A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
close

Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2


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