First Lady Pours Scorn Upon a King

Abigail Adams, a forceful and forthright First Lady
Abigail Adams, a forceful and forthright First Lady

by Ray Setterfield

July 21, 1776Abigail Adams, wife of President John Adams, took an active role in politics and became known as a prolific letter-writer. On this day she wrote to her husband describing reaction to the Proclamation for Independence being read out at Boston, Massachusetts:

“Last Thursday, after hearing a very good sermon, I went with the multitude into King Street to hear the Proclamation for Independence read and proclaimed.

“The troops appeared under arms, and all the inhabitants assembled there (the smallpox prevented many thousands from the country), when Colonel Crafts read from the balcony of the State House the proclamation.

“Great attention was given to every word. As soon as he ended, the cry from the balcony was, ‘God save our American states,’ and then three cheers which rent the air.

"The bells rang, the privateers fired, the forts and batteries, the cannon were discharged, the platoons followed, and every face appeared joyful.

“After dinner the King’s Arms were taken down from the State House, and every vestige of him from every place in which it appeared, and burnt in King Street.

“Thus ends royal authority in this State. And all the people shall say Amen.”

Source: Familiar Letters to John Adams and His Wife, Abigail Adams, During the Revolution, 1876. Edited by Charles Francis Adams.

Published: September 4, 2017

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