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MY DEAREST FRIEND,
OUR good friend, General Lincoln, gave me this morning your favor of the 7th, which compensated in part for my disappointment by Monday's post. I set my heart on one letter a week, and as many more as you please.
I cannot say that my desire of fame increases. It has been strong in some parts of my life, but never so strong as my love of honesty. I never in my life, that I know of, sacrificed my principles or duty to popularity or reputation. I hope I am now too old ever to do it. But one knows not how trials may be borne till they are made. The hell-hounds are now in full cry in the newspapers against the President, whom they treat as ill as ever they did me. The same insolent and impudent Irishman who is said to have written so much against me, is now suspected to be writing against him.
Both houses of Congress are making strict inquisition into the treasury, with upright and patriotic views, no doubt. Hamilton will find ho more mercy than is due from a generous nation to a faithful servant. But I presume his character will shine the brighter. However, it is still but an experiment whether the ministers of state under an elective executive, will not be overborne by an elective legislature. I believe it to be certain that two elective houses of legislation, or even one, have it in their power whenever they shall have it in their will, to render any minister of state, or even any elective executive, unpopular, though he may be possessed of the best talents and most perfect integrity. I presume that neither of our houses will be disposed to such injustice, but the time may come.
I am so well satisfied with my present simplicity, that I am determined never to depart from it again, so far as I have. My expenses in future, forever, shall at all events be within my income, nay, within my salary. I will no longer be the miserable dupe of vanity. My style of life is quite popular. What say you to living with me in lodgings next winter ? This shall be my plan, if I cannot hire a house for six months only. Your friends, who are very numerous, inquire tenderly after your health. Benson says he is for making Mrs. Adams Autocratrix of the United States. This, however, must be secret, be cause it is a sort of treason.
- John Adams
- Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume II, 1841