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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 1


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.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0111

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-10-09

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

I am wearied to Death with the Life I lead. The Business of the Congress is tedious, beyond Expression. This Assembly is like no other that ever existed. Every Man in it is a great Man—an orator, a Critick, a statesman, and therefore every Man upon every Question must shew his oratory, his Criticism and his Political Abilities.
The Consequence of this is, that Business is drawn and spun out to an immeasurable Length. I believe if it was moved and seconded that We should come to a Resolution that Three and two make five We should be entertained with Logick and Rhetorick, Law, History, Politicks and Mathematicks, concerning the Subject for two whole Days, and then We should pass the Resolution unanimously in the Affirmative.
The perpetual Round of feasting too, which we are obliged to submit to, make the Pilgrimage more tedious to me.
This Day I went to Dr. Allisons Meeting in the Forenoon and heard the Dr.—a good Discourse upon the Lords Supper.1 This is a Presbyterian Meeting. I confess I am not fond of the Presbyterian Meetings in this Town. I had rather go to Church. We have better Sermons, better Prayers, better Speakers, softer, sweeter Musick, and genteeler Company. And I must confess, that the Episcopal Church is quite as agreable to my Taste as the Presbyterian. They are both Slaves to the Domination of the Priesthood. I like the Congregational Way best—next to that the Independent.
This afternoon, led by Curiosity and good Company I strolled away to Mother Church, or rather Grandmother Church, I mean the Romish { 167 } Chappell.2 Heard a good, short, moral Essay upon the Duty of Parents to their Children, founded in Justice and Charity, to take care of their Interests temporal and spiritual. This Afternoons Entertainment was to me, most awfull and affecting. The poor Wretches, fingering their Beads, chanting Latin, not a Word of which they understood, their Pater Nosters and Ave Maria's. Their holy Water—their Crossing themselves perpetually—their Bowing to the Name of Jesus, wherever they hear it—their Bowings, and Kneelings, and Genuflections before the Altar. The Dress of the Priest was rich with Lace—his Pulpit was Velvet and Gold. The Altar Piece was very rich—little Images and Crucifixes about—Wax Candles lighted up. But how shall I describe the Picture of our Saviour in a Frame of Marble over the Altar at full Length upon the Cross, in the Agonies, and the Blood dropping and streaming from his Wounds.
The Musick consisting of an organ, and a Choir of singers, went all the Afternoon, excepting sermon Time, and the Assembly chanted—most sweetly and exquisitely.
Here is every Thing which can lay hold of the Eye, Ear, and Imagination. Every Thing which can charm and bewitch the simple and ignorant. I wonder how Luther ever broke the spell.

[salute] Adieu.

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree favd. by Mr. Revere”; endorsed: “C 1 No 10.”
1. Francis Alison (1705–1779), D.D., vice-provost of the College of Philadelphia and minister of the First Presbyterian Church, on the south side of Market Street between Second and Third Streets (DAB; Historic Philadelphia, Amer. Philos. Soc., Trans., vol. 43, pt. 1 [1953], p. 217).
2. St. Mary's Church, built in 1763 on Fourth Street between Spruce and Locust (Historic Philadelphia, as cited in preceding note, p. 203–209).
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/