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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2

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.
I cannot write you half so much as I would. I have left company because I would not loose an opportunity of sending this.
The children are well. I cannot say that I am so well as I have been. The disorder I had in my Eyes has in some measure left them but communicated itself all over me and turnd to the salt rhume which worries me exceedingly, and is very hurtfull in my present situation.3 However I am doing what I dare to to carry it of .—Believe me at all times most affectionately yours.
I must add a little more. A most Horrid plot has been discoverd of a Band of villans counterfeiting the Hampshire currency to a Great amount, no person scarcly but what has more or less of these Bills. I am unlucky enough to have about 5 pounds LM of it, but this is not the worst of it. One Col. Farington who has been concernd in the plot, was taken sick, and has confessd not only the Counterfeiting, but says they had engaged and inlisted near 2 thousand Men who upon the Troops comeing to Boston were to fall upon the people and make a General Havock. How much more mercifull God than man, in thus providentially bringing to light these Horrid plots and Schemes. I doubt not Heaven will still continue to favour us, unless our iniquities prevent. The Hampshire people have been stupid enough to let one of { 233 } the principal plotters Col. Holland out upon Baill and he has made his excape.4
1. Probably her letter printed under the assigned date of April 1777, above.
2. Maj. Gen. David Wooster died on 2 May from a wound received in action against the British when they were retreating from Danbury.
3. “Salt rheum” in U.S. usage, according to OED, citing Webster's Dictionary, 1854, was “A popular name for 'almost all the non-febrile cutaneous eruptions which are common among adults, except perhaps ringworm and itch.'”
4. For an account of the career of Col. Stephen Holland of Londonderry, N.H., see Kenneth Scott, Counterfeiting in Colonial America, N.Y., 1957, p. 256–260. He was later caught and jailed in Boston (AA to JA, 8 June, below). Lt. Col. Thomas Farrington of the 5th Massachusetts was cashiered from the army this month for counterfeiting (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 8:112 and note).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0178-0002

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

Enclosure: List of American Losses at Danbury

1700 Barrells Pork
50 Do: Beef
700 Basketts Wheat
7 Hhds. Rum
6 Do: Bread
11 Tierces Claret
3 Quarter Cask Wine
12 or 1700 Wheat—Rye & Corn
12 Coile Rope
10 Waggons
1600 Tents mostly old
The above is a true State of our Loss, in the affair at Danbury. 20 Men killed. 5 Missing. 17 Houses burnt. A Party that went out to bury the Dead have returned, and Report, that they have buried 62 Regulars.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Portia ans. May 27”; docketed in CFA's hand. Enclosure, in an unidentified hand, printed herewith.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0179

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

We have no News here but what comes from you—except that all is well and quiet at Ticonderoga, that We have four Thousand Troops there, and that they were not afraid of Carlton.
The Connecticutt People have given Sir Wm. Erskine a Concord and Lexington Drubbing. But I am very angry at our People for mak• { 234 } ing a Magazine, so near the Water and among such a Gang of high Church Tories. The Loss however, will not be much felt, as We have many Magazines and a plentifull Supply.
Send our Men along and We shall drubb them yet effectually. Ample Vengeance will be yet taken, of these Disturbers of human Nature. . . .1 There is a chosen Curse, red with uncommon Wrath, yet reserved in the stores of Heaven for these, most mean and most wicked of Men.
1. Suspension points in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0180

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1777-05-06

John Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My dear Son Thomas

The only Reason why I omitted to write you when I wrote to your Brothers,1 was because I thought you was as yet too young to be able to read Writing, not because I had less Affection for you than for them: for you may rely upon it, you have as great a share in your Fathers Esteem and Affection as any of his Children.
I hope you will be good and learn to read and write well, and then I shall take a Pride and Pleasure in your constant Correspondence. Give my Love to your Mamma, your worthy Sister, and Brothers, and to all the rest of the Family.
Pray, when you write me a Letter, let me know how many Calves are raising, how many Ducks and Geese, and how the Garden looks. I long to take a Walk with you to see them, and the green Meadows and Pastures. I am your Father,
[signed] John Adams
RC (PPRF); addressed: “Mr. Thomas Adams Braintree.”
1. See AA's letter to JA printed under the assigned date of April 1777, above, and note 2 there.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0181

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-05-07

John Adams to Abigail Adams

We have no News here, except what We get from your Country. The Privateers act with great Spirit, and are blessed with remarkable Success. Some Merchant ships are arrived this Week from Maryland. They were first chased by Men of War, in attempting to get into Cheasapeak Bay—they run from them and attempted Delaware Bay— { 235 } there they were chased again. Whereupon they again shifted their Course for Cheasapeak and got in safe in spight of all the Men of War could do.
Thus you see We can and will have Trade, in spight of them. . . .1 And this Trade will probably increase fast. It requires Time for The Stream of Commerce to alter its Channell. Time is necessary, for our Merchants and foreign Merchants to think, plan, and correspond with each other. Time is also necessary for our Masters of Vessells and Mariners to become familiar with the Coasts, Ports and Harbours of foreign Countries—and a longer Time still is needfull for French, Spanish, and Dutch Masters and Mariners to learn our Coasts, and Harbours.

[salute] Yours, ever, ever yours.

1. Suspension points in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0182

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-05-10

John Adams to Abigail Adams

The Day before Yesterday, I took a Walk, with my Friend Whipple to Mrs. Wells's, the Sister of the famous Mrs. Wright, to see her Waxwork.1 She has two Chambers filled with it. In one, the Parable of the Prodigal Son, is represented. The Prodigal is prostrate on his Knees, before his Father, whose Joy, and Grief, and Compassion all appear in his Eyes and Face, struggling with each other. A servant Maid, at the Fathers command, is pulling down from a Closet Shelf, the choicest Robes, to cloath the Prodigal, who is all in Rags. At an outward Door, in a Corner of the Room stands the elder Brother, chagrined at this Festivity, a Servant coaxing him to come in. A large Number of Guests, are placed round the Room. In another Chamber, are the Figures of Chatham, Franklin, Sawbridge, Mrs. Maccaulay, and several others. At a Corner is a Miser, sitting at his Table, weighing his Gold, his Bag upon one Side of the Table, and a Thief behind him, endeavouring to pilfer the Bag.
There is Genius, as well as Taste and Art, discovered in this Exhibition: But I must confess, the whole Scaene was disagreable to me. The Imitation of Life was too faint, and I seemed to be walking among a Group of Corps's, standing, sitting, and walking, laughing, singing, crying, and weeping. This Art I think will make but little Progress in the World.
{ 236 }
Another Historical Piece I forgot, which is Elisha, restoring to Life the Shunamite's Son. The Joy of the Mother, upon Discerning the first Symptoms of Life in the Child, is pretty strongly expressed.
Dr. Chevots Waxwork, in which all the various Parts of the human Body are represented, for the Benefit of young Students in Anatomy and of which I gave you a particular Description, a Year or two ago, were much more pleasing to me. Wax is much fitter to represent dead Bodies, than living ones.2
Upon a Hint, from one of our Commissioners abroad, We are looking about for American Curiosities, to send across the Atlantic as presents to the Ladies.3 Mr. Rittenhouse's Planetarium, Mr. Arnolds Collection of Rareties in the Virtuoso Way, which I once saw at Norwalk in Connecticutt,4 Narragansett Pacing Mares, Mooses, Wood ducks, Flying Squirrells, Redwinged Black birds, Cramberries, and Rattlesnakes have all been thought of.5
Is not this a pretty Employment for great Statesmen, as We think ourselves to be? Frivolous as it seems, it may be of some Consequence. Little Attentions have great Influence. I think, however, We ought to consult the Ladies upon this Point. Pray what is your Opinion?6
RC and LbC (Adams Papers). LbC is entered in Lb/JA/3 as two separate letters, the first ending with JA's remarks on Dr. Chovet's anatomical waxworks, and the second containing only the two final paragraphs as found in RC, on “American Curiosities.” Datelines in RC and both LbC entries originally read “April 10.,” but the month was corrected to May by overwriting in all three.
1. Patience (Lovell) Wright (1725–1786), by origin a New Jersey Quaker, gained celebrity as a modeler in wax and has been called the first American sculptor. The Adams ladies were to encounter her in London in the 1780's and to write about her with less than complete admiration. See DAB; Groce and Wallace, Dict. Amer. Artists; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:165, with references there. Mrs. Wright's sister, Rachel (Lovell) Wells, was also a modeler in wax, but none of her work is known to survive (Ethel Stanwood Bolton, American Wax Portraits, Boston and N.Y., 1929, p. 22, 61). It seems likely that the collection JA viewed included pieces executed by both sisters.
2. The anatomical waxworks executed by Dr. Abraham Chovet (1704–1790) were among the principal scientific attractions of Philadelphia at this period. JA was apparently mistaken in supposing that he had described them in an earlier letter to AA, but he had given some account of them in his diary entry for 14 Oct. 1774 (Diary and Autobiography, 2:152).
3. See Silas Deane's letters to the Committee of Secret Correspondence, 28 Nov. 1776, and to John Jay, 3 Dec. 1776, respectively, in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:200, 214. Deane's own list of suggestions in the latter is engaging:
“I must mention some trifles. The queen is fond of parade, and I believe wishes a war, and is our friend. She loves riding on horseback. Could you send me a narrowhegansett horse or two; the present might be money exceedingly well laid out. Rittenhouse's orrery, or Arnold's collection of insects, a phaeton of American make and a pair of bay { 237 } horses, a few barrels of apples, of walnuts, of butternuts, etc., would be great curiosities here, where everything American is gazed at, and where the American contest engages the attention of all ages, ranks, and sexes.”
4. JA saw this natural history collection in the summer of 1774 when on his way to the first Continental Congress, and he afterward found it incorporated in Sir Ashton Lever's private museum in Leicester House, London; see Diary and Autobiography, 3:151.
5. In LbCJA did not at first list two of the items as here given but then immediately added: “And why should not Moose's and Rattlesnakes!”
6. JA began an additional paragraph in RC, but then rubbed it out: “We have at last accom. . . .” See the beginning of the following letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0183

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-05-10

John Adams to Abigail Adams

We have at last accomplished a troublesome Piece of Business. We have chosen a Number of additional Ambassadors. Mr. Ralph Izzard of S. Carolina, a Gentleman of large Fortune, for the Court of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and Mr. William Lee, formerly Alderman of London, for the Courts of Vienna and Berlin.1
LbC (Adams Papers). There is no indication that this letter was sent or received. JA perhaps meant to add to it, but did not, and then did not copy and send it. Or perhaps he thought he had included this paragraph in the letter he did send this day, preceding.
1. Izard was appointed on 7 May, and Lee on 9 May (JCC, 7:334, 343).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0184

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-05-12

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams

[salute] Mr. Adams

I duly received your several packets for Mrs. Adams which have been forwarded.—I have thoughts of sending a Vessell to Georgia to load with Rice, and as I should have Occasion to send money for the purchase, I should be glad iff you would enquire of the Gentlemen from Georgia, whether the Continental Loan bills would Answer as some Value in them might be easier conseald in case I should send them by the Vessell, but should rather send them by post iff I could do itt with safety which suppose may be done. I should therefore be glad iff you would enquire of the Gentlemen from Georgia, to whom I might with safety send the bills by land to be lodged in some Gentleman's hands Against the Vessell might Arrive and in case the Vessell should Miscarry, they may remain safe till further orders.
I should be glad to know how long the post is going from Phila. to Georgia.—There are two ships On the Carolina Coast, which takes { 238 } many Vessells About a fortnight Ago bound here Amongst which I have One.
We have nothing Arrived lately from Europe. There are several may be lookt for from Bilboa about 3 weeks hence and I expect One from France likewise.

[salute] I am Yr. hum servt,

[signed] Isaac Smith

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0185

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-05-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Prices with you are much more moderate than here. Yesterday I was obliged to give Forty shillings Pen. Cur.1 Thirty two L.M. for one Gallon of Rum.
In my station here, I have Business with many Gentlemen who have occasion to visit me, and I am reduced to the Necessity of treating them with plain Toddy and Rum and Water—a Glass of Wine, once in a while to a great stranger, of uncommon Consideration.
The Prices of Beef, Pork, Veal, Mutton, Poultry, Butter, Cheese, Milk is Three Times higher, here than with you.
I live like a Miser, and an Hermit, to save Charges, yet my Constituents will think my Expences beyond all Bounds.—My Love to Dr. Tufts. I have received two agreable Letters from him, which I will answer as soon as I can.
1. Pennsylvania currency, which, as indicated here, had a ratio to New England “lawful money” of 5 to 4.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0186

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-05-15

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Gen. Warren writes me, that my Farm never looked better, than when he last saw it, and that Mrs. —— was like to outshine all the Farmers.1—I wish I could see it.—But I can make Allowances. He knows the Weakness of his Friends Heart and that nothing flatters it more than praises bestowed upon a certain Lady.
I am suffering every day for Want of my farm to ramble in.—I have been now for near Ten Weeks in a drooping disagreable Way, loaded { 239 } constantly with a Cold. In the Midst of infinite Noise, Hurry, and Bustle, I lead a lonely melancholly Life, mourning the Loss of all the Charms of Life, which are my family, and all the Amusement that I ever had in Life which is my farm.
If the warm Weather, which is now coming on, should not cure my Cold, and make me better I must come home. If it should and I should get tolerably comfortable, I shall stay, and reconcile my self to the Misery I here suffer as well as I can.
I expect, that I shall be chained to this Oar, untill my Constitution both of Mind and Body are totally destroyed, and rendered wholly useless to my self, and Family for the Remainder of my Days.
However, now We have got over the dreary, dismall, torpid Winter, when We had no Army, not even Three Thousand Men to protect Us against all our Enemies foreign and domestic; and now We have got together a pretty respectable Army, which renders Us tolerably secure against both, I doubt not, We shall be able to perswade some Gentleman or other, in the Massachusetts, to vouch safe, to undertake the dangerous Office of Delegate to Congress.
However, I will neither whine, nor croak. The Moment our Affairs are in a prosperous Way and a little more out of Doubt—that Moment I become a private Gentleman, the respectfull Husband of the amiable Mrs. A. of B. and the affectionate Father of her Children, two Characters, which I have scarcely supported for these three Years past, having done the Duties of neither.
“I hope the Court will rise this week and give me a little respite, and time to Study Tull [Jethro Tull, author of Horse-Hoeing Husbandry, first published London, 1731] but after all our Study, I don't know but Mrs. Adams Native Genius will Excel us all in Husbandry. She was much Engaged when I came along, and the Farm at Braintree Appeared to be Under Excellent Management. I tryed to persuade her to make A Visit to her Friend Mrs. Warren but she cant leave Home this Busy Season” (James Warren to JA, 27 April, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0187

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-05-17

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I never fail to inclose to you the News papers, which contain the most of the Intelligence that comes to my Knowledge.
I am obliged to slacken my Attention to Business a little, and ride and walk for the Sake of my Health, which is but infirm.—Oh that I could wander, upon Penns Hill, and in the Meadows and Mountains { 240 } in its Neighbourhood free from Care! But this is a Felicity too great for me.
Mr. Gorham and Mr. Russell are here with a Petition from Charlstown. It grieves me that they are to return without success. I feel, most exquisitely, for the unhappy People of that Town. Their Agents have done every Thing in their Power, or in the Power of Men to do, and the Mass. Delegates have seconded their Efforts to the Utmost of their Power, but all in vain.1
The Distress of the States, arising from the Quantity of Money abroad, and the monstrous Demands that would be made from Virginia, N. Jersy, N. York and elsewhere, if a Precedent should be once set, has determined the Congress, almost with Tears in their Eyes, to withstand this Application at present.
Every Man expressed the Utmost Tenderness and Humanity, upon the Occasion: But at the same Time every Man except the Mass. Delegates expressed his full Conviction of the ill Policy of granting any Thing at present.
1. See Zabdiel Adams to JA, 19 April, above, and note 1 there.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0188

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-05-18

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I think myself very happy that not a week passes but what I receive a Letter or two, some times more from you; and tho they are longer in comeing than formerly oweing I suppose to the posts being obliged to travel farther round, yet I believe they all faithfully reach me, even the curious conversation between Mr. Burn and your Honour arrived safe and made me laugh very Heartily.
Your Last which I believe came by a private Hand and was dated the 30 of April came to hand in about 12 days which is sooner than any other has reachd me since you came to Philadelphia. Two others accompanied it one of April 26 and 27. In one of them you mention your having been unwell, I hope nothing more than a cold. I feel more anxious than ever for your Health, and must intreat of you if you find it fail in any great measure that you would return during the summer Months; should I hear you were sick the imposibility of my comeing to you would render me misirable indeed.
I think before this time Many of our Troops must have arrived at Head Quarters, for tho we have been dilatory in this and the Neigh• { 241 } bouring Towns, others I hear have done their duty better. Not an Hour in the day but what we see soldiers marching. The sure way to prevent their distressing us Here would be to have a strong Army with the General. Their are a number not more than half I believe tho, of this Towns proportion inlisted. The rest were to be drawn at our May meeting, but nothing was done in that way, they concluded to try a little longer to inlist them.1 The Town send but one Rep. this year and that is Mr. N[ile]s of the middle parish. Give him His pipe and Let him laugh, He will not trouble any body.2 Philalutheris I suppose will be chosen into the Counsel since He finds that His plan for making them Lackies and Tools to the House was not so acceptable as he expected.3

“Then let me Have the Highest post,

Suppose it but an inch at most.”

I should feel more unhappy and anxious than ever if I realizd our being again invaded by the wickedest and cruelest of Enemies. I should not dare to tarry here in my present situation, nor yet know where to flee for safety; the recital of the inhumane and Brutal Treatment of those poor creatures who have fallen into their Hands, Freazes me with Horrour. My apprehensions are greatly increasd; should they come this way again I know [not]4 what course I should take.
Tis an observation of Bishop Butlers5 that they who have lost all tenderness and Fellow-feeling for others, have withall contracted a certain Callousness of Heart, which renders them insensible to all other satisfactions, but those of the grossest kind.
Our Enemies have proved the Truth of the observation in every instance of their conduct. Is it not astonishing what Men may at last bring themselves to, by suppressing passions and affections of the best kind, and suffering the worst to rule over them in their full strength.
Infidelity has been a growing part of the British character for many years. It is not so much to be wonderd at that those who pay no regard to a Supreeme Being should throw of all regard to their fellow creatures and to those precepts and doctrines which require peace and good will to Men; and in a perticuliar manner distinguish the followers of him who hath said by this shall all Men know that ye are my deciples if ye have love one towards an other.
Let them reproach us ever so much for our kindness and tenderness to those who have fallen into our Hands, I hope it will never provoke us to retaliate their cruelties; let us put it as much as posible out of { 242 } their power to injure us, but let us keep in mind the precepts of him who hath commanded us to Love our Enemies; and to excercise towards them acts of Humanity, Benevolence and Kindness, even when they despitefully use us.
And here suffer me to quote an Authority which you greatly Esteem, Dr. Tillotson.6 It is commonly said that revenge is sweet, but to a calm and considerate mind, patience and forgiveness are sweeter, and do afford a much more rational, and solid and durable pleasure than revenge. The monuments of our Mercy and goodness are a far more pleasing and delightfull Spectacle than of our rage and cruelty, and no sort of thought does usually haunt men with more Terror, than the reflexion upon what they have done in the way of Revenge.
If our cause is just, it will be best supported by justice and righteousness. Tho we have many other crimes to answer for, that of cruelty to our Enemies is not chargable upon Americans, and I hope never will be—if we have err'd it is upon the side of Mercy and have excercised so much lenity to our Enemies as to endanger our Friends—but their Malice and wicked designs against us, has and will oblige every State to proceed against them with more Rigor. Justice and self preservation are duties as much incumbant upon christians, as forgiveness and Love of Enemies.
Adieu. I have devoted an Hour this Day to you. I dare say you are not in debt.
Ever remember with the tenderest affection one whose greatest felicity consists in the firm belief of an unabated Love either by years or absence.
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia To be left at the Post Office”; endorsed: “Portia ans. 2. June”; docketed in CFA's hand.
1. From the late fall of 1776 through the following winter and spring, the town had met frequently “To consider and do what the Town may think proper for the Encouragement of Inlisting men for the Continental Army now Required.” Committees were appointed to hire recruits, and various other measures were taken. On 15 May, “There being a prospect of a number of men being hired by the said Committee the Town thought proper not to make any Draft, notwithstanding the orders of the [General] Court.” But at two special meetings in June the committee reported to the town that only ten men had been hired in a month, and further meetings were held in the following months in an effort to fill up the town's quota without resorting to a draft. (Braintree Town Records, p. 473–484.)
2. Samuel Niles (1711–1804), Harvard 1731, deacon, justice and later chief justice of the Suffolk Inferior Court of Common Pleas, moderator of Braintree town meeting, and from time to time representative in the General Court and member of the Council, had occasionally collaborated with JA at the beginning of the latter's career in politics (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 9:71–74; JA, Diary and Autobiography, { 243 } 1:118, 130, 160, 216–217; 3:280, 282).
3. AA is alluding to a five-column communication signed “Phileleutherus” (i.e. a lover of freedom) in the Boston Independent Chronicle for 7 March 1777, which embodied a draft constitution for Massachusetts, a subject which was in the forefront of legislative deliberation and popular discussion at this time. Phileleutherus' draft contained a number of features ultimately incorporated in the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, but it was chiefly remarkable for proposing wholly to subordinate the executive to the legislative branch of government. The “General Assembly” was to elect a “Council of Safety” from its own membership; this council was to serve as a plural executive after the pattern of the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776. All legislation was to “originate, and be compleated by” the unicameral assembly, the council acting therein only in an advisory capacity. In three signed letters in later issues of the Chronicle (20, 27 March, 3 April), Rev. William Gordon severely criticized Phileleutherus' plan; in the second of these he quoted (without naming) JA on the dangers of unicameralism as set forth in Thoughts on Government. Gordon tantalizingly says that he knows who Phileleutherus is but will protect his anonymity. AA speaks as if perhaps she also knew, but unfortunately the present editors do not. (The most detailed account available, though hardly a satisfactory one, of the efforts and maneuvers from Sept. 1776 through May 1777 relating to a new constitution is in Harry A. Cushing, History of the Transition from Provincial to Commonwealth Government in Massachusetts, N.Y. 1896, p. 199–207.)
4. This word editorially supplied.
5. Joseph Butler (1692–1752), Bishop of Durham, author of The Analogy of Religion. . . (DNB). For works by Butler owned by JA, see Catalogue of JA's Library.
6. John Tillotson (1630–1694), sometime Archbishop of Canterbury, whose Works (10 vols., Edinburgh, 1759–1760) JA owned and had laboriously studied as a young schoolmaster in Worcester (DNB; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:9–10; Catalogue of JA's Library).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0189

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-05-21

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Dont be two much alarmed at the Report of an Attack of Boston. The British Court are pursuing a system which in the End I think they will find impolitick. They are alarming the Fears of the People, every where. Wentworths Letter was contrived to terrify Portsmouth.1 Other Threats are given out against Boston. Others against the Eastern shore of Virginia and Maryland. Now Philadelphia is to be invaded—then Albany. Sometimes New London, at others N. Haven.
After all they will make but a poor Figure this Summer. There is some Reason to think, they have sent to Canada, for the Troops there by Water. Their Reinforcement from Europe, I think will not be great. Our Army is grown pretty strong. Pray let my dear Countrymen turn out, and not let a Man be wanting of their Quota.
The Enemy will find it impollitick to awaken the Apprehensions of so many People. Because when the Peoples Fears subside which most of them will, they will be succeeded by Contempt.
My Eyes are weak again, and I am in bad Health but I keep about. { 244 } I ride every fair Morning and walk every pleasant Evening, so that I cannot write so often as I wish.—Have received no Letter from you by the two last Posts.
The Country here looks most deliciously and the Singing Birds of which Species there is here a great Variety are inspired. The Spring is backward but promised great Fertility, Plenty and Abundance.
I wish I could see your Garden and little Farm.
1. An intercepted letter from former Gov. John Wentworth of New Hampshire, an extract of which was forwarded by Gov. Trumbull of Connecticut, 10 March, read in Congress on the 20th, and referred to “the Committee of Intelligence” (JCC, 7:187).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0190

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-05-21

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

I this day Received a few lines1 from my Friend, whose Long silence I have not been able to Account for but suppose her Letters are Directed southward. Have you any Late private Inteligence from that quarter, and do our Friends their Really think we shall be Invaded on all sides, or do they mean only to advise us to be Ready. My heart at times almost dies within me only with the Apprehension that we and our Neighbours May in a few months suffer all the distress the Inhabitants of the Jerseys and its Environs have already felt. I then Rally up my Fortitude, but find Nothing but Confidence in Him by whom kings Reign, Who Can Easily turn the Counsels of the Wiked into Foolishness, Can support my spirits, and give me the Courage Necessary for such a day as this.
I purpose to see you soon if Nothing Exstrordinary Intervenes. Mr. Warren proposes to spend Election week at home, and to look Northward the Monday following when I shall accompany him, and promiss myself the pleasure of spending a few days with my Braintree Friends.
Is Betsey agoing to be Maried. Why has she done writing. Do New acquaintance and New prospects Engross all her Attention. Give her my Love and best Wishes.
How do they do down at the Farms.2 Is Mrs. Lincoln Blind again. Is she Lame or is she Lazy that she Neglects her Friend at Plimouth.

[salute] With unfeigned Regards to Yourself and Family Concludes Your Friend,

[signed] Marcia Warren
Mrs. Lothrops Compliments &c. to Mrs. Adams.
{ 245 }
The papers for which I thank You I send now Least I forget it another time.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed “papers” (presumably newspapers) not found or identified.
1. Not found.
2. “The Farms” was an early name for the region later known as North Quincy. From the reference to “Mrs. Lincoln” that follows, Mrs. Warren probably is inquiring about Col. Josiah Quincy's family and specifically his daughter Hannah, widow of Dr. Bela Lincoln.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0191

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-05-22

John Adams to Abigail Adams

After a Series of the souerest,1 and harshest Weather that ever I felt in this Climate, We are at last, blessed with a bright Sun and a soft Air. The Weather here has been like our old Easterly Winds to me, and southerly Winds to you.
The Charms of the Morning at this Hour, are irresistable. The Streakes of Glory dawning in the East: the freshness and Purity in the Air, the bright blue of the sky, the sweet Warblings of a great Variety of Birds intermingling with the martial Clarions of an hundred Cocks now within my Hearing, all conspire to chear the Spirits.
This kind of puerile Description is a very pretty Employment for an old Fellow whose Brow is furrowed with the Cares of Politicks and War.
I shall be on Horseback in a few Minutes, and then I shall enjoy the Morning, in more Perfection.
I spent last Evening at the War-Office, with General Arnold. . . .2 He has been basely slandered and libelled. The Regulars say, “he fought like Julius Caesar.”
I am wearied to Death with the Wrangles between military officers, high and low. They Quarrell like Cats and Dogs. They worry one another like Mastiffs. Scrambling for Rank and Pay like Apes for Nutts.
I believe there is no one Principle, which predominates in human Nature so much in every stage of Life, from the Cradle to the Grave, in Males and females, old and young, black and white, rich and poor, high and low, as this Passion for Superiority. . . . Every human Being compares itself in its own Imagination, with every other round about it, and will find some Superiority over every other real or imaginary, or it will die of Grief and Vexation. I have seen it among Boys and Girls at school, among Lads at Colledge, among Practicers at the Bar, among the Clergy in their Associations, among Clubbs of Friends, { 246 } among the People in Town Meetings, among the Members of an House of Rep[resentative]s, among the Grave Councillors, on the more solemn Bench of Justice, and in that awfully August Body the Congress, and on many of its Committees—and among Ladies every Where—But I never saw it operate with such Keenness, Ferocity and Fury, as among military Officers. They will go terrible Lengths, in their Emulations, their Envy and Revenge, in Consequence of it.
So much for Philosophy.—I hope my five or six Babes are all well. My Duty to my Mother and your Father and Love to sisters and Brothers, Aunts and Uncles.
Pray how does your Asparagus perform? &c.
I would give Three Guineas for a Barrell of your Cyder—not one drop is to be had here for Gold. And wine is not to be had under Six or Eight Dollars a Gallon and that very bad. I would give a Guinea for a Barrell of your Beer. The small beer here is wretchedly bad. In short I can get nothing that I can drink, and I believe I shall be sick from this Cause alone. Rum at forty shillings a Gallon and bad Water, will never do, in this hot Climate in summer where Acid Liquors are necessary against Putrefaction.
1. Thus clearly in MS.
2. Here and below, suspension points are in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0192

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-05-24

John Adams to Abigail Adams

We have an Army in the Jersies, so respectable that We seem to be under no Apprehensions at present, of an Invasion of Philadelphia—at least untill a powerfull Reinforcement shall arrive from Europe. When that will be and how powerfull, it is impossible to say: But I think, it will not be very soon, nor very strong.
Perhaps, the Troops from Canada may come round by Water. If they do, the whole Force they can make, with all the Reinforcements from Europe will do no great Things this Year. I think, our Cause will never again be in so low a state as it was last December—then was the Crisis.
There are four Men of War and four Tenders in Delaware Bay. The Roebuck, and a Fifty Gun ship, and two other Frigates, are the Men of War. They come up the River a little Way to get Water sometimes with Fear and Trembling, and dare not come up far enough to get fresh Water, but content themselves with brackish Water.
{ 247 }
They go on shore sometimes to steal some lean Cattle, if any happen to wander into lonely Places, where they dare venture.

[salute] My Love to all.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0193

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-05-25

John Adams to Abigail Adams

At half past four this Morning, I mounted my Horse, and took a ride, in a Road that was new to me. I went to Kensington, and then to Point No Point, by Land, the Place where I went, once before, with a large Company in the Rowe Gallies, by Water. That Frolic was almost two Years ago. I gave you a Relation of it, in the Time, I suppose.1 The Road to Point No Point lies along the River Delaware, in fair Sight of it, and its opposite shore. For near four Miles the Road is as strait as the Streets of Philadelphia. On each Side, are beautifull Rowes of Trees, Buttonwoods, Oaks, Walnutts, Cherries and Willows, especially down towards the Banks of the River. The Meadows, Pastures, and Grass Plotts, are as Green as Leeks. There are many Fruit Trees and fine orchards, set with the nicest Regularity. But the Fields of Grain, the Rye, and Wheat, exceed all Description. These Fields are all sown in Ridges; and the Furrough between each Couple of Ridges, is as plainly to be seen, as if a swarth2 had been mown along. Yet it is no wider than a Plough share, and it is as strait as an Arrow. It looks as if the Sower had gone along the Furrough with his Spectacles to pick up every grain that should accidentally fall into it.
The Corn is just coming out of the Ground. The Furroughs struck out for the Hills to be planted in, are each Way, as straight as mathematical right Lines; and the Squares between every four Hills, as exact as they could be done by Plumb and Line, or Scale and Compass.
I am ashamed of our Farmers. They are a lazy, ignorant sett, in Husbandry, I mean—For they know infinitely more of every Thing else, than these. But after all the Native Face of our Country, diversified as it is, with Hill and Dale, Sea and Land, is to me more agreable than this enchanting artificial scaene.
The Post brought me yours of May 6th. and 9th.
You express Apprehensions that We may be driven from this City. We have No such Apprehensions here. Howe is unable to do any { 248 } Thing but by Stealth. Washington is strong enough to keep Howe, where he is.
How could it happen that you should have £5 of counterfeit New Hampshire Money? Cant you recollect who you had it of? Let me intreat you not to take a shilling of any but continental Money, or Massachusetts—and be very carefull of that. There is a Counterfeit Continental Bill abroad sent out of New York but it will deceive none but Fools, for it is Copper Plate—easily detected, miserably done.
RC (Adams Papers) and LbC (Adams Papers). LbC does not include the continuation of 27 May. (The present letter is the last to AA entered by JA in Lb/JA/3, which contains only four more entries and breaks off entirely with a copy of a letter written to Nathanael Greene dated 7 July 1777. Thus of the scores of letters he wrote to AA, and the lesser number he wrote to others, during the following summer and fall while still in Congress, JA retained no copies.)
1. JA's account of his “Excursion” to Point-no-Point, “upon Delaware River in the new Row Gallies built by the Committee of Safety,” is in his diary entry of 28 Sept. 1775, not in a letter to AA (Diary and Autobiography, 2:187–188).
2. Obsolete spelling of “swath,” which is the spelling found in LbC.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0194

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-05-28

Abigail Adams to John Adams

This is Election Day, but the news of the day I am not able to inform you of as I have Heard nothing from Town. The House is not so unwealdy a Body this year as the last. Very few Towns have sent more than one, and those are many of them new Members. Whether they have changd for the better time will discover.
I recollect a remark of a writer upon Goverment,1 who says that a single assembly is subject to all the starts of passion and to the caprices of an individual.
We have lately experienced the Truth of the observation. A French vessel came into Boston laiden with a large Quantity of dry goods. The War office had the offer of any thing they chose to take, after which some things were offerd for sale by the captain at a higher rate than the Regulated price, whilst some were offerd for less. Upon this a certain B[osto]n Member who comes under the Denomination of a furious Whigg2 Blusterd about and insisted upon it if he would not comply he ought to be orderd out of the Harbour, and procured a very unanimous vote for it in the House, but upon its being sent up to the Counsel there was but one vote in favour of it.
{ 249 }
I have been interrupted by company from writing farther. I have been happy in receiving a number of Letters from you of various dates, since I wrote last. I have not time to notice them now, I will write by the next post, and be more perticular. We Have no News here of any kind. There has been no stir at Newport yet.
Every method is taking to fill up the continental Army which I hope will be effected soon. Many of the soldiers who have inlisted for this Town, are in the Hospital under innoculation. We have two Hospitals in the upper parish, one just opend. Dr. W[ale]s has had great Success. Since March 200 have had the distemper under his care, and not one died. He has now more than a hundred in it from this and the neighbouring Towns.3 6 or 7 of my neighbours went in yesterday, and one from my own family, Jonathan.4
The Spring in general has been very cold, a few extreem Hot days, the rest of the time you might sit by the fire which I now do.
Our Fleet saild Last week and had several days of fine wind and weather.
I hear your president is upon the road Home with his family—I hope He brings me Letters. Adieu most sincerely yours.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Portia”; docketed in two different hands, one of which is CFA's.
1. JA, in his Thoughts on Government (1776); see his Works, 4:206.
2. A political type that had recently received rough treatment at the hands of a Philadelphia newspaper essayist whose article was reprinted in Boston: “The Furious Whigs injure the cause of liberty as much by their violence as the timid Whigs do by their fears. They think the destruction of Howe's army of less consequence than the detection and punishment of the most insignificant Tory. They think the common forms of justice should be suspended towards a Tory criminal, and that a man who only speaks against our common defence, should be tomahawked, scalped, and roasted alive. Lastly, they are all cowards, and skulk under the cover of an office, or a sickly family, when they are called to oppose the enemy in the field. Woe to that State or Community that is governed by this class of men!” (Continental Journal, 10 April 1777). The particular Boston member and “furious Whigg” to whom AA alludes has not, however, been certainly identified.
3. Dr. Ephraim Wales, Harvard 1768, had settled in the South Precinct of Braintree (now Randolph) about 1770 and was long prominent in town affairs. In March 1777 the town appointed “a Committee to Treat with Doctr. Wales with respect to his Inoculation for the Small pox, contrary to the vote of Town,” and “Restrictions” were accordingly laid upon him. The issue was “the distance from the Hospital to the Road,” which the committee had found to be “one Hundred and fifteen roods,” evidently not enough. However, at its May meeting the town voted, 121 against 70, to permit smallpox inoculation and authorized Dr. Moses Baker and Dr. Ephraim Wales to conduct “Hospitals” for the purpose, “under the Limitation & Regulation of { 250 } the Law & the Selectmen of the Town.” (Ebenezer Alden, The Early History of the Medical Profession in the County of Norfolk, Mass., Boston, 1853, p. 12; Braintree Town Records, p. 478–480, and passim.)
4. A young servant or farm laborer.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0195

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-05-28

John Adams to Abigail Adams

An horrid cold Day for Election—warm work however, in the Afternoon, I suppose.1
You will see by the inclosed Papers, among the Advertisements, how the Spirit of Manufacturing grows. There never was a Time when there was such full Employment, for every Man, Woman and Child, in this City. Spinning, Knitting, Weaving, every Tradesman is as full as possible. Wool and Flax in great Demand.
Industry will supply our Necessities, if it is not cramped by injudicious Laws—such as Regulations of Prices &c., Embargoes &c. These discourage Industry and turn that Ingenuity which ought to be employed for the general Good, into Knavery.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed newspapers not found or identified.
1. That is, in the election, by the new House of Representatives, voting jointly with the members of the old Council, of a new council.
“Yesterday was our Election of Councellors: a large Number of the Representatives, perhaps 20 or 30 from Hampshire, Berkshire &c. would not vote, being for a single Assembly. I hope this Sentiment will not prevail. They could chuse no more than thirteen by nine o'Clock; and then adjourn'd to this Morning” (Samuel Cooper to JA, 29 May, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0196

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-06-01

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I designd to have wrote you by the last Post, but have been so unwell for the week past that I have not been able. We have had very Hot weather which you know never agrees well with me, and greatly distresses me under my present circumstances. I loose my rest a nights, which makes me more unable to bear the Heat of the day. I look forward to the middle of july with more anxiety than I can describe, and the Thoughts of 3 hundreds miles distance are as Greivious as the perils I have to pass through. I am cut of from the privilidge which some of the Brute creation enjoy, that of having their mate sit by them with anxious care during all their Solitary confinement.
You live at an expence however frugal it may be deemed there, { 251 } which will astonish your constituents I suppose and be the occasion of many more gratefull acknowledgments, and speaches. If either of us were in the least avaricious or even parsimonious we should poorly Brook the sacrifice we make of property. One Gentleman of the Bar acknowledged that he had made a thousand pounds sterling since the opening of Buisness by admiralty causes and others, and there are some others who have made more than he; and with how much less fatigue than you have sufferd, you are the best judge. I hope this year will if we are any way successfull put an end to your fatigues and your journeys. If you could be at Home and only earnd a Bare subsistance I should be happeier.
Every thing Here is extravangantly high, but more tolerable than with you. A Dollor now is not eaquel to what one Quarter was two years ago, and their is no sort of property which is not held in higher estimation than money. I have long seen the true causes of this Evil, and have been out of favour, with the regulating act, as I have seen I think that it rather served to raise than lower prices.
I endeavour to live with as great frugality as posible. I am obliged to pay higher wages this year than last; Prince was offerd 8 dollors a month and left me. I found upon trial that I must give 12, and put to great difficulty to hire a Hand even at that price, so I sent for Him again, and he got himself releasd, and is with me for 6 months upon those terms.
I have paid him his 5 pounds for the winter, have paid the Rates which amount to 24 pounds 2 & 3 pence, have also paid your Brother 5 hundred & 50 dollors which with what you paid when at Home and the small sums that were paid before, amount to the whole of the principal and part of the interest.1 I would have taken up the bond, but he chose it should lay as there were Notes of Hand which you have against him and an account to settle which he has against you—and this week I propose to send in to the continental Loan office a hundred pound LM. If I do not explain the matter I fear you will suspect me of being concerned with the Hampshire money makers. You must know then that your sister A[dam]s took up a Note to the amount of a hundred & 27 pounds out of which was oweing to her as you may remember upon the Settlement 45 pounds and about the same time my unkle T[haxte]r2 took up a Note principal and interest amounted to 56 pounds which enabled me to pay your Brother, and a few day[s] ago one Stetson took up a Bond of 20 pounds and Clark one of 30 which with a treasurers Note which is due of 20 pounds more and 24 pounds which I received for the Sale of a Lighter! will come near { 252 } to compleat the Hundred pounds which I propose to send to the office. Every fellow has his pockets full of money and chuses no doubt to pay his debts if he is a good Husband. I have done the best in my power with what I received and hope for your approbation which is always a full compensation to yours—ever yours.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia To be left at the Post Office”; endorsed: “Portia”; docketed in two different hands, one of which is CFA's.
1. Presumably the final payment to Peter Boylston Adams for what is now called the John Adams Birthplace, the farm that went with it, and a large pasture, all of which JA acquired in 1774 at a price agreed on as £440; see his Diary and Autobiography, 2:87–88.
2. John Thaxter Sr. (1721–1802), Harvard 1741, of Hingham; husband of AA's aunt Anna (Quincy) Thaxter and father of JA's law clerk and (later) private secretary John Thaxter Jr.; see Adams Genealogy.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0197

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-06-02

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Yesterday, I took a ride to a beautifull Hill eleven Miles out of Town. It is called Rush Hill. An old Lady Mrs. Morris and her Daughter Mrs. Stamper, live here with a Couple of servants, and one little Boy, who is left with the Family for Education.1
It is the most airy, and at the same Time the most rural Place in Pensilvania. The good Lady has about sixty Acres of Land, two fine orchards, an excellent Garden, a charming Brook, beautifull Meadows and Clover in Abundance.
This excellent Lady is the Mother of Dr. Rush and Mr. Jacob Rush the Lawyer.2 I went out with the Lawyer, and I relished the Excursion the more because I know the Pleasure of visiting a Mother.—This ride has refreshed me much. I ride every day. A fine growing Season here—plentifull Crops—and at present perfect Peace.
My Love to N. J. C. and Th. Pray how does the other one, or two?
1. The precise location of Rush Hill is not known to the editors. Presiding over it was Benjamin and Jacob Rush's mother, Susanna (Hall) Harvey Rush Morris, whose younger daughter was Mrs. Thomas Stamper, the former Rebecca Rush. See Benjamin Rush, Letters, 1:55, 98, 139–140, 237, and passim.
2. Jacob Rush (1747–1820), College of New Jersey 1765, sometime student at the Middle Temple, and from 1784 to 1806 a prominent judge in the Pennsylvania courts (same, 1:44 and passim).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0198

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-06-02

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Artillery Election!—I wish I was at it, or near it.
Yours of the 18th. reached me this Morning. The Cause that Letters are so long in travelling, is that there is but one Post in a Week who goes from hence to Peeks Kill, altho there are two that go from thence to Boston.
Riding every day, has made me better than I was, altho I am not yet quite well. I am determined to continue this Practice, which is very necessary for me.
I rejoice to find, that the Town have had the Wisdom to send but one Rep[resentative]. The House last Year was too numerous and unwieldy. The Expence was too great. I suppose you will have a Constitution formed this Year. Who will be the Moses, the Lycurgus, the Solon? Or have you a score or two of such? Whoever they may be and whatever Form may be adopted, I am perswaded there is among the Mass of our People a Fund of Wisdom, Integrity and Humanity, which will preserve their Happiness, in a tolerable Measure.
If the Enemy come to Boston again, fly with your little ones all of them to Philadelphia. But they will scarcely get to Boston, this Campaign.
I admire your Sentiments concerning Revenge.
Revenge, in ancient Days, you will see it through the whole Roman History, was esteemed a generous, and an heroic Passion. Nothing was too good for a Friend or too bad for an Enemy. Hatred and Malice, without Limits, against an Enemy, was indulged, was justified, and no Cruelty was thought unwarrantable.
Our Saviour taught the Immorality of Revenge, and the moral Duty of forgiving Injuries, and even the Duty of loving Enemies. Nothing can shew the amiable, the moral, and divine Excellency of these Christian Doctrines in a stronger Point of Light, than the Characters and Conduct of Marius and Sylla, Caesar, Pompey, Anthony and Augustus, among innumerable others.
Retaliation, we must practice, in some Instances, in order to make our barbarous Foes respect in some degree the Rights of Humanity. But this will never be done without the most palpable Necessity.
The Apprehension of Retaliation alone, will restrain them from Cruelties which would disgrace Savages.
To omit it then would be cruelty to ourselves, our Officers and Men.
We are amused here with Reports of Troops removing from R. { 254 } Island, N. York, Staten Island &c.—Waggons, Boats, Bridges &c. prepared—two old Indiamen cutt down into floating Batteries mounting 32 Guns sent round into Delaware R[iver] &c. &c.1 But I heed it no more, than the whistling of the Zephyrs. In short I had rather they should come to Philadelphia than not. It would purify this City of its Dross. Either the Furnace of Affliction would refine it of its Impurities, or it would be purged yet so as by fire.2
This Town has been a dead Weight, upon Us—it would be a dead Weight also upon the Enemy. The Mules here would plague them more than all their Money.3
1. For Gen. Howe's plans and the movements and countermovements of British and American forces in New Jersey during June, see the succinct and excellent narrative in Leonard Lundin, Cockpit of the Revolution: The War for Independence in New Jersey, Princeton, 1940, p. 313–326, and the map in same, facing p. 6.
2. Thus in MS, though the sense is apparently defective.
3. Thus in MS. Possibly JA's meaning is: “The Mules here [i.e. the Quakers, who continued willing to accept British money, but not inflated American money, for provisions] would plague them more than all their [the British army's] Money [would help them].” But this may be too ingenious an explanation.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0199

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-06-02

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

I Love to recieve Letters very well much better than I love to write them, I make but a poor figure at Composition my head is much too fickle, my Thoughts are running after birds eggs play and trifles, till I get vexd with my Self, Mamma has a troublesome task to keep me Steady, and I own I am ashamed of myself. I Have but Just entered the 3d volume of Smollet1 tho I had designed to have got it Half through by this time. I have determined this week to be more diligent as Mr. Thaxter will be absent at Court, and I cannot persue my other Studies I have Set myself a Stent, and determine to read the 3d volume Half out, If I can but keep my resolution I will write again at the end of the week, and give a better account of myself. I wish sir you would give me Some instructions with regard to my time and advise me how to proportion my Studies and my Play, in writing and I will keep them by me and endeavour to follow them I am dear Sir with a present determination of growing better yours,
[signed] John Quincy Adams
PS Sir if you will be So good as to favour me with a Blank book I { 255 } will transcribe the most remarkable occurances I mett with in my reading which will Serve to fix them upon my mind.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams esq Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mr. J. Q. Adams.” The writer's punctuation has been left unaltered.
1. JA's copy of Tobias Smollett's A Complete History of England . . ., 16 vols., London, 1758–1765, is in the Boston Public Library and is described in Catalogue of JA's Library. See, further, JQA's letter to his father of 8 June, below, and the Some Books the Adamses Read during the Revolution facing 263Descriptive List of Illustrations in the present volume.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0200

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I wish I could know, whether your season is cold or warm, wet or dry, fruitfull or barren. Whether you had late Frosts. Whether those Frosts have hurt the Fruit, the Flax, the Corn or Vines, &c. We have a fine season here and a bright Prospect of Abundance.
You will see by the inclosed Papers, in a Letter from my Friend Parsons, a very handsome Narration of one of the prettiest Exploits of this War—a fine Retaliation for the Danbury Mischief. Meigs who was before esteemed a good Officer has acquired by this Expedition a splendid Reputation.1
You will see by the same Papers too, that the Writers here in Opposition to the Constitution of Pensilvania, are making a factious Use of my Name and Lucubrations. Much against my Will, I assure you, for altho I am no Admirer of the Form of this Government, yet I think it is agreable to the Body of the People, and if they please themselves they will please me. And I would not choose to be impressed into the service of one Party, or the other—and I am determined I will not inlist.
Besides it is not very genteel in these Writers, to put my Name to a Letter, from which I cautiously withheld it myself.
However, let them take their own Way. I shant trouble myself about it.2
I am growing better, by Exercise and Air.
I must write a Letter, in Behalf of Mr. Thaxter, to the Bar and Bench in Boston, in order to get him sworn, at July Court.
Will my Brother, when the Time comes, officiate for his Brother at a Christening?
If it is a young Gentleman call him William after your Father—if a young Lady, call her Elizabeth after your Mother, and sister.
{ 256 }
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosures not found, but see the notes below.
1. Both the Pennsylvania Gazette and the Pennsylvania Journal of 4 June printed Gen. Samuel Holden Parsons' letter to Washington, New Haven, 25 May, recounting Lt. Col. Return Jonathan Meigs' destruction of an amphibious British foraging party at Sag Harbor, Long Island. Washington forwarded Parsons' letter to Congress in a letter of 31 May, received on 2 June (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 8:151; JCC, 8:409).
2. In the Pennsylvania Journal of 28 May (of which a copy must have been enclosed in the present letter), “Ludlow,” in the second of a series of communications bitterly critical of the new constitution of Pennsylvania, publicly disclosed for the first time the authorship of JA's Thoughts on Government (1776). “Ludlow” wrote:
“In order to shew the extreme danger of trusting all the legislative power of a State to a single representation, I shall beg leave to transcribe a few sentences from a letter, written by Mr. John Adams, to one of his friends in North Carolina, who requested him to favour him with a plan of a government for that State above a twelve month ago. This illustrious Citizen, who is second to no man in America, in an inflexible attachment to the liberties of America, and to republican forms of government, writes as follows.”
Here were added four of the objections JA had urged in his Thoughts against unicameralism.
“Ludlow” was actually Dr. Benjamin Rush, who was only one of numerous contributors to the lively newspaper debate then going on over the merits and defects of the new state constitution. See Robert L. Brunhouse, The Counter-Revolution in Pennsylvania, 1776–1790, Harrisburg, 1942, p. 28 ff., 240. Rush's letters were promptly gathered in an anonymous pamphlet entitled Observations upon the Present Government of Pennsylvania. In Four Letters to the People of Pennsylvania, Phila., 1777; Evans 15589. The purpose of the pamphlet was to sound a call for a new constitutional convention, and its titlepage bore two quotations from “Adams on Government.”
In an answer to “Ludlow” in the Pennsylvania Gazette of 4 June, “Whitlocke” (whose real name is not known) declared JA's objections irrelevant:
“In this view of the subject, the opinions of your Adams's, your Montesquieu's, your Harrington's, Milton's, Addison's, Price's and Bolingbroke's are not only trifling but impertinent. . . .
“The worthy American patriot's four reasons against a single assembly are not in point, and therefore you can deduce no solid inference from them. As they form a kind of data, on which you found your observations, pointing out their inapplicability to the case before us destroys the whole force of your reasoning. . . . Every one of this gentleman's reasons derive their force from this supposition, that the whole legislative, executive, judicial and military powers of this State are vested in one body of men. . . . How you could introduce them in the present dispute, I cannot conceive, unless to satisfy the public that you did not understand them.”
This argument led to the reprinting of JA's essay of 1776 in the Pennsylvania Gazette of 11 June, preceded by this note to the printers:
“As two writers in the News-papers have lately quoted Mr. Adams's excellent pamphlet upon a republican form of government, the one to prove that all legislative power should not be lodged in one Assembly, the other to prove that the author meant only that the whole power legislative, executive and judicial, should not be lodged in one Assembly; your publishing the whole of the pamphlet in your paper, will enable the public to judge for themselves. Your's, &c. A.B.”
Interestingly enough, the reprint in the Gazette suppressed the last paragraph of JA's tract as printed in 1776, in which JA had requested George Wythe, the original recipient, to keep the author's name “out of sight.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0201

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

John Thaxter to John Adams

[salute] Sir

Last Monday Dr. Mather Byles was tried by Virtue of a late Act of this State, and found by the Jury so inimical, as to render his residence in the State dangerous to the Liberties thereof. He is to be sent to some quarter, where his local Situation will deprive him of the power to injure the State.1
Tomorrow some others are to have their Trial—they have engaged Attornies.
The Inferior Court (now sitting) has no great Business to do; most of the Actions are continued, some were called out.
The next Inf[erior] Court sets July the 8th.2 If you think it adviseable for me to take the Oath at the time proposed, I should be much obliged to You, Sir, to write to the Bar respecting it.3
Tho' Sir, unhappy in being deprived of the Advantages of your Company and Instruction, by your absence, yet I should blush to say I lamented the Cause of it. I shall think myself materially benefited in being made a Subject of a firmly establish'd Independence, and shall revere the man to whose Exertions the production of so great an Event was so principally owing as to yours, Sir.
I am Sir, your very hum[ . . . ]4
[signed] J. Thaxter Junr.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Mr. Thaxter”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. By an Act passed on 10 May 1777, persons complained of and convicted in the Court of General Sessions of the Peace as “internal enemies” of the United States, were to be transported out of the country (Mass., Province Laws, 5:648–650). For an account of the trial and conviction of Dr. Mather Byles, see Boston Gazette, 9 June, p. 3, col. 1. His sentence was not, however, carried out; he was merely placed under house arrest for two years (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 7:482–486).
2. This sentence was added in the margin.
3. JA soon afterward wrote letters of recommendation for Thaxter to “the Court and Bar,” and Thaxter received them and was duly admitted attorney in Suffolk Inferior Court (JA to AA, 4 Aug.; AA to JA, 27 Aug.; both below); but the letters have not been found.
4. MS torn by seal.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0202

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-06-08

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I generally endeavour to write you once a week, if my Letters do not reach you, tis oweing to the neglect of the post. I generally get Letters from you once a week, but seldom in a fortnight after they are { 258 } wrote. I am sorry to find that your Health fails. I should greatly rejoice to see you, I know of no earthly blessing which would make me happier, but I cannot wish it upon the terms of ill Health. No seperation was ever more painfull to me than the last, may the joy of meeting again be eaquel to the pain of seperation; I regret that I am in a Situation to wish away one of the most precious Blessings of life, yet as the months pass of[f], I count them up with pleasure and reckon upon tomorrow as the 5th which has passd since your absence. I have some times melancholly reflections, and immagine these seperations as preparatory to a still more painfull one in which even hope the anchor of the Soul is lost, but whilst that remains no Temperary absence can ever wean or abate the ardor of my affection. Bound together by many tender ties, there scarcly wanted an addition, yet I feel that there soon will be an additionall one. Many many are the tender sentiments I have felt for the parent on this occasion. I doubt not they are reciprocal, but I often feel the want of his presence and the soothing tenderness of his affection. Is this weakness or is it not?
I am happy in a daughter who is both a companion and an assistant in my Family affairs and who I think has a prudence and steadiness beyond her years.
You express a longing after the enjoyments of your little Farm. I do not wonder at it, that also wants the care and attention of its master—all that the mistress can do is to see that it does not go to ruin. She would take pleasure in improvements, and study them with assiduity if she was possessd with a sufficency to accomplish them. The season promisses plenty at present and the english grass never lookd better.
You inquire after the Asparagrass. It performs very well this year and produces us a great plenty. I long to send you a Barrell of cider, but find it impracticable, as no vessels can pass from this State to yours. I rejoice at the good way our affairs seem to be in and Hope your Herculian Labours will be crownd with more success this year than the last. Every thing wears a better aspect, we have already taken two Transports of theirs with Hessians on board, and this week a prize was carried into Salem taken by the Tyranicide with 4000 Blankets and other valuable articles on board.1
I do not feel very apprehensive of an attack upon Boston. I hope we shall be quiet. I should make a misirable hand of running now. Boston is not what it once was. It has no Head, no Men of distinguishd abilities, they behave like children.
{ 259 }
Col. Holland the infamous Hampshire counterfeiter was taken last week in Boston and is committed to Jail in Irons. I hope they will now keep a strong guard upon him.2
We are not like to get our now unpopular act repeald I fear. I own I was in favour of it, but I have seen it fail and the ill consequences arising from it have made me wish it had never been made. Yet the House are nearly divided about it. Genell. W[arre]n will write you I suppose. He and his Lady have spent part of the week with me.
I wish you would be so good as to mention the dates of the Letters you receive from me. The last date of yours was May 22. 5 dated in May since this day week.3 I wonder how you get time to write so much. I feel very thankfull to you for every line. You will I know remember me often when I cannot write to you.
Good Night tis so dark that I cannot see to add more than that I am with the utmost tenderness Yours ever Yours.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia To be left at the Post Office”; endorsed: “Portia”; docketed in two hands, one of which is CFA's.
1. The captain of the brig Tyrannicide was Jonathan Haraden of Salem. For his capture of a transport carrying Hessians from Ireland to New York, and of the snow Sally with blankets and other European goods, see Boston Gazette, 9 June, p. 3, col. 1. If, as is probable, AA took these items of news from the Gazette, then she either misdated the present letter or wrote it on more than one day.
2. Col. Stephen Holland, the Londonderry counterfeiter, had escaped from jail in New Hampshire in May and was returned there some days after AA wrote this letter. See Boston Gazette, 9, 16 June.
3. AA means that during the past week she has received five letters from JA dated in May.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0203

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-06-08

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Upon an Invitation from the Board of War of Pensilvania, a Committee was appointed a few days ago to go down Delaware River and take a View of the Works there, erected with a View to prevent the Enemy from coming up to Philadelphia by Water. Mr. Duer, your humble servant and Mr. Middleton made the Committee.1
Yesterday we went, in three Boats, with Eight Oars each. Mr. Rittenhouse, Coll. Bull and Coll. Deane, went from the Pensilvania Board of War. General Arnold, General De Coudrai, an experienced french officer of Artillery, Monsr. Le Brune, an Engineer, and Mr. Rogers an Aid de Camp of Gen. De Coudray were in Company.2
{ 260 }
We had a Band of Musick in Company which is very agreable upon the Water.
We went first to Billingsport, about 10 Miles down the River on the Jersey side, where the River is obstructed with Vesseaux de Frizes, and where a large Fort is laid out with a great deal of Work done upon it.
We then came back to Fort Island, or Province Island, where the River is obstructed again, and the only Passage for shipps is commanded by a Fort of 18. 18. Pounders. Here lay the Fire ships, Fire Rafts, floating Batteries, Gallies and the Andrew Doria, and the fine new Frigate Delaware.
We then crossed the River and went to Red Point3 on the Jersey side, where Coll. Bull has thrown up the strongest Works that I have ever seen. Here We dined, and after Dinner Coll. Bull ordered out his Regiment upon the Parade, where they went through their Exercises and Maneuvres, very well.
We had a long Passage home and made it 9 o Clock before We reached the Wharf. We suffered much with the Heat, yet upon the whole it was an agreable day.
Upon our Return to Town We expected to hear some News but not a Word had been received. All is quiet still. How long will this Calm continue?
I begin to suspect We shall have an unactive Campaign—that How will shut himself up, in some impregnable Post, and lie still. We shall see, however, and I think We shall trouble him whether he moves or lies still.
1. They were appointed on 3 June “to view the works and defences erected at, and near Billingsport, and report their opinion, whether those works ought to be completed or demolished” (JCC, 8:414). There is an excellent map showing the terrain below Philadelphia and the river and shore defenses in 1777, printed by William Faden, 2d edn., London, 1783, and reproduced in Leonard Lundin, Cockpit of the Revolution, Princeton, 1940, facing p. 336.
2. Philippe Tronson du Coudray, a learned and egotistical French artillery officer who had recently arrived with extravagant promises from Silas Deane, was to prove much the most controversial among all his countrymen who served in America; see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:263–264, and references there. His recommendations for improving the Delaware fortifications are printed in Penna. Archives, 1st ser., 5:360–363. Among the numerous officers who accompanied him to America were two Le Brun brothers and Nicolas Roger (Lasseray, Les français sous les treize étoiles, 1:278–279; 2:391–394).
3. Red Bank, Gloucester co., N.J., site of Fort Mercer.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0204

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-06-08

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

I promised to write In a week again provided I could give a better account of my conduct. I have according to my resolution been more diligent and frugal of my time and when Mr. Thaxter was absent which was 4 days I applied myself for several hours every day to the reading of Smollet and have got almost half through the 3 vol.1 I find much entertainment in the perusal of history and I must own I am more Satisfied with myself when I have applied part of my time to Some useful employment than when I have Idled it away about Trifles and play.
I have some errants to do for mamma in consequence of Jonathans absence he is broke out and like to have the Distemper lightly—there is nothing remarkable In the news way only that one Davis a printer was catched last week in Boston with a Set of Types to counterfeit our money commonly called The Tobbacco paper or Major Fullers money and was committed to joal2 I am dear Sir with Sincere affection your Son,
[signed] J Q A
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr. J. Q. Adams”; at head of text in CFA's hand: “J Q A to his father J.A.” The punctuation of the original has been retained without correction.
1. That is, the third volume.
2. “Saturday last was committed to Goal in this Town, Nathaniel Davis, for counterfeiting the Five Shilling Bills of this State, issued in June 1776” (Continental Journal, 12 June 1777).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0205

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-06-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

This Week has produced an happy Reconciliation between the two Parties in this City and Commonwealth, the Friends of the new Constitution and those who wish for Amendments in it. . . .1 Mifflin invited the People to assemble in the State House Yard, at the Desire of General Washington, who sent them an Account that the Motions of the Enemy indicated an intention to begin an Expedition, and that every Appearance intimated this City to be their Object.
Mifflin made an Harrangue, in which he applauded the Exertions of the Citizens last December, ascribed the successes of Trenton and Princeton to their Behaviour and exhorted them to the same Spirit, Unanimity and Firmness, upon this occasion. Advised them to choose { 262 } their Officers, under the new Militia Law and meet him in the common on Fryday.
The Citizens by loud shouts and Huzzas, promised him to turn out, and accordingly, they met him in great Numbers Yesterday.
Mean Time, Generals Armstrong, Mifflin and Reed, waited on the Assembly, to interceed with them, to gratify those who wished Amendments in the Constitution with an Appeal to the People.
The Pensilvania Board of War too, applied, for the same Purpose as you will see by one of the inclosed Papers.
The House agreed to it. Thus the Dispute is in a Way to be determined, and a Coalition formed.2
Yesterday We had an Alarm, and News that the Enemy were on their March, towards Philadelphia in two Divisions—one at Shanks Mills 8 miles from Brunswick, the other at Ten Mile Run, about Ten Miles from Brunswick on another Road, a Road that goes to Corells [Coryell's] Ferry.
We feel pretty bold, here.—If they get Philadelphia, they will hang a Mill stone about their Necks. They must evacuate N. Jersey. The Jersey Militia have turned out, with great Spirit. Magistrates and Subjects, Clergy and Laity, have all marched, like so many Yankees.
If How should get over the Delaware River, and We should not have an Army to stop him, Congress I suppose will remove, fifty or sixty Miles into the Country. But they will not move hastily.
Riding and walking, have given me tolerable Health, and I must confess my Spirits, notwithstanding the Difficulties We have to encounter, are very good.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed newspapers not found or precisely identifiable.
1. Suspension points in MS.
2. An account of these events is in Pennsylvania Gazette, 18 June. See also Kenneth R. Rossman, Thomas Mifflin and the Politics of the American Revolution, Chapel Hill, 1952, p. 87–88.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0206

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-06-14

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sr.

I wrote you some time Ago requesting your Asking some of the Gentlemen of the Congress, belonging to Georgia, whether the Continental Certifycates would Answer to purchase a Cargo of Rice.1
{ [fol. 262] } | view { [fol. 262] } | view { [fol. 262] } | view { [fol. 262] } { 263 }
My friends in Europe often you'st to say when nothing Material turnd up worth Adviseing me, they had nothing worth troubling me with so I may say as to my self for sometime past.—But to day we have a prize (a small brig on private Account) loaded with some Cordage, Duck, Cole &c. sent in by Comodore Manley, who with Capt. McNeil only, the Other part of the fleet being seperated, were left indeavouring to take 2 or 3 more which were under Convoy of the Somerset M[an of] W[ar] of 60 Guns from England and as they could Out sail the Somerset, they kept in there persuit.—We have Advise of the Hessian brig and Capt. Skeema with two prizes, being blockt in att a harbour att Townsend, &c. but think iff they Act prudently or those who have the Management of those Affairs they may be all securd.2 Itt seems on the News of Our fleets sailing A Number of Frigates were immediately ordered Out, from R. Island. Two frigates and a two decker have been in Our bay and are those who have blockt up the Above mentiond Vessells.
I have this day received letters from my Bilboa friends of the 17th. Aprill but dont mention any kind of News. Itt came by two Brigs on the Continent Account which went with fish to purchase salt, but have brought no great quantity, but by order of Mr. Lee who was in Spain have brought a quantity of Cables, Cordage &c. upon the Continant Account which the proper persons for that department will Advise of I suppose. The Capt. tells of a storey which he heard att Bilboa that Capt. Johnson in a brig suppose Capt. Harrey Johnson from Baltimore being in some port of France were lay three ships loaded for England with Wine &c. who gave Out they designd [to] carry him to England iff he went Out with them—he got Out before they and waited there coming, and Accordingly came and he engaged them and took two and was in persute of the third. I wish it may prove true.3—I have an Answer by a schooner fited Out here, formerly One of the privateers, Adams now Master which saild the begining of March for France as I understood as an express by order of Congress, which iff they have not heard of her Arrival, probable may be Agreeable.—We are doing all in Our power to facilitate the settlement of the several [ . . . ] sales of the Cargos of the several prizes ordered by Our Commissions, two of the most Material are compleated, and A third and fourth near being done. Capt. Bartlet of Beverley who is One of the Agents I called on a day or two ago but is confind with the small pox, but as soon as he gets Out itt may be compleated—but by what Appears there will be large ballances due to the Agents as the Continent took much more than there proportion. You may just let the Gentlemen { 264 } of the Marine board know we are not Idle in the trust commited to us as we want very much to get itt compleated as soon as may be.—There was a ship to sail from Bilboa and which I let to the Agents in a short time after those Arrived. Iff any News shall Advise you. I had a Vessell come Out with those Arrived which you may remember I told you I had sent to Virginia to load with Tobacco from France and toucht att Bilboa in her way home. She has something considerable of Value On board which iff taken shall suffer greatly.

[salute] I am Sr. Yr. hum servt,

[signed] Isaac Smith
A Prize with some Irish recruits is arrived into Dartmouth. A Nother from Liverpool in att the Eastward with salt, Linnen and Crockery Ware—am affraid my schooner is gone.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in JA's later hand.
1. Smith to JA, 12 May, above.
2. “Capt. Skeema” was probably John Skimmer, former Boston merchant captain, commanding the Continental schooner Lee. Townshend was a settlement on the Maine coast.
3. Capt. Henry Johnson, commissioned commander of the Continental brig Lexington in Feb. 1777, was in European waters and ports until the Lexington was captured off Ushant in September (JCC, 7:90; Ruth Y. Johnston, “American Privateers in French Ports, 1776–1778,” PMHB, 53 [Oct. 1929]: 359–365).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0207

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-06-14

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

Could I write you any agreable Inteligence I would with pleasure Grasp the pen And Call of my Friends Attention a Moment from her Domestic avocations, but so much Avarice and Venallity, so much Annemosity and Contention, so much pride and Weakness predominate both in the Capital and the Cottage that I fear it will be Long: very Long before good tidings are Wafted on Every Wind and the Halcyon days of peace Return to our Land.
I write for the sake of my promise more than anything Else this Morning, for I am very unable to perform as I have been deprived the use of one Eye Ever since I have been in town. Am now Growing better and shall Endeavour to improve them in Future in some useful way.
Mr. Warren has yet no Letter from Mr. Adams. I am with true affection Your Friend,
[signed] Marcia
{ 265 }
Alas! No Repeal of the Regulati[ng] act, nor of Course the Land Embargo.1
1. On the Massachusetts “Land Embargo” of Feb. 1777, see note 2 on JA's second letter to AA of 6 April, above, and also Mass., Province Laws, 19:808–810.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0208

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-06-15

Abigail Adams to John Adams

This is the 15 of June. Tomorrow our new Edition of the Regulating act takes place, and will I fear add wrath to Bitterness. No arguments which were urgd could prevail upon the court to repeal it. A committee in this Town is chosen to see it inforced, and I suppose in other Towns.1 I am surprizd that when the ill Effects of it are so visible, and the spirit of opposition to it so general and voilent that there should be a determination to enforce it.
There is a very evil spirit opperating and an encreasing Bitterness between the Town and Country. The Town of Boston has lost its leaders, and the respectable figure it once made is exchanged for party squables, for Avarice, venality, Animosity, contention, pride, weakness and dissapation. I wish I could say this spirit was confined to the Capital, but indeed too much of it prevails in the cottage.2
Really we are a most ungratefull people, favourd as we have been with peculiar Blessings and favours to make so poor returns. With the best opportunities for becomeing a happy people, and all the materials in our power, yet we have neither skill nor wisdom to put them together.
The House and Counsel have come to a determination to form a Goverment, and to send it out to the people for their inspection. I expect there will be great difficulty as ninety two Towns I am told have sent no representitives, and the Countys of Worcester and Berkshire make up more than a third of the House. Some have instructed their rep's to form a Goverment, others have directly forbid them.3
There has been a list of Tories belonging to this Town made out, and Deliverd in to the Town 13 in number. I will enclose the list.4 Some of them I believe had as goods have been omitted. It will put them to some expence but the practice is to employ one or two gentlemen of the Bar, who generally make out to get them acquitted. Then I expect they will be returnd to us, more Rancorous than before.
There is a movement of Hows, whether he designs for Boston or Road Island or where is as yet unknown—I hope for neither. I think { 266 } I could not tarry here with safety should he make an attack upon either, and the thought of being driven from my own Habitation at this time is more distressing than ever. If I had only myself to look after it would be less anxiety to me; if you hear of our being invaded this way, I think you must return. I used to have courage, but you cannot wonder at my apprehensions when you consider my circumstances. I can but poorly walk about House; However I am not of an over anxious make; I will trust in providence that I shall be provided for. I think we shall know in a week whether he designs this way, and you I suppose will know as soon as we. I wish you would advise me what I had best do if we should be attacked this way.—We have not a Man either upon the Castle or at Nantasket. I believe our Enimies know it.
Two continental vessels have arrived with Salt from Bilbo in the last week, and four prizes sent in by the Fleet. As they came in a Saturday have not learnt with what they are loaded.
Have received two letters since I wrote last, one of May 24 and one of May 27.5 As to your injuntions with regard to my taking any money but this States and continental, I have strictly adhered to them. I know of whom I received the Hampshire money, and returnd it again. I took it of Sister A[dams] as part of the pay for the Lighter, and she of Vose of Milton. She returnd it the same week to Him, which she took it but He refused to receive it, and tho she has twice sent it to Him, and he does not pretend to say He did not pay it to her, Yet he will not take it again. What can be done? I had several other Bills, but knowing of whom I received them, I found no difficulty in returning them again.—There will no money pass in this State after next month but continental and this States.
How is your cold? Are you better than you was? I feel anxious for your Health. Let me know every time you write How you do. A certain Gentleman was ask'd when he expected to go to Philadelphia. O he did not know. That depended upon some of the others returning. He supposed they would be running Home again in a month or two, as they always were. For his part he had tarried so many months.—A great merrit to tarry from Home when a man loves any place better than home. I am for having them all stay now, to keep him at home as a punishment. Tis of no great importance where he is.6

[salute] Adieu most sincerely yours.

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia”; docketed in two different hands, one of which is CFA's. Enclosure not found, but see note 4.
{ 267 }
1. On 9 June the town chose a committee of seven members, “to see that the Act to prevent Monopoly and oppression be not violated in this Town” (Braintree Town Records, p. 482). This was in accordance with the Act as amended on 10 May (Mass., Province Laws, 5:642–647).
2. It may be noted that here, as she did on some other occasions, AA borrowed some of her language from Mrs. Warren. See the preceding letter.
3. On the steps taken by the new General Court to form a new constitution (the abortive Constitution of 1778), see the very informative passages in James Warren's letters to JA of 22 June and 10 July (Warren-Adams Letters, 1:334–335, 341||; also printed in Papers of John Adams||)
4. The enclosed list is missing, but on 9 June, according to the Braintree Town Records (p. 481–482), “the Selectmen presented a list to the Town of those persons they esteemed Inimical to the United States which is a[s] follows, viz. Revd. Edward Winslow, Majr. Ebenezer Miller, John Cheesman, Mr. Joseph Cleverly, James Apthorp, William Veazie, Benj Cleverly, Oliver Gay, & Nedabiah Bent, all which was Voted by the Town to be persons esteemed Inimical. . . . Then the following Persons was Nominated & voted to be added to the aforesaid List . . . viz. Joseph Cleverly second, William Veazie junr. Henry Cleverly & Thomas Brackett.”
5. That is, JA's letters of 24 and 25–27 May, both above.
6. Robert Treat Paine had been reelected a Massachusetts delegate on 10 Dec. 1776 (as he was to be again in Dec. 1777), but he never resumed his seat in Congress. On 12 June 1777 he was elected attorney general of Massachusetts (Mass., House Jour., 1777–1778, p. 23).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0209

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-06-16

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I had a most charming Packett from you and my young Correspondents, to day.
I am very happy, to learn that you have done such great Things in the Way of paying Debts. I know not what would become of me, and mine, if I had not such a Friend to take Care of my Interests in my Absence.
You will have Patience with me this Time, I hope, for this Time will be the last.
I shall stay out this Year, if I can preserve my Health, and then come home, and bid farewell to great Affairs. I have a Right to spend the Remainder of my days in small ones.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0210

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-06-18

John Adams to Abigail Adams

We shall have all the Sages and Heroes of France here before long.
Mr. Du Coudray is here, who is esteemed the most learned Officer in France. He is an Artillery Officer.
{ 268 }
Mr. De la Balme is here too, a great Writer upon Horsemanship and Cavalry. He has presented me with two Volumes written by himself upon these subjects, elegantly printed, bound and gilt.1
Mr. De Vallenais is with him, who speaks very good English.2
The inclosed Papers will give you all the News. You get Intelligence sooner and better than We.
We are under no more Apprehensions here than if the British Army was in the Crimea. Our Fabius will be slow, but sure.
Arnold, You see will have at them, if he can.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed newspapers not found or identified.
1. Augustin Mottin de La Balme (1736–1780), a French cavalry officer and writer on cavalry tactics, had left France against orders from Vergennes by disguising himself as a physician. He bore letters of introduction from Franklin to Hancock and from Deane to Washington. In Philadelphia he presented to JA copies of his Essais sur l'équitation, Amsterdam and Paris, 1773, and Elémens de tactique pour la cavalerie, Paris, 1776, which are still among JA's books in the Boston Public Library; the titlepage of the Essais is reproduced among the illustrations in the present volume. On 8 July 1777 Congress commissioned La Balme colonel and inspector of cavalry (JCC, 8:539), but he did not gain Washington's support in this post and retired from it early in 1778. The next year he campaigned as a volunteer on the Penobscot and elsewhere, and thereafter among the old French settlements in the West; in Nov. 1780 he and his men were massacred near Miami, Ohio, by a party of Little Turtle's Indians. Most of the information above is drawn from Lasseray's excellent sketch of La Balme in Les français sous les treize étoiles, 2:329–336.
2. Of this officer, whose name was spelled in a great variety of ways, little is definitely known beyond an entry in JCC for 8 July 1777 (8:539): “Resolved . . . That Mons. Vallenais be appointed an aid to Mons. de la Balme, with the rank and pay of captain of cavalry.” See also Lasseray, 2:462–463.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0211

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-06-21

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

It would give Pleasure to every Body your Way but the few, unfeeling Tories, to see what a Spirit prevails here.
The Allarm which How was foolish enough to spread by his March out of Brunswick, raised the Militia of [the] Jersies universally, and in this City it united the Whiggs, to exert themselves under their new Militia Law, in such a Degree that nobody here was under any Apprehensions of danger from Hows March. It seemed to be the general Wish that he might persevere in his March that he might meet with certain Destruction.
But the poor Wretches have skulked back to Brunswick.—This is a great Disgrace. It will be considered so in Europe. It is certainly { 269 } thought so by our People, and it will be felt to be so by their own People—the poor Tories especially.
It will dispirit that Army in such a manner, that Desertions will become very numerous.
The Tories in this Town seem to be in absolute Despair. Chopfallen, in a most remarkable Manner. The Quakers begin to say they are not Tories—that their Principle of passive Obedience will not allow them to be Whiggs, but that they are as far from being Tories as the Presbyterians.
The true Secret of all this is, We have now got together a fine Army, and more are coming in every day. An Officer arrived from Virginia, this day, says he passed by Three Thousand continental Troops between Williamsbourg and this Town.—I am with an Affection, that neither Time nor Place can abate, Yours, ever Yours.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0212

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-06-23

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I have just retird to my Chamber, but an impulce seazes me to write you a few lines before I close my Eye's. Here I often come and sit myself down alone to think of my absent Friend, to ruminate over past scenes, to read over Letters, journals &c.
Tis a melancholy kind of pleasure I find in this amusement, whilst the weighty cares of state scarcly leave room for a tender recollection or sentiment to steal into the Bosome of my Friend.
In my last I expressd some fears least the Enemy should soon invade us here. My apprehensions are in a great measure abated by late accounts received from the General.
We have a very fine Season here, rather cold for a fortnight, but nothing like a drought. You would smile to see what a Farmer our Brother C[ranc]h makes, his whole attention is as much engaged in it, as it ever was in Spermacity Works, Watch Work, or Prophesies. You must know he has purchased, (in spight of the C[olone]ls Threats) that Farm he talkd of.1 He gave a large price for it tis True, but tis a neat, profitable place, 300 sterling, but money is lookd upon of very little value, and you can scarcly purchase any article now but by Barter. You shall have wool for flax or flax for wool, you shall have veal, Beaf or pork for salt, for sugar, for Rum, &c. but mony we will not take, is the daily language. I will work for you for Corn, for flax { 270 } or wool, but if I work for money you must give a cart load of it be sure.
What can be done, and which way shall we help ourselves? Every article and necessary of life is rising daily. Gold dear Gold would soon lessen the Evils. I was offerd an article the other day for two dollors in silver for which they askd me six in paper.
I have no more to purchase with than if every dollor was a silver one.2 Every paper dollor cost a silver one, why then cannot it be eaquelly valuable? You will refer me to Lord Kames I know, who solves the matter. I hope in favour you will not Emit any more paper, till what we have at least becomes more valuable.
Nothing remarkable has occurd since I wrote you last. You do not in your last Letters mention how you do—I will hope better. I want a companion a Nights, many of them are wakefull and Lonesome, and “tierd Natures sweet restorer, Balmy Sleep,”3 flies me. How hard it is to reconcile myself to six months longer absence! Do you feel it urksome? Do you sigh for Home? And would you willingly share with me what I have to pass through? Perhaps before this reaches you and meets with a Return,——I wish the day passt, yet dread its arrival.—Adieu most sincerely most affectionately Yours.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia ansd. July 8.”
1. On 5 May 1777 (though the deed was not recorded until 7 Feb. 1781), Richard Cranch bought of Ebenezer Thayer, Ebenezer Miller, Jonathan Bass, Nathaniel Wales, and Norton Quincy, for £400 lawful money (or £300 sterling), a 32-acre tract of farm land, with the buildings thereon, “being part of the Stoney field so Called”—that is, lying on what is now called Presidents Hill, across the Old Coast Road (now Adams Street) from the Adams National Historic Site in Quincy (Suffolk Registry of Deeds, Boston, vol. 132: fols. 101–102). The name “Cranch Pasture” persisted in this area well into the 19th century, but the farm itself, which abutted on the homestead farm JA purchased in 1787, was bought from Cranch by JA himself in Feb. 1798 (Norfolk Registry of Deeds, Dedham, vol. 8: fol. 77).
As for “the C[olone]ls Threats,” the editors can only conjecture who and what they were. Among the Adamses the epithet “the Colonel” ordinarily meant Col. Josiah Quincy of Mount Wollaston, who may have been one of Richard Cranch's creditors.
2. Thus in MS, though the sense is dubious.
3. Closing quotation mark editorially supplied.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0213

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-06-29

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

The enclosed Newspapers will communicate to you, all the News I know.
The Weather here begins to be very hot. Poor Mortals pant and { 271 } sweat, under the burning Skies. Faint and feeble as children, We seem as if We were dissolving away. Yet We live along.
The two Armies are now playing off their Arts. Each acts with great Caution. Howe is as much afraid of putting any Thing to Hazard as Washington. What would Britain do, surrounded with formidable Powers in Europe just ready to strike her if Howes Army should meet a Disaster? Where would she find another Army?
How are you?—I hope very well.—Let Mr. Thaxter write, let the Children write, when you cannot. I am very anxious, but Anxiety at 400 Miles distance can do you no more good, than me. I long to hear a certain Piece of News from Home, which will give me great Joy. Thank Mr. John for his kind Letter. I will answer him and all my little Correspondents as soon as I can.
Tell Mr. John, that I am under no Apprehensions about his Proficiency in Learning. With his Capacity, and Opportunities, he can not fail to acquire Knowledge. But let him know, that the moral Sentiments of his Heart, are more important than the Furniture of his Head. Let him be sure that he possesses the great Virtues of Temperance, Justice, Magnanimity, Honour and Generosity, and with these added to his Parts he cannot fail to become a wise and great Man.
Does he read the Newspapers? The Events of this War, should not pass unobserved by him at his Years.
As he reads History you should ask him, what Events strike him most? What Characters he esteems and admires? which he hates and abhors? which he despises?
No doubt he makes some Observations, young as he is.
Treachery, Perfidy, Cruelty, Hypocrisy, Avarice, &c. &c. should be pointed out to him for his Contempt as well as Detestation.
My dear Daughters Education is near my Heart. She will suffer by this War as well as her Brothers. But she is a modest, and discreet Child. Has an excellent Disposition, as well as Understanding. Yet I wish it was in my Power, to give her the Advantages of several Accomplishments, which it is not.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed newspapers not found or identified.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0214

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-07-01

John Adams to Abigail Adams

We have no News: a long, cold, raw, northeast Storm has chilled our Blood, for two days past. It is unusual, to have a storm from that { 272 } Point, in June and July. It is an Omen no doubt. Pray what can it mean?
I have so little Ingenuity, at interpreting the Auspices, that I am unable to say whether it bodes Evil to Howe, or to Us.
I rather think it augurs a fine Crop of Wheat, Rye, Barley, Corn, Spelts, Buckwheat, and Grass. It is a Presage of Plenty. Therefore let the Land rejoice. Flax and Cotton will grow, the better for this Weather.
The News Papers, inclosed, with this, will tell you all, that I know concerning the military operations in N. Jersey.
We have a Letter from Arthur Lee, from Spain, giving Us comfortable Assurances of Friendship and Commerce. We may trade to the Havannah and to New Orleans, as well as to Old Spain.1
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed newspapers not found or identified.
1. Arthur Lee to the Committee of Secret Correspondence, Vitoria, 18 March, read in Congress on 1 July (JCC, 8:514), and printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:292–296.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0215

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

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I sit down to write you a few lines this morning as I am loth the post should go, without telling you that I am well, as usual. Suppose you will be more anxious for me this month than common. I shall write as often and as long as I am able, tho I do not expect that it will be more than two or 3 weeks more at furthest. You will not fail writing me by every opportunity, receiving Letters once a week from you serves to keep up my Spirits and cheer my Heart, which of late does not feel the gayest. I rejoice to find by your last that your Health is better. I should have known it from the stile of your Letter if you had not told me so. The dates run june the 2d, 4th and 8th. Since I wrote last we have had frequent reports of How's sitting out for Philadelphia. I have not been very uneasy about it. I confess I had rather He should make a visit to you than to me, at this time, more especially since you seem so desirous of it. Our last accounts are of a Skirmish in Brunswick and the burning of that Town and of the Troops retreat to Amboy. I think they make no valient appearence this season.—We have an other account from Halifax, that the Gov• { 273 } ener there has orderd every House to be cleard and Barrack for that he expects them there immediately.
Yesterday our Tories so calld appeard in Boston to be tried before the worshipfull justices Q[uinc]y and Hill; they had engaged counsel Mr. T——r, who soon let the Court know that Mr. Q——y was not qualified to try them as he had never taken the oath since the declaration of independance, and that the recognisances were not signed—so they all marchd back again.1
They are pretty much netled and fear being sent on board the guard ship. Seven are condemnd at Bridgwater.
As to Goverment I can not tell you more than G[e]n. W[arre]n has wrote you. I hope in time we shall be able to sit down quietly—am sorry to see so much bickering about it in Pensilvana.
You inquire how our season is here. We have had a very fine one rather the coldest. There is a prospect of good crops of Grass and Grain. The fruit will suffer much by the frosts. Not much cider I fear.
Pray write to Dr. T[uft]s by the first opportunity. Our young ones are all well. We have enjoyd great Health since the small pox, for which we cannot be sufficently thankfull. Tis very Healthy every where. We have had a vast deal of thunder and lightning this Summer.—Adieu most Sincerely Yours.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia. Ans. July 16.”
1. The justices were Edmund Quincy, identified earlier, and John Hill, Harvard 1756. The counsel who defended the Braintree loyalists was almost certainly JA's former student William Tudor, who had recently left the army to resume his law practice in Boston. There is, however, a little mystification concerning Tudor's resignation, or resignations, from military service. On 10 April Tudor had written to JA from camp in New Jersey: “I am just going to mount my Horse for Boston. The offer made me by Genl. Knox of a Post in the Artillery I have declined, and shall return to my Books once more with Pleasure” (Adams Papers). On the same day Washington's general orders at Morristown stated: “John Laurence [i.e. Laurance] Esqr. is appointed Judge Advocate, in the room of William Tudor Esqr. who has resigned” (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 7:382). No letter of resignation has been found, but that Tudor was in Boston thereafter, and practicing law there, is clear from, among other things, his appointment by the town on 17 May as its agent “to procure Evidence that may be had of the inimical Dispositions, towards this, or any of the United States, of any Inhabitants of this Town” (Boston Record Commissioners, 18th Report, p. 280). Yet all the biographical sketches of Tudor that touch on the matter, and all the compilations on Continental officers' service, record the termination of Tudor's military service as in 1778. Heitman's Register of Officers, for example, gives his resignation as 9 April 1778, just a year after he had left camp—a coincidence so striking as to suggest a mistake. To complicate matters, Tudor was appointed judge advocate in Jan. 1778 specifically for the trial by court martial of Col. David Henley, in Boston, on charges by Gen. Burgoyne; see Tudor's letter to AA, 26 June 1778 (Adams Papers). The explanation appears to be that Tudor's commission as a lieutenant colonel in { 274 } one of the additional Continental regiments, beginning Jan. 1777, ran a year after he originally gave up his post as advocate general in April 1777; see Washington to Heath, 25 March 1778, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 11:144–145.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0216

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Date: 1777-07-05

John Adams to Abigail Adams 2d

[salute] My dear Daughter

Yesterday, being the anniversary of American Independence, was celebrated here with a festivity and ceremony becoming the occasion.
I am too old to delight in pretty descriptions, if I had a talent for them, otherwise a picture might be drawn, which would please the fancy of a Whig, at least.
The thought of taking any notice of this day, was not conceived, until the second of this month, and it was not mentioned until the third. It was too late to have a sermon, as every one wished, so this must be deferred another year.
Congress determined to adjourn over that day, and to dine together. The general officers and others in town were invited, after the President and Council, and Board of War of this State.
In the morning the Delaware frigate, several large gallies, and other continental armed vessels, the Pennsylvania ship1 and row gallies and guard boats, were all hawled off in the river, and several of them beautifully dressed in the colours of all nations, displayed about upon the masts, yards, and rigging.
At one o'clock the ships were all manned, that is, the men were all ordered aloft, and arranged upon the tops, yards, and shrowds, making a striking appearance—of companies of men drawn up in order, in the air.
Then I went on board the Delaware, with the President and several gentlemen of the Marine Committee, soon after which we were saluted with a discharge of thirteen guns, which was followed by thirteen others, from each other armed vessel in the river; then the gallies followed the fire, and after them the guard boats. Then the President and company returned in the barge to the shore, and were saluted with three cheers, from every ship, galley, and boat in the river. The wharves and shores, were lined with a vast concourse of people, all shouting and huzzaing, in a manner which gave great joy to every friend to this country, and the utmost terror and dismay to every lurking tory.
At three we went to dinner, and were very agreeably entertained with excellent company, good cheer, fine music from the band of Hes• { 275 } sians taken at Trenton, and continual vollies between every toast, from a company of soldiers drawn up in Second-street before the city tavern, where we dined. The toasts were in honour of our country, and the heroes who have fallen in their pious efforts to defend her. After this, two troops of light-horse, raised in Maryland, accidentally here in their way to camp, were paraded through Second-street, after them a train of artillery, and then about a thousand infantry, now in this city on their march to camp, from North Carolina. All these marched into the common, where they went through their firings and manoeuvres; but I did not follow them. In the evening, I was walking about the streets for a little fresh air and exercise, and was surprised to find the whole city lighting up their candles at the windows. I walked most of the evening, and I think it was the most splendid illumination I ever saw; a few surly houses were dark; but the lights were very universal. Considering the lateness of the design and the suddenness of the execution, I was amazed at the universal joy and alacrity that was discovered, and at the brilliancy and splendour of every part of this joyful exhibition. I had forgot the ringing of bells all day and evening, and the bonfires in the streets, and the fireworks played off.2
Had General Howe been here in disguise, or his master, this show would have given them the heart-ache. I am your affectionate father,
[signed] John Adams
MS not found. Printed from (Journal and Correspondence of Miss Adams, . . . Edited by Her Daughter, New York, 1841–1842, 2:8–10.)
1. Probably should read “ships,” meaning the ships of the Pennsylvania navy. There was no fighting vessel that bore the name Pennsylvania at this time.
2. More detailed accounts of this first and very hurriedly gotten-up anniversary celebration of the Fourth of July appeared in the Philadelphia papers (Penna. Gazette, 9 July; Penna. Journal, same date), but JA's is the fullest account by a participant that is known to the editors. At least one delegate took a much less enthusiastic view of it. William Williams of Connecticut, who had recently resumed his seat, wrote to Gov. Jonathan Trumbull on 5 July:
“Yesterday was in my opinion poorly spent in celebrating the anniversary of the Declaration of Independance, but to avoid singularity and Reflection upon my dear Colony, I thot it my Duty to attend the public Entertainment; a great Expenditure of Liquor, Powder etc. took up the Day, and of Candles thro the City good part of the night. I suppose and I conclude much Tory unilluminated Glass will want replacing etc.” (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:401).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0217

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-07-07

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

Being Necessiated to use a Certain peace of Linnen so Nearly up that I Cannot spare my Friend the bit she Requested I Let her know { 276 } if I Come across any that I think will suit her I shall not forget her.
I Could spare a Yard of very Good Irish Linnen but the price is more than Adequate to the Goodness so do not send it.
If you are able to write yourself do Let me hear from you soon. If you are not Let some other hand transmit me the agreable Inteligence of the Birth of a young patriot.
What think you of the Runaways at the Jerseys. Will they Come here to try the prowess of the New England Boys. I hope not though I dare say my Country men would be Vallient upon the Occassion. Yet I Wish These Brutal Ravagers May Ever be kept at a Distance from Boston, from New England, from America, from You, and from your unfeigned Friend,
[signed] Marcia Warren
My Love to My dear Naby and the Young Gentlemen.
Husbandry Must smile after the Late fine showers. If I was to Cultivate the spirit of Farming it should Certainly be in a Driping season.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0218

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-07-08

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Yours of June 23d. have received. I believe there is no Danger of an Invasion your Way, but the Designs of the Enemy are uncertain and their Motions a little misterious. Before this Letter is sealed, which will not be till Sunday next, I hope I shall be able to inform you better.
I rejoice at your fine Season, and <still more> at my Brother Cranches Attention to Husbandry. Am very glad he bought the Farm, and that he likes it so well.
I pant for domestic Life, and rural Felicity like his.
I am better than I have been. But I dread the Heats, which are coming on.
This Day compleats Six Months since I left you. I am wasted and exhausted in Mind and Body, with incessant Application to Business, but if I can possibly endure it, will hold out the Year. It is nonsense to dance backwards and forwards. After this Year I shall take my Leave.
Our Affairs are in a fine prosperous Train, and if they continue so, I can leave this Station with Honour.
Next Month compleats Three Years, that I have been devoted to { 277 } the Servitude of Liberty. A slavery it has been to me, whatever the World may think of it.
To a Man, whose Attachments to his Family, are as strong as mine, Absence alone from such a Wife and such Children, would be a great sacrifice. But in Addition to this Seperation, what have I not done? What have I not suffered? What have I not hazarded?—These are Questions that I may ask you, but I will ask such Questions of none else. Let the Cymballs of Popularity tinckle still. Let the Butterflies of Fame glitter with their Wings. I shall envy neither their Musick nor their Colours.
The Loss of Property affects me little. All other hard Things I despize, but the Loss of your Company and that of my dear Babes for so long a Time, I consider as a Loss of so much solid Happiness.
The tender social Feelings of my Heart, which have distressed me beyond all Utterance, in my most busy, active scaenes, as well as in the numerous Hours of melancholly solitude, are known only to God and my own soul.
How often have I seen my dearest Friend a Widow and her Charming Prattlers Orphans, exposed to all the Insolence of unfeeling impious Tyrants! Yet, I can appeal to my final Judge, the horrid Vision has never for one Moment shaken the Resolution of my Heart.
RC (Adams Papers). Part of the text of this letter is reproduced from the manuscript as an illustration in the present volume.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0219

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-07-09

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I sit down to write you this post, and from my present feelings tis the last I shall be able to write for some time if I should do well. I have been very unwell for this week past, with some complaints that have been new to me, tho I hope not dangerous.
I was last night taken with a shaking fit, and am very apprehensive that a life was lost. As I have no reason to day to think otherways; what may be the consequences to me, Heaven only knows. I know not of any injury to myself, nor any thing which could occasion what I fear.
I would not Have you too much allarmd. I keep up some Spirits yet, tho I would have you prepaird for any Event that may happen.

[salute] I can add no more than that I am in every Situation unfeignedly Yours, Yours.

{ 278 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia”; endorsed: “Portia.” This letter is reproduced from the manuscript as an illustration in the present volume.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0220

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-07-10

John Adams to Abigail Adams

My Mind is again Anxious, and my Heart in Pain for my dearest Friend. . . .1
Three Times have I felt the most distressing Sympathy with my Partner, without being able to afford her any Kind of Solace, or Assistance.
When the Family was sick of the Dissentery, and so many of our Friends died of it.
When you all had the small Pox.
And now I think I feel as anxious as ever.—Oh that I could be near, to say a few kind Words, or shew a few Kind Looks, or do a few kind Actions. Oh that I could take from my dearest, a share of her Distress, or relieve her of the whole.
Before this shall rea[c]h you I hope you will be happy in the Embraces of a Daughter, as fair, and good, and wise, and virtuous as the Mother, or if it is a son I hope it will still resemble the Mother in Person, Mind and Heart.2
1. Suspension points in MS.
2. The last sentence as it appears in the MS shows the writer's intensity of feeling in a manner that type cannot show. JA evidently wrote: “. . . or if it is a son I hope it will still resemble the Mother in <Mind, in Face and in [illegible]> Person, Mind and Heart.” The words rejected are partly rubbed out by hand and partly scratched out by pen.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0221

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-07-10

Abigail Adams to John Adams

About an Hour ago I received a Letter from my Friend dated June 21: begining in this manner “my dearest Friend.” It gave me a most agreable Sensation, it was a cordial to my Heart. That one single expression dwelt upon my mind and playd about my Heart, and was more valuable to me than any part of the Letter, except the close of it. It was because my Heart was softned and my mind enervated by my sufferings, and I wanted the personal and tender soothings of my dearest Friend, that [ren]derd1 it so valuable to me at this time. I have { 279 } [no] doubt of the tenderest affection or sincerest regard of my absent Friend, yet an expression of that kind will sooth my Heart to rest amidst a thousand anxietyes.
Tis now 48 Hours since I can say I really enjoyed any Ease, nor am I ill enough to summons any attendance unless my sisters. Slow, lingering and troublesome is the present situation. The Dr. encourages me to Hope that my apprehensions are groundless respecting what I wrote you yesterday, tho I cannot say I have had any reason to allter my mind. My spirits However are better than they were yesterday, and I almost wish I had not let that Letter go. If there should be agreable News to tell you, you shall know it as soon as the post can convey it. I pray Heaven that it may be soon or it seems to me I shall be worn out. I must lay my pen down this moment, to bear what I cannot fly from—and now I have endured it I reassume my pen and will lay by all my own feelings and thank you for your obligeing Letters.—A prize arrived this week at Marble Head with 400 Hogsheads of rum a board sent in by Manly.—Every article and necessary of life rises here daily. Sugar has got to [8 pounds?] per hundred, Lamb to I shilling per pound and all ot[her] things in proportion.—We have the finest Season here that I have known for many years. The fruit was injured by the cold East winds and falls of, the Corn looks well, Hay will be plenty, but your Farm wants manure. I shall endeavour to have Sea weed carted every Leasure moment that can be had. That will not be many. Help is so scarce and so expensive I can not Hire a days mowing under 6 shillings.
How has done himself no honour by his late retreat. We fear most now for Tycon[deroga.]2 Tis reported to day that tis taken. We have a vast many men who look like officers continually riding about. I wonder what they can be after, why they do not repair to the army.
We wonder too what Congress are a doing? We have not heard of late.
How do you do? Are you glad you are out of the way of sour faces. I could look pleasent upon you in the midst of sufferings—allmighty God carry me safely through them. There I would hope I have a Friend ever nigh and ready to assist me, unto whom I commit myself.
This is Thursday Evening. It3 cannot go till monday, and then I hope will be accompanied with more agreable inteligance.

[salute] Most sincerely Yours.

I got more rest last night than I expected, this morning am rather { 280 } more ill than I was yesterday. This day ten years ago master John came into this world. May I have reason again to recollect it with peculiar gratitude. Adieu.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. Here and below, MS is torn by seal.
2. AA intended to divide this word between two lines but failed to continue it on the second.
3. This letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0222

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-07-11

John Adams to Abigail Adams

This Letter will go by the Hand of the Honourable Samuel Hewes Esqr., one of the Delegates in Congress from North Carolina, from the Month of September 1774, untill 1777.1
I had the Honour to serve with him upon the naval Committee, who laid the first Foundations, the Corner Stone of an American navy, by fitting to Sea the Alfred, Columbus, Cabott, Andrew Doria, Providence, and several others. An Honour, that I make it a Rule to boast of, upon all Occasions, and I hope my Posterity will have Reason to boast. . . .2 Hewes has a sharp Eye and keen, penetrating Sense, but what is of much more Value is a Man of Honour and Integrity. If he should call upon you, and you should be about, I hope you will treat him with all the Complaisance that is due to his Character. I almost envy him his Journey, altho he travells for his Health, which at present is infirm. I am yours, yours, yours,
[signed] John Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

We have had no News from Camp for 3 or 4 days. Mr. How, by the last Advices, was maneuvring his Fleet and Army in such a Manner, as [to] give Us Expectations of an Expedition, some where. But whether to Rhode Island, Hallifax, up the North River or the Delaware, is left to Conjecture. I am much in doubt whether he knows his own Intentions.
A Faculty of penetrating into the Designs of an Enemy is said to be the first Quality of a General. But it is impossible to discover the Designs of an Enemy who has no Design at all. An Intention that has no Existence, a Plan that is not laid, cannot be divined. Be his Intentions what they may, you have nothing to fear from him—He has not force to penetrate the Country any where.
{ 281 }
1. JA of course meant Joseph Hewes (1730–1779), a North Carolina delegate from 1774 through 1776 and a signer of the Declaration of Independence (DAB). In a vivid letter written in old age JA credited Hewes with a decisive switch in Congress on the question of independence; see JA to William Plumer, 28 March 1813 (LbC, Adams Papers; printed in JA, Works, 10:35–36).
2. Suspension points in MS. On the work of the committee in question see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:198 ff.; 3:345 ff.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0223

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-07-13

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

We have a confused Account, from the Northward, of Something Unlucky, at Ticonderoga, but cannot certainly tell what it is.1
I am much afraid, We shall loose that Post, as We did Forts Washington and Lee, and indeed, I believe We shall if the Enemy surround it. But it will prove no Benefit to them. I begin to Wish there was not a Fort upon the Continent. Discipline and Disposition, are our Resources.
It is our Policy to draw the Enemy into the Country, where We can avail ourselves of Hills, Woods, Walls, Rivers, Defiles &c. untill our Soldiers are more inured to War.
How and Burgoine will not be able to meet, this Year, and if they were met, it would only be better for Us, for We should draw all our Forces to a Point too.
If they were met, they could not cutt off the Communication, between the Northern and Southern States. But if the Communication was cutt off for a Time, it would be no Misfortune, for New England would defend itself, and the Southern States would defend themselves.
Coll. Miles is come out of N. York on his Parol. His account is, as I am informed, that Mr. Howes Projects are all deranged. His Army has gone round the Circle and is now encamped on the very Spot where he was a Year ago. The Spirits of the Tories are sunk to a great Degree, and those of the Army too. The Tories have been elated with Prospects of coming to this City, and tryumphing, but are miserably disappointed. The Hessians are disgusted, and their General De Heister gone home, in a Miff.2
1. Maj. Gen. Arthur St. Clair on 6 July evacuated Fort Ticonderoga in the face of Burgoyne's army advancing from Canada.
2. Lt. Gen. Leopold Philipp, Freiherr von Heister, commander of the Hessian troops in America, had been out of favor with Sir William Howe and with { 282 } his own sovereign since the American victory at Trenton. He was replaced by Lt. Gen. Wilhelm von Knyphausen and left the army in June 1777. See Edward J. Lowell, The Hessians. . . in the Revolutionary War, N.Y., 1884, p. 113–115.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0224

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-07-13

John Thaxter to John Adams

[salute] Sir

The day before Yesterday Mrs. Adams was delivered of a daughter; <but> it grieves me to add, Sir, that it was still born. It was an exceeding fine looking Child.
Mrs. Adams is as comfortable, as She has Just inform'd me, as can be expected; and has desired me to write a few lines to acquaint you that She is in a good Way, which I am very happy in doing.

[salute] Every thing in my power that respects her Comfort, or that respects the Children, shall be attended to by Sir, Your most obedient Servt.,

[signed] J. Thaxter Junr.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0225

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-07-16

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Join with me my dearest Friend in Gratitude to Heaven, that a life I know you value, has been spaired and carried thro Distress and danger altho the dear Infant is numberd with its ancestors.
My apprehensions with regard to it were well founded. Tho my Friends would have fain perswaded me that the Spleen1[or]2 the Vapours had taken hold of me I was as perfectly sensible of its discease as I ever before was of its existance. I was also aware of the danger which awaited me; and which tho my suffering[s] were great thanks be to Heaven I have been supported through, and would silently submit to its dispensations in the loss of a sweet daughter; it appeard to be a very fine Babe, and as it never opened its Eyes in this world it lookd as tho they were only closed for sleep. The circumstance which put an end to its existance, was evident upon its birth, but at this distance and in a Letter which may possibly fall into the Hands of some unfealing Ruffian I must omit particuliars. Suffice it to say that it was not oweing to any injury which I had sustaind, nor could any care of mine have prevented it.
My Heart was much set upon a Daughter. I had had a strong perswasion that my desire would be granted me. It was—but to shew me the uncertanty of all sublinary enjoyments cut of e'er I could call it mine. { 283 } No one was so much affected with the loss of it as its Sister who mournd in tears for Hours. I have so much cause for thankfullness amidst my sorrow, that I would not entertain a repineing thought. So short sighted and so little a way can we look into futurity that we ought patiently to submit to the dispensation of Heaven.
I am so comfortable that I am amaizd at myself, after what I have sufferd I did not expect to rise from my Bed for many days. This is but the 5th day and I have set up some Hours.
I However feel myself weakend by this exertion, yet I could not refrain [from] the temptation of writing with my own Hand to you.

[salute] Adieu dearest of Friends adieu—Yours most affectionately.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed in Richard Cranch's hand: “To the Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia To be left at the Post Office”; endorsed: “Portia.”
1. MS apparently reads: “Splln.”
2. This word and one other (in the paragraph preceding AA's leavetaking) have been editorially supplied.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0226

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-07-16

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Your Favour of the 2d. instant reached me on the 14th.
The last Letters from me which you had received, were of the 2d. 4th. and 8th. June. Here were 24 days between the 8th. of June and the 2d. July the date of yours. How this could happen I know not. I have inclosed you the Newspapers and written you a Line, every Week, for several Months past. If there is one Week passes without bringing you a Letter from me, it is because the Post does not its Duty.
After another Week, you will probably write me no more Letters for some Days. But I hope you will make Mr. Thaxter, or somebody write. Miss Nabby or Mr. John may write.
We have another Fort Washington and Fort Lee affair at Ticonderoga. I hope at last We shall learn Wisdom. I wished that Post evacuated Three Months ago. We are Fools if We attempt at present to maintain Posts, near navigable Water.
As to the Tories, I think our General Court would do well to imitate the Policy of Pensilvania, who have enjoyned an Oath to be taken by all the People, which has had an amazing Effect.
The Tories have been tolerated, even to long Suffering. Beings so unfeeling, unnatural, ungratefull, as to join an Enemy of their Coun• { 284 } try so unprincipled, unmerciless1 and blood thirsty, deserve a Punishment much severer than Banishment.
But you should establish an Oath, and outlaw all who will not take it—that is suffer them to hold no Office, to vote no where for any Thing, to bring no Action, to take out no Execution.
I am grieved to hear that our Fruit is injured by the Frost because as Wine and Rum will wholly fail, from the stoppages of Trade, Cyder will be our only Resource.
However We must drink Water, and Milk, and We should live better, be healthier, and fight bolder2 than We do with our poisonous Luxuries.
1. Thus in MS. JA first wrote “merciless,” but then, looking back and carelessly supposing he had written “merciful,” prefixed “un” above the line.
2. Thus apparently in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0227

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-07-18

John Adams to Abigail Adams

The Papers inclosed will inform you, of the Loss of Ticonderoga, with all its Circumstances of Incapacity and Pusillanimity.—Dont you pitty me to be wasting away my Life, in laborious Exertions, to procure Cannon, Ammunition, Stores, Baggage, Cloathing &c. &c. &c. &c., for Armies, who give them all away to the Enemy, without firing a Gun.
Notwithstanding the Mortification arising from such Considerations, yet I can truly say that this Event is a Relief to my Mind, for I have a long Time expected this Catastrophe, and that it would be aggravated by the Loss of the Garrison, which it seems has been happily saved. My only Hope of holding that Post, has been a long Time founded in a Doubt whether the Enemy had Force enough in Canada, to attempt it.
The Design of the Enemy, is now no doubt to attack poor New England on all sides, from Rhode Island, New York and Ticonderoga.
But I believe their Progress will be stopped, for our Army is pretty numerous, and Discipline, upon which alone We must finally depend, under Providence, for Success, is advancing.
Howes Army is in a miserable Condition, by the best Accounts We can obtain.
My Mind runs upon my Family, as much as upon our public Con• { 285 } cerns. I long to hear of the Safety and the Health of my dearest Friend.—May Heaven grant her every Blessing she desires.
Tell my Brother Farmer, I long to study Agriculture with him, and to see the Progress of his Corn and Grass.—Sister too, does she make as good a dairy Woman as your Ladyship?
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed newspapers not found or precisely identifiable.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0228

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-07-20

John Adams to Abigail Adams

The little masterly Expedition to Rhode Island has given Us, some Spirits, amidst our Mournings for the Loss of Ti. Barton conducted his Expedition with infinite Address and Gallantry, as Sir Wm. has it.1 Meigs and Barton must be rewarded.2
Although so much Time has elapsed since our Misfortune at Ti, We have no particular Account from General Schuyler or Sinclair [St. Clair]. People here are open mouthed, about the Disgrace and Disaster in that Quarter, and are much disposed to Censure.—For my Part I suspend my Judgment, untill I know the Facts. I hope the People with you will not be too much dejected at the Loss. Burgoine is a wild Man, and will rush into some inconsiderate Measures, which will put him in our Power, but if not, his Career will be stopped.
The Loss of so many Stores is more provoking than that of the Post.
Before this reaches you, I hope you will be happy in the Embraces of a little female Beauty. God bless her. Pray let me continue to hear from you, every Week. When you cant write, make some other Pen do the Duty.
We have had here a few hot days, when Fahrenheits Mercury was at 88, but the Weather has in general been very cool. Such a July was scarcely ever known, which is a fortunate Circumstance for the Health of our Army.
We have The four Months of August, September, October and November, before Us, for the Armies to Act in. There is Time enough to do a great deal of Business. I hope, that the Enemy will not do so much Mischief as last Year, altho their Exploits then have not done them much Good, nor the united States as a Community, much harm.
The Examples of Meigs, and Barton, will be followed I hope, by Numbers. The Sub[t]lety, the Ingenuity, the Activity, the Bravery, { 286 } the Prudence, with which those Excursions were conducted, are greatly and justly admired.
Connecticutt has the Honour of one, Rhode Island of the other.—Will Mass. be outdone?
1. On 10 July Lt. Col. William Barton with a party of forty Rhode Island militia made a night raid on Maj. Gen. Richard Prescott's headquarters near Newport, captured Prescott and his aide, and almost reached the mainland before an alarm was raised. See Washington to Hancock, 16 July (Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 8:415–416), and a minutely detailed account, with a map of the terrain, in Frederick Mackenzie, Diary, Cambridge, 1930, 1:148–151.
2. On 25 July Congress voted that both officers be presented with swords—Meigs for his conduct in the raid on Sag Harbor at the end of May (JCC, 8:579–580).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0229

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-07-21

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My best Friend

I have long sought for a compleat History of the Revolution in the low Countries, when the Seven united Provinces seperated from the Kingdom of Spain, but without the Success that I wished, untill a few days ago.
Sir William Temples Account is elegant and entertaining, but very brief and general.1
Puffendorfs, I have not yet seen.2 Grotius's I have seen, and read in Part, but it is in Latin, and I had it not in my Possession long enough, to make myself master of the whole.3
A few days ago, I heard for the first Time, of an History of the Wars in Flanders, written in Italian by Cardinal Bentivoglio, and translated into English by the Earl of Monmouth. The Cardinal was a Spaniard and a Tory, and his History has about as much Candor towards the Flemish and their Leaders as Clarendon has towards Pym and Hampden, and Cromwell. The Book is in Folio, and is embellished with a Map of the Country and with the Portraits of about Thirty of the Principal Characters.4
Mr. Ingersol, who lent me the Book, told me, that in the Year 1765 or 6, being in England, he was invited together with Dr. Franklin to spend a Week in the Country with a Mr. Steel a Gentleman of Fortune, at present an eloquent Speaker in the Society of Arts, descended from Sir Richard Steel.5 Upon that Visit Mr. Steel told them that the Quarrell which was now begun by the Stamp Act would never be reconciled, but would terminate in a Separation between the two Coun• { 287 } tries.—Ingersol was surprized at the Praediction and asked why and how?—I cant tell you how says he, but if you want to know why, when you return to London, enquire at the Booksellers for Bentivoglios History of the Wars in Flanders, read it through, and you will be convinced that such Quarrells cannot be made up.
He bought the Book accordingly and has now lent it to me. It is very similar to the American Quarrell in the Rise and Progress, and will be so in the Conclusion.
1. Observations upon the United Provinces of the Netherlands, London, 1672, a brief work but long the principal authority for most English readers on the history and government of the Netherlands. It went through numerous editions and was translated into several languages. JA could have read it in the first volume of his own copy of Temple's Works, 2 vols., London, 1731, which is among his books in the Boston Public Library.
2. The German jurist Pufendorf (1632–1694) wrote An Introduction to the History of the Principal Kingdoms and States of Europe . . ., which is not among the works by that writer listed in the Catalogue of JA's Library.
3. Hugo Grotius (1583–1645), Annales et historiae de rebus belgicis, Amsterdam, 1657, likewise not entered in the Catalogue of JA's Library.
4. Guido, Cardinal Bentivoglio's History of the Warrs in Flanders was first published in English in this translation by the Earl of Monmouth, London, 1654. Despite his enthusiasm for this book, which led him to copy the entire list of 24 portraits into his letter to JQA of 27 July, below, JA does not seem to have acquired a copy of it, though the Catalogue of JA's Library enters two other works by Bentivoglio.
5. Jared Ingersoll of Connecticut, though a loyalist, was living quietly in Philadelphia at this time; see JA to AA, 16 March, above, and Lawrence H. Gipson, Jared Ingersoll, New Haven and London, 1920, p. 355 ff.Joshua Steele (1700–1791) was an Irishman who lived many years in London, was a friend and correspondent of Franklin, wrote treatises on prosody and music, and spent his last years attempting to ameliorate the condition of the slaves on his estates in Barbados (DNB; Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:100; 3:349).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0230

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-07-23

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Notwithstanding my confinement I think I have not omitted writing you by every post. I have recoverd Health and strength beyond expectation; and never was so well in so short a time before. Could I see my Friend in reality as I often do in immagination I think I should feel a happiness beyond expression; I had pleasd myself with the Idea of presenting him a fine son or daughter upon his return, and had figurd to myself the smiles of joy and pleasure with which he would receive it, but [those?]1 dreams are buried in the Grave, transitory as the morning Cloud, short lived as the Dew Drops.
{ 288 }
Heaven continue to us those we already have and make them blessings. I think I feel more solicitious for their welfare than ever, and more anxious if posible for the life and Health of their parent. I fear the extreem Heat of the season, and the different temperament of the climate and the continual application to Buisness will finish a constitution naturally feeble.
I know not in what manner you will be affected at the loss, Evacuation, sale, giving up—which of the terms befits the late conduct at Tycondoroga. You may know more of the reasons for this conduct (as I hear the commanding officer went immediately to Congress) than we can devine this way; but this I can truly say no Event since the commencement of the War has appeard so allarming to me, or given me eaquel uneasiness. Had the Enemy fought and conquerd the fort, I could have borne it, but to leave it with all the stores before it was even attackd, has exited a thousand Suspicions, and gives room for more wrath than despondency.
We every day look for an attack upon us this way. The reports of this week are that a number of Transports with Troops have a[rriv]ed at Newport. Some expresses went through this Town yesterday.
Yours of June 302 reach'd me last week. I am not a little surprizd that you have not received Letters from me later than the 9 of June.3 I have never faild for this two months writing you once a week. Tho they contain matters of no great importance I should be glad to know when you receive them.
We have had a remarkable fine Season here, no drought this summer. The Corn looks well, and english Grain promiseing. We cannot be sufficently thankfull to a Bountifull providence that the Horrours of famine are not added to those of war, and that so much more Health prevails in our Camps than in the year past.
Many of your Friends desire to be rememberd to you. Some complain that you do not write them. Adieu. Master Tom stands by and sends duty—he often recollects How par used to put him to Jail as he calls it. They are all very Healthy this summer, and are in expectation of a Letter every packet that arrives. Yours, ever yours,
[signed] Portia
PS Price Current!! This day I gave 4 dollors a peice for Sythes and a Guiney a Gallon for New england Rum. We come on here finely. What do you think will become of us. If you will come Home and turn Farmer, I will be dairy woman. You will make more than is allowd you, and we shall grow wealthy. Our Boys shall go into the Feild and work with you, and my Girl shall stay in the House and assist me.
{ 289 }
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia To be left at the Post Office”; franked: “Free”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. Here and below, MS is torn by seal.
2. Not found.
3. Not found, unless (as is very likely) this is a slip of the pen for 8 June.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0231

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-07-26

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

At this Moment, I hope you are abed and happy. I am anxious to hear, and the more so because I had no Letter, from you, nor concerning you by the last Post. I wait with Impatience for Monday Morning, when the Post is to arrive.
I am more Anxious, now, than ever, on another Account. The Enemy's Fleet has sailed—But to what Place, they are destined, is unknown. Some conjecture Philadelphia, some Rhode Island, and some, that they mean only a Feint and intend soon to return to the North River. If they go to Rhode Island, I suppose they will not remain inactive there, which will throw you and your Neighbourhood into Distress.1
Poor, unhappy I! who have never an opportunity to share with my Family, their Distresses, nor to contribute in the least degree to relieve them! I suffer more in solitary silence, than I should if I were with them.
1. On 23 July, after long and elaborate preparations that had gone on in plain sight of the Jersey shore, Howe's army sailed out of New York harbor in a fleet of “above 260 Sail” bound for Delaware Bay. Upon its arrival there on 29 July, however, the fleet put out to sea again and reappeared at the entrance to Chesapeake Bay on 14 August. For a British record of this trying voyage see Ambrose Serle, American Journal, ed. Edward H. Tatum Jr., San Marino, 1940, p. 240–242; for the mystification of Americans concerning Howe's intentions see JA's letters to AA of 30 July21 Aug., below.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0232

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1777-07-27

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

If it should be the Design of Providence that you should live to grow up, you will naturally feel a Curiosity to learn the History of the Causes which have produced the late Revolution of our Government. No Study in which you can engage will be more worthy of you.
It will become you to make yourself Master of all the considerable { 290 } Characters, which have figured upon the Stage of civil, political or military Life. This you ought to do with the Utmost Candour, Benevolence and Impartiality, and if you should now and then meet with an Incident, which shall throw some Light upon your Fathers Character, I charge you to consider it with an Attention only to Truth.
It will also be an entertaining and instructive Amusement, to compare our American Revolution with others that Resemble it. The whole Period of English History, from the Accession of James the first, to the Accession of William the third, will deserve your most critical Attention.
The History of the Revolutions in Portugal, Sweeden and Rome by the Abbot de Vertot, is well worth your Reading.1
The Seperation of the Helvetic Confederacy from the Dominion of the House of Austria, is also an illustrious Event, that particularly resembles our American Struggle with Great Britain.
But above all others, I would recommend to your study, the History of the Flemish Confederacy, by which the seven united Provinces of the Netherlands, emancipated themselves from the Domination of Spain.
There are several good Histories of this great Revolution. Sir William Temples is short but elegant, and entertaining. Another Account of this Period was written by Puffendorf, and another by Grotius.2
But the most full and compleat History, that I have seen, is one that I am now engaged in Reading. It is intituled “The History of the Wars of Flanders, written in Italian by that learned and famous Cardinal Bentivoglio, englished by the Right Honourable Henry Earl of Monmouth, the whole Work illustrated, with a Map of the seventeen Provinces and above twenty Figures of the chief Personages mentioned in the History.”
Bentivoglio, like Clarendon, was a Courtier, and on the side of Monarchy and the Hierarchy. But Allowances must be made for that.
The first Cut is of Guido, S.R.E. Cardinalis Bentivolus.
2. The Emperor Charles the 5th. Prince of the low Countries.
3. Phillip the 2d. King of Spain, Prince of the low Countries.
4. William of Nassau, Prince of Orange.
5. Margarett Dutchesse of Parma and Piacenza, Daughter to Charles the 5th. Governesse of the low Countries.
6. Elizabeth Queen of England, France and Ireland.
7. Anthony Perenott Cardinal Granvel, Councillor of state to Margarett of Parma.
{ 291 }
8. Peter Ernest Count Mansfeldt Governor of Luxemburg.
9. William Lodowic Count Nassau, Governor of Frisland.
10. John Lignius, Count Aremberg, Governor of Frisland, General at the Battle of Hilligal.
11. Ferdinand of Toledo Duke of Alva, Governor of the Low Countries.
12. Sancho Avila Governor of the Fort, at Antwerp, General at the Battle of Mooch.
13. Chiapino Vitelli Marquiss of Cetona, Camp Master General.
14. Robert Lord Dudley Earl of Leicester, Governor of the united Provinces.
15. Maximillian Hennin Count Bossu, Governor of Holland and Utrecht.
16. Lodovico Requesenes, Great Commandador of Castile, Governor of the Low Countries.
17. Phillip Croy Duke of Areschot, Knight of the golden Fleece, Governor of Flanders.
18. Don John of Austria, son to Charles 5th. Governor of the Low Countries.
19. Mathias, Archduke of Austria, Duke of Burgundy and Governor of the united Provinces.
20. Alexander Farnese, Prince of Parma, Governor of the low Countries.
21. Francis Hercules De Valois, Duke of Anjou, Alencon, Brabant and Protector of the Netherlands.
22. Phillip Count Holach, Baron of Langenberg, first General of the united Provinces.
23. Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange, Count Nassau, Governor of the united Provinces.
24. Adolphus Solm Count de Meurs, Governor of Gelderland and Utrecht.
There are three most memorable Seiges described in this History, those of Haerlem, Leyden, and Antwerp.
You will wonder, my dear son, at my writing to you at your tender Age, such dry Things as these: but if you keep this Letter you will in some future Period, thank your Father for writing it. I am my dear son, with the Utmost Affection to your Sister and Brothers as well as to you, your Father,
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in CFA's hand.
{ 292 }
1. Not a single work, as JA seems to imply, but three different works by a prolific French historical writer, the Abbé René Aubert de Vertot d'Aubeuf. A copy of The Revolutions of Portugal, London, 1721, is among JA's books in MB (Catalogue of JA's Library); and two copies in French, published at The Hague in 1734 and 1755 respectively, are still in the family library at Quincy (MQA). JA's copy of The History of the Revolution in Sweden, London, 1716, is also in MB (Catalogue of JA's Library), and no fewer than three copies in French are in MQA: Paris, 1722, 1811; The Hague, 1734. Of Vertot's Histoire des révolutions arrivées dans le gouvernement de la république romaine there is a copy, 3 vols., The Hague, 1737, in MQA.
2. On these works and also on Bentivoglio's History, described at such length immediately below, see JA to AA, 21 July, above, and notes there. The title of Bentivoglio's book as given below by JA is a reasonably accurate copy from the titlepage of the London, 1654, translation; and the titles of the plates are also copied with unusual accuracy.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0233

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-07-28

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Never in my whole Life, was my Heart affected with such Emotions and Sensations, as were this Day occasioned by your Letters of the 9. 10. 11. and 16 of July. Devoutly do I return Thanks to God, whose kind Providence has preserved to me a Life that is dearer to me than all other Blessings in this World. Most fervently do I pray, for a Continuance of his Goodness in the compleat Restoration of my best Friend to perfect Health.
Is it not unaccountable, that one should feel so strong an Affection for an Infant, that one has never seen, nor shall see? Yet I must confess to you, the Loss of this sweet little Girl, has most tenderly and sensibly affected me. I feel a Grief and Mortification, that is heightened tho it is not wholly occasioned, by my Sympathy with the Mother. My dear little Nabbys Tears are sweetly becoming her generous Tenderness and sensibility of Nature. They are Arguments too of her good sense and Discretion.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0234

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-07-28

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams

[salute] Mr. Adams

Not haveing anything worth troubling you with for sometime have been silent. The late Affair of Ticonderogia, makes us all sick. I have been of Opinion for sometime itt would have been best iff itt had been evacuated last spring and come down lower by which means the laboring Oar would have fell more on the Enemy, but to give itt up with such immence stores and charge we have been att, is beyaund all con• { 293 } seption. I cant Care to dwell on so disagreeable a subject and so say no more.
I have a Vessell that went away a little before the Lexington Affair and things soon after became more dificult. I ordered the Master iff he should here that the dificulties still remaind, he might imploy the Vessell in freighting from Spain to any Other places and Accordingly he imployed her in that way as was the case of many Others. I have heard he went from Spain with a freight to London and back to Spain Again, in consequence of which I suppose he took Out a New regester to cover his Vessell. I have wrote to London and sundry times to my friends Gardoquis in Bilbao and inclosed letters to the Master to purchase a load of Salt in Spain or Portugal and to come directly home—but have no Account whether he ever received my letters. I have wrote the Master upon supposition that he had got a british regester to distroy itt and come without any, but since I have thought of Another method, which think may be supported, on principle of justice and patreoticism, and am inform'd has been countenanst by the Honbl. Continental Congress in order to get One's Interest into this part of the world, and that is to have two setts of papers—but what I think will Answer my purpose, is Only to have a Certifycate from the Congress sertifying liberty for the Vessell to return into any of these states with a load of Salt, and that no Arm'd Vessell in any of the United states should stop or hinder her in prosecution of her returning home.
I had thoughts to have Applyed to Our goverment, which might easily be effected but then there Authority extends no further than Our Own state wereas One from Your body would extend through the United states.
The Vessell is a schooner of 100 Tons called the Success, Ignatius Webber Master. I have had often upwards (say upwards of Twenty times) Three thousand bushels salt, which att this time would be a publick benifit. I think there need but a very little wrote upon the Matter, iff any charge Attending itt to the under Clerks iff you will pay itt, will Account with you. You will send two as itt is Nessesary these times to have a duplecate.

[salute] I am Sr. Yr. h S,

[signed] Isaac Smith
PS I have just returned from Weymouth w[h]ere have been a day or two. I forward you a letter from Mrs. Adams.1 Mr. Cranch is a[s] busey as a bee and seems to be in his Elliment about his New farm. I find a letter from you by Mr. Hewes.2 I have not seen the Gentleman { 294 } yet, but shall take proper Notice of him.—Yesterday there was an Account come that How's fleet had saild. Att present we here nothing more so that we suppose they are gone your way.
I Observe what you say about salt and the Necessity of the Importation. I have not time to say any thing on that subject as the post is near going but will let you know in my next the dificulty we labour under here in the Navigation way, & are Y[ours],
[signed] IS
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. The letter immediately following?
2. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0235

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-07-30

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I dare say before this Time you have interpreted the Northern Storm; if the presages chill'd your Blood, how must you be froze and stiffend at the Disgrace brought upon our Arms unless some warmer passion seaze you, and Anger and resentment Fire your Breast.
How are all our vast Magazines of Cannon, powder, Arms, cloathing, provision, Medicine &c. to be restored to us—but what is vastly more, How shall the Disgrace be wiped away? How shall our lost Honour be retreaved? The reports with regard to that fortress are very vague and uncertain. Some write from thence, that there was not force sufficent to defend it, others say it might have stood a long Siege. Some there are who ought to know why and wherefore we have given away a place of such importance.
That the inquiry will be made I make no doubt, and if Cowardice, Guilt, Deceit, are found upon any one How high or exalted soever his station, may shame, reproach, infamy, hatred, and the execrations of the publick be his portion.
I would not be so narrow minded as to suppose that there are not many Men of all Nations possessd of Honour, Virtue and Integrety; yet tis to be lamented that we have not Men among ourselves sufficently qualified for War to take upon them the most important command.
It was customary among the Carthaginians to have a Military School, in which the flower of their Nobility and those whose talants and ambition prompted them to aspire to the first dignities, learnt the art of War. From among these they selected all their general officers, for { 295 } tho they employd mercenary Soldiers, they were too jealous and suspicious to employ foreign Generals.
Will a Foreigner whose Interest is not naturally connected with ours, (any otherways than as the cause of Liberty is the cause of all mankind), will he act with the same Zeal or expose himself to eaquel dangers with the same resolution for a Republick of which he is not a member as He would have done for his own Native Country? And can the people repose an eaquel confidence in them, even supposing them Men of integrety and abilities, and that they meet with success eaquel to their abilities. How much envy and Malice, is employd against them; and How galling to pride, How mortifying to Humane Nature to see itself excelld.
I have nothing new to entertain you with, unless it is an account of a New Set of Mobility which have lately taken the Lead in B[osto]n. You must know that there is a great Scarcity of Sugar and Coffe, articles which the Female part of the State are very loth to give up, expecially whilst they consider the Scarcity occasiond by the merchants having secreted a large Quantity. There has been much rout and Noise in the Town for several weeks. Some Stores had been opend by a number of people and the Coffe and Sugar carried into the Market and dealt out by pounds. It was rumourd that an eminent, wealthy, stingy Merchant (who is a Batchelor) had a Hogshead of Coffe in his Store which he refused to sell to the committee under 6 shillings per pound. A Number of Females some say a hundred, some say more assembled with a cart and trucks, marchd down to the Ware House and demanded the keys, which he refused to deliver, upon which one of them seazd him by his Neck and tossd him into the cart. Upon his finding no Quarter he deliverd the keys, when they tipd up the cart and dischargd him, then opend the Warehouse, Hoisted out the Coffe themselves, put it into the trucks and drove off.
It was reported that he had a Spanking among them,1 but this I believe was not true. A large concourse of Men stood amazd silent Spectators of the whole transaction.2
Your kind favour received dated july 11, favourd by the Hon. Mr. Hews, left at my unkles in Boston. Tis not like he will make an Excursion this way, if he should shall treat him in the best manner I am able.—What day does your post arrive, and how long are Letters travelling from me to you? I receive one from you every week, and I as regularly write one but you make no mention of receiving any, { 296 } or very seldom. In your Hurry do you forget it, or do they not reach you. I am very well for the time, not yet 3 weeks since my confinement and yet I think I have wrote you a very long Letter.
Adieu, your good Mother is just come, desires to be rememberd to you. So does my Father and Sister who have just left me, and so does she whose greatest happiness consists in being tenderly beloved by her absent Friend and subscribes herself ever his
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia To be left at the Post Office”; endorsed: “Portia ans. Aug. 11”; docketed by JA in old age, and later by CFA. Probably enclosed in Isaac Smith's letter, preceding, q.v.
1. CFA printed this letter at least five times between 1840 and 1876, and in every printing his text of this passage reads: “It was reported that he had personal chastisement among them. . . .”
2. Although AA did not say so and although JA in his reply of 11 Aug., below, did not indicate that he knew who was meant, the victim of the ladies' resentful action was Thomas Boylston, a Boston merchant who was rich, miserly, a bachelor, and first cousin to JA's mother; see Adams Genealogy. On 25 July 1777 John Scollay, a Boston selectman, wrote his friend Samuel Phillips Savage:
“Yesterday we had a high Scene in this town. In the Morning a Number of Women waited on Mr. Boyleston. They told him that they kept Little shops to sell Necessarys for Poor People, they understood that he had Coffee to sell and if he would sell it at a reasonable price they would take it of him. He gave them a verry short answer and they Left him, about 3 oClock in the afternoon a Number of Women mostly from the North part of the town Assembled under the direction of one Mrs. Colter. They were not your Maggys but reputable Clean drest Women Some of them with Silk gownes on. They went to Boylestons Warehouse where they found him. They Insisted on having his Coffee at their price. He refused. They without Ceremony put him into a Cart they having one at hand and drove him some way up the Wharf. He found it Impossible to withstand, gave them his Keys, they took one Cask and Carried it off Intending to pay him for it. Poor Boyleston was never so Swetted since he was born. He was verry roughly handled. I am sorry for the Occasion but I cant say I am sorry that he has met with a rebuff.—We had yesterday a Legal town Meeting. The town agreed to raise by Subscription £8000.0 La[wful] Money to put into the hands of a Committee to purchase articles for the Inhabitants to deliver them to the Hucksters at the price they cost, they to sell them to the Inhabitants at a Moderate proffit. I hope this method will be of Service” (MHi: S. P. Savage Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0236

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-07-30

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I am sorry to find by your late Letter what indeed I expected to hear, that my Farm wants manure. I fear by your Expressions that your Crop of Hay falls short.
But, there has been an Error in our Husbandry in which We have { 297 } been very inconsiderate and extravagant, that is in pasturing the Mowing Ground. This will ruin any Farm.
The true Maxim of profitable Husbandry is to contrive every Means for the Maintenance of Stock.—Increase your Cattle and inrich your Farm.—We bestow too much manure upon Corn—too little upon Grass. Make Manure, make food for Cattle, increase your stock—this is the Method.
Howes Fleet has been at Sea, these 8 days. We know not where he is gone. We are puzzling ourselves in vain, to conjecture his Intention. Some guess he is gone to Cheasapeak, to land near Susquehanna and cross over Land to Albany to meet Burgoine. But they might as well imagine them gone round Cape horn into the South Seas to land at California, and march across the Continent to attack our back settlements.
Others think them gone to Rhode Island, others think they mean only a Deception and to return to the North River. A few days will reveal their Scheme. . . .1
We have now before Us, the Months of August, September, October and November, for the Operations of the Campaign.—Time enough for Mischief.
G[eneral] Washington is so near this City, that if the Enemy come into Delaware Bay, he will meet them before they can come near this City.
1. Suspension points in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0237

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-01

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My best Friend

The Fleet is in Delaware Bay. 228 of them were seen, in the Offing, from Cape Henlopen, the day before yesterday. They come in but slowly.
G[eneral] Washington, and the light Horse came into Town last Night. His Army will be in, this day—that is the two or three first Divisions of it—Greens, Sterlings and Stevensons [Stephen's].
The rest is following on, as fast as possible. General Nash with about 1500 North Carolina Forces, has taken Post on the Heights of Chester, about 15 miles below this City on the River. The Fire Ships &c. are ready.
I really think that Providence has ordered this Country to be the { 298 } Theatre of this Summers Campaign, in Favour to Us, for many Reasons. 1. It will make an entire and final Seperation of the Wheat from the Chaff, the Ore from the Dross, the Whiggs from the Tories. 2. It will give a little Breath to you in N. England. 3. If they should fail in their Attempt upon Philadelphia, it will give Lustre to our Arms and Disgrace to theirs, but if they succeed, it will cutt off this corrupted City, from the Body of the Country, and it will take all their Force to maintain it.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0238

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My best Friend

By an express last night from Cape May, We learn that the Fleet went out of the Bay, the Morning before, i.e. on Thursday Morning and put to Sea, and went out of Sight.
What this Man is after, no Wisdom can discover.
Last night another Express says the Fleet appeared off the Capes again, i.e. part of it, upwards of one hundred Sail.
After all these Feints and Maneuvres, it is most likely he designs to run up the North River, by and by.
The hot weather grows burthensome. And our Business thickens, and presses. I feel as if I could hardly get along through this Month and the next. But must see it out as well as I can.
We have News from France, from our Embassadors.1 The French will not declare War, as yet. They tell the English they neither desire War nor fear it. But they will lend Us Money, and they have sold Us Eighty thousand Stands of Arms, and will aid Us in every indirect Way. So will Spain.
I hope by this Time you are in perfect Health. Tomorows Post, I hope will confirm the most agreable Account, in the last I received from you, of your being in a good Way. My Health and Spirits and Life are bound up in yours. May Heaven preserve my dearest Friend, and make her happy.
Never was Wretch, more weary of Misery than I am of the Life I lead, condemned to the dullest servitude and Drudgery, seperated from all that I love, and wedded to all that I hate.
Digging in a Potato Yard upon my own Garden and living in my { 299 } own Family would be to me Paradise. The next Time I come home, shall be for a long Time.
1. “Congress have this Day recd. a number and very large Letters from Dr Franklin Mr Lee and Dean, with a great variety of Papers, the Letters from 12 Mar. to abt the 26 May” (William Williams to Gov. Jonathan Trumbull of Connecticut, 2 Aug., Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:436). Letters from the American Commissioners at Paris, 12 March–26 May, take up most of the space in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:283–327.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0239

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Your kind Favour of July 23, came by the Post, this Morning. It revives me, to hear of your Health, and Welfare, altho I shall be, and am disappointed of a Blessing, which I hoped to enjoy. But this is the Result of Wisdom superiour to ours and must be submitted to with chearfull Resignation.
The Loss of Ti. has occasioned as loud Complaints and as keen Resentment in Philadelphia as in Boston. And Congress have determined that an Inquiry shall be made, and have ordered the Major Generals Schuyler and St. Clair, to Head Quarters and ordered M.G. Gates to relieve M.G. Schuyler.1 Lincoln and Arnold are there. These three I believe will restore our Affairs in that Department.
We have Letters from France, Spain and the West Indies, which shew that our Ground in Europe is firm, and that a War is brewing.
We have all the English Papers, till the latter End of May, which shew that Britain is in a wretched Condition indeed—their East India Affairs in Distraction, their Affrican Trade ruined and their West Indian Concerns in the Utmost Distress. Almost all their West India Planters have left in the Kingdom in Despair.2
Their Scavengers of the Streets of Germany have been able to rake together, but a little Filth.
Where How is going No Astroleger can determine. He has left the Capes of Delaware and where he is gone no one can tell.—We expect to hear from him at the North River, or at Rhode Island, but cant tell when.
I, for my Part am very homesick, but I will not leave the Field untill the Campaign is ended—unless I should fall sick. This horrid Hot Weather melts my Marrow within my Bones, and makes me faint away almost. I have no other Way to keep alive, but by Abstinence { 300 } from Eating and drinking. I should not live a Month if I did not starve myself. When I come home I shall be an Epicure.
Tell Tom, I would give a Guinea to have him climb upon my shoulder, and another to chase him into his Jail.—My Love to all the rest. I will write them as soon as I can. I wrote Mr. Thaxter inclosing Letters to the Court and Bar. Has he received them?3
1. These important measures, in which JA was very much concerned, were the nub of the “Business [which] thickens, and presses” alluded to in the preceding letter. On 30 July and 1 Aug. respectively, Congress had ordered St. Clair and Schuyler back to Washington's headquarters, and on the latter day JA and four others were appointed a committee “to digest and report the mode of conducting the enquiry [voted 29 July] into the reasons of the evacuation of Ticonderoga and Fort Independence, and into the conduct of the officers who were in the northern department at the time of the evacuation” (JCC, 8:585, 590, 596). The subject was a difficult one, Congress was sharply divided on it, and much of Congress' as well as JA's time in the following weeks was given to it. The only visible progress made was a vote on 27 Aug. to conduct a much more elaborate inquiry, and on the 28th Henry Laurens, R. H. Lee, and JA were named the members of a committee to do so. See same, p. 653, 659, 668–669, 681–687, 688. The investigation and its sequels lasted until long after JA had left Congress; see Burnett's valuable notes in Letters of Members, 2:458, 469.
On 2 Aug. JA had also been appointed, with four others, “to take into consideration the state of the northern department,” to “confer with General Washington,” and to “report as soon as possible.” Losing no time, this committee next day recommended, and Congress resolved, that Washington be requested to appoint Schuyler's successor. But Washington declined, and on the 4th Congress elected Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates to command the northern army. See JCC, 8:599, 600, 603–604; also JA to AA, 7 Aug., below.
2. Thus in MS. Probably JA meant: “have left the Kingdom in Despair.”
3. These letters were received and they accomplished their purpose, but they have not been found; see Thaxter to JA, 4 June, above, and note 3 there.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0240

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-08-05

Abigail Adams to John Adams

If allarming half a dozen places at the same time is an act of Generalship How may boast of his late conduct. We have never since the Evacuation of Boston been under apprehensions of an invasion from them eaquel to what we sufferd last week. All Boston was in confusion, packing up and carting out of Town, Household furniture, military stores, goods &c. Not less than a thousand Teams were imployd a fryday and saturday—and to their shame be it told, not a small trunk would they carry under 8 dollors and many of them I am told askd a hundred dollors a load, for carting a Hogshead of Molasses 8 miles 30 dollors.—O! Humane Nature, or rather O! inhumane nature what { 301 } art thou? The report of the Fleets being seen of[f] of Cape Ann a fryday Night, gave me the allarm, and tho pretty weak, I set about packing up my things and a saturday removed a load.
When I looked around me and beheld the bounties of Heaven so liberally bestowed in fine Feilds of corn, grass, flax and english grain, and thought it might soon become a prey to these merciless ravagers, our habitations laid waste, and if our flight preserved our lives, we must return to barren Feilds, empty barns and desolated habitations if any we found, perhaps no1 where to lay our Heads, my Heart was too full to bear the weight of affliction which I thought just ready to overtake us, and my body too weak almost to bear the shock unsupported by my better Half.
But thanks be to Heaven we are at present releaved from our Fears, respecting ourselves. I now feel anxious for your safety but hope prudence will direct to a proper care and attention to yourselves.
May this second attempt of Hows prove his utter ruin. May destruction overtake him as a whirlwind.
We have a report of an engagement at the Northward in which our troops behaved well, drove the Enemy into their lines, killd and took 300 & 50 prisoners. The account came in last Night. I have not perticuliars.2—We are under apprehensions that the Hancock is taken.3
Your obligeing Letters of the 8th, 10th and 13th came to hand last week. I hope before this time you are releaved from the anxiety you express for your Bosom Friend. I feel my sufferings amply rewarded in the tenderness you express for me, but in one of your Letters you have drawn a picture which drew a flood of tears from my Eyes, and rung my Heart with anguish inexpressible. I pray Heaven I may not live to realize it.4
Tis almost 145 years since we were united, but not more than half that time have we had the happiness of living together.
The unfealing world may consider it in what light they please, I consider it as a sacrifice to my Country and one of my greatest misfortunes [for my husband]6 to be seperated from my children at a time of life when the joint instructions and admonition of parents sink deeper than in maturer years.
The Hopes of the smiles and approbation of my Friend sweetens all my toil and Labours—

Ye pow'rs whom Men, and birds obey,

Great rulers of your creatures, say

Why mourning comes, by bliss convey'd

{ 302 }

And ev'n the Sweets of Love allay'd?

Where grows enjoyment, tall and fair,

Around it twines entangling care

While fear for what our Souls possess

Enervates ev'ry powe'r to Bless.

Yet Friendship forms the Bliss above

And life! what art thou without love?

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. MS: “not.”
2. It was a groundless account.
3. The Hancock frigate, Capt. John Manley, was captured after a stiff fight on 8 July by H.M.S. Rainbow and carried into Halifax.
4. See the last paragraph of JA's letter to AA of 8 July, above.
5. Actually thirteen.
6. Three words editorially supplied for sense.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0241

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-06

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Price current.—Oak Wood £4:15s:od. Pr. Cord. Bad Beer, not so good as your Small Beer, 15d: Pr. Quart. Butter one Dollar Pr. Pound. Beef 2s:6d. Coffee a dollar a Pound. Bohea 8 dollars. Souchong £4: 10s. Hyson £6. Mean brown sugar 6s. 6d. a pound. Loaf sugar 18s. a pound. Rum 45s. a Gallon. Wine 2 dollars a Bottle.1
The Hounds are all still at a Fault. Where the game is gone, is the Question. The Scent is quite lost.
Sullivan Thinks the Fleet is gone to Portsmouth—Green to Newport—Parsons, up the North River—Mifflin to Philadelphia. Thus each one secures his Reputation among his Townsmen for Penetration and Foresight, in Case the Enemy should go against his Town.
Some Conjecture Charlestown S.C.—others, Georgia—others Cheasapeak Bay.
For my Part, I have formed an Opinion, in which I am as clear and positive as ever I was in my Life. I think I can adduce Arguments enough to convince any impartial, cool Mind, that I am in the Right.
My Opinion is, that four Months Time will discover where the Fleet is gone—perhaps less Time than that.
Some begin to be whimsical, and guess them gone to the West Indies. But this is impossible. Some surmise Hallifax—some old England. But these are too flattering Conjectures.
{ 303 }
1. Here, for some reason, JA left a blank space of over half a page and continued his letter on a new page of his folded sheet.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0242

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-07

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest

We have not yet the least Intimation of Howes Design. He is wasting away the Time. Let him aim at what Object he will, he will have scarcely Time to secure that, and will have none left to pursue his Advantage, if he gains any.
Burgoine I hope will be checked, and driven back. I hope the New Englandmen will now exert themselves, for it has cost Us, severe Conflicts, to get Affairs in that Department, in the Order they are. Gates cost Us a great deal of Pains.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0243

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I have concluded to run the Risque of sending Turner Home. It will save me the Expence of his Board and Horse.
The Moment he arrives, I hope you will send his Horse to Boston to be sold at Vendue. If he rides the Horse let him be sold immediately. If he rides the Mare, you may keep her if you chuse to do so and sell the old Horse, provided the Mare will go in a Carriage which must be tried, because I dont know that she ever was in one.
We have heard nothing from the Enemys Fleet, since they left the Capes of Delaware. They may intend for Philadelphia yet, which makes me a little irresolute about sending away my Man and Horse without which I should be puzzled to get away from this Place, if it should be invaded. I believe I shall delay his Journey for a few days. Perhaps We shall hear more within that Time.
This day compleats Seven Months, since I left all that I delight in. When shall I return? Not untill the Year is out, provided I can keep myself tolerably well.
Our Accounts from the Northward are still gloomy. Gates is gone, and I hope will restore some degree of Spirits and Confidence there. Burgoigne is laying himself open to destruction, in that Quarter, every day. It is strange that no Check is given him.
These vile Panicks, that seize People and Soldiers too, are very { 304 } difficult to get over.—But at last they turn to Vigour, Fury and Desperation, as they did in the Jerseys. I suppose a few Tories in New York, in the Grants1 and in Berkshire and Hampshire will join Burgoigne, but they will soon repent their rash Folly, and be sick of their Masters. For indeed they will find that neither Burgoigne nor Howe, nor their Master are kind Masters.
The longer We live, the more clearly We see, that nothing will serve our Purpose, but discipline and Experience. Discipline—Discipline, is wanting and must be introduced. The Affair of Ti. will introduce it. The Public calls for Justice, and will have it. This Demand does Honour to the People and is a sure Omen of future Success and Prosperity.
1. The New Hampshire Grants, territory which was long disputed between New Hampshire and New York and which subsequently became Vermont (DAH).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0244

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-11

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I have paid Turner, his Wages up to this day, and settled all Accounts with him. Besides which I have given him £3:2s:od. L.M. towards his Expences home.2 When he arrives he is to produce his Account to you, of the Expences of his Journey. See that he produces Receipts from the Tavern Keepers. Dont pay a Farthing, but what he produces a Receipt for.
I am glad he is going, for between you and me he is a very stupid, and a very intemperate Fellow, very fit for a Companion of the Man who recommended him. Yet He is honest. I never saw any Thing knavish in him. He has had a fine Opportunity weaving Stockings to the Tune of 2 dollars a Day—besides, receiving Wages and Board from me. If he has drank it all, it is his own fault.3
At the End of the Year, when you send Horses for me again, send some other Man. I will not have him. A low lived Fellow, playing Cards with Negroes, and behaving like a Rival with them for Wenches.
I intend to write you, to perswade your Father or my Brother to purchase me, too4 other Horses. These I will sell.

[salute] I am &c.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams Braintree Mass: Bay favd. by Mr. John Turner.”
1. JA wrote three letters to AA this day; since there is nothing to indicate the order in which he wrote them, they are printed in merely plausible order.
{ 305 }
2. See entries in JA's Accounts with Massachusetts, Jan.–Sept. 1777 (Diary and Autobiography, 2:255).
3. It is not known who recommended Turner to JA. But evidently Turner persisted in one of his bad habits, for in 1796 JA compared his drunken farm hand Billings with “Turner the Stocking Weaver” (same, 3:230).
4. Thus in MS.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0245

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-11

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Your kind Favour of July 30. and 31. was handed me, just now from the Post office.
I have regularly received a Letter from you every Week excepting one, for a long Time past, and as regularly send a Line to you inclosing Papers.—My Letters are scarcely worth sending. Indeed I dont choose to indulge much Speculation, lest a Letter should miscarry, and free Sentiments upon public Affairs intercepted, from me, might do much hurt.
Where the Scourge of God, and the Plague of Mankind is gone, no one can guess. An Express from Sinnepuxent, a Place between the Capes of Delaware and the Capes of Cheasapeak, informs that a fleet of 100 sail was seen off that Place last Thursday.1 But whether this is Fishermens News like that from Cape Ann, I know not.
The Time spends and the Campaign wears away and Howe makes no great Figure yet.—How many Men and Horses will he cripple by this strange Coasting Vo[y]age of 5 Weeks.
We have given N. Englandmen what they will think a compleat Tryumph in the Removal of Generals from the Northward and sending Gates there. I hope every Part of New England will now exert itself, to its Utmost Efforts. Never was a more glorious Opportunity than Burgoine has given Us of destroying him, by marching down so far towards Albany. Let New England turn out and cutt off his Retreat.
Pray continue to write me every Week. You have made me merry with the female Frolic, with the Miser. But I hope the Females will leave off their Attachment to Coffee. I assure you, the best Families in this Place have left off in a great Measure the Use of West India Goods. We must bring ourselves to live upon the Produce of our own Country. What would I give for some of your Cyder?
Milk has become the Breakfast of many of the wealthiest and genteelest Families here.
Fenno2 put me into a Kind of Frenzy to go home, by the Description he gave me last night of the Fertility of the Season, the Plenty of { 306 } Fish, &c. &c. &c. in Boston and about it.—I am condemned to this Place a miserable Exile from every Thing that is agreable to me. God will my Banishment shall not last long.
1. That is, on the 7th. Sinepuxent, an Indian name spelled in many ways, was formerly applied to a bay and inlet on the Atlantic coast of Maryland in the present Ocean City area.
2. Perhaps John Fenno (1751–1798), the Boston writing master who in 1789 founded the Gazette of the United States in New York City (DAB); but this is a very tentative identification.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0246

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-11

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I think I have sometimes observed to you in Conversation, that upon examining the Biography of illustrious Men, you will generally find some Female about them in the Relation of Mother or Wife or Sister, to whose Instigation, a great Part of their Merit is to be ascribed.
You will find a curious Example of this, in the Case of Aspasia, the Wife of Pericles. She was a Woman of the greatest Beauty and the first Genius. She taught him, it is said, his refined Maxims of Policy, his lofty imperial Eloquence; nay, even composed the Speeches, on which so great a Share of his Reputation was founded. The best Men in Athens frequented her House, and brought their Wives to receive Lessons from her of OEconomy and right Deportment. Socrates himself was her Pupil in Eloquence and gives her the Honour of that funeral oration which he delivers in the Menexenus of Plato. Aristophanes indeed abuses this famous Lady but Socrates does her Honour.
I wish some of our great Men had such Wives. By the Account in your last Letter, it seems the Women in Boston begin to think themselves able to serve their Country. What a Pity it is that our Generals in the Northern District had not Aspasias to their Wives!
I believe, the two Howes have not very great Women for Wives. If they had We should suffer more from their Exertions than We do. This is our good Fortune. A Woman of good Sense would not let her Husband spend five Weeks at Sea, in such a season of the Year. A smart Wife would have put Howe in Possession of Philadelphia, a long Time ago.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0247

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1777-08-11

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

As the War in which your Country is engaged will probably hereafter attract your Attention, more than it does at this Time, and as the future Circumstances of your Country, may require other Wars, as well as Councils and Negotiations, similar to those which are now in Agitation, I wish to turn your Thoughts early to such Studies, as will afford you the most solid Instruction and Improvement for the Part which may be allotted you to act on the Stage of Life.
There is no History, perhaps, better adapted to this usefull Purpose than that of Thucidides, an Author, of whom I hope you will make yourself perfect Master, in original Language, which is Greek, the most perfect of all human Languages. In order to understand him fully in his own Tongue, you must however take Advantage, of every Help you can procure and particularly of Translations of him into your own Mother Tongue.
You will find in your Fathers Library, the Works of Mr. Hobbes, in which among a great deal of mischievous Philosophy, you will find a learned and exact Translation of Thucidides, which will be usefull to you.
But there is another Translation of him, much more elegant, intituled “The History of the Peloponnesian War, translated from the Greek of Thucidides in two Volumes Quarto, by William Smith A.M. Rector of the Parish of the holy Trinity in Chester, and Chaplain to the Right Honourable the Earl of Derby.”
If you preserve this Letter, it may hereafter remind you, to procure the Book.
You will find it full of Instruction to the Orator, the Statesman, the General, as well as to the Historian and the Philosopher.1 You may find Something of the Peloponnesian War, in Rollin.

[salute] I am with much Affection your Father,

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); docketed twice in JQA's mature hand: “J. Adams. 11. Augt: 1777,” and “Mr: Adams. Augt: 11. 1777.”
1. Among JA's books in MB are two editions of Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War, with Greek and Latin texts in parallel columns, one of them published at Frankfort, 1594, bearing JQA's signature, and the other at Amsterdam, 1731 (Catalogue of JA's Library). At the Stone Library in Quincy (MQA) there are no fewer than six other editions in various languages, including William Smith's translation, 2 vols., London, 1781, and Thomas Hobbes' translation, 2 vols., London, 1812. JA's edition of The Moral and { 308 } Political Works of Thomas Hobbes of Malmesbury, London, 1750 (also in MB), contains Hobbes' discourse preliminary to his translation of Thucydides, but not the translation itself.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0248

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-08-12

Abigail Adams to John Adams

A few lines by way of remembrance every week tho I have nothing new to write you if I may judge you by myself are very acceptable. I long for a wedensday which to me is the happiest day of the week. I never fail of a pacquet, tis soon read, and then the next wedensday is thought of with the same Solisitude—

“Man never is but always to be blest.”

The last post brought me yours of july 16, 18 and 20th.
You have often of late mentiond a daughter with much tenderness and affection, but before this time you must know of our Bereavement. I felt it last Sunday with all its poignancy. It was the first time of my going out. Your Brother held up a daughter and call'd it by the Name of Susana.1 I wishd to have call'd ours had it lived after my own dear Mother, and was much gratified by your mentioning it and requesting it. But tis now of no importance either the Name or the Relation. Do you feel in your own Breast any Sentiments of tenderness for one you never knew, for one who could scarcly be said ever to have had an existance? The loss occasions very different Sensation[s] from those I once before experienced, but still I found I had a tenderness and an affection greater than I immagined could have possess'd my Heart for one who was not endeard to me by its smiles and its graces. But the Parent is dear to me, dear to me beyond the power of words to discribe. I always feel a perticuliar regard for the young fellow who has attended upon him in the capacity of a servant. Nay even the sight of a Garment (worn) belonging to him will raise a mixture both of pleasure and pain in my Bosome.
Can it then be strange that I should feel a fondness and a tender affection for a pledg of unabated Love, a Love pure as the Gold without alloy—

“I Glory in the sacred ties

Which Modern Wits and fools dispise

Of Husband and of Wife.”

I have seen an advertisement in your papers of some Select Essays { 309 } upon Husbandry containing the manner of whitening and Bleaching cloth, raising flax and hemp &c. If you think the Book worth purchaseing should be obliged to you for it.2 We must study to make the most of our Husbandery or we must starve. 3 dollors will not purchase what one would (of any article that can be mentiond) two months ago.
I believe we are no way behind hand in prices with any of the other States.
You wish yourself at Home to study agriculture with your Brother Farmer. Tis a wish I most heartily join in, but he is a great practisser I assure you. He has cut the chief of his Hay this summer and made the whole of it with his own hands, and he has several tons too. He has New Built his barn which he has done much of himself. His whole Heart is engaged in Farming. You never took more pleasure in your meddows and Feilds in their greatest perfection.
Hardwick begs me to apply to you to purchase him some needles as he is now obliged to stand still for want of them, will send the money for them if you think it may be conveyd with safety. If you would send along only one hundred in a Letter to me he would be greatly obliged, he has wrote to Turner the Numbers.
We wish to know where the Enemy are and what they are about, but it seems to me your inteligance is very uncertain and in general bad. General <Skliler Skiler> Schuyler has calld upon us for 2000 militia. We seem to be already striped of so many Hands as scarcly to leave enough to perform our Farming. They make strange work in this Town in procuring their Men as usual, it always was a croocked place.
I hear nothing new—nothing worth writing you.
Enclosed is a Letter your Brother desires you would take care of.

[salute] Adieu most sincerely yours,

[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Ans. Aug. 25”; docketed in an unidentified hand. Enclosed letter from Peter Boylston Adams, or concerning his affairs, not found.
1. This was Peter Boylston and Mary (Crosby) Adams' second daughter named Susanna, born on or just before 10 Aug., their first Susanna having lived less than a year (1775–1776). The second Susanna became Mrs. Darius Boardman in 1803 and died in 1816. See Adams Genealogy.
2. This work, a compilation from a number of sources, was advertised in the Philadelphia papers during June and July as just published and for sale by Robert Hill. For its full title see Evans 15597.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0249

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-13

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

We have been sweltering here, for a great Number of days together, under the scalding Wrath of the Dog Star. So severe a Spell of Heat has scarcely been known these twenty Years. The Air of the City has been like the fierce Breath of an hot oven. Every Body has been running to the Pumps all day long. There has been no finding a Place of Comfort—the shade, and the very Entrys of Houses where they have the best Draughts of Air, have been scarcely tolerable. This season always affects me, deeply. It exhausts my Spirits, and takes away all my Strength of Mind and Body. I have never lived here in Dog days, without becoming so enfeebled, and irritated, as to be unable to sleep soundly and regularly and to be still more reduced by Night Sweats. If I can avoid these Inconveniences, this year, I shall be happy. But I have experienced something of it, already, altho not in any great Degree.
When the Weather is so extream, the Fatigue of even holding a Pen to write a Letter, is distressing.
We have no News from the Fleet since last Thursday when about 200 of them were seen off of Synepuxent.
What will our People do with Burgoigne? He has put himself in the Power of the People in that Quarter, and if they do not make him repent his Folly, they will be to blame. It is a Shame that such an handfull should ravage in a Country so populous.
You will see by the Papers that Manly is taken.—What a Disappointment to Us!—Yet We might have expected it. What rational Creatures could order two thirty Gun Frigates to cruise on the American Coast, for the Protection of Trade. They should have been ordered to some other Seas—to France, to Spaign, to the Baltic, the Mediterranean—any where but where they were.
The Ship and Men are a Loss, but We must build more.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0250

Author: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-08-13

Isaac Smith Sr. to John Adams

[salute] Mr. Adams

I wrote you the post before last to which refer you.1 In your last2 you mention the prize [price] of Salt, which am very sorry to see was so high. I had a little parcel lately which I retaild Out att 12/ a single { 311 } bushel, and sold a Gentleman from the Jerseys who are deprived from geting that Article and to compasionate there case let him have itt att 10/ tho was offerd 20/ for itt, but as he wanted a considerable quantity more his southward friends who had salt here in a prize sold him theres att 30/ which was sorry itt should get to.—You Ask why the Merchants cant get in those Articles now as when the Elicet trade was carried On and M[en of] W[ar] &c. were here. The case is very differant for more than half the Vessells that have been fited Out this Winter have been taken and we have had Three ships for Near Two Months past Cruseing in the bay and come up so near the Lighthouse as that the Flagg att the Castle has been hoisted for them, and the many Captures in the West Indies has risen Insurance near double. Inded there is hardly geting any done att any rate, and itts very dificult to get hands to go, to give 50 P[er] C[ent] Insurance you must pay as much as your Vessell and Cargo is worth to cover your Interest but to give 75 PC still Inhances the Value which is to be laid with all Other Charges On the bare Cargo, and there is Nothing of any Value of the produce of this Province that can be bought to send but that itt must sink 100 PC and we have no Other way to get any Cargo that will any ways Answer than by sending to the southward which makes the Insurance the Vo[yage] round very great.—I have several Vessells tho small I purpose sending that way when itt comes a little later in the season but am put to dificulty of geting money to the southward, without being att the Charge of sending on purpose. I want to get about 8. or 10.000 Dls. lodged that way. I have talkt with Mr. Hewes and find itt very dificult to have any Exchange of money that way.—Mr. Hewes is gone to Piscataque. I have Askt him Once or twice to dine with me, but has been engaged. When he returns I expect he will.
A Commite of Ours and the Other States have met to Consider of what method to take in order to Establish the Currency or rather to prevent itts further deprecasion.3 I wish some method could be found Out but itt Appears to be a thing that is very dificult.—I was Agoing to give you my sentiments sometime Ago when I heard you had Orderd several large ships to be built, but, as you was the best judges of the Motives of your doing itt, Omited itt as itt could not have any Other merit than a private sentiment. The money to be made to carry on and Compleat these Ships must be immence. I reckon itt will require a Wagon load to be sent Once a Month and such a sum to be made which is the Means of the depresasion, and not to have any benifit Ariseing from itt Appears to me they had never been thought off { 312 } for I will Venture to say they wont get to see [sea] unless we can make Men this six Years, and to have the Frigates that are building got to see likewise. Frigates I Apprehend would be more servisable, Altho we have lost One, not to exceed 36 or 40 Gun ships, under proper regulations.

[salute] I am Sr. Your hum. servant,

[signed] Isaac Smith
PS I dont mean by any thing I have said to be Only my private sentiments to you.4
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr. Smith.”
1. Smith to JA, 28–31 July, above.
2. Not found.
3. This convention of delegates from four New England states and New York was held at Springfield, Mass., on 30 July–6 Aug.; its proceedings are printed in The Public Records of the State of Connecticut, Hartford, 1894–1953, 1:599–606.
4. Smith probably meant just the opposite of what he wrote: he wished his views as here expressed to be considered as no other than “private sentiments.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0251

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-14

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

Most sincerly do I Congratulate My Friend on her Restoration to Health after pain, peril and Disappointment. May she Long be spared [to] her Family and Friends, And be happy in Domestic Life, Though the political sky Looks Dark and Lowry and the Convulsions of War! shake the Lower Creation.
You ask My opinion with Regard to affairs in the North. All I Can say is I am Mortifyed and Chagrind at the surrender of Ti, but suspend my Resentment till Those who have a better Right than myself have scrutinized, judged and Condemned.
I have not Yet been able to purchase any Coffe. Shall Remember you when I do. My son has had no Returns from France. I begin to fear the Vessels on which he Ventured have fallen into the hands of the Enemy.
I think you desired me to Let you know if I met with any thing suitable for Childrens wear. I have 2 peaces of Blue and White striped French Cottons the one 5 quarters the other, 6 in Width. Very Good and very pretty for boys or Girls, but the price is somewhat Modernized, though not to the Extent of the Fashion, only 20/ £2 per yard. If you Incline to have any of it Let me know and I will keep it till I have an opportunity to send it. What is become of the sagathe3 { 313 } &c. I only inquire Least you may have sent it forward by some hand that has Neglected to Deliver it to your Friend unfeignedly,
[signed] M Warren
I wish you would let your Neghbour the stoken Weaver know I Could not send him the Cotton but intend to send him some Worsted Work as soon as I can Get it spun.
Do Give me the Inteligence from Mr. Lees Letter.4 Mr. Lothrop has forgot Every Word.
If you are in want of a Little Nice Black Russel5 for shew, Let your Friend know it.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams Braintree”; at head of text in CFA's hand: “July 1777.”
1. It is clear from several allusions in this letter that it is a reply to one from AA that has not been found; and it is equally clear that AA's letter to Mrs. Warren, dated 14–16 Aug., following, is a reply in turn to the present letter—in all likelihood a prompt reply.
2. Thus in MS.
3. Sagathy, variously spelled, was a woolen fabric somewhat like serge (OED).
4. A copy of a letter from Arthur Lee sent on earlier by JA to AA; perhaps Lee's letter of 18 March, mentioned by JA in his letter of 1–2 July, q.v. above.
5. Russel, variously spelled, was also a woolen fabric, “formerly used for articles of attire, esp. in the 16th century” (OED). But Mrs. Warren may mean the apparently more elegant “Russell cord . . . a ribbed or corded fabric, usually made with a cotton warp and woollen weft” (same). See AA's answer, following.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0252

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Warren, Mercy Otis
Date: 1777-08-14

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren

This is the memorable fourteenth of August. This day 12 years the Stamp office was distroyd.1 Since that time what have we endured? What have we suffer'd? Many very many memorable Events which ought to be handed down to posterity will be buried in oblivion merely for want of a proper Hand to record them, whilst upon the opposite side many venal pens will be imployd to misrepresent facts and to render all our actions odious in the Eyes of future Generations. I have always been sorry that a certain person who once put their Hand to the pen, should be discouraged, and give up so important a service. Many things would have been recorded by the penetrateing Genious of that person which thro the multiplicity of Events and the avocations of the times will wholly escape the notice of any future Historian.
The History and the Events of the present day must fill every Humane Breast with Horrour. Every week produces some Horrid Scene { 314 } perpetrated by our Barbarous foes, not content with a uniform Series of cruelties practised by their own Hands, but they must let loose the infernal Savages “those dogs of War” and cry Havock to them. Cruelty, impiety and an utter oblivion of the natural Sentiments of probity and Honour with the voilation of all Laws Humane and Divine rise at one veiw and characterise a George, a How and a Burgoine.
O my dear Friend when I bring Home to my own Dwelling these tragical Scenes which are every week presented in the publick papers to us, and only in Idea realize them, my whole Soul is distress'd. Were I a man I must be in the Feild. I could not live to endure the Thought of my Habitation desolated, my children Butcherd, and I an inactive Spectator.
I enclose to you a Coppy of Mr. Lees Letter. It came to me with some restrictions to be shewn only to those whom I could confide in. I think by that our affairs abroad look'd as favorable as we could expect, but we have a great many hardships to endure yet I fear e'er we shall receive any assistance from others.
Letters from my Friend to the 20 of july mention the loss of Ticondoroga with much regreat, but says tis an Event which he has feard would take place for some time. People that way were much disposed to censure, but that they had not received any perticuliar accounts by which a true judgment could be formd.
We are bless'd my Friend with a fine Season. I hope the charming rains this afternoon have reachd Plimouth and refreshd the Feilds of Eal [Eel] river.
You mention some French cotton. I am much obliged to you but I have since I saw you been accommodated in that way. The Russel I should be very glad of either one or two yards just as you can spair it, and Shooe binding, if it is to be had. Garlick thread I am in great want of, if you should know of any be so good as to let me know.2
I am really asshamed to tell my Friend that I have not yet been able to get Home the cloth. All that was in my power to do to it, has been done 3 months ago and I have been sending and going almost every week since. I saw the Man yesterday and he has promissed me that I shall have it next week, but if his word prove no better than it has done I cannot say you may depend upon it. All I can say is that my en• { 315 } deavours have not been wanting. As soon as I can get it it shall be forwarded by your affectionate Friend,
[signed] Portia
RC (MHi: Warren–Adams Coll.); docketed in two later unidentified hands: “Mrs. Adams Augt. 1777 No. 9.” Enclosed copy of a letter from Arthur Lee not found, but see note 4 on preceding letter.
1. See JA's entry of 15 Aug. 1765 in his Diary and Autobiography, 1:259–261.
2. The editors have not found a definition of “Garlick thread.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0253

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

We are still parching under the fierce Heats of Dog days. It is agreed, by most People, that so long and so intense a Heat has scarcely been known. The Day before Yesterday, Dr. Ewing an eminent Philosopher as well as Mathematician, and Divine told me, the Spirit in his Glass, was at 91 in his cool Room, and from thence he concludes that it was above an hundred abroad in the Shade, because he says it is generally ten degrees lower, in his cool Room, than it is in the Shade out of Doors. Yesterday, it was at 94, abroad in the Shade. He placed his Thermometer, against a Post which had been heated by the Sun, and the Spirit arose to an 100, but removing it to another Place, and suspending it at a distance from any warm Object and the Spirit subsided and settled at 94.—How we shall live through these Heats I dont know.
If Howes Army is at Sea, his Men between Decks will suffer, beyond Expression. Persons, here, who have been at Sea, upon this Coast, at this Season of the Year, say, the Heat is more intollerable, on Shipboard than on Land. There is no Comfort to be had any where, and the Reflection of the Sun Rays from the Deck, are insufferable.
I wish this Wiseacre may continue to coast about untill an equinoctial Storm shall overtake him. Such a Thing would make fine Sport for his Fleet.
The Summer is consuming, and there is not Time enough left, for accomplishing many Things. If he should land tomorrow, it would take him three Weeks to reach Philadelphia. On the Jersey Side of the Delaware, is an ugly Road for him—many Rivers, Bridges, Causeys, Morasses, by breaking up of which, a Measure which is intended, and for which Preparations are made, his Army might be obstructed, puzzled and confounded in their March. His Army cannot proceed with• { 316 } out many Horses, Waggons, and Cannon with their Carriages, for the Passage of which he must make new Bridges and Causeys, which would consume much Time, besides that he would be exposed, to the Militia and to the regular Army. On the other side the River there are several Streams and one large River to cross—the Schuylkill. And We have many fine Fire ships to annoy his Fleet. It would be happy for Us if he should aim at this Place, Because it would give Us an Opportunity of exerting the whole Force of the Continent against him. The Militia of the Jerseys, Pensilvania, Delaware and Maryland, would cooperate with Washington here—those of N.Y. and N. England with Gates.
Writing this Letter, at Six o Clock in the Morning in my cool Chamber has thrown me into a profuse and universal sweat.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0254

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-15

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

The Weather continues, as hot as ever. Upon my Word I dont know how to sustain it. Oh for a Bowl of your Punch, a Bottle of your Cyder, or something or other that is acid. I am obliged to have recourse to the Liquor of the Roman soldiers and put about a Wine Glass of Vinegar into a Pint of Water. You would laugh to see me pouring down a Pint of this Vinegar and Water at a Time, and admiring it as a great Refreshment.1
Nothing yet of Howes Army. It begins to be suspected that they are out at Pasture on Long Island. No further Account of the Fleet as yet. No further Account from the northern Army. If the Militia dont turn out now, and drive Burgoigne to his own Place, they deserve to suffer.
Half after 9 at Night.—The Wind blows, the Clowds gather, the lightnings Play and the Thunder rolls. You can have no adequate Idea of the Joy occasioned here by such a Scaene. They call it a Gust. Dr. Franklin in his Letters on Electricity has explained the Philosophy of it.2 After a Continuance of Heat it seldom fails to occasion a Change of Weather. It is followed by a cooler and purer Air.
The hot Weather has now continued in an extreme for two Weeks together. The People here generally agree that an Heat so intense in Degree and of so long Continuance, has scarcely ever been known. Cold Water has kill'd Numbers.
{ 317 }
But now it rains a Torrent and thunders and lightens most delightfully. It will clean our streets, it will purge our Air. It will be cool, and comfortable after this Gust.
Half after 10.—It is now a constant, plentifull Rain and the World is all of a Blaze with Lightning, and the grand Rolls of Thunder shake the very Chamber where I am. The Windows jarr, the shutters Clatter, and the floor trembles.
1. JA was following the advice of his friend Dr. Rush on the subject of drinks in hot weather. See Benjamin Rush, Directions for Preserving the Health of Soldiers, Lancaster, 1778, first published in a newspaper in April 1777 and reprinted in Rush's Letters, 1:140–147.
2. See Franklin's letter to Dr. John Mitchell, 29 April 1749, published in Franklin's Experiments and Observations on Electricity, London, 1751, and subsequent editions, as “Observations and Suppositions towards forming a new Hypothesis for explaining the several Phaenomena of Thunder Gusts” (Franklin, Papers, ed. Labaree, 5:365–376).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0255

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-17

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Yesterday We had a cool Day, the Wind Easterly and cloudy, this Morning there is a brisk northeast Wind and cool Rain, which restores Us, to some Comfort. A Number of People died here with excessive Heat, besides others, who fell Sacrifices to their own Imprudence in drinking cold Water.
This Wind will oblige the Knight Errant and his Fleet, to go somewhere or other. We have had no Intelligence of it, since last Thursday week.
We have a Letter from G[eneral] Schuyler, in which he “is not insensible of the Indignity of being call'd away, when an Action must soon take Place.” But I hope, the People will not resent this Indignity, so as not to turn out. G[eneral] Gates I hope, will be able to find Men, who will stand by him. Never was there a fairer opportunity, than now presents of ruining Burgoigne. By the same Letter, We have confused Hints, that an Attack has been made upon Fort Schuyler, and the Enemy repulsed.1 The Letter seems to suppose, that he had written a fuller Account of it before.—But no such Account has reached Us.
The Enemy at Niagara and Detroit, are endeavouring to seduce the Indians, to take up the Hatchet, but as yet, with little success. They seem determined to maintain their Neutrality.
{ 318 }
I read a Letter2 last Evening directed to Mr. Serjeant, and in his Absence to me from Mr. Clark a Delegate from N. Jersey who is gone Home to Elizabeth Town for his Health, giving a particular Account of Howes Army, in their late precipitate Retreat from Westfield. They were seized with the Utmost Terror, and thrown into the Utmost Confusion. They were so weak and sickly, and had gorged themselves so with fresh Meat, that they fell down in the Roads, many died, and were half buried, &c. &c. &c.
We have many new Members of Congress, among whom are Mr. Vandyke of Delaware, Mr. Jones of Virginia, and Mr. Lawrence [Laurens] of S. Carolina. This last Gentleman is a great acquisition—of the first Rank in his State, Lt. Governor, of ample Fortune, of great Experience, having been 20 Years in their assembly, of a clear Head and a firm Temper, of extensive Knowledge, and much Travel. He has hitherto appeared as good a Member, as any We ever had in Congress. I wish that all the States would imitate this Example and send their best Men. Vandyke is a Lawyer, and a very worthy Man, his Abilities very good and his Intensions very sincere. Mr. Jones also is a Lawyer, but has so lately come in that We have seen as yet no Exhibitions of him.
1. Schuyler to Congress, Albany, 10 Aug., read in Congress on the 16th (JCC, 8:647). The original is in PCC, No. 153, III, and reported the action of 6 Aug. now known as the battle of Oriskany, in which the New York militia under Brig. Gen. Nicholas Herkimer inflicted heavy losses on a body of British, tories, and Indians under Sir John Johnson, near Fort Schuyler (formerly Fort Stanwix, on the site of present Rome, N.Y.).
2. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0256

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-19

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My best Friend

Your obliging Favour of the 5th. came by Yesterdays Post, and I intended to have answered it by this Mornings Post, but was delayed by many Matters, untill he gave me the slip.
I am sorry that you and the People of Boston were put to so much Trouble, but glad to hear that such Numbers determined to fly. The Prices for Carting which were demanded, were detestable. I wish your Fatigue and Anxiety may not have injured your Health.
Dont be anxious, for my Safety. If Howe comes here I shall run away, I suppose with the rest. We are too brittle ware you know to stand the Dashing of Balls and Bombs. I wonder upon what Principle the Ro• { 319 } man Senators refused to fly from the Gauls and determined to sit, with their Ivory Staves and hoary Beards in the Porticoes of their Houses untill the Enemy entered the City, and altho they confessed they resembled the Gods, put them to the Sword.
I should not choose to indulge this sort of Dignity, but I confess I feel myself so much injured by these barbarean Britains, that I have a strong Inclination to meet them in the Field. This is not Revenge I believe, but there is something sweet and delicious in the Contemplation of it. There is in our Hearts, an Indignation against Wrong, that is righteous and benevolent, and he who is destitute of it, is defective in the Ballance of his Affections and in his moral Character.
As long as there is a Conscience in our Breasts, a moral Sense which distinguishes between Right and Wrong, approving, esteeming, loving the former, and condemning and detesting the other, We must feel a Pleasure in the Punishment, of so eminent a Contemner of all that is Right and good and just, as Howe is. They are virtuous and pious Passions that prompt Us to desire his Destruction, and to lament and deplore his success and Prosperity.
The Desire of assisting towards his Disgrace, is an honest Wish.
It is too late in Life, my Constitution is too much debilitated by Speculation, and indeed it is too late a Period in the War, for me to think of girding on a sword: But if I had the last four Years to run over again, I certainly would.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0257

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-19

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My best Friend

The Weather still continues cloudy and cool and the Wind Easterly.
Howe's Fleet and Army is still incognito. The Gentlemen from South Carolina, begin to tremble for Charlestown.
If Howe is under a judicial Blindness, he may be gone there. But what will be the Fate of a scorbutic Army cooped up in a Fleet for Six, Seven or Eight Weeks in such intemperate Weather, as We have had.
What will be their Condition landing, on a burning shore abounding with Agues and Musquetos, in the most unwholesome Season of the whole Year?
If he should get Charlestown, or indeed the whole State, what Progress will this make towards the Conquest of America? He will stop the Trade of Rice and Indigo, but what then?—Besides he will get some { 320 } ugly Knocks. They are honest, sincere and brave and will make his Life uncomfortable.
I feel a strong Affection for S. Carolina, for several Reasons. 1. I think them as stanch Patriots as any in America. 2. I think them as brave. 3. They are the only People in America, who have maintained a Post and defended a Fort. 4. They have sent Us a new Delegate, whom I greatly admire, Mr. Lawrence, their Lt. Governor, a Gentleman of great Fortune, great Abilities, Modesty and Integrity—and great Experience too. If all the States would send Us such Men, it would be a Pleasure to be here.
In the Northern Department they begin to fight. The Family of Johnson, the black part of it as well as the white, are pretty well thinned.1 Rascals! they deserve Extermination. I presume Gates will be so supported that Burgoingne will be obliged to retreat. He will stop at Ticonderoga I suppose for they can maintain Posts, altho We cannot.
I think We shall never defend a Post, untill We shoot a General. After that We shall defend Posts, and this Event in my Opinion is not far off. No other Fort will ever be evacuated without an Enquiry, nor any Officer come off without a Court Martial. We must trifle no more. We have suffered too many Disgraces to pass unexpiated. Every Disgrace must be wiped off.
We have been several Days, hammering upon Money. We are contriving every Way We can, to redress the Evils We feel and fear, from too great a Quantity of Paper. Taxation, as deep as possible, is the only radical Cure. I hope you will pay every Tax that is brought you, if you sell my Books, or Cloaths, or oxen or your Cows to pay it.
1. William Johnson, halfbreed son of the late famous Sir William Johnson (1715–1774) of Johnson Hall on the Mohawk, had been reported killed in the battle of Oriskany (Arthur Pound, Johnson of the Mohawks, N.Y., 1930, p. 422).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0258

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-20

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My best Friend

This Day compleats three Years since I stepped into the Coach, at Mr. Cushings Door, in Boston, to go to Philadelphia in Quest of Adventures.—And Adventures I have found.
I feel an Inclination sometimes, to write the History of the last Three Years, in Imitation of Thucidides. There is a striking Resemblance, in several Particulars, between the Peloponnesian and the { 321 } American War. The real Motive to the former was a Jealousy of the growing Power of Athens, by Sea and Land. . . .1 The genuine Motive to the latter, was a similar Jealousy of the growing Power of America. The true Causes which incite to War, are seldom professed, or Acknowledged.
We are now afloat upon a full Sea: When We shall arrive at a safe Harbour, no Mariner has Skill and experience enough to foretell. But, by the Favour of Heaven, We shall make a prosperous Voyage, after all the Storms, and Shoals are passed.
It is now fair sunshine again and very warm. Not a Word, yet, from Hows Fleet. The most general Suspicion, now, is that it is gone to Charlestown S.C.—But it is a wild Supposition. It may be right however: for Howe is a wild General.
We have been hammering to day, upon a Mode of Tryal for the General Officers at Ti. Whether an Enquiry will preceed the Court Martial, and whether the Enquiry shall be made by a Committee of Congress or by a Council of General Officers, is not determined, but Enquiry and Tryal both I conjecture there will be.2
If How is gone to Charlestown, you will have a little Quiet, and enjoy your Corn and Rye and Flax and Hay, and other good Things, untill another Summer.
But What shall We do for Sugar, and Wine and Rum?—Why truly I believe We must leave them off. Loaf Sugar is only four Dollars a Pound here, and Brown only a Dollar, for the meanest sort, and Ten shillings for that a little better. Every Body here is leaving off loaf Sugar, and most are laying aside brown. As to Rum and Wine—give me Cyder and I would compound. N.E. Rum is but 40s. a Gallon. But, if Wine was Ten Dollars a Bottle, I would have one Glass a Day, in Water, while the hot weather continues, unless I could get Cyder.
1. Suspension points in MS.
2. See JA to AA, 4 Aug., above, and note 1 there.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0259

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-21

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My best Friend

This Morning, We have heard again from the Fleet. At 9 o Clock at Night, on the 14. Inst. upwards of an hundred Sail were seen, standing in between the Capes of Cheasapeak Bay. They had been seen { 322 } from the Eastern shore of Virginia, standing off, and on, for two days before.—This Method of coasting along the shore, and standing off, and on, is very curious. First seen off Egg Harbour, then several Times off the Capes of Delaware, standing in and out, then off Sinepuxent, then off the Eastern shore of Virginia, then standing in to Cheasapeak Bay. How many Men, and Horses, will he loose in this Sea Ramble, in the Heat of Dog days. Whether he is going to Virginia to steal Tobacco, to N. Carolina to pilfer Pitch and Tar, or to South to plunder Rice and Indigo, who can tell? He will seduce a few Negroes from their Masters let him go to which he will. But is this conquering America?
From the Northward We learn that Arnold has marched with about 2000 Men to the Relief of Fort Schuyler.
Our People have given Sir John Johnson and his Regulars, Tories and Indians, a very fine Drubbing. The Indians scarcely ever had such a Mauling. The Devils are so frightened that they are all run away to howl and mourn.
The Papers, inclosed with this, will give you, more particular Information.—Can nothing be done at Rhode Island at this critical Time.—Opprobrium Novangliae!
What is become of all the Massachusetts continental Troops. Every Regiment and every Man of them is at the Northward, under Gates—and yet We are told they have not 4000 Men fit for Duty Officers included. And there are 3 Regiments there from N. Hampshire too.
Just come in from Congress. We have within this Hour, received Letters of G[enerals] Schuyler and Lincoln, giving an Account of the Battle of Bennington, wherein Gen. Starks has acquired great Glory, and so has his Militia. The Particulars are to be out in an Hand Bill, tomorrow Morning. I will inclose you one.1
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed newspapers not found or identified; as to the “Hand Bill” JA said he would enclose, see note 1.
1. The news of Brig. Gen. John Stark's defeat of Lt. Col. Friedrich Baum at Bennington, Vt., 16 Aug., reached Congress in a letter from Schuyler of the 18th enclosing one from Gen. Lincoln of the same date (JCC, 8:663). Though its Journal does not mention it, Congress ordered the pertinent documents published in a handbill and widely distributed: Philadelphia, August 22, 1777. By an Express arrived last Evening from General Schuyler to Congress, we have the following important Intelligence . . . [Philadelphia:] John Dunlap (JCC, 9:1086; Evans 15686; see Committee of Intelligence to Washington, 2 Sept., Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:473). A copy of the broadside is in MHi, but none has been found in the Adams Papers.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0260

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-08-22

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I came yesterday to this Town for a ride after my confinement, and to see my Friends. I have not been into it since I had the happiness of spending a week here with you. I am feeble and faint with the Heat of the weather, but otherways very well. I feel very anxious for your Health and almost fear to hear from you least I should hear you were sick; but hope your temperance and caution will preserve your Health. I hope, if you can get any way through these Hot months you will recruit. Tis very Healthy throughout Town and Country for the Season, the chin cough1 prevails in Town among children but has not yet reachd the Country.
Your Letters of August 1, 3 and 4th came by last nights post, and I have to acknowledge the recept of yours of july 27, 28 and 30th2 by last wedensdays post. I acknowledge my self greatly indebted to you for so frequently writing amidst all your other cares and attentions. I would fain believe that tis a releafe to you after the cares of the day, to converse with your Friend. I most sincerely wish your situation was such that the amusements your family could afford you, might have been intermixed with the weighty cares that oppress you.—

“My Bosome is thy dearest home;

I'd lull you there to rest.”

As to How I wish we could know what he means that we might be able to gaurd against him. I hope however that he will not come this way, and I believe the Season is so far advanced, that he will not venture.
At the Northward our affairs look more favorable. We have been successfull in several of our late engagements. Heaven preserve our dear Countrymen who behave worthy of us and reward them both here and hereafter. Our Militia are chiefly raisd, and will I hope be marchd of immediately. There has been a most shamefull neglect some where. This continent has paid thousands to officers and Men who have been loitering about playing foot-Ball and nine pins, and doing their own private buisness whilst they ought to have been defending our forts and we are now suffering for the neglect.
The late call of Men from us will distress us in our Husbandry. I am a great sufferer as the High Bounty one hundred dollors, has tempted of my Negro Head,3 and left me just in the midst of our Hay. The english and fresh indeed we have finishd, but the salt is just { 324 } comeing on, and How to turn my self, or what to do I know not. His going away would not worry me so much if it was not for the rapid depretiation of our money. We can scarcly get a days work done for money and if money is paid tis at such a rate that tis almost imposible to live. I live as I never did before, but I am not agoing to complain. Heaven has blessd us with fine crops. I hope to have 200 hundred Bushels of corn and a hundred & 50 weight of flax. English Hay we have more than we had last year, notwithstanding your ground wants manure. We are like to have a plenty of sause.4 I shall fat Beaf and pork enough, make butter and cheesse enough. If I have neither Sugar, molasses, coffe nor Tea I have no right to complain. I can live without any of them and if what I enjoy I can share with my partner and with Liberty, I can sing o be joyfull and sit down content—

“Man wants but little here below

Nor wants that little long.”

As to cloathing I have heithertoo procured materials sufficent to cloath my children and servants which I have done wholy in Home Spun. I have contracted no debts that I have not discharg'd, and one of our Labourers Prince I have paid seven months wages to since you left me. Besides that I have paid Bracket near all we owed him which was to the amount of 15 pounds lawfull money, set up a cider press &c., besides procuring and repairing many other articles in the Husbandery way, which you know are constantly wanted. I should do exceeding well if we could but keep the money good, but at the rate we go on I know not what will become of us.
But I must bid you adieu or the post will go of without my Letter.—Dearest Friend, adieu. Words cannot convey to you the tenderness of my affection.
[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); docketed in an unidentified hand: “Portia. Aug. 22.”
1. Whooping cough. See Webster under chincough and kinkhost. For other variants and a different etymology, apparently overlooked by lexicographers, see Robley Dunglison, A Dictionary of Medical Science, Phila., 1844, under pertussis: “Chin-cough, Kin-cough, Kind-cough (Germ. Kind, 'a child').”
2. All of these letters except that of 27 July are above, but AA probably meant JA's to her of 26 July or just possibly his to JQA of the 27th, also above.
3. Thus clearly in MS; perhaps a mistake for “Hand,” possibly a personal name, or, more likely, her “head” laborer.
4. That is, “garden sauce,” meaning vegetables eaten with meat; see Webster under sauce, noun, 4.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0261

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-23

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My best Friend

It is now no longer a Secret, where Mr. Hows Fleet is. We have authentic Intelligence that it is arrived, at the Head of Cheasopeak Bay, above the River Petapsco upon which the Town of Baltimore stands.1
I wish I could describe to you the Geography of this Country, so as to give you an Adequate Idea of the Situation of the two great Bays of Cheasopeak and Delaware, because it would enable you to form a Conjecture, concerning the Object, he aims at.—The Distance across Land from the Heads of these Bays is but small, and forms an Istmus, below which is a large Peninsula comprehending the Counties of Accomack and Northampton in Virginia, the Counties of Somersett and Worcester in Maryland, and the Counties of Kent and Sussex on Delaware. His March by Land to Philadelphia, may be about sixty or seventy Miles.2 I think there can be no doubt that he aims at this Place, and he has taken this Voyage of six Weeks, long enough to have gone to London, merely to avoid an Army in his Rear. He found he could not march this Way from Somersett Court House, without leaving G. Washington in his Rear.
We have called out the Militia of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Pensilvania, to oppose him,3 and G. Washington is handy enough, to meet him, and as G. Washington saved Philadelphia last Winter, by crossing the Delaware and marching to Morristown, and so getting in the Rear of Howe, so I conjecture he will still find Means to get in his Rear between him and Cheasapeak Bay.
You may now sit under your own Vine, and have none to make you afraid.—I sent off my Man and Horse at an unlucky Time, but, if We should be obliged to remove from hence, We shall not go far.
If Congress had deliberated and debated a Month they could not have concerted a Plan for Mr. Howe more to our Advantage than that which he has adopted. He gives Us an Opportunity of exerting the Strength of all the middle States against him, while N.Y. and N.E. are destroying Burgoine. Now is the Time, never was so good an Opportunity, for my Countrymen to turn out and crush that vapouring, blustering Bully to Attoms.
1. See an entry under 22 Aug. in JCC, 8:665, and note there.
2. For geographical details in this and following letters, see James Lovell's MS { 326 } map, enclosed in his letter to AA of 29 Aug. (below), which is reproduced as an illustration in the present volume.
3. See resolutions of 22 Aug. in JCC, 8:666–667.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0262

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-23

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My best Friend

We have an Express, today from Governor Johnson, Captn. Nicholson and several other Gentlemen with an Account that the Fleet, to the Number of Two hundred and Sixty Three Sail, have gone up towards the Head of Cheasapeak Bay.1 They lie over against the Shore between the River Sassafras and the River Elke.
We have also a Letter from General Washington acquainting Us that Tommorrow Morning at seven O Clock, he shall march his Army through the City of Philadelphia, along Front Street, and then turn up Chesnutt Street, in his Way to cross over the Bridge at Schuylkill River, so that General How will have a grand Continental Army, to oppose him, in very good Season, aided by a formidable Collection of Militia.
I like this Movement of the General, through the City, because, such a show of Artillery, Waggons, Light Horse and Infantry, which takes up a Line of 9 or 10 Miles upon their March and will not be less than 5 or 6 Hours passing through the Town, will make a good Impression upon the Minds of the timourous Whiggs for their Confirmation, upon the cunning Quakers for their Restraint and upon the rascally Tories for their Confusion.
I think there is a reasonable Ground for Confidence with the Favour of Heaven that How will not be able to reach this City.—Yet I really doubt whether it would not be more for our Interest that he should come here and get Possession of the Town.
1. Because there are Impurities here which will never be so soon or so fully purged away, as by that Fire of Affliction which How inkindles wherever he goes.
2. Because it would employ nearly the whole of his Force to keep Possession of this Town, and the rest of the Continent would be more at Liberty.
3. We could counteract him here better than in many other Places.
4. He would leave N. England and N.Y. at Leisure to kill or catch Burgoine.
{ 327 }
In all Events I think you may rejoice and sing, for the season is so far gone, that he cannot remove to you.
1. See JCC, 8:668, and note.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0263

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-24

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

We had last Evening a Thunder Gust, very sharp and violent, attended with plentifull Rain. The Lightning struck in several Places. It struck the Quaker Alms House in Walnut Street, between third and fourth Streets, not far from Captn. Duncans, where I lodge. They had been wise enough to place an Iron Rod upon the Top of the Steeple, for a Vane to turn on, and had provided no Conductor to the Ground. It also struck in fourth Street, near Mrs. Cheesmans. No Person was hurt.
This Morning was fair, but now it is overcast and rains very hard which will spoil our Show, and wett the Army.
12. O Clock. The Rain ceased and the Army marched through the Town, between Seven and Ten O Clock. The Waggons went another Road. Four Regiments of Light Horse—Blands, Bailers [Baylor's], Sheldons, and Moylands [Moylan's]. Four Grand Divisions of the Army—and the Artillery with the Matrosses. They marched Twelve deep, and yet took up above two Hours in passing by.
General Washington and the other General Officers, with their Aids on Horse back. The Colonels and other Field Officers on Horse back.
We have now an Army, well appointed between Us and Mr. Howe, and this Army will be immediately joined, by ten Thousand Militia. So that I feel as secure here, as if I was at Braintree, but not so happy. My Happiness is no where to be found, but there.
After viewing this fine Spectacle and firm Defence I went to Mr. Duffields Meeting, to hear him pray, as he did most fervently, and I believe he was very sincerely joined by all present, for its success.
The Army, upon an accurate Inspection of it, I find to be extreamly well armed, pretty well cloathed, and tolerably disciplined. <Edes> Gill and Town by the Mottoes to their Newspapers, will bring Discipline into Vogue, in Time.1—There is such a Mixture of the Sublime, and the Beautifull, together with the Usefull, in military Discipline, that I wonder, every Officer We have is not charmed with it.—Much { 328 } remains yet to be done. Our soldiers have not yet, quite the Air of Soldiers. They dont step exactly in Time. They dont hold up their Heads, quite erect, nor turn out their Toes, so exactly as they ought. They dont all of them cock their Hats—and such as do, dont all wear them the same Way.
A Disciplinarian has affixed to him commonly the Ideas of Cruelty, severity, Tyranny &c. But if I were an Officer I am convinced I should be the most decisive Disciplinarian in the Army. I am convinced their is no other effectual Way of indulging Benevolence, Humanity, and the tender Social Passions, in an Army. There is no other Way of preserving the Health and Spirits of the Men. There is no other Way of making them active, and skillfull, in War—no other Method of guarding an Army against Destruction by surprizes, and no other Method of giving them Confidence in one another, or making them stand by one another, in the Hour of Battle.
Discipline in an Army, is like the Laws, in civil Society.
There can be no Liberty, in a Commonwealth, where the Laws are not revered, and most sacredly observed, nor can there be Happiness or Safety in an Army, for a single Hour, where the Discipline is not observed.
Obedience is the only Thing wanting now for our Salvation—Obedience to the Laws, in the States, and Obedience to Officers, in the Army.
12 O Clock. No Express, nor accidental News from Maryland to day, as yet.
1. In a letter from New York, 20 July 1776, Brig. Gen. William Heath congratulated JA on Congress' declaring independence and went on to discuss military prospects, saying, among other things, that “The Prussian monarch tells us that the Entire Prosperity of every State rests upon the Discipline of its Army” (Adams Papers). JA was struck by this and, probably while on leave from Congress later that year, suggested to John Gill, printer of the Boston Continental Journal, that it be given wider circulation. Beginning on 2 Jan. 1777 the Continental Journal quoted it at the head of each issue, altering “Army” to “armies” and correctly attributing the maxim to Frederick of Prussia. See, further, JA's not altogether accurate recollections in a letter to Heath of 11 May 1807 (LbC, Adams Papers; JA, Works, 9:594–595)
Benjamin Towne, the printer of the Pennsylvania Evening Post in Philadelphia, carried on the masthead of his paper from 21 Aug. through 21 Oct. 1777 the following sentiment: “The finest spectacle, and the firmest defence, is the uniform observation of discipline by a numerous army. Archidamus.” Very likely JA had suggested to Towne that he do so.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0264

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-25

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Yours of Aug. 12 and 13,1 came by this Mornings Post.
A letter from Cheasopeak Bay, dated Yesterday Morning, informs that the Enemy had not then landed.2
This Morning General Nash, with his Brigade of North Carolina Forces, marched thro the Town with their Band of Musick, their Train of Artillery, and their Bagage Waggons, their Bread Waggons, travelling Forges &c.
General Washingtons Army encamped last Night at Derby. Sullivans Division is expected along in two days.
Our Intelligence of the Fleet has been as good as could be expected—they have been 6 Weeks at sea.
If our People do not now turn out and destroy Burgoines Gang root and branch, they may justly be reproached as lost to Honour and to Virtue. He is compleatly in our Power. Gates writes to congress, that Burgoine is lessened 1200 Men by the Bennington Action.
I inclosed Needles from Turner to Hardwick lately. But Turner is gone home and reached it eer now.
1. A single letter, above.
2. For the letters mentioned here and below as received by Congress this day, see JCC, 8:670, and note.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0265

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-26

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My best Friend

Howes Army, at least about 5000 of them besides his Light Horse, are landed, upon the Banks of the Elke River, and the Disposition he has made of his Forces, indicate a Design to rest and refresh both Men and Horses.1
General Washington was at Wilmington last Night, and his Army is there to day. The Militia are turning out with great Alacrity both in Maryland and Pensilvania. They are distressed for Want of Arms. Many have none—others have only little fowling Pieces. However, We shall rake and scrape enough to do Howes Business, by the favour of Heaven.
{ 330 }
Howe must have intended that Washington should have sent his Army up to fight Burgoine. But He is disappointed.
The Kindness of Heaven, towards Us, has in nothing appeared more conspicuous, than in this Motion of Howe. If the Infatuation is not so universal as to seize Americans, as well as him, it will prove the certain Destruction of Burgoines Army.
The New England Troops and N. York Troops are every Man of them at Peeks Kill and with Gates. The Massachusetts Regiments are all with Gates.
Gen. Washington has none but Southern Troops with him, and he has much the largest Army to encounter.
If My Countrymen do not now turn out and do something, I shall be disappointed indeed. One fifth Part of Burgoines Force has been totally destroyed by Starks and Herkermer. The Remainder must be shocked and terrified at the Stroke. Now is the Time to strike.—New Englandmen! strike home.
RC (Adams Papers). A large sheet which served as a wrapper for this letter (and possibly for one or more of the immediately preceding letters from JA to AA) is in Adams Papers and was subsequently used by AA for her draft letter to James Lovell, 24 June 1778. On this wrapper appear the following address, frank, and postmark: “Mrs. Adams Braintree Mass. Bay free John Adams [PHI]LA. AUGUST 26.”
1. Howe's army landed on the 25th at Head of Elk (modern Elkton, Md.), as far up as ships could go on the Elk River, a tributary of Chesapeake Bay pointing toward Wilmington, Chester, and Philadelphia.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0266

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-08-27

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Your Man and Horse arrived the 22 day of this Month. The Horse and Man look pretty low in flesh. You advise me to sell the Horse, but I think upon the whole after consulting my Friends it will not be prudent. It will be but a little more than 3 months before I hope to send for you. If I should sell him, I should be put to great difficulty to procure an other as good Horses are very scarce. This you have, we know will perform a journey. An other reason is that tho I might to day sell this Horse well, tomorrow or in a months time I must give double the price for an other, according as other things rise. I have therefore determined to have him Bled and turn him away to get into good Heart till I send for you. Bracket who has had the Small Pox since you left us, desires he may come for you. If you approve him let me know. I believe he will do very well.
We have had a turn of extreem Hot weather when we could neither { 331 } work or sleep. If I sufferd so much here, what I often think must you, in that climate. The Hot weather here you know is of short Duration and generally succeeded by a cold storm or an Easterly Breaze which soon revives our Languid Spirits. The fruit this Season is very poor and very little of it. Our Good unkle says he never tastes a drop of cider but he thinks of you, and wishes you could partake with him. The Season is fine for grain and grass. We have had nothing like a drought this Summer. How much pleasure would you have taken in rambling over your meddows and Feilds. I endure with more patience this long and tedious absence, hoping that you will have served long enough to ensure you a release.
I Most sincerely congratulate you upon our late successes at the Northward, which is attended with the most agreable circumstances which have taken place since the commencment of the War. Attacking the Enemy in their entrenchments and with the Militia too, is plucking a feather from the plume of the continentall Troops. I wish it may inspire all with an Emulation to conquer and subdue these Bloodthirsty wretches. It has given a spring to our Troops, and vigor to all our countanances.
Tis really strange that no certain inteligance can be obtaind where How is gone, or what his intention is, nor is it certain that he has his Troops aboard, but let it be what it will this late affair will be a damper. I believe we may rest pretty secure in this Quarter this Season.
We have no News but what will reach you before this Letter will, a Ship came in a Sunday where from I have not learnt, but hear she brought cannon and stores for the 74 Gun Ship which is a Building.
Master Tom sends his duty and longs to see Pappa. The poor fellow met with a bad accident a week ago. He saw some Hens robing the pea vines and went into the garden to order them out. Our people had very carelessly set a Scythe there which he did not see, he run against it, and cut him across one of his legs so bad that the Doctor was obliged to sew it up, which he bore like a Soldier as he has the wound ever since. The confinement was the most grevious part of it, the wound is in a good way and he begin[s] to run again.
All the children are well. Mr. Thaxter received the Letters you mention and was sworn in accordingly.1

[salute] Adieu yours Ever yours.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed in Richard Cranch's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia”; postmarked: “BOSTON 28 AV”; docketed in two hands, one of which is CFA's.
1. See Thaxter to JA, 4 June, above, and note 3 there.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0267

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-29

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

The Newspapers enclosed, will give you, all the Intelligence, of any Consequence.
General Washington with a very numerous Army, is between Wilmington and the Head of Elke. How will make but a pitifull Figure. The Militia of four States, are turning out, with much Alacrity, and chearfull Spirits. The Continental Army, under Washington, Sullivan and Nash, besides is in my Opinion more numerous, by several Thousands, than Howes whole Force. I am afraid that He will be frightened and run on board his ships and go away, plundering, to some other Place.
I almost wish he had Philadelphia, for then he could not get away. I really think it would be the best Policy to retreat before him, and let him into this Snare, where his Army must be ruined.—However this Policy will not be adopted.
In a Letter from good Authority, Mr. Paca,1 we are informed that many dead Horses have been driven on the Eastern shore of Maryland.—Horses thrown overboard, from the Fleet, no doubt.
Price current. £4 a Week for Board, besides finding your own Washing, shaving, Candles, Liquors, Pipes, Tobacco, Wood &c. Thirty shillings a Week for a servant. It ought to be 30s. for the Gentleman and £4 for the servant, because he generally eats twice as much and makes twice as much trouble.
Shoes five Dollars a Pair. Salt, 27 dollars a Bushell. Butter 10s. a Pound. Punch twenty shillings a Bowl.
All the old Women and young Children are gone down to the Jersey shore to make Salt. Salt Water is boiling all round the Coast, and I hope it will increase. For it is nothing but heedlessness, and shiftlessness that prevents Us from making Salt enough for a Supply. But Necessity will bring Us to it.
As to sugar, Molasses, Rum &c. We must leave them off. Whisky is used here instead of Rum, and I dont see but it is just as good. Of this, the Wheat and Rye Countries2 can easily distill enough, for the Use of the Country.
If I could get Cyder, I would be content.
The Business of the Continent has been in so critical and dangerous a situation for the last 12 Months, that it was necessary the Massachusetts should have a full Representation, but the Expences of living are { 333 } grown so enormous, that I believe it will be necessary to reduce the Number of Delegates to three after this Campaign is over.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosed newspapers not found or identified.
1. Paca's letter has not been located.
2. Thus in MS, but JA may have meant to write “Counties.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0268

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-29

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

It is probable that Genl. Howe will waste the fall of this year between Chesapeak Bay and Delaware River. I send you a copied sketch of part of the country to which the Gazettes will frequently refer; as I know You give singular attention to the interesting concerns of America in the present struggle.
This knowledge is only part of the foundation of my affectionate esteem of you. Nor will I mention the whole.
I shall rather apologize for what there is already of Gallantry in my manner of conveying this little Present to your hand.
I could, it is true, have delivered it to your Husband. But, I could not with delicacy have told him, to his face, that your having given your heart to such a man is what, most of all, makes me yours, in the manner I have above sincerely professed myself to be.
[signed] James Lovell
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams at Braintree near Boston Mr. Clymer To the Care of Isaac Smyth Esqr. in Boston”; franked: “free Jas. Lovell.” Enclosure: MS map, in ink, in James Lovell's hand, one folio sheet, 12 5/8″ x 8″, representing the region lying between Philadelphia on the northeast, Delaware Bay and New Jersey on the east, the upper part of Chesapeake Bay and Baltimore on the south and southwest, York on the northwest, and Lancaster on the north. This map is reproduced as an illustration in the present volume; see James Lovell's Map of the “Seat of War” in the Fall of 1777 facing 262Descriptive List of Illustrations.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0269

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-08-30

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Friend

A Letter from General Washington, was received last Night by the President, which I read. It is dated the 29th. Yesterday.1
The Enemy are in Possession of the Head of Elke, a little Town, at the Head of the River Elke, in which they found a Quantity of { 334 } Corn and Oats, belonging to the States. Waggons were so universally taken up, in conveying away the valuable Effects of the Inhabitants, that none could be procured to transport this Grain. Part of their Army, is advanced to Grays Hill about two Miles from the Head of Elke, but whether to take Post there, or only to cover while they remove their Plunder, from the Head of Elke is uncertain.
Our Army is at Wilmington. We have many Officers out reconnoitring the Country and the Enemy. Our Scouting Parties have taken between Thirty and Forty Prisoners, and Twelve Deserters are come in from the Fleet and Eight from the Army.
They say the Men are generally healthy, but their Horses have suffered much by the Voyage.
These Prisoners and Deserters are unable to give any other Intelligence. The Enemy give out, that they are Eighteen Thousand strong. But these are like Burgoines “Make Believes” and “Insinuations.” We know better; and that they have not Ten Thousands.
The Militia from four States are joining General Washington, in large Numbers.
The Plan of their military Operations, this Campaign, is well calculated for our Advantage. I hope We shall have heads and Hearts to improve it.
For my own Part, I feel a secret Wish, that they might get into this City, because I think it more for our Interest that they should be cooped up here than that they should run away again to N. York. But according to present Appearances they will not be able to get here. By going into Cheasapeak Bay, they have betrayed a Dread of the Fire Works in the River Delaware, which indeed are formidable.—They must make the most of their Time, for, They cannot rationally depend upon so fine a Season, late in the fall, and Early in Winter, as they had the last Year. September, October, and November are all that remain.
We expect Hourly, Advices from Gates and Arnold. We have Rumours of an Expedition to Long Island under Parsons, and another to Staten Island, under Sullivan, but no regular Accounts. I suppose it certain that such Expeditions have been made, but know not the success.
1. From Headquarters at Wilmington; read on the 30th in Congress (JCC, 8:697); printed in Washington's Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 9:145–146. The following three paragraphs in JA's letter paraphrase Washington's letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0270

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

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear

We have now run through the Summer, and altho the Weather is still warm, the fiercest of the Heats is over. And altho the extream Intemperance of the late Season has weakened and exhausted me, much, yet I think upon the whole I have got thro it, as well as upon any former Occasion.
A Letter from General Washington, dated Saturday, informs that our light Parties have brought in four and twenty Prisoners, more.1 So that the Prisoners and Deserters, since Mr. Howe landed is near an hundred.
The Question now is, whether there will be a general Engagement? In the first Place I think, after all that has past it is not good Policy for Us to attack them unless We can get a favourable Advantage of them, in the Situation of the Ground, or an Opportunity to attack a Detachment of their Army, with superiour Numbers. It would be imprudent, perhaps for Us, with our whole Force to attack them with all theirs.
But another Question arises, whether Mr. Howe will not be able to compell Us to a General Engagement?—Perhaps he may: but I make a Question of it: Washington will maneuvre it with him, a good deal to avoid it. A General Engagement, in which Howe should be defeated, would be ruin to him. If We should be defeated, his Army would be crippled, and perhaps, We might suddenly reinforce our Army which he could not. However all that he could gain by a Victory would be the Possession of this Town which would be the worst Situation he could be in, because it would employ his whole Force by Sea and Land to keep it, and the Command of the River.
Their principal Dependence is not upon their Arms, I believe so much, as upon the Failure of our Revenue. They think, they have taken such Measures, by circulating Counterfeit Bills, to depreciate the Currency, that it cannot hold its Credit longer than this Campaign. But they are mistaken.
We however must disappoint them, by renouncing all Luxuries, and by a severe OEconomy. General Washington setts a fine Example. He has banished Wine from his Table and entertains his Friends with Rum and Water. This is much to the Honour of his Wisdom, his Policy, and his Patriotism, and the Example must be followed, by banishing sugar, and all imported Articles, from all our Families. If Necessity should reduce Us to a Simplicity of Dress, and Diet, be• { 336 } coming Republicans, it would be an happy and a glorious Necessity.

[salute] Yours—Yours—Yours.

1. Washington's letter was dated at Wilmington, 30 Aug., was read in Congress on 1 Sept. (JCC, 8:699), and is printed in his Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 9:148.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0271

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-09-02

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Friend

I had Yesterday the Pleasure of yours of[]1 from Boston, and am happy to find that you have been able to do so well, amidst all your Difficulties.—There is but one Course for Us to take and that is to renounce the Use of all foreign Commodities. For my own Part I never lived in my whole Life, so meanly and poorly as I do now, and yet my Constituents will growl at my Extravagance. Happy should I be indeed if I could share with you, in the Produce of your little Farm. Milk and Apples and Pork and Beef, and the Fruits of the Garden would be Luxury to me.
We had nothing Yesterday from the General.—Howes Army are in a very unwholesome Situation. Their Water is very bad and brackish, there are frequent Morning and Evening Fogs, which produce Intermittent Fevers in Abundance.—Washington has a great Body of Militia assembled and assembling, in Addition to a grand Continental Army. Whether he will strike or not, I cant say. He is very prudent, you know, and will not unnecessarily hazard his Army. By my own inward Feelings, I judge, I should put more to risque if I were in his shoes. But perhaps he is right.
Gansevoort has proved, that it is possible to hold a Post.2 Harkermer [Herkimer] has shewn that it is possible to fight Indians, and Stark has proved that it is practicable, even to attack Lines and Posts, with Militia.—I wish the Continental Army would prove, that any Thing can be done. But this is sedition at least. I am weary however, I own, with so much Insipidity.
St. Ledger [St. Leger] and his Party have run away. So will Burgoine. I wish Stark had the Supream Command in the Northern Department. I am sick of Fabian3 Systems in all Quarters. The Officers drink a long and moderate War. My Toast is a short and violent War. They would call me mad and rash &c. but I know better. I am as cool as any of them and cooler too, for my Mind is not inflamed with Fear nor Anger, whereas I believe theirs are with both.—If this Letter { 337 } should be intercepted and published, it would do as much good, as another did two Years ago.

[salute] Adieu.

1. Blank in MS, but JA is answering AA's letter of 22 Aug., above.
2. Col. Peter Gansevoort, commanding Fort Schuyler at the head of navigation on the Mohawk (Heitman, Register Continental Army).
3. On the application of this adjective to Washington's strategy, see an interesting article by Albert Matthews, “Some Sobriquets Applied to Washington,” Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns., 8 (1906):275–287.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0272

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-09-08

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear

There has been a very general Apprehension, during the last Week that a general Action would happen, as on Yesterday. But We hear of none.
Our Army is incamped between Newport and White-Clay Creek on advantageous Ground. The General has harrangued his Army and published in General orders, in order to prepare their Minds for something great, and has held up the Example of Starks, Harkemer, Gansevoort and their Troops, to animate his Officers and Men with Emulation.—Whether he expects to be attacked, or whether he designs to offend, I cant say.
A General Action which should terminate in a Defeat of How would be compleat and final Ruin to him, if it should terminate only in a drawn Battle, it would be the same Thing. If He should gain a Victory, and maintain Possession of the Field, he would loose so many Men killed and wounded, that he would scarcely have enough left to march to Philadelphia, surrounded as he would be with Militia, and the broken remains of the Continental Army.
But if there should be no general Battle, and the two Armies should lounge away the Remainder of the Campain, in silent Inactivity gazing at each other, Howes Reputation would be ruined in his own Country and in all Europe, and the Dread of him would cease in all America. The American mind, which I think has more Firmness now than it ever had before since this War begun, would acquire a Confidence and Strength, that all the Efforts of Great Britain afterwards would not be able to relax.
You will see by the Papers inclosed, that We have been obliged to attempt to humble the Pride of some Jesuits who call themselves { 338 } Quakers, but who love Money and Land better than Liberty or Religion. The Hypocrites are endeavouring to raise the Cry of Persecution, and to give this Matter a religious Turn, but they cant succeed. The World knows them and their Communications. Actuated by a land jobbing Spirit, like that of William Penn, they have been soliciting Grants of immense Regions of Land on the Ohio. American Independence has disappointed them, which makes them hate it. Yet the Dastards dare not avow their Hatred to it, it seems.1
The Moments are critical here. We know not, but the next, will bring Us an Account of a general Engagement begun—and when once begun We know not how it will end, for the Battle is not always to the strong. The Events of War are uncertain. All that We can do is to pray, as I do most devoutly, that We may be victorious—at least that We may not be vanquished. But if it should be the Will of Heaven that our Army should be defeated, our Artillery lost, our best Generals kill'd, and Philadelphia fall into Mr. Howes Hands, still America is not conquered. America would yet be possessed of great Resources, and capable of great Exertions. As Mankind would see.—It may for what I know be the Design of Providence that this should be the Case. Because it would only lay the Foundations of American Independence deeper, and cement them stronger. It would cure Americans of their vicious and luxurious and effeminate Appetites, Passions and Habits, a more dangerous Army to American Liberty than Mr. Howes.
However, without the Loss of Philadelphia, We must be brought to an entire Renunciation of foreign Commodities, at least of West India produce. People are coming to this Resolution, very fast here. Loaf sugar at four dollars a Pound, Wine at Three Dollars a Bottle, &c. will soon introduce (Ceconomy in the Use of these Articles.
This Spirit of Ceconomy would be more terrible to Great Britain, than any Thing else—and it would make Us more respectable in the Eyes of all Europe.
Instead of acrimonious Altercations between Town and Country and between Farmer and Merchant, I wish, that my dear Countrymen would agree in this Virtuous Resolution, of depending on themselves alone. Let them make salt, and live without sugar—and Rum.
I am grieved to hear of the Angry Contentions among you. That improvident Act, for limiting Prices, has done great Injury, and in my sincere Opinion if not repealed, will ruin the state, and introduce a civil War.—I know not how unpopular, this sentiment may be: but it is sincerely mine.—There are Rascally Upstarts in Trade I doubt { 339 } not, who have made great Fortunes in a small Period, who are Monopolizing, and oppressing. But how this can be avoided entirely I know not, but by disusing their Goods and letting them perish in their Hands.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosures missing, but they were presumably the Pennsylvania Packet of 9 Sept. and the Pennsylvania Gazette of 10 Sept.; see note 1.
1. On 28 Aug. Congress received a letter of the 25th from Maj. Gen. Sullivan at Hanover, near Newark, N.J., with sundry enclosures; these were read and referred to a committee of three, of which JA was chairman. The enclosures were papers found among baggage recently captured in a raid on Staten Island and, if genuine, indicated that New Jersey Quakers were systematically furnishing intelligence to the British concerning the numbers and movements of the American forces. The committee brought in its report on the day it was appointed, recommending, among other things, that the Supreme Executive Council of Pennsylvania “apprehend and secure the persons” of a number of prominent Quakers in Philadelphia, “together with all such papers in their possession as may be of a political nature.” Congress so resolved (and also ordered the papers published, though this order does not appear in the Journal, and publication was delayed for a time). Some twenty Philadelphia Quaker leaders were promptly arrested by the Pennsylvania authorities, who on 3 Sept. sent Congress the papers seized when the arrests were made and recommended that the prisoners be sent to Virginia to prevent their cooperating with the British. The papers were turned over to the committee on Sullivan's letter, which reported on the 5th, and next day Congress ordered these (or some of these) papers published as well as those sent by Sullivan. They were printed in the Packet and the Gazette on 9 and 10 Sept. respectively. Meanwhile there were sharp debates in Congress on whether remonstrances from the prisoners themselves should be heard, but the military crisis superseded all other considerations, and on the 11th all the prisoners who refused to swear or affirm allegiance were started on their exile at Winchester, Va., which lasted until the following spring.
Sullivan's letter of 25 Aug. is in PCC, No. 160, and is printed, without the enclosures, in his Letters and Papers, ed. Otis G. Hammond, Concord, N.H., 1930–1939, 1:443–444. The Quaker documents he sent are in PCC, No. 53. See also JCC, 8:688–689, 694–695, 708, 713–714, 718–719, 722–723; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:471 (with references in note there), 476–477, 486–487. For the Quaker side of these events, see [Thomas Gilpin,] Exiles in Virginia: with Observations on the Conduct of the Society of Friends during the Revolutionary War, . . . 1777–1778, Phila., 1848. Gilpin prints the papers that incriminated the Quakers in the eyes of Congress and others, but argues persuasively from discrepancies of dates and other evidence that the paper which most offended, the so-called Memorial of the Spanktown Yearly Meeting, was a fabrication; see p. 36–37, 61–63.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0273

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-09-10

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

The accounts you give of the Heat of the weather, gives me great uneasiness upon account of your Health. I fear it will through [throw] you into a fever, or relax you so as to ruin your Health. We have had { 340 } some extreem Hot weather here when the glasses have been at 92. I have slept many Nights this Summer with all my windows open which I do not remember ever to have done before. Our Hot weather you know never lasts more than 3 days at a time, and since Sepbr. came in I have been glad to sit at a fire morning and Evening; we had a small frost a night or two ago, but I believe it did not hurt any thing.
Yesterday compleated Eight months since you left me. When shall I see you. I often dream of you, but the other Night I was very unhappy. Methought you was returnd but met me so Coldly that my Heart ackd half an hour after I waked. It would ake in earnest if I once realizd such a reception, and yet if I had a Friend whom I cared little or nothing about, I should be saved many an anxious hour. Yet I would not be destitute of that tender Solisitude notwithstanding all the pain it costs me.
I have setled with Turner and paid him his account which amounted to £10 16s. 8d. including what you paid him. He is not in so good Bread as he was at Philadelphia, he cannot procure any Materials to work up.1 Sheeps wool is 8 shillings a pound, Cotton 12, other articles in proportion. What can be done? Our money will soon be as useless as blank paper. Tis True I have not much to be anxious about, but it will soon take all I have to pay my day labourers, mowing 12 shillings a day, and much obliged to them to come at that. Butter is 3 shillings, cheeses 2, Mutton 18 pence, Beaf 18 pence, Lamb 1 & 4 pence. Corn at no price, none to be had. Barly 8 shillings a Bushel, Rye none, sold only by way of Barter. Sugar 15 pounds per hundred, Coffe 10 shillings per pound, Molasses 24 per Gallon, Rum 28 ditto. What is to become of sallery people? With Hard money not one article of the produce of this Country but what I could purchase cheeper than ever it was sold, nor do they value offering 8 dollors for one.
Necessity is the Mother of invention. There is a Manufactory of Molasses set up in several Towns. Green corn Storks ground and boild down to Molasses, tis said an acre will produce a Barrel. I have seen some of it, it both tastes and looks like Sugar Bakers molasses.
Tis confidently reported that How has landed his Troops between Philadel[phia] and Baltimore. We are anxious to hear. We have not had any late News from our Army at the Northward. The papers will inform you of several valuable prizes which have been sent in, and with their contents.
Tis almost a fortnight since I wrote you before. I have had but one baulk from you. I mean a News paper without a Letter. Our good unkle to whom you wrote as he thought, was very eager to get his { 341 } Letter. He heard of it and rode up in Town on purpose, but behold when he opend it a News paper presented itself. He wanted to know if you had not a House call'd a bettering House proper for persons who were out of their Senses.2
Adieu. I have nothing worth writing I think, and my Eyes are very weak which unfits me for writing much in the Evening.

[salute] Believe me at all times yours ever yours,

[signed] Portia
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To the Honble: John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia To be left at the Post Office”; endorsed: “Portia”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
“JOHN TURNER, Hereby informs the Public, That he is just arrived from Philadelphia, and is now going to carry on the Stocking Manufactory, in the best and neatest Manner. All Persons who please to favour him with their Custom, may depend on having their Business done on the shortest Notice. Also, Weaves Men's Gloves, Women's Gloves and Mitts, Men's Caps, and Patterns for Jacket and Breeches.—He will Work for the Produce of this Country or Cash. He desires his Employers, that Spins their own Yarn, to Spin it Fine and not Twist it hard, and to leave it at Mr. Bracket's Tavern in Braintree” (Boston Gazette, 8 Sept. 1777).
2. There is no good clue as to which “unkle” this was, but the editors are inclined to think the incident a little more in character for Norton Quincy than Cotton Tufts.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0274

Author: Cunningham, Peter
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-09-10

Peter Cunningham to John Adams

[salute] Honner'd Sir

I have been So missfortinate as to be out of my native Country when those unhappy wars began, and have not got home before now. Deturmind to Serve in the United States Service (by Sea) and not Presumeing to Sirlissett any Considerable station on board a Frigate for want of experence in the art of war, I have tacking a masters Berth on board an arm'd Vessell belonging to this State, Cald the Hazard, Commanded by Simmion Sampson, and entended for a Six weeks Cruise. At the time I return, I hope sir, to be Reckermended to you by Some respecttable Jentlemen hear that Shall best now my Capaserty. In the time I am goon I hope Sir you will bare me in mind, and use your great Influance in my be half, to get me appinted to Some office wharein I shall be able to do Service and honner to my Country. I have been and am now, in Perfick't helth, and am Sir your most Obedant and very humble Servant,
[signed] Peter Cunningham1
Their is a thirty six guns frigat now bilding at Newbery—will be redy to Lanch very soon—should be glad And think my Self happy in being Appinted a Liutenant on board her.
{ 342 }
Expect to Sail [in all?] next month. Should be highly honerd to have a line from you as soon as wold be Convenant.
RC (Adams Papers). Originally enclosed in Caleb Davis to JA, Boston, same date, which pronounced Cunningham “a Seaman I belive . . . Inferiour to Very few on the Continent,” and recommended him for a lieutenantcy “on Board one of the Continental Frigates” (Adams Papers).
1. The writer was a first cousin to JA, being the son of JA's uncle James and aunt Elizabeth (Boylston) Cunningham of Boston and Dedham. See Adams Genealogy. Cunningham's service on the state armed vessel Hazard during the next two years is set forth in Mass. Soldiers and Sailors.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0275

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-09-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

You will learn from the Newspapers before this reaches you, the situation of Things here. Mr. Howes Army is at Chester, about fifteen Miles from this Town. Gen. Washingtons is over the Schuylkill, awaiting the Flank of Mr. Howes Army.—How much longer Congress will stay here is uncertain. I hope We shall not move untill the last Necessity, that is untill it shall be rendered certain, that Mr. How will get the City. If We should move it will be to Reading, Lancaster, York, Easton or Bethlehem, some Town in this state. It is the Determination not to leave this state. Dont be anxious about me—nor about our great and sacred Cause—it is the Cause of Truth and will prevail. If How gets the City, it will cost him all his Force to keep it, and so he can get nothing else.—My Love to all Friends. Yours,
[signed] John Adams1
1. On 11 Sept. in a general engagement at Chadd's Ford on Brandywine Creek, Washington had, in his own words, “been obliged to leave the enemy masters of the field” and to retreat first to Chester and then to the eastern bank of the Schuylkill at Germantown. On the 12th JA had moved from Capt. Duncan's in Walnut Street to Rev. Mr. Sproat's in Third Street, for what was to prove a short stay and a precipitant departure. On the day he wrote the present letter Congress resolved that if it should prove necessary to leave Philadelphia, “Lancaster shall be the place at which they shall meet.” A warning received early on the morning of the 19th that Howe was in possession of a ford over the Schuylkill caused the members to depart that day. They sat at Lancaster, however, only on the 27th and adjourned to meet at York on the 30th. See JA to AA, 30 Sept., below; to Speaker of Massachusetts House of Representatives, 15 Jan. 1778, NN: Emmet Coll.; Diary and Autobiography, 2:262–267; Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 9:207; JCC, 8:742, 754–756.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0276

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-09-17

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] Best of Friends

I have to acknowlidge a feast of Letters from you since I wrote last, their dates from August 19 to Sepbr. 1. It is a very great satisfaction to me to know from day to day the Movements of How, and his Bantitti. We live in hourly expectation of important inteligance from both armies. Heaven Grant us victory and peace, two Blessing[s] I fear we are very undeserving of.
Enclosed you will find a Letter to Mr. L[ovel]l who was so obliging as to send me a plan of that part of the Country which is like to be the present seat of war.1 He accompanied it with a very polite Letter, and I esteem myself much obliged to him, but there is no reward this side the grave that would be a temptation to me to undergo the agitation and distress I was thrown into by receiving a Letter in his Handwriting franked by him. It seems almost imposible that the Humane mind could take in, in so small a space of time, so many Ideas as rushd upon mine in the space of a moment, I cannot describe to you what I felt.
The sickness or death of the dearest of Friends with ten thousand horrours seazd my immagination. I took up the Letter, then laid it down, then gave it out of my Hand unable to open it, then collected resolution enough to unseal it, but dared not read it, begun at the bottom, read a line, then attempted to begin it, but could not. A paper was enclosed, I venturd upon that, and finding it a plan, recoverd enough to read the Letter——but I pray Heaven I may never realize such a nother moment of distress.
I designd to have wrote you a long Letter for really I owe you one, but have been prevented by our worthy P[lymout]h Friends who are Here upon a visit in their way Home and tis now so late at Night just struck 12 that I will defer any thing further till the next post. Good Night Friend of my Heart, companion of my youth—Husband and Lover—Angles watch thy Repose.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. Philadelphia To be left at the Post Office”; postmarked: “BOSTON 22 SE” docketed in CFA's hand. Enclosed letter from AA to James Lovell is printed (from an undated draft) immediately below.
1. See Lovell to AA, 29 Aug., above, and descriptive note there.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0277

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1777-09-17

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

[salute] Sir

Your very polite favour was handed me this Evening.1 I esteem myself much obliged for the enclosed plan, but I cannot describe to you the distress and agitation which the reception of your Letter threw me into. It was some time before I could get resolution to open it, and when I had opend it I dared not read it. Ten thousand horrid Ideas rushd upon my Soul. I thought it would announce to me the sickness or death of all my earthly happiness.
As I could not read the Letter I opened the paper enclosed and upon finding it a plan, was releaved from my distress.
Your professions of esteem Sir are very flattering to me. No person possessed with common Humanity can be an inattentive unconcernd Spectator of the present contest. The suffering virtue of individuals if recorded upon the faithfull page of History will astonish future ages, and demands from the present gratitude and veneration. A large share of each will ever be retained for the unfortunate Mr. L[ovell]2 in the Breast of his obliged Humble Servant,
[signed] Abigail Adams
Dft (Adams Papers); undated. Missing RC was enclosed in AA to JA, 17 Sept., preceding.
1. Lovell's letter of 29 Aug., above. This might, of course, have been received (and the present letter might therefore have been drafted) a day or two before the 17th, when AA wrote JA the letter in which she enclosed her reply to Lovell.
2. An allusion to Lovell's sufferings as a prisoner of the British in Boston and Halifax, 1775–1776; see DAB.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0278

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-09-18

Cotton Tufts to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sr.

Our Spring was cold and Wet, Our Summer fruitful and the Fall forbodes a plentiful Harvest. We had but very little warm Weather untill August. Our Rains were frequent, attended with Thunder and followed by fair Weather which continued for several Days and then Showers again—and such a Succession of Rains and Fair Weather I hardly ever remember which continue to this Instant. Indeed we have this Day a very cold blowing Storm of rain N.N.E. I expect all our Apples will tremble, then fall short of the usual Quantity this Year, so that a Mug of Cyder next Summer will be a Rarity. However We have had good Crops of Barley, and are every where making Mo• { 345 } lasses from Corn Stalks. We may hope for good Beer. An Acre of Corn Stalks will produce Ten Gallns. of Molasses, according to the best Authority I can get. Believe me, Our People are as diligent as Bees in collecting their Stalks, grinding, and boiling up the Juice. The Mill is formed of Three Rolls perfectly round and smooth, the middle one has a Neck to which the Sweep is fastned and by which the Horse draws, and each Roll has at the Head cogs. In short they are formd upon the Plan of Sugar Mills and are a very simple Construction.—It does not please me very well. I much want a universal Distaste to all sweet Things that will in any wise keep up the vitiated Taste for foreign Articles.—I forgot to tell You that the Crops of Flax exceeded by Three or Four Times at least whatever was raised amongst us before. This Flax [is] in general good and well grown.
Notwithstanding the Plenty which we are favour'd with unhappy it is that there is no freer Distribution or Disposal of the necessaries of Life than what is now found amongst us. Indeed no Body perishes for want of the Necessaries of Life; but they are obtain'd with Difficulty and almost wholly in the Way of Barter. We may truly assent to what indeed many have been loth to believe Viz. That Money is the Root of all Evil. Never was stronger Evidence had of the Truth of it than at this Day. And I have wrote it in my Creed, that no Greater Curse can befall Mankind than a Flood of Money. I have ever been of the Mind that there ought to be but one Currency to this Continent and under the Direction of the Supreme Power for in the Seperate States and in the representative Bodies there will be often Men either of desperate Fortunes or plung'd into Debt, who will never be willing to keep down the Quantity to a State of due Credit. There are many other Reasons some of which in former Letters I have mentioned and every Day more and more convinces me of the Expediency of such a Measure—and I must tell You freely, that if some Measures are not speedily adopted for lessening the Quantity and raising the Credit of the Money, I fear, Destruction will more speedily come upon us than what Our Enemies could accomplish by Success in Arms.—A judicious Taxation may possibly in some Measure remedy the Evil. Vigour and Energy in Government were never more wanted and scarcely ever less seen. Laws without Execution only serve to discourage the virtuous and embolden the vicious. Of this We have had ample Proof. And if We ever hope to see our Affairs wear a better Countenance, We must pursue a different Course. We must regard the Person of no one, but make the Rules of Justice and Righteousness the Standard by which to try the Conduct of every Man.—Without Dis• { 346 } cipline in the State, Without Discipline in the Army, We must not expect Prosperity. For want of this We suffer dayly, and are incident to innumerable Losses, Disappointments and amazing Expences.—Is not the Appointment of superfluous Generals and other Officers in the Army and State upon the whole a Disadvantage. Would not the general Interest be better servd by fewer General Officers, in this particular have we not outstript Great Britain. Are not Generals and Brigadier Generals often calld to head parties, that in other Nations would be devolved on no higher Officer than a Coll. or Lieut. Col. Are we not in this Way often put under Disadvantages in the Exchange of Prisoners, as our Field Officers are more frequently taken than theirs.
But this is a ramble which You must excuse, and to make up a Variety must tell You that Miss Betsy is shortly to change the Scene and enter upon the Field of Matrimony, soon after which she takes her abode at Haverhill where her Partner is agreably settled. Her Servant Phoebe is about to make the Leap—she takes the [Start?] with Mr. Bristol (a Freeman) of Boston, a Gentleman (to adopt the Language of News Papers in such Cases) possessed of all the amiable Qualities necessary to render the married State happy.—The good old Gentleman will be deprived of all his domestic Connections and will be necessitated to seek new ones. But where he will obtain them Time must discover, at present He is undetermind.
Thus the Scene is perpetually varying—every change promising new Felicity. This buoys up the Mind, untill we wear out and drop into Dust.—That Happiness may attend You through all the changing Scenes of this Life and Happiness in the next is the fervent Wish of Yr. Friend & H Servt.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Dr. Tufts”; docketed in an unidentified hand.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0279

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-09-21

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I immagine before this reaches you some very important Event must take place betwen the two Armies. Affairs on all Sides seem to be workd up to a crisis, How is putting his whole force in action and seems determined to drive or be driven.
I feel in a most painfull situation between hope and fear, there must be fighting and very Bloody Battles too I apprehend. O! how my { 347 } Heart recoils at the Idea. Why is Man calld Humane when he delights so much in Blood, Slaughter and devastation; even those who are stiled civilizd Nations think this little Spot worth contending for, even to Blood.
We have confused accounts of a Battle at the Northward Last fryday, in which the Enemy were put to flight. God grant it may prove true. Vigorous Exertions now on all sides may prove of the most happy concequence and terminate this cruel War. I long for a decissive Battle—and for peace, an honourable peace. I hope the enemy are as much in our power as you fancy them.
Have just read a hand Bill giving a perticuliar account of the engagement, at the Northward.1 You will have it long before this reaches you. The loss of Ticondoroga has awakened the sleeping Genious of America and call'd forth all her Martial fire, may it never again be lulld to rest till crownd with victory and peace. Good officers will make good Soldiers. Xanthippus, the Lacedaemonian General who had been educated in the Discipline of Sparta, and learnt the Art of War in that renowned and Excellent School, when he was call'd to assist the Carthaginians, who had been defeated in several Battles against the Romans, declared publickly, and repeated it often in the hearing of their officers, that the misfortune[s] of the Carthaginians were oweing intirely to the incapacity of their Generals, and he proved clearly to the Counsel that by a conduct opposite to the former they would not only secure their dominions but drive the Enemy out of them. Upon his accepting the command of the Carthaginians, the gloomy conste[r]nation (says Rolin) which had before seized the whole Army was succeeded by joy and Alacrity. The Soldiers were urgent to be led against the Enemy, in the firm Assurance of being victorious under their new leader and of obliterating the disgrace of former defeats. Xanthippus did not suffer their ardour to cool but led them on to Battle and entirely routed and deafeated the Romans making Regulas their prisoner. That General who a few days before was insolent with Victory, inexorable to the conquerd, and deaf to all their Remonstrances in a few days experienced by the fate of war a sad reverse of fortune.
This is a case I think very similar to our own, may it prove so in the end. Their are two ways says Rolin of acquiring improvement and instruction, first by ones own experience, and secondly by that of { 348 } other men. It is much more wise and usefull to improve by other mens miscarriages than by our own.
We have not yet Received any inteligance from the Southern Army since the accounts of the engagement on the 11th, which must have been very severe upon both sides. You now experience what we sufferd when the Army lay this way. I feel very anxious for their Success. The Suspence which the distance occassions is painfull but still I find very different sensations between having the Enemy at such a distance and having them in my own Neighbourhood. I hope you will all look to your own Safety. As you are not calld to action, kidnapping would be rather dissagreable but were you in the Army I should dispise myself for such a Sentiment—as much as I did a certain Gentleman who was in the Horrours a few days ago upon hearing that General Washington had retreated within six miles of Phi[ladelphi]a. If How should get possession of that city it would immediately negotiate a peace. I could not help warmly replying, that I did not believe it even tho that should be the case and the General with his whole Army should be cut of. I hoped then that an Army of women would oppose him. Was it not the Sarassens who turnd their Backs upon the Enemy and were slain by their women who were placed behind them for that purpose?
Your favours of 2d. and 8th. reachd me upon the 20th. Your observation[s] with regard to Luxery are very just, but trade and commerce will always support it. The Necessity of the times will be a temporary restraint upon it, and put us upon seeking Resources among ourselves. An instance of that may be seen in the progress which is made of grinding corn storks and boiling the Liquor into Molasses. Scarcly a Town or parish within 40 miles of us but what have several mills at work, and had the experiment been made a month sooner many thousand Barrels would have been made, no less than 80 have already been made in the small Town of Manchester. It answers very well to distill, and may be boild down to Sugar. There are two mills sitting up in this parish. They have 3 Rollers one with cogs and two smooth, the storks are striped of the leaves and tops so that tis no Robbery upon the cattle, and the juce ground <out>. Tis said 4 Barrels of juice will make one of Molasses, but in this people differ widely. They have a method of refining it so that it looks as well as the best imported molasses.
Thus you see we go from Step to Step in our improvements. We can live much better than we deserve within ourselves. Why should we borrow foreign Luxeries. Why should we wish to bring ruin upon our• { 349 } selves. I feel as content when I have Breakfasted upon milk, as ever I did with Hyson or Suchong.
Coffe and sugar I use only as a rarity. There are none of these things but I could totally renounce. My dear Friend knows that I could always conform to times and circumstances. As yet I know nothing of hardships. My children have never cried for Bread, nor been destitute of cloathing—nor have the poor or the needy gone empty from my Door whenever it was in my power to assist them.
Heaven grant that I may continue to receive its Blessings. One of its greatest is that I can subscribe myself wholy Yours.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. in Congress Philadelphia To be left at the Post Office”; postmarked: “BOSTON 29 SE”; endorsed (perhaps not contemporaneously): “Portia,” to which is added in an unidentified hand: “1777.”
1. Burgoyne's repulse in the battle of Freeman's Farm or Stillwater (also known as the first battle of Bemis Heights) occurred on 19 September. No “hand Bill” reporting this action in Boston at so early a date as 24 Sept. has been found.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0280

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-09-30

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My best Friend

It is now a long Time, since I had an Opportunity of writing to you, and I fear you have suffered unnecessary Anxiety on my Account.—In the Morning of the 19th. Inst., the Congress were allarmed, in their Beds, by a Letter from Mr. Hamilton one of General Washingtons Family, that the Enemy were in Possession of the Ford over the Schuylkill, and the Boats, so that they had it in their Power to be in Philadelphia, before Morning. The Papers of Congress, belonging to the Secretary's Office, the War Office, the Treasury Office, &c. were before sent to Bristol. The President, and all the other Gentlemen were gone that Road, so I followed, with my Friend Mr. Merchant [Marchant] of Rhode Island, to Trenton in the Jersies. We stayed at Trenton, untill the 21. when We set off, to Easton upon the Forks of Delaware. From Easton We went to Bethlehem, from thence to Reading, from thence to Lancaster, and from thence to this Town, which is about a dozen Miles over the Susquehannah River.—Here Congress is to sit.
In order to convey the Papers, with safety, which are of more Importance than all the Members, We were induced to take this Circuit, which is near 180 Miles, whereas this Town by the directest Road is { 350 } not more than 88 Miles from Philadelphia. This Tour has given me an Opportunity of seeing many Parts of this Country, which I never saw before.1
This Morning Major Throop arrived here with a large Packett from General Gates, containing very agreable Intelligence, which I need not repeat, as you have much earlier Intelligence from that Part than We have.2
I wish Affairs here wore as pleasing an Aspect.—But alass they do not.
I shall avoid every Thing like History, and make no Reflections.
However, General Washington is in a Condition tolerably respectable, and the Militia are now turning out, from Virginia, Maryland and Pensilvania, in small Numbers. All the Apology that can be made, for this Part of the World is that Mr. Howes march from Elke to Philadelphia, was thro the very Regions of Passive obedience. The whole Country thro which he passed, is inhabited by Quakers. There is not such another Body of Quakers in all America, perhaps not in all the World.
I am still of Opinion that Philadelphia will be no Loss to Us.
I am very comfortably situated, here, in the House of General Roberdeau, whose Hospitality has taken in Mr. S[amuel] A[dams], Mr. G[erry] and me.3 My Health is as good as common, and I assure you my Spirits not the worse for the Loss of Philadelphia.
Biddle in the Continental Frigate at S. Carolina has made a noble Cruise and taken four very valuable W.I. Prizes.
Continue to write me by the Post, and I shall pay my Debts.
1. For more details on the first part of this “Tour” see JA's Diary and Autobiography, 2:264–267; see also JA to AA, 14 Sept., above, and note there.
2. “Major Throop” (as New Englanders persisted in spelling his name) was Robert Troup of New York, an aide-decamp to Gen. Gates. He brought one or more letters from Gates of 22 Sept. that contained numerous enclosures and reported the action at Freeman's Farm on the 19th and antecedent events. These were read in Congress on 1 Oct., and on the 4th Troup was promoted to a lieutenant colonelcy (JCC, 8:756; 9:770; see also Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:503–505, 509).
3. Daniel Roberdeau (1727–1795), of Philadelphia and York, was of Huguenot descent, a brigadier general in the Pennsylvania militia, and a delegate to the Continental Congress, 1777–1779 (DAB). For further comments on his career and family see JA to AA, 7 and 9 Oct., below.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0281

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-10-05

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] Dearest Friend

I know not where to direct to you, but hope you are secure. Tis said in some part of the Jersies, but I know this only from report. I sent to Town yesterday (saturday) but the Post did not get in till the person by whom I sent came out of Town. I could not rest but sent again this morning. The Post came but brought no Letters for me, and but two for any person that I could learn, and no late intelligence.
To the removal of congress I attribute my not hearing, but I never was more anxious to hear. I want to know every movement of the Armies. Mr. Niles by whom I send this sets of tomorrow and promisses to find you and deliver this into your Hand. I doubt not you will let me hear from you by the first conveyance. Tell me where you are, how you are situated and how you do? Whether your spirits are good, and what you think of the present state of our Arms. Will Mr. How get possession of the city? Tis a day of doubtfull expectation, Heaven only knows our destiny. I observe often in the account of actions that our Men are sometimes obliged to retreat for want of ammunition, their cartridges are spent. How is this? Is it good Generalship. We never hear of that complaint in the regular Army.—There is a private expedition tis said. The Troops have all marched last monday. I own I have no great faith in it. I wish it may succeed better than I apprehend.2
No News of any importance from the Northward; I long for spirited exertions every where. I want some grand important actions to take place. We have both armies from their Shipping. Tis what we have long sought for, now is the important Day; Heaven seems to have granted us our desire, may it also direct us to improve it aright.
We are all well. I write nothing of any importance, till I know where you are, and how to convey to you. Believe me at all times unalterably yours—yours.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in Richard Cranch's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. in Congress (Pr. favr: of <Saml.> Lieut. Niles <Esqr.>)”; endorsed (perhaps not contemporaneously): “Portia”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. Sunday fell on the 5th in Oct. 1777.
2. The attack so long contemplated and at long last mounted against the British forces based at Newport, R.I., was a joint venture of Massachusetts and Connecticut, was intended to be utterly secret, and proved a fiasco. Maj. Gen. Joseph Spencer, a Connecticut officer in the Continental Line, commanded the expedition; the Adamses' friend and neighbor Joseph Palmer, brigadier general of militia, commanded the Massa• { 352 } chusetts troops. Palmer established headquarters at Tiverton, R.I., at the beginning of October, but the troops from neither state turned out promptly and in full strength; boats and other essential equipment and supplies were not forwarded as promised; the wind was never right; the officers disagreed on when to strike; morale sagged; and intelligence furnished by American deserters enabled the enemy to put itself in a good posture of defense. By late October Palmer saw that the “surprise” planned for the beginning of that month would certainly fail if now attempted, and recommended withdrawal—a move that permitted Spencer to throw the blame for failure on his subordinate. A court of inquiry acquitted Palmer, but he never lived down what many considered incompetent and negligent conduct on his part. See AA's remark (quoting Gen. Gates) about “dreaming deacons” as military commanders, in her letter to JA, 16–18 Nov., below, and Cotton Tufts to JA, 21 Nov., also below.
Palmer's letters documenting the planning of the expedition, its delays and failure, and his defense of himself thereafter, Aug. 1777–March 1778, were printed in the New Englander, 3 (1845):13–22, before his papers were dispersed. See also under Palmer in Mass. Soldiers and Sailors.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0282

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-10-07

John Adams to Abigail Adams

I have no Time, nor Accommodations to write of late—besides I seldom know what to write, and when I do, I dont love to write it.
One Thing is now becoming more and more certain every day. That is that our People will and do fight, and altho they make a clumsy Hand of it, yet they do better and better.
I am lodged in the House of General Roberdeau, an Israelite indeed, I believe, who, with his sisters and Children and servants, do every Thing to make Us happy. We are highly favoured. No other Delegates are so well off.
I am as well as usual. Your Dream will never come to pass. You never can be cooly received by me, while my Heart beats and my senses remain.—I had no Letter from you by the last Post.

[salute] Yours, yours, yours,

[signed] John Adams

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0283

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-10-09

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I told you, in a former Letter, that I lodged at Gen. Roberdeau's.
This Gentleman is of French Extraction, his Father was a rich Planter of the Island of St. Christophers, where my Friend was born, and where he has or had an Estate. He has large Property in England, in Virginia, in Philadelphia, in York Town and in various other Parts { 353 } of Pensilvania. He has also large Property in our American Funds, have1 put great Sums into the Loan Office.
He was an intimate Friend, and a passionate Admirer of Mr. Whitfield, who always made his House an Home. He has the Reputation, I believe very justly of a pious Man.
His Wife was a Daughter of Mr. Bostwick of New York, a famous Minister, Sister to Mrs. McDougall, the Lady of General McDougal, two as fine Women as ever America produced, excepting one. Mrs. Roberdeau was a beauty. A fine Figure—good Taste—great sense—much Knowledge—a fine Temper. But she is no more.2
The Generals two sisters keep his House—the one a Widow, Mrs. Climer [Clymer], who has a son—the other a Maiden Lady, Miss Elizabeth Roberdeau.
1. Thus in MS.
2. Mrs. Daniel Roberdeau, the former Mary Bostwick, had died earlier this year while nursing her husband through a serious illness (DAB, under her husband's name).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0284

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-10-15

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

I have not been able of late to keep up my Correspondence with you, so constantly, as my Heart inclined me to do. But I hope now to write you oftener—but I dont incline to write, very particularly, least my Letters should be intercepted.
I am in tolerable Health, but oppressed, with a Load of public Cares.
I have long foreseen, that We should be brought down to a great Degree of Depression before the People of America would be convinced of their real Danger, of the true Causes of it, and be stimulated to take the necessary Steps for a Reformation.
Government and Law in the states, large Taxation, and Strict Discipline in our Armies, are the only Things Wanting, as human Means. These with the Blessing of Heaven, will certainly produce Glory, Tryumph, Liberty and Safety and Peace, and nothing but these will do.
I long with the Utmost Impatience to come home—dont send a servant for me. The Expence is so enormous that I cannot bear the Thought of it. I will crawl home, upon my little Pony, and wait upon { 354 } myself as well as I can. I think you had better sell my Horse. <I am, yours.>
The People are universally calling for Fighting and for Blood. Washington is getting into the Humour of fighting and How begins to dread it—and well he may. Fighting will certainly answer the End altho We may be beaten every Time for a great While.
We have been heretofore greatly deceived concerning1 the Numbers of Militia. But there are Numbers enough if they knew how to fight, which as soon as their Generals will let them, they will learn.—I am, with every tender Sentiment, yours forevermore.
1. MS: “concing.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0285

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-10-20

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Tis true my dearest Friend that I have spent an anxious 3 weeks, and the sight of a Letter from you gave me joy beyond expression. I had sent every post day, and every post was dissapointed. For 3 week[s] I could not learn one word with certainty—nor can I now determine whether you are 88 miles nearer to me or farther of than you were before.
I was greatly surprizd when I heard that the Enemy were in possession of Philadelphia without any engagement upon our part. If Men will not fight and defend their own perticuliar spot, if they will not drive the Enemy from their Doors, they deserve the slavery and subjection which awaits them.1
There is much I think comprised in that short Sentance, “I shall avoid all history and make no reflections.” I think I can construe a volum from it, I will follow the example least a miscarrage of this should give triumph to an Enemy.
Our affairs at the Northward wear a more pleasing aspect. The Sunshine from the North gilds the dark Clouds of the South or the Storm would look dismal indeed.
It is a Newengland observation that in some late general orders when many motives and stimulatives were set before the men to excite them to action, they were assured of conquest without once acknowledgeing the Superintendance of divine providence. Our favorite Dr. Tillotson “observes that in all our concernments we ought to have a perticuliar regard to the Supreme disposer of all things and earnestly { 355 } to seek his favour and blessing upon all our undertakeings, but more especially in the affairs of war, in which the providence of God is pleasd many times in a very peculiar manner to interpose and interest itself, because all war is as it were an appeal to God, and a reference of those causes to the decision of his providence which through the pride, and injustice, and perverse passions of men can receive no other determination.”
Tis not more than 3 weeks since I thought our affairs looked in a more prosperious train than they had done since the commencement of the War. Tho they have not taken the turn I hoped for, yet I doubt not they will finally terminate in our favour. Providence for wise purposes has oftentimes since the commencement of this war brought about our deliverence by ways and means which have appeard to us the most improbable and unlikely—has given into our hands those things which we were destitute of, and in the greatest necessity for. So true it is acknowledge him in all thy ways, and he shall direct thy paths.
To you my dear Friend I need not excuse these Moral reflections. I have ever considerd it as a happiness to be united to one whose Sentiments in Religion were not only agreable to my own, but to what I have ever esteemed the Truth.
I believe I may venture to congratulate my Love upon the completion of his wishes with regard to Burgoin. Tis reported to day from many ways that he has with his whole Army fallen into our hands and tis said the post brings the same inteligance.2 If true, as I most sincerely hope, let us with gratitude acknowledg the interposition of Heaven in our favour.
We have accounts too of an engagement at the southard. I am glad to hear of fighting even tho we come of second best, not because Heaven is my witness that I delight in the Effusion of humane Blood, but because I believe by delay we should loose more lives than by the sword. It sinks our spirits, disheartens our soldiers, makes them both Idle and wicked. How great would be my joy could I see peace and quietness once more restored to this distressed land.

“Peace o'er this land her olive Branch extend

And white Robed Innocence from heaven desend.”

It gave me great pleasure to hear of your Health and Spirits. Did you save your cloaths, or have they fallen into the hands of the { 356 } Enemy? We are all very well in the family. The hooping cough prevails much and is just comeing into the family. I long for the month of your return to come. I wrote you with regard to B[racket]t3 but received no answer. You will let me know, and when to send. Dr. T[uft]s desires to know if you have received a Letter from him within these two months, he fears that it did not reach you, as it was about the time of your removal.
The Spirit of Barter and exchange predominates so much here that people dispose of their own Bodies. Matrimony prevails among all orders and Ages; the scarcity of the Commodity enhances the value. Men are a very scarce article to be sure. Among the late mariages which have taken place and are like to, Miss B[ets]y S[mit]h to Mr. S[ha]w last thursday, old Deacon W[eb]b of this Town to a maiden Sister of John Ruggles'es wife, who has lived to the age of 66 unmarried, our Friend Mrs. L[incol]n of this Town to Deacon S[tore]r of Boston, an exceeding good match and much approved of. Numbers of others in the lower class not worth mentioning, but I ask my Cousin P[oll]y S[mit]hs pardon for omitting her. She marries in about 2 months to a Mr. Gray, a Brother of Mr. Eliss Grays of B[osto]n.4
Tis very cold for the Season. We had Snow yesterday and Ice in the Streets this morning. When shall I see my Friend? Tis more than Nine long months since we parted. Shall I send the beginning of december? Heaven grant us a joyfull meeting.

[salute] Ever yours.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. in Congress at Yorktown in Pensylvania”; franked: “Free.”
1. Howe's army had entered Philadelphia on 27 Sept.; Washington's attack in force on Germantown, 4 Oct., failed because of fog.
2. Burgoyne was defeated at Bemis Heights on 7 Oct., proposed to capitulate on the 14th, signed the articles of convention on the 16th, and formally surrendered at Saratoga the next day.
3. See AA to JA, 27 Aug., above.
4. Elizabeth Smith, AA's younger sister, married Rev. John Shaw on 16 Oct.; see Adams Genealogy. Deacon Jonathan Webb of Braintree married Elizabeth Jones on 7 Oct. (Braintree Town Records, p. 867). Hannah (Quincy) Lincoln, a widow since 1773, and Ebenezer Storer, a Boston merchant, newly appointed treasurer of Harvard College, and a widower since 1774, filed marriage intentions in Braintree on 17 Oct. and were married on 6 Nov.; see Adams Genealogy. AA's cousin Polly, i.e. Mary, daughter of Isaac Smith of Boston, was to marry Edward Gray on 11 Dec.; he died two years later, and she subsequently married Samuel Allyne Otis, first and for many years clerk of the U.S. Senate; see Adams Genealogy.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0286

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-10-24

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

It is with shame that I recollect that I have not written you more than two or three Letters these 5 Weeks, and those very short.
News I am afraid to write, because I never know untill it is too late what is true. From last Sunday to this Moment Fryday afternoon 4 o Clock, We have been in a state of tormenting Uncertainty concerning our Affairs at the Northward. On Sunday, We had News, from the Committee of Albany, through Governor Clinton and G. Washington, of a Capitulation of Burgoine and his whole Army.1 To this Moment We have no Express from Gates, nor any Authentic Confirmation.2
Howe has drawn his Army into the City and Washington is at Germantown. Supplies will be cutt off, from the British Army, in a great Measure.

[salute] I am &c. yours forever,

[signed] John Adams
We shall finish a Plan of Confederation in a few days.3
1. The earliest news of Burgoyne's capitulation reached York on Sunday the 19th, though this was actually premature, since Burgoyne had only offered to surrender on the 14th, the letter of the Albany committee, transmitted through various hands, was dated the 15th, and the Saratoga convention was not signed until the following day. See the very careful and enlightening editorial note on the transmission of the news, with locations of the relevant texts, in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:526–527. The record in JCC is incomplete and otherwise unsatisfactory on this important affair.
2. The reason was that Lt. Col. James Wilkinson, Gates' adjutant, took twelve days to bring Gates' dispatch of the 18th and a copy of the convention from Saratoga to York. Dawdling sociably on the way, he did not arrive until 31 Oct. (JCC, 9:851), by which time the news he brought had reached Congress from various unofficial sources. In a letter written many years later, Thomas McKean recalled that Samuel Adams had formally proposed that Congress reward Wilkinson by voting him “a pair of spurs” (McKean to JA, 20 Nov. 1815, Adams Papers). JA's recollection was that his own “impatience” had never in his life been “wrought up to an higher pitch, than by the total failure of all Intelligence Official and unofficial from Saratoga, for so long a time after We had heard a confused fugitive rumour of the defeat of Burgoine,” and that on the morning after Wilkinson's arrival “a jocular Suggestion [was] thrown out in a private Conversation” among JA, Samuel Adams, and John Hancock, “that it would be proper to present the Courier with a horsewhip and a pair of Spurrs” (to McKean, 26 Nov. 1815, PHi). What in fact happened, however, was that Congress on 6 Nov., acting on Gates' strong recommendation, breveted Wilkinson a brigadier general (JCC, 9:870). Wilkinson's own account of his journey from Saratoga and arrival in York, with the text of Gates' dispatch which he carried and of other pertinent documents, is in James Wilkinson, Memoirs of My Own Times, Phila., 1816, 1:323–332
{ 358 }
3. This was premature. Debate over the Articles of Confederation had occupied Congress during the present session intermittently since early April, but a final text to be submitted to the states for adoption was not agreed on until 15 Nov., some days after JA had left York for Braintree. See JCC, 9:907–928, and entries under Articles of Confederation in index to JA's Diary and Autobiography.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0287

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-10-25

Abigail Adams to John Adams

The joyfull News of the Surrender of General Burgoin and all his Army to our Victorious Troops prompted me to take a ride this afternoon with my daughter to Town to join to morrow with my Friends in thanksgiving and praise to the Supreem Being who hath so remarkably deliverd our Enimies into our Hands.
And hearing that an express is to go of tomorrow morning, I have retired to write you a few line's. I have received no letters from you since you left P[hiladelphi]a by the post, and but one by any private Hand. I have wrote you once before this. Do not fail writing by the return of this express and direct your Letters to the care of my unkle who has been a kind and faithfull hand to me through the whole Season and a constant attendant upon the post office.
Burgoine is expected in by the middle of the week. I have read many Articles of Capitulation, but none which ever containd so generous Terms before. Many people find fault with them but perhaps do not consider sufficently the circumstances of General Gates, who <perhaps> by delaying and exacting more might have lost all. This must be said of him that he has followed the golden rule and done as he would wish himself in like circumstances to be dealt with.—Must not the vapouring Burgoine who tis said possesses great Sensibility, be humbled to the dust. He may now write the Blocade of Saratago.1 I have heard it proposed that he should take up his quarters in the old South,2 but believe he will not be permitted to come to this Town.—Heaven grant us success at the Southard. That saying of king Richard often occurs to my mind “God helps those who help themselves” but if Men turn their backs and run from an Enemy they cannot surely expect to conquer them.
This day dearest of Friends compleats 13 years since we were solemly united in wedlock; 3 years of the time we have been cruelly seperated. I have patiently as I could endured it with the Belief that you were serving your Country, and rendering your fellow creatures essential Benefits. May future Generations rise up and call you { 359 } Blessed, and the present behave worthy of the blessings you are Labouring to secure to them, and I shall have less reason to regreat the deprivation of my own perticuliar felicity.
Adieu dearest of Friends adieu.
[Added in the hand of William Smith:] Please to enquire of Mr. Reese Meredeth if he has received a Letter from my father enclosing a Bill upon Philadelphia.—Yrs.,
[signed] WS3
RC (Adams Papers); addressed in the hand of William Smith (see note 3): “To The Honble. John Adams Esqr. Member of Congress at York-Town State of Pensylvania”; endorsed (perhaps not contemporaneously): “Portia”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. An allusion to The Blockade of Boston, acted in Boston by British army officers in 1776; see AA to JA, 14 April 1776, note 4.
2. In allusion to the fact that the Old South Meeting House had been converted to a riding school for officers during the British occupation of Boston. See William Heath, Memoirs, new edn., ed. William Abbatt, N.Y., 1901, p. 126.
3. AA's cousin, William Smith (1755–1816), Harvard 1775, second son of Isaac Smith Sr. of Boston; see Adams Genealogy. AA was staying at her uncle Isaac Smith's home in Queen (later Court) Street, Boston.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0288

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-10-25

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My best Friend

This Town is a small one, not larger than Plymouth.—There are in it, two German Churches, the one Lutheran, the other Calvinistical. The Congregations are pretty numerous, and their Attendance upon public Worship is decent. It is remarkable that the Germans, wherever they are found, are carefull to maintain the public Worship, which is more than can be said of the other Denominations of Christians, this Way. There is one Church here erected by the joint Contributions of Episcopalians and Presbyterians, but the Minister, who is a Missionary, is confined for Toryism, so that they have had for a long Time no publick Worship. . . .1 Congress have appointed two Chaplains, Mr. White and Mr. Duffield, the former of whom an Episcopalian is arrived and opens Congress with Prayers every Day.2 The latter is expected every Hour. Mr. Duche I am sorry to inform you has turned out an Apostate and a Traytor. Poor Man! I pitty his Weakness, and detest his Wickedness.3
As to News, We are yet in a painfull Suspense about Affairs at the Northward, but from Philadelphia, We have Accounts that are very pleasing. Commodore Hazelwood, with his Gallies, and Lt. Coll. { 360 } Smith in the Garrison of Fort Mifflin, have behaved in a manner the most gallant and glorious. They have defended the River, and the Fort with a Firmness and Perseverance, which does Honour to human Nature.4
If the News from the Northward is true, Mr. Howe will scarcely venture upon Winter Quarters in Philadelphia.
We are waiting, for News, from Rhode Island.
I am wearied with the Life I lead, and long for the Joys of my Family. God grant I may enjoy it, in Peace. Peace is my dear Delight. War has no Charms for me.—If I live much longer in Banishment I shall scarcely know my own Children.
Tell my little ones, that if they will be very good, Pappa will come home.
1. Suspension points in MS.
2. Rev. (later Bishop) William White and Rev. George Duffield had been appointed chaplains to Congress on 1 Oct. (JCC, 8:756).
3. On Rev. Jacob Duché, Congress' first chaplain in 1774, see JA to AA, 16 Sept. 1774, above, and note 3 there. His eventually notorious letter to Washington, dated at Philadelphia, 8 Oct., urging him to negotiate for peace at once and asking him “Are the Dregs of a Congress, then, still to influence a mind like yours?” was forwarded by Washington to Congress in a letter of 16 Oct. (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 9:382–383). The original is in PCC, No. 152, V; a copy in John Thaxter's hand was enclosed in Thaxter to AA, 20 Jan. 1778, printed below, and is in Adams Papers. Duché's letter was read in Congress on the 20th, and although it provoked private cries of outrage, the members thought it best treated with official silence (JCC, 9:822; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:523, note, 526–527, 538). All the relevant correspondence was gathered and published, with useful commentary, by Worthington C. Ford in The Washington-Duché Letters, Brooklyn, 1890.
4. In mid-October Commodore John Hazelwood of the Pennsylvania navy and Lt. Col. Samuel Smith of Maryland, commanding at Fort Mifflin on the Delaware, repulsed British attacks designed to open supply lines to Philadelphia. On 4 Nov. these two officers were voted swords by Congress (JCC, 9:862).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0289

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-10-26

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Mr. Colman goes off for Boston Tomorrow.
I have seized a Moment, to congratulate you on the great and glorious Success of our Arms at the Northward, and in Delaware River. The Forts at Province Island and Red Bank have been defended, with a Magnanimity, which will give our Country a Reputation in Europe.
Coll. Green repulsed the Enemy from Red bank and took Count { 361 } Donop and his Aid Prisoners. Coll. Smith repulsed a bold Attack upon Fort Mifflin, and our Gallies disabled two Men of War a 64 and 20 Gun ship in such a Manner, that the Enemy blew them up. This comes confirmed this Evening, in Letters from Gen. Washington inclosing Original Letters from Officers in the Forts.1
Congress will appoint a Thanksgiving, and one Cause of it ought to be that the Glory of turning the Tide of Arms, is not immediately due to the Commander in Chief, nor to southern Troops. If it had been, Idolatry, and Adulation would have been unbounded, so excessive as to endanger our Liberties for what I know.
Now We can allow a certain Citizen to be wise, virtuous, and good, without thinking him a Deity or a saviour.
1. Washington's letter of 24 Oct. informing Congress of the bitter (and, so far, successful) fighting cn 21–22 Oct. to keep control of Forts Mifflin and Mercer on the Delaware below Philadelphia, with large extracts of his enclosures, are printed in Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 9:422–424. They were read in Congress on the 27th (JCC, 9:841). Col. Christopher Greene, of the 1st Rhode Island regiment, was voted a sword by Congress on 4 Nov. (same, p. 862).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0290

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-10-28

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

We have been three days, soaking and poaching in the heavyest Rain, that has been known for several Years, and what adds to the Gloom is the Uncertainty in which We remain to this Moment, concerning the Fate of Gates and Burgoigne.—We are out of Patience. It is impossible to bear this suspence, with any Temper.
I am in comfortable Lodgings, which is a Felicity that has fallen to the Lott of a very few of our Members. Yet the House where I am is so thronged, that I cannot enjoy such Accommodations as I wish. I cannot have a Room as I used, and therefore cannot find Opportunities to write as I once did.
The People of this Country, are chiefly Germans, who have Schools in their own Language, as well as Prayers, Psalms and Sermons, so that Multitudes are born, grow up and die here, without ever learning the English.—In Politicks they are a Breed of Mongrels or Neutrals, and benumbed with a general Torpor.
If the People, in Pensylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Jersy had the Feelings and the Spirit of some People that I know, Howe would { 362 } be soon ensnared in a Trap, more fatal than that in which, as it is said, Burgoigne was taken.
Howe is compleatly in our Power, and if he is not totally ruined it will be entirely owing to the Aukwardness and Indolence of this Country.
Fighting however, begins to become fashionable. Coll. Green has exhibited a glorious Example, in the Defence of Red bank. But this must be done by a New Englandman at the Head of two N. England Regiments, Rhode Islanders.
Coll. Smith however, is a Marylander, from Baltimore. He has shewn another Example of Magnanimity, which gives me the most agreable Hopes. Commodore Hazelwood too, has behaved in a manner that exceeds all Praise. This Spirit will be caught by other Officers, for Bravery is epidemical and contagious as the Plague.
This Army suffers much for Want of Blanketts and Shoes.
I celebrated the 25th. of this Month, in my own Mind and Heart, much more than I shall the 30th.—because I think the first a more fortunate day than the last.1
My Duty to your Father and my Mother—to Unkles and Aunts. Love to Brothers and sisters—but above all, present all the Affection that Words can express to our dear Babes.
1. The 25th was his wedding anniversary; the 30th was his birthday, according to the New Style calendar.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0291

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Smith, Isaac Jr.
Date: 1777-10-30

Abigail Adams to Isaac Smith Jr.

[salute] Dear Sir

A favourable opportunity offering by Mr. Austin2 of writing to you, I embrace it, in compliance to your pappa's request as well as my own inclination.
The uncertainty of a conveyance to you has prevented many of your Friends from writing to you, and when an opportunity has offerd the fear of a miscarrage has obliged them to say little else than what regards the State of their Health and the place of their abode.
But having taken the pen I am determined to write freely regardless of consequences.3
When you left your Native land it was in a state little able to { 363 } defend itself4 against the force which had invaded it, but providence remarkably smild upon our virtuous exertions in defence of our injured and oppressed land, and has opened resources for us beyond our most sanguine expectations, so that we have been able not only to repel, but conquer, the Regular Troops of Britain, the Mercinaries of Germany, the Savages of the wilderness and the still more cruel paricides of America with one of the most celebrated British Generals at their head.
I have the pleasure Sir to inform you that the British arms have submitted to American fortitude, courage and bravery, and have received terms tho humiliating to them the most generous ever granted to an Enemy5 cruel and inhumane as these have been.
But true courage is always humane, and we submit the punishment of their crimes to that Being who has stiled himself the Husband of the widow, the Father of the orphan and the avenger of the oppressed. Cruel have been the depredations of these foes of the rights of Humane Nature. Our Commerce has been distroyed, our cities burnt with fire, our Houses plunderd, our women a sacrifice to brutal Lust, our children murderd, and the hoary head of age has oftentimes glutted their savage malice.
These Sir are indisputable facts and will I hope be recorded by the faithfull Historyan to the everlasting infamy and disgrace of Britain, and would almost tempt one to immitate the parent of Hannible and swear the rising generation to Eternal Enmity against them.—But as christians tho we abhor the6 deeds we wish them reformation and repentance.
We most sincerely wish for peace upon honorable terms. Heaven is our witness that we rejoice not in the Effusion of Blood, nor the Carnage of the Humane Speicies but having forced us to draw the Sword we are determined never to sheathe it the Slaves of Britains—and whether it is creditted or not tis a truth for which we have great reason to be thankfull, we are at this day in a much better situation to continue the war for 6 years to come, than we were to contend for 6 months in the commencment of it. We have defended ourselves against a force which would have shaken any kingdom in Europe without becomeing tributary to any power whatever, and I trust we shall continue too, with the blessing of heaven.
Providence has permitted for wise ends that every one of the united States should feel the cruel depredations of the Enemy, that each one should be able to sympathize with the other—and this so far from weakening has served to strengthen our bond of union. Tis { 364 } a thirteenfold cord which all the Efforts of our Enemies have not been able to break.
The perticuliars of the Capture of General Burgoyne and his whole Army will be transmitted you by other hands. I hope soon to congratulate you upon a similar account from the Southard, but whether I am [can] or not7 you may rely upon it that the invincible american Spirit is as far from being conquerd as it was the day the cruel mandates were issued against her. She gathers strength by oppression and grows firmer by resistance.8 Tis the cause of truth and justice and will finally prevail tho the combined force of Earth and hell rise against it.
To this Cause I have sacrificed much of my own personal happiness by giving up to the counsels of America one of my dearest connexions and living for more than 3 years in a State of widowhood.
A return to your native land with a heart and mind truly american would rejoice all your connexions perticuliarly your Friend and former Correspondent,9
[signed] AA10
Dft (Adams Papers); undated; at head of text in JQA's hand: “To Isaac Smith junr. November,” to which CFA added “1777.” RC not found, but a printed text of it appeared in a British periodical, the Monthly Repository of Theology and General Literature, 17:670–671 (Nov. 1822), with this editorial note prefixed: “Copy of a Letter from Mrs. Adams, Wife of Mr. Adams, a Member of the American Congress, to the Rev. Mr. Smith, then of Sidmouth, in Devonshire, but a Native of Boston, in New England, which place he left at the Commencement of the War, and returned to it at the Peace. (Communicated by the Rev. Joseph Cornish.)” Dft has been followed in the present text because it better represents AA's usage than RC in its normalized printing; but the more important variations between Dft and RC have been recorded in notes below.
1. Supplied from RC. AA was evidently writing from Boston. It is hardly necessary to point out how promptly she seized the advantage of the first great American military victory to lecture her (as she believed) errant cousin.
2. Jonathan Loring Austin (1748–1826), Harvard 1766, sailed the next day from Boston for Nantes in the brigantine Perch to carry the news of Burgoyne's surrender to the American Commissioners at Paris; he then served Franklin in various capacities in Europe, and during the summer of 1778 acted as JA's secretary at Passy. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:300, and references there; also E. E. Hale and E. E. Hale Jr., Franklin in France, Boston, 1887–1888, 1:154–160.
3. This sentence was revised in RC to read: “But whether this meets with the fate of some others or not, I am determined to congratulate you upon our present situation.”
4. RC here inserts a phrase in commas: “to all human appearance.”
5. RC has a full stop here and continues, without a paragraph break: “Their deserts they never can receive in this world, nor we inflict, but must submit them to that Being who will equally distribute both rewards and punishments, and who hath assured us that he will espouse the cause of the widow, the fatherless and the oppressed.”
6. RC: “their”–probably AA's intended wording in the draft, though she did not write it.
{ 365 }
7. RC here inserts a phrase in commas: “as the events of war are uncertain.”
8. This sentence omitted from RC, perhaps unintentionally.
9. RC reads, instead: “I hope before long you will be able to return to your native land with a heart truly American; as such, no one will rejoice more to see you than your affectionate friend and former correspondent.”
10. RC adds a sentence below signature: “If you can write to me with safety, a letter would be very acceptable.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0292

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-11-03

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

This Moment I received your favour of Octr. 6. by Mr. Niles.—I am as well as can be expected.
We have no News, but such as is old to you.
I congratulate you on the great and glorious Events in the northern Department. Congress have ordered a Thanksgiving, and have done great Honour to the Officers.1
We shall finish the Confederation in a few days.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed by JA in old age: “J.A. to A.A. Nov. 3. 1777.” The letter was written on a blank leaf torn from an earlier letter addressed to JA in an unidentified hand: “The Honble: Jo[ . . . ] in Congress.”
1. See the Journal for 31 Oct., 1, 4 Nov. (JCC, 9:851, 854–855, 861–862).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0293

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-11-10

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

As the delivery of this Billet cannot be attended with the disagreable allarm which the amiable Mrs. Adams some time ago suffered from a well meant but indiscretely-managed little Compliment of one of her Admirers,1 I improve this fair opportunity to congratulate her, thus, upon the late happy events at Saratoga, greatly important to the Public and, consequently, interesting to her patriotic mind. At the same time, I wish her many years continuance of that domestic Felicity which will be restored to her at the hour when she receives this written assurance of affectionate Esteem from her very humble Servant,
[signed] James Lovell
1. See Lovell to AA, 29 Aug., and AA's reply of 17? Sept., both above. The present letter was obviously brought by JA himself to Braintree; see the following letter and note 1 there.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0294-0001

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-11-14

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Here I am.–I am bound home.–I suppose it will take me 14 days, perhaps 18 or 20, to reach Home.–Mr. S.A. is with me.–I am tolerably well.1
The American Colours are still flying at Fort Mifflin.
The News on the other Side, is from a Merchant to his Partner.2

[salute] I am in great Haste, most affectionately yours.

RC (Adams Papers). Concerning the enclosure, if it can be truly called one, see notes 2 and 3.
1. On 7 Nov. JA and Samuel Adams were voted a “leave of absence to visit their families” (JCC, 9:880). On the 11th they set off from York and proceeded by way of Lancaster, Reading, and Bethlehem to Easton, meeting Francis Dana, who was on his way to help fill up the depleted Massachusetts delegation, near Reading; their route from Easton home is at least partly indicated in JA's fragmentary diary entries (Diary and Autobiography, 2:267–269). According to a letter he wrote James Lovell on 6 Dec. (LbC, Adams Papers), JA reached Braintree on 27 November.
2. This appears on the verso of JA's letter, which is written on an irregularly shaped sheet. Paper was scarce, and, although there is no evidence that the letter from “Eustatia” was read in Congress, JA may have copied it before leaving York and then found the blank side of the sheet convenient for writing his note to AA.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0294-0002

Recipient: UNKNOWN
Date: 1777-09-17

Enclosure: Extract of a Letter1

Business still continues dull but am in Hopes of a Speedy Change as it seems by the last Accounts from Amsterdam that a War with France and England is inevitable. Lord Stormont, the English Ambassador has left the Court of France,2 upon meeting with an unsatisfactory Answer relative to the French's supporting the Americans which they and the Spaniards are determined to do. And you may soon expect to see a Number of Vessells from his Christian and Catholick Majestyes Dominions in America with every necessary Supply for carrying on the War, and the King of Prussia has opened the Port of Mendin3 for the Americans to carry their Prizes in and to trade. Stocks fell in England 15 Pr. Ct. upon the Ambassadors leaving the french Court. I hope a french War may break out as it will be the Means of our making great Fortunes which I should be happy to acquaint you with.
1. The caption in the original reads: “Extract of a Letter from a G[entleman] { 367 } at Eustatia 17. Sept.” The editors have no certain clue as to who the writer was.
2. This was premature. Stormont was not recalled until March 1778.
3. Minden, on the Weser River, in Westphalia.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0295

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-11-16

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

In a Letter which came to me to Night you chide yourself for neglecting writing so frequently as you had done. Tis true a very long space of near a fortnight past, without my hearing one word from you. I cannot help feeling anxious when such a space elapses without receiving a line, but I have no reason to complain. You have considering your avocations been more attentive than I had reason to expect.

”Heaven sure taught Letters for some wretches aid,

Some banishd Lover or some captive maid.”

I have been more fearfull than formerly of writing by the post as I have never received a Letter from you by that conveyance since you left Philadelphia. Mr. Coleman brought me yours of October 25 and 26. You have before this time received from me one of the same date, since which I have not wrote. I have been too much mortified with a late expedition to write you any perticuliars concerning it. Indeed it was from the begining a subject of Burlesque, oweing I believe to the small opinion most people had of the Heroick talents of the commanders. It was call'd a secret Expedition to Newport. A fortnight before the troops marchd, there were by all accounts as fine a set of troops collected, as any spiritted commanders could have wishd for, and tis said for 20 Days the Island might have been succesfully (to all appearence) attacked. The publick are very angry as well they may be, and demand an enquiry.
I know you will be mortified, because it has been a favorite object with you—but if you want your Arms crownd with victory you should not appoint what General Gates calls dreaming deacons to conduct them.1
General Burgoine and his troops arrived last week in Cambridge—all seems to be quietness at present. From the southard we get no very authentick accounts. To day How and his whole Army are captives! To morrow they have got possession of our forts and weighd the Cheveaux de Frize.
{ 368 }
No News at all, our Mountabank Story of Captivating How and his Army is come to nothing.
The Southern Troops must have some assistance from the Northern before any thing very Brilliant will take place. Providence over rules all things for the best, and will work out our Salvation for us in the wisest and best manner—provided we perform our Duty.
My Brother has had the misfortune to be taken upon his return from a cruise up the Baltick. They had a valuable prize with them loaded with duck and cordage. He was captain of Marines on board the Tartar Capt. Grimes Master, and was carried into Newfoundland since which we have not heard from him.2
Now my dear Friend shall I ask you when you will return, a Question I have not asked you for these ten Months. Knowing your determination when you left me I have summond patience, and endeavourd to submit to my destiny. By the time this reaches you Eleven months will be Elapsed, and you I hope prepairing for your journey. It will be a tedious one I fear in the depth of winter, but let the thought of the cordial reception you will be assured of meeting warm the cold wintry blasts, and make your return joyfull.
You make no mention of receiving any Letters from me for a long time. I hope none have miscarried. I must beg you would write whilst you continue absent. We have had very great rains this fall, and severe cold weather for the Season. A flight of snow yesterday and to day as cold as January.

[salute] Adieu yours.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed in an unidentified hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Congress in Pensilvania”; endorsed (probably not contemporaneously): “Portia”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. Concerning the abortive expedition to Rhode Island, in which Deacon and Brig. Gen. Joseph Palmer commanded the Massachusetts militia, see note 2 on AA to JA, [5] Oct., above; also Cotton Tufts to JA, following.
2. On 12 July Capt. John Grimes' American Tartar attempted unsuccessfully to capture the Liverpool vessel Pole and was perhaps disabled in the engagement, which lasted several hours. For an account deriving from a Liverpool newspaper, see MHS, Colls., 77 (1927):73.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0296

Author: Tufts, Cotton
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1777-11-21

Cotton Tufts to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sr.

Sometime in September last I wrote to You,1 and am not a little anxious to know whether you receivd my Letter, as it was sent about { 369 } the Time You were removing from Philadelphia; In Your next to me or to Your Bosom Friend dont forget to inform me.
I congratulate You on Our Success to the Northward.—When I saw Burgoines Proclamation I read the Man, when I saw his Orders to Col. Baum I was confident that the Imagination of the Poet would work the Destruction of the Soldier. True it is that Vanity worketh a Lye.
You may be anxious no Doubt to hear of the Event of the Rhode Island Expedition. I wish it were in my Power to give You a satisfactory Accountt of it (that indeed is more than can be expected from those Conductors of it as some are pleased to say). It is said an Enquiry is making or hath already been made, why it prov'd abortive.
From what I can collect, The Failure principally arose from a Want of previous Preparations. When the Troops arrivd, Boats were wanting &c. &c. The Inlistment was but for a Month and by the Time every Thing was in readiness, the Enemy was reinforced and such Works erected by them as might require a regular Siege, which could not be entered upon without an Assurance of the Mens continuing untill the Conquest could be effected in that Way.—A fine set of Men composed the Soldiery, who were Zealous in the Cause and urgent for attempting, untill worried out by Expectations disappointed and by Measures ill conducted.

[salute] Adieu.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams Esq Member of the Continental Congress At York Town in the State of Pensylvania”; endorsed: “Dr. Tufts”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. On 18 Sept.; this letter is printed above.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0297

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-12-13

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear

Yesterday was as fine for Travell as ever occurred at this season of the Year.—I reached Ipswich, and lodged, at the House where I used to put up, old Mrs. Treadwells.1
This Morning I satt off, in a horrid cold Rain, and after getting wett through all my Coverings, I putt up at our Friend Mr. Tufts's, having no Courage to proceed farther.
Tomorrow Morning, I must proceed. Coll. Doane who was in a stage Coach and his son who was in a close sulky proceeded on, today.2
The fashionable Conversation all along the Journey is that Goods { 370 } are fallen and falling in Consequence of calling in the Money.3—I am—&c.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams At Mr. John Adams's Braintree To be left at Mr. Isaac Smiths in Queen Street Boston”; postal marking: “NP——2.”
1. For a lively sketch of her and her husband, Capt. Nathaniel Treadwell, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:38.
2. JA had been engaged by Col. Elisha Doane, a wealthy Cape Cod shipowner, and his son-in-law, Shearjashub Bourne, to defend them in a case about to come before a maritime court sitting in Portsmouth. The case was that of Penhallow and Treadwell v. Brig Lusanna and Cargo. Doane was the owner and Bourne had been supercargo of Lusanna, which had been captured by a New Hampshire privateer under circumstances strongly indicating that she had been trading with the enemy. The case was in the courts for many years because the question of the authority of the Continental Congress, as opposed to that of individual states, was at issue; it was not in fact settled until the United States Supreme Court rendered a final decision in 1795, which was in favor of JA's clients. But JA's connection with it was brief, his argument for the Doanes in Portsmouth in Dec. 1777 being probably his last appearance as a practicing lawyer. See his recollections of the trial as given in his Diary and Autobiography, 4:2–3, and the editorial note there. His MSminutes of the case are in M/JA/6, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 185, and will presumably be printed in JA, Legal Papers.
3. On 13 Oct. the General Court repealed the “regulatory” (or price-fixing) acts that had proved so objectionable and unworkable, and passed an act to draw in the state's badly depreciated bills of credit (Mass., Province Laws, 5:733–737).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0298

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1777-12-15

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

Your Letters arrived in the absence of Mr. Adams who is gone as far as Portsmouth, little thinking of your plot against him.1
O Sir you who are possessd of Sensibility, and a tender Heart, how could you contrive to rob me of all my happiness?
I can forgive Mr. Geary because he is a Stranger to domestick felicity and knows no tenderer attachment than that which he feel[s] for his Country, tho I think the Stoickism which every Batchelor discovers ought to be attributed to him as a fault.
He may retort upon me and ask if in such an Instance as this he is not the happier Man of the two, for tho destitute of the highest felicity in life he is not exposed to the keen pangs which attend a Seperation from our dear connexions. This is reasoning like a Batchelor still.
Desire him from me to make trial of a different Situation and then tell me his Sentiments.
But you Sir I can hardly be reconciled to you, you who so lately { 371 } experienced what it was to be restored to your family after a painfull absence from it, and then in a few weeks torn from it by a call from your Country. You disinterestedly obeyed the Summons. But how could you so soon forget your sufferings and place your Friend in a more painfull situation considering the Risk and hazard of a foreign voyage. I pittied the conflict I saw in your mind, and tho a Stranger to your worthy partner sympathized with her and thought it cruel in your Friends to insist upon such a Sacrifice.
I know Sir by this appointment you mean the publick good, or you would not thus call upon me to sacrifice my tranquility and happiness.
The deputing my Friend upon so important an Embassy is a gratefull proof to me of the esteem of his Country. Tho I would not wish him to be less deserving I am sometimes almost selfish enough to wish his abilities confind to private life, and the more so for that wish is according with his own inclinations.
I have often experienced the want of his aid and assistance in the last 3 years of his absence and that Demand increases as our little ones grow up 3 of whom are sons and at this time of life stand most in need of the joint force of his example and precepts.
And can I Sir consent to be seperated from him whom my Heart esteems above all earthly things, and for an unlimited time? My life will be one continued scene of anxiety and apprehension, and must I cheerfully comply with the Demand of my Country?
I know you think I ought, or you [would]2 not have been accessary to the Call.
I have improved this absence to bring my mind to bear the Event with fortitude and resignation, tho I own it has been at the expence both of food and rest.
I beg your Excuse Sir for writing thus freely, it has been a relief to my mind to drop some of my sorrows through my pen, which had your Friend been present would have been poured only into his bosome.
Accept my sincere wishes for your welfare and happiness and Rank among the Number of your Friend[s], Your Humble Servant,
[signed] AA
Dft (Adams Papers); undated; at head of text in JQA's hand: “to James Lovell,” to which CFA added: “1778.”
“I am charged by all those who are truly anxious here for the best prosperity of our affairs in France to press your acceptance of the Commission which has this day been voted you. The great sacrifices which you have made of private { 372 } happiness has encouraged them to hope you will undertake this new business. As one I hope that you will not allow the consideration of your partial defect in the Language to weigh any thing, when you surmount others of a different nature. Doctor Franklin's Age allarms us. We want one man of inflexible Integrity on that Embassy. . . . You see I am ripe in hope about your acceptance, however your dear amiable Partner may be tempted to condemn my Persuasions of you to distance yourself from her farther than Baltimore or York Town. [¶] Great as Brother Geary's hurry is he threatens to take his Pen in hand because I am not enough urgent with you; he feels all the Callosity of a Bachelor. I am but too ready to pardon his hard heartedness on this occasion where the eminent Interest of my Country is pleaded in excuse for him.” (James Lovell to JA, undated, but undoubtedly written on 28 Nov. 1777, Adams Papers.)
On 28 Nov. Henry Laurens, recently elected John Hancock's successor as president of the Continental Congress, wrote JA enclosing “an extract from the Minutes of Congress” in Charles Thomson's hand (letter and enclosure in Adams Papers), as follows:
“Congress proceeded to the election of a commissioner at the court of France in the room of S. Deane esqr. and the ballots being taken
“John Adams esqr. was elected
Extract from the minutes
[signed] Charles Thomson secy”
Though the Journal is, as usual, uninformative, it is known that the nomination of JA was made by Elbridge Gerry, who told Congress that he had sounded out JA on the subject before the latter left York. In a letter to JA of 29 Sept. 1779 (Adams Papers; printed in JA's Works, 9:491–496), Gerry told JA some of the story behind the nomination and the vote, which was between JA and Robert R. Livingston, who had been nominated by the New York delegates. By marking a copy of the Journals for 1777, called Volume III, just printed by Dunlap in Philadelphia, Gerry signified to JA who had voted for him (and by implication who had not). This marked copy is among JA's books in the Boston Public Library (shelfmark 200.1, vol. 3; see p. 547 therein). CFA recorded Gerry's tabulation of the vote in a note in JA's Works, 9:492. See also note 3 on JA to AA, 15 Dec., below.
2. This word editorially supplied.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0299

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Roberdeau, Daniel
Date: 1777-12-15

Abigail Adams to Daniel Roberdeau

[salute] Dear Sir

Your obliging favour came to hand yesterday in the absence of my dearest Friend, and as he will not I fear reach home before tis too late to write by the post, or this conveyance, I have venturd to take up the pen least you should accuse him of neglect or inattention.1
I have been the more readily induced to write as it gives me an opportunity of acknowledging with gratitude the many civilities which Mr. Adams assures me he received from you and your worthy Sisters whilst he was an inmate in your family.
Be pleased Sir to acquaint them that I shall ever retain a gratefull Sence of their kindness.
The fresh instance of your regard to my worthy partner, and the honour conferd upon him by the important Embassy to which you have deputed him, together with the Sympathy you discover for his { 373 } domestick happiness demands my warmest acknowledgments, tho I feel that the distinction given him by his Country must be at the expence of my present tranquility and happiness.
Taught both by his precept and example to sacrifice every private view to the publick good, ought I to say that I fear he will not be able to withstand the solicitations of his Friends upon this occassion, tho his partial knowledg of the Language will be an objection with him.
O Sir you who know as my dear Mr. Adams has informd me by melancholy experience, what it is to be seperated from one of the worthyest of women, and the dearest connexion in life, will forgive me when I say this is the hardest conflict I ever endured.
Danger and hazard, fear and anxiety will ever be uppermost in my mind, tho I have made use of his absence to prepare my mind for what I apprehend must take place least I should unnecessaryly embarras him.
I could easily su[r] mount the Dangers of the Sea and every other impediment, provided his tenderness would suffer me to accompany him.
At present he knows nothing of the appointment as the Presidents and all other Letters have come to my hand in his absence.
I shall endeavour as much as posible to leave him free to act <for himself> as he thinks best.
My most respectfull regards to Mrs. Climer and Roberdeau whom Mr. Adams always speaks of with the affection of a Brother. Love to Miss Nancy and the other little folks whose Names I have forgot. I must beg your Excuse for troubling you with this Epistle, and ask leave to subscribe myself your obliged Friend,
[signed] AA
Dft (Adams Papers); undated; at head of text in CFA's hand: “Jany. 1778.”
“Your domestick views of happiness was not consulted on this occasion, but the necessity of your Country for your Talents, which being devoted to her service, I expect a chearful acquiescence with a call so honorable, which I doubt not will prove a lasting honor to you and your Connections as well as a blessing to these States. . . . I wish you had improved the opportunity when here of studying the French language, which our friend Mr. Garry is now doing. I would advise your taking french books with you and a french Companion, and if an Opportunity does not immediately present from Boston a trip to the West Indies and a passage in a french vessel to Paris would be of considerable advantage” (Roberdeau to JA, “York Town,” Penna., 28 Nov. 1777, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0300

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1777-12-15

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear

I arrived here, last Evening, in good Health. This Morning, General Whipple made me a Visit, at the Tavern, Tiltons, and insists upon my taking a Bed at his House, in so very affectionate, and urgent a Manner, that I believe I shall go to his House.1
The Cause comes on Tomorrow, before my old Friend Dr. Joshua Brackett, as Judge of Admiralty. How it will go I know not. The Captors are a numerous Company, and are said to be very tenacious, and have many Connections; so that We have Prejudice, and Influence to fear: Justice, Policy and Law, are, I am very sure, on our Side.
I have had many Opportunities, in the Course of this Journey, to observe, how deeply rooted, our righteous Cause is in the Minds of the People—and could write you many Anecdotes in Proof of it. But I will reserve them for private Conversation. But on 2d Thoughts why should I?
One Evening, as I satt in one Room, I overheard Company of the Common sort of People in another, conversing upon serious subjects. One of them, whom I afterwards found upon Enquiry to be a reputable, religious Man, was more eloquent than the rest—he was2 upon the Danger of despizing and neglecting serious Things. Said whatever Person or People made light of them would soon find themselves terribly mistaken. At length I heard these Words–“it appears to me the eternal son of God is opperating Powerfully against the British Nation for their treating lightly serious Things.”
One Morning, I asked my Landlady what I had to pay? Nothing she said–“I was welcome, and she hoped I would always make her House my Home, and she should be happy to entertain all those Gentlemen who had been raised up by Providence to be the Saviours of their Country.” This was flattering enough to my vain Heart. But it made a greater Impression on me, as a Proof, how deeply this Cause had sunk into the Minds and Hearts of the People.—In short every Thing I see and hear, indicates the same Thing.3
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams Braintree To be left at Mr. Isaac Smiths Queen Street Boston.”
1. William Whipple (1730–1785), formerly a New Hampshire delegate to the Continental Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, had left Congress in June of this year to command state troops in the campaign against Burgoyne (Biog. Dir. Cong.). Ezra Stiles was in Portsmouth at this time and recorded conversations with JA at Whipple's (and elsewhere), in { 375 } which JA spoke very freely of persons and measures; see Stiles' Literary Diary, 2:236–238.
2. A word may be missing here, perhaps “discoursing” or “speaking.”
3. As JA recalled in 1806, it was “while I was speaking” in the Lusanna trial at Portsmouth that “Mr. [John?] Langdon came in from Phyladelphia and leaning over the Bar whispered to me, that Mr. Deane was recalled, and I was appointed to go to France. As I could scarcely believe the News to be true, and suspected Langdon [to] be sporting with me, it did not disconcert me. As I had never solicited such an Appointment, nor intimated to any one, the smallest inclination for it, the News was altogether unexpected.” To be sure, Gerry had mentioned this possibility just as JA was mounting his horse to leave York for home, but “I entreated him that neither [he] nor any one else would think of me” as Deane's successor, “for I was altogether unqualified” for that post, and thereafter, JA added, he quite dismissed the whole matter from his mind. (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:2–3.) Stiles in his Literary Diary (2:239) records the news of JA's appointment on 20 December. JA must have left Portsmouth that day or the day before, because he arrived in Boston on the 22d and received “Large Packetts from Congress” which AA had sent from Braintree in order for them to reach JA at the earliest possible moment. Getting home later the same day, JA made his decision at once and during the following two days answered—feelingly but affirmatively—all the official notifications and personal pleas he had received from York. See his letters of 23 Dec. to Henry Laurens, PCC, No. 84, I, printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:458 (LbC, Adams Papers, printed in JA's Works, 7:7–8), and to Elbridge Gerry, LbC, Adams Papers. Also his letters of 24 Dec. to R. H. Lee and James Lovell jointly as members of the Committee for Foreign Affairs (who had sent him his commission in a letter of 3 Dec., Adams Papers), PCC, No. 84, I, printed in Wharton, 2:459–460 (LbC, Adams Papers, printed in Works, 7:8); to Lovell personally, LbC, Adams Papers, printed in Works, 9:471; and to Daniel Roberdeau, LbC, Adams Papers. The letter to Laurens and the letter to Lee and Lovell jointly are formal acceptances. To Gerry, JA said: “You wish for the Concurrence of a certain Lady, in a certain Appointment.—This Concurrence may be had upon one Condition, which is that her Ladyship become a Party in the Voyage, to which she has a great Inclination. She would run the Risque of the Seas and of Enemies, for the Sake of accompanying her humble servant.–But I believe it will not be expedient.” To Lovell JA ruefully observed: “I should have wanted no Motives nor Arguments to induce me to accept of this momentous Trust, if I could be sure that the Public would be benefited by it.—But when I see my Brothers at the Bar, here, so easily making Fortunes for themselves and their Families, and when I recollect that for four Years I have abandoned myself and mine, and when I see my own Children growing up, in something very like real Want, because I have taken no Care of them, it requires as much Philosophy as I am Master of, to determine to persevere in public Life, and engage in a new Scaene, for which I fear I am very ill qualified. [¶] However, by the Innuendoes in your Letter, if I cannot do much good in this new Department, I may possibly do less Harm, than some others.” And to Roberdeau he communicated his doubts about his acquiring a speaking knowledge of French at so late an age: “I shall try the Experiment, however, and if I find any great Inconvenience by which the Public may be likely to suffer I shall ask Leave to return. [¶] I shall devote my Time henceforward, to the Acquisition of a Language, to which I am not a total Stranger, having had some Knowledge of the Grammer and Construction of it, early in Life, and having practised Reading something in [it] all along, but which however, I never before aimed at learning to speak.”
JA's decision to accept his appointment, though difficult, was speedy; indeed there seems never to have been any real question in either his or AA's mind about what that decision would be. Much more difficult to answer were the closely related questions whether AA would accompany him and which, if { 376 } any, of the children would accompany him or them. When John Thaxter left for York, Penna., two or three days after JA had returned from Portsmouth, he had the impression that JA would take not only AA but the two oldest children, AA2 and JQA, as well (Thaxter to AA, “York Town,” 20 Jan. 1778, below). But the very serious possibility of capture by the enemy at sea changed the Adamses' first tentative decision; and in the end only JQA, on his own plea, was permitted to sail with his father. See AA's letters printed under the present date, above, and others to family and friends in Feb.–March 1778, below; also, JA's Diary and Autobiography, 4:4-5, 15–16; and his conversations in old age recorded by Harriet Welsh: “I never would have gone any where without my Wife. Nothing but the deadly fear that I might be in the tower and she not permitted to be there with me prevented my taking her” (transcript in CFA's hand, Adams Papers, M/CFA/31, Microfilms, Reel No. 327).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0301

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-01-02

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dear Friend

Great Advantages are often Attended with Great Inconveniencies, And Great Minds Called to severe tryals. If your Dearest Friend had not Abilities to Render such important services to his Country, he would not be Called to the self Denying task of leaving for a time His Beloved Wife and Little pratling Brood. Therefore while I Weep with my Friend the painful abscence, I Congratulate her that she is so Nearly Connected with a Gentleman Whose Learning, patriotism And prudence qualify Him to Negotiate at Foreign Courts the affairs of America at this Very Critical period.
I think I know your public spirit and Fortitude to be such that you will Throw no Impediment in his way. Why should you. You are yet young and May set Down together many Years in peace after He has finished the Work to his own Honour, to the satisfaction of his Constituants and to the Approbation of his Conscience. You Cannot my Dear avoid Anticipating the Advantages that will probably Redound from this Honorable Embassy to Your self, to your Children and your Country.
But while I wish to say somewhat to support your Resolution and spirits Methinks somthing Wispers me within that you will justly say we are very Ready to Give advice when we but Illy practice upon the principles we lay down. True—but we may profit by the advice Though we despise the Weakness of the Adviser. Yet I have not so Ill an opinion of myself as to think were I just in your situation I shoud not strive for the Exertion of a Little Heroism upon such an Occasion.
I was in hopes we should have had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Adams at Plimouth before he left America. I should be very happy to see you together by my fire side if it was but for one day before { 377 } he Crosses the Atlantic, but if that Cannot be my best Wishes await him. Assure him that my Fervant prayer is that he May Experience the peculier protection of providence through Every stage of his useful Life.
But I think before we part I Must desire him to Look into A Letter from Marcia Dated March 1776 (if he has not Destroyed it) which will Remind him of a Certain Bargin which I Expect he will fulfill.1 His Excuse was once that he should Never be Called to the Different Courts of Europe. But I have seen Events so precipitated, and the Wheels of Revolution so Rapidly Move on, that I have Expected it for several Years. And if I am Notwithstanding His Vast Avocations Gratifyed with one Letter from the Court of France, however high I May Esteem the Indulgence, I shall not be More pleased with the Honour done me by the Embassadour of America, than obliged by this Mark of Friendship from Mr. Adams.
One thing More I Must beg you to assure him that if it is possible for me or mine to do any thing to Lessen the Inconvenience or pain of absence that His Portia or Her Children May suffer, He May Depend upon the Ready aid of His And Your Very Affectionate Friend,
[signed] Marcia Warren
RC (Adams Papers'); addressed: “Mrs. Adams.”
1. In a letter to her of 8 Jan. 1776JA praised certain “Characters” Mrs. Warren had drawn, and added: “I think I will make a Bargain with you, to draw the Character of every new Personage I have an Opportunity of knowing, on Condition you will do the same” (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.; Warren-Adams Letters, 1:201). In replying, 10 March, Mrs. Warren agreed to the bargain but said she would be the gainer by it: “I Expect to be made Acquainted with the Genius, the taste, and Manners, not only of the Most Distinguished Characters in America, but of the Nobility of Britain, And Perhaps before the Conflict is Ended, with some of Those Dignifyed personages who have held the Regalia of Crowns And Scepters, and in the Zenith of power are the Dancing Puppets of other European Courts” (Adams Papers). To the latter part of this prediction JA strongly demurred in a characteristic passage in his reply of 16 April, q.v. in Warren-Adams Letters, 1:223.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0302-0001

Author: Tufts, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-01-06

Samuel Tufts to John Adams

[salute] Hond. Sr.

Inclosed you have a letter from Saml. Moody Esqr. dated the 5th. Inst. came to my hands by his Brother, unsealed. You will therein read his propossals respecting your son. If you should send him, I shall be ready to offer him my Service so far as lays in my power, in any respect, to make his life happy in his Absence from his Friends.1
{ 378 }
The Owners and Agents of the Civel Usage have followed your Advice to me respecting the Unloading the Prize Brigantine Lafortune. As Capt. Bertrand declined giving his Consent to Takeing out the goods, had the goods been taken out upon her Arrival, I Imagine it would have been a means of saving many Thousands of Dollars to the Concerned. The Next Superior Court, Which you with Messrs. Lowell and Parsons will Attend in our behalf, Will (I suppose) decide the Dispute, between the Captain and those Concerned in the Prize.2—With my complements to Mrs. Adams and all friends, I am Sr. your Honor's Obedt. Hume. sert.,
[signed] Samll. Tufts
Mrs. Tufts desires her Compliments to be deliverd to Mrs. Adams &c.
RC (Adams Papers). Enclosure: Samuel Moody to Samuel Tufts, 5 Jan. 1778, printed herewith.
1. Samuel Moody (1726–1795), Harvard 1746, was the first master of Governor Dummer Academy in Byfield, founded in 1763, and during more than a quarter-century in that post acquired great repute for his success in preparing boys for Harvard and other New England colleges. His brother Joseph and wife “ran the academy farm and boarded the boys.” See Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 12:48–54; James Duncan Phillips, “Harvard College and Governor Dummer's School,” MHS, Procs., 69 (1947–1950): 194–206.
Doubtless JA discussed with Tufts (whose wife was a Moody) arrangements for placing JQA at Dummer Academy when JA stopped at Tufts' home in December. But the family's decision to let JQA accompany his father to Europe made any such plans obsolete.
2. Tufts had no doubt consulted JA on this case in December. He was acting as agent for the officers of the Civil Usage, Capt. Andrew Giddings, a Newburyport privateer, which in September had captured a French vessel, La Fortune, Capt. Yves Bertrand K'Enguen, carrying a cargo of British goods. The maritime court in Boston had condemned the cargo (though not the vessel) in Nov. 1777, but the French captain appealed to the Superior Court, which in its Suffolk session of Feb. 1778 upheld the previous decree. John Lowell and Theophilus Parsons represented Capt. Giddings when the appeal came on. See Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Book 103, Records, 1775–1778, fol. 203–205; MHS, Colls., 77 (1927):99.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0302-0002

Author: Moody, Samuel
Recipient: Tufts, Samuel
Date: 1778-01-05

Enclosure: Samuel Moody to Samuel Tufts

[salute] Dear Sir

With a very particular Satisfaction shall I take into our School and Family the Son of your respectable Friend Mr. Adams but as we are now so full and incumbered I believe it must be postponed till the 22 April after our Spring Vacation when he may be Chumm or Chambermate to the Son of the Hon. William Ellery of the State of Rhode Island. Our Pupils find their Bed and Bedding. Board a { 379 } Dollar per Week when Silver was our Currency and not more now allowing for the Difference of the Money. My Perquisite a Guinea in hard Money a Year which in Compassion to the present Times I reduced to less than that Sum in Paper Money. My Agreement with Mr. Shimmin is equivalent in Paper Money to a Guinea in Silver a Year. That your worthy Friend may have the full Completion of his Wishes in the present Accomplishment and Future Usefulness and Prosperity of his Son is the sincere Wish of My dear Sir Your assured Friend & hum. sert.,
[signed] Samuel Moody
The present fluctuating State of Things renders it impossible to be more explicit on the Subject. My Brother can be particular.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mr. Samuel Tufts In Newbury-Port.” Enclosed in Samuel Tufts to JA of 6 Jan. 1778, preceding.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0303

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-01-08

Mercy Otis Warren to Abigail Adams

Did I think it in my power to afford any Consolation to my Friend I Would Readily undertake the tender task and as she Request[s] offer many Arguments for her support. But is it Really Necessary to Muster up arguments to prevail with my dear Mrs. Adams to Consent to what she knows is Right, to what she is sensible will Contribute Much to the welfare of the public. No [surely?] she has Already Consented And I hope from the best Motives.
In your Late hasty scrip1 You ask 3 questions, Viz. what I think of a Certain appointment, what You ought to do, and what I would do. To the first I answer I think the Appointment most Judicious—and though we want his services hear I think the Stat Holder the best qualifyed of any man on the Continent to Represent the united States of America. By his penetrating Genius he May see through and Defeat the tricks of old statsmen and Courtiers at the same time He Gaurds against the Imbecility and Wickedness of more Modern politicians. To the second I Reply you Must be too sensible of the path that duty points out and the part you ought to act to stand in Need of the premonitions of Friendship. To your 3d question I have too Great a Regard to my own Character to [say]2 Frankly No, Yet am too suspicious of my own Heart positively to say Yes. Therefore must Leave it a Little problematical till further Examination and tryal.
I had some secret hopes that a Certain Embarkation would have { 380 } been made from Plimouth, but if there is a better place Layed you will with my best Regards bid your Friend Adieu in my Name, and suffer me to accompany your Every Good wish for his safty, success And happy Return.
I am sorry I Cannot supply you with the Little Articles you wrote for, but I Lend out of my own store 1/2 oz. of different threads just to keep you At Work till Either You or myself Can Get a Larger supply.
My son has no Cambrick. But there is A Frenchman here with whom I should have traded for you but he Cannot Yet Give me his price, and I dare not purchase at a Venture as he seems fully acquainted with the spirit of the Country, and knows no bounds to his Demands. If you will Limit me I will follow your Directions and purchase whatever You want. He has a Great Variety of those Luxeries we have been Fond off.
This European Commerce is Attended with some Inconveniences, for though we want their Cloathing, Warlike stores &c. &c., They Throw in upon us such an Innundation [of]3 useless Baubles, that the Wealthy may purchase, and the poorer Will, that I fear Their will be Little of that Frugality and Oeconomy so Necessary to support the Increasing public Burdens.
Since the Above was wrote I have been trying to trade with Monsieur, but find it will not do for Either of us. I Cannot Get a bit of Cambrick fit for your use under £4 per yd. Threads he has in plenty at 1/ per scain. I therefore send 10 scains of a sort from my Little stock till You Can do better.

[salute] With Great sincerity subscribes your Friend,

[signed] Marcia Warren
1. Not found.
2. This word editorially supplied.
3. This word editorially supplied.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0304

Author: Shaw, Elizabeth Smith
Author: Peabody, Elizabeth Smith Shaw
Recipient: Cranch, Mary Smith
Date: 1778-01-10

Elizabeth Smith Shaw to Mary Smith Cranch

[salute] My Dear Sister

I am very sorry I lost the Opportunity of conveying a Letter to Braintree by Mr. Thayer last week. We had company engaged to dine with us, expected Ladies to visit here in the PM and a very cold, short Day, when he called upon us. Otherwise I would have { 381 } perswaded him to have tarried while I wrote a few Lines and thanked you for your very kind enquiries after Madam and her Spouse.—I have the Pleasure of assuring you they are in fine Health, are exceedingly pleased with their Situation, have every thing they want, more than a Clergyman just entered into a Family could expect, in such perilous Times. She is as happy as she can, or ought to be, at such a distance from her dear Friends. You my Sister have experienced how much kindness, affection, and tender assiduity contributed to make you easy even in this particular; and Without these Cordials of Life, I should be miserable was I situated even in the midst of my numerous Friends.
You say I must give you an account of every thing a sister ought to know.—In the first place I will begin with our Family matters—Of which I cannot give you a very Economick Discription. In short we spend our Time in Eating, Drinking, sleeping, geting victuals, cleaning house, Dressing, receving, and returning Visits, like other fine Folks.—A dismal kind of life I hear you say. I acknowledge it. But while we are in this World, Society is essential to Man's happiness, and we are induced to conform, and suffer many things dissagreeable, for the sake of the Blessings, and the Comforts that flow from it. Charity, and Benevolence are thus spread from Family to Family, and Friendships are formed that soften the Cares, and mitigate the Ills of Life.
Among other things I suppose I must tell you what oppinion the People have formed of me. In general, they say my Character was very good, and they are no ways dissappointed, (thats clever). One says that I am a little heavenly body. Others are so favourable as to say “that she talks, and is as sociable as one of Us,” and the Children think that I am a dear pretty woman.–The People appear kind and hospitable, and as far as I can discern, no ways disposed to censure each other. If I live, I hope to gain their Affections, and to grow more and more worthy of their regards and Esteem.
Haverhill was once a beautiful and wealthy Town, flourished by Commerce, but now the best Families have quitted Trade, and live upon the Interest of their Money, which has greatly reduced their Estates.–This is now the Case of most populous Places.—I rejoice that you are out of them, and are the happy possessor of a long desired little Farm.
I am really troubled with Brother Adams for not returning from Portsmouth this way, it would have been but a few miles, if any, out of his way, and it would have rejoiced our Hearts to have seen him after so long an abscence. We congratulate Sister Adams however, { 382 } on his Health, and safe return, and wish that e'er long he may see Peace restored to the Commonwealth, and after toiling for the publick Good, enjoy unmolested, the sweets of domestic Life.
I want to hear from our Friends at Weymouth, how they do, whether Sister Smith has got to bed, and whether it is a son or Daughter.1 From my Father, from the Doctors Family, from Yours, from Sister Adams, from Miss Lucy, from Cousin Betsy, from Phebe, and all—every thing indeed that you, in exchange of places would wish to know.
This Day I was invited to a very elegant Entertainment at Mr. Duncan's, where I meet with Mr. Black from Boston who courted the once beautiful and amiable Polly Duncan, who instead of enjoying the fond endearments of a kind husband, lies now folded in the cold arms of Death. This is the dark side—a brighter Scene (from her Character) I trust she is the possesor of, than any earthly prospect could afford her.2
By this unhappy Lover, (for he had a tender and ardent affection for her) I propose to send a letter to Uncle Smith's, and from thence I hope it will soon be conveyed to my dear Sister, from Your truly affectionate
[signed] Eliza Shaw
PS My Love to Brother Cranch, and my little Cousins. Mr. Shaw desires to be remembered to every branch of my Connections.—When when shall I see them.
RC (DLC: Shaw Family Papers); docketed in Richard Cranch's hand: “Letter from Mrs. E. Shaw Jan. 10th. 1778.”
1. “Sister Smith” was the former Catharine Louisa Salmon (1749–1824), wife of William Smith, the writer's brother. The fourth of the Smiths' six children, Isaac, was born about this time, but neither his birth date nor much else about him is known to the editors. See Adams Genealogy.
2. Mary, daughter of James Duncan, a prominent Haverhill merchant, died on 31 Oct. 1777, aged 28 (Vital Records of Haverhill, Topsfield, Mass., 1910–1911, 2:387; George W. Chase, The History of Haverhill, Massachusetts, Haverhill, 1861, p. 452).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0305

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-01-10

John Thaxter to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

The morning after my arrival to this place, I waited on the President with your letter; upon reading of which, he informed me, that he did not think it in his power to give me the place which you so { 383 } kindly sollicited for me, but assured me he would use his Endeavours to procure some place for me.1 I then waited upon General Roberdeau and the Massachusetts Delegates, who gave me the same assurances. Mr. Lovell, who has been particularly friendly, advised me to write in the Secretary's Office for the present, till some other Employment could be found. In pursuance of his Advice, I have enter'd the Office, with an Allowance of fifty five Dollars pr. Month. Ten Dollars and better, I am obliged to give a Week for Board, besides paying a seperate Bill for washing. My board is cheaper than I could have expected from Mr. Lovell's Representation of matters; who says a Man must pay ten dollars for glancing at a Tavern, and ten or twelve Shillings a night for his horse's gnawing the Rack.—I am in great hopes something will turn up for me, in another department, or that my present allowance will be augmented; otherwise I must return home, as the present office will not support me.
Lord Cornwallis, it is said, was kill'd in an Action lately, in which the Marquiss de Fayette was engaged. The Report seems tolerably well founded. Dr. Rush says the following facts are well attested, viz., That an Officer was seen carried off the field, to a certain House—that about a fortnight after, a very elegant Coffin was carried to that House—that a most pompous funeral was made—and that the Officers of the Army wear black Crape on their Arms. The Doctor, however, is not positive. There is an Account also that his Lordship's baggage is on board the Vessel bound to England, but no Certainty of his being on board; it is said he is not.
Mr. Duchè is gone to England: very penitent, Dr. Rush says. The illiberal manner in which he has treated Congress and General Washington has excited some Emotions of Grief and penitence. This may be depended on.–Please to give my respects to Mrs. Adams and Love to the Children.

[salute] I am, Sir, your most obedient Servt.,

[signed] John Thaxter Junr.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr. thaxter”; docketed by CFA: “Jany. 10th. 1777.”
1. Thaxter had arrived at York after “a long, cold and tedious Journey of 16 days” from Hingham (Thaxter to John Thaxter Sr., 10 Jan. 1778, MHi: Thaxter Papers). He was armed with five letters of introduction from JA, all dated 9 Dec. and all found in Adams Papers, Lb/JA/1; they were directed to Pres. Henry Laurens, to three Massachusetts delegates (Dana, Gerry, and Lovell), and to Daniel Roberdeau; and they commended Thaxter's qualifications for a secretarial post in the office of the President or elsewhere. Laurens' reply (which is in his own hand, not that of a clerk) contains a paragraph sufficiently remarkable to be quoted here even though the full text will presumably be included in Series III of The Adams Papers:
“I desired that Young Gentleman to { 384 } call on me the Morning after he arrived intending to have conversed with him and to have aimed at some plan for procuring a suitable employment for him, but I found that by the Interest of his friends he had been introduced into the Secretary's Office. You may depend upon it Sir, if it shall hereafter be in my power, I will not fail to join those friends in order to give him a lift in proportion to his merit. For my own part long experience has convinced me that inaccuracy and confusion attend supernumerary Clerks in any Office. The duties of mine demand the Eye and hand of the principal and afford sufficient, oftentimes heavy employment for every moment between adjournments and Meetings of Congress, borrowing deeply of the Night and stirring very early every Morning but there is not half work enough for a Clerk who would have the whole day for the easy business of Copying which is all he ought to be entrusted with. I have a Young Man who serves me tolerably well in that branch and at intervals he finds other necessary work to do” (to JA, 15 Jan. 1778, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0306

Author: Roberdeau, Daniel
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-01-19

Daniel Roberdeau to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

So much good sense, prudence, conjugal affection and patriotism blended in your favor to me1 was a juster portraiture of the dear deceased, the subject of your compassionate sympathy, than I have met with, since the awful Catastrophe from which you borrow a comparison, to illustrate your feelings by anticipating a separation from your worthy partner my friend. Nor be offended at the comparison, which needs no apology, for truely She was “the worthyest of women” the loss of whom would beggar discription. But permit me to say your Subject will not bear a comparison. You may go with or follow Mr. Adams, at a more agreeable season, or suffer only a temporary separation whereas time fixes no limits to my sufferings. I most earnes[t]ly wish Mr. Adams may be long preserved a comfort to you and a blessing to his Country. I rejoice to find he purposes to go, and congratulate you on that fortitude of mind, which I presaged from your Letter, you have shown on the occasion. Please to accept the salutations of my Sisters and my thanks for your remembrance of my poor motherless Children. May yours be long blessed with maternal care, which cannot be supplied. I am with tender regard to your whole Household Dear Madam Yr. most obt. & very hume. Servt.,
[signed] Danl. Roberdeau
1. Printed above, from AA's undated draft, under the assigned date ca. 15 Dec. 1777.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0307

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-01-20

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

I am happy in having it in my power to furnish you with a Copy of Mr. Duche's Letter, which is inclosed, as also an Extract from the public Ledger of Sept. 10.
By the Journals it appears that Mr. Adams has accepted the appointment.1 The Appointment marks the Wisdom of Congress, and the Acceptation evinces his zeal in “the great and sacred Cause.” Upon those great and important Exertions which he will make in our favour, depend under heaven the salvation of an insulted Country. It is my sincere belief—I have long thought so, and still maintain it. It may have the Air of Adulation, but it is not. It is the effusion of a heart sincere at least in this. Adulation I offer to those whose breasts contain Altars to recieve its incense. He is possessed of all those qualifications requisite to fill the Station.
I presume your Ladyship accompanies him. It gives me great pain on your account to indulge an Idea to the Contrary.
It would give me great Satisfaction to see my very worthy friends and the two you mentioned that you should take if you accompanied Mr. Adams, before they set out [on] their Journey. I should part with them very reluctantly. I shall hereafter feel lost in Braintree, when ever I go there.
My Duty to your Father, and Uncle Quincy if you please, not forgetting other friends.
My Love to Miss Nabby, Master John, my little friend Charley, and Master Tommy.
I wish you a safe and an agreeable Journey Madam, if you go, as also Miss Nabby and Mast: John. I shall journey far with Mr. Adams and You in Idea.

[salute] I am, Madam, your most obdt. Servt.

[signed] J. Thaxter Junr.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “Janry. 20.” Enclosures: (1) Jacob Duché to George Washington, 8 Oct. 1777, copy in Thaxter's hand (in Adams Papers, filed under date of original); see JA to AA, 25 Oct. 1777, above, and note 3 there. (2) “Extract from the public Ledger of Sept. 10,” not found or identified.
1. JA's formal acceptance of his appointment as joint commissioner to France, in a letter to Pres. Laurens, 23 Dec. 1777 (RC in PCC, No. 84, I; printed in Wharton, ed., Dipl. Corr. Amer. Rev., 2:458||; also printed in Papers of John Adams||), reached York and was read in Congress on 19 Jan. (JCC, 10:64; Laurens to JA, 22 Jan., Adams Papers). But there was no public announcement.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0308

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-01-20

John Thaxter to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

Mr. Lovell informed me last Evening of your acceptation of the appointment; and also that he should send an express immediately to the Eastward with dispatches, by whom I write.1
I feel a mixture of joy and grief on this event. As a Patriot, I ought to congratulate my Countrymen upon it, as having thereby a glorious prospect of seeing the liberties of America supported by so able an advocate; but as an interested individual the event is exceedingly grievous—as thereby an invaluable friend and patron is lost to me for a time.
We are informed by Genl: Gates (who arrived here yesterday) that a general disaffection prevails mong the Canadians; Genl: Carleton, by scourging and bastinading 20 or 30 prisoners under the convention, has obliged them to enlist. By this Conduct, he has evidenced to the world that he is possessed of a Howe's humanity and a Burgoyne's faith. They are fit instruments for executing the wicked projects of the sanguinary Administration of Britain.
It is currently reported here that Genl: Lee is exchanged.2 A man, who saw him in New York, says, that upon asking the Commissary of Prisoners who the Genl: was exchanged for, was answered that it was none of his business, that he was exchanged and that was sufficient. The same man further adds, that the Genl: told him, that he should come out of New York in a day or two.
If there is any thing respecting your domestic matters that can be left to my Care, I will manage them with the utmost Cheerfulness and fidelity.
Permit me, Sir, after most sincerely wishing you a good———and that your life, health and Usefulness may be preserved, to subscribe myself, Your very hble. Sevt.,
[signed] J. Thaxter Jr.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Honble. John Adams Esqr. Braintree”; endorsed: “Mr. thaxter”; docketed by JA in old age: “Jan. 20 1778 Yorktown.”
1. Lovell's letter to JA of the present date, which originally enclosed numerous papers—mostly to be forwarded or to be carried by JA to France—is in Adams Papers.
2. A false rumor, like so much else that Thaxter reported from York at third or fourth hand.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0309

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-01-28

John Thaxter to John Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

One day last week a number of british waggoners, who were carrying Cloathing &c. to some of their soldiers in our power, had the honor of being introduced to a goal, for attempting to pass counterfeit money. These waggoners with a number of Serjeants of the enemy, were sent out by Genl: Howe, and permitted to pass by Genl: Washington's leave. When they arrived at Lancaster, they din'd or took lodgings there, and endeavoured to impose a counterfeit bill in payment of their reckoning. This induced some suspicions, that they might be furnished with some considerable quantity of said money; and upon examining their pockets, a pretty large Sum was found to be lodged there. The people, alarmed at this Villany, immediately applied to proper Authority to have these Villains confined. Upon which, they were apprehended and committed to close goal. The one that did actually pass the money, it is said, will hardly return a waggoner, before trial, to the General. If he is not hanged, I shall think Justice is hunted from our Courts.
Congress has adopted Retaliation at last; a copy of the resolution I have the honor to enclose you.1 I think it a debt of Justice and humanity our poor soldiers, in their power, have a right to think due to them. It would be needless to mention the Cruelty and Inhumanity that have been invariably and uniformly exercised towards them; it is a matter of too much notoriety. The delay of this measure has been construed into timidity. I hope they will now be convinced to the Contrary.
A most valuable prize has been taken by the Jersey Militia. She was bound to Philadelphia from New York. The ice obstructed the navigation up the Delaware in such a manner as to force her so near shore as give the militia an opportunity of firing Cannon balls from Reedy Island. Her Cargo consists of 300 hogsheads of loaf sugar, near 200 of Rum, a quantity of Tea and a number of other articles of English goods. There were 90 Soldiers on board.
Yesterday afternoon and this morning was spent by a Committee of Congress in hearing Doctors Shippen and Rush. Dr. Rush informed me this morning, that he imagined the favorite System of Shippen's would be essentially altered in consequence of it. Dr. Brown says in a letter, that one half of the soldiers that died last year, perished by the present medical Establishment. A shocking black picture indeed Dr. Rush painted. But by all accounts it is a just one. It is a { 388 } very melancholy reflection, that buildings erected for the relief and comfort of the sick and wounded, should become tombs to them. A bad System and a bad administration have produced great mischiefs in the Hospital. Peculation and embezzlement of Stores prevail as much in this department as in others. I do not alledge these things without authority or proof. They are facts too well authenticated.2
Please to give my respects to Mrs. Adams and love to the Children.

[salute] I am Sir, with great respect your very Hble Servt.,

[signed] J. Thaxter Junr.
RC (Adams Papers); docketed by JA in old age: “John Thaxter Jan 28 1778.” Enclosure not found; see note 1.
1. This was presumably the report of the Board of War brought in on 21 Jan. setting forth British mistreatment of American prisoners and recommending retaliatory measures (JCC, 10:74–81). It was to have been followed by a published manifesto, which, however, was not adopted until the following 30 Oct. (same, p. 81–82, and 12:1080–1082, 1281; see also Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 3:42–43).
2. Rush wrote Pres. Laurens on 25 Jan. offering to furnish proof for his charges against Dr. William Shippen's management of the Continental hospitals. On the 27th a committee was appointed to hear both doctors. The committee and Congress sustained Shippen, and on the 30th Rush resigned. See Rush's letters to JA, 22 Jan., 8 Feb., and to Laurens, 25, 30 Jan. (Letters, 1:190–194, 199–200); JCC, 10:92, 93–94, 101.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0310

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-02-13

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dearest of Friends

I had not been 20 Minutes in this House before I had the Happiness to see Captn. Tucker, and a Midshipman, coming for me.2 We shall be soon on Board, and may God prosper our Voyage, in every Stage of it, as much as at the Beginning, and send to you, my dear Children and all my Friends, the choisest of Blessings—so Wishes and prays yours, with an Ardour, that neither Absence, nor any other Event can abate,
[signed] John Adams
Johnny sends his Duty to his Mamma and his Love to his sister and Brothers. He behaves like a Man.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. Adams”; docketed in an unidentified hand.
1. The house of AA's uncle Norton Quincy was on his Mount Wollaston farm, in that part of Quincy Bay still known as Adams Shore, just east of where Black's Creek empties into the Atlantic. (This farm later passed into the possession of the Adamses, and here soon after the Civil War JQA2 built his { 389 } home called “Merrymount” from its proximity to the site of Thomas Morton's famous maypole. See CFA2, Three Episodes, vol. 1: chs. 10–19. A state highway marker has been placed near the site of the maypole.) Norton Quincy's house is pretty accurately located, by a building called “Quinzey,” on “A Plan of the Town and Chart of the Harbour of Boston” in the Gentleman's Magazine for Jan. 1775, which is reproduced in the first volume of the present work.
2. Capt. Samuel Tucker (1747–1833) commanded the Boston, a 24-gun Continental frigate launched at Newburyport in June 1776 (DAB; Dict. Amer. Fighting Ships). His instructions from the Navy Board in Boston concerning this voyage are printed in JA's Works, 3:94, note. There is implied if not explicit evidence in JA's papers, comparatively scanty as they are at this time, that his appointment as joint minister and particularly his sailing arrangements were kept as secret as possible, no doubt in order to avoid alerting British cruisers in New England waters. This may well be the reason why he embarked at Braintree rather than Boston. It will be noted from subsequent letters (and there are others in the files to the same effect) that JA left for France without taking care of pressing legal business and that some of his close friends and family connections did not know of his appointment until after he had sailed.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0311

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-02-13

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dearest of Friends

I am favoured with an unexpected Opportunity, by Mr. Woodward the lame Man who once lived at Mr. Belchers, and who promises in a very kind manner to take great Care of the Letter, to inform you of our Safe Passage from the Moon head, on Board the ship.1—The seas ran very high, and the Spray of the seas would have wet Us, but Captn. Tucker kindly brought great Coats on Purpose with which he covered Up me and John so that We came very dry.—Tomorrow Morning We sail.—God bless you, and my Nabby, my Charley, my Tommy and all my Friends.

[salute] Yours, ever, ever, ever yours,

[signed] John Adams
1. JA's term “Moon head” is puzzling, but from various sources it is known that he and JQA walked from Norton Quincy's across Hough's Neck (the peninsula that forms Quincy Bay on the southeast) to a barge which took them to the Boston lying in Nantasket Roads. See AA to Thaxter, 15–18 Feb., following; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:269–271;4:6–7. The fullest contemporary record of the voyage is JA's own Diary, beginning in vol. 2 as just cited, supplemented by Tucker's log (quoted in editorial notes on the Diary entries) and also by the retrospective account in JA's Autobiography, beginning in vol. 4 as cited.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0312

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Thaxter, John
Date: 1778-02-15

Abigail Adams to John Thaxter

[salute] Dear Sir

I little thought when you left me, that so much time would have Elapsed before I had taken my pen to write to you, but indeed Sir my Hands and my Heart have both been full. My whole Time has been taken up in prepareing my dearest Friend, and Master John for their Voyage, and yesterday they Embarked from this Town, the place you well know, Hofs Neck.2 I think the wind has been fair for them to day, but they have not yet saild. I hope before I close this Letter to acquaint you that they are gone, tis a mortification to me to have them one day inactive. Since they are seperated from me I long to know that they are making the best of their Way to their desired Haven.
And now cannot you immagine me seated by my fire side Bereft of my better Half, and added to that a Limb lopt of to heighten the anguish. In vain have I summoned philosiphy, its aid is vain. Come then Religion thy force can alone support the Mind under the severest trials and hardest conflicts humane Nature is subject to.

“Religion Noble comfort brings

Disarms our Greifs or Blunts their Stings.”

You were not ignorant of the agitation of my mind upon this occasion. The World may talk of Honour, and the ignorant multitude of profit, but sure I am no Consideration weighd with me, but the belief that the abilities and integrity of Your Friend might be more extensively usefull to his Country in this Department at this perticuliar time, than in any other. I resign my own personal felicity and look for my satisfaction in the Consciousness of having discharged my duty to the publick.
My desire was you know to have run all hazards and accompanied him, but I could not prevail upon him to consent. The Dangers from Enemies was so great, and their treatment to prisoners so inhumane and Brutal, that in case of a Capture my sufferings would enhance his misiry, and perhaps I might be subjected to worse treatment on account of my connection with him. These arguments prevaild upon me to give up the favorite wish of my Heart. Master John was very happy in his pappa's consent to accompany him, But young as he is a Mothers Heart will feel a thousand Fears and anxieties upon the occasion. There are many snares and temptations, I hope some of the { 391 } worst [of] which on account of his age he will be likely to escape. Yet there are many very many which may stain his morals even at this early period of life. But to exclude him from temptation would be to exclude him from the World in which he is to live, and the only method which can be persued with advantage is to fix the padlock upon the mind.
I have to acknowledg the Recept of your very obliging favour of Janry. 10th, and the papers which accompanied it.3 Mr. Duche has acquired immortal fame by his performance if fame consists in being talked of, but tis a fame similar to what I have heard of a Man who murderd his Friend that he might not die unnoticed.
It gives me pleasure to see so distinguished a Genious as Mrs. Macauly Honourd with a Statue, yet she wanted it not to render her Name immortal. The Gentleman who erected it has sullied the glory of his deed by the narrow contracted Spirit which he discovers in the inscription, and if a Quotation from Lord Lyttleton (as I understand it) it is a pitty that what was meant to perpetuate the memory of that Lady should cast a shade upon the character of that Nobleman for whom heretofore I have had a great veneration. Even the most Excellent monody which he wrote upon the Death of his Lady will not atone for a mind contracted enough to wish that but one woman in an age might excell, and she only for the sake of a prodigy. What must be that Genious which cannot do justice to one Lady, but at the expence of the whole Sex?4
It is really mortifying Sir, when a woman possessd of a common share of understanding considers the difference of Education between the male and female Sex, even in those families where Education is attended too. Every assistance and advantage which can be procured is afforded to the sons, whilst the daughters are totally neglected in point of Literature. Writing and Arithmetick comprise all their Learning. Why should children of the same parents be thus distinguished? Why should the Females who have a part to act upon the great Theater, and a part not less important to Society, (as the care of a family and the first instruction of Children falls to their share, and if as we are told that first impressions are most durable), is it not of great importance that those who are to instill the first principals should be suiteably qualified for the Trust, Especially when we consider that families compose communities, and individuals make up the sum total. Nay why should your sex wish for such a disparity in those whom they one day intend for companions and associates. Pardon me Sir if I cannot help sometimes suspecting that this Neglect { 392 } arises in some measure from an ungenerous jealosy of rivals near the Throne—but I quit the Subject or it will run away with my pen.
Present my Regards to Mr. L[ovel]l and tell him I will compound with him for the Robbery he has lately been accessory to, since his motives were such as I cannot condemn, if he will permit you to communicate to me all the News and intelligence from your Quarter of the world which may be communicated to a Woman. Tell him I have a large share of Grandmother Eves curiosity and have had a very indulgent partner, but being deprived of him I claim some small right of knowledge from others.—I feel very lonely and miss you more than ever.5 The Boston saild a Sunday morning 6 o clock with a fair wind.
This Moment a Letter is deliverd me from on Board the Boston.6 I will note the contents and tell you.
They are these, that they got on Board safe tho the Sea ran very high, and that they saild on Sunday, but a Snow Storm obliged them to put in to Marble Head, from whence they saild a twesday since which I know they have had fair weather and a fine wind. I dont know whether you know it, but I am governd by impulces a little, and cruel as the Seperation is I receive some comfort from a secret impulse that they will have a short and favourable passage. God Grant it is my fervent prayer.

[salute] You must write me by every opportunity unless discouraged by the length of this Epistle from Your Assured Friend,

[signed] Portia
PS Enclosed you will find a Letter from your old Friend.7 All the young folks desire to be rememberd.
RC (MHi: Waterston Coll.); addressed: “To Mr. John Thaxter York Town”; endorsed: “Mrs. Adams 15th. Feby. 1778.” Dft (Adams Papers); incomplete and dated only “Saturday”; at head of text in JQA's hand: “to John Thaxter Yorktown Pa.,” to which CFA added: “Feby. 1778.” There are numerous small variations in phrasing between Dft and RC, but they have not been recorded here. Enclosure not found; see note 7.
1. AA's letter was almost entirely composed, in draft form, on Saturday the 14th, the day after JA and JQA had gone on board the Boston. She copied it fair, so far as her draft extended (see note 5) on Sunday the 15th, but in doing so she did not correct her reference to the embarkation “yesterday” (i.e. Friday the 13th). The last three paragraphs of text in RC, together with the postscript, must all have been added on Wednesday the 18th after AA heard from Marblehead that the Boston had sailed from there on Tuesday the 17th.
2. Hough's Neck; see note on preceding letter.
3. AA means Thaxter's letter to her of 20 Jan., above.
{ 393 }
4. All this relates to an incident in the life of Catharine (Sawbridge) Macaulay that caused a good deal of talk in England at this time and evidently also in America, where she had many admirers. In 1777 her generous but eccentric patron, Rev. Dr. Thomas Wilson, rector of St. Stephen, Walbrook, London, caused to be erected in his church (where he seldom officiated because he resided mostly at Bath) a white marble statue of her as Clio, leaning on the five stout volumes of her History. Whatever the merits of the statue, which was by a well-known sculptor, J. F. Moore, and heroic in its proportions, the vestry of St. Stephen's did not like it where it was and demanded its removal. Wilson eventually acceded, having lost some of his interest in Mrs. Macaulay after she married, in Dec. 1778, a 21-year-old surgeon's mate named William Graham. In 1872 the statue was given to the town of Warrington and placed in its town hall. A photograph of it is reproduced in Lucy M. Donnelly's article, “The Celebrated Mrs. Macaulay,” WMQ, 3d ser., 6:173–207 (April 1949).
The inscription of which AA speaks here was on a marble table at the base of the statue: “You speak of Mrs. Macaulay; She is a Kind of Prodigy! I revere her Abilities; I cannot bear to hear her Name sarcastically mentioned; I would have her taste the exalted Pleasure of universal Applause; I would have Statues erected to her Memory; and once in every Age I could wish such a Woman to appear, as a proof that Genius is not confined to Sex; but at the same time—you will pardon me—We want no more than One Mrs. Macaulay. 'Late Lord Lyttelton's Letters to Mrs. Peach,' p. 114.” There is reason to believe that the quotation from Lord Lyttelton was spurious. On the whole incident see the article on Mrs. Macaulay in DNB, and the very detailed and careful communications of Robert Pierpoint in Notes and Queries, 11th ser., 1 (1910):101–103, 142–144.
5. Dft breaks off here at foot of page with the phrase: “—a Sunday morning Six.”
6. One can only suppose that this was a letter from JA, written from Marblehead when the Boston sailed from there; but it has unaccountably not survived. See AA to JA, 8 March, below.
7. Not found. In a letter to AA from York on 13 March (Adams Papers), Thaxter mentions receiving “letters from Mr. Adams and master John,” presumably written before they left Braintree.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0313

Author: Lowell, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-02-22

John Lowell to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

I am not displeased that the Call of Business obliges me to address you at this Time, and gives me an Opportunity of expressing my sincere good Wishes, that Mr. Adams's Voyage may be agreable, and happy; I am sensible that the Prospect of so long a Seperation must be painfull to you, the tender social Connection which you have so highly enjoyed, must make the Struggle hard, but the Consideration that he is called to so honourable an Employment in the Service of his Country, I doubt not will greatly alleviate your Trouble. If during his Absence I can be of any Service in your Affairs, I hope you will command me freely, and be assured I shall be highly gratified in executing your Commands.—Judge Tyng of Dunstable will be the Bearer of this, there were two Actions of considerable Importance in one of which he was Plaintiff, and in the other Col. Eleazer Tyng, { 394 } both against Dr. Gardner and others.1 Mr. Adams was engaged for Dr. Gardner, and by the Clerks Minutes divers Papers filed in these Causes, were delivered to Mr. Adams, if they are at Braintree Judge Tyng will be obliged if you will let him look into them, and see whether some, which he must otherwise seek after, are among them. I do not propose, that Judge Tyng should take them as he was not Mr. Adams's Client, but if you will send them to Mr. Tudor there can be no Inconvenience as he is engaged on the same Side with Mr. Adams.

[salute] I am with most Esteem your most obedt. Servt.,

[signed] J Lowell
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams In Braintree.”
1. The cases were John Tyng v. Silvester Gardiner et al. and Eleazar Tyng v. Silvester Gardiner et al. (Eleazar was John's uncle; see sketches in Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, at 5:651–653, and 7:595–601, respectively.) They were part of the complex litigation over the Maine lands of the Plymouth or Kennebec Company, in which JA had been involved for some years before the Revolution; see his Diary and Autobiography, 1:54; 2:5–6; 3:280–282; and also a collection of printed tracts and MSS in the Robert Treat Paine Papers (MHi), mounted in a volume and labeled “Tyng v Gardiner / Kennebeck Purchase.” The particular cases to which Lowell alludes were subject to repeated delays and were in the courts until 1785, when, at length, the record of the Supreme Judicial Court reads: “Neither party appears.” See the letter immediately following, and Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Books 99, 105; Supreme Judicial Court, Minute Book 56; Records, June-Nov. 1785, fol. 21. Paine acted for the Kennebec Company in the later stages of this litigation.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0314

Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-02-23

—— —— to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

Mr. Adams for a long time has been engaged by the Kennebeck Company in a cause in which Colo. Tyng is a Party, which was reduced in one or more points to a special Verdict and was to have been argued this Court, but unfortunately being deprived of Mr. Adams to conduct the cause, by his sudden departure for France, the matter is suspended untill April, to give us time to provide for the debate.
When I had the pleasure to see Mr. Adams in Town he expected to conduct the cause and I gave him a Copy of the special Verdict, which with any other papers he may have left should be glad you will send by Colo. Tyng who will be so good as bring them to Boston.
I am not without expectations that Mr. Adams has left some minutes of importance to the Company as he promised me in consequence of his recommending Mr. Tudor to be joined with him, to confer with Tudor on the subject in dispute, who informs me he has { 395 } had no opportunity for it, and therefore hopes to be assisted by his advice on paper.1
If Mr. Adams has not mentioned any thing on this head to you, probably he did to the Young Gentleman who studied with him; should be much obliged to you to desire him to make sarch and if he finds any thing to seal it up and send it by this opportunity.
I sincerely hope Mr. Adams will have a safe and pleasant Passage; and that the consideration that he may be extensively usefull to his Country will console you who are more entimately connected, and his other Friends, in the absence of so agreable a Companion.

[salute] I am with great respect Your most obedint hum. servt.

RC (Adams Papers). Signature omitted inadvertently, but this doubtless indicates that the body of the letter is in a clerk's hand, prepared for another to sign. The intended signer was either a partner or agent of the Kennebec Company and may have been James Bowdoin. The tone and substance of the letter both suggest Bowdoin, but since he did not sign it and the clerk's hand has not been identified, this is only a plausible conjecture.
1. In R. T. Paine's collection of papers on Tyng v. Gardiner (see note on preceding letter), there are a few notes in JA's hand which may or may not be the “minutes” here inquired for.
So secret and “sudden” had been JA's preparations and departure that as late as 11 Feb. his friend and colleague William Tudor had written him from Cambridge: “Col. Henley waits upon You to engage You as Council upon the Prosecution against him by Genl. Burgoyne. Should You appear for him, which I hope You will, I would wish for an Opportunity of talking with You on the Subject. . . . Can You not come to Boston on Thursday or friday?”
(Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0315

Author: Storer, Hannah Quincy Lincoln
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-02-24

Hannah Quincy Lincoln Storer to Abigail Adams

I have often thought of You My good friend, and as often wish'd to See You, and did flatter Myself that I should injoy that happiness before Mr. A——departure. I am really Sorry that I was so unfortunate as to be absent from home when your first friend call'd to see Me. You Must Surely have call'd up all your Philosophy to Stand the Shock of his Absence a Second time for a Year.—Will My owning a truth lessen Me in your Esteem, if I thought it would, I Shoud be cautious how I confessed it. Indeed My good friend, I am Not so Stanch a friend to My Country as I find You are, for upon Examineing My heart I can't [say]1 that I should be willing to Make Such S[acrifices] as I think you have done. I hope that My patriotism will Never be proved in the way that Yours has, for I am confidant, that I should Make but a poor Figure in the like Situation.
{ 396 }
I had wrote thus far a few days back, but interruptions of Various kinds prevented My proceeding, and Now I have only time to Let My Worthy friend know that it would afford great pleasure both to Mr. Storer and Me to See you with your Children at the habitation, where I know that you'd receive a Sincere Welcome. I can [write]2 No More at present but am
[signed] H. Storer
P.S. Mr. Storer presents his Respects. My Love to Miss Nabby, and a[lso] to C——, T——.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams In Braintree.”
1. Here and immediately below, MS is torn by seal.
2. This word editorially supplied.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0316

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Lovell, James
Date: 1778-03-01

Abigail Adams to James Lovell

[salute] Dear Sir

I am greatly allarmed and distressd at the intelligence from Bordeaux, with regard to Dr. Franklin, which if true must be attended with very serious consequences. I had just acquired fortitude sufficent to withstand the dangers of the Sea and open and avowed Enemies, but was not prepaird for the assassinateing knife of a Ravellick.1—Is there no method that congress can take to chain these infernal Emissarys, and render the persons of their Commissioners safe? Indeed Sir I wanted not this additional terror to heighten my anxiety.2
I want words to express my indignation at this black and infamous deed. Such a barbarous act of cruelty and injustice must fill every mind with horrour and can be eaqueld only by the “Macedonian Madman and the Sweede.” Must a Man so Respectable as the Dr., known and revered throughout Europe both as a Philo[so]pher and a Statesman, whose only crime is that of defending the rights and privileges of his Country, be meanly assassinated for fulfilling the first of duties. O Britain can the Lusture of former deeds, or the Splendor of high atchivements blot out such baseness or cover such cruelty. May all Nations detest thee and the indelible Stains of this Haughty Tyrants Reign decend upon his posterity even to the third and fourth Generation.
I should be very much obliged to you Sir if you would let me know by the first opportunity what foundation you have for this report, tis said that it comes confirmd in a Letter from you. You cannot wonder at my concern when what I hold dearest on Earth is embarked in the same hazardous enterprize.
{ 397 }
Your Letters of the 8 and 10th of Febry. have just arrived.3 Those which accompanied them I deliverd to General Warren to be forwarded by the first opportunity.
Tell Mr. G[err]y that if my heart was more at Ease I would rally him upon his Defence of Batchelors. I am sure he can shine in a good cause, but I will not affront his abilities so much as to take this as a Specimen of them.
When ever any perticulars arrive with regard to this black affair I must beg of you to acquaint me with them. They cannot add too, but may possibly Mitigate the anxiety of your Friend & Humble Servant,
[signed] Portia
1. François Ravaillac assassinated Henry IV of France, 1610 (Century Cyclo. of Names).
2. The “intelligence” that so agitated AA was a news story published in the Boston Gazette, 23 Feb., p. 3, col. 1: “A Letter from Bourdeaux of December 12, mentions, That the illustrious Patriot Dr. Benjamin Franklin has been assassinated in his Bed-Chamber, at the Instance of Lord Stormont. The Villain left him for dead; but one of the Doctor's Ribs prevented the Stab from being instantly fatal, and he lay in a languishing Condition when the Vessel sail'd that brings this Account.” This rumor was not discredited for more than a month; see Thaxter to AA, 31 March, below, and Lovell to AA, 1 April 1778 (Adams Papers).
3. These were both addressed to JA and are in Adams Papers.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0317

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Storer, Hannah Quincy Lincoln
Date: 1778-03-01

Abigail Adams to Hannah Quincy Lincoln Storer

My dear Mrs. Storers obliging favour was handed me to day. It found me with an additional Weight of anxiety upon my mind. I had been just able by the force of philosophy and I would fain hope by nobler Motives, to acquire a sufficent Stock of fortitude to support me under the most painfull Seperation I have yet been call'd to endure, when last Mondays paper gave me a Shock that I was not armd against.
Against an open and avowed Enemy we may find some guard, but the Secret Murderer and the dark assassin none but that Being without whose Notice not a Sparrow falls to the ground, can protect or secure us. My own solicitude1 will not avail. When I was call'd to this trial, I asked not my Heart what it could, but what it ought to do, and being convinced that my Friend might be more extensively usefull in this department at this perticuliar time than in any other, hard as the Struggle was I consented to the Seperation. Most willingly { 398 } would I have hazarded the danger of the Sea to have accompanied him, but the dangers from Enemies was so great that I could not obtain his consent.
You have a sympathetick Heart, and have often I dare say compasionated your Friend who feels as if she was left alone in the world, unsupported and defenceless, with the important weight of Education upon her hands at a time of life when the young charge stand most in need of the joint Efforts and assistance of both parents. I have sacrificed my own personal happiness and must look for my Sati[s]faction in the consciousness of having discharged my duty to the publick. Indulge me my Friend when I say few people have so valuable a treasure to resign, none know the Struggle it has cost me. Tender as Maternal affection is, it was swallowed up in what I found a much stronger, nor had it, its full opperation till after the departure of my Son when I found a larger portion of my Heart gone than I was aware of.
I was in hopes that a few Months would releave me from a Large Share of anxiety by the happy tidings of the safe arrival of my Friend, but a new Source of Distress has opened to my view. I was not aware of the assasinating knife of a Ravelick. Join with me my Friend in Suplications to Heaven for the safety of my Friend, and for the success and faithfull discharge of the important trust committed to him.
I rejoice in the happiness of my Friend, tho my own felicity is over cast. I little thought so much time would have elapsed before I had the pleasure of seeing her in her own habitation. She has left a vacancy here which cannot be supplied, but I will not regret it since she has contributed to the happiness of a worthy Man, and a deserving family—to whom as a peculiar Blessing of Heaven may she long be continued which will contribute much to the happiness of her affectionate
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers); at head of text in CFA's hand: “March 1778.”
1. MS: “solicituted.”

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0318

Author: Cooper, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-03-02

Samuel Cooper to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Madam

Many besides my self partake with you in the Sollicitude you express respecting our dear Friend; for no Man could carry with him more of the ardent good Wishes of his Country than Mr. Adams did. { 399 } His Merit is great in denying himself so much for the Service of his Country, and your's not a little in giving up so much domestic Happiness for the Sake of this Service. Heaven, I trust, will protect and reward you both. I deferr'd till this Time answering your Letter,1 in Hopes of an exact Copy of the Account you refer to, but have not been able to procure it; I remember, however, all the material Circumstances distinctly. Mr. Purveyance, a Gentleman of Character in Maryland, writes to his Friend at Congress, that Capt. Moore had arriv'd there from France, which he left the 12th. Decr.; that on the Day before he sail'd the Governor of the Place where he was receiv'd Dispatches from Paris, among which was an Account that Dr. Franklin had been assassinated by an Emissary, as was suppos'd, of L[ord] Stormont, who got into his Chamber, stabb'd him with a Knife, left him for dead, and made his Escape; but the Knife striking upon a Rib, it was hoped the Wound was not mortal. The Governor's Secretary gave this Account to Capt. Moore. Nothing can be more just than your Reflection on the Horror of this Deed. How many keenly feel the Weapon that pierc'd the Bosom of a Franklin! But this Assassination at once heightens his own Glory, and the Infamy of our Enemies; and the Abhorrence and Indignation it cannot fail to excite, must prove in the End highly advantageous to our Cause, and to the future Safety of our Friends in that Quarter: for it must unavoidably produce such Precautions on all Sides, and particularly in the Court of France, as to render the illustrious Sufferer himself, should he survive, as well as all his Colleagues, more secure than ever from such Attempts. It is in this Way I sooth my own Mind upon so affecting an Occasion, and would alleviate the Anxiety of your's.
The Sentiments and Expressions of your Letter have given me so much Pleasure that I cannot but wish to have it repeated as often as your Leisure will allow; and must beg you to command me in ev'ry Thing in which I can be suppos'd capable of doing you the best Service.
I am, Madam, with particular Regard, Your Friend and humble Servant,
[signed] Saml: Cooper
Mrs. Cooper and my Daughter remember you in the most affectionate Manner.
1. Not found. AA had presumably asked Cooper to inquire more closely into the origin of the story of Franklin's supposed assassination. See, further, James Lovell to AA, 1 April 1778 (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0319

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-03-06

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Madam

Your much esteemed favor came to hand this day, in which you inform me of the departure of your “dearest Friend.” I sincerely wish for your sake it had been convenient and safe for you to have accompanied him: But the danger you mention must, I think, have made the voyage disagreeable and had the event taken place, doubly aggravating on his part.—I can picture to myself the separation and your present situation; but it is too affecting a picture. My feelings are exceedingly interested. I feel the force of sympathy sensibly on the occasion. But let the consideration of its being a sacrifice to the glorious American Cause draw a shade o'er this affecting Picture, and Religion, which supplies the place of weak failing philosophy, on which you rely not, support you. To this source you have applied to blunt the edge of keen anguish—the sincerity of the application must ensure those consolations which “disarm grief or blunts it's stings.” The principle, on which you assented to his departure, was noble, and marks that zeal and attachment to the cause of our country, which has so eminently distinguished you. Honor or profit weighed not with either of you, I am certain. Let the inadvertent and ignora[n]t amuse themselves with the rattle of Honor and profit. Time will convince them that far more noble and disinterested principles actuated the bosom of him who under heaven, is securing and will be securing and establishing that Independance which haughty Britain compelled us to avow.
A sacrifice like this is almost without parallel. But I will no longer dwell on a subject, which must wound that exquisite sensibility which your delicately susceptible mind is possessed of.
You will pardon me Madam for not writing oftener when I tell you that I have been in suspense ever since you had thoughts of going. I did not know till I received your letter, but that you was gone. I will now trouble [you]1 often with my Scrolls.
I cannot pass over that part of your agreeable favor which contain some strictures on the statue of [Mrs.]2 McCaulay, and the difference in point of Education between [male] and female, without an acknowledgment of the justice of the observations. They are so ingenious, and at the same time so just, that if complaisance did not suggest silence, Reason would tell me that the subterfuges of sophistication would be defyed in breaking silence and attempting to explain them { 401 } away. After mentioning that our sex wish a disparity, you subjoin a suspicion that Jealousy of rivalship is the foundation of the neglect of your sex. Madam, I am positive it is too often the case. It is an “ungenerous Jealousy” as you justly term it.
General Burgoyne and his family have leave to embark for England. This was in consequence of a representation of his ill state of health. He is desirous of going to the Baths in England—he thinks the only method of saving his life—he has tried the Bath often he says with success. He gives his parole and the officers of his family to return and redeliver themselves when called upon.
Congress will not recede from their resolutions of the 8th. of Jany. for suspending the embarkation of the troops. There is nothing they say in his last long argumentative letter sufficient to induce them to recede.3
<[ . . . ]>4 My duty is excessively laborious—eight, ten or twelve hours in the day at the pen. This York Town is a vile quarter. The streets and its Dutch inhabitants are happily assimilated.
Remember me to all friends—your little remaining flock. Poor Johnny is gone you tell me. I think he is now laying the foundations of a great man.
I hope to be honored with your further correspondence, and believe me when I say there was sufficient encouragement in the last for the perusal of many however long, yet to be sent to Your most obedient & very humble Servant,
[signed] J T.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “March 16 [sic].”
1. This word editorially supplied.
2. Here and immediately below, MS is torn by seal.
3. The report of a committee recommending that the embarkation of Burgoyne and his army be suspended “till a distinct and explicit ratification of the convention of Saratoga shall be properly notified by the court of Great Britain to Congress” was adopted by Congress on 8 Jan. and is printed with the accompanying resolves in JCC, 10:29–35. This action had been preceded and was to be followed by a controversy which still continues in historical discussions of the “Convention troops” and their fate. Burgoyne's remonstrance mentioned by Thaxter was in a letter to Congress of 11 Feb., in PCC, No. 57, printed at p. 73–76 in Charles Deane's still valuable memoir on the Convention of Saratoga, Amer. Antiq. Soc., Procs., Oct. 1877, p. 12–77. On 3 March Congress voted to permit Burgoyne and his immediate military family to sail home on parole (JCC, 10:218).
4. One or two sentences at the beginning of this paragraph were heavily scratched and blotted out, probably but not certainly just after they were written. They cannot now be read.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0320

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1778-03-08

Abigail Adams to John Adams

Tis a little more than 3 week[s] since the dearest of Friends and tenderest of Husbands left his solitary partner, and quitted all the fond endearments of domestick felicity for the dangers of the Sea, exposed perhaps to the attack of a Hostile foe, and o good Heaven can I add to the dark assassin, to the secret Murderer and the Bloody Emissary of as cruel a Tyrant as God in his Riteous judgments ever sufferd to Discrace the Throne of Brittain.
I have travelled with you over the wide Atlantick, and could have landed you safe with humble confidence at your desired Haven, and then have set myself down to have enjoyed a negative kind of happiness, in the painfull part which it has pleased Heaven to allot me, but this intelligance with Regard to that great Philosopher, able Statesman and unshaken Friend of his Country, has planted a Dagger in my Breast and I feel with a double Edge the weapon that pierced the Bosom of a Franklin—

“For Nought avails the Virtues of the Heart

Nor tow'ring Genious claims its due Reward

From Britains fury, as from Deaths keen dart

No worth can save us and no Fame can guard.”

The more distinguished the person the greater the inveteracy of these foes of Humane Nature. The Arguments of my Friends to alleviate my anxiety by perswading me that this shocking attempt will put you more upon your Gaurd and render your person more secure than if it had never taken place, is kind in them and has some weight, but my greatest comfort and consolation arrisses from the Belief of a Superintending providence to whom I can with confidence commit you since not a Sparrow falls to the ground without his Notice. Were it not for this I should be misirable and overwhelmed by my fears and apprehensions.
Freedom of sentiment the life and soul of Friendship is in a great measure cut of by the Danger of Miscarrages, and the apprehension of Letters falling into the hands of our Enemies. Should this meet with that fate may they Blush for their connextion with a Nation who have renderd themselves infamous and abhorred by a long list of crimes which not their high atchivements nor the Lusture of former Deeds, nor the tender appellation of parent nor the fond connextion which { 403 } once subsisted, can ever blot from our remembrance or wipe out those indellible stains <of their> cruelty and baseness.1 They have engraven them with a pen of Iron and Led in a Rock forever.
To my dear Son Remember me in the most affectionate terms. I would have wrote to him but my notice is so short that I have not time. Injoin it upon him Never to Disgrace his Mother, and to behave worthy of his Father. Tender as Maternal affection is, it was swallowed up in what I found a stronger, or so intermingld that I felt it not in its full force till after he had left me. I console myself with the hopes of his reaping advantages under the carefull Eye of a tender parent which it was not in my power to bestow upon him.
There is nothing material taken place in the politicall world since you left us. This Letter will go by a vessel for Bilboa from whence you may perhaps get better opportunities of conveyance than from any other place. The Letter you deliverd to the pilot came safe to hand.2 All the little folks are anxious for the Safety of their Pappa and Brother to whom they desire to be rememberd—to which is added the tenderest Sentiments of affection and the fervent prayers for your happiness and Safty of Your
[signed] Portia
Dft (Adams Papers). RC, sent by a vessel bound for Bilbao, has not been found, was never acknowledged by JA, and therefore probably never reached him.
1. Thus in MS. The sentence is defective, but only because it is not clear which words AA would have omitted and which she would have let stand in her fair copy.
2. His second letter of 13 Feb., above, sent from the Boston in Nantasket Roads, or a missing letter sent from Marblehead when the Boston sailed from there? See AA to Thaxter, 15–18 Feb., above.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0321

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-03-21

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

[salute] Dear Ma'am

I am to thank you, in my own name, and on the public account, for that exercise of laudable patriotic prudence, which you have modestly termed the “Freedom” of inclosing to me Mr. McCreary's letter to your worthy Husband.1 I read it in Congress, and I think it will be useful to the commercial Committee. The same Gentleman wrote to Mr. Adams in Sepr. some interesting history,2 of which he gave me a copy, just before he undertook his late vast Sacrifice to his Country's Wellfare.—I fear I shall have wounded you by carrying { 404 } your mind back to a day which you ought to strive to forget, by confining your imagination strictly to that of your future reunion: but, your billet under my eye, by developing your character, made my pen mark the expression “vast Sacrifice,” while my heart acknowledged its individual portion of the debt of gratitude, which our Mr. Adams may charge against the Public.
All the intelligence which we received from France, about the period of Mr. McCreary's letter, was of the same tenor; our friends in Martinique wrote in like style on Decr. 3d.; but, on the 28th. of that month and the 26th. of January we have an ecclaircisement of the gallic finesse. The most open protection is afforded to our trade, privateers are fitted out, and their prizes not only sold, but a duty of 1 pr. Ct. regularly paid upon their cargoes towards the governmental revenue. The Governor of Antigua has no resource left but impotent threats to the General at St. Pierres of the Resentment that may arise in the breast of his Britannic Majesty, when the affair is properly represented. I suspect that England will more easily draw France in to open War by talking about Reconciliation than by boasting of subduing us by force. Louis thinks the latter impossible: his only fears are about the former.
I cannot give you any thing agreable from this neighbourhood. I cannot promise you that we shall owe our prosperity to our own spirit and preperations, in any degree comparable to what we shall owe to the Enemy's embarrassments and the unmerited favour of Providence, but, our hope of the latter is hardly supported in a ballance by the Justice of our Cause, counteracted by the selfish spirit of the Times: Justly may I be turned to the Parable of the Beam and Mote while I beg you to count me among yr. affectionate humb Servant[s].
1. AA's letter to which Lovell is replying has not been found. In the Adams Papers, however, is a paper in AA's hand containing copies of two letters to JA from William McCreery at Bordeaux, 10 and 25 Oct. 1777, the substance of either or both of which AA may have furnished to Lovell. There is no record in the Journal that they were read in Congress. Concerning McCreery, a Maryland merchant who had some acquaintance with JA and had recently established himself in Bordeaux, see JA's Diary and Autobiography, 2:293–294, and passim; also AA to JA, 18 May (Adams Papers). JA and McCreery corresponded for some years on commercial matters.
2. This may refer to McCreery's letter to JA from Nantes, 29 Sept. 1777 (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0322

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-03-31

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

[salute] Madam

Since I wrote you last,1 the mystery of blank Dispatches being sent by Capt. Folgier from France has been developed. One Capt. Hinson (who was honored with Dr. Franklin's confidence) was guilty of the treachery and robbery. Hinson it seems was to have brought the Dispatches if Folgier declined. But when he found that Folgier accepted the trust, he, from his knowledge of the position and, I believe, nature of the dispatches, was not put to any difficulty which to select for Stormont. He carried the dispatches from the Dr. to Havre de Grace where Folgier was. There was a circumstance which render'd Hinson's conduct rather suspicious previous to the delivery of the packet containing the dispatches. He went to a certain place after he found that Folgier was determined to take charge of them, where it is conjectured he took such papers as he wanted. Folgier says he was at a loss to conceive what he could have to do at that place with the Dispatches. However the affair is now unfolded, and it is beyond the reach of doubt that he robbed the packet at said place.2
How few men, Madam, have virtue enough to withstand the temptation of a glittering bribe. May it not shelter this perfidious wretch when apprehended, from the hand of strict Justice. The secret machinations and subterfuges as well as the open assaults of our enemies are to be guarded against.
Men of inflexible fidelity and uncorrupted virtue should only be employed, and honoured with the confidence of our Commissioners. Such [men]3 will be hereafter engaged.
It gave me great uneasiness to find your apprehensions alarmed respecting the attempt on Dr. Franklin's life; I have now the pleasure to inform you that the report appears to be without foundation. Mr. Lovell will write you particularly about the matter4 as also the foreign news, which I would have done myself the pleasure of transmitting you, had he not with great cheerfulness undertaken the business himself. I will postpone my congratulations till the agreeable and important news receives an authentic confirmation from proper authority.5
It comes, says the gentlemen6 at Martinico, through so many channels, that the most incredulous cannot doubt. The General of Martinico pays full credit to it, altho, he has not received any particular advices. The proposal of Ld. Chatham for an accomodation, and the relinquishment of that Independence which American virtue first established, and still supports with unabated fortitude, will produce { 406 } some serious deliberations in the cabinet of Versailles if America inclines to accede to it. The French Court will defeat the possibility of an accomodation says the Gentlemen at Martinico. America will not easily be flattered or frightened into an accession. Lord Chatham is a great and good man I sincerely believe, but I must subjoin with great deference to his Lordship, that he is a stranger to American politicks, if he thinks to mediate an accomodation upon that footing.

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

[signed] J T.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree”; endorsed: “March 31.”
1. Since his letter of 6 March, above, Thaxter had written to AA on the 7th, the 13th, and the 21st. None of these except the last was of much moment, but in that letter he gave a long paraphrase of Burgoyne's “argumentative” letter to Congress of 11 Feb., with critical comments thereon. The letters of the 7th and 13th are in the Adams Papers; that of the 21st is in MHi: Thaxter Papers, is incomplete, and may be a retained copy.
2. The story of the “blank Dispatches,” innocently brought to Congress in January by Capt. John Folger, is told in detail by Lewis Einstein in Divided Loyalties, Boston and N.Y., 1933, p. 55–71. The originals, being a large packet of letters from the American Commissioners in France, had been stolen and taken to London by Joseph Hynson, a Marylander who had been very confidentially entrusted with the dispatches by Silas Deane but who was in the pay of the British secret service.
3. MS torn by seal.
4. See Lovell to AA, 1 April (Adams Papers).
5. This may be the first hint of the proposals by the British ministry that developed into the famous but wholly abortive Carlisle conciliatory mission. Contrary to Thaxter's present assurance, Lovell did not think himself at liberty to discuss this highly secret matter outside Congress so soon and so freely as the young clerk in the Secretary's office did. For a connected and authoritative account of the British conciliatory mission of 1778, see Carl Van Doren, Secret History of the American Revolution, N.Y., 1941, chs. 3–4.
6. Thus in MS, here and below.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0323

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Shaw, Elizabeth Smith
Recipient: Peabody, Elizabeth Smith Shaw
Date: 1778-03

Abigail Adams to Elizabeth Smith Shaw

I was meditating a Letter to my dear Sister when her agreable favour2 reachd my Hands. Tho my own felicity is over cast, I can rejoice in that of my Friends and tis with pleasure I hear of your Health and happiness which are very dear to me.
The Scene which I have had to pass through, and in which you so kindly sympathize has put to the full proof all my fortitude and patriotism, and required the aid and assistance of a still nobler motive to bear up and support the pained anxious mind.

“Religion noble comfort brings

Disarms our Greifs or blunts their Stings.”

{ 407 }
Known only to my own Heart, is the Sacrifice I have made, and the conflict it has cost me. Call'd by the unanimous voice of his Country to an Embassy important to America and attended with much greater difficulties than tis prudence to represent—willing to resign all his domestick felicity and to devote fame, fortune and life to the Service of his Country, he bid defiance to ease, affluence and the allurements of ambition on the one hand and pushd forward against the threats of Calamity on the other. Satisfied as I was that his integrity and abilities were calculated to do essential Service at this critical season, I was determined to resign my own personal felicity and happiness and at all Events to bring my mind to acquiese in the cruel Seperation from the dearest conexion on Earth—a connexion formed early in life, matured by age and strengthend by the virtues of a Heart all my own, a Seperation for an unlimitted time, if it should please Heaven to preserve his life—seldom like to hear from him, unable to afford him any assistance in case of sickness, exposed to the Dangers of the Sea, to the open assaults of Enemies, and O Good Heaven, perhaps to the dark assassin and secret Murderer.
In this conflict my Heart has sufferd a distress which words cannot discribe and which nothing could alleviate but a confidence in that Being without whose notice not a sparrow falls to the ground.
The infamous attack upon the life of a Man so respectable as Dr. Franklin is a convincing proof that no regard is paid even to venerable age dignified by virtue, and distinguished by abilities which do honour to humane Nature.

For Nought avails the virtues of the Heart

Nor tow'ring Genious claims its due reward

From Britains Fury as from Deaths keen dart

No Worth can save us and no fame can guard.

Tis with a double edg I feel the weapon that pirced the Bosome of a Franklin. Nor can I refrain from imprecating the just vengance of Heaven upon the base and diabolical Counsels of a Nation who have not only deprived individuals of happiness, but by their cruelty, Rage and rapine laid waste oppulent cities, populus Towns, fruitfull villigaes and pleasent Feilds, but reduced to misiry and famine the widow, the Fatherless and the orphan. No former atchivements of Glory, illusterious deeds nor high renown can wipe out the indelliable stains dyed with Rivers of American Blood, and shed by the hands which ought only to have been lifted for her protection.
But I quit the subject and return to my own private affairs. I am { 408 } endeavouring to put the Farm I am in possession of out of my Hands which will releive me from a load of care, and be more Beneficial to my Interest I believe than to struggle along as I have done from year to year. If I effect this I hope to be more at leisure to visit my Friends. One of the first visits will be to Haverhill.
Our Worthy parent was well this day and in good Spirits. The Roads have been so bad that I have not been to Weymouth since I saw you. I have but a few enducements to encounter difficulties to visit a place which has but one link left of a chain which once bound me to it.
Remember me in affectionate Terms to Mr. S[ha]w, who I dare say from the sympathetick Soul he possesses has participated in my anxiety—and to my Little Neice who I compasionate that she has not a Father whom she can Honour.3 I thank my Sister for her Remembrance of a Nephew who I hope will never disgrace his parents or bring shame upon his relations. He mantaind a manly firmness at parting tho his Sister and Brothers burst into Tears. I need not add that the Mothers Heart is dissolved at the recollection, yet what ever it pleases Heaven to allot me the knowledg of your happiness will always give joy to Your Sister,
[signed] A A
Dft (Adams Papers); at head of text in JQA's hand: “to Mrs. Elizabeth Shaw. Haverhill,” to which CFA added: “March 1778.”
1. This letter was answered by Mrs. Shaw on 5 April (Adams Papers).
2. Not found.
3. The “Little Neice,” presumably staying with the Shaws at the time, was one of the daughters of AA's and Mrs. Shaw's brother, William Smith. This is the first indication in the Adams correspondence—there will be many more and quite explicit indications later—that William was delinquent toward his family.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.