Want to save this letter now that you've found it?
It's easy - just create your own collection of letters after signing up for a free account.
THE sickness has abated here and in the neighbouring towns. In Boston I am told it is very sickly among the inhabitants and the soldiery. By a man, one Haskins, who came out the day before yesterday, I learn, that there are but about twenty-five hundred soldiers in town. How many there are at , he could not tell. He had been in irons three weeks, some malicious fellow having said that he saw him at the battle of Lexington ; but he proved that he was not out of Boston that day, upon which he was released, and went with two other men out in a small boat, under their eye, to fish. They played about near the shore, while catching small fish, till they thought they could possibly reach Dorchester Neck; no sooner were they perceived attempting to escape, than they had twenty cannons discharged at them, but they all happily reached the shore. He says, no language can paint the distress of the inhabitants ; most of them destitute of wood and of provisions of every kind. The bakers say, unless they have a new supply of wood, they cannot bake above one fortnight longer ; their biscuit are not above one half the former size ; the soldiers are obliged to do very hard duty, and are uneasy to a great degree, many of them declaring they will not continue much longer in such a state, but at all hazards will escape. The inhabitants are desperate, and contriving means of escape. A floating battery of ours, went out two nights ago, and rowed near the town, and then discharged their guns. Some of the balls went into the workhouse, some through the tents in the Common, and one through the sign of the Lamb Tavern. He says, it drove them all out of the Common, men, women, and children screaming, and threw them into the utmost distress ; but, very unhappily for us, in the discharge of one of the cannon, the ball not being properly rammed down, it split and killed two men, and wounded seven more, upon which they were obliged to return. He also says, that the Tories are much distressed about the fate of Dr. Church, and very anxious to obtain him, and would exchange Lovell for him. This man is so exasperated at the ill usage he has received from them, that he is determined to enlist immediately. They almost starved him whilst he was in irons. He says, he hopes it will be in his power to send some of them to heaven for mercy. They are building a fort by the hay-market, and rending down houses for timber to do it with. In the course of the last week, several persons have found means to escape. One of them says it is talked in town, that Howe will issue a proclamation, giving liberty to all, who will not take up arms, to depart the town, and making it death to have any intercourse with the country afterwards.
At present it looks as if there was no likelihood of peace ; the ministry are determined to proceed at all events ; the people are already slaves, and have neither virtue nor spirit to help themselves nor us. The time is hastening, when George, like Richard, may cry, " My kingdom for a horse ! " and want even that wealth to make the purchase. I hope by degrees, we shall be inured to hardships, and be come a virtuous, valiant people, forgetting our former luxury, and each one apply with industry and frugality to manufactures and husbandry, till we rival all other nations by our virtues.
I thank you for your amusing account of the Quaker ; their great stress with regard to color in their dress, &c., is not the only ridiculous part of their sentiments with regard to religious matters.
"There's not a day, but to the man of thought Betrays some secret, that throws new reproach On life, and makes him sick of seeing more."
What are your thoughts with regard to Dr. Church? Had you much knowledge of him? I think you had no intimate acquaintance with him.
"A foe to God was ne er true friend to man ; Some sinister intent taints all he does."
It is matter of great speculation what will be his punishment ; the people are much enraged against him ; if he is set at liberty, even after he has received a severe punishment, I do not think he will be safe. He will be despised and detested by every one, and many suspicions will remain in the minds of people in regard to our rulers ; they are for supposing this person is not sincere, and that one they have jealousy of.
Have you any prospect of returning? I hoped to have heard from you by the gentlemen who came as a committee here ; but they have been here a week, and I have not any letters.
My father and sister Betsey desire to be remembered to you. He is very disconsolate. It makes my heart ache to see him, and I know not how to go to the house. He said to me the other day, " Child, I see your mother, go to what part of the house I will." I think he has lost almost as much flesh as if he had been sick ; and Betsey, poor girl, looks broken and worn with grief. These near connexions, how they twist and cling about the heart, and when torn off, draw the best blood from it.
"Each friend by fate snatched from us, is a plume Plucked from the wing of human vanity."
Be so good as to present my regards to Mrs. Hancock. I hope she is very happy. Mrs. Warren called upon me on her way to Watertown. I wish I could as easily come to you as she can go to Watertown. But it is my lot. In the twelve years we have been married, I believe we have not lived together more than six.
If you could, with any conveniency, procure me the articles I wrote for, I should be very glad, more especially the needles and cloth ; they are in such demand, that we are really distressed for want of them.
Adieu. I think of nothing further to add, but that I am, with the tenderest regard, your
- Abigail Adams