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Harriet Lincoln to John Adams

25 Jul. 1785

Sir   Queen’s Street July 25th 1785

You no doubt will be astonished that a person who perhaps is unknown to you should presume to take a liberty of this kind but permit me to assure you Sir that it is extremely painful to my feelings and not without much reluctance that I am compell’d thro’ direful necessity to make my unhappy Situation known to you the pressing demands of nature and the piercing Cries of my two helpless and Orphan Children (One of which is on the Eve of being no More) have more than once since the day of your Arrival in the London which I was immediately acquainted with determined me to address you but whilst there remain’d a ray of Hope that I cou’d by incesssant application to my Needle (the only Work which Cruel nature seems to have form’d me for) have it in my power to support even an existence I cou’d not prevail with myself to do that which distress Duty to my Creator and Maternal Affection now enforce The enclos’d may possibly satisfy you who the Unhappy writer is but if it does not pardon me Sir if for reasons which I cannot now acquaint you with I forbear to give you more Satisfactory information tho’ my not doing it I fear will prove a bar to your giving me the smallest assistance yet I hope it will not as I am conscious when you shall hereafter be acquainted with the particulars respecting the writer You will not lament that you have contributed to her relief The day I trust will ere long arrive when that will be made known to you which I cannot now impart even shou’d the Consquence be Death And now Sir permit in the most pressing and importunate terms to solicit and even [. . .] for your humane benevolent assistance to save from the bitter pangs of hunger A distrest Mother and helpless Childrent

Your Unfortunate / humble Servt 

Harriet Lincoln

(MHi: Adams Papers).
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