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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2


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Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0238

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-02

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My best Friend

By an express last night from Cape May, We learn that the Fleet went out of the Bay, the Morning before, i.e. on Thursday Morning and put to Sea, and went out of Sight.
What this Man is after, no Wisdom can discover.
Last night another Express says the Fleet appeared off the Capes again, i.e. part of it, upwards of one hundred Sail.
After all these Feints and Maneuvres, it is most likely he designs to run up the North River, by and by.
The hot weather grows burthensome. And our Business thickens, and presses. I feel as if I could hardly get along through this Month and the next. But must see it out as well as I can.
We have News from France, from our Embassadors.1 The French will not declare War, as yet. They tell the English they neither desire War nor fear it. But they will lend Us Money, and they have sold Us Eighty thousand Stands of Arms, and will aid Us in every indirect Way. So will Spain.
I hope by this Time you are in perfect Health. Tomorows Post, I hope will confirm the most agreable Account, in the last I received from you, of your being in a good Way. My Health and Spirits and Life are bound up in yours. May Heaven preserve my dearest Friend, and make her happy.
Never was Wretch, more weary of Misery than I am of the Life I lead, condemned to the dullest servitude and Drudgery, seperated from all that I love, and wedded to all that I hate.
Digging in a Potato Yard upon my own Garden and living in my { 299 } own Family would be to me Paradise. The next Time I come home, shall be for a long Time.
1. “Congress have this Day recd. a number and very large Letters from Dr Franklin Mr Lee and Dean, with a great variety of Papers, the Letters from 12 Mar. to abt the 26 May” (William Williams to Gov. Jonathan Trumbull of Connecticut, 2 Aug., Burnett, ed., Letters of Members , 2:436). Letters from the American Commissioners at Paris, 12 March–26 May, take up most of the space in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev. , 2:283–327.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0239

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-04

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Your kind Favour of July 23, came by the Post, this Morning. It revives me, to hear of your Health, and Welfare, altho I shall be, and am disappointed of a Blessing, which I hoped to enjoy. But this is the Result of Wisdom superiour to ours and must be submitted to with chearfull Resignation.
The Loss of Ti. has occasioned as loud Complaints and as keen Resentment in Philadelphia as in Boston. And Congress have determined that an Inquiry shall be made, and have ordered the Major Generals Schuyler and St. Clair, to Head Quarters and ordered M.G. Gates to relieve M.G. Schuyler.1 Lincoln and Arnold are there. These three I believe will restore our Affairs in that Department.
We have Letters from France, Spain and the West Indies, which shew that our Ground in Europe is firm, and that a War is brewing.
We have all the English Papers, till the latter End of May, which shew that Britain is in a wretched Condition indeed—their East India Affairs in Distraction, their Affrican Trade ruined and their West Indian Concerns in the Utmost Distress. Almost all their West India Planters have left in the Kingdom in Despair.2
Their Scavengers of the Streets of Germany have been able to rake together, but a little Filth.
Where How is going No Astroleger can determine. He has left the Capes of Delaware and where he is gone no one can tell.—We expect to hear from him at the North River, or at Rhode Island, but cant tell when.
I, for my Part am very homesick, but I will not leave the Field untill the Campaign is ended—unless I should fall sick. This horrid Hot Weather melts my Marrow within my Bones, and makes me faint away almost. I have no other Way to keep alive, but by Abstinence { 300 } from Eating and drinking. I should not live a Month if I did not starve myself. When I come home I shall be an Epicure.
Tell Tom, I would give a Guinea to have him climb upon my shoulder, and another to chase him into his Jail.—My Love to all the rest. I will write them as soon as I can. I wrote Mr. Thaxter inclosing Letters to the Court and Bar. Has he received them?3
1. These important measures, in which JA was very much concerned, were the nub of the “Business [which] thickens, and presses” alluded to in the preceding letter. On 30 July and 1 Aug. respectively, Congress had ordered St. Clair and Schuyler back to Washington's headquarters, and on the latter day JA and four others were appointed a committee “to digest and report the mode of conducting the enquiry [voted 29 July] into the reasons of the evacuation of Ticonderoga and Fort Independence, and into the conduct of the officers who were in the northern department at the time of the evacuation” ( JCC , 8:585, 590, 596). The subject was a difficult one, Congress was sharply divided on it, and much of Congress' as well as JA 's time in the following weeks was given to it. The only visible progress made was a vote on 27 Aug. to conduct a much more elaborate inquiry, and on the 28th Henry Laurens, R. H. Lee, and JA were named the members of a committee to do so. See same, p. 653, 659, 668–669, 681–687, 688. The investigation and its sequels lasted until long after JA had left Congress; see Burnett's valuable notes in Letters of Members , 2:458, 469.
On 2 Aug. JA had also been appointed, with four others, “to take into consideration the state of the northern department,” to “confer with General Washington,” and to “report as soon as possible.” Losing no time, this committee next day recommended, and Congress resolved, that Washington be requested to appoint Schuyler's successor. But Washington declined, and on the 4th Congress elected Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates to command the northern army. See JCC , 8:599, 600, 603–604; also JA to AA , 7 Aug., below.
2. Thus in MS . Probably JA meant: “have left the Kingdom in Despair.”
3. These letters were received and they accomplished their purpose, but they have not been found; see Thaxter to JA , 4 June, above, and note 3 there.