Adams Family Correspondence, volume 6

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams 2d, 17 May 1785 JQA AA2 John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams 2d, 17 May 1785 Adams, John Quincy Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams 2d
N:2 L'Orient Tuesday eve: May 17th. 1785

Our winds are now contrary, and as they changed with the moon they may be three weeks as they are; which would by no means be 149 mon compte. I am not sorry however that they have come round, because, I shall not lose my Letters from Paris, which I should have regretted extremely, if I had been obliged to leave them. When I went to see Mr. Barclay yesterday, he told me to have my baggage carried to his house, and take a Room in it: but I thought it was not worth while to give him or myself the trouble of moving my things, for one or two days: but I have been with him continually since my arrival, except when my business called me away. I went this morning with Captain Fournier, to see Mr. Thevenard, but he was not at home: I saw him a minute in the Street, and spoke to him. I have been this afternoon on board with the Captain, and have taken possession of my birth, which is the airiest and best on all accounts, in the Ship, except those of the Officers: somewhat dirty, but that cannot be helped: you know very well how the french are, on Land; it is impossible for their Vessels to be supportable. By what I can learn, we are but few passengers; I have already seen one or two whose appearance I must own, does not prepossess me in their favour; but the first Rule of a person, who has any thing to do with the world, should adopt, should be never to judge from appearances: I wish that in this Case they may be as deceitful as they often are.

I have become acquainted with a Mr. Grubb, from Virginia, much a friend of Mr. Barclay: he appears to be very much a gentleman, and, has been very polite to me: (and you know that we all form opinions of persons according to their Conduct with respect to ourselves.)

Wednesday afternoon May 18th

At 6. this morning I went on board the Packet with my two trunks and shall now be ready at 1/4 of an hours warning. After I return'd I went immediately to the post office and enquired if the Post from Paris was arrived: it was: I ask'd if there were any Letters for me, there were none: I then went to Mr. de Mazois the director of the Packets, and ask'd if he had received any Letters or Packets for me. Not one. I will make no observations upon this disappointment: I am sure, you will conceive, what were my feelings. Only one thing can excuse you: which is that your Letters were sent too late to come by the Saturday's post, and will not arrive till friday morning. Mr. Barclay has been so unwell to day, that he has put off his Departure till to-morrow. He will be the bearer of my No. 1. to you; and also of a Letter to your Pappa.1 I owe him obligations, in addition to those we all owe him, and of which you are as sensible, and as grateful, as I 150am: he offered to pay me the 21. louis d'or's I carried to his Lady; but as I had no necessity for the money, I neither wished, nor supposed myself authorised to receive it. I have desired him to tell you that I shall not forget, going to the Post Office without effect. You know my vanity is wounded at any appearance of neglect from any of my friends: how much must it then be mortified, when, the person is so dear to me.

Thursday May 19th

Our winds continue still directly contrary. I have been on board all the morning, and have arranged all my Linen &c. in my draws. Among our Passangers, we have one Salvius a Sweed: if you see Mr. Jarvis pray ask him, what he could make of him, and who or what he is. His looks are certainly not in his favour. Mr. Barclay, left l'Orient this morning. He was not so well as I wish he had been. I sincerely hope, the Journey will be of Service to him. Please to present my best Respects to him, and thank him, for his hospitality and all his kindnesses to me, since I have been here.

Friday eve: May 20th

I must begin by begging your pardon, for having accused you of neglecting me: the charming No. 1.2 I received from you this day, has proved the injustice of my Suspicion: I received at the same time a Card from Mr. Williamos and one from Coll. Humphreys: with a number of letters of Introduction,3 for which I pray you would present my grateful thanks. The Letters from Miss Nancy, and from her Parents,4 gave me much pleasure: more especially, as they inform me of the receipt of the pin. You are pleased with the Letter you have received; and I think I can say, you will not be disappointed in the opinion you have form'd of Miss Nancy's accomplishments. Your Letter I kept for the Last: I will not attempt to express my Sensations in reading it. Was I to tell you that a tear involuntarily started from my Eye, you would think I carry sentiment too far, and that I am weak: That Circumstance I will therefore keep to myself. I also received this morning from M. Thevenard, a packet from the Marquis.5 So that I have now nothing, to make me wish to remain here any longer. The wind is fair this evening: if it continues so to-morrow morning, we shall positively sail. I will therefore close this Letter; and am your affectionate brother.


RC (Adams Papers). The text is on four small pages, numbered 9 through 12. See the descriptive note to JQA to AA2, 12 May, above.

151 1.

JQA to AA2, 12 May, above; JQA to JA, 18 May, below.


Not found.


Charles Williamos to JQA, 14 May, and David Humphreys to JQA, undated (filmed under [May 1785]) are in the Adams Papers. Williamos enclosed a letter to a “Col. Burr,” which introduced JQA; this was probably Thaddeus Burr of Fairfield, Conn., to whom JQA delivered a letter on 17 August. The recipients of the four letters of introduction enclosed with David Humphreys' letter have not been identified, but Humphreys had already given JQA letters of introduction to Gov. George Clinton and Gen. Samuel Webb.

In addition, Thomas Jefferson to JQA, 12 May (Adams Papers) mentions the Virginia congressmen Samuel Hardy and James Monroe as recipients of Jefferson's letters whom JQA would find “very worthy gentlemen” to know. Jefferson recommended JQA in his 11 May letters to Elbridge Gerry, to Hardy, and to Monroe, and he entrusted to JQA letters to Francis Eppes and to John Jay (two letters), all of 11 May, and to Edward Burd, to the governor of Virginia (Patrick Henry), and to Phillip Mazzei, all of 12 May. See JQA, Diary , 1: 273, and notes 1–3, 306, and note 1; Jefferson, Papers , 8:141–152.


The letters “from Miss Nancy, and from her Parents” have not been found, and these persons have not been identified.


Lafayette's letter of 14 May, in French, is in the Adams Papers; the Marquis enclosed with it several documents for delivery and a page of current news from the Leiden Gazette. See also JQA, Diary , 1:273, and notes 2 and 3.

Abigail Adams to Charles Storer, 18 May 1785 AA Storer, Charles Abigail Adams to Charles Storer, 18 May 1785 Adams, Abigail Storer, Charles
Abigail Adams to Charles Storer
Dear Charles Auteuil May 18th 1785

I received your Letter1 this Day when I was in Paris—for the last time! I took my leave of it, but without tears. Yet the thought that I might never visit it again gave me some pain, for it is as we say a dieing leave when we quit a place with that Idea.

But now with regard to the appartments, I shall wish to be supplied with dinner. Supper, we eat none. Breakfast and tea in the afternoon we shall find ourselves. One of the Adelphia Buildings at which I lookd when in London and I think the next to that which I had, was of the kind I mentiond. It had all the appartments I wish for, but was not supplied with linnen. I shall only want table linnen perhaps for a week untill ours arrives and I should rather have appartments in which we could be wholy to ourselves and only supplied with our dinners from without. Bed linnen I have with me. I have lived here in so large a house and so good an air that I dread being pent up. We expect to set of the 20th. I 2 know not how long we shall be in reaching nor where we shall alight. I believe it shall be at my old Lodgings the Adelphi untill I can see or here from you. Congress oblige us to oconomize. We must do as well as we can, but upon this Score, Silence.3 Your Friend and my son left us the 12th. We have not since heard from him. Your Cloaths are pack'd and your Books will come with our things,4 for which we have a permit, and the Duke of Dorset has been so obliging as to write to Mr. Pitt to give orders to the custom houses that we be admitted without Search, and has 152himself written to Dover for us. His Grace is vastly obliging. You see my haste, a thousand things are upon my hands and mind. Adieu remember me to your Sister. Yours


RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mrs. A.A. to C.S. 18th. May. 1785.” See also AA to Storer, 28 April 1783, descriptive note (above).


Not found.


A dense ink blot makes the letter illegible.


Storer responded to this request, and to another by JA (see Storer to JA, 13 May, Adams Papers), by engaging rooms for the family at the Bath Hotel in Picadilly (see Storer to AA2, 24 May , and AA to Thomas Jefferson, 6 June, both below).


These items may have been stored in Paris since July 1783, when Storer ended his service to JA and left France for England.