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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2

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Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0172

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-04-29

John Adams to Abigail Adams

This days Post brought me yours of 17th. inst. and Miss Nabbys obliging Favour of the 16.1 This young Lady writes a very pretty Hand, and expresses her Thoughts with great Propriety.
{ 228 }
I shall hardly excuse Miss from writing to me, so long as I have done, now I find she can write so well. I shall carefully preserve her Letter and if she neglects to write me frequently I shall consider this Letter as Proof that it is not Want of Abilities, but Want of Inclination.
The Death of Mrs. Howard I greatly and sincerely lament. She was one of the choice of the Earth.
The Account you give me of the Evasions of your Regulations surprizes me not. I detest the Regulations as well as the Embargo. I find it is necessary for me to resign, for I never, of late, think like my Constituents. I am bound by their Sense in Honour and Principle—But mine differs from them every day. I always knew the Regulations would do more Hurt than good.
The inclosed Speculations upon the Health of the Army, were written I suppose by Dr. Rush,2 as the former ones I know were done by him.
There is a letter of 20 Feb. from Dr. Lee, which says that Boston was to be attacked by Ten thousand Germans and three thousand British under Burgoin.3 But Circumstances since may have altered Cases.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosure missing, but see note 2.
1. AA 's letter is printed above; AA2 's has not been found.
2. This was a remarkable article entitled “Directions for Preserving the Health of Soldiers” which was first printed in the Pennsylvania Packet, 22 April 1777, signed “R.” It was reprinted as a pamphlet, with a long subtitle and textual changes and additions, by order of the Board of War early in 1778 (Lancaster: John Dunlap; Evans 16064). This brief but pioneering essay in military hygiene was reprinted again and again until as late as 1908 and proved one of the most influential among all of Benjamin Rush's voluminous writings. An annotated text will be found in Rush's Letters , 1:140–147.
3. This was clearly some version of Arthur Lee's letter from Bordeaux, 18 Feb., of which a text is printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 2:272–273.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0173

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-04-30

John Adams to Abigail Adams

We have a fine Piece of News this Morning of the March of 2000 of the Enemy, and destroying a fine Magazine there—and the stupid sordid cowardly torified Country People let them pass without Opposition.1
All New England is petrified, with Astonishment, Horror, and Despair, I believe in my Conscience. They behave worse than any Part { 229 } of the Continent.2 Even in N. Jersy 2000 Men could not have marched so far.
1. The reference is to the destructive raid on the Continental stores at Danbury, Conn., from Long Island Sound, 25–27 April, by a British force under Maj. Gen. William Tryon and Brig. Gen. Sir William Erskine; see Washington's letter to Congress, 28 April, read on the 30th (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 7:490–491; JCC , 7:314); also AA to JA , 6–9 May, below.
2. The punctuation and capitalization of the MS have been retained in this passage, but in all likelihood JA actually intended a full stop after “Despair” and a comma after “Conscience.”