John Adams Letters document,


Philadelphia, 20 January, 1796.


THIS is one of my red letter days. It is the anniversary of the signature of the declaration of an armistice between the United States and Great Britain in 1783. There are several of these days in my calendar, which I recollect as they pass in review, but which nobody else remembers. And, indeed, it is no otherwise worth my while to remember them than to render an ejaculation of gratitude to Providence for the blessing.

We are wasting our time in the most insipid manner, waiting for the treaty. Nothing, of any consequence, will be done till that arrives and is mauled and abused, and then acquiesced in. For the antis must be more numerous than I believe them, and made of sterner stuff than I conceive, if they dare hazard the surrender of the posts and the payment for spoliations, by any resolution of the House that shall render precarious the execution of the treaty on our part.

I am, as you say, quite a favorite. I am to dine to-day again. I am heir apparent, you know, and a succession is soon to take place. But, whatever may be the wish or the judgment of the present occupant, the French and the demagogues intend, I presume, to set aside the descent. All these hints must be secrets. It is not a subject of conversation as yet. I have a pious and a philosophical resignation to the voice of the people in this case, which is the voice of God. I have no very ardent desire to be the butt of party malevolence. Having tasted of that cup, I find it bitter, nauseous, and unwholesome.

I hope Copeland will find his six loads to complete the meadow, and take the first opportunity to cart or sled the manure from the yard at home up to the top of Stonyfield hill. The first season that happens fit for ploughing, should be employed in cross ploughing the ground at home over the way. The news of my mother's arm growing better has given me great pleasure. Of the four barrels of flour I have shipped to you, present one of them to my mother from me, with my duty and affection. Tell my brother I hope he has seen his error, and become a better friend of peace and good government than he has been somewhat inclined to be since the promulgation of the treaty.

I am, with affections, as ever, your

J. A.

John Adams