Adams Family Correspondence, volume 2

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 25 May 1777 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 25 May 1777 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
May 25. 1777

At half past four this Morning, I mounted my Horse, and took a ride, in a Road that was new to me. I went to Kensington, and then to Point No Point, by Land, the Place where I went, once before, with a large Company in the Rowe Gallies, by Water. That Frolic was almost two Years ago. I gave you a Relation of it, in the Time, I suppose.1 The Road to Point No Point lies along the River Delaware, in fair Sight of it, and its opposite shore. For near four Miles the Road is as strait as the Streets of Philadelphia. On each Side, are beautifull Rowes of Trees, Buttonwoods, Oaks, Walnutts, Cherries and Willows, especially down towards the Banks of the River. The Meadows, Pastures, and Grass Plotts, are as Green as Leeks. There are many Fruit Trees and fine orchards, set with the nicest Regularity. But the Fields of Grain, the Rye, and Wheat, exceed all Description. These Fields are all sown in Ridges; and the Furrough between each Couple of Ridges, is as plainly to be seen, as if a swarth2 had been mown along. Yet it is no wider than a Plough share, and it is as strait as an Arrow. It looks as if the Sower had gone along the Furrough with his Spectacles to pick up every grain that should accidentally fall into it.

The Corn is just coming out of the Ground. The Furroughs struck out for the Hills to be planted in, are each Way, as straight as mathematical right Lines; and the Squares between every four Hills, as exact as they could be done by Plumb and Line, or Scale and Compass.

I am ashamed of our Farmers. They are a lazy, ignorant sett, in Husbandry, I mean—For they know infinitely more of every Thing else, than these. But after all the Native Face of our Country, diversified as it is, with Hill and Dale, Sea and Land, is to me more agreable than this enchanting artificial scaene.

May 27.

The Post brought me yours of May 6th. and 9th.

You express Apprehensions that We may be driven from this City. We have No such Apprehensions here. Howe is unable to do any 248Thing but by Stealth. Washington is strong enough to keep Howe, where he is.

How could it happen that you should have £5 of counterfeit New Hampshire Money? Cant you recollect who you had it of? Let me intreat you not to take a shilling of any but continental Money, or Massachusetts—and be very carefull of that. There is a Counterfeit Continental Bill abroad sent out of New York but it will deceive none but Fools, for it is Copper Plate—easily detected, miserably done.

RC (Adams Papers) and LbC (Adams Papers). LbC does not include the continuation of 27 May. (The present letter is the last to AA entered by JA in Lb/JA/3, which contains only four more entries and breaks off entirely with a copy of a letter written to Nathanael Greene dated 7 July 1777. Thus of the scores of letters he wrote to AA, and the lesser number he wrote to others, during the following summer and fall while still in Congress, JA retained no copies.)


JA's account of his “Excursion” to Point-no-Point, “upon Delaware River in the new Row Gallies built by the Committee of Safety,” is in his diary entry of 28 Sept. 1775, not in a letter to AA ( Diary and Autobiography , 2:187–188).


Obsolete spelling of “swath,” which is the spelling found in LbC.

Abigail Adams to John Adams, 28 May 1777 AA JA Abigail Adams to John Adams, 28 May 1777 Adams, Abigail Adams, John
Abigail Adams to John Adams
May 28 1777

This is Election Day, but the news of the day I am not able to inform you of as I have Heard nothing from Town. The House is not so unwealdy a Body this year as the last. Very few Towns have sent more than one, and those are many of them new Members. Whether they have changd for the better time will discover.

I recollect a remark of a writer upon Goverment,1 who says that a single assembly is subject to all the starts of passion and to the caprices of an individual.

We have lately experienced the Truth of the observation. A French vessel came into Boston laiden with a large Quantity of dry goods. The War office had the offer of any thing they chose to take, after which some things were offerd for sale by the captain at a higher rate than the Regulated price, whilst some were offerd for less. Upon this a certain Boston Member who comes under the Denomination of a furious Whigg2 Blusterd about and insisted upon it if he would not comply he ought to be orderd out of the Harbour, and procured a very unanimous vote for it in the House, but upon its being sent up to the Counsel there was but one vote in favour of it.

249 May 29.

I have been interrupted by company from writing farther. I have been happy in receiving a number of Letters from you of various dates, since I wrote last. I have not time to notice them now, I will write by the next post, and be more perticular. We Have no News here of any kind. There has been no stir at Newport yet.

Every method is taking to fill up the continental Army which I hope will be effected soon. Many of the soldiers who have inlisted for this Town, are in the Hospital under innoculation. We have two Hospitals in the upper parish, one just opend. Dr. Wales has had great Success. Since March 200 have had the distemper under his care, and not one died. He has now more than a hundred in it from this and the neighbouring Towns.3 6 or 7 of my neighbours went in yesterday, and one from my own family, Jonathan.4

The Spring in general has been very cold, a few extreem Hot days, the rest of the time you might sit by the fire which I now do.

Our Fleet saild Last week and had several days of fine wind and weather.

I hear your president is upon the road Home with his family—I hope He brings me Letters. Adieu most sincerely yours.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Portia”; docketed in two different hands, one of which is CFA's.


JA, in his Thoughts on Government (1776); see his Works , 4:206.


A political type that had recently received rough treatment at the hands of a Philadelphia newspaper essayist whose article was reprinted in Boston: “The Furious Whigs injure the cause of liberty as much by their violence as the timid Whigs do by their fears. They think the destruction of Howe's army of less consequence than the detection and punishment of the most insignificant Tory. They think the common forms of justice should be suspended towards a Tory criminal, and that a man who only speaks against our common defence, should be tomahawked, scalped, and roasted alive. Lastly, they are all cowards, and skulk under the cover of an office, or a sickly family, when they are called to oppose the enemy in the field. Woe to that State or Community that is governed by this class of men!” (Continental Journal, 10 April 1777). The particular Boston member and “furious Whigg” to whom AA alludes has not, however, been certainly identified.


Dr. Ephraim Wales, Harvard 1768, had settled in the South Precinct of Braintree (now Randolph) about 1770 and was long prominent in town affairs. In March 1777 the town appointed “a Committee to Treat with Doctr. Wales with respect to his Inoculation for the Small pox, contrary to the vote of Town,” and “Restrictions” were accordingly laid upon him. The issue was “the distance from the Hospital to the Road,” which the committee had found to be “one Hundred and fifteen roods,” evidently not enough. However, at its May meeting the town voted, 121 against 70, to permit smallpox inoculation and authorized Dr. Moses Baker and Dr. Ephraim Wales to conduct “Hospitals” for the purpose, “under the Limitation & Regulation of 250the Law & the Selectmen of the Town.” (Ebenezer Alden, The Early History of the Medical Profession in the County of Norfolk, Mass., Boston, 1853, p. 12; Braintree Town Records , p. 478–480, and passim.)


A young servant or farm laborer.