My Dearest Friend
Mr. Beale called upon me, a few Days ago and left your Letter of Decr. 23d [Abigail to John, 23 December 1796] [Abigail to John, 23 December 1796 (second)] . Last Evening I presented him to the P. and Mrs. W. together with Mr. Howard, a son of Dr. Howard of Boston.
You Say Mr. H. is very full of his Praises of Mr. Monroe. So is Dr. Edwards. He Says Mr. Monroes Correspondence will do him infinite Honour when it comes to be published -- and all that.
Monroes House has been a School for Scandal against his Country, its Government and Governors. Mr. Jay and his Treaty &c. Edwards Says, as Dr. Rush told me that Washingtons Character was in total Contempt in France. This I shall not believe till I have better Evidence than that of any or all these great Personages. Nay, than all the Directory Ancients and five hundred.
Mr. Madison is to retire. It Seems, the Mode of becoming great is to retire. Madison I Suppose after a Retirement of a few Years is to be President or V. P. Mr. Cabot I suppose, after Aggrandising his Character in the shade, a few Years is to be some great Thing too -- and Mr. Ames -- &c. &c. &c.
It is marvellous how political Plants grow in the shade. Continual Day light and sun shine, Show our Faults and record them. Our Persons, Voices, Cloaths, Gate, Air, Sentiments, &c. all become familiar to every Eye and Ear and Understanding and they diminish in Proportion, upon the same Principle that no Man is an Hero to his Wife or Valet de Chamber.
These Gentlemen are certainly in the right to run away and hide. Tell Mr. Cabot so, if you see him. His Countrymen will soon believe him to be a Giant in a Cave and will go in a Body and dig him out. I wish but dont tell Cabot so, that they would dig up Gerry.
I have bespoke a Chariot and am treating for Horses.
We read of a Vessell from Rotterdam arrived at Salem or its Neighbourhood, by which I hope there may be Letters from our Young friends, as late as the middle of Novr. My Anxiety for Letters from them increases every day. They have more accurate Views and Intelligence, than any others. And what is of more importance Still, more Application and Industry.
The Weather has moderated a little. I am, with anxious desires to see you, which I fear cannot be gratified before July, Yours forever,
[Endorsement -- see page image]