John Adams letter to Abigail Adams, 1 January 1799

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Philadelphia, 1 January, 1799.

MY DEAREST FRIEND,

I RECEIVED to-day your favor of the 24th, and it made the day more tolerable. Your health and spirits always promote mine.

We have had more company to-day than ever upon any occasion. Thirty or forty gallons of punch, wine in proportion and cake in abundance. The news by the America, Captain Jenkins, arrived at Newburyport, made every body gay but me. Not a word of T. B. A. I shall be uneasy till I hear further. He could not be so imprudent as to omit that opportunity.

You have an admirable faculty of employing your mind, and in the affairs of the farm, materials for it. I want my talkative wife, but fear, if she should attempt to come here, she would not talk farther than Worcester or Springfield. But my wife was too studious and addicted to scribbling, to talk much to me when she was here.

Our people grow amazingly fearless and valiant in proportion as they hear the English beat the French ; and that formidable combinations are forming against them by Turkey, Russia, Austria, and England. I don t like this bravery which grows in proportion as danger appears to lessen. I like that fortitude which increases as danger grows, in a good cause. The English have exhibited an amazing example of skill and intrepidity, perseverance and firmness at sea. We are a chip of that block, and we could do as we pleased, at least as we ought, upon the watery element, if it were not that we shall excite jealousy in the English navy. We must, however, stand for our right. We must adopt their motto, " Dieu et mon droit."

Yours forever and ever,

J. A.

Author:
John Adams

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