Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams and Charles Adams
Febry. 8 1781
My dear sons
I fear you will think Mamma is unmindfull of you if she does not write you a few lines by so good an opportunity. I wrote to both of you by Mr. Beals of this Town about a week ago,1 and my notice by this vessel is very short. I can only find time to tell you that tis a very long time since I heard from your Pappa, and much longer since I had a Letter from either of you. I think Dr. Lee brought the last.
I hope you are both well and very good children which is the best News I can possibly hear from you. I cannot prevail with your Sister to write—I believe she is affraid you will shew her Letters and she is so proud that she thinks she cannot write well enough. I do not like it that she is not more socible with her Brothers. Thommy would write if he could. He sends Love, is a very good Boy, and wants to know if you cannot send him some present from Holland.
Is my Charles grown as fat as his Brother? Can he talk French, Dutch, &c.
Ask Mr. Thaxter to write me word whether he bought Mr. Trottes and Mrs. Welchs things. I know nothing about them. Tell Pappa I am like to have a fine Neighbour. General W[arre]n has bought the Farm at Milton, that formerly belonged to G[overno]r Hutchinson and moves in April.2
We have had a fine pleasent winter, as mild as the last was severe. How has it been in Holland, have you learned to skate finely?
Master Samll[’s] Pappa is a going to France. I send this Letter by him.3 Col. Lawrence has got some for Pappa and Mr. Thaxter.—Your Grandpappa sends his Love to you, talks about you with much pleasure, so does your Grandmamma, who is so very infirm I fear you will never see her again. I do not see any prospect of your speedy return. It wants but a few days of 15 months since you left home. Do you not want to see the rugged rocks of Braintree again?
Some day or other, I wish it may not be far distant when I shall embrace my dear Sons in their Native land. Till that period arrives I would have them ever mindfull of writeing to their affectionate Mother,
Dft or RC (Adams Papers); from the irregularity of the paper, this has more the appearance of a retained draft than of a recipient’s copy, but this question is not now answerable.
1. Letter, or letters, missing.
2. Former Governor Thomas Hutchinson built his countryseat on Milton Hill, often called Neponset Hill, overlooking Boston Harbor, in 1743. He regularly occupied it during summers from 1754, and occasionally during winters after his Boston house was sacked in 1765, until June 1774, when he abandoned it to sail for England. Seized and sold at auction as tory property in 1779, this fine estate was purchased by James Warren in Jan. 1781 for £3,000. The Warrens lived there from May 1781 until sometime in 1788, when they returned to their Plymouth home. The house survived in radically altered form into the present century but was torn down in 1946. The most detailed and authoritative account of this once celebrated countryseat is in Malcolm Freiberg’s Thomas Hutchinson of Milton (Milton Hist. Soc., 1971). A water color of the house is reproduced in this volume. For the Warrens’ occupancy, see Alice Brown, Mercy Warren, N.Y., 1896, ch. 12; 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 , vol. 2: passim.
3. Gabriel Johonnot (d. 1820), son-in-law of Rev. Samuel Cooper and father of JQA’s companion and schoolmate in France, Samuel Cooper Johonnot, was a Boston merchant. See above, vol. 2:202–203, and 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. In a letter to JA of 9 Feb. 1780 [i.e. 1781], Samuel Cooper explained: “Colonel Johonnot who sails in the Frigate Alliance, I expected would have tarried with us a day or two longer. His sudden and unexpected Call to go on Board this Ship which now lies at some Distance from the Town allows me but a Moment to write you.... [He] goes to France upon a Plan of Business; your Friendship to him in this will oblige us both. He will see you upon the Affairs of his Son” (Adams Papers).