Adams Papers

Lafayette to Abigail Adams, 29 September 1778

Lafayette to Abigail Adams

Boston Tuesday Morning [29 September?1 1778]

Le Marquis de lafayette Most Respectful Compliments Wait on Mrs. Adams and is highly sensible of the honor she had done him By her Most polite letter.2 He is very sorry that his Going immediately to Camp prevents him from Waiting on her at Bain tree Where he should have been happy to Present her With a tribute of his Gratitude and Respect.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. john Adams Bain Tree.”

1This is simply the most plausible date and is not assigned with perfect confidence. Lafayette’s first visit to Boston had been for only two or three days at the end of August, to smooth over differences between Gen. Sullivan (with whom Lafayette was serving at Rhode Island) and Adm. d’Estaing, whose shattered fleet had just sailed into Boston Harbor. See Gottschalk, Lafayette description begins Louis Gottschalk, Lafayette, Chicago, 1935–1950; 4 vols. Vol. 1: Lafayette Comes to America; vol. 2: Lafayette Joins the American Army, vol. 3: Lafayette and the Close of the American Revolution; vol. 4: Lafayette between the American and the French Revolution (1783–1789). description ends , 2:263–265. No Tuesday occurred during that visit. Lafayette returned to Boston just a month later for further conférences with Estaing, and stayed a little longer; this visit included Tuesday, 29 Sept. (same, p. 279–282). The writer’s saying in the present letter that he is “Going immediately to Camp” presumably refers to his imminent departure for Washington’s headquarters on the Hudson, for which he in fact did set out on 1 Oct. (same, p. 282–283).

It is true that Lafayette soon paid a third and longer visit to Boston, lasting from about 12 Dec. 1778 to 11 Jan. 1779, when he sailed with Congress’ dispatches for France on the Alliance (same, p. 311, 315–320). During this period he may very well have met AA (whose favorable allusion to him in her letter to JQA of 15 Dec. sounds as if they had not yet become acquainted), but on this longer visit he was headed for France and not back “to Camp.”

2Not found.

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