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MY DEAREST FRIEND,
IT is painful to feel an impulse to write where there is nothing to say. I write merely to let you know that I am alive and not sick. The weather has been cold for several days, which is more tolerable, at least to me, than the heat which we suffered for a day or two the beginning of the week past. The new French minister is arrived. Whether he has any budget to disclose has not yet appeared,
Mr. Jay is in fine spirits and his health improves. I should suppose he will remain here till the fate of his treaty is determined, which we hope, with some doubts however, will happen before the end of this week. Twenty-nine senators attended yesterday, and the thirtieth is expected to-morrow. We shall meet for the future at an earlier hour in the morning. The deliberations have been temperate, grave, decent and wise hitherto, and the results judicious. My absence from home at this season would be less distressing or rather less insipid, if my presence here was more necessary, or indeed of any utility, but to the mortification of separation from my family and affairs at a time when they would be most agreeable to me, is added the consciousness that I can do no good to others any more than to myself. I have no voice, and although the fate of the treaty will not be justly imputable to me in any degree, yet there is reason to expect that many will suspect me and others charge me with a greater share of it than would belong to me if I had a voice. All these things terrify me little.
A Mr. Millar, a son of a Professor Millar of Glasgow, known by his "Historical view of the English Government" last night brought me a letter of introduction and recommendation from Dr. Kippis, who desires his " sincere respects to every part of my family." In the midst of the desolations of Europe, he " rejoices in the prosperity of America, and in the wisdom and moderation of its two chief Governors." So much for compliment. Moderation, however, is approved only by the moderate, who are commonly but a few. The many commonly delight in some thing more piquant and lively. I am, with desires rather immoderate to be going home with you,
- John Adams
- Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume II, 1841