Adams Family Correspondence, volume 1

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren, 5 November 1775 AA Warren, Mercy Otis Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren, 5 November 1775 Adams, Abigail Warren, Mercy Otis
Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren
Dear Marcia Braintree ca. 5 November1 1775

I hope the Historick page will increase to a volume. Tis this hope that has kept me from complaining of my friends Laconick Epistles. Our amiable Friend, who lately favourd me with a visit, informd you I suppose of the difficulty I Labourd under, of a Whitlow upon the fore finger of my right Hand, which prevented my writing to my dearest Friend; and to her who holds one of the first places among the female Friend's of Portia.

I have to acknowledge the kind care of both my Friends in the conveyance of Letters. I feel loth the House should rise whilst the Congress sits. But was not there some Mistake in the last Letters, has not your Friend one which must have been meant for me, by a mistake in 323the Superscription? I inclose the Letter. I read it, not regarding the Dear Sir, but could not comprehend how I came to have such a reply to a subject I had said very little upon. Upon Nabbys taking it into her hand she observed the address.

I am curious to know how you spend your time? Tis very sausy to make this demand upon you; but I know it must be usefully imployed and I am fearfull if I do not question you I shall loose some improvement which I might otherways make.

What becomes of the state prisoner? Is he not to have a trial? When weighd in the balance I fear he will be found wanting. A patriot without religion in my estimation is as great a paradox, as an honest Man without the fear of God. Is it possible that he whom no moral obligations bind, can have any real Good Will towards Man, can he be a patriot who by an openly vicious conduct is undermineing the very bonds of Society, corrupting the Morals of Youth, and by his bad example injuring that very Country he professess to patrionize more than he can possibly compensate by his intrepidity, Generosity and honour? The Scriptures tell us righteousness exaltheth a Nation.

I wish there was more of it to be seen among all orders and professions, but the Continental Connextion will not improve the Morals of our youth. A little less snearing at our New England puritanism would be full as honorary to our Southern Breathren.

I thank you my Friend for your invitation but cannot comply with it, tho my inclination is very strong. I want to see my Friends and hear our worthy Dr.2 Pray be so kind as to present my Regards to Dr. Winthrope and Lady. She desired me to write to her. I wish my Friend would let her know that I can better reply to a favour from her than begin a correspondence, tho I should esteem it an honour.

But Marcia can witness for me how averse I have been to writing.

I lament the Death of the worthy president as of an honest Man. Mr. Randolphs character has secured him Esteem. How well might some folks have saved their credit, and their Bacon too (as the phraze is) by a resignation of a certain place.3

O Ambition how many inconsistent actions dost thou make poor mortals commit!

Adieu my Friend. I hope soon to have the pleasure of seeing you at Braintree, and of a social Evening beside our fire. How happy should I esteem myself could the dear Friend of my Heart join us. I think I make a greater Sacrifice to the publick than I could by Gold and Silver, had I it to bestow. Does not Marcia join in this Sentiment with her

Portia4 324

RC (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.); endorsed: “Mrs. Adams”; docketed in two later hands: “Mrs. Adams Novr. 1775 No 5.” Enclosure: a recent letter from JA to James Warren, sent by Warren to AA by mistake and not precisely identifiable.


If not written on 5 Nov., this letter was written close to that date. It is in reply to a note from Mrs. Warren of 3 Nov. (Adams Papers), and it mentions AA's sore finger that has prevented her writing to JA; see the preceding letter to him.


“I shall Not be heer i.e. at Watertown after Next sabbath so think you had better Come and hear Dr. Samuel Cooper then as He Designs to preach himself Notwithstanding a Late accident” (Mercy Warren to AA, 3 Nov. 1775, Adams Papers).


Peyton Randolph, formerly president of Congress, had returned to Philadelphia on 5 Sept. for the new session, but died on 22 Oct. (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members , 1:lxvi). There were others besides AA who thought that John Hancock should have stepped down from the presidency upon Randolph's return.


A few days later Mercy Warren acknowledged the present letter in a letter without date (Adams Papers, filed under Nov. 1775), which contains the following passage bearing on JA's intercepted letters:

“One Expression in one Letter recently captured aboard a vessel from Ireland I must tell you. The Writer says the Colonies must and will be Reduced, and Notwithstanding the spirit that appears, and the stand that has been made, They are Convinced by the submissive Terms in which the Petition to the king is Couched that there must be a Weakness somewhere.

“How will this make our pidling Geniuss appear, and will not the spirited sentiments, and the Enlarged plans of policy Hinted by a Certain Letter Writer be now applauded.”

Abigail Adams to John Adams, 12 November 1775 AA JA Abigail Adams to John Adams, 12 November 1775 Adams, Abigail Adams, John
Abigail Adams to John Adams
Braintree Novbr. 12 1775

I received yours of October 23. I want to hear from you every day, and I always feel sorrow when I come to the close of a Letter. Your Time must be greatly engrosed, but little of it to spaire to the calls of Friendship, and I have reason to think I have the largest share of it.

Winter makes its approaches fast. I hope I shall not be obliged to spend it without my dearest Friend, I know not how to think of it.

The intelegance you will receive before this reaches you, will I should think make a plain path, tho a dangerous one for you. I could not join to day in the petitions of our worthy parson, for a reconciliation betwen our, no longer parent State, but tyrant State, and these Colonies.—Let us seperate, they are unworthy to be our Breathren. Let us renounce them and instead of suplications as formorly for their prosperity and happiness, Let us beseach the almighty to blast their counsels and bring to Nought all their devices.

I have nothing remarkable to write you. A little Skirmish hapned last week. The perticuliars I have endeavourd to collect, but whether I have the facts right I am not certain. A Number of Cattle were kept 325at Leachmores point where two Centinals were placed, in a high tide tis an Island. The Regulars had observed this and a Scheme was laid to send a Number of them over and take of the Stock. Accordingly a number of Boats and about 400 men were sent; they landed it seems, unperceived by the Centinals who were a sleep; one of whom they killed the other took prisoner. As soon as they were perceived, they pourd the cannon from Prospect Hill upon them which sunk one of their Boats, but as the tide was very high, it was difficult getting over, and some time before any alarm was given. A Coll. Tomson of the Riffel Men, Marchd instantly with his Men, and tho a very stormy day, regarded not the tide, nor wated for Boats, but Marchd over, neck high in water, and dischargd their peices, when the Regulars ran without waiting for to get of their Stock, and made the best of their way to the opposite Shore. The General sent his thanks in a public manner to the brave officer and his Men.1 Major Mifflin I hear was there, and flew about as tho he would have raisd the whole Army.

May they never find us deficient in courage and Spirit.

Our Army is exceedingly well supplied with every article but wood and provinder which is very scarce. As to provisions we should find no difficulty to vitual an other Army full as large. Tis now very Healthy both in the Army, and country, we have had very long teadious rains for six weeks past; sometimes not more than one fair day in a week.

All our Friends are well. My Father seems to be much broke by his great affliction, seems to have his care and anxiety doubled. I can perceive it in numberless instances.—I hope you will be able to get his Sulky repaird, as he wants it now it comes cold Weather very much.

Dr. Frankling invited me to spend the winter in Philidelphia. I shall wish to be there, unless you return. I have been like a nun in a cloister ever since you went away, have not been into any other house than my Fathers and Sisters, except once to Coll. Quincys. Indeed I have had no inclination for Company. My Evenings are lonesome and Melancholy. In the day time family affairs take of my attention but my Evenings are spent with my departed parent. I then ruminate upon all her care and tenderness, and I am sometimes lost, and absorb'd in a flood of tenderness e'er I am aware of it, or can call to my aid, my only props and support.

I must bid you adieu tis late at Night. Most affectionately Yours.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esq at Philadelphia To the Care of Coll: Warren”; endorsed: “Novr. 12. Portia.”


For the affair at Lechmere Point (now East Cambridge) on 9 Nov., see Wash-326ington's thanks to Col. William Thompson in his general orders of the 10th, and Washington's report to the President of Congress, 11 Nov. (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:79, 84).