Adams Family Correspondence, volume 1

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 28 October 1775 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 28 October 1775 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My dear Octr. 28. 1775

The Fall of Dr. Church, has given me many disagreable Reflections, as it places human Nature itself in a Point of bad Light, but the 315Virtue, the sincerity, the Honour, of Boston and Massachusetts Patriots in a worse.—What shall We say of a Country which produces such Characters as Hutchinson and Church?—However to turn my Attention from this detestible Subject to another more agreable. Congress has appointed instead of Church, Dr. Morgan of this City whose Character I will pourtray for your Satisfaction.

The Gentleman appointed Director and surgeon general of the Hospital, is John Morgan M.D. Fellow of the Royal Society at London; Correspondent of the Royal Academy of Surgery at Paris; Member of the Arcadian Belles Lettres Society at Rome; Licentiate of the Royal Colledges of Physicians in London and in Edinburgh; and Professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine in the Colledge of Philadelphia.

This Gentleman was one of the first who received their Education in the Colledge in this City, and served an Apprenticeship of six Years with Dr. John Redman an eminent Phisician, here, during one whole Year of which he put up the Prescriptions of all the Phisicians who attended the public Hospital here, who were all eminent. After this the Dr. entered the Army and served four Years under Generals Moncton, Forbes and Stanwix, where he had an entensive1 Practice, in the Army among all Kinds of Diseases. Five years after, he left the Army he spent in Europe,2 under the most celebrated Masters in every Branch of Medicine. During this Period he visited the principal Cities and Seats of Science in Great Britain, Holland, France and Italy.

Returning from his Travels, he was chosen Professor of Medicine in the Colledge in this City, where he has constantly read Lectures every Winter, and for many Years practiced among the Citizens.

Dr. Morgans moral Character is very good, and his manners are civil, decent, and agreable. He married a sister of the Lady of our Chaplain, Mr. Dushe, who is new Rector of the three united Churches in this City. A sister of the Doctors is married to Mr. Stillman the Antipaedobaptist lately in Boston, now in this Place.3

Thus I hope We shall hear no Complaint that this Place is not now well filled.

Jealousy and Envy spare nobody. Some have whispered that the Dr. is a little Visionary in Theory and Practice. But all agree that he is attentive, vigilant and laborious for the good of his Patients in a great Degree, and he is said to be a pious Man.4

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


Thus in MS.


Thus in MS, meaning that after he left the army he spent five years in Europe.

316 3.

Morgan's wife and Rev. Jacob Duché's wife were sisters, Mary and Elizabeth Hopkinson ( DAB , under both husbands' names). Rev. Samuel Stillman, of the First Baptist Church in Boston, had married Hannah, sister of John Morgan ( DAB ).


Despite all these conspicuous qualifications, Morgan, who had been appointed on 17 Oct. director general and chief physician of the Continental hospitals ( JCC , 3:297), lasted less than a year in that responsible post. There is reason to believe that the duties of this office were so difficult and multifarious that no human being could have discharged them satisfactorily.

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 29 October 1775 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 29 October 1775 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
Octr. 29.1775

I cannot exclude from my Mind your melancholly Situation. The Griefs of your Father and Sisters, your Uncles and Aunts, as well as the remoter Connections, often croud in upon me, when my whole Attention ought to be directed to other Subjects.

Your Uncle Quincy, my Friend as well as Uncle, must regret the loss of a beloved Sister, Dr. Tufts my other Friend I know bewails the loss of a Friend, as well as an Aunt and a sister, Mr. Cranch the Friend of my youth as well as of my riper Years, whose tender Heart sympathizes with his fellow Creatures in every Affliction and Distress, in this Case feels the Loss of a Friend, a fellow Christian, and a Mother.

But alas what avail these mournfull Reflections. The best Thing We can do, the greatest Respect We can show to the Memory of our departed Friend, is to copy into Our own Lives, those Virtues which in her Lifetime rendered her the Object of our Esteem, Love and Admiration. I must confess I ever felt a Veneration for her, which seems increased by the News of her Translation.

Above all Things my dear, let us inculcate these great Virtues and bright Excellencies upon our Children.

Your Mother had a clear, and penetrating Understanding and a profound Judgment, as well as an honest and a friendly and a charitable Heart.

There is one Thing however, which you will forgive me if I hint to you. Let me ask you rather, if you are not of my opinion? Were not her Talents, and Virtues too much confined, to private, social and domestic Life. My Opinion of the Duties of Religion and Morality, comprehends a very extensive Connection with society at large, and the great Interest of the public. Does not natural Morality, and much more Christian Benevolence, make it our indispensible Duty to lay ourselves out, to serve our fellow Creatures to the Utmost of our 317Power, in promoting and supporting those great Political systems, and general Regulations upon which the Happiness of Multitudes depends. The Benevolence, Charity, Capacity and Industry which exerted in private Life, would make a family, a Parish or a Town Happy, employed upon a larger Scale, in Support of the great Principles of Virtue and Freedom of political Regulations might secure whole Nations and Generations from Misery, Want and Contempt. Public Virtues, and political Qualities therefore should be incessantly cherished in our Children.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams Braintree To the Care of Coll Warren”; endorsed: “ocbr. 29”; docketed in an unidentified hand.