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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 2


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Docno: ADMS-06-02-02-0027

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Warren, James
Date: 1774-07-25

To James Warren

[salute] Dr Sir

There never was I believe, a greater Contrast, than I perceive, between the Noise and Hurry of Queen street, and the Serene Retreat, which I enjoy here. No Clients disturb me, no Politicians interrupt me, no Tories vex me, no Tyrants govern me, I had almost Said No Devils tempt or torment me.
The chaste Pleasures of Agriculture, engage me, as much [as] Cards, or Assemblies ever did a fair Lady. You can Sympathize with me, in all this. You, live in a Land of Rain this Year, as well as I, and it is an infinite Consolation to us both, to see the Wisdom and Benevolence of Heaven, counteracting the Folly, the Malice and Madness of our Tyrants.
It would do your Heart good to see me, mowing, raking carting, and frolicking with my Workmen, as unconcernd as if No Port Bill, or regulating Bill, or Murder Bill,1 had ever existed.
I catch myself however, now and then, among the Hay Cockes bestowing most hearty Execrations, on a few Villains, who have dignified themselves by Superlative Mischief to their native Country the British Empire and the World.
The Demise of the French Crown, is a great Event in the Political System of Europe, and of Consequence, must be a mighty Link in the Chain of Causes in American Politicks. I am not enough acquainted with the State of the French, Spanish and German Courts to predict with any Confidence, what Revolutions will succeed the Death of Lewis 15th.2 But if two young Fellows at the Head of [the] German Empire, and the French Monarchy, both warm and active dont make Mischief, in Europe it will be a Wonder.
I remember when I was young, and Sometimes amused myself with { 117 } Poetry and Criticism, I used to see it frequently prescribed as a Rule to consider how Homer or Virgill, or Horace or Ovid would have imagined or expressed a Thing. But I believe it requires almost as much Genius and skill to Say how they would imagine or express a Thing, as they had themselves.
I cant help, applying this Rule sometimes, to Politicks, and enquiring what Plans would be adopted at the Congress, if a Sully, a Cecil, a Pitt, or a Ximenes,3 a Demosthenes or a Cicero were there—or all of them together.
I am at no Loss, at all, to guess. [ . . . ] pretend to Skill and Capacity like [ . . . ] G –– d knoweth—I dont compare [ . . . ] an Atom to the Globe. But is it easy to believe they would propose Non Importation? Non Exportation? Non Consumption? If I mistake not, Somewhat a little more Sublime, and mettlesome, would come from Such Kind of Spirits.
However, Patience, Prudence, Resignation [ . . . ] Candour and all that, must [ . . . ][Ame]rican Plans. We must fast a[nd pray, learn to] bear and forbear. We must [have that charity which] suffereth long and is kind, which be[areth all things and] hopeth all Things.4
RC (MHi:Warren-Adams Coll.); addressed: “To the Honourable James Warren Esq Plymouth”; endorsed: “Mr J. Adams lettr July 1774.” The last page of the manuscript and address page are mutilated with the loss of at least five lines.
1. The Administration of Justice Act, which allowed officials of the Crown indicted for a capital offense occasioned by the performance of their duties to be tried outside the colonies and thus away from juries likely to be hostile.
2. Louis XV died on 10 May 1774.
3. Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros (1436–1517), Cardinal, and virtually prime minister of Spain, conqueror of the Moors, dedicated statesman (William H. Prescott, History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, Boston, 1839, 3:404–417).
4. Missing material in the last sentence is supplied from 1 Corinthians, 13:4–7 (Warren-Adams Letters, 1:32, note 1).
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, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/