Abigail Adams 2d to Elizabeth Cranch
Plymouth jan 1 17791
My Dear Friend
I take my pen to perform my promice of writing to you and to wish you a happy new year may heaven pour down those blessings upon you that will make this life agreable
this is an unsertain World we know not what a day may bringh forth & when we think we are in the utmost dainger we may be in the least
Mrs. Waren has lately had a severe trial of her fortitude A Son as it ware raisd from the arms of death in that voielent Storm of last saturday her Son Charles2 was no more than a mile from the shore comeing from Boston in a little sloop expecting every moment to go to the Bottom, but surpriseingly his Life was spaird and he arived safe on his native shore on sunday Morning:
In the same storm the Brig General Annould belonging to Col. Sears and Company wrect and seventy Men frose to death there never was so mallonclery an event took place in this harbour before—we have heard of other damages.3
I belive this letter will give you the dumps if you are free from them when you receive it—
I dont know whether this will find you at Braintree Germantown or Boston if you are at Germantown I suppose you are very happy in the company of that Worthy family4 a letter from either place will [be] very accepttable to your Sincere Friend
PS in some future letter I shall give you some account of the white chaimber the sun is now shineing into it & looks very pleasant
RC (MHi:Cranch Papers); addressed: “To Miss Eliza Cranch Braintree”; endorsed or docketed: “AA plyth. Jan 1 1779.” The text of this earliest MS letter from AA2 known to survive is given here in literal style.
“Your pretty Daughter is here on a Winter’s Visit to Mrs. Warren. She is very well, and wont own that she is not happy” (James Warren to JA, Plymouth, 1 Jan. 1779, Adams Papers).
2. Charles Warren (1762–1785), Harvard 1782, 3d son of James and Mercy (Otis) Warren (Mrs. Washington A. Roebling, Richard Warren of the Mayflower, Boston, 1901, p. 28).
“On Friday the 25th ult. at 6 A.M. the Wind to the Westward, sailed from this Port the Brig General Arnold, James Magee, Commander; and about Meridian the Wind chop’d round to N.E. and looking likely for a Gale, they thought best to put into plymouth, and came to Anchor in a Place called the Cow Yard. On Saturday the Gale encreasing, she started from her Anchor, and stuck on the White Flatt; they then cut both Cables and Masts away, in Hopes to drive over, but she immediately bilged; it being low Water, left her Quarter-Deck dry, where all Hands got for Relief. A Schooner lying within Hail, heard their Cries, but could not assist them. On Sunday the Inhabitants were cutting Ice most of the Day before they got on board, when they saw 75 of the Men had perished, and 34 very much froze, which they got on Shore; and on Monday they got on Shore and buried the dead. Great Part of her Stores, &c. will be saved.—Some evil-minded Persons have raised a Report that she was plundered by the Inhabitants, which is entirely false, as they behaved with the greatest Humanity.” (Boston Gazette, 4 Jan. 1779, p. 3, col. 2.)
4. Presumably the Joseph Palmer family at Friendship Hall.
5. In adopting fanciful names for their girlish correspondence AA2 and her cousin Elizabeth Cranch (“Myrtilla”), later Mrs. Jacob Norton, followed the practice of their elders twenty years or so earlier. Some of the persons mentioned under poetical names in the extended series of letters between them during the following decade (of which AA2’s are now in the Cranch Papers but Miss Cranch’s are lost) cannot now be identified.