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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0138

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-05-29

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

Our amiable Friend Hancock, who by the Way is our President, is to send his Servant, tomorrow for Cambridge. I am to send a few Lines by him. If his Man should come to you to deliver this Letter, treat him very kindly, because he is a kind, humane, clever Fellow.
My Friend Joseph Bass, very cleverly caught the Small Pox, in two days after we arrived here, by Inoculation and has walked about the streets, every day since, and has got quite over it and quite well. He had about a Dozen Pimples upon the whole. Let his Father and Friends know this.
We are distressed here for Want of Intelligence and Information from you and from Boston, Cambridge &c. &c. &c. We have no regular Advices. I received one kind Letter from you, in one from Coll. Warren.1 An excellent Letter, I had from him. It has done him great Honour, and me much good.
My Duty and Love to all. I have had miserable Health and blind Eyes almost ever since I left you, but, I found Dr. Young here, who after scolding at me, quantum sufficit for not taking his Advice, has pill'd and electuary'd me into pretty good Order.2 My Eyes are better, my Head is better, and so are my Spirits.
Private.3 The Congress will support the Massachusetts. There is a good Spirit here. But We have an amazing Field of Business, before us. When I shall have the Joy of Meeting you and our little ones, I know not.
The military Spirit which runs through the Continent is truly amazing. This City turns out 2000 Men every day. Mr. Dickinson is a Coll.—Mr. Reed a Lt. Coll.—Mr. Mifflin a Major. He ought to have been a Genl. for he has been the animating Soul of the whole.
Coll. Washington appears at Congress in his Uniform and, by his great Experience and Abilities in military Matters, is of much service to Us.
Oh that I was a Soldier!—I will be.—I am reading military Books.—Every Body must and will, and shall be a soldier.
[signed] John Adams
{ 208 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “C No 5” (corrected from “No 6”).
1. Warren's letter was dated at Watertown, 7 May (Adams Papers; Warren-Adams Letters, 1:46–49), and presumably enclosed AA's letter of 4 May, above.
2. Thomas Young (1732–1777), self-taught son of an immigrant from northern Ireland, was born in Ulster co., N.Y., and after a short apprenticeship commenced the practice of physic in Sharon, Conn. A poet, orator, newspaper scribbler, and militant deist as well as a physician and surgeon, Young was incurably restless and was to be identified with radical political agitation in no fewer than five colonies or states. Despite this perhaps unique distinction, what is recorded of him is scattered and often untrustworthy, and he has never had the biography he deserves. In 1766 he moved to Boston and was soon closely associated with Samuel Adams and Joseph Warren as an ardent Son of Liberty. He delivered the first oration commemorating the Boston “Massacre,” was appointed in 1772 a member of the Boston Committee of Correspondence, and was a leader in the Tea Party proceedings the following year. In the fall of 1774 he prudently left Boston for Newport, but turned up in Philadelphia the next spring. He was promptly welcomed into the circle of radicals who led the movement for independence and a new and democratic constitution for the state. He helped draft the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776, which JA later often cited as the very model of political vices; and in the spring of 1777 Young published a letter advising the inhabitants of “Vermont”—a name that he evidently coined and that was here first used—to establish an independent government. In Dec. 1776 he had been appointed senior surgeon to the Continental hospital in Philadelphia and applied the heroic therapy which his friend Dr. Benjamin Rush later made famous to the “cure” of fevers. In the line of duty the following June, he caught a virulent fever and died at once, leaving a wife and numerous children nearly destitute. The efforts of his old friend and reputed literary collaborator Ethan Allen to obtain from the Vermont legislature a grant of land to the widow were unsuccessful.
JA furnished a diverting account of Young's role as a political agitator in a letter to Benjamin Rush, 8 Feb. 1789 (RC unlocated; printed in Biddle, Old Family Letters, p. 30–31). See also Boston Record Commissioners, 16th and 18th Reports, passim; Loring, Hundred Boston Orators, p. 24–26; Henry H. Edes, “Memoir of Dr. Thomas Young, 1731–1777,” Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns., 11 (1910):2–54; Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:148–149, and references there.
3. This word appears in the margin of the letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0139

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-06-02

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

I had Yesterday the Pleasure of two Letters from you, by Dr. Church.1 We had been so long without any Intelligence from our Country, that the Sight of the Dr. gave us great Joy. I have received no Letters from England, untill the Dr. brought me one from Mr. Dilly.2
Mr. Henly goes, tomorrow, to the Camp at Cambridge. I am not so ill, as I was when I left you, tho not well. Bass has recover'd of the Small Pox.
Our Debates and Deliberations are tedious, from Nine to four, five, { 209 } and once near Six. Our Determinations very slow—I hope sure. The Congress will support Us, but in their own Way. Not precisely in that Way which I could wish, but in a better Way than We could well expect, considering what an heterogeneous Body it is.
The Prospect of Crops in all the southern Colonies never was exceeded. What will become of immense Quantities of Provisions, when the Non Exportation takes Place I cant conceive. Surely We shant starve.
Poor Bostonians! My Heart Bleeds for them, day and Night. God preserve and bless them.
Was you frightened, when the sheep Stealers got a drubbing at Grape Island? Father Smith prayed for our Scough Crew, I doubt not, but how did my dear Friend Dr. Tufts sustain the shock? My Duty and Love to them and all others who justly claim them.
My Dear Nabby, and Johnny and Charley and Tommy are never out of my Thoughts. God bless, preserve and prosper them.
You need not send me any Money; What I shall want will be supplied me here, by my Colleagues to be repaid after our Return.
Dr. Warren writes me, about my Brother.3 My Love to both my Brothers, my Duty to my Mother and your Uncle Quincy. Tell him I hope, our Company continue their Exercises. He would burst to see whole Companies of armed Quakers in this City, in Uniforms, going thro the Manual and Maneuvres like regular Troops.
[signed] J.A.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “C No 6.”
1. One of 7 May and another unidentified. Dr. Benjamin Church, a member of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress, was ordered by that body on 16 May to repair to Philadelphia with an “application” requesting advice on “the taking up and exercising the powers of civil government” and the adoption by the Continental Congress of the troops gathered around Boston (Mass. Provincial Congress, Jours., p. 229–231). For JA's account of what resulted in Philadelphia, see his Diary and Autobiography, 3:351–353.
2. A letter from Edward Dilly to JA, 3 May, is in Adams Papers, but if correctly dated it could hardly have traveled from London to Watertown, Mass., and on to Philadelphia so rapidly.
3. Joseph Warren to JA, 20 May (Adams Papers); see AA to Joseph Warren, 13 May, above.
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/