Papers of John Adams, volume 16

From Jonathan Jackson

To Bidé de Chavagnes

Paris, 25 February 1785

I am responding quite late, sir, to the letter that you did me the honor of writing to me on the 14th of this month; it is because I was hoping to deliver my response to you myself.1 I deluded myself with this sweet hope, but day-by-day fate shattered our plans. Sometimes the weather was too wretched to venture setting out, and sometimes the Abbés Chalut, Arnoux, and I were compelled by some indisposition to keep to our rooms. I hope that in the future we will be less vexed, but I do not want to rely on hopes that could again betray me. Nothing is more glorious to me, sir, than the invitation that you were so good as to extend to me. I would not hesitate at all to undertake the moral and political catechism that I had the honor of telling you about in the letters that I addressed to you, if I believed that this new work would be of some use to your country. But if the first bears no fruit, the second would share the same fate, and it is not worth the trouble to find, arrange, and set out truths that people do not want to hear. 539 When I urged this project on Congress, I did not pretend that all the members of that illustrious body would take it up together; that is a completely impossible thing. But I would have liked it to charge one of its members with this task, to examine and approve the work, and to publish it under its own name. That is how our parliaments and other sovereign courts operate when they draft remonstrances. You would agree that a catechism drawn and presented to the public in this manner would have much greater weight and would no doubt produce great good.2 I am currently busy correcting an old work that I want to have printed. I will not fatigue you with more scribbling, and I am saving for myself the pleasure of speaking to you about all this the next time that I have the honor of seeing you. I await that moment impatiently, and I pray you to accept in advance my assurances of the tender and respectful attachment with which I have the honor of being, sir, your very humble and very obedient servant