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Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 20 August 1777

My best Friend

This Day compleats three Years since I stepped into the Coach, at Mr. Cushings Door, in Boston, to go to Philadelphia in Quest of Adventures. -- And Adventures I have found.

I feel an Inclination sometimes, to write the History of the last Three Years, in Imitation of Thucidides. There is a striking Resemblance, in several Particulars, between the Peloponnesian and the American War. The real Motive to the former was a jealousy of the growing Power of Athens, by Sea and Land . . . . The genuine Motive to the latter, was a similar Jealousy of the growing Power of America. The true Causes which incite to War, are seldom professed, or Acknowledged.

We are now afloat upon a full Sea: When We shall arrive at a safe Harbour, no Mariner has Skill and experience enough to foretell. But, by the Favour of Heaven, We shall make a prosperous Voyage, after all the Storms, and Shoals are passed.

5. o Clock afternoon

It is now fair sunshine again and very warm. Not a Word, yet, from Hows Fleet. The most general Suspicion, now, is that it is gone to Charlestown S.C.-- But it is a wild Supposition. It may be right however: for Howe is a wild General.

We have been hammering to day, upon a Mode of Tryal for the General Officers at Ti. Whether an Enquiry will preceed the Court Martial, and whether the Enquiry shall be made by a Committee of Congress or by a Council of General Officers, is not determined, but Enquiry and Tryal both I conjecture there will be.

If How is gone to Charlestown, you will have a little Quiet, and enjoy your Corn and Rye and Flax and Hay, and other good Things, untill another Summer.

But What shall We do for Sugar, and Wine and Rum? -- Why truly I believe We must leave them off. Loaf Sugar is only four Dollars a Pound here, and Brown only a Dollar, for the meanest sort, and Ten shillings for that a little better. Every Body here is leaving off loaf Sugar, and most are laying aside brown. As to Rum and Wine -- give me Cyder and I would compound. N.E. Rum is but 40s. a Gallon. But, if Wine was Ten Dollars a Bottle, I would have one Glass a Day, in Water, while the hot weather continues, unless I could get Cyder.

Cite web page as: Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 20 August 1777 [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, 20 August 1777. 2 pages. Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
Source of transcription: Butterfield, L.H., ed. Adams Family Correspondence. Vol. 2. Cambridge, Mass. : Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1963.
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