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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2


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).
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/