Adams Family Correspondence, volume 6

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams 2d, 17 – 31 July 1785 JQA AA2

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams 2d, 17 – 31 July 1785 Adams, John Quincy Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams 2d
N: 4. New York July 17th. 1785

I went on shore upon Long Island with our Captain, and visited Monsr. de Marbois, who has taken a house there for the summer. He received me with politeness, invited me to dine with him, and enquired concerning my father in as friendly a manner, as he could have done had he wish'd him well. Madame de Marbois, may be called a pretty, little woman. She was a quaker, but appears not to have retained any of the rigid tenets of that sect.1 As this is Sunday, I have not as yet delivered any of my Letters; and have done nothing but walk about the town.


I have delivered a number of my Letters, and have acquired some information, but which you will doubtless know before this reaches, you. Messrs. Jackson and Tracey, arrived in Boston, the 18th. of last may, after a passage of only 20 days. Poor Temple took the small pox in Ireland, and died on the passage. Mr. Bowdoin is present governor of Massachusetts and increases, in popularity every day. Mr. Hancock, being too infirm, to act as Governor of Massachusetts, is chosen as Member of Congress for the next year, and will probably take his rest, in the President's seat, next November. This is escaping Scylla to fall into Charybdis; or is rather like a man I have read of; who being offered a glass of wine: answered, that he could not take a glass, but that he would take a bottle. The other delegates in Congress from Massachusetts for next year, are Mr. Sedgwick, Mr. King, Mr. Holten, and Mr. Dane.2 (not Mr. Dana).

I waited upon the Massachusetts' delegates before I went any 226where else, except to Mr. Jay's. Mr. Gerry was glad to see me, on account of his friend,3 and Mr. King was very polite. They went with me and introduced me to the president,4 who enquired very particularly concerning my father. I also waited upon the Governor, and upon Don Diego de Gardoqui, who had about a fortnight since, his public audience of Congress,5 and who shows away here to an high degree. He made a speech when he had his audience; and I believe, I may affirm confidently, that he tired none of his auditors. You will see the speech in the Papers.


The President of Congress this morning, at breakfast at Mr. Gerry, invited me to take an apartment in his house. I endeavoured to excuse myself as well as I could: but at dinner at his house, he repeated his invitation. I again offered my excuses, but he press'd it on me, with so much politeness, that I did not know how to refuse. Such attentions, embarass me, yet they give me more, pleasure, than they would, if I was myself the object of them.

I met Mr. Church this morning: he sails the 4th. of next month in the british Packet, and has offered to take any Letters for me. You will receive my N:3.6 and probably this by him.


At tea, this afternoon, at Mr. Ramsay's, for whom Mrs. Rucker, was kind enough to give me Letters,7 I met Mr. Gardoqui, and his secretary Mr. Randon, who, if common report says true, is soon to marry Miss Marshall (Mrs. Rucker's Sister.) Much good may do her, with the swarthy Don: his complexion and his looks: show sufficiently, from what country he is. How happens it, that revenge stares through the eyes of every Spaniard? Mr. Gardoqui was very polite, and enquired much after my father, as did also Mr. van Berkel the Dutch minister.8 Governor Livingston was appointed some time ago minister for Holland, but did not accept. Mr. Rutledge, governor of S. Carolina, is now appointed: but will it is presumed also decline.

Doctor Mather, you will see by the Boston Papers, is dead. I have a Letter from your Pappa to him, and a small packet from his Son. I don't know who I shall give them to.9

Mr. Dana has been appointed a judge of the supreme Court in our State, and is now riding the Circuit.

227 21st

I moved this morning to the President's house. I determined upon this with some reluctance, not knowing whether it would meet with your Pappa's approbation. But the President repeated his invitation with so much politeness, and Mr. Gerry and Mr. King whom I consulted on the subject, being of opinion I could accept of it without impropriety, I thought I could not do otherwise.

Hearing in the morning, that the british June Packet had arrived, last night, I immediately went to Mr. Jay, and enquired after you. He had received Letters from my father; and had sent them to Congress. I was certain, there were some for me: I then went and found out Mr. Curson, who inform'd me he had seen you, the last day of May: but he had not a line for me.10 I was much surprised. I had supposed that your Pappa was so much engaged in business, that he had no time to write, but I could not conceive, why I had not one word from Mamma, nor from you. Perhaps you supposed I should have left New York before, the packet would arrive. I cannot account otherwise for your silence.


Mr. van Berkel, with whom I dined to day, begins to expect his Daughter: he has certain information that she sail'd, from Amsterdam, the 2d. of May, in a Dutch vessel. She has now been nearly 12 weeks out, and consequently it is almost time for her to arrive. It is observed that there is here now a Dutch vessel, that sailed from Amsterdam 3 days before the ship that returned lately from China, sailed from Canton, and arrived here three days after her.11 I Drank tea this afternoon with Mr. Secretary Thomson.


We were a dozen or 14 to day, who dined at General Knox's. He lives about 4 miles out of the City.12 The Virginia and Massachusetts delegations Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Lady Duer, a Daughter of Lord Stirling, Miss Sears, Mr. Church, Coll. Wadsworth and Mr. Osgood, form'd our Company. You know almost all these persons.13 Lady Duer is not young, nor handsome. I saw but little of her: not enough to say any thing concerning her. Miss Sears has been ill, and looks pale, but is very pretty. She has the reputation of being witty, and sharp. I am sure she does not look méchante.

228 24th

I am very impatient to hear from you. The french packet for June will soon he expected. I hope you will not neglect that, as you did the English one: especially, if Mr. Williamos comes out, in her. The Day before yesterday, Mr. Gerry moved in Congress, that, Mr. Dana's expences for a private Secretary, while he was in Russia, be allow'd him, and Congress resolved that those Expences should be paid.14


I have been strolling about the town, almost all day. The weather here, has been exceeding fine, all this Season: no extreme, heat; plenty of rain, and not too much. The Crops will be excellent, and if those in Europe, turn out as bad, as it was supposed they would when I came away, we may profit, very considerably, by ours. Fruit has not been so successful, as there has not been sufficient hot weather.


I dined with the Delegates of the State of Virginia; Mr. Arthur Lee, left this Town in the afternoon. He was this day chosen, by Congress, to be one of the commissioners of the Treasury. Mr. Osgood is now in Town; and does not find it an easy matter to get clear, from the Confusion in which the late financier left the office.15


I breakfasted with Mr. Söderstrom the Sweedish Consul,16 at Mr. Gerry's house. He arrived in town only a day or two ago, from Boston: all your friends there were well, when he left it. Dined at Mr. Ramsay's with a large Company. General Howe,17 Mr. Gardoqui, Mr. Randon, Miss Susan Livingston &c. Miss Livingston passes for very smart, sensible young Lady; she is very talkative, and a little superficial I think. I cannot say I admire her. Miss Marshall is very agreeable: I cannot help pitying her, when I am told she is about to marry, that swarthy Don.

At length after a passage of a little more than 12 weeks, Miss van Berkel, arrived two days ago at Philadelphia. Her father is gone to meet her. The young Ladies here are all very impatient to see her, and I dare say, that when she comes, remarks, and reflections, will not be spared on either side. The Beauties of this place, will triumph, but I hope with moderation.

229 28th

I have had a visit this morning from Dr. Crosby:18 he tells me he has received lately a letter from uncle Quincy, who was ill, almost all last winter, and is now only recovering. All the rest of our friends are well. The weather is much warmer than I have for many years been accustomed to: yet I hear every body say that there has been no hot weather this year. There is almost every day a morning, and an evening breeze, that are very refreshing, and temper agreeably the heat of the day.


I expect to stay here about a week longer: but I am not yet determined whether to go in a packet to Rhode Island, and from thence by Land; or to go all the way by land through Connecticut. In the heat of the Season, a Journey by land would be more disagreeable than a voyage by water, and it would certainly be longer: but I am very desirous to see the fine Country between this and Boston. And there are many persons that I wish to see too. Upon the whole I rather think I shall go, by Land. We are in a great dearth of news: nothing of any Consequence is going forward. The merchants complain very much that trade is continually dying away, and that no business is to be done.


The President had a large Company to dine with him: all gentlemen; he entertains three times a week, but never has any Ladies because he has none himself. His health is not in a very good state way, and I believe the Duties of his place, weary him much. He is obliged in this weather to sit at Congress from eleven in the morning, till near 4 afternoon, which is just the hottest, and most disagreeable part of the day. It was expected that Congress would adjourn during the dog days at least: but there is at present little appearance of it: they have so much business before them, that a recess, however short would leave them behind hand.


I went with Mr. Jarvis, a brother of the gentleman you know, to Jamaica, upon Long Island;19 12 miles from the town. We there had the pleasure of seeing Coll. Smith's mother and Sister's.20 I spent the day very agreeably. Mrs. Smith, has had Letters from her Son, since 230he arrived in London, in which he mentions having already seen you all. I am really very impatient to hear from you. Your Brother

J. Q. Adams

RC (Adams Papers). The text is on eight pages, numbered, beginning with the second, “26” to “32.” See JQA to AA2, 12 May, descriptive note, above.


JQA had met François Barbé-Marbois in 1779; see JQA to JA, 3 Aug., note 6, below. In 1784 Barbé-Marbois married Elizabeth Moore, daughter of William Moore, a Philadelphia merchant and member of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania from 1779 to 1782 (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale ; DAB ).


Nathan Dane of Beverly, Mass., first elected to Congress in June 1785, served until 1788 ( Biog. Dir. Cong. ).


That is, JA.


Richard Henry Lee served as president of Congress from Nov. 1784 to Nov. 1785 ( Biog. Dir. Cong. ).


Gardoqui was the son of Joseph Gardoqui, the Bilbao merchant whom JA and JQA had met on their journey through Spain in Jan. 1780. He was received by Congress on 2 July, and served as the Spanish chargé d'affaires until 1789 ( JCC , 29:494–496; JQA, Diary , 1:30–31, 289, and note 5).


That of 25 May, above. “Mr. Church” was the Englishman John Barker Church (see JQA, Diary , 1:310, and note 2).


JQA had met Mr. and Mrs. John Rucker in Paris in March ( Diary , 1:233, and note 2). Ramsay was probably South Carolina congressman David Ramsay, one of the earliest historians of the American Revolution ( DAB ).


JQA first records meeting Pieter Johan van Berckel of Rotterdam in that city in May 1783, just before van Berckel sailed for America as the first Dutch minister to the United States. JQA next met van Berckel in New York on 18 July 1785 ( Diary , 1:174, 289; JA, Diary and Autobiography , 3:135, note 1).


Rev. Samuel Mather, youngest son of Cotton Mather, his father's successor at the Second Church in Boston, and brother-in-law of Gov. Thomas Hutchinson, died on 27 June 1785, still estranged from his loyalist son Samuel, then a refugee in England ( Sibley's Harvard Graduates , 7:216–238).


The letters sent after JQA left Auteuil were JA to John Jay, 13 May, 29 May, 30 May, and 1 June (all PCC, No. 84, V, f. 413–420, 437–439, 461–464, 465–466); see Jay to JA, 3 Aug. 1785 (Adams Papers). All appear in Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789, 1:495–498; 2:345–346, 365–367, 373–376. The N.Y. merchant Samuel Curson, whom JA had met in Amsterdam in 1780, brought the letter of 29 May, and probably that of 30 May (JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:450).


The Empress of China, returning from the first voyage by an American merchant ship to China, sailed from Canton on 28 Dec. 1784 and arrived in New York on 11 May 1785 (Philip Chadwick Foster Smith, The Empress of China, Phila., 1984, p. 201, 206).


In his Diary, JQA locates Knox's home “2 miles out of town” ( Diary , 1:293).


The Virginia congressmen were William Grayson, Samuel Hardy, Richard Henry Lee, and James Monroe; the Massachusetts congressmen were Elbridge Gerry, Samuel Holten, and Rufus King. “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” were probably the N.Y. congressman Melancthon Smith ( Biog. Dir. Cong. ), and his wife. Catherine Alexander Duer, called “Lady Kitty,” was the daughter of Maj. Gen. William Alexander, who claimed the ancestral title of Lord Sterling; she had married the N.Y. merchant, financier, and congressman William Duer in 1779. Rebecca Sears was the daughter of the N.Y. merchant and popular leader Isaac Sears. Jeremiah Wadsworth of Connecticut had served as commissary general of the Continental Army, and of Rochambeau's forces. The former Mass. congressman Samuel Osgood was a commissioner of the U.S. Treasury (Burnett, ed., Letter of Members , 8:lxxxvii–lxxxviii; xcviii; DAB ). AA2 had probably met several of the Massachusetts delegates, and perhaps Rebecca Sears, whose family lived in Boston, 1777–1783; the others she knew only by reputation, if at all.


JCC , 29:569–570.


Samuel Osgood had been highly critical of Robert Morris, the superintendent of finance, 1781–1784. In January 1785 Osgood was 231appointed to the three-man treasury commission that replaced Morris ( DAB ).


Richard Söderström was the Swedish consul in Boston; JQA had met his brother Carl Soderstrom in Jan. 1783 in Göteborg, Sweden, on his return trip from Russia to Holland ( Diary , 1:167, and note 1).


Robert Howe, commander of the Southern Department of the Continental Army, 1777–1778 (JQA, Diary , 1:290, and note 2).


Ebenezer Crosby, named professor of midwifery at Columbia College in 1785, was from Braintree (same, 1:295, and note 2).


Both Benjamin and Charles Jarvis accompanied JQA to Jamaica, L.I.; AA2 had met their brother James Jarvis in France in April (same, 1:254, 296; AA to Lucy Cranch, 7 May, above).


JQA met the recently widowed Margaret Stephens Smith and her many daughters, of whom he noted Sarah Smith as “handsome” in his Diary, and in his letter of 1 Aug., below. Sarah would marry CA in 1795. Diary , 1:296, and notes 1 and 2.

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams, 19 July – 7 August 1785 Cranch, Mary Smith AA

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams, 19 July – 7 August 1785 Cranch, Mary Smith Adams, Abigail
Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams
My Dear Sister Braintree July 19th 1785

I have been waiting till I am out of all patience to hear that you are returnd to England. One or two vessels have sail'd for London without taking Letters for you. I did not know they were going till it was too late to write. I sent you a hasty line by Mr. Charles Bulfinch1 which I hope you receiv'd and to tell you the truth I have written you two letters Since, which I thought proper to commit to the Flames when I had done. There are many things which would do to be said, that it would not be prudent to commit to writing.2 We have been expecting Cousin John every day above a week past: There is a vessel in from France the capt. of whom says he Saild four days before him. I hope soon to welcome him to his native country. Tomorrow is commencment: our children are all gone to Boston to day, to be ready for an earley ride in the morning. Cousin Charles's Heart beats thick I dare say. His trial comes on next Friday. Billy says, he is exceedingly well fitted and has no need of any fears. Billy will look him a good room, and will give him all the Brotherly advice that he may need. He will have enough to spring upon him if he does not stand firm in the begining. He or you will repent it, if he does not. He shall not need any Friendly counsel that I will not give him. I will gain his Love and confidence if Possible. I shall then be sure of influence.

Friday 22d

I have been very ill ever since I wrote the above, with a pain across my Breast. The Rhumtism the Doctor says. I am better but very weak. The children are returnd and a fine day they had. Mr. Shaw and Cousin Charles were there. He will return with his uncle and come next week if he is accepted, and there is no doubt but he will be. 232Cousin John will be here I hope by that time. I am prepair'd to doat upon him. May nothing happen to interrupt the Harmony and happiness of our dear Boys. I am indeed happy at present in my children. From every thing that I can see and hear Billy behaves just as I could wish him too. Betsy is in Boston very attentive to her Harpsicord and is in better health than I have known her for many years. Lucy is at home affording her mama all the assistance she is able too, and if her Soul is not tuned to Harmony it is to Science. Had she been a Boy she would have been a Mathamatition. Billy plays prettily both upon the violin and Flute, and when he joins them to his Sisters instrument they form a Sound very agreable to the Ears of us who have not heard the finer musick of your opereas. Betsy wishes Cousin Nabby to learn the musick of France, that she may bring her home some new tunes.

Aunt Tufts is in a very poor way. Her Feet and ancles are much swell'd and turn purple and black and every dissagreable colour. You know she never could bear the Bark, and it seem now to be more than ever necessary for her. I am very much affraid of a mortification if She cannot take it.

Uncle Quincy was confin'd to his House from the 25th of November to the beginning of July With the Rhumatisim in his Hip. He is much better but not well. Our Germantown Friends are all of them in a poor weak State. The general himself very feeble. Cousin Betsy is better but her cough is still troublesome. Miss Paine is very spry, can dress and undress very well, has spent a week or two with me lately, is now at Germantown but next week goes to her Brothers for a home as she supposes.

As to Mr. Palmers Family Mr. Tyler must give you an account of them. He knows more about them than any one else.3 Madam Quincy and Miss Nancy are well. Miss Nancys fortune has not yet procur'd her a Husband. Mrs. Quincy desires to be most affectionately remember'd to you. Mrs. Guild has spent a week with her little Boy at Braintree. She is not well by any means, but looks chearful and behaves exceeding well under her dissapointment. She has sold all the Furniture of her best room and chamber and remov'd into that end of a House which Miss H. Otis liv'd in. What a reverse of Fortune in one year! Mr. Guild looks as if he was going into the Grave soon. His pale Face is paler than ever. His countenance excites pity from every eye. No alteration has taken place in your Neighbourhood that I know of. Mr. Adams Family are well, your mother Hall is upon a visit at Abington. She was here a few days since and was well. Turtius 233Bass and wife are parted. He has sold the House and land which his Sons liv'd in and divided his Estate into four parts, given his wife one fourth part, one half to his two Sons. The remainder he has taken to support himself and Nell Underwood in their Perigrinations to the Eastward whither he is going he says to settle. And as he is going into a new country, tis proper he should take a young person to help People it, and her abbillity to do it She has given ample proof off by presenting somebody (she swore them upon Leonard Clevverly) with a pair of Twins last winter. She liv'd in Mr. Bass's Family—but as they both dy'd she was at Liberty to pursue her Business as Housekeeper in some distant part of the State as well as at Braintree, and who would be Maid when they might be mistress? Mr. Bass was so generious to the Girl, that he keept her in his house to lay in, and gave Mr. Tyler a handsome Fee as Counsel for her in case Mr. Cleaverly should deny the charge which he did most solemnly. In this case the woman has the advantage in law. He was oblig'd to enter into Bonds, but the children dying, and Mr. Tyler not appearing, he took up his bonds and Mr. Bass was oblig'd to bear all the charges. Mrs. Bass is in great trouble. Seth is mov'd into the House with her, and the other Son with his wife and child are mov'd seventy mile into the country out of all the noise of it—so much for Scandle.

Capn. Baxter is married to Mrs. Arnold and is gone to live in her House. Mrs. Arnolds eldest Son is married to Deacon Adams eldest Daughter4 and lives in the House that Mr. Bass sold. Our Parson visits us as usual, but forgot this year that it was Election day till it was half gone. He ought to have had his grandchildren about him beging for coppers to bye them an election cake.5

I once mention'd to you a clergemans Family who were in our House at Weymouth. He has a Son almost eighteen, who tho he is a portrait Painter has not sacrificed much to the Graces.6 He made several attempts to take the Face of our cousin Lucy Jones, but could never acquire stediness enough in his hands to do it. In short her fine Form had made such an impression upon his mind and Lucy all-together had taken such possestion of his Soul, that when he endeavourd to decribe a single feature he found it impossible. The tremor was communicated to his Tongue and his speech also fail'd him. Poor youth what would he have done if it had not been for the blessed invention of Letters, by which medium he could pour out all his soul and save his Blushes—but alass this was only to insure his dispair, for she treated them with such neglect and contempt that it almost depriv'd him of his reason. In the silent watches of the night, 234when the Moon in full orb'd Majisty had reach'd her nocturnal height, He left his Bed and upon the cold ground told her his tale of woe, in accents loud and wild as wind.—Forgive the Stile my dear sister. No common one would do to relate this extraordinary affair in. It has caused us much amusement. They are both so young they did not know how to manage the matter. He all Passion. She full of Coquettry and at present without any kind of attachment to him is playing round the Flame without any aprehension of danger. There are some symptoms however of either Vanity or Love that make their appearence. She dresses more than usual and parades before the windows opposite to those he sets at. The other day she dress'd herself in white and walk'd into Capn. Whitmans Coppes set herself upon a rock under a fine spreading oak and was excited by the melody of a variety of Birds that were perch'd upon almost every bough, to add her note to theirs. The sighing swain was raking Hay at a little distance. The pleasing sound soon reach'd his ears. He left his Rake and pursu'd it, and (she says) was close by her before she perciev'd him but she like a nimble-footed Dauphne was out of his sight in a moment and was as pale aunt says when she enter'd the House as if she had been pursu'd by a snake.

July 30th

I give you joy my dear sister. Cousin John I hear is arriv'd at New York after a Passage of 56 days. He will be with us soon I hope. Mr. Cranch sent me word of it last monday. The same day he found a Letter from you to me in the Post-office.7 I find by it that a Mr. Chaumont brought it, but I cannot hear that he is in Boston. I am mortified that you are still in France. What is become of Mr. Adams commission for the court of London. I wish you were at home every soul of you. I fear your expences must have been greatly increas'd by the dryness of the season. Our news Papers say you have had almost a Famine in Europe occationd by it. Here we never saw a finer season. The best of English Hay has been sold in Boston for two shilling a hundred and some as low as one and four pence. Meat is high, but vegetables very plenty. We have fine crops of english grain, and the Indian looks finely. Your Gardens yeald plentifully. Your sable Tenants8 almost maintain themselves by selling the produce of them. Betsy is return'd to spend the Dog-days with us. Will go again in the Fall to take a few more Lessons. Billy has tun'd the old Spinnet at home, by which means she will not loose any time.


Betsy and Lucy spent a forenoon this week over-looking the things at your House and picking out furniture for master Charles chamber, who is become a student at Harvard college.9 He is hear and very well. Mr. Shaw offer'd another schooler, who is a very cleaver Fellow and is to be his chambermate.10 I could have wish'd the two Brothers might have liv'd together. Upon some accounts it would be less expencive. Cousin John comes I dare say impress'd with a sense of the importance of eocomimy. I have been telling Cousin Charles He must begin right, and that his Papas Station in Life will subject him to many inconvenincs if he is not upon his Guard. I have consulted with Doctor Tufts in every thing that I have done with regard to the children and shall continue to do so. I have pursued that plan you mention with regard to money matters11 already as I thought it would be the simplest, and be assur'd my dear Sister so far as I am capable I will do every thing in my Power to supply, the place of a mama to them. I hope to gain their confidence and esteem. They feel like my own children and if I can but gain as much of their Love as you have of my childrens I shall feel very happy.

As soon as Cousin John comes I will write more with regard to him. I hope to have many Letters by him. I do not suppose that our April Pacquet reach'd you before he imbark'd. I wish it might have done so for many reasons. The letters for him will not be half so acceptable to him here as if he had reciev'd them in France.12

Aunt Tufts remains very Ill. The Doctor seems quite discourag'd about her. Her Legs and Feet grow worse. She is in great pain and wasts fast. I fear she will not continue thro the Dog-days. Tis true she bears the Bark but she has such a constitution as I think cannot hold out long unless she is suddenly reliev'd.

Old Mrs. Tullur dy'd about six weeks ago very suddenly. Was well in the morning and dead before night, and this afternoon Fanny Nash is bury'd. She has been in a consumtion all winter.

August 1d

I have just heard of Mr. Adams presentment at the court of London. Mr. Cranch writes me that he has seen an account of your arrival in England. He saw it in a New York paper. Cousin John is not yet got to town. What is he doing with himself? He does not know that every moment seems an hour till he arrives. Charles and Billy are here waiting with impatience. I feel as if you were half way home at least. I shall now be able to write oftner and with greater Freedom. 236England must I think be more agreable to you than France for many reasons. Your being able to converse will be a great addition to your Happiness and seeing so many of your old acquaintance and Friends will make you feel as if you was half an american at least, but are you not almost sick of Parade? To have been made happy by show and equipage your mind should have been less cultivated, and yet tis only to such, that these things can do no harm. A Scientific mind, will be pleas'd only with their novelty and the useful observations it helps them to make upon Men and Manners.——But this Embassa of three years—what shall I say to it? Will it be necessary that you should stay so long. Cannot the Business be compleated before that time. How does cousin Nabby like the Idea. She would not wish to come without you I dare say, unless every thing here was fit to receive her. Money is very hard to be got where it is due, and where there is the greatest attention and puntiallity in business what is procur'd by it, must be very prudently us'd or it Will not buy Farms and Houses, repair them Handsomely, and maintain a Family genteelly. You conclude your last Letter by saying that “you hope——is very busy and to great purpose.”13 I hope soo too, but I know very little about him for he is very seldom in Braintree and when he is, very little at home. He has attended the courts in Boston the last winter and this summer, and does not come home till the Sessions are over.

Mrs. Hunt is here and desirs I would give her most affectionate Love to you, and beg you to come home for she longs to see you and that she cannot bear to pass by your House. She visits us often and is better than for years back. She works forever, has spun and knit above eighty pair of stockings since you went away.

You mention Mr. Adams's having receiv'd a Letter from the Amsterdam merchants, complaining that they had receiv'd no accounts of the sales of their goods.14 I forgot to write about it in my Spring Letters. Mr. Cranch wrote them last winter a state of their merchandize such as what goods remain'd unsold, and the custom of giving six months credit. The Difficulty of selling for ready money, and the danger of trusting The Bill of Sale he could not then send because Mr. Austen who you know had the care of dispossing of them had remov'd to Casco-Bay in the beginning of the winter, and by accident carried all the Papers with him, and the season was so severe that we never could get them till this spring, when he came up and brought them himself. Mr. Cranch has put what remain'd unsold into the Hands of Mr. Greenlief & Foster Vendae Master, to be dispos'd 237of at private Sale in the best manner they can. Mr. Cranch has had a great deal of trouble with them. Most of them were very unsalable articles, and too high charg'd for the inundation of Goods that were soon roled in after the peace upon the country.

August 3d

Cousin John not come yet. I hear there is a vessel to Sale in ten days for London. If I keep writing I shall swell my Letter too a volume, for I am continually thinking of something which I want to communicate. I cannot bear to seal my Letter till I have seen my cousin, and yet I fear if I do not send it to town the vessel will slip away without it.

August 7th

It is just as I fear'd. I hear a vessel sal'd for England this morning, and I was told she would not go this week. Cousin John not yet come. Several People are come from New York who have seen him, and say he will be here in a few days. You may easily judge how impatient I am, but I am determin'd to wait no longer, but send this to be put into the Bag and write again if he should come before the next chance.

Aunt Tufts sinks fast. She has had a Dissentery, which tho it has abated has wasted her much. Her Feet and ancles are very bad, all manner of colours, much swelld and very painful. I have seen the last Week. You would scarcly know her. She appears calm and resign'd, has no expectation of Living. She will be a great gainer by the exchange for she is indeed a very good woman. The poor will loose a great benefactor. Her Family also will feel her loose for tho she could not do much she look'd well to her household. Lucy will a second time loose a mama,15 and she seems very sensible of it. O my sister one more removal and Weymouth will loose all its charms. Every Freind departed makes me wish more for your return. Three years is a great while to look forward too. Many very many may be the changes that may take place before that period arrives. I dare not trust myself with the thought. Resignation to the will of Heaven is what I am constantly seeking after. I have been very unwell myself for above a month but I hope I am geting the better of my dissorder. I am weak yet the Feverishness has not left me, but salt of wormwood which I take every two or three days will I hope kill it.

Cousin Charles is in fine Health and spirits, and rejoices over and 238feasts as heartily upon a large Whorttle Berry Pudding as you can at any of your great entertainments. Would not a Dish of Green Corn relish &c. be acceptable to you? We are all Busy fixing your Son for college. The piece of Linnin which I got for them made seven shirts for Charls and four for Tom.

Miss Paine desires I would not forget her Love to you all.

I depend upon it that you will not expose my writing to any one not even to my dear Brother, to whom present my Love and best wishes and tell him tis a sad world we live in and that the more merit he has, the better mark he will be for Envy to shoot at—but she cannot sting him.

Charles Warren yet Lives, but look like death. He is planing a voyage to Lisbon, he thinks he cannot stand our cold winters. I do not beleive he will live to reach it. Mrs. Warren is much destress'd to know what to consent too.–Did you ever find her Letters which you thought you had lost. She thinks you have. Do not forget to tell me.

The distresses of our Germantown Friends will never have an end. Last week Tom Feild cut his Back and Shouldar in a dreadful manner with a scythe. The wound is two feet long and very deep in some places. The Doctor put fourteen stiches in it. He has lost a great deal of Blood, but is in a good way, and unless a Fever should set in, will tis thought do well.

Adieu my dear Sister and believe me your ever affectionate

Love to cousin Nabby. M. Cranch

RC (Adams Papers).


Mary Cranch to AA, 4 June, sent with Richard Cranch to JA, 3 June, both above.


Cranch may refer to her growing concern about Royall Tyler. See below in this letter, her letter to AA of 4 June, above, and several of her letters of October-December, below; and AA to Mary Cranch, 15 Aug., below.


By 1785, Royall Tyler had become a close friend of Gen. Joseph Palmer's son, Joseph Pearse Palmer, and his family, and lodged with them in Boston. By the late 1780s he was helping to support the financially ruined family, and in 1794 he married Palmer's daughter Mary. G. Thomas Tanselle, Royall Tyler, Cambridge, 1967, p. 19, 24–29.


Mehitable Adams, eldest daughter of JA's double first cousin, Ebenezer Adams, married Joseph Neale Arnold on 16 June (A. N. Adams, Geneal. Hist. of Henry Adams of Braintree , p. 410).


If by “Our Parson,” Mary Cranch means Rev. Anthony Wibird, her image must be ironic, for Wibird never married ( Sibley's Harvard Graduates , 12:226–230).


The artist John Hazlitt was the eldest son of William Hazlitt. Lucy Jones, just shy of seventeen, was the daughter of Cotton Tufts' sister, Anna Tufts Jones. In 1787 John Hazlitt, unmarried, returned to England with his family. The Journal of Margaret Hazlitt, ed. Ernest J. Moyne, Lawrence, Kansas, 1967, p. 15–20; Mary Cranch to AA, 6 Nov. 1784, note 3, above.

239 7.

AA to Mary Cranch, 15 April, above.


Phoebe and William Abdee.


CA's printed admission form to Harvard College, dated 17 Aug., is in the Adams Papers.


Samuel Walker.


AA to Mary Cranch, 15 April, above; see the account in Cotton Tufts to JA, 10 Aug., below.


Mary and Elizabeth Cranches' letters to AA of 25 April, both above, and presumably other letters of about the same date, did not reach the Adamses until late June (see AA to Mary Cranch, 24 June, above). No letters from America to JQA, written in the spring of 1785, have been found.


AA to Mary Cranch, 15 April, above, referring to Royall Tyler.


See Richard Cranch to JA, 3 June, and AA to Mary Cranch, 7 Jan., and note 4, both above.


Probably Lucy Quincy Tufts' niece, Lucy Tufts Hall, daughter of Dr. Cotton Tufts' brother, Dr. Simon Tufts of Medford. Niece Lucy's mother, Lucy Dudley Tufts, had died in 1768. Sibley's Harvard Graduates , 11:478–481.