John Adams Letters document,


[Philadelphia], 22 May, 1776.

WHEN a man is seated in the midst of forty people, some of whom are talking, and others whispering, it is not easy to think what is proper to write. I shall send you the newspapers, which will inform you of public affairs, and the particular flickerings of parties in this colony. I am happy to learn from your letter, that a flame is at last raised among the people, for the fortification of the harbor. Whether Nantasket or Point Alderton would be proper posts to be taken, I can't say. But I would fortify every place which is proper, and which cannon could be obtained for. Generals Gates and Mifflin are now here: General Washington will be here to-morrow, when we shall consult and deliberate concerning the operations of the ensuing campaign.

We have dismal accounts from Europe of the preparations against us. This summer will be very important to us. We shall have a severe trial of our patience, fortitude and perseverance. But I hope we shall do valiantly, and tread down our enemies.

I have some thoughts of petitioning the General Court for leave to bring my family here. I am a lonely, forlorn creature here. It used to be some comfort to me, that I had a servant and some horses. They composed a sort of family for me. But now, there is not one creature here, that I seem to have any kind of relation to. It is a cruel reflection, which very often comes across me, that I should be separated so far from those babes, whose education and welfare lie so near my heart. But greater misfortunes than these must not divert us from superior duties.

Your sentiments of the duties we owe to our country are such as become the best of women and the best of men. Among all the disappointments and perplexities which have fallen to my share in life, nothing has contributed so much to support my mind, as the choice blessing of a wife, whose capacity enabled her to comprehend, and whose pure virtue obliged her to approve the views of her husband. This has been the cheering consolation of my heart in my most solitary, gloomy and disconsolate hours. In this remote situation, I am deprived in a great measure of this comfort. Yet I read and read again your charming letters, and they serve me, in some faint degree, as a substitute for the company and conversation of the writer. I want to take a walk with you in the garden, to go over to the common, the plain, the meadow. I want to take Charles in one hand and Tom in the other, and walk with you, Abby on your right hand, and John upon my left, to view the corn fields, the orchards, &c.

Alas, poor imagination ! how faintly an<J imperfectly do you supply the want of originality and reality. But instead of those pleasing scenes of domestic life, I hope you will not be disturbed with the alarms of war. I hope, yet I fear.

John Adams