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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0009

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-17

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I this day Received by the Hands of our Worthy Friend a large packet, which has refreshed and comforted me. Your own sensations have ever been similar to mine. I need [not]1 then tell you how gratified I am at the frequent tokens of remembrance with which you favour me, nor how they rouse every tender sensation of my Soul, { 14 } which sometimes find vent at my Eyes nor dare I discribe how earnestly I long to fold to my fluttering Heart the dear object of my warmest affections. The Idea sooths me, I feast upon it with a pleasure known only to those whose Hearts and hopes are one.
The approbation you give to my conduct in the Management of our private affair[s] is very gratefull to me and sufficently compensates, for all my anxieties, and endeavours to discharge the many duties devolved upon me in consequence of the absence of my dearest Friend. Were they discharged eaquel to my wishes I should merrit the praises you bestow.
You see I date from Plimouth. Here I came upon a visit to our amiable Friends accompanied by My Sister Betsy a day or two ago, and is the first night I have been absent since you left me. Having determined upon this visit for some time, I put my Family in order and prepaird for it, thinking I might leave it with safety. Yet the day I set out I was under many apprehensions by the comeing in of ten Transports who were seen to have many Soldiers on board, and the determination of the people to go and fortify upon Long Island, Peticks Island, Nantasket and Great Hill. It was apprehended they would attempt to land some where, but the next morning I had the pleasure to hear they were all driven out, Commodore and all. Not a Transport, a Ship or a tender to be seen. This shews what might have been long ago done. Had this been done in season the ten Transports with many others in all probability would have fallen into our Hands, but the progress of wisdom is slow.
Since I arrived here, I have really had a scene quite novel to me. The Brig Defence from Connecticut put in here for Balist. The officers who are all from thence and who were intimately acquainted at Dr. Lorthropes,2 invited his Lady to come on board and bring with her as many of her Friends as she could collect. She sent an invitation to our Friend Mrs. W[arre]n and to us. The brig lay about a mile and half from the Town, the officers sent their Barge and we went, every mark of Respect and attention which was in their power, they shewd us. She is a fine Brigg, Mounts 16 Guns, 12 Swivells and carries 100 & 20 men. 100 & seventeen were on board; and no private family ever appeard under better Regulation than the Crew. It was as still as tho there had been only half a dozen, not a prophane word among any of them. The Captain himself is an exemplary Man, Harden3 his name, has been in nine Sea engagements, says if he gets a Man who swears and finds he cannot reform him he turns him on shoar, Yet is free to confess that it was the sin of his youth. He has one lieutenant a very { 15 } fine fellow, Smelden4 by name. We spent a very agreable afternoon and drank tea on board, they shew'd us their Arms which were sent by Queen Ann, and every thing on board was a curiosity to me. They gave us a mock engagement with an Enemy, and the manner of taking a ship. The young folks went upon Quarter deck and danced. Some of their Jacks played very well upon the voilene and German flute. The Brig bears the continental Colours and was fitted out by the Colony of Connecticut. As we set of from the Brig they fired their Guns in honour to us, a ceremony I would have very readily dispenced with.
I pitty you and feel for you under all the difficulties you have to encounter. My daily petitions to Heaven for you, are, that you may have Health, Wisdom and fortitude sufficent to carry you thro the great, and arduous Buisness in which you are engaged; and that your endeavours may be crownd with success.—Canady seems a dangerous and ill fated place. It is reported here that General Thomas is no more, that he took the small pox and died with it. Every day some circumstance arises and shews me the importance of having that distemper in youth. Dr. Bulfinch has petitiond the General Court for leave to open a Hospital some where, and it will be granted him.5 I shall with all the children be one of the first class you may depend upon it.
I have just this moment heard that the Brig on which I was on board a Saturday and which saild yesterday morning from this place fell in with two Transports having each of them a 100 & 50 Men on board and took them and has brought them into Nantasket road, under cover of the Guns which are mounted there. Will add further perticuliars as soon as I am informd.
I am now better informd and can give you the Truth. The Brig Defence, accompanied by a smaller privateer saild in concert a Sunday morning. About 12 o clock they discoverd two Transports, and made for them. Two privateers who were small had been in chase of them, but finding the enemy were of much larger force; had run under Cohasat Rocks.6 The Defence gave a Signal Gun to bring them out. Capt. Burk7 who accompanied the Defence being a prime Sailor came up first and pourd a Broad Side on board a 16 Gun Brig. The Defence soon attack'd her upon her Bows, an obstinate engagement ensued, their was a continual Blaze upon all sides for many Hours and it was near mid Night before they struck. In the engagement the Defence lost one Man and 5 wounded. On board Burk not one Man received any damage. On board the enemy 14 killd among whom was a Major and 60 wounded. They are part of the Hiland Soldiers. The other Transport mounted 6 Guns. When the Fleet saild out of this { 16 } Harbour last week they blew up the light House. They met 6 Transports comeing in which they carried of with them. Hope we shall soon be in such a posture of defence as to bid them defiance.
I feel no great anxiety at the large armyment designd against us. The remarkable interpositions of Heaven in our favour cannot be too gratefully acknowledged. He who fed the Isralites in the wilderness, who cloaths the lilies of the Field and feeds the young Ravens when they cry, will not forsake a people engaged in so righteous cause if we remember his Loving kindness.
We wanted powder, we have a Supply. We wanted guns, we have been favourd in that respect. We wanted hard money, 22000 Dollors and an Eaquel value of plate are deliverd into our Hands.
You mention your peas, your cherries, your strawberries &c. Ours are but just in Blosome. We have had the coldest Spring I ever knew, thing[s] are 3 weeks back of what they generally used to be. The corn looks poor, the season now is rather dry.—Our Friend has Refused his appointment.8 I am very sorry. I said every thing I could think to persuaid him, but his Lady was against it. I need say no more.—I believe I did not understand you when in a former Letter you say, “I want to resign my office for a thousand reasons.” If you meant that of judge I know not what to say. I know it will be a dificult and arduous station but divesting my self of private intrest which would lead me to be against your holding that office, I know of no person who is so well calculated to discharge the Trust, or who I think would act a more consciencious part.
My paper is full. I have [only]9 room to thank you for it.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia To be left at the Post Office in Boston”; endorsed: “Portia. ans. July 3.”
1. Inadvertent omission by the writer.
2. Nathaniel Lothrop (1737–1828), Harvard 1756, a physician of Plymouth (MHS, Procs., 2d ser., 3 (1886–1887): 403, note).
3. Seth Harding.
4. Samuel Smedley.
5. Thomas Bulfinch (1728–1802), Harvard 1746; M.D., Edinburgh 1757 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, vol. 12 [in press, 1962]. Bulfinch inoculated AA and the Adams children in the following month; see her letters to JA of 13–14 Julyet seq., below.
6. On “Cohasat Rocks” see JA's Diary and Autobiography, 4:7, and note there. The naval action described by AA, in which the transports Annabella and George were taken at the entrance to Boston Harbor by the Defence and four Continental armed schooners, is described in detail from the sources by William Bell Clark in George Washington's Navy, Baton Rouge, 1960, p. 160–165.
7. Capt. William Burke of the Continental schooner Warren.
8. James Warren had declined appointment as associate justice of the Superior Court.
9. Word torn away by seal. (This sentence was added by AA in the inner margin of the MS.)

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0010

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-17

Cotton Tufts to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sr.

Our vast Extent of Territory requires a great Land Forrce to defend it. The Spirit of Commerce and Privateering already operates to render the Difficulty of raising Soldiers great. If I am right in what is advanc'd, and as the grand Struggle will soon ensue and it is incumbent on us to make the best Defence that we are capable off, Might it not be of general Utility to prohibit any Vessells from going foreign Voyages and all others from Province to Province except such as can pass safely within Shores. No more Privateers to be fitted out—except such as are contracted for by the Colonies or Continent—I mean for a limited Time. The great Numbers of Provision Vessells taken from us by our Enemies, strengthens them in a most essential Point, and the Men taken in them are lost to us (perhaps for ever). I have thought, that it would have been for the Interest of the Colonies to have borne the immense Expence of Land Carriage for Provisions rather than to have risqued them by Sea. Connecticut might have supplied us and what Connecticut was drained off New York might have supplied and what New York, Pensylvania and so on—the one handing the other Provisions to be transported where most wanted. The non Exportation of Provisions to the West Indies, would probably oblige them to come to our Ports for them—in this Case we should be sure of running no Risque.
To encourage Soldiers to enlist might not the offer of 100 Acres of Land to every Soldier that would enlist during the War be a good expedient? Such offer to be made upon the Condition of his Fidelity and our finally succeeding in the Contest.
About 4th or 5th. Inst. a Jamaica Vessell taken by some of the Continental Cruisers arrived at Marblehead. About the same Time another of 700 Tons at Dartmouth richly laden with Jamaica Produce. On the 7th. the Yankey Hero of Newbury Port (Capt. Tracy Commander) was taken by the Lively Man of War after an obstinate Engagement of 1 & ¾ of an Hour. The Yankey had 4 Men killd and 11 or 12 Wounded, she was fitted for a Cruize to the West Indies and was coming to Boston to take on her Compliment of Hands, at the Time of the Engagement she had not above 35 or 36 Men as I have been informd.
On the 8th. the Continental Cruisers from Cape Ann took a Transport with upwards of 90 Highlanders and sent her into Marble-head. On the same Day a Vessell from Barbados arrived at Plimouth taken by a Privateer of Capt. Derby's—she was bound to Hallefax on { 18 } the Kings Accountt loaded with Rum. The Vessell with Highlanders was from Scotland, being part of a Fleet of 30 Sail bound to Boston with which she parted some Days before, and was led into a Trapp by the Jamaica Prize who kept Company with her for some Time and undertook as she was a Stranger to pilot her into Boston; as the Scotchman was entering Marblehead he smelt a Rat and sheerd off—but too late to escape.
[On] the 9 and 10th 8 or 10 Transports supposed to be highlanders joind the Enemy in the Harbour.1
The highland Soldiers brot their Wives and Children being promisd 1 House and 100 Acres of Land on their Arrival and no Doubt the Stock on our Farms—the Women bro'tt their Milking Pails and plenty of Seeds to sow the Land. (Better late than never.)
It was determind to take Possession of the East End of Long Island, Petticks and Hull, all on the Evening of the 13th. The Artillery and Forces for Long Island reachd there in Season. By Reason of a Calm, the Plan with respect to Petticks faild and the Cannon for Hull did not get down there untill 9 the next Morning. On L. Island 1500 or 2000 Soldiers and Voluntiers, as many on Hull. On the Former a Breast Work was erected and a Battery formd by the next Morning mounting 2 or 3 Heavy Cannon and a Mortarr, on the Latter the Works were begun and an 18 Pounder carried over the Hill about 9. The 14th. at Day Break the Battery on L. Isld. opend on the 50 Gun Ship and other of the Enemy's Vessells then laying between Petticks and Georges Isld. They soon address'd themselves to Flight. This Battery was too far distant to do much Execution—had Works on Petticks and Nantasket been compleated according to a previous Plan, the 50 Gun Ship and a greater part of the Vessells must have fallen a Prey to us, for it was very calm. You could hardly Sea the Motion of the Ship. My Curiosity led me up Hunts Hill from whence I could see the Movements. It was 12 or 1, before she got to the middle of Hull. Here she was harrass'd with an 18 Pounder from Lorings Hill which obligd her to make all possible speed. The Boats were man'd to Tow her down and at length she made of with 16 other Topsail Vessells and 4 smaller. The Ships of War kept a perpetual Firing on Hull in their Way down, but no Life was lost on our Side nor One wounded.—Thus on the 14th of June 1776 the Harbour of Boston was cleared from every Ship of War and other Vessell belonging to Great Britain—it being just Two Years since it was blocked up (If I remember right). The Light House they blew up before they went off.
Last Night we were alarmd about 9 with the firing of Cannon { 19 } suppos'd to be at Nantasket and about 11 with a heavy cannonading and firing of Small Arms which lasted untill near 12. Yesterday a Ship and Brig were seen steering for the Harbour and 4 or 5 small Privateers in Chase of them maintaining a runing Fight. About Sun Set the ship and Brig were making their Way to the Light, about 9, they had got up to Nantasket and were saluted and orderd to come on Shore, the Brig catchd on Chamberlains Rocks, the Captain and 4 sailors came on Shore, the Ship continuing her Course up, the Tide rising cleard the Brig and she followed after the Ship notwithstanding she had struck to the Fort. The Privateers who had been galling them all day came up and a smart Engagement ensued between them [and]2 the Ship and Brig (the Ship is said to have mounted 14. Guns) but at last they were oblig'd to submit and they were found to be Two Transports from Scotland, part of the aforementiond Fleet having on Board each 70 or 80 Highlanders with some Women and Children. One Major and 8 Sailors or Soldiers were killd in the Transports and [ . . . ] Wou[nded]3 on our Side. The Captain of the Brig and Hands who came on Shore at Nantasket could not believe that Boston was in our Possession—they had not the least Idea of it. The Soldiers say that they had from 10 to 12 Guineas to enlist besides the Promise of 100 Acres &c. I am not without Hopes of our entertaining some more of these Gentrey. It appears from the Accounts of these and the former Vessell that the Fleet was parted in a Storm.—We have now a good Fort on Fort Hill, Noddles Island, Pulling Point, Castle Island, Dorchester Point, and new ones erecting on East End of Long Isld. and Nantasket, 2 Row Galleys building, and a Plan forming for immediately erecting a Foundery. I hope the present Court will act with more spirit than the Former. They see the Necessity of it and from the Complexion of Things there is no doubt they will.
I have many more Things to say, but finding a Tremor to affect my Nerves the Effect of much writing and fearing the Length of my Epistle will be tedious I must break off informing You that Yours the Braintree and Weymouth Families are well and that I am with much Affection, Yrs.
P.S. I have not received a Line from You, since my last to You.
1. This paragraph was added in the margin, evidently for insertion here.
2. Editorially supplied for clarity.
3. MS torn by seal.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0011

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Zabdiel
Date: 1776-06-21

John Adams to Zabdiel Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

Your Favour of the Ninth of this Month was delivered to me, Yesterday by Mr. Whitney, whose Health I hope will be fully restored by the Small Pox for which he was innoculated the day before. Your Letter, Sir, gave me great Pleasure and deserves my most hearty Thanks.
I am fully with you in Sentiment, that altho the Authority of the Congress founded as it has been, in Reason, Honour, and the Love of Liberty, has been sufficient to govern the Colonies, in a tolerable Manner, for their Defence and Protection: yet that it is not prudent, to continue very long in the same Way. That a permanent Constitution should be formed, and foreign Aid, obtained. In these Points and thus far the Colonies, and their Representatives the Congress are extremely well united.—But concerning a Declaration of Independency there is some Diversity of Sentiment. Two Arguments only, are urged with any Plausibility against such a Measure. One is that it will unite all the Inhabitants of G. Britain against Us. The other, that it will put us too much in the Power of foreign States. The first has little Weight in it, because the People of Great Britain, are already as much united against Us, as they ever are in any Thing, and the Probability is, that such a Declaration would excite still greater Divisions and Distractions among them.
The second has less Weight still, for foreign Powers already know that We are as obnoxious to the British Court as We can be. They know that Parliament have in effect declared Us independent, and that We have acted these thirteen Months, to all Intents and Purposes as if We were so.
The Reports of fifty five Thousand Men, coming against Us, are chiefly ministerial Gasconade. However We have reason to fear that they will send several very powerfull Armaments against Us, and therefore our most strenuous Exertions will be necessary, as well as our most fervent Prayers. America is yet in her Infancy, or at least but lately arrived to Man hood, and is inexperienced in the perplexing Misteries of Policy, as well as the dangerous Operations of War.
I assure you, sir, that your Employment, in investigating the Moral Causes of our Miseries, and in pointing out the Remedies, is devoutly to be wished. There is no station more respectable, nor any so pleasant and agreable. Those who tread the public Stage, in Characters the { 21 } most extensively conspicuous, meet with so many Embarrassments, Perplexities, and Disappointments, that they have often reason to wish for the peacefull Retreats of the Clergy. . . .1 Who would not wish to exchange the angry Contentions of the Forum, for the peacefull Contemplations of the Closet. Where Contemplations prune their ruffled Wings and the free Soul looks down to pitty Kings? Who would not Exchange the discordant Scenes of Envy, Pride, Vanity, Malice, Revenge, for the sweet Consolations of Philosophy, the serene Composure of the Passions, the divine Enjoyments of Christian Charity, and Benevolence?
Statesmen my dear Sir, may plan and speculate for Liberty, but it is Religion and Morality alone, which can establish the Principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. . . . The only foundation of a free Constitution, is pure Virtue, and if this cannot be inspired into our People, in a greater Measure, than they have it now, They may change their Rulers, and the forms of Government, but they will not obtain a lasting Liberty.—They will only exchange Tyrants and Tyrannies.—You cannot therefore be more pleasantly, or usefully employed than in the Way of your Profession, pulling down the Strong Holds of Satan. This is not Cant, but the real sentiment of my Heart.—Remember me with much respect, to your worthy family, and to all Friends.
1. Here and below, suspension points are in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0012

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tufts, Cotton
Date: 1776-06-23

John Adams to Cotton Tufts

[salute] My dear Friend

It is with Shame, and Confusion of Face, that I acknowledge that your agreable Favour of April the twenty sixth, came duely to my Hand and has laid by me unanswered to this Time. There has been as much Folly and Inattention to my own Pleasure, and Interest, in this Negligence as there is of Ingratitude to you, for in the sincerity of my Heart I declare, that none of the Letters of my numerous Correspondents, contain more important Information or more sensible Observations, than yours.
In a Letter I received last night from Boston, I have the Pleasure to learn that your Ideas of fortifying the Harbour have been adopted, and by the next Post or two I hope to be informed that every hostile ship is made to scamper.
{ 22 }
The Danger, you apprehend, that our Armies will be thinned by the Freedom of Trade is real, but perhaps the Restraints laid upon it, by our Enemies may correct the Error, if it is one. The Voice of the People was so loud for it, that it was adopted altho some Persons thought it dangerous, and none expected any great Advantage from it before the next Winter.
You mention Independence and Confederation. These Things are now become Objects of direct Consideration. Days, and Times, without Number, have been spent upon these Subjects, and at last a Committee is appointed to prepare a Draught of Confederation, and a Declaration that these Colonies [are]1 free States, independent of all Kings, Kingdoms, Nations, People, or States in the World. . . .2
There has been the greatest Scarcity of News for the last Fortnight, which has ever happened since the War commenced. . . . I make it a constant Practice to transmit to my Family, all the News Papers, where I presume you get a Sight of them. You will find by them, the Course of political Causes and Effects in this Colony. The Assembly [were] necessitated to rescind their Instructions, and [became] so obnoxious, and unpopular, among the Inhabitants their own Constituents for having ever passed them, as to be obliged to die away, without doing any Thing else, even without Adjourning, and give Place to a Conference of Committees and a Convention.3 Every Part of the Colony is represented in this Conference which is now sitting, and is extremely unanimous, spirited, zealous, and determined. You will soon see Pensilvania, one of the most patriotic Colonies. New Jersey is in a similar Train. The Delaware Government the same.
Maryland is a little beside itself I think, but presently it will blaze out like a Fire ship or a Volcano. New York still acts in Character, like a People without Courage or sense, or Spirit, or in short any one Virtue or Ability. There is neither Spunk nor Gumption, in that Province as a Body. Individuals are very clever. But it is the weakest Province in point of Intellect, Valour, public Spirit, or any thing else that is great and good upon the Continent. It is incapable of doing Us much good, or much Hurt, but from its local situation. The low Cunning of Individuals, and their Prostitution plagues Us, the Virtues of a few Individuals is of some Service to Us. But as a Province it will be a dead Weight upon any side, ours or that of our Enemies.
1. MS: “a.”
2. Here and below, suspension points are in MS. On 7 June Richard Henry Lee had moved “certain resolutions respecting independency,” which he had composed but which were understood to { 23 } be submitted on behalf of the Virginia delegation in accordance with their instructions of 15 May by the Virginia Convention, directing the delegates “to propose [that Congress] declare the United Colonies free and independent states” (Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 1:290–291, 298–299; JCC, 5:425–426). Although, as usual, the Journal does not record the name of either the mover or seconder of this motion, it has been generally accepted that JA seconded it; see his Diary and Autobiography, 3:392–393. Congress deferred considering the resolutions (one of which called for the preparation of a plan of confederation) until next day, a Saturday, when they were debated in a committee of the whole house; the debate was continued on Monday the 10th, but further debate on the first and crucial resolution was then deferred until 1 July; “and in the mean while, that no time be lost, in case the Congress agree thereto, that a committee be appointed to prepare a declaration to the effect of the said first resolution” (JCC, 5:427, 428–429). On the 11th it was “Resolved, That the committee, to prepare the declaration, consist of five members: The members chosen, Mr. Jefferson, Mr. J. Adams, Mr. Franklin, Mr. Sherman, and Mr. R. R. Livingston” (same, p. 431). For JA's principal accounts of the drafting of the Declaration of Independence in the weeks that followed (until the committee reported its draft to Congress on 28 June), see his Diary and Autobiography, 3:335–337, and references there. His arguments in the debate in the committee of the whole, 8–10 June, are summarized in Jefferson's Notes of Proceedings (Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 1:311–313).
3. Two words (in brackets) have been editorially supplied in this sentence to clarify it. For the recent demise of the Pennsylvania Assembly, which had resisted moves toward separation from Great Britain, and its supersedure by a Provincial Conference, which first met on 18 June and was controlled by radicals, see J. Paul Selsam, The Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776, Phila., 1936, p. 129 ff.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0013

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-06-26

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I have written so seldom to you, that I am really grieved at the Recollection. I wrote you, a few Lines, June 2. and a few more June 16. These are all that I have written to you, since this Month began. It has been the busyest Month, that ever I saw. I have found Time to inclose all the News papers, which I hope you will receive in due Time.
Our Misfortunes in Canada, are enough to melt an Heart of Stone. The Small Pox is ten times more terrible than Britons, Canadians and Indians together. This was the Cause of our precipitate Retreat from Quebec, this the Cause of our Disgraces at the Cedars.—I dont mean that this was all. There has been Want, approaching to Famine, as well as Pestilence. And these Discouragements seem to have so disheartened our Officers, that none of them seem to Act with Prudence and Firmness.
But these Reverses of Fortune dont discourage me. It was natural to expect them, and We ought to be prepared in our Minds for greater { 24 } Changes, and more melancholly Scenes still. It is an animating Cause, and brave Spirits are not subdued with Difficulties.
Amidst all our gloomy Prospects in Canada, We receive some Pleasure from Boston. I congratulate you on your Victory over your Enemies, in the Harbour. This has long lain near my Heart, and it gives me great Pleasure to think that what was so much wished, is accomplished.
I hope our People will now make the Lower Harbour, impregnable, and never again suffer the Flagg of a Tyrant to fly, within any Part of it.
The Congress have been pleased to give me more Business than I am qualified for, and more than I fear, I can go through, with safety to my Health. They have established a Board of War and Ordinance and made me President of it, an Honour to which I never aspired, a Trust to which I feel my self vastly unequal. But I am determined to do as well as I can and make Industry supply, in some degree the Place of Abilities and Experience. The Board sits, every Morning and every Evening.1 This, with Constant Attendance in Congress, will so entirely engross my Time, that I fear, I shall not be able to write you, so often as I have. But I will steal Time to write to you.
The small Pox! The small Pox! What shall We do with it? I could almost wish that an innoculating Hospital was opened, in every Town in New England. It is some small Consolation, that the Scoundrell Savages have taken a large Dose of it. They plundered the Baggage, and stripped off the Cloaths of our Men, who had the Small Pox, out full upon them at the Cedars.
1. The Board of War and Ordnance, embryo of the U.S. War Department, was instituted on 12 June 1776; on the following day JA was named first among five members and hence became chairman or “President.” He continued in this post until the close of his service in Congress late in 1777, or in other words throughout the entire period that the Board's work was directed exclusively by civilians. To that work, which soon imposed a crushing daily burden of correspondence and administrative detail, he was to give more time than to all the rest of his duties as a member of Congress put together. See JCC, 5:434–435, 438; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:242; 3:342, 360, 394–395, and passim.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0014

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tufts, Cotton
Date: 1776-06-30

John Adams to Cotton Tufts

[salute] Dear Sir

Your Favour of the 17th. I received by Yesterdays Post. Am much obliged, to you for your judicious Observations of the Spirit of Com• { 25 } merce and Privateering, and many other Subjects, which I have not Time to consider, at present. I mean to express my Sentiments of them in this Letter.1
You tell me a Plan is forming for immediately erecting a Foundery. I wish you would oblige me so much as to write me, who the Persons are who have laid this Plan: whether it is to be carried on by the Public or by private Persons—who are the Undertakers—where the Foundery is to be—whether it is a brass or an Iron Foundery or both? In short what the Plan is in all its Particulars. . . .2 Are there any Artists sufficiently skilled with you? Have you Iron, or Ore, suitable to make Iron, proper for Cannon. Where shall you get Brass? Has Mr. Aaron Hobart of Abington done any Thing at casting Cannon. Has he an Air Furnace? Where does he get his Iron? And where, his Skill and Knowledge?
There are several other Subjects of Inquiry that occur to my Mind, which are of no small Importance.
Musquetts and Bayonnetts are excessively wanted in all the Colonies. Twelve Months ago We were distressed, to a Degree that Posterity will scarcely credit for Powder. This is now over. Now Arms are almost in as much Demand. The Convention of Virginia have taken as bold a Step to get Arms as the Massachusetts did to get Salt Petre. They have passed an ordinance for paying out of the public Treasury Twenty Dollars for every Musquet and Bayonnett which shall be made in the Colony for a year. Pensilvania makes very good Guns and in considerable Numbers. I fear the Massachusetts, in the Multiplicity of their Cares, have not done so much as they might in this Way. I am sure that Province upon a proper Exertion of its Ingenuity and Policy, as well as the Wit and Dexterity of her Tradesmen might make a vast Number of Arms annually. I want to be informed, what Number is now made Weekly or Monthly in the Province. How many are made by Mr. Orr; how many by Pratt, how many by Barrett of Concord, and how many by Pomroy of Northampton. . . . I sincerely wish that the Province would undertake in a public Capacity to encourage this Manufacture, and that they might do it with as much Wisdom and Spirit, and then I know they would have as much success, as they had in the Manufacture of Salt Petre.
There are several other Articles which deserve the public Attention.
Flints begin to be wanted, and I am convinced that those Colonies abound with the proper Flint Stone, and that nothing is wanting but a little Attention to find it, and a little skill, to brake it into the proper Sizes and Shapes. Orange County in New York abounds with { 26 } it, and the People there use no other flints. I wish the general Court would set a Committee to search for it, or recommend it to the select Men of the Towns to look for it.
Sulphur is an Object which lies in your Way as a Philosopher and a Physician. . . . Is it to be found any where in the Province. Our Province has an Advantage of all others, in one Respect, the Division of it into Towns which are incorporated Bodies Politick and have public Officers and frequent public Meetings, gives the General Court Power, by ordering the select Men to call Town Meetings and to insert any subject in the Warrant, to diffuse and circulate any Information or Instruction and a Spirit of Inquiry into the whole Mass of the People at once. If some such Method was taken it is very likely that Sulphur Ore might be found in Plenty.
Lead is another Thing of great Importance, and there certainly is a great Quantity of the Ore in the Towns of Northampton and Southampton. It is a Pity that Something cannot be done to set the Manufacture agoing.
In one Word, my Friend, I cannot think that Country safe, which has not within itself every Material necessary for War, and the Art of making Use of those Materials. I never shall be easy, then, untill We shall have made Discoveries of Salt Petre, Sulphur, Flynts, Lead, Cannon, Mortars, Ball, Shells, Musquetts, and Powder, in sufficient Plenty, so that We may always be sure of having enough of each.
Another Thing my Heart is set upon is Salt. Pray inform me, what has been done with you towards the Manufacture.
The Intelligence you give me of your Success, in ferretting away, the Men of War, is some Consolation for the melancholly Accounts We have from Canada. It proves that Coll. Quincy was right when he wrote me, that with Powder and heavy Cannon, he would undertake to make Prisoners at Discretion of the Army in the Town and the fleet in the Harbour as he did last Summer.3

[salute] I am &c.

1. JA clearly meant just the opposite: “I mean not to express,” &c.
2. Here and below, suspension points are in MS.
3. See “An Old Friend” (i.e. Josiah Quincy) to JA, 11 July 1775 (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0015

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-07-03

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Your Favour of June 17. dated at Plymouth, was handed me, by Yesterdays Post. I was much pleased to find that you had taken a Journey to Plymouth, to see your Friends in the long Absence of one whom you may wish to see. The Excursion will be an Amusement, and will serve your Health. How happy would it have made me to have taken this Journey with you?
I was informed, a day or two before the Receipt of your Letter, that you was gone to Plymouth, by Mrs. Polly Palmer, who was obliging enough in your Absence, to inform me, of the Particulars of the Expedition to the lower Harbour against the Men of War. Her Narration is executed, with a Precision and Perspicuity, which would have become the Pen of an accomplished Historian.1
I am very glad you had so good an opportunity of seeing one of our little American Men of War. Many Ideas, new to you, must have presented themselves in such a Scene; and you will in future, better understand the Relations of Sea Engagements.
I rejoice extreamly at Dr. Bulfinches Petition to open an Hospital. But I hope, the Business will be done upon a larger Scale. I hope, that one Hospital will be licensed in every County, if not in every Town. I am happy to find you resolved, to be with the Children, in the first Class. Mr. Whitney and Mrs. Katy Quincy,2 are cleverly through Innoculation, in this City.
I have one favour to ask, and that is, that in your future Letters, you would acknowledge the Receipt of all those you may receive from me, and mention their Dates. By this Means I shall know if any of mine miscarry.
The Information you give me of our Friends refusing his Appointment, has given me much Pain, Grief and Anxiety. I believe I shall be obliged to follow his Example. I have not Fortune enough to support my Family, and what is of more Importance, to support the Dignity of that exalted Station. It is too high and lifted up, for me; who delight in nothing so much as Retreat, Solitude, Silence, and Obscurity. In private Life, no one has a Right to censure me for following my own Inclinations, in Retirement, Simplicity, and Frugality: in public Life, every Man has a Right to remark as he pleases, at least he thinks so.
Yesterday the greatest Question was decided, which ever was de• { 28 } bated in America, and a greater perhaps, never was or will be decided among Men. A Resolution was passed without one dissenting Colony “that these united Colonies, are, and of right ought to be free and independent States, and as such, they have, and of Right ought to have full Power to make War, conclude Peace, establish Commerce, and to do all the other Acts and Things, which other States may rightfully do.” You will see in a few days a Declaration setting forth the Causes, which have impell'd Us to this mighty Revolution, and the Reasons which will justify it, in the Sight of God and Man.3 A Plan of Confederation will be taken up in a few days.
When I look back to the Year 1761, and recollect the Argument concerning Writs of Assistance, in the Superiour Court, which I have hitherto considered as the Commencement of the Controversy, between Great Britain and America, and run through the whole Period from that Time to this, and recollect the series of political Events, the Chain of Causes and Effects, I am surprized at the Suddenness, as well as Greatness of this Revolution. Britain has been fill'd with Folly, and America with Wisdom, at least this is my Judgment.—Time must determine. It is the Will of Heaven, that the two Countries should be sundered forever. It may be the Will of Heaven that America shall suffer Calamities still more wasting and Distresses yet more dreadfull. If this is to be the Case, it will have this good Effect, at least: it will inspire Us with many Virtues, which We have not, and correct many Errors, Follies, and Vices, which threaten to disturb, dishonour, and destroy Us.—The Furnace of Affliction produces Refinement, in States as well as Individuals. And the new Governments we are assuming, in every Part, will require a Purification from our Vices, and an Augmentation of our Virtues or they will be no Blessings. The People will have unbounded Power. And the People are extreamly addicted to Corruption and Venality, as well as the Great.—I am not without Apprehensions from this Quarter.4 But I must submit all my Hopes and Fears, to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the Faith may be, I firmly believe.
RC and LbC (Adams Papers). For the complicated story of early printings of this letter, in conjunction with JA's letter to AA written later on the same day, see note 9 on the letter that immediately follows.
1. Mary Palmer to JA, 15–17 June, above. As frequently in JA's letters and Diary, “Mrs.” (i.e. Mistress) stands for “Miss.”
2. Katharine Quincy (1733–1804), sister of Dorothy (Quincy) Hancock. See Adams Genealogy.
3. On 28 June “the committee appointed to prepare a declaration, &c. brought in a draught, which was read [and]Ordered, To lie on the table” until after the question of independence { 29 } itself (the first of the Lee or Virginia resolutions of 7 June) was dealt with (JCC, 5:491; see note 2 on JA's letter to Cotton Tufts, 23 June, above). That momentous question came up, as had been agreed, on Monday, 1 July, and Congress in a committee of the whole debated it and reported favorably on it; but “at the request of a colony” (South Carolina), the final determination was postponed until the 2d, when the delegates of twelve Colonies (those of New York, being bound by old instructions, abstaining) “Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and, of right, ought to be, Free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connexion between them, and the state of Great Britain, is, and ought to be, totally dissolved”—the precise wording of the first of the Lee resolutions of 7 June (JCC, 5:504, 505, 506–507; Jefferson's Notes of Proceedings, in his Papers, ed. Boyd, 1:313–314; letters of JA and others, 1 and 2 July, in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:519–526||; also printed in Papers of John Adams||).
It will be noted that JA's present version of the resolution of independence varies markedly from that in the Journal, but he was writing without a text to copy from. For his part in the debates of 1–2 July as he remembered them, see his Diary and Autobiography, 3:396–397, and references there. On 1 July the text of the Declaration as reported by the committee on 28 June was referred to a committee of the whole house, and debate on it in committee of the whole began on the 2d, as soon as the vote of independence passed. This debate continued during the day on which the present letter was written and was resumed on the 4th, until the committee of the whole and the Congress were satisfied with the text to be given to the world, whereupon the text as revised and adopted was ordered “authenticated and printed” and distributed to the new states and the army (JCC, 5:504, 505–507, 509, 510–516; Jefferson's Notes of Proceedings, in his Papers, ed. Boyd., 1:314–319; various letters of 4 July in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 1:527–528). Thus, as scarcely needs to be pointed out any longer, though it once did, the present letter and the next one of the same date were written between the act of independence itself and the adoption of the statement designed to “justify it, in the Sight of God and Man.”
4. The foregoing sentence is not in RC and has been supplied from LbC. Its omission from RC was unquestionably inadvertent, a result of mere haste in copying, because it is an essential and revealing element in the flow of JA's thought at this point. CFA printed this letter (or the critical portion of it) at least five times between 1841 and 1876, but since he used the RC exclusively and did not compare it with the text of the LbC, this sentence has been omitted in all subsequent printings and quotations of this famous letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0016

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-07-03

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Had a Declaration of Independency been made seven Months ago, it would have been attended with many great and glorious Effects. . . .1 We might before this Hour, have formed Alliances with foreign States.—We should have mastered Quebec and been in Possession of Canada. . . . You will perhaps wonder, how such a Declaration would have influenced our Affairs, in Canada, but if I could write with Freedom I could easily convince you, that it would, and explain to you the manner how.—Many Gentlemen in high Stations and of great Influence have been duped, by the ministerial Bubble of Commissioners to { 30 } treat. . . . And in real, sincere Expectation of this Event, which they so fondly wished, they have been slow and languid, in promoting Measures for the Reduction of that Province. Others there are in the Colonies who really wished that our Enterprise in Canada would be defeated, that the Colonies might be brought into Danger and Distress between two Fires, and be thus induced to submit. Others really wished to defeat the Expedition to Canada, lest the Conquest of it, should elevate the Minds of the People too much to hearken to those Terms of Reconciliation which they believed would be offered Us. These jarring Views, Wishes and Designs, occasioned an opposition to many salutary Measures, which were proposed for the Support of that Expedition, and caused Obstructions, Embarrassments and studied Delays, which have finally, lost Us the Province.
All these Causes however in Conjunction would not have disappointed Us, if it had not been for a Misfortune, which could not be foreseen, and perhaps could not have been prevented, I mean the Prevalence of the small Pox among our Troops. . . . This fatal Pestilence compleated our Destruction.—It is a Frown of Providence upon Us, which We ought to lay to heart.
But on the other Hand, the Delay of this Declaration to this Time, has many great Advantages attending it.—The Hopes of Reconciliation, which were fondly entertained by Multitudes of honest and well meaning tho weak2 and mistaken People, have been gradually and at last totally extinguished.—Time has been given for the whole People, maturely to consider the great Question of Independence and to ripen their Judgments, dissipate their Fears, and allure their Hopes, by discussing it in News Papers and Pamphletts, by debating it, in Assemblies, Conventions, Committees of Safety and Inspection, in Town and County Meetings, as well as in private Conversations, so that the whole People in every Colony of the 13,3 have now adopted it, as their own Act.—This will cement the Union, and avoid those Heats and perhaps Convulsions which might have been occasioned, by such a Declaration Six Months ago.
But the Day is past. The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.—I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with4 Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.5
{ 31 }
You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not.—I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States.—Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing6 Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even7 altho We should rue8 it, which I trust in God We shall not.9
RC and LbC (Adams Papers). Since this is a celebrated letter, several small but characteristic stylistic revisions made by JA when preparing his fair copy (the RC) from his draft (the LbC) have been recorded in the notes below. For the early celebrity and textual garbling of this letter, in conjunction with the preceding letter of this date, see note 9.
1. Here and below, suspension points are in MS.
2. LbC: “shortsighted.”
3. Preceding three words added in RC.
4. Preceding three words added in RC.
5. This word added in RC.
6. This word added in RC.
7. Preceding five words added in RC.
8. LbC: “altho you and I may rue.”
9. This and the preceding letter, embodying JA's reflections in the course of the day after the United States became a nation, acquired early and deserved celebrity. But the history of their early publication and textual garbling offers a striking illustration of how difficult it is to overcome popular errors, or, to invert an idealistic saying, how error, crushed to earth, will rise again.
Only a summary of that history can be given here, and this summary is drawn largely from Charles Warren's article, “The Doctored Letters of John Adams,” MHS, Procs., 68 (1944–1947):160–170, a learned and skillful piece of scholarly detective work. Warren points out that the two JA letters to his wife dated 3 July were apparently first printed (the first of them with an indicated omission at the beginning of the text) in the Universal Asylum and Columbian Magazine for May 1792 (8:313–315) as part of a series of JA's Revolutionary letters. No explanation of their provenance is given there, and the identity of the recipient is in both cases disguised by the salutation “Sir.” (The texts as printed derive ultimately from JA's letterbook copies, are quite faithful, and were presumably supplied by some member of his actual or official family who had access to his letterbooks. JA himself, in a letter to JQA of 19 Sept. 1795 [Adams Papers], alluded to the printing of this “Letter,” as he called it, and said he prized it “above a statue or a Monument—merely as Evidence of my Opinion at that time and of my Courage to avow it”; but he gave no hint of how publication occurred.) On 4 July 1792 the Philadelphia Gazette of the United States reprinted these texts, with a brief tribute to the Vice-President's powers as a prophet.
On 1 July 1795 the Federalist Columbian Centinel of Boston published a letter from “An American,” who argued that his fellow Americans had all along been celebrating the wrong day (the Fourth of July) as the anniversary of independence; they ought, he said, to celebrate the Second. As evidence, he quoted “extracts of two letters, from Mr. JOHN ADAMS to a friend,” consisting of the seventh paragraph of JA's first letter of 3 July (“Yesterday the greatest Question . . .”) and the last two paragraphs of JA's second letter (“But the Day is past . . .”). “As a friend to propriety,” he concluded, “I could wish to see the alteration take place.”
Nine years later, in the same paper, 23 June 1804, “Seventy-Six” urged the same point, though in more sharply partisan terms. “Seventy-Six” cited the same passages from JA's “letters to a friend” of 3 July 1776 as proof that JA was the “efficient agent in this glorious work [of independence],” whereas Jefferson was an “adventitious” agent, merely { 32 } “penning a bill, after the principles [had] been decided upon.”
This argument having made little headway, a nameless Federalist writer took a different tack the next year. In the Boston Gazette for 4 July 1805 appeared a long, unsigned letter eulogizing the services of Washington and JA, and to this were appended the now familiar passages from JA's letters, run together and treated as if they constituted a single letter in and of themselves. The direction at the foot of the text reads: “To Mr.——,” which was by now canonical, but the date at the head of the letter as printed in 1805 reads “July 5, 1776,” and in the passage on celebrating the national anniversary the second sentence is altered to read “The Fourth day of July 1776, will be a memorable epocha,” &c., to square it with the doctored dateline.
This mode of reconciling the two national political parties' differing views on how (or rather when) the United States of America was born met with great and altogether undeserved success. Newspapers and holiday orators happily and frequently printed and quoted JA's “letter” on celebrating the “Fourth” of July. (In one case the hybrid document with its erroneous date appeared in the very same issue of a paper to which JA contributed autobiographical recollections on another subject; see the Boston Patriot, 4 July 1810.) Not until 1819 was there a clarification forthcoming, and it came directly from JA, who after AA's death late in 1818 had been rummaging among his old papers. On 16 Feb. 1819 JA wrote to Judge Thomas Dawes of Boston, a close friend and a connection by marriage, reminding him that “Once on a time, upon my Stony field Hill, you interrogated me concerning that extract [frequently printed in newspapers from JA's letter or letters of 3 July 1776] in so particular a manner that I thought you felt a tincture of pyrrhonism concerning its authenticity.” To settle any such doubts, JA offered to show Dawes the originals in JA's own hand, but meanwhile he enclosed full texts of the two letters addressed to AA, “one in the morning, and the other in the evening of . . . the day after the vote of Independence” (LbC in an unidentified hand, Adams Papers). Dawes communicated both enclosures, together with JA's letter to him and a valuable introductory note of his own, to the Columbian Centinel, where all of them were printed on 3 July 1819.
Thus were made available, for the first time, complete and substantially faithful texts of JA's two famous and prophetic letters, with their correct dates and a correct identification of their recipient. (These texts were actually drawn from JA's letterbooks, without comparison with the recipient's copies.) They were given still wider circulation and made permanently available by being reprinted in Hezekiah Niles' Principles and Acts of the Revolution in America . . ., Baltimore, 1822, p. 328–330. And yet just two days after they had appeared fully and correctly in the Centinel, another Boston paper, the Independent Chronicle, which held Republican views, printed an extract from one of them under the wrong date of 5 July 1776, “the day after the passage of the memorable Declaration of Independence”; and it did so again at the annual returns of the national anniversary in 1822, 1824, and 1826. Doubtless other papers did so too. What is more, the handsomely printed and decorated cards of admission to the Fourth of July feasts at Faneuil Hall in Boston now annually bore the old, telescoped, mangled, and misdated text of JA's “letter” from Philadelphia; two specimens of these—one directed to JA in 1821, and the other to JQA in 1824—are reproduced as illustrations in the present volume.
By this time even the Federalist Centinel, which had printed authentic texts and a full éclaircissement seven years earlier, was ready to cave in under dint of repetition. On 5 July 1826, the day after JA's death, it quoted him in support of celebrating “the Fourth of July” with “pomp, shows, games,” and all the rest. Editor Niles caved in too. His obituary tribute to JA reprinted the garbled version of the letters that had been in circulation for decades (Niles' Register, 30:345 [15 July 1826]. That version remained standard through the first half of the century, even after correct (though normalized) texts from the recipient's copies had been printed in { 33 } JA's Letters (1841).
In printing these texts, CFA for some reason did not allude to the corrupt and popular version or versions of them until he issued the JA–AA Familiar Letters in 1876. There, at p. 193, he furnished an editorial note that almost apologizes for having upset a tradition by presenting accurate texts, and explains that the initial garbling was done by JA's nephew and sometime secretary, William Smith Shaw (1778–1826), later well known as “Athenaeum” Shaw, on whom see the Adams Genealogy. Presumably the doctored text published in the Boston Gazette of 4 July 1805 was the one concocted by Shaw, but the present editors have not found the evidence on which CFA attributed it to him.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0017

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-07-03

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

A Lame Hand still prevents me the free use of Either the Nedle or the pen. Yet I take up the Latter and Attempt a Line or two just to Let my Dear Friend know that both myself and Family are in better Health than when she was at Plimouth.
I Enclose a Number of papers which Came to hand yesterday from Philadelphia, with Directions to send them to the foot of Pens Hill when Read. I also send several Manuscripts Left in my hands for which am much Obliged.
When a Good opportunity presents should be glad you would Return two or three things which I wont say I Consented You should Cary away, but Confide in your Word that No one else should see them. Do with my Love to your amiable sister tell her I Cannot but Regret that I was prevailed upon by the importunity of Friendship to suffer Copies of Certain Letters to be taken and if you and she both Could make your selves willing Either to Return or to Destroy them it would Gratify one who loves them. I have Reasons sufficient for such a Request.
My paper and pen is too bad, my finger too sore, my time too limited and my Capacity too Circumscribed to Express the Ideas which ought to arise in Every Generous Breast on the Late Horrid Conspiracy.1 Heaven will Frown the perpetrators of such Black Deeds into Distruction and shake to the Centre the Throne of Their Guilty Master.
I do not Expect to see you very soon. The accounts we have of the small pox at the Northward are such that I think it unsafe for any who have not had that Distemper to Venture beyond Braintree.

[salute] You will I hope soon write a Long Letter to your affectionate Friend,

[signed] M Warren
PS Love to the Children.
{ 34 }
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosures not found or identified.
1. The so-called “Hickey plot,” for which Thomas Hickey, a member of Washington's guard, was court-martialed and sentenced to death. Hickey had been suborned by New York City loyalists who were planning an uprising on the arrival of British forces there, but the rumors of a plot to assassinate Washington and his generals were exaggerated. See Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 5:161–162, 170, 179, 182 and note, 193–195.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0018

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Palmer, Mary
Date: 1776-07-05

John Adams to Mary Palmer

[salute] Miss Polly

Your Favour of June 15. 1776 was handed to me, by the last Post. . . .2 I hold myself much obliged to you for your Attention to me, at this Distance, from those Scenes, in which, altho I feel myself deeply interested, yet I can neither be an Actor nor Spectator.
You have given me (not withstanding all your modest Apologies) with a great deal of real Elegance and Perspicuity, a minute and circumstantial Narration of the whole Expedition to the lower Harbour, against the Men of War.—It is lawfull you know to flatter the Ladies a little, at least if Custom can make a Thing lawfull: but, without availing myself in the least degree of this Licence, I can safely say, that from your Letter and another from Miss Paine to her Brother, I was enabled to form a more Adequate Idea of that whole Transaction, than from all the other Accounts of it, both in News papers and private Letters which have come to my Hands.
In Times as turbulent as these, commend me to the Ladies for Historiographers. The Gentlemen are too much engaged in Action. The Ladies are cooler Spectators. . . . There is a Lady at the Foot of Pens Hill, who obliges me, from Time to Time with clearer and fuller Intelligence, than I can get from a whole Committee of Gentlemen.
I was a little mortified, at the unlucky Calm, which retarded the Militia from Braintree, Weymouth and Hingham. I wished that they might have had more than half the Glory of the Enterprize. However, it satisfies me to reflect, that it was not their Fault but the fault of the Wind that they had not.
I will inclose to you a Declaration, in which all America is remarkably united. . . .3 It compleats a Revolution, which will make as good a Figure in the History of Mankind, as any that has preceeded it—provided always, that the Ladies take Care to record the Circumstances of it, for by the Experience I have had of the other Sex, they are either too lazy, or too active, to commemorate them.
A Continuance of your Correspondence, Miss Polly, would much { 35 } oblige me. My Compliments to Papa, and Mamma and the whole Family. . . . I hope they will see more serene Skies. I begin now to flatter my self, however, that you are situated in the safest Place upon the Continent.
Howes Army and Fleet are at Staten Island. But there is a very numerous Army, at New York and New Jersey, to oppose them. Like Noahs Dove, without its Innocence, they can find no Rest.

[salute] I am, with much Respect, Esteem and Gratitude, Your Friend and humble Servant,

[signed] John Adams
RC (PHi: Dreer Coll.). LbC (Adams Papers). Enclosed “Declaration” not found; see note 3.
1. There has been some confusion about the true date of this letter because an engraved facsimile of it was published a century ago with a dateline apparently reading “Philadelphia July 3:1776” (William Brotherhead, The Book of the Signers . . ., Phila., 1861, p. 103–104; separates of the facsimile are also found in libraries). However, unlike the alteration in JA's ||first and second||letters to AA of 3 July, q.v. above, this change of date was probably an honest (though rather inexcusable) mistake, resulting from the engraver's misreading (or merely clumsy rendering) of the date as written by JA.
At the foot of the engraved facsimile appears the legend “In the possession of Mr. Teft Phila.” This was Israel K. Tefft, one of the earliest and most zealous collectors of historical autographs in the United States. On 27 Nov. 1841, in answer to an appeal (not found) from Tefft, CFA sent him a letter in the hand of AA and a few miscellaneous autographs (CFA's letter is in NN: Ford Coll.). Tefft answered from Savannah, Georgia, 10 Dec. 1841, acknowledging the gifts, describing and quoting from JA's letter to Polly Palmer in his own possession, listing fourteen signers of the Declaration of Independence who were not adequately represented in his collection, and asking CFA if he would supply “a letter, or note” by any or all of them from JA's papers (Adams Papers). There is no record of a reply.
2. Here and below, suspension points are in MS.
3. This must have been a copy of the broadside printed by John Dunlap—the first published text—of the Declaration of Independence, which was issued this day in accordance with Congress' vote of 4 July, and a copy of which is wafered to the “Rough Journal” of Congress as an official text. “You are still impatient for a Declaration of Independency,” JA wrote Joseph Ward on this same day. “I hope your Appetite will now be satisfyed. Such a Declaration passed Congress Yesterday, and this Morning will be printed” (LbC, Adams Papers). (The Declaration was not printed in a newspaper until 6 July; see JA's 1st letter to AA of 7 July, below.) See Michael J. Walsh, “Contemporary Broadside Editions of the Declaration of Independence,” Harvard Libr. Bull., 3:31–43 (Winter 1949), which includes a facsimile of the Dunlap broadside and a census of the fourteen copies known to survive; also Julian P. Boyd, The Declaration of Independence: The Evolution of the Text, Washington, 1943, p. 8, 35, and pl. 10.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0019

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-05

Cotton Tufts to John Adams

[salute] My Dear Sr.

I wrote to You about the 17 or 18th. of last Month which suppose You have received.
{ 36 }
Yesterday People in Boston were openly inoculated for the Small Pox. The Business had been carried on in private for some Time amongst the Soldiery and others; the Selectmen represented the Impossibility of preventing its Spread any longer and leave was given by the general Assembly for Inoculation in Boston.—It is probable that it will run thro' the Country. If so, no Care will hereafter be taken to keep it out. If there be any Inoculators of Eminence that you are particular acquainted with should take it kindly if You would enquire of Him his Method of Practice; as to Medicine, Diet, Air, Exercise—in short the whole Proccess. The Method of Practice is I suppose pretty generally known, that No one there would pretend to keep it as a Secret. Yet there may be some Improvements of late, that may be beneficial, the Knowledge of which might give much Satisfaction to an Inquisitive Mind, and any Gentleman of Benevolence and Literature would give in writing such a general Accountt of the Practice as might answer the Enquiry. If such You can obtain amongst your Acquaintance, be so kind as to forward it by the very first Conveyance.
We have my Friend Pestilence, We have the Sword, two thundering Messengers. May they bring us to our Senses, learn us to live as men ought to, despising Dress and Equipage and unbounded Wealth, Exercising Temperance and Frugality, Benevolence and Charity &c. &c. Oh my Dear Friend I am now entering into the Plan of public and private Happiness [and]1 painting to myself a Scene delightful Indeed, which could I once behold Methinks I could [wil]lingly take my leave of Earth, satisfyed that the Day of American Redemption was [now?] at Hand.

[salute] Adieu. Yrs.

I have got leave to lodge this within Mrs. Adams Letter2—being wrote in Haste Youll excuse Errors.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Honbl. John Adams Esq Philadelphia”; added in AA's hand: “To be left at the post office”; postmarked: “BOSTON 11 IY” (i.e. July); endorsed: “Dr. Tufts,” to which was later added, in the hand of William Gordon(?), the date of Tufts' letter.
1. Here and below, MS is torn by seal.
2. AA, however, merely forwarded Tufts' letter to the post office in Boston; see the descriptive note above; also JA to AA, 20 July (2d letter), and JA to Tufts, 20 July, both below.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0020

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Thaxter, John
Date: 1776-07-07

Abigail Adams to John Thaxter

[salute] Sir

As you have always expressd a desire to have the small pox with my family I write to let you know that we go next thursday. If you chuse to enter as part of my family at 18 Shillings per week, paying your d[octo]r for innoculation which I hear is a Guiney you may send me word immediately. I will find a Bed and Bedstead, but should be glad if you could take 2 pair of sheets and a counterpain. All other necessaries will supply, Nursing &c. If we do well hope to return in 3 weeks. Mr. Cranch, wife and family and Sister Betsy go with us. The time allowed is short, so that we must go this week. Dr. Bulfinch is our Physician, says no occasion of any previous preparation. If you conclude to go, be at our House a wednesday Night.
My duty to your Pappa and Mamma. Love to your Sisters. Tell your Mamma we will take good care of you. If you was here I would shew you a coppy of some of Miss Grissys Letters intercepted.1 If you have an opportunity of writing tomorrow Let me know your determination.

[salute] I am most affectionately your Friend,

[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (MH: Autograph File); addressed: “To Mr. John Thaxter junr. Hingham”; endorsed: “Mrs. Adams 7 July 1776.”;
1. This allusion remains obscure.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0021

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-07-07

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I have this Moment folded up a Magazine, and an Evening Post1 and sent it off, by an Express, who could not wait for me to write a single Line. It always goes to my Heart, to send off a Packett of Pamphletts and News Papers, without a Letter, but it sometimes unavoidably happens, and I suppose you had rather receive a Pamphlet or News Paper, than nothing.
The Disign of our Enemy, now seems to be a powerfull Invasion of New York and New Jersey. The Hallifax Fleet and Army, is arrived, and another Fleet and Army under Lord How, is expected to join them. We are making great Preparations to meet them, by marching the Militia of Maryland, Pensilvania, and New Jersey, down to the Scene of Action, and have made large Requisitions upon New England. I hope for the Honour of New England, and the Salvation of America, our People will not be backward in marching to New { 38 } York. We must maintain and defend that important Post, at all Events. If the Enemy get Possession there, it will cost N. England very dear. There is no danger of the Small Pox at New York. It is carefully kept out of the City and the Army. I hope that your Brother and mine too will go into the Service of their Country, at this critical Period of its Distress.
Our Army at Crown Point is an Object of Wretchedness, enough to fill a humane Mind, with Horror. Disgraced, defeated, discontented, dispirited, diseased, naked, undisciplined, eaten up with Vermin—no Cloaths, Beds, Blanketts, no Medicines, no Victuals, but Salt Pork and flour. A Chaplain from that Army, preached a Sermon here the other day, from “cursed is he, that doth the Work of the Lord, deceitfully.”
I knew better than he did, who the Persons were, who deserved these Curses. But I could not help myself, nor my poor Country any more than he.
I hope that Measures will be taken to cleanse the Army at Crown Point from the small Pox, and that other Measures will be taken in New England, by tolerating and encouraging Inoculation, to render that Distemper less terrible.
I am solicitous to hear, what Figure, our new Superiour Court made in their Eastern Circuit. What Business they did? Whether the Grand Juries, and petit Juries, were sworn. Whether they tried any Criminals? or any civil Actions. How the People were affected at the Appearance of Courts again. How the Judges were treated, whether with Respect, or cold Neglect &c.
Every Colony, upon the Continent will soon be in the same Situation. They are erecting Governments, as fast as Children build Cobb Houses. But I conjecture they will hardly throw them down again, so soon.
The Practice We have hitherto been in, of ditching round about our Enemies, will not always do. We must learn to Use other Weapons than the Pick Axe and the Spade. Our Armies must be disciplined and learn to fight. I have the Satisfaction to reflect, that our Massachusetts People, when they have been left to themselves, have been constantly fighting and skirmishing, and always with success. I wish the same Valour, Prudence, and Spirit had been discovered every where.
1. The Pennsylvania Evening Post of 6 July contained the first printing of the text of the Declaration of Independence in a newspaper. See, further, AA to JA, 13–14 July, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0022

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-07-07

John Adams to Abigail Adams

It is worth the while of a Person, obliged to write as much as I do, to consider the Varieties of Style. . . .1 The Epistolary, is essentially different from the oratorical, and the Historical Style. . . . Oratory abounds with Figures. History is simple, but grave, majestic and formal. Letters, like Conversation, should be free, easy, and familiar.
Simplicity and Familiarity,2 are the Characteristicks of this Kind of Writing. Affectation is as disagreable, in a Letter, as in Conversation, and therefore, studied Language, premeditated Method, and sublime Sentiments are not expected in a Letter. Notwithstanding which, the Sublime, as well as the beautifull, and the Novel, may naturally enough, appear, in familiar Letters among Friends.—Among the ancients there are two illustrious Examples of the Epistolary Style, Cicero and Pliny, whose Letters present you with Modells of fine Writing, which has borne the Criticism of almost two thousand Years. In these, you see the Sublime, the beautifull, the Novell, and the Pathetick, conveyed in as much Simplicity, Ease, Freedom, and Familiarity, as Language is capable of.
Let me request you, to turn over the Leaves of the Praeceptor, to a Letter of Pliny the Younger, in which he has transmitted, to these days, the History of his Uncles Philosophical Curiosity, his Heroic Courage and his melancholly Catastrophe.3 Read it, and say, whether it is possible to write a Narrative of Facts, in a better Manner. It is copious and particular, in selecting the Circumstances, most natural, remarkable and affecting. There is not an incident omitted, which ought to have been remembered, nor one inserted that is not worth Remembrance.
It gives you, an Idea of the Scaene, as distinct and perfect, as if a Painter had drawn it to the Life, before your Eyes. It interests your Passions, as much as if you had been an Eye Witness of the whole Transaction. Yet there are no Figures, or Art used. All is as simple, natural, easy, and familiar, as if the Story had been told in Conversation, without a Moments Premeditation.
Pope and Swift have given the World a Collection of their Letters; but I think in general, they fall short, in the Epistolary Way, of their own Emminence in Poetry and other Branches of Literature. Very few of their Letters, have ever engaged much of my Attention. Gays Letter, concerning the Pair of Lovers kill'd by Lightning, is worth more than the whole Collection, in Point of Simplicity, and Elegance { 40 } of Composition, and as a genuine Model of the epistolary Style.4—There is a Book, which I wish you owned, I mean Rollins Belles Letters, in which the Variations of Style are explained.5
Early Youth is the Time, to learn the Arts and Sciences, and especially to correct the Ear, and the Imagination, by forming a Style. I wish you would think of forming the Taste, and Judgment of your Children, now, before any unchaste Sounds have fastened on their Ears, and before any Affectation, or Vanity, is settled on their Minds, upon the pure Principles of Nature. . . . Musick is a great Advantage, for Style depends in Part upon a delicate Ear.
The Faculty of Writing is attainable, by Art, Practice, and Habit only. The sooner, therefore the Practice begins, the more likely it will be to succeed. Have no Mercy upon an affected Phrase, any more than an affected Air, Gate, Dress, or Manners.
Your Children have Capacities equal to any Thing. There is a Vigour in the Understanding, and a Spirit and Fire in the Temper of every one of them, which is capable of ascending the Heights of Art, Science, Trade, War, or Politicks.
They should be set to compose Descriptions of Scaenes and Objects, and Narrations of Facts and Events, Declamations upon Topicks, and other Exercises of various sorts, should be prescribed to them.
Set a Child to form a Description of a Battle, a Storm, a seige, a Cloud, a Mountain, a Lake, a City, an Harbour, a Country seat, a Meadow, a Forrest, or almost any Thing, that may occur to your Thoughts.
Set him to compose a Narration of all the little Incidents and Events of a Day, a Journey, a Ride, or a Walk. In this Way, a Taste will be formed, and a Facility of Writing acquired.
For myself, as I never had a regular Tutor, I never studied any Thing methodically, and consequently never was compleatly accomplished in any Thing. But as I am conscious of my own Deficiency, in these Respects, I should be the less pardonable, if I neglected the Education of my Children.
In Grammar, Rhetoric, Logic, my Education was imperfect, because unmethodical. Yet I have perhaps read more upon these Arts, and considered them in a more extensive View than some6 others.
1. Here and below, suspension points are in MS.
2. LbC adds “and Freedom,” perhaps unintentionally omitted from RC.
3. Among JA's books in the Boston Public Library is a copy of Robert Dodsley, The Preceptor: Containing a General Course of Education, 5th edn., 2 { 41 } vols., London, 1769. The younger Pliny's letter that JA praises was addressed to Tacitus and is at 1:97–100. See also JA's Diary and Autobiography, 2:24–25.
4. JA could have encountered this letter, supposedly written by John Gay in 1718, either in Dodsley's Preceptor (see preceding note) or in one or another of the several editions of Alexander Pope's Works that he owned and that remain (though with numerous volumes missing) among his books in the Boston Public Library; see Catalogue of JA's Library. But the letter itself has a most curious and complex history. Judging from the texts and commentary in the latest and best edition of Pope's correspondence, it is still not possible to tell whether the letter was written by Gay, by Pope, by both of them in collaboration, or, since the story it tells is known in so many versions, perhaps by neither in its earliest form. The letter relates a sentimental tale, of a kind that soon became very popular, about two rustic and utterly virtuous lovers who were struck dead in each other's arms by lightning when they sought shelter in a haycock from a storm. Although Pope published Gay's version in 1737, as by Gay, Pope himself signed and sent versions of the tale in nearly identical language to sundry friends, including Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Lady Mary did not admire the attitudes of the new school of sensibility and replied astringently:
“I must applaud your good nature in supposing that your pastoral lovers, (vulgarly called Haymakers) would have lived in everlasting joy and harmony, if the lightning had not interrupted their scheme of happiness. I see no reason to imagine that John Hughes and Sarah Drew were either wiser or more virtuous than their neighbours. That a well-set man of twenty-five should have a fancy to marry a brown woman of eighteen, is nothing marvellous; and I cannot help thinking that had they married, their lives would have passed in the common track with their fellow-parishioners. His endeavouring to shield her from a storm was a natural action, and what he would have certainly done for his horse, if he had been in the same situation. Neither am I of opinion that their sudden death was a reward of their mutual virtue” (Pope, Correspondence, ed. George Sherburn, Oxford, 1956, 1:523; see also p. 479–483, 494–496).
5. On Charles Rollin and his books, which were favorites in the Adams family, see AA to JA, 19 Aug. 1774, above, and note there. JA eventually acquired a copy (and it is now among his books in the Boston Public Library) of Rollin's The Method of Teaching and Studying the Belles Lettres, or, an Introduction to Languages, Poetry, Rhetoric, History, Moral Philosophy, Physics, &c., 6th edn., 3 vols., London, 1769.
6. LbC: “most.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0023

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-08

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams

[salute] Mr. Adams

You will hear by this Conveyance, itts probable that the small pox is likely to spread here chiefly by Innoculation As 4. or 500. I suppose are already received itt and people that have moved Out several times now tarry, Amongst which is Mrs. Edwards.—I am just agoing to set Out for Salem and am to meet Mr. Cranch and Mrs. Adams att Roxbury to settle About both families coming in and Cousin Betzey, and all of them to reside in Our house.
I have to inform you that Yesterday was sent into C[ape] Ann by Capt. Johnson of this port Two ships One Large One from Jamaica with 500 hhd. Sugar and rum and 39 bags Cotton &c.—A General and { 42 } Lady, passengers. The Other from Antigua on the Kings Account for Genl. How with 430 hhd. Rum all broad Air. They both made resistance both Vessells had more hands than the privatear.1
We wait to here from your way Anxiously and wish we may here something Agreeable.

[salute] I am Yr. &c.,

[signed] I.S.
1. The Yankee privateer, Capt. Henry Johnson, was shortly afterward captured by the prisoners aboard her from the two vessels she had sent into Cape Ann. See MHS, Colls., 77 (1927):328.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0024

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-07-10

John Adams to Abigail Adams

You will see by the Newspapers, which I from time to time inclose, with what Rapidity, the Colonies proceed in their political Maneuvres. How many Calamities might have been avoided if these Measures had been taken twelve Months ago, or even no longer ago than last december?
The Colonies to the South, are pursuing the same Maxims, which have heretofore governed those to the North. In constituting their new Governments, their Plans are remarkably popular, more so than I could ever have imagined, even more popular than the “Thoughts on Government.” And in the Choice of their Rulers, Capacity, Spirit and Zeal in the Cause, supply the Place of Fortune, Family, and every other Consideration, which used to have Weight with Mankind. My Friend Archibald Bullock Esq. is Governor of Georgia. John Rutledge Esq. is Governor of South Carolina. Patrick Henry Esq. is Governor of Virginia &c. Dr. Franklin will be Governor of Pensilvania. The new Members of this City,1 are all in this Taste, chosen because of their inflexible Zeal for Independence. All the old Members left out, because they opposed Independence, or at least were lukewarm about it. Dickinson, Morris, Allen, all fallen, like Grass before the Scythe notwithstanding all their vast Advantages in Point of Fortune, Family and Abilities.
I am inclined to think however, and to wish that these Gentlemen may be restored, at a fresh Election, because, altho mistaken in some Points, they are good Characters, and their great Wealth and numerous Connections, will contribute to strengthen America, and cement her Union.
{ 43 }
I wish I were at perfect Liberty, to pourtray before you, all those Characters, in their genuine Lights, and to explain to you the Course of political Changes in this Province. It would give you a great Idea of the Spirit and Resolution of the People, and shew you, in a striking Point of View, the deep Roots of American Independence in all the Colonies. But it is not prudent, to commit to Writing such free Speculations, in the present State of Things.
Time which takes away the Veil, may lay open the secret Springs of this surprizing Revolution. . . .2 But I find, altho the Colonies have differed in Religion, Laws, Customs, and Manners, yet in the great Essentials of Society and Government, they are all alike.
1. In the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention, for which elections had just been held and which convened on 15 July. For its members and proceedings see Force, Archives, 5th ser., 2:1 ff.
2. Suspension points in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0025

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-07-11

John Adams to Abigail Adams

You seem to be situated in the Place of greatest Tranquility and Security, of any upon the Continent. . . .1 I may be mistaken in this particular, and an Armament may have invaded your Neighbourhood before now. But We have no Intelligence of any such Design and all that We now know of the Motions, Plans, Operations, and Designs of the Enemy, indicates the Contrary.—It is but just that you should have a little Rest, and take a little Breath.
I wish I knew whether your Brother and mine have inlisted in the Army, and what Spirit is manifested by our Militia, for marching to New York and Crown Point. . . . The Militia of Maryland, New Jersey, Pensilvania, and the lower Counties, are marching with much Alacrity, and a laudable Zeal, to take Care of Howe and his Army at Staten Island. The Army in New York is in high Spirits, and seems determined to give the Enemy a serious Reception.
The unprincipled, and unfeeling, and unnatural Inhabitants of Staten Island, are cordially receiving the Enemy, and Deserters say have engaged to take Arms.—They are an ignorant, cowardly, Pack of Scoundrells. Their Numbers are small, and their Spirit less.
It is some Time, since I received any Letter from you; the Plymouth one was the last. You must write me, every Week by the Post. If it is but a few Lines, it gives me many Spirits.
{ 44 }
I design to write to the General Court, requesting a Dismission, or at least a Furlow. I think to propose that they choose four more Members or at least two more, that so We may attend here in Rotation. Two or three or four may be at home at a Time, and the Colony properly represented notwithstanding.—Indeed, while the Congress were employed in political Regulations, forming the Sentiments of the People of the Colonies into some consistent System, extinguishing the Remainders of Authority under the Crown, and gradually erecting and strengthening Governments, under the Authority of the People, turning their Thoughts upon the Principles of Polity and the Forms of Government, framing Constitutions for the Colonies seperately, and a limited and defined Confederacy, for the united Colonies, and in some other Measures, which I do not choose to mention particularly, but which are now determined, or near the Point of Determination,2 I flattered myself that I might have been of some little Use here. But, now, these Matters will be soon compleated, and very little Business will be to be done here, but what will be either military or Commercial, Branches of Knowledge and Business, for which hundreds of others in our Province, are much better qualified than I am. I shall therefore request my Masters to relieve me.3
I am not a little concerned about my Health which seems to have been providentially preserved to me, much beyond my Expectations. But I begin to feel the disagreable Effects, of unremitting Attention to Business for so long a Time, and a Want of Exercise, and the bracing Quality of my Native Air: so that I have the Utmost Reason to fear an irreparable Injury to my Constitution, if I do not obtain a little Relaxation.
The Fatigues of War, are much less destructive to Health, than the painfull laborious Attention, to Debates, and to Writing, which drinks up the Spirits and consumes the Strength.—I am &c.
1. Here and below, suspension points are in MS.
2. This undoubtedly alludes to the work of the committee, which had been appointed on 12 June and of which JA was a member, “to prepare a plan of treaties to be proposed to foreign powers,” meaning (at this time) specifically France (JCC, 5:433). JA was himself the draftsman of the famous and influential “Plan” and instructions which resulted; see his Diary and Autobiography, 3:337–338, 393, 400, 412, 413, 414, 432–433, 435, with notes and references there. The committee submitted its report on 18 July, and debates on it followed intermittently for two months. JA considered the matter of such consequence that he would not ask for leave to visit his family even after hearing, on the 16th, that all of them were undergoing inoculation.
3. JA's proposal to the General Court for “an Alteration in their Plan of Dele• { 45 } gation,” urging that nine delegates be chosen annually so that part of them could always be on leave, is in a letter he apparently drafted on 17 July to John Avery, deputy secretary of state, but did not send until the 25th (M-Ar: vol. 195; printed in JA, Works, 9:426–427). See also the editorial note in JA's Diary and Autobiography, 2:251.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0026

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-13

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I must begin with apoligising to you for not writing since the 17 of June. I have really had so many cares upon my Hands and Mind, with a bad inflamation in my Eyes that I have not been able to write. I now date from Boston where I yesterday arrived and was with all 4 of our Little ones innoculated for the small pox. My unkle and Aunt were so kind as to send me an invitation with my family. Mr. Cranch and wife and family, My Sister Betsy and her Little Neice,1 Cotton Tufts2 and Mr. Thaxter, a maid who has had the Distemper and my old Nurse compose our family. A Boy too I should have added. 17 in all.3 My unkles maid with his Little daughter and a Negro Man are here. We had our Bedding &c. to bring. A Cow we have driven down from B[raintre]e and some Hay I have had put into the Stable, wood &c. and we have really commenced housekeepers here. The House was furnished with almost every article (except Beds) which we have free use of, and think ourselves much obliged by the fine accommodations and kind offer of our Friends. All our necessary Stores we purchase jointly. Our Little ones stood the opperation Manfully. Dr. Bulfinch is our Physician. Such a Spirit of innoculation never before took place; the Town and every House in it, are as full as they can hold. I believe there are not less than 304 persons from Braintree. Mrs. Quincy, Mrs. Lincoln, Miss Betsy and Nancy are our near Neighbours.5 God Grant that we may all go comfortably thro the Distemper, the phisick part is bad enough I know. I knew your mind so perfectly upon the subject that I thought nothing, but our recovery would give you eaquel pleasure, and as to safety there was none. The Soldiers innoculated privately, so did many of the inhabitants and the paper curency spread it everywhere. I immediately determined to set myself about it, and get ready with my children. I wish it was so you could have been with us, but I submit.
I received some Letters from you last Saturday Night 26 of June.6 You mention a Letter of the 16 which I have never received, and I suppose must relate something to private affairs which I wrote about in May and sent by Harry.
{ 46 }
As to News we have taken several fine prizes since I wrote you as you will see by the news papers. The present Report is of Lord Hows comeing with unlimited powers. However suppose it is so, I believe he little thinks of treating with us as independant States. How can any person yet dreem of a settlement, accommodations &c. They have neither the spirit nor feeling of Men, yet I see some who never were call'd Tories, gratified with the Idea of Lord Hows being upon his passage with such powers.
By yesterdays post I received two Letters dated 3 and 4 of July7 and tho your Letters never fail to give me pleasure, be the subject what it will, yet it was greatly heightned by the prospect of the future happiness and glory of our Country; nor am I a little Gratified when I reflect that a person so nearly connected with me has had the Honour of being a principal actor, in laying a foundation for its future Greatness. May the foundation of our new constitution, be justice, Truth and Righteousness. Like the wise Mans house may it be founded upon those Rocks and then neither storms or temptests will overthrow it.
I cannot but feel sorry that some of the most Manly Sentiments in the Declaration are Expunged from the printed coppy. Perhaps wise reasons induced it.8
Poor Canady I lament Canady but we ought to be in some measure sufferers for the past folly of our conduct. The fatal effects of the small pox there, has led almost every person to consent to Hospitals in every Town. In many Towns, already arround Boston the Selectmen have granted Liberty for innoculation. I hope the necessity is now fully seen.
I had many dissagreable Sensations at the Thoughts of comeing myself, but to see my children thro it I thought my duty, and all those feelings vanished as soon as I was innoculated and I trust a kind providence will carry me safely thro. Our Friends from Plymouth came into Town yesterday. We have enough upon our hands in the morning. The Little folks are very sick then and puke every morning but after that they are comfortable. I shall write you now very often. Pray inform me constantly of every important transaction. Every expression of tenderness is a cordial to my Heart. Unimportant as they are to the rest of the world, to me they are every Thing.
We have had during all the month of June a most severe Drougth which cut of all our promising hopes of english Grain and the first crop of Grass, but since july came in we have had a plenty of rain and { 47 } now every thing looks well. There is one Misfortune in our family which I have never mentiond in hopes it would have been in my power to have remedied9 it, but all hopes of that kind are at an end. It is the loss of your Grey Horse. About 2 months ago, I had occasion to send Jonathan of an errant to my unkle Quincys (the other Horse being a plowing). Upon his return a little below the church she trod upon a rolling stone and lamed herself to that degree that it was with great difficulty that she could be got home. I immediately sent for Tirrel and every thing was done for her by Baths, ointments, polticeing, Bleeding &c. that could be done. Still she continued extreem lame tho not so bad as at first. I then got her carried to Domet but he pronounces her incurable, as a callous is grown upon her footlock joint. You can hardly tell, not even by your own feelings how much I lament her. She was not with foal, as you immagined, but I hope she is now as care has been taken in that Respect.
I suppose you have heard of a fleet which came up pretty near the Light and kept us all with our mouths open ready to catch them, but after staying near a week and makeing what observations they could set sail and went of to our great mortification who were [prepared?]10 for them in every respect. If our Ship of 32 Guns which [was] Built at Portsmouth and waiting only for Guns and an other of [ . . . ] at Plimouth in the same state, had been in readiness we should in all probability been Masters of them. Where the blame lies in that respect I know not, tis laid upon Congress, and Congress is also blamed for not appointing us a General.—But Rome was not Built in a day.
I hope the Multiplicity of cares and avocations which invellope you will not be too powerfull for you. I have many anxietyes upon that account. Nabby and Johnny send duty and desire Mamma to say that an inflamation in their Eyes which has been as much of a distemper as the small pox, has prevented their writing, but they hope soon to be able to acquaint Pappa of their happy recovery from the Distemper.—Mr. C[ranch] and wife, Sister B[etsy] and all our Friend[s] desire to be rememberd to you and foremost in that Number stands your
[signed] Portia
PS A little India herb would have been mighty agreable now.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia To be left at the Post Office”; postmarked: “BOSTON 15 IY”; endorsed: “Portia and. [i.e. answered (by JA)] July. 23d.”
1. Presumably Louisa Catherine (1773?–1857), daughter of AA's only brother, William Smith. Owing to her family's indigence and her father's early death, Louisa, who never married, lived for many years in the Adams household, served as amanuensis to JA in his old age, and was generously remembered by { 48 } both AA and JA in their wills. She is, of course, frequently mentioned in the family correspondence. See Adams Genealogy.
2. Cotton Tufts Jr. (1757–1833), Harvard 1777; see Adams Genealogy.
3. AA's listing and total are confusing at best. It is impossible to arrive at 17 as the total number of patients, whether or not the persons mentioned in the next sentence are included. (The “Little daughter” in the next sentence was Elizabeth [b. 1770], daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth [Storer] Smith; she later married John P. Hale. See Adams Genealogy.)
4. First digit uncertain; possibly AA meant “50.”
5. “Miss Betsy and Nancy” were Elizabeth (later Mrs. Benjamin Guild) and Ann (later Mrs. Asa Packard), daughters of Col. Josiah Quincy by his 2d and 3d wives respectively. Mrs. Lincoln was doubtless Hannah, also a daughter of Col. Quincy but by his first wife; before her marriage to Dr. Bela Lincoln (1734–1773) in 1760, she had attracted JA's serious interest and is frequently mentioned in his early Diary; in 1777 she married Ebenezer Storer (1730–1807). “Mrs. Quincy” was probably the Colonel's 3d wife, the former Ann Marsh. All of these persons, though not close relations of the Adamses, are entered in the Adams Genealogy because of the numerous ties between the Quincy and Adams families.
6. That is, a letter so dated; it is printed above, and so is JA's letter to AA of 16 June, evidently delayed in transit.
7. No letter written by JA on 4 July 1776 is known to the editors. The possibility that he wrote a letter of that date to AA, enclosing in it the copy he had made of Jefferson's draft of the Declaration of Independence (see the following note), and commenting on the revisions made by Congress in the text of that paper—this possibility cannot be ruled out. But it seems to the editors an exceedingly doubtful one. If one supposes that such a letter was written and received, then one must at once explain why no entry for it can be found in JA's letterbooks, which he was keeping with great fidelity at this time, and how the recipient's copy of a letter of such moment could have disappeared without a trace from the family archives. This supposition, in short, raises more unanswerable questions than it resolves. Since AA mentions “two Letters” rather than three, she is almost certainly referring to the two separate letters JA wrote her during the morning and the evening of 3 July, both printed above; otherwise we must suppose that she failed to acknowledge one of those letters, which are extant.
8. This remarkable paragraph raises questions to which only conjectural answers can be given. JA sent a copy of the Dunlap broadside of the Declaration of Independence to Mary Palmer on 5 July, the day it was printed (see his letter of that date, above), and he may have sent AA a copy in one of the packets of printed matter that he frequently forwarded from Philadelphia without covering letters. His earliest (surviving) reference to a text sent to her is in his first letter of 7 July (above), enclosing a Pennsylvania Evening Post of the 6th, which contained the first printing of the Declaration in a newspaper. AA had not received JA's letter of the 7th when she wrote the present letter. But printed copies of the Dunlap broadside had certainly reached Boston by 13 July from some source, and probably from several sources, for on that day Ezekiel Price visited his children, who were under inoculation in Boston, and wrote in his Diary: “The mail from New York brings the declaration of the Continental Congress for Independence” (MHS, Procs., 1st ser., 7 [1863–1864]:260). The same mail probably brought JA's letter to Mary Palmer of 5 July and Elbridge Gerry's letter to James Warren of the same date, which enclosed two broadside copies of the Declaration, one for Warren and one for Joseph Hawley (Austin, Gerry, 1:202–203).
But what of AA's regret that “some of the most Manly Sentiments in the Declaration” as submitted by the drafting committee had been “Expunged” by Congress? How could she know, from the evidence in her hands, that any such thing had happened? Possibly JA had told her so in a letter now missing (see preceding note). Possibly letters (now lost) from other delegates in Philadel• { 49 } phia made observations to that effect, and the word spread rapidly in Boston. Neither of these explanations seems at all likely to the editors. The only other explanation is that AA received, most likely on the 13th, with JA's first and secondtwo letters of the 3d, his autograph copy of Jefferson's draft of the Declaration (see below) and made a quick but perceptive comparison of it with a text of Dunlap's broadside, either a copy sent to her or one sent to a friend with whom she was in touch in Boston. (Note that farther on in the present letter she mentions the Warrens' arrival in Boston from Plymouth on the 13th; and see Warren to JA, 17 July, in Warren-Adams Letters, 1:261.) Since, so far as we know, JA had said nothing to AA about the actual authorship of the Declaration, and since the copy of the draft that he had evidently sent on is in his hand, AA would very naturally have inferred that he was the author, and would, characteristically, have resented alterations by Congress in her husband's work. The Adamses' minister in Boston, Rev. Samuel Cooper, made the same inference and a similar comment in a letter he wrote JA on 14 Aug. (Adams Papers): “That Masterly Performance cannot fail of it's deserved Weight upon the Minds of the People. I could wish, however, that some great Strokes I saw in a Manuscript Draught had not been omitted.” Cooper's letter makes clear beyond all question that JA had sent on his copy of Jefferson's “original Rough draught” during the summer of 1776, that it circulated in Boston, and that, since JA said nothing to the contrary (indeed apparently said nothing whatever about his handwritten copy when he sent it on), his friends in Boston assumed at this time that he was the author of the Declaration.
This is not the place to discuss the importance of the JA copy as a guide to the changes in the text of the Declaration while it was still in committee. It has remained ever since 1776 among the Adams Papers, except for a brief interval in 1943 when it was loaned to the Library of Congress for the purpose of making the first facsimile reproduction of it, which was published as plate 4 in Julian P. Boyd, The Declaration of Independence: The Evolution of the Text, Washington, 1943; see same, p. 6, 22–28; Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 1:416; and John H. Hazelton, The Declaration of Independence: Its History, N.Y., 1906, p. 306 ff., 348–349.
9. MS: “remided.”
10. Here and below, MS is torn by seal.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0027

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-07-15

John Adams to Abigail Adams

My very deserving Friend, Mr. Gerry, setts off, tomorrow, for Boston, worn out of Health, by the Fatigues of this station. He is an excellent Man, and an active able statesman. I hope he will soon return hither. I am sure I should be glad to go with him, but I cannot. I must write to have the Guard relieved.
There is a most amiable, lawdable, and gallant Spirit prevailing, in these middle Colonies. The Militia turn out in great Numbers and in high Spirits, in New Jersey, Pensilvania, Maryland, and Delaware, so that We hope to resist Howe and his Mirimidons.
Independence is at last unanimously agreed to in the New York Convention. You will see by the Newspapers inclosed what is going forward in Virginia, and Maryland and New Jersey. Farewell! farewell, infatuated, besotted Stepdame. I have not Time to add, more { 50 } than that I receive Letters from you but seldom of late. Tomorrows Post I hope will bring me some. So I hoped of last Saturdays and last Tuesdays.

[salute] Ever yours.

RC and LbC (Adams Papers). Enclosed newspapers not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0028-0001

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-07-16

John Adams to Abigail Adams

In a Letter from your Uncle Smith, and in another from Mr. Mason which I received by this days Post1 I am informed that you were about taking the Small Pox, with all the Children. . . .2 It is not possible for me to describe, nor for you to conceive my Feelings upon this Occasion. Nothing, but the critical State of our Affairs should prevent me from flying to Boston, to your Assistance.
I mentioned your Intention to Mrs. Yard at noon. This Evening our President was here. I was engaged abroad, the whole Evening till it was late. When I came home, I found the inclosed Card from the President. I have not yet had an Opportunity to thank Mr. Hancock for his Politeness, which in this Instance is very obliging, but I shall take the first opportunity of doing it, and of informing him, that your Uncles Kindness of which I shall ever entertain the most gratefull Sentiments, has rendered it unnecessary, as well as improper, for you to accept of his most generous Offer.
I can do no more than wish and pray for your Health, and that of the Children. Never—Never in my whole Life, had I so many Cares upon my Mind at once. I should have been happier, if I had received my Letters, before Mr. Gerry went away this Morning, because I should have written more by him.—I rely upon the tender Care of our Friends. Dr. Tufts and your Uncle Quincy, and my Brother will be able to visit you, and give you any Assistance. Our other Friends, I doubt not will give you every Advice, Consolation and Aid in their Power.—I am very anxious about supplying you with Money. Spare for nothing, if you can get Friends to lend it you. I will repay with Gratitude as well as Interest, any sum that you may borrow.—I shall feel like a Savage to be here, while my whole Family is sick at Boston. But it cannot be avoided. I cannot leave this Place, without more Injury to the public now, than I ever could at any other Time, being in the Midst of scaenes of Business, which must not stop for any Thing. . . . Make Mr. Mason, Mr. any Body write to me, by every { 51 } Post—dont miss one for any Cause whatever.—My dearest Love to you all.
RC and LbC (Adams Papers). Enclosure: John Hancock to JA, 16 July, printed herewith.
1. Isaac Smith Sr. to JA, 8 July, above, and Jonathan Mason to JA, 9 July (Adams Papers).
2. Here and below, suspension points are in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0028-0002

Author: Hancock, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-16

Enclosure: John Hancock to John Adams

[salute] Sir

On a Visit to Mrs. Yard this Evening I was inform'd by her that your Lady and Children propos'd to go into Boston, with an intention of Taking the Small Pox by Inoculation, and as the Season is warm, and the present process of Treating that Disorder, requires all the Air that can possibly be had, and as my Scituation in Boston is as much Bless'd with a free Air as most others, I make a Tender of my house and Garden for their use if you Choose to improve it, and by a Signification of your Consent I will write by this Express to that purport. The fruit in the Garden shall be at their Controul, and a maid Servant and the others in the House shall afford them every Convenience that appertains to the House.—It will give me pleasure to be any way instrumental, however small, in adding to their Convenience.1

[salute] I am Sir Your very hum sert.,

[signed] John Hancock
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To the Honl. John Adams Esqr. At Mrs. Yard's.” Enclosed in JA to AA of this date, preceding.
1. The mansion of John Hancock, built by his uncle Thomas Hancock in 1737, stood on the southern slope of Beacon Hill, overlooking the Common, on the grounds of the present west wing of the Massachusetts State House. Its gardens and orchards were extensive, and the house became a Boston landmark not only because of its conspicuous site and opulence but because it was visited by so many eminent persons (including JA and AA upon their return from Europe in June 1788) and was described by everyone who wrote about the city. Its grounds were greatly reduced by the building of Bulfinch's State House not long after Hancock's death, and in the 1850's the house itself was threatened with destruction to make way for more modern dwellings. Attempts by the State to acquire it as a governor's residence, and by the City to remove and preserve it as “an historical cabinet” or museum of antiquities, failed. Though many relics were preserved, the house was demolished in 1863. The dwellings which replaced it were razed when the west wing of the State House was added in the present century. See City of Boston, Report of Committee on the Preservation of the Hancock House, 1863; Chamberlain, Beacon Hill, ch. 11, with { 52 } illustrations; and Walter Kendall Watkins, “The Hancock House and Its Builder,” Old-Time New England, 17:3–19 (July 1926), which is admirably illustrated.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0029

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Date: 1776-07-17

John Adams to Isaac Smith Sr.

[salute] Sir

Your Letter of the Eighth contains Intelligence of an interesting Nature to the Public as well as to me, and my Family in particular.—The Small Pox is so terrible an Enemy that it is high Time to subdue it.—I am under the greatest Obligation to you, Sir, and Mrs. Smith for your kind Offer of the Accommodations of your House to Mrs. Adams and my Children. I shall be very, very anxious, untill I hear further, and if it was possible I would be in Boston as soon as an Horse could carry me. But this is the most unlucky Time, that ever happened. Such Business is now before Us, that I cannot in Honour and in duty to the public, stir from this Place, at present. After a very few Months, I shall return: But in the mean Time, I shall suffer inexpressible distress, on Account of my Family. My only Consolation is that they have no small Number of very kind Friends.
We are in hourly Expectation of some important Event at New York. We hope there will be a sufficient Number of Men there, to give the Enemy a proper Reception. But am sorry the Massachusetts have not sent along some of their Militia, as requested. My most affectionate Regards to Mrs. Smith and the family. I am yr.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0030

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-07-20

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I cannot omit the Opportunity of writing you, a Line, by this Post. This Letter will I suppose, find you, in some degree or other, under the Influence of the Small Pox. The Air is of very great Importance. I dont know your Phisician, but I hope he wont deprive you of Air, more than is necessary.
We had Yesterday, an express from General Lee, in Charlestown South Carolina, with an Account of a brilliant little Action between the Armament under Clinton, and Cornwallis, and a Battery on Sullivans Island. Which terminated very fortunately for America. I will endeavour to inclose, with this a printed Account of it.1 It has { 53 } given Us good Spirits here and will have an happy Effect, upon our Armies at New York and Ticonderoga. Surely our northern Soldiers will not suffer themselves to be outdone by their Brethren so nearly under the Sun. I dont yet hear of any Massachusetts Men, at New York. Our People must not flinch, at this critical Moment, when their Country is in more danger, than it ever will be again perhaps. What will they say, if the Howes should prevail against our Forces, at so important a Post as New York for Want of a few Thousand Men from the Massachusetts?
I will likewise send you, by this Post, Lord Howes Letter and Proclamation, which has let the Cat out of the Bag.2—These Tricks deceive no longer. Gentlemen here, who either were or pretended to be deceived heretofore, now see or pretend to see, through such Artifices. I apprehend, his Lordship is afraid of being attacked upon Staten Island, and is throwing out his Barrells to amuse Leviathan, untill his Reinforcement shall arrive.
RC and LbC (Adams Papers). Enclosures, if actually sent, not found, but see notes below. Though not recorded in the JCC “Bibliographical Notes,” there is a broadside printing, without imprint, of the Lee and Howe documents mentioned in JA's letter, in MHi: Broadsides, under date of 19 July 1776.
1. Gen. Charles Lee's letter from Charleston, 2 July, was read in Congress on 19 July and an extract ordered printed (JCC, 5:593).
2. Lord Howe's letter was a circular to the colonial governors, dated from his ship off Massachusetts on 20 June and enclosing a proclamation of the same date which announced his powers, jointly with his brother, to grant pardons to Americans who would return to their allegiance. These were read in Congress on 18 July and the next day were ordered printed (JCC, 5:574–575, 592–593). Texts will be found in Force, Archives, 4th ser., 6:1001–1002.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0031

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-07-20

John Adams to Abigail Adams

This has been a dull day to me: I waited the Arrival of the Post with much Solicitude and Impatience, but his Arrival made me more solicitous still.—“To be left at the Post Office” in your Hand Writing, on the back of a few Lines from the Dr. were all that I could learn of you, and my little Folks.1 If you was too busy to write, I hoped that some kind Hand would have been found to let me know something about you.
Do my Friends think that I have been a Politician so long as to have lost all feeling? Do they suppose I have forgotten my Wife and Children? Or are they so panic struck with the Loss of Canada, as to { 54 } be afraid to correspond with me? Or have they forgotten that you have an Husband and your Children a Father? What have I done, or omitted to do, that I should be thus forgotten and neglected in the most tender and affecting scaene of my Life! Dont mistake me, I dont blame you. Your Time and Thoughts must have been wholly taken up, with your own and your Families situation and Necessities.—But twenty other Persons might have informed me.
I suspect, that you intended to have run slyly, through the small Pox with the family, without letting me know it, and then have sent me an Account that you were all well. This might be a kind Intention, and if the design had succeeded, would have made me very joyous. But the secret is out, and I am left to conjecture. But as the Faculty2 have this distemper so much under Command I will flatter myself with the Hope and Expectation of soon hearing of your Recovery.
1. See Cotton Tufts to JA, 5 July, above, descriptive note and note 2and notes there.
2. The medical profession.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0032

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Tufts, Cotton
Date: 1776-07-20

John Adams to Cotton Tufts

[salute] Dear Sir

Yours of July 5th. never reached me, till this Morning. I greatly regret its delay. But that it might answer its End, without further Loss of Time, I waited on my Friend Dr. Rush, an eminent Phisician of this City, and a worthy Friend of mine, who with a Politeness and Benevolence, becoming his Character, promised to furnish me with his Sentiments, concerning Inocculation, so that I may forward them to you by the next Post, and I have obtained his Leave for you to publish them, in Print, if you please. He practices with great Success. Several of our Members, have been under his Hands and come out, almost without an Alteration of Countenance.1
You say you got leave to lodge yours in Mrs. Adams's Letter. But no Letter from her accompanied it, which has distressed me much, both because I was very impatient for a Letter from her, and because it creates a Jealousy of some unfair Practice in the Post Office. . . .2 I observe however upon the back of your Letter the Words “to be left at the Post office” in her Hand Writing, which makes it not improbable that she might send it without a Line from herself.
It is a long Time, since I heard from her or indeed any Thing concerning her only that she was determined to have the Distemper, with { 55 } all my Children. How do you think I feel? supposing that my Wife and Children are all sick of the small Pox, myself unable to see them, or hear from them. And all this in Addition to several other Cares, public and private, which alone would be rather troublesome?
However, I will not be dejected. Hope springs eternal in my Breast, and keeps me up, above all Difficulties, hitherto.

[salute] I am, sincerely Yours.

1. JA had first met Benjamin Rush (1746–1813), College of New Jersey 1760, M.D., Edinburgh 1768, in Aug. 1774, Rush being one of the party of Philadelphia gentlemen who rode out to Frankford to welcome the Massachusetts delegation to the first Continental Congress. JA characterized Rush in his Diary in 1775 as “an elegant, ingenious Body, [a] Sprightly, pretty fellow” and at first had some doubts about his substance. But they were soon warm friends. Rush served the Adamses as family physician in the 1790's, and despite their marked political differences the liking and respect of the two men for each other never diminished. During JA's years of political retirement they conducted an active and distinguished correspondence, their letters to each other being among the longest and best that either one of them ever wrote. It was Rush who, after long and pertinacious effort, brought about the reconciliation between ex-Presidents Adams and Jefferson in 1812, with remarkable results. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:115, 182; Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:153–154 and passim; L. H. Butterfield, “The Dream of Benjamin Rush,” Yale Review, 40:297–319 (Winter 1951).
Rush had learned the new or “Suttonian” method of inoculation in England during the 1760's and later published a tract on the subject that went through several editions (Letters, 1:66–67). See, further, AA to JA, 21–22 July, 1 Aug.; JA to AA, 23 July; Tufts to JA, 6 Aug.; all below.
2. Suspension points in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0033

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-21

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I have no doubt but that my dearest Friend is anxious to know how his Portia does, and his little flock of children under the opperation of a disease once so formidable.
I have the pleasure to tell him that they are all comfortable tho some of them complaining. Nabby has been very ill, but the Eruption begins to make its appearence upon her, and upon Johnny. Tommy is so well that the Dr. innoculated him again to day fearing it had not taken. Charlly has no complaints yet, tho his arm has been very soar.
I have been out to meeting this forenoon, but have so many dissagreable Sensations this afternoon that I thought it prudent to tarry at home. The Dr. says they are very good feelings. Mr. Cranch has passed thro the preparation and the Eruption is comeing out cleverly { 56 } upon him without any Sickness at all. Mrs. Cranch is cleverly and so are all her children. Those who are broke out are pretty full for the new method as tis call'd, the Suttonian they profess to practice upon.1 I hope to give you a good account when I write next, but our Eyes are very weak and the Dr. is not fond of either writing or reading for his patients. But I must transgress a little.
I received a Letter from you by wedensday Post 7 of July and tho I think it a choise one in the Litterary Way, containing many usefull hints and judicious observations which will greatly assist me in the future instruction of our Little ones, yet it Lacked some essential engrediants to make it compleat. Not one word respecting yourself, your Health or your present Situation. My anxiety for your welfare will never leave me but with my parting Breath, tis of more importance to me than all this World contains besides. The cruel Seperation to which I am necessatated cuts of half the enjoyments of life, the other half are comprised in the hope I have that what I do and what I suffer may be serviceable to you, to our Little ones and our Country; I must beseach you therefore for the future never to omit what is so essential to my happiness.
Last Thursday2 after hearing a very Good Sermon I went with the Multitude into Kings Street to hear the proclamation for independance read and proclamed. Some Field peices with the Train were brought there, the troops appeard under Arms and all the inhabitants assembled there (the small pox prevented many thousand from the Country). When Col. Crafts read from the Belcona3 of the State House the Proclamation, great attention was given to every word. As soon as he ended, the cry from the Belcona, was God Save our American States and then 3 cheers which rended the air, the Bells rang, the privateers fired, the forts and Batteries, the cannon were discharged, the platoons followed and every face appeard joyfull. Mr. Bowdoin then gave a Sentiment, Stability and perpetuity to American independance. After dinner the kings arms were taken down from the State House and every vestage of him from every place in which it appeard and burnt in King Street. Thus ends royall Authority in this State, and all the people shall say Amen.
I have been a little surprized that we collect no better accounts with regard to the horrid conspiricy at New York, and that so little mention has been made of it here. It made a talk for a few days but now seems all hushed in Silence. The Tories say that it was not a conspiricy but an association, and pretend that there was no plot to assasinate the General. Even their hardned Hearts <Blush> feel —— the dis• { 57 } covery. We have in Gorge a match for a Borgia and a Catiline, a Wretch Callous to every Humane feeling. Our worthy preacher told us that he believed one of our Great Sins for which a righteous God has come out in judgment against us, was our Biggoted attachment to so wicked a Man. May our repentance be sincere.
I omitted many things yesterday in order to be better informed. I have got Mr. Cranch to inquire and write you, concerning a French Schooner from Martineco which came in yesterday and a prize from Ireland. My own infirmities prevents my writing. A most Excruciating pain in my head and every Limb and joint I hope portends a speedy Eruption and prevents my saying more than that I am forever Yours.
The children are not yet broke out. Tis the Eleventh Day with us.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Portia,” to which was later added “July 21. 1776” in the hand of William Gordon(?). Evidently enclosed in Richard Cranch's letter to JA, 22 July, following.
1. After Daniel Sutton (1735–1819), an irregular but highly successful practitioner of Ingatestone, Essex, and later of London (James Johnston Abraham, Lettsom: His Life, Times, Friends and Descendants, London, 1933, p. 189–194). His method required only a small puncture, rather than a gash, to infect the subject and made use of less virulent matter.
2. The 18th.
3. Balcony. A number of similar early spellings are recorded in OED.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0034

Author: Cranch, Richard
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-22

Richard Cranch to John Adams

[salute] Dear Friend

Those that are dearest to you are here, under Inocolation. Charles was Inocolated with me on Thursday, the 11th. Instt. Our Symptoms are very promising; Mrs. A. and the other three Children underwent the operation the next Day. I suppose the enclos'd will be more particular.
The Declaration of Independency which took place here last Thursday, was an Event most ardently wish'd for by every consistant Lover of American Liberty, and was received accordingly by the loudest Acclamations of the People, who Shouted—God Save the united States of America!—We have various Stories current here of Vessels having spoken with Lord Howe, and that he inform'd them he had Powers to treat with Congress &c. Beware of Punic Faith.
Yesterday we had the Pleasure of seeing a Prize Ship with Provi• { 58 } sions from Ireland, safely Anchor'd off Hancock's Wharfe. It seems by the Captain's account of things, that he was blown off to the W. Indies last Winter, was question'd by the Admiral at Jamaica, and roughly treated by him for coming so far to Leeward; he vindicated his Character; and after refitting, was sent off with a strict charge to go directly to Boston. He took a Pilot at Nantuckett, who foolishly told him that the Troops were gone from Boston, but happily the Captain would not believe him till our Fort at Nantaskett gave him full conviction. The chief of her Cargo is 1500 Barrells of Pork and Beef, with a Quantity of Butter. We have also just received the agreeable News, that an Arm'd Schooner, with Letter of Marque fitted out by the Derby's of Salem, has taken a large Jamaica Ship, with 394 Hhds. of Sugar, 143 Puncheons of Rum, 40 Pipes of Medaira Wine, and other West India Articles, and sent her into Sheepscutt. It is asserted that she has also 27 Pieces of Cannon in her Hold, from 4, to 9 Pounders. The above Schooner has also taken a Sloop from England with Dry Goods, bound to N: York, and carried her into Cape Ann. I hear you are President of a certain Board.—Cousin N:C. who has been in the Quarter-Master-General's Office from the very begining; and has been found, (what you k[new] him to be before,) a Person of the utmost Probity as well as good Abilities for Business; He, I say, has lost every thing that he had in the World, (amounting to several Hundred Pounds Sterg.,) because he quitted the Town without a Pass, after he had try'd Months in vain to get one.1 The Neighbours say that the Provost came and carried off every Thing that he had, just after they found that he had made his Escape. He is now in the same office as a Clerk, at N: York. I mention the above to you, that if any Place shoud offer, in which he might serve his Country in a little higher Sphere, you would be so good as to think of him.

[salute] I am, with the greatest Esteem Yours &c.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia”; franked; “Free”; endorsed: “Mr. Cranch,” with the date of the letter added in the hand of William Gordon(?). Enclosure was presumably AA's letter to JA, 21–22 July, preceding.
1. Apparently Nathaniel Cranch (d. 1780), a nephew rather than a cousin of Richard Cranch. He was engaged to his cousin Elizabeth Palmer (who afterward married Nathaniel's brother Joseph) at the time of his death from a fall on the old fortifications at Boston Neck. See Richard Cranch to JA, 26 April 1780 (Adams Papers); Grandmother Tyler's Book, p. 55–56.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0035

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-07-23

John Adams to Abigail Adams

This Mornings Post brought me yours of July 13 and 14 and has relieved me from an huge Load of Anxiety.—Am happy to hear that you are so comfortably situated, have so much agreable Company, and such fine Accommodations. I would very joyfully agree to have the small Pox, over again, for the Sake of the Company.
Since the Letters of July 3d. and 4th. which you say you have received,1 I have written to you of the following dates. Two Letters July 7.—July 10. 11. 15. 16. Two Letters of July 20th.—This Morning I inclosed a Letter from Dr. Rush to me, containing Directions for managing Patients under Inocculation for the small Pox.2 Rush has as much success as any without Exception.
You will find several dull Hours, and the Children will fatigue you. But if you had sent me a Present of an hundred Guineas,3 it would not have pleased me so much as to hear that Nurse is there. You cant be low spirited, while she is there, and you cant possibly suffer for Want of Care. But I am somewhat afraid you have not Nurses and Servants enough in the House for so large an Hospital.
I dont know how I can better entertain you, than by giving you some Idea of the Character of this Dr. Rush.—He is a Native of this Place, a Gentleman of an ingenious Turn of Mind, and of elegant Accomplishments. He has travelled in England, where he was acquainted with Mrs. Maccaulay, with whom he corresponded while there, and since his Return. He wrote an elegant, flowing Letter to her, while he was in England, concerning a Plan of a Republic which she wrote and addressed to Pascal Paoli. He afterwards travelled in France, and contracted a Friendship there with M. Dubourg, with whom he has corresponded ever since. He has published several Things upon Philosophy, Medicine, and Politicks, in this City. He is a Lecturer in the Colledge here, in some Branch of Physick or surgery, and is a Member of the American Philosophical Society. He has been sometime a Member of the City Committee and was last Week appointed a Delegate in Congress for this Place, in the Room of one, who was left out.4 He married last Winter, a young Lady, daughter of Mr. Stockton of New Jersey, one of the Judges of the Supream Court of that Government, and lately appointed a delegate in this Congress.5 This Gentleman is said to be a staunch American, I suppose, truly.
{ 60 }
Dr. Cooper has promised me, to visit you, and contribute all in his Power to amuse you and make your Stay agreable. I love him the more for this Kindness. I loved him much before.
Dont give yourself the least Pain about an incurable Lameness. Sell or give away the Creature, to a good Master; or keep her for the good she has done, and let her enjoy Life, in Ease for the future.—How shall I get home? I feel every generous Passion and every kind sentiment, rushing for Utterance, while I subscribe myself yours.
1. For reasons given above (AA to JA, 13–14 July, note 7), the editors believe that “the Letters of July 3d. and 4th.” are actually JA's first and secondtwo letters of 3 July. JA is here simply parroting AA's phrasing.
2. Rush's letter has not been found. It was doubtless handed on by AA to Dr. Tufts; see Tufts to JA, 6 Aug., below.
3. Preceding four words supplied from LbC; their omission from RC must have been unintentional.
4. Rush had been a member of the radical Provincial Conference and on 20 July was elected a delegate to the Continental Congress. He was thus able to sign the Declaration of Independence when the engrossed copy was ready for signing on 2 Aug., and he served until the end of Feb. 1777 (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:lxv).
5. On 11 Jan. 1776, at Princeton, Rush had married Julia (1759–1848), daughter of Richard Stockton (1730–1781), who was to subscribe the Declaration of Independence with his son-in-law (Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:97; DAB, under Stockton).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0036

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-24

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[First part of text missing.]
Respectfull Regards to Mr. Hancock with thanks for his very polite and generous offer and Let him know that I entertain a gratefull Sense of his kindness. My Regards to his Lady too who I hear is in thriveing circumstances. I wish they may be blessed with a fine Son.—Mr. Winth[r]ope deliverd me yours of july 7. Mr. Gerry is not yet arrived. We have not any news. My Eyes will suffer for this exertion. Adieu ever Ever Yours.
RC, fragment only (Adams Papers); addressed in Richard Cranch's hand: “To the Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia”; postmarked: “BOSTON 25 IY”; endorsed: “Portia. ans. Aug. 3,” to which was later added the date “July 24. 1776” in the hand of William Gordon(?). This is a detached leaf of folio size, the third and fourth pages only, of what was originally doubtless a large sheet folded to make four pages, with the text of AA's letter on the first through the third page and the address on the cover or fourth page. The first leaf was missing when this group of JA–AA letters was bound up in the 19th { 61 } century; it may have been one of the specimens of AA's handwriting that JQA or CFA gave away to an autograph hunter.
1. Date supplied from the docketing note (which must have been taken from the head of the letter) and confirmed by JA's acknowledgment in his reply of 3 Aug., below. That acknowledgment indicates that the missing portion of AA's letter had furnished a “particular and favourable Account . . . of all the Family.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0037

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-25

Cotton Tufts to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sr.

Yours of the 30th. of June came safe to Hand. A particular Answer to Your several Queries, for want of sufficient Information, must defer for the present. In general, Powder is made at two Colony Mills—Stotingham1 and Andover. Cannon is cast at Abington by Hobart, who has hitherto been unsucessful, not having cast above 8 or 10—he is still pursuing the Matter. Messrs. Nicho., Jos. and Jno. Brown of Providence equally unsuccesful at first, have now as I am informd, got into a good Run, casting in 24 Hours one 18. 12 and 9 Pounder. This I had from Mr. Will. Foster Mer[chan]t in Boston, but shall as Opportunity presents inform myself more fully.—Musquets and Bayonets may be manufactured in this Colony in prodigious Numbers. But to effect this Government should take into its Service a Lott2 of Workmen—the Barrell Maker, Lock Maker, Stocker and Finisher, engage to take all the Arms manufactured by a certain Time, exempt them from all Military Duties, oblige them to Constancy and Fidelity under Penalties and to be under the Inspection of a Committee. Without some such Regulation No Assurance of a certain Number of Arms by a certain Time can be had. The same may be said with respect to many other Things of absolute Necessity.—The hard Hand of Necessity hath wrought Wonders. I have been surprizd to find Lock Makers spring out of Pail Makers, Boatmen and Farmers. I know some of each. A certain Micah Stockbridge of Abington, Pail Maker, has manufactured for Pratt a Number of fine Locks. Jno. Reed a Boatman and Farmer (formerly one of your Clients) has turned his Attention that Way and hath made a Number of substantial good Locks. These I suppose never <wrought in Iron> handled a Tool untill these Disputes came on. And Joshua Barrell of Bridgewater Lock Maker to Mr. Orr is suppos'd to make equal to any English Locks—will turn off one Lock dayly with his Apprentice.—Nil tam difficile &c.
A Vessell from Ireland with 1600 Blls. Pork, blown off last Fall to Jamaica, there refitted, bound to G[eneral] How and Troops at Boston, { 62 } came into Nantasket Road last Sabbath and was invited by our Fort to stay with us, which she peaceably submitted to and was the same Day carried up to Boston. By this as well as former Instances we may see what Advantages might have resulted from an early fortifying this Place. I believe I gave You some Sketch of my Plan with respect to fortifying the Harbour. It was a Point my Heart was much upon, and which I digested into Form and laid before some Men of Influence. What Effect it had, cannot say but have the Pleasure to find that what I wished for, is in good Degree effected.
Jacta est Alea. Independency is declard. If we gain our Point, a System founded on the Principles of Virtue, productive of the best Interests of America and of universal Good to Mankind [I h]ope will be established. But if we fall the Words of Rochester on another Occasion I think may be applied—

“By Jove 'twas bravely done

first to attempt the Chariot of the Sun

and then to fall like Phaeton.”

Must not a Power be delegated by the People to the Congress, sufficient to hold all the several States in some kind of Subjection to it, such as will bind and oblige them wherein they of right ought to be bound, sufficient for regulating the general Interest of the whole, preventing one State from injuring another, for deciding all Controversies between them, for waging War, making Peace, for establishing a general Currency reducing all to one and bringing all Weights and Measures to one Standard, making general Regulations for Trade the same in all, establishing a Continental Revenue for discharging continental Debts, for supporting a Navy &c. &c.
The Small Pox prevailing in our Armies and Country has much retarded the raising Recruits. Inoculation has now ceased in Boston and will hereafter be carried on in Hospitals under the Direction of the Court of Sessions. One is orderd in Braintree. I have taken much Pains to get a Place but have met with many Obstructions and am as yet unsettled where We shall fix it. Shall probably engage with Dr. Phipps in it.
Am this day with my Friends at Boston. Mrs. Adams and your Children have all broke out, and have the Disorder light. Mr. Cranch and Family comfortable some with the Eruptions and others with the approaching Symptoms. My Son who is with them, has been inoc• { 63 } ulated 14 Days and no Complaints. The Disorder has hitherto provd very light.—I must break off with wishing You every Blessing and am Dear Sr., Yrs.
1. Now Sharon.
2. Overwritten; perhaps “Sett.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0038

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-07-27

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Disappointed again.—The Post brought me no Letter from you, which I dont wonder at much, nor any Intelligence concerning you, which surprizes me, a good deal. . . .1 I hang upon Tenterhooks. Fifteen days since, you were all inocculated, and I have not yet learned how you have fared. But I will suppose you all better and out of Danger. Why should I torture myself when I cant relieve you?
It makes me happy to hear that the Spirit of Inocculation prevails so generally. I could wish it, more universal. The small Pox has done Us more harm than British Armies, Canadians, Indians, Negroes, Hannoverians, Hessians, and all the rest. We must conquer this formidable Enemy without Hesitation or delay.
Sullivan is here, and in a Miff, at the Promotion of Gates, has asked Leave to resign his Commission.2 I am sorry for this inconsiderate Step. It will hurt him more than the Cause. It is conjectured at New York, I am told, that he expects to be first Man in New Hampshire. If this is really his Motive, he ought to be ashamed of it, and I hope he will be dissappointed.—The Ladies have not half the Zeal for Precedence, that We find every day among the Gentlemen.
The Judge Advocate3 came in this Evening, in fine Health and gay Spirits. The Army is the Place for Health—the Congress the Place of Sickness.—God bless you all.

[salute] Adieu.

1. Suspension points in MS.
2. Brig. Gen. John Sullivan asked leave to resign on 26 July because he considered himself slighted by Gates' recent appointment as major general and commander of the northern army. A committee of which Jefferson was chairman drew a report intended to administer Sullivan “a proper rap of the knuckles” by accepting his resignation. But “on the advice of his friends” Sullivan withdrew his letter before this action was taken. See JCC, 5:612–613; Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 1:477–479, and notes and references there.
3. William Tudor.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0039

Author: Rice, Nathan
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-07-27

Nathan Rice to Abigail Adams

[salute] Mrs. Adams

When I reflect on that Tranquil State, and agreable Scituation which I was in, while I had the Honour of being one of your Family, and compare it with my present, the Contrast appears so great and my Scituation so widely different, that the Reflection of past Pleasure, raises Desires, unbecomeing the Character of a Soldier; especially one fighting for every thing dear and valuable. Were I to attempt a Description, or Relation, of the Scituation and Sufferings of this Northern Army, Time as well as Words would fail me. Many I trust have been the Reflections which have been cast at us since the Retreat from Quebec, with how much Justice the World must Judge when they know the Circumstances which you in New England did not, if I may jud[g]e from the public Prints, which were filld with the most pompous Accounts of Victories gained by our Army. The Enemy might, and would, had they not been Paltroons, have forced our Army to have raised the Seige of Quebec any Day, the whole of the Winter. After the Defeat on the 31st of Decembr. we could never muster 700 Men fit for Duty: at the Time of the Retreat we could muster scarsely 400, not two Days Provisions in the Stores, nor twenty Rounds of Amunition for our Cannon, which did not exceed Nine Peices, among Inhabitants who were ready to cut our Throats when Opportunity might offer, without Money that would pass. Add to this, the small Pox raging and Destroying, and no Medicines for the Sick. In this Scituation I found our Army, when I came to Canada. Our Regiment (by an Order from Genl. Arnold) were inoculated as were a number of others, at Montreal. In the mean Time Genl. Tho[ma]s died with it. Genl. Sullivan arriving and taking the Command, proceeded to Sorel, 45 Miles from Montreal, with some Troops he brought with him, which joind with some of ours already there made him near four thousand strong; about 2 thousand of them Commanded by Genl. Thomson1 went down to Three Rivers; to attack the Enemy, but by some bad Conduct proved unsuccessfull, himself being taken with some others by the Treachery of the Canadians. The Regulars soon proceeding up the River, and Genl. Sullivan knowing his weekness thought best to retreat, which he did at the Head of 6000 Men; 3000 and upwards of which were then unable to help themselves, and Nothing for Subsistance but Pork and Flower; very little of the latter. After distroying the Forts left behind; we retreated with all the publick { 65 } stores, as far as Crown Point over Lake Champlain, 110 Miles: Upon a Council of Wars being holden after the Arrival of Genl. Gates, it was determined we should retreat to Ticonderoga, at the Head of the Lake; where we now are.—That we have been obliged to make this Retreat thro the Neglect of some Man; or Body of Men, is most certain. Whose it is, I shall not pretend to say. This I can say, that the Northern Army has been most scandalously neglected and abused. We have had an Army without Men, Commissarys without Provisions, Pay masters without Money, Conductors of Artilery and Quarter Masters without a Single Article in their Departments. Thus Madam the War in Canada has been carryed on: till we have lost 1400 Men or upwards. Indeed to say the truth such Conduct has made me sick of the Army. I hope however we shall be able to make a Stand where we now are. Our Army is upon the Recovery, trust we shall make a respectable Figure yet. Rejoice to hear of your peaceable State in the Massachusetts—hope you may enjoy it still. My Respects to Mr. Cranches Family, and Friends, Mr. Smiths in particular. Regards to the Gentlemen. Love to your little Folks.

[salute] Wishing you all the Happiness possible in the Absence of Mr. Adams, I subscribe myself, with the greatest Respect your very humble Servant,

[signed] N Rice
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams in Braintree New England”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. Brig. Gen. William Thompson of Pennsylvania (Heitman, Register Continental Army).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0040

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-29

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I write you now, thanks be to Heaven, free from paine, in Good Spirits, but weak and feeble. All my Sufferings produced but one Eruption. I think I can have no reason to be doubtfull with regard to myself as the Symptoms run so high and my Arm opperated in the best manner. The small pox acts very odly this Season, there are Seven out of our Number that have not yet had it, 3 out of our 4 children have been twice innoculated, two of them Charles and Tommy have not had one Symptom. I have indulged them in rather freer living than before and hope they will not long remain doubtfull. Mrs. Cranch and Cotton Tufts have been in Town almost 3 weeks and have had the innoculation repeated 4 times and can not make it { 66 } take. So has Mrs. Lincoln. Lucy Cranch and Billy1 are in the same State. Becky Peck who has lived in the same Manner with us, has it to such a degree as to be blind with one Eye, swell'd prodigiously, I believe she has ten Thousand. She is really an object to look at; tho she is not Dr. Bulfinches patient. Johnny has it exa[c]tly as one would wish, enough to be well satisfied and yet not be troublesome. We are ordered all the Air we can get, and when we cannot walk we must ride, and if we can neither walk nor ride, we must be led. We sleep with windows open all Night, and Lay upon the Carpet or Straw Beds, Mattrass or any thing hard, abstain from Spirit, Salt and fats, fruit we Eat, all we can get, and those who like vegetables unseasond may Eat them, but that is not I.—This doubtfull Buisness is very dissagreable as it will detain us much longer, but there are several instances now of persons who thought they had had it, and were recoverd, and lived away freely, and now are plentifully dealt by. Mr. Joseph Edwards wife for one, and queer work she makes of it you may be sure. The Doctors say they cannot account for it, unless the free presperation throws it of[f]. Every physician has a number of patients in this doubtfull State. Where it does take and the patient lives any thing free, they have a Doze of it. Cool weather is much fitter for the small pox. I have not got rid of any terrors of the small pox but that of not being liable to it again, which you will say is a very great one; but what I mean is that I should dread it more now than before I saw it, were I liable to it. If we consider the great numbers who have it now, computed at seven thousand, 3 thousand of which are from the Country, tis very favorable, tho not so certain as it was last winter with many patients. Mr. Shaw who was innoculated at the same time when I and 3 of my children were out of the same Box, and has lived lower by his account than we have, has a full portion of it for all of us. There is no accounting for it. We did not take so much phisick as many others neither. If this last does not take I shall certainly try them with some wine.
Dr. Sawyer of Newbury Port lost a child 9 years old last week with the Distemper, and Coll. Robinson of Dorchester lies extreem bad with a mortification in his kidneys. Some such instances we must expect among such a variety of persons and constitutions.
I rejoice Exceedingly at the Success which General Lee has met with. I believe the Men will come along in a short time. They are raising, but the Massachusets has been draind for Sea Service as well as land. The Men were procured in this Town last week; we have taken a vessel from Halifax bound to New York, which we should { 67 } call a prize but that it containd about 14 Tories among whom is that infamous Wretch of a Ben Davis the Ginger Bread Robber. How many little ones can say I was an Hungry and you gave me no Bread, but inhumanely took what little I had from me.2 I wish the Sea or any other Element had them rather than we should be tormented with them. Friends and connextions are very bad things in such times as these. Interest will be made, and impartial Justice obstructed, we catch flies and let the wasps go.—Hark a General Huzza of the populace, these wretches are just committed to jail.
The Continential Troops are near all gone from this Town, all I believe who are in a Marching State. The small pox has been General amongst them and exceeding favourable.
I have requested of Judge Cushing to write you an account of his circut and he has promised to do it.3 Both he and his Lady are under innoculation. When I came into Town I was in great hopes that if we did well we should be able to return in about 3 weeks, and we should have been able to have effected it, if it had opperated as formerly. Now I fear it will be 5 weeks before we shall all get through but I must not complain. When I cast my eye upon Becky whose Symptoms were not half so high as mine or some of the rest of us, and see what an object she is I am silenced, and adore the Goodness of God towards us.
Her Dr. says she is not dangerous. Col. Warren has sufferd as much pain as I did, but has more to shew for it, he is very cleverly spatterd. Mrs. Warren is now strugling with it, to one of her constitution it opperates in faintings and langour. It did so upon Betsy Cranch, yet when it found it[s] way through, it opperated kindly.—I believe you will be tired of hearing of small pox, but you bid me write every post and suppose you are anxious to hear how we have it. The next post I hope to tell you that they all have it, who now remain uncertain.

[salute] I am at all times and in all States unfeignedly yours.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia To be left at the Post Office”; postmarked: “BOSTON 29 IY”; endorsed: “Portia.”
1. This is the first mention, individually, in these letters of William Cranch (1769–1855), Harvard 1787, a nephew of AA who will often be mentioned later and will have his own part in the Adams Family Correspondence. He was to enjoy a long and distinguished career as a federal judge in the District of Columbia and as a reporter of cases in his own court and the U.S. Supreme Court. See Adams Genealogy.
2. Just what lay behind this remark by AA is not now known. Benjamin Davis Sr. (1729–1805) and his son Benjamin were captured at sea by the armed schooners Hancock and Franklin. Davis Sr. was a Bostonian, a Sandemanian, and a man of wealth, though in the { 68 } List of Addressers of Hutchinson in 1774 he is entered as a “Huckster” of Town Dock. During the siege of Boston he served in the Associated Loyalists. After his capture he remained imprisoned in Boston until June 1777, when he was exchanged and made his way to New York. Proscribed by the General Court in 1778, he settled after the war in Shelburne, N.S., but returned to Boston before his death. See Boston Gazette, 5 Aug. 1776; MHS, Procs., 1st ser., 11 (1869–1870):392; Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns., 5 (1902):269–270; 6 (1904):126–127; Jones, Loyalists of Mass.
3. Judge William Cushing did so in a letter of this date full of valuable information on the reopening of the Superior Court in Essex co. and the “eastern circuit” in Maine ( Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0041

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-07-29

John Adams to Abigail Adams

How are you all this Morning? Sick, weak, faint, in Pain; or pretty well recovered? By this Time, you are well acquainted with the Small Pox. Pray how do you like it?
We have no News. It is very hard that half a dozen or half a Score Armies cant supply Us, with News. We have a Famine, a perfect Dearth of this necessary Article.
I am at this present Writing perplexed and plagued with two knotty Problems in Politicks. You love to pick a political Bone, so I will even throw it to you.
If a Confederation should take Place, one great Question is how We shall vote. Whether each Colony shall count one? or whether each shall have a Weight in Proportion to its Numbers, or Wealth, or Exports and Imports, or a compound Ratio of all?
Another is whether Congress shall have Authority to limit the Dimensions of each Colony, to prevent those which claim, by Charter, or Proclamation, or Commission to the South Sea, from growing too great and powerfull, so as to be dangerous to the rest.1
Shall I write you a Sheet upon each of these Questions. When you are well enough to read, and I can find Leisure enough to write, perhaps I may.
Gerry carried with him a Cannister for you. But he is an old Batchelor, and what is worse a Politician, and what is worse still a kind of Soldier, so that I suppose he will have so much Curiosity to see Armies and Fortifications and Assemblies, that you will loose many a fine Breakfast at a Time when you want them most.2
Tell Betcy that this same Gerry is such another, as herself, Sex excepted.—How is my Brother and Friend Cranch. How is his other Self, and their little Selves. And ours. Dont be in the Dumps, above { 69 } all Things. I am hard put to it, to keep out of them, when I look at home. But I will be gay, if I can.

[salute] Adieu.

1. On 12 July the committee that had been appointed for the purpose just one month earlier reported John Dickinson's draft of the Articles of Confederation, and it was ordered printed for the exclusive use of the members. On the 22d, Congress, in a committee of the whole, began a debate thereon, which continued at intervals until 20 Aug., when a revised text was submitted and ordered printed for later consideration. See JCC, 5:433, 546–556, 600 ff., 674–689. JA entered minutes of some parts of this debate in his Diary, 25 July2 Aug., particularly on the question of the territorial claims of certain states (Article XV in the Dickinson draft) and the question of the basis of voting by the states in Congress (Article XVII); see his Diary and Autobiography, 2:241–250. JA's notes of debates are supplemented by Jefferson's for 30 July–1 Aug., which include speeches by JA (Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 1:320–327).
2. Gerry not only dawdled on the way home but through a misunderstanding delivered the precious canister of tea to the wrong person, namely Mrs. Samuel Adams, who with much satisfaction served some of it to AA during her stay in Boston. To make matters worse, AA did not receive the present letter until some time in September, so that clarification of the mistake was long delayed. See JA to AA, 5 Sept.; AA to JA, 7 and 20 Sept.; all below.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0042

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-07-30

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I wrote you by the post, but as Capt. Cuznow [Cazneau] goes to morrow perhaps this may reach [you] first. As to myself I am comfortable. Johnny is cleverly. Nabby I hope has gone thro the distemper, the Eruption was so trifling that to be certain I have had innoculation repeated. Charles and Tommy have neither had Symptoms, nor Eruption. Charles was innoculated last Sabbeth evening a second time, Tommy to Day, the 3 time from some fresh matter taken from Becky Peck who has enough for all the House beside.
This Suspence is painfull. I know not what to do with them. It lengthens out the Time which I can but ill afford, and if they can have it, I know not how to quit till I can get them through. Youth youth is the time, they have no pains but bodily, no anxiety of mind, no fears for themselves or others, and then the Disease is much lighter. The poor Doctor is as anxious as we are, but begs us to make it certain if repeated innoculations will do it. There are now several patients who were innoculated last winter and thought they passd through the Distemper, but have now taken it in the natural way.
Mrs. Cranch and two of her children are in this uncertain State, { 70 } with a great number of others which I could mention. Tis a pestilence that walketh in Darkness. Mrs. Warren with whom I was yesterday, lay the whole day in a State little better than nonexistance. I greatly feard she would not survive it, but to day she is revived and many pocks appear upon her. But tis a poor Buisness at the best, where I entertaind one terror before, I do ten now. The Season of the year is very unfit for the Distemper, the Tone of every persons vessels are relaxed, very little Spring in the Air, and the medicine too powerfull for weak constitutions.
I hope to be properly thankfull that I and mine are so far so comfortable through—I think I have all my difficulties to Grapple with alone and seperete from my Earthly prop and Support.
I begin to long again for the sweet air of Braintree, and the time to come will be much longer than the time past.
Pray Let Mr. Hancock know that I have availd myself of his kind offer so far as to send for some fruit from his Garden. Every thing here bears such a prize as would surprize you to be told. The Gentery were kind enough to cut down a number of my unkles fruit Trees last winter, and to cut up his Current Bushes, but we have had kind Friends. Mrs. Newall has been exceedingly so.—Pray make my Regards to the presidents Lady and tell her since she baulked me of the wedding cake to which I laid claim by promise, I expect she will remember me upon an other occasion which I hear is like to take place.
O my dear Friend do you know how I feel when I look Back upon a long absence. I look forward with the Thought that the year is but half spent. I often recollect those lines “O ye Gods annialate but time and Space, and make two Lovers happy.”
I have the pleasure to tell you this morning that I think Tommys second innoculation has taken as he was very ill last night and the eruptive fever seems comeing on. Tis ten days since the second.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia,” to which was later added the date “July 30. 1776” in the hand of William Gordon(?).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0043

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-07-30

John Adams to Abigail Adams

This is one of my fortunate days. The Post brought me, a Letter from you and another from my Friend and Brother.1
{ 71 }
The particular Account you give me of the Condition of each of the Children is very obliging. I hope the next Post will inform me, that you are all, in a fine Way of Recovery. You say I must tell you of my Health and Situation. As to the latter, my Situation is as far removed from Danger, I suppose, as yours. I never had an Idea of Danger here, nor a single Sensation of Fear. Delaware River is so well fortified with Gallies, fixed and floating Batteries, Chevaux de Frizes, Ships of War, Fire Ships, and Fire Rafts, that I have no Suspicions of an Enemy from Sea, although vast Numbers of People have removed out of this City, into the Country, for fear of one.
By Land, an Enemy must march an hundred Miles, to get here, and they must pass through, Woods, Difiles, and Morasses, besides crossing Rivers, which would take them a long time to accomplish, if We had not a single Man to oppose them. But we have a powerfull Army at New York, and New Jersey, watching their Motions, who will give Us a good Account of their Motions, I presume, whenever they shall think fit to stirr.—My Health has lasted longer than I expected, but with Intermissions of Disorder as usual, and at length, I fear, is departing. Increase of Heat in the Weather, and of Perplexity in Business, if that is possible, have become too much for me. These Circumstances, added to my Concern, for those other Parts of myself in Boston, would certainly have carried me there before now, if I could have got there: But I have no servant, nor Horse.—I am now determined to go home: but the precise Time, I cannot fix. I know not how to go. I have been deliberating whether to go by the stage to New York, and trust to the Chapter of Accidents to get from thence to Boston; or whether to hire, or purchase an Horse here, or whether to get along some other Way, with Coll. Whipple, or Mr. S. Adams. But am still undetermined. If I knew that Bass was at Leisure, and if I knew where you could get Horses, I should request you to send him here, to bring me home. But I dont know what to say. If he should come, he must keep a good look out, and make a strict Enquiry all along the Road, for me, least he should miss me, least I should pass by him on my Way home. After all, I cannot reconcile myself to the Thoughts of staying here so long as will be necessary for a servant and Horses to come for me. I must get along as well as I can by the Stage or by procuring a Horse here.
The Conspiracy, at New York, betrayed the Ignorance, Folly, Timidity and Impotence of the Conspirators, at the same Time, that it disclosed the Turpitude of their Hearts. They had no Plan. They corrupted one another, and engaged to Act, when the Plan should be { 72 } formed. This they left for an After Consideration. The Tory Interest in America, is extreamly feeble.
Your Successes by Sea, give me great Pleasure, and so did the heartfelt Rejoicings at the Proclamation of Freedom. Mr. Bowdoins Sentiment did him Honour.

[salute] Adieu.

RC (Adams Papers). LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Sent. by post. Saturday. Aug. 3d. inclosed to Mr. Cranch. inclosed Newspapers only to my Wife”; see JA to Cranch, 2 Aug.; the enclosed newspapers have not been found.
1. AA to JA, 21–22 July, and Richard Cranch to JA, 22 July; both above.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0044

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-01

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I wrote you by Capt. Cazneau a wedensday, but as the post will go to day I will not omit telling you how we do, tho I repeat over what I have written before. If I do you must excuse it as I forget one day what I wrote the day before. This small pox is a great confuser of the mind, I am really put to it to spell the commonest words.
I feel well myself, only much weakened and enfeabled, I want the air of the Country, but cannot yet obtain it. We are bounded in our rides to the Lines which were raised last summer, where a smoak House and Guard are fixed. No person who has had the small pox can go beyond them, under a penalty of [ . . . ]enty1 pounds Lawfull money, under a time Limitted and a certificate from their Physician. Every person who comes into Town must be smoaked there upon their return with all their money and papers. Tommy is charmingly, he has about a Dozen out, and many more which just make their appearence. He has been very feverish, but is now so well as to go to School. I gave him a small Quantity of meat every day after his second innoculation till the Symptoms came on. Charles second has taken, I think but cannot be certain till next week.
I Received a wedensday by Mr. Gerry your Letter of july 15. I have not yet seen him to speak to him. I knew him at meeting yesterday some how instinctively; tho I never saw him before. He has not call'd upon me yet. I hope he will, or I shall take it very hard, shall hardly be able to allow him all the merrit you say he possesses. It will be no small pleasure to me to see a person who has so lately seen my best Friend. I could find it in my Heart to envy him.
You complain of me. I believe I was to blame in not writing to you, I ought to have done it. I did not suspect you would hear of my { 73 } intention till I told you myself. I had many cares upon my hands, many things to do for myself and family before I could leave it. The time granted was only ten days. I got here upon the 6th and then [wrot]e you a very long Letter.2 Since that I have scarcly omitted a Post, you will have more reason to complain of being tired out; I find the Method of treating the small pox here is similar to that sent by Dr. Rush, except that they use Mercury here. The common Practice here to an Adult is 20 Grains after innoculation. I took but 16; I dont admire this Mercury at this Season of the Year. Loyd I find practicess much more upon Dr. Rushs plan, makes use of the same medicines, but has not had greater success than others.
I greatly rejoice at the Spirit prevailing in the middle colonies. There is a fine company formed in this Town, call'd the independant Company consisting of young Gentlemen of the first families. Their Number is 80, they are the School for forming officers, they take great pains to acquire military Skill and will make a fine figure in a little while. Your Pupil Mason is one. He is an ambitious enterprizing creature and will make a figure some how or other, he always applies to his studies with method and diligence. I have lamented it that you have not been able to take him under your perticuliar care, as I know his abilities would have gratified you.
I Received by the Post a few lines from you july 20. It really greaved me to find you so anxious. Your kindness in so often writing shall be returnd in kind. I know not how you find the time amidst such a multitude of cares as surround you, but I feel myself more obliged by the frequent tokens of your remembrance, but you must not forget that tho my Letters have much less merrit, they have many more words, and I fill all the blank paper you send me. Adieu most affectionately your
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia an. 14. Aug.”
1. MS torn by seal. AA probably wrote “twenty,” but this does not square with the pertinent acts passed by the General Court in July; see Mass., Province Laws, 5:552–553, 554–555. For the selectmen's regulations see Boston Record Commissioners, 25th Report, p. 3–5.
2. Here AA made a characteristic mistake in remembering a date. She had arrived in Boston on 12 July, as her “long Letter” to JA of 13–14 July, above, unequivocally states.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0045

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Cranch, Richard
Date: 1776-08-02

John Adams to Richard Cranch

[salute] My dear Sir

I received your Favour of 22 July, by last Tuesdays post. I thank you for the Trouble you have taken to inform me of the Circumstances { 74 } of your Family and my own. It gives me great Joy to think your Symptoms were so favourable.—I had a Letter, from my best Friend by the same Conveyance, which gave me more Pleasure than many Times its Weight in Gold would have done.
You mention the Exultation at a Declaration of Independence. Is not the Change We have seen astonishing? Would any Man, two Years ago have believed it possible, to accomplish such an Alteration in the Prejudices, Passions, Sentiments, and Principles of these thirteen little States as to make every one of them completely republican, and to make them own it? Idolatry to Monarchs, and servility to Aristocratical Pride, was never so totally eradicated, from so many Minds in so short a Time.
I thank you for your Account of the Prizes taken, by our little Fleet. We may judge by a little what a great deal Means. I hope We shall have more Power at sea, before long.
I wish it was in my Power to serve the Interest of Mr. N.C.1 both for his Merit, services and sufferings. But I dont see, how it will be possible for me to do it. The Appointment of all subordinate Officers in the Quarter Masters and Commissaries Departments is left to the Principals. Promotions of Persons from the Staff Offices, into the Line, gives Disgust, and creates Confusion, if Mr. C's Inclination should lead him to military Preferment. In short there is not the least Probability, that I can see, that any Opportunity will turn Up, in which it will be possible for me to serve him, but if it should I will most chearfully embrace it.—I shall inclose to my other self, some News papers.—Barry has taken another Tender. Another Prize is taken and carried into Egg Harbour, and a Vessell has arrived here with a rich Cargo of Arms, Ammunition, Flints and Lead, and dry Goods from Marseilles. She brings no bad News from France.
Remember me, to the whole Hospital, and all other Friends.

[salute] Adieu.

RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Letter from Bror. Adams, when we had the Small Pox. Aug 2d. 1776.” LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Sent by Post Aug. 3d. Saturday.” Enclosed newspapers not identified. RC was among those acquired by JQA from William Cranch Greenleaf; see JQA's MS Diary, 21 Sept. 1829.
1. Nathaniel Cranch. JA mentioned his case to Thomas Mifflin, the quartermaster general, in a letter of 15 Aug. (LbC, Adams Papers,).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0046

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-08-03

John Adams to Abigail Adams

The Post was later than usual to day, so that I had not yours of July 24 till this Evening. You have made me very happy, by the particular and favourable Account you give me of all the Family. But I dont understand how there are so many who have no Eruptions, and no Symptoms. The Inflammation in the Arm might do, but without these,1 there is no small Pox.
I will lay a Wager, that your whole Hospital have not had so much small Pox, as Mrs. Katy Quincy. Upon my Word she has had an Abundance of it, but is finely recovered, looks as fresh as a Rose, but pitted all over, as thick as ever you saw any one. I this Evening presented your Compliments and Thanks to Mr. Hancock for his polite offer of his House, and likewise your Compliments to his Lady and Mrs. Katy.
Went this Morning to the Baptist Meeting, in Hopes of hearing Mr. Stillman, but was dissappointed. He was there, but another Gentleman preached. His Action was violent to a degree bordering on fury. His Gestures, unnatural, and distorted. Not the least Idea of Grace in his Motions, or Elegance in his Style. His Voice was vociferous and boisterous, and his Composition almost wholly destitute of Ingenuity. I wonder extreamly at the Fondness of our People for schollars educated at the Southward and for southern Preachers. There is no one Thing, in which We excell them more, than in our University, our schollars, and Preachers. Particular Gentlemen here, who have improved upon their Education by Travel, shine. But in general, old Massachusetts outshines her younger sisters, still. In several Particulars, they have more Wit, than We. They have Societies; the philosophical Society particularly, which excites a scientific Emulation, and propagates their Fame. If ever I get through this Scene of Politicks and War, I will spend the Remainder of my days, in endeavouring to instruct my Countrymen in the Art of making the most of their Abilities and Virtues, an Art, which they have hitherto, too much neglected. A philosophical society shall be established at Boston, if I have Wit and Address enough to accomplish it, sometime or other.—Pray set Brother Cranch's Philosophical Head to plodding upon this Project. Many of his Lucubrations would have been published and { 76 } preserved, for the Benefit of Mankind, and for his Honour, if such a Clubb had existed.2
My Countrymen want Art and Address. They want Knowledge of the World. They want the exteriour and superficial Accomplishments of Gentlemen, upon which the World has foolishly3 set so high a Value. In solid Abilities and real Virtues, they vastly excell in general, any People upon this Continent. Our N. England People are Aukward and bashfull; yet they are pert, ostentatious and vain, a Mixture which excites Ridicule and gives Disgust. They have not the faculty of shewing themselves to the best Advantage, nor the Art of concealing this faculty. An Art and Faculty which some People possess in the highest degree. Our Deficiencies in these Respects, are owing wholly to the little Intercourse We have had4 with strangers, and to our Inexperience in the World. These Imperfections must be remedied, for New England must produce the Heroes, the statesmen, the Philosophers, or America will make no great Figure for some Time.
Our Army is rather sickly at N. York, and We live in daily Expectation of hearing of some great Event. May God almighty grant it may be prosperous for America.—Hope is an Anchor and a Cordial. Disappointment however will not disconcert me.
If you will come to Philadelphia in September, I will stay, as long as you please. I should be as proud and happy as a Bridegroom. Yours.
RC (Adams Papers). LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Sent. by Post Tuesday, Aug. 6th:”
1. LbC, more correctly, reads: “that” (referring to the inflammation).
2. These reflections bore fruit in the founding of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1780. For JA's part in this undertaking see his letters to Benjamin Waterhouse, 7 Aug. 1805 (Ford, ed., Statesman and Friend, p. 22–29), and to the editor of the Boston Patriot, 31 July 1809 (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 159–165).
3. This word supplied from LbC.
4. This word supplied from LbC.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0047

Author: Palmer, Mary
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-04

Mary Palmer to John Adams

[salute] Sir

I had the honour of your Letter of the 5th July above a fortnight ago, and should much sooner have acknowledged the favor had not an absolute want of Paper prevented, having none but blank Commissions in the House which we used for little Billets, but wou'd not do to send to the Congress. You do me great honor in receiving my Account of the Evacuation of the Harbour so well. I am sensible it was very imperfect, but it was the best I cou'd do at the time from { 77 } my informations. One thing I think I greatly err'd in, which was that the Ships did not return the Fire upon Long Island, which I am since inform'd they did by those who were Eye Witnesses. I shou'd not have mention'd it now, but that I am loth that any misinformation of mine shou'd lead to a false Account of a Fact which ought to be represented as it really was, and transmitted to future Ages. Your Compliments are sufficient to make one vain, but still I make Allowances for the Privilege the Gentlemen assume of “flattering the other sex a little.” And perhaps it may be tho't necessary sometimes in order to ease us of that Bashful Diffidence so natural to most of us—A Plea for Flattery which I think the Gentlemen much oblig'd to me for. You really make me proud by desiring my future Correspondance, and I will not in hopes of being again ask'd, wholly decline the favour. All I shall say is this, that whenever there is any event of a Public Nature happens of which I can give you a proper Account to the best of my Abilities, it will give me pleasure to do it; but at present there seems little Likelihood of any such in these parts but what will be better told by your good Lady, to whom I shall chearfully resign the Pen on her Recovery from the Small Pox. There is nothing gives Papa much more Concern than his not being able to get time to write to You and Mr. Paine, oftener than he does; It is impossible for one Man to do more than he does, his time is wholly bestow'd on the Publick, both by Day and Night; It is but 3 Days in 2 Years that he has been at Home on his private Affairs, and even part of those 3 Days have been employ'd either in writing Expresses or Planning Forts. Few Gentlemen cou'd say the same. He is now the chief Commander at Hull in the Room of Genll. Lincoln who is innoculated, and very busy every Hour he can steal from Business or Sleep in Planning Fortifications and Salt Works. I am sorry the former are still wanted in our Harbour but every Body is not so Active as Papa, if they were they wou'd not be to be Plannd now. I most sincerely thank you for your Present of the Declaration of independancy; nothing cou'd have given me more pleasure. It was universally reciev'd with Joy by the friends of their Country. I dont know what the Tories think but I believe they say nothing. As this is a very important so I hope it may be a very happy Revolution and that the latest Posterity may have Reason to look back to the Year 1776, as the happy Era of their Liberties being secur'd by the Wisdom of the Congress. How pleasing is the reflexion of every true Patriot to be assur'd of having done his duty to his God and Country and of having his Memory rever'd by his Descendants and Countrymen to the End of Time.
{ 78 }
The first of this Month was kept as a Day of Fasting and Prayer by this Colony. I hope that our repeated Petitions to the Throne of Grace will be Accepted, and that our unnatural Enemies may be turned from us.
I can say little of your family, only that we hear they are Comfortable. Ours is pretty well, except Miss Paine who has an ill turn, occasion'd by overdoing herself at Work Yesterday. I hope it won't last long but at present she is very ill.—As I don't know but my Letter may find the Way to Staten Island You will excuse my [not]1 putting my Name to it any further than that of Your humble Servt.,
[signed] Myra
1. This word editorially supplied.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0048

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-05

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I this Evening Received Your two Letters of july 10 and 11, and last Evening the Post brought me yours of july 23. I am really astonished at looking over the Number I have received during this month, more I believe than for 3 months before. I hope tis your amusement and relaxation from care to be thus imployed. It has been a feast to me during my absence from Home, and cheerd me in my most painfull Moments. At Last I Hear what I have long expected, and have feard for some time. I was certain that your Nerves must bee new Braced, and your Constitution new moulded, to continue well, through such a load of Buisness. Such intense application, in such a climate through the burning Heats of the Summer, tis too much for a constitution of Steel, and ought not to be required.
I intreat you to return, and that speidily. Mr. Gerry has recoverd his Health and Spirits by his journey. He call'd upon me a few moments. I knew Him by the same instinct by which I first discoverd him, and ventured to call him by Name tho his person was never discribed to me. I cannot account for it but so it was. He appeard a modest Man, and has a fine inteligent Eye. I wanted to ask him many questions which I could not do as he was a stranger, and we had company. He has promised to call upon me again before he returns which he proposes to do in about ten Days.
I have been trying all day to get time to write to you. I am now obliged to Rob my Sleep. Mrs. Cranch, Billy and Lucy are very unwell, all of them with the Symptoms I suppose. Lucy I fear has taken the { 79 } Distemper in the natural way, as tis more than 3 weeks since she was innoculated, and her Arm being inflamed deceived us. I took the precaution of having all mine who had not the Symptoms the 9th day innoculated a second time, and I hope they have all pass'd through except Charlly, and what to do with him I know not. I cannot get the small pox to opperate upon him, his Arm both times has been very soar, and he lives freely, that is he eats a small Quantity of meat, and I have given him wine but all will not do. Tommy is cleverly, has about a dozen, and is very gay and happy.
I have abundant reason to be thankfull that we are so many of us carried comfortably through a Disease so formidable in its natural opperation, and though our Symptoms have run high, yet they have been the worst, for the Eruption has been a triffel, really should have been glad to have had them in greater plenty. I hope to be able to return to Braintree the Latter end of next week which will compleat me 5 weeks. I have been unlucky in a Maid, who has not one qualification to recommend her but that she has had the small pox. She has been twice sick since she has been with us, and put us to much difficulty. I have attended publick worship constantly, except one day and a half ever since I have been in Town. I rejoice in a preacher who has some warmth, some energy, some feeling. Deliver me from your cold phlegmatick Preachers, Politicians, Friends, Lovers and Husbands. I thank Heaven I am not so constituted myself and so connected.
How destitute are they of all those Sensations which sweeten as well as embitter our probationary State! And How seldom do we find true Genious residing in such a constitution, but may I ask if the same temperament and the same Sensibility which constitutes a poet and a painter will not be apt to make a Lover and a Debauchee?
When I reflect upon Humane Nature, the various passions and appetites to which it is subject, I am ready to cry out with the Psalmist Lord what is Man?
You ask me How you shall get Home. I know not. Is there any assistance you can think of that I can procure for you. Pray Let me know. Our Court do not set till the 28 of this month, no delegates can be chosen to releave you till then, but if you are so low in Health do not wait for that. Mr. Bowdoin has the Gout in his Stomack, is very ill. I do not think he could by any means bear close application. Mr. Dana and Mr. Lowell are very good Men, I wish they would appoint them. Our Friend <Warren> has some family difficulties. I know not whether he could possibly leave it. A partner dear to him you know { 80 } beyond description almost Heart broken, by the Situation of one very dear to her whose great attention and care you well know has been to Train them up in the way in which they ought to go. Would to Heaven they did not depart from it. Impaired in Health, impaird in mind, impaird in Morrals, is a Situation truly deplorable, but do not mention the Matter—not even to them by the slightest hint. Tis a wound which cannot be touched.
God grant we may never mourn a similiar Situation, but I have some times the Heartake when I look upon the fire, spirit and vivacity, joind to a comely person in the Eldest, soft, tender and pathetick in the second, Manly, firm and intrepid in the third. I fear less for him, but alass we are short sighted mortals.

O Blindness to the future kindly given

that each may fill the circle marked by Heaven.

[salute] Adieu dearest Best of Friend[s] adieu.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. to be left at the Post-Office Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Portia. ansd. 14. Aug.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0049

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-08-06

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Yours of 29 July came by this days Post, and made me very happy. Nabby, Charles, and Tommy, will have the small Pox, well, I dont doubt. Tell John he is a very lucky young Gentleman, to have it so much better, than his Mamma, his sister, and Brothers.
Mr. S[amuel] A[dams] will set out for Boston, on Monday, the 12. of August. I shall write by him. But I will not neglect Writing a few Lines by the Post.—I have written a Resignation of my Place here, to the General Court, sometime ago,1 but it seems, they were adjourned, and therefore will not be able to consider the Matter, untill the 28 of this Month, when they will send some other Person here in my Stead.—How I am to get home I dont know. When I see how Mr. A. goes, I will write you more particularly upon the subject. Whether to hire a Horse here, or to have a Man and two Horses come for me, I am not determined, must leave all undetermined at present. I want the Exercise of a Journey so much, that I must return soon. The General Court will appoint some one to relieve me, I hope,2 the first Thing they do, after they come together. I shall take it for granted, that { 81 } they will sett off, accordingly. My Health is so infirm that I can stay no longer.
We are in daily Expectation of some decisive Stroke at N. York. Dunmore has fled from Cheasapeak, and Clinton from Charlestown, and both have joined How, at Staten Island.
RC (Adams Papers).LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Sent. by Post Aug. 10. 1776. with several Newspapers.” Enclosed newspapers not found.
1. On 25 July; see JA to AA, 11 July, above, and note 3 there. The General Court did not relieve JA, and the military crisis around New York caused him to continue his attendance in Congress until mid-October.
2. Preceding two words supplied from LbC.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0050

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-06

Cotton Tufts to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sr.

Last Week I received Yours of July the 20th. also Dr. Rushs Letter on Inoculation for which You and the learned and benevolent Dr. have my sincere Thanks.1 He has thrown much Light upon the Subject and the Simplicity of his Method I admire. The whole Art seems to me to lay in reducing the Body to such a State as to prevent any great Degree of Inflammation or Febrile Motions. An Attention to the Subject must I think convince any Person, that an entire Alteration of the Blood and Juices and the removal of inveterate obstructions is not absolutely necessary to a Persons going thro' the Disorder safely: Indeed where any of the noble organs are unsound, I think it unsafe. It can never be supposd that Six or Seven Days Dieting, 30 or 40 Grains of Mercury and 2 or 3 Purges or even Purges administred every Day for that Time, will be sufficient for removing old obstructions that in Common Practice would require Months and perhaps Years—from all which it may be inferd (as People of this Class have it safely) That nothing more is necessary than to discharge from the Body all superfluous Juices and Fluids and especially to free the more open Passages from Impurities.
The Small Pox has this Time (I mean received by Inoculation) provd very untoward in its Operations—not that many have died of it, but the Infection has been extremely slow in its Progress, from Inoculation to Eruption. Many have run from 14 to 16 Days, others as the Physicians aver to 21 Days. Of the last am in doubt, but as it is new to me am seeking for evidence thinking it may be of Importance to have it determined. In 1764 scarce any one exceeded 14 Days and upon a Medium broke out the 10 or 11th. Day. The first Incisions { 82 } now faild in vast Numbers. Many have been inoculated a first, second and even to the Sixth Time and many after all took it in the natural Way. My Son was inoculated for a 5th. Time after the 20th. Day. Afterwards it was found that his fourth Incision had taken effect. He is now in the Eruptive State.
In my last, wrote about 10 or 15 Days past, I gave You an Accountt of the State of your Family. That wrote the 5th. July You mention the receipt of. Mrs. Adams I suppose did not then write to you <as I expected> being unwell but forwarded mine as deliverd. In my last I believe I mentiond the Recovery of your Family. Mrs. Adams, John and Thomas have indisputably gone thro the Distemper and are very well, Nabby and Charles there is some doubt off, and have been reinoculated. Complaints of the variolous Kind they had, and may possibly be sufficiently securd.
Dr. Bulfinch who inoculated in our Families, out of 13 the first Inoculation faild in 4 or 5 and this has been the Case with other Inoculators in the Town. To what Cause to ascribe it am at a Loss—whether to reducing the Patient too low, to the Season of the Year, to the Age of the Matter or Hurry and Carelessness of the Inoculators—perhaps they may all have their Influence. Indeed should we find the last to be the sole Cause We need not wonder. Messrs. Bulfinch and Jos. Gardner according to the best Information I can obtain have inoculated each 1000 Persons. Think You what Attendance must their Patients have. I have been in Pain for my Friends, and have been with them as much as I could. Multitudes Seven or Eight Days after Inoculation have had their Incisions inflamd—a feverish Turn—some Eruptions—these indeed have died away without filling up—seven or Eight Days or ten after, have had the true Eruptions. Others who supposed that they had gone through with it in this Manner had it afterwards in the natural Way. In short there never was in any Place or among any Physicians such Doubts and Uncertainties with respect to the Eruptions or the Operations of Inoculation. Many are now uncertain whether they have had it after 4 or 5 Weeks stay in Town. It is now 11 at Night, must brake off for the present, propose to Visit our Friends at Boston in the Morning and shall then close my Letter with an Accountt of their State.
Am now at Boston, find Mrs. Adams, John and Thos. safely through the Disorder. Eruptive Symptoms on Nabby. Charles is free from any Complaints. Mrs. Cranch gone through it very Lightly. Mr. Cranch { 83 } comfortable with Eruptions, also his Daughter Lucy. Betsy Cranch gone through it. Billy Cranch is in the Doubtful State. My Son well with Eruptions on Him. Jona. Sweetser your Fathers Smiths Boy, has attended upon them ever since they have been in Town (suppos'd to have had it in his Infancy) this Day broke out with it.—Am informd that a Jamaica Vessell with 300 Hhds. Sugar yesterday morning got into Providence taken by our Capt. Chase.—Pray what is Hopkins Fleet about.—Would not our Privateers do service at Newfoundland among the Liverpool Men.
Am Sorry to hear You are out of Health. Wishing You perfect Health & Happiness Am Yr. Friend & H. Servt.
1. Rush's letter, addressed to JA and forwarded by the latter to AA, 23 July, has not been found.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0051

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-08-10

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Yours of 30. and 31 July was brought me, to day, by Captain Cazneau. I am happy to think that you, and my oldest son, are well through the distemper, and have sufficient Receipts. Nabby, I believe is also through. The Inflammation in her Arm, and the single Eruption, are nearly as much Evidence, as I had to shew—and I have seen1 Small Pox enough since I had it, to have infected 1002 Armies. Tommy, I shall hear by next Post, is happily recoverd of it, I think. Charley, my dear Charley! I am sorry, that it is still pretty clear, that you have not taken it. But never fear, you will have it.
This Suspence and Uncertainty must be very irksome to you. But Patience and Perseverance, will overcome this, as well as all other Difficulties. Dont think of Time, nor Expence. 1000 Guineas is not worth so much as security to a Wife, a good one I mean, and four Children, good ones I mean, against the small Pox. It is an important Event in a Mans Life, to go thro that distemper. It is a very great Thing, for a whole Family, to get well over it.
At the same Time that I am in a State of suspence, Uncertainty and Anxiety about my best, dearest, worthyest, wisest Friend, in this World, and all my Children, I am in a State of equal Suspence, Uncertainty, and Anxiety about our Army at N. York and Ticonderoga, and consequently about our Country and Posterity. The Lives of Thousands, and the Liberties of Millions are as much in Suspence, as { 84 } the Health of my family. But I submit to the Governance of infinite Wisdom.
Had my Advice been followed, in Season, We should now have been in Safety, Liberty and Peace, or at least We should have had a clear and indisputable Superiority of Power. But my Advice was not regarded. It never was, and never will be, in this World. Had N.Y., N.J. and Pensilvania, only been in compleat Possession of the Powers of Government only 3 Months sooner, We should have had an Army, at N.Y. and Amboy, able to cope with double the Number of our Enemies. But now We trust to Chance: to the Chapter of Accidents: a long Chapter it is, as long as the 119 Psalm: and well it is for us that it is so. If We trusted to Providence, I should be easy, but We do not.
I have now come to a Resolution, upon another Subject, which has kept me in suspence for some Time.—I must request of you, to interceed with your Father to procure for me, two Horses, and send them to Philadelphia, with a servant, as soon as possible. I shall wait for their Arrival, let it be sooner or later. The sooner they come, the more agreable to my Wishes, and the better for my Health. I can live no longer, without Riding. If Bass is in the land of the living, and3 is willing to take one more Ride with his old Friend, let him come, if he declines, send somebody else. I shall wait for Horses. If the Congress should adjourn, I shall attend the Board of War, untill they come. The General Court, I think might do something. Whether they have ever thought of granting me, a farthing, for my Time, I know not. Mr. A. had an Horse and a fine Chaise, furnished him, by the Committee of Supplies. Perhaps they might furnish me with a Pair of Horses too.4—Pray mention this to Coll. Warren or Coll. Palmer.—If nothing can be done by them, if I have Credit enough left, to hire two Horses and a servant, let it be employed. The Loss of my fine Mare, has disconcerted me. The General Court will send some Gentleman here to take my Place. But if my Horses come I shall not wait for that.
RC (Adams Papers). LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Sent. by Mr. S.A.” Written in considerable agitation, the two versions of this letter differ in many details of phrasing, but only a few of these are noted here.
1. LbC adds: “and smelled.”
2. LbC: “500.”
3. Preceding eight words supplied from LbC.
4. LbC adds here and then deletes: “But I will say nothing.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0052

Author: Rice, Nathan
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-08-11

Nathan Rice to Abigail Adams

[salute] Mrs. Adams

Inclosd I send you a Copy of General Carltons Orders of the 7th. Instant, which we received by Major Biggelow of Connecticut, who was sent by the Genl. the 28th. ult: with the Resolutions of Congress, concerning the Carteel stipulated by Genl. Arnold, at the Cedars, which was, not to ratify it, unless they would deliver up Capt. Foster and those Officers who were present and suffered the Savages to Murder the Prisoners in cool Blood.1 The Flagg arrived, and after a Stay of a few Days, (in which Time was treated with Politeness) was dispached, with a Party commanded by Capt. Fraizer [Frazier], to escort him over the Lake.
The Capt. delivered him a Letter, subscribed to George Washington Esqr. He not knowing the Resolution of Congress in that Respect, altho he greatly disliked the Superscription, says “I can take it,” at the same Time, the Capt. gave him the inclosed with the Letter, saying that is for you. But Major Biggelow very discreetly refused it.—The Captain insisted on the Majors going with him, putting a Sergt. with the Flagg Boat, whom they had furnished with a Number, and who distributed them to the Men. Thus we have it, cut and dried, an End to Truces. Mr. How, however was more [agreea]ble2 and wished a more free Intercourse with our [army?].
Now for the Assassination mentioned.—One Lieutenant Whitcomb, in our Army an old Indian Hunter, was sent on a Scout, and if possible to get a Prisoner. His Party which was four, by some means all left him, one Deserted to the Enemy. In the Character of a french Peasant he visited them, after the Desertion however he had like to have been taken, before he left the Place, he discovered an Officer riding by, as he lay conceald in the Bushes, and considering him as his enemy and being accustomed to such Things, having also a great fancy for his Watch and Sword as he says, he fired upon him. Not killing him Dead on the Spott, he was obliged to make his Escape. It proved to be no less than Brigadr. Genl. Gordon, who received two Balls in his Shoulder of which Wound he died next Day. This se[ems] rather Murder, but it is treating them on[ly] in their own Way.
The Malitia are comeing in fast, but am a little surprised they receive such Bounty for no longer Time, and the Continental Army to pay it who have never received any and born the whole.

[salute] I am with the greatest Respect your humble Sert.,

[signed] N Rice
{ 86 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree N England.” Enclosure (Adams Papers): copy, in Rice's hand, of Gen. Sir Guy Carleton's orders, “Chamblee,” 7 Aug. 1776, prohibiting, on account of the recent “Assassination” of Brig. Gen. Patrick Gordon, all emissaries and messages from “Traitors in Arms against their King”; see, further, note 1.
1. The events alluded to here and below were sequels to the surrender, in May, by an officer Thomas Jefferson called “The scoundrel, Major [Isaac] Butterfield,” of a body of New Hampshire troops at The Cedars, some forty miles above Montreal. Gen. Arnold marched to their rescue, but too late, and was obliged to sign an ignominious cartel in order to prevent further butchery among the captives by the Indians serving with Capt. George Forster, the British officer to whom Butterfield had surrendered. Congress investigated the affair, rejected in part the cartel, and sent Maj. John Bigelow to inform Carleton and Burgoyne. The reply, directed to Washington and supposedly from Carleton but bearing the marks of Burgoyne's style, contained the orders of which a copy was enclosed in the present letter. Rice gives details on both this transaction and the waylaying of Gordon by an American scout within the British lines that are not available in other accounts. See JCC, 5:420, 446, 454–458, 468, 475, 533–539 (text of Congress' report and resolutions on the cartel), 601, 695; Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 1:396–404, 459–460; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 5:465–467.
2. Here and below, MS is torn by seal.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0053

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-12

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Yours 30 of July reachd me by Saturdays post, and found me with Johnny and Tommy quite Recoverd from the small Pox. When I first came to Town I was made to believe that the small pox was a very light disorder, and one might pass through it with little or no complaints. Some such instances no doubt there are, and Light it is in comparison of the Natural way, or what it formerly was. As I never saw the disease before I have with those much more experienced been deceived in it now.
Nabby was the first person who had complaints of our number, hers came on about the 8th day attended with a voilent pain in a tooth which she had which was defective. She was cold and shivery, then a voilent Heat insued; the doctor supposed it the Symptoms of the disorder, a day or two after she had 3 Eruptions upon one of her Eyes. I thought it did not appear like what I had seen which they calld small pox, however I submitted my judgment to those who knew better. But when I found some who were innoculated at the same time failing, I requested the dr. to innoculate her again. Symptoms she has had very severely and very diffirent from what she had before and small pox in plenty, she can reckon 500 allready. She is cleverly only soar, I am much better satisfied now, and we rejoice when we { 87 } can reckon a hundred. I believe I mentiond to you my Aunts Little Daughter having recoverd of it, but there again we were deceived, the child has been ill these 3 Days and now is broke out with small pox.—Here I have been a month Last fryday, and for ought I see must be for this fortnight to come. I have broke through my resolution of not having Charles innoculated again. I saw I must tarry for Nabby long enough to make an other trial upon him, and have accordingly done it.—We clear of some this week. Sister Betsy and her Neice, Mr. Tufts, Betsy Cranch and Johnny are going tomorrow. My affairs at home which for 3 weeks I laid asleep, wake up now, and make me anxious to get there. I fear they will go to ruin. My Expences here too for so long atime will be much more than I expectd for I thought to be at home in a month at furthest.—Lucy Cranch who I mentiond having taken the Distemper in the Natural Way is cleverly—pretty full and large.—And now about your returning. I am shut up here, and wholly unable to do that for you, which I might endeavour to if I was at home, and then the fate of your poor horse which I must ever lament makes it necessary to procure two Horses and a very great Scarcity there are. I think I should advice you if you could light of a good Horse, to procure one there, as you will stand in need of one when you return.
A prize was brought in here Last Saturday with 400 Hogsheads of Sugar, 300 of rum and 400 Bags of cotton taken by one White in Capt. Darbys [Derby's] employ and is the 7th taken by him within these ten days.
Mrs. Temple was here to see me a few days past and requested me to make mention of her case to you, and to desire you to render her all the assistance you can. Said she would write to you and state the Situation she was in. She wrote once to the president but had no reply.2
I close to send by the Post rejoiceing in the Prospect I have of soon seeing you. Ever yours.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia.”
1. JA in his reply of 20 Aug., below, supposed this letter was written “about the Twelfth.” He was undoubtedly right because AA says herein that she has been in Boston “a month Last fryday”—meaning Friday, 9 Aug., which was four weeks after she had arrived there, Friday, 12 July.
2. Mrs. Temple's “case” recurs in both the family and the general correspondence of the Adamses. She was Harriet, daughter of the late Gov. William Shirley and wife of Robert Temple (d. 1784), of Ten Hills Farm, the original estate of the Winthrops on the Mystic River in Charlestown (Thomas B. Wyman, The Genealogies and Estates of Charlestown, Boston, 1879, 2:938; Mayo, Winthrop Family, p. 144). Her husband's politics were ambiguous; he had left Boston for England in 1775, but was at this moment in New York { 88 } endeavoring to return home, which with the permission of Gen. Howe, Gen. Washington, and the Continental Congress, he soon did. (See JA to AA, 20 Aug., below; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 5:447; Sabine, Loyalists, 2:349; Rowe, Letters and Diary, p. 319.) In a letter to JA dated at Ten Hills, 10 Aug. 1776, Mrs. Temple described her “distrest Situation,” pointed out that “many Persons in this Province have been paid for thier Trees [cut down for the use of the Continental forces] as Cord Wood,” and requested a like indulgence to her (Adams Papers). JA promptly presented her case to Congress, 23 Aug. (JCC, 5:699), and on the 28th Congress “Resolved, That, upon the said Harriot's producing to the quarter master general, an account of the trees which were cut down upon the farm of Robert Temple, Esqr. for the purpose of supplying the continental army with wood for firing, or for the purposes of fortification, so far as from the nature of the circumstances such destruction can be ascertained by her, that the quarter master general of the continental army, shall make her a just compensation for the same, in such manner as other persons have been paid, who have supplied the army with wood for these purposes; and that the quarter master general, in his accounts, shall be allowed for the same by this Congress” (same, p. 713).
But long delays followed. On 23 April 1778 James Bowdoin (whose daughter Elizabeth was the wife of Robert Temple's brother John) addressed to his friend Washington a strong plea for action on this claim because Ten Hills was “in so ruined a state, that it will require a great length of time, and great expence upon it to put it in a condition to answer the purpose of supporting [Temple's] family” (MHS, Colls., 6th ser., 9 [1897]: 415). On 27 Feb. 1779 Temple himself submitted a memorial to Congress saying that the conditions in Congress' resolve of 1776 had been met on his part but the claim had not been paid (PCC, No. 41, X). Action now followed speedily. The memorial was committed on the same day, and on 6 March, in a most interestingly itemized report, which Congress adopted, Temple was allowed, and the quartermaster general ordered to pay him, £6702 for the destruction of his fruit and timber trees, fences, and farm and wharf buildings, less £2500 already paid him by Massachusetts, or £4202, equal to $14,006 ⅔ (JCC, 13:260, 288–289). This was, however, in inflated currency, and Temple in the following year gave up the struggle, sold Ten Hills, and sailed with his family to England. “The Day before yesterday Mr. Robert Temple with all his family, even to the Cat, arrived here in 32 Days from Boston; he had disposed of all his property, real and personal, in that Country, and is come, as he says, to lay his bones in England or Ireland” (Jonathan Sewall to Isaac Smith Jr., Bristol, 25 Aug. 1780, MHi: Smith-Carter Papers). He died in Dublin, leaving his wife and three daughters (Robert C. Winthrop Jr., “Account of the Family of Robert Temple,” MHi: Fenton Papers, under date of 8 Jan. 1894).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0054

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-08-12

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Mr. A. setts off, to day, if the Rain should not prevent him, with Coll. Whipple of Portsmouth: a Brother of the celebrated Miss Hannah Whipple, a sensible and worthy Man. By him I have sent you two Bundles of Letters, which I hope you will be carefull of. I thought I should not be likely to find a safer opportunity. By them, you will see that my private Correspondence alone, is Business enough for a lazy Man. I think I have answered all but a few of those large Bundles.
{ 89 }
A french Vessell, a pretty large Brigantine, deeply loaden, arrived here yesterday from Martinique. She had 50 Barrells of Limes, which are all sold already, at such Prices, that the Amount of them will be sufficient to load the Brig with Flour. A Trade We see, even now, in the midst of summer is not totally interrupted, by all the Efforts of our Enemies. Prizes are taken in no small Numbers. A Gentleman told me a few days ago that he had summed up the sugar, which has been taken, and it amounted to 3000 Hdds. since which two other ships have been taken and carried into Maryland.
Thousands of schemes for Privateering are afloat in American Imaginations. Some are for taking the Hull ships, with Woolens for Amsterdam and Rotterdam—some are for the Tin ships—some for the Irish Linnen ships—some for outward Bound and others for Inward Bound India Men—some for the Hudsons Bay ships—and many for West India sugar ships. Out of these Speculations many fruitless and some profitable Projects will grow.
We have no News from New York. All is quiet there as yet. Our Expectations are raised—the Eyes of the World are upon Washington and How, and their Armies. The Wishes and Prayers of the virtuous Part of it, I hope, will be answerd. If not, yet Virtues grow out of Affliction.
I repeat my request, that you would ask some of the Members of the G[eneral] Court if they can send me Horses, and if they cannot that you would send them. I can live no longer without a servant, and a Horse.
RC (Adams Papers). LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Sent. by Coll Whipple.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0055

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-08-12

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Mr. A. and Coll. Whipple, are at length gone. Coll. Tudor went off with them. They went away, about Three o Clock this afternoon. I wrote by A and Coll. Whipple too. By the latter I sent two large Bundles, which he promised to deliver to you.
These middle States begin to taste the Sweets of War. Ten Thousand Difficulties and wants occur, which they had no Conception of before. Their Militia are as clamorous, and impatient of Discipline, and mutinous as ours, and more so. There has been seldom less than four Thousand Men in this City at a Time, for a fortnight past, on { 90 } their March to New Jersey. Here they wait untill We grow very angry, about them, for Canteens, Camp Kettles, Blanketts, Tents, Shoes, Hose, Arms, Flints, and other Dittoes, while We are under a very critical Solicitude for our Army at New York, on Account of the Insufficiency of Men.
I want to be informed of the State of Things with you. Whether there is a Scarcity of Provisions of any Kind, of West India Articles, of Cloathing. Whether any Trade is carried on, any Fishery. Whether any Vessells arrive from abroad, or whether any go to sea, upon foreign Voyages.
I wish to know likewise, what Posture of Defence you are in. What Fortifications are at Nantaskett, at Long Island, Petticks Island &c. and what Men and Officers there are to garrison them. We hear nothing from the Massachusetts, lately, in Comparason of what We did, when the Army was before Boston.
I must not conclude without repeating my Request, that you would ask some of the Members of the General Court to send me Horses—and if they cannot, to send them yourself.
RC (Adams Papers). LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Sent. by Post Tuesday. Aug. 13.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0056

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-08-13

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Geography is a Branch of Knowledge, not only very usefull, but absolutely necessary, to every Person of public Character whether in civil or military Life. Nay it is equally necessary for Merchants.
America is our Country, and therefore a minute Knowledge of its Geography, is most important to Us and our Children.
The Board of War are making a Collection of all the Maps of America, and of every Part of it, which are extant, to be hung up in the War Office. As soon as the Collection is compleated, I will send you a List of it. In the mean Time take an Account of a few already collected and framed and hung up in the Room.
A Chart of North and South America, including the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, with the nearest Coasts of Europe, Africa, and Asia.1
A Map of the British and French Dominions in North America with the Roads, Distances, Limits and Extent of the Settlements, humbly inscribed to the right Honourable the Earl of Hallifax and the other Right Honourable the Lords Commissioners for Trade and { 91 } Plantations, by their Lordships most obliged and very humble servant John Mitchell.2
A Map of the most inhabited Part of New England, containing the Provinces of Massachusetts Bay, and New Hampshire, with the Colonies of Konektikut and Rhode Island, divided into Counties and Townships: The whole composed from actual Surveys and its Situation adjusted by Astronomical Observations.3
A new and accurate Map of North America, drawn from the famous Mr. D'Anville, with Improvements from the best English Maps, and engraved by R. W. Seale: Also the new Divisions according to the late Treaty of Peace, by Peter Bell Geo[graphe]r—printed for Carington Bowles, Map and Printseller No. 69 in St. Pauls Church Yard, London, published 1. Jany. 1771.4
To the Honourable Thomas Penn and Richard Penn Esquires, true and absolute Proprietaries and Governors of the Province of Pensilvania, and the Territories thereunto belonging, and to the Honourable John Penn Esqr., Lieutenant Governor of the same, This Map of the Province of Pensilvania, is humbly dedicated by their most obedient humble servant W. Scull.5
A General Map of the Middle British Colonies, in America, vizt. Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pensilvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticutt and Rhode Island, of Aquanishuonigy the Country of the Confederate Indians, comprehending Aquanishuonigy proper, their Place of Residence: Ohio and Tiiuxsoxruntie their Deer Hunting Countries, Couxsaxrage and Skaniadarade their Beaver Hunting Countries: of the Lakes Erie, Ontario, and Champlain, and of Part of New France, wherein is also shewn the ancient and present Seats of the Indian Nations. By Lewis Evans 1755. Dedicated to T. Pownal Esqr. whom Evans calls the best Judge of it in America.6
To the Honourable Thomas Penn and Richard Penn Esqrs. true and absolute Proprietaries and Governors of the Province of Pensilvania and Counties of New Castle, Kent and Sussex on Delaware. This Map of the improved Part of the Province of Pensilvania is humbly dedicated by Nicholas Scull.7
You will ask me why I trouble you with all these dry Titles, and Dedications of Maps.—I answer, that I may turn the Attention of the Family to the subject of American Geography.—Really, there ought not to be a State, a City, a Promontory, a River, an Harbour, an Inlett, or a Mountain in all America, but what should be intimately known to every Youth, who has any Pretensions to liberal Education. I am.
N.B. Popples Map is not mentioned here, which was dedicated to { 92 } Queen Ann, and is recommended by Dr. Hawley.8—It is the largest I ever saw, and the most distinct. Not very accurate. It is Eight foot square.—There is one in the Pensilvania State House.9
RC and LbC (Adams Papers). LbC contains two paragraphs (the final two) not in RC, but their omission was almost certainly unintentional, and they have accordingly been printed here as part of the text even though they were not received by AA.
1. A map in six sheets by Thomas Jefferys, London, 1753; entered in P. Lee Phillips, A List of Maps of America in the Library of Congress, Washington, 1901, p. 109.
2. First published by Jefferys & Faden, London, 1755; in Phillips, List of Maps, p. 573.
3. By John Green, but published without his name by Carington Bowles, London, 1771; in Phillips, List of Maps, p. 470.
4. In Phillips, List of Maps, p. 583.
5. First published in Philadelphia for the author, 1770; in Phillips, List of Maps, p. 674.
6. Published in Philadelphia and London; in Phillips, List of Maps, p. 575.
7. First published in Philadelphia, 1759; in Phillips, List of Maps, p. 673. Text of RC ends with this paragraph; remainder taken from LbC.
8. Unidentified; perhaps this is a misspelling or slip of the pen.
9. Henry Popple's Map of the British Empire in America with the French and Spanish Settlements Adjacent Thereto, London [1732?], with subsequent issues, in twenty folio sheets with an index map as the 21st sheet; see Phillips, List of Maps, p. 108; Sabin 64140.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0057

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-14

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Mr. Smith call'd upon me to day and told me he should set out tomorrow for Philadelphia, desired I would write by him.2 I have shewn him all the civility in my power since he has been here, tho not all I have wished too. Our Situation and numerous family as well as sick family prevented our asking him to dine. He drank tea with us once and Breakfasted once with us. I was much pleasd with the account he gave us of the universal joy of his province upon the Establishment of their New Government, and of the Harmony subsisting between every branch of it. This State seems to be behind hand of their Neighbours. We want some Master workmen here. Those who are capable seem backward in this work and some who are so tenacious of their own perticuliar plan as to be loth to give it up. Some who are for abolishing both House and Counsel, affirming Buisness was never so well done as in provincial Congress, and they perhaps never so important.
Last Sunday after Service the Declaration of Independance was read from the pulpit by order of Counsel. The Dr.3 concluded with { 93 } asking a Blessing upon the united States of America even untill the final restitution of all things. Dr. Chancys [Chauncy's] address pleasd me. The Good Man after having read it, lifted his Eyes and hands to Heaven—God Bless the united States of America, and Let all the People say Amen. One of His Audiance told me it universally struck them.
I have no News to write you, I am sure it will be none to tell you that I am ever yours,
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To The Honble. John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia favr. Mr. Smith”; endorsed: “Portia. ans. Aug. 28.”
1. This date is suspect; probably it should be 15 August. See note 1 on the following letter.
2. This was Benjamin Smith of South Carolina; see JA to AA, 17 May, above, and 21, 28 Aug., below.
3. Samuel Cooper.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0058

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-14

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I wrote you to day by Mr. Smith but as I suppose this will reach you sooner, I omitted mentioning any thing of my family in it.
Nabby has enough of the small Pox for all the family beside. She is pretty well coverd, not a spot but what is so soar that she can neither walk sit stand or lay with any comfort. She is as patient as one can expect, but they are a very soar sort. If it was a disorder to which we could be subject more than once I would go as far as it was possible to avoid it. She is sweld a good deal. You will receive a perticuliar account before this reaches you of the uncommon manner in which the small Pox acts, it bafels the skill of the most Experience'd here. Billy Cranch is now out with about 40, and so well as not to be detaind at Home an hour for it. Chariy remains in the same state he did.
Your Letter of August 3 came by this days Post. I find it very conveniant to be so handy. I can receive a Letter at Night, sit down and reply to it, and send it of in the morning.
You remark upon the deficiency of Education in your Countrymen. It never I believe was in a worse state, at least for many years. The Colledge is not in the state one could wish, the Schollars complain that their professer in Philosophy is taken of by publick Buisness to their great detriment.2 In this Town I never saw so great a neglect { 94 } of Education. The poorer sort of children are wholly neglected, and left to range the Streets without Schools, without Buisness, given up to all Evil. The Town is not as formerly divided into Wards. There is either too much Buisness left upon the hands of a few, or too little care to do it. We daily see the Necessity of a regular Government.—You speak of our Worthy Brother.3 I often lament it that a Man so peculiarly formed for the Education of youth, and so well qualified as he is in many Branches of Litrature, excelling in Philosiphy and the Mathematicks, should not be imployd in some publick Station. I know not the person who would make half so good a Successor to Dr. Winthrope. He has a peculiar easy manner of communicating his Ideas to Youth, and the Goodness of his Heart, and the purity of his morrals without an affected austerity must have a happy Effect upon the minds of Pupils.
If you complain of neglect of Education in sons, What shall I say with regard to daughters, who every day experience the want of it. With regard to the Education of my own children, I find myself soon out of my debth, and destitute and deficient in every part of Education.
I most sincerely wish that some more liberal plan might be laid and executed for the Benefit of the rising Generation, and that our new constitution may be distinguished for Learning and Virtue. If we mean to have Heroes, Statesmen and Philosophers, we should have learned women. The world perhaps would laugh at me, and accuse me of vanity, But you I know have a mind too enlarged and liberal to disregard the Sentiment. If much depends as is allowed upon the early Education of youth and the first principals which are instilld take the deepest root, great benifit must arise from litirary accomplishments in women.
Excuse me my pen has run away with me. I have no thoughts of comeing to P[hiladelphi]a. The length of time I have [and]4 shall be detaind here would have prevented me, even if you had no thoughts of returning till December, but I live in daily Expectation of seeing you here. Your Health I think requires your immediate return. I expected Mr. Gerry would have set off before now, but he finds it perhaps very hard to leave his Mistress—I wont say harder than some do to leave their wives. Mr. Gerry stood very high in my Esteem—what is meat for one is not for an other—no accounting for fancy. She is a queer dame and leads people wild dances.5
But hush—Post, dont betray your trust and loose my Letter.
Nabby is poorly this morning. The pock are near the turn, 6 or 7 { 95 } hundred boils are no agreable feeling. You and I know not what a feeling it is. Miss Katy can tell. I had but 3 they were very clever and fill'd nicely. The Town instead of being clear of this distemper are now in the height of it, hundreds having it in the natural way through the deceitfulness of innoculation.

[salute] Adieu ever yours. Breakfast waits.

[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia ans. Aug. 25.”
1. This letter was written on more than one day, since there is an earlier letter of the same day, preceding, and yet at the end AA says that “Breakfast waits.” Moreover, AA says in her letter of the 17th, below, that she “wrote” (i.e. sent?) JA “two Letters yesterday,” and so probably the present letter was actually written on 15–16 Aug. and sent by post on Friday the 16th.
2. John Winthrop was Hollis professor of mathematics and natural philosophy at Harvard, but he was also a member of the Massachusetts Council and had other public duties.
3. Richard Cranch.
4. MS: “I.”
5. Gerry's “Mistress” of the moment was Catherine, daughter of Squire John Hunt, Harvard 1734, a Watertown storekeeper, distiller, excise collector, and sometime representative in the General Court, on whom see Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 9:414–418. According to the gossipy recollections of Mrs. Royall Tyler (the former Mary Hunt Palmer), her grandfather John Hunt believed that “girls knew quite enough if they could make a shirt and a pudding,” and so Catherine and her sisters were never taught to read or write. This proved a handicap to Catherine in her affair with Elbridge Gerry, who was a notable man with a pen and addressed long letters to her from Congress which she could neither read nor answer. Gerry eventually married a New York girl, and Catherine Hunt “lived and died at Watertown an old maid,” a victim of “Grandpa's system of female education.” See Grandmother Tyler's Book, p. 7, 9, 13–14.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0059

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-08-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

This is the Anniversary of a memorable day, in the History of America: a day when the Principle of American Resistance and Independence, was first asserted, and carried into Action.1 The Stamp Office fell before the rising Spirit of our Countrymen.—It is not impossible that the two gratefull Brothers may make their grand Attack this very day: if they should, it is possible it may be more glorious for this Country, than ever: it is certain it will become more memorable.
Your Favours of August 1. and 5. came by Yesterdays Post. I congratulate you all upon your agreable Prospects. Even my pathetic little Hero Charles, I hope will have the Distemper finely. It is very odd that the Dr. cant put Infection enough into his Veigns, nay it is unaccountable to me that he has not taken it, in the natural Way { 96 } before now. I am under little Apprehension, prepared as he is, if he should. I am concerned about you, much more. So many Persons about you, sick. The Children troublesome—your Mind perplexed—yourself weak and relaxed. The Situation must be disagreable. The Country Air, and Exercise however, will refresh you.
I am put upon a Committee to prepare a Device for a Golden Medal to commemorate the Surrender of Boston to the American Arms, and upon another to prepare Devices for a Great Seal for the confederated States. There is a Gentleman here of French Extraction, whose Name is Du simitiere, a Painter by Profession whose Designs are very ingenious, and his Drawings well executed. He has been applied to for his Advice. I waited on him yesterday, and saw his Sketches. For the Medal he proposes Liberty with her Spear and Pileus, leaning on General Washington. The British Fleet in Boston Harbour, with all their Sterns towards the Town, the American Troops, marching in.2 For the Seal he proposes. The Arms of the several Nations from whence America has been peopled, as English, Scotch, Irish, Dutch, German &c. each in a Shield. On one side of them Liberty, with her Pileus, on the other a Rifler, in his Uniform, with his Rifled Gun in one Hand, and his Tomahauk, in the other. This Dress and these Troops with this Kind of Armour, being peculiar to America—unless the Dress was known to the Romans. Dr. F[ranklin] shewed me, yesterday, a Book, containing an Account of the Dresses of all the Roman Soldiers, one of which, appeared exactly like it.
This Mr. Du simitiere is a very curious Man. He has begun a Collection of Materials for an History of this Revolution. He begins with the first Advices of the Tea Ships. He cutts out of the Newspapers, every Scrap of Intelligence, and every Piece of Speculation, and pastes it upon clean Paper, arranging them under the Head of the State to which they belong and intends to bind them up in Volumes. He has a List of every Speculation and Pamphlet concerning Independence, and another of those concerning Forms of Government.3
Dr. F. proposes a Device for a Seal. Moses lifting up his Wand, and dividing the Red Sea, and Pharaoh, in his Chariot overwhelmed with the Waters.—This Motto. Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.
Mr. Jefferson proposed. The Children of Israel in the Wilderness, led by a Cloud by day, and a Pillar of Fire by night, and on the other Side Hengist and Horsa, the Saxon Chiefs, from whom We claim the Honour of being descended and whose Political Principles and Form of Government We have assumed.
I proposed the Choice of Hercules, as engraved by Gribeline in some { 97 } Editions of Lord Shaftsburys Works. The Hero resting on his Clubb. Virtue pointing to her rugged Mountain, on one Hand, and perswading him to ascend. Sloth, glancing at her flowery Paths of Pleasure, wantonly reclining on the Ground, displaying the Charms both of her Eloquence and Person, to seduce him into Vice. But this is too complicated a Group for a Seal or Medal, and it is not original.4
I shall conclude by repeating my Request for Horses and a servant. Let the Horses be good ones. I cant ride a bad Horse, so many hundred Miles. If our Affairs had not been in so critical a state at N. York, I should have run away before now. But I am determined now to stay, untill some Gentleman is sent here in my Room, and untill my Horses come. But the Time will be very tedious.
The whole Force is arrived at Staten Island.
1. For the events in Boston on 14 Aug. 1765, which put an end to any possibility of carrying out the Stamp Act in Massachusetts, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:259–261.
2. It was JA who, on 25 March, had proposed that a medal be presented to Washington for his victory at Boston (JCC, 4:234). For Congress' action, Du Simitière's sketches, and the long-delayed result, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:xii, 375–376, and the illustrations facing p. 257; also Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 16:xxxvi, 69–70, and No. I among the illustrations of medals following p. 52.
3. These materials gathered and compiled by the Swiss-born artist and antiquary Pierre Eugène Du Simitière survive at least in part among the portion of his papers now in the Library of Congress. Other papers and miscellanies of his are calendared in Historical Records Survey, Descriptive Catalogue of the Du Simitière Papers in the Library Company of Philadelphia, Phila., 1940. See also Hans Huth, “Pierre Eugène Du Simitière and the Beginnings of the American Historical Museum,” PMHB, 69:315–325 (Oct. 1945).
4. On 4 July Congress had voted that Franklin, JA, and Jefferson “be a committee, to bring in a device for a seal for the United States of America” (JCC, 5:517–518). Somewhat variant versions of Franklin's, Jefferson's, and Du Simitière's proposals, together with the committee's report of 20 Aug., prepared by Jefferson, are printed in Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 1:494–497. It is there pointed out that, the report being at once tabled, it was not revived until 1780, when another committee tried but failed to satisfy Congress, and that not until June 1782 was the Seal of the United States, essentially in the form we know it, adopted. Du Simitière's pencil sketch for the obverse, with the motto E Pluribus Unum (which JA does not mention but which is almost all that survived in 1782 from the various proposals of 1776), is illustrated in same, facing p. 550. See also Gaillard Hunt, The History of the Seal of the United States, Washington, 1909.
JA's proposal for the design of the seal, though it was put forward diffidently and came to nothing, was a revealing and interesting one. The Greek fable of the Choice (or Judgment) of Hercules between Virtue and Vice (or Pleasure) was a popular theme for painters in the 18th century, in part, certainly, because the Earl of Shaftes-bury had devoted to it a short but influential treatise on esthetics in the third volume of his Characteristicks as collected in 1714. Simon Gribelin's engraving of the allegory is reproduced as an illustration in the present volume from the fifth edition of the Characteristicks, printed by Baskerville, Birmingham, { 98 } 1773. JA's own copy of this edition remains among his books in the Boston Public Library. See The “Choice of Hercules,” Proposed by John Adams for the Great Seal following 102Descriptive List of Illustrations.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0060

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-17

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Tho I wrote you two Letters yesterday1 one by the Post and one by Mr. Smith, yet I will not omit this by your Worthy Friend Mr. Gerry who has promised to drink tea with me this afternoon; I admire his modesty and his annimatd countanance.
I hope this will meet you upon your return to New england, where I assure you I think you are wanted. If you get back before the last of this month you will be soon enough to attend the Superiour Court if you chuse it which is to sit in your own Town.
As to news we go on Briskly taking prizes. We have a plenty of Sugars. Within these ten days Sugars have fallen from 4 pounds to 3 and 2.8 by the hundred. A Brigg was carried into Newburry this Week, from Antigue laiden with Indigo and hides, and a Jamaca Man carried into Marble Head. Our Men the new Leavies have marched for Canada. Isaac [Copeland] who lived with us is gone as one. I this day Received a Letter from Mr. Rice dated july 27 from Ticondoroga, he give much the same account that you did in a former Letter to me. Their Sufferings have been great indeed. The True Source of these Evils ought to be searched out, and the foul streams cleansed.
As to our Hospital to day, Nabby has not been out of her chamber these 3 Days, neither can she stand or sit her foot to the floor. She has above a thousand pussels as larg as a great Green Pea. She is the Dr. says in a good way tho tis hard to make her think so. Charles complains some to day. I hope tis the Symptoms. I have had a Seige of it, I long for the compaign to be over.
I have really wrote you so much this week that I have little or nothing worth saying or telling you. I have not time to enter upon any subject which requires attention, and can only add that I am ever yours,
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To the Honble. John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia. (Pr. Favr. of Mr. Geary)”; endorsed: “Portia Aug. 17. 1776.”
1. That is, sent two letters yesterday— the first and secondthose dated 14 Aug., above, but probably written on the 15th and 16th.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0061

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-08-18

John Adams to Abigail Adams

My Letters to you are an odd Mixture. They would appear to a Stranger, like the Dish which is sometimes called Omnium Gatherum. This is the first Time, I believe that these two Words were ever put together in Writing. The litteral Interpretation of them, I take to be “A Collection of all Things.”1 But as I said before, the Words having never before been written, it is not possible to be very learned in telling you what the Arabic, Syriac, Chaldaic, Greek and Roman Commentators say upon the Subject.
Amidst all the Rubbish that constitutes the Heap, you will see a Proportion of Affection, for my Friends, my Family and Country, that gives a Complexion to the whole. I have a very tender feeling Heart. This Country knows not, and never can know the Torments, I have endured for its sake. I am glad they never can know, for it would give more Pain to the benevolent and humane, than I could wish, even the wicked and malicious to feel.
I have seen in this World, but a little of that pure flame of Patriotism, which certainly burns in some Breasts.2 There is much of the Ostentation and Affectation of it.3 I have known a few who could not bear to entertain a selfish design, nor to be suspected by others of such a Meanness. But these are not the most respected by the World. A Man must be selfish, even to acquire great Popularity. He must grasp for himself, under specious Pretences, for the public Good, and he must attach himself to his Relations, Connections and Friends, by becoming a Champion for their Interests, in order to form a Phalanx, about him for his own defence; to make them Trumpeters of his Praise, and sticklers for his Fame, Fortune, and Honour.
My Friend Warren, the late Governor Ward, and Mr. Gadsden, are three Characters in which I have seen the most generous disdain of every Spice and Species of such Meanness. The two last had not great abilities, but they had pure Hearts. Yet they had less Influence, than many others who had neither so considerable Parts, nor any share at all of their Purity of Intention. Warren has both Talents and Virtues beyond most Men in this World, yet his Character has never been in Proportion. Thus it always is, has been, and will be.
Nothing has ever given me, more Mortification, than a suspicion, that has been propagated of me, that I was actuated by private Views, and have been aiming at high Places. The Office of C[hief] J[ustice] { 100 } has occasioned this Jealousy, and it never will be allayed, untill I resign it. Let me have my Farm, Family and Goose Quil, and all the Honours and Offices this World has to bestow, may go to those who deserve them better, and desire them more. I covet them not.4
There are very few People in this World, with whom I can bear to converse. I can treat all with Decency and Civility, and converse with them, when it is necessary, on Points of Business. But I am never happy in their Company. This has made me a Recluse, and will one day, make me an Hermit.
I had rather build stone Wall upon Penns Hill, than be the first Prince in Europe, the first General, or first senator in America.
Our Expectations are very high of some great Affair at N. York.
RC (Adams Papers). LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Sent. by Post Aug. 20th.” LbC contains several revealing revisions and cancellations that are indicated in the notes below.
1. OED cites this passage (from JA-AA, Familiar Letters) for the “Dish” JA alludes to, whatever it may have been; but the expression had been used in other senses in England since at least early in the 16th century.
2. In LbCJA first wrote “which I feel burning in my own Breast,” and then revised his phrasing to read as in RC.
3. LbC here adds a sentence which JA did not cancel but which, intentionally or unintentionally, he did not copy into RC: “There is a great Deal of Selfishness under the Masque and Disguise of it.”
4. LbC here adds the following passage which is there scratched out and was not copied into RC:
“I have been wounded, more deeply than I have been willing to acknowledge, more deeply than the World suspects, by the Conduct of those Persons, who have been joined with me, here. The sordid Meanness of their Souls, is beneath my Contempt. One of them covers as much of it, as ever disgraced a mortal, under the most splendid Affectation of Generosity, Liberality, and Patriotism.—I have acted in Conjunction with such Characters, while it was necessary to do so, but when that Necessity ceases, I will renounce them forever.—I had rather shut myself up in the Cell of an Hermit, and bid adieu to the human Face, than to live in Society, with such People.”
There can be no doubt that in writing this passage which he immediately and very prudently decided not to entrust to the post, JA had John Hancock primarily in mind and, to a lesser extent, Robert Treat Paine. At this date these two men were his only fellow delegates in attendance at Congress, and they had differed with him on one if not both of the two current “Bones of Contention” in Congress, namely whether Gen. David Wooster and Commodore Esek Hopkins should be censured for their conduct. These questions had been decided on the days just preceding the writing of this letter, but only after bitter debates in which JA had defended both officers. See JA to Samuel Adams, 18 Aug. (NN: Bancroft Coll., printed in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:53–54, but perhaps not accurately); JCC, 5:658–659, 661–662, 664–665; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:382, 406, 408–409407–408, 408–409.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0062

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-19

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I set down to write you a few lines by the post, because I would not omit one opportunity. I received yours of August 6 but cannot tell what to do for you confined as I am here. I shall know what you would have me do by Mr. A when he returns. At present all my attention is taken up with the care of our Little Charles who has been very bad. The Symptoms rose to a burning fever, a stupifaction and delirium ensued for 48 hours. The Doctor attended him as tho he had been his own child. He has the Distemper in the natural way. A most plentifull Eruption has taken place. Tho every thing has been done to lessen it that could, his face will be quite coverd, many if not all will run together. He is yet a very ill child, tho his Symptoms are lessend.
I would not have allarmed you. I hope he is not dangerous, but we cannot tell the Event. Heaven grant it may be favorable. I will write you by wedensday Post. I shall see then how he is like to be, and can form a better judgment of Him.—Nabby is Cleverly. They are turning fast upon her; and she can walk to day with borrowing my Shooes and Stockings. Adieu the Post will leave me. Dont forget my Herbs for your own sake as well as mine.—Ever yours.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To the Honble. John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia”; postmarked: “FREE N*York, Aug. 26”; endorsed: “Portia. ans. 27.”
1. This Monday fell on the 19th.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0063

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Thaxter, John
Date: 1776-08-20

Abigail Adams to John Thaxter

[salute] Dear Sir

My Little Charles has been so ill that I have not had leisure to day to thank you for your obliging favour1 nor for the present which accompanied it, all of which were very acceptable to us.
After 3 innoculations he has to be sure taken the distemper in the natural way. He has been exceeding ill, stupid and delirious for 48 hours. An exceeding high fever and most plentifull Eruption has succeeded. He will be as full as Miss Becky. You may easily think what a trial it will be both to him and me.
You may think yourself exceeding well of to have had the distemper so lightly. I have had many anxietys about you, and could not help blameing myself for consenting to your going so soon least { 102 } you should be favourd with a second crop, or give the distemper to some of your family, but I hope their is no danger now of either.
All the rest of our Hospital are recoverd, or in a good way. I wish it may be so with Charles, but the poor fellow has several very troublesome Days to pass through if he does well at last. Indeed this Small Pox is no triffel, and we cannot be sufficiently thankfull to our Great Preserver that we are carried so well through so malignant a disease.
You inquire after Mr. Adams. I need not say to you that I rejoice at his return, tho I am sorry for the occasion, but I have long expected it. Inclosed to you is a Letter which will give you a more perticuliar account. You may keep it (till we see each other), to yourself, as the contents will not be agreable to others.
Pray present my Duty to your Worthy Parents and Love to your flock of Sisters not forgeting your Brother. Mr. Cranch and family go out a fryday. I shall be left alone. I long for the day to come when my imprisonment will be over and we can rejoice together at Braintree. Believe me dear sir at all times your affectionate Friend,
[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (MB); addressed: “To: Mr. John Thaxter junr Hingham.” Enclosure not found, but very likely it was one of JA's recent letters telling of his poor health and his determination to return home.
1. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0064

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-08-20

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Yours without a Date, but written, as I suppose about the Twelfth of August came by the Post this Morning. I wish Mrs. Nabby Joy that she has at last a Receipt in full. This is much better than to be in doubt. Charles! never fear, Charles! you will have it yet, and as good a Receipt as any of them.
The Drs. cannot account for the numerous Failures of Inocculation. I can. No Phisician has either Head or Hands enough to attend a Thousand Patients. He can neither see that the Matter is good, nor that the Thread is properly covered with it, nor that the Incision is properly made, nor any Thing else. I wish you had taken Dr. Tufts for your Phisician and no other. I never liked your Man, and I like him now less than ever. I wish you had all come to Philadelphia, and had the Distemper here. Then I should not be uneasy about getting { [fol. 102] } | view { [fol. 102] } { [fol. 102] } { [fol. 102] } { 103 } home.—I beg Pardon for this Flight about your Dr. I may have done him Wrong. But am afraid you have suffered from his being of rather too much Importance, in the present Scarcity of Phisicians.
With Regard to my Health, as the extream Heat of the Weather has abated, I am better than I was, but not well. I am so comfortable however, as to be determined to wait for a servant and Horses. Horses are so intollerably dear, at this Place, that it will not do for me to purchase one, here. And our Representation is so thin, that it will not do for me to leave this Place, untill another comes in my Room.
I have received a very polite Letter from Mrs. Temple, which I shall answer by the next Post.1 I wish that something may be done for her Relief, but it will be attended with such Difficulties, that I can promise nothing. I have the Pleasure of congratulating her upon Mr. Temples Arrival. Congress was informed of it, two days ago by the General, and I suppose by this Time, he is on his Way to Ten Hills.
Lord Howe seems afraid to attack and has got to the old Work of Amusement and Chicanery. But he cannot catch old Birds. They are aware of the snare.
RC (Adams Papers). LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Sent. by Post. Aug. 23d.”
1. Harriet (Shirley) Temple to JA, 10 Aug. 1776 (Adams Papers). See AA to JA, ca. 12 Aug., above, and note 2 there; also JA to Mrs. Temple, 21 Aug. (LbC, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0065

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-08-21

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Yesterday Morning I took a Walk, into Arch Street, to see Mr. Peele's Painters Room. Peele is from Maryland, a tender, soft, affectionate Creature. . . .1 He shewed me a large Picture containing a Group of Figures, which upon Inquiry I found were his Family. His Mother, and his Wifes Mother, himself and his Wife, his Brothers and sisters, and his Children, Sons and Daughters all young. There was a pleasant, a happy Chearfulness in their Countenances, and a Familiarity in their Airs towards each other.2
He shewed me one moving Picture. His Wife, all bathed in Tears, with a Child about six months old, laid out, upon her Lap. This Picture struck me prodigiously.
He has a Variety of Portraits—very well done. But not so well as Copeleys Portraits. Copeley is the greatest Master, that ever was in America. His Portraits far exceed Wests.
{ 104 }
Peele has taken General Washington, Dr. Franklin, Mrs. Washington, Mrs. Rush, Mrs. Hopkinson. Mr. Blair McClenachan and his little Daughter in one Picture. His Lady and her little son, in another.
Peele shewed me some Books upon the Art of Painting, among the rest one by Sir Joshua Reynolds, the President of the English Accademy of Painters, by whom the Pictures of General Conway and Coll. Barry [Barré] in Fanuil Hall were taken.
He shewed me too a great Number of Miniature Pictures, among the rest Mr. Hancock and his Lady—Mr. Smith, of S.C. whom you saw the other day in Boston—Mr. Custis, and many others.
He shewed me, likewise, Draughts, or rather Sketches of Gentlemen's Seats in Virginia, where he had been—Mr. Corbins, Mr. Pages, General Washingtons &c.
Also a Variety of rough Drawings, made by great Masters in Italy, which he keeps as Modells.
He shewed me, several Imitations of Heads, which he had made in Clay, as large as the Life, with his Hands only. Among the Rest one of his own Head and Face, which was a great Likeness.
He is ingenious. He has Vanity—loves Finery—Wears a sword—gold Lace—speaks French—is capable of Friendship, and strong Family Attachments and natural Affections.
At this shop I met Mr. Francis Hopkinson, late a Mandamus Councillor of New Jersey, now a Member of the Continental Congress, who it seems is a Native of Philadelphia, a son of a Prothonotary of this County who was a Person much respected. The son was liberally educated, and is a Painter and a Poet.
I have a Curiosity to penetrate a little deeper into the Bosom of this curious Gentleman, and may possibly give you some more particulars concerning him. . . . He is one of your pretty little, curious, ingenious Men. His Head is not bigger, than a large Apple—less than our Friend Pemberton or Dr. Simon Tufts.3 I have not met with any Thing in natural History much more amusing and entertaining, than his personal Appearance. Yet he is genteel and well bred, and is very social.
I wish I had Leisure, and Tranquility of Mind to amuse myself with these Elegant, and ingenious Arts of Painting, Sculpture, Statuary, Architecture, and Musick. But I have not. A Taste in all of them, is an agreable Accomplishment.
Mr. Hopkinson has taken in Crayons, with his own Hand, a Picture of Miss Keys, a famous New Jersey Beauty. He talks of bringing it to Town, and in that Case I shall see it, I hope.
RC (Adams Papers). LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Sent. by Post Aug. 23.”
{ 105 }
1. Here and below, suspension points are in MS.
2. The thirteen portraits by Peale mentioned by JA in this letter correspond to the following entries in Charles Coleman Sellers, Portraits and Miniatures by Charles Willson Peale, Phila., 1952, and six of them are illustrated therein: No. 617, Peale Family (see Illustration 66); No. 645, “Rachel Weeping” (see illustration 49); No. 896, George Washington (see Illustration 354); No. 278, Benjamin Franklin; No. 953, Martha Washington (see Illustration 374); No. 760, Mrs. Benjamin Rush (see Illustrations 89, 90); No. 387, Mrs. Francis Hopkinson (see Illustration 86); No. 509, Blair McClenachan and Daughter; No. 510, Mrs. Blair McClenachan and Son; No. 351, John Hancock; No. 353, Mrs. John Hancock; No. 804, Benjamin Smith of South Carolina (said by Sellers to be Robert Smith, but see note 3 on JA to AA, 17 May, above, and also JA to AA, 28 Aug., below); No. 170, John Parke Custis.
3. Simon Tufts (1727–1786), Harvard 1744, AA's cousin and an elder brother of Cotton Tufts; he was a physician in Medford. See Adams Genealogy.

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.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0068

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

The day before Yesterday and Yesterday, We expected Letters and Papers by the Post, but by some Accident, or Mismanagement of the Riders, no Post is arrived yet, which has been a great Disappointment to me. I watch, with longing Eyes for the Post, because you have been very good of late in writing by every one. I long to hear, that Charles is in as fair a Way, thro the Distemper as the rest of you.
Poor Barrell is violently ill, in the next Chamber to mine, of an inflammatory Fever. I hear every Cough, Sigh, and Groan. His Fate hangs in a critical Suspence, the least Thing may turn the Scale against him. Miss [Katharine] Quincy is here, very humanely employed in nursing him. This Goodness does her Honour.
Mr. Paine has recovered of his illness, and by present Appearances, is in better Health than before. I hope it will not be my Fate to be sick here. Indeed I am not much afraid of these acute Dis• { 109 } orders, mine are more chronical, nervous, and slow.—I must have a Ride. I cannot make it do without it.
We are now approaching rapidly to the autumnal AEquinox, and no great Blow has yet been struck, in the martial Way, by our Enemies nor by Us. If We should be blessed this Year, with a few Storms as happy as those which fell out last Year, in the Beginning of September, they will do much for Us. The British Fleet, where they now lie, have not an Harbour, so convenient, or safe, as they had last Year. Another Winter will do much for Us too. We shall have more and better Soldiers. We shall be better armed. We shall have a greater Force at Sea. We shall have more Trade. Our Artillery will be greatly increased, our Officers will have more Experience, and our Soldiers more Discipline—our Politicians more Courage and Confidence, and our Enemies less Hopes. Our American Commonwealths will be all compleatly form'd and organized, and every Thing, I hope, will go on, with greater Vigour.
After I had written thus far the Post came in and brought me, your Favour of the 14 of August.1 Nabby, by this Time, I conclude is well, and Charles I hope is broke out. Dont you recollect upon this occasion, Dr. Biles's Benediction to me, when I was innoculated? As you will see the Picquancy of it, now more than ever you could before, I will tell the Story.
After having been 10 or 11 days innoculated, I lay lolling on my Bed, in Major Cunninghams Chamber, under the Tree of Liberty, with half a Dozen young Fellows as lazy as my self, all waiting and wishing for Symptoms and Eruptions. All of a sudden, appeared at the Chamber Door, the reverend Doctor, with his rosy Face, many curled Wigg, and pontifical Air and Gate. I have been thinking, says he, that the Clergy of this Town, ought upon this Occasion, to adopt the Benediction of the Romish Clergy, and, when we enter the Apartments of the sick, to cry, in the foreign Pronunciation “Pax tecum.” These Words are spoken by foreigners as the Dr. pronounced them Pox take 'em. One would think that Sir Isaac Newton's Discovery of the system of Gravitation did not require a deeper reach of Thought, than this frivolous Pun.2
Your Plan of making our worthy Brother, Professor, would be very agreable to me.
Your Sentiments of the Importance of Education in Women, are exactly agreable to my own. Yet the Femmes Scavans, are contemptible Characters. So is that of a Pedant, universally, how much soever of a male he may be. In reading History you will generally { 110 } observe, when you light upon a great Character, whether a General, a Statesman, or Philosopher, some female about him either in the Character of a Mother, Wife, or Sister, who has Knowledge and Ambition above the ordinary Level of Women, and that much of his Emminence is owing to her Precepts, Example, or Instigation, in some shape or other.
Let me mention an Example or two. Sempronius Gracchus, and Caius Gracchus, two great tho unfortunate Men, are said to have been instigated to their great Actions, by their Mother, who, in order to stimulate their Ambition, told them, that she was known in Rome by the Title of the Mother in Law of Scipio, not the Mother of the Gracchi. Thus she excited their Emulation, and put them upon reviving the old Project of an equal Division of the conquered Lands, (a genuine republican Measure, tho it had been too long neglected to be then practicable,) in order to make their Names as illustrious as Scipios.
The great Duke, who first excited the Portuguese to revolt from the Spanish Monarchy, was spurred on, to his great Enterprize by a most artfull, and ambitious Wife. And thus indeed you will find it very generally.
What Tale have you heard of Gerry? What Mistress is he courting?
RC (Adams Papers). LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Sent. by Post. Tuesday. Aug. 27. with News Papers inclosed.” Enclosed newspapers not found.
1. Her second letter so dated, above, but perhaps written on the 15th and 16th.
2. Rev. Mather Byles (1707–1778), Harvard 1725, S.T.D., Aberdeen 1765, a nephew of Cotton Mather and minister of the Hollis Street Church; renowned as a wit and punster (DAB; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 7:464–493).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0069

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-08-27

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Within this half Hour, I received yours of the 18 by the Post. I have only Time before the Post goes out again to thank you for it, and to express my Resignation to the Will of Heaven whatever it may be respecting my dear Charles. I think his Fate is very uncertain. I will hope the best, but Symptoms so terrible indicate the Utmost danger. Besides he will be more troublesome than the rest, if he recovers, because his exquisite Feelings make him more impatient.
{ 111 }
You desire me not to forget your “Herbs.” I am totally at a Loss for your Meaning.1 Pray explain—or perhaps your Letter by Mr. Smith,2 which I have not received, Mr. Smith not being as yet come to Town, will explain it.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams at Mr. Isaac Smiths Queen Street Boston”; franked: “Free John Adams”; postmarked: “PHILA. AUG 27.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. See note 2 on JA's letter to AA of 29 July, above.
2. Her first letter dated 14 Aug., above.

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.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0072

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I have this moment sent of a Letter to the post office when Mr. Bass came in to let me know that he has got ready sooner than he expected and will now sit of. I cannot let him go without a line to tell you I feel a new flow of spirits, hope to be home and well to receive you. Write me by every Post, and let me know when you expect to sit out. My Best wishes attend you ever yours,
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honbl. John Adams Philadelphia”; on cover: “The Barer has Leve to Go to Philidelphia by order of the Comitey John Johnson Cpt. Sept. 3. 1776”; endorsed: “Portia ans. Sept. 5. 1776.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0073

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-08-30

John Adams to Abigail Adams

The two Armies, on Long Island have been shooting at each other, for this whole Week past, but We have no particular Account of the Advantages gained or Losses suffered, on either side. The General and Officers have been so taken up, with their military Operations, that they have not been able to spare Time to give Us any very particular Information, and the Post which ought to come punctually every day, has been very irregular. I fear We have suffered a good deal.
Amidst all my Concern for the Army, my dear Charles is continually present to my Mind. I dont know what to think. A Load of variolous Matter, sufficient to stupify him for forty Eight Hours, and then to break out so thick, as to threaten a Confluence, I fear will be more than his delicate frame can support. Children of his Age, however, are often seen to bear a great deal. If I had foreseen, that he would have been seized so violently, I should have had no Heart to tell you the vain story of Mather Biles, as I did in my Letter of the 25th.
I have been obliged to hire a servant here, to attend me, untill another shall come for me, with my Horses. My Horses I want beyond Measure. I have never been once on Horse back, since I came here, and I suffer, in my Health, for Want of Exercise. Mr. Barrell is thought to be past recovery.
After I had written the above, my Servant came in from the Post Office, which he watches very diligently, and brought me yours { 115 } of the 22d. and if you knew how much Joy it gave me, your Benevolence would be satisfied. It has given me fine Spirits. I feel quite light. I did not know what fast Hold that little Pratler Charles had upon me before. Give my Love to my little Speckeled Beauty, Nabby. Tell her I am glad she is like to have a few Pitts. She will not look the worse for them. If she does, she will learn to prize looks less, and Ingenuity more. The best Way to prevent the Pitts from being lasting and conspicuous, is to keep her out of the sun for some time to prevent her from tanning.
John and Tom, hardy fellows! I have hardly had occasion to feel at all anxious about them.
L[incol]n is not appointed. Ward is requested to continue. I hope he will.
I am much pleased with your Spirit, in resolving to procure me Horses your self and not to wait for a Method, which would be more round about and uncertain.—I think I have a Right and that it is my duty, to take a little Respit and Relaxation. If my Life and Health is of any Use to the Public, it is necessary for the Public as well as for me, that I should take a little rest, in order to preserve them. If they are of none, it is no matter how much rest, I take.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0074

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-08-31

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

You know not How dissapointed I was to Night when the Post came in and I received no Letter from You. Tis the first Saturdays post which has come in since I have been in Town without a Letter from you. It has given me more pain to Night than it would any other time, because of some Falce and foolish reports I hope.
I will not, more than I can help, give way to rumours which I have no reason to believe true. Yet at such a time as this when all the Malice of Satan has possessd our foes, when they have recourse to secret poison, assassanation and every wicked art that Hell can Musture, I own my self allarmd and my fears sometimes overpower me.
But I commit you to the great Gaurdian and protecter of the just, and trust in him that we shall meet and rejoice together, in spight of all the Malice of Earth and Hell.
I hope before this time that Bass has arrived with your Horses, { 116 } and that you are prepairing to return to your own State. How anxiously do I expect you. On Monday I return to my own habitation with our Little Charles who is weak and feeble, and who wants the air and excercise of the Country to restore him. The Little flock have all left me but Him. Mrs. Cranch came into Town yesterday and carried out Nabby and Tommy, the Dr. would not consent to Charles going till Monday. His are but just cleverly turnd. Your Worthy Parent mett them, Mrs. Cranch writes me, upon their return and weept for joy to see them again. I have often pittied her anxiety which I know has been great upon this occasion. My own dear Mother is saved all she would have felt. My Unkle Q[uinc]y has been a parent to us, with us every week, anxious to the greatest Degree about you, solisitious about your return, declared he would sit of for you himself if Bass would not come immediately.
Mr. A did not get here till the 27 of the month, not till I had engaged your Horses and they were ready to come away.
In the Letter by Him1 you say you wonder whether the G[enera]l C[our]t have thought of doing any thing for you, at which I was a Little surprizd.
When I was at P[lymout]h Coll. W[arre]n mentiond some accounts which were left with Him upon which a committe was orderd but he never got them to do any thing. Said C[ushin]g had got all His setled and he reminded them of that, but nothing had been done. He further said that a Member from Road Island wrote to Him to know what was given to the Delegates here and he asked C——g who told him that they were allowd 12s. pr. day and their expences. 18 was allowd at Road Island to theirs. I replied that it must be something which had been lately done for I knew nothing of it. He said no he understood C——g that it had been allowed from the first, that is from last April twelve month. I however believed that you had never Received any thing more than your expences tho I could not absolutely say.2
This I know they will be very willing you should Labour for them as long as your Health and Strength will last, and when they are intirely exausted you may provide for yourself and family as you can.
This is a Beautifull Morning. I see it with joy, and I hope thankfullness. I came here with all my treasure of children, have passd thro one of the most terible Diseases to which humane Nature is { 117 } subject, and not one of us is wanting. I should go home with a much lighter Heart if I had heard from you. I wish you would not miss a Post whilst you tarry tho you write no more than that you are well.
In the Course of the week past we have had many reports of Battles at New York, none of which gain credit. An other peice of Trechery is come to light and as it is in the Military way I hope an Example will be made of the Wretch. What Blindness, what infatuation to suffer the Mayor of the city after having proved himself such a rascel and villan to go at large. To err upon the Leniant Hand is best no doubt, but to suffer such crimes to go unpunished is offensive in the sight of Heaven I doubt not.3
Little Charles stands by and sends Duty to Pappa, says Mamma did you get any Letters a Saturday? No. Then why do you write Mamma.

[salute] Adieu. Ever ever Yours.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To The Honble. John Adams Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Portia ans. Sept. 14.”
1. Of 10 Aug., above.
2. The information available on JA's payment by the State for service in 1776 does not make clear what his salary was; see his Diary and Autobiography, 2:251. But for his 322 days of service in 1777 he was paid at the rate of 24s. a day besides expenses (same, p. 257, citing Mass., Province Laws, 20:261).
3. These allusions remain obscure. The mayor of New York was David Mathews, but he had been jailed after the “Hickey plot”; see Stokes, Iconography of Manhattan Island, 4:933–935.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0075

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-09-04

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Mr. G[erry] arrived Yesterday, and brought me yours of August 17. and soon afterwards the Post came in, with yours of the 25. of Aug. Am happy to find you, in so good a Way, and am glad to learn that Horses and a Man are coming. I want them much. But our Affairs having taken a Turn at Long Island and New York, so much to our Disadvantage, I cannot see my Way clear, to return home so soon as I intended. I shall wait here, untill I see some more decisive Event, in our Favour or against Us. The General Court however will appoint some other Gentleman to relieve me, and my Man and Horses will come, and then I can ride a little in a Morning for my Health, and come home as soon as Circumstances will admit. I am obliged to General Lincoln for his Information, concerning the Fortifications, which I hope will be effectually attended to, as I am not clear, that Boston is yet secure from Invasion.
{ 118 }
I hope, the Disasters at Long Island, and New York will not dispirit our People. The Ways of Providence are inscrutable. I have strong suspicions that these Disasters have saved Boston from another Invasion, which I think would have been attempted by the two gratefull Brothers, with their whole Fleet and Army, if they had not obtained Long Island.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0076

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-09-04

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

Is my Dear Mrs. Adams too Much Engagd with Company, is her Family sick, or is she inattentive to What Gives pleasure to her Friend, that I have not heard a Word from her since I Left the Capital.
How dos my Dear Charles do. I Long to hear if that sweet boy is perfectly Recovered. I felt Great pain in Leaving him so Ill, but as I hear nothing since Conclude he must be better. Has Naby her Health since she Recovered from her Late sprinkling, has she Recoverd her serene and placid Countenence. Tell her she Looked a Little sower upon me when I saw her Last, but I dare say she Never will again for she will have the small pox no more. A sad Enemy this to soft Features, and fine Faces, though I hope Miss Naby will be so Formed both by Example And Education, as to stand in Little Need of any External Accomplishments to Recommend her to the Esteem of the Worthy and Good.
I hope when you Return to Braintree, you will Enjoy the stiller scenes, and take as much Delight in the Cares which Family Oeconemy Require, as one of your Acquaintance at Plimouth dos in her Domestic Circle.
I believe Nothing Gives a Higher Relish to the Calm of Retirement than such a Round of Visits, Visiting, and Visitation as we have Both Lately Experienced.
The Rustling of the Gentle Brezes in my own Little Garden is Music to my Ears, and the Return of my Little Flock from school Marks my Visiting Hour as they are almost the only Guests I have Received. Nor have I Entered any Habitation but my own since my Arrival from the Noisey town. But the frequent Absence of the best of friends prevents to you and to me the full injoyment of the Many Blessings providence has kindly showered Down upon { 119 } us. I sigh for peace yet it Cannot take place. But while the sword and the pestilence pervade the Land, and Misery is the portion of Millions, why should we Expect to feel No interruption of Happiness.
When Mr. Warren Calls on you again you will not forget to send a Number of Useless Copies, in the full Confidence of Friendship Left in your Hands.
Make my Regards to your sisters And their Families. And do Let me know when you Expect Mr. Adams, and whither he Enjoys better health.

[salute] With Every wish for his and your Happiness subscribes your Affectionate Friend,

[signed] Marcia Warren
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree pr. Capt. Nicolson.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0077

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-09-05

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Mr. Bass arrived this Day, with the joyfull News, that you were all well. By this Opportunity, I shall send you a Cannister of Green Tea, by Mr. Hare.1
Before Mr. G[erry] went away from hence, I asked Mrs. Yard to send a Pound of Green Tea to you. She readily agreed. When I came home at Night I was told Mr. G. was gone. I asked Mrs. Y. if she had sent the Cannister? She said Yes and that Mr. G. undertook to deliver it, with a great deal of Pleasure. From that Time I flattered my self, you would have the poor Relief of a dish of good Tea under all your Fatigues with the Children, and under all the disagreabble Circumstances attending the small Pox, and I never conceived a single doubt, that you had received it untill Mr. Gerrys Return. I asked him, accidentally, whether he delivered it, and he said Yes to Mr. S.A.'s Lady.—I was astonished. He misunderstood Mrs. Y. intirely, for upon Inquiry she affirms she told him, it was for Mrs. J.A.
I was so vexed at this, that I have ordered another Cannister, and Mr. Hare has been kind enough to undertake to deliver it. How the Dispute will be settled I dont know. You must send a Card to Mrs. S.A., and let her know that the Cannister was intended for You, and she may send it you if she chooses, as it was charged to me. It is amazingly dear, nothing less than 40s. lawfull Money, a Pound.
{ 120 }
I am rejoiced that my Horses are come. I shall now be able to take a ride. But it is uncertain, when I shall set off, for home. I will not go, at present. Affairs are too delicate and critical.—The Panic may seize whom it will, it shall not seize me. I will stay here, untill the public Countenance is better, or much worse. It must and will be better. I think it is not now bad. Lyes by the Million will be told you. Dont believe any of them. There is no danger of the Communication being cutt off, between the northern and southern Colonies. I can go home, when I please, in spight of all the Fleet and Army of Great Britain.
1. “The Bearer, Mr. Hare, is a Brother of the Gentleman of the same Name in this City, who has made himself so famous by introducing the Brewery of Porter into America. He wants to see our Country, Harvard Colledge, the Town of Boston, etc.” (JA to James Warren, 4 Sept. 1776, Warren-Adams Letters, 1:273||; also printed in Papers of John Adams||).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0078

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-09-06

John Adams to Abigail Adams

This day, I think, has been the most remarkable of all. Sullivan came here from Lord Howe, five days ago with a Message that his Lordship desired a half an Hours Conversation with some of the Members of Congress, in their private Capacities. We have spent three or four days in debating whether We should take any Notice of it. I have, to the Utmost of my Abilities during the whole Time, opposed our taking any Notice of it. But at last it was determined by a Majority “that the Congress being the Representatives of the free and independent states of America, it was improper to appoint any of their Members to confer, in their private Characters with his Lordship. But they would appoint a Committee of their Body, to wait on him, to know whether he had Power, to treat with Congress upon Terms of Peace and to hear any Propositions, that his Lordship may think proper to make.”
When the Committee came to be ballotted for, Dr. Franklin and your humble servant, were unanimously chosen. Coll. R. H. Lee and Mr. [Edward] Rutledge, had an equal Number: but upon a second Vote Mr. R. was chosen. I requested to be excused, but was desired to consider of it untill tomorrow. My Friends here Advise me to go. All the stanch and intrepid, are very earnest with me to go, and the timid and wavering, if any such there are,1 agree in the request. So I believe I shall undertake the Journey. I doubt whether { 121 } his Lordship will see Us, but the same Committee will be directed to inquire into the State of the Army, at New York,2 so that there will be Business enough, if his Lordship makes none.—It would fill this Letter Book, to give you all the Arguments, for and against this Measure, if I had Liberty to attempt it.—His Lordship seems to have been playing off a Number of Machiavillian Maneuvres, in order to throw upon Us the Odium of continuing this War. Those who have been Advocates for the Appointment of this Committee, are for opposing Maneuvre to Maneuvre, and are confident that the Consequence will be, that the Odium will fall upon him. However this may be, my Lesson is plain, to ask a few Questions, and take his Answers.
I can think of but one Reason for their putting me upon this Embassy, and that is this. An Idea has crept into many Minds here that his Lordship is such another as Mr. Hutchinson, and they may possibly think that a Man who has been accustomed to penetrate into the mazy Windings of Hutchinsons Heart, and the serpentine Wiles of his Head, may be tolerably qualified to converse with his Lordship.3
Yesterdays Post brought me yours of Aug. 29. The Report you mention “that I was poisoned upon my Return at New York” I suppose will be thought to be a Prophecy, delivered by the Oracle in mystic Language, and meant that I should be politically or morally poisoned by Lord Howe. But the Prophecy shall be false.
1. Preceding five words not in LbC, added in RC.
2. As things turned out, the committee was not so instructed.
3. Maj. Gen. John Sullivan had been captured in the action on Long Island, 27 Aug. (and was afterward exchanged for the British general, Richard Prescott). Sullivan presented Lord Howe's request to Congress on 2 and 3 Sept.; the debate and votes that JA reports here took place on the three following days (JCC, 5:723, 730–731, 735, 737–738). See also JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:425; Josiah Bartlett to William Whipple, 3 Sept. 1776 (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:66–67).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0079

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-09-07

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Last monday I left the Town of Boston, underwent the operation of a smoaking at the lines and arrived at my Brother Cranchs where we go for purification; there I tarried till wedensday, and { 122 } then came Home, which seem'd greatly endeard to me by my long absence. I think I never felt greater pleasure at comeing Home after an absence in my Life. Yet I felt a vacuum in my Breast and sent a Sigh to P[hiladelphi]a. I long'd for a dear Friend to rejoice with me. Charlly is Banished yet, I keep him at his Aunt Cranch's out of the way of those who have not had the Distemper, his Arm has many Scabs upon it which are yet very soar. He is very weak and sweats a nights prodigiously. I am now giving him the Bark. He recoverd very fast considering how ill he was. I pitty your anxiety and feel sorry that I wrote you when he was so Bad, but I knew not how it might turn with Him, had it been otherways than well, it might have proved a greater Shock than to have known that he was ill.
This Night our good unkle came from Town and brought me yours of August 20, 21, 25, 27 and 28th for all of which I most sincerely thank you. I have felt uneasy to Hear from you. The Report of your being dead, has no doubt reach'd you by Bass who heard enough of it before he came away. It took its rise among the Tories who as Swift said of himself “By their fears betray their Hopes” but How they should ever take it into their Heads that you was poisond at New York a fortnight before that we heard any thing of that villans Zedwitz plan of poisoning the waters of the City, I cannot tell.2 I am sometimes ready to suspect that there is a communication between the Tories of every State, for they seem to know all news that is passing before tis known by the Whigs.
We Have had many Stories concerning engagements upon Long Island this week, of our Lines being forced and of our Troops retreating to New York. Perticuliars we have not yet obtaind. All we can learn is that we have been unsuccessfull there; having Lost Many Men as prisoners among whom is Lord Sterling and General Sullivan.
But if we should be defeated I think we shall not be conquered. A people fired like the Romans with Love of their Country and of Liberty, a zeal for the publick Good, and a Noble Emulation of Glory, will not be disheartned or dispirited by a Succession of unfortunate Events. But like them may we learn by Defeat the power of becomeing invincible.
I hope to Hear from you by every Post till you return. The Herbs you mention I never Received. I was upon a visit to Mrs. S. Adams about a week after Mr. Gerry returnd, when She entertaind me with a very fine Dish of Green Tea. The Scarcity of the { 123 } article made me ask her Where she got it. She replied her Sweet Heart sent it to her by Mr. Gerry. I said nothing, but thought my Sweet Heart might have been eaquelly kind considering the disease I was visited with, and that [tea] was recommended as a Bracer. A Little after you mention'd a couple of Bundles sent. I supposed one of them might contain the article but found they were Letters. How Mr. Gerry should make such a mistake I know not. I shall take the Liberty of sending for what is left of it tho I suppose it is half gone as it was very freely used. If you had mentiond a single Word of it in your Letter I should have immediately found out the mistake.
Tis said that the Efforts of our Enemies will be to stop the communication between the colonies by taking possession of Hudsons Bay.3 Can it be effected? The Milford frigate rides triumphant in our Bay, taking vessels every day, and no Colony nor Continental vessel has yet attempted to hinder her. She mounts but 28 Guns but is one of the finest sailors in the British Navy. They complain we have not weighty mettle enough and I suppose truly. The Rage for privateering is as great here as any where and I believe the success has been as great.
It will not be in my power to write you so regularly as when I was in Town. I shall not faill doing it once a week. If you come home the Post Road you must inquire for Letters where ever the Post sit out from.
Tis Here a very General time of Health. I think tis near a twelve month since the pestilance raged here. I fear your being seazd with a fever, tis very prevalant I hear where you are. I pray God preserve you and return you in Health. The Court will not accept your Resignation, they will appoint Mr. Dalton and Dana to releave you.

[salute] I am most affectionately Yours.

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia ansd. Sep. [21].”
1. In his reply of 21 Sept., below, JA read this date as 9 Sept., and CFA also printed this letter in Familiar Letters with that date. Although AA's 4's, 7's, and 9's are often scarcely distinguishable from each other, the editors believe she intended “7” here.
2. Lt. Col. Herman Zedtwitz of the New York Line was court-martialed, convicted, and cashiered on 25–26 Aug. for attempting to give intelligence to the enemy, specifically for writing a long letter to Gov. William Tryon (dated 24 Aug. and promptly turned in by an agent Zedtwitz had bribed) which contained a hodgepodge of truth and fancy. One of his fancies was that he had seen “4 Fellows at the Generals [Washington's] Hous wich proposed to Spoil the Watering place [on Staten Island where the British were encamped], they brought along 14 Botles of Stof as Black as an Ink it was Tried and Found good as they [ . . . ] The gen: promised Every { 124 } one £1000 if it Stands 6 weeks.” The proceedings of the court martial are printed and a facsimile of Zedtwitz's letter is reproduced in Force, Archives, 5th ser., 1:1159–1162.
3. Thus in MS, but meaning, surely, the Hudson River.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0080

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-09-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Yesterday Morning I returned with Dr. F. and Mr. R. from Staten Island where We met L[ord] H[owe] and had about three Hours Conversation with him. The Result of this Interview, will do no disservice to Us. It is now plain that his L[ordshi]p has no Power, but what is given him in the Act of P[arliament]. His Commission authorises him to grant Pardons upon Submission, and to converse, confer, consult and advise with such Persons as he may think proper, upon American Grievances, upon the Instructions to Governors and the Acts of Parliament, and if any Errors should be found to have crept in, his Majesty and the Ministry were willing they should be rectified.
I found yours of 31. of Aug. and 2d. of September.1 I now congratulate you on your Return home with the Children. Am sorry to find you anxious on Account of idle Reports.—Dont regard them. I think our Friends are to blame to mention such silly Stories to you. What good do they expect to do by it?
My Ride has been of Service to me. We were absent but four days. It was an agreable Excursion. His L[ordshi]p is about fifty Years of Age. He is a well bred Man, but his Address is not so irresistable, as it has been represented. I could name you many Americans, in your own Neighbourhood, whose Art, Address, and Abilities are greatly superiour. His head is rather confused, I think.2
When I shall return I cant say. I expect now, every day, fresh Hands from Watertown.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams at Mr. John Adams's Braintree Massachusetts Bay”; franked: “free John Adams”; postmarked: “PHILA. SEP 14.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. A single letter, printed above under its first date.
2. JA's “Ride” to and from Staten Island, with Benjamin Franklin and Edward Rutledge, began on the 9th and ended on the 13th. The interview with Lord Howe occurred on the 11th at the Christopher Billopp house in Tottenville. JA's retrospective account of the journey and interview is justly famous, and is accompanied by pertinent passages from the Journal of Congress and from his own contemporaneous letters (Diary and Autobiography, 3:414–430). Congress published the relevant papers, including the report of the committee, under date of 17 Sept. (broadside in NN; Evans 15168). The best British { 125 } account is by Henry Strachey, secretary to the Howe brothers' commission, whom JA was to encounter again during the negotiations for a preliminary peace with Great Britain in the fall of 1782; Strachey's narrative was first printed accurately (from a MS in NN) by Paul L. Ford in an article entitled “Lord Howe's Commission to Pacify the Colonies,” Atlantic Monthly, 77:758–762 (June 1896); see also Ambrose Serle, American Journal, ed. Edward H. Tatum Jr., San Marino, Calif., 1940, p. 100–101, and various sources cited in Stokes, Iconography of Manhattan Island, 5:1010. On 19 Sept. the Howes issued in broadside form a further “Declaration,” in which they gave up on Congress but appealed again to all persons disposed to reconciliation with Great Britain; an example in MHi is reproduced as an The Howes' Reconciliation Broadside following 102illustration in this volume.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0081

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-09-15

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I have been so much engaged this week with company that, tho I never cease to think of you I have not had leisure to write to you. It has been High Court week with us, judge C[ushin]g and Lady kept here, the judges all dined with me one day and the Bar an other day. The Court sit till Saturday Night, and then were obliged to continue many causes. The people seem to be pleased and gratified at seeing justice returning into its old regular channel again.1
I this week received two Letters, one dated july 27 and [another] july 29th. Where they have been these two months I cannot conceive, I hear of an other by the Express but have not yet been able to find it. I write now not knowing where to direct to you, whether you are in the American Senate or on Board the British fleet is a matter of uncertainty. I hear to day that you are one of a committee sent by Congress to hold a conference with Lord How. Some say to negotiate an exchange of General Sulivan, others say you are charged with other matters.
May you be wise as Serpents. I wish to hear from you, the 28 of August was the last date. I may have Letters at the Post office. The Town is not yet clear of the small Pox which makes it dificult for me to get a conveyance from there, unless I send on purpose.
I only write now to let you know that we are all well, anxiously longing for your return.

[salute] As this is a child of chance I do not chuse to say any thing more than that I am Sincerely Yours.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at New York or Philadelphia”; franked: “Free”; endorsed (twice): “Portia.”
1. This was the first session of the Superior Court in Suffolk co. closing in Sept. 1774. In Feb. 1776 the General Court had named Dedham and { 126 } Braintree, alternately, as the places of sitting in Suffolk because the British still occupied Boston; and now, although the British had left months ago, the smallpox epidemic in Boston made another meeting place highly advisable. The act of Feb. 1776 was repealed in November, and beginning in Feb. 1777 the sessions returned to Boston. See Mass., Province Laws, 5:455–456, 593–594; Quincy, Reports, p. 341–342.
For more details on this session of the Superior Court in Braintree, see James Sullivan to JA, 22 Sept. (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0082

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-09-16

John Adams to Abigail Adams

The Postmaster at N. York, in a Panick, about a fortnight ago fled to Dobbs's Ferry, about 30 Miles above N.Y. upon Hudsons River, which has thrown the Office into disorder, and interrupted the Communication so much that I have not received a Line of yours, since that dated the Second of September.1 Nor have I received a News Paper, or any other Letter from Boston since that date. The same Cause, it is probable has disturbed the Conveyance, to the Eastward, and prevented you from receiving Letters regularly, from me.
One of the Horses, which has been sent me, is very low in flesh. I must wait, some time, I fear for him to recruit.
No new Delegates come yet. I hope to see some in a few days.
We have good News from France and the French West Indies. . . .2 There is great Reason to think they will not always remain inactive.
You commanded me to write every Post, and I obey altho I have nothing in Particular to say, only that I am as usual, not worse in Health, nor yet well, but ever Yours.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams at Mr. John Adams's Braintree Massachusetts Bay”; franked: “Free John Adams”; postmarked: “PHILA. SEP 16.” LbC (Adams Papers).
1. Her letter dated 31 Aug.–2 Sept., above.
2. Suspension points in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0083

Author: Mason, Jonathan Jr.
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-09-18

Jonathan Mason to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

I was extreemly sorry I could not pay that attention to your son Johnny, as I should wish to have done, had not I been very diligently employed in other business. Should esteem it as a favour that whenever You trust any of them to town, you would direct them to my father's house, and I am repeatedly desired by my sister to request your consent to Miss Nabby's coming into town and tarrying with us { 127 } as long as inclination and improvement can make it agreeable. My mite, I doubt not you are assured will be chearfully contributed to her emolument. I forwarded your last letters by the post the first Opportunity, and have only to beg that whenever occasion calls, you would not hesitate to command me to any task. It would afford me great pleasure to have it in my power to compensate in some measure, for many unexpected, unmerited civilities, I mett with at your house. Inclosed you have a letter just handed me, but I am ignorant by whom.—Had not a liberal mind induced you to mention it in your letter,2 I had notwithstanding determined in my own mind, to have wrote, when Politicks or some other general topic had occurred, and if proper, should be extreemly happy in perusing a return.

[salute] I am with great respect Your hum. Servt.,

[signed] J Mason Jr.3
One Mr. Payne in Boston is a fine tutor for the young ladies.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For Mrs. Adams In Braintree Pr. favour.” Enclosure: probably a recent letter from JA to AA, not now identifiable.
1. MS torn by seal.
2. Not found.
3. Mason, who was nominally still apprenticed to JA as law clerk, had written JA on 12 Aug. (Adams Papers), saying that he had “resolved . . . closely to pursue the science of the Law,” outlining his progress and plans, and asking whether he should accept an invitation to enter Perez Morton's law office. In his reply of 21 Aug. (LbC, Adams Papers), JA suggested further studies and advised Mason to accept Morton's “kind Offer, provided you dont find the Practice of his Office interferes too much with your studies, which I dont think it will.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0084

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-09-20

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I sit down this Evening to write you, but I hardly know what to think about your going to N.Y.—The Story has been told so many times, and with circumstances so perticuliar that I with others have given some heed [to] it tho my not hearing any thing of it from you leaves me at a loss.
Yours of Sepbr. 4 came to hand last Night, our Worthy unkle is a constant attendant upon the Post office for me and brought it me.
Yours of Sepbr. 5 came to Night to B[raintre]e and was left as directed with the Cannister. Am sorry you gave yourself so much trouble about them. I got about half you sent me by Mr. Gerry. Am much obliged to you, and hope to have the pleasure of making the greater part of it for you. Your Letter damp't my Spirits; when I had no expectation of your return till December, I endeavourd to bring { 128 } my mind to acquiess in the too painfull Situation, but I have now been in a state of Hopefull expectation. I have recond the days since Bass went away a hundred times over, and every Letter expected to find the day set for your return.
But now I fear it is far distant. I have frequently been told that the communication would be cut of and that you would not be ever able to return. Sometimes I have been told so by those who really wish'd it might be so, with Malicious pleasure. Sometimes your timid folks have apprehended that it would be so. I wish any thing would bring you nearer. If there is really any danger I should think you would remove. Tis a plan your Enemies would rejoice to see accomplished, and will Effect if it lies in their power.
I am not apt to be intimidated you know. I have given as little heed to that and a thousand other Bug Bear reports as posible. I have slept as soundly since my return not withstanding all the Ghosts and hobgoblings, as ever I did in my life. Tis true I never close my Eyes at night till I have been to P[hiladelphi]a, and my first visit in the morning is there.
How unfealing are the world! They tell me they Heard you was dead with as little sensibility as a stock or a stone, and I have now got to be provoked at it, and can hardly help snubing the person who tells me so.
The Story of your being upon this conference at New york came in a Letter as I am told from R. T. P[aine] to his Brother in Law G[reenlea]fe. Many very many have been the conjectures of the Multitude upon it. Some have supposed the War concluded, the Nation setled, others an exchange of prisoners, others a reconsiliation with Brittain &c. &c.
I cannot consent to your tarrying much longer. I know your Health must greatly suffer from so constant application to Buisness and so little excercise. Besides I shall send you word by and by as Regulus'es steward did, that whilst you are engaged in the Senate your own domestick affairs require your presence at Home, and that your wife and children are in Danger of wanting Bread. If the Senate of America will take care of us, as the Senate of Rome did of the family of Regulus, you may serve them again, but unless you return what little property you possess will be lost. In the first place the House at Boston is going to ruin. When I was there I hired a Girl to clean it, it had a cart load of Dirt in it. I speak within Bounds. One of the chambers was used to keep poultry in, an other sea coal, and an other salt. You may conceive How it look'd. The House is so exceeding damp { 129 } being shut up, that the floors are mildewd, the sealing falling down, and the paper mouldy and falling from the walls. I took care to have it often opened and aird whilst I tarried in Town. I put it into the best state I could.
In the next place, the Lighter of which you are or should be part owner is lying rotting at the wharf. One year more without any care and she is worth nothing. You have no Bill of Sale, no right to convey any part of her should any person appear to purchase her. The Pew I let, after having paid a tax for the repairs of the meeting House.
As to what is here under my more immediate inspection I do the best I can with it, but it will not at the high price Labour is, pay its way.
I know the weight of publick cares lye so heavey upon you that I have been loth to mention your own private ones.
The Best accounts we can collect from New York assure us that our Men fought valiantly. We are no ways dispiritted here, we possess a Spirit that will not be conquerd. If our Men are all drawn of and we should be attacked, you would find a Race of Amazons in America.
But I trust we shall yet tread down our Enemies.
I must intreat you to remember me often. I never think your Letters half long enough. I do not complain. I have no reason to, no one can boast of more Letters than Your
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in an unidentified hand: “1777.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0085

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-09-21

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dear Sir

I wrote you last Night till my Eyes were almost out by the post, but Mr. Eliot has taken pains to send me word that he would carry a Letter for me, and I cannot omit writing a few lines tho tis only to say that I am well, and to inquire how you do? I have a thousand fears for your Health. How is poor Mr. Barrel, is he gone, or does he yet live?
This Month twelve month was attended with so many melancholy Scenes, that my Heart Bleeds afresh at the recollection. The Image of my Dear Mother seems ever before me, and fresh to my memory. I felt more than common depression of spirits the other day when I enterd the House, nor could I enjoy myself whilst I stay'd, a Train of melancholly Ideas forced themselves upon me and made me very unhappy.
{ 130 }
My Father enjoys better Health than he has for many year, he possesses a vigirous old age. He call'd here the other day comeing of a journey to dine with me having ride forty miles before dinner. I askd him if he was not fatigued. No says he with his useuel sprightlyness thats a triffell for one so young as I am.
Tis a much healther Season than Last year. Our Neighbour Feild is just gone in a consumption, he has been upon the decline ever since the Spring.
Our Worthy Brother and Sister C[ranc]h are well in Health but a good deal embaressed what course to take. Ever since the Removal of the army and the opening of Boston he has not had half Buisness enough to employ him. I am very loth he should remove, but I know not what he will do. He wants much to purchase a little farm in the Country, but he would I think do better in Town. He had considerable Buisness there, when he had the small Pox.
I had something to say [to] you about the state of Harvard Colledge, but I omit it at present.—The Portsmouth Ship has been waiting for Guns these six weeks. Had an unkle of ours and several other merchants I could mention had the care of her I dare say she would have long ago had Guns. Private adventurours can get Guns even for large Briggs.—The Boston formerly the Zechary Baily which was taken as a prize and bought by private persons has been fitted out, her Guns made and purchased long since the other ought to have saild.
So it is we dream away opportunities by misplaceing Buisness. Adieu, Yours.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia ans. Octr. 5th”; docketed in an unidentified hand: “1777.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0086

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-09-21

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Yours of Septr. 9.1 I have received. Septr. 5. I sent you another Cannister by Mr. Hare. I have only Time to tell you I am not worse in Health than I have been. Where are your new Delegates? None arrived here yet. Our People are as lazy and slothfull, as Congress.2
1. 7 Sept., above; see note 1 on that letter.
2. The General Court during its session of Sept.–Oct. 1776 took no action on JA's repeated pleas to enlarge the Massachusetts delegation and to send replacements promptly. On 19 Sept. Speaker James Warren wrote JA from { 131 } Watertown: “We have not yet made an addition to our Delegates, no Body seems to be against it, many are Indifferent about it, and those who wish to have it done, are at a loss where to find the men; so it is procrastinated and left to the next setting” (Adams Papers). JA drafted a reply, 5 Oct., in so angry and bitter a vein that, cooling off almost immediately after he had written it, he appended this note below the text in his letterbook: “not sent, nor fit to be sent.” During its next session the General Court at length, 15 Nov.–10 Dec., reelected JA and his four colleagues and added two more delegates, James Lovell and Francis Dana; and on 4 Feb. 1777 it went a little further by resolving that “any two or more of the said Delegates, Representing this State in Congress, being the major part present, be, and hereby are, vested with all the powers with which any three . . . were vested” previously (Mass., House Jour., 1776–1777, p. 157; JCC, 7:25–26, 169–170).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0087

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-09-22

John Adams to Abigail Adams

We have at last agreed upon a Plan, for forming a regular Army. We have offered 20 dollars, and 100 Acres of Land to every Man, who will inlist, during the War.1 And a new sett of Articles of War are agreed on.2 I will send you, if I can a Copy of these Resolutions and Regulations.
I am at a Loss what to write. News We have not. Congress seems to be forgotten by the Armies. We are most unfaithfully served in the Post Office, as well as many other Offices, civil and military.
Unfaithfullness in public Stations, is deeply criminal. But there is no Encouragement to be faithfull. Neither Profit, nor Honour, nor Applause is acquired by faithfullness. But I know by what. There is too much Corruption, even in this infant Age of our Republic. Virtue is not in Fashion. Vice is not infamous.
Since I wrote the foregoing Lines, I have not been able to find Time to write you a Line. Altho I cannot write you, so often as I wish, you are never out of my Thoughts. I am repining at my hard Lot, in being torn from you, much oftener than I ought.
I have often mentioned to you, the Multiplicity of my Engagements, and have been once exposed to the Ridicule and Censure of the World for mentioning the great Importance of the Business which lay upon me, and if this Letter should ever see the Light, it would be again imputed to Vanity, that I mention to you, how busy I am. But I must repeat it by Way of Apology for not writing you oftener. From four O Clock in the Morning untill ten at Night, I have not a single Moment, which I can call my own. I will not say that I expect to run { 132 } distracted, to grow melancholly, to drop in an Apoplexy, or fall into a Consumption. But I do say, it is little less than a Miracle, that one or other of these Misfortunes has not befallen me before now.
Your Favours of September 15, 20, and 23d. are now before me. Every Line from you gives me inexpressible Pleasure. But it is a great Grief to me, that I can write no oftener to you.
There is one Thing which excites my utmost Indignation and Contempt, I mean the Brutality, with which People talk to you, of my Death. I beg you would openly affront every Man, Woman or Child, for the future who mentions any such Thing to you, except your Relations, and Friends whose Affections you cannot doubt. I expect it of all my Friends, that they resent, as Affronts to me, every Repetition of such Reports.
I shall inclose to you, Governor Livingstons Speech, the most elegant and masterly, ever made in America.3
Depend upon it, the Enemy cannot cutt off the Communication. I can come home when I will. They have N. York—and this is their Ne Plus Ultra.4
RC and LbC (Adams Papers). Enclosure missing; see note 3 below.
1. This “Plan,” which had occupied JA's thoughts for some time, had been introduced, apparently on 9 Sept., as a report of the Board of War, and was debated on the four following days, principally in committee of the whole. With some amendments it was in large part adopted and spread on the Journal on the 16th. Additional resolutions were proposed and debated next day and again on the 19th. On the 20th Congress ordered that “the resolutions for raising the new army be forthwith published, and copies thereof sent to the commanding officers in the several departments, and to the assemblies and conventions of the respective states.” See JCC, 5:747, 749, 751, 754, 756–757, 762–763, 768, 787, 807. They were printed in the Pennsylvania Gazette on 25 Sept., and also separately as a broadside (JCC, 6:1125, No. 126; Evans, 15167; an example in MHi is reproduced as an illustration in this volume). No MS version has been found in the Adams Papers or in the Reports of the Board of War and Ordnance (PCC, No. 47), but JA later claimed this important plan for a military establishment as his own and a sufficient answer to Alexander Hamilton's charge in 1800 that JA had been “an Ennemy to a regular Army” (Diary and Autobiography, 3:434–435).
2. On 5 June JA, Jefferson, and three others had been named a committee “on Spies” to make recommendations concerning persons furnishing intelligence or provisions to the enemy. To this committee, on 14 June, was assigned the further task of revising the Articles of War. They submitted a report on 7 Aug. which was debated on the 19th and again on 19 and 20 Sept., when the old Articles were repealed and the new ones spread on the Journal. See JCC, 5:417, 442, 636, 670, 787, 788–807; for contemporary printings of the revised Articles see the “Bibliographical Notes” in same, vol. 6:1125–1126, Nos. 127–130; Evans 15187–15190. JA's recollections of this affair, while perhaps not entirely accurate, furnish details not elsewhere to be found; see his Diary and Autobiography, 3:392, 409–410, 433–434. The MS of the Articles in PCC, No. 27, is a copy in Timothy Pickering's hand and offers no clue to their authorship. JA himself believed { 133 } that the new Articles “laid the foundation of a discipline, which in time brought our Troops to a Capacity of contending with British Veterans, and a rivalry with the best Troops of France.” His account of his role in their production and adoption was another part of his answer to Hamilton's charges in 1800.
3. William Livingston (1723–1790) had at the end of August been elected governor of New Jersey under the new state constitution. His first address to the legislature, dated 11 Sept. and greatly admired by JA, was printed in the Pennsylvania Gazette, 1 Oct., and is reprinted in New Jersey Archives, 2d ser., 1 (1901):200–203.
4. This is the last entry in Lb/JA/2, which JA had begun in June and devoted mainly to letters addressed to AA. The greater part of the book is blank.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0088

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-09-23

Abigail Adams to John Adams

There are perticuliar times when I feel such an uneasiness, such a restlessness, as neither company, Books, family Cares or any other thing will remove, my Pen is my only pleasure, and writing to you the composure of my mind.
I feel that agitation this Evening, a degree of Melancholy has seazd my mind, owing to the anxiety I feel for the fate of our Arms at New York, and the apprehensions I have for your Health and Safety.
We Have so many rumours and reports that tis imposible to know what to Credit. We are this Evening assurd that there has been a field Battle between a detachment of our Army commanded by General Miflin and a Detachment of British Troops in which the Latter were defeated. An other report says that we have been obliged to Evacuate the city and leave our cannon, Baggage &c. &c. This we cannot credit, we will not Believe it.
Tis a most critical day with us. Heaven Crown our arms with Success.
Did you ever expect that we should hold Long Island? And if that could not be held, the city of New York must lie at their mercy. If they command New York can they cut of the communication between the Colonies?
Tho I sufferd much last winter yet I had rather be in a situation where I can collect the Truth, than at a distance where I am distressd by a thousand vague reports—

War is our Buisness, but to whom is Give'n

To die, or triumph, that determine Heav'n!

I write you an abundance, do you read it all? Your last Letters have { 134 } been very short. Have you buried, stifled or exausted all the—I wont ask the question you must find out my meaning if you can.
I cannot help smileing at your caution in never subscribeing a Letter, yet frank it upon the outside where you are obliged to write your name.
I hope I have a Letter by Saturdays Post. You say you are sometimes dissapointed, you can tell then How I feel. I endeavour to write once a week.
Poor Barrel I see by the paper is dead. So is our Neighbour Feild.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia”; franked: “Free”; docketed in an unidentified hand: “Portia 1776.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0089

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-09-25

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I have only Time to say, by Mr. Taylor, that I am not worse than I have been—that however, I think, the G[eneral] C[our]t might have sent somebody here, before now—and that it will not be many days before I shall sett off. I shall wait for the Completion of a few Things and then go—perhaps in a Week or ten days.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0090

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-09-29

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Not since the 5th of Sepbr. have I had one line from you which makes me very uneasy. Are you all this time confering with his Lordship, is there no communication? or are the post Riders all dismissd.
Let the cause be which it will, not hearing from you has given me much uneasiness.
We seem to be kept in a total Ignorance of affairs at York. I hope you at Congress are more inlightned. Who fell, who wounded, who prisoner or their numbers is as undetermined as it was the day after the Battle. If our Army is in ever so critical a state I wish to know it, and the worst of it—if all America are to be ruind and undone by a pack of Cowards and knaves, I wish to know it. Pitiable is the Lot of their commander. Caesars tenth Leigion never was forgiven. We are told for Truth that a Regiment of Yorkers refused to quit the city and { 135 } that an other Regiment behaved like a pack of Cowardly villans by quitting their posts. If they are unjustly censured it is for want of proper inteligance.
I am sorry to see a Spirit so venal prevailing every where. When our Men were drawn out for Canady a very large Bounty was given them, and now an other call [is made]1 upon us no one will go without a large Bounty tho only for two months, and each Town seem to think their Honour engaged in outbiding one an other. The province pay is forty shilings. In addition to that this Town voted to make it up six pounds.2 They then drew out the persons most unlikely to go and they are obliged to give 3 pounds to Hire a Man. Some pay the whole fine ten pounds; forty men are now draughted from this Town, more than one half from 50 to 16teen are now in the Service. This method of conducting will create a General uneasiness in the Continental Army; I hardly think you can be sensible how much we are thind in this province.
The rage for privateering is as great here as any where. Vast Numbers are employd in that way. If it is necessary to make any more draughts upon us the women must Reap the Harvests. I am willing to do my part. I believe I could gather Corn and Husk it, but I should make a poor figure at diging Potatoes.
There has been a report that a fleet was seen in our Bay yesterday. I cannot conceive from whence, nor do I believe the story.
Tis said you have been upon Staten Island to hold your conference, tis a little odd that I have never Received the least intimation of it from you. Did you think I should be allarmd? Dont you know me better than to think me a Coward? I hope you will write me every thing concerning this affair. I have a great curiosity to know the result.
As to Goverment nothing is yet done about it.3 The Church is opened here every Sunday, and the king prayed for as usual in open defiance to Congress.4 Parker of Boston is more discreet and so is Sargant.5
You have wrote me once or twice to know whether your Brother inclined to go into the Service. I think he wholy declines it. As to mine I have not heard any thing from him since his application to Court. Natll. Belcher goes Capt. and Tertias Bass Lieut. from this Town. They March tomorrow.
Poor Soper we have lost him with a nerveous fever, he died a fryday.6 A great loss to this Town a man of so interprizing a temper, more Especially when we are so destitute of them.
{ 136 }
I should be obliged to you if you would direct Bass to Buy me a Barcelona Hankerchief and 2 oz. of Thread No. 18. Mr. Gerry said Goods were 5 pr. cent dearer here than with you, and by the way I hope you are not charged Eaquelly dear for the last Canister as for the first, the first is the Best of Hyson the other very Good Suchong.
If the next post does not bring me a Letter I think I will leave of writing, for I shall not believe you get mine.

[salute] Adieu yours.

PS Master John has become post rider from Boston to B[raintree].
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia ans. Oct. 8.”
1. Two words editorially supplied.
2. On 23 Sept. the subject of “Encouragement to the Soldiers” was taken up in Braintree town meeting, and it was “Voted, That each soldier that shall engage to go to New York, in Complyance with the Requesition of the Continentiel Congress, shall have six pounds per month including what is allow'd by the Congress during the time of his being in the service”; it was further voted that each soldier so engaging would receive £2 of his pay “previous to his marching” (Braintree Town Records, p. 469–470).
3. Meaning a plan for a state constitution.
4. It was Rev. Edward Winslow who continued to pray for the King at Christ Church in Braintree, but under pressure from Attorney General Benjamin Kent in the following spring Winslow preached a farewell sermon and took refuge with British forces at Newport and, later, New York City (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 11:104–105; see also AA to JA, 2 April 1777, below).
5. Rev. Samuel Parker, Harvard 1764, pastor of Trinity Church in Boston; and Rev. Winwood Serjeant, pastor of Christ Church in Cambridge (Weis, Colonial Clergy of N.E.).
6. Edmund Soper, first major in Joseph Palmer's regiment of Suffolk militia, was serving as a Braintree selectman at the time of his death (Mass. Soldiers and Sailors; Braintree Town Records, p. 464–465).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0091

Author: Adams, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-10-03

Samuel Adams to Abigail Adams

Mr. Samuel Adams sends his affectionate Regards to Mrs. Adams (in which his own Mrs. Adams heartily joyns) and acquaints her that he shall sett off next Week or Monday see'night at the farthest for Philadelphia and is desirous of rendering his best Services to Mrs. A. He wishes to know the State of her Family with Respect to their Health; is very sorry that he has not had the Opportunity of making her a Visit at Braintree, a Pleasure which he has missed of by Reason of constant Avocations, which he begs may excuse him.
He had the pleasure of receiving a Letter from his Friend and Colleague Mr. JA of the 14th of September,1 and supposes he has written to his Lady since that Date. He only adds that the Conduct { 137 } of his Friend at Staten Island affords an additional Reason why his Country should still covet and even demand his further publick Services.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams Braintree.”
1. LbC (Adams Papers); printed under the wrong date of 17 Sept. in JA's Works, 9:443–446. ||JA copied the letter into his Autobiography in an “entry” dated 17 Sept. 1776.||

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0092

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-10-04

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I send you, all the News. When I do not write I suffer more Pain than you do, when you dont receive a Line. I have no greater Pleasure than in Writing to you, but I have not Time.
When I shall come home I dont know. But this you may depend on, I can come when I will. The Communication is open and will remain so. It cannot be cutt off.
The General Court have not appointed any one in my stead. I expected they would—but whether they do or not I shall come home, before long.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0093

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-10-04

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I am seated, in a large Library Room, with Eight Gentlemen round about me, all engaged in Conversation. Amidst these Interruptions, how shall I make it out to write a Letter?
The first day of October, the day appointed by the Charter of Pensilvania for the annual Election of Representatives, has passed away, and two Counties only have chosen Members, Bucks and Chester.
The Assembly is therefore dead, and the Convention is dissolved. A new Convention is to be chosen, the Beginning of November.
The Proceedings of the late Convention are not well liked, by the best of the Whiggs.—Their Constitution is reprobated and the Oath with which they have endeavoured to prop it, by obliging every Man to swear that he will not add to, or diminish from or any Way alter that Constitution, before he can vote, is execrated.
We live in the Age of political Experiments. Among many that will { 138 } fail some, I hope will succeed.—But Pensilvania will be divided and weakend, and rendered much less vigorous in the Cause, by the wretched Ideas of Government, which prevail, in the Minds of many People in it.1
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams Braintree Massachusetts Bay”; franked: “free John Adams”; postmarked: “PHILA. OCT. 4.”
1. This proved a true prophecy. The Pennsylvania constitution of 1776, the work of a convention dominated by political radicals, was adopted on 28 Sept. after only a token submission of its articles to the citizens and with a substantial minority of “moderates” in the convention opposed to it. Worse, the Convention adopted a provision for an oath exacting from every elector a promise that he would, in effect, neither oppose nor criticize anything whatever in the form of government now established. One result was that it took six months to organize a new government in Pennsylvania, and another was that for fourteen years, until a new constitution was adopted in 1790, the state was torn and distracted by political factionalism probably bitterer than that in any other state. See J. Paul Selsam, The Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776, Phila., 1936, chs. 4–6; Robert L. Brunhouse, The Counter-Revolution in Pennsylvania, 1776–1790, Harrisburg, 1942, passim.
Among the most vocal critics of the constitution of 1776, both at home and abroad, in public and in private, for many years, was JA, who considered it an epitome of all that was bad in constitution-making and an unadulterated specimen of democratic tyranny. It is not too much to say that his close observation of what happened in Pennsylvania politics in 1776–1777 was one of the principal influences on his mature political thought.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0094

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-10-05

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Mr. Eliot brought me yours of Septr. 21, this day. My Health is rather better than worse. The cool Weather, in conjunction with my Ride to Staten Island, has braced me up, a little, but I shall soon relax again and must have another ride.
I sympathize with you, in the Recollection of the melancholly scaenes of the last Year; and I rejoice with you, in the vigorous Health of your excellent Father. I hope his Vigour and Vivacity will be long preserved, for the Benefit of all about him. I long to spend one of our social Evenings with him and the Dr., you Girls sitting by and listening to our profound discourse, as you used to do.
I feel a real Sorrow and Affliction at the Loss of my worthy Neighbour Field. His deserving Family have sustained a great Loss. Remember me to them, and tell them that I am an hearty Mourner with them.
I feel as much for my worthy Brother and sister, as I do for my self, and for their family as for mine. Both are going to Wreck, but we shall leave them free tho we leave them poor—And the meanest, { 139 } poorest American scorns the richest slave, at least I would have it so.
I cannot think his scheme of purchasing a Farm will do.—As to H[arvard] Colledge I know nothing of it.
That Business is misplaced is true. I know more of it, than I have yet thought it prudent to tell the World. I was restrained by dangers of various Kinds, but I will not be always restrained. I will renounce the office of <Chief Justice>1 and then I shall be upon equal Ground with other People, and then I will speak and write as freely as my natural Disposition inclines me to do.
I have suffered Indignities to my self, and I have observed without clamouring about Abuses to the Public, when I thought that indulging either public or private Resentment would endanger our Cause—but I will bear it no longer than the public Cause requires this Patience of me.
1. These two words heavily inked out, probably just before the letter was folded and sealed, since there is an inkstain on the facing page.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0095

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-10-07

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I have been here, untill I am stupified. If I set down to write even to you, I am at a Loss what to write.
We expect General Lee, in Town every Hour, He dined at Wilmington Yesterday. His Appearance at Head Quarters on the Heights of Ha'arlem, would give a flow of Spirits to our Army, there. Some Officer of his Spirit and Experience, seems to be wanted.
The Quarter Master Generals Department, the Adjutant Generals Department, and the Surgion Generals Department, have for sometime past, been in great Confusion. The Army have suffered, in their Baggage, Discipline and Health, from those Causes.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams Braintree Mass. Bay”; franked: “free John Adams.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0096

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-10-08

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I ought to acknowledge with Gratitude, your constant Kindness in Writing to me, by every Post. Your favour of Septr. 29. came by the { 140 } last. I wish it had been in my Power, to have returned your Civilities with the same Punctuality, but it has not.
Long before this you have received Letters from me, and Newspapers containing a full Account of the Negociation. The Communication is still open and the Post Riders now do their Duty and will continue to do so.
I assure you, We are as much at a Loss, about Affairs at New York, as you are. In general, our Generals were out generalled on Long Island, and Sullivan and Stirling with 1000 Men were made Prisoners, in Consequence of which, and several other unfortunate Circumstances, a Council of War thought it prudent to retreat from that Island, and Governors Island and then from New York. They are now posted at Haarlem about 10 or 11 Miles from the City. They left behind them some Provisions, some Cannon and some Baggage.
Wherever the Men of War have approached, our Militia have most manfully turned their backs and run away, Officers and Men, like sturdy fellows—and their panicks have sometimes seized the regular Regiments.
One little skirmish on Montresors Island, ended with the Loss of the brave Major Henley, and the disgrace of the rest of the Party. Another Skirmish, which might indeed be called an Action, ended in the defeat and shamefull flight of the Enemy, with the Loss of the brave Coll. Knowlton on our Part. The Enemy have Possession of Paulus Hook and Bergen Point, Places on the Jersy side of the North River.
By this Time their Force is so divided between Staten Island, Long Island, New York, Paulus Hook and Bergen Point, that, I think they will do no great Matter more this fall, unless the Expiration of the Term of Inlistment of our Army, should disband it. If our new Inlistments fill up, for Soldiers during the War, We shall do well enough.—Every Body must encourage this.
You are told that a Regiment of Yorkers behaved ill, and it may be true, but I can tell you that several Regiments of Massachusetts Men have behaved ill, too.
The Spirit of Venality, you mention, is the most dreadfull and alarming Enemy, that America has to oppose. It is as rapacious and insatiable as the Grave. We are in the Fasce Romuli, non Republica Platonis. This predominant Avarice will ruin America, if she is ever ruined. If God almighty does not interpose by his Grace to controul this universal Idolatry to the Mammon of Unrighteousness, We shall be given up to the Chastisements of his Judgments. I am ashamed of the Age I live in.
{ 141 }
You surprise me with your Account of the Prayers in publick for an Abdicated King, a Pretender to the Crown. Nothing of that Kind is heard in this Place, or any other Part of the Continent, but New York and the Place you mention. This Practice is Treason against the State and cannot be long tolerated.
I lament the Loss of Soper, as an honest, and usefull Member of Society.
Dont leave off writing to me—I write as often as I can.
I am glad Master John has an office so usefull to his Mamma and Pappa, as that of Post rider.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0097

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-10-11

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I suppose your Ladyship has been in the Twitters, for some Time past, because you have not received a Letter by every Post, as you used to do.—But I am coming to make my Apology in Person. I, Yesterday asked and obtained Leave of Absence. It will take me till next Monday, to get ready, to finish off a few Remnants of public Business, and to put my private Affairs in proper Order. On the 14th. day of October, I shall get away, perhaps. But I dont expect to reach Home, in less than a fortnight, perhaps not in three Weeks, as I shall be obliged to make stops by the Way.1
1. No vote on JA's application for leave, 10 Oct., is recorded in the Journal of Congress. He set off from Philadelphia on Sunday the 13th; see the entry of that date in his Diary and Autobiography, 2:251. But since his itemized accounts have not been found, we do not know his route beyond Trenton; and since his correspondence broke off abruptly upon his departure from Congress, we do not know when he reached Braintree. He had arrived by 5 Nov., however, for on that date he drafted a letter, probably intended for a colleague in Congress, on the problem of currency inflation; this is in Lb/JA/1 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 89), but appears to be incomplete and may not have been sent.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0098

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-10-15

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

Nothing but the Greatest affection for my dear Mrs. Adams Would Induce me to Break over the Avocations of this busey Morning, and to quit the Conversation of my Friends who Leave me tomorrow, to { 142 } scrable over a Hasty Line in Token that I have not Forgot you. Mr. Warren promissed to Make all the Apoligies Necessary for my Long silence. Mine is the Loss and the Mortifycation and on that Consideration I Could Wish you would not be quite so Ceremonious, But would oftener Favour Your Friend with the News from Abroad and the political Speculations at home, as well as the sentiments of Friendship which Glow in the Bosom of the sociable Portia.
When do You Expect to see Mr. Adams. I Really think it A Great tryal of patience and philosophy to be so Long seperated from the Companion of Your Heart and from the Father of your Little Flock. But the High Enthusiasm of a truly patriotic Lady will Cary Her through Every Difficulty, and Lead Her to Every Exertion. Patience, Fortitude, Public Spirit, Magnanimity and self Denial are the Virtues she Boasts. I wish I Could put in my Claim to those sublime qualities. But oh! the Dread of Loosing all that this World Can Bestow by one Costly sacrifice keeps my Mind in Continual Alarm. I own my weakness and stand Corrected yet Cannot Rise superior to Those Attachments which sweeten Life and Without which the Dregs of this Terestial Existence Would not be Worth preserving.
I have it in Contemplation to Call on you again before the seting in of Winter but if I do not you will be kind Enough to Return some papers I have Frequently Mentiond by Mr. Warren. I Rely With Confidence you will [not]1 take nor suffer to be taken any Copies.
Our Friends will tell you all you wish to know about Plimouth. They have made me an agreable Visit, and as this is the Last Day I shall have their Company it will not be quite Civil to Leave them Longer than to subscribe the Name of your Ever Affectionate Friend,
[signed] M Warren
1. This word has been editorially supplied.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0099

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-12-01

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

It is A Long time since I had the Happiness of hearing from my Braintree Friends. Dos my dear Mrs. Adams think I am Indebted a Letter. If she dos Let her Recollect A Moment and she will find she is mistaken. Or is she so wholly Engrossed with the Ideas of her own Happiness as to think Little of the absent. Why should I Interrupt for a moment if this is the Case, the Vivacity and Cheerfulness of Portia Encircled by her Children in full health (her kind Companion { 143 } sharing this felicity,) to Look in upon her Friend in this hour of solitude, my Husband at Boston, my Eldest son abscent, my other four at an Hospital Ill with the small pox, my Father on a bed of pain Verging fast towards the Closing scene, no sisters at hand nor Even a Friend to step in and shorten the tedious hour. I feel with the poet, 'poor is the Friendless Master of a World.' But before I quit talking of myself I must tell you that the Lovely Image of Hope still spreads her silken Wing, and Resting on her pinion I sooth myself into tranquility and peace amidst this Group of painful Circumstances. A few days will make a very material Change in the feelings of my Heart. It may be filled with the Highest sentiments of Gratitude for the preservation and Recovery of my Children, with their Father siting by my side partaking the Delight. Or! I May—My pen trembles. I have not the Courage to Reverse the scene. I Leave the Theme, When you in unison with my soul shall Have Breathed a sigh that your Friend may be prepared for Every designation of providence.
I was Greatly Disappointed that you and Mr. Adams did not Come to Plimouth. Can Neither the General, the Marine nor the Superiour Court, Draw him from his own fire side. Well, Let him Indulge there a Little Longer and the Court of Conscience will do more than all, for I know he Reverences Her awful Tribunal. How is his Health, how are his spirits. What dos he think of the surrender of Fort Washington. Twenty other things I want to ask. If you were both to write me a Good Long Letter it would not more than satisfy my Curiosity and my Wishes. But if the acknowlegements of Gratful Esteem will make any Returns you may be assured of them with the most Cordial sincerity from Your unfeigned Friend,
[signed] Mercy Warren
PS I hope Mr. Warren will Return on Wensday by whom you will not Fail to send a Certain Copey of A Letter of no Consequence to any body but your Friend.
Mrs. Lothrop has just steped in and desires her Regards to you. Most of her Connexions in town are at the Hospital. Neer a hundred persons are now under Innoculation.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0100

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-01-09

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear

The irresistable Hospitality of Dr. Sprague and his Lady has prevailed upon me, and my worthy Fellow Traveller, to put up at his { 144 } happy Seat.—We had an agreable Ride to this Place, and tomorrow Morning We sett off, for Providence, or some other Rout.1
Present my affection, in the tenderest Manner to my little deserving Daughter and my amiable sons.
It was cruel Parting this Morning. My Heart was most deeply affected, altho, I had the Presence of Mind, to appear composed.
May God almightys Providence protect you, my dear, and all our little ones. My good Genius, my Guardian Angell whispers me, that We shall see happier Days, and that I shall live to enjoy the Felicities of domestic Life, with her whom my Heart esteems above all earthly Blessings.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams Braintree”; docketed in pencil by AA: “Jan 9.” (These penciled docketings continue on JA's letters through February and were probably made late in March when AA inventoried the letters she had so far received from him; see AA to JA, 26 March, below.)
1. JA's host was Dr. John Sprague, a well-to-do physician and warm patriot who has been mentioned earlier in these letters; on Sprague's house in Dedham see Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 10:241. Accompanying JA were his servant (John Turner) and one of the two recently elected additional Massachusetts delegates, James Lovell. JA's somewhat imperfect account with Massachusetts for his expenses on this journey is printed from the Adams Papers in his Diary and Autobiography, 2:252–253, and his experiences on the way are rather fully described in his letters to AA that follow here. Under the threat of Howe's army in the Jerseys, Congress had adjourned from Philadelphia on 12 Dec. 1776 and reassembled at Baltimore on the 20th (JCC, 6:1027–1028). The travelers took a wide arc around the opposing armies, and their precise itinerary is given in a paper docketed by JA “Mr. Lovells Account,” which is receipted by Lovell to JA and is in the Adams Papers under the assigned date 1776–1777 (but should be Jan. 1777). The itinerary and payments for food, lodgings, &c. (for the whole party of men and horses), are given by Lovell as follows:
Dedham     6:    
Medfield     4:   6  
Medway     7:    
Mendon   1:   1:    
Duglass     2:    
Killingly     4:    
Thompson     9:   4  
Pomfrett     4:    
Kenneday     5:    
Windham     15:   6  
Coventry     6:   8  
East Hartford     10:   6  
Hartford   1:   6:   6  
Farmington     6:    
Southington     15:   6  
Waterbury     5:    
Woodbury     15:   2  
New Milford     7:    
New Fairfield     14:    
Beekman's Precinct     6:    
Fish Kills     16:    
Hackinsac     11:   3  
Pokeepsie   1:   2:    
River N[or]th     3:   7  
New Marlbro'     1:   6  
New Windsor     9:    
Bethlehem     13:   10  
Goshen     5:   8  
Warwick     7:   4  
Hardystown     14:    
Sussex Court House     10:   6  
Log Jail   1:     4  
Oxford Township     9:   4  
Oxford     8:    
Greenwich     4:    
Delaware River     1:   10  
East Town   1:   18:   8  
Bethlehem   2:   16:   11  
Ferry     1:   3  
Chester   1:     3  
{ 145 }
Wilmington     8:    
Newark     14:   6  
Notingham     19:   9  
Susquehannah     12:   10  
Hartford   1:   2:   6  
Godsgraces     18:   7  
  27:   12:   1  
JA's two-thirds share is indicated as £18 8s.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0101

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-01-13

John Adams to Abigail Adams

The Riding has been so hard and rough, and the Weather so cold that We have not been able to push farther than this Place. My little Colt has performed very well hitherto, and I think will carry me through the Journey, very pleasantly.
Our Spirits have been cheered, by two or three Pieces of good News, which Commissary Trumble1 who is now with me, tells us, he saw Yesterday in a Letter from G[eneral] Washington, who has gained another considerable Advantage of the Enemy at Stonny Brook in the Jersies, as G[eneral] Putnam has gained another at Burlington, and the Jersy Militia a third.2 The Particulars, you will have before this reaches you in the public Prints.
The Communication of Intelligence begins to be more open, and We have no Apprehensions of Danger in the Rout We shall take.
How [Howe] has Reason to repent of his Rashness, and will have more.
My Love to my dear little ones. They are all very good Children and I have no doubt will continue so. I will drop a Line as often as I can. Adieu.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams Braintree”; franked: “Free John Adams”; docketed in pencil by AA.
1. Joseph Trumbull (1737–1778), Harvard 1756 (DAB).
2. These were actions in Washington's daring and highly successful winter campaign to drive in the British and Hessian advanced posts in New Jersey, resulting in American victories at Trenton and Princeton. See his letters to Pres. Hancock, 27 Dec. 1776 and 5 Jan. 1777 (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 6:441–444, 467–471).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0102

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-01-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

It is now generally believed here that G. Washington has killed and taken at least two Thousands of Mr. Howes Army since Christmas. Indeed the Evidence of it is from the Generals own Letters. You know I ever thought Mr. Hows march through the Jerseys a rash Step. It has proved so—but how much more so would it have been { 146 } thought if the Americans could all have viewed it in that light and exerted themselves as they might and ought. The whole Flock would infallibly have been taken in the Net.
The little Nest of Hornets in Rhode Island—is it to remain unmolested this Winter? The Honour of N[ew] E[ngland] is concerned—if they are not crushed I will never again glory in being a N.E. man. There are now N.E. Generals, Officers and soldiers and if something is not done, any Man may after that call New England men Poltroons with all my Heart.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams Braintree”; docketed in pencil by AA.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0103

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-01-17
Date: 1777-01-18

John Adams to Abigail Adams

After a March like that of Hannibal over the Alps We arrived last Night at this Place, Where We found the Utmost Difficulty to get Forage for our Horses, and Lodgings for ourselves, and at last were indebted to the Hospitality of a private Gentleman Coll. Brinkhoff [Brinckerhoff], who very kindly cared for Us.
We came from Hartford through Farmington, Southington, Waterbury, Woodbury, New Milford, New Fairfield, the Oblong, &c. to Fish Kill. Of all the Mountains I ever passed these are the worst.—We found one Advantage however in the Cheapness of Travelling.
I dont find one half of the Discontent, nor of the Terror here that I left in the Massachusetts. People seem sanguine that they shall do something grand this Winter.
I am well, and in good Spirits.—My Horse performs extreemly well. He clambers over Mountains that my old Mare would have stumbled on. The Weather has been dreadfully severe.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams Braintree To be left at Isaac Smith Esqrs. in Queen Street Boston”; docketed in pencil by AA: “Jan 16” (though JA had left only a blank space in the dateline for the month and day).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0104

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-01-19

John Adams to Abigail Adams

There is too much Ice in Hudsons River to cross it in Ferry Boats and too little to cross it, without, in most Places, which has given Us { 147 } the Trouble of riding up the Albany Road as far as this Place, where We expect to go over on the Ice, but if We should be dissappointed here, We must go up as far as Esopus about fifteen miles farther.
This, as well as Fish-kill is a pretty Village. We are almost wholly among the Dutch—Zealous against the Tories, who have not half the Tranquillity here that they have in the Town of Boston, after all the Noise that has been made about N. York Tories.
We are treated with the Utmost Respect, wherever We go, and have met with nothing like an Insult, from any Person whatever. I heard ten Reflections, and twenty Sighs and Groans, among my Constituents to one here.
I shall never have done hoping that my Countrymen will contrive some Coup de main, for the Wretches at Newport. The Winter is the Time. Our Enemies have divided their Force. Let Us take Advantage of it.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams Braintree”; added on the cover in the hand of Isaac Smith Sr.: “Yrs. IS”; docketed in pencil by AA.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0105

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-01-20

John Adams to Abigail Adams

This Morning We crossed the North River at Poughkeepsie, on the Ice, after having ridden many Miles on the East side of it to find a proper Place. We landed at New Marlborough, and passed through that and Newborough [Newburgh] to New Windsor, where We dined. This Place is nearly opposite to Fish kill, and but little above the Highlands, where Fort Constitution and Fort Montgomery stand. The Highlands are a grand Sight, a range of vast Mountains, which seem to be rolling like a tumbling Sea.—From New Windser, We came to this Place, Where We put up, and now We have a free and uninterrupted Passage in a good Road to Pensilvania.
General Washington with his little Army is at Morris town. Cornwallis with his larger one at Brunswick. Oh that the Continental Army was full. Now is the Time.
My little Horse holds out, finely, altho We have lost much Time and travelled a great deal of unnecessary Way, to get over the North River.
We have Reports of our Peoples taking Fort Washington again, and taking 400 more Prisoners and six more Pieces of Cannon—but as I { 148 } know not the Persons who bring these Accounts I pay no Attention to them.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams Braintree”; added on the cover in the hand of Isaac Smith Sr.: “Ys. [i.e. Yours] IS”; docketed in pencil by AA.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0106

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-01-24

John Adams to Abigail Adams

We have at last crossed the Delaware, and are agreably lodged in Easton, a little Town, situated on a Point of Land formed by the Delaware on one Side and the River Lehi, on the other. There is an elegant Stone Church here built by the Dutch People,1 by whom the Town is chiefly inhabited, and what is remarkable because uncommon, the Lutherans and Calvinists united to build this Church, and the Lutheran and Calvinist Minister, alternately officiate in it. There is also an handsome Court House. The Buildings public and private are all of Lime stone.—Here are some Dutch Jews.
Yesterday We had the Pleasure of seeing the Moravian Mills in New Jersey. These Mills belong to the Society of Moravians in Bethlehem in Pensilvania. They are a great Curiosity. The Building is of Limestone four Stories high. It is not in my Power to give a particular Description of this Piece of Mechanism. A vast Quantity of Grain of all sorts is collected here.2
We have passed through the famous County of Sussex in New Jersey, where the Sussex Court House stands and where We have so often been told the Tories are so numerous and so dangerous. We met with no Molestation, nor Insult. We stopped at some of the most noted Tory Houses, and were treated every where with the Utmost Respect. Upon the strictest Inquiry I could make, I was assured that a great Majority of the Inhabitants are stanch Whiggs. Sussex they say can take Care of Sussex, and yet all agree that there are more Tories in that County [than in a]ny3 other. If the British Army should get into that County in sufficient Numbers to protect the Tories there is no doubt to be made they would be insolent enough and malicious and revengefull. But there is no danger at present and will be none untill that Event takes Place.
The Weather has been sometimes bitterly cold, sometimes warm, sometimes rainy and sometimes snowy, and the Roads, abominably { 149 } hard and rough, so that this Journey has been the most tedious I ever attempted. Our Accommodations have been often, very bad, but much better and cheaper than they would have been if We had taken the Road from Peeks Kill to Morriston where the Army lies.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams Braintree To be left at Isaac Smith Esqrs. Queen Street. Boston”; docketed in pencil by AA.
1. That is, “Pennsylvania Dutch,” or Germans.
2. These famous mills were at Hope, near Oxford, in Sussex co., N.J. According to Bishop Kenneth G. Hamilton of the Archives of the Moravian Church, Bethlehem, Penna., “the old stone buildings are still standing, and the grist mill is still a showpiece” (communication to the editors, 6 Aug. 1962).
3. MS torn by seal.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0107

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-01-26

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Tis a Great Grief to me that I know not how to write nor where to send to you. I know not of any conveyance. I risk this by Major R[ic]e who promisses to take what care he can to get it to you.
I have Received 3 Letters from you since you left me, 2 from H[artfor]d and one from D[edha]m. Tis a satisfaction to hear tho only by a line.
We are told the most dissagreable things by use become less so. I cannot say that I find the truth of the observation verified. I am sure no seperation was ever so painfull to me as the last. Many circumstances concur to make it so—the distance and the difficulty of communication, the Hazards which if not real, my immagination represents so, all conspire [to]1 make me anxious, as well as what I need not [ . . . ] mention.2
I wish to Hear often from you and when a conveniant opportunity offers let me know how you like your waiter. Many reports have been circulated since you went away concerning him none of which I regard as I find no proof to support them. One is that he is a deserted Regular, a Spy &c. I find tis all Suspicion or else told with a design to make me uneasy, but it has not that Effect.
The family are all well, and desire Pappa would write to them.—I rejoice in our late Successes. Heaven grant us a continuation of them.
Your M[othe]r desires to be rememberd to you.
I long to hear of your arrival and to get one Letter from B[altimor]e. The Situation will be new and afford me entertainment by an account of it. At all times remember in the tenderest manner her whose happiness depends upon your Welfare,
[signed] Portia
{ 150 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Baltimore in Maryland”; endorsed: “Portia. Jany. 26.”
1. Here and below, MS is torn by seal.
2. AA was pregnant. On the following 11 July she was delivered of a stillborn daughter. See various letters in June and July, below, especially John Thaxter to JA, 13 July, and AA to JA, 16 July. CFA omitted the present letter from his editions of his grandparents' correspondence and, consistently and silently, all allusions to AA's “Circumstances” in such of the following letters as he did include.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0108

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1777-01

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Dear Marcia

Tis so long since I took a pen up to write a line that I fear you have thought me unmindfull of you; I should not have neglected writing to you immediately upon the receipt of your obliging favour especially as you was then under great anxiety. My Eyes ever since the small pox have been great Sufferers. Writing puts them to great pain.—I now congratulate my Friend upon the Recovery of her amiable family from so Malignant a disease and Mr. Winslow in perticuliar who I heard was under some concern and apprehension from it.2
You my Friend then experienced in some measure what I passd through in the Summer past only with this difference that your Friend was within a days ride of you mine hundreds of miles Distant.—O Marcia how many hundred miles this moment seperate us—my heart Bleads at the recollection. Many circumstances conspire to make this Seperation more greivious to me than any which has before taken place. The distance, the difficulty of communication, and the many hazards which my immagination represents as real (if they are not so) from Brittains, Hessians and Tories, render me at times very unhappy. I had it in my Heart to disswade him from going and I know I could have prevaild, but our publick affairs at that time wore so gloomy an aspect that I thought if ever his assistance was wanted, it must be at such a time. I therefore resignd my self to suffer much anxiety and many Melancholy hours for this year to come. I know you have a sympathetick feeling Heart or I should not dare indulge myself in relateing my Griefs.
Many unfortunate as well as prosperious Events have taken place in our publick affairs since I had the pleasure of seeing or writing to you. Lee poor Lee—the loss at fort[s] Washington and Lee together did not affect me eaquelly with the loss of that Brave and Experienced General. He has an unconq[uerable] Spirit, imprisonment must be greivious indeed to him.
{ 151 }
I am apt to think that our late misfortunes have called out the hidden Excellencies of our Commander in chief—“affliction is the good mans shining time.” The critical state of our affairs has shown him to great advantage. Heaven grant that his Successes may be continued to him, tis Natural to estimate the military abilities of a man according to his Successes.
Can you, do you? credit the report that is circulating with regard to the Farmer.3 We may well adopt the words of the Psalmist—

Lord what is Man?

I was mortified the other day when I heard the Colonel passd this House without calling. I hope he will not forget me when he returns. My Regards to Mrs. Lothrope and all the little folks. Pray write to me soon, I will endeavour to be better for the future. Yours,
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers); dated conjecturally by JQA at head of text: “1776. Novr.,” but see note 1.
1. This undated draft is evidently a reply to Mrs. Warren's “obliging favour” of 1 Dec. 1776, above, but it was not written until some time after JA's departure from Braintree for Baltimore on 9 Jan. 1777. Since it contains one passage nearly identical in phrasing with one in AA to JA, 26 Jan., preceding, it was probably written at about the same time.
2. Winslow Warren (1759–1791) was the 2d son of James and Mercy (Otis) Warren; he traveled in Europe during the 1780's and crossed the Adamses' path several times; he was killed in St. Clair's defeat on the Wabash. See Mrs. Washington A. Roebling, Richard Warren of the Mayflower . . . , Boston, 1901, p. 28; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:402–403; Warren-Adams Letters, passim; Charles Warren, “A Young American's Adventures in England and France during the Revolutionary War,” MHS, Procs., 65 (1932–1936): 234–267, an article based on Winslow Warren's correspondence with his parents in MHi.
3. John Dickinson. What the current “report” about him was does not appear.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0109

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Last Evening We arrived safe in this Town after the longest Journey, and through the worst Roads and the worst Weather, that I have ever experienced. My Horses performed extreamly well.
Baltimore is a very pretty Town, situated on Petapsco River, which empties itself into the great Bay of Cheasapeak. The Inhabitants are all good Whiggs, having sometime ago banished all the Tories from among them. The Streets are very dirty and miry, but every Thing else is agreable except the monstrous Prices of Things. We cannot get an Horse kept under a Guinea a Week. Our Friends are well.
{ 152 }
The continental Army is filling up fast, here and in Virginia. I pray that the Massachusetts may not fail of its Quota, in Season.
In this Journey, We have crossed four mighty Rivers, Connecticutt, Hudson, Delaware, and Susquehannah. The two first We crossed upon the Ice, the two last in Boats—the last We crossed, a little above the Place where it empties into Cheasapeak Bay.
I think I have never been better pleased with any of our American States than with Maryland. We saw most excellent Farms all along the Road, and what was very striking to me, I saw more sheep and more flax in Maryland than I ever saw in riding a like Distance in any other State. We scarce passed a Farm without seeing a fine flock of sheep, and scarce an House without seeing Men or Women, dressing Flax. Several Times We saw Women, breaking and swingling this necessary Article.
I have been to Meeting, and heard my old Acquaintance Mr. Allison, a worthy Clergyman of this Town whom I have often seen in Philadelphia.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For Mrs. John Adams Braintree To be left at Mr. Isaac Smiths in Queen Street Boston”; docketed in pencil by AA.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0110

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-02-03

John Adams to Abigail Adams

This Day has been observed in this Place, with exemplary Decency and Solemnity, in Consequence of an Appointment of the Government, in Observance of a Recommendation of Congress, as a Day of Fasting. I went to the Presbyterian Meeting and heard Mr. Allison deliver a most pathetic and animating, as well as pious, patriotic and elegant Discourse. I have seldom been better pleased or more affected with a sermon.
The Presbyterian Meeting House in Baltimore stands upon an Hill just at the Back of the Town, from whence We have a very fair Prospect of the Town, and of the Water upon which it stands, and of the Country round it. Behind this Eminence, which is the Bacon [Beacon] Hill of Baltimore, lies a beautifull Meadow, which is entirely incircled by a Stream of Water. This most beautifull Scaene must be partly natural and partly artificial. Beyond the Meadow and Canall, you have a charming View of the Country. Besides the Meeting House there is upon this Height, a large and elegant Court House, as yet unfinished within, and a small Church of England in which an old Clergyman { 153 } officiates, Mr. Chase, Father of Mr. Chace1 one of the Delegates of Maryland, who they say is not so zealous a Whigg as the Son.
I shall take Opportunities to describe this Town and State more particularly to you hereafter. I shall inquire into their Religion, their Laws, their Customs, their Manners, their Descent and Education, their Learning, their Schools and Colledges and their Morals.—It was said of Ulysses I think that he saw the Manners of many Men and many Cities, which is like to be my Case, as far as American Men and Cities extend, provided Congress should continue in the rolling Humour, which I hope they will not. I wish however, that my Mind was more at rest than it is, that I might be able to make more exact Observations of Men and Things as far as I go.
When I reflect upon the Prospect before me of so long an Absence from all that I hold dear in this World, I mean all that contributes to my private personal Happiness, it makes me melancholly. When I think on your Circumstances I am more so, and yet I rejoice at them in spight of all this Melancholly.—God almightys Providence protect and bless you and yours and mine.
RC and LbC (Adams Papers). This day JA resumed his practice of keeping copies of his outgoing letters; the present letter is the third in a new folio letterbook (Lb/JA/3) containing entries for both family and other letters. But he wrote numerous letters from Congress during 1777, to both AA and others, of which he did not keep copies; see descriptive notes on JA to AA, 27 April, 25–27 May, both below.
1. JA long persisted in spelling the name of his friend and fellow delegate Samuel Chase in this way. Samuel's father, an immigrant from England, was Thomas Chase, rector of St. Paul's, Baltimore (DAB, under Samuel Chase).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0111

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-02-07

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I am at last after a great deal of Difficulty, settled in comfortable Quarters, but at an infinite Expence. . . .1 The Price I pay for my Board is more moderate than any other Gentlemen give, excepting my Colleagues, who are all in the same Quarters,2 and at the same Rates except Mr. H[ancock] who keeps an House by himself.
The Prices of Things here, are much more intollerable than at Boston.
The Attempt of New England to regulate Prices, is extreamly popular in Congress, who will recommend an Imitation of it to the other States: for my own Part I expect only a partial and a temporary Re• { 154 } lief from it. And I fear that after a Time the Evils will break out with greater Violence. The Water will flow with greater Rapidity for having been dammed up for a Time. The only radical Cure will be to stop the Emission of more Paper, and to draw in some that is already out, and devise Means effectually to support the Credit of the Rest.3
To this End We must begin forthwith to tax the People, as largely as the distressed Circumstances of the Country will bear. We must raise the Interest from four to six Per Cent. We must if possible borrow Silver and Gold from abroad. We must, above all Things, endeavour this Winter, to gain farther Advantages of the Enemy, that our Power may be in somewhat higher Reputation than it is, or rather than it has been.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams Braintree favoured by Mr. Hall”; docketed in pencil by AA. LbC (Adams Papers).
1. Suspension points in MS.
2. “at Mrs. Ross'es in Markett Street, Baltimore a few Doors below the fountain Inn” (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:257).
3. See JA's speeches in Congress on this subject, 10 and 14 Feb., as recorded in Benjamin Rush's minutes of debates (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:245, 252). On the Massachusetts pricefixing act of Jan. 1777, see AA to JA, 8 Feb., below, and note there.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0112

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-02-07

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I think, in some Letter I sent you, since I left Bethlehem, I promised you a more particular Account of that curious and remarkable Town.
When We first came in sight of the Town, We found a Country better cultivated and more agreably diversified with Prospects of orchards and Fields, Groves and Meadows, Hills and Valleys, than any We had seen.
When We came into the Town We were directed to a public House kept by a Mr. Johnson, which I think was the best Inn, I ever saw. It belongs it seems to the Society, is furnished, at their Expence, and is kept for their Profit, or at their Loss. Here you might find every Accommodation that you could wish for yourself, your servants and Horses, and at no extravagant Rates neither.1
The Town is regularly laid out, the Streets straight and at right Angles like those in Philadelphia. It stands upon an Eminence and has a fine large Brook flowing on one End of it, and the Lehigh a Branch of the Delaware on the other. Between the Town and the Lehigh are beautifull public Gardens.
{ 155 }
They have carried the mechanical Arts to greater Perfection here than in any Place which I have seen. They have a sett of Pumps which go by Water, which force the Water up through leaden Pipes, from the River to the Top of the Hill, near an hundred feet, and to the Top of a little Building, in the shape of a Pyramid, or Obelisk, which stands upon the Top of the Hill and is twenty or thirty feet high. From this Fountain Water is conveyed in Pipes to every Part of the Town.
Upon the River they have a fine Sett of Mills. The best Grist Mills and bolting Mills, that are any where to be found. The best fulling Mills, an oil Mill, a Mill to grind Bark for the Tanyard, a Dying House where all Colours are died, Machines for shearing Cloth &c.
There are three public Institutions here of a very remarkable Nature. One, a Society of the young Men, another of the young Women, and a Third of the Widows. There is a large Building, divided into many Appartments, where the young Men reside, by themselves, and carry on their several Trades. They pay a Rent to the Society for their Rooms, and they pay for their Board, and what they earn is their own.
There is another large Building, appropriated in the same Manner to the young Women. There is a Governess, a little like the Lady Abbess, in some other Institutions, who has the Superintendence of the whole, and they have elders. Each Apartment has a Number of young Women, who are vastly industrious, some Spinning, some Weaving, others employed in all the most curious Works in Linnen, Wool, Cotton, Silver and Gold, Silk and Velvet. This Institution displeased me much. Their Dress was uniform and clean, but very inelegant. Their Rooms were kept extreamly warm with Dutch Stoves: and the Heat, the Want of fresh Air and Exercise, relaxed the poor Girls in such a manner, as must I think destroy their Health. Their Countenances were languid and pale.
The Society of Widows is very similar. Industry and Economy are remarkable in all these Institutions.
They shewed Us their Church which is hung round with Pictures of our Saviour from his Birth to his Death, Resurrection and Ascention. It is done with very strong Colours, and very violent Passions, but not in a very elegant Taste. The Painter who is still living in Bethelehem, but very old—he has formerly been in Italy, the school of Paints.2 They have a very good organ in their Church of their own make. They have a public Building, on Purpose for the Reception of the dead, to which the Corps is carried as soon as it expires, where it lies untill the Time of Sepulture.
Christian Love is their professed Object, but it is said they love { 156 } Money and make their public Institutions subservient to the Gratification of that Passion.
They suffer no Law suits with one another, and as few as possible with other Men. It is said that they now profess to be against War.
They have a Custom, peculiar, respecting Courtship and Marriage. The Elders pick out Pairs to be coupled together, who have no Opportunity of Conversing together, more than once or twice, before the Knot is tied. The Youth of the two sexes have very little Conversation with one another, before Marriage.
Mr. Hassey,3 a very agreable, sensible Gentleman, who shewed Us the Curiosities of the Place, told me, upon Inquiry that they profess the Augsburg Confession of Faith, are Lutherans rather than Calvinists, distinguish between Bishops and Presbyters, but have no Idea of the Necessity of the uninterrupted Succession, are very liberal and candid in their Notions in opposition to Bigottry, and live in Charity with all Denominations.4
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in pencil by AA. LbC (Adams Papers).
1. This was the Sun Inn, kept by Just Jansen (1719–1790), a native of Jutland and former mariner who had come to Bethlehem in the 1750's (William C. Reichel, The Old Sun Inn at Bethlehem ..., Doylestown, Penna., 1873, p. 23 and note).
2. Thus in both RC and LbC.
3. Brother Johann Christian Hasse (1740–1797), born and educated in Germany, served from 1771 as bookkeeper or secretary for the Moravian Church administration (communication from Bishop Kenneth G. Hamilton, Archives of the Moravian Church, Bethlehem, to the editors, 6 Aug. 1962).
4. A Moravian diary kept at Bethlehem briefly mentions JA's visit there on 25–26 Jan.; see PMHB, 12:397 (Jan. 1889). In September JA visited this Moravian community again and made further observations on it (Diary and Autobiography, 2:266–267; see also an illustration in same, facing p. 163).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0113

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-02-08

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Before this time I fancy you at your journeys end; I have pittied you the Season has been a continued cold.
I have heard oftner from you than I ever did in any of your former journeys, it has greatly releaved my mind under its anxiety. I have received six Letters from you, and have the double pleasure of hearing you are well, and that your Thoughts are often turnd this way.
I have wrote once by Major Rice. Two Gentlemen set of for B[altimor]e monday or twesday and have engaged to take this Letter. I feel under so many restraints when I sit down to write that I scarcly know what to say to you. The conveyance of Letters is so precarious that I { 157 } shall not trust any thing of consequence to them untill we have more regular passes.
Indeed very little of any consequence has taken place since you left us. We seem to be in a state of Tranquility; rather too much so. I wish there was a little more Zeal shewn to join the Army.
Nothing now but the regulating Bill engrosses their attention. The merchant scolds, the farmer growls, and every one seems wroth that he cannot grind his neighbour.1
We have a report here said to come in two private Letters that a Considerable Battle has taken place in Brunswick in which we have taken 15000 prisoners. I cannot credit so Good News. The Letters are said to be without date.
I rejoice so much when I only receive a few lines from you, just to hear you are well, that I think I shall give eaquel pleasure by writing to you, tho I cannot say I have enjoyed so much Health since you left me as I did in the begining of winter. Johnny has had an ill turn, but is better.
I beg you would write by every opportunity, and if you cannot send so often as you used write and Let them lay by till you make a pacquet.—What is become of the Farmer, many reports are abroad to his disadvantage.
I feel as if you were gone to a foreign Country. Philadelphia seem'd close by but now I hardly know how to reconcile my self to the Thought that you are 500 miles distant. But tho distant you are always near to
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Baltimore in Maryland”; endorsed: “Portia ans. March 7.”
1. The “regulating Bill” was An Act to prevent Monopoly and Oppression, passed 25 Jan. 1777 (Mass., Province Laws, 5:583–589). This long and detailed act hopefully fixed wages for labor and the prices of every sort of commodity, both domestic and imported, very precisely. A supplementary act was passed on 10 May (same, p. 642–647), but the ineffectualness of the legislation is attested by complaints from both buyers and sellers in numerous letters that follow.

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).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0116

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-02-12

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Mr. Bromfield was so obliging as to write me Word that he designd a journey to the Southern States, and would take perticuliar care of a Letter to you. I rejoice in so good an opportunity of letting you know that I am well as usual, but that I have not yet got reconciled to the great distance between us. I have many melancholy Hours when the best company is urksome to me, and solitude the greatest happiness I can enjoy.
I wait most earnestly for a Letter to bring me the welcome tidings of your safe arrival. I hope you will be very perticuliar and let me know how you are after your fatigueing journey. How you are accommodated. How you like Maryland. What state of mind you find the C[ongre]ss in, and what may be communicated relative to their proceedings. You know how little intelegance we received during your stay here with regard to what was passing there or in the Army. We know no better now, all communication seems to be embaressed. I got more knowledge from a Letter wrote to you from your Namesake which I received since you left me,1 than I had before obtaind since you left P[hiladelphi]a. I find by that Letter that six Hessian officers together with Col. Campel had been offerd in exchange for General Lee. I fear he receives very ill Treatment, the terms were not complied with as poor Campbel finds. He was much surprized when the officers went to take him, and beg'd to know what he had been guilty of? They told him it was no crime of his own but they were obliged tho reluctantly to commit him to Concord jail in consequence of the ill treatment of General Lee. He then beged to know how long his confinement was to last, they told him that was imposible for them to say, since it lay wholy in the power of General How to determine it.2
By a vessel from Bilboa we have accounts of the safe arrival of Dr. F——g in France ten day[s] before She saild;3 a French Gentleman who came passenger says we may rely upon it that 200 thousand Russians will be here in the Spring.
A Lethargy seems to have seazd our Country Men. I hear no more of molessting or routing those troops at Newport than of attacking Great Britain.
We just begin to talk of raising our Men for the Standing Army. I wish to know whether the reports may be Credited of the Southern Regiments being full?
You will write me by the Bearer of this Letter, to whose care you { 161 } may venture to commit any thing you have Liberty to Communicate. I have wrote you twice before this, hope you have received them. The Children all desire to be rememberd—so does your
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Portia. ans. March 7.”
1. Samuel Adams to JA, Baltimore, 9 Jan. 1777 (Adams Papers), printed in JA, Works, 9:448–450.
2. Lt. Col. Archibald Campbell of the 71st Regiment of Highlanders, a member of Parliament, had been captured when the transport in which he had come out put into Boston harbor just after the British squadron had left there in June 1776 (DNB; William Bell Clark, George Washington's Navy, Baton Rouge, 1960, p. 160 ff.). When placed in a common jail at Concord in retaliation for alleged British mistreatment of Gen. Charles Lee, Campbell appealed to Washington, who wrote the Massachusetts Council a severe letter on the subject, 28 Feb. 1777 (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 7:207–208).
3. AA commonly spelled Franklin's name “Frankling.” He had sailed from the Delaware on 29 Oct. and arrived at Nantes on 8 Dec. or a day or so before (Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:216–217, 221).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0117

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-02-15

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Mr. Hall, by whom this Letter will be sent, will carry several Letters to you, which have been written and delivered to him, several Days. He has settled his Business, agreably.
I have not received a Line from the Massachusetts, since I left it.
Whether We shall return to Philadelphia, soon, or not, I cannot say. I rather conjecture it will not be long. You may write to me, in Congress, and the Letter will be brought me, wherever I shall be.
I am settled now agreably enough in my Lodgings, there is nothing in this Respect that lies uneasily upon my Mind, except the most extravagant Price which I am obliged to give for every Thing. My Constituents will think me extravagant, but I am not. I wish I could sell or send home my Horses, but I cannot. I must have Horses and a Servant, for Congress will be likely to remove several Times in the Course of the ensuing Year.
I am impatient to hear from you, and most tenderly anxious for your Health and Happiness. I am also most affectionately solicitous for my dear N. J. C. and T. to whom remember Yours.1
We long to hear of the Formation of a new Army. We shall loose the most happy opportunity of destroying the Enemy this Spring, if We do not exert ourselves instantly.
We have from New Hampshire a Coll. Thornton, a Physician by { 162 } Profession, a Man of Humour. He has a large Budget of droll Stories, with which he entertains Company perpetually.
I heard about Twenty or five and twenty Years ago, a Story of a Physician in Londonderry, who accidentally met with one of our new England Enthusiasts, call'd Exh[orters].2 The Fanatic soon began to examine the Dr. concerning the Articles of his Faith, and what he thought of original Sin?
Why, says the Dr., I satisfy myself about it in this manner. Either original Sin is divisible or indivisible. If it was divisible every descendant of Adam and Eve must have a Part, and the share which falls to each Individual at this Day, is so small a Particle, that I think it is not worth considering. If indivisible, then the whole Quantity must have descended in a right Line, and must now be possessed by one Person only, and the Chances are Millions and Millions and Millions to one that that Person is now in Asia or Africa, and that I have nothing to do with it.
I told Thornton the story and that I suspected him to be the Man.3 He said he was. He belongs to Londonderry.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams at Mr. John Adams's Braintree”; docketed in pencil by AA.
1. JA evidently intended to break off here, but then resumed on a second page.
2. MS torn by seal.
3. That is, the man who answered the exhorter. Dr. Matthew Thornton (ca. 1714–1803) was a delegate to the Continental Congress from New Hampshire, 1776–1777 (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0118

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-02-17

John Adams to Abigail Adams

It was this Day determined, to adjourn, tomorrow Week to Philadelphia.1
How, as you know my opinion always was, will repent his mad march through the Jersies. The People of that Commonwealth, begin to raise their Spirits exceedingly, and to be firmer than ever. They are actuated by Resentment now, and Resentment coinciding with Principle is a very powerfull Motive.
I have got into the old Routine of War Office and Congress, which takes up my Time in such a manner that I can scarce write a Line. I have not Time to think, nor to speak.
There is an united States Lottery abroad.2 I believe you had better buy a Tickett and make a Present of it to our four sweet ones, not for• { 163 } getting the other sweet one. Let us try their Luck. I hope they will be more lucky than their Papa has ever been, or ever will be.
I am as well as can be expected. How it happens I dont know nor how long it will last. My Disposition was naturally gay and chearfull, but the <awful> Prospects I have ever had before me, and these cruel Times will make me melancholly. I who would not hurt the Hair of the Head of any Animal, I who am always made miserable by the Misery of every sensible being, that comes to my Knowledge, am obliged to hear continual Accounts of the Barbarities, the cruel Murders in cold Blood, even by the most tormenting Ways of starving and freezing, committed by our Enemies, and continual Accounts of the Deaths and Diseases contracted by our People by their own Imprudence.
These Accounts harrow me beyond Description.3
These incarnate Daemons say in great Composure, [“that]4 Humanity is a Yankey Virtue.—But that they [are] governed by Policy.”—Is there any Policy on this side of Hell, that is inconsistent with Humanity? I have no Idea of it. I know of no Policy, God is my Witness but this—Piety, Humanity and Honesty are the best Policy.
Blasphemy, Cruelty, and Villany have prevailed and may again. But they wont prevail against America, in this Contest, because I find the more of them are employed the less they succeed.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams at Mr. John Adams's Braintree”; docketed in pencil by AA.
1. That is, Congress was to adjourn at Baltimore on the 25th, but on that day the adjournment was suspended in consequence of letters received from Gen. Washington and Robert Morris. On the 27th Congress adjourned to “Wednesday next [5 March], to meet at the State House in Philadelphia,” but a quorum was not assembled there until 12 March. See JCC, 7:127, 157 and note, 168, 169.
2. Authorized by Congress in Nov. 1776; see Lucius Wilmerding Jr., “The United States Lottery,” N.Y. Hist. Soc., Quart., 47:5–39 (Jan. 1963).
3. MS: “Destription.”
4. Here and below, MS is torn by seal.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0119

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-02-18

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I shall inclose with this a Newspaper or two.
I am as yet in tollerable Health. My Eyes are somewhat troublesome. I believe I must assume the Appearance of Wisdom, Age and Gravity and put on Spectacles to walk in, about the Streets.
I hear nothing from you, nor from any Part of New England, but { 164 } I am endeavouring to devise some better Regulations of the Post Office, so that I hope that Channell of Communication will be opened.1
We are told that the Air of Baltimore is unhealthy, and I confess I should dread it, if I were to stay here long. But We shall soon remove.
You may write now by the Post. I am very anxious to hear from you, and to know the State of public Affairs, in your Part of the World.
I have written by Mr. Hall a Resignation of an Office. I suppose it will make a Noise. But I hope not much. I cant help it. But should be glad to hear from you, how it is received. I hope they will fill it up soon, that the Talk may be soon over.
I could not be, at the same Time in Maryland and Massachusetts Bay, which was Reason enough for the Measure, if I had no other, but I have many more, and much stronger.
I have not Health enough, and never shall have to discharge such a Trust. I can but just keep myself alive, and in tollerable Spirits when I am master of my own Time and Course of Life. But this is not all.
I am not formal and ceremonious enough for such a stiff Situation.—But you know I have many Reasons more.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in pencil by AA. Enclosed newspapers not found or identified.
1. On 17 Feb. JA was named one of five members of a committee “to revise the regulations of the post office, and report a plan of carrying it on, so as to render the conveyance of intelligence more expeditious and certain” (JCC, 7:127). The committee brought in a report on the 25th, which was read and tabled; the MS is in the hand of the chairman, Thomas Heyward; text printed in same, p. 153–154. For subsequent efforts toward the same end in April and October, see same, p. 258, and vol. 9:816–817.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0120

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-02-20

John Adams to Abigail Adams

This Morning I received yours of the 26th. Ult. It is the first I have received from you, and except one from Gen. Palmer of the 28th.1 it is the first I have received from our State.
Yours made me very happy. Dont be uneasy about my Waiter. He behaves very well to me, and he has not the least Appearance of a Spy or a Deserter. He has not Curiosity, nor Activity nor sense enough for such a Character. He does his Duty extreamly well however in his station. But if he was a Spy he would learn nothing from me. He knows no more, from me, than the Horse he rides, nor shall he know. . . .2 I { 165 } have no Conversation with him upon Politicks, nor shall he come to the Sight of Papers.
I hope our Soldiers for the new Army will be all inoculated at Home before they begin their March. The Small Pox is so thick in the Country that there is no Chance of escaping it in the natural Way. Gen. Washington has been obliged to inoculate his whole Army. We are inocculating soldiers here and at Philadelphia.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams at Mr. John Adams's Braintree”; docketed in pencil by AA.
1. In Adams Papers. JA's reply, of the present date, is in NN and is printed in part in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:268.
2. Suspension points in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0121

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-02-21

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Yesterday, I had the Pleasure of dining with Mr. Purveyance.
There are two Gentlemen of this Name in Baltimore, Samuel and Robert, eminent Merchants, and in Partnership.1 We had a brillant Company, the two Mrs. Purveyances, the two Mrs. Lees, the Ladies of the two Colonels R[ichard] H[enry] and F[rancis], Mrs. H[ancock] and Miss Katy [Quincy], and a young Lady that belongs to the Family. If this Letter, like some other wise ones, should be intercepted, I suppose I shall be call'd to Account for not adjusting the Rank of these Ladies a little better.
Mr. H., the two Coll. Lees, Coll. Whipple, Coll. Page, Coll. Ewing, the two Mr. Purveyances, and a young Gentleman. I fancy I have named all the Company.
How happy would this Entertainment have been to me if I could by a single Volition have transported one Lady about five hundred miles. But alass! this a greater Felicity than falls to my share.
We have voted to go to Philadelphia next Week.
We have made General Lincoln a Continental Major General.
We shall make Coll. Glover a Brigadier.
I sincerely wish We could hear more from General Heath. Many Persons are extreamly dissatisfied with Numbers of the general Officers of the highest Rank. I dont mean the Commander in Chief, his Character is justly very high, but Schuyler, Putnam, Spencer, Heath, are thought by very few to be capable of the great Commands they hold. We hear of none of their heroic Deeds of Arms. I wish they would all resign.
{ 166 }
For my Part I will vote upon the genuine Principles of a Republic for a new Election of general Officers annually, and every Man shall have my Consent to be left out, who does not give sufficient Proof of his Qualifications.
I wish my Lads were old enough. I would send every one of them into the Army, in some Capacity or other. Military Abilities and Experience, are a great Advantage to any Character.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams Braintree Mass. Bay”; docketed in pencil by AA.
1. On the Purviance brothers see entry of this date in JA's Diary and Autobiography, 2:260, and note there.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0122

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-03-01

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

For once I have followed the Example of my Friend, and have Long delayed a Reply to her Letter. And though I Cannot Complain of my Eyes as an Excuse, yet I have other Weaknesses to plead that are more than a Ballence, and to say Nothing of the Intelectual system, the Weakness of my Constitution, the Febleness of my Limbs, and the pains in my [spirits?], for several months past is sufficient to damp the Vigour of thought, And Check the inclination for Literary Employment which has heretofore Excited me to spend my Leasure hours in the use of my pen. And I think that Inclination has brought some of my Friends so far in Arrears that I might Claim a Letter or two Exstraordinary on the score of former accounts if the schedule of the Last Year should not happen to be in my Favour.
I do not wonder at the Regrets you Express at the distance and absence of your Excellent Husband.
But why should not the same Heroic Virtue, the same Fortitude, patience and Resolution, that Crowns the memory of the ancient Matron, Adorn the Character of Each modern Fair who Adopts the signature of Portia. Surely Rome had not severer tryals than America, nor was Cesar in the senate with his Flatterers, and his Legions about him, more to be Dreaded than George the 3d with his parasites in parliment, and his murdering Mercenaries in the Field.
But as I have several other Letters to write this day, I must speedily descend from the Altitudes of Heroism, and talk in the simple stile of the Manufacturer and the Humbler Language of the Domestic Dame: who seeketh Wool and Flax and Worketh Willingly with her hands.
{ 167 }
I would not have you over anxious about the Dispatch of a peice of Bussiness Entrusted to your Care, for though all my household are not Cloathed in scarlet, yet I have not that Reason to be affraid of the snow, with some shivering Mortals at this severe season whose hands perhaps are oftener Layed to the Distaff, but whose Labours at the spindle will not provide fine Linnen for the Merchant, while the Husbandman, who used to Reap the full Grown Ear, and watch the flaxen Harvest is Wading in the Field of Blood.
I do not Exactly Remember how much Wool I sent Forward. It Lies in my mind it was between 94 and 98 weight: but Mr. Warren and his son are Confident it was made up a Neat 100, before it was sent to your Care.
I suppose when it is done we shall be very proud of Braintree Manufactures, more Especially as it is done under the Inspection of one of the Amphyctionic Ladies, to whom the Females of the united states, must in the Future Look up for the Example of Industery and oeconimy, whose manners must Lead the Fashion of the times unless any are so Depraved in Their Taste as to prefer the Modes of Paris, and the Frenchefyed airs of Mademoisel from Varssailles to the Lindsey Woolsey of their own Country, and the simplicity and puritanism of N. England.
I am ashamed to ask my Friend again for a paper of so Little Consequence as one in her hands yet I own if it is not Lost I should be Glad you Would send it Forward by some safe hand And in Return for the trouble I have Given You in a matter so unimportant I will promiss no more to pester you with anything of the like Nature from your sincere & Affectionate Friend,
[signed] M Warren
My Love to miss Naby and the Young Gentlemen.
If Mrs. Adams has not otherways disposed of the wool should like a Little [ . . . ]1 Worsted.
1. Possibly “stolen,” although what this could mean in the present context is not clear.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0123

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-03-03

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

[salute] Sir

I write to Congratulate you upon your arrival in baltimore and hope you will not omit writing to me. I have been very earnest to write to you for some time but could not find a subject we have no news here { 168 } unless telling you that we have had several severe snow storms since you went away and yesterday we had one that banked over the tops of the fences we have not had so much snow before for five years—it has been very cold and severe weather since you left us but very healthy Mamma hears the Post office is a going to be new regulated and then she will be able to write without fear of interruption—if anything a new should arise I shall then be able to write you a longer letter. My Brothers send thier Duty please to accept of the same from your dutifull son,
[signed] John Quincy Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To the Honble John Adams at Baltimore”; docketed in an unidentified hand. JQA's open style of punctuation has been preserved.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0124

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-03-07

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I am returned in tolerable Health to this Town—have received but one Letter from you since I left you, that which you sent by Mr. Rice.1
If you send Letters to Coll. Warren, or your Unkle Smith, they will be conveyed, with safety. I hope the Post Office will be upon a better footing soon.
An Army is gathering in the Jerseys. They have frequent Skirmishes, and the Enemy generally come off second best.—Whether We shall stay long here is uncertain. If We remove it will not be far.
This will go by Dr. Jackson one of the Managers of the Lottery. I hope it will find you all well.
I conjecture you have cold Weather and snow enough. We had at Baltimore last Saturday and Sunday a deep Snow and very sharp frost, such as froze over the Susquehannah, and obliged Us to ride up 15 miles, to cross the River at Bald fryars.2 We found a deep snow all the Way to this Place.
Maryland and Pensilvania, have at last compleated their Governments. Mr. Johnson is Governor of the first and Thomas Wharton Jur. of the other.
The Delaware State too have finished theirs. Mclnlay is Governor.3 They have also chosen new Delegates to Congress. So have S. Carolina—so has Pensilvania. So has Maryland.
There is indeed every where a more chearfull Face upon Things than there was.
South Carolina is said to have a great Trade and a plenty of Things. { 169 } Salt comes in frequently and there is a Prospect of supply, though dear.
Our national Revenue is now the most delicate and important Object We have to regulate. If this could be put upon a proper footing, We should be happy.
Money comes in fast upon Loan, which is one great Step—but We must take others.
I sent you from Baltimore, by Captn. Harden, to the Care of your Unkle a Barrell of Burr flour.4 I hope it will not be taken, but you know I am not lucky in trade.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams at Mr. John Adams's Braintree favoured by Dr. Jackson. To be left at Mr. Isaac Smiths Queen street Boston.”
1. Dated 26 Jan. and printed above.
2. Just south of the Pennsylvania-Maryland boundary, near the present Conowingo. See James Lovell's MS map reproduced as an illustration in this volume. JA's companion was William Whippie, a New Hampshire delegate. They had left Baltimore on 2 March and had arrived in Philadelphia on the 5th; see JA's Diary and Autobiography, 2:253, 257.
3. The first governor of the State of Maryland was Thomas Johnson (whose niece, Louisa Catherine, daughter of Joshua Johnson, was to marry JQA in 1797; see Adams Genealogy). After great difficulty in organizing the government under the new constitution, Thomas Wharton Jr. had on 4 March been elected president of the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania. Delaware's chief executive officer was also called a president, and the first to hold the post was Dr. John McKinly.
4. Flour ground with burr-stones (see OED), which were the best kind of millstones and produced “superfine” flour. The flour and barrel, bought from the Purviances, cost JA £2 13s. 1d. Pennsylvania currency; see his Diary and Autobiography, 2:253, 256. Isaac Smith reported its arrival in Boston in a letter to JA of 22 March, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0125

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-03-07

John Adams to Abigail Adams

The President who is just arrived from Baltimore, came in a few Minutes ago and delivered me, yours of Feb. 8, which he found at Susquehannah River, on its way to Baltimore.
It gives me great Pleasure to find that you have received so many Letters from me, altho I knew they contained nothing of importance. I feel a Restraint in Writing like that which you complain of, and am determined to go on trifling. However, the Post now comes regularly, and I believe you may trust it.
I am anxious and impatient to hear of the March of the Massachusetts Soldiers for the new Army. They are much wanted.
This City is a dull Place, in Comparason of what it was. More than { 170 } one half the Inhabitants have removed into the Country, as it was their Wisdom to do—the Remainder are chiefly Quakers as dull as Beetles. From these neither good is to be expected nor Evil to be apprehended. They are a kind of neutral Tribe, or the Race of the insipids.
How may possibly attempt this Town, and a Pack of sordid Scoundrels male and female, seem to have prepared their Minds and Bodies, Houses and Cellars for his Reception: but these are few, and more despicable in Character than Number. America will loose nothing, by Hows gaining this Town. No such Panick will be spread by it, now as was spread by the Expectation of it in December.
However, if We can get together Twenty thousand Men by the first of April, Mr. How will scarcly cross Delaware River this Year. New Jersey may yet be his Tomb, where he will have a Monument very different from his Brothers in Westminster Abbey.1
I am very uneasy that no Attempt is made at Rhode Island. There is but an handfull left there, who might be made an easy Prey. The few invalids who are left there are scattered over the whole Island, which is Eleven Miles in length and three or four wide. Are New England Men such Sons of Sloth and Fear, as to loose this Opportun[ity?]2
We may possibly remove again from hence, perhaps to Lancaster or Reading. It is good to change Place—it promotes Health and Spirits. It does good many Ways—it does good to the Place We remove from as well as to that We remove to—and it does good to those who move.
I long to be at Home, at the Opening Spring, but this is not my Felicity.—I am tenderly anxious for your Health and for the Welfare of the whole House.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams Braintree Mass. Bay”; franked: “free John Adams”; postmarked; “PHILA. MARCH 12 Free”; added on the cover in the hand of Isaac Smith Sr.: “Yrs. IS.”
1. George Augustus, 3d Viscount Howe, older brother of Richard and William Howe, was killed in an action against the French on Lake George in 1758; the Province of Massachusetts Bay voted to erect a monument to him in Westminster Abbey (DNB).
2. MS torn by seal.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0126

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-03-07

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Yours of Feb. 12. received this day. I have begged a Bundle of Newspapers, to inclose. They contain some Intelligence.
{ 171 }
I am pretty well, after all my fatiguing Journeys. The C[ongre]ss are in as good a Temper as ever I knew them—more spirited and determined than ever.
The Southern Battallions are not full. But are in a good Way. Rejoice to learn that Measures are taking to send along the Eastern Quotas.
We are raising a large Body of light Horse—a large Troop of them are this Moment passing the Window. Fine Horses and good Men. The trampling of these Creatures is grand.
Dr. Shippen, whom I just now saw, assures me that he has bought an excellent Assortment of Medicines and has the best Prospect of putting the Hospitals in good order, so that the sick will not suffer this year as they did last.1
We have some french Vessells arrived here with Druggs and salt, and other Things.
Let me be remembered by all that I remember. You know who they are.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed newspapers not found or identified.
1. William Shippen Jr. (1736–1808), College of Jersey 1754, M.D., Edinburgh 1761, professor of surgery and anatomy at the College of Philadelphia, was currently director general of Continental hospitals west of the Hudson; he had recently submitted a plan to Congress, where he had influential connections, for reorganizing the hospital department, and on 11 April he replaced Dr. John Morgan, earlier demoted, as director general of all Continental hospitals—a post in which he served with scarcely more success than his predecessor (DAB; JCC, 6:989; 7:161, 193, 219, 253).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0127

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-03-08

Abigail Adams to John Adams

We have had very severe weather almost ever since you left us. About the middle of Febry. came a snow of a foot and half deep upon a Level which made it fine going for about 10 day's when a snow storm succeeded with a High wind and banks 5 and 6 feet high. I do not remember to have seen the Roads so obstructed since my remembrance; there has been no passing since except for a Horse.
I Have wrote you 3 Letters since your absence but whether you have ever received one of them I know not. The Post office has been in such a Situation that there has been no confiding in it, but I hear Hazard is come to put it upon a better footing.1
We know not what is passing with you nor with the Army, any more than if we lived with the Antipodes. I want a Bird of passage. It has { 172 } given me great pleasure to find by your Letters which I have received that your Spirits are so Good, and that your Health has not sufferd by your tedious journey. Posterity who are to reap the Blessings, will scarcly be able to conceive the Hardships and Sufferings of their Ancesstors.—“But tis a day of suffering says the Author of the Crisis, and we ought to expect it. What we contend for is worthy the affliction we may go through. If we get but Bread to eat and any kind of rayment to put on, we ought not only to be contented, but thankfull. What are the inconveniencies of a few Months or years to the Tributary bondage of ages?”2 These are Sentiments which do Honour to Humane Nature.
We have the Debates of Parliment by which it appears there are Many who apprehend a War inevitable and foresee the precipice upon which they stand. We have a report Here that Letters are come to Congress from administration, and proposals of a treaty, and some other Stories fit to amuse children, but Experienced Birds are not to be caught with chaff. What is said of the english nation by Hume in the Reign of Harry the 8th may very aptly be applied to them now, that they are so thoroughly subdued that like Eastern Slaves they are inclined to admire even those acts of tyranny and violence which are exercised over themselves at their own expence.
Thus far I wrote when I received a Letter dated Febry. 10, favourd by —— but it was a mistake it was not favourd by any body, and not being frank'd cost me a Dollor.3 The Man who deliverd it to my unkle brought him a Letter4 at the same time for which he paid the same price. If it had containd half as much as I wanted to know I would not have grumbld, but you do not tell me How you do, nor what accommodations you have, which is of more consequence to me than all the discriptions of cities, states and kingdoms in the world. I wish the Men of War better imployd than in taking flower vessels since it creates a Temporary famine Here, if I would give a Guiney for a pound of flower I dont think I could purchase it. There is such a Cry for Bread in the Town of Boston as I suppose was never before Heard, and the Bakers deal out but a loaf a day to the largest families. There is such a demand for Indian and Rye, that a Scarcity will soon take place in the Country. Tis now next to imposible to purchase a Bushel of Rye. In short since the late act there is very little selling. The meat that is carried to market is miserabley poor, and so little of it that many people say they were as well supplied in the Seige.
I am asshamed of my Country men. The Merchant and farmer are both alike. Some there are who have virtue enough to adhere to it, but more who evade it.
{ 173 }
I have this day Received a most agreable packet favourd by Mr. Hall,5 for which I return you my most hearty thanks, and which contains much amusement, and gave me much pleasure. Rejoice with you in your agreable situation, tho I cannot help wishing you nearer. Shall I tell you how near? You have not given me any politicks tho, have you so much of them that you are sick of them?
I have some thoughts of opening a political correspondence with your namesake. He is much more communicative than you are, but I must agree with him to consider me as part of one of the Members of Congress. You must know that since your absence a Letter designd for you from him fell into my Hands.6
You make some inquiries which tenderly affect me. I think upon the whole I have enjoyed as much Health as I ever did in the like situation—a situation I do not repine at, tis a constant remembrancer of an absent Friend, and excites sensations of tenderness which are better felt than expressd.
Our Little ones are well and often talk and wish for ——. Master T. desires I would write a Letter for him which I have promissed to do. Your Mamma tenderly inquires after you. I cannot do your Message to B[ets]y since the mortification I endure at the mention of it is so great that I have never changd a word with her upon the subject, altho preparations are making for house keeping. The ordination is the 12th of this month.7 I would not make an exchange with her for the mountains of Mexico and Peru. She has forfeited all her character with me and the world for taste &c. All her acquaintance stand amazd.—An Idea of 30 years8 and unmarried is sufficent to make people do very unacountable things. Thank Heaven my Heart was early fix'd and never deviated. The early impression has for succeeding years been gathering strength, and will out last the Brittle frame that contains it—tis a spark of Celestial fire and will burn with Eternal vigor.

[salute] Heaven preserve and return in safety the dearest of Friends to His

[signed] Portia
I have just now heard that one of my unkle's flower vessels arrived safe yesterday, at which there is great joy. You can scarcly conceive the distress there has been for Bread, it is but a mouthfull. Flower is sold at 4.16 per Barrell not withstanding what has been done. Indeed the risk and the high price it bears with you, no person can send for it without sinking half the Cargo.
{ 174 }
I see by the news papers you sent me that Spado is lost.9 I mourn for him. If you know any thing of His Master pray Let me hear, what treatment he meets with, where he is confined &c.
A considerable number of our 3 Months Militia have returnd, deserted, some belonging both to this Town and Weymouth, and they say others from other Towns. The Story they tell is this, that a great number of the standing Army were under inoculation for the small pox, and they were obliged to do duty where they were constantly exposed to it, that they would have been innoculated but as they had so short a time to tarry were not allowd to, that they applied to their Col. for leave to come of but could not obtain it, that those who had it in the natural way 4 out [of] 5 died with it, and that it was death for any of the Militia to be innoculated. This does not seem to be likely but is told by all of them. What will be the consequence I know not. I hear of but a few in this Town who are in listed for the standing Army. Suppose they will be drawn soon.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. Member in Congress”; endorsed: “Portia ans. Ap. 2. 1777”; docketed in CFA's hand: “March 8th.” RC evidently enclosed letters from JA's children; see his reply, 2 April, below.
1. Ebenezer Hazard (1744–1817), College of New Jersey 1762, a bookseller and antiquarian, was currently surveyor general of the Continental post office and afterward postmaster general (DAB; see also JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:108–110).
2. AA is quoting—a little freely, as was her habit—from Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, No. II, dated 13 Jan., addressed to Lord Howe, and published as a pamphlet in Philadelphia, 1777. Initial quotation marks have been editorially supplied.
3. JA's first letter dated 10 Feb., above; see descriptive note there.
4. Not found.
5. JA's second letter dated 10 Feb., above.
6. See AA to JA, 12 Feb., above, and note 1 there.
7. The ordination of John Shaw, Betsy Smith's fiancé took place at Haverhill on 12 March (Weis, Colonial Clergy of N.E.).
8. Betsy was in fact a month short of her 27th birthday.
9. Gen. Charles Lee's dog Spada; see AA to JA, 10 Dec. 1775, above, and note 5 there.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0128

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-03-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Congress has been sitting several Days and proceeding upon Business. I have been in Town above a Week and have spent much of my Time, in making Inquiries after the cheapest Places in Town for Board and stabling. I have at last removed my Horses from a stable at six and six Pence a Night, to another at three dollars a Week each. { 175 } So that for the future I am to pay only six dollars a Week for Hay and Oats for my Horses. Oats they must have here, for the Hay is such as our Horses cannot live upon, nor indeed their own.
I am this day to remove my Quarters, from three Pounds a Week for myself and thirty shillings for my servant, to another Place where they vouchsafe to keep me for forty seven and six Pence, and my servant for twenty shillings. I shall then live at the cheapest Lay.1 Cheap indeed!
What will become of you, I know not. How you will be able to live is past my Comprehension, but I hope the Regulation of Prices, will be of Service to you. I dont know whether I have mentioned to you in any former Letter, that I sent you a Barrell of burr flour from Baltimore, by Captn. Harden, in your Uncles Vessell. I hope she is not taken.
I wish to hear often from you. Believe the Post may be now trusted. Believe me to be more yours, and more anxious for your Welfare than any Words can express. The Government of Pensilvania is taking Root downwards, and bearing Fruit upwards, notwithstanding the Squibbs in the News Papers. They are making Treason Laws and Militia Laws, &c.
The Jersy Government is making a Militia Law too. The People of that State will be all soldiers. They are exasperated, to a great degree, at the Treatment they have received, and are panting for Revenge. The Quakers too are inflamed with Resentment. They say, that they were used worse, than any other People.
In a Time of Warr, and especially a War like this, one may see the Necessity and Utility, of the divine Prohibitions of Revenge, and the Injunctions of forgiveness of Injuries and love of Enemies, which We find in the Christian Religion. Unrestrained, in some degree by these benevolent Laws, Men would be Devils, at such a Time as this.
Prattle for me to my little Friends. Give them my best Wishes, Blessings and Prayers.
1. Rate or terms; see OED under Lay, noun, 7 (5).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0129

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-03-16

John Adams to Abigail Adams

The Spring advances, very rapidly, and all Nature will soon be cloathed in her gayest Robes. The green Grass, which begins to shew { 176 } itself, here, and there, revives in my longing Imagination my little Farm, and its dear Inhabitants. What Pleasures has not this vile War deprived me of? I want to wander, in my Meadows, to ramble over my Mountains, and to sit in Solitude, or with her who has all my Heart, by the side of the Brooks. These beautifull Scaenes would contribute more to my Happiness, than the sublime ones which surround me.
I begin to suspect that I have not much of the Grand in my Composition. The Pride and Pomp of War, the continual Sound of Drums and Fifes as well played, as any in the World, the Prancings and Tramplings of the Light Horse numbers of whom are paraded in the Streets every day, have no Charms for me. I long for rural and domestic scaenes, for the warbling of Birds and the Prattle of my Children.—Dont you think I am somewhat poetical this morning, for one of my Years, and considering the Gravity, and Insipidity of my Employment.—As much as I converse with Sages and Heroes, they have very little of my Love or Admiration. I should prefer the Delights of a Garden to the Dominion of a World. I have nothing of Caesars Greatness in my soul. Power has not my Wishes in her Train. The Gods, by granting me Health, and Peace and Competence, the Society of my Family and Friends, the Perusal of my Books, and the Enjoyment of my Farm and Garden, would make me as happy as my Nature and State will bear.
Of that Ambition which has Power for its Object, I dont believe I have a Spark in my Heart. . . .1 There [are] other Kinds of Ambition of which I have a great deal.2
I am now situated, in a pleasant Part of the Town, in Walnutt Street, in the south side of it, between second and third Streets, at the House of Mr. Duncan, a Gentleman from Boston, who has a Wife and three Children.3 It is an agreable Family. General Wolcott of Connecticutt, and Coll. Whipple of Portsmouth, are with me in the same House. Mr. Adams has removed to Mrs. Cheasmans [Cheesman's], in fourth Street near the Corner of Markett Street, where he has a curious Group of Company consisting of Characters as opposite, as North and South. Ingersol, the Stamp man and Judge of Admiralty, Sherman, an old Puritan, as honest as an Angell and as <stanch as a blood Hound> firm <as a Rock> in the Cause of American Independence, as Mount Atlass, and Coll. Thornton, as droll and funny as Tristram Shandy. Between the Fun of Thornton, the Gravity of Sherman, and the formal Toryism of Ingersol, Adams will have a curious Life of it. The Landlady too who has buried four Husbands, one Tailor, two shoemakers and Gilbert Tenant [Tennent], and still is ready for a { 177 } fifth, and well deserves him too, will add to the Entertainment.—Gerry and Lovell are yet at Miss Leonards, under the Auspices of Mrs. Yard.
Mr. Hancock has taken an House in Chesnutt Street, near the Corner of fourth Street near the State House.
We this day received Letters from Dr. Franklin and Mr. Deane.4 I am not at Liberty to mention particulars. But in general the Intelligence is very agreable. I am now convinced, there will be a general War.
LbC (Adams Papers). Though RC is missing (and was missing when CFA first printed this letter, in JA, Letters, Boston, 1841, 1:195–197), its receipt was acknowledged by AA in hers to JA of 17 April, below.
1. Suspension points in MS.
2. At this point, in the space between paragraphs in LbC, JA later made the following revealing insertion: “Note. Literary and Professional, I suppose.—But is not the Heart deceitfull above all Things? April 9. 1776.” There can be no doubt that JA meant to date the insertion 9 April 1777. The handwriting is precisely the same as in the main text (though the ink varies slightly in color); and since JA did not take this letterbook abroad with him, he could not have had access to it on any later 9th of April for more than a decade.
3. In JA's Account with Massachusetts as a delegate to Congress in 1777, his Philadelphia landlord is called Capt. Robert Duncan (Diary and Autobiography, 2:255, 262).
4. Franklin's letter was to Pres. Hancock, was dated at Nantes, 8 Dec. 1776, and reported his arrival there; it was read in Congress on 19 March (JCC, 7:184), and is printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:221–222. Silas Deane wrote numerous letters home from Paris in late November and early December; probably the one alluded to here was that of 28 Nov., printed in same, p. 196–200; see JCC, 7:186.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0130

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1777-03-16

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

There is an observation, which I wish you to make very early in Life because it may be usefull to you, when you grow up. It is this, that a Taste for Literature and a Turn for Business, united in the same Person, never fails to make a great Man. A Taste for Literature, includes the Love of Science and the fine Arts. A Turn for Business, comprehends Industry and Application as well as a faculty of conversing with Men, and managing Affairs.
I hope you will keep these two Objects in View all your Lifetime. As you will not have Property to enable you to pursue your Learning alone, you must apply yourself to Business to procure you the Means of subsistance. But you will find Learning of the utmost Importance to { 178 } you in Business, as well as the most ingenious and elegant Entertainment, of your Life.
You must acquire the Art of mixing Study with Business and even with your Pleasures and Diversions.—Omne tulit punctum, qui miscuit utile dulci.—There is a Bone for you to pick. Ask Mr. Thaxter, after giving my Love to him, to help you Parse this latin Line. Take it Word by Word, and be able when I come home to give me the Construction of the Line, and the Parsing of every Word in it.—I am your affectionate Father.
LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “J.Q.A.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0131

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1777-03-16

John Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] Tommy

I believe I must make a Phisician of you. There seems to be a Propriety in your studying Physick, because your Great Great Grandfather after whom you was named, was of that Profession.1 Would it not please you to study Nature, in all her wonderfull Operations, and to relieve your Fellow Creatures under the severest Pains, and Distresses to which human Nature is liable. Is not this better than to be destroying Mankind by Thousands. If you are of this Opinion, you will change your Title from General to Doctor. It requires the Character of rugged and tough, to go through the hardships of riding and walking Night and Day to visit the sick, as well as to take Care of an Army.—I am your affectionate Father.
LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “T.B.A.” Tr, in the hand of LCA and probably from the now missing RC, is in Lb/JA/26, a collection of transcripts of JA's letters made for JQA in 1829 when he was at work on his father's papers.
1. Thomas Boylston (1644?–1696?), JA's mother's grandfather, “a Surgeon and Apothecary who came from London in 1656” and settled in what is now Brookline, Mass. (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:256; see Adams Genealogy).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0132

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Date: 1777-03-17

John Adams to Abigail Adams 2d

[salute] My dear Daughter

I hope by this Time, you can write an handsome Hand; but I wish you would, now and then, send a Specimen of it, to Philadelphia to your Pappa, that he may have the Pleasure of observing the Pro• { 179 } ficiency you make, not only in your Hand Writing, but in your turn of Thinking, and in your Faculty of expressing your Thoughts.
You have discovered, in your Childhood, a remarkable Modesty, Discretion, and Reserve; I hope these great and amiable Virtues will rather improve, in your riper Years. You are now I think, far advanced in your twelfth Year—a Time when the Understanding generally opens, and the Youth begin to look abroad into that World among whom they are to live.—To be good, and to do good, is all We have to do.
I have seen, in the Progress of my last Journey, a remarkable Institution for the Education of young Ladies, at the Town of Bethlehem, in the Commonwealth of Pensilvania. About one hundred and twenty of them live together under the same Roof; they sleep all together, in the same Garrett every night. I saw one hundred and Twenty Beds, in two long Rows, in the same Room, with a Ventilator about the Middle of the Ceiling, to make a brisk Circulation of the Air, in order to purify it of those gross Vapours, with which the Perspiration of so many Persons would other wise fill it. The Beds and Bed Cloaths were all of them of excellent Quality, and extreamly neat.—How should you like to live in such a Nunnery? I wish you had an opportunity to see and learn the curious Needle Work, and other manufactures, in Flax, Cotton, Silk, silver and Gold which are carried on there. But I would not wish you to live there. The young Misses keep themselves too warm with dutch Stoves, and they take too little Exercise and fresh Air to be healthy.—Remember me, with the tenderest Affection to your Mamma and your Brothers. I am with inexpressible Affection, your Father.
LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Miss Nabby.” RC not found, but a normalized text of it was printed in AA2, Jour. and Corr., 2:5–6.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0133

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1777-03-17

John Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] Charles

How do you do?—I hope you are in fine Health and Spirits. What Subject do your Thoughts run upon these Times. You are a thoughtfull Child you know, always meditating upon some deep Thing or other. Your Sensibility is exquisite too. Pray how are your nice Feelings affected by the Times? Dont you wish for Peace—or do you wish to take a Part in the War?
Have you heard of the ill Nature and Cruelty of the Enemies of your { 180 } Country, in New Jersey, both to their Prisoners and to the Inhabitants, their wickedest Friends, as well as their most honest foes?—If you have I believe your Resentment is so high as to wish yourself grown up, that you might draw your Sword, to assist in punishing them.
But before you are grown up, I hope this War will be over, and you will have nothing to study but the Arts of Peace. If this should be our happy Lott, pray what Course of Life do you intend to steer? Will you be a Lawyer, a Divine, a Phisician, a Merchant, or what? Something very good and usefull I think you will be, because you have a good Capacity and a good Disposition. Dont loose a Moment, in improving these to the best Advantage, which will be an inexpressible Satisfaction to your Mamma, as well as to me.
Are you a Mechanick? Charles? If you are not, ask your Brothers John and Thomas whether they are? Do you make your own Boats, and Whirligiggs, and other Toys? If you have a Genius for these noble Arts, you would be pleased to see what I saw at Bethlehem, a Pump, which has been constantly going for near Twenty Years, by Water, which forces up into the Air, to the Hight of an hundred feet through a leaden Pipe, Water enough to supply the whole Town. After rising to its utmost Hight it is carried by leaden Pipes, round the whole Town and into the very Kitchen of every Family in it. The Water is admirably sweet, soft and pure. It serves to wash and for all other Purposes, and saves a vast deal of labour to the Women, Maids and servants. Ask your Unkle Cranch how such a surprizing thing can be done with so much Ease and at so little Expence. Ask him too whether a similar Pump at New Boston,1 might not be made by means of a Wind Mill to supply that whole Town, which has always hitherto suffered, by bad Water, and very often for Want of Water?—I am your affectionate Father.
1. That is, on Beacon Hill in Boston; the western part of the town was commonly called New Boston at this time (Shurtleff, Description of Boston, p. 125).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0134

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Date: 1777-03-20

John Adams to Isaac Smith Sr.

In an Hand Bill printed at Baltimore the 17th instant1 is as well made a Lye as ever I read. It is in these Words viz. “last night Mr. Charles Cook, arrived here in 12 days from Newbern, in North Carolina, and brings the following important Intelligence, vizt.
{ 181 }
“That the day before he sat out, Capt. Charles Stedman, of the North Carolina Forces, a Gentleman of Credit, just returned from Charlestown, South Carolina, informed him and others, that he there saw a large French Fleet, consisting of 15 Men of War, two of them 80 Gun Ships, and 40 Merchant Men.—That two of the armed Vessells lay within the Bar. That these Vessells had on Board 200 Pieces of Brass Cannon, 30,000 stand of small Arms, and a vast Quantity of dry Goods, for the Use of the American States. Their Destination was said to be for Delaware and Chesopeak Bays.”
When you have read this and the inclosed News Papers, I should be glad if you would send them to my Family.—You are appointed an Arbitrator to settle a Dispute between the Continental Agent and some others, for Want of a Determination of which, the Public suffers. I hope you will accept this Trust, Sir, from Benevolence to the Public. I wish it was a more pleasant Office, but I think your Regard for the Public is such that you will not decline a dissagreable service by which it may be benefited.2 I am &c.
LbC (Adams Papers). Enclosed newspapers not found or identified.
1. The editors have not located a copy.
2. No record of this appointment (which was by the Marine Committee of Congress) appears in JCC. Smith accepted, and served with two colleagues, Ebenezer Storer and William Phillips. They reported on 28 July; see JCC, 8:628–629; 9:836. For a fuller discussion of efforts to untangle the accounts of John Bradford, the Continental agent at Boston, see William Bell Clark, George Washington's Navy, Baton Rouge, 1960, p. 203 ff.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0135

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-03-22

John Adams to Abigail Adams

The Post now comes regularly, once a Week, and brings me the Boston News Papers, but no Letters from Penns Hill or its Environs. How do you do? Anxious, faint, melancholly? Chear up—dont be distressed. We shall see many good days yet, I hope. I derive a secret Pleasure from a Circumstance which I suppose at present occasions the most of your Apprehensions. I wish I could know more particularly, concerning your Health, but I will presume it to be, as well as can be expected.
The little Folk are all happy I hope. May they continue so, to a good old Age. May they enjoy many happy, usefull and honourable Days.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0136

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-03-22

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams

[salute] Mr. Adams

Yours of the 25th Ulto.1 I received sometime since by my Schooner and have sent your B[arre]l flour—As likewise a packet of yours by a schooner a few days since. A schooner that came Out with mine charged by Our Commite of Warr (Arnold Master) is suppos'd to be taken. As to my Affairs att Baltemore they fell into the hands of those people not by choice and wish I had known sooner what sort of people they were.
As to all kinds of provissions, and more especially bread kind I know not how the Town will be supplyed, As there will scarce any body Venture Again, and when itt comes there is no satisfaction to the Owner in doing the business. I Offered itt to the Town or any body att 5 PC. profit which in fact is nothing because a factor has that for doing business without any resque, and have sold itt, att that rate and itt comes Out so high that I am sick of itt.
A great many of the present House as well as [ . . . ]2 thinks a person concernd in trade, what he has comes is all gains, or att least One would think so by some conduct. As to trade in this province or rather in this Town I dont know of six Merchants that carries on any and indeed, we have nothing to send to Europe or the West Indies but must be subject to a great loss. In short we have nothing that I can find to send to France or Spain to the Amount of a thousand pounds ster[ling] in the province.—We cant even buy lumber without provission or West India goods which is almost gone in the Country and Armey. Indeed of all the prises [prizes] taken there has not One quarter eenterd in this Town.
I dont know of any more Methods to be taken but what you have done to keep up the Credit of the Currency.—I have heard you are About building some ships of 60. or 70. Guns, which will come to a very large some of money and when built must lay by the Walls. Whether such a sum that must be made for that purpose wont be a further means of lessening the Value of the money. Such a ship can never be got to see from hence, iff we are to judge by the dispatch lesser Ones make. However I wish itt may prove the reverse.—With regard to Our regulation of prises [prices], that Ought to have Originated with the Congress and setled the prises of each states produce, for were there is no controleing power Over the whole itts imposible to put things on an equal footing, and Consequently the Thirteen { 183 } states cant regulate foreign or the West India Markets, a thing never Accomplisht by any Nation. So that to put prises on Articles when itts imposible to know what they may cost the Owners, is a means of preventing those Articles which are Absolutely Nessesary. Indeed there is nothing got by trade excepting the Owner runs his Own resques, for there can be no Insurance to be Obtaind, under 50 PC. the Voyage3 round which is 100. on the Capital, besides the hire of the Vessell, Victualing and Manning—all which are very high more especially the Wages. So that itt is Imposible [to estima]te4 the Value of any commodity before itt Arrives. I have been surprisd my self, att what some Articles have turned Out att, till a Voyage is finisht. I had lately two parcels of Malasses and the Vessells on much easier terms than I can now send them Out att, and the Cargo sent from 10 to 15 PC. under what itt can now be purchast att and the Vessells did as well and much better than Nine tenths of the Vessells that goes to the West Indies, and upon setling the Voyage's itt turnd Out on an Average att 4/4. and as I let Our state have some on consideration of there makeing an Allowance. Otherwise I shall sink from the real cost five pounds L.M. a hhd., and the present regulation as to West India goods the Consequence there will [be] none or but little to be had. N. England Rum would Answer every end for the Armey att 5/ or even 6/ as they must give double for West India.—We have arrived here a french Gen[eral?]5 which you have heard of [nearer?] by this.

[salute] I should be glad of a line when att leisure—& are Yr. hum servt.,

[signed] Isaac Smith
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia.”
1. Not found.
2. Two interlined words illegible.
3. MS: “VG.”–one of the many devices of Smith's mercantile shorthand, most of which have been silently expanded by the editors.
4. MS torn by seal.
5. Probably Philippe Hubert, Chevalier de Preudhomme de Borre, who held the provisional rank of brigadier in the French army and had recently arrived at Portsmouth (Boston Gazette, 24 March 1777; Lasseray, Les français sous les treize étoiles).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0137

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-03-22

John Thaxter to John Adams

[salute] Sir

You mention, Sir, in the beginning of your Letter,1 that you are indebted to me for several Letters. I shall never presume to consider you indebted in that Respect, or myself entitled whilst the public at large, { 184 } or any Individual of it, has a Title to your Attention in preference to mine.
It was not a Consideration of your being indebted Sir, that has prevented my frequent writing to You, but it was a Restraint which I ever have felt and shall feel in writing to Persons of so distinguished Abilities as Yours.
Your kind Assurances in your Letter deserve my warmest Thanks. The Advice contained in it I shall immediately follow.
Since your Absence, the Sup[erio]r Court has sat in the Counties of Middlesex and Suffolk. In the County of Middlesex there was one Capital Trial, viz. The Trial of a Young woman for the Murder of her Bastard. She was acquitted. Mr. Dana and Mr. Lowell (her Consel) insisted much on two points in their pleadings: 1st That She was insane, and 2dly That the Crime was committed previous to the Declaration of Independence, and during her Allegiance to the King of Great Britain. I did not hear their pleadings; but was informed by a Gentleman who was present that the two points abovementioned were chiefly insisted on.—They admitted She killed the Child; but th[ought?]2 the fact was done during her Insanity.3—The Week the Court sat in that County was mostly taken up in deciding Appeals from the maritime Court.
In Suffolk County there was two Civil Causes bro't up by Demurrer, and several Appeals from the Maritime Court. There was a Man tried at this Court for altering a Bill from the Denomination of one Dollar to that of Ten, and knowingly uttering the same. The Jury found him guilty of knowingly uttering the Bill so altered, but not of the altering of it.
We have very agreeable News indeed from France—The particulars of which I would mention, did not I apprehend they would come to hand before this reaches you.

[salute] I am, Sir, yr. very humble Servant,

[signed] J. Thaxter Junr.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mr. Thaxter. ansd. April 8. 1777.”
1. Not found.
2. MS torn by seal.
3. The case was that of the Government v. Mary Christopher in the Oct. 1776 term of Middlesex Superior Court. According to witnesses whose testimony survives, the mother, who was from Concord, slit her child's throat. But she was not convicted. See Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Book 96; Records, 1775–1778, fol. 56; Suffolk County Court House, Early Court Files, &c., No. 148226.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0138

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-03-23

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I have a very good opportunity of writing to you by Major Ward, who sits of tomorrow morning.
I most sincerely rejoice at your return to Philadelphia. I shall now be able to hear from you every week or fortnight. You have had journeying this winter and sufficent exercise for a year.
We have very agreable Intelligence from France which suppose will be communicated to you before this reaches you. Our proportion of Men from this State will be sent along soon, our Continental vessels are not yet ready. I have been told that the person who had the care of Building MacNeals Ship,1 has since built a 20 Gun Ship which has been at Sea some time. Why should a pigmy Build a World?
I yesterday received yours of the 7 of March, with a Bundle of news papers, for which I am much obliged.2
Nor would I omit returning my thanks for the Barrell of flower sent by my unkles vessel. I know not a more acceptable present you could have sent, that whole cargo sold for 2.10 per hundred.
There is not a Bushel of Rye to be had within 60 miles of this Town. The late act will annihilate every article we have, unless they will punish the Breaches of it. This person has nothing and the other has nothing, no Coffe, no Sugar, no flax, no wool. They have been so much accustomed to see acts made and repeald that they are endeavouring by every art to make this share the same fate.
If you have not settled your account with Mr. Barrells Estate the next time I write will inclose one I find in your Book against it. There appears one settlement, but since that there is an account which will amount to near 10 pounds.
You mention a Resignation of an office. I have not heard it mentiond, believe tis not much known as yet.
As to news we have none I think. All our Friends are well and desire to be rememberd. I suffer much from my Eyes—otherways am well as usual—and most affectily. Yours,
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. The Boston, a 24-gun Continental frigate, had been launched in June 1776 at Newburyport but was not yet armed and manned; she undertook her first cruise late in May 1777 under the command of Capt. Hector McNeill, and early in 1778, under the command of Capt. Samuel Tucker, carried JA and JQA from Braintree to Bordeaux (Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:269 ff.).
2. The newspapers accompanied JA's third letter of 7 March, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0139

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-03-23

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

I received yours of the 19 of Feb1 and thank you for your perpetual almanack <for> with the assistance of my Mamma I soon found it out and find it is a very useful thing I have been a reading the history of Bamfylde moore carew2 he went through the <biggest> greatest3 part of america twice, and he gives a very pretty Desscription of maryland and philadelphia and new york but though he got a great deal of money yet I do not think he got his living either credibly or honestly for surely it is better to work than to beg and better to beg than to lie, for he addicted himself to so many falsehoods that his charecter is odious to all and a disgrace to human nature my Brothers and Sister all send their duty to you please to accept the same from your dutiful son,
[signed] John Quincy Adams
[In AA's hand:] P S This is a Letter of Mr. Johns own composition.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams esq Philidelphia”; endorsed: “ansd. Ap. 8.”; docketed in one or more unidentified hands. The text of this letter is here given with literal fidelity.
1. Not found.
2. Bampfylde Moore Carew (1693–1770?), “king of the beggars,” son of a Devonshire clergyman, ran away from home as a boy and led a career devoted to “swindling and imposture, very ingeniously carried out” (DNB). At one point he was transported to America, escaped, and made his way from Maryland to Connecticut. The veracity of contemporary accounts of his life is, to say the least, subject to question, and their bibliography is complex; see The King of the Beggars: Bampfylde-Moore Carew, ed. C. H. Wilkinson, Oxford, 1931. Since no Adams copy of either Carew's Life and Adventures, first published in 1745, or his Apology, first published in 1749, has been found, one cannot say what version JQA was reading. Very likely it was one of the later and very popular amalgamated editions of the two books.
3. This correction is in AA's hand.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0140

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-03-26

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I this morning Received yours of March 7 favourd by Dr. Jackson.1 I rejoice to hear you are so comfortable. Col. Palmer informd me a Sunday that he is going to morrow as far as the Jersies being one of a Committe sent by our assembly to know of the General what proportion of Continental Troops will be allowed to this State; and does not know but he shall be obligd to proceed as far as Philadelphia. I venture to write by Him as he will take good care of a Letter tho he should not { 187 } go farther than the Jersies.2—I fear you will think me neglegent in not writing oftner, but till lately I dare not trust the post office, have sent wholy by private Hands. This Letter is but the sixth that I have wrote since you left me, tho I have to acknowledg the Rec[ei]pt of 20 from you.
We have no news this way except that Manly saild this Morning.—I believe you will not find it difficult to procure Money since you have offerd 6 per cent. I was mentioning the other day to a certain Gentleman in this Town that Congress had agreed to give that, an unusual pleasure lighted up his Countanance immediately, and he instantly replied, they shall have all mine immediately, I only waited for that. You know the Character so perfectly well, that the Speach needs no comment.3
You mention my purchaseing a Ticket. I am determined to do it if I find my self able, after having paid the Rate bill, which tis said will amount to near 30 pounds, so that I must be very parsimonious. I met with the Misfortune of loosing a Cow upon the Ice this winter, Ruggles by name, and [having]4 to make her place good purchased an other which cost me 5 pound's.—You know I have ever made it a Rule not to involve an absent Friend in debt.
I have at last Let the House in Q[uee]n S[tree]t to a Good Tenant at £22 per annum, when he gets in, but a very odd affair happend after it was engaged to him. I advertised the House in G[ill]'s paper,5 and supposing any person would chuse to see it, before they engaged it, desired him to Let them know where the key was to be found. According[ly] Mr. W[illi]s the printer6 applied to me for the House and I Let it to [him]. Upon his return to Boston and applying to Mr. G—ll for the key he found the famous Dr. W—ship7 had taken it and would not deliver it to him, tho He let him know that he had hired the House of me, and this same Genious had the Confidence to remove his family into the House without either writing to me or applying to me in any shape whatever, and then upon the other insisting upon having the House, he wrote to Let me know that he had moved in and would pay his Rent Quarterly, and that he supposed Mr. G—ll had the Letting of the House, which was absolutely falce for Mr. G—ll never gave him any leave, and had no right to. In Reply to him I let him know that I had Let the House to Mr. W——s, that I could do nothing about it, that I had nothing more to do with it than with any other House in Town. He and Mr. W——s must settle the matter between themselves. In this Time Mr. W——s had taken advice upon it and was determind to prosecute him; tis near a Month since they have been disputing the { 188 } Matter, and the Dr. finding Mr. W——s determind has promised if he will not put him to farther Trouble to remove in about a week.
If you should have an opportunity pray purchase me a Box of Dr. Ryans Wafers for worms, and send them.8 T[omm]y is much troubled with them, has lost most all his flesh, you would scarcly know him.
Tis now 26 of March and exceeding cold tho the snow is all gone.
Pray what is become of the F[arme]r—has he sunk into forgetfullness. We can not learn any thing about him. Poor General L[e]e how does he fare?

[salute] Adieu—Yours.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia To be left at Mr. Gills printing Office Queen Street Boston Pr. favor of Genl. Palmer”; franked: “Free”; endorsed: “Portia”; docketed in CFA's hand.
1. JA's first letter of that date, above.
2. Palmer's trip fell through, and the present letter was sent by post; see JA's reply, 8 April, below.
3. Possibly (but by no means certainly) this was Col. Josiah Quincy, who a little later on was in difficulties with the General Court because he refused to accept Massachusetts paper money in payment of debts due him; see Mass., House Jour., 1777–1778, p. 25.
4. MS: “have.”
5. AA's advertisement appeared in John Gill's Boston Continental Journal, 6 and 13 Feb., and read: “To be Let, a House in Queen-Street, Boston, next Door to Powers and Willis's printing-office.—For further Particulars enquire of the printer.”
6. Nathaniel Willis Sr., at this time publisher, with Edward E. Powars, of the Boston Independent Chronicle.
7. Presumably a Dr. Winship, and perhaps the Dr. Amos Winship (or, more correctly, Windship), Harvard 1771, whom JA was to see something of in France and who was later a well-known physician in Boston (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:353 and passim;Thwing Catalogue, MHi). But why so young a man was “famous” (even ironically) does not appear. The letters that AA mentions below have not been found.
8. JA did so. See the entry for 11 April in his Account with Massachusetts for 1777 (Diary and Autobiography, 2:253).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0141

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-03-28

John Adams to Abigail Adams

“A Plott! a Plott! an horrid Plott, Mr. A.” says my Barber, this Morning.—“It must be a Plott 1. because there is British Gold in it. 2. because there is a Woman in it. 3. because there is a Jew in it. 4. because I dont know what to make of it.”
The Barber means, that a Villain was taken up, and examined Yesterday, who appears by his own Confession to have been employd by Lord Howe and Jo. Galloway to procure Pilots to conduct the Fleet up Delaware River and through the Chevaux de Frizes. His Confidant { 189 } was a Woman, who is said to be kept by a Jew. The Fellow and the Woman will suffer for their Wickedness.1
1. “The Fellow” was James Molesworth; he was executed three days later. See JA to AA, 31 March, below; William B. Reed, Life and Correspondence of Joseph Reed, Phila., 1847, 2:30–33; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:333, and references in note there.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0142

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Date: 1777-03-30

John Adams to Abigail Adams 2d

I have been this Afternoon, to a Place of Worship, which I never attended before. It is the Church of the Scotch Seceeders. They have a tolerable Building, but not yet finished. The Congregation is not large, and the People are not very genteel.
The Clergyman, who officiates here, is a Mr. Marshall, a Native of Scotland, whose Speech is yet thick and broad, altho he has officiated in this Place near Ten Years.1
By his Prayer and several Passages in his sermon, he appears to be a warm American from whence I conclude, that the most of his Congregation are so too, because I generally suppose that the Minister will in a short time bring his People to his Way of thinking, or they will bring him, to theirs—or else there will be a Seperation.
The Grounds and Reasons, of the Secession of this Society from the other Presbyterian Churches, I know not, but intend to enquire.
After service, the Minister read a long Paper, which he called an Act of the Presbytery of Pensilvania, appointing a Fast, which is to be kept next Thursday. It is as orthodox in Politicks, as it is pious, and zealous in point of Religion.2
LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Miss N.” RC not found, but a normalized text of it was printed in AA2, Jour. and Corr., 2:7.
1. Rev. William Marshall (ca. 1740–1802), minister of the Associate or Scots' Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, 1768–1786, and afterward of a seceding portion of that congregation that organized the Associate Reformed Church (Benjamin Rush, Letters, 2:806–808, and references there).
2. Text printed from missing RC adds a leavetaking and signature: “I am your affectionate father, John Adams.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0143

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1777-03-30

John Adams to Charles Adams

Yesterday, I took a Walk upon the Wharves, to see the Navigation. The new Frigate called The Delaware, is hawled off, into the stream and is ready to sail. Captain Alexander is to command her. She makes a fine Appearance.—I then went to the House of one Humphreys an ingenious shipwright and found him making a Model of a seventy four Gun Ship. He has nearly compleated it. You see every Part of the Ship, in its just Proportion in Miniature. After this Model the new seventy four Gun Ships are to be built, one at Portsmouth, one at Boston and one here.
I then went to the Foundery of brass Cannon. It is in Front street in Southwark, nearly opposite to the Sweedes Church. This Building was formerly a China Manufactory, but is now converted into a Foundery, under the Direction of Mr. Biers [Byers], late of New York. Here is an Air furnace, in which they melt the Metal. There is a great deep Cavern dugg in the Ground in which they place the Mould into which they pour the melted Metal, and thus they cast the Gun in a perpendicular Position. Several brass six Pounders newly cast, were lying there, and several old ones, to be cast over.
There is another Man, one King, who lives in Front street, at the Corner of Norris's Ally, who casts Patterara's1 and Howitzers.
Thus you see, that a Foundation is laying, in Arts, and Manufactures, of a rising State. May you enjoy the Fruits of it, in greater Tranquility of Mind, than your Father has enjoyed, while it is laying.
LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Charles A.”
1. That is, pedreros, a kind of small cannon, spelled in a wild variety of ways (OED).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0144

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1777-03-30

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

Two ingenious Artificers, a Mr. Wheeler and a Mr. Wiley, under the Direction of a Committee, have been lately employed in making a Field Piece, a three Pounder, of bar iron. They have succeeded beyond Expectation. They have finished off a beautifull Piece of ordnance, which from all the Experiments hitherto made, promises great Things.
{ 191 }
The Weight of it, is two hundred and twenty six Pounds only. It is made by cutting off short Pieces of bar iron, bending them round and welding them1 together into Hoops, and then welding one Hoop upon another, untill the Gun is compleated. After which they bore out the Barrell, with a boring Mill, and grind or file the outside into a smooth Surface, and an handsome Shape.
It has been put to the severest Tryal, and has sustained it, unhurt. It has been discharged Eighteen Times, in a succession which they call, quick firing, and was found to be less heated, than any other three Pounder, whether of Brass, or cast Iron. The only Objection to it, which was discovered, was that it rebounded more: but this it is said may be obviated, by making the Carriages and the Tackling a little stronger.
It turns out a great deal cheaper than Brass, and indeed than cast Iron at present. It is so light, that a few Men may easily draw it, by Hand, which will be an Advantage at Times and in Places, where Horses cannot be had. We are about contracting for a Number of them.2
We have also made another Acquisition, which We think of Importance. An old Gentleman, by the Name of Butler, who served an Apprenticeship and spent all the former Part of his Life, in the British Works, and was employed all the last War, by the Generals3 in America, as their principal Armourer, has been drawn, from the interiour Parts of Pensilvania, where he has a Family and Property, and a Character, and from whence he has sent two sons, as Lt. Collonells into our Army, and has taken upon him the Character of principal Armourer, in the middle Department of the united States. He seems to be a Master in his Art, and very desirous of doing service.4
We are establishing a laboratory, and an Armory, at Carlisle about one hundred and twenty Miles from this Place. We have a brass Foundery here. Such Foundations I hope will be laid as will place our Artillery, in a respectable situation. I am your affectionate Father,
[signed] John Adams
1. LbC: “welding the Ends.”
2. See JCC, 7:193, 228, 272. In LbCJA at this point added a paragraph which he perhaps inadvertently omitted in RC: “Pray give me your Opinion of them.”
3. LbC: “the British Generals.”
4. Thomas Butler had been appointed “public armourer” by Congress on 22 Jan. 1777 (JCC, 7:55, 188).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0145

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-03-31

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I know not the Time, when I have omitted to write you, so long.1 I have received but three Letters from you, since We parted, and these were short ones. Do you write by the Post? If you do there must have been some Legerdemain. The Post comes now constantly once a Week, and brings me News Papers, but no Letters. I have ventured to write by the Post, but whether my Letters are received or not, I dont know. If you distrust the Post, the Speaker or your Unkle Smith will find frequent Opportunities of conveying Letters.
I never was more desirous of hearing frequently2 from Home, and never before heard so seldom. We have Reports here, not very favourable to the Town of Boston. It is said that Dissipation prevails and that Toryism abounds, and is openly avowed at the Coffee Houses. I hope the Reports are false. Apostacies in Boston are more abominable than in any other Place. Toryism finds worse Quarter here. A poor fellow, detected here as a Spy, employed as he confesses by Lord Howe and Mr. Galloway to procure Pilots for Delaware River, and for other Purposes, was this day at Noon, executed on the Gallows in the Presence of an immense Crowd of Spectators. His Name was James Molesworth. He has been Mayors Clerk to three or four Mayors.
I believe you will think my Letters, very trifling. Indeed they are. I write in Trammells. Accidents have thrown so many Letters into the Hands of the Enemy, and they take such a malicious Pleasure, in exposing them, that I choose they should have nothing but Trifles from me to expose. For this Reason I never write any Thing of Consequence from Europe, from Philadelphia, from Camp, or any where else. If I could write freely I would lay open to you, the whole system of Politicks and War, and would delineate all the Characters in Either Drama, as minutely, altho I could not do it, so elegantly, as Tully did in his Letters to Atticus.
We have Letters however from France by a Vessell in at Portsmouth—of her important Cargo you have heard.3 There is News of very great Importance in the Letters, but I am not at Liberty. The News, however, is very agreable.4
1. JA apparently forgot about his brief letter of 28 March, above, of which he had failed to retain a copy and thus supposed his last to AA was that of the 22d, also above. Note that he speaks in the present letter of the spy James Molesworth as if he had not mentioned him before, though his letter of the 28th { 193 } deals exclusively with the Molesworth “Plott.”
2. This word supplied from LbC; probably omitted inadvertently from RC.
3. This was the Mercure, which had brought cannon and other military supplies from Nantes, together with the French officer Preudhomme de Borre; the Mercure arrived at Portsmouth on 17 March (JCC, 7:211–212; Lasseray, Les français sous les treize étoiles, 2:368; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:352 and note).
4. One of the letters containing this “very agreable” news was the dispatch from Commissioners Franklin, Deane, and Lee in Paris to the Committee of Secret Correspondence, 17–22 Jan., summarized in JA's next letter to AA, 2 April, below, and printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:248–251.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0146

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-04-02

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I sit down to write tho I feel very Languid; the approach of Spring unstrings my nerves, and the South winds have the same Effect upon me which Brydon says the Siroce winds have upon the inhabitants of Sicily.1 It gives the vapours, blows away all their gaiety and spirits and gives a degree of Lassitude both to the Body and mind, which renders them absolutely incapable of performing their usual functions.
He adds that it is not surprizing that it should produce these Effects upon a phlegmatic English constitution; but that he had just had an Instance that all the Mercury of France must sink under the weight of this Horrid Leaden Atmosphere. A smart Parisian marquis came here, (to Naples) about ten days ago; he was so full of animal Spirits that the people thought him mad. He never remained a moment in the same place; but at their grave conversations used to skip from room to room with such amazing elasticity that the Italians swore he had got springs in his shoes. I met him this morning walking with the step of a philosopher; a smelling bottle in his hand, and all his vivacity extinguishd. I asked what was the matter? “Ah! mon ami,” said he “je m'ennui à la mort; moi, qui n'ai jamais sçu L'ennui. Mais cet execrable vent m'accable; et deux jours de plus, et je me pend.”
The natives themselves do not suffer less than strangers. A Neapolitian lover avoids his Mistress with the utmost care in the time of the Siroce, the indolence it inspires, is almost sufficent to extinguish every passion. Thus much for the Siroce or South East wind of Naples, which I am persuaided bear[s] a near resemblance to our Southerly Winds, and thus does the happiness of Man depend upon a blast of wind.
I think the Author of common Sense some where says that no persons make use of quotations but those who are destitute of Ideas of their own. Tho this may not att all times be true, yet I am willing to acknowledg it at present.
{ 194 }
Yours of the 7 of March received by the Post.2 Tis said here that How is meditating an other visit to Philadelphia, if so I would advise to taking down all the doors that the panels may not suffer for the future.
Tis said here that General Washington has but 8 thousand troops with him. Can it be true? that we have but 12 hundred at Ticondorogo. I know not who has the care of raising them here, but this I know we are very dilitory about it. All the troops which were station'd upon Nantasket and at Boston are dismissd this week so that we are now very fit to receive an Enemy; I have heard some talk of routing the Enemy at Newport, but if any thing was designd against them, believe tis wholy laid aside. Nobody seems to consider them as dangerous or indeed to care any thing about them.
Where is General Gates? We hear nothing of him.
The Church doors were shut up last Sunday in consequence of a presentment, a farewell Sermon preached and much weeping and wailing. Persecuted [to]3 be sure but not for righteousness sake. The conscientious parson had Taken an oath upon the Holy Evangelist to pray for His most Gracious majesty as his Sovereign Lord, and having no Father Confesser to absolve him, he could not omit it without breaking his oath.4
Who is to have the command at Ticondorogo? Where is General Lee? How is he treated? Is there a scarcity of Grain in Philadelphia. How is flower sold there by the Hundred?
Are there any stocking weavers needles to be had. Hardwick has been with me, to desire me to write to you, to send Turner to procure 500 and to beg of you to enclose to me 50 or a Hundred at a time as he is in great want of them. Says Turner knows what sort he wants, and if you will send word what the price is he will pay it, and make me a present of the best pair of Brants he gets this year. He is full of work, but almost out of needles.
We are just begining farming Buisness. I wish most sincerely you was Here to amuse yourself with it, and to unbend your mind from the cares of State. I hope your associates are more to your mind than they have been in times past. I suppose you will be joind this month by two from this state.5

[salute] Adieu. Yours.

[signed] Abigail Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia To be left at the Post Office in Boston”; endorsed: “Portia ans. Ap. 27”; docketed in CFA's hand.
1. Patrick Brydone, A Tour through Sicily and Malta; in a Series of Letters { 195 } to W. Beckford, Esq., London, 1773, and later editions (BM, Catalogue). No Adams copy has been found.
2. JA's second letter of that date, above.
3. This word editorially supplied for clarity.
4. Rev. Edward Winslow held his last service in Christ Church, Braintree, on 30 March. See AA to JA, 29 Sept. 1776, above, and note 4 there.
5. An enlargement of the Massachusetts delegation in Congress, though evidently talked of, did not happen.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0147

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-04-02

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Yesterdays Post brought me your kind Favour of March 8. 9. 10, with a Letter inclosed for [from] each of my Sons. But where is my Daughters Letter? That is missing. I regret the Loss of it much.1
You think I dont write Politicks enough! Indeed I have a surfeit of them. But I shall give you now and then a Taste, since you have such a Goust for them.
By a Letter of 17. Jany.2 Dr. Franklin, Mr. Deane and Dr. Lee, met in Paris, and on 28. december had an Audience of the Count de Vergennes, Secretary of State and Minister of foreign Affairs; laid before him their Commission, with the Articles of the proposed Treaty of Commerce; were assured of the Protection of his Court, and that due Consideration should be given to what they offered. Soon after they presented a Memorial on the Situation of our States,3 drawn up at the Ministers Request, together with the Articles of general Confederation, and the Demand for ships of War, agreable to their Instructions. Copies of all which Papers, they gave to the Count D'Aranda, the Spanish Ambassador, to be communicated to his Court.
They were promised an Answer from the french Court, as soon as they could know the Determination of Spain, with whom they design to Act with perfect Unanimity. In the mean Time they are expediting several Vessels laden with Artillery, Arms, Ammunition and Cloathing.
The Ports of France, Spain and Florence (that is Leghorne in the Mediterranean) are open to the American Cruizers, upon the usual Terms of Neutrality.
They write for Commissions to be given to Privateers, and for more frequent and authentic Intelligence.
Great Efforts are now making by the British Ministry, to procure more Troops from Germany. The Princes in Alliance with France, have refused to lend any, or to enter into any Guarrantee of Hanover, which England has been mean enough to ask, being apprehensive for that Electorate if she should draw from it, any more of its Troops.
{ 196 }
Four more Regiments (two of them to be light Horse) are raising in Hesse, where there has been an Insurrection, on Account of drafting the People: and now great sums of Money, are distributed for procuring Men. They talk of Ten thousand Men in all to be sent over this Spring.
The Hearts of the French are universally for Us, and the Cry is strong for immediate War with Britain. Indeed every Thing tends that Way, but the Court has Reasons for postponing it, a little longer. In the mean Time, Preparations are making. They have Twenty six sail of the Line manned and fit for the Sea. Spain has seventeen sail in the same State, and more are fitting with such Diligence, that they reckon to have thirty sail in each Kingdom, by April. This must have an immediate good Effect in our Favour, as it keeps the English Fleet at Bay, coops up their Seamen, of whom they will scarce find sufficient to man their next set of Transports, will probably keep Lord Howes fleet more together for fear of a Visit, and leave Us more Sea room, to prey upon their Commerce and a freer Coast to bring in our Prizes, and supplies from abroad.
The Letter then mentions a Circumstance much to our Advantage but this is a secret.4
So strong is the Inclination of the Wealthy, in France to assist Us, that our Ambassadors have been offered a Loan of two Millions of Livres, without Interest, and to be repaid when the united States are settled in Peace and Prosperity. No Conditions or securities are required. They have accepted this noble Benefaction, and one half of it is paid into the Hands of their Banker. On the strength of this supply, they are now in Treaty for some strong ships.
Lee is in N.Y. confined, but otherwise treated well.
1. AA's letter of 8–10 March, above, evidently enclosed, or was intended to enclose, letters from all the Adams children (except TBA?), of which only that from JQA of 3 March, above, has been found.
3. Dated 5 Jan. and in same, p. 245–246.
4. A contract for American tobacco, under the terms of which the Farmers General were to advance a large sum at once for the purchase of French munitions and other military supplies to be sent to America.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0148

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-04-02

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams

[salute] Mr. Adams

Yours by Docto. Jackson I received last week,1 he had letters to Others likewise. I waited on him with some Others att his lodgings. { 197 } Mr. Jonathan Williams Offering his servise, itt was not worth while for more to be concerned.2
I recommended him to a person att Salem, and to Our Kindsman Tufts att Newbury, who writes me he has undertaken to dispose of a quantity and whose fidellity may be confided in as any person what ever.3
I have just received One from you for Mrs. Adams—As likewise some News papers by Colo. Moulton: Bradford['s] paper I take weekly, the Other do not, but iff ever the post gets regurarlly Again and you have a mind to send the Other weekly, to Mrs. Adams I can send itt to her.—I Observe in One of your News papers a ship being taken in your bay. Itt has been a little Misterious that such Valuable Vessells should not have some Guns when they come home. I have known many Vessells taken this Year past for want of even a single Gun.
I Observe what you say as to my Appointment on some dispute but have not heard any thing About itt, and wish may not.
Betscy Cranch is in Town. Your family is well.
I am sorry to here Genl. Washington has no larger Armey got to gether yet. By what I can learn we have already raised as many as he has got with him from all the Other Goverments, however hope Ere this he may have double or ttrible the Number.

[salute] I am Sr. Yr. hume. servant,

[signed] Isaac Smith
1. Not found. Since it was sent by Dr. David Jackson, described in JA's first letter to AA of 7 March, above, as “one of the Managers of the Lottery,” it no doubt discussed (as Smith does in his reply) local agents for the sale of lottery tickets.
2. This was Jonathan Williams Sr. (1719–1796), a Boston merchant, a nephew by marriage of Benjamin Franklin and father of Jonathan Williams Jr. (1750–1815), who was with Franklin in France (Franklin, Papers, ed. Labaree, 1:lvii–lviii).
3. Samuel Tufts (1735–1799) was a Newburyport merchant and a younger brother of Dr. Cotton Tufts. See Adams Genealogy.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0149

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-04-03

John Adams to Abigail Adams

As you seem so inquisitive about Politicks, I will indulge you so far (indulge, I say, observe that Word indulge! I suppose you will say it ought to have been oblige) as to send you a little more News from abroad. As foreign Affairs are now become more interesting to Us than ever, I dare say your political Curiosity has extended itself e'er this all over Europe.1
The Agent of the King of Prussia, has often made Proposals of a { 198 } commercial Nature, to our Agents in France, and expressed a Desire that some American would go to Berlin, at the Instance of his sovereign, who wishes to have a clear Idea of the Nature of our Commerce. You must know, that this Prince has been several Years, dreaming of making his Port of Embden, an Amsterdam.
We cannot as yet, depend that the Dutch Merchants will venture to trade directly to America, at their own Risque. The States2 however have declared, in Answer to a fresh Remonstrance of General York,3 that their Ports are open to all Nations, and that their Trade, to and from their own Colonies, shall be unmolested, their subjects complying with the ordinances issued by their high Mightynesses. Their Prohibition of exporting Warlike stores extends to all British subjects.
Without a very material and apparent success of the British Arms in America, a Loan would be very slowly negotiated for England in Amsterdam. Nothing hinders them now from selling out of the English Funds, but their not knowing what to do with their Money. For that Country may be called the Treasury of Europe, and its Stock of Specie is more or less, according to the Necessities of the different Princes in Europe.
The Credit of France has been very low of late. The Mismanagement of the Finances in the late Kings Reign: The Character of the late Comptroller General, Mr. De Olugny,4 had reduced it so low, that it was impossible to borrow any Thing considerable, on perpetual Funds. By Life Rents, something might be done. Perhaps a Financier, in whose Probity the World have a Confidence, may restore their Credit. The French Stocks rise on the Appointment of Mr. Taboureau. That it is possible for France to borrow, is certain, for at the Time when Mr. Turgot was removed, he was negotiating a Loan, and was likely to succeed, for Sixty Millions of Guilders. The Credit of Spain is extreamly good: That Kingdom may have what Money it will, and on the best Terms. The Emperors Credit is also good, not as Emperor but from his hereditary Dominions. Sweeden and Denmark have good Credit. The first the best. They have Money at four Per Cent, and it is not long since the King of Sweeden borrowed Three Millions of Guilders, at that Interest, to pay off old debts at five Per Cent.—his Interest is paid punctually. Prussia has no Credit but his Treasury is full, by squeezing the last Farthing from his People, and now and then he draws a little Money from Holland, by reviving obsolete Claims. The Credit of the Empress of Russia, is very good, for she has punctually paid the Interest of Twelve Millions of Guilders, which she borrowed in her War with the Turks, and has lately paid off, one Million and an half of the Principal. These are the strongest Recommendations to { 199 } a mercantile People. As to America, in the present state of Affairs, it is not probable, that a Loan is practicable, but should it appear evident, that We are likely to support our Independency, or should either France or Spain acknowledge it: in either of these Cases We might have Money. And when it shall be seen that We are punctual in our first Payments of the Interest, We should have as much as We pleased.
1. The remainder of this letter (though JA nowhere says so) is partly quoted and partly paraphrased from a long letter written by William Carmichael from Amsterdam to the Committee of Secret Correspondence, 2 Nov. 1776, the original of which is in PCC, No. 88, 1, and a printed text in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:184–190. Carmichael, whose name and somewhat shadowy figure will be frequently encountered in JA's later correspondence, was acting strictly as a volunteer in forwarding his information and speculations to Congress from Europe. Born in Maryland, he had been living the life of a well-to-do expatriate in London when the Revolution broke out; then, according to the letter JA abstracted here, he started for Nantes to find passage home but was detained by illness in Paris and “livd with Mr. Deane since his first arrival at Paris” in 1776; he was currently, with Deane's blessing, on his way to Berlin to explore possibilities of developing commercial relations between Prussia and the United States, but had stopped in Amsterdam to see if an American loan could be obtained there. Carmichael spent the rest of 1777 in a similarly busy manner and played a material part in Lafayette's coming to America. On 28 Nov. he was appointed by Congress “secretary to the commissioners at the Court of France” (JCC, 9:975), but before he learned of this appointment he sailed for home, just as JA sailed the other direction to replace Carmichael's patron Deane in Paris. Arthur and William Lee strongly suspected Carmichael's patriotism, and JA was given to believe that Carmichael had “contributed much to the Animosities and Exasperations among the Americans at Paris and Passi” Diary and Autobiography, 2:304; 4:76–77). Nevertheless, Carmichael was soon elected to the Continental Congress and in 1779 was named secretary of legation to John Jay's mission to Spain, where he served (in later years as chargé d'affaires) until his death in 1795. See DAB and references there.
The special interest attaching to the present letter from JA to AA is its indication at so early a date of JA's deep interest in international banking arrangements and the question how the resources of the great Dutch banking houses might possibly be tapped by the United States—an anticipation of his own protracted but successful effort a few years later to do what Carmichael here suggests.
2. The States General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands.
3. Sir Joseph Yorke (1724–1792), veteran British ambassador at The Hague (DNB).
4. That is, de Clugny—a copying error by JA; Carmichael's “C” looks like an “O” in the letter he sent to the Secret Committee.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0150

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-04-06

John Adams to Abigail Adams

You have had many Rumours, propagated among you, which I suppose you know not how to account for. One was, that Congress, the last Summer, had tied the Hands of General Washington, and would { 200 } not let him fight, particularly on the White Plains. This Report was totally groundless.—Another was, that at last Congress untied the General, and then he instantly fought and conquered at Trenton. This also was without foundation, for as his Hands were never tied, so they were not untied.—Indeed, within a few days past a Question has been asked Congress, to the Surprize I believe of every Member there, whether the General was bound by the Advice of a Council of War? No Member of Congress, that I know of ever harboured or conceived such a Thought. “Taking the Advice of a Council of War” are the Words of the Generals Instructions, but this meant only that Councils of War, should be called and their Opinions and Reasons demanded, but the General like all other Commanders of Armies, was to pursue his own Judgment after all.1
Another Report, which has been industriously circulated, is, that the General has been made by Congress, Dictator. But this is as false as the other Stories. Congress it is true, upon removing to Baltimore, gave the General Power, to raise fifteen Battallions, in Addition to those which were ordered to be raised before, and to appoint the Officers, and also to raise three thousand Horse, and to appoint their Officers, and also to take Necessaries for his Army, at an appraised Value.2 But no more. Congress never thought of making him Dictator, or giving him a Sovereignty.
I wish I could find a Correspondent, who was idle enough to attend to every Report and write it to me. Such false News, uncontradicted, does more or less Harm. Such a Collection of Lyes, would be a Curiosity for Posterity.
The Report you mentioned in your last,3 that the British Administration had proposed to Congress, a Treaty and Terms, is false and without a Colour. On the Contrary, it is now more than ever past a doubt, that their fixed Determination is Conquest, and unconditional Subjugation. But there will be many Words and Blows too, before they will accomplish their Wishes.—Poor abandoned, infatuated Nation.
Infatuation is one of the Causes to which, great Historians ascribe many Events: and if it ever produced any Effect, it has produced this War, against America.4
Arnold, who carries this, was taken in his Passage from Baltimore. He sailed with Harden, for Boston. They took 15 Vessells, while he was on Board the Man of War. Your Flour was highly favoured with good Luck.
{ 201 }
1. See Congress' resolution of 24 March on this subject (JCC, 7:196–197).
2. See resolutions of 27 Dec. 1776 (same, 6:1045–1046).
3. AA to JA, 8–10 March, above.
4. LbC ends at this point.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0151

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-04-06

John Adams to Abigail Adams

This Evening Major Ward deliverd me Yours of 23d. of March.—It is a great Pleasure to me to learn that your Flour has arrived. I begin to have some opinion of my good Fortune. If I could have been certain, of the Vessells escaping the many Snares in her Way, I would have sent a dozen Barrells.
The Act, my dear, that you were so fond of will do no good.1 Legislatures cannot effect Impossibilities. I detest all Embargoes, and all other Restraints upon Trade.2 Let it have its own Way, in such a Time as this and it will cure its own Diseases. The Paper emitted by the states jointly and separately is too much, it is more than enough to purchase every Commodity and every Species of Labour that is wanted, and this Excess of Quantity is the true Cause of the Artificial Scarcity of Things, but the Price of this will be in Proportion to the Demand, in spite of all Regulations.—To save my self the Trouble of thinking I will transcribe for your Amusement a few observations of Lord Kaims, on the subject of Money, Scarcity, Plenty, and Demand. Read them, compare them with the Increase of Money in America, the Decrease of Goods and Labour, and the Increase of Demand for both, and then judge whether the Regulations and Embargoes can do any good. . . .3
LbC (Adams Papers); note at the foot of the text reads: “Sent. most of it”; but no RC has been found.
1. The Massachusetts act fixing the prices of wages and commodities; see AA to JA, 8 Feb. and note, and 23 March, both above.
2. In Dec. 1776 the General Court had laid an embargo on all private vessels, forbidding them to trade with any but American coastal ports and banning the export of a long list of foodstuffs and other goods from Massachusetts. Though modified in one way or another in the following months, the embargo carried very heavy penalties for violations, was extended in February to goods carried out of the state by land as well as water transport, and (as shown by frequent allusions in letters that follow) was much complained of. See the numerous resolves relating to the embargo, Dec. 1776 – May 1777, in Mass., Province Laws, 19:713–714, 721–722, 773–774. 808–810, 928.
3. The remainder of this very long letter, omitted here, is a transcript of very nearly the entire fourth section, entitled “The Origin and Progress of Commerce,” in Henry Home, Lord Kames' Six Sketches on the History of Man, Phila., 1776 (Evans 14801), the abridged first American edition of his Sketches of the History of Man, 2 vols., Edinburgh, 1774. The passage copied { 202 } by JA runs to more than 4,000 words and is taken from Six Sketches, p. 78–96, with a few omissions and JA's usual small copying errors. In it Kames explains wage and price fluctuation in terms of the classical law of supply and demand, drawing examples, as was his way, from all over the known world.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0152

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-04-07

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I hope to receive some Letters from you this week, the date of the last was the 7 of March and now tis the 7 of April. I cannot suppose according to your usual practice but you must have wrote several times since; I sent a Letter to the post office a Saturday, but yesterday hearing of an express I thought to write a few lines by it, just to tell you that the family are well as usual, that I visit you almost every night, or you me, but wakeing the agreable delusion vanishes—“like the Baseless fabrick of a vision.”
I have nothing new to write you. The present Subject of discourse is the unfortunate Daughter of Dr. C[oope]r, who having indiscreetly and foolishly married a Stranger, after finding him a Sot, has the additional1 misery of finding herself the wife of a married Man and the Father of 5 children who are all living. About 3 weeks after he saild for the West Indias a Letter came to Town directed to him which was deliverd to her, and proved to be from his wife, who after condoling with him upon his misfortune in being taken prisoner, Lets him know that she with her 5 children are well, and to add to mortification tis said her complexion is not so fair as the American Laidies.
I most sincerely pitty her unfortunate Father, who having but two children has found himself unhappy in both. This last Stroke is worse than death.2
Let me hear from you by the return of this express, and by every other opportunity.
My Brother is going Captain of Marines on board MacNeal.3 I hear there has been an inquiry at the Counsel Board why he has not saild before? and that the blame falls upon the continental Agent.4
I suppose you are in Bloom in your climate whilst we are yet hovering over a fire and shivering with the cold.

[salute] Adieu. Yours with an affection that knows no bounds,

[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. MS: “additionally.”
2. Rev. Samuel Cooper had two children, both daughters. The elder, Judith, married Gabriel Johonnot, a Boston mer• { 203 } chant, in 1766, and died in 1773; their son Samuel Cooper Johonnot was to accompany JA and JQA on their voyage to Spain in 1779 (NEHGR, 44 [1890]: 57; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:417–418).
Cooper's younger daughter, Abigail (1755–1826), married in Jan. 1777, at Boston, Joseph Sayer Hixon, a well-to-do and well-connected British merchant and slaveowner of Montserrat in the Leeward Islands, who had been captured while on a voyage to London and brought into Boston on a Continental prize ship in Oct. 1776. In the spring of 1777 Hixon went back to Montserrat, but during an insurrection there was captured again and taken to Copenhagen. In 1782 he returned to Boston, was reunited with Abigail, had several children by her, and died in Boston in 1801. (MS letters of Samuel Cooper introducing Hixon to influential friends in France and England, March 1777, in CSmH; NEHGR, 44 [1890]: 157–58; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 11:206.)
3. William Smith did not sail with McNeill in the Boston, but as a captain of marines in the American Tartar, a 24-gun privateer, Capt. John Grimes, and after a successful cruise in the Baltic was captured and carried into Newfoundland (AA to JA, 6–9 May and 16 Nov., both below; MHS, Colls., 77 [1927]: 73).
4. Capt. John Bradford, Continental prize agent for Massachusetts since April 1776 (JCC, 4:301; William Bell Clark, George Washington's Navy, Baton Rouge, 1960, p. 151 and passim). Without much doubt it is to Bradford's conduct as agent that JA alludes darkly in a passage on official peculation in his Diary and Autobiography, 2:402.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0153

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-04-08

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Yours of 26 March came by this days Post. Am happy to hear you have received so many Letters from me. You need not fear Writing in your cautious Way by the Post, which is now well regulated. But if your Letters should be intercepted, they would do no Harm.
The F[armer] turns out to be the Man, that I have seen him to be, these two Years. He is in total Neglect and Disgrace here. I am sorry for it, because of the forward Part he took, in the Beginning of the Controversy. But there is certainly such a Thing as falling away, in Politicks, if there is none in Grace.
Lee fares as well as a Man in close Prison, can fare, I suppose, constantly guarded and watched. I fancy, Howe will engage that he shall be treated as a Prisoner of War, and in that Case, We shall all be easy. For my own Part, I dont think the Cause depends upon him. I am sorry to see such wild Panegyricks in your Newspapers. I wish they would consider the Woes1 against Idolatry.
Congress is now full. Every one of the thirteen States has a Representation in it, which has not happened before a long Time.
Maryland has taken a Step which will soon compleat their Quota. { 204 } They have made it lawfull for their Officers, to inlist servants and Apprentices.
The fine new Frigate, called the Delaware, Capt. Alexander, has sailed down the River. I stood upon the Wharf to see the fine figure and Show she made. They are fitting away the Washington, Captn. Reed [Read], with all possible dispatch.
We have at last finished the System of Officers for the Hospitals, which will be printed Tomorrow. As soon as it is done, I will inclose it to you. A most ample, generous, liberal Provision it is. The Expence will be great. But Humanity overcame Avarice.2
1. Thus clearly in LbC. In RC this word might possibly be read as “Wars,” and CFA so rendered it. Neither word makes perfect sense in this context, but the force of the passage is clear enough: JA means “the warnings uttered against idolatry.”
2. Congress' resolutions reorganizing the Continental medical service were adopted on 7–8 April and printed as a broadside by John Dunlap of Philadelphia. See JCC, 7:231–237, 244–246; 9:1083; Evans 15660.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0154

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1777-04-08

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

I received your Letter of 23d. March, and was very much pleased with it, because it is a pretty Composition and your Mamma Assures me it is your own.
The History, you mention of Bamfylde Moore Carew, is worth your Reading altho he was a very wicked Man, because it serves to shew you, what a Variety there is in the Characters of Men, and what Odd, whimsical and extravagant Effects are produced by great Talents, when misapplied, and what Miseries, Dangers and Distresses Men bring themselves into, when they depart from the Paths of Honour, Truth and Virtue.
You, my Son, whom Heaven has blessed with excellent Parts, will never abuse them to bad Purposes, nor dishonour yourself by any Thing unworthy of you. So wishes your1
LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Mr. J.Q.A.” RC recorded as in possession of Philip D. Sang, Chicago, 1960; not seen by the present editors.
1. LbC breaks off thus at foot of page.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0155

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Thaxter, John
Date: 1777-04-08

John Adams to John Thaxter

[salute] Dear Sir

Your kind Favour of March 22. reached me Yesterday. I am much obliged to you for your Account of the Proceedings of the Superiour Court, and wish you to continue to give me a regular Account of their Progress. The Order, and Happiness of the State and even its Safety, depend much upon that Court, and I long to learn that they are fully employed in the Distribution of Justice, both in the civil and criminal Branches.
The Restraint you mention you may wholly lay aside, and write to me with the Utmost Freedom and without Reserve. . . .1 I should be happy, to answer any of your Letters and Enquiries as well as I can at this Distance, and with all my Avocations.
There is one Subject, which I would wish you to turn your Thoughts to, for your Amusement, as soon as possible. It is likely to be the most momentous political Subject of any. It is the Subject of Money. You will find in Mr. Locks Works a Treatise concerning Coins,2 and in Postlethwait, another of Sir Isaac Newton under the Terms, Coin, Money, &c.3
It is a Subject of very curious and ingenious Speculation, and of the last Importance at all Times to Society, but especially at this Time, when a Quantity of Paper more than is necessary for a Medium of Trade, introduces so many Distresses into the Community, and so much Embarrasses our public Councils and Arms.
In the Writings of those great Men you will see the Principles of Commerce and the Nature of Money. And after understanding it perfectly as a Philosopher and a Statesman, I hope you will soon have many honest Opportunities of handling a great deal of it as a Lawyer. I am, sir, with much Esteem your Friend,
[signed] John Adams
1. Suspension points in MS.
2. In JA's own set of The Works of John Locke, Esq., 4th edn., 3 vols., London, 1740 (in MB, vol. 1 missing), are three papers on money and coining, at vol. 2:1–59, 60–66, 67–106.
3. The work to which JA refers was Malachy Postlethwayt's great compendium entitled The Universal Dictionary of Trade and Commerce, first published in 2 vols., London, 1751–1755, and reissued repeatedly. One would suppose from the present reference that there was a copy of Postlethwayt in JA's library at this time, but the edition among his books in the Boston Public Library is the fourth, 2 vols., folio, London, 1774, which has on the front flyleaf of the first volume “The United States of America” in JA's hand, strongly suggesting that he acquired it during one of his diplomatic missions and charged it to the United States; see his Diary and Autobiography, 2:343. In the Catalogue of JA's Library { 206 } the book is somewhat perversely entered under the name of the original compiler, Jacques Savary, whose work Postlethwayt translated and greatly enlarged. Under the term “Coin” Postlethwayt prints two contributions by Sir Isaac Newton.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0156

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-04-10

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams

[salute] Mr. Adams

Yours by post I have received, and with what Armes is Arrived this way, hope will be a full supply, and wish there were an equal Number to make Use of them. Although Our Number is not compleated, yet by what we can learn, we have as many or more than any of the goverments and are marching forward dayly.
The story of the burning the Arsenal att Plymouth wish was more Authenticated, As we have a prize ship here which Arrived sometime since, that left Falmouth the 6 Jany. which knows nothing of itt, tho itt seems there were some damage tho not as has been reported.1
I received a packet directed to me and the Other Gentlemen from the Honble. board of the Marine department, and wish I had been excused in the Matter, but as itt seems to be A Matter of Importance, and haveing two Gentlemen which are better Capacitated, than my self, we shall go on the business immediately, but believe will be a Considerable troublesome Affair.
I wish we were better Able to coape with the enemy att sea, for they have the Advantage of us greatly for they seem to take almost every thing. They have got Bermudas as a place of rendezvous, by which they have all the Advantage possible. I had a Master come by the way of N.York last week, haveing been taken in a brig of mine with 300 hhd. Molasses, [powder?], small Arms and sundry Other Articles, by which shall be a large sufferer.
Bro. Smith and Cousin Betsey is here. Mrs. Adams and family are well—and are in haste Yr. H. S.,
[signed] Isaac Smith
PS. The loss of the Cabot is an Unhappy Affair.2
1. This report doubtless arose from the exploits of James Aitken, the mad incendiary better known as John the Painter, who made repeated but largely abortive attempts during the winter of 1776–1777 to burn the royal dockyards and shipping at Portsmouth, Plymouth, and Bristol, England. See William Bell Clark's engaging and definitive account, “John the Painter,” PMHB, 63:1–23 (Jan. 1939).
2. The Continental brig Cabot, Capt. Joseph Olney, was pursued, beached, and captured in Nova Scotia waters, March 1777 (William J. Morgan, Captains to the Northward . . ., Barre, Mass., 1959, p. 83–85).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0157

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-04-13

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Enclosed with this you have a Correspondence, between the two Generals, concerning the Cartell for the Exchange of Prisoners.
Washington is in the Right, and has maintained his Argument with a Delicacy, and a Dignity, which do him much Honour.1
He has hinted, at the flagitious Conduct of the two Howes, towards their Prisoners, in so plain and clear a manner, that he cannot be misunderstood; but yet a decency and a Delicacy is preserved which is the more to be applauded, because the natural Resentment of such Atrocious Cruelties renders it very difficult to avoid a more pointed Language, in describing them. They might indeed, without much Impropriety, have been painted in crimson Colours of a deeper Die.
If Mr. Howes Heart is not callous, what must be his Feelings, when he recollects the Starvings, the Freezings, the pestilential Diseases, with which, he coolly and deliberate[ly] destroyed the Lives of so many, unhappy Men. If his Conscience is not seared, how will he bear its Lashes when he remembers his Breach of Honour, his Breach of Faith, his offence against Humanity, and Divinity, his Neighbour and his God, if he thinks there is any such Supream Being, in impairing Health that he ought to have cherished, and in putting an End to Lives that he ought to have preserved, and in choosing the most slow, lingering and torturing Death, that he could have devised?
I charitably suppose, however, that he would have chosen the shortest Course and would have put every Man, to the Sword or Bayonett, and thereby have put an End to their Sufferings, at once, if he could have done it without Detection. But this would have been easily proved upon him, both by his Friends and Enemies. Whereas, by Hunger, Frost and Disease, he might commit the Murders, with equal Certainty, and yet be able to deny that he had done it. He might lay it to Hurry, to Confusion, to the fault of Commissaries and other Officers. Nay might deny, that they were starved, frozen and infected.
He was determined to put them out of the Way, and yet to deny it, to get rid of his Enemies, and yet save his Reputation.—But his Reputation is ruined forever.
The two Brothers will be ranked by Posterity with Pizarro, with Borgia, with Alva, and with others in the Annals of Infamy, whose Memories are intituled to the Hisses and Execrations of all virtuous Men.
These two unprincipled Men are the more detestable, because they { 208 } were in the opposition at home, their Connections, Friendships and Interest lay with the opposition, to the opposition they owed their Rise, Promotion and Importance. Yet they have basely deserted their Friends and Party, and have made themselves the servile Tools of the worst of Men in the Worst of Causes.
But what will not desperate Circumstances tempt Men to do, who are without Principle? and who have a strong aspiring Ambition, a towering Pride, and a tormenting Avarice.
These two Howes were very poor, and they have spent the little Fortunes they had in bribery at Elections, and having obtained Seats in Parliament, and having some Reputation as brave Men, they had nothing to do but to carry their Votes and their Valour to Markett, and it is very true, they have sold them at an high Price.
Are Titles of Honour, the Reward of Infamy? Is Gold a Compensation for Vice? Can the one or the other, give that Pleasure to the Heart, that Comfort to the Mind, which it derives from doing Good? from a Consciousness of Acting, upon upright and generous Principles, of promoting the Cause of Right, Freedom and the Happiness of Men.
Can Wealth or Titles, soften the Pains of the Mind upon reflecting that a Man has done Evil, and endeavoured to do Evil to Millions, that he has destroyed free Governments and established Tyrannies!
I would not be an Howe, for all the Empires of the Earth, and all the Riches, and Glories thereof.
Who would not rather be brave, even tho unfortunate, in the Cause of Liberty? Who would not rather be Sydney, than Monk?
However, if I am not deceived, Misfortune as well as Infamy awaits these Men. They are doomed to defeat, and Destruction. It may take Time to effect it, but it will certainly come. America is universally convinced of the Necessity of meeting them in the Field in firm Battallion—and American Fire is terrible.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosures missing, but see note 1.
1. The “Correspondence” in question was between Washington and sundry British officers relative to a plan for exchanging prisoners; the letters were transmitted to Congress in Washington's letter of 10 April, read next day, and ordered to be published (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 7:375–380, 387–389; JCC, 7:253). Presumably JA sent AA a newspaper printing of these papers. “Enclosed is an Evening Post. General Washington's letter [to Sir William Howe, 9 April] is a masterpiece. It has raised his character higher than ever in the opinion of the Congress and his friends” (Benjamin Rush to Mrs. Rush, 14 April, Rush, Letters, 1:138–139).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0158

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-04-13

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I have spent an Hour, this Morning, in the Congregation of the dead. I took a Walk into the Potters Field, a burying Ground between the new stone Prison, and the Hospital, and I never in my whole Life was affected with so much Melancholly.1 The Graves of the soldiers, who have been buryed, in this Ground, from the Hospital and bettering House, during the Course of the last Summer, Fall, and Winter, dead of the small Pox, and Camp Diseases, are enough to make the Heart of stone to melt away.
The Sexton told me, that upwards of two Thousand soldiers had been buried there, and by the Appearance, of the Graves, and Trenches, it is most probable to me, he speaks within Bounds.
To what Causes this Plague is to be attributed I dont know. It seems to me, that the Want of Tents, Cloaths, soap, Vegetables, Vinegar, Vaults &c. cannot account for it all.
Oatmeal and Peas, are a great Preservative of our Enemies. Our Frying Pans and Gridirons, slay more than the Sword.
Discipline, Discipline is the great Thing wanted. There can be no order, nor Cleanliness, in an Army without Discipline.
We have at last, determined on a Plan for the Sick, and have called into the Service the best Abilities in Physick and Chirurgery, that the Continent affords. I pray God it may have its desired Effect, and that the Lives and Health of the Soldiers may be saved by it.
Disease has destroyed Ten Men for Us, where the Sword of the Enemy has killed one.
Upon my Return from my pensive melancholly Walk, I heard a Piece of disagreable News—That the ship Morris, Captain Anderson from Nantz, with Cannon, Arms, Gunlocks, Powder &c. was chased into Delaware Bay by two or three Men of War—that she defended herself manfully against their Boats and Barges, but finding no Possibility of getting clear, she run aground. The Crew, and two French Gentlemen Passengers got on shore, but the Captain, determined to disappoint his Enemy in Part, laid a Train and blew up the ship, and lost his own Life unfortunately in the Explosion.2 I regret the Loss of so brave a Man much more than that of the ship and Cargo. The People are fishing in order to save what they can, and I hope they will save the Cannon. The French Gentlemen, it is said have brought Dispatches from France to the Congress. I hope this is true. If it is, I { 210 } will let you know the Substance of it, if I may be permitted to disclose it.
1. Potter's Field in 18th-century Philadelphia was the open ground at Sixth and Walnut Streets later converted to Washington Square (Joseph Jackson, Encyclopedia of Philadelphia, Harrisburg, 1931–1933).
2. The Morris was a sloop owned by Robert Morris. One of the “French Gentlemen” who escaped was Armand Charles Tuffin, Marquis de La Rouërie, afterward colonel of a French regiment in Continental service (PMHB, 2 [1878]: 4–5; Lasseray, Les français sous les treize étoiles, 2:454–462).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0159

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-04-14

Cotton Tufts to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sr.

We hear of your being at Philadelphia and wish You a comfortable Session there. The spring is now opening and with this (probably) some grand Important Scenes that will call for the Wisdom of the Politician and the Skill and Bravery of the Warrior. Troops are dayly marching from this State to the several Places of their Destination and were all the Levies compleated from the several States, America would make a respectable Figure and under Providence would be able to give a good Account of her Enemies. What Number of Troops are already raisd in this State I am not able to inform You, but am doubtful whether they exceed much more than half the Number required.
An Act for regulating the Prices of Necessaries hath been made. The Cries of People demanded it. Much Pains was taken in framing it and the Prices were upon the whole judiciously set, and it was hoped that a chearful Compliance would have been paid to it. But to tell You the Truth, We are got into a wretched Hobble.
The Act occasiond a sudden Stagnation of Business. All wholesale Business ceas'd at once, and People stood gaping at one another, waiting for the Operation of the Act—some few provoked, that their Avarice should be bounded, took every Method to defeat it. The Farmer began to complain of the Trader and the Trader of the Farmer and each in his Turn contrived to outwit the other. In the mean Time, no Pains taken to enforce the Act. And in this State We have been for some Time. Upon the whole, from all that appears, it must fall through. I hope no other State will adopt such a Measure, unless they fully acquaint themselves with the operation of this Law and the Difficulties attending such a Regulation any where. All have agreed that [it] is necessary that something should have been done, to prevent Monopoly and oppression. But what that is, is a matter of Dispute. Some { 211 } suppose the lessening of the Medium, would be the most effectual Remedy, and that no other Measure will ever avail. It is of little consequence that You bind the Merchant—in spite of all Laws He will find Means to evade them, and when the Demand for his Goods are great and especially if they are scarce, he will have his Price where Money is plenty. But if Money is scarce, no one will buy but for Necessity and the Merchant will be oblig'd to submit in this Case to such a Price as he can get, and this I suppose will hold good with Respect to the Produce of Lands and other Things.—I am this Moment calld off and must bid You Adieu for the present having only Time to add that all our Families are well and that with the most Ardent Wishes for Your Health and Happiness, I am Yr. Affectionate Friend & H Sert.,
[signed] C.T.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0160

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-04-16

John Adams to Abigail Adams

We are waiting with some Impatience to hear of the Arrival of some of the Massachusetts Troops at Head Q[uarte]rs.
The Lassitude and Torpor, that has seized our New Englandmen, is to me, very surprizing.
Something will happen I believe, to arrouse them from their Lethargy. If they dont go and crush that little Nest of Hornetts at Newport, I shall think them dead to all Sense of Honour, Virtue, Shame, and Love to their Country.
The continental Troops must all march to Fishkill and Ti. . . .1 These are the Places to stop the Progress of the Enemy into New England, which I believe is their Intention, notwithstanding all that they give out about coming to Philadelphia. If they come here, they shall get little but bare Walls. And here they will be starved and drubbed.
1. Suspension points in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0161

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-04-17

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Your obliging favours of March 14, 16 and 22, have received, and most sincerely thank you for them. I know not How I should support { 212 } an absence already tedious, and many times attended with melancholy reflections, if it was not for so frequently hearing from you. That is a consolation to me, tho a cold comfort in a winters Night.
As the Summer advances I have many anxieties, some of which I should not feel or at least should find them greatly alleviated if you could be with me. But as that is a Satisfaction I know I must not look for, (tho I have a good mind to hold You to your promise since some perticuliar circumstances were really upon that condition) I must summon all the Phylosophy I am mistress of since what cannot be help'd must be endured.
Mrs. Howard a Lady for whom I know you had a great respect died yesterday to the inexpressible Grief of her Friends.1 She was deliverd of a Son or Daughter I know not which yesterday week, a mortification in her Bowels occasiond her death. Every thing of this kind naturally shocks a person in similar circumstances. How great the mind that can overcome the fear of Death! How anxious the Heart of a parent who looks round upon a family of young and helpless children and thinks of leaving them to a World full of snares and temptations which they have neither discretion to foresee, nor prudence to avoid.
But I will quit [the]2 Subject least it should excite painfull Sensations in a Heart that I would not willingly wound.
You give me an account in one of your Letters of the removal of your Lodgings. The extravagance of Board is greater there than here tho here every thing is at such prices as was not ever before known. Many articles are not to be had tho at ever so great a price. Sugar, Molasses, Rum, cotton wool, Coffe, chocolate, cannot all be consumed. Yet there are none, or next to none to be sold, perhaps you may procure a pound at a time, but no more. I have sometimes stoped 15 or 20 Butchers in a day with plenty of meat but not a mouthfull to be had unless I would give 4 pence per pound and 2 pence per pound for bringing. I have never yet indulged them and am determined I will not whilst I have a mouthfull of salt meat, to Eat, but the act is no more regarded now than if it had never been made and has only this Effect I think, that it makes people worse than they would have been without it. As to cloathing of any sort for myself or family I think no more of purchaseing any than if they were to live like Adam and Eve in innocence.
I seek wool and flax and can work willingly with my Hands, and tho my Household are not cloathed with fine linnen nor scarlet, they are cloathed with what is perhaps full as Honorary, the plain and decent manufactory of my own family, and tho I do not abound, I am not in want. I have neither poverty nor Riches but food which is conveniant { 213 } for me and a Heart to be thankfull and content that in such perilous times so large a share of the comforts of life are allotted to me.
I have a large Share of Health to be thankfull for, not only for myself but for my family.
I have enjoyed as much Health since the small pox, as I have known in any year not with standing a paleness which has very near resembled a whited wall, but which for about 3 weeks past I have got the Better of. Coulour and a clumsy figure make their appearence in so much that Master John says, Mar, I never saw any body grow so fat as you do.
I really think this Letter would make a curious figure if it should fall into the Hands of any person but yourself—and pray if it comes safe to you, burn it.
But ever remember with the tenderest Sentiments her who knows no earthly happiness eaquel to that of being tenderly beloved by her dearest Friend.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia. ans. 29.”
1. Elizabeth (Clarke) Mayhew Howard, widow of Rev. Jonathan Mayhew and wife of Mayhew's successor in the West Church in Boston, Rev. Simeon Howard. She had died on the 13th (Continental Journal and Weekly Advertiser, 17 April 1777); either AA had been misinformed or else she misdated her letter.
2. MS: “a.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0162

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-04-19

John Adams to Abigail Adams

We have now an ample Representation from N. York. It consists of Six Delegates, and they are to all Appearance, as high, as decisive, and as determined, as any Men ever were, or can be.
There is a new Hand, a Mr. Duer, who is a very fine fellow—a Man of sense, Spirit and Activity, and is exceeded by no Man in Zeal. Mr. Duane and Mr. Phillip Livingston, are apparently, as determined as any Men in Congress.
You will see by the inclosed Newspaper, that Duane and Jay have arrived at the Honour of being ranked, with the Two Adams's. I hope they will be duely sensible, of the illustrious Distinction, and be sure to behave in a manner becoming it.
This is the Anniversary of the ever memorable 19. April 1775.—Two compleat Years We have maintained open War, with Great Britain and her Allies, and after all our Difficulties and Misfortunes, { 214 } are much abler to cope with them now than We were at the Beginning.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed newspaper not found or identified.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0163

Author: Adams, Zabdiel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-04-19

Zabdiel Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

The great Distance that separates us occasions that we can hear of each others welfare but seldom. This therefore ought to induce us, as we were formerly much acquainted, to embrace every opportunity to write in order to perpetuate that friendship and regard that once so eminently subsisted between us. It would to me be highly acceptable could Letters be conveyed backwards and forwards frequently. But as this cannot be, I should be inexcusable to let pass those chances which sometimes present of sending a Letter directly to you. One such, I was favored with about 10 months ago, I embraced it, and had in return a most agreeable Letter from yourself. An Opportunity equally safe and convenient now offers in the person of Nathaniel Gorham Esq: who comes charged with a petition to the Congress from the People of Charlestown, praying for a Compensation for the Damage they sustained in the wanton destruction of their Town.1 This Gentleman now resides in Lunenburg and is one of my nearest neighbors. From an intimate acquaintance with him I can recommend him to you as a person of virtue, patriotism and superior good sense. By him you may receive information of the state of affairs in this part of the Continent. However I cannot forbear to mention a difficulty that is sensibly felt at present, and threatens very great mischief unless a remedy be speedily administered. The difficulty I mean, is the depretiation of our paper currency. The Legislature took up this matter and passed an act regulating the prices of the most essential commodities among us, as you know very well. I hoped this act would have been attended to by the people, and thereby a value given to our circulating medium. My expectations are disappointed. The Prices of the necessary and convenient articles of Life, instead of being lessened are greatly encreasd since the promulgation of that Law. Nitimur in Vetitum. But few persons comply with it. Many things Money will not purchase at all, and those for which it is taken are exorbitantly dear. The extreme plenty of it is doubtless the principal reason of its being so greatly undervalued. Whether this redundancy of cash arises from the too copious emission of it by the Congress and the particular states; or from { 215 } its being counterfeited by our enemies, I cannot tell; tho many worthy persons with whom I converse are ready to impute it chiefly to the latter cause. But let it arise from what quarter soever, it is an evil that deserves the closest attention of those that are in Power. The remedy to be applied I am not competent to point out; neither indeed is it necessary to prescribe or suggest to so wise and discerning a body as the Congress. Doubtless the calling it in plentifully by taxes, and then consuming it so far as redundant, and the making it death to counterfeit it would have a Direct tendency greatly to lessen, if not totally to destroy an evil, which if let alone bids fair to Draw after it more serious and troublesome consequences, than the arms of our enraged foes.
You will excuse my mentioning a thing of this Nature as it appears to me a matter of great importance. Money is the sinews of War; and if our enemies can devise a method by which to destroy the credit of our medium they will as effectually gain their point, as tho they were to conquer the country by dint of Arms. We have much need to be upon our guard not only against their power, but also against their policy and cunning. My Dear Sir, we have enemies both within and without to encounter, and what they want in strength they seem determind to supply by artifice. It is shrewdly suspected by those who are far from being inattentive observers, that many who are called Tories among us are possessed of counterfeit money. I am told that several who were known to be poor before the war began and who have done no business since it took place, now appear in pomp and splendor, ride fine horses, buy gay clothes and purchase farms. If this be so, we have too much reason to think they do not come honestly by their riches. Obsta Principiis is a good maxim and much to be regarded at this day. I hope those in Power will have wisdom to direct [ . . . ]2 in this perplexed state of our affairs.
As to news perhaps I can tell you none. It is a time of general health, and the season at present is promising. Our Forces in this state are recruited but slowly, altho large bounties have by the several towns been given in addition to the Continental and Provincial ones. I hope however we shall be able in tolerable good season to take the field with a Large and well appointed army who shall have it in their power to counteract and disappoint the designs of our unreasonable enemies. America is now in Labor and attended with hard and severe throws but I trust she will sooner or later be delivered, and then remember no more the anguish, on account of having brought forth the fair Daughter, Liberty, under whose gentle and peaceful reign her sons will enjoy affluence and every blessing.
{ 216 }
Permit me Sir, very tenderly to enquire after your health. Your fatigues doub[t]less are great, and situation truly uncomfortable, surrounded as you are by a miscreant host of internal and external foes. But be not discouraged. The time I am firmly persuaded is not very remote when the Congress will be abundantly recompensed for their Noble exertions in their Country's Cause. Go on then with unremitting ardor in the prosecution of the glorious design of extricating your native Land from the worst of all curses, Slavery; and be assured that you are favored with the constant Prayers of by far the greatest part of the people of these united States, that [good?] success may attend you in this important undertaking.
As I Live in a part of the world where we do not receive the earliest intelligence of the movements of the enemy, should take it very kindly if, in answer to this Letter, you would give me the best information of this matter; and let me know what reinforcements the enemy expects this season; where will probably be the seat of the war; how General Washington is supported, and what kind of assistance we are likely to receive from foreign Powers; and whether the honest Quakers are as unfriendly as ever. I have lately been transiently informed that a conspiracy, in which a number of that Denomination were concerned, has been detected. Should be glad to know the certainty of the affair. If you have it in your power to give me information in these particulars it will be pleasing to receive it, but if not, a Letter on any topick from you will be highly acceptable to him who subscribes himself your serious friend & very humble Servant,
[signed] Zabdiel Adams
My Best regards to the Honble. Samll. Adams Esq. and the other Gentlemen the Delegates from this state.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Zabdiel Adams. ansd. May 18”; docketed in CFA's hand. TA's answer of 18 May has not been found.
1. The Charlestown petition, dated 28 Nov. 1776 and brought to Philadelphia by Nathaniel Gorham and Thomas Russell, prayed for compensation by the United States in the amount of £163, 405 3s. 8d. lawful money for losses in real and personal property suffered from the burning of the town and the British occupation which followed (PCC, No. 42, 11), On 14 May it was referred to a committee of three members, none of whom was from Massachusetts (JCC, 7:354). Two days later the committee regretfully reported, and Congress agreed, that the payment by the United States of such claims, however justified, would require sums “which, in the present exigency of their affairs, cannot be spared from the support of the present just and necessary war” (same, p. 365–366). See also JA to AA, 17 May, below, and the long and illuminating letter of explanation sent by the Massachusetts delegates to Speaker Warren on 21 May (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:366–368||; also printed in Papers of John Adams||).
2. A word is here interlined in so fine a hand as to be illegible.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0164

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-04-20

Abigail Adams to John Adams

The post is very Regular and faithfully brings me all your Letters I believe. If I do not write so often as you do be assurd that tis because I have nothing worth your acceptance to write. Whilst the Army lay this way I had constantly something by way of inteligance to write, of late there has been as general a state of Tranquility as if we had no contending Armies.
There seems to be something prepairing against Newport at last. If we are not wise too late it will be well. 2000 Militia are orderd to be Draughted for that place, and last week the independant Company Marchd very generally—expect to tarry six weeks, till the Militia are collected.
Your obliging favours of various dates came safe to Hand last week, and contain a fine parcel of agreable inteligance for which I am much obliged and feel very important to have such a Bugget to communicate.
As to the Town of Boston I cannot give you any very agreable account of it. It seems to be really destitute of the Choice Spirits which once inhabited it. Tho I have not heard any perticuliar charges of Toryism against it, no doubt you had your inteligance from Better authority than I can name. I Have not been into Town since your absence nor do I desire to go till a better Spirit prevails. If tis not Toryism, tis a Spirit of avarice, a Contempt of Authority, an inordinate Love of Gain, that prevails not only in Town, but every where I look or hear from. As to Dissapation, there was always enough of it, in the Town, but I believe not more now than when you left us.
There is a general cry against the Merchants, against monopilizers &c. who tis said have created a partial Scarcity. That a Scarcity prevails of every article not only of Luxery, but even the necessaries of life is a certain fact. Every thing bears an exorbitant price. The act which for a while was in some measure regarded and stemed the torrent of oppression is now no more Heeded than if it had never been made; Indian Corn at 5 shillings, Rye 11 and 12 shilling[s], but none scarcly to be had even at that price, Beaf 8 pence, veal 6 pence and 8 pence, Butter 1 & 6 pence; Mutton none, Lamb none, pork none, Sugar mean Sugar £4 per hundred, Molasses none, cotton wool none, Rum N.E. 8 shilling[s] per Gallon, Coffe 2 & 6 per pound, Chocolate 3 shillings.
What can be done? Will Gold and Silver remedy this Evil? By your accounts of Board, Horse keeping &c. I fancy you are not better of than { 218 } we are Here. I live in hopes that we see the most difficult time we have to experience. Why is Carolina so much better furnishd than any other State? and at so reasonable prices.
I Hate to tell a Story unless I am fully informd of every perticuliar. As it happned <last Night> yesterday, and to day is Sunday have not been so fully informd as I could wish. About 11 o clock yesterday William Jackson, Dick Green, Harry Perkins, and Sergant of Cape Ann and a Carry of Charlstown were carted out of Boston under the direction of Joice junr. who was mounted on Horse back with a Red coat, a white Wig and a drawn Sword, with Drum and fife following; a Concourse of people to the amount of 500 followed. They proceeded as far as Roxbury when he orderd the cart to be timpd1 up, then told them if they were ever catchd in Town again it should be at the expence of their lives. He then orderd his Gang to return which they did immediately without any disturbance. Whether they had been guilty of any new offence I cannot learn. Tis said that a week or two ago there was a publick auction at Salem when these 5 Tories went down and bid up the articles to an enormous price, in consequence of which they were complaind of by the Salem Committee. Two of them I hear took refuge in this Town last Night.2
I believe we shall be the last State to assume Goverment. Whilst we Harbour such a number of designing Tories amongst us, we shall find government disregarded and every measure brought into contempt, by secretly undermineing and openly contemning them. We abound with designing Tories and Ignorant avaricious Whigs.
Have now learnt the crime of the carted Tories. It seems they have refused to take paper money and offerd their goods Lower for Silver than for paper—Bought up articles at a dear rate, and then would not part with them for paper.
Yesterday arrived 2 French vessels, one a 20 some say 36 Gun frigate—dry goods and 400 Stands of Arms tis said they contain. I believe I wrote you that Manly had saild, but it was only as far as Cape Ann. He and Mack Neal [McNeill] both lye at Anchor in the Harbour.

[salute] Adieu ever yours.

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. Thus in MS.
2. “Joyce Junior,” as Albert Matthews has explained in two exemplary pieces of antiquarian research, “was the name by which, for a year or two before the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, the chairman of the committee on tarring and feathering was known, and it was { 219 } he who during the war warned and escorted out of town those of Tory proclivities.” The name itself rose from the fact that a certain George Joyce, a cornet of horse in Cromwell's army, was the officer who captured the fugitive Charles 1 in 1647 and was his reputed executioner. See Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns., 8 (1906):90–104; 11 (1910):280–294.
AA's information on the names of the offending merchants was slightly but not seriously defective. They were the notorious William Jackson, who has been identified earlier; Richard Green, a hardware dealer of Boston and an addresser of Gage in Oct. 1775; James (not “Harry”) Perkins, another Bostonian and an addresser of Hutchinson and Gage; Epes Sargent, a Gloucester shipowner; and Nathaniel Cary, of Boston or Charlestown, also an addresser of Hutchinson and Gage. See Joyce Junior's “Notification” in the Boston Gazette of 21 April 1777, with Matthews' commentary thereon in the first of his articles cited above. On the treatment of Perkins in particular, see Isaac Smith Sr. to JA, 25 April, below.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0165

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-04-22

John Adams to Abigail Adams

The Post brought me two Letters from you, this Morning, one of the 7th. instant, and one before.
You seem to be in fine Spirits—I rejoice at it.
General Gates has commanded in Philadelphia, untill about a Fortnight ago, he went to Ticonderoga, where he is to command all Summer.
Schuyler is here, where he now commands. We are crouding along Soldiers to the General, as fast as they get well of Inocculation.
I think our N. Englandmen have been rather tardy, but I hope soon to hear of the Arrival of their Men at Morristown. The Army there, and at Ticonderoga too, is too weak.
But Howes Army is weak too. Let the Tories, and Cowardly Whiggs, exagerate, as much as they will, How has not in all America, Ten Thousand Men fit for Duty, nor in my Opinion Seven.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0166

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-04-23

John Adams to Abigail Adams

My Barber has just left the Chamber. The following curious Dialogue was the Amusement, during the gay Moments of Shaving.
Well, Burn, what is the Lye of the day?—Sir, Mr. []1 just told me, that a Privateer from Baltimore, has taken two valuable Prizes, with Sixteen Guns each. I can scarcely believe it.—Have you heard of the Success of the Rattlesnake of Philadelphia, and the Sturdy Beggar { 220 } of Maryland, Mr. Burn? These two Privateers have taken Eleven Prizes, and sent them into the West India Islands, Nine Transports and two Guinea Men.—Confound the ill Luck, sir, I was going to sea myself on board the Rattlesnake and my Wife fell a yelping. These Wives are queer Things. I told her I wondered she had no more Ambition. Now, says I, when you walk the Street, and any Body asks who that is? The Answer is “Burn the Barbers Wife.” Should you not be better pleased to hear it said “That is Captain Burns Lady, the Captain of Marines on board the Rattlesnake”?
Oh! says she, I had rather be called Burn the Barbers Wife, than Captain Burns Widow. I dont desire to live better, than you maintain me, my dear.
So it is, Sir, by this sweet, honey Language I am choused2 out of my Prizes, and must go on, with my Soap and Razors and Pinchers and Combs. I wish she had more Ambition.—
If this Letter should be intercepted by the Tories, they will get a Booty.—Let them enjoy it. If some of their Wives had been as tender and discreet, as the Barbers, their Husbands Ambition would not have led them into so many Salt Ponds. . . .3 What an Ignis fatuus this Ambition is! How few of either Sex, have arrived at Mrs. Burns pitch of Moderation, and are able to say, I dont desire to live better: and had rather be the Barbers Wife than the Captains Widow.—Quite smart I think as well as Philosophical.
1. Blank in MS.
2. Tricked or cheated (Webster, 2d edn.).
3. Suspension points in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0167

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-04-24

Cotton Tufts to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sr.

I wrote to you last Week by Mr. Thos. Russell who was to set out for Philadelphia on Monday last. In it I gave you some Account of the Bill for regulating Prices &c. (entituled an Act to prevent Monopoly and Oppression) and the curious State we have been in since its Publication; it will not be long before I shall be able to give You a more particular Account of its Effects—something decisive must shortly take Place. Many of the necessaries of Life are not to be purchasd such as Corn, Flax and Wool. Yet no Body starves—nor freezes. Foreign Articles are bought and sold only by those who are daring enough to buy and sell at any Rate or by those whose Necessities compel them to it.
{ 221 }
It is reported that the Committee of Salem have thrown open the Mercantile Stores and obliged the owners to an Observance of the Acts. If this Measure is adopted in all the trading Towns, it is likely the Act will be observed, otherwise I think it will fail.
Some have thought, that a general Regulation of the Articles commonly bought and sold in America, made by Congress and binding on all the States would have been more extensively useful and have met with a more chearful Obedience.
Ought not all matters of Trade that affect the whole be directed by that Body that represents the whole and in whom the supreme Power is lodged? If particular States undertake to meddle with matters of Trade and thereby prejudice other States, what must follow, but Disaffection and Disunion.—I do not indeed wish that the Congress would undertake a Matter of this Kind at present like unto what has been done by the New England States, But wish that all Affairs of Commerce may be under the Guidance of that Body and that all Duties, Customs &c. in Trade might be the same throughout America (and its Money the same) unless some local Circumstances forbid.
We hear that a Number of capital Ships are to be built by order of Congress. With respect to the Expediency of it, May not the following Queries have some Weight.—Suppose a Vessell of 60 Guns to be built in so short a Time as the present Exigencies of our affairs require to render it of Use in the present Contest, what Number of Men are to be employd in building and what will be the expence of the same? Suppose it to be built, what Number of Men are required to man her and where are they to be procurd.—Three Frigates built 12 Months past are not yet equipt for sea. What would be the Condition of a 60 Gun Ship. How long must she lay and how is she to be manned.
It has been our Misfortune to be plungd into more Business than we could possibly conduct with any Degree of Clearness and to enter upon new Business before we had finishd old. Necessity has often compelled us to this. Wisdom points out what is profitable and necessary to be done, but Means are not always at hand. In this Case We must pass on to what is practicable and content ourselves with a Lesser Good where we cant obtain a greater.
Must not a Land Army (under Providence) be our main Security and Dependance? If so Every Measure that materially prevents the raising of Men for that Purpose must necessarily injure us. The greater the Number of Men employ'd at Wages above the Soldiers, the Less Number of Soldiers will be obtaind. Few Men will enter the Service at 2s. per Day when they can get at Home 4s. or 6s. In short must not { 222 } every Thing bend to that one Point Viz. Raising and maintaining an Army sufficient for our Defence. Should we overcome our Enemies, and enjoy Peace, there will at that Time be multitudes thrown out of Business. Perhaps building Capital Ships would answer a good Purpose and prevent a Stagnation frequently attending Peace.
Our Army is not filled up with that Alacrity and Dispatch that might be wishd for. If We enquire into the true Causes, among others We shall find, that the Demand of Men for Shipping of one kind and another, and the high Wages given to Tradesmen, Labourers &c. may be reckond among the capital Causes. I dont mention the plenty of Money as a cause operating on those mentiond for that may rather be considerd as short livd and limited or rather I would feign consider it so and am strongly in the Faith, that it will eer long be scarce and valuable.
My Dear Sir, I have given You a strange Mess of Politics, and will no longer transgress upon your Patience. Leaving you to your better Thoughts I am with much Esteem, Your Affectionate Friend & H Sert.
[In the margin:] Yours and the other Families connected are well.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Honle. John Adams Esq Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Dr. Tufts”; docketed in CFA's hand.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0168

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-04-25

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams

[salute] [Mr. Adam]s

The bearer is Thomas Russell Esq., who is going to The Congress in order to make Application in behalf of the Town of Charlestown for some temperal releif for the many sufferers amongst which are many widows, more so than in general, and iff any thing could be done for them, under there present dificulties, consistant with the general good I should be glad and hope some method might be found Out for that purpose.
We have two Ships in the bay, and will rain Triumpant As there seems no probabillity of Opozeing them.1—By the Ticonderoga post Yesterday itt seems there were but about Two thousand people and the lake Open for the enemy to come Over. I Am A little affraid they will come Over too soon for us.—We have wrote the Marine board how far we have proceeded in the business Appointed us, but we find itt to be a confused business, some part of itt, att least. However hope to get itt Accomplishd as spedily as we can.
There is a ship built att Piscataque, belonging to Mercer & Co. of { 223 } Phila. which has taken Out of a fleet Three Vessells and was in persute of more, which ship's keyl was not laid, when [ . . . ]2 round here.—We have had some very bad carryings on here lately which cant be justifyed by any person that has any regard to the present cause or either to humanity or justice. One of which of the persons referred to is [Mr.?] Perkins that had a son who had run him in debt and borrowed money unbeknown to his father and behaved badly, run of to NY. some time Ago, and on no Other crime Alledged Against the father who knew nothing of his going. To be seized when seting down to breakfast and ludgd.3 into a Cart with his wife and Children hanging round him, not knowing but he was a going to the Gallows, must be shocking to any One that has the sparks of humanity in them. Nothing more inhumane could have been in Spain or Portugal, to be banesht without even the shadow of an Accuation.4 I dont know but you think I am pleading the cause of the Torey party, but I abhor a real One and such management has a tendancy to make more of that kind of people. Were any person as the case here, have given bonds With good security for there good behavior, and have never offended, the goverment they are under (for there Own honor) Ought to protect them, or else goverment had as good be att an end.
The Counsel sent a Messuage to the house and people were in hopes some good would have come of itt, but beleive itt will all come to nothing.—Yr. &c.
1. These were British frigates. See James Warren to JA, 27 April, for more details (Warren-Adams Letters, 1:318–319||; also printed in Papers of John Adams||).
2. MS torn by seal; two or three words missing.
3. Thus in MS, for “lugged”?
4. Thus in MS. This must have been James Perkins; see AA to JA, 20 April, above.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0169

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-04-26

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I have been lately more remiss, than usual in Writing to you. There has been a great Dearth of News. Nothing from England, nothing from France, Spain, or any other Part of Europe, nothing from the West Indies. Nothing from Howe, and his Banditti, nothing from General Washington.
There are various Conjectures that Lord How is dead, sick, or gone to England, as the Proclamations run in the Name of Will. Howe only, and nobody from New York can tell any Thing of his Lordship.
{ 224 }
I am wearied out, with Expectations that the Massachusetts Troops would have arrived, e'er now, at Head Quarters.—Do our People intend to leave the Continent in the Lurch? Do they mean to submit? or what Fatality attends them? With the noblest Prize in View, that ever Mortals contended for, and with the fairest Prospect of obtaining it upon easy Terms, The People of the Massachusetts Bay, are dead.
Does our State intend to send only half, or a third of their Quota? Do they wish to see another, crippled, disastrous and disgracefull Campaign for Want of an Army?—I am more sick and more ashamed of my own Countrymen, than ever I was before. The Spleen, the Vapours, the Dismals, the Horrors, seem to have seized our whole State.
More Wrath than Terror, has seized me. I am very mad. The gloomy Cowardice of the Times, is intollerable in N. England.
Indeed I feel not a little out of Humour, from Indisposition of Body. You know, I cannot pass a Spring, or fall, without an ill Turn—and I have had one these four or five Weeks—a Cold, as usual. Warm Weather, and a little Exercise, with a little Medicine, I suppose will cure me as usual. I am not confined, but moap about and drudge as usual, like a Gally Slave. I am a Fool if ever there was one to be such a Slave. I wont be much longer. I will be more free, in some World or other.
Is it not intollerable, that the opening Spring, which I should enjoy with my Wife and Children upon my little Farm, should pass away, and laugh at me, for labouring, Day after Day, and Month after Month, in a Conclave, Where neither Taste, nor Fancy, nor Reason, nor Passion, nor Appetite can be gratified?
Posterity! You will never know, how much it cost the present Generation, to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good Use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0170

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-04-27

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Your Favours of Ap. 2 and Ap. 7. I have received.
The inclosed Evening Post, will give you, some Idea, of the Humanity of the present Race of Brittons.1—My Barber, whom I quote as often as ever I did any Authority, says “he has read Histories of { 225 } Cruelty; and he has read Romances of Cruelty: But the Cruelty of the British exceeds all that he ever read.”
For my own Part, I think We cannot dwell too much, on this Part of their Character, and Conduct. It is full of important Lessons. If the Facts only were known, in the Utmost Simplicity of Narration, they would strike every pious, and humane Bosom, in Great Britain with Horror. . . .2 Every Conscience in that Country is not callous nor every Heart hardened.
The plainest Relation of Facts, would interest the Sympathy, and Compassion of all Europe in our Favour. And it would convince every American that a Nation, so great a Part of which is thus deeply depraved, can never be again trusted with Power over Us.
I think that not only History should perform her Office, but Painting, Sculpture, Statuary, <Medalling?> and Poetry ought to assist in publishing to the World, and perpetuating to Posterity, the horrid deeds of our Enemies. It will shew the Persecution, We suffer, in defence of our Rights—it will shew the Fortitude, Patience, Perseverance and Magnanimity of Americans, in as strong a Light, as the Barbarity and Impiety of Britons, in this persecuting War. Surely, Impiety consists, in destroying with such hellish Barbarity, the rational Works of the Deity, as much as in blaspheming and defying his Majesty.
If there is a moral Law: if there is a divine Law—and that there is every intelligent Creature is conscious—to trample on these Laws, to hold them in Contempt and Defyance; is the highest Exertion of Wickedness, and Impiety, that Mortals can be guilty of. The Author of human Nature, who gave it its Rights, will not see it ruined, and suffer its destroyers to escape with Impunity. Divine Vengeance will sometime or other, overtake the Alberts, the Phillips, and Georges—the Alvas, the Grislers3 and Howes, and vindicate the Wrongs of oppressed human Nature.
I think that Medals in Gold, Silver and Copper ought to be struck in Commemoration of the shocking Cruelties, the brutal Barbarities and the diabolical Impieties of this War, and these should be contrasted with the Kindness, Tenderness, Humanity and Philanthropy, which have marked the Conduct of Americans towards their Prisoners.
It is remarkable, that the Officers and Soldiers of our Enemies, are so totally depraved, so compleatly destitute of the Sentiments of Philanthropy in their own Hearts, that they cannot believe that such delicate Feelings can exist in any other, and therefore have constantly ascribed that Milk and Honey with which We have treated them to Fear, Cowardice, and conscious Weakness.—But in this they are mis• { 226 } taken, and will discover their Mistake too late to answer any good Purpose for them.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosure not found, but see note 1. An important but perhaps not completely accurate memorandum in JA's letterbook (Lb/JA/3) states that on 27 April he “wrote ten Letters,” including “two to Portia. These will go by Captn. Thompson or by next Wednesdays Post.—They are as well worth copying as any others, but I am weary of the Employment.” Only four or five of the letters listed by recipients' names in this memorandum are apparently present or recorded under this date in the Adams Papers Editorial Files, but others in the list may actually exist and be recorded under slightly later dates. There is, however, no indication that a second letter from JA dated 27 April was ever received by AA; see her acknowledgment of the present letter, 18 May, below.
1. On 16 Jan. Congress had appointed a committee of seven members, Samuel Chase chairman, “to enquire into the conduct of the British and Hessian generals and officers towards the officers, soldiers and mariners in the service of the United States, and any other persons, inhabitants of these States, in their possession, as prisoners of war, or otherwise, and also into the conduct of the said generals and officers, and the troops under their command, towards the subjects of these States and their property, more especially of the States of New York and New Jersey” (JCC, 7:42–43). The committee acted energetically in collecting evidence and began its report, which was read in Congress on 18 April, as follows:
“That, in every place where the enemy has been, there are heavy complaints of oppression, injury, and insult, suffered by the inhabitants. . . . The committee found these complaints so greatly diversified, that, as it was impossible to enumerate them, so it appeared exceedingly difficult to give a distinct and comprehensive view of them, or such an account, as would not, if published, appear extremely defective, when read by the unhappy sufferers, or the country in general.
“In order, however, in some degree, to answer the design of their appointment, they determined to divide the object of their enquiry into four parts: First, The wanton and oppressive devastation of the country, and destruction of property: Second, the inhuman treatment of those who were so unhappy as to become prisoners: Third, The savage butchery of many who had submitted or were incapable of resistance: Fourth, The lust and brutality of the soldiers in abusing of women.
“They will, therefore, now briefly state, what they found to be the truth upon each of these heads separately, and subjoin to the whole, affidavits and other evidence to support their assertions” (same, p. 276–277).
Congress immediately accepted the report and ordered it published, “with the affidavits.” The Pennsylvania Evening Post of 24 April devoted its entire front page to the report and continued the supporting affidavits in its issues of 26 and 29 April and 3 May. JA probably sent AA a copy of the issue of 26 April with the present letter, and a copy of that of 3 May with his letter of 4 May, below. On the following 19 July Congress ordered the committee to publish the report and affidavits as a pamphlet, “and that 4,000 copies in English, and 2,000 in German, be struck off and distributed through the several States” (same, 8:565). It is very doubtful if this was done since no copy of a pamphlet printing has been found.
2. Suspension points in MS.
3. Hermann Gessler, the more or less legendary persecutor of the Swiss patriot William Tell.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0171

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-04-28

John Adams to Abigail Adams

There is a Clock Calm, at this Time, in the political and military Hemispheres. The Surface is smooth and the Air serene. Not a Breath, nor a Wave. No News, nor Noise.
Nothing would promote our Cause more, than Howes March to this Town. Nothing quickens and determines People so much, as a little Smart.—The Germans, who are numerous and wealthy in this state and who have very imperfect Ideas of Freedom, have a violent Attachment to Property. They are passionate and vindictive, in a Degree that is scarce credible to Persons who are unacquainted with them, and the least Injury to their Property, excites a Resentment and a Rage1 beyond Description. A few Houses and Plantations plundered, as many would be, if Howe should come here, would set them all on Fire. Nothing would unite and determine Pensilvania so effectually.
The Passions of Men must cooperate with their Reason in the Prosecution of a War. The public may be clearly convinced that a War is just, and yet, untill their Passions are excited, will carry it languidly on. The Prejudices, the Anger, the Hatred of the English, against the French, contributes greatly to their Valour and Success. The British Court and their Officers, have studied to excite the same Passions in the Breasts of their Soldiers against the Americans, well knowing their powerfull Effect.
We, on the Contrary, have treated their Characters with too much Tenderness. The Howes, their Officers and Soldiers too, ought to be held up to the Contempt, Derision, Hatred and Abhorrence of the Populace in every State, and of the common Soldiers in every Army. It would give me no Pain, to see them burn'd or hang'd in Effigy in every Town and Village.
1. Preceding three words, probably inadvertently omitted in RC, supplied from LbC.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0172

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-04-29

John Adams to Abigail Adams

This days Post brought me yours of 17th. inst. and Miss Nabbys obliging Favour of the 16.1 This young Lady writes a very pretty Hand, and expresses her Thoughts with great Propriety.
{ 228 }
I shall hardly excuse Miss from writing to me, so long as I have done, now I find she can write so well. I shall carefully preserve her Letter and if she neglects to write me frequently I shall consider this Letter as Proof that it is not Want of Abilities, but Want of Inclination.
The Death of Mrs. Howard I greatly and sincerely lament. She was one of the choice of the Earth.
The Account you give me of the Evasions of your Regulations surprizes me not. I detest the Regulations as well as the Embargo. I find it is necessary for me to resign, for I never, of late, think like my Constituents. I am bound by their Sense in Honour and Principle—But mine differs from them every day. I always knew the Regulations would do more Hurt than good.
The inclosed Speculations upon the Health of the Army, were written I suppose by Dr. Rush,2 as the former ones I know were done by him.
There is a letter of 20 Feb. from Dr. Lee, which says that Boston was to be attacked by Ten thousand Germans and three thousand British under Burgoin.3 But Circumstances since may have altered Cases.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosure missing, but see note 2.
1. AA's letter is printed above; AA2's has not been found.
2. This was a remarkable article entitled “Directions for Preserving the Health of Soldiers” which was first printed in the Pennsylvania Packet, 22 April 1777, signed “R.” It was reprinted as a pamphlet, with a long subtitle and textual changes and additions, by order of the Board of War early in 1778 (Lancaster: John Dunlap; Evans 16064). This brief but pioneering essay in military hygiene was reprinted again and again until as late as 1908 and proved one of the most influential among all of Benjamin Rush's voluminous writings. An annotated text will be found in Rush's Letters, 1:140–147.
3. This was clearly some version of Arthur Lee's letter from Bordeaux, 18 Feb., of which a text is printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:272–273.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0173

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-04-30

John Adams to Abigail Adams

We have a fine Piece of News this Morning of the March of 2000 of the Enemy, and destroying a fine Magazine there—and the stupid sordid cowardly torified Country People let them pass without Opposition.1
All New England is petrified, with Astonishment, Horror, and Despair, I believe in my Conscience. They behave worse than any Part { 229 } of the Continent.2 Even in N. Jersy 2000 Men could not have marched so far.
1. The reference is to the destructive raid on the Continental stores at Danbury, Conn., from Long Island Sound, 25–27 April, by a British force under Maj. Gen. William Tryon and Brig. Gen. Sir William Erskine; see Washington's letter to Congress, 28 April, read on the 30th (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 7:490–491; JCC, 7:314); also AA to JA, 6–9 May, below.
2. The punctuation and capitalization of the MS have been retained in this passage, but in all likelihood JA actually intended a full stop after “Despair” and a comma after “Conscience.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0174

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-04

Abigail Adams to John Adams

The young folks desire Mamma to return thanks for their Letters which they will properly notice soon. It would have grieved you if you had seen your youngest Son stand by his Mamma and when she deliverd out to the others their Letters, he inquired for one, but none appearing he stood in silent grief with the Tears running down his face, nor could he be pacified till I gave him one of mine.—Pappa does not Love him he says so well as he does Brothers, and many comparisons were made to see whose Letters were the longest.2
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Portia.”
1. Possibly AA dated this letter, but the seal has torn away part of the top edge of the sheet. On the editors' conjectural date see the following note.
2. The letters to the “young folks” must have been those JA wrote to AA2, CA, and JQAthem on 30 March. Presumably he had received the present letter by 6 May, for on that day he sent TBA an apology for omitting him earlier. On 6 MayAA wrote JA, saying, “Tis ten days I believe since I wrote you a Line.” Very likely the present short letter is the “Line” she meant, for there is no other from her to JA late in April 1777. All the letters mentioned in this footnote are printed under their respective dates above or below.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0175

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-05-01

John Adams to Abigail Adams

This is King Tammany's Day. Tammany was an Indian King, of this Part of the Continent, when Mr. Penn first came here. His Court was in this Town. He was friendly to Mr. Penn and very serviceable to him. He lived here1 among the first settlers for some Time and untill old Age and at last was burnt.
{ 230 }
Some say he lived here with Mr. Penn when he first came here, and upon Mr. Pens Return he heard of it, and called upon his Grandchildren to lead him down to this Place to see his old Friend. But they went off and left him blind and very old. Upon this the old Man finding himself forsaken, he made him up a large Fire and threw himself into it. The People here have sainted him and keep his day.2
RC (Adams Papers). There is nothing to prove beyond question that this letter was addressed to AA, and from its tone one might plausibly suppose it was addressed to one of the Adams children, perhaps AA2. But lacking evidence to the contrary, the editors believe, with only the slightest shadow of doubt, that AA was the intended recipient.
1. MS: “he.”
2. On the history of the St. Tammany Society in Philadelphia, founded in the early 1770's and similar in its politics to the Sons of Liberty in New York and Boston, see a rambling serial article by Francis von A. Cabeen, “The Society of the Sons of Saint Tammany of Philadelphia,” PMHB, 25 (1901):433–451; 26 (1902):7–24, 207–223, 335–347, 443–463; 27 (1903):29–48. The Society was named for a chief of the Delaware tribe who had died many years before but was endowed with all possible virtues by his admiring followers, particularly the virtue of being indisputably all-American, unlike the legendary patrons of such societies as those of St. George, St. Andrew, and St. Patrick. See DAB under Tammany.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0176

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-05-02

John Adams to Abigail Adams

We have promoted Arnold, one Step this day, for his Vigilance, Activity, and Bravery, in the late Affair at Connecticutt.1—We shall make Huntingdon a Brigadier, I hope.2
We shall sleep in a whole Skin for some Time I think in Philadelphia, at least untill a strong Reinforcement arrives.
I want to learn, where Sir William Erskine with his Two Thousand Men, went after his Exploit at Danbury.—Perhaps to Newport.
1. See JCC, 7:323.
2. Jedediah Huntington; see same, p. 347 (12 May).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0177

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-05-04

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Inclosed with this you have an Evening Post, containing some of the tender Mercies of the Barbarians to their Prisoners.
{ 231 }
If there is a Man, Woman or Child in America, who can read these Depositions, without Resentment, and Horror, that Person has no soul or a very wicked one.
Their Treatment of Prisoners, last Year added to an Act of Parliament, which they have made to enable them to send Prisoners to England, to be there murthered, with still more relentless Cruelty, in Prisons, will bring our Officers and Soldiers to the universal Resolution to conquer or die.
This Maxim, conquer or die, never failed to raise a People who adopted it, to the Head of Man kind.
An Express from Portsmouth last night brought Us News of the Arrival of Arms and ordnance enough to enable Us to take Vengeance of these Foes of Human Nature.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosure (missing): presumably a copy of the Pennsylvania Evening Post for 3 May 1777; see JA to AA, 27 April, above, and note 1 there.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0178-0001

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-05-06

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Tis ten days I believe since I wrote you a Line,1 yet not ten minuts passes without thinking of you. Tis four Months wanting 3 days since we parted, every day of the time I have mournd the absence of my Friend, and felt a vacancy in my Heart which nothing, nothing can supply. In vain the Spring Blooms or the Birds sing, their Musick has not its formour melody, nor the Spring its usual pleasures. I look round with a melancholy delight and sigh for my absent partner. I fancy I see you worn down with Cares, fatigued with Buisness, and solitary amidst a multitude.
And I think it probabal before this reaches you that you may be driven from the city by our Barbarous and Hostile foes, and the City shareing the fate of Charlestown and Falmouth, Norfolk and Daunbury. So vague and uncertain are the accounts with regard to the Latter that I shall not pretend to mention them. Tis more than a week since the Event, yet we have no accounts which can be depended upon. I wish it may serve the valuable purpose of arousing our degenerated Country Men from that state of security and torpitude into which they seem to be sunk.
{ 232 }
I have been prevented writing for several days by company from Town. Since I wrote you I have received several Letters, 2 of the 13 of April, one of the 19 and one of the 22. Tho some of them were very short, I will not complain. I rejoice to hear from you tho you write but a line. Since the above we have some accounts of the affair at Daunbury and of the loss of General Wocester.2 That they had no more assistance tis said was owing to six expresses being stoped by the Tories. We shall never prosper till we fall upon some method to extirpate that Blood thirsty set of men. Too much Lenity will prove our ruin. We have rumours too of an action at Brunswick much to our advantage but little credit is yet given to the report. I wish we may be able to meet them in the Feald, to encounter and Conquer so vile an Enemy.
The two Continental frigates lie wind bound with 3 brigs of 20 Guns and some others who are all going out in company. We have had a very long season of cold rainy weather, and the trees are not yet out in Blossome, the wind has been a long time at East, and prevented the vessels from going out.—I was mistaken in my Brothers going with MacNeal. He is going in the Tarter a vessel which mounts 24 Guns, is private property but sails with the Fleat.