Adams Family Correspondence, volume 2

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 21 July 1777 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 21 July 1777 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My best Friend Philadelphia July 21. 1777

I have long sought for a compleat History of the Revolution in the low Countries, when the Seven united Provinces seperated from the Kingdom of Spain, but without the Success that I wished, untill a few days ago.

Sir William Temples Account is elegant and entertaining, but very brief and general.1

Puffendorfs, I have not yet seen.2 Grotius's I have seen, and read in Part, but it is in Latin, and I had it not in my Possession long enough, to make myself master of the whole.3

A few days ago, I heard for the first Time, of an History of the Wars in Flanders, written in Italian by Cardinal Bentivoglio, and translated into English by the Earl of Monmouth. The Cardinal was a Spaniard and a Tory, and his History has about as much Candor towards the Flemish and their Leaders as Clarendon has towards Pym and Hampden, and Cromwell. The Book is in Folio, and is embellished with a Map of the Country and with the Portraits of about Thirty of the Principal Characters.4

Mr. Ingersol, who lent me the Book, told me, that in the Year 1765 or 6, being in England, he was invited together with Dr. Franklin to spend a Week in the Country with a Mr. Steel a Gentleman of Fortune, at present an eloquent Speaker in the Society of Arts, descended from Sir Richard Steel.5 Upon that Visit Mr. Steel told them that the Quarrell which was now begun by the Stamp Act would never be reconciled, but would terminate in a Separation between the two Coun-287tries.—Ingersol was surprized at the Praediction and asked why and how?—I cant tell you how says he, but if you want to know why, when you return to London, enquire at the Booksellers for Bentivoglios History of the Wars in Flanders, read it through, and you will be convinced that such Quarrells cannot be made up.

He bought the Book accordingly and has now lent it to me. It is very similar to the American Quarrell in the Rise and Progress, and will be so in the Conclusion.

RC (Adams Papers).


Observations upon the United Provinces of the Netherlands, London, 1672, a brief work but long the principal authority for most English readers on the history and government of the Netherlands. It went through numerous editions and was translated into several languages. JA could have read it in the first volume of his own copy of Temple's Works, 2 vols., London, 1731, which is among his books in the Boston Public Library.


The German jurist Pufendorf (1632–1694) wrote An Introduction to the History of the Principal Kingdoms and States of Europe . . ., which is not among the works by that writer listed in the Catalogue of JA's Library .


Hugo Grotius (1583–1645), Annales et historiae de rebus belgicis, Amsterdam, 1657, likewise not entered in the Catalogue of JA's Library .


Guido, Cardinal Bentivoglio's History of the Warrs in Flanders was first published in English in this translation by the Earl of Monmouth, London, 1654. Despite his enthusiasm for this book, which led him to copy the entire list of 24 portraits into his letter to JQA of 27 July, below, JA does not seem to have acquired a copy of it, though the Catalogue of JA's Library enters two other works by Bentivoglio.


Jared Ingersoll of Connecticut, though a loyalist, was living quietly in Philadelphia at this time; see JA to AA, 16 March, above, and Lawrence H. Gipson, Jared Ingersoll, New Haven and London, 1920, p. 355 ff.Joshua Steele (1700–1791) was an Irishman who lived many years in London, was a friend and correspondent of Franklin, wrote treatises on prosody and music, and spent his last years attempting to ameliorate the condition of the slaves on his estates in Barbados ( DNB ; Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S. , 2:100; 3:349).

Abigail Adams to John Adams, 23 July 1777 AA JA Abigail Adams to John Adams, 23 July 1777 Adams, Abigail Adams, John
Abigail Adams to John Adams
My dearest Friend July 23 1777

Notwithstanding my confinement I think I have not omitted writing you by every post. I have recoverd Health and strength beyond expectation; and never was so well in so short a time before. Could I see my Friend in reality as I often do in immagination I think I should feel a happiness beyond expression; I had pleasd myself with the Idea of presenting him a fine son or daughter upon his return, and had figurd to myself the smiles of joy and pleasure with which he would receive it, but those 1 dreams are buried in the Grave, transitory as the morning Cloud, short lived as the Dew Drops.


Heaven continue to us those we already have and make them blessings. I think I feel more solicitious for their welfare than ever, and more anxious if posible for the life and Health of their parent. I fear the extreem Heat of the season, and the different temperament of the climate and the continual application to Buisness will finish a constitution naturally feeble.

I know not in what manner you will be affected at the loss, Evacuation, sale, giving up—which of the terms befits the late conduct at Tycondoroga. You may know more of the reasons for this conduct (as I hear the commanding officer went immediately to Congress) than we can devine this way; but this I can truly say no Event since the commencement of the War has appeard so allarming to me, or given me eaquel uneasiness. Had the Enemy fought and conquerd the fort, I could have borne it, but to leave it with all the stores before it was even attackd, has exited a thousand Suspicions, and gives room for more wrath than despondency.

We every day look for an attack upon us this way. The reports of this week are that a number of Transports with Troops have arrived at Newport. Some expresses went through this Town yesterday.

Yours of June 302 reach'd me last week. I am not a little surprizd that you have not received Letters from me later than the 9 of June.3 I have never faild for this two months writing you once a week. Tho they contain matters of no great importance I should be glad to know when you receive them.

We have had a remarkable fine Season here, no drought this summer. The Corn looks well, and english Grain promiseing. We cannot be sufficently thankfull to a Bountifull providence that the Horrours of famine are not added to those of war, and that so much more Health prevails in our Camps than in the year past.

Many of your Friends desire to be rememberd to you. Some complain that you do not write them. Adieu. Master Tom stands by and sends duty—he often recollects How par used to put him to Jail as he calls it. They are all very Healthy this summer, and are in expectation of a Letter every packet that arrives. Yours, ever yours,


PS Price Current!! This day I gave 4 dollors a peice for Sythes and a Guiney a Gallon for New england Rum. We come on here finely. What do you think will become of us. If you will come Home and turn Farmer, I will be dairy woman. You will make more than is allowd you, and we shall grow wealthy. Our Boys shall go into the Feild and work with you, and my Girl shall stay in the House and assist me.


RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia To be left at the Post Office”; franked: “Free”; docketed in an unidentified hand.


Here and below, MS is torn by seal.


Not found.


Not found, unless (as is very likely) this is a slip of the pen for 8 June.