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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2

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.