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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0114

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-02-10

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Yesterday, I took a long Walk with our Secretary Mr. Thompson to a Place called Fells Point, a remarkable Piece of Ground about a mile from the Town of Baltimore. It is a Kind of Peninsula which runs out { 158 } into the Harbour, and forms a Bason before the Town. This Bason, within thirty Years, was deep enough for large Tobacco ships to ride in, but since that Time has filled up ten Feet, so that none but small light Vessells can now come in. Between the Town and the Point We pass a Bridge over a small run of Water which empties itself into the Bason, and is the only Stream which runs into it and is quite insufficient to float away the Earth which every year runs into the Bason from the dirty streets of the Town and the neighbouring Hills and fields.1
There are four Men of War just entered Cheasapeak Bay, which makes it difficult for Vessells to go out, and indeed has occasioned an Embargo to be laid here for the present. Your Uncle2 has two Vessells here, both detained—one is now employed as a Transport for a little While. These Men of War will disappoint you of your Barrell of flour. Your Uncle's Vessells would sell very well here. Hardens would fetch 800 Pounds of this Money.3
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. John Adams Braintree favoured by [no name given]”; added in the hand of Isaac Smith Sr.: “Postage 6/ Yrs. I Smith”; docketed in pencil by AA. LbC (Adams Papers) is an abstract: “10 Feb. wrote a short Letter to Portia, which I had not Time to transcribe, and sent it by a Hand of Captn. Arnold who is here from the Mass. Board of War.—The Letter contains nothing but an observation or two concerning Fells Point and the Bason before the Town, and one or Two things about her Uncles Vessells.”
1. JA continued this description in his second letter of this day, following. Compare the entry of 9 Feb. 1777 in his Diary and Autobiography, 2:258–259.
2. Isaac Smith Sr.
3. Last two words worn in MS and barely legible. Apparently JA means Pennsylvania currency, the money used in Maryland.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0115

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-02-10

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Fells Point, which I mentioned in a Letter this Morning, has a considerable Number of Houses upon it. The Shipping all lies now at this Point. You have from it on one side a compleat View of the Harbour, and on the other a fine Prospect of the Town of Baltimore. You see the Hill, in full View and the Court House, the Church and Meeting House, upon it. The Court House makes an haughty Appearance, from this Point. There is a Fortification erected, on this Point with a Number of Embrasures for Cannon facing the Narrows which make the Entrance into the Harbour. At the Narrows they have a Fort, with a Garrison in it.
{ 159 }
It is now a Month and a few days, since I left you. I have heard nothing from you, nor received a Letter from the Massachusetts. I hope the Post Office will perform better than it has done.
I am anxious to hear how you do. I have in my Mind a Source of Anxiety, which I never had before, since I became such a Wanderer. You know what it is. Cant you convey to me, in Hieroglyphicks, which no other Person can comprehend, Information which will relieve me. Tell me you are as well as can be expected.
My Duty to your Papa and my Mamma. Love to Brothers, and Sisters. Tell Betcy I hope She is married.—Tho I want to throw the Stocking. My Respects to Mr. S[haw]. Tell him he may be a Calvinist if he will, provided always that he preserves his Candour, Charity and Moderation.1
What shall I say of or to my N. J. C. and T.?2 What will they say to me for leaving them, their Education and Fortune so much to the Disposal of Chance?—May almighty and allgracious Providence protect, and bless them.
I have this Day sent my Resignation of a certain mighty office.3 It has relieved me from a Burden, which has a long Time oppress'd me. But I am determined, that, while I am ruining my Constitution of Mind and Body, and running dayly Risques of my Life and Fortune in Defence of the Independency of my Country, I will not knowingly resign my own.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For Mrs: Adams at Mr. John Adams's Braintree favd. by Mr. Hall”; docketed in pencil by AA. LbC (Adams Papers) is an abstract: “Wrote another Letter the same day to Portia, about indifferent Things of no Consequence—only informed her of the above Resignation [see note 3 below] and that I was determind that while I was ruining my Constitution both of Mind and Body, and running daily Risques of Life and Fortune in defence of the Independency of my Country, I would not knowingly resign my own.”
1. On the following 16 Oct. AA's sister Elizabeth was to marry Rev. John Shaw at Weymouth. JA did not “throw the Stocking” because he was still attending Congress. AA held very different views of her sister's engagement; see her letter to JA of 8–10 March, below.
2. Nabby, Johnny, Charley, and Tommy. CFA's text in Familiar Letters, p. 244, reads: “my children.”
3. The chief justiceship of Massachusetts. JA's resignation was in a letter to the Massachusetts Council, enclosed in a letter to Deputy Secretary John Avery, both dated this day and both found as letterbook copies in Adams Papers; enclosure printed in JA, Works, 3:25. Besides numerous references to JA's appointment and resignation as chief justice in the present volumes from 31 July 1775 on, see also his Diary and Autobiography, 3:359–363; Avery to JA, 7 March (Adams Papers); and JA to Avery, 21 March (LbC, Adams Papers, printed in Works, 9:457–458).
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/