Adams Family Correspondence, volume 2

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 3 February 1777 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 3 February 1777 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
Baltimore Feby. 3. 1777

This Day has been observed in this Place, with exemplary Decency and Solemnity, in Consequence of an Appointment of the Government, in Observance of a Recommendation of Congress, as a Day of Fasting. I went to the Presbyterian Meeting and heard Mr. Allison deliver a most pathetic and animating, as well as pious, patriotic and elegant Discourse. I have seldom been better pleased or more affected with a sermon.

The Presbyterian Meeting House in Baltimore stands upon an Hill just at the Back of the Town, from whence We have a very fair Prospect of the Town, and of the Water upon which it stands, and of the Country round it. Behind this Eminence, which is the Bacon Beacon Hill of Baltimore, lies a beautifull Meadow, which is entirely incircled by a Stream of Water. This most beautifull Scaene must be partly natural and partly artificial. Beyond the Meadow and Canall, you have a charming View of the Country. Besides the Meeting House there is upon this Height, a large and elegant Court House, as yet unfinished within, and a small Church of England in which an old Clergyman 153officiates, Mr. Chase, Father of Mr. Chace1 one of the Delegates of Maryland, who they say is not so zealous a Whigg as the Son.

I shall take Opportunities to describe this Town and State more particularly to you hereafter. I shall inquire into their Religion, their Laws, their Customs, their Manners, their Descent and Education, their Learning, their Schools and Colledges and their Morals.—It was said of Ulysses I think that he saw the Manners of many Men and many Cities, which is like to be my Case, as far as American Men and Cities extend, provided Congress should continue in the rolling Humour, which I hope they will not. I wish however, that my Mind was more at rest than it is, that I might be able to make more exact Observations of Men and Things as far as I go.

When I reflect upon the Prospect before me of so long an Absence from all that I hold dear in this World, I mean all that contributes to my private personal Happiness, it makes me melancholly. When I think on your Circumstances I am more so, and yet I rejoice at them in spight of all this Melancholly.—God almightys Providence protect and bless you and yours and mine.

RC and LbC (Adams Papers). This day JA resumed his practice of keeping copies of his outgoing letters; the present letter is the third in a new folio letterbook (Lb/JA/3) containing entries for both family and other letters. But he wrote numerous letters from Congress during 1777, to both AA and others, of which he did not keep copies; see descriptive notes on JA to AA, 27 April, 25–27 May, both below.


JA long persisted in spelling the name of his friend and fellow delegate Samuel Chase in this way. Samuel's father, an immigrant from England, was Thomas Chase, rector of St. Paul's, Baltimore ( DAB , under Samuel Chase).

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 7 February 1777 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 7 February 1777 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
Baltimore Feby: 7. 1777

I am at last after a great deal of Difficulty, settled in comfortable Quarters, but at an infinite Expence. . . .1 The Price I pay for my Board is more moderate than any other Gentlemen give, excepting my Colleagues, who are all in the same Quarters,2 and at the same Rates except Mr. Hancock who keeps an House by himself.

The Prices of Things here, are much more intollerable than at Boston.

The Attempt of New England to regulate Prices, is extreamly popular in Congress, who will recommend an Imitation of it to the other States: for my own Part I expect only a partial and a temporary Re-154lief from it. And I fear that after a Time the Evils will break out with greater Violence. The Water will flow with greater Rapidity for having been dammed up for a Time. The only radical Cure will be to stop the Emission of more Paper, and to draw in some that is already out, and devise Means effectually to support the Credit of the Rest.3

To this End We must begin forthwith to tax the People, as largely as the distressed Circumstances of the Country will bear. We must raise the Interest from four to six Per Cent. We must if possible borrow Silver and Gold from abroad. We must, above all Things, endeavour this Winter, to gain farther Advantages of the Enemy, that our Power may be in somewhat higher Reputation than it is, or rather than it has been.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams Braintree favoured by Mr. Hall”; docketed in pencil by AA. LbC (Adams Papers).


Suspension points in MS.


“at Mrs. Ross'es in Markett Street, Baltimore a few Doors below the fountain Inn” (JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:257).


See JA's speeches in Congress on this subject, 10 and 14 Feb., as recorded in Benjamin Rush's minutes of debates (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members , 2:245, 252). On the Massachusetts pricefixing act of Jan. 1777, see AA to JA, 8 Feb., below, and note there.