John Adams letter to Abigail Adams, 19 October 1775

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[Philadelphia], 19 October, 1775.

IT is some time since I wrote you, and I have nothing now to write, but repetitions of respect and affection. I am anxious to hear from you. I hope the family is better ; that your grief for the great loss we have all sustained is somewhat abated. I hope your father and sister Betsey are well, though they must be greatly afflicted. Give my love to Betsey, and let her know that I feel most intimately for her, as well as for myself and the rest. I consider the stroke must fall heavier upon her, as it was nearer to her. Her prosperity is near my heart. I wish her every blessing which she can possibly wish for herself.

Really it is very painful to be four hundred miles from one's family and friends, when we know they are in affliction. It seems as if it would be a joy to me to fly home, even to share with you your burdens and misfortunes. Surely, if I were with you, it would be my study to allay your griefs, to mitigate your pains, and to divert your melancholy thoughts. When I

shall come home, I know not. We have so much to do, and it is so difficult to do it right, that \vc must learn patience. Upon my word, I think, if ever I were to come here again, I must bring you with me. I could live here pleasantly, if I had you with me. W T ill you come and have the small pox I here ? I wish I could remove all the family, our little daughter and sons, and all go through the distemper here. What if we should ? Let me please myself with the thought however.

Congress has appointed Mr. Wythe, Mr. Deanc and me, a Committee to collect an account of the hostilities committed by the troops and ships, with proper evidence of the number and value of the houses and other buildings destroyed or damaged, the vessels captivated, and the cattle, sheep, hogs, &c., taken. We are about writing to all the general assemblies of New England, and to many private gentlemen in each colony, to assist us in making the collections. The gentlemen with me are able men. Deane's character, you know. He is a very ingenious man and an able politician. Wythe is a new member from Virginia, a lawyer of the highest eminence in that pro vince, a learned and very laborious man ; so that we may hope this commission will be well executed. A tale of woe it will be ! Such a scene of distress and destruction, and so patiently and magnanimously borne ! Such a scene of cruelty and barbarity, so unfeelingly committed ! I mention this to you, my dear, that you may look up, and transmit to me, a paper which Colonel Palmer lent me, containing a relation of the Charlestown battle, which was transmit ted to England by the Committee of safety. This paper I must have, or a copy of it.

I wish I could collect, from the people of Boston or others, a proper set of paintings of the scenes of distress and misery brought upon that town from the commencement of the Port bill. Posterity must hear a story that shall make their ears to tingle.

Yours, yours, yours.

Author:
John Adams

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