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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0132

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail (daughter of JA and AA)
Date: 1777-03-17

John Adams to Abigail Adams 2d

[salute] My dear Daughter

I hope by this Time, you can write an handsome Hand; but I wish you would, now and then, send a Specimen of it, to Philadelphia to your Pappa, that he may have the Pleasure of observing the Pro• { 179 } ficiency you make, not only in your Hand Writing, but in your turn of Thinking, and in your Faculty of expressing your Thoughts.
You have discovered, in your Childhood, a remarkable Modesty, Discretion, and Reserve; I hope these great and amiable Virtues will rather improve, in your riper Years. You are now I think, far advanced in your twelfth Year—a Time when the Understanding generally opens, and the Youth begin to look abroad into that World among whom they are to live.—To be good, and to do good, is all We have to do.
I have seen, in the Progress of my last Journey, a remarkable Institution for the Education of young Ladies, at the Town of Bethlehem, in the Commonwealth of Pensilvania. About one hundred and twenty of them live together under the same Roof; they sleep all together, in the same Garrett every night. I saw one hundred and Twenty Beds, in two long Rows, in the same Room, with a Ventilator about the Middle of the Ceiling, to make a brisk Circulation of the Air, in order to purify it of those gross Vapours, with which the Perspiration of so many Persons would other wise fill it. The Beds and Bed Cloaths were all of them of excellent Quality, and extreamly neat.—How should you like to live in such a Nunnery? I wish you had an opportunity to see and learn the curious Needle Work, and other manufactures, in Flax, Cotton, Silk, silver and Gold which are carried on there. But I would not wish you to live there. The young Misses keep themselves too warm with dutch Stoves, and they take too little Exercise and fresh Air to be healthy.—Remember me, with the tenderest Affection to your Mamma and your Brothers. I am with inexpressible Affection, your Father.
LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Miss Nabby.” RC not found, but a normalized text of it was printed in AA2, Jour. and Corr., 2:5–6.

Docno: ADMS-04-02-02-0133

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1777-03-17

John Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] Charles

How do you do?—I hope you are in fine Health and Spirits. What Subject do your Thoughts run upon these Times. You are a thoughtfull Child you know, always meditating upon some deep Thing or other. Your Sensibility is exquisite too. Pray how are your nice Feelings affected by the Times? Dont you wish for Peace—or do you wish to take a Part in the War?
Have you heard of the ill Nature and Cruelty of the Enemies of your { 180 } Country, in New Jersey, both to their Prisoners and to the Inhabitants, their wickedest Friends, as well as their most honest foes?—If you have I believe your Resentment is so high as to wish yourself grown up, that you might draw your Sword, to assist in punishing them.
But before you are grown up, I hope this War will be over, and you will have nothing to study but the Arts of Peace. If this should be our happy Lott, pray what Course of Life do you intend to steer? Will you be a Lawyer, a Divine, a Phisician, a Merchant, or what? Something very good and usefull I think you will be, because you have a good Capacity and a good Disposition. Dont loose a Moment, in improving these to the best Advantage, which will be an inexpressible Satisfaction to your Mamma, as well as to me.
Are you a Mechanick? Charles? If you are not, ask your Brothers John and Thomas whether they are? Do you make your own Boats, and Whirligiggs, and other Toys? If you have a Genius for these noble Arts, you would be pleased to see what I saw at Bethlehem, a Pump, which has been constantly going for near Twenty Years, by Water, which forces up into the Air, to the Hight of an hundred feet through a leaden Pipe, Water enough to supply the whole Town. After rising to its utmost Hight it is carried by leaden Pipes, round the whole Town and into the very Kitchen of every Family in it. The Water is admirably sweet, soft and pure. It serves to wash and for all other Purposes, and saves a vast deal of labour to the Women, Maids and servants. Ask your Unkle Cranch how such a surprizing thing can be done with so much Ease and at so little Expence. Ask him too whether a similar Pump at New Boston,1 might not be made by means of a Wind Mill to supply that whole Town, which has always hitherto suffered, by bad Water, and very often for Want of Water?—I am your affectionate Father.
1. That is, on Beacon Hill in Boston; the western part of the town was commonly called New Boston at this time (Shurtleff, Description of Boston, p. 125).
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.