John Adams Letters document,


Philadelphia, 4 December, 1796.


to this city on Friday night, after a cold ride of eighty miles from Elizabethlown. There are great complaints of want of water, for grinding, for cattle and for families, through the whole country.

Yesterday I dined with the President, in company with John Watts, the king of the Cherokees, with a large number of his chiefs and their wives ; among the rest the widow and children of Hanging Maw, a famous friend of our's who was basely murdered by some white people. The President dined four sets of Indians on four several days the last week.

The French manoeuvres have gained the votes of Pennsylvania, and how many others is unknown. The election will be a meagre one and I shall not envy it. I showed the letters of Mr. J. Q. A. to the President, who told me that things appeared to him exactly as they did to his minister. To-day he has sent me a letter to him from Mr. T. Paine, dated at Paris, 20 of September, 1795, which he said was the most insulting letter he ever received. Paine accuses the President of connivance at his imprisonment in France, thinks he ought to have interposed in his behalf and reclaimed him.

" I ought not to have suspected you of treachery, but I must continue to think you treacherous, till you give me cause to think otherwise. I am sure you would have found yourself more at your ease if you had acted by me as you ought, for whether your desertion of me was intended to gratify the English government, or to let me fall into destruction in France that you might exclaim the louder against the French revolution, or whether you hoped by my extinction to meet with less opposition in mounting up the American government, either of these will involve you in reproach, you will not easily shake off." These are his words.

Mr. Paine's long threatened pamphlet against the President, it is supposed, is arrived, and Mr. Bache is to publish it in the form of a letter to George Washington. It is even said that a patent is to be obtained for the exclusive privilege of publishing it.

Whether the French Directory have only been drawn in to favor the election of a favorite, or whether in their trances and delirium of victory they think to terrify America, or whether in their sallies they may not venture on hostilities, time will discover. Americans must be cool and steady if they can. Some of our people may be cured of their extravagant love and shaken in their unlimited confidence. The French character, whether under monarchical or republican government, is not the most equitable nor the least assuming of all nations. The fire, impetuosity and vehemence of their temperament is apt to be violent, immoderate and extravagant. The pas sions are always outrageous. A Frenchman in love must shoot himself or succeed. A Frenchman in anger must shed the blood of his object, and so of the rest.

I hope we shall make two houses to-morrow. My duty to my mother and love to all.

J. A.

John Adams