The letters exchanged between John Adams and his wife, Abigail, are almost legendary. Their correspondence give us a unique window into the lives of our Founders because so many of them chose to destroy personal letters. Martha Washington burned letters that he exchanged with her husband after his death. Thomas Jefferson did the same after the death of his wife, Martha. Samuel Adams burned all of this correspondence, and then threw the ashes out the window, so as to assure the personal safety of his friends. Consequently, we have limited access to the personal writings of the Founders. Not so with John and Abigail. In the more than 1000 letters which have been preserved, they exchange information about day-to-day matters, humorous stories about themselves and others, their views of politics and other political figures, but best of all their feelings for each other. Many of their letters began with the phrase, “my dearest friend.” That sentiment remained between them for their entire marriage. Abigail’s final words were: “Do not grieve, my friend, my dearest friend. I am ready to go. And John, it will not be long.” The first preserved exchange between them already notes John’s intention to marry seventeen year old Abigail: “Dr. Miss Jemima…I have taken the best Advice, on the subject of your Billet, and I find you cannot compell me to pay unless I refuse Marriage; which I never did, and never will, but on the Contrary am ready to have you at any Time. Yours, Jonathan…I hope Jemima’s Conscience has as good a Memory as mine.” The second letter, written on October 4, 1762, is even saucier: “Miss Adorable…By the same Token that the Bearer hereof satt up with you last night I hereby order you to give him, as many Kisses, and as many Hours of your Company after 9 O’Clock as he shall please to Demand and charge them to my Account: This Order, or Requisition call it which you will is in Consideration of a similar order Upon Aurelia for the like favour, and I presume I have good Right to draw upon you for the Kisses as I have given two or three Millions at least, when one has been received, and of Consequence the Account between us is immensely in favour of yours, John Adams.”
Many of the letters exchanged between them are so romantic, and John Adams makes many interesting statements about principles (such as virtue) and the future of our country. I have placed a few of the ones I greatly enjoyed on: http://www.bingoforpatriots.com/american-history/founding-fathers/presidents-during-the-founding-period/first-ladies-of-the-founding-period/abigail-adams/correspondence-of-john-and-abigail-adams/
Please take a moment to consider the humanity of our Founding Fathers. Some hold them out to be almost god like. Others portray them as flawed figures whose opinions should be dismissed. Begin to think of them as human beings. The letters of John and Abigail Adams allows us to see them for the unique and interesting individuals who they were. They were also human beings whose decisions were led by their principles. In 1782, Abigail Adams commented: “I feel a pleasure in being able to sacrifice my selfish passions to the general good” when asked if she would have objected to John’s departure to Europe, if she had known how long they would be separated. How different might our country be if our leaders were driven by their principles? What decisions might you make if you abandoned fear and passivity in favor of the principles which are close to your heart. If each of us sought to change our nation, based upon our principles, we would be What IS Right With America.
The attached image is a NASA photograph of IC 1805 which is otherwise known as the Heart Nebula. Located in Cassiopeia, the red light emanating from the nebula is created by hydrogen gas, and it contains several stars which have 50 times the mass of the sun.