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MY DEAR PORTIA,
I YESTERDAY received a letter of the 26th of April from brother Cranch, for which I thank him and will answer as soon as possible. He tells me you have drawn a little bill upon me. I am sorry for it, be cause I have sent and should continue to send you small presents, by which you would be enabled to do better than by drawing bills. I would not have you draw any more. I will send you things which will defray your expenses better. The machine is horribly dear. Mr. C. desires to know if he may draw on me. I wish it was in my power to oblige him, but it is not. I have no remittances, nor any thing to depend on. Not a line from Congress, nor any member, since I left you. My expenses through Spain were beyond all imagination, and my expenses here are so exorbitant, that I can t answer any bill from any body, not even from you, excepting the one you have drawn. I must beg you to be as prudent as possible. Depend upon it, your children will have occasion for all your economy. Mr. Johonnot must send me some bills. Every farthing is expended and more. You can have no idea of my unavoidable expenses. I know- not what to do. Your little affairs and those of all our friends, Mr. Wibird, &c., are on board the Alii-, and have been so these four months, or ready to be. Pray write me by way of Spain and Holland, as well as France. We are all well. My duty to your father, my mother, and affection and respects where due. My affections, I fear, got the better of my judgment in bringing my boys. They behave very well, however.
London is in the horrors. Governor Hutchinson fell down dead at the first appearance of mobs. They have been terrible. A spirit of bigotry and fanaticism mixing with the universal discontents of the nation has broken out into violences of the most dreadful nature, burned Lord Mansfield's house, books, manuscripts ; burned the king's bench prison and all the other prisons, let loose all the debtors and criminals, tore to pieces Sir George Saville's house, insulted all the lords of Parliament, &c., &c. Many have been killed, martial law proclaimed, many hanged. Lord George Gordon committed to the Tower for high treason, and where it will end, God only knows. The mobs all cried, peace with America, and war with France. Poor wretches ! as if this were possible !
In the English papers they have inserted the death of Mr. Hutchinson with severity, in these words. " Governor Hutchinson is no more. On Saturday last he dropped down dead. It is charity to hope that his sins will be buried with him in the tomb, but they must be recorded in his epitaph. His misrepresentations have contributed to the continuance of the war with America. Examples are necessary. It is to be hoped that all will not escape into the grave with out a previous appearance either on a gibbet or a scaffold."
Governor Bernard, I am told, died last fall. I wish that, with these primary instruments of the calamities that now distress almost all the world, the evils them selves may come to an end. For although they will undoubtedly end in the welfare of mankind, and accomplish the benevolent designs of providence towards the two worlds, yet, for the present, they are not joyous but grievous. May heaven permit you and me to enjoy the cool evening of life in tranquillity, undisturbed by the cares of politics or war, and above all, with the sweetest of all reflections, that neither ambition nor vanity, nor avarice, nor malice nor envy, nor revenge nor fear, nor any base motive or sordid passion through the whole course of this mighty revolution, and the rapid, impetuous course of great and terrible events that have attended it, have drawn us aside from the line of our duty and the dictates of our consciences. Let us have ambition enough to keep our simplicity or frugality, and our integrity, and transmit these virtues as the fairest of inheritances to i our children.
- John Adams
- Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume II, 1841