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MY DEAREST FRIEND,
I RECEIVED yesterday your kind favor of the 1st of this month, and thank you for its agreeable contents. I have now to congratulate you on the arrival of your son and daughter and two grandsons, in fine health, at New York. They have done wisely to fly from the evil to come in Europe ; although it is somewhat dubious whether our fellow citizens will have the wisdom to abstain from similar evils in this country. My friend Malesherbes is about to crown the end of his life with greater glory than he gained in his youth or middle age, though this was splendid. Such a character as that great magistrate ought to wish to die on so great a theatre in defence of his prince, and struggling against the disgrace which enthusiasm is about to bring upon the nation.
The spirit of ambition and of conquest, which the French republic in its cradle has already discovered, has alarmed England and Holland. France has been execrated in Europe for their ambition for universal monarchy ; but the passion was imputed to their kings, Henry 4th and Louis 14th. But the people are already giving unequivocal proofs of an equal lust after a universal republic. The passion is, and always has been, in the people, the nation, and their leaders will ever be infected with it, whether they call them kings, or presidents, or citizens. I can only sigh at the prospect of calamities opening on the human race and pray God to avert them.
We have to-day a deep snow, which I hope will last till I can reach Quincy in a sleigh and there enjoy a felicity, which will never be allowed me any where else.
- John Adams
- Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume II, 1841