Adams Family Correspondence, volume 2

Mary Palmer to John Adams, 4 August 1776 Palmer, Mary JA Mary Palmer to John Adams, 4 August 1776 Palmer, Mary Adams, John
Mary Palmer to John Adams
Sir Germantown August. 4th. 1776

I had the honour of your Letter of the 5th July above a fortnight ago, and should much sooner have acknowledged the favor had not an absolute want of Paper prevented, having none but blank Commissions in the House which we used for little Billets, but wou'd not do to send to the Congress. You do me great honor in receiving my Account of the Evacuation of the Harbour so well. I am sensible it was very imperfect, but it was the best I cou'd do at the time from 77my informations. One thing I think I greatly err'd in, which was that the Ships did not return the Fire upon Long Island, which I am since inform'd they did by those who were Eye Witnesses. I shou'd not have mention'd it now, but that I am loth that any misinformation of mine shou'd lead to a false Account of a Fact which ought to be represented as it really was, and transmitted to future Ages. Your Compliments are sufficient to make one vain, but still I make Allowances for the Privilege the Gentlemen assume of “flattering the other sex a little.” And perhaps it may be tho't necessary sometimes in order to ease us of that Bashful Diffidence so natural to most of us—A Plea for Flattery which I think the Gentlemen much oblig'd to me for. You really make me proud by desiring my future Correspondance, and I will not in hopes of being again ask'd, wholly decline the favour. All I shall say is this, that whenever there is any event of a Public Nature happens of which I can give you a proper Account to the best of my Abilities, it will give me pleasure to do it; but at present there seems little Likelihood of any such in these parts but what will be better told by your good Lady, to whom I shall chearfully resign the Pen on her Recovery from the Small Pox. There is nothing gives Papa much more Concern than his not being able to get time to write to You and Mr. Paine, oftener than he does; It is impossible for one Man to do more than he does, his time is wholly bestow'd on the Publick, both by Day and Night; It is but 3 Days in 2 Years that he has been at Home on his private Affairs, and even part of those 3 Days have been employ'd either in writing Expresses or Planning Forts. Few Gentlemen cou'd say the same. He is now the chief Commander at Hull in the Room of Genll. Lincoln who is innoculated, and very busy every Hour he can steal from Business or Sleep in Planning Fortifications and Salt Works. I am sorry the former are still wanted in our Harbour but every Body is not so Active as Papa, if they were they wou'd not be to be Plannd now. I most sincerely thank you for your Present of the Declaration of independancy; nothing cou'd have given me more pleasure. It was universally reciev'd with Joy by the friends of their Country. I dont know what the Tories think but I believe they say nothing. As this is a very important so I hope it may be a very happy Revolution and that the latest Posterity may have Reason to look back to the Year 1776, as the happy Era of their Liberties being secur'd by the Wisdom of the Congress. How pleasing is the reflexion of every true Patriot to be assur'd of having done his duty to his God and Country and of having his Memory rever'd by his Descendants and Countrymen to the End of Time.


The first of this Month was kept as a Day of Fasting and Prayer by this Colony. I hope that our repeated Petitions to the Throne of Grace will be Accepted, and that our unnatural Enemies may be turned from us.

I can say little of your family, only that we hear they are Comfortable. Ours is pretty well, except Miss Paine who has an ill turn, occasion'd by overdoing herself at Work Yesterday. I hope it won't last long but at present she is very ill.—As I don't know but my Letter may find the Way to Staten Island You will excuse my not 1 putting my Name to it any further than that of Your humble Servt.,


RC (Adams Papers).


This word editorially supplied.

Abigail Adams to John Adams, 5 August 1776 AA JA Abigail Adams to John Adams, 5 August 1776 Adams, Abigail Adams, John
Abigail Adams to John Adams
Boston August 5 1776

I this Evening Received Your two Letters of july 10 and 11, and last Evening the Post brought me yours of july 23. I am really astonished at looking over the Number I have received during this month, more I believe than for 3 months before. I hope tis your amusement and relaxation from care to be thus imployed. It has been a feast to me during my absence from Home, and cheerd me in my most painfull Moments. At Last I Hear what I have long expected, and have feard for some time. I was certain that your Nerves must bee new Braced, and your Constitution new moulded, to continue well, through such a load of Buisness. Such intense application, in such a climate through the burning Heats of the Summer, tis too much for a constitution of Steel, and ought not to be required.

I intreat you to return, and that speidily. Mr. Gerry has recoverd his Health and Spirits by his journey. He call'd upon me a few moments. I knew Him by the same instinct by which I first discoverd him, and ventured to call him by Name tho his person was never discribed to me. I cannot account for it but so it was. He appeard a modest Man, and has a fine inteligent Eye. I wanted to ask him many questions which I could not do as he was a stranger, and we had company. He has promised to call upon me again before he returns which he proposes to do in about ten Days.

I have been trying all day to get time to write to you. I am now obliged to Rob my Sleep. Mrs. Cranch, Billy and Lucy are very unwell, all of them with the Symptoms I suppose. Lucy I fear has taken the 79Distemper in the natural way, as tis more than 3 weeks since she was innoculated, and her Arm being inflamed deceived us. I took the precaution of having all mine who had not the Symptoms the 9th day innoculated a second time, and I hope they have all pass'd through except Charlly, and what to do with him I know not. I cannot get the small pox to opperate upon him, his Arm both times has been very soar, and he lives freely, that is he eats a small Quantity of meat, and I have given him wine but all will not do. Tommy is cleverly, has about a dozen, and is very gay and happy.

I have abundant reason to be thankfull that we are so many of us carried comfortably through a Disease so formidable in its natural opperation, and though our Symptoms have run high, yet they have been the worst, for the Eruption has been a triffel, really should have been glad to have had them in greater plenty. I hope to be able to return to Braintree the Latter end of next week which will compleat me 5 weeks. I have been unlucky in a Maid, who has not one qualification to recommend her but that she has had the small pox. She has been twice sick since she has been with us, and put us to much difficulty. I have attended publick worship constantly, except one day and a half ever since I have been in Town. I rejoice in a preacher who has some warmth, some energy, some feeling. Deliver me from your cold phlegmatick Preachers, Politicians, Friends, Lovers and Husbands. I thank Heaven I am not so constituted myself and so connected.

How destitute are they of all those Sensations which sweeten as well as embitter our probationary State! And How seldom do we find true Genious residing in such a constitution, but may I ask if the same temperament and the same Sensibility which constitutes a poet and a painter will not be apt to make a Lover and a Debauchee?

When I reflect upon Humane Nature, the various passions and appetites to which it is subject, I am ready to cry out with the Psalmist Lord what is Man?

You ask me How you shall get Home. I know not. Is there any assistance you can think of that I can procure for you. Pray Let me know. Our Court do not set till the 28 of this month, no delegates can be chosen to releave you till then, but if you are so low in Health do not wait for that. Mr. Bowdoin has the Gout in his Stomack, is very ill. I do not think he could by any means bear close application. Mr. Dana and Mr. Lowell are very good Men, I wish they would appoint them. Our Friend Warren has some family difficulties. I know not whether he could possibly leave it. A partner dear to him you know 80beyond description almost Heart broken, by the Situation of one very dear to her whose great attention and care you well know has been to Train them up in the way in which they ought to go. Would to Heaven they did not depart from it. Impaired in Health, impaird in mind, impaird in Morrals, is a Situation truly deplorable, but do not mention the Matter—not even to them by the slightest hint. Tis a wound which cannot be touched.

God grant we may never mourn a similiar Situation, but I have some times the Heartake when I look upon the fire, spirit and vivacity, joind to a comely person in the Eldest, soft, tender and pathetick in the second, Manly, firm and intrepid in the third. I fear less for him, but alass we are short sighted mortals.

O Blindness to the future kindly given that each may fill the circle marked by Heaven. Adieu dearest Best of Friends adieu.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. to be left at the Post-Office Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Portia. ansd. 14. Aug.”