John Adams letter to Abigail Adams, 12 March 1794

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Philadelphia, 12 March, 1794.

MY DEAREST FRIEND,

I HAVE all along flattered myself with hopes that I might with propriety have taken leave of the Senate and returned home as soon as the roads might be settled, but such is the critical state of our public affairs, and I daily hear such doctrines advanced and supported by almost and, sometimes, quite one half of the Sen ate, that I shall not prevail on myself to abandon my post. This day, the senators were equally divided upon a question, which seemed to me to involve no thing less than peace and war, and I was obliged to decide it, to the no small chagrin of a number. If this country is involved in war, it shall not be by my fault ; but if it comes either from the malice of our enemies or the imprudence of our own people, it may perhaps be found that I shall not shrink from its difficulties sooner than some who now seek it in disguise. Business is now carried on with rapidity in both houses, and I shall have a month of severe duty. I have not been absent a day. It is, to be sure, a punishment to hear other men talk five hours every day and not be at liberty to talk at all myself, especially as more than half I hear appears to me very young, inconsiderate, and inexperienced.

The Boston town meetine, as it terminated, did a service to the public. If government must be affronted or intimidated by popular clubs and partial meetings of the people, it is a pity that our cities are not all as capable as Boston of discussing great questions. But in New York and Philadelphia there is meeting against meeting, and club against club, to the utter confusion of the public opinion.

It is rumored that we are to lose two ministers of state l by resignation, but I would not have the report propagated from me. I suffer many melancholy hours on account of my dear mother, and as many on your account. Your trial must be severe, and I often wish I were with you to cheer up your spirits and share a part of your cares. The spring opens, the birds sing, the weather is fine, and all things cheerful, but my thoughts about my home and our public prospects.

Adieu, my dear partner, ever your

JOHN ADAMS,

Author:
John Adams

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