John Adams Letters document,


Passy, 13 February, 1779.


YOURS of 15th December was sent me yesterday by the Marquis, whose praises are celebrated in all the letters from America. You must be content to receive a short letter, because I have not time now to write a long one. I have lost many of your letters, which are invaluable to me, and you have lost a vast number of mine. Barnes, Niles, and many other vessels are lost.

I have received intelligence much more agreeable than that of a removal to Holland ; I mean that of being reduced to a private citizen, which gives me more pleasure than \ ou can imagine. I shall there fore soon present before you your own good man. Happy happy indeed shall I be, once more to see our fireside. I have written before to Mrs. Warren, and shall write again now. Dr. J. is transcribing your Scotch song, which is a charming one. Oh, my leaping heart !

I must not write a word to you about politics, be cause you are a woman.

What an offence have I committed ! A woman !

I shall soon make it up. I think women better than men, in general, and I know, that you can keep a secret as well as any man whatever. But the world don t know this. Therefore if I were to write my sentiments to you, and the letter should be caught and hitched into a newspaper, the world would say, I was not to be trusted with a secret.

I never had so much trouble in my life as here, and yet I grow fat. The climate and soil agree with me. So do the cookery and even the manners of the people, of those of them at least that I converse with, churlish republican as some of you on your side the water call me. The English have got at me in their newspapers. They make fine work of me fanatic, bigot, perfect cipher, not one word of the language, awkward figure, uncouth dress, no address, no character, cunning, hard-hearted attorney ; but the falsest of it all is, that I am disgusted with the Parisians. Whereas I admire the Parisians prodigiously. They are the happiest people in the world, I believe, and have the best disposition to make others so. If I had your ladyship and our little folks here, and no politics to plague me, and a hundred thousand livres a year rent, I should be the happiest being on earth.

Nay, I believe I could make it do with twenty thousand.

One word of politics. The English reproach the French with gasconade, but I don t believe their whole history could produce so much of it as the English have practised this war. The commissioners proclamation with its sanction from the ministry and ratification by both houses, I suppose is hereafter to be interpreted like Burgoyne's, " Speaking daggers but using none." They cannot send any considerable reinforcement, nor get an ally in Europe. This, I think, you may depend upon. Their artifice in throwing out such extravagant threats was so gross, that I presume it has not imposed on any. Yet a nation that regarded its character never could have threatened in that manner.


John Adams