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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 7

Docno: ADMS-04-07-02-0189

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-28

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear son

Your Letter to me by captain Callihan came safe to hand, that to your Sister and others from my Friends are yet with him at Cowes where he put in having lost his Mast. I think single Letters are better put into the Bag, Newspapers given to the captains.
Blairs lectures were purchased for you last fall and left at the New England coffe house for captain Barnard to take with him, and we thought that you had received them. If they have mist, an other set will be procured for you. Enfields institutes will also be Sent, but captain Barnard going a fortnight sooner than we expected, am not ready for him. I have requested him to take the remaining half dozen of your shirts which are done up in a bundle like those I sent by cushing and addrest to you; the volms you mention receiving of French History, were written by a very needy Man, a mere Chevalier d'Industry, who has since been in Newgate and as they were much { 475 } too impartial to Sell in this country I Suppose he could not pay the printing.1 He Swindled us out of ten Guineys and has dissapeard. There is nothing that is American, is or can be in vogue here. They cautiously avoid bringing our country into view. Indeed she does not at present exhibit the most pleasing picture, but to make us believe that she is of no kind of concequence to them they do not even retail our disturbances, or comment upon them. If they had Money I should suppose they were willing to keep up our quarrels and would lend a hand to sow dissentions, but they are as much distresst for ways and means as we are, and those who form conjectures of this kind know little of the finnances of this Country. The day is fast approaching when we have determined to quit it. God willing I once Set my foot on American ground not all the embassies to Europe consolidated into one shall tempt me again to quit it. I do not wonder at your longing to return, and I have many induceme[nts] which you had not, not one single one to remain here. My dear lads you know that we shall return poor, but at the same time you know what have been the Services of your Father. You know his honour and his integrity that shall be your inheritance. If we can get you all through colledge, the World is all before you, and providence your guide.2 You will do better I doubt not than if you had been led to expect wealth.
You will apply my son to mr Parsons and get fixed with him I hope. If we live to return to you we shall be able to look after your Brothers.
I am rejoiced to find there conduct so good. This is a balm amidst all the publick calamities. Pray attend to your own Health, I have written you before upon this Subject. Mine is better than in the fall, tho as the Spring approaches I find a return of my Rhumatick complaints. I am obliged to write you in great haste as Barnard is to Sail tomorrow, and my Letters must go to him this Evening. Col Smith says he has the same feeling which you express, that he wrote you long ago but has never Sent it. Your sister is well and will write you as soon as she gets her Letter.

[salute] Adieu and believe me most tenderly you[rs]

[signed] A A
Love to your Brothers.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed by WSS: “To Mr. John Quincy Adams Student at Cambridge near Boston”; endorsed: “Mrs: Adams Feby: 28 1787.”; docketed: “My Mother. 28. Feby: 1787.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. François Soulés.
2. Milton, Paradise Lost, 12:646–647.



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The Adams Family, 1786–1787

1786   4 Jan. – 8 Feb.   CA, a Harvard freshman, spends his winter vacation in Braintree and Haverhill, where JQA and TBA are being tutored by their uncle, Rev. John Shaw.  
1786   10 Jan.   JQA visits New Hampshire for the first time on an evening sleigh ride to Hampstead.  
1786   9 Feb.   AA and AA2 attend the queen's birthday celebration, accompanied by Col. David Humphreys, and the birthday ball, with WSS, at St. James' Palace.  
1786   16–20 Feb.   JA meets with Ambassador Sidi Haggi 'Abd-ur-rahman Aga of Tripoli to negotiate a commercial treaty.  
1786   21 Feb.   WSS departs London for Paris, dispatched by JA to confer with Thomas Jefferson on the treaty negotiations with Tripoli.  
1786   28 Feb.   Lord Carmarthen responds to JA's Nov. 1785 demand that British troops be withdrawn from U.S. territory, stating that Britain will fulfill its treaty obligations when America does the same.  
1786   11 March   WSS and Thomas Jefferson arrive in London, the latter coming to help negotiate commercial treaties with Tripoli, Portugal, and Great Britain.  
1786   14 March   JQA leaves Haverhill for Cambridge. On the 15th he is examined and admitted to Harvard as a junior sophister.  
1786   15 March   JA presents Jefferson to King George III.  
1786   18–22 March   JQA visits the Cranches in Braintree.  
1786   22 March   JQA takes up residence at Harvard College.  
1786   4–10 April   JA and Jefferson tour English gardens, countryseats, and historic sites, including Stratford-on-Avon where they carve a souvenir sliver from what is said to be Shakespeare's chair.  
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1786   11–26 April   JQA and CA spend the Harvard spring vacation at Braintree.  
1786   17 April   JA acquires eleven acres in Braintree's New South Precinct, now Randolph, in settlement of a loan to David Sloan.  
1786   19 April   JA meets Joseph Priestley.  
1786   20 April   The Adamses and Jefferson visit the countryseats of Sion House and Osterley Park in Brentford.  
1786   24 April   The Adamses, WSS, and Jefferson visit the British Museum.  
1786   25 April   JA and Jefferson conclude negotiations for a commercial treaty with Portugal, a treaty that neither country ever ratified.  
1786   29 April   In a diplomatic slight, JA is excluded from the annual Royal Academy dinner for foreign ministers.  
1786   9 May   JA publishes an anonymous letter in a London newspaper denying a report that his salary is paid by the French government.  
1786   12 May   Commissions held by JA and Jefferson to negotiate commercial treaties expire.  
1786   11 June   AA2 and WSS are married at the U.S. legation in Grosvenor Square.  
1786   17 June   CA and his cousins William, Elizabeth, and Lucy Cranch attend the dedication of the bridge connecting Boston and Charlestown. JQA remains at Harvard.  
1786   20–24 June   The Adamses visit Portsmouth, stopping at the countryseat of Painshill in Surrey and Windsor Castle.  
1786   30 June   AA2 and WSS depart Grosvenor Square for a residence on Wimpole Street.  
1786   13 July   Harvard's summer vacation begins, and JQA and CA go to Braintree.  
1786   20–26 July   TBA visits Braintree.  
1786   24–28 July   JA, AA, AA2, and WSS visit the Essex estate of Thomas Brand-Hollis.  
1786   26 July – 5 Aug.   JQA and CA visit Haverhill, participating in a sea-turtle banquet on a Merrimack River island on 28 July.  
1786   27 July   JA and AA visit Braintree, England, for “the Gratification of Curiosity.”  
1786   2 Aug.   JA attends a levee with the king to announce his departure for The Hague. On the same day, the king escapes an assassination attempt by a knife-wielding Margaret Nicholson.  
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1786   3 Aug. – 6 Sept.   JA and AA travel to The Hague to exchange ratified copies of the Prussian-American treaty with Baron von Thulemeier. While in Holland, the Adamses visit Rotterdam, Leyden, Haarlem, Amsterdam, Delft, and Utrecht.  
1786   16 Aug.   JQA returns to Harvard for the fall quarter, following CA, who arrived in Cambridge five days earlier to prepare their rooms.  
1786   17 Aug.   Frederick the Great of Prussia dies and is succeeded by his nephew, Frederick William II.  
1786   22 Aug.   TBA is examined and admitted to Harvard's freshman class; he boards with Prof. Stephen Sewall in Cambridge.  
1786   25–28 Aug.   AA2 and WSS visit Salt Hill in Buckinghamshire and Staines in Middlesex.  
1786   29 Aug.   Shays' Rebellion begins when 1,500 farmers protest rising taxes and foreclosures by occupying the Northampton courthouse.  
1786   Sept.   JA begins writing what would become his three-volume A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America.  
1786   11 Sept.   The Annapolis Convention convenes in Maryland to consider federal regulation of commerce but fails to reach a quorum.  
1786   26 Sept.   JQA and William Cranch debate “Whether inequality among the citizens be necessary to the preservation of the liberty of the whole” at a Harvard College exhibition.  
1786   Oct.   JA publishes a series of letters he wrote in 1780 to Hendrik Calkoen, an Amsterdam lawyer, as Letters. The book is later retitled Twenty-Six Letters, upon Interesting Subjects, Respecting the Revolution of America.  
1786   17 Oct.   The Adams sons spend the Harvard vacation in Braintree. CA returns to Cambridge on the 30th; JQA and TBA on 1 November.  
1786   17 Nov.   The Massachusetts legislature approves bills encouraging domestic manufacture and taxing imported goods.  
1786   13 Dec. – 7 Feb.   Harvard vacation begins early due to a massive snowstorm and shortages of wood. JQA elects to stay at the college.  
1786   22 Dec. – 6 Jan.   AA, AA2, and WSS visit Bath while JA remains in London.  
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1787   20 Jan.   AA announces to family in the United States that AA2 and WSS are expecting their first child, William Steuben Smith, born 2 April.  
1787   24 Jan.   JA informs Congress that within a year he will resign his commissions and return to the United States.  
1787   25 Jan.   JA signs a Treaty of Peace and Friendship with Morocco.  
1787   21 Feb.   Congress approves a proposal to hold a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in May.  
1787   27 Feb.   Shays' Rebellion ends with a final skirmish in Sheffield, Mass.  
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.