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Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 2 February 1796

My Dearest Friend

I received yesterday yours of 21. [Abigail to John, 21 January 1796] and 25 Jan. [Abigail to John, 25 January 1796] The Senate and House of Massachusetts without any flights or flashes in their Answer to the Governors Speech have discovered a Gravity, Wisdom, Firmness and Dignity which as much to their honour as it is to the Consolation of the Sober and important Part of the Community and the humiliation of all the corrupt and distracted.

I See daily so many affecting Proofs of the debilitating Power of Age, that I pity an old Man when he exposes himself. I had Yesterday a Scaene in my own Chamber, which moved the tender feeling of my heart for a Friend advanced in Years, not many however beyond my own. I feel bold and Strong myself, tho my hands shake but my Age admonishes me to have a Care.

It is devoutly to be wished that the Massachusetts had a Governor capable of diffusing his Thoughts over fifteen seeing states and being their Dependences on each other as well as their Relations with foreign Nations. Mr. Adams cannot. His Pride and Vanity are vastly more extensive than his Abilities. He always had a contracted Mind -- tho a subtle and a bold one. He never was over honest nor over candid. He will lie a little for his own Vanity and more for his Party, and as much as a Spartan for his notions of the public good.

Judge Cushing declines the Place of Chief Justice on Account of his Age and declining Health.

Let not my Communications worry thee. I am unchangeably determined to serve Under no other than Washington. Telemachus says to the Suitors. 1. Odyssey. 490 &c.

I am not averse

From Kingly cares if Jove appoint me Such.

I will not resist Jupiter. I will resign to his Will. If his Will is that any other should be president I know his Will also is that I should be a Farmer, for he has given me an understanding and a heart, which ought not and cannot and will not bow under Jefferson nor Jay nor Hamilton. It would be wicked in me. It would be countenancing Tyranny, Corruption and Villany in the People.

I am &c.
J. A.

Mrs A

[Endorsement -- see page image]

Cite web page as: Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 2 February 1796 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/
Original manuscript: Adams, John. Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 2 February 1796. 3 pages. Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
Source of transcription: Adams Papers Editorial Project. Unverified transcriptions.
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