Hannah Storer Green to Abigail Adams
“Westfield [Massachusetts] August 18th. 1775
My Dear Friend
‘To certain Trouble we are born
Hope to rejoice but sure to mourn.’
A serious truth this, which daily observation teaches, and experience convinces us of; for at the very moment that our hopes are at their height, trouble comes upon us like an armed Man, our hearts sink within us and we tremble with fear. Again our hopes rise, we anticipate the happiness of that day, when we shall regain the Victory over our worse than Savage enemies, when we shall meet and rejoice together again in quiet habitations. Here again our hearts are damp’d at the thought that tho’ we should be permitted to return, yet many of our friends may be laid in their graves, and here I cannot but recall to mind our brave General, and your particular friend; who nobly lost his life in the cause of Liberty; regretted by all, except those who are dead to every feeling of humanity. Others being overborne with trouble, and lacking the necessaries of life, fall victims to the stroke of Death. Thus we go on balancing between Hope, and fear; hopeing for good but sure of – I was going to say evil, but I will not, why should I call that evil, which God hath appointed? and I doubt not will make it all turn for good; but still my friend, the human heart recoils at what has, and what still may happen.”
Source: The Adams Papers, Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society. Series II, Volume I, p. 273.
Commentary: The death of Joseph Warren at Bunker Hill reverberated among his closest friends, relations, acquaintances, political allies, foes, and the English newspaper-reading public. While its meaning varied greatly among individuals, one aspect in common was the sad realization that the struggle between American Patriots and British Colonial overlords had escalated into a war, and, regardless of how hostilities might conclude, “many of our friends may be laid in their graves.”