John Adams to Abigail Adams
Baltimore Feby. 10. 1777
Yesterday, I took a long Walk with our Secretary Mr. Thompson to a Place called Fells Point, a remarkable Piece of Ground about a mile from the Town of Baltimore. It is a Kind of Peninsula which runs out into the Harbour, and forms a Bason before the Town. This Bason, within thirty Years, was deep enough for large Tobacco ships to ride in, but since that Time has filled up ten Feet, so that none but small light Vessells can now come in. Between the Town and the Point We pass a Bridge over a small run of Water which empties itself into the Bason, and is the only Stream which runs into it and is quite insufficient to float away the Earth which every year runs into the Bason from the dirty streets of the Town and the neighbouring Hills and fields.1
There are four Men of War just entered Cheasapeak Bay, which makes it difficult for Vessells to go out, and indeed has occasioned an Embargo to be laid here for the present. Your Uncle2 has two Vessells here, both detained—one is now employed as a Transport for a little While. These Men of War will disappoint you of your Barrell of flour. Your Uncle’s Vessells would sell very well here. Hardens would fetch 800 Pounds of this Money.3
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. John Adams Braintree favoured by ”; added in the hand of Isaac Smith Sr.: “Postage 6/ Yrs. I Smith”; docketed in pencil by AA. LbC (Adams Papers) is an abstract: “10 Feb. wrote a short Letter to Portia, which I had not Time to transcribe, and sent it by a Hand of Captn. Arnold who is here from the Mass. Board of War.—The Letter contains nothing but an observation or two concerning Fells Point and the Bason before the Town, and one or Two things about her Uncles Vessells.”
1. JA continued this description in his second letter of this day, following. Compare the entry of 9 Feb. 1777 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 , 2:258–259.
2. Isaac Smith Sr.
3. Last two words worn in MS and barely legible. Apparently JA means Pennsylvania currency, the money used in Maryland.