Adams Family Correspondence, volume 7

Abigail Adams to Cotton Tufts, 1 August 1786 AA Tufts, Cotton


Abigail Adams to Cotton Tufts, 1 August 1786 Adams, Abigail Tufts, Cotton
Abigail Adams to Cotton Tufts
My dear Sir London August 1 1786

Mr Adams receivd yesterday your obliging favour of june 28th1 by way of Liverpool. His Eyes which I sometimes fear will fail him, have a weakness oweing to too intense application, which is very troublesome to him, and this being now the case, he will not be able to write his Friends as he wishes. I have to thank you for him, the intelligence which your Letter contains ought to make our Countrymen wise. I think they were so in refusing the offers made them and they may serve to convince them of the importance which the Whale fishery is considerd in Europe.

The French as a Nation do not wish our Prosperity more than the English, only as they have sense enough to See that every indulgence stipulated to us, is a thorn in the Side of the English.

The Parliament is up, and every body is fled from the city into the Country to reemit their Strength and Spirits, exhausted by pleasure and buisness. We shall hear very little of politicks till next winter, and by that time I hope congress will have establishd a system which will render them more respected abroad. And I would add an other wish; which is that they would adjourn, and when they do meet take care to be fully represented. They would go to buisness with more spirit. Through the neglect of the States a Treaty with Prussia which was received by them last october was never ratified till june and arrived here only within a few Days of the times expiring for the exchange. Prussia having no minister either here or in France, obliges mr Adams to go imediately to the Hague to prevent the whole treaty's falling through.2 As this presents a good opportunity for Seeing the Country, I Shall accompany him there. We expect to be absent a Month. Col Smith we leave charge des affairs in our absence.

I am afflicted at the loss of an other dear relative and affectionate Aunt. When we reach the Meridian of Life, if not before one Dear Friend or other is droping of, till we lose all that makes life desir-307able. She was a most valuable woman, I loved her like a Parent. I have frequently recollected what my uncle Said to me the morning I left his House. You will never I fear said he see your Aunt again. And I had the same apprehensions as I have lookd upon her Health in a very precarious Situation for several Years. That we may not neglect the main object of Life, a preparation for death is the constant wish of your ever affectionate Neice


RC (Adams Papers.)


Not found.


JA and Jefferson enclosed the Prussian-American treaty of amity and commerce to John Jay, the secretary for foreign affairs, in a letter dated 2 and 11 Oct. 1785. Jay submitted it to Congress on 9 Feb., and it was ratified on 17 May. By Art. 27 of the treaty, the Prussian and American ratifications had to be exchanged within one year of the treaty's signing, which had been completed on 10 Sept. 1785. JA traveled to the Netherlands to exchange the ratifications with Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Thulemeier, Prussian minister to The Hague, with whom he had also negotiated the original treaty in 1784–1785 (Jefferson, Papers , 8:606; JCC , 30:61, note 1; Miller, Treaties , 2:162, 182–184).

John and Abigail Adams to William Stephens Smith, 5 August 1786 JA AA Smith, William Stephens


John and Abigail Adams to William Stephens Smith, 5 August 1786 Adams, John Adams, Abigail Smith, William Stephens
John and Abigail Adams to William Stephens Smith
Three Cup's Harwich August. 5. 1786. Saturday Dear Sir

After a very pleasant Journey, here We are. We came very leisurely, dined the first day at Ingatestone and Slept at Witham, dined Yesterday at Mistley (Mr Rigbys Seat very near) and Slept where We now are, in full View of the Land Guard Fortification, with a fair Sun and fine Breeze. Our Carriage is on Board. As Fortune will have it, Hearn is the Captain. It is my third Passage with him. The two first were tedious,1 this I hope will be otherwise. The Agent for the Packetts called upon Us last night, in Consequence of Mr Frasers Letter.2 Ld Walthams Seat,3 and Mr Rigbys, We wished to ramble in. Rigbys looks at a fine Cove of Salt Water. As this Farm has been watered and manured with the Effluvia of an hundred Millions of Money, being the Nerves of the American War, it might have been more magnificent. It is a fine Seat.4 My Love to my dear Mrs Smith. Mamma sends her Love to you both.

We passed a pretty Seat, of the Family of Hoar, perhaps the Same with that of President Hoar, once of Harvard Colledge.5

At the Sign of the 3 cups, a tolerable House where a better is not to be had, with a fine view of the water from 3 windows, and a memento mori from the fourth, viz a burying Ground and church with 308in half a rod of us. We are now Setting at the Breakfast table. Pappa having told you where we stopd dined Slept &c has left nothing for me to say excepting that he twic mounted Johns Horse and rode 7 miles twice, which you See by computation makes 14 ms. In concequence of a Letter from the Secretary of states office the captain is obliged to give us the great cabin to ourselves for which we must make him a compliment of 10 Guineys and 7 for the Carriage. We concluded as there were 10 other passengers one being a Lady, that if any of them were very sick we could not (doing as we would be done by), refuse them admittance. So it was as well not to retain it, as the captain promisd me a small room by myself. The Country from London to Harwich is very delightfull, we were not much incomoded with dust. We found a card at woods, from mr Hollis requesting us to call on him and take a dinner or Bed &c. We reachd woods about 2 oclock orderd our dinner and walkd to the Hide. Mr Hollis received us with great Hospitality, and miss Brands countanance shone. She treated us with some cake, we Sat an hour took our leave and dined at Woods. Esther sighd this morning as she was dressing me and said, how strange it seems not to have Mrs Smith with us. I had felt it strange through the whole journey—one must be weaned by degrees. I hope you are very happy, you cannot be otherways whilst you continue to have the disposition to be so. Look in if you please once a week at our House, and let me know that it continues to Stand in Grosvenour Square adieu. Your affectionately


RC (MHi: De Windt Collection); addressed by JA: “To William S Smith Esqr Charge des Affaires of the United States of America Wimpole Street No. 16. London”; endorsed: “Harwich August 5th. 1786 Jno. Adams Ansd. 8th.”; stamped: “7 AU” and “[H]arwich.”


JA and JQA sailed from Harwich to Hellevoetsluis in Jan. 1784. In August of the same year JA made the opposite voyage, alone, to join AA, AA2, and JQA, who had preceded him, in London (JA, D&A , 3:152, 170).


William Fraser (Frazier) was undersecretary of state for foreign affairs in Lord Carmarthen's office (Jefferson, Papers , 8:302). The letter has not been identified.


New Hall, the seat of Drigue Billers Olmius (1746–1787), 2d baron Waltham in the Irish peerage, was located in Boreham, Essex (Namier and Brooke, House of Commons , 3:225).


Mistley Hall, on the River Stour, was owned by Richard Rigby (1722–1788). As paymaster general of the forces, 1768–1782, Rigby controlled vast sums of public funds. The office was reformed in 1782 and Rigby accused of personally profiting from the monies under his control. Although he agreed to repay the outstanding balances, the public was still owed £156,000 three years after his death (Namier and Brooke, House of Commons , 3:354–360).


To this point, the letter is written by JA. The remainder is written by AA. Rev. Leonard Hoar (ca. 1630–1675), third president of Harvard College (1672–1675), was born in Gloucestershire, England. He came to Massachusetts as a child with his family, gradu-309ated at Harvard in 1650, returned to England in 1653, and preached at Wanstead, Essex, until 1662. In 1672, he accepted an invitation to preach at the Old South Church and returned to Boston. Soon thereafter he was named president of Harvard ( Sibley's Harvard Graduates , 1:228–252; DNB ).