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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 1


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Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0185

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-09-25

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dearest Friend

I set down with a heavy Heart to write to you. I have had no other since you left me. Woe follows Woe and one affliction treads upon the heal of an other. My distress for my own family having in some measure abated;1 tis excited anew upon the distress of my dear Mother. Her kindness brought her to see me every day when I was ill and our little Tommy. She has taken the disorder and lies so bad that we have little hopes of her Recovery. She is possess'd with the Idea that she shall not recover, and I fear it will prove but too true.
In this Town the distemper seems to have abated. We have none now so bad as Patty. She has lain 21 days, each day we had reason to think would be her last, but [a] good Constitution, and youth for ought I know will finally conquer the distemper. She is not able to get out of Bed, nor can she help herself any more than a new born infant. Yet their are symptoms which now appear in her favour.
The desolation of War is not so distressing as the Havock made by the pestilence. Some poor parents are mourning the loss of 3, 4 and 5 children, and some families are wholy striped of every Member.
Wherefore is it that we are thus contended with? How much reason have I for thankfulness that all my family are spaired whilst so many others are striped of their parents, their children, their husbands.
O kind Heaven spair my parents, spair my Dearest Friend and grant him Health. Continue the lives and health of our dear children. Sister Elihu Adams lost her youngest child last night with this disorder.2 I can add no more than Supplications for your welfare, and an ardent desire to hear from you by every opportunity. It will alleviate { 285 } every trouble thro which it may be my Lot to pass. I am most affectionately your distress'd
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esq at Philadelphia To the Care of Col: Warren”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. MS : “abateded.”
2. An infant daughter whose name is not known.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0186

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-09-26

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

I have not written the usual Compliment of Letters since I left Braintree; nor have I received one Scratch of a Pen from any Body, till the last Evening, when the Post brought me a Line from Mrs. Warren,1 in which she informs me that you had been ill, but was better. I shall be unhappy till I hear farther from you, tho I hope for the best.
I have enjoyed better Health, this session than the last, and have suffered less from certain Fidgets, Pidlings, and Irritabilities which have become so famous. A more serious Spirit prevails than heretofore. We shall soon be in Earnest. I begin to think We are so. Our Injunctions of Secrecy are so much insisted on, that I must be excused from disclosing one Iota of any Thing that comes to my Knowledge as a Member of the Congress. Our Journal of the last session however, I conjecture will be speedily printed and then I will inclose it to you.
I want to be informed from Hour to Hour, of any Thing which passes in Boston—whether our Friends come out—what Property they bring?—how they fare in Town? How the Tories subsist &c. &c. &c. Whether the Troops are healthy or sickly?
I also want to know every Thing which passes in our Army. The Feats and Exploits of our little Naval Armaments would be very agreable.
Tudor is made easy. He must keep a Clerk, or there will be Jealousies. Indeed it is his Duty for it is impossible he can do the Business himself, and if that is not done, Injustice to the public will be done.2
I have seen the Utility of Geometry, Geography, and the Art of drawing so much of late, that I must intreat you, my dear, to teach the Elements of those Sciences to my little Girl and Boys. It is as pretty an Amusement, as Dancing or Skaiting, or Fencing, after they { 286 } have once acquired a Taste for them. No doubt you are well qualified for a school Mistress in these Studies, for Stephen Collins tells me the English Gentleman, in Company with him, when he visited Braintree, pronounced you the most accomplished Lady, he had seen since he left England.—You see a Quaker can flatter, but dont you be proud.3
My best Wishes and most fervent Prayers attend our little Family. I have been banished from them, the greatest Part of the last Eighteen Months but I hope to be with them more, in Time to come. I hope to be excused from attending at Philadelphia, after the Expiration of the Year. I hope that Dr. Winthrop, Mr. Sever, Mr. Greenleaf, Coll. Warren, Mr. Hawley, Mr. Gerry, some or all of them will take their Turns, in the States4—and suffer me, at least to share with my Family, a little more than I have done, the Pleasures and Pains of this Life, and that I may attend a little more to my private Affairs that I may not be involved in total Ruin, unless my Country should be so and then I should choose to share its Fate.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in two or more unidentified hands.
1. Dated at Watertown, 4 Sept. 1775 (Adams Papers; partly printed in Warren-Adams Letters , 1:106–107). Mrs. Warren casually reported that AA had been “a Little unwell ... but is much better.”
2. William Tudor had been appointed judge advocate general on 14 July and soon found himself overwhelmed with work; see Tudor to JA , no date, filed under Aug. 1775 (Adams Papers).
3. On this incident see JA 's Diary entry of 24 Sept. 1775 ( Diary and Autobiography , 2:181–182).
4. In the sense of “States General,” meaning the Continental Congress—an echo of JA 's reading in Dutch history.