Hannah Fayerweather Tollman Winthrop to Abigail Adams
Cambridge July 19th 1782
Near the dusk of last Evening, I was Honored with your Favor, by the hand of the amiable Master Charles Adams, but was unhappy in not having a light ready to know the Contents. The Young Gentleman Seeming in hast, having Company in waiting, prevented my detaining Him.1
I regret my not having His Company to lodge and the Young Ladies who were with Him, as it would have greatly amusd me in my Solitude. And I should have had an opportunity to pay them the Attention, I should wish to pay any of Your Family and of making particular inquiry, after a Gentleman and Lady, for whom I always had the highest Esteem, and for whom I have felt the tenderest Sympathy in their Temporary Seperation, and I make no doubt, I have shard in their Sensibilities, in my Fatal Seperation, and Dissolution of the most endearing Tie! You Madam are yet Blessd with that Anchor of the Soul, the pleasing hope of a reunion with the Dear partner of all Your joys. There is No one I Believe Can enter more fully into the feelings of a Divided Heart, than myself. It is certainly an unhappy Situation. But Your Consolations in the Services His Excellency is rendering His Country, the prospect of His return, and the Dear Pledges You hold, must greatly relieve your Anxieties. Shall I wish him a Speedy return? For the Happiness of Domestick Life, I will. But my Faith in the Sovereign Disposer of those great Events, The Arrangements of Nations, and kingdoms, for peace or War, and the Selectment of proper instruments to Negotiate those Weighty Affairs, would induce me to wish His Excellency Prosperity Abroad, and to You my Friend, a joyful Acquiescence in the will of the Supreme Till the happy Period arrive that will Bless you with mutual joy, by the happy Sight of each other.
I shall think my Self happy in Seeing Mrs. Adams at Braintre or Milton, and will improve every opportunity. You would give me very great pleasure if you would Visit me in my Solitude at Cambridge. Pray present my Compliments to your little happy Circle, and accept of the Sincerest Sentiments of Esteem from Your Humble Servant,
RC (Adams Papers).
1. AA’s “Favor” to Mrs. Winthrop by the hand of CA has not been found. She was the second wife, and widow, of Professor John Winthrop (1714–1779), JA’s former teacher of science and friend in the patriot cause. No doubt AA had instructed CA, who on the 17th had attended, as a guest, his first Harvard commencement, to pay his respects to Mrs. Winthrop at her home on the northwest corner of what are now Boylston and Mount Auburn streets in Cambridge. See above, vol. 1:302; JA, Earliest Diary description begins The Earliest Diary of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1966. description ends , p. x–xi and passim;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 , 9: 240–264.