Papers of John Adams, volume 2

To James Warren, 9 April 1774 JA Warren, James To James Warren, 9 April 1774 Adams, John Warren, James
To James Warren
Dr Sir Boston April 9. 1774

It is a great Mortification to me, to be obliged to deny my self the Pleasure of a Visit to my Friends at Plymouth next Week. But so Fate has ordained it.

I am a little Apprehensive too for the State upon this Occasion, for it has heretofore received no small Advantage from our Sage Deliberations, at your Fire side.

I hope Mrs Warren is in fine Health, and Spirits—and that I have not incurred her Displeasure, by making So free with the Skirmish of the sea Deities1—one of the most incontestable Evidences of real Genius, which has yet been exhibited—for to take the Clumsy, indigested Conception of another and work it into so elegant, and classicall a Composition, requires Genius equall to that which wrought another most beautifull Poem, out of the little Incident of a Gentlemans clipping a Lock of a Ladys Hair, with a Pair of Scissors.


May a double Portion of her Genius, as well as Virtues, descend to her Posterity, which united, to the Patriotism &c &c &c of &c &c &c, will make .2 But I am almost in the Strain of Hazelrod.3

The Tories were never, Since I was born, in such a state of Humiliation, as at this Moment. Wherever I go, in the Several Counties, I perceive it, more and more.

They are now in absolute Despair of obtaining a Tryumph without Shedding an Abundance of Blood: and they are afraid of the Consequences of this—not that their Humanity starts at it at all.

The Complaisance, the Air of Modesty and Kindness to the Whiggs, the shew of Moderation, the Pains to be thought Friends to Liberty, and all that is amazing. I Admire the Jesuits! The science is so exquisite and there are such immense Advantages in it that it is, if it were not for the Deviltry of it, most ardently to be wish'd. To see them, bowing, Smiling, cringing, and seeming cordially Friendly to persons, whom they openly averred their Malice against 2 Years ago and whom they would gladly butcher now, is provoking, yet diverting.

News We have none. Still—Silent as Midnight. The first Vessells may bring us tidings, which will erect the Crests of the Tories again and depress the Spirits of the Whiggs. For my own Part, I am of the same opinion that I have been for many Years, that there is not Spirit enough on Either side to bring the Question to a compleat Decision —and that We shall oscilate like a Pendulum and fluctuate like the Ocean, for many Years to come, and never obtain a compleat Redress of American Grievances, nor submit to an absolute Establishment of Parliamentary Authority. But be trimming between both as we have been for ten Years past, for more Years to come than you and I shall live. Our Children, may see Revolutions, and be concerned and active in effecting them of which we can form no Conception.

Mrs. Adams is in the Country, unwell. Otherwise she would have written to Mrs. Warren. Believe me and her to be yours and Mrs Warrens real Friends and humb. servants,

John and Abigail Adams

RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “To The Honourable James Warren Esqr Plymouth”; endorsed: “Boston Ap 9 1774 John Adams.”


Mrs. Warren's poem on the Boston Tea Party, written at the request of JA in his letter to her husband, 22 Dec. 1773, above, was enclosed in a letter to AA, 27 Feb., and is reprinted in Adams Family Correspondence , 1:100–103. The poem appeared in the Boston Gazette, 21 March; as this letter makes clear, JA was responsible for its publication.


Left blank in MS.


Hazelrod was the name used by Mrs. Warren for Chief Justice Peter Oliver in her play The Group, which was sent to JA in Jan. 1775 (James Warren 84to JA, 15 Jan. 1775, below). That the name was a familiar one to the Adamses and Warrens at this time is an interesting point, suggesting that this name and perhaps some others may have been commonly used code words.

To Ebenezer Thayer Jr., 25 April 1774 JA Thayer, Col. Ebenezer To Ebenezer Thayer Jr., 25 April 1774 Adams, John Thayer, Col. Ebenezer
To Ebenezer Thayer Jr.
Sir Boston. April 25. 1774

I have been so much absent upon the Circuits, since the melancholy news of your sons death that I have had no opportunity to take any notice of it till this minute.1 This must be a most afflicting dispensation to you and to your family. I sincerely condole with you and them under this unhappy loss. Your son was a young gentleman of a most amiable character, wherever he was known. His modesty and ingenuity, his prudence and discretion, his friendly temper and obliging Manners and his industry and careful attention to business, as well as his capacity for it had greatly endeared him to me and had made me conceive hopes of his becoming an eminently worthy and useful man. But alas! he is lost to his family and friends, as well as to his country and the world.

It is our duty however to acquiesce under every event of this kind, as it is incident to the State in which we are placed and is directed by an invisible and inscrutable order, which we have the utmost reason to believe to be infinitely wise, just and good. This is not only our indispensable duty, but the consideration of it is an inexpressible privilege and consolation. That you and your family may be supported by it, under all your grief and affliction upon this occasion is the real wish and hope of your friend and humble servant

(Signed) John Adams

Tr (Lb/JA/26, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 114); in CFA's hand; addressed: “To Ebeneser Thayer Esqr. Braintree.”


Col. Ebenezer Thayer Jr. (1721–1794), Braintree's representative in the General Court, was the father of JA's former law clerk Elisha Thayer (1748–1774). News of Elisha's death in Barbados the preceding January appeared in the Massachusetts Gazette , 21 April (Bezaleel Thayer, Memorial of the Thayer Name . . . , Oswego, N.Y., 1874, p. 211–212; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates , 16:539). For JA's description of his relationship with Col. Thayer and of the circumstances of Elisha's clerkship, see Diary and Autobiography , 2:10.