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MY DEAREST FRIEND,
IT is a common observation of old people, that as they advance in life, time appears to run off faster, and the year grows shorter. I cannot, I am sure, say the same of the time which has passed of late. I took possession of this chamber on the eighth of this month, and the time has seemed at least as long to me, as any fifteen days of my whole life. Tedious days and lonesome nights ! I am weary of ye !
Enclosed is the address of the Senate and the President's reply. You will be pleased with both, but wry faces, and shrill voices enough will be seen and heard in the House, the cities arid in some places in the country. What do you make of the intelligence from France ? They seem to be weary of clubs, but as yet unable to do without them. The explosion of their powder works and men seems as desperate as dreadful. Dreadful, awful revenge, I expect, will be practised in a thousand ways ; and as revenge excites revenge, where will it stop ? They seem at present to be unable to confine their enemies, or to set them at liberty. Sin and death seem to have deserted the place where Milton saw them, and taken their abode in Paris.
I did not expect any letter from you last week, be- cause of your visit to Haverhill, and I was not disappointed, but if I should not receive one this week I should be mortified.
The spirit in the two Houses has hitherto appeared well disposed to support the government, but whether the House will venture to censure a great number of their constituents so freely as the President and Senate have done, I know not. Mr. Madison and Mr. Scott upon the committee would not admit the clause into their report, and whether the House will insert it is not yet certain. An army of fifteen thousand militia so easily raised from four States only, to go upon such an enterprise ought to be a terrible phenomenon to anti-federal citizens as well as to insolent Britons. If our old stepmother continues to provoke us, till our patience is exhausted, she will soon see mischief to her dominions in America. But they will cost us infinitely more than they are worth. Adieu.
- John Adams
- Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume II, 1841