Adams Family Correspondence, volume 2

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 30 July 1776 JA AA John Adams to Abigail Adams, 30 July 1776 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
Philadelphia July 30. 1776 Tuesday

This is one of my fortunate days. The Post brought me, a Letter from you and another from my Friend and Brother.1


The particular Account you give me of the Condition of each of the Children is very obliging. I hope the next Post will inform me, that you are all, in a fine Way of Recovery. You say I must tell you of my Health and Situation. As to the latter, my Situation is as far removed from Danger, I suppose, as yours. I never had an Idea of Danger here, nor a single Sensation of Fear. Delaware River is so well fortified with Gallies, fixed and floating Batteries, Chevaux de Frizes, Ships of War, Fire Ships, and Fire Rafts, that I have no Suspicions of an Enemy from Sea, although vast Numbers of People have removed out of this City, into the Country, for fear of one.

By Land, an Enemy must march an hundred Miles, to get here, and they must pass through, Woods, Difiles, and Morasses, besides crossing Rivers, which would take them a long time to accomplish, if We had not a single Man to oppose them. But we have a powerfull Army at New York, and New Jersey, watching their Motions, who will give Us a good Account of their Motions, I presume, whenever they shall think fit to stirr.—My Health has lasted longer than I expected, but with Intermissions of Disorder as usual, and at length, I fear, is departing. Increase of Heat in the Weather, and of Perplexity in Business, if that is possible, have become too much for me. These Circumstances, added to my Concern, for those other Parts of myself in Boston, would certainly have carried me there before now, if I could have got there: But I have no servant, nor Horse.—I am now determined to go home: but the precise Time, I cannot fix. I know not how to go. I have been deliberating whether to go by the stage to New York, and trust to the Chapter of Accidents to get from thence to Boston; or whether to hire, or purchase an Horse here, or whether to get along some other Way, with Coll. Whipple, or Mr. S. Adams. But am still undetermined. If I knew that Bass was at Leisure, and if I knew where you could get Horses, I should request you to send him here, to bring me home. But I dont know what to say. If he should come, he must keep a good look out, and make a strict Enquiry all along the Road, for me, least he should miss me, least I should pass by him on my Way home. After all, I cannot reconcile myself to the Thoughts of staying here so long as will be necessary for a servant and Horses to come for me. I must get along as well as I can by the Stage or by procuring a Horse here.

The Conspiracy, at New York, betrayed the Ignorance, Folly, Timidity and Impotence of the Conspirators, at the same Time, that it disclosed the Turpitude of their Hearts. They had no Plan. They corrupted one another, and engaged to Act, when the Plan should be 72formed. This they left for an After Consideration. The Tory Interest in America, is extreamly feeble.

Your Successes by Sea, give me great Pleasure, and so did the heartfelt Rejoicings at the Proclamation of Freedom. Mr. Bowdoins Sentiment did him Honour.


RC (Adams Papers). LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Sent. by post. Saturday. Aug. 3d. inclosed to Mr. Cranch. inclosed Newspapers only to my Wife”; see JA to Cranch, 2 Aug.; the enclosed newspapers have not been found.


AA to JA, 21–22 July, and Richard Cranch to JA, 22 July; both above.

Abigail Adams to John Adams, 1 August 1776 AA JA Abigail Adams to John Adams, 1 August 1776 Adams, Abigail Adams, John
Abigail Adams to John Adams
Boston August 1 1776

I wrote you by Capt. Cazneau a wedensday, but as the post will go to day I will not omit telling you how we do, tho I repeat over what I have written before. If I do you must excuse it as I forget one day what I wrote the day before. This small pox is a great confuser of the mind, I am really put to it to spell the commonest words.

I feel well myself, only much weakened and enfeabled, I want the air of the Country, but cannot yet obtain it. We are bounded in our rides to the Lines which were raised last summer, where a smoak House and Guard are fixed. No person who has had the small pox can go beyond them, under a penalty of enty1 pounds Lawfull money, under a time Limitted and a certificate from their Physician. Every person who comes into Town must be smoaked there upon their return with all their money and papers. Tommy is charmingly, he has about a Dozen out, and many more which just make their appearence. He has been very feverish, but is now so well as to go to School. I gave him a small Quantity of meat every day after his second innoculation till the Symptoms came on. Charles second has taken, I think but cannot be certain till next week.

I Received a wedensday by Mr. Gerry your Letter of july 15. I have not yet seen him to speak to him. I knew him at meeting yesterday some how instinctively; tho I never saw him before. He has not call'd upon me yet. I hope he will, or I shall take it very hard, shall hardly be able to allow him all the merrit you say he possesses. It will be no small pleasure to me to see a person who has so lately seen my best Friend. I could find it in my Heart to envy him.

You complain of me. I believe I was to blame in not writing to you, I ought to have done it. I did not suspect you would hear of my 73intention till I told you myself. I had many cares upon my hands, many things to do for myself and family before I could leave it. The time granted was only ten days. I got here upon the 6th and then wrote you a very long Letter.2 Since that I have scarcly omitted a Post, you will have more reason to complain of being tired out; I find the Method of treating the small pox here is similar to that sent by Dr. Rush, except that they use Mercury here. The common Practice here to an Adult is 20 Grains after innoculation. I took but 16; I dont admire this Mercury at this Season of the Year. Loyd I find practicess much more upon Dr. Rushs plan, makes use of the same medicines, but has not had greater success than others.

I greatly rejoice at the Spirit prevailing in the middle colonies. There is a fine company formed in this Town, call'd the independant Company consisting of young Gentlemen of the first families. Their Number is 80, they are the School for forming officers, they take great pains to acquire military Skill and will make a fine figure in a little while. Your Pupil Mason is one. He is an ambitious enterprizing creature and will make a figure some how or other, he always applies to his studies with method and diligence. I have lamented it that you have not been able to take him under your perticuliar care, as I know his abilities would have gratified you.

I Received by the Post a few lines from you july 20. It really greaved me to find you so anxious. Your kindness in so often writing shall be returnd in kind. I know not how you find the time amidst such a multitude of cares as surround you, but I feel myself more obliged by the frequent tokens of your remembrance, but you must not forget that tho my Letters have much less merrit, they have many more words, and I fill all the blank paper you send me. Adieu most affectionately your


RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia an. 14. Aug.”


MS torn by seal. AA probably wrote “twenty,” but this does not square with the pertinent acts passed by the General Court in July; see Mass., Province Laws , 5:552–553, 554–555. For the selectmen's regulations see Boston Record Commissioners, 25th Report , p. 3–5.


Here AA made a characteristic mistake in remembering a date. She had arrived in Boston on 12 July, as her “long Letter” to JA of 13–14 July, above, unequivocally states.