Adams Family Correspondence, volume 1

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 1 October 1775 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 1 October 1775 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My Dear Philadelphia Octr. 1. 1775

This Morning, I received your two Letters of September 8th. and September 16th.1—What shall I say?—The Intelligence they contain, came upon me by Surprize, as I never had the least Intimation before, that any of my Family was ill, excepting in a Card from Mrs. Warren received a few days ago, in which she informed me that Mrs. Adams had been unwell but was better.2

You may easily conceive the State of Mind, in which I am at present.—Uncertain and apprehensive, at first I suddenly thought of setting off, immediately, for Braintree, and I have not yet determined otherwise. Yet the State of public Affairs is so critical, that I am half afraid to leave my Station, Altho my Presence here is of no great Consequence.

I feel—I tremble for You. Poor Tommy! I hope by this Time, however, he has recovered his plump Cheeks and his fine Bloom. By 290your Account of Patty I fear—but still I will hope she has been supported, and is upon the Recovery.

I rejoice to learn that Nabby and her Brothers have hitherto escaped and pray God that his Goodness may be still continued to them.—Your Description of the distressed State of the Neighbourhood is affecting indeed.

It is not uncommon for a Train of Calamities to come together. Fire, Sword, Pestilence, Famine, often keep Company, and visit a Country in a Flock.

At this Distance I can do no good to you nor yours. I pray God to support you—I hope our Friends and Neighbours are kind as usual. I feel for them, in the general Calamity.

I am so far from thinking you melancholly, that I am charmed with that Admirable Fortitude, and that divine Spirit of Resignation which appears in your Letters. I cannot express the Satisfaction it gives me, nor how much it contributes to support me.

You have alarmed me however, by mentioning Anxieties which you do not think it prudent to mention to any one. I am wholly at a Loss to conjecture what they can be. If they arise from the Letters,3 be assured that you may banish them forever. These Letters have reached Philadelphia, but have produced Effects very different from those which were expected from the Publication of them. These Effects I will explain to you sometime or other. As to the Versification of them, if there is Wit or Humour in it laugh—if ill Nature, sneer—if mere Dullness, why you may even yawn or nod. I have no Anger, at it, nay even scarcly contempt. It is impotent.

As to Politicks, We have nothing to expect but the whole Wrath and Force of G. Britain. But your Words are as true as an oracle “God helps them, who help them selves, and if We obtain the divine Aid by our own Virtue, Fortitude and Perseverance, We may be sure of Relief.”

It may amuse you to hear a Story. A few days ago, in Company with Dr. Zubly, somebody said, there was nobody on our side but the Almighty. The Dr. who is a Native of Switzerland, and speaks but broken English, quickly replied “Dat is enough.—Dat is enough,” and turning to me, says he, it puts me in mind of a fellow who once said, The Catholicks have on their side the Pope, and the K. of France and the K. of Spain, and the K. of Sardinia, and the K. of Poland and the Emperor of Germany &c. &c. &c. But as to them poor Devils the Protestants, they have nothing on their side but God Almighty.


RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams—Braintree”; endorsed: “Octobr. 1”; docketed in an unidentified hand: “Oct / 75 Mr. A.”


Both printed above, the second under its true date of 17 September.


See JA to AA, 26 Sept., note 1.


The intercepted letters. For more on the beneficial effect they had in Philadelphia (as JA believed), see JA to James Warren, 2 Oct., Warren-Adams Letters , 1:124; to AA, 2 Oct., below.

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 2 October 1775 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 2 October 1775 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My Dear Philadelphia Octr. 2. 1775

Every Thing here is in as good a Way as I could wish, considering the Temper and Designs of Administration. I assure you, the Letters have had no such bad Effects, as the Tories intended, and as some of our shortsighted Whiggs apprehended: so far otherwise that I see and hear every day, fresh Proofs that every Body is coming fast into every political Sentiment contained in them. I assure you I could mention compliments passed upon them: and if a serious Decision could be had upon them, the public Voice would be found in their Favour.

But I am distressed with Cares of another Kind. Your two Letters are never out of my Thoughts. I should have mounted my Horse this day for Braintree, if I had not hopes of hearing further from you in a Day or two.

However, I will hope that your Prospects are more agreable than they were, and that the Children are all better as well as the rest of the Family and the Neighbours. If I should hear more disagreable Advices from you I shall certainly come home, for I cannot leave you, in such Affliction, without endeavouring to lessen it, unless there was an absolute Necessity of my staying here, to do a Duty to the Public, which I think there is not.

I must beg to be excused my dear from hinting any Thing for the future of public Persons or Things. Secrecy is so much exacted: But thus much I can say, that I never saw so serious and determined a Spirit.

I must also beseech you to be cautious what you write to me and by whom you send. Letters sent to the Care of Coll. Warren, will come Safe.

My Regards with all proper Distinctions to my Relations and yours, my Friends and yours, my Acquaintances and yours.

This will go by Major Bayard, a Gentleman of the Presbyterian Perswasion in this City, of excellent Character to whom I am indebted for a great many Civilities.


RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For Mrs: Adams Braintree favoured by Major Bayard”; endorsed: “Ocbr. 2”; docketed in an unidentified hand.