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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0109

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-09-29

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

Sitting down to write to you, is a Scene almost too tender for my State of Nerves. It calls up to my View the anxious, distress'd State you must be in, amidst the Confusions and Dangers, which surround you. I long to return, and administer all the Consolation in my Power, but when I shall have accomplished all the Business I have to do here, I know not, and if it should be necessary to stay here till Christmas, or longer, in order to effect our Purposes, I am determined patiently to wait.
Patience, Forbearance, Long Suffering, are the Lessons taught here for our Province, and at the same Time absolute and open Resistance to the new Government. I wish I could convince Gentlemen, of the Danger, or Impracticability of this as fully as I believe it myself.
The Art and Address, of Ambassadors from a dozen belligerant Powers of Europe, nay of a Conclave of Cardinals at the Election of a Pope, or of the Princes in Germany at the Choice of an Emperor, would not exceed the Specimens We have seen.—Yet the Congress all profess the same political Principles.
They all profess to consider our Province as suffering in the common Cause, and indeed they seem to feel for Us, as if for themselves. We have had as great Questions to discuss as ever engaged the Attention of Men, and an infinite Multitude of them.
I received a very kind Letter from Deacon Palmer,1 acquainting me with Mr. Cranch's designs of removing to Braintree, which I approve very much—and wish I had an House for every Family in Boston, and Abilities to provide for them, in the Country.
I submit it to you, my Dear, whether it would not be best to remove all the Books and Papers and Furniture in the Office at Boston up to Braintree. There will be no Business there nor any where, I suppose, { 164 } and my young Friends can study there better than in Boston at present.
I shall be kill'd with Kindness, in this Place. We go to congress at Nine, and there We stay, most earnestly engaged in Debates upon the most abstruse Misteries of State untill three in the Afternoon, then We adjourn, and go to Dinner with some of the Nobles of Pensylvania, at four O Clock and feast upon ten thousand Delicacies, and sitt drinking Madeira, Claret and Burgundy till six or seven, and then go home, fatigued to death with Business, Company, and Care.—Yet I hold it out, surprizingly.2 I drink no Cyder, but feast upon Phyladelphia Beer, and Porter. A Gentleman, one Mr. Hare, has lately set up in this City a Manufactory of Porter, as good as any that comes from London. I pray We may introduce it into the Massachusetts. It agrees with me, infinitely better than Punch, Wine, or Cyder, or any other Spirituous Liquor.—My Love to my dear Children one by one. My Compliments to Mr. Thaxter, and Rice and every Body else. Yours most affectionately,
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree favd. by Mr. Coolidge to be left with Mr. Tudor at his office in Queen Street”; endorsed: “C 1 No 8.”
1. Palmer's letter was dated from Boston, 14 Sept., but it has not been found except in the form of brief extracts printed in Hezekiah Niles' Principles and Acts of the Revolution in America, Baltimore, 1822, p. 322. In 1819, at Niles' urging, JA sent the Baltimore printer a “bundle” of letters and documents from his early files, and being without clerical help he unfortunately kept no copies. Niles printed some of these and portions of others in his compilation issued in 1822, but he never returned the originals, and there is now no way of telling precisely what was lost from JA's files by Niles' negligence. Information concerning Niles' papers, now scattered and perhaps largely lost, would be welcomed by the present editors.
2. Remainder of text omitted by CFA.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0110

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-10-07

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

I thank you for all your kind favours. I wish I could write to you, much oftener than I do. I wish I could write to you, a Dozen Letters every day. But the Business before me, is so arduous and takes up my Time so entirely, that I cannot write often. I had the Characters and Tempers, the Principles and Views of fifty Gentlemen total Strangers to me to study, and the Trade, Policy, and whole Interest of a Dozen Provinces, to learn when I came here. I have Multitudes of Pamphlets, News Papers, and private Letters to read. I have numberless Plans of { 165 } Policy, and many Arguments to consider. I have many Visits to make and receive—much Ceremony to endure, which cannot be avoided, which you know I hate.
There is a great Spirit in the Congress. But our People must be peaceable. Let them exercise every day in the Week, if they Will, the more the better. Let them furnish themselves with Artillery, Arms and Ammunition. Let them follow the Maxim, which you say they have adopted “In Times of Peace, prepare for War.” But let them avoid War, if possible, if possible I say.
Mr. Revere will bring you the Doings of the Congress, who are now, all around me debating what Advice to give to Boston and the Massachusetts Bay.
We are all well—hope our Family is so—remember me to them all. I have advised you before to remove my Office from Boston to Braintree. It is now, I think absolutely necessary. Let the best Care be taken of all Books and Papers.
Tell all my Clerks to mind their Books, and study hard—for their Country will stand in need of able Councillors.
I must give you a general Licence to make my Compliments to all my Friends and Acquaintances: I have not Time to name them particularly. I wish they would all write to me—if they leave Letters at Edes and Gills, they will soon be sent to me.
I long to be at home, but I cannot say when. I will never leave the Congress, untill it rises, and when it will rise, I cannot say. And indeed I cannot say but We are better here than any where. We have fine Opportunities here to serve Boston and Massachusetts, by acquainting the whole Continent with the true State of them. Our Residence here greatly serves the Cause.
The Spirit and Principles of Liberty, here, are greatly cherished, by our Presence and Conversation.
The Elections of the last Week in this City, prove this. Mr. Dickenson was chosen almost unanimously a Representative of the County. The Broadbrims1 began an opposition to your Friend Mr. Mifflin, because he was too warm in the Cause. This instantly alarmed the Friends of Liberty and ended in the Election of Mr. Mifflin, by Eleven hundred Votes out of Thirteen, and in the Election of our Secretary Mr. Charles Thompson to be a Burgess with him. This is considered here as a most compleat and decisive Victory in favour of the American Cause. And it [is] said it will change the Ballance in the Legislature here against Mr. Galloway who has been supposed to sit on the Skirts of the American Advocates.2
{ 166 }
Mrs. Mifflin who is a charming Quaker Girl, often enquires kindly after your Health.

[salute] Adieu my dear Wife—God bless you and yours. So wishes and prays, without ceasing,

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “C 1 No 9.”
1. Quakers.
2. In this critical election John Dickinson was returned to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives by Philadelphia co., and he was promptly added by the House to the Pennsylvania delegation in Congress. Thomas Mifflin and Charles Thomson were returned by the city of Philadelphia. Joseph Galloway lost his place as speaker in the session that followed. See Penna. Archives, 8th ser., 8:7148, 7152.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/