Adams Family Correspondence, volume 2

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.

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

An horrid cold Day for Election—warm work however, in the Afternoon, I suppose.1

You will see by the inclosed Papers, among the Advertisements, how the Spirit of Manufacturing grows. There never was a Time when there was such full Employment, for every Man, Woman and Child, in this City. Spinning, Knitting, Weaving, every Tradesman is as full as possible. Wool and Flax in great Demand.

Industry will supply our Necessities, if it is not cramped by injudicious Laws—such as Regulations of Prices &c., Embargoes &c. These discourage Industry and turn that Ingenuity which ought to be employed for the general Good, into Knavery.

RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed newspapers not found or identified.


That is, in the election, by the new House of Representatives, voting jointly with the members of the old Council, of a new council.

“Yesterday was our Election of Councellors: a large Number of the Representatives, perhaps 20 or 30 from Hampshire, Berkshire &c. would not vote, being for a single Assembly. I hope this Sentiment will not prevail. They could chuse no more than thirteen by nine o'Clock; and then adjourn'd to this Morning” (Samuel Cooper to JA, 29 May, Adams Papers).

Abigail Adams to John Adams, 1 June 1777 AA JA Abigail Adams to John Adams, 1 June 1777 Adams, Abigail Adams, John
Abigail Adams to John Adams
My dearest Friend June 1. 1777

I designd to have wrote you by the last Post, but have been so unwell for the week past that I have not been able. We have had very Hot weather which you know never agrees well with me, and greatly distresses me under my present circumstances. I loose my rest a nights, which makes me more unable to bear the Heat of the day. I look forward to the middle of july with more anxiety than I can describe, and the Thoughts of 3 hundreds miles distance are as Greivious as the perils I have to pass through. I am cut of from the privilidge which some of the Brute creation enjoy, that of having their mate sit by them with anxious care during all their Solitary confinement.

You live at an expence however frugal it may be deemed there, 251which will astonish your constituents I suppose and be the occasion of many more gratefull acknowledgments, and speaches. If either of us were in the least avaricious or even parsimonious we should poorly Brook the sacrifice we make of property. One Gentleman of the Bar acknowledged that he had made a thousand pounds sterling since the opening of Buisness by admiralty causes and others, and there are some others who have made more than he; and with how much less fatigue than you have sufferd, you are the best judge. I hope this year will if we are any way successfull put an end to your fatigues and your journeys. If you could be at Home and only earnd a Bare subsistance I should be happeier.

Every thing Here is extravangantly high, but more tolerable than with you. A Dollor now is not eaquel to what one Quarter was two years ago, and their is no sort of property which is not held in higher estimation than money. I have long seen the true causes of this Evil, and have been out of favour, with the regulating act, as I have seen I think that it rather served to raise than lower prices.

I endeavour to live with as great frugality as posible. I am obliged to pay higher wages this year than last; Prince was offerd 8 dollors a month and left me. I found upon trial that I must give 12, and put to great difficulty to hire a Hand even at that price, so I sent for Him again, and he got himself releasd, and is with me for 6 months upon those terms.

I have paid him his 5 pounds for the winter, have paid the Rates which amount to 24 pounds 2 & 3 pence, have also paid your Brother 5 hundred & 50 dollors which with what you paid when at Home and the small sums that were paid before, amount to the whole of the principal and part of the interest.1 I would have taken up the bond, but he chose it should lay as there were Notes of Hand which you have against him and an account to settle which he has against you—and this week I propose to send in to the continental Loan office a hundred pound LM. If I do not explain the matter I fear you will suspect me of being concerned with the Hampshire money makers. You must know then that your sister Adams took up a Note to the amount of a hundred & 27 pounds out of which was oweing to her as you may remember upon the Settlement 45 pounds and about the same time my unkle Thaxter2 took up a Note principal and interest amounted to 56 pounds which enabled me to pay your Brother, and a few days ago one Stetson took up a Bond of 20 pounds and Clark one of 30 which with a treasurers Note which is due of 20 pounds more and 24 pounds which I received for the Sale of a Lighter! will come near 252to compleat the Hundred pounds which I propose to send to the office. Every fellow has his pockets full of money and chuses no doubt to pay his debts if he is a good Husband. I have done the best in my power with what I received and hope for your approbation which is always a full compensation to yours—ever yours.

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


Presumably the final payment to Peter Boylston Adams for what is now called the John Adams Birthplace, the farm that went with it, and a large pasture, all of which JA acquired in 1774 at a price agreed on as £440; see his Diary and Autobiography , 2:87–88.


John Thaxter Sr. (1721–1802), Harvard 1741, of Hingham; husband of AA's aunt Anna (Quincy) Thaxter and father of JA's law clerk and (later) private secretary John Thaxter Jr.; see Adams Genealogy.