Sunday, May 1, 2016


      John Adams began writing directly to his son in the spring of 1776.  His first letter must have overawed the boy:  "I hope that you will remember how many Losses, dangers, and Inconveniences, that have been borne by your parents, and the inhabitants of Boston in general, for the sake of pursuing freedom for you and Yours."  Johnny probably needed very little reminding about sacrifice:  in the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party in 1773, the British had blockaded the port of Boston and placed the city under martial law.  Even the most basic products were unavailable or impossibly expensive.  Abigail, always self-sufficient, laid in her own stores of flax and wool in order to make the family clothes and linen herself.  By the spring of 1775, the Adams family servants had either returned home or joined the militia, leaving Abigail to make the soap, nurse the sick, tend to the animals, and of course for her children virtually on her own.  The battle of Bunker Hill, that June, only offered the most vivid lesson in the sacrifices compelled by the pursuit of freedom.

-James Traub,  John Quincy Adams:  Militant Spirit

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