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MY DEAREST FRIEND,
YOUR favor of the 28th ultimo arrived this morning. Before this time I hope you have received your furniture.
We are still endeavoring to preserve peace ; but one moves a series of commercial regulations, an other, a sequestration of debts, a third,to prohibit all intercourse with Britain, a fourth, to issue letters of marque against Algerines, all tending to excite suspicions in Britain that we are hostile to her, and mean ultimately to join her enemies. One firebrand is scarcely quenched before another is thrown in ; and if the sound part of the community is not uncommonly active and attentive to support us, we shall be drawn off from our neutral ground and involved in incomprehensible evils. In danger of a war that will be unnecessary, if not unjust, that has no public object in view, that must be carried on with allies the most dangerous that ever existed, my situation is as disagreeable as any I ever knew. I should have no fear of an honest war, but a knavish one would fill me with disgust and abhorrence.
At nine o clock at night I suppose your election is over, and another fortnight will enable us to guess whether an Adams or a Gushing is to be the great man. Although the old gentleman's conduct is not such as I can approve in many things of late years, yet I find it difficult to believe that the people of Massachusetts will forsake him in his last moments. Alas ! his grandeur must be of short duration, if it ever commences. I shall be happier at home, if Gushing succeeds ; and the State, I believe, will be more prudently conducted.
The federalists have ventured on a dangerous manoeuvre. I am afraid the delicacy which has usually attended elections in New England will be injured if not destroyed by these elections of governors and senators, so as to be never regained even in the choice of representatives. But we must fulfil our destiny. I am afraid I shall not see you till election. I never longed more to be at home.
Yours, most tenderly,
- John Adams
- Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume II, 1841