Adams Family Correspondence, volume 6

Abigail Adams to Thomas Jefferson, 21 August 1785 AA Jefferson, Thomas


Abigail Adams to Thomas Jefferson, 21 August 1785 Adams, Abigail Jefferson, Thomas
Abigail Adams to Thomas Jefferson
Dear sir London Grosvenor square August 21 1785

The Gentleman who is so kind as to convey this to you is from Carolina, his Name is Smith.1 He is a distant relation of mine, tho I have not the pleasure of much acquaintance with him. He has resided in England some time, and bears a Good Character here. Give me leave sir to introduce him to your notice.

Mr. Short left us last twesday for the Hague, I did myself the honour of writing to you by him.2


I find by the last papers from New York that Mr. Rutledge is appointed Minister at the Hague; in the room of Mr. Levingstone who declined the embassy.3 There is no mention made of a Secretary.

You will probably see our Massachusetts Navigation act before this reaches you; it has struck the hireling scriblers dumb. There has been less abuse against the Americans in the papers since the publication of it; than for a long time before.

Ireland has exerted herself,4 and Pharoah and his host are overthrown. The Courier of Europe will doubtless give you the debates. The july packet arrived last week. Tho she left New York the seventh of july, she brought not a line of publick dispatch. A private Letter or two for Col. Smith, the contents of which we cannot know; as he is absent upon a Tour to Berlin.

I was much dissapointed to find that my son had not arrived when the packet saild. As the French packet sails sometime after the English, I am not without hopes that I may hear by that, and I will thank you sir to give me the earliest intelligence if she brings any account of the May packet.

Be so good as to present my Regards to Col. Humphries. Mr. Short gives us some encouragement to expect him here this winter. My Love to Miss Jefferson, to whom also my daughter desires to be rememberd. Our5 good old Friends the Abbes, I would tender my Regards. If I could write French; I would have Scribled a line to the Abbe Arnou.

I think Madam Helvitius must be very melancholy now Franklin as she used to call him is gone. It is said here by a Gentleman lately from Philadelphia, that they determine to elect the doctor president upon his arrival, as Mr. Dickinsons office expires in october.6

In my Letter by Mr. Short I had taken the Liberty to request you to procure for me two or 3 articles, and to convey them by Col. Smith who talks of returning by way of Paris. But if he should not visit you, Mr. Smith when he returns will be so good as to take charge of them for me. But this I shall know in the course of a few weeks, and will take measures accordingly.7

I am sir with Sentiments of Esteem Your Humble Servant

Abigail Adams

RC (DLC: Jefferson Papers). Dft (DSI: Hull Coll.).


James Smith of South Carolina (JA to Thomas Jefferson, 18 Aug., in Jefferson, Papers , 8:400).


On 12 Aug., above.


The draft has “the 7 of july” after “New York.” On 23 June, Congress elected Gov. Wil-294liam Livingston of New Jersey to replace JA as minister plenipotentiary to the Netherlands, but Livingston promptly declined. Congress next turned to John Rutledge of South Carolina on 5 July, but on 1 Aug., he too declined the service. Congress never did replace JA, who continued as minister to the Netherlands until his resignation, and return to America, in 1788. JCC , 28:474, 481; 29:497, 654–655.


See AA2 to JQA, 4 July, and note 31, above.


The draft has “My”; the “Abbes” were Arnoux and Chalut.


The office was president of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania, that commonwealth's equivalent of governor. Franklin was elected to this post in October, and held it until Nov. 1788 (Colonial Records of Pennsylvania, Minutes of the Supreme Executive Council, Harrisburg, 1852–1853, 16 vols., 14:557, 565; 15:584).


This paragraph is not in the draft.

John Adams to Richard Cranch, 22 August 1785 JA Cranch, Richard


John Adams to Richard Cranch, 22 August 1785 Adams, John Cranch, Richard
John Adams to Richard Cranch
My dear Brother Grosvenor Square Westminster Aug. 22. 1785

I have received your kind Letter of June 3. and rejoice to hear of the Health and Welfare of our Friends.

The County did themselves Justice, when they put you into the Senate, and the State did itself Honour when it placed Mr. Bowdoin in the Chair. I think you must be happy and prosper under his Administration.

The Massachusetts, wise as it often has been, never Struck a more masterly Stroke, than by their Navigation Act. I hope they will persevere in it, with inflexible Firmness. This is playing a sure Game.1 It will compell all the other States to imitate it. If they do not, the Massachusetts will soon get so much of their carrying Trade as will richly compensate her, for any present Inconvenience. But I hope You will not Stop. Go on. Lay on heavy Duties upon all foreign Luxuries especially British and give ample Bounties to your own Manufactures. You will of course, continue to do all these Things upon the condition to continue in force only untill they Shall be altered by a Treaty of Commerce, or by an Ordinance of Congress.

My oldest son is with you, I hope, the Second is at Colledge and the third in good Health at Haverhill. Mrs. A. and Miss are with me, in Grosvenor Square in the Neighbourhood of Lord North.

We have a very good House, in as good an Air as this fat greasy Metropolis, can afford: But neither the House nor its furniture nor the manner of living in it, are Sufficiently Showy for the Honour and Interest of that Country, which is represented by it. If I ever do any Thing or carry any Point it will not be by imposing upon any Body by the Splendor of my Appearance. An American Minister should be able to keep a Table, to entertain his Countrymen, to return the 295Civilities of his Friends, to entertain People whose Aid is necessary to his political Purposes, and to entertain the foreign Ambassadors: But as the People of America, choose to place their Pride in having their Ambassadors abroad despized, or rather as they choose to be despized themselves, let them have their Choice. It is their Affair. I wish I was out of it.

Your affectionate Brother John Adams

RC (NhHi: Hibbard Coll.).


An “x” appears at the beginning of this paragraph, and at the end of this sentence. Cranch may have excerpted this passage to show members of the Massachusetts legislature and other political leaders (see Cranch to JA, 10 Nov., Adams Papers).