Abigail Adams to John Adams
July 2 1777
I sit down to write you a few lines this morning as I am loth the post should go, without telling you that I am well, as usual. Suppose you will be more anxious for me this month than common. I shall write as often and as long as I am able, tho I do not expect that it will be more than two or 3 weeks more at furthest. You will not fail writing me by every opportunity, receiving Letters once a week from you serves to keep up my Spirits and cheer my Heart, which of late does not feel the gayest. I rejoice to find by your last that your Health is better. I should have known it from the stile of your Letter if you had not told me so. The dates run june the 2d, 4th and 8th. Since I wrote last we have had frequent reports of How’s sitting out for Philadelphia. I have not been very uneasy about it. I confess I had rather He should make a visit to you than to me, at this time, more especially since you seem so desirous of it. Our last accounts are of a Skirmish in Brunswick and the burning of that Town and of the Troops retreat to Amboy. I think they make no valient appearence this season.—We have an other account from Halifax, that the Govener there has orderd every House to be cleard and Barrack for that he expects them there immediately.
Yesterday our Tories so calld appeard in Boston to be tried before the worshipfull justices Q[uinc]y and Hill; they had engaged counsel Mr. T——r, who soon let the Court know that Mr. Q——y was not qualified to try them as he had never taken the oath since the declaration of independance, and that the recognisances were not signed—so they all marchd back again.1
They are pretty much netled and fear being sent on board the guard ship. Seven are condemnd at Bridgwater.
As to Goverment I can not tell you more than G[e]n. W[arre]n has wrote you. I hope in time we shall be able to sit down quietly—am sorry to see so much bickering about it in Pensilvana.
You inquire how our season is here. We have had a very fine one rather the coldest. There is a prospect of good crops of Grass and Grain. The fruit will suffer much by the frosts. Not much cider I fear.
Pray write to Dr. T[uft]s by the first opportunity. Our young ones are all well. We have enjoyd great Health since the small pox, for which we cannot be sufficently thankfull. Tis very Healthy every where. We have had a vast deal of thunder and lightning this Summer.—Adieu most Sincerely Yours.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Portia. Ans. July 16.”
1. The justices were Edmund Quincy, identified earlier, and John Hill, Harvard 1756. The counsel who defended the Braintree loyalists was almost certainly JA’s former student William Tudor, who had recently left the army to resume his law practice in Boston. There is, however, a little mystification concerning Tudor’s resignation, or resignations, from military service. On 10 April Tudor had written to JA from camp in New Jersey: “I am just going to mount my Horse for Boston. The offer made me by Genl. Knox of a Post in the Artillery I have declined, and shall return to my Books once more with Pleasure” (Adams Papers). On the same day Washington’s general orders at Morristown stated: “John Laurence [i.e. Laurance] Esqr. is appointed Judge Advocate, in the room of William Tudor Esqr. who has resigned” (Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick description begins The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick, Washington, 1931–1944; 39 vols. description ends , 7:382). No letter of resignation has been found, but that Tudor was in Boston thereafter, and practicing law there, is clear from, among other things, his appointment by the town on 17 May as its agent “to procure Evidence that may be had of the inimical Dispositions, towards this, or any of the United States, of any Inhabitants of this Town” (Boston Record Commissioners, 18th Report description begins City of Boston, Record Commissioners, Reports, Boston, 1876–1909; 39 vols. description ends , p. 280). Yet all the biographical sketches of Tudor that touch on the matter, and all the compilations on Continental officers’ service, record the termination of Tudor’s military service as in 1778. Heitman’s Register of Officers description begins Francis B. Heitman, comp., Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution, new edn., Washington, 1914. description ends , for example, gives his resignation as 9 April 1778, just a year after he had left camp—a coincidence so striking as to suggest a mistake. To complicate matters, Tudor was appointed judge advocate in Jan. 1778 specifically for the trial by court martial of Col. David Henley, in Boston, on charges by Gen. Burgoyne; see Tudor’s letter to AA, 26 June 1778 (Adams Papers). The explanation appears to be that Tudor’s commission as a lieutenant colonel in one of the additional Continental regiments, beginning Jan. 1777, ran a year after he originally gave up his post as advocate general in April 1777; see Washington to Heath, 25 March 1778, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick description begins The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick, Washington, 1931–1944; 39 vols. description ends , 11:144–145.