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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0171

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-07-26

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams

[salute] Mr. Adams

I forgot in my last epistle, to desire you to speak to the Phila. printer's of the News paper's generally sent this way for to send me One, weekly which as the posts are now regulated, comes here a Thursday Afternoon, the Hartford post arriving att Cambridge a Wednesday Night.
Your two Peices Issue'd by your Congress1 meets with general Applause—but we want to see that to the King and as itt is supposed, itt is on the passuage there, and will be there soon, itt would be as well to have itt publishd to the world as to defer itt, till you may here of itts Arrival, which now may not be till sometime after the former Usual time—but as itt is probable there are some resolutions on that matter, would not dictate, but iff you could hand a body a Coppy which many friends are Anxious to see and have spoke to me about I would not make any publick Use off itt, which you may inclose by post, what postage of my letters you may make a Minute and will pay you.
I Observe the Advertisement of Mr. Loyds which Agrees with what I was told by a person from Boston, who told me there was a brig carried in with a large quality of pork, Stock &c. said to have loaded att Norfolk, and pretended to be bound to the West Indies, but before she got Out of the Capes a Mr. Wood took possession of her—which when I was told the story I mistrusted, that itt was a scheem, simelar to What was proposd by Mr. Loyd, who in the station he was in Acted, no Otherwise than Others must have done.
I find by Capt. Darbey the Manifactore's by some means or Other ar kept imployed and that many sort of goods are rise in prise, being in such demand, however cant think that can be the case any length { 267 } of time.—I hope you will contrive some Office for bro. Cushing,2 & are Yr. H S,
[signed] IS
RC (MiU-C: Gage Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams Esq One of the Members of the Contenental Congress Philadelphia”; postmarked: “AU: 5 Camb. FREE.” The letter was intercepted by the British and never reached JA.
1. The Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms, adopted by the Continental Congress on 6 July, and the Address to the Inhabitants of Great Britain, adopted two days afterward (JCC, 2:127–157, 162–170).
2. The first overt sign that Thomas Cushing was lagging behind popular sentiment was his omission from the Boston delegation in the new House of Representatives. As Samuel Adams put it, Cushing was “kickd up Stairs” to the Council (Warren-Adams Letters, 1:94).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0172

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-07-28

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

Your two last Letters had very different Effects. The long one gave me vast Satisfaction. It was full of usefull Information, and of excellent Sentiments. The other relating to the ill Usage you have received from Hayden gave me great Pain and the utmost Indignation.
Your generous Solicitude for our unfortunate Friends from Boston, is very amiable and commendable, and you may depend upon my Justification of all that you have done or said to Hayden. His sawcy, insolent Tongue is well known to me, but I had rather he should indulge it to me than to you. I will not endure the least disrespectfull Expression to you. In my Absence and in your Situation, it is brutal. I send you a Warning to him to go out of the House immediately. You may send it to him, if you see fit. If you do, let two or three Witnesses see it, before you send it, and let it be sent by a good Hand.
This Letter will go by four young Gentlemen from Maryland. Mr. Cary, Son of Mr. Sam. Cary, of Charlestown, Mr. Lux, Mr. Hopkins, Mr. Smith, young Soldiers and Voluntiers to the Camp.—I am yours,
[signed] John Adams
Love to the Children. Thank Nabby for her Letter.1 I will answer it.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree favoured by Mr. Lux”; endorsed: “C No 17.” Enclosed “Warning” from JA to his tenant Hayden not found.
1. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0173

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-07-30

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear

This Letter is intended to go by my Friend Mr. William Barrell, whom I believe you have seen in Boston. If he calls at our House you will please to receive him complaisantly and thank him for your Present of Pins. I have been treated by him with great Civility, both at this and the former Congress.
This Day, I have heard my Parish Priest, Mr. Duffill from 2. Chron. 15. 1. 2. This Gentleman never fails to adapt his Discourse to the Times. He pressed upon his Audience the Necessity of Piety and Virtue, in the present Times of Adversity, and held up to their View the Army before Boston as an Example. He understood, he said, that the Voice of the Swearer was scarcly heard, that the Sabbath was well observed and all Immoralities discountenanced. No doubt there were vicious Individuals, but the general Character was good.—I hope this good Mans Information is true, and that this will become more and more the true Character of that Camp. You may well suppose that this Language was exceedingly pleasing to me.
We have nothing new, but the Arrival of some Powder. Three little Vessells have certainly arrived, making about Ten Tons in the whole, and four or five Tons have arrived from S. Carolina. A Supply, I think now We shall certainly obtain. Congress have taken Measures for this End, which I hope to have the Pleasure of explaining to you in Person, within a few Days, as Congress has determined to adjourn to sometime in September. I could not vote for this myself because I thought it might be necessary to keep together, but I could not blame those who did, for really We have been all so assiduous in Business, in this exhausting debilitating Climate, that our Lives are more exposed than they would be in Camp.1

[salute] Love to the Children.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree favoured by Mr. Barrell”; endorsed: “C No 18.”
1. On Saturday, 29 July, it was “Resolved, That this Congress will, as soon as the public business permits, adjourn to the 5th. of Septr. next” (JCC, 2:224). Samuel Adams gave the following explanation to his wife next day: “The arduous Business that has been before the Congress and the close Application of the Members, added to the Necessity and Importance of their visiting their several Colonies and attending their respective Conventions, have inducd them to make a Recess during the sultry Month of August” (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:184). According to the Journal, Congress adjourned on 1 Aug. (JCC, 2:239), but it is clear from letters and diaries of certain members that { 269 } some business was transacted the following morning; see R. T. Paine, MS Diary (MHi), under 2 Aug.; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:185, 187. JA probably set off from Philadelphia later the same day, though possibly not until the 3d. There is no record of his return trip, but he traveled very fast, for he arrived in Watertown on the morning of the 10th and plunged at once, as a member of the Council, into the work of the General Court; see his Diary and Autobiography, 2:165–166, and Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 1st sess., p. 60. AA did not learn until the 11th that he was back in Massachusetts (AA to JA, 10–11 Aug., below; see note 2 there).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0174

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-07-31

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I do not feel easy more than two days together without writing to you. If you abound you must lay some of the fault upon yourself, who have made such sad complaints for Letters, but I really believe I have wrote more than all my Sister Delegates. Their is nothing new transpired since I wrote you last, but the sailing of some transports, and 5 deserters having come into our camp. One of them is gone I hear to Phyladelphia. I think I should be cautious of him—no one can tell the secret designs of such fellows whom no oath binds—he may be sent with assassinating designs. I can credit any viliny that a Ceasar Borgea would have been guilty of—or Satan himself would rejoice in. Those who do not scruple to bring poverty, Misiry, Slavery and Death upon thousands will not hesitate at the most diabolical crimes—and this is Brittain. Blush o! Americans that ever thou derivest thy origin from such a race.
We learn from one of these Deserters that our ever valued Friend Warren, dear to us even in Death; was [not]1 treated with any more respect than a common soldier, but the [sav]age wretches call'd officers consulted together and agreed to sever his Head from his body, and carry it in triumph to Gage, who no doubt would have “grin'd horrible a gastly smile,” instead of imitating Ceasar who far from being gratified with so horrid a Spectacle, as the Head even of his Enimy, turned away from Pompeys with disgust and gave vent to his pitty in a flood of tears.
“How much does pagan tenderness put christian Benevolence to shame.” What Humanity could not obtain, the rights and ceremonies of a Mason demanded. An officer who it seems was one of the Brotherwhood requested that as a Mason he might have the body unmangled, and find a decent interment for it. He obtaind his request, but upon returning to secure it, he found it already thrown into the Earth, only { 270 } with the ceremony of being first placed there, with many bodies over him2

“Nor writ his Name whose tomb should pierce the Skies.”

“Glows my resentment into Guilt? What Guilt

Can equal voilations of the Dead?

The Dead how sacred! Sacred is the Dust

Of this Heaven-labourd form erect, divine!

This Heav'n assum'd Majestick robe of earth.”

Thus far I wrote and broke of[f]. Hearing there was a probability of your return I thought not to send it, but the reception of yours this morning of July 23, makes me think the Day fart[h]ur of[f] than I hoped. I therefore will add a few lines tho very unfit. I have had a very Ill Night. Just recoverd from the rash, I went out yesterday to attend the funeral of a poor fellow who the Night before fell in Battle as they were returning from the Light house. (I catchd some cold.) A Sabbeth Evening there was a warm fire from Prospect Hill and Bunkers Hill, begun first by the Riffel men taking of their Gaurds. 2 Men upon our side were kill'd, 5 of their guards were killd, 2 taken. I believe my account will be very confused, but I will relate it as well as I am able. A Sabbeth Evening a number of Men in Whale Boats went of from Squantom and Dorchester to the light house, where the General Gage had again fixd up a Lamp, and sent 12 carpenters to repair it. Our people went on amidst a hot fire from 30 Marines who were placed there as a guard to the tory carpenters, burnt the dwelling house, took the Torys and 28 Marines, kill'd the Leiunt. and one Man, brought of all the oil and stores which were sent, without the looss of a man till they were upon their return when they were so closely persued that they were obliged to run one whale boat ashore and leave her to them. The rest arrived safe except the unhappy youth whose funeral I yesterday attended, who received a Ball thro the temples as he was rowing the boat. He belong'd to Road Island. His name was Griffin. He with 4 wounded Marines was brought by Capt. Turner to Germantown and buried from their with the Honours of War. Mr. Wibird upon the occasion made the best oration (he never prays you know) I ever heard from him. The poor wounded fellow[s] (who are all wounded in their arms) desired they might attend. They did and he very pathetacally addressd them; with which they appeard affected. I spoke with them. I told them it was very unhappy that they { 271 } should be obliged to fight their best Friends. They said they were sorry—they hoped in God an end would be speadily put to the unhappy contest. When they came, they came in the way of their Duty to releave Admiral Montague—with no thoughts of fighting—but their situation was such as obliged them to obey orders, but they wish'd with all their souls they that sent them here had been in the heat of the Battle, express'd gratitude at the kindness they received, said in that they had been deceived, for they were told if they were taken alive, they should be Sacrificed by us. Dr. Tufts Dress'd their wounds.
I had a design to have wrote you something about a talk'd of appointment of a Friend of Mine to a Judicial Department, but hope soon to see that Friend, before his acceptance may be necessary.3 I enclose a complement coppied by a Gentleman from a peice in the Worcester paper signed Lycurgus.4
I can add no more as the good Col. Palmer Waits only my compliments to Mrs. Miflin, and tell her I do not know whether her Husband is safe here. Belona and Cupid have a contest about [him.] You hear nothing from the Ladies, but about Major Miflins easy address, politeness, complasance &c. &c. Tis well he has so agreable a Lady at Phyladelphia. They know nothing about forts, intrenchments &c. when they return5 or if they do they are all forgot and swallowed up in his accomplishments.

[salute] Adieu my Dearest Friend and allways believe me unalterably yours,

[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esq. at Philadelphia To the Care of Major Mifflin.” Enclosure missing; see note 4.
1. Here and below, MS is torn by seal.
2. AA is reporting only a part of the rumors that circulated then and later about British indignities to Joseph Warren after his death in Bunker Hill battle, where he fought as a volunteer and not as an officer. Their precise extent is now known from a letter, only recently published, written a few days after the battle by the British officer who commanded the burial detachment. This was Capt. Walter Sloane Laurie, who wrote from “Camp on Charles Town Heights” to an unidentified correspondent, 23 June 1775: “Doctor Warren, President of the Provincial Congress, and Captain General, in the Absence of Hancock and [Samuel] Adams, and next to Adams, in abilities, I found among the Slain, and stuffed the Scoundrel with another Rebel, into one hole, and there he, and his seditious principles may remain” (quoted in Sigmund Diamond, “Bunker Hill, Tory Propaganda, and Adam Smith,” NEQ, 25:367 [Sept. 1952]). In April 1776, soon after the British evacuation of Boston, Warren's body was identified, exhumed, and reburied from King's Chapel in the Old Granary with public and Masonic honors; see AA's account in her letter to JA of 7–11 April 1776, below.
3. This is a hint, well in advance of the fact, that JA was to be appointed to the Superior Court of Massachusetts. In the following October he was appointed chief justice by the Council (under the legal fiction that the Gov• { 272 } ernor was “absent”); see AA to JA, 25 Oct., below, and note 5 there.
4. Not now with the letter. The piece referred to, signed “Lycurgus” in Mass. Spy, 12 July, answered “Democritus,” who had argued that only “men of common understanding” were qualified to be representatives in the General Court. “Lycurgus” pointed out that the principal leaders of the patriot cause were college-educated, many of them being members of the learned professions, and praised highly the Massachusetts delegates to the Continental Congress, to whom “Democritus'” observations were “affrontive.”
5. That is, when the ladies return from visits to the American headquarters in Cambridge.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0175

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-08-10

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dearest Friend

Tis with a sad Heart I take my pen to write to you because I must be the bearer of what will greatly afflict and distress you. Yet I wish you to be prepaired for the Event. Your Brother Elihu lies very dangerously sick with a Dysentery. He has been very bad for more than a week, his life is despaired of. Er'e I close this Letter I fear I shall write you that he is no more.
We are all in great distress. Your Mother is with him in great anguish. I hear this morning that he is sensible of his Danger, and calmly resigned to the will of Heaven; which is a great Satisfaction to his mourning Friend's. I cannot write more at present than to assure you of the Health of your own family. Mr. Elisha Niles lies very bad with the same disorder.—Adieu.
I have this morning occasion to sing of Mercies and judgments. May I properly notice each—a mixture of joy and grief agitate my Bosom. The return of thee my dear partner after a four months absence is a pleasure I cannot express, but the joy is overclouded, and the Day is darkened by the mixture of Grief and the Sympathy I feel for the looss of your Brother, cut of in the pride of life and the bloom of Manhood! in the midst of his usefulness;1 Heaven san[c]tify this affliction to us, and make me properly thankful that it is not my sad lot to mourn the loss of a Husband in the room of a Brother.
May thy life be spaired and thy Health confirmed for the benefit of thy Country and the happiness of thy family is the constant supplication of thy Friend.2
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To John Adams Esqr.”
1. JA's tribute to his brother Elihu, who “had commanded a Company of Militia all Summer at Cambridge,” is in his Diary and Autobiography, 3:326.
2. From this it appears that the speed { 273 } of JA's return journey surprised everyone, including his wife, and that urgent business in the General Court caused him to pause in Watertown before proceeding to Braintree, where he had evidently hoped to turn up on his own doorstep unannounced after nearly four months' absence. The editors' inference in a note in JA's Diary and Autobiography (2:166), that he first went home and then to Watertown to attend the Council, is therefore wrong. During the rest of August JA spent weekends at home and weekdays attending the Council until the General Court adjourned on the 24th. AA came with him to Watertown for the last three days of the session. After a final weekend at home he left early on Monday the 28th for Philadelphia, but stayed for two or three days' further attendance in Council before leaving Watertown, probably on 1 September. See his Diary and Autobiography, 2:167–168, and references there; JA to Mercy Warren, 26 Aug., Warren-Adams Letters, 1:104–105; AA to Mercy Warren, 27 Aug., printed below.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0176

Author: Green, Hannah Storer
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-08-18

Hannah Storer Green to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Friend

[epigraph]

“To certain Trouble we are born

Hope to rejoice but sure to mourn.”

A serious truth this, which daily observation teaches, and experience convinces us of; for at the very moment that our hopes are at their height, trouble comes upon us like an armed Man, our hearts sink within us and we tremble with fear. Again our hopes rise, we anticipate the happiness of that day, when we shall gain the Victory over our worse than Savage enemies, when we shall meet and rejoice together again in quiet habitations. Here again our hearts are damp'd at the thought that tho' we should be permitted to return, yet many of our friends may be laid in their graves, and here I cannot but recall to my mind our brave General, and your particular friend; who nobly lost his life in the cause of Liberty; regretted by all, except those who are dead to every feeling of humanity. Others being overborne with trouble, and lacking the necessaries of life, fall victims to the stroke of Death. Thus we go on balancing between Hope, and fear; hopeing for good but sure of —— I was a going to say evil, but I will not, why should I call that evil, which God hath appointed? and I doubt not will make it all turn for good; but still my friend, the human heart recoils at what has, and what still may happen.
I am glad for your sake to hear Mr. Adams is safe return'd tho' I am sorry upon other accounts that there should be a separation of that noble body upon whom our welfare so much depends and to whom we are so much obliged. Our regards to him and thanks for the share he has had in the good work. May he go on and prosper, and nations yet unborn, arise and speak his praise.
{ 274 }
I was concern'd when I heard of the engagement on Grape Island on account of your Fathers family. I imagine it must have put them in a great fright, I hope they are all well. Let me know particularly how they do, &c.
We are now at the distance of an Hundred Miles from our own habitation without any thing that we can call our own except a little matter for present use having left House and Shop with every thing belonging thereto, flying as it were for our Lives and at the same time not knowing our real danger, so as to have secur'd our Substance in case we should not return.—What is your opinion? Do you think there is any likelihood, of the towns being preserv'd and the treasures of it kept from being a prey in the hand of the enemy? Or do you give it over for lost? I shall take it kindly if you will write me as particularly as you can, as I know it is in your power to give me a rational account of the matter and which will be laying a great obligation upon Your Old Friend,
[signed] Hannah Green
P.S. My kind remembrance to every enquiring friend. Should be glad to know about Mr. Abra. Hunt and his Wife, as they went to Braintree, whether they are well and whether he remains there or gone to the Army.
I should have wrote to you before if I'd had paper but I could not buy any here and had not Sister Green sent me some to write to her I could not have improved this opportunity.
Mr. Green has been looking over the above and says that he would not have had it gone upon any account without his best regards to you and yours, in which you may be sure I join him.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0177

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-08-26

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

I know my dear friend Mrs. Adams will be Glad to hear Her friend is in Better Health than when she Left Her. Hope I shall be able to Look Homewards some time Next Week. I Long for my own Retirement, and for the opportunity of seeing and Entertaining my Friend, at my own Habitation. But I know who talks sometimes of Fate. I suppose he means that providence has Its fixed Decrees to which Mortals must submit. Mr. Warren was yesterday at Cambridge and { 275 } there saw the Letters to Mrs. Abigail &c.2 I believe I shall not now have the pleasure of seeing them, so Cannot Give my judgment whether treasonable or not.
I Return a Sermon Mr. Adams favoured me with. Tell him (but strictly Confidential and secret) that before he sets out I believe he will yet hear the Musick of War and the Loud Blasts of Distruction that will probably make Miserable the fond Wife and the affectionate Mother. Tis my opinion He will have some important Inteligence to Carry to Philadelphia if He stays at Braintree forty eight hours Longer.3 But if I am mistaken tell Him not to Laugh at that or any other Follies of his Friend. I have Grounds for the Conjecture, and may Heaven Crown with success Every Enterprize of justice, and Grant that Harmony may again preside in our Land with the Ensigns of Fredom and Honour Blazond on her standard.
You will write me by Coll. Palmer And Let me know if your Friend and my Friend Gos off in Good spirits. You will permit me to unite with you in Every Wish for his Health, Happiness and safe Return.

[salute] With unfeigned Regards to both Mr. and Mrs. Adams subscribes their affectionate Friend,

[signed] Mercy Warren
1. Date established from AA's reply of the next day, which follows.
2. The intercepted letters from JA to AA and James Warren written at Philadelphia on 24 July.
3. On the night of the 27th–28th American forces took and fortified Ploughed Hill on the Mystic River, thus advancing their lines closer to Charlestown Neck and Bunker Hill (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 3:453, 462).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0178

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1775-08-27

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] My Dear Mrs. Warren

It was with pleasure I received a line from my Friend to day informing me of her better Health. I was really anxious for her—more so on account of the great mortality which prevails around us. I arrived at my own habitation a fryday1 and found my family all well—a blessing which I hope will be continued to me.
The peaceful tranquility of my own habitation was enhanced to me by a few Days absence, amidst a more noisy and tumultuous scene than I love, tho I injoyed many hours of pleasure in the society of my Friends.
I have not heard any of the allarms you mention, only the artillery of the clouds which has been pretty heavey this afternoon but pro• { 276 } duced us many refreshing showers, in which I rejoice for many reasons. My Friend will leave me to morrow morning, and will have a much more agreable journey for the rain. I find I am obliged to summons all my patriotism to feel willing to part with him again. You will readily believe me when I say that I make no small sacrifice to the publick.
You write me that you have been to Head Quarters, and there seen the Letters. Pray what did you think of them? Money must be much plentier than provisions with Gage or he would not think of setting so high a value upon them.
I shall send this by Mr. Adams who will call upon you as he has alterd his mind with regard to going to Deadam. I shall be very glad to see my Friend next week. Any week or any time she may be assurd of a hearty welcome from her affectionate
[signed] Portia
PS My regards to the young Ladies where you are. I left a peice of black gauze upon the table. Please to inquire for it and take it with you. My best regards attend your worthy partner.
RC (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “To Mrs. Mercy Warren Watertown”; docketed in one or more unidentified hands: “Mrs. Adams Augt. 1775 No. 2.”
1. 25 August. AA had been at Watertown with JA from the 22nd to the 24th.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0179

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-09-08

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dearest Friend

Since you left me I have passed thro great distress both of Body and mind; and whether greater is to be my portion Heaven only knows. You may remember Isaac was unwell when you went from home.1 His Disorder increasd till a voilent Dysentery was the consequence of his complaints, there was no resting place in the House for his terible Groans. He continued in this state near a week when his Disorder abated, and we have now hopes of his recovery. Two days after he was sick, I was seaz'd with the same disorder in a voilent manner. Had I known you was at Watertown I should have sent Bracket for you. I sufferd greatly betwen my inclination to have you return, and my fear of sending least you should be a partaker of the common calamity. After 3 day[s] an abatement of my disease relieved me from that anxiety. The next person in the same week was Susy. She we carried home, hope she will not be very bad. Our Little Tommy was the next, and he lies very ill now—there is no abatement at present of his disorder. { 277 } I hope he is not dangerous. Yesterday Patty was seazd and took a puke.2 Our House is an hospital in every part, and what with my own weakness and distress of mind for my family I have been unhappy enough.
And such is the distress of the neighbourhood that I can scarcly find a well person to assist me in looking after the sick. Mrs. Randle [Randall] has one child that is not expected to live out the night, Mrs. Belcher has an other, Joseph Bracket an other, Deacon Adams has lost one, but is upon the recovery himself, and so are the rest of his family.3 Mr. Wibird lies bad. Major Miller is dangerous. Revd. Mr. Gay is not expected to live.
So sickly and so Mortal a time the oldest Man does not remember. I am anxious for you. Pray let me hear from you soon. I thought you would have left me a Letter at Watertown as you staid so long there. I was disapointed that you did not.—As to politicks I know nothing about them. The distresses of my own family are so great that I have not thought about them. I have wrote as much as I am able to, being very week. I hope to add a more pleasing account er'er I close. Adieu.
Tis now two days since I wrote. As to my own Health I mend but very slowly—have been fearful of a return of my disorder to day but feel rather better now. Hope it is only oweing to my having been fatigued with looking after Tommy as he is unwilling any body but Mamma should do for him, and if he was I could not find any body that is worth having but what are taken up already with the sick. Tommy I hope is mending, his fever has abated, his Bowels are better, but was you to look in upon him you would not know him, from a hearty hale corn fed4 Boy, he is become pale lean and wan. Isaac is getting better, but very slowly. Patty is very bad. We cannot keep any thing down that she takes, her situation is very dangerous. Mr. Trot and one of his children are taken with the disorder.
I shall write every day if I am able. Pray let me hear from you often. Heaven preserve both your life and health and all my sufferings will be but small. By the first safe conveyance be kind eno to send me 1 oz. of turkey Rhubub, the root, and to procure me 1 quarter lb. of nutmegs for which here I used to give 2.8 Lawful, 1 oz. cloves, 2 of cinnamon. You may send me only a few of the nutmegs till Bass returns. I should be glad of 1 oz. of Indian root. So much sickness has occasiond a scarcity of Medicine.
Distroy this. Such a doleful tale it contains can give no pleasure to { 278 } any one. Our other children are well and send Duty to pappa. Bracket has been complaining but has got better. The small pox in the natural way was never more mortal than this Distemper has proved in this and many neighbouring Towns. 18 have been buried since you left us in <the other> Mr. Welds parish. 4, 3 and 2 funerals in a day for many days. Heitherto our family has been greatly favourd. Heaven still preserve us. Tis a melancholy time with us. I hope you will not think me in the dismals, but publick and private judgments ought to be noticed by every one. I am most affectionately Yours,
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “The Honble: John Adams Esqr: at the Congress Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Portia. Sep. 8. 10. 1775.”
1. Isaac Copeland, a hired or bound farm boy.
2. Susy and Patty, whose last names are unknown, were evidently young servants or bound girls. AA's subsequent letters report that Susy recovered and returned, but Patty, who was probably a relative of JA or AA and had lived four years in the Adams household, died after a protracted and grisly illness early in October.
3. Deacon Ebenezer Adams (1737–1791) was a double first cousin and Braintree neighbor of JA. See Adams Genealogy.
4. The earliest use of this adjective recorded in DAE is by Joel Barlow in his Hasty Pudding, published 1793: “Brown, corn-fed nymphs and strong, hard-handed beaux.” The more recent Dict. of Americanisms records “corn-fed pork” in 1787.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0180

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-09-17

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I set myself down to write with a Heart depressed with the Melancholy Scenes arround me. My Letter will be only a Bill of Mortality, tho thanks be to that Being who restraineth the pestilence, that it has not yet proved mortal to any of our family, tho we live in daily Expectation that Patty will not continue many hours. A general putrefaction seems to have taken place, and we can not bear the House only as we are constantly clensing it with hot vinegar. I had no Idea of the Distemper producing such a state as hers till now. Yet we take all posible care by shifting her bed every day. Two of the children John and Charlss I have sent out of the house, finding it difficult to keep them out of the chamber. Nabby continues well. Tommy is better, but intirely striped of the hardy robust countanance as well as of all the flesh he had, save what remains for to keep his bones together. Jonathan is the only one who remains in the family but what has had a turn of the disorder. Mrs. Randle has lost her daughter, Mrs. Bracket hers, Mr. Thomas Thayer his wife. 2 persons belonging to { 279 } Boston have died this week in this parish. I know of eight this week who have been buried in this Town.
In Weymouth it is very sickly, but not Mortal. Dr. Tufts tell[s] me he has betwen 60 and 70 patients now sick with this disorder. Mr. Thaxter has been obliged to go home as it was not posible for me to accommodate him. Mr. Mason came this week, but if he had been inclined I could not have taken him now.1 But the general Sickness in the Towns determined him to return home for the present. The dread upon the minds of people of catching the distemper is almost as great as if it was the small pox. I have been distress'd more than ever I was in my life to procure watchers and to get assistance.
I hear Mr. Tudor has been dangerously sick, but is now upon the recovery. Mr. Wibird is very low indeed, scarcly able to walk a step. We have been 4 Sabbeths without any meeting. Thus does pestilence travel in the rear of War to remind us of our intire dependance upon that Being who not only directeth the arrow by day, but has also at his command the pestilence which walketh in Darkness. So uncertain and so transotory are all the enjoyments of Life that were it not for the tender connections which bind us here, would it not be folly to wish for a continuance here? I think I shall never be wedded to the World, and were I to loose about a Dozen of my dearest Connections I should have no further realish for Life.
But perhaps I deceive my self, and know but little of my own Heart;

“To Bear and Suffer is our portion here.”

And unto him who mounts the Whirlwind and directs the Storm I will chearfully leave the ordering of my Lot, and whether adverse or prosperous Days should be my future portion I will trust in his right Hand to lead me safely thro, and after a short rotation of Events fix me in a state immutable and happy.
You will think me melancholy. Tis true I am much affected with the distress'd Scenes around me but I have some Anxietyes upon my mind which I do not think it prudent to mention at present to any one. Perhaps when I hear from you, I may in my next Letter tell you. In the mean time I wish you would tell me whether the intercepted Letters have reachd Phyladelphia and what affect they have there. There is a most infamous versification of them I hear sent out. I have not been able to get it.2 As to politicks there seems to be a dead calm upon all sides. Some of the Tories have been sending out their children. Col. Chandler has sent out his children, and Mr. Winslow has sent out his daughter. People appear to be gratified with the remon• { 280 } strance, address and petition,3 and most earnestly long for further intelegance.
God helps them that help themselves as King Richard said and if we can obtain the divine aid by our own virtue, fortitude and perseverance we may be sure of releaf.
Tomorrow will be 3 weeks since you left home in all which time I have not heard one word from you. Patience is a Lesson I have not to learn so can wait your own time, but hope it will not be long er'e my anxious heart is releaved. Adieu. I need not say how sincerely I am your affectionate
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “Honble. John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia To the care of Col: Warren”; endorsed: “Portia Sep. 16. 1775.”
1. Jonathan Mason (1756–1831), of Boston, College of New Jersey 1774, began his law studies with JA, was admitted to the bar in 1779, and later served as a Federalist in both the Massachusetts House and Senate and the U.S. House and Senate; after the turn of the century he was a leading developer of real estate on Beacon Hill in Boston (DAB; Chamberlain, Beacon Hill, p. 85 ff. and passim). From Mason's correspondence with both JA and AA surviving among the Adams Papers, there appears to have been a strong and reciprocal attachment between him and them.
2. Published as a handbill (see Warren-Adams Letters, 1:88, note), but no copy has been found. In her letter to JA of 22 Oct., below, AA gave the title as “a pharaphrase upon the Second Epistle of John the round Head to James the prolocutor of the Rump parliment.”
3. An Address, Petition, and Remonstrance in favor of the Americans presented by the City of London to the King on 5 July, printed in Mass. Spy, 13 Sept. 1775.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0181

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-09-17

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

This is the first Time, that I have attempted to write, since I left you. I arrived here in good Health, after an agreable Journey, last Wednesday; There had not been Members enough to make a House, several Colonies being absent, so that I was just in Time. The next day, an adequate No. appeared, and Congress has sat ever since.1
Georgia is now fully represented, and united to the other Twelve.
Their Delegates are Dr. Zubly, a Clergyman of the independant Perswasion who has a Parish in that Colony and a good deal of Property. He is a Native of Switzerland, is a Man of Learning and Ingenuity. It is said he is Master of several Languages, Greek, Latin, French, Dutch and English. In the latter it is said, he writes tolerably. He is a Man of Zeal and Spirit, as We have already seen upon several occasions.
{ 281 }
However, as he is the first Gentleman of the Cloth who has appeared in Congress, I can not but wish he may be the last. Mixing the sacred Character, with that of the Statesman, as it is quite unnecessary at this Time of day, in these Colonies, is not attended with any good Effects. The Clergy are universally too little acquainted with the World, and the Modes of Business, to engage in civil affairs with any Advantage. Besides those of them, who are really Men of Learning, have conversed with Books so much more than Men, as to be too much loaded with Vanity, to be good Politicians.
Mr. Bullock is another of the Georgian Delegates, a sensible Man, a Planter I suppose. Mr. Houstoun is the third, a young Lawyer of Modesty as well as sense and Spirit which you will say is uncommon.
Mr. Jones and Dr. Hall are not yet arrived.
Mr. Henry is made a General in Virginia, and therefore could not come. Mr. Pendleton and Coll. Bland excused them selves on Account of Age and ill Health. Messrs. Nelson, Wythe, and Lee, are chosen and are here in the Stead of the other three. Wythe and Lee are inoculated. You shall hear more about them. Altho they come in the Room of very good Men, We have lost nothing by the Change I believe.2—Remember me in the tenderest Language, to all our little Folks.—I am yours.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “Sepbr. 17.”
1. JA and Samuel Adams traveled together from Watertown and arrived in Philadelphia on 12 Sept., a week after the day to which Congress had adjourned; for their itinerary see JA's Account with Massachusetts, printed in his Diary and Autobiography, 2:168–169. A quorum was obtained and Congress proceeded to business on 13 Sept. (JCC, 2:240 ff.).
2. In his Diary entry for 15 Sept.JA had more to say about the new delegates: John Joachim Zubly, Archibald Bulloch, and John Houstoun of Georgia; and Thomas Nelson Jr., George Wythe, and Francis Lightfoot Lee of Virginia (Diary and Autobiography, 2:172–173).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0182

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-09-21

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

As soon as the Letter1 of my Beloved friend reached my Hand, I immediately set down to Congratulate her on the Recovery of her Lovely Boy. May Returning Health Enliven the Countenance of Each one of your family, and Every Blessing Alight on your Habitation. I have been very solicitous about you since I left you. Hearing several times [ . . . ] transiently that you and the Little flock about you were { 282 } very Ill, it is a great relief to my mind to be informd that so many of them are in better Health. I hope poor Patty may yet recover Notwithstanding your apprehensions.
The Letter you sent is not the one in question. There is still another somewhere. However am obliged and will Return them all, safe. As to the Copy of another I had much Rather you should dispose of It as you please than suspect any want of Confidence in your Friend.2
I have not seen the paraphrase you Mention nor is it Likely I shall unless you procure it for me, for I have not yet seen the Letters so much talked off. I was in hopes you would have sent me the Copies. Should be Glad you would send both when you have oppertunity.
You ask my opinion of the petition, the Remonstrance and the Irish Conduct &c. I think they discover that there are some people in England who have sense Enough to Discern that Impending Ruin Hangs over the Nation, and a few that may be Influenced by the Love of justice and Humanity And a Regard to their American Brethren but I believe there are many matters to be Adjusted before a setlement will be made. The silence of a Great personage may Indicate an obstinate perseverance in Error but perhaps it may be best. Negotiation under Certain Circumstance is but building on a Fabric so shatered by the Recent storm, that it is in Danger of falling under the Hands of the Workmen on the first Rude Blast which shall attack it.
I hear our Good Friend Mrs. Lincoln is Returned. I Wish she would make it Certain by a signal from her own Hand. With my affectionate Compliments to her and the Family do remind her of this Request.
I hope you will have your Drooping spirits Revived Ere Long by a Letter from a Gentleman, I Esteem (I belive I shall not be very wide from the truth) if I say Next to one I hope for the Happiness of seeing before this Reaches the Hand of the agreable Portia, from one who will Indulge so far in the Romantic stile as to subscribe once more by the Name of Your affectionate
[signed] Marcia
1. Not found.
2. These allusions remain obscure.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0183

Author: Green, Hannah Storer
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1775-09-22

Hannah Storer Green to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] My Dear Friend

I suppose you have received a Letter from me1 which upon recol• { 283 } lection, I'm sensible, bears evident tokens of a disorderd mind, but I hope, the distraction of the times, together with being in a great hurry for fear of losing the opportunity, will plead my excuse; and as I know you to be a friend I am sure you will not expose me; and indeed had it not been to such a one I should not have attempted writing at a time when my spirits were much agitated between hope and fear and tossed about like the waves of the Sea.—I wish you would let me hear from you. I want to know how you all do. Thro' the divine goodness we are in health. I would add more but Brother Storer is below and I want to be with him as much as I can so I know you will excuse me.

[salute] I am Affectionately Your Friend,

[signed] Hannah Green
P.S. I have a favor to ask of you, in case we should return to Boston we should be glad of a Seat at Dr. Coopers in the Pew with the Widow Cotton without incommoding her, now as we mean to make application to Mr. Hancock I would ask you to speak to Mrs. Adams about it to know whether she thought Mr. Adams would be kind eno' to ask Mr. Hancock about it.2 I do not mean to lay Mr. Adams under any obligation upon our account but if he would be kind eno' to speak to him for us, I should be obliged to him. Be sure so as not to incommode Mrs. Cotton but only to take a Seat with her (as we suppose there will be full room eno' and to spare for both). Yours and Mrs. Adams's advice and assistance in this as well as any other instance will be gratefully receivd by Your friend,
[signed] H.G.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs: Mary Cranch In Braintree.”
1. Not found.
2. John Hancock had given £1,000 toward the new building of Rev. Samuel Cooper's Brattle Street Meetinghouse, completed in 1773 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 11:195).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0184

Author: Hawley, Joseph
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-09-23

Joseph Hawley to Abigail Adams

[salute] Mrs. Adams

The Publick have great Need of two Vols. of Mr. Adams English Statutes at large. The edition which Mr. Adams owns is (if I don't mistake) Ruffhead's. The one Vol. which is wanted is that which contains the Statutes of 27th. of Edward the third and the other which is Needed contains the Statutes of the 23d. of Henry the 8th.1
I would not ask such a favour Madam, if the publick was not much interested. I shall desire Col. Thayer to be particularly careful in { 284 } bringing them—after their Arrival, I will undertake that they be Most carefully used and will be responsible for a speedy return of them. I don't know where else they can be Obtained.

[salute] I am Madm. Your Most respectful and Obedient Sert.,

[signed] Joseph Hawley
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams at Braintree.”
1. JA's set of the British Statutes at Large was that compiled by Owen Ruffhead, 8 vols. in 9, London, 1763–1765; it survives among his books in the Boston Public Library. The volumes Hawley wanted were the first two. A comparison of the statutes enacted during the regnal years mentioned by Hawley with the entries in the Massachusetts House Journal at this period does not suggest the precise use to which Hawley intended to put the Statutes.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0185

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-09-25

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dearest Friend

I set down with a heavy Heart to write to you. I have had no other since you left me. Woe follows Woe and one affliction treads upon the heal of an other. My distress for my own family having in some measure abated;1 tis excited anew upon the distress of my dear Mother. Her kindness brought her to see me every day when I was ill and our little Tommy. She has taken the disorder and lies so bad that we have little hopes of her Recovery. She is possess'd with the Idea that she shall not recover, and I fear it will prove but too true.
In this Town the distemper seems to have abated. We have none now so bad as Patty. She has lain 21 days, each day we had reason to think would be her last, but [a] good Constitution, and youth for ought I know will finally conquer the distemper. She is not able to get out of Bed, nor can she help herself any more than a new born infant. Yet their are symptoms which now appear in her favour.
The desolation of War is not so distressing as the Havock made by the pestilence. Some poor parents are mourning the loss of 3, 4 and 5 children, and some families are wholy striped of every Member.
Wherefore is it that we are thus contended with? How much reason have I for thankfulness that all my family are spaired whilst so many others are striped of their parents, their children, their husbands.
O kind Heaven spair my parents, spair my Dearest Friend and grant him Health. Continue the lives and health of our dear children. Sister Elihu Adams lost her youngest child last night with this disorder.2 I can add no more than Supplications for your welfare, and an ardent desire to hear from you by every opportunity. It will alleviate { 285 } every trouble thro which it may be my Lot to pass. I am most affectionately your distress'd
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esq at Philadelphia To the Care of Col: Warren”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. MS: “abateded.”
2. An infant daughter whose name is not known.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0186

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-09-26

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

I have not written the usual Compliment of Letters since I left Braintree; nor have I received one Scratch of a Pen from any Body, till the last Evening, when the Post brought me a Line from Mrs. Warren,1 in which she informs me that you had been ill, but was better. I shall be unhappy till I hear farther from you, tho I hope for the best.
I have enjoyed better Health, this session than the last, and have suffered less from certain Fidgets, Pidlings, and Irritabilities which have become so famous. A more serious Spirit prevails than heretofore. We shall soon be in Earnest. I begin to think We are so. Our Injunctions of Secrecy are so much insisted on, that I must be excused from disclosing one Iota of any Thing that comes to my Knowledge as a Member of the Congress. Our Journal of the last session however, I conjecture will be speedily printed and then I will inclose it to you.
I want to be informed from Hour to Hour, of any Thing which passes in Boston—whether our Friends come out—what Property they bring?—how they fare in Town? How the Tories subsist &c. &c. &c. Whether the Troops are healthy or sickly?
I also want to know every Thing which passes in our Army. The Feats and Exploits of our little Naval Armaments would be very agreable.
Tudor is made easy. He must keep a Clerk, or there will be Jealousies. Indeed it is his Duty for it is impossible he can do the Business himself, and if that is not done, Injustice to the public will be done.2
I have seen the Utility of Geometry, Geography, and the Art of drawing so much of late, that I must intreat you, my dear, to teach the Elements of those Sciences to my little Girl and Boys. It is as pretty an Amusement, as Dancing or Skaiting, or Fencing, after they { 286 } have once acquired a Taste for them. No doubt you are well qualified for a school Mistress in these Studies, for Stephen Collins tells me the English Gentleman, in Company with him, when he visited Braintree, pronounced you the most accomplished Lady, he had seen since he left England.—You see a Quaker can flatter, but dont you be proud.3
My best Wishes and most fervent Prayers attend our little Family. I have been banished from them, the greatest Part of the last Eighteen Months but I hope to be with them more, in Time to come. I hope to be excused from attending at Philadelphia, after the Expiration of the Year. I hope that Dr. Winthrop, Mr. Sever, Mr. Greenleaf, Coll. Warren, Mr. Hawley, Mr. Gerry, some or all of them will take their Turns, in the States4—and suffer me, at least to share with my Family, a little more than I have done, the Pleasures and Pains of this Life, and that I may attend a little more to my private Affairs that I may not be involved in total Ruin, unless my Country should be so and then I should choose to share its Fate.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in two or more unidentified hands.
1. Dated at Watertown, 4 Sept. 1775 (Adams Papers; partly printed in Warren-Adams Letters, 1:106–107). Mrs. Warren casually reported that AA had been “a Little unwell ... but is much better.”
2. William Tudor had been appointed judge advocate general on 14 July and soon found himself overwhelmed with work; see Tudor to JA, no date, filed under Aug. 1775 (Adams Papers).
3. On this incident see JA's Diary entry of 24 Sept. 1775 (Diary and Autobiography, 2:181–182).
4. In the sense of “States General,” meaning the Continental Congress—an echo of JA's reading in Dutch history.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0187

Author: Warren, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-09-27

James Warren to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

I Received yours last Evening.1 Att the same time that I feel a Joy on the happy recovery of yourself and Family, I feel a Tender Simpathy, and Concern with you on the Continuation of your Anxiety and Affliction by the Illness of your Mother. I hope you will soon be relieved by her recovery. I Intended before this to have had the pleasure of going to Plymo. and makeing at least a short Visit to Mrs. Warren and Family, and should not have failed Calling on you as I went along. I cant Express the Mortifications I feel on the repeated disappointments I have met with. I have been detained here three weeks Expecting every minute the remainder of the money to be sent from Philadelphia. The delay is unaccountable to every one here. We are all Agreed that there is some Wickedness at the Bottom, but know { 287 } not where. It is suspected to be in one of the Treasurer's whose Principles I am told would not recommend him to the place he holds. I know of no Conveyance at present to Philadelphia but by the Post who goes Tomorrow. Will Endeavour to Acquaint you of any I may meet with. The two Letters I received from you for Mr. Adams, I Inclosed in my own and sent by Mr. Willing. His postponeing his Journey from one day to another for a Week was the Occasion, of both of them going by the same Conveyance. I presume they are delivered before this. We have a remarkable Dearth of News. Nothing but what you see in the Paper Except the safe arrival of our Troops at Kennebeck.2 Not A word from Philadelphia. I hope very soon to have a Letter from your worthy Partner, who I dare say with me regrets those Circumstances that oblige us to a Seperation from the very worthy objects of our Esteem and Affection. I will forward the Letter you send by the first Opportunity. I am Madam with the greatest regard Your Friend & Humble Servt.,
[signed] J. Warren
1. Not found.
2. These troops had sailed from Newburyport to the Kennebeck River for the march into Canada under the command of Benedict Arnold. See French, First Year, p. 431–432.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0188

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-09-29

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dearest Friend

I received your kind favour of the 17. It was a Cordial to my dejected Heart to see and hear of your safe arrival in good Health and Spirits.
Many are the Mercies of Heaven towards me. Tho I feel myself severely chastned yet I would not be unmindful either of the favours or frowns of him who hath said that he doth not afflict willingly.—Tis allotted me to go from the sick and allmost dyeing Bed of one of the Best of parents to my own habitation, where again I behold the same Scene, only varied by a remoter connextion—

“A Bitter change, severer for severe.”

I go to my Mother, and stay 12 hours with her, and then am obliged to return home to the most gastly object my Eyes ever beheld, who is continually desirous of my being with her the little While she expects to live, and who is now become such a putrid mass as scarcely to be able for any one to do their Duty towards her.
{ 288 }
You can more easily conceive than I discribe what are the sensations of my Heart, when absent from either, continually expecting a Messenger with the fatal tidings; er'e this will reach you I suppose you will have received a Catalogue of my afflictions. In past years small has been my portion of the Bitter Cup in comparison with many others. But there is now prepairing for me I fear, a large draught thereof. May I be enabled to submit with patience and resignation to the rod and him who hath appointed it, knowing it is directed by unerring wisdom. The consolations of Religion are the only sure comforters in the day of affliction. They are not Buried in the dust, they journey not from us, nor can they be wrested from the mind by the lawless rapine of tyrants.
Thus far I wrote but could add no more till this morning. The Doctor is just gone, but alas he gives me no hopes, as he can see no symptoms upon which he can Build. I go to day to give a respit to my sisters.
All our dear little one[s] are well. Tommy looks cleverly. Patty still lives beyond any thing we could expect. Yesterday we thought her dyeing, but she revived again.
You must write me by every opportunity. You will not expect me to look abroad for any news. I hope you will have every intelegance from others much better than can be given you by your afflicted
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Portia. Septr. 29. 1775.”

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0189

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-01

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Have pitty upon me, have pitty upon me o! thou my beloved for the Hand of God presseth me soar.
Yet will I be dumb and silent and not open my mouth becaus thou o Lord hast done it.
How can I tell you (o my bursting Heart) that my Dear Mother has Left me, this day about 5 oclock she left this world for an infinitely better.
After sustaining 16 days severe conflict nature fainted and she fell asleep. Blessed Spirit where art thou? At times I almost am ready to faint under this severe and heavy Stroke, seperated from thee who used to be a comfortar towards me in affliction, but blessed be God, { 289 } his Ear is not heavy that he cannot hear, but he has bid us call upon him in time of Trouble.
I know you are a sincere and hearty mourner with me and will pray for me in my affliction. My poor father like a firm Believer and a Good christian sets before his children the best of Examples of patience and submission. My sisters send their Love to you and are greatly afflicted. You often Express'd your anxiety for me when you left me before, surrounded with Terrors, but my trouble then was as the small dust in the balance compaird to what I have since endured. I hope to be properly mindful of the correcting hand, that I may not be rebuked in anger.—You will pardon and forgive all my wanderings of mind. I cannot be correct.
Tis a dreadful time with this whole province. Sickness and death are in almost every family. I have no more shocking and terible Idea of any Distemper except the Plague than this.
Almighty God restrain the pestilence which walketh in darkness and wasteth at noon day and which has laid in the dust one of the dearest of parents. May the Life of the other be lengthend out to his afflicted children and Your distressd
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To The Honle. John Adams at Philadelphia To the Care of Col. Warren”; endorsed: “Portia Octr. 1. 1775.”

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0190

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-10-01

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

This Morning, I received your two Letters of September 8th. and September 16th.1—What shall I say?—The Intelligence they contain, came upon me by Surprize, as I never had the least Intimation before, that any of my Family was ill, excepting in a Card from Mrs. Warren received a few days ago, in which she informed me that Mrs. Adams had been unwell but was better.2
You may easily conceive the State of Mind, in which I am at present.—Uncertain and apprehensive, at first I suddenly thought of setting off, immediately, for Braintree, and I have not yet determined otherwise. Yet the State of public Affairs is so critical, that I am half afraid to leave my Station, Altho my Presence here is of no great Consequence.
I feel—I tremble for You. Poor Tommy! I hope by this Time, however, he has recovered his plump Cheeks and his fine Bloom. By { 290 } your Account of Patty I fear—but still I will hope she has been supported, and is upon the Recovery.
I rejoice to learn that Nabby and her Brothers have hitherto escaped and pray God that his Goodness may be still continued to them.—Your Description of the distressed State of the Neighbourhood is affecting indeed.
It is not uncommon for a Train of Calamities to come together. Fire, Sword, Pestilence, Famine, often keep Company, and visit a Country in a Flock.
At this Distance I can do no good to you nor yours. I pray God to support you—I hope our Friends and Neighbours are kind as usual. I feel for them, in the general Calamity.
I am so far from thinking you melancholly, that I am charmed with that Admirable Fortitude, and that divine Spirit of Resignation which appears in your Letters. I cannot express the Satisfaction it gives me, nor how much it contributes to support me.
You have alarmed me however, by mentioning Anxieties which you do not think it prudent to mention to any one. I am wholly at a Loss to conjecture what they can be. If they arise from the Letters,3 be assured that you may banish them forever. These Letters have reached Philadelphia, but have produced Effects very different from those which were expected from the Publication of them. These Effects I will explain to you sometime or other. As to the Versification of them, if there is Wit or Humour in it laugh—if ill Nature, sneer—if mere Dullness, why you may even yawn or nod. I have no Anger, at it, nay even scarcly contempt. It is impotent.
As to Politicks, We have nothing to expect but the whole Wrath and Force of G. Britain. But your Words are as true as an oracle “God helps them, who help them selves, and if We obtain the divine Aid by our own Virtue, Fortitude and Perseverance, We may be sure of Relief.”
It may amuse you to hear a Story. A few days ago, in Company with Dr. Zubly, somebody said, there was nobody on our side but the Almighty. The Dr. who is a Native of Switzerland, and speaks but broken English, quickly replied “Dat is enough.—Dat is enough,” and turning to me, says he, it puts me in mind of a fellow who once said, The Catholicks have on their side the Pope, and the K. of France and the K. of Spain, and the K. of Sardinia, and the K. of Poland and the Emperor of Germany &c. &c. &c. But as to them poor Devils the Protestants, they have nothing on their side but God Almighty.
{ 291 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams—Braintree”; endorsed: “Octobr. 1”; docketed in an unidentified hand: “Oct / 75 Mr. A.”
1. Both printed above, the second under its true date of 17 September.
2. See JA to AA, 26 Sept., note 1.
3. The intercepted letters. For more on the beneficial effect they had in Philadelphia (as JA believed), see JA to James Warren, 2 Oct., Warren-Adams Letters, 1:124; to AA, 2 Oct., below.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0191

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-10-02

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

Every Thing here is in as good a Way as I could wish, considering the Temper and Designs of Administration. I assure you, the Letters have had no such bad Effects, as the Tories intended, and as some of our shortsighted Whiggs apprehended: so far otherwise that I see and hear every day, fresh Proofs that every Body is coming fast into every political Sentiment contained in them. I assure you I could mention compliments passed upon them: and if a serious Decision could be had upon them, the public Voice would be found in their Favour.
But I am distressed with Cares of another Kind. Your two Letters are never out of my Thoughts. I should have mounted my Horse this day for Braintree, if I had not hopes of hearing further from you in a Day or two.
However, I will hope that your Prospects are more agreable than they were, and that the Children are all better as well as the rest of the Family and the Neighbours. If I should hear more disagreable Advices from you I shall certainly come home, for I cannot leave you, in such Affliction, without endeavouring to lessen it, unless there was an absolute Necessity of my staying here, to do a Duty to the Public, which I think there is not.
I must beg to be excused my dear from hint[ing] any Thing for the future of public Persons or Things. Secrecy is so much exacted: But thus much I can say, that I never saw so serious and determined a Spirit.
I must also beseech you to be cautious what you write to me and by whom you send. Letters sent to the Care of Coll. Warren, will come Safe.
My Regards with all proper Distinctions to my Relations and yours, my Friends and yours, my Acquaintances and yours.
This will go by Major Bayard, a Gentleman of the Presbyterian Perswasion in this City, of excellent Character to whom I am indebted for a great many Civilities.
{ 292 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For Mrs: Adams Braintree favoured by Major Bayard”; endorsed: “Ocbr. 2”; docketed in an unidentified hand.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0192

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-04

John Thaxter to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

Since your absence your family has been visited with such a scene of sickness, as, I believe it never before saw. Mrs's. Adams, Tommy, Copeland, Susy and Patty have been sick with the disorder which began to rage when you left Braintree; but they have all recovered saving Patty who Yesterday lay at the point of death.
Little Tommy, whom I affectionately love, had it so severely, that his life was despaired of; but God the great fountain and source of Being graciously averted the arrow of Death that seemed impending, and spared the tender Plant.
Mrss. Adams, whom I have just Grounds to respect, I unfeignedly pity in her present Distress. The Care of her Family in its present Situation is perplexing and burdensome—almost too much for her to sustain considering she is but just recovering from the violent Operations of this debilitating disorder.
I sympathize with her under an additional Distress, viz. the Loss of her Mother Smith, at whose Funeral Solemnity, she was Yesterday a mournful and an affected Attendant. One great Distress backed with another as severe has almost unnerved her; but Christian Fortitude cooperating with a firm Dependance on providential Support has enabled her to sustain the repeated Attacks of Distress and Despair.
The Symptoms of this Disorder are greatly abated and we are in hopes its Operations will soon cease.—Sword and Pestilence spread wild Havock and Carnage among Men. The one and the other we have experienced; of late, the latter is gradually removeing; but the Duration of the former is known only to that God who hath appointed both. Appearances seem to indicate that the Scabbard must still continue in Exile, and that the Sword must not as yet seek her safe Retreat.

[salute] I am, dear Sir, your very humble Servt:,

[signed] J. Thaxter
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Hingham Octr. 4. 1775”; docketed in the hand of William Gordon(?).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0193

Author: UNKNOWN
Date: 1775-10-06

Obituary of Elizabeth Quincy Smith

Last Sabbath departed this Life universally lamented Mrs. Elizabeth Smith, the amiable and virtuous Consort of the Revd. Mr. William Smith of this town; Aged 53 years. She has left a disconsolate Husband and four Children to mourn her Loss.1
No external motives to virtue with which mankind are favoured are more powerfully operative than living Examples of Piety and goodness: But next to these, perhaps, may be ranked the faithfull Coppies of Piety and virtue exhibited in the Characters of departed Saints. Hence we find that our blessed Lord, when on Earth, propos'd his Example to his Followers—“Learn of me &c.” and hence also the holy Apostle recommends as patterns to the primitive Christians the Characters of those departed Worthies who “thro' Faith and Patience inherited the promisses.”
Those who had the Happiness of being acquainted with Her whose much lamented Death gave rise to these Reflections, will not be offended at seeing so amiable a Character as hers modestly presented to publick view.
Tho' Mrs. Smith decended from very worthy and honourable Ancestors the pride of Parentage never found a place in her Heart: her true Dignity Sprung from a nobler Alliance. She “was born of God” and as a Christian was carefull without ostentation to walk in all the Commandments and Ordinances of the Lord blameless and to Teach the same to her family2 carefully avoiding that blind zeal for Trifles which so often alienates the affections of Christians and sours the sweetest Temper. In the various Social Relations of Wife, Mother and Mistress of a Family She was kind, tender and humane: but these soft and amiable Qualities appeared much more in obliging Actions than warm Expressions. In Sickness especially, her kind Assistance extended far beyond the limits of her Family or particular Connections. It was enough that the distressed was poor or a Stranger or Friendless to call her from her beloved retirement to their help and assistance; indeed it was in visiting and assisting the sick and Distressed that Mrs. Smith peculiarly excell'd. Her Tenderness and Attention were such as almost to prevent the Wishes of the Patient while the Chearfullness with which she administered to their Necessities “made languor smile and smothed the bed of Death.”
In her Domestick Oeconomy she was a Pattern of Prudence and { 294 } Industry and by imploying the Indus[t]rious Poor3 promoted at once the publick Good and that of individuals by the best kind of Charity.
In her Relation to the Parish, as the Wife of their Minister She was remarkably Prudent and Discreet never intermedling as a Party in any of the little Feuds and Quarrels that might happen in the Parish: but on the contrary allways using her best endeavours to restore Peace and Friendship where they had been unhappily interrupted: And such was her great Prudence and her mild and friendly manner of address that the blessing of the Peace Maker was often hers. Her treatment of the Parishioners was with the utmost frankness and affability when she met them abroad and with the most friendly Hospitality when she entertained them at home. By such a Prudent, virtuous and kind behaviour she gained the universal love and Esteem of that worthy Community where she had for more than thirty years resided And where perhaps in all that time no Death was ever more sincerely or more universally lamented than hers. In the Course of life she was often visited by long and painfull Indispositions of body; but She received the visits of those harbingers of Death with Christian Fortitude: and when at last her constitution tender and delicate at best was forc'd to yield to the king of Terrors; even then she was not “afraid with any Amazment” but calmly resigned her Soul into the hands of her great Redeamer saying with the blessed St. Stephen “Lord Jesus receive my Spirit.” With these Words she clos'd the Mortal Drama, Her next were heard in heaven!4
MS (Adams Papers); in an unidentified hand and without docketing or other markings; see note 1.
1. This obituary tribute is not in the hand of any member of the Smith family or circle known to the present editors. It is probably a fair copy of a missing original to which, as some phrases in the text suggest, AA may well have contributed. The tribute was printed in the Halls' New-England Chronicle or Essex Gazette of 19 Oct. 1775—a paper which had recently been published in Salem, was currently published in Cambridge, and after the British evacuation was transferred to Boston. The newspaper text is somewhat shorter and contains a number of verbal changes; only two variants are noted here.
2. Remainder of this sentence omitted in newspaper text.
3. Newspaper text reads: “... and by employing many of her poor Neighbours in making Clothing.”
4. For a more searching comment on the subject of this obituary, see JA's first letter to AA of 29 Oct., below.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0194

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-10-07

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear

Yesterday, by the Post, I received yours of Septr. 25th., and it { 295 } renewed a Grief and Anxiety, that was before almost removed from my Mind. Two days before I had the Pleasure of a very valuable Letter from Coll. Quincy,1 in which he kindly informed me that you and Our Family were so much better that you and my dear Nabby, had made a Visit at his House: and Mr. Williams, who brought the Letter acquainted me that he had been to Braintree after the Date of it, that you was in good Spirits, that Tommy was so much better as to be playing abroad, and that he hoped Patty was not dangerous: you will easily believe that this Information gave me great Pleasure and fine Spirits: It really relieved me from a heavy Load: But your last Letter has revived my Concern.—I will still hope however that your excellent Mother will yet be spared for a Blessing to her Family and an Example to the World. I build my Hopes of her Recovery, upon the Advantage of a Constitution which has hitherto sustained so many Attacks and upon a long Course of exact Temperance which I hope has deprived the Distemper of its most dangerous food and Fuel.—However, our Lives are not in our own Power. It is our Duty to submit.—“The Ways of Heaven are dark and intricate.” Its designs are often inscrutable, But are always wise and just and good.
It was long before I had the least Intimation of the Distress of the Family, and I fear, that your not receiving so many Letters from me as usual may have been one Cause of Infelicity to you.—Really, my dear, I have been more cautious than I used to be. It is not easy to know whom to trust, in these times, and if a Letter from any Person in the situation I am in, can be laid hold of, there are so many Lies made and told about it, so many false Copies taken and dispersed, and so many false Constructions put, that one ought to be cautious.
The Situation of Things, is so alarming, that it is our Duty to prepare our Minds and Hearts for every Event, even the Worst. From my earliest Entrance into Life, I have been engaged in the public Cause of America: and from first to last I have had upon my Mind, a strong Impression, that Things would be wrought up to their present Crisis. I saw from the Beginning that the Controversy was of such a Nature that it never would be settled, and every day convinces me more and more. This has been the source of all the Disquietude of my Life. It has lain down and rose up with me these twelve Years. The Thought that we might be driven to the sad Necessity of breaking our Connection with G.B. exclusive of the Carnage and Destruction which it was easy to see must attend the seperation, always gave me a great deal of Grief. And even now, I would chearfully retire from public life forever, renounce all Chance for Profits or Honours from { 296 } the public, nay I would chearfully contribute my little Property to obtain Peace and Liberty.—But all these must go and my Life too before I can surrender the Right of my Country to a free Constitution. I dare not consent to it. I should be the most miserable of Mortals ever after, whatever Honours or Emoluments might surround me.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams Braintree”; added in another hand: “To the Care of J Parke Esq”; endorsed: “Octobr. 7”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. Dated 22 Sept. 1775 (Adams Papers) and largely devoted to proposals for defending Boston Harbor.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0195

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-09

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I have not been composed enough to write you since Last Sabbeth1 when in the bitterness of my soul, I wrote a few confused lines, since which time it has pleased the great disposer of all Events to add Breach to Breach—

“Rare are solitary woes, they Love a Train

And tread each others heal.”

The day week that I was call'd to attend a dying parents Bed I was again call'd to mourn the loss of one of my own Family. I have just returnd from attending Patty to the Grave. No doubt long before this will reach you, you have received a melancholy train of Letters in some of which I mention her as dangerously sick. She has lain 5 weeks wanting a few days so bad as that we had little hopes of her Recovery; the latter part of the Time she was the most shocking object my Eyes ever beheld, and so loathsome that it was with the utmost dificulty we could bear the House. A mortification took place a week before she dyed, <nothing but duty and humanity could> and renderd her a most pityable object. We have great sickness yet in the Town; she made the fourth Corpse that was this day committed to the Ground. We have many others now so bad as to dispair of their lives. But Blessed be the Father of Mercies all our family are now well, tho I have my apprehensions least the malignincy of the air in the House may have infected some of them, we have fevers of various kinds, the Throat Distemper as well as the Dysentery prevailing in this and the Neighbouring Towns.
How long o Lord shall the whole land say I am sick? O shew us { 297 } wherefore it is that thou art thus contending with us? In a very perticuliar manner I have occasion to make this inquiry who have had Breach upon Breach, nor has one wound been permitted to be healed e'er it is made to Blead affresh, in six weeks I count 5 of my near connections laid in the grave. Your Aunt Simpson died at Milton about ten days ago with the Dysentery.2
But the heavy stroke which most of all distresses me is my dear Mother. I cannot overcome my too selfish sorrow, all her tenderness towards me, her care and anxiety for my welfare at all times, her watchfulness over my infant years, her advice and instruction in maturer age; all, all indear her memory to me, and highten my sorrow for her loss. At the same time I know a patient submission is my duty. I will strive to obtain it! But the lenient hand of time alone can blunt the keen Edg of Sorrow. He who deignd to weep over a departed Friend, will surely forgive a sorrow which at all times desires to be bounded and restrained, by a firm Belief that a Being of infinite wisdom and unbounded Goodness, will carve out my portion in tender mercy towards me! Yea tho he slay me I will trust in him said holy Job. What tho his corrective Hand hath been streatched against me; I will not murmer. Tho earthly comforts are taken away I will not repine, he who gave them has surely a right to limit their duration, and has continued them to me much longer than I deserved. I might have been striped of my children as many others have been. I might o! forbid it Heaven, I might have been left a solitary widow.
Still I have many blessing[s] left, many comforts to be thankfull for, and rejoice in. I am not left to mourn as one without hope.
My dear parent knew in whom she had Believed, and from the first attack of the distemper she was perswaded it would prove fatal to her. A solemnity possess'd her soul, nor could you force a smile from her till she dyed. The voilence of her disease soon weakened her so that she was unable to converse, but whenever she could speak, she testified her willingness to leave the world and an intire resignation to the Divine Will. She retaind her senses to the last moment of her Existance, and departed the World with an easy tranquility, trusting in the merrits of a Redeamer. Her passage to immortality was marked with a placid smile upon her countanance, nor was there to be seen scarcly a vestage of the king of Terrors.

“The sweet remembrance of the just

Shall flourish when they sleep in Dust.”

Tis by soothing Grief that it can be healed. { 298 }

“Give Sorrow words.

The Grief that cannot speak

Whispers the o'er fraught heart and bids it Break.”

Forgive me then, for thus dwelling upon a subject sweet to me, but I fear painfull to you. O how I have long'd for your Bosom to pour forth my sorrows there, and find a healing Balm, but perhaps that has been denyed me that I might be led to a higher and a more permamant consolater who has bid us call upon him in the day of trouble.
As this is the first day since your absence that I could write you that we were all well, I desire to mark it with perticuliar gratitude, and humbly hope that all my warnings and corrections are not in vain.
I most thankfully received your kind favour of the 26 yesterday. It gives me much pleasure to hear of your Health. I pray Heaven for the continuance of it. I hope for the future to be able to give you more intelegance with regard to what passes out of my own little circle, but such has been my distress that I knew nothing of the political world.
You have doubtless heard of the viliny of one who has professd himself a patriot, but let not that man be trusted who can voilate private faith, and cancel solem covanants, who can leap over moral law, and laugh at christianity.3 How is he to be bound whom neither honour nor conscience holds?—We have here a Rumor that Rhodiland has shared the fate of Charlstown—is this the Day we read of when Satan was to be loosed?
I do not hear of any inhabitants getting out of Town. Tis said Gage is superceeded and How in his place,4 and that How released the prisoners from Gaoil. Tis also said tho not much credited that Burgoine is gone to Philadelphia.
I hope to hear from you soon. Adieu. Tis almost twelve o clock at Night. I have had so little Sleep that I must bid you good Night. With hearty wishes for your return I am most sincerely Your
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “The Honble. John Adams a Member of the Continental Congress Philadelphia To the care of Coll. Lincoln Watertown”; endorsed: “Portia Octr. 9. 1775.”
1. That is, Sabbath before last, 1 October.
2. Mary (Boylston) Simpson (1714–1775), sister of JA's mother; she had married Nathan Simpson in 1740. See Adams Genealogy.
3. Late in September an exceedingly compromising letter in cipher written by Dr. Benjamin Church during the summer to his brother-in-law, a loyalist in Boston, was brought to light and caused a sensation because Church was high in patriot councils, a member of the Committee of Safety and of the House of Representatives, and in July had been appointed by Congress direc• { 299 } tor and chief physician of the Continental hospital. Church defended himself with spirit and ingenuity and never admitted his guilt. The suspicion that he was a traitor was not definitively proved until the 20th century. In his study entitled General Gage's Informers, Ann Arbor, 1932, Allen French published documents from the Gage Papers in the Clements Library showing that Church had been furnishing information to the British command in Boston since at least early in 1775. The Massachusetts House expelled Church, and he was court-martialed, but his punishment was referred to the Continental Congress, which, though it imprisoned Church, never quite made up its mind about him. Apparently there were some members who thought Church had acted with more bad judgment than bad faith. For a contemporary account of Church's detection, see James Warren to JA, 1 Oct. (Warren-Adams Letters, 1:121–122). William Tudor furnished JA with a report of Church's examination at the bar of the House in a letter of 28 Oct. (Adams Papers). JA's first impulse was to warn against abandoning Church “for a Traitor without certain Evidence” (to Warren, 18 Oct., Warren-Adams Letters, 1:142; see also JA to AA, 13 Oct., below). Later JA hinted that Hancock and Samuel Adams took too lenient a view of Church's conduct (Diary and Autobiography, 3:384). For what finally happened to Church, see French, General Gage's Informers, p. 195 ff.
4. Sir William Howe superseded Gage as commander of British forces south of Canada on 10 October.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0196

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-10-10

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I am much concerned least you should feel an Addition to your Anxieties, from your having so seldom heard from me. But I pray you to dismiss all Concern about me. I am happier far than I was before the Adjournment. My Health is better, and Business and Conversation are much more to my Taste.
The surprizing Intelligence We have in private Letters concerning the Director of the Hospital, has made me more cautious of Writing than ever. I must be excused from writing a Syllable of any Thing of any Moment. My Letters have been and will be nothing, but Trifles. I dont cho[o] se to trust the Post. I am afraid to trust private Travellers. They may peep. Accidents may happen, and I would avoid, if I could, even Ridicule, but especially Mischief.
Pray, bundle up every Paper, not already hid, and conceal them in impenetrable Darkness. Nobody knows what may occur.
My Love to those who are dearest to us both. Send yours to the Care of the Gentleman whose Care has hitherto been successfull. Date them in Time, but not Place, and assume a new fictitious Name.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams To the Care of Coll Warren”; endorsed: “Ocbr. 10”; docketed in an unidentified hand.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0197

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-10-13

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I this day received yours of the 29 of September, and the 1st. of October.
Amidst all your Afflictions, I am greatly rejoiced to find that you all along preserve so proper and so happy a Temper—that you are sensible “the Consolations of Religion are the only sure Comforters.” It is the Constitution under which We are born that if We live long ourselves We must bury our Parents and all our Elder Relatives and many of those who are younger. I have lost a Parent, a Child and a Brother, and each of them left a lasting Impression on my Mind: But, you and I have [many]1 more Relations, and very good Friends to follow to the House [app]ointed for all Flesh, or else We must be followed by them.—In your last you make no Mention of Patty, poor distress'd Girl! I fear the next News I shall hear will be of her Departure, yet I will hope, that Youth, and a strong Constitution which has lasted so long will finally survive. If not We must submit.
I bewail more than I can express, the Loss of your excellent Mother. I mourn the Loss of so much Purity, and unaffected Piety and Virtue to the World. I know of no better Character left in it. I grieve for you, and your Brother, and sisters, I grieve for your Father, whose Age will need the Succour of so excellent a Companion. But I grieve for nobody more than my Children, and Brothers Smiths and Mr. Cranch's. Her most amiable, and discreet Example, as well as her Kind Skill and Care I have ever relyed upon in my own Mind, for the Education of these little Swarms. Not that I have not a proper Esteem for the Capacity and Disposition of the Mothers, but I know that the Efforts of the Grandmother, are of great Importance, when they second those of the Parent. And I am sure that my Children are the better for the forming Hand of their Grandmother.
It gives me great Joy to learn that ours are well—let us be thankfull for this and many other Blessings yet granted us. Pray my dear cherish in the Minds of my Nabby and Johnny and Charly and Tommy the Remembrance of their Grand mamma, and remind them of her Precepts and Example.
God almighty grant to you and to every Branch of the Family, all the Support that you want! You and I, my dear, have Reason, if ever Mortals had, to be thoughtfull—to look forward beyond the transitory Scene. Whatever is preparing for Us, let us be prepared to receive. It is Time for Us to subdue our Passions of every Kind. The Prospect { 301 } before Us is an Ocean of Uncertainties, in which no pleasing objects appear. We have few Hopes, excepting that of preserving our Honour and our Consciences untainted and a free Constitution to our Country. Let me be sure of these, and amidst all my Weaknesses, I cannot be overcome. With these I can be happy, in extream Poverty, in humble Insignificance, nay I hope and believe, in Death: without them I should be miserable, with a Crown upon my Head, Millions in my Coffers, and a gaping, idolizing Multitude at my Feet.—My Heart is too full of Grief for you and our Friends to whom I wish you to present my Regards, to say any Thing of News or Politicks. Yet the Affair of the surgeon general is so strange, and important an Event that I cannot close this gloomy Letter, without adding a Sigh for this imprudent unfortunate Man! I know not whether the Evidence will support the Word Treachery, but what may We not expect after Treachery to himself, his Wife and Children!2
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams Braintree To the Care of Coll Warren”; endorsed: “Octobr. 13”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. Here and below, MS is torn by seal.
2. Church's intermediary in the affair of the cipher letter was a woman generally believed to be his mistress; it was therefore supposed that one of the reasons why he took money from the British was in order to support her. See Allen French, General Gage's Informers, p. 183 ff.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0198

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1775-10-19

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren

I thank my Friends for their kind remembrance of me last week,1 the Letter enclosed was dated one day after that I received a week before, and containd no publick intelegance. I have been Expecting Letters by the Gentlemen who I hear have arrived,2 but fear I have not any, as there are none come to hand. I thought I should hear oftner from Philadelphia this fall, than I had ever done before, but I never before had so few Letters, or found the communication so difficult.
I wish my Friend you would be kind enough to write me often whilst you tarry at Watertown, and let your Letters be of the journal kind; by that mean I could participate in your amusements, in your pleasures, and in your sentiments which would greatly gratify me, and I should collect the best of inteligance.
Pray Sir is this request unreasonable. I would not ask any thing willingly which might be deemd so. If it is not will you use your { 302 } influence in obtaining for me this favour? It is Matter of speculation what the errant of these Gentlemen is. Some suppose one thing some an other.
What do you immagine will be the consequence if a certain Letter writer should escape without very severe punishment? Would there not be suspicions in the minds of people, prejudicial to those in power? The Country appear much exasperated, and would say he was not the only traitor.
You have not wrote me what you think of the intercepted Letters, nor of the ridiculous pharaphrase. I wish you would be kind eno to return the coppy of the Letters when ever you have done with them.
I hear Mrs. Miflin is come to the Head Quarters. If you see her, please to present my complements to her. I want to know all that passes. Curiosity you see natural to me as a——3 but I know who has as much, and therefore can excuse a reasonable share of it in her Friend.
My best regards attend Mrs. Wintrope when you see her.4 When do you expect to return? I hope I shall see more of you then, and have the pleasure of both your company, much longer. I fear I shall not see you at Watertown. I feel but little inclination to go into company. I have no son big enough to accompany me, and two women cannot make out so well, as when they are more naturally coupled. I do not fancy riding thro Roxbury with only a female partner; so believe you will not see Your
[signed] Portia
RC ( MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed in two unidentified hands: “Mrs. Adams—Oct 1775 No. 4.”
1. Not found. It enclosed a letter from JA to AA of 27 Sept. which is also missing.
2. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Lynch, and Benjamin Harrison, a committee appointed and instructed by Congress on 29–30 Sept. to confer with Washington and the de facto governing authorities in New England on “the most effectual method of continuing, supporting, and regulating a continental army” (JCC, 3:265–267). They arrived at Watertown on the 15th (James Warren to JA, 20–22 Oct. 1775, Warren-Adams Letters, 1:149).
3. As a woman. AA is echoing remarks on female curiosity in Mrs. Warren's letter to her of 28 Jan., above.
4. Hannah (Fayerweather) Tollman Winthrop (d. 1790), 2d wife of JA's friend Professor John Winthrop of Harvard (Mayo, Winthrop Family, p. 187–191).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0199

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-10-19

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

It is some Time since I wrote you, and I have nothing, now, { 303 } to write but Repetitions of Respect and Affection.—I am anxious to hear from you. I hope, the Family is better, and that your Grief for the great Loss We have all sustained is somewhat abated. I hope your Father and Sister Betcy, are well, tho they must be greatly afflicted. Give my Love to Betcy, and let her know that I feel, most intimately for her, as well as for myself, and the rest. I consider the Stroke must fall heavier upon her, as it was nearer to her. Her Prosperity is near my Heart—I wish her every Blessing which she can possibly wish for herself.
Really it is very painfull to be 400 Miles from ones Family and Friends when We know they are in Affliction. It seems as if It would be a Joy to me to fly home, even to share with you your Burdens and Misfortunes. Surely, if I were with you, it would be my Study to allay your Griefs, to mitigate your Pains and to divert your melancholly Thoughts.
When I shall come home I know not. We have so much to do, and it is so difficult to do it right, that We must learn Patience. Upon my Word I think, if ever I were to come here again, I must bring you with me. I could live here pleasantly if I had you, with me. Will you come and have the small Pox here? I wish I could remove all the Family, our little Daughter and Sons, and all go through the Distemper here.—What if We should? Let me please myself with the Thought however.
Congress has appointed Mr. Wythe, Mr. Deane and me, a Committee to collect an Account of the Hostilities committed by the Troops and Ships, with proper Evidence of the Number and Value of the Houses and other Buildings destroyed or damaged, the Vessells captivated and the Cattle, Sheep, Hogs &c. taken. We are about writing to all the general assemblies of New England, and to many private Gentlemen in each Collony to assist Us in making the Collections. The Gentlemen with me are able Men. Deane's Character you know. He is a very ingenious Man and an able Politician. Wythe is a new Member from Virginia, a Lawyer of the highest Eminence in that Province, a learned and very laborious Man: so that We may hope this Commission will be well executed.1 A Tale of Woe it will be! Such a scene of Distress, and Destruction and so patiently and magnanimously born. Such a Scene of Cruelty and Barbarity, so unfeelingly committed.—I mention this to you my dear, that you may look up and transmit to me a Paper, which Coll. Palmer lent me containing a Relation of the Charlestown Battle, which was transmitted to England by the Committee of Safety. This Paper I must have, or a Copy of it.2
{ 304 }
I wish I could collect from the People of Boston or others, a proper Set of Paintings of the Scenes of Distress and Misery, brought upon that Town from the Commencement of the Port Bill. Posterity must hear a Story that shall make their Ears to Tingle.

[salute] Yours—yours—yours—

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “Octobr. 19”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. The committee to prepare “a just and well authenticated account of the hostilities committed by the ministerial troops and navy in America since last March” was appointed on 18 Oct., and on the 26th Congress ordered the resolution concerning it published (JCC, 3:298–299, 307). Some of the letters of inquiry signed and sent by the committee survive (three from scattered sources are recorded in the Adams Papers Editorial Files), and there are many references to the project in JA's private correspondence at this time. But contrary to JA's hope, more pressing business prevented this plan from being “executed” at all.
2. This “Relation” had been drawn up by the Committee of Safety, or by its order, and transmitted in a letter from Joseph Palmer to Arthur Lee in London, 25 July 1775. The narrative and covering letter are printed in Force, Archives, 4th ser., 2:1373–1376, though curiously not in the official record of the Committee of Safety's proceedings, which ends at 15 July with an editorial statement that no further record is preserved (Mass. Provincial Congress, Jours., p. 597). Palmer forwarded a copy of the narrative to JA in a letter of 31 Oct. –11 Nov. 1775 (Adams Papers; enclosure filed at 25 July 1775); see also AA to JA, 5 Nov., below, which evidently forwarded another copy.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0200

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Date: 1775-10-20

John Adams to Abigail Adams 2d

[salute] My dear Daughter

I condole with you, most sincerely, for the loss of your most worthy grandmamma. I know you must be afflicted at this severe stroke. She was an excellent instructress to you, and a bright example of every amiable virtue. Her piety and benevolence; her charity; her prudence, patience, and wisdom, would have been, if it had pleased God to spare her life, an admirable model for you to copy. But she is no more: however, I hope you will remember a great deal of her advice and be careful to pursue it.
Now you have lost so valuable an ancestor, I hope you will be more attentive than ever to the instructions and examples of your mamma and your aunts. They I know will give you every assistance in forming your heart to goodness and your mind to useful knowledge, as well as to those other accomplishments which are peculiarly necessary and ornamental in your sex. My love to your brothers and all the rest of the family. Your father,
[signed] John Adams
{ 305 }
MS not found. Printed from (Journal and Correspondence of Miss Adams, ... Edited by Her Daughter, New York, 1841–1842, 2:3–4.)

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0201

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1775-10-20

John Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My dear son

I have suffered a great deal of Anxiety on your Account, having heard of your severe sickness. But am very glad to learn that you are better.1
I hope you will remember to whom you are obliged for your Restoration to Health, and that you will be sensible of the kind Care of your Mamma in your Illness and thankfull for it.
Your excellent Grandmamma, it is to be feared, took the Distemper which proved fatal to her at our House when she was kindly assisting your Mamma in attending upon you and the rest of the sick Family.— Your Age was so tender that you never had so much Knowledge of her, as your sister and Brothers, but I hope you knew so much of her Goodness as to wish to imitate it.
Be always dutifull and obedient to your Mamma and mind your Books—for it is only from your Books and the kind Instructions of your Parents that you can expect to be usefull in the World.
1. There is no indication on the MS which son JA is addressing, but it was TBA, youngest of the three, who had been seriously ill.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0202

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-21

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Tis ten Days since I have wrote you a line; I have received one Letter since dated 27 of Sepbr.1 You do not mention having heard from me altho I have wrote six Letters. I thought I should have heard oftner from you in this absence than I had ever done before, but it has been quite otherways. I never found the communication so difficult, and tis only in my Night visions that I know any thing about you.
I have now the pleasure to tell you that we are all well. Charlly has had an ill turn since I wrote, but soon got better. Mr. Thaxter and Mr. Mason are returnd to me, and my family begins again to appear as it used to. Hayden does not stir. Says he will not go out of the parish unless he is carried out—and here nobody will let him come in. I { 306 } have offerd him part of the House that Field is in if he will but go out, but no where suits, and it is not to be wonderd at as he has wood at free cost and has plunderd pretty well from the family they live <with> many articles.2 I have a great mind to send a sheriff and put him out.
The sickness has abated here and in the Neighbouring Towns. In Boston I am told it is very sickly among the inhabitants and the soldiry. By a Man one Haskings who came out the day befor yesterday I learn; that there are but about 25 hundred Soldiers in Town. How many there are at Charlstown he could not tell. He had been in Irons 3 weeks, some malicious fellow having said that he saw him at the Battle of Lexinton, but he proved that he was not out of Boston that day, upon which he was releazd, and went with two other men out in a small boat under their Eye to fish. They play'd about near the shore a while catching small fish, till they thought they could possibly reach Dorchester Neck; no sooner were they perceived attempting to escape than they had 20 cannon dischargd at them, but they all happily reachd the shore. He says no Language can paint the distress of the inhabitants, most of them destitute of wood and of provisions of every kind. The Bakers say unless they have a new supply of wood they cannot bake above one fortnight longer—their Bisquit are not above one half the former size. The Soldiers are obliged to do very hard duty, and are uneasy to a great degree, many of them declareing they will not continue much longer in such a state but at all hazards will escape; the inhabitants are desperate, and contriveing means of escape. A floating Battery of ours went out two nights ago, and row'd near the Town, and then discharged their Guns. Some of the Ball went into the Work house, some through the Tents in the common, and one through the Sign of the Lamb Tavern; he says it drove them all out of the common, Men, women and children screaming, and throe'd them into the utmost distress. But very unhappily for us in the discharge of one of the cannon, the Ball not being properly ramed down one of them split and killd 2 men and wounded 7 more, upon which they were obliged to return. He also says that the Tories are much distressd about the fate of Dr. Church, and very anxious to obtain him, and would exchange Lovel for him. This Man is so exasperated at the ill usage he has received from them that he is determined to inlist immediately. They almost starved him whilst he was in Irons, he says he hopes it will be in his power to send some of them to Heaven for mercy.
They are building a fort by the Hay market and rending down houses for timber to do it with. In the course of the last week several person[s] { 307 } have found means to escape. One of them says tis talked in Town that How will issue a proclamation giving Liberty to all who will not take up arms to depart the Town, and make it death to have any intercourse with the Country afterwards.
At present it looks as if there was no likelihoods of peace. The Ministry are determind to proceed at all events. The people are already slaves, and have neither virtue or spirit to help themselves or us. The time is hastning when Gorge like Richard may cry a kingdom a kingdom for a horse, and want even that wealth to make the purchase.
I hope by degrees we shall be innured to hardships and become a vi[r]tuous valient people, forgetting our formour Luxery and each one apply with industery and frugality to Manufactory and husbandery till we rival all other Nations by our Virtues.
I thank you for your amuseing account of the Quaker[s]. Their great stress with regard to coulours in their dress &c. is not the only ridiculous part of their Sentiments with regard to Religious Matters.

There's not a day, but, to the Man of thought,

Betrays some secret, that throws new reproach

on life, and makes him sick of seeing more.

What are your thoughts with regard to Dr. Church? Had you much knowledg of him? I think you had no intimate acquaintance with him.

“A foe to God was ne'er true Friend to man

Some sinister intent taints all he does.”

It is a matter of great Speculation what will be his punishment. The people are much enraged against him. If he is set at liberty, even after he has received a severe punishment I do not think he will be safe. He will be dispised and detested by every one, and many suspisions will remain in the minds of people with regard to our rulers; they are for supposing this person is not sincere and that they have jealousy of.
Have you any prospect of returning. I hoped to have heard from you by the Gentlemen who came as a committe here, but they have been here a week, and I have not any Letters.
My Father and Sister Betsy desire to be rememberd to you. He is very disconsolate. It makes my heart ake to see him and I know not how to go to the House; he said to me the other day child I see your Mother, go to what part of the house I will. I think he has lost almost { 308 } as much flesh as if he had been sick, and Betsy poor Girl looks broke and worne with Grief. These near connextions how they twist and cling about the Heart and when torn of draw the best Blood from it—

“Each Friend snatchd from us is a plume

pluck'd from the wing of Humane vanity.”

Be so good as to present my Regards to Mrs. Hancoke.3 I hope she is very happy. Mrs. Warren call'd upon me on her Way to Watertown. I wish I could as easily come to you, as she can go to Watertown but tis my Lot. In the 12 years we have been married I believe we have not lived together more than six.
If you could with any conveniancy procure me the articles I wrote for I should be very glad, more especially the needles and cloth. They are in such demand that we are really distressd for want of them.
We have had abundance of rain since you left us. I hope the Sickness with which we have been excersised has not reach'd Philadelphia. Mr. Wibird has not been able to preach since you left us, and is in a very low state.
Our little ones are well. Tommy is so fat he can scarcly see out of his Eyes, but is still excersiced with them fits. Dr. Tufts son is sick with a slow fever. Adieu. I think of nothing further to add but that I am With the tenderest Regard your
[signed] Portia
PS [] Since I wrote the above I have received a Letter by Mr. Bayard for which I thank you. It gives me pleasure to find you in so good health. I have heard this Evening that a Man of War has been sent to Falmouth to make a demand of wood, upon which an express was sent of to our camp, and the express says a few hours after he set out, he heard a smart cannonade. The truth has not yet reachd us.4 We are anxious to hear from Canady.—If you can procure me some Carolina pink root from any of the Apothecarys I wish you would for Tommy. We think knots of worms is the occasion of his fits. I have tried worm Seed, but it has no Effect.—Write if you can to my Father and Sister. Send the news papers they are very acceptable.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia To the Care of Coll: Warren”; endorsed: “Portia's Letter Oct. 21. 1775.”
1. Not found.
2. Thus in MS.
3. John Hancock was married on 28 Aug. to Dorothy, daughter of Justice Edmund Quincy, at Fairfield, Conn. (DAB). See Adams Genealogy. The couple had long been engaged, but JA's surprise at the news was considerable and was expressed in a letter to James Warren of 17 Sept. (Warren-Adams Letters, 1:110).
4. The town of Falmouth (now Port• { 309 } land, Maine) was bombarded and burnt by a British naval squadron acting under orders from Adm. Samuel Graves, 17 Oct.; see French, First Year, p. 540–543, 765–766.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0203

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-10-21

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

This Letter will go by two Gentlemen, who are travelling to your Country, for the Sake of acquiring military Knowledge. The Name of one of them is Mr. John Folwell and the other Mr. Josiah Hart. Each of them is the Captain of a Company of Militia in their Country, which is no small Honour here. Captn. Hart is the Son of a Mr. Joseph Hart of Warminster in the County of Bucks in this Province, whose benevolent disposition has led him to exert himself, zealously to gather Collections of Money and other Things for the Relief of our Friends in Boston, and whose Character and Influence, has enabled him to do it with Success. These Travellers are visiting the Camp for the Sake of gaining military Knowledge by Experience, that their Country may have the Benefit of it whenever there shall be Occasion to call it forth.
I dont know that they will visit Braintree. If they should I hope you will treat them with as much Civility as your Circumstances will admit.
We have had a Calm for a long Time, but expect the Weather will change very soon. Remember me to all. My Duty to your Father, with my best Wishes for his Support under his severe Affliction.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams Braintree favoured by Messrs. Folwell and Hart. To the Care of Coll Warren”; above address, apparently in JA's hand: “J.A.”; endorsed: “ocbr. 21”; docketed in an unidentified hand.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0204

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-22

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Mr. Lorthorp1 call'd here this Evening and brought me yours of the 1 of October a day which will ever be rememberd by me, for it was the most distressing one I ever experienced. That morning I rose and went into my Mothers room, not apprehending her so near her Exit, went to her Bed with a cup of tea in my hand, raised her head to give it to her, she swallowed a few drops, gaspd and fell back upon her pillow, opend her Eyes with a look that pirced my Heart and { 310 } which I never shall forget. It was the eagerness of a last look—“and O! the last sad silence of a Friend.”
Yet she lived till 5 oclock that day, but I could not be with her. My dear Father prayed twice beside her Bed that day. God Almighty was with him and suported him that day and enabled him to go thro the Services of it. It was his communion day. He had there a tender scene to pass through—a young Grandaughter Betsy Cranch joining herself to the church, and a Beloved Wife dying to pray for—weeping children, weeping and mourning parishoners all round him, for every Eye streamed, his own heart allmost bursting as he spoke. How painful is the recollection, yet how pleasing?
I know I wound your Heart. Why should I? Ought I to give relief to my own by paining yours?

“Yet the Grief that cannot speak

Whispers the o'er fraught heart and bids it burst.”

My pen is always freer than my tongue. I have wrote many things to you that I suppose I never could have talk'd.
My Heart is made tender by repeated affliction. It never was a hard Heart. The death of Patty came very near me, having lived four years with me, under my care. I hope it will make me more continually mindful and watchfull of all those who are still committed to my charge.
Tis a great trust. I daily feel more and more of the weight and importance of it, and of my own inability. I wish I could have more of the assistance of my dearest Friend but these perilous times swallow him up.
Mr. Lorthrope has given me this account of the demand upon Falmouth. A Man of War and two tenders went down and sent to the inhabitants to demand their Arms and require them to Stand Nutur, they required time to consider, they gave them till nine oclock the next day, which time they imployed in removeing the women, children and the rest of their most valuable Effects out of Danger when they sent their answer in the Negative. Upon which they began a cannonade and were continuing it when the Express came away.— Hitchbourn and an other Gentleman got out of Town in a small Boat, one of the fogy nights we have had this week.2 I have not heard what intelegance he brings. An other person says that How enlarged all the prisoners but Lovel and he would not come out.
I have since seen the pharaphrase as tis call'd but tis as low as the mock oration tho no reflection upon your private character further { 311 } than immoderately whiping your Schollers when you kept School, a crime any one will acquit you of who knows you. As a specimen of the wit and humour it containd I will give you the tide—a pharaphrase upon the Second Epistle of John the round Head to James the prolocutor of the Rump parliment. Dear Devil &c.
I had it, but it was when I was in so much distress that I cared nothing about it. I will mention when I see you the foolish conjectures of some who want always to be finding out something extraordinary in what ever happens.
Mr. Cranchs family are well and send Love to you. Your Mother too, is always anxious for you, and is so apprehensive least a fleet should be sent to Bombard Philadelphia that she has not much comfort. Brothers family are well except young Crosby who had the dysentery very bad, and has left him Bereaved of his reason.3 Isaac is so far recoverd as to return after six weeks and Susy is returnd to me again. Our neighbours are now all getting well.

[salute] I hope to hear often from you which is all the alleviation I have of your absence, and is next to seeing you the greatest comfort of your

[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esq. at Philadelphia To the Care of Coll: Warren”; endorsed: “Portia Octr. 22. 1775.”
1. Probably Isaac Lothrop, of Plymouth, who had been James Warren's colleague as a member of the General Court and of the several Provincial Congresses; see their Journals and Warren-Adams Letters, passim.
2. Benjamin Hichborn escaped from Adm. Graves' ship, Preston, in Boston Harbor on 19 Oct. by eluding a sentry, climbing out of the gunroom port, and dropping into the captain's canoe, in which he reached Dorchester Neck (Hichborn to JA, 25 Nov.–10 Dec. 1775, Adams Papers).
3. Presumably Joseph Crosby Jr. (1751–1783), Harvard 1772, younger brother of Mrs. Peter Boylston Adams (Mary Crosby); in 1802 his daughter Elizabeth Anne married her cousin, Boylston Adams, son of Peter Boylston Adams. (Information from Harvard Univ. Archives.)

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0205

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-10-23

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Yesterday yours of Octr. 9th. came to Hand. Your Letters never failed to give me Pleasure—the greatest Pleasure that I take, is in receiving them. And altho every one, which has yet come to Hand is replete with melancholly Tidings, yet I can truly say I never was so earnest to receive them. I rejoice in the happy Principles and the happy Temper, which apparently dictated them all.
{ 312 }
I feel myself much affected with the Breach upon the Family. But We can count a Mother, a Brother, an Aunt, and a Brothers Child among the slain by this cruel Pestilence. May God almighty put a stop to its Rage, and humble us under the Ravages already made by it.
The sorrows of all our Friends on the Loss of your Mother are never out of my Mind. I pray God to spare my Parent whose Life has been prolonged by his Goodness hitherto, as well as yours that survives.
The tremendous Calamities already felt of Fire, Sword and Pestilence, may be only Harbingers of greater still. We have no security against Calamities here—this Planet is its Region. The only Principle is to be prepared for the worst Events.
If I could write as well as you, my sorrows would be as eloquent as yours, but upon my Word I cannot.
The unaccountable Event which you allude to has reached this Place and occasioned a Fall. I would be glad however that the worst Construction might not be put. Let him have fair Play—tho I doubt.
The Man who violates private Faith, cancells solemn Obligations, whom neither Honour nor Conscience holds, shall never be knowingly trusted by me. Had I known, when I first voted for a Director of an Hospital, what I heard afterwards when I was down,1 I would not have voted as I did. Open barefaced Immorality ought not to be so countenanced. Tho I think, a Fatality attends us in some Instances, yet a divine Protection and favour is visible in others, and let us be chearfull whatever happens. Chearfullness is not a sin in any Times.
I am afraid to hear again almost least some other should be sick in the House. Yet I hope better, and that you will reassume your wonted Chearfullness and write again upon News and Politics. Send your Letters to Warren for Conveyance. I wont trust any other.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams Braintree to the Care of Coll Warren”; endorsed: “Octobr. 23”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. That is, while in Massachusetts between sessions of Congress.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0206

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-10-25

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I have been highly favourd this week past. No less than 5 Letters I have received from you. It is a releif to one to know that we have a Friend who shares our misfortunes and afflictions with us. Your Letters administer comfort to my wounded Heart. It will sometimes when of of1 my Gaurd swell and exceed the bounds I endeavour to { 313 } set to it. It is natural to mourn the loss of any comforts in proportion to the pleasure and satisfaction we derived from them.
Altho I have all immaginable reason to think my dear Mother far happier than she could be in this uncertain perplexing state of existance, and do not [wish]2 her back again, yet my selfish Heart longs for her smiling countanance, her kind advice, her tender care, her prudent Example and her thousand amiable virtues. They are never out of my mind. I am continually recollecting her watchfulness over my infant years, her great care and assiduity to early instill religious principals into her children. Nor did she faill of her duty in her last hours but upon her dying Bed, gave counsel where she thought it most necessary. I wish I could have conversd more with her myself, but such a flood of tenderness would break in upon me that I could never converse with her as leaving me, tho she herself neither smiled nor weept during her whole sickness. Our Little ones were sufficiently affected at the loss of their worthy Grandmamma especially Nabby, and all but Tommy followed her to the Grave.
I am very sensible of the truth of your observation with regard to their loss. The instructions of my own Grandmamma3 are as fresh upon my mind this day as any I ever received from my own parents and made as lasting and powerfull impressions. Every virtuous example has powerfull impressions in early youth. Many years of vice and vicious examples do not erase from the mind seeds sown in early life. They take a deep root, and tho often crop'd will spring again.
I have been to day with my Sister Cranch who is very ill, and the Doctor thinks threatned with a fever. I have little respite from trouble—“Life is a poor play.”
Sister Betsy too is very unwell. It continus very sickly in Weymouth. All sorts of fevers, throat distemper and dysenterys prevail. In this Town it has abated.
I have an invitation to dine to morrow with Dr. Franklin, Mr. Bodwin [Bowdoin], Dr. Cooper and Lady at Coll. Quincys. If my Sister is better believe I shall accept of it, as I have a great desire to see Dr. Franklin who I design to ask the favour of taking this.
Poor Falmouth has shared the fate of Charlstown; are we become a Sodom? I would fain hope we are not. Unsearchable are the ways of Heaven who permitteth Evil to befall a city and a people by those very hands who were by them constituded the Gaurdians and protecters of them. We have done Evil or our Enimies would be at peace with us. The Sin of Slavery as well as many others is not washed away.
{ 314 }
A deserter came out of Town yesterday and says the General had given orders that no more Bread should be sold to the inhabitants by the Bakers, nor by the Soldiers but if any overplus remaind of their allowance they should return it to the Store and receive their money. Poor poor inhabitants of Boston what will be their fate? A milch Cow was carried into the market and there offerd for sale at a Quarter a dollor per pound. Now and then a poor Creature runs a risk and gets clear.
Mr. Hardwick desires Mr. Bass would not forget his needles, and I would make the same request to you. I wrote for a few articles in the physical way. I assure you medicine is very scarce, the great Demand for it has distressd the Doctors. I would not croud you with articles, but hope you will remember my other bundle of pins, the price of one paper now amounts to what we used to give for a whole Bundle.
Mr. Bass'es Father desires to be rememberd to his Son and to acquaint him that they were all well.
Your worthy Mother also desires her Love to you and is well. Adieu tis late at night, past the midnight hour. I wish for a safe return. You have the honour of a commission of the peace in the house sent to me last week4 and I hear are appointed Chief justice.5 Mr. Read is an other of the justices. Who the rest are I have not heard. Once more adieu from yours Without a Signature.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia. Oct. 25 1775.”
1. Thus in MS, for “off of” or, more likely, simply “off.”
2. Supplied for a word torn away by seal.
3. Both of AA's grandmothers were living during her girlhood: Abigail Fowle (Mrs. William Smith) (1679–1760), and Elizabeth Norton (Mrs. John Quincy) (1696–1769); see Adams Genealogy. Probably AA refers here to her Quincy grandmother, who lived at Mount Wollaston, which was not far from Weymouth.
4. This was a commission as justice of the peace and of the quorum in Suffolk co., “By Command of the Major Part of the Council,” dated at Watertown, 6 Sept. 1775 (Adams Papers). The form was the printed form headed “GEORGE the Third,” &c.
5. JA was nominated by the Council on 11 Oct. a justice of the Superior Court (M-Ar: Council Records, 17:128), and on 28 Oct. the deputy secretary of the Council, Perez Morton, informed him that he had been elected “first or Chief Justice” (Adams Papers). But as things turned out, JA never actually served; see his Diary and Autobiography, 3:359–363, and notes there.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0207

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-10-28

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear

The Fall of Dr. Ch[urc]h, has given me many disagreable Reflections, as it places human Nature itself in a Point of bad Light, but the { 315 } Virtue, the sincerity, the Honour, of Boston and Massachusetts Patriots in a worse.—What shall We say of a Country which produces such Characters as Hutchinson and Church?—However to turn my Attention from this detestible Subject to another more agreable. Congress has appointed instead of Church, Dr. Morgan of this City whose Character I will pourtray for your Satisfaction.
The Gentleman appointed Director and surgeon general of the Hospital, is John Morgan M.D. Fellow of the Royal Society at London; Correspondent of the Royal Academy of Surgery at Paris; Member of the Arcadian Belles Lettres Society at Rome; Licentiate of the Royal Colledges of Physicians in London and in Edinburgh; and Professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine in the Colledge of Philadelphia.
This Gentleman was one of the first who received their Education in the Colledge in this City, and served an Apprenticeship of six Years with Dr. John Redman an eminent Phisician, here, during one whole Year of which he put up the Prescriptions of all the Phisicians who attended the public Hospital here, who were all eminent. After this the Dr. entered the Army and served four Years under Generals Moncton, Forbes and Stanwix, where he had an entensive1 Practice, in the Army among all Kinds of Diseases. Five years after, he left the Army he spent in Europe,2 under the most celebrated Masters in every Branch of Medicine. During this Period he visited the principal Cities and Seats of Science in Great Britain, Holland, France and Italy.
Returning from his Travels, he was chosen Professor of Medicine in the Colledge in this City, where he has constantly read Lectures every Winter, and for many Years practiced among the Citizens.
Dr. Morgans moral Character is very good, and his manners are civil, decent, and agreable. He married a sister of the Lady of our Chaplain, Mr. Dushe, who is new Rector of the three united Churches in this City. A sister of the Doctors is married to Mr. Stillman the Antipaedobaptist lately in Boston, now in this Place.3
Thus I hope We shall hear no Complaint that this Place is not now well filled.
Jealousy and Envy spare nobody. Some have whispered that the Dr. is a little Visionary in Theory and Practice. But all agree that he is attentive, vigilant and laborious for the good of his Patients in a great Degree, and he is said to be a pious Man.4
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams Braintree”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. Thus in MS.
2. Thus in MS, meaning that after he left the army he spent five years in Europe.
{ 316 }
3. Morgan's wife and Rev. Jacob Duché's wife were sisters, Mary and Elizabeth Hopkinson (DAB, under both husbands' names). Rev. Samuel Stillman, of the First Baptist Church in Boston, had married Hannah, sister of John Morgan (DAB).
4. Despite all these conspicuous qualifications, Morgan, who had been appointed on 17 Oct. director general and chief physician of the Continental hospitals (JCC, 3:297), lasted less than a year in that responsible post. There is reason to believe that the duties of this office were so difficult and multifarious that no human being could have discharged them satisfactorily.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0208

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-10-29

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I cannot exclude from my Mind your melancholly Situation. The Griefs of your Father and Sisters, your Uncles and Aunts, as well as the remoter Connections, often croud in upon me, when my whole Attention ought to be directed to other Subjects.
Your Uncle Quincy, my Friend as well as Uncle, must regret the loss of a beloved Sister, Dr. Tufts my other Friend I know bewails the loss of a Friend, as well as an Aunt and a sister, Mr. Cranch the Friend of my youth as well as of my riper Years, whose tender Heart sympathizes with his fellow Creatures in every Affliction and Distress, in this Case feels the Loss of a Friend, a fellow Christian, and a Mother.
But alas what avail these mournfull Reflections. The best Thing We can do, the greatest Respect We can show to the Memory of our departed Friend, is to copy into Our own Lives, those Virtues which in her Lifetime rendered her the Object of our Esteem, Love and Admiration. I must confess I ever felt a Veneration for her, which seems increased by the News of her Translation.
Above all Things my dear, let us inculcate these great Virtues and bright Excellencies upon our Children.
Your Mother had a clear, and penetrating Understanding and a profound Judgment, as well as an honest and a friendly and a charitable Heart.
There is one Thing however, which you will forgive me if I hint to you. Let me ask you rather, if you are not of my opinion? Were not her Talents, and Virtues too much confined, to private, social and domestic Life. My Opinion of the Duties of Religion and Morality, comprehends a very extensive Connection with society at large, and the great Interest of the public. Does not natural Morality, and much more Christian Benevolence, make it our indispensible Duty to lay ourselves out, to serve our fellow Creatures to the Utmost of our { 317 } Power, in promoting and supporting those great Political systems, and general Regulations upon which the Happiness of Multitudes depends. The Benevolence, Charity, Capacity and Industry which exerted in private Life, would make a family, a Parish or a Town Happy, employed upon a larger Scale, in Support of the great Principles of Virtue and Freedom of political Regulations might secure whole Nations and Generations from Misery, Want and Contempt. Public Virtues, and political Qualities therefore should be incessantly cherished in our Children.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams Braintree To the Care of Coll Warren”; endorsed: “ocbr. 29”; docketed in an unidentified hand.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0209

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-10-29

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Human nature with all its infirmities and depravation is still capable of great things. It is capable of attaining to degrees of wisdom and of goodness, which, we have reason to believe, appear respectable in the estimation of superior intelligences. Education makes a greater difference between man and man, than nature has made between man and brute. The virtues and powers to which men may be trained, by early education and constant discipline, are truly sublime and astonishing. Newton and Locke are examples of the deep sagacity which may be acquired by long habits of thinking and study. Nay, your common mechanics and artisans are proofs of the wonderful dexterity acquired by use; a watchmaker, in finishing his wheels and springs, a pin or needlemaker, &c. I think there is a particular occupation in Europe, which is called a paper-stainer or linen-stainer. A man who has been long habituated to it, shall sit for a whole day, and draw upon paper fresh figures to be imprinted upon the papers for rooms, as fast as his eye can roll, and his fingers move, and no two of his draughts shall be alike. The Saracens, the Knights of Malta, the army and navy in the service of the English republic, among many others, are instances to show, to what an exalted height valor or bravery or courage may be raised, by artificial means.
It should be your care, therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our children and exalt their courage; to accelerate and animate their industry and activity; to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness, abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to { 318 } excel in every capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and creep in infancy, they will grovel all their lives.
But their bodies must be hardened, as well as their souls exalted. Without strength and activity and vigor of body, the brightest mental excellencies will be eclipsed and obscured.
MS not found. Printed from (Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife, ed. CFA, Boston, 1841, 1:72–73. See note 1.)
1. Place and date, including the brackets, are given here as found in CFA's text. This is the first letter in the correspondence between JA and AA known to have been available to CFA but not now to be found as an original in the Adams Papers. In the volumes of “Family Correspondence” which CFA caused to be bound up, the present editors have found no indication of the removal of this letter, so that it was evidently taken out of the sequence early, perhaps in the 1830's, and, after a transcript for publication was made, was perhaps given away to some applicant for a specimen of JA's handwriting. (See Introduction to JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:xxxiv–xxxv.)
A close comparison of the texts of this letter as printed in 1841 and as reprinted in JA–AA, Familiar Letters, 1876 (p. 119), shows that CFA further corrected and “improved” his grandfather's epistolary style when reprinting letters he had edited before.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0210

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-10-29

John Adams to Abigail Adams

There is, in the human Breast, a social Affection, which extends to our whole Species. Faintly indeed; but in some degree. The Nation, Kingdom, or Community to which We belong is embraced by it more vigorously. It is stronger still towards the Province to which we belong, and in which We had our Birth. It is stronger and stronger, as We descend to the County, Town, Parish, Neighbourhood, and Family, which We call our own.—And here We find it often so powerfull as to become partial, to blind our Eyes, to darken our Understandings and pervert our Wills.
It is to this Infirmity, in my own Heart, that I must perhaps attribute that local Attachment, that partial Fondness, that overweening Prejudice in favour of New England, which I feel very often and which I fear sometimes, leads me to expose myself to just Ridicule.
New England has in many Respects the Advantage of every other Colony in America, and indeed of every other Part of the World, that I know any Thing of.
1. The People are purer English Blood, less mixed with Scotch, Irish, Dutch, French, Danish, Sweedish &c. than any other; and descended from Englishmen too who left Europe, in purer Times than { 319 } the present and less tainted with Corruption than those they left behind them.
2. The Institutions in New England for the Support of Religion, Morals and Decency, exceed any other, obliging every Parish to have a Minister, and every Person to go to Meeting &c.
3. The public Institutions in New England for the Education of Youth, supporting Colledges at the public Expence and obliging Towns to maintain Grammar schools, is not equalled and never was in any Part of the World.
4. The Division of our Territory, that is our Counties into Townships, empowering Towns to assemble, choose officers, make Laws, mend roads, and twenty other Things, gives every Man an opportunity of shewing and improving that Education which he received at Colledge or at school, and makes Knowledge and Dexterity at public Business common.
5. Our Laws for the Distribution of Intestate Estates occasions a frequent Division of landed Property and prevents Monopolies, of Land.1
But in opposition to these We have laboured under many Disadvantages. The exorbitant Prerogatives of our Governors &c. which would have overborn our Liberties, if it had not been opposed by the five preceding Particulars.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams Braintree To the Care of Coll Warren”; endorsed: “ocbr. 29”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. The nature of New England institutions and their influence on New England character and society were subjects endlessly fascinating to JA and lifelong themes in both his private and public writings. For a few samples see his fragmentary Draft of a Dissertation on Canon and Feudal Law, Feb. 1765 (Diary and Autobiography, 1:256–258); letter to Abbé Mably, 15 Jan. 1783, LbC, Adams Papers (printed in various places but most conveniently in JA, Works, 5:491–496, with an editorial note explaining the circumstances of its composition); and notes on his conversation with William Langborn of Virginia in London, 21 July 1786 (Diary and Autobiography, 3:195–196).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0211

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-11-04

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Have but Yesterday received yours of Octr. 21.
Your Letters of the following Dates I have received. Septr. 8. and 10. 16. 29. Oct. 1. 9. 21. 22.1 These Letters and indeed every Line from you, gives me inexpressible Pleasure, notwithstanding the melancholly Scenes discribed in most of them of late.
{ 320 }
I am happy to learn that the Family is in Health once more, and hope it will continue.
My Duty to my Mother. I wish she would not be concerned about me. She ought to consider that a Dissentery can kill as surely as a Cannon. This Town is as secure from the Cannon and Men of War as the Moon is. I wish she had a little of your Fortitude. I had rather be kill'd by a Ball than live in such continual Fears as she does.
I cant write so often as I wish: I am engaged from 7 in the Morning till 11. at Night.
Two Pair of Colours belonging to the Seventh Regiment, were brought here last night from Chambly, and hung up in Mrs. Hancocks Chamber with great Splendor and Elegance. That Lady sends her Compliments and good Wishes. Among an hundred Men, almost at this House she lives and behaves with Modesty, Decency, Dignity and Discretion I assure you. Her Behaviour is easy and genteel. She avoids talking upon Politicks. In large and mixed Companies she is totally silent, as a Lady ought to be—but whether her Eyes are so penetrating and her Attention so quick, to the Words, Looks, Gestures, sentiments &c. of the Company, as yours would be, saucy as you are this Way, I wont say.
But to resume a more serious subject. You ask me to write to your Father and sister, and my Heart wishes and longs to do it, but you can have no Conception, what there is to prevent me. I really fear I shall ruin myself for Want of Exercise.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Novembr 4”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. All printed above. That of 8 and 10 Sept. is a single letter; that of 16 Sept. was actually written on the 17th.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0212

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-11-05

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I have been prevented writing you for more than a Week past by a Whitlow upon the fore finger of my right Hand. Tis now so tender that I can manage a pen but poorly.
I hope you have received several Letters from me in this fortnight past. I wrote by Mr. Linch [Lynch], and by Dr. Frankling the latter of whom I had the pleasure of dining with, and of admiring him whose character from my Infancy I had been taught to venerate. I found him social, but not talkative, and when he spoke something usefull droped { 321 } from his Tongue; he was grave, yet pleasant, and affable.—You know I make some pretensions to physiognomy and I thought I could read in his countanance the Virtues of his Heart, among which patriotism shined in its full Lusture—and with that is blended every virtue of a christian, for a true patriot must be a religious Man. I have been led to think from a late Defection that he who neglects his duty to his Maker, may well be expected to be deficient and insincere in his duty towards the public. Even suppose Him to possess a large share of what is called honour and publick Spirit yet do not these Men by their bad Example, by a loose immoral conduct corrupt the Minds of youth, and vitiate the Morrals of the age, and thus injure the publick more than they can compensate by intrepidity, Generosity and Honour?
Let revenge or ambition, pride, lust or profit tempt these Men to a base and vile action, you may as well hope to bind up a hungry tiger with a cobweb as to hold such debauched patriots in the visionary chains of Decency or to charm them with the intellectual Beauty of Truth and reason.
But where am I running. I mean to thank you for all your obliging favours lately received and tho some of them are very Laconick, yet were they to contain only two lines to tell me that you were well, they would be acceptable to me. I think however you are more apprehensive than you need to be. The Gentleman to whose care they have always been directed has been very kind in his conveyances and very careful. I hope however that it will not now be long before we shall have nearer interviews. You must tell me that you will return next Month. A late appointment will make it inconveniant (provided you accept) for you to go again to Congress.
The little flock in receiving pappas Letters have been more gratified than they could have been by any other present. They are very proud of being thus noticed. I am much obliged by the Sermons lately received. The Dedication of Dr. Zublys is both spirited and zealous. I was greatly pleased with it, but suppose it will be casting of pearl before Swine.1
It seems Humane Nature is the same in all ages and Countrys. Ambition and avarice reign every where and where they predominate their will be bickerings after places of Honour and profit. There is an old adage kissing goes by favour that is daily verified.
I enclose to you the paper you sent for.2 Your Buisness in collecting facts will be very difficult, and the Sufferings of this people cannot be circumscribed with pen, ink and paper. Besides these Ministers of Satan are rendring it every day more and more difficult by their { 322 } ravages and devastation, to tell a tale which will freeze the young Blood of succeeding Generations as well as harrow up the Souls of the present.
Nothing new has transpired since I wrote you last. I have not heard of one persons escaping out of Town, nor of any Manuover of any kind.
Master John is very anxious to write, but has been confined for several days with a severe cold which has given him soar Eyes, but he begs me to make his Excuse and say that he has wrote twice before, but it did not please him well enough to send it. Nabby has been with her Aunt Betsy ever since her Grandmammas Death. Charlly and Tommy beg mamma to thank pappa for their Letters, and wish they could write to tell him so. Brother and Sister Cranch send their Love. Mrs. Cranch's disorder left her soon, the Sickness has greatly abated all round us. Your Mother speaks pathetically of you, and always sends her Love to you. I will only ask you to Measure by your own the affectionate regard of Your Nearest Friend.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esq. at Philadelphia To the Care of Col: Warren”; endorsed: “Portia Novr. 5. 1775.” For the enclosure see note 2.
1. John Joachim Zubly, The Law of Liberty. A Sermon on American Affairs, Preached at the Opening of the Provincial Congress of Georgia, Phila., 1775. Several editions were published; see T. R. Adams, “American Independence,” No. 204a-c.
2. This must have been the Massachusetts Committee of Safety's “Relation” of the battle of Bunker Hill, dated 25 July 1775 (copy in Adams Papers under that date), signed by Joseph Palmer, and requested by JA in his letter to AA of 19 Oct., above, q.v.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0213

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1775-11-05

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Dear Marcia

I hope the Historick page will increase to a volume. Tis this hope that has kept me from complaining of my friends Laconick Epistles. Our amiable Friend, who lately favourd me with a visit, informd you I suppose of the difficulty I Labourd under, of a Whitlow upon the fore finger of my right Hand, which prevented my writing to my dearest Friend; and to her who holds one of the first places among the female Friend's of Portia.
I have to acknowledge the kind care of both my Friends in the conveyance of Letters. I feel loth the House should rise whilst the Congress sits. But was not there some Mistake in the last Letters, has not your Friend one which must have been meant for me, by a mistake in { 323 } the Superscription? I inclose the Letter. I read it, not regarding the Dear Sir, but could not comprehend how I came to have such a reply to a subject I had said very little upon. Upon Nabbys taking it into her hand she observed the address.
I am curious to know how you spend your time? Tis very sausy to make this demand upon you; but I know it must be usefully imployed and I am fearfull if I do not question you I shall loose some improvement which I might otherways make.
What becomes of the state prisoner? Is he not to have a trial? When weighd in the balance I fear he will be found wanting. A patriot without religion in my estimation is as great a paradox, as an honest Man without the fear of God. Is it possible that he whom no moral obligations bind, can have any real Good Will towards Man, can he be a patriot who by an openly vicious conduct is undermineing the very bonds of Society, corrupting the Morals of Youth, and by his bad example injuring that very Country he professess to patrionize more than he can possibly compensate by his intrepidity, Generosity and honour? The Scriptures tell us righteousness exaltheth a Nation.
I wish there was more of it to be seen among all orders and professions, but the Continental Connextion will not improve the Morals of our youth. A little less snearing at our New England puritanism would be full as honorary to our Southern Breathren.
I thank you my Friend for your invitation but cannot comply with it, tho my inclination is very strong. I want to see my Friends and hear our worthy Dr.2 Pray be so kind as to present my Regards to Dr. Winthrope and Lady. She desired me to write to her. I wish my Friend would let her know that I can better reply to a favour from her than begin a correspondence, tho I should esteem it an honour.
But Marcia can witness for me how averse I have been to writing.
I lament the Death of the worthy president as of an honest Man. Mr. Randolphs character has secured him Esteem. How well might some folks have saved their credit, and their Bacon too (as the phraze is) by a resignation of a certain place.3
O Ambition how many inconsistent actions dost thou make poor mortals commit!
Adieu my Friend. I hope soon to have the pleasure of seeing you at Braintree, and of a social Evening beside our fire. How happy should I esteem myself could the dear Friend of my Heart join us. I think I make a greater Sacrifice to the publick than I could by Gold and Silver, had I it to bestow. Does not Marcia join in this Sentiment with her
[signed] Portia4
{ 324 }
RC (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.); endorsed: “Mrs. Adams”; docketed in two later hands: “Mrs. Adams Novr. 1775 No 5.” Enclosure: a recent letter from JA to James Warren, sent by Warren to AA by mistake and not precisely identifiable.
1. If not written on 5 Nov., this letter was written close to that date. It is in reply to a note from Mrs. Warren of 3 Nov. (Adams Papers), and it mentions AA's sore finger that has prevented her writing to JA; see the preceding letter to him.
2. “I shall Not be heer [i.e. at Watertown] after Next sabbath so think you had better Come and hear Dr. [Samuel] Cooper then as He Designs to preach himself Notwithstanding a Late accident” (Mercy Warren to AA, 3 Nov. 1775, Adams Papers).
3. Peyton Randolph, formerly president of Congress, had returned to Philadelphia on 5 Sept. for the new session, but died on 22 Oct. (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:lxvi). There were others besides AA who thought that John Hancock should have stepped down from the presidency upon Randolph's return.
4. A few days later Mercy Warren acknowledged the present letter in a letter without date (Adams Papers, filed under Nov. 1775), which contains the following passage bearing on JA's intercepted letters:
“One Expression in one Letter [recently captured aboard a vessel from Ireland] I must tell you. The Writer says the Colonies must and will be Reduced, and Notwithstanding the spirit that appears, and the stand that has been made, They are Convinced by the submissive Terms in which the Petition to the king is Couched that there must be a Weakness somewhere.
“How will this make our pidling Geniuss appear, and will not the spirited sentiments, and the Enlarged plans of policy Hinted by a Certain Letter Writer be now applauded.”

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0214

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-11-12

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I received yours of October 23. I want to hear from you every day, and I always feel sorrow when I come to the close of a Letter. Your Time must be greatly engrosed, but little of it to spaire to the calls of Friendship, and I have reason to think I have the largest share of it.
Winter makes it[s] approaches fast. I hope I shall not be obliged to spend it without my dearest Friend, I know not how to think of it.
The intelegance you will receive before this reaches you, will I should think make a plain path, tho a dangerous one for you. I could not join to day in the petitions of our worthy parson, for a reconciliation betwen our, no longer parent State, but tyrant State, and these Colonies.—Let us seperate, they are unworthy to be our Breathren. Let us renounce them and instead of suplications as formorly for their prosperity and happiness, Let us beseach the almighty to blast their counsels and bring to Nought all their devices.
I have nothing remarkable to write you. A little Skirmish hapned last week. The perticuliars I have endeavourd to collect, but whether I have the facts right I am not certain. A Number of Cattle were kept { 325 } at Leachmores point where two Centinals were placed, in a high tide tis an Island. The Regulars had observed this and a Scheme was laid to send a Number of them over and take of the Stock. Accordingly a number of Boats and about 400 men were sent; they landed it seems, unperceived by the Centinals who were a sleep; one of whom they killed the other took prisoner. As soon as they were perceived, they pourd the cannon from Prospect Hill upon them which sunk one of their Boats, but as the tide was very high, it was difficult getting over, and some time before any alarm was given. A Coll. Tomson of the Riffel Men, Marchd instantly with his Men, and tho a very stormy day, regarded not the tide, nor wated for Boats, but Marchd over, neck high in water, and dischargd their peices, when the Regulars ran without waiting for to get of their Stock, and made the best of their way to the opposite Shore. The General sent his thanks in a public manner to the brave officer and his Men.1 Major Mifflin I hear was there, and flew about as tho he would have raisd the whole Army.
May they never find us deficient in courage and Spirit.
Our Army is exceedingly well supplied with every article but wood and provinder which is very scarce. As to provisions we should find no difficulty to vitual an other Army full as large. Tis now very Healthy both in the Army, and country, we have had very long teadious rains for six weeks past; sometimes not more than one fair day in a week.
All our Friends are well. My Father seems to be much broke by his great affliction, seems to have his care and anxiety doubled. I can perceive it in numberless instances.—I hope you will be able to get his Sulky repaird, as he wants it now it comes cold Weather very much.
Dr. Frankling invited me to spend the winter in Philidelphia. I shall wish to be there, unless you return. I have been like a nun in a cloister ever since you went away, have not been into any other house than my Fathers and Sisters, except once to Coll. Quincys. Indeed I have had no inclination for Company. My Evenings are lonesome and Melancholy. In the day time family affairs take of my attention but my Evenings are spent with my departed parent. I then ruminate upon all her care and tenderness, and I am sometimes lost, and absorb'd in a flood of tenderness e'er I am aware of it, or can call to my aid, my only props and support.

[salute] I must bid you adieu tis late at Night. Most affectionately Yours.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esq at Philadelphia To the Care of Coll: Warren”; endorsed: “Novr. 12. Portia.”
1. For the affair at Lechmere Point (now East Cambridge) on 9 Nov., see Wash• { 326 } ington's thanks to Col. William Thompson in his general orders of the 10th, and Washington's report to the President of Congress, 11 Nov. (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:79, 84).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0215

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-11-12

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear

I am often afraid you will think it hard that I dont write oftener to you. But it is really impossible. Could I follow the Inclinations of my Heart I should spend half my Time, in this most agreable and pleasing Employment: But Business presses me so close that I am necessitated to mortify my self. From 7 to ten in the Committees and from six to ten in the Evening in the same, and from 10 to four in Congress. Many Letters to write too upon Business.
As to News, you have every Thing in the public Papers, which I am not now under the strongest Ties of Honour, Virtue and Love of my Country to keep secret, and not to divulge directly or indirectly.
I am most earnestly desirous to come home, but when I shall get Leave I know not.
I long to write to your Excellent Father and sisters, but cannot get Time. You must have observed, and so must all my Friends that every Letter I write is scratched off in the utmost Haste.
How do you like Dr. Franklyn? He tells me he called at the House and saw you, and that he had the Pleasure of dining with you at his Friend Coll. Quincys. This gave me great Pleasure because I concluded from it that my dear and most worthy sisters Cranch and Betcy were better.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams Braintree To the Care of Coll Warren.”

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0216

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-11-15

John Adams to Abigail Adams

This I suppose will go by Mr. James Bowdoin who has just arrived here from London.1 He has been very obliging in communicating to me Pamphlets and News Papers in which last I find that some Parts of Novanglus have been retailed out there and have brought on a Battle in the public Papers between Hutchinson and Pounal.2 Mr. Bowdoin has been to Italy, Holland, France and England and is returned an honest and warm American. He says to his Astonishment, he found { 327 } the great American Controversy better understood, and the Consequences of it more clearly foreseen in France than in England.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams Braintree.”
1. James Bowdoin Jr. (1752–1811), Harvard 1771, who had been studying in England and traveling on the Continent; he became a merchant, state representative and senator, and, by appointment of Pres. Jefferson, U.S. minister to Spain (DAB).
2. The parts of JA's “Novanglus” papers (published earlier this year in the Boston Gazette) that had been “retailed” in England consisted of extracts that appeared in the first volume of John Almon's Remembrancer, or Impartial Repository of Public Events, London, 1775, p. 24–32, 45–54, under the title “History of the Dispute with America; from its Origin in 1754, to the Present Time.” The allusion to “a Battle in the public Papers” between former Governors Thomas Hutchinson and Thomas Pownall remains obscure and may be groundless gossip.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0217

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-11-18

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Your kind Letter of the 5th. Inst. came to Hand yesterday by Captain McPherson. I admire your skill in Phisiognomy, and your Talent at drawing Characters, as well as that of your Friend Marcia from whom at the same Time I received several important Characters, which you shall one day see.1
I agree with you in your sentiments that there is Reason to be diffident of a Man who grossly violates the Principles of Morals, in any one particular habitually. This sentiment was conveyed to Us in one of the Paradoxes of the ancient Stoicks, that “all sins were equal,” and the same Idea is suggested from higher Authority, He that violates the Law in any one Instance is guilty of all. I have no Confidence in any Man who is not exact in his Morals. And you know that I look upon Religion as the most perfect System, and the most awfull Sanction of Morality.
Your Goodness of Heart, as well as your sound Judgment will applaud me for using the utmost Caution in my Letters. But if you could see me, and observe how I am employed you would wonder that I find Time to write to any Body. I am very busy and so is every Body else here.
I hope to be with you at Christmas, and then to be excused from coming here again, at least untill others have taken their Turns.
The late Appointment, you mention gives me many very serious Thoughts. It is an Office of high Trust, and of vast Importance at any Time: But of greater at this, than any other. The Confusions and { 328 } Distractions of the Times, will encumber that Office with embarrassments, expose it to dangers and Slanders, which it never knew before. Besides I am apprehensive of other Difficulties. Mr. [William] Cushing has been on that Bench, and was my senior at the Bar. Will he accept under another? Mr. Paine too has taken an odd Turn in his Head of late, and is so peevish, passionate and violent that he will make the Place disagreable, if he does not think better of it. Mr. Cushing, Mr. Serjeant [Sargeant] and Mr. Read are very able Men, and Mr. Paine might be so if he was undisturbed in his Mind. But the Unhappy Affair in his Family, his Church and Town, appears to me to have affected his Mind too much. It is a melancholly Thought to me, because I have ever had a Friendship for him. I am really sorry that he has exposed his Character and Reputation so much of late as he has done, by certain Airs he has given himself, and it has many Times, in the beginning of the summer, when I was in an ill state of Health made me unhappy. But since the Adjournment, I have avoided Altercation with him, and this I shall continue to do.
That Ambition and Avarice reign every where as you observe, is most true. But I hope that Preferment will follow Merit, after our Affairs get into a more settled Course.
Remember me to all.
When you said that Kissing goes by Favour, you did not explain the Particulars I wish you had. But all Censure and Clamour at this Time must be avoided and discountenanced as much as possible.
I should be glad to be informed, whether the Appointment of me, that you speak of, appears to be to the satisfaction of the People or not.2
1. Mercy Warren to JA, 4 Nov.; RC not found, but acknowledged in a letter from JA to Mrs. Warren, 25 Nov. (Adams Papers); probably the same as a Tr of her letter to him dated Oct. 1775 in her so-called Letterbook, MHi, p. 156–159.
2. A few days later, with due diffidence, JA accepted the appointment of chief justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court of Judicature (JA to Perez Morton, 24 Nov., Dft, Adams Papers; printed in JA, Works, 3:24, note, from RC formerly in M-Ar but now missing).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0218

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-11-27

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Tis a fortnight to Night since I wrote you a line during which, I have been confined with the Jaundice, Rhumatism and a most voilent { 329 } cold; I yesterday took a puke which has releived me, and I feel much better to day. Many, very many people who have had the dysentery, are now afflicted both with the Jaundice and Rhumatisim, some it has left in Hecticks, some in dropsies.
The great and incessant rains we have had this fall, (the like cannot be recollected) may have occasiond some of the present disorders. The Jaundice is very prevelant in the Camp. We have lately had a week of very cold weather, as cold as January, and a flight of snow, which I hope will purify the air of some of the noxious vapours. It has spoild many hundreds of Bushels of Apples, which were designd for cider, and which the great rains had prevented people from making up. Suppose we have lost 5 Barrels by it.
Col. Warren returnd last week to Plymouth, so that I shall not hear any thing from you till he goes back again which will not be till the last of <next> this month.
He Damp'd my Spirits greatly by telling me that the Court had prolonged your Stay an other month.1 I was pleasing myself with the thoughts that you would soon be upon your return. Tis in vain to repine. I hope the publick will reap what I sacrifice.
I wish I knew what mighty things were fabricating. If a form of Goverment is to be established here what one will be assumed? Will it be left to our assemblies to chuse one? and will not many men have many minds? and shall we not run into Dissentions among ourselves?
I am more and more convinced that Man is a dangerous creature, and that power whether vested in many or a few is ever grasping, and like the grave cries give, give. The great fish swallow up the small, and he who is most strenuous for the Rights of the people, when vested with power, is as eager after the perogatives of Goverment. You tell me of degrees of perfection to which Humane Nature is capable of arriving, and I believe it, but at the same time lament that our admiration should arise from the scarcity of the instances.
The Building up a Great Empire, which was only hinted at by my correspondent may now I suppose be realized even by the unbelievers. Yet will not ten thousand Difficulties arise in the formation of it? The Reigns of Goverment have been so long slakned, that I fear the people will not quietly submit to those restraints which are necessary for the peace, and security, of the community; if we seperate from Brittain, what Code of Laws will be established. How shall we be governd so as to retain our Liberties? Can any goverment be free which is not adminstred by general stated Laws? Who shall frame these Laws? Who will give them force and energy? Tis true your Resolution[s] as a { 330 } Body have heithertoo had the force of Laws. But will they continue to have?
When I consider these things and the prejudices of people in favour of Ancient customs and Regulations, I feel anxious for the fate of our Monarchy or Democracy or what ever is to take place. I soon get lost in a Labyrinth of perplexities, but whatever occurs, may justice and righteousness be the Stability of our times, and order arise out of confusion. Great difficulties may be surmounted, by patience and perseverance.
I believe I have tired you with politicks. As to news we have not any at all. I shudder at the approach of winter when I think I am to remain desolate. Suppose your weather is warm yet. Mr. Mason and Thaxter live with me, and render some part of my time less disconsolate. Mr. Mason is a youth who will please you, he has Spirit, taste and Sense. His application to his Studies is constant and I am much mistaken if he does not make a very good figure in his profession.
I have with me now, the only Daughter of your Brother; I feel a tenderer affection for her as she has lost a kind parent. Though too young to be sensible of her own loss, I can pitty her. She appears to be a child of a very good Disposition—only wants to be a little used to company.2
Our Little ones send Duty to pappa and want much to see him. Tom says he wont come home till the Battle is over—some strange notion he has got into his head. He has got a political cread to say to him when he returns.
I must bid you good night. Tis late for one who am much of an invalide. I was dissapointed last week in receiving a packet by the post, and upon unsealing it found only four news papers. I think you are more cautious than you need be. All Letters I believe have come safe to hand. I have Sixteen from you, and wish I had as many more. Adieu. Yours.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esq. at Philadelphia”; docketed in AA's hand: “Portia Novr. 27 1775.”
1. On 11 Nov. the House of Representatives resolved that because “the important Business of the Colony” had hitherto prevented that body “from proceeding to a Choice of Delegates” for 1776, the commissions of the current delegates were to be extended from the end of December to the end of January (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 2d sess., p. 269–270). These noncommittal words conceal the intense struggle then going on between radicals and moderates in the House over who should represent Massachusetts in Congress during the critical year 1776. In January the radicals won a partial victory. Thomas Cush• { 331 } ing was displaced by Elbridge Gerry. Robert Treat Paine's place was threatened but in the end retained. Hancock and the two Adamses were reelected. See Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 3d sess., p. 165, and the instructions to the delegates there, 18 Jan. 1776.
2. This must have been Susanna (1766–1826), daughter of Elihu and Thankful (White) Adams; in 1785 she married Aaron Hobart Jr. See Adams Genealogy.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0219

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-12-03

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My best Friend

Yours of Novr. 12 is before me. I wish I could write you every day, more than once, for although I have a Number of Friends, and many Relations who are very dear to me, yet all the Friendship I have for others is far unequal to that which warms my Heart for you. The most agreable Time that I spend here is in writing to you, and conversing with you when I am alone. But the Calls of Friendship and of private Affection must give Place to those of Duty and Honour, even private Friendship and Affections require it.
I am obliged by the Nature of the service I am in to correspond with many Gentlemen both of the Army and the two Houses of Assembly which takes up much of my Time. How I find Time to write half the Letters I do, I know not, for my whole Time seems engrossed with Business. The whole Congress is taken up, almost in different Committees from seven to Ten in the Morning—from Ten to four or sometimes five, we are in Congress and from six to Ten in Committees again. I dont mention this to make you think me a Man of Importance because it is not I alone, but the whole Congress is thus employed, but to apologise for not writing to you oftener.1
Indeed I know not what to write that is worth your reading. I send you the Papers, which inform you of what is public. As to what passes in Congress I am tied fast by my Honour to communicate Nothing. I hope the Journal of the session will be published soon, and then you will see what We have been about in one View, excepting what ought to be excepted.
If I could visit the Coffee Houses, in the Evening and the Coffee Tables of the Ladies in the Afternoon, I could entertain you with many smart Remarks upon Dress and Air, &c. and give you many sprightly Conversations, but my Fate you know is to be moping over Books and Papers, all the Leisure Time I have when I have any.
I hope I shall be excused from coming to Philadelphia again, at least untill other Gentlemen have taken their Turns. But I never will come here again without you, if I can perswade you to come with me. { 332 } Whom God has joined together ought not to be put asunder so long with their own Consent. <We will get your Father and sister Betcy to keep House for Us.>2 We will bring Master Johnny with Us, you and he shall have the small Pox here, and We will be as happy, as Mr. Hancock and his Lady.—Thank Nabby and John for their Letters,3 and kiss Charles and Tom for me. John writes like an Hero glowing with Ardor for his Country and burning with Indignation against her Enemies. When I return I will get the sulky back to New Haven, and there leave it to be repaired, to be brought home by the first Post after it is done.
As to coming home, I have no Thoughts of it—shall stay here till the Year is out, for what I know. Affairs are in a critical state and important Steps are now taking every day, so that I could not reconcile it to my own Mind to be absent from this Place at present.
Nothing is expected from the Commissioners, yet We are waiting for them, in some Respects.4 The Tories, and Timids pretend to expect great Things from them. But the Generality expect nothing but more Insults and Affronts. Privateering is licensed and the Ports are wide open. As soon as the Resolves are printed, which will be tomorrow, I'le send them.5
I have had a long Conversation with []. He seems to be in a better Temper, and I live on Terms of Decency and Civility with him and he with me. And I am determined to live so. Have lived in more Decency with him and another, since my last Return than ever, at least than since last August when the sin of Precedence was committed. Theres the Rub. But what cant be cured must be endured.6
1. “During his term of service in Congress, [JA] was a member of ninety, and chairman of twenty-five committees” (note by CFA on this passage, in JA–AA, Familiar Letters, p. 127). This may be short of the truth, and at any rate it hardly more than suggests the burden of committee and administrative work that JA carried during his periods of service in the Continental Congress from Sept. 1774 to Nov. 1777. No intensive study of his work in this capacity has yet been made. Materials for it are profuse though not altogether satisfactory.
2. This sentence was heavily inked out, probably immediately after being written, but the editors are fairly confident of the reading here given.
3. Not found.
4. In his speech to Parliament on 26 Oct. George III had said that “certain persons upon the spot” would be authorized to grant pardons to individuals and receive the submission of such provinces in America as “shall be disposed to return to [their] allegiance” (Merrill Jensen, ed., English Historical Documents: American Colonial Documents to 1776, N.Y., 1955, p. 852). The eventual but abortive result was the conciliatory mission of the Howe brothers in 1776.
5. It is not certain just which “Resolves” JA meant, since at this juncture Congress was from day to day adopting resolutions for fitting out armed vessels { 333 } and regulating the embryonic American navy. JA was a prime mover in these measures; see his Diary and Autobiography, 2:198–199, 201–202, 221–222; 3:343–351.
6. The allusions in this paragraph are a little puzzling. The blank in the first sentence can only stand for JA's fellow delegate Robert Treat Paine, though at this time Paine was absent from Congress as a member of the committee to confer with Gen. Philip Schuyler at Ticonderoga (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:xlviii). If, as the editors believe, the first nameless person is Paine, “another” is undoubtedly Thomas Cushing, who was in growing disfavor because of his politics of moderation.
Notwithstanding JA's assertion above that he had “no Thoughts” of returning home, he asked and obtained from Congress on 8 Dec. “Leave to visit my State and Family” because he was “worn down with long and uninterrupted Labour,” and also because he wished to see whether he should now assume his duties as chief justice or continue in Congress. He left Philadelphia on the 9th and arrived in Braintree on the 21st. See his Diary and Autobiography, 2:223–224; 3:350, 359–360.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0220

Author: Smith, Isaac Jr.
Recipient: Smith, Rev. William
Date: 1775-12-05

Isaac Smith Jr. to the Reverend William Smith?

[salute] Dear Sir1

The present opportunity appears to me so convenient for writing to you, that I cannot avoid sending you a few lines.—I will not now trouble you with my motives for leaving home, so soon after I last saw you. You will do me the justice, Sir, to believe me, that it was not owing to the want of affection to my Country, or of sympathy with my friends and immediate connections. The distressed circumstances of both have, from the first moment of my arrival here, oppressed my mind in a degree, that has rendered me far from happy at this distance from them.2
I suppose by this time, you are impatient in general to know what effect the various unfortunate events, that have happened in America during the spring and summer have upon Parliament this Winter. The K[ing']s Speech you will have probably before Christmas. The spirit of the two Houses is the same, and the measures proposed in it, have been approved and adopted. The K. is enabled, if he pleases, to embody the Militia of the Kingdom. A Bill is passing to prohibit all intercourse with the Colonies, and authorize the K. to appoint Commissioners in the Colonies, for the purposes of granting pardons, opening the Ports, and restoring trade as usual, upon Submission. 25,000 men or more are to be in America in the Spring, and 70 Sail of men of war. This force however, (say the Ministry) is not intended, for immediate action, but to give greater weight to the proposals of the Commissioners, who will be vested with large discretionary powers, to terminate the contest, if possible, without further effusion of blood. An end this, which almost every man in the Kingdom wishes to see { 334 } accomplished. The Minority have received a small increase this Session. The D[uke]of Grafton, with a number of his connections, has joined their number. They have exerted themselves with great warmth, but with their former inefficacy. The Ministry carry every point, by a majority of two to one. On one occasion the last week, the opposition was no more than ten. Gov. Pownall is no longer our Advocate. Lord G. Sackville Germaine is appointed Secretary for the American Department. The last petition to his Majesty from the Congress has been laid before the H[ouse] of L[ord]s, but tho the D. of G. moved a resolve in consequence of it, none was passed.
Individuals, and particular branches of trade and of manufacture must and indeed do suffer, yet I hear no general complaint of the failure of either. The woollen Manufacture, which is the proper Staple of G.B. is said to be fully employed. To tell you the truth, Sir, we have not a sufficient knowledge among us in general of the commerce or the wealth of this Country. I know, how ready we are to imagine, that both are absolutely dependent upon the Colonies for their existence. I wish for our own sakes, that we were not quite so confident. It is a good old rule, tho' grown rather obsolete, “boast not thyself of tomorrow.” To me we seem to be waging a most unequal war. G.B. if it does fall, will fall gradually and imperceptibly. God alone knows the consequences of the present dangerous contest, and his wise providence commonly causes civil convulsions to advance the good of mankind. Confidence in his government is at all times our duty, but in such as these, it is certainly one of peculiar importance, a Virtue of the most desirable kind. How to acquire it indeed in any just degree, is a difficulty which experience alone can tell!
I am at present at this place in an agreeable situation, and officiating to a small Society. But I shall not take up my Abode in Old E[ngland] from choice and inclination. I wish for nothing more ardently upon earth, than to see my friends and Country again in the enjoyment of peace, freedom and happiness. Nor shall I delay my return to them, the moment that I find there is the least certainty of their being restored to a better Situation, than is now their unfortunate lot.
I wish, Sir, to say much more to you, but I know not whether this will reach you. To Dr. T.3 I shall write with pleasure another time, tho' I consider myself indeed, as writing to him now. I should be glad to hear from you, if possible. I beg to be remembred in the most affectionate manner to my Aunt, and every body else at Weymouth and Braintree, and am, dear Sir, with sincere respect Your, much obliged.
[signed] I Smith junr.
{ 335 }
P.S. I had fully designed to have wrote by this Conveyance to M.A.,4 but for several reasons, hope he will forgive me, that I do not.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in the hand of William Gordon(?): “I. Smith Jnr. Decr. 5. 1775.” Probably enclosed in AA's letter to JA, 2–10 March 1776, below, q.v.
1. The name of the recipient of this letter has been assigned conjecturally and solely on the basis of internal evidence. At the close of the text the writer asks to be remembered to “my Aunt, and every body else at Weymouth and Braintree.” Isaac had only one aunt in either place, namely Mrs. William Smith, AA's mother, the news of whose recent death he had obviously not heard. The allusions in the letter to others in the Weymouth-Braintree circle fit in perfectly well with the assumption that it was addressed to AA's father. Apparently he turned it over to her and she sent it on, with a tart comment or two, in hers to JA, 2–10 March 1776, below.
2. He had arrived in London in June after a four weeks' voyage (Isaac Smith Jr. to Isaac Smith Sr., 26 June 1775, MHi: Smith-Carter Papers).
3. Doubtless Dr. Cotton Tufts.
4. Thus in MS, the editors suppose for “Mr. A.,” meaning JA.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0221

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-12-10

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I received your obliging favour by Mrs. Morgan, with the papers, and the other articles you sent which were very acceptable to me. As they are not to be purchased here, I shall be very choise of them.
I have according to your desire been upon a visit to Mrs. Morgan, who keeps at Major Miflins. I had received a Message from Mrs. Mifflin some time agone desireing I would visit her. My Pappa who you know is very obliging in this way accompanied me, and I had the pleasure of drinking coffe with the Dr. and his Lady, the Major and his Lady and a Mr. and Mrs. Smith from New York,1 A daughter of the famous Son of Liberty Capt. Sears,2 General Gates and Lee, a Dr. McHenery3 and a Mr. Elvin,4 with many others who were strangers to me. I was very politely entertaind and noticed by the Generals, more especially General Lee, who was very urgent with me to tarry in Town and dine with him and the Laidies present, at Hob Goblin Hall, but I excused my self. The General was determined that I should not only be acquainted with him, but with his companions too, and therefore placed a chair before me into which he orderd Mr. Sparder to mount and present his paw to me for a better acquaintance. I could not do otherways than accept it.—That Madam says he is the Dog which Mr. . . . . . has renderd famous.5
I was so little while in company with these persons and the company so mixed that it was almost imposible to form any judgment of them. { 336 } The Dr. appeard modest and his Lady affable and agreable. Major Mifflin you know I was allways an admirer of, as well as of his delicate Lady. I beleive Phyladelphia is an unfertile soil, or it would not produce so many unfruitfull women. I always conceive of these persons as wanting one addition to their happiness, but in these perilous times I know not whether it ought to be considerd as an infelicity, since they are certainly freed, from the anxiety every parent must feel for their rising ofspring.
I drank Coffe one day with General Sulivan upon Winter Hill. He appears to be a Man of Sense and Spirit. His countanance denotes him of a warm constitution, not to be very sudenly moved, but when once roused, not very easily Lull'd. Easy and social, well calculated for a Military Station, as he seem[s] to be possess'd of those populour qualifications necessary to attach Men to him. By the way, I congratulate you upon our late noble acquisition of military Stores. Tis a most Grand mortar I assure you.6 Surely heaven smiles upon us in many respects, and we have continually to speak of mercies as well as judgments. I wish our Gratitude may be any ways proportionate to our Benefits.
I suppose in congress you think of every thing relative to trade and commerce, as well as other things, but as I have been desired to mention to you some things I shall not omit them. One is that their may some thing be done in a continental way with regard to Excise upon Spiritous Liquors that each of the New England colonies may be upon the same footing where as we formerly used to pay an Excise, and the other colonis none or very little by which means they drew away our trade. That an Excise is necessary tho it may be objected too by the mercantile intrissts, as a too frequent use of Spirit endangers the well being of Society. An other article is that some method may be devised to keep among us our Gold and Silver, which is now every day shiped of to the West Indias for Molasses, Coffe, Sugar &c. This I can say of my own knowledg that a Dollor in Silver is now become a great rarity, and our Traders will give you a hundred pounds of paper for Ninety of Silver, or near that proportion. If any trade is alloud to the West indias would it not be better to carry some commodity of our own produce in exchange? Medicine, Cotton Wool and some other articles we are in great want of. Formerly we used to purchase cotton wool at 1 Shilling Lawfull money pr. Bag, now tis 3, and the scarcity of that article distresses us, as it was wrought up with less trouble than any other article of cloathing. Flax is now from a Shilling to one and Sixpence pr. pound, Sheeps wool Eighteen pence { 337 } and linnens not to be had at any price. I cannot mention the article in the English goods way which is not double, and in the West India Molasses by retail I used formerly to purchase at one and Eight pence now tis 2 and Eight pence, rum 3 Shillings, coffe one and 3 pence &c. All other things in proportion. Corn is 4 Shillings pr. Bushel, rye 5, oats 3 and Eight pence, Hay 5 and Six Shilling pr. hundred, wood twenty Shillings pr. cord. But meat of all kinds cheap.
I enclose a memorandom of Dr. Tufts requesting you to procure for him those articles if you can bring them with any conveniance. The Dr. takes it a little hard that you have never wrote him a line, as he has wrote you several times. If it was but a few lines he would Receive it kindly.
I am very loth to trouble you about articles of conveniancy for myself, especially as they are so much out of your way of Buisness. I will only mention two or three which if you can direct Bass to get for me will much oblige me—one black Barcelona hankerchief, two or 3 yd. of black Caliminco for shooes and binding for the same—he knows how much will be proper—and 3 or 4 common manchester check hankerchiefs for the pocket.7 Not a hankerchief of any kind can be purchased here, but out of the Store for the Army, and they are allowd only to those who inlist. My Pappa would be glad you would send him a Sermon of Dr. Zublys.
My unkle Quincy desires to be rememberd to you, inquired when you talked of comeing home. I told him you had not fixed any time. He says if you dont come soon he would advice me to procure an other husband. He of all persons ought not to give such advice I told him unless he set a better example himself.8
Be kind enough to burn this Letter. Tis wrote in great haste and a most incorrect Scrawl it is but I cannot conclude it without telling you we are all very angry with your House of Assembly for their instructions. They raise prejudices in the minds of people and serve to create in their minds a terror at a Seperation from a people wholy unworthy of us. We are a little of the Spanel kind. Tho so often spurned still to fawn argues a meaness of Spirit that as an individual I disclaim, and would rather endure any hardships than submit to it.9
Our Little folks are all well and long for Pappas return, in which wish their Mamma most sincerely joins them. Yours.
I often meet with a [bundle?], open a cover with eager expectations and find only a news paper, but I know your avocations will not suffer you to write so often as you [wish?].
{ 338 }
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in AA's hand: “Portia Decembr. 10 1775.” Enclosed list of medicines wanted by Cotton Tufts not found.
1. Not further identified.
2. Isaac Sears (1730–1786) (DAB).
3. Dr. James McHenry (1753–1816), of Philadelphia and Baltimore, who shortly became an officer in the medical service and, years later, secretary of war in Washington's and JA's cabinets (DAB).
4. Not identified. AA's spelling of the name is uncertain.
5. In the last paragraph of his letter to James Warren of 24 July, which was intercepted and published by the British, JA spoke of “the Oddity of a great Man,” meaning Gen. Charles Lee. “He is a queer Creature. But you must love his Dogs if you love him, and forgive a thousand whims for the Sake of the Soldier and the Scholar” (Warren-Adams Letters, 1:89). Writing JA on 5 Oct., Lee declared himself flattered by these remarks, and added in a postscript: “Spada sends his love to You and declares in very intelligible language that He has far'd much better since your allusion to him, for he is carress'd now by all ranks, sexes and Ages” (Adams Papers).
AA's spelling “Sparder” for Spada is a revealing example of New England phonetic or orthographic overcompensation or both.
6. On 29 Nov. Capt. John Manley in the Lee privateer of Marblehead captured the Nancy, an ordnance ship from Woolwich; a spectacular item in the Nancy's cargo was a large brass mortar, which was taken to Cambridge and named The Congress (William Gordon, The History of the Rise, Progress, and Establishment, of the Independence of the United States of America, London, 1788, 2:144–145).
7. Dashes supplied in this sentence for clarity.
8. Norton Quincy had married Martha Salisbury in 1747; she died just a year later, and he never remarried (Adams Genealogy).
9. On 3 Nov. the Continental Congress, after intermittent discussion and debate since 18 Oct., had resolved to advise the New Hampshire Provincial Convention “to call a full and free representation of the people” in order to establish and maintain “a form of government... during the continuance of the present dispute between G[reat] Britain and the colonies” (JCC, 3:319; italics supplied). It is somewhat remarkable that AA, immediately and without any guidance from her husband (who had lately said nothing about public affairs in his letters to her), should have pronounced this language and action timid and unsatisfactory. JA was a member of the committee that had reported this resolution, and though according to his later recollections he had argued against using the term “Colonies,” he nevertheless “thought this resolution a Tryumph and a most important Point gained” (Diary and Autobiography, 3:354–357).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0222

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-12-11

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

My Dear Mrs. Adams has Disappointed Me so often that I think I will no more promise myself the pleasure of A Visit. But I think I will put in A Double Claim for Letters, both by way of Compensation for the Failure of her Company, And to Attone for her Husbands Deficiency. However I know his Work is Arduous and that He has Many Correspondents to answer, so I Believe it is best I should Run him No further in Debt, for I should be very unwilling so Respectable A Friend should die A Bankrupt.
But I Wish you Would Convey me such a part of Certain private { 339 } Journals as you dare trust me, With.1 I have A Curiosity to know a Little More about Certain public Characters and perticuler transactions than I am in a Way of being Acquainted with. It Would be an agreable Entertainment to my Lonely hours.
This Living Absent from the Best Companions of our Lives is Exceedingly Disagreable to us both, but You have sisters At Hand and Many Agreable Friends around You which I have not. I have not seen A Friend of an afternoon Nor spent one abroad Except once or twice I Rode out since I Came from Braintree. Yet it is Less painful to me to be Alone than to many others of my sex Though at the same time no one takes Greater pleasure in the Entertainment and Converse of Real friends.
I Desire you Would write very Long Letters and Give me all the Inteligence you Can and dont be Ceremonious with Your Friend.
I Return A Number of Letters with which I was Entrusted agreable to my promise, and am oblige'd for the use of your property thus Long.
I am pleased with the sucesses of the Brave Coll. Arnold and with the late Captures by Sea. Yet When I Look forward I almost tremble at the prospect. So Many Internal Difficulties to struggle Through, as well as A [violent?] Foe without, Makes to me the Face of public affairs Look Dark, and of Course the interruption of private Happiness must Ensue. But my Imagination is often too Busy for my peace, and though I often hope for the Best, Yes always, Yet the A[n]ticipation of Future Ills sometimes Defaces the more sanguine Images of Felicity.
As I have three or four other Letters which must be Wrote this afternoon my Friend will Excuse my hastily subscribing the Name of her affectionate
[signed] M Warren
I hope the Young Woman You talked with about Coming to Plimouth has suffered no Disadvantage by the Delay in not sending for her. Some Circumstances took place which prevented, but if she is not otherways Engaged I may send Next Week, but would not stand in the Way of her providing otherways as tis uncertain.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree.” Enclosed letters not identifiable.
1. AA did not comply with this request; see her letter to Mrs. Warren of Jan.? 1776, printed as an Addendum to this volume, p. 422–424, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0223

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-01-02

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams

[salute] Mr. Adams

I wrote you sometime Ago,1 desireing you to inquire of the So. { 340 } Carolina Gentlemen whether they wanted to make Exchange of some money, I had in So. Carolina, but as itt is not very likely I Apprehend I have concluded, to send a Vessell to bring the Value in Rice, which I find is Allowed—so would not give you the trouble. I wrote Mr. Black to send me a Phila. weekly paper but as I have not received One as yet suppose the printer may think itt best to begin the New Year.
Grain will be very much wanted the ensueing spring and Year—And am sending several fishing schooners to Virginia &c. for Corn &c.—but unless that Coast could be kept clear itt will be Attended with a great resque. As the Contineltal money we suppose will pass there I have sent and shall send more, and as the resque is great I have been thinking that iff Your Congress would pass some resolve simelar to an Act in former times when paper Currency past here, that were a person was possest of any sum of money which was lost by fire or by sea and could bring satisfactory proof, that in such cases itt was made good to the sufferers. And as grain will be greatly wanted and in case such a resolve could be past itt would be a means of incorageing people to send there Vessells, the Act to be binding, that the money so sent should be laid Out In the United provinces—and in faith that something simelar may be Acted upon, to Answer such a purpose I have been and Noted in A Noterary's office about seven hundred Dls., which I have sent by one Vessell having taken the Number's of the bills and [ . . . ] Names and then taken the Masters Oath that he received such money's to carry to Virginia, for the purchaseing of grain. And As the money should not fall into the Enemy's hands, I have Orderd the Master to throw itt Over board—for there is not the least doubt but sometime or Other, or even now in many places they could get friends to keep or transact such money's so as to be equal to them as silver or gold. Now, the supposition I go upon is, that by renewing those bills there can be no disadvantage to the Colony's as there will be no more money Isued, and, the person who may be the looser of itt cant be suppos'd but what would gladly pay the charge of haveing them renu'ed, indeed iff he did not he Ought not to be benifited by such an indulgency. I am aware there may be An Objection to such an Act and this may be said, that the money may be hid in the Vessell or by some means or Other securd, but, in that case there would [ . . . ] a possibility of secreating itt by the people as they are generally made prisoners and would be found Out One way or Other and that no fraud of that kind should take place the Master should when returnd be upon Oath that the money was thrown Over board and destroyed. Should you think some such Act was legible doubt not you may think { 341 } of some method to prove the satisfactoriness of the Loss. Some Others have and purpose takeing the steps I have mentioned in Confidence of something of this kind might take place.
As any News we have nothing very Material no prizes lately and am sorry the privateers are not Out which is Occasioned by there time being up but hope there will be new Men and Officers soon as now is the Only time and many Vessells must be on the Coast. Capt. Constant Freeman is here, has had a long Conferance with the General relative to the Armies att Quebeck.
He says Bliss the lawyer and wife were there haveing taken an order for there money in lew of what they left att Boston and not being honord was badly off as many Others who went from Boston. Ellwell, John Coffin &c. were made some Officers in the Malitia2—he gives a most shocking Account of the treatment of Mr. James Walker and wife, the same Gentleman that had his3 cut and barbarously treated, some years Ago, but happily was retaken in the Gaspee Brigantine. Colo. Aliens people were chaind in Couples and he likewise, and all sent to England, which you will be informed of no doubt.4
He says Ld. Chatham ordered his son home, And that he saild back October and that the Chief Justice Mr. Hay [Hey] went home without Carlton's Leave or Consent.
I suppose the Troops thought to be gone to Rd. Island are gone to joyn Ld. Dunmore. We suppose a New Admiral Arrived last saturday with 2 or 3 M[en of] Warr who lay att Nantasket with 2 or 3 more. A Number of ships is gone up within a few days so that itts likely they will have a supply.
They have taken a brigantine belonging to Newbury and a schooner belonging here the latter Very Valuable. We have from Boston the kings speech of the 26 October which suppose the Gen. will send you.
We are all well. Itts likely you may have heard Mr. Balch is returnd from England but came Out the begining Octbr. so cant bring any thing New of a publick Nature tho possibly he may of his One invention.—I am Your &c.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “I. Smith. Esq. Jan. 2d. 1776.”
1. Letter not found.
2. In the Canadian militia. John Coffin, a former Boston merchant and distiller, was cited by British officers for his conduct in the defense of Quebec in Dec. 1775 (Jones, Loyalists of Mass., p. 94).
3. Word omitted in MS. On Thomas (not James) Walker, a merchant of Assomption near Montreal who acted in the American interest and, with his wife, suffered some harrowing adventures, see Justin H. Smith, Our Struggle for the Fourteenth Colony: Canada and the American Revolution, N.Y. and London, 1907, 1:43–45, 395–398, 490, and passim.
4. Ethan Allen's own Narrative of his { 342 } capture at Montreal and what followed was first published at Philadelphia, 1779 (Evans 16180), and went through at least 20 editions by 1930.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0224

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: Cushing, Thomas
Recipient: Palmer, Joseph
Recipient: Gerry, Elbridge
Date: 1776-01-19

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams, with Adams' Letter of Transmittal

[salute] Mr. Adams

I had wrote you several posts before my hearing you was returned. I should be very glad if you and Mrs. Adams could take a turn this way before you return to Philadelphia again.
I had lately a schooner arrived, with some powder, at Barnstable, rather better than three hundred pounds, which was disposed of there, as the people wanted it much. I understand that any person importing powder shall be entitled to ship the value of it in fish, and to bring the produce thereof in powder.1 As such, I should be glad to have a certificate from the proper persons authorized to give one. I want to ship the fish in a different bottom, which cannot make any odds, as both belong to me. I should be glad to have liberty for one hundred and eighty quintals of fish, being about the amount of the powder. The powder was imported in the schooner Sally, Ebenezer Nickerson, master, from St. Eustatius, and now want to ship the fish by the schooner Endeavour, Jesse Harding, for the West-Indies.
Your assisting the bearer in procuring the above, will oblige your humble servant,
[signed] Isaac Smith
Mr. Adams presents his compliments to Mr. Cushing, Mr. Palmer, Mr. Gerry, and the other gentlemen at Mr. Hunt's, and begs the favour of them to assist the bearer in the business mentioned in the within letter.2
MSS not found. Printed from (Peter Force, American Archives, Washington, 1837–1853, 4th series, 4:1271). At foot of text of Smith's letter: “To the Honourable John Adams, Esq., Watertown.” Force's texts presumably were taken from originals in M-Ar: Council Records, but they are not now to be found.
1. See the Continental Congress' resolution of 15 July 1775 (JCC, 2:184–185).
2. The prompt and favorable action of the Council on Smith's request is shown in a minute and a signed order of that body dated 20 Jan., printed by Force following the text of JA's note. JA did not sign the order (though he was a member of the Council and had been in more or less regular attendance since just after Christmas). He was probably at Braintree preparing for his return to Philadelphia, having decided that he would, after all, resume his seat there rather than take up his duties as chief justice at this time.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0225

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-01-24

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Nabby

I am determined not to commit a fault which escaped me, the last Time I sat out for the southward.
I waited on General Thomas at Roxbury this Morning, and then went to Cambridge where I dined at Coll. Mifflins with the General, and Lady, and a vast Collection of other Company, among whom were six or seven Sachems and Warriours, of the French Cagnawaga Indians, with several of their Wives and Children. A savage Feast they made of it, yet were very polite in the Indian style. One of these sachems is an Englishman a Native of this Colony whose Name was Williams, captivated in his Infancy with his Mother, and adopted by some kind Squaw—another I think is half french Blood.
I was introduced to them by the General as one of the grand Council Fire at Philadelphia which made them prick up their Ears, they came and shook Hands with me, and made me low Bows, and scrapes &c. In short I was much pleased with this Days entertainment.
The General is to make them presents in Cloaths and Trinketts, they have visited the Lines at Cambridge and are going to see those at Roxbury.1
Tomorrow We2 mount, for the grand Council Fire—Where I shall think often of my little Brood at the Foot of Pens Hill. Remember me particularly to Nabby, Johnny, Charly and Tommy. Tell them I charge them to be good, honest, active and industrious for their own sakes, as well as ours.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. John Adams Braintree.”
1. On the Caughnawagas' visit to Washington's headquarters in Cambridge, see also JA's Diary entry of this day (Diary and Autobiography, 2:226–227).
2. JA's companion was the newly elected Massachusetts delegate, Elbridge Gerry. There are a few notes on the early part of their journey in same, p. 227–228.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0226

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-02-07

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

Just Come to hand is A Letter from my very Worthy Friend1 who I suppose is by this time arrived at Philadelphia and Another from his Good Portia2 whose Mind seems to be Agitated by A Variety of passions of the Noblest kind, A sense of Honnour, of Friendship, of parental and Conjugal affection, of Domestick Felicity And public { 344 } Happiness. I do not wonder you had a struggle within yourself when your Friend was again Called upon to be Absent from his Family for perhaps many months but as you have sacrificed private Inclination to the public welfare I hope the Reward of Virtue will be your portion. I beleive the person you Consent should be absent from you need Give himself very Little Concern about the Ill natured sugestions of an Envious World, and I Cannot think you have any Apprehension that the Wispers of Malice Will Lessen the Esteem and Affection I have for my Friends and if she is unkindly brooding anything to their Disadvantage it has not Reached my Ear. When it does I shall Comply with your Request and Give you the opportunity you Mention. Mean time Let me have an Explanation of that source of uneasiness you hint at, in yours. Follow my Example and set Down Immediatly and write and I will Ensure you a safe Conveyance by a Gentleman who I hope will Call on you on saterday on his way to pay a Visit to his Marcia. You may trust him with your Letter though Ever so important, and anything Else you will Venture to Communicate.
I Want to know if Certain Intercepted Letters had any Consequences at Philadelphia. Was any umbrage taken by any Genius Great or small.
I Wonder where Mr. Adamss Letter has been for A whole month. It might have traveled to Quebec And back again since it was wrote. I began to think he was about to drop Our Correspondence and Indeed I think now I am obliged to you for Its Continuance. Yet had I Received the Letter before he went off I beleive I should have Ventured to answer some of his queries Though they were not put in a Manner serious Enough for me to suppose he Expected it. However when you write again do make my Regards and thank him for his of January 8th. Only the fear of Interrupting his important Moments prevents my doing it myself. But I think he has so many friends to Correspond with that it is Rather Calling him from more Useful Employment to Attend to my Interruptions.
Yet there is a proposal in his that may set my pen to work again perhaps before he Returns.
I am Very sorry for the Ill Health of your Family. Hope they are all Recovered. Do put them in mind of the affection of your Friend, in a way most pleasing to the Little Circle.
What is became of my dear Mrs. Lincoln. Do tell her I have impatiently Wished through the whole Winter for the pleasure of hearing from her and the family. Do make them my best Regards.
I write in a very Great Hury or I should touch a Little on politicks, { 345 } knowing you Love a Little seasoning of that Nature in Every production, but it is two wide A Field to Enter this Evening so will only Wish that the Aquisition of Boston and Quebec may make the opening of the year 76 an Era of Glory to the arms of America, and May hand down the Name of Washington and Arnold to the Latest posterrity, with the Laurel on their Brow. But A Reverse I tremble to think off. Let us forbear to Name it. So will hasten to subscribe the Name of Your Affectionate Friend,
[signed] M W
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; docketed in an unidentified hand: “Mrs. Warren Feb 1st. '76.”
1. JA to Mrs. Warren, 8 Jan. (Warren-Adams Letters, 1:201–203).
2. Jan.? 1776; printed as an Addendum to this volume, p. 422–424, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0227

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-02-11

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

Here I am again. Arrived last Thursday,1 in good Health, altho I had a cold Journey. The Weather, a great Part of the Way, was very severe, which prevented our making very quick Progress, and by an Accident which happened to one of my Horses, which obliged me to leave her at Brookfield and hire another, was delayed two days. An Horse broke loose in the Barn and corked2 mine under the fore-shoulder. I hope that Bass upon his Return will find her well.
My Companion was agreable and made the Journey much less tedious than it would have been.
I can form no Judgment of the State of public Opinions and Principles here, as yet, nor any Conjectures of what an Hour may bring forth.
Have been to meeting and heard Mr. Duffill [Duffield] from Jer. 2.17. Hast thou not procured this unto thy self, in that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, when he led thee by the Way?—He prayed very earnestly for Boston and New York, supposing the latter to be in Danger of Destruction.
I, however, am not convinced that Vandeput will fire upon that Town3—It has too much Tory Property to be destroyed by Tories.
I hope it will be fortified and saved. If not the Q[uestion] may be asked “hast thou not procured this &c?”
Tomorrow, Dr. Smith is to deliver an oration in Honour of the brave Montgomery.4 I will send it, as soon as it is out, to you.
There is a deep Anxiety, a kind of thoughtfull Melancholly, and in { 346 } some a Lowness of Spirits approaching to Despondency, prevailing, through the southern Colonies, at present, very similar, to what I have often observed in Boston, particularly on the first News of the Port Bill, and last year about this Time or a little later, when the bad News arrived, which dashed their fond Hopes with which they had deluded themselves, thro the Winter. In this, or a similar Condition, We shall remain, I think, untill late in the Spring, When some critical Event will take Place, perhaps sooner. But the Arbiter of Events, the Sovereign of the World only knows, which Way the Torrent will be turned. Judging by Experience, by Probabilities, and by all Appearances, I conclude, it will roll on to Dominion and Glory, tho the Circumstances and Consequences may be bloody.
In such great Changes and Commotions, Individuals are but Atoms. It is scarcly worth while to consider what the Consequences will be to Us. What will be the Effects upon present and future Millions, and Millions of Millions, is a Question very interesting to Benevolence natural and Christian. God grant they may and I firmly believe they will be happy.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. John Adams Braintree.”
1. 8 February.
2. That is, calked: “To wound with a calk, as a horse's leg” (Webster, 2d edn.). Calk (in the sense of a projecting metal point affixed to a shoe to prevent slipping) appears frequently in American colloquial usage as “cork”; thus “corked boots.” See DAE and Dict. of Americanisms under both calk and cork.
3. Capt. (later Adm.) George Vandeput, then commanding H.M.S. Asia in New York Harbor.
4. JA was mistaken about the date. The ceremonies in honor of Gen. Richard Montgomery, who was killed in the American assault on Quebec on the last day of 1775, were not held until Monday, 19 Feb., when Rev. William Smith, provost of the College of Philadelphia, delivered an oration in the “Dutch Calvinist” (i.e. German Reformed) Church in Philadelphia that JA later said was considered such “an insolent Performance” that Congress declined either to thank the orator or to print his speech. However, “The orator then printed it himself, after leaving out or altering some offensive Passages” (to AA, 28 April, below). What offended JA and others were Smith's markedly loyalist sentiments. See entries in Richard Smith's Diary of Proceedings in Congress for 25 Jan., 12, 19, 21 Feb., in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:327, 347, 356, 359 and references in editorial notes there. For Smith's Oration as printed, see “Bibliographical Notes” in JCC, 6:1117–1118; also T. R. Adams, “American Independence,” No. 228a-h.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0228

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-02-13

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Lee is at York,2 and We have requested a Battalion of Philadelphian { 347 } Associators, together with a Regiment of Jersey Minute Men, to march to his Assistance. Lord Sterling3 was there before with his Regiment, so that there will be about 1000 Men with Lee from Connecticutt, about 600 with Ld. Sterling from the Jerseys, one Battalion of about 720 Minute Men from Jersey and one of the same No. from Philadelphia. We shall soon have four Battalions more raised in Pensilvania, to march to the same Place and one more in the Jerseys.4
Mr. Dickinson, being the first Collonell, and Commander of the first Battalion too, claimed it, as his Right to march upon this Occasion. Mr. Reed, formerly Gen. Washingtons Secretary goes his Lt, Coll. Mr. Dickinsons Alacrity and Spirit upon this occasion, which certainly becomes his Character and setts a fine Example, is much talk'd of and applauded. This afternoon, the four Battallions of the Militia were together, and Mr. Dickinson mounted the Rostrum to harrangue them, which he did with great Vehemence and Pathos, as it is reported.
I suppose, if I could have made Interest enough to have been chosen more than a Lt., I should march too upon some such Emergency, and possibly a Contingency may happen, when it will be proper for me to do it still, in Rank and File. I will not fail to march if it should.
In the Beginning of a War, in Colonies like this and Virginia, where the martial Spirit is but just awakened and the People are unaccustomed to Arms, it may be proper and necessary for such popular Orators as Henry and Dickenson to assume a military Character. But I really think them both, better Statesmen than Soldiers, tho I cannot say they are not very good in the latter Character. Henrys Principles, and Systems, are much more conformable to mine than the others however.
I feel, upon some of these Occasions, a flow of Spirits, and an Effort of Imagination, very like an Ambition to be engaged in the more active, gay, and dangerous Scenes. (Dangerous I say but recall that Word, for there is no Course more dangerous than that which I am in.) I have felt such Passions all my Lifetime, particularly in the year 1757, when I longed more ardently to be a Soldier than I ever did to be a Lawyer. But I am too old, and too much worn, with Fatigues of Study in my youth, and there is too little need in my Province of such assistance, for me to assume an Uniform. Non tali Auxilio nec Defensoribus istis Tempus eget.
I believe I must write you soon, Lord Sterlings Character, because I was vastly pleased with him. For the future I shall draw no Characters but such as I like. Pimps destroy all Freedom of Correspondence.
{ 348 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. John Adams Braintree.”
1. JA left space for the day of the month but did not enter it. A portion of the text of this letter is printed in Burnett's Letters of Members, where it is pointed out (1:348, note) that the mustering of “the four Battallions of the [Philadelphia] Militia” (mentioned in the second paragraph) was recorded by others as occurring on 13 February.
2. New York City.
3. William Alexander (1726–1783), of New York and New Jersey, who claimed the title of 6th Earl of Stirling, though his claim had been formally disallowed; he was named a Continental brigadier general on 1 March (DAB).
4. See Congress' resolutions of 12 Feb. (JCC, 4:127–128).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0229

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-02-18

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I sent you from New York a Pamphlet intituled Common Sense, written in Vindication of Doctrines which there is Reason to expect that the further Encroachments of Tyranny and Depredations of Oppression, will soon make the common Faith: unless the cunning Ministry, by proposing Negociations and Terms of Reconciliation, should divert the present Current from its Channell.1
Reconciliation if practicable and Peace if attainable, you very well know would be as agreable to my Inclinations and as advantageous to my Interest, as to any Man's. But I see no Prospect, no Probability, no Possibility. And I cannot but despise the Understanding, which sincerely expects an honourable Peace, for its Credulity, and detest the hypocritical Heart, which pretends to expect it, when in Truth it does not. The News Papers here are full of free Speculations, the Tendency of which you will easily discover. The Writers reason from Topicks which have been long in Contemplation, and fully understood by the People at large in New England, but have been attended to in the southern Colonies only by Gentlemen of free Spirits and liberal Minds, who are very few. I shall endeavour to inclose to you as many of the Papers and Pamphlets as I can, as long as I stay here. Some will go by this Conveyance.
Dr. Franklin, Mr. Chase, and Mr. Charles Carroll of Carrollton in Maryland, are chosen a Committee to go into Canada. The Characters of the two first you know. The last is not a Member of Congress, but a Gentleman of independant Fortune, perhaps the largest in America, 150 or 200, thousand Pounds sterling, educated in some University in France, tho a Native of America, of great Abilities and Learning, compleat Master of French Language and a Professor of the Roman { 349 } catholic Religion, yet a warm, a firm, a zealous Supporter of the Rights of America, in whose Cause he has hazarded his all.
Mr. John Carroll of Maryland, a Roman Catholic Priest and a Jesuit, is to go with the Committee. The Priests in Canada having refused Baptism and Absolution to our Friends there.2
General Lee is to command in that Country, whose Address, Experience, and Abilities added to his Fluency in the French Language, will give him great Advantages.3
The Events of War are uncertain: We cannot insure Success, but We can deserve it. I am happy in this Provision for that important Department, because I think it the best that could be made in our Circumstances. Your Prudence will direct you to communicate the Circumstances of the Priest, the Jesuit and the Romish Religion only to such Persons as can judge of the Measure upon large and generous Principles, and will not indiscreetly divulge it. The Step was necessary, for the Anathema's of the Church are very terrible to our Friends in Canada.
I wish I understood French as well as you. I would have gone to Canada, if I had. I feel the Want of Education every Day—particularly of that Language. I pray My dear, that you would not suffer your Sons or your Daughter, ever to feel a similar Pain. It is in your Power to teach them French, and I every day see more and more that it will become a necessary Accomplishment of an American Gentleman and Lady. Pray write me in your next the Name of the Author of your thin French Grammar, which gives you the Pronunciation of the French Words in English Letters, i.e. which shews you, how the same Sounds would be signified by English Vowells and Consonants.
Write me as often as you can—tell me all the News. Desire the Children to write to me, and believe me to be theirs and yours.
1. From this it appears that JA first encountered and read Thomas Paine's subsequently famous pamphlet Common Sense: Addressed to the Inhabitants of America on his way to Philadelphia during the first days of Feb. 1776. (It had been published in Philadelphia about three weeks earlier.) It also appears, from this and other letters JA wrote at the time (see especially his letter of 19 March, below), that he thought better of Common Sense and its author when he first read it than he did later on. The best he could say in old age was that Common Sense was "a tollerable Summary of the Arguments” for independence, and that it had led JA himself to correct its crudities and supply its deficiencies by writing his essay published later this spring as Thoughts on Government (Diary and Autobiography, 3:331–334).
2. See the resolutions of Congress of 15 Feb. (JCC, 4:151–152). For the Carrolls, who were cousins, see under both their names in DAB.
3. Lee was, however, soon sent south to Virginia rather than north to Canada.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0230

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-02-21

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Tis a month this day since you left me, and this is the first time I have taken my pen to write to you. My conscience accuses me, but I have waited in hopes of having something worth saying to you, some event worth relating; but it has been a dead calm of dull repose. No event of any importance upon either side excepting the burning of some houses by the Enemy upon Dorchester Neck has taken place since you left us.
The preparations increase and something great is daily expected, something terible it will be. I impatiently wait for, yet dread the day.—I received a Letter from you wrote at Watertown, and a Book Last week;1 for which I am much obliged, tis highly prized here and carries conviction whereever it is read. I have spread it as much as it lay in my power, every one assents to the weighty truths it contains. I wish it could gain Credit enough in your assembly to be carried speadily into Execution.
I have been uneasy upon your account. I know your delicacy must be wounded by the unjust and malicious censures of an unworthy associate, whose self conceit and vanity really makes him an object of contempt <,too dirty to soil my fingers> and commisiration. He has not only treated your character in a very abusive and ungentlemanlike manner, but descended to low vulgar attacks and Language upon our Worthy Friend.2
I think from the temper in which he writes you cannot avoid altercation with him, but I hope you will be guarded. Envy and vanity will do his work very effectually.

“To all my foes dear fortune sent thy Gifts

But never to my Friends.

I tamely can endure the first

But this with envy makes me Burst.”

I must beg the favour of you to send me a quire of paper, or I know not whether I shall be able to write you an other Letter. We cannot get any here. I was obliged to beg this, and your Daughter requests a blank Book or two. If Mack Fingal is published be so good as to send it.3
The army is full, more men now in camp than has been since the army was first together. Not very sickly there, But in the Country the { 351 } plurisy fever prevails and is very mortal. We have lost 3 grown persons in this part of the Town this week. Many others lay bad—it carries them of in 8 days.

[salute] All our Friends send Love. Write me by every opportunity and believe me at all times Yours.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble. John Adams Esqr. In Philadelphia Pr. favour”; franked: “Free Wm Ellery”; endorsed: “Portia. Feb. 21.”
1. Paine's Common Sense, the authorship of which was not yet known.
2. This alludes to the bitter quarrel that had sprung up during the preceding months between Robert Treat Paine and James Warren, in which JA, as Warren's confidant and close political ally and Paine's impatient colleague in Congress, was unavoidably involved. Surviving letters of Warren written in July and Aug. 1775 show that he and Paine were on fairly cordial terms until that point, but developments were about to occur that made them enemies. As for JA, he and Paine had long been rivals at the bar in Massachusetts and on somewhat touchy terms of friendship because Paine, senior in age and in professional status to JA, had watched the younger man's prestige and influence surpass his own as the Revolutionary struggle came on. When JA's intercepted letters were published by the British in August, Paine (no doubt rightly) considered himself as one of those in Congress whose “Fidgets,... Whims, [and] Irritability” JA was complaining of (JA to AA, 24 July 1775, above). On top of this JA was appointed chief justice of the Superior Court in the fall, and Paine was ranked fourth among the five justices then named. (See Warren to JA, 20 Oct., 5 Nov. 1775, Warren-Adams Letters, 1:150, 178.) JA was himself uneasy about this arrangement and well aware of Paine's resentment. “Mr. Paine,” he told AA, “has taken an odd Turn in his Head of late, and is so peevish, passionate and violent that he will make the Place disagreable” (18 Nov. 1775, above). Paine spared JA this trouble by refusing the appointment, but Warren soon made matters much worse. In a letter to JA of 3 Dec. he dropped some inexcusably sarcastic comments on Paine's conduct both in Congress and out (Warren-Adams Letters, 1:190). JA received this letter on his way home from Congress and sent it on to Philadelphia for Samuel Adams to see. It fell into someone's hands who showed it to Paine when he returned from his mission to Ticonderoga, and it opened the floodgates of his resentment. Early in January he addressed a scorching protest to Warren, in which he said, among other things, that he knew perfectly well who (meaning JA) had been furnishing Warren with the calumnies now circulating and whose “machinations” had “degraded” Paine in the recent appointments. This letter Warren copied and enclosed to JA under a cover of 31 Jan. which called it “A Model of Invective and dulness” and said it might soon be properly answered. (Warren's letter of 31 Jan. is in the Adams Papers, with the copy of Paine's to Warren attached; the enclosure is dated 5 Jan., but Paine's draft in the Paine Papers in MHi is dated 1 Jan. 1776.) No answer by Warren has been found. Before long the Warrens evidently showed Paine's letter to AA, and she may have heard more on the subject from Joseph Palmer, to whom on 1 Jan. Paine had addressed a bitter complaint about the behavior of Warren and JA (draft in Paine Papers; copy in Adams Papers). Palmer's answer was so exemplary that it deserves at least partial quotation:
“I thank you for your late favour, but was exceedingly sorry to find any misunderstanding between Friends, especially at this time of public danger; I don't intend to meddle in this matter, any farther than to urge you both, as you regard the good of your distressed Country, to stifle every private resentment, incompatable with the public { 352 } good, and conduct yourselves in every respect as your Christian profession requires” (24 Jan., Paine Papers).
From the evidence available it appears that both Paine and JA did so act toward each other in the critical months that followed.
3. John Trumbull, JA's law clerk during 1773–1774, wrote the first part of his M'Fingal:A Modern Epic Poem in 1775 at New Haven, where he had begun the practice of law. JA saw a MS of the poem in Philadelphia and wrote Trumbull, 5 Nov., praising it and asking who sat for the portraits of the principal characters (RC in NjP). Trumbull's interesting reply of 14 Nov. says among other things that no single person was the model for either the tory M'Fingal or the patriot Honorius; “But the Picture of the Townmeeting is drawn from the Life” (Adams Papers). “Canto I” of M'Fingal was published at Philadelphia in Jan. 1776 (though with a 1775 imprint). The complete poem, twice as long and destined to be popular for many years among American readers, was published at Hartford in 1782. See Alexander Cowie, John Trumbull, Connecticut Wit, Chapel Hill, 1936, ch. 7.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0231

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-03-02

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I was greatly rejoiced at the return of your servant to find you had safely arrived, and that you were well. I had never heard a word from you after you left New york, and a most ridiciolous story had been industerously propagated in this and the neighbouring Towns to injure the cause and blast your Reputation, viz. that you and your President had gone on board a Man of War from N–y and saild for England. I should not mention so idle a report, but that it had given uneasiness to some of your Friends, not that they in the least credited the report, but because the Gaping vulgar swallowed the story. One man had deserted them and proved a traitor, an other might &c. I assure you such high Disputes took place in the publick house of this parish, that some men were collerd and draged out of the shop, with great Threats for reporting such scandelous lies, and an unkle of ours offerd his life as a forfeit for you if the report proved true.
However it has been a nine days marvel and will now cease. I heartily wish every Tory was Extirpated [from]1 America, they are continually by secret means undermineing and injuring our cause.
I am charmed with the Sentiments of Common Sense; and wonder how an honest Heart, one who wishes the welfare of their country, and the happiness of posterity can hesitate one moment at adopting them; I want to know how those Sentiments are received in Congress? I dare say their would be no difficulty in procuring a vote and instructions from all the Assemblies in New England for independancy. I most sincerely wish that now in the Lucky Minuet it might be done.
I have been kept in a continual state of anxiety and expectation { 353 } ever since you left me. It has been said to morrow and to morrow for this month, but when the dreadfull to morrow will be I know not—but hark! the House this instant shakes with the roar of Cannon.—I have been to the door and find tis a cannonade from our Army, orders I find are come for all the remaining Militia to repair to the Lines a monday night by twelve o clock. No Sleep for me to Night; and if I cannot who have no guilt upon my Soul with regard to this Cause, how shall the misirible wretches who have been the procurers of this Dreadfull Scene and those who are to be the actors, lie down with the load of Guilt upon their Souls.
I went to Bed after 12 but got no rest, the Cannon continued firing and my Heart Beat pace with them all night. We have had a pretty quiet day, but what to morrow will bring forth God only knows.
Tolerable quiet to day. The Militia have all musterd with 3 days provision and are all march'd by 8 o clock this afternoon tho their notice was no longer than 8 o clock Saturday, and now we have scarcly a Man but our regular guards either in W[eymouth,] H[ingham] or B[raintree] or M[ilton] and the Militia from the more remote towns are call'd in as Sea coast Guards. Can you form to yourself an Idea of our Sensations. P[alme]r is chief C[olone]l, B[as]s is Leit. C[olone]l and S[ope]r Major and Hall Captain.2
I have just returnd from P[enn']s Hill where I have been sitting to hear the amazing roar of cannon and from whence I could see every shell which was thrown. The sound I think is one of the Grandest in Nature and is of the true Speicies of the Sublime. Tis now an incessant Roar. But O the fatal Ideas which are connected with the sound. How many of our dear country men must fall?3
I went to bed about 12 and rose again a little after one. I could no more sleep than if I had been in the ingagement. The ratling of the windows, the jar of the house and the continual roar of 24 pounders, the Bursting of shells give us such Ideas, and realize a scene to us of which we could scarcly form any conception. About Six this morning, there was quiet; I rejoiced in a few hours calm. I hear we got possession of Dorchester Hill Last Night. 4000 thousand men upon it to day—lost but one Man. The Ships are all drawn round the Town. To night { 354 } we shall realize a more terible scene still. I sometimes think I cannot stand it—I wish myself with you, out of hearing as I cannot assist them. I hope to give you joy of Boston, even if it is in ruins before I send this away.—I am too much agitated to write as I ought, and languid for want of rest.
All my anxiety, and distress, is at present at an End. I feel dissapointed. This day our Militia are all returning, without effecting any thing more than taking possession of Dorchester Hill. I hope it is wise and just, but from all the Muster and Stir I hoped and expected more important and decisive Scenes; I would not have sufferd all I have for two such Hills. Ever since the taking of that we have had a perfect calm nor can I learn yet what Effect it has had in Boston. I do not hear of one persons escapeing since.
I was very much pleased with your choise of a committe for Canada. All those to whom I have venturd to shew that part of your Letter approve the Scheme of the Priest as a master stroke of policy. I feel sorry that G[eneral] Lee has left us, but his presence at New York was no doubt of great importance as we have reason to think it prevented Clinton from landing and gathering together such a nest of virmin as would at least have distressd us greatly. But how can you spair him from there? Can you make his place good—can you supply it with a man eaquelly qualified to save us? How do the Virginians realish the Troops said to be destined for them? Are they putting themselves into a State of Defence? I inclose to you a Coppy of a Letter sent by Capt. Furnance [Furnass] who is in Mr. Ned Churchs imploy and who came into the Cape about 10 days ago. You will learn the Sentiments of our Cousin4 by it, some of which may be true, but I hope he is a much better divine than politician.
I hear in one of his Letters he mentions certain intercepted Letters which he says have made much Noise in England, and Laments that you ever wrote them.5
What will he and others say to Common Sense? I cannot Bear to think of your continuing in a State of Supineness this winter.

“There is a tide in the affairs of Men

Which taken, at the flood leads on to fortune;

omitted, all the voyage of their life

is bound in shallows and in miseries.

On such a full sea are we now afloat;

{ 355 }

And we must take the current when it serves,

or lose our ventures.”

Shakespear

I had scarcly finished these lines when my Ears were again assaulted with the roar of Cannon. I could not write any further. My Hand and heart will tremble, at this domestick fury, and firce civil Strife, which cumber all our parts. Tho,

Blood and destruction are so much in use

And Dreadfull objects so familiar,

Yet is not pitty chok'd, nor my Heart grown Callous. I feel for the unhappy wretches who know not where to fly for safety. I feel still more for my Bleading Country men who are hazarding their lives and their Limbs.—A most Terible and incessant Cannonade from half after 8 till Six this morning. I hear we lost four men kill'd and some wounded in attempting to take the Hill nearest the Town call'd Nook Hill.6 We did some work, but the fire from [the ships]7 Beat [off our] Men so that they did not [secure] it but retired to the fort upon the other Hill.
I have not got all the perticuliars I wish I had but, as I have an opportunity of sending this I shall endeavour to be more perticuliar in my next.
All our Little ones send duty. Tommy has been very sick with what is call'd the Scarlet or purple fever, but has got about again.
If we have Reinforcements here,8 I believe we shall be driven from the sea coast, but in what so ever state I am I will endeavour to be therewith content.

Man wants but Little here below

Nor wants that Little long.

You will escuse this very incorrect Letter. You see in what purtubation it has been written and how many times I have left of. Adieu pray write me every opportunity. Yours.
Tooks Grammer is the one you mention.9
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “March 10. answd March. 19.” Enclosure: probably Isaac Smith Jr.'s letter to Rev. William Smith(?), dated at Enfield near London, 5 Dec. 1775, above.
1. Word omitted in MS.
2. Col. Joseph Palmer of Germantown, Jonathan Bass, Edmund Soper, and John Hall Jr. (Mass. Soldiers and Sailors, { 356 } 11:803; 1:748; 14:642; 7:92). Capt. John Hall Jr. was a stepson of JA's mother by her 2d marriage, 1766.
3. The purpose of this bombardment, as Washington reported to Congress on the 7th, was “to harrass the Enemy and divert their attention” preparatory to assaulting and fortifying the heights on Dorchester Neck, an operation undertaken on Monday night, 4 March, Gen. John Thomas commanding. Local militia had been called up in large numbers in expectation of a British counterattack (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 4:370–372). Bad weather and rough water preventing a successful assault on the new American fortifications, Howe thereupon decided to evacuate Boston (same, p. 373, note). The militia were dismissed on the 7th (same, p. 374).
4. Isaac Smith Jr.; see the descriptive note above.
5. “Very unluckily for us, two intercepted letters, wrote by Mr. John Adams, and one from another member of the Congress have been republished here, and (especially the former,) have furnished a topic for general conversation the week past. They are supposed to contain proof that the Congress, some of them at least, have very different views from what they profess in their publications” (Isaac Smith Jr. to Isaac Smith Sr., London, 26 Sept. [1775], MHi: Smith-Carter Papers).
6. Nook or Nook's Hill at Dorchester Point, overlooking the harbor and the British lines on Boston Neck. See, further, AA to JA, 16–18 March, below.
7. Bottom line of MS partly worn away; missing words supplied from CFA's text in JA–AA, Familiar Letters, p. 140.
8. AA almost certainly meant to write: “If we have no Reinforcements here....”
9. In his letter of 18 Feb., above. AA was mistaken in her citation; see her letter of 16–18 March, below, and note 6 there.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0232

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-03-08

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

Yesterday by Major Osgood I had the Pleasure of a Letter from Mr. Palmer,1 in which he kindly informed me of your and the Familys Welfare. This is the first Intelligence I have had from Braintree since I left it—not a Line from you. Am sorry to learn that Braintree People are alarmed—hope they will not be attacked. Want to know the Particulars—how they have been threatned &c.
Thomas is made a Major General and ordered to Canada. The general Expectation here is that the boldest Efforts of our Enemies will be made at Virginia and S. Carolina.—I believe no such Thing. Boston, N. York and Quebec will be their Object.
I have sent you, as many Letters as I could, and some Pamphlets and News Papers, and shall continue to do so. I want a servant excessively. Know not what to do for Want of one. So much Company—and so many Things to do.
Write me as often as you can—let me know whether Bass got home without any Accident, and whether your Fathers beautifull Mare is well of her Wound.
{ 357 }
God bless you my dear, and all about you, to whom be pleased to remember my most tender Affection.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams at Mr. John Adams's Braintree favd. by Mr. Osgood to the Care of Coll Warren or Palmer.”
1. Dated at Watertown, 19 Feb. (Adams Papers). The letter was brought (and the present letter was delivered) by Samuel Osgood (1747–1813), Harvard 1770, at this time major and aide-de-camp to Gen. Artemas Ward, later a Massachusetts delegate to the Continental Congress, first postmaster general under the Constitution, and Jeffersonian officeholder in New York City (DAB). During the 1780's Osgood became one of JA's most trusted correspondents.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0233

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-03-16

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I last Evening Received yours of March 8. I must confess my self in fault that I did not write sooner to you, but I was in continual Expectation that some important event would take place and give me a subject worth writing upon. Before this reaches you I immagine you will have Received two Letters from me; the last I closed this Day week;1 since that time there has been some movements amongst the Ministerial Troops as if they meant to evacuate the Town of Boston. Between 70 and 80 vessels of various sizes are gone down and lay in a row in fair sight of this place, all of which appear to be loaded and by what can be collected from our own observations and from deserters they have been plundering the Town. I have been very faithless with regard to their quitting Boston, and know not how to account for it, nor am I yet satisfied that they will leave it—tho it seems to be the prevailing opinion of most people; we are obliged to place the Militia upon Gaurd every Night upon the shoars thro fear of an invasion. There has been no firing since Last twesday, till about 12 o clock last Night, when I was waked out of my sleep with a smart Cannonade which continued till nine o clock this morning, and prevented any further repose for me; the occasion I have not yet heard, but before I close this Letter I may be able to give you some account of it.
By the accounts in the publick papers the plot thickens; and some very important Crisis seems near at hand. Perhaps providence see's it necessary in order to answer important ends and designs that the Seat of War should be changed from this to the Southeren colonies that each may have a proper sympathy for the other, and unite in a seperation. The Refuge of the Believer amidst all the afflictive dispensations of { 358 } providence, is that the Lord Reigneth, and that he can restrain the Arm of Man.
Orders are given to our Army to hold themselves in readiness to March at a moments warning. I'll meet you at Philippi said the Ghost of Caesar to Brutus.
Being quite sick with a voilent cold I have tarried at Home to day; I find the fireing was occasiond by our peoples taking possession of Nook Hill, which they kept in spite of the Cannonade, and which has really obliged our Enemy to decamp this morning on board the Transports; as I hear by a mesenger just come from Head Quarters. Some of the Select Men have been to the lines and inform that they have carried of [every] thing they could [po]ssibly take, and what they could not they have [burnt, broke, or hove into the water. This] is I [believe fact,] many articles of good Household furniture having in the course of the week come on shore at Great Hill,3 both upon this and Weymouth Side, Lids of Desks, mahogona chairs, tables &c. Our People I hear will have Liberty to enter Boston, those who have had the small pox. The Enemy have not yet come under sail. I cannot help suspecting some design which we do not yet comprehend; to what quarter of the World they are bound is wholy unknown, but tis generally Thought to New york. Many people are elated with their quitting Boston. I confess I do not feel so, tis only lifting the burden from one shoulder to the other which perhaps is less able or less willing to support it.—To what a contemptable situation are the Troops of Britain reduced! I feel glad however that Boston is not distroyed. I hope it will be so secured and guarded as to baffel all future attempts against it.—I hear that General How said upon going upon some Eminence in Town to view our Troops who had taken Dorchester Hill unperceived by them till sun rise, “My God these fellows have done more work in one night than I could make my Army do in three months” and he might well say so for in one night two forts and long Breast Works were sprung up besides several Barracks. 300 & 70 teems were imployed most of which went 3 load in the night, beside 4000 men who worked with good Hearts.
From Pens Hill we have a view of the largest Fleet ever seen in America. You may count upwards of 100 & 70 Sail. They look like a Forrest. It was very lucky for us that we got possession of Nook Hill. They had placed their cannon so as to fire upon the Top of the Hill where they had observed our people marking out the Ground, but { 359 } it was only to elude them for they began lower upon the Hill and nearer the Town. It was a very foggy dark evening and they had possession of the Hill six hours before a gun was fired, and when they did fire they over shot our people so that they were coverd before morning and not one man lost, which the enemy no sooner discoverd than Bunker Hill was abandoned and every Man decamp'd as soon as he could for they found they should not be able to get away if we once got our cannon mounted. Our General may say with Ceasar veni vidi et vici.
What Effect does the Expectation of commisioners have with you? Are they held in disdain as they are here. It is come to that pass now that the longest sword must deside the contest—and the sword is less dreaded here than the commisioners.
You mention Threats upon B[raintre]e. I know of none, nor ever heard of any till you mentiond them. The Tories look a little crest fallen; as for Cleverly he looks like the knight of the woful countanance. I hear all the Mongrel Breed are left in Boston—and our people who were prisoners are put into Irons and carried of.
As to all your own private affair[s] I generally avoid mentioning them to you; I take the best care I am capable of them. I have found some difficulty attending the only Man I have upon the place, being so often taking of.4 John and Jonathan have taken all the care in his absence, and performed very well.5 Bass got home very well. My Fathers horse came home in fine order and much to his satisfaction. Your own very poor.—Cannot you hire a Se[r]vant where you are. I am sorry you are put to so much difficulty for want of one.—I suppose you do not think one word about comeing home, and how you will get home I know not.
I made a mistake in the Name of the Grammer—tis Tandons, instead of Took.6 I wish you could purchase Lord Chesterfields Letters—I have lately heard them very highly spoken of. I smiled at your couplet of Lattin,7 your Daughter may be able in time to conster8 it as she has already made some considerable proficiency in her accidents, but her Mamma was obliged to get it translated.
Pray write Lord Sterlings character. I want to know whether you live in any harmony with——9 and how you setled matters. I think he seems in better humour.
I think I do not admire the Speach from the Rostrum, tis a heavy unelegant, verbose performance and did not strike my fancy at all.10 I am very sausy suppose you will say. Tis a Liberty I take with you; indulgance is apt to spoil one. Adieu—Yours most Sincerely.
{ 360 }
PS Pray convey me a little paper. I have but enough for one Letter more.
A fine quiet night—no allarms no Cannon. The more I think of our Enemies quitting Boston, the more amaz'd I am, that they should leave such a harbour, such fortifications, such intrenchments, and that we should be in peaceable possession of a Town which we expected would cost us a river of Blood without one Drop shed. Shurely it is the Lords doings and it is Marvelous in our Eyes. Every foot of Ground which they obtain now they must fight for, and may [they purchase it at] a Bunker Hill price.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esq. at Philadelphia To the Care of Coll: Palmer”; franked: “Free Wm Ellery”; endorsed: “March 16. 1776. answed April. 6th. 1776.” (No letter from JA to AA of 6 April 1776 has been found.) MS damaged by wear at bottom and fore edges; a few words have been supplied (in brackets) from CFA's printed text in JA–AA, Familiar Letters, p. 140–144.
1. Her letter of 2–10 March, above.
2. 17 March, a day still annually celebrated in Boston as Evacuation Day.
3. On Hough's Neck in Braintree (now Quincy).
4. Thus in MS. AA's meaning probably is: I have found some difficulty managing the affairs of the farm, the only hired hand I have being so often taken off (by militia duty or by illness). (CFA omitted this entire paragraph in editing the letter, as he regularly did details of farm management and the Adamses' business affairs.)
5. It is not perfectly certain that John is JQA (who was not yet nine years old), but probably so. Jonathan must have been a farm boy.
6. See JA to AA, 18 Feb., and AA to JA, 2–10 March, both above. BN, Catalogue, lists J. E. Tandon, A New French Grammar Teaching a Person ... to Read, Speak, and Write That Tongue, 3d edn., revised, London, 1736. BM, Catalogue, lists I. E. Tandon, The Englishman's French Grammar, new edn., London 1815. No Adams copy of this book has been found.
7. The line from Virgil in his letter of [13] Feb., above.
8. OED gives this spelling for construe as encountered from the 16th into the 19th century.
9. Doubtless Robert Treat Paine is meant.
10. If JA's reply to this letter were not lost (see descriptive note above), it would undoubtedly be possible to tell with certainty what AA meant by “the Speach from the Rostrum” which she found so distasteful. In any case, her present comments would not have been, as she says, “sausy” unless she were criticizing something for which JA had had some personal or official responsibility. One possibility is the Proclamation of the Massachusetts General Court of 23 Jan., designed to be read at annual town meetings in March, at the opening of courts, and in pulpits. This paper had actually been written by JA; see his Works, 1:192–197; Diary and Autobiography, 2:226; Ford, Mass. Broadsides, No. 1973, with facsimile facing p. 272. But whether or not AA knew of his part in the Proclamation, she was more likely to have approved its sentiments and style than to have criticized them. Her strictures may of course have been intended for an as yet unidentified pamphlet or a piece in one of the newspapers among those that JA was cur• { 361 } rently sending her from Philadelphia. But the editors incline to think that they apply to Provost William Smith's Oration in Memory of General Montgomery, which was delivered on 19 Feb., advertised on 4 March, and could have been sent to AA with JA's letter of 8 March, here acknowledged. If AA was indeed commenting on Smith's performance, her opinion accorded very well with that of the Philadelphia ladies who had heard the eulogy delivered. On 26 Feb. Samuel Adams wrote his wife:
“Certain political Principles were thought to be interwoven with every part of the Oration which were displeasing to the Auditory. It was remarkd that he could not even keep their Attention. A Circle of Ladies, who had seated themselves in a convenient place on purpose to see as well as hear the Orator, that they might take every Advantage for the Indulgence of Griefe on so melancholly an Occasion, were observd to look much disappointed and chagrind” (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:365).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0234

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-03-17

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Our worthy Friend Frank Dana arrived here last Evening from N. York, to which Place he came lately from England in the Packet.1 In Company with him, is a Gentleman by the Name of Wrixon, who has been a Field Officer in the British Army, served all the last War in Germany, and has seen service in every Part of Europe. He left the Army some time ago, and studied Law in the Temple, in which Science he made a great Proficiency. He wrote lately a Pamphlet under the Title of the Rights of Britons, which he has brought over with him. He is a Friend of Liberty and thinks justly of the American Question. He has great Abilities as well as Experience in the military Science, and is an able Engineer. I hope We shall employ him.2
The Baron De Woedke, We have made a Brigadier General, and ordered him to Canada. The Testimonials in his favour I shall inclose to you.3
Mr. Danas Account, with which Mr. Wrixons agrees, ought to extinguish in every Mind all Hopes of Reconciliation with G. Britain. This delusive Hope has done us great Injuries, and if ever We are ruined, will be the Cause of our Fall. A Hankuring after the Leeks of Egypt, makes us forget the Cruelty of her Task Masters.
I shall suffer many severe Pains, on your Account for some Days. By a Vessell from Salem a Cannonade was heard from Dark till one O Clock, last night was a Week ago. Your Vicinity to such scenes of Carnage and Desolation, as I fear are now to be seen in Boston and its Environs, will throw you into much Distress, but I believe in my Conscience I feel more here than you do. The sound of Cannon, was not so terrible when I was at Braintree as it is here, tho I hear it at four hundred Miles Distance.
{ 362 }
You cant imagine what a Mortification I sustain in not having received a single Line, from you since We parted. I suspect some Villany, in Conveyance.
By the Relation of Mr. Dana, Mr. Wrixon and Mr. Temple,4 Mr. Hutchinson, Mr. Sewall, and their Associates are in great Disgrace in England. Persons are ashamed to be seen to speak to them. They look dejected and sunk.
I shall inclose an Extract of a Letter from Monsr. Dubourg in Paris and a Testimonial in favour of our Prussian General. Adieu.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosures not found.
1. Francis Dana (1743–1811), Harvard 1762, a lawyer of Cambridge, Mass., and a political moderate, had gone to England early in 1775 with notions of finding some mode of reconciliation between the ministry and Massachusetts. His observations evidently convinced him that separation was the only course. On returning home he was at once elected to the Council; in 1777 and again in 1784 he was elected a delegate to the Continental Congress. Dana accompanied JA on his second or “Peace” mission to Europe in 1779 as secretary of legation, and during 1781–1783 served as the first (but never accredited) American minister to the Russian Court at St. Petersburg, young JQA going with him as French interpreter. He was appointed an associate justice of the Supreme Judicial Court in 1785; from 1791 until his resignation in 1806 he presided as chief justice. See DAB; Cresson, Francis Dana (a rather unreliable work); and JA, Diary and Autobiography, passim. For many years Dana was one of JA's most trusted correspondents; he was friendly as well with other members of the family; and he will often appear in the story of their lives as told in their correspondence. The middle name of the first Charles Francis Adams, who was born the year after Dana retired from the Massachusetts bench, signalized JQA's respect and friendship for Dana.
2. Elias Wrixon was appointed to a colonelcy but declined it. See JCC, 4:219–220, 242, 275, 316; also JA's Diary and Autobiography, 3:382. His “Pamphlet” has not been further identified.
3. Frederic William, Baron de Woedtke, a Prussian soldier of fortune, was appointed a brigadier general, was sent to the northern army, turned out to be a drunkard, and died in the summer of 1776 at Ticonderoga (Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:112; see the references there).
4. William Temple of New Hampshire (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:387).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0235

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-03-19

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Yesterday I had the long expected and much wish'd Pleasure of a Letter from you, of various Dates from the 2d. to the 10 March. This is the first Line I have received since I left you. I wrote you from Watertown I believe, relating my Feast at the Quarter Master General with the Coghnawaga Indians, and from Framingham, { 363 } an Account of the ordnance there,1 and from New York I sent you a Pamphlet—hope you received these.
Since my arrival here, I have written to you as often as I could.
I am much pleased with your Caution, in your Letter, in avoiding Names both of Persons and Places, or any other Circumstances, which might designate to Strangers, the Writer, or the Person written to, or the Persons mentioned. Characters and Descriptions will do as well.
The Lye, which you say occasioned such Disputes at the Tavern, was curious enough.—Who could make and spread it? Am much obliged to an Unkle, for his Friendship: my worthy fellow Citizens may be easy about me. I never can forsake what I take to be their Interests. My own have never been considered by me, in Competition with theirs. My Ease, my domestic Happiness, my rural Pleasures, my Little Property, my personal Liberty, my Reputation, my Life, have little Weight and ever had, in my own Estimation, in Comparison of the great Object of my Country. I can say of it with great Sincerity, as Horace says of Virtue—to America only and her Friends a Friend.
You ask, what is thought of Common sense. Sensible Men think there are some Whims, some Sophisms, some artfull Addresses to superstitious Notions, some keen attempts upon the Passions, in this Pamphlet. But all agree there is a great deal of good sense, delivered in a clear, simple, concise and nervous Style.
His Sentiments of the Abilities of America, and of the Difficulty of a Reconciliation with G.B. are generally approved. But his Notions, and Plans of Continental Government are not much applauded. Indeed this Writer has a better Hand at pulling down than building.
It has been very generally propagated through the Continent that I wrote this Pamphlet.2 But altho I could not have written any Thing in so manly and striking a style, I flatter myself I should have made a more respectable Figure as an Architect, if I had undertaken such a Work. This Writer seems to have very inadequate Ideas of what is proper and necessary to be done, in order to form Constitutions for single Colonies, as well as a great Model of Union for the whole.
Your Distresses which you have painted in such lively Colours, I feel in every Line as I read. I dare not write all that I think upon this Occasion. I wish our People had taken Possession of Nook Hill, at the same Time when they got the other Heights, and before the Militia were dismissed.
Poor Cousin!—I pitty him. How much soever he may lament certain { 364 } Letters I dont lament. I never repent of what was no sin. Misfortunes may be born without Whining. But if I can believe Mr. Dana, those Letters were much admired in England. I cant help laughing when I write it, because they were really such hasty crude Scraps. If I could have foreseen their Fate, they should have been fit to be seen and worth all the Noise they have made. Mr. Dana says they were considered in England as containing a comprehensive Idea of what was necessary to be done, and as shewing Resolution enough to do it. Wretched Stuff as they really were, (according to him) they have contributed somewhat towards making certain Persons' to be thought the greatest Statesmen in the World.—So much for Vanity.
My Love, Duty, Respects, and Compliments, wherever they belong.
Virginia will be well defended, so will N.Y., so will S. Car. America will eer long, raise her Voice aloud, and assume a bolder Air.
1. No such letter has been found. In his letter of 28 April, below, JA admitted that he had perhaps not written from Framingham.
2. His authorship of Common Sense was also, to his chagrin, “propagated” in Europe; see his Diary and Autobiography, 2:351–352.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0236

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-03-22

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams

[salute] Mr. Adams

You will by this itts likely have heard, of the departure of the Troops from Boston. I went in this week and found my home in good Order, though great devastation as to many Others.
I here Mr. Gearey [Gerry] has wrote to his brother about purchaicing a Cargo, of fish—and have been with me, About purchaicing some I have. I Understand, itt is by the Order of Congress. I dont purpose parting with itt, unless I can have the chance of shiping itt by my Own Vessells As choose to imploy them, and think I have as good a right, to have them imployed as any man in the goverment, as I question whether any One will suffer more—and iff you could let me know, in what Manner the Vessells and Cargo's are to be fixt Out upon.—I sent three or four Schooners for Virginia As grain will be wanted and would be a publick benifit, but dont know but they will be taken. One Crew returned Yesterday being taken in the Capes of Virginia, by which I shall suffer Two hund. pds. ster. I have a Number of Schooners laying by as well as larger Vessells which should be glad to get imploy for, and One att Baltimore hauld up there. Iff { 365 } any probability of any liberty to go as private property to foreign ports let me know.—We hourly expect to see the fleet come along.

[salute] I am with regard Sr. Yr. hum Servt.,

[signed] Isaac Smith
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To the Honble. John Adams Esq Philadelphia”; franked: “Free”; endorsed: “Isaac Smith March 22, 1776. answd April 4th.” (No answer has been found.)

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0237

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-03-27

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams

[salute] Mr. Adams

Sir I wrote you by last, to which refer you. I beleive the brigantine of Mr. Gearey is taken, a Vessell from So. Carolina which left itt About 20. days Ago, the Master of which says he saw a sailor who said he belonged to a brigantine with powder designed into the Eastern part of Our goverment, and that they came athot of a M[an of] War and threw in the Night part of the powder Over, before they boarded her in the Morning, but the Master never Askt him what the Capts. name was.
I have a Vessell Arrived in a short passuage from Cadiz. The Master says he heard att Cadiz1 she was saild, left Cadiz about the middle of last Month, there was a large ship from Phila. with flour suppose On the Continental Account.—We are in expectation of seeing the remainder of the fleet come along.
Mr. Lowell of Newbury is agoing to remove to Boston. We have nothing Material, this way, more than Boston Affairs. Many have sufferd, by those who have been intrusted with there Affairs. Deacon Barrel in particular, by One Archabald Cunningham a scotch Man (who Mr. Hancock knows) who has carried of allmost every thing, and some Others likewise. Itt's said R. Thomas2 was concernd in helping himself and B. Lyde, of Mr. Jona. Massons [Mason's] things, the latter being intrusted with the care of them, and many more such Instances.—Not haveing time to Add, least missing the post, & am Yr. hume. servant,
[signed] Isaac Smith
RC (Adams Papers); addressed and franked like the preceding letter from Smith; endorsed: “Isaac Smith Esq. Mar. 27. [1776 added in hand of William Gordon?].”
1. Supply the word “before”?
2. Smith may have written “N. R. Thomas,” i.e. Nathaniel Ray Thomas, the Marshfield loyalist and mandamus councilor; but a mutilation of the MS where it was sealed makes this impossible to determine.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0238

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-03-29

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I give you Joy of Boston and Charlestown, once more the Habitations of Americans. Am waiting with great Impatience for Letters from you, which I know will contain many Particulars.
We are taking Precautions to defend every Place that is in Danger—The Carolinas, Virginia, N. York, Canada.
I can think of nothing but fortifying Boston Harbour. I want more Cannon than are to be had, I want a Fortification upon Point Alderton,1 one upon Lovells Island, one upon Georges Island, several upon Long Island, one upon the Moon, one upon Squantum.
I want to hear of half a Dozen Fire ships and two or three hundred Fire Rafts prepared. I want to hear of Row Gallies, floating Batteries Built, and Booms laid across the Channell in the Narrows and Vesseauu de Frize, sunk in it. I wish to hear, that you are translating Braintree Commons into the Channell.
No Efforts, No Expence are too extravagant for me to wish for to fortify that Harbour so as to make it impregnable. I hope every Body will join and work untill it is done.
We have this Week lost a very valuable Friend of the Colonies, in Governor Ward of Rhode Island, by the small Pox in the natural Way. He never would hearken to his Friends who have been constantly advising him to be inoculated ever since the first Congress began. But he would not be perswaded. Numbers, who have been inoculated, have gone through the Distemper, without any Danger, or even Confinement, but nothing would do.—He must take it in the natural Way and die.
He was an amiable and a sensible Man, a stedfast Friend to his Country upon very pure Principles.
His Funeral was attended with the same Solemnities as Mr. Randolphs. Mr. Stillman being the Anabaptist Minister here, of which Perswasion was the Governor, was desired by Congress to preach a sermon, which he did with great Applause.2

[salute] Remember me as you ought.

1. Point Allerton, at the tip of the Nantasket peninsula.
2. Samuel Ward (1725–1776), former governor of Rhode Island and delegate to the Continental Congress from its beginning in 1774, died on 26 March and was given a public funeral next day (DAB; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:376).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0239

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tufts, Cotton
Date: 1776-03-29

John Adams to Cotton Tufts

[salute] My dear sir

We are impatiently waiting for Intelligence of further Particulars from Boston. We have only heard that General How and his Army have left it, and that General Washington with a Part of his, has taken Possession of it. How shall I express my Joy to you at this great Event! As we are in Possession of Dorchester Heights, Charlestown Heights and Noddles Island, I think there can be no Danger of their Returning to Boston very soon. I hope, the Instant they leave the Harbour, that our Colony will begin to fortify it in such a Manner, that no hostile Fleet shall ever enter it again. I hope We shall fortify upon the Heights of Point Alderton, upon Lovells Island, Georges Island, Governors Island, Castle Island, Dorchester Heights and Noddles Island. I had like to have forgot Long Island And the Moon and Squantum, for there should be a Fortification upon each of these.
What can be done to obstruct the Channell between the West Head of Long Island and the Moon? But more especially, can nothing be done in Nantaskett Road, or in the Narrows to obstruct the Channell.
Will Gallies, carrying heavy Cannon be of any service? The Men of War seem to dread them exceedingly. They convey a sure shot and a terrible one, and they are very nimble and alert.
But cannot some thing be done, with Fire? Fire ships or sloops, or schooners, or Fire Rafts or all together, I should think might be used to some Purpose.
They are making Preparations to defend this River in this Way, I mean with Fire. They have several Fire Vessells besides several Hundreds of Fire Rafts, ready. They would fill the whole River with Flame.
If the Bottom in the Narrows of our Channell is hard, I should think that the Vesseau de Frize, which is used in this River would do. They are large Frames of great Timber, loaded with stone and sunk. Great Timbers barbed with Iron, pointed and feathered, are placed in such a Posture as to intangle a Vessell, and shatter her, and sink her.
I hope that No Efforts, No Labour, or Expence will be spared in securing Boston Harbour against Enemies. It will be our Interest to do it, for as Privateering is begun and Trade will be opened, nothing will draw into our Country so many Prizes, so much Trade and Wealth as an impregnable Harbour. It will become the Principal Rendezvous { 368 } in my Opinion of Privateers, and American Men of War, as well as a Principal Mart.
I hope, if Batteries, fixed or floating, Fire Works, Gallies, Vesseau de Frize, or all together can secure that Harbour, let it be done.
We are taking every Precaution to secure N. York, Virginia, Carolina and Canada, and by the Blessing of Heaven, I have great Hopes We shall do it with success. My Duty to Mrs. Tufts and Love to Mr. Cotton,1 and believe me to be your sincere Friend,
[signed] John Adams
RC (NhHi).
1. Cotton Tufts Jr.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0240

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Quincy, Norton
Date: 1776-03-30

John Adams to Norton Quincy

[salute] Dear sir

The Acquisition of Boston, and its Harbour is of such vast Importance to the Province of Massachusetts Bay and New England in general, and indeed to all the confederated Colonies; that the Utmost Wisdom and public Spirit of our Countrymen ought to be employed in order to preserve it by such Fortifications as will make it impregnable for the future by any hostile Fleet.
There is not in the whole World perhaps an Harbour, whose Channell is commanded by so many Eminencies, both upon Islands and the Main: But in order to avail ourselves of the full Benefit of these natural Advantages many heavy Cannon and much Powder will be wanted. I hope that Measures will be fallen upon to procure a supply of both.
I think that the Militia of every Town which lies around Boston Harbour, ought to be formed into Matrosses or Artillery Men, that so they may be ready upon Occasion to go down to the Garrisons in the Harbour, and there officiate for the Defence of their Country.
It is now Twelve Days, since our Army entered Boston, and We have heard no Particulars. I wish you would be kind enough to put your Pen to Paper, now and then, for the Edification, Comfort, Information &c. of your Friend,
[signed] John Adams
Remember me to all.
MS not found. Printed from a facsimile of RC in (Anderson Galleries, N.Y., Catalogue of Sale No. 2026 (Manning Sale, pt. 1), 19–20 Jan. 1926, lot 281). RC sold later by Samuel T. Freeman, Phila., Frederick S. Peck Collec• { 369 } tion, pt. 3, 13–14 May 1947, lot 1, where the address is given as “to the Hon. Norton Quincy.”

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0241

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-03-31

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I wish you would ever write me a Letter half as long as I write you; and tell me if you may where your Fleet are gone? What sort of Defence Virginia can make against our common Enemy? Whether it is so situated as to make an able Defence? Are not the Gentery Lords and the common people vassals, are they not like the uncivilized Natives Brittain represents us to be? I hope their Riffel Men who have shewen themselves very savage and even Blood thirsty; are not a specimen of the Generality of the people.
I am willing to allow the Colony great merrit for having produced a Washington but they have been shamefully duped by a Dunmore.
I have sometimes been ready to think that the passion for Liberty cannot be Eaquelly Strong in the Breasts of those who have been accustomed to deprive their fellow Creatures of theirs. Of this I am certain that it is not founded upon that generous and christian principal of doing to others as we would that others should do unto us.
Do not you want to see Boston; I am fearfull of the small pox, or I should have been in before this time. I got Mr. Crane to go to our House and see what state it was in. I find it has been occupied by one of the Doctors of a Regiment, very dirty, but no other damage has been done to it. The few things which were left in it are all gone. Cranch1 has the key which he never deliverd up. I have wrote to him for it and am determined to get it cleand as soon as possible and shut it up. I look upon it a new acquisition of property, a property which one month ago I did not value at a single Shilling, and could with pleasure have seen it in flames.
The Town in General is left in a better state than we expected, more oweing to a percipitate flight than any Regard to the inhabitants, tho some individuals discoverd a sense of honour and justice and have left the rent of the Houses in which they were, for the owners and the furniture unhurt, or if damaged sufficent to make it good.
Others have committed abominable Ravages. The Mansion House of your President2 is safe and the furniture unhurt whilst both the House and Furniture of the Solisiter General3 have fallen a prey to their own merciless party. Surely the very Fiends feel a Reverential awe for Virtue and patriotism, whilst they Detest the paricide and traitor.
{ 370 }
I feel very differently at the approach of spring to what I did a month ago. We knew not then whether we could plant or sow with safety, whether when we had toild we could reap the fruits of our own industery, whether we could rest in our own Cottages, or whether we should not be driven from the sea coasts to seek shelter in the wilderness, but now we feel as if we might sit under our own vine and eat the good of the land.
I feel a gaieti de Coar4 to which before I was a stranger. I think the Sun looks brighter, the Birds sing more melodiously, and Nature puts on a more chearfull countanance. We feel a temporary peace, and the poor fugitives are returning to their deserted habitations.
Tho we felicitate ourselves, we sympathize with those who are trembling least the Lot of Boston should be theirs. But they cannot be in similar circumstances unless pusilanimity and cowardise should take possession of them. They have time and warning given them to see the Evil and shun it.—I long to hear that you have declared an independancy—and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If perticuliar care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.
That your Sex are Naturally Tyrannical is a Truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute, but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of Master for the more tender and endearing one of Friend. Why then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the Lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity with impunity. Men of Sense in all Ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your Sex. Regard us then as Beings placed by providence under your protection and in immitation of the Supreem Being make use of that power only for our happiness.
Not having an opportunity of sending this I shall add a few lines more; tho not with a heart so gay. I have been attending the sick chamber of our Neighbour Trot whose affliction I most sensibly feel but cannot discribe, striped of two lovely children in one week. Gorge the Eldest died on wedensday and Billy the youngest on fryday, with { 371 } the Canker fever, a terible disorder so much like the thr[o]at distemper, that it differs but little from it. Betsy Cranch has been very bad, but upon the recovery. Becky Peck they do not expect will live out the day. Many grown person[s] are now sick with it, in this [street?] 5. It rages much in other Towns. The Mumps too are very frequent. Isaac is now confined with it. Our own little flock are yet well. My Heart trembles with anxiety for them. God preserve them.
I want to hear much oftener from you than I do. March 8 was the last date of any that I have yet had.—You inquire of whether I am making Salt peter. I have not yet attempted it, but after Soap making believe I shall make the experiment. I find as much as I can do to manufacture cloathing for my family which would else be Naked. I know of but one person in this part of the Town who has made any, that is Mr. Tertias Bass as he is calld who has got very near an hundred weight which has been found to be very good. I have heard of some others in the other parishes. Mr. Reed of Weymouth has been applied to, to go to Andover to the mills which are now at work, and has gone. I have lately seen a small Manuscrip de[s]cribing the proportions for the various sorts of powder, fit for cannon, small arms and pistols. If it would be of any Service your way I will get it transcribed and send it to you.—Every one of your Friend[s] send their Regards, and all the little ones. Your Brothers youngest child lies bad with convulsion fitts.5 Adieu. I need not say how much I am Your ever faithfull Friend.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To The Honble. John Adams Esqr: In Philadelphia”; franked: “Free”; endorsed: “March 31. April 5. answd Ap. 14th.”
1. This is probably a slip of the pen for “Crane,” AA's agent in Boston mentioned above. (At least two Crane “housewrights” active in Boston at this time are recorded in the Thwing Catalogue, MHi.) AA normally refers to her brother-in-law Richard Cranch as “Mr. Cranch.”
2. John Hancock.
3. Samuel Quincy.
4. AA's spelling of this word is very uncertain.
5. Susanna, daughter of Peter Boylston Adams. She had been born the previous July and died later in the present month.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0242

Author: Adams, Peter Boylston
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-04-04

Peter Boylston Adams to John Adams

So far Sincable of my duty to Comply with your Dissier to write to you I now Take my pen in hand to give you a narative of the Evelotions thats hapned Since you Left us. Before the Taking Posseseon of { 372 } Dorchester hills the Militia [of] Braintree Was Called Upon to go to the Lines at Dorchester Neck to be in Readiness of an Atack from the Regulors. What makes me Relate this is I was one of these hardy hereos Led on by a Brave Corl. [Colonel] Who Spoke to his men nearly to this Purpose fellow Solgers its Proviable before this affair is Ended We may be Called to action the Man that Turns his back Upon the Enemy I Sware by all that good and Sacred I will Shute him and I give you the same Liberty to Kill Me if you see me flinch. Thus Much and Return to give an account as well as I can of the first Night. Our Generals I think Played the man for by Cannonading as they had done two or three Nights before our People went on the hill with three hundred and Eighty Teams and Some Carreyed Seven Loads before Light without haveing a Single Cannon fired at them how Ever Cannon have got to be Very farmilliar to Us and the Blase of Booms [Bombs] dont Seem to Terefye us, but Reather Raize our Spiritts I Saw four Booms flying Like flying Committs at a Time. The Continueass Thunder of Cannon it Terefyed Some so that they Could Not Sleep but this I can tell you, I Neaver Was so brook of sleep but that I had annough When I Went to bed. I have ben Obliged to Turn out and Take Turn to guard upon the Shoars after the fleet Left the Town till We Ware Releved by Corl. Tupper who has ben Prepaireing fire Rafts to Send among them and had got them Ready and would have Lighted the Torch as he calls it that Evening if there Sailing before had not Prevented it. Our frends I beleve are generly well our young Child has been Very sick but is better. Poor Trott has Lost two of his Children his oldest and youngest. Your house1 is Not So Much damaged as I was afraid it would be So I Conclud by assureing I am your Sincear frind and brother,
[signed] P B Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. in Philadelphia”; franked: “Free”; endorsed: “ansd. Ap. 14.” (JA's answer has not been found.)
1. In Boston.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0243

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-04-06

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams

[salute] Mr. Adams

I wrote you a post or two Ago, of being informd Mr. Gearey had wrote his brother to procure a Cargo or two of fish, to ship to Europe and had Applyed to me for some I have by me, but as I have sundry Vessells of my Own lying by should be glad to have them imployed, { 373 } and iff the Congress wants to purchase I would let them have mine and would see to the loading of her and to follow there directions. Suppose I may have from 10 to 1200 Q[uintals] of good fish and a friend of mine 6 or 700 more, probable Enough to make up two fishing schooner Cargo's. I should be Oblidged to you to write me Answer by the retarn of this post iff you may not have done itt. Your Compliance will Oblidge Your frd. and hume. servt.,
[signed] Isaac Smith
Ps Commodore Manleys fleet has taken a brigantine bound to Halifax on board of which is Bill Jackson and all his Effects and itt's said she has a large quantity of the Stolen goods—and there is on board likewise One Greenbrush, receiver general of the stolen goods and has distinguisht himself in that way by demanding People's propaty from them. Itts said he came from Y[ork]1 and itts said those Carpenters and runagarders from that way has behaved worse than any Others.2—A sloop is on shore at the Cape, beleive nothing very Valuable on board but itt Appears they (the inhabitants)3 went away in a most dismal Cituation, not haveing even Water sufficient and crowded and some sick with the small pox.
Boston Doctr. Cooper Preacht Yesterday for the first time att the Old brick a sermon proper to the Occasion which hope will be printed. Preacht from 2 Saml. 7 Chap. 10 V.—sung the first part 9 Psalm, and 126.
The small pox being in Town and am Apt to think will spread as so many people and soilders are in Town, which will be a hindrance of the Inhabitants coming to tarry att present. We have two to have itt. Iff there should be liberty to Innoculate should Advise Mrs. Adams and the Children to come.

[salute] I am Yrs.,

[signed] IS
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To the Honble. John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia”; postal marking: “Prov Free”; endorsed: “Mr. Smith,” with date of letter added in hand of William Gordon(?).
1. MS torn by seal. Smith undoubtedly meant New York.
2. The vessel taken by Manley's squadron was the Elizabeth, a straggler from the British fleet evacuating Boston. She was loaded with a great quantity of goods looted from Boston warehouses during the last days of the siege, and was brought into Portsmouth on 4 April (William Bell Clark, George Washington's Navy, Baton Rouge, 1960, p. 130–132, 137–138). Among the captives was the tory merchant William Jackson (d. 1810), who was brought to trial in Boston for misappropriation of patriot property. His statement in self-defense provides a vivid picture of events in Boston just before and during the evacuation (Jackson to the Mass. Council, 12 June 1776, contemporary copy, MHi: Hancock { 374 } Papers). On Jackson and his misfortunes see also Isaac Smith to JA, 16 April 1776 (Adams Papers), and Jones, Loyalists of Mass., p. 178. The captive mentioned by Smith as “Greenbrush” was Crean Brush, an Irish adventurer who was a member of the New York Assembly and whose daughter had married Ethan Allen. Appointed by Howe to superintend the removal of property and stores from Boston, Brush used strong-arm methods that made him quickly and thoroughly disliked. He was tried in Boston and imprisoned until Nov. 1777, when he escaped and made his way to New York, where he died the following year. See Rowe, Letters and Diary, p. 301–302; Clark, as cited above; French, First Year, p. 666–667, 672–673; Jones, Loyalists of Mass., p. 288 and note. For an anonymous tract by Crean Brush attacking the Continental Congress, see T. R. Adams, “American Independence,” No. 154.
3. Parentheses supplied around two words written above the line in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0244

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-04-07

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I Received two Letters from you this week one of the 13 and the other the 19 of March.1 I know not where one of my Letters is gone, unless you have since Received it. I certainly wrote you in Febry. and the first Letter I wrote I mention that I had not wrote before. I have write2 four Letters before this. Believe I have Received all yours Except one you mention writing from Framingham which I never heard of before.3
Have Received all the papers you sent, the oration and Magizines. In the small papers I some times find peices begun and continued, (for instance Johnstones Speach) but am so unlucky as not to get the papers in order and miss of seeing the whole.
The Removal of the Army seem's to have stoped the current of news. I want to know to what part of America they are now wandering. Tis Reported and creditted that Manly has taken a schooner belonging to the Fleet richly Laden with money, plate and english Goods with a Number of Tories. The particuliars have not yet Learnt.
Yesterday the Remains of our Worthy General Warren were dug up upon Bunker Hill and carried into Town and on monday are to be interred with all the Honours of War.
The Dr. was Buried on monday the Masons walking in procession from the State House, with the Military in uniforms and a large concourse of people attending. He was carried into the Chaple, and their a funirel Dirge was played, an Excellent prayer by Dr. Cooper, and an oration by Mr. Morton which I hope will be printed.4 I think the Subject must have inspired him, a young fellow could not have wished { 375 } a finer opportunity to have displayed his talents. The amiable and heroick virtues of the disceased recent in the minds of the Audience, the noble cause to which he fell a Martir, their own Sufferings and unparrelled injuries all fresh in their minds, must give weight and energy to whatever could be deliverd upon the occasion, the Dead Body like that of Caesars before their Eyes, whilst each wound, “like dumb mouths did ope their ruby lips, and beg the voice and utterance of a Tongue.”

“Woe to the Hands that shed this costly blood;

A curse shall light upon their line;

Domestick fury, and firce civil Strife

Shall cumber all the parts of Britton.”5

I take my pen and write just as I can get time, my Letters will be a strange Mixture. I really am cumberd about many things and scarcly know which way to turn myself. I miss my partner, and find myself uneaquil to the cares which fall upon me; I find it necessary to be the directress of our Husbandery and farming. Hands are so scarce, that I have not been able to procure one, and add to this that Isaac has been sick with a fever this fortnight, not able to strick a Stroke and a Multiplicity of farming Business pouring in upon Us.
In this Dilemma I have taken Belcher into pay, and must secure him for the Season, as I know not what better course to stear. I hope in time to have the Reputation of being as good a Farmeress as my partner has of being a good Statesmen.—To ask you any thing about your return would I suppose be asking a Question you cannot answer.
Retirement, Rural quiet, Domestick pleasure, all all must give place to the weighty cares of State. It would be meanly poor in Solitude to hide an honest Zeal unwarp'd by party Rage—

“Though certain pains attend the cares of State

A Good Man owes his Country to be Great

Should act abroad the high distinguish'd part

And shew at least the purpose of his Heart.”

I hope your Prussian General will answer the high Character which is given of him. But we who have been bread in a land of Liberty scarcly know how to give credit to so unjust and arbitary a Mandate of a Despot—to cast of a faithfull Servant only for being the unhappy bearer of ill news degrades the Man and dishonours the prince.
The Congress by imploying him have shewn a Liberality of Senti• { 376 } ment not confined to colonies or continents, but to use the words of common Sense, have carried their Friendship on a Larger Scale, by claiming Brotherhood with every European christian, and may justly triumph in the Generosity of the Sentiment.
Yesterday was taken and carried into Cohasset by 3 whale Boats who went from the Shore on purpose a Snow from the Grenades, laiden with 354 puncheons of W.I. Rum, 43 Barrels of Sugar, 12,500 weight coffe, a valuable prize. A Number of eastern Sloops have brought Wood into Town since the Fleet saild. We have a Rumour of Admiral Hopkings6 being engaged with a Number of Ships and tenders off Road island—are anxious to know the event. Be so good as to send me a List of the vessels which sail with Hopkings, their Names, Weight of Mettal and Number of Men—all the News you know &c.
I hear our jurors refuse to serve because the writs are issued in the Kings Name. Surely they are for independance.
Write me how you do this winter. I want to say many things I must omit, it is not fit to wake the Soul by tender strokes of art, or to Ruminate upon happiness we might enjoy, least absence become intolerable. Adieu Yours.
I wish you would burn all my Letters.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To The Honble. John Adams Esqr. In Philadelphia To the care of Col Warren”; endorsed: “Ap. 7.”
1. That of the 19th is above. No letter of the 13th has been found, but AA almost certainly meant JA's letter of 17 March, above, to one topic in which she alludes in the present letter.
2. Altered by overwriting from “wrote.”
3. All of AA's letters are printed above. For JA's supposed letter from Framingham see his letter to AA of 19 March and note 1 there.
4. Perez Morton, An Oration; Delivered ... April 8, 1776, on the Re-interment of the Remains of ... Joseph Warren, Boston, 1776; reprinted in New York and Philadelphia; T. R. Adams, “American Independence,” No. 221a–d.
5. Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene 1, slightly adapted to AA's purpose.
6. Ezek Hopkins, first commander of the Continental Navy (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0245

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-04-12

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Inclose a few Sheets of Paper, and will send more as fast as Opportunities present.
Chesterfields Letters are a chequered sett. You would not choose to have them in your Library, they are like Congreeves Plays, stained with libertine Morals and base Principles.
{ 377 }
You will see by the Papers, the News, the Speculations and the Political Plans of the Day.
The Ports are opened wide enough at last, and Privateers are allowed to prey upon British Trade.1 This is not Independency you know.—What is? Why Government in every Colony, a Confederation among them all, and Treaties with foreign Nations, to acknowledge Us a Sovereign State, and all that.—When these Things will be done, or any of them, Time must discover. Perhaps the Time is near, perhaps a great Way off.
1. See JCC, 4:229–233, 251–254; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:373–375, 377.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0246

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1776-04-13

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Dear Marcia

I Received a few lines1 from you more than a week ago, and determined to have replied immediately to them, but tho you will scarcly believe me, I have never found an opportunity to take up my pen till this moment, which is ten oClock Saturday evening; tis true I have wrote several evenings since, but only to my Nearest Friend, and he has chid me for my delays, delays of which I have not been guilty, but the Letters have not reachd him. I miss'd the very kind care of my much valued Friend2 greatly in that respect.
Your freedom in detaining the pamphlets was very agreable to me, it assurd me that Marcia made no Stranger of her Friend; and judging by her own Heart, knew that any entertainment or pleasure of her Friends contributed to her happiness.
I find myself dear Marcia, not only doubled in Wedlock but multiplied in cares to which I know myself uneaquel, in the Education of my little flock I stand in need of the constant assistance of my Better half.3
I can not do them the justice I wish to, from the multiplicity of other concerns which devolve upon me in consequence of the continued absence of my associate.
I find it necessary not only to pay attention to my own in door domestick affairs, but to every thing without, about our little farm &c. The Man upon whom I used to place dependance was taken sick last winter and left us. I have not been able to supply his place—therefore am obliged to direct what I fear I do not properly understand. Frugality, Industery and ecconomy are the Lessons of the day—at least they must be so for me or my small Boat will suffer shipwreck.
{ 378 }
I have been much gratified with the respect shewn to the remains of our worthy Friend. I hope and believe that the orator excerted himself upon the occasion—he had a fine field to display himself in.

O pardon me, thou bleeding peice of Earth!

That I am meek and gentle with these Butchers

Thou art the Ruins of as brave a Man

As ever live'd in the tide of times;

Woe to [the] hand that shed this costly Blood

Over thy Wounds now do I prophesy,

(Which like dumb mouths, do ope their Ruby lips

To beg the voice and utterance of a Tongue)

A curse shall light upon that line of Men

Domestick fury and firce civil Strife

Shall cumber all the parts of Brittain.

Shakspear

But where do I ramble. You inquire for inteligence. I immagine you have the same that I have. I have more news papers than Letters. My Last containd an account of the Death of Governor Ward of Road Island with the small pox, “an amiable and sensible Man, a stedfast Friend to his Country upon very pure principals.”
I hope you will fullfill your promise of writing me a long Letter. How do you like Mrs. Washington. Any other person you have seen, and noticed should be glad of your opinion. I love characters drawn by your pen.—When do you think of returning? Suppose you have not ventured into Boston. I dare not tho I have a great desire to look at it.
My affectionate Regards (Shall I use that word) to the Coll. from his and your assured Friend,
[signed] Portia
RC (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “To Mrs Mercy Warren Watertown”; docketed in two later hands: “Mrs. Adams. Apr: 1776 No 7.”
1. Not found.
2. James Warren, who had usually seen to the forwarding of AA's letters.
3. AA's ambiguous punctuation has been preserved. Full stop after “uneaquel” or after “flock”?

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0247

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-04-14

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I have misst my Good Friend Col. W[arre]n from Watertown in the conveyance of my Letters; you make no mention of more than one, write me how many you have had and what the dates were. I wrote { 379 } you upon the 17 of March.1 Perticuliars it was not then posible to obtain; and after that I thought every pen would be imployed in writing to you a much more accurate account than I could give you.
The Fleet lay in the Road allmost a fortnight after the Town was evacuated; in that time Major Tuper came with a Body of Men to G[e]r[man]t[ow]n and procured two Lighters, (one of them was that of which you are part owner) and fitted them with every sort of combustable Matters, Hand Grenades &c. in order to set fire to the Fleet, but the very day he was ready they saild and it was said that they had inteligence from Boston of the design. However he carried the Lighters up to Town for the next Fleet that appears.
Fort Hill is a fortifying I suppose in the best Manner, committes have been appointed to survey the Islands &c. but we are scanty of Men, tis said we have not more than 2000 Effective Men left, and the General thought it necessary to take the Heavy cannon with him. We have many peices spiked up which they are imployed in cleaning, about an 100 peices I have heard was left at the Castle with their trunnels broke or spiked. The Castle you have no doubt heard was burnt by the Troops before they saild, and an attempt made to blow up the walls in which however they did not succeed any further than to shatter them.
There are so many things necessary to be done that I suppose Buisness moves slowly. At present we all seem to be so happy and so tranquil, that I sometimes think we want another Fleet to give some energy and spirit to our motions. But there has been a great overturn and people seem to be hardly recoverd from their amazement. Many Building[s] in Town sustaind great damages more perticuliarly at the South end, the Furniture of many houses was carried of or broken in peices. Dr. Gardiner left all his furniture and Medicine valued tis said at 400 Sterling. Dr. Loyd is still in Town, Dr. Whitworth too, both ought to be transported.2 Mr. Goldwait [is] in Town [and] all the Records of which he had the care safe, tho it seems part of them were carried into Boston. All the papers relating to the probate courts are missing.3 Mr. Lovel and all the prisoners taken at the Charlstown Battle are carried of. The Bells are all in Town, never were taken down. The officers and Tories have lived a life of Dissipation. Inclosed is a prologue of Burgoines, with a parody written in Boston soon after it was acted.—Burgoine is a Better poet than Soldier.4
As to goods of any kind, we cannot tell what quantity there is. Only two or three Shops open. Goods at a most extravagant price—all the better to promote Manufactures.
The small pox prevents my going to Town; several have broke out { 380 } with it in the Army since they went into Boston. I cannot help wishing that it would spread.5 I think the Country is in more danger than ever. I am anxious about it. If it should spread there is but one thing would prevent my going down to our own House and having it with all our children and I dont know but I should be tempted to run you in debt for it.
There is talk of raising an other Regiment. If they should I fear we shall suffer in our Husbandery. Labour is very high. I cannot hire a Man for six months under 20 pounds Lawfull money.
The Works upon the Neck are levelling. We keep Guards upon the Shoars yet.—Manly has taken a vessel Load of Tories. Among them is Black the Scotchman and Brasen head Jackson, Hill the Baker &c. What can be done with them. I think they ought to be transported to England. I would advertize for tory transports.
Hanover has made large quantities of salt peter.
This week we are to hold court here, but I do not imagine any thing will be done.
I have a Letter from you the 29 of March. Tis said there is one from Mr. Gerry the 3 of April acquainting us with your opening trade. Who is the writer of Common Sense, of Cato, of Casandra?6
I wish you would according to promise write me an account of Lord Sterling. We know nothing about him here.
All the Tories look crest fallen. Several deserters from on board the commodore['s] ship say that tis very sickly on board. We have only that and two or 3 cutters beside's.7 We fear that a Brig laiden with 70 tons of powder which saild from Newbury port has fallen into the enemys hands upon her return.
Pray continue to write me by every opportunity, the writing Books were very acceptable presents.
I rejoice in the Southern Victorys. The oration was a very elegant performance, but not without much Art—a few Strokes which to me injure the performance.8
I know not any thing further which I ought to say but that I am most affectionately Yours.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To The Honble. John Adams Esqr. In Philadelphia To the care of Col: Warren”; endorsed: “Ap. 14.” The stated enclosures were not received by JA; see note 4.
1. 16–18 March, above.
2. James Lloyd Sr. (1728–1810), of whom there is an account in Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, vol. 12 (in press, 1962); and Miles Whitworth Sr., who is mentioned under his son's name in Jones, Loyalists of Mass., p. 295.
3. AA's carelessness in the foregoing passage leaves her meaning a little uncertain. Ezekiel Goldthwait (1710– { 381 } 1782) was, among other things, clerk of the Suffolk Inferior Court of Common Pleas; there is an account of him and of what happened, so far as known, to the court records during the siege of Boston, by John Noble, Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns., 5 (1902):5–26.
4. JA said in his reply of 28 April, below, that the enclosures were not with the letter when he received it. On Burgoyne's efforts in drama writing during the siege of Boston, among others The Blockade of Boston, acted in January and parodied as The Blockheads, or The Affrighted Officers, see Winsor, Memorial History of Boston, 3:93, 161–162, with references there.
5. So that the town authorities would permit inoculation.
6. JA answered these questions in his reply of 28 April, below.
7. Meaning British ships left behind to divert troop and supply vessels that might have sailed from England. This squadron, under Capt. Francis Banks in the Renown, patrolled Nantasket Roads and the lower harbor until mid-June (French, First Year, p. 672, 682–683). See Mary Palmer to JA, 15–17 June, below.
8. William Smith's Oration on Montgomery, Perez Morton's more recent Oration on Warren, or some other?

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0248

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-04-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

You justly complain of my short Letters, but the critical State of Things and the Multiplicity of Avocations must plead my Excuse.—You ask where the Fleet is. The inclosed Papers will inform you. You ask what Sort of Defence Virginia can make. I believe they will make an able Defence. Their Militia and minute Men have been some time employed in training them selves, and they have Nine Battallions of regulars as they call them, maintained among them, under good Officers, at the Continental Expence. They have set up a Number of Manufactories of Fire Arms, which are busily employed. They are tolerably supplied with Powder, and are successfull and assiduous, in making Salt Petre. Their neighbouring Sister or rather Daughter Colony of North Carolina, which is a warlike Colony, and has several Battallions at the Continental Expence, as well as a pretty good Militia, are ready to assist them, and they are in very good Spirits, and seem determined to make a brave Resistance.—The Gentry are very rich, and the common People very poor. This Inequality of Property, gives an Aristocratical Turn to all their Proceedings, and occasions a strong Aversion in their Patricians, to Common Sense.1 But the Spirit of these Barons, is coming down, and it must submit.
It is very true, as you observe they have been duped by Dunmore. But this is a Common Case. All the Colonies are duped, more or less, at one Time and another. A more egregious Bubble was never blown up, than the Story of Commissioners coming to treat with the Congress. Yet it has gained Credit like a Charm, not only without but { 382 } against the clearest Evidence. I never shall forget the Delusion, which seized our best and most sagacious Friends the dear Inhabitants of Boston, the Winter before last. Credulity and the Want of Foresight, are Imperfections in the human Character, that no Politician can sufficiently guard against.
You have given me some Pleasure, by your Account of a certain House in Queen Street. I had burned it, long ago, in Imagination. It rises now to my View like a Phoenix.—What shall I say of the Solicitor General? I pity his pretty Children, I pity his Father, and his sisters. I wish I could be clear that it is no moral Evil to pity him and his Lady. Upon Repentance they will certainly have a large Share in the Compassions of many. But let Us take Warning and give it to our Children. Whenever Vanity, and Gaiety, a Love of Pomp and Dress, Furniture, Equipage, Buildings, great Company, expensive Diversions, and elegant Entertainments get the better of the Principles and Judgments of Men or Women there is no knowing where they will stop, nor into what Evils, natural, moral, or political, they will lead us.
Your Description of your own Gaiety de Coeur, charms me. Thanks be to God you have just Cause to rejoice—and may the bright Prospect be obscured by no Cloud.
As to Declarations of Independency, be patient. Read our Privateering Laws, and our Commercial Laws. What signifies a Word.
As to your extraordinary Code of Laws, I cannot but laugh. We have been told that our Struggle has loosened the bands of Government every where. That Children and Apprentices were disobedient—that schools and Colledges were grown turbulent—that Indians slighted their Guardians and Negroes grew insolent to their Masters. But your Letter was the first Intimation that another Tribe more numerous and powerfull than all the rest were grown discontented.—This is rather too coarse a Compliment but you are so saucy, I wont blot it out.
Depend upon it, We know better than to repeal our Masculine systems. Altho they are in full Force, you know they are little more than Theory. We dare not exert our Power in its full Latitude. We are obliged to go fair, and softly, and in Practice you know We are the subjects. We have only the Name of Masters, and rather than give up this, which would compleatly subject Us to the Despotism of the Peticoat, I hope General Washington, and all our brave Heroes would fight. I am sure every good Politician would plot, as long as he would against Despotism, Empire, Monarchy, Aristocracy, Oligarchy, or Ochlocracy.—A fine Story indeed. I begin to think the Ministry as deep as they are wicked. After stirring up Tories, Landjobbers, Trimmers, { 383 } Bigots, Canadians, Indians, Negroes, Hanoverians, Hessians, Russians, Irish Roman Catholicks, Scotch Renegadoes, at last they have stimulated the [] to demand new Priviledges and threaten to rebell.2
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed newspapers not found or identified.
1. Thomas Paine's pamphlet.
2. For JA's more serious thoughts on the question of women's rights, see his letter to James Sullivan, 26 May 1776 (LbC, Adams Papers; Works, 9:375–378).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0249

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-04-15

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I send you every News Paper, that comes out, and I send you now and then a few sheets of Paper but this Article is as scarce here, as with you. I would send a Quire, if I could get a Conveyance. I write you, now and then a Line, as often as I can, but I can tell you no News, but what I send in the public Papers.
We are Waiting it is said for Commissioners, a Messiah that will never come.—This Story of Commissioners is as arrant an Illusion as ever was hatched in the Brain of an Enthusiast, a Politician, or a Maniac. I have laugh'd at it—scolded at it—griev'd at it—and I dont know but I may at an unguarded Moment have rip'd1 at it—but it is vain to Reason against such Delusions. I was very sorry to see in a Letter from the General that he had been bubbled with it, and still more to see in a Letter from my sagacious Friend W[arren] at Plymouth, that he was taken in too.
My Opinion is that the Commissioners and the Commission have been here (I mean in America)2 these two Months. The Governors, Mandamus Councillors, Collectors and Comptrollers, and Commanders of the Army and Navy, I conjecture compose the List and their Power is to receive Submissions. But We are not in a very submissive Mood. They will get no Advantage of Us.
We shall go on, to Perfection I believe. I have been very busy for some time—have written about Ten sheets of Paper with my own Hand, about some trifling Affairs, which I may mention some time or other—not now for fear of Accidents.3
What will come of this Labour Time will discover. I shall get nothing by it, I believe, because I never get any Thing by any Thing that I do. I am sure the Public or Posterity ought to get Something. I believe my Children will think I might as well have thought and laboured, a little, night and Day for their Benefit....4 But I will not bear the { 384 } Reproaches of my Children. I will tell them that I studied and laboured to procure a free Constitution of Government for them to solace themselves under, and if they do not prefer this to ample Fortune, to Ease and Elegance, they are not my Children, and I care not what becomes of them. They shall live upon thin Diet, wear mean Cloaths, and work hard, with Chearfull Hearts and free Spirits or they may be the Children of the Earth or of no one, for me.
John has Genius and so has Charles. Take Care that they dont go astray. Cultivate their Minds, inspire their little Hearts, raise their Wishes. Fix their Attention upon great and glorious Objects, root out every little Thing, weed out every Meanness, make them great and manly. Teach them to scorn Injustice, Ingratitude, Cowardice, and Falshood. Let them revere nothing but Religion, Morality and Liberty.
Nabby and Tommy are not forgotten by me altho I did not mention them before. The first by Reason of her sex, requires a Different Education from the two I have mentioned. Of this you are the only judge. I want to send each of my little pretty flock, some present or other. I have walked over this City twenty Times and gaped at every shop like a Countryman to find something, but could not. Ask every one of them what they would choose to have and write it to me in your next Letter. From this I shall judge of their Taste and Fancy and Discretion.
1. JA defines and illustrates this use of the verb rip very clearly in his Diary and Autobiography, 1:97.
2. Parentheses editorially supplied around words inserted above the line in MS.
3. JA's anonymous essay entitled Thoughts on Government: Applicable to the Present State of the American Colonies was advertised on 22 April as published by John Dunlap in Philadelphia (T. R. Adams, “American Independence,” No. 205a–b). JA sent a copy of it to James Warren on 20 April (Warren-Adams Letters, 1:230–231). It was essentially a reply to Common Sense—not to Paine's arguments for independence but to his naive “Notions” (as JA considered them) about the new governments that would have to be formed in America; see JA to AA, 19 March, above. Though JA believed that his pamphlet eventually exerted substantial influence on a number of the early state constitutions, no detailed study of the nature and amount of its influence has ever been made. For the complex and still partly obscure history of the composition of Thoughts on Government, see JA's Diary and Autobiography, 3:331–333, and references there. In Oct. 1961 one more of the four different MS versions known to have been written by JA in the weeks preceding the present letter came to light. This is the holograph text he prepared for the North Carolina delegate William Hooper, who had left Congress at the end of March to attend the Provincial Congress at Halifax, which had in contemplation a new constitution. The document was found in the North Carolina State Department of Archives and History (Nc–Ar) in the David L. Swain Papers. Thus there remains to be found only the holograph furnished by JA to Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant for { 385 } use at Trenton; JA said this one was “larger and more compleat, perhaps more correct,” than the version that was “put ... under Types” (to James Warren, 20 April, cited above).
4. Suspension points in MS. Actually these are curled dashes, a device that JA began to use about this time, evidently to indicate elisions of thought more pronounced than dashes would serve to indicate.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0250

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-04-17

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

If my dear friend Required only a very Long Letter to make it agreable I Could Easily Gratify her but I know There must be many more Requisits to make it pleasing to her taste. If you Measure by Lines I Can at once Comply, if by Sentiment I fear I shall fall short. But as Curiosity seems to be awake with Regard to the Company I keep and the Manner of spending my time I will Endeavour to Gratify you.
I Arrived at my Lodgings before Dinner the day I Left you: found an obliging Family, Convenient Room and in the Main an agreable set of Lodgers. Next Morning I took a Ride to Cambridge And waited on Mrs. Washington at 11 o'clock, where I was Receiv'd with that politness and Respect shewn in a first interveiw among the well bred and with the Ease and Cordiallity of Friendship of a much Earlier date. If you wish to hear more of this Ladys Character I will tell you I think the Complacency of her Manners speaks at once the Benevolence of her Heart, and her affability, Candor and Gentleness Quallify her to soften the hours of private Life or to sweeten the Cares of the Hero and smooth the Rugged scenes of War.
I did not dine with her though much urge'd, but Engaged to spend the Ensuing day at head quarters. She desired me to Name an Early hour in the Morning when she would send her Chariot And Accompany me to see the Deserted Lines of the Enemy And the Ruins of Charlston: A Malencholy sight the Last which Evinces the Barbaraty of the Foe, and Leaves a Deep impression of the sufferings of that unhappy town.
Mr. Custice is the only son of the Lady Above Discribe'd.1 A sensible Modest agreable young Man. His Lady2 a Daughter of Coll. Calvert of Mariland, appears to be of an Engaging Disposition but of so Exstrem Delicate a Constitution that it Deprives her as well as her Friends of part of the pleasure which I am perswaded would Result from her Conversation did she Enjoy a Greater share of Health. She is prety, Genteel, Easey and Agreable, but a kind of Langour about her prevents her being so sociable as some Ladies. Yet it is Evident it is { 386 } not owing to that want of Vivacity which Renders youth agreable, but to a want of health which a Little Clouds her spirits.
This Family which Consists of about 8 or 9 were prevented dining with us the Tuesday Following3 by an alarm from N port But Call'd and took Leave of us the Next day, when I own I felt that kind of pain which arises from Affection when the object of Esteem is separated perhaps forever.
After this I kept house a week amusing myself with my Book, my work and sometimes a Letter to an absent Friend.
My Next Visit was to Mrs. Morgan, but as you are acquainted with her I shall not be perticuler with Regard to her person or Manner. The Dr. and she dine'd with us Last saterday in Company with General Putnams Lady.4 She is what is Commonly Called a Very Good kind of woman And Commands Esteem without the Graces of politness, the Briliancy of wit, or the Merits of peculier understanding above the Rest of her sex Yet to be Valued for an Honest unornamented plain Friendliness, Discoverd in her Deportment at the first Acquaintance.
All other Characters or occurances I shall Leave for another opportunity. Only shall Mention A Lady Who has been A Lodger in our Family for a week past, and has been a Great Addition to the Cherfulness and Good Humour of the Family. It is a Mrs. Orn of Marblehead5 a well disposed pleasant agreable woman.
The More Regard you Express for a Friend of mine the Greater my Obligation. I have sent Forward my Letters to Mr. Adams but suppose I shall have no answer unless stimulated by you. Therfore when you write again you will not forget your affectionate
[signed] Marcia
PS I am very Glad to hear Coll. Quineseys Family are well to whom my Regards.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree Favourd pr Coll Palmer.”
1. John Parke Custis.
2. Eleanor (Calvert) Custis.
3. See Mrs. Washington's note to Mrs. Warren, 2 April 1776 (Warren-Adams Letters, 1:220).
4. Mrs. Israel Putnam, the former Deborah (Lothrop) Avery Gardiner.
5. Wife of Col. Azor Orne, a member of the Council.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0251

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-04-18

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I cannot omit so good an opportunity as offers by Mr. Church of telling you that we are all well. I wrote you two Letters last week which { 387 } I sent to Watertown. In those I said every thing that occurd to my mind, nothing since of any importance has taken place. The 19 of April (ever memorable for America as the Ides of March to Rome and to Ceasar) is fixd upon for the examination of the Tories by a committee from the General Court. I could have wished that some other persons, in the Room of one or two might have been chosen. It is so dangerous mentioning Names that I refer you to Mr. Church for the Names of the committe, and then you will easily guess who I mean.
I wish I could tell you that Buisness in the Fortification way went on Briskly, but a Western Member in the General Court who has great influence there, has got it into his Head that Fort Hill and Noddles Island are sufficent and tho a Man possessd of a very good Heart, is sometimes obstinately wrong.1
The Court of Sessions set yesterday and went on with Buisness very smoothly.
We hear that Congress has declared a free trade, and I give you joy of the Success of Admiral Hopkins, not only in his Expedition, but in his Success upon his return. Great Brittain I think is not quit[e] omnipotent at Sea, any more than upon the land.
You promised to come and see me in May or june. Shall I Expect you, or do you determine to stay out the year? I very well remember when the Eastern circuts of the courts which lasted a month were thought an age, and an absence of 3 months intolerable but we are carried from Step to Step, and from one degree to an other to endure that which at first we think insuportable.
But I assure you I am obliged to make use of Reason and phylosophy in addition to custom to feel patient. Be assured I always Remember you as I ought, that is with the tenderest affection, Yours.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esq. at Philadelphia Favor'd by Mr Church”; on corner of cover in an unidentified hand: “Bracket”; endorsed: “Ap. 18”; docketed in an unidentified hand: “Portia April '76.”
1. In a letter to JA of 26 April, below, Cotton Tufts identified this “Western Member” as Joseph Hawley.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0252

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Date: 1776-04-18

John Adams to Abigail Adams 2d

[salute] My dear Daughter

I cannot recollect the tenderness and dutiful affection you expressed for me, just before my departure, without the most sensible emotion, { 388 } approbation, and gratitude. It was a proof of an amiable disposition, and a tender feeling heart.
But my dear child, be of good cheer; although I am absent from you for a time, it is in the way of my duty; and I hope to return, some time or other, and enjoy a greater share of satisfaction in you and the rest of my family, for having been absent from it for so long a time.
I learned in a letter from your mamma, that you was learning the accidence. This will do you no hurt, my dear, though you must not tell many people of it, for it is scarcely reputable for young ladies to understand Latin and Greek—French, my dear, French is the language, next to English—this I hope your mamma will teach you. I long to come home, but I believe it will be a great while first. I don't know when, perhaps not before next Christmas. My love to your mamma and your brothers, and the whole family.

[salute] I am your affectionate father,

[signed] John Adams
MS not found. Printed from (Journal and Correspondence of Miss Adams,... Edited by Her Daughter, New York, 1841–1842, 2:4–5.)

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0253

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1776-04-18

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

I thank you for your agreable Letter of the Twenty fourth of March.1
I rejoice with you that our Friends are once more in Possession of the Town of Boston, and am glad to hear that so little damage is done to our House.
I hope you and your Sister and Brothers will take proper Notice of these great Events, and remember under whose wise and kind Providence they are all conducted. Not a Sparrow falls, nor a Hair is lost, but by the Direction of infinite Wisdom. Much less are Cities conquered and evacuated. I hope that you will all remember, how many Losses, Dangers, and Inconveniences, have been borne by your Parents, and the Inhabitants of Boston in general for the Sake of preserving Freedom for you, and yours—and I hope you will all follow the virtuous Example if, in any future Time, your Countrys Liberties should be in Danger, and suffer every human Evil, rather than Give them up.—My Love to your Mamma, your Sister and Brothers, and all the Family.

[salute] I am your affectionate Father,

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mr. John Quincy Adams Braintree.”
1. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0254

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-04-21

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I have to acknowledg the Recept of a very few lines dated the 12 of April. You make no mention of the whole sheets I have wrote to you, by which I judge you either never Received them, or that they were so lengthy as to be troublesome; and in return you have set me an example of being very concise. I believe I shall not take the Hint, but give as I love to Receive; Mr. Church talk'd a week ago of setting of for Philadelphia. I wrote by him; but suppose it is not yet gone; you have perhaps heard that the Bench is fill'd by Mr. Foster and Sullivan,1 so that a certain person2 is now excluded. I own I am not of so forgiveing a disposition as to wish to see him holding a place which he refused merely from a spirit of envy.
I give up my Request for Chesterfields Letters submitting intirely to your judgment, as I have ever found you ready to oblige me in this way whenever you thought it would contribute either to my entertainment or improvement. I was led to the request from reading the following character of him in my favorite Thomson and from some spiritted and patriotick speaches of his in the Reign of Gorge 2.

O Thou, whose wisdom, solid yet refin'd

Whose patriot-virtues, and consumate skill

So struck the finer springs that move the world

joind to what'er the Graces can bestow,

And all Apollo's animating fire

Give the[e] with pleasing dignity to shine

At once the Guardian, ornament and joy

Of polish'd life, permit the Rural Muse

O Chesterfield, to grace thee with her Song!

e'er to the shades again she Humbly flies

Indulge her fond ambition in thy Train,

(For every Muse has in thy train a place)

To Mark thy various full accomplish'd mind

To mark that Spirit which, with British scorn

Rejects th Allurements of corrupted power;

That elegant politeness which excels,

Even in the judgment of presumptuous France

The boasted manners of her shining court

That wit, the vivid energy of Sense

The truth of Nature, which with Attic point

{ 390 }

And kind well-temperd Satire, smoothly keen

Steals through the Soul and without pain corrects.

I think the Speculations you inclose prove that there is full Liberty of the press. Cato shews he has a bad cause to defend whilst the Forester writes with a spirit peculiar to himself and leads me to think that he has an intimate acquaintance with Common Sense.
We have inteligance of the Arrival of some of the Tory Fleet at Halifax that they are much distresst for want of Houses, obliged to give 6 Dollors per month for one Room, provisions scarce and dear. Some of them with 6 or 8 children round them sitting upon the Rocks crying, not knowing where to lay their heads. Just Heaven has given them to taste of the same cup of Afliction which they one year ago administerd with such Callous Hearts to thousands of their fellow citizen[s], but with this difference that they fly from their injured and enraged Country, whilst, pity and commiseration received the Sufferers whom they inhumanely drove from their Dwellings.
I would fain hope that the time may not be far distant when those things you hint at may be carried into Execution.3

Oh are ye not those patriots, in whose power

That best, that Godlike Luxery is plac'd

Of blessing thousands, thousands yet unborn

Thro' late posterity? Ye large of Soul

chear up dejected industery, and give

A double Harvest to the pining Swain

Teach thou the Labouring hand the Sweets of Toil

How by the finest Art, the Native robe

To weave; how white as hyperborean Snow

To form the lucid lawn; with venturous oar

How to dash wide the billow; nor look on

Shamefully passive, while Brittania's Fleets

Defraud us of the glittering finny Swarms

That heave our friths, and swarm upon our Shores

How all-enlivening trade to rouse, and wing

The prosperous Sail, from every growing port

uninjurd, round the sea incircled Globe.

Tis reported here that Admiral Hopkings is blocked up in Newport harbour by a Number of Men of War. If so tis a very unlucky circumstance. As to fortification those who preside in the assembly can give you a much better account than I.
{ 391 }
I heard yesterday that a Number of Gentlemen who were together at Cambridge thought it highly proper that a Committee of Ladies should be chosen to examine the Torys Ladies, and proceeded to the choise of 3 Mrs. Winthrope, Mrs. Warren and your Humble Servant.
I could go on and give you a long list of domestick affairs, but they would only serve to embariss you, and noways relieve me. I hope it will not be long before things will be brought into such a train as that you may be spaired to your family.
Your Brother has lost his youngest child with convulsion fits. Your Mother is well and always desires to be rememberd to you. Nabby is sick with the mumps, a very disagreable disorder.—You have not once told me how you do. I judge you are well as you seem to be in Good Spirits.—I bid you good Night, all the Little flock Send Duty; and want to see P——a.

[salute] Adieu. Shall I say remember me as you ought.

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “ansd. My. 12.”
1. Jedidiah Foster and James Sullivan, commissioned 20 March (Quincy, Reports, p. 341).
2. Robert Treat Paine.
3. The following quotation, like that above, is from AA's “favorite,” James Thomson, whose The Seasons (first published complete in 1730) she seems to have read and reread until she knew it, despite its prodigious length, almost by heart. But it was her habit, whether quoting Thomson, Shakespeare, or any other poet, silently to adapt the texts to her purpose. The present passage is a good example of this habit. It is taken from the “Winter” section of The Seasons, specifically lines 910–926, and anyone interested in such matters may compare her version (or paraphrase) with Thomson's original in his Complete Poetical Works, ed. J. Logie Robertson, London, 1908, p. 165. Thomson's first line (in the passage here quoted) is: “Oh! is there not some patriot in whose power...,” which AA pluralizes to apply to the Continental Congress. The 11th–13th lines in the original rouse Britons against Dutch encroachments on their fisheries: “nor look on, / Shamefully passive, while Batavian fleets / Defraud us of the glittering finny swarm.” But AA converts this into perhaps the earliest assertion of American (as opposed to British) rights in the Atlantic fisheries.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0255

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-04-23

John Adams to Abigail Adams

This is St. Georges Day, a Festival celebrated by the English, as Saint Patricks is by the Irish, St. Davids by the Welch, and St. Andrews by the Scotch. The Natives of old England in this City heretofore formed a Society, which they called Saint Georges Clubb, or Saint Georges Society. Upon the Twenty third of April annually, they had a great Feast. But The Times and Politicks have made a schism in the society so that one Part of them are to meet and dine at { 392 } the City Tavern, and the other att the Bunch of Grapes, Israel Jacobs's, and a third Party go out of Town.
One sett are staunch Americans, another staunch Britons I suppose, and a Third half Way Men, Neutral Beings, moderate Men, prudent Folks—for such is the Division among Men upon all Occasions and every Question. This is the Account, which I have from my Barber, who is one of the Society and zealous on the side of America, and one of the Philadelphia Associators.
This curious Character of a Barber, I have a great Inclination to draw for your Amusement. He is a little dapper fellow, short and small, but active and lively, a Tongue as fluent and voluble as you please, Wit at Will, and a Memory or an Invention which never leaves him at a Loss for a story to tell you for your Entertainment. He has seen great Company. He has dressed Hair, and shaved Faces at Bath and at Court. He is acquainted with several of the Nobility and Gentry, particularly Sir William Meredith. He married a Girl the Daughter of a Quaker in this Place, of whom he tells many droll stories. He is a Serjeant in one of the Companies of some Battalion or other here. He frequents, of Evenings, a Beer House kept by one Weaver, in the City, where he has many curious Disputes and Adventures, and meets many odd Characters.
I believe you will think me very idle, to write you so trifling a Letter upon so uninteresting a subject, at a Time, when my Country is fighting Pro Aris et Focis.
But I assure you I am glad to chatt with this Barber while he is shaving and combing me, to divert my self from less agreable Thoughts. He is so sprightly, and good humoured, that he contributes more than I could have imagined to my Comfort in this Life.
Burne1 has prepared a String of Toasts for the Clubb to drink to day at Israels.

The Thirteen united Colonies.

The free and independent States of America.

The Congress for the Time being.

The American Army and Navy.

The Governor and Council of South Carolina,2 &c. &c. &c.

An happy Election for the Whiggs on the first of May &c.

1. In his accounts for 1777 JA gives the name of his “sprightly” Philadelphia barber as John Burn, or Byrne (Diary and Autobiography, 2:254, 255). The latter spelling is more plausible, and it is supported by Jefferson's accounts in { 393 } 1776 (quoted in PMHB, 31 [1907]:31). JA reported to AA further examples of Burn's entertaining chatter and “droll stories” on his wife; see especially his letters of 28 March and 23 April 1777, below.
2. South Carolina had recently adopted a new constitution and elected a governor. See Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:438 and note; also JA to AA, 17 May, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0256

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-04-26

Cotton Tufts to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sr.

Soon after the Removal of our Enemies from Boston, I sat myself down to write You the Proceedings of our Army from their Cannonading the Town to their taking Possession of it. But meeting with some Philadelphia Papers (before an Opportunity of sending it presented) I found that You had a History of the whole, since then I received Yours of the 29th March and find that You had not then received Intelligence of the sailing of the Ministerial Fleet. On the 25th. of March 48 of them saild and the Remainder in Numbers 75—except one 50 Gun Ship and some Tenders left the Harbour on the 27th—to the great Joy and Comfort of the Province. And well might it have been expected that we should have then begun to fortify in such a Manner as to keep out any Fleet that should have venturd to molest us. I know it was the general Expectation. But must I tell You that not a single Stroke has been struck but within a fortnight past except what was orderd by General Washington on Fort Hill, and not untill the 12th Inst. was a Vote pass'd in General Assembly for the Purpose of securing the Harbour and this extends no further than the Security of Boston—a small Fort on Dorchester Point—Do. on Noddles Island, and Castle or Governors Island, Hulks to be sunk in the lower middle Ground.—I have been amazed at the Stupidity and Negligence of Goverment, and have not known to what Cause to attribute it. Perhaps there may have been an Expectation from General W[ar]d that he would have undertaken these Things. Had the Worthy Gen. Washington continued here, his Influence with the Court and his Assistance with the same Troops that are now here Would have effected much. But a Want of Spirit, order and Method will ever be attended with Inaction and Confusion—and to this much of our Conduct may be ascribed. We must have Men acting in distinct Departments. Our Counsellors must not be Judges, Generals, Colonels, Fortmakers and Omnium Gatherum Nor our Representatives sent throughout the Province during their Session upon Matters belonging to other Departments. We Want a Council of War, an able provincial General, a { 394 } Skilful Engineer &c.—With Powers from the Province similar to what is given by Congress to their General &c.
The best Security to the whole Harbour Would be Hull, Pedicks Island and Georges, these well fortified and supported, together with a few Row Galleys would under Providence secure the Harbour with but a little expence further, and perhaps without blocking up the Channell. But if need be the Narrows might be stopt up at a Quarter of the Expence they must now be at in stopping up the lower middle Ground near Casttle Island And if the Narrows are stopt up for ever it is no Matter as there is Plenty of Water thro the Western Passage I mean by Long Island West End and the Moon at which Places Forts might be erected to good Purpose and indeed one at the East End of Long Island might be of Advantage. These Places well fortified would have renderd any further Works above in some Measure unnecessary. Suppose a Fort on Point Alderton, one on North Head of Hull calld Lorings Hill, one on Pedicks Island opposite to that on Lorings Hill and the strongest and main Defence on Georges. Would not these be a noble Security. The fort on Lorings Hill and Pedicks would command Nantasket Gut as well as help command Ship Channell. Within this Gut on the South Side of Hull is as fine a Retreat or Harbour for Privateers and other Vessells up to 30 Guns as can any where be found. All Vessells passing thro this Gut must come within Musket Shot of a Fort on Pedicks, as All Vessells of 20 Guns and upwards passing by Georges up to Boston must be in the like Scituation. Row Galleys are absolutely necessary, to take Care of Broad Sound and to prevent small Craft from harassing the Islands, and would be a very excellent Support to our Islands and without them our Harbour will never be secure.
I have a great deal more to say upon this Subject than You will have patience to read or can be comprised in a single Letter. I will only add that this present Week Accidentally I fell in with the Courts Committee and labourd this Matter with them and I found the greater Part of them in Sentiment with me. I represented especially the Importance of Hull that if possess'd by the Enemy and fortified not any Army we could raise would dislodge them no not 40000 Men. I found out that all the Southern Members had been warm for fortifying below, the Western Members with Majr. H[awle]y had opposed it. In short I am sometimes out of Patience when I think upon this Affair, and can scarcely write or talk upon it—my Mind being possessd with this Idea—That the present Time may be the only Time for this Purpose. But I { 395 } check myself and am consold that God Almighty reigns and that he has by the Interpositions of his Providence during our Contest overruld our Delays, Neglects and seeming Blunders so as to produce much good and prevent much Evil.—Could a greater Blunder have been committed than that of Breeds Hill. Yet it finally has operated to our Advantage and trust will continue to do so. Was not the Delay of taking Possession of the Heights of Dorchester censur'd. Yet it was finally possessed at the very best Time so far as we can judge. For the Wind and Weather fought for us.—General Washington conducted this Seige with great Wisdom. Yet a Number of Events took Place that could be ascribed only to a kind superintending Providence, and that exceeded the most sanguine Expectations of any.
The General's Sagacity and Prudence was shewn in a very striking Light, in one Affair; which was reported here from good Authority and which I suppose to be true. For some Days before Bunker Hill was deserted, scarce any Soldiers were seen in the Fort. No Smokes from their Barracks and only here and there a Centinel. This led our Soldiers to imagine the Enemy had deserted it. Applications were dayly made and Petitions presented to the General that a Party might go and take Possession of it. To these He would by no Means consent. On the Day and Day before they left Boston 900 Men were seen to march out of it. This Fort is an almost impregnable one—a Security against 10,000 Veterans.
Well My Friend, I perceive You have given us Liberty to trade where we list; I wish we may not be lost in the Abyss. Might it not have been of general Utility to have established some Duties and Regulations for the whole Continent and publishd them with the Licence. I fear Provincial Regulations of Trade will not be salutary for the whole, nor Obedience equally paid to them as the Continental Merchants have no Object but their own particular Interest and they must be Contrould or they will ruin any State under Heaven. The Statesman must for ever keep a Watchful Eye on that order of Men. But perhaps I am too severe. As the Licence for Trade is almost unlimited, Will not almost every Man turn his Attention that Way. Will not this quench the Martial Spirit. Will not an Army be raisd under greater Disadvantages—The Difficulty of raising Men and supporting them be greater.
The particular State of our Colony at present has led me to think whether the securing and fortifying of Capital Places on the Sea Coast should not be a Continental Charge as particular Provinces may so { 396 } far neglect this as to involve the Continent in amazing Expences and unless there were something obligatory on the Side of the several Colonies to do it, Would they not be apt to neglect it.
By your late Resolves, You speak in a bolder Strain and may We not conjecture that You will not offend squeamish Minds with the Name Indepency yet that You will enter into a formal Confederacy. In Edes Paper of last Monday a Number of Articles for this Purpose are exhibited to publick View.1 In general they seem to be well calculated to take in all the Colonies. Perhaps less Power is committed to the Grand Congress than would be for the Peace and Good of the Whole. But more hereafter.
Last Week a Number of Marshfield Refugee Tories arrived at Marshfield (as is said) from Hallifax—Dr. Stockbridge, Deac. Tilden and Sons, Elisha Ford, 26 in all, Twelve at present. They are safe housd in Plimouth Goal.

[salute] Our Families and Yours are well. I am with Affection Yrs.

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “The Dr. ansd. June 23d.” This endorsement was later amplified in another (but contemporary) hand, which the editors believe to be that of Rev. William Gordon (see descriptive note on Isaac Smith to JA, 24 June 1775, above), in the following manner: after “The Dr.” appears the name “Cooper,” meaning Rev. Dr. Samuel Cooper, which is, however, an incorrect attribution because the letter itself, though unsigned, is in the unmistakable hand of Dr. Cotton Tufts and JA's reply to it, dated 23 June, will be found below; and preceding JA's notation of the date of his reply appears the date of Tufts' letter, “Apl. 26. 1776.” This is a good example of the meddlesomeness and unreliability of whoever reviewed and annotated portions of JA's correspondence for June 1775–Oct. 1776.
1. See “Proposals for a Confederation of the United Colonies,” an unsigned leading article in the Boston Gazette, 22 April. These were designed to be equally applicable to a state of independence or a restored colonial status.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0257

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1776-04-27

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren

I set myself down to comply with my Friends request, who I think seem's rather low spiritted.
I did write last week, but not meeting with an early conveyance I thought the Letter of But little importance and tos'd it away. I acknowledg my Thanks due to my Friend for the entertainment she so kindly afforded me in the Characters drawn in her Last Letter, and if coveting my Neighbours Goods was not prohibited by the Sacred Law, I should be most certainly tempted to envy her the happy talant she { 397 } possesses above the rest of her Sex, by adorning with her pen even trivial occurances, as well as dignifying the most important. Cannot you communicate some of those Graces to your Friend and suffer her to pass them upon the World for her own that she may feel a little more upon an Eaquality with you?—Tis true I often receive large packages from P[hiladelphi]a. They contain as I said before more News papers than Letters, tho they are not forgotton. It would be hard indeed if absence had not some alleviations.
I dare say he writes to no one unless to Portia oftner than to your Friend, because I know there is no one besides in whom he has an eaquel confidence. His Letters to me have been generally short, but he pleads in Excuse the critical state of affairs and the Multiplicity of avocations and says further that he has been very Busy, and writ near ten Sheets of paper, about some affairs which he does not chuse to Mention for fear of accident.
He is very sausy to me in return for a List of Female Grievances which I transmitted to him. I think I will get you to join me in a petition to Congress. I thought it was very probable our wise Statesmen would erect a New Goverment and form a new code of Laws. I ventured to speak a word in behalf of our Sex, who are rather hardly dealt with by the Laws of England which gives such unlimitted power to the Husband to use his wife Ill.
I requested that our Legislators would consider our case and as all Men of Delicacy and Sentiment are averse to Excercising the power they possess, yet as there is a natural propensity in Humane Nature to domination, I thought the most generous plan was to put it out of the power of the Arbitary and tyranick to injure us with impunity by Establishing some Laws in our favour upon just and Liberal principals.
I believe I even threatned fomenting a Rebellion in case we were not considerd, and assured him we would not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we had neither a voice, nor representation.
In return he tells me he cannot but Laugh at My Extrodonary Code of Laws. That he had heard their Struggle had loosned the bands of Goverment, that children and apprentices were dissabedient, that Schools and Colledges were grown turbulant, that Indians slighted their Guardians, and Negroes grew insolent to their Masters. But my Letter was the first intimation that another Tribe more numerous and powerfull than all the rest were grown discontented. This is rather too coarse a complement, he adds, but that I am so sausy he wont blot it out.
So I have help'd the Sex abundantly, but I will tell him I have only { 398 } been making trial of the Disintresstedness of his Virtue, and when weigh'd in the balance have found it wanting.
It would be bad policy to grant us greater power say they since under all the disadvantages we Labour we have the assendancy over their Hearts

And charm by accepting, by submitting sway.

I wonder Apollo and the Muses could not have indulged me with a poetical Genious. I have always been a votary to her charms but never could assend Parnassus myself.
I am very sorry to hear of the indisposition of your Friend. I am affraid it will hasten his return, and I do not think he can be spaired.

“Though certain pains attend the cares of State

A Good Man owes his Country to be great

Should act abroad the high distinguishd part

or shew at least the purpose of his heart.”

Good Night my Friend. You will be so good as to remember me to our worthy Friend Mrs. W——e1 when you see her and write soon to your
[signed] Portia
RC (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed in two later hands: “Mrs. Adams April 1776 No 6.” Dft (Adams Papers); undated and without indication of addressee, but at head of text JQA wrote “To Mrs. Warren,” and CFA added the tentative date “May 1776?”; text of Dft slightly shorter than that of RC.
1. Mrs. John Winthrop. Last paragraph of Dft reads, instead: “I congratulate my Friend upon her Honorable apointment; I was told a few days ago, that a committee of 3 Ladies was chosen to Examine the Tory Ladies, your Ladyship, our Friend Mrs. W——e and your correspondent were the persons.”

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0258

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-04-28

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Yesterday, I received two Letters from you from the 7th. to the 14. of April.1 I believe I have received all your Letters, and I am not certain I wrote one from Framingham. The one I mean contains an Account of my dining with the Indians at Mr. Mifflins.2
It gives me Concern to think of the many Cares you must have upon your Mind. Am glad you have taken [Belcher]3 into Pay, and that Isaac is well before now I hope.
Your Reputation, as a Farmer, or any Thing else you undertake I { 399 } dare answer for....4 Your Partners Character as a Statesman is much more problematical.
As to my Return, I have not a Thought of it. Journeys of such a Length are tedious, and expensive both of Time and Money neither of which are my own. I hope to spend the next Christmas, where I did the last, and after that I hope to be relieved for by that Time I shall have taken a pretty good Trick att Helm whether the Vessell has been well steer'd or not. But if My Countrymen should insist upon my serving them another Year, they must let me bring my whole Family with me. Indeed I could keep House here, with my Partner, four children and two servants, as cheap as I maintain my self here with two Horses and a servant at Lodgings.
Instead of domestic Felicity, I am destined to public Contentions. Instead of rural Felicity, I must reconcile myself to the Smoke and Noise of a city. In the Place of private Peace, I must be distracted with the Vexation of developing the deep Intrigues of Politicians and must assist in conducting the arduous Operations of War. And think myself, well rewarded, if my private Pleasure and Interest are sacrificed as they ever have been and will be, to the Happiness of others.
You tell me, our Jurors refuse to serve, because the Writs are issued in the Kings Name. I am very glad to hear, that they discover so much Sense and Spirit. I learn from another Letter that the General Court have left out of their Bills the Year of his Reign, and that they are making a Law, that the same Name shall be left out of all Writs, Commissions, and all Law Proscesses. This is good News too. The same will be the Case in all the Colonies, very soon.
You ask me how I have done the Winter past. I have not enjoyed so good Health as last Fall. But I have done complaining of any Thing. Of ill Health I have no Right to complain because it is given me by Heaven. Of Meanness, of Envy, of Littleness, of—of—of—of—I have Reason and Right to complain, but I have too much Contempt, to use that Right.
There is such a Mixture of Folly, Littleness, and Knavery in this World that, I am weary of it, and altho I behold it with unutterable Contempt and Indignation, yet the public Good requires that I should take no Notice of it, by Word or by Letter. And to this public Good I will conform.
You will see an Account of the Fleet in some of the Papers I have sent you. Give you Joy of the Admirals Success. I have Vanity enough to take to myself, a share in the Merit of the American Navy. It was always a Measure that my Heart was much engaged in, and I pursued { 400 } it, for a long Time, against the Wind and Tide. But at last obtained it.
Is there no Way for two friendly Souls, to converse together, altho the Bodies are 400 Miles off?—Yes by Letter.—But I want a better Communication. I want to hear you think, or to see your Thoughts.
The Conclusion of your Letter makes my Heart throb, more than a Cannonade would. You bid me burn your Letters. But I must forget you first.
In yours of April 14. you say you miss our Friend in the Conveyance of your Letters. Dont hesitate to write by the Post. Seal well. Dont miss a single Post.
You take it for granted that I have particular Intelligence of every Thing from others. But I have not. If any one wants a Vote for a Commission, he vouchsafes me a Letter, but tells me very little News. I have more particulars from you than any one else. Pray keep me constantly informed, what ships are in the Harbour and what Fortifications are going on.
I am quite impatient to hear of more vigorous Measures for fortifying Boston Harbour. Not a Moment should be neglected. Every Man ought to go down as they did after the Battle of Lexington and work untill it is done. I would willingly pay half a Dozen Hands my self, and subsist them, rather than it should not be done immediately. It is of more importance than to raise Corn.
You say inclosed is a Prologue and a Parody, but neither was inclosed. If you did not forget it, the letter has been opened and the Inclosures taken out.
If the Small Pox spreads, run me in debt. I received a Post or two past a Letter from your Unkle at Salem,5 containing a most friendly and obliging Invitation to you and yours to go, and have the Distemper at his House if it should spread. He has one or two in family to have it.
The Writer of Common Sense, and the Forrester, is the same Person. His Name is Payne, a Gentleman, about two Years ago from England, a Man who G[eneral] Lee says has Genius in his Eyes. The Writer of Cassandra is said to be Mr. James Cannon a Tutor, in the Philadelphia Colledge. Cato is reported here to be Dr. Smith—a Match for Brattle. The oration was an insolent Performance.... A Motion was made to Thank the orator and ask a Copy—But opposed with great Spirit, and Vivacity from every Part of the Room, and at last withdrawn, lest it should be rejected as it certainly would have been with Indignation. The orator then printed it himself, after leaving out or altering some offensive Passages.
{ 401 }
This is one of the many irregular, and extravagant Characters of the Age. I never heard one single person speak well of any Thing about him but his Abilities, which are generally allowed to be good. The Appointment of him to make the oration, was a great oversight, and Mistake.
The late Act of Parliament, has made so deep an Impression upon Peoples Minds throughout the Colonies, it is looked upon as the last Stretch of Oppression, that We are hastening rapidly to great Events.6 Governments will be up every where before Midsummer, and an End to Royal style, Titles and Authority. Such mighty Revolutions make a deep Impression on the Minds of Men and sett many violent Passions at Work. Hope, Fear, Joy, Sorrow, Love, Hatred, Malice, Envy, Revenge, Jealousy, Ambition, Avarice, Resentment, Gratitude, and every other Passion, Feeling, Sentiment, Principle and Imagination, were never in more lively Exercise than they are now, from Florida to Canada inclusively. May God in his Providence overrule the whole, for the good of Mankind. It requires more Serenity of Temper, a deeper Understanding and more Courage than fell to the Lott of Marlborough, to ride in this Whirlwind.
1. 7–11 and 14 April, above.
2. Watertown, 24 Jan., above.
3. Blank in MS, but see AA to JA, 7–11 April, above.
4. Suspension points, here and below, in MS.
5. Dated 6–8 April and printed above.
6. The American Prohibitory Act (16 George III, ch. 5), passed 22 Dec. 1775, declared all American ships and goods subject to seizure and in effect outlawed the colonists (Merrill Jensen, ed., English Historical Documents: American Colonial Documents to 1776, N.Y., 1955, p. 853). “I know not whether you have seen the Act of Parliament call'd the restraining Act, or prohibitory Act, or piratical Act, or plundering Act, or Act of Independency, for by all these Titles is it call'd. I think the most apposite is the Act of Independency, for King, Lords and Commons have united in Sundering this Country and that I think forever. It is a compleat Dismemberment of the British Empire. It throws thirteen Colonies out of the Royal Protection, levels all Distinctions and makes us independent in spight of all our supplications and Entreaties” (JA to Horatio Gates, 23 March 1776, NHi; printed in MHS, Procs., 67 [1941–1944]:138–139).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0259

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-05-07

Abigail Adams to John Adams

How many are the solitary hours I spend, ruminating upon the past, and anticipating the future, whilst you overwhelmd with the cares of State, have but few moments you can devote to any individual. { 402 } All domestick pleasures and injoyments are absorbed in the great and important duty you owe your Country “for our Country is as it were a secondary God, and the First and greatest parent. It is to be preferred to Parents, Wives, Children, Friends and all things the Gods only excepted. For if our Country perishes it is as imposible to save an Individual, as to preserve one of the fingers of a Mortified Hand.” Thus do I supress every wish, and silence every Murmer, acquiesceing in a painfull Seperation from the companion of my youth, and the Friend of my Heart.
I believe tis near ten days since I wrote you a line. I have not felt in a humour to entertain you. If I had taken up my pen perhaps some unbecomeing invective might have fallen from it; the Eyes of our Rulers have been closed and a Lethargy has seazd almost every Member. I fear a fatal Security has taken possession of them. Whilst the Building is on flame they tremble at the expence of water to quench it, in short two months has elapsed since the evacuation of Boston, and very little has been done in that time to secure it, or the Harbour from future invasion till the people are all in a flame; and no one among us that I have heard of even mentions expence, they think universally that there has been an amaizing neglect some where. Many have turnd out as volunteers to work upon Nodles Island, and many more would go upon Nantaskit if it was once set on foot. “Tis a Maxim of state That power and Liberty are like Heat and moisture; where they are well mixt every thing prospers, where they are single, they are destructive.”
A Goverment of more Stability is much wanted in this colony, and they are ready to receive it from the Hands of the Congress, and since I have begun with Maxims of State I will add an other viz. that a people may let a king fall, yet still remain a people, but if a king let his people slip from him, he is no longer a king. And as this is most certainly our case, why not proclaim to the World in decisive terms your own importance?
Shall we not be dispiced by foreign powers for hesitateing so long at a word?
I can not say that I think you very generous to the Ladies, for whilst you are proclaiming peace and good will to Men, Emancipating all Nations, you insist upon retaining an absolute power over Wives. But you must remember that Arbitary power is like most other things which are very hard, very liable to be broken—and notwithstanding all your wise Laws and Maxims we have it in our power not only to free ourselves but to subdue our Masters, and without voilence throw both your natural and legal authority at our feet—
{ 403 }

“Charm by accepting, by submitting sway

Yet have our Humour most when we obey.”

I thank you for several Letters which I have received since I wrote Last. They alleviate a tedious absence, and I long earnestly for a Saturday Evening, and experience a similar pleasure to that which I used to find in the return of my Friend upon that day after a weeks absence. The Idea of a year dissolves all my Phylosophy.
Our Little ones whom you so often recommend to my care and instruction shall not be deficient in virtue or probity if the precepts of a Mother have their desired Effect, but they would be doubly in-forced could they be indulged with the example of a Father constantly before them; I often point them to their Sire

“engaged in a corrupted State

Wrestling with vice and faction.”

I designd to have finished the sheet, but an opportunity offering I close only just inform you that May the 7 our privateers took two prises in the Bay in fair sight of the Man of war, one a Brig from Irland the other from fyall [Fayal] loaded with wine Brandy and the other Beaf &c.1 The wind was East and a flood tide, so that the tenders could not get out tho they tried several times, the Light house fired Signal guns, but all would not do, they took them in triumph and carried them into Lyn.
Johnny and Charls have the Mumps, a bad disorder, but they are not very bad. Pray be kind enough to remember me at all times and write as often as you possibly can to your
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. In Philadelphia To the care of Col: Warren”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. Thus punctuated in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0260

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1776-05-08

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Dear Marcia

Mr. Morton has given me great pleasure this morning by acquainting me with the appointment of our Worthy Friend to the Bench.1 Have I any influence with him? If I have I beg he would accept. I know very well what he will say, but he has long been accustomed to { 404 } Courts and the office he held led him to some acquaintance with Law, and his own abilities will easily qualify him to fill the place with Dignity.
If he refuses it will bring a contempt upon the place; to have those offices banded about from hand to hand may give the World just occasion to say that they are not considerd of any importance.
I know the Service of his Country is his chief aim, and he who is upon principal desirous of it cannot faill of the important end. I need not add how much pleasure it will give to my perticuliar Friend and to your
[signed] Portia
RC (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed in two later hands: “Mrs. Adams 1776 No. 8.”
1. William Read having declined his appointment to the Superior Court, James Warren was commissioned, but Warren considered himself not qualified, and, despite appeals from his friends, after some hesitation declined to serve. See Warren to JA, 30 April–1 May and 8 May 1776 (Warren-Adams Letters, 1:238, 240); AA to JA, 9 May and 17 June, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0261

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-05-09

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I this day Received yours of the 20 of April1 accompanied with a Letter upon Goverment. Upon reading it I some how or other felt an uncommon affection for it; I could not help thinking it was a near relation of a very intimate Friend of mine. If I am mistaken in its descent, I know it has a near affinity to the Sentiments of that person, and tho I cannot pretend to be an adept in the art of Goverment; yet it looks rational that a Goverment of Good Laws well administerd should carry with them the fairest prospect of happiness to a community, as well as to individuals. But as this is a perogative to which your Sex lay almost an exclusive claim I shall quit the subject after having quoted a passage in favour of a Republic from an anonymous author intittled Essays on the Genius and Writings of Pope.2 “The fine arts, in short are naturally attendant upon power and luxury, but the Sciences require unlimited freedom to raise them to their full Vigour and Growth. In a Monarchy there may be poets, painters and Musicians, but orators, Historians and phylosophers can exist in a Republic alone. The Roman Nation by their unjust attempt upon the Liberty of the World, justly lost their own, and with their Liberty they lost not only their force of Eloquence, but even their Stile and Language itself.”
{ 405 }
This province is not in the most agreable situation at present, it wants a poize, a stability which it does not possess. The Counsel have recommended it to the Superior Court to sit at Ipswich the next Term. Judge Cushing call[ed] upon me yesterday with his Lady and made me a very Friendly visit. Said he wish'd earnestly for the presence of the Chief Justice, he had many things he wished to say to him. I requested him to write, and he has promised to.3
The Spirit of fortification has just awaked, and we are now persuing with vigour what ought before this time to have been compleated. Fort Hill, the Castle, Dorchester point, Nodles Island are allmost compleated, a committe are sent down to Nantasket, and orders are given to fortify the Moon, Gorges Island &c. I believe Nodles Island has been done by Subscription. 6 hundred meet every morning, inhabitants of the Town of Boston, in the Town house from whence they March with fife and drum with Mr. Gorden, Mr. Skilman and Mr. Lothtrope4 at their head to the long Wharf where they embark for the Island, and it comes to the Subscribers turn to work 2 days in a week.
You have no doubt heard of the appointment of your Friend as judge. He seems loth to accept, and his Lady I think loth that he should; surely it does not look well to have those offices banded about from hand to hand. If they could not obtain one from the bar, that Gentleman will fill the place with honour to himself and his Breatheren. But Mr. L[owel]l ought to have come in, instead of some others, but there are some in C[ounci]l who require more than Heaven, that demands only repentance and amendmant.5

[salute] Let me hear from you often. Yours unfeignedly.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esq. at Philadelphia”; endorsed: “answd. May 27. 1776”; to this JA added “Portia” in the handwriting of his very old age; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. Not found.
2. [Joseph Warton,] An Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope, published in its earliest form in 1756.
3. Judge William Cushing wrote JA on 20 May, congratulating him on his appointment to the chief justiceship and expressing cordial wishes for his return to take his place on the bench (Adams Papers). JA's reply, written from Philadelphia, 9 June, reflects his uncertainty about undertaking the service, especially in view of Cushing's superior qualifications (RC in MHi: William Cushing Papers; printed in JA, Works, 9:390, from LbC, Adams Papers).
4. Rev. William Gordon of Roxbury; Rev. Isaac Skillman, College of New Jersey 1766, of the 2d Baptist Church in Boston; and Rev. John Lathrop, College of New Jersey 1763, of the 2d Congregational Church in Boston (Weis, Colonial Clergy of N.E.).
5. John Lowell (1743–1802), Harvard 1760, a lawyer of Newburyport and afterward a leading Federalist politician, had in May 1774 signed a friendly farewell address to Governor Hutchinson { 406 } from the loyalist lawyers of the Province. His public recantation some months later did not appease all the patriot leaders, though from this point on he was firmly on the American side of the question. See DAB; Stark, Loyalists of Mass., p. 125–126.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0262

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-05-12

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Yours of April 21. came to Hand yesterday. I send you regularly every Newspaper, and write as often as I can—but I feel more skittish about writing than I did, because since the Removal of Head Quarters to New York, We have no Expresses, and very few Individual Travellers, and the Post I am not quite confident in. However I shall write as I can.
What shall I do with my Office1—I want to resign it for a Thousand Reasons. Would you advise me?
There has been a gallant Battle, in Delaware River between the Gallies and two Men of War, the Roebuck and Liverpool, in which the Men of War came off second best—which has diminished, in the Minds of the People, on both sides the River, the Terror of a Man of War.
I long to hear a little of my private Affairs, yet I dread it too, because I know you must be perplexed and distress'd. I wish it was in my Power to relieve you.
It gives me great Pleasure to learn that our Rulers are at last doing something, towards the Fortification of Boston. But I am inexpressibly chagrin'd to find that the Enemy is fortifying on Georges Island. I never shall be easy untill they are compleatly driven out of that Harbour and effectually prevented from ever getting in again. As you are a Politician, and now elected into an important Office, that of Judgess of the Tory Ladies, which will give you naturally an Influence with your sex, I hope you will be instant, in season and out of season, in exhorting them to use their Influence with the Gentlemen, to fortify upon Georges Island, Lovells, Petticks [Peddocks], Long, or wherever else it is proper. Send down Fire ships and Rafts and burn to Ashes those Pirates.
I am out of all Patience with the languid, lethargic Councils of the Province, at such a critical, important Moment, puzzling their Heads about Two penny fees and Confession Bills and what not, when the Harbour of Boston was defenceless. If I was there I should storm and thunder, like Demonsthenes, or scold like a Tooth drawer.
Do ask Mr. Wybirt and Mr. Welld, and Mr. Taft to preach about { 407 } it. I am ashamed, vex'd, angry to the last degree! Our People by their Torpitude have invited the Enemy to come to Boston again—and I fear they will have the Civility and Politeness to accept the Invitation.
Your Uncle has never answered my Letter.2 Thank the Doctor. He has written me a most charming Letter, full of Intelligence, and very sensible and usefull Remarks.3 I will pay the Debt as far as my Circumstances will admit, and as soon. But I hope my friends will not wait for regular Returns from me. I have not yet left off “pitying the fifty or sixty Men”4 and if My Friends knew all that I do, they would pity too.
Betcy Smith, Lazy Huzzy, has not written me a Line, a great While. I wish she was married—then she would have some Excuse. Duty to Pa. Love to all. How is the Family over against the Church?5
1. The chief justiceship.
2. JA to Norton Quincy, 30 March, above.
3. Cotton Tufts to JA, 26 April, above.
4. See the second paragraph of JA's (intercepted) letter to AA, 24 July 1775, above.
5. The Richard Cranch family, who were living in a house near Christ Church on what is now School Street, Quincy.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0263

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-05-14

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I set down to write you a Letter wholy Domestick without one word of politicks or any thing of the Kind, and tho you may have matters of infinately more importance before you, yet let it come as a relaxation to you. Know then that we have had a very cold backward Spring, till about ten days past when every thing looks finely. We have had fine Spring rains which makes the Husbandary promise fair—but the great difficulty has been to procure Labourers. There is such a demand of Men from the publick and such a price given that the farmer who Hires must be greatly out of pocket. A man will not talk with you who is worth hireing under 24 pounds per year. Col. Quincy and Thayer give that price, and some give more. Isaac insisted upon my giving him 20 pounds or he would leave me. He is no mower and I found very unfit to take the lead upon the Farm, having no forethought or any contrivance to plan his Buisness, tho in the Execution faithfull. I found I wanted somebody of Spirit who was wiser than myself, to conduct my Buisness. I went about and my Friends inquired but every Labourer who was active was gone and going into the Service. I asked advice of my Friends and Neighbours [and] they all adviced me to { 408 } let Isaac go, rather than give that price. I setled with him and we parted. Mr. Belcher is now with me and has undertaken to conduct the Buisness, which he has hitherto done with Spirit and activity. I know his virtues I know his faults. Hithertoo I give him 2 Shillings per day, and Daniel Nightingale works with him at the same lay. I would have hired him for the season but he was engaged to look after a place or two for people who are gone into the Army. I am still in quest of a Man by the year, but whether I shall effect it, I know not. I have done the best I could. We are just now ready to plant, the barly look[s] charmingly, I shall be quite a Farmeriss an other year.
You made no perticulir agreement with Isaac so he insisted upon my paying him 13. 6 8. I paid him 12 pounds 18 & 8 pence, and thought it sufficient.1
When Bass returnd he brought me some Money from you. After the deduction of his account and the horse hire there remaind 15 pounds. I have Received 12 from Mr. Thaxter which with one note of 20 pounds which I exchanged and some small matters of interest which I received and a little Hay &c. I have discharged the following debts—To my Father for his Horse twice 12 pounds (he would not have any thing for the last time). To Bracket, £13. 6s. 8d. To Isaac 12. 18. 8. To Mr. Hunt for the House 26. 15. 4.2 and the Rates of two years 1774, £4 14s. 8d. and for 1775: £7. 11s. 11d. Besides this have supported the family which is no small one you know and paid all little charges which have occurd in the farming way. I hardly know how I have got thro these thing's, but it gives me great pleasure to say they are done because I know it will be an Ease to your mind which amid all other cares which surround you will some times advert to your own Little Farm and to your Family. There remains due to Mr. Hunt about 42 pounds. I determine if it lays in my power to discharge the bond, and I have some prospect of it.
Our Little Flock send duty. I call[ed] them seperately and told them Pappa wanted to send them something and requested of them what they would have. A Book was the answer of them all only Tom wanted a picture Book and Charlss the History of king and Queen. It was natural for them to think of a Book as that is the only present Pappa has been used to make them.

[salute] Adieu—Yours,

[signed] Hermitta
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. A slip receipt in the Adams Papers (text in AA's hand, signature in Copeland's) reads: “April 30 1776. Received of Abigail Adams twelve pounds { 409 } Nineteen Shillings Lawfull Money for my years Wages. Isaac Copeland.”
2. This was a payment to Shrimpton Hunt for the Adamses' house in Queen (Court) Street, Boston; see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:63–64; 3:296–297.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0264

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-05-14

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams

[salute] Mr. Adams

I received last post a letter from Mr. Morris with referance to the fish I wrote to you about, sometime Ago—since which, and not hearing from you sooner I have concluded to ship itt on my Own Account.1
Upon Over hauling some of itt, by itts lying so long has hurt itt very much, some part of which is Only fit for the West India Market. I know of some which has been sold lately for the European Market not better, but I should not choose to ship itt Altogether As itt is, and therefore could not with propriety ship itt As fish of the first quality On any body's else Account.
I am sensible your time is taken up in more important Affairs than Mercantile Ones, and should not have troubled you [now?]2 had not Mr. Morris desired to know through you.
We have nothing New from Europe. A schooner from the West Indies with about 1,000 wt.3 powder on the publick Account—& are Sr. Your Most hume. servt.,
[signed] Isaac Smith
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams Esq. Philadelphia”; postmarked: “BOSTON 16 MA,” with “Free” added by hand; endorsed: “Mr. Smith”; docketed in the hand of William Gordon(?): “May 14. 1776.”
1. See Smith to JA, 22 March and 6–8 April, both above.
2. Word torn away by seal.
3. This is something of a guess for a symbol written above the line.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0265

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-05-15

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Mr. Church setts off, tomorrow Morning. I have sent this Morning by Mr. William Winthrop, about half a dozen Letters containing Papers &c. Have nothing new to write.
We have been very busily engaged for 4 or 5 days in procuring Assistance for Boston.1 Congress has at last voted three Additional Battallions for Boston and that the five old ones be filled up, and We shall send you a Major General and a Brigadier General—Gates and Mifflin I hope but cant promise.2
{ 410 }
With much Pleasure I learn that, the People of Town and Country as well as the Troops are at length aroused and active to fortify Boston Harbour. I hope they will learn to make and use Fire ships and Fire Rafts.
1. See the resolves of 14 May concerning “the eastern department” (JCC, 4:355–356).
2. The choice was to rest with Washington. On 16 May Congress elected Gates a major general and Mifflin a brigadier general in the Continental service (JCC, 4:359); and on the same day the five Massachusetts delegates signed a letter (of which the text is in JA's hand) informing Washington of this fact and saying “that no Officers in the Service would be more agreable to Us” than those two (PHi: Gratz Coll.).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0266

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-05-17

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I have this Morning heard Mr. Duffil upon the Signs of the Times. He run a Parrallell between the Case of Israel and that of America, and between the Conduct of Pharaoh and that of George.
Jealousy that the Israelites would throw off the Government of Egypt made him issue his Edict that the Midwives should cast the Children into the River, and the other Edict that the Men should make a large Revenue of Brick without Straw. He concluded that the Course of Events, indicated strongly the Design of Providence that We should be seperated from G. Britain, &c.
Is it not a Saying of Moses, who am I, that I should go in and out before this great People? When I consider the great Events which are passed, and those greater which are rapidly advancing, and that I may have been instrumental of touching some Springs, and turning some small Wheels, which have had and will have such Effects, I feel an Awe upon my Mind, which is not easily described.
G[reat] B[ritain] has at last driven America, to the last Step, a compleat Seperation from her, a total absolute Independence, not only of her Parliament but of her Crown, for such is the Amount of the Resolve of the 15th.2
Confederation among ourselves, or Alliances with foreign Nations are not necessary, to a perfect Seperation from Britain. That is effected by extinguishing all Authority, under the Crown, Parliament and Nation as the Resolution for instituting Governments, has done, to all Intents and Purposes. Confederation will be necessary for our internal Concord, and Alliances may be so for our external Defence.
{ 411 }
I have Reasons to believe that no Colony, which shall assume a Government under the People, will give it up. There is something very unnatural and odious in a Government 1000 Leagues off. An whole Government of our own Choice, managed by Persons whom We love, revere, and can confide in, has charms in it for which Men will fight. Two young Gentlemen from South Carolina, now in this City, who were in Charlestown when their new Constitution was promulgated, and when their new Governor and Council and Assembly walked out in Procession, attended by the Guards, Company of Cadetts, Light Horse &c., told me, that they were beheld by the People with Transports and Tears of Joy. The People gazed at them, with a Kind of Rapture. They both told me, that the Reflection that these were Gentlemen whom they all loved, esteemed and revered, Gentlemen of their own Choice, whom they could trust, and whom they could displace if any of them should behave amiss, affected them so that they could not help crying.
They say their People will never give up this Government.
One of these Gentlemen is a Relation of yours, a Mr. Smith, son of Mr. Thomas Smith.3 I shall give him this Letter or another to you.
A Privateer fitted out here by Coll. Reberdeau [Roberdeau] and Major Bayard, since our Resolves for Privateering, I am this Moment informed, has taken a valuable Prize. This is Encouragement, at the Beginning.
In one or two of your Letters you remind me to think of you as I ought. Be assured there is not an Hour in the Day, in which I do not think of you as I ought, that is with every Sentiment of Tenderness, Esteem, and Admiration.
1. Corrected by overwriting from “16.” Congress did not sit on the 17th, “This being,” as Joseph Hewes put it, “a day of humiliation, fasting and prayer (or in vulgar language Congress Sunday)” (letter to James Iredell, 17 May, Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:455).
2. Or, rather, of the preamble, adopted on 15 May, to a resolve voted after long debate on 10 May. The resolve of the 10th recommended to the assemblies and conventions that they “adopt such government as shall, in the opinion of the representatives of the people, best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and America in general” (JCC, 4:342). JA, Edward Rutledge, and Richard Henry Lee were named a committee to draft a preamble suitable to prefix to this momentous resolve when published. The preamble, written by JA, reported on the 13th, adopted on the 15th, used markedly stronger language than the paper it accompanied, calling for the total suppression “of every kind of authority” emanating from Great Britain. Conservatives in Congress found it too strong for their acceptance, James Duane pronouncing it “a Machine to fabricate independence”; and their failure to defeat it opened the way directly to what JA here calls “a compleat Seperation.” The resolve and preamble were published in { 412 } the Pennsylvania Gazette, 22 May. See JCC, 4:351, 357–358; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:238–241; 3:335, 382–386; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:443 ff.
3. Benjamin Smith (1757–1826), a distant cousin of AA; he had studied at the Middle Temple and in 1810 became governor of North Carolina (AA and JA to I. Smith Jr., 4 Jan. 1770, above; E. Alfred Jones, Amer. Members of the Inns of Court, London, 1924, p. 200–201).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0267

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-05-22

John Adams to Abigail Adams

When a Man is seated, in the Midst of forty People some of whom are talking, and others whispering, it is not easy to think, what is proper to write. I shall send you the News-Papers, which will inform you, of public Affairs, and the particular Flickerings of Parties in this Colony.
I am happy to learn from your Letter, that a Flame is at last raised among the People, for the Fortification of the Harbour. Whether Nantaskett, or Point Alderton would be proper Posts to be taken I cant say. But I would fortify every Place, which is proper, and which Cannon could be obtained for.
Generals Gates and Mifflin are now here. Gen. Washington will be here tomorrow—when We shall consult and deliberate, concerning the Operations of the ensuing Campain.1
We have dismal Accounts from Europe, of the Preparations against Us. This Summer will be very important to Us. We shall have a severe Tryal of our Patience, Fortitude and Perseverance. But I hope we shall do valiantly and tread down our Enemies.
I have some Thoughts of petitioning the General Court for Leave to bring my Family, here. I am a lonely, forlorn, Creature here. It used to be some Comfort to me, that I had a servant, and some Horses—they composed a Sort of Family for me. But now, there is not one Creature here, that I seem to have any Kind of Relation to.
It is a cruel Reflection, which very often comes across me, that I should be seperated so far, from those Babes, whose Education And Welfare lies so near my Heart. But greater Misfortunes than these, must not divert Us from Superiour Duties.
Your Sentiments of the Duties We owe to our Country, are such as become the best of Women, and the best of Men. Among all the Disappointments, and Perplexities, which have fallen to my share in Life, nothing has contributed so much to support my Mind, as the choice Blessing of a Wife, whose Capacity enabled her to comprehend, and whose pure Virtue obliged her to approve the Views of her Husband. { 413 } This has been the cheering Consolation of my Heart, in my most solitary, gloomy and disconsolate Hours. In this remote Situation, I am deprived in a great Measure of this Comfort. Yet I read, and read again your charming Letters, and they serve me, in some faint degree as a substitute for the Company and Conversation of the Writer.
I want to take a Walk with you in the Garden—to go over to the Common—the Plain—the Meadow. I want to take Charles in one Hand and Tom in the other, and Walk with you, Nabby on your Right Hand and John upon my left, to view the Corn Fields, the orchards, &c.
Alass poor Imagination! how faintly and imperfectly do you supply the Want of original and Reality!
But instead of these pleasing Scaenes of domestic Life, I hope you will not be disturbed with the Alarms of War. I hope yet I fear.
1. See JA to AA, 3 June, below, and JA's Diary and Autobiography, 3:390, with references there.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0268

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-05-22

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams

[salute] Mr. Adams

Your esteemed favors of the 29th. Ulto. and 6th Inst.1 now before and in Answer say I shall att all times be willing to communicate my sentiments or give any intelligence, that may tend to the public good.—As to Boston I think when the works are compleated the enemy will never attempt coming that way, but as soon As that is compleated hope there will be some way found to keep the ships from rendevousing att Nantasket, but should that succeed there may be a dificulty as great iff they should make C[ape] Ann a harbour as they would then stop all Coasters coming which now do get a long, but iff C. Ann was well fortifyed which by Nature Is best Able with proper batteries to defend itt self of any I know. Indeed M[arble] H[ea]d and Salem are well cituated, and iff properly fortifyed would keep Out almost any thing but C. Ann would be the safest harbour for them.
I dont know how many ships there are in Nantasket but almost every day they are Out. There are two ships and a brigantine most Constantly cruzeing between Cape Codd and Casco bay. One is the Milford of 28 Guns which goes exceeding fast. Yesterday a Coasting skipper came thro here that had been taken and after taken a sloop with Sparrs &c. from the Eastward, takeing likewise he was put on board to go to Boston but managed itt so as to get in to Casco—itts said { 414 } belongd to N York. Several Masters &c. are come from Halifax. 12 days from thence three belonging here. There not being barracks enough the rigements take turn to go a shore.—There was nothing lately from England. The reason they give of Leaveing Boston was on Account of Provisions. On Approach of some part of the fleet they say they knockt of the Truneons of off 60 or 70 Canon and spikd the guns up.—With regard to trade I think there is One very unjust Account2 with regard to the Owners of Vessell[s] which is That An Owner of a Vessell in these parts of the World is lyable by any Misconduct of the Master or people by bringing a trifle unbeknown to the Owner to have his Vessell forfeited and I dare say not One Vessell in fifty but is lyable. In England they are some Articles intirely prohibited but in general they are Allowed port entries and iff proper entries are not made by the Master Yet the Owner is not lyable for the forfeiture of his Vessell. Only the goods—which I think, is right. But we have even been debar'd that p[rivile]dge which is certainly unjust. And As to Hospital money's which sailors pay, and are not entiteled to any benifit by itt is Unreasonable for no sailor belonging to this part of the World can be Admited, but when any English sailor falls sick here we take care of them upon the public expence, and the governours of which are Not Allowed 2. or 3.000 a Year to come Out of the poor sailors pockets.
You desire to know whether itt would be likely Our Vessells would be stopt in foreign ports. As to France and Spain there Appears no dificulty but in Lisbon and Holland &c. am Apprehensive there will be a dificulty As the English Consells have such a power there and those Nations seem to [be Aided?]3 by the Ministry that I am of Opinion no Vessell would be safe going to those places. I have lately received a letter from Lisbon On that subject, which says you must be very cautious as to any Vessell coming here as all the Consells att the differant ports, are scrupeliously exact in regard to all Vessells that enter—for which reason I have hauld up a Vessell I was going to send there. Possibly some more things may Occur or turn up as to trade but expecting the post to pass thro every moment have not to Add saveing to say am sorry to here of the disagreeable News from Quebeck and are Y &c.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams Esq. Philadelphia”; postmarked: “BOSTON 23 MA,” with “Free” added by hand; endorsed: “Mr. Smith an. June 1”; docketed in hand of William Gordon(?): “May 22. 1776.”
1. Neither has been found.
{ 415 }
2. Smith doubtless meant to write “Act.”
3. MS partly torn and partly illegible; the reading is very conjectural.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0269

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-05-27

Abigail Adams to John Adams

What can be the reason I have not heard from you since the 20 of April, and now tis the 27 of May. My anxious foreboding Heart fears every Evil, and my Nightly Slumbers are tortured; I have sent, and sent again to the post office, which is now kept in Boston at the office of the formour Solisiter General, not one line for me, tho your hand writing is to be seen to several others. Not a scrip have I had since the General Assembly rose, and our Worthy Friend W[arre]n left Watertown. I fear you are sick. The very Idea casts such a Gloom upon my Spirits that I cannot recover them for Hours, nor reason my self out of my fears. Surely if Letters are deliverd to any other hand than those to whose care they are directed tis cruel to detain them. I believe for the future you had better direct them to be left in the post office from whence I shall be sure of obtaining them.
I am desired by Sister A——s1 to ask you if you will take 28 acres of wood land which she mentiond to you. It must be sold, has a very fine Growth of Walnut wood upon it, as well as other wood, tis prized at forty shillings per acre which by looking into his deed of it, I find to be the same he gave for it. The distance which it lies from us is the chief objection in my mind. You will be so good as to send me word as soon as you Receive this. They are about setling the Estate as soon as posible. What can be done with, or about the Lighter I know not. I was told that she was taken for a fire ship, but was Misinformed. There is no regular account of any thing but the ropes, cable and sails, nor any thing which appears to shew the cost of her. I think it can only be left to those who Built about that time to say what they believe she cost. They have prized one half of her very Low 33. 8. 4. I have asked my unkle Q[uinc]y to assist in your stead. The watch she says you desired to have. I know nothing about it; not having heard you mention it. She sits it at 6 pounds.
I wrote you two Letters about a fortnight ago which were both coverd together, hope you have received them. We have no News here but what you will be informd of long before this reaches you unless it is the politicks of the Town. At our May Meeting Mr. W[ibir]d was desired to preach a Sermon previous to the choise which he did to great acceptation. The debates were not who; but how many should { 416 } be sent. They agreed upon 3—Mr. B[a]ss for the upper precicnt, Col. T[haye]r for the middle and an unkel of ours for this, but he beg'd to be excused, as his State of Health was so infirm and so subject to a nervious headack that he was sure he could not stand it to sit in so numerous an assembly. The next vote was for your Brother and a tye took place between him and Col. P[alme]r but the Latter declairing that he would tarry in the house if chosen there, the vote fell upon him.2
The dissagreable News we have from Quebeck is a great damper to our Spirits, but shall we receive good and not Evil? Upon this occasion you will recollect the Sentiments of your favorite Sully. Without attempting to judge of the future, which depends upon too many accidents, much less to subject it to our precipitation in bold and difficult enterprizes, we should endeavour to subdue one obstacle at a time, nor suffer ourselves to be deprest by their Greatness and their Number. We ought never to despair of what has been once accomplished. How many things have the Idea of imposible been annexed to, that have become easy to those who knew how to take advantage of Time, opportunity, lucky Moments, the Faults of others, different dispositions and an infinite Number of other circumstances.
These are Sentiments worthy the Man who could Execute what he pland. I sincerely wish we had the Spirit of Sully animateing our counsels.3
My Heart is as light as a feather and my Spirits are dancing. I received this afternoon a fine parcel of Letters and papers by Coll. Thayer, it was a feast to me. I shall rest in quiet I hope this Night; the papers I have not read but sit down to write you for Mr. Bass has just been here to let me know that Harry will call upon him to-morrow and take this Letter for me. I would not have you anxious about me. I make out better than I did. I have hired a Negro fellow for 6 months, am to give him ten pounds which is much lower than I had any prospect of getting help, and Belcher is exceeding assiduous and I believe faithfull in what he undertakes. If he should purloin a little I must bear that; he is very diligent, and being chief engineer is ambitious. If you could find a few moments leisure just to write him a few lines and let him know that I had wrote you that he had the care of the place, and that you should be glad of his best Services upon it, of his constant care and attention I believe it would go a good way towards insureing it.—You will find by one of the Letters which I mention as { 417 } having sent an account of some of your affairs. My best endeavours will not be wanting in every department. I wish my abilities were eaquel to my wishes.
My Father and your Mother desire to be rememberd to you in very perticuliar terms. The family you mention are well. So is your Brothers, your own are tolerably comfortable. Charls has the Mumps and has been very sick but is now better. Can you tell how I feel when they come to me as the two youngest often do, with a Mar, when will par come home?
Charllys Grandmama tells this Story of Him. She was carrying him to meeting the Sabbeth the Regulars left Boston when a person stop'd her upon the road to tell her the news. Gone from Boston says he with his Eyes just ready to run over. What gone away themselves. Yes replied his Grandmamma. Then I say they are Cowards, for they have stood it but one year and we would have stood it 3.
I took a ride last week and ventured just as far as the Stump of Liberty Tree.4 Roxbury looks more injured than Boston, that is the Houses look more torn to peices. I was astonished at the extensiveness of our lines and their strength. We have taken a most noble prize the inventory of which you have in the paper. The poor Captain has since lost his life in a desperate ingagement with 13 Boats from the Men of War which attacked him and attempted to Board him, but by a most brave resistance they sunk four of the Boats and fought so warmly with their spears and small Arms as to oblige them to quit him, tho he had but 27 men and they 5 times his number. He unhappily fell and was the only one who did.5 Many dead bodies have since been taken up among whom is an officer.—We have now in fair sight of my unkells the commodore, a 36 Gun frigate, an other large vessel and 6 small craft. I hope after Election we shall have ways and means devised to drive of these Torments. Providence seems to have deliverd into our Hands the very articles most needed, and at a time when we were weak and not so well provided for as we could wish. We have two Row Gallies Building, and Men of Spirit to use them I dare say will be found. One engagement only whets their appetite for an other. I heard last Night that we had 3 Regiments comeing back to us with General Gates to head them, at which I most sincerely rejoiced. I think he is the Man we want.
Believe you may venture Letters safely by the Post. Mine go that way, and for the future I will send to the post office for yours.
You ask my advice with regard to your office. If I was to consult only my own private Satisfaction and pleasure I should request you to { 418 } resign it, but as that is of small moment when compaird to the whole, and I think you qualified and know you disposed to serve your Country I must advice you to hold it, at least for the present year.6
And in saying this I make a Sacrifice which those only can judge of whose Hearts are one.
I was much affected the other day with a Letter which I saw from the Lady of the late worthy General Montgomery. Speaking of him, she says, suffer me to repeat his last words to me; you shall never Blush for your Montgomery. Nobly has he kept his Word. As a wife I must ever mourn the Husband, Friend and Lover of a thousand virtues, of all domestick Bliss, the Idol of my warmest affections and in one word my every dream of happiness. Methinks I am like the poor widow in the Gosple, having given my Mite, I sit down disconsolate.
These are only detached parts of the Letter to which I fear I have not done justice, as I have only my memory to serve me, but it was a very fine Letter.
Our Worthy Friends are in great trouble, their eldest Son is disorderd in his mind.7 I have not had a line since he was carried home, and I know not the cause. I want to hear from them, but know not how to write to them.
I bid you good night. O that I could annihilate Space. Yours.
You have been misinformd. The Regulars have not made any fortifications any where. It was so reported but was not true.
The Season promises very fair for Grass, and a fine Bloom upon the Trees. Warm weather we want which will make every thing look finely. I wish you could be here to injoy it.8
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “ansd. June 16.”
1. This must be the widow of Elihu Adams, since the settlement of an estate is mentioned below.
2. The laconic entry in the Braintree Town Records merely says of this election, which took place on 20 May: “Representatives. Voted, To send three Representatives to the Generall Court, (viz) one from each Precinct. Then Joseph Palmer, Ebenr. Thayer & Jona. Bass were chosen” (p. 467). AA's uncle who declined election was Norton Quincy; JA's brother who lost to Palmer was Peter Boylston Adams. By saying he “would tarry in the house,” Palmer meant he would decline reelection to the Council. See, further, JA to Peter Boylston Adams, 15 June, below.
3. The Catalogue of JA's Library lists two sets of the celebrated Mémoires of the Duc de Sully owned by JA, one in French, 8 vols., London, 1767; and one in English, called the 4th edn., 6 vols., London, 1763; each volume of the latter contains JA's autograph followed by the date 1772. JA made prompt and effective use of AA's quotation from Sully, in a letter he addressed to Gen. Nathanael Greene, 22 June 1776 (LbC, Adams Papers; JA, Works, 9:404).
4. Just over Boston Neck at what is now the corner of Essex and Washington { 419 } Streets. See Samuel Adams Drake, Old Landmarks ... of Boston, Boston, 1873, p. 396 ff.
5. For the capture by the Franklin privateer, Capt. James Mugford, of the Hope, with a valuable cargo of munitions, 17 May, and Mugford's death in in an engagement in Boston Harbor two days later, see William Bell Clark, George Washington's Navy, Baton Rouge, 1960, ch. 16.
6. In his letter of 12 May, above, JA had asked, “What shall I do with my Office[?],” by which he unquestionably meant the chief justiceship. In answering, AA misunderstood him, for she is here talking about his post as delegate in Congress; but see her letter to JA of 17 June, below.
7. James Warren Jr. (1757–1821), subsequently an officer on the Alliance: wounded in the fight with the Serapis; in later years postmaster at Plymouth (Mrs. Washington A. Roebling, Richard Warren of the Mayflower..., Boston, 1901, p. 27; Mass. Soldiers and Sailors).
8. A comparison of this letter (now printed in full for the first time) with the text as printed in JA–AA, Familiar Letters, p. 178–181, provides a striking example of CFA's methods (and short-comings) in editing the correspondence of his grandparents. Though it is an extreme case, the kinds of material silently excised by CFA are perfectly representative of his taste and practice throughout.
In the 1st paragraph CFA omitted the words “our Worthy Friend W[arre]n left Watertown. I fear you are sick.” This was certainly an unintentional omission, perhaps by CFA's copyist or printer, and not characteristic of his usually careful copy reading. It of course distorts the meaning of the following sentence.
In the 6th paragraph (“My Heart is as light as a feather ...”), CFA omitted everything concerning affairs on the Braintree farm beginning with the sentence “I have hired a Negro fellow.” He also struck out the two following paragraphs containing anecdotes of the children.
In the 9th paragraph (“I took a ride...”) CFA made an “overcorrection” of the kind that often occurs when editors in normalizing manuscript texts misunderstand the writer's actual meaning. CFA's rendering of a sentence about halfway through that paragraph begins: “We have now in fair sight of my uncle's the Commodore, a thirty-six gun frigate,” &c. AA's “commodore” does indeed refer to a vessel, but, as frequently in the 18th century, by the name of its chief officer rather than by the name of the vessel itself. The commodore was actually Capt. Francis Banks, R.N., and his ship was the Renown; see AA to JA, 14 April, above, and note 7 there.
CFA omitted the 10th paragraph entire (“Believe you may venture Letters...”), perhaps because he thought it inconsequential.
Except for a single sentence, “Oh that I could annihilate space,” CFA entirely omitted the last four paragraphs of the manuscript, ending with AA's remarks on Mrs. Montgomery's letter and suppressing, for various reasons, the news of young James Warren's being “disorderd in his mind,” her correction of JA's report of fortifications by the “Regulars,” and her comments on the weather in Braintree.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0270

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-05-27

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I have three of your Favours, before me—one of May 7., another of May 9. and a third of May 14th. The last has given me Relief from many Anxieties. It relates wholly to private Affairs, and contains such an Account of wise and prudent Management, as makes me very happy. I begin to be jealous, that our Neighbours will think Affairs more discreetly conducted in my Absence than at any other Time.
{ 420 }
Whether your Suspicions concerning a Letter under a marble Cover, are just or not, it is best to say little about it.1 It is an hasty hurried Thing and of no great Consequence, calculated for a Meridian at a great Distance from N. England. If it has done no good, it will do no harm. It has contributed to sett People a thinking upon the subject, and in this respect has answered its End. The Manufactory of Governments having, since the Publication of that Letter, been as much talk'd of, as that of salt Petre was before.
I rejoice at your Account of the Spirit of Fortification, and the good Effects of it. I hope by this Time you are in a tolerable Posture of defence. The Inhabitants of Boston have done themselves great Honour, by their laudable Zeal, the worthy Clergymen especially.
I think you shine as a Stateswoman, of late as well as a Farmeress. Pray where do you get your Maxims of State, they are very apropos.
I am much obliged to Judge Gushing, and his Lady for their polite Visit to you: should be very happy to see him, and converse with him about many Things but cannot hope for that Pleasure, very soon. The Affairs of America, are in so critical a State, such great Events are struggling for Birth, that I must not quit this station at this Time. Yet I dread the melting Heats of a Philadelphia Summer, and know not how my frail Constitution will endure it. Such constant Care, such incessant Application of Mind, drinking up and exhausting the finer Spirits upon which Life and Health so essentially depend, will wear away a stronger Man than I am.—Yet I will not shrink from this Danger or this Toil. While my Health shall be such that I can discharge in any tolerable manner, the Duties of this important Post, I will not desert it.
Am pleased to hear that the superiour Court is to sit, at Ipswich in June.2 This will contribute to give Stability to the Government, I hope, in all its Branches....3 But I presume other Steps will be taken for this Purpose. A Governor and Lt. Governor, I hope will be chosen, and the Constitution a little more fixed. I hope too that the Councill will this year be more full and augmented by the Addition of good Men.4
I hope Mr. Bowdoin will be Governor, if his Health will permit, and Dr. Winthrop Lt. Governor. These are wise, learned, and prudent Men. The first has a great Fortune, and wealthy Connections, the other has the Advantage of a Name and Family which is much reverenced, besides his Personal Abilities and Virtues, which are very great.
Our Friend,5 I sincerely hope, will not refuse his Appointment, for { 421 } although I have ever thought that Bench should be fill'd from the Bar, and once laboured successfully to effect it, yet as the Gentlemen have seen fit to decline, I know of no Gentleman, who would do more Honour to the Station than my Friend. None would be so agreable to me, whether I am to sit by him, or before him. I suppose it must be disagreable to him and his Lady, because he loves to be upon his Farm, and they both love to be together. But you must tell them of a Couple of their Friends who are as fond of living together, who are obliged to sacrifice their rural Amusements and domestic Happiness to the Requisitions of the public.
The Generals Washington, Gates, and Mifflin are all here, and We shall derive Spirit, Unanimity, and Vigour from their Presence and Advice. I hope you will have some General Officers at Boston soon.—I am, with constant Wishes and Prayers for your Health, and Prosperity, forever yours.
1. JA's Thoughts on Government.
2. In an editorial note in Quincy's Reports, Samuel Miller Quincy gives the following summary account of the reopening of the Superior Court (p. 341):
“In May, 1776, was passed the act changing the style of commissions, writs, processes, and proceedings in law, from the name and style of the King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c., to the name and style of the Government and People of the Massachusetts Bay in New England. Anc. Chart. 798. The first Court held under the new organization appears to have been in Ipswich, for the County of Essex, on the 3rd Tuesday in June, 1776. The records of this term are entitled 'Colony of Massachusetts Bay,' and the Court was held by 'Wm. Cushing, Jedediah Foster, and James Sullivan, Esqrs., Justices,' 'They having first produced Commissions under the Government Seal, severally appointing them Justices of the said Court.' Rec. 1776, Fol. 2.”
3. Suspension points in MS.
4. As a result of rising murmurs over plural officeholding, JA had recently resigned his seat in the Council (JA to James Otis Sr., 29 April, printed in JA's Works, 9:374, from a MS not now to be found). On the first day the new House sat, 29 May, a mass resignation of councilors took place, and the new Council contained twelve new members (among twenty-eight elected), and none who were serving as delegates to the Continental Congress (Mass., House Jour., 1776–1777, p. 6–7). See also JA's Diary and Autobiography, 3:360–363.
5. James Warren.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0271

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-05-27

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

My dear Mrs. Adams will undoubtedly Wonder that she has not heard from me since I Left Braintree, but want of Health, a Variety of Avocations, with some Axiety of Another Nature must be my Excuse. I have scarcely taken up a pen since my Return to Plimouth. Indeed I feel as if I was about to quit the use of it. So Great is the force { 422 } of Habit that not accustoming myself to that Employment in which I have taken so much Delight, I find would soon Make it a task Rather than a pleasure.
As to your kind Interrogations with Regard to the health of your Plimouth Friends,1 for myself I Can Give no very Good account though am much Better than when I Left Watertown, but I hope the Countenance of the Bearer of this will Convince you that the salutary air of Plimouth has been very Advantagous to him, and I dare say he will Join me in Recommending a Journey this way as a Restorative to the Health of Portia before the Exstreem heat Comes on. I would propose that Next week should Give me this pleasure. If that is not Convenient, do Let me know when it is probable you may Execute this plan. I shall order a person to Call on you on Fryday for Letters, and as it will be a Good oppertunity should be Glad of some other Volumes of Rollins History. The young Gentleman for whose use I ask them would have Returnd the first by this Conveyance but I have Detained it A Little Longer.
I am Exceedingly Concernd at the accounts we hear from Canada. If you have any Late Inteligence do Let me know.
A severe Nervous head ach has afflicted me for two days, and is now so painful that it Renders me unfit Even to Attemp to Entertain my Friends in the Epistolary way, nor should I have made an Effort of the kind but that I might justly put in my Claim to what you know [would give great?]2 pleasure to your affecti[onate][ . . . ]
RC (Adams Papers); at head of text in CFA's hand: “27 May 1777”—a mistake which caused this letter to be filed and microfilmed a year late in the Adams Papers.
1. AA's letter to which the present letter is a reply has not been found.
2. MS torn, possibly for signature.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0272

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1776-01

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] My Dear Marcia

Our Country is as it were a Secondary God, and the first and greatest parent. It is to be perferred to parents, to wives, children, Friends and all things the Gods only excepted.
These are the considerations which prevail with me to consent to a most painfull Seperation.
{ 423 }
I have not known how to take my pen to write to you. I have been happy and unhappy. I have had many contending passions dividing my Heart, and no sooner did I find it at my own option whether my Friend should go or tarry and resign; than I found his honour and reputation much dearer to me, than my own present pleasure and happiness, and I could by no means consent to his resigning at present, as I was fully convinced he must suffer if he quitted. The Eyes of every one are more perticuliarly upon that assembly, and every motion of every member is inspected, so that he can neither be droped nor resign without creating a thousand Jealousies in the minds of the people, nor even obtain leave for a few weeks absence to visit his family, without a thousand malicious Suggestions and Suspicions—first I suppose broached by the tories and from them catchd by the Gaping multitude. All those who act in publick life have very unthankful offices and

“will often sigh to find the unwilling Gratitude

of base Mankind.”

I believe you will think me petulant, but believe me I could fill this paper with Stories of Expulsion from Congress, loss of influence, affronts from D[ickinso]n, deserting the cause, affraid of being hung &c. &c.
All of which are not worth regarding only as they serve to shew Humane Nature, popular favour and the Gratitude of ones Country, whilst a person is giving up to distruction all their own private concerns, depriving themselves of all the pleasures and comforts of domestick life, and exerting all the powers both of Body and Mind, and spending their lives in the Service of their Country. Thus does it reward them whilst it will hug a canting hypocrate who has been drawing out its vitals.2 The post of honour is a private Station. Tis certainly the most comfortable Station. Yet in these days of peril whilst the vessel is in a storm, it would be guilt in an able passenger not to lend his assistance.
Thus having run a rig and given a losse [loose] to my pen I would ask my Friend how she does? and why she does not let me hear oftner from her.
Since I wrote you last all my Little ones have had a setled fever. Johnnys was a plurisy, and he was very dangerous. I have been confined myself for more than a week; but have Recruited again. I hope you and yours are well.
You make a request, I dare not comply with.3 I am so apprehen• { 424 } sive least my Letters should miscarry that unless I knew the hand by which I sent them I am affraid to write any thing which ought not to come to the publick Eye. I have many reason[s] to be careful of what I write as the fates if I may so express myself seem to delight in bringing into publick view private correspondencyes, and making a malicious use of very trifling circumstances. I have reason for saying this which I may one day or other explain to you.
We have not any thing new at present, tis conjectured that a Storm will e'er long succeed to the present calm. I pray heaven it may be an Efectual one. Let me hear from you soon which will much oblige your Friend,
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers); undated; at head of text in JQA's hand: “December 1777,” to which CFA added: “Copy. Mrs. Warren.” This letter is printed out of chronological order because the date assigned by JQA and apparently accepted by CFA was not corrected until after the present volume was in page proof; see note 1.
1. AA undoubtedly wrote and sent this letter, of which only her undated draft has been found, between the date of JA's departure from Braintree for Congress, 24 Jan. 1776 (see his letter of that day to AA from Watertown, above) and Mrs. Warren's letter to AA of 7 Feb. 1776 (also above), which is clearly a reply. The present letter should therefore have been printed between those two letters, at p.343, above.
2. Robert Treat Paine. See AA to JA, 21 Feb. 1776, above, and note 2 there.
3. See Mrs. Warren to AA, 11 Dec. 1775, above, requesting, apparently, to see some of JA's diary volumes.
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/