John Adams Letters document,


[Philadelphia], 28 April, 1776.

YESTERDAY I received two letters from you from the 7th to the 14th of April. It gives me concern to think of the many cares you must have upon your mind. Your reputation as a farmer or anything else you undertake, I dare answer for. Your partner's character as a statesman is much more problematical.

As to my return, I have not a thought of it Journeys of such a length are tedious, and expensive both of time and money, neither of which is my own. I hope to spend the next Christmas where I did the last, and after that, I hope to be relieved ; for by that time, I shall have taken a pretty good trick at helm, whether the vessel has been well steered or not. But if my countrymen should insist upon my serving them an other year, they must let me bring my whole family with me. Indeed, I could keep house here with my partner, four children and two servants as cheap as I maintain myself here with two horses and a servant at lodgings.

Instead of domestic felicity, I am destined to public contentions. Instead of rural felicity, I must reconcile myself to the smoke and noise of a city. In the place of private peace, I must be distracted with the vexation of developing the deep intrigues of politicians, and must assist in conducting the arduous operations of war, and think myself well rewarded if my private pleasure and interests are sacrificed, as they ever have been and will be, to the happiness others.

You tell me, our Jurors refuse to serve, because the writs are issued in the King's name. I am very glad to hear that they discover so much sense and spin I learn, from another letter, that the general court have left out of their bills the year of his reign, and that they are making a law, that the same name shall be left out of all writs, commissions, and all law processes. This is good news too. The same will be the case in all the colonies, very soon.

You ask me, how I have done the winter past ? I have not enjoyed so good health as last fall But I have done complaining of anything. Of ill health, I have no right to complain, because it is given me by Heaven. Of meanness, of envy, of littleness, of , of , of , I have reason and right to complain, but I have too much contempt to use that right. There is such a mixture of folly, littleness and knavery in this world, that I am weary of it, and although I behold it with unutterable contempt and indignation, yet the public good requires that I should take no notice of it by word or by letter. And to this public good I will conform.

You will see an account of the fleet in some of the papers I have sent you. I give you joy of the Admiral's success. I have vanity enough to take to my self a share in the merit of the American navy. It was always a measure that my heart was much en gaged in, and I pursued it for a long time against the wind and tide, but at last obtained it

Is there no way for two friendly souls to converse together although the bodies are four hundred miles off? Yes, by letter. But I want a better communication. I want to hear you think or to see your thoughts. The conclusion of your letter makes my heart throb, more than a cannonade would. You bid me burn your letters. But I must forget you first In yours of April 14 you say, you miss our friend in the conveyance of your letters. Don't hesitate to write by the post Seal well. Don't miss a single post You take it for granted that I have particular

intelligence of everything from others, but I have not. If any one wants a vote for a commission he vouch safes me a letter, but tells me very little news. I have more particulars from you, than any one else. Pray keep me constantly informed what ships are in the harbor and whaK fortifications are going on. I am quite impatient to near of more vigorous measures for fortifying Boston harbor. Not a moment should be neglected. Every man ought to go down, as they did after the battle of Lexington, and work until it is done. I would willingly pay half a dozen hands myself, and subsist them, rather than it should not be done immediately. It is of more importance than to raise corn. You say enclosed is a prologue and a parody, but neither was enclosed. If you did not forget it, the letter has been opened and the enclosures taken out. If the small pox spreads, run me in debt. I received, a post or two past, a letter from your uncle at Salem, containing a most friendly and obliging invitation to you and yours, to go and have the distemper at his house, if it should spread. He has one or two in his family to have it. is the same person. His name is Paine, a gentleman about two years ago from England, a man who, General Lee says, has genius in his eyes. The writer of " Cassandra " is said to be Mr. James Cannon, a tutor in the Philadelphia college. " Cato " is reported here to be Doctor Smith a match for Brattle. The oration was an insolent performance, v A motion was made to thank the Orator, and ask a copy, but opposed with great spirit and vivacity from every part of the room, and at last withdrawn, lest it should be rejected, as it certainly would have been, with indignation. The Orator then printed it himself, after leaving out or altering some offensive passages. This is one of the many irregular and extravagant characters of the age: I never heard one single person speak well of any thing about him, but his abilities, which are generally allowed to be good. The appointment of him to make the oration was a great oversight and mistake. The last act of Parliament has made so deep an impression upon people's minds, throughout the colonies, it is looked upon as the last stretch of oppression, that we are hastening rapidly to great events. Governments will be up, everywhere, before midsummer and an end to royal style, titles and authority. Such mighty revolutions make a deep impression on the minds of men, and set many violent passions at work. Hope, fear, joy, sorrow, love, hatred, malice, envy, revenge, jealousy, ambition, avarice, resentment, gratitude, and every other passion, feeling, sentiment, principle and imagination were never in more lively exercise than they are now from Florida to Canada inclusively. May God in his- providence overrule the whole for the good of mankind. It requires more serenity of temper, a deeper understanding and more courage than fell to the lot of Marlborough to ride i this whirlwind.

John Adams