Adams Family Correspondence, volume 4

Joseph Gardoqui & Sons to Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

Abigail Adams to James Lovell, 10 May 1781 AA Lovell, James


Abigail Adams to James Lovell, 10 May 1781 Adams, Abigail Lovell, James
Abigail Adams to James Lovell
Braintree, 10 May 1781 1

Upon opening your favour of April 17 my Heart Beat a double stroke when I found that the Letter which I supposed had reachd you was the one captured2 in the room of that you received which was what I had supposed lost, but I should have been secure from the knowledge of the writer if Mr. Cranchs Letter and one I wrote at the same time had not accompanied it.3 The Letter which I would not have chosen should have come to any hand but yours, was in reply to two of yours and containd some Stricktures upon the conduct of a Friend.4 Least you should imagine it freer than it really was I enclose the coppy. I risk no more should it be captured than what the Enemy already have.—The Letter which occasiond some of the remarks I have not yet seen, tho I find it was published in the Halifax paper as well as Riveingtons.5 If what I have heard with regard to its contents is true, I cannot open my lips in defence of a Friend whose character I would wish to justify, nor will I secret from him that it suffers exceedingly even in the Eyes of his Friends from his so long absenting himself from his family. How well he may satisfy her who is nearest concernd I presume not to say, but if she possesses that regard for her partner which I presume she does, she must be exceedingly hurt even by the Speach of the world, if she is otherways sufficiently convinced of the attachment and affections of her partner. I write from a Sense of the feelings which under similar circumstances would harrow up my Soul, and wound with a Bearded Arrow. I have but a very small personal acquaintance with the Lady whom I esteem and commisirate, those who have speak highly of her. I have as little personal acquaintance with the Gentleman connected with her; but it has so happened that I have stood in need of his services, and he has exhibited an assiduity and Friendship in the discharge of them that has bound me to him in the bond of Friendship. Add to this he is the particular Friend and correspondent of him who is dearest to me and for whose sake alone I should Esteem him, but it would mortify me not a little to find I had mistaken a character and in the room of a philosopher, 112a man of the world appeard. If I could credit the report remainder missing

Dft (Adams Papers); text incomplete and without date or indication of addressee; at head of text in CFA's hand: “March May 1781.”; see note 1. Enclosure: copy (not found) of AA to Lovell, 17 March, printed above from Dft; see descriptive note there.


Lovell furnished the date of the (missing) RC of this letter in his replies of 29 May and 16 June, both below.


That is, her letter of 17 March, of which the draft text is printed above and a “coppy” was enclosed in the recipient's copy of the present letter. It was only a presumption by AA that this letter was actually captured.


The letters here alluded to (other than AA's of 17 March) have not been found, but see the opening sentences of Lovell to AA, 17 April, above, and 14 May, below.


That is, Lovell himself.


“Lovell's letter to Elbridge Gerry, 20 Nov. 1780, captured by the British and published in a Halifax paper and in James Rivington's New York Royal Gazette, 27 Dec. 1780. From the cryptic and circumlocutory remarks below, it appears that AA, although she had not yet seen the text of this letter, had gathered from common report (“the Speach of the world”) that Lovell had alluded in some demeaning way to his wife, Mary (Middleton) Lovell. For what Lovell actually wrote, and his plea in extenuation, see below, Lovell to AA, 16 June, and notes there.