John Adams letter to Abigail Adams, 12 March 1796


Philadelphia, 12 March, 1796.


I DINED yesterday with Mr. Burr, who lives here in style. A number of members of the House, the Speaker Mr. Dayton, among the rest. It seems to be the general opinion that the House will express some opinions unfavorable to the treaty ; but finally carry it into effect. There is a good deal of apprehension expressed for the Union in conversation. Some think and say it cannot last. Such is the repugnance between the east and the west. The death of my aunt H., for by that name it is most natural for me to call her, is an event that was every day to be expected, and as her days of usefulness and satisfaction were past, can be no cause of rational grief to her nearest relations. It has not, however, failed to revive the remembrance of the scenes of my youth, of my father, my uncles, my aunts, and my cousins, many of whom were gone before her, and to affect me with many tender sentiments and serious reflections. Alas ! she was little more than thirty years older than myself. I shall never see her years. But why should I regret such a prospect as that ? Although I am convinced that human life is a happy and agreeable scene, a charming, delightful state, upon the whole, and although my share of it has been chequered with perplexities, difficulties, dangers and distresses, which fall to the lot of but few, yet it has been sweet and happy on the whole, and calls for gratitude to my Maker and Pre server. Yet every year, according to my opinions and persuasions and expectations, brings me nearer to a state of superior excellence and more unmixed enjoyment, where I hope to meet all my relations and other friends who may have done their duty in this. There, my dearest friend, may we meet, and never be again separated by any necessities to go to Eu rope, or Philadelphia, or elsewhere.

My duty to my mother, and congratulate her on the recovery of her arm. I hope to see her again in June. But the House of Representatives will keep me here as long as possible. Your amanuensis improves in her hand-writing. She superscribes your letters elegantly. My love to her. I am not sorry that John went to England. He will have opportunities of improvement and gaining information there.

I am

J. A.

John Adams

Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume II, 1841