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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0057

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Smith, Isaac Jr.
Date: 1771-04-11

John Adams to Isaac Smith Jr.

[salute] My dear sir

Three Days since I received your obliging Favour of February 21st. for which I thank you.
The Account you give me of the late Negociations, with Spain, the expensive Preparations for War, and the ridiculous Termination of both, is not at all surprizing, to Us in America. We think it, of a Piece with the other Measures of Administration, especially those relative to Us. A Ministry, base enough to establish a Tyranny in any Province or Department of his Majestys Dominions, may be well expected, to be mean, dastardly and obsequious to a foreign Power.
I really dont know whether to rejoice or to mourn, that America is not to become an Object of Parliamentary Attention, during the session you mention. The considerate People here, seem to be more afraid, I am sure they have more Reason to fear, ministerial Moderation than severity, at present, provided that Moderation is to leave Us where We are, and not to repeal the unrighteous Laws.
The large orders which have been sent, for Tea, and many other Measures which have been adopted within the last Year, have diminished my own opinion of my Countrymen, exceedingly and therefore I cannot wonder that they perplex the Mind of every Friend to our Interest or Reputation in London.
Am very glad to find, you have formed an Acquaintance with Mrs. Maccaulay and Messrs. Dilly. Should be very glad if you would introduce me, to a Correspondence, with Messrs. Dilly. I want to agree with some Bookseller, of Character, in whom I could entirely { 75 } confide, to send me Books whenever I shall want them, and write for them, as long as I shall live. As I am a little inclined to be extravagant, in that kind of Entertainment, it is very likely I may write for Books to the amount of twenty, perhaps thirty, Pounds sterling a Year, and should choose to receive them from one Bookseller, if I could find one, that would use me better than any other. I should be glad to authorize some one to send me every Book and Pamphlet, of Reputation, upon the subjects of Law and Government as soon as it comes out—for I have hitherto been such an old fashiond Fellow, as to waste my Time upon Books, which noBody else ever opened here, to the total Neglect of spick and span. If Messrs. Dilly will send me Books in this manner, I should be glad and will remit them Cash or Bills of Exchange, immediately upon the Receipt of the Books, or will send the Cash or Bills beforehand if they choose to have it so.
In short I should be very glad if they would send me Books, Paper, Quills, and all Kinds of stationary as they do Mr. Josiah Quincy, if they think proper.
I thank you for the historical Essay &c., tho I have not been able to get a sight of it as yet.
As to the Occurrences of Boston Mr. Smith, I have nothing to write at present but this, your Friends are all well, excepting myself. And I hope very soon to be better, for I have removed my Family into the Country, to my old Habitation at Braintree, and have determined to shake off a little of that Load of public and private Care which has for some Time oppressed me.2 If I had not, I should soon have shaken off this mortal Body.
You will greatly oblige me sir, by continuing your Favours in the epistolary Way.

[salute] Your Friend and servant,

[signed] John Adams
If C. Preston is to be reimbursed his Expences, I wish his Expences, at least to his Council, had been greater.3
RC (MHi: Smith-Carter Papers); endorsed.
1. Date obscure; JA may have overwritten the first digit and thus meant the 21st and not the 11th.
3. For JA's fee as Capt. Preston's counsel see same, 3:293.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0058

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Smith, Isaac Jr.
Date: 1771-04-20

Abigail Adams to Isaac Smith Jr.

[salute] Dear Sir

I write you, not from the Noisy Buisy Town, but from my humble Cottage in Braintree, where I arrived last Saturday and here again am to take up my abode.

“Where Contemplation p[l]umes her rufled Wings

And the free Soul look's down to pitty Kings.”

Suffer me to snatch you a few moments from all the Hurry and tumult of London and in immagination place you by me that I may ask you ten thousand Questions, and bear with me Sir, tis the only recompence you can make for the loss of your Company.
From my Infancy I have always felt a great inclination to visit the Mother Country as tis call'd and had nature formed me of the other Sex, I should certainly have been a rover. And altho this desire has greatly diminished owing partly I believe to maturer years, but more to the unnatural treatment which this our poor America has received from her, I yet retain a curiosity to know what ever is valuable in her. I thank you Sir for the particular account you have already favourd me with, but you always took pleasure in being communicatively good.
Women you know Sir are considerd as Domestick Beings, and altho they inherit an Eaquel Share of curiosity with the other Sex, yet but few are hardy eno' to venture abroad, and explore the amaizing variety of distant Lands. The Natural tenderness and Delicacy of our Constitutions, added to the many Dangers we are subject too from your Sex, renders it almost imposible for a Single Lady to travel without injury to her character. And those who have a protecter in an Husband, have generally speaking obstacles sufficent to prevent their Roving, and instead of visiting other Countries; are obliged to content themselves with seeing but a very small part of their own. To your Sex we are most of us indebted for all the knowledg we acquire of Distant lands. As to a Knowledg of Humane Nature, I believe it may as easily be obtained in this Country, as in England, France or Spain. Education alone I conceive Constitutes the difference in Manners. Tis natural I believe for every person to have a partiality for their own Country. Dont you think this little Spot of ours better calculated for happiness than any other you have yet seen or read of. Would you exchange it for England, France, Spain or Ittally? Are not the people here more upon an Eaquality in point of knowledg and { 77 } of circumstances—there being none so immensly rich as to Lord it over us, neither any so abjectly poor as to suffer for the necessaries of life provided they will use the means. It has heretofore been our boasted priviledg that we could sit under our own vine and Apple trees in peace enjoying the fruits of our own labour—but alass! the much dreaded change Heaven avert. Shall we ever wish to change Countries; to change conditions with the Affricans and the Laplanders for sure it were better never to have known the blessings of Liberty than to have enjoyed it, and then to have it ravished from us.
But where do I ramble? I only ask your ear a few moments longer. The Americans have been called a very religious people, would to Heaven they were so in earnest, but whatever they may have been I am affraid tis now only a negitive virtue, and that they are only a less vicious people. However I can quote Mr. Whitefield as an authority that what has been said of us is not without foundation. The last Sermon I heard him preach,1 he told us that he had been a very great traveller, yet he had never seen so much of the real appearence of Religion in any Country, as in America, and from your discription I immagine you join with him in Sentiment. I think Dr. Sherbear in his remarks upon the english Nation has some such observation as this.2 In London Religion seems to be periodical, like an ague which only returns once in Seven Days, and then attacks the inhabitants with the cold fit only, the burning never succeeds in this Country. Since which it seems they have found means to rid themselves intirely of the ague.—As to news I have none to tell you, nor any thing remarkable to entertain you with. But you Sir have every day new Scenes opening to you, and you will greatly oblige me by a recital of whatever you find worthy notice. I have a great desire to be made acquainted with Mrs. Maccaulays own history. One of my own Sex so eminent in a tract so uncommon naturally raises my curiosity and all I could ever learn relative to her, is this that she is a widdow Lady and Sister to Mr. Sawbridge. I have a curiosity to know her Education, and what first prompted her to engage in a Study never before Exibited to the publick by one of her own Sex and Country, tho now to the honour of both so admirably performed by her. As you are now upon the Spot, and have been entroduced to her acquaintance, you will I hope be able to satisfie me with some account, in doing which you will confer an oblagation upon your assured Friend,
[signed] Abigail Adams
P.S. I thank you Sir for the West Indian, tis really a prety performance and afforded me an hours or two of very agreable entertainment.
{ 78 }
RC (MHi: Smith-Townsend Papers); addressed: “To Mr Isaac Smith—London.”
1. George Whitefield, the celebrated Methodist evangelist, had died at Newburyport, Mass., 30 Sept. 1770 (DNB).
2. [John Shebbeare,] Letters on the English Nation, 2 vols., London, 1755. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:52–53, 81, 194.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0059

Author: Smith, Isaac Jr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1771-09-03

Isaac Smith Jr. to John Adams

[salute] Dear sir

I have just returned from an agreable excursion, in the course of which I had the pleasure of receiving your favour of April last, with that of Mrs. Adams, for each of which I beg leave to return my thanks.
I am sorry to find that you have deserted Boston. You plead as an excuse, sir, “the load of public and private care, which oppress'd you.” But you would have pleased me better, if instead of changing the residence of your family; you had only shifted your own for awhile. I trust, sir, that you would both repair the health of your body, and ease the burthen of your mind by using the relaxation of a voyage to Europe, more effectually than by breathing the air of Braintree in preference to that of Boston.
About 3 months past I have spent in a visit to the adjacent Continent, and was 5 weeks in Paris, the capital of a kingdom calculated by nature for one of the finest in the world, but by the joint influence of ambition, avarice and superstition, renderd the object of commiseration to a liberal mind.
The public affairs of France are infinitely more embarrass'd than those of England. The former boasts of having a greater variety of ressources at command than the latter. Poverty however covers the face both of the public, and of individuals. The wretched state of its finances at present is a great security to our tranquillity.
A prime minister exiled—another substituted in his room, the object of public odium—parliaments one after the other dissolved and banished—and the princes of the blood (one only excepted) thrown into disgrace! If an instance of illegal violence adopted against a single member of the british parliament could raise such a clamour here, what would proceedings of such a nature occasion? A rod hung over the heads of the people in that kingdom, tho' it cannot suppress their murmurs, yet is sufficient to prevent them from carrying their complaints into action.
To so sensible a nation as the french, it must be a most mortifying circumstance, that the revolutions of their government are often { 79 } dependent on the amours of their monarch. This is notorious in the late change of their administration. The history of the present Sultana of their Court1 is curious. It seems that she is the natural daughter of a monk, and was a domestic in a family at Paris. A particular nobleman is struck with her beauty. As he had either already formed such a connection, or was afraid of degrading his dignity too far, he persuades his brother to marry her. In course of time, to serve the political purposes of a family, she is recommended to the King, who is particularly fond of bestowing his caresses on a married lady. To make herself appear in the more respectable light at Court, she claims an affinity with an ancient family of Ireland, the present possessor of whose title, Lord Barrymore, a nobleman equally distinguished for his conjugal fidelity in London, as Madame la Comtesse de Barre for her unspotted virtue in Paris, is so very condescending as to own the relation; and she is now treated with as much respect, as if she owed her connection with the monarch to birth instead of fortune. I had not an opportunity, tho I spent a day at the Palace of Versailles, of admiring the charms of this celebrated Lady.
Of the public buildings, the Churches, the libraries, the paintings, the amusements, and the manners of Paris, I shall be able to inform you more fully, when I enjoy the pleasure of seeing you again, which I am willing to indulge the hope of doing, by the middle of November if I can get ready to leave England by the first of October as I am endeavoring to do at present. I have no inclination to breathe the impure air of L[ondon] if I can avoid it another winter; but I am in doubt whether I can finish a few excursions, which are necessary to make before I embark for B[oston] so as to accomplish my wishes of returning before winter.

[salute] In the mean time, sir, I am, with all the sincerity imaginable, Yr. very affect. & hum servt,

[signed] I. Smith jr:
P.S. I am sorry to find, that anything new should happen, to renew the want of mutual confidence between the different branches of our legislature. I need not inform you, sir, to whom you are indebted for every new source of dispute. It is not Ld. H[illsborough] it is Governor B[ernard] who has been the dispenser of instructions with regard to America at least with regard to the affairs of Massachusetts, for the year past. It may be some satisfaction to you to know, that Sir F[rancis] is retiring to a distance from the Capital, and proposes to fix his future residence in his native county of Lincoln.
I agree with you, sir, absolutely that America suffers to an inexpres• { 80 } sible degree for want of proper connections in England. But when you ask me to procure you a friend or an acquaintance here, you put me, sir, to a very difficult task indeed.2 This is the worst place in the world, perhaps, to form connections that are of real service. I have but few friends, I have been able to make but few, except such as are immediately engaged in business; and such to an inquisitive American are not the most useful; and the most valuable I have in L. have such a superiority of years, as deprives me of that freedom and intimacy with them, which I could wish.—There is one Gentleman however, who honours me with his friendship from the recommendation of Dr. Chauncey, a gentleman of sense, of reading, and of leisure, who lives near L. and whose correspondence I intend, sir, to recommend to you on my return, and I may then perhaps, have it in my power to mention to you one or two other also. But with any who move within the sphere of the Court, I neither have, nor expect to have any connection in the least.
Mess. Dilly will enter into a correspondence with you sir, agreable to your desire with pleasure; but would be glad of some particular directions from you, as to the articles you would chuse to have from 'em. They wish to know the quantity and the quality of the paper that you want. Books on law and government are not published, (they say) in such a number in the course of a year, as to amount to the sum you have specified. They tell me of two, that have appear'd within the last 6 months, which they will send you, with any other works of merit as they rise, if you will but authorise them to do so, by writing. The books they mention, are Vezey's reports, 2 Vol. fol., Wilson's do. one V. and Cases in the Kings bench at the time Ld. Hardwicke presided there.—Mess. Dilly have very extensive concerns in their business, and have treated me with so much complaisance, that I cannot but recommend 'em to any friend of mine.
I know little, sir, of the character of Mr. Morris.3 He is said to possess a disposition too sanguine to consist with prudence. I imagine, sir, that he would esteem your correspondence a favour. American good sense is of no small consideration on this side the water.
They tell strange stories here this week, of the fire at Portsmouth; but whatever is said about it, will probably evaporate in smoke.
An ardent desire of visiting the Universities of O[xford] and C[ambridge] the former at least detains me here; and if I should not be able to dispatch these with other objects I have in view very soon, I shall write to you, as occasion offers; and hope I shall receive, sir, repeated instances of your regard in the same way.
{ [fol. 80] } | view { [fol. 80] } | view { [fol. 80] } | view { [fol. 80] } { 81 }

[salute] I write to Mrs. Adams, by this opportunity, or very soon; and am, sir, with all the respect possible to her, and to every body at Braintree or Weymouth—Yr. [ . . . ] &c.,

[signed] I. Smith jr:
1. Madame du Barry.
2. This request must have been made in a letter not found.
3. Robert Morris, a London barrister and political radical, who had addressed “A bold, free, open, elegant Letter” to one of the judges of the King's Bench that JA had read in April (Diary and Autobiography, 2:7). Presumably JA had inquired about him in a missing letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0060

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1771-09-17

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

There is no Business here1—And I presume as little at Braintree. The Pause in the English Trade, has made Husbandmen and Manufacturers, and increased Industry and Frugality, and thereby diminished the Number of Debts and Debtors, and Suits and Suiters.
But the hourly Arrival of Ships from England deeply loaden with dry Goods, and the extravagant Credit that is dayly given to Country Traders, opens a Prospect very melancholly to the public, tho profitable to Us, of a speedy revival of the suing Spirit. At present I feel very easy and comfortable, at Leisure to read, and think. I hope all are well, shall come up tomorrow after noon, if Mr. Austin2 comes down in the Morning.3 Yr.
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree.”
1. Probably Boston is meant, though the Superior Court of Judicature began its October term at Worcester this day.
2. Jonathan Williams Austin (1751–1779), Harvard 1769, JA's first law clerk, 1769–1772; major in the Massachusetts forces and in the Continental infantry, 1775–1776; admitted attorney, 1778 (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:338–339; Heitman, Register Continental Army; Thwing Catalogue, MHi).
3. To “come up” from Boston to Braintree, and to “come down” from Braintree to Boston were standard expressions in the 18th century; see, for example, JA to AA, 29 Sept. 1774, and AA to JA, 16 Oct. 1774, both printed below.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0061

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Smith, Isaac Jr.
Date: 1771

John Adams to Isaac Smith Jr.

P.S. There is another Gentleman whose History and Character I want to know more of, than I do at present, I mean Dr. Arthur Lee.2 These Things however in Confidence. If you should stay in London this Winter, and have not been introduced to him and Dr. Franklin, and { 82 } have a Desire to be acquainted with those Gentlemen or Either of them, I believe I could procure you Letters to them from Gentlemen here, whose Recommendations they would probably respect.
Am very glad to hear that G[overnor] B[ernard] has removed to Lincolnshire. Could wish him much farther removed from the Capacity of doing Mischief. The Instructions to Mr. H[utchinson] are such as give us no Prospect of Peace and Harmony here.3 Nothing but Resentment and Disaffection can proceed from such Measures. One of them, the Dissallowance of the Grants to our Agents, seems very cruel indeed. The Language of it is, that the People shall have no possible Way of conveying their Complaints or sentiments to the Royal Ear. In Times of oppression, from a Ministry or a Governor, We can have no Man to present a Petition, or Complaint to the Throne, but one, whom the Governor or Minister shall approve. And We may depend, upon it, that none but a Tool of both, one fitted to defeat as far as shall lie in his Power the very Petition that he shall be directed to present, will ever be approved. We know not how Britons, on that side of the Atlantic, may think of such severe Treatment of Americans, but if the Throats of one Million, of good subjects may be gagged, We can conceive of no Reason why the Throats of Eight Millions may not—and, it does not require a surgeon to foresee that a Mortification of a Finger if neglected will soon spread itself, to the Heart and the Lungs.
It gives me, my Friend extream Concern to perceive the Tendency of these unkind Measures. I see that my Countrymen the Americans have not the Virtue, the Fortitude, the Magnanimity, to resist these Encroachment[s], now in the Beginning of them, to a decisive Effect. I see that there is not Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation in the Mother Country, to desist voluntarily from such Attempts to make inroads upon Us—and therefore a trimming, jealous, invidious system of Conduct will be held by both, untill the Period shall arrive that an entire Allienation of Affection and a total Opposition of Interests shall take Place, And War and Desolation shall close the melancholly Prospect. Out of such Desolations, Glory and Power, and Wonders may arise, to carry on the Designs of Providence.
But I restrain, perhaps a visionary, enthusiastic Pen. You and I shall be saints in Heaven I hope before the Times, We dream of. But our Grandsons may perhaps think this cannonical Prophecy.
What a Pity it is, that the seeds of such Divisions and Jealousies should be sown, only to gratify the Ravenous Cravings of a very few Ravens, Cormorants and Vultures.
{ 83 }
But I am writing Politicks to you, who detest them.
If you see my old Friend Mr. John Boylstone, please to make my most respectfull Compliments to him.4
Postscript only (Adams Papers), unsigned, undated, and without direction, of what is quite evidently an autograph letter, or RC, not found, rather than a draft. See note 1.
1. From the reference to Francis Bernard's moving to Lincolnshire, the present fragment appears clearly to be part of a reply to Smith's letter to JA, 3 Sept. 1771, above. It is possible and in fact very likely that JA omitted the postscript merely by accident when he sent Smith the (now missing) letter to which it was meant to be appended.
2. Arthur Lee (1740–1792), M.D. Edinburgh 1764, one of the four Lee brothers of Virginia with whom JA during his career in the Continental Congress and in Europe was to become closely associated (DAB; JA, Diary and Autobiography, passim).
4. John Boylston (1709–1795), Boston merchant and first cousin of JA's mother; later a loyalist resident at Bath, England, where he was hospitable to JA in 1783. See Adams Genealogy.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0062

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1772-05

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dr.

I take an opportunity by Mr. Kent, to let you know that I am at Plymouth, and pretty well. Shall not go for Barnstable untill Monday.
There are now signs of a gathering Storm, so I shall make my self easy here for the Sabbath. I wish myself at Braintree. This wandering, itinerating Life grows more and more disagreable to me. I want to see my Wife and Children every Day, I want to see my Grass and Blossoms and Corn, &c. every Day. I want to see my Workmen, nay I almost want to go and see the Bosse Calfs's as often as Charles2 does. But above all except the Wife and Children I want to see my Books.
None of these Amusements are to be had. The Company we have is not agreable to me. In Coll. Warren and his Lady3 I find Friends, Mr. Angier4 is very good, but farther than these, I have very little Pleasure in Conversation. Dont expect me, before Saturday.—Perhaps Mrs. Hutchinson may call upon you, in her Return to Boston, the later End of next Week or beginning of the Week after.
Pray let the People take Care of the Caterpillars. Let them go over and over, all the Trees, till there is not the appearance of a nest, or Worm left.
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For Mrs. Adams Braintree Pr. favr. of Mr Kent.”
{ 84 }
1. Probably written on 23 May. The Superior Court session at Plymouth had begun on the 19th; that at Barnstable was to begin on the 26th.
2. Charles, second son and fourth child of JA and AA, had been born on 29 May 1770. See Adams Genealogy.
3. James and Mercy (Otis) Warren of Plymouth, for many years the warm friends and intimate correspondents of the Adamses. See DAB under both Warrens; also the letter immediately below, and Warren-Adams Letters, passim.
4. Oakes Angier (1745–1786), Harvard 1764, of West Bridgewater, one of the earliest regular practitioners of law in Plymouth co. According to Nahum Mitchell, History of the Early Settlement of Bridgewater, Boston, 1840, p. 106, Angier had “read law with the elder President Adams,” and AA speaks of him to JA as “Your former pupil” (3 June 1776, below). Angier was admitted attorney in Plymouth Superior Court, May 1771, and barrister at Boston, Aug. 1773 (Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Books 94, 98). JA mentions him several times in a friendly way in his Diary. In his relatively few years of practice Angier amassed a large fortune, and the circumstances of the death and the terms of the will of this lawyer “indefatigable in his Proffession, possessed of great Qualities, and great Faults,” are discussed at length in a letter from Elizabeth (Smith) Shaw to her sister AA, 1–3 Nov. 1786 (Adams Papers), printed later in the present work.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0063

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1773-07-16

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Madam

The kind reception I met with at your House, and the Hospitality with which you entertained me, demands my gratefull acknowledgment. By requesting a correspondence you have kindly given me an opportunity to thank you for the happy Hours I enjoyed whilst at your House. Thus imbolden'd I venture to stretch my pinions, and tho like the timorous Bird I fail in the attempt and tumble to the ground yet sure the Effort is laudable, nor will I suffer my pride, (which is greatly increased since my more intimate acquaintance with you) to debar me the pleasure, and improvement I promise myself from this correspondence tho I suffer by the comparison.
I Had a very Hot and unplesent ride the afternoon I left your House. I arrived at my own habitation on Monday, and found my family well. Since my return we have had several fine showers which have, I hope extended, as far as Eel river, and watered with their blessings every sod and plant belonging to my much valued Friends. Air, Sun, and Water, the common blessings of Heaven; we receive as our just due, and too seldom acknowledg our obligations to the Father of the rain; and the Gracious dispencer of every good and perfect gift, yet if but for a very little while these blessings are withheld, or spairingly dealt out to us, we then soon discover how weak, how little and how blind, we are.
When I was at Plymouth Madam you may remember I mentiond { 85 } Mrs. Seymore upon Education,1 and upon your expressing a desire to see it, I promised to send it you. I now take the earlyest opportunity to comply with your request. Not from an opinion that you stand in need of such an assistant, but that you may give me your Sentiments upon this Book, and tell me whether it corresponds with the plan you have prescribed to yourself and in which you have so happily succeeded. I am sensible I have an important trust committed to me; and tho I feel my self very uneaquel to it, tis still incumbent upon me to discharge it in the best manner I am capable of. I was really so well pleased with your little offspring, that I must beg the favour of you to communicate to me the happy Art of “rearing the tender thought, teaching the young Idea how to shoot, and pouring fresh instruction o'er the Mind.” May the Natural Benevolence of your Heart, prompt you to assist a young and almost inexperienced Mother in this Arduous Buisness, that the tender twigs alloted to my care, may be so cultivated as to do honour to their parents and prove blessing[s] to the riseing generation. When I saw the happy fruits of your attention in your well ordered family, I felt a Sort of Emulation glowing in my Bosom, to imitate the

“Parent who vast pleasure find's

In forming of her childrens minds

In midst of whom with vast delight

She passes many a winters Night

Mingles in every play to find

What Bias Nature gave the mind

Resolving thence to take her aim

To guide them to the realms of fame

And wisely make those realms the way

To those of everlasting day.

Each Boisterous passion to controul

And early Humanize the Soul

In simple tales beside the fire,

The noblest Notions to inspire.

Her offspring conscious of her care

Transported hang around her chair.”

I must beg your pardon for thus detaining you. I have so long neglected my pen that I am conscious I shall make but a poor figure. To your Friendship and candour I commit this, and would only add my regards to Coll. Warren from his and your obliged Friend & Humble Servant,
[signed] Abigail Adams
{ 86 }
RC (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mrs. Adams No 1 July 1773.”
1. Juliana Seymour, On the Management and Education of Children: A Series of Letters Written to a Niece, London, 1754.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0064

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1773-07-25

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Mrs. Adams

I shall pass over in silence the Complementary introduction to your Letter, not because these Expressions of Esteem are frequently words of Course without any other design but to Convey an Idea of politeness as the Characteristick of the person the most Lavish therein. But in you I Consider anything of the kind as the Natural result of a Friendly heart dispose'd to think well of all those who have not been Guilty of any remarkable instance of depravity to Create disgust.
It Gives me no small satisfaction to be assured by you that your Late Visit was agreable and sincerely Wish it may be in such a degree as to induce you to repeat what will always give me pleasure. I hope the intemperate heat of the season was not Detremental to the Health of Either of our Friends, for whom I was much concernd after you left us, and as the gentle showers of the afternoon Extended to the River, as you kindly wishd, so I hope they shed there benign influence over the mountains and Valleys of Scadden.1
I am obliged to you for the ingenious Mrs. Seymours treatise on Education, but am alarm'd at the Reasons you Give for sending it, and the demands you make in return. In the first place my oppinion of a work which I suppose is Generally admired I think is of very Little Consequence, and in the next you ask assistance and advice in the mighty task of cultivating the minds and planting the seeds of Virtue in the infant Bosom, from one who is yet looking abroad for Every foreign aid to Enable her to the discharge of a duty that is of the utmost importance to society though for a Number of Years it is almost wholly left to our uninstructed sex.
You ask if the sentiments of this Lady coincide with the Rules perscribed myself in the Regulation of my Little flock and to answer you ingeneously I must acknowledge I fall so far short of the Methods I heretofore Laid down as the Rule of my Conduct that I dispaire of Reaching those more perfect plans Exibited by superior Hands. Much less shall I presume to dictate to those who have had Equal advantages with myself and who I think Likly to make a much better improvment thereof. I shall Esteem it a happiness indeed if I can acquit myself of the important Charge (by providence devovled on Every Mother), to { 87 } the approbation of the judicious Observer of Life, but a much more noble pleasure is the Conscious satisfaction of having Exerted our utmost Efforts to rear the tender plant and Early impress the youthful mind, with such sentiments that if properly Cultivated when they go out of our hands they may become useful in their several departments on the present theatre of action, and happy forever when the immortal mind shall be introduced into more Enlarged and Glorious scenes.
But before I quit this subject I would ask if you do not think Generosity of sentiment as it is mention'd in the ninth Letter of the above treatise too Comprehensive a term to be given as the first principle to be impress'd on the infant mind. This temper doubtless includes many other Virtues but does it argue an invariable Attachment to truth. I have ever thought a careful Attention to fix a sacred regard to Veracity in the Bosom of Youth the surest Gaurd to Virtue, and the most powerful Barrier against the sallies of Vice through Every future period of Life. I cannot but think it is of much the most importance of any single principle in the Early Culture, for when it has taken deep root it usually produces not only Generosity of mind but a train of other Exelent qualities. And when I find a heart that will on no terms deviate from the Law of truth I do not much fear its Course will Ever Run very Eccentrick from the path of Rectitude, provided we can obtain any degree of that Childs Confidence: A point at which I think Every mother should aim.
If I am wrong I Call not only on you but on my Friend Mr. Adams to tell me wherin. And I think I have a Claim to his Oppinion as he has Given me a Daughter for whose instruction and improvment I wish for Every advantage to her preceptress.
Tell him that as I have heretofore been Exposed to his observation without my knowledge or Consent I am now Emboldend to write anything that occurs fearless of his penetrating Eye, but not from a Less opinion of his judgment or a greater of his Candour, but from that Confidence in his Friendship that secures me from Censure.

[salute] I subscribe with Great regard both his & your unfeigned Friend & Humble servant,

[signed] Mercy Warren
1. A local name, variously spelled, for what was then the South Precinct of Braintree and is now Randolph, Mass.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0065

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1773-12-05

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] My Dear Mrs. Warren

Do not my Worthy Friend tax me with either Breach of promise; or neglect towards you, the only reason why I did not write to you immediately upon your leaving Town, was my being seized with a Fever which has confined [me] almost ever since, I have not for these many years known so severe a fit of Sickness.
I am now thro' the favour of Heaven so far restored as to be able to leave my chamber some part of the Day. I will not make any other apology for my past neglect being fully sensible that I alone have been the Sufferer. My pen which I once Loved and delighted in; has for a long time been out of credit with me. Could I borrow the powers and faculties of my much valued Friend, I should then hope to use it with advantage to my self and delight to others.
Incorrect and unpolished as it is I will not suffer a mistaken pride so far to lead me astray as to omit the present opportunity of improvement, and should I prove a tractable Scholer, you will not find me tardy.
You Madam are so sincere a Lover of your Country, and so Hearty a mourner in all her misfortunes that it will greatly aggravate your anxiety to hear how much she is now oppressed and insulted. To you, who have so throughly look'd thro the Deeds of Men, and Develloped the Dark designs of a Rapatio['s] Soul,1 No action however base or sordid, no measure however Cruel and Villanous, will be matter of any Surprize.
The Tea that bainfull weed is arrived. Great and I hope Effectual opposition has been made to the landing of it. To the publick papers I must refer you for perticuliars. You will there find that the proceedings of our Citizens have been United, Spirited and firm. The flame is kindled and like Lightning it catches from Soul to Soul. Great will be the devastation if not timely quenched or allayed by some more Lenient Measures.2
Altho the mind is shocked at the Thought of sheding Humane Blood, more Especially the Blood of our Countrymen, and a civil War is of all Wars, the most dreadfull Such is the present Spirit that prevails, that if once they are made desperate Many, very Many of our Heroes will spend their lives in the cause, With the Speach of Cato in their Mouths, “What a pitty it is, that we can dye but once to save our Country.”
“Tender plants must bend but when a Goverment is grown to { 89 } Strength like some old oak rough with its armed bark, it yealds not to the tug, but only Nods and turns to sullen State.”
Such is the present Situation of affairs that I tremble when I think what may be the direfull concequences—and in this Town must the Scene of action lay. My Heart beats at every Whistle I hear, and I dare not openly express half my fears.—Eternal Reproach and Ignominy be the portion of all those who have been instrumental in bringing these fears upon me. There was a Report prevaild that to morrow there will be an attempt to Land this weed of Slavery. I will then write further till then my worthy Friend adieu.
Since I wrote the above a whole week has Elapsed and nothing new occurred concerning the tea. Having met with no opportunity of sending this I shall trespass further upon your patience. I send with this the 1 volume of Moliere, and should be glad of your oppinion of them. I cannot be brought to like them, there seems to me to be a general Want of Spirit, at the close of every one I have felt dissapointed. There are no characters but what appear unfinished and he seems to have ridiculed Vice without engageing us to Virtue, and tho he sometimes makes us Laugh, yet tis a Smile of indignation. There is one negative Virtue of which he is possess'd I mean that of Decency. His Cit. turnd Gentleman among many others has met with approbation—tho I can readily acknowledg that the cit. by acting so contrary to his real character has displayed a stupid vanity justly deserving ridicule, yet the Fine Gentleman who defrauds and tricks him, is as much the baser character as his advantages are superior to the others.3 Moliere is said to have been an Honest Man, but sure he has not coppied from his own Heart—tho he has drawn many pictures of real Life, yet all pictures of life are not fit to be exibited upon the Stage. I fear I shall incur the charge of vanity by thus criticising upon an Author who has met with so much applause. You Madam I hope will forgive me. I should not have done it, if we had not conversd about it before. Your judgment will have great weight with Your Sincere Friend,
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “To Mrs Mercy Warren Plymouth”; docketed: “Mrs. Adams Decr. <1775> 1773 Between 1 & 2.”
1. Rapatio, “Governor of Servia,” stood for Gov. Thomas Hutchinson in Mrs. Warren's bombastic blank verse play based on the Boston Massacre, The Adulateur. A Tragedy, as It Is Now Acted in Upper Servia, published anonymously in Boston earlier this year.
2. The Dartmouth, the first of the tea ships, had arrived in Boston Harbor on 28 November. For a concise account of { 90 } events that followed, including the “Tea Party” of 16 Dec., see Winsor, Memorial History of Boston, 3:46–51; see also JA's Diary entry of 17 Dec. 1773 and note 3 there (Diary and Autobiography, 2:85–87).
3. AA may have read Molière in the bilingual edition that JA used to help his French on his first voyage to Europe. This edition has not been located, but see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:283; 4:22.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0066

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1773-12-30

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Alass! How many snow banks devide thee and me and my warmest wishes to see thee will not melt one of them. I have not heard one Word from thee, or our Little ones since I left home. I did not take any cold comeing down, and find my self in better Health than I was. I wish to hear the same account from you. The Time I proposed to tarry has Elapsed. I shall soon be home sick. The Roads at present are impassible with any carriage. I shall not know how to content myself longer than the begining of Next week. [I nev]er left so large a flock of little ones before. You must write me how they all do. Tis now so near the Court that I have no expectation of seeing you here. My daily thoughts and Nightly Slumbers visit thee, and thine. I feel gratified with the immagination at the close of the Day in seeing the little flock round you inquiring when Mamma will come home—as they often do for thee in thy absence.
If you have any news in Town which the papers do not communicate, pray be so good as to Write it. We have not heard one Word respecting the Tea at the Cape or else where.
I have deliverd John the Bearer of this the key of your linnen. I hope you have been able to come at some by taking the Draw above it out. I should be obliged if you would send me that Book of Mr. Pembertons upon the Classicks1 and the progress of Dulness2 which is at Mr. Cranchs.
You will not fail in remembring me to our little ones and telling Johnny that his Grand mama has sent him a pair of mittins, and Charlly that I shall bring his when I come home. Our little Tommy3 you must kiss for Mamma, and bid Nabby write to me. Dont dissapoint me and let John return without a few lines to comfort the heart of Your affectionate
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mr John Adams—Boston.”
1. Probably Samuel Pemberton, a Boston selectman and friend of JA, is meant, but the volume referred to has not been identified.
2. The Progress of Dulness, published in 3 parts, New Haven, 1772–1773, was by John Trumbull (1750–1831), Yale 1767, who had recently entered { 91 } JA's law office and who later became a judge in Connecticut (DAB). See AA to Mrs. Warren, ante 27 Feb. 1774, below. Trumbull became one of JA's favorite correspondents.
3. Thomas Boylston Adams (1772–1832), third son and youngest child of JA and AA. See Adams Genealogy.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0067

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Cranch, Elizabeth
Recipient: Norton, Elizabeth Cranch
Date: 1773

John Quincy Adams to Elizabeth Cranch

[salute] Dear Cousing

i thank you for your last letter i have <have> had it in my mind to write to you this long time but afairs of much leess importance has prevented me i have made But veray little proviciancy in reading [ . . . ]2 to much of my time in play [th]ere is a great Deal of room for me to grow better brother charls has got a very bad cold martha feild and [Naby?] curtis sends their love to you and sister Naby from your afftionate <broth> Cousing
[signed] John Quincy Adams
RC (MHi: Jacob Norton Papers); addressed apparently in AA2's hand: “To Miss Betsey Cranch att Boston.” MS bears various later penciled notations not recorded here.
1. The only clue to the date is the handwriting, which is distinctly less mature than that of JQA's first dated letter known to the editors, namely that of 13 Oct. 1774 to his father, printed below. This earliest letter by JQA known to survive is printed as literally as possible.
2. Two or three words torn away by seal. Perhaps “& have given.”

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0068

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-01-19

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

I sincerely Congratulate my much Esteemed friend on the Restoration of the invaluable Blessing of Health: without which (if I may so Express it) Life is but a painful Blank. May it be long: very long before she again knows an interuption.
But by the stile and spirit of yours of the 5th December one would judge you was quite as much affected by the shocks of the political as the Natural Constitution. Tho I hope we have less to Dread than you then apprehended, for as Catharticks and sometimes pretty Violent Exercise is recommended by the physician as Beneficial to the latter, possibly the Emeticks (and Consequent shakings of the smaller Arteries) lately perscribed by the skilful Tusceruros may be no less salutary to the former. And I hope we shall yet see the Beautiful Fabrick repaird and reestablished on so Firm a Basis that it will not be in the power of the Venal and narrow hearted on Either side the Atlantick again to break down its Barriers and threaten its total Dessolution.1
{ 92 }
I cannot pretend to judge whether you had sufficient Grounds for your fears when you Expressd so Great Concern least those Commotions should not terminate till the Civil Sword is Drawn. But however dark the aspect has heretofore appear'd I think we now have a Brighter prospect, and hope the united Efforts of the Extensive Colonies will be able to Repel Every Attempt of the oppressor and that peace and Fredom will be restored at a less Costly Expence than the sacrifice of the Bleeding Hero.
But as our weak and timid sex is only the Echo of the other, and like some pliant peace of Clock Work the springs of our souls move slow or more Rapidly: just as hope, fear or Courage Gives motion to the Conducting Wiers that Govern all our movements, so I build much on the high key that at present seems to Animate the American patriots, and in particular on the Excelent spirits in which a Friend of yours has lately wrote.2
But to wave more important matters I think I can Claim more than half a promiss from that Gentleman of a Line from you Ere this time in Lieu of an uninteligable Bloted scrip3 which I acknowledge merited no return: nor should it have gone out of my hand in that manner on less advantagous terms.
I shall return a small Folio4 belonging to Mr. Adams the first safe and Convenient Opportunity. Tell him I almost regret the Curiosity that led me to wish to look over the pages in which Human Nature is portray'd in so odious a Light as the Characters of the Borgian Family Exhibits. But this Fatal inheritance of our first Mother often subjects us to painful inconveniencies, and we sometimes Grow wiser at the Expence of Candour, and that universal Esteem of Mankind so Natural and so becoming in the Early part of Life. For bad as the World appears after the Scores5 begin to roll over our heads I Cant but suspect the heart of that Youth who steps forward on the Stage of action with an ill opinion of his Fellow Men, but yet Commiserate the Wretch who by his distrust of all around him is deprived of the highest Cordial of Life: the social intercourse of the Friendly Mind. For he who has no Confidence in any one I believe has Little sincerity of his own.
As I am Called upon both by Mr. and Mrs. Adams to give my opinion of a Celebrated Comic Writer: silence in me would be inexcusable: tho, otherways my sentiments are of little Consequence.
The solemn strains of the tragic Muse have been generally more to my taste than the lighter Representations of the Drama. Yet I think the Follies and Absurdities of Human Nature Exposed to Ridicule in the { 93 } Masterly Manner it is done by Moliere may often have a greater tendency to reform Mankind than some graver Lessons of Morality.
The observation that he Ridicules Vice without Engageing us to Virtue discovers the Veneration of my Friend for the latter. But when Vice is held up at once in a detestable and Ridiculous Light, and the Windings of the Human Heart which lead to self deciption unfolded it Certainly points us to the path of Reason and Rectitude. And if we do not Embrace the amiable image of Virtue we must Exculpate the Moniter and Attribute the Fault to the Wrong biass of our own Clamorous and ungovernd passions.
And if Mrs. Adams will Excuse my Fredom and openess I will tell her I see no Reason yet to Call in question the Genius of A Moliere or the judgment of the person by whose Recomendation I read him.
But if when I have gone further I alter my opinion I shall readily acknowledge it, and wherin I Err I stand now and at all times ready to submit to the Correction of my Candid Friends, from whom I hope soon to hear. I am with Compliments to Mr. Adams, unfeignedly your Friend,
[signed] M Warren
If there was any body in this part of the World that Could sing the Rival Nymphs: and Celebrate the Happy Victory of Salacia in a manner that would Merit Mr. Adams's approbation he may be assure'd it should immediately be Attempted, but I think a person who with two or three strokes of his pen has sketched out so fine a poetical plan need apply only to his own Genius for the Completion.6
But if he thinks it would be too Great Condescension in him to Associate much with the Muses while under the direction of Apollo his time is so much more usefully and importantly filld up, a particular Friend of his would be glad of a little clearer Explanation of some of his Characters, she not being well Enough Versed in ancient Mytholigy to know who is meant by the son of Neptune (who can so Easily transform himself into the Mischevious of Every species) as there are several Modern Proteus's to whom this Docility of temper is Equally applicable.
RC (Adams Papers). Early Tr (MHi: Mercy Warren Letterbook); see note 1 below; in an unidentified hand and dated 29 Dec. 1773, which is doubtless the date of Mrs. Warren's original but now missing draft.
1. Preceding two sentences (which allude of course to the Boston Tea Party) are not in Tr. Though it has the physical form of a letterbook and has long been so designated, the “Mercy Warren Letterbook” is not really a letterbook at all. The letter copies in it, extending from 1770 through 1800, are all in unidentified hands (no trace of her hand has been detected in the { 94 } volume); they are arranged by correspondent rather than by date; editorial excisions and emendations appear in the texts; and the letters are furnished with literary captions, often with conjectural dates (some of them clearly wrong), and occasionally with explanatory notes. From all this it would appear that the volume is actually a collection of letters selected and transcribed from Mrs. Warren's original drafts (which may or may not be extant elsewhere) with a view to printing them in a volume. To judge from the handwriting, the copies were made not long after 1800, though perhaps after Mrs. Warren's death in 1814. Texts of letters derived from this source (and some in the present edition are so derived) cannot therefore be considered reliable.
2. Alluding probably to JA's letter to James Warren, 22 Dec. 1773 (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.; printed in JA, Works, 9:334–336, a little inaccurately). ||JA's letter was also printed in Papers of John Adams, 2:2.||
3. Mrs. Warren to JA, 30 Dec. 1773; not found, but acknowledged in JA to Mrs. Warren, 3 Jan. 1774 (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.; Warren-Adams Letters, 1:21–23).
4. Not identified.
5. Thus in MS. Supply “of years”?
6. The postscript as a whole alludes to a playful passage in JA's letter to James Warren, 22 Dec. 1773 (see note 2 above), in which he proposed that Mrs. Warren put the recent Tea Party revels into rhyme and furnished her with a sketch of the supernatural machinery for such a poem. This she did in her letter to AA of 27 Feb. 1774, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0069

Author: Smith, Elizabeth (1750-1815)
Author: Peabody, Elizabeth Smith Shaw
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-02-08

Elizabeth Smith to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Sister

When I cast my Eyes backward; and take a general survey, of the great alterations which have been made within these few Years, I behold a Portrait whose lines are marked with indeliable Characters—the fickleness of Fortune, the shortness and uncertainty of Life, and the instability of Human Affairs. Those who yesterday glided smoothly on, in the calm Sunshine of Prosperity, “fed high in Fortunes Lap,” and lavished their Time in Riot's Orgies—to day, are overwhelmed, in the tempestous Ocean of Affliction, and are become poor and dependant, “soliciting the cold hand of Charity.” The healthy and beautiful, the gay and fortunate, the wise and virtuous droop in the Morning of Life, and like some fair Flower, die, e'er they reach the meridian of their Days. The most hopeful Expectations, the best concerted Plans of Felicity are no sooner formed, than destroyed; and the smiling, but delusive Structures of Ideal Happiness, are in one moment plucked from there aerial Heights.
When I enter on a more particular retrospect of the last seven Years of my Life, I find it replete with Revolutions. A lively Picture is displayed, of the weakness, and imperfection of our Natures, the Capriciousness of rational Creatures, and the deceitfulness of the human Heart. Those who have soared high on the Pinions of Fame, whom lisping Infants were taught to revere, as the Gaurdians of their Liberty, and the noblest Prop of decreasing Virtue, are now detested, and { 95 } stigmatized with the opprobrious appellations of Rebels, and Traitors to their Country.
Those who were esteemed wise and judicious, modest and virtuous have been found guilty of Vices, diametrically opposite to those Perfections. Those who have been Votaries at the Shrine of Hymen, and had flattered themselves with Days of ease, and Happiness, are dragging out a miserable load of Life, in domestick Quarrels and perpetual Uneasiness. I see the once doating, but now disgusted Lover, forsaking his fond, and dejected Mistress. The vain and inhuman Coquette strangely delighting to torment the worthy Object of her Love, with whom she intends to spend her Life, and at whose Mercy she will then be.
Those who appear the most austere and rigid, who make the greatest pretensions to Delicacy in Publick, throw aside the Veil, and divest themselves in more convenient Places, of that Decorum which is the surest outguard of Virtue. But what astonishes me, beyond the power of description, is to see a Man Proud, Haughty, sensible, ambitious of making an elegant Figure in the World, and aspiring to be a star of the first magnitude acting repugnant to his predominant Passions; connecting himself in the nearest Relation with one, whom he cannot but despise for becoming so easy a Prey to his dishonourable Desires—with one who is inferior in Birth, Fortune, and Education, and who has neither the beauties of the Mind, or of Person to recommend her. Among unequals what Society, what Harmony or true Delight? Revenge herself, could not have placed him, in a more humiliating Situation.
I acknowledge this is not a very agreeable Picture, yet I imagine great benefit may be derived to a moralizing Mind from a frequent contemplation of it.—I wish it might teach me to be cautious and circumspect in every thing, candid and forgiving, since I find how difficult it is, even for the best, to act always consistent with their own Characters.
But you will perhaps object to this Picture as being too strongly shaded. Look around you my Sister, and you cannot but be convinced that this is (however mortifying to the flattering Expectations of Youth) a true Epitome of human Life, and I doubt not, but each succeeding Period will testify its verity.
By being habituated to Disappointments, we expect them, and by expecting them, we blunt there Edge, and hinder them from so keenly wounding.
Whenever I find myself laying Plans of future Felicity, I check the { 96 } career of my Imagination, and consider that much Tribulation is the inevitable Lot of Humanity.
I have not yet answered Pollio's <(agreeable)> Letter, I have some scruples about writing to him on the subject of Love, I believe he expects I shall, and why should I disappoint a Person if I can avoid it.1
I know not what to think of your Questions, nor how to act.2 If they have not alarmed, they have sufficiently perplexed me. You are certainly very cruel or very tender.
Does not the greatest part of my Happiness result from seeing others pleased and delighted? and shall I not take pleasure in seeing my Friend happy, although honour and Prudence would oblige me to resign my Correspondent?
O Heart! What weakness do these Questions imply.—But why could not he have determined before? Why should a Correspondence be sollicited? Were the seeds of Friendship sown only to inform me, that it would be improper to cultivate them in this promising Soil.—But—
Forbid it Heaven!—that I should repine at a generous, humane Act. No, rather give me a Heart to rejoice in it. Teach me invaribly to pursue the Path of Rectitude, and with chearful Resignation, submit the disposal of every Event to Him, who certainly knows what is best, for Your Affectionate Sister,
[signed] Betsy Smith
PS I enclose an Epigram which was given me the other Day by an elderly Gentleman. By the way I really believe, I am growing a Favorite among them—If I may judge by the Presents I have lately received.
Our little Betsy is very ill. I wish you would be so kind as to send her a few sugar Plumbs.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosure not found.
1. Pollio has not been identified. He could hardly have been John Shaw (1748–1794), whom the writer of the present letter was to marry in 1777, since Shaw was then boarding with the Smiths while keeping a school in Weymouth (though it is possible, of course, that he was away at this time). On Betsy Smith's rather tangled relationship with Shaw, see her letter to AA of 7 March, below. On Shaw see Adams Genealogy.
2. Presumably in a letter from AA which has not been found.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0070

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-02-24

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

I was very glad to receive a Line from you, by Mr. French, tho the Account you give me of the Danger of my dear Mother gives me great Concern. I fear she will not long survive her beloved Aunt who was buryed Yesterday.1
{ 97 }
Let me intreat you to be very carefull of your own Health which is very tender. Dont pretend to Watch. I had rather be at any Expence for Watchers than that you should attempt it one Night.
We are all well and make it do cleverly—so dont be uneasy about us.
I will endeavour soon to come up. Write me by every opportunity.
Superior Court is adjourned to 1st. Tuesday in June. General Court is preparing an Impeachment vs. the C[hief] Justice.2 I must not add, but the Name of yr
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams Braintree.”
1. Sarah (Morecock) Boylston, wife of JA's great-uncle Thomas Boylston (d. 1739), died this month. See Adams Genealogy.
2. Though not a member of the General Court, JA had played an important part in the current attempt to impeach Chief Justice Peter Oliver because he would not renounce his salary by crown grant (instead of from the Province). See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:88–89; 3:298–302.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0071

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1774-02-27

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren

Your agreable favour of January 19 demands from me more than I am able to pay. My coin will have more alloy tho it bears the same Stamp of Friendship with your own.
I was not sensible till I received yours that my last Letter to you abounded with so many terrors. I am not Naturally of a gloomy temper nor disposed to view objects upon the dark Side only. I rejoice that all my fears on that account were so soon drowned in an ocean of water instead of being verified by the sheding of Blood. Nor would I again alarm you with apprehensions of tumult and disorder the ensuing week by a dethroned chief Justice attempting to take his Seat upon the bench, who if he should meet with opposition would say with the fallen Angels

What tho the place be lost? All is not lost,

The unconquerable Will And Study of revenge,

Immortal hate And courage never to submit or yield,

And what is else not to be overcome;

That Glory never shall their Wrath or might

Extort from me.2

What a pitty it is that so much of that same Spirit which prompted Satan to a revoult in heaven should possess the Sons of men and eradicate every principal of Humanity and Benevolence. How unbounded { 98 } is ambition and what ravages has it made among the human Species. It was that which led Alaxander to weep for more Worlds to conquer, and Caesar to say he had rather be the first man in a village than the second in Rome and the arch Fiend Himself to declare he had rather Reign in Hell than serve in Heaven. But that Ambition which would establish itself by crimes and agrandize its possessor by the ruin of the State and by the oppression of its Subjects, will most certainly defeat itself. When Alexander Weep't he degraded himself. He would certainly have acquired much greater Glory by a wise and prudent goverment of those kingdoms he had conquerd, than [by] childishly blubering after new Worlds. This passion of Ambition when it centers in an honest mind possess'd of great Abilities may and often has done imminent Service to the World. There are but few minds if any wholy destitute of it and tho in itself it is Laudible yet there is nothing in Nature so amiable but the passions and intrest of Men will pervert to very base purposes. When I consider the Spirit which at present prevails throughout this continent I really detest that restless ambition of those artfull and designing men which has thus broken this people into factions—and I every day see more and more cause to deprecate the growing Evil. This party Spirit ruins good Neighbourhood, eradicates all the Seeds of good nature and humanity—it sours the temper and has a fatal tendancy upon the Morals and understanding and is contrary to that precept of Christianity thou shallt Love thy Neighbour as thy self. I have some where met with an observation of this kind that Zeal for a publick cause will breed passions in the hearts of virtuous persons to which the Regard of their own private interest would never have betrayed them.—You Madam encourage me to hope that these discords and divisions will e'er long cease and ancient fraud shall fail; returning justice lift aloft her Scale. We shall not then see the Worst of Men possessd of every place of eminence in order to serve a party nor the best disregarded because they will not stoop to those methods which would gratify their faction, “and barter Liberty for gold.” I wish to rejoice with you in the happy completion of your prophysy.
I congratulate you Madam upon the return of the very worthy bearer of this Letter.3 I have had a Sympathy for you in his absence being often Subject to the same Misfortune. We have had but little of his company he has been so much engaged in the affairs of the State.—By this opportunity I send you the 3 part of the progress of Dulness, the production of a young Gentleman who is now studiing Law with Mr. Adams and who is look'd upon as a real Genious.—I wish you { 99 } would confide so much in your Friend as to favour her now and then with some of your poetical productions—they would be a great gratification to your assured Friend,
[signed] Abigail Adams
Dft (Adams Papers), without indication of addressee or date, on which see note 1. Bears numerous corrections of phrasing not recorded here.
1. Written doubtless from Boston between 19 Jan. and 27 Feb. 1774 since it answers a letter from Mrs. Warren of the former date, above, and is answered by Mrs. Warren's of the latter date, below.
2. These lines from Book I of Paradise Lost are slightly adapted for AA's purpose.
3. James Warren. Though a member of the House, he had returned to Plymouth before the General Court was prorogued on 9 March.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0072-0001

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-02-27

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

The Confidence I have in the Candour and Friendship of Both Mr. and Mrs. Adams, together with her request in her last agreable Favour for the Communication of something in the poetical way: Emboldens me to put into their Hands a piece form'd (as nearly as the Writer Could understand it) upon the short sketch of somthing of this kind by Mr. Adams in a Letter to Mr. Warren somtime ago.1
Should have sent it before but was in hopes he Would have Condescended to have given some further hints with regard to several Characters among his titular Deities. Must insist that this falls under the observation of none Else till I hear how it stands the inspection of Mr. Adamss judicious Eye. For I will not trust the partiallity of My own sex so much as to rely on Mrs. Adams judgment though I know her to be a Lady of taste and Discernment. If Mr. Adams thinks it deserving of any further Notice and he will point out the faults, which doubtless are many, they may perhaps be Corrected, when it shall be at his service. If he is silent I shall Consider it as a certain Mark of disapprobation, and in despair will for the future, lay asside the pen of the poet (which ought perhaps to have been done sooner) Though not that of the Friend, which I look upon as much the most amiable and Distinguished Character. And while we unite in deploring the Miserable situation of a people Broken into Factions, where the seeds of Animosity are sown, and Every discordant passion is Gathering strength, may we not without being infected by the better [bitter] Contagion agree in sentiment with regard to the authors of the Wide { 100 } spreading Evil, And rejoice to see the Enemies of our peace about to be deprived of the power of doing further Mischief.
When the public Attention is Engaged by the Calling to Account the Great Delinquents of the day, And the time of men of Abilities is Engross'd in searching for precedents to bring them to justice, will my Friends Excuse the Momentary Interuption of offring anything so unimportant and so little Entertaining as are the productions of Their Real Friend &c.,
[signed] M Warren
P.S. Mr. Warrens Compliments to Mr. and Mrs. Adams. He proposes writing if time permits. A line left with Mr. Otis2 may be soon Conveyed, to Plimouth.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams Boston.” Enclosure printed herewith.
1. JA to James Warren, 22 Dec. 1773 (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.; printed in JA, Works, 9:334–336). ||JA's letter was also printed in Papers of John Adams, 2:2.||By comparing JA's proposed fable for a mock-heroic poem on the Boston Tea Party and the verses enclosed in the present letter, the reader may judge whether Mrs. Warren used JA's hints to the best possible advantage. JA's comments on the poem, which are perhaps more gallant than judicious, are in a letter to James Warren of 9 April 1774 (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.; JA, Works, 9:336–337).
2. Presumably Mrs. Warren's brother, Samuel Allyne Otis (1740–1814), Harvard 1759, a merchant in Boston; he later married AA's cousin, Mary (Smith) Gray. See Adams Genealogy.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0072-0002

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-02-27

Enclosure: Poem on the Boston Tea Party

Wrote at the Request of A Gentleman who described the Late Glorious Event of sacrificeing several Cargos of tea to the publick Welfare, as a squable among the Celestials of the sea Arising from a scarcity of Nectar and Ambrosia

Bright Phebus Drove his Rapid Car amain,

But Baits his steeds, beyond the Western plain,

Behind a Golden skirte'd Cloud to rest,

Er'e Ebon Night had spread her sable Vest,

And drawn her Curtains or'e the fragrant Vale,

Or Cinthias shadows drest the lonely dale.

The Heroes of the Tuskeraro Tribe,

Who scorn alike, A Fetter, or a Bribe,

In order Range'd, and waiting Freedoms Nod,

To make an off'ring, to the Watry God.

Grey Neptunes Rising, from his sea green Bed,

He Wave'd his Trident or'e his ouzy Head,

Stretching from shore to shore, his Regal Wand,

Bids all the River Deities Attend,

But least Refusal from some distant Dame,

Trytons Hoarse Clarion summon'd them by Name.

In Counsel met, to Adjust affairs of state,

Among their Godships, rose a warm debate,

What luscious Draught, they next shou'd substitute,

That might the palates, of Celestials suit,

{ 101 }

As Nectars stream no more Meandering Rolls,

And Rich Ambrosia, quaff'd in flowing Bowls,

Profusely spent, nor Can Scamanders shore,

Yeald the fair sea Nimphs, one short Banquet more.

The Titans all with one accord Arouse'd,

To travil or'e Columbias Coast, propose'd,

To rob and plunder Ev'ry Neigh'bring Vine,

Regardless of Nemesis sacred shrine,

Nor leave untouch'd the peasants little store,

Or think of Right, while demi Gods have pow'r.

But they on No Alternative agreed,

Nor En'e Great Neptune further Could proceed,

Till Ev'ry Godess of the streams, and Lakes,

And lesser Dieties, of Fens and Brakes,

With all the Nymphs that swim around the Iles,

Deign to give sanction, by approving smiles.

For Females have their Influance over kings,

Nor wives, nor Mistresses, were useless things,

En'e to the Gods, of ancient Homers page.

Nor when in weighty Matters they Engage,

Could they Neglect the sexes sage advice,

And least of all, in any point so nice,

As to Forbid the Choice Ambrosial sip,

And offer Bohea to the rosey Lip.

Proud Amphitrite Rejects it in Disdain,

Refuse'd the Gift, and quits the Wat'ry main,

With servile Proteus laging by her side,

To take Advantage of the shifting tide,

To Catch a smile, or pick up Golden sands,

Either from Plutus, or the Naked strands.

Long practice'd, Easy he assumes the shape,

Of Fox, of panther, Crokedile, or ape,

If tis his Interest, his step dame He'll aid,

One pebble more, and Amphitrites Betray'd.

A Flaming Torch she took in Either Hand,

And as fell Discord Reign'd throughout the Land,

Was well appriz'd, the Centaurs would Conspire,

Resolv'd to set the No'thern World on Fire,

{ 102 }

By scatering the Weeds of Indian shores,

Or Else to lodge them in Pigmalions stores,

But if the Artifice shou'd not succeed,

Then in Revenge Attempt some Bolder deed.

For while old Oceans mighty Billows roar,

Or Foaming surges lash the distant shore,

Shall Godeses Regale like Woodland dames,

First let Chinesean Herbage Feed the Flames.

But all the Neriads Wisper'd Murmers Round,

And Cragy Cliffs Re-echo Back the sound,

Till fair Salacia perch'd upon the Rocks.

The Rival Godess Waves her yellow Locks,

Proclaims that Hyson shall asswage their Grief,

With Choice Sochong, and the imperial Leaf.

The Heroes of the Tuskurarine Race

(Who Neither hold, nor Even wish for place,

While Faction Reigns, and Tyrany presides,

And Base oppression or'e the Virtues Rides,

While Venal Measures dance in silken sails,

And Avarice or'e Earth and sea prevails,

And Luxery creates such mighty Feuds

En'e [in] the Bosoms of the Demi Gods)

Lent their strong arm, in pity to the Fair,

To aid the Bright Salacias Gen'rous Care,

Poure'd a profusion of Delicious teas,

Which Wafte'd by a soft Favonian Breeze,

Supplied the Wa'try Deities in spight,

Of all the Rage, of jealous Amphitrite.

The Fair Salacia Victory, Victry sings

In spite of Heroes, demi Gods, And kings.

She bids Defiance: to the servile train,

The pimps, and sicophants, of G[eorg]es Reign.

The Virtuous Daughters of the Neigh'bring Mead

In Graceful smiles Approve the Glorious deed,

And 'tho the Syrens left their Coral beds,

Just or'e the surface, lifted up their Heads,

And sung soft peans, to the Brave and Fair,

Till almost Caught in the Delusive snare,

{ 103 }

So sink securly in a Golden Dream,

And taste the sweet, innebriateing stream,

Which tho a Repast for the Watry Naiades,

Is Baneful poisen to the Mountain Dryades,

They saw delighted, from the Inland Rocks,

Or'e the Broad deep pour'd out Pandoras Box,

And join Salacias Victory to sing,

Ocean Rebounds, and songs of triumph Ring,

From Southern Lakes, Down to the Nothern Rills,

And spreads Confusion round Neponsit Hills.1

The content of all or some notes that appeared on this page in the printed volume has been moved to the end of the preceding document
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams Boston.” Enclosure printed herewith.
1. Gov. Thomas Hutchinson's home was in Milton among what Mrs. Warren calls the “Neponsit Hills.”

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0073

Author: Smith, Elizabeth (1750-1815)
Author: Peabody, Elizabeth Smith Shaw
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-03-07

Elizabeth Smith to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Sister

I had written to the Deacon before I had received Yours,1 wherein I have your Sanction for it, and I had so far overcome the unconquerable aversion I have hitherto had, to writing on gilt Paper, as to use it for the first time and honour him with it.
When I received the Bundle a Sabbath Eve I imagined it contained a Book, but on losening the string, something dropt which I supposed to be an Inkhorn, opened it with a Jerk, and stabed the shining Weapon among the veins in my wrist.—Judge how I must be surprized?—What thought I, have I done, to deserve this fatal Present.—Pandora's Box, Lucretia's Poignard, and all the direful Events recorded in History, ocasioned by it, rushed with irresistable force into my Mind.
I am so far from desiring the old Proverb may be verified in this Instance, that I intend, rather by a reciprocal interchange of kind Offices, to knit the bands of Friendship more strongly together. But I think I would not express myself, in these Words to him, for the riches of Peru.
{ 104 }
You say you hope to see me in Town soon, and as an Inducement, tell me of killing Eyes, fascinating Tongues, inward greatness, and unaffected Manners. But ought these to allure, or have any effect on One who is enjoined “not to seek Temptation, which to avoid were better.”
Boston you inform me, is an excellent place to quench old Flames, and kindle new ones.—I have none to extinguish; nor can I wish to light up a Flame, or “envy the transported Lover, though blessed with the fullest confidence of his beloved Fair,” while enjoying the tranquil Pleasures of Disinterested Friendship.
You mention the Month of May as being the most dangerous. I know not how it is with others, but all Seasons, and all Months are alike to me. Virtue, good sense, and an amiable Disposition, are Qualities that, wherever they reside, in whatever Sex, in whatever Time, or Object I find them, I admire, esteem, and venerate.
Must one who is naturally of a chearful, and sociable Temper, who lives on the smiles, and pleasant Countenances of Others, be debarred giving the pleasure she receives? Can those who are almost secluded the Company of their own Sex, who wish to draw Instruction from every Fountain, be willing to omit any Opportunity that might afford it? May they not be fond of conversing on what they have read, and on the different Opinions of various Authors, on particular Subjects, without exciting Suspicions in a Family that are dishonourary to both Parties. To avoid these aspersions, is it absolutely necessary to purse up the Mouth, look demure, commence Prude, (which by the way I wonder I have not) keep at a Chimney's length, never suffer oneself to get within the power of attraction, lest Breath's should incorporate and engender Monsters.
To be obliged to behave in this manner, is to commit voilence on an innocent, chearful Disposition, is depriving benevolent Minds of that Source from whence they derive their most permanent Delight.—No, rather let me, conscious of the innocence of my Heart, and the integrity of my Intentions, glide on in the same uniform Course regulating my Conduct, by the same Principles, governing myself by those divine Laws, which I hope will ever influence every action of my Life. May the Law of kindness, and benevolence always be conspicuous in my Behaviour. These are Principles to which I would give full Latitude, and wish to cultivate, and nourish by Exercise till they become a confirmed Habit.
And can a Sister blame me, who is every Day tasting the calm Pleasures, annexed to such a Course of Life.
{ 105 }
Those who are acquainted with me, who know me, cannot but see that every worthy Person, (suffer me to repeat it, and let me beg you my Sister to remember it) of whatever Sex, every Boy, and every well behaved Child are alike the Objects of my Benevolence.
And if there are any Persons so vain, so much more stupid than Idiots as to construe every Smile, and every kind Office into Tokens of particular Affection, they do it at their Peril.—Let them take the Consequences.
I should not have omited acknowledging the receipt of your Letter, and thanking you for your obliging Care of the Correspondence before, if I had not feared I should express more Acrimony than would be consistent with that candid, and gentle Treatment due to a Sister. Nor would I suffer myself to set Pen to Paper, till Reason convinced me, all the Jealousy resulted from an over anxious concern for my Welfare, and Happiness.
You tell me if I cannot comprehend your meaning, it would be a very great Satisfaction to you. You might have enjoyed it, had I received it two Days before. If Mother had not explained the matter I should have been utterly at a loss to have understood your Insinuations.
You cannot think how much I was astonished to be told that I had excited Fears in some of the Family, that had given them a great deal of uneasiness, &c.
As I never entertained the most distant thought of such a thing, it not only grieved, but vexed me to be suspected, and for a while, I was plunged in the Gall of Bitterness.
As I am conscious of having endeavoured to regulate my Behaviour by the dictates of Humanity, Benevolence, and Candour, I sincerely hope I shall continue to act agreeable to them. As a Fellow-creature he demands my Benevolence, as a Person of Virtue, and Good Sense I like to converse with him, as a Gentleman I wish to see him treated with good-manners, and I desire to treat him, and every one else with Politeness. As one residing in the Family he is, (like all the others who behave well) the Object of my regard, and kind Offices. And if I was disposed to charge him with Folly, and Imprudence, I could tell you he has lived in other Families, before he came here.
The alternative for those who reside in this is really very unhappy. If they are wholly unattentive they are called hogish, ill-bred Clowns. If obliging, then they are suspected of having some sinister Views &c. &c.
I do not think there is one in This Family that will pretend they { 106 } ever heard him say any thing which the most jealous Prude could blame, or give them just Grounds to suppose he has any such Design, and as I myself have not the least reason to suspect it, I earnestly pray that I may not alter my Conduct in one single Point, till I am fully convinced my principles are wrong.
As I am very sensible People never had less Cause for their Suspicions, I never felt less inclination to rob them of the pleasure and satisfaction they take in the enjoyment of them. Would it not be cruel to demolish a Structure, because it had got no foundation. But notwithstanding this, I find my Resentment so far exceeds my benevolence, as
To certify all those whom it does, or may concern, that We John Shaw, and Elizabeth Smith have no such Purpose in Our Hearts, as has been unjustly surmised.

[salute] This We do solemnly declare as witness our hand

[signed] John Shaw junr.2
[signed] Elizabeth Smith Junr.
[signed] In presence of William SmithElizabeth Smith
I would have given almost any thing to have had the pleasure and satisfaction of seeing you before you returned to Boston. I wanted to say many things that I cannot write.

[salute] Be so kind as to give my Love to Brother Adams, and the Children, and accept yourself of more than I can express from Your affectionate Sister,

[signed] Betsey Smith
PS Excuse the writing the Candle snaped and greased the paper so, that 'tis impossible to write well. The above attestation will not I fear, be deemed legal, but may be sufficient I hope to satisfy you.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs Abigail Adams at Boston.”
1. AA's letter not having been found, the allusions in the present letter are in part obscure. All that is certain is that AA had rebuked her sister (“unjustly,” Betsy thought) for familiar or flirtatious conduct toward John Shaw.
2. This signature is clipped and mounted in place on the MS. Betsy must have cut it from a letter of Shaw's and placed it here, with or without his knowledge. Furthermore, the names of Betsy's parents at the left, though in seemingly different hands, are probably not actual signatures. All this suggests that the deposition is a joke. But the tone of the letter up to this point is scarcely jocular, and Betsy evidently meant the renunciation to be serious, whatever the form she used to express it to her sister. See, further, AA to Mary (Smith) Cranch, printed under the assigned date of 1774, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0074

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-05-12

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

I am extreamly afflicted with the Relation your Father gave me, of the Return of your Disorder. I fear you have taken some Cold; We have had a most pernicious Air, a great Part of this Spring. I am sure I have Reason to remember it—my Cold is the most obstinate and threatning one, I ever had in my Life: However, I am unwearied in my Endeavours to subdue it, and have the Pleasure to think I have had some Success. I rise at 5, walk 3 Miles, keep the Air all day and walk again in the Afternoon. These Walks have done me more good than any Thing, tho I have been constantly plied with Teas, and your Specific.1 My own Infirmities, the Account of the Return of yours, and the public News coming alltogether have put my Utmost Phylosophy to the Tryal.2
We live my dear Soul, in an Age of Tryal. What will be the Consequence I know not. The Town of Boston, for ought I can see, must suffer Martyrdom: It must expire: And our principal Consolation is, that it dies in a noble Cause. The Cause of Truth, of Virtue, of Liberty and of Humanity: and that it will probably have a glorious Reformation, to greater Wealth, Splendor and Power than ever.
Let me know what is best for us to do. It is expensive keeping a Family here. And there is no Prospect of any Business in my Way in this Town this whole Summer. I dont receive a shilling a Week.
We must contrive as many Ways as we can, to save Expences, for We may have Calls to contribute, very largely in Proportion to our Circumstances, to prevent other very honest, worthy People from suffering for Want, besides our own Loss in Point of Business and Profit.
Dont imagine from all this that I am in the Dumps. Far otherwise. I can truly say, that I have felt more Spirits and Activity, since the Arrival of this News, than I had done before for years. I look upon this, as the last Effort of Lord Norths Despair. And he will as surely be defeated in it, as he was in the Project of the Tea.—I am, with great Anxiety for your Health your
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams att Weymouth favoured by her Father.”
1. In printing this letter, the first he chose to include in his Letters of John Adams, 1841, CFA silently excised the foregoing dependent clause in accordance with his usual practice of suppressing medical and physiological details.
2. The news of the Boston Port Act, passed by Parliament on 31 March, had { 108 } just arrived. By its terms the port was to be closed to all trade on 1 June as a punishment for the destruction of the tea in December. On 13 May Gen. Thomas Gage arrived in Boston Harbor to replace Hutchinson as governor and to command the British forces there, now being heavily reinforced.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0075

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-05-17

Mercy Otis Warren to John and Abigail Adams

Mr. Warren being prevented by many Avocations from writing this Morning, has put the pen into the hand of his substitute: who with him presents sincere Regards to Mr. and Mrs. Adams. Lets them know they have been Repeatedly disappointed in not seeing them at Plimouth.
Shall not pretend to Deliniate the painful Ideas that arise on a survey of the Evils Brought on this much injure'd Country by the hand of Wanton power united With treachery and Venality.
Should be Glad to know (by the bearer of this who stays in town but a few hours) your sentiments on the Late Hostile Movements of state plunderers and Jokeys.
Hope Mrs. Adamss health is Much mended since Mr. Adams Wrote Last.
Though it is not Absolutly necessary That Mrs. Warren should Attend on the Ensuing Election,1 Yet as her Health requiers a journey after A Long severe Winter she proposes to Look towards Boston the [next]2 week Malancholy as the prospect is. It is the present intention of Mr. and Mrs. Warren to Lodge at Mr. Smiths: Weymouth next Monday Night where if tis Convenient and agreable they would be very Glad to meet Mr. and Mrs. Adams.
1. Of members of the Governor's Council, held at the convening of the new General Court in Boston, 25 May. JA was elected a councilor but, with twelve others, was negatived the following day by Gov. Gage (Boston Gazette, 30 May 1774).
2. Word omitted in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0076

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-06-23

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dr.

I had a tollerable Journey hither, but my Horse trotted too hard. I miss my own Mare—however I must make the best of it.
I send with this an whole Packett of Letters, which are upon a Subject of great Importance, and therefore must intreat the earliest Conveyance of them.
{ 109 }
There is but little Business here, and whether there will be more at York or Falmouth is uncertain, but I must take the Chance of them.
My Time, in these tedious Peregrinations, hangs heavily upon me. One half of it is always spent without Business, or Pleasure, or Diversion, or Books or Conversation. My Fancy and Wishes and Desires, are at Braintree, among my Fields, Pastures and Meadows, as much as those of the Israelites were among the Leeks, Garleeks and Onions of the Land of Goshen.
My Sons and Daughter too are missing, as well as their Mother, and I find nothing in any of my Rambles to supply their Place.
We have had a vast Abundance of Rain here this Week and hope you have had a Sufficiency with you. But the Plenty of it, will render the Making of Hay the more critical, and you must exhort Bracket to be vigilant, and not let any of the Grass suffer, if he can help it.
I wish you would converse with Brackett, and Mr. Hayden and Mr. Belcher about a proper Time to get me a few freights of Marsh Mud, Flatts, or Creek Mudd. I must have some If I pay the Cash for getting it, at almost any Price. But I wont be answerable again to Deacon Palmer, for the Schough.1 Whoever undertakes, shall hire that, and I will be chargeable to no Man but the Undertaker, and Labourers. I want a freight or two, soon, that it may be laid by the wall and mixed with Dust and Dung that it may ferment and mix as soon as may be, now the hot Weather is coming on.
I want to be at Home, at this Time, to consider about Dress, Servant, Carriage, Horses &c. &c. for a Journey.2 But——. Kiss my sweet ones for me. Your
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams at Braintree These To be left at Mr. Adam's Office, Queen Street Boston”; endorsed: “No 1.” Enclosures not found, but they evidently concerned legal business; see Jonathan Williams to JA, 28 June 1774 (Adams Papers).
1. Scow.
2. On 17 June, sitting behind locked doors at Salem, the General Court elected JA and four others delegates to what later became known as the first Continental Congress. See entries of 20, 25 June 1774 in JA, Diary and Autobiography, and note there (2:96–97); also JA's letter to James Warren, 25 June 1774, speculating on “the Enterprize to Phyladelphia” (NNPM; Works, 9:338–340).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0077

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-06-29

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dr.

The Prophet of York has not prophecy'd in vain. There is in this Town and County a Laodiceanism that I have not found in any other { 110 } Place. I find more Persons here, who call the Destruction of the Tea, Mischief and Wickedness, than any where else. More Persons who say that the Duty upon Tea is not a Tax, nor an Imposition because we are at Liberty to use it or not, than any where else. I am told that the Deacon insinuates Sentiments and Principles into the People here in a very subtle manner, a manner so plausible that they scarcely know how they come by them.1
When I got to the Tavern, on the Eastern Side of Piscataqua River, I found the Sherriff of York, and Six of his Deputies all with gold laced Hatts, Ruffles, Swords, and very gay Cloaths, and all likely young Men, who had come out to that Place 10 miles to escort the Court into Town. This unusual Parade excited my Curiosity, and I soon suspected that this was to shew Respect and be a Guard to the Chief Justice if he had been coming to Court.
The Foreman of the Grand Jury, told Judge Trowbridge, that if the C.J. had been here, not a Man of their Jury would have refused to be sworn. However, I have been told by others that the Foreman is mistaken. That it was universally known he was not at Ipswich and would not be here. But if he had been here, there would have been a Difficulty.
There is an uncommon Subject of Conversation here at present—a general Report of some pernicious Quality in Clams, at this Season. It is said that two only, of a particular Sort of large Clams, were given to a Dog a few Days since and that he died in less than two Hours. His Master however, would not be disswaded by his Wife from eating 12 or 13 of the same Sort of Clams the next Day, and he was soon seized with a Numbness, and died before the Doctor could be brought to his Relief. A whole Family it is said at a neighbouring Town, were taken in the same manner after eating Clams, but happening to be advised in Season by Somebody to take Something which operated like an Emetic their Lives were saved, but their Health much impaired. There is also a Report well authenticated from Ipswich, that a Person at Ipswich died in the same manner, and on the same day, with the Man at York, after Eating the same kind of shell fish.
There is a vulgar Saying, that Claims2 are unwholsome in every Month of the Year, which has not an R. in it. This common Sentiment receives much Credit, from the Facts here related.
We are told from Portsmouth, to day, that the Vigilance and Activity of the People there have put the Tea on shipboard again to be sent abroad, to Nova Scotia.

[salute] I am &c.,

[signed] John Adams
{ 111 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree To be left at Mr. Adams's Office in Queen Street, or at Mr. Cranch's in Hanover Street”; endorsed: “No 1.”
1. The “Deacon” was Jonathan Sayward (1713–1797), who from humble origins rose to great influence in the town and county of York, serving from time to time and sometimes concurrently as representative to the General Court, justice of the quorum, probate judge, and special justice of the Court of Common Pleas. As a “rescinder” in 1768 he earned the friendship of Governors Bernard and Hutchinson, and for years threw all his weight on the loyalist side. After reading the Declaration of Independence, he observed in his diary, “Its all beyond my Debth.... I am lost in Wonder”; but he did not go into exile, never forfeited his large property, and only temporarily lost his standing in the community. See Charles E. Banks, History of York, Maine, Boston, 1931–1935, 1:389–401, a sketch based in part on Deacon Sayward's unpublished diary.
2. Thus in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0078

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-06-29

John Adams to Abigail Adams

This is the second day of the Term at York: very little Business--very hot weather. My Refreshment is a flight to B[raintree] to my Corn fields and Grass Plotts, my Gardens and Meadows. My Fancy runs about you perpetually. It is continually with you and in the Neighbourhood of you—frequently takes a Walk with you, and your little prattling, Nabby, Johnny, Charly, and Tommy. We walk all together up Penn's Hill, over the Bridge to the Plain, down to the Garden, &c.
We had a curious Dialogue Yesterday, at Dinner, between our J[ustice]s T[ro]w[bridg]e and H[utchinso]n.1
T. said he had seen a Letter, from England, in which it was said that the Conduct of the Chief Justice was highly approved, and that of the other Judges highly disapproved, at the Court End of the Town.—T. added, I dont know whether they impute it all to me or not.—Aye, says H. but it was all owing to you. You laid Brother R[opes], C[ushing] and me, under the Necessity of refusing the Royal Grant, and accepting the Province Salary.2
T. said he was of the Mind of a Man he named, who was once in the Streets of Madrid, when the Host was carried along. He was bid to kneel, refused, and was instantly knocked down. Some time after he met the Host again and then he kneeled down, instantly, and said he would never be knocked down again, for not Kneeling to the Host.
T. said to H. did not you say to me, you would take the Province Salary?—No says H. I never said a Word to you about it. Justice Ropes and I agreed to take the Royal Grant.
{ 112 }
T. Why did not you refuse to declare?—H. Because you had led the Way, and I lived in Boston; if I had lived in Cambridge, or any where else, I should have had no Notion of being compell'd into any Thing against my Inclination.
T. Brother C. sent the most curious Letter. Instead of declaring what he had done or would do, he declared what he could do.—H. said that was according to the Spirit of his Ancestors.—T. said when I saw that, I said, it proved his Legitimacy.
There was a very large numerous Company present at this Conversation, and seemed astonished, and confounded at this Weakness, and Want of Decency, Prudence, Caution and Dignity of these great Men.
After Dinner Justice Gowen said that H. put him in Mind of a Man, who took the Money Oath, after having frequently taken New Hampshire Bills.3 Somebody expressed his Surprize. Yes says the Man, I have often taken Paper Money, but never Wittingly and Willingly, for I had much rather have taken Silver. I never took a Paper Bill in my Life, but I had much rather have taken Gold, Silver or even Copper.
My Dear, when I shall see you I know not, but I design to write by every opportunity. Pray remember my Marsh Mudd.

[salute] I am yours,

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree To be left at Mr. Adams's Office in Queen Street Boston”; endorsed: “No. 2.”
1. Justices Edmund Trowbridge (1709–1793), Harvard 1728, often mentioned in JA's early Diary, sometimes as “Goffe” (a name he used for a time in early life); and Foster Hutchinson (1724–1799), Harvard 1743, a younger brother of former Gov. Thomas Hutchinson (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 8:507–520; 11:237–243).
2. Justices Nathaniel Ropes (1726–1774), Harvard 1745, whose worries over the source of his salary contributed to his death in March of this year; and William Cushing (1732–1810), Harvard 1751 (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:94; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 11:572–574; DAB, under Cushing).
3. An oath administered to all elective local and provincial officials in Massachusetts between 1750 and 1773. In its last form it read: “You, A.B., do, in the presence of God, solemnly declare that you have not, since the thirtieth day of April, one thousand seven hundred and seventy, wittingly and willingly, directly or indirectly, either by yourself or any for or under you, been concerned in receiving or paying, within this government, any bill or bills of credit of either of the governments of Connecticut, New Hampshire or Rhode Island. So help you God” (Mass., Province Laws, 5:35).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0079

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-06-29

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

I have a great Deal of Leisure, which I chiefly employ in Scribbling, that my Mind may not stand still or run back like my Fortune.—There is very little Business here, and David Sewall, David Wyer, John Sullivan and James Sullivan and Theophilus Bradbury are the Lawyers who attend the Inferiour Courts and consequently conduct the Causes at the Superiour.
I find that the Country is the Situation to make Estates by the Law. John Sullivan, who is placed at Durham in New Hampshire, is younger, both in Years and Practice than I am; He began with nothing, but is now said to be worth Ten thousand Pounds Lawfull Money, his Brother James allows five or six or perhaps seven thousand Pounds, consisting in Houses and Lands, Notes, Bonds, and Mortgages. He has a fine Stream of Water, with an excellent Corn Mill, Saw Mill, Fulling Mill, Scyth Mill and others, in all six Mills, which are both his Delight and his Profit. As he has earned Cash in his Business at the Bar, he has taken Opportunities, to purchase Farms of his Neighbours, who wanted to sell and move out farther into the Woods, at an Advantageous Rate. And in this Way, has been growing rich, and under the Smiles and Auspices of Governor Wentworth, has been promoted in the civil and military Way, so that he is treated with great Respect in this Neighbourhood.
James Sullivan, Brother of the other, who studied Law under him, without any Accademical Education, (and John was in the same Case,) is fixed at Saco, alias Biddeford in our Province. He began with neither Learning, Books, Estate or any Thing, but his Head and Hands, and is now a very popular Lawyer and growing rich very fast, purchasing great Farms &c., a Justice of the Peace, and Member of the General Court.
David Sewall of this Town never practices out of this County, has no Children, has no Ambition, nor Avarice they say, (however Quaere). His Business in this County maintains him very handsomely, and he gets beforehand.
Bradbury at Falmouth, they say, grows rich very fast.
I was first sworn in 1758; My Life has been a continual Scaene of Fatigue, Vexation, Labour and Anxiety. I have four Children. I had a pretty Estate from my Father, I have been assisted by your Father. I have done the greatest Business in the Province. I have had the { 114 } very richest Clients in the Province: Yet I am Poor in Comparison of others.
This I confess is grievous, and discouraging. I ought however, to be candid enough to acknowledge that I have been imprudent. I have spent an Estate in Books. I have spent a Sum of Money indiscreetly in a Lighter, another in a Pew, and a much greater in an House in Boston. These would have been Indiscretions, if the Impeachment of the Judges, the Boston Port Bill, &c. &c. had never happened; but by the unfortunate Interruption of my Business from these Causes, these Indiscretions become almost fatal to me, to be sure much more detrimental.
John Lowell, at Newbury Port, has built him an House, like the Palace of a Nobleman and lives in great Splendor. His Business is very profitable. In short every Lawyer who [has]1 the least Appearance of Abilities makes it do in the Co[untry.] In Town, nobody does, or ever can, who Either is not obstinately determined never to have any Connection with Politicks or does not engage on the Side of the Government, the Administration and the Court.
Let us therefore my dear Partner, from that Affection which we feel for our lovely Babes, apply ourselves by every Way, we can, to the Cultivation of our Farm. Let Frugality, And Industry, be our Virtues, if they are not of any others. And above all Cares of this Life let our ardent Anxiety be, to mould the Minds and Manners of our Children. Let us teach them not only to do virtuously but to excell. To excell they must be taught to be steady, active, and industrious.

[salute] I am &c. your

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “No 3.”
1. Here and below, MS is torn by seal.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0080

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-06-30

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dr.

I have nothing to do here, but to take the Air, enquire for News, talk Politicks and write Letters.
This Town has the best Air I ever breathed. It is very level and there are no Mountains or Hills to obstruct the free Course of the Air, upon any Point of Compass for 8 or 10 Miles. It lies upon the Sea on the south And has a River running through it. The Weather has been inexpressibly fine all this Week. The Air is as clear, as bright, as { 115 } springy, as you can conceive. Braintree Air is thick and unelastic in Comparison of this. What then is that of Boston?
I regret that I cannot have the Pleasure of enjoying this fine Weather, with my Family, and upon my farm.—Oh, how often am I there! I have but a dull Prospect before me. I have no hope of reaching Braintree, under a Fortnight from this Day, if I should in twenty days.
I regret my Absence from the County of Suffolk this Week on another Account. If I was there I could converse with the Gentlemen, who are bound with me for Phyladelphia. I could turn the Course of my Reading and Studies to such subjects of Law and Politicks and Commerce as may come, in Play, at the Congress. I might be furbishing up my old Reading in Law and History, that I might appear with less Indecency before a Variety of Gentlemen, whose Educations, Travel, Experience, Family, Fortune, and every Thing will give them a vast Superiority to me, and I fear to some of my Companions.
This Town of York is a Curiosity, in several Views. The People here are great Idolaters of the Memory of their former Minister Mr. Moody.1 Deacon Sayward says, and the rest of them generally think, that Mr. Moody was one of the greatest Men and best Saints, who have lived since the Days of the Apostles. He had an Ascendency, an Authority over the People here as absolute, as that of any Prince in Europe not excepting his Holiness.
This he acquired by a Variety of Means. In the first Place he settled in the Place without any Contract. His professed Principle was that no Man should be hired to preach the Gospell, but that the Minister should depend upon the Charity, Generosity, and Benevolence of the People. This was very flattering to their Pride. And left Room for their Ambition to display itself, in an Emulation among them, which should be most bountifull and ministerial.
In the next Place, he acquired the Character of firm Trust in Providence. A Number of Gentlemen came in one day, when they had nothing in the House. His Wife was very anxious, they say, and asked him what they should do? “Oh, never fear, trust Providence, make a fire in the oven, and you will have something.” Very soon a Variety of every Thing that was good was sent in, and by one O Clock they had a Splendid Dinner.
He had also the Reputation of enjoying intimate Communications with the Deity, and of having a great Interest in the Court of Heaven by his Prayers.
He always kept his Musquet in order and was fond of Shooting. { 116 } On a Time, they say, he was out of Provisions. There came along two wild Geese. He takes Gun and crys if it please God I kill both, I will send the fattest to the poorest Person in this Parish. He shot and kill'd both, ordered them, plucked, and then sent the fattest to a poor Widow, leaving the other which was a very poor one at home, to the great Mortification of his Lady. But his Maxim was perform unto the Lord thy Vow.
But the best Story I have heard Yet, was his Doctrine in a Sermon from this Text—Lord what shall We do? The Doctrine was, That when a Person or People are in a state of Perplexity, and know not what to do, they ought never to do they know not what? This is applicable to the Times.
He brought his People into a remarkable Submission and Subjection to their Spiritual Rulers, which continues to this Day. Lyman their present Parson, does and says as he pleases, is a great Tory and as odd as Moody.
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “No 4.”
1. Samuel Moody (1676–1747), Harvard 1697, settled at York the year after his graduation and ministered there until his death. Much of the local lore about this eccentric “spiritual dictator” of a frontier settlement for half a century has been gathered in the admirable sketch of him in Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 4:356–365.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0081

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-06-30

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dr.

I have had a Curiosity to examine what could have been the Cause of Parson Lymans Affection to the Tories. I find that in some former Years, while Hutchinson was Chief Justice, that Arch Corrupter and Deceiver lodged at the House of Dr. Lyman the Parson's Brother, and professed great Friendship for him as well as the Parson, made the Doctor a Justice of the Peace &c.1
The Office of a Justice of the Peace, is a great Acquisition in the Country, and such a Distinction to a Man among his Neighbours as is enough to purchase and corrupt allmost any Man. This laid an early Foundation in the Minister and the Dr. Add to this, the continual Correspondence between Hutchinson and Sayward, the Rescinder and Lymans Deacon. Add also David Sewalls Assistance with whom Hutchinson afterwards boarded, when he was of the Court, and all { 117 } the rest of the Judges ever since. Add also the Influence of the Moulton Family, one of whom is sherriff, and others are in office. In Truth the offices, which are held in every Shire Town of every County, create a Dependence in the Minds of the Principal Gentlemen of the Place upon the Court, which generally draws the Parson and often the Doctor into the Vortex, untill they all become disposed to Act upon the Principle of Coll. Chandler at Worcester, tho they have generally more policy than to avow it “That if the Devil was Governor, as for them and their Houses they would be Governors Men.”
Thus much for Politicks: Now for private Affairs.
I spent the last Evening at Paul Dudley Woodbridges, a Tavern, with Coll. Farnham of Newbury Port, Major Sullivan, Jemmy Sullivan and David Wyer.
Farnham it seems was born in this Town of York and he gave us an Account of an Affair which happened when he was a Boy. Governor Belcher, who, altho he was Bone of our Bone, and Flesh of our Flesh and Blood of our Blood, was the most arbitrary Governor, the Province ever had, sent down a Letter to the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas and General Sessions of the Peace, to appoint one Frost, (a Relation of Mr. afterwards General Pepperell, at whose Request it was supposed the Mandate issued) to be Clerk of those Courts in the Room of one Hammond. Hammond was a good officer, and the Courts would not displace him. Belcher, upon receiving Information of this Resolution of the Judges and Justices, without Ceremony displaced them, and appointed others who were obsequious enough to make his Clerk.
Now let me wander to my Family. I am very thoughtfull and anxious about our Johnny. What School to send him to—what Measures to take with him. He must go on learning his Latin, to his Grandfather or to you, or somewhere. And he must write.
You must take Care my Dear, to get as much Work out of our Tenants as possible. Belcher is in Arrears. He must work. Hayden must work. Harry Field must work, and Jo. Curtis too must be made to settle. He owes something.
Jo. Tirrell too, must do something—and Isaac. I cant loose such Sums as they owe me—and I will not.
I shall not get enough at York Court to pay my Expences for the Week, and in short, I feel as if my Business was at an End. If I understood any other I would betake myself to it. The Utmost Parcimony and even Penury is necessary, for me to avoid running behind hand. Yr.
[signed] John Adams
{ 118 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “No 5.”
1. Rev. Isaac Lyman's brother was Dr. Job Lyman, appointed justice of the peace in 1770 (Whitmore, Mass. Civil List, p. 148). On the whole circle of York “rescinders” and loyalists mentioned in this letter, see JA's diary entry of 1 July 1770 and note there (Diary and Autobiography, 1:355–356).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0082

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-07-01

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I am so idle, that I have not an easy Moment, without my Pen in my Hand. My Time might have been improved to some Purpose, in mowing Grass, raking Hay, or hoeing Corn, weeding Carrotts, picking or shelling Peas. Much better should I have been employed in schooling my Children, in teaching them to write, cypher, Latin, French, English and Greek.
I sometimes think I must come to this—to be the Foreman upon my own Farm, and the School Master to my own Children. I confess myself to be full of Fears that the Ministry and their Friends and Instruments, will prevail, and crush the Cause and Friends of Liberty. The Minds of that Party are so filled with Prejudices, against me, that they will take all Advantages, and do me all the Damage they can. These Thoughts have their Turns in my Mind, but in general my Hopes are predominant.
In a Tryal of a Cause here to Day, some Facts were mentioned, which are worth writing to you. It was sworn, by Dr. Lyman, Elder Bradbury and others, that there had been a Number of Instances in this Town of fatal Accidents, happening from sudden Noises striking the Ears of Babes and young Children. A Gun was fired near one Child, as likely as any; the Child fell immediately into fits, which impaired his Reason, and is still living an Ideot. Another Child was sitting on a Chamber floor. A Man rapped suddenly and violently on the Boards which made the floor under the Child [tremble?].1 The Child was so startled, and frightened, that it fell into fits, which never were cured.
This may suggest a Caution to keep Children from sudden Frights and surprizes.
Dr. Gardiner arrived here to day, from Boston, brings us News of a Battle at the Town Meeting, between Whigs and Tories, in which the Whiggs after a Day and an Halfs obstinate Engagement were finally victorious by two to one. He says the Tories are preparing a flaming Protest.2
{ 119 }
I am determined to be cool, if I can; I have suffered such Torments in my Mind, heretofore, as have almost overpowered my Constitution, without any Advantage: and now I will laugh and be easy if I can, let the Conflict of Parties, terminate as it will—let my own Estate and Interest suffer what it will. Nay whether I stand high or low in the Estimation of the World, so long as I keep a Conscience void of Offence towards God and Man. And thus I am determined by the Will of God, to do, let what will become of me or mine, my Country, or the World.
I shall arouse myself ere long I believe, and exert an Industry, a Frugality, a hard Labour, that will serve my family, if I cant serve my Country. I will not lie down and die in Dispair. If I cannot serve my Children by the Law, I will serve them by Agriculture, by Trade, by some Way, or other. I thank God I have a Head, an Heart and Hands which if once fully exerted alltogether, will succeed in the World as well as those of the mean spirited, low minded, fawning obsequious scoundrells who have long hoped, that my Integrity would be an Obstacle in my Way, and enable them to out strip me in the Race.
But what I want in Comparison of them, of Villany and servility, I will make up in Industry and Capacity. If I dont they shall laugh and triumph.
I will not willingly see Blockheads, whom I have a Right to despise, elevated above me, and insolently triumphing over me. Nor shall Knavery, through any Negligence of mine, get the better of Honesty, nor Ignorance of Knowledge, nor Folly of Wisdom, nor Vice of Virtue.
I must intreat you, my dear Partner in all the Joys and Sorrows, Prosperity and Adversity of my Life, to take a Part with me in the Struggle. I pray God for your Health—intreat you to rouse your whole Attention to the Family, the stock, the Farm, the Dairy. Let every Article of Expence which can possibly be spared be retrench'd. Keep the Hands attentive to their Business, and [let]3 the most prudent Measures of every kind be adopted and pursued with Alacrity and Spirit.

[salute] I am &c.,

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “No 1 No 6.”
1. Word omitted in MS.
2. At a town meeting in Faneuil Hall, 27 June, which lasted all day and on account of the numbers present had to be adjourned to the Old South Meeting House, a tory group called for the reading of all letters written and received by the town's Committee of Correspondence. After the reading the same group moved “that some Censure be now { 120 } passed By the Town on the Conduct of the Committee of Correspondence; and that said Committee be annihilated.” This motion led to so protracted a debate that the meeting had to be adjourned until the 28th, when “after long Debates the Question was accordingly put; which passed in the Negative by a great Majority.” A motion commending the Committee was then put and “passed in the Affirmative by a Vast Majority.” (Boston Record Commissioners, 18th Report, p. 177–178.) John Rowe gives an interesting account and observations on this “Battle,” and furnishes the names of the speakers on both sides (Letters and Diary, p. 276–277).
3. Word omitted in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0083

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-07-02

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dr.

I have concluded, to mount my Horse, tomorrow Morning at four, and ride to Wells to hear my old worthy learned ingenious Friend Hemmenway, whom I never was yet so happy as to hear.1 Mr. Winthrop agrees to be my Company.2 Wells is about 15 Miles from this Place: from thence we propose to ride after the Evening Service is over, to Saco, i.e. Biddeford, which is about 30 Miles from hence, which will leave us an easy Journey to Falmouth for Monday.
Mr. Winthrop tells me, that he has heard the late Governor Hutchinson, while he was Chief Justice, frequently say for seven Years together, that Salem was the most proper, convenient, and suitable Place in the Province for the Seat of Government: That he frequently complimented the Gentlemen of Salem, with the Happiness and Convenience of their Situation, for the Seat of Government, and with his Prophecies, that it would certainly be made such, in a Course of Years. I mentioned this to Judge Trowbridge, and he told me that he himself remembered to have heard him say the same Thing.—I am very much mistaken if I have not heard him say so too. And I remember, I happened to be with Kent when he carried to Judge Lynde his Commission as Chief Justice.3 And Judge Lynde entertained me for some Time, with Conversation about making Salem the Seat of Government, and with the probable Effects of such a Measure one of which he said would be the Translation of a great Part of the Trade from Boston to Salem. But he said he did not want to have Troops in Salem.
Now let any one, who knows these Anecdotes judge, who was the Suggester, Planner, and Promoter of this wrong headed, and iniquitous Measure.
Safford my Barber, tells me, that his Minister Lyman is bribed to be a Tory. He says that whenever Deacon Sayward has a Vessell arrive, he sends the Parson, 10 Gallons of Rum, 2 or 300 of Sugar, 10 Gallons { 121 } of Wine, a Barrel of Flour &c. &c. &c. He says “he thinks that all Toryism grows out of Bribery.”
I thought the Barbers Observation as just and as memorable as Parson Moodys Doctrine “that when Men knew not what to do, they ought not to do they knew not what.”
I write you this Tittle Tatle, my Dear, in Confidence. You must keep these Letters chiefly to yourself, and communicate them with great Caution and Reserve. I should advise you to put them up safe, and preserve them. They may exhibit to our Posterity a kind of Picture of the Manners, Opinions, and Principles of these Times of Perplexity, Danger and Distress.
Deacon Sayward said at Table this Week in my Hearing that there was but one Point in which he differed, in Opinion from the late Governor Hutchinson and that was with Regard to the Reality of Witchcraft, and the Existence of Witches. The Governor he said would not allow there was any such Thing. The Deacon said he was loath to differ from him in any Thing. He had so great a Regard for him, and his opinions that he was willing to give up almost every Thing, rather than differ with him, but in this he could not see with him.
Such is the Cant of this artfull, selfish, hypocritical Man.
Pray remember me to my dear little Babes, whom I long to see running to meet me and climb up upon me, under the Smiles of their Mother.

[salute] I am &c.,

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree To be left at Mr. Adams's Office in Boston, or at Mr. Cranches, in Hanover Street”; endorsed: “No 2 No 7.”
1. Rev. Moses Hemmenway (or Hemenway), a Harvard classmate of JA's, minister at Wells since 1759 (Weis, Colonial Clergy of N.E.).
2. Samuel Winthrop, a younger brother of Professor John Winthrop of Harvard and for many years clerk of the Superior Court of Judicature. He is frequently and usually approvingly mentioned in JA's Diary and Autobiography. There is a sketch of him illustrated by a fine Copley portrait, in Lawrence Shaw Mayo, The Winthrop Family in America, Boston, 1948, p. 193–196.
3. Benjamin Lynde Jr., Harvard 1718, was commissioned chief justice in March 1771 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 6:250–257). Benjamin Kent, Harvard 1727, was an elder and somewhat eccentric colleague of JA's at the bar (same, 8:220–230).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0084

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-07-03

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

Mr. Winthrop, Mr. Quincy and I came this Morning from York, before Breakfast, 15 Miles, in order to hear my learned Friend Hemmenway. Mr. Quincy brought me a Letter from Williams, in which he lets me know that you and the Family were well.1 This is very refreshing News.
We went to Meeting at Wells and had the Pleasure of hearing My Friend, upon “Be not Partaker's in other Mens Sins: Keep yourselves pure.”—Mr. Hemenway came and kindly invited us to dine, but we had engaged a Dinner at Littlefields, so we returned there, dined and took our Horses to Meeting in the Afternoon, and heard the Minister again, upon “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his Righteousness, and all these Things shall be added unto you.”—There is a great Pleasure in Hearing Sermons so serious, so clear, so sensible, and instructive as these.
We went to Mr. Hemmenways, and as it rained a little He put out our Horses and we took a Bed with him, i.e. Mr. Winthrop and I.
You know I never get or save any Thing by cozening or classmating; so I gave Pistareens enough among the Children and Servants to have paid twice for my Entertainment.
Josiah Quincy, allways impetuous and vehement, would not stop, but drove forward, I suppose that he might get upon the Fishing Ground before his Brother Sam. and me.—I find that the Divines and Lawyers, this Way are all Tories. Brother Hemmenway is as impartial as any I have seen or heard of—James Sullivan seems half inclined to be a Whigg.
Mr. Winthrop has been just making some Observations, which I think worth sending to you. Upon Reading an Observation in the Farmers fourth Letter,2 that some of our, (the Massachusetts) Resolves and Publications had better have been suppressed, Mr. Winthrop said, that many Things in our News Papers ought to have been suppressed. For example, Whenever there was the least popular Commotion, or Disturbance, it was instantly put in all the News Papers, in this Province. But in all the other Provinces they took Care to conceal and suppress every such Thing.
Another Thing He says, We ought to avoid all Paragraphs in our Papers about our own Manufactures—especially all vapouring puffing { 123 } Advertisements about them, because such Paragraphs only tend to provoke the Ministry, Merchants and Manufacturers in England, to confine and restrain or prohibit our Manufactures.
But our Presses, in Boston, Salem, and Newbury Port are under no Regulation, nor any judicious prudent Care. Therefore it seems impracticable to keep out such Imprudences.
The Printers are hot, indiscreet Men, and they are under the Influence of others as hot, rash and injudicious as themselves, very often.
For my own Part it has long been my Resolution to avoid being concerned in councilling, or aiding or abetting any Tumult or Disorder, to avoid all exceptionable Scribbling in the Newspaper, of every Kind, to avoid all Passion and personal Altercation or Reflections. I have found it difficult, to keep these Resolutions exactly, all but the last however I have religiously and punctiliously, observed, these six Years.
Arrived last Evening at Falmouth, and procured a New Place to Lodge at, Mrs. Eustons. Quincy and I, have taken a Bed together. My Brother Neg. Freeman3 came to pay his Respects to me, and to invite me to a Bed in his House, but I was fixed before, and therefore thanked him and excused myself. It is a very neat House where We sleep. The Desk and Table shine like Mirrors. The floors are clean and white and nicely sanded &c.
But when shall I get home? This tedious Journey will produce me very little Profit. I never saw Falmouth before with such lean Expectations and empty Pocketts. I am much concerned for my Family: These Acts of Parliament and ministerial Maneuvres, will injure me, both in my Property and Business, as much as any Person whatever, in Proportion.
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “No 3.”
1. Jonathan Williams (d. 1780), one of JA's law clerks, is sometimes confused with his Boston cousin of the same name who was a great-nephew of Benjamin Franklin and is better known to history; see DAB under Jonathan Williams (1750–1815). Williams' letter to JA, brought by Josiah Quincy Jr., has not been found.
2. John Dickinson's Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, to the Inhabitants of the British Colonies, Phila., 1768.
3. That is, Enoch Freeman (1706–1788), Harvard 1729, an early (and irregular) practitioner of law, militia officer, and officeholder extraordinary in Portland (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 8:572–581; William Willis, History of the Law, the Courts, and the Lawyers of Maine, Portland, 1863, p. 651–652). JA's epithet “Brother Neg.” { 124 } alludes to the fact that Freeman, like JA, had been negatived by Gage when elected to the Council in the preceding May.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0085

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-07-05

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dr.

I cant be easy without my Pen in my Hand, yet I know not what to write.
I have this Morning heard a Dialogue between Will. Gardiner and a Captain Pote of Falmouth.1 Gardiner says he cant subscribe the Non Consumption Agreement, because he has 100 Men coming from England to settle upon Kennebeck River, and he must supply them, which he cant do without English Goods. That Agreement he says may do, at Boston, but not in the Eastern Country. Pote said he never would sign it, and rail'd away at Boston Mobs, drowning Tea, and tarring Malcom.2
James Sullivan at Dinner told us a Story or two.—One Member of the General Court he said as they came down Stairs after their Dissolution at Salem, said to him “Tho we are kill'd we died scrabbling, did not We.”—This is not very witty I think.
Another Story was of a Piece of Wit of Brother Porter of Salem. He came upon the Floor and asked a Member “What State are you in now?” The Member answered “in a State of Nature.”—Ay says Porter, “and you will be d——d before you will get into a State of Grace.”
I spent an Hour last Evening at Mr. Wyers with Judge Cushing. Wyers Father, who has a little Place in the Customs came in. He began, upon Politicks and told us, that Mr. Smith had a Fast last Week which he attended. Mr. Gillman preached, he said, Part of the Day and told them that the Judgments of God upon the Land, were in Consequence of the Mobbs and Riots, which had prevailed in the Country—and then turning to me, old Wyer said “What do you think of that Mr. Adams?”—I answered, I cant say but Mobs and Violences may have been one Cause of our Calamities. I am inclined to think that they do come in for a share: But there are many other Causes; did not Mr. Gillman mention Bribery and Corruption, as another Cause?—He ought to have been impartial, and pointed out the Venality which prevails in the Land as a Cause, as well as Tumults.—“I think he did” says Wyer.
I might have pursued my Enquiry, whether, he did not mention the Universal Pilfering, Robbery and Picking of Pocketts, which prevails { 125 } in the Land—as every Mans Pockett upon the Continent is picked every Day, by taking from him Duties without his Consent.
I might have enquired whether he mentioned the universal Spirit of Debauchery, Dissipation, Luxury, Effeminacy and Gaming which the late ministerial Measures are introducing, &c. &c. &c. but I forbore.
How much Profaneness, Leudness, Intemperance, &c. have been introduced by the Army and Navy, and Revenue—how much servility, Venality And Artifice and Hypocricy, have been introduced among the Ambitious and Avaricious by the british Politicks of the last 10 Years?
In short the original faulty Causes of all the Vices which have been introduced, these last 10 Years, are the Political Innovations of the last 10 Years. This is no Justification and a poor Excuse for the Girls who have been debauched, and for the Injustice which has been committed, in some Riots. But surely the Soldiers, Sailors, and Excisemen, who have occasioned these Vices ought not to reproach those they have corrupted. These Tories act the Part of the Devil—they tempt Men and Women into sin, and then reproach them for It, and become soon their Tormentors for it.
A Tempter and Tormentor, is the Character of the Devil.—Hutchinson, Oliver, and others of their Circle, who for their own Ends of Ambition and Avarice, have procured, promoted, encouraged, councilled, aided and abetted the Taxation of America, have been the Real Tempters of their Countrymen and Women, into all the Vices, sins, Crimes and follies which that Taxation has occasioned: And now by [them]selves and their Friends, Dependents, and Votaries, they a[re] reproaching those very Men and Women, with those Vices and follies, Sins and Crimes.
There is not a Sin which prevails more universally and has prevailed longer, than Prodigality, in Furniture, Equipage, Apparell and Diet. And I believe that this Vice, this Sin has as large a Share in drawing down the Judgments of Heaven as any. And perhaps the Punishment that is inflicted, may work medicinally, and cure the Desease.

[salute] I am &c.,

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree To be left at Mr. Adams's Office in Queen Street Boston”; endorsed: “No 5.”
1. William Gardiner was a son of JA's client Dr. Silvester Gardiner of Boston. Jeremiah Pote, a loyalist merchant, fled the following year to New Brunswick; one of his daughters had married a brother of the loyalist lawyer David Wyer, frequently mentioned in these letters (William Willis, History of Portland, from 1632 to 1864, Portland, 1865, p. 456, note).
2. John Malcom (or Malcomb), an unpopular customs collector, was tarred and feathered in Boston in Jan. 1774, and the incident became the subject of { 126 } satirical prints soon afterward issued in London. See a very fully documented account by Frank W. C. Hersey, “Tar and Feathers: The Adventures of Captain John Malcom,” Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns., 34 (1943):429–473, which reproduces several of the prints.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0086

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-07-06

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Mobs are the trite Topick of Declamation and Invective, among all the ministerial People, far and near. They are grown universally learned in the Nature, Tendency and Consequences of them, and very eloquent and pathetic in descanting upon them. They are Sources of all kinds of Evils, Vices, and Crimes, they say. They give Rise to Prophaneness, Intemperance, Thefts, Robberies, Murders, and Treason. Cursing, Swearing, Drunkenness, Gluttony, Leudness, Trespasses, Maims, are necessarily involved in them and occasioned by them. Besides, they render the Populace, the Rabble, the scum of the Earth, insolent, and disorderly, impudent, and abusive. They give Rise to Lying, Hypocricy, Chicanery, and even Perjury among the People, who are driven to such Artifices, and Crimes, to conceal themselves and their Companions, from Prosecutions in Consequence of them.
This is the Picture drawn by the Tory Pencil: and it must be granted to be a Likeness; but this is Declamation. What Consequence is to be drawn from this Description? Shall We submit to Parliamentary Taxation, to avoid Mobs? Will not Parliamentary Taxation if established, occasion Vices, Crimes and Follies, infinitely more numerous, dangerous, and fatal to the Community? Will not parliamentary Taxation if established, raise a Revenue, unjustly and wrongfully? If this Revenue is scattered by the Hand of Corruption, among the public Officers, and Magistrates and Rulers, in the Community, will it not propagate Vices more numerous, more malignant and pestilential among them. Will it not render Magistrates servile, and fawning to their vicious Superiours? and insolent and Tyrannical to their Inferiours? Is Insolence, Abuse and Impudence more tolerable in a Magistrate than in a subject? Is it not more constantly and extensively, pernicious? And does not the Example of Vice and Folly, in Magistrates descend, and spread downwards among the People?
Besides is not the Insolence of Officers and Soldiers, and Seamen, in the Army and Navy as mischievous as that of Porters, [or]1 Sailors in Merchant Service?
Are not Riots raised and made by Armed Men, as bad as those by unarmed? Is not an Assault upon a civil officer, and a Rescue of a { 127 } Prisoner from lawfull Authority, made by Soldiers with Swords or Bayonets, as bad as if made [by] Tradesmen with Staves?
Is not the Killing of a Child by R.2 and the slaughter of half a Dozen Citizens by a Party of Soldiers, as bad as pulling down a House, or drowning a Cargo of Tea? even if both should be allowed to be unlawfull.
Parties may go on declaiming: but it is not easy to say, which Party has excited most Riots, which has published most Libels, which have propagated most Slander, and Defamation.
Verbal Scandal has been propag[at]ed in great Abundance by both Parties. But there is this Difference, that one Party have enjoyed almost all public Offices, and therefore their Deffamation has been spread among the People more secretly, more maliciously and more effectually. It has gone with greater Authority, and been scattered by Instruments more industrious. The ministerial News Papers have swarmed with as numerous and as malicious Libels as the <Whiggs> antiministerial ones. Fleets Paper, Meins Chronicle,3 &c. &c. have been as virulent as any that was ever in the Province.
These Bickerings of opposite Parties, and their mutual Reproaches, their Declamations, their Sing Song, their Triumphs and Defyances, their Dismals, and Prophecies, are all Delusion.
We very seldom hear any solid Reasoning. I wish always to discuss the Question, without all Painting, Pathos, Rhetoric, or Flourish of every Kind. And the Question seems to me to be, whether the american Colonies are to be considered, as a distinct Community so far as to have a Right to judge for themselves, when the fundamentals of their Government are destroyed or invaded? Or Whether they are to be considered as a Part of the whole British Empire, the whole English Nation, so far as to be bound in Honour, Conscience or Interest by the general Sense of the whole Nation?
However if this was the Rule, I believe it is very far from the general Sense of the whole Nation that America s[hould] be taxed by the british Parliament. If the Sense of [all] of the Empire, could be fairly and truly collected, it would appear, I believe, that a great Majority would be against taxing us, against or without our Consent. It is very certain that the Sense of Parliament is not the Sense of the Empire, nor a sure Indication of it.
But if all other Parts of the Empire were agreed unanimously in the Propriety and Rectitude of taxing us, this would not bind us. It is a fundamental, inherent, and unalienable Right of the People that they have some Check, Influence, or Controul in their Supream Legislature. { 128 } If the Right of Taxation is conceded to Parliament, the Americans have no Check, or Influence at all left.—This Reasoning never was nor can be answered.
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree To be left at Mr. Adams's Office in Queen Street Boston”; endorsed: “No 4.”
1. MS: “as.”
2. Ebenezer Richardson, a customs officer in Boston, shot and killed a boy named Christopher Snider on 22 Feb. 1770, in an affair that was a prelude to the Boston “Massacre”; see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:349–350.
3. Thomas and John Fleet's Boston Evening Post, a conservative paper which expired in 1775; and John Mein and John Fleeming's short-lived and markedly tory Boston Chronicle, 1767–1770.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0087

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-07-06

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Our J[ustic]e H[utchinso]n is eternally giving his Political Hints. In a Cause, this Morning, Somebody named Captn. Mackay as a Refferee. I said “an honest Man!”—“Yes” says H[utchinso]n, “he's an honest Man, only misled.—He he he,” blinking, and grinning.—At Dinner, to day, Somebody mentioned Determinations in the Lords House (the Court sitts in the Meeting House).—“I've known many very bad Determinations in the Lords House of late” says he, meaning a Fling upon the Clergy.—He is perpetually flinging about the Fasts, and ironically talking about getting Home to the Fast. A Gentleman told me, that he had heard him say frequently, that the Fast was perfect Blasphemy.—“Why dont they pay for the Tea? Refuse to pay for the Tea! and go to fasting and praying for Direction! perfect Blasphemy!”1
This is the Moderation, Candor, Impartiality, Prudence, Patience, Forbearance, and Condescention of our J[ustice.]
S[amuel] Q[uincy] said Yesterday, as Josa. told me, that he was for staying at home and not going to Meeting as they i.e. the Meetings are now managed.
Such is the Bitterness and Rancour, the Malice and Revenge, the Pride and Vanity which prevails in these Men. And such Minds are possessed of all the Power of the Province.2
S. makes no Fortune this Court. There is very little Business here, it is true, but S. gets very little of that little—less than any Body.
Wyer retains his old good Nature and good Humour, his Wit, such as it is, and his Fancy, with its wildness.
Bradbury retains his Anxiety and his plaintive, angry Manner, David Sewal his Softness, and conceited Modesty.
Bradbury and Sewall always roast Dr. Gardiner, at these Courts, { 129 } but they have done it more now than usual, as Gardiner had not me to protect him.—See how I think of myself!
I believe it is Time to think a little about my Family and Farm. The fine Weather, we have had for 8 or 10 days past I hope has been carefully improved to get in my Hay. It is a great Mortification to me that I could not attend every Step of their Progress in mowing, making and carting. I long to see what Burden.
But I long more still to see to the procuring more Sea Weed and Marsh Mud and Sand &c.
However my Prospect is interrupted again. I shall have no Time. I must prepare for a Journey to Philadelphia, a long Journey indeed! But if the Length of the Journey was all, it would be no burden. But the Consideration of What is to be done, is of great Weight. Great Things are wanted to be done, and little Things only I fear can be done. I dread the Thought of the Congress's falling short of the Expectations of the Continent, but especially of the People of this Province.
Vapours avaunt! I will do my Duty, and leave the Event. If I have the Approbation of my own Mind, whether applauded or censured, blessed or cursed, by the World, I will not be unhappy.
Certainly I shall enjoy good Company, good Conversation, and shall have a fine Ride, and see a little more of the World than I have seen before.
I think it will be necessary to make me up, a Couple of Pieces of new Linnen. I am told, they wash miserably, at N. York, the Jerseys and Philadelphia too in Comparison of Boston, and am advised to carry a great deal of Linnen.3
Whether to make me a Suit of new Cloaths, at Boston or to make them at Phyladelphia, and what to make I know not, nor do I know how I shall go—whether on Horse back, in a Curricle, a Phaeton, or altogether in a Stage Coach I know not.
The Letters I have written or may write, my Dear, must be kept secret or at least shewn with great Caution.
Mr. Fairservice goes tomorrow: by him I shall send a Packett.
Kiss my dear Babes for me. Your
[signed] John Adams
I believe I forgot to tell you one Anecdote: When I first came to this House it was late in the Afternoon, and I had ridden 35 miles at least. “Madam” said I to Mrs. Huston, “is it lawfull for a weary Traveller to refresh himself with a Dish of Tea provided it has been honestly smuggled, or paid no Duties?”
{ 130 }
“No sir, said she, we have renounced all Tea in this Place. I cant make Tea, but I'le make you Coffee.” Accordingly I have drank Coffee every Afternoon since, and have borne it very well. Tea must be universally renounced. I must be weaned, and the sooner, the better.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree To be left at Mr. Adams's Office at Boston Queen Street”; endorsed: “No 6.”
1. Quoted matter in this paragraph has been slightly repunctuated for clarity.
2. JA always believed that Samuel Quincy had felt overshadowed by his younger brother Josiah's greater talents, and that Hutchinson and Sewall, perceiving this, had attached Samuel to the side of government by having him appointed Provincial solicitor general in succession to Sewall in 1771 (JA to Jedidiah Morse, 22 Dec. 1815, PHi; JA, Works, 10:195).
3. This and the following paragraph were silently omitted by CFA when he published this letter, for the first time, in JA–AA, Familiar Letters, p. 16–18. The passage is typical of many of the same homely or intimate kind that CFA excised in his several editions of his grandfather's and grandmother's correspondence.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0088

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-07-07

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

Have you seen a List of the Addressers of the late Governor? There is one abroad, with the Character, Profession or Occupation of each Person against his Name.1 I have never seen it but Judge Brown says, against the Name of Andrew Fanuil Phillips, is “Nothing,” and that Andrew when he first heard of it said, “Better be nothing with one Side, than every Thing with the other.”—This was witty and smart, whether Andrew said it, or what is more likely, it was made for him.
A Notion prevails among all Parties that it is politest and genteelest to be on the Side of Administration, that the better Sort, the Wiser Few, are on one Side; and that the Multitude, the Vulgar, the Herd, the Rabble, the Mob only are on the other. So difficult it is for the frail feeble Mind of Man to shake itself loose from all Prejudices and Habits. However Andrew, or his Prompter is perfectly Right, in his Judgment, and will finally be proved to be so, that the lowest on the Tory Scale, will make it more for his Interest than the highest on the Whiggish. And as long as a Man Adhers immoveably to his own Interest, and has Understanding or Luck enough to secure and promote it, he will have the Character of a Man of Sense And will be respected by a selfish World. I know of no better Reason for it than this—that most Men are conscious that they aim at their own Interest only, and that if they fail it is owing to short Sight or ill Luck, and therefore cant { 131 } blame, but secretly applaud, admire and sometimes envy those whose Capacities have proved greater and Fortunes more prosperous.
I am to dine with Mr. Waldo, to day. Betty, as you once said.2
I am engaged in a famous Cause: The Cause of King, of Scarborough vs. a Mob, that broke into his House, and rifled his Papers, and terrifyed him, his Wife, Children and Servants in the Night. The Terror, and Distress, the Distraction and Horror of this Family cannot be described by Words or painted upon Canvass. It is enough to move a Statue, to melt an Heart of Stone, to read the Story. A Mind susceptible of the Feelings of Humanity, an Heart which can be touch'd with Sensibi[li]ty for human Misery and Wretchedness, must reluct, must burn with Resentment and Indignation, at such outragious Injuries.3 These private Mobs, I do and will detest. If Popular Commotions can be justifyed, in Opposition to Attacks upon the Constitution, it can be only when Fundamentals are invaded, nor then unless for absolute Necessity and with great Caution. But these Tarrings and Featherings, these breaking open Houses by rude and insolent Rabbles, in Resentment for private Wrongs or in pursuance of private Prejudices and Passions, must be discountenanced, cannot be even excused upon any Principle which can be entertained by a good Citizen—a worthy Member of Society.
Dined With Mr. Collector Francis Waldo, Esqr. in Company with Mr. Winthrop, the two Quincys and the two Sullivans. All very social and chearfull—full of Politicks. S. Quincy's Tongue ran as fast as any Bodies. He was clear in it, that the House of Commons had no Right to take Money out of our Pocketts, any more than any foreign State repeated large Paragraphs from a Publication of Mr. Burke's in 1766, and large Paragraphs from Junius Americanus &c.4 This is to talk and to shine, before Persons who have no Capacity of judging, and who do not know that he is ignorant of every Rope in the Ship.
I shant be able to get away, till next Week. I am concerned only in 2 or 3 Cases and none of them are come on yet. Such an Eastern Circuit I never made. I shall bring home as much as I brought from home I hope, and not much more, I fear.
I go mourning in my Heart, all the Day long, tho I say nothing. I am melancholly for the Public, and anxious for my Family, as for myself a Frock and Trowsers, an Hoe and Spade, would do for my Remaining Days.
For God Sake make your Children, hardy, active and industrious, for Strength, Activity and Industry will be their only Resource and Dependance.
[signed] John Adams
{ 132 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree To be left at Mr. Adams's Office in Queen Street Boston”; endorsed: “No 7.”
1. Two broadside editions of this List of Addressers were issued, both of them probably by Edes & Gill, publishers of the Boston Gazette (Ford, Mass. Broadsides, Nos. 1699, 1700). One of them is reproduced in this volume from an original in MHi; see the Descriptive List of Illustrations. The other, preceded by a text of the Address and brief editorial comment, was reproduced in Boston Public Library, Bulletin, 12:217–218 and insert (Oct. 1893).
2. Francis Waldo, Harvard 1747, was one of the leading citizens and the first collector of the port of Falmouth, later Portland; he later fled to England as a loyalist exile (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, vol. 12 [in press]). The signification of “Betty” is not apparent.
3. Though perhaps once “famous” (as JA says), and certainly illustrative of the feelings aroused by the Revolutionary struggle in its early stages, this “Cause” seems to have been almost entirely overlooked by historians and biographers.
The principal in it was Richard King (1718–1775), a well-to-do farmer, storekeeper, and timber exporter who had settled in Scarborough, Maine, in the 1740's. He took the ministerial side in the Stamp Act, and this, in addition to his being both the largest creditor and the treasurer of the parish, made him obnoxious to a certain class of his neighbors. After a good deal of talk among themselves about his getting “his Estate by robbing the Poor” and his deserving “a good Whipping and to have his Ears cutt of[f] because he had treated them ill,” twenty or thirty men, including some who owed him money, gathered at his house late in the night of 19 March 1766. With much “Thumping, Yelling, Hooping,” they threw hatchets through windows, came in after them, terrorized King, his servants, his five children, and his wife (who was “far gone in her Pregnancy”), smashed furniture and dishes, hacked walls and staircase, and scattered and burned all the papers they could lay their hands on. One of King's children (by a former wife) was Rufus King, later a leading Federalist politician and diplomat and a friend of two generations of the Adamses. He was then eleven years old and was probably at home during that night of violence, though no mention of it is made in the six-volume Life and Correspondence of Rufus King compiled by his grandson, Charles R. King, N.Y., 1894–1900. A faint and misleading echo of it may appear in the note on Richard King's papers at vol. 1:2, but a considerable mass of documents bearing on the mobbing and trials actually remains among the Rufus King Papers in the New-York Historical Society.
Other, if lesser, acts of vandalism against King's property occurred in the following months, and King, despite threats of personal injury if he went to law, sued his persecutors for trespass, claiming damages of £2,000. The case and its sequels continued in the courts until long after King's death. They can only be summarized here. Fuller documentation will appear when JA's legal papers are edited and published.
The trial of Richard King v. John Stewart et al. (Jonathan Andrews Jr., Amos Andrews, John Timothy, and Samuel Stewart) came on in Falmouth Inferior Court in March 1773. King was allowed no damages and appealed to the Superior Court in its July term. Here he won a judgment for £200. Both sides requested writs of review, King because he considered the judgment insufficient and the defendants because they thought the verdict wrong. This necessitated a trial de novo in July 1774.
It was at this point that JA entered the case, which had now, however, become two—King v. John Stewart et al., and Jonathan Andrews et al. v. King. JA and Theophilus Bradbury acted for King in both cases; James and John Sullivan were their opponents in both. JA's emotional harangue to the jury in the first case was written out more or less in full and is preserved among his legal papers. He concentrated on the physical damage to King's property, the intangible damage to his “Credit in Trade” (through the destruction of his papers), and the anguish suffered by { 133 } the whole family from the malice and cruelty of the mob. For example:
“The Cruelty, the Terror, the Horror of the whole dismal scene. It would be affectation to attempt to exaggerate, it is almost impossible to exagerate, the distresses of this innocent Family at that Time.—The Excellency of a Tryal by Jury is that they are the Partys Peers, his equalls, men of like Passions, feelings, Imaginations and Understandings with him. If your Passions are not affected upon this Occasion, you will [not] be the Plaintiffs Peers. It is right and fit, it is reasonable and just that you should feel as he did, that you should put yourselves in his Place, and be moved with his Passions.
“Be pleased then to imagine yourselves each one for himself—in Bed with his pregnant Wife, in the dead of Midnight, five Children also asleep, and all the servants. 3 Children in the same Chamber, two above. The Doors and Windows all barrd, bolted and locked—all asleep, suspecting nothing—harbouring no Malice, Envy or Revenge in your own Bosoms nor dreaming of any in your Neighbors, In the Darkness, the stillness, the silence of Midnight.
“All of a sudden, in an Instant, in a twinkling of an Eye, an Armed Banditti of Felons, Thieves, Robbers, and Burglars, rush upon the House.—Like Savages from the Wilderness, or like Legions from the Blackness of Darkness, they yell and Houl, they dash in all the Windows and enter—enterd the[y] Roar, they stamp, they yell, they houl, they cutt, break, tear and burn all before them.
“Do you see a tender and affectionate Husband, an amiable deserving Wife near her Time, 3 young Children, all in one Chamber, awakened all at once—ignorant what was the Cause—terrifyd—inquisitive to know it. The Husband attempting to run down stairs, his Wife, laying hold of his Arm, to stay him and sinking, fainting, dying away in his Arms. The Children crying and clinging round their Parents—father will they kill me— father save me! The other Children and servants in other Parts of the House, joining in the Cries of Distress.
“What Sum of Money Mr. Foreman would tempt you, to be Mr. King, and to let your Wife undergo what Mrs. King underwent, and your Children what theirs did for one Night?
“I freely confess that the whole sum sued for would be no temptation to me, if there was no other Damage than this.
“But how can the Impression of it be erased out of his Mind and hers and the Childrens. It will lessen and frequently interrupt his Happiness as long as he lives, it will be a continual Sourse of Grief to him.”
But JA's eloquence had limited effects. King obtained additional damages of £60 in this case, but in the other Jonathan Andrews was found not guilty and recovered £40 from the previous award to King.
JA's minutes of the testimony, of the opposing arguments, and of his own plea are in Adams Papers, M/JA/6 (Microfilms, Reel No. 185). See also Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Book 99; Records, 1773, fol. 92; 1774, fol. 229–231; Suffolk County Court House, Early Court Files, &c., Nos. 139590, 139642, 139645. Richard King's papers (in Rufus King MSS, NHi) include drafts, originals, and copies of depositions of witnesses in his favor (some of whom had originally been defendants but were excused when they agreed to testify for King); lists of the rioters and of King's losses; King's petitions and remonstrances to the Governor, General Court, and Superior Court; some correspondence; and even a doggerel poem by King about his adversaries, which is revealing enough to be quoted in part:
If mixt with those, vile Sons there are, Who, Burn and Steal, and fallsly Sware, Or make their Gain, by such fowl Deeds, Select them Lord, as vitious weeds;

Shall falls Confession Save the Soul,

Who still retains what he has Stole,

Or having don his Neighbour wrong,

Will God be pleased with his Song[?]

Richard King died early in 1775, and his widow had difficulty collecting the small judgments her husband had won at law. She was still trying to collect some part of the damages as late as 1790 (Records, 1790, fol. 140–141; Early Court Files, &c., Nos. 139893, 139894, 140140).
A drawing of “The King Mansion” { 134 } in Scarborough appears as an insert on a detailed map of the region preceding the titlepage in Maine Hist. Soc., Colls., 1st ser., vol. 3 (1853). This volume has a garbled account of the “King Riot” of 1766 at p. 182–186, and some information on Richard King, p. 163, 172; see also same, 3d ser., 2 (1906):370–373.
4. Edmund Burke published in 1766 “A Short Account of a Late Short Administration,” a manifesto of the Rockingham whigs. “Junius Americanus” was a pen name used by Arthur Lee in contributing political pieces to the London papers.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0089

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-07-09

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dr.

I never enjoyed better Health in any of my Journeys, but this has been the most tedious, the most irksome, the most gloomy and melancholly I ever made.
I cannot with all my Phylosophy and christian Resignation keep up my Spirits. The dismal Prospect before me, my Family, and my Country, are too much, for my Fortitude.

Snatch me some God, Oh quickly bear me hence

To wholesome Solitude the Nurse of Sense

Where Contemplation prunes her ruffled Wings

And the free Soul looks down to pity Kings.

The Day before Yesterday, a Gentleman came and spoke to me, asked me to dine with him on Saturday. Said he was very sorry I had not better Lodgings in Town, desired if I came to Town again I would take a Bed at his House and make his House my Home. I should always be very welcome. I told him I had not the Pleasure of knowing him. He said his Name was Codman.1 I said I was very much obliged to him, but I was very well accommodated where I lodged. I had a clean Bed and a very neat House, a Chamber to myself, and every Thing I wanted.
Saturday I dined with him in Company with Brigadier Prebble,2 Major Freeman and his son, &c. and a very genteel Dinner we had. Salt Fish and all its apparatus, roast Chickens, Bacon, Pees, as fine a Salad as ever was made, and a rich meat Pie—Tarts and Custards &c., good Wine and as good Punch as ever you made. A large spacious, elegant House, Yard and Garden &c. I thought I had got into the Palace of a Nobleman. After Dinner when I was obliged to come away, he renewed his Invitation to me to make his House my Home, whenever I should come to Town again.
Fryday I dined with Coll., Sherriff, alias Bill Tyng.3 Mrs. Ross and { 135 } her Daughter Mrs. Tyng dined with us and the Court and Clerk and some of the Bar.
At Table We were speaking about Captain Maccarty, which led to the Affrican Trade. J[udge] Trowbridge said that was a very humane and Christian Trade to be sure, that of making Slaves.—Ay, says I, It makes no great Odds, it is a Trade that almost all Mankind have been concerned in, all over the Globe, since Adam, more or less in one Way and another.—This occasioned a Laugh.
At another Time, J. Trowbridge said, it seems by Coll. Barres Speeches that Mr. Otis has acquired Honour, by releasing his Damages to Robbinson.4—Yes, says I, he has acquired Honour with all Generations.—Trowbridge. He did not make much Profit I think.—Adams. True, but the less Profit the more Honour. He was a Man of Honour and Generosity. And those who think he was mistaken will pity him.
Thus you see how foolish I am. I cannot avoid exposing myself, before these high Folk—my Feelings will at Times overcome my Modesty and Reserve—my Prudence, Policy and Discretion.
I have a Zeal at my Heart, for my Country and her Friends, which I cannot smother or conceal: it will burn out at Times and in Companies where it ought to be latent in my Breast. This Zeal will prove fatal to the Fortune and Felicity of my Family, if it is not regulated by a cooler Judgment than mine has hitherto been. Coll. Otis's Phrase is “The Zeal-Pot boils over.”
I am to wait upon Brother Bradbury to Meeting to day, and to dine with Brother Wyer. When I shall get home I know not. But, if possible, it shall be before next Saturday night.5
I long for that Time to come, when My Dear Wife and my Charming little Prattlers will embrace me.

[salute] Your

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree To be left at Mr. Adams's Office Queen Street Boston”; endorsed: “No 8.”
1. Deacon Richard Codman, a merchant who in 1762 had built “one of the best houses in town on the corner of Middle and Temple streets” (William Willis, History of Portland, from 1632 to 1864, Portland, 1865, p. 795).
2. Brig. Gen. Jedediah Preble, who had served in Canada under Wolfe and was frequently a representative to the General Court; one of his daughters married a son of Richard Codman, and his son Edward became famous in American naval annals (same, p. 835–836).
3. William Tyng (1737–1807), sheriff of Cumberland co., had just been commissioned colonel by Gage; a loyalist, he later fled to New York City and afterwards to New Brunswick in Canada (MHS, Colls., 1st ser., 10 [1809]:183–186).
4. On the Otis-Robinson quarrel and suit, in which JA had acted for Otis, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:342; 2:47–48.
5. Presumably on one of the remaining days that he spent at Falmouth Court { 136 } (for if it had happened earlier he would surely have mentioned it in a letter), JA took his painful leave of his colleague and oldest friend, Attorney General Jonathan Sewall, on Munjoy's Hill overlooking Casco Bay. In 1819 JA gave the following account of this incident:
“We continued our friendship and confidential intercourse, though professedly in boxes of politics, as opposite as East and West, until the year 1774, when we both attended the Superior Court in Falmouth, Casco-bay, now Portland. I had then been chosen a delegate to Congress. Mr. Sewall invited me to take a walk with him, very early in the morning, on the great hill. In the course of our rambles he very soon begun to remonstrate against my going to Congress. He said 'that Great Britain was determined on her system; her power was irresistible and would certainly be destructive to me, and to all those who should persevere in opposition to her designs.' I answered, 'that I knew Great Britain was determined on her system, and that very determination, determined me on mine; that he knew I had been constant and uniform in opposition to all her measures; that the die was now cast; I had passed the Rubicon; swim or sink, live or die, survive or perish with my country, was my unalterable determination.' The conversation was protracted into length, but this was the substance of the whole. It terminated in my saying to him, 'I see we must part, and with a bleeding heart I say, I fear forever; but you may depend upon it, this adieu is the sharpest thorn on which I ever sat my foot.' I never conversed with him again 'till the year 1788. Mr. Sewall retired in 1775 to England, where he remained and resided in Bristol....
“In 1788, Mr. Sewall came to London to embark for Halifax. I enquired for his lodgings and instantly drove to them, laying aside all etiquette, to make him a visit. I ordered my servant to announce John Adams, was instantly admitted, and both of us forgetting that we had ever been enemies, embraced each other as cordially as ever. I had two hours conversation with him in a most delightful freedom upon a multitude of subjects. He told me he had lived for the sake of his two children; he had spared no pains nor expense in their education, and he was going to Halifax in hope of making some provision for them. They are now two of the most respectable gentlemen in Canada. One of them a Chief Justice; the other an Attorney General. Their father lived but a short time after his return to America; evidently broken down by his anxieties and probably dying of a broken heart. He always lamented the conduct of Great Britain towards America. No man more constantly congratulated me, while we lived together in America, upon any news, true or false, favorable to a repeal of the obnoxious Statutes and a redress of our grievances; but the society in which he lived had convinced him that all resistance was not only useless but ruinous.”
(Preface to Novanglus and Massachusettensis..., Boston, 1819, p. vi–vii. As late as 1819 JA still wrongly believed Sewall was the author of “Massachusettensis.”)
JA was mistaken in dating this meeting with Sewall in London in 1788, for Sewall (who now spelled his name “Sewell”) on 21 Sept. 1787 addressed a long autobiographical letter to Judge Joseph Lee in Cambridge from St. John's, New Brunswick, which described the meeting and furnished a memorable characterization of JA:
“While I was in London, my quondam friend, Jno. Adams, sent me a complimentary card, and afterwards made me a long friendly visit, as Mrs. Adams soon after did to Mrs. Sewell; and they then earnestly pressed us to take a family-dinner with them; in a way so evidently friendly and hearty, that I was sorry I could not comply; but having resolved to make no Visits nor accept of any Invitations; and having upon this ground previously declined invitations to dine with Sr. Wm. Pepperrell, your friend Mr. Clark, and several other friends, I was obliged, to avoid giving offence, to decline this. When Mr. Adams came in, he took my hand in both his, and with a hearty squeeze, accosted me in these words—how do you do my dear old friend! Our Conversation was just such as might be expected at the Meeting of two old sincere friends after a long separation. Adams has a heart formed for friendship, and susceptible of it's finest feelings; he is humane, generous and { 137 } open—warm in his friendly Attachments tho' perhaps rather implacable to those whom he thinks his enemies—and tho' during the american Contest, an unbounded Ambition and an enthusiastic Zeal for the imagined, or real, glory and welfare of his Country, (the ofspring perhaps, in part, tho imperceptible to himself, of disappointed Ambition,) may have suspended the operation of those social and friendly principles, which, I am positive, are in him, innate and congenial; yet, sure I am, they could not be eradicated;—they might sleep inactive, like the body in the grave, during the Storm raised by more violent and impetuous passions, in his political career for the Goal to which, Zeal and Ambition, united, kept his Eye immoveably fixed; but a resuscitation must have been the immediate Consequence of the peace; gratify'd in the two darling wishes of his Soul,—the Independence of America acknowledged and established, and he himself placed on the very pinnacle of the temple of Honor!—why, the very Devil himself must have felt loving and good-natured after so compleat a victory—much more a Man in whose heart lay dormant every good and virtuous, social and friendly principle. Nature must, and I have no doubt did break forth and assert her rights—of this I am so well convinced, that, if he could but play backgammon, I declare I would chuse him, in preference to all the Men in the world, for my fidus Achates, in my projected asylum: and I believe he would soon find it the happiest State; for if I am not mistaken, now he has reached the summit of his Ambition, he finds himself quite out of his element; and looks back with regret to those happy days, when in a snug house with a pretty farm about him at Braintree, he sat quiet in the full possession of domestic happiness with an amiable sensible wife and an annual increase of olive plants round his table, for whose present and future support he was, by his own honest Industry, for he was an honest lawyer as ever broke Bread, rapidly making ample provision: he is not qualifyed by nature or education to shine in Courts—his abilities are, undoubtedly, quite equal to the mechanical parts of his business as Ambassador; but this is not enough—he cant dance, drink, game, flatter, promise, dress, swear with the gentlemen, and talk small talk and flirt with the Ladys—in short he has none of the essential Arts or ornaments which constitute a Courtier—there are thousands who with a tenth part of his Understanding, and without a spark of his honesty, would distance him infinitely in any Court in Europe. I will only add that I found many Americans in London whose Sentiments and conduct towards him were by no means so liberal as I could have wish'd.”
(MHi: Lee Family Papers); a surviving fragment of a much longer letter. Tr of the full text is in Adams Papers, probably furnished to JQA by Benjamin Waterhouse, whose wife was a grandniece of Joseph Lee the addressee; see Waterhouse to JQA, 9 May 1827, Adams Papers.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0090

Author: Palmer, Elizabeth
Author: Cranch, Elizabeth Palmer
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-07-16

Elizabeth Palmer to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

I have this moment finished Copying The manuscript you was kind enough to Lend me, and must write a line, to beg your excuse for not Sooner returning it.2 I could not Steal the time to Copy it before, and was Loath to Lose it. I think it is a very Pretty thing; tho, (if you can excuse my Seeming arrogance, in Presuming to Criticise,) there are Some expressions in it, that Seem not quite according to the rules of good Poetry; I mean, a too frequent repetition of the Same Words; for instance, the word, woe, and woes, Comes in so often as to, in Some measure flatten the Spirrit of it, but, I am Sensible Im runing out of { 138 } my Proper Sphere, and Shall Doubtless expose my own ignorence, Pray Pardon me, and accept my thanks for the Books, Part of which I Shall return tomorrow; My impatience Prevail'd upon me to Send on monday last, to Your office, for the other Vol's of Charles Wentworth; and expected Josey would Send it by the Return of the Chaise at night, but was disappointd; I long to have the rest of it but the fates are against me.3 Miss Nancy left us this morning; her aunt moves out of town on monday. Company is at the door So adieu.
[signed] Betsey Palmer
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Adams Present.”
1. 15 July 1774 was a Friday; the letter was probably written on Saturday, 16 July.
2. This MS poem has not been further identified.
3. The History of Charles Wentworth, Esq. In a Series of Letters, a novel in three volumes by Edward Bancroft, was published anonymously in London, 1770 (BM, Catalogue). For JA's opinion of it see his Diary and Autobiography, 4:72–73.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0091

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-08-09

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

I Returned yesterday from a Visit to my Venerable Father, and on our arival at our own Habitation we met the tidings that the Royal signet was affixed to those acts which are designed to perpetuate the thraldom of America: and perticulerly the Massachusets.
I think the appointment of the new counsel is the last comic scene we shall see Exhibite'd in the state Farce which has for several years been playing off.1 I fear the Tragic part of the Drama will hastely Ensue, and that Nothing but the Blood of the Virtuous Citizens Can repurchase the Rights of Nature, unjustly torn from us by the united arms of treachery and Violence. Every Circumstance Contributes to Lead this people to Look with more impatient Expectation for the result of the approaching Congress. The persons Deputed to that purpose have an important part to act, a part on which depends in a great measure the Future Fredom and Happiness of a Wide Extended Empire. Mr. Adams has justly Compared them to the Amphyctiones of Grece, and as their work is not less arduous, may they aquit themselves in such a manner as that their Names may stand as high on the Records of Fame as those of any of that Respected Body. May they be Endowd with Virtue and judgment, Wisely to deliberate and Resolve, and Fortitude and Vigour to Execute whatever may be thought Necessary to Reestablish the Welfare and Tranquility of their much injured Country.
{ 139 }
Tell Mr. Adams that my best Wishes will Attend him through his journey both as A Friend and as a patriot. May he return with satisfaction to himself and the applauses of his Constituants.2
I hope they will have no uncommon Dificulties to surmount, or Hostile Movments to impede them, but if the Locrians should interrupt them, tell him I hope they will beware that no future annals may say they Chose an ambitious Philip for their Leader, who subverted the Noble order of the American Amphyctiones: and Built up a Monarchy on the Ruins of the Happy institution.
I never doubted but my Friend Mrs. Adams Would Virtuously adhere to the queen street agrement.3 As to myself since I left the City the Dishable of External appearance has Comported with the solicitude of Mind I feel for the Calamities of my Country, and shall I own to you that the Woman and the Mother daily arouse my fears and fill my Heart with anxious Concern for the decission of the Mighty Controversy between Great Britain and the Colonies. For if the sword must finally terminate the dispute besides the feelings of Humanity for the Complicated distress of the Comunity: no one has at stake a larger share of Domestic Felicity than myself. For not to mention my fears for him with whom I am most tenderly Connected: Methinks I see no Less than five sons who must Buckle on the Harness And perhaps fall a sacrifice to the Manes of Liberty Ere she again revives and spreads her Chearful Banner over this part of the Globe. But I quit the painful Revire and desire to Leave all my Cares in his Hand who wills the universal Happiness of his Creatures, and who I trust if we Look to him in the Manner we ought will, while he secures the Welfare of the upright individual, Restore to the society our judges as at the first and our Councelers as at the beginning.
I will add no more to this lengththy Epistle but an Enquiry whether you know the Reason why I hear not from my amiable Friend Miss Smith. My Love to her Concludes from yours unfeignedly,
[signed] Mercy Warren
When the above was wrote I Expected a ready conveyance, nor did I know that the Gentlemen of the Congress proposed seting out so Early, but doubt not it is best. If you and Miss Betsey would make a Visit in the absence of Mr. Adams you would Give great pleasure to your Plimouth Friends.
{ 140 }
1. Under the terms of the Massachusetts Government Act (14 George III, ch. 45), recently received in America, the House was no longer to elect the Council but its members were to be appointed directly by the crown. The instructions to Gage of 20 May named 36 of these “mandamus” councilors. Those who accepted were sworn in at Salem on 8 and 16 Aug., but a considerable number of these were obliged under popular pressure to resign during the next few weeks, and the remnants of this last royal Council in Massachusetts met only a few times in the course of the next year. See Albert Matthews, “Documents Relating to the Last Meetings of the Massachusetts Royal Council, 1774–1776,” Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns., 32 (1937):460–504.
2. JA had returned to Braintree about 15 July and thereafter for several weeks quietly tended his farm, read, and reflected on his forthcoming mission to Philadelphia. On 25 July he wrote James Warren:
“It would do your Heart good to see me, mowing, raking, carting, and frolicking with my Workmen, as unconcernd as if No Port Bill, or regulating Bill, or Murder Bill, had ever existed.
“I catch myself however, now and then, among the Hay Cocks bestowing most hearty Execrations, on a few Villains, who have dignified themselves by Superlative Mischief to their native Country, the British Empire and the World” (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.).
On 10 Aug. JA and his colleagues Thomas Cushing, Samuel Adams, and Robert Treat Paine (James Bowdoin having excused himself from serving), set off together for Philadelphia, proceeding that day as far as Framingham (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:97–98). John Andrews reported concerning their departure from Boston: “Am told they made a very respectable parade, in sight of five of the Regiments encamp'd on the Common, being in a coach and four, preceded by two white servants well mounted and arm'd, with four blacks behind in livery, two on horseback and two footmen” (MHS, Procs., 1st ser., 8 [1864–1865]: 339).
3. The Adamses' Boston house was in Queen (now Court) Street, but what this “agrement” was does not appear.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0092

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1774-08-15

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I know not where this will find you whether upon the road, or at Phylidelphia, but where-ever it is I hope it will find you in good Health and Spirits. Your Journey I immagine must have been very tedious from the extreem heat of the weather and the dustiness of the road's. We are burnt up with the drouth, having had no rain since you left us, nor is there the least apperance of any. I was much gratified upon the return of some of your Friends from Watertown who gave me an account of your Scocial Dinner, and friendly parting. May your return merrit, and meet with the Gratefull acknowledgments of every well wisher to their Country. Your task is difficult and important. Heaven direct and prosper you. I find from Mr. A——r of B——r1 that the chief Justice is determined to take his Seat, and that the court shall proceed to Buisness if posible, even tho the Sheriff should be obliged to return no other but the late addressers.2 He talks as he always used to—sometimes one thing sometimes an other, pretends the money would not have been collected in that town for the congress if { 141 } he had not exerted himself, tho it seems he staid till the eleventh hour, and it did not get to town before you left it. I found by a hint he dropd that he used all his influence to surpress the Nonconsumption agreement which some of them had drawn up to sign, and that he has in-listed himself intirely under the influence of the ch[ie]f J[ustic]e. He also expresses great Bitterness against C[olone]l W[arre]n of P[lymout]h for encourageing young Morton to setle there3—seem's gratified with the thought of his loosing his place, &c.—So much for politicks—now for our own Domestick affairs. Mr. Rice came this afternoon. He and Mr. Thaxter are setled over at the office.4 Crosby has given up the School,5 and as it is to move to the other parish Mr. Rice cannot have it. I must therefore agree with them to take the care of John, and school him with them, which will perhaps be better for him than going to the Town School. I shall reckon over every week as they pass, and rejoice at every Saturday evening. I hope to hear from you by Mr. Cunningham when he returns tho I know not when that will be but he was so kind as to send me word that he was going and would take a letter for me.
Our little ones send their Duty to their Pappa, and the Gentlemen their respects—and that which at all times and in all places evermore attends you is the most affectionate regard of your
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in an unidentified hand: “August <25> 15 1774.”
1. Mr. Angier of Bridgewater; see JA to AA, May 1772, note 4.
2. Chief Justice Peter Oliver did indeed take his seat on the first day (30 Aug.) of the new term of Suffolk Superior Court, but both the grand and petit juries unanimously refused to be sworn, on the ground that Oliver had been impeached by the House and never acquitted. After vainly attempting to do business on the three following days the Court adjourned sine die. “Thus ended the Superior Court and is the last common Law Court that will be allowed to sit in this or any other County of the Province” (William Tudor to JA, 3 Sept. 1774, Adams Papers). See also Gage to Dartmouth, 2 Sept. 1774 (Gage, Corr., 1:371). The formal statements by the two juries were printed in Mass. Spy, 1 September.
3. Perez Morton (1750–1837), Harvard 1771, a young attorney who soon left Plymouth and became very active in the patriotic cause. He served as deputy secretary of the Revolutionary Council of State, 1775–1776; representative in the General Court from Boston, 1794–1796; from Dorchester, 1800–1811; speaker, 1806–1808, 1810–1811; attorney general of Massachusetts, 1811–1832. In 1781 he married Sarah Wentworth Apthorp (1759–1846), briefly but not very appropriately known as the “American Sappho” because of her numerous poetical effusions, one of which was a pleasant tribute to JA during his years of retirement at Quincy (“Stanzas. Written on a Social Visit to ... John Adams, Late President of the United States,” in her My Mind and Its Thoughts ..., Boston, 1823, p. 194). Despite Morton's Jeffersonian politics, the Mortons and Adamses were for many years family friends. See a sketch of Perez Morton by John Noble in Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns., 5 (1902): 282–293; DAB article on Mrs. Morton; Emily Pendleton { 142 } and Milton Ellis, Philenia: The Life and Works of Sarah Wentworth Morton, Orono, Maine, 1931, passim.
4. Both of these young men had recently entered JA's office as law clerks; see an entry in the Suffolk Bar Book, 26 July 1774, approving their engagement by JA (MHS, Procs., 1st ser., 19 [1881–1882]:152). Nathan Rice (1754–1834), of Sturbridge, Harvard 1773, joined the army in May 1775 and wrote letters to AA and JA from camps at Dorchester and Ticonderoga, 1775–1776; he served through the war, during a good part of it as major and aide-de-camp to Gen. Benjamin Lincoln (information from Harvard Univ. Archives; Heitman, Register Continental Army). John Thaxter Jr. (1755–1791), of Hingham, Harvard 1774, was first cousin to AA; he accompanied JA to Europe in 1779 as private secretary, returning in 1783, and is often mentioned in JA's Diary and Autobiography; see, further, Adams Genealogy.
5. Probably Joseph Crosby (1751–1783), Harvard 1772 (Harvard Quinquennial Cat.).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0093

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1774-08-19

Abigail Adams to John Adams

The great distance between us, makes the time appear very long to me. It seems already a month since you left me. The great anxiety I feel for my Country, for you and for our family renders the day tedious, and the night unpleasent. The Rocks and quick Sands appear upon every Side. What course you can or will take is all wrapt in the Bosom of futurity. Uncertainty and expectation leave the mind great Scope. Did ever any Kingdom or State regain their Liberty, when once it was invaded without Blood shed? I cannot think of it without horror.
Yet we are told that all the Misfortunes of Sparta were occasiond by their too great Sollicitude for present tranquility, and by an excessive love of peace they neglected the means of making it sure and lasting. They ought to have reflected says Polibius that as there is nothing more desirable, or advantages than peace, when founded in justice and honour, so there is nothing more shameful and at the same time more pernicious when attained by bad measures, and purchased at the price of liberty.
I have received a most charming Letter from our Friend Mrs. W[arre]n.1 She desires me to tell you that her best wishes attend you thro your journey both as a Friend and patriot—hopes you will have no uncommon difficulties to surmount or Hostile Movements to impeade you—but if the Locrians should interrupt you, she hop[e]s you will beware that no future Annals may say you chose an ambitious Philip for your Leader, who subverted the noble order of the American Amphyctions, and built up a Monarchy on the Ruins of the happy institution.
I have taken a very great fondness for reading Rollin's ancient History since you left me. I am determined to go thro with it if posible in { 143 } these my days of solitude. I find great pleasure and entertainment from it, and I have perswaided Johnny to read me a page or two every day, and hope he will from his desire to oblige me entertain a fondness for it.2—We have had a charming rain which lasted 12 hours and has greatly revived the dying fruits of the earth.
I want much to hear from you. I long impatiently to have you upon the Stage of action. The first of September or the month of September, perhaps may be of as much importance to Great Britan as the Ides of March were to Ceaser. I wish you every Publick as well, as private blessing, and that wisdom which is profitable both for instruction and edification to conduct you in this difficult day.—The little flock remember Pappa, and kindly wish to see him. So does your most affectionate
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in an unidentified hand: “August 19 1774.”
1. Dated 9 Aug. 1774 and printed above.
2. Charles Rollin (1661–1741), rector of the University of Paris, was a compiler of narrative histories which were translated and issued in innumerable editions in England and America until far into the 19th century. His books had a pervasive influence on several generations of Americans because they were a principal medium through which they learned about classical heroes—the predecessors, as American orators and writers never tired of pointing out, of their own political and military heroes. A study of the circulation and reading of Rollin's books and of his influence on American patriotic attitudes would prove rewarding. The present letter shows how the earliest events of the Revolution sent readers to Rollin's books. Four different works by Rollin remain among JA's books in the Boston Public Library, including The Ancient History..., 5th edn., 7 vols., London, 1768; and The Roman History..., 3d edn., 10 vols., London, 1768. Among JQA's books in the Stone Library (MQA) are a set of the Histoire ancienne, 13 vols. in 14, Amsterdam, 1740; and two sets of the Histoire romaine, each in 16 vols., Amsterdam, 1739, and Paris, 1759–1781. It is more likely that at this period AA and JQA were reading Rollin in English than in French.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0094

Author: Cranch, Mary Smith
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-08-20

Mary Smith Cranch to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Sister

I thank you my dear Sister for all your kind offers. I have not been able yet to get Miss Dolly Read. I expected her yesterday: but what has prevented I cant say. As to moving, we want to see Mr. Russel before we talk again with Mr. Cleavely.1 Mr. Cranch is so hurried with Work that he does not know how to spare time to see after any thing, and I am so unwell that I am not able too. I do not know what is the reason but I never felt so low spirit'd in my life. I have been so long in an uncertainty what we ought to do: and one Friend advising one way and one another that I feel rack'd. I think I cannot bear it much { 144 } longer. I am full of aprehentions of—I dont know what. What unnumberd distresses has Lord North brought upon thousands of Innocent Creatures. I have more charity than to think he ever realized half of them.—What an answer the Governer has given our congress. Some part of it gives me more fear of insults than I have had yet I long to see the reply.—Mr. Tufts will take your cheese so you may send them as soon as you please. I was so unwell a Teusday that I thought I had better come home and I have a great many things to do before I move. We rejoice to hear Mr. Adams is well and hope it will not be long before it will be convenient for him to come home. The divine protection be his guard where ever he is, is the ardent Wish of your affectionate sister,
[signed] Mary Cranch
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams at Braintree.”
1. These persons have not been identified, but “Cleavely” is probably a misspelling of Cleverly, a common name in Braintree.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0095

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-08-28

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dr.

I received your kind Letter, at New York, and it is not easy for you to imagine the Pleasure it has given me. I have not found a single Opportunity to write since I left Boston, excepting by the Post and I dont choose to write by that Conveyance, for fear of foul Play. But as We are now within forty two Miles of Philadelphia, I hope there to find some private Hand by which I can convey this.
The Particulars of our Journey, I must reserve, to be communicated after my Return. It would take a Volume to describe the whole. It has been upon the whole an Agreable Jaunt, We have had Opportunities to see the World, and to form Acquaintances with the most eminent and famous Men, in the several Colonies we have passed through. We have been treated with unbounded Civility, Complaisance, and Respect.1
We Yesterday visited Nassau Hall Colledge, and were politely treated by the Schollars, Tutors, Professors and President, whom We are, this Day to hear preach. Tomorrow We reach the Theatre of Action. God Almighty grant us Wisdom and Virtue sufficient for the high Trust that is devolved upon Us. The Spirit of the People wherever we have been seems to be very favourable. They universally consider our Cause as their own, and express the firmest Resolution, to abide the Determination of the Congress.
{ 145 }
I am anxious for our perplexed, distressed Province—hope they will be directed into the right Path. Let me intreat you, my Dear, to make yourself as easy and quiet as possible. Resignation to the Will of Heaven is our only Resource in such dangerous Times. Prudence and Caution should be our Guides. I have the strongest Hopes, that We shall yet see a clearer Sky, and better Times.
Remember my tender Love to my little Nabby. Tell her she must write me a Letter and inclose it in the next you send. I am charmed with your Amusement with our little Johnny. Tell him I am glad to hear he is so good a Boy as to read to his Mamma, for her Entertainment, and to keep himself out of the Company of rude Children. Tell him I hope to hear a good Account of his Accidence and Nomenclature, when I return. Kiss my little Charley and Tommy for me. Tell them I shall be at Home by November, but how much sooner I know not.
Remember me to all enquiring Friends—particularly to Uncle Quincy,2 your Pappa and Family, and Dr. Tufts and Family. Mr. Thaxter, I hope, is a good Companion, in your Solitude. Tell him, if he devotes his Soul and Body to his Books, I hope, notwithstanding the Darkness of these Days, he will not find them unprofitable Sacrifices in future.
I have received three very obliging Letters, from Tudor, Trumble, and Hill.3 They have cheared us, in our Wanderings, and done us much Service.
My Compliments to Mr. Wibirt4 and Coll. Quincy, when you see them.
Your Account of the Rain refreshed me. I hope our Husbandry is prudently and industriously managed. Frugality must be our Support. Our Expences, in this Journey, will be very great—our only Reward will be the consolatory Reflection that We toil, spend our Time, and tempt Dangers for the public Good—happy indeed, if we do any good!
The Education of our Children is never out of my Mind. Train them to Virtue, habituate them to industry, activity, and Spirit. Make them consider every Vice, as shamefull and unmanly: fire them with Ambition to be usefull—make them disdain to be destitute of any usefull, or ornamental Knowledge or Accomplishment. Fix their Ambition upon great and solid Objects, and their Contempt upon little, frivolous, and useless ones. It is Time, my dear, for you to begin to teach them French. Every Decency, Grace, and Honesty should be inculcated upon them.
I have [kept]5 a few Minutes by Way of Journal, which shall be your Entertainment when I come home, but We have had so many { 146 } Persons and so various Characters to converse with, and so many Objects to view, that I have not been able to be so particular as I could wish.—I am, with the tenderest Affection and Concern, your wandering
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree Massachusetts Bay To be left at Mr. Adams's Office in Queen Street Boston favoured by [no name given]”, endorsed: “C 1 No 1.” (In this and following endorsements on JA's letters, “C” may possibly stand for “Congress.”)
2. Norton Quincy (1716–1801), Harvard 1736, AA's uncle, of Mount Wollaston. See Adams Genealogy.
3. All recent or current clerks in JA's Boston law office. John Trumbull, the young poet and future judge, has already been identified. Only Tudor's letter, dated 21 Aug. 1774 (Adams Papers), has been found.
William Tudor (1750–1819), Harvard 1769, had studied law with JA for three years beginning in Aug. 1769 and was then admitted to the bar; in July 1775 he was elected judge advocate of the Continental Army with the rank of lieutenant colonel and served until 1778; he later resumed the practice of law in Boston and held various political offices. Tudor was one of the founders of the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1791, and some of his papers are among its collections, including some early love letters to his wife Delia Jarvis very recently acquired; a selection of his correspondence, including letters from JA, who was a warm friend and intimate correspondent for many years, is printed in the best biographical sketch known to the editors, MHS, Colls., 2d ser., 8 (2d edn., 1826):285–325.
Edward Hill (1755–1775), of Boston, Harvard 1772, died so young that he is less known to history. He had commenced clerk in JA's office in Oct. 1772 and was still engaged there at the time this letter was written. He died of “camp fever” in March 1775. (“Suffolk Bar Book,” MHS, Procs., 1st ser., 19 [1881–1882]:151; “Letters of John Andrews,” same, 8 [1864–1865]:403; information from Harvard Univ. Archives.)
4. Rev. Anthony Wibird (1729–1800), Harvard 1747, minister of the First or North Precinct Church in Braintree (later Quincy) from 1754 until his death (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, vol. 12 [in press]). In earlier years JA had been a close companion of Wibird, who is mentioned frequently in JA's Diary, not always in flattering terms.
5. MS: “keep.”

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0096

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1774-09-02

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I am very impatient to receive a letter from you. You indulged me so much in that Way in your last absence, that I now think I have a right to hear as often from you as you have leisure and opportunity to write. I hear that Mr. Adams1 wrote to his Son and the Speaker2 to his Lady, but perhaps you did not know of the opportunity. Suppose you have before this time received two letters from me, and will write me by the same conveyance. I judg you reachd Phylidelphia last Saturday night. I cannot but felicitate you upon your absence a little while from this Scene of purtubation, anxiety and distress. I own I feel not a { 147 } little agitated with the accounts I have this day received from Town. Great commotions have arisen in concequence of the discovery of a Tratorous plot of Colonel Brattle's—his advice to Gage to Break every commisiond officer, and to seize the province and Towns Stock of powder.3 This has so enraged and exasperated the people that there is great apprehension of an immediate rupture. They have been all in flames ever since the new fangled counsellors have taken their oaths. The importance with which they consider the meeting of the Congress, and the result thereof to the community, withholds the arm of vengance already lifted but which would most certainly fall with accumalated wrath upon Brattle were it posible to come at him, but no sooner did he discover that his treachery had taken air, than he fled not only to Boston, but into the camp for Safety. You will by Mr. Tudor no doubt have a much more accurate account than I am able to give you, but one thing I can inform you of which perhaps you may not have heard, viz. Mr. Vinton our Sheriff it seems received one of those twenty Warrants which were issued by Mr. Goldthwait (and Price, which has Cost them such bitter repentance, and Humble acknowledgments, and which has reveald the great Secret of their attachment to the liberties of their country and their veneration and regard, for the good will of their countrymen.4 See their address to H[utchinso]n and G[ag]e). This Warrent which was for Stotingham5 Vinton carried and deliverd to a Constable there, but before he had got 6 mile he was overtaken by 60 men on horseback who surrounded him and told him unless he returnd with them, and demanded back that Warrent and committed it to the flames before their faces, he must take the concequences of a refusal, and he not thinking it best to endure their vengance returnd with them, made his demand of the Warrent and consumed it, upon which they disperced and left him to his own reflections. Since the News of the Quebec bill arrived all the church people here have hung their heads and will not converse upon politicks, tho ever so much provoked by the opposite party. Before that parties run very high, and very hard words, and threats of blows, upon both sides were given out. They have had their Town meeting here which was full as usual, chose their committee for the County meeting, and did Buisness without once regarding or fearing for the concequences.6
I should be glad to know how you found the people as you traveled from town to town. I hear you met with great Hospitality and kindness in Connecticut.
Pray let me know how your Health is, and whether you have not had exceeding hot weather. The drought has been very severe. My { 148 } poor Cows will certainly prefer a petition to you, setting forth their Greavences and informing you that they have been deprived of their ancient privilages, whereby they are become great Sufferers, and desiring that they may be restored to them, more espicially as their living by reason of the drought is all taken from them, and their property which they hold else where is all decaying. They Humbly pray that you would consider them least hunger should break thro the Stone walls. Our little flock are well, and present their Duty to their Pappa. My Mother is in a very low State occasiond by a return of her old complaints. Nabby has enclosed a letter to you—would be glad I would excuse the writing, because of a soar Thumb, which she has.7 The tenderest regard evermore awaits you from your Most Affectionate
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To The Honble. John Adams Esqr. att Philadelphia”; docketed in an unidentified hand: “September 2d 1774 AA.” Enclosure missing; see note 7.
1. Samuel Adams.
2. Thomas Cushing.
3. On 27 Aug. Brig. Gen. William Brattle of Cambridge wrote to Gage informing him among other things that military companies in the neighboring towns were under orders “to meet at one Minute's Warning, equipt with Arms and Ammunition,” and that the selectmen of the towns were withdrawing large stocks of powder from the Provincial arsenal at Quarry Hill in what is now Somerville. Gage at once ordered a detachment of regulars to remove the powder to Castle Island, but with extraordinary carelessness he dropped Brattle's letter on a street in Boston. It was soon published, Brattle was obliged to flee for his life to the protection of the troops in Boston, and Gage began fortifying Boston Neck against roving bands of militia aroused by these events. See “Letters of John Andrews,” MHS, Procs., 1st ser., 8 (1864–1865): 350–355; Rowe, Letters and Diary, p. 283–284; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 7:20–22; text of Brattle's letter printed in Boston Gazette, 5 Sept. 1774.
4. Under the Massachusetts Government Act freeholders were no longer to elect jurors, who were instead to be selected by sheriffs appointed by the governor. Ezekiel Goldthwait and Ezekiel Price, joint clerks of the Suffolk Court of Sessions and both addressers of Hutchinson, were obliged to apologize for attempting to carry this new regulation into effect. Their statements are in Mass. Spy, 1 Sept.; see also MHS, Procs., 2d ser., 14 (1900–1901) 51–54.
5. That is Stoughtonham, an early name for what is now Sharon, Mass.
6. The powers of town meetings were greatly curtailed by the Massachusetts Government Act, but the new regulations were generally ignored and evaded. One of the evasions was the convoking of county conventions, a scheme gotten up by the committees of correspondence. At a Braintree town meeting on 22 Aug. it was voted that Braintree be represented in a proposed Suffolk Convention to be held at Dedham on 6 Sept., and that the Braintree representatives be empowered to act on “all such matters & things in said Convention or in a General Provincial Convention as they may judge of public utility in this time of publick & General Distress” (Braintree Town Records, p. 450). Steps such as these were the first in the rapid process of overthrowing British authority and assuming the powers of government.
7. This letter is missing, but JA's reply to it will be found under 19 Sept., below.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0097

Author: Tudor, William
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-09-03

William Tudor to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

You may depend on my giving your Letter to Capt. Marston who sets out for Philadelphia on Monday. A safer Hand it could not go by.
Pray let your Fears subside about Tumults—there have been none. There was an Assembly of 4000 Patriots at Cambridge yesterday—where the utmost Regularity was observ'd, and after finishing their Business they all repair'd to their homes in Quiet.
They procur'd a Resignation from Danforth, Lee and Oliver under their hands of their seats at the Board.1 Made Phipps2 ask Pardon for being concern'd in the Removal of the Powder, and sware that he would be no ways instrumental in executing the tyrannic Parliamentary Edicts. Brattle had wisely got out of their Reach—his infamous Billet to Genl. Gage, and Address of Yesterday to the Public I inclose3—what will be his Fate is at present uncertain.
It is expected, and on very rational Grounds that by Monday Night the Governor will be left without a Member of his Divan.
It [is] said many of them are in haste to resign their seats, As neither Greaves with his Fleet,4 Nor Gage with his Army and Castle can insure them Protection from the Fury of their injured Countrymen.
Every Thing in Boston is quiet. The Minds of People are tranquil but firm as Rocks, and we anticipate from American Virtue, a glorious Restoration of American Liberty.
The Monday Prints will be more particular than I can now be.

[salute] I am with great Respect Your much oblig'd & Obt. Servt.,

[signed] Will. Tudor
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For Mrs. Abigail Adams at Braintree.” Enclosures not found; see note 3.
1. As mandamus councilors. Samuel Danforth and Joseph Lee were both judges of the Middlesex Inferior Court of Common Pleas; Thomas Oliver was the last royal lieutenant governor of the Province; all three were residents of Cambridge. Edward Hill reported to JA: “I cannot omit mentioning that I was present when the People assembled at Cambridge; and never saw men who appear'd so determined to pursue the measures they had plan'd—they were dress'd just as they are at work—every man appeared just as composed as if they were at a funeral—I saw many among them whom I should judge were 60 and 70 years of age” (4 Aug. [i.e. Sept.] 1774, Adams Papers). On this affair see also Boston Gazette, 5 Sept. 1774.
2. Sheriff David Phips of Middlesex co.
3. For Brattle's letter see note 3 on the preceding letter; his “Address to the Public” was printed in Mass. Spy, 8 Sept. 1774.
4. Vice Adm. Samuel Graves (1713–1787), stationed in Boston Harbor and commanding British naval forces in North America (DNB).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0098

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-09-08

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

When or where this Letter will find you, I know not. In what Scenes of Distress and Terror, I cannot foresee.—We have received a confused Account from Boston, of a dreadfull Catastrophy. The Particulars, We have not heard. We are waiting with the Utmost Anxiety and Impatience, for further Intelligence.1
The Effect of the News We have both upon the Congress and the Inhabitants of this City, was very great—great indeed! Every Gentleman seems to consider the Bombardment of Boston, as the Bombardment, of the Capital of his own Province. Our Deliberations are grave and serious indeed.
It is a great Affliction to me that I cannot write to you oftener than I do. But there are so many Hindrances, that I cannot.
It would fill Volumes, to give you an Idea of the scenes I behold and the Characters I converse with.
We have so much Business, so much Ceremony, so much Company, so many Visits to recive and return, that I have not Time to write. And the Times are such, as render it imprudent to write freely.
We cannot depart from this Place, untill the Business of the Congress is compleated, and it is the general Disposition to proceed slowly. When I shall be at home I cant say. If there is Distress and Danger in Boston, pray invite our Friends, as many as possible, to take an Assylum with you. Mrs. Cushing and Mrs. Adams if you can.
There is in the Congress a Collection of the greatest Men upon this Continent, in Point of Abilities, Virtues and Fortunes. The Magnanimity, and public Spirit, which I see here, makes me blush for the sordid venal Herd, which I have seen in my own Province. The Addressers, and the new Councillors, are held in universal Contempt and Abhorrence, from one End of the Continent to the other.
Be not under any Concern for me. There is little Danger from any Thing We shall do, at the Congress. There is such a Spirit, thro the Colonies, and the Members of the Congress are such Characters, that no Danger can happen to Us, which will not involve the whole Continent, in Universal Desolation, and in that Case who would wish to live?
Make my Compliments to Mr. Thaxter and Mr. Rice—and to every other of my Friends. My Love to all my dear Children—tell them to be good, and to mind their Books. I shall come home and see them, I hope, the latter End of next Month.

[salute] Adieu.

[signed] John Adams
{ 151 }
P.S. You will judge how Things are like to be in Boston, and whether it will not be best to remove the Office entirely to Braintree. Mr. Hill and Williams, may come up, if they choose, paying for their Board.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For Mrs. Abigail Adams att Braintree Massachusetts Bay”; endorsed: “C 1 No 2.”
1. The exaggerated reports of bloodshed and bombardment in connection with Gage's removal on 1 Sept. of the powder and weapons from the Quarry Hill arsenal and nearby points reached Philadelphia on 6 Sept.; see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:124, 127.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0099

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1774-09-14

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dearest Friend

Five Weeks have past and not one line have I received. I had rather give a dollar for a letter by the post, tho the consequence should be that I Eat but one meal a day for these 3 weeks to come. Every one I see is inquiring after you and when did I hear. All my intelligance is collected from the news paper and I can only reply that I saw by that, that you arrived such a day. I know your fondness for writing and your inclination to let me hear from you by the first safe conveyance which makes me suspect that some Letter or other has miscaried, but I hope now you have arrived at Philidelphia you will find means to convey me some inteligance.
We are all well here. I think I enjoy better Health than I have done these 2 years. I have not been to Town since I parted with you there. The Govenor is making all kinds of warlike preperations such as mounting cannon upon Beacon Hill, diging entrenchments upon the Neck, placeing cannon there, encamping a regiment there, throwing up Brest Works &c. &c. The people are much allarmed, and the Selectmen have waited upon him in concequence of it. The county congress have also sent a committee—all which proceedings you will have a more particuliar account of than I am able to give you from the publick papers. But as to the Movements of this Town perhaps you may not hear them from any other person. In consequence of the powders being taken from Charlstown, a general alarm spread thro many Towns and was caught pretty soon here. The report took here a fryday, and a Sunday a Soldier was seen lurking about the common. Supposed to be a Spy, but most likely a Deserter. However inteligence of it was communicated to the other parishes, and about 8 o clock a Sunday Evening there pass[ed] by here about 200 Men, preceeded by a horse { 152 } cart, and marched down to the powder house from whence they took the powder and carried [it] into the other parish and there secreeted it. I opened the window upon there return. They pass'd without any Noise, not a word among them till they came against this house, when some of them perceiveing me, askd me if I wanted any powder. I replied not since it was in so good hands. The reason they gave for taking it, was that we had so many Tories here they dare not trust us with it. They had taken Vinton in their Train, and upon their return they stoped between Cleverlys and Etters, and calld upon him to deliver two Warrents. Upon his producing them, they put it to vote whether they should burn them and it pass'd in the affirmitive. They then made a circle and burnt them, they then call'd a vote whether they should huzza, but it being Sunday evening it passd in the negative. They call'd upon Vinton to swear that he would never be instrumental in carrying into execution any of these new atcts. They were not satisfied with his answers however they let him rest. A few Days after upon his making some foolish speaches, they assembled to the amount of 2 and [3?] hundred, swore vengance upon him unless he took a solemn oath. Accordingly, they chose a committee and sent [them] with him to Major Miller to see that he complied, and they waited his return, which proving satisfactory they disperced. This Town appear as high as you can well immagine, and if necessary would soon be in arms. Not a Tory but hides his head. The church parson thought they were comeing after him, and run up garret they say, an other jumpt out of his window and hid among the corn whilst a third crept under his bord fence, and told his Beads.1
I Dined to Day at Coll. Quincys. They were so kind as to send me, and Nabby and Betsy an invitation to spend the Day with them, and as I had not been to see them since I removed to Braintree, I accepted the invitation. After I got there, came Mr. Samll. Quincys wife2 and Mr. Sumner,3 Mr. Josiah and Wife.4 A little clashing of parties you may be sure. Mr. Sam's Wife said she thought it high time for her Husband to turn about, he had not done half so clever since he left her advice. Said they both greatly admired the most excellent and much admired Speach of the Bishop of St. Asaph which suppose you have seen. It meets, and most certainly merrits the greatest encomiums.5
Upon my return at night Mr. Thaxter met me at the door with your Letter dated from Prince town New Jersy. It really gave me such a flow of Spirits that I was not composed eno to sleep till one oclock. { 153 } You make no mention of one I wrote you previous to that you received by Mr. Breck and sent by Mr. Cunningham. I am rejoiced to hear you are well; I want to know many more perticuliars than you wrote me, and hope soon to hear from you again. I dare not trust myself with the thought of how long you may perhaps be absent. I only count the weeks already past, and they amount to 5. I am not so lonely as I should have been, without my two Neighbours. We make a table full at meal times, all the rest of their time they spend in the office. Never were two persons who gave a family less trouble than they do. It is at last determined that Mr. Rice keep the School here. Indeed he has kept ever since he has been here, but not with any expectation that He should be continued, but the people finding no small difference between him and his predecessor chose he should be continued. I have not sent Johnny. He goes very steadily to Mr. Thaxter who I believe takes very good care of him, and as they seem to have a likeing to each other believe it will be best to continue him with him. However when you return we can then consult what will be best. I am certain that if he does not get so much good, he gets less harm, and I have always thought it of very great importance that children should in the early part of life be unaccustomed to such examples as would tend to corrupt the purity of their words and actions that they may chill with horrour at the sound of an oath, and blush with indignation at an obscene expression. These first principal[s] which grow with their growth and strengthen with their strength neither time nor custom can totally eradicate.—You will perhaps be tired. No let it serve by way of relaxation from the more important concerns of the Day, and be such an amusement as your little hermitage used to afford you here. You have before you to express myself in the words of the Bishop the greatest National concerns that ever came before any people, and if the prayers and peti[ti]ons assend unto Heaven which are daily offerd for you, wisdom will flow down as a streem and Rithousness as the mighty waters, and your deliberations will make glad the cities of our God.
I was very sorry I did not know of Mr. Cary's going. It would have been so good an opportunity to have sent this as I lament the loss of. You have heard no doubt of the peoples preventing the court from setting in various counties, and last week in Taunton, Anger [Angier] urged the courts opening, and calling out the action, but could not effect it.
I saw a Letter from Miss Eunice6 wherein she gives an account of it, and says there were 2000 men assembled round the court house and by a committee of nine presented a petition requesting that they { 154 } would not set, and with the uttmost order waited 2 hours for there answer, when they disperced.
Your family all desire to be remember'd to you, as well as unkle Quincy who often visits me, to have an hour of sweet communion upon politicks with me. Coll. Quincy desires his complements to you. Dr. Tufts sends his Love and your Mother and Brothers also. I have lived a very recluse life since your absence, seldom going any where except to my Fathers who with My Mother and Sister desire to be rememberd to you. My Mother has been exceeding low, but is a little better.—How warm your climate may be I know not, but I have had my bed warmed these two nights.—I must request you to procure me some watermellon seads and Muskmellon, as I determine to be well stocked with them an other year. We have had some fine rains, but as soon as the corn is gatherd you must release me of my promise. The Drougth has renderd cutting a second crop impracticable, feeding a little cannot hurt it. However I hope you will be at home to be convinced of the utility of the measure.—You will burn all these Letters least they should fall from your pocket and thus expose your most affectionate Friend,
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in an unidentified hand: “September 14 1774 AA.”
1. The Cleverlys, Etters, and Millers were Church of England families and accordingly inclined to toryism. The “church parson” was Edward Winslow, Harvard 1741, who had settled at Braintree in 1763 but was obliged early in 1777 to leave as a person “Inimical to the United States” (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 11:97–107; see AA to JA, 2 April 1777, below). On 3 Oct. 1774 a town meeting voted that a report circulating in Boston and elsewhere to the effect that Braintree Anglicans were being disturbed was “malicious, false & injurious & calculated to defame the Town” (Braintree Town Records, p. 451).
2. Hannah (Hill) Quincy (d. 1782). See Adams Genealogy. She disagreed with her husband's politics and did not accompany him to England the next year.
3. Increase Sumner (1746–1799), of Roxbury, who had prepared for the law in Samuel Quincy's office; he was later a justice of the Supreme Judicial Court and from 1797 to 1799 governor of Massachusetts. Sumner's mother was a first cousin of JA's mother. (NEHGR, 8 [1854]:105–128; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:257; DAB.)
4. Abigail (Phillips) Quincy (1745–1798), wife of Josiah “the Patriot.” See Adams Genealogy.
5. Jonathan Shipley (1714–1788), Bishop of St. Asaph, was an intimate friend of Benjamin Franklin and, later, on cordial terms with the Adamses in London (DNB; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:181–182, 193). Already known as markedly sympathetic with the American cause, he voted in the House of Lords against the bill to alter the Massachusetts Charter in 1774 and soon afterward published A Speech Intended to Have Been Spoken on the Bill for Altering the Charters of the Colony of Massachusett's Bay. In it he declared that he looked “upon North-America as the only great nursery of freemen now left upon the face of the earth.” No fewer than five editions of the Speech were issued in London in 1774, and one or { 155 } more reprints were published in Boston, Salem, Newport, Hartford, New York, Philadelphia, Lancaster, and Williamsburg during the same year. See Sabin 80511–80526; Evans 13615–13625; T. R. Adams, “American Independence,” Nos. 141a–p.
6. Eunice, sister of Robert Treat Paine; her letter has not been traced.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0100

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-09-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

I have written but once1 to you since I left you. This is to be imputed to a Variety of Causes, which I cannot explain for Want of Time. It would fill Volumes to give you an exact Idea of the whole Tour. My Time is to totally filled from the Moment I get out of Bed, untill I return to it. Visits, Ceremonies, Company, Business, News Papers, Pamphlets &c. &c. &c.
The Congress will, to all present Appearance be well united and in such Measures, I hope will give Satisfaction to the Friends of our Country.2
A Tory here is the most despicable Animal in the Creation. Spiders, Toads, Snakes, are their only proper Emblems. The Massachusetts Councillors, and Addressers are held in curious Esteem here, as you will see.
The Spirit, the Firmness, the Prudence of our Province are vastly applauded, and We are universally acknowledged the Saviours and Defenders of American Liberty.
The Designs, and Plans of the Congress, must not be communicated, untill compleated, and We shall move with great Deliberation.
When I shall come home I know not, but at present I dont expect to take my Leave of this City these four Weeks.
My Compliments, Love, Service where they are due. My Babes are never out of my Mind, nor absent from my Heart.

[salute] Adieu.

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree To be left at Mr. Adams's office in Boston.—Queen Street”; endorsed: “C 1 No 3.”
1. Actually twice: from Princeton, N.J., 28 Aug., and from Philadelphia, 8 Sept., both printed above.
2. Thus in MS. CFA supplied the word “as” following the word “Measures,” which was probably JA's intention.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0101

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-09-16

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Having a Leisure Moment, while the Congress is assembling, I gladly embrace it to write you a Line.
When the Congress first met, Mr. Cushing made a Motion, that it should be opened with Prayer. It was opposed by Mr. Jay of N. York and Mr. Rutledge of South Carolina, because we were so divided in religious Sentiments, some Episcopalians, some Quakers, some Aanabaptists, some Presbyterians and some Congregationalists, so that We could not join in the same Act of Worship.—Mr. S. Adams arose and said he was no Bigot, and could hear a Prayer from a Gentleman of Piety and Virtue, who was at the same Time a Friend to his Country. He was a Stranger in Phyladelphia, but had heard that Mr. Duchè (Dushay they pronounce it) deserved that Character, and therefore he moved that Mr. Duchè, an episcopal Clergyman, might be desired, to read Prayers to the Congress, tomorrow Morning. The Motion was seconded and passed in the Affirmative. Mr. Randolph our President, waited on Mr. Duchè, and received for Answer that if his Health would permit, he certainly would. Accordingly next Morning he appeared with his Clerk and in his Pontificallibus, and read several Prayers, in the established Form; and then read the Collect for the seventh day of September, which was the Thirty fifth Psalm.1—You must remember this was the next Morning after we heard the horrible Rumour, of the Cannonade of Boston.—I never saw a greater Effect upon an Audience. It seemed as if Heaven had ordained that Psalm to be read on that Morning.
After this Mr. Duche, unexpected to every Body struck out into an extemporary Prayer, which filled the Bosom of every Man present. I must confess I never heard a better Prayer or one, so well pronounced. Episcopalian as he is, Dr. Cooper2 himself never prayed with such fervour, such Ardor, such Earnestness and Pathos, and in Language so elegant and sublime—for America, for the Congress, for The Province of Massachusetts Bay, and especially the Town of Boston. It has had an excellent Effect upon every Body here.
I must beg you to read that Psalm. If there was any Faith in the sortes Virgilianae, or sortes Homericae, or especially the Sortes biblicae, it would be thought providential.
It will amuse your Friends to read this Letter and the 35th. Psalm to them. Read it to your Father and Mr. Wibirt.—I wonder what our Braintree Churchmen would think of this?—Mr. Duchè is one of the { 157 } most ingenious Men, and best Characters, and greatest orators in the Episcopal order, upon this Continent—Yet a Zealous Friend of Liberty and his Country.3
I long to see my dear Family. God bless, preserve and prosper it. Adieu.
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree To be left at Mr. Adams's office in Queen Street Boston”; endorsed: “C 1 No 4.”
1. Not the collect actually, “but a portion of the psalter for the seventh day of the month, morning prayer, namely, the thirty-fifth Psalm” (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:19, note).
2. Samuel Cooper (1725–1783), Harvard 1743, minister of the Brattle Street Church, which the Adamses attended when they lived in Boston. Cooper was renowned as a pulpit orator, but as a political parson and member of the junto of Boston patriot leaders, he emerges from Mr. Shipton's recent and extended sketch with little of his earlier reputation intact (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 11:192–213).
3. Jacob Duché (1737–1798) was at this time assistant rector of Christ Church and St. Peter's in Philadelphia. The resolution respecting prayers in Congress was adopted on 6 Sept., and Duché's dramatic performance occurred next day (JCC, 1:26, 27; James Duane's Notes of Proceedings, Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:13, 15–16; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:126). Two years later, after the British took Philadelphia, Duché apostatized, wrote George Washington urging him to have the Declaration of Independence rescinded, and fled at the end of 1777 to England (DAB; W. C. Ford, ed., The Washington-Duché Letters, Brooklyn, 1890; JA to AA, 25 Oct. 1777, below).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0102

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-09-18

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

I received your very agreable Letter, by Mr. Marston, and have received two others, which gave me much Pleasure. I have wrote several Letters, but whether they have reached you I know not. There is so much Rascallity in the Management of Letters, now come in Fashion, that I am determined to write nothing of Consequence, not even to the Friend of my Bosom, but by Conveyances which I can be sure of.
The Proceedings of the Congress, are all a profound Secret, as yet, except two Votes which were passed Yesterday, and ordered to be printed. You will see them from every Quarter. These Votes were passed in full Congress with perfect Unanimity.1
The Esteem, the Affection, the Admiration, for the People of Boston and the Massachusetts, which were expressed Yesterday, And the fixed Determination that they should be supported, were enough to melt an Heart of Stone. I saw the Tears gush into the Eyes of the old, grave, pacific Quakers of Pensylvania.
{ 158 }
You cannot conceive my Dear, the Harry of Business, Visits and Ceremonies which we are obliged to go through.
We have a delicate Course to steer, between too much Activity and too much Insensibility, in our critical interested situation. I flatter myself however, that We shall conduct our Embassy in such a manner as to merit the Approbation of our Country.
It has taken Us much Time to get acquainted with the Tempers, Views, Characters, and Designs of Persons and to let them into the Circumstances of our Province. My dear2 do, intreat every Friend I have to write me. Every Line which comes from our Friends is greedily enquired after, and our Letters have done us vast service.
Middlesex and Suffolk have acquired unbounded Honour here.3
There is No Idea of Submission, here in any Bodies head.
Thank my dear Nabby for her Letter4—tell her it has given me great Spirits. Kiss all my sweet ones for me.

[salute] Adieu.

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “C 1 No 5.” This and JA's other letters of this date were conveyed by Paul Revere, who had brought the Suffolk Resolves to Philadelphia; see JA to Cranch, 18 Sept., below.
1. These were resolutions approving the proceedings of the Suffolk co. convention held at Dedham and Milton, 6–9 Sept. (the well-known “Suffolk Resolves”), and calling on all the Colonies for continued contributions to alleviate “the distresses of our brethren at Boston.” The Suffolk Resolves and the resolutions thereupon were entered in the Journal, 17 and 18 Sept. (JCC, 1:31–40), and the latter were ordered to be printed in the newspapers. See also JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:134–135.
2. Here JA wrote and then for reasons of his own heavily inked out a word which may be “Charmer.”
3. The Middlesex co. convention held at Concord on 30–31 Aug. had communicated its proceedings to the Massachusetts delegates in Congress, who presented them to Congress on 14 Sept. (JCC, 1:31). The Middlesex Resolves were printed in Boston Gazette, 12 Sept., suppl., and a broadside text is in MHi (Evans 13439).
4. Not found, but see JA's answer, 19 Sept., below.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0103

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-09-18

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

In your last you inquire tenderly after my Health, and how we found the People upon our Journey, and how We were treated.
I have enjoyed as good Health as usual, and much more than I know how to account for, when I consider the extream Heat of the Weather, and the incessant Feasting I have endured ever since I left Boston.
The People, in Connecticutt, New York, the Jerseys and Pensyl• { 159 } vania, we have found extreamly well principled, and very well inclined, altho some Persons in N. York and Phyladelphia, wanted a little Animation. Their Zeal however has increased wonderfully since we began our Journey.
When the horrid News was brought here of the Bombardment of Boston, which made us compleatly miserable for two days, We saw Proofs both of the Sympathy and the Resolution, of the Continent.
War! War! War! was the Cry, and it was pronounced in a Tone, which would have done Honour to the Oratory of a Briton or a Roman. If it had proved true, you would have heard the Thunder of an American Congress.
I have not Time nor Language to express the Hospitality and Civility, the studied and expensive Respect with which we have been treated, in every Stage of our Progress. If Cambden,1 Chatham, Richmond2 and St. Asaph had travelled thro the Country, they could not have been entertained with greater Demonstrations of Respect, than Cushing, Paine and the Brace of Adams's have been.
The Particulars will amuse you, when We return.
I confess the Kindness, the Affection, the Applause, which has been given to me and especially, to our Province, have many a Time filled my Bosom, and streamed from my Eyes.
My best Respects to Coll. Warren and his Lady when you write to them. I wish to write them.

[salute] Adieu.

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “C 1 No 6.”
1. Charles Pratt (1714–1794), 1st Baron and, later, 1st Earl Camden, an eminent jurist, lord chancellor in Chatham's administration, and popular in America as an opponent of North's American policy (DNB).
2. Charles Lennox (1735–1806), 3d Duke of Richmond and Lennox, one of the great whig lords who opposed North's American policy (DNB).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0104

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cranch, Richard
Date: 1774-09-18

John Adams to Richard Cranch

[salute] My dear Brother

I thank you most kindly for your obliging Letter.1 And beg the Continuance of your Correspondence. Every Line from Boston is a Cordial, and of great Use to us in our Business.
It is a grief to my Heart that I cannot write to my Friends so often and particularly as I wish.
But Politicks I cant write, in Honour. I send the Votes of Yesterday, { 160 } which are ordered to be printed, and this is the only Thing which we are yet at Liberty to mention even to the People out of Doors here.—The Congress will support Boston and the Massachusetts or Perish with them. But they earnestly wish that Blood may be spared if possible, and all Ruptures with the Troops avoided. Break open my Letters to my Wife, and then send them as soon as possible.

[salute] Adieu.

[signed] John Adams
[In the margin]: My Love to sister, the Children and every Body.
RC (MHi: Josiah Quincy Jr. Papers); addressed: “To Mr. Richard Cranch Boston favoured by Mr. Revere”; endorsed: “John Adams Phila. Sept. 18. 1774.” Enclosures not found, but see note 1 on 1st letter of JA to AA of this day, above.
1. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0105

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Date: 1774-09-19

John Adams to Abigail Adams 2d

[salute] My dear Child

I have received your pretty Letter,1 and it has given me a great deal of Pleasure, both as it is a Token of your Duty and Affection to me and as it is a Proof of your Improvement in your hand Writing and in the faculties of the Mind.—I am very sorry to hear of your Grand Mamma's Indisposition: but I hope soon to hear of her Recovery. Present my Love to your Mamma, and to your Brothers, Johnny, Charly and Tommy. Tell them they must be good Children and mind their Books, and listen to the Advice of their excellent Mamma, whose Instructions will do them good as long as they live, and after they shall be no more in this World.
Tell them, they must all strive to qualify themselves to be good and usefull Men—that so they may be Blessings to their Parents, and to Mankind, as well as qualified to be Blessings to those who shall come after them.
Remember me to Mr. Brackett, and Copeland, and to Patty Field, Molly Marsh, Jonathan Bass and Patty Curtis.—I am my dear little Nabby, with continual Prayers for your Happiness and Prosperity, your affectionate Father,
[signed] John Adams
RC (Abigail Adams Smith House, Colonial Dames of America, New York City); addressed: “To Miss Nabby Adams Braintree To be left at Mr. Cranch's in Hanover street”; endorsed: “pappa Sep. 19, 1774.”
1. Not found; it had been enclosed in AA's letter to JA, 2 Sept., above.
{ 161 }

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0106

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-09-20

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

I am very well yet:—write to me as often as you can, and send your Letters to the Office in Boston or to Mr. Cranches, whence they will be sent by the first Conveyance.
I am anxious to know how you can live without Government. But the Experiment must be tryed. The Evils will not be found so dreadfull as you a[ppreh]end1 them.
Frugality, my Dear, Frugality, OEconomy, Parcimony must be our Refuge. I hope the Ladies are every day diminishing their ornaments, and the Gentlemen too.
Let us Eat Potatoes and drink Water. Let us wear Canvass, and undressed Sheepskins, rather than submit to the unrighteous, and ignominious Domination that is prepared for Us.—Tel Brackett, I shall make him leave off drinking Rum. We cant let him fight yet.—My Love to my dear ones.

[salute] Adieu.

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree favoured by Mr. Cunningham”; endorsed: “C 1 No 7.” On the cover are some money reckonings in JA's hand, the significance of which is not apparent.
1. MS torn by seal.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0107

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1774-09-22

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I have just returnd from a visit to my Brother, with my Father who carried me there the day before yesterday, and call'd here in my return to see this much injured Town.1 I view it with much the same sensations that I should the body of a departed Friend, only put of[f] its present Glory, for to rise finally to a more happy State. I will not despair, but will believe that our cause being good we shall finally prevail. The Maxim in time of peace prepair for war, (if this may be call'd a time of peace) resounds throughout the Country. Next tuesday they are warned at Braintree all above 15 and under 60 to attend with their arms, and to train once a fortnight from that time, is a Scheme which lays much at heart with many.
Scot has arrived, and brings news that he expected to find all peace and Quietness here as he left them at home.2 You will have more particuliars than I am able to send you, from much better hands. There { 162 } has been in Town a conspiracy of the Negroes. At present it is kept pretty private and was discoverd by one who endeavourd to diswaid them from it—he being threatned with his life, applied to Justice Quincy3 for protection. They conducted in this way—got an Irishman to draw up a petition to the Govener telling him they would fight for him provided he would arm them and engage to liberate them if he conquerd, and it is said that he attended so much to it as to consult Pircy4 upon it, and one [Lieut.?] Small has been very buisy and active. There is but little said, and what Steps they will take in consequence of it I know not. I wish most sincerely there was not a Slave in the province. It allways appeard a most iniquitious Scheme to me—fight ourselfs for what we are daily robbing and plundering from those who have as good a right to freedom as we have. You know my mind upon this Subject.
I left all our little ones well, and shall return to them to night. I hope to hear from you by the return of the bearer of this and by Revere. I long for the Day of your return, yet look upon you much safer where you are, but know it will not do for you. Not one action has been brought to this court, no buisness of any sort in your way. All law ceases, and the Gosple will soon follow, for they are supporters of each other. Adieu. My Father hurries me. Yours most sincerely,
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia”; docketed in an unidentified hand: “September 24 1774 AA.” The date in the docketing results from AA's having (as the editors believe) altered “24” to “22” in her date at the head of the letter, though possibly she altered it the other way around.
1. AA's brother, William Smith, had moved not long before to Lincoln and was to participate in the events of 19 April 1775.
2. Capt. Scott of the Hayley; he had arrived at Salem from London on the 19th (Mass. Spy, 22 Sept. 1774).
3. Edmund Quincy (1703–1788), older brother of Col. Josiah Quincy. At this time Edmund was living in Boston. See Adams Genealogy. Everything about this rumored “conspiracy of the Negroes” was kept so “private” that the editors cannot further elucidate it.
4. Hugh, Earl Percy (1742–1817), later 2d Duke of Northumberland of the 3d creation; colonel commanding the British camp at Boston (DNB).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0108

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-09-25

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

I would not loose the Opportunity of writing to you—tho I must be short.
Tedious, indeed is our Business.—Slow, as Snails. I have not been used to such Ways.
{ 163 }
We sit only before Dinner. We dine at four O Clock. We are crowded with a Levee in the Evening.
Fifty Gentlemen meeting together, all Strangers, are not acquainted with Each others Language, Ideas, Views, Designs. They are therefore jealous, of each other—fearfull, timid, skittish,—1
1. Obviously unfinished and perhaps not sent. Though folded as if to be sent, the letter bears no seal, address, or endorsement.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0109

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-09-29

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

Sitting down to write to you, is a Scene almost too tender for my State of Nerves. It calls up to my View the anxious, distress'd State you must be in, amidst the Confusions and Dangers, which surround you. I long to return, and administer all the Consolation in my Power, but when I shall have accomplished all the Business I have to do here, I know not, and if it should be necessary to stay here till Christmas, or longer, in order to effect our Purposes, I am determined patiently to wait.
Patience, Forbearance, Long Suffering, are the Lessons taught here for our Province, and at the same Time absolute and open Resistance to the new Government. I wish I could convince Gentlemen, of the Danger, or Impracticability of this as fully as I believe it myself.
The Art and Address, of Ambassadors from a dozen belligerant Powers of Europe, nay of a Conclave of Cardinals at the Election of a Pope, or of the Princes in Germany at the Choice of an Emperor, would not exceed the Specimens We have seen.—Yet the Congress all profess the same political Principles.
They all profess to consider our Province as suffering in the common Cause, and indeed they seem to feel for Us, as if for themselves. We have had as great Questions to discuss as ever engaged the Attention of Men, and an infinite Multitude of them.
I received a very kind Letter from Deacon Palmer,1 acquainting me with Mr. Cranch's designs of removing to Braintree, which I approve very much—and wish I had an House for every Family in Boston, and Abilities to provide for them, in the Country.
I submit it to you, my Dear, whether it would not be best to remove all the Books and Papers and Furniture in the Office at Boston up to Braintree. There will be no Business there nor any where, I suppose, { 164 } and my young Friends can study there better than in Boston at present.
I shall be kill'd with Kindness, in this Place. We go to congress at Nine, and there We stay, most earnestly engaged in Debates upon the most abstruse Misteries of State untill three in the Afternoon, then We adjourn, and go to Dinner with some of the Nobles of Pensylvania, at four O Clock and feast upon ten thousand Delicacies, and sitt drinking Madeira, Claret and Burgundy till six or seven, and then go home, fatigued to death with Business, Company, and Care.—Yet I hold it out, surprizingly.2 I drink no Cyder, but feast upon Phyladelphia Beer, and Porter. A Gentleman, one Mr. Hare, has lately set up in this City a Manufactory of Porter, as good as any that comes from London. I pray We may introduce it into the Massachusetts. It agrees with me, infinitely better than Punch, Wine, or Cyder, or any other Spirituous Liquor.—My Love to my dear Children one by one. My Compliments to Mr. Thaxter, and Rice and every Body else. Yours most affectionately,
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree favd. by Mr. Coolidge to be left with Mr. Tudor at his office in Queen Street”; endorsed: “C 1 No 8.”
1. Palmer's letter was dated from Boston, 14 Sept., but it has not been found except in the form of brief extracts printed in Hezekiah Niles' Principles and Acts of the Revolution in America, Baltimore, 1822, p. 322. In 1819, at Niles' urging, JA sent the Baltimore printer a “bundle” of letters and documents from his early files, and being without clerical help he unfortunately kept no copies. Niles printed some of these and portions of others in his compilation issued in 1822, but he never returned the originals, and there is now no way of telling precisely what was lost from JA's files by Niles' negligence. Information concerning Niles' papers, now scattered and perhaps largely lost, would be welcomed by the present editors.
2. Remainder of text omitted by CFA.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0110

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-10-07

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

I thank you for all your kind favours. I wish I could write to you, much oftener than I do. I wish I could write to you, a Dozen Letters every day. But the Business before me, is so arduous and takes up my Time so entirely, that I cannot write often. I had the Characters and Tempers, the Principles and Views of fifty Gentlemen total Strangers to me to study, and the Trade, Policy, and whole Interest of a Dozen Provinces, to learn when I came here. I have Multitudes of Pamphlets, News Papers, and private Letters to read. I have numberless Plans of { 165 } Policy, and many Arguments to consider. I have many Visits to make and receive—much Ceremony to endure, which cannot be avoided, which you know I hate.
There is a great Spirit in the Congress. But our People must be peaceable. Let them exercise every day in the Week, if they Will, the more the better. Let them furnish themselves with Artillery, Arms and Ammunition. Let them follow the Maxim, which you say they have adopted “In Times of Peace, prepare for War.” But let them avoid War, if possible, if possible I say.
Mr. Revere will bring you the Doings of the Congress, who are now, all around me debating what Advice to give to Boston and the Massachusetts Bay.
We are all well—hope our Family is so—remember me to them all. I have advised you before to remove my Office from Boston to Braintree. It is now, I think absolutely necessary. Let the best Care be taken of all Books and Papers.
Tell all my Clerks to mind their Books, and study hard—for their Country will stand in need of able Councillors.
I must give you a general Licence to make my Compliments to all my Friends and Acquaintances: I have not Time to name them particularly. I wish they would all write to me—if they leave Letters at Edes and Gills, they will soon be sent to me.
I long to be at home, but I cannot say when. I will never leave the Congress, untill it rises, and when it will rise, I cannot say. And indeed I cannot say but We are better here than any where. We have fine Opportunities here to serve Boston and Massachusetts, by acquainting the whole Continent with the true State of them. Our Residence here greatly serves the Cause.
The Spirit and Principles of Liberty, here, are greatly cherished, by our Presence and Conversation.
The Elections of the last Week in this City, prove this. Mr. Dickenson was chosen almost unanimously a Representative of the County. The Broadbrims1 began an opposition to your Friend Mr. Mifflin, because he was too warm in the Cause. This instantly alarmed the Friends of Liberty and ended in the Election of Mr. Mifflin, by Eleven hundred Votes out of Thirteen, and in the Election of our Secretary Mr. Charles Thompson to be a Burgess with him. This is considered here as a most compleat and decisive Victory in favour of the American Cause. And it [is] said it will change the Ballance in the Legislature here against Mr. Galloway who has been supposed to sit on the Skirts of the American Advocates.2
{ 166 }
Mrs. Mifflin who is a charming Quaker Girl, often enquires kindly after your Health.

[salute] Adieu my dear Wife—God bless you and yours. So wishes and prays, without ceasing,

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “C 1 No 9.”
1. Quakers.
2. In this critical election John Dickinson was returned to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives by Philadelphia co., and he was promptly added by the House to the Pennsylvania delegation in Congress. Thomas Mifflin and Charles Thomson were returned by the city of Philadelphia. Joseph Galloway lost his place as speaker in the session that followed. See Penna. Archives, 8th ser., 8:7148, 7152.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0111

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1774-10-09

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

I am wearied to Death with the Life I lead. The Business of the Congress is tedious, beyond Expression. This Assembly is like no other that ever existed. Every Man in it is a great Man—an orator, a Critick, a statesman, and therefore every Man upon every Question must shew his oratory, his Criticism and his Political Abilities.
The Consequence of this is, that Business is drawn and spun out to an immeasurable Length. I believe if it was moved and seconded that We should come to a Resolution that Three and two make five We should be entertained with Logick and Rhetorick, Law, History, Politicks and Mathematicks, concerning the Subject for two whole Days, and then We should pass the Resolution unanimously in the Affirmative.
The perpetual Round of feasting too, which we are obliged to submit to, make the Pilgrimage more tedious to me.
This Day I went to Dr. Allisons Meeting in the Forenoon and heard the Dr.—a good Discourse upon the Lords Supper.1 This is a Presbyterian Meeting. I confess I am not fond of the Presbyterian Meetings in this Town. I had rather go to Church. We have better Sermons, better Prayers, better Speakers, softer, sweeter Musick, and genteeler Company. And I must confess, that the Episcopal Church is quite as agreable to my Taste as the Presbyterian. They are both Slaves to the Domination of the Priesthood. I like the Congregational Way best—next to that the Independent.
This afternoon, led by Curiosity and good Company I strolled away to Mother Church, or rather Grandmother Church, I mean the Romish { 167 } Chappell.2 Heard a good, short, moral Essay upon the Duty of Parents to their Children, founded in Justice and Charity, to take care of their Interests temporal and spiritual. This Afternoons Entertainment was to me, most awfull and affecting. The poor Wretches, fingering their Beads, chanting Latin, not a Word of which they understood, their Pater Nosters and Ave Maria's. Their holy Water—their Crossing themselves perpetually—their Bowing to the Name of Jesus, wherever they hear it—their Bowings, and Kneelings, and Genuflections before the Altar. The Dress of the Priest was rich with Lace—his Pulpit was Velvet and Gold. The Altar Piece was very rich—little Images and Crucifixes about—Wax Candles lighted up. But how shall I describe the Picture of our Saviour in a Frame of Marble over the Altar at full Length upon the Cross, in the Agonies, and the Blood dropping and streaming from his Wounds.
The Musick consisting of an organ, and a Choir of singers, went all the Afternoon, excepting sermon Time, and the Assembly chanted—most sweetly and exquisitely.
Here is every Thing which can lay hold of the Eye, Ear, and Imagination. Every Thing which can charm and bewitch the simple and ignorant. I wonder how Luther ever broke the spell.

[salute] Adieu.

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree favd. by Mr. Revere”; endorsed: “C 1 No 10.”
1. Francis Alison (1705–1779), D.D., vice-provost of the College of Philadelphia and minister of the First Presbyterian Church, on the south side of Market Street between Second and Third Streets (DAB; Historic Philadelphia, Amer. Philos. Soc., Trans., vol. 43, pt. 1 [1953], p. 217).
2. St. Mary's Church, built in 1763 on Fourth Street between Spruce and Locust (Historic Philadelphia, as cited in preceding note, p. 203–209).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0112

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1774-10-13

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

[salute] Sir

I have been trying ever since you went away to learn to write you a Letter. I shall make poor work of it, but Sir Mamma says you will accept my endeavours, and that my Duty to you may be expressd in poor writing as well as good.
I hope I grow a better Boy and that you will have no occasion to be ashamed of me when you return. Mr. Thaxter says I learn my Books well—he is a very good Master. I read my Books to Mamma. We all long to see you; I am Sir your Dutiful Son,
[signed] John Quincy Adams
{ 168 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To John Adams Esqr Philidelphia”; docketed in an unidentified hand: “JQA October 13 1774.”

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0113

Author: Smith, Elizabeth (1750-1815)
Author: Peabody, Elizabeth Smith Shaw
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1774-10-14

Elizabeth Smith to John Adams

I have (my Dear Brother) been more than entertained by perusing a number of your Letters to my Sister. Highly favoured among Women, and peculiarly happy is her Lot in sharing the Confidence, and possessing the Esteem; the tenderest Affection, of a Man, in whose Breast the patriotic Virtues glow with unmitigated Fervour.
In one of your Letters you express a desire that all your Friends would write to you, and though you did not particularly mention me, yet without Vanity I may suppose myself One of the many. For if cordial Esteem would entitle me to a place, I am sure I should not be the last in the number. And though my Correspondence cannot be so advantageous to you in your political Concerns, as others you have been favoured with, yet the Effusions of a Sisters Heart, though unornamented by the methodical Correctness of the Head, may serve to sooth, and unbend your Mind after the Fatigue of Business.
I wish it was in my Power to rejoce your Heart with good News, but Weymouth does not lie under its meridian. It has almost deserted this Climate, and become a stranger in the Latitude of forty-two. Instead of the gratulations of Joy, Evil Tidings molest our Habitations, and wound our Peace.—Oh my Brother! Oppresion is enough to make a wise people Mad. I have Just heard of the cruel and unjust Treatment of some of our Men, who were bringing Salt Hay from Noddles Island in a Lighter. She was seized by one of the Tenders, our Men detained, and threatened with being put in Irons. After many In-treaties they were suffered (as an act of Mercy) to go and fling their welldried Hay, for which they had

“Braved the scorched vapours of the autumnal air”

into the sea.—How can we suppress our turbulent Passions! But we live in Days when these must be carefully checked and guided by Reason, and Prudence. These are Days that call for the exercise of every nobler Faculty, and all the heroic Virtues of the Soul. These are Days you are sensible

“That give Mankind occasion to exert

Their hidden Strength, and throw out into Practice

{ 169 }

Virtues which shun the Day, and lie conceald

In the smooth seasons and the calms of Life.”

All Eyes look up to the American Congress, as the Constelation, by which the important Affairs of State is to receive its guidance and direction.
We all join in wishing you may prosper in your arduous Employment, and may every measure for the good of our Country, be crowned with glorious Success.
Weymouth you know, consists cheifly of Farmers, and has never been distinguished, unless for its Inactivity. The Hand of Power has never been very liberal in dispensing Offices, that have excited either Envy or Jealousy, and they have not been necessitated to extort Conffesions and Recantations from their Fellow Townsmen, but have contented themselves with being tacitly loyal Subjects, and firm adherers to the Rights of their Country, till some of our Carpenters undertook to build Barracks. This awakened them from their Slumber, and kindled the latent Sparks of Freedom. They glowd with indignation and were determined to demolish their Houses unless they immediately desisted from so execrable, so detested an Employment.
But they were happily diverted from the Execution by the timely return of the Persons who had rendered themselves so obnoxious, and the Spirit subsided in the Erection of two immense Liberty Poles, to convince the world that they were not inattentive, or unconcerned Spectators.
Mother has been sick almost ever since you quitted this part of the World, which has prevented my spending any of my Time with your Beloved, and alleviating in some small degree your absence. I need not tell you we all long to see you.—Indeed my Brother I feel an uncommon great disposition to be saucy—but it must be suppresed.
May I flatter myself that you will lay aside a few moments, the important Toils of state, and gratify me with a Line. I readily acknowledge the Hope of being favoured with an Epistle from a Brother seting in an american Congress, has induced me thus to expose myself.
I rely on the Candor of a Friend, and the Partiallity of a Brother to forgive the many inacuracies you will find in this Letter, from Your Friend & Sister,
[signed] BS
PS I know you will rejoice to see that I had an Oppertunity to send this, by so trusty a Conveyance.1
[Added on cover]: PS Doctor Tufts Family unites with ours, in wishing You Health and every Blessing.
{ 170 }
RC (DLC: Shaw Family Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia.”
1. Probably William Tudor; see the following letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0114

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Tudor, William
Date: 1774-10-15

Abigail Adams to William Tudor

[salute] Sir

I received your very obliging Letter1 and thank you for the early intelligence of your designed Tour.2 I could wish to be a fellow Traveller with you; tho I cannot personally partake, of your joyful reception, I feel no small pleasure in the anticipation of yours.
I commit to your care a Letter which I would not trust to any hand less safe than yours. You will carry it Sir with my tenderest regards and best wishes for our Common Friend.
The esteem and regard you profess, both for Mr. Adams and myself, not only deserves, but most assuredly meets with a Reciprocal Return.
I wish you a prosperous journey and a safe return that you may distinguish yourself in these perilous Times by arouseing your Ambition and animating your attention, even to the “Bareing your Bold Breast, and pouring your generous Blood” in defence of the just claims of your much injured Country. In the foremost rank of her Heroes may you obtain that glory which your merrit deserves, and live to see those Halcion Days when Ancient fraud shall cease, and returning justice lift aloft her scale. Then may you be a sharer in that Domestick felicity which gives Society its highest taste—

“Well-orderd Home—with her (who e're she be)

Who by Submissive Wisdom, Modest Skill,

With every gentle, care-eluding art

Will raise the Virtues, animate the bliss

And sweeten all the toils of Humane life.”

[salute] That I may live to see you thus happy is the ardent wish of your assured Friend,

[signed] Abigail Adams
Be kind eno' to inquire at Dr. Warrens if a Letter3 which I sent there last week has met with a conveyance.
RC (MHi: Tudor Papers); endorsed: “October 15th. 1774 Mrs. Adams.” Enclosure: AA to JA, 16 Oct., below.
1. Not found.
2. Tudor set out for Philadelphia in a day or two and arrived by the 27th, under which date in JA's Diary is an ac• { 171 } count of their sightseeing tour together. Congress had adjourned on 26 Oct.; JA himself left Philadelphia on 28 Oct. and arrived in Braintree probably on 10 Nov. (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:157–160).
3. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0115

Author: Cranch, Mary Smith
Recipient: Smith, Isaac Jr.
Date: 1774-10-15

Mary Smith Cranch to Isaac Smith Jr.

[salute] Dear Cousin

It has been with inexpressable pleasure that I have beheld you usher'd into the world with such deserved approbation and it has been no common sattisfaction that I have receiv'd from your being placed in a Station where you may be so extencively useful.1 My fancy has often transported me into future time and presented you to me as a good Sheepherd feeding his flock in the tenderest manner with the best and most wholesome food, and never till very lately had I a fear that my most sanguine expectations with regard to you would be dissapointed. Orthodoxy in Politicks is full as necessary a quallification for Settling a minister at the present Day as orthodoxy in divinity was formely, and tho you should preach like an angel if the People suppose you unfriendly to the country and constitution and a difender of the unjust, cruil and arbitary measures that have been taken by the ministry against us, you will be like to do very little good. I hope you do not deserve it but this is the oppinion that manny in this and the neighbouring towns have of you and the very People who a Twelvemonth ago heard you with admiration and talk'd of you with applause, will now leave the meeting-house when you inter it to preach. This my cousin has been the Case I have been told by several in two meetings houses in this town within these Six weeks. I have said every thing I could in your defence but cant remove the prejudice.
I fear you have been imprudent. You have no doubt a right to enjoy you own oppinion but I Query whether your Duty calls you to divulge your Sentiments curcomstanced as you are. While the spirit of the People runs so high, you cannot imagine what trouble these Storys have given me. I cannot bear to think that my cousins amiable disposition and great abillities should be effaced by arbitary principles. I had rather think that he understands Divinity better than Politicks. The management of our publick affairs is in very good hands, and all that is requir'd of you is your Prayers and exhortations for a general reformation. It is not my province to enter into politicks, but sure I am that it is not your Duty to do or say any thing that shall tend to distroy your usefulness. You will not only hurt your self but you will injure your father in his business, for it will be said and I know it has been said { 172 } “If the son is a Tory the father is so to be sure.” You will grieve your mother beyond discription, and if I know you I think you would not willingly wound such tender parents.
My high Esteem and great regard for you must be my excuse for the freedom I have taken with you in this Letter for you may be assur'd my dear cousen that no one more sincerely wishes your usefulness in this world and your happiness in the next than your affectionate Friend,
[signed] Mary Cranch
RC (MHi: Richard Cranch Papers).
1. Having completed his studies for the ministry, Isaac Smith Jr. was now a tutor at Harvard College—an appointment he held until hostilities broke out; shortly thereafter he sailed for England.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0116

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1774-10-16

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Much Loved Friend

I dare not express to you at 300 hundred miles distance how ardently I long for your return. I have some very miserly Wishes; and cannot consent to your spending one hour in Town till at least I have had you 12. The Idea plays about my Heart, unnerves my hand whilst I write, awakens all the tender sentiments that years have encreased and matured, and which when with me were every day dispensing to you.1 The whole collected stock of <nine> ten weeks absence knows not how to brook any longer restraint, but will break forth and flow thro my pen. May the like sensations enter thy breast, and (in spite of all the weighty cares of State) Mingle themselves with those I wish to communicate, for in giving them utterance I have felt more sincere pleasure than I have known since the 10 of August.—Many have been the anxious hours I have spent since that day—the threatning aspect of our publick affairs, the complicated distress of this province, the Arduous and perplexed Buisness in which you are engaged, have all conspired to agitate my bosom, with fears and apprehensions to which I have heretofore been [a] stranger, and far from thinking the Scene closed, it looks [as] tho the curtain was but just drawn and only the first Scene of the infernal plot disclosed and whether the end will be tragical Heaven alone knows. You cannot be, I know, nor do I wish to see you an inactive Spectator, but if the Sword be drawn I bid adieu to all domestick felicity, and look forward to that Country where there is neither wars nor rumors of War in a firm belief that thro the mercy of its King we shall both rejoice there together.
{ 173 }
I greatly fear that the arm of treachery and voilence is lifted over us as a Scourge and heavy punishment from heaven for our numerous offences, and for the misimprovement of our great advantages. If we expect to inherit the blessings of our Fathers, we should return a little more to their primitive Simplicity of Manners, and not sink into inglorious ease. We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them. I have spent one Sabbeth in Town since you left me. I saw no difference in respect to ornaments, &c. &c. but in the Country you must look for that virtue, of which you find but small Glimerings in the Metropolis. Indeed they have not the advantages, nor the resolution to encourage our own Manufactories which people in the country have. To the Mercantile part, tis considerd as throwing away their own Bread; but they must retrench their expenses and be content with a small share of gain for they will find but few who will wear their Livery. As for me I will seek wool and flax and work willingly with my Hands, and indeed their is occasion for all our industry and economy.
You mention the removal of our Books &c. from Boston. I believe they are safe there, and it would incommode the Gentlemen to remove them, as they would not then have a place to repair to for study. I suppose they would not chuse to be at the expence of bording out. Mr. Williams I believe keeps pretty much with his mother. Mr. Hills father had some thoughts of removing up to Braintree provided he could be accommodated with a house, which he finds very difficult.
Mr. Cranch's last determination was to tarry in Town unless any thing new takes place. His Friends in Town oppose his Removal so much that he is determind to stay. The opinion you have entertaind of General Gage is I believe just, indeed he professes to act only upon the Defensive. The People in the Co[untr]y begin to be very anxious for the congress to rise. They have no Idea of the Weighty Buisness you have to transact, and their Blood boils with indignation at the Hostile prepairations they are constant Witnesses of. Mr. Quincys so secret departure is Matter of various Specculation—some say he is deputed by the congress, others that he is gone to Holland, and the Tories says he is gone to be hanged.2
I rejoice at the favourable account you give me of your Health; May it be continued to you. My Health is much better than it was last fall. Some folks say I grow very fat.—I venture to write most any thing in this Letter, because I know the care of the Bearer. He will be most sadly dissapointed if you should be broke up before he arrives, as he is very desirous of being introduced by you to a Number of Gentlemen { 174 } of respectable characters. I almost envy him, that he should see you, before I can.
Mr. Thaxter and Rice present their Regards to you. Unkle Quincy too sends his Love to you, he is very good to call and see me, and so have many other of my Friends been. Coll. Warren and Lady were here a monday, and send their Love to you. The Coll. promiss'd to write. Mrs. Warren will spend a Day or two on her return with me. I told Betsy to write to you. She says she would if you were her Husband.
Your Mother sends her Love to you, and all your family too numerous to name desire to be rememberd. You will receive Letters from two, who are as earnest to write to Pappa as if the welfare of a kingdom depended upon it.3 If you can give any guess within a month let me know when you think of returning to Your most Affectionate
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To John Adams Esqr. in Philadelphia Pr. Favour Mr. Tudor”; docketed in an unidentified hand: “October 16 1774 AA.” Originally enclosed in AA to William Tudor, 15 Oct., above.
1. Thus in MS and, though awkward, probably not in need of the kind of emendation ingeniously (and silently) made by CFA; see JA–AA, Familiar Letters, p. 47. In the 18th century the present participle was often used in constructions that now require a passive verb. “The books are now printing” was standard, or at least good idiomatic usage, for “The books are now being printed.” AA's final clauses may therefore be read as follows: “... and which [tender sentiments], when [you were] with me, were every day dispensing [i.e. being dispensed] to you.” Compare JA to AA, 30 April 1775 (2d letter), below: “Every Thing is doing [i.e. being done] by this Colony, that can be done by Men.”
2. Josiah Quincy Jr. had sailed from Salem aboard the Boston Packet for England on 28 September. Only a few of his closest friends, one of whom was JA, knew of his purpose, which was to present the views of American patriot leaders to both the administration and the friends of America in England. See Josiah Quincy, Josiah Quincy, Jr., ch. 9. Quincy's journal and letters during the several months he was in England are printed in the following chapters of that memoir, but the journal is much more reliably printed in MHS, Procs., 50 (1916–1917): 433–471. Since he died just before reaching port on his return voyage, late in April 1775, Quincy never communicated to his friends what he learned in England; see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:161–162.
3. Only JQA's letter, dated 13 Oct., has been found. The missing letter was doubtless written by AA2.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0117

Author: Smith, Isaac Jr.
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1774-10-20

Isaac Smith Jr. to Mary Smith Cranch

If it was possible to tell you, my dear Mrs. Cranch, how much I think myself obliged to you, for your kind, sensible and polite letter { 175 } of the last week I would do it with the sincerest pleasure. As it is not easy to me, to express the sense I have of your own, and the benevolent intentions and wishes of other of my good friends with regard to me, I must only beg you, to accept my thanks in return.
“Orthodoxy in politics is,” I am sensible, “full as necessary a qualification for the ministry at this day as ever was orthodoxy in divinity.” If I am reputed an heretic in either, I cannot help it. It is my misfortune; it may be my fault. I hate enthusiasm and bigotry, in whatever form they appear, but am willing to submit to censure. The greatest friends of their country and of mankind, that ever lived, have frequently met with the same hard fate. I am not indifferent to the good opinion of those around me, but I cannot, in complaisance to others, even to those for whose understanding I have a much higher veneration, than for my own—I cannot give up the independance of my own mind.
“You fear, I have been imprudent.” I do not mean entirely to deny the charge. It is very possible, this may have been the case with me, in particular instances. But not so much so, perhaps, as you imagine. Into what times are we fallen, when the least degree of moderation, the least inclination to peace and order, the remotest apprehension for the public welfare and security is accounted a crime? Or what sort of cause is that, which dreads the smallest inquisition?
“Our cause,” you tell me, “is in very good hands.” I do not at all dispute it. But is it not also in bad ones? Has not the conduct of a few bad men already done infinite mischief to our cause? Have not bad men wantonly bro't us to a state of the greatest extremity and hazard? And may not the violence and temerity of such men precipitate us into measures, which the united efforts of the good cannot prevent?
Whatever others may think or say, let me intreat of you, my dear Mrs. Cranch, not to conceive of me, as in the least wanting in affection for my country. Heav'n knows the continual anxiety, I feel for its welfare. Nor do I merit the charge of being unfriendly to its constitution. It is true, I have not exclaimed so loudly against the cruelty, the injustice, the arbitrary nature of the late acts of Parliament, as others have done. My age, my particular profession in life, my connection with this seminary of learning, the seat of liberal enquiry, would have forbidden me to do so, had I even looked upon them, in a more odious light, than the people of the province in general. No one, however, wishes less, to see them established. At the same time I must freely own, that I had rather calmly acquiesce in these, and an hundred other acts, proceeding from a British Legislature, (tho' we need not { 176 } even do this,) than be subject to the capricious, unlimited despotism of a few of my own countrymen, or behold the soil, which gave me birth, made a scene of mutual carnage and desolation.
I had intended to have said more. But as your friendly admonition appears to me to be founded on some misinformation, I had rather converse with you on the subject. I thank you, for every favourable sentiment you have been pleased to entertain of me, and wish I was in any measure worthy of the esteem you have so kindly express'd.

[salute] I am, your's, Mrs. Cranch, with the warmest regard,

[signed] I. Smith
P.S. If you wish to see an exact picture of my thoughts, please to read the third of the Farmer's first Letters, which I always admired.1
RC (MHi: Richard Cranch Papers); addressed: “Mrs Cranch, Hanover street Boston”; docketed in an unidentified hand: “To Mrs. Cranch from Rev. I. Smith Oct. 20.—probably 1774.”
1. John Dickinson's Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania ..., Phila., 1768.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0118

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1774

Abigail Adams to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] Dear Sister

I was yesterday at Weymouth where I received your Letter,2 and the saffron risbands3 &c. I thank you and Cousin Betsy both; I expect you a thursday, but from all I can find out, I do not think the visit will be to any purpose; there seems to me to be at present a real aversion to change of state. [ . . . ]4 having quited one has no inclination for an other; so things look to me. I am really sorry upon all accounts, the merrit of the person unquestionable, their Sentiments so generous, upon both sides. What pitty tis we cannot reason ourselves into love? The villan, the urchin is deaf as well as blind—“Spreads his light wings and in a moment flies” at sight of reason.—She feels greatly embarrassed. She knows the wishes of all her Friends and to them joins her own, but all will not avail; I really think she must take her own way and nobody say her Nay. However if you come up you may know perhaps how matters stand. I chanced to find her in a more unreserved state than she commonly is. I expect her here a thursday. Come and dine with me, you will find me a little up in arms as they say—but very glad to see you. I shall expect you. Father says take his horse which Brother has, and come down and change. He wants to send Brothers home. I wish you would procure me half a yd. cambrick about 2/10 yd. and 3 yd. of cloth about 25 seven Eights wide. You will greatly oblige yours,
[signed] AA
{ 177 }
RC (NAII); addressed: “To Mrs Mary Cranch Boston”; docketed in an unidentified hand, perhaps that of Lucy (Cranch) Greenleaf: “at Boston—no date. Aunt Elizabeth's affair."
1. This date is highly tentative. It is assigned on the presumption that AA is discussing her sister Betsy's relationship with John Shaw, whom Betsy was to marry in 1777 but whom she had renounced in March 1774; see Elizabeth Smith to AA, 7 March 1774, above. But since AA later opposed the marriage, this presumption may be wrong.
2. Not found.
3. Thus in MS.
4. Illegible initial.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0119

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Macaulay, Catharine Sawbridge
Date: 1774

Abigail Adams to Catharine Sawbridge Macaulay

[salute] Madam

In the last Letter which Mr. Adams had the honour to receive from you, you express a Desire to become acquainted with our American Ladies.1 To them Mrs. Macaulay is sufficiently distinguished by her superior abilities, and altho she who is now ventureing to address her cannot lay claim to eaquil accomplishments with the Lady before introduced,2 yet she flatters herself she is no ways deficient in her esteem for a Lady who so warmly interests herself in the cause of America—a Cause madam which is now become so serious to every American that we consider it as a struggle from which we shall obtain a release from our present bondage by an ample redress of our Grieveances—or a redress by the Sword. The only alternative which every american thinks of is Liberty or Death.
“Tender plants must bend, but when a Goverment is grown to strength like some old oak rough with its armed bark it yealds not to the tug, but only nods and turns to sullen state.”
Should I attempt to discribe to you the complicated misiries and distresses brought upon us by the late inhumane acts of the British parliment my pen would faill me. Suffice it to say, that we are invaded with fleets and Armies, our commerce not only obstructed, but totally ruined, the courts of Justice shut, many driven out from the Metropolis, thousands reduced to want, or dependant upon the charity of their neighbours for a daily supply of food, all the Horrours of a civil war threatning us on one hand, and the chains of Slavery ready forged for us on the other. We Blush when we recollect from whence these woes arise, and must forever execrate the infamous memory of those Men whether they are Americans or Brittons, whose contagious Ambition first opened the pandoraen Box, and wantonly and cruelly scatterd the fatal ingrediants—first taught us filled with grief and anxiety to inquire
{ 178 }

Are these thy deeds o Britton? this the praise

That points the growing Lusture of thy Name

These glorious works that in thy [better?] Days

fild the bright period of thine early fame

To rise in ravage and with arm prophane

From freedoms shrine each sacred Gift to rend

and mark the closing annals of thy reign

With every foe subdued, and every Friend.

You will think Madam perhaps from the account I have given you, that we are in great confusion and disorder—but it is far otherways. Tho there are but few who are unfealing or insensible to the general calimity, by far the greater part support it with that firmness, that fortitude, that undaunted resolution which ever attends those who are conscious that they are the injured not the injurer, and that they are engaged in a righteous cause in which they fear not to “bare their bold Breasts and pour their generous Blood.” Altho by the obstruction of publick justice, each individual is left at a loose, to do that which is right in his own Eyes, yet each one strives to shew his neighbour that the restraints of Honour and of conscience are more powerful motives, than the judiciary proceedings of the Law. Notwithstanding the inveterate Malice of our Enimies who are continually representing us, as in a state of anarchy and confusion, torn up with intestine broils, and guilty of continual riots and outrage, yet this people never saw a time of greater peace and harmony among themselves, every one uniting in the common cause, and strengthning each other with inconceivable constancy and sumpathetick ardor.
I mean always to Except those whose venal Souls barter freedom for Gold, and would sell their Country, nay gladly see an innocent land deluged with Blood, if they could riot upon its Spoils, which heaven Avert!—Tis with anxious Hearts and eager expectations that we are now waiting for the result of the united Supplications of America. Yet having so often experienced their Enefficacy we have little reason to hope. We think we have more to expect from the firm and religious observance of the association which accompanied them3—for tho it was formerly the pride and ambition of American[s] to indulge in the fashions and Manufactures of Great Brittain now she threatens us with her chains we will scorn to wear her livery, and shall think ourselves more decently attired in the coarse and plain vestures of our own Manufactury than in all the gaudy trapings that adorn the slave.—Yet connected as we are by Blood, by commerce, by { 179 } one common language, by one common religion as protestants, and as good and loyal subjects of the same king, we earnestly wish that the three fold cord of Duty, interest and filial affection may not be snapped assunder. Tis like the Gordean knot. It never can be untied, but the sword may cut it, and America if she falls to use the words of the revered and ever honourd Mr. Pitt, will fall like a strong Man, will embrace the pillars of State and pull down the constitution along with her.
I must intreet your pardon Madam for Detaining you so long from the important Services in which you are engaged, but having taken up my pen I could not refrain giving utterance to some of those Emotions which have agitated my Bosom and are the cause of many anxious hours to her who begs leave to subscribe herself Dear Madam your great admirer & humble Servant,
[signed] Abigail Adams
Dft (Adams Papers), undated, with numerous cancellations and insertions not noted here; notes by CFA at head of text assign date “1774” and recipient's name.
1. The letter in question, dated 11 Sept., was enclosed in Edward Dilly's letter to JA of 24 Sept. 1774 (both in Adams Papers).
2. Mercy (Otis) Warren, who became a frequent correspondent of Mrs. Macaulay.
3. The “association” was the nonimportation, nonconsumption, nonexportation agreement adopted by the first Continental Congress, signed by the members on 20 Oct., and widely printed and circulated. See JCC, 1:75–81; “Bibliographical Notes” in same, p. 127; and facsimile of signed MS in pocket inside back cover of that volume.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0120

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1775-01-25

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Dear Mrs. Warren

I wrote you last Sabbeth evening2 in a good deal of pertubation of Spirits. I fear I did wrong in sending it you; I then promised to acquaint you with the result as soon as I knew it. Mr. Adams returnd a monday night in order to Relieve me from my apprehensions. It does not appear that there was any premediated design to raise a Tumult. An officer very drunk sallied forth, and was seen in that state by the Watch who suspecting that some evil might ensue offerd to see him to his lodgings. He readily consented, but his Servant comeing up and seeing him with the Watch, enterd into a Quarrel with them, and ran to Jones tavern and raised nine officers who were pretty well warmd with liquor and they without inquireing into the merits of the cause, fell upon the Watch. The people applied to the General. He orderd them under guard, and a court martial sat upon { 180 } them a monday. I have not heard what they did. The Watch enterd their complaint befor Justice Quincy and Warrents were issued out. Yesterday Mr. Adams went to Town to attend the examination before Justice Hill, Quincy and Pemberton. I hear the court was much crouded, and that they did not get thro, but adjourned till to day.3—Thus are we to be in continual hazard and Jeopardy of our lives from a Set of dissolute unprincipald officers, and an Ignorant abandoned Soldiery who are made to believe that their Errant here is to Quell a Lawless Set of Rebels—who can think of it without the utmost indignation. “Is it not better to die the last of British freemen than live the first of British Slaves.” Every act of cunning and chicanery is made use of by the execrable Massachusettensis “to make the worse appear the better reasoning” and with high words that bare semblance of worth, not substance gently raise their fainting courage and dispell their fears “and now his Heart distends with pride, and hard'ning in his strength glories.” I do not think it unlikely that he receives a share of the Money we are told was sent as a bribe for the Leaders of the people. “Sly undermining Tool” representing the Whigs as men of desperate fortunes as tho Truth could not be told only by men of fortunes and pensioners. When is it ever told by them? Are not pensions and places productive of a most narrow sordid and mercenary Spirit, and are we not told that they are granted more for Ministeria[l] than publick Services?—Help me to a Name befitting the character of this Miscreant!4
We have had a Town meeting this week for the chusing of Delegates, and voted to send but one by which means Col. Thair [Thayer] is left out and Deacon Palmer chosen. They voted also to pay a Shilling L M5 to every Man who will excersise once a week from 3 o clock till 6 and to pay the Money which shall be collected as taxes into the hands of the Select Men.6
We have had a Rumor here that a collection of tories from Marshfield have flown to Town, to request a regiment of Soldiers to protect them, and in concequence of it that 100 & 25 have embarked but should it be so what they can propose we can not immagine, unless it is to give them opportunity to escape.
Dft (Adams Papers), undated; in JQA's hand at head of text is an assigned (and erroneous) date: “1777.”
1. Internal evidence makes it possible to date this letter precisely. As the newspapers indicate, the “examination” before the Suffolk justices began on Tuesday, 24 Jan., and was continued next day, which AA speaks of as “to day,” i.e. 25 Jan. 1775.
2. This letter, which must have been { 181 } written on 22 Jan., has not been found.
3. The Boston Gazette of 30 Jan. gives a detailed account of this incident. Eight British officers were bound over by the justices on 25 Jan. “to answer for their conduct at the Superior Court, ... but the good People of this County will rather chuse to hear no more of this Matter, than return Jurors [to] the Superior Court upon the Act of Parliament to regulate the Government of this Province, which they have resolved never to submit to.”
4. The author of the “Massachusettensis” papers, which appeared in the Boston Post Boy, 12 Dec. 1774–3 April 1775, was Daniel Leonard, though JA, who answered them in twelve numbers over the signature “Novanglus” in the Boston Gazette, 25 Jan.–17 April 1775, long supposed they were the work of Jonathan Sewall. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:161; 3:313.
5. Lawful money.
6. This meeting was held on Monday, 23 January. It elected Joseph Palmer to the second Provincial Congress, instructed him to “attend to the Spirit & letter” of the “recommendations & resolves of the continental Congress,” and voted a long series of measures for the encouragement of the militia (Braintree Town Records, p. 453–454). Though JA had been a member of the first Provincial Congress, which had by now taken over the functions of the General Court, he was glad to have been left out of the second Congress (along with Ebenezer Thayer), for reasons he detailed to James Warren in a letter of 15 March (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.; JA, Works, 9:354–355).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0121

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-01-28

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

I think myself Doubly obligated to my amiable Friend that she has for once Layed aside that Cerimonious Demand of a Letter in Return for Every Line she favours me with.
Your Last1 I perceive was wrote with a heart trembling with the Laudable feelings of Humanity Least your suffering Country should be driven to Extreemities, and its Inocent inhabitants be made the sacrifices to Disappointed Ambition and Avarice, but I will hope yet a Little Longer for a more Favorable termination of the Distresses of America. But we cannot Long Continue in this state of suspence. It is and Ever has been my poor Opinion that justice and Liberty will finally Gain a Compleat Victory over Tyrany. What may be the intervening sufferings of the many individuals, Heaven only knows, and to a superintending providence we must Leave the Decession of the important Contests of the Day, who alone has power to Avert the Evils we fear.
I am very sensible with you my dear Mrs. Adams that by our Happy Connection with partners of Distinguished Zeal, integrity and Virtue, who would be Marked out as Early Victems to successful Tyrany, we should therby be subjected to peculier Afflictions but Yet we shall never wish them to do anything for our sakes Repugnant to Honour or Conscience. But though we may with a Virtuous Crook2 be Willing to suffer pain and poverty With them, Rather than they should Deviate { 182 } from their Noble Principles of Integrity and Honour, yet where Would be our Constancy and Fortitude Without their Assistance to support the Wounded Mind. And Which of us should have the Courage of an Aria or a Portia in a Day of trial like theirs. For myself I dare not Boast, and pray Heaven that Neither Me nor my Friend May be Ever Called to such a Dreadful proof of Magnanimity. I do not mean to die by our own Hand Rather than submit to the Yoke of servitude, and survive the Companions of our Hearts, nor do I think it would have been the Case with Either of those Celebrated Ladies had they Lived in the Days of Christianity, for I think it is a much Greater proof of an Heroic Soul to struggle with the Calamities of Life, and patiently Resign ourselves to the Evils we Cannot Avoid then Cowardly to shrink from the post Alloted us by the Great Director of the Theatre of the Universe, Before we have finished our part in the Drama of Life.
You have doubtless heard that their is a Detachment from head quarters stationed in the Neighbourhoud of Plimouth. People here are much at a Loss what Can be the Design of this Ridiculous Movment. Most probably to try if they Cannot provoke to some precepitant Measures that may tend to Divide and Distress this Country to a Higher Degree.
Yours of Jan. the third3 begins with an instance of Curiosity which I am willing to Cherish. Nay Even to Gratify provided I may be indulged in Return with the sight of Mr. and Mrs. Adams's Correspondence with the Lady Refered to,4 for however I may fall short of Mrs. Adams in many Female accomplishments, I believe I must own we are on an Equal footing with Regard to the one quality which the other sex so Generously Consigns over to us, though for no other Reason but because they have the opportunities of indulging their inquisitive Humour to the utmost in the Great school of the World, while we are Confined to the Narrower Circle of Domestic Care. But we have yet one Advantage peculier to ourselves. If the Mental Faculties of the Female are not improved it may be Concealed in the Obscure Retreats of the Bed Chamber or the kitchen which she is not often Necessitated to Leave. Whereas Man is Generally Called out to the full display of his Abilities but how often do they Exhibit the most Mortifying instances of Neglected Opportunities and their Minds appear Not with standing the Advantages of what is Called a Liberal Education, as Barren of Culture and as Void of Every useful acquirement as the most Triffling untutored Girl.
The Request towards the Close of your Last may perhaps be Complyd with in some Future Day if you Continue to Desire it.
{ 183 }

[salute] With much Affection I subscribe your unfeigned Friend,

[signed] Mercy Warren
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams.” Early Tr (MHi: Mercy Warren Letterbook); in an unidentified hand and assigned the conjectural and incorrect date “February 1774.” Tr (obviously based on an undated Dft, not found) lacks initial paragraph and last paragraph before complimentary close; other variations between the two texts are not noted here.
1. Probably the missing letter of 22 Jan., mentioned in note 2 on the preceding letter.
2. This is not an intended play on words but an example of Mrs. Warren's inveterate habit of assuming classical postures. Her “Virtuous Crook” must be a shepherdess' crook symbolizing rural retirement and poverty.
3. Not found.
4. Doubtless Mrs. Macaulay is meant.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0122

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1775-02-03

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] My Dear Mrs. Warren

The die is cast. Yesterday brought us such a Speach from the Throne as will stain with everlasting infamy the reign of G[e]orge the 3 determined to carry into Execution “the acts passd by the late parliment, and to Mantain the authority of the Legislature over all his dominions.” The reply of the house of commons and the house of Lords shew us the most wicked and hostile measures will be persued against us—even without giving us an opportunity to be heard in our defence. Infatuated Brittain! poor distressed America. Heaven only knows what is next to take place but it seems to me the Sword is now our only, yet dreadful alternative, and the fate of Rome will be renued in Brittain. She who has been the envy of nations will now become an object of their Scorn and abhorance, and as it was said of Rome that she governd other people by her will but her own by Law, they now behold her governd herself by will, by the Arbitary Will of the worst of her own citizens, and arrived at that period which has been foretold when the people co-operateing with the Enimies of the constitution by Electing those to represent them who are hired to betray them, or by submitting tamely when the mask is taken of or falls of, and the attempt to bring beggary and Slavery is avoued or can be no longer concealed. When this happens the Friends of Liberty, should any such remain will have one option still left, and will rather chuse no doubt to die [the] last British freemen, than bear to live the first of British Slaves, and this now seems to be all that is left to americans with unfeigned and penitant suplications to that Being who delights in the welfare of his creatures, and who we humbly hope will engage { 184 } on our side, and who if we must go forth in defence of our injured and oppressed Country will we hope deliver us from the hands of our enimies and those that persecute us. Tho an hoste should encamp against [us] our hearts will not fear. Tho war should rise against us, in this will we be confident, that the Lord reigneth. Let thy Mercy o Lord be upon us according as we hope in thee.
Mr. Adams is in Boston. I have not seen him since the <news> royal mandate arrived. Nor have I been able to learn any further news. I wait for his return with anxiety even tho I expect to be confirmed in all my apprehensions. Those who have most to loose have most to fear. The Natural timidity of our sex always seeks for a releif in the encouragement and protection of the other.
Thus far I wrote with a Heart tremblingly anxious, and was prevented from persuing my Subject by companys comeing in. Upon Mr. Adams'es return I experienced the truth of your observation. He laughed at my fears and in some Measure dispelld them—made me see that we were not called either rebels or Trators, told me that there was no other news by this Ship and he still thought that their fears might have weight with them. I would not have my Friend immagine that with all my fears and apprehension, I would give up one Iota of our rights and privilages. I think upon the Maturest deliberation I can say, dreadful as the day would be I had rather see the Sword drawn. Let these truths says the admired Farmer2 be indelibly impressed on our Minds that we cannot be happy without being free, that we cannot be free without being secure in our property, that we cannot be secure in our property if without our consent others may as by right take it away.—We know too well the blessings of freedom, to tamely resign it—and there really seems to be a ray of light breaking thro the palpable darkness which has for so long a time darkened our hemisphere and threatned to overwhelm us in one common ruin and I cannot but hope with you for more favorable Scenes, and brighter Days. Lord North has luckely thought of a new explanation of his Neroisim. What ever may be their secret motives to a change of Measures is uncertain, but from their formour conduct we shall have little reason to think that justice or Humanity were the motives, and must ever mantain a jealous Eye over those who have acted so repugnant to all Laws both Humane and Divine. May justice and Liberty finally prevail and the Friends of freedom enjoy that Satisfaction and tranquility which ever attends upright intentions and is the sure recompence of virtue.
But if adverse Days are still alloted us, which neither wisdom or { 185 } prudence can prevent, it must be a continual Source of Satisfaction that every method consistant with reason and religion <has> have been adopted to avert the calimities. But if Innocence must be exposed to Caluminy and virtue become the object of percecution and the upright individual fall a sacrifice to his own virtue, still we must not arraign the divine justice which acts not by partial but by general Laws and may have very important and extensive concequences to answer for the general good of Society.3
My Friend assures me that she will comply with my request and gratify my curiosity, but at the same time holds me to conditions which if I comply with it will be only to obtain the greater good for the less. Very selfish motives you will say, tho but few I believe would withstand the temptation.4
I observe my Friend is labouring under apprehensions least the Severity with which a certain Group was drawn was incompatable with that Benevolence which ought always to be predominant in a female character.5 “Tho an Eagles talon asks an Eagles Eye” and Satire in the hands of some is a very dangerous weapon yet when it is so happily blended with benevolence, and is awakend only by the Love of virtue, and abhorance of vice, when Truth is invoilably preserved, and ridiculous and vicious actions are alone the Subject, it is so far from blameable, that it is certainly meritorious; and to suppress it would be hideing a talent like the slothful Servant in a napkin.

“Who combats virtues foe is virtue's friend”

and a keen Satire well applied, has some times found its way when persuasions, admonitions, and Lectures of morality have failed—such is the abhorance of humane nature when it diviates from the path of rectitude, to be represented in its true coulours.

“Well may they Dread the Muses fatal skill

Well may they tremble when she draws the quill

Her Magick quill that like Ithuriels Spear

Reveals the cloven hoof, or lengthen'd Ear,

Bids vice and folly take their Nat'ral Shapes

Turns Counsellors to knaves and Beaux to apes

Drags the vile whisp'rer from his dark abode

Till all the Deamon starts up from the toad.”

You will say perhaps that our Sex is partial to each other. That { 186 } objection if it carries any weight may be made against the person you appeald to.6 But give me leave to Quote a poet upon the Subject.

“When Virtue sinks beneath unnumberd Woes

And passions born her Friends, revoult her foes

Tis Satire's power tis her corrective part

To calm the wild disorders of the heart

She points the arduous height where glory lies

And teaches mad ambition to be wise

In the Dark Bosome wakes the fair desire

Draws good from Ill, a Brighter flame from fire

Strips black oppression of her gay disguise

And bids the hag, in native horrour rise

Strikes tow'ring pride and Lawless rapine Dead

And plants the Wreath on Virtues awful head.”

I must intreat a compliance with my other request. I shall esteem it an obligation conferd upon Your much obliged Friend,
[signed] Abigail Adams
Dft (Adams Papers); undated. RC (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.); undated single leaf containing only last part of text; docketed in an unidentified hand: “Mrs. Adams 1774.” Present text follows Dft to the point where fragmentary RC begins, and thereafter RC; see note 3.
1. George III's speech at the opening of Parliament, 30 Nov. 1774, which AA mentions as having become known “Yesterday,” was published in the Mass. Spy on 2 Feb. 1775.
2. John Dickinson, author of Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania ..., Phila., 1768.
3. Remainder of text derives from fragmentary RC.
4. Dft adds two sentences omitted in RC: “I have an other motive too in complying which I dare not own to her. Some future time perhaps I may venture to.”
5. In a letter to JA of 30 Jan. Mrs. Warren asked whether she had violated good taste in her satirical portraits in The Group. His answer is in a letter of 15 March. James Warren had sent JA the first two acts of The Group on 15 Jan., and JA had caused them to be printed, anonymously, in the Boston Gazette of 23 January. Warren sent the entire play to JA on 15 March, and its publication in an anonymous pamphlet was announced in the Gazette of 3 April. (All these letters are in Adams Papers or MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.; they are printed in Warren-Adams Letters, 1:35–36, 36–39, 41–44, and JA, Works, 9:354–356.)
6. Dft reads, instead: “You will excuse me for given [giving] my opinion unasked. I will not forestall our other Friend. He shall not know mine till he has given his own.”

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0123

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-02-25

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

I had the pleasure of hearing Yesterday by a transient person that { 187 } my much Esteemed friend Mrs. Adams was well. I wish she had been kind Enough to have put a line into his Hand for me who is always highly gratified with Every such intimation of friendship from those she loves.
I thank you for the Letter I Received by Mr. Warren,1 and for the Copy of a very agreable one to a Distinguished Lady that accompanyd it, and did I not fear you might tax me with the Nonperformance of some former Engagements, I believe I should have spared you the trouble of perusing the Enclosed.2 But I think Every Mark of trust and Confidence Reposed demands some instance of A Reciprocal Wish to oblige, for friendship is of too Delicate a Nature to suffer the least Neglect without pain.

“By smallest Violations apt to die

Reserve will Wound it and Distrust Destroy.”

Therfore I must tell you that I never once suspected that the unlimited Confidence Reposed in you and in the Worthy partner of your Heart was Ever Betrayed.3 But there are some things Reported (tho I believe merely from Conjecture) which I could have Wished the World Might not have suspected: Considering how Cruel and Vindictive Mankind Generally are: but Methinks something like Conscience wispers me that I ought to Behave in such a Manner as to be able to Wish with the ancient sage for a Window in my Breast. Yet if I had I think though some might assert the pen at times bears a little tincture of Gall, they Might see in the Heart, Wrote in Legible Characters, a Readiness to forgive the Bitterest Enemy to myself, my friends, or my Country, on the least Mark of Repentance (from A proper sense of Virtue) or even Could one be Convinced that their pernicious Conduct Arises from Error of judgment, and not from a perverted Mind Devoid of Every principle of Rectitude or Humanity.
If you please you may tell a Gentleman of my acquaintance whom I much Esteem, that I am very Glad Massachusetensis has fallen into such Excelent hands, into the hand of a person so Capable of Developing the intracate Windings, of that state Crokedile, of tracing the Movements of the Narrow souled junto, and unraveling the Lybarinths of that Corrupt influance Which has brought one of the finest Countrys in the World to the Verge of Distruction. But though I have been highly pleasd and Entertained for several Weeks past with the productions of the just and Masterly pen of Novanglus, Yet I was in hopes Ere this to have heard something perticularly from Mr. Adams. As I think he Could not very well avoid making some kind of answer { 188 } to my Last4 ('tho perhaps I ought to ask pardon for Calling of his Attention a moment from more important services) I am under some Apprehension least a letter may have miscaried as none has yet come to hand.
Every week brings us inteligence from Boston by a post Rider from Plimouth who I suppose Generally calls at Your Neighbur Brakets. I mention this that the want of safe Conveyance may not prevent us the pleasure of hearing from Braintree Friends.
Do let me know if the Letters to Mrs. Macauley are gone, and by whom. The Enclosed is Rather more lengthy than I should have presumed to have been, to a Lady of her Distinguished Character but that I thought the Circumstences of America were such that it demanded some perticulers from Every hand, more Especially as we have so Many Busy and Mischevious tongues and pens (of not much more importance than a Womans) to Vilify and misrepresent us.
If you Recieve any pleasure in the perusal, or if the Gratification of Curiosity is a Ballence for the trouble of picking it out I shall not Regret the puting it into your hand, as an oppertunity of obliging Mrs. Adams will always give pleasure to her sincere & affectionate Friend,
[signed] Mercy Warren
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For Mrs. Adams.” Enclosure: Mrs. Warren to Mrs. Macaulay, 29 Dec. 1774; see note 2.
1. Apparently missing.
2. The “Distinguished Lady” was certainly Catharine Macaulay, and the “Copy” of a letter to her is probably AA's letter printed above under the assigned date of 1774. The enclosure in Mrs. Warren's letter was a long letter to Mrs. Macaulay, 29 Dec. 1774, which remains in the Adams Papers. Apparently no early opportunity for conveying it occurred; before long, communication with England was cut off, and it was never sent.
3. This and what follows pertains to rumors attributing to Mrs. Warren the authorship of The Group. The rumors were correct, but she did not relish them.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0124

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-04-30

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

I arrived here, last Evening, and have attended Mr. Strongs Meeting all this Day. I rode alone, all the Way to this Place. Here I found my worthy Brothers Hancock and Adams.1 Cushing, We hear, spends this Day at Windham, and has sent us Word that he will join us here, tomorrow.—Mr. Paine is here too.—All well.
We have good Accounts from N. York and N. Ca[rolina]—very good. I have no Doubts now of the Union.
{ 189 }
Jose. Bass is a very clever, sober, discreet Youth. He has been an agreable Companion to me, and very attentive. Let his Friends know he is well, and highly pleased with his Travells.2 My Love to the Children and all the Family. My Duty to my Mother, and Love to my two Brothers. My Duty to your Father. Tell him, my Mare will carry me like a Lion to Phyladelphia, and that his behaves very well.3 My Duty to your Mother, and a thousand thanks for her Cake. Love to Brother Cranch and sister, and to sister Betcy. Let every Body write to me. I will write you, as often as possible. God bless you and yours.
[signed] No Name
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “No. 1.”
1. JA had probably set off for the second Continental Congress on 26 April. John Hancock had replaced James Bowdoin (who had not attended the first Congress) in the Massachusetts delegation. From Hartford on, the delegates traveled together, arriving in Philadelphia on 10 May.
2. Joseph Bass, a Braintree neighbor's son, was JA's servant during the second Congress. See JA's accounts with him in Diary and Autobiography, 2:167, 170, 225–226.
3. See, however, JA to AA, 8 May, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0125

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-04-30

John Adams to Abigail Adams

New York has appointed an ample Representation in our Congress, and have appointed a provincial Congress. The People of the City, have siezed the City Arms and Ammunition, out of the Hands of the Mayor who is a Creature of the Governor. Lord North will be certainly disappointed, in his Expectation of seducing New York. The Tories there, durst not shew their Heads.
The Jerseys are arroused, and greatly assist the Friends of Liberty in New York.
North Carolina has done bravely, chosen the old Delegates in Provincial Congress, and then confirmed the Choice in General Assembly, in Opposition to all that Governor Martin could do.
The Assembly of this Colony is now sitting at Hartford. We are treated with great Tenderness, Sympathy, Friendship and Respect. Every Thing is doing by this Colony, that can be done by Men—both for N. York and Boston.
Keep your Spirits composed and calm, and dont suffer your self to be disturbed, by idle Reports, and frivolous Alarms. We shall see { 190 } better Times yet. Lord North is ensuring us success.—I am wounded to the Heart, with the News this Moment told me of J. Quincys Death.1
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “C No 1 No 2.”
1. Josiah Quincy “the Patriot”; see AA to JA, 16 Oct. 1774, above, and note 2 there.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0126

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1775-05-02

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] My dear Mrs. Warren

What a scene has opened upon us since I had the favour of your last! Such a scene as we never before Experienced, and could scarcely form an Idea of. If we look back we are amazed at what is past, if we look forward we must shudder at the view. Our only comfort lies in the justice of our cause; and in the mercy of that being who never said, “Seek ye me in vain.” These are consolation[s] which the unbeliever knows not of, and which are a comfortable support, under all we feel, and all we fear. All our worldly comforts are now at stake—our nearest and dearest connections are hazarding their lives and properties.—God give them wisdom and integrity sufficent to the great cause in which they are engaged.—I long most earnestly for the society of my much valued Mrs. Warren—it would be a cordial to my spirits. I must entreat you to write to me every opportunity. I feel the absence of my better half, in this Day of Distress. We have had several allarms from apprehensions of men of wars barges.—Coln. Quincys family have several Times been obliged to flee from their house and scatter themselves about.1 I cannot say that I am at present under any apprehensions of them here; I have determined to stay as long as it will be safe for any person to tarry upon the sea coast. I am much distressed for our poor Boston Friends. What course they can take I know not, I believe they are kept in for security to the troops. They have involved the Country in great difficulties by their obstinately persevereing to tarry in Town. I fear their distresses will drive them to such compliances as will be inconsistant with their honour.—I hear you have thoughts of going to Taunton, but I hope you will not be obliged to quit your own habitation.—O Britain Britain how is thy glory vanished—how are thy Annals stained with the Blood of thy children.

[salute] Adieu my Dear Friend & believe me at all times most affectionately yours,

[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (CCamarSJ); addressed: “To Mrs Mercy Warren Plimouth”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
{ 191 }
1. Col. Josiah Quincy's house, built in 1770, overlooked Boston Harbor from what is now Muirhead Street in the Wollaston section of Quincy. As long as the Quincy family occupied it, the estate extended to the water's edge, but in the 1890's it was cut up into small building lots that now surround and choke the once imposing mansion. In 1937 the house was presented to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities; see an illustrated account of it in Old-Time New England, 28:85–89 (Jan. 1938).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0127

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-05-02

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

Our Hearts are bleeding for the poor People of Boston. What will, or can be done for them I cant conceive. God preserve them.
I take this opportunity, to write, by our Committee who were sent to this Colony,1 just to let you know that I am comfortable, and shall proceed this afternoon.
Pray write to me, and get all my Friends to write and let me be informed of every Thing that occurs.
Send your Letters to Coll. Palmer or Dr. Warren, who will convey them—they will reach me, sooner or later. This Colony is raising 6000 Men. Rhode Island 1500. N. York has shut up their Port, seized the Custom House, Arms, Ammunition &c., called a Provincial Congress, and entered into an Association to stand by whatever shall be ordered by the Continental and their Provincial Congress. Dr. Cooper is fled on board a Man of War2 and the Tories are humbled in the Dust.
I have just made a Visit to your Cousin Austin, who is very well.3 Tell my Brothers I have bought some military Books and intend to buy more, so that I shall come back qualified to make them compleat officers. Write me whether Either of my Brothers intend to take a Command in the Army. I wont Advise them, but leave them to their own Inclinations and Discretion. But if they should incline they should apply to Coll. Palmer and Dr. Warren soon.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “C No 2.”
1. A committee sent to Hartford by the second Provincial Congress; see Mass. Provincial Congress, Jours., p. 136–137, 149, 179–180.
2. Myles Cooper (1737–1785), D.D., a high church Anglican, president of King's College, and an outspoken loyalist (DAB).
3. Ebenezer Austin (1733–1818), a Hartford silversmith, son of AA's uncle Ebenezer and aunt Mary (Smith) Austin; see Adams Genealogy.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0128

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-05-02

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

Mr. Eliot of Fairfield, is this Moment arrived in his Way to Boston. He read us a Letter from the Dr. his Father dated Yesterday Sennight being Sunday.1 The Drs. Description of the Melancholly of the Town, is enough to melt a Stone. The Tryals of that unhappy and devoted People are likely to be severe indeed. God grant that the Furnace of Affliction may refine them. God grant that they may be relieved from their present Distress.
It is Arrogance and Presumption in human Sagacity to pretend to penetrate far into the Designs of Heaven. The most perfect Reverence and Resignation becomes us. But, I cant help depending upon this, that the present dreadfull Calamity of that beloved Town is intended to bind the Colonies together in more indissoluble Bands, and to animate their Exertions, at this great Crisis in the Affairs of Mankind. It has this Effect, in a most remarkable Degree, as far as I have yet seen or heard. It will plead, with all America, with more irresistable Perswasion, than Angells trumpet tongued.
In a Cause which interests the whole Globe, at a Time, when my Friends and Country are in such keen Distress, I am scarcely ever interrupted, in the least Degree, by Apprehensions for my Personal Safety. I am often concerned for you and our dear Babes, surrounded as you are by People who are too timorous and too much susceptible of allarms. Many Fears and Jealousies and imaginary Dangers, will be suggested to you, but I hope you will not be impressed by them.
In Case of real Danger, of which you cannot fail to have previous Intimations, fly to the Woods with our Children. Give my tenderest Love to them, and to all.
RC (Adams Papers). addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree To be deld. to Coll. Palmer, at Cambridge or Watertown.—favd. by Mr. Eliot.”
1. The younger Andrew Eliot, Harvard 1762, minister at Fairfield, Conn., was the son of Andrew Eliot, Harvard 1737, S.T.D., the eminent minister of the New North Church, which he continued to serve throughout the siege of Boston (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 10:128–161).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0129

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-05-04

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I have but little news to write you. Every thing of that kind you will learn by a more accurate hand than mine; things remain much in the { 193 } same situation here that they were when you went away, there has been no Desent upon the sea coast. Guards are regularily kept, and people seem more settled, and are returning to their husbandry.—I feel somewhat lonesome. Mr. Thaxter is gone home, Mr. Rice is going into the Army as captain of a company. We have no School. I know not what to do with John.—As Goverment is assumed I suppose Courts of Justice will be established, and in that case there may be Buisness to do. If so would it not be best for Mr. Thaxter to return? They seem to be discouraged in the study of Law, and think there never will be any buisness for them. I could have wishd they had consulted you upon the subject before you went away. Mr. Rice has asked my advice? I tell him I would have him act his pleasure. I dont chuse to advise him either way.—I suppose you will receive 2 or 3 Vol. of that forlorn Wretches Hutchisons Letters.1 Among many other things I hear he wrote in 1772 that Deacon Philips and you had like to have been chosen into the Counsel, but if you had you should have shared the same fate with Bowers.2 May the fate of Mordeca be his.—There is no body admitted into Town yet. I have made two or 3 attempts to get somebody in, but cannot succeed, so have not been able to do the Buisness you left in charge with me.—I want very much to hear from you, how you stood your journey, and in what state you find yourself now. I felt very anxious about you tho I endeavourd to be very insensible and heroick, yet my heart felt like a heart of Led. The same Night you left me I heard of Mr. Quincys Death, which at this time was a most melancholy Event, especially as he wrote in minets which he left behind that he had matters of concequence intrusted with him, which for want of a confident must die with him.—I went to see his distressed widdow last Saturday at the Coll.3 and in the afternoon from an allarm they had, she and her sister, with three others of the family took refuge with me, and tarried all night. She desired me to present her regards to you, and let you know she wished you every blessing, should always esteem you as a sincere Friend of her deceased husband. Poor afflicted woman, my heart was wounded for her.—I must quite the subject, and intreet you to write me by every opportunity. Your Mother desires to be rememberd to you. She is with me now. The children send Duty, and their Mamma unfeigned Love.

[salute] Yours,

[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. These were letters recently found in Hutchinson's house in Milton. Selections were published in the patriot newspapers. See William Gordon, The History of the Rise, Progress, and Establishment, of the Independence of the United States of { 194 } America, London, 1788, 2:29–30; and, for a very different account, Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 8:210–211.
2. Jerathmeel Bowers was negatived by Hutchinson after election to the Council in 1772; next year he was again negatived, together with JA and William Phillips.
3. That is, at Col. Josiah Quincy's house on Wollaston shore.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0130

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-05-07

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I received by the Deacon1 two Letters from you this Day from Hartford. I feel a recruit of spirits upon the reception of them, and the comfortable news which they contain. We had not heard any thing from N. Carolina before, and could not help feeling anxious least we should find a defection there, arising more from their ancient feuds and animosities, than from any setled ill will in the present contest. But the confirmation of the choise of their Delagates by their assembly leaves not a doubt of their firmness, nor doth the Eye say unto the hand I have no need of thee, the Lord will not cast of his people neither will he forsake his inheritance. Great Events are most certainly in the womb of futurity and if the present chastisement which we experience have a proper influence upon our conduct, the Event will most certainly be in our favour.—The Distresses of the inhabitants of Boston are beyond the power of language to discribe. There are but very few who are permitted to come out in a day. They delay giving passes, make them wait from hour to hour, and their counsels are not two hours together alike. One day they shall come out with their Effects, the next Day merchandise are not Effects. One day their household furtinuture is to come out, the next only weareing apparrel, and the next Pharaohs heart is hardned, and he refuseth to hearken unto them and will not let the people go. May their deliverence be wrought out for them as it was for the Children of Israel. I do not mean by miracles but by the interposition of heaven in their favour. They have taken a list of all those who they suppose were concernd in watching the tea, and every other person who they call obnoxious, and they and their Effects are to suffer distruction. Poor Eads2 escaped out of town last night with one Ayers in a small boat, and was fired upon, but got safe and came up to Braintree to day. His name it seems was upon the black list.—I find it impossible to get any body in with any surty of their returning again. I have sent to Walthham but cannot hear any thing of Mr. Cushings Son. I wish you would write me whether Mr. Cushing left any directions what should be done in that affair.—I hear that Mr. Bromfield has Letters { 195 } for you, and young Dr. Jarvis has more, but cannot get at them.—Pray write me every opportunity every thing that transpires. Every body desires to be rememberd to you—it would fill the paper to name them. I wrote you once before. Let me know whether you have received it.—You dont say one word about your Health. I hope it was comfortable and will continue so. It will be a great comfort to know that it is so to your
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To John Adams Esqr. Phyladelphia”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. Joseph Palmer, who forwarded the letters from Watertown, where the Massachusetts Provincial Congress was sitting.
2. Apparently Benjamin Edes (1732–1803) the printer, who was able to assemble types and press and resume publication of the Boston Gazette in Watertown on 5 June; see Warren-Adams Letters, 1:49 and note.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0131

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-05-08

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I have an opportunity by Captn. Beale, to write you a Line. We all arrived last Night in this City. It would take many Sheets of Paper, to give you a Description of the Reception, We found here. The Militia were all in Arms, and almost the whole City out to Meet us.1 The Tories are put to Flight here, as effectually as the Mandamus Council at Boston. They have associated, to stand by Continental and Provincial Congresses, &c. &c. &c. Such a Spirit was never seen in New York.
Jose Bass met with a Misfortune, in the Midst of some of the unnecessary Parade that was made about us. My Mare, being galled with an ugly Buckle in the Tackling, suddenly flinched and started in turning short round a Rock, in a shocking bad Road, overset the sulky which frightened her still more. She ran, and dashed the Body of the Sulky all to Pieces. I was obliged to leave my sulky, ship my Bagage on board Mr. Cushings Carriage, buy me a Saddle and mount on Horse back. I am thankfull that Bass was not kill'd. He was in the utmost danger, but not materially hurt.
I am sorry for this Accident, both on Account of the Trouble and Expence, occasioned by it. I must pay your Father for his sulky.2 But in Times like these, such Little Accidents should not affect us.
Let me caution you my Dear, to be upon your Guard against that Multitude of Affrights, and Alarms, which I fear, will surround you. Yet I hope the People with you, will grow more composed than they were.
{ 196 }
Our Prospect of a Union of the Colonies, is promising indeed. Never was there such a Spirit. Yet I feel anxious, because, there is always more Smoke than Fire—more Noise than Musick.
Our Province is nowhere blamed. The Accounts of the Battle are exaggerated in our favour.—My Love to all. I pray for you all, and hope to be prayed for. Certainly, There is a Providence—certainly, We must depend upon Providence or We fail. Certainly the sincere Prayers of good Men, avail much. But Resignation is our Duty in all Events. I have this Day heard Mr. Livingston in the Morning and Dr. Rogers this afternoon—excellent Men, and excellent Prayers and sermons.
My Love to Nabby, Johnny, Charly and Tommy. Tell them they must be good, and Pappa will come home, before long.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “C No 4.”
1. John Hancock provided his “Dear Dolly” (Dorothy Quincy, whom he was to marry in August of this year) with a very full and boastful account of the delegates' reception in New York (letter dated 7 May 1775; Salisbury, Family-Memorials, 1:328–330).
2. JA charged Massachusetts £12 for the wrecked sulky (Diary and Autobiography, 2:163–164).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0132

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Joseph
Date: 1775-05-13

Abigail Adams to Joseph Warren

[salute] Sir

A Brother of Mr. Adams'es who has been a Captain of a Company in this Town, is desirous of joining the Army provided he can obtain [a] Birth; he would prefer a Majors to any other. As he has not any acquaintance with any Gentleman in the Army, except Coll. Palmer, he requested me to write you a line, in his behalf; he is a person both of steadiness and probity, and if there should be any place open in the army wherein he could serve his Country, I believe he would discharge the Trust reposed in him to acceptance. Your intrest Sir in his favour, would oblige [both him?]1 and his absent Brother, as well as your Humble Servant,
[signed] Abigail Adams2
RC (formerly in M-Ar: vol. 193; now missing); addressed: “To Docter Joseph Warren Watertown”; present text from a facsimile in Albert Bushnell Hart, ed., Commonwealth History of Massachusetts, Boston, 1927–1930, vol. 3: facing p. 220.
1. Facsimile (and presumably the MS) mutilated.
2. AA's application was in behalf of JA's brother Elihu. Warren told JA in a letter dated at Cambridge, 20 May (Adams Papers), that he had received AA's letter and would “do all in [his] Power to obtain” a major's commission for Elihu “in one of the Regiments.” But it does not appear that he succeeded { 197 } in doing so. The opposition of Elihu's mother may have been the stumbling block; see AA to JA, 25 June, below. In the following August, while serving as a captain of Massachusetts troops in the army besieging Boston, Elihu caught the prevailing camp dysentery and died (AA to JA, 10–11 Aug., below).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0133

Author: Paine, Eunice
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-05-14

Eunice Paine to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Portia

I am indeed the Silvia, the once favored correspondent of Diana; But I am Silvia without my Beloved flock, my former sheepfolds are Laid waste, my Lambs are scatter'd, and I mourn here among other congregations the loss of my former companions.—I thank you for the testimony you have given me of your remembrance.1 Should have Certifyd my grateful reception by the first Conveyance but indisposition forbid. I am now relieve'd from the distress I have suffered, but very week and faint. I rejoyce with you in the account of Hortentious's better health.2 Thank you for the articles of news from H[ar]tf[or]d. Letters received here were not imparted. By Doct. Blanchard from Providence last night we here that Dr. Franklin has arrived at Philadelphia, that there is a fleet on its way to N:Y. and as tis death for anyone to pilot them in to that harbour tis Expected they will visit R——d I[slan]d. We dont want such neighbours. I durst not trust myself to think on our Political State while I am so weakned. I had rather look out and smile with the Opening Blossoms. The Country is not so forward here as with you but our Pastures look charming Green and the few trees we have in sight look red and our martins make a joyful Noise. I listen to all the pleasant things I can hear and hope to wait patiently till the End of all these things. We heard from head Quarters Yesterday that3 was quiet. Each day of rest from Alarms I Esteem a peculiar favor and hope you will all be protected in your habitations. I never wanted wings so much in my life. I should daily perch on your window and regale my spirits with your smiles. I Enjoy the company of my sister, which the cause of her being here apart, would sweeten my pilgrimage and if she was not so deaf that tis hard to converse, my Enjoyment would be greater.4 The warm weather and rest to her nerves will I hope serve her. She is otherwise in fine health for her. Her Companion is gone down below as the folks here say,5 I hope he wont smell of Brimstone when he returns. He went in hopes to find some Comforts sent him out from the goodly Land he came from. I have but little Expectation at present. The Earnestness of the people to get out will encrease the Haughtiness of their keepers, and dont you think a little indifference might cause an alteration in the { 198 } Generals Conduct? The sight of Mr. Rice gave joy to my heart but I heard but little of his Conversation. I was so unwell I could hardly sit that Evening and have not seen him since. I feared I should lose so good an opportunity of sending to you but his Journey to Providence has given me this Leizure. I hope you will be able to read it, my pen is very crooked and all is Ugly. Give my love to your little ones and Complements to all Enquiring friends. The mourner for her Husband I have Laught at and am glad you did not encline to follow Suit. What would she do were he tall Eno' to Enter the Army? Your Aunt Smith and Daughter6 Miss Baker told me had got out of the town but where she is I cant tell. Perhaps you know. I could heartily wish that all inhabitants were out, if I tho't they could be provided for but they can't all stay at Braintree. O Lord North what hast thou done. The Groans of those distressed by thee will smother all thy Joys.
I hope to hear from you again very soon. Pray dont neglect so charitable a work. Ill do as well as Ever I can but Ive no Subjects unless my [turn?] was satyrical. The accounts of the families removed hither I leave for Mr. Rice. He can tell you more about [them] than I who have been out but once since I came. I design to write to the friends at the other house if able. Give my love to all of them and accept the sincerest Affection from your Obliged & Evermindfull Servt.,
[signed] Silvia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For Mrs:———Adams Braintree.”
1. AA's letter has not been found, and consequently some of the allusions in this reply are obscure.
2. Not identified; possibly JA, though the editors have not seen him called Hortensius elsewhere.
3. A word was probably omitted here: “. . . that [Boston] was quiet”?
4. Presumably Eunice Paine's elder sister Abigail (1725–1809), wife of the Boston distiller Joseph Greenleaf (Greenleaf, Greenleaf Family, p. 195; Sarah Cushing Paine and Charles H. Pope, Paine Ancestry, Boston, 1912, p. 24).
5. Meaning Boston, where Greenleaf had extensive real-estate as well as other business interests (Thwing Catalogue, MHi).
6. Isaac Smith Sr. and his family left Boston about this time for Salem, exchanging houses with Judge William Browne. Documents bearing on this exchange are in the Smith-Carter Papers (MHi).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0134

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-05-15

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

Though I am very unwell scarce able to set up long Enough to write, yet I must let my dear Friend Mrs. Adams know it gave me great pleasure to have but a Line or too from her after her very long silence.1
{ 199 }
I lament with you the infatuation of Britain, the Commotions of America and the Dangers to Which the Best of men and the truest Friends to Virtue, Liberty and the British Constitution are Exposed. And though I feel A painful Concern for their safty I acknowledge I feel some kind of pride in being so Closely Connected with persons who dare to act so Noble a part.
I think the Dignity of their Conduct, the unshaken Fortitude, the Disinterested perseverance that has Hitherto appeared in their Resolutions Reflects a Lustre on their Characters which is A Ballence for the Hazzard.
I am well Assured that you do not more Ardently Wish to Converse with your Friend here than she does for an interveiw with Mrs. Adams.
I Wish you would take Miss Smith or some other Friend and Run to Plimouth if it was but for one day Ere we are obliged by the inroads of an unjust and Cruel Foe to Go further Asunder, and if You Could Convenantly put such a project in Execution this Week my son would be Very Happy in being your Escort on Fryday next.
I do not Wonder you feel the Want of that Comfort and support under the tryals of the day which You might Receive from Your Worthy Companion would the service of the public Admit of his being Constently with you. But I have learned to think less of Absence then I used to do when I Can be Assured of the safety of my Friend, more Especially when I Consider the situation of the Country and the Interest of posterity Calls for the utmost Exertions of Every Man of Ability, Integrity or Virtue.
Do let me hear from you often and let me know from time to time what you hear from Mr. Adams. And when you write again if you can find Room at one Corner to usher along my Regards and best Wishes to him I would flatter myself they Would not be unacceptable. I would not have him forget that he owes me A Letter, and if he has any Aversion to duns he had Better pay off the score the first Leasure.
I have a great deal to say to you Both [in] Regard to Measures abbroad and the Vile Machinations of Men Nurtured in the Bosom of America.
But I am too much indisposed to add more than my fervant Wishes that Heaven May gaurd and protect both you and yours wherever your Destination may Be. With Much affection subscribes your unfeigned Friend,
[signed] M Warren
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree.”
1. AA's letter has not been found.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0135

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Dilly, Edward
Date: 1775-05-22

Abigail Adams to Edward Dilly

[salute] Sir

Just before Mr. Adams2 set off upon his journey to Philadelphia he had the pleasure of receiving a Letter from you by way of New York, accompanied with 3 pamphlets.3 He determined to have wrote you immediately, but two days after he received them, we were by the Hostilities of General Gage thrown into all the horrours and distresses of civil war. Mr. Adams directed me to write you by the first conveyance and return you his acknowledgments both for the Letter and books which were very acceptable to him as he had never been able to obtain those you mentiond as having sent in the Ship Paul Captain Gordon. I need not tell you Sir that the distressed state of this province calls for every excersion of every member of society. I call not those members who have forfeited every right and privilage by tratorously betraying their Country.4 The state of the inhabitants of the town of Boston and their distresses no language can paint—imprisond with their Enimies, suffering hunger and famine, obliged to endure insults and abuses from breach of faith plited to them in the most solemn manner by the General, that if they would deliver up their arms, both they and their affects should be sufferd to depart, and then treachously deceived—for no sooner did they comply, but he said merchandize was not considerd as affects, and so brutal are they as to take away even to a Bisquit if they find it by their inhumane searches, or a little chocolate does not escape even tho in the pockets of the distressed women. Those who receive the mighty boon of bringing out a little household furniture must turn it down in the Street, Exposed to the inclemnancy of the weather, tho not to the plunderer for all things are held as sacred that are the property of the inhabitants of Boston. We have no plunderers but there5—the poor distressed inhabitants with their little ones following their property as tho it was in funeral procession, many of them so delicately Educated as never before to have ever known either want or fatigue now quiting Elegant habitations, plenty and affluence for want and misiry. Words but faintly tell their woes, and tis impossible they should ever be throughly know[n] but to those who are Eye Witnesses of the heart rending Scenes. Added to this their nearest and dearest connextions are formed into an army. Very few but have husbands, Brothers or Sons, some have each of those relations jeoparding their lives in their Defence. Now this very day, and whilst I set writing the Soldiers provincial are passing my windows upon an allarm from the British troops who have been landing a number of Men upon one { 201 } of our Sea coasts (about 4 miles from my own habitation) and plundering hay and cattle. Each party are now in actual engagement.6 God alone knows the Event, to whom also all our injuries and oppressions are known and to whom we can appeal for the justice of our cause when the Ear of Man is deaf and his heart hardned.
We have lamented the infatuation of Britain and have wished an honourable reconsilation with her till she has plunged her Sword into our Bosoms and laid 40 of our Breathren in the Dust. Tyranny, oppression and Murder have been the reward of all the affection, the veneration and the loyalty which has heretofore distinguished Americans. But tho we will ever love and revere those worthys who have constantly vindicated our cause and declared their abhorrance of such wicked, cruel and oppressive Measures and for whose sake alone the Name of Brittain can be endured7—we have received in the course of the last three Months every indignity that it was possible for humane nature to endure. The Troops of Brittain, once the pride and Glory of Europe, have descended to become a Mob. Those troops who it was pretended came here, to quell Mobs and riots and to bring this province to good order and decency, have themselves assembld with a colonel at their head Nesbit by Name and taken a poor unarmed Countryman, whom they had first coax'd into trading with them, tared and featherd him and with all the Drums and fifes of the Regiment paraded with Guns and bayonets thro the Streets of the Town of Boston.8 Our market people were out, beat and abused daily, as they passed in and out of Town. No doubt their resentments were high and they in their turn retaliated upon the Soldiers, for if they complained to the officers they were sure of having insult added to abuse. In this state of things they would frequently march out of Town and level fences laying every persons property common, and committing all manner of outrages, till the terible 19 of April when they premeditately went forth and secretly fell upon our people and like savage furies sheath'd their Breasts with Steal.9 Instead of the gay landscapes Beautious Die, Tis the staind field salutes our weeping Eyes, And the Green turf, with all the mournful glades, drench'd in the Stream, absorb their dewy heads

Whilst the tall Oak and quiv'ring willow bends

To make a Covert for their Countrys Friends

Deny'd a grave! amid the hurrying Scene

Of routed armies scouring o'er the plain.

I wish Sir to send you an Authentick account of this engagment and have been trying to procure it, but there has been so much to be done { 202 } with regard to forming the army, that I have not been able to and I fear if I neglect this opportunity of sending I shall not obtain an other soon.10
The Spirit that prevails among Men of all degrees, all ages and sex'es is the Spirit of Liberty. For this they are determined to risk all their property and their lives “nor shrink unnerv'd before a tyrants face But meet this louring insolence with Scorn.” Every peasant wears his arms, and flies to them with the uttermost eagerness upon every allarm, besides a standing Army of 30,000 thousand men which are stationd near Boston.—Tis Thought we must now bid a final adieu to Britain, nothing will now appease the Exasperated Americans but the heads of those trators who have subverted the constitution, for the blood of our Breathren crys to us from the Ground.—What is next to take place God only knows but we think if you love us if you feel for us you cannot any longer suffer a Spirit of blindness and infatuation to delude you. These are times when words alone will not save either Great Britain or America; if Britain still continus in a lethargy we shall soon see

“Reluctant freedom wave her last adieu,

And devastation sweep the vassal'd land.”

My pen has run strange lengths. The present commotions have insensibly led me on. I must beg your pardon Sir. I enclose to you Sir a number of papers from which perhaps you may collect some usefull inteligance. A writer there under the signature of Novanglus has had the happiness of entertaining the same Opinions that Mr. Robinson has.11 I have heard that he enterd into the contest merely to strip of[f] the falce glare and detect the many falshoods promulgated by a pensiond ministerial writer under the signature of Massachusettensis. There are tis said many errors of the press as well as other inaccuraces, but there are known to all the world innumerable Truths.12 The late unhappy distractions put a stop to the printers as that press with many others are shut up in town. I also enclose to you a dramatick performance call'd the Group. Some of the characters are so infamous that they must be known whereever the persons are.13 I would send you more Coppies, but tis imposible to obtain any thing from Boston.–Your Friend will write you if ever he returns and acknowledg your kindness as well as the other Gentlemen who he greatly esteems not only for their disintrested publications but for their Friendship to America, whose Daughter I glory in calling my self and the counter-part of Your Friend.
{ 203 }
Dft (Adams Papers), without date or indication of addressee. At head of text is a notation in JQA's hand: “to Isaac Smith jr.,” which is wrong (see note 3), and another, in CFA's hand: “1775,” which is correct as far as it goes (see note 1). FC (Adams Papers), in John Thaxter's hand, dated but without indication of addressee; enclosed in AA to JA, 24 May, following. Prepared on the day after Dft was hastily and carelessly written, FC is more formal in language, much more correct (thanks no doubt to the copyist) in spelling, grammar, and sentence structure, and slightly amplified in substance. Text of Dft is, however, given here because it reveals AA's feelings and manner of composition at a moment of great alarm; the notes below record the more important variations and clarifications in the text presumably sent to Dilly. Enclosures in (missing) RC are enumerated in Dft.
1. Place and dateline taken from FC. Dft was actually written, however, while the British raid on Grape Island, off Weymouth, was taking place; the raid occurred on Sunday, 21 May. See further on in the present letter and also AA to JA, 24 May, below.
2. FC: “your Friend.” Here and elsewhere easy clues to the identity of the writer and her husband were prudently suppressed in FC, which may be assumed identical with missing RC.
3. The letter here acknowledged was from the London bookseller Edward Dilly, 13 Jan. 1775 (Adams Papers), and was accompanied by a packet of pamphlets, books, and newspapers specified in that letter. The present letter is an early example of AA's assuming responsibility for answering important communications received by JA and taking full advantage of the opportunity to express her own views. It will be noted that JA approved; see JA to AA, 6 June, below.
4. In FC this sentence reads: “(I call not those Members who have broken asunder the Bands of Society, and forfeited every Right and Priviledge, by traitorously betraying their Country: many of these Vipers have been nurtured and fostered in the Bosom of America, till she has found 'how sharper than a Serpents Tooth it is to have a thankless Child.')”
5. FC reads: “... but in Britain and Boston,” and adds four lines of verse.
6. FC: “... each Party have been in Engagement, but as they went upon an Island no Lives were lost, as I can learn. Our People set fire to the Hay about an Hundred Tons and the Marines made their Escape aboard their Cutter.”
7. FC: “... but tho we detest the Measures, we revere with unfeigned Gratitude every Worthy who has vindicated our Cause and expressed their Abhorrence of those wicked and cruel Measures which make us turn away with Horror at the Name of Britain!”
8. This affair occurred early in March. The victim was Thomas Ditson Jr. of Billerica. His deposition of 9 March before Justice Edmund Quincy is printed in full in the Boston Gazette, 13 March.
9. In FC this sentence reads: “The never to be forgotten nineteenth of April the Troops of George the Third secretly went forth and fell with insatiable Fury upon their American Brethren—they resisted and 500 put 1800 to Flight. Many fell upon their Side, 40 upon ours.”
10. In FC this paragraph reads: “I wish Sir to have had it in my Power to send you an Authentic Account of this Engagement. I have been trying to procure one but it is not printed—the Printers with their Presses have been all Prisoners in Boston—and they have been obliged to send to Salem for a Printer. The ministerial Account you will have much sooner, but as contrary to Truth as Light to Darkness—there are not wanting Men says Mr. Robinson [see following note] to defend any Measures.”
11. FC: “... the same Opinions with Mr. Sharpe.” Matthew Robinson-Morris was the author of Considerations on the Measures Carrying on with Respect to the British Colonies in North America, London [1774], four copies of the 2d edition of which had been sent to JA by Dilly with his letter of 13 Jan. to which AA is replying. Granville Sharp was the author of A Declaration of the { 204 } People's Natural Right to a Share in the Legislature ..., London, 1774; JA's copy is among his books in MB. Both tracts were strongly anti-ministerial and went through a number of editions in London and in America; see T. R. Adams, “American Independence,” Nos. 134a–j, 139a–h.
12. FC: “'Tis said there are many Errors of the Press, as well as other Inaccuracies, which for the Truths they contain will be readily pardoned.”
13. FC: “Some of the Characters are so well known for the infamous Part they have taken that you will easily find them out.”

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0136

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-05-24

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Suppose you have had a formidable account of the alarm we had last Sunday morning. When I rose about six oclock I was told that the Drums had been some time beating and that 3 allarm Guns were fired, that Weymouth Bell had been ringing, and Mr. Welds was then ringing.1 I immediatly sent of an express to know the occasion, and found the whole Town in confusion. 3 Sloops and one cutter had come out, and droped anchor just below Great Hill. It was difficult to tell their design, some supposed they were comeing to Germantown others to Weymouth. People women children from the Iron Works flocking down this Way—every woman and child above or from below my Fathers. My Fathers family flying, the Drs.2 in great distress, as you may well immagine for my Aunt had her Bed thrown into a cart, into which she got herself, and orderd the boy to drive her of to Bridgwater which he did. The report was to them, that 300 hundred had landed, and were upon their march into Town. The allarm flew [like] lightning, and men from all parts came flocking down till 2000 were collected—but it seems their expidition was to Grape Island for Levet's hay. There it was impossible to reach them for want of Boats, but the sight of so many persons, and the fireing at them prevented their getting more than 3 ton of Hay, tho they had carted much more down to the water. At last they musterd a Lighter, and a Sloop from Hingham which had six port holes. Our men eagerly jumpt on board, and put of for the Island. As soon as they perceived it, they decamped. Our people landed upon [the] Island, and in an instant set fire to the Hay which with the Barn was soon consumed, about 803 ton tis said.4 We expect soon to be in continual alarms, till something decisive takes place. We wait with longing Expectation in hopes to hear the best accounts from you with regard to union and harmony &c. We rejoice greatly on the Arival of Doctor Franklin, as he must certainly be able to inform you very perticuliarly of the situation of affairs in England. I wish you would [write] if you can get time; be as perticuliar as you may, when { 205 } you write—every one here abouts come[s] to me to hear what accounts I have. I was so unlucky as not to get the Letter you wrote at New York. Capn. Beals forgot it, and left it behind. We have a flying report here with regard to New York, but cannot give any credit to, as yet, that they had been engaged with the Ships which Gage sent there and taken them with great looss upon both sides.
Yesterday we have an account of 3 Ships comeing in to Boston. I believe it is true, as there was a Salute from the other Ships, tho I have not been able to learn from whence they come. Suppose you have had an account of the fire which did much damage to the Warehouses, and added greatly to the distresses of the inhabitants whilst it continued. The bad conduct of General Gage was the means of its doing so much damage.
Tis a fine growing Season having lately had a charming rain, which was much wanted as we had none before for a fortnight. Your meadow is almost fit to mow. Isaac talks of leaving you, and going into the Army. I believe he will. Mr. Rice has a prospect of an adjutant place in the Army. I believe he will not be a very hardy Soldier. He has been sick of a fever above this week, and has not been out of his chamber. He is upon the recovery now.
Our House has been upon this alarm in the same Scene of confusion that it was upon the first—Soldiers comeing in for lodging, for Breakfast, for Supper, for Drink &c. &c. Sometimes refugees from Boston tierd and fatigued, seek an assilum for a Day or Night, a week—you can hardly imagine how we live.

“Yet to the Houseless child of want

our doors are open still.

And tho our portions are but scant

We give them with good will.”

I want to know how you do? How are your Eyes? Is not the weather very hot where you are? The children are well and send Duty to Pappa. This day Month you set of. I have never once inquired when you think it posible to return; as I think you could not give me any satisfactory answer. I have according to your direction wrote to Mr. Dilly, and given it to the care of Capn. Beals who will deliver it with his own hand; I got Mr. Thaxter to take a coppy for me, as I had not time amidst our confusions; I send it to you for your approbation.5 You will be careful of it as I have no other coppy. My best wishes attend you both for your Health and happiness, and that you may be directed into the wisest and best measures for our Safety, and the Security of our { 206 } posterity. I wish you was nearer to us. We know not what a day will bring forth, nor what distress one hour may throw us into. Heitherto I have been able to mantain a calmness and presence of Mind, and hope I shall, let the Exigency of the time be what they will.
Mrs. W[arre]n desires to be rememberd to you with her sincere regards. Mr. C[ranc]h and family send their Love. He poor man has a fit of his old disorder. I have not heard one Syllable from Providence since I wrote you last. I wait to hear from you, then shall act accordingly. I dare not discharge any debts with what I have except to Isaac, least you should be dissapointed of the remainder. Adieu Breakfast calls your affectionate
[signed] Portia
Sister Betsy is with me, and desires her kindest Wishes, and most affectionate Regards may be presented to you.6
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosure: FC of AA's letter to Edward Dilly, 22 May, preceding.
1. The meetinghouse of Rev. Ezra Weld, Yale 1759, was in the Middle Precinct of Braintree, adjacent to Weymouth (Dexter, Yale Graduates, 2:631–633).
2. Dr. Cotton Tufts, AA's uncle.
3. The first digit is overwritten and somewhat uncertain.
4. For further details on the action at Grape Island see AA to JA, 22 June, below.
5. See the preceding letter and notes therewith.
6. This greeting is in Elizabeth Smith's hand.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0137

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-05-26

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

I embrace an Opportunity by two young Gentlemen from Maryland to write you a Line, on friend Mifflins Table. The Names of these Gentlemen, are Hall. They are of one of the best Families in Maryland, and have independent Fortunes, one a Lawyer the other a Physician.1 If you have an Opportunity I beg you would shew to these Gentlemen all the Civilities possible. Get them introduced to your Uncle Quincy and to your Father and Dr. Tufts, and let every Thing be done to shew them Respect. They come 500 Miles to fight for you. They are Voluntiers to our Camp where they intend to spend the Season.
My Love and Duty, where they should be. I have not so good Health as I had before—and I have harder Service. Our Business is more extensive, and complicated—more affecting and hazardous. But our Unanimity will not be less. We have a Number of new and very ingenious M[embers.]

[salute] I am [ . . . ]2

{ 207 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree favd. by Mr. Hall of Maryland”; endorsed: “C No 3.”
1. Aquilla Hall and Josias Carvill Hall, both of whom served in the Maryland forces during the war, the latter in the Continental Line (JA to Joseph Palmer, 29 May 1775, CSmH; Heitman, Register Continental Army).
2. MS mutilated. It is impossible to tell whether this letter was or was not signed.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0138

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

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

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0139

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

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

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0140

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Paine, Eunice
Date: 1775-06-03

Abigail Adams to Eunice Paine

[salute] Dear Silvia

So good an opportunity offering, tho I had not wrote before I have detaind the Bearer, just to thank you for your obliging favour, and ask you how you do? I know how much you have sufferd for your Friends, and pitty your distance from them. As news like the Snow Ball, { 210 } allways gathers according to the distance it passes, we were not so much allarmd here as one would have immagined; but at Weymouth they were greatly distress'd for a while. Last Saturday Night we felt all the powers of Sympathy—the continued roar of the cannon predicted many slain upon both Sides.
But thanks be to that Being who hath heitherto coverd the Heads of our Breathren in the Day of Blood and Slaughter, not one man fallen upon our Side, hundreds upon theirs as tis credibly said.1
We must Expect continual allarms, and prepair ourselves for them—if they are affraid our people Will be taking advantages from that circumstance. An intercepted letter from Gage says he has not 36 hundred men in the Town of Boston.—I wait with much impatience to hear from the Congress. Not one word since I heard from New York. Adieu. I will write soon again. Pray remember me to all inquiring Friends, and write me every opportunity. Mrs. Cranch is very sick with the rash. Yours most affectionately,
[signed] Portia
RC (MH); addressed: “To Miss Eunice Paine Taunton.”
1. These were actions in Boston Harbor on 26–27 May. Provincial troops raided Noddle's Island (now East Boston) and nearby Hog (now Breed's) Island, burned British hay stores, drove off and killed a quantity of livestock there, and later blew up a grounded British naval schooner, Diana, in Chelsea Creek. See French, First Year, p. 190–193, 736–737.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0141

Author: Paine, Eunice
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-06-04

Eunice Paine to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Portia

Yours received last Evening deserves my Early acknowledgment; as a token of your Love, it revived my drooping Spirits; as a Testimony of your Comfortable Existance, it turn'd my heart to Praise; and your kind Promise to write again soon, gives me a pleasing Expectation. I was deny'd a pleasure which I should have made a [merit?] had we received the Packet from Newport a few hours sooner; but Tommy was gone when the Dear Epistle arrive'd which Capt. Beale Brot from New York and left in his trunk, you heard of it I suppose, and I hope to send it in a day or two.1
I am told you look Charmingly, that you have your sister with you, and Enjoy yourself nicely. I rejoyce in your portion and most heartily wish myself near Eno' to Step in and Share the feast of soul. I am wretchedly of[f] here, Books all packt away, Company all Strangers, all Anxious, distress't, if I was writing to Mrs. Cranch I should say all Charlstown folks. I have no support, no Chear up from any o' them. { 211 } I seek retirement, and here in my own Chamber only can feel tolerable. The constant Exercise of my mind here is not friendly to the Body. My Strength wastes and all kinds of activity is Burdensome and I often fear I shall fall a sacrifice to Lord Norths mandates but I determine to try my utmost against him, and if it be possible to get a horse I can ride, once more visit the happy Land.
Four men have Just came on to the Green from Roxbury this day, they bring us accounts of the Deer Island Expedition. Not a Gun fire'd, 500 sheep recover'd, nine Prisoners taken. Amazing. I am lost in Admiration! Also thirteen regulars taken in a Boat up Cambridge River, tamely Surrender'd. I cant Express the Language of my heart but hope to gain Courage from these instances of the Divine favor.—I wonder how Gage and his Counsellors feel. I have heard that the Latter have tho't on the Missasippa (I dont know if tis spelt right) for a retreat at the last Cast—poor wretches I wish they were prepare'd for dissolution. My pen is so intollerable bad I fear you can't Guess out my scrawl. You must Call in Polly Palmers assistance and be assure'd I would do better if I cou'd. I am now holding my akeing head. A Cold oppresses me sorely. I hope yours is Easy and all your little ones well, that your farm is finely flourishing. We were Blest with most refreshing showers yesterday and all nature sparkles here to day. We have numerous favors to rejoyce us, therefore let us Keep up good Spirits. My Love & Duty to All your Good friends. This from your Rusticated
[signed] Silvia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For Mrs: Abigail Adams at Braintree.”
1. This was JA's letter to AA of 8 May, concerning the delay of which see also AA to JA, 24 May; both are printed above.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0142

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

I have received yours of 24th. May and a Copy of your Letter to Mr. Dilly, and one Letter from him. Your Letter to him is a very agreable one. I hope you will continue to write him, whenever you have Opportunity.
I am afraid you will have more Alarms than are necessary, in Consequence of the Brush at Grape Island. But I hope you will maintain your philosophical Composure.
Saturday last, I took a little Excursion, with Coll. Dyer And Mr. Deane down to Wilmington a pretty Village, about 30 Miles below { 212 } this City upon Delaware River and kept Sabbath there. I find my self better for the Ride.
We have a charming Prospect here of a plentifull summer. Hope it is so with you.
With yours, I had the Pleasure of a Letter, from your Uncle Smith.1 I was rejoiced to find him and his family escaped from Prison.2
Pray let me know, whether your Brother is in the Army and in what Command. Let me know too, about my Brothers. My Love to them—my Love to my Daughter and sons, and all the Family. Tell Brackett, I wish I was with him busied about the Farm. Bass is well.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “C No 7.”
1. Not found.
2. That is, from Boston.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0143

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Date: 1775-06-07

John Adams to Isaac Smith Sr.

[salute] Dr. sir

Two days ago, I was very agreably surprized by a Letter from you,1 which was acceptable both for the important public Intelligence it contained and as it informed me of your Escape from Boston. I had suffered much Anxiety, on Account of yourself and your Family, supposing you were confined in Town and subject to I knew not what Inconveniences or Indignities.
I cant yet learn that Mr. Boylstone, or Mrs. Gill2 are suffered to leave the Town.
News, We have none at this Place. The Proceedings of the Congress, are all secret, but such few Votes as you see in the public Papers. The N. Foundland British Fishery We had taken Care of before I had the Honour of your Letter: and you may depend upon it, that not a Pound of flour, or Bread or Meat goes from any of these Colonies, to supply that fishery.
We have here a most glorious Season, plenty of Rain and as fine a Prospect of Crops as ever Was known. This is in a kind Providence our Security against Famine, and the amazing military Ardor That now prevails, through every Colony upon the Continent, We hope will secure our Country against the Swords of our Enemies.
There are in this City, Three large Regiments, raised, formed, armed, trained, and uniformed under Officers consisting of Gentlemen of the very first Fortune and best Character in the Place. All this has started up, since 19th. April. They cover the Common every Day in { 213 } the Week, Sundays not excepted. There is a Company of young Quakers. This Spirit is not confined to the City, but runs through the Province, and through all the neighbouring Colonies. Saturday afternoon I made a little Excursion down to Wilmington. Every little Village We passed thro, had Companies of Men exercising.
My Duty to my Aunt, my Love to your two sons and to Miss Polly and Miss Betcy and Regards to all friends.3

[salute] I am, sir your most huml sert,

[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi: Elizabeth Smith Scrapbook); addressed: “To Isaac Smith Esqr. Merchant in Salem favd. by Dr. Church”; endorsed: “Philaa. June 7. 1775—John Adams Esqr.”
1. Not found.
2. Thomas Boylston (1721–1798), Boston merchant and (as things turned out) a loyalist, and his sister Rebecca (Boylston) Gill (1727–1798), wife of Moses Gill. Both were first cousins of JA's mother; see Adams Genealogy.
3. For Smith's children see Adams Genealogy.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0144

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-06-10

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

Dr. Church returns to Day, and with smarting Eyes, I must write a few Lines to you. I never had in my Life, such severe Duty to do, and was never worse qualified to do it. My Eyes depress my Spirits and my Health is quite infirm. Yet I keep about and attend Congress very constantly.
I wish I could write freely to you my Dear, but I can not. The Scene before me, is complicated enough. It requires better Eyes and better Nerves than mine. Yet I will not despond. I will lay all Difficulties prostrate at my feet....1 My Health and Life ought to be hazarded, in the Cause of my Country as well as yours, and all my friends.
It is impossible to convey to you any adequate Idea of the Embarrassments, I am under. I wish that you and our Friends may not be in greater Distress than I am. I fear you are. Pray let me know as often as possible. Our Friends write to Mrs.——2 not to me, this time. They dont let us know the State of Boston People, nor the State of the Army in Boston, so exactly as I could wish.
Two days ago, We saw a very wonderfull Phoenomenon in this City—a field Day, on which three Battallions of Soldiers were reviewed, making full two thousand Men. Battallion Men, Light Infantry, Grenadiers, Rifle Men, Light Horse, Artillery Men, with a fine train, all in { 214 } Uniforms, going thro the manual Exercise and the Maneuvres, with remarkable Dexterity. All this has been accomplished in this City, since the 19th. of April. So sudden a formation of an Army never took Place any where.
In Congress We are bound to secrecy: But, under the Rose, I believe, that ten thousand Men will be maintained in the Massachusetts, and five thousand in New York at the Continental Expence.
We have a Major Skeene, just arrived from London with a Commission to be Governer of Crown Point and Ticonderoga, and Surveyor of the Woods &c., close Prisoner.3 He must dispute for his Government with Arnold and Allen.—My Love and Duty, where due.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “C No 8.”
1. Suspension points in MS.
2. Thus in MS. “Mrs.” may represent “Messrs.” or it may be a mistake for “Mr.”
3. On “Governor” Philip Skene in Philadelphia, see Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:114 and note, with references there.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0145

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-06-10

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

Dr. Church has given me a Lotion, which has helped my Eyes so much that I hope you will hear from me oftener than you have done. Pray write me as often and particularly as possible. Send your Letters to the Care of the Committee of safety who will forward them. I long to know, how you fare, and whether you are often discomposed with Alarms. Guard yourself against them my Dear. I think you are in no Danger—dont let the groundless Fears, and fruitfull Imaginations of others affect you. Let me know what guards are kept—and who were principally concerned in the Battle at Grape Island as well as that at Chelsea. The Reputation of our Countrymen for Valour, is very high. I hope they will maintain it, as well as that for Prudence, Caution and Conduct.
When I shall come home I know not. We have Business enough before Us to detain us, untill the 31. of next December. No Assembly ever had a greater Number of great Objects before them. Provinces, Nations, Empires are small Things, before Us.—I wish We were good Architects.
Remember Me to my dear Brother and sister Cranch and to sister Betcy, to my Parent and yours, to my Children, and all. Bass sends his Duty to his father—is quite recovered. Furnival sends his Respects { 215 } to Mr. Cranch and Family. Fenno prays to be remembered to Coll. Palmer, and wants some thing in the Army.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “C No 9.”

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0146

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-06-11

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

I have been this Morning to hear Mr. Duffil,1 a Preacher in this City whose Principles, Prayers and Sermons more nearly resemble those of our New England Clergy than any that I have heard.
His Discourse was a kind of Exposition on the thirty fifth Chapter of Isaiah.—America was the Wilderness and the Solitary Place, and he said it would be glad, rejoice, and blossom as the Rose. He laboured to strengthen the weak Hands, and confirm the feeble Knees. He said to them that were of a fearful Heart, be strong, fear not: behold your God will come with Vengeance, even God with a Recompence will come and save you. No Lyon shall be there, nor any ravenous Beast shall go up thereon, but the redeemed shall walk there—&c.
He applied the whole Prophecy to this Country, and gave us, as animating an Entertainment, as I ever heard. He fill'd and swell'd the Bosom of every Hearer.
I hope you have received a Letter, in which I inclosed you, a Pastoral Letter from the Synod of New York and Phyladelphia: by this you will see that the Clergy, this Way, are but now beginning to engage in Politicks, and they engage with a fervour that will produce wonderfull Effects.2
I can now inform you that the Congress have made Choice of the modest and virtuous, the amiable, generous and brave George Washington Esqr., to be the General of the American Army, and that he is to repair as soon as possible to the Camp before Boston.3 This Appointment will have a great Effect, in cementing and securing the Union of these Colonies.—The Continent is really in earnest in defending the Country. They have voted Ten Companies of Rifle Men to be sent from Pensylvania, Maryland and Virginia, to join the Army before Boston. These are an excellent Species of Light Infantry. They use a peculiar Kind of [ . . . ][ca]ll'd4 a Rifle—it has circular or [ . . . ] Grooves within the Barrell, and carries a Ball, with great Exactness to great Distances. They are the most accurate Marksmen in the World.
{ 216 }
I begin to hope We shall not sit all Summer.
I hope the People of our Province, will treat the General with all that Confidence and Affection, that Politeness and Respect, which is due to one of the most important Characters in the World. The Liberties of America, depend upon him, in a great Degree.
I have never been able to obtain from our Province, any regular and particular Intelligence since I left it. Kent, Swift, Tudor, Dr. Cooper, Dr. Winthrop, and others wrote me often, last Fall—not a Line from them this Time.
I have found this Congress like the last. When We first came together, I found a strong Jealousy of Us, from New England, and the Massachusetts in Particular. Suspicions were entertained of Designs of Independency—an American Republic—Presbyterian Principles—and twenty other Things. Our Sentiments were heard in Congress, with great Caution—and seemed to make but little Impression: but the longer We sat, the more clearly they saw the Necessity of pursuing vigorous Measures. It has been so now. Every Day We sit, the more We are convinced that the Designs against Us, are hostile and sanguinary, and that nothing but Fortitude, Vigour, and Perseverance can save Us.
But America is a great, unwieldy Body. Its Progress must be slow. It is like a large Fleet sailing under Convoy. The fleetest Sailors must wait for the dullest and slowest. Like a Coach and six—the swiftest Horses must be slackened and the slowest quickened, that all may keep an even Pace.
It is long since I heard from you. I fear you have been kept in continual Alarms. My Duty and Love to all. My dear Nabby, Johnny, Charly and Tommy come here and kiss me.
We have appointed a continental Fast.5 Millions will be upon their Knees at once before their great Creator, imploring his Forgiveness and Blessing, his Smiles on American Councils and Arms.
My Duty to your Uncle Quincy—your Papa, Mama and mine—my Brothers and sisters and yours.

[salute] Adieu.6

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; notation on cover: “Forwarded by your very hum sevt John Hancock Philada. 18 June 1775”; endorsed: “C No 10.”
1. Rev. George Duffield (1732–1790), College of New Jersey 1752, minister of the Third Presbyterian Church, Third and Pine Streets (Sprague, Annals Amer. Pulpit, 3:186–192).
2. A Pastoral Letter from the Synod of New York and Philadelphia, to the Congregations under Their Care; to Be Read from the Pulpits ... June 29, 1775, N.Y., 1775 (Evans 14410). This had { 217 } been written by John Witherspoon as chairman of the committee to draft it (Varnum Lansing Collins, President Witherspoon: A Biography, Princeton, 1925, 1:176–177; 2:248–249). The letter in which JA enclosed it to AA is not identifiable.
3. Washington was unanimously elected commander in chief on 15 June (JCC, 2:91). JA's vivid recollections of this event and of his own part in it are in his Diary and Autobiography, 3:321–324.
4. MS worn, here and below, by creasing.
5. See JCC, 2:81, 87–88; 3:507; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:353; JA to AA, 23 July, below.
6. Probably unsigned, but the MS is worn away in a crease where the signature, or possibly initials, would have appeared if written.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0147

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-06-16

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I set down to write to you a monday, but really could not compose myself sufficently: the anxiety I sufferd from not hearing one syllable from you for more than five weeks; and the new distress ariseing from the arrival of recruits agitated me more than I have been since the never to be forgotten 142 of April.
I have been much revived by receiving two letters from you last Night, one by the servant of your Friend and the other by the Gentleman you mention, tho they both went to Cambridge, and I have not seen them.3 I hope to send this as a return to you.
I feard much for your Health when you went away. I must intreat you to be as careful as you can consistant with the Duty you owe your Country. That consideration alone prevaild with me to consent to your departure, in a time so perilous and so hazardous to your family, and with a body so infirm as to require the tenderest care and nursing. I wish you may be supported and devinely assisted in this most important crisis when the fate of Empires depend upon your wisdom and conduct. I greatly rejoice to hear of your union, and determination to stand by us.
We cannot but consider the great distance you are from us as a very great misfortune, when our critical situation renders it necessary to hear from you every week, and will be more and more so, as difficulties arise. We now expect our Sea coasts ravaged. Perhaps, the very next Letter I write will inform you that I am driven away from our, yet quiet cottage. Necessity will oblige Gage to take some desperate steps. We are told for Truth, that he is now Eight thousand strong. We live in continual expectation of allarms. Courage I know we have in abundance, conduct I hope we shall not want, but powder—where shall we get a sufficient supply? I wish we may not fail there. Every Town is fill'd with the distressd inhabitants of Boston—our House { 218 } among others is deserted, and by this time like enough made use of as a Barrack.—Mr. Bowdoin with his Lady, are at present in the house of Mrs. Borland,4 and are a going to Middlebouragh to the house of Judge Oliver. He poor Gentleman is so low, that I apprehend he is hastening to an house not made with Hands—looks like a mere skelliton, speaks faint and low, is racked with a voilent cough, and I think far advanced in a consumption. I went to see him last Saturday. He is very inquisitive of every person with regard to the times, beged I would let him know of the first inteligence I had from you, is very unable to converse by reason of his cough. He rides every pleasent Day, and has been kind enough to call at the Door, (tho unable to get out) several times. Says the very name of Hutchinson distresses him. Speaking of him the other day he broke out, “religious Rascal, how I abhor his Name.”
We have had very dry weather not a rainy day since you left us. The english Grass will not yeald half so great a crop as last year. Fruit premisses well, but the Cattepillars have been innumerable.
I wrote you with regard to the money I had got from Providence.5 I have since that obtain'd the rest. I have done as you directed with regard to the payment of some you mentiond, but it incroachd some upon your Stock. You will write me with regard to what you have necessity for and how I shall convey to you.—Mr. Rice is dissapointed of his place in the Army but has hopes of joining a company much talked of here under Mr. Hancock when he returns. I came here with some of my cousin Kents6 who came to see me a day, or two ago, and have left company to write you this afternoon least I should fail of conveyance. Pray be perticuliar when you write as possible—every body wants to hear, and to know what is doing, and what may be communicated, do not fail to inform me. All our Friends desire to be kindly rememberd to you. Gage'es proclamation you will receive by this conveyance. All the records of time cannot produce a blacker page. Satan when driven from the regions of bliss, Exibeted not more malice. Surely the father of lies is superceded.—Yet we think it the best proclamation he could have issued.7
I shall when ever I can, receive and entertain in the best Manner I am capable the Gentlemen who have so generously proferd their Service in our Army. Goverment is wanted in the army, and Else where. We see the want of it more from so large a body being together, than when each individual was imployd in his own domestick circle.—My best regards attend every Man you esteem. You will make my complements to Mr. Miflin and Lady. I do not now wonder at the regard the Laidies express for a Soldier—every man who wears a { 219 } cockade appears of double the importance he used to, and I feel a respect for the lowest Subaltern in the Army.—You tell me you know not when you shall see me. I never trust myself long with the terrors which sometimes intrude themselves upon me.
I hope we shall see each other again and rejoice together in happier Days. The little ones are well, and send Duty to Pappa. Dont fail of letting me hear from you by every opportunity, every line is like a precious Relict of the Saints. Pray dont Expose me by a communication of any of my Letters—a very bad Soar upon the middle finger of my right hand has prevented my writing for 3 weeks. This is the 5 Letter I have wrote you. I hope they have all come to hand.—I have a request to make you. Something like the Barrel of Sand suppose you will think it, but really of much more importance to me. It is that you would send out Mr. Bass and purchase me a bundle of pins and put in your trunk for me. The cry for pins is so great that what we used to Buy for 7.6 are now 20 Shillings and not to be had for that. A bundle contains 6 thousand for which I used to give a Dollor, but if you can procure them for 50 [shillings] or 3 pound, pray let me have them. Mr. Welch8 who carries this to head Quarters waits which prevents my adding more than that I am with the tenderest Regard your
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To John Adams Esqr. in Philadelphia To the Care of the Committee of Safety at Cambridge”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. AA inserted the day of the month above the line and then partly overwrote it so that it cannot now be read with certainty. But the letter was at least in part written on the same day as her letter to James Bowdoin of the 16th, q.v., following.
2. Thus clearly in MS, but meant of course for “19”–an example of AA's habitual and extreme unreliability in dating anything whatever.
3. The letters were those of 29 and 26 May respectively, one of which came by John Hancock's servant and the other by the Halls of Maryland; both are printed above.
4. The Vassall-Borland house, now the Adams National Historic Site, 135 Adams Street, Quincy. John Borland, a loyalist, who had used the house as a summer residence, had died earlier this month in Boston; his widow, Anna (Vassall) Borland, recovered this portion of her property after the Revolution, and in 1787, while still in London, JA bought the house and extensive farm surrounding it from Mrs. Borland's son, Leonard Vassall Borland. The “Old House,” as it was long called by the family, was occupied by four generations of Adamses, until the death of BA in 1927. In 1946 the house, outbuildings, and furnishings were presented by the family to the United States, and the property has since then been administered by the National Park Service. See HA2, “The Adams Mansion,” Old-Time New England, 19:3–17 (July 1928), an illustrated account which was issued in an enlarged and separate form by the Adams Memorial Society, Quincy, 1935. As the headquarters of the family during most of the years covered by this edition of The Adams Papers, the Old House will play a large if not a speaking part in the volumes that follow.
{ 220 }
5. No such letter has been found. Since AA says farther on that she has now written five letters to JA since he left Braintree, and this is only the fourth known to be extant, one is obviously missing from the sequence.
6. These were children of AA's uncle Ebenezer (1700?–1776) and aunt Anna (Smith) Kent (1708–1781). See Adams Genealogy; also note 8 below.
7. A proclamation issued by Gage on 12 June but actually written by Gen. John Burgoyne in his characteristically bombastic style. It was directed to “the infatuated multitudes, who have long suffered themselves to be conducted by certain well-known incendiaries and traitors”—all of whom, however, with the exception of Samuel Adams and John Hancock, were promised pardon if they ceased resisting royal authority. Ford, Mass. Broadsides, No. 1814; Evans 14184.
8. Thomas Welsh (1752?–1831), Harvard 1772 and honorary M.D. 1811, who in 1777 was to marry (2dly) AA's cousin Abigail Kent (1750–1825). See Adams Genealogy.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0148

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Bowdoin, James
Date: 1775-06-16

Abigail Adams to James Bowdoin

[salute] Sir

I have the Pleasure of acquainting you that I last Evening recieved Letters from Mr. Adams,1 wherein he informs me that the Congress are determined to support the Massachusetts—that there is a good Spirit among them, and that they have an amazing Field of Business before them—that it is extensive, complicated and hazardous, but their Unanimnity is as great as before—that they have a Number of new and ingenious Members—that the military Spirit which runs thro' the Continent is truly amazing. The City of Philadelphia turns out 2000 Men every Day. Mr. Dickinson is a Coll., Mr. Reed a Lt. Coll., Mr. Mifflin a Major.
The Bearer of one of the Letters Mr. Hall is a Maryland Gentleman accompanied by his Brother. Gentlemen of independant Fortune, the one a Lawyer, the other a Physician, and of one of the best Families in Maryland and are come 500 Miles as Volunteers to the Camp, where they intend to spend the Season.
Please Sir to accept my most respectful Regards to Mrs. Bowdoin, and ardent Wishes for the Restoration of your Health from your humble Servant,
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (MHi: Bowdoin-Temple Papers), in John Thaxter's hand, including signature and address; addressed: “To the Honble: James Bowdoin Esqr. in Braintree”; endorsed: “Mrs. John Adams's Letter abt. Congress. Braintree June 16. 1775.”
1. Dated 26 and 29 May; both printed above.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0149

Author: Nicolson, Mary
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-06-16

Mary Nicolson to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Mrs. Adams

I hoped [long?]1 ere now to have Been at Braintree, but evry circumstance has hitherto been Against me. I have been very unwell ever since I left you, have not been Abroad for a month, tho not wholly confined all that time. A repeated sore throat and Eyes, has been the difficulty, this has prevented my being ready to go to you, but had I been ever so much so, no Opportunity of conveying even a Bundle has offer'd yet. All carriges that pass between Roxbury and this are filld with things for the Army. Indeed I might go in a whale Boat, with the party of our Troops who are going after another load of flour, round by way of Yarmouth and so by Germantown to Sopers landing, but tis a voiage I beg to be excused from. More over all our folks are so averse to my going while an Attack is hourly expected, that I know not what to do. For my part I am no more Apprehensive of danger at Braintree than Plymouth. Poor Charly wants Aunt Polly I believe, and I want to fit him as much, but dont desire you to wait for my Assistance especialy for things of Necessity, as I will soon see you and run my chance of being Taken Prisoner, if by any possible means I can get along for I pine for my Old friends. I am as far from them that is knowing any thing of them only by common fame, as If I was in So. Carolina. It would be a great deed of Charity in all or any of [them]2 to write to me. I am Just famishd for a letter from some of you. I received one from Miss Eunice wednesday per Mr. John Johnston, by whom I wrote to her. Tis more Trouble to send a Letter to Taunton than England, but there are very few days pass in which you might not send here as people are constantly passing to and from the Camp. We are all Surrounded by Troops. Our house is Officers Quarters, and the head Quarters adjoining. Give my love to Mrs. Cranch and family, Mr. Palmers and family. Tell them I hope soon to see or hear from them, that I did not know the Boats with flour would go to Germantown, or I would conveyd some things along for the Colonel. Heaven Preserve you all in Peace and safety so prays your Affectionate Friend & Servt.,
[signed] M. Nicolson
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree Favord by Colo: Alden.”
1. MS torn.
2. Word omitted in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0150

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-06-18

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dearest Friend

The Day; perhaps the decisive Day is come on which the fate of America depends. My bursting Heart must find vent at my pen. I have just heard that our dear Friend Dr. Warren is no more but fell gloriously fighting for his Country—saying better to die honourably in the field than ignominiously hang upon the Gallows. Great is our Loss. He has distinguished himself in every engagement, by his courage and fortitude, by animating the Soldiers and leading them on by his own example. A particuliar account of these dreadful, but I hope Glorious Days will be transmitted you, no doubt in the exactest manner.
The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Trust in him at all times, ye people pour out your hearts before him. God is a refuge for us.—Charlstown is laid in ashes. The Battle began upon our intrenchments upon Bunkers Hill, a Saturday morning about 3 o clock and has not ceased yet and tis now 3 o'clock Sabbeth afternoon.
Tis expected they will come out over the Neck to night, and a dreadful Battle must ensue. Almighty God cover the heads of our Country men, and be a shield to our Dear Friends. How [many ha]ve fallen we know not—the constant roar of the cannon is so [distre]ssing that we can not Eat, Drink or Sleep. May we be supported and sustaind in the dreadful conflict. I shall tarry here till tis thought unsafe by my Friends, and then I have secured myself a retreat at your Brothers who has kindly offerd me part of his house.1 I cannot compose myself to write any further at present. I will add more as I hear further.
I have been so much agitated that I have not been able to write since Sabbeth day. When I say that ten thousand reports are passing vague and uncertain as the wind I believe I speak the Truth. I am not able to give you any authentick account of last Saturday, but you will not be destitute of inteligence. Coll. Palmer has just sent me word that he has an opportunity of conveyance. Incorrect as this scrawl will be, it shall go. I wrote you last Saturday morning.2 In the afternoon I received your kind favour of the 2 june, and that you sent me by Captn. Beals at the same time.—I ardently pray that you may be supported thro the arduous task you have before you. I wish I could { 223 } contradict the report of the Doctors Death, but tis a lamentable Truth, and the tears of multitudes pay tribute to his memory. Those favorite lines [of] Collin continually sound in my Ears

How sleep the Brave who sink to rest,

By all their Countrys wishes blest?

When Spring with dew'ey fingers cold

Returns to deck their Hallowed mould

She their shall dress a sweeter Sod

Than fancys feet has ever trod.

By fairy hands their knell is rung

By forms unseen their Dirge is sung

Their [There] Honour comes a pilgrim grey

To Bless the turf that wraps their Clay

And freedom shall a while repair

To Dwell a weeping Hermit there.3

I rejoice in the prospect of the plenty you inform me of, but cannot say we have the same agreable veiw here. The drought is very severe, and things look but poorly.
Mr. Rice and Thaxter, unkle Quincy, Col. Quincy, Mr. Wibert all desire to be rememberd, so do all our family. Nabby will write by the next conveyance.
I must close, as the Deacon w[aits.] I have not pretended to be perticuliar with regard to what I have heard, because I know you will collect better intelligence. The Spirits of the people are very good. The loss of Charlstown affects them no more than a Drop in the Bucket.—I am Most sincerely yours,
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To John Adams Esqr. in Philadelphia.” MS is badly worn on outer edges, and text is torn by seal, obscuring a few words that are here supplied conjecturally in brackets.
1. JA's brother Elihu lived on a farm farther inland, in what is now Randolph, Mass.
2. That is, on the 17th. The letter referred to is the one printed above under 16? June but may have been written on more than one day.
3. Except for bad spelling and punctuation this is an accurate rendering of William Collins' “Ode Written in the Beginning of the Year 1746,” commemorating the British troops who fell at Prestonpans and Falkirk and published in Collins' Odes, London, 1747. JQA learned these moving lines—among the finest produced in the 18th century—in 1775 and never forgot them. In a draft of a letter he wrote in a faltering hand to an English Quaker, Joseph Sturge, on the subject of war and pacifism, dated March 1846 (Adams Papers), he gave his own recollection of the events AA here describes:
“The year 1775 was the eighth year of my age. Among the first fruits of the War, was the expulsion of my father's family from their peaceful abode in Boston, to take refuge in his and my native town of Braintree.... For the space of { 224 } twelve months my mother with her infant children dwelt, liable every hour of the day and of the night to be butchered in cold blood, or taken and carried into Boston as hostages, by any foraging or marauding detachment of men, like that actually sent forth on the 19th. of April, to capture John Hancock and Samuel Adams on their way to attend the continental Congress at Philadelphia. My father was separated from his family, on his way to attend the same continental Congress, and there my mother, with her children lived in unintermitted danger of being consumed with them all in a conflagration kindled by a torch in the same hands which on the 17th. of June lighted the fires in Charlestown. I saw with my own eyes those fires, and heard Britannia's thunders in the Battle of Bunker's hill and witnessed the tears of my mother and mingled with them my own, at the fall of Warren a dear friend of my father, and a beloved Physician to me. He had been our family physician and surgeon, and had saved my fore finger from amputation under a very bad fracture.... My mother was the daughter of a Christian Clergyman and therefore bred in the faith of deliberate detestation of War.... Yet in that same Spring and Summer of 1775 she taught me to repeat daily after the Lord's prayer, before rising from bed the Ode of Collins, on the patriot warriors who fell in the War to subdue the Jacobite rebellion of 1745.
How sleep the brave, who sink to rest.... [Here follows the rest of Collins' “Ode,” with a single word misquoted.]
“Of the impression made upon my heart by the sentiments inculcated in these beautiful effusions of patriotism and poetry, you may form an estimate by the fact that now, seventy one years after they were thus taught me, I repeat them from memory without reference to the book.”
JQA's feelings ran so deep on the subject of Bunker Hill battle and Joseph Warren's death that in his Diary he commented with increasing disapproval on the anniversary celebrations of the battle, which grew more and more elaborate during his lifetime. In 1786, for example, he declined to go with his fellow students and the faculty of Harvard College to participate in “a scene of revels, and feasting,” with the head of the table “placed on the very spot where the immortal Warren fell.” And the celebration in 1843 marking the completion of the Monument, with Daniel Webster (“a traitor to the cause of human freedom”) speaking and President Tyler (“a Slave monger”) in attendance, revolted JQA: “I have throughout my life had an utter aversion to all pageants, and public dinners, and never attended one, when I could decently avoid it.... But now with the ideal association of the thundering cannon which I heard, and the smoke of burning Charlestown which I saw on that awful day, combined with this Pyramid of Quincy granite, and Daniel Webster spouting <with a Negro holding an umbrella over his head>, and John Tyler's nose with a shadow outstreching that of the monumental column; how could I have witnessed all this at once without an unbecoming burst of indignation or of laughter?”
A cairn of stones at the summit of Penn's Hill in Quincy was erected in 1896 to mark the spot where AA and JQA reputedly viewed the battle and conflagration. The ceremonies dedicating it were simpler than those on Bunker Hill in 1843; see Wilson, Where Amer. Independence Began, p. 257–259, with illustration. But whether JQA would have approved of them is problematical.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0151

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-06-18

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

This Letter, I presume, will go by the brave and amiable General Washington.
Our Army will have a Group of Officers, equal to any service. { 225 } Washington, Ward, Lee, Gates, Gridley,1 together with all the other New England officers, will make a glorious Council of War.
This Congress are all as deep, as the Delegates from the Massachuchusetts, and the whole Continent as forward as Boston.
We shall have a Redress of Grievances, or an Assumption of all the Powers of Government legislative, Executive and judicial, throughout the whole Continent very soon.
Georgia is bestirring itself—I mean the whole of it. The Parish of St. Johns which is one third of it, was with Us before.

[salute] I am &c.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “C No 11.”
1. All well known officers recently taken into Continental service except Richard Gridley, formerly in the British engineers, who was now serving with the Massachusetts forces and was wounded at Bunker Hill; in September he was named colonel of the Continental regiment of artillery but two months later was superseded by Henry Knox (Mass. Soldiers and Sailors; Heitman, Register Continental Army; JCC, 2:256; 3:358–359).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0152

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-06-22

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I received yours [of] june 10, for which I thank you. I want you to be more perticuliar. Does every Member feel for us? Can they realize what we suffer? And can they believe with what patience and fortitude we endure the conflict—nor do we even tremble at the frowns of power.—You inquire of me, who were at the engagement at Grape Island. I may say with truth all Weymouth Braintree Hingham who were able to bear Arms, and hundreds from other Towns within 20 30 and 40 miles of Weymouth. Our good Friend the Doctor is in a very misirable state of Health, has the jaundice to a [very gr]eat degree, is a mere Skelliton and hardly able to [ride fro]m his own house to my fathers. Danger you [know] sometimes makes timid men bold. He stood that day very well, and generously attended with drink, Bisquit, flints &c. 5 hundred men without taking any pay. He has since been chosen one of the committee of Correspondence for that Town, and has done much Service by establishing a regular method of alarm from Town to Town. Both your Brothers were there—your younger Brother with his company who gaind honour by their good order that Day. He was one of the first to venture aboard a Schooner to land upon the Island.—At Chelsa I cannot be so perticuliar as I do not know only in General, that Coll. Putnam commanded there, and had many Gentlemen volun• { 226 } ters. We have two companies stationd in this Town, at Germantown Captn. Turner, at Squantom Capt. Vinton. In Weymouth one, in Hingham two &c.—I believe I shall remove your Books this week to your Brothers. We think it adviseable. Coll. Quincy has procured his family a retreat at Deacon Holebrooks. Mr. Cranch has one at Major Basses—in case of necessity to which we hope not to be driven.—We hear that the troops destined for Newyork are all expected here, but we have got to that pass that a whole legion of them would not intimidate us.—I think I am very brave upon the whole. If danger comes near my dwelling I suppose I shall shuder. We want powder [although?] with the blessing of Heaven we fear them [not][ . . . ] every possible method that can be made use of [ . . . ] it should, be by the whole continent. The state we are in at present is intrenching and fortifying. Tis said we have lost 44 men and the Regulars near a thousand, 64 officers amongst them.—God bless and preserve us. Write me every opportunity you can. I am your
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia.” MS torn by seal, obscuring two passages which have been only partly restored by conjecture.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0153

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-06-23

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

I have this Morning been out of Town to accompany our Generals Washington, Lee, and Schuyler, a little Way, on their Journey to the American Camp before Boston.
The Three Generals were all mounted, on Horse back, accompanied by Major Mifflin who is gone in the Character of Aid de Camp. All the Delegates from the Massachusetts with their Servants, and Carriages attended. Many others of the Delegates, from the Congress—a large Troop of Light Horse, in their Uniforms. Many Officers of Militia besides in theirs. Musick playing &c. &c. Such is the Pride and Pomp of War. I, poor Creature, worn out with scribbling, for my Bread and my Liberty, low in Spirits and weak in Health, must leave others to wear the Lawrells which I have sown; others, to eat the Bread which I have earned.—A Common Case.
We had Yesterday, by the Way of N. York and N. London, a Report, which distresses us, almost as much as that We had last fall, of the Cannonade of Boston. A Battle at Bunkers Hill and Dorchester Point—three Colonels wounded, Gardiner mortally.1 We wait to hear { 227 } more particulars. Our Hopes and our Fears are alternately very strong. If there is any Truth in this Account, you must be in great Confusion. God Almightys Providence preserve, sustain, and comfort you.
This Moment received two Letters from you. Courage, my dear! We shall be supported in Life, or comforted in Death. I rejoice that my Countrymen behaved so bravely, tho not so skillfully conducted as I could wish. I hope this defect will be remedied by the new modelling of the Army.

[salute] My Love every where.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “C No 12.”
1. Thomas Gardner of Cambridge was elected colonel of the 1st Middlesex regiment after Gen. William Brattle fled to Boston in Sept. 1774; he died in July 1775 of wounds sustained at Bunker Hill (Lucius R. Paige, History of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Boston and N.Y., 1877, p. 418–420).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0154

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-06-24

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams

[salute] Mr. Adams

Long before this will reach you, you will have an Account of the Action, att Charlestown, in which though the regulars have gaind an Advantageous Cituation have paid for itt very dearly, which loss in Millitary Accheivements is lookt upon as trivial. The distruction of Charlestown is a most Melancholy seen, as Three quarters of the Inhabitants have lost there, all. Brother Kent house, W. house, as likewise sister Austin houses are all destroyed,1 and Although the Cheif of the people had removed and there Effects yet there were Considerable of Value in the Town, and likewise a great many things, belonging to Boston people, which had been left in homes to be transported into the Country not expecting any such a devastation would take place so suddenly and not being Able to get Carts have lost them, all, Among which was Doct. Mathers,2 who's daughters came Out the day before.
You will be informed of the state of Our Affairs, by those who have the Management of them, but as we have had several times since the Engagement people who have liberty to go up, by which, some people get a chance down—One three days past and One Yesterday, a Capt. of a ship being up there to see his Owner Mr. B——, was a spectator from the begining a saturday Morning and while there being connected with many of the friends of Govermt. falsly so-called, by which his Account beleive to be as good as any One's. He says he was on Cops { 228 } hill when the orders came for the burning the Town which was about the same time the Troops landed—and was att the seeing the Wounded brought back (the dead ther's, as well as Ours were buried, on Charlestown side). The talk was that they had lost and wounded about a Thousand about 300 of which was killed. Amongst which Numbers of a Thousand, about 80 Officers were killed and wounded, 30 of which Number were dead and many more since Amongst which was besides Majo. Pitcarn and Williams, Colo. Abbercrombie, (the latter Yesterday, Intelligence brings) haveing dyed after geting to Boston. Itt was said Majo. Sh[ . . . ]3 fell but he was not there. On the Other side the loss of Doct. Warren is great, and itt was a great pitty, that ever there was the least thoughts of bestowing the late honor upon him, being more wanted in Other Capacities. He was buried in Charlestown buriing place, itt is said that Offers were made that any of his friends att Boston might attend his funeral.—Yesterday Morning a Transport Arrived and landed her Troops said to be One ordered back from N York of 16 sail bound there and itts supposed a vessell has been sent to stop them from going to N York, so that itts likely we shall have them all here in a few days which iff so hope the Connecticut forces will come this way, as itt now takes a great many to secure the different passes.—Since the Marshal law has been Established in Boston the people dare not Open there Mouths scarsely. Poor Shrimpton Hunt your late Neighbour, Only saying a Saturday, that he hopt Our people would get the better was taken up and Confined itts said in gaol. A son of my late Neighbour Gore calling Over the way to his sister to see a funeral come along the paul holders left the Corps, itts said tho beleive not true and whent and put him under gaurd six hours—suppose by his fathers influence he got Clear. No person was Allowed to be On there houses, to look Out a sabbath day. None of the select Men are Allowed to come Out. T.B.4 still remains there. Mrs. Gill got Out the day I did. Your brother Smith was not in the late Engagement, being confind to his Chamber, not being well. Doct. Cotton I here has been confined with the Rheumatism and Other disorders.—We are Obstructed in business by the M[en of] Warr and Cutters, so that I have had Vessells designed here, Obliged to go round to Ipswich, which goods must be carted from thence here—but in a few days we must expect more. The people, since the last battle are removing there household goods from this Town.

[salute] I am with,5 wishing your Counsels may be conducted by An Overruleing Providence, for the purpose of a lasting Tranquility, Your hume. servant,

[signed] Isaac Smith
{ 229 }
[Added on cover:] July 1st. A person yesterday from Boston says Jemmey Lovell is confined in gaol in the dungen for Nobody knows what. The Inhabitants have no Wood, an Account has been taken of those that are still in Boston which amount to about 5,000. The same person who says he had the best information that the Number of Officers kil'd and wounded, is rather more [than] the 84 mentioned and that 102 Sargents were kil'd and wounded, and that the 52d Rigement had lost 2 Capts. returned or 2 officers, forget which. I here the Officers say that the battle of Menden did not exceed itt.—I hope Our New Assembly or the General will make a demand of all the Inhabitants and there Effects, of those who by Contract Ought to come Out.—There is a Military Watch kept by the friends of Goverment. Martyn Gay One of the Captns.—Yours by Doct. Church have received.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To John Adams Esqr. a Member of the Continental Congress Philadelphia”; postal marking: “Camb Post paid 1/”; docketed “June 24. 1775” in a hand the editors believe is probably that of Rev. William Gordon (1728–1807), of Jamaica Plain (Roxbury, Mass.), the historian of the American Revolution. Docketings in the same hand appear on some scores of letters received by JA from this date through the following fifteen months (until early Oct. 1776), after which they disappear. The only possible explanation of these (if they are indeed in William Gordon's hand) is that Gordon somehow gained access to at least a portion of JA's letter files at some point after the latter date. Since in 1775 JA thought Gordon vain, talkative, and injudicious (Diary and Autobiography, 2:174), and since no external evidence is yet known to the editors of Gordon's using JA's files—indeed JA replied evasively when Gordon asked for assistance on his History (Gordon to JA, 27 March 1777, Adams Papers, MHS, Procs., 63 [1929–1930]:338; JA to Gordon, 8 April 1777, LbC, Adams Papers, JA, Works, 9:461–462)—it is very surprising to find traces of his hand in the Adams Papers. The identification of persons by their handwriting being a treacherous business, the editors' conclusion that Gordon consulted and docketed some of JA's early Revolutionary correspondence is put forth tentatively and in the expectation, or at least the hope, that it will be confirmed or disproved by evidence still to be found. But Gordon's spidery hand is highly individualistic and not easily mistaken for anyone else's. He was also a very pertinacious man and investigator, as shown by his letters gathered and edited by Worthington C. Ford (MHS, Procs., 63 [1929–1930]: 303–613) and by the references to privately owned materials in the preface, text, and notes in his 4-volume History, eventually published in London in 1788. He had, moreover, something of a habit of marking up the papers he examined when preparing his book. (For an example in the Washington Papers, which he inspected at Mount Vernon in 1784, see Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:185.) And it may be pointed out, finally, that references in his correspondence show that Gordon and his wife visited AA in Braintree on a rather familiar footing at times when JA was absent. Light on this and on more important matters would doubtless be obtainable if Gordon's own papers survive and could be found. He spent his last years, died, and was buried at Ipswich in England. With { 230 } the exception of a single letter (Jefferson to Gordon, 2 July 1787, in Jefferson's Papers, ed. Boyd, 11:525), the present editors, though they have made extensive inquiries, have found no traces of what must once have been a formidable mass of correspondence and other MSS in Gordon's possession. Apparently they were not dispersed. But if not, were they entirely destroyed, or do they lurk somewhere more or less intact?
1. Thus in MS. “Brother Kent” was Ebenezer Kent, who had married the writer's sister Anna. “Sister Austin” was Mary Smith, wife of Ebenezer Austin. See Adams Genealogy. “W. house” very likely means warehouse, Kent being a merchant.
2. Rev. Samuel Mather, Harvard 1723, “last and least of a great dynasty,” minister of the Tenth Congregational Society in Boston, where, though not a loyalist, he remained throughout the siege (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 7:216–238).
3. Illegible. Probably Maj. William Sheriff is meant.
4. Thomas Boylston.
5. Thus in MS. Word or words omitted?

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0155

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-06-25

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dearest Friend

My Father has been more affected with the distruction of Charlstown, than with any thing which has heretofore taken place. Why should not his countanance be sad when the city, the place of his Fathers Sepulchers lieth waste, and the gates thereof are consumed with fire, scarcly one stone remaineth upon an other. But in the midst of sorrow we have abundant cause of thankfulness that so few of our Breathren are numberd with the slain, whilst our enimies were cut down like the Grass before the Sythe. But one officer of all the Welch fuzelers remains to tell his story. Many poor wretches dye for want of proper assistance and care of their wounds.
Every account agrees in 14 and 15 hundred slain and wounded upon their side nor can I learn that they dissemble the number themselves. We had some Heroes that day who fought with amazing intrepidity, and courage—

“Extremity is the trier of Spirits—

Common chances common men will bear;

And when the Sea is calm all boats alike

Shew mastership in floating, but fortunes blows

When most struck home, being bravely warded, crave

A noble cunning.” Shakespear.

I hear that General How should say the Battle upon the plains of Abram was but a Bauble to this. When we consider all the circum• { 231 } stances attending this action we stand astonished that our people were not all cut of. They had but one hundred foot intrenched, the number who were engaged, did not exceed 800, and they [had] not half amunition enough. The reinforcements not able to get to them seasonably, the tide was up and high, so that their floating batteries came upon each side of the causway and their row gallies keeping a continual fire. Added to this the fire from fort hill and from the Ship, the Town in flames all round them and the heat from the flames so intence as scarcely to be borne; the day one of the hottest we have had this season and the wind blowing the smoke in their faces—only figure to yourself all these circumstances, and then consider that we do not count 60 Men lost. My Heart overflows at the recollection.
We live in continual Expectation of Hostilities. Scarcely a day that does not produce some, but like Good Nehemiah having made our prayer with God, and set the people with their Swords, their Spears and their bows we will say unto them, Be not affraid of them. Remember the Lord who is great and terible, and fight for your Breathren, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your houses.
I have just received yours of the 17 of june in 7 days only.1 Every line from that far Country is precious. You do not tell me how you do, but I will hope better. Alass you little thought what distress we were in the day you wrote. They delight in molesting us upon the Sabbeth. Two Sabbeths we have been in such Alarms that we have had no meeting. This day we have set under our own vine in quietness, have heard Mr. Taft, from psalms.2 The Lord is good to all and his tender mercies are over all his works. The good man was earnest and pathetick. I could forgive his weakness for the sake of his sincerity—but I long for a Cooper and an Elliot. I want a person who has feeling and sensibility who can take one up with him

“And in his Duty prompt at every call

Can watch, and weep, and pray, and feel for all.”

Mr. Rice joins General Heaths regiment to morrow as adjutant. Your Brother is very desirous of being in the army, but your good Mother is really voilent against it. I cannot persuaid nor reason her into a consent. Neither he nor I dare let her know that he is trying for a place. My Brother has a Captains commission, and is stationd at Cambridge. I thought you had the best of inteligence or I should have taken pains to have been more perticuliar. As to Boston, there are many persons yet there who would be glad to get out if they could. Mr. Boylstone and Mr. Gill the printer with his family are held upon the { 232 } black list tis said. Tis certain they watch them so narrowly that they cannot escape, nor your Brother Swift3 and family. Mr. Mather got out a day or two before Charlstown was distroyed, and had lodged his papers and what else he got out at Mr. Carys, but they were all consumed. So were many other peoples, who thought they might trust their little there; till teams could be procured to remove them. The people from the Alms house and work house were sent to the lines last week, to make room for their wounded they say. Medford people are all removed. Every sea port seems in motion.—O North! may the Groans and cryes of the injured and oppressed Harrow up thy Soul. We have a prodigious Army, but we lack many accomadations which we need. I hope the apointment of these new Generals will give satisfaction. They must be proof against calumny. In a contest like this continual reports are circulated by our Enimies, and they catch with the unwary and the gaping croud who are ready to listen to the marvellous, without considering of consequences even tho there best Friends are injured.—I have not venturd to inquire one word of you about your return. I do not know whether I ought to wish for it—it seems as if your sitting together was absolutely necessary whilst every day is big with Events.
Mr. Bowdoin called a fryday and took his leave of me desiring I would present his affectionate regards to you. I have hopes that he will recover—he has mended a good deal. He wished he could have staid in Braintree, but his Lady was fearful.
I have often heard that fear makes people loving. I never was so much noticed by some people as I have been since you went out of Town, or rather since the 19 of April. Mr. W[inslo]ws family are determined to be sociable. Mr. A——n4 are quite Friendly.—Nabby Johny Charly Tommy all send duty. Tom says I wish I could see par. You would laugh to see them all run upon the sight of a Letter—like chickens for a crum, when the Hen clucks. Charls says mar What is it any good news? and who is for us and who against us, is the continual inquiry.5—Brother and Sister Cranch send their Love. He has been very well since he removed, for him, and has full employ in his Buisness. Unkel Quincy calls to hear most every day, and as for the Parson, he determines I shall not make the same complaint I did last time, for he comes every other day.
Tis exceeding dry weather. We have not had any rain for a long time. Bracket has mowed the medow and over the way, but it will not be a last years crop.—Pray let me hear from you by every opportunity till I have the joy of once more meeting you. Yours ever more,
[signed] Portia
{ 233 }
P.S. Tell Bass his father and family are well.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia To the Care of the Committee of Safety.”
1. AA unquestionably means JA's letter of 18 June, above.
2. Rev. Moses Taft, Harvard 1751, a neighboring minister in what is now Randolph, Mass. (Weis, Colonial Clergy of N.E.).
3. Samuel Swift, Harvard 1735, not a relative but a brother lawyer and close friend of JA; see JA's Diary and Autobiography, 1:293 and passim.
4. Perhaps “Allen,” but not now identifiable.
5. This homely passage, along with much else in the present letter, was omitted by CFA in his several editions of AA's letters.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0156

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-06-28

John Thaxter to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

One of the many brave and gallant Actions that have graced our Arms, I take the Liberty of writing you an Account of. The most important Transactions, since your Abscence, you are undoubtedly already informed of; but as this, I am about to relate, is just come to hand, I embrace the Opportunity of sending you an Account of it by the Express.
Not long before the Date of this, General Gage dispatched two Sloops with Provision to Machias, under the Convoy of a Tender—this Provision was to be exchanged for Lumber and other Articles. Stephen and Ichabod Jones the Contractors had made Application to the Town to supply the Army and Navy with Lumber—one of the Traitors was taken Prisoner, the other fled to the [ . . . ][in]1 Imitation of the Colonel perhaps. The Contractors being made Prisoners, the Captain of the Tender threatned instant Demolition to the Town, if there was not an immediate Resignation of them and Springs were put to the Cables for that End. The Inhabitants, neither intimidated by the Abuses they had previously recieved from the Sloops Crews, nor the brutum Fulmen of the Captain, retained the Prisoners—upon which a few Martial Civilities passed between both Parties—but finding our Fire too hot, they put to Sea. The Machias People, determin'd on a Capture of the Tender, boarded the Sloops, armed them with Implements of War and Husbandry, and sailed after her, and soon came up with her, when an Engagement ensued, in which our Men, as usual, proved victorious. The Tender had twelve Swivels it is said. The Captain and three Men, besides many wounded, fell on their Part; also Robert Avery of Norwich a Prisoner was unfortunately killed; two or three, with several { 234 } wounded, fell on our Part. What Men remained on board the Tender were taken Prisoners. This was the tragical End of their intended Exchange.2
A few Days agone arrived at Nantucket, after seven Weeks Passage, a Vessel from England. One of the Passengers, Viz. Mr. William Palfray brought Letters from some of our Enemies in England for our Refugees—he carried them to Watertown and they were read in Congress.3 There was one from that infamous Parricide H[utchinso]n, to his Son, wherein he says, “he hopes the Contest will soon be settled, that he may come and spend the Remainder of his Days at Milton.” This Letter is secret and confidential, it is to be supposed.
Mr. Blowers and Bliss write to Leonard, Taylor, the Amorys and others. They lash us with Infatuation, Delusion and Cowardice. They prophecy no Resistance at all [ . . . ] and an ineffectual one, as will be crushed with the greatest Facility. Their P[rophecy will not?] become History.—In the same Vessel came one Camel an Ensign of [ . . . ][regi]ment who, upon a Narrative of the Battles, utterly refused to go to Boston—he was told, he might be exchanged for one of our Men a Prisoner in Town. No he would not—he says he did not come to fight. At present he is at Watertown, complimented with a guard.4 Mr. Duncan Ingraham another Passenger says, they are very peacable in England now; but gives it as his Opinion, when the News of the Lexington Battle reaches there, it will throw the Nation into the greatest Convulsions imaginable.
We hear General Washington is expected very soon. Almost every Tongue is applauding the Wisdom of the Appointment, and almost every Arm is expanded to recieve him. From present Appearances, We have Reason to believe there will be such a Reception, as will give a most weighty Confirmation to the Appointment.—Master C[leverl]y “duplices tendens 2d Sydera Palmas,” exclaims, as usual, against Congresses, Novanglus's Pieces &c. The least justification of them, or of one Measure that has been adopted, will close his Eyes, and set his Head vibrating. Desponding Fears have not yet seized him. The Prospect of your Meadow as a Gratuity for his Bigotry and persecuting Zeal, buoys up his Spirits.5
I am sorry to inform you that our Company does not continue their Exercise. Not once have they met since your Abscence. We want you, Sir, to animate us.
My Father and Mother send their Respects to you and wish you better Health.
Please to accept this and my Wishes for a Restoration of your Health, { 235 } and the following Toast lately given by Coll. Orne, “may the Justice of Britain disarm every American.”

[salute] From, Sir, your most obedient Servant,

[signed] J. Thaxter
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia— To the Care of the Committee of Safety”; postal marking (“Cambr 2/ stg”) is heavily lined out and replaced by the word “Free”; docketed by William Gordon(?): “J. Thaxter June 28. 1775.”
1. Here and below, MS is torn by seal.
2. The action of 11–12 June resulting in the capture of the British vessel Margaretta by the mariners of Machias was the first sea fight of the Revolution, and much has accordingly been written about it. See French, First Year, p. 360–361.
3. Palfrey presented these letters to the Provincial Congress on 29 June (Mass. Provincial Congress, Jours., p. 419, 420).
4. On Ensign Robert Campbell's unhappy adventures (he was only 17), see same, p. 405, 407, 410, 419, 420.
5. Joseph Cleverly, Harvard 1733, JA's old schoolmaster; he was a devout Anglican and was strongly loyalist in his politics, but despite some threats against him he was not forced to leave Braintree during the Revolution (JA, Diary and Autobiography, passim; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 9:285–288).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0157

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-07-03

Cotton Tufts to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sr.

You have no Doubt long before this heard of the unhappy Fate of Charlestown, its Destruction by Fire, the forcing of our Entrenchments there by the ministerial Troops and the Loss of our valuable Friend Doct. Warren who was shot through the Breast and soon expir'd. The Entrenchments were unfinishd the work of but one Night. However, they were gallantly defended and by all Accounts, there was an amazing Destruction amongst the british Troops; a Victory bought at the dearest Rate—and if all their Victories are thus bought, they will exactly resemble the Soldier who conquers but in the Contest recieves a Wound of which he afterwards dies. The lowest Accountt of their Loss amounts to 1000 Killd and Wounded and the greater part of those who have come out of Boston since the Engagement report from 13 to 1400 and some have gone as far as 1800. On our Side about 50 were killd, from 25 to 30 Prisoners mostly wounded, 100 and upwards wounded who returnd from the Battle. Of the Killd, Wounded and those that were made Prisoners I believe they dont exceed 200—which considering the amazing Disadvantages they were under surrounded almost on every side, exposed to the Fire of the Army, Ships and Floating Batteries, blinded and choaked with the Smoak of the Town that it seems almost miraculous so few were killd and wounded. Not above 800 or 900 of our Men were engag'd in this { 236 } Battle and the British Troops were from 3 to 5000 according to the best Accounts We Can get. Could You my Friend send us a Recipe for the Destruction of those Vermin that float on the Watre and spit out their Venom, Fire and Rage at us, it is probable we should maintain our Ground, and make a pretty good Figure amongst the Warriors and Heroes of this Age. But they sadly worry us. All our Harbours are seald. No Provision Vessell enters. Quere How are Ordnance Stores to get in.—Since the Engagement Our Forces have been very industrious in entrenching and fortifying at Roxbury, Cambridge and in the Environs of Charlestown.
This Morning We hear from McNeal a Rope maker who got out of Boston Yesterday—That in the late Battle 90 Commissiond and 180 or 190 non commission'd officers of the British Troops were wounded and slain. What must then be the Number of Privates! Col. Bruce, Majr. Pitcairn, Majr. Small, Majr. Sheriff are said to be amongst the Dead. These are mentiond by those that come from Town. But all Accounts from that Quarter are to be receiv'd cum Grano Salis. For the Inhabitants of the Town (at present) are in the most abject State imaginable, under military Law, insulted, afraid to stir, move or ask Questions.—However what I have mentiond in the former part of this Letter relative to the Destruction of the British Troops is perhaps well grounded as it is supported by Accounts from J. Bradford, King, Cockran (Bartlet and John Thomas of Plimouth), McNeal and sundry others who have come out at different Times since the Engagement and by Hartly from Hospital Island who was sent here last Week by the Selectmen of Boston (at the Desire (as they say) of 25 Prisoners from the Country and many of them dangerously wounded) for fresh Provision. By the advice of Congress some Fresh Provision was sent. This same Hartley (alias his Wife) has been at Weymouth twice since the Engagement and confirm the above Accounts.
Having told You what there seems to be pretty good Authority for, I will mention some Things that I cannot vouch for but are commonly talkd off—Viz. that Genl. Burgoine has not been seen since the Battle—some say that He was slain, others that He immediately embarked for England.—That 250 Soldiers Widows were sent to England or Ireland in a Transport Ship, Gen. Gage not being able to support them in Boston. If true, methinks these will be weighty Preachers.—That 40 or 50 Ton of Powder has got into New York.—That the Rhode Islanders are fitting out Privateers—&c. &c. We were not long since told that in that Vessel, which was brought in to Philadelphia with { 237 } Col. Skeene, were 70 Chests of Arms. Pray let me know whether it was a Fact.
You complain in a Letter to your Bosom Friend that your former Correspondents have forgot You. You see by this, that one (at least) bears You in Remembrance, and if You will accept this as it is without being transcribed, and with its Length, I'll promise you a shorter one if Life and Health permits, by future Conveyance. My Health has been declining. The Alarms we have had Here and the multiplicity of Care and Business That devolvd on me in Consequence of them, with the Infirmities of Body have almost destroyd me. This Fortnight past I have recruited much. A General Time of Health. No reigning Disorder Except the Rash which is in almost every Town. The Season has been very dry—from Boston to Scituate on the Sea Shore extending about 10 Miles back—in Weymouth not more than half the Hay on Upland that was produc'd last Year. Your Land produces Hay in plenty, dry or wet, That I trust You will have enough for Yourself and some for your Neighbours. Your's, your Father Smith's and my Family are well. It would be agreeable to hear from You, and to be inform'd what is in Agitation in your grand assembly &c. That Heaven may inspire You all with Wisdom and make You happily instrumental of the Salvation of America is the Ardent Wish and Prayer of Dear Sr.

[salute] Yr. Friend & Humb. Servt.,

[signed] Cotton Tufts

[salute] Dear Sr.

I am this moment informd that your Congress, in Settlement of the Generals have made Col. H[eat]h superior in Command to General Tho[ma]s—A measure which has given great Concern to the most sensible and judicious and probably you will have Applications for the reversal of it. The Latter is said to be judicious, steady and unruffled— the former a Theoretical Officer and further they say not. I heard this from a Gentleman direct from Head Quarters, well acquainted with the Sentiments of the most discerning and is himself a Man of distinguishd Abilities and a Warm Friend to the Cause. Indeed the Sence of the Congress upon this Point may be fully collected in their late appointment of Doct. Warren to a Command in the Army superior to Col. H[eat]h.1 Yrs. ut supra.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in the hand of William Gordon(?).
1. Of the eight Continental brigadier generals appointed by Congress on 22 June, three were Massachusetts men: Seth Pomeroy (ranking first), William { 238 } Heath (ranking fourth), and John Thomas (ranking sixth) (JCC, 2:103). This meant that Heath had been jumped over Thomas, his senior in the Massachusetts service. Happily Pomeroy, a tired old veteran, never took up his Continental command. On the recommendation of Washington and by motion of JA, Congress on 19 July promoted Thomas to Pomeroy's place as first brigadier general (same, p. 191; JA to James Warren, 23 July, Warren-Adams Letters, 1:85–86). See also French, First Year, p. 295, 304–306, 753–754.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0158

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-07-04

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear

This Letter is to go by my worthy Friend Mr. Stephen Collins of this City. This Gentleman is of Figure and Eminence as well as Fortune in this Place. He is of the Perswasion of the Friends, but not stiff nor rigid. He is a Native of Lynn in New England, a Brother of Ezra Collins in Boston, a Nephew of Friend Collins the Apothecary in Boston. I have been treated by him in this City, both in the former Congress and the present, with unbounded Civility, and Friendship. His House is open to every New Englandman. I never knew a more agreable Instance of Hospitality.1
I beg, my dear, that he may be treated with every Expression of Gratitude, Affection and Esteem. Perswade him to go to Weymouth to see your Father and Dr. Tufts, if you can, and your Unkle Quincy.
A certain Mr. John Kaighn, (they pronounce his Name Cain) another Quaker of liberal sentiments is in Company with Mr. Collins. This Mr. Kaighn has been a principal Cause of the Prevalence of the Principles of Liberty among the Quakers, and of forming a Company of Light Infantry, composed entirely of Gentlemen of that Perswasion, who appear constantly in neat uniforms and perform very well.
I have lost all my Friends in the Massachusetts Bay, excepting my Wife, Coll. Warren and Coll. Palmer. From each of these I have received two or three Letters and no more. Not a scratch of a Pen have I been able to obtain from any Body else. We are constantly obliged to go to the Delegates from Connecticutt and Rhode Island for Intelligence of what is passing at Boston, Charlestown, Cambridge, Roxbury and Watertown. I am, my dear ever yours,
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree—favoured by Mr. Stephen Collins and Mr. John Kaighn”; endorsed: “C No 13.”
1. Collins made a similarly favorable impression on other New Englanders. William Whipple, for example, speaks of breakfasting “with that Generous Whig Quaker Stephen Collins who lives about 3 Miles from Philadelphia” when returning to New Hampshire from Congress in 1777 (PMHB, 10 [1886]:366). See also AA to JA, 16 July, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0159

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-07-05

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I have received a good deal of paper from you; I wish it had been more coverd; the writing is very scant but I must not grumble. I know your time is not yours, nor mine. Your Labours must be great, and your mouth closed, but all you may communicate I beg you would. There is a pleasure I know not whence it arises nor can I stop now to find it out, but I say there is a degree of pleasure in being able to tell new's—especially any which so nearly concerns us as all your proceedings do.
I should have been more particuliar but I thought you knew every thing that pass'd here. The present state of the inhabitants of Boston is that of the most abject slaves under the most cruel and despotick of Tyrants. Among many instances I could mention let me relate one. Upon the 17 of june printed hand Bills were pasted up at the corner of streets and upon houses forbideing any inhabitant to go upon their houses or upon any eminence upon pain of death.1 The inhabitants dared not to look out of their houses nor bee heard or seen to ask a Question. Our prisoners were brought over to the long wharff and there laid all night without any care of their wounds or any resting place but the pavements till the next day, when they exchanged it for the jail, since which we hear they are civily treated. Their living cannot be good, as they can have no fresh provisions. Their Beaf we hear is all gone, and their own wounded men die very fast, so that they have raisd a report that the Bullets were poisond. Fish they cannot have—they have renderd it so difficult to procure it, and the Admiral is such a villan as to oblige every fishing schooner to pay a Dollor every time they go out. The money that has been paid for passes is incredible. Some have given ten twenty 30 and forty Dollors, to get out with a small proportion of their things. Tis reported and believed that they have taken up a number of persons and committed them to jail—we know not for what in perticuliar. Master Lovel is confined to the Dungeon, a Son of Mr. Edes is in jail. One Mr. Wendle [Wendell] who married a Hunt, and one Wiburt a ship carpenter is now upon trial for his life. God alone knows to what lengths these wretches will go, and will I hope restrain their malice.
I would not have you be distressd about me. Danger they say makes people valient. Heitherto I have been distress'd, but not dismayed. I have felt for my Country and her Sons, I have bled with them, and for them. Not all the havock and devastation they have made, has { 240 } wounded me like the death of Warren. We wanted him in the Senate, we want him in his profession, we want him in the field. We mourn for the citizen, the senator, the physician and the Warriour. May we have others raised up in his room.
I have had a very kind and friendly visit from our dear Friends Col. Warren, Lady and Son. Mrs. Warren spent a week almost with me, and he came and met her here and kept Sabbeth with me. Suppose she will write to you, tho she says you are in her debt.2
You scarcely make mention of Dr. Franklin. Surely he must be a valuable member. Pray what is become of your Judas. I see he is not with you upon the list of Delegates?3 I wish I could come and see you. I never suffer myself to think you are about returning soon. Can it, will it bee? May I ask? May I wish for it? When once I expect you the time will crawl till I see you—but hush—do you know tis eleven o clock at Night?
We have had some very fine rains, since I wrote you last. I hope we shall not now have famine added to war. Grain Grain is what we want here—meat we may have enough and to spair. Pray dont let Bass forget my pins. Hardwick has applied to me for Mr. Bass to get him a 100 of needles no. 6 to carry on his stocking weaving.4 He says they in Phyladelphia will know the proper needle. We shall very soon have no coffee nor sugar nor pepper here—but huckle berrys and milk we are not obliged to commerce for.
All the good folks here send their regards. Unkle Quincy is just gone from here, sends his love. You dont say in the two last Letters I received how you do. I hope I have not felt unwell by sympathy, but I have been very unwell for this week tho better now. I saw a Letter of your[s] to Col. Palmer by General Washington.5 I hope I have one too.

[salute] Good Night with thoughts of the[e] do I close my Eyes; Angels gaurd and protect the[e], and may a safe return ere long bless thy

[signed] Portia
1. No such handbill has been found.
2. Mercy Warren wrote JA this day from Watertown; her letter is in the Adams Papers and is printed, incompletely, in Warren-Adams Letters, 1:71–73.
3. Very likely Joseph Galloway is meant. He had served as a Pennsylvania delegate in the Continental Congress of 1774 and been reelected in Dec. 1774, but he disapproved of the measures adopted by the first Congress, published pamphlets against them in the early months of 1775, and in May declined to serve in the second Congress. He ultimately went over to the British side. See Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:lix; Julian P. Boyd, Anglo-American Union: Joseph Galloway's Plans to Preserve the British Empire, 1774–1788, Phila., 1941, p. 44–50.
4. The Hardwicks (Hardwigs, Hartwicks, Hartwigs) were one of the families of artisans in the industrial colony { [fol. 240] } { [fol. 240] } | view { [fol. 240] } | view { [fol. 240] } { 241 } established at Germantown in the 1750's; their name was early Anglicized, and they became substantial citizens of Braintree and Quincy. See Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy, p. 480 and passim.
5. Dated 20 June 1775 (PHC; facsimile in William Brotherhead, The Centennial Book of the Signers, Phila., 1872 [i.e. 1875], p. 175–176).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0160

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

I have received your very agreable Favours of June 22d. and 25th. They contain more particulars than any Letters I had before received from any Body.
It is not at all surprizing to me that the wanton, cruel, and infamous Conflagration of Charlestown, the Place of your Fathers Nativity, should afflict him. Let him know that I sincerely condole with him, on that melancholly Event. It is a Method of conducting War long since become disreputable among civilized Nations: But every Year brings us fresh Evidence, that We have nothing to hope for from our loving Mother Country, but Cruelties more abominable than those which are practiced by the Savage Indians.
The account you give me of the Numbers slain on the side of our Enemies, is affecting to Humanity, altho it is a glorious Proof of the Bravery of our Worthy Countrymen. Considering all the Disadvantages under which they fought, they really exhibited Prodigies of Valour.
Your Description of the Distresses of the worthy Inhabitants of Boston, and the other Sea Port Towns, is enough to melt an Heart of stone. Our Consolation must be this, my dear, that Cities may be rebuilt, and a People reduced to Poverty, may acquire fresh Property: But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever. When the People once surrender their share in the Legislature, and their Right of defending the Limitations upon the Government, and of resisting every Encroachment upon them, they can never regain it.
The Loss of Mr. Mathers Library, which was a Collection, of Books and Manuscripts made by himself, his Father, his Grandfather, and Greatgrandfather, and was really very curious and valuable, is irreparable.2
The Family picture you draw is charming indeed. My dear Nabby, Johnny, Charly and Tommy, I long to see you, and to share with your Mamma the Pleasures of your Conversation.
I feel myself much obliged to Mr. Bowdoin, Mr. Wibirt, and the two Families you mention, for their Civilities to you. My Compli• { 242 } ments to them. Does Mr. Wibirt preach against Oppression, and the other Cardinal Vices of the Times? Tell him the Clergy here, of every Denomination, not excepting the Episcopalian, thunder and lighten every sabbath. They pray for Boston and the Massachusetts—they thank God most explicitly and fervently for our remarkable Successes—they pray for the American Army. They seem to feel as if they were among you.
You ask if every Member feels for Us? Every Member says he does—and most of them really do. But most of them feel more for themselves. In every Society of Men, in every Clubb, I ever yet saw, you find some who are timid, their Fears hurry them away upon every Alarm—some who are selfish and avaricious, on whose callous Hearts nothing but Interest and Money can make Impression. There are some Persons in New York and Philadelphia, to whom a ship is dearer than a City, and a few Barrells of flower, than a thousand Lives—other Mens Lives I mean.
You ask, can they reallize what We suffer? I answer No. They cant, they dont—and to excuse them as well as I can, I must confess I should not be able to do it, myself, if I was not more acquainted with it by Experience than they are.
I am grieved for Dr. Tufts's ill Health: but rejoiced exceedingly at his virtuous Exertions in the Cause of his Country.
I am happy to hear that my Brothers were at Grape Island and behaved well. My Love to them, and Duty to my Mother.
It gives me more Pleasure than I can express to learn that you sustain with so much Fortitude, the Shocks and Terrors of the Times. You are really brave, my dear, you are an Heroine. And you have Reason to be. For the worst that can happen, can do you no Harm. A soul, as pure, as benevolent, as virtuous and pious as yours has nothing to fear, but every Thing to hope and expect from the last of human Evils.
Am glad you have secured an Assylum, tho I hope you will not have occasion for it.
Love to Brother Cranch and sister and the Children.
There is an amiable, ingenious Hussy, named Betcy Smith, for whom I have a very great Regard. Be pleased to make my Love acceptable to her, and let her know, that her elegant Pen cannot be more usefully employed than in Writing Letters to her Brother at Phyladelphia, tho it may more agreably in writing Billet doux to young Gentlemen.
The other Day, after I had received a Letter of yours, with one or two others, Mr. William Barrell desired to read them. I put them into { 243 } his Hand, and the next Morning had them returned in a large Bundle packed up with two great Heaps of Pins, with a very polite Card requesting Portias Acceptance of them.3 I shall bring them with me [when]4 I return: But when that will be is uncertain.—I hope not more than a Month hence.
I have really had a very disagreable Time of it. My Health and especialy my Eyes have been so very bad, that I have not been so fit for Business as I ought, and if I had been in perfect Health, I should have had in the present Condition of my Country and my Friends, no Taste for Pleasure. But Dr. Young has made a kind of Cure of my Health and Dr. Church of my Eyes.
Have received two kind Letters from your Unkle Smith5—do thank him for them—I shall forever love him for them. I love every Body that writes to me.

[salute] I am forever yours—

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “C No 14.”
1. Corrected from “June” by overwriting.
2. The Mather family books and MSS largely survived and now form “the greatest treasure of the American Antiquarian Society” (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 7:236). JA's knowledge of this famous collection derived from direct use of it; see his Diary and Autobiography, 3:302.
3. See AA's request in her letter to JA of 16? June, above. Barrell's “Card” has not been found, William Barrell (d.1776) was “a worthy Bostonian transmuted into a worthy Philadelphian” (JA to James Warren, 30 July 1775, Warren-Adams Letters, 1:95). A collection of Barrell's papers is in MHi, including a long and important series of letters written to him by his brother-in-law John Andrews, 1772–1776, printed in MHS, Procs., 1st ser., 8 (1864–1865): 316–412.
4. MS torn by seal.
5. Only one has been found, that of 24 June–1 July, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0161

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-07-12

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dearest Friend

I have met with some abuse and very Ill treatment. I want you for my protector and justifier.
In this Day of distress for our Boston Friends when every one does what in them lyes to serve them, your Friend Gorge Trott and family moved up to Braintree, went in with her two Brothers and families with her Father, but they not thinking themselves so secure as further in the Country moved away.1 After they were gone Mr. Church took the house and took a number of borders. Mr. Trott had engaged a house near his Friends but being prevented going quite so soon as he { 244 } designd, and the great distress people were in for houses, the owner had taken in a family and dissapointed Mr. Trott, nor could he procure a house any where, for the more remote from the sea coast you go the thicker you find the Boston people. After this dissapointment, he had his Goods without unloading brought back to Braintree, and he with all his family were obliged to shelter themselves in your Brothers house till he could seek further.2 You know, from the situation of my Brothers family it was impossible for them to tarry there, Mrs. Trots circumstances requiring more rooms than one. In this extremity he applied to me to see if I would not accommodate him with the next house, every other spot in Town being full. I sent for Mr. Hayden and handsomely asked him, he said he would try, but he took no pains to procure himself a place.3 There were several in the other parish which were to be let, but my Gentleman did not chuse to go there. Mr. Trot upon account of his Buisness which is in considerable demand wanted to be here. Mr. Trott, finding there was no hopes of his going out said he would go in with him, provided I would let him have the chamber I improved for a Dairy room and the lower room and chamber over it which Hayden has. I then sent and asked Mr. Hayden to be so kind as to remove his things into the other part of the house and told him he might improve the kitchen and back chamber, the bed room and the Dairy room in which he already had a bed. He would not tell me whether he would or not, but said I was turning him out of Door to oblige Boston folks, and he could not be stired up, and if you was at home you would not once ask him to go out, but was more of a Gentleman. (You must know that both his Sons are in the army, not but one Days Work has been done by any of them this Spring.) I as mildly as I could represented the distress of Mr. Trot and the difficulties to which he had been put—that I looked upon it my Duty to do all in my power to Oblige him—and that he Hayden would be much better accommodated than hundreds who were turnd out of Town—and I finally said that Mr. Trott should go in. In this State, Sister Adams got to bed and then there was not a Spot in Brothers house for them to lie down in.4 I removed my dairy things, and once more requested the old Man to move into the other part of the house, but he positively tells me he will not and all the art of Man shall not stir him, even dares me to put any article out of one room into an other. Says Mr. Trot shall not come in—he has got possession and he will keep it. What not have a place to entertain his children in when they come to see him. I now write you an account of the matter, and desire you to write to him and give me orders what course I shall take. I must take Mr. Trott in with { 245 } me and all his family for the present, till he can look out further or have that house. It would make your heart ake to see what difficulties and distresses the poor Boston people are driven to. Belcher has two families with him. There are 3 in Veses [Veasey's] house, 2 in Etters, 2 in Mr. Savils, 2 in Jonathan Bass'es and yet that obstinate Wretch will not remove his few things into the other part of that house, but live there paying no rent upon the distresses of others.
It would be needless to enumerate all his impudence. Let it suffice to say it moved me so much that I had hard Work to suppress my temper. I want to know whether his things may be removed into the other part of the house, whether he consents or not? Mr. Trott would rejoice to take the whole, but would put up with any thing rather than be a burden to his Friends. I told the old Man I believed I was doing nothing but what I should be justified in. He says well tis a time of war get him out if I can, but cannon Ball shall not move him. If you think you are able to find 3 houses, for 3 such tenents as you have they must abide where they are,5 tho I own I shall be much mortified if you do not support me.6
I feel too angry to make this any thing further than a Letter of Buisness. I am most sincerely yours,
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To John Adams Esqr Phyladelphia To the care of the Committee of Safety.”
1. George Trott, a Boston jeweler who lived in the South End and was an active Son of Liberty, had in 1776 married Ann Boylston Cunningham, daughter of JA's uncle James Cunningham (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:294; Adams Genealogy).
2. This brother was evidently Peter Boylston Adams; see note 4.
3. Braintree literally teemed with Haydens, old and young, and the particular Hayden or Haydens who were at this time apparently tenants in the John Adams Birthplace cannot be identified. (This entire letter and all other allusions to the dispute with old Mr. Hayden were omitted by CFA in editing the correspondence of AA and JA.)
4. AA reported the recent birth of a niece in her letter to Mercy Warren, 24 July, below; and a daughter of Peter Boylston and Mary (Crosby) Adams was baptized Susannah on 16 July (Quincy, First Church, MS Records). She died in April 1776. See Adams Genealogy.
5. Thus in MS.
6. Three years later AA felt that she had “wrought almost a miracle” when she finally succeeded in getting Hayden “out of the house, or rather hired him to remove” (to John Thaxter, 9 April 1778, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0162

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-07-16

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dearest Friend

I have this afternoon had the pleasure of receiving your Letter by your Friends Mr. Collins and Kaighn and an English Gentle man his { 246 } Name I do not remember. It was next to seeing my dearest Friend. Mr. Collins could tell me more perticuliarly about you and your Health than I have been able to hear since you left me. I rejoice in his account of your better Health, and of your spirits, tho he says I must not expect to see you till next spring. I hope he does not speak the truth. I know (I think I do, for am not I your Bosome Friend?) your feelings, your anxieties, your exertions, &c. more than those before whom you are obliged to wear the face of chearfulness.1
I have seen your Letters to Col. Palmer and Warren. I pity your Embaresments. How difficult the task to quench out the fire and the pride of private ambition, and to sacrifice ourselfs and all our hopes and expectations to the publick weal. How few have souls capable of so noble an undertaking—how often are the lawrels worn by those who have had no share in earning them, but there is a future recompence of reward to which the upright man looks, and which he will most assuredly obtain provided he perseveres unto the end.—The appointment of the Generals Washington and Lee, gives universal satisfaction. The people have the highest opinion of Lees abilities, but you know the continuation of the popular Breath, depends much upon favorable events.
I had the pleasure of seeing both the Generals and their Aid de camps soon after their arrival and of being personally made known to them. They very politely express their regard for you. Major Miflin said he had orders from you to visit me at Braintree. I told him I should be very happy to see him there, and accordingly sent Mr. Thaxter to Cambridge with a card to him and Mr. Read [Reed] to dine with me. Mrs. Warren and her Son were to be with me. They very politely received the Message and lamented that they were not able to upon account of Expresses which they were that day to get in readiness to send of.
I was struck with General Washington. You had prepaired me to entertain a favorable opinion of him, but I thought the one half was not told me. Dignity with ease, and complacency, the Gentleman and Soldier look agreably blended in him. Modesty marks every line and feture of his face. Those lines of Dryden instantly occurd to me

“Mark his Majestick fabrick! he's a temple

Sacred by birth, and built by hands divine

His Souls the Deity that lodges there.

Nor is the pile unworthy of the God.”

General Lee looks like a careless hardy Veteran and from his appear• { 247 } ence brought to my mind his namesake Charls the 12, king of Sweeden. The Elegance of his pen far exceeds that of his person. I was much pleased with your Friend Collins. I persuaded them to stay coffe with me, and he was as unreserved and social as if we had been old acquaintances, and said he was very loth to leave the house. I would have detaind them till morning, but they were very desirous of reaching Cambridge.
You have made often and frequent complaints that your Friends do not write to you. I have stired up some of them. Dr. Tufts, Col. Quincy, Mr. Tudor, Mr. Thaxter all have wrote you now, and a Lady whom I am willing you should value preferable to all others save one.2 May not I in my turn make complaints? All the Letters I receive from you seem to be wrote in so much haste, that they scarcely leave room for a social feeling. They let me know that you exist, but some of them contain scarcely six lines. I want some sentimental Effusions of the Heart. I am sure you are not destitute of them or are they all absorbed in the great publick. Much is due to that I know, but being part of the whole I lay claim to a Larger Share than I have had. You used to be more communicative a Sundays. I always loved a Sabeth days letter, for then you had a greater command of your time—but hush to all complaints.
I am much surprized that you have not been more accurately informd of what passes in the camps. As to intelegance from Boston, tis but very seldom we are able to collect any thing that may be relied upon, and to report the vague flying rumours would be endless. I heard yesterday by one Mr. Rolestone [Roulstone] a Goldsmith who got out in a fishing Schooner, that there distress encreased upon them fast, their Beaf is all spent, their Malt and Sider all gone, all the fresh provisions they can procure they are obliged to give to the sick and wounded. 19 of our Men who were in Jail and were wounded at the Battle of Charlstown were Dead. No Man dared now to be seen talking to his Friend in the Street, they were obliged to be within every evening at ten o clock according to Martial Law, nor could any inhabitant walk any Street in Town after that time without a pass from Gage. He has orderd all the melasses to be stilld up into rum for the Soldiers, taken away all Licences, and given out others obligeing to a forfeiture of ten pounds L M if any rum is sold without written orders from the General. He give much the same account of the kill'd and wounded we have had from others. The Spirit he says which prevails among the Soldiers is a Spirit of Malice and revenge, there is no true courage and bravery to be observed among them, their Duty is hard { 248 } allways mounting guard with their packs at their back ready for an alarm which they live in continual hazard of. Doctor Eliot is not on bord a man of war, as has been reported, but perhaps was left in Town as the comfort and support of those who cannot escape, he was constantly with our prisoners. Mr. Lovel and Leach with others are certainly in Jail. A poor Milch cow was last week kill'd in Town and sold for a shilling stearling per pound. The transports arrived last week from York, but every additional Man adds to their distress.—There has been a little Expidition this week to Long Island. There has been before several attempts to go on but 3 men of war lay near, and cutters all round the Island that they could not succeed. A number of whale boats lay at Germantown; 300 volenters commanded by one Capt. Tupper came on monday evening and took the boats, went on and brought of 70 odd Sheep, 15 head of cattle, and 16 prisoners 13 of whom were sent by Simple Sapling3 to mow the Hay which they had very badly executed. They were all a sleep in the house and barn when they were taken. There were 3 women with them. Our Heroes came of in triumph not being observed by their Enimies. This spiritted up other[s]. They could not endure the thought that the House and barn should afford them any shelter. They did not distroy them the night before for fear of being discoverd. Capt. Wild of this Town with about 25 of his company, Capt. Gold [Gould] of Weymouth with as many of his, and some other volenters to the amount of an 100, obtaind leave to go on and distroy the Hay together with the House and barn and in open day in full view of the men of war they set of from the Moon so call'd coverd by a number of men who were placed there, went on, set fire to the Buildings and Hay. A number of armed cutters immediately Surrounded the Island, fired upon our Men. They came of with a hot and continued fire upon them, the Bullets flying in every direction and the Men of Wars boats plying them with small arms. Many in this Town who were spectators expected every moment our Men would all be sacrificed, for sometimes they were so near as to be calld to and damnd by their Enimies and orderd to surrender yet they all returnd in safty, not one Man even wounded. Upon the Moon we lost one Man from the cannon on board the Man of War.4 On the Evening of the same day a Man of War came and anchord near Great Hill, and two cutters came to Pig Rocks.5 It occasiond an alarm in this Town and we were up all Night. They remain there yet, but have not ventured to land any men.
This Town have chosen their Representative. Col. Palmer is the Man. There was a considerable musture upon Thayers side, and Vin• { 249 } tons company marched up in order to assist, but got sadly dissapointed. Newcomb insisted upon it that no man should vote who was in the army—he had no notion of being under the Military power—said we might be so situated as to have the greater part of the people engaged in the Military, and then all power would be wrested out of the hands of the civil Majestrate. He insisted upon its being put to vote, and carried his point immediately. It brought Thayer to his Speach who said all he could against it.6—As to the Situation of the camps, our Men are in general Healthy, much more so at Roxbury than Cambridge, and the Camp in vastly better order. General Thomas has the character of an Excelent officer. His Merit has certainly been overlook'd, as modest merrit generally is. I hear General Washington is much pleased with his conduct.
Every article here in the West india way is very scarce and dear. In six week[s] we shall not be able to purchase any article of the kind. I wish you would let Bass get me one pound of peper, and 2 yd. of black caliminco for Shooes. I cannot wear leather if I go bare foot the reason I need not mention. Bass may make a fine profit if he layes in a stock for himself. You can hardly immagine how much we want many common small articles which are not manufactured amongst ourselves, but we will have them in time. Not one pin is to be purchased for love nor money. I wish you could convey me a thousand by any Friend travelling this way. Tis very provoking to have such a plenty so near us, but tantulus like not able to touch. I should have been glad to have laid in a small stock of the West India articles, but I cannot get one copper. No person thinks of paying any thing, and I do not chuse to run in debt. I endeavour to live in the most frugal manner posible, but I am many times distressed.—Mr. Trot I have accommodated by removeing the office into my own chamber, and after being very angry and sometimes persuaideding I obtaind the mighty concession of the Bed room, but I am now so crouded as not to have a Lodging for a Friend that calls to see me. I must beg you would give them7 warning to seek a place before Winter. Had that house been empty I could have had an 100 a year for it. Many person[s] had applied before Mr. Trot, but I wanted some part of it my self, and the other part it seems I have no command of.—We have since I wrote you had many fine showers, and altho the crops of grass have been cut short, we have a fine prospect of Indian corn and English grain. Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field, for the pastures of the Wilderness do spring, the Tree beareth her fruit, the vine and the olive yeald their increase.
We have not yet been much distressed for grain. Every thing at { 250 } present looks blooming. O that peace would once more extend her olive Branch.

“This Day be Bread and peace my lot

All Else beneath the Sun

Thou knowst if best bestowed or not

And let thy will be done.”

But is the Almighty ever bound to please

Ruild by my wish or studious of my ease.

Shall I determine where his frowns shall fall

And fence my Grotto from the Lot of all?

Prostrate his Sovereign Wisdom I adore

Intreat his Mercy, but I dare no more.

Our little ones send Duty to pappa. You would smile to see them all gather round mamma upon the reception of a letter to hear from pappa, and Charls with open mouth, What does par say—did not he write no more. And little Tom says I wish I could see par. Upon Mr. Rice's going into the army he asked Charls if he should get him a place, he catchd at it with great eagerness and insisted upon going. We could not put him of, he cryed and beged, no obstical we could raise was sufficent to satisfy him, till I told him he must first obtain your consent. Then he insisted that I must write about it, and has been every day these 3 weeks insisting upon my asking your consent. At last I have promised to write to you, and am obliged to be as good as my word.8—I have now wrote you all I can collect from every quarter. Tis fit for no eye but yours, because you can make all necessary allowances. I cannot coppy.
There are yet in Town 4 of the Selectmen and some thousands of inhabitants tis said.—I hope to hear from you soon. Do let me know if there is any prospect of seeing you? Next Wedensday is 13 weeks since you went away.
I must bid you adieu. You have many Friends tho they have not noticed you by writing. I am sorry they have been so neglegent. I hope no share of that blame lays upon your most affectionate
[signed] Portia
Mr. Cranch has in his possession a Barrel of Mrs. Wilkings Beer which belonged to the late Dr. Warren. He does not know what to do with it. Suppose you should take it and give credit for it, as there will be neither wine, lemmons or any thing else to be had but what we make ourselves. Write me your pleasure about it.
{ 251 }
1. Parentheses in this sentence have been supplied for clarity.
2. Mercy Warren. All the letters mentioned are in Adams Papers||, including those of Quincy and Tudor on 11 and 19 July 1775 respectively||; those of Thaxter (28 June) and Tufts (3 July) are printed above.
3. The name of a character in Mercy Warren's satire The Group standing for Nathaniel Ray Thomas (1731–1787), Harvard 1751, a well-to-do and prominent loyalist of Marshfield who in 1774 had been named a mandamus councilor. Thomas' house in Marshfield (later more famous as Daniel Webster's Massachusetts home) had been used, at his invitation, as a barracks for British troops sent from Boston to keep order in Plymouth co. during the winter of 1774–1775. Immediately after the action at Concord Thomas fled to Boston, where he proved serviceable to the British command, and thereafter to Nova Scotia, where he died impoverished. See Jones, Loyalists of Mass., p. 273–275; Marshfield... The Autobiography of a Pilgrim Town, Marshfield, 1940, p. 115–120, 138–143.
4. These actions occurred on 11–12 July. Long Island lies in Boston Harbor about halfway between Quincy and Boston; “the Moon” is Moon Island, just off Squantum peninsula toward Long Island. For further details see Richard Cranch to JA, 24 July, below.
5. Great Hill is at the extremity of Hough's Neck in present Quincy, and Pig Rock is half a mile offshore from Great Hill.
6. This election was held on 10 July. The new House of Representatives convened at Watertown on the 19th, and two days later Joseph Palmer was elected to the Council. On 14 Aug., therefore, a new election was held at Braintree, and Col. Ebenezer Thayer was returned to the House. See Braintree Town Records, p. 463; Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 1st sess., p. 6.
7. The Hayden family; see preceding letter.
8. This entire paragraph, to this point, was silently omitted by CFA when editing the present letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0163

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-07-17

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

About five O Clock this Morning, I went with young Dr. Bond at his Invitation and in his Carriage, to his Fathers Seat in the Country. His Mother, with three of her Grand Children, little Girls, resides here. The old Lady has lately lost two of her Children grown up, and as she cannot forget them, retires to this little Box, to indulge or aswage her Grief.1 The House is only one small room, with one Chamber over it. But the Farm is large, the Gardens very spacious, the orchards noble, and the Fruit Trees, very numerous and of great Variety. Noble Rowes of poplar Trees, in Europe they are called Tulip Trees, a more noble and beautifull Tree, than our Lime Trees. The House stands upon the highest Land, that is any where to be found in the Neighbourhood of this City. The Prospect round it is rural, very spacious and very agreable. The Air is very pure.
We breakfasted, upon balm Tea and Bread and Butter. A most amuzing and refreshing Excursion We had, and such Excursions are very necessary to preserve our Health, amidst the suffocating Heats of the City, and the wasting, exhausting Debates of the Congress.
{ 252 }
This young Dr. Bond is above thirty, perhaps near forty. He has lost his Wife, and has two pretty little Girls—one about Ten Years old who sings most sweetly and dances, delightfully. He is the Tom Brattle of Philadelphia2—fat and jolly, a Lover of Pleasure, educated at the Colledge here, has been in Trade, and sunk his father five or six thousand Pounds sterling, and then returned to the Study and practice of Physic. Wine and Women he uses very freely. There is a pretty Girl, in a Chamber opposite to his Lodgings in the City, with whom he is supposed to have Connections.—Epicurism and Debauchery, are more common in this Place than in Boston.
I never observe in the World, an Example, of any Person brought to Poverty from Affluence, from Health to Distemper, from Fame to Disgrace by the Vices and Follies of the age, but it throws me into a deep Rumination upon Education. My poor Children, I fear will loose some Advantages in Point of Education, from my continual Absence from them. Truth, Sobriety, Industry should be pe[r]petually inculcated upon them.
Pray my dear, let them be taught Geography and the Art of copying as well as drawing Plans of Cities, Provinces, Kingdoms, and Countries—especially of America. I have found great Inconvenience for Want of this Art, since I have had to contemplate America so much, and since I had to study the Processes and Operations of War.
But their Honour, Truth, in one Word their Morals, are of most importance. I hope these will be kept pure.
1. Thomas Bond Sr. (1712–1784) studied medicine in Annapolis and in Europe and is best remembered for suggesting the idea and collaborating with Benjamin Franklin in founding the Pennsylvania Hospital, 1751–1752; his wife was the former Sarah Roberts (DAB). Their son Thomas (1743–1794), College of Philadelphia 1760, served as a medical officer during the Revolution (Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:154 and passim; Louis C. Duncan, Medical Men in the American Revolution, Carlisle, 1931, p. 184 and passim).
2. Thomas Brattle (1742–1801), Harvard 1760, son of JA's old antagonist Gen. William Brattle of Cambridge. There is a brief account of his somewhat curious career in MHS, Colls., 1st ser., 8 (1802):82–85.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0164

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-07-23

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

You have more than once in your Letters mentioned Dr. Franklin, and in one intimated a Desire that I should write you something concerning him.
{ 253 }
Dr. Franklin has been very constant in his Attendance on Congress from the Beginning. His Conduct has been composed and grave and in the Opinion of many Gentlemen very reserved. He has not assumed any Thing, nor affected to take the lead; but has seemed to choose that the Congress should pursue their own Principles and sentiments and adopt their own Plans: Yet he has not been backward: has been very usefull, on many occasions, and discovered a Disposition entirely American. He does not hesitate at our boldest Measures, but rather seems to think us, too irresolute, and backward. He thinks us at present in an odd State, neither in Peace nor War, neither dependent nor independent. But he thinks that We shall soon assume a Character more decisive.
He thinks, that We have the Power of preserving ourselves, and that even if We should be driven to the disagreable Necessity of assuming a total Independency, and set up a separate state, We could maintain it. The People of England, have thought that the Opposition in America, was wholly owing to Dr. Franklin: and I suppose their scribblers will attribute the Temper, and Proceedings of this Congress to him: but there cannot be a greater Mistake. He has had but little share farther than to co operate and assist. He is however a great and good Man. I wish his Colleagues from this City were All like him, particularly one,1 whose Abilities and Virtues, formerly trumpeted so much in America, have been found wanting.
There is a young Gentleman from Pensylvania whose Name is Wilson, whose Fortitude, Rectitude, and Abilities too, greatly outshine his Masters. Mr. Biddle, the Speaker, has been taken off, by Sickness. Mr. Mifflin is gone to the Camp, Mr. Morton is ill too, so that this Province has suffered by the Timidity of two overgrown Fortunes. The Dread of Confiscation, or Caprice, I know not what has influenced them too much: Yet they were for taking Arms and pretended to be very valiant.2—This Letter must be secret my dear—at least communicated with great Discretion. Yours,
[signed] John Adams
1. John Dickinson.
2. On 6 May 1775 the Pennsylvania Assembly had added three men to its delegation in the second Continental Congress: Benjamin Franklin, who had just arrived from England; Thomas Willing, a rich and conservative merchant in Philadelphia; and James Wilson, a lawyer in Carlisle (Penna. Archives, 8th ser., 8:7231). Of the six who had been elected earlier, JA mentions here that Edward Biddle and John Morton were ill too much of the time to be of much service, and that Thomas Mifflin had gone into the army. Though JA does not mention them specifically, the other two (besides Dickinson)—Charles Humphreys, a Quaker, and George Ross, of { 254 } Lancaster—were relatively inactive members. The “two overgrown Fortunes” who dominated the Pennsylvania delegation were, therefore, Dickinson and Willing.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0165

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-07-23

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear

Have only Time to send by this Opportunity a Token of Remembrance. The Fast1 was observed here with a Decorum and solemnity, never before seen ever on a Sabbath. The Clergy of all Denominations, here preach [ . . . ]2 Politicks and War in a manner that I never heard in N. England. They are a Flame of Fire. It is astonishing to me, that the People are so cool here. Such sermons in our Country would have a much greater Effect.
I hope to see you eer long. You have stirred up my Friends to write to me. Austin, Tudor, Rice have wrote.3 Dr. Tufts wrote me an excellent Letter and very particular Intelligence.4 I am yours &c.

[salute] My Love to all the Children.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree—To the Care of the Committee of Safety”; endorsed: “C No 15.”
1. Called for by the Continental Congress and observed on 20 July; see JCC, 2:87–88, 192; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:353.
2. Two words obscured by a heavy ink blot.
3. All three letters are in Adams Papers||, and printed in Papers of John Adams under authorship of Austin, Rice, and Tudor, on 7, 14, and 19 July 1775 respectively.||
4. Dated 3 July and printed above.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0166

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1775-07-24

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] My Dear Mrs. Warren

I have been hoping every day since I received your obliging favour to get time to thank you for it,2 but many avocations some from company some from family affairs have prevented. I have not wrote only to my counterpart since; from whom I have received two Letters since you left me. The last was 7 of july, and wrote in better spirits than any I have received since his absence, and gave me better spirits for two reasons, the first because he appeard easier and the second because he tells me he hopes it will not be more than a Month before he shall return.
I know my pleasure will communicate some degree to my friend from the benevolent sympathy of her Heart. I was much [obliged]3 to your Worthy Friend for calling and Breakfasting with me, tho deprived of that pleasure a few days before, oweing to my having been up all the Night before with my Sister Adams who about sunrise was { 255 } deliverd of a fine Daughter. Your apprehensions with regard to my Health are a testimony of your regard. As the disorder does not increase upon me I do not apprehend any danger from it. Tis true I enjoy a good flow of spirits for the most part. I sometimes wonder at myself, and fear least a degree of stupidity or insensibility should possess my mind in these calamitous times or I could not feel so tranquil amidst such scenes, and yet I cannot charge myself with an unfealing Heart. I pitty, commisirate and as far as my ability reaches feel ready and desirous to releave my fellow creatures under their distresses. But I am not naturally (tis no virtue acquired in me) of that rastless anxious disposition.
You apprehend more than their really was in a Letter which I could not consistant with my regard to my dearest Friend communicate. I only wish I had been near enough to have shared a solitary hour with him.
You will be sensible no doubt from a communication of the last paquet which your Friend received, that they have to combat not only other provinces but their own—a doubly difficult task when those who ought to aid, become stumbling blocks—but how hard is it to devest the Humane mind of all private ambition, and to sacrifice ourselves and all we possess to the publick Emolement.
1. Month omitted by AA; supplied at a much later period by JQA.
2. Dated at Plymouth, 17 July (Adams Papers). It reports Mrs. Warren's return home after a few days' stay with AA, thanks her, inquires about her health, &c.
3. Word omitted in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0167

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1775-07-24

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear,

IT is now almost three Months since I left you, in every Part of which my Anxiety about you and the Children, as well as our Country, has been extreme.
The Business I have had upon my Mind has been as great and important as can be intrusted to [One]2 Man, and the Difficulty and Intricacy of it is prodigious. When 50 or 60 Men have a Constitution to form for a great Empire, at the same Time that they have a Country of fifteen hundred Miles extent to fortify, Millions to arm and train, a Naval Power to begin, an extensive Commerce to regulate, numerous Tribes of Indians to negotiate with, a standing Army of Twenty seven { 256 } Thousand Men to raise, pay, victual and officer, I really shall pity those 50 or 60 Men.3
I must see you e'er long.——Rice, has wrote me a very good Letter, and so has Thaxter,4 for which I thank them both.——Love to the Children.
[signed] J. A.
I wish I had given you a compleat History from the Beginning to the End of the Journey, of the Behaviour of my Compatriots.——No Mortal Tale could equal it.——I will tell you in Future, but you shall keep it secret.——The Fidgets, the Whims, the Caprice, the Vanity, the Superstition, the Irritability of some of us, is enough to——
Addressed To Mrs Abigail Adams Braintrie,5 to the Care of Col. Warren, favor d by Mr. Hichborne.
RC not found. Printed from (Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter), 17 Aug. 1775, p. 2, col. 1. Since, as explained in note 1 below, the newspaper text appears to be perhaps the best now available, the letter is given here precisely as first printed. Concerning extant MS texts see note 1 also.
1. This is one of the two letters JA wrote from Philadelphia this day that fell into British hands when the bearer, Benjamin Hichborn of Boston, was captured at Conanicut Ferry near Newport, R.I., and foolishly failed to throw away a number of letters he was carrying. The other intercepted JA letter was addressed to James Warren; it alluded at its outset to John Dickinson (though it did not name him) as “A certain great Fortune and piddling Genius” who had “given a silly Cast to our whole Doings”; and it led to the historic quarrel between JA and Dickinson. (Texts of the letter to Warren are in JA, Works, 1:179–180, and Warren-Adams Letters, 1:88–89.) Brought to Boston on 6 Aug., JA's letters were published in Margaret Draper's Massachusetts Gazette; MS copies were sent to London by Gage, Graves, and others; British papers printed and reprinted them; and for some months—until events caught up with his sentiments—JA was notorious on both sides of the Atlantic as the arch-advocate of American military resistance and independence from Great Britain.
An editorial note summarizing this incident and its effects, with references to sources and discussions, is in JA's Diary and Autobiography, 2:174–175. JA's later recollections of the affair are in same, 3:318–319. A fuller account must be deferred until the letter to Warren, which was the more controversial of the two, is printed in Series III of the present edition. By that time, one may at least hope, the missing originals may have come to light.
In the meantime it should be pointed out that although about two dozen MS texts of the intercepted letters are present (mostly as photoduplicates) or recorded in the Adams Papers Editorial Files, the best of these are no better than contemporary copies, all with demonstrable textual defects. So far as is known, the original letters remained in Vice-Admiral Samuel Graves' hands (he transmitted only copies to Gage and to the Admiralty), though it is possible that the originals were sent to the printer, and 18th-century printing offices were graveyards for MSS no matter how important. The editors attach little weight to the fact that in the American Clipper (a serial sale catalogue of the now defunct American Autograph Shop, Merion Station, Penna.) for Oct. 1938, item 7 purports to be the “A.L.S.” of the present letter, offered for sale at $127.50. The text as there printed strongly suggests that this item is simply another early MS copy.
The most authoritative of the con• { 257 } temporary MS copies of the letter to AA known to the editors are the following: (1) P.R.O.: C.O.5, vol. 122:15i, originally enclosure No. 8, according to its endorsement, in Graves to Philip Stephens, secretary to the Lords of the Admiralty, 17 Aug. 1775. (2) P.R.O.: C.O.5, vol. 92:248, enclosure No. 1 in Gage to Dartmouth, 20 Aug. 1775 (covering letter printed in Gage, Corr., 1:412–413). (3) MiU-C: Gage Papers, English Series, FC of an enclosure in Gage to Dartmouth, 20 Aug. 1775; endorsement on FC of covering letter states that this packet was “Sent by Mrs. Gage” and a “Duplicate by Lt. [Belkmoon?].” (4) Brit. Mus.: Add. MSS., Haldimand Papers, vol. 21687:225–226; endorsed. (5) William Salt Library, Stafford, England: Dartmouth Papers; endorsed: “Copy of a Letter from J.A. (John Adams) to Mrs. Abigail Adams. Philadelphia, 24th. July, 1775.”
The only text in the Adams Papers claiming any textual authority is a curious one. It is a 19th-century Tr, apparently made for JQA when he was working on his father's papers in 1829–1830, which was originally an abbreviated and otherwise defective text but which was then carefully corrected in the same or another unidentified hand, so that it is virtually identical with the text in Massachusetts Gazette. Attached to Tr is a single leaf from an earlier (i.e. contemporary) copy containing on one side the postscript and address of JA's letter to AA, and on the other side the following undated and unsigned message which looks altogether like an original note of transmittal:
“Hon. sir, If Col. Hatch is with you please to let him see this which has been corrected by one in the hands of Judge [Peter] Oliver.
“Mrs. Adams is daughter of a clergyman at Weymouth, and Thaxter is a clerk to her husband.”
The writer and recipient of this message are unknown but they were certainly loyalists. So was Nathaniel Hatch (1723–1784), Harvard 1742, of Boston and Dorchester, a colonel of militia, judge of the Suffolk Court of Common Pleas, and mandamus councilor (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 11:150–152; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:311; 2:1, 94). This MS is, then, a fragment of one of the numerous contemporary copies of JA's letter to AA that circulated among the Massachusetts loyalists.
The contemporary copies listed above do not vary markedly from one another except in scribal details, and a comparison of all of them with the text printed in Massachusetts Gazette leads to the tentative conclusion that on the whole the newspaper text is at least as faithful to the original as any MS now known, if not more so. It looks, in fact, as if the printer had used either the original or a more accurate copy than any now available, and that he simulated in type JA's writing in small matters of form with unusual care. The editors have so concluded in spite of the fact that still another letter captured on Hichborn's person is known to have been doctored when printed in the same issue of the Massachusetts Gazette (see Allen French, “The First George Washington Scandal,” MHS, Procs., 65 [1932–1936]:460–474), and also despite JA's own later allegation that his letter to Warren had been “made... worse [when printed], than it was in the Original” (Diary and Autobiography, 3:319).
2. This word is not in the newspaper text but is found in all five of the contemporary MS copies listed above except that which was forwarded by Graves to the Admiralty (No. 1). The editors think it probable that the word was in JA's original; if so, this is the only significant textual error in the newspaper printing.
3. It was this sentence of course, with its references to forming a “Constitution” and establishing a “Naval Power,” that particularly shocked loyalist and British readers of JA's letter. See, for example, Gage to Dartmouth, 20 Aug. (Gage, Corr., 1:412–413); Burgoyne to Germain, 20 Aug. (E. B. de Fonblanque, Political and Military Episodes ... from the Life and Correspondence of ... John Burgoyne, London, 1876, p. 194–195); Nicholas Cresswell, Journal, 1774–1777, N.Y., 1928, p. 147–148; Isaac Smith Jr.'s letter to his father from London cited in note 5 under AA's letter to JA of 2–10 March 1776, below; { 258 } and the extremely interesting discussion by Ezra Stiles in his Literary Diary, 1:650–652.
4. All of the contemporary copies listed above except No. 1, that enclosed by Graves to the Admiralty, spell this name “Thaiter.” The copy in the Haldimand Papers, No. 4, has a marginal note keyed to the names Rice and “Thaiter” which reads: “two of his Apprentices.”
5. Evidently a plain typographical error by the printer; all the contemporary MS copies listed above spell the word as JA spelled it: “Braintree.”

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0168

Author: Cranch, Richard
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-07-24

Richard Cranch to John Adams

[salute] Dear Bror:

Sister Adams informs me that you complain that your Friends this way neglect writing to you. I believe a share of the Blame belongs to me, and shall now endeavour to make some amends.
We have lately had several little Expeditions from this quarter against the Enemy, a particular account of which, as near as I can collect it from those who were present, I shall give you.—On the 11th. Inst. in the evening, about 400 Men (partly from the Camp at Roxbury, and partly of the Guards on our Shore) went off from Germantown in 47 Whale Boats, in order to sweep Long Island then surrounded with Men of War. Landed on the Island at 10 o Clock at Night, parted into two grand Divisions and march'd to the House. Majr. Tuppham [Tupper] commanded, and Capt. Shaw who lately liv'd on Deer Island, conducted him to the House. Shaw burst in a Window and enter'd and Tuppham after him; the Men in the mean time being properly station'd. They expected to have catch'd some Tories there, but found none of any Note. Our People came on so secretely that they were not known to be on the Island untill they enter'd the House; they demanded of the Man who was in the House “what People were on the Island?” and were answer'd that a number were in the Barn who had been sent from Boston to cut the Hay and make it. Upon which our People enter'd the Barn and seiz'd them all Prisoners before they knew they were in danger. Among the Prisoners in the House was a Lady, perhaps une Fille de joie, who pretended to be on the point of Marriage with a Capt. of one of the Transports. 15 Prisoners, about 30 Cattle, a Horse, and about 100 Sheep were brought off that Night undiscover'd. Next morning about 10 Whale Boats went on again in broad Day, from Dorchester to Burn the Barns and Hay on the Island (suppos'd to be about 70 Ton). These Boats were discover'd immediately by the Men of War which surrounded the Island, and Barges and Cutters were sent to cutt them off. Our People, however, burnt the House and Barns and gott off without a Man being Kill'd or wounded in the Boats or on the Island tho' a most heavy fire was Kept up from the Men of War from above and below { 259 } the Island, whose Shot both ways swep't across the Island where our Men were, and tho' our Boats were pursue'd by the Barges and Tenders continually firing on them so near that they were sure of taking a number of our Boats as they tho't, yet we escap'd. Capt. Gould of Weymouth, who was most expos'd, was told by the Officer of the Man of War to “yield for he was his Prisoner,” Gould answer'd “not yet” and discharg'd his Musquet full at him, and encouraging his Men to pull up, he escap'd with the Skin of his Teeth. When some of our foremost Men were landed at the Head of the Moon, they fir'd briskly on the Enemy's Barges, and kept them off so as to secure the landing of the hindermost which were so hotly pursued. In this engagement one of our Men (Mr. Clarke of Stoughton) was Kill'd.
Another Expedition has been from hence to Nantaskett and the Light House. Not many Days ago a small Man of War drew up close to the Houses at Nantaskett within the Gutt, and afterwards paraded it by coming up as far as Pig Rocks by Hoffs Neck, and then lying off Hingham Cove [ . . . ], and then returning to Nantaskett again. These movements made our People conclude that the Man of War was sent to secure to Gage's Army, the Grain then ready to cutt on the lands at Nantaskett; especially as the Barge had seized Mr. Milton of Nantaskett and his Cart and Oxen and carried him and his Oxen to the Admiral, where the Oxen were kept but the Man after much examination releas'd. Under this perswasion, last Tuesday Night our men from Germantown and the neighbouring shore to the amount of about 400, Guards, Mowers &c. pass'd over to Hingham in Boats, and from thence by land to Nantaskett, having engag'd a number of Carts to come over the long Beach. They with great expedition mow'd and sent off the Grain to the amount of 70 Cart Load, and having done that, on Thursday morning a Company commanded by Majr. Vose of Milton, went over to the Light House, took down and bro't off the Lamps, brought off 1 Barrell of Gun Powder, sever all Tierces of Oil, a quantity of old Cordage, Severall Boats &c. and then Burnt the Light House, (but not the Dwelling House) then returning to Nantaskett they found that the Burning of the L: House had alarm'd the Men of War, and that their Barges and Cutters were sent down to attack our People, which they accordingly did, 7 of their Barges being lash'd together for that Purpose. A Hot Fire ensu'd for near an Hour but none of our Men were Kill'd and only two wounded. Our People try'd to draw them on Shore by seeming to run from them, but to no purpose, the men-of-War's-men seem'd evidently afraid to come near them; and at last put off so as to be out of the reach of our Musquetts.1 When Mr. Milton was carried on board the Admiral, he examin'd { 260 } him very strictly about the Whale Boats that lately appear'd in the Harbour, what their Number was? where they were kept? whether he could Pilot his People to them &c.? To all which he made such answers as gave the great Man no Satisfaction, especially when he told him that he understood that our People kept the Whale Boats drawn up into the Woods.

[salute] I fear you will be tir'd with the length of this Scrawl unless reliev'd by believing it to be design'd for your amusement, by your most affectionate Bror.,

[signed] R:C
PS Please to give my best Regards to Mr. S: Adams and tell him that I saw his Wife and Daughter at Dedham last Thursday, and heard from his Son, they are all well. Your Family and all the Circle of our Friends are as well as usual.
I have heard lately from Mr. Paine's Family who were then well; please to give my kind Regards to him.
A few Days ago Mr. Jno. Roulstone Watch Maker and his Family procur'd a Pass to come out of Boston, who is the only one that I have heard of that has had a Pass since the Battle of Charlestown. He landed at Ruggles's (now Bent's) and came to see me, he says it is Sickly among the Inhabitants, and more so among the Troops: That the Inhabitants are treated with great Rigour, 3 Men were committed to Jail for only going up into a Steeple to look out; That he was threaten'd for daring too look out from the top of his own House. That a Provost Major terrifies like the Holy Office, no one knowing who is the Victim 'till too late to escape if that was Possible. Poor Mr. Jas. Lovell, Mr. Leech, and Mr. Hunt the Publisher are in Jail. Jno. Cotton Dep: Secy: is Dead.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. The raid on Nantasket occurred on the 18th; that on the Brewsters on the 20th. The Boston lighthouse was (and still is) located on Little Brewster, formerly often called Beacon Island. The British took prompt steps to repair the light, and on 31 July another raiding party under Capt. Benjamin Tupper wrecked it again and captured a detachment of marines. See AA to JA, 31 July–2 Aug., below; also William Tudor to JA, 31 July, and James Warren to JA, 31 July–2 Aug., both in Adams Papers, the latter printed in Warren-Adams Letters, 1:95–99.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0169

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-07-25

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dearest Friend

I received yours of July 7 for which I heartily thank you, it was the longest and best Letter I have had, the most Leasurely and therefore { 261 } the most Sentimental. Previous to your last I had wrote you and made some complaints of you, but I will take them all back again—only continue your obliging favours whenever your time will allow you to devote one moment to your absent Portia.
This is the 25 of July. Gage has not made any attempts to march out, since the Battle at Charlstown. Our Army are restless and wish to be doing something to rid themselves and the land of the Virmin and Locusts which infest it. Since I wrote you last the Companys stationd upon the coasts both in this Town, Weymouth and Hingham were orderd to Nantasket to reap and bring of the Grain which they accomplished, all except a field or two which was not ripe, and having whale boats they undertook to go to the light House and set fire to it, which they effected in open day and in fair sight of several men of War. Upon their return came down upon them Eight Barges, one cutter, one Schooner, all in Battle array, and pourd whole broad sides upon them, but our Men all reached the shore and not one life lost, two only slightly wounded in their legs. They marchd up a Hill and drew into order in hopes the marines would land, but they chose rather to return without a land engagement, tho tis Thought they will burn the Town down as soon as our forces leave it. I had this account from Capt. Vinton who with his company were there. These little Skirmishes seem trifling, but they serve to innure our Men and harden them to Danger. I hear the Rebels are very Wroth at the distruction of the light House.
There has been an offer from Gage to send the poor of Boston to Salem by Water, but not complied with on our part. They returnd for answer they would receive them upon the lines. Dr. Tufts saw a Letter from Deacon Newall1 in which he mentions the Death of John Cotton, says tis very sickly in Town. Every Fishing vessel is now obliged to enter and clear out as tho she was going a foreign Voyage, no inhabitant is sufferd to partake, but obliged to wait till the Army are supplied, and then if one remains they are allowed to purchase it. An order has been given out in Town that no person shall be seen to wipe their faces with a white hankerchief. The reason I hear is, that tis a Signal of Mutiny. General Burgoine lives in Mr. Samll. Quincys House. A Lady who lived opposite says she saw raw meat cut and hacked upon her Mahogona Tables, and her superb damask curtain and cushings exposed to the rain as if they were of no value. How much better do the Tories fare than the Whigs? Suppose this worthy good Man was put in with all confidence that nothing should be hurt. I was very much pleased with Generals Lees Letter, and really entertaind a more favorable opinion of Burgoyne than I before had im• { 262 } bibed from his Speach,2 but a Late letter from London wrote to Mr. Josiah Quincy and in case of his absence to be opened either by you or Mr. Samll. Adams or either of the Warrens has left me no room to think that he is possessd either of Generosity, Virtue or Humanity. His character runs thus—As to Burgoyne I am not Master of Language sufficient to give you a true Idea of the Horrible wickedness of the Man. His designs are dark, His Dissimulation of the deepest die, for not content with deceiving Mankind he practices deceit on God himself, by Assuming the Appearance (like Hutchinson) of great attention to Religious Worship when every action of his life is totally abhorant to all Ideas of true Religion, Virtue or common Honesty. An Abandoned Infamous Gambler of Broken fortune and the Worst Most detestable of the Bedford Gang who are wholly bent on Blood, tyrany and Spoil, and therefore the darling Favorite of our unrivalled Ruler Lord Bute.—The character of How is not drawn much more favourably, But Clintons General character very good and tis said he does not relish the Service he is sent upon.3
I am ready to believe this of Clinton as I have never heard of any Speaches of his since his arrival, nor scarcely any mention of him. That such characters as Burgoynes and Hows should engage in such a cause is not to be wonderd at, but really to be lamented when a Man possessd of one spark of virtue should be drawn aside, and disgrace himself and posterity by adding one more to the already infamous List.—Suppose you have heard of Darbys arrival, and the intelligance he brings. I could not refrain wishing them everlasting fetters. “The News received with some symptoms of pleasure” and “our Friends increased” and a few more such sugar plumbs.4 Were they suffering as we are, could Americans sit thus coldly whilst Brittons were a Bleading? How is it posible that the love of Gain and the Lust of domination should render the Humane mind so callous to every principal of honour, Generosity and Benevolence.
May that day be far distant from America when trade's unfeeling train shall usurp this land and dispossess the Swain.

“Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey

Where wealth accumulates, and men decay:

Princes and Lords may flourish, or may fade;

A Breath can make them, as a Breath has made

But a bold peasantry, their Country's pride,

When once destroyed, can never be supplied.”

Your address5 meets with general approbation here, your petition• { 263 } ing the King6 again pleases (forgive me if I say the timid and the weak) those persons who were esteemed the Luke Warm, and who think that no Works of Supereragation can be performed to Great Brittain—whilst others say you heap coals of fire upon the Heads of your Enimies. You know you are considerd here as the most perfect body—if one Member is by any means renderd incapable of acting tis supposed the difficency will be made up. The Query is why your president left the Congress so long as to make it necessary to chuse an other Member, whether he declined returning to you again?7
Suppose you have a list of our Counsel.8 It was generally thought that Gage would make an attempt to come out either Election Day or upon the Fast, but I could not believe we should be disturbed upon that Day, even the Devils believe and tremble, and I really believe they are more affraid of the Americans prayers than their Swords. I could not bear to hear our inanimate old Batchelor.9 Mrs. Cranch and I took our chaise and went to hear Mr. Haven of Deadam,10 and We had no occasion to repent Eleven miles ride. Especially as I had the pleasure of spending the day with my name sake and Sister Delegate.11 Why should we not assume your titles when we give you up our names. I found her comfortably situated, in a little Country cottage with patience, perseverance and fortitude for her companions, and in better Health than she has enjoyed for many months past.
I fear General Thomas being overlooked and Heath placed over him will create much uneasiness. I know not who was to blame, but it is like to make a great and fatal Gap in the Army. If Thomas resigns all his officers resign; and Mr. Thomas cannot with honour hold under Heath. The Camp will evince to every Eye how good an officer he has been—but this is out of my Sphere. I only say what others say and what the general disposition of the people is.
I believe you will not complain that I do not write often enough and lengthy enough. When you are tired tell me. Pray make my complements to Mr. Barrel for his great civility to Portia. I really feel very anxious to be exposed to any Eyes but yours whose partiality I have so often Experienced to cover a multitude of faults that I rely upon it with the utmost Security.—You will not faill letting me hear from you by every opportunity. All our little folks send duty to pappa. Johnny says do you think Mamma pappa will write to me—has not he so many things to do that he will forget me. Brother and Sister Cranch send their Love. My Mother says I must always remember to add hers to you when I write. I need not say how much I want to see you, but no one will credit my story of your returning in a month. I hope to have { 264 } the best of proofs to convince them—it cannot need any to convince you how sincerely I am your most affectionate
[signed] Portia
1. Timothy Newell was a deacon of Brattle Street Church and a Boston selectman. His diary during the siege of Boston, April 1775–March 1776, is printed in MHS, Colls., 4th ser., I (1852):261–276.
2. For Burgoyne's “Speach” see The Speech of a General Officer in the House of Commons, February 20th, 1775 [London?, 1775]. This was probably reprinted in Boston after Burgoyne's arrival there late in May; see T. R. Adams, “American Independence,” No. 155a–b. For Charles Lee's exchange with Burgoyne, see same, No. 179a–c, and French, First Year, p. 306–307, with references there.
3. All of this appears to be taken from a passage in a letter to AA from Mercy Warren, 17 July (Adams Papers), which states that these “characters” are in a letter dated at London, 2 May.
4. Quotation marks editorially supplied in this sentence. Capt. John Derby of Salem had carried the first news of the engagement of 19 April to England and had returned to Salem on 18 July (Mass. Spy, 26 July 1775).
5. An Address to the Inhabitants of Great Britain, adopted by the Continental Congress on 8 July and ordered to be published (JCC, 2:162–170).
6. The second or “Olive Branch” Petition to the King, instigated and written by John Dickinson, also adopted by Congress, to JA's chagrin, on 8 July (same, p. 158–162). AA could not have seen the text because it was not printed; see Isaac Smith Sr. to JA, 26 July, below.
7. Peyton Randolph, the president, had left Congress late in May to assume his duties as speaker of the Virginia House of Burgesses; on 24 May John Hancock was elected to succeed him (JCC, 2:58–59).
8. Among those elected to the Council on 21 July was JA (Mass., House Jour., 1775–1776, 1st sess., p. 6).
9. Rev. Anthony Wibird.
10. Rev. Jason Haven, Harvard 1754, minister at Dedham since 1756 (Weis, Colonial Clergy of N.E.).
11. Mrs. Samuel Adams, the former Elizabeth Welles.

Docno: ADMS-04-01-02-0170

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-07-25

Cotton Tufts to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sr.

Since my last to you, nothing very important has occurd. The Skirmish near Long Island, You have already received an Accountt off by Mrs. Adams. A Party of Soldiers were employd last Week in removing Grain from Nantasket and having got off what was ripe, on Thursday they went in Whaleboats to the Light House, set Fire to it having first taken off the Lamps, 3 or 4 bbs. of oil and 1/2 bb. Powder. They returnd to Nantasket and soon after were visited by several Cutters and Barges who fird on our Men with their Cannon and wounded Two of them slightly. No further Damage ensued. On the same Day they burnt a Barn and Hay at the Great Brewster, and those of the Party who came from Roxbury on their Return to the Camp, in the Evening set Fire to a House and Barn on Spectin Island.1
Since the Battle at Charlestown Our Army has been very industrious { 265 } in securing every important Pass from Charlestown to Dorchester. General Sullivan's Station is at Winter Hill, had the Pleasure of dining with him last Friday at Bro[the]r Bishops at whose House he lodges. General Putnam is at Prospect Hill. Gen. Ward at Cambridge. General Washington has taken Possession of John Vassall's House. General Thomas has Commanded the Camp at Roxbury, and am sorry to hear that he resignd his office last Saturday, as he has given great Satisfaction to the most sensible and judicious amongst us—and with those he stands the first for Military Abilities among the New England Generals, (so far as I can collect the Sense of People) but of this You will probably know more from some of Your Friends. In my last I express'd my Mind upon this Subject, which I have since found to be agreable to the Sentiments of our best Friends. It is said Politicians are never wanting in Devices. Cannot this Step be recalld?2
We have had a perfect Calm for some Days not a Gun has been dischargd from the Enemy since last Thursday upon any of our People. I saw Mrs. Drapers Paper of the 6th. Instt.3 One Article of Intelligence is that 1000 of the Rebel Army hath deserted since the Battle of Charlestown. The Paper contains a Sneer on the Continental Fast and very sagaciously is introduced the Fable of The Countryman with his Cart Wheels plungd in the Mire applying to Jupiter for Assistance who calls him a Fool and orders him to put his Shoulders to the Wheels &c. John Cotton Dep. Secy. died at Boston last Week. This Day saw Your Family, Mr. Cranchs and Bror. Quincy. All are well. Your Friends at Weymouth also. Pray write me whatever passes amongst You that may be communicated, and believe me to be Yr. Friend & Very H Servt.,
[signed] C.T.
Since I clos'd my Letter Mr. Smith informed me that He saw Mrs. Blake this Afternoon, who came out of Boston last Friday. She Confirms the Accountt of the Loss of the best of the British Troops in the Battle at Charlestown—that the Number of the Slain amounted to 14 or 1500. That almost all the wounded have since died. That a Flux carries of[f] great Numbers of the Soldiers dayly. That Veal was sold for a pistereen and an half per lb. She mentions the Death of John Cotton and Three of his Children. That Charlestown was first set on Fire by a Bomb and what Buildings were not burnt that Day The Sailors set fire to the next. That there had been diverse Court Martials in Consequence of it—The General Officers disapproving the Conduct. Whether this last is to be relied on is doubtful but the former { 266 } Part it is probable may be credited as this Woman (who is a Niece of Dr. Perkins's) livd and conversd with Tories while in Town and is supposed to be of that Class.
[signed] C.T.
1. Thus in MS. Tufts must have meant Spectacle Island, just west of Long Island.
2. It had already been recalled. See note on Tufts' letter to JA, 3 July, above.
3. Margaret Draper's Massachusetts Gazette and Boston Weekly News-Letter.
4. Presumably the same day on which the first part of the letter was written, since the 25th was a Tuesday.

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