John Adams to Abigail Adams
Philadelphia July 17. 1775
About five O Clock this Morning, I went with young Dr. Bond at his Invitation and in his Carriage, to his Fathers Seat in the Country. His Mother, with three of her Grand Children, little Girls, resides here. The old Lady has lately lost two of her Children grown up, and as she cannot forget them, retires to this little Box, to indulge or aswage her Grief.1 The House is only one small room, with one Chamber over it. But the Farm is large, the Gardens very spacious, the orchards noble, and the Fruit Trees, very numerous and of great Variety. Noble Rowes of poplar Trees, in Europe they are called Tulip Trees, a more noble and beautifull Tree, than our Lime Trees. The House stands upon the highest Land, that is any where to be found in the Neighbourhood of this City. The Prospect round it is rural, very spacious and very agreable. The Air is very pure.
We breakfasted, upon balm Tea and Bread and Butter. A most amuzing and refreshing Excursion We had, and such Excursions are very necessary to preserve our Health, amidst the suffocating Heats of the City, and the wasting, exhausting Debates of the Congress.
This young Dr. Bond is above thirty, perhaps near forty. He has lost his Wife, and has two pretty little Girls—one about Ten Years old who sings most sweetly and dances, delightfully. He is the Tom Brattle of Philadelphia2—fat and jolly, a Lover of Pleasure, educated at the Colledge here, has been in Trade, and sunk his father five or six thousand Pounds sterling, and then returned to the Study and practice of Physic. Wine and Women he uses very freely. There is a pretty Girl, in a Chamber opposite to his Lodgings in the City, with whom he is supposed to have Connections.—Epicurism and Debauchery, are more common in this Place than in Boston.
I never observe in the World, an Example, of any Person brought to Poverty from Affluence, from Health to Distemper, from Fame to Disgrace by the Vices and Follies of the age, but it throws me into a deep Rumination upon Education. My poor Children, I fear will loose some Advantages in Point of Education, from my continual Absence from them. Truth, Sobriety, Industry should be pe[r]petually inculcated upon them.
Pray my dear, let them be taught Geography and the Art of copying as well as drawing Plans of Cities, Provinces, Kingdoms, and Countries—especially of America. I have found great Inconvenience for Want of this Art, since I have had to contemplate America so much, and since I had to study the Processes and Operations of War.
But their Honour, Truth, in one Word their Morals, are of most importance. I hope these will be kept pure.
RC (Adams Papers).
1. Thomas Bond Sr. (1712–1784) studied medicine in Annapolis and in Europe and is best remembered for suggesting the idea and collaborating with Benjamin Franklin in founding the Pennsylvania Hospital, 1751–1752; his wife was the former Sarah Roberts (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936; 20 vols. plus index and supplements. description ends ). Their son Thomas (1743–1794), College of Philadelphia 1760, served as a medical officer during the Revolution (Benjamin Rush, Letters description begins Letters of Benjamin Rush, ed. L. H. Butterfield, Princeton, 1951; 2 vols. description ends , 1:154 and passim; Louis C. Duncan, Medical Men in the American Revolution, Carlisle, 1931, p. 184 and passim).
2. Thomas Brattle (1742–1801), Harvard 1760, son of JA’s old antagonist Gen. William Brattle of Cambridge. There is a brief account of his somewhat curious career in MHS, Colls. description begins Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections and Proceedings. description ends , 1st ser., 8 (1802):82–85.