Adams Family Correspondence, volume 2

160 Abigail Adams to John Adams, 12 February 1777 AA JA Abigail Adams to John Adams, 12 February 1777 Adams, Abigail Adams, John
Abigail Adams to John Adams
Febry 12. 1777

Mr. Bromfield was so obliging as to write me Word that he designd a journey to the Southern States, and would take perticuliar care of a Letter to you. I rejoice in so good an opportunity of letting you know that I am well as usual, but that I have not yet got reconciled to the great distance between us. I have many melancholy Hours when the best company is urksome to me, and solitude the greatest happiness I can enjoy.

I wait most earnestly for a Letter to bring me the welcome tidings of your safe arrival. I hope you will be very perticuliar and let me know how you are after your fatigueing journey. How you are accommodated. How you like Maryland. What state of mind you find the Congress in, and what may be communicated relative to their proceedings. You know how little intelegance we received during your stay here with regard to what was passing there or in the Army. We know no better now, all communication seems to be embaressed. I got more knowledge from a Letter wrote to you from your Namesake which I received since you left me,1 than I had before obtaind since you left Philadelphia. I find by that Letter that six Hessian officers together with Col. Campel had been offerd in exchange for General Lee. I fear he receives very ill Treatment, the terms were not complied with as poor Campbel finds. He was much surprized when the officers went to take him, and beg'd to know what he had been guilty of? They told him it was no crime of his own but they were obliged tho reluctantly to commit him to Concord jail in consequence of the ill treatment of General Lee. He then beged to know how long his confinement was to last, they told him that was imposible for them to say, since it lay wholy in the power of General How to determine it.2

By a vessel from Bilboa we have accounts of the safe arrival of Dr. F——g in France ten days before She saild;3 a French Gentleman who came passenger says we may rely upon it that 200 thousand Russians will be here in the Spring.

A Lethargy seems to have seazd our Country Men. I hear no more of molessting or routing those troops at Newport than of attacking Great Britain.

We just begin to talk of raising our Men for the Standing Army. I wish to know whether the reports may be Credited of the Southern Regiments being full?

You will write me by the Bearer of this Letter, to whose care you 161may venture to commit any thing you have Liberty to Communicate. I have wrote you twice before this, hope you have received them. The Children all desire to be rememberd—so does your


RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Portia. ans. March 7.”


Samuel Adams to JA, Baltimore, 9 Jan. 1777 (Adams Papers), printed in JA, Works , 9:448–450.


Lt. Col. Archibald Campbell of the 71st Regiment of Highlanders, a member of Parliament, had been captured when the transport in which he had come out put into Boston harbor just after the British squadron had left there in June 1776 ( DNB ; William Bell Clark, George Washington's Navy, Baton Rouge, 1960, p. 160 ff.). When placed in a common jail at Concord in retaliation for alleged British mistreatment of Gen. Charles Lee, Campbell appealed to Washington, who wrote the Massachusetts Council a severe letter on the subject, 28 Feb. 1777 ( Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 7:207–208).


AA commonly spelled Franklin's name “Frankling.” He had sailed from the Delaware on 29 Oct. and arrived at Nantes on 8 Dec. or a day or so before (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 2:216–217, 221).

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 15 February 1777 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 15 February 1777 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
Baltimore Feb. 15. 1777

Mr. Hall, by whom this Letter will be sent, will carry several Letters to you, which have been written and delivered to him, several Days. He has settled his Business, agreably.

I have not received a Line from the Massachusetts, since I left it.

Whether We shall return to Philadelphia, soon, or not, I cannot say. I rather conjecture it will not be long. You may write to me, in Congress, and the Letter will be brought me, wherever I shall be.

I am settled now agreably enough in my Lodgings, there is nothing in this Respect that lies uneasily upon my Mind, except the most extravagant Price which I am obliged to give for every Thing. My Constituents will think me extravagant, but I am not. I wish I could sell or send home my Horses, but I cannot. I must have Horses and a Servant, for Congress will be likely to remove several Times in the Course of the ensuing Year.

I am impatient to hear from you, and most tenderly anxious for your Health and Happiness. I am also most affectionately solicitous for my dear N. J. C. and T. to whom remember Yours.1

We long to hear of the Formation of a new Army. We shall loose the most happy opportunity of destroying the Enemy this Spring, if We do not exert ourselves instantly.

We have from New Hampshire a Coll. Thornton, a Physician by 162Profession, a Man of Humour. He has a large Budget of droll Stories, with which he entertains Company perpetually.

I heard about Twenty or five and twenty Years ago, a Story of a Physician in Londonderry, who accidentally met with one of our new England Enthusiasts, call'd Exhorters.2 The Fanatic soon began to examine the Dr. concerning the Articles of his Faith, and what he thought of original Sin?

Why, says the Dr., I satisfy myself about it in this manner. Either original Sin is divisible or indivisible. If it was divisible every descendant of Adam and Eve must have a Part, and the share which falls to each Individual at this Day, is so small a Particle, that I think it is not worth considering. If indivisible, then the whole Quantity must have descended in a right Line, and must now be possessed by one Person only, and the Chances are Millions and Millions and Millions to one that that Person is now in Asia or Africa, and that I have nothing to do with it.

I told Thornton the story and that I suspected him to be the Man.3 He said he was. He belongs to Londonderry.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams at Mr. John Adams's Braintree”; docketed in pencil by AA.


JA evidently intended to break off here, but then resumed on a second page.


MS torn by seal.


That is, the man who answered the exhorter. Dr. Matthew Thornton (ca. 1714–1803) was a delegate to the Continental Congress from New Hampshire, 1776–1777 ( DAB ).