Abigail Adams: First Lady (Women of Achievment) by Janet Hubbard-Brown

By Janet Hubbard-Brown

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The French liked his homespun look, and he came to be seen as a typical American. Mostly, though, he was loved because he was a man of science. John respected Franklin, but not the way he chose to live. Franklin loved his pleasures and spent a great deal of money on himself. Worse, John felt caught in the middle as Franklin quarreled with Arthur Lee, their fellow envoy to France. Frustrated, Adams wrote to the Continental Congress to say that one commissioner would be enough. His letter said that commissioner was Franklin, but secretly John hoped to get the job.

They arrived in Spain on a leaky ship named the Sensible, and from there they journeyed across northern Spain and over the Pyrenees to Paris. Abigail the Businesswoman Abigail hated to see John and the two boys leave, but she settled down to the challenges of life without her husband. She decided to focus on finances, as the lack of money from John’s political career was a constant source of annoyance to her. She made small investments, bought up land wherever she could, and found buyers for the ribbons, lace, and tea that John sent her once he was settled in Paris.

She went off to see a painting of John done by the famous artist John Singleton Copley and thought it “a most beautiful picture,” even if she thought he had put on weight and looked a bit older. She and Nabby also went sightseeing. When John Quincy arrived, Abigail barely recognized him. He was 17 and looked older to her. Nabby was thrilled to see her father when he arrived, and for once Abigail said very little. She was too happy, and that happiness was too private to share with any of her correspondents.

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