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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 9


Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0232

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1793-02-17

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dearest Friend

We have had Such falls of Snow and rain that I Suppose the Mail has been retarded and I have no Letters; and you may be in the { 406 } same Case. I have written however as regularly as usual. I have no Letters nor Message from our dear Family at N. York Since their arrival excepting a Line from Charles the next morning announcing it.1 another fort night and I shall sett out on my return home I shall make a short stay at N. Y. for fear of worse roads as well as from a zeal to get home. Indeed I have so little affection for that southern State as it has lately become, that the sooner I get thro it the better.
I have a great Mind to send home our furniture. My Salary has become ridiculous, sunk more than half in its Value and about to be reduced still lower by another Million of Paper to be emitted by a new Bank of Pensilvania.2 Before I was aware I got abominably involved in debt and I shall not easily get out.— by I will be no longer a Dupe. The hospitality of Philadelphia would have kept me, the whole Winter at Dinner with one Family and at Tea and Cards with another: but I have made it a rule to decline all Invitations excepting Such as came from Families where I had never dind before, and excepting once with the senators who have families here, once with our Ministers of State and once with foreign Ministers. It has been Employment enough to write apologies in Answer to Invitations. I should have been down with the Ague long before now if I had accepted Invitations to Evening Parties. I never dine out without loosing the next nights Sleep, which shews that there is still a disposition to a fever.
I live in terror least the State of Europe should force the President to Call Congress together in summer. I am not without hopes however that the national Convention of France will give England Satisfaction about Holland, the Austrian Netherlands and the Scheld, that We may still be blessed with Peace: but if there should be war We shall be intrigued into it, if possible.
The Personal hatreds and Party Animosities which prevail here, have left me more in tranquility than any other Person. The Altercations between the humble Friends of the two or three Ministers have done no service to the Reputation of either. The S. of the Treasury has suffered as much as the Secretary of State. Ambition is imputed to both, and the Moral Character of both has Suffered in the Scrutiny. They have been sifted by Satan like Wheat and all the Spots that have been discoverd have been circulated far and wide. I am afraid that Hamiltons Schemes will become unpopular, because the State Legislatures are undermining them and Congress will be obliged either to let them fall in the Publick opinion, or to support them by measures which will be unpopular. Hamilton has been { 407 } intemperately puffed and this has excited green Eyed Jealousy and haggard Envy. Jays Friends have let Escape feelings of Jealousy as well as Jeffersons. And it is very natural. Poor me who have no Friends to be jealous, I am left out of the Question and pray I ever may.
Yours tenderly
[signed] J. A.
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Febry—17 1793.”
1. Not found.
2. On 5 Feb., the Penn. house of representatives began consideration of a bill to create a new Bank of Pennsylvania. The bank, as signed into law on 30 March, initially offered $3 million in capital stock (Philadelphia Federal Gazette, 9 Feb., 3 April).

Docno: ADMS-04-09-02-0233

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Charles
Date: 1793-02-17

John Adams to Charles Adams

[salute] Dear Charles

I have not answered your favour of 31. of Jan. nor that which announced the Arrival of your Brother and Sister.

Justum et tenacem Propositi Virum

Non Civium Ardor prava jubentium

Non Vultus instantis Tyranni

Mente quatit Solida,

was repeated by Cornelius De Wit on The Rack and in torture; as you may See in Cerisiers Tableau.1 I know not whether the Rack is to be borne or not; but I know, the most disgusting, Sickening, disheartening grieving, provoking, irritating Feeling of the soul, is excited, by the Meanness, the Baseness of political Lies and popular Injustice. There is no Country upon Earth where the People will hear and read this contemptible Ribaldry with so little Resentment, or so much malignant Pleasure against their best Men. The hornets, the Wasps the Fleas, the Lice and the Ticks are now Stinging the President and if the People bear it, they deserve to be eaten by Fleas, as you was in Spain.
We Shall See next fall, how Parties will Stand; if Congress Should not be called together Sooner. The War in Europe may compel an earlier Session.

Weigh well your part, and do your best

Leave to your maker all the rest,

I read last night in the Almanack and cannot give you a better precept.— Another very good rule from the Same respectable Authorty is
{ 408 }

He who contracts his swelling Sail

Eludes the Fury of the Gale.

another still is worth transcribing

Regard the World with cautious Eye

Nor raise your Expectation high.

Life is a Sea, where Storms must rise

’Tis folly talks of cloudless Skies.2

I had, from your Letter, entertained hopes of seeing Mr Smith here before now: but the Roads must be so bad that I now despair of it. My Love to him, your sister, and my dear little Boys. I must make but a Short Stay at New York, on my return. My affairs at Quincy require my Attention, and Presence.
I envy no Man but the Baron and General Gates. If I had a Steuben, I would remove with all my Family and live upon it.—3 I could yet cutt down Trees and clear Land, which I am convinced is the happiest Employment of human Life. If you ever was present at Stubbing Bushes and burning them you must have felt it. hunting deers is not so transporting to a Savage, as clearing Land to a Farmer. Feeding Cattle, which is very pleasant is not equal, to the Work of Creation in the Woods which converts a Forrest into a fruitful field. War, Negotiation, Legislation, Administration hide your diminished heads, in Comparison with Husbandry for a happy Life. a Proportion of Solitude is essential to happiness. Man was not made nor borne to be alone it is true: nor was he born to be always in Company. Alternate Retirement and Society is the only System of Wisdom. so thinks and so will Act your affectionate Father
[signed] John Adams.
RC (MHi:Seymour Coll.); internal address: “Charles Adams.”; docketed: “Vice President.”
1. For Antoine Marie Cerisier's Tableau de l’histoire générale, see vol. 4:81. Cornelius de Witt, a seventeenth-century Dutch official and brother of grand pensionary Johan de Witt, was falsely accused of planning an assassination attempt against William III, Prince of Orange. Refusing to admit guilt even under torture, de Witt was found not guilty but was nonetheless deprived of his offices and sentenced to exile. Before that could take place, he and his brother were murdered by members of the civic guard loyal to the prince (Rowen, Princes of Orange, p. 120, 127–129). See also JA, Papers, 10:354, 355, 438; 13:416, 424.
2. All of the quotations, in somewhat different order, come from Nathaniel Cotton, “Content. Vision IV,” Visions in Verse, London, 1751, lines 153–154, 147–148, 138–139, 145–146.
3. Like Baron von Steuben, Gen. Horatio Gates had retired to a large estate just north of New York City in 1790. Rose Hill Farm included a “large & handsome” house and a “garden which was filled with every variety of the best & choicest fruit” (Paul David Nelson, General Horatio Gates: A Biography, Baton Rouge, La., 1976, p. 287–288).
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/