Adams Family Correspondence, volume 3

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

John Adams to Isaac Smith Sr.

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 19 April 1778 JA AA


John Adams to Abigail Adams, 19 April 1778 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My dearest Friend Passy, near Paris April 19. 1778

This Letter will be conveyed to you by Sir James Jay and Mr. Digges. Sir James is a Brother of the Chief Justice of N. York.1 Mr. Digges is of one of the southern states.2

I never felt myself under so much Embarrassment in Writing because there never was so much Danger of my Letters falling into British Hands.

I am pleasantly situated at Passi, a fine airy, salubrious Situation, in the same House with Dr. Franklin, with whom I make one Family. The Dr. is in fine Health and great Reputation.

Long before this Reaches you, the News will have arrived of the Treaty between this Kingdom and America, a great Event indeed in our History, which cannot fail to have the most important and decisive Effects.

The Trade between the two Countries will vastly increase and the Security of it, will make it more profitable.

My dear Johnny is well fixed in a school,3 and his Behaviour does Honour to his Mamma.

My Love to my dear Daughter, and my dear sons at home.

I am yours, ever, ever yours, John Adams

RC (Adams Papers.)


Sir James Jay (1732–1815), M.D. Edinburgh 1753, knighted by George III in 1763, after sundry adventures on both sides of the Atlantic because his 15political views were suspected by both Americans and British, was to serve as JA's physician during the latter's grave illness at Auteuil in the fall of 1783. His erratic conduct angered his brother John, and his career and views remain obscure to this day. See Sir James Jay to American Commissioners, 14 April 1778 (PPAmP:Franklin Papers); JA to Arthur Lee, 6 April 1784 (Adams Papers); Jay, Correspondence and Public Papers , 1:236; 2:297–298; JA, Diary and Autobiography , 3:143–144; Stokes, Iconography of Manhattan Island , 5:1145; Monaghan, John Jay , p. 29, 32, 37–38, 215; Appletons' Cyclo. Amer. Biog. ; Morris, Peacemakers , p. 298–299, 359–360, 433.


George Digges (1747–1792), younger brother of the better-known Thomas Digges (1742–1821), Marylanders who found themselves in England at the outbreak of the Revolution and had some difficulty in knowing which way to move, if at all. George Digges sailed from France for Boston with Sir James Jay and on 12 Aug. 1778 took an oath of loyalty to his state at Annapolis. See William Bell Clark, “In Defense of Thomas Digges,” PMHB , 77:381–438 (Oct. 1953), especially p. 386–388, 390, 438. Thomas remained in England and became a frequent but secret correspondent of JA. The “Mr. Digges” mentioned by JA in his Diary and Autobiography , under date of 20 April 1778, was therefore George rather than Thomas, and was misidentified by the editors in their note on that entry (vol. 2:304). Thomas, as Mr. Clark's article makes clear, did not come to Paris until the spring of 1779. Jay and Digges arrived in Boston on 1 July (AA to JA, ca. 15 July, below, and note 3 there).


This “pension” school was kept by one Le Coeur in Passy. Among JQA's American schoolmates there were Franklin's grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache; Jesse, son of Silas Deane; and Charles B. Cochran, evidently a South Carolinian. See JQA to AA, 20 April, below; Le Coeur to JA, 31 July, also below; JQA to Charles B. Cochran, 18 July 1814 (RC, privately owned, printed in AHR , 15:572–574 [April 1910]); JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:301; 4:58.