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Birthday Trivia For July 14th

July 14, 2010

The other night I was reading and came across this most wonderful story from July 14, 1765.  As is my custom when something strikes me as funny or just plain interesting I read it to James.  As a result he is now filled with all sorts of useless information.

From  “Abigail And John: A Portrait Of A Marriage”  by Edith Gelles comes my quick version of events.

John Adams was downstairs in the parlor of his Braintree, Massachusetts home while his wife was upstairs being tended to by a midwife.  There was no way for John, age 30, not to hear the distress of his wife, or feel her discomfort as labor pains consumed her.  His  diary states that he had an “uneasy state of the human mind” which made him turn his thoughts to writing as the birth process continued.  After all, at this time in history childbirth was hazardous, and he needed to focus on something else.  He wrote the following words after the birth of their first child, Abigail.

“Without any particular subject to write on, my mind turned I know not how into a speculation or rather a rhapsody which I (later) sent to the Boston Gazette, and was there published without a title or signature.”

The thing that was so amazing is that this was his first great essay he would pen, doing so at the same time his first child, Abigail, was being born.  The essay was about the founding of America, and its unique historic mission.  In time it would be published serially under the title, “A Dissertation On The Canon And Feudal Law”.

Working under stress would be something John Adams would do over and over again throughout his life.

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