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Now letter-Writing is, to me, the most agreeable Amusement: and Writing to you the most entertaining and Agreeable of all Letter-Writing. John Adams
And then Sir if you please you may take me. Abigail Smith
Love is a deep feeling of profound passion and intimacy. The story between John and Abigail Adams is a warm and deeply moving love between two of America's most moving people. Their names are inseparably linked as those of any pair in history. The story of these amazing lovers, patriots, comes to life through their intimate correspondence. Through their numerous letters of communication, one can relive their thoughts and feelings as they strengthened their bond.
John Adams was born in Braintree, what is now Quincy, Massachusetts, on October 30, 1735. His father was a farmer, a deacon of the First Parish of Braintree, and a militia officer. John's mother came from a leading family of Brookline and Boston merchants and physicians. John studied hard in the village school. He was twenty three years old when he graduated from Harvard in the class of 1755. He began to practice law in Braintree in 1758. John and Abigail first met in 1759.
Abigail was only fifteen when they first met. Abigail Smith was born November 11, 1744 at Weymouth, Massachusetts. Her father was a minister in Weymouth. On her mother's side she was descended from the Quincys, a family of great prestige in the colony. Like most women of her time, Abigail had received little formal schooling, but she read constantly thanks to her father's library. Because of this she became one of the best informed women of her time.
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They were lovers, friends, counselors, and mentors to one another into old age. They had five children, two daughters and three sons. Abigail showed great ability in managing the farm and raising their family without him during his long absences on the nation's business. John took pride in her accomplishments. He told her she was so successful in budgeting, planting, managing staff, regulating live-stock, buying provisions, nursing and educating her children that their neighbors would remark on how much better things seemed to go in his absence.
John and Abigail played a pivotal role in the American Revolution. John's passion and expression convinced the colonists to fight the British, while Abigail supported John's efforts from the home front. She was a valuable partner to him as he developed his political career, leading him to the presidency of the United States. Abigail Adams helped "plant the seeds" that would start women and men thinking about women's rights and roles in a country that had been founded on the ideals of equality and independence.
Their story unfolded alongside many important events including the Boston Massacre and Tea party and the Battle of Bunker Hill. Independence was proclaimed, a Confederation was adopted, and treaties were negotiated to bring peace to a new nation. Through all of this, this amazing and strong woman stayed by his side. Their life together remains one of America's most enduring love stories that others could only dream of.
In a time where marriage is only kept fifty percent of the time, I found researching John and Abigail's relationship quite refreshing. I sat, read, and enjoyed many of the letters they had exchanged. The time period this couple lived through was hard and troublesome and one could almost visualize everything that they were going through and what was going on around them by reading these remarkable letters. I'm glad I chose this topic and took the time to research it. I end this paper with a piece of one of my favorite letters.
My dearest Friend, December 23, 1782
I have omitted writing by the last opportunity to Holland; because I had but small Faith in the designs of the owners or passengers. The vessel sails from Nantucket, Dr. Winship is a passenger, a Mr. Gray and some others, and I had just written you so largely by a vessel bound to France, the General Galvaye that I had nothing New to say. There are few occurrences in this Northern climate at this Season of the year to divert or entertain you and in the domestick way, should I draw you the picture of my heart it would be what I hope you would still love though it contained nothing new. The early possession you obtained there, and the absolute power you have obtained over it, leaves not the smallest space unoccupied. I look back to the early days of our acquaintance and friendship as to the days of love and innocence, and, with an indescribable pleasure, I have seen near a score of years roll over our heads with an affection heightened and improved by time, nor have the dreary years of absence in the smallest degree effaced from my mind the image of the dear untitled man to whom I gave my heart. I cannot sometimes refrain considering the Honours with which he is invested as badges of my unhappiness. The pledges of our affection, has soothed the solitary hour, and renderd your absence more supportable; for had I loved you with the same affection it must have been misery to have doubted. Yet a cruel world too often injures my feelings, by wondering how a person possesst of domestick attachments can sacrifice them by absenting himself for years.
If you had known said a person to me the other day, that Mr. A[dam]s would have remained so long abroad, would you have consented that he should have gone? I recollected myself a moment, and then spoke the real dictates of my Heart. If I had known Sir the Mr. A. Cold have affected what he has done, I would not only have submitted to the absence I have endured, painfull as it has been; but I would not have opposed it, even tho 3 years more should be added to the Number, which Heaven avert! I feel a pleasure in being able to sacrifice my selfish passions to the general good, and in imitating the example which has taught me to consider myself and family, but as the small dust of the balance when compared with the great community
Butterfield, Friedlaender, and Mary-Jo Kline, eds. The book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family 1762-1784. Harvard University Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1975.
Stone, Irving. Those Who Love: a biographical novel of Abigail and John Adams. Doubleday & Company. New York, 1965.
"Abigail Smith Adams." Whitehouse.gov. Oct 2006 http://www.whitehouse.gov/ history/firstladies/aa2.html
"Abigail Adams." Wikipedia.org. Oct 2006 http://en.wikipedia.org /wiki/Abigail_Adams