My Dearest Friend
Yours of the 6
[John to Abigail, 06 February 1796]
[John to Abigail, 08 February 1796]
[John to Abigail, 10 February 1796]
[John to Abigail, 10 February 1796 (second)]
came to me by the last Post. I too Sometimes get dissapointed but I always lay the Charge to the post where I know it ought to fall, but not usually writing untill after thursday post arrives here, I have not the advantage of the office here unless I wait for the next week, and a Storm will sometimes, as last week, prevent my getting my letters to Town, but my Conscience acquits me of Sins of omission. In that respect, I can seldom find more to Say than one Letter contains. Upon some Subjects I think much more than I write. I think what is Duty to others and what is duty to ourselves. I contemplate unpleasent concequences to our Country if your decision should be the same with the p. s. for as you observe, whatever may be the views and designs of party, the chief of the Electors will do their Duty, or I know little of the Country in which I live. Shakespeare says. Some are born great, some atchive greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them." You write me fully assured that the P. is unalterably determind to retire. This is an event not yet contemplated by the people at large. We must be attentive to their feelings and to their voice. No Successor, can expect such support as the P. has had. The first Ministers have retired, and a man without intrigue, without party Spirit, with an honest mind and a judicious Head, with an unspotted Character may be difficult to find as V. P. This will still render the first
And for the day of trial is at hand With the whole fortunes of a mighty land Are staked on thee, and all their weal or woe Must from thy good, or thy misconduct flow; Have you Familiar with your Nature grown And are you Fairly to yourself made known? And can You acquire influence sufficent as the Poet further describes To still the voice of Discord in the land
This is the bright and desireable
light of the picture. This tho a hard and arduous Task, would be a flattering and a Glorious Reward, and such a reward as all good men will unite in giving to Washington, and such a Reward as I pray his Successor may merrit and obtain. Should Providence allot the task to my Friend, But think not that I am alone anxious for the part he will be calld to act, tho by far the most important, I am anxious for the proper disccharge of that share which will devolve upon me. Whether I have patience, prudence, discretion sufficent to fill a Station so unexceptionably as the Worthy Lady who now holds it, I fear I have not. As Second I have had the happiness of stearing clear of censure as far as I know. If the contemplation did not make me feel very serious, I should say that I have been so used to a freedom of sentiment that I know not how to plane so many gaurds about me, as will be indispensable, to look at every word before I utter it, and to impose a silence upon my self, when I long to talk. Here in this retird Village, I live beloved by my Neighbours, and as I assume no State, and practise no pagentry, unenvy'd I sit calm and easy, miscing very little with the World.
You need not be apprehensive least I should shew your Letters or divulge What is committed to me. All rests within my own Breast. Not the least lisp has escaped me to any one for tho I love Sociabily, I never did or will betray a trust.
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