Adams Family Correspondence, volume 2

310 John Adams to Abigail Adams, 13 August 1777 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 13 August 1777 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My dearest Friend Phila. Aug. 13. 1777

We have been sweltering here, for a great Number of days together, under the scalding Wrath of the Dog Star. So severe a Spell of Heat has scarcely been known these twenty Years. The Air of the City has been like the fierce Breath of an hot oven. Every Body has been running to the Pumps all day long. There has been no finding a Place of Comfort—the shade, and the very Entrys of Houses where they have the best Draughts of Air, have been scarcely tolerable. This season always affects me, deeply. It exhausts my Spirits, and takes away all my Strength of Mind and Body. I have never lived here in Dog days, without becoming so enfeebled, and irritated, as to be unable to sleep soundly and regularly and to be still more reduced by Night Sweats. If I can avoid these Inconveniences, this year, I shall be happy. But I have experienced something of it, already, altho not in any great Degree.

When the Weather is so extream, the Fatigue of even holding a Pen to write a Letter, is distressing.

We have no News from the Fleet since last Thursday when about 200 of them were seen off of Synepuxent.

What will our People do with Burgoigne? He has put himself in the Power of the People in that Quarter, and if they do not make him repent his Folly, they will be to blame. It is a Shame that such an handfull should ravage in a Country so populous.

You will see by the Papers that Manly is taken.—What a Disappointment to Us!—Yet We might have expected it. What rational Creatures could order two thirty Gun Frigates to cruise on the American Coast, for the Protection of Trade. They should have been ordered to some other Seas—to France, to Spaign, to the Baltic, the Mediterranean—any where but where they were.

The Ship and Men are a Loss, but We must build more.

RC (Adams Papers).

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams, 13 August 1777 Smith, Isaac Sr. JA Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams, 13 August 1777 Smith, Isaac Sr. Adams, John
Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams
Mr. Adams Boston August the 13th. 77

I wrote you the post before last to which refer you.1 In your last2 you mention the prize price of Salt, which am very sorry to see was so high. I had a little parcel lately which I retaild Out att 12/ a single 311bushel, and sold a Gentleman from the Jerseys who are deprived from geting that Article and to compasionate there case let him have itt att 10/ tho was offerd 20/ for itt, but as he wanted a considerable quantity more his southward friends who had salt here in a prize sold him theres att 30/ which was sorry itt should get to.—You Ask why the Merchants cant get in those Articles now as when the Elicet trade was carried On and Men of War &c. were here. The case is very differant for more than half the Vessells that have been fited Out this Winter have been taken and we have had Three ships for Near Two Months past Cruseing in the bay and come up so near the Lighthouse as that the Flagg att the Castle has been hoisted for them, and the many Captures in the West Indies has risen Insurance near double. Inded there is hardly geting any done att any rate, and itts very dificult to get hands to go, to give 50 Per Cent Insurance you must pay as much as your Vessell and Cargo is worth to cover your Interest but to give 75 PC still Inhances the Value which is to be laid with all Other Charges On the bare Cargo, and there is Nothing of any Value of the produce of this Province that can be bought to send but that itt must sink 100 PC and we have no Other way to get any Cargo that will any ways Answer than by sending to the southward which makes the Insurance the Voyage round very great.—I have several Vessells tho small I purpose sending that way when itt comes a little later in the season but am put to dificulty of geting money to the southward, without being att the Charge of sending on purpose. I want to get about 8. or 10.000 Dls. lodged that way. I have talkt with Mr. Hewes and find itt very dificult to have any Exchange of money that way.—Mr. Hewes is gone to Piscataque. I have Askt him Once or twice to dine with me, but has been engaged. When he returns I expect he will.

A Commite of Ours and the Other States have met to Consider of what method to take in order to Establish the Currency or rather to prevent itts further deprecasion.3 I wish some method could be found Out but itt Appears to be a thing that is very dificult.—I was Agoing to give you my sentiments sometime Ago when I heard you had Orderd several large ships to be built, but, as you was the best judges of the Motives of your doing itt, Omited itt as itt could not have any Other merit than a private sentiment. The money to be made to carry on and Compleat these Ships must be immence. I reckon itt will require a Wagon load to be sent Once a Month and such a sum to be made which is the Means of the depresasion, and not to have any benifit Ariseing from itt Appears to me they had never been thought off 312for I will Venture to say they wont get to see sea unless we can make Men this six Years, and to have the Frigates that are building got to see likewise. Frigates I Apprehend would be more servisable, Altho we have lost One, not to exceed 36 or 40 Gun ships, under proper regulations.

I am Sr. Your hum. servant, Isaac Smith

PS I dont mean by any thing I have said to be Only my private sentiments to you.4

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr. Smith.”


Smith to JA, 28–31 July, above.


Not found.


This convention of delegates from four New England states and New York was held at Springfield, Mass., on 30 July–6 Aug.; its proceedings are printed in The Public Records of the State of Connecticut, Hartford, 1894–1953, 1:599–606.


Smith probably meant just the opposite of what he wrote: he wished his views as here expressed to be considered as no other than “private sentiments.”