Adams Family Correspondence, volume 5

John Adams to Abigail Adams

John Adams to Abigail Adams

235 John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams, 4 September 1783 JQA AA


John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams, 4 September 1783 Adams, John Quincy Adams, Abigail
John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams
Honoured Mamma Paris September 4th. 1783

I should deserve, all the reproaches which my friends in America have made me if I neglected writing, by so good an Opportunity as the one that presents itself at this time. Mr. Thaxter who will deliver you this expects to sail for New-York in the course of this Month. He will probably carry the Definitive Treaty, (which was at last signed yesterday,) to Congress.1 So you will not receive this so soon as if, it went directly, but, I suppose, he will not stay long to the South-ward. I suppose we shall soon leave this Place, and return to the Hague, as the business which called my Father here is now all finished, the Treaties having been signed yesterday on all sides. The Dutch signed their preliminary articles with Great-Britain the day before Yesterday. It seems they have ceded Negapatnam,2 or rather have left the matter to be decided in their Definitive Treaty so that “Peace o'er the world her olive wand extends”3 But, how long it will last, no body knows; it is feared not long; for it is thought almost universally that the affair between the two European Empires and the Turkish one, will not be arranged without some blood-shed. They have been for these 9 months in the Situation of a couple of Dogs, growling at one another, yet each afraid to touch the other; however, they will probably get at it, before they have done.4

I suppose you will see Mr. Dana before this reaches you. He left Petersbourgh, in a yacht which sailed directly for Boston. Mr. Allen I believe is gone with him. Mr. Storer is expected here every day, he wrote Mr. Thaxter that he intended to leave London the first or second of this month.

I am your most dutiful Son J. Q. Adams

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. A. Adams. Braintree Massachusetts.”


Thaxter sailed from the Ile de Groix, off Lorient, on 26 Sept., landed at New York, and reached Philadelphia with the treaty on 22 November (see Thaxter to JA, 18 and 22 Sept., Adams Papers; JA, Diary and Autobiography , 3:143; and Elbridge Gerry to AA, 24 Nov., below).


Negapatam, a seaport on the southeastern coast of India and principal Dutch settlement in India, was captured by the British in 1781, and was ceded to them in the definitive peace (Piers Mackesy, War for America, Cambridge, 1965, p. 495–496, 509).


Alexander Pope, “Messiah,” line 19; also quoted in AA to JA, 28 April, at note 3, above.


In 1783 Catherine II took over the Crimea from the Turks, who for the moment had to accept what they could not prevent. Actual war between Russia and the Ottoman empire did not break out until 1787; Austria entered on Russia's side the next year ( Cambridge Modern Hist. , 6:674–676).