John Adams to Abigail Adams
Hague Sept. 17 1782
My dearest Friend
I have transmitted Money to the young Men, whom you mentioned to me, and have expected every day for a long time to hear of their Sailing in a Cartel for America. They have been better treated since the Change of Ministers. My Respects to their Parents.
It is now five Months since my publick Reception here but We have not yet learned, that any News of it, has arrived in America.1
The Refugees in England are at their old Game again. Andrew Sparhawk has published in the Morning Post, that his Brother has received a Letter from New York, that Massachusetts and several other States were upon the Point of overturning the new Government, and throwing off the Authority of Congress, and returning to the Government of G. Britain. Their blood thirsty Souls are not yet satiated. They are labouring to bring on again an offensive War. But I think they cant succeed.2
I suppose the unhappy Affair of the County of Hampshire, is the Thing which gave Occasion to this Representation.3 Our Countrymen, must be very unreasonable if they cant be easy and happy under the Government they have. I dont know where they will find a better— or how they will make one. I dread, the Consequences of the Differences between Chiefs.
If Massachusetts gets into Parties, they will worry one another, very rudely. But I rely upon the honesty and Sobriety as well as good sense of the People. These Qualities will overawe the Passions of Individuals, and preserve a Steady Administration of the Laws.
My Duty to my Mother, and to your Father. I hope to see them again. Love to the Children and all Friends. What shall I say of my Brother Cranch? I long and yet I dread to hear from him.
I hope to sign the Treaty, this Week or next or the Week after. All Points are agreed on, and nothing remains but to transcribe the Copies fair. This Government is so complicated, that Months are consumed in doing what might be done in another in an hour.4
I dont know what to do with the Lists of Articles you send me. It would be better for you to write to Ingraham & Bromfield. I will pay.
RC (Adams Papers).
1. Actually, this news, as officially reported by JA, did not reach Congress until just about the time of his inquiry. Secretary Livingston began a letter to JA of 15–18 September with an acknowledgment of the receipt of “your letters from the 19th of April to the 5th of July, by the Heer Adams” (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. description begins Francis Wharton, ed., The Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, Washington, 1889; 6 vols. description ends , 5:728). This vessel had had a slow voyage and evidently carried duplicates of dispatches JA had sent by earlier ships that had been captured.
2. These tory communications have not been traced. Others of a similar kind from London papers, enclosed in the following letter, have not been found.
3. During the preceding months of 1782 there were civil disturbances in the western counties of Massachusetts arising from similar grievances and taking the same forms of protest that the Shays insurrection did a few years later. For the background and a connected narrative of the so-called “Ely riots,” see Robert J. Taylor, Western Massachusetts in the American Revolution, Providence, 1954, p. 109–120.
4. The Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the Netherlands and the United States was finally signed on 8 October. See JA’s account of the formalities in his Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 3:16–17, with notes and references there.