Adams Family Correspondence, volume 1

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams, 7 February 1776 Warren, Mercy Otis AA Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams, 7 February 1776 Warren, Mercy Otis Adams, Abigail
Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams
February 7 1776

Just Come to hand is A Letter from my very Worthy Friend1 who I suppose is by this time arrived at Philadelphia and Another from his Good Portia2 whose Mind seems to be Agitated by A Variety of passions of the Noblest kind, A sense of Honnour, of Friendship, of parental and Conjugal affection, of Domestick Felicity And public 344Happiness. I do not wonder you had a struggle within yourself when your Friend was again Called upon to be Absent from his Family for perhaps many months but as you have sacrificed private Inclination to the public welfare I hope the Reward of Virtue will be your portion. I beleive the person you Consent should be absent from you need Give himself very Little Concern about the Ill natured sugestions of an Envious World, and I Cannot think you have any Apprehension that the Wispers of Malice Will Lessen the Esteem and Affection I have for my Friends and if she is unkindly brooding anything to their Disadvantage it has not Reached my Ear. When it does I shall Comply with your Request and Give you the opportunity you Mention. Mean time Let me have an Explanation of that source of uneasiness you hint at, in yours. Follow my Example and set Down Immediatly and write and I will Ensure you a safe Conveyance by a Gentleman who I hope will Call on you on saterday on his way to pay a Visit to his Marcia. You may trust him with your Letter though Ever so important, and anything Else you will Venture to Communicate.

I Want to know if Certain Intercepted Letters had any Consequences at Philadelphia. Was any umbrage taken by any Genius Great or small.

I Wonder where Mr. Adamss Letter has been for A whole month. It might have traveled to Quebec And back again since it was wrote. I began to think he was about to drop Our Correspondence and Indeed I think now I am obliged to you for Its Continuance. Yet had I Received the Letter before he went off I beleive I should have Ventured to answer some of his queries Though they were not put in a Manner serious Enough for me to suppose he Expected it. However when you write again do make my Regards and thank him for his of January 8th. Only the fear of Interrupting his important Moments prevents my doing it myself. But I think he has so many friends to Correspond with that it is Rather Calling him from more Useful Employment to Attend to my Interruptions.

Yet there is a proposal in his that may set my pen to work again perhaps before he Returns.

I am Very sorry for the Ill Health of your Family. Hope they are all Recovered. Do put them in mind of the affection of your Friend, in a way most pleasing to the Little Circle.

What is became of my dear Mrs. Lincoln. Do tell her I have impatiently Wished through the whole Winter for the pleasure of hearing from her and the family. Do make them my best Regards.

I write in a very Great Hury or I should touch a Little on politicks, 345knowing you Love a Little seasoning of that Nature in Every production, but it is two wide A Field to Enter this Evening so will only Wish that the Aquisition of Boston and Quebec may make the opening of the year 76 an Era of Glory to the arms of America, and May hand down the Name of Washington and Arnold to the Latest posterrity, with the Laurel on their Brow. But A Reverse I tremble to think off. Let us forbear to Name it. So will hasten to subscribe the Name of Your Affectionate Friend,


RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; docketed in an unidentified hand: “Mrs. Warren Feb 1st. '76.”


JA to Mrs. Warren, 8 Jan. ( Warren-Adams Letters , 1:201–203).


Jan.? 1776; printed as an Addendum to this volume, p. 422–424, below.

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 11 February 1776 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 11 February 1776 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My Dear Philadelphia Feby. 11. 1776

Here I am again. Arrived last Thursday,1 in good Health, altho I had a cold Journey. The Weather, a great Part of the Way, was very severe, which prevented our making very quick Progress, and by an Accident which happened to one of my Horses, which obliged me to leave her at Brookfield and hire another, was delayed two days. An Horse broke loose in the Barn and corked2 mine under the fore-shoulder. I hope that Bass upon his Return will find her well.

My Companion was agreable and made the Journey much less tedious than it would have been.

I can form no Judgment of the State of public Opinions and Principles here, as yet, nor any Conjectures of what an Hour may bring forth.

Have been to meeting and heard Mr. Duffill Duffield from Jer. 2.17. Hast thou not procured this unto thy self, in that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, when he led thee by the Way?—He prayed very earnestly for Boston and New York, supposing the latter to be in Danger of Destruction.

I, however, am not convinced that Vandeput will fire upon that Town3—It has too much Tory Property to be destroyed by Tories.

I hope it will be fortified and saved. If not the Question may be asked “hast thou not procured this &c?”

Tomorrow, Dr. Smith is to deliver an oration in Honour of the brave Montgomery.4 I will send it, as soon as it is out, to you.

There is a deep Anxiety, a kind of thoughtfull Melancholly, and in 346some a Lowness of Spirits approaching to Despondency, prevailing, through the southern Colonies, at present, very similar, to what I have often observed in Boston, particularly on the first News of the Port Bill, and last year about this Time or a little later, when the bad News arrived, which dashed their fond Hopes with which they had deluded themselves, thro the Winter. In this, or a similar Condition, We shall remain, I think, untill late in the Spring, When some critical Event will take Place, perhaps sooner. But the Arbiter of Events, the Sovereign of the World only knows, which Way the Torrent will be turned. Judging by Experience, by Probabilities, and by all Appearances, I conclude, it will roll on to Dominion and Glory, tho the Circumstances and Consequences may be bloody.

In such great Changes and Commotions, Individuals are but Atoms. It is scarcly worth while to consider what the Consequences will be to Us. What will be the Effects upon present and future Millions, and Millions of Millions, is a Question very interesting to Benevolence natural and Christian. God grant they may and I firmly believe they will be happy.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. John Adams Braintree.”


8 February.


That is, calked: “To wound with a calk, as a horse's leg” (Webster, 2d edn.). Calk (in the sense of a projecting metal point affixed to a shoe to prevent slipping) appears frequently in American colloquial usage as “cork”; thus “corked boots.” See DAE and Dict. of Americanisms under both calk and cork.


Capt. (later Adm.) George Vandeput, then commanding H.M.S. Asia in New York Harbor.


JA was mistaken about the date. The ceremonies in honor of Gen. Richard Montgomery, who was killed in the American assault on Quebec on the last day of 1775, were not held until Monday, 19 Feb., when Rev. William Smith, provost of the College of Philadelphia, delivered an oration in the “Dutch Calvinist” (i.e. German Reformed) Church in Philadelphia that JA later said was considered such “an insolent Performance” that Congress declined either to thank the orator or to print his speech. However, “The orator then printed it himself, after leaving out or altering some offensive Passages” (to AA, 28 April, below). What offended JA and others were Smith's markedly loyalist sentiments. See entries in Richard Smith's Diary of Proceedings in Congress for 25 Jan., 12, 19, 21 Feb., in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members , 1:327, 347, 356, 359 and references in editorial notes there. For Smith's Oration as printed, see “Bibliographical Notes” in JCC , 6:1117–1118; also T. R. Adams, “American Independence,” No. 228a-h.