By “the University of Cambridge” Cranch means Harvard College (Sibley's Harvard Graduates, 16:359–367). JA wrote to Benjamin Goodhue on 10 March 1786 (NNS).
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/