Abigail Adams' correspondence to John Adams has made it into my "favorite bits of reading." Some excerpts:
I can not say that I think you are 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 Arbitrary power is like most other things which are very hard, very liable to be broken--and notwithstanding all of 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.
If you complain of neglect in Education in sons, What shall I say with regards to daughters, who every day experience the want of it? (...)If we mean to have Heroes, Statesmen and Philosophers, we should have learned women. (...) If much depends as is allowed upon the early Education of youth and the first principles which are instilld great benefit must arise from litirary accomplishments in women.
Hope is my best Friend and kindest comforter; she assures me that the pure unabated affection, which neither time or absence can ally or abate, shall e'er long be crowned with the completion of its fondest wishes, in the safe return of the beloved object; the age of romance has long ago past, but the affection of almost Infant years has matured and strengthened untill it has become a vital principle, not has the world anything to bestow which could in the smallest degree compensate for the loss.
'Tis no small Satisfaction to me that my country is like to profit so largely by my sacrifices.