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Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 21 January 1796

My Dearest Friend

In the Annals of France; God forgive them, I would say. Yet upon recuring to my Heart, I had a Doubt whether the petition was sincere. The Scripture tells us that we must pray for our Enemies, but it does not say that we must pray that they may not be punished according to their Deserts. The post of this day brought me the Letters of two posts viz Yours of Jan.ry 2d [John to Abigail, 02 January 1796] , 5th [John to Abigail, 05 January 1796] , 7th [John to Abigail, 07 January 1796] , 8th [John to Abigail, 08 January 1796] , and 12th [John to Abigail, 12 January 1796] . The transcript from our Sons Letter, as well as his Letter gave me sincere pleasure. I hope you communicated it to the President. If he needed any other further  [illegible proof to convince him of the corrupt System, and of the agents employd to abuse and calumniate him, this Letter is a key to him. Every thing there predicted has taken place  [illegible exactly as foretold. Some communications in Your Letters are a Source of much anxiety to me. My Ambition leads me not to be first in Rome, and the Event you request me to contemplate is of so serious a Nature that it requires much reflection and deliberation to determine upon it. There is not a beam of Light, nor a shadow of comfort or pleasure in the contemplation of the object. If personal considerations alone were to weigh, I should immediatly say retire with the principle. I can only say that circumstances must Govern you. In a matter of such Momentous concern I dare not influence you. I must pray that you may have superiour Direction.

As to holding the office of v p. there I will give my opinion. Resign, retire. I wont be second under no Man but Washington.

At Length you have the Speach of a poor weak old Man, superannated indeed and fearing a shadow. The Virginia resolutions had been sent him, and it seems he was in favour of them as far as he dared to avow them, and declare in his speach, that the Treaty is pregnant with evil, that it controuls some of the powers specially vested in Congress for the Security of the people, and he fears that it may restore to Great Britain such an influence over the Government and people of this Country as may not be consistant with the general welfare.

How came the President of the united States and the 20 Senators not to make this discovery? Surely they would no more have ratified such a Treaty, than Mr. Jay have made it, if they had viewd it in this light.

I think he had better have left it, unnoticed than have come out in this manner, but it shews fully that the powers of his mind are unequal to enlarged views, and that he is under the influence of the Clubs. The Senate would not commit the Virginia Resolutions, and in the House 56 to 24 were against commiting them. I am told the House will be Federel.

I hope you will write to our sons by every opportunity, and send them all the intelligence you can.

We have had a fine fall of snow which will enable our people to compleat getting home wood if it last. I have not read Peter yet, because I sit down to write you immediatly. My finger is recovering, and

my Health as usual. I hope we shall soon get more Letters from abroad. I have my Eye upon  [illegible Sieyes. I believe I construed his refusal to be one of the five, right. When we see the intrigues, the Ambition, the Envy, the malice and ingratitude of the World, who would not rather, retire and live unnoticed in a country village, than stand the Broad Mark for all those arrows to be shot at placed upon a pinicle.

But I have done. Upon my pillow I shall reflect, fear and tremble, and pray that the President of the United States may long long continue to hold the Reigns of Government, and that his valuable Life may be prolongd for that purpose.

I am most affectionatly

Your A Adams

[Endorsement -- see page image]

Cite web page as: Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 21 January 1796 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/
Original manuscript: Adams, Abigail. Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 21 January 1796. 4 pages. Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
Source of transcription: Adams Papers Editorial Project. Unverified transcriptions.
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