By Diane Larson
February 8, 2016
February is the month of romance, because it is the month that we celebrate Valentine’s Day. We also celebrate Presidents Day. So the clever folks at Shop.Dine.Play thought it then stands to reason that we should look at the romance of our Presidents. Picking just a few, we have researched and learned so much. However we decided to pick just one couple that seemed to exemplify romance. That couple is John and Abigail Adams. John and Abigail had a wonderful romance and deep love for each other. They left behind over a thousand letters. Below, for your enjoyment, is just a small example of their romance.
In an effort to keep the genuineness and veracity of these correspondences, the quotes have been taken verbatim from archived letters. So please excuse the spelling, grammar and such. Having the words as close to the original artifact tell a story that my mere words would not be able to relate.
John and Abigail Adams
Having the opportunity to look at and read these letters gives us an insight into the type of people John and Abigail were and their character. According to Joseph J. Ellis, long time biographer of the Adams, these letters were as much for each other as they are for us. John made it clear he wanted a record of the times to pass down to history. Even though he worried that his contemporaries would see them.
For many of our presidents there isn’t a lot written as far as their love stories are concerned. For instance George and Martha spent almost as much time apart and had much correspondence, but George had Martha destroy their letters.
However, in the case of John and Abigail we are extremely fortunate. There are thousands of letters that they wrote to each other.
John and Abigail spent a large portion of their married life apart because John’s legal and political career took him many places and he was bound to stay for long extended periods of time. Almost thirty years spent apart during their marriage. The richness of their correspondence was the effect of this life. Both wrote pages and pages. They wrote about everything from family and the family business to the ratification of the constitution. Some of their letters even contain explicit expressions of their sexual urges and physical desires for each other.
John to Abigail writing about being detained from returning home because of a storm. “Yet perhaps blessed storm … for keeping one at my distance. For every experimental philosopher knows, that the steel and the magnet, or the glass and the feather will not fly together with more celerity … than somebody … when brought within striking distance – and Itches, Aches, Agues, and Repentance might be the consequences of contact in present circumstances.”
Abigail to John in a letter explaining that their attraction is not just intellectual, it is also visceral. “And there is a tye more binding than Humanity, and stronger than Friendship … unite these, and there is a threefold chord – and by this chord I am not ashamed to say that I am bound, nor do I [believe] that you are wholly free from it.”
And more of their love and respect for each other. In one letter John wrote to Abigail, “A soul, as pure, as benevolent, as virtuous and pious as yours has nothing to fear, but every Thing to hope and expect from the last of human Evils.” Then in another letter Abigail wrote to John, “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” and their passion. They had wonderful pet names for each other, Abigail would call her husband “dearest friend” and John would call Abigail “Miss Adorable.”
Home schooled Abigail Smith was the daughter of a parson. She loved to read and would set eyes to anything she could get her hands on including law books. Her intellect is one of the things that first attracted her future husband.
John was the son of a farmer. In school, John was studying to be a preacher. But soon found that wasn’t the profession for him. He took a teaching job at a school that was near a local court house and would sit in on legal cases and decided that was more his style.
John and Abigail married on October 25, in 1764.
Both John and Abigail were abolitionist and federalist. When they began to date they would spend hours talking. Whenever their views or opinions would diverge, Abigail was not one to back down and would continue the debate. They were more equals and regarded each other as such more so then the times would certainly command.
In her letters, Abigail would often advise John and he would request such advice. In 1774 while John was attending the first Continental Congress she wrote in one letter “remember the ladies” as he and his cronies were drafting new laws for a nation that was still in infancy. They were more equal in than most in that time. She also kept John abreast of what was happening on the home front, personally and politically.
It is said that Abigail Adams wrote some of the great love letters of American history. She referred to her husband as “dearest friend.” In one letter she wrote, “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.” Her letters contain a raw honesty that shows, in some sense, how they managed to stay together despite the difficult lives they had resolved to live. In the same letter she writes, “The unbounded confidence I have in your attachment to me, and the dear pledges of our affection, has soothed the solitary hour, and renderd your absence more supportable; for had I have loved you with the same affection, it must have been misiry 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. And yet in the very next paragraph she defends him, his absence and work to an unknown person with such eloquence. Someone has asked her how she tolerates his absence and if she has ever had second thoughts about the union. She replies, “If I had known Sir that Mr. A. could 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 compaired with the great community.”
Abigail and John were married for 54 years until Abigail passed away on October 28, 1818. Their story, as seen through the pages and pages of letters is a story of the times. It is a story of a young nation. It is a first family and it especially is a love story.
For both John and Abigail love compelled such a level of intimacy that words, especially written words could not entirely capture. Love was not complete without all of the emotional, intellectual and physical. With all three aligned they experience an emotional affinity that made unconditional trust a natural part of being and existing with each other.
Butte Sheriff Ed Lester released an announcement today that there was yet another bomb threat. The call came into the district court in the courthouse at about 1:43 pm. Butte Fire Department and the Butte Police responded. The courthouse was evacuated and searched. No items of concern were found on the premises. The courthouse was then reopened after about twenty minutes. The police continue to work with the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI to investigate the recent threats. At this time this is all the information available.