ADAMS, Abigail (1744-1818). Manuscript note signed ("Abigail Adams"), Braintree, 4 January 1779. 1 page, oblong (4½ x 7¼ in.), tape remnants on verso. Text accomplished in clerical hand.
A RARE, WAR-DATE ABIGAIL ADAMS AUTOGRAPH, ADDRESSED TO HER HUSBAND NEAR THE END OF HIS FIRST DIPLOMATIC MISSION TO FRANCE
MONEY FROM HOME: ADAMS PREPARES TO LEAVE FRANCE. Abigail signs this "Exchange for £10.10 Sterlg." at the start of 1779. The text reads as follows: "At sight of this my first of Exchange, second, third & fourth of the same tenor and date unpaid, please to pay Mr. Jon.a test. or order ten pounds ten shillings Sterling, Value received as advised by, Your Abigail Adams."
John Adams and his son John Quincy arrived in France in February 1778 as Adams replaced the corrupt Silas Deane, later revealed to be a British spy. Adams concluded that his presence was no longer necessary once the treaty of alliance was signed. He and Franklin agreed that the delegation was not quite large enough to comfortably contain their two expansive egos, and Adams looked forward to reuniting with his family. But at the same time he was sorry to leave France. Over the course of his residence he grew more comfortable and confident with the language. And in spite of his pose as the puritanical republican American, Adams delighted in French cuisine, the theatre, and the energy of everyday life as he encountered it in conversations with the high and the low. He told Abigail that while "the pleasure of returning home is very great...it is a mortification to leave France" (quoted in Smith, Adams, 1:428).
The trip home was far more pleasant and uneventful than his winter crossing the year before, when his ship was chased by three different British warships, and nearly sank by a hurricane. This time the American-bound French diplomats Chevalier de la Luzerne and Barbe-Marbois kept Adams entertained with political and philosophical conversation, while young John Quincy gave English tutorials to the Frenchmen. Adams would not remain long at home. In December 1779 he would leave America once more, this time for a protracted stay of nearly a decade, which saw him serve his country first at The Hague, Paris again, and then as the first United States ambassador to the Court of St. James. Abigail would join him in Europe in 1784, after a five-years separation. She found European ways far less congenial than her husband. She preferred, she said, "my hens and chickings" on her Braintree farm to the characters she met in London and Paris.