Adams Family Correspondence, volume 3

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams, 10 June 1778 Thaxter, John AA


John Thaxter to Abigail Adams, 10 June 1778 Thaxter, John Adams, Abigail
John Thaxter to Abigail Adams
Madam York Town June 10th. 1778

Your favor of the 21st. and 26th. of May came to hand yesterday.

I was exceedingly shocked at the first mention of the capture of the Boston, till I had read the latter part of the paragraph, which related the circumstances. From those circumstances, Madam, I must beg leave to observe, no facts can be collected, and they leave it at least a very dubious, if not an improbable event. She sailed the latter end of Feby., better than three months have since elapsed, in which time, the capture, the arrival at Portsmouth, and the news thereof sent to America, must have happened. The passages must have been extraordinary; much better than I can at present believe. Winter passages are not always rapid. An 8 weeks voyage is esteemed very good. They are generally ten. From all circumstances, I am induced to believe that such an Event has not taken place.

Upon supposition that she is captured; our Friend will be treated with respect and humanity, say all his and your friends here. It is a fact that some rays of Humanity have already appeared on their side. They cannot but respect him. They dare not treat him ill.—Sincerely, madam, do I wish, that your present painful suspense may be soon removed by a positive certainty of his arrival at France. From that degree of sensibility you are possessed of, I am persuaded, you are exceedingly affected at the news. I am not so callous as not to sympathize, and feel for your anxiety of mind. The repeated disagreeable accounts you have received since his departure, must have made it additionally painful: And, was it not for that truly Christian and virtuous fortitude you are possess'd of, such a quick succession of disagreeable events, would have borne down one, who has a just claim to the Sympathy and Gratitude of her Country. Your heroism appears in that cheerful vein which runs thro' almost the whole of your Letter. Permit me to admire and imitate it.

Your quotation from Harrington is the truest picture of the English 40nation, that can be portrayed. It is near a Century since a Revolution. Another is necessary to save the Kingdom, which is without the “ballast” of virtue and good morals at present. They want the activity, the Justice and I may add the sword of a Cromwell, displayed among them.

I cannot forbear mentioning the pleasure another of your quotations gave me, respecting the duty of the King, if he is disposed for peace. “Bid him disband his Legions &c.” It is the language of virtue and patriotism, and Justice. They were very judiciously and pertinently introduced.

The two famous Acts are now enacted into Laws. Sir Henry Clinton has sent them to Congress accompanied with an Act to repeal the act for altering the Charter of the Massachusetts Bay. This most daring Rebellion is softened down into a uneasiness.1 Congress have referred Sir Henry, the present commander in chief, to their resolutions of the 22d. of April last for their sentiments upon Acts, which are not essentially different 2 from the ones now sent. They assure him that when the King is seriously disposed to put an End to this cruel war, they will make peace upon terms, consistent with the honor of independant nations, the interest of the States and the sacred regard they mean to pay to Treaties. This is dealing honestly and fairly.

The Commissioners, it is credibly reported, have arrived.3 They are Earl of Carlisle, Govr. Johnson, Eden former Govr. of North Carolina, and Ld. Howe. Cornwallis has arrived and a small party of troops. The Commissioners have open'd the jails and set free the prisoners, report says. They are willing to exchange prisoners. If they will treat us as an independent nation, we are ready to meet them, and upon no other ground.

Accept my thanks for your polite mention of my scrolls, am happy to hear they afford the least entertainment. I will continue to scribble to you by every opportunity.

With the highest esteem I am, Madam, your very Hble. Servt., J.T.

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “june 10.”


In the MS the two following sentences have a line drawn beside them in the margin and the word “Private” added there. They are taken, without quotation marks, from Congress' identical replies of 6 June to letters from Lord Howe and Sir Henry Clinton transmitting copies of the British conciliatory acts; see JCC , 11:572–575.


This word was carelessly omitted by Thaxter but has been supplied from the text in JCC as cited in preceding note.


This news came in a letter from Clinton to Washington of 9 June, enclosed by the latter to Congress in a letter of the same date, with other papers relative to the conciliatory commission, all read in Congress on 11 June ( JCC , 4111:585). Thaxter could hardly have been accused of not keeping his correspondent up to date on developments in Congress and in the field.

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams, 11 June 1778 JQA AA


John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams, 11 June 1778 Adams, John Quincy Adams, Abigail
John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams
Paris june 11 1778

to day my Pappa received a Letter from you which I had the honour of seeing1 in which you mentioned your being struck with the account of dotor Franklins being assasinated but that Story like many others I Suppose arose from those set of People who pretend to be the best Lovers of their Country when they are all the time a seeking her ruin in your Letter you said you wrotee to my Pappa in February which went to Bilboa2 but my Pappa has not received any one before this I am &c.

LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “to my Mamma.” Text is given here in literal style.


This letter, dated 25 March, was acknowledged by JA in his reply to AA of 16 June, below, but has not been found.


This “February” letter may possibly have been AA's letter of 8 March, sent “by a vessel for Bilboa,” never received by JA, but printed in vol. 2, above, from a draft. On the other hand, AA may have sent more than one letter by the ship for Bilbao.

Abigail Adams to James Lovell, 12 June 1778 AA Lovell, James


Abigail Adams to James Lovell, 12 June 1778 Adams, Abigail Lovell, James
Abigail Adams to James Lovell
Dear Sir Braintree, 12 June 1778 1

Will you forgive my so often troubling you with my fears and anxieties; Groundless as some of them have been they were real to me for a time, and had all the force of truth upon me. I most sincerely wish my present uneasiness may arise from as ficticious a cause as the former proved to be but from many circumstances I fear it will not. Tis near four months since the Boston saild, in all which time we have not received the least inteligance from her, a vessel arrived from France in a passage of 32 days and did not leave France till after the Boston had been out 7 weeks, but neither saw or heard any thing of her. Last week there was I am told a paragraph in the Newport paper taken from the New york Gazzet that the Boston was taken and carried into Portsmouth with the Name of the Ship which took her, but what date I know not. There was no mention of Mr. Adams'es being on board which is the only reason I have to think that posibly she might be taken after landing him.

Tis full time if he was safe to hear from him. My anxiety daily in-42creases, and I write to you Sir who have been acquainted with sorrow and affliction in various shapes, enduring with unshaken fortitude the Horrours of Capitivity and chains, in hopes that you will communicate to me some share of that hidden strength, which Throws out into practice Virtues which shun the day, and lie conceal'd In the smooth Seasons, and the calms of life that I may endure this misfortune with becomeing fortitude, and to request of you to inform me what Steps congress will take in consequence of it. Will they endeavour an exchange immediately, or is it possibal that his most christian Majesty will demand him as an Ambassador from the united States of America.2

Dft (Adams Papers); docketed by JQA: “to James Lovell,” to which CFA added: “June 1778.” Text incomplete; see note 2.


Missing RC bore date of 12 June; see Lovell's acknowledgment of 3 July, below.


Dft is quite evidently incomplete, for the last five, possibly six, words were added in what appears to the present editors to be AA2's hand.