Adams Family Correspondence, volume 1

John Adams to Abigail Adams, May 1772 JA AA


John Adams to Abigail Adams, May 1772 Adams, John Adams, Abigail
John Adams to Abigail Adams
My Dr. Plymouth May Saturday 17721

I take an opportunity by Mr. Kent, to let you know that I am at Plymouth, and pretty well. Shall not go for Barnstable untill Monday.

There are now signs of a gathering Storm, so I shall make my self easy here for the Sabbath. I wish myself at Braintree. This wandering, itinerating Life grows more and more disagreable to me. I want to see my Wife and Children every Day, I want to see my Grass and Blossoms and Corn, &c. every Day. I want to see my Workmen, nay I almost want to go and see the Bosse Calfs's as often as Charles2 does. But above all except the Wife and Children I want to see my Books.

None of these Amusements are to be had. The Company we have is not agreable to me. In Coll. Warren and his Lady3 I find Friends, Mr. Angier4 is very good, but farther than these, I have very little Pleasure in Conversation. Dont expect me, before Saturday.—Perhaps Mrs. Hutchinson may call upon you, in her Return to Boston, the later End of next Week or beginning of the Week after.

Pray let the People take Care of the Caterpillars. Let them go over and over, all the Trees, till there is not the appearance of a nest, or Worm left.

John Adams

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For Mrs. Adams Braintree Pr. favr. of Mr Kent.”

84 1.

Probably written on 23 May. The Superior Court session at Plymouth had begun on the 19th; that at Barnstable was to begin on the 26th.


Charles, second son and fourth child of JA and AA, had been born on 29 May 1770. See Adams Genealogy.


James and Mercy (Otis) Warren of Plymouth, for many years the warm friends and intimate correspondents of the Adamses. See DAB under both Warrens; also the letter immediately below, and Warren-Adams Letters , passim.


Oakes Angier (1745–1786), Harvard 1764, of West Bridgewater, one of the earliest regular practitioners of law in Plymouth co. According to Nahum Mitchell, History of the Early Settlement of Bridgewater, Boston, 1840, p. 106, Angier had “read law with the elder President Adams,” and AA speaks of him to JA as “Your former pupil” (3 June 1776, below). Angier was admitted attorney in Plymouth Superior Court, May 1771, and barrister at Boston, Aug. 1773 (Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Books 94, 98). JA mentions him several times in a friendly way in his Diary. In his relatively few years of practice Angier amassed a large fortune, and the circumstances of the death and the terms of the will of this lawyer “indefatigable in his Proffession, possessed of great Qualities, and great Faults,” are discussed at length in a letter from Elizabeth (Smith) Shaw to her sister AA, 1–3 Nov. 1786 (Adams Papers), printed later in the present work.

Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren, 16 July 1773 AA Warren, Mercy Otis


Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren, 16 July 1773 Adams, Abigail Warren, Mercy Otis
Abigail Adams to Mercy Otis Warren
Madam Boston July 16 1773

The kind reception I met with at your House, and the Hospitality with which you entertained me, demands my gratefull acknowledgment. By requesting a correspondence you have kindly given me an opportunity to thank you for the happy Hours I enjoyed whilst at your House. Thus imbolden'd I venture to stretch my pinions, and tho like the timorous Bird I fail in the attempt and tumble to the ground yet sure the Effort is laudable, nor will I suffer my pride, (which is greatly increased since my more intimate acquaintance with you) to debar me the pleasure, and improvement I promise myself from this correspondence tho I suffer by the comparison.

I Had a very Hot and unplesent ride the afternoon I left your House. I arrived at my own habitation on Monday, and found my family well. Since my return we have had several fine showers which have, I hope extended, as far as Eel river, and watered with their blessings every sod and plant belonging to my much valued Friends. Air, Sun, and Water, the common blessings of Heaven; we receive as our just due, and too seldom acknowledg our obligations to the Father of the rain; and the Gracious dispencer of every good and perfect gift, yet if but for a very little while these blessings are withheld, or spairingly dealt out to us, we then soon discover how weak, how little and how blind, we are.

When I was at Plymouth Madam you may remember I mentiond 85Mrs. Seymore upon Education,1 and upon your expressing a desire to see it, I promised to send it you. I now take the earlyest opportunity to comply with your request. Not from an opinion that you stand in need of such an assistant, but that you may give me your Sentiments upon this Book, and tell me whether it corresponds with the plan you have prescribed to yourself and in which you have so happily succeeded. I am sensible I have an important trust committed to me; and tho I feel my self very uneaquel to it, tis still incumbent upon me to discharge it in the best manner I am capable of. I was really so well pleased with your little offspring, that I must beg the favour of you to communicate to me the happy Art of “rearing the tender thought, teaching the young Idea how to shoot, and pouring fresh instruction o'er the Mind.” May the Natural Benevolence of your Heart, prompt you to assist a young and almost inexperienced Mother in this Arduous Buisness, that the tender twigs alloted to my care, may be so cultivated as to do honour to their parents and prove blessings to the riseing generation. When I saw the happy fruits of your attention in your well ordered family, I felt a Sort of Emulation glowing in my Bosom, to imitate the

“Parent who vast pleasure find's In forming of her childrens minds In midst of whom with vast delight She passes many a winters Night Mingles in every play to find What Bias Nature gave the mind Resolving thence to take her aim To guide them to the realms of fame And wisely make those realms the way To those of everlasting day. Each Boisterous passion to controul And early Humanize the Soul In simple tales beside the fire, The noblest Notions to inspire. Her offspring conscious of her care Transported hang around her chair.”

I must beg your pardon for thus detaining you. I have so long neglected my pen that I am conscious I shall make but a poor figure. To your Friendship and candour I commit this, and would only add my regards to Coll. Warren from his and your obliged Friend & Humble Servant,

Abigail Adams

RC (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.); docketed: “Mrs. Adams No 1 July 1773.”


Juliana Seymour, On the Management and Education of Children: A Series of Letters Written to a Niece, London, 1754.