John Adams to Abigail Adams
You are uneasy that I dont write enough. I understand you. You want me to unravel to you all the Mysteries of the Poli[ti]cks of Europe, and all the Intrigues of Courts. This would make Madam a Lady of Consequence no doubt and enable her to shine in a Circle of Politicians of Either sex.—But in the first Place I dont understand them—in the next if I did I would give the English Leave to laugh or swear as much as they pleased if they should catch me in such a folly as that of Writing it, to your Ladyship.
There has been too much of that heretofore. No more—dont you know that there are eagle Eyes, and eager Ears about you, to catch any Thing improper from me, or from you. Read the Journal de Paris and be easy.
RC? (Adams Papers). The MS has the appearance of being a recipient’s copy, and though undated was bound up in the family papers between JA’s letters to AA of 26 and 27 Feb., above. But it could have been sent as a postscript to any one of several of JA’s letters written during this month; or perhaps, having been written in an even crosser mood than the others in this sequence, it may not have been sent at all. Since no acknowledgments have been found and the letters themselves bear neither endorsements nor docketings, there is, in fact, nothing to prove that any of JA’s scolding letters in February were sent or received.
1. If this is in fact JA’s last letter to AA in February, it is his last to her until he wrote three on the same day from Lorient, 14 May, q.v. below. On 3 March he took leave of the French ministry at Versailles; on the 8th he and JQA left Passy for Nantes, where they arrived on the 12th, expecting to sail to America on the Alliance, Capt. Pierre Landais. But the ship was in disrepair at Brest, whither JA went to arrange for an exchange of British prisoners that were aboard. The negotiation became protracted, and the Adamses could not board Alliance until 22 April, at St. Nazaire. There, and at Nantes and Lorient again, JA had a lengthy and “triste sejour” after learning that the ship was to be detained by request of the French government and that he and his son were to sail in a French frigate, La Sensible, in company with the new French minister to the United States, La Luzerne, whose preparations were tedious. La Sensible finally sailed from Lorient on 17 June. 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 , 2:354–381.