John Adams Letters document,


Philadelphia, 31 March, 1777.

I KNOW not the time when I have omitted to write you so long. I have received but three letters from you since we parted, and these were short ones. Do you write by the post ? If you do, there must be some legerdemain. The post comes now constantly, once a week, and brings me newspapers, but no letters. I have ventured to write by the post, but whether my letters are received or not, I Don't know. If you distrust the post, the speaker or your uncle Smith will find frequent opportunities of conveying letters.

I never was more desirous of hearing from home, and never before heard so seldom. We have reports here, not very favorable to the town of Boston. It is said that dissipation prevails, and that toryism abounds, and is openly avowed at the coffee-houses. I hope the reports are false. Apostasies in Boston are more abominable than in any other place. Toryism finds worse quarter here. A poor fellow detected here as a spy, employed, as he confesses by Lord Howe and Mr. Galloway, to procure pilots for Delaware river and for other purposes, was this day at noon executed on the gallows, in the presence of an immense crowd of spectators. His name was James Moles worth. He has been Mayor's Clerk to three or four Mayors.

I believe you will think my letters very trifling indeed they are. I write in trammels. Accidents have thrown so many letters into the hands of the enemy, and they take such a malicious pleasure in exposing them, that I choose they should have nothing but trifles from me to expose. For this reason I never write any thing of consequence from Europe, from Philadelphia, from camp, or any where else. If I could write freely, I would lay open to you the whole system of politics and war, and would delineate all the characters in cither drama, as minutely, although I could not do it so elegantly, as Tully did in his letters to Atticus.

We have letters however from France by a vessel in at Portsmouth. Of her important cargo, you have heard. There is news of very great importance in the letters, but I am not at liberty. The news, however, is very agreeable.

John Adams