John Adams letter to Abigail Adams, 23 October 1775

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[Philadelphia], 23 October, 1775.

YESTERDAY, yours of October 9th came to hand. Your letters never failed to give me pleasure. The greatest pleasure that I take, is in receiving them. And although every one, which has yet come to hand, is replete with melancholy tidings, yet I can truly say, I never was so earnest to receive them. I rejoice in the happy principles and the happy temper which apparently dictated them all.

I feel myself much affected with the breach upon the family. But we can count a mother, a brother, an aunt, and a brother's child among the slain by this cruel pestilence. May God Almighty put a stop to its rage and humble us under the ravages already made by it. The sorrows of all our friends, on the I loss of your mother, are never out of my mind. I pray God to spare my parent, whose life has been prolonged by his goodness hitherto, as well as yours that survives. The tremendous calamities already felt of fire, sword and pestilence may be only harbingers of greater still. We have no security against calamity here. This planet is its region. The only principle is to be prepared for the worst events.

If I could write as well as you, my sorrow would be as eloquent as yours, but, upon my word, I cannot.

The unaccountable event, which you allude to, has reached this place and occasioned a fall. I would be glad, however, that the worst construction might not be put. Let him l have fair play ; though I doubt.

The man who violates private faith, cancels solemn obligations, whom neither honor nor conscience holds, shall never be knowingly trusted by me. Had I known, when I first voted for a Director of an Hospital, what I heard afterwards, when I was down, I would not have voted as I did. Open, barefaced immorality ought not to be so countenanced. Though I think a fatality attends us in some instances, yet a divine protection and favor is visible in others ; and let us be cheerful, whatever happens. Cheerfulness is not a sin in any times.

I am afraid to hear again almost, lest some other should be sick in the house. V Yet I hope better, and that you will reassume your wonted cheerfulness and write again upon news and politics. Send your letters to Warren for conveyance. I won t trust any other.

Author:
John Adams

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