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I HAVE been lately more remiss than usual in writing to you. There has been a great dearth of news. Nothing from England, nothing from France, Spain or any other part of Europe, nothing from the West Indies nothing from Howe and his banditti, nothing from General Washington. There are various conjectures that Lord Howe is dead, sick, or gone to England, as the proclamations run in the name of Will. Howe only, and nobody from New York can tell any thing of his lordship.
I am wearied out with expectations that the Massachusctls troops would have arrived, ere now, at Head Quarters. Do our people intend to leave the continent in the lurch? Do they mean to submit? or what fatality attends them? With the noblest prize in view that ever mortals contended for, and with the fairest prospect of obtaining it upon easy terms, the people of the Massachusetts Bay are dead. Docs our state intend to send only half, or a third of their quota ? Do they wish to see another crippled, disastrous and disgraceful campaign, for want of an army ? I am more sick and more ashamed of my own countrymen, than ever I was before. The spleen, the vapors, the dismals, the horrors seem to have seized our whole state. More wrath than terror has seized rne. I am very mad. The gloomy cowardice of the times is intolerable in New England. Indeed I feel not a little out of humor from indisposition of body. You know I cannot pass a spring, or fall without an ill turn, and I have had one these four or five weeks. A cold as usual. Warm weather and a little exercise with a little medicine, I suppose, will cure me, as usual. I am not confined, but mope about and drudge, as usual, like a galley slave. I am a fool, if ever there was one, to be such a slave. I won t be much longer. I will be more free in some world or other. Is it not intolerable, that the opening spring, which I should enjoy with my wife and children, upon my little farm, should pass away, and laugh at me for laboring, day after day, and month after month, in a conclave, where neither taste, nor fancy, nor reason, nor passion* nor appetite can be gratified ?
Posterity ! you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.
- John Adams
- Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume I, 1841