Adams Family Correspondence, volume 1

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 23 July 1775 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 23 July 1775 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My Dear July 23 1775

You have more than once in your Letters mentioned Dr. Franklin, and in one intimated a Desire that I should write you something concerning him.


Dr. Franklin has been very constant in his Attendance on Congress from the Beginning. His Conduct has been composed and grave and in the Opinion of many Gentlemen very reserved. He has not assumed any Thing, nor affected to take the lead; but has seemed to choose that the Congress should pursue their own Principles and sentiments and adopt their own Plans: Yet he has not been backward: has been very usefull, on many occasions, and discovered a Disposition entirely American. He does not hesitate at our boldest Measures, but rather seems to think us, too irresolute, and backward. He thinks us at present in an odd State, neither in Peace nor War, neither dependent nor independent. But he thinks that We shall soon assume a Character more decisive.

He thinks, that We have the Power of preserving ourselves, and that even if We should be driven to the disagreable Necessity of assuming a total Independency, and set up a separate state, We could maintain it. The People of England, have thought that the Opposition in America, was wholly owing to Dr. Franklin: and I suppose their scribblers will attribute the Temper, and Proceedings of this Congress to him: but there cannot be a greater Mistake. He has had but little share farther than to co operate and assist. He is however a great and good Man. I wish his Colleagues from this City were All like him, particularly one,1 whose Abilities and Virtues, formerly trumpeted so much in America, have been found wanting.

There is a young Gentleman from Pensylvania whose Name is Wilson, whose Fortitude, Rectitude, and Abilities too, greatly outshine his Masters. Mr. Biddle, the Speaker, has been taken off, by Sickness. Mr. Mifflin is gone to the Camp, Mr. Morton is ill too, so that this Province has suffered by the Timidity of two overgrown Fortunes. The Dread of Confiscation, or Caprice, I know not what has influenced them too much: Yet they were for taking Arms and pretended to be very valiant.2—This Letter must be secret my dear—at least communicated with great Discretion. Yours,

John Adams

RC (Adams Papers).


John Dickinson.


On 6 May 1775 the Pennsylvania Assembly had added three men to its delegation in the second Continental Congress: Benjamin Franklin, who had just arrived from England; Thomas Willing, a rich and conservative merchant in Philadelphia; and James Wilson, a lawyer in Carlisle ( Penna. Archives , 8th ser., 8:7231). Of the six who had been elected earlier, JA mentions here that Edward Biddle and John Morton were ill too much of the time to be of much service, and that Thomas Mifflin had gone into the army. Though JA does not mention them specifically, the other two (besides Dickinson)—Charles Humphreys, a Quaker, and George Ross, of 254Lancaster—were relatively inactive members. The “two overgrown Fortunes” who dominated the Pennsylvania delegation were, therefore, Dickinson and Willing.

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 23 July 1775 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 23 July 1775 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My Dear Philadelphia July 23d: 1775

Have only Time to send by this Opportunity a Token of Remembrance. The Fast1 was observed here with a Decorum and solemnity, never before seen ever on a Sabbath. The Clergy of all Denominations, here preach 2 Politicks and War in a manner that I never heard in N. England. They are a Flame of Fire. It is astonishing to me, that the People are so cool here. Such sermons in our Country would have a much greater Effect.

I hope to see you eer long. You have stirred up my Friends to write to me. Austin, Tudor, Rice have wrote.3 Dr. Tufts wrote me an excellent Letter and very particular Intelligence.4 I am yours &c.

My Love to all the Children.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree—To the Care of the Committee of Safety”; endorsed: “C No 15.”


Called for by the Continental Congress and observed on 20 July; see JCC , 2:87–88, 192; JA, Diary and Autobiography , 3:353.


Two words obscured by a heavy ink blot.


All three letters are in Adams Papers , and printed in Papers of John Adams under authorship of Austin, Rice, and Tudor, on 7, 14, and 19 July 1775 respectively.


Dated 3 July and printed above.

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren, 24 July 1775 AA Warren, Mercy Otis Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren, 24 July 1775 Adams, Abigail Warren, Mercy Otis
Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren
My Dear Mrs. Warren Braintree 24 July 1 1775

I have been hoping every day since I received your obliging favour to get time to thank you for it,2 but many avocations some from company some from family affairs have prevented. I have not wrote only to my counterpart since; from whom I have received two Letters since you left me. The last was 7 of july, and wrote in better spirits than any I have received since his absence, and gave me better spirits for two reasons, the first because he appeard easier and the second because he tells me he hopes it will not be more than a Month before he shall return.

I know my pleasure will communicate some degree to my friend from the benevolent sympathy of her Heart. I was much obliged 3 to your Worthy Friend for calling and Breakfasting with me, tho deprived of that pleasure a few days before, oweing to my having been up all the Night before with my Sister Adams who about sunrise was 255deliverd of a fine Daughter. Your apprehensions with regard to my Health are a testimony of your regard. As the disorder does not increase upon me I do not apprehend any danger from it. Tis true I enjoy a good flow of spirits for the most part. I sometimes wonder at myself, and fear least a degree of stupidity or insensibility should possess my mind in these calamitous times or I could not feel so tranquil amidst such scenes, and yet I cannot charge myself with an unfealing Heart. I pitty, commisirate and as far as my ability reaches feel ready and desirous to releave my fellow creatures under their distresses. But I am not naturally (tis no virtue acquired in me) of that rastless anxious disposition.

You apprehend more than their really was in a Letter which I could not consistant with my regard to my dearest Friend communicate. I only wish I had been near enough to have shared a solitary hour with him.

You will be sensible no doubt from a communication of the last paquet which your Friend received, that they have to combat not only other provinces but their own—a doubly difficult task when those who ought to aid, become stumbling blocks—but how hard is it to devest the Humane mind of all private ambition, and to sacrifice ourselves and all we possess to the publick Emolement.

Dft (Adams Papers).


Month omitted by AA; supplied at a much later period by JQA.


Dated at Plymouth, 17 July (Adams Papers). It reports Mrs. Warren's return home after a few days' stay with AA, thanks her, inquires about her health, &c.


Word omitted in MS.