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Karen Palumbo

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Blogs by Karen Palumbo

On This Day 3/7/1777
3/4/2011 8:06:20 PM

Five letters pass between Abigail and John Adams


Continental Congressman John Adams writes three letters to and receives two letters from his wife Abigail. John Adams is with Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania while his wife maintained their farm in Braintree, Massachusetts.

The remarkable correspondence between Abigain Adams and John Adams, numbering one thousand one hundred sixty letters in total, covered topics ranging from politics and military strategy to household economy and faily health.

Their mutual respect and adoration served as evidence that even in an age when women were unable to vote there were nonetheless marriages in which wives and husbands were true intellectual and emotional equals.

In the second letter John Adams drafted to Abigail on March 7, 1777 where he declared that Philadelphia, Pennsylvania had lost it vibrancy during Congress's removal to Baltimore, Maryland.

"This City is a dull Place, in Comparrison
of what it was. More than one half the
Inhabitants have removed to the Country,
as it was their Wisdom to do, the Remainder
are chiefly Quakers as dull as Beetles.
From these neither good is to be expected
nor Evil to be apprehended. They are a kind
of neutral Tribe, or the Race of the
insipids."

By contrast, John Adams described the Loyalists, who:

"prepared their Minds and Bodies,
Houses and Cellars"

to receive General William Howe should he attack, as:

"a Pack of sordid Scoundrels male and
female"

In the letters John Adams received, which his wife Abigail had written in February, she bemoaned not only the difficulty of correspondence during the "American Revolution", but also of the lack of military fervor demonstrated by the New Englander's around her.

Abigail wrote that she awaited greater Patriotism, greater prosperity and future correspendence from her beloved husband to his devoted "Portia". (Portia, John Adams nickname for his wife Abigail, was likely a reference to the intelligent and devoted heroine of Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice".)



(K) (HST)



John Adams American Patriot
President - USA
Abigail Adams American Patriot
Wife of John Adams
William Howe British General


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