John Adams to Abigail Smith
Braintree Ap. 11th. 1764
My ever dear Diana
The Room which I thought would have been an Hospital or a Musaeum, has really proved a Den of Thieves, and a scene of Money Changers. More Persons have been with me about Business, since I shut up, than a few, and many more than I was glad to see, for it is a sort of Business that I get nothing by, but Vanity and Vexation of Spirit. If my Imprisonment had been in Consequence of Bankruptcy, I should not have endured much more Mortification and Disquiet. I wish this Day was a Fast, as well as Tomorrow, that I might be sure of two Days Tranquility, before my Departure. I am not very impatient at present: Yet I wish I was at Boston. Am somewhat fearful of foul weather, on Fryday. If it should be, the very first fair Opportunity must be embracd.
Abstinence from all, but the cool and the soft, has hitherto agreed with me very well; and I have not once transgressed in a single Iota. The Medicine we have taken is far from being loathsome or painful or troublesome, as I own I expected. And if I could but enjoy my Retreat in silence and solitude, there would be nothing Wanting but Obliviscence of your Ladyship, to make me as Happy as a Monk in a Cloyster or an Hermit in his Cell. You will wonder, perhaps at my calling in Monks and Hermits, on this Occasion, and may doubt about the Happiness of their situations: Yet give me leave to tell you freely, the former of these are so tottally absorbed in Devotion and the latter in Meditation, and such an Appetite, such a Passion for their Respective Employments and Pleasures grows habitually up in their Minds, that no Mortals, (excepting him who hopes to be bound to your Ladyship in the soft Ligaments of Matrimony) has a better security for Happiness than they.
Hitherto I have written with the Air and in the style of Rattle and Frolick; but now I am about to shift to the sober and the Grave.—My Mamma1 is as easy and composed, and I think much more so than I expected. She sees We are determined, and that opposition would be not only fruitless, but vexatious, and has therefore brought herself to acquiesce, and to assist in preparing all Things, as conveniently and comfortably as she can. Heaven reward her for her kind Care, and her Labours of Love!
I long to come once more to Weymouth before I go to Boston. I could, well enough. I am as well as ever, and better too. Why should not I come? Shall I come and keep fast with you? Or will you come and see me? I should be glad to see you in this House, but there is another very near it,2 where I should rejoice much more to see you, and to live with you till we shall have lived enough to ourselves, to Glory, Virtue and Mankind, and till both of us shall be desirous of Translation to a wiser, fairer, better World.
I am, and till then, and forever after will be your Admirer and Friend, and Lover,
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For Miss Abigail Smith Weymouth These.”
1. Susanna (Boylston) Adams (1709–1797), who by her 2d marriage, 1766, became Mrs. John Hall. See Adams Genealogy.
2. That is, the house now known as the John Quincy Adams Birthplace, which JA had inherited and to which he brought AA after their marriage in the following October. This passage establishes beyond question the fact that JA continued to live with his mother in the house next door (the John Adams Birthplace) into the year 1764. But it leaves open the question whether or not he had yet opened his law office in the JQA Birthplace. A note by the present editors in JA’s Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 1:225, under the entry dated 20 Nov. 1761, is too positive on this point.