John Adams letter to Abigail Adams, 28 August 1774

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Princeton, New Jersey, 28 August, 1774.

I RECEIVED your kind letter at New York, and it is not easy for you to imagine the pleasure it has given me. I have not found a single opportunity to write since I left Boston, excepting by the post, and I don't choose to write by that conveyance, for fear of foul play. But as we arc now within forty-two miles of Philadelphia, I hope there to find some private hand by which I can convey this.

The particulars of our journey I must reserve, u> be communicated after my return. It would take a volume to describe the whole. It has been upon the whole an agreeable jaunt. We have had opportunities to see the world and to form acquaintances with the most eminent and famous men, in the several Colonies we have passed through. We have been treated with unbounded civility, complaisance and respect. We yesterday visited Nassau Hall College, and were politely treated by the scholars, tutors, pro fessors, and President whom we are this day to hear preach. Tomorrow we reach the theatre of action. God Almighty grant us wisdom and virtue sufficient for the high trust that is devolved upon us. The spirit of the people, wherever we have been, seems to be very favorable. They universally consider our cause as their own, and express the firmest resolution to abide by the determination of the Congress.

I am anxious for our perplexed, distressed province I hope they will be directed into the right path. Let me entreat you, my dear, to make yourself as easy and quiet as possible. Resignation to the will of Heaven is our only resource in such dangerous times. Prudence and caution should be our guides. I have the strongest hopes that we shall yet see a clearer sky and better times.

Remember my tender love to little Abby tell her she must write me a letter and inclose it in the next you send. I am charmed with your amusement with our little Johnny. Tell him I am glad to hear he is so good a boy as to read to his mamma for her entertainment, and to keep himself out of the company of rude children. Tell him I hope to hear a good account of his accidence and nomenclature when I re turn. Remember me to all inquiring friends, particularly to uncle Quincy, your papa and family, and Dr. Tufts and family. Mr. Thaxter, I hope, is a good companion, in your solitude. Tell him, if he devotes his soul and body to his books, I hope, notwithstanding the darkness of these days, he will not find them unprofitable sacrifices in future. I have received three very obliging letters from Tudor, Trumbull and Hill. They have cheered us in our wanderings and done us much service.

Your account of the rain refreshed me. I hope our husbandry is prudently and industriously man aged. Frugality must be our support. Our expenses in this journey will be very great. Our only [recompense will ] be the consolatory reflection that we toil, spend our time and [encounter] dangers for the public good happy indeed if we do any good.

The education of our children is never out of my mind. Train them to virtue. Habituate them to industry, activity and spirit. Make them consider every vice as shameful and unmanly. Fire them with ambition to be useful. Make them disdain to be destitute of any useful or ornamental knowledge or accomplishment. Fix their ambition upon great and solid objects, and their contempt upon little, frivolous and useless ones. It is time, my dear, for you to be gin to teach them French. Every decency, grace and honesty should be inculcated upon them.

I have kept a few minutes by way of journal, which shall be your entertainment when I come home ; but we have had so many persons and so various characters to converse with, and so many objects to view, that I have not been able to be so particular as I could wish. I am, with the tenderest affection and concern, Your wandering

JOHN ADAMS.

Author:
John Adams

Source:
Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume I, 1841