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I THIS day received by the hands of our worthy friend, a large packet, which has refreshed and comforted me. Your own sensations have ever been similar to mine. I need not then tell you how gratified I am at the frequent tokens of remembrance with which you favor me, nor how they rouse every tender sensation of my soul, which sometimes will find vent at my eyes. Nor dare I describe how earnestly I long to fold to my fluttering heart the object of my warmest affections ; the idea soothes me. I feast upon it with a pleasure known only to those whose hearts and hopes are one.
The approbation you give to my conduct in the management of our private affairs, is very grateful to me, and sufficiently compensates for all my anxieties and endeavours to discharge the many duties devolved upon me in consequence of the absence of my dearest friend. Were they discharged according to my wishes, I should merit the praises you bestow.
You see I date from Plymouth. I came upon a visit to our amiable friends, accompanied by my sister Betsey, a day or two ago. It is the first night I have been absent since you left me. Having deter mined upon this visit for some time, I put my family in order and prepared for it, thinking I might leave it with safety. Yet, the day I set out, I was under many apprehensions, by the coming in of ten transports, who were seen to have many soldiers on board, and the determination of the people to go and fortify upon Long Island, Pettick's Island, Nantasket, and Great Hill. It was apprehended they would attempt to land somewhere, but the next morning I had the pleasure to hear they were all driven out, Commodore and all ; not a transport, a ship, or a tender to be seen. This shows what might have been long ago done. Had this been done in season, the ten transports, with many others, in all probability would have fallen into our hands ; but the progress of wisdom is slow.
Since I arrived here I have really had a scene quite novel to me. The brig Defence from Connecticut, put in here for ballast. The officers, who are all from thence, and who are intimately acquainted at Dr. Lothrop's, invited his lady to come on board, and bring with her as many of her friends as she could collect. She sent an invitation to our friend, Mrs. Warren, and to us. The brig lay about a mile and a half from town. The officers sent their barge, and we went. Every mark of respect and attention which was in their power, they showed us. She is a fine brig, mounts sixteen guns, twelve swivels, and carries one hundred and twenty men. A hundred and seventeen were on board, and no private family ever appeared under better regulation than the crew. It was as still as though there had been only half a dozen ; not a profane word among any of them. The captain himself is an exemplary man ; (Harden his name) has been in nine sea engagements ; says if he gets a man who swears, and finds he cannot reform him, he turns him on shore, yet is free to confess, that it was the sin of his youth. He has one lieutenant, a very fine fellow, Smelden by name. We spent a very agreeable afternoon, and drank tea on board. They showed us their arms, which were sent by Queen Anne, and everything on board was a curiosity to me. They gave us a mock engagement with an enemy, and the manner of taking a ship. The young folks went upon the quarter deck and danced. Some of their Jacks played very well upon the violin and German flute. The brig bears the Continental colors, and was fitted out by the Colony of Connecticut. As we set off from the brig, they fired their guns in honor to us, a ceremony I would very readily have dispensed with.
I pity you, and feel for you under all the difficulties you have to encounter. My daily petitions to Heaven for you are, that you may have health, wisdom, and fortitude sufficient to carry you through the great and arduous business in which you are engaged, and that your endeavours may be crowned with success. Canada seems a dangerous and ill fated place. It is reported here, that General Thomas is no more, that he took the smallpox, and died with it. Every day some circumstance arises, which shows me the importance of having the distemper in youth. Dr. Bulfinch has petitioned the General Court for leave to open a hospital somewhere, and it will be granted him. I shall, with all the children, be one of, the first class, you may depend upon it.
I have just this moment heard, that the brig, which I was on board of on Saturday, and which sailed yesterday morning from this place, fell in with two transports, having each of them a hundred and fifty men on board, and took them, and has brought them into Nantasket Roads, under cover of the guns which are mounted there. I will add further particulars as soon as I am informed,
I am now better informed, and will give you the truth. The brig Defence, accompanied by a small privateer, sailed in concert Sunday morning. About twelve o'clock they discovered two transports, and made for them. Two privateers, which were small, had been in chase of them, but finding the enemy was of much larger force, had run under Cohasset rocks. The Defence gave a signal gun to bring them out. Captain Burk, who accompanied the Defence, being a prime sailer, he came up first, and poured a broadside on board a sixteen gun brig. The Defence soon attacked her upon her bows. An obstinate engagement ensued. There was a continual blaze upon all sides for many hours, and it was near midnight before they struck. In the engagement, the Defence lost one man, and five wound ed. With Burk, not one man received any damage ; on board the enemy, fourteen killed, among whom was a major, and sixty wounded. They are part of the Highland soldiers. The other transport mounted six guns. When the fleet sailed out of this harbor last week, they blew up the lighthouse. They met six transports coming in, which they carried off with them. I hope we shall soon be in such a posture of defence, as to bid them defiance.
I feel no great anxiety at the large armament designed against us. The remarkable interpositions of Heaven in our favor cannot be too gratefully acknowledged. He who fed the Israelites in the wilderness, " who clothes the lilies of the field, and feeds the young ravens when they cry," will not forsake a people engaged in so righteous a cause, if we re member his loving-kindness. We wanted powder, we have a supply. We wanted arms, we have been favored in that respect. We wanted hard money, twenty-two thousand dollars, and an equal value in plate, are delivered into our hands.
You mention your peas, your cherries, and your strawberries, &c. Ours are but just in blossom. We have had the coldest spring I ever knew. Things are three weeks behind what they generally used to be. The corn looks poor. The season now is rather dry. I believe I did not understand you, when in a former letter you said, "I want to resign my office, for a thousand reasons." If you mean that of judge, I know not what to say. I know it will be a difficult and arduous station ; but, divesting myself of private interest, which would lead me to be against your holding that office, I know of no person who is so well calculated to discharge the trust, or who I think would act a more conscientious part.
- Letters of Mrs. Adams, the Wife of John Adams. Volume I. 1840, Boston, Charles C. Little and James Brown, digitized by the Internet Archive