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Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 29 January 1797

Yes my dear Friend I had seen and read the Tenth Muse, and I think she abuses our poor old Govenour who tho quite in his dotage, is not the Man there represented. I do not think him a Hypocrit, but a real Lover and Friend of Religion from pure principles. He has served his Country many Years with honour and with fidelity. I respect his virtues,tho I pitty his weakness. It is said that he means to decline an other Election. If this should be the case, I will go and see him and Mrs. Adams as soon as they are out of Office, and shew them that personally, I respect old Friends and Friendships.

Since I sit down to write Neighbour Beal has sent in his paper of Saturday containing the Govenours attoneing Speach, and his retiring Speach. His Notice of the Presidents retiring from office can not be chargeable with adulation. It is as cold as his Age, and as frozen as the Season. What he says respecting the importence of preserving our Election pure, is wise and just.Federal Commonwealth is an odd Epithet for our common Country. The old Gentleman could not refuse himself the pleasure of instructing his Kinsman and telling him he hoped he would stick close to the Letter of the constitution. He should have advised him to look well to the Laws before he puts his Name to them, for erasing it after it being becomes a Law is an act of despotism, a veto. The old Gentleman discovers some mortification in his farewell address,tho I can assent to the whole as truths which all must readily allow.

Mrs. Washingtons congratulation to you I believe perfectly sincere. Who would not wish for a successor that would not disgrace his predecessor. Every person sees that the President pointed out his successor in his address, and in his late reply to the Senates address. I heard it said in company that he could not have spoken plainer if he had call'd the person by Name.

I shall think myself the most fortunate among women if I can glide on for four Years with as spotless a Reputation, beloved and esteemed by all as that Good and amiable Lady has done. My endeavours shall not be wanting. At Meeting to day a psalm was sung, a verse of which I could not but apply to myself.

"Still has my Life new wonders seen
Repeated every Year:
Behold my days that yet remain
I trust them to thy care."

The news paper announces Mr. Madison appointed Ambassador extraordinary to France. If true I rejoice in the appointment. I have confidence in the honour and integrity of Mr. Madison, that he would not betray a trust thus reposed or prostrate the dignity and independence of his Country to any foreign Nation, even tho that Nation be France. Beside his instruction I trust would be positive, not discretionary.

The little extracts inclosed in your Letters diverted me, particularly Pompys scratching his Head with one finger. Be sure it was designd as a Friendly Hint. The writer did not know that the Scratching was sometimes owing to a cause which Peter Pinder celebrates.

All peculiarities become conspicuous in proportion as the Character is exalted. [illegible] one shoulder had too high, the more luminous the Body, the more easily are the

Spots discerned.

"Ah spare your idol! think him human still.
Charms he may have, but he has frailties too
Doat not too much, nor spoil what ye admire."

Adulation creats envy. Honours should be meekly Borne as Shakespear expresses it. There are a Thousand Men in the United Stats fit for Presidents, said modest Giles. Happy Country! Who surely will dispute the palm of most enlightned with us!

My pen runs riot. I forget think that it must that it must grow cautious and prudent. I fear I shall make a dull buisness when such restrictions are laid upon it, but you will soon be too full of buisness to be amused with what may create a Smile in your present solitary state. By the dates of our Letters we are often writing to each other at the same Time. If that be the case now, may the same sentiments inspire each Heart when we say we will never be for any other. Thus thinks Your A Adams

Cite web page as: Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 29 January 1797 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/
Original manuscript: Adams, Abigail. Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams, 29 January 1797. 3 pages. Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
Source of transcription: Adams Papers Editorial Project. Unverified transcriptions.
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