John Adams Letters document,


Philadelphia, 8 February, 1796.


IT is Monday, the time to expect the eastern mail. Other men have letters, I have none. Humiliated and mortified, and, at the same time, irritated, I feel sometimes a disposition to abuse the post offices, sometimes to make a rash vow never to spend an other winter separated from my small family that re mains to me, but never once harbor a suspicion that madame may have omitted to write.

Upon the whole, however, my health and spirits have been better this winter than at any time since I had the ague, a blessing which I attribute to the free use of my horse the last summer. Health, and spirits, and leisure, have revived my old passion for reading to such a degree as, diverting me from my usual exercise of walking when I cannot ride, alarms me for the continuance of my health. A gloomy prospect, moreover, of four months longer attendance upon Congress, aggravated by the recollection that a few days later than this the last year, on the 19th of February, I got my release and liberty, makes a great defalcation from my philosophical serenity. While we are informed that you have plenty of snow and fine sled ding and sleighing, we have weather as mild as April, arid streets as dirty as March.

No further news of the treaty, or any thing else, from Europe. Business in Congress as languid, as gaping and yawning as if Morpheus had poured out all his soporifics upon the two houses. The voice of faction, even, is scarcely heard. I suppose, however, when the treaty comes, he will lift up his notes like a trumpet. General Wayne has returned and enjoyed his triumph. Judge Chase is here with the rest. Mr. Lee, the Attorney General, a brother of our friend the late member of the House and the late Governor of Virginia, married to a daughter of Richard Henry Lee, is arrived with his family. So is Mr. Me Henry, the Secretary at War. The offices are once more full. But how differently filled than when Jefferson, Hamilton, Jay, &c., were here ! The present incumbents not being much thought of, or at least talked of, for President, Vice President, or substitute for both, the public may be less disposed to fight for them or against them. The first situation is the great object of contention, the centre and main source of all emulation, as the learned Dr. Adams teaches in all his writings, and every body believes him, though no body will own it. My letters to you must never be seen by any body else. And I ought here to caution you to be very careful and reserved in showing our son's letters, for thousands are watching for his halting, as well as mine and yours. Mrs. Green, with her two daugh ters, is here, and mourns, in pathetic accents, that her friend, Mrs. Adams, is not here, and so does

J. A.

John Adams