Adams Family Correspondence, volume 2

Abigail Adams to John Adams, 7 April 1777 AA JA Abigail Adams to John Adams, 7 April 1777 Adams, Abigail Adams, John
Abigail Adams to John Adams
Monday April 7. 1777

I hope to receive some Letters from you this week, the date of the last was the 7 of March and now tis the 7 of April. I cannot suppose according to your usual practice but you must have wrote several times since; I sent a Letter to the post office a Saturday, but yesterday hearing of an express I thought to write a few lines by it, just to tell you that the family are well as usual, that I visit you almost every night, or you me, but wakeing the agreable delusion vanishes—“like the Baseless fabrick of a vision.”

I have nothing new to write you. The present Subject of discourse is the unfortunate Daughter of Dr. Cooper, who having indiscreetly and foolishly married a Stranger, after finding him a Sot, has the additional1 misery of finding herself the wife of a married Man and the Father of 5 children who are all living. About 3 weeks after he saild for the West Indias a Letter came to Town directed to him which was deliverd to her, and proved to be from his wife, who after condoling with him upon his misfortune in being taken prisoner, Lets him know that she with her 5 children are well, and to add to mortification tis said her complexion is not so fair as the American Laidies.

I most sincerely pitty her unfortunate Father, who having but two children has found himself unhappy in both. This last Stroke is worse than death.2

Let me hear from you by the return of this express, and by every other opportunity.

My Brother is going Captain of Marines on board MacNeal.3 I hear there has been an inquiry at the Counsel Board why he has not saild before? and that the blame falls upon the continental Agent.4

I suppose you are in Bloom in your climate whilst we are yet hovering over a fire and shivering with the cold.

Adieu. Yours with an affection that knows no bounds, Portia

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia”; docketed in an unidentified hand.


MS: “additionally.”


Rev. Samuel Cooper had two children, both daughters. The elder, Judith, married Gabriel Johonnot, a Boston mer-203chant, in 1766, and died in 1773; their son Samuel Cooper Johonnot was to accompany JA and JQA on their voyage to Spain in 1779 ( NEHGR , 44 [1890]: 57; JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:417–418).

Cooper's younger daughter, Abigail (1755–1826), married in Jan. 1777, at Boston, Joseph Sayer Hixon, a well-to-do and well-connected British merchant and slaveowner of Montserrat in the Leeward Islands, who had been captured while on a voyage to London and brought into Boston on a Continental prize ship in Oct. 1776. In the spring of 1777 Hixon went back to Montserrat, but during an insurrection there was captured again and taken to Copenhagen. In 1782 he returned to Boston, was reunited with Abigail, had several children by her, and died in Boston in 1801. (MS letters of Samuel Cooper introducing Hixon to influential friends in France and England, March 1777, in CSmH; NEHGR , 44 [1890]: 157–58; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates , 11:206.)


William Smith did not sail with McNeill in the Boston, but as a captain of marines in the American Tartar, a 24-gun privateer, Capt. John Grimes, and after a successful cruise in the Baltic was captured and carried into Newfoundland (AA to JA, 6–9 May and 16 Nov., both below; MHS, Colls. , 77 [1927]: 73).


Capt. John Bradford, Continental prize agent for Massachusetts since April 1776 ( JCC , 4:301; William Bell Clark, George Washington's Navy, Baton Rouge, 1960, p. 151 and passim). Without much doubt it is to Bradford's conduct as agent that JA alludes darkly in a passage on official peculation in his Diary and Autobiography , 2:402.

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 8 April 1777 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 8 April 1777 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
Ap. 8. 1777

Yours of 26 March came by this days Post. Am happy to hear you have received so many Letters from me. You need not fear Writing in your cautious Way by the Post, which is now well regulated. But if your Letters should be intercepted, they would do no Harm.

The Farmer turns out to be the Man, that I have seen him to be, these two Years. He is in total Neglect and Disgrace here. I am sorry for it, because of the forward Part he took, in the Beginning of the Controversy. But there is certainly such a Thing as falling away, in Politicks, if there is none in Grace.

Lee fares as well as a Man in close Prison, can fare, I suppose, constantly guarded and watched. I fancy, Howe will engage that he shall be treated as a Prisoner of War, and in that Case, We shall all be easy. For my own Part, I dont think the Cause depends upon him. I am sorry to see such wild Panegyricks in your Newspapers. I wish they would consider the Woes1 against Idolatry.

Ap. 11

Congress is now full. Every one of the thirteen States has a Representation in it, which has not happened before a long Time.

Maryland has taken a Step which will soon compleat their Quota. 204They have made it lawfull for their Officers, to inlist servants and Apprentices.

The fine new Frigate, called the Delaware, Capt. Alexander, has sailed down the River. I stood upon the Wharf to see the fine figure and Show she made. They are fitting away the Washington, Captn. Reed Read, with all possible dispatch.

We have at last finished the System of Officers for the Hospitals, which will be printed Tomorrow. As soon as it is done, I will inclose it to you. A most ample, generous, liberal Provision it is. The Expence will be great. But Humanity overcame Avarice.2

RC and LbC (Adams Papers).


Thus clearly in LbC. In RC this word might possibly be read as “Wars,” and CFA so rendered it. Neither word makes perfect sense in this context, but the force of the passage is clear enough: JA means “the warnings uttered against idolatry.”


Congress' resolutions reorganizing the Continental medical service were adopted on 7–8 April and printed as a broadside by John Dunlap of Philadelphia. See JCC , 7:231–237, 244–246; 9:1083; Evans 15660.