Adams Family Correspondence, volume 5

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

417 image Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch, 2 August 1784 AA Cranch, Mary Smith


Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch, 2 August 1784 Adams, Abigail Cranch, Mary Smith
Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch
Dear sister London August 2d. 1784

Before Mr. Smith went away1 I had no opportunity to ask Master John a Question but in company. I find by his accounts that Some Letters are gone to America the contents of which should they come into your hands; I hope you will keep wholy to yourself. I own I am rather surprized at them, and I think I may rely upon your prudence, and all connected with you to keep them intirely to yourselves. I have thought it a very fortunate circumstance that they did not reach me, before I saild, as they would have greatly embarrassed me. The present trial must be the test, if the Gold is genuine failing neither in weight or value, time will not diminish it—but should such a mixture of alloy be finally found in it, as to prove the coin either counterfeit, or base, it will not pass for current where it is now valued as intrinsick.2

I am anxious that you should receive this; and if at any time you wish to communicate to me, any thing that no other person ought to see, let it be always inclosed in an other Letter with such a mark upon the outside as this ⦶.

I have been so much occupied for several days that I have not had leisure to write; and am engaged for more time now than tis probable I shall tarry in London. I have been to the Tower to St. Pauls to Westminster Abbe and to day to Kew, and to the most delightfull Spot my Eyes ever beheld, to Twickenham to Popes Grotto—but I can only add adieu—at present I am So fatigued. Yours affectionately

A Adams

RC (MWA: Abigail Adams Corr.); addressed in AA2's hand: “Mrs. Mary Cranch Braintree, near Boston, Massachusetts.”


William Smith Jr. departed London for America on 31 July, carrying etters from AA to Mary Cranch, 6 July, and to Elizabeth Shaw, 28 July, and from AA2 to Elizabeth Cranch, 30 July, all above.


Only one JA letter to AA known to the editors was not received before AA sailed for England, that of 25 Jan.; a second, of 3 July, was written after her departure (both above). In each, JA gave his permission for AA2 to marry Royall Tyler. In January, JA wrote that AA2 could marry immediately and take over the family house while AA was abroad. In July he proposed that AA bring AA2 and Tyler, as newlyweds, along to Europe.

After JA's initial strong disapproval of Tyler in early 1783, AA had come to see a separation between AA2 and Tyler as a suitable test of the strength of their love. And none of JA's letters in the summer or fall of 1783, above, showed a clear change in his attitude toward Tyler's courtship. Thus AA's discovery, in conversation with JQA about 1 Aug., that JA had acquiesced to his daughter's marriage in his Jan. and July letters, and possibly in other letters of which there is no record, was 418acutely embarrassing to her.

JA had also written Tyler directly on 3 April, above, giving a rather general approval of Tyler's suit, but also stating that he expected AA2 to come to Europe with AA before she married. Richard Cranch received this letter and forwarded it to Tyler on 11 Aug. (Cranch to JA, 12 Aug., below).