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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2


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.
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/