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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0066

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-22

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Yours of August 12 came to hand by last Nights post.1 Mr. A[dams] and Coll. W[hipple] are not yet returnd so that I know not what you have wrote by them, but by your Letter of this date I suppose tis something relative to your Return. I shall this morning in consequence of your Letter write to Mr. Bass who I make no doubt will be very ready to come for you. I shall write to my Father to request of him that he would endeavour to procure for you a couple of Horses. I shall try some other Friends and will fix of2 Bass as soon as tis possible to procure Horses for you.
As to the other matters you desired to be informed of, at present I am not capable of acquainting [you] any further than that I do not believe we have a 100 men as soldier[s] in this Town. I now and then see a scattering one, but the Militia are not yet come in. Fort Hill is a Beautiful peice of work, I am told not Eaquel to Dorchester. There are about 15 or 20 fine large peices of cannon mounted with Ball &c. by the side of them. We have spaird 700 Barrels of powder to N.Y. We have 600 left as publick Stores. What force we have else where I know not. I have inquired but find every person I have asked as Ignorant as I am. I can learn more in one hour from General Palmer relative to the state of things than I can from all the rest of the persons I converse with and yet I have inquired of those who I think ought to know.
I hear General L[incol]n is appointed in the room of W[ar]d. Has he Spirit enough, has he activity, has he ambition enough for the place?—I will endeavour to be informd of all you inquire about and write you the best account I can. As to applying to ——3 for { 106 } Horses, I remember the old proverb, he who waits for dead mens shooes may go barefoot. It would only lengthen out the time, and we should be no better of, than before I askd. I will have them if they are to be had at any price, and they may pay for them. I think you have done your part. I am told that they will appoint somebody to releave you but will not release you.
As to one article you ask about I can tell you we have no scarcity of provisions. In Town upon account of the small pox they are very dear. Ever since june there has been no want of rain and as great a vegatition as was ever known. I have been in Town six weeks yesterday.4 Charlly is better. He is exceeding full, but the little creature is as patient as a Lamb. We carry him out into the air all we can, in the Height of dog days a very bad time for small pox; but we think he will do well. I hope to be able to get Home by the Last of Next Week.
I shall rejoice exceedingly.
Nabbys are most all turnd and going of. She looks speckled.
I am in great Haste, Mr. Cranch and family leave me tomorrow.
I will write by mondays post. Adieu ever Yours,
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr; in Philadelphia”; endorsed: Portia ans. Aug. 30.”
1. His second letter of that date, above.
2. Thus in MS, meaning prepare and send off, dispatch.
3. JA had suggested that AA might apply to “some of the Members of the General Court.”
4. A mistake. The date of the present letter appears to be correct, but AA's sixth week in Boston (since Friday, 12 July) was not completed until Friday, 23 August.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0067

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-25

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I sent Johnny last Evening to the Post office for Letters. He soon returnd and pulling one from under his Gown gave it me, the young Rogue smiling and watching Mammas countanance draws out an other, and then an other, highly gratified to think he had so many presents to bestow.
Our Friends are very kind. My Father sends his Horse and Dr. Tufts has offerd me an other one he had of unkle Q[uinc]y about 5 year old. He has never been journeys, but is able enough. Mr. Bass is just come, and says he cannot sit out till tomorrow week without great damage to his Buisness. He has been a long time out of Stock, and about a week ago obtaind a Quantity and has engaged 20 pair { 107 } of shooes which will be eaquel to 20 Dollors to him, which he must losse if I will not consent to his tarrying till then. Tho I urged him to sit of tomorrow, yet the Horses will be in a better State as they will not be used and more able to perform the journey. I am obliged to consent to his tarrying till then when you may certainly expect him.
Bass is affraid that the Drs. Horse will not be able to travel so fast as he must go. He will go and see him, and in case he is not your Brother has promised to let one of his go. I only have to regret that I did not sooner make trial of my Friends, and have sent for you 3 weeks ago. I fear you will think me neglegent, and inatentive. If I had been at Home, I should have been sooner in a capacity to have assisted you. I was talking of sending for you and trying to procure horses for you when little Charles who lay upon the couch coverd over with small Pox, and nobody knew that he heard or regarded any thing which was said, lifted up his head and says Mamma, take my Dollor and get a Horse for Pappa. Poor fellow has had a tedious time of it as well as I, but tis now upon the turn, and he is much easier, and better. I hope I shall be able to get out of Town a Saturday next.
Mr. and Mrs. Cranch with their children went out a fryday. I feel rather lonely. Such a change from 1 or 2 and twenty to only 5 or 6 is a great alteration. I took the Liberty of sending my complements to General Lincoln and asking him some questions which you proposed to me, but which I was really unable to answer, and he has promised me a perticuliar reply to them.1
As to provisions there is no Scarcity. Tis true they are high, but that is more oweing to the advanced price of Labour than the Scarcity. English Goods of every kind are not purchasable, at least by me. They are extravagantly high, West india articles are very high all except Sugars, which have fallen half since I came into Town. Our New England Rum is 4 Shillings pr. Gallon, Molasses the same price. Loaf Sugar 2s. 4d. pr. pound, cotton wool 4 Shillings pr. pound, sheeps wool 2 Shillings, flax 1 & 6. In short one hundred pound two year ago would purchase more than two will now.
House Rent in this Town is very low. Some of the best and Genteelest houses in Town rent for 20 pounds pr. year. Ben Hollowell [Hallowell's] has been offerd for 10. and Mr. Shurdens [Chardon's] for 136 & 8 pence.
The privateer Independance which saild from Plymouth about 3 weeks ago has taken a jamaca man laiden with Sugars and sent { 108 } her into Marblehead last Saturday. I hear the Defence has taken an other.
I think we make a fine hand at prizes.
Coll. Q[uinc]y desires me to ask you whether you have received a Letter from him, he wrote you some time ago.2
I like Dr. F[ranklin's] device for a Seal. It is such a one as will please most—at least it will be most agreable to the Spirit of New england.
We have not any news here—anxiously waiting the Event, and in daily Expectation of hearing tidings from New york. Heaven Grant they may be Glorious for our Country and Country men, then will I glory in being an American. Ever ever Yours,
[signed] Portia
PS We are in such want of Lead as to be obliged to take down the Leads from the windows in this Town.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia Aug. 25, 1776.”
1. AA's letter of inquiry to Benjamin Lincoln has not been found, but Lincoln responded directly to JA in a long letter from Boston, 24 Aug. (Adams Papers), concerning the fortifications and the state of supplies and troops in and around Boston.
2. There is a long, unsigned letter from Col. Josiah Quincy to JA, Braintree, 13–25 June, in Adams Papers, to which no answer has been found.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.