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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2


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Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0118

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-02-17

John Adams to Abigail Adams

It was this Day determined, to adjourn, tomorrow Week to Philadelphia.1
How, as you know my opinion always was, will repent his mad march through the Jersies. The People of that Commonwealth, begin to raise their Spirits exceedingly, and to be firmer than ever. They are actuated by Resentment now, and Resentment coinciding with Principle is a very powerfull Motive.
I have got into the old Routine of War Office and Congress, which takes up my Time in such a manner that I can scarce write a Line. I have not Time to think, nor to speak.
There is an united States Lottery abroad.2 I believe you had better buy a Tickett and make a Present of it to our four sweet ones, not for• { 163 } getting the other sweet one. Let us try their Luck. I hope they will be more lucky than their Papa has ever been, or ever will be.
I am as well as can be expected. How it happens I dont know nor how long it will last. My Disposition was naturally gay and chearfull, but the <awful> Prospects I have ever had before me, and these cruel Times will make me melancholly. I who would not hurt the Hair of the Head of any Animal, I who am always made miserable by the Misery of every sensible being, that comes to my Knowledge, am obliged to hear continual Accounts of the Barbarities, the cruel Murders in cold Blood, even by the most tormenting Ways of starving and freezing, committed by our Enemies, and continual Accounts of the Deaths and Diseases contracted by our People by their own Imprudence.
These Accounts harrow me beyond Description.3
These incarnate Daemons say in great Composure, [“that] 4 Humanity is a Yankey Virtue.—But that they [are] governed by Policy.”—Is there any Policy on this side of Hell, that is inconsistent with Humanity? I have no Idea of it. I know of no Policy, God is my Witness but this—Piety, Humanity and Honesty are the best Policy.
Blasphemy, Cruelty, and Villany have prevailed and may again. But they wont prevail against America, in this Contest, because I find the more of them are employed the less they succeed.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams at Mr. John Adams's Braintree”; docketed in pencil by AA .
1. That is, Congress was to adjourn at Baltimore on the 25th, but on that day the adjournment was suspended in consequence of letters received from Gen. Washington and Robert Morris. On the 27th Congress adjourned to “Wednesday next [5 March], to meet at the State House in Philadelphia,” but a quorum was not assembled there until 12 March. See JCC , 7:127, 157 and note, 168, 169.
2. Authorized by Congress in Nov. 1776; see Lucius Wilmerding Jr., “The United States Lottery,” N.Y. Hist. Soc., Quart., 47:5–39 (Jan. 1963).
3. MS : “Destription.”
4. Here and below, MS is torn by seal.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0119

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-02-18

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I shall inclose with this a Newspaper or two.
I am as yet in tollerable Health. My Eyes are somewhat troublesome. I believe I must assume the Appearance of Wisdom, Age and Gravity and put on Spectacles to walk in, about the Streets.
I hear nothing from you, nor from any Part of New England, but { 164 } I am endeavouring to devise some better Regulations of the Post Office, so that I hope that Channell of Communication will be opened.1
We are told that the Air of Baltimore is unhealthy, and I confess I should dread it, if I were to stay here long. But We shall soon remove.
You may write now by the Post. I am very anxious to hear from you, and to know the State of public Affairs, in your Part of the World.
I have written by Mr. Hall a Resignation of an Office. I suppose it will make a Noise. But I hope not much. I cant help it. But should be glad to hear from you, how it is received. I hope they will fill it up soon, that the Talk may be soon over.
I could not be, at the same Time in Maryland and Massachusetts Bay, which was Reason enough for the Measure, if I had no other, but I have many more, and much stronger.
I have not Health enough, and never shall have to discharge such a Trust. I can but just keep myself alive, and in tollerable Spirits when I am master of my own Time and Course of Life. But this is not all.
I am not formal and ceremonious enough for such a stiff Situation.—But you know I have many Reasons more.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in pencil by AA . Enclosed newspapers not found or identified.
1. On 17 Feb. JA was named one of five members of a committee “to revise the regulations of the post office, and report a plan of carrying it on, so as to render the conveyance of intelligence more expeditious and certain” ( JCC , 7:127). The committee brought in a report on the 25th, which was read and tabled; the MS is in the hand of the chairman, Thomas Heyward; text printed in same, p. 153–154. For subsequent efforts toward the same end in April and October, see same, p. 258, and vol. 9:816–817.