John Adams to Abigail Adams
Philadelphia July 30th. 1775
This Letter is intended to go by my Friend Mr. William Barrell, whom I believe you have seen in Boston. If he calls at our House you will please to receive him complaisantly and thank him for your Present of Pins. I have been treated by him with great Civility, both at this and the former Congress.
This Day, I have heard my Parish Priest, Mr. Duffill from 2. Chron. 15. 1. 2. This Gentleman never fails to adapt his Discourse to the Times. He pressed upon his Audience the Necessity of Piety and Virtue, in the present Times of Adversity, and held up to their View the Army before Boston as an Example. He understood, he said, that the Voice of the Swearer was scarcly heard, that the Sabbath was well observed and all Immoralities discountenanced. No doubt there were vicious Individuals, but the general Character was good.—I hope this good Mans Information is true, and that this will become more and more the true Character of that Camp. You may well suppose that this Language was exceedingly pleasing to me.
We have nothing new, but the Arrival of some Powder. Three little Vessells have certainly arrived, making about Ten Tons in the whole, and four or five Tons have arrived from S. Carolina. A Supply, I think now We shall certainly obtain. Congress have taken Measures for this End, which I hope to have the Pleasure of explaining to you in Person, within a few Days, as Congress has determined to adjourn to sometime in September. I could not vote for this myself because I thought it might be necessary to keep together, but I could not blame those who did, for really We have been all so assiduous in Business, in this exhausting debilitating Climate, that our Lives are more exposed than they would be in Camp.1
Love to the Children.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree favoured by Mr. Barrell”; endorsed: “C No 18.”
1. On Saturday, 29 July, it was “Resolved, That this Congress will, as soon as the public business permits, adjourn to the 5th. of Septr. next” (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 2:224). Samuel Adams gave the following explanation to his wife next day: “The arduous Business that has been before the Congress and the close Application of the Members, added to the Necessity and Importance of their visiting their several Colonies and attending their respective Conventions, have inducd them to make a Recess during the sultry Month of August” (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress, Washington, 1921–1936; 8 vols. description ends , 1:184). According to the Journal, Congress adjourned on 1 Aug. (JCC description begins Worthington C. Ford and others, eds., Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, Washington, 1904–1937; 34 vols. description ends , 2:239), but it is clear from letters and diaries of certain members that some business was transacted the following morning; see R. T. Paine, MS Diary (MHi), under 2 Aug.; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members description begins Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress, Washington, 1921–1936; 8 vols. description ends , 1:185, 187. JA probably set off from Philadelphia later the same day, though possibly not until the 3d. There is no record of his return trip, but he traveled very fast, for he arrived in Watertown on the morning of the 10th and plunged at once, as a member of the Council, into the work of the General Court; see his Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 2:165–166, and Mass., House Jour. description begins Journals of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts [1715– ], Boston, reprinted by the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1919–. (For the years for which reprints are not yet available, the original printings are cited, by year and session.) description ends , 1775–1776, 1st sess., p. 60. AA did not learn until the 11th that he was back in Massachusetts (AA to JA, 10–11 Aug., below; see note 2 there).