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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 2

Docno: ADMS-06-02-02-0073

Author: Swift, Samuel
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-01-30

From Samuel Swift

[salute] Bror. Adams

(a Memento for Tyrants as A man has it) Seting before a warm fire totus Solus with a Tankard of honest Cyder on my Rifles hand and as honest a dish of Clambs (taken out of Our pious Fore fathers powdering tub)1 on my left.

“I lookd and blesst my Self, nor would I Change my State,

For all the pompous Riches of the Great”

or those who would be tho't great, as is better Renderd. in the Original. And having just Read Nov Anglus of this day which pleases me not a little, and which wants but very little Alterations indeed—yet you will allow me freedom of speech, nay it is Rather a distinction without a Real difference, yet permit me. Speaking of the Financier, he Says—“because he had hungry Cormorants enough about him in England,” (a glaring truth) “whose Cooings were more troublesome to his ears, than the Croaking of the Ravens in America.” Now sir, as, Cooing is more Applicable to Doves, whether Gabbeling or Cabling Cormorants had not been as figurative? no matter;2 when Nov Anglus comes to his Bernardian propositions by way of proof from this 29th. to his 97th Some few intermediate and perhaps insignificative ones excepted, he puts (with his Observations thereon) matters in a Glorious Light, more especially when he Adds “That Hutchinson and Oliver notwithstanding all their disguises which you well Remember were in Unison with him in the whole of his Measures, can be doubted by no man.” It Appears &c. If you should see { 388 } Nov Anglus before I do tel him to go on and prosper. He merits publick thanks. Give my best Regards to your desireable Lady whom I love as much, and as well, as I ought to;—tel her I have a Small Action pending at our Supr. Court, which, when it will set, to effect, is a matter greatly Uncertain, tel her as it is an Affair of my own, I Shall not offer her Lord a ffee (the Action is Swift vs Jackson et al on a Sci Facv. [Scire Facias]) but that She bespeak him in the Action And that for her Noticeing him of it, I will present her with the prettiest Canister of Tea and the finest Loaf of Sugar the City affords. For under those Genl. Rules are excepted these that follow, Bona, Melior, Optima; She is an Invalid, therefore I Administer that to her medicinally. At the same time I am for keeping up to all salutary Rules and measures. Tel her further, that, when the Spring Opens I and my Mistress will pay our best Respects to her when if your pork and Apples are not all Spent, that we Shall expect a dish of fry'd pork and Apples for an first, middle and last dish; and further that if in the interim, or ever, she or you with her Shall vouchsafe to call upon us, that we have the Standing dish of Clambs at your service, and that we shall present e'm with as much Simplicity and honesty (the change of time and Air excepted) as Adam and Eve did the Raritys of the Garden. We have no News but are eagerly expecting to expect. Adieu,
[signed] Sam Swift
[P.S.] Dr. Franklins Sentiments and Answer to Sh——ly are truly Glorious except the last—which Nov-Anglus has put in three lines, in a Glorious light.3
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble John Adams Esqr at Braintree.”
1. A tub for salting and pickling (OED).
2. See Novanglus Letters, No. IV, note 89, above.
3. Franklin's last point was that representation in Parliament would be acceptable to the colonists and would unite the empire. JA dismissed representation as “impracticable” (Novanglus Letters, No. II and note 4, above). Swift's “postscript” was written on the address sheet and folded in.

Docno: ADMS-06-02-02-0074

Author: Warren, Mercy Otis
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1775-01-30

From Mercy Otis Warren

[salute] Sir

The very polite introduction to yours of Jan 3d I Consider not only as A Complement far beyond any Merit I can presume to Claim, but as Resulting in some Measure from that partial Byas which Ever { 389 } Leads us to View through the most Favourable Medium whatever Regards those we Consider in the Light of Friendship.
But when assure'd that I think myself both Honour'd and oblige'd whenever Mr. Adams takes up the pen to Favour me with A Line, I hope he will again Attempt to Grasp it hard Enough to Gratify me Further in the same way.
More Especially as I am about to submit a Casuistical query to his Decision: in whose judgment I place Great Confidence Both from the Ability and Rectitude of Mind which Guide its Determinations.
Personal Reflections and sarcastic Reproaches have Generally been Decry'd by the Wise And the Worthy both in thier Conversation and Writing, and though A Man may be Greatly Criminal in his Conduct towards the society in which he Lives, how far sir, do you think it justifiable for any individual to hold him up the Object of public Derision.
And is it Consistant with the Benevolent system of Christianity to Vilify the Delinquent when we only Wish to Ward of[f] the Fatal Consequences of his Crimes.
But though from the perticuler Circumstances of our unhappy times A Little personal Acrimony Might be justifiable in your sex, Must not the Female Character suffer. (And will she not be suspected as Deficient in the most Amiable part therof that Candour and Charity which Ensures her both Affection and Esteem.) if she indulges her pen to paint in the Darkest shades Even Those whom Vice and Venality have Rendered Contemptable.
Your undisguized sentiments on these points will Greatly oblige a person who is sometimes Doubtful whether the solicitations of A Beloved Friend, May not lead her to indulge A satirical propencity that ought to be Reined in With the utmost Care and Attention, but such are the Multiplied injuries the Community Receives, from A set of unfeeling, unprincipled Hirelings—such the Discord sow'n by their Wicked Machinations and such the Animosity of parties, that may we not all with some Reason apply to ourselves, What A Noble Auther has put into the Mouth of the Celebrated pope, When Meeting the Admired Boileau1 in the Elysian shades, 'that Neither of them Could Boast that Either thier Censure or thier praise was always Free from partiallity. And that thier pens were often drawn against Those with whom it was more shameful to Contend, than Honourable to Vanquish.
I know not What May be your opinion of a Late Composition.2 But as it was so Readily ushered into Light and by A Gentleman of { 390 } your Discernment offered to the publick Eye. You Cannot Wonder if I presume you thought it Might in some small degree be Beneficial to society. If so the Auther must be highly Gratified. And will be ever better pleased with picking some useful Flower from the foot of parnassces, than if she were Able to Ascend the utmost Heights: and Gather the Laurel or the Garland from its summit, when the Glowing Beauties have No tendency Either to Correct the Manners of others or to improve the Virtue of her own Heart.
Your Critism or Countenance, your Approbation or Censure May in some perticulers serve to Regulate my future Conduct.
In your Last to Mr. Warren you seem to be quite Weary of A state of suspence.3 It is painful. It is Vexatious. How many years have the hopes of the Contesting parties been Alternately Riseing or sinking with the Weight of A Feather and yet Little prospect of A period to thier Embarrasment.
How much Longer sir do you think the political scale Can Hang in Equilibrium. Will not justice and Freedom soon preponderate till the partizans of Corruption and Venality (Even Backed with the Weight of Ministerial power) shall be Made to kick the Beam.
You will not think it strange that the timidity and tenderness of A Woman should Lead her to be anxious for the Consequences of every important step and very solicitous for the termination of those Disputes which interrupt Almost Every social Enjoyment and threaten to spread Ruin and Desolation over the Fairest possessions.
But if you sir will Candidly Excuse this interuption, I will no Longer Call of your Attention from more Momentous affairs. Yet Let me add my Fervant Wishes that you and the other Gentlemen of the Ensuing Congress4 may be Endowed With Wisdom and Resolution Equal to the Difficulties of the Day and if you Attempt to Repair the shattered Constitution or to Erect a New one May it be Constructed with such symetry of Features, such Vigour of Nerves, and such strength of sinew that it May Never be in the power of Ambition or Tyrany to shake the Durable Fabrick. For the mean time I hope all Necessary Attention will be payed to the personal safety of the Worthy Guardians of our Freedom and Happiness. Which Leads my Trembling Heart to Wish my Friend, were at A further Remove than Cambridge5 from the Head quarters of Vindictive Enemies.

[salute] I am sir With Great Esteem your Real Friend and Humble servant,

[signed] M Warren
RC (Adams Papers); docketed: “Unfil'd letters.”
{ 391 }
1. Nicholas Boileau Despréaux (1636–1711), French literary critic, poet, and satirist (Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale).
2. Mercy Warren's The Group.
3. 3 Jan. 1775, above.
4. A reference to the Second Provincial Congress, in which Mrs. Warren, like her husband, assumed that JA would have a seat.
5. The place of meeting of the Second Provincial Congress.
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.