A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
close
-
The Adams Papers Digital Edition is undergoing active maintenance while we work on improvements to the system. You may experience slow performance or the inability to access content. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We will endeavor to return to full capabilities as soon as possible.

Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 1


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0197

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-10-13

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I this day received yours of the 29 of September, and the 1st. of October.
Amidst all your Afflictions, I am greatly rejoiced to find that you all along preserve so proper and so happy a Temper—that you are sensible “the Consolations of Religion are the only sure Comforters.” It is the Constitution under which We are born that if We live long ourselves We must bury our Parents and all our Elder Relatives and many of those who are younger. I have lost a Parent, a Child and a Brother, and each of them left a lasting Impression on my Mind: But, you and I have [many] 1 more Relations, and very good Friends to follow to the House [app]ointed for all Flesh, or else We must be followed by them.—In your last you make no Mention of Patty, poor distress'd Girl! I fear the next News I shall hear will be of her Departure, yet I will hope, that Youth, and a strong Constitution which has lasted so long will finally survive. If not We must submit.
I bewail more than I can express, the Loss of your excellent Mother. I mourn the Loss of so much Purity, and unaffected Piety and Virtue to the World. I know of no better Character left in it. I grieve for you, and your Brother, and sisters, I grieve for your Father, whose Age will need the Succour of so excellent a Companion. But I grieve for nobody more than my Children, and Brothers Smiths and Mr. Cranch's. Her most amiable, and discreet Example, as well as her Kind Skill and Care I have ever relyed upon in my own Mind, for the Education of these little Swarms. Not that I have not a proper Esteem for the Capacity and Disposition of the Mothers, but I know that the Efforts of the Grandmother, are of great Importance, when they second those of the Parent. And I am sure that my Children are the better for the forming Hand of their Grandmother.
It gives me great Joy to learn that ours are well—let us be thankfull for this and many other Blessings yet granted us. Pray my dear cherish in the Minds of my Nabby and Johnny and Charly and Tommy the Remembrance of their Grand mamma, and remind them of her Precepts and Example.
God almighty grant to you and to every Branch of the Family, all the Support that you want! You and I, my dear, have Reason, if ever Mortals had, to be thoughtfull—to look forward beyond the transitory Scene. Whatever is preparing for Us, let us be prepared to receive. It is Time for Us to subdue our Passions of every Kind. The Prospect { 301 } before Us is an Ocean of Uncertainties, in which no pleasing objects appear. We have few Hopes, excepting that of preserving our Honour and our Consciences untainted and a free Constitution to our Country. Let me be sure of these, and amidst all my Weaknesses, I cannot be overcome. With these I can be happy, in extream Poverty, in humble Insignificance, nay I hope and believe, in Death: without them I should be miserable, with a Crown upon my Head, Millions in my Coffers, and a gaping, idolizing Multitude at my Feet.—My Heart is too full of Grief for you and our Friends to whom I wish you to present my Regards, to say any Thing of News or Politicks. Yet the Affair of the surgeon general is so strange, and important an Event that I cannot close this gloomy Letter, without adding a Sigh for this imprudent unfortunate Man! I know not whether the Evidence will support the Word Treachery, but what may We not expect after Treachery to himself, his Wife and Children!2
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams Braintree To the Care of Coll Warren”; endorsed: “Octobr. 13”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. Here and below, MS is torn by seal.
2. Church's intermediary in the affair of the cipher letter was a woman generally believed to be his mistress; it was therefore supposed that one of the reasons why he took money from the British was in order to support her. See Allen French, General Gage's Informers, p. 183 ff.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0198

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1775-10-19

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren

I thank my Friends for their kind remembrance of me last week,1 the Letter enclosed was dated one day after that I received a week before, and containd no publick intelegance. I have been Expecting Letters by the Gentlemen who I hear have arrived,2 but fear I have not any, as there are none come to hand. I thought I should hear oftner from Philadelphia this fall, than I had ever done before, but I never before had so few Letters, or found the communication so difficult.
I wish my Friend you would be kind enough to write me often whilst you tarry at Watertown, and let your Letters be of the journal kind; by that mean I could participate in your amusements, in your pleasures, and in your sentiments which would greatly gratify me, and I should collect the best of inteligance.
Pray Sir is this request unreasonable. I would not ask any thing willingly which might be deemd so. If it is not will you use your { 302 } influence in obtaining for me this favour? It is Matter of speculation what the errant of these Gentlemen is. Some suppose one thing some an other.
What do you immagine will be the consequence if a certain Letter writer should escape without very severe punishment? Would there not be suspicions in the minds of people, prejudicial to those in power? The Country appear much exasperated, and would say he was not the only traitor.
You have not wrote me what you think of the intercepted Letters, nor of the ridiculous pharaphrase. I wish you would be kind eno to return the coppy of the Letters when ever you have done with them.
I hear Mrs. Miflin is come to the Head Quarters. If you see her, please to present my complements to her. I want to know all that passes. Curiosity you see natural to me as a——3 but I know who has as much, and therefore can excuse a reasonable share of it in her Friend.
My best regards attend Mrs. Wintrope when you see her.4 When do you expect to return? I hope I shall see more of you then, and have the pleasure of both your company, much longer. I fear I shall not see you at Watertown. I feel but little inclination to go into company. I have no son big enough to accompany me, and two women cannot make out so well, as when they are more naturally coupled. I do not fancy riding thro Roxbury with only a female partner; so believe you will not see Your
[signed] Portia
RC ( MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed in two unidentified hands: “Mrs. Adams—Oct 1775 No. 4.”
1. Not found. It enclosed a letter from JA to AA of 27 Sept. which is also missing.
2. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Lynch, and Benjamin Harrison, a committee appointed and instructed by Congress on 29–30 Sept. to confer with Washington and the de facto governing authorities in New England on “the most effectual method of continuing, supporting, and regulating a continental army” ( JCC , 3:265–267). They arrived at Watertown on the 15th (James Warren to JA , 20–22 Oct. 1775, Warren-Adams Letters , 1:149).
3. As a woman. AA is echoing remarks on female curiosity in Mrs. Warren's letter to her of 28 Jan., above.
4. Hannah (Fayerweather) Tollman Winthrop (d. 1790), 2d wife of JA 's friend Professor John Winthrop of Harvard (Mayo, Winthrop Family , p. 187–191).