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THIS moment I had, what shall I say ? the pleasure or the pain of your letter of 25th October. As a letter from my dearest friend it gave me a pleasure that it would be in vain to attempt to describe ; but the complaints in it gave me more pain than I can express. This is the third letter I have received in this com plaining style. The former two I have not answered. I had endeavored to answer them. I have written several answers ; but upon a review, they appeared to be such as I could not send. One was angry, another was full of grief, and the third with melancholy, so that I burnt them all. If you write me in this style, I shall leave off writing entirely. It kills me. Can profession of esteem be wanting from me to you ? Can protestation of affection be necessary ? Can tokens of remembrance be desired ? The very idea of this sickens me. Am I not wretched enough in this banishment without this ? What course shall I take, to convince you that my heart is warm ? You doubt, it seems. Shall I declare it ? Shall I swear to it ? Would you doubt it the less ? and is it possible you should doubt it ? I know it is not. If I could once believe it possible, I should not answer for the consequences. But I beg you would never more write to me in such a strain, for it really makes me unhappy. Be assured, that no time nor place can change my heart ; but that I think so often and so much of the blessings from which I am separated, as to be too unmindful of those who accompany me ; and that I write to you as often as my duty will permit.
I am extremely obliged to the Comte D Estaing and his officers for their politeness to you, and am very glad you have had an opportunity of seeing so much of the French nation. The accounts from all hands agree, that there was an agreeable intercourse and happy harmony, upon the whole, between the inhabitants and the fleets. The more this nation is known, and the more their language is understood, the more will narrow prejudices wear away. British fleets and armies are very different from their's. In point of temperance and politeness, there is no comparison.
This is not a correct copy, but you will pardon it, because it is done by a hand l as dear to you as to
- John Adams
- Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume II, 1841