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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0002

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1776-06-02

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Yesterday I dined with Captain Richards, the Gentleman who made me the present of the brass Pistolls. We had Cherries, Strawberries and Green Peas in Plenty. The Fruits are three Weeks earlier here than with you, indeed they are a fortnight earlier on the East, than on the West side of Delaware River. We have had green Peas, this Week past, but they were brought over the River from New Jersey to this Markett. There are none grown in the City, or on the West side of the River yet. The Reason is, the Soil of New Jersey is a warm Sand, that of Pensilvania, a cold Clay. So much for Peas and Berries.
Now for something of more Importance. In all the Correspondencies I have maintained, during a Course of twenty Years at least that I have been a Writer of Letters, I never kept a single Copy.2 This Negligence and Inaccuracy, has been a great Misfortune to me, on many Occasions.—I have now purchased a Folio Book, in the first Page of which, excepting one blank Leaff, I am writing this Letter, and intend to write all my Letters to you in it from this Time forward. This will be an Advantage to me in several Respects. In the first Place, I shall write more deliberately. In the second Place, I shall be able at all times to review what I have written. 3. I shall know how often I write. 4. I shall discover by this Means, whether any of my Letters to you, miscarry.
If it were possible for me to find a Conveyance, I would send you such another blank Book, as a Present, that you might begin the Practice at the same Time, for I really think that your Letters are much better worth preserving than mine.3 Your Daughter and Sons will very soon write so good Hands that they will copy the Letters for you from your Book, which will improve them at the same Time that it relieves you.
RC and LbC (Adams Papers). LbC is the first entry in Lb/JA/2 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 90), one of two folio volumes that JA had recently purchased from William Trickett, “STATIONER & BOOKBINDER from London,” in Front Street, Philadelphia. (Trickett's trade card is among the illustrations in the present volume.) In the first of these JA began entering { 4 } letters relative to public affairs; the second he reserved for family letters, mainly to AA.
1. In LbC the date is preceded by “Philadelphia,” and this is the case in many of the letterbook copies that follow in 1776. Omission of the place in recipients' copies, like the omission of the writer's signature, was a device of concealment, springing from JA's experience with the famous ||first and second|| intercepted letters of July 1775.
2. Substantially but not literally true. A few retained drafts and copies of JA's letters prior to this date have been found among his papers, some of them in his Diary.
3. AA kept a letterbook for only a brief period, 1779–1780, and then only fitfully; see Lb/JA/9 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 97).

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0003

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1776-06-03

Abigail Adams to John Adams

I received by Mr. Church a few lines from you; I wish to hear from you every opportunity tho you say no more than that you are well. I feel concernd least your cloaths should go to rags having nobody to take any care of you in your long absence, and then you have not with you a proper change for the Seasons. However you must do the best you can. I have a suit of homespun for you whenever you return. I cannot avoid sometimes repineing that the gifts of fortune were not bestowed upon us, that I might have injoyed the happiness of spending my days with my Partner. But as it is, I think it my duty to attend with frugality and oeconomy to our own private affairs, and if I cannot add to our Little Substance yet see that it is not diminished. I should enjoy but little comfort in a state of Idleness, and uselessness. Here I can serve my partner, my family and myself, and injoy the Satisfaction of your serving your Country.
I wish you would write me what I had best do with our House at Boston. I would advertise it if you think best. There are so many Houses torn to peices and so many others abused that I might stand a chance of Letting it perhaps as it is in so good repair.1
My Brother is desirous of Joining the Army again, but would chuse to be a field officer. I have mentiond him to some of the House and suppose he will be recommended to congress, for a commission. I hardly know where you will find Men to form the Regiments required. I begin to think population a very important Branch in the American Manufactorys.
I enclose a List of Counsel.2 The House consists of more than 200 & 50 Members. Your former pupil A[ngie]r comes from Bridgwater, and 5 others. I hope they will proceed in Buisness with a little more Spirit than Heretofore. They are procuring two row Gallies, but when { 5 } they will be finished I know not. I thought they were near done, but find to day they are not yet contracted for. All our Gentery are gone from Nantasket road except the commodore and one or two small craft.
Every thing bears a very great price. The Merchant complains of the Farmer and the Farmer of the Merchant. Both are extravagant. Living is double what it was one year ago.
I find you have licenced Tea but I am determined not to be a purchaser unless I can have it at Congress price, and in that article the venders pay no regard to congress, asking 10. 8. and the lowest is 7.6 per pound. I should like a little Green, but they say there is none to be had here; I only wish it for a medicine, as a relief to a nervious pain in my Head to which I am sometimes subject. Were it as plenty as ever I would not practice the use of it.
Our Family are all well. It has been reported here that congress were going to remove 40 miles beyond Philadelphia. I gave no credit to the report, I heard no reason assignd for it. I had much rather they would come a hundred miles nearer here.

[salute] Adieu—Yours.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed in John Thaxter's hand: “To The Honble: John Adams Esqr. at Philadelphia To the Care of Coll. Warren” ; docketed in one or more hands. For the enclosure see note 2.
1. The state of the Adamses' Boston house after the British occupation is much less favorably described in AA's letter to JA of 20 Sept., below.
2. Not found. AA probably sent the list of members of the new Council as printed in the Boston Gazette of this date.
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/