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MY DEAREST FRIEND,
CHEESEMAN has at length arrived, and I have received my trunk in much better order than I expected.
The people here are much cooler than they were last week. The embargo begins to be felt by many who have been the most noisy and turbulent. Speculation mingles itself in every political operation, and many merchants have already made a noble spec of the embargo by raising their prices ; but the foolish tradesmen and laborers, who were so ready to follow the heels of their scheming leaders, are now out of employment, and will lose thirty dollars a head by this embargo. If they had been taxed half the sum to the most necessary and important measure, they would have bitterly complained. I can see little benefit in the embargo, except that it may cool down the courage of such kind of people. It may be expected that we shall soon have a clamor against the renewal of it, if not to have it repealed.
The Assembly of Pennsylvania have this day chosen a senator; Mr. James Ross, of Washington county, in the place of Mr. Gallatin.
A violent measure has been proposed in the House, to sequester all debts due from American citizens to British subjects. Such a motion will do no honor to our country. Such laws are injurious to the debtor as well as the creditor, for they cannot dissolve the con tracts. It will not pass the House, and if it did, it would stop in the Senate.
We are rejoiced that the civic feast in Boston succeeded no better. It is astonishing that Mr. A. should ever have thought of implicating the government in so indecent and hostile a frolic. We have had an incessant struggle all the winter to restrain the internperate ardor of the people out of doors and their too accurate representatives in both houses. Too many of our good federalists are carried away at times by their passions, and the popular torrent, to concur in motions arid countenance sentiments inconsistent with our neutrality and tending directly to war. But I hope we shall be able to make a stand against all fatal attempts.
I long to be at home, but I dare not ask leave to go. The times are too critical for any man to quit his post without the most urgent necessity. Ways and means must be provided to defray the expenses incurred, and I expect this will be put off till May. I shall be very uneasy through this whole month, but I must take patience. I hope Mr. Adams, of Boston, the lawyer, is full of business and making his for tune. I hear so seldom from him, that I must sup pose him busy.
Tell my dear mother that I hope to have the plea sure of seeing her in the month of May. Love to my brothers and sister and cousins, &c.
I am most tenderly yours,
- John Adams
- Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume II, 1841