Adams Family Correspondence, volume 2

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 8 October 1776 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 8 October 1776 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
Oct. 8. 76

I ought to acknowledge with Gratitude, your constant Kindness in Writing to me, by every Post. Your favour of Septr. 29. came by the 140last. I wish it had been in my Power, to have returned your Civilities with the same Punctuality, but it has not.

Long before this you have received Letters from me, and Newspapers containing a full Account of the Negociation. The Communication is still open and the Post Riders now do their Duty and will continue to do so.

I assure you, We are as much at a Loss, about Affairs at New York, as you are. In general, our Generals were out generalled on Long Island, and Sullivan and Stirling with 1000 Men were made Prisoners, in Consequence of which, and several other unfortunate Circumstances, a Council of War thought it prudent to retreat from that Island, and Governors Island and then from New York. They are now posted at Haarlem about 10 or 11 Miles from the City. They left behind them some Provisions, some Cannon and some Baggage.

Wherever the Men of War have approached, our Militia have most manfully turned their backs and run away, Officers and Men, like sturdy fellows—and their panicks have sometimes seized the regular Regiments.

One little skirmish on Montresors Island, ended with the Loss of the brave Major Henley, and the disgrace of the rest of the Party. Another Skirmish, which might indeed be called an Action, ended in the defeat and shamefull flight of the Enemy, with the Loss of the brave Coll. Knowlton on our Part. The Enemy have Possession of Paulus Hook and Bergen Point, Places on the Jersy side of the North River.

By this Time their Force is so divided between Staten Island, Long Island, New York, Paulus Hook and Bergen Point, that, I think they will do no great Matter more this fall, unless the Expiration of the Term of Inlistment of our Army, should disband it. If our new Inlistments fill up, for Soldiers during the War, We shall do well enough.—Every Body must encourage this.

You are told that a Regiment of Yorkers behaved ill, and it may be true, but I can tell you that several Regiments of Massachusetts Men have behaved ill, too.

The Spirit of Venality, you mention, is the most dreadfull and alarming Enemy, that America has to oppose. It is as rapacious and insatiable as the Grave. We are in the Fasce Romuli, non Republica Platonis. This predominant Avarice will ruin America, if she is ever ruined. If God almighty does not interpose by his Grace to controul this universal Idolatry to the Mammon of Unrighteousness, We shall be given up to the Chastisements of his Judgments. I am ashamed of the Age I live in.


You surprise me with your Account of the Prayers in publick for an Abdicated King, a Pretender to the Crown. Nothing of that Kind is heard in this Place, or any other Part of the Continent, but New York and the Place you mention. This Practice is Treason against the State and cannot be long tolerated.

I lament the Loss of Soper, as an honest, and usefull Member of Society.

Dont leave off writing to me—I write as often as I can.

I am glad Master John has an office so usefull to his Mamma and Pappa, as that of Post rider.

RC (Adams Papers).

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 11 October 1776 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 11 October 1776 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
Philadelphia Octr. 11. 1776

I suppose your Ladyship has been in the Twitters, for some Time past, because you have not received a Letter by every Post, as you used to do.—But I am coming to make my Apology in Person. I, Yesterday asked and obtained Leave of Absence. It will take me till next Monday, to get ready, to finish off a few Remnants of public Business, and to put my private Affairs in proper Order. On the 14th. day of October, I shall get away, perhaps. But I dont expect to reach Home, in less than a fortnight, perhaps not in three Weeks, as I shall be obliged to make stops by the Way.1

RC (Adams Papers).


No vote on JA's application for leave, 10 Oct., is recorded in the Journal of Congress. He set off from Philadelphia on Sunday the 13th; see the entry of that date in his Diary and Autobiography , 2:251. But since his itemized accounts have not been found, we do not know his route beyond Trenton; and since his correspondence broke off abruptly upon his departure from Congress, we do not know when he reached Braintree. He had arrived by 5 Nov., however, for on that date he drafted a letter, probably intended for a colleague in Congress, on the problem of currency inflation; this is in Lb/JA/1 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 89), but appears to be incomplete and may not have been sent.

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams, 15 October 1776 Warren, Mercy Otis AA Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams, 15 October 1776 Warren, Mercy Otis Adams, Abigail
Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams
October 15 1776

Nothing but the Greatest affection for my dear Mrs. Adams Would Induce me to Break over the Avocations of this busey Morning, and to quit the Conversation of my Friends who Leave me tomorrow, to 142scrable over a Hasty Line in Token that I have not Forgot you. Mr. Warren promissed to Make all the Apoligies Necessary for my Long silence. Mine is the Loss and the Mortifycation and on that Consideration I Could Wish you would not be quite so Ceremonious, But would oftener Favour Your Friend with the News from Abroad and the political Speculations at home, as well as the sentiments of Friendship which Glow in the Bosom of the sociable Portia.

When do You Expect to see Mr. Adams. I Really think it A Great tryal of patience and philosophy to be so Long seperated from the Companion of Your Heart and from the Father of your Little Flock. But the High Enthusiasm of a truly patriotic Lady will Cary Her through Every Difficulty, and Lead Her to Every Exertion. Patience, Fortitude, Public Spirit, Magnanimity and self Denial are the Virtues she Boasts. I wish I Could put in my Claim to those sublime qualities. But oh! the Dread of Loosing all that this World Can Bestow by one Costly sacrifice keeps my Mind in Continual Alarm. I own my weakness and stand Corrected yet Cannot Rise superior to Those Attachments which sweeten Life and Without which the Dregs of this Terestial Existence Would not be Worth preserving.

I have it in Contemplation to Call on you again before the seting in of Winter but if I do not you will be kind Enough to Return some papers I have Frequently Mentiond by Mr. Warren. I Rely With Confidence you will not 1 take nor suffer to be taken any Copies.

Our Friends will tell you all you wish to know about Plimouth. They have made me an agreable Visit, and as this is the Last Day I shall have their Company it will not be quite Civil to Leave them Longer than to subscribe the Name of your Ever Affectionate Friend,

M Warren

RC (Adams Papers).


This word has been editorially supplied.