Abigail Adams to Elbridge Gerry
Braintree March 19. 1784
I received Letters dated about the middle of November from Mr. Adams, in which he was very urgent with me to come out early in Spring, if I declined a Winters voyage. Since that time I have not heard from him.
Capt. Callihan will sail for London in April. My Friends advise me to take passage in him, but I cannot feel fully determined untill I hear from you. Your favour by Mr. Thaxter1 gave me reason to suppose that there was not a probability of Mr. Adams’es Speedy return. I wish to know your present Sentiments upon the Subject, as it would be exceeding dissagreable to me to make a voyage, and be under the necessity of immediately returning. When he wrote me last, he had but just recoverd from a fever. He thought his Health which had been very infirm ever since his Sickness in Amsterdam, much mended since his last illness; but you cannot wonder sir that I feel anxious for his return, or if that cannot be, to go to him. You will be so kind as to give me the earliest intelligence upon the Subject which you possibly can.
Our Friend Col. Quincy is no more, he died about a fortnight since of a disorder to which he has long been Subject. Mr. Adams in his last Letters complains much for want of intelligence, rejoices to hear that you are in Congress, and begs that I would request you to write to him.2 Mr. Thaxter informd me that you had written to him before he left Philadelphia.3 I hope sir you will continue your favours, whether in or out of Congress so long as Mr. Adams remains abroad, as I know of no Gentleman for whom he has a sincerer Friendship or a higher Esteem.
Please to present my Respectfull compliments to Dr. Lee and Mr. Osgood. If you have Mr. Laurences replie to Mr. Jennings4 I will thank you for it, I am very Sorry that there ever was any occasion for a publication upon either side.
I am sir with Sentiments of Esteem Your Humble Servant.
RC (NNPM: MA 157); addressed in an unidentified hand: “The Honble. Elbridge Gerry Member of Congress Annapolis”; endorsed: “Braintree Lettr Mrs Adams Mar 19 ansd April 16 1784.”
3. Apparently a reference to Gerry’s long letter to JA of 23 Nov. 1783 (Adams Papers).
4. Mr. Laurens True State of the Case. By Which His Candor to Mr. Edmund Jenings Is Manifested and the Tricks of Mr. Jenings Are Detected, London, 1783 (Sabin description begins Joseph Sabin and others, comps., A Dictionary of Books Relating to America, from Its Discovery to the Present Time, New York, 1868–1936; 29 vols. description ends , No. 39258). Laurens was answering Jenings’ The Candour of Henry Laurens, Esq.; Manifested by His Behaviour to Mr. Edmund Jenings, London, 1783 (Sabin description begins Joseph Sabin and others, comps., A Dictionary of Books Relating to America, from Its Discovery to the Present Time, New York, 1868–1936; 29 vols. description ends No. 35984), which John Thaxter first heard of in London in Aug. 1783 (Thaxter to JA, 7 Aug. 1783, Adams Papers). Jenings’ reply to Laurens’ answer appeared as A Full Manifestation of What Mr. Henry Laurens Falsely Denominates Candour in Himself, and Tricks in Mr. Edmund Jenings, London, 1783 (Sabin description begins Joseph Sabin and others, comps., A Dictionary of Books Relating to America, from Its Discovery to the Present Time, New York, 1868–1936; 29 vols. description ends , No. 35985). On this complex and still mysterious controversy, 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 , 2:355–356; and Thaxter to JA, 1 June (Adams Papers).