John Adams Letters document,


[Philadelphia], 12 May, 1776.

YOURS of 21 April came to hand yesterday. I send you regularly every newspaper, and write as often as I can ; but I feel more skittish about writing than I did, because, since the removal of head-quarters to New York, we have no express, and very few individual travellers ; and the post I am not quite confident in ; however, I shall write as I can.

What shall I do with my office ? I want to resign it for a thousand reasons. Would you advise me ?

There has been a gallant battle in Delaware river between the galleys and two men of war, the Roebuck and Liverpool, in which the men of war came off second best ; which has diminished, in the minds of the people on both sides of the river, the terror of a man of war.

I long to hear a little of my private affairs ; yet I dread it too, because I know you must be perplexed and distressed. I wish it was in my power to relieve you. It gives me great pleasure to learn, that our rulers are, at last, doing something towards the fortification of Boston. But I am inexpressibly chagrined to find that the enemy is fortifying on George's Island. I never shall be easy, until they are completely driven out of that harbor, and effectually prevented from ever getting in again. As you are a politician and now elected into an important office, that of judgess of the Tory ladies, which will give you, naturally, an influence with your sex, I hope you will be instant, in sea son and out of season, in exhorting them to use their influence with the gentlemen, to fortify upon George's Island, LovelFs, Pettick's, Long, or wherever else it is proper. Send down fire ships and rafts, and burn to ashes those pirates. I am out of patience with the languid, lethargic councils of the province, at such a critical, important moment, puzzling their heads about twopenny fees, and confession bills, and what not, when the harbor of Boston is defenceless. If I was there, I should storm and thunder like Demosthenes, or scold like a tooth-drawer. Do ask Mr. Wibird and Mr. Weld and Mr. Taft to preach about it. I am ashamed, vexed, angry to the last degree. Our people, by their turpitude, have invited the enemy to come to Boston again, and I fear they will have the civility and politeness to accept the invitation.

Your uncle has never answered my letter. Thank the Doctor, he has written me a most charming letter, full of intelligence, and very sensible and useful re marks. I will pay the debt, as far as my circumstances will admit, and as soon. But I hope my friends will not wait for regular returns from me. I have not yet left off pitying " the fifty or sixty men ; " and if my friends knew all that I do, they would pity too.

Betsey Smith, lazy hussy, has not written me a line a great while. I wish she was married ; then she would have some excuse. Duty to papa. Love to all. How is the family over against the church ?

John Adams