Adams Papers

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 10 February 1777

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Baltimore Feby. 10. 1777

Fells Point, which I mentioned in a Letter this Morning, has a considerable Number of Houses upon it. The Shipping all lies now at this Point. You have from it on one side a compleat View of the Harbour, and on the other a fine Prospect of the Town of Baltimore. You see the Hill, in full View and the Court House, the Church and Meeting House, upon it. The Court House makes an haughty Appearance, from this Point. There is a Fortification erected, on this Point with a Number of Embrasures for Cannon facing the Narrows which make the Entrance into the Harbour. At the Narrows they have a Fort, with a Garrison in it.

It is now a Month and a few days, since I left you. I have heard nothing from you, nor received a Letter from the Massachusetts. I hope the Post Office will perform better than it has done.

I am anxious to hear how you do. I have in my Mind a Source of Anxiety, which I never had before, since I became such a Wanderer. You know what it is. Cant you convey to me, in Hieroglyphicks, which no other Person can comprehend, Information which will relieve me. Tell me you are as well as can be expected.

My Duty to your Papa and my Mamma. Love to Brothers, and Sisters. Tell Betcy I hope She is married.—Tho I want to throw the Stocking. My Respects to Mr. S[haw]. Tell him he may be a Calvinist if he will, provided always that he preserves his Candour, Charity and Moderation.1

What shall I say of or to my N. J. C. and T.?2 What will they say to me for leaving them, their Education and Fortune so much to the Disposal of Chance?—May almighty and allgracious Providence protect, and bless them.

I have this Day sent my Resignation of a certain mighty office.3 It has relieved me from a Burden, which has a long Time oppress’d me. But I am determined, that, while I am ruining my Constitution of Mind and Body, and running dayly Risques of my Life and Fortune in Defence of the Independency of my Country, I will not knowingly resign my own.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “For Mrs: Adams at Mr. John Adams’s Braintree favd. by Mr. Hall”; docketed in pencil by AA. LbC (Adams Papers) is an abstract: “Wrote another Letter the same day to Portia, about indifferent Things of no Consequence—only informed her of the above Resignation [see note 3 below] and that I was determind that while I was ruining my Constitution both of Mind and Body, and running daily Risques of Life and Fortune in defence of the Independency of my Country, I would not knowingly resign my own.”

1On the following 16 Oct. AA’s sister Elizabeth was to marry Rev. John Shaw at Weymouth. JA did not “throw the Stocking” because he was still attending Congress. AA held very different views of her sister’s engagement; see her letter to JA of 8–10 March, below.

2Nabby, Johnny, Charley, and Tommy. CFA’s text in Familiar Letters description begins Familiar Letters of John Adams and His Wife Abigail Adams, during the Revolution. With a Memoir of Mrs. Adams, ed. Charles Francis Adams, New York, 1876. description ends , p. 244, reads: “my children.”

3The chief justiceship of Massachusetts. JA’s resignation was in a letter to the Massachusetts Council, enclosed in a letter to Deputy Secretary John Avery, both dated this day and both found as letterbook copies in Adams Papers; enclosure printed in JA, Works description begins The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, ed. Charles Francis Adams, Boston, 1850–1856; 10 vols. description ends , 3:25. Besides numerous references to JA’s appointment and resignation as chief justice in the present volumes from 31 July 1775 on, see also his Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 3:359–363; Avery to JA, 7 March (Adams Papers); and JA to Avery, 21 March (LbC, Adams Papers, printed in Works description begins The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, ed. Charles Francis Adams, Boston, 1850–1856; 10 vols. description ends , 9:457–458).

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