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MY DEAREST FRIEND,
You cannot imagine what horror some persons are in, lest peace should continue. The prospect of peace throws them into distress. Their countenances length en at the least opening of an appearance of it. Glancing gleams of joy beam from their faces when ever all possibility of it seems to be cut off. You can divine the secret source of these feelings as well as I. The opposition to Mr. Jay has been quickened by motives which always influence every thing in an elective government. Pretexts are never wanting to ingenious men, but the views of all the principal parties are always directed to the election of the first magistrate. If Jay should succeed, it will recommend him to the choice of the people for President, as soon as a vacancy shall happen. This will weak en the hopes of the southern States for Jefferson. This I believe to be the secret motive of the opposition to him, though other things were alleged as ostensible reasons; such as, his monarchical principles, his indifference about the navigation of the Mississippi, his attachment to England, his aversion to France, none of which are well founded, and his holding the office of Chief Justice, &c.
The day is a good omen. May the gentle zephyrs waft him to his destination, and the blessing of heaven succeed his virtuous endeavors to preserve peace. I am so well satisfied with this measure, that I shall run the venture to ask leave to go home, if Congress determines to sit beyond the middle of May.
Mr. Adams is to be Governor, it seems, by a great majority of the people; and I am not surprised at it. I should have thought human nature dead in the Massachusetts if it had been otherwise. I expect now he will be less anti-federal. Gill is to be Lieutenant. We will go to Princeton again to congratulate him. I thought, however, that Gerry would have been the man.
We are ill-treated by Britain, and you and I know it is owing to a national insolence against us. If they force us into a war, it is my firm faith, that they will be chastised for it a second time, worse than the first. I am, with an affection too tender to be expressed,
- John Adams
- Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume II, 1841