Adams Papers

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 3 February 1777

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Baltimore Feby. 3. 1777

This Day has been observed in this Place, with exemplary Decency and Solemnity, in Consequence of an Appointment of the Government, in Observance of a Recommendation of Congress, as a Day of Fasting. I went to the Presbyterian Meeting and heard Mr. Allison deliver a most pathetic and animating, as well as pious, patriotic and elegant Discourse. I have seldom been better pleased or more affected with a sermon.

The Presbyterian Meeting House in Baltimore stands upon an Hill just at the Back of the Town, from whence We have a very fair Prospect of the Town, and of the Water upon which it stands, and of the Country round it. Behind this Eminence, which is the Bacon [Beacon] Hill of Baltimore, lies a beautifull Meadow, which is entirely incircled by a Stream of Water. This most beautifull Scaene must be partly natural and partly artificial. Beyond the Meadow and Canall, you have a charming View of the Country. Besides the Meeting House there is upon this Height, a large and elegant Court House, as yet unfinished within, and a small Church of England in which an old Clergyman officiates, Mr. Chase, Father of Mr. Chace1 one of the Delegates of Maryland, who they say is not so zealous a Whigg as the Son.

I shall take Opportunities to describe this Town and State more particularly to you hereafter. I shall inquire into their Religion, their Laws, their Customs, their Manners, their Descent and Education, their Learning, their Schools and Colledges and their Morals.—It was said of Ulysses I think that he saw the Manners of many Men and many Cities, which is like to be my Case, as far as American Men and Cities extend, provided Congress should continue in the rolling Humour, which I hope they will not. I wish however, that my Mind was more at rest than it is, that I might be able to make more exact Observations of Men and Things as far as I go.

When I reflect upon the Prospect before me of so long an Absence from all that I hold dear in this World, I mean all that contributes to my private personal Happiness, it makes me melancholly. When I think on your Circumstances I am more so, and yet I rejoice at them in spight of all this Melancholly.—God almightys Providence protect and bless you and yours and mine.

RC and LbC (Adams Papers). This day JA resumed his practice of keeping copies of his outgoing letters; the present letter is the third in a new folio letterbook (Lb/JA/3) containing entries for both family and other letters. But he wrote numerous letters from Congress during 1777, to both AA and others, of which he did not keep copies; see descriptive notes on JA to AA, 27 April, 25–27 May, both below.

1JA long persisted in spelling the name of his friend and fellow delegate Samuel Chase in this way. Samuel’s father, an immigrant from England, was Thomas Chase, rector of St. Paul’s, Baltimore (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 , under Samuel Chase).

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