Adams Family Correspondence, volume 1

107 John Adams to Abigail Adams, 12 May 1774 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 12 May 1774 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My Dear Boston May 12. 1774

I am extreamly afflicted with the Relation your Father gave me, of the Return of your Disorder. I fear you have taken some Cold; We have had a most pernicious Air, a great Part of this Spring. I am sure I have Reason to remember it—my Cold is the most obstinate and threatning one, I ever had in my Life: However, I am unwearied in my Endeavours to subdue it, and have the Pleasure to think I have had some Success. I rise at 5, walk 3 Miles, keep the Air all day and walk again in the Afternoon. These Walks have done me more good than any Thing, tho I have been constantly plied with Teas, and your Specific.1 My own Infirmities, the Account of the Return of yours, and the public News coming alltogether have put my Utmost Phylosophy to the Tryal.2

We live my dear Soul, in an Age of Tryal. What will be the Consequence I know not. The Town of Boston, for ought I can see, must suffer Martyrdom: It must expire: And our principal Consolation is, that it dies in a noble Cause. The Cause of Truth, of Virtue, of Liberty and of Humanity: and that it will probably have a glorious Reformation, to greater Wealth, Splendor and Power than ever.

Let me know what is best for us to do. It is expensive keeping a Family here. And there is no Prospect of any Business in my Way in this Town this whole Summer. I dont receive a shilling a Week.

We must contrive as many Ways as we can, to save Expences, for We may have Calls to contribute, very largely in Proportion to our Circumstances, to prevent other very honest, worthy People from suffering for Want, besides our own Loss in Point of Business and Profit.

Dont imagine from all this that I am in the Dumps. Far otherwise. I can truly say, that I have felt more Spirits and Activity, since the Arrival of this News, than I had done before for years. I look upon this, as the last Effort of Lord Norths Despair. And he will as surely be defeated in it, as he was in the Project of the Tea.—I am, with great Anxiety for your Health your

John Adams

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams att Weymouth favoured by her Father.”


In printing this letter, the first he chose to include in his Letters of John Adams, 1841, CFA silently excised the foregoing dependent clause in accordance with his usual practice of suppressing medical and physiological details.


The news of the Boston Port Act, passed by Parliament on 31 March, had 108just arrived. By its terms the port was to be closed to all trade on 1 June as a punishment for the destruction of the tea in December. On 13 May Gen. Thomas Gage arrived in Boston Harbor to replace Hutchinson as governor and to command the British forces there, now being heavily reinforced.

Mercy Otis Warren to John and Abigail Adams, 17 May 1774 Warren, Mercy Otis JA AA Mercy Otis Warren to John and Abigail Adams, 17 May 1774 Warren, Mercy Otis Adams, John Adams, Abigail
Mercy Otis Warren to John and Abigail Adams
May 17 74

Mr. Warren being prevented by many Avocations from writing this Morning, has put the pen into the hand of his substitute: who with him presents sincere Regards to Mr. and Mrs. Adams. Lets them know they have been Repeatedly disappointed in not seeing them at Plimouth.

Shall not pretend to Deliniate the painful Ideas that arise on a survey of the Evils Brought on this much injure'd Country by the hand of Wanton power united With treachery and Venality.

Should be Glad to know (by the bearer of this who stays in town but a few hours) your sentiments on the Late Hostile Movements of state plunderers and Jokeys.

Hope Mrs. Adamss health is Much mended since Mr. Adams Wrote Last.

Though it is not Absolutly necessary That Mrs. Warren should Attend on the Ensuing Election,1 Yet as her Health requiers a journey after A Long severe Winter she proposes to Look towards Boston the next 2 week Malancholy as the prospect is. It is the present intention of Mr. and Mrs. Warren to Lodge at Mr. Smiths: Weymouth next Monday Night where if tis Convenient and agreable they would be very Glad to meet Mr. and Mrs. Adams.

RC (Adams Papers).


Of members of the Governor's Council, held at the convening of the new General Court in Boston, 25 May. JA was elected a councilor but, with twelve others, was negatived the following day by Gov. Gage (Boston Gazette, 30 May 1774).


Word omitted in MS.

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 23 June 1774 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 23 June 1774 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My Dr. Ipswich June 23. 1774

I had a tollerable Journey hither, but my Horse trotted too hard. I miss my own Mare—however I must make the best of it.

I send with this an whole Packett of Letters, which are upon a Subject of great Importance, and therefore must intreat the earliest Conveyance of them.


There is but little Business here, and whether there will be more at York or Falmouth is uncertain, but I must take the Chance of them.

My Time, in these tedious Peregrinations, hangs heavily upon me. One half of it is always spent without Business, or Pleasure, or Diversion, or Books or Conversation. My Fancy and Wishes and Desires, are at Braintree, among my Fields, Pastures and Meadows, as much as those of the Israelites were among the Leeks, Garleeks and Onions of the Land of Goshen.

My Sons and Daughter too are missing, as well as their Mother, and I find nothing in any of my Rambles to supply their Place.

We have had a vast Abundance of Rain here this Week and hope you have had a Sufficiency with you. But the Plenty of it, will render the Making of Hay the more critical, and you must exhort Bracket to be vigilant, and not let any of the Grass suffer, if he can help it.

I wish you would converse with Brackett, and Mr. Hayden and Mr. Belcher about a proper Time to get me a few freights of Marsh Mud, Flatts, or Creek Mudd. I must have some If I pay the Cash for getting it, at almost any Price. But I wont be answerable again to Deacon Palmer, for the Schough.1 Whoever undertakes, shall hire that, and I will be chargeable to no Man but the Undertaker, and Labourers. I want a freight or two, soon, that it may be laid by the wall and mixed with Dust and Dung that it may ferment and mix as soon as may be, now the hot Weather is coming on.

I want to be at Home, at this Time, to consider about Dress, Servant, Carriage, Horses &c. &c. for a Journey.2 But——. Kiss my sweet ones for me. Your

John Adams

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams at Braintree These To be left at Mr. Adam's Office, Queen Street Boston”; endorsed: “No 1.” Enclosures not found, but they evidently concerned legal business; see Jonathan Williams to JA, 28 June 1774 (Adams Papers).




On 17 June, sitting behind locked doors at Salem, the General Court elected JA and four others delegates to what later became known as the first Continental Congress. See entries of 20, 25 June 1774 in JA, Diary and Autobiography , and note there (2:96–97); also JA's letter to James Warren, 25 June 1774, speculating on “the Enterprize to Phyladelphia” (NNPM; Works , 9:338–340).