A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
close

Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 1


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.
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/