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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2


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.”
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/