Adams Family Correspondence, volume 2

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.

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 26 July 1777 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 26 July 1777 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My dearest Friend Philadelphia July 26. 1777 Saturday

At this Moment, I hope you are abed and happy. I am anxious to hear, and the more so because I had no Letter, from you, nor concerning you by the last Post. I wait with Impatience for Monday Morning, when the Post is to arrive.

I am more Anxious, now, than ever, on another Account. The Enemy's Fleet has sailed—But to what Place, they are destined, is unknown. Some conjecture Philadelphia, some Rhode Island, and some, that they mean only a Feint and intend soon to return to the North River. If they go to Rhode Island, I suppose they will not remain inactive there, which will throw you and your Neighbourhood into Distress.1

Poor, unhappy I! who have never an opportunity to share with my Family, their Distresses, nor to contribute in the least degree to relieve them! I suffer more in solitary silence, than I should if I were with them.

RC (Adams Papers).


On 23 July, after long and elaborate preparations that had gone on in plain sight of the Jersey shore, Howe's army sailed out of New York harbor in a fleet of “above 260 Sail” bound for Delaware Bay. Upon its arrival there on 29 July, however, the fleet put out to sea again and reappeared at the entrance to Chesapeake Bay on 14 August. For a British record of this trying voyage see Ambrose Serle, American Journal, ed. Edward H. Tatum Jr., San Marino, 1940, p. 240–242; for the mystification of Americans concerning Howe's intentions see JA's letters to AA of 30 July21 Aug., below.

John Adams to John Quincy Adams, 27 July 1777 JA JQA John Adams to John Quincy Adams, 27 July 1777 Adams, John Adams, John Quincy
John Adams to John Quincy Adams
My dear Son Philadelphia July 27. 1777

If it should be the Design of Providence that you should live to grow up, you will naturally feel a Curiosity to learn the History of the Causes which have produced the late Revolution of our Government. No Study in which you can engage will be more worthy of you.

It will become you to make yourself Master of all the considerable 290Characters, which have figured upon the Stage of civil, political or military Life. This you ought to do with the Utmost Candour, Benevolence and Impartiality, and if you should now and then meet with an Incident, which shall throw some Light upon your Fathers Character, I charge you to consider it with an Attention only to Truth.

It will also be an entertaining and instructive Amusement, to compare our American Revolution with others that Resemble it. The whole Period of English History, from the Accession of James the first, to the Accession of William the third, will deserve your most critical Attention.

The History of the Revolutions in Portugal, Sweeden and Rome by the Abbot de Vertot, is well worth your Reading.1

The Seperation of the Helvetic Confederacy from the Dominion of the House of Austria, is also an illustrious Event, that particularly resembles our American Struggle with Great Britain.

But above all others, I would recommend to your study, the History of the Flemish Confederacy, by which the seven united Provinces of the Netherlands, emancipated themselves from the Domination of Spain.

There are several good Histories of this great Revolution. Sir William Temples is short but elegant, and entertaining. Another Account of this Period was written by Puffendorf, and another by Grotius.2

But the most full and compleat History, that I have seen, is one that I am now engaged in Reading. It is intituled “The History of the Wars of Flanders, written in Italian by that learned and famous Cardinal Bentivoglio, englished by the Right Honourable Henry Earl of Monmouth, the whole Work illustrated, with a Map of the seventeen Provinces and above twenty Figures of the chief Personages mentioned in the History.”

Bentivoglio, like Clarendon, was a Courtier, and on the side of Monarchy and the Hierarchy. But Allowances must be made for that.

The first Cut is of Guido, S.R.E. Cardinalis Bentivolus.

2. The Emperor Charles the 5th. Prince of the low Countries.

3. Phillip the 2d. King of Spain, Prince of the low Countries.

4. William of Nassau, Prince of Orange.

5. Margarett Dutchesse of Parma and Piacenza, Daughter to Charles the 5th. Governesse of the low Countries.

6. Elizabeth Queen of England, France and Ireland.

7. Anthony Perenott Cardinal Granvel, Councillor of state to Margarett of Parma.


8. Peter Ernest Count Mansfeldt Governor of Luxemburg.

9. William Lodowic Count Nassau, Governor of Frisland.

10. John Lignius, Count Aremberg, Governor of Frisland, General at the Battle of Hilligal.

11. Ferdinand of Toledo Duke of Alva, Governor of the Low Countries.

12. Sancho Avila Governor of the Fort, at Antwerp, General at the Battle of Mooch.

13. Chiapino Vitelli Marquiss of Cetona, Camp Master General.

14. Robert Lord Dudley Earl of Leicester, Governor of the united Provinces.

15. Maximillian Hennin Count Bossu, Governor of Holland and Utrecht.

16. Lodovico Requesenes, Great Commandador of Castile, Governor of the Low Countries.

17. Phillip Croy Duke of Areschot, Knight of the golden Fleece, Governor of Flanders.

18. Don John of Austria, son to Charles 5th. Governor of the Low Countries.

19. Mathias, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy and Governor of the united Provinces.

20. Alexander Farnese, Prince of Parma, Governor of the low Countries.

21. Francis Hercules De Valois, Duke of Anjou, Alencon, Brabant and Protector of the Netherlands.

22. Phillip Count Holach, Baron of Langenberg, first General of the united Provinces.

23. Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange, Count Nassau, Governor of the united Provinces.

24. Adolphus Solm Count de Meurs, Governor of Gelderland and Utrecht.

There are three most memorable Seiges described in this History, those of Haerlem, Leyden, and Antwerp.

You will wonder, my dear son, at my writing to you at your tender Age, such dry Things as these: but if you keep this Letter you will in some future Period, thank your Father for writing it. I am my dear son, with the Utmost Affection to your Sister and Brothers as well as to you, your Father,

John Adams

RC (Adams Papers); docketed in CFA's hand.

292 1.

Not a single work, as JA seems to imply, but three different works by a prolific French historical writer, the Abbé René Aubert de Vertot d'Aubeuf. A copy of The Revolutions of Portugal, London, 1721, is among JA's books in MB ( Catalogue of JA's Library ); and two copies in French, published at The Hague in 1734 and 1755 respectively, are still in the family library at Quincy (MQA). JA's copy of The History of the Revolution in Sweden, London, 1716, is also in MB ( Catalogue of JA's Library ), and no fewer than three copies in French are in MQA: Paris, 1722, 1811; The Hague, 1734. Of Vertot's Histoire des révolutions arrivées dans le gouvernement de la république romaine there is a copy, 3 vols., The Hague, 1737, in MQA.


On these works and also on Bentivoglio's History, described at such length immediately below, see JA to AA, 21 July, above, and notes there. The title of Bentivoglio's book as given below by JA is a reasonably accurate copy from the titlepage of the London, 1654, translation; and the titles of the plates are also copied with unusual accuracy.