John Adams letter to Abigail Adams, 6 November 1778

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Passy, 6 November, 1778.

MY DEAREST FRIEND,

WE have received information that so many of our letters have been thrown overboard, that I fear you will not have heard so often from me as both of us wish. I have written often, but my letters have not been worth so much as other things which I have sent you. I sent you a small present by Captain Niles, but he is taken by a Jersey privateer. I sent you also some other things by Captain Barnes ; and what affects me quite as much, I sent the things that my dear brother Cranch requested me to send, by the same vessels. These vessels were chosen because they were fast sailers, and so small as to be able to see danger before they could be seen ; but all is taken and sent into Guernsey and Jersey. By Captain Tucker, I sent you the whole of the list you gave me of articles for the family. These, I hope, have ar- rived safe, but I have been so unlucky that I feel averse to meddling in this way. The whole loss is a trifle, it is true. But to you, in the convenience of the family, and to Mr. Cranch in his business, it would have been of value. If the Boston arrives, the little chest she carries to you will be of service.

My anxiety for you and for the public is not diminished by time or distance. The great number of accidental disappointments in the course of the last summer are afflicting. But we hope for better luck another year. It seems to be the intention of Heaven that we should be taught the full value of our liberty by the dearness of the purchase, and the importance of public virtue by the necessity of it. There seems to be also a further design, that of eradicating forever from the heart of every American, every tender sentiment towards Great Britain, that we may, sometime or other, know how to make the full advantage of our independence by more extensive connexions with other countries. Whatever syren songs of peace may be sung in your ears, you may depend upon it from me, (who unhappily have been seldom mistaken in my guesses of the intentions of the British government for fourteen years,) that every malevolent passion and every insidious art will predominate in the British cabinet against us. Their threats of Russians and of great reinforcements are false and impracticable, and they know them to be so ; but their threats of doing mis chief with the forces they have, will be verified as far as their power.

It is by no means pleasant to me to be forever impuling malicious policy to a nation that I have ever wished and still wish I could esteem. But truth must be attended to ; and almost all Europe, the Dutch especially, are at this day talking of Great Britain in the style of American sons of liberty. I hope the unfortunate events at Rhode Island I will produce no heart-burnings between our countrymen and the Comte D Estaing, who is allowed by all Europe to be a great and worthy officer, and by all who know him to be a zealous friend of America.

I have enjoyed uncommon health since my arrival in this country, and, if it was peace and my family here, I could be happy. But never, never shall I en joy happy days without either. My little son gives me great pleasure both by his assiduity to his books, and his discreet behavior. The lessons of his mamma are a constant lesson to him, and the reflection that they are so to his sister and brothers are a never- failing consolation to me at times when I feel more tenderness for them than words can express, or than I should choose to express, if I had power. Remember me in the most affectionate manner to our parents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, and what shall I say children.

My respects where they are due, which is in so many places that I cannot name them. With regard to my connexions with the public business here, which you will be naturally inquisitive to know something of, I can only say, that we have many disagreeable cir-

1 The failure of a project to attack the British at New port, by the departure of Comte D Estaing.cumstances here, many difficulties to accomplish the wishes of our constituents, and to give satisfaction to certain half-anglified Americans, and what is more serious and affecting, to real and deserving Americans, who are suffering in England, and escaping from thence. But from this court, this city and nation, I have experienced nothing but uninterrupted politeness. It is not possible for me to express more tenderness and affection to you than will be suggested by the name of

JOHN ADAMS.

Author:
John Adams

Source:
Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume II, 1841