A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
Adams Family Papers : An Electronic Archive
Next Letter (by date)
Previous Letter (by date)

Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 12 May 1776

Yours of April 21 [Abigail to John, 21 April 1776] came to Hand yesterday. I send you regularly every Newspaper, and write as often as I can -- but I feel more skittish about writing than I did, because since the Removal of Head Quarters to New York, We have no Expresses, and very few Individual Travellers, and the Post I am not quite confident in. However I shall write as I can.

What shall I do with my Office -- I want to resign it for a Thousand Reasons. Would you advise me?

There has been a gallant Battle, in Delaware River between the Gallies and two Men of War, the Roebuck and Liverpool, in which the Men of War came off second best -- which has diminished, in the Minds of the People, on both sides the River, the Terror of a Man of War.

I long to hear a little of my private Affairs, yet I dread it too, because I know you must be perplexed and distress'd. I wish it was in my Power to relieve you.

It gives me great Pleasure to learn that our Rulers are at last doing something, towards the Fortification of Boston. But I am inexpressibly chagrin'd to find that the Enemy is fortifying on Georges Island. I never shall be easy untill they are compleatly driven out of that Harbour and effectually prevented from ever getting in again. As you are a Politician, and now elected into an important Office, that of judgess of the Tory Ladies, which will give you naturally an Influence with your sex, I hope you will be instant, in season and out of season, in exhorting them to use their Influence with the Gentlemen, to fortify upon Georges Island, Lovells, Petticks [Peddocks], Long, or wherever else it it is proper. Send down Fire ships and Rafts and burn to Ashes those Pirates.

I am out of all Patience with the languid, lethargic Councils of the Province, at such a critical, important Moment, puzzling their Heads about Two penny fees and Confession Bills and what not, when the Harbour of Boston was defenceless. If I was there I should storm and thunder, like Demonsthenes, or scold like a Tooth drawer.

Do ask Mr. Wybirt and Mr. Welld, and Mr. Taft to preach about it. I am ashamed, vex'd, angry to the last degree! Our People by their Torpitude have invited the Enemy to come to Boston again -- and I fear they will have the Civility and Politeness to accept the Invitation.

Your Uncle has never answered my Letter. Thank the Doctor. He has written me a most charming Letter, full of Intelligence, and very sensible and usefull Remarks. I will pay the Debt as far as my Circumstances will admit, and as soon. But I hope my friends will not wait for regular Returns from me. I have not yet left off "pitying the fifty or sixty Men" and if My Friends knew all that I do, they would pity too.

Betcy Smith, Lazy Huzzy, has not written me a Line, a great While. I wish she was married -- then she would have some Excuse. Duty to Pa. Love to all. How is the Family over against the Church?

Cite web page as: Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 12 May 1776 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/
Original manuscript: Adams, John. Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 12 May 1776. 3 pages. Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
Source of transcription: Butterfield, L.H., ed. Adams Family Correspondence. Vol. 1. Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1963.
Next Letter (by date)
Previous Letter (by date)