John Adams to Abigail Adams
Passi June 16. 1778
My dearest Friend
Since my last I have had the inexpressible Pleasure of yours of the 25 of March1 by the Way of Holland, which is the first and the last Letter as yet received from you.
This will be delivered you by a young Gentleman by the Name of Archer who is going to America, to serve in our Army as a Voluntier. He is a promising Youth, and will tell you all the News, both in England and France.2—Germany seems at the Eve of War. The Emperor and King of Prussia are at the Head of Armies, and on Tiptoe to strike the Blow. England seems to be lost in a Stupor. Byrons Fleet is not yet sailed. D’Estaings passed the Straights of Gibraltar the 16 May.
We long to hear from America, the Ratification of the Treaty with France, the captivity of Gen. Clintons3 Army, and of Lord Howes Fleet.—John is very well, at School. Stevens is also well, and behaves well. My Love to all my little ones.4
I want a few Pamphlets here—the Thoughts on Government, the New York Constitution, an Essay of a Constitution of Government for Pensilvania, said to have been written by Mr. Dickinson.5 Look them up, and send them.
I cannot learn, that any Reinforcement is to be sent to America, this Summer. They can spare none. They are in a Panic, from an Apprehension of an Invasion. Ireland is grown tumultuous, are concerting a Non Importation Agreement, and give Simptoms of an Insurrection.
RC and LbC (Adams Papers.)
1. This, the first letter from AA received by JA in Europe, is now unaccountably lost. AA kept no draft of it, and, so far as appears, CFA knew no version of it.
2. On 14 June Henry Archer had written the American Commissioners that he designed to enlist in the American army and become an American citizen. “Though a native of England, I feel myself quite attached to America, and firmly persuaded that I shall carry thither dispositions entirely consonant to its welfare, and that my affection to her will not be the less in being only a Son by adoption. . . . Ambitious of military fame, and of military distinction, it was not consistent with my Notions to engage in the Army of the King of Great Britain” (PPAmP: Franklin Papers). JA introduced Archer to Samuel Adams in a letter dated 21 May but sent considerably later (JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 4:108, note), and on 17 June he wrote another letter of introduction for Archer to Isaac Smith Sr. (same, 4:139).
Samuel Adams in a reply to JA of 25 Oct. (Adams Papers) acknowledged receipt of his letter “yesterday,” and went on to say: “The Gentleman who brought it, Mr. Archer, tells me he had a Passage of Eleven Weeks.” He set off for Philadelphia very shortly and apparently arrived there on the 30th; the Boston Gazette of 23 Nov. reprinted the following account of Archer from Philadelphia newspapers of 5 Nov.: “On Friday last arrived in this city Henry Archer, Esq; This young gentleman, we are told, has been educated at a military school in England, where he owned a handsome fortune, which he has lately sold, in order to embark as a volunteer in the American army, in defence of the liberties and independence of America.” Whether Archer realized his ambition is not known.
3. LbC: “Hows” (i.e. Gen. Sir William Howe’s).
4. LbC originally broke off here with the leavetaking “Yours—yours—yours.”
5. The pamphlets desired by JA included his own Thoughts on Government, 1776, on which see his Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 3:331–333 and passim; the pamphlet form of the New York State Constitution, of which there were several printings in 1777 (see Evans description begins Charles Evans and others, comps., American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of All Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America 1639–1800, Chicago and Worcester, 1903–1959; 14 vols. description ends 15472–15474); and An Essay of a Frame of Government for Pennsylvania, Phila., 1776 (Evans description begins Charles Evans and others, comps., American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of All Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America 1639–1800, Chicago and Worcester, 1903–1959; 14 vols. description ends 14748), the authorship of which is not known.