Adams Family Correspondence, volume 2

Abigail Adams to John Adams, 5 August 1777 AA JA Abigail Adams to John Adams, 5 August 1777 Adams, Abigail Adams, John
Abigail Adams to John Adams
August 5. 1777

If allarming half a dozen places at the same time is an act of Generalship How may boast of his late conduct. We have never since the Evacuation of Boston been under apprehensions of an invasion from them eaquel to what we sufferd last week. All Boston was in confusion, packing up and carting out of Town, Household furniture, military stores, goods &c. Not less than a thousand Teams were imployd a fryday and saturday—and to their shame be it told, not a small trunk would they carry under 8 dollors and many of them I am told askd a hundred dollors a load, for carting a Hogshead of Molasses 8 miles 30 dollors.—O! Humane Nature, or rather O! inhumane nature what 301art thou? The report of the Fleets being seen off of Cape Ann a fryday Night, gave me the allarm, and tho pretty weak, I set about packing up my things and a saturday removed a load.

When I looked around me and beheld the bounties of Heaven so liberally bestowed in fine Feilds of corn, grass, flax and english grain, and thought it might soon become a prey to these merciless ravagers, our habitations laid waste, and if our flight preserved our lives, we must return to barren Feilds, empty barns and desolated habitations if any we found, perhaps no1 where to lay our Heads, my Heart was too full to bear the weight of affliction which I thought just ready to overtake us, and my body too weak almost to bear the shock unsupported by my better Half.

But thanks be to Heaven we are at present releaved from our Fears, respecting ourselves. I now feel anxious for your safety but hope prudence will direct to a proper care and attention to yourselves.

May this second attempt of Hows prove his utter ruin. May destruction overtake him as a whirlwind.

We have a report of an engagement at the Northward in which our troops behaved well, drove the Enemy into their lines, killd and took 300 & 50 prisoners. The account came in last Night. I have not perticuliars.2—We are under apprehensions that the Hancock is taken.3

Your obligeing Letters of the 8th, 10th and 13th came to hand last week. I hope before this time you are releaved from the anxiety you express for your Bosom Friend. I feel my sufferings amply rewarded in the tenderness you express for me, but in one of your Letters you have drawn a picture which drew a flood of tears from my Eyes, and rung my Heart with anguish inexpressible. I pray Heaven I may not live to realize it.4

Tis almost 145 years since we were united, but not more than half that time have we had the happiness of living together.

The unfealing world may consider it in what light they please, I consider it as a sacrifice to my Country and one of my greatest misfortunes for my husband 6 to be seperated from my children at a time of life when the joint instructions and admonition of parents sink deeper than in maturer years.

The Hopes of the smiles and approbation of my Friend sweetens all my toil and Labours—

Ye pow'rs whom Men, and birds obey, Great rulers of your creatures, say Why mourning comes, by bliss convey'd 302 And ev'n the Sweets of Love allay'd? Where grows enjoyment, tall and fair, Around it twines entangling care While fear for what our Souls possess Enervates ev'ry powe'r to Bless. Yet Friendship forms the Bliss above And life! what art thou without love?

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


MS: “not.”


It was a groundless account.


The Hancock frigate, Capt. John Manley, was captured after a stiff fight on 8 July by H.M.S. Rainbow and carried into Halifax.


See the last paragraph of JA's letter to AA of 8 July, above.


Actually thirteen.


Three words editorially supplied for sense.

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 6 August 1777 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 6 August 1777 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
Philadelphia Aug. 6. 1777 Wednesday

Price current.—Oak Wood £4:15s:od. Pr. Cord. Bad Beer, not so good as your Small Beer, 15d: Pr. Quart. Butter one Dollar Pr. Pound. Beef 2s:6d. Coffee a dollar a Pound. Bohea 8 dollars. Souchong £4: 10s. Hyson £6. Mean brown sugar 6s. 6d. a pound. Loaf sugar 18s. a pound. Rum 45s. a Gallon. Wine 2 dollars a Bottle.1

The Hounds are all still at a Fault. Where the game is gone, is the Question. The Scent is quite lost.

Sullivan Thinks the Fleet is gone to Portsmouth—Green to Newport—Parsons, up the North River—Mifflin to Philadelphia. Thus each one secures his Reputation among his Townsmen for Penetration and Foresight, in Case the Enemy should go against his Town.

Some Conjecture Charlestown S.C.—others, Georgia—others Cheasapeak Bay.

For my Part, I have formed an Opinion, in which I am as clear and positive as ever I was in my Life. I think I can adduce Arguments enough to convince any impartial, cool Mind, that I am in the Right.

My Opinion is, that four Months Time will discover where the Fleet is gone—perhaps less Time than that.

Some begin to be whimsical, and guess them gone to the West Indies. But this is impossible. Some surmise Hallifax—some old England. But these are too flattering Conjectures.

RC (Adams Papers).

303 1.

Here, for some reason, JA left a blank space of over half a page and continued his letter on a new page of his folded sheet.