CHAPTER 15|Document 12
Abigail Adams to John Adams7 May 1776Butterfield 127
A Government of more Stability is much wanted in this colony, and they are ready to receive it from the Hands of the Congress, and since I have begun with Maxims of State I will add an other viz. that a people may let a king fall, yet still remain a people, but if a king let his people slip from him, he is no longer a king. And as this is most certainly our case, why not proclaim to the World in decisive terms your own importance?
Shall we not be dispiced by foreign powers for hesitateing so long at a word?
I can not say I think you very generous to the Ladies, for whilst you are proclaiming peace and good will to Men, Emancipating all Nations, you insist upon retaining an absolute power over Wives. But you must remember that Arbitary power is like most other things which are very hard, very liable to be broken--and notwithstanding all your wise Laws and Maxims we have it in our power not only to free ourselves but to subdue our Masters, and without voilence throw both your natural and legal authority at our feet--
"Charm by accepting, by submitting sway Yet have our Humour most when we obey."
The Founders' Constitution
Volume 1, Chapter 15, Document 12
The University of Chicago Press
Adams, Abigail Smith. The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762--1784. Edited by L. H. Butterfield et al. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1975.
Easy to print version.