Adams Family Correspondence, volume 4

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams and Charles Adams, 8 February 1781 AA JQA Adams, Charles


Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams and Charles Adams, 8 February 1781 Adams, Abigail Adams, John Quincy Adams, Charles
Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams and Charles Adams
My dear sons Febry. 8 1781

I fear you will think Mamma is unmindfull of you if she does not write you a few lines by so good an opportunity. I wrote to both of you by Mr. Beals of this Town about a week ago,1 and my notice by this vessel is very short. I can only find time to tell you that tis a very long time since I heard from your Pappa, and much longer since I had a Letter from either of you. I think Dr. Lee brought the last.

I hope you are both well and very good children which is the best News I can possibly hear from you. I cannot prevail with your Sister to write—I believe she is affraid you will shew her Letters and she is so proud that she thinks she cannot write well enough. I do not 78like it that she is not more socible with her Brothers. Thommy would write if he could. He sends Love, is a very good Boy, and wants to know if you cannot send him some present from Holland.

Is my Charles grown as fat as his Brother? Can he talk French, Dutch, &c.

Ask Mr. Thaxter to write me word whether he bought Mr. Trottes and Mrs. Welchs things. I know nothing about them. Tell Pappa I am like to have a fine Neighbour. General Warren has bought the Farm at Milton, that formerly belonged to Governor Hutchinson and moves in April.2

We have had a fine pleasent winter, as mild as the last was severe. How has it been in Holland, have you learned to skate finely?

Master Samll's Pappa is a going to France. I send this Letter by him.3 Col. Lawrence has got some for Pappa and Mr. Thaxter.—Your Grandpappa sends his Love to you, talks about you with much pleasure, so does your Grandmamma, who is so very infirm I fear you will never see her again. I do not see any prospect of your speedy return. It wants but a few days of 15 months since you left home. Do you not want to see the rugged rocks of Braintree again?

Some day or other, I wish it may not be far distant when I shall embrace my dear Sons in their Native land. Till that period arrives I would have them ever mindfull of writeing to their affectionate Mother,


Dft or RC (Adams Papers); from the irregularity of the paper, this has more the appearance of a retained draft than of a recipient's copy, but this question is not now answerable.


Letter, or letters, missing.


Former Governor Thomas Hutchinson built his countryseat on Milton Hill, often called Neponset Hill, overlooking Boston Harbor, in 1743. He regularly occupied it during summers from 1754, and occasionally during winters after his Boston house was sacked in 1765, until June 1774, when he abandoned it to sail for England. Seized and sold at auction as tory property in 1779, this fine estate was purchased by James Warren in Jan. 1781 for £3,000. The Warrens lived there from May 1781 until sometime in 1788, when they returned to their Plymouth home. The house survived in radically altered form into the present century but was torn down in 1946. The most detailed and authoritative account of this once celebrated countryseat is in Malcolm Freiberg's Thomas Hutchinson of Milton (Milton Hist. Soc., 1971). A water color of the house is reproduced in this volume. For the Warrens' occupancy, see Alice Brown, Mercy Warren, N.Y., 1896, ch. 12; Warren-Adams Letters , vol. 2: passim.


Gabriel Johonnot (d. 1820), son-in-law of Rev. Samuel Cooper and father of JQA's companion and schoolmate in France, Samuel Cooper Johonnot, was a Boston merchant. See above, vol. 2:202–203, and JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:417–418. In a letter to JA of 9 Feb. 1780 [i.e. 1781], Samuel Cooper explained: “Colonel Johonnot who sails in the Frigate Alliance, I expected would have tarried with us a day or two longer. His sudden and unexpected Call to go on Board this Ship which now lies at some Distance from the Town allows me 79but a Moment to write you.... He goes to France upon a Plan of Business; your Friendship to him in this will oblige us both. He will see you upon the Affairs of his Son” (Adams Papers).

John Quincy Adams to John Adams, 11 February 1781 JQA JA


John Quincy Adams to John Adams, 11 February 1781 Adams, John Quincy Adams, John
John Quincy Adams to John Adams
Honoured Sir Leyden Feby. the 11. 1781

I received a day or two agone the vocabulary which I desir'd you to send, for which I am much obliged to you. Last Thursday I went to hear the Rector Magnificus for last year speak an oration. The Rector for this year is professor Voorda. All the Professors of the university, the Burgomasters and the Schepens of the city were there. Professor Hollebeek (the last years rector) is Profesor in theology.1 He treated upon the advantages of the Christian religion.

Perhaps you may remember when you was here you was speaking of the rules of the drama. There is a book here entitled l'art Dramatique by Mercier with his Dramatick works in 6 Volumes in Octavo which cost 18g. 14 st. but I can buy l'art Dramatique alone for 1. 16. If you please I will buy it.2

I am your most dutiful Son, John Quincy Adams

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsieur Adams chez Monsieur Henry Schorn a Amsterdam”; endorsed: “John ansd. 12 Feb. 1781.” JQA's punctuation has been slightly rectified for clarity.


Ewald Hollebeek (1719–1796), who at the end of his incumbency as rector gave special permission for CA to be admitted to the University, had been professor of theology since 1762. See Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek , 1:1140–1141; Album studiosorum Academiae Lugduno Batavae, The Hague, 1875, p. xii and col. 1136.


In his reply of 12 Feb., below, JA consented to the purchase of the treatise but not the plays. In all likelihood the copy of Louis Sébastien Mercier, DM théâtre, ou nouvel essai sur l'art dramatique, Amsterdam, 1773, listed in Catalogue of JA's Library , now in MB, was bought by JQA at this time.

John Thaxter to John Adams, 11 February 1781 Thaxter, John JA


John Thaxter to John Adams, 11 February 1781 Thaxter, John Adams, John
John Thaxter to John Adams
Sir Leyden 11th. Feby. 1781

I have the Honour to inform You that Charles was matriculated the 29th. of last Month, by the Consent of the Curators, to whom the Matter was proposed.

The Letter, that You was so good as to inclose, was from Mr. Williams of Nantes, who informs me that the Aurora Captain Porter had arrived at L'Orient to his Address. She mounts eighteen six pounders, and is to be dispatched as soon as possible for Boston, taking any Freight that offers, without being detained however for 80want of any: that he hopes to get the Marquiss de la Fayette, of twenty four eighteen pounders ready to go out in Company with the Aurora.

If You should incline, Sir, to send any thing to your Family, the Opportunity seems good.

He desires his best Respects to You, and tells me to shew his Letter to You. He says that his Commercial and Family Occupations have a little got the better of his political and friendly Attentions, and desires me to acquaint You, that if You will have patience with him, he will pay You all. The Letter is dated the 30th. Jany., and after taking the Substance from it, it will not be necessary to send the Letter to You.

My Respects and Compliments, where due, Sir, if You please.

I have the Honour to be, with perfect Respect, Sir, your very humble Servt., J. Thaxter

RC (Adams Papers).