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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 9


Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0206

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1792-12-26

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

I recd by the last post your favour of the 16. The Votes from New Hampshire to Maryland inclusively have been unanimous excepting the factious Voice of New York, and one Dr Johnson of Conecocheague formerly a New Yorker a Particular Friend of Mr Clinton and by his own confession under particular Obligations to him. Southward of Chesapeak all are for Clinton except S. C.
I thank you for your History of Tragedy Comedy and Farce: but I cannot believe that Mr H. gave any encouragement to the Men of hand, to meddle with the Play house or the Board fences.
I have read the “Friend to Peace” and have no Small Penchant to see Menander. The Translation of the French account of the Revolution is well done and deserves to be continued. I Scarcely know of a greater Service that could be now rendered to the People of this Country, than a faithful and impartial Account of French affairs would be. I wish the Leyden Gazette could be regularly translated as well as reprinted in the Courier. I mean that part of it which relates to French affairs.
Your Observations on the Scurrility disgorged at me, as well as on the insidious Attacks on the general Government, are just to a certain degree. but not wholly so. The Newspapers guide and lead and form the public opinion. Gutta cavat lapidem, non vi sed sæpe cadendo. a continual dropping will wear a stone. We shall never have a fair Chance for a good Government untill it is made a rule to let nothing pass unanswered. Reasoning must be answered by reasoning: Wit by Wit, Humour by Humour: Satyr by Satyr: Burlesque by Burlesque and even Buffoonery by Buffoonery. The stupidity of Multitudes of good Friends of their Country and its Government is astonishing. They are carried away with every Wind of Doctrine and every political Lye: but the Docility with which they receive an answer when it is put into their Mouths is the only resource We have left.— hundreds even of the Officers of Government, Stand aghast { 359 } like Children not knowing what to think nor what to Say, untill another Gazette furnishes them with Matter.
Franklin was pursued by an Opposition all his Lifetime. He was sometimes rejected at Elections by the Citizens of Philadelphia. He generally answered and sometimes very bitterly the Pieces against him. But He and his F[riends] made it a rule all his Life to let no Paragraph [go] unanswered.1
The Mortification of our well born State Monarch at the Unanimity of the five New England States, is in Character. He did me a Service by his late Journey to Connecticut. He put all the Stern farmers upon their Guard, and made them avoid all his Admirers even his Cousin, Thaddy Burr.2
I am grieved at the Weakness in the Conduct of this Gentn and his venerable Lieutenant towards me, but they can do me no harm: and I Say very little about them. Write me as often as you can.
We are all well— Love to your Mamma &c
[signed] J. A.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “John Quincy Adams / Councillor at Law / Boston”; internal address: “Mr J. Q. Adams”; endorsed: “My Father Decr: 26. 1792”; notation: “Free / John Adams.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed. Tr (Adams Papers).
1. This paragraph was written at the end of the letter but before the complimentary close and marked for insertion here.
2. For Thaddeus Burr of Fairfield, Conn., see JQA, Diary, 1:306.

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0207

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1792-12-28

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

Your Friends who are numerous enquire continually after your health and my answer is that you have not informed me that it is worse, from which my conclusion is that I hope it is better.
The Noise of Election is over, and I have the Consolation to find that all the States which are fœderal have been unanimous for me, and all those in which the Antifœderalists were the predominant Party, unanimous against me: from whence my Vanity concludes that both Parties think me decidedly fœderal and of Some consequence. Four years more will be as long as I shall have a Taste for public Life or Journeys to Philadelphia. I am determined in the mean time to be no longer the Dupe, and run into Debt to Support a vain Post which has answered no other End than to make me unpopular.
The Southern States I find as bitter against Mr Jay as they are { 360 } against me and I suppose for the same Reason. I am Surprized to find how little Popularity Mr Hancock has in any of the states out of Mass.
Mr Pierpoint Edwards has been here: although he did not vouch-Safe me the honour of a Visit or a Card, he was Seen in close Consultation at his Lodgings with Mr Jefferson and Mr Baldwin. I am really astonished at the blind Spirit of Party which has Seized on the whole soul of this Jefferson: There is not a Jacobin in France more devoted to Faction. He is however Selling off his Furniture and his Horses: He has been I believe agreater fool than I have, and run farther into Debt by his French Dinners and Splendid Living.1 Farewell for me all that Folly forever. Jefferson may for what I know pursuing my Example and finding the Blanket too short taking up his feet. I am sure, all the officers of Government must hall in their horns as I have done.
Mr Ingersoll has wrote me for his Fee with Thomas and I must pay it, if the House make any Appropriation.2 My Love to all— My Duty to my Mother. I am as impatient to see you as I used to be twenty year ago.
[signed] J. A.
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Portia”; endorsed: “Decbr. 28 1792.”
1. Thomas Jefferson faced lingering debts not just from his years of extravagant living in France and the cost of relocating back to the United States but also from the time of his inheritance of his father-in-law's estate in 1774. By 1794, he owed approximately £6,500, largely to two British firms (Malone, Jefferson, 3:167, 176–179).
2. Letter not found.
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.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/