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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2


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Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0288

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-10-25

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My best Friend

This Town is a small one, not larger than Plymouth.—There are in it, two German Churches, the one Lutheran, the other Calvinistical. The Congregations are pretty numerous, and their Attendance upon public Worship is decent. It is remarkable that the Germans, wherever they are found, are carefull to maintain the public Worship, which is more than can be said of the other Denominations of Christians, this Way. There is one Church here erected by the joint Contributions of Episcopalians and Presbyterians, but the Minister, who is a Missionary, is confined for Toryism, so that they have had for a long Time no publick Worship. . . .1 Congress have appointed two Chaplains, Mr. White and Mr. Duffield, the former of whom an Episcopalian is arrived and opens Congress with Prayers every Day.2 The latter is expected every Hour. Mr. Duche I am sorry to inform you has turned out an Apostate and a Traytor. Poor Man! I pitty his Weakness, and detest his Wickedness.3
As to News, We are yet in a painfull Suspense about Affairs at the Northward, but from Philadelphia, We have Accounts that are very pleasing. Commodore Hazelwood, with his Gallies, and Lt. Coll. { 360 } Smith in the Garrison of Fort Mifflin, have behaved in a manner the most gallant and glorious. They have defended the River, and the Fort with a Firmness and Perseverance, which does Honour to human Nature.4
If the News from the Northward is true, Mr. Howe will scarcely venture upon Winter Quarters in Philadelphia.
We are waiting, for News, from Rhode Island.
I am wearied with the Life I lead, and long for the Joys of my Family. God grant I may enjoy it, in Peace. Peace is my dear Delight. War has no Charms for me.—If I live much longer in Banishment I shall scarcely know my own Children.
Tell my little ones, that if they will be very good, Pappa will come home.
1. Suspension points in MS .
2. Rev. (later Bishop) William White and Rev. George Duffield had been appointed chaplains to Congress on 1 Oct. ( JCC , 8:756).
3. On Rev. Jacob Duché, Congress' first chaplain in 1774, see JA to AA , 16 Sept. 1774, above, and note 3 there. His eventually notorious letter to Washington, dated at Philadelphia, 8 Oct., urging him to negotiate for peace at once and asking him “Are the Dregs of a Congress, then, still to influence a mind like yours?” was forwarded by Washington to Congress in a letter of 16 Oct. (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 9:382–383). The original is in PCC, No. 152, V; a copy in John Thaxter's hand was enclosed in Thaxter to AA , 20 Jan. 1778, printed below, and is in Adams Papers. Duché's letter was read in Congress on the 20th, and although it provoked private cries of outrage, the members thought it best treated with official silence ( JCC , 9:822; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members , 2:523, note, 526–527, 538). All the relevant correspondence was gathered and published, with useful commentary, by Worthington C. Ford in The Washington-Duché Letters, Brooklyn, 1890.
4. In mid-October Commodore John Hazelwood of the Pennsylvania navy and Lt. Col. Samuel Smith of Maryland, commanding at Fort Mifflin on the Delaware, repulsed British attacks designed to open supply lines to Philadelphia. On 4 Nov. these two officers were voted swords by Congress ( JCC , 9:862).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0289

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-10-26

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Mr. Colman goes off for Boston Tomorrow.
I have seized a Moment, to congratulate you on the great and glorious Success of our Arms at the Northward, and in Delaware River. The Forts at Province Island and Red Bank have been defended, with a Magnanimity, which will give our Country a Reputation in Europe.
Coll. Green repulsed the Enemy from Red bank and took Count { 361 } Donop and his Aid Prisoners. Coll. Smith repulsed a bold Attack upon Fort Mifflin, and our Gallies disabled two Men of War a 64 and 20 Gun ship in such a Manner, that the Enemy blew them up. This comes confirmed this Evening, in Letters from Gen. Washington inclosing Original Letters from Officers in the Forts.1
Congress will appoint a Thanksgiving, and one Cause of it ought to be that the Glory of turning the Tide of Arms, is not immediately due to the Commander in Chief, nor to southern Troops. If it had been, Idolatry, and Adulation would have been unbounded, so excessive as to endanger our Liberties for what I know.
Now We can allow a certain Citizen to be wise, virtuous, and good, without thinking him a Deity or a saviour.
1. Washington's letter of 24 Oct. informing Congress of the bitter (and, so far, successful) fighting cn 21–22 Oct. to keep control of Forts Mifflin and Mercer on the Delaware below Philadelphia, with large extracts of his enclosures, are printed in Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 9:422–424. They were read in Congress on the 27th ( JCC , 9:841). Col. Christopher Greene, of the 1st Rhode Island regiment, was voted a sword by Congress on 4 Nov. (same, p. 862).