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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 4

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[To Elbridge Gerry]

[addrLine] Mr. Gerry a Member of Congress.

[salute] My Dear Friend

I was disappointed in my Expectations of receiving Letters from You by the two Vessells, The Saratoga and the Spy, which have arrived. Although I know your time is every moment of it, wisely and usefully employed, yet I cannot but wish for a little of it, now and then. Europe is eager, at all times, for news from America, and this Kingdom in particular enjoys every Syllable of good News from that Country.
Great Britain is really a Melancholly Spectacle.…. Destitute of Wisdom and Virtue to make Peace; burning with malice and revenge; yet affrighted and confounded at the Prospect of War.…. She has reason; for if she should be as successfull in it, as she was in the last, it would weaken and exhaust her, and she would not, even in that Case recover America, and consequently her Superiority at Sea.…. But humanly speaking it is impossible, she should be successful.
It is with real Astonishment that I observe her Conduct.…. After all Experience, and altho' her true Interest, and her only safe plan of Policy is as obvious as the Sun, yet she cannot see it.…. All Attention to the Welfare of the Nation seems to be lost, both by the Members of Administration and Opposition, and among the People at large.…. Tearing one another to Pieces for the Loaves and Fishes, and a universal Rage for gambling in the Stocks, seem to take up all their Thoughts.
An Idea of a fair and honourable Treaty with Congress, never enters their Minds. In short Chicanery seems to have taken Possession of their hearts so entirely, that they are incapable of thinking of any Thing fair.
We had an Example, here last Week.…. A long Letter, containing { 150 } a Project for an Agreement with America, was thrown into one of our Grates.…. There are Reasons to believe, that it came with the Privity of the King.…. You may possibly see it, sometime.…Full of Flattery, and proposing that America should be governed by a Congress, of American Peers, to be created and appointed by the King.…. And of Bribery, proposing that a Number not exceeding two hundred American Peers should be made, and that such as had stood foremost, and suffered most, and made most Enemies in this Contest, as Adams, Handcock, Washington and Franklin by Name, should be of the Number.…. Ask our Friend, if he should like to be a Peer?
Dr. Franklin, to whom the Letter was sent, as the Writer is supposed to be a Friend of his, sent an Answer, in which they have received a Dose that will make them sick.
[signed] John Adams

[addrLine] Mr. Gerry

Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.