John Adams letter to Abigail Adams, 8 December 1796


Philadelphia, 8 December, 1796.


ENCLOSED are some signal accomplishments of prophecies. Be cool and discreet in your communications of them. No such person as Jasper D wight is known to either of the senators of Vermont. The signature is thought to be fictitious. I have no letter from you later than the Sunday after my departure. Major Butler has indeed resigned.

They kept back Paine's letter several weeks, presuming no doubt that it would not promote their election. It appeared for the first time, this morning. I think, of all Paine's productions it is the weakest, and at the same time, the most malicious. The man appears to me to be mad, not drunk. He has the vanity of the lunatic who believed himself to be Jupiter, the father of gods and men. There is a Dr. E. here, a relation of Mr. Burr and Pierpont Ed wards, who has lately returned from Paris. Perhaps he may be the Pennsylvanian of whom you read.

I can say nothing of election. I have received to-day the votes of New Jersey, but know not for whom they are, as they are under seal,

I am

J. A.

The feelings of friendship excite a curiosity to know how McKean will vote. By that I shall guess how Governor Adams would have voted. But I have seen friendships of S. Quincy, Jonathan Sewall, Daniel Leonard, General Brattle, Treasurer Gray and fifty others go away like a vapor before political winds ; and a constant succession of others go the same way from that time to this, that I cannot depend upon any judgment I can form from any feelings of my own. No private friendships would induce me to spare a wrong political character. But McKean and Adams can never believe the lies that are told. If they could vote against me, it must be because they think I should not be supple enough to the French. I have known the time when both of them would have been as stiff as myself.

I feel myself in a very happy temper of mind ; perfectly willing to be released from the post of danger, but determined, if called to it, to brave it, if its horrors were ten times thicker than they are. I have but few years of life left, and they cannot be better bestowed than upon that independence of my country, in defence of which, that life has ever been in jeopardy.

John Adams

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