October 2 - John Adams on Samuel Adams
(& not the Beer)
November 13 - John Adams Returns
"I have just sent Mr. Thaxter, Johnny and Stephens with the Things on Board. I shall go with Charles at four O Clock. It is now three."
to Abigail Adams, November 13, 1779
John Adams was on a whirlwind tour for Independence. He had spent eighteen months traveling to, from, and in Europe. And after 3 months, Congress decided that was enough time at home, and sent hime back to France. It was not a pleasant surprise.
More from John Adams:
Adams had labored to negotiate an active alliance with France, only to be informed that the French preferred to only negotiate with Benjamin Franklin. What a back-handed compliment of a gift to Adams; go home to your be with your family, because we prefer working with your least favorite diplomat.
And once home in Braintree, Massachusetts (early August), he is immediately enlisted to serve as a Braintree representative for a new Massachusetts Constitutional Convention in Boston (beginning in September). While Adams is in the midst of writing a constitutional draft, Congress appoints him to return to Europe (voted September 27) – this time to negotiate peace and commerce treaties with Great Britain. Once he and his family receive the news (October), Adams has a month of the convention left. Once it is concluded (on November 11th), John has one day to kiss his wife and children goodbye – except for oldest sons John Quincy and Charles, traveling with him to Europe. Abigail kisses them goodbye. And the next day, they’re off to Boston again, to leave for Europe, again.
And so you don’t have to do the math, John has spent 101 days home from Europe before having to return. Approximately sixty of them were involved with creating a new state constitution. No pressure.
He also, during that time, laid the groundwork for a new American Academy, but that’s another story for another time.
For now, Adams was about to leave his home and family - again – for years at a time. All for the benefit of you and me.
John and Abigail spent approximately one-quarter of their married life apart. This was one of the greater personal challenges either of them faced. Both of them preferred to be with each other; they felt themselves better people when they could be in the same city. It was so very difficult to be apart during revolution and new administrations. Yet they both understood the necessity of it.
Abigail sums it up best in one of her letters:
to Benjamin Waterhouse, October 6, 1782
It is no small satisfaction to me that my Country will reap the Benifit [sic] of my personal sacrifices, tho they little feel how great they are.