Adams Family Correspondence, volume 2

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 29 July 1776 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 29 July 1776 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
Philadelphia July 29. 1776

How are you all this Morning? Sick, weak, faint, in Pain; or pretty well recovered? By this Time, you are well acquainted with the Small Pox. Pray how do you like it?

We have no News. It is very hard that half a dozen or half a Score Armies cant supply Us, with News. We have a Famine, a perfect Dearth of this necessary Article.

I am at this present Writing perplexed and plagued with two knotty Problems in Politicks. You love to pick a political Bone, so I will even throw it to you.

If a Confederation should take Place, one great Question is how We shall vote. Whether each Colony shall count one? or whether each shall have a Weight in Proportion to its Numbers, or Wealth, or Exports and Imports, or a compound Ratio of all?

Another is whether Congress shall have Authority to limit the Dimensions of each Colony, to prevent those which claim, by Charter, or Proclamation, or Commission to the South Sea, from growing too great and powerfull, so as to be dangerous to the rest.1

Shall I write you a Sheet upon each of these Questions. When you are well enough to read, and I can find Leisure enough to write, perhaps I may.

Gerry carried with him a Cannister for you. But he is an old Batchelor, and what is worse a Politician, and what is worse still a kind of Soldier, so that I suppose he will have so much Curiosity to see Armies and Fortifications and Assemblies, that you will loose many a fine Breakfast at a Time when you want them most.2

Tell Betcy that this same Gerry is such another, as herself, Sex excepted.—How is my Brother and Friend Cranch. How is his other Self, and their little Selves. And ours. Dont be in the Dumps, above 69all Things. I am hard put to it, to keep out of them, when I look at home. But I will be gay, if I can.


RC and LbC (Adams Papers).


On 12 July the committee that had been appointed for the purpose just one month earlier reported John Dickinson's draft of the Articles of Confederation, and it was ordered printed for the exclusive use of the members. On the 22d, Congress, in a committee of the whole, began a debate thereon, which continued at intervals until 20 Aug., when a revised text was submitted and ordered printed for later consideration. See JCC , 5:433, 546–556, 600 ff., 674–689. JA entered minutes of some parts of this debate in his Diary, 25 July2 Aug., particularly on the question of the territorial claims of certain states (Article XV in the Dickinson draft) and the question of the basis of voting by the states in Congress (Article XVII); see his Diary and Autobiography , 2:241–250. JA's notes of debates are supplemented by Jefferson's for 30 July–1 Aug., which include speeches by JA (Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 1:320–327).


Gerry not only dawdled on the way home but through a misunderstanding delivered the precious canister of tea to the wrong person, namely Mrs. Samuel Adams, who with much satisfaction served some of it to AA during her stay in Boston. To make matters worse, AA did not receive the present letter until some time in September, so that clarification of the mistake was long delayed. See JA to AA, 5 Sept.; AA to JA, 7 and 20 Sept.; all below.

Abigail Adams to John Adams, 30 July 1776 AA JA Abigail Adams to John Adams, 30 July 1776 Adams, Abigail Adams, John
Abigail Adams to John Adams
July 30 1776

I wrote you by the post, but as Capt. Cuznow Cazneau goes to morrow perhaps this may reach you first. As to myself I am comfortable. Johnny is cleverly. Nabby I hope has gone thro the distemper, the Eruption was so trifling that to be certain I have had innoculation repeated. Charles and Tommy have neither had Symptoms, nor Eruption. Charles was innoculated last Sabbeth evening a second time, Tommy to Day, the 3 time from some fresh matter taken from Becky Peck who has enough for all the House beside.

This Suspence is painfull. I know not what to do with them. It lengthens out the Time which I can but ill afford, and if they can have it, I know not how to quit till I can get them through. Youth youth is the time, they have no pains but bodily, no anxiety of mind, no fears for themselves or others, and then the Disease is much lighter. The poor Doctor is as anxious as we are, but begs us to make it certain if repeated innoculations will do it. There are now several patients who were innoculated last winter and thought they passd through the Distemper, but have now taken it in the natural way.

Mrs. Cranch and two of her children are in this uncertain State, 70with a great number of others which I could mention. Tis a pestilence that walketh in Darkness. Mrs. Warren with whom I was yesterday, lay the whole day in a State little better than nonexistance. I greatly feard she would not survive it, but to day she is revived and many pocks appear upon her. But tis a poor Buisness at the best, where I entertaind one terror before, I do ten now. The Season of the year is very unfit for the Distemper, the Tone of every persons vessels are relaxed, very little Spring in the Air, and the medicine too powerfull for weak constitutions.

I hope to be properly thankfull that I and mine are so far so comfortable through—I think I have all my difficulties to Grapple with alone and seperete from my Earthly prop and Support.

I begin to long again for the sweet air of Braintree, and the time to come will be much longer than the time past.

Pray Let Mr. Hancock know that I have availd myself of his kind offer so far as to send for some fruit from his Garden. Every thing here bears such a prize as would surprize you to be told. The Gentery were kind enough to cut down a number of my unkles fruit Trees last winter, and to cut up his Current Bushes, but we have had kind Friends. Mrs. Newall has been exceedingly so.—Pray make my Regards to the presidents Lady and tell her since she baulked me of the wedding cake to which I laid claim by promise, I expect she will remember me upon an other occasion which I hear is like to take place.

O my dear Friend do you know how I feel when I look Back upon a long absence. I look forward with the Thought that the year is but half spent. I often recollect those lines “O ye Gods annialate but time and Space, and make two Lovers happy.”

July 31

I have the pleasure to tell you this morning that I think Tommys second innoculation has taken as he was very ill last night and the eruptive fever seems comeing on. Tis ten days since the second.

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia,” to which was later added the date “July 30. 1776” in the hand of William Gordon(?).