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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2


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Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0202

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-06-08

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I generally endeavour to write you once a week, if my Letters do not reach you, tis oweing to the neglect of the post. I generally get Letters from you once a week, but seldom in a fortnight after they are { 258 } wrote. I am sorry to find that your Health fails. I should greatly rejoice to see you, I know of no earthly blessing which would make me happier, but I cannot wish it upon the terms of ill Health. No seperation was ever more painfull to me than the last, may the joy of meeting again be eaquel to the pain of seperation; I regret that I am in a Situation to wish away one of the most precious Blessings of life, yet as the months pass of[f], I count them up with pleasure and reckon upon tomorrow as the 5th which has passd since your absence. I have some times melancholly reflections, and immagine these seperations as preparatory to a still more painfull one in which even hope the anchor of the Soul is lost, but whilst that remains no Temperary absence can ever wean or abate the ardor of my affection. Bound together by many tender ties, there scarcly wanted an addition, yet I feel that there soon will be an additionall one. Many many are the tender sentiments I have felt for the parent on this occasion. I doubt not they are reciprocal, but I often feel the want of his presence and the soothing tenderness of his affection. Is this weakness or is it not?
I am happy in a daughter who is both a companion and an assistant in my Family affairs and who I think has a prudence and steadiness beyond her years.
You express a longing after the enjoyments of your little Farm. I do not wonder at it, that also wants the care and attention of its master—all that the mistress can do is to see that it does not go to ruin. She would take pleasure in improvements, and study them with assiduity if she was possessd with a sufficency to accomplish them. The season promisses plenty at present and the english grass never lookd better.
You inquire after the Asparagrass. It performs very well this year and produces us a great plenty. I long to send you a Barrell of cider, but find it impracticable, as no vessels can pass from this State to yours. I rejoice at the good way our affairs seem to be in and Hope your Herculian Labours will be crownd with more success this year than the last. Every thing wears a better aspect, we have already taken two Transports of theirs with Hessians on board, and this week a prize was carried into Salem taken by the Tyranicide with 4000 Blankets and other valuable articles on board.1
I do not feel very apprehensive of an attack upon Boston. I hope we shall be quiet. I should make a misirable hand of running now. Boston is not what it once was. It has no Head, no Men of distinguishd abilities, they behave like children.
{ 259 }
Col. Holland the infamous Hampshire counterfeiter was taken last week in Boston and is committed to Jail in Irons. I hope they will now keep a strong guard upon him.2
We are not like to get our now unpopular act repeald I fear. I own I was in favour of it, but I have seen it fail and the ill consequences arising from it have made me wish it had never been made. Yet the House are nearly divided about it. Genell. W[arre]n will write you I suppose. He and his Lady have spent part of the week with me.
I wish you would be so good as to mention the dates of the Letters you receive from me. The last date of yours was May 22. 5 dated in May since this day week.3 I wonder how you get time to write so much. I feel very thankfull to you for every line. You will I know remember me often when I cannot write to you.
Good Night tis so dark that I cannot see to add more than that I am with the utmost tenderness Yours ever Yours.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia To be left at the Post Office”; endorsed: “Portia”; docketed in two hands, one of which is CFA 's.
1. The captain of the brig Tyrannicide was Jonathan Haraden of Salem. For his capture of a transport carrying Hessians from Ireland to New York, and of the snow Sally with blankets and other European goods, see Boston Gazette, 9 June, p. 3, col. 1. If, as is probable, AA took these items of news from the Gazette, then she either misdated the present letter or wrote it on more than one day.
2. Col. Stephen Holland, the Londonderry counterfeiter, had escaped from jail in New Hampshire in May and was returned there some days after AA wrote this letter. See Boston Gazette, 9, 16 June.
3. AA means that during the past week she has received five letters from JA dated in May.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0203

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-06-08

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Upon an Invitation from the Board of War of Pensilvania, a Committee was appointed a few days ago to go down Delaware River and take a View of the Works there, erected with a View to prevent the Enemy from coming up to Philadelphia by Water. Mr. Duer, your humble servant and Mr. Middleton made the Committee.1
Yesterday we went, in three Boats, with Eight Oars each. Mr. Rittenhouse, Coll. Bull and Coll. Deane, went from the Pensilvania Board of War. General Arnold, General De Coudrai, an experienced french officer of Artillery, Monsr. Le Brune, an Engineer, and Mr. Rogers an Aid de Camp of Gen. De Coudray were in Company.2
{ 260 }
We had a Band of Musick in Company which is very agreable upon the Water.
We went first to Billingsport, about 10 Miles down the River on the Jersey side, where the River is obstructed with Vesseaux de Frizes, and where a large Fort is laid out with a great deal of Work done upon it.
We then came back to Fort Island, or Province Island, where the River is obstructed again, and the only Passage for shipps is commanded by a Fort of 18. 18. Pounders. Here lay the Fire ships, Fire Rafts, floating Batteries, Gallies and the Andrew Doria, and the fine new Frigate Delaware.
We then crossed the River and went to Red Point3 on the Jersey side, where Coll. Bull has thrown up the strongest Works that I have ever seen. Here We dined, and after Dinner Coll. Bull ordered out his Regiment upon the Parade, where they went through their Exercises and Maneuvres, very well.
We had a long Passage home and made it 9 o Clock before We reached the Wharf. We suffered much with the Heat, yet upon the whole it was an agreable day.
Upon our Return to Town We expected to hear some News but not a Word had been received. All is quiet still. How long will this Calm continue?
I begin to suspect We shall have an unactive Campaign—that How will shut himself up, in some impregnable Post, and lie still. We shall see, however, and I think We shall trouble him whether he moves or lies still.
1. They were appointed on 3 June “to view the works and defences erected at, and near Billingsport, and report their opinion, whether those works ought to be completed or demolished” ( JCC , 8:414). There is an excellent map showing the terrain below Philadelphia and the river and shore defenses in 1777, printed by William Faden, 2d edn., London, 1783, and reproduced in Leonard Lundin, Cockpit of the Revolution, Princeton, 1940, facing p. 336.
2. Philippe Tronson du Coudray, a learned and egotistical French artillery officer who had recently arrived with extravagant promises from Silas Deane, was to prove much the most controversial among all his countrymen who served in America; see JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:263–264, and references there. His recommendations for improving the Delaware fortifications are printed in Penna. Archives , 1st ser., 5:360–363. Among the numerous officers who accompanied him to America were two Le Brun brothers and Nicolas Roger (Lasseray, Les français sous les treize étoiles , 1:278–279; 2:391–394).
3. Red Bank, Gloucester co., N.J., site of Fort Mercer.