John Adams Letters document,


Philadelphia, 30 April, 1796.


I AM not surprised at your anxiety expressed in your letter of the 25th, which I received yesterday. The conduct of certain mules has been so gloomy and obstinate for five months past, as to threaten the most dangerous effects. The proceedings of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia now, compared with their in temperate folly last July or August, is a curious specimen of negotiations with foreign courts and nations by the people at large in town meetings. Those cities have disgraced themselves and their leaders.

The House yesterday, in committee, voted to make the appropriations, but in the House they will disgrace themselves again by party manoeuvres to-day, and by factious preambles or preparatory resolutions. Our V , who is as cross a goat as any from Virginia, not excepting Rutherford, was out of the way. An other member, Patten from Delaware, was absent. Both will vote to-day against the resolution ; so that the business is still in suspense, and the anxiety and vigilance of the people ought not to relax. Mr. Ames, the day before yesterday, in his feeble state, scarcely able to stand upon his legs, and with much difficulty finding breath to utter his periods, made one of the best speeches he ever produced, to the most crowded audience ever assembled. He was attended to with a silence and interest never before known, and he made an impression that terrified the hardiest and will never be forgotten. Judge Iredell and I happened to sit together. Our feelings beat in unison. " My God ! how great he is," says Iredell, " how great he has been !" " He has been noble," said I. After some time Iredell breaks out, " Bless my stars, I never heard any thing so great since I was born ! " " It is divine," said I ; and thus we went on with our interjections, not to say tears, till the end. Tears enough were shed. Not a dry eye, I believe, in the House, except some of the jackasses who had occasioned the necessity of the oratory. These attempted to laugh, but their visages " grinned horribly ghastly smiles." They smiled like Foulon's son-in-law when they made him kiss his father's dead and bleeding head. Perhaps the speech may not read as well. The situation of the man excited compassion, and interested all hearts in his favor. The ladies wished his soul had a better body.

We are told Harri. Otis excelled at Boston, and displayed great oratorical talents. I cannot give encouragement, nor entertain any hope, of getting away before the fifth of June, unless the hard hearts should be softened. The heart of Pharaoh was judicially hardened and so are those of . Massachusetts has three of the worst.

I am, most tenderly,

J. A.

John Adams