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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0070

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-08-28

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Mr. Benjamin Smith of S. Carolina, was kind enough to send forward from New York,1 your Favour of August 14 and it came safely to Hand to day. There is nothing in it, about “your Herbs,” which in your Letter of the Eighteenth instant, you wish me to remember. I am yet at a loss for your Meaning. Mr. Gerry carried a Cannister of India Herb for you, which I hope you received. Pray let me know whether you have or not.
Yours of the Eighteenth has fixed an Arrow in my Heart, which will not be drawn out, untill the next Post arrives, and then, perhaps, instead of being withdrawn, it will be driven deeper. My sweet Babe, Charles, is never out of my Thoughts.—Gracious Heaven preserve him!—The Symptoms you describe, are so formidable, that I am afraid almost to flatter myself with Hope.—Why should I repine? Why should I grieve? He is not mine, but conditionally, and subject to the Will of a Superiour, whose Will be done.
I shall inclose with this a Pamphlet, intituled “The present Method of innoculating for the Small Pox, to which are added, some Experiments instituted with a View to discover the Effects of a similar Treatment, in the natural Small Pox, by Thomas Dinsdale M.D.”2 This Pamphlet is recommended to me, by Dr. Khun,3 an eminent Phisician of this City, as containing the best Method, and that which is practised by the greatest Masters in this City. I send this as a Present to you, but you must lend it to Dr. Tufts. I have not Time to read it.
Every Moment grows more and more critical at New York. We expect every Hour, News of serious Joy, or Sorrow. The two Armies are very near each other, at Long Island.
{ 112 }
RC (Adams Papers). LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Sent with Dr. Dinsdales Pamphlet [see note 2], and several News Papers.” Enclosed newspapers not found.
1. Preceding three words supplied from LbC.
2. That is, Thomas Dimsdale, a British physician; his tract, first published in 1767, went through numerous editions (DNB). Presumably JA sent the Philadelphia edition, 1771 (Evans 12028).
3. Adam Kuhn (1741–1817), M.D., Edinburgh 1767, professor of materia medica and botany at the College of Philadelphia (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0071

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-29

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dearest Friend

I have spent the 3 days past almost intirely with you. The weather has been stormy, I have had little company, and I have amused my self in my closet reading over the Letters I have received from you since I have been here.
I have possession of my Aunts chamber in which you know is a very conveniant pretty closet with a window which looks into her flower Garden. In this closet are a number of Book Shelves, which are but poorly furnished, however I have a pretty little desk or cabinet here where I write all my Letters and keep my papers unmollested by any one. I do not covet my Neighbours Goods, but I should like to be the owner of such conveniances. I always had a fancy for a closet with a window which I could more peculiarly call my own.
Here I say I have amused myself in reading and thinking of my absent Friend, sometimes with a mixture of paine, sometimes with pleasure, sometimes anticipating a joyfull and happy meeting, whilst my Heart would bound and palpitate with the pleasing Idea, and with the purest affection I have held you to my Bosom till my whole Soul has dissolved in Tenderness and my pen fallen from my Hand.
How often do I reflect with pleasure that I hold in possession a Heart Eaqually warm with my own, and full as Susceptable of the Tenderest impressions, and Who even now whilst he is reading here, feels all I discribe.
Forgive this Revere, this Delusion, and since I am debared real, suffer me, to enjoy, and indulge In Ideal pleasures—and tell me they are not inconsistant with the stern virtue of a senator and a Patriot.
I must leave my pen to recover myself and write in an other { 113 } strain.1 I feel anxious for a post day, and am full as solicitious for two Letters a week and as uneasy if I do not get them, as I used to be when I got but one in a month or 5 weeks. Thus do I presume upon indulgance, and this is Humane Nature, and brings to my mind a sentiment of one of your correspondents viz. “That Man is the only animal who is hungery with His Belly full.”
Last Evening Dr. Cooper came in and brought me your favour from the post office of August 18 and Coll. Whipple arrived yesterday morning and deliverd me the two Bundles you sent, and a Letter of the 12 of August. They have already afforded me much amusement, and I expect much more from them.
I am sorry to find from your last as well as from some others of your Letters that you feel so dissatisfied with the office to which you are chosen. Tho in your acceptance of it, I know you was actuated by the purest motives, and I know of no person here so well qualified to discharge the important Duties of it, Yet I will not urge you to it. In accepting of it you must be excluded from all other employments. There never will be a Salery addequate to the importance of the office or to support you and your family from penury. If you possess a fortune I would urge you to it, in spight of all the flears and gibes of minds who themselves are incapable of acting a disintrested part, and have no conception that others can.
I have never heard any Speaches about it, nor did I know that such insinuations had been Thrown out.
Pure and disintrested Virtue must ever be its own reward. Mankind are too selfish and too depraved to discover the pure Gold from the baser mettle.
I wish for peace and tranquility. All my desires and all my ambition is to be Esteemed and Loved by my Partner, to join with him in the Education and instruction of our Little ones, to set under our own vines in Peace, Liberty and Safety.

[salute] Adieu my Dearest Friend, soon, soon return to your most affectionate

[signed] Portia
PS Charlly is cleverly. A very odd report has been propagated in Braintree viz. that you were poisond upon your return at N.Y. Bass sets of on monday.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honbl. John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Portia. Ansd. Septr. 8.”
1. This sentence and the three preceding entire paragraphs were omitted by CFA in printing this letter.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/