John Adams to Abigail Adams
Dedham January 9. 1777
The irresistable Hospitality of Dr. Sprague and his Lady has prevailed upon me, and my worthy Fellow Traveller, to put up at his happy Seat.—We had an agreable Ride to this Place, and tomorrow Morning We sett off, for Providence, or some other Rout.1
Present my affection, in the tenderest Manner to my little deserving Daughter and my amiable sons.
It was cruel Parting this Morning. My Heart was most deeply affected, altho, I had the Presence of Mind, to appear composed.
May God almightys Providence protect you, my dear, and all our little ones. My good Genius, my Guardian Angell whispers me, that We shall see happier Days, and that I shall live to enjoy the Felicities of domestic Life, with her whom my Heart esteems above all earthly Blessings.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs. John Adams Braintree”; docketed in pencil by AA: “Jan 9.” (These penciled docketings continue on JA’s letters through February and were probably made late in March when AA inventoried the letters she had so far received from him; see AA to JA, 26 March, below.)
1. JA’s host was Dr. John Sprague, a well-to-do physician and warm patriot who has been mentioned earlier in these letters; on Sprague’s house in Dedham see Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates description begins John Langdon Sibley and Clifford K. Shipton, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge and Boston, 1873–. description ends , 10:241. Accompanying JA were his servant (John Turner) and one of the two recently elected additional Massachusetts delegates, James Lovell. JA’s somewhat imperfect account with Massachusetts for his expenses on this journey is printed from the Adams Papers in his Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 2:252–253, and his experiences on the way are rather fully described in his letters to AA that follow here. Under the threat of Howe’s army in the Jerseys, Congress had adjourned from Philadelphia on 12 Dec. 1776 and reassembled at Baltimore on the 20th (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 6:1027–1028). The travelers took a wide arc around the opposing armies, and their precise itinerary is given in a paper docketed by JA “Mr. Lovells Account,” which is receipted by Lovell to JA and is in the Adams Papers under the assigned date 1776–1777 (but should be Jan. 1777). The itinerary and payments for food, lodgings, &c. (for the whole party of men and horses), are given by Lovell as follows:
JA’s two-thirds share is indicated as £18 8s.