A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
close
-
The Adams Papers Digital Edition is undergoing active maintenance while we work on improvements to the system. You may experience slow performance or the inability to access content. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We will endeavor to return to full capabilities as soon as possible.

Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 1


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.
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/