Abigail Adams to John Adams
How dear to me was the Signature of my Friend this Evening received by the Boston a ship more valued to me than all the American Navy besides, valuable for conveying safely my choisest comfort, my dearest Blessings.2 “I Love the place where Helen was but born.”
You write me that you have by several vessels convey’d me tokens of your Friendship. The only Letters I have received from you or my dear Son were dated last April and containd only a few lines—judge then what my Heart has sufferd. You could not have sufferd more upon your Voyage than I have felt cut of from all communication with you. My Harp has been hung upon the willows, and I have scarcly ever taken my pen to write but the tears have flowed faster than the Ink. I have wrote often to you but was unfortunate enough to have my last and largest packets distroyd the vessel being taken and carried into Halifax. Mr. Ingraham of Boston will convey this to you with his own hand.3 You will I know rejoice to see him as a Bostonian, an American and a Man of Merit, I need not ask you to notice him. I apprehend that this will never reach you yet this apprehension shall not prevent my writing by every opportunity. The French Ships are still in the Harbour of Boston. I have received great civility and every mark of Respect that it has been in the power of their officers to shew me.
Count dEstaing has been exceeding polite to me, he took perticulir care to see me, sending an officer to request I would meet him at Col. Q[uinc]ys as it was inconvenient to be at a greater Distance from his ship. I according waited upon his Excellency who very politely received me, insisted upon my Dineing on board his Ship, appointed his day and sent his Barge, requested I would bring any of my Friends with me. We made up a company of 13 and waited upon him. An entertainment fit for a princiss was prepared, we spent a most agreable day.4 The Count is a most agreable Man, Sedate, polite, affible with a dignity that is lost in Ease yet his brow at times would be overclouded with cares and anxieties so like a dear absent Friends that I was pained for him. But I determine to write you more perticuliarly by an other opportunity. I lament the loss of my last packet. I hate to write duplicates. Our Friend[s] here are all well. Let me intreat you to write me more Letters at a time, sure you cannot want subjects. They are my food by day and my rest by night. Do not deal them so spairingly to your own
Dft (Adams Papers).
1. Dated conjecturally but with some confidence from internal evidence and from JA’s entering a letter of 21 Oct. in his list of letters received from AA (JA to AA, 20 Feb. 1779, first letter of that date, below). RC has not been found.
2. The letter here acknowledged must have been JA’s of 3 June, above. The Boston had left France on 6 June and had arrived at Portsmouth on 15 Oct. (Sheppard, Tucker description begins John H. Sheppard, The Life of Samuel Tucker, Commodore in the American Revolution, Boston, 1868. description ends , p. 88, 100).
3. Duncan Ingraham, evidently the same young Boston mariner and merchant who soon afterward established, with others, an American mercantile firm in Amsterdam; see JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 2:453–454, 456; 3:29, 83, 85; also correspondence between JA and Ingraham in the 1780’s (Adams Papers). On the conveyance of the present letter, see John Eliot to AA, Oct. 1778, below.
4. This must have been on 15 Oct.; see Mercy Warren to JA, 15 Oct. (Adams Papers, Warren-Adams Letters description begins Warren-Adams Letters: Being Chiefly a Correspondence among John Adams, Samuel Adams, and James Warren (Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections, vols. 72–73), Boston, 1917–1925; 2 vols. description ends , 2:54–55); Thomas Cushing to JA, 21–28 Oct. (Adams Papers).