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John Adams to Abigail Adams, 10 December 1794

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Phil. Decr 10. 1794

My Dearest Friend

Entre nous Mr sheerjashub Bourne called upon me the other Morning to ask me some Questions about Mr Blacks farm and Captn. Beale’s farm. He says both are to be sold— Beale asks ten thousand Dollars for his New House and farm—and the same for Squantm— Mr Blacks asks Eighteen thousand but it is Supposed would take fifteen. I hope in mercy Bourn will not buy— Our present Neighbours are I believe much better. dont say any thing of this. Beale and Black are both impatient to be making Money in Boston, and I dare say the Ladies had rather shine in the City.

Mrs Hancock it seems, thinks the Captn of a Man of War as great a Man as a Governor or King— I dare say she will find him a greater. Do you remember a Dialogue of Ld Littleton between The Princess of orange and the Countess of Clarickard?1 I dare say she has no Idea of devoting herself to the Memory of a deceased Husband. such Ideas are too Heroic & Romantic, for this enlightened Age.

Mr Cranch breakfasted with me, this morning. Tomorrow he goes off— I gave him a Letter to Mr Carrol of Carrolton.2


RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “December 10th.”

1George Lyttelton, Baron Lyttelton, Dialogues of the Dead, London, 1760, Dialogue XVI. In this imagined dialogue between Louise de Coligni, Princess of Orange, and Frances Walsingham, Countess of Essex and Clanrickard (or Clanricarde), Lyttelton has the two women discussing their marriages, particularly Walsingham’s decision to marry Richard de Burgh, 4th Earl of Clanrickard, following the deaths of her first two husbands, Sir Philip Sidney and Robert Devereux, 2d Earl of Essex. The Princess of Orange cannot understand how Walsingham would agree to marry someone of considerably lower station and stature than her previous husbands, arguing, “The Ambition of your Heart could surely be satisfied with no meaner Husband.” Walsingham disagrees, stating, “I desired a quiet Life and the Joys of wedded Love, with an agreeable, virtuous, well-born, unambitious, unenterprising Husband. All this I found in the Earl of Clanrickard: and, believe me, Madam, I enjoyed more solid Felicity in Ireland with him, than I ever had known with my two former Husbands, in all the Pride of their Glory, when England and Europe resounded with their Praise.”

2On 10 Dec. JA wrote a letter of introduction for William Cranch to Charles Carroll of Carrollton, his former colleague in the Continental Congress (DLC:William Cranch Papers).

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