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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 4

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0111

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Angier, Oakes
Date: 1776-06-12

To Oakes Angier

[salute] Dear Sir1

It was with great Pleasure, and perhaps some little Mixture of Pride, that I read your Name among the Representatives of Bridgwater, in the Boston Gazette. I rejoiced to find that your Townsmen, had So much Confidence in your Abilities and Patriotism, and that you had so much Confidence in the Justice of our Cause, and the Abilities of America to support it, as to embark your Fortune in it.
Your Country never stood so much in need of Men of clear Heads and Steady Hearts, to conduct her Affairs. Our civil Governments as well as military Preparations want much Improvement, and to this End a most vigilant Attention, as well as great Patience, Caution, Prudence and Firmness are necessary.
You will excuse the Freedom of a Friend, when I tell you, that I have never entertained any doubt that your political Principles and public Affections, corresponded with those of your Country. But you know that Jealousies and suspicions have been entertained and propagated concerning you. These Jealousies arose, I am well perswaded from an unreserved Freedom of Conversation, and a social Disposition, a little addicted to Disputation, which was sometimes perhaps incautiously indulged. Your present Situation, which is conspicuous and not { 248 } only exposed to observation but to Misconstruction and Misrepresentation, will make it necessary for you to be upon your Guard.
Let me recommend to you, an observation, that one of my Collegue[s] is very fond of, “The first Virtue of a Politician is Patience; the second is Patience; and the third is Patience.” As Demosthenes observed that Action was the first, second, and third Qualities of an orator.
You will experience in public Life such violent, sudden, and unexpected Provocations, and Disappointments, that if you are not now possessed of all the Patience of Job, I would advise you to acquire it, as soon as possible.
News, I can tell you none. I have written to Coll. Warren, Mr. Sewall,2 and Mr. Lowell, a few broken Hints, upon subjects which I wish you would turn your Thoughts to. Be so good as to write me, any Remarkables in the Legislature, or the Courts of Justice. I am your Friend.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. Oakes Angier (1745–1786), Bridgewater lawyer and a former student of JA's, had earlier exhibited anti-whig tendencies, which AA remarked upon to her husband (Adams Family Correspondence, 1:140–141, 153; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 16:5–7).
2. See JA to David Sewall, 12 June (below), for identification.

Docno: ADMS-06-04-02-0112

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Dana, Francis
Date: 1776-06-12

To Francis Dana

[salute] Dear Sir

In the Lists of the House and Board, I was as much pleased to find your Name among the latter as I was chagrined to find it omitted in the former. This is one among numberless Advantages of a Middle Branch of the Legislature, that a Place may be found in it, for such distinguished Friends of their Country, as are omitted by the People in the Choice of their Representatives. This is an Advantage which Pensylvania never enjoyed, and some ignorant Pretenders to the Art of building civil Governments seem to wish should prevail in other Colonies. But so far from succeeding every Colony on the Continent in their new Constitutions, even Pensilvania itself, will have a middle Branch.1 I hope you will now go on and compleat your Government by choosing a Governor and Lt. Governor.
I think the Province never had So fair a Representation, or so respectable an House, or Board, you have a great Number of ingenious, able Men in each. I sincerely congratulate the Province upon it, and think it forebodes much good.
{ 249 }
I am anxious to be informed of the State of the Province, and of the Progress you make, step by step. Should be much obliged to you for a Letter now and then.
We are drudging on, as usual. Sometimes it is seven O Clock before We rise. We have greater Things, in Contemplation, than ever. The greatest of all, which We ever shall have. Be silent and patient and time will bring forth, after the usual Groans, throws and Pains upon such occasions a fine Child—a fine, vigorous, healthy Boy, I presume. God bless him, and make him a great, wise, virtuous, pious, rich and powerfull Man.
Prepare yourself for Vexation enough, for my Tour of Duty is almost out, and when it is, you, or Lowell or both must come here, and toil a little, while We take a little Breath. I am, &c.
LbC (Adams Papers); notation: “Sent.”
1. Pennsylvania's constitution of 1776, adopted in September, provided for a council which had executive and advisory powers but no legislative role, so, properly speaking, it was not a middle branch of the legislature (Thorpe, Federal and State Constitutions, 5:3084–3085).
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.