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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0019

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1764-04-11

John Adams to Abigail Smith

[salute] My ever dear Diana

The Room which I thought would have been an Hospital or a Musaeum, has really proved a Den of Thieves, and a scene of Money Changers. More Persons have been with me about Business, since I shut up, than a few, and many more than I was glad to see, for it is a sort of Business that I get nothing by, but Vanity and Vexation of Spirit. If my Imprisonment had been in Consequence of Bankruptcy, I should not have endured much more Mortification and Disquiet. I wish this Day was a Fast, as well as Tomorrow, that I might be sure of two Days Tranquility, before my Departure. I am not very impatient at present: Yet I wish I was at Boston. Am somewhat fearful of foul weather, on Fryday. If it should be, the very first fair Opportunity must be embracd.
Abstinence from all, but the cool and the soft, has hitherto agreed with me very well; and I have not once transgressed in a single Iota. The Medicine we have taken is far from being loathsome or painful or troublesome, as I own I expected. And if I could but enjoy my Retreat in silence and solitude, there would be nothing Wanting but Obliviscence of your Ladyship, to make me as Happy as a Monk in a Cloyster or an Hermit in his Cell. You will wonder, perhaps at my calling in Monks and Hermits, on this Occasion, and may doubt about the Happiness of their situations: Yet give me leave to tell you freely, the former of these are so tottally absorbed in Devotion and the latter in Meditation, and such an Appetite, such a Passion for their Respective Employments and Pleasures grows habitually up in their Minds, that no Mortals, (excepting him who hopes to be bound to your Ladyship in the soft Ligaments of Matrimony) has a better security for Happiness than they.
Hitherto I have written with the Air and in the style of Rattle and Frolick; but now I am about to shift to the sober and the Grave.—My Mamma1 is as easy and composed, and I think much more so than I expected. She sees We are determined, and that opposition would be not only fruitless, but vexatious, and has therefore brought herself to acquiesce, and to assist in preparing all Things, as conveniently and comfortably as she can. Heaven reward her for her kind Care, and her Labours of Love!
{ 23 }
I long to come once more to Weymouth before I go to Boston. I could, well enough. I am as well as ever, and better too. Why should not I come? Shall I come and keep fast with you? Or will you come and see me? I should be glad to see you in this House, but there is another very near it,2 where I should rejoice much more to see you, and to live with you till we shall have lived enough to ourselves, to Glory, Virtue and Mankind, and till both of us shall be desirous of Translation to a wiser, fairer, better World.

[salute] I am, and till then, and forever after will be your Admirer and Friend, and Lover,

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For Miss Abigail Smith Weymouth These.”
1. Susanna (Boylston) Adams (1709–1797), who by her 2d marriage, 1766, became Mrs. John Hall. See Adams Genealogy.
2. That is, the house now known as the John Quincy Adams Birthplace, which JA had inherited and to which he brought AA after their marriage in the following October. This passage establishes beyond question the fact that JA continued to live with his mother in the house next door (the John Adams Birthplace) into the year 1764. But it leaves open the question whether or not he had yet opened his law office in the JQA Birthplace. A note by the present editors in JA's Diary and Autobiography, 1:225, under the entry dated 20 Nov. 1761, is too positive on this point.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0020

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1764-04-11

John Adams to Abigail Smith

This is the last Opportunity I shall have to write you from Braintree for some Weeks. You may expect to hear from me, as soon after my Arrival at Boston as possible. Have had a peaceable, pleasant Day upon the whole. My Brother and I have the Wishes, the good Wishes of all the good People who come to the House. They admire our Fortitude, and wish us well thro, even some, who would heartily rejoice to hear that both of Us were dead of the small Pox provided no others could be raised up in our stead to be a Terror to evil Doers, and a Praise and Encouragement to such as they mortally hate, those that do well.
But I have attained such an Elevation in Phylosophy as to be rendered very little, the better or worse, more chearful or surly, for the good or ill Wishes or Speeches of such Animals, as those.
Amusement engages the most of my Attention. I mean that as I am necessitated to spend three or four Weeks in an Absolute Vacation of Business and study, I may not amuse myself, with such silly Trifles as Cards and Baubles altogether, but may make the very Expletives of Time, the very Diverters from Thinking, while I am under the small { 24 } Pox of some Use or Pleasure, to me, after I get well. For this Purpose beg Papa, to lend me, all the Volumes of Swifts Examiner and send them over by Tom to yr
[signed] John Adams
Love and Duty where, and in Proportion as, it is due.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For Miss Abigail Smith Weymouth These.”
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/