John Adams to Abigail Adams
L’Orient June 14. 1779
My dearest Friend
I have been often disappointed, and therefore cannot be perfectly sure now: but my Baggage is all on Board a Frigate of the Kings, and I am to take Passage in her, with the Chevalier de la Luzerne the new Ambassador to the united States, and Monsieur Marbois, the Secretary to the Commission, two Gentlemen of the most amiable Characters. Their will be Eighteen or twenty Persons in their Train. We expect to go to Boston, but may possibly go to Philadelphia.1
I ought not to give you an History of my Adventures for Four Months past, untill I see you. This goes by another Vessell: but I hope you will see me before it.
The French Fleet is out from Brest, and the French look up now with a good Countenance.—England is torn with Distractions, and Spain is expected soon to declare. Holland and the Northern Powers have made Declarations which sufficiently indicate their Determination, which is favourable to Us. Britannia, in short must soon hearken to Reason.
My dear Fellow Traveller is very well, and is the Comfort of my Life. He is much caressed, wherever he goes.—Remember me to the rest. What can I say more? No Words, no Actions can express the Ardour of Affection with which I am theirs & yours.
Not one Line from America since yours by the Alliance, nor any from Congress since October or the Beg[inning] of Novr.—a Pause that has consumed a great deal of my Patience, but I have Bags and Boxes of it yet left, in Abundance.
RC (Adams Papers.)
1. At one point during his tiresome wait JA expressed the view that the French government was treating him with “Insolence, and Contempt” (Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 2:369). But the great civility of both La Luzerne and his articulate and sophisticated secretary of legation, Marbois, toward JA and JQA at once overcame all such resentful feelings (same, p. 380).
Concerning Anne César, Chevalier de La Luzerne (1741–1791), François Barbé-Marbois (later Marquis de Barbé-Marbois) (1745–1837), and their subsequent relations with JA, see under both their names in the index to JA’s Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends .
The passengers boarded the frigate La Sensible, Capt. Bidé de Chavagnes, early in the morning of 17 June and sailed in mid-afternoon. They arrived in Boston Harbor on 2 (or possibly 3) Aug.; see below, Samuel Adams to AA, 31 July, note 2. JA’s account of the voyage is one of the most engaging among his many records of travel; 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 , 2:381–400.