John Adams to Abigail Adams
Auteuil1 near Paris Oct. 14. 1783
My dearest Friend
I have had another Fever, which brought me low, but as it has carried off certain Pains and Lamenesses the Relicks of the Amsterdam Distemper, I am perswaded it will do me, much good.
I am going next Week to London, with my son. I may Stay Six Weeks, if nothing from Congress calls me away Sooner.2
I have only to repeat my earnest Request that you and our Daughter would come to me, as soon as possible. The Business that is marked out for Us, will detain me in Europe at least another Year, as I conjecture. You may take the Voyage and Satisfy your Curiosity and return with me. It is not very material, whether you arrive in Nantes, Amsterdam or London—the Distance from Paris is about the Same.
You, once wrote me that Mr. Allen had offered his Place for Sale. Pray what was his Price?3
I Suppose that Bills, upon Europe will now sell for Money or more than Money. If So draw upon me, for what you want, and your Bills shall be paid, upon Sight. I Sent you a little by Mr. Thaxter.
I have particular Reasons for wishing to own that Piece of Land where <
…>4 Mr. Hancocks House stood and the Addition which has been made to it.5 If Coll. Quincy will Sell it, at any tollerable Price, and you can sell a Bill upon me, for Cash to pay for it, buy it. Pray Dr. Tufts to do it, if you have not time.
Your Letters by the Way of England have all come to me very regularly and in good order. It is the best Way at present of Writing. You may write however, by the Way of the French Packet from N. York to L’Orient. But Secrets should not be trusted to that Conveyance by you nor me.
The Family affair which has been mentioned in Several of your Letters,6 may be managed very well. The Lady comes to Europe with you. If the Parties preserve their Regard untill they meet again and continue to behave as they ought, they will be still young enough. Lawyers should never marry early. I am quite unqualified to decide upon that matter. To Your Judgment, with the Advice of our Friends, I must leave it. One Thing I know, that Knowledge of the Law comes not by Inspiration, and without painfull and obstinate Study no Man will ever have it. Yours, without Reserve.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “october 14th.”
1. JA moved from Paris on 22 Sept. to live in Auteuil, just west of the city on the right bank of the Seine, near the Bois de Boulogne, as a guest of Thomas Barclay, who was renting a house from the Comte de Rouault. As JA explained in a long and vivid reminiscence published nearly thirty years later in a Boston newspaper, the noise of carriage traffic outside the Hôtel du Roi in Paris, where he was lodging, was so loud and continuous that loss of sleep threatened his recovery from the ravages of a serious fever (JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 3:143 and note 4; and see illustration opposite 3:257). In Aug. 1784, JA rented the same house and brought his family to live there.
2. Despite his program of exercise at Auteuil, JA’s health did not improve as rapidly as he hoped, and on the advice of his physician, Sir James Jay, JA decided to take the waters at Bath in England (same). JA, JQA, and their servant Levêque left Auteuil on 20 Oct., and arrived in London the 26th (same, 3:146–148).
4. Six to eight words have been deleted here.
5. The residence of Rev. John Hancock, father of the governor, stood on land that became the property of Col. Josiah Quincy; the house burned down in 1759. JA acquired this property sometime after Col. Quincy’s death in March 1784, and he refers to it in his Diary as “the Hancock Cellar.” In 1822 he gave the property with other land to the Town of Quincy in trust for the eventual establishment of a private school to train young men for college. Adams Academy was completed in 1871, constructed on the site of the “cellar.” The building is now the home of the Quincy Historical Society. See AA to JA, 15 March 1784, below; JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 1:111–113, and note 15; 3:249; Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy description begins William S. Pattee, A History of Old Braintree and Quincy, with a Sketch of Randolph and Holbrook, Quincy, 1878. description ends , p. 341–342.
6. Royall Tyler’s courtship of AA2.