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THIS morning I received your two letters of 8 September and 16 September. What shall I say ? The intelligence they contain came upon me by surprise, as I never had the least intimation before, that any of my family was ill, excepting in a card from Mrs. Warren, received a few days ago, in which she in formed me, that Mrs. Adams had been unwell, but was better.
You may easily conceive the state of mind in which I am at present. Uncertain and apprehensive, at first, I suddenly thought of setting off immediately for Braintree, and I have not yet determined other wise. Yet the state of public affairs is so critical, that I am half afraid to leave my station, although my presence here is of no great consequence.
I feel, I tremble for you. Poor Tommy ! I hope, by this time, however, he has recovered his plump cheeks, and his fine tyloom. By your account of Patty, I fear, but still I will hope she has been supported, and is upon the recovery. I rejoice to learn that Abby and her brothers have hitherto escaped, and pray God that his goodness may be still continued to them. Your description of the distressed state of the neighbourhood is affecting indeed. It is not uncommon for a train of calamities to come together. Fire, sword, pestilence, famine often keep company and visit a country in a flock.
At this distance I can do no good to you or your's, I pray God to support you. I hope our friends and neighbours are kind as usual. I feel for them in the general calamity. I am so far from thinking you melancholy, that I am charmed with that admirable fortitude, and that divine spirit of resignation, which appear in your letters. I cannot express the satisfaction it gives me, nor how much it contributes to sup port me.
You have alarmed me, however, by mentioning anxieties which you do not think it proper to mention to any one. I am wholly at a loss to conjecture what they can be. If they arise from the letters, be assured that you may banish them forever. These letters have reached Philadelphia, hut have produced effects very different from those which were expected from the publication of them. These effects I will explain to you sometime or other. As to the versification of them, if there is wit or humor in it, laugh if ill nature, sneer if mere dulness, why you may even yawn or nod. I have no anger at it, nay even scarcely contempt. It is impotent
As to politics, we have nothing to expect hut the whole wrath and force of Great Britain. But your words are as true as an oracle," God helps them who help themselves, and if we obtain the divine aid by our own virtue, fortitude and perseverance, we may he sure of relief." It may amuse you to hear a story. A few days ago, in company with Dr. Zubly, somebody said, there was nobody on our side but the Almighty. The Doctor, I who is a native of Switzerland, and speaks but broken English, quickly replied, " Dat is enough. Dat is enough ;" and, turning to me, says he, " It puts me in mind of a fellow who once said, The Catholics have on their side the Pope, and the King of France, and the King of Spain, and the King of Sardinia, and the King of Poland, and the Emperor of Germany, 5cc., ice., &c. But as to those poor devils, the protestan's, they have nothing on their side but God Almighty."
- John Adams
- Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume I, 1841