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MY MUCH LOVED FRIEND,
I DARE not express to you, at three hundred miles distance, how ardently I long for your return. I have some very miserly wishes, and cannot consent to your spending one hour in town, till, at least, I have had you twelve. The idea plays about my heart, unnerves my hand, whilst I write, awakens all the tender sentiments, that years have increased and matured, and which, when with me, were every day dispensing to you. The whole collected stock of ten weeks absence knows not how to brook any longer restraint, but will break forth and flow through my pen. May the like sensations enter thy breast, and (spite of all the weighty cares of state) mingle them selves with those I wish to communicate ; for, in giving them utterance, I have felt more sincere pleasure, than I have known since the 10th of Au gust. Many have been the anxious hours I have spent since that day ; the threatening aspect of our public affairs, the complicated distress of this province, the arduous and perplexed business in which you are engaged, have all conspired to agitate my bosom with fears and apprehensions to which I have heretofore been a stranger ; and, far from thinking the scene closed, it looks as though the curtain was but just drawn, and only the first scene of the infernal plot disclosed ; and whether the end will be tragical, Heaven alone knows. You cannot be, I know, nor do I wish to see you, an inactive spectator ; but, if the sword be drawn, I bid adieu to all domestic felicity, and look forward to that country, where there are neither wars nor rumors of war, in a firm belief, that, through the mercy of its King, we shall both rejoice there together.
I greatly fear, that the arm of treachery and violence is lifted over us, as a scourge and heavy punishment from Heaven for our numerous offences, and for the misimprovement of our great advantages. If we expect to inherit the blessings of our fathers, we should return a little more to their primitive simplicity of manners, and not sink into inglorious ease. We have too many high-sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them I have spent one Sabbath in town since you left. I saw no difference in respect to ornament, &c. ; but in the country you must look for that virtue, of which you find but small glimmerings in the metropolis. Indeed, they have not the advantages, nor the resolution, to encourage our own manufactories, which people in the country have. To the mercantile part, it is considered as throwing away their own bread ; but they must retrench their expenses, and be con tent with a small share of gain, for they will find but few who will wear their livery. As for me, I will seek wool and flax, and work willingly with my hands ; and, indeed, there is occasion for all our industry and economy. You mention the removal of our books, &c., from Boston ; I believe they are safe there, and it would incommode the gentlemen to re move them, as they would not then have a place to repair to for study. I suppose they would not choose to be at the expense of boarding out. Mr. Williams, I believe, keeps pretty much with his mother. Mr. Hill s father had some thoughts of removing up to Braintree, provided he could be accommodated with a house, which he finds very difficult.
Mr. Cranch s last determination was to tarry in town, unless any thing new takes place. His friends in town oppose his removal so much, that he is determined to stay. The opinion you have entertained of General Gage is, I believe, just. Indeed, he professes to act only upon the defensive. The people in the country begin to be very anxious for the Congress to rise ; they have no idea of the weighty business you have to transact, and their blood boils with indignation at the hostile preparations they are constant witnesses of. Mr. Quincy's so secret departure is matter of various speculation ; some say he is deputed by the Congress, others, that he is gone to Holland, and the Tories say he is gone to be hanged.
I rejoice at the favorable account you give me of your health. May it be continued to you. My health is much better than it was last fall ; some folks say I grow very fat. I venture to write almost any thing in this letter, because I know the care of the bearer. He will be most sadly disappointed, if you should be broken up before he arrives ; as he is very desirous of being introduced by you to a number of gentle men of respectable character. I almost envy him, that he should see you before I can. Mr. Thaxter and Mr. Rice present their regards to you. Uncle Quincy, too, sends his love to you. He is very good to call and see me, and so have many other of my friends been. Colonel Warren and lady were here on Monday, and send their love to you. The Colonel promised to write. Mrs. Warren will spend a day or two, on her return, with me. I told Betsey to write to you ; she says she would, if you were her husband.
Your mother sends her love to you ; and all your family, too numerous to name, desire to be remembered. You will receive letters from two, who are as earnest to write to papa, as if the welfare of a kingdom depended upon it. If you can give any guess, within a month, let me know when you think of returning.
Your most affectionate
- Abigail Adams