Adams Family Correspondence, volume 2

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams, 14 August 1777 Warren, Mercy Otis AA Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams, 14 August 1777 Warren, Mercy Otis Adams, Abigail
Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams
Plymouth, ante 14 August 1777 1

Most sincerly do I Congratulate My Friend on her Restoration to Health after pain, peril and Disappointment. May she Long be spared to her Family and Friends, And be happy in Domestic Life, Though the political sky Looks Dark and Lowry and the Convulsions of War! shake the Lower Creation.

You ask My opinion with Regard to affairs in the North. All I Can say is I am Mortifyed and Chagrind at the surrender of Ti, but suspend my Resentment till Those who have a better Right than myself have scrutinized, judged and Condemned.

I have not Yet been able to purchase any Coffe. Shall Remember you when I do. My son has had no Returns from France. I begin to fear the Vessels on which he Ventured have fallen into the hands of the Enemy.

I think you desired me to Let you know if I met with any thing suitable for Childrens wear. I have 2 peaces of Blue and White striped French Cottons the one 5 quarters the other, 6 in Width. Very Good and very pretty for boys or Girls, but the price is somewhat Modernized, though not to the Extent of the Fashion, only 20/ £2 per yard. If you Incline to have any of it Let me know and I will keep it till I have an opportunity to send it. What is become of the sagathe3 313&c. I only inquire Least you may have sent it forward by some hand that has Neglected to Deliver it to your Friend unfeignedly,

M Warren

I wish you would let your Neghbour the stoken Weaver know I Could not send him the Cotton but intend to send him some Worsted Work as soon as I can Get it spun.

Do Give me the Inteligence from Mr. Lees Letter.4 Mr. Lothrop has forgot Every Word.

If you are in want of a Little Nice Black Russel5 for shew, Let your Friend know it.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams Braintree”; at head of text in CFA's hand: “July 1777.”


It is clear from several allusions in this letter that it is a reply to one from AA that has not been found; and it is equally clear that AA's letter to Mrs. Warren, dated 14–16 Aug., following, is a reply in turn to the present letter—in all likelihood a prompt reply.


Thus in MS.


Sagathy, variously spelled, was a woolen fabric somewhat like serge ( OED ).


A copy of a letter from Arthur Lee sent on earlier by JA to AA; perhaps Lee's letter of 18 March, mentioned by JA in his letter of 1–2 July, q.v. above.


Russel, variously spelled, was also a woolen fabric, “formerly used for articles of attire, esp. in the 16th century” ( OED ). But Mrs. Warren may mean the apparently more elegant “Russell cord . . . a ribbed or corded fabric, usually made with a cotton warp and woollen weft” (same). See AA's answer, following.

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren, 14 August 1777 AA Warren, Mercy Otis Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren, 14 August 1777 Adams, Abigail Warren, Mercy Otis
Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren
August 14. 1777. Braintree

This is the memorable fourteenth of August. This day 12 years the Stamp office was distroyd.1 Since that time what have we endured? What have we suffer'd? Many very many memorable Events which ought to be handed down to posterity will be buried in oblivion merely for want of a proper Hand to record them, whilst upon the opposite side many venal pens will be imployd to misrepresent facts and to render all our actions odious in the Eyes of future Generations. I have always been sorry that a certain person who once put their Hand to the pen, should be discouraged, and give up so important a service. Many things would have been recorded by the penetrateing Genious of that person which thro the multiplicity of Events and the avocations of the times will wholly escape the notice of any future Historian.

The History and the Events of the present day must fill every Humane Breast with Horrour. Every week produces some Horrid Scene 314perpetrated by our Barbarous foes, not content with a uniform Series of cruelties practised by their own Hands, but they must let loose the infernal Savages “those dogs of War” and cry Havock to them. Cruelty, impiety and an utter oblivion of the natural Sentiments of probity and Honour with the voilation of all Laws Humane and Divine rise at one veiw and characterise a George, a How and a Burgoine.

O my dear Friend when I bring Home to my own Dwelling these tragical Scenes which are every week presented in the publick papers to us, and only in Idea realize them, my whole Soul is distress'd. Were I a man I must be in the Feild. I could not live to endure the Thought of my Habitation desolated, my children Butcherd, and I an inactive Spectator.

August 15

I enclose to you a Coppy of Mr. Lees Letter. It came to me with some restrictions to be shewn only to those whom I could confide in. I think by that our affairs abroad look'd as favorable as we could expect, but we have a great many hardships to endure yet I fear e'er we shall receive any assistance from others.

Letters from my Friend to the 20 of july mention the loss of Ticondoroga with much regreat, but says tis an Event which he has feard would take place for some time. People that way were much disposed to censure, but that they had not received any perticuliar accounts by which a true judgment could be formd.

August 16

We are bless'd my Friend with a fine Season. I hope the charming rains this afternoon have reachd Plimouth and refreshd the Feilds of Eal Eel river.

You mention some French cotton. I am much obliged to you but I have since I saw you been accommodated in that way. The Russel I should be very glad of either one or two yards just as you can spair it, and Shooe binding, if it is to be had. Garlick thread I am in great want of, if you should know of any be so good as to let me know.2

I am really asshamed to tell my Friend that I have not yet been able to get Home the cloth. All that was in my power to do to it, has been done 3 months ago and I have been sending and going almost every week since. I saw the Man yesterday and he has promissed me that I shall have it next week, but if his word prove no better than it has done I cannot say you may depend upon it. All I can say is that my en-315deavours have not been wanting. As soon as I can get it it shall be forwarded by your affectionate Friend,


RC (MHi: Warren–Adams Coll.); docketed in two later unidentified hands: “Mrs. Adams Augt. 1777 No. 9.” Enclosed copy of a letter from Arthur Lee not found, but see note 4 on preceding letter.


See JA's entry of 15 Aug. 1765 in his Diary and Autobiography , 1:259–261.


The editors have not found a definition of “Garlick thread.”