Abigail Adams to John Adams
Monday April 7. 1777
I hope to receive some Letters from you this week, the date of the last was the 7 of March and now tis the 7 of April. I cannot suppose according to your usual practice but you must have wrote several times since; I sent a Letter to the post office a Saturday, but yesterday hearing of an express I thought to write a few lines by it, just to tell you that the family are well as usual, that I visit you almost every night, or you me, but wakeing the agreable delusion vanishes—“like the Baseless fabrick of a vision.”
I have nothing new to write you. The present Subject of discourse is the unfortunate Daughter of Dr. C[oope]r, who having indiscreetly and foolishly married a Stranger, after finding him a Sot, has the additional1 misery of finding herself the wife of a married Man and the Father of 5 children who are all living. About 3 weeks after he saild for the West Indias a Letter came to Town directed to him which was deliverd to her, and proved to be from his wife, who after condoling with him upon his misfortune in being taken prisoner, Lets him know that she with her 5 children are well, and to add to mortification tis said her complexion is not so fair as the American Laidies.
I most sincerely pitty her unfortunate Father, who having but two children has found himself unhappy in both. This last Stroke is worse than death.2
Let me hear from you by the return of this express, and by every other opportunity.
I suppose you are in Bloom in your climate whilst we are yet hovering over a fire and shivering with the cold.
Adieu. Yours with an affection that knows no bounds,
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. MS: “additionally.”
2. Rev. Samuel Cooper had two children, both daughters. The elder, Judith, married Gabriel Johonnot, a Boston merchant, in 1766, and died in 1773; their son Samuel Cooper Johonnot was to accompany JA and JQA on their voyage to Spain in 1779 (NEHGR description begins New England Historical and Genealogical Register. description ends , 44 : 57; JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 2:417–418).
Cooper’s younger daughter, Abigail (1755–1826), married in Jan. 1777, at Boston, Joseph Sayer Hixon, a well-to-do and well-connected British merchant and slaveowner of Montserrat in the Leeward Islands, who had been captured while on a voyage to London and brought into Boston on a Continental prize ship in Oct. 1776. In the spring of 1777 Hixon went back to Montserrat, but during an insurrection there was captured again and taken to Copenhagen. In 1782 he returned to Boston, was reunited with Abigail, had several children by her, and died in Boston in 1801. (MS letters of Samuel Cooper introducing Hixon to influential friends in France and England, March 1777, in CSmH; NEHGR description begins New England Historical and Genealogical Register. description ends , 44 : 157–58; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates description begins John Langdon Sibley and Clifford K. Shipton, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge and Boston, 1873–. description ends , 11:206.)
3. William Smith did not sail with McNeill in the Boston, but as a captain of marines in the American Tartar, a 24-gun privateer, Capt. John Grimes, and after a successful cruise in the Baltic was captured and carried into Newfoundland (AA to JA, 6–9 May and 16 Nov., both below; MHS, Colls. description begins Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections and Proceedings. description ends , 77 : 73).
4. Capt. John Bradford, Continental prize agent for Massachusetts since April 1776 (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 4:301; William Bell Clark, George Washington’s Navy, Baton Rouge, 1960, p. 151 and passim). Without much doubt it is to Bradford’s conduct as agent that JA alludes darkly in a passage on official peculation in his Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 2:402.