Adams Family Correspondence, volume 1

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren, 19 October 1775 AA Warren, Mercy Otis Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren, 19 October 1775 Adams, Abigail Warren, Mercy Otis
Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren
Braintree October 19 1775

I thank my Friends for their kind remembrance of me last week,1 the Letter enclosed was dated one day after that I received a week before, and containd no publick intelegance. I have been Expecting Letters by the Gentlemen who I hear have arrived,2 but fear I have not any, as there are none come to hand. I thought I should hear oftner from Philadelphia this fall, than I had ever done before, but I never before had so few Letters, or found the communication so difficult.

I wish my Friend you would be kind enough to write me often whilst you tarry at Watertown, and let your Letters be of the journal kind; by that mean I could participate in your amusements, in your pleasures, and in your sentiments which would greatly gratify me, and I should collect the best of inteligance.

Pray Sir is this request unreasonable. I would not ask any thing willingly which might be deemd so. If it is not will you use your 302influence in obtaining for me this favour? It is Matter of speculation what the errant of these Gentlemen is. Some suppose one thing some an other.

What do you immagine will be the consequence if a certain Letter writer should escape without very severe punishment? Would there not be suspicions in the minds of people, prejudicial to those in power? The Country appear much exasperated, and would say he was not the only traitor.

You have not wrote me what you think of the intercepted Letters, nor of the ridiculous pharaphrase. I wish you would be kind eno to return the coppy of the Letters when ever you have done with them.

I hear Mrs. Miflin is come to the Head Quarters. If you see her, please to present my complements to her. I want to know all that passes. Curiosity you see natural to me as a——3 but I know who has as much, and therefore can excuse a reasonable share of it in her Friend.

My best regards attend Mrs. Wintrope when you see her.4 When do you expect to return? I hope I shall see more of you then, and have the pleasure of both your company, much longer. I fear I shall not see you at Watertown. I feel but little inclination to go into company. I have no son big enough to accompany me, and two women cannot make out so well, as when they are more naturally coupled. I do not fancy riding thro Roxbury with only a female partner; so believe you will not see Your


RC ( MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed in two unidentified hands: “Mrs. Adams—Oct 1775 No. 4.”


Not found. It enclosed a letter from JA to AA of 27 Sept. which is also missing.


Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Lynch, and Benjamin Harrison, a committee appointed and instructed by Congress on 29–30 Sept. to confer with Washington and the de facto governing authorities in New England on “the most effectual method of continuing, supporting, and regulating a continental army” ( JCC , 3:265–267). They arrived at Watertown on the 15th (James Warren to JA, 20–22 Oct. 1775, Warren-Adams Letters , 1:149).


As a woman. AA is echoing remarks on female curiosity in Mrs. Warren's letter to her of 28 Jan., above.


Hannah (Fayerweather) Tollman Winthrop (d. 1790), 2d wife of JA's friend Professor John Winthrop of Harvard (Mayo, Winthrop Family , p. 187–191).

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 19 October 1775 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 19 October 1775 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
Octr: 19. 1775 My Dear

It is some Time since I wrote you, and I have nothing, now, 303to write but Repetitions of Respect and Affection.—I am anxious to hear from you. I hope, the Family is better, and that your Grief for the great Loss We have all sustained is somewhat abated. I hope your Father and Sister Betcy, are well, tho they must be greatly afflicted. Give my Love to Betcy, and let her know that I feel, most intimately for her, as well as for myself, and the rest. I consider the Stroke must fall heavier upon her, as it was nearer to her. Her Prosperity is near my Heart—I wish her every Blessing which she can possibly wish for herself.

Really it is very painfull to be 400 Miles from ones Family and Friends when We know they are in Affliction. It seems as if It would be a Joy to me to fly home, even to share with you your Burdens and Misfortunes. Surely, if I were with you, it would be my Study to allay your Griefs, to mitigate your Pains and to divert your melancholly Thoughts.

When I shall come home I know not. We have so much to do, and it is so difficult to do it right, that We must learn Patience. Upon my Word I think, if ever I were to come here again, I must bring you with me. I could live here pleasantly if I had you, with me. Will you come and have the small Pox here? I wish I could remove all the Family, our little Daughter and Sons, and all go through the Distemper here.—What if We should? Let me please myself with the Thought however.

Congress has appointed Mr. Wythe, Mr. Deane and me, a Committee to collect an Account of the Hostilities committed by the Troops and Ships, with proper Evidence of the Number and Value of the Houses and other Buildings destroyed or damaged, the Vessells captivated and the Cattle, Sheep, Hogs &c. taken. We are about writing to all the general assemblies of New England, and to many private Gentlemen in each Collony to assist Us in making the Collections. The Gentlemen with me are able Men. Deane's Character you know. He is a very ingenious Man and an able Politician. Wythe is a new Member from Virginia, a Lawyer of the highest Eminence in that Province, a learned and very laborious Man: so that We may hope this Commission will be well executed.1 A Tale of Woe it will be! Such a scene of Distress, and Destruction and so patiently and magnanimously born. Such a Scene of Cruelty and Barbarity, so unfeelingly committed.—I mention this to you my dear, that you may look up and transmit to me a Paper, which Coll. Palmer lent me containing a Relation of the Charlestown Battle, which was transmitted to England by the Committee of Safety. This Paper I must have, or a Copy of it.2


I wish I could collect from the People of Boston or others, a proper Set of Paintings of the Scenes of Distress and Misery, brought upon that Town from the Commencement of the Port Bill. Posterity must hear a Story that shall make their Ears to Tingle.


RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “Octobr. 19”; docketed in an unidentified hand.


The committee to prepare “a just and well authenticated account of the hostilities committed by the ministerial troops and navy in America since last March” was appointed on 18 Oct., and on the 26th Congress ordered the resolution concerning it published ( JCC , 3:298–299, 307). Some of the letters of inquiry signed and sent by the committee survive (three from scattered sources are recorded in the Adams Papers Editorial Files), and there are many references to the project in JA's private correspondence at this time. But contrary to JA's hope, more pressing business prevented this plan from being “executed” at all.


This “Relation” had been drawn up by the Committee of Safety, or by its order, and transmitted in a letter from Joseph Palmer to Arthur Lee in London, 25 July 1775. The narrative and covering letter are printed in Force, Archives , 4th ser., 2:1373–1376, though curiously not in the official record of the Committee of Safety's proceedings, which ends at 15 July with an editorial statement that no further record is preserved (Mass. Provincial Congress, Jours. , p. 597). Palmer forwarded a copy of the narrative to JA in a letter of 31 Oct. –11 Nov. 1775 (Adams Papers; enclosure filed at 25 July 1775); see also AA to JA, 5 Nov., below, which evidently forwarded another copy.