John Adams letter to Abigail Adams, 9 February 1794

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Philadelphia, 9 February, 1794.

MY DEAREST FRIEND,

VIVE la bagatelle ! Dulce est desipere. I have no other resource in my solitude amidst all my gloomy forebodings of the future miseries of my beloved species. Our allies, our only allies, as the demi crazies pathetically call them, have completed their system by turning all their churches into Je ne seals quoi, and if they should have any government erected among them either by themselves or others, they may substitute choruses of boys and girls to chant prayers like the Romans " Hie bellum lacrimosum, hie miseram famera Pestemque, a populo et principe Caesare, in Persas atque Britannos

Vestra motus aget prece." Their prayers will probably be heard, and war, pestilence and famine may be ready to seize the Austrians and Britons as soon as they have satiated themselves with havock in France. I hope, however, that the awful example of that country, whether it shall be like to those of Tyre and Sidon, Sodom and Gomorrah, or whether it shall terminate less fatally, will be a warning to all other nations and to ours especially. The Britons and Spaniards, by taking the West India Islands, and attempting to hold them, will only lay foundations for future wars to restore them. In short, I see no end of war. It is a comfort to reflect that they can do no greater evil than put an end to their lives.

What think the clergy of New England ? What says Mr. Wibird? Do they still admire the French republicans ? Do they think them virtuous ? Do they wish to see them imitated by all nations ? Do they wish to resign all their salaries, and to have their churches all turned into riding houses, the Sabbath abolished, and one day in ten substituted to sing songs to the manes of Marat ? O, my soul, come not thou into the secrets of such republicans! The guillotine itself would not make me a sincere re publican upon such conditions.

The spirit, principles and system of rational liberty to all nations, is my toast ; but I see no tendency to any thing but anarchy, licentiousness and despotism. Mankind will not learn wisdom from experience. Yours, affectionately,

J. A.

Author:
John Adams

Source:
Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume II, 1841