Nov 08, 2018 - Sale 2492

Sale 2492 - Lot 221

Price Realized: $ 5,460
Show Hammer Price?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 3,500 - $ 5,000
OFFERING MARRIAGE ADVICE TO SON ABIGAIL SMITH ADAMS. Autograph Letter, unsigned, to her son, Thomas Boylston Adams ("My dear Thomas"), sending some papers [not present], advising that one ought not to embark upon marriage prematurely, remarking that she herself was unprepared for the duties of married life, nevertheless approving of the match, mentioning improvements to the town of Quincy, requesting that he write a letter to [François Adriaan] Van Der Kemp, and stating that his father has been busy translating and would write soon. 2 pages, 4to, with integral blank; folds, faint bleedthrough overall. Quincy, 20 March 1803

Additional Details

". . . I have been obliged to put under cover the papers promised; with the mortification of sending them, unaccompanied with a line, I now forward the remainder, most sincerely wishing you success in your undertaking. . . . Is there not an astonishing similarity between the scenes which have so lately been acted in France; and those drawn from the Historians cited?

"The contents of your Letter of Feb'y 16th have dwelt upon my mind. . . . I cannot refrain from chidin ...
". . . I have been obliged to put under cover the papers promised; with the mortification of sending them, unaccompanied with a line, I now forward the remainder, most sincerely wishing you success in your undertaking. . . . Is there not an astonishing similarity between the scenes which have so lately been acted in France; and those drawn from the Historians cited?

"The contents of your Letter of Feb'y 16th have dwelt upon my mind. . . . I cannot refrain from chiding you for suffering so long in silence, yet I know your motives were pure, and the difficulties you had to contend against, such as you conceived would be augmented by a disclosure; I wish most sincerely they were all removed, and that your path was plain enough before you . . . . 'precipitation forms no part of your plan' in that I think you wise; yet laughing I once heard you say you would not give a copper to be married after 30, but I must add, few gentlemen are fit to be married until that age; nor do I think a Lady less qualified to make a good wife with the judgment and experience of even that age. Sure I am, too many enter that state prematurely. With experience upon my side I say of myself that I did. Much too young for the proper fulfillment of duties which soon devolved upon me. . . . [A]ll other things being convenient, I think both you and the Lady quite matched for the Holy State, and should most sincerely rejoice in the fulfillment of your engagement . . . . I know and approve your motives for remaining single; the aid I have promised you may be obtained whenever you chuse to avail yourself of it. Your Father wishes to get you here. We are improving our Town of Quincy by a new bridge and a Turnpike road. . . .

". . . Poor Van der Kemp . . . his writings are not calculated for our Country. You must write him a civil Letter, he is an old . . . unshaken Friend of your Fathers--ah how few such do we find in this worldly world! Your father will write you soon, but he has been much engaged in the translation. . . . Present my compliments."

Thomas Boylston Adams (1772–1832), youngest son of Abigail and John Adams, married Ann Harrod in 1805.

François Adriaan van der Kemp (1752-1829) was a Dutch political radical and friend of John Adams who moved to New York in 1788. In another letter to Thomas, dated March 2, 1803, Abigail mentions that her husband had been engaged in translating into English passages from a pamphlet by Van der Kemp.